Illness is not who I am.
So why am I so Ashamed?
I have written some blogs and think that they are the toughest thing that I have written, allowing a bare honesty and vulnerability, so that my experiences can help others.
Well, it turns out that they didn’t even come close to being the hardest thing to write…
Writing this blog, which I consider important and necessary, I cannot even attach my own identity to it. This fact is, in itself, shameful. I have been ill and yet, I see it as a failing; a character flaw; a reflection on me as a parent and professional; a reason to feel guilt and shame.
I am writing this, so that you do not feel like this, EVER!!
Initially, I was going to say that physical illness does not have that impact, and that these feelings are all due to the stigma of mental health. However, with consideration, I don’t think that is necessarily fair, nor true. I only have my own experiences to go on, but I have known people to blame all kinds of illnesses on negative energy and choice. This, of course, is complete nonsense (the polite version of what I wanted to write). People do not get ill because they don’t think positively enough and people definitely do not deserve to be ill.
How can you understand?
Probably the most frustrating thing about my own struggle with Mental Health, is that I really want people to understand. Then comes the most frustrating element of the whole illness: I can’t explain, because I don’t understand it myself.
Despite depression and anxiety being an understable result of a life of neglect, attachment disorder, bullying, abuse, domestic violence (yes I am a textbook cycle of victim mentality), I have survived. More than survived, to be honest. I have a degree, a job, own my own home, have gorgeous children. On most days, I do a lot more than merely put one foot in front of the other.
So why, when no major trauma is happening, did I attempt to take my own life this week? It does not make any sense. Obviously and fortunately, I was unsuccessful. However, it is a major setback in my pursuit of wellness, because I am way too ashamed to tell anyone I know. They will think that I am a bad parent. They will think me incapable of doing my job. They will, wrongly, assume that the pressure of my job is the cause. They will be scared of doing or saying anything to make the situation worse.
This is what happened:
I sat in my room and the conflict in my mind, the self judgement and self-loathing, reared its ugly head. It happens unfortunately. It is one of the symptoms of the battle. It physically hurt and all of the tears in the world would not release the pain. I had been so much better recently and that just made me hurt myself more.
As an unplanned act, I took a load of prescription strength cocodamol. Within an hour, my body was burning up and itching unbearably. I scratched until my flesh was raw, I looked like a lion had attacked me. Shortly after, my head was spinning and the vomiting started. The final and most frightening reaction, was the rectal bleeding.
I wasn’t dead from the overdose. I no longer wanted to be. I was ashamed of what I had done to myself and I had a responsibility to make things better.
Having called 111, an ambulance came and took me to hospital. Following a mental health assessment, I am being urgently referred to Mind. I have to return to hospital for more internal investigation, as I am still passing blood. I have been flagged to Safeguarding. I am off sick from work again. I have isolated myself, in a time of need and increased my own self-loathing and anxiety.
Where I went wrong.
First of all (and a really important warning), I was doing OK and I was really busy, so I forgot to renew my prescription and had not taken my anti-depressants for 7 days.
Withdrawal causes anxiety and depression, beyond usual symptoms and behaviours.
I had cocodamol in the house, which I no longer needed. If you have access to a potential overdose, then you don’t need to plan. If you have time to plan, you have time to change your mind, or seek help.
I was not being honest about how I was feeling. Vulnerability is not a weakness.
I had declined offers of help that I needed, because I thought that I had to prove that I was stronger and more self sufficient than anyone else.
I spend money that I can’t afford, especially on other people, because I think that it will endear them to me.
I crave love and friendship, but push it away, through a fear of rejection.
I am deeply ashamed of who I am, but…
If I can save one person; stop one person from making any of the mistakes I have made;
I will be less ashamed, because I did a good thing.
Please talk. It is your mind that is judging, not the people around you.