Tag Archives: addiction

the worst month of my life.

I wrote this in October 2013, so it’s a bit backdated, but I guess it gives a quick overview of where I’ve been and, my mental health history for anyone that might read this and not want to track back and starts to show how I got where I am I guess. Hopefully it’s not too self indulgent.

Ok so maybe this isn’t quite the worst month of my life, but it’s definitely top five. I think it’s actually quite hard to tell sometimes just what was the worst thing ever, especially in the moment. Loads of things are awful. Bereavement sucks. Being dumped sucks. Not having enough money to buy the shower gel you really wanted sucks. Maybe when you’re really old and looking back at your life you work it out. All I know is that this month has been monumentally tragic, even in comparison to a lot of my other awful times. It’s almost laughable, if it wasn’t me, In this post, I’m going to explain why.

Within the month of October 2013, I’ve been dumped by a boy I loved (who had the emotional maturity of a grapefruit), who I then got back together with for a total of four days, only to be dumped again and have him steal my pitiful amount of money. I then made that fantastic choice of fucking him, just to let him tell me how much I suck and how crazy and sad I am. Followed by him leaving the country. My housing situation is tenuous I think. Some major disagreements with the family led to me living with said boy, which has now left me living half with my family, which is difficult for them as much as for me, and living half with a drug dealer who can set me up with some tasks when I’m more than my average broke. Being broke should go on this list, but that’s pretty much a permanent. My treatment has increased – I’m now, I’m in treatment for mental health problems almost every day and I’m being offered NHS funded private rehab for at least three months. All of which means I have to face the highly likely prospect of taking yet another year out of finishing the one year masters degree I’m already in my fourth year of. Even so, I’m still barely coming to terms with the fact that I have something labelled “complex needs” by essentially all health and social care workers. This is not exactly how I imagined my life would be at 24.

Getting where I am right now has been a painfully long process. In reality, everyone’s life is just a painfully long process from birth to wherever they are now I guess. I could start my story in childhood, which my therapist says probably was invalidating and hindered my emotional development or some next drama, but it’s not important. I had a nothing but lovely childhood. My conscious awareness of some sort of emotional issue probably started in my teens. At around 13, I started drinking, smoking, getting high, liking boys and self-harming. Self-harm at that point wasn’t weird. My friends all did it too, I just took it further, and never really stopped. I think looking back, I probably was a little more nervous and a little unhappier than my peers, but at the time I wasn’t emotionally capable of looking outside my own world and hindsight is often a fallacy. I got good at self-harming, and even better at hiding it.

By 15, no one talked about it, but I still did. I also started having panic attacks all the time. I went to my GP and got my first mental health diagnosis – depression and panic disorder. Off I went to some fairly dull and pointless counselling, which may have been great if I’d engaged with it, but at 15, how many people can be fucked?

I got through college with a lot of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, self-harm and boys. I got through it well and did really quite good considering, but that life had its toll. Too many nights of too much excess in clubs I was definitely too young to be in led to me completely crashing emotionally. Just before my exams. I spent weeks in bed, ran away to Yorkshire, spent more weeks in bed and was dragged to my GP again. Again, the diagnosis was depression. This time I was prescribed Prozac (and later citalopram), told to go to the surgery counsellor and sent on my way.

I didn’t go to the counsellor. Instead, I ran off to Bristol for university. My first year of uni was properly batshit cray. Antidepressants, a change in contraceptive pill, dropping all my hobbies and friends and family to enter the horror of finding new hobbies and friends was all a little much. My self-harm and generally crazy behaviours went into overdrive and behind closed doors (but in front of my unfortunate, but ultimately a prick new boyfriend), I became the most dramatic crazy person ever. Inefficiently executed suicide attempts, blood and sharpie markers all over me and my dorm, running away, cold showers with all my clothes still on, half a litre of vodka each night, drugs wherever I could find them. It was messy, but with no follow up from my GP, it all went unnoticed. 

