NaNoWriMo 2017 for Rochdale and District Mind

 

MIND_Rochdale-and-District_Stack-1504016273-900x600 nano_feature

 

As November closely approaches, we are also getting geared up to dive in to the madness that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – a major annual event which sees published author’s and aspiring writers amongst us preparing to face the challenge of undertaking 50,000 words during the course of November.

That’s averaging 1,667 words per day, and provides 100% commitment from the participant to meet that target.

To give you a vague idea of the amount of work 50k is, that’s pretty much just over the word count of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby… (47,097!)

This year, I have geared myself up for my first ever NaNoWriMo challenge, and took the sensible advice to start prepping early. To say I started three months ago, it certainly has come around quickly!

Whilst taking this challenge, I also thought it a great opportunity to do some fundraising for a charity that is very close to my heart.

Rochdale and District Mind is a local mental health and wellbeing organisation who primarily relay on donations and sponsorships to keep the Charity afloat. The volunteers work tirelessly to support and assist in recovery for those in need – myself being one of those seeking help when I turned 18.

Mind was the first services that I braved to access on my own. At the time, I was severely struggling with depression, cripplingly low self esteem, bouts of mania, self-harm and addiction after suffering in silence from my early teens. This pathway ultimately lead me on the right pathway to get my diagnosis of Bipolar disorder – from which I received the treatment I needed to get back on my feet, go back to university and raise my beautiful young daughter.

As of many people who I have to be thankful for, the kindness and the efforts of the service workers at Rochdale Mind saved my life.

As much as I feel I can’t give enough back, this is my way of saying thank you. For my NaNoWriMo project 2017, I will be undertaking my first fiction project, a novel, which focusses on the realities of mental health.

Please help support Rochdale and District Mind (and also encourage me in my word count!) by visiting my just giving page below and giving a small donation.

 

DONATE HERE!

 

I’d also love to hear from those who are taking part with NaNo this year!

 

Thank you!

 

To find more about the incredible services and support that Rochdale Mind do please visit their website: https://www.rochdalemind.org.uk/

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What Happened to Eleanor – Part 1.

rosary

 

I walked in to the room and was immediately alerted by the wild look which had taken over her panicked face.

 

‘What’s happened?’

 

I looked around the room for some clarification of the unexpected welcome. Everybody was silent, their heads bowed in ignorance. I looked back at her. She didn’t offer any words, just widened her eyes and shook her head in defiance.

 

‘What? Will somebody tell me what the hell is going on?’

 

More shaking of the head. Eyes as big and glassy as two large blue moons, her skin bagging underneath with exhaustion.

 

‘It’s bad Megan.’

 

She spoke as if I should have known the full context of what she was talking about. My face crumped in confusion again, I pursed my lips for a preliminary ‘what the fuck’ and scanned the room for another clue. Nothing. I looked back at her again.

 

‘Haunted.’ She said sternly.

 

‘Oh for ffff-‘

 

‘No.’ She stopped me in my tracks, holding her palm in front of me in attempt to block the words pouring out of my mouth. My mind was still on loop – ‘Not this again…’

 

‘Bad. It’s bad… I’ve had to get my sister up here because I just couldn’t be on my own, I just can’t –‘

 

Then, the rambling began.

 

‘ – Voices. Footsteps, walking behind me, following me ‘tap, tap, tap’. Taunting me, all night. Skeletons, Ouija board, books, videos – the lot! All in the bin, it’s gone, wiped. It’s not the house anymore, it’s me, it’s latched on to me and it is evil, it is evil Megan! It’s following me. Stalking me. All day, all night. Touching me, prodding me in the night. Taunting.’ Her words were rolling off her tongue and rang in to the room, I could barely keep up. Her nephew was sat in the corner sniggering to himself at the absurdity of it all.

 

Christ. I’d just about had enough of this heebie jeebie bollocks.

 

‘Where’s the tape?’

 

‘It’s gone. It’s not on the tape anymore, it’s in the bin. It’s gone – the voices aren’t there anymore. They are in the room now.’

 

I looked at her in bewilderment. Did she look  genuinely petrified?

 

‘Honestly Megan I am not pulling your leg even the priest that has come up and cleansed the –‘

 

‘You wha -?’

