For life's little ups and downs.

A rather quirky, funny and sometimes daunting look in to the life of someone who has a lot of health problems but does their best to keep positive. Punctuated by guinea pigs, anime, superheroes, transforming robots and cross stitching.

I started this blog to tell my story, about who I am and what I do. On top of the health problems and raising awareness for those, I also use my blog as a way to help promote other causes, particularly ones which affect the most vulnerable. I live with a number of different and complex health problems but I refuse to let anything get me down. I know how it feels to be discriminated against or thrown aside. This is me. This is my life. I live it and do what I want with it. Nature sets the limitations. We set the boundaries.

About Me:

A blog about life. I live with Type 1 Brittle Asthma, Bi-Polar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as Various Allergies, Neutropenia, Crohns Disease (my IBS was rediagnosed as Crohns), Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis, PCOS and Osteoporosis and Heredetary Spastic Paraplegia. I have recently also been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea (which makes me stop breathing in my sleep) I live with these conditions, but I refuse to let them keep me down and out. I still try and make the most of my days despite being so poorly and having to rely on my wheelchair, nebulisers, nearly 50 pills a day and 2l/min of oxygen and CPAP.

I'll flap my broken wings and erase it all someday... You'll see.

Monday, 13 November 2017

On Accepting the Need for Help

I think the hardest part of going from not being disabled to having a disability is adapting to it. Having to explain to your friends that you just can't do things like you used to is difficult, especially if they don't understand or see the extent of your illness. Asthma is often seen as just an inhaler and you're good but honestly for 2.4 million of us it isn't so simple. To people whose asthma is severe or brittle, it can be hard to just do simple things. On my bad days, even getting up and in to my chair and going to sit and watch TV can be tiring. Obviously I don't think that I have it especially bad, but I think that a lot of it is down to my own stubborn nature that I refuse to give up and let myself get less and less mobile.

Obviously with the plethora of health issues I have, the only way I can guage it is by simply doing things. I don't like lying around all day in bed, I hate being inactive. Yes it is probably easier to let myself get bedbound but if that's what I'm going to let my life be, I may as well stop my treatments and just let my body give in. But I won't because I've come too far to throw it all away now. Besides I'm not a weak individual or someone who gives up as soon as it gets a little bit difficult, I've survived some of the toughest things but the fact that I'm still working towards making my life better is a testament to my personal strength.

The annoying thing is that no matter what now, I will always have my asthma and it will carry on making things frustrating and difficult. Brittle asthma is a really difficult thing to get used to. Imagine that you're stuck under something really heavy and no matter how hard you try, you can't force that air in to your lungs. I'm like that pretty much all the time and I rely on my nebuliser, my oxygen and now my CPAP to keep my lungs in check. My meds and treatments are vital as without them I wouldn't be able to do anything so I make double sure that things are taken and that I slow down. 

I got my actual machine on Thursday from the hospital. I was a little skeptical about how much different to the initial machine it would be, I was finding it exhausting to breathe out against the pressure of my machine (because of the long term damage to my lungs from infections and chronic asthma attacks) which had to be quite high to take my AHI (basically the measure of apnea events per hour, most people have 0-5 events, severe sleep apnea can be anything over to 30 but there are some cases of 100+) from 27 to less than 1 per hour per night. It means that my sleep hasn't been affected by me waking up to start breathing again and that's had a really positive effect on my moods and motivation as well as my blood pressure! It's not an easy therapy to get used to and it does sometimes annoy me but it is what it is. 

The nurse told me that people need to get checked more than they are. 80% of sleep apnea sufferers don't know they even have it, so if you (or a person you know) snores loudly (along with excessive sleepiness during the day, heightened anxiety, fatigue, existing breathing problems like asthma or COPD) get them to get it checked. Otherwise they're risking a whole host of medical complications and they could even die. There's no shame in asking them for help and who knows, maybe there's a way of managing it and improving your quality of life. I've been so much more myself these last few days than I have in months so it goes to show really. 

