Guest post – Mischief Managed: ‘My Story’

It’s great to hear from other mental health bloggers and ‘Mischief Managed‘ got in touch with us on Twitter, with details of a post that tells her story of mental illness and her relationship with writing, that comes in various forms. If you’d like to provide a post for the Making Minds blog, just comment on this post or e-mail us at makingmindssouthwales@gmail.com

Thanks to Mischief Managed for sharing this blog post with us:

I don’t remember much about my school years. My mind seems have blocked out that time. I seem to only remember snippets of bad memories related to school which always haunt me. I liked school in terms of learning but I struggled with making friends and maintaining friendships. I would definitely say I was socially awkward as a child and I am still to this day, though I’ve now been diagnosed with social phobia.

Friends seemed to best friends with me one minute and then someone else would become their new best friend and I was no longer wanted as a friend at all. In fact they would decide that they hated me and would make this public knowledge. I never knew why people hated me, all I wanted was to be their friend and share fun times with them.

In primary school I preferred to tidy classrooms instead of playing in the playground with other children and in secondary school I became a library assistant and spent my lunches amongst books. I remember my parents were asked to visit the school and were advised that I should spend more time socialising and less time studying at home. I’d come home from school, have dinner and then study till bed.

In the sixth form I was bullied by girls because I didn’t fit in.  I’ve been a Tomboy for as long as I can remember, not a girly girl. They’d pretend to like me one week and the next they’d make my life a living hell. They’d make lies up and spread them around the common room. The ring leader was ironically the first girl I made friends with on my first day at secondary school. She was the definition of a fair-weather friend.

The first time I would say I became depressed was when a school friend with special needs died during the school holidays. My fair-weather friend was the person who told me he’d died. I remember she seemed amused by the news. I developed an issue with food and started to skip eating whilst I was at school. I’d buy food like sweets and crisps with my lunch money (I was supposed to get hot dinners) and hide them in my locker or give them to other pupils. I remember a teacher wanted me to ‘talk’ to someone about how I was feeling but I always made excuses and dodged the meetings. Looking back at sixth form photos that have appeared on Facebook I looked like a human lollypop. This look lasted well into my years at university. I thought I looked perfectly normal.

I met my first proper boyfriend when I was in sixth form. He was a few years older. I think I went out with him partly because everyone else was dating. I wanted to fit in. I always felt I was not good enough and that I was my boyfriend’s booby prize. These feelings still stick with me now and I think it’s why to a degree I self-sabotage relationships. When I was preparing for my first year exams at university my boyfriend cheated on me. I met my next boyfriend during my second year at university he was in the same year but studying a different course. We had a good year together, but then everything changed.

My university course involved a placement year during the third year. My placement was in Bedford miles away from my family, boyfriend and friends in Hertfordshire. I lived in Bedford during the week and went home on Friday’s for the weekend. I struggled with the placement as I didn’t like the job or being away from everyone I loved. But I didn’t tell anyone. I pulled away from my boyfriend and would often hide in his room when I visited him on weekends instead of socialising with him and his housemates. I felt like a stranger. I’d cry for hours and not be able to tell him why I was crying. We started to argue lots.

I had my first breakdown in 2003 whilst still on my placement. Everyone was unaware that I was crumbling inside and I was not coping. My dad would drive me back to Bedford Sunday afternoons and I would pretend to be fine. As soon as my dad dropped me off I’d cry my eyes out for hours. My boyfriend struggled with my volatile behaviour and dumped me when my insecurities and paranoia got the better of me and I accused him of cheating. I felt like my life was spiralling out of control.

