Three years ago today, I was discharged from hospital after a 10 month stay. I was excited, lonely, nervous, proud, but mostly scared. I was scared for the next few weeks, let alone for the next couple of years.The first year home mostly consisted of anxiety. I was anxious about everything. Food, body image, public transport, friends, seeing distant family- I actually can’t think of one thing that didn’t make me anxious.

The second year was different. I started to volunteer in a charity shop and this not only gave my days structure, it gave me customer service skills, social skills, and confidence. It was was also something to put on my CV so when I was ready to apply for jobs, I had some experience. After volunteering there for a few months, I added another voluntary job in and I was suddenly busy all the time. I also learnt to drive during this year which gave me a lot more freedom and I was excited at the idea of getting a car (which would open up more job opportunities). 

That bring me to the last year, and really the most crucial year in my recovery. It started off with me getting my first part time job as well as doing my two voluntary jobs. I eventually stopped both of those due to the charity shop closing and the other position didn’t fit in with my part time job anymore. So I went through the summer working part time, seeing friends and family and gained so much confidence and independence. That brings me to December- I got a part time job through my sister and I absolutely love it. It has turned out to be more full time than part time (my contracted hours are still only part time which is great because I always have the option to reduce my overtime if I’m struggling and/or need a break), I’ve made friends with pretty much everyone I work with, already have spoken about the prospect of progressing higher in the company (my colleagues have all expressed they’d like me to do this as well, as they all like me which is lovely), I have a regular steady income and I’m getting my first car in two weeks. Life’s very different to even a year ago, let alone three. 

I always find that I ever truly recognise how different my life is now until I write posts like these. I use this blog as a place to document my progress over time. There’s nothing more satisfying than looking back at a post I wrote six months or two years ago and seeing the difference compared to the posts I am currently writing. No one in my ‘real’ life knows about this blog, it is purely for myself and anyone who may stumble upon it. 

History

When you have a history of mental health issues, how much do you disclose?

I started a new job in December and I really enjoy it. It’s very social, I’ve made a lot of new friends already and there’s also someone I’m talking to and interested in. My only thing is, I have a history that’s not ‘typical’. I spent 10 months in adolescent units in 2013/13 when I was 16/17. I’m now 20 and honestly, it doesn’t affect me much anymore. I don’t think about it much and although I’m still in contact with people I met there (I actually met my best friend in hospital and we barely ever talk about it!) it really isn’t a massive part of my life- to me, it was just a chapter. 

But I know that questions are going to come up eventually. If someone really digs deep on my social media (I’m talking scrolling back a couple of years on Instagram or Facebook which people do surprisingly often), they can find things that easily point towards what my situation was. I know the easy solution would be to delete the posts or pictures or whatever, but I don’t want to. Now, and in years to come, I can look back and compare my life then to now and I like that. There’s nothing extremely personal on there anyway, just vague things that someone with half a brain cell could piece together that I had some form of mental illness. And anyway, I’m not ashamed. I’m just aware that everyone I meet doesn’t need to know my life story. 

It’s quite a gossipy environment so I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I won’t tell my coworkers/friends unless we become friends outside of work and it seems appropriate. There has to be a level of trust that they won’t spread it around the department. But what about the guy I like? Say we go out, I mention things about my past and he’s either scared off or we just don’t work out, and then he tells other people? That’s something I have no control over. I want to live my life without being nervous my personal life and medial history will be laid out for everyone to see but how do I do that?

If I decide I won’t tell someone until we are fairly serious or are good friends, won’t they feel like I’ve been lying to them when I finally do tell them? 

I hope this makes sense, I’m literally just rambling thoughts and have no energy to proof read. If anyone actually manages to read this shit, please offer up some advice. I would definitely appreciate it. 

My sister and my job

My sister has worked for a certain supermarket chain for 7 years now. She started off as an 18 year old and worked weekends on checkouts whilst finishing her A levels. She continued to work there whilst at unversity and when she graduated she went full time.

