This isn’t what I wanted for my life 

I go to bed tonight with a sore throat, a heavy heart, wet eyes and bleeding skin.

This isn’t what I wanted for my life. I thought I was stronger than this right now. I thought if I kept fighting it would be okay.

I know this is just a knock. I know it’s a bad day, a bad night. I know I will wake up tomorrow regretful but renewed. I know I will keep going, but right now I can’t help but think that this is not what I wanted for my life. It doesn’t matter though, what I think tonight, what matters is tomorrow morning getting up and facing it all again. 

I will wake up in the morning and face it all again because that is what recovery is, step by step, day by day. What you do everyday matters more than what you do once in a while, and everyday I shall try. 

Tonight will pass and tomorrow will come, at least I can be sure of that.

Advertisements

Mental illness meets the doctor

I had a GP appointment on Wednesday to review my blood tests. Basically they have come back with mild issues 3 times, but on the 4th time they are okay so nothing to worry about. In a twisted way I was kind of disappointed- not sure if others would understand this? I just felt like maybe if there was something physically wrong it would (a) be easier to talk about than the mental stuff and (b) might help spur me into action if I knew I was actually doing some damage- but all my ED heard was ‘you’re fine, no need to stop, not doing you any harm”

Anyway he then asked me how I was and that was all it took for the tears to start. I tried to explain how desperate I was feeling and how I wanted to disappear – how I had no control over the crying or eating or purging or self-harming, couldn’t make decisions, wasn’t sleeping, was stressed, despairing etc. I told him I felt like I was out of options and that now I have tried to get help and I’m on medication it’s even worse when I feel like this as I can’t think of anyway I can help myself more.  I couldn’t say the words “I am suicidal” but I so desperately wanted him to ask. (He didn’t- and while he is a great doctor- I think he should have).

He asked me what I felt had brought on this dip. This was hard but he knows his stuff about engaging patients in building a narrative of their difficulties and I know it is meant to be beneficial. I told him that I think having recently gone back on the pill was probably the main factor along with a very stressful period with PhD and discontinuity with my nurse in terms of appointments. He agreed it could well be the pill and that I should hang on and let the hormones get of out of my system and we can reevaluate then.

He asked what I did to approach stressful PhD times when they happen. I told him that actually working rather than just panicking about the work helps, and I really have been doing this in between the tears. I told him being in a routine is crucial so I have been getting into the office whether I feel like it or not. I told him exercise helps so I’m trying to to get to run club and the gym. I told him I was journalling even though my entries are a not always positive (there has been lots of scrawling of self-hate talk to be honest).  I didn’t tell him that weighing myself daily, obsessing about food and purging also helps as he had put them into the camp of ‘negative behaviours’ already- when really they are a comfort. This was a good conversation as I have done work before on identifying what helps so it was good for me to think about, but I don’t think he really understood that there is a chasm between knowing what will help and actually having the capacity to do these things. It’s a key issue which I’m not sure if he doesn’t get or is trying to not let me dwell on.

 

I then cried some more, and a little more and he skillfully moved onto talking about a plan (he is good with solution-focused approaches!). He asked me if I had an appointment with my nurse soon and I said that I had emailed but had no response. I told him that every time I have to ask for an appointment takes me days to work up to as ED is screaming at me for being too fat and un-disciplined and that I was wasting everyone’s time.  He asked if felt my nurse was helping and I said that I wasn’t sure- I felt so bad saying that but it’s true that sometimes I come out feeling worse, and it’s not because she’s hit a nerve it’s because there’s no continuity sometimes I feel I’m not getting anywhere. He suggested he could refer me to a specialist service to which I vehemently objected- they would refuse me as I don’t meet their weight criteria and I don’t need that written down on paper for me. He also said that in a few weeks a new nurse is starting and maybe I could see her. I would feel bad to leave my other nurse but this could be a good option.

For now though he said to just ride it out, see if coming off the pill helps, and made an appointment for me to see him next week, which was really good of him, as all I need to focus on now is a week.

I’m definitely feeling better the last two days, food stuff is still out of control but I only burst into tears once yesterday so I’ll take that!

Sorry again for the long post. Thanks for the support and hope you are all okay.

