Products of Our Environment

So as the title states – I’m gonna be sharing my own story about my younger life and growing up with a history of mental illness in my family.

Now, I’m not sure whether it’s purely coincidental, whether it’s hereditary or whether being in an environment where mental illness was prevalent was a norm for me as a child and perhaps made me more susceptible to becoming mentally unwell.

Does mental illness flow through my veins, beat in my heart and thrive off my healthy mind?

A woman very dear to me has struggled with inner demons for as long as I can remember. I was about 9 when I first began to notice that something wasn’t quite right. She’d spend days in bed, she wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t even wash. With hind sight and personal experience I can now see that she was in an incredibly deep rooted depression.

It didn’t last days, or weeks… it lasted years.

I began to notice these traits in myself a number of years ago which was a very scary thing for me. I didn’t want to have a halted life because my mind would throw a fit every once in a while.

I decided to push on through, to finish studying Forensic Science, to get an unconditional offer at the university I wanted to study at – although I dropped out! I’ve worked in the Mental Health field and am now heading into working for the Ministry of Justice.

It’s ok to be abnormal, I wouldn’t have thrived as much if I was never unwell or had never battled with addiction.

If I could meet my 9 year old self, I would tell her that she would be okay. That her mum would win the uphill struggle. I’m now 21 and have almost set myself up for life.

This is the year everything changes!

If Kiwi can cope, so can you!

🙂

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Master of Deception

I’m not gonna bore you with all of the stuff most bloggers will be posting currently… the whole ‘new year, new me’ bullshit. You’re still the same idiot you were a week ago, a month ago, a year ago. You aren’t foolin’ me honey bee!

I want to write an uplifting post for the first time in around half a year – that makes me sound like I’m still a depressive mong doped-up on all kinds of meds from the doctor. “Here’s 5 Cyanide pills just incase one isn’t enough to put your stupid ass to sleep for the rest of eternity” – thanks doc!

In all seriousness though… I’ve really grown the fuck up since last year and even the year before that. I was selfish, manipulative and arrogant… basically a massive arsehole! But a switch flicked inside me and I realised I was a raging douche that needed to sort herself out. During the previous couple of years, I felt sub-human, I felt like I deserved no one’s love or compassion except the black dog that was always barking in my head. 

I found solace in the havoc. The sense of self I was adamant was true, was just a facade, to cover my deluded mind set. 

I was a master of deception.

I had grown so used to putting on an external mask, I convinced myself I was better when really I was just trying to polish a turd. Things were mounting up to the point that it was almost unbearable. I could see the surface of the ocean but had an anchor tied to my ankles.

Last year was a true test of my character. I did many things I never thought I’d have the courage to do.

I rid myself of toxic people, negativity breeds negativity. I worked in a mental health unit as an Auxiliary nurse. I applied and successfully got a job which will set my career path up. I travelled through Europe and visited Auschwitz, the Berlin wall and the Red Light District! And after everything… I forgave my rapist and got the closure I needed to be able to move on.

This year will be full of light, love and positivity!

Trust me, if Kiwi can cope… so can you! 🙂

💚💚💚

Disconsolation

These helpless scars that haunt my flesh, remind me of thin-skinned days.

When words and thoughts cut far deeper than any blade. 

Each cut, each scratch, each bite mark, leaving it’s own vicious story behind. 

Fathoming the disarray isn’t so easy right now, with a hurricane causing havoc in my mind.

Dysphoria screams down the empty, corrupt pathways of my brain. 

My eyes have glazed over, I’m forever mistaken for a china doll. Skin so delicate, so porcelain.

My skin is like a tiger’s, bold and bright.

Each cut, each scratch, each bite mark, showing that I fought the fight. 

So let me show you this, listen to me roar.

I fell victim to my mind once, but not anymore. 

Scars come and go like trains to a station.

But at somepoint they stop, so please be patient.

The past won’t ever change, so why wistfully wish.

You could be a newly growing wild flower that does nothing but flourish.


If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

After being awake all night watching stupid videos on YouTube and crying with laughter at memes on my news feed, I thought I’d go through my old photos and see if there were any hidden treasures I hadn’t seen in a while… (I usually find drunken photos of my friend’s boobs on my phone – standard)!

I got back to November (this is about 1,700 photos into my camera reel) and came across a photo I had never seen before. I remember it being taken, I also remember the guilt that consumed me right after.

