Saturday, 25 May 2013

'If you don't know why you're here... you probably need to be here.'

The women on this ward have a lot to complain about. Not in the big ol' grand scheme of things, maybe, but in little niggles with staff, rules and the drama of all this oestrogen muddled up with the usual fickle moods of BPD, 24/7. We complain together about staff and rules, like blokes complaining about the visits of their mothers-in-law in the sanctuary of their local. We assert that we don't need to be here, how we've been much worse and have done insane- for want of a better word- things (I once thought I had a chicken leg instead of a thumb and tried to carve it. True story), that we don't do now or haven't done since we've been on this ward. We decide that the staff are keeping us here for various, personal, reasons and that they're just trying to punish us with whatever restrictions we're currently subject to.

Sometimes, I think we have good points; I was once refused my tweezers because I'd skipped breakfast. Other times though, we, or maybe I should switch now to 'I', vent and I know deep down that the nefarious reasons I see behind rules, and my general detention in this hospital, are just the ramblings of my mind and quite unimportant in the whole context of, to be perfectly frank, keeping me alive.

Some days are really dark. Really, really dark. I've written before about absconding, something I've only done twice since I got here. That count of two would be far greater had I not learnt that voicing the urges is far better than acting on them and being dragged, in restraints, back. The dark days though, I want to run from the monsters in my head, stop to take an overdose, and then carry on running until I fall away from this world. I fantasise, plan every moment. Those days, if I wasn't in hospital, would be suicide attempt times. And who knows if I'd survive another. Or if I'd want to. I can count the amount of times I'd have died, since I've been here, and not just on one hand. Other times, like today, I know that I can control the urges and that I don't NEED to escape. There's a lot about escapism with me, I always need to run and hide (which you'd not believe if you saw the amount of different colours I usually throw into an outfit).

Days like today, although I feel relatively in control, I can understand my hospitalisation. I know why I'm here. I was chatting with two of my friends on this ward, about whether or not we need to be here, and how long we'd realistically survive in the outside. Me, I know that it wouldn't be long. And even if it was, I had no quality of life 6 months ago, just before this string of hospitals started. It wouldn't be fair on my mum, for me to be outside, either. When it was decided I'd be away in hospital for a long period, my mum had to agree and she did so because she didn't think I'd still be alive by Easter, if she didn't agree. I want to live, and I'm starting to think that if I take all I can from here, maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to live a real life. It's the only way forth.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Nostalgia for Essex Uni.

You know how it often seems older people fantasise about a past Britain, a Britain that probably never existed, where community spirit overrode personal preference and where people were endowed with sense and a stoicism that we, the youth, don't possess, because we have life so easy? They act as if crime were a modern convention, movement always regressive and the only honourable generation was/is their own? In the same way, I physically ache with longing for the life I've left behind, at the bequest of my demons. Like all nostalgia, it's making me yearn for a past that is far glossier than it actually was. Maybe a platonic idea of what I think my life ought to have been like, created in my head as another way to torture myself for not being all that I feel I should be.

For those who have been following me and SBIWYB for more than a year or so, you'll know that my university life, while fruitful in some ways and eventful in even more ways, wasn't all that... successful. It was more of an experiment than an experience, really. I lived a mostly irresponsible life of drinking, dancing, waking up in strange beds and ridiculous adventures- I have some brilliant stories that you'll hear over a cheeky vodka, one day. In my first year, I fell in love. I also met my best friend and, a year later, met her son when he was born. My worldview expanded and I began to plan and dream of a future I never before thought I'd be a part of. I became grounded and a part of something; living, for probably the first time in my life, a normal- by student standards, anyway- life.

Of course, that's my university experience with nostalgia's gloss and the rose tinted glasses of romanticism. Really, it was a mess of mental illness, alcoholism, sometimes drugs, always irresponsibility, sex and hysterics, set to a soundtrack of indie crap that I'm more ashamed to admit to listening to than the other shit I did. It did involve the introduction of my best friend and the romantic love... but it also involved terrifying that best friend when I was sectioned, one of many times, and the police informed her that due to my mental health I was a threat to her newborn son (oh yes, that really happened), and finishing that romance because it was too much for me to accept and reciprocate- an act I'm sorry for and regret, every day. Nostalgia and romanticism of the past forget the revolving door nature of my numerous hospital admissions during those years; the overdoses, feeding tubes, cuts, burns. How hard that was for my friends, boyfriend, and family who were all hundreds of miles away. It also conveniently forgets all those appeals where I had to plead to stay, the irritating student support sessions every week that I was contractually obliged to attend and the aching loneliness and isolation of my second year.

