I Remember How This Feels

Trigger warnings: this post has references to passive suicidal thoughts and negative mental health. If you’re triggered by this content, please don’t feel like you have to read this; your health comes first.

I’ve been trying to deny all my feelings over the last week, to just shut it all down and function. During the weekend, I felt myself go so downhill that it was impossible to even pretend. I’m struggling and this is the worst I’ve seen myself for at least a year and a half. I only know that because I could never forget how I’d felt back then. Now I’m feeling it all again, it’s a huge shock. I’ve been angry, taking the anger out on people and just not very healthy whatsoever.

When I was halfway through Year 12, I pretty much hated everything and wanted to die the majority of the time. I was so unhappy that it was a struggle to even move. In terms of work, I barely met any deadlines and didn’t care enough to complete most of my homework. It was around this time that I quit French. A couple of months later, during my exams, I managed to pick myself back up. Ever since then, I’ve had a cycle of feeling so awful that I just couldn’t do anything but it was never as bad as it was last January. Until now.

I have these memories of sitting in my classes, barely able to work or to string a sentence together. I would desperately try and get through the fog of my head and to not cry, just not cry until it was over. I’d feel this cold terror, where I’d be hanging on to the thread of getting out of there and screaming. But by the time I could breathe, I’d gone blank; I didn’t feel a single thing but this aching emptiness. The only change now is that I’m better able to articulate it. Talking doesn’t feel impossible, just very tiring. Everything else – the sadness, the exhaustion, the not-quite-feeling-there, is back.

As I’ve mentioned in this post, I’ve gone to blind college for a year. That move is stressful enough but on top of my breakdowns, it’s turned into a shitstorm. I’ve had to mask how I’ve been feeling to everybody here and to friends outside of it; the motivation to do any work has just disappeared; I’m attempting to actively withdraw myself from social situations because I’m just too tired. It’s exactly how it felt in Year 12 but somehow magnified because I’m in such a small, residential environment. I can’t hide it whatsoever.

People have been supporting me a lot; Kel is a godsend and I couldn’t have done this without him. My friend Robin has been a lifesaver and my other friend, Pearl, came over to stay at the weekend. Rapunzel has been one of the only people who has managed to keep me grounded and recently, I’ve really started to try and have more conversations with people outside college like Red, Wren and Swan. Somehow, though, I’m still really bad: I’m still not coping, still don’t have any energy, still tired.

On paper, everything seems to be good: I’m in a great place, have met some amazing people, am actually enjoying my course and the personality, or side of myself, that I show to people seems to have it all together. So why am I feeling like this? I act so energetic, enthusiastic and organised that by the end of the day, I’ve got nothing left. I’ve stopped talking to so many people because I’m often too unwell or exhausted to keep up a conversation but because of the ‘happy’ way I’ve been acting, it’d feel like I was a fraud if I suddenly started acting how I truly feel.

I suppose that this must come from the agony of feeling isolated. Recently, because of my lack of talking to people outside of the college, I’ve felt alone and quite adrift from everything. A good way for me to get by when I have nothing else – no coping mechanisms that work, at least – is to talk to others and share in their happiness. It honestly feels like people don’t care any more and don’t want to talk to me, meaning I don’t find out things until weeks after they happen and so I can’t be happy for anyone. That means that the one thing I usually have left is just gone and it’s fucking overwhelming and horrible to feel this forgotten all the time. I may be just whining or being pathetic but it all just hurts at the minute, so I don’t have the energy to gain perspective. I haven’t started blaming myself for not talking yet but I’m pretty sure that will happen when I get a second to myself.

Having what I can only describe as a mental health relapse is one of the worst feelings. It doesn’t feel like I’ll get better, or as if people care, or as if anyone would care unless I spoke to them. I have a whole river of bitterness and fear inside my head and I just want it all to stop for a bit. I can barely function, running on very little sleep; I haven’t been eating well and I don’t have the mental capacity to look after myself properly. The most worrying thing, as my friend Rapunzel (who has managed to get me to vaguely talk about things and is a beautiful soul) said, is that I just don’t care any more. That not caring means that I stop talking to people and avoid even thinking about what’s happening, leading me to do anything to distract myself which then ends with me feeling sick and unpleasant.

Talking about it has got easier – it’s not like it was a year and a half ago, where I’d only talk in very toxic, short bursts. I now know how to get my emotions out; it’s just that I don’t have the energy. Writing it down has made it less overwhelming, I think, though nothing seems to help apart from resting and trying not to mentally collapse.

Perhaps, now, I feel a little clearer. It doesn’t feel like things are wailing in my head any more. Is that because I can write it all down? I don’t know. All I know is that I hate feeling like this and if this post was a reprieve for me, where I could let it out, then I’ll take it.

I hope that you’re all okay. I’ve been so silent because I just didn’t know how to talk. After speaking horrendously honestly to a friend yesterday, part of that blockade has broken. I just hope it can continue.

