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Why do people never believe you when you say you’re crazy?

 

I’m allowed to say I’m crazy. You’re not. Lets start with that.

I keep being told that “you seem so normal” and “you don’t act like there is anything wrong with you”. Obviously, not out of the blue; that would be weird. And kind of offensive. But in the parameters of a conversation whereupon it is acceptable to make that kind of comment.

But the thing is, I am legitimately crazy. And people trying to rationalise my crazy with well meant, but ill informed, intentions with follow up comments such as “but everyone feels like that sometimes” pisses me off….because that’s the difference, everyone feels like it sometimes, but I feel like it all of the time.

I visited with my psychiatrist this week, for the first time in…too long to be frank. I’ve had the odd telephone conversation, where I’ve requested to come off of the antidepressant. Or where they’ve checked in with me because other, unrelated medication, has been added to my concoction. But I’ve not had a sit down, face to face appointment in too long. But last week I reached out and said, I’m not okay. 

Because, I wasn’t. And I am crazy.

In terms of life, I’ve had a hard, so hard, last 12 months. Half of it has been my doing, a quarter down to other people, and the other quarter, well that’s how life works isn’t it. I’m not saying I’ve had it harder than anyone else, not for one second. But for me, as I wrote ages ago, I’ve had my coping mechanisms tested, and some failed. The waltzers were getting faster, and I had no point of reference.  I had no sense of control. I had nothing but the pervasive feeling of dread and fear. I was running to stand still, but running through knee deep mud in the process.

My thoughts were, at best, haphazard, disjointed and never stopping. I couldn’t breathe. I knew everyone was going to see through the facade and to the fraud I am. I had no belief in myself, no confidence. I was paranoid that people that make decisions that affect my life, were lying to me about the decisions they were making, and indeed lying about how they were going to proceed with the decisions they’ve made. I’ve been insecure, in my looks and my personality. I’ve been convinced that everything around me is just stained glass and it’s all going to come shattering down, in the most beautiful but devastating way.

And I’ve had to go to work, family and friends, and have to convince everyone that I’m okay. Clearly, it was succeeding. No one could see the fact I couldn’t use language effectively, in fact just writing this has taken 14 attempts (it tells you when you hover over “status”). No one could see the obsessive thoughts starting. No one else could taste the metallic taste of fear on my tongue. No one else was witnessing the debilitating panic attacks. No one could see my brain calculating all possible exits, real and metaphorical.

And by no one, I include myself in most of that.

But then, in a rare moment of clarity, it did become clear to me. As I peered into a magnification mirror, pen in hand, ready to circle every flaw that was thrown up at me. It dawned on me. I wasn’t okay.  So it wasn’t the obsessing over the washing up (which was noticed and commented on) or the return to nightmares, or the failing of my Everest that prompted me into action. It was one, red biro pen.

And I fucking cried, I cried until my eyes were so sore it felt like I was blinking over sandpaper, my fingers itching to start nipping the tops of my arms until they bruised, my heart breaking because I’d failed. Me. The person who claims to control her illness, was being brought back into the fold by the devil and hadn’t even realised.

Thanks to all that is holy, that a passing cult leader didn’t notice me…..

 

Anyway.

 

I didn’t self harm. What I did was. I made a plan. I stopped avoiding. I called my psychiatrist and booked the appointment. I told my husband. I spoke to uni. I told a friend. I took my own advice and I reached out.

So now, here I sit. Re-referred to talking therapy. So much for 28 and all talked out. Self care plans back in place. Mindfulness being employed again (it’s a way of life and I forgot that).

I had to admit to the shrink, that I had failed. That me, the one who was determined to beat the statistics, had been so cruelly claimed by them. That my personal journey had taken me almost full circle.

And as I sat there, and told the good doctor about the last 12 months. As I poured my heart out, all the dirtiest secrets, my deepest shame….as he wrote it down, to keep forever in my ever growing file…two things happened.

I realised I was a goddamn hypocrite.

And the good doctor pointed out, that some things I was describing, that wasn’t even my illness, it was just me being a twat.

Both helped.

was being a hypocrite. I know what is wrong with me is incurable. I know that was is wrong with me means I need help and support. It means I have to be brave and strong even when I’m scared and weak. I know everything I have to do. I preach it. I breathe it. I live it.

But I’d stopped. I’d gotten so secure and so sure of myself, I’d stopped taking my own advice. I’d stopped being as honest as I had to be.

So here I am, dealing with the thing I hate most. The feeling of failure.

But, to fail, means we’ve succeeded before and we can do again.  So three days past appointment, I might be back at square one. But that’s fine. I know I can get out of this again. This is just a relapse. I will be okay.

And the other thing? It’s always good to be told you’re acting like a twat and you have no excuse, snaps you into being a better person.

 

So here I am. Terrified, tired, mind spinning, unable to utilize language correctly. Dreaming of the worst of the worse. Paranoid that at any minute I’m going to be exposed. Feeling like a fraud.

