mental health

  • Talking to fridges.....

    A friend of mine is writing a book - A compilation of personal accounts centred around the #metoo hashtag.

    Because we share this in common, my friend and I. We've both experienced the devastation of rape, but thankfully, years later we've worked our way through it and come out on the other side using our respective coping mechanisms. Mine involved talking to a trusted friend at the time, seeking professional help, and eventually writing about it years later on my blog. My friend however, took a slightly less conventional approach....

    We were chatting online. We talked about the book; discussed our own experiences, and  I asked her if she had ever had counselling. After a minutes hesitation, her reply was "No.....unless you count talking to the fridge".......

    Which she'd obviously been doing and which clearly seemed to work for her at the time.

    It made perfect sense. Because the idea of my friend talking to that fridge was an absolute lightbulb moment. For reasons I've outlined below.

    You see, a fridge is designed with a door that can be opened 24 hours a day, meaning that it's always there when you need it - anytime, night or day.  A fridge can't talk....so it can't "give advice" or interrupt you mid-flow.  It can't walk either...so it's not going to get up and leave halfway through your conversation. Its job is to basically chill the wine and keep hold of the chocolate for when you've finished off-loading and need consolation....

    It's the perfect tool for the job.....

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  • Hearing voices.....

    My boyfriend has Psychosis. It means that he sees, hears and talks to people who aren't actually there. At least if they are, they are very very quiet and very very small, as no-one else can see or hear them...I can't anyway. 

    It only happens when he's been drinking heavily and is therefore either dangerously intoxicated or starting to withdraw. Which currently is most of the time right now, and it's a worrying, and often disturbing experience for anyone around him, watching a fully grown man sit and have an animated conversation with people that only he can see.

    During Psychosis he loses touch with reality. He only sees and hears the scenarios in his head that to him are real conversations, but to everyone else are the red flags that indicate that his drinking is once again spiralling out of control and that he is mentally and physically extremely unwell and in serious need of professional help.

    Sometimes he talks to me too, but not very often - at least not to my face. In reality he talks to me all the time...it's just that I'm very rarely in the same room when the "conversation" gets going. I'll be in the kitchen or the bathroom maybe....he'll be convinced that I'm sat there next to him on the sofa in the living room.  But when I try to say as much he accuses me of lying and playing games with his head...when in reality it's not actually me playing headgames at all.  It's vodka and the copious quantities of it that he continues to drink that's busy distorting his reality.

    It's upsetting to see and hear him like this. Talking away to himself for hours on end...having full-on conversations with these imaginary people that aren't actually there.  But if I try to hold a conversation and tell him that he's talking to himself he doesn't believe me.

    It's horrible.

    Especially when it's 3.00am and I can't sleep because his imaginary friends are keeping him up all night again...He's usually having a 'discussion' about me  and how he's scared that he'll lose me if this carries on.  Which he will if he doesn't get help. Because seeing and hearing him like this is excrutiating...I actually can't take much more. His alcohol induced mental problems are starting to consume us both.

    The whispered conversations are horrendous...the look on his face when I try to explain to him that there is no-one in the room breaks my heart. Because he genuinely doesn't know what is going on around him.

    It makes him paranoid.

    He thinks that I have an agenda. That I'm filming him / recording him...taking photos. For the record I'm not. I wouldn't.  Although I have to admit that it has crossed my mind...because maybe then he would see what everyone else sees...that he's talking to himself. But it would terrify him. The thought makes me sick. Its not an option. 

    My boyfriend desperately needs help. He's very very sick. He's been hospitalised several times because of his addiction.  But he refuses to see the doctor more often than not...presumably because he will be told in no uncertain terms that he needs to stop drinking. Which he continues to do on a daily basis and which is slowly but surely killing him...because he physically and mentally can no longer do without it. 

    So the talking continues and every day he gets worse. He no longer needs me to talk to... his friends are all consuming. If they tidied up after him too then maybe I would be more tolerant. But they don't...they just continue to talk cod-shit, which he in turn talks back...24/7. Unless he's asleep...

    It makes him incredibly hard to be around and even harder to listen to.  I constantly have to leave the room just to breathe for a second.  Ever increasingly I'm leaving the flat completely...because I need some space from him and some real conversation...with real actual people. 

