All Change

So it’s three months later and I’ve just read through the last few blog entries. I’m heartened that they’re not actually as depressing and self indulgent as I’d feared. They’re just honest.

Lots has changed and lots has happened. I’m still just as emotional (and I think I always will be), but now the emotions are more positive.

So what has happened over the last few months?

I’ve learned to be comfortable and content by myself
I hesitate to use the word ‘happy’, only because I’m someone who needs people. I like to have human connections – chat to people in real life and meet for coffee. As hard as I find social situations, I know I long for them and do so much better when I see friends. However, I’m content on my own. I genuinely am.

I’ve lost weight
It has been a struggle for years to lose weight. I lost over 5 stones once, but then I put it all back on. Through Therapy, I learned how to deal with that huge empty hole I was trying to fill with food. I learned other ways of coping with that and reducing its destructive effect. Don’t get me wrong – I still comfort eat at times (who doesn’t??) – but I don’t feel a desperate need to fill that empty hole any more. I feel better, I look better and I’ve begun to get my confidence back. The weight is coming off slowly, but I’m really happy with that.

I’ve started playing and singing in public – and I’m busy!
All my life, I never had the confidence to play my guitar (or piano) and sing in public. In the next 2 weeks, I have 4 gigs booked. I’ve been pretty much constantly busy since May, and most of them I’ve been asked to do after someone has heard me play somewhere else. A couple of weeks ago, I got to do a whole set of mainly my own songs. I did 1 cover in the whole set and even that was completely changed to my own style. I’m starting to enjoy it now and am even inviting friends to come and see me play! Who would have believed that only a year ago?? (not me – that’s for sure!)

I’m writing lots of new material
I’m averaging 2-3 new songs a month and they’re almost all songs I’m happy to perform too. Songwriting is where I started to practice being honest again. Everything I’m feeling goes into a song. They’re honest and heartfelt and they’re completely me. I think I’ve written more than 20 songs since the end of January and I have no intention of stopping. I’ve even started to tell people that these are my own songs when I perform them at gigs. I’m working on explaining what they’re all about, but then that makes me feel a bit more vulnerable and I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet! And also people interpret those songs in different ways and I don’t want to stop that.

I’m being myself and I’m happy
I have been isolated and lonely and so I’ve had to make the effort to make friends. And the good thing about this is that I can be choosy. I don’t *have* to be friends with people I don’t like or who I can’t be myself with. It’s not as if I’m going to lose anything by not pursuing a friendship with someone. So I have made friends with good people. People I can be myself with. There ARE good people in the world. I just needed to be in the right place to accept that. I needed to be myself to find those connections. And right now I’m really happy. I’m excited about the future, I’m excited about life and I’m so proud of myself for everything I’ve learned and taken from both therapy and my life experiences after that.

Life is different. Life is great, and life is exciting. I’m realistic and I know I’ll have hard times and I will struggle at times. But I’m self aware, I know my triggers, and I know how to talk about it. I think I have a great group of friends and people to talk to and I’m gonna be okay. No, not okay. I’m gonna be AWESOME.

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If I look at the big picture, my life is going really well. I’m making progress and I’m managing well. 

However, if I’m honest, I feel completely lonely and isolated. I’m feeling the empty.  I know why I feel this way. I’ve looked at my triggers and can easily identify one and logically, I know this will pass. It doesn’t stop me having the feelings though. And that REALLY sucks. 

It’s my birthday in a couple of weeks, and I’m dreading it. The day itself will be fine as I’ll have The Boy with me so we can make cake and go on the swings together or something. But the weekend before my birthday I have Saturday evening and all of Sunday free. I want to do something. See friends and have a meal or drinks. But I feel like I don’t really have anyone locally to ask. I have started to try and make friends, but ideally I’d love to be with people I’m comfortable with and who know me. And they’re all hundreds of miles away! 

It’s up to me to organise something if I want to do something, but I feel all defeatist about it. It’s all in my head and it doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things. But I know myself and I know that if I want to avoid a weekend of crying on the sofa, I need to get something organised. 

