My 19 year old self reflecting on a traumatic event as a student nurse

As a student nurse, it was drummed into us how important it was to regularly reflect on things that happened during our times on placements. The following was a reflection that I wrote when I was 19. This happened during the lead-up to my mental breakdown.

(Names have been changed to protect identities).

During my fourth placement, on my alternative branch (adult) I had been taking the same men’s bay of 6 patients for about 3 weeks. I had become familiar with all patients, and their conditions. Four of the six patients were bed bound. These patients were either confused or unable to speak. One of the other patients, James, was a stroke patient, with a right sided weakness and expressive dysphasia. The remaining patient was the only one who could move around independently, and communicate well.

Eddie was an 85 year old man who was being treated for a urinary tract infection (UTI). He was also known to have a 7.5cm aortic aneurysm. He was slightly confused, and had been having hallucinations for some time. Due to being confused, Eddie often tried to get out of bed as he was fed up with being on bed rest.
On one shift, I had spent most of my time in this bay, watching the patient’s who were known for trying to get up, and doing hourly observations on a very poorly patient. Eddie had tried to get out of bed again, as he wanted to look for his sons who were due to visit. After confirming with the nurse earlier in the shift, I had told Eddie he would be able to go out in a wheelchair with his sons. After putting him back to bed, I left the bay for a few minutes and heard James shouting for me. This was extremely unusual as James did not like to speak unless he had to and he also struggled to say what he wanted to say due to the expressive dysphasia. I went back in, to find Eddie shaking, and clearly having difficulty breathing. As there was no response when I spoke to him, and no pulse I pulled the emergency buzzer and shouted to one of the health care assistants to get the sister, Jane.

Jane checked for a blood pressure, and immediately shouted for somebody to bleep the crash team and bring the resuscitation trolley. Within seconds, there were doctors around the bed, trying to get a line in and take blood. They had quickly started bagging and compressions.
As I stood watching, I could feel myself shaking. Everything was happening really fast and I was so shocked that a minute earlier, Eddie had been completely fine. I stood with one of the health care assistants, and said to her that his feet were already white. That was when it became clear that he would probably not survive. Though he was making some respiratory effort himself, there was no output, and after a few cycles the anaesthetist asked me if I would take over doing compressions. With their help, I managed to do a few cycles, until I became tired, and then stood back to let somebody take over. After many cycles, there was still no output, and so the doctor’s agreed to attempt to shock Eddie.

After one shock, an output was found, however it was still too weak and his respiratory effort seemed to be failing more and more.
Potassium levels in Eddie’s blood were checked, and it was agreed that if they were within normal limits, resuscitation should be stopped (normal levels indicated that it was likely that the aneurysm had ruptured). After another few cycles of compressions, and blood results which were normal, it was agreed that they should abandon resuscitation.
The doctor asked if anybody had any strong objections, and I wanted to tell them to carry on. They had got an output after shocking him, so I had thought he was going to be alright, and so my instinct was to tell them to keep going and to shock him again. However, Eddie had an aneurysm and even if he had survived, he would most likely be brain damaged. After stopping resuscitation, Eddie carried on making some respiratory effort for a few minutes.

I went in with the Doctor and another nurse to break the news to Eddie’s sons. They were really strong, and both agreed to go and sit with him while he took his last breaths. Eddie passed away with both his sons holding his hands. When they had left, I helped Jane lay out Eddie’s body and clean him up. I found this to be a very peaceful thing to do, and was pleased that I had been given the chance to do it.

