A Christmas Wish….

It’s that time of year where most are putting the finishing touches to their preparations for Christmas day. By my clock, at the time of typing these words, there are 9 minutes to go, before it officially starts. Quite honestly, I am dreading it!

What so many people forget, is that Christmas is not all cheer and laughter for everyone! There are so many people who are on their own for Christmas. People without family to go to. Parents who can’t be with their children. Children who can’t be with their parents. People who couldn’t afford Christmas. People who just want to forget Christmas because they will be spending it alone.

I am lucky this year. I may not have my children, or hubby around, but I have a friend who has very kindly invited me to spend the day with her and her family. She is like family to me anyway, so for that, and for the fact that they are kind enough to include me on what should be a family day, I am extremely grateful. But not everyone is so lucky, as I have not been so lucky in recent years.

My Christmas wish this year, is that people spare a thought for everyone who may be on their own, or suffering in some way, by not being with their families, or the people they love. I just want those people to feel loved, and feel cared about. That is all I ask.

I’ll keep it short and sweet, and leave it at that.

Merry Christmas everyone, and if I don’t make it back on here between now and then, have a great new year too.

H x

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Nightmare Neighbours…

It would seem that I am quite literally living in a never ending nightmare.

I live in a flat. A council flat no less. It’s a crappy little 3 bedroom place, where the 2nd and 3rd bedrooms are hardly fit to be called as such. Each room has enough room for the beds and very little else.

The biggest problem I have though, and I have had this very same problem for all of the years I have been living here, and that’s 7 years in total now, is the noise that comes from downstairs, and more recently from next door too. It is hell.

The first lot of neighbours used to blast music out, and while I’m partial to a bit of loud music now and then, this wasn’t now and then, it was virtually all day every day.

The next lot of neighbours, while not big music fans, they had a nasty habit of slamming doors behind them wherever they went in their flat. Not just one of them, all of them would do it, and it seemed like there was always someone awake at every point of the day. The next lot were just obnoxiously loud in everything. They didn’t talk, they shouted, they had a dog locked in the hallway, and a dog locked in the shoe box sized kitchen, who would just howl and bark all day when alone, and would bark a lot even when the neighbours were in. Mostly, I would assume, from being trapped in one very small space constantly.

And my most recent nightmare neighbours are taxi drivers, who argue a lot. So I’m frequently party to I lot of shouting where the use of the ‘f’ word is so regular, I’m surprised I’m not yelling it in what little sleep I get. When coming in from taxi jobs, even late at night, there’s no consideration when it comes to slamming doors, or other drivers being loud outside the property, and they have 4 or 5 cars outside at any one time. Not to mention the drifting smell of cannabis that invades my property from downstairs. Now, I have dabbled with weed as a teenager, as a lot of kids do, and even a little (believe it or not, under the instruction of a Doctor) but I haven’t touched the stuff in over 10 years, and if I wanted to, I would. I don’t need the stench of it flowing through my home!

Now when I get my yearly gas service, if they ask me if I’m the one smoking it, I will not be shy about pointing them in the right direction that’s for sure. I am already at risk of losing my home, without someone else threatening it unnecessarily.

Something inside is telling me that it is time to start making diaries of all the noise again, which will help if I pass it on to the council, but the issue I then have, is that if they were to go, there would be essentially the same issue with the next lot of tenants, and the ones after that, and so on.

It is not solely down to the inconsiderate neighbours, and I use that term simply because they are aware of this main problem, and that is that these properties were never adequately soundproofed. This has been admitted directly to me by a member of staff in the relevant department, but the comment that followed was that basically although they know they are not adequately soundproofed, they weren’t willing to do anything about it either. What can you do when that’s the response from the only people who can do anything about the problem?

What I need is to somehow obtain just enough money to buy the property and soundproof it myself. Problem solved! Now to work on the small lottery win I’ll need to make it happen…

H x

In Need Of A Miracle…

So things are pretty shit right now. So much so that even hubby is avoiding me! He would never admit that he is avoiding me, but I know that he is, and I cannot say that I blame him, however two days in a row where there is no contact from lunch time until very late at night when you’re usually in contact pretty much all day every day, would indicate to me some level of avoidance. Again, I cannot say that I blame him.

