The Black Waves

It’s sunny.

I lie, comfortable with the warmth on my face.

Idyllic.

Except that I’m lying here trying to stay safe. Riding out the black wave. Look more closely…

I’m actually in my bed. The sun streams in the window because it is only 7pm. It’s summer time and sunny and I’m in bed; there’s a clue right there.

If you could see how I’m lying you’d see that I’m all curled up in a fetal ball with my eyes scrunched closed trying to escape the world; clue number 2.

Maybe you’d notice my headphones? If you took one out of my ear and listened you’d find Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box blaring on repeat; another clue that all is not well. 

I had a beautiful day today doing things that make me happy. Unfortunately they didn’t make me happy and now, as well as the darkness, there is a sense of frustration and injustice. I had a nice day! Gimme a break. But that’s not how depression works.

My suicidal thoughts have gotten worse again: more detailed; more frequent. It scares me. 

I don’t want to die.

 But I’m scared that I might.

So, I’m in bed to stay safe. To ride out the storm. It does feel like a storm. Like fearsome, huge, powerful black waves tumble and crash on to me, pushing me down, robbing me of breath, making me panic. 

  
Sometimes it’s like I’m sitting on a beach and I can see the waves crashing in the distance but I know I am ok. For now.

Sometimes the black tide comes into the beach. It overwhelms and destroys everything.

Times like this, when the waves of depression are like this, there is no beach. Nothing to cling to.

The force is too strong and I’ve been here before. My strategy when in a storm like this is to succumb to the blackness. Allow the waves to toss my body this way and that. Don’t fight. Just accept that it is and hope that there will be a calm after the storm. If someone could throw a lifeline I’d grab it but the middle of a dark stormy ocean is a lonely place.  

Eventually the depression storm will subside. I will come round on a beach somewhere. I can assess the damage. Maybe I’ll be lying in a pool of the black water. Or maybe I’ll be lying on lovely sand, the black tide far out and the sun on my face. Just as it is now – for real.

So, if you saw me lying here with the sun on my face you might think that looks lovely but, believe me, there is nothing lovely about lying still to try and fight for your life. Sunshine or no sunshine it’s a fight for survival.

  

And now the sun has set but the waves still pound.

 

The Broken Leg Analogy

Relax! There are no gruesome broken leg images here. I googled it. It was not good. So, no pictures.

If you have had a mental health problem you already know what I mean by the title, don’t you? Ahhhh the broken leg analogy! Incredibly useful but inherently flawed. 

One of the major contributors to mental health stigma is that people can’t see it and there is no scientific test to numerically measure it. Gradations of severity are based on subjective (well-trained) opinions. I often find myself wondering ‘am I really ill though? Maybe if I just tried a bit harder I’d be ok?’. I was having this discussion with my nurse this week. I’m going to call her Nora here which totally isn’t her name but Nurse Nora is good alliteration, OK? Well, it’s happening.

Focus!

Right, so I’m discussing with Nora how I’m not really ill and I’m a burden. She is valiantly and persistently trying to convince me that I actually am ill. And, there it is, the broken leg analogy. Comparing mental illness to physical illness can be very useful actually. We wouldn’t dream of treating physical illnesses the way that we treat mental illnesses. 

Brilliant cartoon from robot-hugs

And it helps me to cut myself some slack when I compare having depression, anxiety and cPTSD to a physical illness. It makes sense to me. No, if I had a broken leg I probably wouldn’t be so hard on myself. It would definitely be ok to rest. That’s where comparing mental illness to a physical complaint like a broken leg is actually very helpful.
But when Nora compared my mental illness to a broken leg I felt angry.

I didn’t understand why I felt so angry but I did! I retorted “I wish I had a broken leg!”. I didn’t wish I had a broken leg. Not really and especially not now after those Google images. But, despite how awful a broken leg must be, I confess to a feeling of jealousy. Nuts right? Well, think about this: imagine being able to go to a hospital, be treated, be given a time frame for healing, have everyone make exceptions for your limited ability because they can see that you have a problem. Yes, thinking about it, I’m not jealous of broken legs. I’m jealous of the treatment of broken legs.

I wish I could get treatment.

I wish I had some sort of time frame.

I wish people could understand why things are difficult.

(Yeah, yeah I sound pathetic. I get that.)

