The Letter…

A letter was addressed to my house today for my parents and me, containing information about my mental illness. It contained some information I never knew, some information that I didn’t want shared with anyone, and some information that isn’t even true. So it was no surprise to see it was a letter from my CAMHS counsellor. I still don’t know what to think about the letter, it makes me laugh to read what they think about me but at the same time it is worrying that my private information could have been read by my parents without me knowing.

Near the top of the letter it says “CONTENTS NOT TO BE DIVULGED WITHOUT AUTHORS CONSENT” in bold, capital letters. And as any mental health patient knows, I have the right to keep all information between myself and my counsellor unless there is danger to me or someone else. So I read through the letter expecting it to talk about how I am still suffering from suicidal thoughts and my counsellor might have thought I was going to act on them so they would tell my parents. I read through the whole letter, half smiling, half confused. There was almost no talk of my suicidal thoughts, but there was a lot of strange information.

I thought I should share some with my readers first. Note that my name has been replaced with Depressionless in some quotes.

“He struggles with sleeping. He goes to bed around 10pm…”

Okay, so that one isn’t exactly strange compared to some others. I did tell my counsellor this about two months ago but during all meetings they ask me how my sleeping is, and I tell them something different each time. Sometimes my sleeping is fine for a week, sometimes I sleep really early, and sometimes I can’t sleep. This isn’t exactly troubling news that my counsellor is telling my parents 2 months out-of-date information, and I wouldn’t complain if this was the only thing wrong. So lets continue.

“He said he has about 11 friends”

This is one of the most confusing quotes in the letter, but probably not the worst. 11 friends? Wow, considering a few days ago I was writing on my blog about how I have no friends it upsets me even more that my counsellor has made 11 imaginary friends for me. I’ve never told them about having 11 friends. In fact I’ve only mentioned 3 possible friends to them, one is an online friend, one never talks to me anymore and one is the one I’ve mentioned often who used to help me but has since stopped talking to me. 11 friends? Being my unstable self I’ll probably both laugh and cry about this later.

“The first panic attack was on the physics test”

What? Okay, so I understand where this came from. When I was first visited by the police they thought I was going to kill myself over a physics test in which I apparently had a panic attack. Firstly, I wouldn’t kill myself over a test score, lets make that clear. Secondly, I never had a panic attack in the test. I’ve said both of this to several people including my CAMHS counsellor over the past few months so I’m not sure why they don’t believe me (or are using out-of-date information again).

“His father, William” and “Depressionless has an elder sister, Jane”

Well, you probably wont understand this one until I explain it. My father isn’t called William, my sister isn’t called Jane. Unless… maybe I have a secret dad and sister that I have never met, and no one has ever told me about. Why would my counsellor finally decide to tell me in a letter? They wouldn’t, they have just made up another two people. So that means my counsellor has created 13 people so far, I think they should get their own counsellor and a psychiatric test. Apparently they talked to my father William…

“didn’t want to talk about the thought of self-harm however denied any intent”

I’m not even sure what this means. Does this mean I keep accidentally self-harming? Does this mean I deny ever self-harming despite showing them my cuts? Should the word self-harm be replaced with suicide despite me actually attempting it? I have no idea. Whatever it means, they obviously aren’t listening to me.

Wow, there are a lot more errors in the letter but I don’t want to talk about them all here. This blog post would be far too long if I mentioned them all. so that must be it? Surely? No, that is the information that makes no sense, now lets move onto the information that I never knew.

So I still haven’t received a proper diagnosis from my CAMHS counsellor. My GP and college counsellor both seem to accept I have depression, but want to know what my CAMHS counsellor thinks. I want to know what my CAMHS counsellor thinks because I know whatever they think about me is probably wrong (considering they believe the opposite of whatever I say). So what did they think?

