Is my journey over?

Firstly, I’d just like to put a trigger warning on this post for anyone who is sensitive to the topic of suicide and mental illness. These posts are written in diary form, therefore it is not necessarily factual/helpful to those who may be struggling, please take this into consideration when reading. If anything causes you concern, you are welcome to email me or reach out to a mental health helpline.

I’m writing this blog post as I’m currently in the middle of experiencing suicidal ideation. I’m having intrusive thoughts of suicide. I don’t feel I can control them. It’s distorting my rationale. I’m not at risk to myself,I know I do not want to go.

It’s difficult hearing your brain tell you to leave. It’s difficult believing your true self that this isn’t what you want. Whom do I trust?

I’m safe.

Knowing I don’t want to die doesn’t reassure me. What if my brain takes over completely? I’m not ready to say goodbye.

I’ve felt this way many a times before. Only a few weeks ago I was in a similar situation yet here I am,having had a good month.

It’s confusing being happy and yet also suicidal.

Reassuring myself that this feeling is temporary. (Not because my life will end,but because the thoughts will calm). Such seriousness should not be met with my sarcasm.

I’ve got through 100% of my suicidal thoughts, statistical I’m great.

Tomorrow will be a new day, and I’ll no longer remember the intensity I am feeling right now.

I’ll be ok.

Education whilst mentally unwell?

This is a topic that is close to me from my past, but also still relevant at the moment. A brief background on myself, I LOVE learning! I know it’s nerdy.. but I genuinely enjoy learning new things, so found the content side of education interesting and enjoyable. (I am referring to education including high school and college/university). I naturally excelled in school, and always planned for further education. I become unwell in high school, but (no idea how) still managed to complete my exams to graduate. I didn’t plan on further education/college/uni as I didn’t plan to be alive that long. Whilst everyone else around me was looking forward to graduating and planning they’re future, I didn’t do a thing..

As you probably know, I’m still here! (I’m aware my humor is poor…). Once graduating high school, I attempted a few weeks of education before having to leave due to becoming very mentally unwell. I was at the stage that I was very suicidal, self harming but I still could see a little glimpse of a future, which prevented me from my planned suicide. This is where I had a year out from all education. It was incredibly hard for me, considering I am education orientated. I felt stupid and worthless for not being in education. I understand I needed the year away, but was so glad to restart college/university.

I didn’t exactly choose to have a ‘gap yea’ but that’s what happened. I don’t regret it. I did need the space and time to focus more on my mental health. It did help, my suicidal ideation decreased , and I combated a whole range of anxiety’s. ( I think I wrote a blog post on how I significantly reduced my anxiety in a year). The year away prepared me for restarting school. I managed to recognize how to prevent becoming overwhelmed, dealing with the feeling of not being good enough and how to manage stress.

I have been at university for a couple of years now, and am thoroughly enjoying it. I am managing well considering my previous mental health decline whilst studying. It has given me a purpose in life. I still suffer with suicidal ideation, but no way near to the same extent. I now recognize they’re intrusive thoughts, and rarely want to act on them.

I took a year out of education for my mental health. I am not ‘behind’. I am alive, and happy, and that is my priority. I am not a failure for not being able to stay in education. I am smart, I will get my degree. But most importantly, I am looking after my mental health.

Therapy is inevitable?

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you shall know that mental illness and therapy isn’t an unknown in my life.. To say the least! I have attempted multiple forms of therapy, including psychotherapy, CBT, group therapy, online therapy and hypnotherapy. The problem with me is not that the therapy isn’t working, it’s that I can’t stick to it…

This is for a number of reasons, mostly because I find it SO hard and exhausting! This usually ends up with me giving up, and waiting until the ‘right’ time to focus on my mental health. Realistically there will never be a right time. (Unless I deteriorate rapidly, which I can’t see happening again, but logically should be a possibility). It’s either, I’m busy with my degree and part time job or I have lot’s of things planned which means I wouldn’t be able to physically attend weekly. Finance obviously plays a huge role too! But I’m currently in the mindset that I want to travel lots, so am putting my disposable income into that instead… Therapy is very expensive, around $50 a session averagely. As I am back studying a degree, thus am a student, this isn’t the most affordable expense!