The thing with sleep apnea is that theres a certain stereotype of sufferers. One thing I have found in going to the sleep clinic is that suffers aren't all severely obese (I'm not skinny but I'm not exactly massive, I have a little extra padding!) and the people have been so kind and so supportive. Even the other patients are really nice and you do get a sense of who they are and their own stories. Since my disabilities, I've met and spoken to all kinds of people and I love to listen and have befriended other patients, because why be a hermit? Why not just take the time to sit next to a scared old lady and read something to them (one lady enjoyed me reading to a patient so much that when the patient was moved to a nursing home, she asked if I could read the rest of the book for her! Then again, who doesn't enjoy some classic literature?).

I do love to read, it's something I've always liked doing in my spare time. I don't usually mind if it's a book, magazine or newspaper, heck I scour the web often for something interesting. Jace and I enjoy our manga books (and we have a lot) or graphic novels (again we have loads, currently collecting the original Transformers comics through a partwork series, £20 a month gives me 2 hardback editions crammed full of colour and stories of those lovely giant robots). I recently read 4 volumes of the original Spawn comics, read some in the past, watched the cartoons and movie and even based a college piece on adapting the "Spawn the Undead" series. Jace has a massive interest in Marvel comics and he shares that with his dad and which is nice and some of the things Jace has shown me are incredible! Our little geeky retreat from the world is paradise to me!

I think that in life we should enjoy small pleasures and make them feel like big pleasures when we delve in. Just because you have a disability, doesn't mean you should quit. I know that now and now I am about to embrace a new chapter in my life, I can't wait to see where it takes us and to of course keep you all updated.

Loves
Wendy xx

Thursday, 2 November 2017

On Reflections

I've been thinking about things recently. I think that around about my birthdays I tend to reflect upon everything that I've achieved in the year and the dreams that I'm either closer to or new things to look towards. I think that my 20s was dominated by being stuck pinned down, every time I would do something, I'd be left with this sadness because I'd be so drained for days after and I would wonder whether or not I'd ever be able to do it again. Would I be able to travel to see Jace again (this was before Jace moved in)? I think that being told that there was no cure or that this was as good as it got enough times and by enough doctors just got to me. I have been grieving for the woman I was 9 years ago. Maybe it's because then I had reached a turning point in myself. Yes I would make mistakes as we all undoubtedly do but I think the biggest lesson learned in all of this isn't about how not to make mistakes, that would be impossible, but how to rise above it all and I think that somehow I got the hang of that. 

I think that the important thing that has come of recent events is a new sense of self awareness and self worth that has come from finally getting things back on some kind of track. OK so it wasn't what we originally planned for and there are still plenty of things we need to get on track with or adapt to but that's happening gradually. I think that in learning to adapt to life with a CPAP will be undoubtedly challenging but once I get used to it, it will be as natural as using my nebuliser or my oxygen. I do just have to be patient and keep a positive mindset.

One thing that my machine tells me is how well my apnea is being managed on a nightly basis. I wasn't convinced at first I have to say and I was a little skeptical about it but when I looked on my progress today I was pleasantly surprised. I managed 9 hours, my mask fit perfectly AND my AHI (the measure of how many times you stop breathing every hour) was down from 27 times to just 1 time. That is an improvement and maybe once I have kicked this infection down a bit (another 2 weeks of co-amoxiclav/levo to go), maybe I will start to feel the benefit. It can be a bit annoying sometimes and having to wrestle with a mask that is strapped heavily to your face every night does wear a little thin sometimes. Although one major change has been that my depressive moods have reduced a bit and I don't feel as anxious or on edge about things.

I do wish that my asthma was as easy to control though, I seem to be relying heavily on my medications to keep my lungs from trying their hardest to close and make me feel short of breath or wheezy. I know that is kind of what the life of a brittle asthmatic is like, I was under no impression of it being any different to be honest, but the winter is usually a very tough season for me. I know that I can get through all this and keep myself going, heck I've managed it for nearly 30 years now and I will carry on getting through the little bits and pieces that pop up from time to time. Life may not be a bed of roses sometimes but its worth remembering that it isn't a pile of poop either. It's all about celebrating the little things that make it better, appreciating those little things remembering that things may not be perfect but they're not too bad either.

