“I feel like I’m going insane”

The last time I found myself googling that sentence was probably when I was around 16 and I know that what I was feeling then was my mental illness and that’s what I’m feeling now. Yet, it still feels like I’m going mad.

I’m struggling with control considerably at the moment, I feel like I have none. I feel like something else it taking over.

The times when I have to be in control are exhausting.

At the moment I feel like the only things I have control over in my life are the projects I’m doing for other people, however, I feel like I’m losing control of my brain.

Maybe I’m only writing this because I’m tired or because I’m in physically in pain right now and there’s nothing I can do. I don’t know.

All I know is that I don’t feel great at the moment, my general well-being isn’t good. I’m in the process of getting help, it’s just waiting.

The issue I have is that I want to keep going and doing my campaigning as I feel that’s all I’ve got at the moment and it makes me feel better whilst I do it. So why not?

I don’t know where this is going and I don’t know why I’m sharing it, I just feel like I’m going insane.

I’ll be fine, I think. I think I know I will. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again, it just feels a bit messy.

Nothing feels real.

My Battle with Self-harm

It came out Wednesday that over a quarter of 14 year old girls admit to self-harming. Boys are obviously doing it too but there wasn’t a statistic realised on this. It is a problem that effects so many young people and we are gradually beginning to talk about it more but still not enough. I just wanted to write something brief on my battle with self-harm. 

I started self harming when I was 15/16, I don’t really know why, other than the fact that too much was going on in my head and that was the release. It became a regular thing and this carried on until I was about 19 as a regular occurrence. People tried to stop me but it didn’t help.

When I was in the self-harm cycle nobody could say anything that was going to stop me. It was an addiction. To start with it was something that made me feel “better” but eventually it became something that was being used as a punishment.

Although self-harm stopped being  a regular thing for me when I turned 19 I have had moments since.

I’ve had times where sometimes I’d do what I used to do, but also I’d fine myself harming myself in ways that weren’t so obvious.

It’s an ongoing battle, and it’s a battle only I can fight but I can have support around me.

#HelloMyNameIsAbbie & I have EUPD

“Hello, my name is Abbie. I am a student nurse and I suffer from mental health conditions, and that’s OKAY!”

This is a sentence that I’m trying to accept. On a good day I will accept it, on a bad day I probably won’t. But I am getting there.

Before I started I was obviously seen by occupational health and was stable enough I was cleared. But just because this happened it didn’t mean my mental illness was cured, although in my head I just wanted to pretend that it didn’t exist.

Since I started my nursing degree I was obsessed with being “normal”. I didn’t tell anyone that I am gay, I didn’t tell anyone that I have an eating disorder, and I definitely didn’t tell anyone that I have EUPD. I really stigmatised myself around these topics.

It’s been the last few months though that things have started to really rear their ugly head and I have had no option but to be honest, because if I didn’t I don’t know what might have happened. Hiding is just so exhausting.

I was really scared before I started my most recent placement, this was due to how badly I was treated on my last one, well I think that’s why.

When I started my placement I was really enthusiastic and was really involved and embraced it massively, it felt great. But as my mental health started to decline I realised this wasn’t maintainable, it was just tiring.

My mentor caught on that I wasn’t who I was at the start, and then one day just as we were leaving, I told her everything. I told her that I was struggling and that I had seen a Dr and was feeling suicidal and told her some of my history. She was really supportive and gradually as time has gone on I’ve become more and more open with her.

She helped me tell uni about what was going on so they now know. She also knows that I have a personality and eating disorder, which were things I never thought I’d be comfortable sharing within my professional life, but here we are.

I was so scared for such a long time about people knowing at uni that I had built it up to be something absolutely massive, and it really isn’t.

It’s not “normal” but It’s not an issue. In fact, it’s benefited me having experience of this, I see lots of mums with different mental health issues, some with EUPD and others with different issues, but it has meant that I have a lot of empathy towards them.

Because I have finally managed to be open people can actually support me. I’ve probably had a better response about the whole situation by telling them then if something were to have happened and they ended up finding out.

It really hasn’t been easy, quite frankly it’s been terrifying. But I’m getting there when it comes to accepting the fact that this isn’t going to go away and I’m just going to have to get on with it and be a nurse with a mental health issue.

I’m not in the best of places at the moment but at least I am not having to hide that now. I also have fantastic support from my uni and couldn’t ask for a more understanding bunch of lecturers.

I will get there eventually with accepting myself, and one day I’ll feel okay with saying that I am a nurse and have a mental health condition.

