A Thank You Note: Words From The Heart

Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart, and not in the mind

Its almost been a year since I wrote my first thank you post, an I couldn’t be more grateful for the support I receive in writing this blog, it invites people into your life who understand, an support you, who feel your pain, but also will you on in happiness, because they’ve walked a similar path in life

We all have our ups an downs, our good days an our bad, its about having the strength to go on, taking small steps that lead to a bigger journey, learning a little more about ourselves along the way

May you follow your dreams, an always believe in yourself, keep your eyes on the stars, an hope in your heart

I’ve learned a lot about myself already, yet I have a lot more to learn, we never truly stop learning new things about ourselves, its about being content with what we find when we look deeper that matters, an realising that there is a lot more to us than the hardships that come with the psychiatric labels we’ve been given

As I said in my last thank you note;

There’s nothing worse than struggling through in life an feeling so apart from the rest of the world, not knowing where to turn, or where we fit in

As long as we know that there are people out there who aren’t so different than us, an who know what its like to go through the same struggles in life, it let’s us know that we aren’t so different after all, that we aren’t alone in all this, an it gives us a little hope

Thank you for following me on my journey, of not recovery, but more self discovery, i wish only for you, what I wish for myself

Everyone who follows my blog, gets followed back, because I like to be part of other life journeys besides my own, an because it means we are in this together

A Run Of Bad Luck

Its a shame, in life when things finally seem to be going your way, then little things begin to creep in to bring you down again, most people would chalk these little things up to, ‘that’s life’ me, I call it a run of bad luck

I find myself saying lately, ‘give me a break! So I’m finally over my flu, though I’m still stuck with the cough, which is really annoying, I sound like an old 40 a day smoker, I was eating a sweet the other day an I broke a tooth, the dentist, of course can’t see me for a week, then I was only moving my step dads coat out of the way, an there just happened to be a wasp in the neck line, an I got stung, nothing serious maybe, but its relentless

On a more serious note, the money I was awarded on my claim, I’ve found out i can’t touch, so I’m left confused as what to do now

As I’m on benefits, the money has to go into a trust fund, I have to see a man next week who will explain everything to me, but from what I understand, it goes into a trust, so I don’t lose my benefit, which then means I will have to request money from the trustees, who will decide whether what I want is necessary in regards to my illness, and only then will that amount be released to me

Again I won’t know everything until I see this man, but I think I read that if I appoint a trustee, say my mum, an give her full control over the account, she would be spending the money on my behalf, an so the money is overlooked by the government, its something I’m clinging to

I feel so much pressure, I promised my family money, but giving lump sums away is seen as fraud, as it appears you’re trying to get rid of the money, so I won’t be able to do that now, I’m sure they won’t be too happy about it, the other choice is to sign off benefits, and then I get the money free an clear, this is where it gets complicated for me, an i will have to explain how I feel without sounding bad

Benefits have always been a safety net for me, knowing I’m taken care of, while getting better, or well enough at least to someday hopefully rejoin the real world again, some people might think its easy to claim benefit, maybe for some it is, but for me, the medical appointments, and the constant proving to these people over an over again that you’re let’s say ill enough, takes its toll, I only just got my disability allowance awarded again in may, the anxiety an panic it caused me waiting for their decision was horrible

So this is where I may come off as wrong, I won the money for years of childhood neglect and abuse, the claim case alone took ten years to win, to sign off benefits would mean that my awarded money would be my sole income, for me, having to live on the money kind of defeats its purpose, an would just complicate my life even more in the long run, don’t I deserve to enjoy it, for what I went through? because I’m ill, its like I’m being punished

When the money is gone, I’d have to somehow prove that its been spent, and then go through the process all over again, proving myself to get my benefits back, I’m stuck now with maybe either being told how and when I can spend the money, or having the money and living off it, am I wrong for thinking this way? The whole thing feels wrong to me

