Dermatillomania

Lately I’ve been struggling with dermatillomania. I’ve had problems with picking my nails and skin for years. At first it was just nail picking but then I started picking at my skin. I’ve done it when I’m stressed or unhappy and its become a really bad habit. After a while it got so bad I started to bleed in places and get wounds. At the moment I’ve been getting stressed and I feel like I want to look ‘perfect’ and so I’m picking at spots and skin and my nails. It just seems to be getting worse instead of better. I try wearing nail polish most of the time which helps so I don’t pick my nails but I still will pick my skin. I know I need to learn to try to treat myself better somehow because it’s just becoming a problem now.

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I’m still here…

I wanted to post because I know it’s been a while since my last post. As a lot of people know the last two months have been difficult for me and I’ve moved out of my parents house and I’m currently living in a respite temporarily. I’ve been getting lots of support from social services to help me to open my own bank account, and they are trying to find me a place in supported living.

It’s all been scary at times and challenging but I feel that I’m getting used to my new way of living and learning to be more independent slowly. I think it’s all quite positive at the moment.

What happened was my parents didn’t want me to move out ever and they didn’t want me to take my money from benefits with me. I started getting threats and it was quite nasty. Social services told me it was emotional abuse and helped to get me out of there.

I hope to get back to posting my videos soon. I deleted all previous videos because I was worried that they were so public and I wanted to try to safe.

I am hoping this year will be much better than last year, and I will make progress with things. I am very grateful to all my friends and family members that have been supportive and been there for me.

Would you want to be ‘cured’?

I watched a documentary today about a man with autism, who works on the TV show Springwatch. In the documentary he talks about autism and his life. He also goes to America and meets people who want to find a ‘cure’ for autism. When I watched this part I found it uncomfortable and difficult to watch. Children with autism were being forced to change their behaviours to try to make them ‘normal’.

Personally if someone asked me if I wanted to be ‘cured’ I would say no. On difficult days I might think yes because I would want it all to stop, but if I didn’t have autism and Selective Mutism I think I might be a completely different person. There are definitely difficult things I have to deal with but then there are some positives. I don’t think I would be as compassionate or intelligent without having had some of the experiences I’ve had. I’ve learned to listen, be kind, and make my own decisions. I am not the same as everyone else and I like it that way. I think it would be boring if everyone was the same. I’m still a person just like everyone else. I’m not an animal to be tested on or tamed.

I can understand people with high functioning autism to maybe want a cure, but everyone should be allowed a choice.

Mindfulness

In this post I want to talk a bit about mindfulness. I think mindfulness can be a very useful and helpful thing to try if you are struggling or depression is giving you a hard time. I know what it’s like when depression makes you feel down about yourself because it seems like the simplest of things are difficult to do, and it’s easy to beat yourself up. I feel this way sometimes.

This week has been a difficult week and a number of times I have felt like I would be better off just giving up. Sometimes I find it difficult to admit there is a problem and accept help. I prefer to pretend like everything is fine and just carry on with things.

I sometimes like to try mindfulness. I find that quite often my head gets a bit ‘cluttered’ and it’s difficult for me to focus. I like to sometimes do something as simple as sitting on a bench and listening to the sound of the trees, cars passing by, people making noises, etc. For a few minutes I can just relax and all the thoughts and noise in my head quiten down and disappear. Also, when I’m eating I try to sometimes slow down, and really taste everything I’m putting in my mouth, and notice the different textures. I can enjoy food better that way.

I don’t do mindfulness that much but when I do it can feel really rewarding and like it helps, even if it’s only just for a little while. I recommend that if you are like me and you suffer from depression or you feel like your head gets a bit cluttered sometimes, you give mindfulness a try.

My parents relationship

People sometimetimes say ‘would you like the kind of relationship your parents have?’ For some of us maybe we say yes. But for others the answer may be no.

Personally for me my answer would be no. Ever since I was younger my parents have always argued lots. The arguments have been so bad that I’ve always worried about my parents splitting up and getting divorced. It has always been very difficult. My mum has never left my dad because she has been thinking of me, my brother and sisters. She has never wanted to put us through something like that.

My dad is usually the one that starts the arguments and he always seems to find something to argue about. He can be very intimidating. My mum mostly just puts up with it all somehow. 

I try to distract myself and I sometimes put on headphones to drown out the noise of the shouting.

Because of all this I don’t know what a happy marriage is really like. I can only read about it in books and watch movies and things about it. I don’t have any real life experience of what a happy marriage is actually like.

It makes me feel sad for my mum because she has just put up with it all for so many years. That seems like a big sacrifice.

I don’t want my life to be like that. I like to imagine there is someone special out there for me. I hope that there is.

I know in most marriages there are probably some arguments and misunderstandings but I don’t want to have anything as bad as my parents.

