Chapter 27

So it has been six months since I was diagnosed and a lot has happened in that time. I am still no where near a full decoy but I am slowly and surely getting there.

It has been a struggle and there have been major upheavals and added traumas along the way, but slowly and day by day, the happy person I seemed to be as a baby is coming back. I suddenly realised why I had all of this darkness within me, what the issues were and removed them from my life. As with all journeys of self discovery and enlightenment., it hasn’t been easy and there have been many hard decisions to make and traumatic events have taken place. I have realised that having certain toxic people in my life was not woofor me and so I made the dramatic decision to cut my family out of my life. It has been the most hardest, difficult but also most enlightening experience of my life. I finally realised that the emotional abuse I was receiving from my family was the main factor for me feeling so low and depressed. Without fully realising it, the abuse was still happening and I was allowing it to happen. Yes the sexual abuse had ended, but the emotional abuse and the guilt they were making me feel was still on going. I was like a victim of Stockholm syndrome. I knew my mother and sister were my tormentors, yet I was still trying to please them no matter what. I was still that eight year old child looking for reassurance, acceptance and love. It was like Albert Einstien stated: “The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results”. I had had my eureka moment. I was the real reason I still felt inadequate and had no self esteem. I was quite literally making myself insane! By holding onto my childhood desires and expecting my families attitude towards me to change I was quite literally repeat the same mistakes over and over again. I knew that in order to move on something had to change. The dynamics of our relationships had to change. How would I do this however? I knew I couldn’t be strong enough to stand up to them in a confrontation and I knew I couldn’t just cut them out of my life as they were my family and I loved them. So how was I going to implement these changes? Luckily, fate stepped in and took the decision and choice out of my hands.

After months of discussions with my husband and my counsellor, I decided it was time to start making my own decisions and deciding what type of people I wanted in my life. Yes I was stuck with my family but did I really need any other negative influences in my life? I decided it was time to cut any negative people out of my life.

I hardly had many friends left anyway, as my sister and mother had ruined every relationship that I had had. However, there were still some childhood friends I was in contact with. Unfortunately, so was my mother. Little by little, she began telling me how these friends were bad mouthing me behind my back. I knew my mother was exaggerating but also knew there was probably some slight truth in what she said, so I began to become distrustful of these friends and decided it was best to cut them out of my life. It would be best to start again with friendships even though I knew I would find it difficult to trust people as I had been let down by many people before.

My mother hated the fact that I was making my own decisions and was constantly telling me what an embarrassment I was to her. I tried to ignore her as best I could, however her negative voice was starting to get to me and bring me down. It was then that my mother changed her tactics. She started suggesting that I could only possibly be making these new decisions as I was being controlled or brain washed by my husband and counsellor. In her mind these people were leading me to make these changes that she didn’t accept. I was obviously so weak and feeble in her mind that I would never make these decisions on my own. The final straw came a week later. I invited my sister and her family to come a stay. This was mainly out of duty as I had not seen her in nearly a year really wanted to see my niece and nephew. After several failed attempts to get my sister to meet up (she was previously always to busy or on a couple of occasions cancelled on me last minute as she got a better offer! As you can imagine this did wonders for my self esteem! Not!), we had finally arrange for her to come the following Friday for the entire weekend. The plan was she would arrive early on the Friday so we could an extra full day together. I was excited and planned a lovely dinner and days out. The day arrived and I had dinner prepared. It got to midday and there was no sign or contact from my sister. I texted her to see if they were on their way. She replied stating she was busy with friends and would not be leaving her house until early evening so would not get to mine until at least 9pm. I was livid! Not only was I yet again second best and being pushed aside as if I didn’t matter, but yet again she was showing a complete lack of respect for me or our plans. I messaged back and asked about the dinner I was preparing. She responded they would eat before they arrived.  Was angry and upset, but what could I do? I threw away the food I had prepared and awaited their arrival. They arrived at 9.30pm and after getting settled I opened a bottle of wine. I noticed that every time my husband spoke my sister would role her eyes or speak over him. Eventually my husband, feeling exasperated by this, made his excuses and went to bed. I was left alone with my distant her husband. After a while, the conversation got onto my mother.

