Friday, 21 August 2015


You know when you get a little flower growing through the cracks? You weren't aware you planted a seed, but somehow- God, what am I blathering on about? A glass and a half of wine, Frozen on the tele and a whole lot of excitement and I talking even more crapola than usual. Excuse me.

I have two exciting bits of news, one that's slightly more exciting than the other. See if you can guess which is which and I'll let on at the end whether or not you're right. Good luck, because if you're right I'll send you nowt. At all. Tell you what, I'll treat you to the same, even if you're wrong.

1. Quick catch up- I hate going outside and I never ever go out alone. I have a fear that I'll run into one of my abusers and actually it happened not so long back, which triggered my last blip, so it's a real possibility. It's pretty depressing, because although there were a lot of people involved, it was 20 years back and now I'm a proper grown up, with high heels (that I could probably have walked better in 20 years back, but whatevz) and bras that I haven't stole off my dad's girlfriends (I have my own, and I don't even need to pad them. Thanks, nature) and I'd like to let it go. Sorry, I told you I'm watching Frozen. It's also boring as, because unless it's a day when my support worker is coming, I'm in alllll day alone. It's boring and frustrating and I am SICK of it. So taking a coping strategy my OT suggested- it's brilliant. Play the game of picking a girls' name that starts with A, then a boys' that starts with B and so on, but make it so they are names you would 100% call your kid- I took to the shop. Half hour walk on my own? SMASHED. Get in. First time in years.

2. Another quick catch up- 6 years ago as of now, I got my A-Level results, got what I wanted, and got ready to head down to Essex to study Politics. Well, I would have done, had I not been sectioned at the time after a nasty overdose. I delayed uni, had a lot of therapy and headed down a year later. And then I effectively was thrown out after my second year when my mental health continued to decline and I was sectioned- admittedly a ridic amount of times- despite my good looks. Sorry, grades. GRADES.

(Looking to go to Essex Uni? Got a mental health condition? Don't. Just don't. Psychosis during Freshers' Week? Suspended suspension because you made the uni look bad to new students, You couldn't make it up)

During my long admission, I realised that my heart lay in paying forward the help that I got, in one way or another, in psychology. And recently I have finally decided how to do it. Not just my heart, but my head too, is in mental health nursing. I am going to be a psychiatric nurse. Oh my God, this is so exciting because I've never written it before. It's a new realisation but it's right. It's who I am.

I am Rebecca Xylo and I am going to be a mental health nurse :).

Friday, 14 August 2015

A medication review

I shake, rattle and roll. I shake as a result of a barely-there heart condition (it sounds a lot more of A Thing than it actually is), rattle because I am on a ridic amount of meds and push me down a hill and they see me rollin' (they hatin' etc etc). As exciting as the shaking and rolling is- does that sounds dirty or is it just me?- it's the rattling that I fancy focussing on. Every meds review I have with my psychiatrist makes me feel like we should be rating them out of stars and deciding if they live up to the hype. So that's EXACTLY what I'm going to do. I can't think of a single problematic thing about this concept.

The One To Prevent Psychosis.
The name- Olanzapine.
The hype- Psychosis be gone! Voices! Visions! Vivid thoughts/feelings! Other things that start with V! All gone!
The bad- Imagine having your blood replaced with molten steel. I'm not sleepy-tired but I'm a heavy mardy bum. And you know how if you give your goldfish too much food they'll eat it all and then die? I'm a bit like that. But alive.
The good- Now I'm out of hospital and my voices have calmed down and I've not tried to hurt myself since the change of meds, so that's pretty cool. My head's still loud and I get verrrry overwhelmed with senses and situations, but it's not pointless.
The rating- A good, solid, ***. Maybe **** because it's only getting marked down for my appetite and part of that is probably hormones. Ok, ok, offish ****. Top stuff (unless I gain more).

The One To Prevent Depression.
The name- Sertraline.
The hype- Banish the black dog!
The bad/the good- I'm lumping the good and bad together here because it's pretty hard to really judge this one. I'm a lot more stable than I was on my last anti-depressant (they only work for so long before you have to change) but anti-depressants, they don't just ZING and make you happy. Just gradually, over 6 weeks or so, thing get a bit lighter and brighter. Sadly, the idea of a proper happy pill is just a myth. Nothing can make you happy, not a thing. Instead, it's all down to you,
The rating- Somewhere between *** and ****. It just depends on how realistic I'm feeling.

The (1st) One To Prevent Anxiety.
The name- Pregabalin.
The hype- Vanquish the anguish!
The bad- Weird side effects. Every now and again my neck locks and I end up examining ceilings. I've seen some reyt good ceilings and sort of you know how in bad films people find shapes in clouds? I've done that with bad paint jobs. It kind of hurts. And my jaw locks and I end up talking like Clint Eastwood (he has a really manly, stiff voice, right?).
The good- I'm not kidding, this stuff is magic. When I first went on it, within a few days my panic attacks (which I was getting maybe about 5 a day) just kind of disappeared.
The rating- Don't even care about the side effects- *****. Two thumbs up. Top stuff.

The (2nd) One To Prevent Anxiety.
The name- Promethazine.
The hype- Sleep it off, oh-oh (sung to the tune of Shake It Off)!
The bad- Sometimes it's really bloody inconvenient to take a sedative 3 times a day. Swear it takes me an hour until I can function when I get up. That could be general slobbishness, but let's pretend it's not (sometimes it genuinely hard to tell what's medication/mental illness and what's my personality).
The good- Well, yanno, sometimes sleep kills time.
The rating- *** I'm a bit on the fence, because I think just making someone tired is kind of cheating. Step it up, Prometh!

