Mental Health Friday #32

Mental Health Friday #32

 

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Today’s topic is one close to my heart and I could hardly wait for Friday, to unburden. So, here’s the thing. We all have someone (Atleast most of us do), who is battling with drugs, substance abuse and dependence. We might even be that person, because the truth is, you don’t really know a person until you know a person. And a lot of time, substance abuse doesn’t always come with a label on the forehead.

We, as a society, have tried shaming people who become dependent on substances (in other words, addicted), and how has that helped? Its only pushed them further into the throngs of abuse. Why? Because when you isolate people, loneliness is a hell of a thing, they delve further into their only constant friend- the abused substance.

Drugs have killed our society and shame has buried us alive. And until we find healthier and better ways of dealing with abuse, we are only building houses with glass ceilings. And those ceilings will come crashing eventually.

We’ve tried the whole- insulting, ridiculing, and making fun of those dealing with substance abuse. But name one person that has helped?! Time after time after time, we shame people from wanting to seek help, with our words and our manners. Read more

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Mental Health Friday #23

Mental Health Friday #23

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I’ve always been quite an anxious child. When I was young, if my parents would tell me they would be back at 8 or whatever, at 8.02 I am already panicked that they’ve been in a car crash.

When I was in about year 9 my anxiety got a lot worse, I was in a toxic friend group which worsened it over time without me realising. At the start of year 10, things got bad. I was at a point where I would come home from school everyday crying. After a lot of crying, I numbed out which I was so happy about.

Roughly 6 months after the ordeal with my mates, I decided to go and see a counsellor. I’m not sure what prompted it, I just decided to. I was then diagnosed with depression and anxiety, although my counsellor didn’t really understand it as I was always so happy and laughing (which is just my default I guess. Everyone assumes because someone tells jokes and laughs that they are happy, but it can be quite the opposite). The fact that a lot of people didn’t believe I was suffering made it worse I think, it’s still something I suffer with.

I remember one of my mates told me once “I’m probably more depressed than you because you don’t cry”. A big myth about mental illness is that you’re in your room crying 24/7, but that’s far from the truth. Over the year (year 11, I think it was at this point), my depression kept getting worse and there were many nights where I contemplated suicide and even wrote notes on some nights. I am not sure why my depression was so bad, I had a great life. Another thing about mental illness- it can just happen, nothing bad needs to have happened.

I got put on anti depressants which helped me a lot. Then in September, I was raped (you can read my post on that to find out more) and because I was so numbed out on the anti depressants, it didn’t really affect me. In January when it did affect me and I told my counsellor, they told me ‘that explained everything’. But in my opinion, I was just depressed because of how my brain was working, not because of the rape. Read more

Mental Health Friday #21

Mental Health Friday #21

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I never thought I needed help, even during my darkest moments. To me, it was no one else’s business and I could take care of myself as I saw fit. The problem is, when you’re cutting up your body and someone finds out, it soon becomes everyone’s business.

I started feeling depressed and harming myself when I was 10 years old (I’m 22 now) and although I didn’t have any real identification for what I was feeling, I knew it wasn’t something that everyone dealt with. I kept it a secret until I got to high school but as my stress levels rose, so did the frequency of my cutting. It was both a freeing and a damning sensation but I couldn’t get enough of it. I had my reasons, depending on the day. Sometimes it was because I felt completely numb and other times I felt that I needed to be punished for some trivial matter which really wasn’t my fault at all. It was a release of all my anger, frustration, and pain. It gave me something tangible to focus on and to be involved with.

Eventually a friend that I trusted pressured me into admitting what was going on but I figured life would continue on as normal, at least my version of it, and it did… Until the day I got called into the counseling office. I knew immediately what had happened and my worst fear had been confirmed. The school knew about my cutting and called my parents. From that day on it became an even more difficult battle with my depression. My parents didn’t understand, my friends didn’t really understand, and eventually it became too much and I gave into the blackness inside my soul. That’s how I ended up in the hospital the first time.

Once I got out about a week later, it seemed that everyone in school had some sort of theory and the bullying I had previously experienced soon doubled based upon the idea that I was the “crazy” girl. My cutting got even worse, to the point where I tried hurting myself underneath the cafeteria table at lunch time. How desperate… How addicted do you have to be for that? I was in a dangerous place and soon enough, I was admitted to the hospital again for 2 weeks this time. Luckily, I had some friends who stuck by me and that’s what kept me sane and safe once I got back to school where the bullying tripled.

High school was extremely hard for me and I constantly felt as though I was at the bottom of a deep black hole that just kept slowly crumbling down around me, bringing me further and further into darkness. Once I got into college, things improved for a little but I soon stopped going to classes and couldn’t bring myself to care that I was failing. After multiple panic attacks and one really bad cut, I knew I needed to move back home andwork harder on my wellbeing. The feeling of utter hopelessness is something that cannot even be described. I was lucky to have found a therapist I adored and was put into group therapy with two leaders I absolutely loved. My parents took the time to learn more about my conditions and began to understand me more and work with me in more helpful ways.

