I’m no superwoman.

About the drugs – you’re playing with fire. Don’t get burned.

- comment from YAPCaB

I’ll never learn. I try to; for the last few years, I’ve tried so hard to fight my various demons – painkiller addiction, bulimia, binge-eating, self-harm – the urge to sink and slip away from a world which has always confused me so much. I’ve tried to better myself.

I’ve never been one for willpower; I just never seemed to grasp the concept behind it. Giving things up… I’ve always had such an addictive personality that the idea of stopping a behavior – damaging or not – has long been something I can’t comprehend. I always had huge amounts of respect for those who give up smoking or lose weight without resorting to extreme dieting and making themselves vomit, because it’s something I’ve never really been able to do. A couple of days, maybe… but then I always slip back into old crutches and coping mechanisms.

Then, something changed. I split up with J, and suddenly I wanted to leave all that behind. I was single for the first time since fifteen years old and I’d finally torn myself away from J’s abuse, finally started to understand why my relationship with O failed so epically. For the first time I truly looked at myself and my life, and I wanted to be different. I didn’t want to keep adding scars.

Last night, I realised why decisions made in haste are never the best idea. I thought I’d be okay taking just a couple of Tramacet, but didn’t figure on them reacting with the usual meds. I certainly didn’t expect to be vomiting uncontrollably into a cereal bowl at 3am, sweating through my pyjamas and hallucinating that the walls were moving. I lay in the dark, stinking of spew and chemicals, and wondered why it seemed like such a good idea at the time.

Yesterday, I was stressed for no reason. Sad with no clues as to why. I’d meant to go out for a walk around the embankment, but tiredness was pulling at me and I’ve picked up my mother’s virus; really not what I need right now. With the benefit of hindsight I know exactly why I wanted to block the day out with Tramacet; I was scared of being ill.

I’ve been chronically sick for such a long time that the idea of spending a week or so battling the virus which has  all but crippled my mother is something I just couldn’t cope with. I know it’s weak; it’s only a virus after all. I just didn’t want to think about how long it takes me to recover from any illness thanks to fibromyalgia. I can still be exhausted by a cold months later. I didn’t want more sickness.

Of course, I just brought sickness on myself. Now, I’m sitting here in my bedroom, tucked under my purple duvet and leaning against a v-shaped pillow, wondering why I feel so bad. After all, it’s not like I have the urge to take any more tramacet. It’s not a relapse if I can’t stomach the thought of vomiting up bitter pills again. I just feel like I’ve let myself down, I suppose.

I’m no superwoman. I’ve proved that throughout my life. I react badly to stress and take criticism far too personally. My self-worth depends on my physical appearance. I seek approval. Relationships have been destroyed by my need to know where somebody is at all times. I’ve controlled others. Used drugs to blank out pain. Put myself in situations where I know a man will abuse me, and allowed it to happen. I’ve been in psychiatric hospitals; was given anti-psychotics at fourteen years old. I’ve had child therapists and I dropped out of school when the bullying became too much to deal with. I’ve lied to convince others my life is better than the reality. I’ve cheated on tests and in relationships, and taken my life for granted every time I tried to end it with paracetamol overdoses.

I’m not perfect. I never claimed to be. However, I do want to better myself regardless of the various ways I’ve tried to destroy everything. In the past I’ve somehow always managed to bounce back from hitting rock bottom, and I hold onto that knowledge. Sometimes, it’s all that keeps me going.

I’m okay. I’m getting there. It’s just hard to always stay upright.

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73 Comments

  1. You’re a fierce warrior! You’ve been born into pain and fighting it forever. Life isn’t fair that that sure does suck. But here you are and here I am. I’ve dealt with shit from day one as did you. I’m not sure there is a reason to be alive but since we are here we need to look for meaning. If anything…it gives us something to do. Our fiery emotions are going to burn us to bits if we don’t take control. And we can – here is a beginning guide to doing this:

    1. Forget everything society has taught you about success and failure because group think is ridiculous and often defaults to evil.

    2. Look at your face, body and current situation and say “OK. This is my reality right now and it’s fine. Now how can I find some joy with my remaining years here on Earth?”

    3. Make your list of what you enjoy either in your head or on paper. It doesn’t need to be an official list just a pondered list. Then begin to do things on the list.

