Tag Archives: depression

17:37 – I don’t really deserve a compassionate mind

24 May

I thought I better write a little post as a few people have sent me emails and dm’s on twitter to check I was still alive. I am, although there have been a few occasions over the past couple of weeks where I have wished that wasn’t the case.

Since I last posted I have got my new washing machine, seen very little of best friend as she’s all loved up with a new man in her life, gone to my appointment with the dietician, gone to one appointment with CPN#2 (but then didn’t turn up to my appointments with CPN#2 or support worker this week).

Where to start? Hmm… Well I have taken a lot of advice on board that the dietician gave me. She told me she had gone and done some reading about my medications and their side effects and I was pleased that she said she wouldn’t be expecting me to lose weight as fast as other people as the combination of 750mg Quetiapine (Seroquel) each day, the Mirtazapine and the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) would all slow my weight loss down. She weighed me and said I am about 3 and a half stone overweight (around 50lbs for my friends across the pond) but she is only expecting me to lose at around 1lb a week, normally she’d aim for 2-3lbs a week. So it’s going to be slow and steady. I have another appointment with her on June 14th and hoping to have lost a few lbs by then.

I have completely changed my eating habits over the past week and have been eating only fresh fruit, vegetables, salads and wholegrain breads and cereals. I haven’t had one single chocolate bar or packet of crisps since I saw her which has been hard going at times especially on the days I’ve been feeling crappy because I don’t feel like I deserve to make myself nice foods, I deserve to eat junk and be fat and disgusting and it’s very very hard to fight back against that. I think that is another reason why I didn’t go to my appointments this week, because when I did see CPN#2 last she had spoken to the psychologist (that I’m on the waiting list to go back and see) and psychologist wants to try the Paul Gilbert ‘Compassionate Mind’ program with me again, now that my life isn’t so chaotic that I’m a psych hospital revolving door patient.

The idea of being compassionate towards myself is so fucking alien. It is natural for me to think negatively towards myself and I really don’t know if I’ll be able to do this compassionate mind stuff. Deep down I know that no matter what treatment we try or what help I get I’m still going to be the same ugly horrible person who deserves nothing good. And in a way I sometimes think I don’t even want any help just in case I do get caught letting my guard down and for a tiny moment think that maybe I am worth something. Nobody seems to understand that it is instinctive to punish myself and make myself suffer, thinking of being nice to myself makes me feel anxious and horribly uncomfortable.

My mood states seem to be changing between seriously depressed and feeling ‘ok’ every few days if not every few hours. Sometimes I just find myself sitting here and for no obvious reason bursting into tears. I’ve been really quite emotional for a good couple of months now, never in front of people, but the smallest thing on the television or even reading a friend’s Facebook status will set me off. Then I get frustrated with myself because I don’t even know what I’m crying about and angry at myself for thinking it is OK to cry. It’s not OK, I don’t deserve to express my feelings that way, I deserve to express my sad feelings by dragging a blade through my flesh. To be honest it is actually easier to cut than to cry, cutting just doesn’t seem to have as many emotions attached to it yet it seems to clear my mind for a while, whereas crying just leaves me even more of a mess than when I started.

Anyway… moving on…

I got some good news this morning. I got my essay results back for my university module that I have been struggling so massively with. They weren’t due until the first week of June so it came as a bit of a surprise. I passed with 65% which is a good grade B, although because I didn’t take part in the other assessed part of the module it pulled my overall pass mark down to 52% which is a C. I’m just relieved it is over and that I am now on my Summer break. When we start back at the end of August I have opted to try and do two modules per semester so I still get my six first year modules completed within two years. I don’t know if I’ll manage to cope with that workload but I guess I can only try it and see how I get on. I think it helps if the modules are about something you find interesting and enjoy learning about, the first module I did I really enjoyed so it made it a lot easier to understand but this module I’ve just finished I wasn’t remotely interested in, so it all felt like it just went over my head most of the time.