Treatment. Hmmm. This seems like a good time to mention that I am actually very grateful for what now must be the thousands of NHS pounds spent on me. The GP appointments, the meds, the 2 days in hospital, the crisis team, the phone calls, the CMHT time, Nora (!) etc etc. All of this has a cost and I appreciate how fortunate I am to live somewhere that I can access these things. BUT all of this time and money that is being spent isn’t treating the illness. Bizarrely I feel really guilty about this. I don’t want the NHS to waste money on me! Of course I don’t! When I say that I’m not getting treatment despite seeing all of these different people that seems like a contradiction so I’m going to exploit the broken leg analogy for my own purposes now.

Firstly, how long does it take to get treatment for a broken leg? I ask because at the moment I’ve waited 5 months for counselling and it looks like it will be 8 months before I get counselling. Do people wait 8 months with broken legs?

I’d guess if you had an illness or injury and had to wait all of that time that your condition would deteriorate. That’s certainly what’s happened to my mental health as I wait. But, say you did have to wait 8 months to be seen for your broken leg and it’s appointment time finally, how would you feel if the doctor then refused to treat you because your leg was now in such a bad state because of your wait? I’d guess you’d be pretty mad. You may even attempt to rip your leg off and throw it at the doctor in a rage because how utterly fucking ridiculous. No one could think that makes sense and it doesn’t. Well, it’s what’s happening to me. No, really! So I’ll wait out my 8 months for counselling through IAPT and then when it’s my turn they may refuse to treat me as I’m considered a risk because of the suicide stuff. So, to be clear, my condition deteriorated whilst I waiting to the point that they might not see me after all that. I cannot get my sick little head round that.

But back to our poor broken leg patient. He needs a name. Let’s call him Bob (with the broken leg). Once Bob calms down he realises that, of course, the NHS aren’t going to leave him untreated. I mean, it’s been 8 months. His leg is a mess. No, of course something will be done. Bob waits to hear the plan. The best plan is more waiting. How long do I have to wait Bob wants to know. It’s been such a struggle for him to get this far he just wants to steel himself for the journey ahead. Ummm don’t know how long Bob. Right. We do know it’ll be months. Right. Is anyone else wondering how the fuck poor Bob is supposed to manage? He can’t work, he struggles with his kids, he can’t get out so much, he’s in pain. This really is a shit situation for Bob. On the plus side everyone he meets enquires about his leg and are outraged for him. Everyone can see how tough things are for Bob. Well, this is where I find myself except without the sympathy of everyone I meet. I get stigma and shame instead (yay!). I do have good people around me: people who want to help me write letters; people who want to fight with me, for me. I’m grateful for it. Trust me. It doesn’t make any sense to me actually because I don’t know why any one would care about me but I appreciate it that’s for sure. 

I guess a few people might start to question Bob’s version of events. The guy sees Doctors all the time how can his leg not be getting better? A reasonable, completely incorrect, presumption. When Bob sees the Dr the appointments just check that Bob is managing ok on the meds he has been given. He has been given medication to try and help him through this difficult time. Unfortunately the medication can make it worse but that’s just the way it works. And Bob sees a nurse too but her job is to check that Bob is still just about functioning and isn’t going to die. So, whilst these people are seeing Bob and are trying to help they aren’t actually fixing anything. Hmmm. You might think poor Bob might end up depressed…

That’s why the broken leg analogy made me angry.

Ways my mental illness is like a broken leg:

  • It hurts, it is a real problem, it prevents me from living my life normally, it gets worse if left untreated.

Ways my mental illness is not like a broken leg:

  • No one would be expected to endure the waiting lists and pain in a physical injury that mental health patients are expected to endure.
  • Mental illness kills more people than broken legs. 
  • I cannot be simply fixed with a cast.
  • I can’t talk about my illness.

Yeah, imagine I had a broken leg. I fucking wish.

Catholic Confession as a Kid

Often I think about blog posts. No! I do! (How rude!) But this one has just popped in my head and I’m going to roll with it.

I was raised as a Catholic. This meant catholic school and Mass. Oh dear lord we had a Mass for everything. One of the things you have to endure (and there are many) as a catholic kid is Confession. I think Confession gets a capital letter because it’s a sacrament? Could be wrong. It’s been known.

Anyway how this worked in primary school was that the priest, Father Brosnan, would come into school. He would take up residency in the school medical room. There was a little wooden pew thing there to kneel on. We would be sent in one by one, rather like when you go for injections in school, to confess our sins to Father Brosnan. He would hold our hand whilst we confessed and he would hold it so tight that he crushed it. It was standard practice as you walked out the room, down the corridor and saw the next child sinner approaching to shake your hands out in a ‘yup, he’s properly crushing hands today’ type gesture. After listening to whatever sins we’d committed Father Brosnan would give us our penance. This usually involved Our Fathers and Hail Marys. The number depended on how awful you’d been. We’d each have to go and kneel by the statue of Mary at the school front door. This was more weirdness to be honest. For a start Mary’s hands had long since disappeared and instead she had a spike protruding from the end of each arm where her hand should have been.

