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My Experiences of Mental Health

Living With Mental Health 

Before I write this post, I would like to give you all the opportunity to brace yourselves for what you are about to read. This will not be light hearted and may affect many people. However, I refuse to exclude the times that were fun because let's be fair, my life hasn't been all that bad. I am in no way trying to offend anyone, I am simply here to tell my story and in hope that it will help at least someone develop some kind of awareness of both themselves and mental illness as a whole. This is now your last chance to escape before we take a dark turn. 

I was once told that everybody will experience anxiety at least once in their life. I can't speak for anyone else but I can disclose that I have suffered from mass anxiety for a very long time and think that I will always carry it with me, whether or not it decreases in time, I do not know. Anxiety is one of those things that I find hard to explain. If somebody asked me face to face to explain it, I would probably freeze and give the same answer I always give when attempting to talk about my feeling: "I don't know". Now that's not necessarily a lie but it isn't the truth either. I am the type of person who shies away from questions like "what's wrong?" or "how do you feel?" and for this I blame my childhood. I am working on this to try and be more open but I often encounter battles within my head that I never seem to win. 

My explanation of anxiety 

Anxiety is an evil, breathtaking pain that often leaves me clenching at my stomach. It will linger throughout the day and repeatedly results in restlessness and uneasiness. When I open my eyes after a restless night's sleep, for a second I feel placid, the world is completely peaceful, until my brain kicks in and it hits me like a ton of bricks. "Oh hi there anxiety, you're back already?". I lay there not wanting to get up but knowing that I have to go to work. I walk around as if I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I have learnt to set my alarm later so that I have less time to get ready and so, less time to think about the anxiety pulsing through my body. 

Although I do suffer from anxiety and levels of depression, this post is not about my mental health.

Living with a mentally ill mother 

In 2009 when I was only 11 years old, my mother was sectioned and sent away to a hospital on a psychiatric ward, which presented devastating effects for my family. She was then diagnosed with Bipolar which was later changed to Borderline Personality Disorder. For those who don't know what these are, I will list some of the symptoms below:
  • Depression
  • Mania 
  • Lack of concern, regret or remorse about other people's distress
  • Irresponsibility 
  • Little ability to tolerate frustration 
  • Difficulty in sustaining long-term relationships 
  • Failure to take responsibility 
  • Moving quickly from one emotional state to another 
  • Being self-centred 
  • Difficulty making decisions 
  • Becoming more susceptible to addictions  
  • Hearing voice 
There are so many more symptoms surrounding these disorders but these are the main ones that apply to my mum. So as you can imagine, this was very scary for me and my little sister (Morgan) who at the time was only 5. Some days were better than others but overall I was just a little girl that had to grow up faster than the other girls my age.


What I witnessed before the diagnosis 

Before my mum was sectioned, I lived with both her and Morgan and she appeared to be showing signs of psychosis way before she was diagnosed with anything. Her being the only adult in our household made it very difficult for me as I eventually had to take on the motherly role for both her and Morgan. Of course, at this age I had no idea that she was suffering from her mental health and just assumed that this would be life I would have to lead. Throughout this stage in my life, I experienced many crazy things, some that were fun and others that still haunt me to this day. Although I have tried to block all memories of this out of my head, there are still some that have stuck with me. 
During this period, my mum was very unpredictable. I could come home one day to find presents on my bed and a plan of all the exciting things we are going to do that day.. Or I could come home to find our entire dinner set scattered across our kitchen floor. She was also very impulsive and spontaneous, where a lot of her actions were a consequence of carelessness. A perfect example of this is when she attempted to set fire to a heap of cardboard outside our house. That doesn't sounds too bad now does it? It wouldn't be if our house wasn't on the top floor of a block of flats, obstructing our only fire escape. Luckily for everyone, me and a friend of hers, managed to knock some sense into her and she realised that it wasn't as good of an idea as she initially thought. Although her abrupt behaviour was bad enough, the thing that affected me the most was her performance of self harm. Despite the fact that she tried her hardest to hide it from me, I was no longer naive to believe that it wasn't happening. I remember getting ready to go out with my friends one evening when I saw the cuts on her wrist. When I asked her about it, she tried to tell me that it was a scratch from the dog but there was no fooling me and she knew it. We both started to cry and I told her that I would cancel on my plans to stay in with her. That was something I would do often, not only because I felt like I needed to protect her but because I gained mass separation anxiety from being away from her. This is still something I sometimes have to battle with now. My mum managed to encourage me to go out because she didn't want to be the reason for cancelling on my friends and wanted me to have some fun. I decided it may be a good idea to have a distraction so I did go out, however, I had no fun at all. All I could think about is her and what she was doing. I was worried that she would take it too far and that I would come home one day and she be laying on the floor dead. My mind has always gone to the worse possible place in any anxiety provoking situation.


