Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Perfection paralysis.

It's an almighty eating disorder cliche, but I'm a perfectionist. Slightly less cliched, I'm a secret perfectionist. Your quintessential tart with a heart, full blown I-really-care-but-want-to-look-like-I-don't. Not because I think it's uncool to not care, or owt like that... I'm hipster enough to be more drawn to the uncool, but not hipster enough to make THAT cool, if you follow ;)

There are a few things I care about. Actually, there are a lot of things I care about. I care what people think of me, although not quite enough anymore to waste time on people I don't think are worth it or to attempt to fit in. Or enough to delete this blog, with all the shit I've managed to cause through it and my 'attention seeking', hahahaha. I care what people think of my friends or family; I have an insanely intense hate for anybody who has ever wronged someone I love. There's a friend of a friend who every time I see, I want to set fire to her stupid fucking face, for shit she's said about another of my friends. I can't even look at her. I care about my degree and the grades that I get and, of everything, that's most definitely a secret. God forbid people think I miss classes and lectures because I'm an anxious mess, rather they think that I just don't care.

It's caring about my degree that's an actual nightmare right now. I have two deadlines this week and one next. I've done one of the essays and it's bad. It's really not good. I mean, I highly doubt that it's not passable, but it's a long way off perfect. I'm trying to avoid the word 'average' because it actually makes me want to cry a bit, to the point where in the past I've deliberately failed things I was afraid I'd do average in. It's something that I really need to work on. So I'm faced with an essay that's pretty A-word, another that needs doing by Thursday and another after that to be in on Monday. And I just can't start the one for Thursday, I can't do it. It's worse than writer's block, it's total perfection paralysis. It's not going to be perfect; I've been too ill, I am too ill now. So I can't do it. I need to care just a little less, just so I can get something on paper instead of getting so worked up.

It's not just the pressure from myself, though. I wrote a month or so ago about potentially being thrown out of the uni. Well, that potential is still there and unlikely to go between now and graduation in summer 2013. I can't have any episodes between now and then, or I'm out. I need to show them, I need to get perfect academics to stand any chance of being able to appeal that if, when, I next have an episode. I'm so stressed. I need to calm my thoughts, try and get something written, anything. I need to stop thinking about the potential of being thrown out, the pressure is melting my head, but... Oh. Stress. Garbled stress.

This is such an Arthur (Arthur Story) blog, I'll no doubt write summat proper about the being kicked out thing, when I'm a bit more calm. Oooft, done. I'm actually getting pissed off at the shite written quality of this, hahahahahahaha.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Feeling like an adult.

I'm 21 and most of my friends are either 20 or 21 (babies Ellis and Ais-Ga not withstanding). There's this odd thing that I've found around people my age and the concept of being an adult, that is, nobody feels like one, or rather, nobody admits to feeling like one. This could just be because all of my friends are students and the student lifestyle is pretty much like being a child, just without the nagging of a real, live, indisputable, adult. We eat shit, watch shit and stay up late dancing or doing nothing at all. Sometimes, I eat a jar of jam for tea, or, more often than I care to admit, a packet of biscuits, and my room is covered in a knee-deep layer of shite. Add alcohol and sex and we have the best of both worlds.

I've heard properproper adults say that they still feel 16 or 18 or 21 or whatever, but I think that's probably something to do with wishing they didn't have the responsibilities and feeling a bit bewildered by the fact that they DO have the responsibilities they have. I think most people would struggle to tell you what they mean about still feeling like a kid, but I reck it's just that they expect that becoming an adult is an event, a sudden epiphany and an urge to get a mortgage and an ironing board.

