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This is yesterday

I’ve been trying to write a post for the past week or so, with no success. Many have been written in my head – as I’m tossing and turning in bed next to S, trying to sleep through another fibro flare – but when it comes to making myself sit down at the little Ikea table in the kitchen and get those thought out onto the screen, I just can’t do it. So much has changed recently, and my mind is in a constant state of bemused flux; after years – decades- of absolutely everything being out of my control it’s near-on impossible to get my head around it all. I expected it to be difficult, but I don’t think this level of confusion was anything predictable. The excitement of finally standing up on my own feet masked it all for a little while, but now that things are settling a little and a routine of sorts is being established, those little niggles and worries are seeping back. Minor issues. Small things. Nothing important, and nothing which can stop the happiness I still feel at finally being free, but enough to remind me that I can make as many changes as I want and fight as hard as I can but it’ll never be easy.

Which is why I’m taking yet another big step and – against every fiber of my being – have made an appointment to see a new psychiatrist, almost two years after my last very brief foray back into the mental health system.
Like everything, I did mean to write something about that decision last week, and it was briefly mentioned in reply to a couple of comments on my last post, but – again, like everything else – I’ve been putting it off. I’ve always been open of my mistrust surrounding the UK mental health system; past experience has taught me nothing to convince me it’s worth feeling otherwise. While going back on the staunchest of decisions and beliefs is a classic symptom of BPD, I’m pretty convinced that isn’t the case this time. I sat on the decision for months, considering the options available and finally coming to the conclusion that if I want this to last – this normality I’ve found – I can’t go it alone, and although S is beyond wonderful and living together has boosted my self-esteem a lot, there’s still only so much I can speak to him about. I trust him implicitly  but I’ve spent enough of my life being a burden on others and I’m constantly aware that I can’t spend our relationship putting pressure on S to care for me.

The appointment isn’t just about that, though. It’s about everything. Every last little thing since that day in early puberty when something snapped inside my mind.

Over the years, all the things I’ve experienced have fragmented into a thousand threads of craziness. All match yet… don’t quite fit together. The ends are frayed and loose, tangled around each other in a huge knot of confusion. For a long time it was easy to accept that would never change and I would spend my whole life walking around with voices in my head and the inability to stick with anything worthwhile without sabotaging it. Comfort – even terrifying comfort – can be hard to leave behind. I’ve made so many mistakes; walked away from hundreds of chances to better my life, slept around in the vain hope of finding somebody who took all the pain away, thrown pills down my throat just so I wouldn’t have to feel, denied myself even life’s very simplest pleasures for no discernible reason at all. I’ve walked away from treatment. Fought against everybody who tried to help, convinced they were all part of the problem and could never be the solution.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make; not in the least. I’ve been in and out of the mental health system – more in than out, especially in my teens – more times than I care to count, and so far there’s been very little positive gleaned from the experience. My mother, she calls it damage. She says she sees the damage years of questions and let-downs and tablets and therapy has caused; can see it in my face. In my eyes. In the way I react whenever the system is mentioned.

In truth, it scares me. The thought of sitting on yet another cheap NHS-issue chair opposite a psychiatrist who knows nothing of the more subtle details… it’s terrifying. I’ve come so far, and I’m painfully aware that the slightest thing can bring my world crashing down like it always has before. Despite appearances I’ve never been strong – not in the least – and yet another failure is something I simply can’t afford anymore. Life now… I know I keep saying it, but it’s changed and I confess to being tired of change. As wonderful as everything is living with S, I want to stay here for a while. In this place. Where everything makes sense for once. I don’t want to make big plans, or look too far into the future. I just want this. Now. Here. Safety.

Yet, change has to happen.

I’m stubborn; and I’m still not quite ready to give into the crazy.

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Every day life

 

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Not that I need proof.

3.30am. We were outside. Me sitting on a slightly damp mesh chair, S standing; smoking and drinking white wine.

S kissed me on the forehead.

Me: “If I had a problem, and felt weird talking to you about that problem, would that be silly?“.