Now, I miss blogging intensely. At some point in the next few weeks, I want to be able to go back to a semi-regular posting schedule. For now, I’m going to have to concentrate on pulling myself back up a little.

I miss you all. How have things been?

Love from Elm πŸ™‚

I Hate This

There are some days where I can put up a facade of functioning. I’ll be able to complete most regular, easy tasks; I’ll speak animatedly and tell people things aren’t that bad. However, it’s often just a disguise, a false front that I don’t even realise is false until I’m back by myself. Of course, there are days where I genuinely feel okay or even positive but most times, there’s something that feels really wrong beneath the surface.

Then, there are days where I can’t even pretend to function properly. There are days where, like yesterday and today, I walk around in this daze of upset and sad and lonely. My voice will have no inflection in it – it’ll sound like I just don’t care about anything. On particularly bad ones, I will snap at people that I don’t feel well enough to talk or do anything and then spend hours afterwards feeling so guilty about it that I shut myself off. I’ll talk to people in a bid to distract myself from this awful feeling but it’ll never work. It just comes across as desperation.

Today is going especially unpleasantly. I had to make a really horrible decision yesterday that has left me feeling terrible, even though I knew it was the right thing to do for everyone involved. My skin feels awful and I’ve been purposefully trying to avoid talking to the family when I never usually do that. Even though I told my mum I feel mentally unwell, she blamed it on the change in the weather and the fact that we’ve all been feeling shitty. It just reinforces in my head that no one will believe me because usually I can function enough to get up and get out the house.

I’m so tired. I hate having to pretend that this bone-deep weariness is from just lack of sleep or being just a little bit sad when everything feels a bit unhinged and heavy. I haven’t been able to explain my thoughts to people around me, leading to misunderstandings which make me feel even worse.

There’s also this thought in the back of my head that I’m really fine, that I’m being dramatic and that I should just get up and try. But I have been trying. I’ve been trying so hard that I have no try left. I keep on getting bursts of crying because I can’t bare that my mind is working against me to tell me I’m a liar and a faker and not worth anybody’s time.

I don’t want to feel like this anymore. God, I hate it so much; it’s like the moment I take a few steps forward, my brain pulls me back. This time, I can’t even properly blame myself because feeling like this isn’t my fault. It’s just so horrible and even though I know it won’t last forever, it feels like it’ll never end.

How do you admit that you don’t feel well without making it seem like a cry for attention? Because I refuse to self-diagnose, I don’t want to say I have anything but then it just feels like people don’t care. It’s just a “spell” or a “phase”, according to so many members of my family. I feel trapped and shut in my own head, when so many people expect me to hold it all together. It seems like there’s no time for my unhappiness or breakdowns. Fuck, is that needy to say?

I just want to feel well but I know that can’t happen for a few days or even weeks. Talking to people has helped and I’m just trying to reconcile with myself that people care. This mountain isn’t impossible to scale – it’ll just take a while to climb. I guess, you can’t climb a mountain without support.

If you need help, I’m always a message, email or comment away. Here’s my contact page, if you need it. You deserve to have a voice.

I’m really sorry for how negative and disjointed this post is. Thanks for always supporting me through it, though. Blogging is part of the reason why I haven’t totally broken down. I appreciate that more than I can say. I just feel so awful at this current moment that I can’t do much apart from yell it onto a screen in the hopes that someone will understand.

Love from Elm πŸ™‚

Low Point

Warning: This poem has some unpleasant themes in it and details a point I reached in my mental health today where everything felt, and feels, really awful. If you’re triggered by this type of content, please don’t feel like you have to read this. There’s help and support available and you always deserve to be loved and supported.

I hate myself
This time like it’s easy,
Falling back into misery
With little more than a shiver,
The sun setting on autumn
As it shadows into winter
A little too early.

So little do I care
That I wish to snap my own strings like thread
Through a shredder,
Little pieces of soul swimming away
Whilst no one is there
To see where weariness led.

I feel hopeless
Like it’s simple,
The worst jealousy and screams
Building up inside me and
I’m an awful friend,
A worthless girl,
Can I just fall apart,
My thoughts unfurl
Until no one remembers these perilous dreams?

Foolishly I believed
In a world where I was free of this
Gripping anxiety and shouts around me
But I am
Never good enough, never solid,
A fragile pool of starlight
That breaks apart when asked to be
Loved, to do anything when all I could do was
Fall into myself
And the message was never received.

Oblivion sounds nice
Right about now.

It is not a surprise
That people have given up on seeing
And no one cares,
Because I am alone with nothing outside
This window of wishes and
I deserve it,
Oh god I deserve it
And I can’t do this

I can’t do this.

I can’t.

I hate me
And they hate me
And I’m broken again,
A cut up symphony
Where nothing fits-
What can I do to stop it?

