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Thursday, 9 October 2014

I am

When other mental health sufferers say they are ashamed (many of them are, for one reason or another) I'm usually the first to respond with - "You have nothing to be ashamed of, you can't help being ill" - and I mean it!
However, I'm afraid it's a case of 'Take my advice, I'm not using it', because there really is no other word than 'ashamed' that describes how I feel, overwhelmingly so, and have felt for a very long time.

My 'shame' might not be rational, but it is 'my' truth, and that's what this space is for.


I AM MUM - To my youngest child (as I once was to my older children) I am story teller - sock puppet  - Tickle monster - make-believer - hugger - hand holder - love; no questions asked.

My four older children are a different story - these days (though they try hard to hide it) they are uncomfortable around me, resentful, ashamed.
They're no longer babies, I can't hide behind, sand castles, sock puppets, and 'sing a song of sixpence' anymore.
They don't understand mental illness, they can't see 'Stuck-In-Scared - but they can see whats going on externally, and it frightens them.

I love my kids and they love me. I have never set out to hurt them, but (without meaning to) hurt them (emotionally) I have!
I am ashamed.

I AM WIFE - I am the wife who almost drove my husband away, because I was blind to how my illness affected him.

He says that blinded by my mental illness (which in fairness has been greatly exacerbated this past few years) he lost sight of ‘me’ - he’s sorry - he loves me - he’ll never hurt me again.
I blame myself - I'm looking into his eyes, and seeing, Where I once saw special, everything I despise about myself reflected back at me.
I am ashamed.

I AM ADDICT (In recovery) - I am the woman who, consumed by symptoms of mental illness, used gambling as a form of escapism. despite knowing she was hurting herself, and those she loved.

I am the grown woman who once sat on a stool in a bingo hall, and wet herself because she'd pumped too much money into a fruit machine to chance another punter stealing her win while she went to the loo!

I am the mother who was often late picking her children up from school because she couldn't walk away - who struggled to feed her children, and went hungry herself, because she'd gambled best part of the housekeeping.

I am the mother, who (up until ten years ago) thought more often about her next bet, than she did her children, and her older children remember that!
I am ashamed
I AM OCD -  "I see the brush slam down onto the back of my beloved child's head. I hear her desperate screams as the brush comes crashing down! I see myself standing over her, a stranger masking my face, the mask vaguely familiar and yet at the same time completely unrecognizable! I see my child confused, hysterical and consumed with fear beneath me. I repel with every fiber of my being against the *illusory images*; my heart breaks!" read more
I am ashamed
(Please be aware, the above paragraph has been recycled from an old post, and is about intrusive thoughts, a symptom of OCD - NOT child abuse, you can read the paragraph in context by clicking on the (read more) link above. Thank you.

I AM SELF HARM - Sometimes I feel desperate, sometimes I feel angry, unimaginably angry, angry at me, sometimes I crave feelings of relief, calm, control - sometimes I just need to feel.
I starve, burn, cut, bleed, I am visibly scarred.
I am ashamed
I AM AGORAPHOBIA - I'm unable to go anywhere alone, unable to go out at all some days.
Despite being accompanied in public, I often experience catastrophic thoughts, often experience paranoia, and sometimes experience panic attacks  - sometimes it's clear to onlookers that I have issues, my awareness of this exacerbates anxiety, and shame.
My inability to go anywhere alone places a great burden on my family, especially my husband.
I am ashamed.

I AM EATING DISORDER -  probably the most terrifying symptom of mental illness Iv'e experienced yet, and the one I find the most difficult to write about.
While this relatively new addition to my mental health issues frightens the life out of me, I simply cannot find any justifiable reason for starving myself half to death when I have five children who need me to be strong, and ALIVE!
I am ashamed.

I AM BENEFIT CLAIMANT - My youngest child and I are both disabled, my husband is our carer, we didn't ask to be a burden on society (Tory words, not mine) but we are - we take the 'social security' (incidentally, from the same system, that my husband paid into for 20 years, before taking on the role of full time carer) or we are unable to survive. 

Fear of the Government, the media, and the benefit system, fear of those in society who have no understanding of invisible illness/disability, and are taken in by the 'scrounger' rhetoric, has led to a dramatic increase in my symptoms, and has caused an Eating disorder, that I did not have prior to the UK Governments combined attack against welfare recipients.

It seems these days its almost impossible to read a newspaper without the words, liar - cheat 'scrounger', jumping out from the page.
I feel judged - by Government - media - society....I'm afraid that you, dear reader may be judging me right now!
I am ashamed.

I AM DISABLED - Damaged 'stock', a drain on loved ones, a drain on the state.
I am ashamed.

I AM ME - I am creative, loving, kind, empathetic, compassionate, generous, passionate.
I have a fabulous imagination, and the ability to get right down on a child's level, and I mean right down; like 48 going on five down, so I make a great playmate, Where my relationship with my children is concerned, these qualities are my saving grace.

Lord, I pray that the eyes of those who 'see it how it isn't', be opened, and the voices of those 'who tell it how it is', be heard. Amen. 