Recovery hasn’t been easy. It took years for me to have more good days than bad, and I even managed to quit cutting for 2 and ½ years (I did mess up once a couple months ago during a horrible fight with my boyfriend but no one is perfect). It is a battle still. I won’t say that everything is peachy all the time, but I know now that things can be okay and that they can get better. I try to look at the little things because they are always there, you just need to find them. The darkness still hovers around me sometimes and I know that I may fight this for the rest of my life, but I know the good outweighs the bad, now. If I had ended my life when I tried to those times, there is so much I never would have experienced and I always remind myself of that. You can do it too. If I can and many others can make it through, then I know you can too. There is always a reason and there is always hope. You just need to find it.
With hope and love,
Clare


This week’s story was submitted by Clare of DestroyedRazors.com. She was diagnosed with Major Depression, Panic Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder while simultaneously fighting an addiction to self-harm. As her tag line says, Her blog is For fighters, survivors, addicts, loners, the hopeless, the hopeful and all those in between.

If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’d love to have you. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com. Facebook page: Words of a random. Image credit: HealthyPlace.com

Mental Health Friday #20

Mental Health Friday #20

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How I made it to eleven years clean despite having a nervous breakdown and thinking terrorists had poisoned all the blueberries in my local supermarket.

When I went into rehab at the beginning of 2005, my seriousness and dedication to my treatment can be deduced from the essential items I packed:
12 pairs of Agent Provocateur lingerie (in case I got lucky)
A vibrator (in case I didn’t)
Enough benzos and diet pills to get me through the first week.
17 pairs of designer shoes (later smuggled up to 70)
36 handbags.

My therapist said I looked like I’d escaped from the set of TV Sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous.” I sincerely believed this was a compliment. I had chosen St Chillin’s, Britain’s most exclusive rehab, as I felt it would look best on my C.V. and hoped to bump into a celebrity. Despite having been arrested at Heathrow airport, as sundry dogs, passengers and tea ladies detected that my passport and all my possessions were heavily (and visibly) coated in cocaine, I considered myself to be a party girl who had simply partied a bit hard. Quite what party I was attending when I was scoring drugs in a Jamaican ghetto at midnight, thinking I was likely to be gang raped and have my throat cut, is still a mystery. Other adventures I’d got up to included being seduced by a (female) teenage stripper in Jamaica, who’d killed someone the week before (and then stole my car). And deciding that the best medication for a cocaine induced heart attack, was (naturally) to take more cocaine.

Only a few days after the benzos I’d taken into rehab ran out, (which caused major panic attacks as well as a serious problem with imaginary insects that kept on biting me) I was forced to do “Step 1” of the AA 12 Step programme “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.” The reaction from my therapy group to what I’d been getting up to in Jamaica was, instead of the laughter and applause I’d been expecting, shocked silence and a recommendation “to write it all down as a public leaflet to warn people not to take drugs.” That Step 1 changed my life, reducing my denial from the size of the Titanic to a one person canoe. Instead of just having a break from my using, I now decided I was going to get clean.

After relating a catalogue of disasters with my mental health, the psychiatrist at St Chillin’s diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder and said I had “too many problems” to be treated in the private sector as I would “bankrupt my family.” This diagnosis came after previous diagnoses of clinical depression and bulimia in my early twenties. The psychiatrist said I needed to move to a state rehab. I decided I’d better listen, as my decisions had ended me up in rehab, totally broke. The only place my local council would fund that had a bed, was a tough rehab in South London, bristling with ex-cons, where I met the “love of my life” an ex-armed robber, pimp and drug dealer who’d forgotten how long he’d spent in jail. Naturally, when I left residential rehab at the end of 2005, he moved straight in with me. But I’m not sure I would have got through that first Christmas out of rehab clean if he hadn’t been around.

I was going to 12 Step meetings, which I had always primarily viewed as places you went to pick up men, arriving at the end of the meeting, with my telephone number tattooed on an exposed breast. I had chosen a sponsor in NA because her handbag collection was much much bigger than mine. My local council decided I was too deranged to be left in society on my own, so my GP referred me to the Waterview Psychiatric Unit where they had a programme to treat people with Personality Disorders. I immediately renamed it the “Prison View Psychiatric Unit” as water was as absent as lakes in the Sahara, it was actually overlooking a juvenile detention centre. Read more

Mental Health Friday #12

Mental Health Friday #12

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“During the Spring of 2008 my husband and I started to smoke Marijuana. We smoked a few times over a period of six months and then my husband stopped. I went on to smoke another six months before my husband realized and we then went back to the program of A.A. We originally met there when I was three weeks sober, May 25th of 1996. We had not abused alcohol or drugs since then and saw Marijuana as a relapse. The twelve steps of A.A. can be applied to more addictions than just alcohol and we both knew that.

This started a new period of our lives. More losses and a new way of life through the steps.”

It was early May of 2009 when I walked into that first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I had had a few years of sobriety prior, but this time I wanted something different- Recovery. I found a sponsor, a woman I had known as a neighbor for a few years. She was a lovely woman, but she had not done the steps through the big book of A.A. the way I wanted to. Otherwise, she helped me immensely to prepare myself. I joined more than one group and was the coffee maker at more than one as well. I went to five meetings a week in addition to commitments. A commitment is when you join with other members of your group to speak at another group.

My confidence began to build and I started to become busy in other ways as well. Delivering a weekly donation to the soup kitchen on Mondays was one of my favorite additions to my life. I began to see that people outside of my home, away from my ex-husband treated me differently. The more I did outside of the house, the more separated I felt from my ex-husband, the more I began to see.

In April of 2010 I celebrated my one year anniversary. I was doing well. We had a friend living in the apartment downstairs with his wife and three children. His wife and I were very close friends. We all were. Christmas with them had been wonderful and we were looking forward to summer.

It was the end of May, or beginning of June, I don’t remember. What I do remember is my ex-husband telling me that we were losing everything. Our house, our business, everything just gone. I was in shock. Our friends had to move and so did we. Read more