When I finally cold turkey gave up the antidepressants at the end of summer, I was fucking miserable and doing seriously terrible at uni. I hated myself, I felt like a failure and I didn’t know what to do. Lucky for me, I quickly found losing weight. I focused myself on to eating healthy and going to the gym and found something I was good at. I was bloody fantastic at losing weight. It made me feel good. It made me feel proud. It made me feel in control (finally). So I did that, and I dropped self-harm, got substantially less trashed, was able to focus on university and slowly became more and more focused on losing weight. That went on for the next three years and I ended up seriously underweight and trapped in anorexia, obsessing over food and exercise. Still, I did good at uni and I graduated well, so started and MA.

Halfway through my MA, I became so critically ill that, after being shipped around various primary care therapy services, I was referred to a specialist eating disorders unit (EDU) and started actually getting treatment. I was so unwell, my uni boyfriend from Bristol wound up dumping me and we spent the next year and a half breaking up. Turns out he was an abusive bastard and I couldn’t see it. Years of domestic from someone I loved is pretty hard to deal with if you don’t have an eating disorder to escape from it.

For a while, I was still too unwell with anorexia to really noticed what it was providing me, so I was still focused and obsessed enough to complete all my taught units in my MA, but by my last assignment (two years after starting my MA), I was almost out of treatment with my EDU, emotionally disastrous, self-harming everyday, on and off of antipsychotics and mood stabilisers, back on antidepressants and in and out of hospital for stitches, glue and lethal overdoses (I’d got smarter since I was last like this, so way more efficient. Intelligence isn’t always a good thing). It was around this time my EDU diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder and referred me to my local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT). By this point, I was too ill to even contemplate a dissertation so decided to defer my assessment.

This last year, I’ve been in dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT – specialist therapy for people with borderline), but I’ve also been honing my alcohol and Valium misuse to block out all my difficult thoughts and emotions, and topping them off with whatever other substances head my way. I went into another relationship with yet another person who doesn’t know how to treat their partner and wound up homeless, scarred, broke and an addict. I hadn’t realised I was an addict until a few weeks ago when I was told. I thought I was going to be able to finish my degree this year, have some time off and hopefully start a PGCE and I was finally letting myself get some hope that I might be able to catch up to my peers and actually set up some sort of life I can be proud of. That’s suddenly looking less likely right now. I’m now in a drug and alcohol treatment program 3-4 days a week, individual DBT once a week, group. DBT once a week, my day programme key worker once a fortnight, my Community Drug and Alcohol Team (CDAT) case worker once a fortnight, my Community Recovery Team (CRT – previously my CMHT) psychiatrist once a month and my CRT social worker at some point and some amount. And you know I might be in rehab in a few months.

So here I am. Worst. Month. Ever. I’m actually pretty fucking unhappy right now, but I’m sure that’s not exactly hard to guess. Apparently (according to mental health workers), I suffer ‘severe and enduring’ mental health problems, I’m ‘high risk’ of serious injury, physical illness or death, I’m ‘low functioning’ and have a limited ability to independently thrive within mainstream society and I have ‘complex needs.’ I guess I have got a kinda complex case – you can tell by the amount of people involved in my care (it’s got to the point where it’s overwhelming and confusing).

Still, I’m smart, articulate and jokes, plus try so hard to be nice to people. For some unknown reason, I fully believe this pessimist shit sells me short. I don’t want to be in treatment or care or whatever all my life. I think I’ve got potential. I’ve got through a lot and still have a load more to do, but maybe I can be more then all these unhelpful labels.

Anyway, I’ve blogged before, mostly about my recovery from anorexia. I didn’t realise it’d get more complicated after that and I let a lot of my real life friends read it. I’m not all that sure about sharing addiction and self harm problems with my real life friends yet is a good idea, but I don’t like hiding away. I found it really helpful blogging though, and I think maybe blogging more would be useful still. It might not be though. Or maybe I’ll be too high to look at it. We’ll see I guess.

If you got this far, thank you for reading. Wish me luck.

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Filed under Addiction, bad day, bpd, CDAT, CMHT, eating disorder, fuck, general, Housing, HTT, life, Mental health, NHS, rant, rubbish, self harm, therapy, university

skyrim.

So I thought I’d maybe do an opening post on where I am now. There is only one real answer to that, and that is Skyrim. I know I know I am super late because it’s so old now and everyone’s already played it yarda yarda etc., but I wanted to do a post about how video games can really help me improve my mental health. They are obviously not for everyone (only for those of us who are slightly more inclined towards the geekier side of things), but since moving, Skyrim has been a seriously special thing to me.

