It can make you or break you

The thing about life experiences is they can make or break you. All of us will experience something bad at some point which will change our lives forever.

Lately I’ve been feeling pretty shit. I also recently found copies of all my old psychiatric notes, which I’ve been reflecting upon. I read the report of my initial assessment from camhs years ago and honestly feels like I’m reading about a completely different person. It discussed my self harm, disordered eating and deep depression. It also discussed things I was never aware of until now. How I had very poor eye contact and showed inappropriate body language and tone of voice for the things I discussed and how I appeared as someone far younger than my age. It felt so unusual reading these things about myself. 

A bit further along and you get to my first hospital admission.. then the second and third. It discussed the assessments and reasons for my discharges failed. I suddenly felt this horror again what it was like going back into an abusive home and how I would do anything to escape and just how incredibly depressed I was at this time. How I could of done anything because I did not care if I was dead or alive. I also learnt from these notes my first ever psychiatric diagnosis ‘F33.2’ also known as severe major depressive disorder. So much has changed since then and I am such a different person. 

That’s where the make and break comes in. All these experiences can make you strong and passionate or just break you on the inside. And I think I’ve discovered I’m both. I think I am a strong person who is passionate about change and helping people. But I’m also broken inside. Despite all I’ve achieved, particularly academically and in my career, I’ve never been able to have a long term relationship or even get closer than a certain level to anyone. While my career is developing well, I fear I will never have a fulfilling personal life and always feel sad and alone living in my little dream world. I feel this may be due to the fact I just can never see myself as being loveable and would never be able to believe anyone otherwise. 

So the sad thing is as I lie here, I feel I should be grateful. For I have worked at getting many good things in my life. But yet I feel so sad and occasionally thoughts of suicide come into my head. Although it’s something I know I wouldn’t do – right now at least, but always have in the back of my head the possibility of it one day crashing down again. And I just want to be happy and loved and like I am no longer running from my old life.

So I think my life experiences have made and broke me at the same time. I mean is anything ever simple?! I hope my writing will make me feel a little more at peace at least for now, as I have come to know and accept things as they are, although some days that just isn’t enough. 


Don’t be a dick.

As with many other students up and down the country I spent my Friday night getting dressed up and going out on the town. Whilst I like a drink as must as the next person, I can’t say I’m much of a party animal, so this was a bit of a rare occasion. Whilst it was a great night! I must admit that this isn’t what this is about.

By 1am we had all worn ourselves out with the dancing and left the kids to it! (I can’t believe how much I aged on entering the club!!!) and headed to get some noodles – your typical post night food of course!

I was walking towards a homeless guy sat against a wall and watched some young lads give him a bag of take away food, which put a bit of a smile on my face. Although as we got closer my friend noticed that something wasn’t right with him and we asked if he was alright. and this is where we get to the point of this post. The lad sat there must have been no more than 25 huddled underneath a sleeping bag which had seen better days and just generally looking a bit shit. He also had a swollen eye and fresh bruise coming out. He proceeded to tell us how a man (if he can be called that), a stranger had walked up to him and punched him in the face before carrying on walking. I mean I still can’t quite believe it and I have seen some thing don’t get me wrong, but it’s the coldness and hate an individual must feel to do that. Well my friend told him we were student nurses (she does that a lot!) and I was the ‘most medical’ one of us. As I took a close look at his eye, felt to see if there was any numbness and suggested he go to a&e, I felt really sorry for him. Not in a pity way, I don’t particularly see the use in feeling pity and often people don’t want it felt for them, but in a ‘this is so shit’ kind of way and how in fact he just seemed to think it’s just what happens to people on the street. I had a chat with him and shared something I in fact never share with anyone. I told him I really did understand because I used to spend nights on the street too. During the worst time of my life I remember nights deciding between being warm, dry or safe. Having cars pull up to me asking if I was a prostitute. Feeling so incredibly lonely and stuck in this awfully hopeless situation. It was never something that I wanted or was my fault, I like many was a victim to my circumstances and still only a child. So when I sat and spoke to this guy all I could say is ‘it is possible for things to get better’, I know so much how it feels like it never will and how everything seems like the biggest, hardest, uphill struggle and how the entire world is against you right now. But somehow I’m sat here talking to you with a normal life, on a night out with my normal friends, with everything that I never even let myself dream I would have. But sadly I know how almost impossible it is to get here and how incredibly rare – which makes me feel so so lucky, for I may have done this all by myself, but having the luck and resilience to see me through.