    It's breaking my heart...I'm at my wits end and I'm ready to leave. I love him so much but I have no idea where to go from here. Except home.  He doesn't even know if I'm there or not anymore... I may as well be invisible...except that if I was then maybe he would talk to me more...

    My boyfriend needs help. Without it he will die. He can't carry on like this. His body is screaming for him to stop drinking alcohol. It can't keep up with the strain that he's under and his head is slowly turning to blancmange. Things have to change...because at this rate, as much as we all love and care for him, one by one everyone else will leave him too....for the sake of their sanity if nothing else.  

    So my boyfriends imaginary friends had better be loyal...because if he continues to refuse the help that he needs, then those invisible mates of his will be all he's got left...which is heartbreaking...

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Weebles wobble.....

    When I was a kid I loved Weebles.

    These, along with Lego and Play-People were my absolute best things. I loved them. I didn't have a favourite, but if I absolutely had to choose between them all then Weebles would win hands down.

    Don't get me wrong, Play-People were cool. They were better-looking for a start. They could do more - plus they could live in the houses I built for them out of  my Lego bricks, so in the versatility stakes they pretty much nailed it... but Weebles? Well they were something else. In a league of their own. Because Weebles were hardcore. 

    It didn't matter how hard you flicked them or how rough you played, those badboys were indestructible. You just couldn't keep them down.......and believe me I tried - usually by flicking them as hard as I could, a manouvre which would floor a lego-man immediately, but which didn't phase my Weebles.  A serious wobble for a few seconds - a minute at most, and they were up again in no time.....while my lego men and Play People lay in crumpled heaps on the floor. Totally K.O'd. 

    So Weebles are resillient little fuckers.

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  • Unfurling.....

    I've bought a house.

    Well a caravan.....And now it's mine. I own it.

    It's just for me.

    Well me and Magic.

    Magic is my cat.....the one I promised myself I would get just as soon as I got a place of my own. And now I have one. A place that is. Not Magic.....Magic comes later.

    I have to move in first....

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  • Being Batfink.......

    I'm finally starting to value myself.

    It's hard work.

    It goes against everything I've ever know or been told. It feels weird.

    'Alien'.

     Like I'm pretending..... which I am. Obviously. But I'm secretly hoping that the 'fake it till you make it' approach rubs off......and then one day I won't have to pretend anymore.

    Thats the cunning plan anyway. It's pretty much the only one I have to be honest. So I'm giving it a go.

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  • Welcome to Detox.....

    Published as "What happens in detox" - Ivory magazine. February 2018

     

    I'm not pregnant.

    In case I was wondering....Which I wasn't. Mainly because they hadn't told me that I was being tested for that when they insisted on me providing a sample. They were supposed to be looking for drugs....

    Which they found. Obviously. There's not much that gets through a piss test in detox. Luckily for me they were prescription. Which meant no naughty step (always a bonus) - because I was so drunk when I arrived that steps of any kind were to be avoided like the plague....I didn't really trust my legs to be able to do the maths.

    Instead I found a chair, sat on it and stayed there until the staff came to check me in...  Safest option all round to be honest.

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  • Snow Angels.....

    My feet are freezing.

    They literally feel like two blocks of ice.

    I have my heater on, I'm fully clothed. I'm huddled under two double duvets in my bed. I still can't get warm. Because my caravan it appears, isn't built to withstand winter.

    Neither unfortunately are homeless people.....

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  • Miss Optimistic......

    I try to see the best in people.

    Even when I know that it's futile.

    I keep looking for the good in someone even when I'm being treated appallingly - I'm the kind of woman who would find something loveable about a rabid dog. In fact if I thought that I could get near it I'd probably take it home.....

    My bad.

    But the last fourty-eight hours means that I'm starting to learn from my mistakes. So thats progress.

     

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  • Drunk....

    I'd only popped out to the shop.

    The fridge and the cupboards were bare. We needed something for dinner and so I left him in charge of making the bed while I went on a quest to feed us both.

    When I got back, my boyfriend was drunk.....I'd only been gone fifteen minutes.....

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  • The pain in my words.....

    I write.

    Constantly.

    It's my coping mechanism.

    It keeps me focussed. Keeps me balanced. It keeps this topsy turvy head of mine in check.

