Things are far from easy right now. I have a tribunal this week to see if my section can be lifted which is stressing me out and the date to go to cygnet is getting closer and I’m generally just not very well.
Last night I planned to take my life, I concealed the object I was going to use in my slippers but got caught out…cue medication and restraints and a lot of tears and trying to run away. I eventually managed to get some sleep but even in my dreams anorexia was present. I don’t seem to get a break these days.
Today hasn’t been any easier. I ligatured and tried to abscond this morning ending up in two floor restraints and then more tears, medication and restraining this afternoon. I am exhausted.
I have to be honest here, I hope they lift my section on Wednesday because I can’t carry on living like this. If I were an animal suffering so much they would put me down. Why shouldn’t I have the right to die?
I often feel quite ashamed of my mental illness. It’s like by being so unwell for so many years I am less of a person than my peers who have degrees, careers, children, marriages and so on. I always feel embarrassed because I feel my life shouldn’t be like this, I shouldn’t be like this.
My mental illness has put me in situations that have made me feel shame, that have made me feel like a bad person. Claiming benefits made me feel awful, selfish, worthless. I felt like the scum of the earth but I was too poorly to work and needed money to survive. I never ever wanted to be in a position where I had to claim benefits. The night I spent in a police cell made me feel like a bad person. As nice as the police were to me, I was treated like a criminal. I had my belongings and shoes taken off of me, I was strip searched and then put in a cell for many hours. I felt like a criminal. I felt like the whole of society was looking down on me.
I feel extremely guilty for the pain I have put other people through. I have dragged family and friends through this nightmare with me. My dad hasn’t slept properly in 18 months, my mum has cried at her severely anorexic daughter. It’s not nice for me but it’s not nice for those around me who have to witness all this too.
I do feel like a bad person. I do hate myself. But I shouldn’t, having a mental illness does not make me a bad person or any less of a person. It just makes me ill. This is something I never chose to happen to me. My asthma doesn’t make me a bad person, yes it can inconvenience people when I’m having an attack but nobody thinks I’m an awful person because of it. I know there is a difference between physical illnesses and mental illnesses because mental illnesses can impact and influence someone’s behaviour. I feel like a terrible person for some of the text messages I have sent when I’ve been unwell, or for getting angry at my parents for what seems like no apparent reason. I feel like a terrible person when someone makes the effort to spend time with me and I can’t stay awake or I can barely utter a word. I hate myself when I can’t follow your conversation but what I need to learn is that it isn’t my fault.
Having a mental health problem doesn’t make you a bad personal, neither does it make you any less of a person. You are unwell and you had no choice over that. Don’t feel like you are a bad person over an illness that happened to you.
Something I find incredibly frustrating is when I am speaking to mental health professionals and am told “it is your choice.”
I’ll give an example of this. I saw my dietitian earlier in the week and we were discussing my intake as it hasn’t been substantial lately. He suggested I take a snack out with me and eat out the house and I said “I can’t do that” to which he said “Well you can but you’re choosing not to” and it made me so angry. It isn’t as simple as telling me that it is a choice when I haven’t eaten outside my home or around other people that aren’t my immediate family in years. I am also struggling with food and my ‘safe’ foods aren’t suitable for taking ‘on the go’. It is far more complex than telling me it’s my choice, there are many rules, fears and anxiety along with the rigidness that goes hand in hand with my illness. Would it not be better to listen to me and understand why I feel I cannot do X than to simply tell me it’s a choice.
This hasn’t just happened to me in regards to my eating disorder, I have been told it’s my choice when I have spoken about plans to end my life or the affect depression was having on me. Just because someone has the physical capacity to do something, it doesn’t mean that they can do it. Mental illness isn’t a choice and is valid and I often find that being told aspects of my illnesses are choice makes me feel pathetic and guilty.
To call parts of mental illness is a choice is to simplify them and this is not helpful for the patient in my experience. I feel it would be better if we talked about the barriers and the reasons why I feel I cannot do a certain thing and then discussed the solutions rather than to simply end the conversation with the ‘choice’ card.