London is particularly beautiful today guys. All cispy and sharp in the winter sun. I gots love for my little corner of North-East London.
Quick updates. I lost weight this week even though I ate five days worth of weight gain calories and 2 days of maintenance calories. It’s now dropped out of the healthy range again :( so the dietician has put my meal plan back up again. Apparently my metabolism isn’t the disaster I cried at her for last week. Apparently it’s doing ok. In fact more than ok. It needs more food. She wants me to fully commit to the new exchanges meal plan, which will be so difficult for me. But I managed breakfast without weighing or counting so hopefully there’ll be improvement. She also wants me to eat POTATO and try to have more meat, including at least ONE RED MEAT a week. Very very scary. Plus all these changes and she’s away next week so won’t be able to monitor me. And so close to Christmas! Much as I love Christmas, the concept of food and alcohol make it something I’m kinda dreading this year. I won’t be able to restrict or excessively exercise in order to earn it. Plus counting calories will be nearly impossible, but I guess I’m working towards that anyway. Big, scary few weeks ahead in terms of diet and food. I also had therapy today. Tuesday’s are very stressful. The therapist is busy this week so I’m having a therapeutic phone call session on Thursday morning. I don’t really like being on the phone unless the mood really takes me and I can pretty safely assume that 9:30am is not going to be one of those times. I think it will be awkward and painful and I’m just hoping I don’t freak out and panic about it. I’m not very good on the phone.
But going to hospital isn’t all that bad because I go past a city farm – twice! Both there and back. Plus some pretty reservoirs and canals with lots of lovely birds, I love farms.
Really pretty canal
Reservoir with all the birdies - not that they'd get in the picture
I apologise for the blurriness – these were all taken through the window of a moving train.
So I think that this next part is a bit of a long overdue post, but I’m really nervous about putting it up. Who knows if it’ll make it up today or ever? I figure that with internet people it doesn’t matter whether they judge me or not, and with my home people… Well I’m terrified they’ll all think I’m crazy and not want to know me any more, but really – if they judge me then I probably don’t want to know them and to be honest, they are all really nice so I’m hopeful that they’ll understand. Plus I imagine they’d work it out sooner or later. You’ve all seen various parts of me before so it’s safe to assume you’ll see them again. I think it’s important to be honest about how I’m doing, even when it’s not so good. That was the point of all this – not to hide away anymore. Not that I think any of you would, but this really isn’t gossip. If you know you’re likely to, please just stop reading here. Putting this in the world will be hard and scary though so here goes. (Don’t read if you’re easily triggered by SI).
From the ages of about 13 until 18 I self-harmed fairly regularly, but whilst on antidepressants from 18 to 19 it escalated quite badly and I was injuring myself more days than I wasn’t and drinking half a lite of vodka most evenings. Antidepressants was a strange period for me – full of “I don’t give a fuck. I hate myself but at least now I have the energy to destroy my life more actively” yet really feeling like it was normal behaviour that most people dealt with therefore I must be well – but when I came off them, there was a brief depressive episode with lots of crying and not leaving my house followed almost instantly by the calm of losing a lot of weight incredibly fast. Since that point, self-harm and alcohol abuse haven’t played a major part in my life. I’ve had the occasional slip into self-harm (about half a dozen times in three years) but never really had to try to stop it as it never felt like a problem. Stopping was just the result of new, more effective ways to numb my mind and body, but I never threw away any of the unused blades I own just in case.
Since I’ve been more consistent with keeping up my intake a couple of months ago, self-harm has started to enter my life again. As is always the nature of these things, it starts slow as a “just this once because my head is spinning” but then slowly it becomes the first method you think of when things get too fast in your head that you cannot stop the constant whirring of noise. The intent is not suicidal, it’s just to shut off, trying to find concrete evidence that what I think and feel is actually true. It does make things better for a little while and it makes me feel ok and normal again. I can look at the cuts or remember the action and although it doesn’t feel like I did it or it was true, I can recognise the emotions that led me to it were valid and legitimately mine. However, like all addictive behaviours, it escalates and it has now become a major problem in my life. It’s led to me hiding myself even more, ashamed to let the boy see my body, hating my body for entirely new reasons, reluctance to see people as then I might not have the opportunity to hurt myself if things get hard, I dream about it, secretly washing my sheets and clothes, ashamed to be around the famo, compelled to carry a razor around with me “just in case”. It becomes more and more regular and more and more severe and now it is worse than it has ever been. The scars don’t bother me – I’ve known for years that I will always have scars from self-inflicted wounds. What bothers me is that it’ s beyond my control now. I just moved from one destructive way of making my emotions bearable to another and this is a problem. A problem that I don’t want to have but equally don’t know if I can stop. After all, it’s not as damaging as starving myself and I honestly don’t know what else to do.
I don’t do it for attention – if anything it makes me so ashamed that I don’t want anyone to ever know. But I don’t want to be ashamed anymore. I suffer from mental illness and that shouldn’t make me any less of a person than other people. I have never really learnt healthy coping mechanisms that other people can use in times of crisis – I’ve always resorted to starvation, self-harm or excessive drug and alcohol use. This isn’t my fault and I shouldn’t be ashamed of myself for not having learnt these things. I am putting all my energy into learning them now, but it’s difficult as when you’re in the middle of a destructive cycle – it becomes the only way to cope because of the present emotional distress. Yet you have to work so hard on not doing it whilst trying new things that may or may not work when your tiny world feels like it’s falling in on you. You have to cope when things are hard – that is the whole point. Yet things are hard which makes it more difficult. This is the same for any destructive coping strategy, including starvation. I have to teach myself to not rely on strategies that will only lead to more long-term distress, but I am not to blame for the fact that right now, it seems to be all I know. Self-injury is incredibly stigmatised, but in reality it’s really quite common, both in those with or without any co-existing mental stress. There should be no shame or stigma attached to counter-productive coping mechanisms. No one choses this situation, but it’s on me to choose to escape it really. Part of acknowledging the problem is letting people know and saying that it is a problem and that I want to change. If I wanted to continue down this route, I wouldn’t tell anyone at all. So although this might be a little sad, at least I know that I want to get on top of it.
So today me and the therapist were discussing trying different coping mechanisms to try in times of distress when my head is spinning out of control – and this is where audience participation comes into it all. The two methods we’re trying for now are putting my head phones on to drown out the noise in my head and looking at photo albums and at pictures which remind me of who I am, where I’ve come from and positive things that matter to me. So for the home people, I’m asking for some help here. Most of my favourite music tends to be pretty sad (i.e. my no. 1 album Transatlantism – still after all this time!) but the therapist wants me to listen to “upbeat, happy, motivational, inspirational music – not something that just confirms my mood”. I have a few things (like my track the title of this post is from) but in reality, not all that much. If possible, I’d really appreciate some compilations to just chuck on my iPod when things are really difficult. The other things is pictures and photos – a little album of good memories and feelings and generally positive pictures or drawings would be good right now. The therapist says that text isn’t particularly useful, but that images can be. I feel like this is asking way too much from everyone so it’d be fine if you didn’t want to, but I feel like it’d be helpful as you’re all the people who know me best, especially as right now I find it difficult to connect with the positive parts of my life, personality and mind so I find it hard to get to these things myself. Plus all of you make me happy so I figure that having something from the people who make me happy might make me happier too And for all you internet people – song suggestions? And I wouldn’t reject funny images made on paint.
Sorry for asking, It makes me feel really bad. And sorry if it makes people uncomfortable. This is really personal so I’d appreciate it staying with the people who know about my blog – not the more extended friend group. This really isn’t gossip. Sorry.