Follow @stuckinscared Stuck In Scared: I am...

Thursday, 9 October 2014

I am...

My 'shame' might not be rational, but it is 'my' truth, and that's what this space is for... Mental health. mental illness. Awareness.

When other mental health sufferers say they are ashamed (many of them are, for one reason or another) I'm usually the first to respond with - "You have nothing to be ashamed of, you can't help being ill" - and I mean it!
However, I'm afraid it's a case of 'Take my advice, I'm not using it', because there really is no other word than 'ashamed' that describes how I feel, overwhelmingly so, and have felt for a very long time.

My 'shame' might not be rational, but it is 'my' truth, and that's what this space is for.

I AM

I AM MUM - To my youngest child (as I once was to my older children) I am story teller - sock puppet  - Tickle monster - make-believer - hugger - hand holder - love; no questions asked.

My four older children are a different story - these days (though they try hard to hide it) they are uncomfortable around me, resentful, ashamed.
They're no longer babies, I can't hide behind, sand castles, sock puppets, and 'sing a song of sixpence' anymore.
They don't understand mental illness, they can't see 'Stuck-In-Scared - but they can see whats going on externally, and it frightens them.

I love my kids and they love me. I have never set out to hurt them, but (without meaning to) hurt them (emotionally) I have!
I am ashamed.

I AM WIFE - I am the wife who almost drove my husband away, because I was blind to how my illness affected him.

He says that blinded by my mental illness (which in fairness has been greatly exacerbated this past few years) he lost sight of ‘me’ - he’s sorry - he loves me - he’ll never hurt me again.
I blame myself - I'm looking into his eyes, and seeing, Where I once saw special, everything I despise about myself reflected back at me.
I am ashamed.

I AM ADDICT (In recovery) - I am the woman who, consumed by symptoms of mental illness, used gambling as a form of escapism. despite knowing she was hurting herself, and those she loved.

I am the grown woman who once sat on a stool in a bingo hall, and wet herself because she'd pumped too much money into a fruit machine to chance another punter stealing her win while she went to the loo!

I am the mother who was often late picking her children up from school because she couldn't walk away - who struggled to feed her children, and went hungry herself, because she'd gambled best part of the housekeeping.

I am the mother, who (up until ten years ago) thought more often about her next bet, than she did her children, and her older children remember that!
I am ashamed
blog post. mental health. mental illness. via @stuckinscared
I AM OCD -  "I see the brush slam down onto the back of my beloved child's head. I hear her desperate screams as the brush comes crashing down! I see myself standing over her, a stranger masking my face, the mask vaguely familiar and yet at the same time completely unrecognizable! I see my child confused, hysterical and consumed with fear beneath me. I repel with every fiber of my being against the *illusory images*; my heart breaks!" read more
I am ashamed
(Please be aware, the above paragraph has been recycled from an old post, and is about intrusive thoughts, a symptom of OCD - NOT child abuse, you can read the paragraph in context by clicking on the (read more) link above. Thank you.


I AM SELF HARM - Sometimes I feel desperate, sometimes I feel angry, unimaginably angry, angry at me, sometimes I crave feelings of relief, calm, control - sometimes I just need to feel.

I starve, burn, cut, bleed, I am visibly scarred.
I am ashamed
blog post. mental health. mental illness. via @stuckinscared
I AM AGORAPHOBIA - I'm unable to go anywhere alone, unable to go out at all some days.
Despite being accompanied in public, I often experience catastrophic thoughts, often experience paranoia, and sometimes experience panic attacks  - sometimes it's clear to onlookers that I have issues, my awareness of this exacerbates anxiety, and shame.
My inability to go anywhere alone places a great burden on my family, especially my husband.
I am ashamed.

I AM EATING DISORDER -  probably the most terrifying symptom of mental illness Iv'e experienced yet, and the one I find the most difficult to write about.
This relatively new addition to my mental health issues frightens the life out of me, and I simply cannot find any 'justifiable' reason for starving myself half to death when I have five children who need me to be strong, and ALIVE!
I am ashamed.

