I am Worthy

Hey there

Recently I have been struggling and I know it’s important to reflect on this as I come out of it and pick myself up. There has been a significant reason for my drop in mental health, because along with the biological adjustments that are going on as I come off my medication I’ve been on for years, I’ve been under a lot of stress. It’s landed me with really low mood a lot of the time, high urges, anxiety and flashbacks. 

I talked to my college support person, and she suggested I start writing again. The type of writing I keep to myself in my notebooks, not blogging or posting on social media, and my god has it helped a lot. I now know my thoughts. Often my dissociation from myself means I can’t think or have thoughts, it’s just white noise and silence in my head. By writing I’ve been able to acknowledge the things that are causing so much stress, and I don’t blame myself for struggling so much! There are a lot of big and dark things going on in my life right now that would tip any well person over the edge. I have done amazingly. 
Writing has helped me scratch the surface of these big problems, and it seems there’s one common theme. I am taking on problems that aren’t even mine. I cannot control most of these environmental stresses, and there is no need to be worrying and spending so much time allowing them to trample all over me.


I’m now on a journey to focus on myself and the things that are going to help me. I’m getting my college work finished which enables my future, I’m planning my summer holidays and what jobs I will do. Keeping my physical health up is a good thing too, which is how my walks are benfitting me and giving me a good foundation to work from. My positive affirmation is I am worthy. You will be hearing from me again soon, see you next time.

Liam 🙂

Being New to CAMHS

Ah CAMHS, reminiscing over CAMHS causes mild panic, disgust and some level gratitude for keeping me alive. Being new to CAMHS is like being sucked up by a whirlwind and waiting for them to plop you down somewhere whilst you get smashed in the face with new people and professionals and diagnoses. Many people detest it, however make up your own mind, don’t listen to everyone else. Whilst I was with CAMHS I found it very helpful and vital in my recovery. Looking back I can see the flaws and things I would have done differently if I was a professional, however I am not. And I am still thankful of them.

People get admitted to CAMHS for all different types of illnesses. And also for no illnesses at all. CAMHS help people who are: depressed, anxious, transgender, autistic, have ADHD, have a learning disability, have an eating disorder, have psychosis or schizophrenia, have bipolar disorder, have a personality disorder, have PTSD, dissociative disorders and more. 

I was thinking of structuring this post addressing the new CAMHS go-er and some things you need to remember, and then some CAMHS vocab, because it’s a very strange world.

  1. Be honest. You need to be honest to get help, and they will listen.
  2. Trust them as much as you can, they do want to help
  3. They will not force you to tell them anything, however if you’re in danger please please speak out because they can help
  4. Do not stand for a bad therapist. If you feel victimised or discriminated against by any of the staff you need to speak out because you deserve better than that.
  5. It doesn’t matter that there’s trying to help you if you don’t help yourself.
  6. Your parents don’t need to know everything that goes on in sessions, except that when you are in danger they need to be involved in keeping you safe. However, if your parents are the ones struggling to come to terms with it, tell CAMHS. They are used to helping the parents as well as the child, they can explain things and are often listened to because they are professionals.
  7. Whatever illness, disorder, diagnosis or label you are given, that is not all there is to you. 

Vocab:

  • CAMHS – Child and adolescent mental health service
  • Crisis – When you are high risk and need extra support to get through each day. Often someone will visit your house or call every day if you are on the crisis list and you can also access 24 hour phone support.
  • Crisis team – The team of therapists who come and visit children and teens in crisis. They are involved temporarily during a time of high risk.
  • Psychiatrist – A highly qualified professional in medicine who deals with the medical side of treatment. This involves prescribing medication and giving diagnoses.
  • Psychologist – A highly qualified professional in psychology who help treat different mental illnesses or emotional difficulties with therapy.
  • Section – When you are forced by the mental health act to be in hospital for a certain amount of time 
  • Therapist – Someone who specialises in helping people with certain conditions, illnesses and difficulties. Specific types include occupational therapists, play therapists and psychotherapists. 

I hope that is helpful and informative as well as interesting. 

See you next time,

Liam 🙂

Books

Hello,

I’ve recognised a sense of avoiding my blog recently. I think that because I have talked about my struggle with mental illness in the moment it is happening, it has made me feel quite vulnerable. I think that the new vulnerability and honesty is a good thing but I need to take a step back and post something I really enjoy talking about… books!

I have always been a book worm, I know I was reading books throughout my childhood, despite me not rememebering a lot due to dissociation. In the more recent years I haven’t been able to read much at all. My concentration has been at an all time low these past 2-3 years because of psychosis mainly, (let me tell you, hearing voices 24/7 makes so many simple tasks near impossible!) but guess what?!! I made it my 1 year goal to read a book. With the help of coloured acetate, glasses and stable medication I read my first book in years within a few days of setting the goal!!! Now I have read 4 books in 3 months and am just starting a 5th! 