Being separated from my mother 

My mum spent 5 months in and out of hospitals, one of which was almost a 2 hour drive from where I was living. During this separation, I lived with my mum's dad and had to move to a different high school due to convenience. This was really hard for me because I was already going through such a rough time and starting fresh at a new school added to the pressure. What made this whole situation so much worse was the fact that me and Morgan were split up. She went to live with her nan and grandad from her dad's side because they were able to get her to and from her school without her being made to move too. My whole family was falling apart in front of my eyes and I had no control over it whatsoever. Me and Morgan tried to see each other as much as we could but with school commitments, we only ever really had the weekends. We also tried to visit our mum as often as we could but she was going through so much that sometimes she wouldn't want to see us, which I guess is understandable. She wouldn't want us knowing the extent of her problems. Not being able to see her and Morgan whenever I wanted was excruciating and I would never wish that upon someone else. The people that me and Morgan were staying with were not very supportive, nor did they understand our emotional outbursts so we were both forced to keep it all in and act as if everything was ok. 

Although my life at this point was falling apart, one of my favourite memories of me and my mum was when I went to visit her on my own. We sat on the field outside the hospital eating sandwiches and chatted for hours. For everyone else, this must sounds so boring but for me it felt like my world was finally piecing back together. 

Recovery 

It's been over nine years since these traumatic experiences and I can't lie in saying that as a family, we still struggle with our issues but we do in together. Me, my mum and my sister now all have such a close relationship. Some may even say we are inseparable. This means so much to me because we have all been through so much and have come out of it stronger than ever. Now that I am older, I understand more about mental illnesses and have come to my own conclusion that they don't exist. Personally I believe that the symptoms are just acts performed by your trapped inner children, which is caused by childhood traumatic events. My mum still suffers from PTSD but I would no longer consider her to be crazy or mentally ill, she is purely trying to come to terms with her childhood. 

Thank you very much for taking your time to read this. Subscribe for more and don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

MM







 


29 comments

  1. Wow, my heart hurts for and your family. I'm glad to hear things are looking up. Hang in there and be sure to get the help you need. You are not alone in your anxiety even if it feels that way sometimes. I hope and pray that this makes you stronger and better able to cope with life's ups and downs and when you struggle ('cause we all do), you are good to yourself. Marcie

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    1. Thankyou for your comment Marcie! I really do appreciate all your support:) Although my life was really tough back then, I am a much stronger person now! I wouldn't change any of it because it made me the person I am today.

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  2. This post really touched me, and all of the love to you and the family. You are so so brave and deserve all the support too xox

    awaywiththefairiesblogs.blogspot.com

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  3. Thankyou! This is a really lovely comment:)xx

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  4. Really enjoyed your first post, Millie. Looking forward to following you on this new journey and hope that all continues to be well and moving positively forward for you, your partner and your family! Thanks for reaching out on Twitter! Glad to have stumbled across you and your writing! :)

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    1. This is so lovely to hear! Thankyou so much☺ I am currently writing a new post which will be up within the next couple of days.. I'm so glad that you like my writing x

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  5. You're very brave for posting this. I can only imagine how hard this must've been for all of you. It's good to hear that you're all pretty close and dealing with it well after all these years.

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    1. Thankyou! Your support is really appreciated😘 I wasn't really worried about posting this because I was disclosing a part of my life to the world but I'm glad I did it!

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  6. interesting!

