The Recovery Letters – Addressed to People Experiencing Depression.

the recovery letters

 

Last year, I had the honour to be approached by the founder of The Recovery Letters blog, James Withey, who asked me to submit a letter for his upcoming book, the Recovery Letters – Addressed to People Experiencing Depression, which compiled letters from people who had once suffered – to the currently suffering.

My contribution made it through to final print, and when I got the package through from Jessica Kingsley publishers with a copy of the book, I wept with absolute joy. Upon reading the extracts, the book offers a real inspirational insight in to what it feels like to suffer, and each letter is raw with relatable stories, advice and hope.

Here is my contribution to the book.

 

From Megan. 

 

“Dear You,

 

Struggling with Depression is one of closest things a human being can endure to being stuck in time.

I’m sharing these thoughts from experience. It has been a journey I once kept contained within myself; one that I never thought I would even begin to understand, let alone gain the understanding of those close to me. The day I closed my eyes to the light and woke in the darkness was a day I was convinced that I’d lost myself completely.

 

How do you even begin to make sense of it when your life suddenly pauses and you find yourself stuck within an infinite stretch of nothingness; watching everyone around you carry on with their lives, running towards the future whilst you are left behind? That numbness you just can’t seem to comprehend, slowly replacing the oxygen you once breathed in, poisoning your bloodstream the more you struggle for air. The sadness you can’t shift, lurking around every corner you turn and echoing it’s cries through each painful movement your body tries to make. That vicious hum of anxious energy that strikes time and time again when you have your back turned, potent enough to stop your heart mid-pulse and cruel enough leave you hanging there until you are convinced it will be the last beat it will ever sing.

That desperate search to track down the glimmer that was once yourself, becomes a one-way road that always leads you back to where you first started. After a few effortful attempts running down the same path over and over again, you eventually find yourself getting more and more exhausted with every step you take; until your mind and your body begins to run on an empty soul; a dried up motor that rusts and cracks under the heat. Depression for me was a never ending moment in time, one which I thought I’d never escape from.

 

One of my first Therapists – one of many to follow – gave me some valuable recovery advice back then which has stayed with me to this day. He said to me;

 

“There is a clear difference between believing that you can’t, and knowing that you can’t.”

 

When I heard those words, my perspective finally shifted enough to stop myself from running down that same one path. The reason why I had stalled in this endless loop of despair and a tunnel vision of doom was because I had made myself believe that recovery wasn’t an option for me. But in reality? The opportunity to get better was there. My eyes just couldn’t shift the fog that was my own damned perspective.

 

And then all of a sudden, the possibility of recovery became real. It was as simple as getting out of my head and remembering where I was – more importantly who I was – at that very moment.  

 

So to you dear friend, please remember this. The next time you feel like you are stuck in time, the truth is; you are not. It only feels like you are stuck there. Remind yourself, that outside that perspective of yours, the clock really is ticking away. And it’s leading you to discover the most breath-taking, most beautiful opportunities you thought you could only dream of before now.

Hold on for hope, Recovery begins with you.

Love, Megan.”

 

Please do support James for all the hard work he has done by purchasing a copy for yourself, or even as a gift for someone you know is going through a tough time. Each one of these letters holds so much value and hope for those who are suffering. Details of how to purchase can be found in the link below, along with the Recovery Letters blog.

blog: http://therecoveryletters.com

Advertisements

“Sharing Stories” – A battle of postnatal depression, by Emma Burns.

“I have suffered with my mental health since I was young, and diagnosed at the age of 12. My mum had been a heavy drinker since I was 3 and I’d been in and out of foster care on several occurrences by the time I’d actually been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. In the years before this, at primary school, I had just been called “soft” and picked on because I cried all the time or overreacted to the smallest of things and then just I’d sit there in silence just thinking.

Fast forward to when I was diagnosed. I was in year 7 at high school and not living at home with my mum because yet again she had fallen off the wagon and become physically abusive towards me. I was given counselling again from a child counsellor I had seen a few years earlier. She was great, I could let of steam, scream and shout all while being allowed to be the child I hadn’t ever been. By the time I was 14 I had been back home and back in care several times, again my mum was physically abusive towards me on several occasions. I felt like a yo-yo, back and forth, up and down. In school I was a loner, I didn’t have many friends; there was a few that were aware of things and supported me, an in addition of having a mentor. I was the one that people made jokes about; I was different, I didn’t live at home with my mum, other people didn’t really understand my situation and they’d make fun out of the fact that my mum was an alcoholic. I felt isolated, like no one liked me or wanted me around. I began to feel nervous about being around people, although generally I appeared to be this bubbly person who was always happy (I was good at putting on a mask) – no one saw how things had actually affected me over the years, they didn’t understand either as most of them couldn’t relate, only those really close to me knew what was going on. I continued through school bobbing in and out of depressive and anxious bouts, controlling it fairly well from 15 when I had a stable foster placement where I was treated well.