I used to game a lot when I was little, but I had this absolutely horrendous, abusive boyfriend when I went to university who essentially told me I was rubbish for doing it because I wasn’t paying him enough attention. He’s a douche and waaaay out of the picture. But anyway, by the time that was over I was totally locked in anorexia so gaming was still a really difficult thing to get into again. It was only once I gained weight and recovered from anorexia that I was able to game again. I started out with some old classics like Metal Gear Solid and moved on to Tomb Raider Survivor, Uncharted and some Resistance: Fall of Man. I found these super cathartic as I was so engaged with something else, visually, physically and audibly, that I could escape my own feelings and emotions and put them to one side whilst distressing emotions within me calmed down. However, the situations I found myself in meant gaming became harder and harder. I installed Baldur’s Gate on my iPad (if any of you are old and naff enough to remember this) so I could game on the go, but my life was really hectic.

There are other was to calm down your emotions obviously. I could have a nice bath, or read some Neil Gaiman, but, you know, I could beat some dragons to death with a war-hammer. For me, it’s the dragons that work every time.

See, I find books difficult to engage in when I’m stressed. It’s uses like, one sense, and that just isn’t distracting enough, and if I’m in a bad place, the last thing I want to do is stare at my body. I don’t hate it, but like basically any girl living in a world in which unrealistic expectations are expected of or bodies, I don’t think “wowzas – what a hottie.” I need to find something with a story that can engulf me, something complicated enough to engage me in puzzle solving, and something beautiful enough to stare at for hours. Enter Skyrim.

Since moving, I’ve had no internet. I’ve not been able to binge watch tv series till I’m blue in the face. I’ve not been able to sit and let something mildly entertaining wash over me. I think this has both pros and cons. I find it incredibly easy to let my emotions run wild when I’m just casually watching something, and I also find that the background noise has become a part of my ritual for self-harming. Stupid, but true. Nothing grabs me enough. When I first moved, I watched a lot of shit T.V. – me and Parking Mad became good friends I won’t lie. I’d watch reruns of T.V. shows I hated on Dave at three am. No fun for anyone.

One evening, I had my brother and a mate over. He’d previously given me Skyrim (the legendary addition with all the DLC already on the disk) and that night he installed it. I’d like to say the next day I was suckered in, but that’d be a lie. I spent the whole day not sleeping and ended up watching Dirty Weekenders in France (the one with Richard E. Grant), under a duvet, on my sofa, eating Super Noodles. The next day, Skyrim happened.

You start the game, pick your gender, race, hair colour, makeup (fuck make up – my Wood Elf has war paint bitches), spend a while giving them some sort of maybe acceptable face and giving her some kick ass curves then off you go – in to the world of Skyrim.

Skyrim is part RPG, part soap. There’s like a main storyline involving dragons and shouting and all this crazy stuff. I’ve been playing it for over 75 hours and I still don’t really no where that’s going except for the fact that, at some point, imma have to merk some proper badman head dragon with all my shouting. I get most of my fun in the side quests. I just finished the Thieves’ Guild side quest (which took many hours) and now I’m really good at pickpocketing, lock picking and being super stealthy. I am Queen of the sneak attack. I play the longest game in the longest way. I hide, shoot a boss with an arrow, run away till I’m hidden, then go back and do it again. See, the Thieves’ Guild had lost it’s reputation as being proper hard thieves, and I had to restore it back to its immoral street cred. Now I am MASTER OF THE THIEVES! This has nothing to do with the main story, it was just fun.

It isn’t just big side quests. There are miscellaneous, teeny tiny quests too. Like finding someone a book. One time, I had to find three, flawless amethysts for this lizard dude so he could make an engagement ring for his wife (as per lizard customs obvs). And you can buy a house! You can buy a few houses, but because I have the DLC stuff, I’m saving my p so I can build a fucking huge yard once I get the 100,000 gold achievement, so my one house is pretty shit. It’s full of cobwebs and hay, but fuck that. Imma build a mansion and then get married and adopt some children. Because you can do that in Skyrim. You can get married, pimp your house out and adopt some kids. Complete and utter soap opera drama. Except every now and then, a dragon pops up you have to deal with. My weapon of choice here is my Nightingale bow and my elven war hammer. Beat them to the ground and absorb that dragon soul init fam.

