hating myself

Today I self harmed. But in a promise to myself I kept it light and small. Yay me! The blade was a relief to me. At last a platform, an outlet, an old comfort. The fight of the urge finally lost. The bitter sweet release was a welcome. 

Another failure?

When I look in the mirror it’s like using a circus mirror. My face is distorted. Uneven, twisted, ugly. Am I morphing into something? Do people wince when they look at me? My body is ageing and not well with time. My breasts sag from feeding four babies. My stomach looks like it was got at by a tiger, who also tried to pull my skin off and left it sagging. Buffalo Bill could have made some clothes and a handbag line out of my skin. And my legs aside from my tattoos, are boring and shapeless.

As for my private region, it never feels clean enough. It disgusts me. Every smear I imagine the dr or nurse thinking it’s the strangest looking one they’ve ever seen. I get waxed because it helps in my pursuit of cleanliness. I didn’t like men seeing it before I was married, ever. Even now I don’t like my husband seeing it. I hate it.

I hate my personality. I’m too assertive at times. I’m too quirky, too odd. I’m hard to get along with. But I can be far too trusting. I make wrong judgement calls all the time. 

I hate taking all these medications.

I hate that my parents don’t try and love me and accept me.

Is it me? Did they just look at me and think, no, too much?

I feel like I don’t belong in this world. I’m just trying to find a niche part for me. But to date, I’m still looking. People close ranks and are keen to let me know when I don’t belong.

I feel like I’m always on the verge of being attacked again. Like I let off a silent beacon. Invade me, violate me, hurt me. I am after all destined to be pulled down. Into the mouths of hell.

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Trigger overload – more tea?

My husband has been gone all weekend and it’s been particularly harder than usual. The kids have really pushed and everything has been a battle. Meals, sleep, baths, tidying. It’s been nonstop. And as I’ve only just battled this migraine and my anxiety has peaked, the timing couldn’t be worse. A few times I ended up just plain shouting. The internal voices telling me what a failure of a mother I was and how I couldn’t even manage my own children. 

I couldn’t wait until this morning when I could drop them at school. Even that wasn’t easy. My eldest informing me last minute her shoe was broken. I had to tell her to go in trainers and I’d buy more later. We ended up really late in all the dramas.

I then drove to the mall, bought the shoes no problem and wandered around to check out a few other things I needed. It was quite quiet at that time and I wasn’t in any rush. I guess I just misjudged my mood or capacity to be in a mall without consideration as it was last minute. My first sense that something was amiss was when I got stuck on an escalator behind some doddery old people, and knowing the route, I knew I wouldn’t get past them for a while without shoving one against a wall. As I finally saw a bid for freedom they stopped randomly and I just had muster the politest voice I had to asked to be excused. Not their fault at all, but I just hate feeling trapped. Then I couldn’t find what I was looking for and started ransacking the shelves in frustration. While doing so, a man came and stood really close to me looking for something. I mean, FUCKING WAIT!!!! Don’t get so close I can smell your ball bag. I just wanted to ram my elbow into him and shout.

The sense of being trapped, of having no personal space was too much. And I realised I was the other end of the mall from my car. And how much oxygen gets into a mall anyway? I felt hot, I felt exposed and I felt vulnerable. Were people looking at me sensing that?

As I headed back I thought, no. I can’t do this. I won’t be a slave to this today. I was so thirsty my mouth felt like sandpaper. I was finally free of the kids. I wanted some time out. So I ducked into a cafe in the mall and got a pot of tea. The concept of stopping like that is alien to me. I like to keep on the move. But i needed to sit and calm down and quench my thirst.

I’m so glad I was able to do that. To calm myself. To realise I was in control. I was able to calmly head back to my car and head home and have more energy than usual.

Unfortunately since being home I’ve checked the news. There is an article referring to a famous case of a woman raped and murdered in Australia- Jill Meagher. A priest has said if she had more faith in her life and hadn’t have been out in Sydney at 3am she wouldn’t have been raped and murdered. And this is what we should be teaching our kids. How disgusting. How ignorant and how sad for her family.

Then I saw on Facebook a friend of mine has put a link about oral sex. It’s completely innocent but for me its triggering. For me it’s dirty, shameful, uncomfortable and disgusting. It conjures up painful memories. Unwanted memories. I clicked the ‘I don’t want to see this’ option. No one would be any the wiser of the effect that something like that would have on me.

