While there’s life, there’s hope

SailorDum, dum de dum.

Where do I start?

Hello, my name is Hello Sailor, but you can call me Sailor.

I was shocked to be asked to join Canvas, but that doesn’t seem like a good starting point.

I’ve read Canvas for a while and I couldn’t figure out why I’d been asked.  In my opinion writers of this blog are super talented.  They have the ability to write in such a way that it feeds my imagination and I can strongly illustrate their stories in my mind.  I didn’t think I was in their league, surely I can’t write like that???

I started thinking about what I can contribute to the group, (while secretly smiling to myself that perhaps, maybe, I can write!).

My mind is very logical.  I read the “About Canvas” page to answer my question and to see what I could, or if I could contribute……

We want to use this site to speak on the topic of mental health, through different voices and different perspectives.

Well I can do that bit.  My whole personal blog is about how my mental health affects my everyday life, and vice versa.  I’m not reserved when it comes to talking about mental health – in real life or under my alias.  Many people are still embarrassed about talking about depression, or self harm, or eating disorders. Why is that? People don’t go bright red at the mention of heart disease, diabetes or other physical complaints! I think this is one of the reasons I feel the need to talk about it, so people will know that in real life it is possible to live and function with a mental health problem and it is not something to be embarrassed about.  Talking about it also helps me.

I guess I have a different voice to some of the other authors, seeing as I am from London, England (I hope you are reading this in a British accent now).  Our health care system differs vastly from the US.  This isn’t always a good thing, as some of my American friends have assumed.  I think both systems have pros and cons, but I’m sure I’ll get around to that soon.

My perspective varies with mood, as I’m sure you can understand.  I always maintain an air of hope and I also like to use humour in my writing to deflect the harshness that is a reality of living with depression and all the other monsters in my  head.  Don’t ever think I’m making light of these illness, it is just a way I have found to cope.

We are interested in all types of people in all different roles becoming involved in this conversation. Advocates, educators, the newly diagnosed, those who have fought the good fight for years. We want, most of all, to form a supportive network of connected bloggers who feel open and comfortable sharing their experiences. 

Yep, I think I cover that one too.

I’ve been fighting “the good fight” since I was little. I remember being around 8 years old when I had my first anxiety attack, things got progressively worse until I hit 14 and was admitted to a psychiatric unit for a year and diagnosed with anxiety, depression, OCD and anorexia.  This was the time when my “others” Charlotte and Jack were “born” to help me with the fight.  At 15 years old I managed to go back to school and achieve 5 GCSE’s, even though the doctors and teachers told me I’d fail all of them.  At 16 I went to college and studied journalism, while still suffering with depression and self harm.  I found a job working with animals and quit college, because it was like it was meant to be.

At 18 I had another breakdown due to bullying at work and my past catching up with me.  I became controlling, anorexic and depressed again and was then diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.  I managed to stay out of hospital and after a lot of time and effort (on my part and my family) I recovered.  I say “recovered” in the loose sense that I became functional again.  Mentally there was still something not right, but I could fight to pretend to be alright.  I like to question recovery from mental illness.  Is recovery possible, or do you just learn to live with this chronic condition?

When I was 20 I decided to train to be a Veterinary Nurse (a Vet Tech to all you US readers!).  Again, despite depression and low self-esteem, I was the first in my class to qualify, which is still my proudest achievement to date.

Now, 8 years into my nursing career and too many life changes later, I have had another “mental breakdown” so it often feels like I’m back at square one.  I’m back in therapy, back on happy pills, back trying to fight the good fight and taking things one day at a time.  I highly suspect I have undiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder, but I am yet to have this conversation with my psychologist.

I’m still managing to hold down my job.  This is hugely important to me as my patients bring me the happiness that I sometimes have difficulty finding.  I’m also studying at university to gain a post-graduate qualification in Vet Nursing.

I am open about my mental health, but maybe too open? I have felt so alone during many points of my life and I don’t want that for others.  If I can be open, then maybe that gives hope to someone else.

Those who are looking for answers about their mental health are just as welcome as those who feel they have found them.

I’ve discovered some of my answers, but I will always ask questions.

I think we all have our own answers, somewhere deep inside.  We just have to ask the right questions to find them.

I am happy to share my answers with others, if they ask the right questions too, but my answers might not be right for everyone.

