Monthly Archives: June 2012

It’s As Simple And As Difficult As That

‘You have to eat regularly’, she said. ‘That’s it. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.’

And it is. And it’s not. And my head spins and I cry. I cry so hard and for so long that I get a headache that carries from night all the way through today. The sun peaks through the gap between the window and curtain. I turn over and pull the doona over my head. I wake again and it’s 4pm.

It’s as simple and as difficult as that. I know. I KNOW. Three meals, three snacks, fluids and meds. Repeat ever after.

But I haven’t eaten in this way, consistently, for over ten years. To do so, or even think about it, feels overwhelming, daunting, so close to impossible that it causes me to lose whole days to crying (see above). It’s too hard to change. I can’t do it. I’ll never be able to do it.

But what if you can do it? What if you tried? 

What if life could be about things other than my body? And what if food held its’ rightful place as just that- food, a source of energy, nothing more? What if all the power I give to food and weight could be redirected to all the other things in my life? What then?

I feel as though it might be time to give it another go. I’m living in a state of constant battle with a Negative Voice that tells me to kill myself, and a tiny yet incredibly tenacious voice that says, keep going. If there was ever a time to fight for myself, this is it. She’s in there, that minuscule spark of light, that quiet voice of courage speaking her truth. What if I fed her, fed myself, instead of trying to starve out the Negative Voice?

What if I tried?

Let the record show, I am going to try again. I am giving it another go.

It’s as simple and as difficult as that. 

 

 

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Pick A Colour, Any Colour…

The head noise- the constant, loud, always critical Negative Voice that runs through my mind- was incredibly loud today. I didn’t want to leave the house because it involves scary shit like getting dressed (side issues- being naked, looking in the mirror, having to choose clothes) and being in public (more side issues: taking up space, being looked at, potentially being attacked because of my body size) and doing all these things against a booming inner monologue of YOU SUCK, YOU’RE UGLY, YOU’RE FAT, YOU SMELL is really hard. Too hard, I decided, I’m going to hide in my room all day.

But my friend T called and asked if I could come and hang out in a cafe with her while she studied. We’d had this very conversation the day before- she’s currently finding it hard to focus on her study alone at home, I’ve been finding it hard to leave the house and be in public, so we pledged to help each other out sometime this week. As loud as the Negative Voice is, the part of me that believes in honouring promises and being a good friend won out and I agreed. Also, I suspect T was also trying to help me by metaphorically dragging me out into the world. But that didn’t stop the screaming voice in my head from being just as loud.

Over the past week or so, because of how low my mood is and to keep a eye on my safety, my Wise Woman has been giving me extra support via a daily text message check in (yay, a therapeutic use for i-gadgets!). I feel incredibly ashamed and intrusive for needing extra care but that’s a separate post. The point is, the texting has been really important in keeping me going and today’s was particularly helpful. I was freaking out about being in public and she gave me techniques to use to try and keep me tuned in my body senses and out of the grip of the Neg Voice. Feel the ground under your feet, feel the wind on your face, notice what can you see and hear and smell, pick a colour I’d say red or yellow and see how often you can see it around you.

I’m no stranger to sensory grounding ideas and I’ve tried to use some of them before. But THE COLOUR THING! It’s new to me and it actually works! Focusing in on noting the yellow around me- road signs, a hat, construction worker’s vest, the ticket scanner on the tram, shop signs- got me from home to the cafe (and then through the rest of the day) without me a) thinking about body shit 100% of the time or b) getting run over. I’m serious about being run over, because I’m usually so disconnected from my body that I have daily near misses with cars/ trams/ bikes/ alarmed pedestrians. It also forced me to acknowledge that even on grey days- and it was a pretty miserable winter day in Melbourne today- there is colour and brightness to be found if you look for it.

Once I engaged with my friends, my mood shifted up a bit, as it usually does if I can just make myself get out and do it. I got to do some things I really enjoyed toady- talking to people, having good conversations about life/ the universe/ everything, walking, drinking copious amounts of tea, participating in a circus class- that wouldn’t have happened if I’d given in and hidden at home. And every time I started getting dragged back into my head, I focused on colours. It didn’t necessarily eradicate the noise, but it turned it down enough for me to cope.