My sister started to get very aggressive when I told her about the decisions I had made and how mum had reacted. She become almost ferile waving her arms around and getting louder by the second. My instincts told me that she was brewing for a fight so to avoid any confrontation I suggested we went to bed. My sister responded that we were going to continue the conversation and I was not going to bed just because I didn’t like what she was saying. I was beginning to feel threatened and just wanted to get to the safety of my bedroom and to my husband. However, my sister had other ideas. She stood above me waving her arms around and stated that she had spoken to our mother and it was obvious that my husband was controlling and making my decisions for me. I told her that this was absurd and that I could not understand why they both seemed to think someone had to be in control of me. I said I was more than able to make my own decisions and was strong enough to not be in an abusive relationship. As I said these words, my eureka moment happened. I realised why my sister and mother were so angry. They realised they were losing their control over me and in their minds the only reason that could possibly be was because someone else was controlling me. They could not comprehend that I may have suddenly formed my own opinions and be taking control of my own life.  Suddenly the vail was lifted. It was one thing to abuse me all these years but not my husband. I realised all of a sudden that the darkness within was caused by my sister and my mother. I had spent so long given them all the power that there was nothing left for me. I realised there in that moment that it was them who had the problem and not me. All of the hurt, pain and torture they had including me came rushing to the surface. I stood up and calmly asked my sister and her family to leave my house. I realised I was no longer a child and I did not have to put up with being abused and treated in this manner especially in my own home. My sister looked shocked and told me if she left right now her and my mother would never speak to me again. I calmly looked at her and stated once again that I wanted her to leave my house. She left.

That was nine weeks ago. I have had no communication with either my mother, sister or any other family member since. I have been though a kind of grieving process. I was completely down and once again felt the darkness envelope me. I went to my doctors and am now on a waiting list to see a psychiatrist to get help manage my condition. He also increased my anti depression medication.

I don’t know what the future will hold or if I will ever have a relationship again with my family. All I do know is that I have finally realised that happiness can be mine and I will never find it within my family. They are the ones with the problems and not me. Yes I have issues, but unlike them I am getting help and advice and learning  how to be a better person. I do not need to put up with abuse of any kind from any person. I am a decent and loving person and anyone who doesn’t respect that will miss out on knowing me and being apart of my life. I know I will probably still have my bad days and my wobbles, but I can honestly say that through my eureka moment I have finally seen that happiness is mine for the taking. There is light at the end of the tunnel and the darkness that once took over my entire life is slowly but surely dispersing. I hope you all find your own eureka moments too.

Chapter 26

So I haven’t written in the last couple of days as I found myself in a really dark and horrible place. I decided, against my better judgement, to stop taking my anti-depressants. In retrospect this was an extremely stupid idea! The first few days I felt ok, then slowly but surely the anxiety and darkness came rushing back and I found myself snapping at everyone around me. It got so bad that I was even horrible to my eldest daughter and screamed at her for something quite stupid. She knocked over a glass of milk deliberately when I told her not too. Nothing major, but to me it was a defiance and lack of respect and so I lost it big time! This then ended up causing a huge row between me and my husband Keegan and I thought at one point my marriage was over! I knew I was slowly, sinking further back into my dark place, and knew this was probably to do with stopping taking my anti-depressants, but I could not stop myself from spiralling down that dark rabbit hole. It was as if I was outside of my body, looking down at this horrible beast screaming and shouting at everyone and pushing everyone away and I had no control over it and couldn’t stop myself. It was as if I was possessed! 

