Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2014...

So, despite what I see around me I don't want 2014 to be a "fresh start" leaving the old behind. I left the old behind,  and I am already on a journey towards the new that god has for me and this is a journey I believe I've been dedicated to for a long time but increasingly since march, when I told God he really could have everything I my life and do what he wanted with me no matter what the consequences.

So this year I want to continue on that journey; continue listening to God and trying to do what he wants me to do when he wants me to do it; continue understanding what his death and resurrection means; and continue drawing closer to him.

Of course there are things to do a long the way that will help, and there are many things I want to do that I already am trying to do in 2014.

In 2014 I aim to: 
- keep happy memories, inspirational quotes and things in a jar, so at the end of the year if an reflect on all the positives of the year.
- keep walking on the path God has put me on, in terms of my mental health.
- keep getting to know God more, sharing what he wants me to and being honest with him.
- keep talking about mental health, sharing the reality of it and helping people understand.
- keep worshipping God in every way I can.

There aren't many things I want to completely change immediately, and I plan to take change when it comes. I've learned a lot in 2013, through the good and the bad, and I'd like to remember all I've learned, I don't want to just forget the bad and pretend it's not there, I want to use it to help myself and others, and the same with all the good :)

So I stand with God, and with friends, entering 2014, not trying to force anything new, but continuing to chose to focus my heart and mind on God. 

Happy New Year, I hope you can celebrate the good and the lessons from 2013, and move into 2014 with God :)

Friday, 27 December 2013

Goodbye 2013.

Hello,
I hope you have had a merry christmas. I hope the meaning of Christmas and the hope that tiny baby brought in darkness as affected you in a new way this week. 

So, it's nearing the end of 2013. For me 2013 was a difficult year, it started in difficulty that had spanned the previous 6 years of my life. This difficulty was partly my mental health struggles, and the pressure I felt from others but mostly myself, to be OK, always, or to at least appear OK. Let me tell you now, it's OK not to be OK, so long as you are getting OK. If your not OK going into 2014, don't be ashamed of it, don't hide it, but ask for the help you need, the support you need. 

My year deteriorated, I got more ill, I moved from house to house to house, with multiple hospital visits, until I ended up almost dead, and really unable to cope mentally, and damaged and broken more than I'd ever imagined. At the start of 2013 I never thought I would be where I am now, never thought I'd of been through what I have this year. But I have, and God has brought me through it, and been with me in it.

I am very thankful to God for this year. More than I expected I would be even if I'd had a great year. I cannot explain to you how much this year has hurt, and how little hope I had, and how far apart I fell. But by falling apart, I allowed God to start to slowly put me back in the right way. I'm a long way off well, but that's OK too. Had things not broken to the extent they had I would not be healing to the extent that I will. 

So I thank God for this difficult year, I thank him for standing with me, holding me, carrying me, and letting me break. I thank him for those who he has put there to help. I thank him, because I'm still alive, because he is still alive, because he has paid the price for me never to break the same way I did this year again.

So, as I think about the new year, and what I'd like it to be like, my main focus is on God, for his will and for his timing. I encourage you, too, to think about what God has helped you through this year, and thank him. Celebrate his goodness this end of the year, for the struggles and the fun. 

Thank you God, for I am still alive, and I know you more than when this year begun.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

What would it mean if Jesus came into your darkest and loneliest place in your life?

So, as you may of noticed its Christmas. At my church on Sunday we looked at Jesus' birth, the nativity story, and the way Jesus chose to enter the world. 

Jesus was born a King, born God, born Human. He was born to a virgin, who was unmarried at the time. He was born into a family who had been shamed by their own family for his birth. He was born in a dirty stable, an unhygienic room with animals, essentially the equivalent of an abandoned and derelict building frequented by people doing illegal things. You getting the idea? Jesus was a king born into a life more opposite to what a king should be than we can imagine. 

My point is that Jesus knew struggle and darkness since he was born. Jesus was born light to the world, he was born hope in a hopeless time. The time leading up to Jesus' birth was silent from God to the Jews, they hadn't heard anything for so long, and I expect they were struggling to keep hope. For the Jews God was the centre of their entire life, so silence was difficult in every area of life. Then, in this dark time where there has been silence and everything's has felt dark and hopeless, the son of God, the brightest light is born in the darkness. Hope has been born on earth, born to a virgin. 

Everyone has dark places in their life. Everyone has silent, lonely places where they don't let people, where they don't let God (mainly for fear that it will be too dark for even him). But Jesus was born into darkeness, and he still held light, he was still God, the world didn't consume him into its own darkness. My challenge to you is to think about your life, where is the darkest area in your life? What are you keeping most hidden? If you don't have anything your probably deceiving yourself. What would it mean if Jesus entered into that darkness with you and walked with you in it, holding his light, holding hope, holding you. 

I think for me, I need to invite Jesus into my thoughts, into my illness. For me that is a very dark place, where I struggle to see hope, to find anything worth hanging on for. And I try to hide it, I try to appear well, to appear joyful and hopeful as much as I can. But in reality what I need more than anything else is for Jesus to hold me in that place, to carry me through this illness. I need to let his hope be my hope. I need to remember all the things that have tried to defeat me, all the battles he has won. I need to remember when he came into dark times in hospital, when I nearly died, when I couldn't cope. And I need to be brave and risk exposure, and let him in. 

What would it mean? It would mean I could hold on to something. That it would never be as dark as it's been because now I've found the light in that area of my life. It would mean that I wasn't alone in my struggles. It would mean I can rest assured that it will not last forever, because Jesus died on the cross, took the price for me to be well, to have hope, to be free, and he rose again, defeated death - and what is darker than torturous death?

So I invite you to join me in this prayer:

Jesus, the light of the world, 
I thank you for coming to earth, 
For paying the price for me to know hope and light,
I invite you into my darkest loneliest place my thoughts and illness*,
And I ask you to be in it with me and help me through.
Amen.

*add your own darkest loneliest place.

