In my last post I talked and Juliette and what a caring, fun, creative, loving, colourful person she was, when she died I said I’d get a bee tattoo not a worker bee I wasn’t looking to copy her but a bumble bee to remind me of her and our friendship which started from matching underwear, a reminder of the memes and pictures of bees with fuzzy butts we used share. On Monday I got my tattoo of my own fuzzy butt bumble bee with a purple watercolour background to match Juliette’s hair. I know she’d approve of this
Long time no blog.
This post is about suicide though there is no mention of methods.
I’ve been wanting to write this for 6 months but it was too hard. A potentially creepy comment about owning the same underwear on a drunken toilet selfie did not get my blocked but instead was the start of our friendship. We met through an internet mental health “community” and there were many eye rolls about such places and some of the people in them (though we were aware that we were far from perfect ourselves).
I soon found that Juliette had a wicked sense of humour, she was attractive and creative and had various different hair colours in the time I knew her. She loved animals and owned four gorgeous rats, she had an accidental memorial leg of tattoos for people in life who’d died. Despite her intolerance to bullshit (and lactose) she was loyal and supportive to those she cared about. Hummus memes were frequently shared and still pop up on my Facebook notifications, some of the jokes we shared were truly terrible.
Living in Manchester she got a worker bee tattoo with ‘don’t look back in anger’ going around it after the Manchester bombing and bees became her ‘thing’ online. A gif of a cat dressed up at a bee (creatively dubbed beecat) falling slowly off a sofa became a of conveying frustration/ crap day/ crap mental health and often summed up how we felt, her mandala cat tattoo was also dubbed beecat.
We had a group chat with three of us in it which was 90% complaining about life, mental health and the internet and the rest was probably random memes and beecat gifs.
I knew Juliette had attempted suicide previously but part of you doesn’t want to accept that it could happen and when it did I didn’t want it to be real. It felt like someone had punched me in the chest; a feeling that’s come and gone for the last 6 months, I cried for hours and have cried for many more since.
Her funeral especially broke me, when many of the person who cared about her had mental health issues and were scattered around not only the country but also the world only a few of us were able to go but a request for people to change their profile pictures to bees spread and on the day of her funeral my social media was full of different types of bees. I’ve never been to a funeral full of people wearing cat ears before but as soon as we arrived we knew it was the right place.
People talk about grief and stages as if it’s linear and as if it doesn’t come out of nowhere and punch you in the stomach, it’s not that simple or straightforward. Oasis makes me cry, pictures of furry bumblebee butts hanging out of flowers make me smile and part of me still expects her to be online, sometimes I’ll make a really inappropriate joke and I know she’d have laughed and we’d both joke that we were the worst. I thought the 6 month anniversary of her death yesterday would be hard but instead I was caught out on Friday crying for several hours (the ugly snotty puffy face version).
Tomorrow I’m going for a consultation for a bee tattoo so I’ll always have a reminder of our friendship.
I miss you
Beecat loves you x
Helplines aren’t a replacement for proper mental health care but if you’re in distress and need someone to talk to you can contact the Samaritans or if you’re under 35 Papyrus. Text support is available from Shout.
If you’ve been bereaved by suicide SOBS can give you support and advice
I’ve been trying to come up with something to write about as a sort of comeback blog post but my brain isn’t cooperating, nothing I write seems good enough even compared to my normal feelings of nothing I do being good enough. It’s difficult to write about things honestly partly because of the fact that most people who read this know me in real life and ranting about inaccessible transport is easier than being honest about how I feel. So how do I feel? I feel everything and nothing, I’m numb and disconnected and I’m coming home from work and lying on my bed crying, I don’t care about anything except I do I just can’t feel it right now, my heart feels heavy and time feels slowed down, there have been a couple of days when I’ve got in to work recently (and that in itself is a struggle) where I’ve honestly thought I dont know how I’m going to get through the next 8 hours.
Mostly I’m tired, not just physically because I’m also having trouble sleeping but tired of the endless cycles of depression. For me depression comes in cycles, unipolar bipolar without the high. I guess people who’s depression is more constant may think I’m lucky because I do have periods of not being depressed but this is my blog and I’ll cry if I want to (and even if I don’t) and I’m tired of this never really going away of always waiting for it to return.
I had my unusual Birthday existential crisis probably not helped by seeing a family member I hadn’t seen in a couple of years and stirring up fun memories from my upbringing but as ever another year brings more of the feelings of not enough, not doing enough, not achieving enough, not being enough and I’m giving out advice to people who for some reason look up to me and think I have my life together when I’m getting into work in the morning and wondering how I’m going to get through the next 8 hours. I’m a fraud.
This isn’t much of a comeback post but it’s why I haven’t written anything in so long.
I was trying to explain to someone recently the conflicting feelings that come into my head around self harm. I want to self harm but really I don’t, I keep thinking how much better it was to have an outlet for the way I feel but really I know that it wouldn’t help, it didn’t help, not really, not properly but that doesn’t stop my mind jumping to it when I’m stressed or anxious or overwhelmed.
