I keep thinking the worst of my times with my illness have only been the year and the months with the break down of relationship/friendships. In reality, this has been my life every day since I was diagnosed. A lot of my time as a teen is forgotten and my childhood is scattered with memories so painful I panic each time I try speak about it loudly. Regardless I think the most valuable lessons and discoveries I have learnt have been the past year and a half. I thought I was cured and I was sitting comfortably in my despair. A lot of my walls were torn down and I discovered who I really am a long the way. Here are some things I learnt:
Not everyone is going to understand your illness and thats okay- When it comes to mental illness, a lot of people claim to have an 'understanding'. Due to stigma and lack of education, a lot of people who say they get it are in fact ignorant to it and aren't willing to look further to understand. They care more about their happiness as they view helping a mentally sick person as 'draining'. Some people just don't have the emotional intelligence to empathise when they can't see the illness.
Not everyone is going to validate how you feel- I think what is important in this regard is the people around you who matter to you validating how you feel. I know I wanted each and everyones praises and approval but in reality I am not going to get everyone to say 'what you are feeling right now is valid and I would feel that way too'. Everyone has different experiences in situations and not everyone feels how you feel.
Leaving someone in suicidal states over and over again cannot be justified- Especially when they told you that they where there and they could handle it. I made the mistake of seeking comfort in someone who wasn't there when I was in need the most. Instead my ideations were viewed as manipulating and attention seeking. This was a painful experience and made me feel worse. I was made to feel guilty for something I shouldn't feel guilty about. Take the right support around you, the people who do want to be there no matter what circumstance.
Putting yourself out there can make you an easy target- Ever since I started speaking out about a very highly stigmatised illness, I was fallen victim to some serve online bullying. I spoke of truths from my perspective as well as admitting behaviours that are deeply personal. I am accustom to negativity now, but I shouldn't have to be when it comes to raising awareness about a serious issue close to my heart. I now have learnt to ignore what ever person chooses to come on this platform and put me down. I know at the end of the day the purpose of what I am doing and helping the people who need it the most. The ones who are scared to open up about something that impacts their lives on the daily.
You discover your real friendships along the way- I lost people I could never imagine hurting me or abandoning me. I was tested to the point where I wanted to die rather than be alive in their presences as I felt too much of a burden. I understand the exhaustion that comes with trying to help me. I have had friends say some things I never thought they would say and it just shows how much they didn't take into consideration the impact their words and actions had on my health. I have happily removed them from my life as they weren't willing to sit down and validate how I felt or even offer other solutions to help more. People would say 'I can't help you' straight away instead of saying 'How can I help and what is going on for you'. There is a very big difference.
If someone doesn't love or care about you back, let them go- I was holding on to a relationship that was doomed and tainted with betrayal from the very beginning. I somewhat convinced myself in an unknown fantasy that they would one day be on the same level as me and respect me the way I loved and cared about them. I was lied to at the very beginning and was lied to for a year and a half. Instead of the ownership my illness was the reason that they lied to me. I was excluded, played, stringed along and made to feel like absolutely nothing to someone I loved more than anyone in this world. I have learnt next time I am lied to I will be walking away. I can forgive but I will not stand to take full ownership for a choice someone kept making.
You are stronger then you think you are- I thought I wasn't going to wake up around April this year. The ideation was so strong that I would go back and fourth from trains, have images of me chucking myself off the bridge at Leederville station, I tried to hang myself a lot more times then anyone realised. I vocalised it and some people viewed it as not accountable as it wasn't successful and I wasn't taken seriously. I was a big laughing joke at one stage. I didn't think I was going to pull off my hike I was so passionate about and worked so hard to pull off. I did it all in the end and it was one of the most hardest things to pull myself out of.
People do care, choose the right ones- Its quit easy to see now. The people who always message to check in, who make you feel good and who love you regardless of the things you have done in an ill state of mind. They are there no matter how hard it got. Those people never gave up in you. Keep them in your life.
People are sheep- Ones I got involved in never had their own opinion. If someone didn't like you in that scene, everyone followed. No one could say what they really thought as the insecurities were so big as well as their egos. Stay away from these people, they will never understand mental illness.
You don't play the mental health card or 'hide' behind an illness- Don't let anyone make you feel bad for something that can kill you in distressing times. I know if any of my attempts had been completed, a lot of people would be chocking on the words they threw at me when all I wanted was answers as to why I was continually being hurt by someone who made me think that they didn't want to hurt me.
You are worthy of good things- You are worthy of good things. Remind yourself of that daily and you will search for the good things. You will be able to remove yourself from people who only bring you negativity.
Im not my illness- I am Carissa. I am not borderline or what ever negative thing google has to say about my illness.
Make your own closure- Don't spend all your time and energy forcing someone to say sorry and give you reasoning for why they do what they do to you. If they can't keep you safe and treat you poorly, as hard as it is you have to cut them out. Someone who really cares would say sorry no matter what and would want to fix the problem caused if they cared enough. If they don't make the mutual effort to be on good terms then you can stand proud that you did all you could and that your time with them has come to an end. Make your own closure and don't keep wondering how they are feeling. If they hurt you then their feelings aren't as important as looking after yourself.
Once can forgive, two or three times then you have a problem- I have had so many people say this to me. My hurt came in a three and I kept saying 'its fine' instead of saying 'not this is unacceptable'. My feelings were valid and for so long I believed that they weren't.
Stop caring about what people think- I was always scared to show everyone my side of my illness. At the end of the day who cares what everyone thinks. We live in a very judgemental world where everyones opinions are always more 'right' then what you are actually feeling. If you are around people you constantly have to justify yourself too then they aren't you friends. Stick with your real friends.
These are just some major things that I came to terms with. I know people involved with me have their own judgements and conclusions about the person I am and thats okay. I don't need them around if they aren't willing to see where I am coming from. I am grateful for the people I have you do know how I feel and how serious this illness is to live with. Thank you to the people who saw me at my worst and are still here making sure I am okay. I know my life would be completely black without you all. I know there may be a time of a relapse again but I am hoping I have the skills and the right support to get on top of it instead of resorting to attempting/self harm. I am doing my very best and thats all people can ask for as well as myself.