A letter to my Body 2.0

Dear Body,

Its been a tough one this year.
My brain hasn’t liked it much and you bore the brunt of it.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for all the times I’ve picked at you. I’m sorry for the times I’ve poisoned you.

I’m sorry that I’ve starved you, overfed you.

I’m sorry that I’ve just not loved you.

People see you differently to the way that I do.

I have a view of which you are usless, horrible and deserve to be hidden.

Others see you as perfect. We’ll work on accepting that.

In the mean time, listen to those who are trying to teach you to love yourself.
Listen to your best friend. When he says there’s nothing wrong with you.

Listen to the people who see you as more than your body. Who see you as amazing and kind and wonderful

Year 2021, the year of loving my body. I’m coming for you.

Love, Albie xxxx

Covid-19 and Mental health

When you live with a chronic fear of being abandoned, its really difficult when all of a sudden you can’t have the regular contact you would with the people you love and care deeply about.

Lockdown has been difficult and my anxiety has increased tenfold, to the point where I’m basically a ball of it.
But the most difficult thing for me during lockdown has been this fear of being abandoned.

“No one can see me so people are going to forget about me” is a prominent thought in my mind.

So I become clingy to my friends who I love and care about. Which instills more fear and a vicious cycle as I’m scared they’re going to leave me because of how clingy I am.

But I CAN’T stop. It’s like im watching myself do it, screaming at myself not to be going to these frantic efforts to avoid being abandoned, but being scared of it happening anyway.

Another aspect is ,we can’t see people at the moment, and i struggle with believing that people exist if I can’t physically see them. Sounds stupid doesn’t it ?

Have you ever heard of object constancy? Children learn, through games like peek-a-boo that just because they can’t see something doesnt mean its not there.

I sort of lack that skill, and as one of my best friends puts it, it’s like I’m constantly playing a game of friendship peekaboo. Because the minute I’m not in contact with them or can’t see them I begin to question their existence, this goes for everyone, not just my friends.

This is amplified by 100 when you can’t actually go a physically see and hug people.
For me physical human contact is the thing that makes me feel alive, feel less abandoned.

Logically I know people aren’t going to abandon me, the people who im most scared of leaving me would have done so a while ago if they were going to.

But logic plays no part in feelings, thoughts = facts as you naturally believe your thoughts. And then you go from there.

I can spiral into a pit of self-depreciating thoughts very quickly but as long as they just remain thoughts and I ignore them/ don’t do any behaviours because of that thought (eg. frantically call somone because I believe I’m being abandoned then it’s fine)

That’s easier said than done and it’s increasingly harder in these strange circumstances

But I know it’s not something only I am dealing with.

People are dealing with these strange times all different ways, some people aren’t really feeling its affects, some are denying. Some people are feeling like me. Others are finding it easier to just cut themselves off whilst this is going on.

There’s no correct way to handle how your feeling, the only real way is to do whatever is going to help you. Be selfish and help yourself feel okay (without trying to hurt other people).

People’s mental health is struggling at the moment whether you have a diagnosed condition or not.

I’m watching people with OCD struggle because this is way out of everyone’s control, especially their own.

I’m watching people with eating disorders struggle as they see people joke about “getting fat during lockdown”

I’m watching people with depression struggle to find a purpose as they can’t go to work or do the things that kept them going.

And people with BPD struggle with their impulsivity and fear of abandonment.

Everyone needs to support each other, if you don’t understand mental health just be kind.

We are all going through this together, just some people have additional factors that come into play too.

So much love to you all ❤️❤️❤️

Samaritans 116 123
The mix 0808 808 4994
Calm 0800 585858
NHS 111

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/coronavirus

To my best friends

This is a post dedicated to two of the most amazing people in my life.

Two of the closest people and most important people in my life.

Nicole and Dan. You will see this post as I will send it to you and I want you to see it.

Nicole

I’ve known you since I was diddy but only became friends with you properly when we became year 37’s.
You have seen me through so much shit. There have been so many times where you’ve had my back.