I was going to start talking about something else that’s been going on lately but I’m already rambling and it probably needs a blog post all of it’s own, the short version is that I have been thinking a lot about finding a faith again. I know it wasn’t that long ago that I was talking about going to church and finding God but I keep on coming back to the same point again. I decided to speak to a devoted Christian a few days ago and the first thing she asked me was why I wanted God in my life. My answer was simple, I want to believe my baby son is in Heaven which means that to believe in a Heaven I have to believe in a God. She answered just as simply back -

“your baby boy will be in Heaven, there is no doubt about it because he was pure and innocent and never sinned – if you want to have any chance that you will be reunited with him then you have to live your life as God would want you to and only then will He decide where you will go when you die – but make no mistakes, if you don’t live your life for God then you have no chance of getting into Heaven”.

So that feels like a massive pressure on me now. There are so many things I do which would be classed as sinning. I definitely don’t live my life in the way that God would be pleased with. If he is real and his son Jesus died on the cross for us then what must he think when I cut up the body He created or even try to kill that body? What must He think when I’ve been in times where I can’t cope and have turned to drink or drugs to block it out? What must He think when I’ve been a bit manic and spending money recklessly or having sex with some random person? There are sooo many things I do wrongly, in God’s eyes and I have found myself on more than one occasion asking for His forgiveness. But again I come back to ‘what I deserve’, and I deserve to hurt and be punished. I deserve to suffer. I don’t think I even deserve God but the idea that I may never be reunited with my beautiful little boy is too painful to bear, it really is (oh here we go, tears running down my face again).

Anyway… I guess I have rambled on long enough and also I’m finding it hard to stick to a point I just seem to be blabbering on all over the place. My head’s a bit pickled, it’s up then down, up and down. I don’t know what I’m going to feel from one moment to the next. The fact that I’m self isolating again is a sign things aren’t great, the constant thoughts of self harming probably also show things aren’t great. But I am keeping it very superficial purely because I cannot face A&E right now. I barely leave the house apart from to walk the dogs and I try to see people the smallest amount possible. I’m making excuses up all the time as to why I can’t do this or go there and it’s funny because the less texts I reply to and the more times I ignore calls, the less and less those texts and calls come through. It’s as if people can see I just cannot be bothered so they are just leaving me alone. Which is good and it is what I want, yet it does make me feel even more isolated and lonely. And that feeds the ‘I don’t deserve it anyway’ thoughts more and more.

So it looks like it’s going to be a quiet bank holiday weekend for me. At least we have some sunshine at the moment and I can go and hide sitting on the beach while the dogs play around and have no one bothering me… Speaking of the doggys it is time for them to get their dinner and go another little walk soon so I’ll stop rambling now and and wish you all a nice weekend instead…

21:22 – Scared to live. Scared to die.

3 Feb

I don’t know where my head’s at. I have been trying to distract myself from the head crazies and unfortunately my poorly dog who I had to rush to the vet on Friday still doesn’t seem to be much better. He isn’t throwing up so much, but then he hasn’t eaten more than a few bites in the past week and for the last 24 hours has completely refused all food and drink so I’ve had to resort to syringe feeding him water every 2-3 hours. That meant setting my alarm every few hours during the night but to be honest I couldn’t really sleep anyway.

It seems like when I’m doing something like syringe feeding, going out walks, attempting to start my new university modules – we’re just about to go onto week 2 and I’ve only just started looking at week 1 so I’m already behind. But yeah, when I’m doing something then the head crazies are bearable but the second I stop it feels like this huge big black cloud just sinks over me and all I can think is ‘what’s the point?’. I sit here trying to study but the words just won’t sink in and I think why the fuck am I doing this? And then the head noise starts up and I start being pulled into conversations or hear my name being talked about and then the only thing I can do is give the head noise my full attention because I want to know what the fuck is being said about me!

