Monday, 25 June 2012

It's never simple.

I'm angry. I'm really angry. I missed my exams, a couple just because I was so unprepared from all the shit over the last year, and a couple 'cause I was actually in hospital for them. The ones that I missed because I was unprepared were pre-planned, student support and my department told me that the exam board would most likely allow me to take the exams in September. And lo and behold, I got an email today from the exam board saying that not only can I not do that, but I have to retake my whole year. If I can get a doctor's note saying that I'm fit to, just to add insult. Oh my God, I'm angry.

I despise my university. I liked it in the first year, but throughout my second year I've felt like every week I'm having a meeting with a new body within in, to beg for them not to throw me out 'cause my mental health. For what? To make myself so ill that I ended up with this fucking Section 3 on my fucking record, and then to be told that none of that has been enough. I've worked my arse off to get this mentally healthy, and it's not enough. And they want me to do another fucking two years, during which I'll no doubt have to spend the entire time fighting to stay on the course, making myself ill to jump through their hoops and give the impression that I reach their fucking arbitrary level of mental health.

Well, they win. They fucking win. I've appealed the decision, and if they don't let me catch up over the summer and then start my last year in September, I'm gone. I'm sick of them degrading me, making me beg, and so I am fucking DONE.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Coming out of the medicine cabinet (part 1).

The first time I realised I had an eating disorder I was about 12, and read summat in a magazine, some piece of 'awareness' (which was no doubt horrifically uninformed- when is the media coverage of them ever not? Even after the usual step of getting a bland, obvious comment from b-eat, a charity I have little time for 'cause I reck it has so much wasted, untapped potential). I sat and cried, learning that I was disordered, not just the eccentric that even then I liked to think I was; the cynical, world weary, pre-teen I disassociated from the world and became in my personal observations; the vain, plagiarised feelings, that make me howl whenever I come across in some sort of written format; probably in the same way I'll look back on all of this, in 10 years. As eccentric as I liked to escape away to believing I was, I wasn't really mature enough to be different on that level, to be ill rather than fancy myself as secretly special. I've always been vain when it comes to the written word. You know how some people have hundreds of self taken photos of themselves on their Facebook? I find myself wishing that I was born a century previous, to upper-class Americans, so that F. Scott Fitzgerald might have written about me, immortalised me in his beautiful prose.

I didn't just discover that day that I was ill, I discovered that I had been for years. I don't think that tends to happen to people who get ill when they're older and they've grown up already in a world where eating disorders exist, rather than the sudden discovery I had of the realities, I think then recognition of the illness occurs sooner. And, of course, too many people work towards acquisition of an eating disorder, whether they then lose control of the beast and find themselves later trying to claw back the life they worked towards starving away, or whether they eventually grow up and give it up. That world is bizarre to me. So maybe that titbit about my discovery is a touch irrelevant to this, but it's my party and I'll anecdote the shit out of it, if I want ;).

After my discovery though, it was all very standard. I cried for a night, then spent a month or so muttering to myself, trying on all the words for the disorder on for size, then I carried on, regardless. There were years more where the disorder was mine and mine alone, hoarded and hidden away, protected from everybody, bar the people I met online in my early teens. At times it was obvious but summat locked in innuendo, snide comments from people, but no actual acknowledgement of my suffering, as my weight dropped through Anorexia. At other times it was presumed to have been a phase I was over, as my weight rose and then leveled off, through Bulimia. But until I was about 17 or 18, I was locked firmly in the medicine cabinet. Then I came out and shit hit the fan; hospitalisations, intensive therapies, more hospitalisations and on and on, as you'll know, if you've followed my journey.

The thing is though, shit didn't hit the fan BECAUSE I came out. Shit hit the fan because I was very ill and very, very ready to change that. That's what people need to know. Reaching out for help will not get you put on a hospital ward, or with your will taken away from you. If you want help, help is there to be accessed. If you don't, you won't be forced, but you can take responsibility for your physical health, at least. Even if you don't want to get better, reaching out for help managing the physical health costs- that's a pretty good step to take and again, won't get you locked up or forced into therapy or owt. Help is there for those who are ready for it, but nothing's forced. Unless your BMI falls below about 13, you can be confident that you won't be forced into anything. I mean, for one thing, the NHS is too pressed and tightly belted to provide help for anybody who isn't 100% sure they want it. I think that's where the awareness needs to go and that's what would save lives, if people knew that they could have their physical health managed but wouldn't be forced into everything, I think it'd be easier for people to at least seek help from their GP or even practice nurse or whatever.

