Receiving help is so damn difficult?

You probably think this post is going to be able how hard it is to find help. It’s not. We all know how expensive therapy; is hundreds of $$$ a month… Finding a professional that suits your needs, and one you feel comfortable with. Or experimenting with medication for mental health is time consuming. Or even finding the time off from work, college or life to commit to focusing on your support. These are not why it is difficult for me. (Yet anyway)

Firstly, if you have read my post ‘My fear of medication for mental health’, you will know that medication has and is still not an option for me. So that hurdle is out of the window for the time being.

Time? I am a college student online getting a degree, and maybe PhD in the future, and I also work part time in a store, that I enjoy. My job is very flexible with hours and shifts, so I could also work around it if I were to receive weekly support. As I am an online student, I can choose my hours of study, as and when I have the time. I still have deadlines, but the majority of the workload you can do at your own pace.

Financially, well no one wants to spends $$$ of their monthly paycheck on therapy do they? Especially in my circumstance, as I completely shut down. I tried one to one therapy outside of a hospital/clinic earlier in the year. It was not successful, in the fact I could not talk… I don’t have the income to pay this amount of money if I can’t see an improvement or benefit. It was also so mentally exhausting.

My last mental health related post was my talking of my colleagues knowing of my mental health. My manager has been amazing, and even gave me a link to a free charity for support, provided by the company. I think/thought this was my opportunity to get the help I need.

I put on my brave pants, and gave the charity an email ,explaining how I got in contact with them, and a very brief outline of what I am struggling with. They emailed back the same day, and gave me a number to call. I was expecting correspondence through email, so the thoughts of a call stressed me out quite a lot. I am not good with phone calls.

It took me 3 days to have the courage to dial the number. I lasted nearly 2 minutes on the phone before having to hang up. They called me back straight away but I could not answer. I feel stupid in myself. Why can’t I cope with the help and want I need?

I am trying SO hard. Why is it so impossible hard to do something I need? I want to get better, I really do.

This leaves me to the now. I am not sure what to do, other than keep trying I guess.

Recognising when I need to ask for help

Ever since my mental health journey began, I have been silent. I have kept my mind to myself, and have only shared my illness with my partner. I have had a few incidents/situations where others have probably wondered/ could see something wasn’t right, but it never escalated, and I was left in my own comfort of privacy.

If you have been reading my posts as of late, you will be aware that very recently I spoke to others about my mental health. This may not be hard for some. but this a HUGE step for me. I know do not know where this leads me now. They have been incredibly supportive, and repetitively made me aware that I can reach out to them at any time.

I do not know how to ask for help? When I am feeling particularly low or suicidal, and am wanting to reach out. How? How do I ask for support, when I don’t exactly know what I’d like them to do? Won’t it feel like I am burdening them? I don’t want people to go out of there way or spend their own time with me. Yet when experiencing suicidal thoughts, it can be nice to know you are not alone.

As always, I am in two mindsets about everything…

How I cope when alone/my crisis plan.

Let’s begin by mentioning I do NOT have a professional crisis plan, and all these mechanisms to cope are what I made up myself, and therefore may only reflect how they help me. I am writing this post to share ideas that may help others, but also to pinpoint for myself if I ever need a visual guide to look at.

My crisis plan is in place to help me when I experience intrusive thoughts and suicidal ideation. What helps me best is distraction, this is very useful when they begin, and can sometimes prevent the thoughts from becoming too intense. Therefore;

STEP 1: Distraction! -My list of distractions is very long, and I have a written list in a notebook as I need this method most often. If my thoughts are not too bad, I read. Once I am reading it is easy to get lost inside the pages, and a few hours later with a book, can often be enough time for the suicidal thoughts to pass. Other distractions include cleaning, I like to be physically distracted, and cleaning is killing two birds with one stone! Watching netflix/youtube isn’t often helpful for me, but if I get an adult colouring book or my bullet journal, background noise is helpful. I love a good podcast!

STEP 2: ‘ This too shall pass’- I am very comforted by the fact that these thoughts are only temporary. So I often repeat this in my head. Knowing that I only have to get through these moments, and I won’t feel this way soon.