I feel like I’ve been strung along by my solicitor, who never told me about any of this, I had to look it up online, I feel like I’ve been used, an like I’ve been nothing but a meal ticket, I feel like I’ve been digging myself a hole for the last ten years, for some it might seem like an easy choice, but it isn’t, for me, its my life

If anyone reading this has advice, or knows anything about this, or legal matters, I’d love to hear from you…

When Will It Be My Turn

Its been hard for me the last few days, I caught the flu, i feel awful, an I’ve been stuck in the house for over three days, I know its only the flu, but I’m tired, an every time I try to do something, I get hot and drained very quick, its not nice having no energy

Then there’s the annoying stuff, sore muscles, runny stuffed nose, endless coughing, I’m half deaf an my ears won’t pop, I purposely don’t use ‘lol’ on my blog, but insert it where you feel it should be

Its been four days, an not one person has asked how I’m feeling, or even offered to buy me something as stupid as a lucazade, in my misery these things have been playing more on my mind, it didn’t help that everyone else was out having fun, while I was home alone

Though I’m not really the type to covet attention anymore, when I was younger perhaps, but misery loves company right??

So I told my mum today, albeit in a passive aggressive way ‘I’m feeling much better today, even though no one bothered to ask’ she just replied that so much has been going on lately

By that she means my brothers, who of course were drinking again yesterday, an its exactly what I was thinking before all this, that I’m always in their shadow, its always about the next thing they have done, what trouble they’ve now found themselves in etc

A few days ago, I told my mum that I was planning to move out soon, to cut a long story short for new readers, I grew up in foster-care, and only moved home at seventeen, so I’ve been making up for lost time, but now at twenty eight, I feel its time for me to go, it feels like I already live here alone as it is, to me, there’s my mum an step-dad, an then there’s me

Mum said that she’s not ready for me to leave yet, that she likes having me at home, an I can stay as long as I like, which is nice, but I can’t help feel its for selfish reasons, one being that she’d be alone all day with my step-dad being at work, I feel like a fixture here, I’m miserable, and to avoid fights, I say nothing

Mum an I are quite close, closer than anyone else in our immediate family, and we have only had one fight in eleven years, an that was for something stupid while we were drunk one christmas, for the record, she started it

I’m happy though, because in a rare occurrence, I know this all comes from real life situations, and not from my illness, for example, depression making it worse, so I’m trying to stay positive, this flu will pass, focus on me, stick to the plans I’ve made, straight road ahead, keep going, there’s crumbling at the edges, but its under control

A Little Taste Of Happiness

I haven’t posted in a while, my phone broke an I had to order a replacement, having a laptop is just not for me, I’ve never liked the internet on a large scale for some reason, in the mean-time, I’ve been in a mini whirlwind of sorts, but more on that to come

Lately, i’ve started going out more often, which as you know is hard for me, over the weekend I went to a BBQ, surrounded by strangers, but I handled it ok, I’ve been making more of an effort also, doing my hair, an losing the comfort blanket that was my hat, no more hiding! I’m dressing better to, I’ve been on a diet, and already I’ve lost a stone, I’m renewing my passport, I haven’t been on a holiday for ten years! But talking about it, and actually doing it are two different things, I start taking my driving lessons very soon, plus I’m getting back into singing lessons again, I used to enjoy those, they helped my confidence a little, its small steps, but the main thing is, I’m trying

I also had the best news of my life a few days ago, remember I had a pending court case, its taken over ten years! But its finally over, it was settled out of court, and I won! when my solicitor told me, I almost cried, I was so overwhelmed, I can’t go into too much detail, as I signed papers to swear I wouldn’t talk about it, even though I’m anonymous on here, I can’t take that chance, in the end, its not about the money, its the win

On top of that, any and all benefits I’ve ever received will also be paid back to the government, that makes me even happier

I told my mum and step-dad first, Who were so happy for me, I put off telling my brothers for a little while, because I know how they are, and I was right, the self entitlement, asking how much they were getting, telling me how to spend it etc, I suddenly felt dread, at a time when I was meant to be happy, I felt deflated and drained