It is so addictive and so engaging. It’s actually hard to write this post because I want to play it more now and I know my Mum is sleeping over tonight to watch lots of Avatar (the last air bender variety – don’t get twisted). I only have five hours to play it and I need to get dressed and stuff. Urgh. People get in the way of my Skyrim dreams.

But back to my main point. Yes, I admit I am a bit of a geek, but it’s one of the best ways to distract myself from my own distressing emotions. I get to engage in all the ridiculous lives of made up characters and I temporarily forget my own ridiculous life. Yes it is an avoidance thing, but in all honesty, distraction as a technique is better than cutting yourself in a moment of severe, emotional distress. You can deal with the problems once you’ve got your emotions back under control and through the use of emotional regulation skills like building mastery (a.k.a. getting shit you find hard to do done, even if it’s the washing up) so you feel like you’re achieving and making progress forward. It’s so much easier to do once you’ve let your emotions calm down a little by engulfing yourself in this mentalist world of ridiculously silly fun. And also, you can not play video games when you are off your face trashed on Valium. You just get shit at it, so it’s a really good way of distracting from addictive thoughts as well. Honestly, Skyrim has been so good for my mental health that I’d recommend anyone going through a rough patch to get themselves involved in some seriously addictive gaming.

Just be wary. You may end up forgoing sleep all together. Then you’re not really addressing your problems, you just play it till 10am then sleep all day, the play it again. Avoiding avoidance is something DBT tries to encourage. My support worker hates me because I’m never awake. Sometimes, you have to plan to not play it so you can be awake. I had to take a week off to be productive, be social and have a bit of a life. I was a little sad. No lie.

So this is what I’ve been up to recently. I can be more detailed in how I got here. Or not. You decide.
And remember – you have been warned.

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Filed under Addiction, bad day, bpd, coping strategies, general, life, Progress, recovery, self harm, therapy, Video games

differences and change.

So it’s been a while since I last posted and a lot has gone on. I’ve written a lot of posts and I’ve written, lots of diary entrances when I haven’t had access to computers, but like, after being kicked out, evicted, sponging off my best friend, being dumped, gaining a social worker, a suicide attempt, hospitalisation, running away from hospital, a lot of time under the HTT, losing a social worker and gaining a new one, graduating DBT group and finishing individual therapy, completing level one addiction treatment at Turning Point, more time under the HTT, completing an Intuitive Recovery course with Turning Point (getting me a level one qualification in health and social care as well!), finally getting my own flat at the end of March (all be it through the council and it’s medium mental health supported) and yesterday I finally got internet! It’s been really bloody hectic but I have some posts. I don’t know whether I should even post them as it’d be backdating so much. Or if anyone would read this. Or if I should start a new blog. This began as an eating disorder recovery blog and has definitely changed direction quite a lot, but I’m trying really hard to build up a life outside of my mental health problems, and maybe this would tie me to them, or maybe this could help me see how far I’ve really come. I duno. Maybe it could help others who have gone through similar stuff. Maybe that’s just arrogance.

If there are any readers out there, lemme know what you think.

Lovelove x.

(ps. Sorry I haven’t been keeping up with everyone. I’ve not had internet access and I’ve gone through a lot the past few months. I feel rubbish. I hope you’re all ok x.)

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Filed under Addiction, bpd, eating disorder, Hospital, Housing, HTT, life, NHS, recovery, self harm

things in the last few days.

Wednesday 14th November 2012

So I’ve been having a bit of a blog break. My world has been a moody, hectic and stressful. I withdraw from the blog world when things are rubbish. Things are a bit rubbish right now.

