I am literally so bored with the Queen. She’s a kinda tedious old lady. Plus I really don’t think that having all those boats was such an impressive deal. I was expecting really great, entertaining boats with funny statues on and stuff. Instead, it just seemed to be a lot of people rowing. Yet somehow, that was the only thing on the news from the moment I woke up this morning. Still, I won’t pretend I’m not jealous of those people who got Fortnum & Maison’s lunch at the Piccadilly street party. Though saying that, they did have to meet Prince Charles and sing the national anthem which I don’t think I would have handled with anything but contempt. Instead, I watched Charlotte’s Web, which is a terrible adaptation of a book I actually really like. Next up is Celebrity Deal or No Deal with McFly. Sunday’s should be better than this. Maybe I should change the channel. If I’m lucky, Come Dine With Me will be on. Come Dine With Me is always on. And I really don’t want to do any work. I worked all yesterday, and all it made me was angry. Researching the EDL makes me want to spit a little bit.
So anyway, I know I’ve been a bit of a moany moaner these past few weeks. I’ve been feeling pretty low and haven’t yet found a way to feel less low. So I continue to feel low and try to limit the damage. It’s not exactly ok, but I think I’ve got to start playing the damage limitation game to keep myself functioning. I keep doing things that I know will make me feel worse in the long run because it seems easier in the short-term. For once, none of this is about food, though I will admit one of these things is walking. So here are the tips I’m going to try to follow in order to keep myself as healthy and well as possible until I work out what I have to do to actually fix the things I’m finding overwhelming and painful. None of this is exactly a long-term fix, and some of it is purely avoidance strategies, but right now, I have to do something.
- Don’t drink alcohol or takes drugs. I know this sounds like an awful, no fun Ellie idea, but I actually think that this might be necessary. In fact, it’s this point which is my main reason for posting this – other people knowing about it might mean they’ll help me to not get trashed. Every time I let myself give a little, I end up completely trashed. Even if I’m positive I won’t. And it’s basically every time I see anyone. I know I’m using it to be less self-conscious, but I need to keep that level of self-conscious to not hate myself entirely for days and days. It stays with me and it’s all I can think about. I hate the person I am when I let my intense amount of self-policing and anxiety lessen slightly. I hate it and it makes me feel horrible. It makes me hate seeing my friends. Thing is, I know I’ll probably give up on this as soon as someone offers me a drink. But on some level, I know it’s not actually worth it. And it’s not forever, its temporary management of my mental health. It used to be worth it. I think I just more time to look after my brain rather than frazzle it a couple of times a week. We’ll see. I predict failure I won’t lie.
- Keep myself in situations I feel safe in. This basically involves staying the fuck away from anything I know I’ll find stressful. I have real problems with social things and I know that, in general, I’m going to have to work on this. Thing is, I’ve been trying. I’ve been putting myself in situations I know will be hard for me, with people who I feel particularly judged and disliked by in the hope that I’ll get over my hang-ups eventually. Well apparently I’m not getting over it any time soon and it’s making me feel awful. People are so difficult and all I can do for days and days is go over exactly what I did wrong and why evenyone will hate me now. I always just dissociate from the situation. I don’t feel in control and all I feel after is shame. And I really don’t cope well with any of this. So safety first. I don’t want to isolate myself entirely, but maybe it’d be better to keep my socializing within small groups of people I know pretty well. Stay away from scenarios in which my brain panics and I stop being able to keep track of what’s happening. Sometimes that happens with people I know well, but I think fully isolating myself is only going to make matters worse.
- Use my support systems. Use the support offered from the CMHT, even if I don’t think it’ll help. Maybe it will. Call Samaritans if I need to. Call my friends. Speak to my family. Other people can help diffuse the moment. They might not be able to fix the problem, but if they can help me get out of destructive cycles, maybe it’s worth it. They might all judge me and think I’m awful and dramatic and lying, but I think there’s a net gain as when I’m left to my own devices, I start getting worked up and fast headed and panic.
- Look after myself. When I’m start feeling bad, I let my routines and self-care slide a bit. I’m going to try to keep on top of this. Shower, wash my face, tone, moisturize, put on comfy, but still socially acceptable clothing, take my medications, chew as much nicotine gum as I could possibly want, get out the house every day, eat enough and eat regularly (with lots of good, nutritious food), don’t skip out on yoga etc.. All of these things make me feel physically better and if I do the things that make me feel physically better, I’ll give myself fewer reasons to feel mentally worse. All these little things build up and once I let one slide, others start sliding. If I don’t leave the house, I might not bother wearing nice clothes, so might not bother properly looking after my skin, so don’t bother with my acne medications, etc. Keeping on top of it will only help.