I started having visions of them rubbing their hands together, an them asking me for money all the time, which they already do, my aunt included, and that’s with them all getting more money than me a week, I felt the slight resentment and jealousy toward me, the fakeness in the smiles, I felt awkward, and I haven’t felt right about it since, money is the route of all evil after all

A few years ago, I got a little money, just over two thousand, and that caused fights back then, from what I remember, it was because my older brother didn’t get everything he wanted, again the self entitlement and jealousy, and the fact I spent more on a close friend than on my family, my older brother an I didn’t speak for months after that, I guess that’s why I feel so much pressure this time

Back then I was only about nineteen, an I wasted the money an regretted it, but I was young, now at twenty eight, I feel like I’m more responsible, and will put this money to better use, its more money than I’ve ever had, and ever will

I sometimes wonder how a normal family would have taken the news, and wonder will my brothers ever change, I don’t want to constantly be surrounded by this life of chaos, I’ve had it my whole life, i live it everyday

Just yesterday, they both went drinking, again, and ended up out of town at some mans house, a man my younger brother was in prison with, they all got into a fight, an now my older brother has a broken nose, and my younger brother has a fractured eye socket, its completely crazy, I just want a normal life, is that too much to ask for?

People/strangers, that get to know me, almost always say how different I am compared to my brothers, its like we aren’t even related, because I’m so set apart from them, quieter maybe, though I’m always told how nice I am, an that I’m so polite, which I like because I try to be, they are so similar, like twins almost, I don’t know why I’m so different, middle child perhaps….

Its my younger brothers birthday next week, and he’s already planned a night out, an is taking a group of people to a club, drinking naturally, of course I’m invited, and I know all the people who are going, but I also know what a night out with them all is like, fun perhaps, but there are way too many down sides, I don’t like things getting too out of control around me, and feeling unsafe, its too unpredictable

Though there is another side to me, which I’ve posted about, you may know him as tylar, its not a split personality, but its like I become a completely different person, tylar is more a name I’ve given to a set of traits that aren’t in my personality, that don’t feel natural I guess, Its when i feel the cross over between the two, its a part of me I don’t like, because its so uncontrollable, its the crazy dark side of me, I don’t know how its separate from me, but it is, or feels that way, its like allowing a stranger to borrow your body

I don’t know how the coming days will play out, but for now I plan to make big changes for myself, I want out, out of this bubble I’m surrounded by, I can’t run from myself though, but only by making changes in my own life will anything be possible

since writing this, I’ve seen how bad my brothers faces look, imagine a boxers face, who was badly beaten, so his birthday is cancelled for now, more drama! You should know that by now, never a dull moment!

Not Too Far To Fall

Just because I don’t want to live, does mean I don’t want a good life, I don’t want to sit around an wait to die funny the things you randomly ponder

i’m trying hard to keep my mind under control, with all these silly thoughts, and the frustration that builds up over things that aren’t that important, and also trying to ignore the temptation I’m having lately to drink

As I sit here typing this, I feel like such a mess, an I realise how far I’ve fallen, and how fast, even though I didn’t have far to go, I set the scene as a crazy cat lady, or in my case a cat man?? my hair is uncut and greasy, I’m still in my slob like bed clothes, the battery in my razor ran out last night, half way through shaving, and I sit here with a half shaved face with no attempt to fix it, my diet has imploded on itself, I’m now two stone heavier and don’t have the will power to change that fact

Where is the drive, and the motivation, as bad as I’ve been in the past, I always cared for myself appearance wise, the outside always a mask for what I was really feeling, it was an illusion, I think perhaps as I’ve gotten older, now 28, I’ve learned that I can’t change how I feel by dressing nice and doing my hair etc, also i’m not the same person I was 4-5 years ago, I’m not as insecure, an that stuff seems less important now

Most of my nice clothes don’t fit anymore anyway, I haven’t bought anything new in quite a while, because I tell myself there’s no point buying slightly bigger clothes, one because I will lose the weight eventually, and two because buying them would be like excepting it, we lie to ourselves