 

But, as with all things, this too shall pass.

So, here goes battle…..battle god knows what. But it’s still not beaten me.

 

Mental health illness is a cunt of the highest order. And fuck me I’m sick of it. But it’ll be okay. I’ll be okay.

 

And with that, I’m out. Remember, the first step to being okay, is admitting when you’re not.

 

 

 

 

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Can I have a do-over?

Or at least that’s what I text my friend the other day.

These last….six months have been relentless. I haven’t been able to catch my breath from one moment to the next. And that has been exhausting.

For someone who requires stability and routine in order to function from one day to the next….the last few months have left me spinning. My very own waltzers have been increasing in momentum….my homing beacon isn’t only just switched off…it’s in a different universe from what I can tell…my swans wings have been flapping almost as hard as my feet have been paddling and still…..the war of attrition has sucked me back in.

I’ve changed jobs, to one that whilst…requires less hours…it requires much more head space and much more mask wearing. I’m on my own for great swathes of the day. That’s a long time to be with my own thoughts.

My very own Everest has beaten me for now. I could see the summit…and then I slipped back too far to reach it this year.

Childcare has been a nightmare, I get that having kids and going to work was my choice. And I did it for all the right reasons. But its a minefield. And mines are detonating everywhere I turn.

There’s been a bereavement…which I found out about…by accident it would appear. Actually there is no appear about it. That’s exactly how I found out.

I’ve had to meet loads of new people. In fact its a prerequisite of my job – forming relationships. The irony of someone like me having to form and build relationships for a job. That’s hilarious.

And perhaps most concerning….I’ve come off my antidepressant.

Not my anti psychotic. We increased the dose of that and removed the antidepressant. At first it was accidentally. In the maelstrom of changing jobs and all the drama that ensued with the big green kitchen company….I forgot to take it. My sleep didn’t change, I woke up in a good mood….so I ran with it…..

The first month was amazing. Everything was fantastic. No withdrawal….no sleep issues…I was happier and more content…awesome right?

Then the second month happened…the nightmares came back, the insomnia came back. I was so tired I cried in a car park because someone snapped at me…I felt physically ill with exhaustion. My bones hurt. I was so tired….but I just couldn’t sleep….and when I did sleep….back to the beginning…back to the violence of past relationships, back to seeing my girls die before my eyes….back to waking up screaming and drenched in sweat…there was just no respite.

Then the third month came….the nightmares are less. I still dream. I still have exhausting dreams, but the antipsychs are keeping me….well sane I guess. My sleep pattern is some bizarre version of fucked up. I’ll sleep for 10 hours one night and not at all two nights later. I’m assuming it’s just my body trying to work out its own thing….I’ll ride it out. I don’t want to go back on the anti depressants.

Not because I have anything against them….but because…the benefits of not being on them are now outweighing the benefits of taking them. And thats part of taking control of my own health….learning when I need the boost and when I can manage on my own….

But in saying this….it’s not been all bad.

It’s kept me on my voyage of learning who I am.

I swapped jobs to another role within an international company…and I love it. It pushes me, it engages me…this could be a career. So I’m passionate about it….the big green company job is another post entirely. And one I will be writing, and one I will tag them in. Because that was a soulless,destroying company and hell will rain down on the heads of the management before I’m through with them…..

I’ve maintained some good relationships with people I thought I’d lose over the natural course of time. But now it’s like, because we don’t have work binding us together…we have to make the effort….and that’s nice. It’s reinforcing the lack of scarlet in me at the moment.

The bereavement…I genuinely…I don’t care. And thats not my BPD. It sounds horrible, but the woman who died….she hadn’t engaged with me for years prior to that, and her son – my father, well he was no better. So finding out by accident was a bit cruel, but hey….so what?

 

So overall, no I don’t want a do over. I’ve learnt lots about myself in the last 6 months. I’ve learnt how resillient I am. How strong I am. How I can adapt as needed.

I’ve learnt that actually, I really am in control of my BPD. And that, that’s amazing. Thats real progress. I really love some aspects of my mental health illness… I still love the empathy I have because of it. I really love how it means I can help people. I love the way I see sounds and taste words. I’m fascinated by the way my mind works.

 

I hate the way I don’t have that much control over my emotions. So I’ve taught myself to control how I react to my emotions. Thats a life skill, even neurotypical people struggle with.

 

So fuck it, overall…I’m still winning this battle. Or at least…I’m keeping from being overthrown. And for now. That’ll do.

Life doesn’t stop because you have children.

What’s it really like to do it all?

It’s hard work. It’s guilt inducing. It’s never sleeping properly unmedicated because your brain can’t shut off from everything you’ve forgotten to do. It’s an open door to negativity. It’s leaving an open goal for judgement. It’s failing at everything at some point. It’s a slog. A long, hard, tedious, never ending slog.

But? It’s also the best of all words. Whilst being the best of none.