Right now I’m at the point of giving up. I’m balancing on a very unstable ledge, and this time I might not be able to save myself. I’m on the verge of losing it all. Quite literally, everything. But the terrible thing is that there is no one out there who is going to help. No one to lend a hand, throw me a lifeline, or even just to listen right now. My only way to vent and try and make sense of it all in my head is to write it down here. It will take, quite literally, a miracle to get me out of this, and I am rapidly running out of time.

My depression has taken over, and the crisis team that should have been in touch a couple of weeks ago, has been nowhere to be seen. I am so far behind in my rent, I’m expecting a notice to seek possession letter to come through any day. I have already had a letter threatening court action over my council tax. I am severely behind in my gas and electricity payments and I haven’t been able to pay a water bill in what seems like forever. If that notice for to seek possession letter comes through, I will lose the roof over my head, and will quite literally be living on the streets. There is no help to seek for this, there is nothing anyone can do. No amount of budgeting will solve this problem, because there simply isn’t enough income to budget with. I am lost, with nowhere to turn.

I have self harmed today, and I still feel the need to do it again to resist the urge to go any further, but quite honestly, I just want to sleep and never wake up. I don’t know what else to do. This is all just the tip of the iceberg, and there is nothing more I can say about any of it.

H x

Scary Steps, But Forward, Or Back?

Today, or rather yesterday, marks a new beginning for me. A rather scary new step has been taken. I accepted and started a new job. I fear this may be why I cannot sleep tonight, although I very much need to.

This job, while it will secure the roof over my head, it will make my health deteriorate, and I will not be able to make ends meet. Suddenly those episodes of paranoia where I believed the government were trying to kill me don’t seem so paranoid. I am determined to try and make it work somehow. I don’t know how, but it has to. As a victim of the dreadful bedroom tax, I do not have any choice. And the fact that a very old friend of mine stuck her neck out on the line to help me out and get me this job makes me all the more determined to make it work.

But while in one respect, a very big weight has lifted off of my shoulders, in another respect, another has taken it’s place. These are scary times we live in, and there is much to be afraid of. I know that somehow, I have no idea how, but somehow, it is time for me to focus my efforts on what I know I am good at, so that I may make positive life achievements through these, in hope that they will reflect positively on my life, so that things may get better for me, and I may struggle less, physically, mentally, and certainly financially.

I’m keeping this short and sweet as I need to sleep.

H x

Lost, Scared and Alone.

I don’t even know where to begin right now. I’m so lost. I feel so alone, and so very scared. I’m sat alone in my house. You can’t call it a home. I sit here alone in my broken house, on my broken sofa, in a half decorated room with furniture I cannot stand and it feels empty and broken and lonely. It is not my home, it is just a place I have slept in for the last 6 and a half years. It will not be my home until I can find a way to make it look and feel how I want and need it too. I fear that will never happen. I fear I will lose this roof over my head before I can make it into a home. I do not have enough money to cover my rent and bills and to be able to eat. I do not have any money to finish decorating, or put carpet in my house or buy the things I need. My clothes are tatty and worn and cheap and make me feel like I’m a fraudster, because I am not even a shadow of the person I should be. Even in the midst of the false high’s of mania, I’m an still just an empty shell of who I should be.

I cannot find a job. I try everyday, phoning all of the places that are advertising on the jobcentre website. Even the one’s I know are likely to put me in hospital. I fear for my life right now. I fear for it greatly. I even wonder if I will make it through to the end of the day. It doesn’t feel like I will.

I’m just so lost and scared and alone.

Open Letter To David Cameron.

Dear Mr Cameron,

It is thanks to you that I am ashamed to call myself a British citizen! Oh god, I don’t even know where to begin. I’m so tired. So very, very tired. You’re twisted world of power and greed has left me with a choice between sacrificing my health in more ways than one, sacrificing seeing my children or sacrificing the roof over my head and winding up back on the streets.

I’m a very ill lady. I have quite the list of health problems. Your ATOS assessors have found this to be true, and say I’m unfit to work. But as I am also only allowed my children here part time due to one of these illnesses, according to your new “bedroom tax“, I should basically give up my right to even have them part time, because since they love away from me most of the time, having them over to stay is now a privilege that I should now have to pay over £100 a month for, as well as the travelling costs I incur because they live 25 miles away, and the food expenses on top of that. That in itself takes most of my benefit, and since the disability living allowance department only see fit to grant me the lowest amount possible for anxiety issues, and have chosen to ignore the worst of my mental health issues, and ignore my physical health issues altogether, that leaves me in a rather large bind.

