Sad News of Robin Williams

Oh god, I’m so sad to hear about Robin Williams, I cant stop crying. I never met him but that doesn’t mean I can’t be upset about his passing. I loved his work, he touched my heart, I’m upset. Dead Poets Society and The Fisher King are two of my favourite films. He was sublime in them, and shone in so many others.
Some people will say “he did it to himself, who cares?” I care.
Let me say it again. I care. Loss of life should be mourned. I didn’t know anyone who died on 9/11 and I don’t know anyone in Gaza but it is so upsetting to see so many lives lost. If you don’t agree then I pity your lack of empathy.

Robin Williams was so amazing, funny, talented, and full of wackiness that people loved and adored, that was the side we all saw. We’re lucky he shared that with the world. He must have been a tortured soul too and that breaks my heart because I wouldn’t wish mental illness on anyone.
Mental illness does not discriminate. It will dominate anyone. Some people manage to get out of its grip, some don’t. For some, it’s a cyclical suffering, ups and downs like an endless roller-coaster you can’t get off, and on the lows you just have to grab on as hard as you can and hope you don’t let go and drop off into oblivion. Actually the highs can be like that too, because when I’m managing my depression I dread the fall. I know it’s going to come sometime, and it’s frightening because I don’t know how low I’ll go. Will I end up hospitalised again or will it be a manageable low?

One of the worst things about depression is that no matter what people tell you, you don’t believe it, you can’t hear it. They tell you they love you, how fantastic you are, they can reel off a list of your best qualities but you don’t believe it. They can even shout it from the rooftops, and you would hear it, but you wouldn’t believe it. Whether it’s true or whether they’re just saying that to try make you feel better, you don’t take it in. Most of the time people don’t even know you’re suffering, because you hide it. You don’t wan’t people to see you like that, just like you wouldn’t want them to see you naked. You hide the worst from everyone so when they see you on a good day, a day you can function, they think there’s nothing wrong with you. You both go home after a fairly nice day, and as soon as you get in, you crumple again, because when you’re at your lowest it’s exhausting to act normal. Or worse, it’s the other way. You talk openly about it, and they don’t want to know because they don’t know how to help, what to say, it makes them feel uncomfortable, helpless. I’ve misinterpreted this in the past, thinking that they don’t care, but it’s actually my illness making me blind to things. I can’t think clearly, I can’t see clearly. I know the people in my life care about me but I always wonder why.

The devastation suicide leaves in it’s wake is unfathomable, but when you’re ill you don’t think of it. You just want the mental torture to go away, your brain to be quiet. You don’t really want to die. Most of the time anyway. Sometimes you DO want to die, and you use things like drugs and alcohol, self-harm, anything you can, to try to stave off that ultimate action.
Sometimes none of those work so you go for that ultimate action, you decide to commit suicide. Sometimes you complete. Sometimes, you’re saved. It’s by no means a cowardly thing to do. Whether done impulsively, or whether planned, it’s not an easy thing to try to take your own life. Can you imagine the mental torture and distress someone must be in to do something like that? I don’t need to imagine it, I know.

I’ve been struggling lately, I’ve been seriously abusing sleeping tablets. I’ve had a lot of bad stuff in my life and having depression makes it so much harder to deal with, because I just shut down completely. I don’t really know that I have a good time of the year, but summer is particularly bad. On 1st August, Fri night, I’d reached that point where I needed extra help or I was putting my plan into action. I never call friends or family because I don’t want to upset or disturb them, so I reached for my phone trying to decide whether to call NHS24 or put my plan into action. That was when I noticed I had an email saying I’d been put in a GISHWHES team (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, run by the “Angelic” Misha Collins). You see, I’d registered but chickened out twice, so it was the last thing I expected, to be put back into a team (I had asked them to gift my registration to someone else).
Seeing I’d been put on a team put me in a tailspin, I didn’t know what to do. It eventually made me shelf my plan for the time being and contact the team members. I am so glad I did. They are amazing people. I had the craziest, exhausting, challenging, run-about-like-a-headless-chicken, fun week I’ve had in years.
GISHWHES literally saved my life.

People will say it brought me out my shell, that’s not entirely correct. I can come out my shell, I’ve always been able to. I’m either hiding from the world completely or making an arse of myself like this:

It hasn’t cured me either. I’ve had fun periods throughout my life but I’ve also had depression the whole time too. The two are not mutually exclusive. Various things have left me with complex-PTSD. So, that’s a joy.

The GISHWHES hunt is exhausting, in the best way possible, but now that I can sleep again, I’m sleeping ten hours straight because I worked so hard to be at the top of my game for my team so I wouldn’t let them down that I’m f*cked. Wouldn’t change a minute of it though. Not a single iota. Looking forward to next year’s hunt, in fact. I’ve made brilliant new friends, realised the “fun-crazy” me is still in here and I’m not just the “mentally ill-crazy” Tina with mental health problems.

I know some people get tired of me talking about these things openly but that’s their problem. I’m tired of mental health issues getting swept under the carpet. Talking about it is more likely to have people open up about their struggles, but I get told that my talking about self-harm and suicide will encourage others to do it. I’m sorry but I call BS on that. Or that they “pity my family” because how can I do these things and talk about it? I do these things to survive. The self-harm, the sleeping tablets, I do them so that I don’t put my plan into action. I rarely drink now, I control it, but at one point drink was becoming a problem. I drank to block the pain, but I’d get to a stage that made me more suicidal so I ended up being talked down off bridges or being taken to A&E by police until I was safe. Now, I cut and knock myself out when I can’t bear the mental torture. It’s not the healthiest coping mechanism but I’m alive so that’s a good thing right? We do what we have to.