Once I had calmed down, decided it best to go back on my anti-depressants, and had a frank and honest conversation with my husband, I began to feel all of the old feelings of guilt and betrayal. In my mind, even though I knew I had been unreasonable and my behaviour had been erratic, all I was hearing was more blame being pushed into me and I could feel my self confidence and self respect once again slipping and the darkness taking over. It got so bad that yet again I started to self harm and starved myself for the entire day. As Keegan, did not even seem to notice that I had not eaten all day, I took this as a sign that he did not care and that I was unlovable, selfish and a horrible person. I had emotional abused my eldest daughter and been so horrible to my husband that our marriage was on the verge of collapsing. I felt such shame and guilt and believed it was probably best for everyone if I wasn’t around and died. I decided that day that I would starve myself to death. It was all I deserved. I was hurting so much and the words that had been said in argument, had stuck in my head and I felt unlovable, betrayed and hurt. The hurt was so bad that I felt my heart was literally breaking in two and I prayed that night that if there was any kind of higher being they would let me die in sleep to end all of the pain and suffering I was feeling.

The next morning, I woke and was disappointed that yet again my prays had gone unanswered. To me this was just another form of rejection. I decided I needed to go back onto my anti-depressants and start researching more about my mental health. Yes, it was probably due the fact, that I had just stopped taking my anti-depressants but could it really just be that simple? I felt as if I had taken a huge step backwards and did not understand why yet again I had become this person and why yet again, when I had been doing so well, I had let the darkness take over again! I decided to read up some more on Complex PTSD and looked through some of the forums and notifications others had posted on the online support groups I had become a member of. Suddenly, it all became clear. Through reading about other people’s experiences and everyday struggles, I learnt that with Complex PTSD, there are triggers that can happen, that can send the patient spiralling and send them back to the dark place. This along with the lack of medication was what had happened to me. By not taking my medication, I was having withdrawal symptoms and then stupid things that would not normally bother most other people, such as my daughter disrespecting me, as all kids do at times, had triggered me and sent me off into a manic kind of depression and anxious state. This was not an excuse for my poor behaviour, but at least now I had a better understanding of my condition. I have realised, that my triggers are when I feel as if I am being disrespected, betrayed, unsupported and controlled. All of these feelings are not really what is happening in real life, but are genuine feelings I feel from time to time, no matter how unreasonable or misjudged, as a result of my Complex PTSD and the traumas I have suffered. This is an ongoing battle and I am still a work in progress but hopefully by learning more and more about my mental health, I will hopefully be able to manage it better in the future.

Chapter 25

So by standing my ground and deciding to fight and no longer be a victim has paid off! I have found out that I have won my case and I no longer need to pay back the money they said I owed! In fact, my representative from the tribunal is looking further into the allegations of homophobic abuse and bullying within the work place and the company are going to have to apologise big time!

I am so happy! At last everything finally seems to be going right for me. Yes I have a mental illness and still have a long way to go in order to understand it more and find the right support and treatments, but at last the darkness has started to final creep back into the back of beyond and for the first time in my life I feel a sense of contentment and happiness. It is as if I had to go through all of the heartache, stress and difficulties to be able to really appreciate the good things in life. It is as if I have turned a corner and that all of the bad times are now behind me. I feel stronger, empowered and as if any of the darkness was able to creep back into my life, I now have the tools and strategies to banish it back into the recesses of my life. It is as if all of a sudden there is light in my life and for the first time ever I can see clearly and actually realise, that despite my mental health issues, life is actually wonderful and I have a wonderful loving family. I have Keegan who is my rock, my anchor, my everything. I have my girls, who everyday teach me new skills for coping with life and show me how resilient is human beings are and quite frankly, I have an amazing life! FINALLY!!!!

I am determined that with this new found happiness and confidence that I will be able to help others. I have decided to look into voluntary work within my local area, working within the mental health industry. I want to give something back whilst learning more about my condition and maybe even other mental conditions. I want to grow not only within myself but also within the mental health industry. I want to change the stigmas and social isolation felt with mental illness. I want to change social understanding and acceptance of mental health issues and I want to help others with mental health conditions to find the peace, clarity and happiness that I have found. I want to show others that it is possible to live a happy and contented life, whilst still having a mental health condition and I want to eventually carve a career for myself within the mental health sector. Doing exactly what, I am still unsure of. All I know is that I will know what it is when I see it and that for the first time in my life I feel as if I have found my purpose and goals in life. I am finally able to take charge of the darkness within and master it to my advantage. I am hoping I continue to feel this great.

