I’ve Got This Fucking Thorn in My Side…

Its 2am. I am 30 in 6 months and I still have the emotional range of an 8-year-old. I wear the same sort of clothes I did 10 years ago and definitely have not aged mentally beyond the age of 17; I got my lip pierced while on leave last week…  I’m listening to Beastie Boys – Sabotage on repeat and type in the fucking dark because apparently, I can no longer sleep without the comfort of knowing someone is making sure I’m not killing myself every 15 minutes. I feel I have not moved on in 10 years. I’m stuck, stagnant and floating in a sea of ‘what the fuck?’

Thanks to the ward being an utter fucking zoo weekend before last, I decided I wanted home leave. Home treatment came out to annoy me daily and I did very little. On the days I did try to do things my anxiety was high. My best friend came to see me and shortly after he left I decided I needed to go back to the ward. The voices were bad and were telling me I should strangle Simon again and in truth, I just didn’t feel safe and contained.

I went to therapy which destabilised me somewhat and resulted in me hitting out at anyone who even looked at me. I screamed at people on the ward who were too noisy, I was shitty with staff and I was a bitch to people I love. I cut and I cried and racked my brains for ways to kill myself in hospital but everything that was a feasible ligature had already been taken from me. I was fucking pissed off.

I asked my consultant to discharge me, he agreed with this. My partner did not. So now I’ve got another week’s home leave to make sure I’m not going to kill him or myself before I can be out of the inpatient system’s clutches. I’m still pissed off. I wanted it to be done with.

I made the realisation earlier that although I’m open about my deteriorating mental health on twitter and through my blog, this is due to a level of anonymity and a community of like- minded/experienced individuals. On other social media platforms where I physically know people I keep my mouth fucking shut. There’s an element of not wanting people to know my business but its predominantly about shame and stigma. And this is where Prince Harry and his Heads Together escapades have fallen short.

When I was physically unwell I had no problem with sharing what was going on with the people of Facebook. Self-indulgent as that may have been, but remember I do have BPD (this is sarcasm…). I told people of the blood transfusions I had, of chest drains and all manner of procedures with tubes and needles. I was proud of my fever of 105° once I’d stopped fitting – didn’t have the same feeling after the plasterboard incident. I shared pictures of my PIC line and of the slash on my back where I’d been cut open. It wasn’t taboo. If I shared a picture of my arm currently which, and I quote “looks a fucking mess” it’d be a different story.

Those scars are of no less value than the chunks taken out of my back, in fact they hold more; I had to do them to myself to feel better, it wasn’t a case of a doctor being able to fix it. I’m not advocating for people to be sharing pictures of their self -mutilation for obvious reasons but it’s still a conversation we can’t have.

Harry spoke about what he knew about and understood; grief, sadness, loss and the effects of PTSD in soldiers and while that covers some of my experience it’s on the tamer end of the scale. In a sense Harry ostracised those of us who suffer from severe and enduring mental illness, whose majority of days are some sort of psychological battle. Not just the odd down day where you should have a chat and a cup of tea as suggested. Or even the primary care 12 sessions of CBT seekers to cure mild anxiety and depression.

Where was the mention of enduring suicidality, self-harm and other maladaptive ways of coping? There was no mention of psychosis or psychotic disorders, mood disorder other than depression or personality disorder. The premise was ‘if you feel a bit sad, have a natter’. Who do I talk to about the raging cacophony of voices telling me to kill myself, dear Prince?   Who is willing to listen when I want to carve my legs to shreds? No one. Because we sanitise mental health to make it palatable for people. We try to make it a worthy cause like cancer is but only tell people what they want to hear while people having chemo, showing scars and the stories of bereft loved ones are acceptable.

While I fully support the idea of opening avenues to explore mental health and raise awareness, I find it deplorable that we must continue to mask our pain and distress for the sake of others. I find it insulting that these campaigns whitewash our experience and further inadvertently stigmatise, because we aren’t the sort these campaigns generally talk about; milder mental health problems are the go to. I said something similar to this in another blog last year and I’m still pissed off it’s happening.

No one talks about CMHTs, AOT, HTT or inpatient admission. No one talks about the coalface of mental health and I’m fucking sick of it. We shouldn’t have to hide in anonymity in the depths of the internet.

I haven’t moved on in 10 years because we haven’t…

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