 

So I told him. Confessed I’d lied last weekend about feeling ill, and in fact I was trying my best not to eat. Explained how it’s all about control and, haltingly, listed the reasons why I’m grabbing onto a past ED to cope.

He didn’t ask why.

He didn’t tell me to stop.

And he didn’t get angry.

He just kissed the top of my head and rubbed my shoulder.

“How are we going to fix this?”

 
31 Comments

Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Every day life

 

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Oh, how do I feel about my shoes? They make me awkward and plain.

Every day you must say
So, how do I feel about my life ?
Anything is hard to find
When you will not open your eyes
When will you accept yourself ?
I am sick and I am dull
And I am plain
How dearly I’d love to get carried away
Oh, but dreams have a knack of just not coming true
And time is against me now…oh
Oh, who and what to blame ?
Oh, anything is hard to find
When you will not open your eyes
When will you accept yourself, for heaven’s sake ?
- Accept Yourself, The Smiths

 

The plan certainly wasn’t for the whole day to become an unholy disaster, but it seems I simply just don’t have a choice in these things. My mother shouted at me until I agreed to get out of bed, demanding that I sort myself out and take control of my life. This set the precedent for the rest of the day; her angry over very little, me building up into a barely-controlled ball of anxiety and fear every time she opened her mouth or even looked at me. I’m trying to keep calm for the neurologist appointment, but she won’t stop taking about it. I know I sound like a spoiled child when I say this, but it’s not her appointment; it’s mine. Just like so many other things, she has taken it upon herself to arrange transport, demanded I write down a list of symptoms, made me type out a list of the medications I take (why won’t handwritten do?), keeps bringing up the subject of scans and tests. I’m regretting asking her to go with me (although I know she’d have naturally assumed she’s be going with me) because she’s turned it into a huge drama, when I was trying to let it slightly slip my mind so I don’t become scared of the appointment.

Well, I’m scared now. Too scared to sleep, and wondering what the hell to do. If I try to sleep now, what if I just lie awake worrrying? If I stay up, what if I can’t cope with the weekend after being awake for so long?

03.15am

Unsurprisingly, I’ve given up on the idea of sleep. I did feign one attempt – even going so far as switching the lamp off and avoiding caffeine all evening – but, as usual, the brain won’t shut up. I’m thinking about tomorrow; about how tired and grumpy I’ll be in the taxi. How the smell and lights in hospitals make me feel skin-crawlingly uncomfortable. The neurological centre is attached to the hospital my stepfather was admitted to when he sustained the brain injury, and although I can’t remember what it looks like now (too much dope, too many sleepless nights), I suspect it’ll bring back feelings I’m not really in the mood to recall.

I’ve calmed down since this afternoon, after having three or four joints and listening to Erasure for a while. Earlier, I was livid; on the edge of screaming and stomping like a toddler and running away somewhere safe. The catalyst for my anxiety was this small snippet of conversation:

Mother: “Until you’ve sorted yourself out, there’ll be no more weekends with S“.

Something inside me flipped, as it has so many times before. Just those few words turned on the waterworks (which I think I kept hidden) and created a bubble of panic. I sat on the sofa, trying not to cry, torn between staying downstairs and getting into yet another argument, or running to my room, grabbing a razor and dealing with the building panic attack before it got unbearable. I think I would have harmed myself if we hadn’t been about to set off to go shopping. I suppose I just didn’t want to be walking around with the familar burn under my sleeves. I don’t want to be that way anymore and, fingers crossed, I haven’t given in to hurting myself for a long time now. Months. It’d be a shame to have to start again, all because of a throwaway comment.

You see, I’m becoming fearful that S will grow tired of my mother’s strange rules and ways of thinking, and leave me. Logic says that he’s not like that and that he understands the situation,  but since when did logic get in the way of a good freak-out? Also, I’m sick of being told what I will or won’t do. I’m utterly exhausted by it. I crave freedom and control, but I know I can never have either of those things while I’m under my mother’s roof.

The second thoughtless comment was regarding my eating habits.