Chapter 24

So it has been a bit of a struggle the last couple of days. There have been factors that have happened, beyond my control, that have made me extremely emotional and nearly sent me spiralling down the dark rabbit hole again. Luckily, I have the amazing support of my husband Keegan and my beautiful girls to pull me back from the brink!

So, after getting my diagnosis and reading up on it all, I discovered that people with my condition find it hard to work for other people and are often better of being self employed. With this in mind and also as I was receiving homophobic comments at work along with varying other types of discrimination, I decided to give up work and become a full time parent. My girls have a few emotional issues, they are growing up so fast and I will never get this time back with them, so this is perfect and makes me a lot more happier than I previously was within the work place.

Anyway, so after leaving work over two months ago, I received a letter a few weeks back stated I had been overpaid and I had to pay back £430! After the discrimination and bullying I received from the company, this obviously infuriated me! Why could they not just leave me alone? Had they not done enough damage already? They had basically broken me and I was finally getting back to a good place and now this! I write back to them explaining that this was more harassment and after the way I had been treated by them, they could write off the so called overpayment and were lucky I was not taking them a tribunal for the way I was treated. Anyway, someone from Head Office called me yesterday for a meeting regarding it all and it really upset me. It was like reliving all that abuse and brought all of that hurt back to the surface. They said they would be investigating my allegations, and would let me know the outcomes shortly. I felt, angry, upset and very emotional after the call. I just wanted to get on with my new life and forget all about the horrible times, but here they were yet again picking at the scab that was nicely healing. I felt raw and hurt all over again.

Luckily, Keegan was with me during the call and was very supportive. Head Office actually admitted that any reports I had previously made regarding discrimination had surprisingly disappeared from trace and no reports could now been found! With this in mind, still feeling raw, upset and confused, I have decided that I refuse to yet again become a victim and will not let a soul-less big cooperation do this to me. I am no longer going to be that victim that lays back and accepts the bad things. No more am I going to allow people to walk all over me! With this in mind, I have started the process of taking my ex-employers to an employment tribunal. At first, I thought to myself, just pay the money. I thought, I really do not have the energy to always be fighting and trying to make a difference. In all honesty yesterday, I could feel myself sinking and could feel the darkness slowly creeping up on me again. Today, after sleep and support from my family, I have a renewed strength. I am going to fight this and am going to keep on fighting injustices in my life. No more will I be a victim, that lays down and takes the hits. Today, I stand up for myself and anyone else who has a similar mental health issue as myself, and fight against the injustices we receive in society and within the work place! I am doing this for not just myself, but for all those other people out there who have a mental health condition and maybe do not have the support I do. It is time, along with this blog, for me to no longer be a victim, but to be the master of my own destiny and to fight for what is right. Who knows, as well as making me feel like I am making a difference in the world it may also help me in my journey with my mental health issues. Already, I am feeling empowered and energised. I am ready for the fight. I am ready to stand up and be counted. I am ready for myself and anyone else out there with mental health issues to finally be taken seriously and not dismissed and treated like a second rate citizen. I am ready to fight and change social views. Wish me luck! 

Introduction

So I have my diagnosis and I am trying to find out all I can about it and how to treat myself.

I have read a few books on Complex PTSD and Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. The more I read, the more I am becoming comfortable with the diagnosis. I have also joined a few online support groups. Even those these are American, they do still help and it is nice to know that there are other people out there how feel the same.

The main thing I am beginning to learn, is that having this label isn’t a bad thing. Yes I have a mental illness and yes society and people do judge you on this. However, like most things in society, people normally judge things that they do not understand. 

This is what this part of my blog will hopefully discuss and look into. I am hoping that in this section, my exploring my own mental health condition and learning more about it, not only may it help others, but will hopefully break down some of the misunderstandings and misconceptions regarding mental health issues. 

I am hoping in this section to write sort of diary entries day by day, exploring how I am feeling, what my mental state is and what new things I have learnt. I am hoping by doing this it will break down barriers and stigmas regarding mental health and help bring a better understanding into society, so that hopefully in the future their is more awareness and understanding regarding these issues.