I don't feel like a child. I don't ever remember feeling like a child. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to tell you that when I was 11 I'd rather have spoken about the cost of living over Gareth Gates (mmmm, Gareth Gates), or that I didn't get worked up over and embroiled in the messy, messy politics of the playground. I don't think I was ever really any more or less mature than most people, but it's not about that. I just never had the magic, or if I did it was gone by the time I turned about 4. You know how everything is exciting and the world is a weird, but exciting, place? I think that's what I was missing. I knew too much, I think. I was terrified of what I'd seen and the expectation I always that had things would get worse. There's not a single time in my life you could pay me to go back to, except maybe my first year at uni, but not a single time in my childhood.

I think there's also something about mortality that ends a childhood, too. I never lost anybody as a child, besides my great-grandma who was well into her 90s, but experience of mortality comes in many forms. Every time you purge food in any way, which is massively traumatic to the body as well as the soul, you take you a risk with your life and your health, you take a responsibility and a risk and I'd been doing that years before I even hit puberty- the start of adulthood, I suppose. I first overdosed (in that I took more pills than recommended, with intention and planning. I just failed to realise how great the human body is and how much it can absorb, so it was almost hilariously uneventful which terrified me, actually, at the time) before I was a teenager.

It doesn't make me all that noticeably different from people my own age now and it didn't then. Sometimes though, I feel utterly confused as to how people my age operate and they feel. When you're at school, you're best off with a reasonably big circle of friends and one best one, the system is sort of organised to ensure that most people, especially girls, have that and I was no different. The friends changed over the years, but I always had that kind of a structure, which fell apart as we all got older and moved on and I got more ill and less interested (and probably less interesting too, hahaha). Which is all fine and, I'm pretty sure, natural. I wouldn't want that set-up now, all the allegiances you have to keep up, made complicated by playground politics. I have a handful of close friends and no group to manage. But still so many people do? Maintaining their childhood through what appears to be a tight group, in which each member bitches about another, and an exclusion of others. It's so bloody strange, these people and their ever-lasting childhoods.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Questions.

Sometimes I miss formspring. Ish. I mean, I took the whole thing way too personally, I should have enjoyed all the hate that I got (which, actually, probably only equated to less than a quarter of all I got in there and mostly then just involved people calling me an attention seeker. Snore) and reveled in all the attention I got, which I apparently crave, and the interesting questions people asked through that. I sound bitter, hahahaha. I do crave attention, but so does everybody, of course. But I've blogged about that before (hang on, and I'll find it.. http://stopbeinginappropriatewithyourbread.blogspot.com/2010/06/attention-seeker.html and then, less directly, I spoke about it here, http://stopbeinginappropriatewithyourbread.blogspot.com/2011/01/just-cry-for-attention.html) and so I'll not go into it again.

Instead, to tie everything here I've said, I'm going to do a formspring thing of asking for questions (which is also, of course, asking for attention, HAHAHAHAHA). I don't vlog, I'm all about the written word (and, to be honest, a lot of people have trouble understanding my accent, which is pretty gloriously northern) but most people I've seen who DO vlog seem to have dedicated, at some point, an entry to answering people's questions.

So I'm doing that, give me questions and I'll be as open as I possibly can. Even if you're a bit mean, pahahahaha. You can comment on this entry with them, or facebook me (Rebecca Condron, in case you didn't know my name. Oh wow). Now, don't leave me hanging, yeah? ;)

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Empty hours.

I'm not quite such a depresso fuck right now, it's amazing what a bit of time at home can do.

I have a bit of a pattern of burning myself out through the academic year, desperately filling the hours, for fear of slowing down and having nothing to do, and ending up in hospital over the summer. August 2008, July/August 2009, May/June 2010, August 2010, June/July 2011 and then October 2011- those are my psych admissions from the last few years, not including eating disorder ones. When I ended up in hospital last month, the doctor didn't get why I'd gone straight back to uni after having just got out of hospital in the summer, he told me that they usually recommend you take a few months out after that kind of a thing.

