The Cheater

You broke my heart and then you rushed to mend it

Sewing it back together quickly to stop the pain from gushing out like blood from an open wound

You forgot one stitch

And the memories of the pain you caused

Are slowly spilling out

And now i am drowning in all of your lies

Gasping for air

But just inhaling more of your bullshit. 

-Lydia Joy

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You are poison 

I put you in my mouth 

Just for a taste

Just to see you smile

But then I accidentally swallow 

And your stuck inside me for a while

-Lydia Joy

Living with a mental illness is tough, especially when you have to try and juggle your manic episodes along with a full time job. 

Earlier this month i was feeling very down and hopeless. I was at work sat at my desk trying so hard to manage my workload but wanting to scream. Everything anybody said to me i took offense to and i wanted to jump down their throat immediately. I get angry with people for no reason and i am fighting off floods of tears all day long.

When i get home i snap at my family and shut myself away in my bedroom, usually going to bed early and crying myself to sleep after sliding a blade across my forearms.

I toss and turn all night having horrific nightmares often waking myself by screaming.

I am exhausted with life and in desperate need of a break.

Usually i can deal with these episodes, they pass after a couple of days and i get through them. But on the odd occasion i cant deal with them – everything starts to get on top of me and i am overwhelmed with stress and desperation.

Its the busiest time of year at work and i know that my work place (like most) frown upon employees calling in sick. This being in the back of my head causes me even more stress to the point where i break down and know that i must take some time off for myself in order to recover.

So i decided take a day or two off work and spend the time by myself in the comfort of my own home – working on myself and just giving myself the break that my brain had been begging for.

I spend these days catching up on sleep, going for long walks alone, treating myself to a bubble bath with a face mask and painting my toe nails or spending time with my close friends or family.

I will also very often go to the doctors on my day off and tell them how i am feeling so that they can change the dosage of medication i take and help me through my issues.

This method may not work for everybody,  but it works for me.

On this occasion, i called my manager directly and told her i was battling with depression and needed to take the day off. I told her i was going to see my doctor and that i would keep her informed.

She seemed very understanding.

However, on my return, my manager took me to one side to discuss my issues.

She started off by saying “She wouldn’t of guessed” that i suffer with mental illness as i always “look the part” for work.

By this she is referring to the fact that i wear makeup. I suppose she was expecting me to turn up to work with a bare face. To be quite honest, i WISH that i could. But my self confidence is so drastically low i couldn’t possibly leave the house without wearing makeup. In fact, i tend to wear the most makeup when i am unwell. So for some people, not wearing any makeup may suggest they are unwell. If im not wearing makeup in public – it means i am very, very well!

She then proceeds tell me that while she understands what im going through and will support me the best that she can – i must take into consideration that “when i call in sick, i put my colleagues under pressure”

…….

EXCUSE ME?

I decided to sit quietly and take her discrimination rather than telling her how most days when im fighting an episode,  i make my way home from work crying, picking at the skin on my fingers until they bled, i then get home and shout at my parents, hide in my room and go to bed early, tossing and turning throughout the night, generally making myself even more unwell than i initially was – BECAUSE i MYSELF am being put under pressure about calling into work to have the day off.

She assured me she was not meaning to be patronising when she handed me a magazine article about “Giving your mind a makeover for Christmas”

I’m not just stressed out because it’s Christmas (I am actually very excited for Christmas) I am mentally unwell and I don’t understand why my employer won’t take it as seriously as if I had a physical illness.

My doctors appointments are on Friday mornings meaning id have to have a couple of hours off work, I mentioned to my manager that i dont mind taking the time unpaid, or staying over after hours to make the time up.

She wanted me to change my appointment to a more convenient time as we are so busy at work.

My colleague has cancer but nobody asks her to change her hospital appointment times because it “puts pressure on her colleagues” or because “it’s our busy time of year”

Another colleague of mine is a new mother, meaning she has to have time off work to take her baby to hospital appointments .. nobody asks her to change those appointments.

Why are my doctors appointments less important? Why is mental health not taken as seriously as physical health?

Should I slit my own throat,would you sympathise then?

I am trying so hard to fight the stigma around mental illness and normalise it in daily life by speaking openly about it and even making light jokes at my own expense. But i have learnt that maybe its best to just lie and say i have a broken arm, as it seems that people are alot more understanding about ANY OTHER part of your body getting sick, just not your mind.

 

Dear Daisy

I think that i owe you an apology.

