You know that feeling where you don’t see a friend for a year (maybe they were backpacking around Australia or herding elephants in Africa), and then they come back for a cup of tea asking how things are going and you just sigh because there is so much to catch up on? Yeah. That exact feeling is the one I have today, only in this situation it isn’t that I haven’t written on my blog/spoken to you for a year (heaven forfend!). In actuality it has been a mere week since you last heard from me but what a week it has been and good lord with cheese and chopsticks do I have a lot to catch you up on!
Now, you remember last week when I talked about how I was about to go home after a five and a half month inpatient stay at my local eating disorders unit? Remember how I harped on about all the rules and regulations I had set in place to keep myself and my mental health problems on track and the importance of rules when living with mental health problems? Remember all that stuff I said about how I felt pressured to stick to the rules because if I didn’t there would be consequences including, but not limited, to my parents not being able to cope with me in the family home any more? (If none of this is ringing any bells I suggest you read the two posts that can be found, like aeroplane fire exits, here: The Pressure To “Get Better” When You Are Struggling With Mental Health Problems and here: Why Boundaries Are Important When Living With Mental Health Problems).
Good. We all up to date because you know that situation? Yeah, that situation has kind of sort of exploded all over the place and I have only been out of hospital for a week…
Indeed I can barely believe myself that it has only been such a short amount of time because so many things have changed. Like I said, I was only discharged last Tuesday, armed and determined with my rules and boundaries set my my parents to help keep my mental illnesses in check back home, but in this past week, all of those rules have gone horribly wrong.
From that first day back home my eating disorder looked at all of those neatly written out rules and laughed and I was smacked in the face by how much harder all of this eating malarky was going to be outside of hospital.
To be perfectly honest I do not understand it even myself.
For five and a half months I have been following a meal plan and now a simple change in location has completely thrown me off. I am not saying that I admit defeat already, far from it, but I can acknowledge that there is a serious problem and am well aware that, no matter how positive I try to be or how determined I am, I am currently unable to stick to the rules around eating certain amounts at certain times and not self harming that have been set.
“What is wrong with that?” I hear you ask “So you are breaking a few rules. This isn’t school, what are you worried about, getting detention or something?” I hear you cry!
Well no actually, I am not fearing detention but I have been fearing the consequences of me not being able to stay in the family home and in this past week it has come to my attention that me staying in the family home and living by my parents’ rules is, at this point impossible.
Now before I go on I would like to make it clear that my parents are not evil (well my mum is a little bit and she does cackle over a cauldron occasionally but that is a story for another day) and just because I am struggling with my mental health at the moment they are not kicking me out of the house. Far from it, they want and are doing all they can to support me with my insanity, hence why they set up these rules so that we could all try to live happily together, but to be blunt, they simply cannot cope with my madness any more for the sake of their own mental health (remember self care is important folks) and so me being unable to follow the rules has led to some consequences. What consequences?
Well, watch out because here comes a bombshell: I am not going to be living at home anymore. Yeah…I told you a lot had happened…
Like I said it was mere hours before we realised that I was not going to be able to live by the required rules and so, knowing that my parents could not cope anymore and that I didn’t want to put them through all of this again, I hopped onto google and started looking for a place to live. Mere days later I had impulsively used up my inheritance on a flat…yeah…I guess you could say things have moved pretty fast.
I don’t even know what to say or where to go from here because I am still so shocked and mind blown as to how all of this is happening and to be honest none of it feels real.
I am moving out.
I am in the process of buying a flat.
I have never lived by myself before and soon I will be living alone. WHAT IS HAPPENING?SOMEBODY STOP THE RIDE! I WANT TO GET OFF!
