Tag Archives: happiness

supported accommodation.

So I’ve decided that, at least for a bit, I’m going to alternate between posts of where I am right now and posts from before. The last one was obviously from October and times have changed a lot since then. I’m in a way better place and right now isn’t the worst.

Right now, I’m lying in my own little garden at the back of my own little flat. It’s sunny and I look like the 80s happened all over me. I have some wine, a good book and a blanket. And I’m preparing my bee grenade. It’s summery and nice and I’m in a good mood. Today is a good day, although I am a little bored. So this is me trying to be productive. After this I have something really important and even more productive to do so I’ve gotta get on it. But I’m going to try keep to my blog for a bit as I think it’s important for me to focus my energies on creating things as well as just absorbing them. There was a long time when I stopped creating. I used to write in my journal everyday, blog a few times a week, sketch, draw and create digital art and it mostly just stopped. I think the only thing I created in like a year was like a picture of a dying rose and a girl in tears. I guess all consuming, unhealthy relationships which turn your life upside down do that to you.

Things have really changed though. Firstly, I love my little flat. I’m so house proud it is unreal. Maybe I’ll do a post of pictures in a bit, but right now, my camera and laptop are inside and the sun is happening. It took ages to get this flat sorted, but now I’m in a self contained, supported little home. And it has rooms. Multiple rooms. And a hall. I lined all my shoes up in the hall so that everyone who visits will see how awesome my shoes are. And I have nice, colourful things all around. And I like to put flowers on my little dining table that I don’t think I have ever used.

Supported housing is weird. I had housing issues for a while, so I organised seeing my psychiatrist at the CRT (previously the CMHT, now the Community Recover Team) who referred me to the social work part of the team. It took weeks, but I got this awesome social worker called Helen. She took one look at me and said that council housing was probably not a good first step, but that I should probably wind up in low support accommodation. Then there was a suicide attempt, but that’ll but in a different, from before post, and she changed her recommendation to high support. I was put at the top of the list and then it was a waiting game.

Anyway, she left and I wound up with a new social worker called Bonnie. A flat came up in medium support and she recommended I go for it, so I did and here I am a couple of months later. Bonnie’s left too now, so I’ve got a new care co-ordinator called Shagufta who’s an occupational therapist. I don’t really know what they do, but hopefully she won’t leave and hopefully she’s nice. I’m meeting her on May 23rd so I guess we’ll wait and see.

Back to the flat though. It’s nice. Its on the ground floor, at the back of the building, so I can see the garden through my windows. It’s in a block of five flats, all supported for people with mental health problems. I’ve not met anyone from my block yet, though I’ve seen two of them. One is really hot and I saw him this morning all pretty and in the hall and topless. He knows he’s pretty though and that annoyed me. The other guy is really old and wears a bowler hat. He lives in the flat next door so I can sometimes see him through the windows at the front of the block. He does not look like he’s having any fun. Trust. Oh and there’s these two brothers, one of whom lives here, who always leave the back gate open and I see in the garden all the time. They walk past my windows and look in like the alien from signs when they’re filming the kids birthday party and it comes out the grass. Creepy. I’m sure they’re not. Maybe I just need net curtains. But then I won’t see the daisies.

At first, I was really apprehensive about the supported aspect. I think this was mainly due to fear of the unknown. I mean, I know how to cook and clean and all that, so I didn’t know what help they could be. It’s not like they can stop me self harming or prevent me from doing any damage to myself. Actually though, I really think it’s for the best. I have to floating support workers, a main one called Angela and another one called Miuri. Angela is a bit odd. She’s got a kinda fleeting thought process that she likes to speak out load, but she’s nice and is actually really helpful. She comes to my CPAs, doctors appointments and things, helps me sort out bills etc., and makes sure that I’m comfortable, safe and doing ok. I don’t think she can tell if I’m safe or doing ok, but she can help make sure I’m comfy. Like if something breaks, she helps me out. I like her a lot, even though she’s a bit ditzy. And she swears a lot, which I like, but she always reprimands herself for. Miuri and me mostly just chat. We talk about cooking and hair and boys and I teach her recipes and things. She’s such a sweetie. I think they’ve only seen me freak out once, even though I’ve freaked out way more than that, I just don’t tell them. Maybe I should, but I don’t see how that’d help. I duno.

The one big downside to all of this is that I’m flat out broke all the time. Bills on your own are hard. At uni, everything was split six ways, but all alone, it’s not. And I’m still waiting for my PIP assessment so god knows if my income will improve at all. Benefits is not an easy life, but I’m still pretty unstable, I’m still a student and I’ve still got a long way to go, so no one seems to be thinking a job so soon is the way I should be going. I’m on housing benefit, ESA, council tax benefit (though I still have to pay them £15 pound a month – you’re not exempt unless you’re on PIP) and it’s still hardly enough to get by. Money bums me out.

But do you know what doesn’t bum me out? Where I live. Not just the flat either. I love the area. It’s got a proper community vibe. There’s a lot of social housing around here. Lots of estates, lots of streets of council houses. All around this one, proper high street. You can achieve really good chicken. Like painfully good. And it’s got really nice shops and things. I love it here. I don’t want to move, though I’ll have to in a year or two. Supported housing isn’t forever, you either move to higher, lower or no support after a one or two year tenancy.

All in all, life isn’t exactly easy, but things have really improved. I love putting little decorations up and making myself a little home. Living alone can be hard, but for me, I think it’s worth the effort. I don’t have to hide away, deal with unwanted advances from housemates, feel like I’m excluded r from my own home. This is now my home and I love it. I couldn’t ask for more. I can have who I want over, when I want. Or not. It’s great.

