Hi everyone, in this episode I am going to talk to about the ongoing struggle I have with mental illness.
I feel it is important to say that when you have a clinical mental illness there is rarely an all out cure for it. There will be good times and bad times. We need both so that we can recognise what each of them mean to us.
When I was at my lowest points, I was sometimes able to remember the times I wasn’t suffering. With each good time that came up I was adding to my memory bank, storing up all the data to use to help me through the bad times.
As I mentioned in the last video it took some time for me to get use to the idea of honestly opening up which meant that during most of my twenties I struggled with dealing with each problem as they arose. I had bottled up a lot of things and I wasn’t getting help I needed.
What I really needed was for someone to tell me that I had to go to appointments I had to seek advice and for the therapist I was seeing to make me feel safe enough to tell them everything that was going on. But like most adults you are expected to know what it is you need even if your thoughts are not all that coherent.
So lets talk about my early twenties. During this time I was still drinking, I was going out for wild nights with my friends and was shutting out my family from what was going on within me. Religion was still absent from my life so I was trying to make do without. People hadn’t changed their story that I was rejected from faith so I hadn’t tried to look for it.
I was also starting to lose my physical health as well. Having evolved my eating disorder into something bigger than it was, meant that I was losing a lot of weight and the strength of my immune system was failing. I picked up every virus or bug that was going around.
Everything I was doing was a way for me to find control of my life. I didn’t have the control over how people made me feel, or my frequent anxiety attacks or the depression. What food went into my body and the damage that I could inflict to the outside of it I could control. After losing three stone in one month and slashing open my arms with cuts far deeper than I had intended I knew I had to change.
I looked for support with other people who were like me and I was lucky to find a group that did just the trick. It was an online forum for LGBT people of my faith and through them I was able to find my religion again. I wasn’t alone.
Don’t worry I’m not going to preach the word of God to you. I need to explain that as this was a big part of my childhood to have it back in my adulthood meant that I regained something that was missing from me. What I did was I read book after book, to gain understanding and to make up my own mind on how I worshipped God. Even to this day people try and tell me that they know the mind of God. No one does, you just have to learn, find your own way and practise as best as you can.
It helped. I had direction again. I had a reason to keep going on, something more than just looking after my pets or helping my family. Also I best tell you that even though I was treated unkindly by some of my family I still did everything I could to help them. Glutton for punishment you might say; its just the way I am.
My view of myself during this time was that I wasn’t really worth anything to the people in my life, not unless I had some use to them.
I had a commitment to faith and my pets and I was writing books which I really wanted to finish and so I carried on.
It is one of the benefits of having OCD. You don’t often allow work to go unfinished.
At the start of my twenties I had begun writing a series of books. It was a way of getting my artistic flare going seeing as though the dream of being the next big thing in opera was quickly going away. The books themselves were a great way to document the things that were going on in my life. How I was feeling and thinking all went into them. If someone upset me, it went into the book as a clever plot twist. If I had made a new friend in it went. No longer was it all in my head it was out on paper and because I hadn’t done it in the form of a diary it meant that I was just telling a story. It helped keep me going.
It may help you to find your outlet. If you do, share it.
Love, peace and good mental health.