Coming out, and again, and again

So as it’s lesbian day of visibility I want to tell you how I came out as gay, or how I didn’t.

I always think I ‘fancied’ girls more than boys. But I obviously didn’t really no much about lesbians when I was younger.

When I was in year 8 I became best friends with a girl who told me she was bisexual and I was amazed at how open she could be and how she didn’t seem to worry about it.

I knew that I was probably gay at this age but didn’t want to say anything.

When I was in year 9 I was desperate for a relationship. So I dated a boy In the year below for three weeks. The furthest we got was holding hands.

I then also dated one of my best friends (male) who also later came out as gay. Again nothing more than hand holding.

When I got into year ten I discovered stonewall and ran assemblys on homophobia, still not having come out as I didn’t want anyone to think I was gay.

I also went away on stonewalls young volunteer programme but still wasn’t out to anyone.

It was in year 11 though where everything changed. Within a few weeks of starting this year I was outed. And within a day everyone in my year knew except my twin and I felt like my world had fallen apart.

This was meant to be something I decided no one else. Yet one person managed to ruin it for me. Or so I thought.

The next day I went into school I was terrifed. A lot of people were talking about it but only one person actually asked if it was true.

My best friend (who I came out to a few months prior) was supported and I just cried to her for a good few hours.

The rest of my year group were also supportive and anybody who wasn’t very popular with everybody else.

But at this point my sister still didn’t know.

It was about a month later when I told her. She was fine. I told her how rubbish the whole thing was making me feel.

I spoke to a teacher about it. And then the following week I came out to my dad.

The next step was my mum. I left coming out to her for months as i thought my stepdad was homophobic.

Eventually I came out to my mum via letter. I think this upset her as she felt like I couldn’t talk to her. But really she was fine with it and so was my stepdad.

My step family found out through subtle things on Facebook .

The next significant thing was my gran. I went to pride when I was in year 12 and my dad told my gran where I was going and told her that I was gay when I didn’t say he could tell her.

My dad didn’t see the problem but I felt like where I was at the beginning, it was being taken out of my hands.

My gran was fine with it.

My nanny and Gramps found out via the news, which probably wasn’t the best way. We don’t really talk about it but they haven’t disowned me either so that’s fine.

My grandad still doesn’t know.

It is a constant thing though. People do tend to assume your straight unless otherwise stated.

When I was in Liverpool I made it clear I was gay yet still ended up dating a guy. Although I have no sexual interest in him and see him as a friend. And I still call myself gay.

Since I stated uni in Bristol however, ive kept it quiet. I’ve just joked around and spoke about “how fit guys are” etc as it feels easier.

I’m not ashamed of who I am but sometimes it just doesn’t feel right to say anything.

I have found though that I have received less stigma for being gay than I have for being mentally ill.

To think at one point they would have been considered the same thing.

Anyway, happy lesbian day of visibility !

Love,

Abbie xx

(Just going off to watch something with Sue Perkins in)

Uni so far…

So since I started this nursing course I have been all over the place. I’m not going to say that it’s all been caused by uni but life has been harder because I am at uni.

I started in September last year studying children’s nursing and I was really excited but I did find it so different and so much more difficult to what I was studying last year.

I also didn’t disclose anything to any of my lecturers about having BPD or any of my issues as I was worried I would have to leave the course. In fact, I still spend a lot of time worrying about this.

The stress is quite high around passing exams and assignments. I really worry about it and I worry to the point where I feel like I can’t write anything at all.

I also feel like I don’t have any close friends like I had last year, and I really miss that. A lot of my friends don’t know much about me. They don’t even know I’m gay. I just never felt that comfortable.

I feel like there’s quite a lot of stigma around female nurses being gay and about having mental health issues and working in the NHS.

However, this might just be me self-stigmatising. I feel like I can’t have these “issues” and be a nurse so I hide them away. Which in turn puts a lot of stress on me.

It’s hypocritical of myself, as I wouldn’t tell a patient to bottle it up. I would tell them to talk about it. I would also tell other members of staff to as well, but I still can’t.

In my first placement I really struggled as I worked with some really difficult people. And after that I really wanted to give up.

I do want to keep going on with this course but sometimes I just feel like it would be easier to give up. I don’t feel clever or smart enough for it, but I feel like I can be a nurse.

Abbie X

What’s been going on ?

It’s been 2 months since I last wrote a blog post, I’m sorry.