I really encourage you to talk to God about your life, identify the dark bits, ask him to lighten them and be in them and trust that he is and walk with him. 

I wish you a happy, hopeful, joyful, light Christmas to you, where Jesus is closer than ever before. 

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Jeremiah 6:16a

Jeremiah 6:16a- "Stand at the crossroads and watch, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls."

This has been the bible verse for this year at my church. I remember hearing it earlier in the year and thinking "I wish I could have rest for my soul." 
I said the verse weekly at church for more than half the year, and asked God for rest for my soul, for rest from the turmoil and the hecticness of my mind. Rest within the reality of being ill with an illness that is characterised by chaotic thinking, impulsiveness and constant change. 
Last Sunday it hit me, that I still hadn't found that rest, or at least not that I could see. Which really hurt, to know that this verse is what God has promised and the year is nearly up and I'm still frantic and constantly in a state of unrest, especially within my mind but also in a lack of sleep and energy. 
In the last week I've been asking God things like "where is my rest?" "Have I not gone down the right path?" "Have I ruined and sabotaged my own opportunity for rest?"
I've stood at many crossroads this year to make decisions; I've asked over and over and over where the good way is, I've pushed to get to where I am in terms of help and asking for it when I need, I've asked professionals what they think is best, I've asked God and I've asked friends; I've tried to walk the paths that I've been directed down. So where is this rest?

Where is rest when I've been in and out of hospital like a yo-yo? Where is rest when I can't concentrate long enough to read an A5 page of writing because my brain is racing so fast? Where is rest when I can't understand reality because of the confusion and distress in my mind? Where is my rest God? 

Today I read that verse in church like I had all the other times this year. And I know where my rest is. This year I have stood at many crossroads. I have walked many paths. I have chosen good ways and walked in them (and bad ways and walked in those too). But this verse isn't static. It isn't a single event necessarily. It isn't that this year we would meet A CROSSROAD. That we would then have rest in every area.
I stood at a crossroads when I came out of hospital and walked paths that lead me back there. That wasn't the good way, that wasn't the ancient path, but I still walked it and I didn't find rest.
I also stood at crossroads a different time coming out of hospital and I chose to ask for help, for the ancient paths, for the good way, and I stayed out of hospital a lot longer, and got significantly more rest, because I wasn't making decisions that made it harder not to turn back with every step. 
Crossroads are scary. Crossroads have many options and I don't like decisions, I fear I will fail or upset or disappoint. But to find rest for your soul you must take a path, taking no path doesn't find you rest either it just keeps you in the same place.

I may have been journeying the last year walking endlessly between crossroads and trying to find paths and rest. Each time I chose the good way, and I choose to enter the right path and walk that way with God I choose rest for my soul. I choose not to wrestle and wander anymore. And slowly but surely, because of what Jesus has done for me on the cross, my soul will find rest, like a child in their parents arms.

So I may not be resting right now, I may feel like I'm constantly wrestling and wandering, but God knows the right paths and has paid the price for my soul to rest and this pain and confusion to be through. I just have to keep trusting him, talking to him, choosing him. You can choose to do that too. 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Stand.

Some of you will know what my past few weeks have been like. Some of you won't. I'm not writing this to share that, but I will say they have been exceedingly difficult.

For now I want to share this:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
-Psalm 23:1-4

I will stand. I will be held up when I cannot stand. If it were not for God I would not be alive.

The last couple of weeks, have been deeper into the valley than I ever thought I'd go, and I am scared almost all the time, but that doesn't mean I can't stand, even with the fear, and declare that God is with me. But Jesus has died and rose again, he has paid the price for me to lie down in green pastures and be beside quiet waters, and have restoration for my soul. He will guide me, and be with me, even in the shadow of death. 

I'm not writing this because I fully understand, or think I've got it sorted now. I'm writing this because I need to remind myself that although I can barely stand, although I am in deaths shadow, although the pain is more than I can bear, Jesus has paid the price and he is alive and all that is promised as a result of it will come, and until that day I will never be alone, even in my darkest suffering.

Monday, 11 November 2013

The Gospel.

So a couple of weeks ago in church, Matt asked us what the Gospel has done for us in our lives.
Just think about that for a moment. What has the gospel done in your life? 

What is the Gospel? The gospel is the story of humanity and God. The gospel is what Jesus did on the cross out of love to save you from your sin. The gospel is what God put himself through to be in relationship with you. To heal you. To talk to you. To listen to you. To walk with you. And not because he needed to be punished by death. Because YOU deserve death. I deserve death, because I am sinful. You deserve death because you are sinful. We are equal. But none of us are equal to God, or Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. They are perfect, they do not sin, they do not deserve death. And yet God sent his son, himself in human form, down to earth to face the same temptation we face, and yet he did not sin, he remained holy and pure. Yet he was punished because God loves each and every one of us so much.

The gospel is Jesus rising from death. He beat death. He didn't just die for our sins. Dead and gone forever. He triumphed over our sins, over sickness, over temptation and rose from his tomb and walked among us once more. (Avid then ascended to heaven).

So what has the gospel done in my life? It has done many things in my life. It has restored my body from near death. It has taken me to places and helped me help others in ways I'm incapable of. It's done many many things and will continue to do many many things.

Right now in my life the Gospel is more important to me than it has ever been, and I don't fully understand it yet! Luckily Gods ability to do things in and through us isn't reliant upon us or our capability or understanding. Most of you will probably know I've not been well, mentally and physically. And if you don't then read my earlier blog posts. The gospel does things for me in my every day life I'm not sure I'd manage without it. Tiny tiny things that if I was well may seem insignificant, but they are very significant.
The power of the gospel gets me up in the morning as opposed to my own strength which leaves me in bed. (Ironically I'm writing this sat on my bed). 
The power of the gospel gets me to phone people when I need to. I HATE PHONE CALLS. But when necessary I manage because Gods strength is in me.
It enables me to get through days where I feel like I'm in hell, because I know that Jesus has already taken sickness to the grave, and risen without it, and is with me.