Afterwards, I went to see how the other 5 patient’s were doing, including those who may not have been aware of what was happening. James was crying. He was obviously distressed, as he was the only one who saw Eddie during the first few seconds of what was happening. I explained to James that he had done really well in shouting me. Though he had difficulty in communicating, he still managed to speak a little and he felt the need to reassure both himself and me, by saying that Eddie had lived his life, and that this was his time. After a chat with James, and after calming him down and settling him to bed, I went off to carry on helping the health care assistants. Walking past the office, Jane shouted me in, to ask if I was alright. At this point, it hit me and I realised what had just happened. I was in shock and in a way blamed myself for not being fast enough or noticing something was going to happen. Jane reassured me that I had done well in raising the alarm so quickly, as well as participating in the resuscitation. She also claimed that Eddie would not have felt anything, and that it was comforting that he died with his sons there. After telling me I had handled the situation really well, she also told me that she had seen me check the other patients were ok and said that this was a nice thing for me to do.

I talked through my feelings with her, telling her that I had felt a small sense of relief when they had got an output after shocking him, only to be devastated when they gave up. The main thing that was upsetting me at this point was that it had all happened so quickly. Within minutes, he had gone from laughing at me after putting him in bed again, to being unconscious, and eventually passing away.
I was amazed at how well Eddie’s sons had taken in the news, however I realise that they knew the aneurysm could kill him at any time.
Though I felt guilty for not being able to help him in the way I wanted, I had to realise that Eddie had “lived a long and happy life”, as his son put it, and that even though it was what I wanted, it may not have been what he wanted. It is important to think about the quality of life for the patient after something like this happens, if they survive.
I was upset that this had happened so quickly, however Eddie would not have felt it and would most likely have been unaware of everything.
Laying out the body was a special thing to do. It was the last thing I could do for him, and I felt honoured to be doing it. However it was still a difficult thing to do, as he looked like he was peacefully sleeping and that he would wake up any second to tell me a joke. Even though I knew he wasn’t alive, I still explained everything I was doing, as did Jane. I felt it was important and though he physically wasn’t there, it was still important to treat his body with respect and dignity.

Looking back, I realise that the crash team, the ward team and myself did everything possible to keep Eddie alive, but it is important to know when to stop and accept what is happening. The staff on the ward, especially Jane, were supportive which I think was a lot of help to me. They understood how it feels to be in the situation I was in and they were all a great support. One of the health care assistants told me that I had done a brilliant job with Eddie that day as she had seen me chatting to him while feeding him dinner.
Eddie was happy on the day he died and had spent most of the day laughing at me when I put him back to bed. Knowing he was happy brings some comfort. Though he was confused and having hallucinations, he was still aware of everybody and everything going on around him.

I would not change anything about this situation if it happened again. I acted rapidly, raising the alarm and getting help. I took part in the resuscitation and stayed strong and calm throughout, even though I wanted to cry. I was there while the doctor told Eddie’s sons, who I also knew from looking after him so much and again, managed to stay strong as they had done. I had laid out Eddie’s body, which I felt privileged in doing. I also took into account my other patient’s in the bay and checked they were feeling alright. I managed to calm James down as well as reassuring him that he did well to shout for me. Most importantly, I spoke to Jane about how I was feeling which was a big help. If I had not spoken to Jane, I would probably have carried on until the end of the shift and then would have got upset when there was nobody to talk things through with. The most important thing is that I learned a lot from this experience and that I can take all this away with me for future experiences.

An unexpected conversation.

Have you ever had a dream where, when you wake up, you can’t shake off the feelings it has left you with? Have you ever felt compelled to double check that whoever was in that dream is ok?

For a couple of years now I have struggled to remember any of my dreams. I only remember through having one or two images from the dream the following day. And of course, a nagging feeling or emotion that I have trouble identifying. I have tried different things to work out what is going on. Why these dreams are happening the way they do, is still a mystery. It’s difficult to understand them when I remember so little.

Many different people have been in my dreams, and though I get a nagging feeling, I am usually able to contain it and move on from it without anything bad happening.

The other night, I dreamt about my ex therapist, who I started working with 15 years ago. For 5 years, we worked through many of the issues I was dealing with. We developed a brilliant therapeutic relationship, although it took me a long time to fully trust him.