Mixed depressive and anxiety disorder… Something they have never mentioned to me. Wait? Did they give me a diagnosis through post? Possibly because they don’t want me to laugh in their face and use my intelligence to prove them wrong. I don’t have extensive knowledge on this disorder but I understand their has to be roughly an equal balance of depression and anxiety but neither has to stand out. I have never heard from my counsellor about this so I wont know the proper medical definition, but at the moment I don’t think I have it. I don’t believe I have an serious anxiety disorder I used to have a few panic attacks when I had to first start talking about my mental health but I probably haven’t had one in a few months. I don’t get anxious in social situations either, I may be a little shy when I first meet people but so are most people. I might have a bit of anxiety caused by my depression, I won’t deny that, but I don’t believe I have mixed depressive and anxiety disorder.

I will talk to my CAMHS counsellor about this when I next see them, and they might change my mind. If they change my mind and I finally believe I know what is wrong with me then that is great. I don’t think my counsellor is right though. When they give me more information I can make a better decision. I’ll talk to them about everything in the letter too, because they obviously have no idea about anything, and how they managed to make up 13 people is amazing. I’m starting to think mental illness is the state of being sane, while counsellors are ill and try to make you ill too…

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Five Most Helpful Posts… So Far

2 months of blogging already! I’ve brought to you my troubles, my poetry and my opinions but quite interestingly I have brought some helpful advice along with me. This post will show you my “most helpful posts” so far based on the view numbers of my help articles. I hope you take something useful out of this, the advice I give is tried and tested by either myself or professionals. Enjoy!

Ducks15) Unusual Methods To Combat Self-Harming [Part 2]
Views: Dominoes in a standard set (28)
Fifth on the list is the second part of my three part series where I looked at unusual methods to combat self harming. I am someone who self harms so I understand the reasons why someone would self harm, but also why they would want to stop. This post looks at four methods to distract yourself or remove the urge to self harm, including things you can do with other people or by yourself. In fact, two of the four methods on this post I still use from time to time so they can work for some people.
Click here to view the post.

Ice Cubes4) Unusual Methods To Combat Self-Harming [Part 1]
Views: Number of studio and compilation albums by Elton John (47)
One of the first posts on my blog, and since my blog was so small at that point it surprises me that this post made it onto the list. The first part of my unusual methods to combat self harming series looked at four methods to stop yourself from self harming. While they are unusual methods, many people who have tried to get help with self harming will have heard one of the methods on the list. Ice…
Click here to view the post.

Dreaming Bed3) How To Sleep… For Insomniacs
Views: Age of boxer Mike Tyson (48)
Who remembers when I kept writing posts related to insomnia? Well, I think I only did three but this was one of them. This post takes advice from professional self-help books as well as my own experience, so that anyone with sleeping difficulties may find it easier to get some rest. While it may be a slightly shorter post than most others it does include a poem at the end, either you will enjoy it or it will be so boring that you will fall asleep. Win-win situation.
Click here to view the post.

GirlHeadache12) How To Help Someone During A Panic Attack
Views: Number of countries in Africa (54)
This post attracted a lot of people to comment on my blog as well as reblog the post on their own blogs. What are the symptoms of a panic attack? How can you stop them? Should you see a doctor? This post answers those three important questions so that you can help yourself or someone else during a panic attack. Anyone can have a panic attack, be prepared!
Click here to view the post.

DoubleHug1) How To Tell Someone You Are Suicidal
Views: Traditional retirement age in the UK (65)
This blog is no stranger to suicide posts. To me it feels like I write a post about it every week. My readers will know I often feel suicidal, so I have been in the situation a few times where I have to tell someone. Telling someone is the hardest part of getting help which is why it is so important, and I am not surprised that this is my most viewed help article. This post does answer a lot of important questions. Bookmark it, print it out, just stay safe.
Click here to view the post.

How To Use Rest Breaks Effectively

Students with both mental and physical disabilities or illnesses are allowed extra time in exams for rest breaks, while many employers will give their staff rest breaks too. Some people without disabilities or illnesses are even given rest breaks. But how do you use these breaks wisely to make yourself more productive? This article will explain exactly that, including prior planning and on-the-stop decisions.

Exams incoming, are you prepared?

Exams incoming, are you prepared?

