When help doesn’t help

I’ve been in therapy for years now. I have tried countless meds. I have shared my story and my struggles. I’ve taken all the steps that people say to. I didn’t hide my mental health struggle. I reached out for help. And I’ve worked hard, gosh I’ve worked so hard. I’ve tried my best to work the resources. But all of these things, that are supposed to help, to make things get better, they haven’t. Five years later and I’m still so deep in my own struggles.

For many people getting help doesn’t truly make a difference.  They’re able to find happiness again. And I hope that one day that will happen for me. Sometimes it is just so hard to hold on to that idea, that hope. Especially when you’ve seen so many people flourish after just taking advantage of a fraction of the resources you’ve been using for years.

Standing Together

download

Today was the “Out of Darkness” community walk in Richmond Virginia. It’s organized by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. It was an amazing community gathering, that showed how many people truly care and are there to support those struggling with mental illness.

Although I was in the back of the crowd and couldn’t hear a majority of the speeches, what I could hear was powerful. People shared their own stories of struggle and loss, and offered hope to all those around them.

Everyone proudly wore beads that represented their own connection to AFSP, whether they had lost a loved one, friend, or struggled themselves. It was an environment where no one was afraid of judgement and could openly speak to anyone around them for support.

I was inspired by the walk today. Our team, however small we may have been, raised over $2000 for the cause. So many of my own friends in family happily donated.

The AFSP is an amazing organization, that is inspiring change, and a start in conversation to stop the stigma.

Disappointment

I’ve known for a while now that living in a dorm wasn’t working for me. Campus life just definitely wasn’t my style.

I’m not one for parties, or even study groups really. I’m more of a lone wolf. I like to study in quiet, and alone time is important to me.

Being in a dorm, there are people around constantly. There is always noise, and you can never get your room dark.

For me personally, I was place in the honors college dorms even though I wasn’t in the honors college. This made me feel like an outcast. Everyone in my dorm had classes together, and had group outings as the honors college group. Then there was me, who had a completely different schedule and very little in common with any of them.

This makes living in the dorms even harder for me. I never felt welcomed. I never had a moment free of anxiety.

So on Monday, I went to the office of student accessibility. I have accommodations through this office, listing my anxiety and depression. They allow me to leave class if I feel panicked and other small adjustments like that. I was told that by going through their office I would have the best chance of getting out of my lease.

Only a day later, I received an email saying my request was denied.

So I feel trapped. I feel disappointed.

Self Harm

I saw this photo on Pinterest today. It made me stop scrolling. It made me freeze.

My stomach is covered in scars. Some from months ago. Some that are fresh, only hours old, that are still red, that would bleed if I touched them.

I’m laying in bed writing this post on my phone and I can feel the pain of these fresh cuts. I can feel where I took a knife and cut myself. But I can also choose to focus on that physical pain rather than the emotional chaos that is going on in my mind.

I don’t cut for attention. Very few people in my day to day life know about it. And the one person that I used to talk openly about it with, went of to college and I don’t talk with her about it anymore.

It makes me so mad when people say that people self harm for attention. Is that why people hide it? Is that why people wear long sleeves year round?

It takes so much for someone to turn to physically harming themselves. It’s not an easy thing to do. Although it may turn into a habit, it is still difficult every time.

Ive been cutting for 6 months now. It’s a habit.

A negative coping skill.

I hate that I’m able to hurt myself. I hate that I turn to self harm when I’m struggling.

This is something that is hard to talk about, and I know this post is kind of a mess. But if you self harm, know that you’re not alone.

QPR

Today I attended QPR training at my college. The counseling center was offering training sessions, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn. Overall it was a great experience, but I did notice a few things that I wanted to talk about.

First of all, for those of you who do not know, QPR is short for question, persuade and refer. It is a program designed to train individuals on how to approach the topic of suicide and what to do if you believe someone you know is suicidal. I highly recommend the training, as it was a very informative program.

However, there were some problems with the powerpoints, that my instructor couldn’t change due to their copyrights. I was lucky enough to have an instructor who pointed these things out. However, it is important to be mindful of them.

One of the main problems I had was the term “commit”. On many slides the program stated statistics in which individuals “committed suicide”. I have a problem with this, as I see the word commit as placing blame on the victim. Someone who dies by suicide is not to blame for their death!

Another problem was that in the persuade section, one of the many recommendations was to have the person promise you they will not hurt themselves until they talk to you next. In my opinion this is ineffective and puts shame on the person you are supposed to be helping.

In the past I have had a therapist make me sign a suicidal thinking contract (which listed what I would do incase of an emergency and made me agree not to hurt myself), and it was one of the worst feelings. If he were to have made a plan with me and written out what to do without making me sign anything, it would have been a useful resource. However, by making me sign the paper it was almost like he was making me admit that my thoughts were wrong, and that I was at fault for having them.

Suicidal thoughts are obviously not a positive thing, but they are not anyones fault. Further more, by making someone feel bad for having these thoughts all that you are doing is furthering the stigma and limiting the chances of them speaking up.

Overall the QPR training was a positive experience. We ran scenarios, and I learned local resources and how to contact help if needed. I recommend it for anyone looking to be more informed on how to approach the subject of suicidal thinking. However, I would be mindful of the things that I talked about. Here is the link for the website if anyone is interested: https://www.qprinstitute.com/

Separation

One of the things that I struggle with most is separating my own emotional struggles from my reactions and responses to other people in my life.

My reaction to stressors and my family and surrounding drama completely take over who I am. I become so focused on what is going on in others lives, that my response takes up all of my emotional energy. And in turn, that anxiety, worry and fear take up a majority of my physical energy as well.

It’s easy for someone to say just focus on yourself, or to not worry about things that you can’t change. But in practice that is a lot harder said than done.

For me trying to not worry and focusing on separation can make things worse. It’s like when you try not to think about it, it turns into the only thing you can focus on.

This is something that I’m working on, similar in a way to how mindfulness works. By acknowledging the fact that yes I am worried, or yes I am stressed, but also telling my self that that is ok. By focusing on breathing and acceptance, I am able to refocus on myself, rather than whatever it was that caused the initial panic.

This is a practice, and one that I am far from mastering. But, I’ve reached a critical point where the level of stress is completely taking over my life. So, I’m working hard on being able to focus inward.

Losing Hope

It’s been a few days since I’ve written anything. The truth is I’m not doing so great.

I’m going into my fourth week of college classes, yet I still haven’t found my groove. I still haven’t found a group of friends that I’m 100% comfortable with, and with everything going on in my family I’m still avoiding alcohol like it’s the plague.

I always imagined joining a sorority, and fully experiencing the college life you hear everyone talk about. But between my depression and the affects of being an adult child of an alcoholic, that dream that I always had is such a terrifying prospect.

It’s not just the social aspect of college that’s getting me down. It’s just my overall state of depression and general lack of motivation. I’m currently taking Fetzima, which is around the dozenth medication that I’ve tried. Yet, nothing has worked.

I’m studying psychology, and it doesn’t take an expert to know that this means my depression is treatment resistant. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have options, but typical medications may not help. I could try TMS, but I don’t know anyone who has experienced it and if I remember correctly it’s a commitment of five days a week for six weeks.

As it is now, I have a hard enough time convincing myself to get out of bed and get to class. If it wasn’t for the fact that if I miss more than a certain number of classes than I fail, my attendance would be nonexistent.

Right now there are so many stressors, my depressions sucks, and I feel like there are anxiety triggers everywhere I turn. So right now, I’m feeling rather hopeless.