Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Careers

I find it strange how the world acts as if our careers are pre-determined.

Ever since I can remember, and I know for a fact that hundreds of thousands of people will identify with me on this, I've been asked what I want to be when I grow up.

Now I'm 22. I'm still being asked what I want to be when I grow up.

I've never been someone who ever had a career set in stone, or a clear focus on who they 'wanted to be'. I remember being about 6 years old and wanting to be a post woman which lasted all of 10 minutes, and the next career ambition I vaguely remember having was wanting to write.

When I was young, and I mean very young, I used to write stories. I used to sit in my tiny little box room in my Nan's house and maul over all of the colourful notepads that my Nan had bought for me (not much has changed, I still love stationary) and I used to write stories. Usually they were adventure stories, strange really as now I don't even consider myself to have an imagination that stretches beyond my current living situation. In early secondary school, as I started to sink into an eating disorder and self-harm, I begun to write diaries and poetry, and I've mentioned these briefly in blogs before. I always said from a young age, that I wanted to be a writer.

In my mid-teens I had a fascination with becoming a journalist, and used that as my answer to the 'growing up' questions that were thrown at me. It was one of those careers which everyone seemed to want to have, and I guess involved writing for a living so I made it what I wanted to be. That was before I grew older and realised not long afterwards how much I detest journalism, in all shapes and forms - and have made the concious decision that any published work I produce will be my words and my words only and will be nothing less than what is true. I really strongly do despise the journalism industry, and I'm not just speaking of magazines and newspapers, I'm thinking of the news and the media in general and the way it warps us and our way of thinking. (I digress, this is for another blog post!)

During my late teens I completely detached myself from the writing front and wanted to move into Psychology, and now, after switching my degree to my passion of English Literature, I really have no idea where my life is headed or what I want. Only recently have I considered a few different pathways but have never really been sure if these said pathways are my own or are ones that others have constructed for me.

Being 22, and having a long-term boyfriend who works full-time, I often get asked if my boyfriend ever gets frustrated that he is the solid earner of us two, and whether he gets frustrated that we can't move out together because I only work one day a week, and that I should get my shit together before I leave University otherwise I will struggle in the 'big wide world'.

I know what the 'big wide world' is like, I am an adult, and am capable of making my own decisions that are suited for me - for anyone who has ever asked me that question.

More importantly, I am not going to assign myself to a career because I feel like I should. Right now, not knowing what I want out of life is scary, but it's only a little more scary because people have made it feel like it should be scary. Do you see what I'm saying?

I often get asked if I want to teach (as of course, teaching is the ONLY profession available to you with an English degree) and I sigh as I realise that many people just believe that all I've done in my life is by choosing a certain degree, managed to limit myself and my capabilities in life. No. By choosing to study English Literature, I've opened up a variety of opportunities for myself and I have the capacity to do what and when I want as the time comes to it - with hard work, determination and effort. Success does not just equalise what comes out of your degree. Success does not equalise a degree at all. I'm starting to realise that to be successful in your life is to be happy with what you've got and where you are. And that's never going to come from setting your life in stone. I want to work in an environment where I feel like I'm making a difference, where I'm not compared to every other staff member (as I seem to be now), and where I'm satisfied. A lot of people say, 'well who likes work anyway?' - and I'm determined not to be that person. I do enjoy working and if I'm going to invest in a multitude of careers or one career, I want to enjoy and learn from each one, and if I don't have the strength to change my path.

Why do I have to BE anything when I grow up other than happy? Careers are important, sure, but I'm starting to realise (sounds silly, I know!) that your career should make you happy too - and even more importantly, careers are not lifelong! Life changes and we change along with it, and I never know what might happen in the next few years or where life will end up taking me. I'm starting to get a few ideas now of the sorts of work experience I want to get next summer, and possibly a third year work placement, but I know full well that these are my own ideas and not ones that have been expected of me by others. Having goals is great, and God knows I make them all the time - but only having one expectation of your life's outcome is only going to leave that life extremely limited. As my cousin reminds me constantly, you're never too young or old to make changes, realisations, or steps in your life to lead you in a more positive direction. Life doesn't necessarily have to lead to a destination, and I think that is where my thought process has been lacking in the past few months. Trusting the process, and following your heart and where it takes you, is the ultimate way to go.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Turn back the clocks

The clocks went back yesterday morning and I'm already feeling its full effects.

