*inspired by a work exercise I had to do for my bibliotherapy course- WORD PROMPT -ANXIETY*
Loss of control
Increased numerical equation
Detract from the value of self-worth.
Aspirations snipped loose by an unearthly, scale driven puppet master
Reduces an entire psyche to a chemical embarrassment.
Good mood desires nourishment
the live to eat philosophy
A heavy burden the beast bears herded in
restricted to forage on cashing out a societal life policy.
A one manned island
to its hunger
I’ve always been skeptical about accessing services such as Samaratins however since I’ve been actively trying to help myself become mentally well again, I reached out via email to find uot more about Samaratins.org and what services they can offer me – I thought I had to be suicidal to get in touch with them.
I’m currently building up a post crisis plan and contingency plan with the Mental health team – my psychiatrist, my Psychiatrist community nurse and support worker and other services in my community to get back on track. I thought I would share my experience on my website blog. This is how it went.
I emailed Jo ( all volunteers are trained and called Jo) to ask for further information. Jo got back to me to ask me for a bit more background and gave me a link to the samaratins.org website.This is what I had to say.
It sounds like you and your CPN are doing great work together.
Samaritans is a 24/7 listening service. We are currently available on the phone, email and by letter. Can I suggest for a more detailed definition of our service you visit our website www.samaritans.org.
Is there anything you would like to talk about tonight, is there anything worrying you or is there something you would like to share with us about how you are feeling?
Erm… well, I have been a long time service user with lengthy inpatient and outpatient stays in the hospital for bipolar, EUPD and chronic anorexia.
I tend to go in a cycle with how I escape from my thoughts and emotions instead of regulating them.
I’m in that place where I’m highly
Motivated to get to the place I was in from 2013- 2017
I achieved more in those few years than in my entire lifetime,
Apart from my career in travel.
I have a lot I want to do with my life and pass on what I’ve found out to help others.
I’ve volunteered my heart out up until 2016 because I was studying my BA at the time. I fought social services, my family and my 9-year-old daughter’s paternal father in court for 16 months. On the 05 may 2015 I addressed the judge myself and she was and is discharged into my care with full parental responsibility & she is a phenomenal child. I can’t believe she is my child.
I was never going to get married nor have children until I hit my 30′ s. Both just seemed ” to happen”. Many traumas and bad relationships, abortion and boom! By the age of 36 married and one 6-year-old.
My eating disorder has always been a big problem for me.. I’ve been starving myself or self-medicating for most of my life.
In 2017 my body nor my mind could take on everything I set out to do. I was volunteering 5 days a week 9- 5 pm. I was asked to do my WRAP co-facilitator course to do workshops; I had completed the first year of my MA 60 credits and a post-graduate in the humanities with high merit. I had been married for a year. My gran died a horrible, drawn-out death over 3 days in March 2017. I had to decide to take my aunt off life support because my Mom didn’t know what to do. My aunt died in our arms( at hospital snowed under morphine a few months later). I had to support my mom who is ill at times and be “there” for her.
My weight was getting low and it gave me a huge buzz. It’s the best high ever. No drug compares in my opinion to feel my bones protrude or the scales getting lower or that power I feel.
Unfortunately, I started self-medicating with illicit substances and I ended up doing one of my worst suicide attempts in March 2018. I insisted on carrying on with the final year of my MA. I had split up with my husband ( we are back together), My daughter was more or less living at my mom’s place more than she was in her own home. Most of the time I didn’t want her to see me out of my head, or out of control.
I was a single mom & My mom reported me to social services in 2018 within two weeks and then went to Miami for 5 weeks for a break! I received my lowest mark to date and I decided to end it. My mom had a hunch because that night I didn’t want my daughter at home with me.
Anyway, 9 hours in ICU and my Mom ( who was once part of my daughter’s care support package that I discovered and used as to persuade the judge I could look after my daughter with the help I had my daughter to look after and I carried on self-medicating and I had to go through a core assessment with a social worker’s (alone this time and I reached out my child’s school for support stop my child from being thrown into a highly flawed social care system. Twice in that year. Mom rang them again when my daughter was at her home.
I made an appointment with the doctor and I walked to the surgery. My mom was complaining about taxi fare etc.. I was hyper however the doctor ” made” my mom ring social services again. Back to 2018
My psychiatrist said I was in psychosis and I think the only reason he didn’t section me is that… I don’t know. He has known me for 15 years! I had my child to look after… I’m still not sure why he didn’t section. I think my then C.P.N. stuck up for me and I was put onto fortnightly injections to show compliance. The side effects were terrible. My mom took me to the hospital to take another medication to counteract the side effects before leaving to go abroad.
