Putting Things on Pause

Trigger warning for self harm and suicide

So, I had a bit of a mental breakdown.

Basically, my mental health has been going downhill for a while now, likely due to the pandemic initially and then it just kind of snowballed on its own for a while until the final straw sent me spiralling. The final straw being having my personal independence payments cut to almost nothing (those are disability benefits here in the UK, and my sole income).

I have a history of fairly non-serious self-harm: burning myself with a lighter, pulling my eyelashes out, lightly cutting my arm, but never any intent to end my life, even when, in the past, I’ve felt like it would be easier to die, I’ve never actually wanted to harm myself to that extent. However, this latest set back really did a number on my brain and sent me into a really dark place. I have been struggling more with my PTSD since reporting the abuse from a past relationship at the very beginning of the pandemic (bad timing), so that has felt like it’s been slowly getting worse also. But whatever the reason was, or wasn’t, I don’t really fully know, I ended up getting to a point where I took an overdose.

I don’t remember the whole incident; the doctor has since said it sounds like I dissociated whilst actually taking the overdose. So, my memory is really fuzzy on what was happening leading up to it, and then there’s a gap and then I remember staring at all the pills on my bed and counting how many were missing and realising that I’d took a bunch and now I needed to do something about that. Of course, I went to hospital and they decided that even though I had taken too many and it was a toxic level, it was borderline and I should be fine, however, I needed to see the mental health team.

The crisis team then saw me or contacted me daily for a while, then every few days, then once a week and finally after a few weeks, discharged me. They would normally have referred me to therapy but I am already on the waiting list for that so I just need to continue to wait. In the middle of all of that, I had two more instances of dissociation. The memory surrounding each time is the same kind of pattern. The second time it happened, I came around and saw I had a knife in my hand and I’d made some cuts on my arm (the marks from which are still just visible, so hopefully they will disappear). The final time I had been writing some things down and I had scribbled very hard on my arm and left some marks and broken the skin slightly.

Each time I dissociated, the self-harm was less serious than the time before, so for whatever reason, you could see that I was improving in some way. Since there was no therapy available to me and no help after the crisis team discharged me, I knew I needed to arrange some things for myself to aid in my recovery. Since I obviously have zero money, I created a GoFundMe page to help me afford to get help straight away, and thanks to my amazing supporters, it was funded really quickly.

So, I booked a trip to a wellness retreat where I spent 5 days in nature, doing yoga, swimming, mindfulness, breathing exercises and taking part in creative workshops, all to try and reset my brain and my routine, to kickstart my long journey back to feeling as mentally healthy as I can be. I have also delved into various kinds of therapy to see which kind will best fit me. I started having crystal healing therapy, which has had a really positive effect on me so far and I did try acupuncture also, but that was really not for me (needle phobia got the best of me). And I am yet to have a consultation about EMDR therapy as well. All of this, along with some simple, relaxing little rituals I have learnt, and keeping my mind busy by working on creative projects and eating healthier, has really helped me massively. I can safely say I am out of the woods in terms of being a risk to myself, and I am definitely not as poorly mentally as I was.

I will write more in depth about the trip I went on and the things I’m doing to help myself, in another blog post!

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