I’m okay at the moment, just a little shaken at how fast my mental health plummetted today. There wasn’t a specific reason; after going out to London and having a wonderful time, when I was going home, everything piled up on top of me. I hated myself and thought that everyone did too; every single interaction I was having with people and seeing was proof of that to my mind (even though none of it was logical) and I felt so fucking alone that I couldn’t even let those emotions out. So, I decided on a poem.

Things will get better, for all of us, but it’s just so horrible when we’re actually going through it. I have hope but right now, my mind is my worst enemy for a few hours (as I hope it will pass soon).

From Elm

When Writing Becomes Stressful

Recently, I read a post by Michelle that shocked me because of how much I related to it. That post essentially said that even when you want to write, you sometimes don’t and one of her reasons was that she was scared. Whilst there are other reasons why I’m finding writing difficult right now, the notion of being afraid and not understanding why struck a note with me because it was putting into words what I’d felt for months.

Most of my friends know that writing is what keeps me going a lot of the time. Blogging and broadcasting my thoughts is a point of stability for me, where sentences and emotions can flow out of my head and onto something tangible. It’s said to “come naturally” but of late, words don’t have the same impact. I often feel trapped in my own head, despite desperately wanting to write, but not finding the right way to express that. For someone who is sustained my words and dreams, it feels like a huge blow that it just doesn’t seem to be cathartic for now.

Here comes the fear that felt so relatable when I read Michelle’s thoughts. I constantly compare my present self to my past self, where I have this idea in my head that I need to act exactly the same as past Elm did. That is, I become afraid when my thoughts about writing and the way I write drastically change. The fear also comes from disappointing people: I’m scared that if I don’t write, my “one” talent will be gone; I’ll just be wasted and no-one will ever want to read my words again because they’re different; they’re not like how they were. I think this ties into the pressure that most bloggers face, where a change of style causes worry that your readers won’t read any more. Of course, your blog is yours but at some point, the wish for people to like your content can win out and engulf you, making you scared when that content transforms.

It’s also that I’m afraid that the posts I do write won’t come out right. I hold myself to an unbelievably and sometimes unreachable high standard, where I think that everything has to fit together nicely and that I’m not good anymore if that standard slips. That “standard”, though, is massively subjective and change doesn’t mean getting worse. However, I still have that nagging feeling that my content will be unoriginal. Because of that, I lock myself into a circular argument, where I’m paranoid that I won’t write anything decent so I don’t write but then I think that makes me a failure and that I’m incapable of writing, etc, etc. It continues until I don’t know if I’m telling myself the truth or not.

A relevant example is two posts which I’ve been meaning to write for a week and a half and three days, respectively. The first was a recap and update post on how my Austria trip, with two of my friends, went (it was absolutely breathtaking, by the way); the second was a post on my Prom experience on Monday (also fantastic and it taught me a lot about my own personal limits). I’ve not written either of them. As time went by and the days stretched out, I felt guilty and almost ashamed of the fact that I’d not got it done. Who was I if I couldn’t write these important posts? Would I slowly start to share less and less of my life, until I didn’t at all? That genuinely distressed me.

The reality is, I built up those posts into a huge block of “YOU MUST DO THEM NOW” inside my mind. They became benchmarks of my writing: if I could write those lengthy, update-like posts, I was dedicated. I was good. However, I started to get really panicked about writing the actual posts. Though I wrote outlines (they’re still on my computer), every time I thought about sitting down and putting my words onto a screen I just felt upset. Why? Why would I feel upset when what I was writing about made me happy?

Was it just that it was too much work? Does my inability to put that much effort into a post make me lazy? Am I then worse than everyone else because I don’t do enough? These kinds of questions kept going round and round in my mind, poisonously, until I couldn’t bare to sit down and write them.

There’s this unpleasant point that you can get to where you think that people will abandon you if you don’t do a certain thing. It’s happened to me a few times over the last 3 years but never has it invaded my life so harshly. It surprised me: I always tell people that “your blog is your own” and “only write when you feel like it” but I’ve not been following my own advice. I took the thing I adored and made it into something pressurising, the act of “failure” that isn’t even failure turning into this monster and couldn’t, and can’t, shake. It’s upsetting simply because I want to follow my own words. Right now, I’m not.

I think I need to step back a bit. Writing has become so stressful that I’ve warped it in my own head; it feels too draining. I need to reconnect with why I’m passionate about it and I think that actually comes from not writing, only for a small while. I’m putting myself under too much pressure, when it’s not necessary; I’m done with school and work-related pressure shouldn’t be a feature of my summer.

This only means that I need to evaluate how I approach blogging and how I approach writing. I want to be as honest as possible here; this whole thing has been increasing over the last few days, making me unsettled and more irritable, less responsive to people and generally a bit of a bitch. I don’t want to hide that side of me and I think that I need to think about why writing is important to me, without forcing myself to write. I may have wanted to write about happy, positive experiences but I built that up to a stressor in my head, which turned the writing of the posts into some kind of negative force.