I’m 6ft 2, so I carry extra weight well, but its hard for me now, with the extra weight I’m more sluggish, I get tired easier, the quetiapine doesn’t help matters either, or the fact I barely go out anymore, and haven’t left the house in about 8 months now, when I don’t get a taxi and make myself walk, the muscles tighten up so much in my calfs that I’m almost crippled, the same walk I’d done for years

Its going to be a long road back to where I first let things slip, but I’m ready to look in the mirror, and see ‘me’ again

On a slightly happier note, my younger brother, who as you know is in prison, gets a three day release on tuesday, and then is free a couple of weeks later, though that doesn’t come without drama, as he’s already said he can’t promise he won’t drink, never mind he recently found out he has hepatitis C, which I believe is a result of him either having liver damage, or from a guy injecting him with a dirty needle one drunken night, luckily he’s treatable, but it didn’t seem to wake him up to anything

Also I got a little good news, my disability living allowance was awarded again for another two years, so that takes a little stress away

As bad as I’ve been, looking to the future, I have a lot of insight, an I always hold out on hope, there’s always a strength in me, no matter how small its voice, I believe in living and learning, especially from mistakes

Everything we do, and will do in life changes us as people forever, sometimes for better or worse, its a constant battle, its a journey that hasn’t been fully written yet, its never over until the end, we never lose until we’ve lost

Beaten But Not Defeated

I had an appointment with my mental health team again today, or something that resembled that, as it was agnes again, the women who’s job a monkey could do, which sounds cruel I know, but she studied for what three to five years to be a counsellor, yet displays no professional skill, its like talking to one of my mums friends, or some women who just walked in off the street

To be honest I was in a mood, she started off by saying ‘what a lovely day, good day to get some washing out, do you ever hang out washing’ I didn’t reply, so she asked again, I told her that my mum does it for me ‘oh you’re spoiled’ she said, I told her it wouldn’t be done otherwise, I am independent, but the motivation isn’t there

We had a nonsense chat at first, where I said that it was quite early to start your day with this kind of thing, she said that it was nine o’clock, in a way as if I thought nine was the crack of dawn, how other patients of hers can do it, an how they even travel in from other towns some even getting two buses to get there

To which I had to explain myself, which I hate to do, again I told her that I meant having to sit there at that time, starting the day with talking about what I’m going through, and also that the time wasn’t good for me, that it was hard for me getting there because the town was busy with people going to school and work etc

She started telling me to get out more, that it would help me be more confident, how it had worked for her other patients, I’m sick of hearing that! I told her that if everyone were the same, one treatment would work for everyone, an that I wish she had social phobia so she knew how it felt, she said I don’t know how you feel, which I guess I respected, although stating the obvious

I said that its easy to say, here’s A and here’s B, and this is what you have to do to get from A to B, I told her I didn’t suddenly wake up a week ago with a mental illness, that I’d been getting help for over fourteen years, and that I’m pretty clued in to what’s going on

She asked how I was feeling since the last time we met, an had I thought anymore on joining the day centre for people like me or anything, I thought to myself, what I wrote in my last blog about her, are all the things I wish I had of said, so this time I would

I told her no, that I was in a different state of mind when I had mentioned those things in the past, an didn’t she think maybe I just wanted to talk

I told her I was in a much darker place right now, how I had used my anger as a way to turn off my emotions, she said we all need to have emotions as people, instead of rolling my eyes, I looked at her wide eyed an raised my eyebrows an said hmmm, it said ok, moving on

I told her everything in my life had built up till now where it felt like a contained explosion, how I was finding it hard to cope, and didn’t feel like I wanted to be part of the outside world right now, how out of curiosity I had joined a suicide site of sorts, people leave letters of goodbye, and share ideas on how to die, that sometimes life is a greater death sentence, though true, it is dark, even for me, though if I’m being honest, I only told her as a cry for help, my inner more desperate voice

