Friendship is the Greatest Gift

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Through my journey with mental illness I have met some amazing people. It may be hard to believe that you could ever make friends for life in a psychiatric hospital. But I have. These are girls that have supported me through the darkest of times. Who have laughed with me until I’ve cried. Who have seen me at my very worst and held me while I have been distraught. They have been with me through a journey that some of you can only imagine. It is one filled with pain, torture and anguish. Yet in those dark times we have smiled and held each other’s hand as we have made our way through the storm. They have picked me up each time I have fallen. They have dusted me off, collected the pieces and helped me put myself back together. And I have done the same for them. I have held them while they have cried. Talked to them for hours. And convinced them to keep fighting. We have had to be so strong. We have had to fight so hard, but we made it through.

While inpatient we wound up the nurses, shared take aways and watched films. We tried to make the most of a bad situation. So we found ways to have fun. One girl and I bought plastic bows and arrows and spent the day shooting at the nurses. We also bought plastic swords and played in the garden.

Friends can be found in the most unlikely of places. True friends stick by each other through the good and the bad. I am lucky that I have met some of the most genuine, kind, caring and lovely people through Mental Illness. They are my rocks. I know I can always count on them. They have carried me through some dark places and I will always be eternally grateful.

However there are others who, while not suffering from Mental Illnesses, have been with me through everything. I have the most understanding and compassionate school and university friends. They have never once judged me or been put off by my Illnesses. They have done a fantastic job supporting me in any way they can. If I have needed help, they have been there. If I have needed a shoulder to cry on they have been there too. And if I just needed a night out to get away from everything they have done that too. I am incredibly lucky to have such fabulous friends.

But sadly many people suffering from Mental Illness do not have that luxury. Many have no-one and have to suffer in silence. Others feel unable to open up and talk to those closest to them. It is sad that anyone would be in that situation. The first step is trust. If you are struggling, opening up to someone you trust might really help. People can be amazing and with a good support network recovery from Mental Illness is possible.









Picking Myself Back Up Again

“The best way out is always through”

Relapses happen. If anything, that is what I have learnt from living with Mental Illnesses. I am currently struggling. My EUPD feels like the worst it has ever been and all I can do is to keep treading water. Depression is overwhelming me. And I feel like I am trapped behind a glass wall in darkness with the promise of happiness on the other side. And I am willing the glass to shatter so I can feel a fraction of the joy and hope that lies before me. But no matter how hard I hit it, no matter how hard I try to push, the glass will not give. I am backed in a corner, crippled in anguish as I watch the world I so long to be part of, yet find so difficult to comprehend, pass me by, Maybe they just do not take broken people, or those tarnished with badness. Maybe they do not accept people who are empty and have nothing left to give. Or who have lost themselves so entirely that they no longer know who they are. I feel like I am in the pit of despair. But I must keep going. I must keep looking forwards as I know I have reached better places before and I can do so again. Yet in these times of darkness it can be hard to see the light. I feel like I have been ill for so long that I no longer know what being well is like. I don’t know what it is like to not be consumed my Illnesses which are the devil in disguise. They do their upmost to kill you until there is nothing of ‘you’ left. EUPD turns me into someone I do not even recognise. I become impulsive, reckless and needy. It is exhausting. And I am tired, oh so very tired of fighting. Christmas and New Year are always a hard time for me. It marks another year of this torment. Another year full of unhelpful behaviours. But they are my safety net. They are my armour. And I am too scared to show myself.

But I will keep fighting. I know recovery is possible and no matter how long it takes I will not give up. No matter how hard, no matter how treacherous the journey is, I believe I can do it and that is what counts.

This weekend has been one of the worst of my life. I had to go back into hospital due to my impulsive and reckless behaviour. I had to be kept safe as I was unable to do so myself. But I am out now and ready to begin the journey back up. I must find the fight in me to continue with my recovery and avoid any more readmissions to hospital. I am determined. I am strong. I am worthy. And I am ready to do whatever it takes to be well again.