I have been thinking a lot about death recently (well, I’m always thinking about it but recently it’s been a lot more prominent) and I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m scared to live but also scared to die. But this only fuels the head crazies because it gives cause for more debating back and forth like a bloody ping pong ball…

I want to live

I want to die

I can’t go on living

I can’t end my life

Back and forth, back and forth, the thoughts go quieter then louder, faster then slower and on and on it goes. Yet if I sit here and say to myself that I am not going to die then I become more anxious and if I say to myself that I don’t need to live I become equally as anxious. What the fuck is that all about? It makes no sense. Nothing makes sense. It’s all so contradictory. The thought of living for the foreseeable scares the crap out of me but when I really start thinking deeply about death it scares the crap out of me as well. It never did until the last serious suicide attempt I made and now I get the flashbacks of that one particular moment where my blood pressure crashed and they were all panicking around me and I knew those figures were seriously low and I was trying so so hard to keep my eyes open, terrified of what was happening to me and those words just slipped out my mouth “am I going to die? I don’t want to die” and every time I think of that and how I felt both physically and mentally in that moment is enough to make me pretty much guarantee I will never take another overdose (well not the cocktail I used that time) in my life. Of course there’s plenty other ways.

This coming week I have to see new CPN tomorrow which I’ve not decided if I’m going to or not. I missed the last appointment but to be honest I just don’t want to see her. But I also have an appointment with my support worker from Rape Crisis and I haven’t seen her in a couple of weeks either so maybe I should just go to both of them. At least I know if I leave the appointment with new CPN with any bad thoughts going round my head that I can talk to my support worker who I seem to get on with a lot better.

I also have to see lovely GP this week on Wednesday and also Mr Psychiatrist on Wednesday, as usual I’m not particularly looking forward to that one. But then again I’m seeing him first then lovely GP later in the afternoon so if he pisses me off at least I know she’ll be more understanding. I just don’t know what he’s going to say/do about the voices still being very much present despite being up on the max dose of Quetiapine again. I really really don’t want to switch to yet another anti-psychotic but at the same time I really don’t want the voices either, they are making me do all this planning and plotting, telling me how to do things, putting ideas in my head.

Next weekend my entire family all make the 200 mile trip down to England for my cousin’s wedding. The one I was supposed to be a bridesmaid for. The one the fucking agoraphobia is making me too terrified to attend. Every single member of my family is going to be there apart from me. Seeing the wedding photos is going to hurt really bad. But the voices start up and tell me what a perfect opportunity it will be, everyone gone for the whole weekend, it would be ideal. I could get all my plans in place then go to see best friend with a fake smile painted on, ask her to watch the dogs for a little while and come home. Perfect opportunity.

But… I can’t do anything then can I… because a couple of days later is my little man’s angel anniversary and I will be here for that. I will do the same as I do every year and spend a lot of time by his headstone, talking to my baby and crying lots of tears. Making his headstone look all pretty. A certain someone who I have a massive amount of respect for once told me that if I was no longer here then no one would keep my little man’s memory alive… well not the way that I do or the way I’d want them to. I am the only person who can do that and I can only do it if I’m here.

So basically I feel completely stuck. Scared to live. Scared to die. Yet this depression just carries on getting worse and worse. I continue to hear voices and end up quite distressed by them at times. I want to blank it all out. I want to escape from it all. I just don’t see how I can continue to live this way. It just feels like existing. The days just all seem to blur into one and every day it gets harder and harder to stay strong.

Tonight what will keep me strong is my poorly dog, making sure he gets fluids every few hours then first thing in the morning I will be phoning the vet, he needs to be seen again. I think he’s going to need to spend the day in there on a drip and get properly rehydrated. God only knows how much that’s going to cost me but I don’t think I’m going to have any other choice. He’s one of my fur babies and I have to make sure he gets better.

So, with a mixed up and tired head I’m going to try and get him to come for a little walk then get to bed reasonably early as it’s going to be another long night of getting up and down every couple of hours and then a long day with vets and two appointments tomorrow. My head feels totally pickled, I have too many thoughts and ideas and plans running through it and I’m too exhausted with them all that I can’t give them the attention that is needed. Things just feel like they are spinning a little bit out of control, the only button I seem to want to press is the self destruct one, to at least hurt and hurt by cutting. I need a way to release all of this frustration, I thought when I self harmed badly a couple of weeks ago that I had got it all out of me but clearly I haven’t. But just like not wanting to attend appointments I don’t want another trip to A&E, more stitches, more questions, more fear of being judged or control being removed.