Yet still... nostalgia is mauling its way through my consciousness. I feel like I've been thrown out of real life and into a vacuum. Existing, plodding, but not doing anything of value. I've always done everything with thoughts of where it'll lead me, I've been brought up to work and that you work your childhood and beyond to better your career opportunities. But I'm not doing that, I'm not being intellectually stimulated or working towards anything concrete. More, it's all about working towards some vague idea of mental health. Sometimes, that's just not enough. I suppose I'm feeling inferiour, to the person I was and could have been. Like I've let myself down by being where I am, figuratively and literally, right now. I'm nostalgic for the life I've left, yes, but more- to the life I could have left had x, y and z not happened. It's not a healthy or useful way of thinking, but I feel like stamping my feet. This is not what was meant to happen. This is not who I was supposed to be.

On a slightly different note, I've never promoted anyone on here before, so you know that the blog Imma link to is something really special. Click on her name to meet Katie, one of the most interesting, witty people I have ever met, and her, quite frankly, brilliant blog.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Being a (melodramatic) clever dick.

I'm a clever dick. I don't mean that especially arrogantly- this is nowt to do with intelligence- I'm just one of those people who always has an retort, and a usually inappropriate one at that. It really get me nowhere (apart from occasionally on nights out, when I can 'banter' myself a free drink by pretending Lad culture doesn't piss me off). Every fortnight, we have ward round, where we negotiate leave and privileges and all that bollocks. Today was my day and, like every bloody two weeks, my complete clever dickishness got in the way and my melodrama let rip (which was a good job, 'cause it entertains me when I know I've been waaaaay over the top, rather than getting upset about the subject in hand) and I get absolutely nowhere.

The psychiatrist wants my weight? Refuse, 'cause, well, I just don't think he DESERVES to know, if I'm honest. The psychiatrist says I'll lose all my leave if I don't let them? Wind him up by telling him to stop spitting his dummy out. Absolute textbook clever dick move, because, what it really comes down to is, at the end of the day he goes home. If I don't get on the scales I don't even get my 2 hours out to the bloody supermarket (more than necessary for the amount of Pepsi Max I drink), and melodramatically pissing him off, entertaining as it was, isn't going to get me anywhere. I wanted an extra few hours so I could go watch Gatsby and he refused. Absolutely no reason why, other than I'd pissed him off. My favourite book in the world, and I'm not allowed to go see it. He always refuses to extend my leave from twice a week because of calorie expenditure, but he can't really say that I'd be burning more calories sitting on my arse in the cinema. It can't be because I'm too high risk, or I'd lose all my leave. So it really was an achievement for my melodramatic clever dick side.

If you're shy and retiring, you might think being a clever dick makes us dicks hard or whatever, but it's most definitely not as you'd think it is, 'cause most of us clever dicks are all talk and no bollocks. I'm definitely bollock-less, although I often forget and get caught up with wild threats. Luckily, my melodrama today just left me storming out... doing jazz hands. No, really. I can't even do jazz hands properly, but God loves a tryer. Jazz hands and impressions, going out the door- clearly a knobhead move- but not quite as bad as when I got really badly shouted at by a nurse and ended up screaming after her, as she stormed off after eventually getting her fill of shouting at me, 'GO AWWWWN, WALK AWAY! WALK AWAY YER FUCKING PUSSEH!'

So really, that's progress. Or just that the psychiatrist is a bloke built like a brick shit house and I'm a 1.6m Anorexic. Either or.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Food and mental health.

The obvious link between food and mental health is pretty logical. You eat, you're good. I mean, deprivation isn't the only thing that contributes to mental problems, and generally it won't even be the most important thing, but it's definitely up there 'cause, as a rule, depriving yourself of anything you physically need can only bring on the mean reds (I love Breakfast at Tiffany's). Now I probably don't need to tell you it doesn't really work with me that way. The days I give in to the Anorexia, as I'm trying to do less and less these days (I miss recovery), I'm much happier, bouncier, social and far less likely to disassociate or have flash backs or just generally dark thoughts. My mental health, at least on the surface, is much better.