I know that you would do anything for me.

I appreciate our days of cross stitch and bitch at your house. I appreciate your hugs as I know how precious they are.

I appreciate your humour, and you ability to always say the right thing even if it’s not the relevant thing.

Dan

A person who hasn’t been in my life quite as long but has had just of much of an impact.

You were my rock through work over the summer and have continued to be so.

I appreciate your atrocious sense of dad humour and your repertoire of dad jokes and puns.

I appreciate your ability to find something dirty in everything I say (most of the time).

Both of you

I appreciate the time you have given me. The memories we have made.

I appreciate the endless support and effort.

I understand that watching me struggle isn’t easy but thank you for staying.

You two are incredible, incredible friends. I can only hope that I’m at least half as good of a friend back.

Thank you for being beautiful souls.
You guys are my soul mates.

I love you both more than words can say and I never want you to forget it.

Queen Bae and Spaniel. You are amazing

Love you

What it took- our NHS crisis

(This blog post contains a TW for mentions of suicide. I wouldn’t normally speak in so much detail about it, but for the purposes of this post it needs to be said.)

A few weeks ago I nearly died.

This may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not. A few weeks ago I found myself at a motorway service station when I should have been at uni.

I found myself trying to bring myself to run out into traffic, stood by the fence. I had a panic attack and hyperventilated. Collapsed to the floor.

A woman came over, a kind lady. Who stroked my shoulder. Asked me if I was okay, I couldn’t speak to her. She called an ambulance and then had to leave.

She was the first person to come over. I had been panicking and trying to harm myself for around an hour before someone noticed me.

I was in my uniform. My nursing uniform. I had every intention when I woke up that I was going to uni regardless of how shit I felt.

But then it all built up, and panic overrode everything. I wanted to crash my car. When I pulled over I ended up still wanting to hurt myself.

I had been trying to access help for years. With no success.

A few weeks prior to this I had been put under the care of the crisis team when my parents had found suicide notes in my bedroom.

The crisis team were seeing me once a week but only with the aim of keeping me alive not me actually getting better.

When the ambulance came and got me from the services I felt numb. I knew in this moment that my nursing career was over before it begun. The one thing that had kept me going was going to be taken away from me.

But I sort of didn’t care at the same, I mean I few moments earlier I was ready to give up my whole life.

I struggled to really anything to paramedics. When I got to the hospital I was given a bay in majors.

The only people who knew I was there was my best friends and the lady who called the ambulance.

I couldn’t tell my family.

I felt ashamed that I had got to that place again.

I was seen by a Dr who did blood tests as I had been taking regular overdoses, and then eventually seen by the mental health team.

In this case it was a psychiatric nurse who saw me. She asked me questions, I tried my best to answer. But my brain didn’t want me to speak to her.

When I had finished, I said to her “I’m still going to kill myself”.

She went and spoke to my crisis to come up with a plan. I was sent back to my bed..

I called my stepdad. He came to the hospital as quickly as he could.

The mh nurse told him what she told me. That I would be discharged, as there was no where for me to go.

Even though, I honestly thought I was going to die. I was terrified, my brain was telling me I was going to not stop until I was dead.

I spent the next few days in bed. Not really leaving my room for anything except to see the crisis team once.

I was furious in my appt with them, even though I knew it wasn’t their fault as individuals. I was so mad that I still hadn’t got any help.

I was trying to help myself but there was nothing I could do, I don’t like myself. Why would I want to help myself?

After that appointment I went back home and back to my bed and cried.

I honestly felt like nothing was ever going to change.

I went to my next appointment and got told that I was being offered DBT and it would start the following week.

I have now had about 5/6 sessions of it and it is okay. It’s hard but it’s early days.

But I’m glad I’m getting some help. I’m furious though at how long it took me.

I’m not expecting for everything to be done for me, please don’t think that.

But I nearly died before I got help. And I know it’s a common theme.