    NEW BLOG ! please follow me : YOUNG BLOG

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  7. Aw... that post touched me dear!
    Hope everything will going weell! keep going dear!
    I wish you and your family the best,
    with love,
    Emma
    www.emmalovesfashion.com

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    Replies
    1. Thankyou! It's nice to hear that this has touched some people! Im glad you liked my post:) You are very sweet x

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  8. Your story is very touching and encouraging as well!!! You are a very strong person, you have the ability to overcome every obstacle in your life and I hope that from now on only happy moments will surround you!
    Love,
    Giota
    https://the-gi-world.blogspot.gr/

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    Replies
    1. That's great to hear, thank you!! This is very lovely of you to say.. I really wish I could say that I will be surrounded by happy moments from now on but life doesn't always go that way unfortunately! However, I won't let anything defeat me anymore x

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  9. you're so brave sharing this. you're so strong & this is so touching. hope things continue to improve for you & your family <3 xx

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    1. Thankyou, I really appreciate this comment:)xx

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  10. A difficult subject dealt with well. I wish you well for the future.

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  11. I truly salute you for being so open with this post! I cannot imagine what you have had to go through, but I do appreciate your ability to write so perfectly about it.

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    1. This is really sweet of you to say:) Thankyou!

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  12. I truly feel sorry for what you have to went through but keep smiling and show others that you are strong

    Question: Do you have Periscope?

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    1. I really appreciate this comment:)

      No I don't, what is it?

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    2. No Problem :D

      Here: https://www.periscope.tv/ just click on the link and it will lead you to Periscope

      Don't forget to have fun exploring there

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  13. This touched my heart. Feel so emotional after reading this I'm actually speechless. It's kind of similar to my experience growing up but it was my dad in and out of the psychiatric ward. He often had scary episodes and the police would be over and arresting him and stuff it's horrible. He had such a terrible childhood. Now, he's coping much better, he's near enough normal and I am SO so close to him now. I have anxiety which I believe I inherited through him and obviously being around an anxious person is gunna have an impact but it's just made me and my dad so close. My mum is also a very anxious person so I guess it all just kinda made me anxious. You're a really strong person for what you've been through.

    Beckie xo // The Pale Tails

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    1. Thankyou for sharing this with me!! It really isn't nice having a parent or someone close to you going through such tough times. Especially because you don't know how to help them!
      It's so lovely to hear that you and your dad are so close. It's the exact same with me.. Me and my mum have such an amazing relationship and I honestly believe that it's because of everything we have gone through together! I have really bad anxiety too.. I actually wrote about tips for people with anxiety if you would like to have a look.. It might help?
      http://www.milliesmoments.co.uk/2017/03/advice-that-shouldnt-be-given-to-those.html
      You sound like a very strong person!

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  14. Thank you for sharing your story. I suffer anxiety and depression. Both that I have had on and off over the years, but as my blog will explain, I am currently on medication for both again and hopefully on the road to some sort of stability since I had my counselling that unlocked my past as the cause for how I am. The blog and things I do, which I share my on my blog are my continiuing therapy. Learning and discovering new things since from other bloggers that I do in addition as part of my own therapy.

    I think my anxiety and depression will always be there, but hopefully I manage to keep it at a degree it does not affect my life in a major way, through tatics learnt via counselling sessions and my own learning journey since.

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    1. You're welcome.. I'm sorry to hear that you suffer with that but it's great that you are feeling more stable and have started counselling! I always think that getting to the deep routed cause of the anxiety/depression helps better in the long run.. I'm glad that you are getting the help and support that you need:)x

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  15. Wow, this is so powerful. I’m on the verge of tears. You are a very brave young lady. Thank you for sharing your story. I know that it will help so many people! I also shy away from questions about how I’m feeling. Both of my parents are dead, and my counselor wants me to write a journal about my relationship with my dad. There is a lot of wisdom in this post, and I look forward to reading more!

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    1. Thankyou, I'm really glad you think so! I always find it hard to express my emotions so it's nice to hear that when I do, it actually helps people... I'm really sorry to hear about your parents but I think it's great that you are undertaking counselling! I am actually starting my own counselling this week..

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