I don’t remember what happened in the dream. I just knew he was there. When I woke up the following day, that worry stayed with me and he kept coming into my thoughts. This has happened before, so it wasn’t a surprising occurence that I was unfamiliar with.

A few days later, and I woke from another dream that he was in. Again, I don’t remember the content. I just remember him being in the dream, and waking up to that awful feeling. I tried, again, to dismiss it. But eventually, as the day went on, my feelings got the better of me and I emailed him to check in.

Our emails were nothing out of the ordinary. The general pleasantries having been covered, we ended up talking about our therapy days. It was interesting to hear his perspective from that time. For all this time, I have only had my own perspective and my own memories of our therapy. With a lot of those memories being vague, and some even missing, it was interesting to discuss his perspectives also.

When I think back to that time, I can see I was in such a dark and difficult place. But I never realised how deep that ran. And I never really realised how he saw things. He mentioned that he often worried that he had pushed me too much through difficult sessions. I reassured him he never did that. I remember it being much easier for me to be pushed. I struggled to simply offer up information and so there were many times where he did have to push me, where he had to ask me questions in order to get anything out of me. There were days where I was just so overwhelmed by emotions that I would shut down. Not just mentally either; I would feel physically paralysed. Sometimes I could hear him asking me questions, trying to help me ground myself, trying to get me to move my eyes, to stop that fixed stare. And even though I could hear him, I was stuck, within myself. On the inside I was screaming for him to help me; banging on the internal walls I’d built around myself and screaming as loud as I could in the hope that he would hear me. On the outside, I was still, my eyes fixated on the same spot, unable to even nod or shake my head in response to his questions. Eventually he would help me to regain control.

I remember when he would try to reassure me that it was possible that things could improve and that I wouldn’t always feel so bad. And sometimes I would question his hope and optimism. I would reply that he was just telling me that because he would never dream of telling me that I was doomed, and that things won’t get better. Calmly, he would explain that he genuinely believed what he was saying. I never believed him and I never accepted his hope or allowed him to express it without biting back at him. Though I do know that he meant everything he said in that regard; he really did believe that I had hope of moving forward from the trauma I’d experienced.

In his own words he recently described me as being, all those years ago, ‘tormented’, ‘closed down’ and ‘hard to reach out to’. And in retrospect I see that 100%. He also told me that he didn’t know if I would survive, which made me realise how lucky I was. I was lucky to have not purposely killed myself. And I was even luckier that I didn’t accidentally kill myself through self-harm, overdosing, ligaturing. My life could have been wiped out and I wouldn’t be here today to share my experiences. And now, 15 years on from when I first met this person, I can happily say he was right. His fear that I may not have survived was very real and he had good reason to have the concern. I don’t think he was the only one with that worry.

When you are in the midst of depression and other mental health problems, it is near impossible to ever believe you can get through it and have a better life.
I am living proof that it is possible to survive. Never be afraid of reaching out when you are struggling. There will always be somebody who is willing to help, support and guide you. I would give anyone my time if they needed it or asked for it. Plenty of people have given me their time throughout my life when I needed it. And I believe that is partly why I am still here today.

You never need to suffer alone❤️

Mental health: what support is needed?

I have been thinking for some time now about trying to get back into my writing. I seemed to have got a block of some sort and every time I tried to write I didn’t know what I wanted to say.

I guess the best thing would be to start off from my last post in December 2019… however, if you know me you’ll know I can’t remember what I had for breakfast. I remember there being something about a pandemic?

It’s been almost 7 years now since ‘No Secrets’ ceased as a charity and I thought that part of my life was over. But recently, from speaking to different people about mental health, my passion to help people is growing.
There were many reasons I decided to quit No Secrets. When I was preparing to be discharged from community mental health team, I felt it was an important time to focus on myself and my recovery. For 10 years the thought of being discharged and not having that ‘professional’ safety net was terrifying. Now that it had come, I felt like I needed to take a step back from the whole mental health setting completely.