My physical health is starting to scream from all the abuse, though. I found when I was younger that there was really no limit. I could do anything to my body and apart from the few superficial pleas (hair in dodgy places, bloating), I could get away with most. The ramifications then were still pretty traumatising, the hair, bloating, bad skin and all the rest are especially terrible for somebody who is so body conscious. But, my bloods would generally bring back alright results (a few potassium drips here and there), and my other organs would cope. Over the last year especially though, I've gone into decline. Arrhythmia, infections, more electrolyte imbalances, anaemia... a whole host.

I wasn't eating until today. All last week, nothing. For me, that's not a great amount of time, it really isn't. Let's not forget what became five weeks of fasting last year, only ended with yet another NG tube. This was the first time I'd gone longer than about 3 days for quite a while though, and my God did it affect me. This morning I was vomitting blood and my blood sugars were in the 2 region. Bad, very bad. I'm quite proud of the fact it was me who ended it, tubes were threatened but not used and it was me who put the first bran flake in my mouth. And the rest of the half bowl. Since then though, I've disassociated once and had the beginnings of a panic attack, before I took medication. It's been bad and all I can do to not promise myself that this is the end of food for a while.

Ultimately though, I go back to what I said before; depriving yourself of anything you physically need can only bring on the mean reds. I've to remember that food is physically needed. I can do this.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

(Celebrity) sexual offences.

Before I go into what I really want to discuss here, I'll give you a bit o' background, especially for those who live under a rock(/aren't living in the UK, really. Although if you don't live here, you may as well live under a rock 'cause it sucks to be you). There once was a British man called Jimmy Savile, who was quite the celebrity in the '70s, '80s and '90s. He presented, amongst other shit, a tele programme called Jim'll Fix It, where he granted ridiculous wishes (a group of Scouts want to eat their tea on a rollercoaster? Jim'll Fix It!) for kids. He died at the end of 2011 and after that, a shit tonne of allegations were made about him sexually abusing children he came into contact with. Since the story broke, there have been a string of accusations against various other famous men, here in the UK. The men involved don't fit your cliched image of a sex offender; instead they are mostly well respected men, from the entertainment business to politics, with careers in the spotlight spanning decades. The allegations are mostly historical and against both sexes. At the moment, there barely seems to be a day gone by where another formerly well renowned man is not accused of similar.

The celebrity sexual abuse allegations put forward have come up in the way that vomiting mozzarella does; slowly, but in one long string that never seems to end.  I think to those who do not know the scale of sexual abuse- committed by celebrity or otherwise- the sheer scale of the investigation makes them sceptical. How can so much abuse really have taken place, in any realm? How is it that so many people can have been abused by famous people? Are famous people more likely to offend? Because if not, assuming they did commit the offences, surely there are child abusers everywhere? It doesn't make sense.

Actually, well, it does. Every region, every county, every town, every neighbourhood, probably most roads, even... you'll find either survivor (like many, I'm not a fan of 'victim'. Even when you take out the pitying tone the word seems to suggest, I always wonder, what does that make the abuser? The victor? Ick) or abuser. Sexual offences are committed by people from every class and profession, and the abused can be any age and either sex. In short; it could happen to anybody and it could have happened to anyone you pass. You've never met a sexual offence survivor? Oh, trust me, you have. The scale we're talking about here is more vast than you can imagine. We're out there, hearts beating, brains processing, breathing, walking, talking. We dream, we laugh, we even have been known to dance. We look like everybody else and we try to live like everybody else, too.

Except... we can't, not completely. Life is spent sleeping with one eye open. Sometimes we can't at all. I'm currently detained on a ward for people at the extreme end of the Borderline Personality Disorder range. It should maybe be thought of more as a ward for women who have, mostly, gone through this type of trauma. I would never betray any of the amazingly strong women I have met here by sharing any of their stories, but let me tell you this- there are ones that would singe your eyes to even read. We range in age from 19-40, with the mode age being 22. Our heights, weights, eye colours, accents and backgrounds all vary, but most of us are linked through a shared knowledge of how fucked up people can really be. Would you look at any of us and see a 'victim'? Perhaps in our dark moments, the moments that have led to our having to be hospitalised, but not by glimpse. We don't carry neon signs or have facial tattoos declaring it. The dark moments, though, are darker than I can ever express. The harm we do/have done to ourselves, to compensate for the mental pain brought on by our pasts, covers a huge spectrum and includes things you'd not even have nightmares over.

