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.

🙂

I Could Have Died

​Uploading this is something I didn’t think I would be doing, for the last 12 months I’ve had a horrendous obsession with alcohol. Far beyond someone my age. I’ve been sectioned, arrested twice and taken to Hospital.

I guess you could class this as a form of illness. I’ve tried cutting down on drinking many times over the last year but so much shit happened that it was my main coping mechanism.

I see people talking about how they’ve been gobby to the police or have had a slagging match with the local drunk. But this is a far bigger issue…
Every single time last year I tried taking my life – I was wankered. Alcohol gave me a safety blanket from my feelings so I cared less about my thoughts and actions.

In particular – spirits (Rum, Jäger and Vodka were always my choices).I would mix my drinks heavily on a night out and had a bad habit of ‘blacking out’ midway through the night. I could barely rememeber anything the next day.

I’ve known deep down that I’ve needed to either heavily cut down on alcohol or completely stop drinking for the last year. I’ve just been too coward to do it, the thought of being the boring one on a night out criticising how shit the tacky decor and sticky floor in Popworld is. I wanted to be the party animal, the life of the party I guess you could say.

But I’d always get the wrong attention, it would either be a crowd of people seeing me about to attempt suicide or the police cornering me to try and get me in a meat wagon.

After heavy drinking, I’ve ended up attacking my best friend. My own parents, (there is video footage of this that I may add to this at a later date). Almost screwing up my NHS career because of my stupid addiction to drinking.

Everyone else carries on even through my bollocks, the only person I’m screwing up and putting in jeopardy is myself. It’s hard to think that I’ve abused myself as much as I have at such a young age. I’m not even 21 yet and I could be 6 feet under right now.

I could have lost my life so many times last year but I didn’t so that’s telling me that I need to push on through this battle and win the fight.

The video this is linked to is from New Year just gone (so 8 days ago). I don’t remember anything from the night. As you can hear in the video, my body temperature was 35.7°c, 0.7°c above Hypothermia, if I had fallen below that I could have died easily. 

My heart rate was 124 bpm due to me being so cold. My Oxygen Saturation was 95% which is considered normal. I hit my head 3 times that night, once on a radiator, once on the floor and once suspected on a toilet seat.

I was refusing to go to Hospital, I just wanted to head home and sleep it off. But because I had hit my head, I had concussion so they took me in to Hospital to get checked out. I was asleep as we went into 2017 and ended up with huge lumps all over my head (I looked like the Himalayas!)

To everyone that night who was there for me, I’m so sorry for it all. I also thankyou so much for being there, especially everyone in the video. I’m so grateful of you. 

So we are now in the New Year, I’ve quit smoking, I’m staying sober for 7 months until my 21st and even then I’m only going to have a few on my birthday.

I’m never letting myself become so dependant on alcohol ever again. I almost fucked my life up, I almost ended my life.

My family have almost turned their backs on me a number of times, I’ve destroyed some of my closes friendships from this.

If you’re struggling, please please please don’t get yourself in a position like this. You can get out of this situation, I promise you.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you!

🙂

The Warning Signs

On my Doctor’s records, I’ve been labelled with a whole list of jargon: depression, anxiety, PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder and emotional dysregulation. To be quite frank, even I don’t understand half of the stuff!

I have been able to understand the side effects of each diagnosis though, the possible signs to look out for.

Bare in mind though, every human is very different to the next. Meaning their symptoms, behaviours and reactions can be broad.

Feeling sad and hopeless

The obvious one, feeling sad and/or hopeless. Now we’re not talking about crying at a sad movie or you having an argument with a friend. I’m talking about the heavy weight that’s constantly on your shoulders. The daily routine of waking up wishing you hadn’t, the gruelling thought of having to physically sit up in bed. 

You become a big blob of squishy stuff that makes you think that every breath you take makes you more vulnerable.

On the better days when you don’t feel so bad, you’re fixated on the thought of the black dog dragging you to the floor that they turn into bad days again.