I want to share with you the books I have been reading and letting myself get absorbed into, just like I did as a child. Below each book is a mini review 🙂 

The ABCs of LGBT by Ashley Mardell (Now Ash Hardell)

A very thought provoking and well laid out book. I enjoyed the analysing of different identities and terms such as bi erasure from the point of view of those affected by it, along with colourful illustrations and lots of reflective suggestions. I would recommend it to every person as an easily accessible information point for all things LGBT+, and I’d recommend it as a reading book to people with an already general knowledge of LGBT+, whether you are an ally, are questioning or are comfortable within your identity and what that is.

 The Art of Being a Brilliant Teenager by Andy Cope, Andy Whitaker, Darrell Woodman and Amy Bradley

A very easy read that I gained a lot of insight on how to be a positive and an all round brilliant person. I’d recommend every person to read just the first few pages, from that you will work out if you are bothered enough to make changes to yourself to have a better quality life or are fine being ordinary. For those that choose to read on you will be satisfied by all the colourful quotes and anecdotes and genuine suggestions on how to be a better person and get more out of yourself and life. Not just limited to teenagers, also people on either side of the age bracket and parents of teenagers too.

 A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

An amazing and beautiful story told from the point of a young boy going through the trauma of watching his mother battle cancer. A monster starts to call round his house each night and tells 3 stories, with the deal being the boy tells his story after. This is an incredibly well written book with realistic characters, vivid imagery and a gripping plot. I would recommend this to adults as much as I would to children, especially to those who have been through some kind of trauma. I found I related hugely to the young boy and liked how it was told from his own in denial perspective.

 BZRK by Michael Grant

A complex science fiction novel that takes a lot of patience and concentration to understand but is very worth it. It has a lot of interesting characters with room for so much further development I hope to read in the next books. The concept of BZRK and having the world split into nano and macro sounds scientifically believable and is talked about so vividly it’s like you are taking a step into their world. I love the focus on death or madness, and all twitchers (people who enter the nano world) are named after mad people like Vincent Van Gogh and Sylvia Plath. A unique read that I’d recommend to anyone with the capacity to constantly be working things out, perhaps a minimum age of 12 though as it is very dark at times. 

Currently reading: Stealing Snow

Future reads: Doing it!, BZRK Reloaded, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Being Jazz

Thank you for reading. I’ll see you in my next post,

Liam 🙂

Check-in

I find checking in with myself is important. It keeps me connected and in touch with my mind and means I can notice issues so I can take action. Right now, although I’m not in crisis I’m at a low point and this is the stage checking in helps me the most.

I’m incredibly worried about the most vulnerable time of year coming up, and also that I’m without a psychologist or psychiatrist. I’m hoping it won’t be for long but I have to wait and I have no idea how long. It’s made me realise how lucky I am to have had a secure care team for so long which I am grateful for. I saw my psychologist for the last time earlier this week and her leaving has been quite sudden and badly timed. Pretty much all therapeutic input has come from her so now I’m left with near to nothing. Although, looking on the positive side I’ve learnt so so much with her help, about how dissociation works as a coping mechanism for my head and it’s relation to trauma. It means I have more coping mechanisms when I’m struggling like this.

January is the month I have severe psychotic episodes that have consistently got worse each year. I live with psychosis every day but these episodes take months to recover from and are centered around a strong delusion. 

As I deteriorate I isolate myself which I am doing now. I’m trying my best to have contact with people regularly and will hopefully find it easier with the return of college routine. I’m also making sure I am looking after myself physically, and managing that. 

I have many positive influences that will help me more. I am at college doing what I love, I have a stable routine, there are lots of changes of scene involved in my routine, I have learnt how to acknowledge emotions so will hopefully be less dissociated, and I have coping mechanisms to help this. I’m aware I sound really formal but that’s because I’m struggling to connect with the reality of how bad I feel. I will make it though. This check in has been helpful. Well done me!

Liam 🙂 

Contemplations About Support

Hello there lovely people!

I’m going to start off this post by telling you the funny story of today’s April fools prank on my dad…

So, this morning I messaged my dad telling him me and my brother wouldn’t be able to spend the week with him as we had got a last minute place at a residential camp with air cadets. We were expecting him to not fall for it as we do one on him every year without fail HOWEVER it turned out we fooled him… probably because it was so believable as the exact same thing but with a shooting day happened only last week. I consider the success as a good bonding experience 😉

Now, onto the main topic. I’ve been thinking a lot about support. What support I have, what support I can give to others and the support I can give to myself. Whilst contemplating all of this I’ve focused on the present answers and things like gratitude instead of worthiness.

The thoughts…

I have an amazing family and caring friends who I know will stick by me, I am so lucky for the amount of support and love I receive from others. I also have a great care team behind me which is still growing. I couldn’t ever wish for more.

The support I can give currently is limited as I have found I damage myself sometimes when trying to help someone else. I know that I need to get myself a positive circle of friends at college in September and that helping someone in the depths of mental illness because I care about them a lot is actually not best for me, and sometimes I need to put myself first.

Thinking about the support I can give to myself is where it gets interesting as I have a lot of resources to help myself that I have built up over time, however recently I’ve found a few new things (mainly online) so I will list a few…

  • Watching informative but not triggering videos about mental illness, the more I understand, the better I can support myself.