The biggest rubbish thing is that Juno is very, very unwell. She started vomiting everything she ate and got really weak and feeble. The Fam took her to the vets last night and she needed an emergency operation, which she had in the middle of the night last night. Turns out, she’d swallowed a peach stone and it’d got stuck in her intestine. It’d completely blocked her gut and her gut had started to grow around it, so it was becoming a part of her. If we’d left it any longer, her gut would have probably ruptured overnight and she would have died, but she’s healthy and young and got there in time so she looks like she’s going to be ok. They had to remove six inches of her gut, and they also spayed her so she’s pretty unwell right now. She’s still at the vets to be monitored, plus she’s super doped up on painkillers, but me and the Brother got to visit her today and she seemed pleased to see us. Her bat ears stuck up and she rested her head on us and ate a little food and drank a little water. Hopefully she’ll be home on Friday (if everything goes as smoothly as it seems right now), but we won’t know for sure if she’s fully healed till a weeks time. Luckily, they don’t think there’ll be any lasting complications. Fingers crossed.

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Juno at the vets, snuggling the Brother

So yer, right now I have no dog and I’m worried and sad and have no one to look after me in that way that dogs look after you. They really do save you sometimes. I miss her and she’s only been gone a day. I hate not having a dog around. So much.

On top of this, our kitchen has just started being redecorated. This is stressful in an eating disorder way (obvs.), but also because my house is full of people and its loud and hard to feel comfortable. They turn up, bump into HTT, smash things and generally lead to me hiding away. I hate people in my house, especially when I’m meant to be home alone. I like my alone time. It’s important to me. I like empty space sometimes.

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The £2,000 peach stone

There are good points to it though. In one of my more hyper moments, I decided to create an incredibly selfish Facebook event in which I invite myself to people’s houses for dinner so that they can cook me nice foods to make the transition a little easier. I’ve been struggling with food a bit recently and I’ve lost a couple of kilos, so I think it’s important to try keep my eating up regardless. I figured what better to kick an eating disorder sneaking back in than letting other people cook me normal people meals. I used to find other people cooking for me horrific, then uncomfortable, but now fine. I figure this way, I’m less in control and will probably at least maintain a vaguely healthy weight for a while. Maybe I’ll even gain some weight. That’d probably be a good thing if it does happen. It’s only two weeks. Plus I’ll get to spend a little more time with my friends, which is always fun. Yesterday I saw a couple of people and their aces gecko Ricardo and we ordered Thai and drunk wine and gin and I had a nice time. It was good to see people. Especially people I don’t see enough and actually really like.

But yer, the kitchen makes life more difficult. It’s annoying and makes eating hard. Especially with Valium withdrawal. Valium withdrawal symptoms come and go in varying intensities, but it basically sucks out. I occasionally break and end up taking more than I should, but it is so hard you have no idea. It’s like the worst flu ever – tremors run through your entire body, you’re exhausted but can’t sleep, you get extreme fluctuations in body temperature and mood, my brain is louder, my appetite is just gone, there’s dizziness and generally feeling like you could collapse at any point, your head gets foggy and everything gets less real, you shake and have that not sleep you get with a fever, nightmares, increased urges self-injurious thoughts, anger, irritability, feeling like you literally might be about to die because you can’t breathe, feel nauseous and so dizzy you literally cannot stand. It’s shit. Another reason blogging has been a little rubbish recently.

Another stress had been the major amount of life admin I’ve had to go through recently. Sorting out my freedom pass, upgrading my phone with O2 and Carphone Warehouse, sorting out the Ma’s new phone contract, switching banks, sorting out a new student bank account, trying to work out uni, sorting out deferring my Professional Careers Development Loan due to being in benefits, having no money. It basically means I’ve spent what feels like years on hold. On hold to O2, Carphone Warehouse, NatWest, Co-Operative Bank, Tesco Mobile, Job Centre Plus, university etc. Urgh. I actually feel like I’ve done so much, but it’s probably haven’t done all that much really. I still haven’t decided if I want to insure my iPhone and iPad, so that might be a little bit more admin, but it’s like the least important bit left.

Treatment is also really bringing me down. I’m hating on the HTT, arguing with CDAT, telling the Psychologist I hate him more than anyone else and how he can’t help me, telling everyone off, shouting at the IMPART group that I’m never coming back because they suck. I don’t even know if I need help, but everyone thinks I do and I don’t know what to do about it. Double urgh.

Thursday 15th November 2012

So I did my finish my post yesterday – I got too Valium ill. Sorry.