Do you know, Mr Cameron, that as a direct result of your bedroom tax, you have worsened my mental and physical health problems under the stresses and strains of the new “bedroom tax”? Did you know, Mr Cameron, that even if I did decide to move to a smaller property, that this would then mean that not only do I lose access to my children, but I then lose access to my family and my entire support network, because to move out of my current home, the home I have lived in now for almost 7 years, I would have to move out of the area, because there are NO properties available in my area that are suitable for me. Tell me, Mr Cameron, how do I get out of that one?

Of course, I could get a job. There is the risk that, even if I am able to find someone that is willing to take on someone that suffers from severe depression, episodes of mania and even psychosis, extreme widespread pain, migraines, anxiety and panic attacks, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and falls, random numbness of the limbs, extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, swelling of extremities, short term memory loss, concentration difficulties, spatial disorientation, calculation difficulties and other cognitive problems, trouble in communication through not being able to say the right words, frequent intense and realistic nightmares, stiffness in muscles and joints, muscle weakness, sciatica, changes in visual acuity, intolerance of medications, restless leg syndrome, being sensitive to temperature and heat and cold changes, palpitations, breathing difficulties, involuntary muscle spasms, non-cardiac chest pain that mimics a cardiac disorder, pelvic pain, dry eyes and mouth, heel pain, unusual and uncontrollable irritability, self harms and has suicidal thoughts and tendencies, I could then lose the job because of all of these problems. That is IF I find someone willing to take me on with all of that.

If I do find someone to take me on, and my goodness I would love to be back in work again, I run the risk of regular hospitalisation. Either from my mental or physical illness. I have already had to come off my medications, psych meds and all, because once I do find a job, I will no longer be able to afford these medicines, and the negative effects are already showing.

I actually cannot remember the last time I ate a nutritious meal. I cannot remember the last time I ate a full meal. I live off of snacks. The odd biscuit here, the odd tiny microwave “meal” there. No nutrition what-so-ever. I cannot buy salads or vegetables, because they do not last long enough, and once they have gone, I cannot afford to buy anything else to replace them until my next “payday” or maybe even the payday after that. So it has to be small snacks that will not go off quickly and that I can make last for as long as possible. Please think about that every time your wife cooks you a nice healthy meal, or you eat out at a restaurant.

There are thousands upon thousands of people who are in the same position as me. Don’t get me wrong, I know something had to be done, but not to the point of people suffering and losing their lives, surely? I certainly fear for my life. I really, truly do.

So I beg you Mr Cameron, I beg of you with everything I have left inside of me, please, PLEASE start thinking about the people who are suffering this torture, and do something to help us so that we don’t suffer any more. I know my words are redundant, but they needed to be spoken even if then fell on deaf ears.

Holly

Insomnia and Mental Health.

I’m actually starting to pick up a bit. Halle-bleeding-lujah, I cry. It’s about bloody time!! After spending 7 months in the deep dark hellish pits of depression, it’s almost like a weight is lifting off my shoulders. A veil that covered my eyes is slowly rising, as my perception of my life and the world around me starts to change.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely out of the woods yet. The climb back to the top, means a climb back up a very slippery slope. The potential for me to fall straight back down the hole is still a great risk. However, I won’t focus on that. I’m determined to make it out of the pit, to be on a level again, to get a sense of being normal again, whatever that is for me.

Still, the one thing that plagues me regardless of my hopeful chances of recovery, is this damn insomnia.

What is insomnia?

According to the NHS:

Insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning, even though you’ve had enough opportunity to sleep.

Most people experience sleeping problems at some point in their life. It’s thought that a third of people in the UK have episodes of insomnia. It tends to be more common in women and more likely to occur with age.

It’s difficult to define what normal sleep is because everyone is different. Your age, lifestyle, environment and diet all play a part in influencing the amount of sleep you need.

The most common symptoms of insomnia are:

  • difficulty falling asleep
  • waking up during the night
  • waking up early in the morning
  • feeling irritable and tired and finding it difficult to function during the day

What causes insomnia?

