Mental Health Monday’s #4

Mental Health Monday's #4

Hey guys!

Today is the 4th part of my Mental Health Monday’s series, this was wrote by someone I have known for many years, she is one of the strongest people I know and I am honoured she has allowed me to share her journey with me and my readers. I think it is important to note that everything I post in this series is completely unedited, unchanged and raw from the person who has shared it with me.

“At 19 I was officially diagnosed with anxiety and depression. By this point I was already a mother. My earliest memory of feeling “not right” was when I was around 8, I would sit in class crying, sobbing my heart out, convinced my family were at home dying in a house fire. This was daily, I was riddled with nerves and anxiety. I struggled with school and very often I would fake illness so that I didn’t have to go, not to rebel but just because of the anxiety. Gradually it all got worse and a troubled childhood didn’t help, I witnessed alot of things I shouldn’t have and felt so very alone all the time. By the time I was 14 I was suicidal and took an overdose, I would try to drown my self daily in the bath in hopes I would not have to face this daily war in my head any longer. Unfortunately even though my mom was obviously aware of my suicide attempt and the anxiety I had suffered with over the years.. I was never seen by a doctor. I rebelled and drank my way though the next couple of years. At 16 I met my partner and his beautiful daughter who completely and utterly saved my life. 2 and a half years later she passed away, 9 months before her passing our daughter was born. Once again I was depressed. Lost in the confusion of the love for my daughter but the grief for my step daughter. I plucked up the courage and took myself to the doctors, within minutes I had tears streaming down my face, as though the decade of pain was pouring out of me through words. Straight away the answer of course was medication. It had to work surely? Wrong. It didn’t. Not for me anyway. Since then I have gone on to have another child. My baby boy. Daily I still struggle with the constant battle in my head. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to shower or brush my teeth. But I do. Because now I have reason, purpose. I have completed my level 2 training in counselling and have studied my mind thoroughly, I know myself. My triggers. 
Mental health is a bastard, it’s cruel and selfish. I’m a pure heart with a sad brain and It doesn’t get much more confusing than that.. now that I’m a mom I recognise the importance of recognising a struggle in every single person. Not just adults.. kids are just as important.. If not more. I wish I would of received help as soon as I first started showing signs, but I didn’t.. I’m very nearly 23 and even now life is a constant struggle. But I have reason to fight and I will always always win. And believe it or not, i am so in love with my life and happier than I ever thought possible. I am proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

If you wish to take part in my new Mental Health Monday’s series by contributing your journey or an inspiring piece like I have shared today then do not hesitate to email me, even if you are not the best writer in the world but still want to be involved then please do email me and we can still work something else: zoesmith-x@hotmail.co.uk.

Thank you for reading!

zoelouisesmithx

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Borderline Personality Disorder

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Hey guys!

Today I  am writing about a mental illness/disorder that I knew absolutely nothing about until a psychiatrist diagnosed me with it last year during my visit to Canada. Borderline personality disorder or BPD as it is known is an illness/disorder that I was completely unaware of so when I was diagnosed I was petrified, I had no idea what it was, how you get it, is there treatment? If so how do you treat it? I had no idea whatsoever and I think it is so important for people to have the knowledge as on average 1 in 20 people will have this disorder and like me, they probably won’t know what it is.

So firstly, what are the symptoms?

