Words thoughts syllables flushing down the sink
Clean it again, it has to shine bright
Bright as those thoughts words syllables
That wouldn’t be so bright if they came out of your mouth
(You’d just get eyed at)
And so clean that sink till it shines bright
Because then they’ll see how bright that light is
(Jan 26th, 2018)

It’s like having
A noise in your ear
A constant
It screams of car accidents
It screams of cancer
It screams of suicide
It screams of ending love
It screams of cutting-ties-friends
It screams of not-perfect-enough work
It screams screams screams
Till you drop
And start texting everyone
For your work to be enough
For them to still exist
For you to just
Hear silence
(Jan 26th, 2018)

The fatigue torturing you  Because you dared to get up—
Your brain grasping 
For oxygen 
The voices stole.
Your limbs longing 
For strength 
Which hid from you
Laughing at you.
And it is your mind which tries
To stitch it all up back together
(But can you trust a mind so ill?)
Begging for you to pace slowly

And so you put 
One foot in front of the other—
You pick up a flower and wait
You‘ve been wilting 
Now may you bloom again.
(April 9th, 2018)



It was January 21st. I was stable and had been for 10 months. I had to take Prendisone (cortisone) for three days because they wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to have an allergic reaction to the IV contrast agent which would have been injected into me during a CT scan (usual 6-month scan for my melanoma).

The Prendisone immediately sent me to hypomania.
Now, I have to be honest. I had been trying my best to cause hypomania myself for days at that point. I wasn’t thinking clearly, I was obsessively studying for my uni exams and I’d let my sick perfectionism take over completely. I “needed” hypomania to study. But I’m sure it wasn’t all the filter coffee I drank. It was the cortisone. I heard a switch in my mind very clearly after the first two doses.

So long story short, I ended up in A&E on a Sunday morning begging for IV benzos — the “honeymoon” phase had passed and I was in the middle of a dysphoric (hypo)mania crisis. They made some adjustments to my meds, gave me a shit tone of IV delorazepam and sent me home.

That’s when hell started. As February began, my hypomanic episode abruptly transformed into a nasty mixed episode. I heard voices. I had constant, horrific intrusive thoughts. I had anger attacks and hysterical breakdowns and always attacked my parents and brother. I stopped functioning and going to uni and work became impossible. I failed the only exam I managed to sit.
My psychiatrist and I decided an admission was needed. And a crazy waiting game began, because the waiting list never seemed to end.

Finally, I got admitted. It was the same ward that saved my life last year. It was February 22nd. This admission was much longer and much harder. I continuously heard voices who told me to hurt myself. The intrusive thoughts and depression were unbearable. But I got the help I needed, even though it was really hard to convince my psychiatrist that I really needed something to control the voices. Finally they put me on Risperidone and things became easier day after day.

March 7th — one month ago — I was discharged. I was still very depressed, but my psychiatrist decided my situation could be dealt with at home.
Once home, I decided, together with my parents, that I would be trying out one activity a day. Strictly one — couldn’t handle more. It appears to have worked as a strategy and more or less I’m still doing the same — luckily, it’s easier now.

Three months later

One month has passed since discharge day. In the meantime, I went home to Ireland with my mum — it felt like living a dream — and that improved my mental health a lot. I’m still depressed. Days are really up and down and the downs are tough. The voices have left me alone, but now I see horrifying visions of me cutting or killing myself every time I close my eyes. I often just go to bed at 8:30pm just to bring the day to an end. But I’m here. I survived. I’m still surviving. I just think it’s so unfair — three months ago I was stable and so excited to hit the one-year goal.

I want my stability back. I will fight with every ounce of myself for it.




This post was originally written for my newly-founded Instagram and Facebook community The Fibro Witch, which is meant to be the first positive and hopeful Fibromyalgia / Chronic Pain community on Instagram/Facebook. Please go follow and like!

1) I NEVER expose myself to the cold weather. In winter I always wear the most thick winter coat and turn on my bedwarmer long before I get into bed. I also always wear thick gloves because my flares always start from my hands. 

2) I do bath rituals with bath bombs and candles to warm up and relax mentally. Even without the ritual part which is mainly related to my Wiccan path, I strongly recommend this. 

3) I listen to my body. When I need to sleep, I try to arrange my schedule setting time aside to sleep. If I need to sit down on a crowded bus, I say I’m ill and usually someone stands up to make me seat.

4) I TAKE MEDS. This is crucial. Don’t ever give up on this. I know there are some people who haven’t ever found relief from meds and my heart aches for them. But that’s really a rare thing. Usually, meds should work. Discuss this with your doctor and seek a second opinion if you’re not happy with your meds. Also, please don’t suffer in vain: take pain-relief meds. You deserve a pain-free life even on flare days. 

