Rain, rain don’t go away
Resting tears on my window pane.
Rain, rain wash away my pain
Rinse the embers down the drain.
Rain, rain there’s so much to say
My voice is lost my strength can’t gain
Rain, rain it’s not a game
Little girl lost she runaway
Rain, rain you can stay
Your storm makes streets quiet during May.
Rain, rain do things change?
Future is worried she’ll stay the same.
Rain, rain she can’t be tamed
Scared and lost she will remain.
It seems that the subject of mental illness generates more interest and opinion than a rowdy Parliamentary debate. With so many voices to listen to when you are seeking answers and guidance things can get confusing. This can be on many subjects: What medication should I take? What therapy should I do? Should I listen to their advice? All I can advise you through my own experience is to listen to your own voice. Only you understand your body and mind better than anyone else.
Loved ones often struggle to support those with mental illness purely based on the fact that they do not understand. They often over react protectively, blaming themselves and wondering where it all went wrong. Or you may have experienced the opposite end of the scale, a loved one who is very strong and comes from a generation of putting things in a box. I myself have experienced both. I love my parents dearly- but they both have very different ways of supporting me with my mental illness and at times it has been more damaging than helpful. My dear father is very protective, and has often blamed himself. Where as my loving mother is a very strong lady who puts together an action plan and moves on quickly. Both have been amazing supporting me, but with so many different voices advising me how to cope with my mental illness it has left me very confused and frustrated.
I was in a recovery house recently for my depression, and spoke to a psychiatric nurse about my ever growing confusion and frustration about my recovery plan when he asked me, “I understand what your loved ones are saying, but what do you want to do?” This simple question empowered me. It allowed me to recognise that I was so worried about pleasing others that I forgot the most important voice; my own.
Only doctors and nurses can advise, loved ones can only support us, but only you can speak for yourself, because only you truly understand how you are feeling and what you need. Take the advise of others, but do not forget to listen yourself. Discuss with others medication and therapy but realise that everybody is different. What works for someone else may not work for you.
And to those that want to support loved ones with mental illness, we do not need to hear your opinion and we do not need you to understand, we need you to listen.
“Find yourself before you find someone else”– These were the words of my wise and protective mother. I know that I should listen, but it so hard when as a human being all you long for is to be loved. I have recently had my heart ripped out and stamped on, and I have found myself on a strange journey. I am finding out who I am.
When I am with someone they become my world. My whole existence and reason for living. This has meant that, yes, I do need someone to define who I am. And slowly I am realising that this is wrong. When you are with someone they should compliment who you are. Falling in love turned me into someone I hate. Needy, lonely, clingy angry and desperate. When my lover wasn’t around I felt like I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t even sleep or eat without him. And whilst this is lovely, I realised that he tuned into my vulnerability to control me. I slowly stopped becoming the best I could be. I gave up the opportunity to complete my nursing degree, I didn’t bother to get dressed and I definitely didn’t bother to wear makeup. What was the point in taking caring of myself if he loved me? I gave up my love of writing and vintage clothing. Everyday of my life revolved around him and what he was doing. Wrong. Wrong.
When you are with someone they become your everything, but that shouldn’t leave you with nothing. And handing over that power and control over to another human being leaves you feeling weak and scared. I am a very strong women and I hate the fact that I gave my power away to someone. However the lesson has been learnt. I promised myself that I will not give up the things I love for someone again, because if that someone really loves me then they will want me to do what makes me happy. I have also found my self-worth. This is very different to having confidence, it means that you value who you are as a person. I hate that saying “how can someone love you if you don’t love yourself?” I don’t think I ever will love myself, but slowly as I am finding out who I am, I have started to like myself and understand that I deserve to be the best I can be.
I have been blogging for about a week now and I am overwhelmed by the amount of followers, comments and visitors I have had. Thank you so much for your love and support. So many of you are beautiful, strong people and I often think about how you are getting on with your day even through you are a continent away. I no longer feel isolated and alone with my thoughts as I know that many of you are experiencing the same thing. I just want to share a few things that I hope provide you with the same comfort that you have given me.
- Well done getting out of bed today
- Well done on staying alive today
- Well done on staying strong
- You are not fighting this battle alone
- You will getting better
- You are stronger than you think you are
Much love and here always
I just spoke to a mental health nurse following a 7 day follow up since having a mental health crisis. I found myself by the end of the phone call feeling the same feeling I have done for years: like I was being ignored- and not getting any answers.
I understand that the system is stretched- there is lack of funding and lack of doctors. But still why should I have to fight for my basic rights to a doctor when I need help? Please don’t think I’m judging mental health workers- I myself am an axillary nurse and have worked in hospitals for years and have experienced the stress of working long shifts and being overloaded with patients that need me. But still- at least I would’ve expected someone to listen to me and my needs when they are working in the field that means they have to listen?
All I can advise to anyone is to take control of your mental health on your own. After years of waiting lists and doctors appointments being cancelled I finally took control and found my own therapist. I’m not going to lie to you, its expensive. But if you have the money or can apply for funding from the government- use it! It has meant that I cannot buy new clothes and I have to manage my bills weeks before they even come out but I have found that it is so worth it. Also use self help books, many GP’s are willing to advise you on what to read, do your research, and talk to your loved ones. And of course if you need mental health support FIGHT FOR IT. Do not get brushed under the rug and wait patiently for your next appointment in 3 months time. KICK AND SCREAM. I have had to phone my mental health team 3 times a day, everyday, all week, telling them no “I’m not ok” and keep on and on and on… I guarantee you they will listen to you.
There is help there- and you deserve it! Take control of your own fate and its ok to ask for help. You just have to fight for the help sometimes. Which is so wrong. But I always found that the ones who state their needs and wont be going quietly are the ones that will be listened to.