My sober 2017 so far…

no-alcohol-icon-8

[CW: Alcohol, alcohol issues, alcoholism, suicidal thoughts mentioned (non explicit)]

Hey… hi… hello there! I’ve seen there’s been views of the Facebook page for Moody Crazy Lazy and views of the blog, so sorry to anyone checking back here for more ramblings! Life has just been busy, juggling a new full time job with illnesses… (there’s been weeks where it’s been a vicious circle of mental health flare ups followed by pain flare ups) and wrapping up / handing over voluntary commitments… and wedding planning (which is in itself exciting, but some of the admin is as dull AF.)

Last weekend I drank alcohol for the first time in 48 days (so close to 50, annoyingly!) so that feels like a good topic to start up the blog again on. I wrote in my journal the following morning describing the dehydration, anxiety, crap sleep, headache etc that followed as a reminder to my future self of WHY I quit drinking in the first place. I was also reminded that moderation is just not a thing I can do. More often than not, once I have one drink, I just keep going. This has reminded me that I do definitely have a binge drinking issue, even if I’m not the stereotypical view of an alcoholic.

I discussed before my self medicating and self-destructive relationship with alcohol. That in itself has massive stigma attached to it. However if I’m honest I don’t even have that good a reason for yesterday’s drinking. I was just bored of being sober! I guess that is self sabotage in itself, though.

I wasn’t feeling high anxiety or depression – in fact I was having a nice time. It was just that little nagging voice in my head I gave in to. Which I regretted the next day. However I’m trying not to dwell and beat myself up. I need to learn from this because I got away with it this time without any major consequences – and it could have been a lot worse. There have been times where it’s triggered awful depression and suicidal feelings. I have to remember I could have gone back to that place.

Waking up with none of those feelings is massively preferable, obviously. Whilst it doesn’t magic away my mental health conditions, it serves not to make them worse. I’ve discussed this with a friend in a similar situation, and we sometimes trick ourselves into thinking that because it’s not a one stop cure all – and we still feel shit when we don’t drink – we may as well drink anyway. In all honesty, I think that is me trying to make excuses to drink again. But fuck feeling this gross when I have an option not too.

I’ve found my local alcohol services not helpful – I don’t feel they are set up for people who have secondary drink issues (i.e. associated to mental health conditions) which I’ve touched on before in this blog. I get seen once every month or two now and sort of get told I’m doing fine, which doesn’t really offer much advice or guidance. I understand they deal with people who are physically addicted and drink every day from the morning etc, so they see me as low risk. I often feel huge impostor syndrome going there in fact. However it creates a situation where it feels like they are saying ‘there’s no problem with how you respond to alcohol, carry on as you are’. Which kind of defeats the purpose of going. It’s not treated as serious enough when I fall off the wagon – it’s shrugged off. (I don’t mean to sound melodramatic here, I do understand people have worse addiction problems with me and there’s limited budgets, however I do think it’s important anyone who identifies as having problem drinking behaviour should be helped.)

Leaving AA, staying sober – website and talk by Jon Stewart

Yesterday I saw a talk by Jon Stewart about atheist recovery services (or lack thereof) and unhelpful myths AA still runs based on. One of them is this idea of the waking-up-drinking-at-7AM type alcoholic, then everyone else’s drinking is JUUUUUST fine (I’m paraphrasing here a little!) He mentions this is has been disproved – and it’s more of a sliding scale. This is not news to me, which is why I don’t take my binge drinking lightly, however I think it may be food for thought for some. I *highly* recommend cathcing this talk if you can. Here’s a link to Jon’s blog. I found loads of things pointed out and resources listed useful. The talk was fun as well as thought provoking.

Club Soda

Something that has worked for me better is a group, website… movement in fact called Club Soda. I massively recommend them for anyone who wants to cut down or quit. They have a Facebook group where members support each other through rough times and celebrate alcohol free achievements together. They work towards building a different attitude and culture around not drinking.

