Pathogen

I had The Illness That Makes Your Head Feel Really Heavy. This is a real illness that has apparently been going round at my mum’s work, making people sign off sick because the intense weight of their head became insupportable. It also gives you all the usual annoying cold/virus symptoms. I spent the past couple of days lying around being weak and pathetic. Now I just feel like I got hit in the head a bunch, keep feeling like I might faint, and have a scritchy scratchy throat. I’m also really tired because I helpfully had a load of nightmares about being bashed in the head and screamed at.

Being ill makes me feel crazy and sad and frustrated. To swith to therapy-speak, illness (along with tiredness, hunger, and being wasted) is definitely a factor in increasing psychological vulnerability. This we learned in DBT in the form of a snappy acronym. DBT loves acronyms. This one is PLEASE, for:

 

Physical

ILlness (treat it)

Eat balanced

Avoid mood altering substances

Sleep enough

Exercise

 

OK I lied about it being snappy. It’s pretty clunky as acronyms go, but it does describe the basics of taking care of your body. This is definitely something I’m getting better at, but it’s still more Bukowski than Buddhist. (And leave Burroughs and HS Thompson out of it!) But I do accept the importance of taking care of yourself – of not completely trashing the body that supports and carries you for your whole life.

The trouble is, I can’t really treat this illness, because it’s basically a really annoying headcold, which is not amenable to anything other than Cold & Flu pills and Tiger Balm (better than Viks vapour rub). Obviously these things don’t really help that much, so now it’s time to mindfully accept the situation.

HAH! Just kidding. It’s time to bitch and moan constantly and do nothing useful. It’s time to wrap myself in a fluffy blanket of free-floating anxiety and curl up on the couch, because outside is cold and the gaze of others makes me feel like I’m burning.

You can tell therapy is working somehow though, because I’m not getting drunk right now.

(I was supposed to be writing today.)

 

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Pathogen

On being a problem

Trigger warning: Self harm scar pics, mental illness discussion, eating disorders, general depressing shit really. 

I am pretty out and proud about the fact I have a mental illness diagnosis. The validity of that diagnosis, I could debate for days, but as things stand, I have Borderline and Depressive Personality Disorders. I also have hella social anxiety or you could call it Avoidant Personality Disorder, I don’t know. The whole diagnosis thing is fuzzy and vague and controversial.

What I do know though, is that I fucking struggle. I’m guessing/hoping that most people don’t have all the fucked up thought processes, bad habits, and maladaptive coping mechanisms I do. If you do though, props to you for making it this far while putting up with this bullshit.

I used to self harm. In my teen years, I made a good mess. It was the only way I could figure out to calm the overwhelming negative emotions that overtook me.

 

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My beautiful arm. Most people are actually decent human beings about my scars. 
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I’ve long since come to terms with my scars, but when it come  to employment and other people who are socially ‘above’ me, I know I am very much judged. 

I stopped self harming. I had some therapy, but mostly I did it by myself. Because I found that starving was better.

When it came to the eating disorder, the therapy was more important. I had weekly appointments with a mental health nurse who seemed real cool. It seemed like she actually understood me. She was pretty young and generally nice. Though she told me the real disgusting truths about eating disorders. About the horrible results you can get from fucking with your body so hard. I thought I was doing OK, but one week I fucked up and lost too much weight. This nurse who I thought was my ally, threatened to send me to hospital, get me sectioned where ‘they could do what they wanted to me’, and I caved. I ate and ate and never looked back. I ate myself into an amazing bulimia. The cure was worse than the disease. But I quit that as well, with no help from anyone. Except maybe my mum. My mum is the unsung hero in all this bullshit.

 

My Good Weight
Me at a low weight (<100lbs?) and standing on freezing concrete barefoot because I wanted to look dramatic or something. I was a stupid teenager. Sorry any teen readers, but seriously, it will get better, you will get through it.

 

I don’t cut or burn or poison myself anymore. I don’t starve or purge. I don’t attempt suicide.

I still think about this shit, but… I don’t do it. I just make myself not do it. Every single day for years I have thought about hurting myself and I haven’t done it. Suicidal thoughts haunt me against my will. The reason I can’t think clearly is probably because I am suffering decision fatigue after 90 times a day deciding to not die.

I know that people wonder why I haven’t done better with my life, why I haven’t achieved more. Well, sometimes just fighting myself for the right to stay alive is a full time job. I know nobody will pay me, but that’s the harsh truth. Mental illness has a real impact on my life, and it isn’t something that can be cured by exercise and healthy eating.

Believe me, I tried. Vodka works better. My official therapy starts at the beginning of next year, and a large part of it is teaching coping mechanisms that aren’t massively self destructive. I’ve written about it before, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, and I do have real hope that this will give me a real chance.

Until then, leave me the fuck alone.

(This post prompted by my dad deciding that we need to have a talk tomorrow about my ‘future career’ and my ‘habits and lifestyle’. My career is writing this blog, and my habits and lifestyle are ‘not committing suicide’. Is that not sufficient? Can I not even have peace until January?)

On being a problem