Missing Something

For some reason unbeknown to myself, I have always felt as if I am missing something yet I have never known what it is.

I have felt this way ever since I can remember, I am a whole which consists of a hole I do not know how to fill, or whether it truly exists. I would love to believe that I am not missing anything, however, I do not understand how I could have such strong feelings about the matter and certainly not for this length of time.

The following are two excerpts from my personal journal, detailing the intense feelings which I have seemingly always experienced:

I don’t know what it is, but it’s this hole in me that’s ever longing for something which will never fill it, like a part of me died a long time ago.”

– 1:19 11/02/2016

I’ve always felt like I have been missing something; I miss you, I have this gaping hole inside of me that I don’t know how to fill because I don’t know who or what you are. How can a person miss something they’ve never had?”

– 19:57 27/06/2016

I am unsure as to whether I will ever stop feeling this way, and how I will achieve that. This has been a part of my illness which I have never been able to understand. All I know is that I simply have a longing for something that I do not know that I will ever have. This makes almost no sense to me, yet it makes perfect sense at the same time.

I have spent my entire life trying to rid myself of this feeling, yet it seems to be to no avail.

I truly hope that I find what it is that I am missing sometime soon, or that the realisation that I am not missing anything begins. A life lived whilst feeling like a part of you has never been there is not a life that I want to live.

Losing Your Emotions

Recently, I wrote an an article about Talking About How You Feel. I have never been able to talk about my thoughts and feelings, yet it seems to be growing increasingly worse; and I am beginning to think that it is perhaps because there is simply nothing to talk about.

Let me explain.

Although I may not be able to convey my thoughts or feelings at any given time, I am aware that they are there. I know what I am thinking and feeling, even if I cannot share it. However, currently I am not aware of what I am thinking or feeling. It is as if my thoughts are there, but they are also not there. I can feel nothing, but I can also feel too much. It is as if my mind has been immersed in a mist that I cannot navigate my way through.

I’ve always believed that I have been extremely emotionally intelligent, from a particularly young age. I have never found myself in a position where I don’t know or understand what it is that I am thinking and feeling. I am aware when I am feeling something, I am aware when I am feeling nothing; yet for the past couple of months, I have no idea where I currently am with my mental illness, and it is beginning to become a concern.

Am I losing insight? Do I no longer understand my illness? Or merely this part of my illness?

I am plagued with feelings of apathy and indifference. Everything is becoming dim and grey once again. I am not experiencing my emotions, I am stuck within the vast void of nothingness and I’m not sure that I can find my way out; at least not any time soon.

I am empty, I am numb.

Crossroads

Yesterday, I somehow came to the realisation of where I have been and what I have been doing for over the past two years of my life, metaphorically speaking.

The following is an excerpt from my personal journal, detailing the realisation that I have experienced:

For the past two years, I have been stuck at a crossroad in my life. That crossroad has two separate paths, I can either completely let go and immerse myself in self destruction because life is simply not worth it, or I can attempt to get myself together and try to go far in life, but it is not guaranteed.

I would love to be able to choose the latter, but each time I have attempted to walk down this path, I am crushed by stress and my incapability to function as a ‘normal’ person. Sometimes I believe that I have already chosen my path, and that is the path of self destruction. I may have been self-destructive over the past two years, but certainly not to the extent I could be.

I have not yet found an answer, I am never sure if I will ever find that answer, if I will choose my path, if I will finally leave these crossroads. I am truly lost, my mind is a prison which I may never escape.”

Two years ago, I completed my compulsory education. By the time this had come my illness had declined to such a severity that I did not leave my house for months, I lost my girlfriend and all forms of a social life, I had truly hit rock bottom. However, when September came I attempted to attend sixth form. This attempt lasted for two short days, therefore I resorted to a year of isolation in an attempt to render myself healthy once again.