Even if you're still in love with the disorder, you have to know that your body will not be, and that YOU, the person behind the disorder, have a responsibility to ensure that your family, YOURS, not the disorder's, don't find you dead over your toilet. You may love your eating disorder, but if you love your family and if you truly want to prevent choices being taken away from you, you have to take responsibility enough to allow somebody else to help you manage your physical health. That'll probably mean blood tests and perhaps electrolyte drinks, which could well stop you having a heart attack, as well as saving you from a million other health problems. Seriously, just google 'electrolyte imbalance' and see what you're looking at.

The other thing is, even if you're under 18, in the UK your doctor will not, and cannot, tell your parents about your eating disorder. Obviously, talking to your family and friends is a big part of getting better, but it doesn't have to be the first step, or even the second or third. if you're not ready to look at the mental side of it, face the internal, physical side.

This hasn't really gone how I intended it to, when I sat down to write, hahahaha. So I'm going to stick 'part 1' in the title and then post again when I get my thoughts together, really about what coming out really means. Until then, GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODNIGHT ;)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Confidence.

I've just spoken to my lawyer. I want to cry, but the system is not getting any more tears out of me. It turns out that while I thought he was confident about getting the Section off my record, for it being unlawful, he actually was confident about getting me off Section (which would mean I got out of hospital, but wouldn't erase it from my record), for it being unlawful. Which isn't all that handy, by the way, 'cause I got myself discharged on Monday. Despite lying my arse off about how I'd been sober in the entire time I'd been on leave, as I'm sitting there almost falling asleep, covered in cuts and bruises and dinosaur skin transfers, all from summer ball. JOLLY GOOD TIMES.

Now my record, however, and chances of ever leaving the EU or having a bloody career are not looking quite so jolly good. He's off to do the lawyer version of asking about, to see if there might be any chance of it, which fills me with approximately zero confidence. There's not a lot I can do, and so worrying is completely pointless, but nonetheless. I don't know, I'll see what he says and maybe I'll try the mental health charities. I desperately don't want to let it drop, but there is an end to every road and I'm hoping this isn't it.

On a completely different confidence note, I'm off on holiday tomorrow and I'm nervous. Since my last entry I've eaten pretty well and felt pretty good, which feels a bit bizarre given that in the run up to spending a week in a bikini, I feel like I should be subsisting on salad and Pepsi Max. But no, this is my body, this is what it wants- no, is programmed- to weigh, and so I will not attempt to change that. I won't. But it's making me a bit nervous, last time I went on a proper bikini holiday I weighed maybe about 7kg less than I do now. I looked like shit, don't get me wrong, BUT STILL, hahaha. In an attempt to calm myself, I tried on all on my summer clothes, clothes for the nights and that, and everything fits lovely and all is fine, it turns out I haven't balloon'd over the last week- who'd have guessed it, eh? Not me, seriously, I always presumed accepting a weight was a slippery slope to immediately becoming obese. But given that I weigh the exact same now that I weighed before I accepted it, the weight my body has returned to every time I've lost weight over the last few years, I reck I'm probably safe for the moment.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

This is my body. Broken for nobody.

My weight fluctuates, depending on how well I'm doing at the time at fighting the good fight, defeating my demons and eating my tea. Well, it used to, by maybe about 10kg (22 pounds, for those stuck in Imperial times. God mate, just get over that system ;)), over just a few weeks, when I first started this blog. These days, it maybe does by about 3, over a month or so (oh wow, I hadn't really thought about quite how much of a difference that was, and as a way of measuring how much better I am now... shit, I'm kicking arse). Sometimes I lose, sometimes I gain, but it always levels at the same point, when I get back in control. I cannot describe my previous horror and disgust at the number it settles at, the ferocity and feralness of wanting to cut and scrape fat off, every time. Every time it settles at the exact same point, higher than the minimum my doctors like me to keep to, the number that I was once made to gain weight to, the ghost of the disorder strengthens and feeds, and the longer I stay at that number, the louder the whispers of disgust grow, until all I can hear are shouts of my deformation. And so the fluctuations begin again. Eating disorders are notoriously black and white, entirely unforgiving and constantly demanding, and to weigh more than the minimum I had to, to be healthy, has had me believing for years that stepping off that very, very fine line meant I was overweight.