Imagine this 5ft with spikes for hands and you’re there

 I also think it’d be quite strange to walk into a school and be greeted by the sight of children individually kneeling in front of spiky Mary to take their turn to say their prayers. Just me? 

These Confessions would fill me with anxiety as a child. I was always scared that I would do it wrong eg there was a set script to follow “bless me Father for I have sinned it had been X weeks since my last Confession”

Point 1

What if I didn’t know how many weeks it was since my last Confession? In fact I usually didn’t! Aged somewhere in the 9-11 bracket calendar time was not really a concern of mine. But! Oh no! I couldn’t lie to a priest! But I couldn’t tell him I didn’t know. I’d have to lie. This upset me. A lot.

Point 2

Being a kid meant that I actually hadn’t committed any sins! I had certainly not coveted my neighbours wife, I didn’t worship false idols – hey I liked Barbie but I didn’t worship her FFS, I didn’t steal and I most definitely was respectful to my mother and father. It confused me. Of course I hadn’t committed any sins. I was too scared. I was terrified and tried ever so hard to be a good girl. This was a good approach until it came to Confession time. I couldn’t very well tell Father Brosnan I hadn’t sinned because he’d know that couldn’t be true. If I told him that then he’d ask questions to find out what my sins were. I couldn’t have that because I lived with a secret. I had to keep the secret. In fact it was like a mission – no one must know. So, having a priest ask me questions wasn’t going to work. I’d need another strategy. (That’s not bad logic for a 9 year old is it really? I’m actually rather impressed with my kid self!)

The only strategy left was to make up sins. This seemed OK because doing that was actually a sin! So problem solved! I would commit a sin by confessing fake sins! Genius! So my confession would go something like…

“Bless me Father for I have sinned it has been 3 weeks (maybe?) since my last Confession. These are my sins:

I argued with my brother (sometimes true!)

And I told a lie (just now!)”

And that was it. Job done. Time to go pray for forgiveness at spiky Mary.

  
Point 3

Being alone with an authoritative adult can be terrifying for kids can’t it? As a child hiding abuse and neglect it was deeply uncomfortable. I never knew what the right thing to do was. What if he asked about home? (It wouldn’t be unreasonable as once my gran called Father Brosnan to ask for help with my unholy mother. He came to the house. She was drunk. I didn’t let him in. That was the end of that although I think I was older when that happened.) I must not betray my parents but this is a priest. Talk about caught between a rock and a hard place! Mainly though, the problem was, that I just didn’t understand when adults were safe or unsafe so being alone with hand crusher Brosnan was filled with anxiety.

It’s odd how, now I have mental health problems as an adult, I can flashback to those snippets of my life. I can visualise  the yellow curtains and the cream bedspread with blue lines on it in the medical room. I can remember  the sounds in the distance of a class doing PE in the hall. Mostly though I can feel the fear. My heart rate will raise in sympathy now and I know what I wanted to say to Father  Brosnan. 

“Bless me Father for I have sinned. My sin is that I was born. If I wasn’t born everything would be better.”

Wonder how many Hail Marys that’d warrant.

 

MHAW16

It’s mental health awareness week 2016. Everyone following all the action? Ok, just in case, like me, it’s passed you by I’ll do my own bit of awareness raising. You will undoubtedly have heard on the news about mental health services being severely lacking. It’s hard to know what this means until it affects you so here’s my little (arduous) journey through trying to access MH support. Jargon explained at the end.
It’s Dec 2015 and I recognise the all too familiar symptoms. I see my GP. He refers me to IAPT and starts me on antidepressants.

I receive a letter from IAPT fairly soon afterish telling me that I can have a telephone assessment in January but I need to opt in to this. IAPT are difficult to get a hold of. I try several time to send them an email but it bounces back every time. Eventually I ring. It’s a date! The phone assessment could take up to an hour and may be upsetting so I have to book time off work for this. 