Instead of ‘abstinence’ or ‘sobriety’ its choosing to go ‘alcohol free’. It shifts the focus from missing out to making a deliberate lifestyle choice, which feels much more positive. There’s a lot of talk in the group about how drinking is an ingrained societal thing and how it’s normalised – which is problematic. I prefer and agree with this approach much more than the person/addict centred idea that it’s a disease that only some people have. The disease model ignores the fact that an addictive substance is sold to people and marketed as a stress buster / fun catalyst – all of which is hugely problematic.

Anyway, I’m setting a new target to do sobriety at least until the wedding in June. I plan to try my first sober clubbing experience in two weeks time, eak! Wish me luck 🙂

World Mental Health Day: why just talking about stigma isn’t enough

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[CW: mental healthcare crisis, disability allowance cuts…]

I know I’ve talked about this before, but you know what? When 4 people per day die after being declared fit for work by the DWP (1) and benefit sanctions against people with mental health conditions are up 600% it needs to be shouted from the roof tops.

TALKING ABOUT STIGMA ALONE DOES FUCK ALL when people are dying from having their life support lines removed. I talked about it before here, and reblogged an article about it here. Since then things have just gotten worse.

That’s why it’s massively disconcerting to see charities reeling out the same old tosh about ‘talk to someone’, ‘seek help’, ‘you can speak up’. Yeah, breaking stigma is one element of helping to make life easier for those with MH conditions, but alone it’s an empty gesture. I mentioned in a previous post I went to the doctors two weeks ago and was literally told to go help myself (by being referred to self-help books.) I had to laugh, or I would have cried.

Anti-stigma campaigns won’t help people afford food, help them cope day to day or do anything to oppose the ruthless cuts to NHS mental healthcare and disability benefits. I’m disillusioned that big charities keep harping on about this rather than focusing on less socially acceptable ‘protest’ campaigns against cuts that really affect us.

Grassroots organisations like Mental Health Resistance Network and Disabled People Against The Cuts (DPAC) are doing this type of protest work. However they obviously don’t have the media coverage or budgets of the bigger charities (I’m thinking about MIND, Re-think etc – who do some amazing work, but are ultimately subject to campaigns concocted by well-meaning well-paid office staff who are ultimately out of touch with the everyday struggles of a tonne of mental health service users.)

Another element to consider is bigger charities funding streams and them not wanting to be seen to be ‘too political’. So they focus on employability and stigma instead of not upsetting donors.

However, in my book, if you focus on the fluffier, personal and individual side of things and totally gloss over the political and economic factors, then criticism in inevitable and justified.

What am I going to do about it apart from moaning? I’ve contacted Mental Health Resistance Network offering to start up a local branch, but they’re snowed under and quite small so I’ve not heard back. So the plan is when I’m feeling mentally stronger and have less voluntary stuff on my plate I’m going to look into starting a grassroots mental health / wider disability campaign group that tackles political and economic factors.

Because fuck playing nice. We’ve tried that. Time to be a thorn in their side.

 

  • This was quoted at the recent Psych Benefits event Friday 7th of October, a conference where those who work in psychiatry and psychology were openly criticising benefits cuts. Agenda can be viewed here.

**UPDATE** A few days after I posted this, MIND have announced they’re working with the DWP. Proves my point about charities cosying up to government to win contracts. Disaster for those they claim to support: http://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/statement121016/

The glorification of busy

Glorification of busy

(CW: Hate crime, Euthanasia, Disability Discrimination, anxiety and depression descriptions.)

I have an internal conflict occurring right now which sometimes makes me feel like I’m going to explode. There’s all these things I want to go, do and see. All of this activism I want to take part in, all of this writing, picking up old blogs, keeping this one up to date, all of this volunteering whether it be campaigning, hands on helping the vulnerable or just helping run the local anarchist library. I want to exercise, I want to be out in the sunshine.

