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What Suicide Has Taught Me

what suicide has taught me, sloth speed recovery, www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com, suicidal, bpd, borderline personality disorder

I’ve watched my mother deal through the grief of my grandpa’s and aunt’s suicide; the constant pain she felt and the way she teared up on their birthdays or suicide anniversaries. She hadn’t told me these were suicides; I would’ve been too young to understand.

I remember standing on the main floor, hearing my mom huddle into a pillow over the death of her father and I couldn’t comprehend it. I was only a toddler.

Why is it that, the day after my birthday, Matante killed herself and my mom had to leave with no explanation? I wanted to come with, but she couldn’t bare to tell me.

To this day, she is wounded by these suicides, and it has left a void that is way too visible.

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Suicide was a part of the family genes, but I was lucky enough to have been a child and have no understanding of taking ones own life. Until I was 15 years old, and my brother’s friend jumped in front of a train. I didn’t know him the way my brother did, but I knew him better than anyone else from school did, and he chose to end his life.

I, too, was struggling with suicidal thoughts at the time and connected on a deeper level with him. He did what I didn’t have the guts to do, I thought.

Over the months, I developed PTSD symptoms. I could see him; the terror in his eyes as the train approached and that force dragging him to be hit. I could feel his body flinging in the air and studied the direction his body would go depending on how he chose to jump. My mind was a gruesome minefield and he was the picture etched into my skull.

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His suicide ripped me to shreds; I lost a good portion of my hair and was no longer functional. I declined in school and in my extracurricular activities, and I was more suicidal than I had ever been.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about suicide, about myself, and how I truly feel about suicide.


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Life Is Worth Living. People say this all the time without true emotion behind it, but I know how true this statement is.

Everyday, I get to see the sunshine, the smiling faces of the people around me and watch myself grow into a beautiful young woman with all the capabilities in the world. I get to watch my brother who was supposed to pass at the age of 16, grow into his twenties, and join my family for some of the most memorable holidays.

I started my writing career, which has been my dream since I was a child, and I couldn’t imagine deceiving myself in that way. Had I gone ahead and ended my life, I wouldn’t be able to see my abilities convey themselves onto pieces of paper. Sure, my work isn’t perfect but it never had to be. It just has to be the best I can do, which is a reward in itself.

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You don’t get rid of pain; you pass it on. It isn’t right for anyone to guilt trip you when you’re considering suicide because, that shouldn’t be the reason you choose to stay. You should choose to stay because you deserve life and you are able to be great.

But, there is truth in the statement “you don’t end the pain, you pass it on.” I’ve witnessed and experienced it. You don’t need to be family to have an impact on someone through a suicide; being an acquaintance is enough to affect someone in abundance.

Your pain is molded and transferred in a tragic way to nearly everyone who has come into contact with you, and it’s distressing to see.

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No; no one would be happier if you died. When we experience suicidal feelings, we often feel unwanted or unloved because someone may be experiencing feelings of frustration or anger towards us, but this does not mean they would be happier if we were gone. Even if they claim they want you to kill yourself, they don’t mean it. In reality, there would be great amounts of guilt on their part and they would be distraught with themselves for ever mistreating you; questioning themselves regarding their involvement.

I’m sure my grandfather thought the same way; maybe he felt he was a burden to his family. But, because of his death, I have a forever mourning mother, and I have been robbed of an important relationship with him. He promised to take me fishing with him; leaving me behind at such a young age to go with my siblings. He was supposed to be present in my life, teach me lessons and watch me grow, but he absented himself.

I am not happier that he died, nor is my mom or any of his relatives. There is no bad he could’ve done to make us feel happier without him.

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It’s a thought that can be changed. Suicidal thoughts stem from trauma or a mental illness; we are so desperate to end the pain and grief that we search for a way out. It is often said that people commit suicide because they want the pain to stop.

When you commit suicide, that pain never gets a chance to stop or evolve into something beautiful. It’s only a thought, a feeling, and it can be changed with persistence and a desire to change. You must convince yourself otherwise and move towards a healthy lifestyle that strays you from suicidal urges.

It is possible to live a happy life, and we want you to see it.

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Nothing will change if we don’t try. Since my brother’s friend passed, my life has gone full circle. It was worse before it got better. I was homeless twice, went to a treatment center, completed high school, was in a bad relationship and got out of it, have gotten my own place and got so far in recovery that I can’t believe how far I’ve come.