When I was 16 I fell pregnant, I wasn’t with the dad… ‘Oh s**t, what am I going to do?’ I thought about all my options and after a few days of knowing I was pregnant I was madly in love with this little blob inside me, I moved back home to my mum and everything was great throughout my pregnancy, my mum had stopped drinking and was being supportive and we were getting on great. My little girl was born in autumn 2007. I was 17 years old, I had this tiny being in front of me needing me, completely relying on me ‘I can and will do this she needs me’… I wanted to be the best mum I could and prove everyone wrong about ‘teenage mums’; I breastfed her so I knew she was getting the best I could give her, all her things were new, she was always immaculate, I wanted to be the best that I could… After 3 weeks of horrific pain and a baby stuck to me permanently I gave up breastfeeding, I’ve never felt so bad in my life and that is where it all began again.

I felt bad, I felt guilty, like I had let her down… I hadn’t – I had done my best – but it didn’t feel like that at the time. I went to see my doctor straight away this time as I didn’t want anything to effect the way I looked after my little girl, I was prescribed fluoxetine, an anti-depressant. Diagnosed with postnatal depression and pretty much just sent on my way, I was taking the medication for a few weeks and I felt worse, they actually made me feel like I wanted to do myself harm, and after another two weeks I came off them because the side effects were horrendous and made me feel worse physically and mentally. After a few months of battling by myself, using the strategies I had learnt through the years; once again I was ‘okay’. I continued to be okay for a good while afterwards too, and when my little girl was about 10 months I met someone; we had known each other a while, he was older than me and my mum disagreed… He made me feel special, I felt lovable for the first time in my life and I felt like everything I had been through was worth it for this. I finally felt accepted and it was amazing.

Shortly after getting together, to everyone’s surprise and a few people’s horror we moved in together and quite soon after that I fell pregnant again. We were on cloud 9… Unfortunately after 3 weeks of knowing I was pregnant I had a miscarriage (I was bitten by a stray cat which caused septicaemia and led to a miscarriage). We were heartbroken and again it made me feel bad as it was my job to protect this little life and I had failed to do that, I know it wasn’t really my fault but at the time I felt like it was. After the miscarriage we moved in with my partners parents to save up for a bigger house and a few months later I found out I was pregnant again. This time we told very few people, just to save heartache having to tell people if anything had happened. It was a worrying 9 months but in spring 2010 I gave birth to my second daughter (my partners first). We were delighted and everything was perfect, again I breastfed but this time with the notion of stopping when I needed too with out feeling guilty about it because I had done the best I could do. Roughly 10 days after our daughter was born I received a phone call that would haunt me for years to come.

My Nan, my rock, the most inspirational woman I had ever had in in life had lung cancer and had been given a maximum of 6 weeks to live. Due to the severity of the cancer and her age there was nothing they could do for her. Five short weeks later, she passed away in hospital surrounded by all of us. The next few weeks and months would be the hardest I had ever faced in my life, in the first few days after her death I just cried. I have never actually felt as broken as I did right then and I had been in some pretty low places over the years. I had to try and pull myself together for sake of my partner and my girls – I couldn’t carry on like this, just basically functioning and doing what I HAD to do. About 6 months after my Nan passed away we moved house again, a fresh start, or so I thought. I fought with my Nan’s passing for a fair few years, but I never dealt with it I accepted it, I ran on autopilot, forgetting important things, leaving the housework and just generally not being myself; I ended up going to the GP because I needed help to deal with my grief. It had been 3 years, I didn’t want medication this time though but my doctor strongly advised it, I was prescribed citalopram and was referred for counselling which actually helped. I faced a lot of demons in those sessions, dealt with why I couldn’t let go and why her death had destroyed me like it had done. A lot of it boiled down to anger stemming from childhood, my Nan was always there for me.

After the counselling I felt great, I weaned myself off my medication with my doctors guidance, I even went back to college to get some qualifications. Once I left college I applied for every care job in my area and within a few months I got an interview, a week later I got the job. I loved it, I’d always wanted to work in the healthcare sector and the aim was to start at the bottom and work my way up. I’d been there almost a year when I again fell pregnant, we were over the moon as we’d been trying trying for quite a while. During the early weeks of pregnancy, work was fine, but due to the complex needs of the people I was caring for and the fact we were extremely short staffed that soon changed. I began getting agitated and upset in the mornings before I went to work and I would dread every shift, yet I loved what I did, by the time I was 15 weeks pregnant I had thought about handing my notice in for the sake of my mental health several times; I was taking my work home with me, which is never good in my line of work.

I worked until I was 19 weeks pregnant when I finally bit the bullet and handed my notice in. I thought it was for the best but in hindsight it wasn’t, although it was stressful it gave me a distraction from my own mind. For 12 hours I was this big ball of fun, the joker, I got on with my colleagues and had fun whilst working. Ironic really considering what was really going on in my head! The rest of my pregnancy went well and I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy I have ever laid eyes on. From the minute he was born, I worried. I wasn’t depressed, just anxious. Like the girls, I breastfed him and to my absolute amazement, I managed just over 6 months, I ate well, I slept so well (our son slept through from day one) and I was generally happy. When I stopped feeding him myself, I expected to feel guilty like I had done before this time I didn’t, I was fine, it was amazing! I finally felt like life was going my way…

Shortly after this my mum was on one of her usual drinking binges and was unhappy because I wouldn’t let her see the children; we’d had an on-off relationship for the previous 8 years due to her inappropriate behaviour and drinking which led to me me stopping her from having contact with them. She did the unthinkable and tried to have my children taken off me, luckily everyone saw through her lies and the children are still where they should be, at home with mummy and daddy… This again raised that horrible darkness that I hated so much! It made me question myself, ‘what have I done to deserve this?’ How can someone that is supposed to love me do this?’ 