At the time, I thought that was moronic. For one thing, having nothing to do is not good for your mental health. It just isn't. It's better to be stressed because you have a lot to do than stressed because you have nothing. Trust me on that one- some sort of purpose, even if it's just to read some bloody, shitty, boringly dry chapter on Britain's involvement in Europe (can you tell what my current task is?) is better than trying to fill empty hours. I'd rather climb a mountain than be stuck staring at four walls. Especially when you know you're going to have months of those four walls, endless empty hours to fill. All that to fill is enough to drive anyone mad. Not withstanding the people with mental conditions anyway, I'm willing to bet all the teabags in my house that there's a higher incidence of job-seekers on anti-depressants than people in full employment. And then on a less general note, I wasn't in hospital with a short-term complaint. It wasn't like I had a breakdown and needed to take time out to rest and build myself back up mentally; with my conditions, that's not how it works.

So I came out of hospital last month, not really sure what to do. I didn't want to be at uni, I wasn't well enough and being so far from home (by train, it's between 5 and 6 and a half hours. And can cost £70+ one way) was horrible. But I didn't want to go home because I had nothing to do then, there would be even more empty hours. I didn't really realise all of this then, because I was too down to think very coherently, so I felt like I was looking at a long stretch of nothingness. I've only been home for less than 2 days and I'm here until Monday morning, but I already feel better. The hours are less intimidating when there's a routine, even if the routine is just around the tele and when my mum gets home from work. The hours are easier to fill here and it's so much easier to slow down, to resist burning myself out, when I'm not so scared of the empty hours.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

(Lack of) professionalism of doctors.

My mum told me that before I was ill, she'd never have questioned a doctor- their conduct or their professionalism or their opinion or anything. I don't know whether it's generational or maybe even if it's a bit of a class thing. Or if there's nothing to it but a society breeding a respect for the educated, the intelligent. The magic of those with a seeming power over life and death. I don't suppose it really matters, apart from to wonder how far it spreads; how much to take and when to question; is there a line that doctor's cross at some point, or do most people spend their lives never questioning?

My mum is a lioness, more so when I'm especially ill and she doesn't think I'm getting the best care (I got a letter the other week, saying she'd made a complaint about my 'mental health care' and I had NO IDEA what she was complaining about, hahaha). This means that if it was her who was ill or not getting the best care, or to whom a doctor has said something unprofessional, she'd be less inclined to push for better. It also meant then, that she's gone through most of her life never arguing or expecting answers. I think most people would probably be the same, especially of her generation and older- whether it's youthful health and vitality or, as I'm sure some people would say, lack of respect- I'm sure, or maybe I hope, the yoof are more likely to question.

My psychiatrist told me on Tuesday that I've 'filled out'. The conversation sort of went:
Doctor- you're looking really well.
Me- oh, thanks.
Doctor- yes, you've really filled out-
Me- what?
Doctor- yes, yes. We were worried about your weight when you were last in, but over the last few weeks you can really tell that you've gained wei-
Me- shut up. SHUT UP. Why are you even saying this?
Doctor- it's a good thing! Have I said the wrong thing?
Me- are you actually shitting me?

I'm not one of those people who are precious about being told that they look well. A LOT of people with eating disorders take massive offense to that and manage to twist it into meaning they're fat, especially if they know the person is saying it because they've become a more healthy weight. I'm not like that, though. I have no interest in looking ill. But having to explain to a psychiatrist that the patient who had a feeding tube 3 weeks previously doesn't want to be told they're looking bigger? At least though, she was genuinely trying to tell me I looked better- she said it in completely the wrong way and she should have known better than to say that to somebody in my position, but it was the best intentions, right? Maybe when doctors say the wrong thing, it's always in good faith?