Once the year had passed, my final option was to try and complete college. This ended disastrously within a month, and lead to three separate suicide attempts. This was the last straw for me, quite frankly I am far too ill to attend education, and I believe that education is just not for me; nor will it ever be. As my illness progressed and completely took over my life, I have found myself left at these crossroads.

During this entire period I have been rather self destructive, with intermittent periods of attempting to choose the latter path of living a ‘successful’ life which of course have been to no avail; and each time I find myself returning to the depths of self destruction once again.

I am beginning to work towards the latter path, but I fear that it will end the same again. I do not know or understand what I need to do differently. Each and every time I try to pull myself together and work towards a better life I find myself within the midsts of a severe mixed, manic, depressive, or psychotic episode. I have also never found a point in which I have been ‘stable’ since the beginning of my illness, in fact, I do not believe that I have been ‘stable’ throughout any point in my entire life, unfortunately.

If I do decide to choose the latter path, I will not be allowing myself to give up this time, no matter where I find myself. Maybe that was my mistake after all. This is my final chance to attempt to live a fairly comfortable life, this is an all or nothing decision.

I honestly believe that it is all that can save me now, I am all that can save me now.

Hospitalisation: Being Detained

Although I have been mentally ill all of my life, particularly for the past five years, I have been lucky enough to avoid hospitalisation thus far. For those who suffer from a mental illness, particularly psychotic disorders, may feel that hospitalisation seems fairly inevitable. However, this is not necessarily the case, but it is something that we should all think and educate ourselves about at some point. As these are the types of things that you need to prepare for and be aware of, in case you do ever end up in the position where you are being hospitalised.

This article is specific to the UK, however, most of the information provided in this article will apply to those who live in the UK and the US; although there will be differences in the process of being detained within the US.

When and Why You Could Be Detained

Within the UK you will most likely only be detained if you are an immediate danger to yourself or others. There is a huge lack of beds and services available for mental health patients, which is why being hospitalised is a rather unlikely occurrence. However, this doesn’t mean that it does not happen, and there are more reasons other than being an immediate danger to yourself or others that could get you hospitalised.

Your doctor or psychiatrist may feel that you need to be admitted to hospital for a short amount of time in order for further assessment. This may also be the case if your doctor believes that there is no safe way to treat you at home, or if more intensive support is needed than what is currently being provided at home.

What Happens When You Are Detained and What to Expect

Typically, your doctor or psychiatrist will ask you if you are willing to be admitted to a hospital voluntarily; if you agree to this, you will still be placed under a 72 hour hold, after this you can request to be discharged. If you’re doctor does not believe that you are well enough to be discharged, you may be sectioned and held with or without your permission. If you do not agree with being admitted to a hospital voluntarily, you will be admitted involuntarily. Therefore if you are presented with the option of being admitted voluntarily I would recommend doing so as you are more likely to be discharged at an earlier date than if you were to be admitted involuntarily.

Once you are under the care of the hospital, you cannot be discharged unless your doctor believes you are healthy enough to be released. This means that if you require a stay longer than 72 hours, you may be sectioned, however, you will still have the option to remain within the hospital voluntarily, which will not require you to be sectioned.

If you are sectioned, this means that you are being detained in a hospital under the Mental Health Act of 1983; this is the law that applies to both England and Wales which allows people to be detained in a hospital if they are suffering from mental health issues which require them to need hospital treatment. When you have been sectioned, you may be kept in a hospital and be given treatment without your consent.

What You Can Bring

– Clothing

– Toiletries

– Books, notepads and journals

– MP3 Player / iPod (if permitted by the hospital)

When you arrive at the hospital you will be searched upon entry, and so will those who visit you. This is to ensure that any dangerous items such as razorblades, rope, pills, or anything that you can hurt yourself with will not be within your access. Some items such as mirrors or deodorant spray may be stored in a locker which only the hospital staff have access to. The hospital in which you are detained will let you know what you can and cannot bring onto the ward, as each hospital may have different regulations.