To Do, Before
You should know whether you are going to have a rest break during your exam or work day, so make sure you are prepared for it. These breaks should help you relax so that your mind is fresh to continue with your work. Are you going to get up and move around (which might not be allowed in some exams)? Are you going to get a drink or something to eat? Are you going to close your eyes and take a short nap? You should know what you are going to do so that you don’t worry about it, as worrying will cut into your precious time! Note how much time you have for your rest breaks too, as that will make it easier to know what you will do during the break or whether to split it into two smaller rest breaks instead of one.

Get Up, Get Active
But don’t run a marathon, which is impossible if you have a 5 minute break into your exam. I doubt you will do that in your coffee break either. One of my summer exams is a 2 hour computing test where you sit at the computer (I believe I get an extra 30 minutes as well), which is probably going to kill you if you are sitting down the whole time. Getting up and walking for a few minutes will get you away from the working environment and allow your brain to gather thoughts. Although this will be allowed in a majority of workplaces, you should check before an exam whether this is allowed.

Know someone who has panic attacks over exams? Click here to find out how to help.

Have A Mint, Or Some Water
The greatest piece of advice I ever heard about exams is to take a mint in with you and suck on it. Okay, so maybe revising was the best tip I ever heard but this one is still great. Although I can’t find the study I believe sucking a mint increases brain function. Take my word for it, it can’t do any harm. Similarly, you need to stay hydrated on those long days in the office so make sure you have a bottle of water with you at all times. A dehydrated brain will work slower.

Think positively... and quietly.

Think positively… and quietly.

Think Positive
And while you are thinking positive, do not think about your work or your exam. When you are stressed the body will release adrenaline causing you to not think clearly. Thinking of something positive will reverse this effect and allow you to continue with your work normally. Your thought could be something you will do later (like celebrate passing your exam) or it could be a good memory.

Think positive? Click here for my anti-depression mystic flowing through the air.

So there you have it. Now you should be prepared for those summer exams, providing you revise, or better equipped for those rest breaks at work. Just make sure the breaks are allowed by your supervisor or exam organiser. I guess I’ll be off to think positive now… or have a mint. Do you have rest breaks? What do you usually do during them?

One Cut Down, Pass It Around, 14 Cuts On My Arm Still To Go…

Counselling is meant to help me, but why does it make me feel like this? Why did my counselling make me go home and cut my arm until I can only see red? Why did my counselling cause me to start thinking suicidal thoughts again? Well, I shouldn’t put all the blame on my counselling but that is definitely what pushed me over the edge today. I don’t understand why it has to be me that always feels depressed, I never see anyone else depressed, but then I guess no one ever shows it.

Click here to read about my first CAMHS counselling session.

The first thing today that annoyed me was having to wake up an hour early to do my sixth college test of the week. I did two maths tests and an electronics test on Monday, and two more maths tests on Tuesday. Then guess what? Another maths test today. Oh no Depressionless, poor you, an hour early, another maths test! Don’t joke around, I have been feeling a lot more anxious over these tests and although they aren’t enough to make me depressed they certainly add to my already horrible feelings. Anyway, how did it go? In fact, don’t ask. I don’t want to know myself. I spent the first 15 minutes panicking and then the rest of the test trying to answer questions while my mind is foggy. They give me extra time in tests now due to my depression and anxiety, but that just means more time to panic.

So after maths, I went to electronics. People ask me how my physics test went. Yes, that physics test that I got a D grade in. Yes, I was previously an A grade student and I got a D in my physics test. Yes, you can stop annoying me about it now. At least I get my electronics results back today, I surely can’t do worse than I did in physics. But it looks like I got a… C! Yes, I was getting A grades and now I get a C. This depression is really not helping me. At this point I’m very irritated and ready to explode.

My friend says this is not an acceptable place to "hang" out.

My friend says this is not an acceptable place to “hang” out.

At midday I am on the way back home. I get a text from my friend. They can cheer me up, they always do, especially when they send me a text saying “Sorry, I can’t meet you after your counselling today, change of plans”. Okay, so I think after this I have a reason to be depressed. Nothing good had come so far and my mind is now focused on cutting myself after my counselling session. They change plans, I can make some of my own. This is probably why I was so happy (when I say this, I mean I wasn’t about to cry) when walking into my counselling session. Hello, how are you, I’m smiling because I know I get to destroy my body once we are done.