My depressive episodes, as is the case for many others, deteriorate at this time of year and have done since I was about 18 years old. It usually first starts spiralling after my birthday at the end of September and tends to pick up again nearer Christmas time. This year is no exception to the rule, and I'm scared.

Scared because I feel like I don't have 'time' to get sick. I have a degree to study for and that remains number one priority, always, but it probably doesn't seem that way to my lecturers and University staff when I'm finding it a challenge to leave my house on a Monday morning, being too anxious to face public transport and other people. Even whilst on a nice day out with my boyfriend on Friday, I was having uncontrollable episodes of anxiety, which is unbelievably rare to occur whilst I'm with him as he always makes me feel safe.

I remember being in this position last year, a few months after beginning my degree, and I remember pulling myself out of the rut with aid and support from lecturers, my friends, and Nathan. So I know it is possible, and that I can do it again without turning to some ridiculous coping mechanism such as self-injury, or overdosing to help me do that. Even after 2 years with a BPD diagnosis and almost 4 years since a huge depressive episode, I still tell myself each year that I 'shouldn't' be depressed and I try and convince myself that I'm over-reacting and making a deal out of nothing, but I'm not. I'm trying to diminish something that is real. In a way I am just as bad as the stigmatisers of mental health problems who claim that by not being able to see the illnesses means that they don't exist. Ignoring the illness and pretending it doesn't exist won't make the thoughts go away, unfortunately. Although I'd like to believe that it would!

My degree is my number one priority and I have to create a balance between looking after myself, and striving for the perfect grades, and I'm never sure if that's possible! If I can't be perfect, I'd rather not face anything, is the attitude I've had for years. I haven't been able to read the set text assigned for today's lecture so I'll make myself so anxious over not being perfect enough to others that I'd rather not face it. Running away from the problem solves nothing, I know. I want to juggle everything and be perfect, and sometimes I forget about the amount of balancing acts required of me to perform. Then I do the comparison act - and that's mostly what has led me to the way I'm feeling at the moment. Comparing others lives to mine. I know the only way I can change things for myself is to just get on and do them, but people always talk as if that's so easy. It isn't. As a perfectionist, who wants her life to be perfect, I can tell you it isn't.

So to anyone I've let down over the last few weeks, especially my lecturers at University, I'm sorry. I just need a little more time to get myself back to normal again, whatever that means.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Realisations

I've been trying to think of what to blog about for a few days now, but haven't really found anything I want to say, all too much. Everything going on at the moment in my life is quite frankly, a bit messy and chaotic, and being back at University and getting stuck into my essays has been the perfect coping mechanism for it all, despite how stressful University can be when you are a perfectionist like myself.

I've learnt a few things over the past few weeks, and without going into details too specifically, what I have learnt is that sometimes, no matter how much you try and force somebody to change, even if it's to save the relationship they have with someone, some people just won't. They don't have the capacity to, or quite honestly they don't want to, even if their actions are destroying the people they supposedly love.

I took a massive step this year and gave a person in my life a chance to make up 22 years of lost time, and this person has let me down. Am I upset about this? Sure. I sought to fill a void, to seek closure and retrieve answers, and all of these things are not what I initially hoped for.

What I need to remind myself is how these actions have strengthened me into a person who isn't going to tolerate what I'd initially tolerated my whole life, being attacked by those around me, absorbing hate and negative thought from others, bullying, being lied to, and overall treated like I don't matter. I received enough of this from school bullies, and I will not tolerate it from someone who is supposed to be a parental figure in my life.

What I am going to do, for my health, is to distance myself from this negativity right now, and focus on those who do matter. My incredible boyfriend of almost 5 and a half years, my Mum, step-dad and Nan, my best friend Becky, my wonderful University friends, and most importantly, the family I have gained in the last six months, especially my supportive and caring cousin and as of this week, my big brother, which is as you can imagine, so incredibly overwhelming. I've been through enough self-hatred my whole life to have people add to that equation, and by keeping the ones who matter the closest, and distancing myself from those who add fuel to that fire, I'm for once doing the right thing and looking after number one. Something I've never really done too well in my 22 years.

I'll always be that person who cares for others more than herself, and I'll always be that person who blames herself when things go wrong in others lives, or when she can't provide the help to someone else that they desperately need. I'll always be that person who wants to be liked by everybody and who people pleases, and I'll always beat myself up for the uncontrollable. However, by ignoring myself and my own needs, and by not accepting that I can't change what I can't control, I'm depriving myself of so many opportunities and also refusing to notice the people in my life that actually, really do care. And plenty of my friends and family have reminded me of their love and support this week, and I couldn't be more grateful for that.