Now almost 7 months later I’ve been lower than I’ve ever been in my life, until recently when I realised I can’t keep myself down there, I don’t want treating with medication so I have to make myself feel good! I have done it before…  I need to be proud of myself and what I have been through! I need to realise that I have everything in the world to be happy about and that is my little family.

I will get there eventually, I have support from good friends and family. In a way I’m glad of the life I’ve had, and made me who I am and I will find that person again. For now I will keep going; Life is precious.”

– By Emma Burns.

 

Stories are still needed!

Do you have a mental health/recovery story of your own that you’d like to reach out and share to others? Whether it be overcoming depression to addiction to eating disorders… no matter what your area, there will be a chance that your experience will touch someone elses life.

Send your story with your name to themanicyears@gmail.com and i’d be happy to publish on The Manic Years.

Sharing saves lives –

M x

The Interval – a glimmer of stability in a mad, mad world.

sun

 

Life is stable.

 

As stable as it could possibly be in my situation anyway. I’m back on my old medication; a very low dose of Quetiapine, mixed in with an anti-depressant for the fun of it, and things have settled pretty well.

I have been discharged from the care of my Psychiatrist and back to my GP. I have been taking my medication as early as possible, to induce the right 8 hours a night’s sleep in me, swapped partying for meditation and writing, and I have been plodding along with life just fine.

I have been through the up’s and downs and the in’s and out’s of Bipolar for quite some years now, and I am learning to appreciate the times when I do find myself drifting on calm waters; because I have spent 95% of my life fighting the struggle for it.

The peace has given me a lot of time to reflect, and concentrate on other things – looking after my daughter – rather than trying to look after myself – building strength in my relationships, and thinking about the next steps I can take to prepare myself for a career leap. It’s been enjoyable, this quiet interval in my life, and one that I know would be wasteful of me if I wasn’t to use this time to focus on bettering myself and my surrounding environment. To an outsider, it doesn’t seem like such a praise to make, to just get on with my days.

But for people like us, it a destination we have taken a long, long road to get to.

It’s a hell of a journey when only a few months ago you found yourself forcing yourself out of bed in the morning, braving work un-showered and barefaced, with barely your hair touched with a brush. When you found yourself locked in the toilets on your lunch break with your tear-stained jumper over your face, suffocating the sobs that burst out of your chest after one of your hourly panic attacks. When you found yourself in that unbearable training session, stuttering at the most simplest conversations between you and the colleague sitting next door, because your mind has been taken over by the incomprehensible fear that is named these days as ‘social anxiety.’ When you found yourself questioning why and what stripped you of your confidence and started gnawing away at your former self – leaving nothing but shattered pieces of You that can’t seem to be put back together again.

But today, I am whole. I am me, and I am going to use myself for all my glorious ways, my kind smiles, my laughs, my childish dances in the moonlight. I am going to make the best of all those whom I love around me, pray for them and sing along with them and make those memories I can store away for one of those inevitable rainy days.

Because they will come, the rainy days. They will knock the wind out of my lungs and have me down on my knees begging for release from this life.

 

But today, I am whole.

‘Sharing Stories’ – These days: Living with Bipolar disorder, by Russell Myers.

 

fullsizerender

 

  “What do you say when telling people about your mental health problems? How much do you reveal? Do people really want to hear your life story? Will they think you’re looking for sympathy? Do they want to know how your birth Mother left when you were young? How you always felt different and isolated from others despite the appearance you put up? You know what though it’s just all so bloody Freud isn’t it? I can see myself on Freud’s couch as he asks me to tell him about my Mother before prescribing me cocaine to alleviate the on-going madness in my head. Thing is that’s all in the past and I learnt a while back to not let that control my life. So instead how about I tell you about what it’s like to live with it.

I have bipolar, manic depression, extreme moods or whatever else you wish to refer to it as. It’s a funny condition bipolar not funny ha ha but in that it’s a maelstrom of conflicting emotions and ever changing moods.

It’s certainly interesting living with it each day and I’ll be honest there are some days I can’t bear it. Some days I just want the pain to stop, the noise in my head to just be quiet for a few moments. I want that solitude of silence but I know that silence is alone and in the dark. A dark place where a thousand voices whisper inside my head. A place where my own voice struggles to be heard above all the others.

The paranoia creeps in and a numbness begins to crawl over like a black cloud of hopelessness. The voices continue to whisper, turning over and over in my head “you’re worthless, pathetic, a waste of space, nobody wants you, needs you, you should die, nobody will notice or miss you”. The voices are convincing to because it’s your own voice, one your familiar with but it’s lying. It tricks you, deceives you, convinces you and it takes all of the little strength you have left to not cave into their lies. They want to drag you into their pit, that hole of despair, the place where depression dwells and it wants to suck the life from you. I hate these days.

