I wrote this in October 2013, so it’s a bit backdated, but I guess it gives a quick overview of where I’ve been and, my mental health history for anyone that might read this and not want to track back and starts to show how I got where I am I guess. Hopefully it’s not too self indulgent.
Ok so maybe this isn’t quite the worst month of my life, but it’s definitely top five. I think it’s actually quite hard to tell sometimes just what was the worst thing ever, especially in the moment. Loads of things are awful. Bereavement sucks. Being dumped sucks. Not having enough money to buy the shower gel you really wanted sucks. Maybe when you’re really old and looking back at your life you work it out. All I know is that this month has been monumentally tragic, even in comparison to a lot of my other awful times. It’s almost laughable, if it wasn’t me, In this post, I’m going to explain why.
Within the month of October 2013, I’ve been dumped by a boy I loved (who had the emotional maturity of a grapefruit), who I then got back together with for a total of four days, only to be dumped again and have him steal my pitiful amount of money. I then made that fantastic choice of fucking him, just to let him tell me how much I suck and how crazy and sad I am. Followed by him leaving the country. My housing situation is tenuous I think. Some major disagreements with the family led to me living with said boy, which has now left me living half with my family, which is difficult for them as much as for me, and living half with a drug dealer who can set me up with some tasks when I’m more than my average broke. Being broke should go on this list, but that’s pretty much a permanent. My treatment has increased – I’m now, I’m in treatment for mental health problems almost every day and I’m being offered NHS funded private rehab for at least three months. All of which means I have to face the highly likely prospect of taking yet another year out of finishing the one year masters degree I’m already in my fourth year of. Even so, I’m still barely coming to terms with the fact that I have something labelled “complex needs” by essentially all health and social care workers. This is not exactly how I imagined my life would be at 24.
Getting where I am right now has been a painfully long process. In reality, everyone’s life is just a painfully long process from birth to wherever they are now I guess. I could start my story in childhood, which my therapist says probably was invalidating and hindered my emotional development or some next drama, but it’s not important. I had a nothing but lovely childhood. My conscious awareness of some sort of emotional issue probably started in my teens. At around 13, I started drinking, smoking, getting high, liking boys and self-harming. Self-harm at that point wasn’t weird. My friends all did it too, I just took it further, and never really stopped. I think looking back, I probably was a little more nervous and a little unhappier than my peers, but at the time I wasn’t emotionally capable of looking outside my own world and hindsight is often a fallacy. I got good at self-harming, and even better at hiding it.
By 15, no one talked about it, but I still did. I also started having panic attacks all the time. I went to my GP and got my first mental health diagnosis – depression and panic disorder. Off I went to some fairly dull and pointless counselling, which may have been great if I’d engaged with it, but at 15, how many people can be fucked?
I got through college with a lot of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, self-harm and boys. I got through it well and did really quite good considering, but that life had its toll. Too many nights of too much excess in clubs I was definitely too young to be in led to me completely crashing emotionally. Just before my exams. I spent weeks in bed, ran away to Yorkshire, spent more weeks in bed and was dragged to my GP again. Again, the diagnosis was depression. This time I was prescribed Prozac (and later citalopram), told to go to the surgery counsellor and sent on my way.
I didn’t go to the counsellor. Instead, I ran off to Bristol for university. My first year of uni was properly batshit cray. Antidepressants, a change in contraceptive pill, dropping all my hobbies and friends and family to enter the horror of finding new hobbies and friends was all a little much. My self-harm and generally crazy behaviours went into overdrive and behind closed doors (but in front of my unfortunate, but ultimately a prick new boyfriend), I became the most dramatic crazy person ever. Inefficiently executed suicide attempts, blood and sharpie markers all over me and my dorm, running away, cold showers with all my clothes still on, half a litre of vodka each night, drugs wherever I could find them. It was messy, but with no follow up from my GP, it all went unnoticed.