I told her I know I’m not split personality, but sometimes a part of me takes over, a part of me that I can’t control, an in those moments, I don’t even know what I’m capable off, that I wouldn’t necessarily hurt myself, but that other side of me would, but again I’m aware of what I’m doing, I just can’t control it, an that its hard to deal with everything that goes on inside my head

I told her I used to be different, from how I am now, but lately I’ve changed, I don’t smile as much, laugh as often, that something had snapped inside me, and I no longer care about anything

We talked about my medication again, if you remember she had my depression meds taken from me, as I had admitted to storing them up to abuse later, I told her I’d stopped taking them because I’d forgotten what I was like before, before the tablets started to control me with all the brain chemicals they mess with, that the person she saw today was me

I fought her every step of the way, because I was a little pissed off, a little resentful, and to be honest, it made me feel good to wipe the fake smile off her face, I know she’s not going to be the one to help me, I knew it before I went today, but you can’t complain about being ill if you’re not willing to do something about it, which is why I forced myself to go

She asked what help I I thought they could give me, an also offered to do risk assessment, I told her I’d like to see a real psychiatrist, someone with power to change things, in case one day I was in danger and became afraid, someone I could call in crisis, I think she got cross, an that annoyed her, she then reminded me that I said I didn’t want help, that it would be her that I’d call, not a psychiatrist, that I’d already seen a psychiatrist before, to which I reminded her I stopped by choice, I know those were her little slaps at me

She mentioned she had read my notes from over the years, so I asked what did she think was wrong, or what were others saying, she said I more or less always say the same things, and that I’m always negative, and I have a tendency to over think things, which is true to an extent

I do feel like a broken record sometimes, but if I see someone new every time I go back to the mental health team, I feel I have to start from scratch, and also my illness hasn’t changed over the years, it only fluctuates, sometimes overwhelmingly so

I felt quite good when I was on a roll, assertive and speaking my mind, until that very thing gave up on me, suddenly my mind went blank, I couldn’t remember my train of thought or what I’d been saying, I froze and just stopped then

By the end of the session, i knew the truth about how I really felt, so I was honest, I said that I didn’t think the mental health team could really help me right now, because of the state of mind I’m currently in, I’d only fight against them, like a tug of war for example, which wouldn’t be helpful to either of us, she said that it was up to me, that she can’t force anything on me, that she’ll make another appointment for two weeks time, and if I don’t show up, she’ll assume I no longer want to see her/the team

Through the whole appointment, she never took notes or wrote anything down, so I came away thinking, I sit in a room, talking for thirty minutes to an hour, and its not recorded, what if my medication needs changed or something for example

I was very emotionless, dead eyed and dry, something just came over me, that other side I talked about, fuelled by negative emotion, its hard to snap out off, but me venting at her, is like someone cutting themselves, it let’s out the hurt, a little at least, she wanted me to be more confident, so that’s the side she got today

By the end I could barely stand to even look at her anymore, I think the feeling was mutual, so I don’t know what to do, there isn’t much else on offer right now

Tears, Fears, Urges And Ramblings

Its hard when you don’t really have anyone to turn to, it can be a lonely existence

Over the last year, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut when I’m around the people in my life, because I know they are no longer interested in what I have to say, or how messed up I feel, but I guess I can’t blame them, but the one thing that makes me angry is when they say ‘I know how you feel’ or ‘I’ve been through the same thing’ its not a competition but if each person suffered the same, one treatment would work for everyone

Lately I’ve formed a new phobia, as if I hadn’t enough ‘labels’ attached, but its of doctors and my mental health team, before every appointment I panic, I feel sick and it puts me off going until I’m desperate, then I leave feeling fragile, angry and impulsive

As I told you, Dr C accused me of using my illness as blackmail to get more diazepam, and since that day I haven’t been back to see her, the second doctor, Dr H, just sits there most of the time ‘yes, uh huh, uh huh’ its hard to talk to him, an even harder to tell if he even listens, when I go to my mental health team, I seem to see someone new every time, who are all these people? Temps?

