Monthly Archives: January 2013

Lonely Won’t Leave Me Alone

lonely tree

I feel lonely. Not alone- for I am surrounded by people, always- but lonely. I wouldn’t mind being alone- a bit of space, some trees perhaps? I’m looking forward to a few walks in the Dandenongs when placement finishes (five days to go, not that I’m counting or anything…). No, this current feeling is different from the peaceful solitude I choose to carve out when a break is needed.

This is blackness. This is night anxiety of a kind so debilitating that I lie there and wish, plead even, for death. Come, take me, away from this lingering middlespace. Plunge me into certainty of some kind, even if death is what it takes to get there. This reads like bad teenage poetry and I realise that, but it’s so hard to live through and harder to articulate.

The world is not the problem. My life is good. My future is good. But this second, right……..? This is the burden and the shortness of breath and the isolation and the nothingisevergoingtogetbetter. I don’t want to exist in this. This moment. Or the next one. I float, dragged out of my head for the eight hours each day I am in public, to live upon the surface. (Inter)acting, smiling, working, getting through.

Then I come home and collapse. Pull the covers over. I want to cry but the tears don’t come. It’s all in my head, trapped. Help me, save me, let me go.

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Plodding On

orange man


I had a relatively good day, food wise, yesterday- breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea, dinner, supper, binge, no vomiting. Ate in public, lots of fluids, listened to the hunger and stopped when I was full. The binge on salty foods was more habit than hunger, and I noticed this, and I stopped.Today was lost to sleeping and  involved an apple, an attempt at dinner and a large (but not a binge) quantity of out-of-a-box  brownies.

It’s so hard to appreciate the things I did well, and block out the, ‘it wasn’t perfect so you failed’ mentality.  Eating disorders love black and white thinking. The Negative Voice loves screaming at me about all the things I do wrong. It’s far harder to tune into the sensible part of me that knows about trying, about creating new pathways and who allows for mistakes and grey areas. It’s OK. Keep going. 

We had a training session on mental health (as it relates to our particular client group) at placement this evening. It was really freaking triggering. I wasn’t prepared for how much it made me feel like screaming and getting out of the room. It was presented by a psychiatrist and was very much a ‘medical model’ presentation. That surprised me because the organisation in general is quite holistic but the tone of this session was very much about diagnostic labels and medication. It made me think a lot about my role as a social worker, trying to create space for other ways of working  and nurturing, and to advocate for a more well-rounded view of mental health/ mental wellness. So it was interesting in that sense, but in the end I walked away so annoyed, and dismayed, that a whole room of volunteer caseworkers who may not have had any other knowledge on supporting the emotional wellbeing of clients  have now been given information through such a narrow lens, and that it was presented as ‘expert knowledge’ and therefore unable to be challenged. There’s so much wonderful consumer led/ informed work being done and yet none of that was incorporated. Was it ignorance, or an intentional position of ‘professionals know best’? Either way it was disappointing,

I’ve got three weeks left of placement and it feels good to have that end date in sight. Most of my theoretical work is done and ready to be submitted, and then I can have a break before uni starts up again in March. My final year- finally! This time next year I’ll be qualified and most likely in a full time social work position. Just gotta keep on keeping on.



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Crying, But Trying

Drink tea, she says, gently, not sure how far to push. We are new to each other, polite, on the surface still. Make it a ritual, time for you. Twice a day.

Tea is safe, I think. I can do tea. OK, I say, trying to stay with her, trying to commit as my head grows heavy, foggy, intrusive voice sneaking in.

TEA IS A RESTRICTION FOOD, she screams. TEA IS FOR WHEN YOU ARE STARVING YOURSELF. Why bother trying, when you know you are going to fail. You will always fail at this. You cannot eat properly! You binge, you stuff yourself, YOU HAVE NO CONTROL.

I want to, I do, I want to get better. Another voice, somewhere close yet so distant I almost don’t hear her. I want to do this.

NO YOU DON’T. You don’t want healthy. You want THIN. You want to be DEAD. You can’t handle life. YOU STUPID WEAK FAT BITCH.

It’s too noisy in here. I feel jittery. My feet wrestle themselves, one atop the other down there on the ground, I watch from the top of the ceiling, floating. I want to exist but I don’t want to take up space. Feet twist, hands fidget. Make me small, please.

Grounding techniques, she says. Colours. Breathing.

I say yes, yes, I can do that. The tears dob me in, body betrays me again. Just let me out of here. I want to go home. I want to sleep forever, I want to hide. I can’t do this.


I can pretend. I can smile and engage and be the helpful good girl. Sometimes even the laughing jolly fat one. Get in first, make fun of myself before anyone else can. Talk. Talk a lot, loudly, drown out my head. Or try to. It never lasts long.

What, you think that they LIKE you? You DISGUST them. Look at you, YOU GIANT BLOB. No shape, no bones, no definition. Just fat. Everywhere. Spilling over, uncontained, too much, too visible.

Hold on, hold on. Listen to what I’m actually saying, not what your head says that I’m thinking, a friend said recently. I trust her, I respect her. She’s not bullshitting me. I think, I hope.

I make lists of safe foods, binge foods, in between foods. I resist the urge to throw out all the food on my shelf.

Try again tomorrow, she says, quietly determined.

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Grasping at sparks

rainbow road

So…I haven’t been writing for a while. Since August last year, apparently. I’m not really sure how it happened. I still had all the feelings and thoughts that I had previously been pouring onto these pages, they just stayed inside, churning, repeating, wearing away at me like endless waves onto an already fragile and crumbling rock.

The last time I wrote I was just about to leave for Nepal, for a study tour. I wanted to be changed over there, I wanted to come back a very different person, physically as much as mentally. I wanted to ditch the Negative Voice, prove to myself that I could live without being disrupted by all the head crap, be present and immersed in a new place. Spoiler: it didn’t happen.  I spent so much time up in my head that I feel like I missed a lot. I got on a plane to get away from all the shit but it snuck on board with me and lingered inside of me, still does.  This is not to say it wasn’t a beautiful, challenging and enjoyable trip- it was all those things, and more- I just wasn’t fully ‘there’.

I’ve been struggling on, since then, to be here, alive. I think about suicide every day, or more correctly, every night. I think, tomorrow, no next week, no I just have to finish my placement first. I propel myself from one day to the next, thinking not of the future but instead of when, when when when can I just let go? And it takes over, those waves again, crashing, blocking out the light, am I dead yet, no, just drowning, endlessly, gasping for air.

And then I wake up. And (most days) I get out of bed, and go to placement, get engaged in the work, enjoy it even. Most days I talk to people and they talk to me, laugh with me, don’t look disgusted at the sight of me, and so goes another day that I thought I wouldn’t be alive to see. They contrast so much, the person I am and the person I become when suicidality and depression take over. I know this, and try to hold onto it, but it’s like trying to chase a tiny spark in a dark maze where you can only see immediately in front of you, into blackness so terrifying that to continue on seems futile.

I guess it’s just about trusting that the spark is there, even when I can’t see it, or feel it or find it. Trusting that people are being genuine when they say that they want me around, that they want to help me stay. Trusting that change is possible. Trusting that reaching out into the unknown tomorrow is a better option than giving up today.

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