Hang on though there’s something else……

Bipolar can take you another way. A place of excitement, fun, laughter and joy. Bipolar can bring you mania and wow that’s just fantastic in every way. The need to start a business selling unicorn tears, learn guitar, buy a boat, walk to Spain, become a Shaolin monk or learn to unicycle so you can get yourself to Edinburgh or any other random or unachievable idea you can create in your head. Thoughts race through my mind at a thousand miles an hour and logical thoughts have no place there. It’s not about what I can’t do but about what I can do and that I want to do it now. It feels great, amazing, fluid, beautiful, exciting yet erratic, destabilising and narcissistic. A cycle begins of promiscuous behaviour, excessive spending and in the past drug use with no sense of danger only a hunger for adventure.

There’s no room for manoeuvre, no patience for those that don’t understand what I’m trying to say, achieve or those who don’t think I should follow my dreams. I am too important for others not to get it and I never understand why they don’t. This lack of understanding by others gives birth to something else, a monster that is the most difficult to control. The monster that is rage and anger that builds up quickly and manifests in a way that is both terrifying and uncontrolled. I become something I am not, verbally abusive and aggressive towards myself as I punch myself around the head and face with my fists or any heavy object that’s nearby before collapsing exhausted and crying. Then I feel it again, that dark place, those pitch black claws grabbing me and pulling me back down. I really hate those days.

However there’s the other days. The days when I can go out with my friends, I can cook dinner, study for my degree, look after my son, laugh, love and live because despite those days I am not my condition, I am not bipolar, it’s just part of me and something I live with. For despite it all and regardless of those days I am above all of this; a Father, a Son, a Friend. I am strong and brave and stubborn and it’s due to this; that these days are the ones that I keep in my thoughts when I’m having one of those days; because it’s these days that I cherish the most, and it’s these days that will be my strength when I need them most of all.”

-By Russell Myers.

 

Stories are still needed!

Do you have a mental health/recovery story of your own that you’d like to reach out and share to others? Whether it be overcoming depression to addiction to eating disorders… no matter what your area, there will be a chance that your experience will touch someone elses life.

Send your story with your name to themanicyears@gmail.com and i’d be happy to publish on the Blog.

Sharing saves lives –

M x

 

 

 

“Sharing Stories” – Bipolar; The rollercoaster I didn’t pay to get on, By Allison Padgett

image

 

“You’re crazy! You’re a bitch! You’re a mess! I wish you’d just get your shit together! Why can’t you be normal? Just get out of bed! It’s like you’re two different people! It’s all in your head! You’re just lazy! Good for nothing! Worthless! Pathetic!

These are just a few of the things I’ve heard over the years in my struggle with my mental health. Some of these things have been said by friends. Some of these things have been said by loved ones. And some of these things I’ve said to myself.

Have you ever had a bad day? I mean, a really bad day. You wake up late. Forget the most important thing that you needed for work at home, but you’re already late, so you have to make up and excuse not only about your lateness, but about your not bringing that important thing. Your boss calls you in the office to “discuss” your performance or lack there of. You then begin to cry, but it’s only eleven AM, so you have to keep working and act like someone didn’t just make you feel like an idiot, when you know you’re not. Then, you start doubting yourself and start believing what was said. Next, no one asks you to join them for lunch because you look like you’re having one of your “days”. You try to work, but the thoughts play in your head like a CD stuck on repeat. You accomplish nothing, but more failure and your closest coworker gets mad at you for not holding up your end of the bargain. You try to tell them that you’re sorry. You try to tell them that you’ll do better, but they don’t believe you and you start not to believe yourself either. Finally, you go home only to think more about being worthless and wishing you could just die. You think that you’re probably just a burden on everyone and should just quit. Quit your job and life, itself. You’re hungry. No, you’re not hungry enough to fix anything, so you sit in silence and try to go to sleep early. Ha! The Sandman laughs in your face. Sleep doesn’t come because you continue to listen to that CD. Over and over. You believe it. You know you’re just a pathetic human being. Then you finally fall asleep miraculously, only to be awoken by a nightmare that you’re being thrown in a dumpster filled with other people “just like you”. Then, much to your dismay, your alarm goes off and it’s time to start the struggle of life for one more day.

Sounds like hell, doesn’t it? It sounds unreal.

It was a day in my life. On my “down” days, I felt like this. Sometimes even worse. So your worst day, is a day in the life of someone with bipolar disorder when they cycle down. Oh sure, I cycle up, too. Here’s what that feels like…

You are woken up by your alarm and today, you don’t feel like throwing it across the room. Could it be? You’re not sure yet. You get ready for work and today you feel like listening to the radio. What? You get to work and say hello to everyone you see. Good Morning, everybody!! You start your workday and do your work without interruptions of doubt. All of the sudden, while chatting with your favorite coworker you both realize that it’s almost time to go home. Already? Awesome! You drive home, windows down, singing your favorite song and thinking that sunlight is pretty great. When you get home, you cook your favorite meal and enjoy it in front of the TV, watching your favorite rerun of Friends. (The Prom Video, obviously) Then you take a nice warm bath, look in the mirror one last time and smile. Today was your day! Today was an amazing day! You pick up that novel you’ve been meaning to read and then fall asleep easily, without the constant feeling of worthlessness.