But I just feel so completely overwhelmed at the thought of, well in today’s case, even taking my mind of things by doing some colouring in. Yeah, I couldn’t pick up the book. It’s hard to do anything you really want to when you can do little more than stare at the wall.

So I’m just remaining inside, on the couch, using the list above as a rod to metaphorically beat myself with. A horrid catch 22 of daring to think about desirable activities and then how fucking useless I am for not doing any of them.

My compassionate voice I practiced so well seems to have packed up and shipped out since my 1 to 1 CBT ended, and my other therapy since is having limited results. I just keep getting so frustrated at myself for having all these ideas and not acting on them. Like I’ll never have anything to show for my life. I’ve dropped off social for a few days too, I can’t be dealing with people when I can’t even deal with myself.

I watched this really good TED Talk earlier on the Slow Movement. Everyone living life at a calmer pace instead of on amphetamines the whole time. Sounded amazing in a perfect world, but I wonder how many people with stressful jobs and kids can afford to do that.

I always harp on about productivity being ableist and hate holding myself up to that standard, but it’s so damned ingrained in us. If you’re not producing, you’re worthless. The horrific extreme of this notion resulting in events like the (link CW: euthanasia, hate crime, disability discrimination) tragic killings in Japan I awoke to this morning. Hate crimes like this against disabled people demonstrate how deeply problematic societal views on productivity are. That was very hard to read, and my thoughts are with the victims’ friends and families.

The one thing I did manage to get around the mental block of was updating this blog. So there’s something, eh? Basically I kept thinking, it has to be perfect, it has to be well written, it has to be relevant, it has to be useful to others, if it’s not, then why bother.

But then I was reading Purple Persuasion earlier (Charlotte AKA Bipolar Blogger’s blog, which I really recommend if you have not seen it already) and something Charlotte said in a less recent post rang true with me, which is… this post doesn’t have to be for campaigning, for perfection, for other people. This can just be catharsis. And putting back in that frame made me be able to write this, even if it’s not perfectly crafted.

I always have to keep pulling myself away from this idea my worth is only what I’ve got to show for my day, rather than just concentrating on my mood. It’s unhelpful, oppressive and dangerous. The struggle in my head is the worst – between this view and what I’ve been taught to believe about low or no productivity – creates an emotional state akin to a rollercoaster. One I’m screaming to get off of.

I’ve drawn up a schedule of the next few days. This was an attempt to get a bit of a routine to stick to and keep a bit busier if I can. My concern now is it will either stay empty, or be filled full of activities I will not undertake, serving only as a shrine to my underachievement and laziness.

Work are treating me unfairly because of anxiety

[Content warning: sui (non-graphic, just mentioned), graphic description of anxiety symptoms]

Sound familiar? I’m putting together and sending someone I know a bunch of resources I found helpful in challenging my last employer – to help them fight their case with their company.

Like me, they’re sadly having to educate their employer about their rights under the equality law. Cue a massive sigh from me – when the fuck will employers take this seriously?? Anyway, I thought it’d be useful for others if I posted those resources I’m sending to that someone – and give a bit of advice at the same time. Beware of the colossal length of this post!

Without wanting to sound like one of those hooky adverts for workplace accidents… are you constantly in fear of going to work? Do you dread going back because of the way you’re being treated? Have you tried to speak up about your mental health concerns and ended up penalised/demoted/had responsibilities stripped away from you because you’ve owned up to feeling anxious/depressed or having other symptoms of mental health problems?

Then the chances are your employer doesn’t know shit about mental health, the equality act, and their responsibilities under it when you’ve expressed concern about your health, and they don’t support you.

Here’s some advice and links I’ve thrown together so you can defend yourself, avoid further penalisation/demotion etc – and make them realise they’re treating you unfairly because of your health – which is illegal.

[DISCLAIMER: If you have read my past blog posts, you’ll know from my experience that I still had to leave my last place, because they were still shit even after I challenged them.

