Five Years- Still Alive

This day seven years ago, I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and thus began my love-hate relationship with the mental health system. I remember- noise, pacing, star jumps, skipping brain, Silence of the Lambs on repeat, Leila, stripey socks, more pacing, telling the nurses I had to be let out because I had an important interview at Scotland Yard (and this was true!), haloperidol, flowers, Connect 4, Lithium, bloods, tight hand grips, tourniquets and smoking.

Almost 5 years ago (in 2 more days), I took an overdose after a year of depression and one very ill-advised prescription of Effexor. I am still alive.

The memories I have of that night are sickened- sweat, vomiting, screaming for my dead dad, having a seizure and knocking myself out on the desk, the paramedics seeing my breasts and still feeling aware enough to be mortified about that, everyone here worrying since I posted while off my skull, feeling angry that the doctor dismissed my overdose as, “over a fight with a boyfriend”, when no such fight had taken place, when I hadn’t even inferred it, he was at the pub, but as a young woman in a scar suit, it must have been why, not the year’s worth of depression, not the hyperactive energy burst of medication, as a young woman, my life revolves around the men in it. 

Wanting a toffee crisp and the kindness of friends. More vomiting. Friends cleaning the flat so we didn’t have to return to it. Rob’s centring calmness when I knew how afraid he was. Me pretending I was alright afterwards, when I really wasn’t, but I felt so silly and ashamed of myself.

Nothing has been simple since.  It’s easy to forget how bad things were, I guess. My life revolved- and still does, to a large extent- around trying to stay sane.  I feel more sane than I ever have, PDSQ questionaires to fill in tonight aside.  (What is an, “upsetting experience”? I wrote down 3, then added in the margins, “Not sure these count”).

I’ve hidden a great deal of posts from when I started this blog, cowed and blushing over my quite dogmatic nature then. I was only 21. I should reinstate them, even if they’re embarrassing. I’ve seen other people do the same as me- when diagnosed with someone, deny to begin with, then grab at it like a rope to a drowning man.  It took me a couple of years to realise I was more than my illness.  And a couple more to realise it would always be there, humming in the background like a twatty passenger on a bus. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought and I’m not afraid anymore.

October is my bad month. I have crashed almost every year for 10. I’m still here. Fuck you October. In your face.

8 Responses

  1. Five years, and although the journey to each additional year might be tough, you should be proud of your own strength because regardless of the battle you are still winning. I’m at nearly three years. People like you are my inspiration. Thank you xo

  2. Be proud of yourself! You made it through and are still alive!

  3. I genuinely believe that the world is a slightly better place for having you in it, so I’m glad you’re alive.

  4. Congratulations! You are a warrior. My I”m coming up on 4 years since my last breakdown on the 19th. We are strong, brave, and damn it, people are rooting for us! xx

  5. Wow, Congratulations on your 5 year anniversary– an important anniversary because, in a way, it’s a symbol of the growth you’ve made. I’m coming up on the 1 year anniversary of my first hospitalization. And I can tell that the theme for that milestone marker will be a vehement “FUCK YOU” to everyone. Because everyone was wrong about me. And I didn’t deserve the shit storm that followed my release.

    None of us deserve these fucking shit storms that seem to follow and haunt us.

    Your post was well written and made it easy for the reader to connect to the experience you shared! I’m glad I got to read it 🙂

    I look forward to following your next posts. 😉

  6. Well done, you never stop learning about the purgatory of this condition.
    This blog is one of your major achievements and hopefully one day you will be rewarded for publishing it. Your integrity and honesty have supported a great number of people.

  7. Hey hun, I don’t think I’ve commented before, but I emailed you when I first found your blog – well, at least I think I did as it was when you were doing your MH nursing course…. And I was on mat leave from mine. I had to comment on this as I’ve realised that, if my working out is correct, we overdosed on the same day, on the same drug, 5 years ago. Spooky. It was the early hours of the Saturday and I’d been building up to it all of Friday evening. I had a fair few seizures so don’t remember much. I do remember realising I’d been repeating myself for some hours, my temperature soaring, tachycardia, the incredibly uneasy time afterwards, feeling so guilty and utterly helpless. Strangers in my home everyday from the Crisis Team. It isn’t a good time for our family for that and because of several devastating losses, so I think I get where you’re coming from. Riding the storm. Lots of strength to you and glad you’ve conquered the last 5 years. Xxxx

  8. […] And Seaneen reflects on her years in the Mental Health System and the Madosphere with what I found to be a pretty powerful post – Five Years and Still Alive […]

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