A few days later I made the decision to end my life. I went to work in the morning knowing that I wanted to kill myself when I got home that afternoon. At work I sent my ex and my best friend suicide emails My ex managed to get hold of my dad at work and filled him in on everything and my dad immediately contacted my Manager. The cat was officially out of the bag and I ended up finishing my work placement earlier than planned and sent home.
Once home I was sent to my GP, diagnosed with depression, given antidepressants and referred for counselling. At the time I felt like my GP dished out antidepressants like they are sweets and in a way I still feel like that. I managed to go back to university and complete my degree even though my heart wasn’t in it anymore.  I had counselling for two years though I am not too sure it helped. After university I had a few jobs but always struggled dealing with customers whether it was on the phone or in person.

A few years later I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)/ M.E. Early 2008 I had my second breakdown and was referred to my local CMHT. Initially I saw the CAT team for a few weeks and then I was referred to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with clinical depression and mixed anxiety disorder. I believe the breakdown was triggered by the combination of my mental health problems and physical diagnosis and the breakdown of the relationship I had been in. My boyfriend didn’t seem to like the fact I had CFS and was put on medications that lead me to gain weight. During the last six months of our relationship he changed and mentally abused me. But I didn’t tell anyone I believed the deterioration of our relationship was my fault. He dumped me a few months after being made redundant and I haven’t had a serious boyfriend ever since.

When I am in relationships I seem to lose my identity and become really self-conscious, have low self-esteem and feel like I’m not good enough for them. Nowadays I feel like I am not able to be in a relationship because I don’t think a guy would accept me for who I am with my mental health problems and all my baggage.

Over the years my mental health diagnosis has changed from being clinicaldepression to Bipolar Disorder (type 2) to my current diagnosis Borderline Personality Disorder. I was also diagnosed with Social Phobia and OCD tendencies.  I definitely feel I fit the diagnosis of BPD better than any other diagnosis I have been given. Other the years I have been treated as a day patient at my hospitals mental health services for therapy,  and I had a Care Co-ordinator for a while and seen a Psychologist. Currently I am seeing a Psychiatrist every few months and seeing a Psychologist on a bi-weekly basis. Due to funding I no longer have a Care Co-ordinator since my previous one left in September 2012.

For the last few years I have been attending my local branch of Mind to do short courses and on-going classes (Pottery and Yoga) but before my Care Co-ordinator left she encouraged me to look into evening classes at my local college.

I signed up to attend a Creative Writing class one evening at college during the summer term last year. I’d always enjoyed creative writing since I was little. My earliest memory of creative writing was writing short stories about my teddy bears during my school holidays. Over the years I kept trying to write stories but always found myself stopping as I lacked confidence in my writing and felt self-conscious. No one would ever read my stories so what was the point in writing. As soon as I started the Creative Writing course I felt like I was given the skills and tools to work on my creative writing as a hobby.

My tutor would give the class buzz words to write prose pieces about and I found myself using the buzz words to write about my mental health. I started writing more prose pieces about my mental health struggles which I found very therapeutic. I started to be known as the dark and twisty writer in my class.

Encouraged by my tutor and class mates’ feedback on my work I decided to create this blog for my prose writing on mental health. I hoped that people would be able to relate to my feeling about my mental health struggles and find comfort in my words and experiences. I hope that my blog will help reduce the stigma that is associated with mental health and help sufferers feel better about themselves. I also believe that families and friends of sufferers might benefit from reading my blog.

A month ago I decided to take to Twitter (invisiblyflawed) and contact Mental Health charities about my blog in the hopes of helping others. I recently wrote the hardest prose piece that I will ever write which I called Pearls of Wisdom from the Future. It was a letter I wrote to my 20 year self after I had my first breakdown 10 years ago this March. It was basically a pep talk from the future, telling my younger self that things will get better even though it may not feel like it at the time. I think the letter helped me get some closure.

I have continued going to college for my creative writing class, which is now a community led group the first for our college. As well as working on my prose work I have started writing a novel/book about a girl with Borderline Personality who up sticks and moves counties to start her life over again, where no one knows about her past and mental health problems. It’s a work in progress but I feel that I can do it with the support of my family and friends.

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