Sounds like a pretty good day, right? Sounds like what most people would call a normal day. For me, these days are precious. They are coveted. I yearn for these days. I beg for these days and when they come they’re gone too soon.

I haven’t always been bipolar. I’ve been to so many doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists. I’ve been told I’m depressed. I have anxiety disorder. I’m just hormonal. I need to exercise more. I should just eat better. I have toxic people in my life and if I rid myself of them, then I’ll be fine. Fine, they said. But, fine never came. Fine felt a million miles away.

So, I started doing research. I listened to some of those closest to me. One ex said I acted like two different people. He named them “Allison and Callison”. It took 10 years before I knew what that meant. I’m not two different people, but my brain just might be. So, I called an emergency mental health hotline. No, I wasn’t having a true mental health emergency, but I needed someone to listen to this epiphany. I needed someone to listen. I needed some one to listen to ME. Not judge me. Not try to over analyze me. And not throw the latest pill at me and tell me it’s been a miracle for other patients. So, he listened while I explained what I knew in my heart was finally right. I think I’m bipolar, I said. I had actually said it. Bipolar.

The next step was making an appointment with yet another psychologist. But this time was different. I had an idea of what to say. I’d never been completely open with any provider before, but this time I was. I explained my lifelong battle with my brain. And she listened. She gave me a test. It wasn’t long. I had to answer about twenty questions. I answered all, but a select few, with a resounding YES. I didn’t know what the test was for, but I knew whatever it was, it understood me. The results? Bipolar Type 2, with hypo-mania. YES!! I knew it. But, wait. What the hell do I do now? Another pill? No. That’s not why I came. Pills don’t work for me. I should know. I’d been on every single one. But, she was adamant that this pill was for bipolar disorder. This pill was “right” for me. I gave in. I went to the pharmacy and filled it.

Then, I waited. They always say to wait two to three weeks before you give up.

I waited three days. Yes, three days. On day four I woke up different. Good different. Something felt good. Not high, good. But, I just felt good. What? No self loathing this morning? No hatred of all things morning? Ok. That’s great. Now, I’ll need to go on and get up. I have things to do. I got up. I showered and dressed and then I had an errand to run. I hopped in my car and immediately turned on the radio. I rolled the windows down and began driving. About three miles down the road I came to a stoplight. One of those looong stoplights that if you don’t hit at just the right time, you’ll sit forever. So, I sat. I looked around at all of the other people in their cars. Some just sitting. Some on the phone. And some smiling at me. Why were they smiling, I thought. Oh, shit! I’m smiling, too. Then, it hit me! I’m happy. And I began to cry. I cried because I was happy. I cried because I felt what most people call normal. And right there at that stoplight, I knew my struggle had just gotten a little easier. So, I cried some more. I cried for the years I’d missed not feeling this way. Then, I stopped crying. I stopped because I wanted too. I stopped because I could.

So, what now? I had a diagnosis and a medication that managed it. I felt like someone or something had given me back my life. No, wait. I felt like someone or something had finally given me life.

And, so goes the beginning of my life with bipolar disorder. Is it always as easy as it was that fourth day? No. Is it ever as bad as my worst day? No. I still cycle up and down. Just not as frequently and not as high or as low. I’ve had to add some medications and I’ve taken a few away, but right now I’m managed. I still deal with the stigma. How many times have I heard someone laugh at someone else’s expense and joke that they must be bipolar? A lot. I just kind of look down and smile to myself. They don’t know what they’re saying. They don’t know what it’s like. They don’t know that every single day is a battle. But, they also don’t know that I’m finally winning.”

– By Allison Padgett

Thank you to Allison for submitting her story. To read more of Allison’s journey upon Bipolar, homeschooling and living with her Husband’s Brain tumour diagnosis, please support her blog at https://immamabutimstillme.wordpress.com

 

WE NEED YOUR STORIES….

– Please drop me an email on themanicyears@gmail.com if you want to take part and be featured in “Sharing Stories”, if you have a story to tell or you just want to share your thoughts about your experiences with mental health. I am so proud of everyone who has contributed and who has joined me in this journey so far, and I do hope our army gets stronger. A bigger voice. A fight to speak louder. – M

 

 

The view on the horizon.

3312638449_da4ee7cc00
After a week and a half of suffering in the pits of depression and tortured by the wrath of anxiety I can finally feel the fog dispersing and I have a clearer view of the future ahead of me.

No self harm incidents, but a few bad days with only codeine to pull me through, and I am weaning off gently after the relapse had me using for the will to function properly.

It’s amazing how distorted your thoughts can get after even a blip of depression, and this one had me overanalyzing my current life choices reguarding work, my home, my relationships and myself as a person. My self esteem got battered by the storm and I have little self worth left to try and pick the pieces and build a stable me back together again.

But indeed, I got through it, and I will pick myself up little by little and I will continue my journey on the path of stability, recovery and self discovery.

Ten Things Thankful

Thankful

My Ten Things Thankful today was inspired by rosiesmrtiepants – Go check her blog out, its awesome!