So, lets see what my 30s have in store for me!

Loves
Wendy xx

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Starting CPAP

I've started on my CPAP therapy and am finding it a little bit difficult to get my head around it. So far it's been a few days but I'm not really feeling better as yet. I'm trying hard to just be patient and even if it's making me cough, I'm trying to keep that mask on. Like my oxygen. Like my nebs and wheelchair. It's hard not to feel like this new thing is like a life sentence. I hate that I rely on things to keep myself going and in myself, I'm finding it hard to accept it. Maybe it's because I didn't expect to be coming in to my 30s with everything that's happened to me but in a way, I hoped that I wouldn't need so much help.

For anyone who doesn't know what CPAP is, it's short for "Constant Positive Airway Pressure" and it basically pushes air in to your lungs to act like a splint to make them stay open. If you have sleep apnea, basically your muscles in your neck relax and go floppy, causing them to close up and basically makes you stop breathing. Obviously this puts immense pressure on your heart and lungs, which for someone whose lungs are not as good as they should be is particularly dangerous. It pushes up your blood pressure too as well as interferes with sleeping. To have the CPAP on is very unusual. Imagine you're standing in the middle of a gale and the wind just takes your breath. It's like that really, I'm sure that it will get easier but that's the way it is for now.

It does seem a bit bittersweet that I'm reaching an age that doctors thought I wouldn't ever reach. Maybe it's because I see people I went to school with as they have wonderful lives, children and are in their prime, don't get me wrong it is wonderful to share in those wonderful things and see them so happy but it is a reminder that there's a lot I won't get to do. Personally I am OK with not having children (I was told when I was 17 that I wouldn't have one due to problems with my uterus and ovaries) and maybe my pets do fill the gap. I'm not OK with having enough equipment for a hospital ward in my house! But I can't change that, I can't just not have it otherwise I'll just get worse and it could even be deadly in some respects.

Something that did annoy me about all this was that I had been saying for nearly 5 years that my breathing and my sleep were problematic but it wasn't until January when I had a particularly confusing appointment with the oxygen nurse that I finally managed to pursuade her to do a sleep study to prove what I was saying (because she wasn't listening to what we were saying and she kept saying that because everyone does naturally desat at night and she had asthma too so it couldn't be a problem, right?). I think she thought it would prove her point and when it didn't she then changed her tone completely! What worries me is how many other things are being ignored or going unchecked? What would have happened if we hadn't stood our ground and got the test done? Luckily now it's the Respiratory Nurses at the hospital who manage my oxygen for me and they're doing a great job! They were concerned that my sats did drop to as low as 70% (without oxygen) and I was stopping breathing 27 times in an hour (which makes my OSA "moderate"). The one thing they really wanted me to understand was that it isn't being caused by weight (pred made me pile on the pounds), more because of the anatomy around my neck.

The first night of CPAP was weird. I managed to tolerate it for 4 hours and then had to get the thing off, neb (as I'd been wheezing) and at some stage I'd put it back on. I felt like I'd slept for once but I didn't feel the immediate energy boost others had. The second night was awful. Last night was a little better but it was difficult to get settled for a while, not to mention the cough and pain in my sides (pleuritic like pain again, not pleasant). I'm keeping a short diary on things so that on Saturday, I can be as honest as possible. They said there's other things we can try, dental appliances and some surgery, but obviously this is the gold standard of treatment for OSA and as my lungs are struggling due to the whole effects of brittle asthma, it's a very complicated situation, I seem good at baffling medical professionals. I've been confusing the staff at the Alex for nearly 10 years now!

I'll keep trying to get as much sorted as possible, but it's not a simple "take this, feel 100% cured" kind of thing. I think that deep down I always knew that, even if my instincts tell me to fight tooth and nail against it. What more can you do? OK so it was hard to get this taken seriously, I had to fight but in a way it's good that I did. Something wasn't right and it couldn't stay as it was.

Loves
Wendy xx

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Cards, Games, Guinea Pigs.