Things haven’t been great to be honest. I don’t know how to explain things very well but I want to try. I guess I’ve relapsed on several things but I can’t say I’ve relapsed from recovery because I don’t know that I’m recovered.

It was in the new year where things started to go downhill again. I was supposed to start placement on the 1st of January and I did but within a week I got physically unwell and was “signed off” for three weeks. In this period, I had a lot of thinking time to myself and felt useless and stressed out.

When I finally went back to placement I was really far behind. I didn’t feel very supported by the staff there and found it extremely difficult. I was also told that I didn’t seem very enthusiastic and this just made me feel worse. But actually, I was just very under-confident and anxious.

During the days when I was at uni I did have a lecturer who would ask me if things were okay but I feel very pressured into not saying how I’m feeling as I don’t want to have to leave my course. Truth is, I just don’t think I’m very well at the moment.

I’m spending a lot of time stigmatising myself, because when I had the flu at the beginning of the year I didn’t really think twice about taking the time off. Yet I wouldn’t dare do it now for a mental illness.

I’m currently feeling quite depressed, anxious, struggling with my mood, and also eating. It’s all a great big mess and I haven’t felt this bad since when I was sixth form.

My days are kind of just disappearing. Before I used to dissociate by accident without realising. But at the moment I am kind of trying to do it deliberately in order to not have to feel anxious all day. It seems like I can’t win either way though.

And food, well that’s always been the enemy but even more so at the moment. My thoughts are consumed by what I should and shouldn’t be eating and what I should do to get rid of calories etc.

I’m all over the place. It’s affecting my life massively as I find myself arguing with everyone, have a short temper, and just feeling so bad about myself. I hate the way I don’t feel I’m in control at the moment.

I’m inviting bad people back into my life because I want to be loved. I can think semi-rationally about that right now, but in about an hours’ time I will probably think that’s a great idea. I’m struggling to think straight and clearly.

I feel disgusted by myself. I want help but by the time I feel ready to ask for it I don’t believe that I need it anymore. I don’t feel as supported as I have done in the past and I don’t feel I can be as honest as I want to be because I don’t want to hurt them.

I don’t know what will happen. I’ll probably get out this dark patch and wonder what on earth I was thinking, but I don’t know.

I don’t really feel alive, and I spend a lot of time questioning the point in things. It’s really difficult. The thoughts I was having before are back.

But I know that if I reached out to friends I would get some support. I just can’t.

The hardest part is, I guess I look okay. I mean I go to uni, I *kinda* do my work. But I guess I’m just trying to hide it because I don’t want people to think I’m struggling.

Anyway, that’s enough.

Abbie x

The day I opened up

I was about 16 when I had my first proper planned (ish) conversation about my mental health. I waited behind after a lesson and decided I was going to talk to my teacher about how I was feeling.

The first thing I said to my teacher was “what’s the point of life sir ?”. As a philosophy teacher, this question probably didn’t seem that absurd to him. But he soon realised that this wasn’t curiousity that had caused me to ask this.

He asked me why I was asking this. I told him how I was feeling. How it felt like I was floating. How I could go through a day and not really engage in anything and not remember what had gone on. How I felt so incredibly anxious. I also hinted at the way I felt suicidal and that I was hurting myself .

I felt like I couldn’t be entirely open with him as I was terrified. I really didn’t want my parents to find out but I knew that there was a chance my mum would be told.

It was his responsibility to pass on what I told him and he did but my mum wasn’t contacted.

After this first conversation the next conversation about my mental health was easier and they continued to get easier the more I hand.

It is also a little bit difficult for me as every conversation is different but I feel so much more comfortable talking about mental health now.

My top tips for if you wanted to open up about your mental health would be:

1. Plan the conversation. If you can plan a bit of the conversation in your head it can make it easier.

2. Pick a date. If this person is likely to busy or if you need to make an appointment to talk to them it is always helpful to pick a date. This can stop the disappointment of the person not being available.

3. Deep breaths. Try breathing deeply or some other breathing exercises to try and keep calm whilst discussing this as it can be difficult.

And finally

4. Don’t Rush. If you aren’t ready to talk about it then don’t worry. There is no rush. You can talk about it whenever and wherever.

Hope everyone had a great Time to talk day.

Love

Abbie xx

Day 16-Favourite Lush Products

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

Day 16-Favourite Lush Products

Today I needed something quick to write about, so I decided to write about some of my favourite Lush Products

The Comforter

I’ve had this product in both a shower gel and also a showder.

Their showder is effectively a powder bath bomb which you then use to wash your body.