 

‘- place has told me that there’s a presence, and –

 

‘A priest? You have had a priest around?’

 

She nodded, expectantly. I looked over to her sister for confirmation. She looked up at me, closed her eyes and quietly nodded, before hanging her head back down shamefully.

 

‘Oh God.’

 

‘God can’t save me now…’

 

She had been at it for months. None stop talking about the paranormal and the afterlife, making her own Ouija board, voice recordings in attempt to pick up ghools that she believed were floating around her 19th Century block of terraces. She’s always had an interest, but over the past few weeks an interest had slowly evolved in to an obsession. In the past two week that lead to this moment, it was getting painful to come up to see her – all you’d get is ghosts and presence and ‘can you hear this on the tape? Listen, I can pick up a word!’ She was driving her son bonkers with all, he’d roll his eyes every time the subject was mentioned. Recently, it had been that bad that in a passive thought one night before bed a week earlier, I sat there thinking how she couldn’t seem to think of anything else, I’d be telling her important details about my life and you could just tell her mind was elsewhere, or she would interrupt at the most inappropriate moment. I shrugged it off as unnecessary worry.

 

I took another look at her and realised how sunken and haggard she looked. Had she slept at all? She appeared as though she hadn’t bathed in weeks, her fluffy fine hair stuck up all over the place in short blonde tuffs like a feral chicken. I looked over her chest to find a solid chunky metal cross, which hung around her neck and rested on her oversized jumper embedded with rips and holes. Her eyes were teary. She was genuinely petrified.

 

She continued to ramble on about how the priest was now on leave for a few weeks and that she couldn’t stay here, then tearfully began pleading for me to believe her.

 

‘Okay, of course I believe you.’ I said to her, gently. ‘Calm down, you can stay at mine for the time being, you don’t have to be alone.’ I needed to keep an eye on her, something was not right.

 

I had never seen her so jumpy in my life. Every noise, every shadow she feared. She was frightened. After an update form her sister, I’d also found out that she’d been hearing voices all night and tried sleeping with a bible over her face. At all hours of the morning, she had been jolted awake by her shouting ‘The power of Christ – Begone!!’ in to the emptiness of the room. Throwing salt about the place. Making growling noises that she swore was out of her control. This had gone on for a few days now, and it had pissed me off that I wasn’t told about this sooner.

 

I got her to my house and settled her on the couch. Her eyes darted around the room in alert, survival instinct charged up full force like she was being hunted down by a predator. She cling on to her cross and whilst she pulled on her chain, I noticed she also had rosary beads tucked in to her shirt. She got her bible out and stared reading. She is not remotely religious. Never had been.

 

My stomach churned as I dialled The Boy’s number – I needed some support. It was happening again, like it did during my young teenage years. I can’t go through this again, I just can’t. What scared me the most is that you could see this was factual it in her eyes, it was a dead cert, the adamancy that she was not going completely bonkers, but she was ‘in fact’ possessed by a demon.

 

I put a reminder on my phone to ring the doctor’s in the morning.

 

to be continued…

Assessment tomorrow!

Due to the struggles in recalling recent (and not so recent) memories, I figured i’d probably find it difficult to get everything out in the open to the new psych. So I made a ‘timeline’ of events over the years and just let my mind loose on it. What a mess!

Hopefully I will be able to keep adding to the list before the morning and be ready to admit some of the things I need to get out in the open. Which will be hard for me, during the past few months I’ve been reflecting on my past and i’ve even struggled admitting certain things to myself… I see a few interesting blog entries in the future, when i’m brave enough!

Other than that, this week I have remained stable (even though i’m run down with a cold!) – i’ve been nicely settled at a 5, apart from the occasional irritability, memory loss and hallucinations.

Speaking of which, they have been getting worse! I’m slowly convincing myself that i’m genuinely seeing spirits again, its all so real. They have moved from my peripheral vision and into my focus now – shadows, lots of movement, distortions and glitches in reality that stops me in my tracks – every one is different. It gets worse in the evening, and sometimes I don’t even notice them until late afternoon. It will be very interesting to hear what the psych has to say about it all.

About the memory – I have been researching and it sounds pretty much like I have Dissociative Amnesia, my symptoms appear to tick every box. Its all very confusing and overwhelming to think about.

Until the morning 🙂

Supernatural Experiences – Can they be justified when you are mentally ill?

