anxiety · death · depression · introspection · mental darkness · self-awareness · survival · Uncategorized

Death and me

fann

When I was two, I told my parents that life wasn’t fun, because we were all going to die.

Later on, I would often find myself awake at night, on the edge of a panic attack, thinking of death. Not just mine or my family’s, but of the end of the universe.

When I was six, my dad asked me to throw away an empty bottle. It had the skull and crossbones on it. I was sure that just the mere fact of having touched it meant I was going to die. I laid down on the living room couch, looking out the window. ‘Goodbye sun’, I said to myself. ‘Goodbye trees, goodbye clouds…’

When I was seven, I came downstairs after bedtime to use the bathroom. On the television was a documentary about AIDS. Back then it was pretty much a death sentence. They were talking about seropositive people. My blood type is O+. I thought it was a zero. And zero and ‘’sero’’ sound very much alike. I was sick and I was going to die, and no one had told me…

When I was nine or ten, I started reading Stephen King books and crime novels. My fascination for horror, violence, paranormal and crime would go on for many many years. It was maybe a weird way to cope with the anxiety of death, but it was a strangely efficient one.

When I was eleven, I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist, or maybe a researcher. So other kids like my cousin wouldn’t have to die like he did.

When I was twelve, I started writing my own horror stories.

When I was thirteen, I wanted to grow up to become a famous author, but also a medical examiner.

When I was fifteen, my “History of the 20th century” paper was about serial killers, my chemistry paper was about cyanide.

When I was seventeen, something big happened. Someone threatened my life. And I was trapped. Nowhere to go or escape. And it lasted for a while, maybe hours. I was told that even if they didn’t get me that day, it would happen at some point later. That they weren’t making a threat, they were making a promise. I moved out the same day. For several months, I spent my time looking behind my back, wondering if every car following mine was someone trying to find where I live. I spent my time both scared that I’d get killed, and wishing to not be part of this world anymore. I started writing poetry and drawing about macabre and dark themes.

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When I was eighteen, that fear of being found went away, but it was replaced by a crippling depression and desire to die. It will never go completely away from this moment on. Unable to concentrate, I failed my science classes. I will not be going into medicine, after all.

When I was twenty, I decide that I will kill myself once I turn thirty. At this point, I reason, my friends won’t be needing me anymore, as they’ll have families and lives of their own. So it will be a good moment for me to go.

When I was twenty-seven, a combination of the antidepressants that I was taking to treat fibromyalgia and the death of a good friend gives me the strength to do some big changes in my life.

When I was thirty-one I gave birth to my son. Despite all the bad things that could happen with a pregnancy, I was not anxious. I was oddly serene about it all. As soon as he was born though, the anxiety came back. My heart is so full of love for him that I hurt thinking I could lose him.

Nowadays, I don’t like horror as much, it tends to make me too anxious. I still love crime things, but I feel much more horrified by it. I still love medical things, but I don’t think I’d ever be able to study in that field anymore. I still stay awake at night sometimes, thinking about my son or my husband dying. I don’t look at the stars very often, because then I will think about the universe dying. Sometimes I still wish I was not alive.

I wish I could say things got better. But they haven’t, not really. I wish I had faith in something so strong that I wouldn’t fear anymore. And even though I might believe there’s the possibility of something beyond death, it’s not strong enough to keep the anxiety at bay. So until then, I will try to keep taking it one day at a time, and not think of the future too much. And I will keep finding a strange comfort in the dark, in the macabre, in the uncanny and in the strange.

how to · mental health · self care · tutorial · Uncategorized

Emergency Self-Care Kit

I’ve lived with mental illness almost all of my life. It started out as depression and anxiety and bloomed into something much larger as I confronted my past. Currently, my diagnoses include depression, anxiety, autism, ADHD, trichotillomania, dermatillomania, and complex PTSD. I’ve been in mental health care for about 5 years now and, needless to say, I’ve developed a multitude of ways of dealing with my mental illnesses.

When you have major mental illness, crises will almost always come at some point in your life. When these crises do come, there are tons of ways to help combat them! You can call your local mental health hospital, contact your therapist or psychiatrist, contact a loved one, etc. But here is my favorite way of combating a crisis: an emergency self-care kit.

This emergency self-care kit can help you ride the wave of a crisis until it passes. It contains things to help ground or distract you from the impending doom rising in your head. I have used this kit many, many times, especially when the urge for self-harm arises. I’ve been battling self-harm for 8 years now and it’s never easy to contain the urges. The kit can contain anything you want but here are my ideas for the kit!

  • Lush bath bomb
  • Calming essential oils to put in a diffuser
  • A coloring book and colored pencils
  • Silly putty to keep hands busy
  • Temporary tattoos to put on spots you would normally self-harm
  • A stuffed animal to cuddle
  • A book to read
  • Letter from a loved one telling you why you should keep on living

Lush bath bombs are a great way to relax! I tend to put on some calming essential oils in a diffuser, such as Blues Buster from Plant Therapy. I also will put on some classical music or calming music from YouTube.

Coloring books are a great way to keep your hands busy and your mind focused if you’re a self-harmer like myself. I like the adult coloring books from Michael’s but they sell tons on Amazon as well!

I have found that, for me, silly putty is the best way to keep my hands busy. In a crisis, I’ll put on my favorite YouTube channel that always makes me laugh, Achievement Hunter, and play with silly putty. This takes my mind off of the chaos and keeps my hands working so I don’t self-harm.

I buy temporary tattoos from the dollar store and tend to get butterflies or hearts to remind me to stay safe. But there are temporary tattoos on Etsy that are made specifically to combat self-harm. (MentalHealthMagic on Etsy.)

One way I can be comforted if my loved ones are not accessible is to lay under my weighted blanket and cuddle my favorite stuffed animal. I can have a good cry there and let out all the emotions swirling around in my head. I got my weighted blanket from Lifetime Sensory Solutions on Amazon for much cheaper than the average weighted blanket and the quality is great! They also frequently give away weighted blankets on Facebook so it’s worth a like. My favorite stuffed animal right now is this angry llama I got from a comic con.

Books have always been my escape. Since I was a teenager, I have read fiction books to escape my life. I can imagine myself as the main character that has none of the problems I do and forget about whatever has been troubling me lately.

Letters from a loved one is probably my favorite thing in this kit. Though I don’t have letters, I save sweet text messages from my fiancé to look at when I need reassurance that life is worth living.
So, my process using this mental health kit is to first take a Lush bath while diffusing essential oils. Then, I will put on temporary tattoos to deter myself from self-harming and either color or read a book. Normally, when I color or read, I’ll do so under my weighted blanket with my stuffed animal close by. Finally, when the chaos has subsided a little bit, I’ll turn on my favorite YouTube channel, still under my weighted blanket, and have some silly putty to play with.

I hope this helps you next time you’re in a crisis. Stay safe everyone!

anxiety · mental health · poem · self expression

Panic Attack

Sometimes a panic attack isn’t something anyone can see.
On the train in the middle of the rush hour crowd
you sit silent because you’ve learned all your life to make your self as
small
as
possible
You stare at your phone, your finger stuck
poised just barely
above the screen
it shakes a little, you notice with detachment
as your heart pounds for
2-3-4-5-10-15 minutes.
You manage somehow to get off at your stop
make it to your bus
ride to where you are almost home
all the while feeling like every particle is going to fly off and you’ll be left in an exposed naked pile of ash
that someone can blow away.
You, forever gone, forever dancing with the wind.