5) I exercise. To be more specific, I take ballet classes once a week. This may sound nonsense but light exercise, even just light stretching, is crucial ESPECIALLY on flare days. I know it’s hard to bring yourself to do it but please try, you’ll find immediate relief.

6) I tell people whom I have to work/study with that I have fibromyalgia. Sometimes it’s hard for them to understand but I’ve found an explanation that works. I say “Imagine flu-like widespread pain — ten times stronger”. Usually they get it.

7) I try and never sit in the same position for more than ten-fifteen minutes. That way I stop pain from flaring up in my legs and back.

8) I write all my tasks and to-dos in the Calendar and Wunderlist apps on my iPhone. I love paper notebooks and diaries but I just can’t survive without the alerts the Calendar app sends one day before a task is scheduled. Find whatever works best to beat your #fibrofog! 

9) I ask my partner to remember things for me when I know I’ll forget them, like important dates which are far away in time.

10) I eat a lot of fruit. I’ve found it’s extremely helpful.

Blessed be 💜

“that people too must wilt, fall, root, rise in order to bloom”

Yes, I discovered Rupi Kaur. I know it seems incredible but I didn’t have a clue who she was before my partner bought me “milk and honey” for my birthday. I fell in love completely. Her words actually take your breath away. If you don’t know her check out her IG @rupikaur_ and you’ll see what I mean.

So yes, I turned 24 (OMG, twenty-four!!!) on October 29th. My parents and brother were lovely and bought me things from my Amazon wishlist including “the sun and her flowers” by Rupi, and my grandparents gave me some money — which is crucial because GUESS WHO’S GOING HOME IN MARCH? ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
That’s my gift to myself to celebrate the first birthday while stable of my life. Also, it will be my first time in Ireland in euthymia — if I make it to one year stable — and I’m already getting emotional at the thought of it.

I wont’t lie: I’m going through a harsh time. I may have Inattentive ADHD — I’ll get tested on the 10th — and this lack of capability to focus and stay focused is ruining my academic career at the moment, and my mood’s going downhill as a consequence. I even got two panic attacks and I hadn’t got them in months so it was a shock. Anyway I’m telling myself it’s just a bump in the road, recovery is not linear and struggling doesn’t mean being back at square one.

this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year

they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
in order to bloom

– rupi kaur




I first read this quote three years ago or so. Make your life be your art. When I read it, my mind immediately thought of photography, and of what it means to me. Photography was the first and only thing which could actually keep me grounded in the midst of deep depression and dissociation. I will never forget the moment when I discovered that it could. I was trying out my EOS 30D which my parents had just given me – it had been theirs. I was taking pictures of flowers in our garden. The pic you see in this blog’s homepage is one of the pics I took that day.

Well, years have passed now, I even got a Diploma in Photography (while manic, but that’s another story) in the meantime – and nothing has changed. Photography is still my favourite grounding tool, as well as my greatest passion. A dear friend of mine, who happens to be a photographer, once told me: “Take out that camera and throw out those feelings”. That’s exactly what I need to do when I’m not well, BUT I had never found out what taking pictures while I was well felt like.

I went to Paris in August – I know Paris very well, but I still managed to capture some new pics I like. I still don’t have the ones I took with the EOS 5D (yeah we – my parents and I – have upgraded that EOS 30 haha) ready to show, but I’m going to post the ones I took with my iPhone 6S because I feel they need to be here.

I wasn’t stable back then, when I discovered the power of photography. But I am now – my psych confirmed I am. It was the first time I saw Paris with a stable mind. I still get very emotional when I think about that. (I wonder what going home and actually see Ireland with stable eyes will be like. I can already feel myself burst into tears of pure awe and joy. Oh my, I need to go).

Anyway. Paris. There you go. Three cheers for sweet stability!

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(Follow me on Instagram for more!
@cerridwenshamrock_photography – my official photography account
@recoveringthroughphotography – the photo-diary of my recovery)


My last post on here was on April 8th. I had just been discharged from the hospital admission that saved my life – or at least my mental sanity. I saw All Time Low live on March 31st which was a dream come true. I was trying to “keep swimming”, The reality was that, despite not being depressed anymore, I was paralysed with fear of relapsing back into that dark and suffocating hell. A state of mind which, inevitably, brought me back to depression on and off for a few week, reinforcing my fear. It was a vicious cycle and it took me a lot of tears and work with my therapist – blessed be she – to overcome it.

So what happened between April 8th and June 18th?