It'll be hard, and difficult, but I know what needs to be done, and that realisation is the most important thing.

Friday, 10 October 2014

World Mental Health Day 2014

Today, the 10th of October, is World Mental Health Day.

I was debating whether or not to make a post today, as I have done in previous years. Mental health, for me, is a topic of conversation which dominates my life everyday and I do my best to talk about it to as many people as possible. Not because I want sympathy, but to attempt to make talking about mental health as normal as talking about an arm fracture, or a sore throat. Those that still dramatically stigmatise against mental health problems fail to recognise that they too, have a state of mental health. Their state of mental health may be a lot better than the peers they stereotype, but regardless, all mental health has the capacity to deteriorate at any given time, for a multitude of different circumstances, often out of the individuals control. It's a scary thought, yes, but if we take into consideration the fact that it is estimated that 1 in 4 people battle mental health problems day in day out (and bearing in mind, this is obviously not counting those who refuse or are too scared to ask for help), in 2014, is stigmatising really necessary anymore? Have we not moved on from this? Have we not reached a state where instead of laughing in the face of the mentally ill, we open up a hand to them for support and guidance?

I honestly believe we've come a long way in reducing the stigmatisation of mental illnesses, I've confidently been able to speak to both of my bosses about my struggles without the intense fear that I'm going to be fired on the spot, I've been able to make videos about my illnesses which I've publicly posted on my Facebook page with the notion that if someone is unsupportive about my struggles, then quite honestly they don't deserve a place in my life. We have reached a stage in society where we are talking about mental health on the news, more and more documentaries are being aired on the subject, celebrity ambassadors are getting involved to speak out (think Stephen Fry and recently the internet sensation Zoella). For any individual, to witness someone going through mental health problems and the impact it has on their life is a difficult thing - especially if the individual has no real connection with the mentally ill and may not understand what the other is going through. Despite this, there is a lot more support, I feel, guided to those with mental health problems than ever before.

I do think there are flaws with the way mental health has been projected through the media, and feel there is a lot more work to be done, despite being immensely proud of how with the increase of social media we have as a community managed to reach out to as many people as we possibly can. Following a video that I posted on Facebook last year where I opened up about my struggles, I had a multitude of people contact me, most whom I hadn't spoken to in years, contact me to tell me their stories and experiences. That is exactly WHY I do what I do.

There are a few things I feel that must be worked on/addressed, however:

- We've begun to see illnesses such as depression and anxiety as more commonplace and as illnesses that have gradually become more accepted in society. Yet, it's important to remember that mental health isn't just 'depression and anxiety' - although these illnesses may be the most common. It's shocking to see that in 2014, illnesses such as schizophrenia, personality disorders (such as BPD), bipolar disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder still have more negative connotations associated with them and are the illnesses that, in my opinion, tend to adher to the stereotypes people do still often associate with mental health. It's important to remember that mental health issues are complex and can affect anybody in a multitude of different ways, but this does not mean that we should be feared. We are humans, too.

- Enough with people who dismiss mental health problems because we 'should' be happy, for any given reason. I'm often told, and have been told this week infact, that I 'shouldn't' be depressed because of all of the incredible things I've got going for me. It doesn't work as simply as seeing a new light at the end of the tunnel, reminding yourself you have a family, friends, a career, and then snapping out of the rut that your illness has found yourself in. I've tried for the last week and a half to get myself back into University, to get myself studying for the degree I love so much, to 'sort myself out', and it has proven unsuccessful. To tell us to try harder only belittles us further, to tell us how we 'should' feel has the same impact.

- Social media is an extremely powerful tool for distributing facts and dispelling myths surrounding mental health, but I feel it has reached a stage where we have opened up to others who already struggle, to those who already know the facts and figures, and therefore the information is, in a way wasted. It's important to share posts and videos on Facebook, to family and friends, to speak to your work colleagues, and educating the otherwise ignorant - as difficult as it can be, it is essential that the people you're actually 'raising awareness' to, is not wasted on those who already understand plenty about mental health - it's very easy sometimes to project our awareness raising to the wrong sort of people. In the next year I aim to open up to wider social media platforms, including possibly getting back into YouTube again, and working with mental health charities to get involved with some public campaigning.

