I cannot say that I was spiritually aware of who I really was throughout my life I lived my life so I could be acknowledged by others and do things to make them accept me as a whole person.

I remember when I was growing up, I never felt like I was worthy of anybody’s love or affection as I convinced myself that I am skinny, ugly and a nobody.

I abused myself throughout my adult life because of self-hate I never felt like I deserved anything good in my life and I could never ever take a compliment from anybody without feeling suspicious.

I believed I was inferior to everybody else although I never had a problem with attracting people. I knew I was emotionally, mentally and spiritually broken but I was kind, caring and respectful.

I was very hard work to get along with in any kind of relationship as I always had dark thoughts and found myself moaning about life being unfair. I was pessimistic about the future, I was a ‘migraine maker’ and always wished that I never existed and would smoke a lot hoping for a premature death.

I had it in me to make sure other people could feel better about themselves and tried to solve everybody else’s problems but never concentrated on my own.

My Father had always said that ‘I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders’ he was always right.

If I had a reason to live it would be because of the unconditional love I had for my beloved Father which was reciprocated, I was emotionally dependent on him and was very protective of him. He had my best interests at heart, and he always gave excellent advice with love in his heart. He was never critical or judgemental he was my world, my hero.

After my attempted suicide in 2011 I had a lot of serious decisions to make in my life. I went to the Caribbean to recuperate with my Father, who was not aware of my hospitalisation in a mental institution, I had already been diagnosed in 2008 with Manic Depression which is now known as Bipolar Disorder, I was no longer living in denial about my psychiatrist’s verdict as every time I came off the medication, I was ten times worse.

I made some sound decisions when I returned from my break and this for me was a boost to my confidence, I was still unbalanced in my thinking and behaviour that I took to drinking to the point I was doing this at a job that I had to be alert in. I believed I was functioning well whilst I was mentoring young offenders who were fresh out of prison, I loved and cared about these youngsters and started taking their problems on. This affected me in every way possible, my drinking escalated, my hair was falling out and I was on the path to destruction.

In the end my Doctor signed me off work, this was the end of my job it was March 2014.

I never had the foresight to see that the following month I would find my whole world was about to explode.

In April my Father has fallen ill in the Caribbean and I only learned of this when he was taken to hospital on emergency with a perforated bowel he had been suffering at his home for a long time before his brother forcefully transported him to hospital.

I have never been so devastated and on my knees praying to God to save his life and I am surprised I had any tears left to cry as this was a life and death situation. Thankfully his operation was successful, and the Cuban Doctor saved his life.

Imagine someone who you saw as your lifeline, your reason to live, falling ill.

It didn’t end there when he came to London only to be given the diagnosis of stage IV colorectal cancer which meant the poisonous treatment of chemotherapy, horrendous side effects, just to prolong his life, basically palliative care.

I am grateful that I had quality time with him, it was the hardest challenge that I ever had to face in my life and my emotions were all over the place, but I managed to mask all my emotional and mental pain when I was with him. Even in his predicament my Father smiled and was more worried about everyone else rather than his demise. My alcohol consumption was sky high although I never got drunk.

He passed away in February 2017 and left his legacy and everyone who knew him loved him and to this day still talk about him.

The loss of my Father had an impact on my life in many ways. My drinking and smoking escalated, and I was continuously in and out of the emergency room. My last suicide attempt was in July 2018 by then I knew I would have to make more changes to my life, as my psychiatrist had made a threat to have me permanently committed for life so I booked myself into a rehab programme and with help from a friend and stopped drinking initially experiencing the physical and mental withdrawal symptoms before going to AA in October of that same year, quitting smoking would happen 2 years later.

The reasons around my thirst for drinking was to block out all the negative voices that I hear on a regular basis telling me that death is the answer to all my problems. My problems are mainly in my heart and my head, my heart hurts because I am missing my Father and my head is telling me that I could be with him sooner. I would finally be at peace and never have to suffer loss again.

The traffic that goes through my head daily is busier than the M4 during rush hour, and no matter how someone who does not have this experience tells me ‘you can switch off’ it does not stop, it can be a daily punishment of torment if I do not keep myself busy. At night-time I sometimes read myself to sleep or fantasise about achieving my next goal.

I think the worst thing about my mental health is the fact that nobody really understands me, when I am depressed, I am best left alone without any feedback and when I am having psychotic episodes or mania, we’ll that’s another story and I am sorry that people around me feel drained. It’s no fun being me. The only balance I have is when I am knocked out.

I have found ways to feel grounded, I go to the gym to learn to box, and it helps me with my mania and my depression.

When I go through my manic episodes, I tend to think I can take on the world. I commit to all kinds of tasks and have exciting over the top ideas. My mother says ‘you are overdoing it again’ this advice helps me to reassess the situation, but I find that I cannot pull out of the extra tasks that I have taken on, so I just must complete them as I am a woman of my word.

I have always been an independent, caring and reliable human being, always on time and if I ‘talk the talk’ I ‘walk the walk’ and especially when it comes to my family, I follow things through to completion.

I enjoy being with myself as I have since learnt to love myself better and I like my ability to be able to reason with myself when I am being attacked by the demons of my mind. My technique would be to question why I feel this way? What triggered this thought? Is it fact or fiction? Is it important? If real is there a solution? I find it helpful to keep a journal of my thoughts as and when they come and to write down the way they make me feel. This helps me to know me. It does not work for everybody but it’s great to refer to.

I also find that we cannot keep running away from our demons we must face them and fight them, or we will never be able to get on top of them. It’s a bit like a conveyor belt one thought replaces the other.

I have lived through this my whole life, and I am still here to speak my truth and hope that this will help other sufferers know that they are not alone.

People have their own special techniques of dealing with this suffocation of thoughts and it would be nice to hear some new techniques.

I had psychodynamic therapy for 2 years and I found it very helpful this has helped me to think more rationally and to not just file, away my thoughts but deal with them one by one. Filing away your thoughts can lead you to a breakdown. I feel I have a purpose in this life and passion with it and that is to share parts of my journey with you and hope that it will encourage you to keep on going.

Many people who are not diagnosed as mentally ill can suffer from different concentrations of NATS — negative automated thoughts and feel more able to deal with them using a positive rational approach.

Never feel ashamed that you are struggling after all you are human, good or bad thoughts is part of the balance of life.


Natalie Bleau

The Scripture of Balance

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