Sleepless Nights

I’m stuck,

I can’t breathe or think straight.

Panic.

The dark force: pushing me down,

I am incapable of movement,

I panic again. It worsens.

I relax,

Find myself in the safety net of your motherly arms,

Only to realise,

This isn’t my bed.

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I am an Apple Tree

As everyone else I began as a Seed,

My parents tried their best to water me,

But would sometimes confuse water with Plant Poison.

I broke through the soil,

I eventually became my own little Branch,

Not fully developed but good enough for now.

As I began school, Leaves started to grow,

But as they grew the bullies would pick them off.

I slowly got taller,

Until I gave half of my Stump to save someone else,

I grew rapidly after that.

I got older and wiser,

More of my Leaves were slowly picked off,

My growth stunted when I introduced my own Plant Killer.

I began to grow again.

I never knew I was an Apple Tree,

I thought I was just made for Leaves that would always be picked off,

Then one day, I grew an Apple

And no one picked it off.

It was my Apple,

Then the Apples began to sprout out of nowhere

And before I knew it,

I was fully blossomed and helping the other Fruitless Trees.

 

Moving forward

Life, more often than not, can take you to the top of a cliff and force you to jump. The trick behind jumping off the cliff is making sure you have a parachute. Thus begins my post. Life has, as always, taken me on a slightly crazy and wild adventure. I am finally ready to put myself on a plane and fly back to where I should be. 
2017 has been the most turbulent beginning to a year. Not only have I had a miraculous amount of deal with, I’ve also had a lot of internal struggles. One of the biggest things which I must mention was my lack of faith in moving forward. An uncountable amount of terrible situations arose this year. After I decided to try and grab life and move forward, I took a giant step back. I put myself back in a situation that I thought I’d never come close to. I contemplated suicide. Since my brother died I always vouched to myself I would never do that and perhaps that is what stopped me. Everything became too much. I was masking my emotions with any form of escapism. I was lost. I was lost within myself and had no way of getting out. I searched and searched for a fire exit, a window, anything, but I kept finding myself running in circles with no answers. I felt like I was nothing. I was a burden. I was everything bad and everything I never wanted to be. But. I turned it around. 
My diary posts slowly got less focused on my suicidal feelings and focused more on the happy aspects of each day I lived. I began to find the beauty within the darkness. I turned on the lights and faced my fears. I saw my own insecurities, stared them straight in the face and made them leave. Hypothetically, of course. I started to note down at least one good thing that happened each day. 
This week is mental health awareness week. My name is Angel, and I have a mental illness. I am no longer ashamed of it. I am no longer trying to pretend it isn’t there. I am accepting who I am and learning how to live with a mental illness rather than hoping it goes away. The most important thing to always remember is that you’re going to get out of this. I told myself that I would, and I did. I am going into my second year of university, doing something I absolutely adore. I’m making the dreams I had come true. I’m making my life something that I can be proud of. And I am. 
Even though life can get tough at times, always remember that people are there for you. But more importantly, be there for yourself. Fight the evil bully inside your mind who’s telling you that you aren’t good enough. Tell them to leave you alone. This is your life. You are in complete control and you always will be. Sometimes you just need to take the big jump off the cliff, experience the views and open your parachute. Glide down to where you need to be. Even if a gust of wind knocks you off track, you’ll get there eventually. 

~firefly 

She

She was pure 

She was innocent 

She was in a world she didn’t belong. 

Her heart was fragile

Her soul was fragmented 

Her being was broken. 

She craved love

She openly offered it to anyone who needed it- to anyone who asked

She helped. 

Her mind was clouded

Her dreams were shattered 

Her chances were coming to an end. 

She tried to stop it

She tried to escape but 

She survived. 

Purpose

I had transcended to my child-like state of mind. My movement got faster as I slowly grew more excitable. The innocence and purity around me caused me to return to a simpler time. Staring into the sky, watching the Clouds drift by. Some were grey. Some were white. The mix of the two was beautiful. The Sky was confused and so was I.

