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rmparrish

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July 2015

Mentally ill. (Extract from Dissertation 2014)

I didn’t expect it would ever be my life. I had visited the doctors about the panic attacks, the low mood and the anger directed at everyone. I thought that would be enough. Then it hit me, like the tram I’d just considering jumping in front of, in my head and in my heart. I could no longer deny these feelings of being unreal, or feelings of wanting to die. It wasn’t going away, it was getting worse and I couldn’t let myself end my life without trying to get some kind of help. I was alone in my apartment and the knife in the kitchen was occupying my every thought. I just wanted the pain to go away. I cried and cried in hope that the tears would wash it all out of me but there was no hope.

Everything was a dark grey, slowly becoming closer and closer to black. I wanted it to be all black, to sleep forever if I could, at peace away from this world I didn’t feel like I was living in anyway. I did the only thing I could apart from allowing the knife to become acquainted with my skin. I rang for help. An ambulance. At this point I didn’t care if they locked me up in a mental hospital, I’d almost convinced myself that was what I needed. I was taken to A&E where I had a psychiatric evaluation from a mental health doctor. I was experiencing a major depressive episode with elements of severe anxiety and disassociation. I was mentally ill and I wouldn’t be allowed to go home and be trusted to be on my own. A crisis team were going to come and visit me every day.

I was mentally ill? Me? I’d told myself I was just going through a rough patch and wouldn’t need professional help. Surely I couldn’t be ‘mental’ or ‘insane’. What if I had to be admitted? Strait jackets, padded cells, violent patients and images from horror movies flashed through my mind. I was terrified. I was thankful I had words to associate with what I was feeling and that I wasn’t the only person to ever experience it but how long would this go on? How could I ever go back to the ‘sane’ girl I used to be?

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I wrote this 10 months ago… 

I uploaded this piece anonymously to a website ten months ago. It was written days before my Dad passed away. I wanted to start this blog afresh with something meaningful. I guess it doesn’t get more meaningful than this. From now on I’ll be using this blog to write about my own thoughts and experiences. This will be my outlet. The place I can scream, play hell at the world and release whatever is eating away at me. 

  
I’ve decided to write about all of this. To put my thoughts down somewhere. To get them out of my head and onto a screen. Many people have told me that writing is the best form of therapy. I’ve always enjoyed writing, at school I would dream of being a writer, that dream didn’t work out but here I am. 
My life has changed so rapidly in the last 18 months. I feel as though I’ve grown into the adult I should be at this age. From my mental breakdown to the realisation that my Dad wouldn’t be cured of lymphoma. 

Today I laid in bed with my Dad for the first time in well over a decade. He’s almost unrecognisable from the man he was back then. The chemotherapy has taken his hair, his weight and in some ways his dignity. We all thought the treatment would work, well that’s what everyone is saying. Somewhere at the back of my mind I had a feeling it wouldn’t. Of course I can’t admit this and I don’t think I’d even admitted it to myself whilst trying to stay positive. 

Today I felt a connection with my Dad I hadn’t felt for years. When I became a teenager my Dad and I drifted apart. I spent more time with my Mum and would go to her for advice and comfort. He was always there though in the background offering support, even though often I probably threw it back in his face. If I could turn the clock back and stop being such a melodramatic teen. 

Today when I cuddled up to him on his bed, which has been moved downstairs so he doesn’t feel excluded from the family in his dying days, I felt my heart breaking in ways I didn’t know it could. He told me “we will get there in the end”. The end for him inevitably being very soon. I guess that’s his way of telling me that I will also be okay and will survive this. When he started to cry whilst rubbing my head I could no longer put on a brave face, I cried and I felt the pain in every vein, in every cell, in every centimetre of my body. 

His body is not what it was anymore. His bones are almost exposed, his legs are weak and his feet are swollen. I guess that’s all any of us are really and it’s so easy to forget. Skin and bones and organs and blood. His blood is fucked. 

I know these days, weeks, however long left he has will always stay with me. I hope I never forget how I feel as the years go by without him here. I guess I am writing this down as I want to always be able to remind myself. I feel glad he is not in pain, but so sad that he must be absolutely terrified. I have no idea how you deal with knowing you are going to die. But of course we all know that. So why do we not live life with that at the forefront of our minds?

I feel that there will be my life before this, and my life after it. This is the most life changing experience I have encountered on my journey so far. This will change who I am, how I see the world and how I progress with my life from now on. I hope I make him proud. I hope that I can make myself proud. He should know that he is the kindest, most generous and loving man I have ever known. And ever will know. I am proud to be able to say that my Dad has always loved me. I have been one of the lucky ones. 

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