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Life after a crisis

It’s been a while since I last posted. I have been on a long road of self-hatred and destruction. Thankfully with a mixture of effective and non-effective support, I have come out the other side stronger, and more determined, than I’ve probably ever been.

The truth is that I came dangerously close to not being here. It took that very near miss to make me learn a few lessons about my life, as it is, and as I want it to be.

I decided that although I have yet to see improvements from therapy, that it is worth persisting with, if there is a chance that I could learn to stop the past repeating itself. So I’ve kept going, been fully involved in trying to improve myself and started to think about what I really want from life.

I made the decision that I have so much that I still want to achieve with my life, and this time when I was discharged from the crisis (Home Treatment Team), instead of seeing it as a threat to my well-being, I saw it as an opportunity.

What has helped has been being told by my care-managers that I can’t do what I want to do, what I dream of doing. One of my best qualities is stubborn determination and if I’m told that I can’t do something, often I will work even harder to prove that I can.

Another thing that has helped is better pain management, this has meant more energy and ability to focus on the things that I enjoy. It’s not a drastic change and I still have to live with some pain, but it’s at a more manageable level than it was.

Another lesson that I learnt was that I need to become more self-reliant. Instead of looking up to others and relying on them to help me when I’m in a dark place, I need to figure out what I can do to help myself, and, if that fails, then figure out who are the best people to approach for help.

I learnt that I need to be more self-aware of when I’m on a path of self-destruct/close to causing myself harm, and what to do to nip it in the bud before things get to the point where I make stupid, life-affecting choices.

I have also started trying new things as a way of changing the rut that I’ve been in for far too long. I’ve returned to writing, I’m now back to blogging (which will probably be a more gradual process) and I’m preparing to finally return to uni (my second year) in September. I will be studying creative writing and I’m really excited at the prospect.

I just wanted to say that I appreciate your patience and encouragement towards me throughout what has been an extremely difficult time, and hope that eventually I can prove that you were right to have faith in me. I’m sorry for the mistakes that I’ve made and just wanted you all to know that if you are struggling with difficult feelings and mental illness, you are never alone. Please contact an organisation like the Samaritans (who are the reason, along with medical professionals, that  I am still alive). And please try to never give up on yourselves and what  you are capable of because even if you doubt what you are capable of – I believe in you!

If you’d like to continue the conversation please comment below or tweet me @spursbythebeach .

Long time no speak. 15 things that have happened since I last posted:

1.About two weeks ago, after all my determination that it would not happen, I ended up in a psychiatric ward again. This time was different though. The psychiatrist I saw read me like a book and encouraged me to follow my dream and return to university, and he would offer any support necessary for me to do that.

2.From the hospital ward I rang first the local university (who still haven’t got back to me) then I called Lampeter. I was nervous as I knew it would be a huge move for me as it’s too far for me to commute from Swansea, but from the moment I first spoke to the course tutor there as well as all the other helpful support staff, read the course module description and the beautiful campus, I was determined that this was the direction my life would take. I left hospital enthused but still a bit all over the place.

3.The same day I left hospital I was offered an assessment day with the BBC at the same time as I was offered an interview day to study creative writing at a university in mid-Wales. Either way was going to mean a big move but I felt proud of myself for having got this far. It’s always been a dream of mine to study creative writing as I love to write but for a while I was torn as I knew that if I got the BBC job I would be in a better position financially and career-wise. I decided to wait until I had the interview day for the degree and make my mind up from there.

4.The day I left hospital I also had my last visit with my partner (who is in prison). It was heartbreaking knowing how difficult it will be to see him in future as he is moving back to his last prison in middle-England. I was touched when I found out he had taken so much of his time to make me an enormous origami swan. It is so precious to me and reminds me that he does love and think of me often as I do him.

5.I also fell out with my dad and sister and felt like my whole family was turning against me. I felt like I had no roots and must have really messed up in my life to have a family, who it felt, were just not interested in me.

6.From being in quite a good place I spiralled down really fast. All of a sudden the loneliness and hopelessness hit and I couldn’t see a future for myself at all. I rang Samaritans but on that occasion it wasn’t enough to stop me from acting on my suicidal feelings for the first time in 4 years and I attempted suicide. Thankfully they called an ambulance and I got the help I needed. I was very ill for a while and lucky to come through it at all. The scary thing was not even being sure why I’d done it, all I knew was that I did not want to return to my flat and felt like running away earlier than planned.

7.The turnaround was when I was refused entry to a psych ward again, despite begging to be allowed in, till I could be sure I wouldn’t repeat my actions again. Instead they insisted I would be treated at home, offered me a load of empty promises about the level of treatment that I would receive at home (which sadly I fell for) then pretty much left me to it.

8.Going back to therapy helped a lot more. We were able to begin to decipher the patterns that emerge when I’m about to do something to harm myself, and why I do it. I could see that we are beginning to make progress and that it will be worth sticking with it till September so that I become more in tune with how my mind works.

9.I had a good meeting with my social worker and her colleague. They were really enthusiastic about my interview, which was due to take place at the uni the next day. They also gave me ideas on how I can prepare for the move. I felt scared but a bit more ready for it after our discussion.

10.I had the interview afternoon and tour of UWTSD Lampeter on Wednesday and I was terrified. At first it was quite worrying as health and safety had to guarantee me suitable accommodation before I could even be considered for a place, as well as warning me about how big the campus would be etc. The uni will try to do everything they can to accommodate me though, like moving lectures to the ground floor wherever possible, allocating me a mental health mentor, sorting out my needs assessment for DSA (Disabled student’s allowance). The interview seemed positive, the course tutor was keen to have me on the course, but I had to wait till a more senior board could make the decision. The course tutor said he would get it fast-tracked but I was still expecting to wait a while.

11.The tour of the campus was beautiful and I could really see myself there but I tried not to get too excited in case something went wrong. The accommodation size was a shock to the system though. I am going to have to really downsize and get rid of a lot of stuff before I can feel ready to move into a room that small.

12.My appointment with Occupational Therapy the next day was emotional. It was all about my goals and self-esteem. I realised that I often fake confidence but underneath it all I have no self-esteem and put myself down constantly.

13.Since then I’ve been discharged from the crisis team and I’ve had an emotional talk with my partner about what I did. Thankfully, despite the hurt, he is sticking by me but I really don’t want to put everyone through that again. It broke my heart to see how hurt people were.

14.My homework for the weekend was a self-esteem sheet and a positive journal which I’ve been using my Project Life for (more on that in another post). I also have to write a list for myself and my care team about exactly what needs to be done before I can successfully start uni in September. I’m terrified but trying to stay focussed on my partner and uni.

15.That was my last bit of news – I got into the second year of the creative writing degree. I’m officially accepted! Which means lots to do but I’m excited about the future for the first time in a long time, especially now I’m back to blogging too.

If anyone has any comments, thoughts or suggestions on this post please comment below or tweet me @spursbythebeach. I look forward to hearing from you 🙂 Finally, I couldn’t have got through this time without the support of my friends on Twitter as well as the ones in the ‘real world’ thank you so much for your support and encouragement, it really means so much. Love you all!

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