Stress and anxiety are common causes of insomnia.

It is also possible to develop insomnia as a result of conditions such as depressionschizophrenia or asthma.

In some cases, taking certain medication or misusing alcohol or drugs can also cause insomnia.

Read more about the causes of insomnia.

Self-help

There are a number of things you can do to help you get to sleep such as:

  • avoiding caffeine later in the day
  • avoiding heavy meals late at night
  • setting regular times to wake up
  • using thick curtains or blinds, an eye mask and earplugs to stop you being woken up by light and noise

These measures are often referred to as ‘good sleep hygiene‘.

Relaxation can also help. Try taking a warm bath an hour before you go to bed or listening to calming music.

Read more self-help tips for insomnia.

When to see your GP

You should see your GP if a lack of sleep is affecting your daily life and you feel that it’s causing a problem.

Fatigue due to insomnia can affect your mood and create problems with personal relationships and in the workplace.

Keeping a sleep diary may help you and your GP gain a better understanding of your sleep patterns.

Treating insomnia

The first step in treating insomnia is to identify and treat any underlying health conditions, such as anxiety, that may be causing your sleep problems.

Your GP will probably discuss the self-help measures for insomnia with you (see above) which may help to improve your sleep.

In some cases, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be recommended. It’s is a type of talking therapy which may be useful in helping you avoid thoughts and behaviours that are affecting your sleep.

Sleeping tablets are a treatment of last resort and are often only used in the short-term with the smallest possible dose. Although they can sometimes relieve the symptoms of insomnia, they don’t treat the cause. Therefore, if you have long-term insomnia, it’s unlikely that sleeping tablets will help.

This information is all courtesy of the NHS Choices page on Insomnia which can be found at http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Insomnia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

I have been one of these people that suffers with insomnia, whether I’m high, low, or normal. There are a lot of contributing factors in this, and the main one right now, is pain. What is very fortunate for me, is that, because I don’t want to risk being it what causes me to fall back into the pit.

My sleeping tablet has started kicking in now, and my eye lids keep dropping so I will say goodnight to the world.

Nighty night.

H x

The best drug of all…. (warning, soppy alert) LOVE!!

I’m considering taking a sleeping tablet to get to sleep. If I leave it much later than this, I will struggle to get up in the morning. There are various different things affect my ability to sleep.

Yes, my depressive phase is very much still active, and that black dog has shown absolutely no signs of a retreat anytime soon. Granted, I must be feeling slightly better, because my suicidal urges are not as strong as they have been recently. But then 7 months is a long time to be on a downer.

Now another contributing factor, although I’m not a clingy sort of person, the fact that the hubby is away is not helping me settle at night. I’m not one of these people who cannot function without the other half, we actually get very little time together at all. It’s a miracle that our relationship is as strong as it is. But I am the sort of person that worries a lot, and I don’t particularly feel at my safest in the house on my own. Something I know a lot of women can relate to when it comes to sleeping in an empty house.

There’s actually a lot to be said for the love of a good man, and it cannot be denied, the hubby is the best of the bunch in my eyes. My perfect man. Never in my life have I come across someone so accepting of my background, my illnesses, in fact, of every single mistake and failure in my life, as well as my triumphs, and to be honest it feels good. There’s nothing to hide, nothing to make me worry that he might walk out the door if he ever found anything out.

I must admit, I suffer with extreme guilt during times of severe depression, because the hubby feels so helpless most of the time. He thinks that he isn’t helping, or worse still, that he’s making it worse for me, and what he doesn’t realise is that because he is here, and I don’t have to hide who I am from him, even at my worst, it actually helps those horrible phases. I may think at the time that he would be better off without me. He may be better off without me for all I know. That’s a question that could only ever be answered by going through it, but he doesn’t want to be without me, and I don’t want to be without him.

He is that tiny flicker of light that shines so very far away in that deep, dark, seemingly endless tunnel of depression. He’s the only one that can make me laugh, and I mean a real proper laugh, when I don’t even want to smile. He saved my life just last week, without even knowing what my intentions were.

Yes, my Mr Perfect is the ideal description. Better than any medication I have found. I hope that everyone in the world is lucky enough to find their perfect match. A week isn’t that long for him to be away, and he is in touch whenever he can get to his phone, but I do miss him.