I just miss physical company. Having a coffee or a drink and a chat. But it takes a long time to grow good friends… 

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Big week

So this week has been a big one. And I’m emotionally exhausted. I’m overtired, which means I’m not sleeping properly. I need a nap, but I need a nap buddy for that!

It started last week really. It’s 4 months since the breakup and it’s like that milestone was coming at me like a freight train. And I did crumble a little bit. I saw her three times last week – each time in her car – and I know she saw me too at least once. The first two times, I had a panic attack. The third time, I was okay.

I spoke to a very good friend and just being able to talk about it honestly really helped. About the fact that I was still avoiding things and places because I was in fear of her. In fear of what – I don’t know! But I still had that fear.

But after talking to my friend, everything just seemed to change. I woke up the next day and I wasn’t scared any more. I wasn’t thinking about her all the time, and I was looking forwards instead of back at the past.

A few days later, I went to somewhere new and I performed on stage for the first time ever. A few of my good friends were there to support me and it felt great! This is something I never would have done if I’d stayed with Her. I never had the time to practice amongst other things. This was MASSIVE for me. I’ve been writing songs since I was 16 and sitting in my room playing guitar by myself for longer. I’m 38 now and it has taken all that time to build the confidence to get up on stage and perform. All of that time to deal with my mental health issues, my body issues and my confidence and just do it.

And now I’m on the come down. I’m sitting in my flat on a bank holiday weekend and I’m lonely. A couple of friends have texted and asked how I am, and I either just avoid the question and don’t answer it, or I say I’m okay. Because I guess in the grand scheme of things, I *am* okay. I know that this will pass in a few days and that I’ll be fine again. It just sucks right now.

But overall, I’m in a good place and good things are happening. And the fact that I can see that, through every shitty thing I’m feeling, is a success.

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On the Truth..

I spoke to a friend last night. One of the friends that I hadn’t been ‘allowed’ to talk to when I was with my ex. It made me think; about who I am, who I want to be, and who I used to be. And the one thing that people have always commented on was my honesty. I was always honest online and in my blogs. And I guess I was to an extent in real life too. But I have lost that over the last few years. With therapy making me question everything, and an ex who told me my truth was ‘weird’ and offputting, I just stopped being so open.

I was always a little socially awkward in real life, but having to hold back and not be honest has made me even more awkward. I don’t know whether my honesty was a symptom of my bpd (I refuse to give it capital letters – it will NOT define me), and some unconscious attempt at gaining attention or whether it really is just part of who I am.

I have, for a long time, believed that being honest is not just for my own benefit, but I’d be speaking up for other people who didn’t have the opportunity or the strength to do it themselves. Sometimes you have to BE the change you want to see in the world.

I am a strong woman and I am intelligent. Yet I was *still* vulnerable and ended up in an abusive relationship. I was told that blogging was a pathetic attempt to garner attention, sympathy and was just moaning. I was told that if I blogged again, my relationship would end. I was told that being open and honest made me look weird and odd and that people would think I’m weird. And that she ‘wasn’t interested in that’. And the thing is, before this relationship I would not have cared so much if people thought I was weird because I KNEW that there were people who appreciated my honesty. However, I became so isolated that I couldn’t see past what she was saying.

My current truth is that I’m struggling to remember who I am and what I believe in. I’m still trying to work out what was true and what was lies. I’m lonely and isolated and sometimes I just want someone to tell me I’m not such a bad person – and for me to be able to believe them. I’d love to have a friend who could pop round for coffee or who could meet me in town for lunch. I’d love to have someone nearby who knows me.

And I know it will take time, and that I will get there. At the moment, I’m clinging on to the only thing that has been forever constant: music. I hug my guitar and I sing to let it all out.  And I think about being honest again. Maybe one day soon I’ll start….

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Feeling the empty

Well, today has been crap. Outwardly it has been a success; we got up, ate something resembling  breakfast, got to playgroup, ate lunch, went outside, ate dinner and did bedtime. How can I possibly say that today was a failure? 

Because, in my mind, it was. 

I let him watch too much tv. I let him play games on the tablet.  I gave him two biscuits. I had to remove him from the singing session at playgroup because he was giving moving cuddles to smaller children and then kicking others. 