Argh. I need to go find a quiet spot in the middle of nowhere and scream as loud as I can until I’m screaming louder than them and I can try to drown it all out. I’ve been listening to the new Rihanna album on my iPod (turned up full) whilst I’ve been writing this, very loud music through earphones is about the only way I can tolerate loud head noise and I still hear the voices over the music, they are just blurred out a bit. Anyway, this has been a bit of a depressing post so I’ll say goodnight and leave you with what I’ve been listening to… there’s something quite lovely about this song… it reminds me of a certain time in my life… there’s something quite poignant about it… and yes, as usual I prefer reading the lyrics than watching the actual music video…

Enjoy…

13:03 – New Year’s Day & All Alone Again

1 Jan

So here we are, a new year has started and I wish so much that my very first ramblings in 2013 could start off sounding – positive/happy/stable – any of them would do.

But the reality is that I went to bed around 1am and left the room completely dark apart from one little candle flickering away next to my bed. Outside there were still fireworks going off and lots of drunk (but happy) sounding people all shouting happy new year to one another. I reached into my bedside drawer and got out a photograph of my little angel and using the light from the candle I gently stroked my fingers over his little face, his hand, his little mouth and I couldn’t fight the tears… then was crying so much I couldn’t see the photo any more so held it tight against my heart and cried with so many emotions going around and around inside me.

I woke up just before 7am this morning and as I opened my eyes there was the photo just lying on the pillow next to me and I couldn’t fight it or control it, the emotions overtook me again and I before I’d even had the chance to wake up properly I was sobbing my heart out again. And with every tear that rolled down my cheek there would be a horrible thought that accompanied it, the overwhelming sensation of being completely alone, knowing I was entering another day with no one around me, where I’d probably not see anyone or speak to anyone all day. It would just be silence, other than the noise in my head. And usually this is good, being left alone is what I spend so much time trying to achieve, but I just felt this completely unbearable deep sadness when I woke up this morning that this is my life… a 31 year old woman, single, mentally unstable, still unable to grieve properly for my angel despite it approaching six years, still feeling completely trapped by my own mind.

It all started getting too much, the really bad thoughts were whirling around and they were starting to scare me. So I got up and immediately got dressed and took the dogs for an early morning walk. I didn’t see one other person outside. Then again it was only around 8.30am. I came back home and put the TV on (for background noise if nothing else) and now all I feel is lots and lots of anxiety. I never want to see people, I do everything I can to shut people out the majority of the time, I ignore phonecalls and text messages and anyone who comes to my door. I want to hide away and rot in my own mess but for some reason being alone with my thoughts is really quite scary at the moment.

So yeah, 2013 isn’t exactly starting on a very happy note, but I don’t want these horrible thoughts in my head telling me to do bad things to myself. I’m really not too sure how today is going to pan out, I guess it depends on how much effort I put into fighting back.

Sorry for yet another depressed and self pitying post, I hoped my first post of 2013 could be one where I was happy and full of new year’s resolutions, but I am very much struggling to see anything positive about the year ahead at the moment. However I do hope that this will change and that I won’t have a repeat of last January where things went downhill so quickly that I had overdosed within the first week and ended up in the psych hospital by the middle of the month.

For the time being, all I can do is concentrate on getting through today, minute by minute and hour by hour trying to keep myself safe (from myself) and not let the bad thoughts win. But that is so much easier said than done. They grind me down until I believe everything they say and when you are ground right down to nothing it is so very very hard to do any kind of ‘fighting back’. So I guess I just ‘ride with it’ and try to control things to the best of my ability.

Ah fuck, here come the tears again. Where the hell did they come from??

OK, I think it’s time to stop writing now.

Before I go I just want to say Happy New Year to you all, and thank you for all the words of support and encouragement you gave me throughout 2012… I wonder what 2013 has in store for us all…

20:18 – New Year’s Eve: All Alone & Extremely Low

31 Dec

It’s New Year’s Eve again, the last day of another long and challenging year, one which started on a bad note in January and is ending on a bad note as well. I have a feeling this may turn into a long ramble, I’ve got a lot of things to say in my last blog post of 2012.