I’m lucky in some ways. A lot of people need social housing and right now, there’s a social housing crisis in London. I’m not lucky to have been put in the position where I got accommodation so quickly, but a lot of people aren’t deemed vulnerable enough to even get emergency accommodation in the borough. The right to buy scheme means that there are less council houses ever year, affordable housing and local authority housing isn’t being built quick enough and people wind up waiting in the system for years before they can get any help all. It’s pretty fucked. From here, once my tenancy is up, I’ll be one of the top priorities for council or LHA flats, and although I’m seriously grateful for that, I can’t help but feel horrible for all the people that don’t get the same opportunities because they’re not “sick” enough or don’t have children or haven’t yet been made street homeless, but are waiting on pending evictions. The system is broken and, although it has worked for me, the housing crisis is out of control. I’ve been unlucky enough to be prioritised, but it just gives me guilt for all the people that are so much more unlucky that they aren’t.

Fucking welfare cuts. Fucking welfare cap. Fucking Conservative bastards making those with hard lives have to fight all that much harder. Fucking Atos and their stupid assessments. Britain should be proud of its welfare state, not undermining it at every chance. And don’t even get me started on NHS cuts. The affects of that in my foundation trust for mental health have been uncontrollably damaging. But that’ll be for another post.

I’ll get off my soap box now. I’m going to go back to reading a beautiful book (The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman) and listening to some beautiful music (The Blank Project by Neneh Cherry and produced by Four Tet).

Hope this wasn’t super boring.

Lovelove x.

 

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Filed under Benefits, bpd, CRT, general, Housing, life, music, Progress, recovery, Welfare

advent!!!!

There’s a really annoying boy in my bed right now. The sort of boy that turns up at 6am, drunk, to tell you he misses you then ask you to be his “plus one” at his work Christmas party. I think this is a little bit ridiculous. I mean, its not entirely his fault seeing as I’m totally buff and super amazing, but still, why can’t people fucking chill? Seeing as I haven’t slept at all and he is now sleeping like a really tired, hungover person, I thought I’d catch up on some blogging.

To be honest, I’ve not been blogging much recently, in the reading and posting capacity. It’s mostly because I’m actually doing ok right now. I have my moments, but I’m spending a lot of time with my friends, boys, the Fam, at uni etc. so I am actually busy. I’ve gone from never busy to often busy. And I’m enjoying it. I really like my friends at the moment, a few in particular, and I’m getting my confidence on again so I’m actually talking to people. People are so good. Sometimes you forget, but remembering again is fun.

I’m still under the HTT, which I guess is good because I still have my unstable moments, especially when there’s any contact with the Ex. I literally cannot hack him. He completely ruins anything that makes me feel happy. I know that sounds dark, but he makes me feel so horrible. Like, I spoke to him the other day and ended up crying in Tottenham Court Road, spending £30 on stationary and buying darker hair dye purely because he likes my hair lighter, then getting home, crying, dying my hair and painting my nails black because I was angry and shouting at everyone I spoke to and self injuring. That boy has a lot to answer for when it comes to my mood. He fucks me up so much I swear. And I hate that I miss him. Cunt. And generally I’m not so rude about people. Well I am, but in a lolz way, not a serious way. This is a serious way. Still, he’s fading and I have people shaped distractions.

There is good news though. I’ve finally been seen by my new psychologist. It’s sad because I’m going to have to say goodbye to my super nang therapist who I love and actually sometimes trust, to be replaced by some next woman I don’t even know. The Psychologist is still seeing me weekly right now, but probably not for long. He wants me to write him a goodbye letter, and he will write me one and then we’ll read them to each other. All sounds a little bit too cringe for me really. I’m not sure I’m up to that challenge. I guess I’ll have to give it a go, but I so badly don’t want to :(. Plus I don’t want to say goodbye to the Psychologist because I love him so much. I hate it when people go. I’ll probably cry and look like a dick, but what can you do? I have to be ok moving on to some new therapist who might suck out and I might hate and might be really horrible. I hope she’s not, but who the fuck knows? Soon there’ll be a new the Psychologist and I just have to deal with it.

Still, this change means I no longer have to attend stupid coping stupid skills group. I hated coping skills group so much it’s ridiculous. Seriously. All the way in fucking Essex. So much travel for so little gain I swear. Plus I didn’t like the facilitator that much because she was too loud and in your face and the people in the group we’re all a lot older than me and no where near as logical and scientific thinking, so what I told them didn’t really resonate and vice versa. I don’t say that like their thinking was bad, it just wasn’t at all like mine and it made it hard to feel comfortable. Maybe that’s just me trying to rationalise my own prangs, but it is how I feel. It’s fine though because I never have to go again, which is a huge fucking relief.

But anyway, I still haven’t finished being assessed by IMPART yet. Apparently there’s only one left, but who the fuck knows really. There have been so many assessments you couldn’t imagine. In the whole process, I gained another diagnosis – panic disorder. Gotta catch ’em all in NHS mental health service. Really annoying, but I guess I already had it and now it just has a name.

I’ve been pretty open about my mental health with the sleeping boy seeing as I can’t go out in the dark by myself and he lives about 2 mins from my psychiatric hospital, but he has some pretty wafty ideas about mental health. He’s anti-medications and thinks that treatment doesn’t work and talking therapies fuck you up more and you shouldn’t have them. I didn’t really want to smash his opinions down with scientific research, statistics and generally knowing what I’m talking about because he’s only 20 and I didn’t want to be rude, but I’m sorry what the fuck? Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 25, anorexia the biggest killer of women under 25, people with psychotic disorders really fucking need their medications to stay stable, as do many people with other problems. It really bugs me. I spend so much of my life surrounded by people who either do or try to understand mental health, I forget sometimes how much people opinions can differ and be based on negative stereotypes. Still, at least he’s not rude about my mental health which I appreciate and he does try to get it. Jeez I’m such an over-sharer. He is a bed teef though, which makes him supes annoying.

