Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes your life does not go to plan, sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to even if you tried hard to make sure they would. Sometimes really terrible, tragic things happen and you have to rebuild, and…
It’s December 2015. I’m lying in bed, alone, clutching my pink koala teddy. I’m wrapped up tight under my duvet. My body is freezing because I haven’t eaten, and truthfully I’ve lost count of the days since I last did.
My calendar still tells me it’s October, there’s a pile of washing stacked high above the basket that’s been there since God-knows-when, and my violin is sitting lonely in the corner of my room because I haven’t left my bed in days. I don’t actually think I’ve moved from this spot since they released me from hospital.
It seems like just yesterday I was arriving back in the UK from Australia, and I swear it was when I was tying up all my loose ends in my hometown and moving here, hoping I would escape everything. I thought that everything would be better when I got away but the reality is, I never got away at all.
I regret that I never got to know my classmates at the beginning of the year. I got very sick, very quickly. But in a way it’s good that I didn’t, because it meant most were never close and never had to watch me through this.
I regret that I haven’t really learnt much in the academic sense this year. Not only because I’m racking up a lot of debt for nothing, but because I’ve a good opportunity to change everything around and for many reasons just haven’t been able to. But I really do want to be my best, you know.
But actually, it’s not December anymore now. It’s almost June and I’ve made it through all of that. I’m getting better.
It’s not been easy but I’ve been trying my best. I’ve been in and out of hospital. I’ve taken steps forwards and steps backwards, and I’m better than I was. I no longer spontaneously try to kill myself, I nourish my body and take my medications to make sure that the remaining medical issues I have are not self-inflicted. I’m trying to keep on top of my appointments, my college work, and I’m really trying to make friends because being alone all the time is hard.
I still can’t eat in front of people, so I can’t come out to dinner with you. I still can’t bear people touching me, so I can’t hug you. I don’t like being in crowds of the opposite sex because it makes me panic, and I’m very likely to suddenly become an acute medical emergency which makes me difficult to hang out with, I know.
I do understand if you think I’m too crazy or too much of a nightmare to bother with, I really do. But, I would very much appreciate it if, maybe, just sometimes, you could stop to say hello.
This is not a post I wanted to be writing, but last week on Thursday something happened to me that has brought everything back. Something that has made me, I suppose, unpredictable and overly emotional for the last few days. Something that I need to…
When I was first admitted to day hospital they asked me if I could identify any signs or behaviours that were an indicator that my mental health was deteriorating, and at the time I couldn’t and didn’t even care enough to want to work it out…
The other day I sat in the office with my support worker discussing the way that my life has been going for the last few months, the things that have affected the direction of my life so far and my plans for the future, and while we were having this conversation she said something to me that really stood out.
“People like you go one of two ways. They either push themselves into being the best at whatever they do and become ultimate perfectionists, or they let themselves fall into a hole that they never even truly try to get out of until it’s too late, or until half of their lives have gone by already.”
For a long time merely surviving was a challenge for me, and it’s very true to say that I’ve only done so by living my life flitting from one extreme to another. I could very easily (and miserably) sink into a life essentially entirely controlled by substance dependency or disordered eating, as many people with my experiences do, and though a large part of me desires and tries to be the first person, the perfectionist, it’s also true that I have a history of not necessarily pulling myself away from eventually becoming the second person.
Really, I’ve already had many successes in my life. I got into a conservatoire to study classical violin, for heaven’s sake. But any successes I’ve had I’ve always sabotaged in some way, often by allowing myself to sink back into old habits or allowing mental decline to go unaided because truthfully, I’m uncomfortable with the feeling of being on top. I find it feels scary and wrong to believe that things really could work out for me, especially when I can still hear in my mind people telling me that it can’t, won’t and shouldn’t. It feels almost like I’m disobeying some law of how my life is supposed to be.
I can still find a million points to validate a belief I hold that I am worth nothing and that I should not be where I am right now, but at the end of the day if anybody else turned around and said that to me about themselves I would argue that they were wrong no matter what. Yes, I’ve been made to believe that I’m not worth anything and that I’ll never get anywhere, and yes, my brain can twist any slight thing into evidence of that and that’s not entirely my fault, but I’m not really always helping myself. I’m choosing to continue to believe this, and allowing so many of my behaviours to be almost setting myself up to be hurt, to fail, so that I can say that I’m useless and that I tried but it didn’t work out. Really, half of my life has been an excuse to remain in this state of what can only be described as “comfortable discomfort”.
Even though I’ve been set on recovery many times, I’ve never truly believed in myself that it was possible and this was the case until even now. With that mentality, this was only ever going to be another half-recovery, but I’m in control of my life right now and I’m still young, I need to get out of this cycle of self-sabotage.
I’ve already made the first step to actually recovering, and that’s to decide that I want to. Now I have to take the next step and decide that not only do I want to, but that I will, because I don’t want to wind up dead and I certainly don’t want to be the lonely, miserable, dysfunctional woman who could never escape the confines of her own mind to be able to take the opportunities she really did have right in front of her.
I would be lying if I said that I’m not seriously struggling right now, and if I said that the level of positivity conveyed through this blog was representative of my current feelings. Truthfully, positivity and motivation is like the sun peeking through the holes in…
So, maybe it’s important that I address the question fully. Why snowboarding? Obviously, I’ve already mentioned my desire to do it for a long time, and I’ve briefly gone into detail about needing to for the physical benefits on my about page, but it’s actually…