I’ve always loved writing but I think the expectations I set myself are too high. I can’t write if I’m not confident in the effect my words will have on me. It’s neither fair on me or you: I don’t want my worry to shine through in my words all the time.

I just need to relax, really. Writing isn’t a chore or a necessity. It’s something I do when I want but most importantly, it isn’t my enemy.

From Elm πŸ™‚

On Respecting Personal Boundaries and Family

Trigger warnings: this post mentions self-harm, suicidal thoughts, potential alcoholism and a description of a panic attack. Please don’t read this post if these topics make you feel very uncomfortable or trigger you.

On the morning of my English exam, I found out that my mum had told my sister that I’d used a dating app to talk to girls and that I’d met someone on there. It was only because my sister had started to use Tinder and was feeling really nervous /happy about it. I didn’t get angry: I just asked them to respect my personal boundaries. As I’m still feeling quite defensive about my identity, I wanted to be the one to tell my sister. After a brief argument, in which all of us got slightly irritated, it was resolved and I went on to do that exam. When I came home, things were okay – more tense, but okay.

A couple of days later, the day my exams finished, we were all talking again. I’d been talking to my sister about her dates that she was going on at the weekend, having a lovely conversation which made me feel more comfortable about opening up myself. When my mum got back, we were still talking about it and she was talking about the dangers of online dating. I started to react really badly, attempting to contradict her when she was talking about her friend who had got conned. Although I didn’t mean it, it came off as really argumentative and belligerent. What I was trying to do was to make her think about what she was saying. After I pushed too far, she got upset and said that she “might as well keep her mouth shut” and that’s when I completely lost it inside my own head. I went upstairs and was just washing my face when I heard them talking downstairs, again.

Like a fucking idiot, I listened. I can be really quiet when I want to be, utterly silent as I got closer to the top of the stairs, so I heard everything. My mum was really upset with me, explaining to my sister that it felt like she could never speak, that I was always arguing with her. I didn’t hear much of what my sister said because my heart was smashing in my chest and the worst sort of disgust was starting to grow. The instability that had been increasing steadily suddenly roared to life: I walked into my room and twisted my arms behind my back, wanting to tear at myself to make what I had done just go away and fuck off. I had no idea what to do – I couldn’t think past the roaring in my ears that had started as I’d slammed my door shut.

After a few minutes, I’d calmed down a bit and walked downstairs. I told my sister that I had heard what they had said and that every time mum talked about the online world in a negative way, it felt like she was disapproving of a central part of my identity. I started to tell her that I couldn’t have got through the last few years without people I’d met online but I got interrupted by my own tears. She was calming me down, telling me that mum didn’t mean it; that she was trying to communicate with me but that I often reacted as if she was attacking me.

I don’t remember precisely what happened for the few minutes after that. I know I had a panic attack, that I was gripping onto her hand and telling her I hated myself, that I had always done, and getting unspeakably upset when I didn’t think she understood. I vaguely remember hitting out at the arms of the sofa linking my hands together behind my back so that I wouldn’t be tempted to hurt myself. It was genuinely horrifying; I haven’t had that bad of a panic attack on somebody for months and I was terrified. When my sister suggested getting my mum, I practically wailed that I was scared and scared and scared; I couldn’t stop crying. This is when my awareness comes back a bit more because at that point, my sister had succeeded in stopping me from screaming.

Then, my mum came in and my sister initiated a family discussion. Without going into too much detail, because it makes me seriously anxious to remember the specifics, mum and I were telling each other how we felt. We came to the conclusion that I react out of anger a lot when mum doesn’t mean to upset me – she just wants to talk to me. I keep my emotions in too much and become defensive. By this time, I felt like it was my fault all the time and was yelling in my head that I was disgusting. Mum said that, in terms of the online stuff, that she was trying to protect us but that she needed to let go.

There is something my mum does which frustrates me, a lot. When I get upset with her for something, she just “backs down” but not in a genuine way; she uses phrases like “I should never have said anything”, or “I’ll keep my mouth shut”, or “I’m scared of you”. I told her all this, telling her it made me feel terrible but I don’t think she understood precisely. I wanted to yell at them, tell them that they had no idea how much their “casual” words affected me. That I wasn’t like them, that I couldn’t let things go, that them being silent to begin with fucked me up. However, I started to realise that they were right: I did react angrily a lot of the time and I wanted to stop it. I have so much locked-in anger and sadness that when it does come out, often, it’s not because of them – it’s because it’s built up for far too long.