 

  • Staying in control of social media accounts and keeping away from negative influences is a big positive in my life.

 

  • Downloading kids games. Great to unwind and they also teach you things like being caring, something that reminds me to take care of myself.

 

  • A mood diary app to have a space to vent that’s private and protected, AND can easily be accessed no matter where I am.

 

  • The ‘7 cups’ app where I can get extra support in a calming place.

 

  • Lastly, an app I was recommended today by a lovely girl from 7 cups – ‘Stop, breathe & think’ – a meditation app I’ve fallen in love with where you can customise mindfulness exercises to your mood and how much time you have.

I hope you have all got some things to think about, remember you are your own person and you are STRONG.

I will be seeing you all again soon with some news on my treatment plan and future, notice how I mentioned college in this post, things are getting exciting.

Liam 🙂

 

Spreading Awareness

On March 1st, it was self harm awareness day. Although I don’t always participate in mental illness awareness days I do love how its a great reason to get talking about such taboo topics. I do tend to gravitate towards psychosis awareness especially, however, I have never felt able to contribute because I don’t feel comfortable sharing my story.

As if that’s the only way you can spread awareness?!

Clearly I’d made an assumption that the only way to spread awareness was an obvious in-your-face kind of way like posting on your facebook profile about it. When I actually thought about it I realised there’s actually a lot of different ways I can help with fighting the stigma and you can too.

**Quickly an important thing to note. The one rule when spreading mental illness awareness is to put yourself first, and by that I mean only do what you are comfortable and okay with. It fits well with my recent realisation that going into group for the next module I need to walk in ready to focus on MY recovery, not helping everyone else. You always need to put yourself first when mental illness is in the equation.**

Things you can do to spread awareness…

•Share your own journey
•Show support to others who are sharing their journeys with a simple like, comment or share
•Share links or like pages that are for people affected by mental illnesses. Mind, b-eat and the voice collective are ones I’ve put out there for others to explore
•Post on awareness days (find out WHEN there are awareness days)
•Talk about mental illness with people, start conversations about it
•Stand up for people being discriminated against
•Raise money for charities supporting people affected by mental illnesses

Those are some things from big to small, never think you cant make a difference. Something I will be doing soon is sharing a part of my journey on tumblr anonymously. I want to reassure other people suffering from psychosis or schizophrenia that it is okay to fit the negative stereotype and we are not bad people because of what our illnesses have caused us to do.

Tomorrow I hope to post again as it will be the 6th March, a very special date that I would like to write about and reflect on some things (with it also being mothers day so do excuse me if I don’t manage to find time!)

Hope you are all well and enjoying yourselves,

Liam 🙂

Perfectionism

Hello friends!

I have emerged from my hibernation (although ironically I am in bed right now). Not at the best of times either, I am currently very unwell however whilst my body is slowing down my mind is still as frantic as usual, so writing has been my creative output of ILLNESS. Ew.

A lot has happened in this month whilst I’ve been absent, and I have desperately wanted to write about it all, however I’m just not able to finish anything and be happy with it. Obviously my perfectionistic self is the main cause for that, so no point trying to blame anything on business etc.

My individual therapist has been trying to get me to delve deeper into that part of me as its a very big problem for me. A year ago my fear of failure and low self esteem meant I couldn’t physically write. Especially when it came to creative writing, copying things off the board was manageable but anything I couldn’t do ‘correctly’ wasn’t done at all.

Over the year the things that have helped are things like identifying the core beliefs that are linked to perfectionism, and what caused them. Just becoming more self aware is all you need to do at first, realising that you are being very very harsh on yourself and what you aren’t able to do because of it. For example any achievements were dismissed as not good enough, no matter what the score. AND even getting full marks didn’t give me the huge sense of pride I thought I’d feel, I in fact felt numb.

After acknowledging, the next step for me was thinking (and bare with me as this isn’t simple), maybe I can say to myself that maybe its okay. I actually think I started off with a lot more maybe’s but at least that example makes sense. Basically, starting off even just considering that…

•Perfection doesn’t exist
•I don’t need to be perfect
•I am good enough
•Mistakes don’t make me a failure

Whatever applies, try to think it in your head as much as you can, imagine you being your own cheerleader!

Despite me having done all this and it helping a lot I am still a perfectionist to this day, however it is something I am finding I can live beside. When it comes to school work I enjoy it thoroughly now, I’m still in the process of learning how to feel proud of myself but I can share my achievements and celebrate them! I even write for fun and have this blog and LOVE IT!!! When anorexia starts to take control again I tell myself I must fight it because I know I will never ever achieve the ‘perfection’ I seek and will ultimately die trying.

I’m back into being involved with the ED recovery community (which does have its pros and cons) as I recognised I had been relapsing and was in denial, but basically I wanted to mention a term that’s used a lot that I think should be used in ALL mental illness battles.

Its #recoverywin

So, I will leave you all on the note that from small things to big things, all achievements are a win and you can celebrate it!

Stay safe everyone, I’ll be back soon…

Liam 🙂