I know this is not what this blog was intended for, but I need to vent. Please don’t read on if you don’t want to. Everything feels hopeless right now. I feel like I’m falling apart, and nothing will ever get better. I feel like a failure. I’m worried that one day everyone will realise this and leave me. I’m worried that I’ll always be stuck. I’m making myself ill thinking that I should just give up now when I’m already sick enough.

I wake up most days with blood pouring out of my nose and blinding headaches. I’m going for all sorts of tests and while I’m assured it’s probably something that can be dealt with the negative part of my brain screams that it’s something bad, and I realise that while dying is something I think about far too often, I don’t actually want to die. I just want the pain to stop. Life is a headache really. My doctor says he thinks I’m very brave. I don’t think much of myself at all. My mum tries to cheer me up by asking what I want for my birthday. I tell her I don’t know. I don’t actually care. I’m not always sure I want to see 21. People just like to remind you that you’re an adult now, which makes me sad because I never felt like a child. Sure I have responsibilities at this age, but some of my earliest memories revolve around helping my mum sort medication. It wasn’t a very happy time, but it was better than the present. I just want to be normal for once in my life. I’m fed up. I’m barely coping. I don’t want the nightmares anymore, the voices in my head or the strange hallucinations. I also hate that I’ve become my 16 year old self again, etching scars into my skin because something horrible is happening inside my head and I don’t know how to stop it. All I want to do is sleep, but it seems I can’t do that either. Maybe things will get better, maybe they won’t. I just want to be happy.

So…

It seems this blog has fallen by the wayside. Hazel and I got busy. Well, Hazel got busy. I stumbled through second year in a permanently wound up state before landing myself in hospital in May after I started having conversations in public with people who weren’t really there. Actually, I guess you could say I’ve been pretty busy too. The getting better process is hard work. So, I’m going to try and write more this year to make up for the long silence, and hopefully not end the academic year back in the psychiatrists office.

This year has been frustrating, to put it lightly. And confusing. My mum turned up at my flat unexpectedly to tell me that she and my dad were separating. After a month of trying to wrap my head around it, in which I stopped looking after myself properly, and spent my 20th birthday alone with my face buried in my pillow, miserable because my dad forgot and my mum was ill and I was worried about her, she phoned to tell me that they were back together. That month has never been brought up in conversation again. It’s like it never happened, but it did.

So I spent my summer navigating the periodically icy atmosphere between my parents, and attending multiple support groups. The less said about that the better. But I was stuck in a place I hate while everyone around me seemed to be flying off to interesting places or doing productive things with their time. I was miserable, and pretty much certain that my life was going nowhere. Plus I had about two new diagnoses to deal with and I was drugged up to my eyeballs. But strangely I decided to go back to university, because I’m not a quitter, and I’ve spent a lot of time picking myself up over the years, so I figure I just have to keep doing that, because if I stop completely I’ll lose all sense of direction.

I’m surprising myself at the moment, but that’s the point. I’m trying to forge some kind of normal student experience for myself, PTSD and neurotic depression be damned. So far I have joined a society, actually been to that society on two consecutive weeks, been elected class rep for third year honours, kept on top of all my work, and I’m currently waiting for some volunteering organisations to get back to me. I’m doing more now than I have in the past two years.

Things are still difficult, and I have a lot of days when I feel myself slipping. But I’m trying, and that’s what’s important. And hopefully soon I’ll feel a lot better and I won’t have to rely on my meds. Let’s hope things go better this year.

Lyra

( And apologies for the bad structure, grammar, and punctuation of this post. I haven’t written properly all summer.

 

Feeling Guilty

Hi, everyone.

On Monday someone asked me out. This was shocking in itself because no one has ever asked me before, as sad as that might be for a nineteen year old to admit. I’ve always imagined that I’d at least know the person asking me out, even if not very well. However, I didn’t know this boy at all, but apparently he knew me.

That makes it sound like he’s been stalking me or something. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t been…at least I hope not. It turns out we both frequent the library ridiculously early in the morning, and tend to sit in the same computer area. He said he always sits behind me and wanted to talk to me but hadn’t because I always looked really stressed and tired (which is very true). And then he said that he only saw the back of my head the first few times but then I had walked past him once and he noticed that I had “really amazing eyes”, to quote him. He came up to me as I was scanning the bookshelves for essay reading material and said all this, and then asked if I wanted to go out with him. I said no.

Let me start by saying that I tried to explain why as well as I possibly could. But I feel that I need to tell you all what happened in the hours prior to this conversation. I had this huge essay to finish and had stayed up all night to write it, so by the time I got to the library I hadn’t slept in around 36 hours. I’ve been pretty anxious and guarded recently, so his question caught me totally by surprise and I’m sure I looked like a deer caught in the headlights. I said no because firstly, I didn’t know him at all, and I don’t make friends without being absolutely certain I can trust them, never mind agreeing to go on a date with someone. It felt like he was asking too much, even though he really wasn’t, and he said that he understood my reasoning, and he shouldn’t have just jumped the gun, because he would probably have said the same had he been me in the situation.