So keeping up with the new positive charm of my blog lately, here’s the list of the ten things I am thankful for.

1. My Daughter – I have a stunning, amazing, charming, independent and intelligent little Missy named Lola. She is the centre of my universe and has taught me so much about myself in the past two years of her being in my life. She was the motivation that drove me to finish my degree as well as I did, the reason why I get out of bed in the morning and my icon who influences me to develop my character, better myself and my life – for me. Yesterday, when I was dropping her off at her Nana’s for the evening, she wrapped her arms tightly around me and said “I love you mummy, I miss you Mummy like the whole wide world!”

And that makes me the luckiest lady in the world to have someone in m life who makes me feel so important. I love you little Lo, thank you for being in my life. xoxo

2. The Besties – So… Not only did God bless me with one best friend, he blessed me with three! We are the ultimate Sex and the City quadruplets who have grown up with each other throughout playgroup, high school, right in to adulthood. They are the girls who I don’t even have to see face to face or even speak to each other for months, and I still have that security to know that we will still be in each others lives for the rest of our time here and beyond. Each one plays a different role in my life, we speak in code (seriously, have you ever met someone who you do not have a normal conversation with – you just communicate through silence, eye contact, facial expressions and made up languages and meaningful quotes and still fully understand each other??). We can skit each other, call each other names – and STILL be secure in our friendships to know that deep down they mean the opposite. The memories we all share together, and individually are enough to drag me out of the deepest pit of depression and lift my heart by making me smile, if only temporary.

And the most special thing about us all? Our bond has been stretched and tested all across the globe (one of them moved to Cyprus when she was 14 for 8 years, I only saw her twice a year – One of them travelled Asia last year and is now settling down in Australia making a life for herself) and it still hasn’t broken us, if anything it has made us closer and stronger.

Thank you for being in my life ladies and making a huge contribution to the person I am today.

3. My family – I have to admit I didn’t have the best time growing up family wise; my parents split when I was 7, my mum fell ill and my world fell apart.

Nowadays, I am super close to my Dad who took me in at 14 and brought me up. He’s my rock. He does his best to understand any struggles I face, even if it’s not in his blood to, always there to lend a helping hand no questions asked. I have the best dad in the world, he has taught me a lot. Thank you for being you, Dad.

Me and my Mum had a huge fall out when I left home, for years it was never the same. And then I had my daughter and everything changed. We put aside our differences and realised we have more in common than we realised. She has pushed herself to be there for me in time of need, offered unlimited and invaluable advice and been the best Nanna to my daughter I could have asked for. Thanks mum, you rock.

As for the rest of my family, my crazy aunties who treat me more like a lifelong friend, my cousins who will do anything for me, and the other side of the family who are always close my and always there to offer a helping hand.

4. My motivation – Yes, there have been countless times where I have quit. I have shut the world out and give in. But I can always rely on myself to pick myself up again after I fall down. The amazing things I have done for myself – having my daughter through out uni, continuing with uni and earning my degree, not giving up on the job of my dreams, no matter how much it beat me down. I do stumble, I do fall over sometimes but I can always rely on myself to just keep going. I know if I put the effort in, I can always unlock that unlimited drive power. It’s got me far, and I trust myself to continue to use it in the future.

5. My job – Again, its no secret that I absolutely LOVE my job. I have finally found something that I am good at, that I can go far in, it has already opened the door to unlimited opportunities. In addition, I’m highly grateful for a relaxed and super friendly atmosphere that I can work in, I have had jobs in the past where the environment was less than friendly and it doesn’t half kill your spirit.

Also – my boss is awesome. I see her more of a friend than a boss. Thanks guys, I’m so grateful for you all letting me be part of the team, and giving me the opportunity to begin my career.

6. The Cornwall Holidays – Every year, The Boy’s family treat us to a holiday to St.Ives for a week, to relax and spend time together. Last year I was going through a lot (me and The Boy split) and they still brought me along and treated me as part of the family. We are very lucky to have parents that do so much for our child, as I never had the opportunity to have breaks away when I was little (we were too skint!). Last year, no matter how alone I felt I used the holiday to have a break from the turmoil at home, from myself; let the warm sun kiss me better, let the wind embrace my hurt during long runs along the shore on the beach, and let the evening view of the stars over the sea take me away from this world, if it only dissolved my problems for a little while.

7. Music – Whether blasting out loud and aggressive music through my ipod on the bus during my college days (when I was going through a hefty self-injury phase), a relaxing piano session in the bath after a long day, motivational music during my runs or all the man-hater stuff after a hard break up – music has always been there and helped to guide me through the process of recovering from my downfalls. Music not only listens to your pain, but it reaches out to your soul and understands whatever the hell it is you are going through this week.

8. The Boy – ahhh, The Boy.

I haven’t written too much about him over the past few months I have been blogging, mainly as there is mixed feelings considering where we have been, where we are at and where we are heading.

The Boy is my partner and the father of our precious daughter. We first met 6 years ago – went through the boyfriend girlfriend stage, the moving in stage (twice!) and the parenting stage. We’ve been though turmoil during the ups and downs (literally) and the ‘I don’t even know what is going on’s’ of my illness, we have suffered many splits, many ego bruises, anger and a little bit of hatred. But we have been through it together.