At some points, I couldn’t actually speak or I couldn’t get my words out. I would mouthe “help me” at my sister when this happened, my hands opening and closing because I felt like I was choking. After one particular instance of this, I told them that I would take the anger out on myself and mum’s response to that was “so you self-harm now then?” That made it even worse but I reeled in my snappish response, instead telling her that what she just said made me feel shit. I was trying to explain to them that I passively wanted to die a lot of the time – not that I wanted to actively do anything, but that I wanted to disappear. Upon telling mum that I’d told her this before, she said she remembered and would ask me if I was suicidal (but only when we were talking about suicide anyway). In response, I said that I always said no because her version of suicidal thoughts is actively wanting to do something, so I wasn’t technically lying. Instead, I wanted to scream, “YOU ARE ALWAYS DRUNK WHEN I WANT TO TALK TO YOU MOST SO HOW THE FUCK DID I EXPECT YOU TO REMEMBER?”

We agreed to be more communicative. Thanks to my sister, I started to know what it was I was doing wrong and that my emotions can be overwhelming. In the days after, it was easier not to snap; it was easier to realise I was being unreasonable. It’s not perfect but it’s okay and yes, I still get violent flaring pieces of anger and I still can’t talk to them about it yet but maybe, when I don’t want to destroy my mind as much, I’ll start to have a go.

It’s really hard to look at it from an objective standpoint and to not get some of my residual anger out in a biased rant. I’m trying, though. I understand that I can be very mean sometimes and react without thinking but some of the things my mum says still very much upset me; I don’t want this to be a one-way communication. I know that my emotions right now aren’t necessarily the most constructive thing but I can’t be the only one trying as it would make me hate myself more, thinking that I was still doing everything wrong. I’m tired of that.

The last two weeks have taught me that neither I nor my family are faultless. We all have barriers to work through and it’s not going to be easy but it’s going to happen. This summer, I don’t want to argue or to be treated like a child; I don’t want to snap or become furious at the slightest provocation. I have to thank my sister for helping us all to realise what we’ve been doing to make ourselves unhappy.

I want to set my own boundaries; I want to communicate well. Unlike before, where everything seemed impossible, I think this might potentially work.

God, this post has drained me. I feel so upset from writing it but it’s also, strangely, settled something deep within me. If I get my unhappiness out on this blog in a helpful and non-destructive way, it might not transfer into me being a total nightmare. Then again, I don’t want to be too negative; I don’t know. It’s tricky. After this, I might just go and relax so that I can collect my thoughts without becoming overly anxious.

Thanks for reading this, if you got to the end. I know that I can be far too honest sometimes but if I can’t express things here,I can’t express things anywhere. I will be okay, though. If you’re struggling with something similar, hold onto the days where it’ll get easier. We can get through this.

Do you find that talking to your family can be really hard?

From Elm πŸ™‚

I Tried | A Poem

I try
To speak, loud and uncaring
With a jolt to my words,
The fire in me flaring
With hope. But you stand,
Silent as a question of “What?”
And I am left stranded.

I do my best
To be interesting, threads
Filling my mind, bursting out
In a frenzy of unsaid
Stitching. But you scorn,
Above such notions of roses
Without thorns.

I stutter
From being, a make-believe
Wish of my own worth waning
Beneath a sneering sky. I am naive
To have thought I was wanted,
A spoonful of happy unworthy of note-
So weren’t I better faded?

I silence
My heart, rebelling and hopeless
Because each word I say is flawed.
I surface, reckless.
I thought it was simple to love
But to you,
I am not good enough.

Words and little actions can really hurt sometimes, even if they aren’t meant to. Over time, it can start to have an effect.

From Elm πŸ™‚

Too Lonely for Poetry

There are things I know I like to do. One is to write creatively, another is to act, another is to have constant personality crises and shout about them on the Internet. Actually, I don’t really like doing that last one but it’s part of my writing and existence and is, occasionally, what keeps me functioning.

Sometimes, I combine all three of these things. I act on the Internet, pretending everything’s fine – or that I can adequately write poetically about my crises and feelings. Most times I can manage but what’s harder to admit is that sometimes it feels like a facade. I want to get rid of that paper lantern and show you what I’m like when I just don’t know. Too often, I find myself harnessing an articulation I don’t feel, to spin sentences out of silk that just isn’t there. See? I’m doing it right now.

When it comes to love or a step away from it, I have too many feelings to process and unpick. I don’t know how to handle any of them. It’s got to the point where it’s impossible for me to talk about them on this blog because I’m desperately scared of sounding immature and also because I’m irrationally paranoid people will find out who it is I talk about and ridicule me forever. In counselling, I attempt to get this out but it doesn’t always work, as I’m still yet to understand how I should approach this.

On one hand, I know what I want to do about my feelings. I know I’m fine with having them – but what are these feelings? How deep do they actually run? What worries me is that I’ll do my usual thing: run away because I convince myself that no one cares and then deprive my own heart of anything that remotely resembles a positive experience. Finally, I thought I was getting somewhere with showing myself I was able to deal with any potential fallout that might happen but, well, no.

Not that there’s a hope in hell of any of my feelings ever being returned, of course. It’s a given now; I’ve lost all hope of ever, genuinely, being what someone would look for. I know I shouldn’t base my worth on what people think but it feels ridiculous to me that anyone could “love” me’ least of all want to tell me that. I keep trying and trying and trying to be strong and secure in my own mind but it’s difficult when I can feel blocked from talking out of fear.