    We’ve suffered for many years, now is the time to have fun and peace, not in destructive ways that can hurt us or others but in truly fulfilling ways that can help ourselves and our environment.

    Hugs ;)

    • Thank you Jaen, I don’t think I’ve ever been called a fierce warrior before! Your comment is amazing, and really touched me… thank you so much. Your advice is wonderful and I’ll certainly be following it; especially when it comes to forgetting everything society has taught me about success and failure. I think that’s where one of my main problems is.

      Hugs right back to you ;)

      • But you are a fierce warrior. All who battle mental illness, chronic pain, chronic illness are warriors just as much as the soldiers in uniform. The only difference is that they can see their enemy. Ours is completely invisable. It’s like fighting with a blind fold on in the dark. We strain to hear, feel, taste and sense any change in our environment that will tells us when the enemy is near. As long as you can name your enemy (RA, fibromyalgia, depression, etc.) you can learn how to fight it. Stay the battle my sweet friend. Strong people are only tired people who keep going.

        I was superwoman once, after three weeks in the looney bin (psych ward) I decided I didn’t like her all that much. I am proud to say, however, that I am certified. I received a certificate after two stays in the hospital . . . . A diploma would require a stay in the state hospital and I have decided that being a certified crazy is much better than crazy by degrees.

        • “It’s like fighting with a blind fold on in the dark. We strain to hear, feel, taste and sense any change in our environment that will tells us when the enemy is near. As long as you can name your enemy (RA, fibromyalgia, depression, etc.) you can learn how to fight it.”

          Thank you so much, these words mean a heck of a lot to me. Knowing when the enemy is near is beyond my capabilites, I’m afraid. I try to see it, but it’s cloaked.

          I’ve never been superwoman really, so whether I’d like her or not, I don’t know! However, being a certified crazy is indeed much better than just crazy by degrees, you’re right!

              • Replace it with something else. It is a lot easier than just stopping. I often find that a good nap (if I can) is the best thing for me. I have also found that dark chocolate has a calming affect if eating slowly. Do you have a hand hobbie? Something that you can do with your hands without thinking too much about it? Find what works best for you. Maybe your boyfriend can help you. Sometimes others see things we can’t.

  2. You know, you don’t have to be superwoman. You just have to be your human self. Be your heart and soul, know your fears and realities but also know your wants and desires and go after them. Let them fill your vision and drive you forward to the things that will make dealing with the rest of it. Measure your happiness and success on your own terms, and do the things that make you feel complete and at peace with who you are.

    You’ll get there. *hugs* :)

  3. Sending you love, as per the above command:) Love, for your courage, & your ability & willingness to look deep into the yawning maw of suffering. And remember: it is the hero who is always able to get back up & keep going.

  4. I have learned (the hard way) that societies idea of “normal” is boring and constricting. I have never been able to fit inside its box, gave that up long ago. Now I just try to be the best me I can and do the best I can to take care of me. I slip, I stumble and sometimes I even fall (hard) but the trick is I keep getting back up and trying again. You I think are like that as well, so enjoy your wins and learn from your losses but always keep moving forward and keep writing! ;)

  5. I’m selling my cape too. Tuns out, there’s a good market for them. I’ve been battling pain for a very long time. I’m wary about painkillers because I know that in the final analysis, you can’t take enough to make it go away … not and still have anything of yourself left. So I don’t. Asked what do do about pain, I answer “I grind my teeth” … and I also have broken them. I’m not that stalwart … I just know that if I take enough to make me feel better for a while, it will cause me other problems I can’t deal with …and which will make me sicker. It’s SO tempting … so terribly alluring … and then I realize I can’t. But I want to. Desperately. You hang on in there. Keep writing. Keep reading. Remember to love yourself and love life … and that makes it worthwhile. It;s the only thing of value, to be alive.

    • This is why pain management has a LOT to answer for; thanks for your honesty teepee12. Painkillers… I just wish they worked properly without destroying everything. I don’t think anyone’s stalwart enough to take it; I grind my teeth and break them too. Although Lyrica works for me, I’m still in pain… just less. It still hurts like hell.

      Thank you. You seem to have a lot of strength in deciding not to take the pills. I know you want to, but we know the consequences. I hope you get some relief one day.