- The emphasis on mental health being of equal importance as ones physical health. The incredible author Matt Haig (author of 'The Humans' and the upcoming novel 'Reasons to Stay Alive') tweeted yesterday and nipped it in the bud when he said - 'Mental health IS physical health. The mind is as influenced by the body as the heart is' and he couldn't be more correct in his statement. It is important to recognise that the mind and the body work in unison, and neither one should prioritise over the other. I spoke in my last post about self-harm, and wondered who was it that told us that our pain should be public? I express this to you all again today. In my 22 years of existence, my depression has brought me greater pain than any physical illness ever has done, and some would call me extremely lucky, but I see that not as luck. I wouldn't wish the way depression, anxiety or BPD have ever made me feel on anyone else and I don't know anybody who would. It's time to see the mind and the body as one unit and take them as seriously as the other.

- Suicide is still a large taboo and I think that has been highlighted this year, especially with the death of Robin Williams, a huge public figure, loved and respected by many, who following his death many couldn't quite grasp 'why' he has chosen to take his own life, saying he had no right or reason to. Suicide is a whole lot more than an inconvenience to the commuter who had their train delayed or a bother because you were stuck in your car for three hours whilst police, medics and trained staff were trying to talk somebody off a bridge. Think of the bigger picture here. I've seen so many awful tweets circulating around social media in recent years regarding suicide, especially if it involves public transport or commuting, often referring to the 'selfishness' of suicide, the whole 'why should these people inconvenience MY day, can't they just go and die somewhere else' tweets (genuine tweets I have seen). Perhaps consider who is being selfish here. I made a post about suicide back in 2013 which you can go and read here. There is also an event taking place tomorrow entitled Walking Out of Darkness, associated with the charity CLASP, which a 10 mile walk to raise awareness for mental illnesses, suicide, in memory of those lost to suicide. More information can be found here. It shocks me that still suicide is not being taken seriously enough by the general public. It affects lives each and every day and even the thought of suicide, something I have experienced, is one of the most unbearable situations to be in, and should be talked about much more than it is. 

If you've never had a conversation about mental health, maybe today is a good place to start. My aim over the next year is to broaden the platforms in which I speak about mental health, to reach out to more people. I think the most important thing to recognise is that, despite my illness and my need to constantly spread messages and information about mental health, I am not my illness and I do lead a life beside it. My depression, anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder are what makes me who I am and have led me into the person I am today, but they are NOT who I am and I refuse to be recognised as just a girl with BPD, I am a girl who loves her English degree, who loves her partner of over 5 years, and a girl with ambition. I'm determined that my mental health problems will never take that away from me.

Finally, one thing I must say is to look after yourself. Never be scared to reach out for help if you're going through a difficult time, never be scared to tell people or open up about how you feel. We all have the capacity to feel and have emotions, and we are all as important as each other and deserve the help we require at any given time. Be kind to yourself.


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Baths & Scars

I like to take baths. As my favourite author/poet Sylvia Plath once quoted, There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them.”. Since my parents and I moved into this new house and I acquired my own bathroom, I've fallen in love with turning to my bathroom, running a hot bath, turning all the lights off, lighting the candles, using bubble bath or a bath bomb, and just laying there in the overwhelming heat. I tend to use this opportunity to build up a relationship with my body, as I use lotions and potions to make my skin softer, more exfoliated, I work hard to try and accept the different parts of body that I detest so frequently, and having baths which allow me to sit, think and relax let me do that.

I take a lot of baths but my utmost relaxing bath tends to occur every Sunday, which even though is essentially not a day off from working, is a day that I like to try and allow myself to relax, at least in the evenings. On the Sunday just passed I decided, whilst in this moment of tranquillity, to take a closer inspection at my scars. I have no idea what prompted me to do this, but I've had an extremely rough time this past week and my head hasn't exactly been in the right place for me to say that I've been in a perfect frame of mind. Regardless, I looked and thought about the self-harm scars that I currently have on my legs and waist.

Sometimes I look at my legs and my waist and I'm in shock, and sometimes, I'm not at all. On Sunday, I inspected my scars and everything all of a sudden hit me that these scars are what I did to myself. Which I know sounds like such an obvious and stupid thing to say, but my scars are not visible and therefore tend to matter to nobody else, and therefore should not matter to me. 

Despite beginning to self-harm at the age of 12, I was between the ages of 18 and 19 when I 'created' these scars, possibly younger than that. I remember my poor boyfriend having to come to my house and bandage me up for some of them. I don't remember the frame of mind I was in for each individual scar, but this particular evening I acknowledged my previous pain in a way I had never done before. That these scars existed because I was in severe pain. And the fact that for years I've continuously attempted to ignore their severity or that they exist, simply because they were on my legs and not visible to the public, upsets me.  Why have I never taken these scars seriously? Why have I blocked out the pain I give myself each and every day - because I feel like I deserve it?