The trigger of the hospital, the panic of just dealing with stressful situations. At the moment I feel very unsure of myself.

I’m happy that I was able to take back some control today. But sad to see more triggers later on. It just never ends.

migraine – trip to hospital 

Hitting the fifth day of my migraine I made the executive decision to drive to the emergency department and get what I hoped would be an uncomplicated shot of pain relief to break this barstard migraine down once and for all. 

I take migraine prophylactics (topomax) and I have medication specific for migraine pain (imigrain) but aside from a few hours reprieve it kept returning. Same pattern, excruciating pain over my left side of my head effecting my left vision and hearing, making me extremely nauseous, slurred speech and having problems with short term memory. Yesterday morning getting the kids ready felt like someone was drilling my skull and stabbing my eyeball with hot needles, my sunglasses saved me from the light and from the kids seeing my tears of pain. I begged them to talk quietly.

Of course the ED was about as much fun as a tortoise race. Miserable nurses making ‘just so noisy’ comments about lack of staff and bitching about other staff.  While patients with protruding limbs waited helplessly. 

When I was moved to a cubicle, my Dr, who was very nice wanted to wire me up to a drip. I needed fluids, anti nausea meds, pain relief, etc. this might seem odd to most but I have this incredibly perverse fear of drips/IVs. I think it’s being tied up to something, it makes me go a bit mad. The only time I barely survive them has been during pregnancy when I’ve been very ill, even then I’ve been known on a few occasions to pull the things out of my arms. Then make a dash for it with blood going everywhere- I never said I was good at it! It’s a horrible claustrophobic feeling. I also hate hospitals- not unlike a lot of people. So I want to know I can leave whenever I want. So the drip can be an issue. I’ve made my husband swear blind that if I’m ever unconscious I must not wake up with machines and tubes in and on me. I’m yet to meet anyone with the same sense of fear as me. And I will kick off. I can’t bear to be blocked in, tied down, held back – even in the name of my health.

So with this hospital trip I knew that my migraine was leaving me debilitated and I needed the medication and the fluid. I also knew the drip was set to the fastest setting and they had a quick turnaround in the ED, so I shouldn’t be there for longer than necessary. I reasoned with myself I could handle it and try and rest.

Within five minutes of the drip starting I felt that restlessness starting. The realisation that I was committed. The fact that I should have left and just tried to sleep the migraine off at home. The smell of the hospital became so strong it was sickening. The plain, white crisp sheets and the White plaster walls. The murmurs and crying in the background. I tried to conjure good memories of hospital, of my children being born, the relief and joy. But the fear and sense of being vulnerable was too great. I could imagine nurses examining me, talking soothingly while I cried, while I winced in pain. The blood tests to see if I had HIV or Hep. The look of pity. The belief that I was wrong down there. That things were different. 

When my husband and I lost peanut. The pain was overwhelming. How we lay together all night on the hospital bed, knowing we were losing our baby. My body was failing. Was it because of what had happened to me? That is why I thought I’d never have children.

The suicide attempts. Wishing the pain would just be over. Not wanting to live one more day in that black world.

All the eyes around being privy to the pain, the suffering, the tears, the anguish, the despair. The most private, most intimate moments.

And always the same smell regardless of country. Sticking to your hair and clothes.

All of my dark tumours lay there beneath the surface. Waiting to be relived. And the machinery will stop me from running. 

I feel exposed and unsafe.

The panic grew, and in the end I called my husband. Who of course knowing the situation came to be with me.

I received good pain relief and was untied from the machine. Free to leave. 

My head is just a dull headache now which I’m treating with panadol. I will have to see a gp, my actual gp has left which I’m gutted about because she was really good. Even though I rarely saw her!

My nights continue not being very good. I am reminded in my dreams that I’m not good enough. That I’m dirty. That I’m useless. It’s like having my parents around at night!

My husband is away this weekend again so I’m dreading how this one will go!

judged in therapy?