First off, I'm sorry I haven't been updating much recently. I guess there just hasn't been too much going on and I didn't think that my readers would like to read "Well, I got up, did meds...did a few other things then slept for ages..." over and over again.  My asthma has been really bugging me though recently and its not been so simple to settle it. I don't post whenever it's bad because I don't like when things get repetitive. I have been keeping busy with some cross stitch and some other little bits and pieces. I'm currently sorting out a load of cards and other things, in fact I have boxes of both Yu-Gi-Oh and FFTCG cards to sift through and sort in to binders but it is kind of a job for a day when I have more energy. I am gradually working in that but as I say, it'll probably take me a while as there is so much that needs sorting (including boxes of cards from Opus 1,2 and 3 as well as my spare Yu-Gi-Oh cards and again, there is a lot!). I eventually want to sort the binders so that I can have playsets of certain cards together and even get some of the spare stuff on to eBay so that they can be used by someone other than sat in boxes gathering dust. 

I am also planning to show off some of the decks soon too so watch this space!

I find it irksome when I look at cards on eBay and seeing the states some people's cards end up in and the amount that some more sought after cards can be sold for even though they look as though they were fed to the dog somewhere along the way. I also hate when people put up a stock photo and the actual card they supply is not the "mint" "first edition" you so badly wanted, or (as happened to us recently) the card they give you isn't even real, and not even convincing as a fake! The thing is, it isn't exactly hard to keep your cards in good condition. If anything it costs less to look after the cards you have than to keep replacing ones that have gone tatty (especially when you have a 40-50 card deck and some of them are quite expesnsive rarities, some cards can actually be worth more than £100, just to put in to perspective). When I get cards myself, I always use sleeves (and colour coding) so that they stay neat and clean, as well as boxes so that decks and things can be gotten to whenever I want them. I also brought myself a couple of new mats to accompany my new Aster Phoenix (Destiny Heroes) deck and Zane Truesdale decks (Cyber Art and the Underworld Cyber Deck). These were particularly interesting as they are both rare and hard to get hold of in themselves. The Zane one has a rather fun story in that we had found one after searching and the seller was being a pain, then as if by fate or something, this other one in better condition came up just in time for PIP, we had to snap it up and we got a bargain with it. Well both of them actually, Aster still goes for around £30-£60 but then you have the import charges and Zane is even harder to get hold of!

Jace and I love our character decks. And we like to make them as good as they can be. Things like the print, edition and rarity are important here. There is something
nice about when you get a first edition of an older card and its in the best rarity and the condition is immaculate. It makes the deck look and feel so much better and shows that you really care about the game. I recently got my hands on a first edition "secret rare" (they're just so sparkly!) print of the card "Power Bond" and the condition was pack fresh, probably never even used before. We were really impressed by it because of how beautiful the card actually looks. The decks are coming along and we really do enjoy our evening duels. Sometimes it can get down to the wire and sometimes it ends in a really funny way (or like one occasion where it ended, exactly as it had ended in one of the anime duels with us both using a card called "Final Fusion" where you both take damage equal to both your monsters at once. It's a last resort kind of card really, but in the anime, a duel ends in that exact way and we even had the same monster cards on the field!).

We adopted 2 more guinea pigs as well recently. I have always been a guinea pig lover and I think that they are cute, funny little balls of sass and charisma. Our new friends are the same sort of age as Red (or maybe just a little younger) and they are both settling in well. Joey, our ginger pig, is going to be the dominant member of the group I think. Even if Yugi is older, he is too much of a baby to be the alpha pig and Red is probably going to have a little struggle with Joey to start with. Who knows, they may just settle down in to a routine and be happy. Tristan and Yugi tend to curl up together or sit there munching while the other two bound about and try and assert themselves. It's normal dominance play in guinea pigs so I don't feel too concerned to be honest. As long as there is no lunging or attacking then I am satisfied that they will be a good herd. Pictured here is the lovely, and rather docile, Tristan, he has a cataract on one of his eyes but it doesn't stop him from being adorable and sweet.