Blah anyway I’m babbling away, losing my point. Standard though. This is what happens when you don’t plan your blog posts properly. I really should get some sort of structure to my blog. Except I can’t be fucked really. Maybe I’ll do it sometime. It really doesn’t help that I literally haven’t slept at all. No amount of sedatives stops insomnia anymore. Annoying.

The most important thing to mention in this post is the absolute brilliance that is ADVENT!!!! Which means advent calendars and lots of alcohol and festive spirit and mince pies and fun times and everyone is happy and it’s my favourite time of year. I love December. I love Christmas. I love winter. So much. I’m so excited and hyped all the time. Yesterday, me and almost all my S named ladies went to the Southbank Winter Festival to drink mulled wine for advent and it was so fun. Plus really pretty. The Southbank looks beautiful and festive. There’s this igloo outside the Hayward gallery which is literally so cute and pretty. And a bicycle powered light up tree. And so much good food. I had the world’s tastiest lamb burger with harissa and garlic mayo and it was so good. It might not actually have been the worlds best – that may well be the mulled wine and festive cheer talking. It was really good though. So good I could literally smell how bad my breath was and didn’t even care. I ended up getting pretty drunk, but not too drunk. Siblets on the other hand…. Well…

So anyway, I should probably try sleep if I can. Plus this massively horrible, seriously racist and really fucking irritating woman just showed up at my door (unannounced) and I have to rescue the Ma from her because none of us can stand her. Daughterly duty and all.

Here’s the igloo:

20121202-223324.jpgAnd inside the igloo:20121202-223549.jpg

And a festive London Eye:

20121202-223532.jpg

 

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Filed under bpd, coping strategies, general, home treatment team, IMPART, NHS, recovery, shopping, therapy, university

best of the worst.

So I had a kinda eventful weekend. It was really bad, but also pretty hilarious.

I think I finally shook the Ex. Too much drama, too much baggage, too much of a cunt. Ok so I did lose my cool quite a bit. I was mean and spiteful and a bit of a cunt, but to be fair, when someone else has been such a persistent cunt to you, sometimes it’s called for. Ok so I raged, but I also apologised for raging. And to be fair, raging was better than the original option which involved crying on the grass after I left therapy in the hospital grounds then deciding to kill myself whilst crying all the way home. Then curling up in a ball on my floor crying some more. Eventually I found the Ma, called the HTT and ended up calling him to rage. I threw things, told him I hated him and that he’s a son of a bitch and that I’m brilliant and he’ll fucking regret how he’s treated me and in a few weeks he’ll realise just how much he’s lost and he’ll feel alone and I’ll be glad because I have people who love me and he has no one and should fuck off and die. Not my proudest moment. To be fair though, I don’t generally bitch about him on this blog so now at least I feel like I can be more honest because I don’t have much to lose.

Then my friends who I’d said vague words to whilst in tears turned up and made it better. By making it better I mean sit with me and make me laugh and tell me I’m loved then convince me the pub was a good idea and I got far far too drunk. Drunk enough for there to be information which cannot even be blogged. Some of it can be blogged though. I don’t remember all of it but there were a few boys, some let downs, others I’m texting and planning drinks with. I think the best way to feel good about finally cutting a boy lose is to get with someone new so that’s the plan. Rebound is always fun.

So for the past couple of days I’ve been distracting myself from one drama by creating new levels of drama and lolz around me. In a few days it’ll hit me that I’ve actually really ended something, but hopefully this next* man I’m texting will be a decent enough distraction to get me through the week. Plus I think he might be pretty. I can’t entirely remember. He had piercings I think. Maybe…? Worst possible scenario – whole thing falls through or he’s a dick, but I don’t lose anything from that seeing as I don’t know him. Except maybe my self-esteem, but to be fair that’s pretty battered already so I can’t see how I could lose that much. I also have the crazy prang part of me which constantly believes everyone is planning some horrible joke against me and that’s always scary in situations you’re not in 100% control of. I duno. Possibly stupid, possibly brilliant idea. I often walk the fine like between awful and amazing. Best of the worst = motto of my life. I am bad people.

I did apologise to the Ex and told him I didn’t want him to die or be alone forever, but I still hate him and never want to speak to him again and he will regret being a dick forever because he won’t find anyone better than me. That might not be nice, but it’s an improvement and I lose the guilt of being such a bitch whilst having another chance to be a bit of an avenging angel. Ok so I might still be a bitch, but a little less bad. I don’t want to be a horrible person, but I do want to be horrible in this scenario and I kinda have the right to be. There is a line between being horrible and being a horrible person though. Have to stay on the right side of that line though. I don’t have any urge to be close to that line though.

So basically, I’m a terrible, entirely hilarious, awful person. So goes my life. Comedy, tragedy and a distinct lack of learning from history.

I just need to keep myself together for a little while. If I can keep myself significantly distracted then I’ll be ok. To be fair, it hasn’t really hit me yet that I think I actually might never speak to the Ex again. It’s really hard for me to process, but that’ll settle in a few weeks as I get used to it I hope. I hate hate hate it when people go and it’s going to be amazingly hard once it really sinks in, but it’s been coming for ages. We’ve been half-broken up since February, getting more distant, then closer, then more distant over and over. I can’t keep myself in that situation because a) he’s a bit of a prick and b) it’s such an unstable relationship that it makes me more unstable, which puts me at higher risk to myself. I make it sound like it was all me, but it wasn’t. I was just so much of a dick afterwards that I made it as impossible as I could to keep anything up. Else I probably would. This is what the Psychologist likes to say is “frantic efforts to avoid abandonment” but I’m not sure I believe him. I just don’t like it when people go to the extent I find it impossible to rid myself of dickheads like the Ex. Right now I’m just trying to purge my life of rubbish people. Hard fucking work.