It was a rough couple of years from March up until 2019.
I was self-medicating daily I’ve (never been on heroin, or crack or ketamine.
I was in toxic relationships.
I didn’t care about my weight then. My nose was falling apart and I was losing my daughter to my mom at a fast rate.
I still wasn’t dead!
I took a really big overdose in Feb 2020. My former care co-coordinator didn’t think my cries for help were serious. My friend kept me awake on the phone. He wanted to call the ambulance. I begged him not to because of my daughter.
I got back with my husband in early 2019.
We had to get an injunction on a guy I allowed into my life. We weren’t good for one another. I seem to attract men who need me for finances or something…
I need them to be assholes to me to make sure that I can never trust my husband. The one man who has never disrespected me in 9 years and I’ve done a lot of shitty things to him
In May 2020 I had had enough.
I had been studying suicide manuals I found on the internet and decided to follow the overdose step by step guide. I ended up in a coma for 5 days and wired to tubes for a further 5 days in ICU.
For 2 months I was on a high. I was self-medicating on my Eating Disorder again. My mom and I have always clashed I was living with her trying to get away from a home with bad energy.
It didn’t work out with my mom and my daughter and my cat and my husband living at our current home. She threw me out in front of my daughter and as an excuse, I don’t know
I became stuck in my old habits. It was that or my eating disorder. My choice. My mom threatened to take me to court over my daughter numerous times for my drug use. I lost a lot of time with her my daughter.
I lost confidence in my mom Abilities again.
I was spending crazy amounts and stopped caring again. I have reached out to every service in my area and say I’m too complicated. My issues are too ” complex”.
I asked for a new care coordinator ( June 2020) and she saw me in crisis mode for 2 months. In Sept 2020
I put on 1 kilo ( in my head or physically. I was self-medicating so I had stopped bothering about scales.
That day I did something I haven’t done since I wad 17 years old.
I’m 39 in November. I stabbed my right-hand breast repeatedly and my inner thighs. Then bought 2 scales.
I then tried to jump off a well-known bridge for suicide attempts the same night.
My psychiatrist sent two psychiatrists to assess me to under the mental health act section 2 1981. .I think.
Earlier that day,
I walked out of his office screaming at my psychiatrist to discharge me from the enhanced team for people with severe Mental health input.
What was the point in taking prescribed tablets alone when I have been knocking on every door for DBT and therapy?
I spoke frankly with the assessment team and I wasn’t detained
I had a massive blow out 6weeks ago..
My mom had taken my girl away 1 day after we had discussed a plan and strategy and the boundaries and goalposts were moved according to my mom’s mood and demands. I decided f *** it. I was in a bad way and then I fought my mom for my daughter. I got her CPN involved, school. I told her secrets to my family. I betrayed her because I wanted my baby girl back.
She’s been home with me for just over 2 weeks &our bond is good. She is back into a good routine. I’m loving our bond, her age, her interests and her love.
I’ve thrown me into various therapy apps to get better, recovery apps, happy apps, registered to do volunteering again. I’m writing on my website again.
I’ve added a music blog to my website -it focuses on music artists I find and interview them on their career, creativity and thoughts on Mental health and their own experiences. My next feature is ready to publish by early Nov.
I’ve signed up to do loads of volunteering skill courses – peers mentoring etc…
I’m redoing my WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan
Learning DBT on my own.
. I haven’t used illicit substances for 8 weeks and I am higher than I have ever felt.
I’m starving myself again. I don’t like it, hunger, the dedication it takes. I do like the highs and my BMI is down to 17.1. I was living at a 19 – 20 BMI from 2018 until now…
. I’m happy because I’m investing my time in my family and buying us things. It feels good.
I’m mindful of how much I drink because of calories and I can’t drink like I did when I was using. I become ill. I have a protein shake usually 2times a day.
. A few microwaved mushrooms, cucumber( not microwaved) and microwaved onions. And celery and herbal tea to snack on.
I’m very active. I love to keep busy.
Mentally and psychically.
That’s a bit about me.
I don’t know what else to say.
I’ve managed to find a charity who let me have 10 zoom conference counselling sessions for survivors of rape, trauma and sexual abuse. My last session ends next Tues I have rescheduled 3 times!
I don’t feel suicidal and haven’t in 3 weeks.
I don’t have time to ruminate or think about self-medicating in an illegal way. People don’t leave me alone for too long and at this point, I don’t feel suicidal. I feel insanely high on my Eating disorder I’m on a high because I am making positive changes & I have had to cut out my family to be the mother that she deserves and I deserve to be.
