Coping With A Mental Health Crisis

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My mental health has taken a nose dive recently. I’m coming out of it now, but it’s been unbearable. If it wasn’t for the support of The Listening Place then I would have ended my life, I had plans to.

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This relapse has built up slowly over a few months, and it began with an increase in anxiety and paranoid thinking. Whenever I heard sounds or talking from nearby buildings I believed that the people in those homes were talking about me, and planning to kill me.

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It’s been so intense that I have been too afraid to stay in my home during the day, and I would go to bed and wake up full of anxiety. When I wasn’t experiencing paranoid thoughts I was thinking of how I could kill myself.

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I’ve been so exhausted by the anxiety, paranoia and suicidal thoughts, and this rose to a crescendo at the beggining of last week. I’m grateful that my friends, The Listening Place and the mental health crisis team have been there to support me.

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One of the most positive aspects is that I have been able to nurture myself. Not perhaps in the traditional sense, but it’s worked. I accepted that I could not stay in during the day, so I took myself out. I’ve been to so many places, Wood Green, Crouch End, Muswell Hill, Tottenham Hale, Walthamstow Wetlands, Stave Hill Eco Park, London Wetlands, Clapham, Hammersmith, Trafalgar Square. I also visited my cousin, and I’m going to stay with a friend shortly. My favourite trip was to Heathrow Airport. There’s an area of grassland near the south runway which is used by many to watch the aircraft come and go. I feel guilty for liking aircraft when I know how much damage they do to the environment, but I do like them, and the day relaxed me. I’ve also been meeting my daily calorific need and I’ve cut out caffeine.

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It hasn’t been easy to motivate myself, to be honest about how much I was struggling, and to seek support, but I’ve done it. I’ve also found that if I feel unsafe at home then I put wax earplugs in. They block the surrounding noise and that helps a lot. I’ve felt such an urgent need to leave home that I’ve barely done any washing, and no housework at all.

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But things are easing now. I’m still experiencing some paranoia, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, but the intensity has lessened. Life has been so painful, but I’ve created peace and calmness by going out to these places. Photography has been my bearer of peace. Thank goddess that it provides me with such an escape. I’m feeling very grateful, and you know what – I’m proud of how much effort I have put in to survive.

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The Listening Place is a London based charity which provides face to face support for people who feel that life is no longer worth living.

24 Replies to “Coping With A Mental Health Crisis”

  1. I missed you. I am so sorry that you’ve cycled into such a hard and dark place. I’m glad you found a resource. I wish that things weren’t so difficult and unbearable. I’m grateful you shared, and shared more of your photography, which I enjoy so much. It’s good to have an anchor to fall back on in the dark days. Mine is philosophy to an extent, but reading in general. You’re in my thoughts quite regularly. Sending energy for the fight your way.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s okay. The most important thing is caring for yourself. I’m glad the dark is starting to lift. I’m doing okay. Depression is dogging me a bit – I spend far too much time just sitting in my chair. On the upside, I’m not doing anything terribly destructive. It’s getting so dark though. Time to dig out my full-spectrum SAD light. It really helps.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am very pleased to read this, I have refrained from commenting on some of your other posts because I didn’t feel I could add anything supportive enough. However, I am glad that you are feeling stronger, that you are meeting your calorific needs, and that photography is cathartic for you. I remember reading that you were planning to enrol on the degree programme. Can I suggest that you talk very frankly to the Student Support Services at OCA about your moving onto the degree programme and ask them to allocate a suitably supportive tutor? I would hate for additional stress to set you back in your recovery when you have worked so hard to get where you are now. You should be very proud of yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling but it’s good to hear that you’ve got coping strategies in place and people you can turn to. Your determination is admirable Richard, your love of photography (I’m sure) helps the recovery process.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You deserve a medal Richard. Well done on coming through this dark period, and so pleased you had support to do it. You are an inspiration. Your photography is so good to see. I particularly like your self portrait collage in this series. Really look forward to welcoming you to EYV when you feel ready. πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad that you’re coming out of this dark time. It’s so hard to get through those times but they do pass. I was watching a training video this morning on suicide prevention and with it being World Mental Health Day it’s interesting that I logged on tonight for the first time in ages and found this post.

    Love the photos as always.

    Liked by 1 person

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