Love truly is the best drug.

H x

Exhausting trip to see the new psychiatrist.

I can’t help but feel like today’s appointment with the new psychiatrist was some sort of test. A test to see how I react, and to see if I react like a typical person with borderline personality disorder.

I was told that I am preoccupied with the diagnosis factor of my illness, and in some ways, that is true… well, no too ways about it, it is true.

But why is it so important for me to get the right diagnosis? Well, to be honest, I’d have thought that would have been an obvious one. To me, getting the right diagnosis means getting the right treatment. Although a lot of psychiatrists argue that the treatments for BPD and Bipolar are the same, and don’t get me wrong, maybe they are, a lot of the symptoms they will be trying to treat will be different to the symptoms they think they will be treating.

The symptoms they believe they will be treating according my current diagnosis:

http://www.bpddemystified.com/what-is-bpd/symptoms/

The symptoms that they will actually be treating according to my illness actually cycles:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml

Now, I know there are similarities between the two but there are some very clear differences and there is a great article on http://www.psychologytoday.com about these differences.

The link is here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201003/three-easy-ways-differentiate-bipolar-and-borderline-disorders

I am actually getting very tired now, so I’m struggling to write now. The slight progress that was made is that as well as the BPD is that on my notes the psychiatrist added, well the way I understood it was that he added as a duel diagnosis, Cyclothymia. At first I was actually insulted. I am depressed, severely depressed at the moment, and have been for some time now, so this understandably upset me a little, but not enough for it to affect my day. I have a hard enough time trying to concentrate on my studies and just get through the day in general when I’m suffering a depressed phase. It did strike me though, that my apparent struggle to clearly get my point across today, as I sometimes do, may have put the psychiatrist under the impression that I do not know as much as I do on the subject, (I’m losing my train of thought) ah, yes, the reason I was at first insulted by this, is that it occurred to me that regardless of the diagnosis, I do not feel that my illness is taken as seriously as it should be.

That is about as much as I can handle for one night, despite the fact that it’s almost midnight, and even though I can’t really sleep, I really have to call it a night.

H x

(Insert title here) I can’t think straight.

I have had a really rough past couple of weeks. I’m even sure I can write competently to be honest, but I’m willing to give it a go.

I’m going through an extremely low period at the moment, last far longer than I remember of any low phase I’m had in the past, which to be truthful doesn’t say much, because my memory is dreadful. Still, this has been going on since before Christmas. People think I’m okay, but I’m really far from it.

I spend my days covering up because people either make it abundantly clear that they don’t want to know you when you’re like that, or they suddenly become experts with the oh so surprising advice of “why don’t you just snap out of it”. If only it were that simple, I’d love to look at the positives in life when I’m like this, and believe that they mean something. I’d love to believe that the people in my life really do care. I’d love the have the magic ‘off switch’ that people seem to think comes with having a mental illness. If only.

What frightens me, is that even some of the professionals have this same dismissive attitude, as though that off switch really does exist. It does frighten me that these people are at the front line of our care and support package. Don’t get me wrong, not every single one is like that. I have worked with some truly amazing people over the last couple of weeks. Real people, who really understand what it is like to be in a mental health crisis. The reason, it’s because these people are mental health patients themselves, and they’re not afraid to share their experiences to help someone get better. I find that truly amazing, and only wish that I could work with these people on a permanent basis. Just, absolutely incredible and inspirational people.

No if we could find people that work on the front line to be such a credit to the job, we’d all have a much smoother recovery period. It’s not all about what you read in a text book. Text books can never really give a true account of what may happen with someone suffering from a mental illness. What gives the true account, is the person who lives it. The person who, for them, it is all just a normal part of life. And the so-called professionals would do well to remember is that.

Of course, not each individual may know exactly what is wrong, or what type of illness they have, but they sure as hell know how it makes them feel, and how they behave, and what works for them in the short-term to help them try and pull through. So please professionals, please start listening to your patients, and if they don’t know what to do to help themselves, for goodness sake, do not say to them “what do you want me to do?”

That is about all from me for now, because between fighting to keep my head above water, concentrating on my studies and the million other things I’ve got going on, my brain just does not want to function any more.

I sincerely hope you all enjoyed your summer solstice yesterday.

H x