I saw a therapist yesterday. She’s trained in EMDR. She was doing the background work I guess. I’d seen her once before with my husband. Her office is in the city. It’s large, filled with pretentious art and expensive looking ornaments. She liked my husband, he in his expensive suit. Calm and assured. She glanced approvingly over her Manila file at him. I sat beside him with a top on that had three quarter length sleeves so part of my tattoos were exposed. I wear a few necklaces, a few bracelets. My blonde hair had residual pink highlights in it. I was wearing sandals with bright pink toenails. She looked less enthused at me. But I’m used to that, especially in the city. And it amuses me that people are surprised at how different my husband and I look together. As though we just bumped into each other on the street and started walking together.

The next time I missed my appointment because my anxiety was too much. I couldn’t get a park, I got stuck in the one way system, I became distressed so I left.

When I saw her yesterday I decided to dress more smartly but of course still within my style. So black trousers, a teal top and a material version of a biker jacket (as opposed to my leather one). As I sat in the waiting room I saw her eyes study the silver Alice band in my hair (forgot that one!) and then in her room her eyes drifted to my feet. Flip flops, with glittery purple toes. She didn’t look like the sort of lady to compliment my polish! 

She asked how I had been in a tone that was rehearsed and disingenuous. Regardless I found myself releasing like a tyre being deflated. I spoke non stop for 40 minutes. Frankly I didn’t care what she thought about me. She was the first person that would be forced to listen for the next hour. All of my jumbled thoughts, my fears, my failings. The stress, the juggling act, the feeling of being conflicted because I can appreciate how lucky I am. The guilt, the shame, the anger, the exhaustion. Feeling lost, adrift. Alone. Needing direction, needing answers, needing space. My kids, my fears for my kids, trying to be a good parent, trying to deal with all these emotions, my mental health, my nightmares, the tears came and I cried while I spoke. I talked until the feelings became so overwhelming I could feel myself shutting down at last.

The therapist nodded her head. Then she said she could give me an idea for panic attacks. A breathing exercise. We tried it and I asked her if she used it if she panicked, she looked at me incredulously and said, I don’t panic. I then asked asked her if she had any tips for crying in public. She suggested heading into a public toilet. Not entirely helpful.

I thanked her for her time, she gave me the bill and I left.

Honestly it could have been someone waiting for a bus that asked me how I was that day, I guess I was fit to burst.

Needless to say, I won’t be going back, even if she’s really good at the EMDR bit. Although I let go, I didn’t feel right there and her looks weren’t exactly welcoming.

I feel good for the download though. It’s amazing how much I carry around with me. I could do with finding some solutions though.

shattered glass

As I was leaving the mall today, slightly lost in my own thoughts i caught in my peripheral vision a man entering the mall. He was tall, with glasses and an unusual goatee thing. He was carrying a young boy. Although there was nothing obviously untoward about him I immediately felt uncomfortable. I avoided him and speeded up to my car outside. There was an undertone of fear and anxiety and that sense of something gripping my throat. Once in my car, doors locked, the familiarity, the sanctuary of what is mine, what is safe, I was able to breathe through the panic, deconstruct my thoughts a little better.

When I was raped, that fragment of time broke like glass. Painfully sitting in my soul, I remain that 14 year old girl. I can see her, I can feel her feelings. Her fears, her insecurities, her anger, her confusion, her sadness, her shame, her loneliness. Even her appearance is captured. Of that night, the clothes, the body, the pain, the disgust, etc. and in that shard of glass comes the image of him. Timeless and ageless. The words. The eyes.

In fact when I first saw an image of him older on social media I didn’t recognise him. I thought I would know instantly, but I didn’t. I had this frozen image of a night so embedded in me that my brain wasn’t able to see changes brought by time. Not major changes. Just not the captured image.

But with time, men grow lines, hair colour changes, facial hair style changes, glass frame changes. But in this case eyes remain dead and soul less.

And the man that raped me so many years ago is married with children. 

So when I saw this man with a slight semblance I was unfortunately reminded of a fleeting image I’d seen on social media. Which then got me thinking about how he would be out shopping (in a different country thank god), with his children, not a care in the world. Being in a mall, not suffering crowds, not tiring easily, not relying on medication, not suffering anxiety or fearing the dark. Telling his children that monsters don’t exist.

The very realistic notion of this fills my heart with such terrible sadness. How one human being can destroy another and not give it another thought.

So the random man carrying his child wouldn’t have seen the panic in my eyes as he reminded me of a shard of glass from my past. As the man from my past can may well smile the devil’s smile at people in another mall somewhere and they will be none the wiser of the glass that is in place of his heart.