Umm... No. Don't presume professionalism. The doctor who saw me a month or so back and took a look at me, my yellow-painted nails and my scars and said, 'self-harm, hmm? Most people in your situation tend to wear black nail varnish, but I suppose yellow is a more attention-seeking colour.' That doctor's words can't so easily be justified. I mean, it was funny, that didn't have quite the effect of being told you're, yanno, more of a fatty now than you were 3 weeks previously, but it most definitely brings up some questions about professionalism. I remember laughing in his face, but the nurses being horrified. And even then, nothing being said. What if I'd never been treated for mental health problems before? That sort of a thing could really have effected me and stopped me accessing further care. As it was, me having been in the system, it was entertaining, but how many people have actually been effected by his words? You know, now I type there are a lot of instances from other 'professionals' I can think of, especially some of the crap I've had from the police. I'll save that for another day.

As a general rule, I'm not too into lecturing on this platform- my experiences aren't uniform and what has helped or not helped me isn't necessarily going to help others. But if there's one thing I'll tell you, don't take doctors as infallible. If they say something that you're not happy with, or treat you with any less respect than you'd treat them with, you bloody well tell them. It's so easy, especially when you're being treated for things linked to mental health, for them to disregard you or to make you feel like you're wasting their time, but really what it comes down to is they're paid and employed to help those who need it. Whether you have a cut from slipping, or from a mental slip-up, they have no right to treat you any differently or to say things that make you feel that way.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Cigarettes and alcohol.

I don't want to keep whinging, but I have nothing else to say. So I going to type, I think, and hope for some sort of release. I don't know!

I got an appointment through yesterday, actually I got two. Dietitian on Monday and psychiatrist a week on Thursday. It's a little depressing that it's only been 6 days since I last saw a shrink and I'm back in next week, but of all the things that are getting me down, it's not the worst, ha. Although maybe it is, since mostly I have no idea what is getting me down. It's to look for a better anti-depresso that the shite I'm on now, but the thought of changing and then having to wait weeks for it to start working is almost more than I can get my head around, I just can't be arsed with anything. Including changing or not changing the pills and waiting for it to get better, or maybe not for anything to happen. What happens, right, if in six weeks nothing has changed? Having to change again and then wait longer. I need some guarantees. But anyway, that's the nuthut appointment. The dietitian appointment letter came with a 'food and fluid' chart that I'm supposed to fill in over the next week, which is a stress in itself given that I really now don't want to eat anything, to admit to having eaten anything, which is a little pathetic, but there you go. Admitting to eating isn't a massive issue of mine right now, but the thought of admitting to eat in, I don't know, an official capacity, is making me cringe.

What I said up there about needing guarantees is a pretty big problem right now. I'm a politics student, with no desire to be a politician. That's not a big thing, I don't think an especially bigger proportion of people with politics degrees actually become elected officials than owt else, but at least it would be something to aim for. It's not like studying nursing and having the final goal of being a nurse, or whatever. For a while, actually, whilst I was in hospital last I wondered if I wanted to be a nurse, then I realised that I really don't, it'd just be nice to know what I was training for. Now, I'm just floating around and going through the motions (and even then, just barely. I skipped a two hour lecture today, to lay in bed and feel like shite), to work towards... what? I don't know. I know this really sounds like I'm making big deal over nothing, since pleeeeenty of people don't know what they want to do, but I suppose the dwelling on the apparently insignificant is the nature of the beast, anyway.

Y'see, the way I'm feeling now, not knowing how everything is going to go is a massive problem. I feel like I should be out doing internships and getting experience and maybe trying to work out what the balls I want to do that way, but there are two problems with that. One is, I can't be arsed. I really can't. The other is, I'm not sure whether I'm actually even ALLOWED to, given that I'm not allowed to work. And guess what? I can't be arsed finding out. See a theme? And it's not just that. I have no motivation for owt else, either. I'm getting exhausted from the treadmill; the energy it takes to get up and get dressed alone is killing me. I just can't let myself be a depression stereotype because the next step is then hospital and I most definitely can NOT be arsed with that. The only guarantee I can make right now is that if I don't eat, I'll lose weight. I know how I'll feel physically. But that's a mind game I'm trying to steer away from, it's not a genuine option or summat I can afford to dwell on.