STEP 3: Sleep- I know this isn’t the healthiest option, but if the suicidal thoughts are hard to control, then sleep is my temporary ‘disappear’. I usually only use this option if its night time/after 7pm. I can also use it in the early afternoon as a ‘nap’ but it’s harder to fall asleep during the day, especially with intrusive thoughts, which is why I try to only use this step in the evenings.

STEP 4: Asking for help- This step is a HUGE step for me, and one I do not use often. If I do ask for help, the only person I would contact is my partner. Who can be a massive help! I try not to use this option, and I feel guilty and do not want to burden anyone (despite needing the help, it feels this way to me). Now my management at work know how I can feel ( see last blog post) I have the option to contact him, we are friendly so It wouldn’t seem odd/uncomfortable. I don’t think I would ever reach out, but it’s an option!

STEP 5: Hospital- If I really didn’t feel safe, and wasn’t sure if I could keep myself alive, I would (hope) that I would take myself to the emergency department, or seek immediate professional help in some way. I haven’t used this step before, as I am terrified! Let’s hope I don’t have to either.

Another option I didn’t mention was helplines, there are many mental health and suicidal lines to call if you need support. These can be SO helpful, and area great option if you are alone! If you have any other suggestions, I would love to hear them in the comments.

I’m actually coping alone?

Firstly, it’s been over a week since I lasted blogged, a rarity for me recently. This isn’t because I haven’t had the words to writes, it’s simply a mix of being busy and moving house and still waiting for the internet to be installed. Combined with the stress of moving house, whilst working part time and still doing my degree (why did I pick a degree which doesn’t have a summer break), my partner has also go on holiday with the other graduates from his degree. He has been gone for a week, considering we spend A LOT of time together, this feels like an eternity.

My partner is often wary of leaving me alone for long periods of time, not because he thinks I won’t get through it, but because he hates to see me struggle. He is aware how well I have been doing the past few months, but thought being in the new apartment alone would be hard for me, as my mental health is largely controlled by stress.

I am actually doing really well! It is half way through the week, and each day I have made 3 homemade, healthy and delicious meals! Not only does it taste super yummy, it’s rewarding cooking nice meals. My beautiful new kitchen brings me so much joy, which has helped!

The only difficulty I have experienced so far is when intrusive thoughts become intense, but I have made the effort to distract myself, and with the new move, it has been fairly easy, with stuff around the house to do! I have written a list of distraction techniques to use for the rest of the week, in case I become overwhelmed!

I haven’t spoke to my partner about my struggles, as I don’t want him to worry, especially as I feel I can currently handle them. I’ve written a mini post it note diary of my days for when we gets back. It’s a good little way to write the positives/ what I have achieved each day!

I am currently in my favourite coffee shop, catching up with all blogs, and downloading some shows to watch while I wait for the wifi to be installed! My partner took the kindle, so I am going to browse the thrift stores and see if there is any books that catch my eye! I’m surprised how well I am coping on being alone, especially at night, but it’s rewarding knowing I am progressing on my own! (let’s hope it lasts the next few days haha)

Introverted and loneliness?

I know that I am an introverted person. I thrive in my own company and productivity. I like being with others but only for short periods of times. I need alone time afterwards. I find it difficult spending a few days with someone, as it’s rare to have down time.

In the past year or so, I have felt lonely, not all the time, but often. This is a fairly unknown feeling for me. I didn’t understand what loneliness meant until last year when this feeling first began for me. It’s friends mostly. I have a great partner, I am so happy with our relationship but I have no friends of my own. My partner has many, who are technically my friends too now? but not really.

I yearn for close friends of my own, but cannot find connections with anyone, and it feels like I never will. We recently had my partners guests stay for a few days, and I’m finally glad to be on my own again. I had a great time, and was nice to spend time together, but I now need alone time to balance out the socializing.

It feels so odd to NEED to be alone to thrive. But always craving friendship and social time with others. How can I want friends when I enjoy my own company so much? Annoying! I guess it’s finding a balance. How without any true friends can I see this happening in the near future.

My colleagues at my part time work often go out with each other outside of work, but I have never been invited. I have been working there nearly a year now. I know I shouldn’t care, but I feel left out when everyone talks about it all day at work, and it’s is hard. It makes me feel like it’s me, or my personality. Maybe I’m the reason why people don’t want to start friendships? Bearing in mind, no one knows about my mental health or my blog, so they’d dislike me even more if they knew about that too.