Mother: “I’m going to have to start putting locks on the cupboards. I know it’s not nice to hear but you’re eating a lot and you’ll only complain to me when none of your clothes fit again“.
Way to go, Ma! Not only am I very much aware that the binging is out of control – thank you very much – but I also happen to be very stressed over it, and don’t need reminding how much of a problem it’s become again. I am aware of my weight at every second of the waking day right now; telling me I’m eating too much isn’t going to make me stop, or magically fix every problem I’ve ever had relating to food. Oh, I know it’s not entirely her fault – it’s easy to say something without thinking – but sometimes I get a little suspicious and wonder if she’s doing it on purpose. I don’t know why she would… to test me, maybe? To see if I’m truly over the eating disorders (she knows I’m not, surely?) by pushing the issue of food just when I seem at my most highly-strung?

I think I’m being paranoid.

Shopping was a rushed trip around the main street in the rain and gales we’re experiencing at the moment (which means it was Windsday), punctuated by my mother’s exasperation at my “behaviour” and my panicked outbursts. When I’m feeling as anxious as I did today, I get angry and frustrated. For years I thought that irrational rage was down to low blood sugar, but I’ve come to realise that it’s a side-effect of building up panic and worries inside my head until I explode.

One of my least favourite side-effects of panic attacks is how I turn everything in on myself. I’m naturally an introvert, but I can become incredibly cruel to myself when I’m filled with anxiety. The first thing I picked on today was the way I was dressed. It’s hard to explain how it works… it’s like voices, but I don’t hear them. They’re my thoughts, but as though they’re coming from a different brain.  I know nobody’s actually talking to me, but it can be deafening sometimes when I’m throwing insults at myself. Today’s voices went like this:

“Who the hell wears a knee length pink coat at your age? You look like an old woman”

“You can only wear old women clothes because you’re too fat to fit into anything nice”

“Everything looks awful on you, life was much better when you were a size 10″

“Look, everybody’s staring at you because you look ridiculous in that hat. A skinny girl would suit it, but not you”

Then:

“You’ll never escape. You’ll always live in this house, and you’ll die alone, without friends”

“People just pretend to like you”

“You’re worth nothing. You spend all day playing computer games and smoking dope. You don’t even have a job”

“Those boots never did suit you”

“You’ll lose all your benefits, and you won’t get a job because you’re no good at anything, and you’ll never achieve a single dream”.

… and so on, until my head was so crowded that I wanted to run. At one point, I did leave the supermarket, and went and sat outside in the rain on the cold metal bench while my mother bought cigarettes. I was panicking at the till – not helped by the slowest checkout assistant ever – and was getting all messed up in my head over which bags the freezer stuff went in and my mother’s insistance that I’d filled the trolley full of rubbish. She tried to stop me buying Diet Pepsi, saying I’m not allowed. I bought it anyway, if only out of spite. We’ve always battled over food and drink; she believes that the only way to survive in the modern world is to only eat organic food, only drink out of glass bottles, never drink out of cans because it can “give you cancer”. My beliefs are a little more relaxed, to say the least. Sometimes I wonder if she realises that she should just be happy I’m not anorexic anymore and doing my best to fight the after-effects of bulimia. She should be happy that I eat, and sometimes don’t read the nutrition labels or worry about how much salt is in a ready meal, rather than spending every waking moment terrified by calories.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in Every day life

 

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First World Problems

Today was the day of the iPod disaster. When I say disaster, I mean minor problem, but it annoyed me nonetheless. After waking up around 2pm and still feeling like fibro had kicked me repeatedly in the night, I decided to tidy my iTunes music collection up. First I tackled the missing cover art; thousands of tracks, all missing artwork. After getting it down to 2000 tracks without art, I gave up and accepted I was never going to have the patience to go through each individual track, just to satisfy my occasional obsessive-compulsive behaviour. 2000 out of over 20,000 isn’t bad, right?

So, with dreams of a nice tidy music collection washing over me (and the knowledge of a day entirely wasted), I went to sync my iPod. Here lay the problem.

121.76gb of music will never fit on a 120gb iPod. Never. No matter how much I beg, plead, and pretend it will.