  • Fear of abandonment: People with BPD are often scared of being abandoned or left alone. Even little things like a loved one being late home or going away for a few days can trigger an intense fear. It often leads to begging, being clingy, starting fights for attentions, being overly jealous, tracking your loved ones movements or even something like physically stopping you loved ones from leaving, ie; blocking a doorway etc.
  • Unstable relationships: People with BPD often have relationships that are intense but short-lived. You fall in love quickly, believing that each new person you fall in love with will be the one to make you feel whole, however you end up quickly disappointed. Your relationships either seem perfect or completely horrible with absolutely nothing in between. People around you often become emotionally confused from your rapid mood swings.
  • Unclear or unstable self-image: People with BPD often have an unstable sense of yourself. Sometimes you feel good about yourself, but sometimes you completely hate yourself or even can view yourself as evil. You don’t have a clear idea of who you are or who you want to be or what you want in life. As a result of this you may frequently change your jobs, friends, lovers, values, goals or even sexual identity.
  • Impulsive, self-destructive behaviours: People with BPD may engage in harmful or sensation-seeking behaviours, especially when upset. You may impulsively spend money you can’t afford, binge eat, drive recklessly, shoplift, engage in risky sex or overdo it with drugs or alcohol. The risky behaviours may seem like they’re going to help you feel better in that moment, but they hurt those around you over the long-term.
  • Self-harm: Suicidal behaviour and deliberate self-harm is common in people with BPD. Suicidal behaviour included thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures or threats or actually carrying out a suicide attempt. Self-harm includes all other attempts to hurt yourself without suicidal intent. 
  • Extreme emotional swings: People with BPD commonly suffer with unstable emotions and moods. One moment you feel happy and the next you’re angry or upset. Little things that other people can easily brush off send you in to an emotional tailspin. These mood swings can often be very intense however they tend to pass fairly quickly, usually lasting just a few minutes or hours rather than long term like depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness: People with BPD often feel empty as if there is a hole or void inside of them. With extreme cases you may feel as if you’re ‘nothing’ or a ‘nobody’. This feeling is uncomfortable and people with BPD often try to fill this hole with things like drugs, food, alcohol or sex but nothing feels truly satisfying.
  • Explosive anger: People with BPD may struggle with intense anger and short temper. You may so have trouble controlling yourself once the fuse is lit. You may yell, throw things or become completely consumed by rage. It is important to note that this anger is not always directed outwards, you may spend a lot of time being angry at yourself.
  • Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality: People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thought about others’ motives. When under stress, you may even lose touch with reality – an experience known as dissociation. You may feel foggy, spaced out or as if you’re outside of your own body.

Something to bare in mind is that Borderline Personality Disorder is very rarely diagnosed on its own, it is often associated with depression, anxiety bipolar, substance abuse and eating disorders, however saying that it can still be diagnosed on its own, it is just very rare to do so.

Now onto the causes, how does Borderline Personality Disorder occur? 

There are many complex things happening in the BPD brain and researchers are still trying to untangle what it all means. But in essence, if you have BPD your brain is on high alert, things feel more scary and stressful to you than they do to other people. Your switch is easily tripped and once it’s on it hijacks your rational brain and makes you act in ways that aren’t always appropriate to the situation at hand. It may sound as if there is nothing you can do, after all what can you do if your brain is different? But you can in fact change your brain but training yourself with new coping mechanisms and self-soothing techniques. With time and dedication, you can change the way you think, feel and act.

Because personality is connected to identity, the term ‘personality disorder’ might leave you feeling like there’s something fundamentally wrong with who you are, but a personality disorder is not a character judgement. In clinical terms a personality disorder means that your pattern of relating to the world is significantly different to ‘the norm’. In other words, you don’t act in ways that people would expect and this causes consistent problems for you in many areas of your life, such as relationships, career and feelings about yourself and others.

Now onto three self-help tips.

  • Calming the emotional storm: You need to stop trying to fight, avoid, suppress or deny what you’re feeling, give yourself permission to feel the way you feel, no matter what those feelings are. Just experience your feelings without judgement or criticism. Let go of the past and the future and focus on the present moment. 
  • Reduce your emotional vunerability: You are more likely to experience negative emotions when you’re run down and under stress. That’s why it is important to take care of your mental well-being. You can take care of yourself by avoiding mood-altering drugs, eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, minimising stress and practising relaxation techniques.
  • Learn to control impulsive and tolerate distress: When you feel overwhelmed by difficult feelings, borderline personality disorder means you’re so desperate for relief that you’ll do anything for relief including things you know you shouldn’t be doing such as cutting, reckless sex, dangerous driving and binge drinking. It is important to recognise that these impulsive behaviours serve a purpose, they are coping mechanisms for dealing with distress, they make you feel better even if it’s just for a brief moment. Regaining control of this starts by learning to tolerate distress. It is key to change the destructive patterns. A key way to doing this is finding a quiet spot and sitting in a comfortable position, concentrating on your breathing, taking slow, deep breaths. Breathe in slowly, pause and count to three then slowly breath out and continue doing this for several minutesYou could also watch something on TV that you enjoy, throw yourself into work, calling a friend for a chat, exercise or do something you enjoy that keeps you busy.

Next, onto diagnosis and treatment. It is very important to remember that you cannot diagnose borderline personality disorder on your own. So if you think you or a loved one may be suffering, it’s best to seek professional help at some point. BPD is often confusing or overlaps with other conditions so you need a mental health professional to evaluate you and make an accurate diagnosis. 