Had I gone along and committed suicide, nothing would’ve gotten better. I would’ve never been able to see all the beautiful things I have now. I would’ve left during the worst time of my life, without giving myself a chance to become an adult and understand the world around me.

What a joy life is; and I am damn grateful I never succeeded during my suicide attempts.


If you are suicidal or experiencing crisis, please contact your local crisis line. 

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Diagnosed With OCD

Diagnosed with OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder, sloth speed recovery, www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com

How did the therapists and doctors completely miss the 7 year old obsessed with washing her hands to the point where she bled through cracked skin? How did the doctors miss the preteen too afraid to let her parents leave the room without the last thing being spoken to them from her was “I love you” because she was so god damn scared they’d die if they left the room? How did they miss her obsession with time, and her inability to sleep, leading her to be in bed at 7pm so she could eventually fall asleep and get a decent amount of sleep?

How is it that I’ve seen over a dozen psychologist/therapists over the years, 4 psychiatrists and so many other professionals and only NOW has a psychiatrist picked up on the fact that I have OCD.


 

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I have been recently diagnosed with OCD, and though it makes complete sense in some respects, it’s opened up a world of confusion in other areas of my life. I feel so disheveled by the diagnosis, and I’m stuck questioning every single aspect of my life and personality, trying to assess if it’s OCD or a true part of me.

I was going through a distressing period over the last few months where I was having violent and intrusive thoughts that I had no control over. The ones I loved most were wounded by my hands and I didn’t understand it. I genuinely thought I was experiencing psychosis or that I was inevitably going to become a murderer unless I found control. That symptom seemed to be what truly uncovered my OCD diagnosis.

When the psychiatrist looked at me and gave me this label, my chest sunk as I sensed a wave of relief I didn’t quite understand. Tears stung my eyes as my lungs seemed to sink in an ocean of water, struggling to breathe. It was wonderful to know that there was something I could do about it and that I wasn’t inherently bad, but I was puzzled by everything else this diagnosis could mean.

Nearly every second of my recent waking hours is spent in a frustrating questionnaire regarding myself. Is my disgust for wet skin a symptom? How about my fear of imperfection? My verbal compulsions? How about the way I ask for constant reassurance? What does my OCD look like?

I need someone to sit with me and explain every aspect of my own version of OCD so that I may find a split between what is truly me and what has been OCD all along. I’m not sure I see a difference or separation between the two, which is absolutely terrifying to me.

I feel completely engulfed and I just want to understand myself. I want to be in control.

I’m not sure what this means for my future…

 

I will be documenting my journey with OCD on this blog. An OCD section will be added to the Mental Illness drop box.

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10 Ways to Prepare for Eating Disorder Recovery

10 ways to prepare for eating disorder recovery, sloth speed recovery, www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com

Eating Disorders are difficult to recover from because they’re characterized by disturbed eating habits and rituals, that are consistently repeated, resulting in habitual behaviour. Trying to break this pattern may be complicated due to food being apart of everyday life and a source of nutrition; being unavoidable. We are constantly exposed to foods that we may not be comfortable around or feel are safe to consume, and we may struggle with breaking habits and routine.

Everyday is a challenge, but with these steps forward, we may see an end to our eating disorder.


 

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Admit to the Problem. There will never be an end to the problem if we cannot admit it. It begins with ourselves, followed by our closest friends and family, and finally, the professionals. We should expect tears and hard times from this confession, but must remember that this is the start of something new. Be prepared for it to be an excruciating experience, with an outstandingly beautiful outcome.

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Seek Professional Help and Build a Support System. During this difficult time, you will need the encouragement and love of the people that mean the most to you, and the professionals that have been educated on your disorder along with the recovery methods. These people will able to aid the construction of  your safety plan, make lists of friends to communicate with and map out coping mechanisms to remain on the recovery path.

Professionals will be able to help with your next steps, whether that be group therapy, eating disorder clinics, meal plans, one-on-one therapy sessions or other options. Try to remain open-minded because, these people are only there to help you.

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Don’t Try to Physically Prove Your Eating Disorder. The recovery process can prove difficult when you feel your body mass does not reflect your eating disorder. It is important to recall that your body weight is not the sole evidence or validity of an eating disorder. They are mental illnesses, characterized by a perception of self and food, and not the gap between ones’ thighs.

