I originally wrote the following piece in 2013... I'm sharing it again today, edited only marginally, because almost 3 years on there is STILL no change for the better... Government are STILL ignoring campaigners... Disabled people (those who have survived the sustained attacks) are STILL afraid!
Writing about my life with mental illness really helps me, it’s cathartic to write my thoughts down.
I made the decision to share my muddled mind through this blog because I felt that sharing my experiences might help other sufferers (and me) feel less isolated.
I hope that by my ‘telling it how it is’someone somewhere will find some relief in reading.
Having said that I do worry (a lot!) that being too honest about some of my mental health symptoms may do more harm than good and it’s for that reason I’m going to suggest that if you're feeling particularly vulnerable at the moment you don’t read any further into this post...
A FINE LINE
In recent years I’ve had various conversations with friends (some via social media, some face to face) who report an increase in self-harm, and/or suicidal-thoughts... and I've lost count of how many articles of same/similar I've read on line.
One lady (heartbreakingly) confided that she is mentally making plans to re-home her pets because she feels suicidal and is concerned that she might act on these feelings, leaving her pets uncared for.
Many of the people I've spoken to have complex mental health issues (some have physical disabilities too), and they have told me that their increase (or onset) of self-harming behaviours/thoughts, and/or suicidal thoughts are directly related to fear of Government, DWP, and current or anticipated WCA (Work capability assessment).
Of course, I know from personal experience that paranoid fear, irrational thoughts and an inability to cope with change often go hand in hand with mental illness, however, given the relentless cuts to disability welfare and services, the Government/media propaganda, and the treatment that so many have endured at DWP assessments interrogations, it’s hardly surprising that so many sick/disabled people feel incredibly anxious at the moment.
People are desperately afraid, overwhelmed with fear. Many are deeply affected by right wing ‘scrounger’ propaganda and incredibly worried about their future.
They’re terrified by even the idea of having to expose themselves (face to face) at a ten minute (tick box) assessment (to a complete stranger) who is unlikely to be qualified to assess mental illness and even less likely to empathise. They are also despairingly aware that even if they are lucky enough to qualify for benefit it won't be long before the process begins again!
Many are self-harming, some feel suicide may be a better option than continuing to battle both debilitating illness and the ‘powers that be’.
Some are far sicker now under a system that (in many cases) claims they are fit for work than they were under the previous system which recognised that they were NOT and supported them accordingly.
Am I afraid? (May 2013) Yes I’m afraid, very afraid!
(Nov 2015)... Still afraid...and the line's still fine.
Has my own tendency to self-harm increased as a direct result of the coalition’s attitude towards disabled people?
Yes! Though I’m ashamed to admit it, it has.
Do I want to continue living with this daily, nightly, debilitating fear?
NO! Oh God no!
I can’t see an end to it, the future is scary, and my own symptoms of mental (and physical) illness have been greatly exacerbated.
Do I ever wonder if my husband, family, (The State) would do better without the-burden-of-me?
Do I feel suicidal? - Do I wish I were dead?
Those of you who know me either through contact or through my writing will already know the answer to this question! You’ll know that I am and always have been terrified of death. You will have read here >> Scared to shut my eyes! about my overwhelming fear of death as a child, you’ll know how terrifying my intrusive thoughts are and how often they relate to death.
NO - I don’t feel suicidal, I have NEVER felt suicidal no matter how much life, other people (or my own mind) has thrown at me. No, I don't wish I were dead.
I don’t wish I were dead now, and I didn’t in 1986 when life, other people (and my own chaotic mind) caused me to suffer a complete mental breakdown and I attempted to take my own life...
I don’t remember how I got to my bedroom that evening with a full bottle of ‘paracetamol’ and a pint glass of water. I don’t remember planning or contemplating suicide or for one single moment wishing I was dead.
I don’t remember thinking about my 8 month old baby or wondering how he would cope without me.
I don’t remember feeling suicidal, I don’t remember wanting to die.
I DO vaguely remember taking the pills.
There was no lining up of tablets like you see on TV, no thoughts, no fear, no emotion, no tears... there was *nothingness*.
I tipped the pills from bottle to mouth (how I swallowed so many at once is beyond me) and washed each mouthful down with water until there were no more pills to take.
There are some blurry (vague) memories after that, my first husband slapping me very hard (this confused me) – baby crying - arriving at hospital in an ambulance – a black tarry substance - gagging on a tube - a drip – a white ceiling through a strange tunnel vision, then blank again. Days of nothing, no thoughts, no emotion... *nothingness*!
I have never ‘contemplated’ suicide, BUT in ‘1986’ (20 years old, without so much as a passing thought for the first of my five children) I very nearly succeeded in taking my own life!
I had a point when I started writing today and I’m not sure if I’ve succeeded in making it, so briefly...
For many mentally ill (and indeed, physically ill) people there is a very fine line between incredible strength, and *can’t take anymore*.
I am deeply concerned that the UK Governments relentless cuts and cruel propaganda are pushing so many vulnerable people worryingly close to... *can’t take anymore*.
I'm now almost 30 years on, I'm still here, I cannot stress enough how thankful I am for that!
How thankful I'll feel this evening when my fifth child (my baby) rolls in from school and throws her smiley-gorgeous-self into my arms.
How thankful I am to be here when my older-no-longer-at-home-kids turn up needing Mum.
How Thankful-thrilled-bubbly-excited I will be in 7ish months time when I hold my first Grandbaby.
Life is tough at the moment, it has been to varying degrees for as long as I can remember but I feel incredibly blessed to be here.
If you're feeling vulnerable/at risk at the moment, dear reader, please, talk to someone...confide in someone you trust... a family member, friend (IRL or on line), a medical professional, support worker or carer.
Thank you, as always, for allowing me to share
God bless you and all those you love
Before you go, can I ask that you consider signing the *NEW* #WOWpetition... in support of the UK's chronically sick & disabled people.
You'll find more details about the WOW-campaign HERE