The main reason was exhaustion. I was struggling to keep up with myself. I was working every day. We started with me and my mum, and a support group in St Helens. By the time we registered as a charity a few years later, we had set up support groups in Wigan, Warrington & Halton. We also did group sessions for inpatients in Leigh. We were rolling out training for professionals and those working in health and/or mental health settings. It grew way too big for me to manage. And whilst we had some extremely valuable support from everyone on the committee, it just got too much.

In the first couple of years, it was nice to have more time on my hands and it helped me to focus on my own recovery journey. But every now and then it would creep back into my mind and I’d still have that passion for helping people.

I have changed so much in the last 7 years; I think now it’s my time to start something. I want to share with others, how I got through my urges to self harm. How I moved on from being so dependant upon services. How I embraced the one thing that I feared so much. How I survived it.

But I have no idea what to do or how to do it. An online support group is an idea I’ve been mulling over. That way, it doesn’t have to stay local and could reach many more people across the country.

If you have any ideas about how we can rewrite the narratives of self harm please let me know. What is it that we are missing? What is it that people need?

I am not losing my mind. CFS and the effects of Adrenaline.

The past couple of weeks have been so difficult. I have been unwell, on and off, but mostly on.

We all know feeling physically unwell reduces our threshold for any other stuff. It is draining. But then add on some anxiety; caused by not knowing what the hell is going on in your body, and let me tell you, it is exhausting.

I knew I had been overdoing it, and the payback was starting. Payback is a result of overdoing it with Chronic Fatigue Symdrome (cfs). Payback are the symptoms you experience when your body is too tired.

Because I have had other symptoms similar to some bugs going round, I presumed that was why I felt so rotten. Maybe I was experiencing payback and a bug. And then yesterday, I had an appointment with my Occupational Therapist at the CFS clinic at Broadgreen. They’re a specialist team that treat CFS across the North West.

When I explained how I’d been feeling and what I’d been experiencing, she explained it for me.

In CFS, I don’t wake up with a full bar of energy like those without it. And what little I do have in my bar of energy is used quicker than in somebody without cfs. So I have to pace myself and not do too much.

Now, “too much” used to be blitzing the whole house in one go. But as the CFS takes hold of me, “too much” is simply doing all the dishes in one go without resting. And that is a huge adjustment for me as it would be for anyone. So it takes time to learn what my body can or can’t do, and I’m not there yet.

My symptoms over the last few weeks have been getting worse. Insomnia is the first sign that things aren’t right. Ironically, lack of sleep is common in CFS. Other symptoms such as anxiety, vomiting, headaches, sensitivity to the dimmest of lights, extremely poor memory and concentration and feeling physically weak have all been plaguing me lately. Only the other night when I didn’t sleep at all, I unexpectedly vomited all over my bed at 4am in the morning. My head hurt so much that having it resting on the pillow or my hand felt like I was banging it against a rock. It was dark outside and in, but the slight bit of light showing through the curtains from the streetlight outside was piercing my eyes. I had to cover my eyes so it was pitch black. My mind felt foggy, I couldn’t think properly. I honestly felt dreadful and didn’t know why. I did put it down to exhaustion, but I didn’t understand how those symptoms happened. Until my occupational therapist explained.

When my energy bar gets empty, my body releases adrenaline to keep me going. The secondary symptoms I have just explained are symptoms from the effects of the adrenaline.

Adrenaline is released when we are in a fight or flight situation. So imagine someone jumps out at you, how that fear kicks in quickly. How it feels when the adrenaline is released – faster heart rate, breathing quicker, anxiety etc. This is how I feel but on a longer term basis, like probably 90% of the time. If someone jumped out at you, once you realise you are ok, your body stops producing adrenaline. Mine just keeps giving and giving to keep my body energised. And as a result of that, I am feeling sick, vomiting, not sleeping, feeling anxious, restless, unable to sleep, unable to think clearly. All of what I am experiencing has been symptoms of CFS. Which means I am actually not going mad or losing my mind (it is so scary to think you are losing your mind and knowledge).