Do not try to conform your disorder and recovery to that of someone else. Every person is unique, along with their respective disorder, and you should not be trying to emulate anyone else. The focus is you and your recovery; not that of a popular Instagram star.

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Be Uncomfortable. Put yourself in situations that you never wanted to face. Go out to that fast food joint with your friends like you’ve been wishing to visit for years; eat in public; let yourself eat “unsafe” foods. This process is about breaking rituals and routines, and to do so, you have to go places and do things out of routine or your comfort zone.

Be logical. Do not expect yourself to eat a burger, fries and drink non-diet soda in your first outing, as it may be overwhelming and throw off your recovery. Take baby steps whilst continuing to progress. Go at your pace.

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Don’t Hide Any Feelings from Your Supports. If you are struggling to eat a meal, and your friend confronts you, don’t pretend your refusal is from a tummy ache. Be upfront and tell them that this specific meal is very hard for you, and that you will need time and patience to conquer it.

When you feel upset about your body, or sense a relapse occurring, speak up. Voice your feelings of lack of control and be honest regarding the trigger. Keep open communication and always be honest.

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Be Strict with Your Boundaries. Do not let someone disturbed drag you back into your disordered eating habits. There are people who will want to discourage you, act as if you look healthy and don’t need recovery, but they are wrong (according to you, your loved ones and medical professionals). If they are a disturbance to your recovery, you need to cut them out and no longer give them the time of day.

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Don’t Let Yourself Skip Out on Important Appointments. It doesn’t matter if there’s a concert or a cool party, you cannot skip out on important therapy sessions and clinic dates. You will be diservicing yourself, and nobody wants you to do that.

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Relapse Is Practically Inevitable. Be rational and expect there to be difficult times, relapses and feelings of regret regarding confession, but you must remember that you do not want to live like this anymore. Your eating disorder was never a friend or a healthy process, and it wants to destroy you. The best thing you can do for yourself is fight it.

Ride the relapse thoughts and behaviours, challenging it at every chance you get. Do not let yourself spiral. Keep your recovery in control, and consistently remind yourself the reasons you chose recovery.

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Loving Your Body Will Not Be An Everyday Occurrence. Some days, you will look in the mirror, proud of the weight you’ve gained and the way it looks on your frame, and other days, it will be your biggest nightmare. Understand that those negative feelings regarding your body are fueled by the eating disorder, and not a healthy mind. Your body is beautiful, it’s healthy and it’s on its way to recovery.

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You Are Not in a Race; Pace Yourself. Do not let yourself be affected by the hoards of others in recovery. They are not you, their experiences and feelings are different, and their recovery will reflect this diversity. You cannot expect yourself to attain a goal made for someone else. This recovery is yours, and yours alone. It is not a competition, it is not a race; it is your life.


You cannot expect perfection in a process like this. Be reasonable, be understanding of your limitations and goals, and don’t give up for anybody or anything.

Remember; you will recover and this eating disorder will be history.

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Disability Income Misconceptions

disability income misconceptions, welfare, www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery

Welfare and Disability seem to be taboo terms. There is no way of bringing it up into conversation without a stigmatized comment being proclaimed. Someone always has something to say about their preconceived notions of these income support cheques. Whether they don’t understand the reasoning or they choose not to, it doesn’t mean their opinion is fact. They may not know someone personally who is deemed disabled by the government, but these misconceptions and myths need to be debunked.


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You’re lazy. The general public sees this form of income as a way of cheating society and laying around doing nothing, without taking into consideration the reason someone may need to rely on these programs. When it comes to disability, despite some of us not being employed, the majority of us are not trying to abuse the system or sit down and let the money roll in; we understand what we’ve been given in respect to our disability.

A disabled person does not find happiness or glee in being couch-bound for days on end. We do not feel pride in the need to have government support. We do not want to flaunt our inability to work; we just strive to survive as comfortably as we can and obtain the services we need to hopefully, one day, not be considered disabled (if possible).

There are days that we cannot get up or function, especially when mentally ill. We spend our days trying to get by; survival is our biggest feat. We are in constant pain and turmoil, but we have drive and ambition, like the rest of humanity. Many of us are creative and productive folk; trying to contribute in our personal methods.

If a constant battle with ourselves is translated into laziness, we are not the problem. Not to mention, nobody would want to trade a few shifts a week for daily torture and self-doubt.

If we could work, we would. We want to be able to function along with society, but we can’t, and we need help. And honestly, that’s okay. There’s help for a reason.