But there is a chance that with larger companies and HR departments who do know their responsibilities, these tips may help – i.e. you may just be dealing with a few ignoramuses who manage you, who haven’t been trained properly, whereas getting HR involved may help.

Either way if you feel strong enough, it’s worth building your knowledge – you’ll feel more confident about not letting them get the better of you, and find out if they really are just ignorant – or if they’re negligent. So if you feel you can, tool up and fight, you Mental Health Warrior!]

1. Join a union

I’m a member of Unite. I’m not sure what the policy is if you’re not a unionised workplace, I had to go through a rep at my workplace. Whilst they didn’t have great knowledge about disability law, they certainly were supportive and sympathetic, and having them in meetings made HR take me more seriously. But Google ‘unions uk’, and find one suitable for your employment. Unison is another that springs to mind.

What this advice boils down to is, if you have grounds for constructive dismissal or unfair dismissal, you can’t afford lawyers’ fees unless you earn below £10k (thanks, Tories!) If you’re part of a union, you’ll get legal assistance if it comes to this. Membership is worth this alone.

2. See a doctor.
I can’t express enough how clear you have to be about what is bothering you and what you need. As soon as I did that, I got what I needed. But save yourself wasted trips beating around the bush like I did at first.

I only got signed off when I bought up needing it myself, which is ridiculous considering how ill I was & how many times I’d been in before specifically saying that my employment and the way I was being treated there was a contributing factor.

Be explicit and specific. So how exactly do you feel emotionally and physically? What are your symptoms? Are you sick, nauseous, can’t sleep, can’t concentrate? Can’t eat? Can’t leave the house? Do you feel suicidal? Or at least, do you wish you were dead? If work is causing it, how?

If you feel like going back to the office will trigger panic attacks or worse, tell the doctor in those exact words. Be specific about the fact that work has caused it. This all will help defend you if things escalate. And doctors won’t try and read your mind, especially if they’re under time constraints, so you need to be really specific. Say ‘I think I need to be signed off’ if it needs to be spelled out. Your mental health comes first, fuck the guilt around this condition.

3. Learn to advocate, and stop being pushed around

One the best pieces of advice I was given at my old job (was lucky enough to work with an awesome couple of disabled people also being treated crappily because the culture/structure there) was, ‘if you don’t know your rights and don’t learn to self-advocate, they’ll think they can get away with doing nothing.’ Basically ‘self-advocating’ means understanding disability and employment law and using it to kick an employer’s arse into action.

Time To Change has this helpful blog article which discusses how ‘capability [disciplinary] procedures aren’t supposed to be used in cases of long term illness’. There’s lots of other stuff on that site to help with workplace stigma and discrimination – try this article on Where Do I Stand Legally? It’ll let you know what you can do about being treated unfairly.

Citizen’s Advice Bureau has everything more generally employment related. Here’s some facts about being treated unfairly at work when you have stress and anxiety. Dig around the employment section for more advice relevant to your situation. I found ACAS really useful too. Because I was fighting for reasonable adjustments like second day working from home, I found their stuff about discrimination and flexible working helpful.

A lot of the above should cover you even if this is your first bout of depression and anxiety. However if you have ongoing (I’ve had it about 15 years +) and it’s severe or you have Schizophrenia, Borderline, Bipolar and other disorders, you are classified disabled. Read ACAS’ guide to disability discrimination to help you determine if what your employer is doing counts as that.

If you have any doubts over whether or not your mental health condition is protected by disability law – read this brilliant MIND website piece that confirmed it for me. It’ll help you feel empowered by that piece of your identity, and be confident you’re protected by disability law. (Interesting point in this article, even though I’m much better for taking my crazy pills – I am still considered disabled because of my poor health without them.)

If this is your first bout of depression and/or anxiety, you should still be supported not penalised, and should not be treated unfairly. Therefore even if you’re not sure your MH condition classifies you as disabled, you are still entitled to support – and bullying/harassment is still illegal.

