Tag: blog for mental health

Do What You Have To, Get Out That Door

At the bottom of the washing machine is a very unappetising pulp stuck onto the ankle of my jeans. It is one of those days where bailing on checking the pockets of my washing pile has come back to bite me. These sluggish remains of yellow paper have been hiding in the back pockets of my jeans. They are instructions for my brain.

It may sound bizarre but for the last few months when going out I have made myself a crib sheet to follow on how to function, like the kind you would need if you were using a very temperamental second hand computer. On some sheets are just the basics- “You need to get the number 6 bus before 5pm” or “return library books so they don’t fine you”. On others the detail is much more and without that scrap of paper I wouldn’t be able to get out of the door.

Take this weekend for example- Gay Pride. A familiar bus ride and then a one hour train journey to a familiar city. A whole day out, which I had been mentally planning for a fortnight. My yellow piece of paper is A4 and double sided. It gives a complete itinerary for the day with planned times to make sure I eat something to avoid blood sugar crashes. It even suggests what to eat and where from, avoiding foods which will trigger OCD thoughts and cause unnecessary stress on an already daunting day. There are multiple choice, step by step instructions of all the things I usually do without batting an eyelid; worst case scenarios, distraction ideas and helpful thoughts to tell myself. It all sounds odd. I know.

But actually this is a coping strategy that I have learnt and it works. It means I can get out and about and do things I want to do. Granted with limited spontaneity. It isn’t something that I have been told to do by any therapist, it’s just what I taught myself. There have been, and are, times where I need much more than my plans. Backpacks with enough water to end a hosepipe ban and enough hand sanitiser to supply a particularly hygiene conscious surgeon operating in a swamp. Sometimes just to go down to the shops I take half my sensory box and something to cuddle. I won’t use even a quarter of these things but it’s knowing I have them which allows me to go out.

My point here is do what you have to do. Survival, backpacking mode. At the end of the day nobody knows or cares what you have in your bag. No one knows how much you have planned the day or how many things you had to do things to make it happen. Do what you have to do to get out the door and have a good time. I had a pretty awesome time at pride, my plans worked fine and I didn’t use any of the listed distractions for train journeys or the second battery pack for my phone.

I repeat I am not a therapist, or qualified with anything other than experience. I just want to share what I have found to help my neuroboiler to keep ticking on. Maybe it will help someone. 

 

Why I am In: Blog for Mental Health 2015

I stumbled upon Blog for Mental Health on a friend’s blog. Awareness and general stigma kicking? I’m in!

So here we go:
“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

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Why I’m in:
I have struggled with mental illness for the last five years. I have struggled with low mood, self harm, OCD, panic disorder, psychosis and disordered eating during this time and I have had enough! Mental illness is a nasty, manipulative thing. And the worst bit? People can be so unaware and insensitive about its very existence. I have been hospitalised since August 2014 and I write regularly about my experiences as both an inpatient and a CAMHS outpatient service user. I read somewhere that having a mental illness is like fighting in a war where the enemy’s main strategy is to convince you there is no war. I can’t think of anything more truthful. I’ve had friends and family worry about me sharing my story due to the stigma.
“What about employers?”
“Are you sure you want to share this?”
But how else will the stigma be beaten if no one is going to speak out?
I want to live in a world where people can have their mental illness treated and understood just like anyone with a physical illness can. I want workmen when entering inpatient units to not be nervous of the patients. I want mental health screening in schools to save lives. I want my friends to be seen as the warriors they truly are.

For more information head over to: Blog For Mental Health 2015