now that i have a clear head

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the past week just feels like a haze to me. i’m not going to lie, the last 5 have days felt like hell. yesterday, and thursday in particular could pass for the worst days i’ve had in months. luckily like i stated in my last post i have the right people around me to aid in my recovery. however that doesn’t change the fact that mental illness is real, and although support makes life easier, it doesn’t make the illness go away. recovery is not a walk in the park, ups and downs are going to happen, something i feel the need to remind myself all the time. when depression follows a period of hypo mania it hits me like a ton of bricks. the happiness hangover.

it’s currently 4 am on saturday morning, i’m awake (probably because i slept majority of the day) and i’m just looking over my journal entries and i came across one from thursday that tbh i don’t even remember writing. i’m going to include the entry i wrote, my outlook on life was pretty bleak on thursday, so if you find it makes you uncomfortable please don’t read it. but do skip to the next paragraph because i have a plan to spin this positively. 🙂

september 7th : 7:37pm
when i got out of bed, today it was different. i cared a lot less about everything. i can’t live like this. i don’t stop thinking about dying, it feels like my only way out of this hell. what the fuck is the point of anything. i bring so much bad into this world that is already smoothered in darkness, that i don’t deserve to be here. i want to be dead. i don’t want to do anything that i like anymore. i’m becoming more and more of a spazz. i am a spazz. ashleigh spazztastic. but serioulsy i don’t get life. there is literally no point to it. even if you do “everything that you ever wanted to” do you even feel fullfillment? is fullfillment just a made up concept to keep human beings continuing on this journey through the hell of physical life. i know i’m in this body to experience physical reality, but i just want out of it. reality isn’t even real. i’m just stuck in this stupid physical dismension and i want to go back to where ever the fuck i came from. being human is fucking stupid. i didn’t sign up for a brain this big. i’m stuck in my fucking head all the time. there is literally no way out of my fucking head. even when i’m “asleep” my dreams are the same as “reality”, none of this is fucking real. i am extremely discouraged in myself for continuing to have a broken brain.

after i read that entry my first thought was “wow ash there is something wrong with you” and now that i’ve typed it out i feel a lot more concerned at that initial thought than my journal entry. recovery is anything but linear, and now that i’ve sat with that reminder for a few minutes, i feel much better. there is nothing “wrong” with me. a negative thought popped into my head, which is beyond my control. i’m damn proud of myself for realizing and moving on. i just struggle to manage my emotions and their intensity more than average joe. a few bad days not really a huge deal, right? right. life keeps going, and we keep living the short amount of time we’re given, so we might as well not dwell on the past and keep moving forward so we can experience our best lives possible. and if you need to remind yourself why life on earth is worth living, that’s totally okay. i need those reminders too, humanity is such a beautiful experience, and if you’re experiencing humanity living with mental illness remember that doesn’t make your life any less of a life worth living.

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i’ve included a spread from my bullet journal ‘reasons to love life’ where i’ve tried to creatively show case a few of my favorite reasons to be alive. of course the list could potentially go on forever. there are so many beautiful reasons to love your life. remember your life is a fucking miracle, try to make the most of it! comment below your personal reasons to love life 🙂

ps. don’t mind my ‘your’ ‘you’re’ fuck up, it’s now 5:40am and i’m starting to feel sleepy , alright much love, peace out for now
ashleigh ❤

recovery is hard.

bpd. borderline personality disorder. it should be called my own damn brain is trying to kill me disorder, because that’s how i feel. or at least that’s how i felt when i wrote that in my journal last spring after my diagnosis. if you don’t know me personally, or even of you do, you probably don’t know that i have been off work for the past 8 months struggling with my mental illness. i debated writing this for post months because i do not want people to feel sorry for me. there are millions of people who struggle. every single person on this planet experiences their own trials and tribulations. the reason I finally decided to bite the bullet and write this is for a few reasons. if I can help just one person by sharing my story i will happy, and at the end of the day writing this post itself is very therapeutic for myself. i want to help end the stigma that sounds mental illness. everyone has mental health, and regardless if you are among the 1 in 4 that suffer from mental illness or not YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS IMPORTANT!!! and you should be taking care of it.

for as long as i can remember i have struggled with my mental health. when i was 12 my mum took me to a therapist & i hated the entire experience. then and there at that first appointment i decided i wasn’t going back. over the next few years i have used and abused so many different coping mechanisms and bad habits to deal with my symptoms. have you ever turned on a television and received only static? that fuzzy grey buzz. that is the best way i can describe it to someone who is not in my brain. the problem is that i’m not watching the static on tv, its my life. it’s terrifying. when you can’t break it and the numbness it over takes you. you feel so lost. you don’t feel real at all. you don’t know if you’re awake or dreaming. what is reality? my motto was fake it til you make it, and i honestly feel as if i have just floated through life.this time last year i was succeeding at bottling my feelings, but in december the void i was felt began to keep me awake at night. then the panic attacks started. they were happening sporadically, and would range in severity. sometimes i would be able to calm myself down, other times i wold cry myself to sleep, or faint. everyday tasks became harder and harder. i couldn’t concentrate long enough to finish one thing at a time. i was tired. i felt useless. i was having an eating disorder relapse. (a story for another time). i was calling in sick to work. my panic attacks started happening more frequently. in january i booked time off work so i could get myself sorted. i ended up spending the entire time in bed. i was too scared to contact a doctor. consumed by my negative thoughts, life was happening to fast for me, it was escaping through my fingers. i was not happy. i stopped doing things that i enjoyed. i slept for majority of my time. i had no ambition at all. i just didn’t give a shit about anything. i was suicidal and i needed help.