I will do a separate post on the practicalities of requesting reasonable adjustments of your employer, but for now, I hope the above helps. If anyone wants to email me to ask about their specific situation, I’m more than willing to try and help where I can.

I’m self-taught, and not the final word on the law by any means (!) – but I’m willing to offer rough advice if it’s helpful. My email is Moody Crazy Lazy [at] Gmail [dot] com. Or pop a comment on this post and I’ll reply.

Power to the MH clan! 🙂

~ MCL x

I’ve just handed in my notice…

*Content warning: mentions suicidal thoughts*

After nearly two years of a high stress environment at a workplace where staff’s mental health is never openly addressed because of stigma amongst other things – I’ve just resigned. I feel so relieved.

Beyond their overall neglect of overall staff mental health, they’ve been particularly bad dealing (or not dealing at all, basically) with my declining mental health condition.

Let me be clear when I say this a structural/cultural, not a personal failing. Making this about a couple of individual staff members who are insensitive and/or ignorant on disability doesn’t tackle the wider dominant culture where ableist language and exclusionary behaviour is normalised.

I’ve been signed off work this last week & the doctor has me started back on meds, because of being in the worst place I think I’ve been in close to ten years.

Whilst everything is starting to seem less scary inside these four walls, my biggest fear was dealing with work again today. It was made clear there’s no back to work interview, no phased return, and all my workload will have been backed up and I’ll be expected to finish it in the time left over. This is just standard – no support after periods of serious illness like this.

Oh and the other day I found out my serious complaint against my Occupational Health Assessor, in the true style of my workplace, has been done fuck all with. Thanks again, folks, for taking my disability and your problematic culture of ableism, so seriously.

So I decided to resign electronically today, and tell them I’m not coming back in. Seriously, health first (the thought of going back to that office makes me feel physically sick with anxiety). I’ve said I’ll work my notice from home, and my awesome friend and colleague has gone to grab my computer for this morning, and I’m meeting her this afternoon to collect it.

Oh and I sent a litany of complaints detailing my experience to HR. So I’m hoping they won’t contest my working from home this next month to finish up, after everything that I’ve listed that has happened.

I got an amazing (as in, I was literally amazed) response back from a quite senior member of staff last Monday. I had to contact them letting them know I was off sick, because of various people in the chain of command being away. I said I feared for my safety, so had to go to an emergency doctor’s appointment. I said my graphic suicidal thoughts had become more active/prevalent.

Based on my previous experience, their response was ‘utter lack of give a shit’. It’s seeing staff as a piece of the organisation’s productivity, instead of a human being suffering with potentially life-threatening illness.

‘Thanks for letting us know. Let me know if anything needs picking up. Take care.’

WTAF?! I didn’t just tell you I’ve got a cold! Do you really think that when I’m battling with my own thoughts about ending my life, I’m going to be like ‘I’ll just pop those on pause, shall I? Whilst I think about my To Do List, and ping that right over to you in a jiffy.’

Christ, if it wasn’t so disturbingly ignorant, it’d be funny. The problem is for me, if I don’t try to believe that’s just ignorance, it comes off as disbelief. Mental health stigma fun times.

No ‘If there’s anything we can do…’ OR ‘I’m sorry to hear that…’ or any vaguely quasi-human response. ORG BOT’s reliance on its ORGANISATIONAL LENS™ is outdated. It need reprogramming with AI so they can feel – like a real human! (Other more direct managers have been more sympathetic on sick days, but this example is to demonstrate wider organisational culture/Senior Management view, so again let’s not focus on individuals – it’s STRUCTURAL not PERSONAL. Side note: I’m going to get this tattooed on my forehead.)

The awful temptation has been to internalise all of stigma & oppression now I’ve feeling slightly better (‘that didn’t just happen’, ‘it’s not real’, ‘you’re making it up’, ‘you’re attention seeking’, ‘they’ve not done anything wrong – it’s you’). But fuck that, that’s not my reality.

