(You can find a similar post here)
So, I’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy (I’m onto Season 10) and there’s a point where these Surgeons who were once best-friends are now going into two completely different lives. In this one episode, one of them said that the other has turned into the type of person they used to admire and the other said that the other had turned into the type of person they used to laugh at. And it made me think about how much can change – how much a person can change – from the different things that happen in life. What these things can do to you. And I began to wonder about all of the things people have said to me to try and change my life – all of the things that I’m so glad I didn’t listen to!
Also, to avoid bitching, I’m not going to be disclosing who said what!
1. “YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY STAY BLONDE”
I’m naturally, like, white blonde! I always get told this story by my family about when we first went to see my Auntie living in Dubai and everyone would crowd around me because they thought blonde hair was incredible! Then, when the abuse ended, I wanted to change as many aspects as possible about me. I changed the spelling of my first name, I took my Mum’s maiden name, and I decided to dye my hair. I wanted to distance myself – as far as possible – from the abuse and the person I had been during it. And it was much easier to do this physically than it was psychologically. I think that, inevitably, others struggled to understand my motivation for change because at that point; no one knew what I’d been through. There came a point in my admission at Cygnet where I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I wondered whether I was now well enough to go blonde. Turns out, red had become my ‘signature’ colour – especially in terms of being a blogger and for social media.
2. “DON’T GET ANOTHER CAT”
Losing Dolly was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through and it was made that little bit harder when no one seemed to understand my need to have another cat in my life as soon as possible. I think that people believed I was rushing into it and that I’d regret it after a while when it had all ‘sunk in.’ But I knew it was the right decision; I was so confident that it was that I was willing to go against everyone else’s advice and opinions. I knew that I still had Pixie (my bunny) but it just wasn’t the same as having a cat; and if I hadn’t had Pixie, I would’ve been out the day after losing Dolly to buy a hamster or some sort of other pet because this house wouldn’t be a home without a pet in it. Now I have Emmy (my kitten), I’m so, so grateful that I made the decision to go against everyone!
3. “JUST CHANGE YOUR BLOG’S NAME”
When I was being discharged from Cygnet, after two and a half years there, I faced some huge decisions around I’m NOT Disordered. I wasn’t sure whether to even continue blogging! I wondered if anyone would be interested in blog posts by an ex-inpatient of psychiatric hospital. I’d figured that the popularity of my blog was due to the niche I’d captured; at that time, there were no other blogs out there that were written by an inpatient; so maybe people were only reading to gain that insight into Psychiatric Hospitals and what it really meant to be an inpatient. Then a few trolls came along, and I took at as a sign – no, an excuse – to stop blogging but I’m NOT Disordered is my life. I realize that this suggestion to change its name came with good intent and this person was only trying to help and encourage me not to give up on it but changing the name would be like disrespecting all of the successes that had already come from I’m NOT Disordered.
4. “DON’T TELL PEOPLE YOU WERE ABUSED!”
I think that this came from avoidance. It wasn’t ignorance because how can anyone – especially these days – be ignorant to the fact that abuse happens?! But it’s a difficult subject to confront or discuss; it’s one of those things where no one knows what the right thing to say is and when we don’t know what to do, we become afraid. And when we’re scared of something, we avoid it at all costs. But avoidance around abuse isn’t helpful for anyone; it means that the abuser doesn’t get caught and the survivor is ignored. When it’s taken as long as it did me (two years) to report the abuse, the last thing you need is to have it dismissed by someone or be told that you shouldn’t talk about it. It just reiterates all of the thoughts you’ve spent years experiencing around thinking that no one would believe you, you don’t deserve help, or that no one cares anyway.
5. “DON’T TAKE PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATION”
You know when you have a belief about something, and others just confirm it? I believed that needing to take psychiatric medication would truly mean you were ‘crazy’. I mean, if you need medication for anything then something must be wrong with you… I guess that being on psychiatric medication for over five years now, has taught me that needing it, doesn’t make you any weaker than anyone else. It doesn’t mean that you’re any more poorly than someone who has a mental health disorder but isn’t on medication. It’s no competition.