#BreakTheStigma · Chronic pain · Fibromyalgia · mental health · realistic · Writing

Breaking The Stigma; An insight into a Mental Health Crisis

*Content Warning*

This post contains some powerful material, all of which were real experiences. Please read on with caution.

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Each day is different. Each day arrives with its unique challenges, pain, anger, frustration but also moments of happiness. Thankfully, I’m able to feel more of those moments lately. This time two months ago, I didn’t think joy would be a feeling I could ever experience again. Today, I live in the moment, I can hold onto a smile for a few more moments than back then.

Living with relentless Fibromyalgia pain and C-PTSD has always been a wave that I’ve had to surf, knowing the sharks below are lying in wait (ironic as sharks don’t stop swimming, but you get the point).

A few months ago, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, more commonly know as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. I decided to go on long term sick leave from my job within the NHS, in order to focus on completing year one of my Masters and attend weekly Psychotherapy appointments. It wasn’t until – in desperation – I requested a change in my medication. I didn’t need to be on antidepressants, I needed a mood stabiliser, to mellow out the Tsunami sized waves by this point. I though things couldn’t get worse than crying daily, and feeling somehow, ‘not right’. Oh was I wrong. 

Saying I am sensitive to medication is an understatement and this new medication pulled the rug from under my feet. Doctors always warn of the initial, ‘you may feel worse, you may have bad thoughts or feel suicidal’ and I always nod, take the prescription and discard the leaflet as not to obsess over potential side effects.

However, a few weeks in, and the tears were the least of my worries. My temper would go from zero to ten within moments because of trivial things (trivial in hindsight). I knew I was in trouble when the thoughts begun to overwhelm me:

‘You piss everyone off’

‘You’re a failure’

‘You’re going to be suffering in pain for the rest of your life’

‘whats the point of fighting’

‘Hurt yourself’

The list goes on, and the more I listened to that train of thought, the more it derailed me. I was soon cutting again after years of abstaining. I was bigning and purging more than ever and isolating myself from everyone. I even felt like a failure when the cuts weren’t deep because they were too painful.

Desperate to make the pain and the thoughts disappear, I gave in. I literally ran to where I keep all of my prescription tablets and begun to pop dozens of blisters. I didn’t count. I didn’t want to. I grabbed another box of something else and did the same. When I had a pile, I put them all in my mouth at once and the thoughts immediately went away. My mind was quiet. 

What is strange is, what came next was euphoria. Not from the tablets as they take time to kick in. It was almost as if the silencing of ‘the malevolent voice’ brought me back to myself. I felt normal. As the tablets kicked in, my pain disappeared and I felt normal. I felt happy. but then a different more rational voice kicked in.

‘What have you done?’

‘What’s going to happen to me?’

‘I’m an idiot’

After phoning an ambulance in tears, I sat on my stairs, wallowing. My emotional/ impulsive brain had gone quiet but my rational brain could also make me suffer with the truth. I had poisoned myself and then called the NHS for help, wasting their time and money, knowing someone could be having a heart attack. I felt selfish and vowed to never do something so stupid again.

By this time, the medication was well on its way to causing havoc in my body. I don’t remember much of getting taken into Resus. Paramedics tried to speak to me but I couldn’t top crying, I couldn’t stop itching every inch of my bare skin. My asthma was flaring up. Low breathing rate. Nausea. Dizziness. Tiredness, Tachycardia, Low BP. Waking up every now and again, a medical team was constantly surrounding me. For the most part, I was terrified but a small part of me that I later found out in Psychotherapy realised, I craved the attention, the feeling of being cared for and listened to. I can now admit, I felt safe. But this was an addictive feeling. One I began to turn to as a fail safe coping mechanism.

The medication changes and difficult discussions during Psychotherapy led me to overdosing another four times. I could describe each experience as they were all different but i’ll save that for another post. I will say, what stopped me from overdosing a fifth time was the reality of spending an obscene amount of time in hospital hooked up to an infusion machine that was trying to stabilise my liver. I am lucky to not have permanent damage. Medicine harmed me and medicine saved me. The lonely hours I spent, laying in bed, watching the infusion clock count down gave me a lot of time to think of how much I didn’t want to be in this situation again.

Unfortunately, mental health is sneaky and the suppression of my coping mechanism led to others. I begun to physically get violent with myself if I became upset. Head banging, biting myself, punching walls and then cutting into my wrists. After stitches, I was told I would have scars that would likely never disappear. I am not proud and I am in no way encouraging my behaviour. but I am not ashamed of the scars. They tell the story that my invisible illness can’t.

Similar to the scars, I guess that is why I am writing this – to break the stigma around mental health issues. I am writing to the person who feels alone, the person who is curious but doesn’t know how to ask the hard questions and to tell my story.

I am one of the lucky ones. I have managed to come out of my crisis, having learned a lot about myself. I am alive. My medication is still a pain in the ass, but that is why I have regular medical reviews, health appointments and therapy sessions. The support I now get from the NHS, friends and family has had a significant impact in helping me climb out of the black pit of despair. Although the support has helped, the hardest thing in the dark was to reach out for support. I don;t think I would be here today without it. But I was the one who asked for it. that makes me feel as thought, even in my bleakest moments, part of me was still in there, clawing towards the light. 

© 2019, Daniella May Little, All Rights Reserved.

3 thoughts on “Breaking The Stigma; An insight into a Mental Health Crisis

    1. Thank you, it’s really strange strange how your health can just change in the blink of an eye. Like you just said in your recent post, ‘ there is no health without mental health’. I am constantly working on my mental health as well as my overall health (weight, diet etc) for a holistic approach. It’s working for me so far. One moment at a time 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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