The problem with bottling things up

TW: talks of suicide

We’re always told to not bottle up how we feel. I can’t count the times I’ve said it to friends when they’re struggling to find a solution to something. Even then I operate a “do as I say not as I do” policy!! I have the biggest culprit of bottling things up I’ve ever met.

I have always put it down to being an only child. After all, if something went wrong and you didn’t want the parents to know, you didn’t have anyone to talk it over with. So that’s kind of how I approach my coping with mental illness. I don’t tell anyone until it’s too late.

Lately I’ve had a lot going on.

I took a group of girls to Portugal with Girlguiding Ulster. I thought it might be a bit challenging but overall enjoyable. Boy was I wrong. As first aider I was never off duty. It seemed every time I turned my back someone had fallen or started crying with homesickness. Then there was the trip to hospital and the constant phone calls to parents and our home contact. I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I went back to work after and joked that I needed 3 weeks off to recover from my week and a half off!

Within a week of coming home from Portugal, I had guide camp with my own guides. This was a lot less stressful, even though I was organising it. The most stressful thing was discovering a small fire when we returned to site after a few hours away and quite a lot of damage I hadn’t budgeted for. But even that turned out ok in the end.

It was my dad’s big birthday that weekend so I was planning the surprises for that in the background. I hadn’t had a break after Portugal at all.

Last week, I had a job interview on Monday morning, two nightshifts and my cars MOT and a CPN appointment scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

This was when the proverbial hit the van. My appointment was cancelled as my CPN was off sick. Suddenly everything that I’d bottled up for the past few weeks came out. And not in a good way.

I was making real, serious plans to end my life. It was scary just how quickly I fell apart. I mainly remember sitting on my stairs after I told some friends I couldn’t go out the next day in tears. I just couldn’t face them or tell them what was going on.

I went into the living room and sat on the sofa beside Rose. Next thing I remember it was 3 hours later. I wasn’t as raw or in as much pain when I woke up from my nap. Being a lazy bitch saved me!!

I’ve still been having the odd thought now and then but they’ve not been that strong again. I was genuinely scared at how quickly it came over me and how low I got.

Now my task is to start listening to myself when I say not to bottle things up and to put steps in place that will hopefully prevent me getting to that point again.