I’ve always been a big fan – and a big believer of the supernatural world. I come from a family where ghostly and other odd sightings are second nature to us, there are stories down the line which can be described as tales unexplained by science.

This year, I have come to a hault in what I thought I knew – what I believed – and had to question whether my past personal experiences of the unknown can be rephrased to be explained by simply tricks of the mind. And I’m feeling rather uncomfortable with the idea of testing my reality.

My past encounters with ghosts can be split in to two categories; the stories that my parents and grandparents have told me (which, without personal recollection of them, have always shed a hint of doubt to their validity), and of course, my own subjective first had experiences.

1. Mrs.Meredith.

The tales which have been told countless times throughout the family and passed on to friends started in the house in which I was brought up with my parents. Legend has told of an elderly woman (unhelpfully named ‘Miss Meredith’ by a close, sceptical friend) walking through the upper levels of the old terraced houses on that particular street, with many sightings of the lady by a number of people who occupied the homes at the time. Apparently, I was one of them. My mother used to tell me that when I was a young child I would sit and stare at the top of the stairs and watch the old lady, accompanied by the dog we owned at the time. This ‘old lady’ was present for a number of years, and also made a visit to both of my parents on a few occasions.

We left for a bigger home after my brother was born, only for my dad to return back to the house to live after they split. When I was 14, I moved back to the original house to live until I was 20. As I was growing up through my teenage years, I continuously felt her presence and felt comfortable with Mrs. M, up to the point where I knew exactly when she was in the room, and the occasional (one way) conversation with her. I managed to get as comfortable as I could have got if she was a regular living tennant.

During the last few years of high school, i’d experienced everything – from unexplained shadows and noises, voices, hearing footsteps, movement from the corner of my eye when I was alone in the house, the energy and feel of her presence, her hand on my shoulder whist I was watching a film. Even friends felt her – one in particular saw the same shadows as me, and once had felt someone blow in her ear.

There are a few events that stand out to me, which always happened when I was drifting off on the couch. I’d hear footsteps in the room and all of a sudden become too terrified to open my eyes, this presence was as real as if a stranger had entered the house. I could see shadows of the figure standing over me, blocking the natural light of the room, watching me. Breathing on me. The fear would take over and I would snap out of it, only to find the doors locked and the house empty.

2. The Animals.

Soon enough, Mrs.Meredith became much more than an energy or a shadow to me. The spirit started to form in to visual bodies, not just in my peripheral vision, but right in front of my eyes. Usually, in the form of animals. There was something uneasy about a particular corner of the room at my parents old place. Most of the unexplained shadows and movement formed from there.

One evening I’d come in from a night out with friends and I sat on the couch across from the fire place. My dad had been relaxing in the living room on the couch next to me. All of a sudden, a movement in the same corner stirred, and as I turned my to what had caught my attention I saw a white ferret scurry across the floor and under the fire place. In shock, I paused for a second to gather my thoughts and it ran from under the fire directly towards me, follwing an S shaped pathway on the floor and ran between my feet and under the couch. I SCREAMED. I jumped upon the couch, started freaking out – startled the life out of my dad who also jumped up to calm me down.

“There’s a F*****G ferret, under the couch!” I was halfway in to frantically explaining to him where it came from and how it hurried under the fire place when his face dropped. He traced the exact  pathway that the ferret took, the squiggle that it followed on the floor towards the couch before I even had the chance to tell him. Apparently, he’d seen it too, a number of times. Always the same perculiar pathway, only in his experience it was in the form of an unaturally giant ‘hand sized’ spider.

Funnily enough, a few weeks later, I saw The Spider.

I’d had another encounter with the same pathway one morning as I was getting ready for school. This time I couldn’t figure out what from this creature was. My eyes fully locked on this spirit, as it scuttled from under the fire place, almost looked like a bird with its bobbing head, with extra legs quickly carrying its deformed body towards me. There was something in the way it moved, it was unnatural and unrealistic. This time I was scared. Instead of dissolving in to the couch, it changed course and carried on in to the kitchen. I tried once more to lock my eyes on it, but it was too fast – my brain just couldn’t register this strange phenemenon. I was scared. Looking back, this one is a memory that, once again, not only I cannot make sense of but how that fear still stirs up in me to this day. Because this time, it was loud. Almost identical to the sound of a penny dropping and rolling across a laminate floor. I could not make sense iof it. It was loud, and it was right in my ears, ringing and almost deafening me.