You think I don’t want to live? I do. I want what everyone wants. To work, be loved, be happy. I’m just not getting those things yet. Maybe I never will.
I was medically retired last year because my workplace was actually a frequent trigger for my mental health problems. So now I’m sh*tting myself, wondering if I’m ever going to be able to work because I can barely function right now, there are triggers everywhere. Over Christmas 2013/14 I couldn’t handle it, I didn’t have the reserves to act normal, so I spent the fortnight in a sleeping tablet induced stupor. I know it hurt my family that I wasn’t with them, but if I had been there I would have been a wreck and I don’t like people seeing me like that, I didn’t want to spoil things for them. I know my illness takes its toll on my family and friends which is why I limit the time I spend around people. That’s quite sad isn’t it? Sometimes I think maybe it’d be a relief to my family if I just ended it, they’d know I was finally at peace. I was really close on Fri, but GISHWHES pulled me back.

Sometimes I’d just rather the torture end.
Maybe that’s what Robin was thinking too. I hope he’s at peace.
My heart goes out to his friends and family.
It’s not just loss, it is devastation.

RIP Robin.

Sleep is one of my go-to escapes

What am I doing? I’ve been in bed for weeks now. I’ve been in bed for months at a time and spent most of the last ten years yoyo-ing with long term absenteeism at work. So much so, that they medically retired me because it just could not go on. I cant blame them. I know I’m ill but I used to manage the depression and function quite well. I remember those days, they were a long time ago but I was able to do it. How do I get back to that? I used to have potential, but after Uni I wasted opportunities, and I hate myself for it. Now I’m lying in bed again, not functioning, missing yet another summer, taking way too many sleeping tablets. Why? What is so bad I can’t face the world, that I don’t want to be a part of it? Why am I isolating myself and pushing everyone away? It’s always the same. It’s a wonder anyone puts up with me when I do come out of hiding.
My birthday’s soon, which means it’ll be eight years since Malc died. I think this is the first year I’m really feeling it, not just his death but Mum and Dad’s too. I guess it’s a side effect of being on meds for so many years, they masked the pain, they dulled it, but they didn’t help the depression. I got tired of trying so many different ones over the years that I asked to stop them because none seemed to work. So now, I’m actually feeling, but I’m not good with emotions. Yesterday all I could think about was killing myself so I tried various distractions until I just knocked my self out. It’s not much better today so I’m still in bed, I’ve taken my usual sleeping tablet/diazepam combo and hopefully it’ll be better when I wake up. One of these times I might not wake up, who knows. Who cares.

Under the weather

I just need to get this out of my head I think and then this might pass. I’m not sure if I’m having a crisis or not because I feel calm, a little anxious but mostly calm. I keep thinking that if I had enough meds that I would take them, but I don’t have enough, not right now. I have prescriptions to pick up, that would do it, but that means going out and I don’t want to go out. I don’t want to die, but there’s no point or structure to my life so why continue? We’ve all got to die sometime. I know it would hurt people but I don’t care, at this point in time I just don’t care, at least I won’t be a burden and they won’t need to worry about what I’ll do next. I know there are people I can call but I can’t think of anyone that would want this call, I never call, that’s my fault, no-one else’s, they say to call anytime but I don’t want to be a bother. I’d rather not make a fuss. I’m having a pity party probably brought on by yet another impending anniversary of someone’s death. Sleeping tablets then. Maybe when I wake up I’ll be less inclined to harm myself.


Finding Mike

Finding Mike.

The story of how Jonny found the man who saved his life one morning in London when he was going to jump off Waterloo Bridge. So many people kept walking but one man stopped.

This was almost too painful too watch, it hit home on so many levels. Memories of a massive overdose and waking up in ICU after 2 days, and memories of finding Malc mean I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I’ve tried several times to commit suicide but he succeeded.
The details of other attempts on bridges are hazy for me too. I don’t remember the name of the young off-duty police officer who stopped his car mid-traffic on the opposite side of the Glen Bridge to talk me down but I’m forever grateful. I remember him helping me across the road to his car then he phoned the police for assistance. There were so many Macdonalds bags in his car, I remember that! I remember that one of the officers who came and took me to hospital remembered being at the scene after I found Malc and he said it had a big impact on them too and he remembered me and was sad that I was in such despair.
When I was on the bridge it took me a minute to realise someone was talking to me, asking my name, asking me to come down. It took a while to realise how busy the road was and how many people were walking past not wanting to look, I hadn’t even seen them as I climbed. He saved me, like Mike saved Jonny. He was one person who saw another in trouble and stepped in. I wish I could thank him.
This is an amazing film, I remember the campaign from twitter, it’s so good to see the full story. What an extraordinary man, he wants to be a superhero? Well he is, this will save so many lives.

Ten things not to say to a suicidal person


In July 2011 I wrote a post entitled, “Ten things not to say to a depressed person.” It was the first piece on this blog to attract a large audience and I own much of my blogging success to that post and its companion piece, “Ten supportive things I’m glad somebody said to me.”

I’ve decided the time is right for a similar piece on dealing with suicidal people (although I’m definitely not expecting the same number of readers for this post!). Suicidal thoughts have been a problem for me since around Christmas and the wide variety of responses I’ve received to my blogs and tweets, along with training to be a Mental Health Instructor, have given me cause to think about how people respond to individuals they know to be suicidal. A common response is feeling that they must throw some logic at the problem. What people don’t…

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