The morning after

I’ve woken up this morning feeling soooo much better. It was like I needed to let it all out last night and now I can start again with a clean slate. It sounds weird but I find self-harm can do that for me. It seems that I let everything build up and then ‘pop’ it releases. I just need to figure out how I can let it out little by little rather than it being a big explosion.  As the saying goes ‘I am still learning’ 

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.

Wobbly

My body is wobbly. It’s always been wobbly and I’ve hated it for that. The last few years though I was on top of the wobbliness, but I know that was in a way that wasn’t healthy. Now I’m healthy, but I’m wobbly.

I’m now a bit stuck, because I’m wobbly again and I hate it. I cried in the car home today because someone posted a picture of a race and I look HUGE in it. This is the second photo in a week that I have seen of myself and wanted to hurt myself over. I’m going bridesmaid dress shopping in a few weeks and I’m dreading it: it should be a special day for my friend but I don’t know how I’m going to cope with being in front of a mirror with her pretending I’m not disgusted by what I see.

The thing is that I only know one way to deal with this. I know that dropping my calories and upping my exercise would do the trick if I gave it enough time. However I also know that that is also a surefire way to let ED back into my life (if it’s not already ED talking).

What’s the alternative? This is a genuine question as I really do not know! Do I just stay like this and hope for a miracle that at some point I will stop hating it? Do I compromise and try and ‘tone up’ a little?

I know I don’t need to lose weight. I also kind of know that I need to not lose weight. Yet I really don’t want to have to spend all day worrying about my wobble.

I’m a bit stuck, and my wobbly outside is making me wobbly inside! I’m hoping a good nights sleep will help. zzzzz

Noticing progress in the strangest things

So, last night was a bit rough!

I’ve felt under the weather all week, my IBS has been playing up and then I had a meal out with a friend last night and it just tipped me over the edge. I barely made it into my car before I started crying, I got home and purged my dinner and then all I could see was flab and fat and bloating and I felt just awful.

I wanted out of my body and I really really wanted to self harm. At the same time though I really didn’t want to have to deal with hiding cuts and scars from my boyfriend, and all the other nastiness that comes with self-harming. Instead, I took my rage out on my blog, hence the fat rant last night.

So while it was a bit of a negative post, for me it was in fact progress that I took it out on my screen instead of on myself. I cried myself to sleep and this morning I woke up so relieved I hadn’t cut. I went for an early (chilly- winter is coming!) run and that cleared my head a little. I am still horribly bloated and cramping but I know it will pass.

One step back, one step forward…somedays I guess we just need to hang on tight and hope for the best.