asking for help was terrifying. but i did it. i spoke up for myself, and i am so glad that i did. since the beginning of february i have had weekly appointments with my doctor. the first time that i saw the doctor i left with a antidepressant prescription, thinking i’d be back at work in a week or two. as like most stories about mental illness journeys the first medication i tried didn’t help me at all, the second medication knocked me out of depression & straight into mania. march 2017 one of the craziest months of my life. i chopped all my hair off and dyed it blue. i barely slept. but with weekly gp visits, psychotherapy sessions, and the support of my family i made it. after multiple hours of intense questioning with two different psychiatrists, i was told i have borderline personality disorder.

if you don’t know what borderline personality disorder, is the DSM-5 describes it as a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by at least 5 of the following:
– intense fear of abandonment, and frantic efforts to avoid it
– a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
– markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
– impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (eg, spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating, etc)
– recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
– affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (eg, intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days
– chronic feelings of emptiness
– inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (eg, frequent displays of temper, constant anger, or recurrent physical fights)
– transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
the month of may rolled around and my mood swings intensified. in the mornings i was wired, feeling on top of the world and by 2 pm i would be crying myself to sleep. i’d wake up in the evening feeling more worthless than ever. my numbness just didn’t go away. i was starting to turn back to old coping methods heavy drinking and smoking. self harm became a clutch for me, because physical pain would help me snap into ‘reality’. physical pain hurt less than the emotional pain i was carrying. on the 15th of june i woke up on my kitchen floor to my boyfriend and 3 paramedics standing over me. i was chauffeured to the hospital by ambulance, i missed my scheduled doctors appointment and spent the day in the ER. about a month later on the 12th of July I had started DBT for the first time, i was beyond excited to finally get my life together. it did not turn out as planned. my first appointment was terrible, i was basically told that i would have to seek help else where because there are other people that need it more than me. i left in feeling terrible about myself. more worthless than ever. i decided that nothing mattered anymore. i was just gonna be myself. i was giving up on getting help. i decided to give my diagnosis back. i convinced myself it was nonsense and i was perfectly well. my manic episodes became more persistent. no medication was working for me. insomnia started again. and my grip on reality was just not there. i  was scaring my friends and family. bless brandon, my boyfriend for being who he is, i swear without him i wouldn’t be alive today. my doctor and therapist as well, they helped me get back into DBT. dialectical behavioural therapy was originally created to treat borderline personality disorder. it teaches behavioral skills: mindfulness; distress tolerance; interpersonal effectiveness; and emotion regulation.

life right now is still very hectic. all i can try to do is stay positive and be thankful for each day that i’m alive on this earth. it’s so much easier said than done. when i think ‘recovery’ i think yoga, meditation, and healthy foods. i think about running, making art, and spending time with my loved ones. and recovery is that, but it’s also screaming and crying and punching walls. it’s fighting with your loved ones about getting out of bed. it’s bringing up terrible memories, and learning acceptance. it’s trying to drown your pain. it’s staying awake all night because you’re so numb and something feels wrong. it’s countless panic attacks and times when you faint. for me one moment i can feel fine. i’ll be experiencing life, induldging in my surroundings. and the next moment i’ve gone completely numb, and have emptied an entire bottle of pills straight into mouth. recovery is hard. and doing it alone, at least for me is just not an option. i’ve got the right people in my court, and i know that i am loved. i’ve recently started a different medication and i have high hopes. i’m writing again, and it really has been helping me sort my thoughts.

i am no longer ashamed of my mental illness. i am the 1 in 4. mental health is something that needs to be talked about more often, it needs to be looked at in the same light as physical health. it is OKAY to miss work because you are having a panic attack. you don’t have to pretend everything is ok if it is not. i am incredibly lucky to be receiving the help that i am. if you are in pain at all i encourage you to speak up and get help. there are people who want to help you, myself being one of them. fuck the stigma. remember you are worth the everything, and you deserve to be living your best possible life. everyone has mental health, and everyone deserves to experience the world. anyway, i guess this is the end of this post. i feel sort of lifted, like i got what i’ve been hiding off my chest. so if you we’re wondering where i’ve been, there ya have it.

i dont know how to end a blog post lol
thank’s for reading, i appreciate you ❤
seeya’s
ashleigh

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yesterday, when i wrote majority of this post.
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this morning, after breakfast
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this was a couple weeks ago
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water colour
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blah
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after my first ‘DBT’ appt
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my and my kitty ollie