I had to remove him from the garden for throwing stones. 

He had a complete meltdown at bedtime. 
I feel like the shittiest parent.  

I have felt empty all day and have started to panic. By empty I mean the beginnings of that bpd empty. Where it starts by feeling numb and disconnected. Then is interspersed with anger and the almost overwhelming desire to just scream at the top of my lungs. 

Today I  actually thought about suicide again. I was out in the sunshine with LO and just felt completely hopeless and like there was no point to my life. I know, logically, that that isn’t true. And I know that as long as I have the smallest shred of sanity left, I would never do it. 

But I’m starting to panic that my sanity is leaving me. I feel like I’m spiralling downwards into a pit of anger and hopelessness. And I’m trying to eat it away whilst at the same time trying to lose weight so I can wear my one and only suit to a wedding next month. I am sabotaging myself and i don’t know why. 

I’m trying so so hard to avoid pressing that self destruct button. And I’ve done so well so far. I’m just not sure how much longer I can resist.  

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1. I still miss you. More than you would  believe. Especially given how often you declared that my love was not real; it couldn’t be as deep and true as yours because I had a mental health diagnosis and the internet told you I was a fraud.

2. I look at your Facebook page every day. I say goodnight to you that way. I want you to be doing well.  To be happy and successful. But really I’m waiting (and will be forever) for an acknowledgement of the way you treated me. I know it will never come, but I have hope anyway.

3. There are still a few of your hairs in the plug hole in the bath. I’ve left them there because as weird as it sounds, it feels like there’s still a part of you here. Like you haven’t completely left. Like maybe I still matter to you.

4. The teddy I bought you that you gave me back: Sometimes i take it out of the box I put it in and sniff it because it still smells of your house. When I’m missing your hugs, I  bury my face in its fur and drink in the memories.

5. Sometimes I put my ring back on. The one you bought me.  We unknowingly bought each other the same ring one Christmas, nervously handing them over in disguised packaging, with plenty of ‘if you don’t like it or think it’s weird, that’s cool.’  It was my lasting  connection to you every time you dumped me.  And it still is.  I don’t want the ring mark on my finger to completely disappear yet so I put the ring back on now and again.

6. Everything in my life has you in it.  EVERYTHING. The shoes I wear were a present from you; you knew I would never spend that much money on myself.  You took me to get my car. You bought clothes and gifts for my son that he still plays with – and he remembers that they were from you.  The pyjamas I’m wearing were a gift from you. The unit in the lounge you helped me build. The sofa you helped set up.  The bag you laughed at me for. The hats you hated. The socks you borrowed. The music we listened to.  All of it just makes me think of you.

7. I’m lonely without you.  I told you everything, even though you never believed that.  I shared everything with you. I didn’t see anyone else or do anything else.  It was more trouble than it was worth trying to make or see friends.  They had to meet your approval and I had to send you pictures before you would be okay with it. I’m isolated and alone and I miss sharing my day with you.

8. I still think you’re beautiful.  And I still fancy you.  After everything. All the lies and the manipulation and the control.  All the dumping and the insults and the accusations. After all that and more, I still only want you.

9. I still hope for contact.  That you’ll email me or text me or reach out in some way.  Just so I know I mattered to you. That you didn’t just discard me so easily and move on.

10. I’m still scared of you. You never hit me and you never threatened to, but I’m still inexplicably scared.  Your voice is still in my head. Telling me how awkward and weird I am and how everyone thinks I’m odd.  How anyone else would have walked away but you were staying as long as I worked on my many issues. I still stop myself from doing things because you would be upset. Like making a new friend or reconnecting with an old one. Like wearing perfume when I’m not seeing you or trying a new social activity without you.

11. As much as I want you, we can never be together. I have a son to protect and as low as my self worth is, he is definitely worth more. And I would never put him through the mind games and abuse you put me through. I was strong enough to walk away for him.  And I will be strong enough to stay away because of him.

I love you.  I will always love you.  But you are an emotionally abusive woman. You manipulated me and confused me until I didn’t even know my own mind.