So I can improve, but it takes time and change. I still can’t tell when I am overdoing it. And because of that, I cant stop myself before it’s too late. I have to learn what is too much and how much rest I need in between. And it doesn’t happen quickly; it’s a long term project. But the main thing is, I know why I feel so shit, and that helps.

I hope it helps others to understand CFS a bit better💖💖

Death, again. And what it represents to me!

Once again the Grim Reaper came to remind us that life is a privilege; not a guarantee.

As I already know, death and loss is always very triggering for me. It triggered my mental breakdown and it’s always thrown up difficult, overwhelming and complicated feelings.

This time was no different in that sense. But it was in a very different sense.

I shouldn’t find it surprising really, when someone I know (whether I love them or loathe them) dies. I should know by now, to expect some kind of unknown reaction to death. And it is nothing about who that person is, it is what that person represented, to me personally.

Somebody I knew passed rather suddenly recently. And at first there was shock. Then there was a sense of sadness. Then there was a little bit of anger. And I couldn’t shift this really nagging, uncomfortable reaction. I hadn’t seen or spoken to this person in years. We generally “got on” with one another and then a big rift developed and we never spoke again. So why all of a sudden am I so angry that this person died?

I am not angry with them. I am angry at what they represented to me. Took me a little longer than normal to work this one out. But, I will try to keep it simple.

The person who died, represented a sense of injustice in me. I had been betrayed by them, and their death meant that their secrets and lies had gone to the grave with them. And one thing I hate with a passion is lies and those who tell them.

Of course, lies are the very foundations of any abusers ground work. The people who abused me in my lifetime lied every minute of every day. To themselves and the world. It makes sense that I hate liars so much. People lie to cover their own tracks. Even if it means shitting on everyone else around them. So it should also make sense that when someone who lied to me dies, it could tap into my own feelings. In fact I know that’s what happened. But it took a little longer for me to work it out. Because…

The way this person betrayed me wasn’t massive. Yes they lied to me, but it wasn’t personal to me. And if it wasn’t personal to me, why oh why would it be playing so much on my mind. Why is this person suddenly here, throwing things up in the air when I barely knew them?

It was never about them. It was about me. It didn’t matter who the person was; it was about what they represented in my mind. They represented a liar; when they died, so did their lies. And if the lies are dead, nobody will ever know any different. And that, is injustice. THAT is what they represented. My sense of injustice.

So how the hell do I deal with that?

Kinda hoping for a light bulb moment. Have had one while writing this, but still lots to figure out so I shall no doubt be back for more 💜

Avoidance leads to the very feelings that you set out to avoid in the first place!

Now that I can see where my attachment issues stem from, I can see more clearly how they affected my life.

Ironically, being discharged from mental health services really helped (despite my fears). I learned to stand on my own two feet and take back responsibility for my life and future.

A lot of my fears around losing people I love/care about, was that they may die before I do. I was so scared of that. And it terrified me so much there were times I harmed myself or tried to take my own life so that I wouldn’t have to experience that kind of pain.

Of course, it’s natural for people to worry about losing loved ones. It’s something we would all dread, and it’s something I can still worry about. It’s when I allow my imagination to run away and create traumatic scenarios of losing loved ones that I become overwhelmed. I simply cannot allow that to happen any more. And I asked myself earlier, what changed to enable a more accepting attitude?

I guess the first thing I had to do was face up to the reality that everyone will die at some point. It’s the one certainty in life. It’s the one thing we have little control over. Accepting that is a huge but do-able hurdle. In accepting the inevitability of death; I also accepted that the same is true for friendships/relationships. They will all end at some point or another. Be it that you fall out, you gradually lose touch, the relationship naturally dies out or one of you dies. And the fact is, it is something we have/will likely face in our lives.