I am amazed though at how good Jace is with them. He hasn't ever owned them in the past so he has had to learn a bit about these little creatures and he has stepped up with enthusiasm and he too loves how funny they are and how unique each pig is. Our new additions have made friends quickly with our existing pair and now we get greeted by a chorus of guinea pigs singing for us to come and see them. They are such funny little critters really but we love them. Even if they sometimes get a bit mischievous and they can sometimes be a handful, they are very interesting animals and I do think that they are quite intelligent sometimes, (I have had some rather dense ones though!) and I would love to attempt to teach some tricks to them. I think that out of the 4, Tristan and Yugi seem the most receptive to us, but with the right treat any guinea pig come to you. This here, is a picture of Joey, the little pumpkin pig, hes the more boisterous member of the herd.

We also got our hands on the new versions of the classic Crash Bandicoot games. I LOVED these when I was kid, Crash Bandicoot 1 was the first game I had on the Playstation way back in 1996 and the second one was my favourite. I still have my original copy of Warped as well. I never realised how hard those games were! But it was nice to get such a blast from the past and it made me feel warm and nostalgic. Of course, I am looking forward to the FF7 remake and the Oddworld game Soulstorm, hopefully it will live up to New 'n' Tasty which basically blew my mind because it was so good! I hope they make more of the games we grew up with as kids as they were simple and focused on just having a good time.

Here's hoping.

Loves
Wendy xx

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Good Days/Bad Days

The last few days almost caught me off my guard. I don't know what it is but for some reason, my asthma has made things so much more difficult and I am really struggling. I think that the heat hasn't helped me at all. But then again when does it ever really help me? Last night was a tough one because I had several "episodes" in the night and poor Jace, who really is wonderful in how he takes it in his stride and doesn't hold it against me in the slightest, had to keep making sure that I was able to breathe and my pain was managed. Even on the days where I actually have trouble understanding it myself.

The problem with chronic pain is that it can be difficult to explain to someone what the difference in an acute pain and a chronic pain is. To me, a chronic pain is like a constant ache, a constant feeling that someone has tightly laced a corset around my entire body. Sometimes even a slight movement in bed can leave me cringing with my back or I go to get something and my elbow dislocates and sends a shooting pain through all my nerves in my arm (old injury that is giving me bother 5+ years after I had the fall). Not to mention the pain left over from my lungs and other problems, I have to take strong medication in order to be comfortable but the price for comfort is being ridiculously sleepy afterwards.  I then have the issue with my back which makes my legs weak and my nerves feel like they're being hit constantly from my neck, down to my bottom. You see, along with my small curve and previous fractures to my spine (the worst of which was when I was 10 and was messing around with my brother, imitating wrestling moves, long story short, my back was damaged when I hit the wood on the bedframe. Made worse by my Dad picking me up and making me walk, I spent 6 months trying to walk properly again and when my Mum asked the doctor, we were told that it would only be known as I grew what lasting damage was done but I should have gone to hospital and would have probably needed treatment for it), I have my Spastic Paraplegia to deal with.

HSP (Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia) is something I have had issues with for as long as I can remember. It meant that as a child. I couldn't run around or do things like other kids did. I wasn't very athletic and struggled with things at times, I couldn't even straighten out my legs properly, and I still can't. When I was about 12, we saw a specialist who gave my Mum these exercises where I would lie on my back and she would have to manually lift my legs and hold them there, the pain was often unbearable and I would almost scream the house down. My Nan on my Dad's side of the family had the same problems I have in her legs too, along with eczema and a squint which I inherited as well. It did improve for a while in my late teens when I used to ride bikes everywhere, but nowadays its just an issue that I will have to live with. HSP has no cure and it is degenerative (most people don't experience the worst symptoms until they reach adulthood and the nerves that supply the lower part of the body start to have problems). It does mean that I am reliant on my wheelchair to have any kind of independence.