What have I tried thus far?- I did online 1-1 CBT with a dr for 6 months, the longest with one person,but it ended due to the dr leaving to open his own business. I really struggled with this news, as it took weeks for me to bond with said dr, and I knew I would have to start from square 1 all over again. It’s a long process! I had hypnotherapy, in a group environment. This is by far the least favourable out of those I’ve tried. I felt like I was the only one in the group who couldn’t relax and benefit from it. Some people just can’t ‘do’ hypnotherapy, which after 2 months, I can say I am one of those! This treatment is mostly used for addiction and anxiety, which I went for stress/anxiety management. I personally feel anxiety is a symptom of my mental health, rather than a condition in itself. So maybe this approach isn’t what I need.

Earlier this year I tried seeing a private therapist outside of a clinic/hospital environment, this was extremely anxiety provoking for me, which I felt I wouldn’t be able to cope with at the time, on top of my life. If (when) I return to therapy, I think this is the route I would take. As it is more relaxed, and I would only be seeing one therapist.

I am (&can) live a normal life despite my mental health. This hasn’t always been the case, and I suspect won’t always be. Therefore, as the title states, therapy is inevitable for me. I haven’t taken any actions thus far. I am in a really good place, which I have been for a couple of months now! So I think I’ll just sail through, as I have been doing so. I do still experience intrusive thoughts of suicide, they are less frequent and thus more manageable! I am trying to be more open when I am experiencing them, and I know how to keep myself safe. I am okay, but I know that a healthier brain is waiting to come inside my head one day!

Do I still have anxiety? / mini mental health update

It’s hard to know what anxiety is until you have suffered personally. My anxiety used to be quite moderate, I don’t want to say severe as I didn’t suffer with panic attacks too. Anxiety used to affect me to the point of being unable to do the things I needed to. I noticed it was particularly bad in situations where I felt I couldn’t escape, buses and taxi’s were completely off the table, I only managed the train because it was the only way of travel, which I avoided and did rarely, as it was a gruelling experience. My intense fear of failure caused me so much anxiety that I could not even pick up my pen in tests and exams, which I am sure you can work out the consequences. This was particularly difficult in my teenage years, and really affected my life.

Years later, where am I now? I am great! I do still experience anxiety, but only slightly more than the average person, well I think… (Read my last blog post on how I recognise the difference between ‘normal’ and irrational stress and anxiety). I am able to do the everyday things! I travel to my job, which is huge for me, and doesn’t prevent me going. I don’t enjoy the travel, but it definitely isn’t gruelling. I get public transport alone, I can basically do anything alone now! Which not only rewarding for me, but for my partner to see too.

Last week I had an assessment at my part time job unexpectedly, where I felt my heart suddenly beating fast, my palms were sweating, I felt like I couldn’t get enough oxygen, shaking… Obviously this wasn’t a pleasant experience but the next day I realised how far it is for me to feel this way anymore. It made me recognise how far I have come in my journey! If you suffer with anxiety, be aware that you won’t feel this way forever. I couldn’t think of a time where I wouldn’t feel this way daily but somehow I am already there! (just FYI that I did not take any medications specifically for my anxiety but know this is a life saver option for some). I am at this point because I worked hard and constantly challenged myself. I’m recognising how far I have come and I should be proud.

Having a hard time after feeling great for months (Is this a relapse?)

It is not unknown on this blog that I suffer with my metal health, I have a dedicated section to solely talk about it. As this isn’t something I talk about in real life. I enjoy freely writing about how I am feeling and what I am struggling with, without anyone knowing who is typing these words. I find it comforting that I can talk without worrying people knowing its me.

I often write as and when I am struggling, as it is easier to come across in the correct way as you actively know how you are feeling. I find it harder to write once I am in a good place, as I can’t remember/don’t realise how bad it truly feels. Saying this, I like to reflect on events/ways I have I have felt in the past, to see the comparison on my mindset. Logical thinking compared to the illogical thoughts I had, and how that can change.