Distraction is key. Incredibly so. I feel on the brink of falling apart, but as long as I keep myself as occupied as physically possible, I’ll be ok. Plus distraction can be pretty fun. I know distraction and avoidance might not be a way to work through an issue, but they are ways to put it off until it eventually goes away. Or you have therapy. Or you eventually crack. I don’t know what the outcome of this will happen, but it’ll be one of the other.

The line between brilliant and disgusting only gets progressively more blurred as you get older I think. At some point, I’m going to have to get wholesome. I still want a wholesome life with all the baking and stability and a-line dresses and flowers and calm nights, but instead, I seem to choose to be a mess. I’ll get wholesome soon though, just not today. Another day. It’s gonna happen just watch.

In total other news, I fell head first into a wall today. This happens to me twice a year at least. Also, even nice banks like Co-Op are totally rubbish at sorting out there lives. Valium withdrawal makes me feel horrific every day and finally, gingerbread muffins from Costa are so disgusting they made me and the Ma feel really sick. Such high hopes, but the biggest disappointment.

I’m adding this because in a pretty lolz way, it kinda describes my weekend. Too many in jokes in my life.

* I realised as I read through this that some people might not get this. It’s next as in “some next girl” or “any next man” – so basically a randomer. I really don’t know how far this particular bit of slang has spread and I don’t generally bother explaining my expressions, but I realised someone could read it and think next as in the one after the last one. Don’t mean that. I use far too much slang, but people do eventually get used to it or lived in east London as a teen.

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Filed under general, HTT, IMPART, life, recovery, rubbish, therapy

clothes.

Today I’m going to type about positive things. I tend to focus a lot in this blog on what I’m focusing on a lot in my head, and right now, I’m thinking positive.

Today, I got my piercing. It’s really buff (IMO) and I’m glad I did it. Plus it was bare cheap which is always a bonus. I’ve been going to this shonky little place in Walthamstow for a while now called Studio 69. Even the name makes you think it can’t possibly be sterile. It actually is though and the piercer is really lovely and even though it’s cheap, it’s clean and nice and friendly. So I went in today and got my cartilage rim pierced again, just above my other one because I think it’s nice. Plus my piercer looked at my nape (seeing as I can’t exactly check it) and said it was one of the best healed surface piercings she’d seen. Apparently it looks like it’s been healing for 8 months/a year, but I’ve only had it three months. She took a picture of it to put on the website and everything. Makes me happy. I also got my tragus bar replaced as I felt it was way too long and often stuck out too much, and my nose piercing stretched in order to fit proper body jewellery so I can get a serious gold hoop in it eventually and to fix the dent bad studs have put in my nose. I shrunk it over time through buying studs and sleepers from Claire’s Accessories which are less than 1mm in diameter. It has to heal around a bar first, but stage one on the road to garish, tacky gold hoop.

New hole is the most top one. It’s number 13 :D

The Ma also bought me clothes! Clothes that make me happy! Clothes because I’ve been two months smoke free! Clothes because its half-term therefore she’s on holiday and that is reason enough to buy me and the Brother pressies! I love my clothes so much I’m actually going to put pictures of them on here. I have space leggings! Leggings with planets and stars and a nebulous on the bum. They literally make my week I love them so much. And a matching space top! So I can fully dress as the cosmos (next fancy dress sorted)! So many exclamation marks but they are so good! And they make me laugh to wear, which makes them all the better! And she got me a t-shirt with an old map of London on which is really nice as well – I can go to the places on the t-shirt, wearing the t-shirt! Basically, all the good clothes. And also, some incredibly fab pants. They are good because they are very high which is actually reassuring as it’s another layer cover up for recovery bellies (and I’m one of those people that think actually, big pants are really nice). Honestly, I don’t care that I’m being weird, sometimes clothes can make me joyous. I am full of joy because I own space leggings and large pants.

Happy leggings! :D:D!

Other really ace clothes. Today has been (successful in a materialistic manner at least).

(Apologies for dreadful image quality – phones init).

I think in recovery, clothes are really important. In life more generally, I like nice clothes and I like to feel like I look acceptable, but in recovery, clothes are crucial. They can be the difference between absolutely unbearable and passable moods. Something that doesn’t fit right, or even something that still fits fine, just not the way you’re used to, can completely wreck a day or two (maybe even a week) if your eating disorder is narrated with body dissatisfaction (like mine). I have therefore come to the conclusion that right now, clothes are a good way to spend the little money I have. In fact, anything that makes me feel marginally better about my skin (after food of course) is top priority. A big problem for me was that as I lost weight, I donated all the clothes that fit my healthy body to charity, resolving never to fit them again. Now I do, and I have nothing. That’s a lie, I kept a lot of t-shirts and dresses. T-shirts are kinda fine whatever your size I think. They are either more tight or more loose, but they always kinda fit whatever size you are. Genuinely, my t-shirt collection ranges from size 4 to size 20 and the all fit fine I think. Maybe I’m just not that fussy when it comes to t-shirts. Plus most of my dresses are second-hand which essentially means they are all size 12. A lot of things had to be re-bought though. And I bought some new stuff I didn’t desperately need because I was too uncomfortable in what I owned.

Like most people in recovery I think, clothes have hugely effected me, but eventually, I have learnt a few things. It’s a stupid list, but these are things that have made clothes (and by implication, living in more fat tissue) easier (though not easy) to bear.

1) Stay away from second-hand.

In my life in general, I firmly believe that there are lots of perfectly good and actually really nice second-hand clothes to be had, so buying newly made stuff is kinda wasteful. And also, you end up buying some pretty nifty items this way. Obviously some things have to be newly made (like underwear and really smart suity stuff) and sometimes it’s nice to buy something new, but I like to get most of my clothes from friends, vintage or charity. At my lowest weights, I couldn’t get second-hand clothes anymore because there is a point when you just get too small for most people’s hand me downs, but with recovery, I was really looking forward to having a good rummage in my local charity shops.