Because for the past 22 years i have resented you. My own sister.

Every time somebody mentioned your name the blood would boil inside my veins and i would close my ears because i didn’t want to hear it.

I felt as though i was living in your shadow, your replacement and i would never live up to the expectations our parents had of you.

I often think about you and i wonder, would you have put our parents through the same amount of pain that i have? Would you have made our mother cry like i do? & I bet that they wonder this too.

When i was younger i would try to imagine what life would be like if you had lived.

Would we have shared a bedroom? Borrowed each others clothes? Would we even have got along with each other? Would you have looked like me? I wonder if people would have still picked on me, knowing that i have an older sister to defend me and fight my battles. Would you have helped me with my homework and given me make overs and advice about boys? Because growing up i really needed some guidance like that.

But then id remember how stupid i was for even wondering such things, because Daisy, if you hadn’t died then i wouldn’t be alive.

There’s no way we could have ever painted each others nails or bickered in the back of Dads car on the way to one of our famous Cornwall holidays.. because we were never supposed to even meet each other.

Heaven knows i have prayed to god that you and i could switch places many of times. I have felt guilt deeper than the ocean for living such a pitiful life when you didn’t get the chance.

Every time i would turn down an invitation to a party or an outing with friends or family, i would feel a sharp stabbing pain in my throat remembering that you can never do these things, you will never have friends, you will never fall in love, you will never meet our nephew. I feel guilt on top of guilt for all of this too because im not the only one that has to live without you and although our mother would tell me how much it hurts to loose a child, i will never truly understand the way she feels about you.

All my life, my thoughts have been as so – I am the replacement child that is reminded everyday of how badly they wanted me. But they didn’t want me really, they wanted you but settled for me.

But recently i have had a revelation that, rather than continue to feel guilty for letting you down, instead of living in your shadow.. im going to live in your light.

Because although part of me is buried with you, there’s also part of you beating in my heart and i dont want to let you down anymore.

Im going to live my life to the fullest for you. Im not going to cancel on plans last minute and i wont let people push me around anymore. Im going to stand up for us and im going to embrace life and take every opportunity to have a good time and im going to work hard to achieve something and make an impact on the world.

I will never know what your hopes and dreams were, and i will never know what you were destined to do.. so i will do everything i can and i will never close my ears again.

 

+50mg

Earlier this month i was feeling extremely low for no reason that i was aware of. I just wanted to stay in bed and hide from everybody. My mum, the keeper of my medication, suggested i upped my dosage of sertraline a little to see if it helps. So she sat with me and we took a packet of pills and cut each one in half.

It was pretty nostalgic, popping each little tablet out of its packaging until they were in a pile on my bed. I remembered the fear and the excitement of the times i had purposely taken overdoses, attempting suicide.

My mum went to her “secret” box where she hides all of my medication, she brought back a packet of 100mg pills –  so we cut them in half with a pair of scissors. (yet another household item that plays a part in triggering my suicidal temperament).

Within just a week of upping my dosage by 50mg, i felt like i was floating through life on a fluffy white cloud, the sun was always shining for me and getting out of bed in the morning was no problem at all. I was enjoying work, staying up late and saying “yes” alot more. I was starting to look forward to living and i was kind of happy – for me any way.

At first i found it amazing that just by swallowing an extra half of a tiny pill each morning could change my mood and my attitude so drastically, the fact that i could go from sitting alone in a dark room slicing my wrists open with a box cutter one week to squealing with laughter, begging my best friend to come over so that we could do face masks together the next.

When i started writing this post, i was happy, on top of the world and ready to share with all of you how fantastic i think medication is and how wonderful such a small amount can help..  But now im thinking that its pretty fucked up that in order for me to enjoy my life, i have to take medication.. i have to drug up my feelings and silence the voices inside my head, when the people around me dont have to do that. They dont have to pop pills each morning so that they can function properly, they just wake up and they are who they are.

Why should i have to take medication to stop my mind from thinking such awful things?

To stop my mouth from saying things that are just down right terrible?

To stop my body from wanting to do things that it shouldn’t?

If i am feeling and behaving this way then clearly its what is meant to be, Right?

Should i really be taking medication that stops me from being myself? Medication that turns me into a new person?

I desperately just want to be myself but i really dont know who she is.

I cant remember what living felt like before my mental illness, has it always been there? Am i really better now im taking medication? Is the medication making me a better person or is it making me a different person?

I want to know, am i more Lydia before, or after i take my pills each morning?