THE BLOG

Behind the Smile, Behind the Mask

31/07/2015 12:12 BST | Updated 31/07/2016 10:59 BST

Sometimes speaking out about mental illness can be difficult. I find it easy to talk about recovery and when things are going well but it's not so easy to say that actually things aren't okay and I guess that's why I've been a bit quiet lately. My blog posts, tweets and Facebook statuses have slowed down in the digital world and my facial muscles ache from forcing a fake smile onto my face in the real world.

It'd be easier to pretend that I'm okay and to stay quiet until things are better but then I'm not sure how that's helpful for anyone because speaking out about mental illness needs to be a true picture, it can't just be telling people about the good days. The bad days are when people need the most support and understanding. As much as I want to pretend right now that things are fine and I am okay, I recognise that if I truly want to help others then I need to bite the bullet and be honest because relapse is a part of recovery and that is okay. Pretending recovery is dream-like and perfect is not okay.

I don't sleep well anymore, not since I relapsed with self-harm. It hurts to lay on my side and I worry about knocking wounds in my sleep and bleeding on my bed sheets. I wake up in pain, every single day the pain in my jaw is unbearable and the flashbacks that come along with it mean the mental pain is worse than the unbearable physical pain. Every meal time is a battle, exhaustion takes over my days and I find myself having to have a lay down before and after doing anything.

I'm scared. Scared because I know this journey far too well. I know what lays at the end of this road after I've hit all the speed bumps and swung through the chicane then comes a stay in the psychiatric ward and I don't want to reach that destination again.

Frustration and self-hatred combine and together they become anger. An anger that has hit boiling point. The steam is not only coming out of the kettle but the kettle is going to explode too and boiling hot water will erupt everywhere scolding anything and anyone that it hits.

I don't want to be like this. I don't want to be poorly. I don't want to be the reason my friends and family can't sleep and I don't want to hurt anyone. All I can do is give each day my best shot, try to be kind to myself and take my medication until this passes or improves. For now I am scared and I feel very small. Small, weak and tired but determined to win. We only get one life and mental illness is not going to take mine.