I won’t be shamed into silence after all of this. My experience is valid and real.

The stigma of self-destruction – the hardest post I’ve written yet

Content warning: suicidal thoughts, self-harm, self-destructive behaviour.

It’s mid-Jan. I’ve broken dry January. Spectacularly. ‘Partying’ until this morning. And I feel awful. I’m not talking about a hangover, I’m talking about suicidal thoughts. Let’s talk about the problems with this type of mental illness symptom, in terms of my – and your perception of it.

This isn’t the ‘oh no, poor you, you feel shit because you feel depressed and it’s out of your control’ type of thing you can all relate to. This is the, ‘You knew going out and getting wrecked and staying up all night would make you feel like shit mentally, but you did it anyway’ type of destructive behaviour that is it MUCH harder for people to empathise with. Yeah – that’s right – I did it to myself.

Basically self-destruction of this sort looks like ‘you’re feeling better, you must be – you went out – you were ‘having fun’. As well as ‘you’ve made yourself more ill by going out and having ‘fun’ – so surely that’s your own fault you feel crapper’. Instead of the irrational stress reaction this is.

And doesn’t your sympathy just evaporate? Don’t you feel like I did this to myself? It’s my fault? ‘If you didn’t want to feel shitter, you shouldn’t have gone out.’ I know I feel that way about myself. This isn’t the right kind of feeling depressed and anxious. This isn’t the, ‘you’ve tried everything to help yourself, but you’re still ill, we get it’ nice type of acceptable mental health problems. This is one with a stigma all of its own.

It’s the ugly truth of a long term mental health condition. Not for everyone, I understand. But I used to physically self-harm by cutting, I stopped that years back. I’ve never had an eating disorder. Try, if you can, to equate my behaviour to that. Outlets like that are more ‘typical’ of mental health problems, and probably because of more awareness around them – and because of their clearly self-destructive nature, they are more what people expect and can feel empathy for.

No one feels empathy or sympathy for someone who feels shit because they were ‘out partying’, ‘out enjoying themselves’. Can you imagine if, as a result, I have to call in sick during the week because of my depression and anxiety being so bad in the aftermath – the difference in attitude if I’d stayed in all weekend, and knowing I’d gone out? How differently would work see it? How would it shift their opinion, even knowing I have serious mental health issues?

Trouble is, was I enjoying myself? If I was, why do I wake up regretting the money I’ve spent, the things I did, knowing it was awful for my health and feeling like I’m going back to square one in terms of self care? If I loved it, then why do I feel so bad, that all I can think of is that I can’t possibly tell anyone I feel that way, because it’s completely irrational to go out if that’s your reason, if you feel that way. If you were the life and soul of the party, how could you possibly be depressed or anxious? We saw you, dancing, drinking, ‘having fun’.

And that I’m a burden. I’ve told my partner before ‘I need to stop doing this’. Then he helplessly watches me leave, convincing himself, like I’m convincing myself, that it’s because I’m going to have fun with my friends, to go out and enjoy myself.

And because I’ve bought it up before with him and said I need to stop, I can’t say it again, because I’m still doing it. And he’ll worry. Because I’m still doing it. And it could drive us apart. Next time I want to do it – he may try and question me, and it’ll make me question it, and my outlet may be exposed. Then how will I self-destruct?

I convince myself in my head I’m feeling better and just having harmless fun. But I awake the next day hating myself, and often having pretty graphic suicidal thoughts. If I was really ‘going out and having fun’ – I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be waking up feeling like wanting to kill myself.

That’s the true, ugly side to this unacceptable way I self-destruct. Ugly, because you saw me having fun. Ugly, because you partially blame me for my actions in the first place, and ugly because it’s not quite as other ways I could self-destruct, in a way you could have more sympathy with. And ugly because, for many of you, my friends, I’ve lied to you by doing this on nights out with you. So many times. I’ve lied to you. And myself. And I feel so fucking guilty for misleading you, and hiding that I feel this way afterwards.

