Monday, 25 July 2016

Sad girls.

I can't decide where my head is right now. The problem with having a history of severe mental illness is that, even in recovery, you start to read a bit too much into things. Take last night. I was so sad that I couldn't sleep. I might have been tired, I might not have been, but I was definitely sad. So I laid there and I read a lot and I had a cigarette (I swear, I'm not starting again. I'm just stressed and the thing I like about fags is that they're like a little break from everything) and I had some cereal and I wanted to cry. But I couldn't. I was too sad to cry.

So I panicked. I got anxious. And that made me all the more sad. I got scared that it was starting again, that soon I'd give up food and that would lead me to lose everything again. Because not everything is terrible. I'm in love. I do fun stuff. I have friends and family and family who are friends. And I couldn't bear to lose everything all over again.

And that made me more sad. It scared me. I got sad for the girl I was two years ago (because I didn't become an adult until I could function as one last year) and I got sad for the girl I was four years ago and then girl I was at 18, 16, 10, 3. It felt like those girls existed as separate to me and that, somewhere, they were still sad. In a way, I suppose they do. They exist in every school, down every road. There are sad girls behind you in the supermarket and on the train and sitting watching reality TV.

There are sad girls everywhere. Some functioning highly, high flyers in all manner of jobs. There are some who don't get out of bed. There are some who drag their crumbling bones out and run until they collapse, and ones pouring over food diaries alone. They're all alone. All sad girls are alone. It doesn't matter what they're doing or who they're doing it with, sad girls are all alone. It's a whole other world, a twisted existence. A really, really lonely one.

There's a difference, though, between sad girls and girls who are sad. Sad girls are alone apart from their misery. Sad girls have sadness running through their veins and permeating everything, every tiny little thing. They might laugh, but it's hollow. They might do something fun, but it feels like a chore. They might be high flying, but really they're not flying; they're swimming through treacle.

Whereas girls who are sad are often women. They're women and something happens and they get sad. Or something doesn't happen, and they get sad. Or maybe they're just blue and they don't know why, but they know it'll get better. Girls who are sad and some of the most hopeful because they know sadness doesn't last.

I'm definitely a woman who was sad last night. But when you're sad, it's so hard to differentiate. It can consume you for a while, but you know it won't last. The sun will rise. The rain will stop. And you're ok. I'm ok. It's ok to be sad, I think.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The official end of the dream.

Well, the dream is officially dead. I won't be a nurse. After I had that letter from the doctor who recommended I'd not be fit to study (see last post!), they asked me to go to a meeting at the uni, which was yesterday. 6 weeks before I was due to start studying, they tell me that because my mental illness is 'severe and enduring' I'm def not about to start. I think I'd be able to cope if it was before of exam results, because then at least it would have been as a direct consequence of something I had some sort of control over. But my grades have always been good, far better than my mental health. And it's my mental health that everyone only ever focuses on.

Ahead of yesterday, everybody told me to think positively, even though I had a bad feeling about it. Everyone told me not to come up with a plan B, even though I knew I might have to. Everybody told me it would be fine, even though things just don't see to work out that simply for me.

I know this sounds really self-pitying and I swear, I'm only self-pitying a teeny bit, but honestly, things just never work out for me. I was forced to leave uni at the end of my second year and then sectioned for almost three years. Nothing, nothing, prepares you for things not quite working out like being forcibly detained. I had to fight for every second of leave from hospital I got. I had to fight for the right to choose to stay in hospital, rather than being forced to, which took months and months of negotiating. And trying to get out of hospital? That was the biggest fight ever.

But I got well, I got out, and here I am. Still, I'm not good enough. As ever.

Do you know what sucks the most about this whole shitty situation? As I was leaving the meeting I had yesterday, one of the people from the uni recommended I tried again in a few years, 'when [my] health is better.' My health right now is really good. Honestly, it's good. I eat. I don't self harm. Sometimes I smoke. I drink on weekends. My mood is stable. I'm in a healthy relationship etc etc etc. I'm actually pretty good, it's just that I have a history that apparently speaks louder than my achievements. If this isn't me in good health, I don't think good health is something that I'll ever reach.

I'm tired of having to fight for every single thing. I'm tired of working for small achievements. I'm tiredtiredtired of those achievements never being recognised.

Monday, 11 July 2016

The end of the dream?

Today has been hard and I am so stressed that I turned to chips and gravy (guys, I think I might have found a comfort food. Yay for recovery) and then cried because we only had potato wedges and crap gravy. I wanted to write and explain why today has been so horrible, but I've been on the fence as to whether or not I should. And then I started really thinking as to why I shouldn't write about it and I came to a conclusion: I'm generally really open, until it comes to me issues around rejection. Then I'm so afraid that if I express having been rejected, other people might also decide to reject me.