If your friend or family member is going through a crisis then do what my friends did and be there. You don’t have to understand, you just need to be there if they need you. At the end of a phone is good enough.

Read up on their diagnosis (if they have one) -I got shouted at for not explaining my diagnosis to my dad. I asked him to read up on it but he said he’d rather hear it from me. It would have been easier and more comfortable for him to read it online.

If you’re going through this then I’m sorry, just try not to give up, whatever you do. It’s hard, it’s beyond bloody hard. But you are so worth it.

I feel like I have lost everything in terms of my future because of EUPD and not getting help. But I have my friends who I adore and my family whose hearts are in the right place.

As the election is coming up I want to say, vote wisely. People are being failed by the healthcare system as there is not enough money.

Vote for who is going to save it.

Much love,

Abz XXX

Samaritans (phone line)- 116 123

Samaritans (text line)-07725909090

Crisis text line Text SHOUT to 85258

Dear My Primary School Teachers (TW- Domestic violence

Remember in circle time when we were asked to put in a bag what worried/ scared us? We had lots of “spiders”, “heights”, “secondary school”. I put ” my mum’s boyfriend”. I was told that all parents argue and that I’d be fine.

Remember when I stayed behind after 3.00pm with my sister saying I was too scared to go home? I was told it will be okay, parents just argue, nothings wrong.

Remember when all of you would tell me how great my mum looked for loosing weight? When I told you she wasn’t eating I was told that can’t be true.

For the majority of my primary school life we lived with an horrifically abusive man. And looking back on it, it doesn’t even seem like my life.

When I said I was scared to go home it’s because I didn’t know whether my mum was going to be shouted at, spat at, or strangled that night.

I didn’t know if we were going to have to leave to go to my grandparents or whether my dad was going to have to pick us up.

Twice a new school was arranged for us so we could move in with our dad, but our mum didn’t want to let us go and twice this was cancelled.

I wish teachers had done something. That you had reported it, followed it up, believed us.

I now know that me and my sister should not have been left in this position, but the people who knew something and could have changed that didn’t.

Teachers now, please please please, listen to a student if they say something like this. Report it to your safeguarding lead, and follow it up if you feel like nothing is being done.

Don’t let these children and young people fall through the cracks. Because witnessing domestic violence is abuse.

Changes

The title from my blog is based on a song that I sung from Beauty and the Beast when I left school. It was very poignant for me as leaving school was one of the biggest changes for me. Changes are an emotional thing, changes are such a difficult thing for many (including me) but they can also be exciting.

The last few months have been full of changes.

In November I left Uni, I had gotten quite ill and I wasn’t able to save myself from slipping further without leaving uni and getting help. So I left, it was a hard decision but it was important. I don’t think ever been as ill as when left . It’s taken some time but I can honestly say I’m in a much better place than I was before and dealing with things much better.

At the end of November my grandfather died. This was the first grandparent that I’d ever lost and I really didn’t know how to deal with it. I didn’t think I’d get through it but I have. It was a change I wasn’t really prepared for but I made it.

I started a new job and left that job. This was a big decision for me but I didn’t leave uni to then go into a stressful job where I couldn’t look after myself.

Most recent change is to do with TTC ,somewhere that I have been a part of for almost three years.

The wonderful Joss has left. And she may not know it but I probably wouldn’t have got through most of these changes in my life without her.

Joss has taught me that it’s okay to look after myself and give myself a break. She supported me when my grandfather died. She supported me when I left uni. She taught me to believe in myself. She made me realise that I was strong enough to deal with these changes.

So thank you Joss for helping me get through changes. And thank you for teaching me that it’s okay to look after myself.

Changes for me are still a scary thing. But I know I will always get through them like I have so far.

Life is about change. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s beautiful. But most of the time, it’s both.”

Abbie xx

#HelloMyNameIsDepression/Anxiety

#MyNameIs a healthcare professional with mental health issues. #MyNameIs mental illness.