- Minimise repercussions of SI. Obviously working on stopping is the way forward, especially as recently this has been getting more of a problem again. This involves spending a pretty hefty amount of money, but I think will be worth it. For me, this means, good wound care and good scar care. It’s worth spending extra, and the effort and expense are deterrents. Menolin pads, microporous tape, steri-strips, Savlon Advanced Healing Gel (I swear by this product), Savlon Wound Wash, gauze, TCP, Duo Derm (I swear by this too) and crepe bandages for the immediate care. Bio oil, vitamin E squeezed out of its capsules, heavy-duty foundation, concealer and powder, a little bottle of Elnette and a good foundation brush for scar reduction and speedier fading. All these products cost the earth. Seriously. But worth it if I can actually get my body out at some point over summer. And I’m doing good at SI reduction right now – 10 days free so far, so maybe I won’t have to buy much more.
- Journal. Whenever I start having a worse time, I start journaling less. This doesn’t mean I write less though. Instead of giving myself specific journal time, I start catching parts of my day. I’ll stop halfway through something to scribble a couple of paragraphs on nearby bits of paper. All that I end up with is a pile of incoherent babble that doesn’t help me work through my emotions, but rather records a whole load of desperation without any insight. When I’m feeling more stable (which unfortunately corresponds well with eating less, so most of my journals from the past few years are pretty one track minded), I journal every day, right now, with my general mood, plus alcohol and drugs thrown in to the mix (I tend to journal at night), I’m lucky if I make time twice a week. Making the time will help me work out my emotions and hopefully give me a better idea of the what I’m actually finding so difficult.
- Keep walks to an hour or less. Going for an emotional stomp is pretty much a necessity in my life. It’s not just for the calorie burn, although that does play a part in it. It’s mostly an escape. It’s better when I run, but I’m still not sure I can do that too much without consequences. I love running, but every time I try I start to obsess and beat myself up for not going far/fast enough because I don’t feel I’ve pushed myself enough. This has left me kinda scared of it. Even though a 15 minute run would be the same as an hour walk in terms of stress busting, that’s not enough. I duno. Walking isn’t the same though – I’m already good at it and I don’t get the same almighty rush so it’s less addictive. Maybe I should start doing mini runs to save time. I duno. The point isn’t about what exercise I should or shouldn’t introduce, but the fact that I heavily rely on physical outlets for difficult emotions. Getting a good stomp on is an avoidance strategy, but it’s one that works and is a lot less harmful psychologically and physically than SI or restriction, as long as I keep it low intensity or relatively short. My body is strong enough to handle it without doing damage and I’m not losing weight. Just as long as I keep it to more reasonable timeframes. Once we start hitting the three-hour of walking mark, I get blisters and my joints ache. It’s not worth it.
- Take some days off of work. I probably work too much and my deadline is in September, so I have time to take a day or two off each week, or even just having light work days. Rather than stressing myself out constantly because I’m not getting enough done due to my difficulty concentrating, so working pretty constantly and giving myself no chance to recharge, stepping back sometimes. Today, I am recharging. No work. At all.
- Do something nice for myself every day. Be it a nice bath if I can manage it, painting my nails, spending time doing something pointlessly crafty, making some special food, buying myself a cheap present. Whatevz. Just one nice thing a day will probably do me the world of good. I often forget. This will actually be really hard. I tend to treat myself pretty awfully sometimes.
- Stay away from confusing people. I’ll probably fail at this one.
- Get that piercing. I’ve been wanting it for ages and it’ll make me feel better. On my list of things I like about my physical appearance, my piercings are number two. It’ll only give me more to like.
So there you have it, my list of damage limitation ideas. It doesn’t address the problems, but it’s caring for myself enough to get through this difficult bit and hope I’ll be able to find ways to actually deal with it soon. A lot of it is avoidance, but the kind of avoidance I hope leads to me treating myself a little better and putting myself in situations I feel safer in. It’s not a perfect and it might not work, but right now I kinda feel like I’m making things worse and just ruining any chance I have of feeling better. So I’m hoping this’ll lead to a more manageable set of emotions rather than giving myself reasons and opportunities to freak out. We’ll see. What do you think? Do you reckon any of these are really bad ideas? Or do you have any to add to the list? I’d like a couple of opinions please.