I haven’t self harmed in 391 days but I self harmed from the age of 17 to 32 and intermittently before that, it’s not that I want to self harm it’s just that I want to breathe and not feel like I’m suffocating, I want to stop feeling like I’m dragging a weight around with me or wading through custards and when it’s been something I’ve done for so long it’s an immediate thought an ingrained reaction that my mind jumps to when I feel bad.
I’m not naive I know that just because or not self harmed in a long time it doesn’t mean I won’t ever do it again because I can’t say for sure that I know I’ll never self harm again and even now it’s not that I never do anything unhealthy/ potentially harmful or things that could be soon as negative ways of managing things they’re just less destructive and don’t involve me ending up in a&e. The longer time goes on the bigger the stakes, once I was past 6 months I’d beat my previous longest time, then it was 7 months, 9 months and finally a year.
Sometimes people say what can I do to help or make things easier but I don’t always want them to do anything other than listen or try and see things from my position, I know some people are more practical than others and their reaction is to look for a solution but sometimes the solution is just please listen to me and hear what I’m saying when I say how overwhelmed and stressed I feel, how I miss people I was close to, how alone I feel, how the light at the end of the tunnel feels very dim and distant right now that’s what can be done to help.
Sometimes I just want someone to take me down to the carpark and let me cry
Before the earth makes that turn moving the UK into 2019 I thought I’d do a 2018 roundup post because it’s been a pretty intense year. At Christmas 2017 I said my goal for 2018 was to become permanent staff even if it was still on reduced hours but to have the security of a proper contract not a zero hours one.
The year didn’t get off the best start with my first trip to a&e of the year on the 2nd of January this was also the only visit to a&e all year, just over two weeks after this I started a new medication Lamotragine a mood stabiliser. I’m sure that lamotragine has been the biggest reason that I haven’t self harmed its almost like it’s turned something off in my brain that’s made me not want to self harm anymore.
My main goal for the year came true in May when I became permanent staff and took over running the youth service, in November I passed my 6 month probation so now I’m officially permanent staff running a service, managing volunteers a year after I said I wanted to be permanent.
I’ve been under the mental health service again this year slowly adjusting my medication and I’ve now come off the antipsychotics, reduced one of the medications I was taking for anxiety and only taking the bets blockers as needed. I’ve gone from taking 5 different medications for my mental health to 3.
For someone who often struggles with change there have been so many this year, changes with my job, and the people I work with, two of the people I was closest with at work both left within a few weeks of each other which has been hard and still hasn’t fully sunk in. The office is definitely quieter and I’m missing my verbal sparring partner, I’ll also the person who will always find something positive in everything who took me outside to the carpark to cry because she knew I wouldn’t want anyone in the office to overhear me.
I’ve also become closer to other people at work including two who started at the same time as me, I’ve been out for various drinks and social events (enough to maybe get a reputation) and I’ve had some lovely feedback and support from my volunteers.
As an incredibly indecisive person who struggles to make a choice when there are too many desserts on the menu I bought myself an early Christmas present and got my first tattoo covering some of my self harm scars something very permanent but positive and I love it so much.
So 2019 will be off to a busy start with work but also starting with a huge milestone of a year since the last time I self harmed. Of course my love for a certain tv show about a certain grumpy dr has been in full force in 2018 (is a tattoo taking the fandom too far?) and I’ve spent my time off over Christmas working my way through Sherlock, 2019 is looking like a busy year for my fandoms.
Happy new year or happy January or happy Tuesday whichever suits you
I like to make places and things “mine” make them reflect me and my personality, sometimes this surprises people like last year when a drunken colleague who got me as their secret Santa nicely summed me up saying “you’re pink and girly but not pick and girly” I love pink, my mobility aids are pink, I have quite a girly* bedroom but I’m mouthy and sweary and suggestions of laddette to lady have been made. I do know that all this gendering of colours and behaviours is to be fair a load of bollocks but lots of people do like to gender everything.
I think for me it’s important to make things and spaces reflect me is because I spent a lot of not time feeling like I lacked an identity which is one of the traits of BPD, I know it’s normal to go through phases and even identity crisis’ especially during adolescence and teenage but i was a human (dinosaur) chameleon I’d change the way I acted and even spoke around others it wasn’t deliberate I just soaked up other people’s personalities and mannerisms like an emotional sponge.
Of course I went through various embarrassing phases such as the emo phase (though I’m still an emo at heart) but it wasn’t just my tastes and appearance changing I didn’t feel I had a sense of self I felt like a hollow shell lacking an identity.
When I started my job six months ago I bought a pink desk organiser which has since been joined by pink in trays, a couple of toys and a coaster saying punch today in the face, I’ve also decorated it for Christmas and put up motivational postcards on the wall, for me it’s important that my work space reflects me especially as I spend so much time at work it really helps my wellbeing to feel it’s somewhere I belong physically as well as emotionally. Although I still experience the occasional existential crisis I feel more secure about who I am than I have in the past, part of this is having things I’m passionate about such as my job and writing, that’s not to say my job is my entire identity but mental health is obviously something I’m very passionate about so I’m Georgiesaurus I like pink, I swear a lot and often drink too much, I love House MD, my top artists on Spotify include Bruce Springsteen, First Aid Kit and George Ezra, I believe pineapple belongs on pizza, I hate Theresa May and I wear cat mittens.