I had to learn to recognise when my wild imagination was running away with ideas, images and thoughts of loss/grief. Once I could recognise that was happening, I was able to reassure myself by reminding myself that

  • My imagination was creating those ideas/images. What I saw in my mind was not factual. It was an interpretation I’d conjured in my mind through anxiety.
  • I couldn’t foresee the future or know if/when/how my relationships would end. Therefore, it was more difficult for me to entertain those fears
  • In this moment, all is well.

This reassurance helped me a lot. I came to realise I was worrying about things/situations that hadn’t even happened and were not guaranteed to happen.

Truth is, none of us know what the future holds. So how can we worry about something that’s not real? It just causes us to avoid relationships with others. And avoiding contact, relationships and intimacy with others will cause nothing but loneliness and misery.

Don’t make yourself lonely and unhappy just so you can avoid becoming lonely and unhappy. It’s a no-win situation.

Get out there. Make friends; build on new and existing relationships. Build on your self-esteem and worth. And start enjoying life.

If I can do it then anyone can💜

Light bulb moments

I haven’t written a (public) post in a while. Not much has inspired me and I have had writers block. Until now.

Earlier, somebody said something and it was one of those moments when BAM!!!! It hits you. Something so blindingly obvious that I have only just realised.

Back when I was studying my nursing degree, I witnessed some awful things and I experienced a lot of trauma for someone just 19 years of age. I often wonder what was it about me that made me break down when my friends and fellow students managed to stay ‘sane’. It’s difficult to compare myself to others because I see others in so much more high regard than I do myself. Although I know part of it was to do with the fact that I am extremely sensitive to others’ feelings, I also know the main reason was because I had some very deep, underlying emotional issues. The nursing course didn’t “cause” my mental breakdown. It simply triggered those unresolved issues.

When I was very young, my dad cut off contact with me and my sister. I always thought it had affected my sister more than me, and put that down to her being older than me and being able to remember more about what happened. I could never see that that was where my abandonment issues lay. It’s obvious right?


I was too young to remember my dad or the split and his abandonment. I can’t say I have ever felt angry towards him. I always thought “it didn’t affect me cos I was too young”. Only now can I see that it DID affect me. And certain experiences throughout my childhood reinforced my abandonment issues that I didn’t even know existed.

I always remember when I was little, I had this huge fear of admitting how I felt. My mum knew at times that I wasn’t ok, and I even remember her asking me and trying to encourage me to talk to her. There was nothing she could have said or done to make me open up about my feelings. I would always have an excuse as to why I was ever upset etc. I have worked on this in therapy at different points, and I have always maintained I didn’t have abandonment issues. When I was in mental health services I would argue with the “professionals” ’til I was blue in the face and they would listen but still come to the conclusion that I did indeed have abandonment issues.

But nobody ever explained it to me. Nobody ever pointed it out to me. And I believed it was a fear of my mum dying (which in my mind classes as abandonment) that was exxacerbating my mental health problems. I wouldn’t be able to cope if my mum died and it sent me into the most darkest places at times. I’d linked the trauma I’d experienced whilst nursing, to the fear of losing my mum. Death and grief triggered my breakdown, therefore it was all about death and grief. When actually, it wasn’t. It was about abandonment. Of course part of me will always want to protect my loved ones from my own pain (within reason), but that was never what it was about. The fear of speaking openly to my mum when I was little was there because I was so scared of her being upset… but it was more about me. It was my way of protecting myself from being abandoned by my mum; my only stable and constant caregiver. I was already insecure thanks to my dad disappearing off the scene and other events in my childhood. I couldn’t risk doing anything that would drive my mum away. Obviously with hindsight I know my mum would never have abandoned me if I’d opened up to her. But the little child-kerri didn’t know that. The little me must have internalised all that happened and encouraged me to believe that I was the problem. Why else would a father walk away from his daughters? Why else would people you trust and rely on as a child purposely hurt and abuse you? I was the common denominator. It had to be me. So I became someone else. Someone who wasn’t me!