The support and guidance of a qualified therapist makes a huge difference in BPD treatment and recovery. Therapy has the potential to be a safe space where you can work your way through your relationship an trust issues and try new coping techniques. You should feel safe with your therapist and feel as though you can trust them to help you and guide you through, someone who makes you feel accepted and understood. You must make a commitment to therapy, attend your sessions and work hard with the therapist.

I did a lot of reading and research into BPD when I was diagnosed because I had no idea what it was or how I had got it, but once I did the research I started to realise that it was not my fault, it’s just a part of my life and brain. I worked hard learning coping mechanisms and techniques to deal with things better than I used to and overall I am a lot happier now than I ever was. With the help of my parents and my boyfriend I am finally in a good place and a happy place. 

One thing I would say if you think you could be suffering from BPD or if you know someone who could be, it is definitely push it with the doctor for a proper diagnoses. For 18 months I was put on anxiety medication and anti depressants in England with my regular doctor and therapists and it was only when I went to Canada and seen a doctor and psychiatrist out there that I was actually given a solid diagnoses and told I no longer should be taking the anti depressants or anxiety medication because it wasn’t needed and wasn’t helping me. I think the NHS is very special in our country, but sometimes the diagnoses with mental illness isn’t always accurate. In my case the doctor just threw tablets at me and assumed they would make me better and I have heard a lot of similar stories, so definitely push for a proper diagnoses if you think you have BPD, push for a session with a psychiatrist or therapist and don’t give up until you receive the help you actually need and not just tablets.

I, for one, am so grateful to the psychiatrist out in Canada for helping me to finally get a diagnoses to be able to work on because in the past 6 months or so I’ve worked on it all and I am now a million times better than I ever was. 

Another thing I would say is if you know someone suffering with BPD support them and help them through because it is honestly such a horrible place when you have something wrong with you but you don’t know why or what or how and everything just spins around in your head. I am fortunate enough to have a really strong support network around me, my parents, my best friends and my boyfriend have all supported me, listened to me and understood me, they’ve helped me through and I am honestly so grateful to each and every one of them for everything they’ve done for me.

Mental illness is something I am passionate about talking about and spreading awareness because so many people suffer in silence and are too scared to speak out in case they are judged and that shouldn’t be the case. Speak out, get help and don’t be scared to admit something isn’t right. Today’s post is something very close to my heart and I hope you have all at least learnt something from it.

Thank you for reading!

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Disclaimer: All information and facts were read and reworded from: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/borderline-personality-disorder.htm

 

Mental Health Awareness Month

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Hey guys!

Today I am writing about all about mental health. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that last year I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety after going through some pretty vile things, which to this day I don’t wish to talk about because I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. When I first met my councillor and I told her everything, she even said to me out of every person she has ever seen, my story was probably one of the worst, which was a shock to me if I’m honest because I had tried to take it in my step but obviously some people just break.

This month I have been discharged by my councillor and she is in discussion with my doctor regards to me being taken off my anxiety tablets and anti depressants so overall I am towards the end of my mental health journey for now. I have always been very open about my diagnoses because I believe there is a stigma attached to mental health and that shouldn’t be the case. Thousands and millions of people all around the world, every single day are diagnosed with a mental illness but they will never tell anyone because they’re worried about being judged or being categorised by people and to me that isn’t fair. 

Mental illness is a huge thing, it always has been and probably always will be so why are people so afraid to talk about it? There shouldn’t be a stigma attached to mental illness. If someone has a physical illness such as a throat infection they aren’t judged so why is someone who has a mental illness such as depression judged? I honestly think as a society we need to be more understanding and compassionate towards those with a mental illness and to everybody in general. When someone is diagnosed with a mental illness, it is not only that person who is effected. The friends and family and support network around that person also feel it, it can put a strain on relationships and friendships. I know for me personally, when I was at the peak of my illnesses I pushed people away, no matter what they did or how much they tried to be there for me I was having none of it, I just wanted to be on my own all of the time and I ended up secluding myself so then I was even more depressed than I was in the first place.

My anxiety is still bad at the moment, not half as bad as it was, but I still flinch if a male gets too close or moves quickly or moves their hands towards me, I feel like that will probably be with me for the rest of my life and that is something I just have to deal with. And some days I will wake up and have a bad day, feel down, overthink the past, wonder why what happened, happened, but I don’t get myself worked up over it like I used to. Sometimes things happen in life and you will never ever know why and that’s fine, don’t dwell on it because it’ll eat you up alive like it did me.