My new campaign is all about healthcare professionals who experience mental health issues. To kick off the campaign I have asked other health care professionals to write about their experiences as guest posts.

 

“#MyNameIsDepression/Anxiety

I am a Medical student

I live in Uk

I started having troubles with depression back in school at the age of 16, and whilst i struggled through it through the help of CAMHS, i felt in a much better place at the start of my degree, thinking it was all behind me.

I have found that as the stress of the working environment, the weight of responsibility and the thought of graduation and its implications looms ever closer, I am struggling ever more with anxiety.

I think the ever growing pressures on the NHS, and the idea of going into that work environment, plus the current increase in workload, and the weight of expectations of myself mean that i have days go by where i feel helpless to actually do anything, rather than get on with something.

I feel that our university does actually give us good support, many of our staff see us regularly and are approachable and have offered before to talk to us about any problems we have.

We also have a counsellor we can access through a university system, and it isn’t too restrictive to get in touch either. I think the more we talk about it, and acknowledge that nearly anyone and everyone has these issues, the easier it becomes to talk to friends about it, explain to people why you aren’t on top form or have to miss a meeting etc. without then feeling embarrassed, or not wanting to seek help because of embarrassment.

Saying you are going to see a counsellor should be of no more significance than saying you have to miss your meeting because you are seeing your GP.

 It shouldn’t come with any other questions either. I think people are getting better in this regard, as a cultural shift takes place, and I think we just need to keep working towards that, along with increased access to helpful resources like the ones I mentioned we are lucky to have. I used to worry as a teenager that having mood difficulties, even at their most innocuous all to the way to extreme, meant i could never become a doctor, and I wish at the time someone had told me that was simply not true.

I hope we are building a society that teaches children their mental health should never be a barrier to their goals

I hope you all enjoyed this insightful post. If anyone reading this needs support, below are some helplines and websites. Thank you for reading and a massive thank you to contributors of this series.

Look after yourself,

Love Abz

Signposting (UK)

 

The Mix (up to 25)-020 7009 2500

 

Samaritans-116123

 

Papyrus-0800 068 41 41

#HelloMyNameIsBipolar

#HelloMyNameIs a healthcare professional with mental health issues. #MyNameIs mental illness.

My new campaign is all about healthcare professionals who experience mental health issues. To kick off the campaign I have asked other health care professionals to write about their experiences as guest posts.

“#MyNameIsBipolar

I am a Childrens Mental Health Nurse

My favourite animals are Cats and Pandas

I live in Hampshire

Do you think there was enough support when studying your qualification for those who were experiencing mental health issues?

I don’t know about other people but my university were very supportive of me when I had to take a few weeks off as a result of my mental health. I was offered to retake an exam if I didn’t get the grade predicted and I was under no pressure to come back before I was ready to. Occupational health signed me off nights as they impact my mental health so much, and I also had the option to seek support from student services but chose not to as I had support from mental health services outside of uni.
Did studying your course affect your mental health, if so, how?

Yes but through no fault of the university. I am a huge perfectionist and put enormous amounts of pressure on myself, which definitely did have a negative effect on my mental health.

Do you/did you feel comfortable talking to your colleagues/lecturers/mentors about your mental health?

I do now! I didn’t used to but I’ve learnt over the last few years how important it is, so now I’m really open.

Have you felt that being a healthcare professional has stopped you from seeking help for your mental health issue?

Yes. Although I am open with people around me, the fear of running into any of my current or past patients has definitely stopped me engaging in treatment before and also means I have to attend a service out of area.

What more needs to be done (if anything) for healthcare students/professionals suffering with mental health issues?

There needs to be a better culture of being open, especially in mental health services. We are often our own worst enemy as a profession and we need to be better at sharing and listening.

Any advice for current students/qualified professionals who are struggling?

Be honest. People can’t help you if they don’t know, and in my experience things have been so much easier for me once I’ve shared because it means I’ve been able to get the support I’ve needed.