She was quickly promoted from a regular shop assistant to a ‘team leader’ which she’s being doing for 3 years now. Staff higher up approached her earlier this year about training for management and she recently completed that. Basically, she’s ace. She works really hard and although I know she didn’t (and still doesn’t) envision working there ‘forever’, she puts a lot of time and effort into her job. 

I, however, have been struggling a lot recently. I have no idea where I want to go or what I want to do. I constantly change my mind- one day I’m certain I want to focus on elderly care, then it’s childcare, then someone tells me I’d make a great nurse and I think ‘hmmmm’.

I’ve been working part time in care setting whilst I try to figure things out and although I love what I’m doing at the moment, it’s not enough hours and it won’t be a long term career. More recently I’ve realised every job I am drawn towards has some aspect of caring and I honestly don’t know if I want the responsibility (and the anxiety the responsibility brings). It would be nice to have a job that I can enjoy but I’m not constantly worried that if I forget something, someone is in danger. 

So whilst my sister, mum and I were Christmas tree shopping I mentioned it to them. Immediately my sister told me she could (and would) get me a job in a blink of an eye- she’s said this to me before but I’ve always had a reason to say no (I’m not well enough yet, I don’t want to work in the same place as her, etc)- but this time I said yes. We spoke about the job a lot and she told me although I’d be contracted to do part time hours, overtime is always available in her department. 

The next day she phoned me from work and she was in HR, she’d got me a job. Just like that. Something that would be so so difficult for me, she had done it in the blink of an eye. I can’t tell you how grateful I am. I didn’t have to have an interview, I just told HR all my details and they told me about my induction. This all happened last week and my induction was today (it went well!). I start my new job on Friday. It was that easy.

Two weeks ago I was feeling like shit. I’d just been to look at cars and given monthly payments quotes that I just couldn’t meet with my care wage (baring in mind I need money for other things to, you know, live) and I was feeling helpless. ‘I need a car to get another job’ was all I could think. But I couldn’t get a car until I had another job. But now, less than two weeks later, I’m starting a new job and will be able to get a car within the next few months. I can’t believe how quickly things can change. 

I’m going to wrap this up now but I honestly cannot end this without saying how grateful I am for my sister. She has been there through all of my shit and never given up on me, even when I wanted her to. I’ve put her and the rest my family through so much but their support has been unwavering. And now she’s done this for me without a second thought. She’s amazing. I honestly love her so much. 

Thanks sis. X

Life is hard

Like, really hard. I don’t know where I’ll be in a week let alone a year so how am I meant to plan for my future? I’m at the point in my life where I want a proper career, a partner, and a good social life but I have none of those things. And I have no idea how to change that.

I hate myself.  I want to go to the middle of nowhere and scream until my lungs burst. I want to tell the truth when I’m asked ‘how are you?’ and not lie every. single. time. I want to ignore every email, text, and call. I want to move somewhere where I know nobody and recreate myself. 

Fuck this. 

TW 23/9

I feel so alone. My family are great but they love me because they are related to me. I have a couple of friends but no one who I see often or who lives near enough to see on a whim. My life consists of sleeping, eating, going to work, and mental health appointments. I have no hobbies, I have no interests. I’m a shell of a person. 

When people I haven’t seen for a while ask what’s new, I have no idea what to say. What’s new? Nothing other than the fact I kinda wanna jump in front of a car. Not a great conversation starter.

Unexpected Change

I’ve just found out that the charity shop I have been volunteering at for a few months is closing. The last day of business is September 4th. I’m upset because going there once or twice a week had become a big part of my routine and I really enjoyed it. It’s helped my confidence and I’ve learnt how to deal with customers, money, and how to act in a work setting. There are a lot of charity shops in my area that I know need volunteers but that involves starting again which I’m not good at. It means getting used to a new manager, new shop, new rules, etc.
I’m hoping that by next year I’ll be starting my college course but until then, all I have is my short online course and I don’t think that’s enough to keep me occupied and in a routine. I need to find something to do but I’m scared. I’m scared that part of me wants to give up on everything and retreat to back into myself and my bedroom. I don’t want history to repeat itself.