So usually we go out on New Year’s Eve but this year my best friend is just going to a house party at another friend’s house (to which I was invited but politely declined) and so I am all on my own. It doesn’t have to be this way, I have just been on Facebook and had a couple of people ask me if I was going out tonight, if I really wanted to I could text another girl I’m friendly with and make arrangements to go out with her… but I know I will end up staying in all alone all night. Miserable and depressed. Still struggling to come to terms with the stupidity I referred to in my last post (and no, I still can’t write about it either)…

This might be a silly thing to say but I feel really let down by the CMHT (Community Mental Health Team) – they knew that Christmas was one of the hardest days of the year for me to get through, new CPN had said we would have an appointment on Christmas Eve and then a following one New Year’s Eve (today) so I had support right before what can be very triggering days for me. But we didn’t even get the appointment the week before Christmas Eve because I got a phone call to say new CPN was off sick but someone would be in touch. That was on the Monday and by the Friday nobody had got in touch. Christmas eve came and went with no appointment… no support. Then I got a letter on Saturday morning from new CPN offering me a next appointment with her on the 7th of January. So that is going to be exactly 4 weeks since I last had any support when I next see her. And the reason I said this all may sound silly is because obviously if I need help I have to ask for it, but new CPN knew, she fucking knew how much I struggle to cope at this time of year and whilst she couldn’t avoid being ill she was obviously back in the CMHT building at some point to type up the letter for the appointment for the 7th of Jan. So when she was writing that letter she knew I was sitting with no support, would it have been that much trouble to have maybe given me a little phone call and just told me she was back and sending me a new appointment out and maybe have asked if I was coping OK. But like I say… I guess if I want to try and get any sort of support I am supposed to phone and tell them so it must be silly that I’m sitting here feeling forgotten about and completely alone with my string of crazy thoughts.

Tomorrow (New Year’s Day) I will again be alone all day. My Mum is working late, my best friend is going to her parents for the day, so it will just be me, myself and I, probably sitting here feeling equally as alone in 24 hours time as what I do right now. It would appear that this makes me feel rather sad as I’m struggling to see out of the little pool of tears that are gathering up in my eyes.

Tomorrow a new year begins where I am still in the mindset of wanting to hurt myself, where every day I still feel like I’m stuck in this pressure cooker and with each day that passes where I don’t act on the thoughts I don’t feel proud of myself or like I have achieved anything… Instead I know that when that time comes where the lid blows off the pressure cooker it is going to result in some real damage to myself. I am so scared of that moment coming because I will be completely out of control and yet at the same time I wish it would just hurry up and hit me, make me do it and make it be over with.

My best friend asked me a couple of days ago if I was proud of myself for not “being in that place” of self harming and hospital admissions for so long. I couldn’t explain to her that she couldn’t be more wrong, I might not have acted on the thoughts, but the walls around me are crumbling and starting to fall and the more they fall the more exposed and alone I am as I hide behind them. I hate to say it and for a number of months now I’ve tried to avoid saying it, but I am well and truly in the the throes of Bipolar depression right now. And I feel exhausted from the minute I open my eyes to the minute I go to sleep, the smallest of tasks seem enormous, nothing feels as though it really has a point to it. I am about to enter a new year in pretty much the same place I was a year ago I’m just doing much much better at hiding it from people. I feel as though I can’t admit how low my mood is when people (my parents) have gone out of their way to try and make my flat look like a home again and this just proves how much of a bad person I am because they did all that for me and the whole time when they genuinely believed I was happier it was all fake smiles deep down. They think I’m coping better and after all they have done for me it’s my job to make sure they continue to think that.