During the assessment I get scored on depression and anxiety using a handy little quiz – the sort of thing you’d do in a magazine. I am never told my result but many months later I look up what the numbers mean and the scores I register, back in January, mean both severe depression and anxiety. Anyway IAPT say they’ll ring back a week later with a treatment plan. IAPT don’t ring me back so I ring them. Worth pointing out here that lots of us with mh problems find making calls or asking for help incredibly difficult. I have to build myself up to do it! IAPT tell me I can have counselling. 
Counselling is where you get 6 (I think?) sessions with a counsellor who talks through your difficulties with you. It is considered the most basic, first line treatment. It is a treatment that the IAPT lady agreed probably wasn’t right for me and that my GP didn’t feel right for me either but there you go. I was very unhappy with this course of treatment however there’s a “system”, a “process” and these hoops must be jumped through. Fair enough. The bigger problem was that there was a 6 month waiting list for this likely ineffective treatment that I’d have to do. That was quite a knock. Everyone has gone to work ill. Maybe a tummy bug or a hangover? And you can get through a day, maybe even a couple but months of feeling that bad? Every day? Well, it’s intimidating. Truthfully I wasn’t sure how I’d get through another 6 months feeling like this so I looked for alternatives. I tried Mind – they offered counselling – also a 6 month waiting list. I contacted l some private psychologists for advice – they never replied. I found a private counsellor which was very expensive and a sticking plaster to help me get through the 6 month wait.
In February my GP increases my antidepressant dose. Antidepressants can be rather nasty medications. They can bring a load of side effects which have to be managed on top of the illness. They also take a long time to work so when starting an a/d you’ve got to give it 6-8 weeks before the Dr can decide if they are working or not. It is usual in this time for things to get worse. So, having dragged myself through 2 months on my a/d, the GP increases the dosage. This starts the cycle again. Happy pills they ain’t. All the while I still have work and family commitments. I’ve now been struggling on for 3 months (that’s a hell of a tummy bug! Imagine how that’d feel!) but I’m coping less and less. Ben does more at home. Work slides. It’s inevitable but, at least, time is passing. I’m seeing the private counsellor, taking the medication and doing everything I should.
Unfortunately, like any illness, time passing just allows the illness to develop and grow. It gets worse and worse but there is no help/support available. I regularly see my GP to monitor the a/d and we decide to change the a/d. Again, not a quick process. I wean off a/d 1 and then begin a/d 2. The whole side effects thing starts again but this time the GP increases the dose more quickly. He also gives me a beta blocker for anxiety which works a treat actually! I’d been shaking for months with the adrenaline and the beta blocker really helps. It’s a bit too late though to prevent a lad in my form deciding I’m an alcoholic. He couldn’t be further from the truth, desperate to improve things for myself I had cut out all alcohol. As there is nothing else the NHS can do I just have to wait, wait and wait some more to receive my ineffective treatment. 
I have exhausted every option available to me. I have to stop the private counselling as it destabilises me further. This point really does feel like the end of the road: all options exhausted, struggling to cope, still not had the first line of treatment from IAPT.

When things get really bad my GP bumps me up to the CMHT. He writes the referral letter in front of me. The CMHT never get in touch. The letter gets lost somewhere. The GP asks the Crisis Team to contact me immediately- which they do. 

The CT come to my house and assess me for an hour and a half. They tell me I’m experiencing severe and significant difficulties. They give me a leaflet with phone numbers of Mind and Samaritans in and say they will refer me to CMHT. Yes, that’s the same CMHT that my GP referred me to. I ask how long before they will get in touch. It’s a 4 week waiting list. I utterly despair. I am now on 3 waiting lists (IAPT, Mind, CMHT). I really try to keep going but I’m so exhausted now. If we stick with tummy bug analogy it’s been 5 months and rather than get better it’s gotten worse. Work is completely overwhelming. Leaving the house is difficult. Actually everything is difficult. A shower becomes an achievement. I watch my life crumble around me frustrated that apparently I have done absolutely everything (and more) that I can to help myself yet I’m still here sicker and sicker because of waiting lists. 
The CT visit me again. Assess me again. Disappear again.
Finally my CMHT appointment comes through and I spend over an hour being assessed (again) by a CPN. She tells me that it is likely that the CMHT will take me under their care. I daren’t hope though as I’ve become so used to let downs. In fact I will find out this Thursday if the CMHT will treat me and what this treatment will provide. So I’ve reached this point now where just day to day functioning is a challenge and actually it’s 6 months later and I’ve not even started any treatment. That’s pretty ridiculous right? I’m scared to imagine what might have been had there not been a 6 month waiting list. Would I have reached this point? Would I still be working? 
And this is only the start. For what it’s worth I still haven’t received the flippin’ IAPT appointment through. 
And if you think that’s laborious to read then I promise you that’s nothing compared to living it. I’m posting this so that next time you hear the ‘mental health services woefully underfunded’ headline you know what that means. It means people like me (who are just like you) living in a total hell, watching their illness progress uncontrollably. It means days off work sick with colleagues bearing the extra load (and probably grumbling!), it means kids wondering why mummy is in bed so much, it means my life falling apart and I am only one of many. 
There is so much stigma around this. I’m not really supposed to talk about it. Imagine if people knew…well, this is the tip of the iceberg folks and if you think it sounds shitty you’d be right. If this has affected you at all then guess what – mental health services are actually relevant to you too!
Now, I’m going to convince myself to get up and try and act normal. Fake it til you make it right?
The Jargon

