It’s been a while, but here I am, back for the millionth time ready to explain my absence, followed by a promise (that I can’t keep) to be more consistent. In reality, I have no idea if I’ll be able to stick around because the more I share, the more afraid I become of the repercussions of telling my truths. The more fearful I become of saying the wrong thing.
Why am I scared? I wish I had a logical answer for you, but I don’t. My answer is rooted in the delusions of my psychosis, and the fact that when I had my first psychotic break I was being heavily honest, and open, on social media. What started as me posting blogs, and tweets, to lighten my load, turned into me wanting to suffer in silence even more; because my soul was naked for the whole entire world to see and it was frightening. It still is, but here I am, trying to push through the struggle.
I feel like every time I talk I sound like a broken record. “Psychosis, psychosis, psychosis”, said the girl who could no longer separate herself from her mental illness. But in all honesty, being psychotic has become my new normal. It’s natural for me to refer back to my psychosis at this point, because my whole life is based around managing a mental health condition. Day by day. Minute by minute. Second by second.
Of course, I know that I am not my illness. I’m more than that. And I’ve accepted that with my physical ailments. However, when your brain is so fragile and you’ve seen how dark your imagination can go, everything becomes questionable. Do I even really exist? What if I’m the only person alive and everyone else is a figment of my imagination? Did someone really call my name or am I hearing voices again? Are these my true memories or are they hallucinations? Will I have another breakdown? And if I do have another breakdown, will I be able to ask for help again, or will I do something tragic to end this mental pain? Am I really as strong as people are telling me that I am, or is everyone lying to me? With each question I ask myself, three more follow, until my mind is full of questions with no answers; and here I am stuck in a state of confusion.
I’ve always battled with depression, at least for as long as I can remember. It comes to me in waves. For a few months I’m fine, and for the next few I’m not. But I’m way past depression at this point. I’m empty. I’m lost. I’m psychotic, and I’m scared. No longer am I dealing with waves of depression, I’m staying here, with added paranoia, anxiety and delusions putting the icing on top of the cake. Although I’m not suicidal, everyday suicide crosses my mind. I think about the times that I spat, swore and urinated on myself because I was following the orders of the voices in my head, and I oftentimes wonder whether the voices will take me to an extreme that I don’t want to be pushed towards. Will I have the resilience to fight it again? I wish I knew, but I know nothing at this point because my poorly brain is so tired.
Recently, I went to see my orthodontist and I had to tell him about my change of medication. Immediately he asked me what I was taking Quetiapine for, and I shakily responded: “It’s an antipsychotic.” 10 minutes later another dentist asked me the same question, to which I gave the same response. Both times they gave me an awkward smile, and both times I died a little bit inside. The truth is, I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed that I wasn’t strong enough to avoid my brain weakening. I’m embarrassed that I can’t heal myself without medication. I’m embarrassed that I’m a mental health patient. And I’m embarrassed that I’ve lost a lot of my independence. I shouldn’t be, but here I am, and I’d rather not lie about it.
“Stop being ungrateful, Liss” is going through my head as I write this. Things could be worse; way worse. People are starving. People are being sex trafficked. People are being killed. People are homeless. Yet, here I am being ungrateful. Here I am acting as though I haven’t come a very long way in the past year and a half. This year, I published my first book, I got a new home, I went to Los Angeles, and so many other progressive things happened. But that’s where my frustration lies. If I’ve been moving forwards, and I appear to be getting stronger, why do I feel like I’m running backwards?
Maybe it’s because I’m not used to this, and I don’t think I ever want to be.
I’m used to thinking for myself, but these days I seek assistance and guidance for every little thing. I used to remember everything, now I have memory loss alongside a brain full of warped memories. I used to be so ambitious and motivated, and now I doubt my every move and fear taking risks outside of my comfort zone. I used to be able to cross the road confidently, and now I’ve had numerous near-accidents because I forget to look before I cross the road. It’s the little things, and they may sound so silly, yet they have such a huge impact because if anything, I should be able to do the little things. But I can’t. At least not at the moment.
Every day I put on a smiley face and claim to be okay, and although it’s a front it’s not entirely a lie. I am okay, but my idea of okay will probably sound like deep depression to someone else. I’ve become so accustomed to suffering in silence that it’s turned into the norm. And because I don’t have any valid reasons, at least in my opinion, to be feeling how I feel, I just shrug it all off and tell myself that I’m fine. But it’s not fine, it’s far from fine. I deserve good mental health, I deserve to be proud of myself, and I deserve to be happy everyday. But to get what I deserve, I have to believe in myself. And in order to believe in myself, I need to know who I am.