Mental illness meets life

Over the years I have become quite the master of hiding my struggles. I can stay up all night crying and cutting then go into work being the face of sunshine the next day. I can go out for dinner and be the life and soul of the party, but vomit in the bathroom in between courses. I can go on holiday and be the organiser and the leader and the one who is going to ensure the fun, but spend the whole time wishing I was at home in bed hiding from the world.

Every now and again though the carefully managed balance slips and I can’t control my depression/ED/anxiety enough to keep it hidden. It interferes with my public life and I can’t do anything about it. That happened today and I feel sick about it. It will probably seem really minor to most people but I have spent so long crafting a life where I look like I have my sh*t together that anything that jeopardises this petrifies me.

I was meant to visit a friend and her children today. It had been semi-planned for a while but the time hadn’t been confirmed. I texted in the morning to arrange a definite time but didn’t get a reply until 10 minutes before she was expecting to see me- except I needed to borrow a car and it takes 30 minutes to drive there. So I was already a bit panicky about being late as I knew the kids would be napping. But I said I would leave as soon as possible so I did. I then got to the motorway and it was barely moving. It took me 25 minutes to get the first exit after I joined and by that point I was uncontrollably crying for no real reason at all. I’ve just been really down the last while and I though that a trip home would help but it hadn’t and I’ve been kind of non stop crying for days now but mostly been able to pull it together by having a sob in the toilets or having a glass of wine (which is potentially coming a dangerous habit which deserves another post). I really wanted to get off at the first exit I came to but I talked myself into staying on, rolled down the windows and put the radio on and tried to talk myself into feeling calm. 15 mins later and having not moved an inch though I realised I was not going to be able to pull of a day of being sane. 10 minutes later I pulled off at the next exit and texted my friend to say I couldn’t make it. I was going to make up an excuse but I just though f**k it, why not be honest. So I told her I was in rough form and couldn’t handle the traffic and I know I’m a terrible friend but I hoped she understands. Her message in return was measured, I’m not sure how annoyed at me she is, but I really didn’t have any capacity to deal with it anyway. I pulled into a cul-de-sac and spent two hours crying over the fact that I was crying, then pulled myself together, went home, told my mum I had lovely time but needed a nap and then cried for another two hours in bed.

For the most part I can really hold things together and have got nearly as far in life as I wanted despite my mental health difficulties. But then days like today happen and I lose all sense of control and I wonder how I am ever going to live the rest of my life like this. I used to feel like this so much of the time, and I can understand again why I thought suicide was the only option. But then I got help and that along with medication helped and I thought things would be okay. But now I’m back feeling this desperate DESPITE the help and medication and now I am having to fight constant thoughts of ‘ you have no options left now’.

It’s probably right that I don’t have other options. But I do have the choice to hang on. So that’s all I need to do right now, is hang on. For the next few hours until I can sleep, and the morning when I wake still being me, and the next day after that and after that. I just need to hang on. Darkness is always worst before the dawn.

If you’re just hanging in there too for now- you’re not alone. It will be okay. We just have to trust in that.

Was it worth it?

I binged and purged this morning. I had a couple of free hours at home and that’s what I did with my time. I fell asleep afterwards and I’ve now woken up with a horribly sore throat and a nauseous stomach.

Was it worth it? No.

I’m trying to unpick why I keep doing it. I binged on iced fingers and donuts and I enjoyed the first 3 iced fingers and then after that I was only eating so I could purge. So I got about 5 mins of enjoyment from it and then after that it was pretty miserable. Sometimes I enjoy the purging but today because I was trying to stay in the moment it wasn’t nice- my throat was really sore. So for 5 minutes of enjoyment I have wasted 5 hours (the eating, purging, and sleeping) and now I feel gross.

Was it worth it? No.

I’m trying to work on my purging and really think about it before and after – but doing so makes me sad. I feel nothing but bad things: as well as a sore throat and nausea I feel shame, guilt, disappointment. I understand why I need to do this for my recovery, I need to think of what purging actually does for me so I remember that before I start eating, I need to rewire my brain to not associate purging with a nice time for myself.

It was not worth it. I need to learn this.

And breathe…

I made it through the past few days. I got the things that needed doing done and I feel so much better for it. Now I’m out of that horrible patch I feel a little silly about how awful I felt, I am slowly learning to trust that ‘the darkness doesn’t last forever, dawn always comes’ but sometimes I dip so low and get so overwhelmed that I worry it will be like before, when I couldn’t see my way out.