It is important to remember that each and every hospital and experience will be different, and so will the patients experiences within these facilities.

Your Rights

If you are detained or sectioned within a hospital, you have the following rights:

– Appealing against your section to the Mental Health Tribunal

– Seeing a copy of the Mental Health Act Code of Practise

– Receive support from and have access to an IMHA (Independent Mental Health Advocate)

– Viewing your sectioning papers

– Asking for a meeting with the hospitals managers

– Asking for information about your sectioning, rights, treatment, and receiving correspondence in the hospital

– Some telephone access

– To complain to the CQC (Care Quality Commission) or the Healthcare Inspectorate if you are a resident of Wales

How to Avoid Being Detained

Sometimes, being detained or sectioned within a hospital is necessary, however, sometimes it is not and it is best to be avoided. I only recommend avoiding being detained if you are not a danger to yourself or others.

In order to avoid being detained, you must simply make it clear that you are not an immediate danger to yourself and others, and that you have adequate support at home and within the community. You will only be detained or sectioned if your problems and the circumstances which you are under are severe or if they could lead to dangerous behaviour.

When is Enough Truly Enough?

When is enough truly enough? How much pain can you fit inside one person? Is there pain that unbearable that a human could no longer live their life?

There are many questions which are left unanswered, and there are many questions which few people will ever ask themselves. We tend to forget how fragile life truly is, how death can come so quickly.

You do not always get the chance to witness signs which can prevent the death of another, we’re rarely aware when a person is being pushed beyond their limits, when they can no longer bare to live life. Yet sometimes we are granted that chance, and these things can be prevented.

I have found that it is only put into perspective once such pain has been experienced or witnessed in another person. To feel someone give up hope as they fall into your arms because they are too weak to stand from the fatigue and pain sustained from such psychological wounds is heartbreaking; and I do not believe that you can understand that until it is something that you have experienced.

Life is the most fragile thing to exist, a persons entire life and being can end in an instant. Death is certainly inevitable, but that does not mean that death does not come for some too soon; mental illness and psychological pain are terrible things that can cause even more terrible things to happen.

Reach out to those in pain, be there for each other. Sometimes simply being in the right place at the right time is all it takes to save a life, a couple of words, a smile. We are too often the only things that can prevent the death of those in pain, educate yourself on the warning signs of suicidal behaviour, this could be the knowledge you need to stop someone from committing such an act.

The line between life and death has grown too thin.

Talking About How You Feel

I don’t believe that I’ve mentioned this on my blog before, but I am an avid reddit user. I use reddit for many things, but the first point that I would like to make is that it is a great place to educate yourself about mental health. As well as provide and receive support and advice from other reddit users who are suffering from the exact same issues. It’s anonymous which also tends to make a huge difference in a persons ability to talk about their problems, and this way, no one would even know it’s you; which is exactly why I recommend that people suffering from mental health problems use reddit for an extra bit of support.

Two nights ago, I wrote a post on reddit in the /r/schizophrenia subreddit about an issue I have been struggling with a lot for the past few months; which is an issue that I also want to share here. The reddit post read the following:

“No matter how hard I try, or how comfortable I am with that person, I simply cannot talk about how I feel.

Since first becoming ill five years ago, the question “how are you?” has become a statement to which I provide the automatic reply of “I’m good, you?” regardless of how I am feeling.

I have been trying my best to tell my girlfriend how I am actually feeling, as she can see that I am clearly not doing well; yet every time we talk about how I’m doing the words that I am trying to get out cause me to feel as if I am choking or that something is crushing my chest, and I sit there in silence.

I have never been able to tell anyone how I am feeling, it feels completely abnormal to me, and all of my attempts to change this seem to be to no avail.

I no longer have any idea of how to deal with this any more, I am truly lost.”

