I Survived First Year!

So, as the title suggests, I have some exciting news: I’VE PASSED ALL MY EXAMS! I’m officially done with my first year at university!

In fact, somehow, amazingly, I did better than just pass, getting As in all three of my exams – for once, I’m almost proud of myself! It’s been a really tough year, with two hospitalisations but nonetheless I’ve got through it thanks to the support of my friends, team and boyfriend. Oh yeah, I now have a boyfriend!

I’m definitely glad to see the back of this year, although next year only promises to be harder – that’s next year’s problem though. I’ll deal with it when it comes. Taking one day at a time has definitely helped me survive, in fact it’s my only real strategy, along with sleeping. But if it works, it works I guess. 

This was just a short update, one with the nitty gritty on my mental health shall surely follow. 

Love always,

E xx

Transitioning to CMHT

So a few days ago, I had that day I had been dreading as soon as I got the letter about a month back. That letter being about my first CMHT appointment. For those that are unaware, CMHT stands for community mental health team – in other words, adult services. 

I’ve been with CAMHS for what must be around 3-4 years now, and the thought of leaving what I’ve built there is terrifying. The attachments I’ve formed, the relationships I’ve worked so hard to create, all gone. The very thought makes me want to cut my heart out because it causes me so much pain. It’s fair to say I’ve been dreading this day because of what it signifies – the ending of something old and the start of something new. 

My CAMHS nurse and my psychiatrist came to the appointment, so there wasn’t too much pressure on me to talk which was helpful, since it took me a good 20 minutes to calm down after bursting into tears before even entering the room (pathetic, I know). The psychiatrist seemed intelligent and kindhearted, everything I look for in a psych – I think we’ll get on. He’s appointing me a CPN and is seeing me in two weeks, a step down from my weekly CAMHS appointments but I guess I’ll have to get used to that. CAMHS are still seeing me for a handful of appointments before discharge – the D-word that I can hardly bear to say aloud right now – a prospect I haven’t even began to process. But I will, and it will be painful, yet I will have to get through. 

I have my exams in less than two weeks, so I have to hold it together. Come on girl, you can do this, you have to. You don’t have a choice. Do it. 

Visits and Plans

So it’s been a while since I last updated on here.

I met with my MHO (mental health officer) a while back and managed to speak to her about my attachment issues. Long story short, in two weeks’ time I’ll be going back to school with her to see my old guidance teacher!

I’m excited, nervous and downright terrified to do this. I’m not sure how I’ll react to seeing her, I’m not sure how I’ll be after saying goodbye for the last time. The idea of this visit is to give me closure, but I’m worried that things will escalate after seeing her as this is one of the only things I’m holding out for. 

I have plans for that week, bad plans, and preparations are in progress but I’ve faced the fact that it’s unlikely to do much damage. Still, my head convinces me that it’s worth a try. I wonder what a day of freedom would feel like, a day without making plans, a day with clean arms and being able to eat without obsessing over calories. I mean I weighed a muffin today, for Pete’s sake!

Whatever happens, I know I’ll most likely survive it. I have things to look forward to, university to attend, a birthday to be had. Things are tough but I’ll plod on in my unhappy existence, living for the moments that are marginally less dark. Is this all there is to life? If it is, I’m not sure I want to live it. 

Missing you

So a part of my life that I don’t talk about a lot is attachment. I think I’ve struggled with it for as long as I remember, way back in primary school I would get really upset every year when we changed teacher, even though I knew it was inevitable. 

In the past few years though it’s definitely reared its ugly head more and more often. A year out of school and I’m still painfully attached to teachers and members of staff I used to see, especially my old guidance teacher. Missing her is the basis for the above poem, written on a day when I felt particularly floored by my attachment. 

I guess it’s natural to miss her, she was the first person I opened up to and showed me so much care and compassion that I’m not surprised I became so easily attached. I could probably say she saved my life, and that’s not something you get over easily. 

But oh lord does it cause so much pain. So much pain. Every time I’m out I’m looking for her face, her silhouette, every double take I take rips out another part of my heart – I don’t even know what I’d say to her were I to see her again, I’d probably just cry. I have her email address and it takes everything within me not to contact her, as I know that that would just open up the old wound and aggravate it, but lord do I miss her so much. I miss her so much it physically hurts, I feel sick to my stomach and my heart aches when I think of it. I wish I could get over her, I honestly do and I tried to bring it up with my team yesterday in a note but they ended up focusing on other more concerning parts. 

I just wish I had somebody to talk to about this, it hurts so much to deal with it on my own and so I turn to places like here and Instagram to vent, but it’s never quite the same as speaking to her. It feels like grief, like I’ve lost her forever and a part of me has died. I know these thoughts are irrational, that she’s only supposed to be a fleeting part of my life but it still won’t stop hurting no matter how much I try to rationalise.

I’m not sure what the purpose of this blog post was, I guess I just wanted to share this portion of my life with all of you. 

One year on

So I’ve been gone for a long time.

It’s been over a year since my last blog post so I’m not sure that anybody will read this – I do have a tendency just to shout into the void – and I’m not sure whether I’m going to be back for good or not, but this is me.

I guess recently I’ve had a feeling that I’ve lost my words, forever answering questions with “I don’t know” and “I don’t mind”, fumbling my way through each day in a sort of dazed stupor. I long for the past days where I was more eloquent, before I began to stutter over my sentences. 

Perhaps it’s time to rekindle that creative spark. Perhaps I’m only rambling to thin air but I feel like it’s time for a shift – it’s been a whole year and nothing much has changed, so maybe getting back into blogging will be good and cathartic for me, perhaps I’ll find my words again, who knows?