See what I mean about having a lot to update you on? Seriously, I have gone from living in an insane asylum for almost half a year, part of that time on 1:1 with a tube up my nose, to buying and living in a flat all by myself in the blink of an eye, and if I am honest, I have no idea how I am going to deal with it. Because of OCD and my eating disorder there are a million of normal every day things that I cannot do for myself from changing a duvet cover, to taking out a bin or washing a pair of socks and yet suddenly all of this responsibility is on me. Oh and how many Katies does it take to change a light bulb? THERE IS NO NUMBER HIGH ENOUGH BECAUSE THIS KATIE CANNOT CHANGE A LIGHTBULB. I AM GOING TO BE LIVING IN DARKNESS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE UNLESS I GET SOME CANDLES WHICH I WILL PROBABLY DROP AND END UP BURNING THE WHOLE PLACE DOWN. I WON’T EVEN BE ABLE TO PUT THE FIRE OUT WITH WATER BECAUSE APPARENTLY FOR WATER YOU HAVE TO PAY A WATER BILL AND I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO THAT EITHER. SOMEBODY HELP ME FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
So yeah…that is my update, THAT is the latest Born Without Marbles news and an example of just one of the dramatic changes of plan that can occur when you are living with mental health problems…
Obviously it will be a while before I actually move out and into my new flat (turns out that buying property is far harder and more complicated than buying cuddly penguins…who knew?), but eventually that is what is going to be happening. In the mean time I will of course be living at home trying to stick by the rules as best I can and trying not to drive my parents completely mad but who knows how that is going to work out? Then again who knows how living by myself is going to work out because the only reason I am leaving home is because I am too insane and the last time I checked insane people weren’t the best at surviving in this world alone. Thankfully, whenever this flat does come through I will only be a five minute walk away from home and obviously my parents are going to support and help me through this more than I am probably giving them credit for, but purple onions and gravy am I terrified and filled with questions. How did this happen? How did my mental illnesses take over my life so much that they have led to me being practically evicted from my family home and forced to live alone where I cannot interfere with other people? How will I cope by myself if I can’t even cope with the support of other people? How on earth is this whole moving out of an intense inpatient setting and into an isolated empty flat going to play out? Well, truth is I have no idea. I guess we will be finding that out over the coming weeks together…
Take care everyone x
16 thoughts on “Dramatic Life Plan Changes When You Are Living With Mental Health Problems”
I hope it works out well for you xx
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Thank you oh kind soul! Thinking of you xx
Katie…are you sure about this? It seems a lot to deal with. I’m actually kinda worried about you. I mean sure, your parents will visit you but still… This is a BIG step. Please take care.
Message me if you need something!
Kisses from Portugal ❤
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I’m really not sure about it Maria…I just don’t know what else to do. I am in such a bad place and I am scared to live alone when I feel like this. Sorry, just being honest, hopefully it will be ok. Here if you need remember lovely, kisses from England xxxx
Well, I just hope things work out for you, I would hate to see you back in hospital! I love you so much my dear!
I’m always here, ok?
Wishing you luck *fingers crossed*
Could you look at moving into a supported living environment instead? I really really really don’t think you’re safe to live alone right now.
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My sorry about supported accommodation is the bathroom situation because of OCD issues around sharing bathrooms. Overall I think that would be best for me like you say as I don’t know how to live alone but at the same time I don’t know how to live in a communal area either. It is all very complicated 😓 xxx
Hi BWM, I actually think this could be a good idea. It does sound quick and impulsive, but actually, you have been going through the difficulties with mental health for some time now, in perspective m it makes a certain sense that you have decided to try something radically new and different, rather than wait for another inpatient stay.
Not saying I think it’s guaranteed to work, but I wouldn’t beat yourself about moving fast…move fast, fail fast, learn fast…or something like that. If it doesn’t work out, it’s a rental investment, you’ll try something else, until something does.
As someone who also moved out kind of impulsively, under very different circumstances, also renting a shared space not buying a space, it worked out great for me. I struggled a LOT (am only really getting kind of better now) at looking after myself, e.g eating, keeping things clean, buying food, getting out of bed/sleeping), and to be fair I had the advantage of having a place to stay with someone to look after me, but my own place was also deeply calming to me. It meant not needing to report to anyone but myself. If I went to bed at 3am and had unwashed pans there for 2 weeks or didn’t do my laundry for 2 months, no one knew! And as long as I could find something to wear and there wasn’t actual mould on things (for too long…) then it was fine!
You’ll get set up with your bills on direct debit, and you’ll spend time with your family too, and you will see how it goes. Cautious optimism, maybe?
Anyway wishing you the best on this serious sounding life change, and sending positive but also chill vibes that everything is going to be fine either way (though its understandable that you feel a bit stressed and overwhelmed, it does sound like a big thing when you don’t break it down into little and achievable things).