Not long ago Dr H was reading through a report from my mental health team, it mentioned hallucinations, an he was like ‘you’ve never mentioned that to me before’ like I’d suddenly made it up, or when he quickly skimmed a report an said the mental health team said I should only be taking medication when I’m feeling down, an not so much when I’m feeling better

If he had of read it properly, it was diazepam they were talking about, any doctor should know the rule of medication, just because you’re feeling better, don’t stop taking it, and its things like this that frustrate an anger me so much, and have caused my new phobia

I’ve been with my current surgery since I first moved home, and I’m too afraid of moving to another medical practice with new doctors, so I’m trapped in this revolving circle where I’m lost in the system and no one understands me, they love to label me as ‘complex, and being an historian’ I can’t help who I am, how I come across and how I explain myself

I don’t want to be the type that talks through tears ‘no one listens to me’, I don’t want to be that cliché, but that’s where I am

Continuing with this theme, my last post was about benefits, and today I phoned in, and my bank was empty, no DLA payment, I’m in the middle of a renewal, so stressful! I left it too long to have the form back, so it stopped, its my own fault, I had away from last year, but I couldn’t bring myself to fill it in, who knew a few pages filled with questions about yourself could be so scary, but for me it is, I couldn’t find the words, my mind was blank, I couldn’t concentrate on it at all

By the end, where it asked ‘is there anything else you’d like us to know’ I was very emotional that day, and used that part to let rip at my life, my family, the mental health team, and my doctor, which I regret, wrong place, wrong time, they don’t care about that kind of thing, I just lost control for a minute

I went in to Dr H friday past, we fill the form he gets from DLA in together, sort of, last time he filled it in really well, this time he rushed it, apart from my diagnosed mental illnesses, and medication, he wrote, ‘low mood, low motivation, finds it hard to leave the house, an that I need my medication supervised’ so not exactly in-depth, I’ll just have to wait an see what happens, but a part of me doesn’t care anymore, I could live without the stress of it all

In a way it was strange to hear someone else sum up my life in such a simple way, with few words, like he didn’t know me at all, but then I don’t even know myself lately, I only know how I feel…

I haven’t left the house much in six months, because I’m finding it hard to cope right now, and I don’t feel like I want to be apart of the world outside, another part of me thinks of how much life I’m wasting locked away on my own, but its hard

When I do go out, I feel everyones eyes on me, I feel like I’m walking around with a big sign that says ‘look at me, look how odd I’m behaving’ I feel like I want to run, an hide somewhere, away from their gaze, I feel like a caged bird panicking to get free

Other times I’ve even had urges to throw myself in front of on coming traffic, its horrible, though when I’m with someone else, its not as bad

With all the anxiety, and with my social phobia, i mostly pay for taxis now into town, just to a shop, an then home again, that’s mostly the max I can handle, when there, I seem to buy enough junk food to feed a whole family, I come home an binge until I’m sick, swallowing my feelings, I’ve put on about two stone now in a short period of time, which makes me hate the way I look, an how I feel, its self punishment I guess

My mum and step-dad go out most evenings, they don’t even tell me, they just go an leave me at home, I’ve mentioned it to them, but nothing changes, my mum comments on how much time I’m spending in the house, but wouldn’t even offer to bring me with them, this family of mine are such a selfish bunch of people

You’re only as good as your last act of kindness, and all they ever talk about are themselves, I’m sick of it, I tell myself constantly that I’m done, that the first chance I get, I’m gone, and maybe then they will appreciate what they had, and by that I mean my own place, nothing morbid

Tonight, I’m home alone again, my mum even took the dog for some reason this time, and yes, its just as depressing as it sounds

They don’t realise how much I’ve changed, and who I’ve become, like a stranger in someone elses house, how everyday I become a little more distant, a little quieter, maybe I’m a good actor, but I know that’s not true! Maybe they’d rather choose to be blind than to worry

I tell myself to let rip and let them have it, but I never do, I’d rather have pride than pity