If I’m honest with myself this episode of depression really kicked off just before my birthday, so around mid October. It’s been slowly getting worse and worse as the weeks have gone by. That is the really horrible part about mood disorders and similar conditions, the length of the depressive (or manic) episodes seem to go on forever. If I look at my calender it tells me I’ve been in this current depressive episode for about ten or eleven weeks now, almost three months of feeling like shit every time I wake up and realise I’m still here. And usually when a couple of months have passed of feeling so low a “crisis” would have happened by now. I’ve experienced every single one of my early warning signs as detailed in my crisis plan and yet somehow I’ve avoided the crisis being seen by other people (mainly by hiding away as much as possible). It’s like a silent crisis that is killing me on the inside, I know it’s there but nobody else does and what really worries me now is that if there is no admission from me that things are very bad or no actions by me to show things are really bad then the actual crisis part will go by unnoticed… and that means entering that place again that is past the point of a “crisis” and a whole new level of despair that is a truly terrifying place to experience.

Just like last ‘new year’ and the one before that and before that I enter a new year still mental, still single, still fat and disgusting and deserving of badness. I enter another year and know it’s a matter of weeks until my little angel’s 6th anniversary in Heaven. They said it got “easier with time”… they really need to think of a more honest expression because that one is a massive lie. It hurts more and more with every day, every week, every month and every year that passes.

What is it that keeps us going when inside our heads we are hearing (for the millionth time) that this is the way life is always going to be, when something in our mind is shouting at us that nothing is ever going to change, that this is the future and this is the place we are going to be stuck in forever? What keeps us going? And even if we act on it and make an attempt to end our lives, many of us get help (even if it really is at the very last second)… something inside us gets scared – for me it is usually the fear of what the process of death will actually be like, the fear of the unknown – and the sad reality for me and I’m sure for many others is that even though every day of being alive hurts like hell it is a hell we have become so overly familiar with that we almost know it inside out. Plus it is a hell that people around us generally witness and as a result of that they try and offer us messages of hope, promises that things won’t always be this way, anything they can say to make us hang on for another day (week, month, year). And so, with each “crisis” I have had, people have become aware of it and let me break down into little bits and then they help me put the bits back together again and give me a final push back onto my feet until the next crisis happens.

But ultimately what happens is you end up feeling as though you are living for those people who say they have “faith in you” who “believe in you” who “promise” that “things are going to get better” that maybe just trying “one more medication” or “a different type of therapy” will finally give me permanent freedom from all of this. And right now, I very much feel as though I’m living for others, I know I have passed the point of believing there is any point in living for me (ungrateful stupid bitch that I am), I don’t even know if you could class this as ‘living’… it feels much more like I’m just functioning on some sort of auto-pilot and trapped in my own never ending version of Groundhog Day.

The thing is that when I have experienced extreme low’s before I have acted upon them a few times. I know what will happen now if I shovel a few handfuls of tablets down my throat just to ‘make it all stop’ and I know what will happen if I take enough tablets to kill me. And I remember how terrifying it was in that moment where I wanted my life to be over so very badly, where I could not handle another day of being alive, where I completely lost control and swallowed a ridiculous number of tablets. And I remember that moment soon after where I felt extremely physically unwell, very dizzy, nauseas, holding onto the walls to keep me upright and just knowing that if I let myself lay down and close my eyes then there would be a very good chance I wouldn’t wake back up. And that actually scared the hell out of me that time as I frantically hit 999 and begged for an ambulance and cried to the operator that I was getting dizzier and dizzier but couldn’t sit down because I knew that would be it, game over. So I slumped against the wall trying to stay with the woman on the phone, praying that the main door buzzer would start beeping any second so I could let them in and then stop fighting and just let my body do what it had to do. Pretty much everything from then through to the next day passed in a blur but I will never ever forget that moment of lying in A&E and hearing the male nurse shouting that my blood pressure was crashing, hearing the numbers and thinking ‘I might actually die here’ and suddenly being terrified that they wouldn’t be able to save me because it’s such a small hospital here. I truly truly thought that night was going to be my last, when you hear nurses and doctors all panicking and losing their cool around you it is a very scary experience.

So what is the point to all this rambling? I think it was my own way of trying to make sense of why I’m still here. My way of frantically trying to remind myself that there is at least one place that’s scarier than here and that’s lying in A&E having knuckles pressed hard against your collar bone as they shout at you to open your eyes and you actually can’t or when you hear them talking about needing a helicopter to get me to the main hospital asap or hearing the numbers of your blood pressure and knowing those numbers are way too low… knowing that you are now totally dependent on these people saving your life, that very same life that you so desperately wanted to end.

