A Message of Hope (written by Claire)
BLOG TAKE OVER
I am so glad that I have opened up my blog for you to contribute. Writing has helped me massively with my mental health and this gives others the opportunity to write and share their journey from a different perspective. I am truly inspired and encouraged by what I have read. I have no doubt you will too.
**Please remember local and national support services are available if help is required**
Thank you Claire for your openness in ‘take over 2’
Two weeks ago two significant things happened which had a huge effect on my state of mind. The first was my GP decided I had reached the point where she couldn’t manage my Bipolar relapse by herself anymore and she referred me back to mental health services. The other was that I lost a good friend to suicide. Neither were directly connected yet they were both so intricately woven together as I tried to grieve my friend I was also battling my own suicidal thoughts.
I am no stranger to mental health services. I was first referred to them when I was nine. I had witnessed things most adults would shy away from, it wasn’t any surprise that my traumatised mind needed support. I started to show the signs of Bipolar at about fourteen, although everybody was convinced I was still emotionally traumatised so missed the warning signs, I wasn’t formally diagnosed until I was 25. Thirteen years later and I’m in the best place I’ve ever been, well except for this pesky relapse I’m having.
Losing a friend to suicide is one of the worst things you will ever experience. The feeling of helplessness, guilt, and devastation and beautiful life lost are consuming. But then there is the realisation of how many times it could have been you, and your friends and family feeling those things. I have tried to take my life over a dozen times. The last time I almost succeeded, my heart was struggling to cope with the pressure being put on it, my liver and kidneys were both toxic. My Husband had to sit by my bedside while A&E staff fought to keep me alive. There’s a guilt that will never go away.
And here I am back in an episode where I am experiencing psychosis in full technicolour, I currently have four voices, each one telling me different things, each of those things is gruesome and violent. It’s like being in a torture chamber where you are being conditioned by being shouted at continuously, and there is a part of you that thinks “if I just do that maybe it will stop” it doesn’t, I know that, so I have to keep my wits about me and ignore them.
I’m struggling to stay motivated, my daily gym visits are turning into every other day or every three days. I have to really kick myself up the backside to get out the front door. Physical activity really does me a lot of good. I swear by it and I don’t want to slip from the routine because the only person that suffers is me. I work out hard, I push my body physically to its limit every time I go to the gym, but it helps in ways I can’t even begin to understand.
My diet suffers, Like with the physical activity, I always eat a really healthy diet, but a big sign things are not good with me is my diet slips and I start eating things which are unhealthy and full of fats and sugars. Two things I normally avoid as much as possible. I am prone to putting weight on fast and it’s incredibly unhealthy for the mind and body to eat junk food.
I meditate every day, it started with me learning mindfulness, and then I switched to learning about different types of meditation and I got into the habit of meditating each day. When I am where I am mentally at the moment it’s a wonderful thing to do if things start getting too much so that I can start pulling my thoughts back to a centre and remembering that things aren’t as bad as I imagined.
It’s easy when you have a relapse to feel like it’s the end of the world, I certainly had a few days of feeling that way. But for many of us, we live with a lifelong mental illness. It is inevitable that we will have relapses from time to time, but that isn’t what our life is about, and it certainly doesn’t have to dictate our lives. My life is about so much more than my bipolar and while I have to take a short break to get well again, my entire life is still there for me. My job at a mental health charity is still there, my writing and blog are still there, as are my friends, my family, my circuits crew, the gym, travelling and everything else in my life that I want to embrace. Always hold onto hope even when things feel hopeless.