However, I was wrong. This is an awful idea. Absolutely, categorically stupid. Why? Because there is no standard sizing. If I like a pair of jeans in a charity shop and they seem like my size, I get excited and really want them.  I try them on, only to realise I’ve grown, but I’d already set my heart on them, there’s no getting another pair. And even if you I on a different pair in a bigger size, they might be too big or too small as sizes between brands aren’t standard. It’s traumatic. Seriously. It’s ok for jumpers and cardis and dresses because most of these things look fine in sizes that are a bit big, but jeans, skirts, shorts, trousers, shirts etc. are a no. Anything that actually has to kinda fit isn’t worth it. It’s confusing and hard and really, there’s plenty of time for second-hand once I’m comfortable and at a stable weight. The rest of my life in fact.

2) Primark and H&M are your best friend.

Ok so there are problems with H&M sizing because a lot of things run up small which can cause drama, but they are cheap. I’m sure there are other dirt cheap clothes shops, but these are the ones I have easy access to. When my body was changing a whole load, it was kinda important to be wearing clothes that fit at different stages, but that can be really difficult money-wise, so cheap shops are crucial. The worst thing I could do is continue to wear clothes that make me constantly conscious of the fact I’m bigger and I actually think it’s pretty impractical to buy clothes that will fit “once I’m weight restored” because really, I didn’t know what size I’d be once I was weight restored. This is the one instance when I actually believe disposable fashion is the way forward. Especially with things like jeans. I borrowed other people clothes as well for interim periods. They didn’t have to be all that nice, but a plain enough pair of jeans or skirt or something for as cheap as possible is a good idea. They didn’t have to be well made or last forever because I would probably grow out of them. I just made sure they were things I was happy to leave behind when the day came.

3) Lycra

Might sound stupid, but anything that stretches is good, even if its tight-fitting. Leggings and cycling shorts are super comfortable and stretch to your shape. If I don’t want to wear them out because I’m not comfy enough with my body, thas fine, I’ve got my crappy Primark jeans, but in the house, they reign supreme on the comfort level. They are actually pretty forgiving clothes and you can buy them in a size smaller than you, or a size bigger, and they’ll still fit kinda the same. It works with bodycon skirts and dresses too for if I’m feeling a little more confident and want something a bit less casual for outside appearances. I own a lot of stretchy lycra things and actually, a lot of it looks better now I’m bigger. Wearing lycra clothes which fit baggy on you isn’t attractive, but most of it fits now. I have ridiculously small-sized skirts but really, they fit a bit better now and give me a fabz batty. Lycra is a winner in recovery because it grows with you. And also, it can be bought bare cheap (New Look even do multipack leggings) or if you fancy something a bit more interesting, it’s easily avaliable. And to be honest, cycling shorts and leggings triple up as perfect yoga clothes and pjs. Yuss.

4) If it makes you smile, it’s worth it

I get immense guilt when shopping, but I’ve found that in recovery, clothes that are a bit stupid but make me happy are worth spending a little bit more than I’m comfy on. For me, this involves princess skirts and t-shirts with dinosaurs on and anything with a lot of glitter or sequins or rhinestones on it. I like to dress up, so my taste is a little bit odd, but I think that everyone has clothes that make the a little bit more happy and anything that increases your sum of happiness is worth it. Especially if it can make something as difficult as clothes a bit more cheery. Now is the time for stupid items that make each day a little bit more silly.

5) Baggy vests and t-shirts.

And lots of them. They are cheap and can be worn with anything and basically cover up a lot of the standard uncomfortable body zones. You can get really long ones to cover bums and hips, but also tummies and upper arms if need be. And they actually look alright with almost anything. Especially the lycra leggings. They are nice and airy for when it’s hot, but can easily be teamed with vests underneath and hoodies/jumpers/cardis of any description. They look good tucked in to high-waisted things or pulled in with a waist belt. They look good with low or natural waisted things too. And jeans. And you can get them a little sheer if you want something a tinsy bit see through so you feel a bit less like you’re hiding. I like the tiny bit see through ones because I feel like I’m hiding, but I don’t think I look like I am. No one knows I’m hiding but me.

6) Jeans.

Are the most difficult thing to buy and are a little bit important to own. If they stop fitting, get rid of them and get some which fit better. Or not. I can always wear a skirt and to be honest, it’d be a lot less traumatic to buy.

7) Remove anything that doesn’t fit.

I’d be a hypocrite to say throw it away, because I can’t… Just in case. Which is stupid because what does that mean? Just in case I engage in eating disordered behaviours again for long enough to drop a noticeable amount of clothes sizes? I don’t want that to happen. In fact, I want to remove anything that makes that tempting. But I can’t yet. Argh. Still, removing it all from my room was one of my better moves. Getting it out of line of sight whilst getting dressed saves a lot of “oh I’ll just see” moments. They make me feel like shit. Replace with all the things that fit.

8) If on any day you’ve got the balls, wear it.

So I wake up one day and you think “I can actually look at my legs”, that is the day I parade them about. The more I do it, the easier it gets. Exposure therapy init. I don’t even think it’s important that it’s my style or anything. I think just being about to wear whatever I like, regardless of what parts of my body it does or doesn’t show, is a nice thing to aim for. Once I know I can have my legs out as much as I want, I can keep them covered in trousers if I’d like, but just knowing that it is really my choice, not because I’m too scared or ashamed, would be a nice thing I think. So on that rare day I’m comfy enough with my whole body, crop tops and hot pants. Why not?

9) It’s not the end of the world.

In the end, clothes aren’t that important, but learning to accept changes in weight is. If all I can bare is sweats, then so be it. Having a healthy body is more important than anything else. Clothes are pretty expensive and kinda boring to shop for and sometimes you just end up crying and wanting to go home. If that’s the case, go home. There are other days and other clothes. Sometimes pjs are the only thing I can stand. There’s no rush. Whatever makes me the most comfortable as my body stabilizes is what’s best. It’s not static, it’s not the same every day and it doesn’t just get progressively easier. Joggers may as well have been designed for recovery. And big hoodies. And whatever other clothes I wear when I’ve got flu. Who cares how I dress really? If it’s acceptable to me, it should be acceptable to whoever else. Whatever makes it easier to reach and sustain a healthy body.