That’s how I got through today, which is what my life (and this blog) is primarily about right now. Getting through each day, surviving the nights, dealing with the head noise, trying to get up the courage to do it again tomorrow. Anything that makes that even a tiny bit easier is helpful. So pick a colour, any colour…

Sincere thanks to the Wise Woman, T., L., and the many other people in my life (that includes YOU if you read and comment on this blog!) who are helping me live through this. You’re all awesome and I hope you know it.  

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Because…

TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide talk. Yup, I know, there’s been a lot lately. I’m going through a hard time, but I’m not going to kill myself and I really hope you won’t either. Get help now and don’t read on if you think it may be harmful for you.

 

I’m not particularly keen on life right now (*cough* understatement of the century *cough*). There’s been the usual Negative Voice noise but it has been turned up by a few notches. Last Saturday I was put in danger by a guy who’d obviously missed the ‘consent is sexy’ lesson and was trying to get me to do things that I wasn’t interested in. I was scared, it triggered lots of memories and it gave me a shock that I’m still reeling from. Then on Wednesday a particularly insecure girl thought it wise to tell me to die because she didn’t approve of my body. So things have been harder than usual. I have to do lots of work each day convincing myself that life is awesome and worth sticking around for.

I need to keep living because…

Circus is fun

On Monday I really, really didn’t want to have to deal with getting a train out west in peak hour. I didn’t want to expose my body in public or in class. I was shit scared about waiting in the dark getting home. But the tiny part of me that is fighting 100% to keep on keeping on whispered, you will feel better if you go. And she’s right. Throwing myself into crash mats is a great release from my head. Trusting that somebody else can hold me with their feet is a great fuck you to the Neg Voice. And so I will force myself out of bed tomorrow, and I will go to class again, one foot in front of the other until I’m there, having fun, and I don’t even realise until it’s over.

The internet is helpful if I allow it to be

For years I have used sites like Tumblr to reinforce what Neg is saying- that I’m too big, taking up too much space, worthless, unlovable, and on and on and on. There’s good stuff on the web, sometimes it can be harder to find but it is there. I spent a sleepless night downloading inspirational pictures and quotes to my phone so I can scroll through them whenever I need to. Highly recommended as a distraction from suicidal thoughts, and to light (or re-light) the spark of hope in humanity that is in you, in all of us, somewhere.

Example A:

Example B:

Beds are comfy and warm and safe

When I got into shit last Saturday and was shaking and freaking out and having flashbacks, I was able to find safety in my bed. My warm, familiar bed with soft sheets and scruffy velveteen toys and the hottest hot water bottle my body could tolerate. This is my space. In my home, that I have created and made safe from the demons of the past. I choose who comes in to my room and my bed and if it just needs to be mine alone for a while, that’s OK. Props also to SACL, who were able to bring me back into my body, and the present, and calm me done enough to breathe deeply again. Help and support, they are good, who knew?

I’ve worked too damn hard in my degree to bail on it now

Part of the increased head noise at the moment is that all my uni work is finished and there’s too much space for the Neg Voice to take over, which it did, almost the second I handed in my last assignment. I was convinced that everything I wrote was crap, and I’m going to fail, and I’ll never get a placement and I’ll never qualify and on and on in a spiral of doom. Reality has proved otherwise- I got my first one back on Wednesday and it’s a HD. Regardless of marks though, I love my course and I’m excited about my future. Dead = no future. Ergo, keep going. KEEP GOING.

People love me and care about me, even when I don’t believe that

I don’t believe this one, well, I find it really hard to accept. I just can’t fathom it. I’m here, I’m dead, what’s the difference? I lived my adolescence thinking I would be dead by the end of it and nobody would care. I tried, twice, to make that happen. To have the beginning of a supportive circle of people around me now, in my 20s, feels incredibly strange. But if I imagine somebody close and dear to me taking their life, and how devastated I would be, then maybe I can see why it’s not just me I’m fighting for. That’s compassion and that’s enough to hold me here. I’ve had this conversation with my Wise Woman a few times recently, and even knowing that she cares is holding me back, just that tiny but vital bit, from stepping over the edge.