How can I get across the panic I feel at me fucking up again? I don’t know. The best I can do is to tell you I’m scared I’ll be the one to make things too serious, too weird, and then that I’ll show my paranoia and emotions to someone and they’ll just go. I have such a low opinion of myself; I have such deep-rooted and unprocessed issues and the most recent people I’ve had feelings for wouldn’t cope with that. Would they? I don’t know. I don’t like taking chances because when I do, it seems I take the wrong ones.

This was too rambling. This wasn’t detailed enough: I wish I could do an analysis of my own mind. If I’d talked about everything from day 1, not hidden my thoughts from myself, it might be easier. In this post, I’m barely a writer but I’m an actor – I’m still holding it together, surprisingly. My structure and grammar hasn’t gone totally out of the window. I’m still pretending, just that little bit, when I shouldn’t. Blogging is where I can be as honest as I’ll ever be and I can’t forget that.

Maybe I should let things be but I’ve let things be for so long that I’m restless. In a weird way, I want to be proactive. It hurts that I can’t express any feelings openly and one of the only people who could help me with that would never read this.

I feel adrift in a jumble of useless words that mean nothing. I feel powerless and hopeless, unable to express, enclosed and trapped. Fear clenches in my stomach; I constantly have this tightness in my throat because I’ve been here before and it didn’t end well.

The worst thing? I can’t even be honest with myself.

I know exactly how I feel right now. I know how frightening that is. I also know that there’s nothing I can do to stop it and that I need to wait it out until I figure out a way to reconcile myself with it.

Do you ever feel this lonely, too? Do you ever want to ask for help in figuring out your mind but you don’t even know where to start?

From Elm πŸ™‚

Being Open and Other Emotions

As I start writing this, I’m listening to music far too loudly; I’m singing along in a mumbled kind of way and I suppose, for now, I’m content for a little slice of time. Not happy but closer to it than I’ve been for a good few weeks.

Yesterday, in counselling, I was the most honest I’d ever been. In no uncertain terms, I told my counsellor how worthless I felt, how unworthy of anything I thought I was and how, no matter how many people tell me a list of qualities I have, my brain just doesn’t believe them even if I know it’s a little bit true. It’s a complicated issue that has been inside my head for as long as I can remember.

My friends are amazing and I know that what they say is true to them but I get absolutely incredulous when I even think “Oh, you are a good person then?” because my brain refuses to think about the possibility of letting myself fly because I’m terrified of disappointment. As my counsellor said, I keep myself down so that I don’t get disappointed by myself and it’s a fucking horrible way to think and live but it’s what I feel pretty much constantly. As you can tell, I get exhausted by it.

It hurt so much to talk about. Unlike with situations that have happened to me, there isn’t a direct cause to this. It has come about as a result of years of thinking I’m awful and I can’t just change that in a summer or a few months. I need myself and others to understand that this is not simple – I got the closest to breaking down in that session than I have before because it made me feel wretched as fuck and hopeless, too. In counselling, it’s rare that I get really, directly upset about something and show that externally, as I spoke about me and others being unable to understand because I didn’t want to tell them I didn’t believe them in case they gave up on me and left. But here’s the thing: I spoke about it.

Recently, I’ve become quite closed off, keeping rigidly to the view that nothing good will happen, nothing will come of anything so what’s the point of speaking because no one cares – that kind of thing. I broke that yesterday, getting animated and visibly upset – no “blank slate”, no hiding and I lied about nothing. I talked about some of the most terrifying feelings I had, both positive and negative – the distinction being that I hated having the negative feelings but the only thing that upset me about the positive feelings were how much they could fuck me up.

An example of negative feelings that I spoke about in a number of sessions was a time, three weeks ago, when I was walking in my school before lessons started. I listed, systematically and brutally, every single reason why I thought people should hate me, why they already did and why I should hate myself more. It was vicious, almost mentally violent and afterwards, I went to the toilets and sobbed because it hurt so much to despise myself like that. Since then I’ve never got that bad but I refuse to pretend it’s all gone away and I don’t have the energy to shut it all down and fake shit.

I think i’m still recovering from how much stuff I said yesterday. I’m not used, now, to explaining things like this to someone who doesn’t assume my feelings or dismiss them. At the end of the session, I said to her – when she asked – that I knew what I’d done, how open I’d been and that it was something to be proud of but still, I wasn’t letting myself be proud of me because I couldn’t bring myself to be. That’s the best indication I can give as to how my thought processes work.

I don’t quite know where to go from here. I know this was a negative post but there are some good points to it, such as that I know i’m capable of talking. i’m not utterly without reason, hope or clarity of mind.

Currently, i’m not alright, partly because I’m becoming more aware of how I feel but also external circumstances that I’m somehow managing to blame myself for?? However, I’m a hell of a lot more okay than I have been.