IAPT – ironically named Improving Access to Psychological Therapies. They are a primary care provider. Primary care is like the entry level care, the first people you see. GPs are also primary care.

CMHT – community mental health team. This is a cross disciplinary team made up of psychiatric nurses, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists. This is secondary care ie more specialist. The CMHT discuss your case and decide on a plan.

CPN – community psychiatric nurse. Part of the CMHT.

CT – the crisis team. These are, I dunno, CPNs maybe? They are a bit like the emergency services of mental health. Essentially if someone’s having a crisis then they bob along. They could recommend hospitalisation or they could give you a leaflet and many things in between I reckon.

Hope that helps.

#MHAW16

Too Early For Jokes?

In a school I taught in we used to have a catchphrase to help us through those low moments. You know when you can’t even see the fan because it is so covered in excrement. That phrase was

“Too early for jokes?”

It was a very useful thing to say to someone when they were close to tears having possibly made some monumental fuck up. Yes, the best way forward was to make an inappropriate completely insensitive joke and then ask “too early for jokes?” The correct response from said down person was “it’s never too early *sniff, sob* for jokes” and boom! Things started to get better for them. If they didn’t laugh or reply correctly then you knew that things were bad and only tea, biscuits and hugs would help.

As someone who is socially awkward I loved this approach. It made handling those difficult emotional situations so straightforward both as the upset person or the comforter. We all knew the score and it worked. It really did. Thinking back on it I think it worked because it opened the lines of communication. By being allowed (nay, encouraged by convention!) to say the wrong thing it really took the pressure off: what do I say? Actually just say anything and then ask if it’s too early for jokes. I recommend you try it in your workplace. 

Anyway, it’s never too early for jokes. 

Unless you tried to kill yourself. 

Turns out no one finds that shit funny. Well, not true. I see the humour in it. Even one week ago when I was sat in A&E hugging a sick bowl, wondering if I’d gone too far, I still made jokes. It’s not that I wasn’t scared. I was terrified. I cried. A lot. But I have a dark sense of humour and even at the darkest times I see the ridiculousness in situations. Trouble is, when it comes to suicide, it just isn’t funny. Or maybe we’re just too scared to talk about it? Too scared to say the wrong thing? Too scared of not being serious enough about a really incredibly serious topic. Thing is, I think, that being all hush hush about it gives suicide power. Another secret. More shame. Probably fair to say that someone who tries to take their own life doesn’t need any more shame. They’ve probably got that base covered. I mean, sure, always know your audience but does even talking about suicide have to be so scary? Maybe it does. It is life threatening…I don’t know.

I find it hard now as I want to make stupid jokes about what I did but I can’t. What if people thought I didn’t get what I’d done? Believe me – I get it. But, just in case…best stay quiet.

One of the best and funniest things I read about suicide was on Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half, Depression Part Two. It simply and beautifully presents the problem. These cartoons are about the conundrum of trying to tell people that you’re suicidal. I love them and really recommend you read her full post (link in resources section)

   
   
Is it too early for jokes?

It’s never too early for jokes, but, it could be too late.

I did it (and I’m not proud)

32 X 500mg of paracetamol. A lethal overdose of 16g of paracetamol. I weigh 91kg. I knew it was enough to kill me as I’d worked it out.

I’m currently sat in hospital, recovering. Let’s work back from here…

I’m bored. My phone is out of charge. I have no money, nothing to read, I don’t even have clean knickers. My eyes are scratchy from a mix of crying and lack of sleep. Going to the loo is a pain as I need to unplug and wheel my drip of acetylcysteine with me flashing my bare arse as I go. I hope this is my last dose. It’s 16 hours this dose. At the end of it they will test my blood to check for organ damage. I hope so so much that I’m ok. A consultant reassures me. He thinks I’ll be fine.