3. Ben.

After 23 years, I’m still very close to possibly my oldest childhood friend who still questions me what happened to this day.

R used to live with her grandparents in an old house not too far away from where I lived. It was a small house, not very modern – decorated with floral patterns and a variety of ornaments collected and passed down over the years. I always felt uneasy when I visited and hated staying over, the feel of the house gave me the creeps, in a way that I was convinced there was a presence in the house. After past experiences living in a haunted house myself, my friends were accustom to me feeling the way I did about certain places, whether they genuinely believed the stories i’m not sure. One night, me and R was sat on her bed playing a board game. When her gran called her and R left the room, once again I got that uneasy feeling, and tried to shift it off. I was playing with one of the figures on the board, when the bedroom door opened and Ben, her old Westie dog walked in happily wagging his tail. With my attention still on the board, I saw him walk along the side of the bed, tail still in view and automatically whilstled and shouted “Ben!” as I patted the bed to call him up. And thats when I noticed it.

On the full stretch of the main wall in the bedroom, there had been a walk in wardrobe fitted to the wall which was all mirrored. Ben was surely there in the corner of my eye. But his reflection was non-existant in the mirror. I looked up and the dog was gone. Then it dawned on me. R didn’t have a dog.

That moment R walked back in to the room asking who I was calling to, to find me as white as a sheet sat on her bed.

“I’ve just seen Ben.”

Ben was an old white Westie dog her gran had before Rachel lived with her grandparents. He had died years before. I had no idea about the dog, and no idea that they had named him Ben.

It turns out, after seeing an old photograph of him, Ben was an exact replica of another close friend – C’s – white Westie (also named Ben). Before we had sat down to play the board game, I had rememberd that I noticed the flowery bedsheet and told R that her gran had the exact same sheets as C. For a minute when I saw the spirit of Ben, my mind must have told me I was at this other friends house, and as a result, I ended up trying to communicate to him as normal.

Other encounters experienced, such as whom I believed to be voice of my Aunt giving clear audible orders to her dog, years after her death – still play on my mind today. They were all real in my eyes, up to the point where I saw these experiences FACTS- I saw, heard and felt the presence of spirits, there was no argument about this.

Since the decline of my mental health, particularly the past two months where I have been experiencing both auditory and visual hallucinations, I have felt has all been too familiar. The shadows I see, the presences I feel and the voices I sometimes hear (possibly as a result of my medication) are strangely similar to the ghostly experiences I felt in the past. The delusions of paranoia that someone is watching me.

Can the definate supernatural experiences I have always come to know as a true reality be contested? Have I always been a prisoner of my mental state? Has my brain been tricking me in to believing that these bouts of psychosis are a result of true happenings in the external environment?

Have I always been sick?

One thing I recall is that it was always a comfort how these ghostly presences visited me significantly in my time of need – whenever I was upset, Mrs. M was there to touch my shoulder and it was her way of telling me everything was going to work out. My strong build up of emotions have frequently been broken by the feel of a shadow standing beside me, reminding me i’m not alone in the world.

The day is slowly dawning on me. There could be a possibility that the visits in my ‘time of need’ could have, in reality, been visits during times of mental stress.

Auditory Hallucinations – back with a vengence!

I’m hearing things again and i wish it would just fuck off.

I’ve heard this before. Ringing/beeping repetitive music. I know its not really there. I dont want to cross that paranoia line of searching for this ‘music’ in the house again.
I’m very restless, irritable, bad energy me tonight and it escalated very quickly!

I want to sleep and i’m frustrated with everything, the SI urges are coming back to haunt me. I know it will make me feel better and snap me out of it.

Don’t cross that line. Stay safe Megan.

Octopus arms.

I’ve been having a very ‘odd’ depersonalisation/hallucination episode which has been brought on naturally but more often from drinking coffee. I call it octopus arms.

Two days ago, I was sat there having my morning brew when all of a sudden my arms felt numb and a bit strange. I had the sensation that I had more arms than one attatched to my shoulders. So I looked down at my arms and saw that they had elongated in length. I had really long skinny spaghetti arms and I thought it was hilarious.