My dad left. I was abused by different males. I was threatened by abusers that I would lose my mum and sister if I ever told anyone what was happening. Of course, it makes sense, that I had a huge fear of abandonment. Clamming up was my defense mechanism to avoid further abandonment.

Why have I never seen this before?

Or, genuine question, have I seen this before and forgotten? My memory really is that bad 🤣

Ps. Mum… I love you. Thankfully I can now be open and honest with you after lots of practice over the years. You and my beautiful sister have always been there for me, and thanks to you 2 and many others I am here to tell my tale, share my insights and offer hope to others.

When you tell yourself you are protecting others from your pain ask yourself this; what are you protecting yourself from.

The theory of evolution explains that we all have an innate drive to survive, and that everything we do is to survive. So how is your behaviour helping you to survive? Even unhealthy behaviours like takng drugs to numb your emotional pain; helps you survive because you believe you cannot survive the emotions/feelings you have inside.

My last point is this… your feelings and emotions cannot hurt you. Yes they are horrible and feel unbearable, but they DO pass and you can survive them. Have hope.


Realisations from the past that will always be relevant to me and maybe others…

Last night, I was looking for an email from a few years ago, and I came across the following. Before you read it, let me explain…

Sometimes when I am relaxing at night, just before I go to sleep, I’ll have these random realisations. If I can’t write things down, I forget I’ve had them by morning. So, I often email myself if these realisations happen… and that’s what this was about.

I can’t even remember what was going on for me at that time. But I do remember the frustration I’d been feeling with certain people.

Wanted to share it in the hope it somehow helps someone else. ❤

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Kerri Jones
Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2015, 02:38
Subject: Trust own intuitive thoughts/feelings.

Trust your own intuitive thoughts/feelings.

You see traits of yourself in others clearer; that’s frustrating, probably because it takes you back to times when life felt unbearble. You feel helpless because you have no control over the people you see these traits in. You know what might help them but you can’t force them to try; recovery begins when that person wants it to begin. Maybe because they reach their limits, they have a good support network or they stumble across happiness (as they will have done before), that maybe feels a tiny bit better than ever, or lasts a tiny bit longer than before. When that happens, there comes a point where you are able to appreciate it more than you ever have before and it engulfs you. And it engulfs you so much that it becomes you. As those happier feelings grow in strength, frequency and length, they soothe the angrier, more sour feelings. The addition of positive feelings neutralises some of the pain and negativity inside. Initially, there are more negative feelings than positives. But the positives carry on dripping in until eventually there are equal amounts of each. Equal amounts means one can overpower the other – positive can take the spotlight and push negative away or vice versa. In time, eventually, positive is twice the size of negative. Positive is mainly the one in the spotlight, and can, on the majority of occasions, push negative into the darkness. Ideally, negative would disappear completely, but that is not possible. For me, positive will win the spotlight at the most important times, without pushing negative away but by performing for negative. Accepting and acknowledging that negative is there keeps their relationship calm and peaceful. If either tries to deny the other then they start to battle. What you resist, persists. Don’t resist your feelings, always allow them to exist. Don’t act on your feelings without first taking time to think your actions through, as well as any potential consequences of your actions.
Always remember for every action there is a reaction. You cannot control others’ actions or reactions but you can control your own.

Corrie storyline: heartbreakingly true to life, my life and your life!

I haven’t written a blog post in a long time. I have been quite ill the last 4 months with a mystery bug that seems to have triggered something else in me. But, I’m not writing about my physical health. I wanted to talk about mental health.

Before I start, I will explain for those who are new to my blog, how I work. I will type whatever comes to my mind now, after watching the very moving Corrie episode where Aiden takes his own life. I don’t know what it is I want to write but I know I do. I never edit anything I type (apart from typos) so you read it as it comes from my mind.

Most people who know me know that I have struggled with mental health problems in the past. Between 2006-2015 I was under the care of secondary mental health services. I saw a psychiatrist every 6 months, my GP every 1-2 weeks and had a CPN on and off throughout those years. And at least once every year I was admitted to psychiatric in-patients because I was a risk to myself.

