Body Image

Struggling with weight and body image things, but otherwise alright; I want to sleep for a long time, and wake up two stone lighter without all of my self-esteem issues. Wouldn’t that be lovely. Wouldn’t that be absolutely fucking amazing.

Sorry. Not feeling great. I’ll get better.

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Living

Because being female sucks, spent a lot of the day sofa-bound and feeling very sorry for myself. Achieved very little, but hey ho. I am still going to the gym and being really good with that, so at least that’s something.

Living with my parents is hard. I am a lot older than I was when I lived at home, and I’m a very different person – yet not much has changed. It’s really, really weird. I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with just my partner, some time to ourselves.

Other than that, not much to report…

Quiet Day

Very quiet day, probably for the best. Went to the gym, did some more writing, had a bath. Generally remaining very low-key and trying not to get myself freaked about my future or life or whatever, which happens remarkably often these days.

Had a completely useless ‘work focused interview’ for ESA, too. The woman conducting the talk freely admitted it was a waste of time, as I a) have a job I will be getting back to when I can and b) have only been out of hospital a week, so going back to work isn’t likely for a while yet!

So keeping on keeping on. And hopefully will be able to actually do things when I eventually go back to aerial…

Family

I love my mother.

We get on like a house on fire, and I mean it: destructive, contagious and impossible to prevent. I wish I was more like her, and also not. It’s amazing and awful and perfect.

When I was younger, I was her ‘clone’, according to everybody who knew us both. I have become my father far more, now, and I’m delighted about it: he’s the best storyteller I’ll ever know, and he makes me smile constantly. He’s kind, loving, gentle.

My mother is personality incarnate. She has force and unending intensity. My mother backs down from nothing.

I hope I became both. My dad’s perfectionism, my mum’s anger, my dad’s stubbornness, my mum’s passion. I don’t know any more, but I hope, and I will always try to emulate the best of them both. I’ll get there. In the meanwhile, I can only do what I can, and hopefully not alienate either.

Never gets easier.

A Successful Weekend!

Back to my parents, and have had a wonderful weekend with friends who (bemusingly) genuinely seem to like me. And my partner doesn’t want to knock me out with a spanner, so I’m going to tentatively assume I managed a social situation without behaving like a total knob.

A new week. I’m trying to learn how to assert my needs and enjoy what I do, with variable degrees of success. Small things with my partner, my parents. Things like where we’re going to move to when we do, what we want for our lives. I am trying to be strong.

I am tired. I am really tired. It’s a depression thing. I know it is. The weekend has completely exhausted me; I was with friends for the duration, new people happened, travelling happened. People in general exhaust me at the moment. Occupational hazard of only being a week out of inpatient, too, but there we have it.

It’s okay. I’ll be okay. It just takes a bit of time.

Inescapably Ill

I’m always happy when I have friends around. Especially those who know what I am currently going through and are both able and willing to support me.

Today only got tricky because I was drinking. Not very much, I might add. I also was not drinking solo. However, my partner was a touch over vigilant, and my beloved friends then got rather vigilant too. It’s not a big thing, in many regards, but it isn’t spoken aloud. I see the lack of trust in my friend drinking what was left in my glass, with pointed questions from my partner and eyes on the back of my head. I can’t even get upset because it’s for all the right reasons.

I just wish it didn’t feel quite so much like a fundamental lack of trust. And the constant reminder that I’m not like everyone else. I’m ill. And I can’t escape it.

Self Harm and Addiction

(Or: At Home – Day Four)

I had my support group today. It’s not therapeutic but offers practical and emotional support, and it’s useful for that. It informed me about a lot of options locally for help etc so it’s a thing I go to, and will do until I’m in proper therapy.

Today, I talked a lot about my personal experience of crisis, including self harm. I was told I was extremely verbose about how it feels being in crisis, which was a lovely compliment, and apparently I should do a TED talk on self-harm which to be honest, I’m now thinking about quite a bit.

Self-harm is often countered with the questions of ‘alternatives’. Ice cube, rubber band, felt tip. They’re admirable ideas, but don’t understand the full experience of self-harm. It isn’t just about pain. It’s about permanence. It’s about establishing your relative reality in a world that you’ve lost. You do it, it hurts, it’s there, it exists, you exist. The hurt reminds me I’m real. The permanence reminds me that I stay real.

An ice cube doesn’t hurt in the acute, breathtaking way that real harm takes. The snap of a rubber band is a sting on a finger, when you’re desperate for a stab in the heart.

Hurting yourself tells a story, acknowledges that there is no replacement but to hurt yourself. Sometimes, of course, it is attention-seeking, and that is massively important in itself. But often it is about no attention at all, or attention from yourself, or attention from anybody who will listen to your story. It isn’t about saying ‘look, I’m hurting’, it’s about ‘look, I’m desperate, and I don’t have words that cover this’.

I hurt myself when I’m in crisis, almost like a note for my future self, to remind me of where I’ve been and where I will be. It can tether me to a time and place. It is real, it is utterly and unequivocally real, when my reality is so often pressured: I am too emotional, too extreme, too raw, too up, too down. Hurting myself is a categorical statement of constancy, and I love and loathe every single scar for what it gives me (and what it took away, when I first etched them into my skin).

And sometimes, it really is just about pain. It doesn’t even necessarily imply self-loathing. Sometimes it implies nothing at all, but it hurts, and sometimes I need to hurt. Even in the smallest things, like biting my fingernails down to the quick because when I type, every single letter sends small shooting pains up my fingers and it’s cathartic and infuriating, and it’s not simple.

Like my eating disorder: I binge, and I throw up. I force my body to do something utterly wrong, something that contradicts every aspect of my normal world. It hurts. Bulimia hurts. It hurts everything from my bank account to my teeth to my blood pressure. Every time, it is physical and mental torture, and that is no exaggeration. I say this after thirteen years of making my body do things it desperately doesn’t want to do, after learning every comprehensive way to hurt myself, both transient and constant.

I cannot explain, to somebody who has never done it, quite why I do it.

Even when I’m well, I love and loathe every scar I have. They were vital when I made them. They are painful, horrible, excruciating to remember. They are ugly and they are immediate. They pose questions, even when I’m not ready to ask them aloud. I don’t believe I could have done anything else than what I did, but at the same time, I wish beyond words that I hadn’t.

I doubt I’ll ever quite be able to kick it. Once you’ve started, it is like any addiction; it serves so many, too many purposes to really let it go. Even now, I have only just brushed the surface of what self harm does, for me, and for others I’ve discussed this with.

No addiction is simple. No addiction can be easily understood, not unless you live in it. Many minimise it; alcohol gives you a high, helps you relax, uncomplicates things, gives you bravery, gives you peace, gives you a social life, gives you amnesia, gives you anything. Everything. Self-harm is another. Bulimia another. Addictive and wonderful and perfect and evil and awful.

I’m making peace with it.

And one day, maybe, I’ll even manage to beat it.