Lost at sea series - diary extract intro from a mental health sufferer
There is someone we spoke to who has very generously shared her diary extracts of what her mental health looks like on different days. She has sent us various extracts, and wrote a little introduction for it, which we have written up below, so we are creating this as a series of posts called 'Lost at sea'. These are incredibly impactful, and shows examples of how she as a mental health sufferer can think and feel in reaction to what others may view as the smallest things or how the bigger issues completely blow up to an unmanageable level. We will not be providing context to the background of her story, because a) it will take too long and b) the confusion and chaos that you may feel reading these thoughts with no context will give you a taste of the chaos in her own head. She has chosen to remain anonymous.
Lost at sea. These words perfectly depict my experiences trying to access treatment for an illness that has been lifelong. The following extracts are from my diary that I wrote for a short period of time. Some show my inner workings on worse days, and some show what an average day would look like for me inside my own head. This is my introduction to how my mental health looks and feels overall.
Imagine being asleep and having a nightmare. You are in that nightmare. In that nightmare everything is real, you have no awareness of anything around you. You have no control over the events of the nightmare, as they are, like every day events, beyond your control. The nightmare is reality. What I experience is what I would describe as a living, waking nightmare. Everyday, from the moment I wake up, I am thrown into a scenario I have no control or awareness of. I do not know it is happening when it is happening, all I am aware of is being in the world of the nightmare and the events that are taking place in my nightmare are reality. In the true reality, I cannot see anything around me, it doesn’t really exist, all I can see is my nightmare world. The only way I become aware of the real world is if someone ‘wakes me up’ perhaps calling my name, or conversing with me. It takes a few moments to see past the blur that reality has become and see the person stood in front of me. When our conversation ends, I am in the real world, I may carry out a mundane task whilst in the real world as we all do, but once more without knowing it I am thrown back into a world of nightmares and scenarios. Everything there feels real and vivid even if it hasn’t even happened in real life. It can be experiencing or visualising anything from;
-an argument or concerning conversation with someone I have never had
-pre-empting future conversations
-flashbacks of many painful experiences
-I read into people’s actions; looks, gestures or behaviours, things that may not really be there. The false thought gets blown out of proportion and they turn into obsession and form more visual scenarios
-I have suicidal living scenarios and impulses e.g. jumping from a motorway bridge, stabbing myself or pouring boiling water over myself, the constant impulse to smash my head against a concrete floor; smashing my skull open to stop the images and thoughts.
Every scenario is different, but can also repeat in a loop of obsession. It has got to the point where the scenarios happen hundreds of times a day, one scene after another, when I am stressed I can have thousands a day – nonstop. I feel all the emotion one would experience in a nightmare while asleep but hundreds of times a day while awake. If I don’t have visual vivid scenarios then I get auditory ones, or thought-based intrusions constantly throughout the day. I can get obsessive thoughts and scenarios sexual ones if that happens it constantly interrupt every moment of my day. Always altering my emotions to pain, anger, rage, suffering. I feel out of control, on edge, always tense. I feel tension in my head, neck, body, I can feel chemical negative electricity pulsating through me constantly from my neck to my hand to my knees. I cannot concentrate, everything is clouded, murky, my brain feels so slow to respond. I feel irritated, angry and explosive, I cannot control my emotions and easily trigger. I have strong impulses to hurt myself, hurt people around me, destroy things around me, destroy myself, anything to stop the horrendous storm of emotions suffocating me, like a monster lurking over me trying to get me all the time. Because of the constant flow of thoughts and images I cannot always see or register things in my surroundings as I am often not present which has led to near miss experiences and accidents.
In my dreams, since taking citalopram I have nightmares even in my sleep, nearly every night, my sleep is broken, I cannot even escape from my nightmare reality when asleep anymore. My nightmare are the same, arguments, e.g. I dreamt my partner was sexually attacking me, I shot up enraged from my sleep and started hitting him not realising it was a dream.
I feel like I am always in its grasp, shaking from head to toe, its rare that I am free of it.
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