I received a lengthy reply with positive feedback back at 3 a.m. this morning. It was an email that served as a soundboard to affirm what has happened and what I am doing with my life. I found it a positive experience I would urge people to use this service even if they don’t feel suicidal .
Life is tough at the moment for many of us including myself. I have become very unwell and I’ve been knocking on doors for help from the Community Mental health team who have been unhelpful. Tried to throw myself off a bridge on the 23 September. I have and Eating Disorder and because I have put on weight I stabbed my breast and my thighs.
I have decided that while I’m still living I am going to try and help myself so this what I have done today. I also have a voice and I won’t be ignored.
The Wellness Recovery Action Plan® or WRAP®, is a self-designed prevention and wellness process that anyone can use to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be. It was developed in 1997 by a group of people who were searching for ways to overcome their own mental health issues and move on to fulfilling their life dreams and goals. It is now used extensively by people in all kinds of circumstances, and by health care and mental health systems all over the world to address all kinds of physical, mental health and life issues.
You can download the WRAP app for free -IT explains what how WRAP can help you. You can make your own WRAP plain and email it to yourself.
What it is and https://mentalhealthrecovery.com/wrapapp/
Follow WRAP on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/WRAPYourWellnessYourWay/
An interesting article to read ‘In the worlds ‘Happiest’ countries- the Happiness gap and how it has an effect on your Mental health.
The Nordic countries are meant to be the happiest countries in the world however according to new studies and analysis 12.3 % of the population are still struggling and the article goes in to detail of the the reasons why.
I’ve also started doing the Happify app again. https://www.happify.com/home/
Art helps you recognise your strengths, gives you activies to do help you achieve your goals and it explains the science behind the activities. It has a community forum for support. It gives you daily activities you can do and there are instant games you can play -Guided meditation, Negative Knockout, Acts of kindness. You can keep a track of where you are at and it it activates your Dopamine levels -that are responsible for the reward/pleasure part of your brain & this helps to keep us motivated .
You can find out more about Dopamine at Psychology today https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/basics/dopamine
I’ve also started engaging with the unmasked campaign – it is a leading Suicide prevention charity started in 2019
Unmasked Mental Health provides support to like-minded change seekers in a genuine and personal way. Helping them to feel secure and live life confidently.
Find out more on their website https://unmaskedmentalhealth.co.uk/about-us/
This is the week everything has started to come together for me and I 100% feel I actually have been doing something that will help me in so many different situations in my life. Yet again I am so grateful to have been given this ‘gift’
Following on from identifying triggers’. Today we looked at a specific example of a trigger and we started looking at how we could get an Action plan together of how we would deal with this trigger. Remember that triggers can affect anyone/multiple senses- sight, smell, taste, touch, sound. We are all human and flawed.
Time to allow me to be vulnerable to demonstrate the power of our thoughts.
There is a lot of stuff in our world that we can’t control: how other people behave or certain events that may happen. What a person can do is to decide how he/she will respond to the triggers. I say respond because it implies some thought behind it. As humans, we do have the tendency to react to uncomfortable people and situations and events which is more impulsive.
Here is a vast list of triggers that can tip a person into feeling like crap. There is a lot on this list that I would never have thought of as a trigger, so it is worth having a look. Below this list is a brief look at how a person can Action plan. The whole point of an Action plan is to keep you from getting unwell or feeling worse. What’s the saying? ‘Hindsight is a bitch’. – there’s a few quotes like this. Well, it doesn’t have to be any more because we have got a plan. Okay, so today I ‘dug’ real deep and I exposed a huge fear/trigger for me. Before we get going, one of the group co-facilitators explained a vivid metaphor/analogy of what is likely to happen if we ignore our triggers.
Referring back to the butterfly metaphor I spoke of on my Action planning, Unfortunately, I couldn’t come across the exact version our group facilitator told us today. However, I am not one to give up so easily and I have found something just as good that explains the concept in the same kind of context- i.e. don’t ignore and hide away from life events and how you respond to them. Respond to them in a way that empowers you! This is the gem I found;
Imagine two caterpillars looking on As a beautiful butterfly floats on by
One turns saying after it is gone,“Not ever me as a butterfly that high!”Push away Resistance and be open for Change.
STOP and be more than just a caterpillar, ho-hum. Start by envisioning ideas beyond your range gain The Answer to what you can become.
As with the Caterpillar, it could be a gooey mess But you’ll improve and gain self-esteem, for sure Change is about letting go, trusting the process
Of becoming more than you are with things you were. The caterpillar was quite resistant and content; Causing him to ignore what the change involved. He thought his answer would stop the event–His Mother is a moth—his problem was solved!