To my left and right, Branches were everywhere. “Don’t hurt them” I screamed in my baffled brain. They too were pure but had been damaged. They grew out of the ground and had no care in the world, merely adhering to their purpose in life. I felt myself in those Branches. I knew that standing on them was like every dream I ever had that was crushed into pieces. Every mistake I had ever made. Every part of my spirit that was broken down. Perhaps they never wanted to be walked over and discarded. Perhaps they never wanted to be pushed to the side so that other people could get past. Perhaps they had a purpose and that purpose was not to be broken.

I stopped for a moment. The shades of blue contrasting with the green and brown illuminated in the distance. What were they? Why did the stand out so much even with the sun setting? Flowers. The blue little Flowers stood so proud. Swaying so lightly from the small gusts of wind. Making the path even more clear to those who needed to pass. Perhaps this was their purpose. Perhaps they were set in place to help brighten the world. Much like I once was. But we pick Flowers and kill them. We kill them to make other people happy. We remove them from where they feel comfortable. We kill them for a kind gesture. We do not care about their purpose, we only care about ours.

Standing tall, the Trees engulfed me. Everywhere I looked I saw them. Perhaps they wanted to know I was safe. Perhaps they thought their purpose was to shadow us from the dying world we live in. To look after us, but we destroy them. We destroy the beauty in our world for our own purpose. But what is our purpose?

Perhaps our purpose is to be crushed and broken by those bigger than us. Perhaps our purpose is to merely exist. Perhaps our purpose is to be someone else’s purpose. Perhaps.

Understanding my BPD

It was August 2015. I had been attending cognitive behavioural therapy for almost a year. During one session, I began to talk about my moods and how they can drastically change with little or not trigger. My therapist at the time referred me to see a psychotherapist and after my appointment, it was like all my prevalent issues made sense. I had BPD which is an analogy for borderline personality disorder. At this point, the term quickly became my best friend and my worst enemy.

Being diagnosed with a mental health disorder is both amazing and horrible. Personally, I find it really helpful. Having the knowledge that the way I think about things and the actions I make have a cause is really enlightening. While this can also lead to me blaming everything on it, it is better than blaming myself. I always had an issue with validating my own emotions so coming to grips with this affirmation that there was something wrong was a conflicting time.

When I was diagnosed, I was prescribed quetiapine which I could not imagine my life without. Well, that is a lie, I did come off it for three months but that was horrible and a regrettable decision. They have been super helpful to me. The issues are still present but it is almost like quetiapine is the sound control on my moods and it just keeps it a little quieter than it wants to be.

Personally, my bpd is metaphorically a see-saw, but with multiple seats and only one person on the see-saw. For example, if sadness is triggered, the person will go to that seat, but without someone on the other side, it plummets. That is it. Super intense moods. I mean, the metaphor could be extended further, because I guess to escape from that seat, you have a really steep hill to walk up to escape that mood.

My mood range I guess begins with normal me. That mood rarely comes into play, but that is just an Angel who is content and happy. In advance, I will be referring to myself in the third person. Sadness is one of the seats on the see-saw. I am conflicted if sadness is a strong enough word, but I’m going to roll with it. Sad Angel is very much closed off to the world. She doesn’t talk to anyone, cuts off all contact, reverts to self-harming, excessive drinking and occasional drug use to stay grounded. She also makes plans to run away to shelter, guard and seclude herself. Then we have eccentric Angel which is a direct opposite. She will happily spend silly amounts of money, talk to everyone in sight and be super excitable for no given reason. She can also make regrettable and questionable life choices such as: haircuts, throwing away all her belonging and acting promiscuous. She also dabbles in things to help her stay grounded. Anxious Angel is the next one. This Angel is prone to panic attacks and paranoia. She questions everyone’s thoughts and intentions, including her own, doesn’t trust anyone or anything and struggles with derealisation and depersonalisation. Angry and malicious Angel will take things she knows hurt you and use them against you. She is also likely to black out and go on walks alone to calm down. There is a chance angry Angel can turn violent too.

Finally, we have kid mood, which despite the misleading name isn’t actually a mood. A psychotherapist last week told me that it is caused by a part of my personality that split during childhood trauma. In this, I guess personality, my voice, actions, breathing and thoughts change to that of a three to five-year-old child. It takes over from the “normal” Angel usually when an extreme mood or mood change triggers it. Sometimes it can be controlled, but sometimes not. It is not me trying to be cute or play dumb or anything, it is something I genuinely cannot stop happening.