(2016 edit...I have made some progress since this post was published, two years ago. I'm still unable to eat in front of people, and my eating is still somewhat disordered, but I am eating now (as opposed to surviving on cuppa-soup and coffee) and my weight is within a healthier range...there is progress. I'm not there yet, but I'm getting there... I think.)


I AM BENEFIT CLAIMANT - My youngest child and I are both disabled, my husband is our carer, we didn't ask to be a burden on society (Tory words, not mine) but we are - we take the 'social security' (incidentally, from the same system, that my husband paid into for 20 years, before taking on the role of full time carer) or we are unable to survive. 


Fear of the Government, the media, and the benefit system, fear of those in society who have no understanding of invisible illness/disability, and are taken in by the 'scrounger' rhetoric, has led to a dramatic increase in my symptoms, and has caused an Eating disorder, that I did not have prior to the UK Governments combined attack against welfare recipients.

It seems these days its almost impossible to read a newspaper without the words, liar - cheat 'scrounger', jumping out from the page.
I am... blog. mental health. mental illness. via @stuckinscared
I feel judged - by Government - media - society....I'm afraid that you, dear reader, may be judging me right now!
I am ashamed.

I AM DISABLED - Damaged 'stock', a drain on loved ones, a drain on the state.
I am ashamed.

POSITIVE THOUGHT
I AM ME - I am Me - I'm loving, kind, empathetic. Compassionate, generous, passionate. Creative.
I have a child-like way about me (not always a good thing), a wicked sense of humour, and a heart for the hurting.

I like Christmas, a lottle (that's like a little but a lot). I'm obsessed with Betty Boop; there may be more Boops in my house than there are in the Boop-Shop.

I love: Clouds, the sound and smell of the rain, the sun on my face, sand between my toes. Sausage meat between my fingers (that's not as mad as it sounds). Paddling. Puddle jumping. Mud between my toes. Being with my kids. Cappuccino!

I hate: Cruelty. The current UK Government. War. Greed. Fish (unless it's cod...cod's okay). Oh, and the wind; I HATE the wind, it's so... so irritatingly-windy!

I have a fabulous imagination, and the ability to get right down on a child's level, and I mean right down; like 50 going on five down, so I make a great playmate, Where my relationship with my children is concerned, these qualities are my saving grace.
I like Christmas a Lottle... that's like a little, but a lot.

PRAYER
Lord, I pray that the eyes of those who 'see it how it isn't', be opened, and the voices of those 'who tell it how it is', be heard. Amen.

Thank you for allowing me to share

God bless you and all those you love

Kimmie x

65 comments :

  1. Wonderfully written as always!

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    1. Very well expressed. I understand

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    2. This is one of the most detailed and heartrendering accounts of living with mental distress. You don't ever have to feel guilty because you a in genuine need of state assistance. We support you just as we do all disadvantaged people living in the UK. Don't worry about who you are, you are a survivor of the mental health system and a noble one too.

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  2. A good article that highlights a very important area in all our lives. Somehow, making mistakes seems to be a damnation issue. Not one of us can stand up and shout 'I am blameless'. As humans we are natural experimenters and as with all experiments failure is a key element. Getting it wrong is essential to progress and just about every aspect or influence in the history of humanity has got it horrendously wrong on a grand scale one way or another. Apologies and I'll try harder next time can be routes to improvement. But shame and ashamed are the chains that lock us in to our personal prisons. Our shortfalls should be seen as stepping stones making key adjustments with every honest apology. Then at last we can forgive ourselves and move on with our eyes on a better future.

    Great work Kimmie getting stronger with every word.