When in doubt, remember that people are there to listen. You may not think they care but they will listen to you; try to give yourself a chance more than anyone else.

How easy is it for you to open up?

From Elm πŸ™‚

Is This All I’ll Ever Be?

I have a tendency to hide my upset behind a mask of being fine, to shut it all down in the hopes that no one will ever ask me if I’m truly okay with things. It forces me to make myself believe that if I’m not okay with things, I’m obviously a terrible person; I’ve been through the same old shit, over and over, because I don’t know how to deal with it otherwise. So here’s me, shouting my low self-worth and momentary hopelessness onto a screen. My last post has made me realise that if I want to love and be able to cry without feeling guilty, I need to start feeling unapologetic for having feelings like this.

Is this all I’ll ever be? Smiling, papering on a grin so that it can’t hurt any more. Setting myself up for disappointment so that I can’t get burned, when really , all I want to do is hope. In my head, hope makes me dangerous; hope makes me want things and `I have so little faith in myself that I don’t believe I should get what I want.

It’s exhausting to keep forcing myself to be okay with being pushed aside. It’s tiring to have to carry on as normal, when my grades are slipping, cracks starting to show and no one really knows the reason why. I pretend, because the real reason is linked to how much I hate myself and how much I hate letting myself never have anything. I let my happiness fall to the side because others’ feelings are more important and then, I end up miserable despite my best efforts to be fine. it seems pathetic. People should get on with their lives and I should be okay with that, when all I want to do is yell and tell them what’s happening in my head. “Deal with it,” they’d say, move on, and there I’d be – silent again because I didn’t push back hard enough.

Do people know how much it hurts? No, because I haven’t showed them; no, because I’ve brushed it all off and it’s only in my mind that the unfair screaming starts, curled in a little ball, shaking and wondering when the fuck this cycle will end. They can’t see past the lies I tell because with this, I’ve guarded it so much that no one can tell – apart from now – how the feelings from 7 and 2 and 1 year ago, from the times I was passive, still tear me apart. I can’t let myself break because of this, I say, breaking.

Is all I’ll ever be the person who’s the extra, never the person who stands centre-stage? Why do I never feel good enough, strong enough, happy enough? It feels as if I’m searching and searching, trying so hard and the only way I can help myself is to post ambiguous posts on this blog that no one can understand. I don’t know how to talk about anything anymore because it’ll all come pouring out; people may think I’m a petulant child. I have such faith in my readers, you guys, who have helped me and listened to years of this shit. But I’m still afraid.

I want to be honest with you. I’m scared of getting hurt so I don’t let myself get upset, outwardly, by people. Inwardly, it’s basically the representation of this post – jumbled, directionless, confused and with nowhere to go. To talk about things is so difficult when the people you can turn to may not have time for you and couldn’t do anything and the people you want to turn to don’t care. Unlike before, nothing is working and I feel locked, sometimes, in a pit of my own making. I don’t know how to get out.

In short, I have too many feelings. I feel afraid when I get a message that I know will upset me. Before I talk to people, before I do anything, I have to prepare myself to shield against outward displays of sadness. It’s got to the point where I have so little faith in my abilities that inside my head is an unhappiness that’s only lifted when I remember my worth. On my face, you don’t see the extent of it. In my words, you can’t see it because I’m good at showing half the truth – just enough for people to be satisfied with my ‘honesty’ – and then fear makes me hide the rest. If I told people how bad I feel about things that have happened, they might run away and not understand. I know I should give a chance to those that love me but my head’s so muddled that I don’t know where to start.

Without being fake, I want to finish this post off with a reminder to you and myself. You dont have to pretend all the time. You don’t have to shove a smile into your mind and hope it sticks because in your head, it doesn’t always stay. I don’t like being the one that takes the shit and never retaliates back but at the end of the day, I don’t know how to stop doing that because I’ve spent so long in that mindset. However, this comes gradually and I know that eventually, it won’t hurt as much. Maybe I’ll feel like I’m worth more than the one you go to when you’re desperate, when you have no options left or the one who you only think about when with me.

Do any of you feel like this too?

I’m sorry for all this negativity. Sometimes, you need to write and write and get things out, no matter how painful. This blog is an outlet and I can’t forget that.

You’re not alone in your mixed up thoughts and a wish to scream them to the world.

From Elm πŸ™‚

When I was Made to Talk

I’m writing this just after 1 in the afternoon, half an hour after a counselling session ended. I should be working but I’m a rebel. If you know about counselling, you might be asking, “But your counselling sessions are after school on a Wednesday?” Yes, they are. However, this counselling session was in school and I had no idea about it until I was in the room with the counsellor.