Can we all learn from this? What can we try? Fight it as we might, Change will come our wayThe caterpillar’s colours are in and on the butterflyWe, too, can transform with our colours still in play
ADDITIONAL TRIGGERS LIST
- TO IMPRESS A PARTNER
- SITUATION WITH A ‘FRIEND’ WHO HAS A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON ME
- BEING STEREOTYPED/ PUT IN A ‘BOX’
- BEING JUDGED AND HOW A PERSON RESPONDS. I TEND TO CATASTROPHIZE.
- SAYING NO
- CAR RAGE/ISSUES –SOMEONE PARKING IN A DISABLED SPACE AND WHO IS NOT DISABLED
- PARTNERS MOOD SWINGS
- ABSTAINING FROM ALCOHOL OR DRUGS
- INTIMACY WITH A PARTNER
- BEING OVER-TIRED
- TRAUMATIC NEWS-HIGH EXPRESSED EMOTION– POSSIBLY FROM FAMILY MEMBERS
- TRAVELLING TO AN UNFAMILIAR PLACE/ABROAD/DELAYS
- EX-WIFE/HUSBAND CONFRONTATION IN RELATION TO CHILDREN
- PHYSICAL AND MENTAL PAIN
- FAMILY DYNAMICS INCLUDING THOSE WITH CHILDREN INVOLVED
- SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME ALONE
- FINANCIAL PROBLEMS
- BENEFITS /SOCIAL SECURITY BEING QUESTIONED OR DENIED
so once you have identified all your triggers, we need to do something positive with it, right? What you need is a plan to stop your triggers having too much power over you and your feelings. It is about stripping these triggers down- some of you who have come across CBT and DBT will be familiar with this way of action planning but this is the more awesome way of doing it. TRUST ME!
This is my moment. Here is where I make myself vulnerable to demonstrate that this plan can work for you if you put in the work. From the above list, the trigger that holds so much power over me is:
BEING JUDGED AND HOW I RESPOND. I TEND TO CATASTROPHIZE EVERYTHING RELATED TO MY TEETH.
What is going on in my head? what am I thinking? PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT MY TEETH, IAM GOING TO FAIL, I AM GOING TO BLOW MY ONE CHANCE TO SUCCEED. I CAN’T COPE. I’m SCARED MY THOUGHTS WILL STOP AND I WILL FORGET WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. I NEED TO GET AWAY FROM THIS PERSON/SITUATION.
I can see that this is all negative chatter. I want it to stop so I need to think really hard about how I am going to deal with these thoughts when they arise. It was a really tough thing for me to do. Brainstorm ways that I can help myself? What? Never! But I forced my self to think. I went back all the way to week two. I have a wellness toolbox- link. The problem with this specific trigger is that it catches me off guard when I’m already in the thick of it. Part of my plan needs to address this and I do.
Before I can do this I need to find a way to get into a zone of thinking that quietens down the negative thoughts.
HERE IS MY ACTION PLAN
- I CAN TAKE ‘MY THOUGHTS TO COURT’ – The link for this is at the end of my list.
- I CAN SIT WITH THE FEELINGS UNTIL THEY PASS- A TOUGH ONE FOR ME TO DO
- I CAN MAKE A PROS AND CONS LIST OF ALL THE THINGS I WILL GET OUT OF ME NOT OVERTHINKING AND JUDGING MY APPEARANCE OR WHAT I THINK ALL PEOPLE ARE THINKING. I’m NOT A MIND READER BUT I TEND TO THINK I AM IN THIS PARTICULAR SITUATION
- I CAN USE WISE MIND/ PRACTICE MINDFULNESS – SORRY ABOUT ALL THE JARGON -IF YOU WANT TO EXPLORE DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES THEN DO. IF YOU DON’T -THEN DON’T – LINK – the link can be found at the end of this list.
- MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE ONE IS WHEN I AM ALREADY IN THAT SITUATION WITH A PERSON AND THE THOUGHT TAKES OVER MY MIND I FEEL COMFORTABLE ENOUGH SAYING: SORRY, IF I APPEAR TO BE ACTING STRANGELY ( SOMETIMES I’M NOT BOTHERED BY MY TEETH) I HAVE A FEW ISSUES WITH MY TEETH’. I BELIEVE THIS IS SUCH A POWERFUL TECHNIQUE AND A BRAVE ONE BECAUSE I LAY IT OUT AND I VERBALISE IT AND THEN THE THOUGHT IS OUT OF MY MIND. I HAVE MADE THE PERSON AWARE OF WHAT IS MAKING ME NOT ENGAGE LIKE I USUALLY DO AND THE POWER COMES BACK TO ME. I HAVE MORE SPACE TO THINK AND TALK ABOUT WHATEVER IT IS THAT I WANT TO REALLY TALK ABOUT.