So there you go, my clumsy understanding of what works, and what doesn’t work, for me as far as clothes are concerned. Body image is a major part of my eating disorder, so clothing is traumatic, but I think if I stick to these rules, I’m ok. I’m kinda hoping this explains a little bit why it’s got really important, but also really hard, for me to shop the way I do. Hopefully. Mostly because I’m embarrassed that I buy things. I feel like I shouldn’t, so want others to understand why and how I’m justifying it to myself in the hope it justifies it to them too. I duno. I probably care too much what others might think of me.

(Is it bad I’m really self-conscious on my legs in that image? It’s probably bad. But still, I’d feel too ashamed to publish this if I didn’t mention the fact that yes I know my legs are chunky. I’m not too stupid to not realise. I don’t care all that much though. It’s worth it to show off my fabz leg wear).

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chirpy.

Apparently that’s what I am. Who’d of thought it? In the words of the psychiatrist – “You’re such a different woman from when I met you. You were so anxious. Now you are positively chirpy!”

Essentially, she’s very pleased with me. I’m eating a lot a lot and actively so. I told her “I’m just trying to eat as much as possible so I can be done with it all” which I probably should have been doing since the get go, but hey. I may have to get to a much higher bmi than I’m comfortable with, but I will get there if it means I get to be all healthy again. I’m in a very positive mood today. I’m not going to lie, it’s because my weight gain was shockingly little this week, but that makes me feel like I must be a pretty ok weight right now else my body would be trying to store a hella lot more. In a week of 3000+kcals I gained a measly 100g. I cannot believe it. I thought I would have exploded by a few kilos at least. But no. Which is ridiculous really. But it makes me happy because my God that’s a lot of food and my body can hack it and not explode. I’m hoping that it just means I’ve lost some water weight and gained some extra tissue weight because if that’s the case, I won’t have to eat even more. For now, I’ve been told to keep doing what I’m doing. If I gain – great! If not – wait till the dietitian weigh-in and see where to go from there. I’m pretty sure I’m a large framed woman with a fairly slow metabolism and if my body does this, then I can’t see why everyone elses wouldn’t too. I duno. It feels like I must be getting close to an actually fully functioning body. That makes me excited.

I was going to do a massively in-depth post today, but I don’t really feel like it now. I feel like being happy. Finally I think I’m getting somewhere in recovery. Somewhere really concrete. I can see myself actually being properly recovered. So I’m going to explain why. I’m guessing to my real life people, these things might not make much sense so I’m going to try to explain bits so apologies if it’s at all patronising. This is going to be a super positive annoying post, but I don’t care. Sorry.