You’re probably thinking it’s a bad photo with bad connotations. Surprisingly though, it isn’t. It’s of two people stood next to each other smiling. To most people, the photo wouldn’t bring up any immediate negative feelings… but the second I saw it I had what felt like a tidal wave of culpability crash into me. 

Over the last 3 years, I have tried to commit suicide off of the ‘Faithful Servant’ about 4 or 5 times. I’ve had about 10 people all together chip in to save my life each time. Including the man I only know as the ‘ferry guy’. 

I wish I knew his name so I could write him a letter thanking him for all the times he’s hauled me back from the edge of the boat kicking and screaming. For talking to me when I was in the depths of darkness. For assuring I have someone with me on the ferry whenever I were to get on it.

But above all.

For stopping me one night and saying to me “How are you doing? You look so much healthier and happier now… it’s nice to see”.

A man who didn’t even want a thankyou for the stuff he helped me through. He may see it as just a small thing, but his words have stuck with me for almost a year now.

It’s been almost a year since my last ever attempt at suicide. It was the first time I realised that life isn’t worth giving up on. That I deserve to be here, that no thoughts will ever detract from my true worth.

I need to let this man know how incredible he is and how much I appreciate what he said and did for me when he didn’t have to.


Never underestimate the kindness of strangers because one day, one might save your life.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂

One Year On…

I’ve rewritten this post about 4 times in the past week. I’ve got so much to write but cannot find the words to describe exactly what I want to say.

16 months ago I was so low in myself, I put my body through things no one ever should. I was passing myself from man to man just to feel acknowledged and wanted. I wanted to try and convince myself I was loved and happy while abusing myself. 14 months ago I was addicted to taking Ecstasy and Cocaine, I was like a wild animal that had been let out of its cage for the first time. I had no concept on the damage I was causing my body while downing alcohol, creating a lethal concoction that should have killed me. 

Exactly one year ago to this day, my life could have ended. One year ago today, I was determined that my life would stop in its tracks. One year ago, I was put into a Psychiatric Unit for my own safety. I was so angry at the people who helped save my life. I thought of them as being selfish, that they didn’t understand my struggles and how ‘bad’ my life was. I felt such spite towards them for being so evil to make me carry on suffering. I wish that no one becomes as unwell as I was back then, I didn’t even know what the date was for weeks on end. I was signed off work for months because of how erratic my moods had been.

One year on…

I’m now working alongside people who suffer from acute mental health issues and I support them emotionally to make their lives easier. From being an inpatient in a ‘loony bin’ to a mental health support worker working alongside some of the people who helped me out in my time of need really shows just how well someone can recover if given the right help.

Please don’t give up on someone who wants to get better but seems to be stuck in a sink hole… Be there when they need you and stand back when they’re trying to get back on their own two feet. You wouldn’t stop helping a toddler who fell over after taking their first few steps… You’d encourage them to carry on trying. The same principal applies to everyone. 

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂

BPD and Relationships

I’ve been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder for around a year now, just as I was meeting my last partner. The diagnosis lifted a massive weight off of my shoulders… but also started to bring on more things that I couldn’t deal with.

Borderline Characteristics

The main characteristics of BPD are a mixture of the list below:

  • Impulsive behaviours
  • Over the top reactions to situations
  • Self harm/suicidal thoughts
  • Intense, quick relationships 
  • Abandonment and rejection worries
  • Emotions are black and white
  • Delusions and hallucinations

Impulsive Behaviours

During my most recent relationship, I acted very irrational sometimes. I drunk a lot to the point he and I were arguing tons about it. I was spending money like there was no tomorrow, again causing a ton of arguments. I felt like I needed to be in control of my own actions and whenever someone told me something, I’d shove two fingers up at them and would do the complete opposite.

Over The Top Reactions 

When we were in the midst of an argument about my drinking or spending, I’d go ham and spend more or drink more just out of spite. It would be me subconsciously saying “I can do what I want and you can’t stop me!” I didn’t want to do it, but I felt I needed to prove a point.

Self Harm and Suicidal Thoughts

These were major issues that I struggled with last year. If we were in bed and I had woken up in the middle of the night. I would feel a huge amount of jealously if he was still asleep, I’d start clawing at my skin until it was broken and bleeding. If I couldn’t get my own way I’d be irrational and would start planning out how I could kill myself with objects in the room. I thought about how easy it would be to grab the fish tank hosing and hook it round my neck. I thought about taking a ton of my anti depressants and downing my bottle of rum that I had barely touched.