Going back to work as a mother of two young children was a daunting task. What at times seemed insurmountable. Getting a job after 6 years of being out of work, with only 3 years valid experience before that break. Working out how childcare was going to happen. What would happen if one of the children was ill. How I’d find the time to fit in everything. How the home was going to run smoothly. How would I cope with leaving the children. How would they cope with suddenly not having me there all the time. How would it still be possible to maintain a happy relationship with us both working full time. How to afford to work and pay for childcare.

And all that without taking into account completing a degree that I desperately want. And my well documented mental health problems.

At times it felt like it just wouldn’t be worth it. And when I have to leave my daughter when she’s vomiting into the toilet, it still seems like that. Handing the reigns to my husband, who is a wonderful father and contributes fully to the running of the home… but knowing that it wouldn’t be quite my way….it’s hard stepping back from that.

But I did it. Because the positives are always higher. More money coming in was actually the least important part of going to work. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face. There is more to being a woman than being a mother. And more to being a mother than wiping noses and holding hands. The top three reasons to return to work? Me. Me and again Me.

Selfish? Yes. Essential? Definitely.

I want my daughters to grow up knowing that in this life you work for what you want. A car? Work for it. A good job? Work for it. A nice home? Work for it. Nice clothes? Work for it. Weekends away? Work for it. Latest technology? Work for it. See a theme here? Everything worth having is worth working for. And it’s not about working hard, it’s about working smart.

I want to know that when my girls leave home, that that isn’t it for me. That’s not my whole lifes work gone and left. I don’t want to be 50 and suddenly starting my life. I want to be 50 and handing my girls the money for the air fare for a trip around the world. Money they’ve already gone and earnt, but now they can do it in style. I want to be able to have a discussion with them about interesting places we’ve visited, and know I’ve given them that thirst for life which so many seem to lack. I want to be able to smile at my husband and say “see you later, I’m off to Tuscany with the girls” (okay so probably not Tuscany, I plan on growing old disgracefully.) I want to be able to come in from a day at work and say to my husband “wow, today was so interesting.”  Not. “How was your day dear? I’ve sat and stared at four walls all day.”

I want to contribute to the world. And not just financially. For me, doing my degree and working in the area I do means that I can go onto get my Masters, and my Doctorate. It means that one day I’ll be contributing to the endless research into mental health. I’ll be helping people who, like I have, have needed meds and therapy. I want to give back what I’ve taken out.

So those nights when I come in from work, and smile tiredly at my long-suffering husband, and go upstairs and kiss the sleeping heads of my children who I’ve not seen since the day before, and I take my shoes off and take a long awaited decent cup-of-tea and just want to sleep and wonder why I bother. I think of all the things I’ve said and remember why I do it.

Why I work full time, complete a degree and raise two beautiful, intelligent, well mannered girls.  Why I accept the mumblings from so called friends about how I’m an awful person for leaving my children. Why I have working mother induced guilt, which can bring me to my knees. Oh god that guilt is a hard one.

Because for all my well thought out reasons and beliefs I genuinely hold. Leaving my girls tears my heart out. Every single time. Because of course I want to be the one wiping their noses and holding their hands. Of course I miss them. Of course I want to be cuddling them and reading with them. Of course I want to be a full time mummy. But unfortunately, time doesn’t stop running whilst they grow. In fact it goes quicker. Which is why it’s vital, for me to be a well rounded and happy adult, I have to work. And I have to complete my degree.

Because in 11 years, when my degree is complete, and my masters and doctorate are mine….suddenly I’ll have all this free time. I’ll have a good job. Which means in 20 years, when its my daughters turns to be facing this same juggling act I can be there to support them, and I can tell them it’ll be okay, and it means the time you spend with the loved ones in your life is cherished. Every second. That it means that okay, it’s hard now, but it will get easier. That the guilt will end, that you’ll see your children thrive with the independence.

Because when my girls are older, they’ll look back on their childhoods and go “okay, so mum wasn’t there 100% of the time, but when she was we had fun. We went out and did things. We saw the world. We visited our aunt on the other side of the world. We did stupid things like have paint fights, and upside down picnics. She wasn’t there in person all the time, but when she wasn’t, she was out grafting to make the world a better place for us and for our children.”

So when you take into account all the negatives to working, getting your qualifications and having a family, and their are a veritable legion of negatives. The positives and the reasons for working are much much more.

So to all the people that slag me, and any other working mother off, what ever. When your children have grown up and left home. What are you going to have for you? Because that’s the thing, we are a sum of all our parts. And to me, having children is just one of the facets of my life.

I work. I study. I parent. I wife (what’s the verb for wife?). And I don’t get it right all of the time. Probably not most of the time. But my reasons are good. My hearts in the right place. And I try to get the balance right.

So to any mother out there, who can identify with anything I’ve said. Just remind yourself, you’re doing well. You’re doing a good thing. And ignore all the negativity other people throw your way.