Blog for mental health 2015

 

I’m a great believer in bringing attention to the plight and awareness of people with mental illness. It’s actually why I started the blog in the first place. A place to squirrel away my fears, my madness, my failings, my concerns, my battles with medication, therapists and psychiatrists. 

To look at me I’m an extroverted character. Confident and assertive. A mother of four. I look after my home and I’m seemingly ‘together.’

Not many would guess the truth beneath my facade. Until bits started leaking out over social media. Until I simply didn’t want to deny who I was anymore. That some days – I didn’t want to get up. I had been hospitalised a few times. I don’t always have the will to live.

But more than that I have periods of mania, where I think I’m god like. Where I’ve gone out drinking all night. Acting like I’m single.  When I’m so rude and obnoxious my husband has to deal with this horrible diva.

The bipolar is controlled finally with the right combination of medications and we all watch my moods like an eagle. But the side effects are grim.

Then there’s the PTSD. The at times, debilitating anxiety, panic attacks, the nightmares and disorientation. The fears that can’t be rationalised or reasoned. There’s no drugs for that. Sometimes there’s a hug, often not a touch.

My days are stumbled through. Smiles so well rehearsed my muscles form them without instruction. I take a pile of medications like an elderly person would. My liver is all but hanging on. My brain often muddles things up. 

I probably go to bed more times hoping I won’t wake up than most. But I’m too scared to take my own life. 

I love my family. My children bring me such joy. I realise I by no means have a hard life. In fact I have an enviable life. But unfortunately my brain doesn’t tick over with comparison. In fact I feel more guilt and shame for my feelings.

It’s a lonely existence. People that walk the path they look at you, and they just know.

Others, they want you so badly to change. 

For me, I feel I carry a demon in my soul. I would like people to know just how hard it is, how soul destroying it is to live with a broken soul.

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

Please see http://blogformentalhealth.com/2015/01/30/blog-for-mental-health-2015/

reaching out

I took an usual step. I reached out to a member from the support group that I felt I most connected to. Close in age, with children, similar humour, we seemed in sync in the group and had already exchanged numbers. I started with a few texts, but gradually opened up about how hard I was finding things. The overwhelming anxiety, the panic, the isolation, the loneliness. She responded that she completely understood and had been going through a similar period. She was struggling herself. She became a beacon to me. I felt so validated. We arranged for her to come to my house for tea this morning.

I’m still with a cold, but I wanted the morning to go well. I’ve not been sleeping well. My anxiety is crippling and I can’t think straight. The good thing is that the kids have shuffled bedrooms so I’ve taken great delight and care in making their rooms really special for them. I really enjoy changing furniture and buying things for the children.

However, I got off to a bad start. My blog posts to tumblr which I don’t think about as I barely use it, but I was notified that I had a new follower. Curious I checked my account to see that in fact I had acquired a few. One of those was a man who took great delight in advertising his, well, very small third leg. His images went on to things that were gruesome and encouraging of fantasies that, in short, made me panic and cry and call my husband as I didn’t know what to do about this stupid tumblr account. We’ve since worked it out and my blog no longer posts on there. I suppose it’s naive of me to assume that only people with a genuine interest read these blogs. For a moment I considered stopping blogging. But in mediums of life there will be insincere people. I exposed myself to risk going to this group and now I have made this good friend and confidant.

So I was feeling shakey, and I got held up at the supermarket trying to make sure I got everything I could to cover her tastes. 

It was refreshing to speak to someone who got it. Who understood the ripple effect of things. The long term effect of things. The sense of panic. The sense of failure. The loneliness. The terror, the dread. The fear of things that have happened and the fear of things that haven’t. How tiring this life is. How much you don’t want it. You try to push it away, try to deny it, but it always comes back. The long nights, the bad dreams, the unknown sounds, the crowds, the loss of control. Everyday is a battle. But some periods are significantly worse than others.

She looked tired. I know I looked tired. Then she left to deal with her kids and a friend that needed to borrow her car. She would go on from our conversation. After we had bared our souls. I would glad wrap the left overs and then shop for bits for my daughter’s room eager to get things in place for her return. Also get the laundry on and make sure I was in Mother and wife mode. They wouldn’t know of the heartache that had taken place in my living room.

It is what it is.