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Like any holiday on the calendar, if you’re not a fan of it you’ll still more than likely have to deal with it being shoved in your face in every way possible. Mother’s Day is no different…
Whether you’ve lost your mother, have a troubling relationship or no relationship at all, Mother’s Day can be triggering as hell. I know it is for me. I lost my mother to her mental health 6 years ago and every year seeing the countless adverts and messages of how special mothers are is like a knife in the heart every time.
Over the years I’ve learned one or two things to help. Nothing will ever truly take the pain away, whatever’s happened, but here’s a tip or two to a) help you along the way and b) let you know you’re not alone.
As some of you may know, I lost my job the other week.
What had already been a trying few months for me during the holidays has turned into a living nightmare. To say I feel like I’m at rock bottom would be the understatement of the year. My career, my health and my finances have all crumbled and turned to dust in my hands.
My mental health has been shaky at best for the last 6 months, and now that everything has come crashing down I feel like there’s nothing left of me. The energy I would usually use to get to work, do my job, be social, be a wife and have a life is now all being used to push myself from the bed to the couch and back again. There’s nothing left to do anything else. I’m not eating or sleeping right and I haven’t felt genuine happiness in weeks. I am, to put it plainly, exhausted.
Having a mental illness and going through difficulties is terrifying. Sure, everyone hits rock bottom a few times in life, but when you’ve got a mental illness you’re also being chased by a dangerous monster whose been waiting in the darkness for this moment for a long time. It’s been waiting for you to fall so it can pull you up from the mud by your hair, lick at the cuts on your face, smirk at your tears and whisper to you – “I told you so” before dropping you back into the dirt again.
And that’s exactly where I feel like I am now, hovering on a dangerous line that I’m too numb to fully grasp the gravity of. I’ve been running on less than empty for the last week or so, staring blankly at the TV for hours and hours trying desperately to ignore the monster sitting next to me on the couch.
Perhaps the biggest thing of all is my relapse. I haven’t fully processed it yet and I’m terrified for when I do. Right now I have to put my hope in every hour it doesn’t happen again.
My family and friends have been amazing. The support has been almost overwhelming but I still can’t help but feel incredibly alone (which brings its own weight of guilt). I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing, contacted all the right people and booked all the right appointments, but still I find myself lost. I don’t know whether the world is spinning or everything has stopped – because it feels like both and neither are happening.
At the moment, the fact that I’ve put on clothes and brushed my teeth and put some dirty laundry in a bag makes this the most productive day I’ve had in almost 2 weeks.
I’m just holding on with everything I have.
After a pretty horrific time at the end of last year where I was completely out of control of my mood swings for reasons unknown, I decided to give mood trackers a try. I’ve seen them around the community and always thought they’d be useful to someone like me, but it wasn’t until I had a complete breakdown that I decided it was actually worth a try.
I wanted to see if there were any patterns that weren’t overly obvious to me, and just how my ‘normal’ weekly moods looked. One of the first things you’re asked about when you start therapy or even just go to a GP for the first steps is how you’re feeling – and often when someone asks us that our minds immediately shrug and switch off.
To try and better understand my moods I tested out two different mood trackers – the first was the popular Daylio and the second Mind’s own creation. I spent a week on each tracking my moods as they changed throughout the day. Here’s what I thought of them both…
Recovering from Christmas is hard.
Christmas can be such a draining time for anyone, let alone people like us. Social demands, financial stress, festive pressure to be cheery, family drama, food and alcohol everywhere – sure, it can be a fabulous time of year but there are pitfalls around every corner.
And what makes it even more draining? New Year is next up, followed by the rest of January. The month of new year new me, when social media is littered with healthy eating, workouts and decluttered lives. Everyone’s hell bent on self improvement for 31 days and sometimes it feels like crap.
You tell yourself you’ll ignore it. You won’t let it get to you. You’re working on yourself and you’re here to see another year so you won’t let it get to you that the girl you hate from school but for some reason have on Facebook is engaged, expecting and about to buy a house, or that the person you kind of like is out on a date with that person that must be better than you in every way, or that your cousin is still loving their dream job or that everyone in the world is hashtag blessed and making you feel like shit for still feeling like shit.
But you know what? Fuck it! You are still here, surviving, fighting, healing, recovering. Your life has so many chapters left, so many years to surprise and delight you. January is just another month like any other and you kicked ass in the last 12. This month is no different.
It’s ok if it takes you a while to heal from Christmas. It’s ok if your January isn’t filled with self promises and positivity. It’s ok to still feel down and negative. It’s ok to have bad days, bed days, lazy days and head days. It’s ok that Christmas is something you need to heal from, even if you had a good time.
So breathe. Hug your cat. Take your meds. Have a bath. Call your friend. Watch TV. Just – do you. You don’t need to review last year right now or make plans for the new one. Just know it will be as strong, resilient and ever changing as you.
An open letter to my abandonment issues – or as she will hereby be referred to as, Abi.
Abi…we’ve been together for a very long time, since I was a child in fact. You never understood why people left, why they argued, why they got mad and said mean things or why they slammed doors and left vibrating rooms empty. You felt lost in the silence. We both did.
Even if you don’t suffer with your mental health you’ve probably heard the term ‘trigger’ before. You might have seen articles on social media come with trigger warnings, which usually means they’re talking about something like drug use, abuse or some other heavy subject that might upset certain readers. But what you might not realise is that for some people, the most mundane thing can be a trigger.
Triggers, or Trauma Triggers as they’re clinically known, is something which brings a person back to a moment of trauma. Just like our memories triggers are something incredibly personal and different from person to person. For example, there’s a certain chocolate bar that reminds me of a night I felt intensely alone and abandoned. If I’m in a supermarket my eyes will almost always seek it out and then something inside of me starts to hurt. Most of the time I can take a deep breath, shake my head and walk away. Sometimes I can’t. Sometimes my head will feel like it’s caving in and I’ll feel alone and unsafe from anywhere between a couple minutes to several hours.