When I finally cold turkey gave up the antidepressants at the end of summer, I was fucking miserable and doing seriously terrible at uni. I hated myself, I felt like a failure and I didn’t know what to do. Lucky for me, I quickly found losing weight. I focused myself on to eating healthy and going to the gym and found something I was good at. I was bloody fantastic at losing weight. It made me feel good. It made me feel proud. It made me feel in control (finally). So I did that, and I dropped self-harm, got substantially less trashed, was able to focus on university and slowly became more and more focused on losing weight. That went on for the next three years and I ended up seriously underweight and trapped in anorexia, obsessing over food and exercise. Still, I did good at uni and I graduated well, so started and MA.
Halfway through my MA, I became so critically ill that, after being shipped around various primary care therapy services, I was referred to a specialist eating disorders unit (EDU) and started actually getting treatment. I was so unwell, my uni boyfriend from Bristol wound up dumping me and we spent the next year and a half breaking up. Turns out he was an abusive bastard and I couldn’t see it. Years of domestic from someone I loved is pretty hard to deal with if you don’t have an eating disorder to escape from it.
For a while, I was still too unwell with anorexia to really noticed what it was providing me, so I was still focused and obsessed enough to complete all my taught units in my MA, but by my last assignment (two years after starting my MA), I was almost out of treatment with my EDU, emotionally disastrous, self-harming everyday, on and off of antipsychotics and mood stabilisers, back on antidepressants and in and out of hospital for stitches, glue and lethal overdoses (I’d got smarter since I was last like this, so way more efficient. Intelligence isn’t always a good thing). It was around this time my EDU diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder and referred me to my local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT). By this point, I was too ill to even contemplate a dissertation so decided to defer my assessment.
This last year, I’ve been in dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT – specialist therapy for people with borderline), but I’ve also been honing my alcohol and Valium misuse to block out all my difficult thoughts and emotions, and topping them off with whatever other substances head my way. I went into another relationship with yet another person who doesn’t know how to treat their partner and wound up homeless, scarred, broke and an addict. I hadn’t realised I was an addict until a few weeks ago when I was told. I thought I was going to be able to finish my degree this year, have some time off and hopefully start a PGCE and I was finally letting myself get some hope that I might be able to catch up to my peers and actually set up some sort of life I can be proud of. That’s suddenly looking less likely right now. I’m now in a drug and alcohol treatment program 3-4 days a week, individual DBT once a week, group. DBT once a week, my day programme key worker once a fortnight, my Community Drug and Alcohol Team (CDAT) case worker once a fortnight, my Community Recovery Team (CRT – previously my CMHT) psychiatrist once a month and my CRT social worker at some point and some amount. And you know I might be in rehab in a few months.
So here I am. Worst. Month. Ever. I’m actually pretty fucking unhappy right now, but I’m sure that’s not exactly hard to guess. Apparently (according to mental health workers), I suffer ‘severe and enduring’ mental health problems, I’m ‘high risk’ of serious injury, physical illness or death, I’m ‘low functioning’ and have a limited ability to independently thrive within mainstream society and I have ‘complex needs.’ I guess I have got a kinda complex case – you can tell by the amount of people involved in my care (it’s got to the point where it’s overwhelming and confusing).
Still, I’m smart, articulate and jokes, plus try so hard to be nice to people. For some unknown reason, I fully believe this pessimist shit sells me short. I don’t want to be in treatment or care or whatever all my life. I think I’ve got potential. I’ve got through a lot and still have a load more to do, but maybe I can be more then all these unhelpful labels.
Anyway, I’ve blogged before, mostly about my recovery from anorexia. I didn’t realise it’d get more complicated after that and I let a lot of my real life friends read it. I’m not all that sure about sharing addiction and self harm problems with my real life friends yet is a good idea, but I don’t like hiding away. I found it really helpful blogging though, and I think maybe blogging more would be useful still. It might not be though. Or maybe I’ll be too high to look at it. We’ll see I guess.
If you got this far, thank you for reading. Wish me luck.