Honestly, if I didn't know what Jesus had done for me, and I believe I still don't fully know, I would not be here right now, I wouldn't of had the strength to stand up every time I fell. My body wouldn't of stood up every time it crashed (and believe me it did that a lot).

I'm not saying I'm physically and mentally well again because I believe in Jesus and what he did. What I'm trying to say, is that one day I will be free of all of this, because Jesus has already paid the price. He has paid the price for you to be free too. I'm weak, I cannot do this in my own strength, I'm not still alive because of my own human ability. I'm alive because God is alive inside of me and Jesus replaced me on that cross and suffered on my behalf. And he did the same for you.
It doesn't make you less ill. It doesn't make all your problems go away. But it can give you hope if you let it. Things can get better if you choose worship, and by that I mean doing whatever it is God is asking you to, big things and little things, because he will provide you with strength to accomplish them. And no matter how long the suffering or illness, he will never stop providing, whether it's people, therapy, medicine, money, or anything else. He knows your needs and he will provide.

And yes I am still learning this lesson myself. 

Monday, 28 October 2013

Songs, poems and writing.

Something I'm trying to I try is using words to help me. Reading, singing, writing etc. and I intend to to 10 posts over 10 days that either give me hope, explain how I'm thinking and feeling.

So this is the first one and I'd like to share with you these lyrics:

The lights go out all around me
One last candle to keep out the night
And then the darkness surrounds me
I know I'm alive but I feel like I've died
And all that's left is to accept that it's over
My dreams ran like sand through the fists that I made
I try to keep warm but I just grow colder
I feel like I'm slipping away

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I've cried my last, there'll be beauty from pain
Though it won't be today, someday I'll hope again
And there'll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

My whole world is the pain inside me
The best I can do is just get through the day
When life before is only a memory
I'll wonder why God lets me walk through this place
And though I can't understand why this happened
I know that I will when I look back someday
And see how you've brought beauty from ashes
And made me as gold purified through these flames

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I've cried my last, there'll be beauty from pain
Though it won't be today, someday I'll hope again
And there'll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

Here I am at the end of me (at the end of me)
Tryin' to hold to what I can't see (to what I can't see)
I forgot how to hope
This night's been so long
I cling to Your promise
There will be a dawn

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I've cried my last, there'll be beauty from pain
Though it won't be today, someday I'll hope again
And there'll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

This song gives me hope and reminds me that God will bring beauty from my pain, if I let him. That this won't all be for nothing. That he has plans.

I reccomend giving it a listen, it's called Beauty From Pain by Superchick.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Bad Day, Good God.

Some of you may know the relevance of the sea, and the beach to me, others of you may not. 
I love the sea, I love it in its stormiest and calmest, I think it's one of the most beautiful things this world has in terms on nature. There is more to it than that. 

Today I'm not having the easiest of days. I barely slept last night (after being told tea would solve all my problems by someone how is meant to be professional, lets just say it didn't). My mind is all over the place. Too fast. Too slow. Barely there at all. So there it feels like nothing else is. I'm tired. I'm weak. I don't want to get out of bed. I don't want to leave my duvet. I don't want to see anyone/speak to anyone. Get it? BAD DAY BAD DAY BAD DAY ALERT. Even writing this isn't helping me think like it normally does, and I keep stopping, the realising 5 minutes later that I've stopped. Today I'm happysadangryfrustratedlowhighcomfortablelazyangryangrysadaloneenergetichappylathargicBLAH. Welcome to borderline personality disorder emotion roller coaster, your seat belt is broken so just jump off when you need to. 

Anyway, your probably wondering how the two above paragraphs are related.
Hillsong have a song called Oceans, on their album Zion. Today I just keep reminding myself of the lyrics.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand


And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

So today that's what I will hold onto, that's what I will let be my seatbelt, that god will hold me and I won't fall out. That he will keep my head above the waves and stop me drowning. However much I scream and shout for help because I believe I'm drowning, he hears and he already knows I will make it. This isn't making the roller coaster stop. It doesn't stabilise my emotions. It means I have to trust what I can't see. It means I have to trust that even though I'm breathing in water I'm not going to die of internal drowning. 

Friday, 11 October 2013

World Mental Health Day.

I have mental health. You have mental health. We all have mental health. 
Sometimes we have ill mental health, sometimes we have well mental health.
Some of us have illnesses concerning our mental health. 
But we all have mental health! (This is a good thing...)

My mental health isn't great at the moment! You can probably tell that from my most recent posts. But that's OK. Most people at some point will struggle with their mental health, and I want you all to know:
-if that's you, don't be ashamed.
-if it's someone you know, don't be ashamed or afraid of them.
-if it's not you or someone you know it's not a bad thing to learn about while your lucky enough to be well :)

Be aware.
I'd love to live in a world where illness didn't exist. Wouldn't we all? But we live in a world where it does exist. We live in a world where we are surrounded by it and by the brokenness it causes in us and in those around us. It hurts. Some people experience physical illness, some mental illness, some both. It's fairly likely you know someone who is hurting physically right now, and someone who is hurting mentally right now. We need to be aware. We need to be aware of ourselves, of our mental and physical health, so if something is wrong we can ask for help. And we need to be aware of those around us, of their mental and physical health, so if something's wrong we can offer them support and help.

Be supportive.
If someone is struggling, they may reach out for help, but with a mental health problem sometimes it's difficult to express. If you don't understand what they are saying it's OK to ask again. If they say something that doesn't fit with your world do not tell them they are stupid, because for them it could be very very real. For example, some people who have hallucinations will see things you cannot see, just as clearly as you can see this writing on your screen. This doesn't make them stupid, but they may need help and support. Telling them they're stupid or that they can't possibly see it will not help. They can, and saying to them they can't could be very distressing. Just like if I told you that the screen your reading this on isn't really there. You'd think "but I can see it. I can I can I can. I can touch it. It's there". That's what they would think. 