So into my counselling session I walk. Tell me about your week? Have you done the sleeping diary I asked? Do you know why you have depression? And a list of 50 questions I cannot answer. I am convinced by my meetings with counsellor that their job is to annoy people and make people want to cut themselves out of depression. From my research you cannot cut your way out of depression, only give yourself a short mood stabiliser (or what you want to call those chemicals). Like my last session, it ended with me answering the last 20 questions with “I don’t know”. They know I don’t know, but I don’t know why they think I will know if they keep asking if I know.

Fast-forward to home. On my bed, cutting myself. One cut. Two cut. Three cut. Four. I want to cut myself more. Five cut. Six cut. Seven cut. Eight. It’s just me that I do hate. My readers may remember that I needed to pass 10 cuts to set a new delusional cutting record. I was not delusional at this point but on counting my cuts I believe I reached 15. Let’s hope I don’t cut anymore today because this record is too high for my liking. On the 15th cut I got a text from my friend, the same friend, who said they wanted to talk soon. This is probably because I sent them a very depressed text after they said they couldn’t meet me. After a couple of texts they tried to stop me cutting. I don’t think they have read my most recent text yet, but I want them to know I’ve stopped for now. I don’t want them to feel sad just because I do, there are enough sad people in the world already.

My cutting record delusion? Click here to read about it.

So I have cleaned up my cuts, and my arm does look quite bad now considering I hadn’t cut much recently so most of the cuts are from today. There is not much else to be sad about, unless you want to include none of my friends or family wanting to talk to me today. Tomorrow can only get better (well no, but I will hope it does). Not my worst day of depression by far, but I have started cutting quite a lot again which is worrying. How was everyone else’s day?

How To Help Someone During A Panic Attack

Your friend is breathing heavily, shaking and their forehead is covered in sweat, what do you do? Firstly, you must recognise they may be having a panic attack. Panic attacks are commonly caused by anxiety which can occur in people suffering from a variety of mental illnesses, as well as people who don’t. To help your friend you must recognise the symptoms and take appropriate action.

What Are Panic Attacks? What Are The Symptoms?
A panic attack is a sudden bout of extreme anxiety, displayed by several psychological and physical symptoms. They are sudden and can often appear for no reason. They will generally last for 5 to 20 minutes and you will feel unwell, in danger, and possibly believe you may die (even though you cannot die from panic attacks). The physical symptoms include:
– Heavy breathing
– Sweating
– Trembling/Shaking
– Chest pains
– Headaches
– Feeling sick
– High pulse or palpitations
– Tense muscles

Panic attacks, can you spot them?

Panic attacks, can you spot them?

Not all of these symptoms may occur, often only 2 or 3 three symptoms will be present. The symptoms are caused by the body responding to what you think is a threat. Your body takes in more oxygen (shown by heavy breathing) and releases hormones such as adrenaline (causing the faster pulse and tense muscles).

What Should I Do?
If there is a cause of the panic attack, try to remove it. For example, if you know the panic attack was caused by a phobia, get them away from the fear. Getting them to a quieter area will help in most cases.

You must then try to slow down the breathing so that the carbon dioxide levels in the blood will return to normal. Breathing in deeply through the nose, and slowly back out the mouth can help. If hyperventilation occurs, breathe into a bag for 20 seconds, then without a bag for 20 seconds, and repeat until the breathing becomes more regular.

Controlling breathing will usually cause the other symptoms to go away.

Should I See A Doctor?
In a majority of cases, medical advice is not required. You should seek medical advice if:
– The panic attack continues after 20 minutes of attempting to control breathing
– The fast or irregular heartbeat remains after the panic attack ends
– You feel unwell after the panic attack ends
– You have regular panic attacks

Panic attacks will seem scary, but you should not worry about them. Most people will suffer at least one panic attack in their life, and they are not dangerous to your health. If you are concerned you should speak to a health professional, but remember the advice in this post and you should be fine.