My sister

My sister leaves in five days for five months. She’s travelling around Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand, and various other places. I’m happy for her, I know the job she’s in isn’t somewhere she envisions herself staying long term and she’s going to have the time of her life, but I can’t help but envy her.

My sister, my perfect sister, who I’ve always admired and tried to be like (always failing) is living her life and isn’t dictated by mental illness like I am. Sometimes I wonder, why me? We were raised together, four years apart with our brother between us, by the same parents. We grew up around the same people, went to the same schools, and even some of the same clubs. When she finished high school (she completed her GCSE’s and A levels with great grades) went to Uni for four years, kept up a weekend job throughout which then became fulltime after she graduated. Compare that to me. The younger sister whose CFS and first suicide attempt dragged her from school at about 13/14. I got four GCSE’s and as of right now, have never attempted A level’s. I was the one that had to try and convince a college to let me start my course whilst in hospital and send them my work via the unit teacher only to be told that they didn’t think I was capable and to come back the next year (didn’t happen). Could our lives have gone in two more opposite directions? Don’t get me wrong, I love my sister, I really do. There was a long period of time in which she was my only friend and she remains one of my best friends but how is it possible that two sisters who in some ways are so alike (we both love reality tv, cheese, our dogs, and would stand up for one another against anyone) be so different?

I’m not looking for an answer. I don’t need to hear about how everyone is different and that even though we are sisters, we aren’t psychologically the same. I know all of this and I’ve most likely heard it before but it doesn’t stop the pang of jealousy (ouch, admitting that hurts) I feel when I compare our lives.

Sis, if you ever read this, I know it’s not your fault just like it’s not mine. I love you. X

One year on

Today is the one year anniversary of me being at home. In some ways it feels like I’ve been home a lot longer but in others, it feels like yesterday I was pacing the ward corridors sharing headphones and belting out depressing music with another patient who has since become one of my best friends.
During those ten months I accumulated a lot stuff. Section papers, ward round reports, a shoe box full of letters from family and friends, care plans, multiple diaries full of my distorted rambles, therapy notes, a folder full of art therapy work, and various other crafts/papers from different groups. After my discharge I put it all into a big box and shoved it under my hanging rail, out of sight out of mind. This week, I decided that I felt ‘ok’ enough to have a look through it. I felt like it could go in one of two directions- I could be majorly triggered and have a meltdown or I could be proud of myself, proud of how far I’ve come. Luckily, it went the second way. I don’t think I’ve ever given myself time to sit and think about how far I have come. Back then, I was attempting suicide daily, had to have a staff member within arms reach at all times (including on the toilet, in the shower, and whilst I was asleep), I was sectioned, and at my lowest point, I was refusing visits and not talking to any friends or family.
This morning I woke up (in my own bed- I still appreciate that) to some cards and a presents from my family. I’m so lucky to have them. Today could easily have gone unacknowledged but my family, my mum particularly, always makes sure that on days like today I feel appreciated and proud of myself. Because I know now that I deserve to feel this way and not how I did back then. I’m going to end this post with a snippet from my mums letter. This is something I’m always going to treasure.
“It’s a whole year now since you came home, and I feel as happy today as I did then. You have tried so hard and achieved so much this past year and I hope you know how proud of you I am and how proud you should be of yourself.
With your strength of character there is nothing you can’t do- remember that. And nothing you can’t achieve- when you are ready!
In the meantime, I am always here, to help- if I can- of just to listen- if I can’t, and if nothing else just to be your Mum. Try and enjoy every step of this journey you are on and, above all, always remember how loved and cherished you are.”
I hope wherever you are and whatever you are going through that you have someone in your life to help make you feel loved as I do today. Bye for now. X