You don’t deserve it. If we didn’t deserve it, and there wasn’t a reason for us to receive this money, we wouldn’t have been accepted in the disability support programs. Obviously, there is someone out there in these companies that believes our problems are valid, and affect our ability to be employed. Your opinion regarding our personal lives and income is none of our business.

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You can’t work. This is ultimately false, and is a statement some of us on disability may also believe true. Depending on the program or where you live/receive your income from, we are able to work. In Ontario, Canada, Ontario Disability Support Program allows its clients to work as much as they please, with acceptable deductions. Up to 2oo$ will go untouched, the rest will be divided in half, and you will be awarded 100$ for working.

Being on disability or welfare does not mean you can’t work; it means you need support to survive, and may not be able to work as often or frequently as someone who does not have a physical or mental illness. That being said, some people on disability cannot work at all, whilst some may work a 40 hour work week.

Only the physically disabled should have access. It would not be incorrect to state that the majority of people who believe this may also believe that mental illness is made up and inherently false. Mental illness can affect you as dangerously as physical illness, and cannot be compared on the same wave length. A mental illness, such as depression or schizophrenia, can be deadly and drive someone to commit suicide, or cause psychotic symptoms that cause danger to the individual and others.

Physical disability is as valid as mental disability, and cannot be swept under the rug for its physical nonappearance to the naked eye.

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You’re abusing the government and tax payers. No. There are reasons why these programs were put into place; the public needs the service. The government wouldn’t implement such a program for people when they don’t need it, just to lose money.

Tax is divided in the regions that need it; health care, education, construction, companies, etc. Disability income support happens to be one of those sections. Your taxes are going in various places, and even if you don’t agree with where they go, it is for the government to decide. As long as they deem the service is needed, it will continue to be funded and available to those who need it.

You can trick the system. To think that you can abuse a system that has been developing over years is ridiculous. When we apply for disability, it is a lengthy process. They look into your assets, your living arrangements, your past employment and have access to any records they need. You cannot complete the application without signing that consent, and it can only be assumed that revoking consent would revoke your income.


Being on disability does not define someone or throw them into a category, and to believe someone is something based on how they survive is ignorance.

We cannot remove stigma or teach those who do not want to be taught, but we can continue to try and reduce stigma in the best ways we know.

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The Big Move

I had no choice but to move.

I had a good job, was attending regular therapy and had a group of writer friends I met up with twice a month. It didn’t matter how many good things I had going on because, I couldn’t live at home anymore.

The atmosphere, the environment, my family… None of it was healthy, and I couldn’t go forward with those types of barriers. And thus, I had to make the decision for my safety and mental health. I packed my belongings and made my way to the city.

It’s only been a few days and I can already feel myself thrive off this independency and the people I am living with. I feel more understood, I am receiving more respect and feel an equality in the home.

My room is set up with my pet rabbit, fairy lights, a media centre for leisure, collectibles on a shelf and a beautifully coloured mint wall that makes everything feel fresh and safe.

I’ve been able to be productive without that heavy weight of depression sitting on my shoulders. I can walk, remember things, feel motivation and have that want to be productive.

Things feel like they’re finally coming into place.

Though, I must remind myself that nothing will ever be perfect. There will be bumps in the road, and I would be letting myself down if I expected things to be perfect.

My goals include:

  • Keeping things under control, including emotions and reactions
  • Making daily schedules
  • Putting out consistent blog posts
  • Getting involved in social groups and fighting my social anxiety
  • Continuously evolving as a person

This move is a positive change, as hard as it was to make it here and as hard as it will be to get used to.

I never want to be homeless or dependent on my mother again.

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Bell Let’s Talk – What Is It? Why Is It Important?

what is bell let's talk? Why is it important? #bellletstalk www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery

Bell Let’s Talk is an annual event and campaign that began in September, 2010, that Bell started to try to raise awareness about mental illness, reduce stigma and encourage people to talk about mental illness. For every use of their hashtag on specific social media platforms, making phone calls and texting, or other interactions, they will donate 5¢  to fund mental illness research and services in the country of Canada. Bell is the largest company to step in, speak out about mental illness and create a movement for the community.

In 2015, they increased their campaign to 2020, where they commit to donating up to 10 million dollars in regards to mental illness. On January 27, 2016, Bell donated over 6 million dollars based on the near 126 million long distance and mobile phone calls, texts, tweets and Facebook shares. Currently, Bell’s total donations stand at 79,919,178.55$ as of 2016.