Fuck’s sake.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in Every day life

 

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A Dilemma

  Let me start off by saying that, as shameful as it sounds, I don’t have many friends. Oh, I have acquaintances, I have people I can nod at and maybe chat to a little, but real friends, I can count on one hand. It’s been this way all my life; as a solitary person who likes her own space, I don’t tend to do the things which build friendships for my age group. I don’t go out drinking (I go to the pub, but that’s an entirely different social scene), I don’t drop everything to go to a party, I don’t work, I don’t study, and I left school at thirteen, leaving all friendships behind.

Regardless of this, I’ve always  been able to have at least one ‘friend’, someone I can spend time with, go shopping with, have coffee with. Of course, I also have my boyfriend, so I’m not alone.

Because I live at home with my mother, who can be quite strict and judgemental (without always meaning to be), I’m not afforded the same opportunities as others when it comes to socialising. She watches me like a hawk, and at the slightest hint of my fibromyalgia flaring up or my anxiety getting worse, she crowds around me and drops hints about how I should rest, take it easy, stay in bed, have some time to myself… and because I no longer wish to fall out with her over such trivial things, I usually go along with it. It’s easier than turning a simple request to go out into a balls-out argument with tears and shouting. I hate that, I can’t take it, so I just accept defeat and stay in my bedroom, watching the rest of the world carry on without me. Oh, I know I should be stronger and more assertive, but I simply don’t have the strength to be that way any more.

I’ve spoken before of my friend who has bipolar type 2. She’s a very full-on person, very in-your-face and demanding at times, but I love her to bits. She was there for me when I split up with J, she was the one person who knew the full story of what happened at that festival (including how he put his arm through a wall, when he was aiming for me). I’ve also been there for her.

Suddenly though, I can’t take it. It feels as though she’s demanding far too much of me, and I don’t know what to do. My mother suggests I should let the relationship between us fade away until she latches on to somebody else, but isn’t that cruel? My mother has a natural aversion to mental illness, I think her dream for me would be for me to become friends with somebody ‘normal’, but when you’re crazy, how do you meet normal people? And why would they put up with me? I make friends with the mentally ill because they’re like me, and because they understand in a way nobody else can.

In the past few weeks, she’s:

  • Turned up on my doorstep with no announcement, and insisted I go shopping with her. No problem there, apart from warning would be nice. I could’ve been having a bad day, after all.
  • Asked me to cut her hair, when I’ve already said no several times before. I gave up hairdressing due to the extreme pain it caused me, and she knows this.
  • Told me (today) that she’s bought a rabbit. Never mind that she’s in debt, she has nowhere to keep it. I used to work for an animal rescue, and to hear that she’s leaving it at her parent’s house, just like the kitten she ‘had’ to have then left for them to deal with, makes me feel uneasy. She hasn’t even neutered that cat, months after buying it (or rather, getting her boyfriend to buy it for her).
  • Asked to borrow money off me, when she has no way of paying it back.
  • Insisted I entertain her because she’s bored, on regular occasions.
  • Phoned me over and over, when she knows I’ve been ill, then waited for me to log into FB, and posting messages on my wall asking where I am.

I don’t know. I’m just ranting. It sounds so trivial written down, but when I’m trying to deal with fibro pain, anxiety, illness and just generally getting through the day, it mounts up into a big upset I can’t deal with. I feel like I can’t do anything without  her. I met S’s auntie and uncle two weeks ago in Manchester, and when I told her I was going, she seriously asked if she could come along. Well no, she said “take me”. It’s not the first time that’s happened, it’s quite regular that she’ll want to tag along. I have no problem with that at all, but sometimes it’s obvious (to me, at least) that certain situations are for me and me only. Meeting my boyfriend’s family is something for me to do. After all, I couldn’t expect his relatives to pay for her meal and drive her around, could I? I just would never ask to be included in that sort of situation, it’s manners.

I know I’m just offloading, and I’ll feel better about this tomorrow, but I do worry. If I let the friendship go because it’s causing me too much stress (which I can ill afford right now), I’m back to having no ‘real’ friends. Just S, and I can’t rely on him entirely, it’s not fair on him. I can’t meet potential friends, really, and keeping friendships is difficult when I can’t be relied on, when any day could mean I’m stuck in bed crying in pain, having to cancel plans and potentially having to stay away from pretty much everything for weeks on end. With the best will in the world, the average person doesn’t want to deal with someone so troubled, someone who can’t be relied on and who can go into deep depressions for no reason. I’m not like other people.