Another, and the final, crucial aspect is how I understand people. People are terrifying. They have their own brain with thoughts and intentions which you will never be able to know. Attachment is part of understanding people. Once I am attached, I will become an absolute ‘clinger’ and if someone is lucky enough (that was clearly irony) to become my favourite person then I will never find a flaw in them and devote my life to them. Their mood will affect mine and I will become dependent on them. Until they severely hurt me that is, then I manage to cut off completely.

So, I guess here is a list of things that help me personally from other people:

  • Being patient
  • Being understanding
  • Knowing that sometimes I cannot physically speak and respecting that
  • Understanding it can be really difficult to articulate my points
  • Accepting the intense moods as “normal” and not making a fuss of them
  • Giving me the option to write rather than speak
  • Knowing that my mood can change in seconds and it isn’t your fault
  • But mainly: having someone to ride the waves with who offers love, support and sometimes affection

After all, a see-saw is way more fun with someone on the other side to balance you out.

firefly.

No More Meds

Who would have thought that Angel would be completely off all types of medication? I know, me either. Following an appointment this Tuesday, I was given three options. Option one: alter the medication I already take. Option two: change to a different medication that could cause infertility. Option three: a four-month trail off medication altogether. I went for option three.

For the past year and a half, I have been taking Quetiapine, an anti-psychotic drug to help with my borderline personality disorder. To begin with, they were great, but overtime they gradually got worse. The excessive sleeping was the main issue, especially with staring university and a new job. After this, it was smaller things, like hallucinating and just generally reverting to the rapid mood changes. It has been about a week since I last took any medication and honestly, I don’t feel too bad.

The initial idea of coming off them was daunting and I was genuinely terrified. I hadn’t known myself off medication for almost 3 years. I started to become really unsure of who I actually was. Most of the friends I have right now and even the person I am in a relationship with met me while I was on medication. All sorts started going through my mind. What if no one wants to know the real me? What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t like me? What if I can’t find peace with myself? Of course, these are all really silly ideas and were evidently the product of the initial anxiety.

These are real issues though and shouldn’t be ignored. I realised about 4 days into having no medication that I completely forgot who I was. I was constantly dosed up on sedative drugs that one of the biggest things about my personality had disappeared. I remember being younger (about 3 years ago) and having so much energy, of course when the depression hit, I wouldn’t have quite so much but I used to be a ball of it. It was when I jumped onto my bed and started to serenade my partner that I realised I missed this part of myself. I wasn’t only this depressed teenager that sat alone in my room listening to emo music. I was a normal teenager, with goals and aspirations. I seemed to only remember the bad bits of before medication, I only concentrated on the lows, I ignored the highs and that’s something I shouldn’t have done. I have however learnt from that, I was all too obsessed with the negatives, it has really helped my outlook on life in general.

Earlier this week, I got my first assignment back. I was beating myself up for ages because I didn’t do well, it was a pass, but a pathetic one. I completely ignored the fact that I was offered an extension because of how much my mental health had deteriorated at that point, but I refused it. I worked harder to get it done and the fact I actually got it finished was amazing and I shouldn’t beat myself up for that. A week later, I received the feedback for my first news story and I was over the moon. I was also granted an extension on that piece which I turned down. Not only did I enjoy writing it, I did pretty well on it. Writing is something that I know will always help me, even when it comes to university assignments, as soon as I have the chance to write something, I flourish.

I’ve spent a lot of time in this week reflecting on things. Being off medication is such a big deal for me and I didn’t even realise it would be. This is the first time in years that I am on top of things enough that I am not reliant on medication. That is fricking amazing! Also, I am in university studying something I have always wanted to. I’m doing alright. It’s all positive. All I need to do is improve my attendance and I think everything else will fall into place.

I know from here on out, there will be ups and there will be downs. I’m never going to remain in one mood and yeah, they are going to be intense at times, but I am better than that. I can achieve anything I put my mind to. I am stronger than I think. Most importantly, I have hope and faith within myself.

642 Things To Write About

Write a letter to a child explaining how to do one thing.