The minimum number I have to weigh became bearable. Any number below creates conflict; the disorder fed for a little while and as much as I hate to think I'm falling, that my life might not end up my own again, at the same time, there's a relief. A guilty pleasure. Any number above also fed the disorder, I can slip so easily back into such an intense hatred of my physical being that somehow manages to seep through to all other areas of my being, like a person returning to an abusive partner. It's not pretty and there's no purpose other than a twisted nostalgia and familiarity that although burns, is at least known. Being what I deemed as overweight was as much of a comfort as starving or throwing up. I've spent more of my life ill than healthy; more time with my toilet than my friends; more time filling my brain with personal taunts and devising new tortures for myself than for demanding true justice; more time creating a tiny world of hell and ugliness, rather than finding beauty, or even the hell out there and demanding and creating beauty from that.

I'm just coming to the recognition now that the number I was to weigh, the number they all wanted from me, was created by a computer, a computer that knew nothing of Rebecca Condron and Her Body. The number I keep settling at is my body's, and if anybody knows Rebecca Condron and Her Body, it's her bloody body. And so this is my body, and I will not break it. I'm not naturally thin, so why on earth should I waste my beautiful mind on plans and tricks, to make it unnaturally thin? Why should I make my mind work against my body, when they're made to work together so perfectly and in sync? You give one nutrition, you give the other nutrition, and it's only when you're nourished that you can be all you were meant to be. Despite everything, or perhaps because of everything, I believe in myself. I believe I can do and be something, I have such a sense of justice borne from injustice, and the first thing I need to be, cliched as it's going to sound, is myself. And myself is 3.5kg above whey want(ed) me, and that is NOT ugly and has no relevance to myself as a sentient being.

A lot of people will tell you that thin isn't beautiful or womanly and that's a bag of wrinkly, old man, bollocks, as a definitive. Eating disorders are ugly but most slim people are not ill, and even those who are, are certainly not ugly- it's just that their disease has ravaged their true, natural, beauty. Thin is beautiful when that is the body's natural shape. One of my best friends, Willis, had a baby 8 months ago and was tiny during the pregnancy, immediately after, and now, and is undeniably beautiful. Another of my best friends, Ellis, wears a couple of clothes sizes higher than I do and is stunning. She's not thin and she's certainly not fat, but she doesn't starve or stick her fingers down her throat. My body's natural size is where it is now, and it's neither thin nor fat. But it's mine and I am finished trying to make it replicate anybody else's; torturing myself over pictures of people I know who are smaller than me is about as pointless as wishing I had long fingers.

This is my body. 1.6m and 55.5kg. This is my body, broken for no body nor thing. Nor fucking disorder.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

An 'unlawful Section'

The majority of my blog views come either from Google or from Facebook, and so I wouldn't have thought that most people reading this have all that much knowledge of the ins and outs of the English mental health system. I'm trying to work out if I'm being a patronising cock, and if I am, how much of one I am, but I reck I ought to explain some bits and pieces, 'stead of assuming everyone has been through the system as I have. This could well end up VERY BORING, but be nice and then I'll tell you about my latest admission and The Story of the Unlawful Section.

You can get admitted to a psychiatric hospital a few ways. Either a member of the crisis team or whatever can say that they think you ought to be admitted and you can throw your hands up and go in voluntarily, or you can get yourself dragged in. The former is the cleanest way, the neatest way, the way that makes it easier for you to leave when you're better, and the way that my stupid pride barely ever lets me go. Instead, I end up 'detained under the Mental Health Act' (known more as 'sectioned') which is a legal way of saying you refuse to be admitted, so they shove your arse in anyway, and make sure you can't run or refuse any treatment or owt. It also makes shit very messy, because it means that when you're better, you can't just ask to be discharged, you have to petition your consultant. You have to play a certain role; say certain things in a certain way and, oh, sit in a certain position and make sure you're very groomed and blahblah.

Sounds easy enough, when you know the routine, but, like... ohhhh, one time I was told by the nursing staff I'd be discharged on a Monday, but then my consultant went home early. The Tuesday she had off. The Wednesday she was called to an emergency. The Thursday, after I had spent the few days kicking off big styleeeee, I finally got out. Had I not been sectioned, when the nursing staff thought I was good to go on the Monday, I'd have been straight on out, rather than the extra few days (which, since there are about 3 weeks in the normal world to every day in the nuthut, was bladdddy awful).

There are a whole load of sections of the Mental Health Act, like any law, and they can detain you under about a trillion of them. There's Section Two, which is all fine and dandy and I've managed to rack up a fair few of them, bit of a nightmare when you're in and trying to get out, but don't really have any repercussions for owt once you've gone. Then there's Section Three. And mymy, is that a different kettle of fish. If you've ever filled out a job application, maybe you've noticed that they ask if you've ever been detained under Section Three of the Mental Health Act. Oh aye, that question is there, just begging for the company to discriminate against you. From the shit I've been given in the past and reactions to my episodes by laypeople, I don't trust society not to discriminate. Society is not developed enough, if it was then that question wouldn't even be asked. You can't travel really anywhere outside the EU with a Section Three on your record, either. Did you read my entry about how I wanted to graduate and then pack a bag and travel America? Goodbye dream. It's the ultimate glass ceiling and so to detain somebody under it, rather than just under Section Two, is a pretty big deal and there are supposed safeguards to make sure they can't ruin your chuffing life, just for the chuffing lulz.