There are so many aspects of my life which are amazing right now, and I am beyond grateful for that. This makes me feel guilty for feeling lonely or left out. As usual, it’s both sides of my brain with opposing opinions…

I haven’t self harmed in 5 years?

This post is a little difficult for me to write about. Not because I find it hard talking about this subject, but because I no longer resonate with this part of my life; I simply can’t remember ever being in the mindset to harm myself.

TW! As from the title, you can probably tell there is going to be a trigger warning on this post for self harm, especially in the form of cutting, as I shall be mentioning specifics.

A little background; I began self harming around the age of 14. It was a very private part of my life, not a single person knew about it. I thrived of of having this dirty little secret. (looking back, I didn’t see how bad this was at the time) I wore only long sleeves; never took my jumper of at school. I would cut my left arm, and both of my thighs. I would take the blades out of shaving razors and use those. I would never use old ones/ reuse them as I didn’t want to risk infection and thus someone finding out from treatment or stitches.

I would sometimes spray hairspray into the fresh wounds to feel the sharp burning sensation; make it sting more. (my reaction now is what the fuck) I have scars now, it’s been 5 years, and they have improved. They are now thinner, and white in color, no longer red/pink or stick out lots. As I have very pale skin, they aren’t too noticeable from afar. I never wear shorts/have my legs out, but I do wear short sleeve tops now.

I’m not sure if other people notice? I wear a watch on my left wrist, where a lot of the scars are, but they are faint in color now, so I’m unsure if people look/ take that much notice in other people to see them. But I’m not sure, no one has ever mentioned them. I do wear short sleeves at my part time job, I haven’t told them about my mental health, so not sure if they aspect the scars to be from self harm? I’m not sure if the average non mental health educated person would understand/know the signs of self harm?

What do I think of my scars? This differs for me, sometimes I despise them, knowing that they will never disappear from my body, and hate myself for putting that upon myself. I didn’t think at the time how self harming would affect my future. But most of the time I accept them, I don’t often think about them, and thus no longer affects my life.

I’m not exactly sure why I self harmed. Is this normal not to have a ‘reason’? I have blocked/can’t remember this period of my life. I remember feeling numb, so it could have been a way to ‘feel’? I have had intrusive thoughts for around a decade now. They often tell me to end my life (I have many previous posts on my suicidal ideation) so maybe at the time I had intrusive thoughts to harm myself? I’m really not sure, but I guess I will find out in the future? This is probably something I should figure out in therapy, but I don’t think I am in the right stage on my life to begin therapy.

I’ve spoken about how I self harmed, what my self harm scars look like now , how I feel about them and the reasons why I harmed myself. Is there any points I have missed out/anything you would like to know about? I thoroughly enjoy reading comments on my posts. I was going to apologize for the negative posts, but I guess it isn’t, as I haven’t harmed myself in 5 years, that’s and achievement!

Mental health update;

This month is going to be very busy for me, so I thought I would do a current update while I have the time. Mostly, I am great! I have accomplished so much this year, and that is motivating me to keep going, and carry that on!

I am spending a couple of months alone this summer in our new apartment as my partner will be away. I am still a little worried, but am more equipped to cope alone. I have a few extra hours at my part time job which will be a good distraction! I’m not going full time as I feel that would be too much, especially as I don’t get a summer break from studying my degree like most students do. Combined studying and working should keep me busy!

I never thought I would be trusted to live alone for so long, so I must be doing well! I usually eat a lot healthier when alone, which I am looking forward to. I am hoping to try lots of new recipes! We are moving apartments very soon, I can’t wait to organise everything, as well as have my own office!

I am excited, and I think this is contributing to me wanting to keep going. I hope I don’t plummet after I’ve settled in. I’ve started (restarted) a bullet journal which I shall use as a distraction in the evenings if I am struggling. I also have a listography book, and wreck it journal, combined with my bullet journal, I am thinking of making a separate segment on my blog for arty/distractions? I’m am not creative at all, but think it’s a good outlet/ a place to start.

I am still getting intrusive thoughts, but not so frequent. They are still quite intense, but my partner has been there to support. I wish they’d go, but I am ok.

Recently I am really enjoying writing blog posts, I have lots of ideas, and a few pre written. Any posts you’d like I can add to the list. I have taken the pressure of myself, and just posting as and what I enjoy. This post is very rambly, but sometimes that is ok.