Trying to remember the ‘old me’

If you haven’t seen the featured image on this post then here it is again;

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This was me in 2011 the night before I flew away to Norway for 6 months of volunteering, an impulsive but life-changing decision that I would definitely do again.

By this point in my life ( 20 Years Old!!) I had experienced my fair share of death and loss, anorexia, bulimia, self harm and abuse. Most recently I had experienced heartbreak and had moved back to the family home. I was getting by (luckily) by not having to pay rent and working a caring job and bar work and Christmas jobs at Marks and Spencer!!

Fast forward to me now and things are very different, but I do miss the ‘old me’ – I was sat thinking about this the other night and then it dawned on me that I could not really remember the old me.

The old me;

  • Happily worked at least 2/3 jobs as well as study.
  • Only experienced pain when I injured myself.
  • Was a little anxious but got on with things.
  • Could cope with 2 hours sleep and get up and head out for the day.
  • Exercised several times a week.
  • Had people around me.
  • Was motivated and enthusiastic about my future. ( The inability to get into Nursing or Midwifery at Uni started this downhill spiral).
  • Could get by day-to-day without anxiety, depression, illness, pain or life getting in the way.
  • Was happy (ish)

Don’t get me wrong there are positives in life now, but the fact that I looked back to remember the old me and I couldn’t, really hit me. Looking at 2017-Present Day it is difficult to see how a bout of anxiety and depression and other difficulties has made me change so much as a person and made me a shadow of my former self. Factors such as physical illness, workplace bullying, mental health and the realisation of what happened to me as a younger person throughout my life only just becoming a reality and really getting in the way has made me change. I am still unsure whether this change is completely good or not, yes I do get very anxious and depressed, I am in pain a lot of the time and struggle to get to sleep, stay asleep and function normally but I find it so hard to discuss these things as people simply do not understand. You can be the most caring person in the world but unless you have experienced certain things you really cannot understand them. I am tired, it is not tiredness that will be fixed by a decent nights sleep, although that would most likely help it is not going to cure everything. I lie in bed and have to have the tv on in the background because otherwise my mind is at 100000000 miles an hour, it hurts, it is tiring and sometimes scary and upsetting.

I am a shadow of my former self.

I am a working progress.

I do have a plan.

I am working on it.

Just bare with me.

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One of the worst questions you can ask me….

Well there are several ways to word this question but the basic question that is really one of the worst you can ask me is;

“What has caused your anxiety/depression?”

At this point my head is saying

While there are several incidents, issues, triggers and events that have led to my current situation, the simple answer is ‘I DO NOT KNOW!!’

Quite frankly if I understood it myself I would have a better handle on my situation.

I am studying Mental Health and aim to have a career in the field, but even with my years of studying, assignments and exams – you can know about all the theorists, professors and professionals along with all the knowledge, practices and policies, but that does not mean you know everything. I still do not understand me.

It really distresses me and upsets me when people start to question me, I get embarrassed because I like having knowledge and when I cannot explain or justify myself it is embarrassing. Especially if there is a person looking at you or smirking, it is intimidating!!

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I am slowly losing the little level of trust I had in people. The way things are said, words being twisted and me being at fault.

I am struggling, not stupid!!

Maybe this journey is something I need to go through, I can already see it leading me towards certain goals. Maybe everything does happen for a reason. Only time will tell.

Not really sure what to call this one

I’m not really sure where to start, I am still off work but I cannot really discuss that here.But I am still here, even if I am quiet, I seem to have fallen back into a nocturnal state.

However, one great thing happened at the start of the year, we finally moved into our own home, no more tenancy agreements, no more over-priced rentals and a home that is our own. I just feel so bad that even though I have accomplished something I have always wanted, I am still not happy.

I am lost, I am hurt and I am sad. But I do not know why. Those that do not understand keep asking “What is causing your anxiety?” or “What is causing your depression?”- I’m sorry but if I knew the cause it would not be an issue. Seriously, do not tell me you understand and then ask me stupid questions.

