It’s a Mad World Season

22:42


This is a long text heavy post, and it’s all about mental health, so I wanted to warn you before you started reading.

Since starting this blog, I’ve written this post about 100 times, yet I can never bring myself to post it out there and let the entire world see. However, I’ve been watching a lot of BBC3 programmes recently which have been focusing on mental health, first was a three part series titled, ‘Don’t Call Me Crazy’, which started to make me rethink about writing this blog post. I’m currently writing this while watching another of their programmes titled, ‘Diaries of a Broken Mind’ which is a range of people with different health disorders using handheld cameras to record their daily lives. I recommend watching them to give you a greater insight into people who suffer from mental health disorders and will hopefully help to remove the stigma attached to these types of illnesses.

So, on to me and my experiences with mental health. I think I’ve suffered from depression and low mood for a long time, I can remember times as far back as primary school where I wanted to disappear and hide away from the world. I never took much notice, and honestly I just thought I was weird or put it down to people simply not understanding me at all. Through the years I’ve had plenty of therapy sessions, mainly forced upon me and none ever helped, why? because I didn’t want or need their help, or at least that’s how I always felt.

Until this year, 2013, I hit a wall, everything just seemed to get worse and never any better, my hair pulling got to higher extremes and I just didn’t feel like it would get any better. So, in February I decided to get help, I was referred to the mental health service and then had a phone interview, I had to wait a while before my first actual therapy session, which wasn’t until April. I’m actually quite glad their was a long wait in-between being referred and being seen, as I don’t think I was quite ready back in February.

Pretty much by the first session it was found I have Trichotillomania, which basically means I pull my own hair out, for me personally it’s basically confined to my eyebrows and I literally tear hairs out by my hands when I’m anxious or stressed out. I used to have thick nicely shaped brows, now I’m left with patchy, short and thinner brows, the only time people really notice is when I pull so much hair out it leaves scabs and blood and red marks. However, every time I look at my eyebrows I remember what they used to look like and how bad they look in comparison now, which tends to lead me to feeling worse and then proceeding to make my eyebrows worse. It’s a terrible cycle that I’m working with the therapist to try and stop.

I also suffer from high anxiety, which over the past year has been getting a lot worse. I have anxiety and panic attacks almost daily when I’m travelling on the tube or buses when there is a lot of people, or even being in places that have a lot of people. Sometimes I can bring myself to face it, other days I can’t and I’ll cancel plans and stay at home. I rarely tell people the real reason for turning down plans or cancelling plans, simply because I’m not sure if they would care or eventually give up inviting me places because they know about my issues. Honestly, I’m scared about the reaction and whether I am strong enough to deal with that or not. Which brings me onto my low mood.

There are still days where I want to disappear, so I guess I haven’t changed much since being a 10 year-old at primary school, although it seems to go hand in hand with my anxiety most of the time now, when I get anxious and can’t cope my mood is also low or gets low because of that. There are times when I’ll sit in my room and cry for no reason, and when I can’t stop I’ll tend to end up making myself worse as I’ll be quite self-loathing which just brings my mood even lower.

That is a rough idea of some of the issues I deal with on a daily basis. It made the last year of university very difficult, to the point where my lecturers recommended me deferring until next year, this was always something I rejected even the idea of, as I was determined to graduate with the people and friends I spent the past 4 years studying with. Somehow, I made it through and I will be graduating with all of them and honestly I feel even more proud about the fact I made it through this year than my actual degree.

I have ok days, bad days and very bad days, with the help of therapy I’m aiming to have more OK days and hopefully a lot less bad and very bad days.

I believe I’ve had about 8 sessions of therapy so far, I’m not 100% on whether it’s helping but it’s definitely helping me to understand more about myself and realising that I’m not a crazy weird person that I was so sure I was before I started this journey. I also wanted to speak out and hopefully connect with people over this and if anyone finds this remotely helpful, even if it changes your thoughts about someone or removes the mental health stigma from your mind that would be amazing.

Let me know if you would like me to write more posts about this sort of topic, and my coping strategies and some of the other problems I have. Please no negative messages as that’s just mean!



- Bambi -

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4 comments

  1. Wow I had no idea about hair pulling being related to anxiety and stress etc, I know somebody at work that does this but they don't really talk about it - I just see it happening. I'm actually going to approach them after reading what you've put and hope that I can help work out what could be causing them stress (if that is what it relates to as I know everybody has different coping mechanisms). Thank you for sharing this and without wanting to sound at all patronising, well done for having the courage for posting this as this will help me and lastly I am sending lots of good vibes and wishes for you :)

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    1. I'm not surprised they don't talk about it much, I personally get very closed up when someone points out the scabbing on my eyebrows or the gaps of hair, simply because I get embarrassed and more anxious about it. Obviously people can pull hair from different places, such as the scalp, arms etc. It's often linked to depression, anxiety and stress. I'm still learning more about it and finding a lot of other things I do are actually directly related to it, so I seem to be learning something new about it everyday.