……your thoughts and insights are of value to us. Your unique ideas and experiences are of value to us. You are of value to us.

I read numerous mental health blogs, and many have been insightful and valuable to me.  Through reading other people’s experiences and connecting with people I have discovered a lot about myself, as well as other people.  I also wonder if my unique ideas and experiences help other people.  Chances are they do, but I know one thing – I value countless people here in the blogosphere, so that must mean I’m valued too!

The basic premise of A Canvas Of The Minds is this: Each of our authors has something so valuable and very much their own to contribute. Through these many singular and extraordinary perspectives, we become stronger as a community, and we become stronger as individuals.

Do you know what? I think maybe I do have what it takes to contribute to Canvas!

And I am totally looking forward to it!

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See you around!

Sailor

© Hellosailor and A Canvas Of The Minds 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Hellosailor and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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18 thoughts on “While there’s life, there’s hope

  1. Through Hello Sailor and the other blogs I’ve found, written by those struggling with mental illnesses and not willing to give up the fight, I feel like I’ve finally found friend and a support system that understands me. You don’t have to agree with me, have experienced all that I have, nor I what you have, but there is a thread of connection that demonstrates how strong we really are. And, While there is life, there is hope – for all of us. Thank you Sailor!

    • I think you hit the nail on the head there Hawkruh. All of our situations are different, but we have one thing in common and that is the will to survive it. We are proof that there are ups and downs, but we are also proof that, what ever the situation, you can fight it.
      The sense of community here always amazed me, especially the support system. I never thought I would feel for people I didn’t know personally, in real life, but I think here I probably know people a lot better than in real life. I am always willing to provide support and have always found that people give their support freely! Thank you for commenting Hawkruh!!
      HS

  2. In my opinion its not really possible to share too much, I love your honesty.

    I always try to read blogs from England in a British accent in my head but I cant do a British accent so it never really works out 🙂

    • Thanks Gypsy 🙂 It’s easy to be honest when all the blogs you read share that honesty. I never admitted the emetophobia thing to anyone before, just because I thought it was so rare that people would laugh. When I read that you have it (not to mention the peeing thing 😉 ) it made me feel less alone. That’s what I hope to achieve, my honesty helping other people be honest, like you did for me!!

      Brilliant! I can’t do an American accent either, but it’s fun to try!!

    • Thank you Silverfox! I’ve always felt worried in real life that people will judge me because of my story, but maybe they won’t really.
      But that is what I strive to do, help other people by being honest 🙂

  3. That was really GOOD!! I feel like I know somethinng about who you are. Where you have been, where you are now. You are real and raw. I like that.

    As Ruby Tuesday readers know my foot in this world is a cheeky one. I have been plagued by depression from chronic pain and fatigue but think this really is not what so many of you deal with. Your illnesses are so much more complex, they are primary. Mine are secondary to the physical pain & fatigue.
    I believe my glimpses though have created a need to know more, to become more educated and aware. I have such empathy found in the times I have lost all sense of contril over my life and what is supped to be happiness. Rather a strange word anyway.

    I am grateful to read such warm and well written posts.

    • Thank you Barefoot B!
      I tend to write how it sounds in my brain, so I’m glad it came across as warm 😀
      I don’t feel complex, I don’t feel like there should be a class of “primary” and “secondary”. The truth is, your pain is real for you, my pain is real for me. It’s a different kind of pain and it’s a different cause, but I don’t think it should be judged on who is “worse”. Pain is pain, and everyone suffers to some degree and everyone survives, in their own way.
      I’m still struggling to find happiness. I’m not really sure what happy feels like, but I have moments of content and that is quite a nice feeling at the moment, so I’ll go with that 🙂

  4. You are definitely a great addition to Canvas!

    I was a little iffy about joining, too, as I mentioned in my first Canvas post. I’m afraid of commitment, but I also was afraid I wouldn’t belong. I wasn’t sure if I had anything to contribute based on the tone of the other posts. I don’t have much that’s somewhat universal to say, as some of the other posts seemed to do. Sometimes I feel like I’m repetitive and ramble too much.

    As for the humor . . . I quite understand. Sometimes I think about these issues in a sarcastic light. Not because I think they’re light issues, but because it helps me cope. I

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