Healthy body healthy mind?
If you don't have a mental health problem or you do, keeping your body healthy can help your mind work. (Yes I know I'm rubbish at this, but apparently it's true). Sleeping well, eating well, exercising regularly, doing things you enjoy, all help your mental health. If you do have a mental health problem these can become hard. But that doesn't mean you can't try. And try. And try again. 

HELP!
Please please please, if you have concerns about your mental health or someone close to you, then get help sooner rather than later. Have a look on the MIND website, or beat if it's eating related. Or visit your GP. Speak to those close to you, who you trust and ask for help. It's difficult to get help without asking. And keep asking, sometimes it takes a lot of asking, and a lot of time. But don't give up on yourself or anyone else.

For more mental health information visit MIND, Re-think mental health, beat, bipolar UK, Samaritans, Young Minds, Minds Like Ours and The Site.org.

And I wish you a well World Mental Health Day.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Day 10 - 20 things I want to do in the future.

These are little and big reasons to fight. 
1- have children.
2- go to university.
3- go to New York.
4- take the TNT kids to spree.
5- go to Bristol to see Emily, Claire and Rachel.
6- go to Germany and see Julia.
7- go to Rock School 2014.
8- write and record a song.
9- run a marathon
10- go to clovelly
11- do the colour run.
12- help someone else through something I've been through.
13- write a book
14- knit a baby jumper.
15- raise £1,000 for charity.
16- teach dance at TNT!
17- see my mummy and give her a big hug.
18- share my story once I'm through this and encourage others!
19- go to Cornwall and splash in the sea.
20- be able to say thank you to God for seeing me through this life at the end of it, and the. Go to be with him worshipping forever.

So that's my 10 days over. I hope you've enjoyed it. I have. I hope it's helped people feel they aren't alone, helped people understand, and more. I'll keep blogging, but not as often I shouldn't think! Thanks for reading :)

Day 9 - How I'm learning to survive.

Why did I say I would do this? For your own good. To help you make things make sense. So that on the days you can barely remember the previous day there's a little hope. Don't mind my internal dialogue. 

So, how I'm learning to survive. I'm not sure if when I learnt this I meant the ways in which I am learning to survive. Or about the fact that I am learning to survive.

Hello, my name is Lizzi, and I'm learning to survive. Post done? No Lizzi, somehow I doubt you meant it to be that simple. 

So, how? Firstly, depending on how I'm doing, I take life a day/hour/half-hour/minute delete as applicable at a time. Some days I feel great, I know I can do today, I have this appointment here, I need to buy yoghurt, and then I'm gonna read a book and then go for a walk and then watch I-player. Fairly standard day, happens a lot for most people? A day like this would be a dream for me. On a rare occasion I may have one, but its normally interrupted. Sometimes if there's something happening the next day that gives me hope, or helps me hold out until then, I can fight. Then the actual thing comes up and I get nervous and anxious and scared and I panic. Sometimes it's just taking it minute by minute. I only have to deal with this minute, if I can do what I need to this sixty seconds then that'll be good. Repeat until day is through.
I'm learning to survive by asking for help. By calling (anxiety provoking phone call situation) someone. By speaking to a support worker. By texting someone. By praying. By writing what I can't say. If you do not ask for help, do not expect help. If you want something to change and you can't do it on your own, ask for help. 
I'm learning to survive by trying to do things I enjoy even when I don't want to or I freak out about them. This is easier said than done. But I try, because if you don't try then change won't come.
I'm learning to survive by letting god pick me up and put me back in place every time I fall down a hole. Which is often. But it's ok, because I'm not alone in that, and I'm trying. 
I'm learning to survive, to endure, to stand firm. So that one day I can thrive, and enjoy, and be a help.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Day 8 - Verses in the bible that mean a lot to me.

The whole bible has things that I think are important, but here are a few special ones for me. 

Mark 5:34 - Jesus said to her, "Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you're healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague."

Isaiah 53:5 - But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him - our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.

Psalm 29:11 - The Lord gives strength to his people; The Lord blesses his people with peace.

Isaiah 41:10 - Fear not, for I am with you.

Luke 22:42 - "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."

Exodus 14:14 - I will fight for you, you need only be still.

Psalm 94:17-19 - Unless The Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, "My foot is slipping," your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

Some of these challenge me, some of these I hold onto for dear life. I hope they can do the same for one of you.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Day 7 - What is BPD/A&APD? (To me)

Ok, let's start with BPD.
BPD stands for borderline personality disorder. It is also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder.
It means:
- I feel emotions very intensely, more than the average "normal" person.
- My emotions change very rapidly, like someone's flicking a light switch off and there's no warning sign. 
This diagram is my way of showing you what a day with BPD is like compared to a day without. The blue is with, the orange is without. The dotted lines show the limits of normal emotional intensity. BPD often goes way past those lines, or at least reaches the maximum within them. 
- Because my emotions are so intense, most of my actions tend to be emotional responses.
- Impulsiveness and compulsiveness happen A LOT. I may do something impulsively and then regret it, or I may feel a compulsion to do something, not necessarily a bad thing, but I may feel I have to tidy up right now, and there's no choice, it has to be right now.
- I often jump to conclusions that people's bad moods are because of something I have done that I am unaware of.
- I find maintaining any form of relationship difficult sometimes, trusting is difficult, and I worry that people are only pretending to care. 
- It also often makes my thoughts race so fast I cannot identify what they actually are, this can be paralysing and make me appear very spaced out, or it can make me very agitated and fidgety.

And A&APD? It stands for Anxious and Avoidant Personality disorder. It's basically what it says on the tin, but ill spell it out for you anyway.
It means:
- most things make me anxious. Speaking to people. Using the telephone other than texting. Leaving the house. Large groups of people. Social Situations. Places I cant leave at he drop of a hat (or feel I couldn't if I needed to). And more. Fun I know.
- I tend to avoid things that make me anxious. 
- When no avoiding them I can have panic attacks, or it can make my BPD symptoms l,e racing thoughts worse, or I may just impulsively run away. 

I hope this helps you understand a little more. :)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Day 6 - what does being better mean to me?