Now for The Unlawful Section. I got admitted to hospital in Doncaster not last Wednesday night, but the one before, and went in without them sectioning me and everything. Good girl. On the Thursday, I was told that despite the state I was in, I was being discharged. Then an hour later, I was told that actually I wasn't. On the Friday, I was sick of their bullshit and decided that actually going home would be a glorious idea and demanded they let me discharge myself and then went to pack my bag. Instead, I was presented with Section 5.2 detention papers (I told you there was a whole bunch of different sections, hahaha), which meant that I was being held there for 72 hours, which would give them chance to assess me properly after the weekend.

Doncaster is a half hour or so away from Scunthorpe, when actually my house in Scunny is all of about 30 seconds from the nearest nuthut, but there were no beds in Scunny. Saturday morning, one came free so they shipped me over. Saturday night, I was woken up and taken into a room with a crowd of people, and told I was being detained under Section Three, apparently for the lulz, since I wasn't threatening to leave (not even I can whinge and bitch and threaten whilst asleep, and I am usually le patient terrible) or, yanno, doing owt but drool and probably snore like a pneumatic drill. They made a few fatal errors though, in trying to get that glass ceiling in place, the major one being they never got Ginge's permission. Because a Section Three is an absolute biaaaatch, they have to either get permission from your nearest relative, or go to court and get the state effectively made your nearest relative, stripping your mama or whomever of their right to refuse.

So I have me a lawyer. I keep trying to get it into conversation just so I can say MY LAWYER dotdotdot. It's like waaaay back when I first got a psychiatrist, for the first year or two, and I kept trying to get it into conversation. And he thinks he can not only get me off Section now, but hopefully get it off my record altogether. He recks that they'll maybe just want to stick a note on my record pretty much saying 'ooops, TOTEZ DIDN'T MEAN TO STICK A THREE ON HER' which wouldn't be any help whatsoever, 'cause I'd still have to declare it. So he's pushing to get it off my record altogether and thinks we have a good chance because of it being UNLAWFUL. And unjustifiable (for the record, I don't disagree with the 72 hour section, nor with maybe needing to be held in general. But the way it was done, the fact that I still had 2 days of the 72 hour section left ANYWAY and the whole Section Three instead of S2 in general... utter bullshit). And a bit of a dickhead move, given that I'm only 21 an' that.

I begged and pleaded to be discharged on Friday, I did everything right and got almost what I wanted. I'm still Sectioned and will be for at least another week, which just means that there's a bed on the ward for me and if my symptoms return all Ginge has to do is take me to the ward and I'll go right back to where I was, in the same position. But I'm home on leave and it's amazing, there is nothing like the feeling. I've to pop in on Wednesday, sort of like for a mental health check up, and if I pass that, then I get to go to Essex for a few days, for summer ball on Saturday, which I am ridiculously excited for. Then back to hospital on Monday week, to be discharged if all goes to plan, and then off to Spain for a week, 3 days later :).

After a terrible coupla week, things are looking a bit peachy, although I'm feeling a bit delicate. But I'm trying to sort out the major stresses, which triggered this blip, the money sitch and uni sitch and everything like that. I'm going to be JUST FINE, I think (although if you want to chuck me some cash, this would be hella more simple, hahaha).

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Massive lolz ('cept, not really).

Read back my last entry, right...? Then picture me bawling, Ginge coming home and finding me banging my head against the wall and then picture me on the psych ward 12 hours later. Absolute zero surprise, non?

This is just a rush entry; I have so much to say, but I felt like I couldn't leave it at the last one. I'm currently on a Section 3 (oh yes. The scary one. The ones that means I can't travel outside the EU really everrrr, can't apply for a job without declaring it, everrrr...), but I have 11 days leave, begged partly so that I can go to my uni's summer ball next week, TRUTH BE TOLD. Although condition of my leave is that I don't drink. AS. IF. Pahahahaha. Anyway, I just wanted to share the progression, muchos muchos to write later or tomorrow.

In the mean time, um, here's a nice summery picture taken at Cleethorpes, the day before I got sectioned. Don't I look sane, eh? Bizarre.