It's not like this for every survivor, but even for those in the community, living in the real world- it never leaves you. You can live some semblance of a normal life, but still there is a beast inside you, some times bigger than at others, which never runs off; I went to university and pretended to be a student, when really I was little more than the sum of what my demons had spat out. Remember being a kid and that sickening feeling that you're about to get the bollocking of your life? Imagine that, all the time. We are millions and so, by extension, are abusers. Admitting yourself to have been coerced into a sex act is a great taboo... but I will not sit down. I sure as hell won't shut up. Did the celebrities mentioned previously commit these heinous crimes? I don't know, and that's not for me to play judge and jury over. I don't have the evidence either way. But I do know it's possible. It's so, horrifyingly, possible. And, even more horrifyingly, is the fact that the chances of a guilty party being convicted is extremely low.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Weight gain, weight loss, weight gain, weight loss.

I loathe myself. I'm working on it; I do this weird little thing, it's going to sound odd as shit, especially if you're not a big fan of me, right, but I consciously remind myself, throughout the day, that I'm a nice person. I've done some not very nice things, but generally- I'm not too bad. No, it's not that I'm 'not too bad'- I'm actually quite nice. I'm good, it's all good. When you become aware of all the ways you put yourself down in a day, it's really quite horrifying, and so I catch myself at times and make sure I remind myself that I'm a NICE PERSON. They always teach you in English that the word 'nice' is to be avoided, it doesn't mean anything, but really a word is just what you make it and I like 'nice'. It's nice.

I loathe myself though. Really and truly, right the way through, loathe everything that I am- inside and out. When I'm going through times when I especially hate myself, rather than just living with my usual, standard, omnipresent hatred, my weight tends to reflect that feeling. Of late, I'll punish myself by quickly gaining, then I lose until I weigh less than I did before I gained. I get so preoccupied and distracted by my weight, which is actually quite a relief, in a sick way, because it distracts from the hatred of the parts of me I really fear I can't change, by changing my body shape. But that makes me hate myself more, because there is so much in the world that needs changing, so much that's bigger than all of this, bigger than my thighs can ever be, and instead I'm directing my hatred towards my body and working on changing such a insignificant speck in the grand scheme of things. Changing my weight does nothing but hurt myself and then, in turn, the people who love me. It doesn't make any difference to the world, besides that. What the bollocks is that about? I hate myself, so I affect my weight, and then feeling shallow makes me hate myself more. As much as I can identify it, I cannot break this cycle. I gained, and I started losing this week. Such a self obsessed little girl.

(I think it really highlights how self obsessed I am, writing this with no mention of what an amazing time I had today on leave from hospital, seeing my dad. It really was bloody amazing, if only I hadn't had felt like such an elephant. GET OVER IT, CONDRON)

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Sending Condron to Coventry.

That title there is literal; nobody could stop talking to me, I'm the type of person you either have to tell to shut up, or to ask what the balls I'm taking (to answer, a whole host of psycho-tropic meds. Plus iron. Enough iron to make my shit dark green). Wait, do you either get what I'm on about now? The phrase 'sending to Coventry' means to ignore someone to the point you act as if they don't exist. So in this literal reading... CONDRON IS GOING TO (real life) COVENTRY. Not just for shits and giggles, but really and truly taking a trip to the West Midlands to go see Daddy Condron, on Sunday. I've got leave for a day, granted with escorts from the ward, but even so, 'cause I'm a damn good little mental. I'm pretty chuffing thrilled. I had to get fattened up for it, which was made easier by the fact that I binged dead heavy last week, 'cause I was so run down and stressed about everything I mentioned previously. It's the one time bingeing ever bloody pays (it's usually just bloody expensive).

So that's that. Apart from that, I'm finding this week dead hard. Not as hard as last, but I'm definitely ready for the weekend. Life on this kind of ward is exhausting, at the best of times. Groups run from 9-3, with a break until half 6 when we have a half hour meeting. It doesn't sound a lot, but when you're battling all kinds of monsters, which had been your full-time occupation in other units or at home, it's like working two 9-5 days at once. Add to that meds that generally have sedative effects and it's not usual to have the ward quiet after 3, when naps are the main priority. It's tough and although I'm now as used to it as I'm probably going to get, I could still do with them doing the French style week where you get Wednesdays off.

My eating isn't great, either. NGs have been threatened, but I'm not going down that road, not for the millionth time. That path is too well travelled, so I've to get back on track, from tomorrow. They won't let me go on Sunday if I haven't, so I have at least got that carrot (not that I'd eat the carrot ;)) in front of me. WISH ME LUCK, BITCHEZ.