This post is written in a ‘in-between’. I have been in a great, a genuine great place for a few months now, which is wonderful. The past week this has changed a little. I’m not in a ‘bad’ place, but can recognise a dip in myself. I am experiencing more intrusive thoughts, that are starting to affect me again. For example, I had intrusive thoughts whilst in the bath tub that lot’s of little snakes would come through the overflow holes, which nearly resulted in a panic attack.

I have also noticed that I have having intrusive thoughts of suicide this week. This has been confusing as I do not want to die, and genuinely enjoy my life. Yet these thoughts are quite powerful, and it’s hard ignore and not feel this way. As of yet, I am still able to do everything, but it’s taking a little more mental energy. I have a busy couple of weeks coming up, so I hope this creates a distraction and doesn’t result in me becoming overwhelmed.

Therefore, here is me not in a bad place but also not doing great. That’s a wrap on my mini update!

How I deal with everyday stress (from a mentally unwell person)

If you are a long time reader, you are aware that I get intrusive thoughts that bring me a large amount of stress. Today I shall not be talking how to deal with this, but with what I call ‘Normal people stress’. FYI I mean no harm using words like ‘normal’, it’s just what I’ve been calling stressors of day to day life.

What do I mean by normal people stress? This involves the inevitable stressors of life that everyone is bound to experience at some point. This can include things like, working too many hours at work, not having enough time to complete all your college work, worrying about finance, making sure the fridge is full/you’re eating often, catching a cold on top of the above. Oh the list could go on for miles. But I’m guessing you get the point now?

As my intrusive thoughts correlate with how stressed I am. I have learnt to recognise the difference between ‘normal people stress’ and ‘irrational stress’. I have mostly learnt to tell the difference between applying my stress/worrysome thought and imaging my partner in the same situation. He is a very level headed and relaxed person, so I trust his judgement. For example, if I have having stressful thoughts that X person is going to get into an accident on their way home, I would think is this something my partner would be thinking/excessively stressed about? Which it wouldn’t be. Therefore, I know this is an irrational stress. Recognising it itself being a irrational thought makes me a lot calmer.

On the other hand, recognising you’re stressed about everyday life doesn’t make everyday life disappear. But for me personally, every day stress can be controlled. This makes it a lot easier to feel relaxed, and reduce the stress around them. Taking examples from above, if I stress about completing all college/university work before deadlines, whilst also working part time. I control this by planning when I shall work. I write a list/time table every month when I get my shifts, and therefore always have scheduled time to study. List making is a game changer for me! (I may be a little obsessed)

I’m not sure I addressed the title of this post… But I just wanted to quickly ramble about how I find recognising the difference between ‘normal’ stress and irrational stress beneficial for my brain! I’m still learning about my mind and self, and recognition is a huge step forward for me!

Distancing myself from my illness; Mental health update

I haven’t posted in 10 days, it feels like a long time since I last logged in. Simply due to being busy. Stress is normally the main contribution to the severity of my mental health. This is particularly annoying as stress is unavoidable in life. It’s not ‘I’m stressed’ that contributes to the decline, but is often due to (what I call) ‘unconscious stress’. This is where there is a event/worry gives you the symptoms of stress despite not actively thinking about said thing.

Surprisingly, despite having a much busier schedule I haven’t been stressed or overwhelmed by the future. My intrusive thoughts have been a lot quieter. It is only recently that I noticed I haven’t had many intrusive thoughts of suicide, and that in itself is a huge achievement. Even when I wasn’t experiencing them, I was often worried they were going to come. So being in a position when it’s not even on my mind is amazing! I think the reduction in intrusive thoughts is the main reason I am doing so well!

I am thriving! I am doing well in my online degree, going to my part time job isn’t a struggle, and everyday life is great! It not only feels GREAT to be doing so well, but it’s even more exciting sharing it with my partner. I am currently doing my degree part time over summer break, but go back to full time once Fall is here, so that should bring a little more anxiety. But I am currently looking forward to delving more into new modules of my degree!

Distancing myself from my mental illness is going well. Not having it the focus of my life, has already improved my views towards my life, and making it easier to plan the immediate future. I can’t see it yet, but maybe one day I could potentially live a life without this?