A large percentage of our homeless were once in care. They like me were looked after children and we as a society let them down and are still letting them down every single day. What is going so wrong in our system that we are ending up on the streets and so young. But also how as a society we just don’t give a shit. We often wrongly view the homeless as ‘lazy’ or ‘it’s their own fault’, I mean what about that rich kid recently who burnt money in front of a homeless man, people who steal and burn their only possessions, assault them or urinate on them. for what?! Why?! I really don’t understand. and as they say, a lot of us are only one pay cheque away from the streets.

So if you can do just one thing, it is, be nice, don’t cause harm… DON’T BE A DICK!

I seem to spend my whole life taking medication 

Sat for ages with my medication in my hand, just staring at it like I really can’t be arsed to even put it in my mouth. It’s the same routine often multiple times a day. And sometimes you think why am I bothering… it’s easy to understand why people decide to stop taking medication so often as this routine can become just plain bothersome especially when you know what you’re swollowing causes awful side effects. 

This is more of a rant than anything but please enjoy a picture of my medication I spent a good 5 minutes starting at! 

Mental Health Nursing with a Mental Illness

I’ve heard it all before trust me. People seem to have this view that if you have a mental illness or any mental ill health you can’t possibly be a nurse! let alone a mental health one. well guess what you can!! We aren’t magical creatures who have never been or never will be sick – in fact statistically we are more likely to develop mental ill health than the general population. It’s just a bit of an extra obstacle to overcome. Don’t get me wrong your condition has to be good as there is a lot of stress and difficult things to cope with that will make you question if you are doing the right thing multiple times a day and you need to be able to care for your patients as best you can. Although it also gives you an advantage. I understand what it’s like to be on a psychiatric ward as a patient and all the things that come with it like the fears people feel and the importance of patient relationships. What it’s like to be stuck on the same ward for weeks on end and feel fed up and depressed or elated and what I wanted from the nurses caring for me. But most of all I understand the importance of what I’m doing and the impact it can have on people. And also what it’s like living with a long term illness too in the community. People often say that you don’t have to cope with this you don’t understand, but actually I do. I 100% understand what it’s like to have to take antidepressants and mood stabilisers and anti psychotics 2 times a day and that you can’t just ‘take a day off’ from this and how you can’t really drink alcohol, but if you do you will just fall asleep anyway. Then the days that are more difficult because you do occasionally trip up or get knocked off by one thing or another and all the feelings come rushing back and suddenly getting out of bed seems like the most difficult thing in the world and that just comes part and parcel with having a mental illness and no one is immune from it even nurses. 

But no I’m still a good nurse. I love it and I am good at it and care about my patients and want the best for them and just happen to understand what it could be like for them better than most.      

So here’s to us – and we are many! The carers who too have their own problems yet love looking after others non the less! 

What I do when I’m home sick

Ever since I was a wee kid I watched Tracy Beaker – a program I’m sure every Brit my age knows. And when I’m home sick I watch that or the newer version ‘dumping ground’. 

I’m sure anyone reading this is slightly confused by this. Most people look at pictures and visit home and well for me the latter isn’t very possible – people don’t usually visit once they’ve left. It doesn’t mean you don’t miss it though, even if no one else would admit it. 

One of the homes I was in probably wasn’t the best place, in fact the dumping ground would have been an improvement, and I was a right little alcoholic mess, but I felt safe for the first time in forever and I really miss the place and still occasionally get home sick. So I look at pics but I watch this too – it’s not exactly the same but it reminds me of the good bits. They all get on better than we ever would, I mean it was rare for us all to be together! and there’s probably less drama, but it’s not all too dissimilar and reminds me of my friends and some of the stupid crap we used to get up to and the fact they were like family. Even if it was second best and we’d all have a home in a second. 

I remember my last night so well! I was so excited to have a foster home, but I was sad to be leaving still. We messed around, ate so much chocolate, I sat on the wall playing a ukelale being told to shut up by staff as ‘this wasn’t a youth club’! Haha. And crying on care worker when I realised I would be gone by tomorrow and someone else would be in my room. I’m still lucky to have my best friend from there and will always love her like a sister and care no matter what. 

I wish I could go home and feel really home sick sometimes, but it’s all changed anyway now. So this is what I’ve got! Hopefully one day when I have my own proper home I won’t be homesick anymore. That’s the dream – a home all of my own ❤ 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The image said PTSD to me straight away. A wounded animal who had been under attack and who needed to be looked after and made better. I guess you could relate that to trauma and the individual being attacked by some kind of traumatic event and the impact that can have – I don’t think it’s always that different to a physical attack – in fact it often is also a physical attack except the mental scars are always deeper. I think the first part of the description is almost how a person who has experienced a traumatic event may feel and the second part is the monster (feelings and thought processes) that make someone suffer. There’s something about this monster that makes me feel sorry for it.