I also take Lorazepam and Zopiclone (for anxiety and insomnia, respectfully) when I need them and a load of boring physical health ones. I've messed up my body with the eating disorder years as much as the abuse years messed up my head. There isn't a lot to say about them, just that I'm alive, which is pretty cool. People ask me when I'll come off my meds, like I'm not, I don't know, achieving until I'm off them. It's a bit like me asking you when you're going to give up caffeine. You might one day, you might not. It's just not that big of a deal and if you need a coffee to get going of a morning then it's not the biggest inconvenience going. 'm not exactly sure why it bothers me. I suppose, it's like people are questioning my effort. But I reckon I'm going to save that for another post because I have SO MANY FEELINGS on this one.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Guilt and acceptance.

I'm a scraggly mess of guilt, wrapped up in a scruffy bow of insecurity and topped off by the glitter of, well, glitter. I have feminist, body confidence and eating disorder guilt... I also have Catholic guilt, believe it or not, which is really the sticky base that attracts all else, I'm certain. Religion's a strong grounding for guilt, and guilt's a good grounding for poor mental health. Go easy on yourself. Really.

I'm not even Catholic. I'm a recovering Catholic and aside from the guilt, I'm doing quite well, thank you. But it wasn't always this way; when I was 8, I made my first Confession. It was actually a complete non-event, more like the run up to getting to wear the big white dress of First Communion, totally not as fun as it looks in made-for-TV movies, where it's all cloak and dagger and there's a Catholic church with a priest just chillin' in a box at all times. In reality, it was a corner of a room, reciting faux sins (we were actually told to keep a few we'd probably committed memorised in case we forgot real ones), reciting irrelevant prayers for absolution... or at least making a show of saying 10 Hail Marys when actually you got bored part way through and shook it up with an unsolicited Glory Be.

I actually feel so guilty about the above paragraph that I'm debating deleting it. Apologies for offence (and my agnostic side says to hedge my bets and delete it in case, well, GOD). I'm casting judgement only on myself, honestly. And that's the point I'm about to get to. I swear there's a point.

My feminist, body confidence and ED guilt are all kind of similar. I should love my body. But I don't. I should love it the way I love yours, because yours contains you. But I don't. I should respect it the way I respect you and I respect that we are, or at least should be, all equal; we equally deserve life. But I don't. I should eat and I should digest and I should love and respect that. But I don't. I shouldn't feel guilty about any of that. Or guilty about feeling guilty. But I do.

Guilt is seriously unproductive. I even feel guilty about posting those types of guilt, because I feel like I should be some bloody beacon of body positivity, when really I'm screaming internally. I don't feel fabulous. I'm struggling with the weight gain. But feeling guilty about that is the only thing I can do that is certain to compromise my recovery. I can't hold my hands up right now and say I am even on the cusp of self-love, but I need to let go a bit to get close to acceptance. I think that's maybe the next bit.

I think there's something too about the idea that I am disordered. Like, right, body confidence as a movement is so great because it celebrates life and vitality and personality and just everything that makes a person a person and a body a life. But what makes me a person is kind of flawed. What makes my mind is diseased. What makes my body is something odd, something that can take a lot more than others' because it's had to. And that's not always positive. I think it's almost been drilled into me by everyone who expects less of me. And there are a lot who do. I see your raised eyebrows. And I raise you two back.

Body confidence, as a movement, is also great because it's about acceptance and acceptance of any deficiencies (perceived or actual) and acceptance of that guilt. I don't have to be everything. I'm not everything. Acceptance again, acceptance. I think if not now, soon I can honestly be a bastion of that at least. I'm on leave from hospital and accepting everything from that side, too.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Another night.

I'm in hospital. I'm not really sure what's going on. I mean, right now I'm completely here and with it and everything, but somehow night comes and I'm utterly batshit. I'm hallucinating on and off in the day but it's all quite mild and I can function, but come night I'm certain the abuse is starting again and hallucinating hardcore and urgh. It's mid-afternoon now and I'm totally fine, but this is a list of everything that has happened/I've done (I think; it's all a blur) over the last few nights-

Thursday- took an overdose (from what I remember there was no suicidal ideation, it was more just to try and get some sleep over the shouting of my voices), then FORGOT and called the crisis team because- well, who knows. Somehow ended up in an ambulance then remembered a bit later I'd taken an OD. Not sure what happened next, but that's the night I came to psych.

Friday- self harmed quite badly, um, vaguely remember screaming at a member of staff because I overheard her saying it was attention seeking, I'm not really sure what actually happened after that and what I just THINK happened.

Saturday- did a runner and sat on the side of the road, smashing my head in. I then remembered that there's a police station kind of nearby and so ran there and told them that I was going to be raped. Somehow I ended up back here, but from what I remember, for once in my life the police were lovely, so there's that at least.

Sunday- could see a man in my room and refused to go in. The staff were mostly good 'uns and stayed with me literally for hours because I was so scared. Then I was fainting and my obs dropped and then I went to bed in the early hours and they stayed with me through the night, I think, and, um? How can it be last night only and I barely remember it?

Today I'm just disappointed. In myself, in the fact that I was only out for 4 months before I was back in, for everything. To be fair, this is just a medication change and was always going to have to happen, but it's still pretty cack. And I have to keep reminding myself that once my meds are back on track I'll be out and then getting back on with everything and that it's not like before when I was in years. As ever, I'll be ok. But I really am scared for tonight. I can't take it much longer. Come on new meds. YOU HAD ONE JOB.