My wheelchair is the thing that allows me to do whatever I need to do. I would prefer to not have needed one but I think that I did OK. They told my Mum that me ending up in a wheelchair was inevitable but I managed to keep myself out of there until about 4 years ago when I started realising that I was really struggling to move around. My lungs were struggling to cope as well. Since getting my oxygen, I do manage to do things but it does take more out of me. When you only have 30-40% lung function at best, it does feel like you're working extra hard to do the same things that other people do so easily. It sucks, but the thing I am always reminded of is that somehow, I am still here, even if there are days where I feel like giving up. I had a bad day recently, I don't want to get in to it as it was horrible, but I managed to talk it out rather than doing something I would have regretted.

I have those days sometimes where I am questioning myself as to why I keep at this even when it looks pretty bleak and depressing. Those are the days where I am sat there looking at things and I get the dark thoughts, thoughts that I find hard to get away from because they hurt so much. Sometimes I feel like they follow my every move, like some kind of ghost, ready to strike with a nasty comment or thought that will plague me for a while and its awful. I hate this but I have to take medication to slow my thoughts down and calm the manic part of me that wants to run riot. The manic side of me can make me feel like I could take over the world with little more than a pair of pants and a stick and ten minutes later, I feel like the whole world has fallen apart and I can't find a reason not to cry about stuff, but that is the nature of bi-polar disorder and its something that I think people have a hard time in understanding about me. It isn't something I have a lot of control over on my bad days.

I'm fighting and I think that will be something that I will always have to do. Does it scare me? Yes it does sometimes, but I don't have to go it alone because there are always people around to pick me back up again, help me dust myself down and then I can get going. After all, none of the things I have to deal with are more than just setbacks and it really is up to me to not let those temporary setbacks have long term effects.

Loves
Wendy xx

Friday, 18 August 2017

Free Time?

I recently saw a post on Facebook about people who don't work due to illness and the way other people see them and it hit me hard. I have heard every single cliche and line you could imagine about the fact that I can't work and people's often shortsighted perceptions. They think that they're being helpful by saying things like "[insert name] has [insert condition] and THEY have a job... its no excuse to not have a job" etc. But the biggest secret is this, I don't just "get" to sit around all day every day and do nothing. My job is surviving, so I guess you could say that I am a professional patient!

Living with an illness means that you are constantly battling against your own body to stay alive. On my good days, I can still get things done but I am still exhausted afterwards. My bad days, which seem more common recently, are often spent by me trying to do things, getting exhausted and then getting frustrated when I can't do something so simple. My day is regimented by a routine of medications which have to be taken at certain times, not to mention reordered, queried, chased up multiple times and then eventually at the end of a week getting them sorted (this in itself is extremely annoying when you have 30+ meds to keep on track of). This is a weekly thing and it is annoying. It is tiresome and the routine of it makes it daunting to start the process every week but there are things in life you just have to get on and do otherwise they won't get done and if you don't get it done, you WILL suffer.

I do try and give myself other things to keep me occupied though during my treatments. I like to draw and do craft. Obviously I can't do that all the time, its actually quite a demand on on the body when it doesn't feel up to much. Sometimes I am happy to read, watch TV or even play games but again these things are only really what I do on better days. Heck, I've still got 2 boxes of Opus cards that I need to sort through, binders to update (Yu-Gi-Oh and FFTCG). I keep telling myself that I will get it done, I think I am just waiting for a day when I have the energy to do it. Or a day when my pain is a lot less restricting.

Jace and I have been playing more duels between each other and we've been working on our newest decks. My deck is probably one of the strongest I have used, based off Zane's "Underworld" deck (complete with Cyberdark Dragon and its 3 components) and I have been really working round my ideas and strategy there. It's been a lot of fun and it has been a good mental work out. I've really taken to it lately, but then again, I have always enjoyed a good game. Even more so when that game is a good test of the mind. I like keeping an active mind, I always have.

I'm back on antibiotics again (usual Levo/Co-Amoxiclav combo) for 3 weeks this time to see if a little extra time can kick this infection back a bit. Its gotten to the point where I am spending my mornings trying to get as much purulent muck out as possible and its even had moments where it's been bloodied, after pained nights and poor sleep as it even hurts to just rest down. Not pleasant, but respiratory infections rarely are and I have had to nap just to keep myself going. The problem is that when these things get ingrained. They get ingrained and they take a lot of effort and work to get rid of again I'm having to be patient with myself and take my time in doing things. No running myself ragged or doing things when I don't really feel up to it.