To Daddy’s little princess,

Right now, you are curled up in bed fast asleep without a care in the world. As you grow older, you will need to learn to fend for yourself. Daddy will always be there but when it comes to growing up there’s a few things you need to know.

Firstly, never think you aren’t good enough. You will always be perfect. That isn’t just a Dad thing to say. Nothing will ever glisten as bright as your beautiful blue eyes. Every time I look in them all I see is a barrel potential and a heart of nothing but the richest gold.

Secondly, never let anyone take advantage of you. Do you remember that time when your pet dog Hugo was sick? All you wanted to do was to stay by his side. You refused to go to school and wanted to cuddle him all day until he got better. You gave him kisses all day and even made him a get better soon card out of pasta. You have the purest soul. Nothing will ever take that away from you. Never give too much to people who wouldn’t do the same for you princess, you do not need that negative energy in your life.

Thirdly, always look after mummy. She loves you so much and needs you to help her when times get tough. Always respect her. I know being a young girl will be difficult, especially when you come of the age to start arguments. She will cradle you forever, just know that it is because she loves you and she means no harm. You will always be a baby girl in her eyes, never make her feel bad for that. She cares more than you will ever know.

Finally, the most important thing which you will need to learn how to do. You need to be strong. Remember that time we were boxing together and you punched me so hard that it bruised my arm? I want. No. I need you to be that strong. Not only physically but emotionally too. This will be what will get you through. This is what will help you to live without me when the cancer takes over and kills me.

My princess. Nothing will ever mean more to me than you do. I will always be looking over you. Guiding you through any struggle you deal with. I will never let go and just remember to keep me forever in your heart.

Until we meet again, goodnight my little princess.

University update

With the number of peaks and troughs, the past two months have felt like an emotional roller coaster ride. I never knew how much being back in education would affect my well-being. However, I feel like I am finally able to take back the control that I felt I had lost.

University is one of my favourite things provided I attend. While I am there, I absolutely love the idea of learning new things and expanding on the things I already knew. I am studying English Literature and Journalism which is a perfect blend of two things I enjoy and feel passionately about. Who would have thought that I would come from helping set up my primary school newspaper society to actually writing real pieces of journalism?

Yesterday morning, I had two meetings about my attendance and emotional well-being. They were, to say the least, nerve racking and made me feel very vulnerable. I do not know exactly why this is, I think it was just the fear of knowing people are trying to help me. She was extremely helpful, she offered me so much help and it is actually quite nice to feel cared about.

Recently, I’ve decided to start weaning myself off my anti-psychotic drugs. It has been really difficult but I know it is for the best. I have been on Quetiapine for almost two years now, it has been so helpful but the side effects have become a bit too difficult to deal with especially while trying to juggle university and twelve hours of sleeping. The past few days have been really difficult emotionally. The medication was like a dam which blocked my emotions, and as I find myself taking less and less, the dam is breaking down, the water is like the anxiety, at first it trickled in slowly, but now the dam has been destroyed, it’s all come back. This time however, I am prepared. I know how to deal with these issues, I know how to overcome them and I know how to deal with the psychical effects of it. Nonetheless, it has taken its toll on me, mainly because I didn’t expect it to happen.

On a more positive note, I am a much better place than last time these emotions came into my life. I have such a stable support system. I know for a fact if I need help, I can get it. With regards to medical advice, I am also on the right track to getting that help. I cannot express enough how happy I am studying something I have always felt so passionately about. On reflection, I have wanted to study English since I was about 13. It was always something that helped me to get through difficult times and I am immensely proud of myself for following my dreams.

As always, this post doesn’t seem to have a theme. I just know that writing makes me realise so much about myself and helps me look at things in a much more positive light. Thus, commences the positive final paragraph of this post.

My ability to deal with issues, emotions and day to day struggles is something I need to commend myself for. Even if it is little things like actually getting out of bed, every single day, I am achieving something. I am a much stronger and happier person in comparison to a year ago. So much can honestly happen in a year. Sometimes it really does take a massive change in your life for you to realise your own self-worth.  I am going to go on to do great things. Things that I love. Things that I will prosper in and mainly, things that matter to me.