mental health

I’m a grown up

So tomorrow is the big day I go it alone and move into a cute little terrace on my Jack Jones.

I’m 26, I’ve lived away from home since I was 18. But never alone. It’s scary, daunting, and exciting.

I want to do this. I feel I have so much to prove.

For years I have been babied. Sometimes unintentionally. However, I feel my short, clumsy chubby- cheeked self gets modi-coddled and judged on living an adult life.

Yeh, sometimes It’s helpful. I think people are drawn to my child like self. Always the one who’s described as cute.

I’m forgetful, I have dyspraxia (working out how to put a belt on or sometimes even shoes is a task!). And possibly due to this, family often think I need so much more help than I do.

I’m an eldest child, eldest grandchild on one side. But still seem to be the one who gets looked after. Imagine feeling someone is patting you on the head saying “there there little one I’ll help you”, without the physical contact (I’d flip at that, you can’t touch this.)

I’m the one who is academically bright. But seen as common sense stupid. It’s patronising when someone says “oh god don’t let Beth do that” infact. It’s painful, it hurts.

We discussed it in therapy. Maybe there is an under lying currant of wanting to protect me. Because I’ve been the emotionally vulnerable one. The kid that saw too much.

I am no longer that child.

I am a grown woman, scarred by things I never dealt with. Screaming to be heard and have my independence. To move on.

I’m talked over, told what to do, how to do it. Without asking.

I CAN DO IT. And if I can’t, I will ask for help. Let me make my own mistakes (even if that does involve me grating part of my thumb off with a cheese grater).

I appreciate you’re help. I love the people who help me, when I truly need and ask for it.

Just let me be heard. Let me be a woman in my own right.

I’m going to be okay.

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mental health

I’m back bitches.

I neglected writing again. However, I have managed to keep a house plant alive for 2 weeks so, that’s consumed a lot of my time.

Firstly, let’s hit this off by saying, I think I’m okay hun. I won’t say I’ve been “living my best life”, which is all the rage these days. But I’ve been living A life (some of it blackout drunk).

Anxiety has been pestering me, that bitch constantly wants my attention, needy is not the word. But, BUT, I have managed it and live to tell the tale.

So here’s what’s been going down for this loco lady….

I’ve completed one of my three courses of therapy. This was talking therapy. A charity based therapy service with qualified councillors. I paid what I could afford each week (really what I could afford was paying in filter tips I find in the bottom of handbags but it’s not acceptable currency.)

Now, it has helped. I’ve recognised in my 26 years I’ve been through stuff many will hopefully never experience in their lifetime. And guess what I did with it all?! Never questioned it, never challenged it, never processed it. I accepted things as normal and felt the need to power on. Constantly striving to please people to avoid any upset to those around me. Never really saying “nah, I don’t like this.” (Unless it’s salmon, I do NOT like salmon, it’s not a thing.)

I’ve begun to acknowledge what’s made me the anxiety riddled small human I am. And most importantly, take steps to challenge that and my perceptions of the world, relationships and my own self worth.

For too long I’ve let situations niggle me, I haven’t spoken my true feelings or why I feel them. In turn this isolates me, I isolate myself. I resent those around me because I don’t feel what they feel. Not see the world through their eyes.

I’ve been crying out to have my opinion and wishes heard for so long and it’s fallen on deaf ears. I’ve been mothered and modi-coddled because of my inept persona. I’m clumsy, no common sense, little, cute, I need help with things. Well, no, no I don’t.

I’ve been told what to do and made to feel stupid by those I allowed to influence me. Be it family or a partner.

I’m a responsible person. They don’t let any one do my job. I’m caring, compassionate, opinionated, loud, and damn it I really do have my head screwed on. And it’s time some people recognised that, including myself.

The last month has been a whirlwind. I’m moving out on my own. It was a shock.

I didn’t anticipate it. But I got myself a new place. ON MY OWN. I’ve fought panic attacks about situations from “how will I disassemble a bed” to “what do I do when I’m alone in a new house with my irrational thoughts, will those thoughts win”. Truly one extreme to the next.

Really what I’m saying here is. I’m starting a new journey now. I’m scared. I’m excited. I’m “living my average life” and you can come along with me. If you fancy it. Belt up.

We’re gonna take a tour through millennial life. The rising prices of avocados, buying furniture, “upscaling”, alcohol, trying to get that bikini bod, and dating… yeh, dating. All with the under currents of an irrational brain.

Send help.