I don’t want to rely on others, I want to go it alone, at the same time, I know I can’t, or if I did I wouldn’t last long, I know being alone would make me more of a danger to myself, but then I’m alone so much as it is

There are people dying right now of serious illnesses, and by comparison my problems probably don’t seem so big, but sometimes in my darkest moments, I’d rather swap with one of them, I’d rather be dying somewhere, an I know they’d rather live my hell than die

I get the thoughts like a lot of people to self harm, I used to when I was younger, until I realised it gets you nowhere, it doesn’t really let out the hurt, its only a distraction and a false high

I like to think of myself as pandoras box, past all the darkness, and when you’ve reached bottom, there’s always hope

Benefits: My Experience

There is so much talk about benefits, and the benefit system lately, I thought I’d write a post about my experience, and being part of that system

For a long time I didn’t feel truly deserving of benefit, when people like my granny and granda were so ill they sadly past away, and the suffering they went through beforehand, but sometimes mental illness, is as crippling as any physical illness, and so I’m still learning to make peace with that fact

I’m a child of the care system, and by that fact, I was essentially raised by the government, moving from foster home, to foster home from the age of four wasn’t a great start for me in life, eventually ending up in a childrens home at age eleven because no one wanted my younger brother an I

Foster parents are fickle people, they want babies and young children, by the age of say ten, you’re not as desirable anymore, I guess families want to pretend that you are theirs and want to fool themselves into being convinced of that fact

I’m not saying this in a ‘woe is me’ way, because I’ll be the first to admit, that it helped me grow up really fast, in a world most people don’t see, I got a lot given to me, and done for me, things my mum, I know never could have

I knew for a long time, that something about myself just wasn’t right, mentally, I stopped going to school, I was depressed, but didn’t even really know that word or what it meant, I only knew feelings, I’d lock myself away for long periods of time, I become rebellious, I’d act out, run away, get drunk, cut myself and be destructive, put myself in danger, an encouraged others to do the same, I was a bad influence, but that’s all I really knew for a long time

I guess the staff at the home became worried about me, an I started seeing therapists then from the age of fourteen, and have continued to do so up until this day, the care system damaged me, that unsettled life and the things that happened to me along the way, I believe triggered the onset and development of my mental illness

Jump to today for a second, where this blog details and explains my journey

When I knew the time was coming for me to move home again, I had this rose tinted view, that I’d get a job working with my mum, I’d live at home a while before getting a place of my own, I was even budgeting my imagined wages

But that’s the thing about being young and naïve, life isn’t as simple as imagination

I moved home at seventeen, with only a weeks notice, after thirteen years, and only seeing my mum one day a week for a few hours my whole life, it wasn’t some fairytale ending I’d dreamed of, it was now the real world, and I remember being so afraid

I didn’t leave my room for a long time, the person I was before was gone, suddenly I had the responsibility of a life, my life, and I couldn’t handle it, even silly things like getting washed, and feeding myself felt different somehow, like a constant reminder I was a real person, at first they thought I was dealing with post traumatic stress, until I was later properly assessed

I first signed on for benefits, with the help of my aunt at seventeen, I didn’t even know such a thing existed then, I had all my evidence from before, about my life, and mental illness, though even that was a mystery to me

I remember the man behind the desk hinted at mental illness as a way of getting benefit, as though he was encouraging me to make things up to get money, but I was already in that boat so it was easy sailing to begin with

For a while, I remember i had to get sick lines, its like a green light from the doctor that in a way says ‘yeah, they’re still sick’ that goes on until you are sent for a medical to prove to the benefit people that you’re really deserving, which is fair

At first you get a form to fill in about your illness, and if they can’t gather enough evidence for the decision maker, you are called in for a medical appointment, my first medical came, an I remember feeling really scared, I’d never done anything like that before, I’d never had to prove anything to anyone, at least in that way

I attended, pretty clueless, I was weighed an given an eye test, and then lead into a small room with a doctor, who I remember barely looked at me, he asked a lot of questions like, what are your hobbies, what do you do all day, things like, if you wanted a newspaper, how would you get into town etc then you wait