Who was it that decided that pain should be public? Pain is emotion, and emotions are felt within. The way they are expressed are left entirely to the individual, and yet we live in a society where the severity of ones mental state is judged by the amount of damage one does to him/herself? Why do we let things get SO bad that we have to resort to the public displays of pain before one is able to retrieve the help they need? 

I was reading the novel Mary Barton a few nights ago for my degree, and came across this quote which has resonated with me over the past few days, and I wanted to share it with you now:

'But he could not, you cannot, read the lives of those who daily pass you by in the street. How do you know the wild romances of their lives; the trials, the temptations they are even now enduring, resisting, sinking under? You may be elbowed one instant by the girl desperate in her abandonment, laughing in mad merriment with her outward gesture, while her soul is longing for the rest of the dead, and bringing herself to think of the cold flowing river as the only mercy of God remaining to her here' 

This quote has been highlighted and marked in my copy of Mary Barton as a quote of true importance. Why does struggling with BPD and anxiety mean that I constantly must display my pain to be taken seriously? Why must I adher to the madness stereotypes and be feared by the rest of society when truly, that isn't who I am? Why must I feel guilty because my pain as a teenager was not reflected onto my wrists? I'm constantly told that I'm such a happy individual and shouldn't be depressed and truly believe that the guilt I associate with my illnesses is reflected from these comments. From other people telling me how I should or should not feel when ultimately the only person who understands the emotions and moods being dealt with, are myself. I would say that in the current relapse I'm experiencing of my depression and anxiety, the thoughts have been present for a couple of weeks now, and I have tried to put my face on and cope with life as per usual, but as per usual, it all becomes too much and I have no control over the way I feel anymore. I'm trying to push against a current which simply is just dragging me backwards with it's strength, and sometimes I have to give in and say that it's okay to be depressed. It's okay to want to self-harm. It's okay to have an anxiety disorder. But I must also allow myself to warrant help and accept and get better. Right now, I'm not at that stage and I'm at a point where a future for myself appears impossible.

For the first time since creating these scars I viewed them with some severity and in a way couldn't actually believe that the person who was looking at these scars was the same person that caused them. It didn't feel like the same person was capable of inflicting levels of pain like that onto herself, when really, I've self-harmed since then in different ways unnoticed which I have dismissed because no-one would take seriously what wasn't visible to their eyes. 

I've been off from University for a week now due to my depression and yet still want myself to 'snap out of it', telling myself that nobody cares unless I prove to them that things are serious. But inside, I know that things are serious enough for me to warrant specialist help and for people to take me seriously. I try and kid myself sometimes that my illness is not serious and is something I need to 'get over'. Then at times like this week, when I wake up and cry for hours, and cannot 'snap myself' out of the mood, I tell myself that my illness is severe and that I need help, but inside will never take myself as seriously as I would like.  I wouldn't say I've 'moved on' from self-harm, despite not having participated in any self-harming acts through the last year, it's something that remains in the very forefront of my mind, and  the spontaneity that occurs with my BPD means that I can never be rest assured of my future behaviours. How can we ever be, I guess? I think a lesson that I do need to learn from my teenage experiences, and my experiences of self-harm in my early twenties, is that any pain that I inflict onto myself is just as severe as if it were to happen to another. That self-harm does not always occur via the means of cutting the skin, nor is is always visible to the eye. Of course, all of these facts are ones that I know at heart, but have to remind myself when I constantly tell myself that I'm not worthy of help.

It will take a while to acknowledge at heart that I am worthy of the help I need, or that I'm not a failure at life, or that having mental health problems is okay. Engaging in self-validation, acceptance, of myself, who Amy is. I haven't done that yet. Yet I'll also try, during my recovery to change these viewpoints for others struggling, as well as myself, and if that gives me something to be here for, then I'm happy about that.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Changing

My friend Tanya spoke about change on her blog this week, and I thought I'd address it a little today. She said that 'We are only a victim if we allow ourselves to be, and we can only move forward if we allow life to change. It is not about what we like or don't like, it is about what we choose to allow'.

I agree so much with this statement but also at the same time find it incredibly difficult to put these words into practice. I believe I've spoken about this a few times before, but today I write this from a different point and perspective in my life. That change, for me, is terrifying.