Sing with me
I love live music I love going to gigs even though I don’t do it that often it’s something I really enjoy. As a rather emo teenager I’d queue up in the cold wearing just jeans and a t-shirt arriving several hours early to guarantee a place at the front by the stage with only the bare minimum of possessions with me to avoid the need for a bag. I would far rather be crushed and sweaty in the mosh pit than sensibly seated or in the less crowded areas at the back.
My first and only festival experience was not something I’m keen to revisit, between the lack of sleep, disrupted medication schedule and discomfort of camping day festivals and open air gigs are more my thing with a comfortable bed to return to
The days of post gig highs from adrenaline and lack of sleep have been replaced by planned annual leave the day after a night out to recover, I can’t stand for anywhere near the length of time a gig lasts and crowds bumping and pushing me not only increase my anxiety but cause physical pain and my rock my already shaky balance.
Today I’m paying for last night although the pain and exhaustion are worth it for such a good time seeing First Aid Kit a band that although I haven’t been following for long I’m now a big fan of and really love the music of, they’re also amazing live but despite some of the perks of going to a gig as a disabled person like queue jumping or getting a carers ticket for free I do wish I could still be near the front and not forced to be seated out of necessity.
I’m not a fiction writer, not that I consider myself a writer as such I enjoy blogging and writing workshops and training but I can’t write stories. I admire people who can write fiction, recently I’ve been reading quite a lot of fan fiction, now I know the reputation a lot of fanfic has and the sort of images it brings up in a lot of people’s minds – badly written sec stories often with interesting pairings and while there is plenty of that it’s not what I read.
I read a description recently where a character was described as “walking a tightrope across a canyon of pain, trying to keep his balance, occasionally swaying slightly“ although this was a metaphor for physical pain I think it’s also very accurate for mental health and the balancing act of trying not to over balance from one problem or another and stay on course. I’m struggling with anxiety and low motivation and the 8 -10 week wait for another CMHT appointment has now been 15 weeks with no appointment in sight.
My tightrope is currently swinging between work and benefits with a chasm of fuck knows what beneath me too deep to see the bottom but with nothing good down there.
I’m behind with work and struggling to talk to anyone about it, I’m frustrated at myself and I’ve come to such a roadblock with this that it’s making me feel stupid which is why I’m struggling to ask for help or admit that I’m having a complete mental block, I’ve always struggled to ask for help with things I don’t understand for fear of looking stupid (or being told I’m stupid). Other issues at work currently stressing me out are things beyond my control such as not enough volunteers and having to rush training new ones and now someone close to me is leaving. Have a mentioned before that I struggle with change? Especially changes with relationships? The last couple of weeks have been an emotional shit storm from hiding in the toilets crying because I’m actually devastated that they’re leaving to losing my temper and shouting at them due to a build up of stress and frustration.
On the other side the benefits and money stress which is something that doesn’t just impact on me, my tax credits have been stopped in what I can only see as an hmrc cock up which has also had a knock on effect in stopping my housing benefit and having to repay the council what they’ve paid so far, I recently had to reapply for my PIP/ disability benefits and still haven’t heard back from that, the scary thing about this is if I lose it completely I won’t be eligible anymore for tax credits and my boyfriend will lose the carers allowance he gets for supporting me.
As I can’t currently see an end to the tightrope I just have to hope I can keep my balance and not fall over the edge like the character the quote was about.
Watching me decay
One year ago today I started working on the youth wellbeing service, initially to support the volunteers when they delivered workshops and helping with training while someone else did the main day to day running of the service. One the first day he threw me in at the deep end and got me to rewrite one of the workshops, despite not bringing my armbands I managed to avoid drowning and quickly decided I wanted more than just the odd hours supporting the volunteers partly because I liked the extra money but also because I was starting to want more than the things I was doing.
I guess I was lucky to have a manager that was happy to give me more responsibility and delegate more work to me plus he didn’t have the time to do the amount of work the youth service needed on top of running another service 3 days a week. I loved the things I did as a volunteer but I was starting to get bored and after years of stagnating I didn’t want to get stuck again so the more I was given the more I took.
This arrangement was meant to last a couple of months then until Christmas then April. On the 26th of April I had my interview for the service lead position and on April the 27th I was told I’d got the job.
Today I jumped ship and went to work in one of the other offices with a different team, since starting this job I’ve found it hard to be alone in the office all day so I tend to pop up in other places from time to time, I celebrated in a work appropriate was with a boiled sweet which my current manager laughed at me for when I sent her a text telling her (feeling the love) but I might go wild tonight and have something stronger, maybe a bag of haribo 😜