You weren’t meant to bear that burden
Look at the roses in your garden

You can breath now and forget
Forget it gets hard for you to stay
But you don’t really have to throw it all away

These words are from the ATL song which the name of this blog comes from. This is what happened. I went out and photographed the roses. And no I’m not saying that’s the cure for depression. I take my meds painstakingly. But there’s a new monster I’m fighting, its name is depersonalisation. It’s making me go insane. And nothing like photography helps me grounding myself back into the present moment. I should actually be photographing more — it’s just so hard sometimes. Everything is so hard sometimes. But if I think back to the person I was on April 8th well, I’m a whole new different person. As my psychiatrist said when declaring I was finally in euthymia (because yes she did!): I’m myself again. And no matter if it looks like I’m obsessing over them, I believe that knowledge is power and so I’m reading and researching my illnesses as much as I can to not let any of them take over again.

Because now I’ve seen the roses.

How We Manage Our Relationship While Both Being Mentally Ill

This is an article I wrote with the hope to become a The Mighty contributor. Posting it here while I wait for the editors to review it and decide.

You know all those posts you see on Tumblr or Instagram, saying that you can’t be in a relationship if you aren’t at peace with yourself? “You can’t love another person if you don’t love yourself first”, things like that.
Well, I have Bipolar Disorder and my partner has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). We’ve been in a relationship for three years and a half. You’re probably thinking we’re crazy — well, technically, we are. Who is neurotypical? Not us.
Talking about madness, we are madly in love. Actually, I proposed to them (they’re agender) on April 4th 2014 and they said yes, so we’re going to marry. But I’m not here to tell you that love alone is enough against mental illness: it is not. What I am going to tell you is how we manage. Here’s how we’ve got our relationship to grow and bloom despite mental illness rooting deep around its bulb.

1. Communicate and reach out – This probably is Relationships 101, but if both of you are living with mental illness this is vital: talk to each other. Reach out if you’re not feeling well. Let the other person know your triggers. Work on a list of coping strategies and do it together. Have a couple crisis plan ready to turn to. You need to know what helps your partner and what doesn’t, as you’re both going to be the caregiver at times, and you’ll need every piece of information about your partner’s illness, no matter how little. I know I sound like crappy self-help books, but really, make lists, write plans, do whatever you need to do to make sure you’re communicating. This will save you a lot of arguing and tears.

2. Set healthy boundaries – This is going to be painful. I guess it’s better to state this straightforwardly. You’re not and you CAN’T be your partner’s therapist. You’ll need boundaries to avoid getting badly hurt or hurting your partner badly. It’s hard to set them and harder to respect them, because you’ll find yourself wanting to save your partner, but the truth is you can only lend your hand: you can’t walk your partner up the road to reach it. They’ll have to walk by themselves. The same goes for you: you can’t pretend that your partner is your therapist. That’ll hurt both of you, for once you’ve confused the roles it’s hard to take a step backwards. Also, your illnesses need to be confined into boundaries, or they’ll eat away your relationship. Ask your therapist for help in doing this.

3. Beware the guilt trips when you’re the one feeling well – I remember a period of my life when depression had got a hold of me and I was completely sucked into the Bipolar depressive episode – except that my Bipolar was still undiagnosed and I had been misdiagnosed. At that tine, my partner’s BPD hadn’t emerged yet. They were not well – anxiety and depression were there – but not too bad either. A sick pattern had then developed: I would feel abandoned and painfully lonely when they went out with their friends (note that we live three hours away), and they would feel guilty for just living their life. My illness made us argue every time they left home. Compromise got us through that painfully tangled pattern: we decided that I needed extra care through extra texts and extra calls, but I promised to wait for those text and calls trying to remind myself that I wasn’t being abandoned. So what I want to highlight here is— mental illness will try to make you feel guilty for absolutely everything: don’t let it make you feel guilty for living, even when your partner is ill. You have the right to live.

4. Don’t believe everything you feel – Here I’m especially referring to dissociation, derealisation and depersonalisation. When a person experiences one of these symptoms, he or she probably simply does not feel. No love, no affection, no anything. We’ve both been through that kind of apathy and we know it can drive you crazy. “What if I don’t love them anymore?” We’ve both been tortured by this question playing and replaying in our minds. If you’re experiencing this right know, just hang in there. You DO love your partner. Ask for help. Ask your partner to be extra sweet— that helps sometimes, but don’t worry if it doesn’t. This shall pass. Don’t believe everything you feel — or don’t feel.

5. Don’t believe their mental illness – Sometimes, your illness will make you say things you don’t really mean— nasty things, things you’d never say to your partner. If your partner has said something that is really not like them, it probably was their illness talking. Make a list of your partner’s illness symptoms and signs, so you’ll know when not to believe to what they’re saying, and you’ll be able to help them acknowledge they need help.

6. Get involved in your partner’s treatment – Go meet each other’s doctors, know what meds your partner is prescribed and help them with taking them as prescribed. Be an active part in each other’s therapy process: this will boost your trust in each other and help you understand each other’s illness(es) better.

7. . Don’t lose hope – Love wins. Even against mental illness. Use semicolons instead of full stops (we’ll never forget you, Amy). Your story has just begun!