I often feel like my mental illness holds a lot of power over me. It seems to have the ability to turn my life into a mere existence before I even recognise it doing so. This year has not been any different. I started the year sedated on a psychiatric ward and it has been a struggle ever since with more admissions and emergency service involvement. I have felt incredibly deflated, exhausted, suicidal and my eating disorder has had it’s hands firmly around my throat gripping tighter with every day.
Yesterday morning was no different, I woke up feeling low and disgusted at the body I live inside. The rain was hitting the windows and my nose decided to pour with blood in the shower which made me late for group therapy. There I was speed-walking whilst battling the wind and rain with lorries driving past and soaking my tights as the raced through puddles. I was sure it was a sign of the day ahead and I was tempted to just go home and cancel the whole day.
I sat in group therapy with the usual ‘no-one likes me, I hate myself, I want to hurt myself’ thoughts but I just sat with them. The hands on the clock advanced and I felt myself relax more and more and before I knew I was laughing. We were all laughing. I left group feeling much better than when I walked in the room. My friend and I got into her mint green car, blasted some S club 7 and re-lived our childhood on the drive home.
Living with a mental illness is not easy, therapy is not easy and I, like many others, feel pretty rubbish for the rest of the day on a therapy day. Yesterday was different, my friend and I let our creativity flow and went to the river in my street to do some filming. We were totally distracted and fully participating in the activity at hand. We were both shocked at how on a group therapy day we felt so okay. We both didn’t realise this was possible.
We went for a road trip in the evening and sang and danced our way to Barry Island, our cheeks were aching from smiling and laughing so much. We forgot about the tide so as we pulled into the parking space, we were both like, “Where’s the beach?” and howling with laughter. We found a strip of sand and we were cartwheeling, running in and out of the sea and laughing. It was so beautiful, even a rainbow made an appearance for us.
We got in the car with bare feet and sandy toes, drove home and warmed up with a bowl of soup and smiled and laughed some more.
A lot of the time I feel frustrated that time is spinning on and my life is being wasted by this mental illness. I want to be a part of the world around me, I want to achieve things, live, make memories and make a difference to this world but a lot of the time I don’t believe I can. I feel numb and I do self-destructive things in order to feel something, in order to somehow feel like I am alive. I learnt a very important lesson yesterday. Engaging in my eating disorder, hurting myself and making plans to end my life is not going to help me live. I can’t magically cure the illnesses I have and just because I want to be well it does not mean I will wake up tomorrow recovered. I know it doesn’t work like that but I know that it is possible to feel alive and to live whilst unwell. Bad days don’t exist, just bad moments. I’ve lived one day this month, that’s one day more than last month. That gives me hope.