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Anxiety, art, depression, mental health

Blooming into the new (old) me

I know I’m not 100%. I know that those anxiety bouts get the better of me sometimes. Over analysing and I still remain BFF’s. I know I’ll have to manage this all my life. 9 years with it feels like a lifetime, like watching anything with Piers Morgan on.

But somethings happened. Through these blogs. I’ve really got to know a lot more about myself and who I am. And how I haven’t been that person for a long time.

A close friend told me the other day. Although I’ve had a shit time, she’s already seeing me as better, funnier, more chilled out person. Isn’t it amazing what new meds and getting rid of metaphorical baggage can do! (Don’t leave your baggage unattended though, the non metaphorical kind. I did that once and my bag went to Middlesborough).

Now I might get a bit hippy and deep here. But y’know, we’ve entered spring (I know! Tell the weather that!) and I feel I’ve entered the spring of my life. Out of the cold, ice of winter and into the blooms of spring. New life.

Yes it’s going to be a constant battle with me and my thought processes, but I’m armed to fight them. The bulbs are sprouting and I can see so much light shining in. Pass me my shades.

This could well be down to therapy today. Or, it could be down to me. I’m on a journey of self- discovery (god I want to punch myself right now for writing that, next I’ll be packing a back pack and off to south East Asia to ‘find myself’ and stroke a sedated tiger).

I go back to work on Thursday and I can’t wait. Nursing is part of my identity, that I’m re-building. This time with the knowledge that I have a support system. And I know I can trust this support system.

Everything happens for a reason. I had to reach rock bottom to climb back up.

Oh and… Karma bitches ✌🏼

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Anxiety, art, depression, mental health, nursing

Why I became a nurse, and tried to hide my mental health.

Nursing wasn’t my first career choice. Well, I had expressed a wish to be a “nurth” when I was about 3. (My grandad kept a diary every day for years and these sort of things were in it, that and the cricket scores).

Unfortunately, when applying for universities at the tender age of 17, my school never highlighted nursing as an option. It didn’t seem something that was possible. It was more of a case of “pick one of your A-levels and go to that at uni.”

My A-levels were in Sport Science, Psychology and Fine Art… I flipped a coin. I had always been quite academic, and when that coin flipped and narrowed it down to Art, my mum wasn’t happy (IS SHE EVER?! I’m Sorry I broke your favourite wax melter get over it!)

Why was I going to go off and do art when I loved the challenge of learning facts and science. WELL, I was being a stubborn teen and thought I was all cool and edgy heading off to Art College with my vintage clothing and red hair.

I did the degree (hated it). Had all the confidence kicked out of me. Plodded home covered in acrylic paint and shame and took a job in an office doing graphic design (yawn).

Then my second grandad died. Suddenly and unexpectedly. And something clicked. Heart problems are in my family (yeh I’ll cut down on the saturated fats when I’m good and ready thank you) I was suffering at the time. depression, grief, a break-up. It was truly god awful.

But as I said, something clicked. I was discussing nursing with a friend and I just decided to apply for a nursing degree. I had hope, that I could finally do what I wanted.

That I could help others. That I could work with people like my grandads and make a positive difference to others. Even if I struggle to make a positive difference to my thoughts.

I took a job in a nursing home. The hours were ridiculous, the work was strenuous, the management was poor. I was bullied by my manager there – told I wasn’t capable of being a nurse. I nearly let her words win. Until…

I got the interview (why I decided to try and make jokes in my interview at MMU I’ll never know!) I didn’t have much hope, people I had spoken to had said how high quality the degree was there and how it was difficult to get in. So obviously my anxiety said “Not happening love, that cow at work is right”.

I went home, I quit my job at the nursing home. And pondered what the hell I was going to do with my life. When I got the call. MMU wanted to offer me a place on Adult Nursing, and to start the following month (March) as opposed to the September! (My jokes must have paid off). I felt truly happy, apprehensive but happy. For the first time in a long time. I was finally putting me first, doing something scary, but something I had always wanted to do. This was for me. And my grandads.

Throughout my training, I hid my mental health issues from my personal tutors. I brushed on it in lectures (honestly, go into a lecture of nursing students it’s like a therapy session!). I struggled at various points but it was my main focus. I was older now, I didn’t have the distractions of living in a big city, £1 vodka lemonades and Big Mamma’s takeaway. I lived at home or with my grandma depending on placements and uni blocks.

I hid my mental health, so wrongly believing that it could affect my ability to practice as a medical professional. That it could impact on the care I gave, that people wouldn’t want me to be a nurse.