You get it wet and it turns into something like a body scrub.

The smell of the comforter is like candy floss. It’s perfect for people with a sweet tooth (but don’t eat it).

Yuzu and coco

I’ve had yuzu and coco in a body wash, although you can buy it in bubbleroon. On the label it says it smells of chocolate orange, but to me it smells of chocolate and coconut. Either way it’s awesome. The colour is a little weird but don’t let it put you off.

Intergalactic

Intergalactic is a bath bomb. It smells minty and is really refreshing smell, and it contains popping candy so you can hear it popping.But that’s not the best thing about this.

The best thing about this bath bomb is the colour. It starts off being multicoloured and then changes to a dark blue and glittery bath. It looks like a clear nights sky.

Mask of magnaminty

This is by far my favourite face masks. I can suffer with really bad breakouts and this deals with them quickly.

It has tea tree oil in it and smells super minty.

It’s a really nice mask to use after a long day when you’re trying to relax.

Spa Treatment

I had my first lush spa treatment this year and it was amazing. I had “the comforter”.

But I’m going to write about this in a separate post.

Sorry if this seemed pretty rushed tonight, I wanted to get a post up but I’m babysitting so I didn’t have much time.

I hope you enjoyed it regardless.

Love Abbie xx

Day 15- My Body (TW)

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges. Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

TW (body image, BPD, eating disorder)

I wrote this on a train, I am not a poet so I’m sorry if this isn’t any good.

Day 15- Body (a poem)

My body belongs to ME

it is a vessel; in which I am contained.

Yet, this container is damaged,

it’s been beaten and battered.

You see, If I was a dog, I’d have been taken away.

I’m not a dog though, and so I must stay.

Yet, like a dog, my body continues to love me unconditionally.

I have been hurt beyond belief, I have hurt it beyond belief,

not just physically,

some of this damage, you cannot see.

But it’s not all bleak, and my body and me we are not weak.

For I am not broken, I am a fighter.

I have fought and battled many a day,

We have fought and battled many a day.

But I still can’t find the courage to say,

“I love you body…
I’ll be okay”

WE’LL BE OKAY

Day 14- Vegan Food Products

Hi, I’ve decided to do a blog every day for advent (well at least try to). These blogs are going to be about various things, some about mental health but also some about other topics. I haven’t planned them yet, so they may be (most definitely will be) rough around the edges.  Some may contain trigger warnings; I will say this before the start of the post.

Day 14- My Favourite Vegan Food Products

This post is going to be a list of some of my favourite vegan food products. Some are accidently vegan and some are just made vegan.

Oreos

Some of you may not know that Oreos are vegan, but they are, exciting times! If you want to be creative with them, you could make cookie dough Oreo brownies. You just need to make the cookie do vegan by using oil and vegan spread, and you can just use a brownie packet mix made with either lemonade, coke, or just using oil. Super junk food vegan style.

Party Rings

Childhood favourites, and they’re vegan. Do you remember sticking them on the end of your finger? And then biting into your finger by accident when trying to eat them? Well if you’re vegan you can still experience this. Even though you know it’s only a bit of icing on a biscuit, it’s a nostalgia thing, right?

Wheaty Chorizo

This came in a vegan subscription box, and it was the last thing to be eaten in there as I thought it was going to be gross. I was wrong. This is however, one of those things you should only eat if you’re okay eating things that taste so much like meat. They are yummy.

Skittles

I have a massive sweet tooth so I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to eat chewy sweets. But skittles are still on the cards. Yay

Tesco Vegetarian Sausage Rolls

These are one of those things again that you probably wouldn’t like if you don’t like things that are too realistic to meat. These say vegetarian on the packet but they are vegan and so good. My stepdad is a massive meat eater but he ate these and didn’t realise they weren’t meat.

Linda McCartney “pork and Apple” Sausage rolls

I only found these the other day and they are as good as the ones above but feel a little fancier. Plus, the apple flavour makes them even better.

Ben and Jerrys

Obviously when I say Ben and Jerrys I mean the dairy free stuff. It’s just as good as the other stuff, but unfortunately slightly more expensive, so definitely just a treat.

Lemon Drizzle Nakd Bars

All of the Nakd bars are vegan, but my favourite one is the lemon drizzle one. It tastes like a lemon and coconut cake.

I understand that the food I just mentioned is mainly snacking stuff, so I will write post at some point of some actually meals. I just wanted to point out that we can still have the treats as a Vegan.

Love Abbie xx