Having bipolar disorder has taken me to some crazy places within my own mind. The mood cycles and their unpredictability of when they will come and how long they will last for are crippling at times, but after the disaster has always come a little hint of stability if even only for a couple of weeks before a new ‘episode’ starts and you go through the whole cycle again. This time I genuinely am trying to avert disaster and find absolutely anything at all to cling onto, anything that will help this to pass and allow me to feel like I’m coping for a little while longer. Because as scary as this is the thought of lying back in that A&E department relying on people to save you or waking up to find myself in the psychiatric hospital again or even just the feeling of being a little bit judged by turning up needing sewn back together after cutting too deeply are all even more scary tonight than just sticking with the familiarity of this current episode, my ongoing version of mental hell.

17:57 – Counselling Session and Social Work Documentary

14 Feb

I had a session with the counsellor yesterday and we talked through a ’7 stages of grief’ model. This is the model that we are using:

7 Stages of Grief…

1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

2. PAIN & GUILT-

As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.

3. ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

You may rail against fate, questioning “Why me?” You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair (“I will never drink again if you just bring him back”)

4. “DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

7 Stages of Grief…

5. THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.

6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

7 stages of grief…

You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.

I talked about how I felt as I went through the shock and denial phase, remembering back to those first few hours and days; maybe even weeks, certainly I was still in this phase when planning the funeral.

The pain and guilt phase lasted probably the next two years or more, probably up until my partner and I split up. The pain hurt to my very core, it’s a pain you just cannot put into words. And the guilt – that still lives with me now – why couldn’t I give him life? Why couldn’t a be a proper mother? What did I do wrong? I tried so hard to have a healthy pregnancy, why had this happened?

When he had the first affair I think the pain and guilt started to change into anger and bargaining. I was angry at him for how he had treated me and yet I was ready to excuse his actions as I bargained for him to come back to me despite how much he had hurt me. I bargained for my little one to come back. I went into a manic episode and took out loans left right and centre, as I became delusional I started buying baby items and believing my baby was here at home with me. I got my ex back only for him to have affair number two just a few months later. That’s when all the anger really started to come out of me; although I never said it to his face I started to blame him for the loss of the baby in my head.

For a long time I had thought I was still in the ‘bargaining’ stage as I say inside my head I will end my life if it meant having one more minute with my little one. I make attempts to end my life, I self harm, I go through a whole load of thoughts (sometimes delusional ones) where I will do anything for another minute with him. But I realise now that actually I’m at stage 4 of the model – the depression phase. And it is the worst because everything feels so fucking hopeless that you end up in very dark places – like shooting up heroin. It’s such a scary phase as well because you know the only place left (other than dying) is finding the way to ‘move on’. And moving on is a bloody scary thought. What if I don’t think about him as much? Can I really laugh again and not feel guilty? Will there come a time where I don’t need to punish myself any more? It feels only right that I should remain in the hopeless phase of depression because I don’t believe that I deserve to be happy.

On saying that I know I have to start moving into stage five sometime and the counsellor makes me feel like there can be a happy future if I’m willing to walk down the painful path of leaving the guilt behind.

Totally off topic, there was a really good three part documentary on about social workers and child protection, anyone interested in the work of social workers working in the child and family sector should definitely watch it. It’s heartbreaking at times but you get to see the full picture and I have to say I did to a large extent agree with the decisions they made – but as always in programmes about social workers it will be controversial. If you want to watch it the links are below (I’m not sure if it’s only available for viewers in the UK)

Part One can be found here or by clicking this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01bpjf7/Protecting_Our_Children_Damned_If_They_Do_Damned_If_They_Dont/

Part Two can be found here or by clicking this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01c1d3k/Protecting_Our_Children_Expecting_Trouble/

Part Three can be found here or by clicking this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01cbn5h/Protecting_Our_Children_I_Want_My_Baby_Back/

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