Either way, I feel guilty about it, because he did seem nice, but that only registered after the shock went away. And he was clearly embarrassed and made a swift exit, which made me feel like a horrible person, because he had been nervous and I probably made him feel like a fool. But the thing is I don’t see myself dating anyone in the near future, because I feel that it would be unfair on the other person in the relationship. I’m not a fun person to be around and it wouldn’t be nice of me to drop all my depression and PTSD issues onto someone else, especially a stranger who knows nothing of them, and expect them to just help me deal with everything and go with the flow.

I guess I feel guilty about it because I couldn’t tell him all of that, as much as I wanted to. But I am really tired right now and I wasn’t thinking straight. And now I’ve probably knocked him down and I just feel really bad about it. I mean, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to go out with me in the first place. I’m pretty sure I look miserable half the time, and I walk around not really caring about how I look,  which I know isn’t great most of the time. I want to be happy, but I’m not at the moment and I really don’t want to drag someone else down, because that wouldn’t be fair. But it does make me think that things may always be this way, and there will come a time when people just stop asking me.

Lyra.

 

Things I need to say

Hi, everyone.

Firstly, both Hazel and I realise that we have been neglecting this blog for a while but, as this space is, among other things, a mental health blog; we hope that you’ll understand that hard times can sometimes make writing difficult. Thanks for sticking with us if you’re reading this now.

This might just be me, but sometimes huge bouts of depression hit me and at first I’m thrown into shock because I never saw it coming. It’s a bit like walking into your house to find someone you really dislike sitting at your kitchen table. You can see that they’re settling themselves down for a long stay, and in an instant something inside your head just snaps and before you know it everything has gone dark, because you realise that there’s nothing you can do but wait it out until they leave. And you’re angry because you were feeling okay before they waltzed in, and you don’t understand why it only took something small to change that. It doesn’t seem fair.

I would tell you how I’m feeling but I find it hard to sum all that up into a few words because a few words on a page never seem to be enough. I’ve never been particularly good at expressing myself anyway. Some days I just feel numb, and I’ll get up and go to university, and then I’ll go home and struggle to remember what I did that day. On other days I feel everything at once and I’m not sure if that’s worse or not because it means I’m not so good at hiding things. I almost cried several times this week, and then I cried for almost crying in public and it was all very frustrating.

I often read things where people liken depression to drowning, and I can say that I honestly believe that, because the source of my PTSD and a large part of my depression can be traced back to a mere twenty minutes of my life in which I almost drowned. The rapids were like a million pairs of hands forcing my head under the water and at various points I literally couldn’t breathe and I didn’t think about anything else in those moments except that I was trapped, and I was never going to be pulled out. And I’ve said this many times before but sometimes it feels like I’m still in that water, because I don’t feel like I’m breathing. It’s funny how twenty minutes can change a person.

I hope that you’ll excuse me for using this post to vent, but if I’m totally honest I’ve been doing other things to release the tension recently and this is by far the safer option. I’ve been thinking about doing things that really scare me and although I don’t think I could ever go through with them those thoughts are still there and water is always on my mind, as hard as I try to push it away. Anyway, I think now was the right time to write this and try to focus on something else.

Thanks for reading this (if you’re still here).

Lyra.

Increasing Awareness

Hi, everyone! It’s Lyra.

I’ve been rather stuck for inspiration this week. I realise that I promised you details on a society meeting I was due to go to but unfortunately, I never received an email as to when this meeting would be taking place. Therefore, I have nothing to say on that score, but I have emailed the society in question so I’m not just letting things slip that easily. I really want to get involved so hopefully I’ll have positive news to write about within the next few days.

Ultimately, as my original post ideas have gone to pot I have decided to simply write about something that has happened this past week. I always feel weird writing things like this, because I’m talking about myself and I can’t help but feel paranoid that some people might think I’m self-centered, when I really hope that I’m not. Instead I have to remind myself that it’s important to have an outlet, so here we go.

I have mentioned in previous posts that I have PTSD and depression, but while it’s fairly easy to write that down here, it’s never been an easy thing to say. And yet, there are times when I desperately want to say it, if only to prove a point, because it shocks me just how openly unsympathetic some people can be towards those who live with mental health problems. Earlier this week, while I was waiting for one of my lectures to start, I overheard a conversation between two girls in which they discussed mental health. One girl said that people with mental issues would never be able to achieve anything, and the other agreed and stated that a person with any kind of mental health problem was just crazy.

Now, I could easily have turned around and calmly voiced my opinion on the matter, and I desperately wanted to, but there were over 300 people in that lecture theatre and I could not bring myself to speak. I was angry with myself, and so angry with them, but this experience has also made me appreciate and value the importance and existence of blogs like this and other sources of information all the more. There was a time when mental health issues were not addressed in any way and people knew nothing about it. Hopefully both of those girls and others with similar views will allow themselves to become better informed in the future before jumping to such conclusions. Increasing awareness is incredibly important, and I’m glad that I have this space to contribute to that in my own small way.

Thanks so much for reading! I’ll see you all next time 🙂

Speaking Out

Hello, lovely blog-readers! This is Hazel. 