As it is Mental Illness Awareness Month I thought I would write this post because I truly do believe that more awareness needs to be raised. Whether you’re homeless on the streets, middle class, upper class or a billionaire celebrity, mental illness can hit anyone. If you ever feel like you aren’t yourself, whether you’re lethargic, not just tired, but physically and mentally unable to do things without feeling rubbish, if you have no motivation to do something you love, if you can’t sleep or you oversleep all the time, if you don’t feel like your smiles or laughter is genuine, if you can’t walk the street without feeling paranoid someone is going to hurt you, honestly anything at all that is out of the ordinary for you speak to someone. It could be nothing or it could be something. Don’t leave it until it’s too late. 

In January this year I tried to commit suicide, something I haven’t ever spoken about online. But at the time everything had went wrong, I felt like I had nowhere to turn, everything had finally hit me and dragged me to my lowest. In the hospital I was told 2 more tablets and I would’ve died, which looking back was scary as hell. Seeing my family sit around me, heartbroken is what hit me the most. Why was I doing this to them? Yes I would be out of the pain I was in, but wouldn’t I just be leaving that pain and more with them? That wasn’t fair on any of them. So I vowed to my parents and my brothers I was finally going to sort myself out. I was going to walk away from a toxic relationship, I was going to move back home with my family and I was going to focus on myself for once and stop trying to help everyone else.

And now 4 months later I am in a relationship with someone who has taught me to love myself again, someone who loved me when I couldn’t even love myself. Someone who has walked back into my life and showed me that whatever is meant to be will always find a way back. It’s took 4 years for Reiss to walk back into my life after us both going our separate ways after talking for months. Now he’s back in my life and he’s helped me through the roughest period of my life without even knowing it. I am living at home with my parents and brothers, I have my little Puggle Daisy who is by my side every single day keeping me busy. I have a group of friends who have my back and look out for me when I need them and I am finally back to the old me. The me before everything happened. 

I think all I want people to take from this post is that yes life can be horrible, it can drag you down and keep dragging you down until you hit rock bottom, but no matter what happens there is always a way out. Don’t give up because if you hit rock bottom you can only work your way up now. I didn’t see a way out, I’ll be honest, I thought everything would be better for me and for everyone else if I wasn’t here. But if that suicide attempt wasn’t an attempt and it was a success my family would still be grieving, I’d never have reconnected with the love of my life and I wouldn’t be doing what I love to do, blog an write and work with incredible brands. I never ever imagined 4 months ago I could ever be happy again, but I am and I truly believe that anybody going through something tough can come out the other side, I really really do. 

There is so much help out there if you feel like you can’t cope with something, so use it. Two of the charities I couldn’t praise enough are Mind and Sane. If you don’t want to talk to them and you feel like you could harm yourself contact your doctor who can put you in touch with a mental health crisis team, they will visit you and help you through the crisis period. If it is out of hours for your doctor go to your local hospital, most hospitals now have a mental health team on 24 hour call so whatever happens there is always someone you can turn to. Don’t keep it to yourself, don’t think it’ll just pass, don’t think you’re on your own. Open up, talk and stop thinking that people will judge you. Anyone who judges you is not a true friend remember that. A true friend will help you and support you and be by your side until you overcome what you’re going through.

I really hope this post helps at least one of you. As I have always said, my messages are always open if you want to discuss anything or ask any questions.

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Suffering With Depression and Anxiety

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Hey Lovelies!

Today I’m going to talk about a serious matter, I know it’s a lot different from my usual posts but I feel like telling my story may be able to help someone and even if it only helps 1 of you I feel like that’s a great thing.

Throughout the past 6 months my family and I have been through a lot of things. Most of which isn’t my story to tell and I don’t want to really talk about that part of my life. However the series of things that happened last year lead me to be feeling really not myself at all. I was struggling to get to sleep, then when I was actually asleep I’d sleep for up to 15 hours at a time, I’d get angry really quickly and easily over little things, I’d cry a lot and be upset over things that shouldn’t upset me and I was just not motivated in any way, shape or form. Very quickly my boyfriend, my mom and I realised something just wasn’t right and therefore I was booked a doctors appointment to find out what exactly is going on.

I seen my doctor and we did a couple of tests and questionnaires where she decided I had moderate to severe depression as well as anxiety. I was given tablets to take which were a mix of antidepressants and sleeping tablets and she referred me to a councilor.