After the major split last year it is clear to me that no mater how hard we try, things will never be the same romantically. He is my living partner, we bring our daughter up together and after all we have been through, we are still great friends. And I am thankful for all the help and the love he has offered along the way.

9. Hypomania –

…. I know those who have the luck to have gone through this are possibly thinking “What? What in this world made you include Hypomania on the list?! Are you mental woman??”

Here’s the lowdown; Yes, I am a little mental. But I wouldn’t be me without it.

Hypomania has gotten me in to SO much trouble. It has embarrassed me, hurt me, hurt others, confused the frick out of my life, changed my direction too many times to count, left me in debt, landed me in years of therapy… the list continues. But I always manage to ignore the other side of the list, and I think its about time I brought this in to light..

How many people can say that they have had such a surge of life enough to appreciate the pure beauty of this world? Colours are brighter, the world is magical, smells are intense, the air has never felt fresher. That’s an experience in itself. Hypomania pushes me to indulge in that beauty, totally get lost in this life and really feel what it is about. That pure joy I feel in my heart gives me a zest for life, it all good feeling balanced but come on guys, nothing feels as good as living. Really living. How boring would my life have been if I hadn’t totally engorged in it every now and again? How many opportunities would I have missed? How much more excited and fulfilling is it living on the edge rather than sat in the shadows?

I will not let this illness define me, however I am grateful for the life it is helping me pursue.

10 – and finally…

… All the boys who have broken my heart.

Heartbreak SUCKS. It hurts. Being messed about makes you feel under appreciated, unworthy, unwanted, ugly, used. I have been lied to, emotionally abused, discarded and swept under the rug.

The reason why I am thankful for all men who have messed me about is because without them I would not be the strong, independent woman I am today. Each one of them have added to my character, each one of them have been forgotten about  still remain part of my life today by contributing to one of my strengths.

Without the hurt I would not have learnt not to settle for second best. They have taught me never to let someone with a significance of a speed bump be a road block in MY life. They have taught me to raise my standards because I am worth so much more than to be treated like a girl by a little boy; I need a man who will treat me like a woman. They have taught me that I don’t need a man to help me click my heels and fly, because I am perfectly capable of doing that all my myself. I don’t need anyone else’s permission to be hurt, that’s my choice to make. They have taught me never to be anyone but my true self, eventually I will meet someone who’s worthy enough to appreciate the real me and lucky enough to have me by their side. They have taught me the value of enjoying my own company and feeling, well…

Free.

1016841_618531824844933_1772681993_n

They have taught me to love myself. And I am very grateful for that.

So cheers lads! Thank you for the pain and the heartbreak, if it wasn’t for you lot I wouldn’t have banked so much self-worth and self-respect along the way. You have helped me to grow by allowing me to pick out and bank the bits and pieces I needed from you all and invest in myself, adding to my true value. I am shining, and I am continuously moving on to better things.

So there we have it… my Ten Things Thankful. I feel somewhat relieved by completing this post, it has been such a strong reminder of the positive things I have to treasure in my life.

One last thing… I challenge everyone who comes across this post to stop what they are doing and continue the domino effect, by  spreading the positive vibe and allowing yourself and your readers to dig deep and bringing fourth their Ten Things Thankful. Happy Sunday 🙂

A note to myself.

note-quote-separate-with-comma-text-window-Favim.com-139242

It’s Friday evening. Usually the weekends are the hardest to cope with, especially if it means being by myself. But tonight something is different.

I’m in my room on my bed, by myself and doing my own thing and it feels… easier. I’m enjoying this. I had a glass of wine, then I stopped. No need to have the full bottle and self soothe. One glass is enough.

The anxiety is easing off a little (again, usually a lot stronger and harder to deal with at the weekend!), and when it does come on, I feel that teensy bit stronger to be able to tackle it successfully. Whether its physically through exercise or by mentally diverting my thoughts. Somehow, it doesn’t seem as vicious, almost like it has shrunk.

I’m getting better at dealing with my bad energy. I’m tacking that before it spirals out of control in to a bad self destructive urge. It feels good not to be fighting some of the bigger demons for a change.

I’m going to complete an exercise I’ve set myself, just to let myself know how i’m truly progressing. It probably wont make sense, but i’m just going to type whatever comes in to my mind, no matter if it hurts. I have been avoiding some of my thoughts that are too painful to let out, so this has become the dedicated safe haven to release them. Apologies in advance. Just go for it Megan.

Here goes.

“This is hard. But you are doing it. You are fighting and giving 110% for the first time in years. Keep going. You are stronger than you could ever imagine. There is no need to let others influence your decision making, or control your life. Letting go is so hard, but you have to keep at it. Be strong. You are worth so much more than being someone’s second best. You made the decision to get in to trouble, you knew it would hurt eventually and you are paying the price – but so what? Everyone makes mistakes. Keep at it, forgive yourself and let it go. Step aside. Seek people in your life who are worthy of your time and your precious energy. I know you think that you will never find somebody like that but you will. Be your own best friend for the time being. You are good enough – you just have to see it for yourself before it can truly shine through to others. Let the hurt and the anxiety drive you – indulge in it, and use it. You can build your life up now from scratch and fill it with people who don’t just make you happy, but who value you as much as you value them.

