World Mental Health Day 10/10/2019

As I’m sure you have seen all over social media, today; the 10th October is World Mental Health Day! It’s great that you have probably heard of this as it means awareness is growing. This years theme is Suicide Prevention.

If you follow my blog you would know that suicidal ideation is something I struggle with. Lot’s of posts surrounding this day are displaying the progress they have made with their mental health. I’m currently not doing the best, so cannot feel I can involve myself the same as many others are.

Today I am low, and do not have many words to share. I still wanted to have a post go up, just in case one person didn’t know of today, and now they do. Awareness of every mental illness is important, and not just today. I apologise that I can’t write a lengthy optimistic post about my mental health journey. I’m going to end this mini post ensuring YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am here for ANYONE who needs someone to talk to. (just pop me an email, or press the ‘contact’ page on my blog).

Anxiety; how it comes and goes

I have spoke previously about my experience with anxiety, and how it affected by life, but has not affected me much for the past year or so. Ironically this week I have had moments on intense anxiety. No way near as bad as it use to me. But enough for me to notice it affecting me.

Last week I was at work, where I suddenly noticed how much my heart was beating, the room felt very hot, my hands were shaking. Thoughts in my head started appearing that I am dying. The beginnings of an anxiety attack. A colleague noticed, but I was able to distract myself as work was relatively busy. I find distraction helps me a lot. The more I think about it ,the worse it gets. I noticed that all week I’ve been physically anxious, which is harder to cope with for me. I feel mentally okay, so why is my body betraying me? I’m not sure what to do, as I feel it’s a physical symptom? Suggestions welcome!

Feeling this attack last week made me realise how well and calm I feel in general, which is huge! I used to feel this amount of anxiety on a daily basis. (How I coped, I do not know). This week has been mentally exhausting, but I feel well still. I hope this feeling doesn’t stay.

Am I suffering with anxiety? Does a diagnosis last a life time? Is this a disorder that comes and goes? I’m not interested in putting a label to how I feel, but it’s still interesting. I wonder if I’ll always have anxious tendencies.

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!

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!

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.

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.

Suicidal thoughts do not mean I want to end my life?

This is difficult to describe what I am trying to say, so my point of view may not necessarily reflect what I am wanting to explain. I have stopped putting TriggerWarnings on my posts, do you think I should still include one, especially for content on suicide?

I experience intrusive thoughts of ending my life. I am not depressed, and genuinely want to live but the intrusive thoughts can sometimes be so overpowering that they convince me this is my only option. This is difficult to explain to someone that I have having intense thoughts of ending my life,but I don’t want to? I get very overwhelmed. Does this mean I am a danger to myself? I logically know I do not want to die, but sharing I am feeling this way may suggest otherwise.

I have thought of suicide. I have a plan, ‘just in case’. I need this plan to feel secure, my worst fear is having no escape. I will never share my plan, just in case I need it. Although I do NOT plan on using it. I used to have a pile of individual letters to loved ones, in case I was spontaneous and desperate, and didn’t have the time to write. I shredded all these, and don’t plan to do this again.

I now understand that these intense thoughts are intrusive and not my own. I need to work through these thoughts properly someday. But for now,I always ensure I am in a safe place, and inform my partner if won’t affect what they are doing. I usually can carry on with most everyday tasks when I get these intrusive thoughts now, as distraction is key for me! I used to be completely overwhelmed by these thoughts, and couldn’t even talk.

I can’t imagine a future where suicide isn’t an option for me, I just hope I can learn to cope better with these thoughts. Should I be hopeful of a life without these thoughts?

These thoughts do affect my life still. For example; I haven’t learnt to drive, as I never trusted myself to be behind a wheel, in case they occurred and I were to act compulsively. I’m unsure if I would ever behave that way, but I am too afraid to risk it. I don’t plan on getting a driving licence. I now plan to live in a city long term, so having a car isn’t a likely option anyway.

I am not my thoughts. I want to be alive. I don’t know this post went in the direction I intended. If you are feeling suicidal, please reach out! If you need someone to talk to my email address is on my contact page. Comments are welcome. I am open to answering any questions, my blog is anonymous. (will be writing a post on this topic soon)