Don't look down on me because I'm unemployed.

That dreaded question of 'so what do you do for a living?' in which I pause to quickly sum up in my head how I'm going to explain my current situation. Just knowing that when/if I just say I'm currently unemployed some people will instantly judge me as that person that's just too lazy to go to work, well wrong I'm not that. I know I shouldn't have to explain myself any further if I don't feel comfortable doing so but the fear of judgement leaves me feeling like I have to.

So yes, I've been unemployed for 3 months now due to circumstances out of my control. It was decided that due to my mental health I was no longer able to work right now. My mental health became something that unfortunately took over my life to the extent it was affecting my work/life balance. 

Now with this new title of 'unemployed', I've felt like I'm somewhat failing. I know deep down that isn't the truth and I won't be in this situation forever. For 3 years I worked as a health care assistant at a hospital on an elderly people's ward, so I'm not that lazy able-bodied 22-year old that just can't be bothered to work, I have achieved things and I know the meaning of a hard days work. I spent 3 years sitting with patients when they were scared and confused due to dementia, I talked and listened to patients stories during visiting hours because I knew not all of them had visitors coming to see them, I held somebodies hand as they took their last breath and many a time my face amongst many of the other great people I worked alongside with were the faces our patients became so familiar with and trusted the most when they felt so alone and vulnerable in hospital. 

Although currently, I don't feel like I have a 'place' to fit in when it comes to any sort of career, I know I made a difference for 3 years, even if it was just a tiny difference. So please don't judge me when I say I'm unemployed, I haven't always been and I won't always be. I'm more than just the person who's not able to work right now and I know I'll find my place in a job when I'm well enough and ready to return to the world of work. 

Getty Images.

Please don't say 'I know how you're feeling'.

Living with a mental health illness means you get a lot of people asking how you are, people not completely understanding your illness and really not understanding just how different it is to being 'down' or a little bit upset. There are a ton of things I could list that get my back up when it comes to people discussing mental health, but there are also a lot of positive things I could mention too. Unfortunately this time it's a negative. 

My biggest pet peeve is the whole 'Oh I know exactly how you're feeling.' Do you, do you really? Now I don't mean to sound like a bit of a dick, but when you have had someone stood in front of you saying that when what they really mean is they've just had a bad day or feeling a bit crap for the day it gets a bit frustrating. Maybe I'm just a bit sensitive and I shouldn't take it to heart so much, but it can be hard especially if it's said to you on a particularly bad day. 

I don't for one second think just because I have a mental illness anything I go through automatically means it is more significant and upsetting than someone who does not have a mental illness. I know some things I talk about some people may be able to relate, so yes they may know how I'm feeling. But please think before you use that sentence and try to decipher whether you really do know how that person is feeling, don't just say it because you think that's the right thing to say. For many people with a mental illness, including myself, I can at times find it a little insulting. If I have had the confidence to open up to you about something, please listen, you don't even need to try and understand what we're saying we're just happy you're there to listen to our rants and cries! 

As I have BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) I believe you will only ever know how I'm truly feeling if you too have the illness or a similar mental illness. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I won't or can't ever relate to someone's emotions in general, but the more severe ones that we/I often struggle to express are the one's I don't think people no matter how close they are too you will be able to relate too and that is perfectly okay. I know I would rather someone say they're not sure how to help than telling me they know how it feels, as I said just listening to us is far more useful. 

Being diagnosed with BPD.

This post isn't a particularly easy one to write, but I wanted to do it even if it just helped one person going through the same thing as I am. If you've read previous posts of mine you may have noticed I have mental health issues. For years all I've wanted is a diagnosis, I've just wanted somebody to tell me this is what you have and this is how we can help because deep down I've always known it was more than depression and anxiety. 

Finally, this week I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, or as the professionals like to call it 'Emotionally unstable personality disorder'. I still haven't quite processed it all because I've had so many mixed emotions since my assessment with the psychiatrist. I and my parents have fought so hard to get to this point, endless GP appointments, hospital admissions, and self-help but nothing was getting me the help I needed. It wasn't until my last hospital admission early November of this year things finally started to progress and I was starting to get the help I so badly wanted and needed. 

Getting that diagnosis was just one step in the right direction, I felt instant relief which may sound a bit bizarre to other people, but when you've gone through years of not really knowing what's wrong with you for someone to tell you it's because you have an illness makes all the difference. I finally had some answers to why I act and feel the way I do. For most of that day, I didn't give it a second thought until I got home and then all these mixed emotions hit me like a ton of bricks, I suddenly felt so overwhelmed. I wanted to cry, but I was also happy, I wanted to tell everybody that mattered to me, but I also wanted to keep it to myself in fear that people would think differently of me. I got myself into a bit of a mess emotionally because I finally had the answers I wanted but now what do I do? I had no idea. I guess I still really don't have any idea, but what I do know is that I am getting the support I need and I'm extremely lucky to have such a supportive network around me who keep me going when I want to give up.

For some having that label of an illness put on them may make them feel even worse and for me, I guess part of me does feel a bit of a failure but in most parts, I'm just happy that it has been noticed and the correct help can be put in place for me to live in a way that my illness won't be my life, it will just be a tiny part of it which I'll have control of. 

Having a mental illness does not make you weird, broken or weak, it just means you have to work a little harder in life to make sure you have ultimate power over yourself rather than your illness.

Just remember...

Girl hearts Girl book review.

This blog has been silent for almost 4 months now, but something in me wanted to write this post. I wanted to express how I feel whilst I found myself in a reflective mood.

A few days ago I was looking through amazon and a book called Girl hearts Girl came up in my suggestions, I'd thought about ordering it before but I've never been much of a book reader so I never got round to it. The books author is Lucy Sutcliffe, I discovered Lucy for the first time on Youtube a few years back. I'm not sure how I came across her video but I'm so glad I did. The first video I watched of hers was her coming out story, at this moment in time I was confused about my sexuality so I can only guess I was looking through youtube watching various videos and somehow stumbled across Kaelyn and Lucy's channel.

I initially read a few chapters the first day the book arrived through the post, I couldn't put it down. Something about this book is so raw, honest and relatable I didn't and couldn't stop reading it. Every page I kept turning I was thinking more and more about my own journey in discovering who I am. Lucy's story I guess is a little similar to mine in regards to not being able to tell friends and family about being gay. For a long time, like Lucy I just went along with what was considered 'normal', this really echoed in the book and even though it was a long time ago it made me feel better about my past and that there are other people that have had similar experiences to me.

Having watched a lot of videos of Lucy on youtube and her relationship with Kaelyn I sort of knew parts of the story I was reading but the book lets you in that little bit more. Although it's bittersweet reading the last half of the book now knowing Lucy and Kaelyn are no longer together.

For anybody struggling with their sexuality, struggling to come out or just anybody in general, I urge you to read Lucy's book! It really helped me accept a few things from my past that I never really thought much about anymore, and weirdly it felt like a weight has lifted off of my shoulders that I didn't even know was there.