Going through rental applications is a pain and I don’t want to inflict that on my housemates

Seriously, it’s awful. You have to interview people, and work out if they are weird enough to fit in but not so weird as to be annoying. And you have to fill out a zillion forms, and update Centrelink details, and vacuum the carpet to make it appear as if there’s no mice living in the house. Exhausting stuff. Wouldn’t wish it my worst enemy, and if I top myself, somebody would have to clean out my room AND go through the horrible process of trying to fill it.

OK, so it’s clear. No self-inflicted death allowed. Must. Keep. Living.

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Not An Option Today

TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide talk. I’m not going to kill myself and I really hope you won’t either. Get help now and don’t read on if you think it may be harmful for you.

Long time no write, because I’m trying really hard to keep living from moment to moment, stay alive through the dark nights to get to the next day and do it all again. Because I write lists for myself that say things like ‘1. Get out of bed, 2. Take meds, 3. Try and do something physical’ and most days getting through those tasks takes nearly all of my energy and will. I got through my uni assignments and now I’m on holidays there’s a lot of unscheduled time and Neg Voice jumped straight in and yelled, JUST KILL YOURSELF, you fat ugly disgusting worthless piece of shit and it’s really easy to get sucked into and so so hard to climb out of.

I don’t want to die. I love my life, my course, my friends and family, the career I’m heading into, the thought of children in the future. I want to be here and make a difference in the world. BUT I struggle so much with living my life in my body. If it were ‘me’ in another body that I didn’t loathe so much, it would be different, I tell myself. Would it? Maybe, probably not. All I know that being in my skin is the hardest, most awful day-to-day struggle and the lure of not having to keep doing it is very strong. It’s brain versus body, emotional self verses physical self. I don’t think I can kill myself. There’s too big a part of me, real me, that is compassionate and aware of how much suffering I would cause, and how much loss. That part of stops me accessing a gun, or throwing myself in front of a train, or any of the other scenarios I entertain late at night. Dying intentionally is a very selfish act for a person who has built an identity on being considerate, helpful, mature, kind, empathetic. So, killing myself is not an option, I say in my head, over and over. Not today. Get through today and then we’ll deal with tomorrow.

Today I had a huge swim, because swimming has always calmed me down and getting physically tired helps manage the late night head noise. Swimming through the constant ‘you suck, you’re huge and gross, you look awful’ is really hard for the first few laps but the water helps so much. Plus, having to focus on not drowning is a good way to get out of my head. So it was overall a positive thing, everyone should try swimming, it’s awesome. But getting the bus home just after school peak hour was a bad move. Two girls got on and proceeded to bitch about their ‘friends’, their teachers, their parents and everything else that was bothering them. I put my music on and tried to blank them out.  One tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘Excuse me’.

‘Yes?’, I said, turning around, taking my headphones out and putting my usual polite smile on.

‘If I was as fat as you I would kill myself’, she said, and her friend and her both burst into laughter.

I turned bright red, as you do when somebody publicly humiliates you and tells you to top yourself as though it’s funny. How does she know that I think that all day, every day? was my first thought. ‘She’s just saying what everybody’s thinking. You don’t deserve to live, you hideous lard-arse’ screamed the Negative Voice. Say something back, you idiot! was my next coherent thought.

‘Sorry, killing myself is not an option today, too busy’ I said. There are better lines, but hey, I was under pressure. I turned around, put the headphones back in and tried really fucking hard not to cry.

That’s what it’s like, every day. It’s dealing with my own head as well as what other people see and what they do. It’s trying to summon up the courage to get out of bed and engage with the world. It’s wondering if I have a flashing sign attached to me, ‘I hate my body, really hate it, and I kind of want to kill myself but I’m trying really hard not to’. It’s feeling every millimetre of flesh squirm with shame whenever I’m out in public and visible. It’s  keeping busy enough so that the Negative Voice doesn’t overwhelm me. It’s trying to hold on and to remember that killing myself is NOT. AN. OPTION.

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