    Because when I write from the heart it comes from a dark place. A scary place. A place full of turmoil and tears and regret..... a place I have to stay in until of this bad stuff comes out. Out of my head and eventually out of my mind......

    It's going to take a while.

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  • All the single ladies.....

    It's alright for Beyonce.....wriggling around blasting out "All the single ladies" and then scampering off home to Jay-Z.....but what about the rest of us? Us 'actual' single ladies, who don't have a Jay-Z or any other kind of  guy for that matter, to get our groove on with or snuggle up to once the lights go down......what about us?

     What if you don't even own a leotard? Or sexy shiny shoes like Bey? Well, maybe you did.... once. A long time ago......when you were still young and foxy, with the whole world at your feet and when you didn't give a shit about imaginary lumps and bumps or cellulite.......What if anything even remotely resembling foxy hasn't made an appearance from your wardrobe in a very long time.....because everything that does has been tucked away on a shelf somewhere gathering dust - along with your self-esteem and your confidence after the last disastrous relationship you had eventually bit the dust.....

    Because I'm a single lady at the minute and trust me..... it's really not as glamourous or as exciting as Bey makes it look in that video.....

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  • Un-maternal instinct....

    I'm older than my boyfriend. By more than ten years.

    I pretend it's not an issue, but in reality it is. On days like today for example, when he's ill and I'm looking after him. Because when I say "ill" I mean "drunk" and when I say "looking after him" I mean "doing everything".

    I'm cooking and cleaning and making hot drinks. I'm checking that he's not too hot or too cold.....I am actually at times making sure he's still breathing... 

     

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  • Snakes and ladders.....

    "Single to 'X' please.......Oh, and I'd like to add the "melt-down" option too if possible? Full-on would be great, thanks...."

    I finish talking to the self-service machine, take my ticket and bags the first available seat. Within seconds I'm in floods.

    Thankfully the carriage is almost empty. The only other passenger is busy talking to himself while staring intently at his can of Special Brew, and so I can melt-down to my hearts content.....he's not going to give two shits about my mental state I'm guessing.

    I guess right.

    He eyes me briefly with suspicion as I take my seat across from him, and then goes back to memorising whatever useful information is on the can, leaving me to cry my eyes out in peace.

    Fab.

    Because I'm really not in the mood for making small talk right now. With anyone. But especially not him. I'm all alcohol'd out right now.

    And I'm not being judgemental. A year ago I was in his shoes. But a lot of water has passed under my bridge since then, and today I don't have the time or the energy to worry about a strangers life choices when I can't get a grip on my own.

    I'm an absolute mess. 

    My boyfriend had a relapse and it's fucked me in the head. It's fucked us both to be fair but it's seriously done a number on my sanity. Three weeks of constant watching and worrying about him has sent me into a tailspin, and now everything that I thought was going right is going wrong.

    I'm worrying about him, I'm worrying about me....I'm worrying about simply getting back to my caravan right now. I'm in no fit state to be sat on a train. A million and one thoughts are racing around, vying for attention in my head, and I just can't listen to them all at the same time. It's impossible....So I don't even try. I reach for my earphones and drown them all out with Ed Sheeran instead.

    I turn away as the ticket inspector approaches. I don't want to look like a lost, deranged woman who may need consoling.....even though I am, and I do...I keep my shit together until he passes, get off the train and head for the exit.

    A bus ride and what seems like an eternity later and my key is in the door. I change out of my clothes and immediately curl into a ball on the bed......where four years of complete head-fuck and pent-up emotion comes flooding out.

    My marriage break-up. The caravan with Bear. Putting him to sleep and hammering the final nail into my own coffin in the process. Me, turning into an absolute alcoholic wrecking ball. Starting to mix with other alcoholic wrecking balls....The horrible men. The damage they caused. The damage I caused......hospital, detox, rehab, hostel life......cry, cry, fucking cry.....I literally can't stop.

    It goes on forever. I'm exhausted. My chest hurts from the sheer weight of emotion pressing down on me right now.... because I've finally realised that I've learned nothing.

    Mainly, because, the minute that I'm well enough to stand on my own two feet again, what's the first thing I do??

    Go scampering back to bedlam is what I do.