12. I am stronger than you.

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Its 1.30am and Im on the sofa eating toast because I cant sleep. Im at the point where Im so exhausted that my vision is blurred, but I still cant sleep. Everything is just going round and round in my head and I cant seem to stop thinking, cant seem to settle tonight.

Id stay in my room and relax ,but I havent finished decorating my bedroom yet, so Im on the futon wedged into the box room along with most of the furniture from my (being decorated) bedroom. Its a catch-22 situation. Im exhausted so dont have the energy for decorating, yet Im exhausted partly because Im on the futon and Im on the futon because I havent finished decorating my room yet. I dont have much left to do, but I just do not have the energy or the stamina.

And thinking about the decorating, I realise that I havent really stopped for the last couple of weeks. Ive spent so much time cramming in things to do that I just havent had a day when Ive sat down, vegged out and just let myself be. Ive been trying so hard to recover and get back to normal that I havent really gone through the recovery process. Ive just been distracting myself. And maybe thats why this evening everything just seems so. complicated.

Sometimes I wish that I could write on here about whats *really*going on. But people deserve privacy and its not my place to blog about things that involve other people. But the basic story is that Im moving on from a very intense period and coming out of the other side is causing confusion and upset. Every step forwards I take, takes me further away from everything I wanted and clung onto before my breakdown. It makes me doubt who I am, what I stand for and what I want to do with my life.

I know that I need to become content in my own company, that I need to be able to spend time alone and that I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself to be better and back to normal. But to do that, I need to spend time just being and not distracting myself. And I need to finish decorating my room first before I go crazy at all the clutter everywhere. (All of my stuff stored in every spare space upstairs). Maybe then I will know really how far I have come and whether Im ready to move on, go back to work and start to reevaluate things.

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Timing and shame

Today has got me thinking. Thinking about mental health and how to talk about it to new friends, acquaintances and strangers. I know that the law says you cant discriminate, but real life is not the same as the ideal legal world.

Today I told someone, a new friend, that I had recently been in a psychiatric ward for two days and that I had depression. I stopped short of admitting that I had had a breakdown, but I let it out there. And I dont know how she is going to react. Whether she will still want to be friends or not. That isnt the issue though. The issue is that I felt ashamed at admitting that I had had a breakdown (Mental health crisis) and had been in hospital. I felt the NEED to say that I wasnt dangerous or anything. Now what the hell is all that about?

If someone had a broken leg and was on crutches, they wouldnt feel the need to say to people that they werent dangerous. Yet I felt the need to say it. Usually Im quite upfront about my mental health and am not ashamed of having depression. However at the moment, maybe things are too raw and Im finding it hard to be my usual upfront self about it. Even using the words admitting I was in a psychiatric ward is not something I would usually use. I would inform someone not admit it. Using admit gives the impression that I should be ashamed. I shouldnt be ashamed, but I am.

Im making new friends at the moment and its obvious that Im not at work right now. So how do I go about saying that Im on sick leave? And what if they ask why? I am, by nature, a very honest person and I believe that if someone is not comfortable with my mental health status, then theyre not the kind of friend I need. However, when someone doesnt know you, they dont have the benefit of having seen you well and knowing the difference between you being well and being ill. So I dont want to be too open with people.

Then that makes me feel like Im lying to them. And I dont like lying. Im making friends and I am off sick. A couple are starting to get curious at how much free time I have. I either lie and pretend like Ive been to work, say Im on holiday for a while (6 weeks, really?) Or just be honest. Its such a minefield. And its a minefield because Im usually so open and honest about these things. It makes me REALLY uncomfortable to lie or lie by omission if someone asks me a direct question. I suppose I just want people to get the chance to see the real me before they know about the depression and judge me on my recent persona.

Im not judging anyone here who would be uncomfortable with someone who openly admits their mental health issues. People have their own reasons for feeling uncomfortable with it and that is not my issue. My issue is how I currently feel about it and how I can get back to being unashamed at the fact that yes, I do suffer from depression and I am currently having a bad episode, but that Im just like everyone else and its nothing that I need to hide from people. My philosophy has been over the last few years that if nobody talks about these issues, they stay taboo subjects. Someone needs to be open about it and why cant that be me?

Anyway. Thats my thoughts for the day.