That’s what I was trying to explain to my nurse and I couldn’t quite get it across. I started seeing her when I was firmly on the road to recovery so I don’t think she got why I was panicking about not being able to get my work done. She doesn’t know that the last time I hit a ‘bad patch’ with my studies that I was suicidal and pretty much stopped functioning for a couple of months. She was encouraging me to cry and let it out but she wanted to fix it- wanted to talk about routines and yoga and all the things I know I need to do but couldn’t understand why that made me feel worse. I know what I need to do but when the low sweeps through me it renders me helpless. Honestly all I wanted to do was hide under the table in her office and curl up in a ball until the pain stopped. I think I could have told my old nurse that, I think she would have been able to understand without me having to talk, I really really missed her this week. I know my new nurse is trying to help, but I don’t think there’s much more she can offer me now (I know I have talked about this before) and I just feel so guilty for taking up time that could be used positively for someone else.

We finished my session early as I just couldn’t engage and I wandered around for 30 mins before heading into uni. I really wanted to just go home to bed but I had to go to a meeting. I really really really wanted to check out of reality at that point – go hide somewhere and let the tears fall and fall- but I couldn’t as life was going on around me whether I liked it or not. These are the moments where I see my strength- that even though I felt sh*t I didn’t want this to affect my life any more than it has. That even though it’s awful, I need to grit my teeth and plough on if I don’t want to stay trapped in the darkness. It’s not been an easy week, or few weeks really, and I’m still a little shook by it to be honest, but I can breathe again now . Phew.

It’s only a run

I’m still injured and it looks like the marathon isn’t going to happen. I’ll still go as my boyfriend is running the half marathon, I’ve other friends running the full and we have accommodation booked for the night before and after, so I will paint a smile on my face and cheer him on, but I am going to have to draw on all my resources to have a good time.

There’s a whole lot of cognitive dissonance going on right now. I know it’s only running, I know it’s not the end of the world, I know I will likely be able to run again so this isn’t the worst injury, but on the other hand I keep thinking of all the training I put in and how frustrating it is to not be able to see the fruits of my labour. I have worked really hard this training cycle to get a good PB, I was aiming for a ‘good for age’ qualifying time for London, I have been beating my PBs along the way so it was within my reach. I feel it’s all gone to waste, but then I think sensibly that as long as I get better I can try again later in the year, but the thought of more 20 miles runs is exhausting and round and round the thoughts go. I just need to stop over thinking it. It is one race. It will done with in 8 days. I will get better. I will start running again and I can do another marathon when I’m fit for it.

The eating is another thing that is taking up brain space. I’m trying my best but it is hard now I’m not running. I’ve been swimming so that has helped, but the pool was closed today for refurbishment and I ended up in tears when I realised as I had eaten a flapjack thinking I could swim it off. As I can’t walk or cycle I have no way of burning it off now, so now I’m thinking I will have to swap it for a meal. This is such disordered thinking, I know it, you know it, even something without an ED would say that, but I swear my stomach is growing right in front of my eyes. On the positive side, I haven’t purged for 4 days and I’m feeling good about that.

So, ups and downs at the moment. All I can do is ride it out and find the positives where I can. My friends have been very supportive about the running so I’m a lucky girl in that way, and I got to spend some time wth my friends new baby last week and baby cuddles are great for when I’m down. It’s not all bad, and I keep telling myself it’s only a run…

Airport wishes

I’m sitting in the airport as going home for the weekend. I’ve had a bit of a disastrous day so there’s already been tears in the train station bathroom. I’m feeling fairly out of it and looking at the departures board wishing I could board a plane somewhere far away on my own where I could hide out and stop the world for a week…or a month or a year…

I think it’s time to admit that I’m depressed. I’ve been fighting it thinking it’s just stress, but it feels more than that. I’ve been far more stressed than this last year and was able to cope but now I’m just sad and fuzzy headed and feel like I’m permanently in a swamp I can’t get out of. It won’t ever be as bad as before, I know it will pass, I know I’ll survive.

But for now I’ll just keep dreaming of sunshine and beaches and escape from my head.