    Because I've fallen in love with an alcoholic.....

    Which means, that in the game of "Recovery Snakes and ladders" I lose.

    It doesn't matter how high I've climbed to better myself so far...if he's not on the same page and climbing those ladders with me, then my recovery is affected.  If I stay with this guy while he's drinking then there are no more ladders for me to climb....I won't have it in me. So every square from here-on-in becomes a snake.

    You can't climb snakes....

    FML.....

     

     

     

     

  • The queen of bad ideas......

    I'm a mess.

    I'm stood in his kitchen surrounded by bags, frantically trying to repair my ravaged face. I know that it will be dark soon anyway but there is absolutely no way that I'm leaving the house like this. I'm upset granted, but I still have standards.....

    Ten minutes and some frantic sleeve wiping later and I'm heading out the door and down the stairs. I didn't stop to say goodbye. My head was obviously pre-occupied with the black smears around my eyes and I'm mentally giving both barrels to R*****l..... because this latest mascara of theirs is seriously shit......

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  • Faking baking.......

    It was his birthday.

    I'd planned a holiday as a present - nothing incredible, just a few days in the sun last minute.com. It made sense. It was cheap, it was hot and it was a chance to get away while I had the time booked off from work.

    I was so excited.

    I needn't have been.

    Because it didn't happen......

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  • Talking to fridges.....

    A friend of mine is writing a book - A compilation of personal accounts centred around the #metoo hashtag.

    We share this in common, my friend and I. We've both experienced the devastation of rape, but thankfully, years later we've worked our way through it and come out on the other side.

    We were chatting online. We talked about the book; discussed our own experiences, and  I asked her if she had ever had counselling. After a minutes hesitation, her reply was "No.....unless you count talking to the fridge".......

    Which she'd obviously been doing and which clearly seemed to work for her at the time.

    It made perfect sense. Because the idea of my friend talking to that fridge was an absolute lightbulb moment. For reasons I've outlined below.

    You see, a fridge is designed with a door that can be opened 24 hours a day, meaning that it's always there when you need it - anytime, night or day.  A fridge can't talk....so it can't "give advice" or interrupt you mid-flow.  It can't walk either...so it's not going to get up and leave halfway through your conversation. Its job is to basically chill the wine and keep hold of the chocolate for when you've finished off-loading and need consolation....

    It's the perfect tool for the job.....

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  • Spiralling.....

    I have an addict mentality.

    Everything I think about, everything I do gets processed and carried out at lightning speed, because I need to hurry, hurry, hurry twenty four hours a day in case I miss something.

    It means that I can't sit in the moment. I don't have the capacity to ever fully relax. My head gets in the way and my thoughts start to take over. Which triggers the negative  voices in my head......

    I'm starting to struggle.

     

     

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  • Sober Sex....

    So I'm staying over. At his....... On Tuesday night.

    It makes sense....It saves interrupting our evening, dicking around with trains and a walk home alone for me through pitch black fields, late at night, attempting to dodge cow pats and copious amounts of sheeps piss.

    And I know this guy, which means that I trust him enough to assume that he's not going to jump on me or set upon me with an axe once I'm in his flat, behind closed doors.

    So it'll be cool. It'll be fine. We're just having some food and catching up with ourselves. No biggie. Absolutely nothing to worry about -  It's not like we're going to have sex or anything.....

    Because then I would be bricking it....

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  • Being Brilliant.....

    First of all, being brilliant isn't all it's cracked up to be - I'd just like to clarify that. It's actually a lot of pressure. There are expectations to live up to, deadlines to meet, appearances to keep up......Because people expect a lot when you are brilliant.

    So don't, whatever you do get an addiction, start to fall short of peoples sky-high expectations and then spectacularly fall from grace....

    Like I did....

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  • Handle with care.....

    Imagine that you can see your mental health. And that it looks like the most precious piece of cut glass you have ever seen. The attention to detail in this particular piece of artwork is incredible.....and you just want to reach up and lift it down so that you can really see how intricate it is up close, and don't worry.....you know that it's precious and so you'll be ever so careful when you attempt to lift it down...

    "Smash!"

    This was the noise that you heard as it slipped through your fingers and smashed onto the floor....

    "BANG!"

    This is how it feels when mental health goes wrong....

     

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