Being better means different things to different people, in relation to different illnesses. For example, if I had a cold, I wouldn't say "I'm better" until I didn't have any symptoms. But with something's that isn't the case.
At the moment to me being better would mean:
-being able to get a job and enjoy it.
-being able react in a productive rather than destructive way to emotions.
-being able to do the things anxiety stops me doing.
-being able to have a family and have children at some point in the future.
-being able to help others in similar situations to what I've been through.
-being able to fully understand complex information.
-being able to concentrate long enough to read solidly for an half an hour if I wanted to.
-being able to sleep at night.

Being well is about both the big and little things, it's not necessarily about removing the disorders completely, and I'm not entirely sure I would cope with that even if it was possible, because its always been there and it's how I make sense of the world, if it went away how would I make sense of the world? Instead it's about learning ways of coping and managing in a society that's designed for those who don't have the disorders I have. If more people had borderline personality disorder and society was made up of a majority of people with it I doubt I would have the same difficulties, but it isn't, so that's what I need to learn, that's how I get better. :)

Day 5 - what my heart is crying out for right now.

Ok, when I wrote the list of 10 things I would do I really was challenging myself with sharing, and this isn't gonna be easy.
A little about heart and head first. I won't talk about what my head cries out for, because my head doesn't always say helpful things, and I want this to remind me what the true me really wants to be, to see, to have, to know. When I talk about my heart I'm talking about what I desire, what I wish and hope for when I can.
My heart is crying out to see breakthrough in life, in my life, in lives of the kids at the club I help with, in the lives of the people I live with, in the lives of my friends, in the lives of my church family and the community surrounding it. My heart is screaming for me to care more, do more, be more for everyone else, but I have to remind myself how much better I can be at that once I can care more, do more and be more for myself. 
My heart cries out for freedom, freedom from confusion, from illness, from injustice. This is something I believe can only be found through God and Jesus death, which paid forms health, your health, healing, freedom etc. 
My heart cries out for people to understand, or at least accept me, and others with mental health problems as they are. Being diagnosed does not change who that person is, you don't get diagnosed and then get it, you already have it before your diagnosed, so don't treat them different now that it has a name ok?
Again, these are just a few things. But this reminds me why I shouldn't give up. Cus if I give up I cannot make a difference to even one person.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Day 4 - things I've learnt in the past year

This ones gonna be tricky, I've learnt so much.
1- I've learnt that sometimes things have to blow up before they can be put back together. That hiding things and pretending they aren't there so you don't have to deal with them or get help with them does not work. This time last year I was in pretty big denial, slowly throughout the year at conferences and other things I realised how much I wasn't coping with things I thought I'd fixed. I knew it was time to get help, and I gave everything to God (see my post I love you, beautiful) and (this is where you want me to say everything got easier) everything appeared to go wrong. Really wrong. You can only know how wrong if you watched it all happen, which some of you did, and I'm sorry you had to watch. But now I have way more help, now I know who is supporting me and I'm on my way to being well again, really well, not fake well, I've been fake well too many times.
2- I've learnt that God will not leave you, even if you throw yourself off a metaphorical cliff. He was there when I was well, fake well, ill and all the in-betweens. 
3- I have learnt to trust God more (I say more because I know I don't trust God fully, I wish I did, and I will keep trying, but more is more than before). To trust him when everything falls apart. And I mean everything. And it didn't even fall apart they way I thought it would! I learnt to trust God to get me through panic attacks, meetings, conference, trips to hospitals, talking to people, phone calls, all those things you think are easy but are really hard when your ill). 
4- I learnt mental health problems are not something to be ashamed of, and neither is needing to be on benefits for now. I won't sit down and let you tell me that you shouldn't have to pay taxes to pay for me to have benefits, because if this was reversed you would never say that. I'd love to be able to work or be at university and not be on benefits right now, but I'm ill. You wouldn't tell someone who had an organ other than their brain working in a way that stopped them being able to work to not be on benefits, so don't tell me that either. Also, I've learned that if your not honest and you don't speak out then people don't understand, and they don't learn about how to help or support or whatever. Not that I always speak out, or that I find it easy when I do, but I've learnt I should.
5- I've learnt that worship is beyond just singing, it's beyond just anything. I'm not claiming to fully understand it. But worship is about every single thing you think or do or say giving glory to God, and worshipping is trying to to that as much as possible. Worshipping god might be taking myself to the doctors when I'm ill, or trying to do something I have to do despite being really sick with worry about it over and over and failing repeatedly but still trying.

Those are just a few of many things.

Also, I know I said 10 days, but I've been busy and then ill and never got round to it, but I will finish eventually!

Day 3 - things I enjoy and how they could be useful.

1- Dance. Dance is always fun, useful to let out emotions, to make you feel good, to keep you fit, to be sociable (or not seen as I do it mostly alone). It's great to teach other people, or to cps how a message. It's great to watch. 
2- Working with Children - always helpful when you help run a childrens club (WOOHOO FOR TNT BEING BACK ON TONIGHT AFTER THE SUMMER). Helpful for future careers (paediatric nursing). Just lots of fun. 
3- Making bracelets - good distraction, also good for helping you concentrate. If anyone wants me to make them a bracelet let me know, and colours and stuff, would appreciate £1 donation cus thread ain't free!
4- Reading - only helpful when my brain works, but great for learning things, or losing yourself in a pretend world.
5- Music - great for playing really loud through headphones and blocking out mental battles. Good for dancing too. Good for making you walk faster. Good for expressing yourself. Good for worship.
6- Writing - expressing yourself, explaining things to others, explaining things to yourself.

I'm sure they're are plenty of other things but these are the main ones that stand out,and I wanna keep this short and sweet!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Day 2 - 100 things I am thankful for.