But I can't live this way. I'm generally a really open person. Probably way too open actually, because I don't seem to have that filter that people have- I'm more like how a puppy would be if it could talk, than I am an adult human. I think putting everything out there might be really bad for some people, but it's how I survive. I'm so afraid of not saying something, because I always feel guilty for not speaking out being abused, that I've just sort of trained myself to be open. It's good for me to be open.

So I'm going to put aside my hurt and embarrassment and I am going to write about today. No wait, let me start at the beginning: I had to see an occupational health doctor a month or so back, for a medical to see if I was fit to train as a nurse. I expected my blood pressure to be read and possibly to be weighed, but it didn't quite go that way.  The doctor I saw just recommended that because of my history, not only am I not fit for training, it's unlikely that I'll ever be. That hurts. I worked bloody hard to get to where I am, and that hurts.

So today I found out that my dreams of being a nurse might be dead. I feel rejected and also, really, really embarrassed. I think the rejection thing is quite self explanatory, but I feel so embarrassed because with me being so open, everyone has heard so much about my training and everyone wants to know if I'm excited and now I might have to tell everyone that, after all that, it might be all over. I'm hoping people will be sensitive if they read this, but it's an embarrassing mess. I was meant to start in September and now everything is up in the air. I have no plan B. 

Of course, you know me, I don't lay back and let things happen. So I'm appealing the decision, fighting it and I'll fight all the way. I'll be a cracking nurse. I need the sting to calm down and the embarrassment to fade, and then I'll fight. My tenacity is probably one of the things that will make me a good nurse. 

I just don't know what I'm going to do and I hate that. I hate feeling like I'm on a doomed ship. I hate not feeling enough. Not good enough, not well enough, not hardworking enough, whatever.

I probably need chips and gravy.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Stomach bug.

I've had a really bad stomach this week, and it's been kind of nice actually. I know that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, but I mean I've been physically ill and it's not been at all self inflicted. I always prefer being physically ill to mentally ill because, I don't know, despite me believing wholeheartedly that mental health problems aren't a choice, I still always feel really guilty when my mental health is particularly bad. And none of my current symptoms were deliberately brought about. So it really is lovely.  I mean, it doesn't seem too lovely as my innards evacuate my body through my arse or when I can barely sit down, but, y'know.

The thing about having a stomach bug that makes it so lovely is, for several years, I was addicted to laxatives. I know this is an uncomfortable and kind of gross topic, but that's exactly what eating disorders are. They're not perfectly made-up skinny girls living some sort of Hollywood lifestyle. My eating disorder was nights crying as blood came out of both ends of me, because the laxatives were literally ripping my insides apart. My eating disorder was neglecting the people I loved and the things I needed to do, because my compulsions were louder than their pleas. My eating disorder was being banned from buying laxatives in 4 different chemists, so stealing them from the supermarket. My eating disorder was being told I was going to die of complications from the abuse my body endured, and being more than ok with that.

In the beginning, when I was 15, I didn't know of anybody else who abused them and I didn't let anyone else know I was. It was lonely, but it also made me feel hard. Like I'd discovered something brand new. At that point, I enjoyed it, truth be told, although I was shocked every time by the level of the pain from laxative cramps. As my addiction got more intense, I was dying, quite literally, for something that made me feel alive. I didn't stop regularly smuggling them into all kinds of hospital units until I was 23- it was only when I was physically- manually- stopped that I stopped taking them.

When I stopped, my anorexia was at a high and I literally did not shit for over 2 months. In the end it took 3 really grim suppositories, an hour in a toilet and a stench like something had died, all whilst I had to be in arms reach of two members of staff. I can't even imagine how grim that night was for them.

The last time I took laxatives was on my 24th birthday in 2014, a few months after that grim night. I was still in hospital and there was a horrible atmosphere on the ward. It was just horrible, full stop, and I felt like nobody gave a shit that it was my birthday, despite having been on that ward for almost 2 years. So I took some time off the ward and went straight out and bought some laxatives. They were the first thing I thought of that would make my day better. They were the first thing I thought of that would give me myself back.

It all ended with me back on a general ward, being treated for low potassium and dehydration. As I laid there hooked up to drips, I realised what a bullshit (no pun, I swear) clutch that laxatives are. They gave me nothing and stripped me of everything.

It's been nearly 2 years now and here I am, with a stomach bug and not hating it. Not because I feel good and not because I'm benefiting in the sort of way I thought I did from laxatives, but because I can sit here and marvel at how different my life is now. Being ill is miserable, but it's also sort of enlightening. My head is spinning and my stomach kills, but I know tomorrow I'll be ok. And that's something I didn't believe, let alone know, a few years ago. And that's something I'm more than ok with.