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    1. Hi Ropey, my first reply seems to have disappeared into the nether, I'll try again :)

      Thank you, for reading, encouraging, and for taking the time to comment, I always appreciate your thoughts :)

      Take care

      Kimmie x

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  3. Brilliantly written as ever Kimmie, very honest, open and heartfelt x

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  4. Beautifully scripted hun. Love again the honest and power behind your words. Chin up as usual and a big hug :)

    Monk

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Monk, *picks chin up* :o)

      I appreciate your taking the time to read/comment

      Take care

      Kimmie x



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  5. Kimmie, you write with such candour and raw beauty here. My heart aches for you. This long list of 'I am's needs to be set side by side with all the biblical statements of who you are in Christ. I see a brave, bold truth-teller here who is ill and damaged in ways that are not of her own accord. Life's many challenges have brought you to this position but they DO NOT define WHO you are. You are a warm and wonderful woman with a heart of gold and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, OK?

    And if you scratch beneath the surface of any life and you will find all of us are wounded, all bleed, all feel hurt and sad in some way. That's why we need a Saviour and that's why Jesus came. He saves us from the worst of ourselves then works (with our co-operation and willingness to surrender) to transform us into the best of ourselves. My friend, you are a work in progress, unfinished and unpolished yet glorious and beautiful in God's sight. Hang on to that truth when the enemy makes you doubt all reason to rejoice. You are Kimmie and you are a woman of valour and kindness, a person who God sees as lovely and precious. Please remember and believe it. Praying for you to see yourself this way. Blessings and love. Xxx

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    1. Joy, you are such a lovely friend, I'm so glad to know you.
      Your kindness, encouragement, reassurance, and gentle reminders, mean more than (at the end of a discombobulated day), I can put in to words, it's a lot though Joy - It means a lot!

      Thank you

      God bless you and yours

      Much love, Kimmie x

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  6. Beautiful, Kimmie..Thanks for your honesty, the stories of your experience, and your wonderful heart…xo

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    1. Hi nana, It's lovely of you to pop by the blog - Thanks so much for your lovely comment :)

      God bless hun,

      Kimmie x

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    1. I'm sorry that you struggle with same/similar Cindy, I hope that you have people around you who are supportive/understanding.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Take care

      Kimmie x

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  8. Feel for you Kimmie, our disabilities and coping strategies are different but I have known that crippling shame. Don't let the shame and regrets swamp you, embrace who you are. The only shame should rest with those who label, stigmatise and persecute disabled people. I found a lot of support through getting involved with my local Time to Change (a national charity which seeks to end mental health discrimination) Just a suggestion. I hope and pray that you can find the right thing for you to feel better about yourself. Tell that shame to get lost, ok? *Hugs*

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    1. Thank you Mandy, such thoughtful, and supportive comments - this was a tough post to share, and such positive, kind feedback means an awful lot to me!

      Take care, Kimmie x

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  9. Beautifully written.. out of all the sadness, you still have a positive outlook. its easy to not do anything about a problem, but to fight and survive is tough. you are a winner.

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    1. Thank you so much, for reading, and for taking the time to leave such encouraging comments.

      I hope all is well with you and yours

      Kimmie x

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  10. Thank you for sharing Kimmie! I love that you are still positive in the face of such struggles! You are an inspiration!

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    1. Hi Elena, Thanks so much for taking the time to read, and connect with me here.

      This was a tough post to share, and one of my worries was that I sounded so negative in this particular ramble - yet you are the second person to see positivity between the lines - I have to admit to not feeling particularly positive right now (things are tough at home ATM) but your comments are encouraging, and have made me feel better - Thank you :)

      Take care, Kimmie x

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  11. Oh my lovely, you are a brave woman to write this, well done you! I really want to give you a big big hug right now, tell you it will all somehow get better and you won't feel like this forever! I can relate to so many things as I have gone through them or are going through them now. If you ever need to talk, I am just a message away.

    Laura x x x

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    1. Thank you so much Laura, for reading, for taking the time to connect with me here, and for your empathy.

      I'm sorry that you have been through/ and are still going through similar struggles.