1- God's faithfulness.
2- The NHS, yeah they get a lot of complaints, but I'd be dead without them.
3- My church family - Birchfield church has a very special place in my heart, and I love all my family there very much, it's made up of a group of incredible people.
4- Bekki, Emillie, Harry, Bump and Ben, you guys have brought me a lot of love and joy.
5- Matt, Claire, Sophie, Annabelle (and bump), who have been a huge support, more than I thought people ever would be, and have taught me a lot.
6- Michael and Dan.
7- SWYM Be Transformed, a year that didn't turn out how I expected but I learnt more than I thought I would.
8- The Gateway, and last years UW team, and Claire Hardy, who have supported me last year and a long time before.
9- My family.
10- Dance.
11- Books.
12- Creativity.
13- Diet coke (it had to be in there somewhere).
14- All the lovely people at the Cafe - Jo, Hilary, Chris, Carole, Bethan etc.
15- Rachel.
16- Joel and Bex (and Minds Like Ours).
17- HUGE mugs. 
18- Andy (sorry for all I've put you through).
19- Jerry the cactus (it had to start getting weird somewhere...)
20- Summer Festivals.
21- Nai and Mark, who really supported me and still do from so far away! (Missing yoooooou).
22- Brad and Robin, who really helped opened my eyes back in march.
23- Pebbles, my rabbit that speaks with the voice of Emillie and Harry.
24 - Holly Court and the home treatment team and all the people involved in my care.
25- Opticians, and glasses, and the ability to see.
26- House group on Wednesday mornings :)
27- that I don't have to prove myself to God, or earn his love.
28- that I'm alive when I shouldn't be.
29- cards, I love it when people send letters or cards.
30- photographs.
31- the sea.
32- rain, cus I love the sound and the smell and the puddles.
33- having rights.
34- the availability of learning to all in the UK. 
35- Fred, who takes us on multiple adventurs.
36- little blessings, like realising I've managed to concentrate enough to read something or watch something, always feels like a little accomplishment.
37- sleep, when I get it its so good!
38- meaningful hugs.
39- Julia, who I miss incredibly. 
40- days and nights, and the secure pattern and stability that brings to life. 
41- jim-jams, which if it was socially acceptable, I would wear all day.
42- god providing things when I've needed them.
43- cas, who has seen so much of my life, unfortunately he's mute though,
44- hot drinks, coffee, hot chocolate. Hugging your insides. Mmmmmmm.
45- radiator trousers.
46- clothes and shoes.
47- running clean water.
48- heating.
49- having a government that does its best to help those who are vulnerable and/or struggling.
50- (half way!) dressing gowns. Unfortuneatley I don't actually have one right now though.
51- nature, it's so pretty.
52- Susie.
53- Rosie and Joe
54- Sarah
55- Abbie and Cyan
56- Ellie.
57- Sian, Tracey, Nicole and family.
58- Nurses, doctors and staff in the hospitals, specifically Hannah, Andrea, Bev, Sadie and Claire.
59- All the chaplains out there who support people daily where they are.
60- peanut butter.
61- hair brushes, even if they seem to make my hair fall out.
62- Barry.
63- hope.
64- Ella.
65- Nigel
66- Emily Hurlock, Stacey, Claire Stoney.
67- Washing machines and tumble dryers.
68- beds and duvets and pillows.
69- plates, bowls and cutlery.
70- mobile phones.
71- the Internet.
72- the ability to read and write.
73- the fact that there is always something you can learn from everyone you meet if you try hard to find it.
74- moustaches, but not real ones.
75- (75% done) fire alarms.
76- coffee shops.
78- electricity.
79- Samaritans, just think how many lives they help and change.
80- blurt organisation.
81- Frank, sometimes. Take note emillie-grace.
82- hot water bottles.
83- music.
84- headphones, so I don't have to listen to your music and I don't have to share mine.
85- Miranda.
86- my Nike hoody and running stuff.
87- hairbands.
88- that I can walk.
89- belts.
90- my Doc Martens.
91- ballet shoes, which I always love wearing. Always.
92- yoghurt.
93- colour, wouldn't life be boring without it?
94- Lily Lamb.
95- other people who share their experiences to help you through yours.
96- fun days out with amazing people
97- good memories.
98- things that smell of vanilla.
99- Jesus' death on the cross.
100- that this is finished. (Yes I wrote that in before some of the others, so what!)

If you read all of that well done. But you have probably wasted quite a bit of time, sorry!

Why don't you try and make one too?!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Day 1 - a few reasons I believe in God.

I hope you all know that I'm a Christian, I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, I believe in the Holy Spirit. 
But why?
Let me tell you.
Firstly, I can't look at creation and not believe in a creator. Ever looked at your own skin? (If not then you are now!!). All those lines, all that detail. Can you feel your heart beat? (Admittedly I mostly can't but that's another story). That is happening for a reason, you have your own little rhythm. Or even take a piece of grass for example, ever picked up on of them (and murdered it...) and looked at it? S much detail on something so small, that we see as so meaningless. IT MUST HAVE A MAKER! I couldn't make something that beautiful. Well, I suppose babies are pretty beautiful, but even they can't fully be created by us, because we have been created too. Anyway, you get the idea, look at something natural and I challenge you not to be amazed at its detail.
Secondly, I'm alive. I shouldn't be, not really. I should be pretty dead. But I'm not, because God has kept me alive for some reason (one I'm not always very aware of). 
Thirdly, well, it's pretty much proven that Jesus existed, and how could he do what he did on earth without being God? He couldn't. And he did even more powerful things by being dead and then alive again. (How many of us can raise ourselves from the dead? Heal a blind person? Walk on water? Of your own accord? No I didn't think so somehow).

I'm not trying to force anything on anyone, I'm aware some of you reading this may not believe in God, and that's totally your choice and I respect that. But I'd be very dead without him, and I'd be heading that way pretty fast if he didn't have me. Whether I choose him or reject him Jesus' death still has an impact. This is not me saying I get it all, or that I'm perfect, or that I always fully believe and understand the power in what Jesus did. (I'm very much aware that I really struggle to believe sometimes that there is a future and a hope, but god provides people to tell me in those times). It's just me trying to work through it in my head, to write it down for myself. 