My body hurts and I do not want to do anything, apart from stay inside with my dogs. I have tried my best to start making the house a home but I know it is not enough. I feel that everything should be unpacked, all rooms cleaned and any maintenance or DIY should be done. I should be out running every day and making an effort but I just do not want to. What is wrong with me?

Until next time.

 

 

Today is a bad mental health day….

After a few months of silence here I am, although I have been slapped in the face with a ‘bad mental health day’.

Now I cannot go into the reasons for this but I woke up this morning after a night of tossing, turning and very strange dreams. Anxiety and depression have come and hit me right in the face-meaning no work for me today.

My anxiety is being made worse also by the fact that I feel like I am letting people down because I’m not in work, when I should be.

I don’t really know what to do, I am a bit lost if I am honest. I work and I study ( which I have always done so the added work from Uni keeps my brain active and benefits me) but my health both physically and mentally is taking its toll on me.

I know I will get there but maybe a bad mental health day is the minds way of saying stop- take some time to yourself.

These are todays plans (apart from switching to tea as I don’t drink tea or coffee) ;

Tomorrow is a new day. Let’s see how it goes.

S xx

8 Pieces of Advice for Anyone Starting College With a Mental Illness

Find my Published Article on The Mighty @

8 Pieces of Advice for Anyone Starting College With a Mental Illness

“What’s that? Anxiety? Depression? Oh, I had that and I know loads of people that have it too — you’ll be fine!”

Ugh.

Yes, anxiety and depression is becoming more commonplace, perhaps because they are being talked about more, better diagnosed and less stigmatized. Although, stigma still exists in my opinion. We are all different and anxiety and depression affect us in similar yet different ways. But mental illness shouldn’t stop anyone from going to college; whether online or on campus.

Here are my top eight pieces of advice for anyone starting college with anxiety or depression:

1. Take baby steps.

You might feel pressured as a freshman by others drinking, joining clubs and being outspoken in class. This does not mean you have to be the same or do the same things. Your study is your journey and you need to take it in small, manageable steps. Set goals one step at a time.

2. Don’t be a hermit.

No matter how hard it is, even if you aren’t taking part in the “traditional college experience” (whatever that is), do not lock yourself away. This doesn’t mean I’m telling you to go out and talk to everyone, but perhaps, take a walk, go to the shop, gym or library — just get out of the house. And remember to be vigilant and be safe.

3. Take advantage of student support.

Most colleges will have student services. Make use of them because that is what they are there for. Ask about well-being courses, counseling, assessments, support or third parties that can help you or offer support when or if you’re struggling.

4. Undertake a learning difficulty assessment.

This obviously is not relevant to everyone, but I would definitely recommend it, even if it is of the slightest interest to you. These assessments are long and involve a one on one discussion with an assessor, but they are not just there to diagnose dyslexia, they assess for other things too. And school can help you apply for the funding to cover the cost.

5. It can be scary, but that’s OK.

College can be scary. New rooms, new teachers, new lecturers, new materials and everything is different. But it will get easier, take a deep breath and walk into that room.

6. It is OK to cry.

There will be days you don’t want to get up, go to a class or an activity, and you just want to fall apart. It is OK to cry. It may be embarrassing at first, but once you start, you will let go of so much built up emotion and things will probably seem better.

7. Talk.

Talk to someone; whether that is a friend, teacher, student support or a stranger, have someone to talk to. Or things might build up. It is so hard to share and talk about, but there is always someone willing to listen. Sometimes it takes a while to find them, but they are there.

8. You are number one.

This is the most obvious — but it is the first thing we forget. Look after yourself. Go for walks, take a moment to breathe, meditate, read or whatever takes your fancy. And of course, remember the basics: wash, eat and do your work. You are number one and need to keep yourself as healthy as you can.

You are worthy and you can do it!