      I really appreciate your offer of a chat, if I need to, and send the same offer from me to you, if ever you need a (virtual) ear, mines open :)

      Thanks again Laura

      Take care,

      Kimmie x

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  12. Such a thought provoking post. I can empathise when seeing things in the news about being scroungers. I didn't choose to be ill xxxxx

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    1. Hi Carla, thank you for reading/commenting.

      You're right, none of us choose to be ill, who would, and many people (myself included) are far sicker because of the propaganda/rhetoric than we might otherwise have been.

      I hope things improve for you soon.

      Take care, Kimmie x

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  13. A beautifully written post. I'm so sorry you struggle with these things - both the awful internal feelings and the horrible judgements from the government/media/ignorant people who don't know any better. While I don't have experience with the issues myself, I hope that I can be empathetic to those who do - and posts like this help me to understand. I hope you can find a way to feel better.

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    1. Thank you so much Shannon for your kind words.

      I really appreciate your taking the time to read, and comment, It's clear to me that you are indeed empathetic, Thank you!

      Best wishes to you and yours, Kimmie x

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  14. Oh, my dear. You are also a model of authenticity, courage and articulate advocacy for many, many people. I am proud to know you.

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    1. Hi Paula, sorry for the late reply, I'm all over the place at the mo o_O

      You're words (as always) encourage and lift me, thank you so much, I'm so glad to have met you (albeit only virtually; to date) I'm proud to know you too!

      God bless you lovely lady,

      Kimmie x

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  15. wow what courage you have to share that, well done! God bless and don't give up! x

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    1. Thank you, kind words,
      I will never give up :)

      I hope all is well with you and yours,

      God bless, Kimmie x

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  16. This is a POWERFUL message. It's one that intersects and intertwines into other issues as well. Just as we didn't choose mental illness, those of us who have suffered abuse didn't choose to be abused, either.

    The No More Shame Project (which focuses on letting go of shame from childhood sexual abuse) has designated November as the #NoMoreShame month. Your message relates to theirs. And I think it's likely an applicable message to so many people, in so many ways, so yes, I will gladly spread the word. I needed to hear this today... I've dealt with many of these things you describe, too-- the benefit system (my wife and I are on what you'd call "pension", but we did benefits first), self-harm, addiction, perfectionism, and mental illness. I really, really have. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you so much, for reading, for taking the time to comment, and for your encouraging words.

      I'm sorry to hear that you have endured difficult experiences, and still struggle now, both with illness, and with the system.

      Letting go of shame is so hard, I think in many areas of society ppl are almost conditioned to feel shame, and then of course various symptoms of mental illness exacerbate those feelings, not least (as in my case) OCD!

      I don't believe that sufferers should feel shame (despite feeling shame myself) and I agree with you, that abuse victims shouldn't feel shame either, unfortunately, based on my own experience, and on various conversations I've had with others; many of us do o_O

      Thanks again for reading

      Take care, and my best to your wife

      Kimmie x

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  17. Brilliantly honest blog - I'm hooked!

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    1. Thank you! #KindWords

      I've not written much for the past few weeks as I'm dealing with one or two issues at home, but I'll be up and running again as soon as poss.

      It's lovely of you to take the time to read and comment.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, it's nice to (virtually) meet you :o)

      Take care

      Kimmie x

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  18. Wow Kimmie, This is one helluva post. I too see progress here, especially with the gambling addiction. Shame is a strange and terrible thing. I have felt shame for surviving cancer. I don’t quite know where it comes from but in me it seems triggered by something others subconsciously give off when they see difference or don’t understand your account of things. It must be a very primal emotion going back to the beginning of human development - instilling a need to conform for the survival of the group. So permission to dump it as your inner cave-girl getting the better of you, because I see progress here and progress and the determination to make progress are the measure of a person, not perfection.