  6. Hello,
    I found you here via your related articles. I am the author of the last one, “The Worst Person to Lie to is Y-O-U!” I am not really sure what I want to say here, but I do want you to know that I empathize with your plight. I too struggle with chronic pain, depression and, most recently, a wicked anxiety problem. I am twenty six years old and over two years ago I severely hurt my back resulting in a two level spinal fusion in March 2011. I am now anxiously awaiting August when I find out if my spine is solid enough to remove the titanium rods and screws or if I need to have the fusion redone. I still have nerve pain down both legs and my back is on fire all. the. time.
    I am also waiting for an appointment with a fibromyalgia specialist. We seem to have quite a bit in common.
    One major difference, and something I admire greatly in you, is that I have been on pain killers, nerve de-sensitizers, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds and gravol for over two years. I have been on percocet, dilauded, morphine, tramadol and currently I am on fentanyl, a trans-dermal pain patch that is 1000X as strong as morphine. I don’t think I can deal with the pain without meds, and I have already developed a ridiculously high level of pain tolerance. Somedays I can barely get out of bed even with the pain meds.I truly admire your ability to make a decision to not use pain meds and stick by it. Sometimes I feel so… dirty? being on pain meds all the time. It feels somewhat deviant, like I equate myself with meth heads. I try to keep reminding myself that I use pain medications, but I don’t abuse them.
    Anyway, I guess I just wanted to introduce myself and tell you that you are not alone, even if it feels that you are. I look forward to pursuing your blog further! Thank you so much for the link up, it is so so appreciated!
    Best,
    xo – S.

    • Oh honey… I’m sorry you’ve had to go through all this. It’s hard at any time, but being so young… I don’t know about you, but I often feel cheated out of my twenties. Like it’s unfair.

      You have no reason to feel dirty (I totally get what you mean by that) for taking pain meds. I take Celebrex and Lyrica for pain; but I’ve turned to opiates galore in the past, both prescribed (tramadol, codeine), and bought from strangers in desperation (morphine). I’m on anti-depressants, beta-blockers and anti-acid pills as well. It’s awful when you get a tolerance, and I really feel for you. I wish there was a way of treating the pain without pills, but we both know nothing else works. As you say, you use the medications and don’t abuse them; there’s a MASSIVE difference between the two.

      Take care of you, and thank you so much for the comment!

  7. From reading, it doesn’t seem that my battles have been anywhere near the same scale as yours, but they are a daily fight, none the less. I just found myself writing today about “why do I do the things I don’t want to do?” I truly believe this is one of the struggles that every single human being has to deal with. Keep fighting the good fight! We are all right here with you. :)

  8. love to you, life is so incredibly hard:( i feel for you and can understand to a certain extent. GOD BLESS YOU, KEEP YOUR CHIN UP AS BEST YOU CAN, and remember YOU ARE LOVED. always in my prayers, to send YOU PEACE. hugs

  9. People get sad and people fall down…the difference is how we get up.Your doing a pretty good job considering the amount of crap you have had to face in such a short time and you will find your way eventually. Try to take it easy, you already realize that your more special than you previously thought and every step is a step forward.

  10. Love from a damp June day in Maine — June days are almost always damp, and isn’t that a weird word — damp and moist both sound like they should be obscene! 8-)

    Please, please try hard not to criticize yourself so strongly. Much of what has happened to you was beyond your control; most of the rest of it comes from the disease called addiction. I think you did just fine, didn’t relapse, because you didn’t go back and take more after you’d been sick. I know I have, and I’ll bet you have, gone right back to the food/drug/drink/life situation that is hurting us so badly. You didn’t go there — doesn’t matter if it’s only cause you didn’t want to barf again — You didn’t take more. Last night was really a success! At least, that’s what I think! Big warm hugs — Judith P.S. if you want a little cheering up, go over to http://dottyheadbanger.wordpress.com/. Dotty has created a diet and exercise that made me laugh I hope it does for you!

  11. I understand about repeatedly bouncing back from rock bottom. “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” We don’t realize that about ourselves until we hit rock bottom.