The media has covered stories of those with mental health issues, in medicine or not, who have put others in their safety in jeopardy. In the media day and age we read it, and fear is attached to those with these health conditions. So of course, why would I want to declare it!? I’m stigmatising myself here. The Sun has a field day with it but I wouldn’t wipe my backside on that ‘newspaper’.

I qualified, I was so proud. I had done it all off my own back. I got a great degree. I got a job in the field I wanted… and again I hid it. Until it all got out of control. Admitting to the mental pain I was in, as a nurse, in the hospital I worked in was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

And you know what… I’m glad I did. It’s actually common in medicine. We see a lot of heartbreaking things day to day. We put up with verbal and physical abuse. But all we want to do is help you. That takes its toll on anyone, even if your heart is made of Stone! Or another strong item… even steel, that’s really hard. I digress again.

What I’m saying is finally opening up in my profession opened floodgates of support. My management and my colleagues have been amazing. I couldn’t thank them enough. Yes the NHS is under funded – especially mental health. I’m still on waiting lists. But those who work in it are a support system themselves and I love the NHS for that.

I might still feel the stigma, I might still feel I have to hide it sometimes. But it’s only because I really, really care. I LOVE my job. I’m such a nerd about it. I will look at all your veins when we converse and think where I would cannulate you. Possibly think of care plans I’d need to put in place for you.

I may have let my care for myself slip but it will always be there for the public.

I go back to work next week and I can’t wait. Of course I’m scared. But I know I have so much support.

As the NMC has said, there is NO evidence mental health will detriment the care a nurse provides. I stick to the 6 C’s, I work within my code of conduct. And I’m in my dream job. If that’s not something to smile about. I don’t know what is.

I’m a nurse with mental health issues. But you’re always going to come first patients of Britain.

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Anxiety, art, depression, mental health, Uncategorized

Insomnia – and other sleep beefs

This isn’t a post about the bangin’ tune by Faithless. There are no glow sticks or amphetamines involved here. (I don’t know what goes on at places that would play that song, can you tell?).

In fact, it’s a new phenomenon to me. Anyone who knows me, will know, I LOVE SLEEP. It’s great. It’s warm in bed, it’s cosy, I starfish. In fact I tend to sleep with my arms up in the air like I’m celebrating a great achievement.

A lot of mental health issues can severely impact on sleeping patterns. It can also be an endless cycle. The charity MIND describe it pretty well. In the fact that, poor mental health can lead to poor sleep, poor sleep then affects your mental health. So Round and round we go on the magic roundabout of sleep difficulties.

I’ve either been at one drastic end of the spectrum, or the other. Mental health issues can often cause sufferers to sleep far too much, or just not enough at all.

In the past I’ve slept as a way of ignoring the day ahead of me. Sleeping for 14 hours easy peasy. However, I’ve also had the times when I’m sleeping 4 hours a night at most.

I’m at the insomnia phase right now. I’m tired, believe me, knackered! But I can’t drift off. Unusual, quick, fleeting thoughts racing in my head. Out of nowhere, thoughts totally unrelated to any situation I am actually in in my present day to day life.

Sometimes it’s just them pesky butterflies refusing to leave. The physical anxiety symptoms, of what I often can’t figure out the cause. I shake myself back and forth (that’s not weird in the slightest is it? Chain me up and stick me in a padded cell eh).

I’ve tried all the advice, exercise, routine etc… have you even tried to have a routine when you work 13 hour shifts?! (Even though I’m off work at the moment). Routine isn’t common in my line of work. Seriously I don’t have a clue what day it is sometimes! That’s shifts!

I do know I’m so looking forward to getting back to work. To a slight routine, even if it is a skew wiff one.

GP’s are reluctant to hand out sleeping tablets as you can become highly reliant on them. Which I understand. But I’d love to drop some diazepam right now and get me a good 8 hours (oh the DREAM).

I don’t really have a routine at the moment. I’m frequenting the gym…sometimes having a chamomile tea in attempt at ‘relaxing’ before bed. That stuffs nasty. Hand me a Yorkshire tea any day!

To sum up. I’m worrying I’m not sleeping. So I stay awake because I’m worried…. you see where this is going.

JUST SING ME A LULLABY SOMEBODY.

Or if you, like me, are vocally challenged. Offer me up some tips.

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Anxiety, art, depression, mental health, Uncategorized

Dear Friends

I’m sorry I lied to you. Im sorry I put on a front and never really said how bad it was at the time. I’m sorry I pushed you away. I cut myself off, I hurt you.

I spent so much time trying to maintain a ‘not going anywhere’ relationship, that I neglected you. And myself.