    Meanwhile, there’s chatter somewhere on one of your posts about writing a book from your blog. I’m finding the process of writing a book hard and lonely and you may need to consider whether that’s currently a good idea or not! But then you could avoid deadlines and allow it as a 10 year project with something at the back of your mind, collecting up some snippets. These a sites / posts might be a useful way to start.
    http://howtoblogabook.com/start-blogged-book-book-using-mind-map/
    http://writenonfictionnow.com/structure-nonfiction-blogged-book/

    Lots of love, Lisa x

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    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for taking the time to respond, and so thoughtfully too!

      You're right, there is progress, and (on my better days) I am able to tap into that, I have managed to control the urge to gamble for some years now (I hesitate to say I've beaten it - because the pilot light is always burning) but I am controlling that urge, and that is (as you say) progress....Thanks for reminding me of that!

      As for the book idea, it is something Iv'e wanted to do for some time, and something I hope to achieve, one day; but for the reasons you pointed out, it's not something I'm pushing myself to do yet.

      I figured I'd just keep blogging, charting my thoughts, and then one day (as a friend of mine pointed out) I'll have pretty much written my book without realizing it. Thankfully, said friend is also a published Author, who is happy to help me through the putting together process (when I'm ready) :o)

      Thanks again for stopping by to read me Lisa, I very much appreciate it!

      Take care, Kimmie x

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  19. Amazing post as always, Kimmie! <3 xxx

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  20. Such a sad read, yet inspiring, and the fact that you recognise these things and can talk about them shows great progress and honesty, well done for writing the post!

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    1. Thank you, for reading Lianne, and for your encouraging comment.

      I'm afraid I don't find these things easy to talk about face-to-face, there are details in this particular post that, to date, I've not been able to share with therapists - but you're right, there is progress, in as much as I am now able to write about my issues, and the writing is cathartic :)

      All the best to you and yours,

      Kimmie x

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  21. What a post!

    I am impressed by your candor and self-reflection. You've taken a good long look into the mirror.

    I'd like to add one more "I am" to your post. You are truly brave!

    Tui, aka @TuiSnider dropping by from #MondayBlogs

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    1. Thanks so much Tui, that's a lovely thing to say!

      All the best to you and yours, Kimmie x

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  22. You could do the book as a diary. Just a paragraph or two or three on random days, or sometimes just a sentence; within a two-five year period, you would have all the material, after which it would just need editing to cut out rambles/repetition, etc. You'd also be able to see progress, and hopefully so would the reader :)

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    1. Hi Terry, yes, Iv'e been thinking along those lines myself, I do diary my thoughts (even if only one of two lines - note form) and of course, there is always the rambles here on the blog too.

      My plan is (at some point) to put everything together for a book, I have a good friend who is willing to help me with that :)

      Thanks for stopping by, reading/commenting - I find it encouraging that your thinking echos mine - makes it seem more doable :)

      Take care, Kimmie x

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  23. This is my first visit to your blog, Kimmie. Last night you posted a flyer, as it were, on Twitter as an advert for this piece, but I was tired and took it at face value - I liked what it said about the power of true and honest expression and about writing hoping that would help others too, and it's amazing to have got up today, clicked on something else and arrived here!

    Your writing is powerful and it draws the reader in with its stark candour and painstaking detail. Those of us who have also suffered with mental health conditions will recognise pieces of ourselves in these vignettes. In the related piece, I was transported right back to those times when, like you, I carried on looking after my young daughter's needs, hoping I appeared 'relatively normal, ... somehow responding through the haze to her eager chattering'.

    In the above writing, I so much didn't want you to be saying 'I am this' and 'I am that ..', seeming to identify yourself with each sweeping category, diagnosis or label. But then I realised it was a powerful and effective device as you also pull into your net the positive, warm attributes of wife, magic mum, homemaker - all implied alongside descriptions of temporarily warped versions - and the wonderful collection of beings in the 'I am me!' section. Rolling this into a prayer that people might not judge, and might see things as they are not through the fog of prejudice, finished it off masterfully, and must challenge each reader to wonder whether he/she is a fraction as honest as you are.