It is funny how just from looking at my parents people just assume that everything is all okay and the way it should be. But it isn’t. It’s just my parents acting and pretending. But it isn’t real.

It’s true that no one really knows what happens behind closed doors. People can change and act differently. It’s only the people inside the house that really knows what is going on and notices things.

It is horrible growing up knowing what is happening but not being able to say or do anything. Each new day is difficult and you’re always wondering what might happen and what could happen.

I wish that I hadn’t had to experience any of this. I used to think it was my fault for being born and tying my mum down, but I know it isn’t really. At least I have my brother and sisters. I know we wouldn’t exist otherwise. I still wish I could have had parents that truly love each other and make each other happy. But I didn’t get so lucky.

I like to imagine my life will be different and I might get lucky. I just have to wait and see what the future holds for me.

Life Update

I realised I haven’t posted in months now so I just want to say a quick hello and let you all know I am still here. This year has been difficult for me. I’ve been struggling with my depression and I’m still spending a lot of time at home. My Grandad suddenly passed away in March and I’ve been missing him lots. It’s the first time I’ve lost a grandparent and I wasn’t prepared for it at all. I’ve started to see a social worker because I want to move out of my family home and I need some help with that, or to at least know what my options are. I’m going to meet my advocate for the first time next week. An advocate is someone who can help represent my views and wishes.

Anyway, I’m sorry it’s been such a long time since I’ve posted but it’s just been a difficult year so far. I will try to post occasionally if I can.

A note from me

I just want to let you all know what is going on with me at the moment. I have debated whether to say anything or not, but I just want to be honest.

As you all know I suffer with Selective Mutism. People with SM can also have depression.

Lately things have been quite hard and dark for me. My depression has got quite bad and I have been struggling. 

I decided that I can’t record any videos for a while and I might not write as many blog posts whilst things are so difficult me. I want to be able to help people but I don’t feel able to do that when I am so mentally and emotionally ill.

I hope you all understand. I just wanted to let you all know why I might not be so active in some places anymore. 

I hope things will get better at some point but right now that is how everything is.

Thank you for reading this.

Perception of SM

A lot of people find it hard to understand SM. We are often seen as shy or rude.

I have been called all sorts of names by people my own age and teachers, mentors, safe guarders, etc. I remember once a safe guarder from college said to me ‘you’re not a baby’. The way she said it made it sound like she was trying to convince herself, not me. I was hurt that she saw me like that. I am a very sensitive person and I can get emotional and teary as a result. It isn’t my fault. Whenever I saw this safe guarder more often than not I got the impression she was trying to get rid of me as fast as she could so she could help other people. She didn’t seem to take my problems seriously. She wasn’t always like this. When I first met her she was nice and supportive but it changed over time.

This same safe guarder also tried to push me to say thank you to someone. She was telling me ‘say thank you’ over and over again like I was a child who needed to learn manners. What she didn’t realise was I desperately wanted to be able to say thank you but even those two little words were difficult for me. A lot of people with SM also find it hard to say words like please and thank you. It is also hard to say peoples names. We really want to be able to but it is just so hard for us. We are not rude. A lot of us are actually kind and emphatic. We are also good listeners.

We are not bad people but sometimes people label us like we are and we shouldn’t be bothered with.

Christmas

When I think of the word Christmas I have mixed feelings. I like Christmas but at the same time it can be a hard day for me. 

I find it hard because there are people watching me opening presents, waiting for my reaction. I try to smile and act happy but it is hard. I am grateful for all the gifts I receive but it is hard for me to show it. I think other people with SM feel the same.

I want to be happy but the truth is neither depression or anxiety take a day off, even if it Christmas. I can’t just choose what day to be happy. It doesn’t work like that.

But I will try my best to have a nice Christmas this year, just like every other year. 

I find myself reflecting a lot on this past year. I volunteered at a charity shop, left, and now I have just started volunteering at a new charity shop. It is like a new beginning. Also this year I started recording videos of myself speaking about SM on YouTube. I created a Facebook group and did some live videos. And I started blogging here. I am very grateful to everyone that has supported me this year. 

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas. For those of you who struggle, I hope you get through the day okay.

National Stress Awareness Day

Today is National Stress Awareness day so I thought I would talk a bit about stress and ways to cope.

Anyone can get stressed, any day of the year. Some people don’t let it get to them too much, but others have more trouble. I’ve dealt with stress before and sometimes I can let it get to me for days or weeks. 

People stress about all kinds of things but I think it’s worth remembering that it’s human to feel emotions. The stress that people feel should often be taken seriously. If you imagine you are stressed, just think of how you would like to be talked to. Would you like someone to make fun of you, or would you like someone to be kind and really listen to you?

When I am stressed things that help me are:

1. Reading a book

2. Writing

3. Listening to music

4. Going for a walk

I think it’s good if you can find something you enjoy which relaxes you. Stress can be a horrible feeling, but if you can deal with it then it’s not so bad.