Things are a bit brighter today because I got to pick up Juno from the vet because the recovery has been going so well. She’s going to need special food and special medications and special walks for a week, but she’s doing well. She’s very confused from all the painkillers and I think they make life a little difficult, but she’s beautiful and home and the vets all really like her and she doesn’t even have to wear a cone on her head because she’s been so good and isn’t even touching her stitches because she’s so well-behaved. I love my puppy so much. I’ve been appointed supreme pup watcher for the next week so I’m going to be well on watching her to keep her safe. She makes me so happy. I’m still scared, but it looks like she’s going to be ok. I now have a purpose again – keep Juno safe and healthy and happy.

I also actually went to my IMPART group today. It wasn’t as bad as the past few weeks, but I think I’ve realised that I’m actually quite behind where a lot of others in the group are right now. I’m pretty sure I’m the youngest and I’m pretty sure that I’m not as good at managing my emotions and impulses as most of them. What they are showing us seems impossible right now. Today, it was anger and anxiety management, but it was all like “in between the trigger and the behaviour, you have all this time to intervene and stop your thought processes etc.”, but all I could think was “what time between trigger and behaviour? There is no time between trigger and behaviour.” It made me feel pretty useless. I don’t think I can stop my impulsive behaviours. I honestly don’t know how. In showing me how, I got to listen to what other people do and it was all like “exercise” which I can’t do without going overboard, or “learn to be assertive” or “step outside the situation.” I am really not good at being assertive and have pretty poor interpersonal skills. I do ok with the people who know me really well, but not so much with new people, and even when the people I’m in love with make me feel too much, I often react in the wrong ways. They deal with it though. I think there’s a general feeling within my friendship circle that I’m not actually the problems, which makes my friends super aces. I’m just realising I really don’t have any coping mechanisms for managing my emotions. Except self-harm, spending money, not eating and getting fucked. Way to go Ellie – fucking useless at self-regulation. Triple urgh.

I am actually complying with treatment though. Kinda. I struggle with the Valium thing a bit, and I drink too much and smoke too much, self-injure too much. I know this, but I’m not trying to fix it because I don’t have any other ways too. Still, I actually went to all my appointments. On most days, I do actually get dressed and out of bed, even if I haven’t slept much. I am really trying to be budget and to eat lots and to stay as safe as possible. I don’t call the HTT as much as I should, but I don’t like them as a whole unit. They can’t keep me safe from myself and I won’t let them really. Maybe I’m half complying.

The thing is, although I’m taking some action to get better, I’m not sure if I believe I’m ill or deserve help or need to get better or have the motivation to. Intense emotions suck out, but sometimes they are great because intense love and intense happiness and intense excitement are really fabz. However fleeting and uncontrollable these emotions may be, I honestly believe I feel them stronger than other people. I know black and white thinking can be bad – everything is all or nothing. However, I have a strong sense of right and wrong and I like that. When applied to myself, it sucks, when applied to outside circumstances, I have a strong opinion and without the grey, I gain passion. Sure, my identity and opinions can change rapidly depending on my surroundings, but I think it means I am more able to empathise with other people sometimes as I really do absorb their views so whole heartedly. My impulsivity around things like drugs and alcohol and shopping etc. make me more fun to be around sometimes. Sure, the dissociation, negative self-beliefs, parasuicidal behaviours, impulsivity when alone etc. suck, but there are positive things about the way I am now. And that’s the thing – this is who I am. I don’t know if I want to be anyone else. I’m taking action, yet I see the positives and don’t know if I’m ready for change.

Still, being unable to work and being unable to do the things I want to do and struggling every fucking day might make this all worth it. I just don’t like knowing what’ll be left of me when this is all done. Will I even be me? I hate not knowing.

But finally, some other great news – my uni have decided to waive my fees and make me a part-time student so I can access all the support I need. This makes me supez happy. It’s also scary as it means I’ll actually have to finish my degree this year, but I have a whole year to do a dissertation so hopefully it’ll be ok. I’m scared, but at least I’m able to access any support I need. Fingers crossed. Once my freedom pass shows up, I’ll be back at uni to try sort it all out.

So goods and bads and lots in between. This is some sort of update I guess. I hope you’re all well.

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Juno having a nap – home again :)

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Filed under bad day, bpd, CDAT, coping strategies, eating disorder, HTT, IMPART, Juno, life, recovery, therapy, Uncategorized, university