    I've found that one of the empowering things about having hit rock-bottom in life is that there's nowhere much left to fall. I sense you're coming from this place and that that's where a lot of your power is coming from. While you're still 'stuck in scared' - a sensible position, in many ways, in this scary world - you are also in possession of new words hard won fighting through these years of pain, and these are coming across to great effect to touch the hearts of others. I can tell from reading down the comments that people are not only touched by these but are very grateful to you for giving them expression.

    I've never been someone who could really read poetry, despite having studied English Literature for years and years. But T.S. Eliot's has to be the exception. Lines of his have stayed in my mind throught the years. Reflecting on your writing I've read so far, I am reminded of these words:

    'In order to possess what you do not possess
    You must go by the way of dispossession.
    In order to arrive at what you are not
    You must go through the way in which you are not'

    ... and I might just add that, through the calm awareness that runs like a thread through it all, it seems to me you are also there when you might think you are not!

    With love, Nicky x (Can't work out what to do with this 'comment as' drop list and have to dash, so I'm being posted as 'Anonymous'!)

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  24. Thank you so much for these wonderfully honest and courageous words. I am a newbie blogger. I am "recovering" from a recent bout of depression during which I became reclusive and felt pretty useless. I too am all too aware of the impact of my depression on my partner, family and friends. I feel guilty about being so reliant on others during the dark times.
    I'm currently going for CBT sessions and am finding them really helpful. Confidence-building stuff - helping me to gain a feeling of control over my destiny once more. But, for how long?
    Keep creating, writing, playing. Try to focus on the good stuff.
    All best wishes to you and yours.

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  25. my favourite word for those times when I am filled with so much shame- "God does not call you by your shame, He calls you by your name". :)

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    1. Thank you for that comforting thought Joy :)

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  26. You are strong, you are a fighter, you are an advocate for mental health awareness, you are awesome Kimmie! x

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    1. Aw, you've just cheered me up.. on a day when I really needed cheering, Thanks R :) xxxx

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  27. You are kind, brave, inspirational, and a fighter through your struggles with mental health. I need to give you a big virtual hug for sharing your story here. ❤️

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    1. Aw Thank you Jeanine... kind words :)

      *hugging you back* x

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  28. Kimmie, this is gorgeously written. You are such a brave beautiful person. ❤️

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    1. Darla, What a lovely thing to say. Thank you! x

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  29. Each time I read this, I think how beautiful and inspiring it is, and how brave you are to share so honestly. Don't ever be ashamed.

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    1. Thank you, Ruth... such a supportive, and reassuring comment.

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  30. This is very inspiring and beautiful. Thank you for having the courage to speak out mental illness and the stigma that comes with it. I hope to read more from you soon

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  31. This is very inspiring and beautiful. Thank you for having the courage to speak out mental illness and the stigma that comes with it. I hope to read more from you soon

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    1. Thank you, Jenna... for taking the time to read, and for your lovely comments/feedback, here and on Twitter.

      All the best to you and yours, Kimmie.

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  32. How true it is that we are able to give advice so freely because we are not using it ourselves. Perhaps, unlike in other situations, we should only give what we have left after we have had our fill. Take care, Kimmie. Hugs. xo

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    1. Hi, Norah. I'm so sorry for the late reply. It's a tough one, it really is... I don't believe anyone (including me) should feel ashamed because they're ill...it's not like anyone chooses to be unwell. But, and it's a big but... there really is no other word than shame for what I so often feel. Sometimes shame is born of other peoples reactions, but also, I think, it comes from knowing how much my illness affects the people I care about. Limits them as well as me. Frightens-confuses-hurts them.

      Thank you for popping by, Norah. Your comments are always thought provoking. I value that. x

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  33. Honest, heart-felt and powerful.

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