Hopefully, this year, we can exponentially increase the funding, have open discussions about mental illness, and end the stigma.


How can you help this year?

All day, Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives for every:
• Text message sent by Bell and Bell Aliant customers
• Mobile and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers
• Tweet and Instagram post using #BellLetsTalk
• View of the official Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook
• Snap using the official Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat filter

(Join the event on Facebook: Bell Let’s Talk Day Event)


Why is this such a phenomenal movement?

Mental illness has always had a stigma cloud that followed it, where people aren’t entirely understanding or compassionate towards others because of their illnesses. It is often a topic for jokes and put downs, where the joke is at someone’s emotional expense. Though the stigma has reduced over the years, thanks to Bell Let’s Talk and other mental health movements, it isn’t gone. People with mental illness are still being degraded, disrespected, turned away by doctors, deemed unworthy of medical attention and completely ignored by the public.

When the conversation is closed, people bottle up their emotions and feel that their feelings are not valid. The further this happens, the more individuals isolate themselves and feel embarrassed to open up, the more suicides continue to happen. No one truly wants to die; they are hoping their pain will stop.

The majority of society acts as if mental illness isn’t a part of their everyday life, when 1 in 5 Canadians struggles with some form of mental illness. These people are in your life, in your schools, at your work, on the streets, in hospitals, in your home, in your family, in your social groups… They are your parents, your grandparents, your siblings, your aunts, your uncles, your friends, your enemies, your acquaintances, strangers… They are everywhere, living normal lives, with not so normal symptoms. Mental illness is THAT common.

A large majority assumes that the mentally ill can only be categorized by schizophrenics, psychotics, and those with bipolar. Those conditions are very hard to live with, accompanied by delusions, voices and uncontrollable emotional levels (and should not be stigmatized), but are not the only ones. Mental illness is much more. It’s depression, anxiety, personality disorders, variations of eating disorders, variations of body-focused repetitive behaviours, and many other, rather uncommon categorizations. It is possible that you may have a mental illness without being aware of it. Mental illness does not make you “crazy” or “psycho”.

It’s time that we, as a society, open up the conversation for mental health, learn about the different conditions and how they affect people, and urge to reduce the stigma in our everyday lives.

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Overwhelmed

There are many changes going on in my life right now. So many that I can barely keep track. They’re positive changes, but they’re happening so fast and out of nowhere that I can’t handle it. It’s just another bag of stress I have to open, deal with and send on its way.

The worst part is, my attempt to recover is mixing with this difficult time. The stress is making it so I can’t control the Borderline, or I willingly let myself be controlled by it. I have no other outlet to explore my anger, and sadly, I’ve been taking it out on one of the only people that loves me.

I got very vicious over something silly the other night, and tried to pick up a serious fight with him. I said some awful things that he made clear I couldn’t take back and, at the time, that didn’t seem like a big deal, but I think I made irrefutable damage on the relationship. I think I wanted to feel something, and blame him for my overwhelming feelings. I needed a punching bag, and he’s the only person who is actively a part of my life.

One of the awful things I told him tonight was that I sometimes can’t stand the relationship, and went as far as to tell him I’d rather slit my wrists than being in the relationship. I think this symbolizes my fear in my decision making, and that I’m unsure where I’m headed. I’m in a cloud, fog everywhere, and I can’t see ahead. Things seem meaningless and I don’t know how to cope. I’m terrified of wasting time on another broken relationship that’ll end with another broken heart and a need to recover from something else.

I don’t know if this relationship will last, and I’m unsure of how serious he is about me. He could tell me over and over like a broken record all his goals that involve me, but it’s all meaningless. I’ve heard men blab on about a dedicated future that they dropped over a stupid fight. I often wonder if he is who I think he is.

The truth is, the more we fight, the more my Borderline becomes prevalent and addicted. The rage I feel when he hangs up feels strangely good, and I call him back to hear his voice and have it all over again. His anger is arousing and stimulating to sickest parts of me.

I realized the other night that I don’t have to call him, but I choose to, no matter the circumstance. My mind knows that I’m strong enough to do without it, but I can’t fight the BPD as hard as I usually can, and I just let it topple me over and take control.

I can’t wait for this period to be over, and I hope I’ll find the sweet, gentle person I know I am.