Intense and Quick Relationships

I was already talking about how many children I wanted, their full names, where I wanted to live, how I wanted to decorate the house, my wedding dress, the place I wanted to get married, the colour scheme etc. Obviously to anyone this would be a huge throw back, my BPD was saying to me “we’ve been together for 4 months, why has he not decided whether or not he wants to marry me? Is there something wrong with me? Does he not love me? How can I make him love me more? What if I’m jilted?”

My brain would go into unnecessary overdrive, I never told him and I’m sure he just thought I was a grumpy shit most of our relationship.

Abandonment and Rejection Issues

This was a huge part of my concerns when it came to our relationship, especially as it was long distance. I always worried that he’d meet someone else while I was away. That he’d stop tracing MY tattoos with his fingers, that he’d stop tucking MY hair behind MY ear. He wouldn’t want ME anymore. So I started to push him away, when all I wanted was for him to be closer than ever.

Emotions are Black and white

I fail to see the shades of grey between emotions, I’m euphoric or hysterical. There’s rarely an in between, recently I’ve become far better at being able to tone down the extremes of my emotions to a somewhat ‘normal’ level.

Delusions and Hallucinations

These aren’t the sort of delusions/hallucinations where I see fire breathing panda birds. They’re disassociation mechanisms for when I can’t handle my own mind. When things get too much, I’ll zone out and I feel like I’m floating above my own body. I zone into certain sounds like the clock ticking and find it incredibly difficult to pull my attention away. Even when I’m not around a ticking clock, I still hear one sometimes… while I’m walking or on the bus. I’m learning to block them out though.

Dating someone who has BPD, is very tough. But we are some of the most loyal, respectful, all in people you can find. I’d go to the ends of the earth for the people I love. I will forever put them first, but when I hate someone, I feel a huge overwhelming rage whenever I hear someone mention their name.

I’ve got that all under control though, so there shouldn’t be any mayhem caused by me in that respect! 

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂

Facts about Mental Illnesses

After countless Google searches about statistics on young adults with Mental Health Illnesses… and with not a lot of luck with what I was trying to find out. I took it upon myself to conduct my own research into just how many of us have to battle these demons.

In this survey I conducted, there were 59 respondents who ever so kindly took part, so I thank each and everyone of you for taking your time to complete the questionnaire.

As you can see from this first question, the majority of people who answered the questionnaire were female. The reasoning for this could be that males felt less comfortable to share the information. Or it could just be due to the fact that I don’t know many males… Who knows!

q2

In this next question we can see that the main age range of the people who answered the questionnaire were between 21-30 years of age. 56% were to be exact, 35% were younger and 9% were older. This again could be due purely down to the majority of people I know being around this age.

q3

100% of people who answered the questionnaire were inside of the United Kingdom. This may be the response that it is due to the narrowed sharing of the questionnaire to just my personal profile on Facebook, which contains mainly people from within the UK.

q4

This is where the statistics start to become more interesting… 90% of the people who participated in the survey suffer from a mental illness of some sort. if we times that by 10, that’s 90% of my friends list on Facebook suffering from something. It’s rather sad to think about.

q5

47% of people were diagnosed with a mental illness within the last 5 years. Now, again… This could be due to the fact of the age of the majority of people who answered these questions.

q6

67% felt that they could talk to someone about their troubles, however… 26% felt like they could not. I wonder if this is due to the stigma of feeling weak if they ask for help.

q7

Now approximately 73% of the people who answered suffer from a form of anxiety, while not far behind is 65% of people suffering from depression. These are two of the most common forms of mental illness… Yet there are still so many people struggling to find help… This needs to change. Other answers I got that I didn’t mention in the answers were OCD, Major Depressive Disorder and Body Dysmorphia.

q8

And again, a saddening statistic, 98% of people know someone who is suffering from am Mental Illness right now.

As an employee of the NHS and a current sufferer of Mental Illnesses, I feel that we need far more funding to support the people who so desperately need help. Currently only 15% of the people who suffer from Mental Illnesses are getting the help they need. What about the others? The people who can’t speak up due to fear, judgement and prejudice.

The NHS needs more like-minded people to get their services running at the best of their abilities. Please, if you have the chance to jump at a job in the NHS and more specifically Mental Health… Please take it, we need all the help we can get in such an under budgeted sector.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