There are plenty more reasons for believing, loads of huge stories and little stories, that show Gods existence, his faithfulness, his love. But these are just a few that spring to my mind first.
And you can always ask him to show you, what have you got to lose? (Well, potentially everything, but that's a good thing, because nothing we have is that great anyway comparatively).

10 days.

To give myself something to try and achieve I'm going to post every day for 10 days (unless something drastic happens) about the following list of things.
1- a few reasons why I believe in God.
2- a list of 100 things I am thankful for.
3- things I enjoy and thoughts on how they could be useful.
4- things I learnt in the past year.
5- what my heart is crying out for right now.
6- what does "being better" mean to me.
7- what is BPD? A&APD? (Or at least what is it to me...)
8- verses in the bible that mean a lot to me.
9- how I'm learning to survive.
10- 20 fun things I want to do in the future.

If your interested then pop over daily and see, or read them all at the end. This (as I've said before) is completely selfish, I'm doing it for me not for you, but you can share it too I guess!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

I am still Lizzi.

So, this is me being brave, being honest, being open, being real. This is me deciding not to be ashamed, not even in secret. This is me trying to do my bit to talk about something so many people find difficult to talk about.
I have a mental health disorder. 
And I'm not going to be ashamed of it.
I am me. I am Lizzi. I always have been. I always will be. I have not changed now that I have been diagnosed. I am still the same.
Sometimes I cope well, sometimes I do not. 
Sometimes I let it show, sometimes I do not. 
I have Anxious and Avoidance personality disorder, an eating disorder and suspected borderline personality disorder. 
I am not a disorder, I have a disorder, I am Lizzi.
Do not ask me why I have these disorders, because you would not ask someone why they have a cold. 
Do not refer to me by my disorder, because you wouldn't say to someone oh yes, you are a cold. That would be ridiculous.  
I did not chose to have a disorder, but I am choosing to fight it.

And you know what? God understands my disorder, I'm not any less to him because of my disorder, I am still his child, I am still made in his image. I am still Lizzi. 

If you know someone struggling with mental health, the best advice I can give you is listen and do not judge. You aren't them, you've not walked there path, only them and God know what their life is like and what difficulties they find. Try your best to get information about what they struggle with, and accept them as they are. Never tell them they are stupid for the way they are. Sometimes the person struggles to understand or explain what they are feeling or thinking, accept that too.

If you want to know more, speak to someone with a mental health problem, or have a look at one of the following websites. 
And if you have a mental health problem, I encourage you to be brave and speak up, (yes I know it's hard, I'm half hoping no one reads this)!

Some useful websites:
www.mind.org.uk
www.mentalhealth.org.uk
www.b-eat.co.uk eating disorders
www.selfharm.org.uk self harm
www.befriends.org suicide
www.samaritans.org
www.depressionalliance.org depression
www.timetochange.org.uk

While I'm here I would really like to thank a few people who have really supported me, and some services too. Thank you too my Birchfield Church family (#teambirchfield), especially Matt and Claire Merriam, Bekki Watts and Michael Flaherty. Thank you too my close friends - Rachel, Dan, Ellie, Nai&Mark, Susie, Lily, Emily, Claire and Stacey. Thank you to my mummy and Angela. Thank you to YDH, Holly Court, HTT and Rowan. Thank you to everyone else too, I cant mention you all, but you know who you are, and how much I appreciate you :) And the biggest thank you I have is to God, who has never once left me on my own. 

Remember, God can make something beautiful out of dust, so just be brave. 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A public divorce ceremony.


I, Lizzi Floyd, do not take thee, Ed, to be my lawful wedded partner, to let go and turn away from from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. You have not loved or cherished and I will not obey you, with your death and not mine, we shall part, because of God's loving sacrifice of Jesus' death on a cross, thereto I crush you and flee into my fathers arms. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Mental Health Awareness Week.

So, it's mental health awareness week this week. To be perfectly honest, I don't know an overly large amount about mental health. I only really know what I learnt from A-level Psychology and my own experiences of depression, anxiety and eating disorders in myself and those I've known over the past years. Despite my own struggles I wouldnt like to claim to understand it, or to say that I understand fully what it means to be mentally ill. 

But what I do know, is that being mentally ill is a real illness, it may not be visible, but that doesnt mean it isnt painful, it doesnt mean you wont struggle with particular things, and it doesnt mean you can just make yourself well because 'its all in your head'. I know that God understands the ins and outs of every mental health problem. That he is capable of bringing freedom and healing to people who are ill just as he is capable with any other illness. I know that Jesus knows how depression felt. He said himself in Matthew 26:36-39 (below) that his soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death (I may be wrong but I wwould say that pretty acuratley represents depression, or at least a form of it!)

"36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

And Jesus fell on his face, before his heavenly father and asked for freedom (From the death he was about to face on the cross, but I think also from the deep anguish and despair going on in his soul). But he also had the respect of God to know that God's will was what needed to be done, that his dearly loving and caring father knew what was best for his Children. And Jesus trusted his father, that whatever came next was what was right and just. 
I dont know what your experience of mental health is, or what your experience of Jesus is, or of our Father. But I want to encourage you that when you cry out to your Daddy amidst any illness, he hears you and he knows and understands and that he will not leave you. 

So, here are some statistics, I hope they paint a better picture of how common these struggles are, and how real they are.
"1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year.

This is the most commonly quoted statistic, and the one which has the most research evidence to support it. It came initially from a large scale study published first in 1980, then updated again 1992.This figure is further supported by the results of all three Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys.
The breakdown below gives an overview of what treatment those who experience mental health problems are likely to seek and get:
  around 300 people out of 1,000 will experience mental health problems every year in Britain
  230 of these will visit a GP
  102 of these will be diagnosed as having a mental health problem
  24 of these will be referred to a specialist psychiatric service
  6 will become inpatients in psychiatric hospitals.