You are WORTH it. Just keep going.”

That hit home hard and I let the anxiety I have been trying to mask and avoid dealing with come out. I need to let it go.

Looking after Number One.

It started up again tonight. There’s only so long you can go for ignoring the fact that you are in pain.

Anxiety creeping, worthlessness, heck I even felt kind of depressed. So tonight, I’ve decided to shut the world out to cope. Disguise the hurt for one evening, have a night off. I ran a nice hot bubble bath, put some chilled and neutral music on, closed my tired eyes and escaped. Drifted in and out of effortless thoughts and slumber, letting my subconscious take over for a change. I feel better already.

Sometimes, you just need a break from fighting, you know?

Tomorrow will be a kinder day, and I will be that little bit stronger. I’m Fighting the pain for the better, letting go of all insecurities and embracing them, rather than degrading myself even more. Just keep going, one day at a time. I’ll get there eventually.

My top 5 ultimate goals.

After entertaining with Hypnotherapy for the past week, following life coach advice (Joseph Clough, check him out!) and reading self-confidence and inner strength books on how to change your thoughts and be in control of your life – I have managed to draw up a list of the top 5 goals I want to work towards to better myself.

Here’s the list, and in addition some ‘rules’ I have made for myself along with an action plan of how to work towards accomplishing those goals. If anyone has some feedback, criticisms or has an idea of anything to add it would be more than welcome.

1. Do more things for myself which benefit ME. (Hard)

  • Ask myself if the action/decision I am about to take up will have any benefit for me or will be worthwhile in the future. Examine my actions. Does this have any place in my life? If not, focus my energy on something else worth pursuing.

2. Stop being so dependant on others. (Hard.)

  • Spent plenty of time by myself – learn to enjoy my own company and be comfortable doing things without the presence of others. (Shopping, watching films, walks, Saturday nights etc.)
  • Stop making ASSUMPTIONS – Follow life by the reality of the situation (look for the evidence!); not by how i’m fantasising it up in my head or how I want the outcome to be.
  • Don’t go out of my way for people who haven’t earn their worth.
  • Go to bed at a certain time instead of staying up replying to messages and not sleeping! I am not missing out on anything! Go to sleep!
  • …And stop checking your phone every 5 minutes! Concentrate on what you are doing, everyone else can wait.
  • Be my own best friend.

3. Channel all my negative energy in to something more productive/beneficial. (Easy)

Negative energy includes;

  • Anxiety
  • Self harm urges
  • Hypersexuality  (although I will remind myself that it is perfectly normal and okay to have a sex drive – but not if it gets you in to trouble!)
  • Unworthiness
  • Depression
  • Agitation.
  • Ask yourself if the action that the energy wants to produce has any benefits to you – is this action any use to your future self? if not, find a healthier more productive way to release it.
  • Release any energy before any situation that may provoke it – e.g. hypersexual urges can be safely ‘released’ before a night out – prevent the risk of slipping under the influence of alcohol binges/general excitement!

4. Save up for my future stability. (Easy)

Using the “Banking” Technique.

  • Money – put some aside in to savings account every month (after bills), and consider how much allowance I can pot/I will need for a future place of my own – bank it,  then prepare for the day I can own that home of mine!
  • Friendships – Ask myself WHO I need in my life. Are they worth keeping? Are they true friends? Do they have any use for me in the future? Imagine that perfect stable life of mine… who do I want to share it with? Bank these people.
  • Career – What can I bank to help me progress my career? What investments should I make? Overtime, contacts, a second job, relationship with boss/co workers, training courses – are there any actions that will expand my knowledge and experience in the work place? Anything I can do to help with inspiration and ideas?
  • Relationships – Who do I want to spend so much time and energy on for that potential match in the future? Relationships are a big investment… Are they proving their worth/loyalty to me? Are they honest and respectful to me? Do they treat me like a woman, or a girl? Do they give me negative vibes? Are they worth keeping for the future? Do they have the ability to settle down? What do I want out of the relationship, and can they live up to that? Can they respect who I am as a person, and with the disorder? Can they handle how huge a proportion my daughter is of my life? If so, bank them.

5. Don’t let my heart rule my head – take it slow. (Hard)

  • Do not make ASSUMPTIONS – ask what they want from you, if not what expected them ditch this person before it goes nowhere and you get hurt.
  • What are their ‘real’ intentions..? (not their imaginary intentions!)
  • Do not DEPEND on the attention (this is a big no no for me, especially in the early stages).
  • Do not tolerate any hot and cold behaviours – you know from experience this equals lack of self-esteem and confusion.
  • Clear any confusions up asap. Do not tolerate the ‘Guessing game’ (ain’t nobody got time for that!)
  • Do not get too close until sure.
  • And a very important one… No giving it up until they have proven their worth and trusts starts to form. Sex should be the last thing on the agenda.

And do NOT forget…

  • Make sure the other person is clear of YOUR intentions. Tit for tat!

And there we have it. Things to practice to better myself, gain control of my emotions and my life. A stronger, better me. Recovery just got serious.