Take care guys


Breaking the Cycle

“Fall down seven times…stand up eight”

And I see myself through different glasses than those around me. And my brain plays back images of things I wish I would forget. And my mind is a torture chamber where every day I am bombarded with a continuous flow of criticism. And my brain is planted with seeds of self-loathing. And I do not know what to do with the rush of feelings that hit me like a storm. And I do not know how to do anything except keep picking myself up and trying to brush off the ghosts from the past which have haunted me for so long. But I can never quite free myself from their grasp. And the voice in my ear is so loud it appears to be all I can hear. And it’s words are like poison, spinning threads of lies yet it is all I know and all I can believe. Because I am not strong enough to challenge it, not brave enough to stand up and fight. Yet I know it is the only way out of this destructive cycle I find myself in. Where I am able to keep myself safe only for short periods of time until the next wave of Depression hits and I am propelled back down the spiral right into the mouth of the devil, back into the depths of the darkness.

And I know I need to keep fighting not because I want to, but because I have to. But it is hard when I keep getting better then relapsing back to old unhealthy coping mechanisms. And I am frustrated. And my doctors are frustrated. And I do not know what to do. I do not know how to break out of this circle that is slowly killing me because every time I feel I am doing better I fall back down. Looking back at these past few months, all I can see is a whirl of blurry memories and remember just snippets of past conversations. When I am unwell everything feels like a dream. I make bad decisions and become very impulsive.  Being back in hospital has felt awful. And I have felt as though I had taken five steps forwards and ten steps back. And it feels that with each set back I fall further and I cannot seem to stay well enough to push through the barrier in front of me. It is as though I am up against a brick wall with no tools to knock it down and no way over. And I keep trying to get around it, to push it down, to break it but I just end up feeling exasperated and tired with the whole process. Sometimes it is easier to self-destruct. It is easier to use unhealthy coping mechanisms because there is no place to fall back, there is no room to fall further. You hit rock bottom and you are so used to being there that it becomes familiar. Still horrible. Still frightening. And still debilitating. Yet familiar. And when you are not used to feeling better or feeling happy it can be scary to try. It can be scary to try and push forward because there is always the possibility of relapse. And it is almost better to not try then try and fail again.

However, I am not giving up yet. I will carry on picking myself back up and hope that things eventually run their course and I start to get well and stay well. I am re-starting my psychotherapy which I am hoping and praying will be a valuable aid in my recovery.

To anyone out there struggling – hang in there. Do not be afraid to try and fight your demons. I am living proof that it does not matter how many times you fall there is always, always a way to start fighting your way back up again.

Take care guys




What it’s Like Living on an Inpatient Ward

“Have i gone mad? I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usualy are.”

“Medication time ladies” are the first words I hear as I wake. It is 8am.  I get myself up – still half asleep – and drowsily make my way to the small queue of patients waiting in line for their daily ‘awake’ drugs. As I move further up the queue and become more alert I wonder, as I usually do, why they bother to get us up so early. It just makes our days longer and the empty hours ahead until bedtime more daunting. I reach the front of the queue and am presented with my tablets. Vitamins to repair my body from the destruction Anorexia has put it through. An anti-depressant to make me happy. And an antipsychotic to help with my impulses. I down them in one. That is one thing I am good at now – taking tablets. I retreat to my bed space and draw the curtains around and am now faced with the daily decision of what to wear. I go for something comfy, after all, it is not as if I am going anywhere.

The day ahead is boring to say the least. It consists of doctors, nurses and social workers all wanting to review how I am. If I am lucky an Occupational Therapist might turn up and take me to the art room, but that is pretty rare. The activities nurse, however, does come twice a week. Other than that, there are set meal times where we are presented with the NHS’s finest. Visitors are allowed any time except meal times and after 9 which is good as my parents visit most weekends.  In between meals I just relax in my bed space, watching Netflix or play pool with some of the other patients. At 9pm we get our daily ‘asleep’ drugs and are encouraged to go to bed soon after. I don’t complain, anything to make the day finish sooner.

My observation status dictates the level of freedom I have. If I am on constant observations I must have a nurse with me everywhere I go EVEN to the bathroom. Being on constant is horrible, they watch you sleep, eat and wash. There is no privacy whatsoever and you have to sleep with the light on. They also have special observations which means a nurse must be within arm’s reach of you at all times. This is horrendous as you cannot move without your shadow (aka nurse) moving as well. The next step down is general/escort observations. This means you can walk around the ward freely but you must have someone accompany you if you wish to leave. Finally, there is general observations where you can come and go as you please.