I am in the exact same position with both of my parents, although I am lucky enough to have parents that would understand how I’m feeling, something still stops me from being able to talk to them. It has reached the point where my mother thinks that I am doing extremely well when I’ve actually been a complete mess for the past month or two. I could not talk openly and honestly with my psychiatrist either, it is clearly beginning to become a problem.

Another issue which comes into play here, is the fact that people do become tired of constantly hearing that you are not doing well; even when they are the one who asked you how you are feeling. Which is another reason why I feel the need to avoid telling others how I truly feel.

Conversation seems meaningless, I am simply talking to fill the emptiness.

I have always dealt with my mental illness myself, everything that I think and feel remains in my head. However, everything seems to be escalating to a point far beyond my control, yet I still have no way to let it out; other than through my writing.

With the responses I’ve received so far, it seems that I am not the only one who is currently struggling with this issue, which allowed for some truly beneficial advice to be shared.

You can read the full reddit post and responses here.

September

There has always been something about September that I can’t help but love, it has been my favourite month of the year ever since I can remember; somehow I find that this month resonates with me in ways that I do and do not understand.

The month of September is when I find that nature looks its most beautiful, which is why I spend so much time doing photography around this time of year. The sunsets, sunrises, and the skies in general are spectacular around this time of year. However, this is not the only reason I feel the way I do about this month. Although I cannot find the words to truly describe it, there is a certain atmosphere that September carries which completely adore, this month fills me with feelings of warmth, comfort and tranquillity.

I am unsure as to why I feel such strong feelings merely because of a month or the time of year, yet I do. I appreciate all of the seasons greatly, however Autumn and Winter just have something very special about them.

Over the course of the past month I have managed to capture some of the most beautiful sunsets and landscapes in many photographs. Photography has been one of my favourite hobbies for the past three years, and each year I spend a great amount of time photographing nature during the autumn and winter months.

Nature is truly magical.

 

When Words Fall Short

Are words ever enough? Can words truly convey the intensity and depth of the emotions we’re feeling? Sometimes, I think not. As a writer, this is something that I should not believe; but as a writer, it is something that I know to be true.

Writing has always been my go to choice of expression, and with great reason. Although I believe that words can fall short of accurately conveying a message at times, I also believe that they can be truly powerful when used correctly. I know there are many times that I have read a passage in a book or on a blog that has truly struck a chord with me; and those passages I never seem to forget.

However, there are times when words do fall short; and there is no way to release what it is that you are feeling. When you are left feeling empty, when thoughts and emotions have ceased, what is it that I am experiencing? Nothingness? Still, words cannot describe it.

Or is it that the pain is to much for my brain to comprehend? Let alone to convey exactly what it is that I am feeling? If you as an individual have not experienced the depth of intensity of the emotions I am writing about, can you ever truly understand me or my pain?

This is where words fall short, you are left trapped and isolated with no one to understand you; when sometimes you cannot even understand yourself.

An individuals interpretation and perception means that your writing and the message you are trying to convey may mean something very different to each person. As they read your words, they will only understand what it means to them, and how they can relate to and recognise it in their own life.

Yet they never questioned what it meant to you, they never wondered why your words fell upon the paper in the way that they did, they never asked where words of such pain came from; and that is when words fall short.

 

Obsessions and Compulsions

This is a subject which I have never brought up, including both online and in real life; as it is something I have been experiencing for a very long time, and I have been in a great amount of denial about it. However, recently I have finally began to accept it as what it is. Obsession(s) is such an ugly word, and having them something that I never wanted to admit to myself. I believed that if I kept up my ignorance towards this issue, it would simply dissipate. Although that was never going to happen, which led to the obsessions and compulsions beginning to take full control of my life; and I could deny it no longer.

In truth, I do suffer from both obsessions and compulsions; and it has taken my entire life to finally admit that.

I am unsure as to where my obsessions first began, as I believe that I have suffered with them my entire life to at least some degree. In fact, both my obsessions and compulsions were very prominent during my childhood as I will go on to explain, however they seemingly went unnoticed.

