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
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
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 beta 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