Lacking in self hygiene 

Now I hate to admit this, but it’s the reality of depression. 

When I got really bad, I couldn’t pull myself out of bed. I was sleeping approximately 18 hours a day, every day of the week. 

The last thing on my mind was to brush my teeth, wash my hair, or even bath. I became a prisoner in my own head.

I’d panic if I left my bedroom, I wouldn’t eat for days and ended up losing about a stone and a half in the space of 3 weeks.

Lack of interest in activities

I stopped doing the things I loved; going to see my friends, heading to the gym and even speaking to my family.

I just wanted to be able to wallow in self pity.

The thought of doing things made me cry, I would emotionally blackmail people into not coming to see me and I started to lose my closest friends.

Lack of libido

This has had a massive impact on my life, I’ve never been able to properly have sex up until the last 10 months. 

I would become closed off and would hysterically cry for hours on end.

I would be physically sick every now and then after being intimate with someone.

I would feel vulnerable even in the presence of my ex.

Excessive sleeping 

The excessive sleeping is still something I struggle with even now that my depression is finally under control.

I’m constantly worn out even if I’ve done nothing but sit on the sofa all day.

I get tired walking up the stairs, I get tired standing up… I am always sooo bloody tired!

The need to be in control

I’ve found that I need to be in control of every single situation and if I’m not I get sent into a spiralled frenzy of depression.

I feel threatened if I’m not the one holding onto the reigns.

The most difficult thing is understanding that I won’t always be in control of every situation and that scares me

The future seems bleak

I never thought that I’d ever feel better, nor did I think I’d see the day that I’d be finally writing all of this down for everyone to see.

Depression makes you feel lonely and isolated, like you’re a freak and that you never deserve happiness. 

It makes you feel small.

Recurring nightmares

My PTSD brings on some of the most horrendous nightmares possible.

To make matters worse, a side affect of my anti-depressants is vivid dreaming so the nightmares feel real.

I’ve woken up in tears, with clumps of my hair all over my pillows and in my hands. I’ve even accidentally hit people in my sleep before due to believing they were the ones doing me harm.

Flashbacks

The flashbacks are the hardest things that I still struggle with now.

They’re impossible to avoid and happen on a daily basis if I leave my house.

The strangest time was being triggered on a bus passing the place I was sexually assaulted, someone got on the bus wearing the same disgustingly putrid deodrant.

I had to run straight off the bus to be sick.

I need to move out of this town as soon as possible to have any chance of minimising these flashbacks.

Short intense relationships

I have never been able to hold down a stable relationship, I cannot allow myself to become as vulnerable as I was when I was 15.

I can’t open up to people about the things that I wish I could.

How everything makes me truly feel, I cannot let someone in like that again.

Impulsive behaviours

I’ve gambled hundreds of pounds away, I’ve spent hundreds on stupid shopping sprees when I’ve been stressed. 

I’ve drunk copious amounts for weeks on end, I’ve recklessly slept around which ultimately made me feel so much more worthless than I already felt.

I would take drugs regularly just to keep my mind of the bollocks it was causing me.

Not all of these things may apply to yourself/a friend/a family member.

But just be on the look out if you see any changes in their personality.

However, be careful about approaching them if you do think something may be up. Don’t ram illnesses into their heads.

Instead, talk to them, support them if they want to go to the doctors.

But most importantly, always be there for them. Regardless of how long it may take them to recover.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂

Myth Busting

It’s time for me to start busting some myths about Mental Health Illnesses.

Now, I’m no Doctor… but I sure as hell have lived through enough bollocks for my age!

People with depression are never happy

Ofcourse, everyone’s depression varies greatly, depending on the cocktail of medication you’re taking. Your lifestyle and the support you have around. 

But, a massive pet peeve of mine is when people assume I can never be happy. Yeah, the depression is here and it’s not budging anytime soon. Don’t forget though, depression is a psychological illness! 

To some extent, if you treat it with respect… it will be kinder to you. So when I was binge drinking and taking drugs. It was obviously going to get worse 

Nurturing it though, through counselling, patience and love. I’ve managed to find the happy balance I’ve wanted for many years. The black dog is still there, but he’s sleeping.