I first noticed that I experienced compulsions only a few weeks ago, although I have been experiencing them for far longer. The following is an excerpt from my personal journal detailing the experience:

“After visiting my old house in order to feed the cats whilst my mother is away, I had to ensure that the cats were back outside and that the house was left in the state upon which we entered. This is where everything went weird. No matter how many times I went into a room to check that I had indeed turned off everything and that everything was shut and locked as it should be, I had to check again. This resulted in me running around my house more than five times in a panic trying to make sure it was all done. Eventually I felt that overwhelmed that I simply ran out of the door and locked it; I no longer cared if everything was as it should be, I just wanted to get away from there.”

If you have been a follower of this blog, then you may have heard me previously talk about something which I refer to as the contamination delusion. I have suffered from this ‘delusion’ for years, and it is something that can affect my life rather severely. In order to prevent contamination, I am constantly washing my hands and my surroundings. The ‘delusion’ has caused me to obsess and fixate on itself, as well as causing compulsions in order to avoid being contaminated.

Another obsession I have always had, is the obsession with numbers. Ever since I can remember I have absolutely despised odd numbers, therefore everything I do or say has to be done an even amount of times. Therefore the action would have to be performed zero times, or two times; not just one time. This is also brings me onto the law of 2 1 2 1 2, which I will write about in great detail someday. In short, the law of 2 1 2 1 2 requires you to touch a part of yourself after touching an object, then you touch the object and then yourself once more, and finally end with touching the object one last time. This makes the addition of 2 1 2 1 2 complete, for example:

2 = 2

2+1+2+1 = 6

2+1+2+1 = 8

Therefore you are left with the three (in my opinion) most perfect numbers, 2, 6, and 8. This may sound incredibly confusing, and it clearly only applies to myself, yet I have abided by this law since the day I could think for myself; that is 18 years of my life dedicated to the law of 2 1 2 1 2.

There are many more obsessions and compulsions that I could talk about, however, I feel that the ones I have already written about portray my experiences the most clearly.

Now that I have accepted both my obsessions and compulsions, I hope I can finally begin to work on them and myself; until they are no more. Although that is far from realistic unfortunately, though I am aware that I could get better at managing them with time.

Within the Shackles of the Unknown: A Loss of Insight

For the past two weeks I have not been able to write a single article, although I promised myself I wouldn’t allow that to happen. Unfortunately, there are times in which I cannot control my mental illness, or the direction my life is going in; I lose the ability to play an active role within my life, and that’s when my mental illness has truly taken over.

As the title of this article states, I have been increasingly losing insight over the course of the past few months; which has escalated to such a degree that I no longer know what I am experiencing. I simply know that I am not doing well. Usually I would be aware of exactly what I was experiencing, whether that be mania, depression, psychosis or mixed episodes. However, I seem to have lost that ability.

I am constantly plagued by negative thoughts and emotions, and all attempts to make them cease or at least subside to some degree have been to no avail. Although I have no intention of committing suicide at this time, it is one subject which I cannot get off of my mind. The thought of suicide is constantly there, regardless of whether I wish to think about the subject or not. The amount of apathy and indifference I feel towards the act of suicide also concerns me.

My mind refuses to be quiet, which leaves me currently incapable of doing pretty much anything. Once again I am revelling in isolation, as I truly do wish to avoid as much physical interaction with people as I can. I have reached the point where I am that paranoid that everything is becoming a question, I cannot trust a single person. I am being bombarded with abnormal thoughts and beliefs which I simply cannot let go off, although I do not wish them to be true. My mind is obsessing and ruminating over things that it shouldn’t, I have no control over my mind or thoughts any more; my mental illness has gone into overdrive and I have been left to take the back seat.

As the days and weeks pass by I lose more and more insight, I am unsure as to how far I am going to lose myself and my mind; my grip on reality has already began to slip.

I am lost within the tunnel, and the light is growing dimmer.