I have been having a bit of a bad patch recently, and hence left the blog in Lyra’s more-than-capable hands for a couple of weeks. I might expand on some of the events surrounding this in the next post or so, but for now I am going to focus on a different subject.

In our ‘About’ section, we mention that, in addition to mental health problems, another topic that we will be blogging about is LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) issues. So far we have not used this as a sole subject in any of our posts, but today seemed a good time to start.

I am on two society committees at my uni this year – I’m busy! But busy is good; busy is constructive. One society is Mental Wealth, a UK charity which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and campaign to dispel stigma. The other committee that I am a member of is LGBT+ Pride.

Both of these correlate and compliment each other quite nicely, and I’m currently working to set up a mental health support group for LGBT+ students, in light of the fact that mental health problems are very common among members of the community.

Today was the Societies Market at uni (basically where all of our numerous societies pack into a hall for eight hours and try to recruit freshers) and I was jumping between each stall and having to change T-shirts behind the tables so as not to confuse people! It was great fun though and we got loads of new members.

There’s one incident in particular that stood out for me. This was when I was manning the Pride stall, handing out flyers and asking passers by if they wanted to join. It was all very hectic, but I became aware of a girl hovering nearby. She was very nervous looking and I’m almost certain she was a fresher. I smiled at her and gave her a leaflet and she took it, but then walked away without signing up.

I kept an eye on her, as she looked rather pale and when I’d been talking to her I’d been scared for a moment that she was going to cry, and that would have been awful. Not least because I tend to cry when other people do, so it would have been a massive tear-fest and then no-one would have signed up and then I’d have cried more – so yes, thank goodness she didn’t cry!

I got back to handing out flyers and, after a bit, she was back. I smiled at her again and asked if she was okay; she smiled back. Then I asked if she wanted to sign up. This time she said ‘Yes.’ Her hands were physically shaking while she held the pen, and I was proud of her for doing it – she was all alone, in a new place, and obviously scared.

Anyway, she signed and took her leave, and I carried on handing out flyers to all and sundry. I found it difficult to get out of my mind though. We were two tables down from the Mental Wealth stall, and the number of people who went from one to the other was significant.

Today has acted as a bolster for my mood, and as an added incentive for pushing to set up this group. Whether it will take off or not remains to be seen. All I know is that, if I had had someone to talk to when everything was going on, be it about my depression or my sexuality, it would have helped enormously. After all, two secrets in the closet ain’t much fun.

Will keep y’all posted on how my latest venture goes; ‘badly’ or ‘uneventfully’ is a distinct possibility, but we’ll see.

Until next time, blogsicle readers. Take care of yourselves and, as always, thanks so much for reading!

A New Start…Hopefully

Hi, everyone!

It’s Lyra. Yes, the one who rambles a lot. Hopefully you’re not all too fed up of me just yet. I’m still trying to figure out the art of blogging but they say third time’s a charm so we’ll see how this goes. Hazel and her eloquence will be taking over from me next week. I promise!

So a few weeks ago (yeah, sorry about the delay) I talked about my first year at university, odious flatmates and the effects moving away from home had on my mental health. I’m reading the post back now and I realise that I also mentioned my Harry Potter Hippogriff. This probably didn’t make me come across as a particularly normal person but oh well; I guess I can be a little strange sometimes, and I was definitely not a typical fresher.

I finished my last post by expressing my worries at moving into a new flat with new people. After living with the gruesome twosome I was understandably terrified that it would be a repeat of halls, but it turns out I need not have worried. So far things have been very peaceful. In fact when I moved in I believed there to be only one other person in the flat because I didn’t see or hear anyone for the first four days. It was almost eerily quiet. I then realised that this was not the case when my rendition of ‘Yellow Submarine’ was cut short by flatmate number three, who looked rather bemused. As first meetings go, it wasn’t as awkward as it could have been. I somehow managed not to scuttle away and lock myself in my room out of sheer embarrassment. No, I actually had a conversation with her, which is a first for me, as I am not a conversation starting kind of person.

However, the start of the new term was creeping up on me and I spent most of freshers week stepping over drunk freshers, nervously organising things, signing up for my courses and trying to stop myself from crying in public when a group of first years made an unpleasant comment about my appearance. I honestly can’t understand why some people think being horrible to others will make them look cool, or whatever it is they were trying to achieve. Anyway, it was unnecessary, but it triggered me. I can’t explain how it happens but sometimes everything just feels really dark and the only way to release the emotional pain is to inflict it physically. It’s something I have tried to stop, but I’m not quite there yet.

I have felt so angry with myself for the past few days for reacting in an unhealthy way, mainly for allowing myself to open old wounds. Also, I was reminded today – the first official day of term – of just how lonely I was last year. I was walking around this afternoon and observing how easily the new students seemed to have made friends, painfully aware that I was by myself yet again. I blame myself for that but also the anxiety. I walk around campus and convince myself that people are judging me and I feel so worthless. I really want to join a couple of new societies this term but I can practically hear the voice in my head telling me not to do it.

But I am going to do it. And next time I post I shall tell you all about it. Hopefully things will be looking up by then.

Lyra 🙂