So then I feel like never going out again, and will lock myself away, until the next stress trigger that sends me off the rails.

This has probably been my hardest post to write because it actually exposes a lot of the behaviour you’ve all seen in me before. And because I’m actively making my mental health worse by doing it. And because it would openly change my friends – and my employers’ feelings about me. And it’s such a dark self-destruct secret, that I’ve not even ever bought it up with doctors or councillors. This is first time I’m admitting it. Maybe it’s a step in the right direction, because maybe admitting this will help me deal with it somehow, instead of carrying it on.

I don’t know how though. But I’m sorry.

~ MCL x

 

 

Isolation

Is the dominant thing I’m feeling right now. So cut off.

*TRIGGER WARNING* – feeling isolated, details of severely depressed and anxious feelings*

I’m at home, off sick, because of depression and anxiety. This has been triggered by employment stuff, which was really the final nail in the coffin of me managing this worsening bout of it.

Ironically, this stress was caused by an attempt to make reasonable adjustments that would prevent the worsening of my illness. I can’t talk too openly about it whilst it’s still going on as I don’t want to face repercussions – or for it to make things worse for me. But by god we’ve still got a long way to go in terms of the way people with mental health are treated.

If you can’t see a flesh wound, it’s not there, right? And if you’re high-functioning like I am, and have built up a cabinet of armour to defend yourself and hide behind, your illness is even less visible. So you’re a good actor until you hit the point at which the cracks start to show. Which doesn’t help you any, because you’re presumed to be fine, even if you’ve written reams detailing exactly how you’re not fine, and sent it to the relevant people.

Having done that in itself, and having it not prioritised, and not even being treated equally to others, makes you feel so vulnerable, and isolated. The very fact that I’m the kind of person who learned to bury all the crazy beneath layers of defences and ‘acceptable behaviour’ means it took a hell of a lot to even put a case together to demonstrate how my illness is affecting me on a daily basis.

It’s hard being so open about that stuff, and emotionally draining writing it, reliving it, having to explain it in terms people who don’t have mental illness understand – and having to have your brain/psychology picked apart by others for them to decide whether or not they believe you or deem it as proof. To do this and then be treated unfairly, and be dragged through more processes than seem to be required of others, just makes you feel untrusted, undervalued – and so very unsupported.

When it’s a bunch of people doing that to you, it’s fucking horrible. It’s part of the reason I can’t face the world today – and why this blog has fallen silent for some time.

I just feel like I’m out of mentally out of touch with other humans right now, no matter how physically close they are. Alone, on the other side of a frosted, a pane of glass that’s sound proof to you. Like I’m trying to say I’m ill. I’m trying to say I can’t cope with things that you deem as easy. And I’m not being heard – and what I am feeling cannot be seen – from the other side of this glass.

The one thing I can hear is you telling me how it’s not practical. It’s not convenient. It’s unfortunate. That you’re sorry. That policies, procedures and arrangements must go ahead in spite of this. That you’re disappointed in the effect my mental illness is having on these important structures and their ability to be fulfilled. Demonstrating a lack of true understanding, by placing all of these at a higher importance than the actual human being affected. Placing them above my being able maintain a grip on my sanity.

Try to understand. It’s like something dark and abyss-like is attempting to swallow me. And I’m trying with every fibre of my being to keep my head above it, to stop it consuming me. All the while it’s stabbing & clawing at me, from every angle, and it hurts like hell. It’s taking all my energy. And just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean I can’t feel it.

So if you can’t understand why I can’t deal with seemingly small actions or interactions right now, please use the depiction here to try and begin to imagine how it feels. And be patient, whilst I try and figure out how I’m going to smash the glass, and emerge back through to re-join you all.