Thanks to a poll on my Twitter back in November, my wonderful followers decided that I should publish a blog post and film a vlog every day for the entirety of December!
So welcome to December 20th…
I really struggled to come up with content for this post with me never doing the basic ‘today we went here, and we did that’ kind of posts so I enlisted the help of fellow Blogger; Martin Baker!
Cragside, a National Trust site in Northumberland, was the first home to be lit by hydroelectricity which made the Victorian House years ahead of its time with its ingenious gadgets and modern conveniences. This has inspired my post – featuring photos from my visit there – to be about what brings light to my life when things get dark! I won’t lie, I struggled to avoid saying the same things as in post nineteen about what makes me happy, so I’ve been a bit more general…
When my mental health was poorly, I didn’t - for one minute - think that I had the capability to love someone the way I knew that my Mum loved me; I’ve always been very lucky in that way - that I’ve always felt loved by someone special. My Mum has always said that she’d walk over hot coals for me, and I’d always nodded and smiled and felt all warm inside, but I’d never really understood that feeling or felt it towards another person. Of course, I love my Mum and my family but when I was poorly it felt as though I couldn’t love them properly. It was as if there was a range of 0 to 10 but my love could only reach 7 and not because I chose to, but because that’s the most I was capable of. And it wasn’t just love, it was happiness, excitement… all of the positive emotions; as though my mental health had deteriorated so much that I could only experience negative feelings to such an overwhelming degree as a ‘10’.
The people who know me will tell you that I must have been really poorly to have felt that way because I’m probably one of the most loving people EVER! I’ve been told that I have a huge heart with plenty of room for lots of special people - and pets(!) and when I love someone – or something – then I really do love them! Having a big heart and lots of love to give doesn’t mean that I love everyone I meet! It takes someone very special to earn a place in my heart so to my best-friends, family, and pets, thank you for being so incredible!
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a very creative person. When I was really little, I enjoyed making things at Nursery and First School and then as I got older, I turned my creativity into my writing. I wrote hundreds of short stories about ponies and puppies and my Nana would read every single one! Sometimes I’d even draw the animals I’d written about and make front covers for the stories.
In my teens, I got into fashion and started drawing outfit designs before taking Textiles, Art, and Design as a GCSE subject at High School but when my teacher was overly critical and dismissive, I lost confidence in creative activities. I began to believe my teacher in that my work was no good and that I was useless at the entire subject and in believing her, I lost interest in it.
It wasn’t until my mental health recovery really began in 2013 whilst I was an inpatient that I rediscovered my passion for all of the things that took some level of creativity. I started doing fashion drawings again and the Occupational Therapy staff in the hospital bought me some arts and crafts sets while I found a new life goal of becoming a Visual Merchandiser for a fashion retail store. When I realized that wasn’t a practical dream, I started I’m NOT Disordered and channeled my creativity into that!
It’s so comforting to have an outlet for my imagination and all of the ideas I have around mental health, helping others, raising awareness, and working with others on collaborations to banish the stigma surrounding the subject.
I’d considered adding medication in the previous post of what makes me happy but didn’t so I figured I should definitely include it in this one!
When, earlier this year, the powers that be aka my Psychiatrist thought it was worth reducing my psychiatric medication to see whether I could tolerate it, I knew it wouldn’t go well. I’ve been on varied doses of the same medication since the Psychiatrists in hospital prescribed them for me over six years ago and whenever I’ve stopped taking them (of my own accord) something bad has happened so when they decided to do it and I had no control of the reduction, I was terrified.
While the dose was low, I earned my reputation back at the local Accident and Emergency and Minor Injuries units with regular admissions for self-harm and suicide attempts. My physical health deteriorated so far that finally my Psychiatrist agreed to increase the medication again and within weeks the hallucinations had gone, and the overwhelming negative emotions had too so I no longer had any motivation to self-harm or attempt suicide.
It’s now been about five months since I last self-harmed and I’ve never felt so good! I refuse to agree with my determined Psychiatrist who is still convinced that I don’t benefit from medication and I’m just so grateful that she finally listened to me!