Depression
  Depression with anxiety is experienced by 9.7 per cent of people in England, and depression without anxiety by 2.6 per cent.
  Women have a higher prevalence of mixed anxiety and depressive disorder than men. The ONS figure for women is 11.8 per cent of the population in England and for men 7.6 per cent.
  Overall, depression occurs in 1 in 10 adults or 10 per cent of the population in Britain at any one time, according to the ONS, closely matching figures from other studies.
  Around 1 in 20 people at any one time experience major or ‘clinical’ depression.
Obsessive compulsive disorder
  Around 1.3 per cent of the population of England have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) at any one time according to the NHS Information Centre.
  Other studies suggest that up to 3 per cent of the population will experience OCD at some time in their life.
  Several studies suggest a lifetime prevalence of 2 to 3 per cent.     However, NICE suggests that these figures are too high and that some studies may have over-diagnosed people participating in the studies.
  Studies are divided over whether this is more common for women: one survey gives a female to male ratio of 15:11[xiii], whereas other studies have suggested no clear gender difference in diagnostic rates for OCD.
Eating disorders
  The incidence of anorexia nervosa is around 19 per 100,000 of the population per year for women and 2 per 100,000 per year for men, according to NICE.
  The prevalence for bulimia nervosa is between 0.5 and 1.0 per cent for young women, suggests NICE.
  Around 90 per cent of those diagnosed with bulimia are thought to be girls, according to NICE.
  Beating Eating Disorder (beat) suggests that the prevalence rates for anorexia might be around 1 –2 per cent. For bulimia they suggest a prevalence rate of 1-3 per cent.
  As many cases of eating disorder are unreported or undiagnosed, the actual figures are likely to be much higher. beat suggests that as many as 1.5 million people in the UK might be experiencing some form of eating disorder.
Postnatal depression
  The most common form of postnatal disturbance is the ‘baby blues’ which is said to be experienced by at least half of all mothers in the western world.
  However, different studies suggest different figures for the number of women affected by ‘baby blues’, and estimates vary between 15 and 85 per cent.
  Baby blues usually lasts for a few hours or a few days. The condition is so common that it is considered as normal.
  Some women have a much more severe change in mood after the birth of their child and may be assessed as experiencing postnatal depression (PND). A number of studies indicate that 10-15 per cent of new mothers will experience PND.
  Puerperal psychosis is a severe and relatively rare form of postnatal depression affecting between 0.1 and 0.2 per cent of all new mothers.[xx]
Phobias
  Around 2.6 per cent of adults in England experience phobias.[xxi]
  One study, it is shown that women are twice as likely as men to experience phobias.
  Other studies show widely differing rates: one author quotes two community surveys - one in Canada, giving a prevalence rate of 7.7 per cent; and another very large US survey, giving a rate of 13.3 per cent.
Personality disorders
  In Britain the prevalence of personality disorder ranges from 2 per cent to 13 per cent according to different studies.
  The concept of a personality disorder is controversial and use of this diagnosis is often questioned. Some diagnoses are applied more commonly to men (such as dissocial personality disorder), while others are applied more commonly to women (such as borderline personality disorder).
  ONS reports that the prevalence rate for personality disorder in the UK is around 5.4 per cent for men and 3.4 for women.
Bipolar disorder (Manic Depression)
  Most studies give a lifetime prevalence of 1 per cent for bipolar disorder and equal prevalence rates for men and women.
  However, hospital admission rates are much higher owing to the recurrent nature of the illness.
  It is estimated that 20 per cent of people who have a first episode of manic depression do not get another.
Schizophrenia
  Most studies show a lifetime prevalence for schizophrenia of just under 1 per cent.
  ONS suggests a per year prevalence rate of around 5 per 1000 of the population (0.5 per cent).
  It is estimated that the prevalence at any one time is about 2 per 1000 (0.2 per cent).
  While prevalence rates are the same for men and women, age and gender together is an important factor: one study shows incidence for men aged 15-24 is twice that for women, whereas for those between 24-35, it is higher among women. This reflects a common late onset of the illness for women.
  One estimate suggests that around 37-40 per cent of people diagnosed with psychosis will fit the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia."

For more information go to www.mind.org.uk for general mental health, or www.beat.co.uk for eating disorders.

Be aware, be prayerful for those struggling.
If your struggling, remember you aren't alone, no matter how alone you feel.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Fight


So, I don't really know where your at, or what your fighting with and wrestling with, but im fairly sure there will be something. 
If I'm honest, I'm pretty tired of fighting today, and I'm feeling pretty weak and tired. Ok, tired isnt the word, I'm completely shattered, and not seeing anything I'm fighting for becoming a reality and becoming worth the level of effort I'm putting in! Anyway, that all sounds very negative, I know, but bear with...(couldn't resist a little miranda in there, sorry!). So, I was feeling rubbish, and decided to try and put paper to pen and write a poem, and halfway through the poem it occured to me that now that I'd accepted how weak I was, it meant I had the oppertunity to see how strong God is (Yes, I know some of you have been trying to show me for a while, but its clicked a little now). So here is a poem I wrote, its called Fight, and I hope somehow it helps with your fight.

Fight
Its never ending,
The fight inside,
A constant battle,
My will agaisnt mine.

I try and fight,
Push you further back,
But the results dont show,
And fight then I lack.

You whisper and twist,
All different words in my brain,
I thought I was winning,
But I've lost this again.

I thought I'd let go,
But that was just one hand,
And I was decieved,
You re-took your stand.

I try and try,
And I lose and lose,
I've lost more of myself,
And my hope has left too.

I want control,
But I want freedom too,
I want my life back,
And I don't want you.

I don't want you twisting,
Distorting my mind,
I want the truth,
To have power inside.

I want to stand,
To walk away,
My face turned to God,
In his hands I'll stay.

So goodbye, forever,
The battle is won,
I will take small steps,
Because of God's Son.

With each little step,
A brighter light shines,
Pace by pace,
I'll leave you behind.

One day I will be completely free,
Because my saviour died for me,
Until that day I will keep stepping into light,
Strengthened by God for each bit of the fight.


So that is my poem, and that is my prayer. I want those things, and today its hard to see them, but I want to.