As lovely as it would be to make a complete breakthrough and change the whole worlds perceptions on mental health, I am also a realistic person, so as long as this exploration helps just one other person, then I will be happy. By writing this, it is certainly helping me. By revisiting my past, and looking at what made me the way I am and what caused my mental health helps. I hope it hopes some of you too.

Chapter 23

So the day had arrived for my psychiatrist assessment. I was so nervous but also so glad that it had finally arrived. After everything I had been through and all of the struggles, I was hoping that finally today I would be taken seriously and finally get a proper diagnosis. I left early and got to the appointment half an hour early. I was feeling positive and knew today would be the day I finally got a diagnosis.

The psychiatrist came out and called me in early. I saw this as a good omen. We walked down the corridor to his office. Once again I could feel my legs shaking and had to concentrate to stop my legs giving way beneath me. I sort of felt like an death row inmate being taken towards his final execution. I was full of so many mixed emotions. I was hoping to finally get the answers I so desperately craved, but at the same time worried that yet again I would be told there was nothing wrong with me. Maybe this time, if I was told this, I would just have to accept it, even though every fibre of my being was telling me differently. I decided that no matter what I would still fight and challenge the diagnosis of depressed and anxiety. I had decided that even if I got locked away I would demand second, third and even fourth opinions if needed. Besides, if I was wrong, and I was beginning to question my own reliability, then surely this also proved some form of mental illness. Even if it was just attention seeking behaviour, I wanted to know how to change this and become whole again. I wanted the darkness to be banished from my life forever.

I sat down and began telling the psychiatrist everything about my past and present and explained how I was feeling. He asked questions here and there and made notes. After I had finished saying what I needed to, he looked at me and apologised for not getting a full and proper diagnosis from his previous colleague. He stated that yes I did have depression and anxiety but that these were symptoms of a bigger underlying issue. He stated he believed I had Emotionally unstable personality disorder, which in turn had led to Complex PTSD. He explained to me that both of these conditions were caused due to the traumas I had experienced in life. He stated that the emotionally unstable personality disorder was due to the childhood sexual abuse and the continued emotional abuse I experienced. He also stated that this condition was also a symptom of Complex PTSD. He stated unlike normal PTSD, were the person is traumatised by one specific event in their life, complex PTSD occurred when the person experienced several trauma’s in their life. This all made perfect sense to me and I felt so relieved. At last I had a proper diagnosis and could now begin to get better and understand myself at last. I was more comfortable with the Complex PTSD diagnosis more than than the Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. As soon as the psychiatrist said this, I immediately heard my mother’s voice in my head telling me I had always been emotionally unstable. I asked the psychiatrist what treatment I could take to help me with these conditions. He stated that unfortunately, there was no treatment for this disorder. He stated that CBT is of no use for this condition and anti-depressants might help take a bit of edge off but do not really help either. He suggested researching the illnesses and finding out how others cope with it or maybe try DBT therapy instead. I thanked him and asked if I could have something in writing. He stated he would write to my GP with a detailed diagnosis and also send a copy to me. I thanked him again and left the building.

Again, I felt a mixture of emotions. I was over the mood that at long last I had been diagnosed with a proper diagnosis, but also felt a little bit deflated there I had been told there was no real treatment or help. I felt yet again as if I was completely alone with the diagnosis and felt that I now had this label associated with me for the rest of my life. I felt conflicted. I had wanted this for years. I had strived for years to be taken seriously and to be reckonised as having a genuine mental health issue. Now that I did, I was unsure if I liked or could accept the diagnosis. As stated earlier, I was fine with the Complex PTSD diagnosis, but the Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder did not sit right with me. Even though the psychiatrist had explained it to me and had reassured me this was not caused through any fault of my own, I still didn’t like the name or the stigma that I thought would be associated with it. As I walked home, I could feel the depression and darkness sinking back in. I decided, I would do more research to understand both of these conditions. I was determined to get better and hopefully in some way help others going through a similar experience.