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Also, re: the risks. I didn’t really have those risks, but I’ll suggest again if your family are still near then you can slowly move into the new place and start out trying a few hours at a time, maybe even get a sofa bed and have someone sleepover, to make it more gradual and less “BWM shivering on her own in a flat” nightmare kinda scenario, cos that does sound kinda overwhelming and risky, it probably? Doesn’t have to be all in one go? Idk. Xxx
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THIS SOUNDS LIKE A PERFECT IDEA! I had actually been thinking of doing it gradually (like sleeping for a few nights in the flat then a few back home) but the idea of maybe doing that with a family member alongside me never crossed my mind! You are a genius! Quick! Find me the nearest Ikea, I need a sofa bed! xxx
Wow! Thank you so much for this comment! Hand on heart I found this really helpful and a much nicer way to think about this whole thing than the way I have been thinking about it over the past few days. You have definitely put a more positive light on it and have given me much to think about. Seriously thank you so much, I really appreciate the advice and support. You are awesome and I am wishing you a fabulous day xxxxx
Buying is such a huge step… just curious why you are buying instead of renting? I wish you all the best, but this is a bit scary!
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Because renting just means losing money in the long run…like it doesn’t go anywhere so at least this way I am making some kind of investment even if it all goes completely wrong…which it probably will because like you said this is all a bit scary/utterly terrifying beyond measure….AHH WHAT IS HAPPENING
I am worried about you! I really wonder if an assisted or supported living arrangement wouldn’t be best for you right now. I hear what you are saying about your OCD and the problems that would create and I really wanted to think about that before commenting, because OCD is something I can personally relate to. When you were in the hospital, your rituals had to change by default because you were in a different environment and there was staff setting limits on them. You adjusted to that. I understand that you had no choice, but you did adjust to it none-the-less. It still broke the cycle of those rituals regardless of the reason and with OCD that is the goal, to break the cycle of the rituals and learn distress tolerance, not give in to them. Right now you are frightened and I can understand why, but I am hearing you finding ways to accommodate the OCD and I am worried that, as fragile as you are feeling with just being discharged, accommodating the OCD could just lead to a return to the same pattern you were in before you were hospitalized. I wonder if an assisted or supported living arrangement where there is staff and people around to help you keep those rituals in check and where you would have to continue working on breaking the cycle would be of benefit……….kind of like an intermediate step between the very restrictive environment of inpatient setting and the completely independent environment of living alone. There is nothing wrong with needing that intermediate step. That step could gradually ease you into living alone.
If you are living alone, does England have the equivalent of what we call in the US PHP or Partial Hospitalization? If so, could you attend a program like that during the day and be at home, maybe with someone staying with you for awhile at night? That would allow your meals to be supervised and would also check your OCD rituals because there would be boundaries surrounding them with staff to support those boundaries.
You may well thrive in an independent living situation; I certainly don’t know the answer to that. I am just concerned with what I am hearing.
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Funnily enough, since writing this post things have actually got worse and a lot of people like therapists and my parents are not keen on me living alone anymore so we are actually looking into supported living! Unfortunately there is no partial hospital program available where I live so things are a little up in the air at the moment. Still, as an update and in response to your comment I thought I would let you know that I am actually going to be looking around a more longer term hospital placement in the next few weeks so never fear as options are being explored! Not sure what will come of any of it yet as I really do not want to go but I thought I would let you know anyway since you have identified that this situation of me living alone might not be ideal. I have to say I agree with you…and I agree with everything you said in your comment…it is just all very scary I think right now. But yeah! Wanted to thank you for such a thoughtful comment and reassure you that things you have suggested are actually being put in place as we speak which shows how incredibly wise you are because you predicted the need for these things even before they happened in real life! Will keep you updated with things as they go so try not to be too concerned. Still I really wanted to thank you for this genuinely useful and helpful comment and piece of support. It has shown me from an outsider’s perspective what other people in my real life are saying and that has been eye opening. Sending lots of love and thanks to you and the family, hope you are well xxxx
Well I’m not happy that this is necessary but I am relieved. Remember Katie we OCDers are all or nothing and this just isn’t. It’s another step and another chapter, but it doesn’t mean it’s forever.
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