Thinking about it more thoroughly, I think part of the reason why I'm so resistant to change in life is that I'm not really sure what I want to change 'into'. The future, although inevitably, the future is happening all of the time, uncontrollably, is one that I am unsure about. I don't see a future, so every decision I make in life never feels like the right one and I'm constantly making mistakes as a result. 

My fear to change is the reason why I've landed myself in a extremely sticky situation, to balance two jobs and my own sense of sanity on top of a degree, which this week has completely proven is not possible. Thursday morning I woke up and cried for a solid three hours and couldn't leave my bed, and Friday, although calmer, was no different in the way I felt about myself. Classes and work missed, in my second week of University - already being unable to cope with what life throws. Coping with life changes.

I'm allowing myself to be a victim, I guess, and I hate being that person, but it takes a certain amount of strength to undo all this mentality in my head which isn't well enough yet. I tell myself all the time that I have progressed from this time 4, 5 years ago, but maybe I've just become a lot better at dealing with my emotions, maybe using Nathan as my excuse not to harm myself anymore is not a good enough excuse. I guess my reluctance to allow change stems from the fact that the past 22 years have been, in my opinion, so flawed that the time I spend trying to fix it is occurring at a time where life is moving so unbelievably quickly that I need it to slow down so I can catch up. I feel like I want to freeze time, undo all of the crap and regrets, work out what I want from life, and press play. I can't do that. 

I know that I have the capacity to change the situation I'm in, logically, but my head tells me no. I have no option but to feel like this for the rest of my life. 

I don't want to 'allow' my life because everything in it doesn't feel right and it hasn't for a long time, and I'm not sure it ever will. How can I allow things to be when what is to be is wrong?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Untitled

I realised today that my life is mostly concerned with pleasing every other individual on the planet except myself.

Although thinking this through whilst writing, maybe it is due to the fact that my identity issues mean that I have no concept of what I even want out of life in the first place, or what it would even take to 'please me'.

A month or so ago, I discussed the feeling of being overwhelmed, and it is as if that feeling has risen up somewhat and has given me a huge slap in the face since I begun second year lectures on the 22nd. I was so excited for this year at University, and as per usual at this time of year, my mood drastically drops as I'm unable to cope with what is being thrown at me. This year, the amount being thrown at me is more than anything else I've experienced in previous years, hence describing my fear of relapsing further into depression not too long ago.

I don't have it within my capacity to admit that things are wrong, except for in my writing which nobody reads. I struggle to let myself struggle infront of others when internally that's all I want to do. The combustion inside of me of negative thought retained throughout the day amounts itself to pure exhaustion in the evenings, and on nights where Nathan is not around and I'm alone, it becomes impossible to function, having spent my entire day trying to do the exact thing that the depressive part of my illness does not want me to do.

I sometimes feel as if I serve life purely as a requirement in opposition to as a desire, and that's where I'm going wrong.

The trouble is, how much help can you seek out of others before they cut you off completely? I'm on the brink of being discharged from my therapy team when it is impossible to attend weekly appointments as I'm currently doing 6 day weeks, 5 in Greenwich and one in my other job. Unfortunately, these are the only people who can give me the help I need to progress forward in my recovery from BPD and these are the people who I dismiss as less important than University, my work, and other commitments. I keep telling, reminding myself that by now I 'should' be recovered, I 'should' be okay and that 'should' is my innermost demon - this is what is stopping me from seeking the help I need. That because I should be perfect like everyone else is, I should just get on with my issues, despite what my head tells me. Plus how do you explain to people how internally you realistically feel about yourself without them wanting to lock you up away from society somewhere?

Last week, whilst in Greenwich, I suffered a panic attack after a conversation with my personal tutor. I had a few hours between this time and the time to get to work and in this time the conversations with myself and my tutor were ruminating around in my brain so much that I worked myself up to a panic of overwhelming thought. It became so unbearable that at times I stopped and stood straight in the middle of Greenwich High Street, letting these swarms of people rush past me at speeds that seemed faster whilst in this trance, but after a while not even noticing where I was and taking myself completely out of the situation and focusing more on my panic & breathing. It was a terrifying experience and one that reminded me of how much I need this treatment, and how much I won't ever fully get to receive it.

I always say how I 'have to make it through the next year'. No, I don't. I have to make it through the next 2, 3 years, the next 30 years, the rest of my life. It's too much for someone like me. It's too much. I live because I have to, not because I want to.