The previous dose was a 4 hour drip. That ran out at 330am. It was annoying as obviously that set an alarm off and woke me up. I had only just gotten into a proper sleep because…

…the vomiting cycle had stopped. The cycle was :

  1. Incredible stabbing stomach pain
  2. Feel like I need a humungous poo
  3. Vomit and then again…and then again
  4. Sweat. A lot.
  5. Calm down.
  6. Feel better

And back to 1. again and this is how it went for hours and hours. I really was questioning what the fuck I had done to my body and I was scared. Absolutely terrified. A paracetamol death is supposed to be excruciating so I knew that if the pain could escalate. I caught between wanting to die to stop the pain (from the overdose) and wanting to live so, so much.

This was all on the ward. Before the ward I spent many upsetting hours in A&E. Writhing in pain. Worrying. Why aren’t they giving me the antidote? I’m going to die and it’s going to hurt and it’ll serve me right and I’m alone. All alone. I was asked the same questions over and over: why did you do it; how many did you take; will you do it again; how heavy are you. Over and over. Then my friend came which helped. I tried to be jovial sitting there with a lethal dose of paracetamol in me. I wore my sick bowl like a hat. It hadn’t been used yet. I had no idea how much I’d be attached to those sick bowls later. I was drowsy and the pain kept increasing.

Back in the triage area I had sat on the floor in a cubicle, alone, sobbing. What had I done? What had I done? Oh you IDIOT. The paramedic gave me some tissues and a nurse handed me the first sick bowl.

The ambulance ride had been like an out of body experience. Chatting about school whilst sobbing that I didn’t want to die and I was sorry. Leaving the kids was hard. I had to keep it light. Mummy’s poorly so she just has to go to hospital. See you soon (will I?). Ben was furious. How could I be so stupid? Were things that bad?! (YES!)  He couldn’t even look at me. I was disgusted with myself. I had rung the ambulance myself after speaking with mental health support line.

I phoned them as soon as I’d finished taking all 32. I did it in bursts of 8 washed down with diet Irn-Bru. I wandered about for a bit after the first 8 deliberating on whether to take the rest but a force compelled me. I needed to do this. I was brave. I could face death.

All the way back to almost a fortnight prior. I march into the supermarket and buy a pack of 16 X 500mg of paracetamol. Two boys I teach were right there as I picked them up off the shelf. I went to the shop a few doors down and picked up the 2nd packet of 16 X 500mg. I felt elated. I now had 16g of paracetamol in total. Enough for a serious suicide attempt! But if I could rewind back to the time I picked up those pills I’d never fucking touch them.

This is absolute hell.

Never again.

Social MEdia and MEntal ME

Is social media (mainly Facebook) a good or a bad thing for me at present? Like everything else I can’t decide.

Good things:

  • I connect with people 
  • I celebrate how awesome my kids are and that makes me happy.

Bad things:

  • I constantly question the version of myself that I’m sharing. Is it too much? Too self-indulgent? Too full of crap? Etc etc 
  • I compare myself to others: why am I struggling when others have it so much harder? I’m a dick. Why are all these people doing social things? How does that happen?
  • I feel lonely and vulnerable. Sometimes I post quite personal things about having mental health problems. This is the biggest struggle of my life but it inspires very little from my ‘friends’. It doesn’t translate into texts or calls or even likes (vom!) so I’m left feeling bare. I share and expose and people just keep on scrolling. Just another Facebook post.
  • I see stupid memes about choosing to be happy or letting go of the past or being the master of your own destiny. This makes me feel pathetic, like I just need to put more effort in. Oh just do one.
  • I am confronted with my own image. I take photos and selfies like the best of them but they’re getting harder and harder to look at; the widening sagging face; the tractor tyre that sits around my middle. I am not a fan of my image. Why am I showing this to the world?
  • It doesn’t feel like the real world but the more I engage with it the less I am engaging with the real world.

Hmmmmmm.

Looking through the pros and cons list it should be easy. One list is definitely longer than the other! But, then, not all bullet points are created equally. Connecting with people is a massive, huge important thing. If I withdraw is that the illness part of me? Or is it the wellness part of me? I don’t know. I don’t know who I am. I read my own profile for clues – who am I?

I don’t know.

All this over analysis can’t be good. Maybe there’s a meme about it…

Is it a coincidence that meme is actually ME ME?!

A ‘Do Fuck Off’ Meme

 

Another ‘Do Fuck Off’ Meme


 

An acceptable meme