I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be battered down by demands either.

I don’t know what to do.

This always happens to me.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Every day life

 

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Mother Should I Build the Wall?

  Depression is an odd creature. I’ve known it for years; it’s walked alongside me for most of my life. You could say I know it inside-out. Yet sometimes I’m simply not prepared for it to barrel into my life with the force of a hurricane, knocking me over and building a wall before I even have a chance to breathe.

At first, I blamed it on a virus. It’s not rare for me to feel unwell and run-down, and I did feel sick. In the back of my mind, something was telling me that the cause wasn’t physical, but, as usual, I refused to listen. Although I’m far from being in denial of my problems, I don’t like to accept it when it’s happening; as though it’s admitting a weakness I can’t control. I don’t see depression (or any mental illness) as a weakness in anybody else, yet when it comes to myself, I feel almost guilty for experiencing it. For wallowing, for letting myself down, for not being stronger and more capable as an adult.

After keeping quiet for days, I finally confessed to S how I’ve been feeling. Not the full details (he doesn’t need to know I’ve spent all day, every day in bed, wanting to cry but not having the strength to),  but admitting to a little bit of sadness seemed to lift a small weight off my shoulders. We haven’t seen each other since the weekend, and I miss him terribly. Perhaps I should be over this need to constantly be around someone I admire. It’s caused so many problems for me in the past. Yet, being without him only brings me down lower. I’m afraid of becoming dependent on him: it hasn’t happened so far, but I know the risk is there with BPD and I’ve always become dependent on men in the past, regardless of how they’ve treated me. The very fact that he treats me like an absolute princess (no exaggeration) worries me; will I become clingy? Will I go back to my old fears and habits, and spend my time wondering where he is, who he’s with, and if he still loves me? Calling him if I don’t get a reply to a text? Refusing to leave when it’s clearly time for me to go?

I don’t want to be that way with S. I’ve changed in many ways, but I know I still have the capacity to be the crazy girlfriend.

Back to depression. I’ve been taking my medication normally, so no blame lies there. I’ve considered that perhaps the slow-release beta-blockers have had an effect, but that doesn’t make sense. I’ve been incredibly unhappy about my weight, but what else is new? I’m always unhappy with my weight. I’ve never been happy with it. The idea is alien to me. Perhaps I’m a little less happy with it than usual; buying slimming pills probably suggests so. It’s just… every time I look down, all I see is fat. Ugly, disgusting, horrible fat. I see my thighs wobbling, my underarms squashing out under clothes, my big calves, fat fingers… it’s all so unsightly, and I just want rid of it. Again, I don’t have an issue with overweight people, and I truly believe that a bit of flesh on a woman is beautiful, but when it comes to me, I can’t help that urge to be skin and bones, to feel my hipbones when I lie down and catch rain in my collarbones like I used to when I was anorexic. Today, I ate:

1/4 bowl of homemade soup.

Baked potato with cheese (ugh – why? Weak moment), spinach and tomatoes.

1 pack of Go Ahead low fat crispy slices.

After the cheese, I took three Appesat (to stop me eating more), two Lipobind and a cheap nasty natural weight-loss pill which I’m sure does nothing, but perhaps the placebo effect will help.

Sleeping isn’t going well. There’s no doubt that the melatonin works, but I can’t bring myself to settle down to sleep. There’s something strangely soothing about being the only person awake in the house; perhaps in the whole street. It’s lonely, but the quiet attracts me. I’m dropping off around 4-5am, and getting up in the afternoon, which isn’t doing me any good. I’m seriously considering contacting a sleep disorder specialist. I can’t go on like this; normal life is impossible.

I feel as though I’m at a crossroads. One way says Crazy, the other way says Even Crazier. Neither path seems ideal. I’m not too sure I have the strength to follow any path.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Every day life

 

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