However, I don’t know who I am anymore.
I know my name, I know my age, but I don’t know who I really am.
A few nights ago I watched a Netflix documentary titled “Tell Me Who I Am”. Without giving away spoilers, the film is about twin brothers: Alex has memory loss due to a tragic accident and the only person he remembered was his twin, Marcus. It was down to Marcus to tell Alex who he was, which he did, but he kept some things secret. As I watched the documentary, I felt like I could relate to Alex so much. I don’t remember much these days and I rely on my sister to fill in all of my blanks. But unlike Alex who didn’t even have one memory about his past, I have a few, I just don’t know whether they’re real or not. And over the past year, I’ve come to the realisation that some of the things I remember are true, which frightens me even more. Because, unlike Alex (who wanted to know his true history), I don’t know if I want to know the truth about my life. I don’t know if my heart could bear it.
I’m left with the question: Do I need to remember the truth in order to know who I am, or can I rewrite my history from this day moving forward?
I’ve been stuck on that question for a while now, and whilst I’ve been thinking of the answer I’ve been stuck in the mud. It’s a decision I have to make quickly though, because I can’t stay in my darkness, I must move forward. I can’t stay in bed all day in the dark anymore, wishing that I could fall asleep and wake up as a new person. I can’t smoke a cigarette every hour to calm my nerves anymore. I can’t keep avoiding people so that I don’t have to be honest about my feelings. I can’t continue to be naive and oblivious. I must be strong. I must take the necessary steps to heal myself, and regain my confidence. I must start thinking for myself again, and stop relying on mental health specialists to tell me what to do. I must be the warrior that I know I am deep in my heart. I must be the “daughter soldier” my mother called me at night as I slept in her bed for months whilst at my worst.
I’ve run out of goals, which I think is one of the things that is making me feel depleted. I’ve accomplished everything on my 2019 list, and now I’m at a standstill. So, maybe I need to set new goals to keep me moving forward. Maybe if I have something to look forward to, or to work towards, I’ll be so distracted that I won’t notice my psychotic symptoms. Maybe if my goal list is constantly full, I’ll no longer hit rock bottom as I do when I’ve ticked off all of my boxes. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
I don’t want sympathy, or even understanding. I just needed to be honest with myself about my feelings, and what better way to measure growth than to have a diary that details your mindstate at any given time? This is my diary.
No matter how empty I feel, or lost, or psychotic, I am proud of myself; and I don’t want to offload without stating that. There are so many people less privileged than me in the world, and yet they’re happy and grateful. Just like the Balinese people in Ubud. They have so little yet their hearts are so full of love and light. I aim to remain as grateful and appreciative of all that God has allowed me to achieve in my short 25 years of life as the Balinese people. I aim to pray even more than I do now. I aim to rid myself of my shame and come to a place of true acceptance, not temporary acceptance. Life could be worse, and I’m blessed that it’s not.
2019 is drawing to a close, and as I reflect I realise that I’ve made life-changing memories this year, in such a great way, whilst being trapped in darkness. It makes me imagine what I could achieve in the light. Even the sky is not a limitation.
So today I declare, no more hiding from the worlds expectations. I’m not living for the world. I’m not here to impress the world. I’m not here to be perfect for the world. I’m here to be Ellis: a daughter, big sister, granddaughter, niece, auntie, cousin and friend. I’ve been hiding for too long, sitting and waiting for my life to magically get brighter, so that I can blog when I’m feeling positive; but that’s not my truth. I have more emotionless days than positive, so what’s the point in hiding that? How does that help anybody? It doesn’t. But here I am spending more time feeling shameful than actually being the honest young lady I usually am, because I fear that my downfalls will become a stranger on social medias amusement. F**k them!
I’m tired of caring about what others think, that’s not Liss. Liss doesn’t care about others opinions of her, and she never did. I’m tired of letting the things that horrible people have said to me in the past come back to haunt me, scaring me from being my true self. It’s only holding me back emotionally, when I deserve to soar.
Besides, sitting and waiting for things to just get better is not how manifestation works. Manifestation requires action alongside affirmations. And whether I figure out how to stay consistent with my blog straight away, or whether it takes me a bit of a while, the promise I will make is this: I promise to never give up on myself or my dreams. Even if it takes me a little longer than it should to get there, I will get there or die trying.
I’ve missed you all, I love you all, and I pray that I can give you all more honesty soon.
Love and light, Liss x