Mental Health Awareness Month 2014

This May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In the UK we have Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year is 12th-18th May. This year the focus is on anxiety which is something which affects a huge amount of people, me included.

Given that a lot of people who Google “Anxiety” seem to end up on my blog, reading about my struggles, mainly with anxiety, but also depression, self harming and suicidal thoughts, I thought it was about time I pulled together an anthology of my misery and musings on mental health.

Some are hopeful and positive, some are me bouncing off the walls bonkers, most are me just getting things out of my head and making me feel better. Have a root around, please have a read about what takes your fancy, ignore what doesn’t. If you find something useful, or something that resonates then great.

If you’re struggling reach out, reach out to a friend, a lover, your GP, The Samaritans, anyone. Someone will listen and although it might not feel like it right now or when you’re in a dark hole, someone will care. You are not alone.

So in no particular order…

mental health


rejectionIf you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that I have some issues around mental health, most of which centre around my self esteem which took a tumble when I was about 3 years old and never quite recovered.

As and when issues occur, it’s not hard for me to trace their roots back to my self esteem or lack of it. I have a monumental deficit of self-worth and I can’t see that changing any time soon.

This week in the cray-cray mind of Miss Jane, I’ve been wrestling with the thorny topic of rejection. This is not new, I talked about my feelings about rejection in therapy last year, like most things discussed in therapy they take a little while for me to process, this has taken 3 months.

Everyone faces rejection; it’s a fact of life. But not everyone magnifies and twists it like I do, so it becomes something much bigger than it ought to be. Some examples…

I fancy a pint, I say to a friend “let’s go for a pint” my friend says they’re busy but maybe tomorrow. The little voice in my head suggests that my friend hates me because I’m a selfish cow. I’m ugly, unattractive, terrible company, I’m not really their friend, that I’m pathetic and don’t deserve to live.

I ask my husband for a cuddle, he says no because he’s tidying the kitchen. The little voice in my head suggests that he hates me because I’m a selfish cow. He’s bored of me and our marriage. He finds me physically repugnant and can’t bear to touch me. He’s ashamed of me, being with me was a mistake and I don’t deserve to live.

Just two examples there of just everyday brush offs which I mentally work up into massive issues in my head. I know that my husband loves me and is just cleaning the kitchen; I know my friend is busy elsewhere. When I’m sane and thinking straight then it’s all ok, but when self esteem is biting, I really struggle not to have dark thoughts.

When something bigger happens, a greater rejection or a betrayal, then my world crumbles. Then my dark thoughts become a self-harming, suicidal reality.

I almost certainly have Daddy issues (who doesn’t? Take a ticket and get to the back of the queue lady). My Dad is the most difficult man in the world to please. I will never, ever make him happy or proud of me, not overtly anyway, not so he’d ever be moved to tell me or show me.

When I was growing up he rejected me over and over, this and lots of other things destroyed my self esteem. So the little voice in my head that tells me I’m worth so little I don’t deserve to live also, tells me that my Daddy doesn’t love me, and I’ll never, ever be good enough for him or for anyone.

So each and every rejection, small or large just underlines the fact that I am unworthy, I am a terrible, unattractive, miserable, pathetic waste of an existence. Those all might well be true. They might well just be the nasty little voice in my head. I’m trying to find another voice who can defend me, who’ll tell me I’m ok and funny and a little bit cute. It’s a whisper right now, but maybe someday it’ll become a roar.

I’m a Mental Patient too Asda!

Mental patient costume

In response to Asda and their incredibly tasteless “Mental Patient” fancy dress costume there has been a massive tidal wave of supportive tweets and the hashtag #MentalPatient has started trending.

The hashtag is being used by people like me who have mental health issues. Here is my mental patient costume. Is it scary? Or is it a picture of a “normal” looking woman? Mental health wears many costumes and disguises. We’re not all deranged, unhinged maniacs on the rampage.

I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am many things to many people. I’m also a mental patient. I have depression, anxiety, PTSD and an eating disorder. I self harm, I’m suicidal, I’m happy, I’m sad. I’m terrible, I’m amazing. I’m not a mad axe murderer. Please do not stigmatise me.

Mental Health: Feeling insufferably bleak

Today I’m feeling low, really low. I’m feeling insufferably bleak. I woke up yesterday wanting to die but got on with my day. So I’m doing what I usually do, I’m writing all of the dark feelings out of my head and hoping I feel better on the other side of it.

My struggles with my own mental health are pretty well documented on this blog so feel free to check the mental health category if you want my back story.

Fact is if someone really want to kill themselves telling them how special they are probably wont stop them doing something unspeakable. It may help some, but I think that’s probably a rarity.

My life has been touched my suicide. Several people I know and love have taken their lives or tried to. It’s about the most horrific kind of pain you con inflict on your loved ones. I’ve seen both sides and both are awful places to be.

I’m feeling low right now and my answer is to blog it. A huge number of blog posts I’ve written I’ve never published for fear they were too bleak. They probably were but to write down my feelings got them out of my head and that did help.

I’ve had a good four weeks, I’ve been feeling chipper. I felt my balance of meds was alright and I was exercising and getting stronger. I’d cut my drinking right down and I’d started eating reasonably regularly too. I saw my GP last week and they wanted to increase my meds. I nodded sagely and agreed but I didn’t want to increase my dose. Things were fine, I felt fine, so why mess with the balance.

Yesterday, suicidal, wanting to self harm I realised they were right. But I’m not going to, not for a few days, I want to see if I can work it out myself, dig myself out of my bleak depressive little hole.

My self confidence is so fragile that all it takes is a small knock for me to be bruised inside. I’m working hard to improve me, why can’t others see that and appreciate me. At the same time I feel so immeasurably selfish for thinking that way. Why should anyone notice or pay me a compliment. Why? I’m worth nothing to them so why is my self worth so bound up in what they think? I’ll work it out.

So if you know someone on the brink, someone depressed, do tell them what they mean to you, how irreplaceable they are and what a wonderful, beautiful human being they are. It might help, it might not, but if the worst happens then at least you know that they knew what you meant to them. It could save a life.

Mental Health: Feeling insufferably bleak

Read more of my mental health posts here.

Goodnight Vienna

I don’t think I could do it. Kill myself. I don’t have the balls. It’d hurt for a start, probably quite a lot and I’ve got family to think about and care for. When I became a parent, I signed that invisible contract which says you’ll promise to forever protect your child from the darkness. Being ill is pretty dark but not as dark as being dead.

I’ve spent much of the afternoon reading suicide notes online and researching methods. There’s lots out there if you want to find it. Pictures of bodies who’ve died in different ways, none of them pretty. Some of them may have lived fast, died young but there’s rarely a good looking corpse. Faces lined with more pain than a lifetime of depression could ever offer.

I’ve got to stop thinking like this. I’ve got to stop lurking in the darkness and listening to destructive thoughts. I’m better than this. No really I am.

Today has been a good day, I’ve been busy, been for a walk with the boy, did colouring in, lots of cuddles. I’ve done some work, played with my blog. a good day. My boy is out with his Auntie and I’m alone which is why my thoughts have turned to darkness.

It’s easy to cut and harm, to bleed a little, to bruise, to scrape away at skin. It’s harder to still your heart permanently and I’m not going to. I’ve too much happiness ahead of me to go that far. I’ve got to believe that and I do. I really do.

I think.