I hope you all enjoyed this insightful post. If anyone reading this needs support below are some helplines and websites. Thank you for reading and a massive thank you to contributors of this series.

Look after yourself,

Love Abz

Signposting (UK)

The Mix (up to 25)-020 7009 2500

Samaritans-116123

Papyrus-0800 068 41 41

My Love of Singing

Really wanted to write something tonight, I needed a creative outlet, so here we go.

From as young as I can remember I have always loved singing. I never really had much confidence with it but I adored it.

When I was about 15 I started having singing lessons at school and they were the highlight of my week.

It was a time where my mental health was struggling and for me singing was my therapy.

My singing teacher is also on of the most amazing people ever, and would be there to listen as well as teach me. She stills here for me now.

She would always know what song to teach me to sing, depending on what mood I was in.

It was when I was 16 that I started to be confident enough to perform and found my love of it. It was only assemblies and school concerts but I still loved it.

Although I’d get anxious about speaking on the phone or walking to school, I could sing on a stage and it would be completely different, I would drift away to somewhere else.

Since I left school, however, I don’t sing very often. If I do, it’s often when I’m by myself. I just don’t have the confidence to share it with anyone else anymore . Only exception to this was when sang at my dad’s wedding which I really enjoyed. I do find sad that I don’t sing much anymore , but I’m hoping I’ll get there one day.

I thought I would share with you a few of my favourite songs to sing.

My House- Matilda

This was one of the first pieces of musical theatre that I ever sang. I never thought I was capable of singing musical theatre, I was always in awe of others singing it. This song boosted my confidence, and I just think it’s such a beautiful song.

Closest thing to crazy- Katie Melua

This was the first song that I was ever taught to sing. It was for a competition at school (I actually won my category!). I just love this song. There’s a video on YouTube of me singing it if you search hard enough!

Stars and the moon- Songs for a new world

This is another piece of musical theatre. To me this felt like a proper piece of musical theatre. I love the different emotions that you can show in this song. I remember being taught it and thinking I would never actually be able to sing it. But I could!

A change in me- Beauty and the Beast (Musical)

Go and listen to this song, it is beautiful. It is also the inspiration for the name of my blog. This song means a lot to me. I sung it to some of my teachers as a goodbye when I left school. It is my all time favourite song to sing providing I don’t cry!

Please go and have a listen to all of these songs, I’d love to see if you all like them as much as I do.

Love

And x

HAPPY THINGS #TimeToTalk

Time to Talk day was the 7th February. On this day I was at the University of the West of England running a stall with dedicated staff and volunteers from Time to change.

On our stall we had a jar that members of the public could fill with things that make them happy. In this Blog post I am going to share them.

1. Coffee

2. Becky (my best pal)

3.Walking my dog Shelby

4.Dot’s dog Shelby

5. Being happy

6. Coffee

7. Grandchild “Jack”

8. Friends and family

9. Spending time with my family

10. White chocolate tiffin

11. Bird song

12. Cycling

13. My dog

14. Good Food

15. My Children and Husband

16. Family

17. Lads

18. Support

19.Music

20. Nature

21. Computer Games

22. Cycling

23. Dancing in tights

24. Snow

25. Wildlife

26. Talking

27.Family

28. Movement

29. Making Art

30. Dancing to the radio with my 9 year old son

31. Cycling to work on a sunny day

32. My husband. My rock. My biggest fan. My one. ❤

33. Cycling to work on a sunny day

34. My family and friends

35. Mummy time

36. Wine

37. Cinema

38. Chocolate

39. My wonderful friends

40. Being active

41. Going on walks

42. FOOD (Pasta, Pizza, Most CARBS!) ❤

43. When it’s sunny between the rain

44. Music

45. The colour yellow

46. Emily and Harry <3<3

47.Pizza

48.My brothers and sisters

49.Seeing my nan and gramps

50. Listening to music

51. Wine

52. Musicals

53. Stars

Thank you to all who contributed to this list. I really enjoyed reading all the things that make people happy.

Love,

Abz x