I often, during these years, I felt suicidal. Life felt like one big black ball. But people on the outside struggled to understand why I felt so low. Why didn’t the love of my family and friends stop me from attempting suicide, or harming myself? Having just watched the response on Corrie from Aiden’s loved ones, it hit me hard to see them struggle to understand it all. How can anyone who has people who love and care about them, feel so alone? How can they not tell anyone at all about what they’re feeling? How can that decision be made and you still have time to plan ahead? Suicide is not always an impulsive decision.

The thing is, when you are in a fragile state of mind, and you “decide” that you are going to end your life, something happens inside. Or at least, it did with me, on those occasions where suicide really was my only option. One example in particular: I was having a bad time, heading towards hospital stage of things and petrified of all my options. In my mind at that moment, my options were 1. Go into hospital (where I often felt worse), 2. Talk to someone to try and prevent hospital, or 3. Put an immediate stop to all that pain and break that cycle (hospital, then you’re well for a bit then need hospital again). The least scary of those 3 options was suicide. Because suicide meant I didn’t have to go on much longer with those feelings I had. Feelings that felt so bad, so traumatic and so damaging that I just wanted them all to stop. Having already tried option 1 and 2 many many times before, I just wanted to give in. And when I decided that suicide was my chosen option I suddenly felt good. Try imagine you’re running a marathon up a mountain and you cannot stop running no matter how much you want to. You feel close to collapse, your legs are numb your lungs are screaming for air. Imagine then, being given permission to stop; somebody to say “you can stop now”. That was the kind of relief, like you could just allow your body to collapse to the floor and feel the suffering drain away. That was what suicide represented for me.

As for loved ones – they wouldn’t be missing out anyway, would they? Because they’d no longer have to worry about me and when my next bad time was coming. They wouldn’t have to ring or text me to check I was ok. And sure, I understand it would be devastating for them, but better for them in the long run. How wrong I was. Corrie helped me see that more than ever, the sheer devastation that suicide creates for those left behind.

Lots of my friends are now updating their statuses to reach out, offer their support and encourage their own friends/families to talk to them. Which is amazing and will help so many people.

We all like to think we could help someone in that position. That we would listen, offer advice/support/information. And most of us would. But what I saw an awful lot of, when I was in mental health services, and experienced myself, and people sometimes struggle to cope with the persistence of depression or mental health problems.

For example, I’ve already said suicidal ideation could last for months in me sometimes. And some people get fed up with me saying the same things, they got fed up of saying the same things to me and they become very understandably frustrated. Depression doesn’t always disappear once you’ve talked over things. A chat may alleviate those feelings, but the underlying cause is still there.

I rarely talk about my own feelings towards those I worked with in mental health. Being on the other side of it, and supporting someone with suicidal ideation, I can understand how disheartening it can be to talk somebody down from harming themselves time and time again. There were times where I felt like I was useless to those who reached out to me. I was drained at times, with repeating myself to the same people. I’d spend hours talking to people who were struggling and my it wore me down. But I would not do anything differently. Because many of these people have gone very far on their road to recovery. And it’s only now I realise how different things could have been for them if I, and others had given up trying to help them, because of the persistent late night texts and phonecalls and sometimes trips to A&E. These people are often called “Attention seekers”. Call it what you like, but whatever you do, just never let your own feelings of helplessness make you stop caring. Whoever it is, whatever their problem, you can help even if you think you can’t/aren’t.

So all in all, if you feel like you might harm yourself (or others), talk to somebody you can trust. Or talk to a stranger or health professional. Talk to anyone. And never stop talking!!! Never give up hope that your life can feel/be better, and never give up hope that someone elses life could feel/be better.

Much love to anyone who is struggling with any mental health problem at the moment, and to those who have previously struggled as well as those who might struggle in future. In other words, much love to everyone ❤