  12. ‘FIERCE WARRIOR’ (comment from Jaen above) –
    I like it, it suits you, wear it with pride. You deserve the title! ♡
    Once again, I can relate to so much of what you write. Particularly about not wanting to get sick. Because I know if I become unwell, especially if I am already mind-ill, then everything becomes so much worse.
    You did what you did, you took the tablets and you suffered for it.
    But, maybe, you learnt a little something in the process too.
    We’re on a journey, my friend. But at least we have the sense, sometimes, to open our eyes widely, and not be blinded by our truth.
    Go Well, my friend. Elyn ❀✿❀

  13. This is such a striking post I’ve thought about it all day. I wanted to reply earlier, but the truth of it pierced me. Such honesty and so many things I can relate to. Sometimes I have no words for these moments so I share two favorite quotes:

    “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

    “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”
    – Ernest Hemingway

    You are loved. You are beautiful. You are enough. Sometimes, in our darker moments when we feel adrift, we just need a few friends to mirror back our true spirit to remind us.

    <>

  14. When dealing pain for no matter how long it wears you down both physically and mentally, But I see the hope that you want to get better, you know when you hit rock bottom that there is no where else to go but up. With that said the only contradiction to that is whether you want to go back up or sit there and stew in the juices that you have created. I have been dealing with mental and emotional pain since I was a child, and I have been fractured into many different pieces, and now have to bring those pieces back together again, which will take the rest of my life. I wanted to say something glib and funny right here but I wont, for I am having dark thoughts myself. I relate to your story and find in it meaning that I can place in my own life. Blackness descends around my heart and mind, but for others I see a light shining and know that I am not alone. Thank you for visiting my site and taking the time to read it, we will share many issues together, on this you have my word.
    Dan Kline

    • Thank you so much dankline, I really appreciate you taking the time to comment when, as you say, you’re having dark thoughts. I find compassion so hard at those times, so thanks for bringing a smile to my face with your support. I know I don’t want to sit and stew – I’ve got reasons not to, now – but sometimes it’s so hard to find the strength to stand back up again without chemical support. Doing it on my own has become scary, I suppose. I’m not used to it anymore.

      “I have been dealing with mental and emotional pain since I was a child, and I have been fractured into many different pieces, and now have to bring those pieces back together again, which will take the rest of my life.”

      Yep, nail right on the head. That’s exactly how I feel.

      Keep on keeping on.
      T.

  15. I am deeply saddened that you feel this way about life, and yet uplifted by your spirit. Being a strong warrior can be a good thing but not when fighting yourself. Somewhere within you is a hidden memory of your true self, that hidden spirit that comes out in your writing. Be as generous to yourself as you are to others, life can be wondrous or a battle the difference is not our circumstances but in our thoughts. If I can be of help, I will be.

    • Thank you so much Steven. I really appreciate you taking the time to send me such kind words; being generous to myself is something I’ve always struggled with. I have a habit of looking after others and allowing no respect for who I am. I suppose a lot of people do, and I have no idea how to break out of it. I try; but the self-confidence just isn’t there. I suppose I don’t see myself as worthy.

  16. You’re such a good writer!! I think my favourites ones are the brave ones that put themselves on the page. I’m really glad I’ve found yer blog.

    I totally understand feeling so scared of catching a virus. It makes complete sense. I feel like I am worse now at dealing with colds and flus and things than I was before the CFIDS, not better. But then everything is topsy turvy in the underworld.

    • “everything is topsy turvy in the underworld” – amen to that. Nothing makes sense. You’d think colds and flu would be easier to deal with when you’re used to being unwell, but it’s not! It’s a nightmare for me, personally. It takes so long to recover from a simple cold.

      And thank you much for the compliments, I’m glad I’ve found you too!

  17. I can’t imagine what you have to live with on a daily basis. But one thing I do know, is about willpower. When you are struggling with willpower, what is really going on, is that you are fighting against your subconscious beliefs. And your subconscious is 100 times more powerful than your conscious mind.

    In my personal experience, I have used hypnosis (with a hypnotherapist) to uncover and to change these beliefs. For me, that has been a very powerful and effective (and fast) method of therapy. A few good hypnotherapy sessions can do more than a year of talk therapy, when you uncover these subconscious beliefs and misbeliefs. Just something to consider, if you can. (Not instead of regular therapy, but in addition to).

    • In honesty, I gave up regular therapy. All kinds. I just didn’t find any of it helpful and most of the time it just made things worse. I don’t think I’d ever go back to it. However, I have had hypnotherapy once and unfortuntely the hypnotherapist was a bit… odd. Made me feel very uncomfortable.

      I get the feeling paying fo a hypnotherapist would give better results, but I just don’t have that sort of money. It’s something I’d be willing to try though.

      Cheers, mariner2mother. You’ve given me something to think about.

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