I guess that for now, I need to just let my body fight this thing and get stronger.

Loves
Wendy xx

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Mental Health

One thing I don't really like to talk about is my mental health. I was taught to believe that my mental health was either not there (because I never knew what depression REALLY was... do not even...) or, after slashing myself open, something that I had to be ashamed of and try to hide from others (because who would accept such a "mess"). It was used as a way to control me through shame and I spent many years trying hard to understand and overcome it. Sometimes it's been easy. Sometimes I have been left curled up in a ball sobbing because I can't make the pieces of my mind fit. Sometimes I wanted to die. Sometimes I just wanted to find a way to survive. Sometimes, I didn't care where I was mentally, I just wanted the nagging voices and horrible thoughts to just stop.

I have Bi-Polar Disorder. 
I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
I have Borderline Personality Disorder and Schitzophrenia.
I have borderline Aspergers.
I have attempted suicide more times than I can say. 
I do struggle with my urges to harm myself. 
My body covered with scars.
 
But...

I have accomplished a lot of things. 
I have always managed to regain control of myself before it's too late. 
I have wonderful friends and family as well as my fur-babies. 
I have a boyfriend who loves me despite the things I have wrong. 
I have my own little place.

I have always been me. I will always be Wendy. 

With all the things around suicide (particularly the death of Chester Bennington, still can't believe that) and people actually embracing the fact that they have fought that mental battle. The way it can make you fight to just find a reason to keep moving. There are times when you want to just do it, despite the fact that it would only cause your family to suffer. People say that those who do take their lives are "selfish" but try and see it from their side of the fence. When you get to the point where all you want to do is close your eyes and just not -be- anymore it's hard to get past that. It's almost impossible to get that out of that place. It can be extremely overwhelming and it can be terrifying.

Reaching out when you feel that way is hard and because of other people's attitudes it can be embarrassing. The worst thing is when you are at the point of falling apart and you have to try and tell someone for them to either not care, not understand or just offer an old cliche response. People have asked me "why do you feel this way?" and I  just looked at them. The weird thing is that sometimes I will explain it, sometimes though, I just can't. I can't explain why I feel hopeless and like giving up when I can't even understand it fully myself. I find it even worse when I feel like I have to justify myself and how I feel and it can be so insulting when someone almost expects me to explain myself. I feel like saying things like "can I not just feel the way I feel?" or "Why should I explain my reasons? Why can't it just -be- what it is?"

I remember my first real "breakdown". I was about 14 and I had had 3 years of verbal, physical and even sexual abuse in school (including one of the bullies trying to get me to pleasure him sexually in the bus parking area otherwise I was going to get beaten up) and the teachers of the school weren't doing anything other than trying to blame me for everything. I'd started getting in to trouble just so that someone would even notice I was stressed, leading to being branded a "problem child", I remember I was getting ready for school, I was dressed, ready to go until I was about to go. I just calmly sat on the stairs. At first my Mum responded, like most would, with firmly trying to tell me to go and get my bus, then, understandably she got angry, then when I finally told her why I was not going anywhere from where I was, she phoned the school authority and thats when it all came out. I did go back for a couple of weeks afterwards, I was told to write everything done to me down but when even the teachers seemed to have it in for me, I couldn't do it. Imagine the shock my Mum had when she came home to find me sat behind the sofa with a kitchen knife. 3 weeks later I was taken out of school. I never ever went back to that place. They did try and get us in trouble but the Education Authority were amazing, they backed us and got me accepted in to another school which was nearer to my home.

The fact is, mental health is real. It isn't a joke and it isn't a shameful thing. It can damage every aspect of your life and because people can't always see it, or you don't fit the picture, it is often treated as though it isn't there or genuine. If someone does try and say "OK so my mental health is being an issue", please don't shun them. Please help them. Please tell them that they aren't alone. Please make them feel loved, and if you're the one whose suffering, please don't give up. Please reach out.

If I hadn't when I did, I don't know where I would be now.

Loves
Wendy xx  

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