So yeah, people with depression can be happy.

“You’re just overreacting”

Anxiety isn’t just psychological, it causes physical symptoms: heart palpitations, cold sweats, uncontrollable fast breathing and my favourite symptom.. hallucinating!

I usually find that my hallucinations are out of body experiences, as if I’m floating above my body and that the physical weight of my body has disappeared.

This also ties in with the emotional dysregulation, which is not reacting to emotions how most people usually would.

So I’d impulsively spend when I felt stressed, only causing myself more stress due to being in debt. 

To this day, I have a very ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ personality. I could be in a moment of hysteria, ripping clumps of my hair out and hitting my head on surfaces to then being absolutely euphoric and buzzed as if I’d just taken Cocaine.

It’s strange being able to notice this in myself, it’s scary having to live through it.
Sadness and Depression are the same

If sadness and depression are the same… then so is a twisted ankle and a bloody broken leg!

They are not the same! 

Yes, long bouts of sadness can become depression. But just because you didn’t win on a fucking scratchcard doesn’t automatically cause a serious mental health issue!
Sadness is a fleeting emotion, depression is a lead-filled bag on your back 24/7.

Only soldiers get PTSD

This is by far the most infuriating thing to hear pass someone’s lips. 

post-traumatic stress disorder

(also post-traumatic stress syndrome)

NOUN

Medicine 

  • [mass noun] A condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world

Source for description.

Where the hell does it say that strictly soldiers get PTSD… NOWHERE!

PTSD occurs after a traumatic event, be it an RTA, sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc.

The main symptoms for me have been flashbacks, nightmares, being super vigilant and having horrendously bad trust issues.

I get triggered if I smell a certain deodorant, if someone looks like ‘John Smith’, if I’m confined in a small space against my will and if I’m not in control of a situation.

“It’s just hormones”

This realllyyyyy gets on my tits, the amount of Doctor’s I have had say this to me has been stupid. 

I can tell when I’m being a hormonal, whiney little bitch. 

But, feeling suicidal, attempting suicide and self inflicted injuries for 4 years is not ‘just my hormones’!

Doctor’s think that just because they’ve read 4 fucking textbooks in Psychology that they know what it’s like to live with the struggle of this bullshit daily.

They don’t have a fucking clue.

Debunk as many myths you can to raise awareness on the severity of mental illnesses.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂

Living With Mental Health Issues

1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from a mental health issue every year. That person could be the person sat next to you on the bus, the person screeching their horn at you, the young person crossing the road or you yourself. 

Mental health illnesses have been just as common over the past 100 years. But the understanding of what causes them and how they can be treated has only really hit mainstream conversations in the last decade or so.

Living with mental health issues isn’t poetic nor romantic. Under this so called ‘silver lining’ of kissing scars better and writing songs about suicide. There is a harsh reality that, unfortunately, many people have to face daily.

The reality of not physically being able to get out of bed, having a mental block on happiness. People become so desperate, people want help. But it’s not being able to find the courage to get that help. 

The honest truth of suffering is not pretty. I’ve been through times where I’ve not washed in 7 days, the only thing that would pass my lips would be alcohol. I would sleep around with strangers. I would take Ecstasy and Cocaine weekly. I would try and kill myself on such a regular basis, it seemed normal to me. I would gamble stupid amounts away, I would spend money impulsively and take out loans to feed my habit of buying. I would have constant nightmares of the same situations over and over, I would make excuses to miss work or to not see friends. I became a stranger to myself. I was going off the rails. 

Fate had it’s way with me and somehow, for some reason. I just couldn’t destroy myself, I’d tried on and off for 4 years and it just never happened.

I’ve slowly come to terms with the fact that these demons in my head could be here for many years to come. Instead of letting them make me weak, they keep me on track.

Hurting yourself and neglecting yourself is not the right answer. Even when times get tough, keep on loving yourself.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