At the moment I’m okay, I’m still not 100% and I probably won’t be for a while yet, but I am feeling a lot better than I was, I think that’s mainly due to the fact I have actually spoke to someone and opened up rather than keeping everything to myself and letting it build up.

I have such an incredible set of people around me who have kept me strong and helped me through everything and without them I couldn’t have got through it. If there is one thing I would suggest to anyone who isn’t feeling them self it would be to talk to someone. Whether it’s your parents, your partner, your friend or even a doctor, I really do think talking to someone helps you a lot. 

For me I am not writing this post for sympathy, not at all. I’m writing this post because I feel like with what I’ve went through I’ve learnt a lot. At one point I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone, I couldn’t trust anyone, but now looking back that was never ever the case. So this post is mainly for you guys to know I have been through some horrible things and that’s why I haven’t posted as much as I would like to have, but also to say if any of you feel how I felt before where I couldn’t talk to anyone, just know you can. Even if you don’t want to talk to your parents or friends or anyone, my inbox and my email is always open. I know just how hard it was, so if I can help just one person to open up, to get help and to feel better then I feel like I’ve done what I wanted to do. 

I’m not the biggest blogger or social media influence don’t get me wrong, but I do have quite a large following and if I can reach out to just one person across my blog or social media and help you, I feel like that’s all I want to come from this.

I know just how hard it is to open up and to admit there is a problem, I fought with myself for so long not wanting to tell anyone how I felt, not wanting anyone to click on that I’m not okay, sooner or later I knew someone would realise because I just wasn’t myself. I wasn’t motivated to do anything, I didn’t even want to blog even though it’s my favourite thing to do. I wouldn’t wake up early like I used to, I’d sleep all day if I could. I was getting easily angry and annoyed at little things that normally I would laugh at or ignore, again this just wasn’t me at all. My boyfriend started slowly but surely noticing and asked me if I was okay and I knew he was starting to see that I just wasn’t okay. 

Eventually I decided to do something about it. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t someone people would want to be around and I just wasn’t me. I felt like if I didn’t get help and admit I wasn’t okay, I’d lose people around me because I was argumentative and angry and upset and honestly I was just a horrible person to be around I really was. When I went to the doctor I ended up crying a lot and explaining things I probably would never imagine telling anyone but now I’ve done it I am so glad I have because getting it off my chest really has helped me. Of course I’m not there yet, but soon I will be my usual happy self and I can’t wait to reach that point again.

I am super grateful to my boyfriend and my family and friends because without them I don’t know where I’d be right now, I just know I’d be feeling as bad or worse than I was before. I really wasn’t a nice person to be around but I had a bunch of strong people around me who stuck by my side and helped me rather than ignoring how much pain I was in. 

Mental illness isn’t something people talk about, in fact I’ve realised that a lot of people shy away from talking about it. This shouldn’t be that way. Just because you can’t see an illness it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Whether that’s depression or anxiety or any other mental illness, it is there and it’s a real problem and it needs to be spoke about. People don’t truly know what a mental illness is because people would rather ignore it than talk about it and to me that’s really sad. I’ve decided to post this not because I want sympathy or anything like that, I want people to talk about mental illness whether it’s happening to you or maybe someone you know, mental illness effects a lot of people. In fact you probably know someone who’s suffering with a mental illness, probably in silence because they’re too scared in case they get judged. I find it so sad that that’s the reality we live in. 

I’m not proud of my illness but I’m proud that I’ve overcome what I’ve been through and I’m proud that I didn’t let it beat me. I want people to know that if you feel like you’re struggling, you are not alone. You have people around you who will help you and work with you to get yourself better. Never feel like you can’t open up and talk to someone, as I said if you don’t want to talk to someone at home, talk to a friend, if not inbox me or email me and at least you can have that weight lifted off your shoulders to talk to someone and open up. I would never judge anyone for suffering with an illness because I understand how it feels. 

I really hope this post helps someone to either understand mental illness is a thing and it needs to be talked about otherwise more and more people will suffer in silence and honestly it is the worst feeling possible.

Thank you for reading this different post about everything and thank you for hopefully not judging me. I know it’s long and I’ve probably repeated myself a bunch of times but this post is completely unedited, it is straight from the heart, straight from my notes on my phone where I wrote it all and I am super nervous about posting this so please be kind. I haven’t edited it because I wanted it to be 100% raw and real for you guys. I hope this will help at least one of you. Please do not forget my inbox on Twitter and Instagram and my emails are open for any of you who want to talk about anything.

Again, thank you for reading.

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