  • I’m eating a lot and it’s actually uncomfortable. I didn’t really think that was possible. I knew in theory it was, but also, for a long time, no matter how much I’ve eaten, I’ve always been drawn to eat more. I’ve not responded to that at all in recovery because it scared me. It made me think that I had to control myself or else otherwise I would vastly overeat and get fat. I didn’t think I’d ever want to not eat. Not really. I know this is actually really normal for people coming out of starvation because if you’re underweight, your body wants you to eat as much as possible to get to health. Still, I thought that it was different for me and that was just how I was. Turns out I get full. I eat past that now in order to keep my calories up, but I am so full.
  • I’m also hungry though. If I don’t eat regularly enough, I get properly hungry. My belly starts to feel all funny and I kinda want some food. A couple of weeks ago, I wouldn’t really get hungry, just starved. I’d get irritable, really lethargic, nauseous and exhausted. Now I just get hungry and I notice it and although sometimes I don’t work it out straight away, I’m starting to notice.
  • There is such a thing as too much chocolate. It isn’t an amount, it’s a feeling. In order to get my calories in, I’m eating a lot of chocolate because it’s really tasty, but you can actually eat so much chocolate it becomes unpleasant physically. I didn’t really think this would happen to me either. I thought that if I ate things like chocolate, I’d always want more. I don’t. Eating more than 50g a day starts to make me feel a little ill. Most days, I eat more than that anyway, but still, I don’t actively want too.
  • My original 2500kcal meal plan was bang on. I didn’t think it was. I thought it was a huge underestimate which made me scared to follow it. It completely wasn’t, but the calorie estimate given for the meals were off. Now I just follow it properly and still have to eat more chocolate than you’d think was humanly possible.
  • This all means I get to eat all these different foods. I have more fish and meat, use more oil, started using real butter, bagels, bread from proper bakeries, unknown calorie foods etc. Basically, my diet is beginning to vary more and more. I still have serious fear food, but the list is getting smaller and smaller. I’m drinking real milk sometimes. Real milk.
  • A lot of my food anxieties and rituals seem less compulsive now. At the moment, the only thing I’m weighing is cereal. Just cereal. I still measure out my oil and dressing, but apart from that, there’s no measuring. And less than a year ago I was weighing salad leaves. I’ve come far from that.
  • I had a creamy pasta sauce the other day. To be fair, I didn’t realise it’d be creamy when I ordered it. I’ve never in my life had a creamy pasta sauce and I was in a restaurant (so unknown calories) with a friend (who is always full really quickly, which I find difficult as I feel greedy next to her) and someone I’d never met before (so I was scared I’d be judged). I almost didn’t even go, but then I thought “Why not? It’s only the eating disorder that wants to sit at home to my usual lunch. I want to see my friend and have some nice food!” It was really nice as well. I ate it all and enjoyed it. Then I got dessert as that’s what a weight-gainer should do really, even though no one else did. And I ate it and enjoyed that as well. All for lunch, not dinner! (I have issues having a big meal before dinner, just incase it makes me want to eat more later and I don’t have the calorie space to). Then I felt good. Really uncomfortably full, but good. I thought to myself “boom! Look what I did! Ker-fucking-ching! I fucking did that!” And because I was really full, I thought that my dinner was probably a little small, so I ate a whole load of chocolate to be sure I wasn’t under-eating by accident.
  • I have a whole load of energy. Seriously, my yoga has never been so good. And I love it. I can do so much stuff now. Physically and without feeling like shit. I don’t feel like shit anymore if I’m out for longer than planned. I don’t feel rubbish if I have to run to catch the train (even if I’m in my DMs!). In general, physically, I feel nang. On the realz. I don’t know if this is how people just feel all the time, but I’m not used to it. Throughout this whole recovery process, I’ve kept thinking “this must be what it’s like to have normal amounts of energy” then it just gets physically nicer so I think “I must have been wrong before. THIS is how it feels!” Then I do that again. At some point it’ll stop, but it’s really great.
  • I can concentrate! And read! And watch actually good telly! I’ve just finished In Treatment season two, and I’m halfway through True Blood season 3 and I’m really watching it. I’m following it. And I’ve started to read the newspaper again. And the occasional chapter in a book. I’m getting there. I can see how I can do other things. And I’m not always distracted by recovery or food or weight or calories. I actually do stuff and am able to forget for a while about everything else. Quite often, I just don’t want to think about food or weight or calories or eating disorders. I’m beginning to find it boring. Which is seriously great as for a long time, it was all I wanted to immerse myself in all.
  • My digestive system constantly surprises me because it just keeps on working. I’d completely forgotten what it was like. It just works and works without any need for me to manage it through prescriptions or food intake. It just does it. On its own.
  • Sometimes I feel nice. It’s not all the time, but that’d be unrealistic for anyone. I think in general I’m still sadder and more anxious than most of the people I’m around, but it’s so much less than it was before. So much less. My mood just keeps improving. Therapy and food work wonders on fragile brains. It’s just another thing I’d forgotten. I’d forgotten what this felt like. I’ve suffered from mental illnesses for so long I didn’t really remember how to not be anxious and not be sad and not be panicked. But I’m not just born to be like that. I can be other things too. Like cheerful. And energetic. And I have proper, real fun. This is really good.
  • I’m actually really thankful I’ve got this far. For a lot of my recovery process, I’ve been pretty miserable that I’m even doing this. I’m not anymore. I’m still terrified of getting too fat, but I’m glad I’m not like I was before. I’m glad I can think again. I’m glad I can eat all this food again. I’m glad I can have conversations and find people attractive. There’s a lot of things I’m glad for. Mostly, I’m glad I actually went to my EDU. I don’t think I was in a place where I could have managed to get here without that support because I didn’t really think things were that bad and I wasn’t even attempting to eat more or get healthy. I was losing weight pretty actively. I’m glad I got the support though, even if I didn’t really want it in the first place. It meant that I got to feel better quicker. And it means I didn’t get worse.
  • Today was a weigh-day, so I didn’t eat breakfast (which I know is bad, but I just can’t bring myself to). I was pretty hungry afterwards, so I went to the shop on the way home. There was a debate in my head about whether to just wait till I got home or go to the shop, but I went in, expecting to pick up a cereal bar as I was going to be having a Costa with the Ma and didn’t want to “over do it”. Then I looked at the chocolate and thought “why not? I’d much rather have a chocolate bar and it only has to tide me over till I get home.” Then I looked at the chocolate some more, trying to pick one. I thought at first I’d pick one with lots of air in it (A Crunchie, Galaxy Bubbles, Wispa etc. You know the drill) or maybe a Milky Way. Then I thought “Nah – what do I actually want thought?” So I looked at the chocolate some more. A receptionist from one of the units in my EDU came in and I thought “Shit! He’ll see me buying chocolate and tell my team and then they’ll all think I was lying and was never really ill because I’m buying chocolate!” Which is ridiculous. What makes it good is that I knew it was ridiculous. So I smiled at him and picked up my Starbar and went on my way. I walked down the street munching my chocolate bar like a normal person and thought “My gosh that was a messy mind-fuck but I bloody well did it! I actually did what I wanted to do regardless of any anorexia noise. I got the chocolate bar I wanted, on impulse, even though the situation was really anxiety provoking. And I ate it. Boom!” And I thought to myself – “I’ve come really far.”

So yer. I feel good today. It’s not all sunshine and daisies all the time, but today has made me feel good. I have a lot of things to fix still. I do still panic and I do get seriously low moods which last for days, and I do have an awful body image, social anxiety is still crippling aspects of my life, I still have urges to restrict or self-injure in order to calm down and I dissociate pretty regularly, which makes me panic even more. But still, I’m a work in progress. I have more to do, but it’s started. It’s really started to get better. The past few weeks have been the best I’ve had in a long time.

There’s a real point to all this. A real, concrete point. I’m chirpy! And it’s bloody excellent!

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what i’m looking for? huh?

I had a very interesting therapy session today. I was panicking like a lot a lot after a rough few days (following on from a rough few weeks…) and just really did not want to speak. All the things we usually go through – food, behaviours, self-injury, the boy, the fam, friends, uni etc. – are all things I don’t want to deal with right now. I’ve not got any conclusions in my head and cannot decide upon any actions so I’m doing what I do best. I’m avoiding it all through destructive ways of numbing it out and hoping that at some point in the future all these things will fix themselves. Not productive I know, but I just didn’t want to process any of this right now. Whilst in the session, I thought it was very unproductive, but the few things the therapist managed to drag out of me actually gave me a lot to think about. I’m doing some serious thinking in general at the moment, generally along the lines of “Is it better to know/see/generally talk to people/have any relationships even if all I do is upset people and make them sad? Or is it better to get out of everyone’s lives so that they can be happier (as I naturally assume they would be) without me around?” I know this is entirely broken logic but I can’t stop my mind from believing that I make everyone else’s lives less good. I feel like I owe it to people to not talk to them.