      Thanks I wasn't sure if anyone would read this post, so I'm really glad you did and it's helped in some way. If you need any more information let me know :)

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  2. I knew you as the funny, kind, extremely creative friend at secondary school! All those DT lessons together were awesome :) Anyway here's my brief story to give you some peace of mind!

    For as long as I can remember I've always had a deep self-loathing inside of me and a strong fear of abandonment, however I didn't really register, that feeling like this (crying involuntarily, negative thoughts about myself) was not normal. It was only till I reached Uni that things turned pretty critical and I began self harming through excessive binge drinking and a range of drug abuse, which eventually resulted in 3 suicide attempts between my first and second year. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and eventually Borderline Personality Disorder. The only way I can describe mental illness to someone who's not experienced it is, it's like imagine having a REALLY annoying tune stuck in your head day and night, except replace the tune with negative, hateful thoughts about yourself and life and the addition of panic and fear. I spent many days and nights like a recluse in my room, for fear of seeing anyone and simply not having any thirst or lust for life. On the really bad days I felt numb and tried to force myself to cry just so that I could feel something. Yeah, it was pretty shit, especially when you feel no one understands you and even the utterance of 'mental health' causes a stir, even when I finally had the strength to tell my family, they laughed it off, which is why the stigma MUST BE REMOVED and more help provided!!!

    Like you Amber, I too had no idea how I was going to get through my final year of Uni and I felt like I was going mad. After endless therapy sessions (which have ridiculously long waiting queues) and getting through so much Prozac I still found myself deeply unhappy. I'd exhausted every avenue of NHS help (or so it felt).

    For me my remedy that finally, initially broke the cycle of endless self-harming and negative thoughts was through first, accepting that I had a mental illness, then putting into practice almost military discipline (I call it mind boot camp haha), so whenever a negative thought came into my head, I pushed it out. I forced myself to get out of bed each day, shower, get dressed, I basically made myself a routine and then rewarded myself with a yummy dinner or see a movie at the cinema with a close mate. And it worked! I've now graduated and I'm going to Kings College in September to study Adult Nursing :) Yes, there are still days where I can find myself falling back into that cycle but that's just it, it's a constant fight and eventually it gets easier! I now have monthly GP check ups and I'm about to start some behavioural therapy with a psychiatrist.

    But I completely agree, the stigma SHOULD be removed and more EFFICIENT and ACCESSIBLE help should be provided. Had a felt able to talk about it and find help earlier maybe I wouldn't have reached such dangerous levels of low-mood. I too watched the BBC doc 'Don't Call Me Crazy' - it was great to know I wasn't alone AND others could learn about it too. I'm excited to now watch 'Diaries of a Broken Mind' (so thanks Ambs for that) as I like being able to feel I can relate and feel normal!

    Sorry! I said this would be 'brief' but just scrolled up and realised it's an essay. My apologies. But All the best. Keep smiling you gorgeous people. Finding inner peace is so important - we can do it! much love and kisses xxxxxx

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    1. It's funny as back in secondary was a dark time I just hid it extremely well, I was very self loathing well I still am. I suffered quite a bit from bulimia and there were quite a few times I'd throw up in the toilets and skip lunch etc. At one point I lost 30lbs in a matter of like 2 weeks, which lead to my anxiety really starting to make an impact, there were times when I wouldn't come in because I was 'ill' when in actual fact I had fainted on the journey or whatever. Luckily I don't throw up anymore but some days I still get very close to doing so, I tend to just have anorexia tendencies now by skipping meals etc. I even used to self harm back in secondary school but it was in the form of punching and pinching my thighs, so they used to be pretty much constantly covered in bruises.

      I'm glad to hear you are doing a lot better, gives me inspiration to continue working hard on my recovery. Mental health is a funny thing and I'm realising more and more things about myself almost daily, it's tough and a battle. I also have days where I struggle to leave my bed or flat, i'll cancel lots of plans etc just because I can't cope.

      It's great knowing we have a few similar things and you're an inspiration, and I always think hearing other peoples stories helps your own recovery. Hopefully this BBC3 season will alert more people to the problems and open their eyes to how many people out there have mental health problems.

      If you ever want to talk I'm here :) and good luck with your continued recovery.

      lots of love xxxxxxxxxx

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