“OMG I’m an Octopus!”

Obviously, I’ve been aware that my new medication has had strange effects on me, and that this was pushing reality a little too much (paranoid delusions are a little harsher one me – I cannot distinguish from reality from my head). So I just enjoyed this amusing sensation whilst I ate my breakfast. Then it started getting a little annoying. My left arm always seems to be the longer one in these episodes, and it started getting really heavy and exhausing to be carrying around. I felt bruised at the top of my arm, like someone had been injecting silicone in to my arms to make them grown with a big needle (thats when I really started questioning if this was really happening as I had to strip and check for needle marks in my arm – there was none). Then I started knocking things over on my dressing table with them, to which I would shout out ‘stupid f*****g arms’, stopping in my tracks realising what I’d said and not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

Pushing the pram up to my mothers, I’d look down at my arms and they would be detatched from the rest of my body. They were just long lanky sillicone sticks doing the work for me. They were cold and numb and it freaked me out a bit.

4 hours later I had my normal arms back.

I suppose its not the worst hallucination to be having, I have had it about 3-4 times now. I’ve also had caffiene induced peripheral hallucinations as well which are more sudden, almost like Im having a little glitch in my cortex where reality is distorted for a split second. I’ve only had hyperactivity from tonight’s coffee (which was what lead to the strange blog about caffiene, and will probably remain another project unfinished!) – no strange or out of control stuff which is strange. Maybe I really just can’t handle mornings.

Caffiene.

So. Drank a cup of coffee at 9pm (its now 11pm) and i am SO hyper! So I thought id create a blog to write first hand experience to prove to my BLOODY GP what effects certain stuff has on my mood.

Needed to get some research done tonight for this job interview and I just cannot concentrate on boring stuff like that. So its facebook out, lets message people who I havent wrote to in ages on facebook, lets check my messages, do some other fun stuff oooh lets create a blog. Thats what a cup of coffee does to me when I am on the way up.

I am SO excited about this job interview on  friday! I cant wait! oooh starting her career! Awesome.

Anyway I wanted to write about the whole caffiene experience for me so I can read back and understand it more when im at ‘bassline’.

My heart feels like it is going to burst with joy and I can feel the excitement of life running through my veins – especially in my fingertips – it actually feels like I have energy in my fingertips, I cannot write fast enough and I cant get these thoughts out of my head fast enough either and Im getting annoyed because I keep making spelling mistakes! This is some serious heated energy in my fingertips!

I have been particularly sensitive to caffiene for as long as I can remember, I only started drinking it at college because I fell ill and the tiredness from the medication I was on at the time was crippling, I couldnt concentrate on my studies. So I turned to costa! I remember being in lectures after a latte, with the same buzz, not being able to concentrate on anything, being too excited to be there, all these ideas buzzing through my mind. The energy and the pure joy I got from it was undescribable. I could not scream loud enough to get the feeling out.

Then came the come downs, I was sick, shaky, felt like death and I couldnt cope with it. I got addicted to pro plus a few weeks after the coffee thing which developed in to a full blown addiction for caffiene. That was in 2009. Total bitch without the pro plus (!) and I became a very agressive person.

It took me months to stop after a close friend ratted me out that I had a problem with it. I didnt have a clue. I depended on it so much I was waking up at 2am and taking a dose. It didnt wake me up anymore, I struggled to get my head down at night and was eventually taking pills for the sake of it. It was a full box of proplus a day at one point, plus numerous coffees during the day and coca-cola being my back up drink.

I think thats the main reason why coffee doesnt make me feel sick anymore, Im very much desensitised to it in that respect.

However, this week I can tell im on the up due to how having just half a cup first thing in the morning has resulted on me experiencing…

– severe paranoia and social anxiety

– depersonalisation (octupus arms! Ill save that for another post!)

– derealisation

– peripheral hallucinations

I don’t think the medication im on is helping with the above very much, Im almost certain these are due to the meds im on and are keeping me on the up. I’ve been on them 6 weeks and already had my dose cut in half – this shouldnt be happening this far in to them. A similar thing happened a few years on SSRI’S and I know they are not for me. My doctor on the other hand wont listen to me, which reminds me I need to make an appointment tomorrow before I turn all octopus again.