I’m finding it very very difficult to get my words out right now, as I did in the session, and so this post may be a little unfiltered but I’m so upset and shaky that if I don’t write it out, I’ll internalise it all. Although talking does usually help, it has the absolute opposite effect when I’m forced to do it at such short notice. It only works when I can at least gather my thoughts. If this won’t help me, I hope it’ll help you to realise that disclosing things about your own mental health should be on yr terms with your permission, rather than someone else’s. This is all fresh in my mind as I write this; I’m going to go back to this later and post it when I get home.

Now, it’s not like I had no warning. Approximately 4 months ago, when I actually spoke to my Head of Year about how bad I felt, she put me on the list to have counselling from an external counsellor in school but I never heard anything since. I thought she’d utterly forgotten because she always made me feel like my ‘problems’ were just normal hormonal things. Also, I could have refused the counselling straight off when I got in the room but I felt too awkward and guilty to do it, or even to ask not to go next week. I just felt blank and washed out and drained before it had even started because instead of talking to this counsellor – although really lovely – I wanted to talk to the one I go to on Wednesdays, Jane.

I got into the room and asked what I was here for and I was told it was for counselling. I relaxed a little as I thought I’d been in trouble; however, I still felt wildly closed off and unwilling to open up. Maybe if I’m approached it better, I would have had a better reaction but I had no time to do that. From the outset, I just knew that I wasn’t comfortable, above all because I hadn’t had time to get comfortable.

She read out some paperwork, about confidentiality (which didn’t help as I wasn’t feeling stable at all), then I signed a form about information from my sessions being used, of course anonymous, and we started. Right off, I felt disconnected and unprepared and so what I said was utterly raw, very jumbled, neither made sense to me nor her and I don’t know if it was the truth or not. I’m having a day where, with the exception of 2 hours’ solid work in History, I’m questioning my own thoughts a lot and so articulating them is so, so difficult.

Because my brain really hurts and I’m exhausted, I couldn’t have told you what I exactly said. When these kinds of things happen to me, where I panic, I often block it out to make it stop feeling overwhelming. I spoke about myself, my perception of how I feel, paranoia, how I have a distorted view of how I think, the conflict I’ve got between standards I set for myself and the expectation of failure and also not fitting the expectations of what people want me to be. I got so overwhelmed that I stuttered – something I hardly ever do – and felt absolutely cold. I mentioned the acting I did recently, how that made me feel; I talked about how behind I am in work; I talked about my general mental health and how afraid I felt that people hated me. All of this I know. What I don’t know is what she said to help; I don’t know the outcomes of the session. Instead of feeling like I could express myself, it all came out in a sick rush and I felt like I was a brick wall. I barely presented myself realistically – and yes, you could argue that the rambling, unhinged crap that came out of my mouth was me but today, I really didn’t feel well and also felt utterly out of it and unable to organise my thoughts.

After the session ended, I spoke to the counsellor casually but then just got out of there. Stepping outside, the first real thing I felt was the sun on my face and I was trembling because my thoughts were terribly confused, like they’d been shaken up. When talking to family about it, I could barely get my words out again; I texted one of my friends and couldn’t tell him much about what happened because I was in such an internal state. Part of the reason is that I wasn’t prepared; another was that because of confidentiality, I couldn’t talk about the thoughts that were really on my mind. The fact is, despite her being a really nice and patient person, I couldn’t trust her. I couldn’t trust the school and so, although she’s an external counsellor, I couldn’t trust her either.

As I’d previously expressed a need for the counselling, I don’t blame the school for how I felt. I know they thought I knew but I can’t help but be a bit upset – perhaps misplacing this upset – because it made me panic, after it was done, to an extreme. If I could have prepared myself to talk today, maybe I would have got more out of the session. If it had been in an environment where I felt secure, I could have spoken more freely. If I didn’t have the worry of confidentiality, I could have talked about more serious things without being afraid.

When I’m made to talk to someone and I’m not prepared for it, or when it falls on a day where my thoughts are really bad and talking about them is tricky, I shut off and just try and get through. Hopefully, this isn’t going to stop me from opening up in the next few days. I learned today that sometimes, I really can’t talk because I haven’t processed any of my thoughts but that’s okay. It’s not your fault if talking doesn’t help, whether always or only sometimes. People should respect your boundaries – and I know the counsellor had no time to be able to understand mine so of course I don’t blame her. I don’t even know my boundaries until they come up.

Don’t ever feel like you should be forced to talk if words just won’t come out and you can’t form them yet. It can be tricky to know when you truly feel like talking and when you don’t but if it feels utterly wrong to you to talk at this present moment, when you can’t understand what you’re feeling and it all shuts down, you don’t have to.

I don’t think I’ll go the week after next. On top of the fact that I already have counselling, the emotions brought up were too overwhelming and I felt too unhappy to constructively listen to anything. It didn’t feel freeing, or like I could trust it, or like I had another person to talk to. It just felt unpleasant to make myself talk about things that just weren’t prepared in my head.

What are your experiences with school counsellors? This counsellor was very good at what she did but just not for me and not now.

From Elm πŸ™‚