I failed the medical, you have to score fifteen points from the questions asked, something like that, anyway I didn’t, I thought that was it, until I learned you could appeal, so I did, at the appeal, I ended up in a big room, on a chair in the middle, four older people looking at me from behind a long desk, like a jury, but in fact were the decision makers they call a tribunal

A man from the benefits system sat beside me, his job was more or less to prove I wasn’t deserving of any money, then there was a women behind me who took minutes of the meeting, I was so scared I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t breathe properly, I didn’t know what I was walking into beforehand, I just broke down and started to cry, I answered a few questions, which till today I can’t remember, they also had all my medical history, which for some reason they don’t request to use in medical appointments, so by the end they told me that I would be awarded benefit, and that was the end of it

Between me failing and getting a date for that appeal, it took over a year, in which time, they cut your money by twenty five percent, I could only afford to pay my mum ten pound toward rent, an so I lived on eighteen pound a week

Money was and is the least of my problems, for me then and now, its never been about the money, its the safety that it gives, it means you can live your life securely, while trying to get well enough to someday hopefully join the real world again, in that year, I had nothing, but I didn’t care, eventually I only had one pair of jeans left, which ripped between the legs, I did a self sow job on them, an made do

A few years past, and the letter and the form came again, i’ve always dreaded that brown envelope coming in the mail, because it fills me with so much fear and panic, it consumes my life until either way, its over with

Again, i was called in for a medical, I didn’t attend, so they sent another, again I didn’t attend, I just couldn’t go through it all again, at that time, I would rather of had nothing than put myself through that process

I got a third appointment, most people don’t get third chances, again I didn’t attend, so my money was stopped, eventually I had to realise that this is life, and its part of what you have to do to prove to them that you’re not some fraudster, you have to suck it up and do it

By that point I wasn’t allowed another chance, so again I appealed the decision, this time they wanted me to see their lawyer, which is very serious, I had to prove with good reason, why I didn’t attend, and why I deserved benefit

I contacted citizens advice, and got a case worker, because I knew this was something I couldn’t fight by myself, the day came, and the women from citizens advice did all the talking, I just more or less had to sit there, I think I finally won, because there was a huge amount of evidence in my favour, that and with proof of all the appointments I’d missed in my personal life, helped me win my case

Again time past, and income support, was then changing over to ESA, which is a lot harder to qualify for, or so I read, I allowed other peoples bad experiences to fill my head, my advice is to stay away from google when you are scared of something!

I don’t deal well with changes in my life, it affects me mentally, which then triggers other parts of my mental illness to resurface, like becoming more emotionally unstable

That day I’d dreaded came, when I received the ESA form, and in the end had to attend a medical, I actually explained this medical appointment in ‘The Looming Shadow Of ESA’ so you can find out all about that in that post, in the end I passed, though the journey was a whole story in itself

Since then I haven’t let myself think too much about it, though I know that brown envelope will be coming again very soon, and when it does I’ll just have to deal with it

Through the last six years, I’ve also received DLA, or disability living allowance, I never thought of myself as disabled, it was my psychiatrist who suggested I apply for it, when I read the form it said ‘tell us about your disability OR illness’, I asked my doctors advice, she told me she didn’t think they classed mental illness as a disability, until I explained what I had read, and so I went ahead with it

DLA has been an easier road, I’ve never had to attend a medical, DLA request information from your doctor by sending them a sort of questionnaire, so there isn’t as big of a need for a medical appointment, anytime I’ve failed, or hit a bump, due to my doctor not fully understanding my illness, a letter from my mental health team has been enough to write any wrong

I wouldn’t advise anyone to claim benefit unless you’re sure you can mentally handle what comes with it, its not as easy as just filling in a form and getting money

Mental illness is a lot unseen, so its always going to be a harder journey, your word means nothing to them, the forms they ask you to fill out bare little weight on your claim, whether you’re deserving or not is up to them, but its evidence that wins out in the end