Thank you for allowing me to share

God bless you and all those you love

Kimmie x
Single Mother Ahoy
view here >> Weekend Blog Hop

Monday, 6 October 2014

'Cloaked in sunny'

Symptoms of mental illness are usually very well hidden, behind award winning smiles - behind "I'm fine" - "I'm okay".

Many mental illness sufferers (including me) feel the need to mask their symptoms face to face - especially if the face they're facing, has no experience, or understanding of mental illness, and is anticipated, by the sufferer, as likely to judge.

Often a persons outward appearance bears no semblance to their inner truth.
They might appear bright, animated even, doing a fabulous job of mimicking your sunshine; and yet be stood before you in a haze of darkness.

They may be holding a conversation with you (wearing one of those award winning smiles) whilst at the same time, battling to control, intrusive thoughts, compulsions, voices, suicidal thoughts.

From my own experience - I often mask the turmoil beneath the surface; because I'm ashamed, because I fear judgement, and because I don't want to burden others; least of all those I love.

Frequently, when I'm asked questions like ‘are you okay?’ or ‘how are you?’ my mind reels off a load of relevant answers that completely contradict the "I'm fine" that rolls off my tongue!

It's easier to lie than it is to explain.... fearful - depressed - incredibly anxious - emotional - paranoid - hyper vigilant - twitchy (and hoping you don't notice) - panicky - hurting - STUCK IN SCARED!

It's easier to paint on a smile, cover up, feign control, than it is to admit to....Dark thoughts - flash backs - self inflicted scars - deep despair - self directed anger - SHAME!

In my case (and I believe the same is true for others, but I can only speak for myself here) it's entirely possible, that I might be mimicking sunshine, only hours after a major meltdown.

Mental illness is (usually) invisible, but, very real, often debilitating, often disabling, sometimes life threatening, and always incredibly painful - whether you can see it or not!

It's impossible to tell how someone truly feels on the inside based only on their outward appearance.

These days, Thanks to Twitter (and other networks full of like minded people) many sufferers (including me) are able to reach out, open up (whilst remaining protected) and access the empathy/support they need.

LORD, Please bless all those who say “I’m fine” when in truth they are far from it. I pray their lives be filled with people, who care enough to see, and understand; the turmoil behind the mask.

Thank you for allowing me to share

God bless you and all those you love

Kimmie x

Friday, 19 September 2014

From the inside

I'm stood in an upstairs council house toilet, the walls are 'apple white', and there's a little frosted window to the left of me. The lino flooring is cold beneath my feet, the door is painted white and there is a little round lock just below the door handle.
On the floor is a pajama clad child - she has long, dark hair, which half covers her face, and she is crouched, panicked - sobbing, just behind the door, her hand stretched out holding the little lock in position!
The child is afraid and on the other side of the door her mother is ranting, shouting and swearing, banging on the door, "YOU LITTLE GIT" she screeches, "OPEN THIS DOOR"!

I can see her so clearly, 'the child' from where I'm standing - I want to reach out and touch her, pull her into my arms and tell her she's safe. I want to hold her until she falls asleep and then carry her from the cold lino floor, past her raging mother, and into her bed. I want to sit by her bed, guard her until morning, and stroke her gently back to sleep if she should wake.

If this were possible, would she be comforted - do you think?
Or, would she see into my mind, as I can hers; and know the worst is yet to come.

Thank you as always for allowing me to share

God bless you, and all those you love

Kimmie x

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

You had to leave - Mark Storey - Guest post #WorldSuicidePreventionMonth

"My name is Mark Story, I am also known as 'Mental Health Music'. 

You can connect with me on Twitter, here >>  

'Mental Health Music' MHM, started about a year ago when I was hospitalized after a relapse, I hadn't played guitar for many years, but after finding an old guitar on the ward, I picked it up and started playing - words and music began pouring out of me,

Over the duration of my stay I kept on writing about how I was feeling, and about how my lived experience of mental illness had affected me. 

I continued to write my thoughts down over the coming weeks/months, and then, together with a music friend started recording what was pouring out of me. 

Initially we had no plan, except to record and upload to youtube - That was the beginning of what would eventually develop into a well known mental health awareness campaign. 12 months on MHM is known all over the world and I now have an EP, and a single on itunes and Amazon. 

Today, my music is played on radio stations around the world, and this November 21st; I will be playing at Peerfest 2014. 

My heart goes out to other suffers, my goal is to reach as many as possible with the message of recovery. Also, to tackle the stigma of mental illness, raise awareness, and speak out for the voiceless, the silent majority who suffer in silence around the world. 

So many are afraid to speak out, because of the nature of a traumatic event in their lives, or because they have been a victim of sexual abuse, or through fear of stigma, judgement. 

I am very passionate about mental health awareness, and support all those who speak out for the suffering.

Essentially MHM music is about reaching people where they are and being a comfort to them. 

As MHM grows, I will continue to give as much support as I can to those in need. 

Lets fight the stigma of mental health and suicide. 

No more shame!"