TAKE MY THOUGHTS TO COURT LINK -If you would like me to do an example please let me know. It can be one of your triggers or one on the lists.
IF YOU ARE RUSHED FOR TIME THIS YOUTUBE CLICK IS PRETTY COOL. IT IS AN ORIGINAL TAKE ON EXPLAIN WISE-MIND- you can access it anywhere- in your car wherever and listen to it. I love it!
CLICK ON THIS WISE-MIND LINK– I like it because I find it helps me understand the wise mind – I find a mix of images and dialogue easier to understand.
Okay, so if you have been creating your WRAP from week one. YAY! what a journey it has been, hasn’t it? And for those who haven’t you can always CLICK ON THIS LINK and see how you too can start your very own Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP).
Here is a clip describing a bit of week 10 When things are breaking down
Week 10 -down. WOW! two weeks and my three-month’ gift’ is coming to an end. I will save my personal thoughts and other group members thoughts on WRAP in week 12. I just want to point out that I did not think I would get much out of this but I can promise you I have learned so much about myself, how I tick, what helps me, what doesn’t help me and loads of empowering self-help techniques. WRAP is free. It was given to me as a ‘gift’ and I give it to you as a ‘gift’. No extras. No-fuss!
This weeks session focused on when you have ignored or not seen the trigger or Early warning signs and you can feel yourself slipping into meltdown, the plan to get that job is not going as it should, there have been delays in moving to where you are moving too. Your relationship is at breaking point, you can find no relief for your chronic pain if you have MS or Cancer even, but there is still a chance that you can pull yourself back and re-own your yourself.
Here is my breakdown list of signs and symptoms I feel when I start to feel like everything has turned to jelly. The stability is just that little bit further out of reach. My list is very focused on Eating disorders because this is where my mind is at but I am fighting to regain my control. It is my responsibility to stay well. I can do this with WRAP.
WHEN THINGS ARE BREAKING DOWN
- weigh myself obsessively
- take more photographs of myself to compare them to what I think I see in the mirror
- My perception of my body is split and fractured. I am unable to focus on my body as a whole entity
- Panic attacks
- Don’t want to or I am feel unable to communicate
- Seriously thinking or actively starting to cut down on fluids and food intake
- I refuse to try on clothes that I didn’t wear when I was at a body weight I deemed acceptable
- I will push myself to go 24 hours 7 until I collapse
- I don’t want to g out
- I want to or stop taking my medication to get my Bipolar highs
- withhold love and affection -I don’t feel worthy of the two.
- Lose my sense of humour
- all seems doom and gloom
- feel that everyone hates me or has a problem with me
- Using degrading language on myself eg. I’m fat, I’m stupid. -all un helpful thoughts and mantras
- I feel I am an empty vessel -no personality a loss of identity
- I’m selfish and refuse or can’t look at the world around me and what is happening outside of my illness
- I think about escaping- or over dosing on my prescription medication or act on it
- Short tempered
- Angry at myself
- It becomes harder to look after myself. It becomes harder to look after my daughter
- Sleep for days at a time or not sleep for days at a time
- buy exercise energy enhanced pills on line
- over exercise for over three hours with no breaks
- Indecisive- small choices are hard to make
- feel disconnected to reality. I can reinforce this buy not wearing my glasses or contact lenses.
- Spend less time with my daughter. I don’t want her to pick up on my emotions and for her to see me in a ‘weak’ role
That is my list. It is a tough list to do but if you are thorough and honest with yourself then we can take all these symptoms and experiences and start an Action Plan. All is not lost but it feels pretty close to lost.
You need to start brainstorming what you can or will try to do to get you back on an even keel.
Create an Action plan
call my C.P.N. or my psychiatrist
Speak to someone I can trust- use my circle of protection. I have a select group of people I have entrusted into my personal space to help me when I I feel like things are breaking down
I can look at my maintenance tools from week two and three and try see if I can reign things in a bit
look at the different uniqueness I have learned eg. the art of moment therapy, mindfulness, take my thoughts to caught, wise mind
( you can always add more to your list as and when something you think will help you stay away from completely breaking down.
That’s it for this week.
Be kind to yourself .Give yourself an affirmation to say for the week, do something for you.