The therapist asked me to think about what would make me happy rather than what’s best for others and I was actually surprised to find that I really don’t know. I’m so used to framing myself as a burden that I’ve forgotten what I want out of relationships because I’m just so busy trying to come up with ways to earn them. I have no idea what makes me happy or what it is that I value or want to gain through relationships so I have no idea if they are healthy for me or not. I never stop to think about whether others are in the wrong, I just assume that if I feel negatively about something, it’s my fault because I’m obviously always rubbish thus always wrong. Thinking about what I actually want and need from a relationship to be happy doesn’t come into my thought processes at all. And this doesn’t just stop with relationships. It’s an incredibly far-reaching attitude – I literally have no idea what I like or want. What foods do I genuinely enjoy purely for pleasure of taste and eating? I enjoy things that seem “healthy” because of the anorexia and sometimes I enjoy things that seem “unhealthy” as they make me feel rebellious, but when it comes to knowing what foods I will actually enjoy and want to eat, I freak out something rotten and walk away distressed, often chosing to not make a choice thus just avoiding the hard thing. This is especially obvious with cake. Every week I try to buy a cake and look at all the cakes and try to imagine which one I would actually like and then cannot for the life of me work it out. It’s all far too many numbers and tastes and textures and I freak out and don’t buy cake. I think I’d like date and walnut cake, but do I only want it because dates and walnuts are more healthy than chocolate? Is cheesecake too much for my meal plan? Do I like fruity things or caramelly things or creamy things? What would bring me the most enjoyments so I won’t waste the opportunity? Literally every time I go to the supermarket, I spend at least 10 (more like 20) minutes looking at cakes before I decide that I don’t want to decide. And uni as well. Does studying make me happy or do I do it because I feel like I have to and somehow it’ll make me a better person?

This even goes as far as just what to do. I never know what to do when I have free time. I just don’t know what will make me happy, so I just assume that nothing will and try to find ways of passing the time until I fall asleep. I try to think about what to do and just hit a wall. What do I even like? Do I like watching T.V. or films or D.V.Ds? Or do I actually think reading will make me happy? Do I actually want to read the Guardian, or do I only want to appear smarter than I am? Do I find the news interesting? Do I want to play some sort of video game? Or would baking make me feel happy? Or getting my Lush on and having a serious self-care session? Maybe doing some yoga? Do I follow such rigid routines about when and where and on what day to do anything and everything because I like them or do they make me feel less anxious but only feed my ridigity in the long run? I have no idea and to be honest, don’t even think about it anymore, so end up doing nothing at all most of the time but beating myself up for not using my time wisely and wasting life and being boring and rubbish. I am rubbish because I don’t do enough, but never stop to think what it is that I actually want to be doing more of. It’s not even that I’m not happy (I don’t expect my depression to lift through knitting or anything), it’s just that I have no concept of what things might have the possibility of being something I actually want to do. I don’t know what I need or know anything that might make me feel better.

Although I’m not going to lie, I think for right now I’m going to mostly focus on what I want from relationships as I have some immediate thinking to do in that area (I really need some advice but have absolutely no idea who is appropriate to talk to), this has given me a lot to think about and probably for a really long time. Where do I even begin? How do you work out what makes you feel better? And maybe even happy? How do you go about working out what’s good or bad for you, not others or some perceived ideal of what you should be? Seriously any tips would be good right about now.

On other news, the dietician is not best pleased with me. Me and my fluctuating pound that I’m really struggling to not drop below. I’ve kinda grown attached to this pound and my weight in general – afterall, I’ve been actively maintaining for over a month now, creeping in and out of the very bottom of the “healthy” range. I don’t want to actively lose, but the fear of gaining is causing me to cut further and further back on my intake, then suddenly panicking and trying to up my calories, whilst simultaneously whittling my previously super metabolism away. Basically, this has been going on for to long, I can’t kid anyone (including myself) into believing this is a healthy weight for me. I need to up my calories and if this continues, the likelihood of actually relapsing get higher and higher. If I can’t do it myself by my next weigh in (with the psychiatrist on Monday) then I start losing a say in what I eat. I am trying really hard to get my calories back up, but I’m not confident in how consistent I can be at this point. She also has made me commit to trying to stop weighing myself so much (every day, at least once) as it’s just making eating that much harder. I almost didn’t today, then got overwhelmed by fear and did. Try again tomorrow I guess. I would suggest someone hid my scales, but last time I did that I just went and bought more within a week. That’ll always be an option so I have to just stop for myself I think. She suggests down to once a week for now, with the aim to be not at all. She also wants me to be less reliant on dietetics appointments as reassurance and permission to eat enough, so we’re cutting down our sessions to once every three weeks. I think now might be a bad time for that, but I am relieved – at least I won’t be weighed for a while so to my disordered brain it means I have more time to manipulate my weight. Ah well, got to try to learn to actually trust the dietician at some point so it may as well be now. Plus I’m able to call her if things don’t go so well and she can give me some help and advice, and if my calories drop, she can send out a nurse to check the damage. This all relies on my be honest and open about my problems and concerns though and everyone knows eating disorders love to hide, so this level of honestly might be something I struggle with if the going gets tough. I don’t know.

I really should do another eats report, but at the moment I’m not eating new or exciting things. Whenever I stop eating enough, I fall back on the same foods. Right now I’m eating the same things at each meal every single day (they’re only not the same if I leave part of it out…). Hopefully I can get my calories up again and I’ll have loads of fantastic foods to report. It’s sad this happened over Christmas as it means I basically missed out on Christmas eats, but it’s done now. Hopefully I’ll report of the good new things soon!

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