So, where have I been? If I recall correctly, the last time I posted I had just been discharged from a 9-month inpatient stay, had just left school and was wondering what to do next. Well, it’s not been a smooth ride, to say the least.

Since then I’ve been in hospital another two times, for roughly a month each. I won’t go into the specifics but it’s fair to say things have been… messy. As for now, and the dreaded “how are you doing?”, I guess I’m doing fine. The same as ever, and a prime example of how I’ve lost my words.

I’m now a student at Edinburgh university, studying neuroscience in first year, something I certainly didn’t think would really happen, but here I am, nearly through my first semester. Perhaps it’s procrastination, perhaps it’s the looming threat of exams, but something draws me back to this place, where I can freely express myself. 

So here’s to new beginnings and to finding my words again. 

Flying to Saturn would be a lonely ride

Introverted kids don’t make many friends. That’s definitely a lesson I learned pretty early on. I’ve always been introverted and quiet, one of those unassuming people that don’t explode until you get to know them. Like a dusty firework lying in somebody’s shed – grey and dull until you give it a spark, then BOOM. Well, I’m not quite that exciting.

I’m one of those people that finds it difficult to start conversations for fear of coming cross as annoying, but once the conversation begins, I can talk for days. I’m afraid of approaching people, yet love to make new friends. I’ll keep my head down to avoid eye contact, but hate the feeling of being invisible. I’m a performer that’s afraid of perform, a writer that doesn’t dare write, a public speaker with a bolt holding their throat closed. A walking paradox.

Suddenly noticing that you’ve begun to cut yourself off from everyone you know can be alarming to say the least, and also rather problematic, considering you now have nobody to share your fears with. You feel isolated and alone, with nowhere to turn, because you have unknowingly painted yourself into a corner, just like this guy: Dang, you say to yourself, knowing that this time, it’s all your fault. It’s one of those things that you never realise until it’s too late. You don’t notice the hole in the bottom of your boat until you’re waist-deep and no desperate bucket flailing will do you any good.

This is exactly what I’ve been doing, only I know that the barriers are only mental. Once again I’ve pushed away the people supporting me, thinking that they didn’t care or didn’t understand or had the wrong idea or in fact hated me,  and all of a sudden I’m back, friendless with next to no communication skills, back to square one. I’ve made excuses to avoid socialising and communicating, built mental barriers of fear and mistrust to keep the teachers and doctors out.
But now that I can feel the lies I swore never to tell tickling my tongue, opening up seems about as likely as flying to Saturn in a paper aeroplane with pyjamas on. So basically impossible.

I know that I have to be the one to take responsibility and speak up, but that just isn’t happening. For now though it’ll just be onwards and through, I’ll strap on my seatbelt and maybe I’ll make it past Mars. The best plan of course, would be to stop this ship before it takes off, but I’m the only one on board and I forgot to install an ejector seat.

“Don’t be too hard on yourself”

I’ve returned to school after a lengthy study leave, only to realise during my first class that coming back means that it is results time. Ok, so this isn’t entirely true – I realised that whilst lying awake many nights before, but it didn’t quite hit home until that script was sitting on the desk in front of me. As always, I take one glance at the numbers on the top before flipping the paper face down as if they burn my eyes, and sometimes it feels like they almost do, my heart pounds and my eyes prick with tears. I glance around the room, making sure nobody has seen anything. But surely the end of prelims means, for the time being, that the pressure is gone? Oh no, not even close – not for me at least.

In my head, the pressure has only increased – it’s when the results come in that I begin to truly panic: what if I haven’t done well? what if I’ve let everybody down? what if I didn’t get a high enough mark? what if so-and-so has beaten me? Being simultaneously the stereotypical ‘Smart Asian’ and that kid, there is a certain rather uncomfortable pressure to keep up appearances. Add a generous helping of my own perfectionism and a dollop of self-loathing and scathing criticism and you have a recipe for disaster. It’s fair to say that I don’t cope with pressure very well.

The numbers on the front of the script are sharp and angular, I read 121/130 as 9 mistakes, frantically scanning the pages for my mishaps. I curse myself both for my foolish mistakes and for my lack of knowledge – I need to be more careful, I should have studied harder. These mistakes are all noted down, either mentally or written a little too hard in ink on that green sheet. I always over fill the comments box. Ninety-three percent is “good”, but is it really good enough? Could I have got a better mark? Almost certainly. There is always Room For Improvement.

My teacher is looking over my shoulder at the sheet in front of me. I have tried to hide my disappointment, but I can never quite manage to conceal it entirely. He fills in the “teacher comment” box and returns the piece of paper to me, looking me in the eye and telling me “I mean it”.

His comment does not read, “excellent” or “well done” or “fantastic” or “keep it up”. Instead it reads “don’t be too hard on yourself”. I bite my lip and blink back the burning tears that threaten to spill out.

A few days and too many thoughts later, I am beginning to understand why those words have haunted me so much. Perhaps it is the realisation that I am extremely cruel to myself, that I am my own worst enemy and the one that pushes me to the edge, although I’ve always known that. Perhaps it is the fact that as much as I hide it, people are noticing and picking up on this psychological bullying that I inflict on myself. Perhaps it is just the kindness and concern and reassurance – the precise things I tell myself I don’t deserve.

Perhaps it’s because deep down I know that he’s right, and I ought to treat myself better. Maybe it’s time to stop caring so much about what other people think, and stop giving myself such a hard time when I let myself down. A part of me knows that this is what I need to do, but a larger part of me is not ready to take my foot off the accelerator, even though I am headed straight towards a wall.