You’d think I’d learn (I learn the most ridiculous facts why can’t I learn my own bloody patterns!) But I didn’t and I’ve been here before.

I’ve pushed a group of friends away in the past. When the dark, scummy well pulled me in and replaced my usual self with anger and self-destructive behaviour.

You see, when you’re not coping, as I wasn’t over the last year. My old pals D&A (I’ve abbreviated them now to be cool, and because we are so acquainted 🤞) cloud up my own judgements and I refuse to see what I’m doing. Trying to explain how these pals of mine tend to affect me is like telling a fat kid he can’t have seconds at an all you can eat buffet. It’s just so difficult!

It does seem weird to people that it can manifest into resentment. But, I’m afraid it does. And I get snappy and shitty with my friends. And sometimes the dog, but she’s a bloody idiot!

It’s taken a really shit time. And some discussions with psych liaison, initial therapy appointments and an old time friend (who is conveniently a therapist) to acknowledge how low I have truly been. And how now, I can be me again.

But a me who will not cut off, who will be open with when I’m anxious, upset, angry.

It’s time to be honest with you rather than subduing it and making things worse.

I have to end on a sassy note (of course I do, it’s me). And that note is:

Yes, I live with mental health issues. Yes it’s hard to get your head round sometimes. No I don’t want to hurt anyone. I just want to be the best me I can. And that comes with my chemically unbalanced brain. Take me or leave me. It’s part of me.

Also part of me is my massive cheeks but I can’t take anything to make them smaller. I’ve looked into it.

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Anxiety, art, depression, mental health, Uncategorized

Inadequacy

When Googled, inadequate is defined as:

Lacking the quality or quantity required; insufficient for a purpose.

(Of a person)

Unable to deal with a situation or with life.

This is an on and off friend of mine. At the height of anxious and depressed periods, we’re best pals. We spend nights in together, snacking, watching films. We go out together, hit the Town up. Me and my ol’ pal inadequacy.

But he’s also, usually there in the background.

Lurching, to re-build our friendship when I’ve climbed back in the anxiety and depression boat.

It comes down to the fact I’ve never felt I’m good enough. For most things, instead of pushing myself I reach a wall and I hear the sweet whisper of anxiety chime in “you’re not good enough for this anyway. Just give up.”

And that’s what I’ve done in the past.

The weird thing is, I can be a perfectionist, I’m competitive (honestly I’ve had blazing rows over trivial pursuit and the logo quiz game). And if I know I’m not the actual best – even if it’s MY best, and enjoy what I’m doing. I can’t be proud – I’m just not good enough so there’s no point carrying on.

It was the reason I gave up Athletics. And I was good, I’m a fast little thing. I was a coach too (but most of the kids were taller than me, I coached under 11’s).

It’s why I stopped caring half way through my art degree, everyone else seemed so much better so why should I have bothered. It’s why I’ve LET myself be treated badly and disrespected by men. Because I’m inadequate. I’m not the best so I don’t deserve the best…

I know I don’t deal with situations others may soldier on with. I’m overwhelmed by what some would see as daft inconveniences.

I’m overwhelmed when there are two people in-front of me in a queue, when the dog ate my favourite plastic spoon (yeh I know, mortifying. It was he best spoon to eat yoghurts with).

I’m inadequate at dealing with minor stresses. And little things like this, build to make me think.. can I actually deal with anything

I’ll never be promoted, I’ll never get a mortgage (not entirely easy for anyone that started their career at 24 in this financial climate! Bloody house prices and Tory government!).

I so easily forget that, no, sod off feeling of anxious inadequacy. I’ve achieved so much! I live independently, I own my own car, I got a first class degree in Nursing. I manage well through the most ridiculously stressful shifts and staff shortages (Again, bloody tories).

One day, when I learn to face these feelings head on. And overcome them. I can progress in my career, I will have a house, I won’t settle for being second best to someone. I won’t let knowing I’m not the best at everything, make me think I’m not the best at being me. And respecting myself.

I can’t say I’m not still going in and out of fight or flight. But I can say I want to embrace positivity – engage with treatment and learn to be me. The new me. Because the only way out of this well is up. Chuck us that ladder. But also pass me the beta-blockers because I’m tachycardic and panicking. Cheers.

I may feel inadequate. But I’m not, I’m more than adequate. I’m the best me ever, granted, I need some work doing (extensive and pricey work on the foundations) but I’ll get there…however…

Easier said than done when the anxiety parrot is on your shoulder, pecking, screeching. Making you want to hide and bury yourself under a pile of lies he tells you.

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