Looking back I can safely say that being in a psychiatric hospital is not even remotely fun it is simply boring – nothing much happens except for the odd patient kicking off. Some patients are voluntary and some, like me, were sectioned. Being sectioned is tough but now that I am better I know that they did it in my best interest and to keep me safe. Although at the time I was furious with them and distraught over the fact they were keeping me against my will.

Not all is bad though and I have made some of my best friends in hospital and goodness me we have had some laughs. You also meet some interesting characters, as well as some people that can be quite intimidating. But at the end of the day it is just a hospital like any other where fundamentally people are there to get better.

And that is it. I hope I have allowed people who were curious some insight into what it is like living on an inpatient ward and maybe put to bed some myths that psychiatric hospitals are basically asylms with ‘mental’ people running amock. I have met some of the most genuine, kind, caring and NORMAL people on psychiatric wards and just like me, they are not crazy just a little unwell.

Take care guys




Living with Mental Illness

“Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of but stigma and bias shame us all”

I have suffered from various Mental Illnesses for 8 years. Living with Mental Illness is tough and it is an on-going battle. You can feel like you are making progress and then relapse without warning. It is unpredictable. It is confusing. It is complex. And ultimately It can be soul destroying. I can safely say that I would not wish a Mental Illness on anyone.

Admitting you are ill and are worthy of treatment is the first step to fighting a Mental Illness. However, for a lot of suffers this can be the hardest part. You see fear surrounds Mental Illness. The fear from suffers of being judged and the fear from others of these illnesses which seem so abnormal . There is also a lot of stigma surrounding Mental Illness. So much so that many suffers feel embarrassed. It is not like a physical illness towards which people are more accepting. It is seen as a weakness, a shameful thing that should be hidden and not spoken about.

The next step is finding the right treatment. This can be tricky as there are so many medications out there that it can take time to find the right one. If you need therapy there are long waiting lists. All these factors play a part in making Mental Illnesses incredibly hard to overcome.

The final step is recovery. Recovery from any Mental Illness is tough. And unlike many Physical Illnesses it can span decades. The hardest part for me was finding it in me to fight. It felt as though my mind had waged war on itself. I was suffering, and a huge part of me wanted to give up and let it kill me.

Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of all Mental Illnesses. I have suffered from an Eating Disorder since I was 14 and around the same time I was diagnosed with Depression.  At a young age I was having to deal with illnesses that many adults find difficult to cope with. As with many people suffering from Eating Disorders, I had to wait a long time before I could receive treatment. I was always either not underweight enough, not in the right place, or doing different kinds of therapy. It is outrageous that suffers have to wait until they reach critically low BMIs to receive help. Living with Anorexia Nervosa is awful. It has been a long and distressing fight for me with many relapses. Having to face your fears on a daily basis is exhausting and sometimes it can feel like you are getting nowhere. Depression is debilitating. It can make you feel unworthy, unloved and uncared for. It drags you down into the pit of despair and all you can do is to try and stay afloat. It is a horrible illness that has left me, at times, feeling suicidal.

When i was 18 I was diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. Since then I have been in and out of hospital usually sectioned under the Mental Health Act. EUPD is like riding the biggest wave of emotion. You can feel everything, yet nothing, Love everybody, but hate them. Care about yourself, yet not care at all. It has led me to self harm and to overdose. It has a massive impact on my life, but I am not crazy. Aside from my Mental Illnesses I am pretty ordinary. I am currently studying Law at university and enjoy writing in my spare time.

Living in a society that sees Mental Illness as a taboo is incredibly difficult and it is only recently that I have begun to open up and share my story with family and friends. Sharing my story has really helped me during my recovery and I would encourage others to do the same. It allows me to see how far I have come and how much I have to live for. It has helped me gain confidence and courage. It also gives me a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I feel like I am doing my bit to spread the word and reduce the stigma surrounding Mental Illness.

To anyone out there struggling, you are not alone. Please seek help. You are worthy and deserving of treatment. I may have a long way to go in my recovery but I have come a long way from where I was and I could not have done that without the care and help of services. I hope I have allowed people to gage some insight into what it is like to live with Mental Illness and I hope that I have helped spread the word that Mental Illness is not something that should be feared but something that should be accepted in todays society. I am not defined by my illnesses. I am me.

Take care guys