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Breaking it down

I feel the need to blog. So thats what Im doing. I havent been here for a long time. People I know read this blog and so its not as easy to be as honest as I have been in the past. However, this is like therapy for me, so Im going to use it. If you know me and you want to know more or ask any questions, then please contact me and ask them.

Now thats out of the way, here goes.

I had a breakdown. A couple of weeks ago everything just got on top of me. Everything that has happened over the past year just all took over and I was left in a puddle on the floor. I called my GP for help and he told me to go to AE and speak to the psychiatric liaison officer, who recommeded I be admitted to a mental health unit. Ispent two nights there and never want to go back again. After that, I was on the caseload of the Crisis and home treatment team and went to day centre every day for a week. At the end of that week, I was told that I couldnt go there any more and had to be transferred to a different area mental health team. Since then, Ive had a couple of phone calls and Ive had to battle the mental health team and my gp to get the medication I need. I have just been left to my own devices.

So thats where I am now, and I feel a little bit lost. Im trying to make new friends and Im trying to get back into my photography, going outside, getting dressed every day and all of that stuff, but it just isnt really helping. Im off work as there is no way Id be able to concentrate enough to work. I can manage to get through the day ok as long as I dont start talking about anything that matters. As soon as that happens, I start crying. There are big issues I need to work through and deal with but I need some help to do that and Im not getting that help at the moment from the mental health team. Im trying to keep myself busy, but I cant concentrate on anything. They put me on some new medication on the Psychiatric ward and it causes agitation. And its AWFUL. I wake up really ealy every day no matter what time I go to bed, Icant concentrate on anything and Im constantly agitated. But can I get to see a psychiatrist to get this reviewed? Can I hell! And the GP cant do anything as the medication was prescribed by a psychiatrist. Catch-22.

Today I went to someones house for sunday lunch with a group of very new friends. I was so touched to be invited as Id only met them once and felt very grateful to be there. I was feeling very nervous about going and spending so much time in a social situation with people I dont know, but I managed and they are a lovely group of ladies. Very welcoming and chatty. But Im suffering today from a total lack of self esteem. I wasnt sure of my outfit, my hair, my face, my jeans, my shoes. Everything. I had that whole feeling that I was being really annoying and a know it all. That I was just this really annoying (big)person in the corner just being weird. I gave someone a lift there and back and I was really nervous chatting. Trying to make sure I keep boundaries and dont appear like Im coming on to them but also that Im not being stand offish. I cant just be myself right now, because I dont really know who I am. Thats one of the issues I need to work on.

Today Id just like some hugs. Some attention, affection and some reassurance. It feels pathetic to want that, but it is what it is.

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It all takes time..

I always seem to start my posts with “I’m not really sure what to write really…”. I thought that maybe I should actually post one of these and just see what happens.

Things have been going ok for me recently. Not brilliantly, but I’ve been coping alright with everything. I’ve been attending therapy every week and I have made some significant changes when it comes to my mental health. I have started to change the way I respond to things and to finally learn to express my feelings when they happen and not dwell on things and bury them. And this is all very well and good, but it does cause its own problems. Mainly with other people.

It all came out recently. A lot of hurt and sadness. And I tried to talk to the person concerned. THey really really matter to me and I wanted everything to be alright. I wanted to be able to express myself, but be able to have a conversation about this. I wanted to have a relationship where we both got what we needed and the support didn’t only go one way. And it didn’t work. What I’d dreaded for over 20 years actually happened. The only difference is that I’m more able to deal with it now. I couldn’t have done that 20 years ago. Even 5 years ago. I’ve lost someone important to me, and that hurts. And I’m really sad about it. Today I went somewhere I had been with this person in the past. It had been a special occasion and we visited a few places. It really hurt to go there today. To see the places we went and know that I don’t have that relationship any more and that I probably never will again.

It hurts and it makes me sad. And I’m still at that stage where I cry when I think about it. I’m crying now. But I know that will pass. It just takes time.

I’m grateful to the people who have given me the space and the time to express myself and talk all of this through. It doesn’t stop me being sad, but it helps to know that you are there if I want to talk.

Thank you

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