Equality? Yeah right: A message from 19. (potential trigger: Mentions stalking and abuse)

Hi all, nineteen speaking.

“Why do you always wear baggy jeans and a hoodie? You have a great body! Show it off, I wish I had your physique!”
I’ve been told this, and variants of this, since I was about 18. As I got older, I kept giving answers like “Oh, I felt cold this morning setting out,” or, “This hoodie is really comfy!”

That’s not why I hid in baggy clothes for the longest time. Although they are both valid reasons, they’re not the reason why I did it.

They don’t really come close.

I’ll give you an example of why I hide in baggy clothes.

Today I was in my favourite coffee shop. 25 goes there after therapy with us, treats us all to a coffee and a cake, and we read or write in our journal to pass time. Today, we had a break at work, so we went in to chill out.

25 was doing some wedding planning, which was fun and exciting. We all got engrossed and started asking 25 questions about what to do, and she helped us joint write our emails to important folk.

A guy passed by the shop, staring in as he walked. We figured he was probably people watching, like I often do, and ignored it. Barely paid any attention to it.

Just as we were putting our stuff back into our bag, there was a voice speaking from above us.

“Excuse me, is anyone sitting in that seat?”

It was the same guy from before. He gestured to the chair our coat was sitting on, and we saw he had a friend with him.

25 answered for us.

“No, but I’m just finishing my drink and leaving if you would like the table.”

He mumbled something in the affirmative, so we got our coat and bag, downed the drink… And saw they were leaving. The door opened and shut, and the younger two were puzzled.

“Ok then, why ask for the table and not take it?! Weird…”

As I stood up, my senses were on red alert. Something wasn’t ticking over right. I slid our coat on and looked out of the window. 25 was just as anxious.

There they were. Standing outside the coffee shop, both of them were hanging around as if waiting for someone…
25 and I decided then and there we were leaving the shop through the opposite door. I made a point to say bye to the café staff, because then if anything did happen to us they would be able to say they had last seen a girl in a long grey coat as she had said goodbye to them.

Immediately 25 said to get our phone out and play some anti-anxiety stuff we have saved on there. I kept checking behind me- sure enough, they were still waiting, and luckily hadn’t seen us.
25 and I were on red alert all the way back to work. The younger two were horrified and frightened that they had waited outside the shop, quite obviously expecting us to leave. After all, 25 had said we were just leaving. They knew that… And waited outside!

Whilst this had been going on, there was a man sitting on a table opposite us who would not stop staring.

As it happened, we had a very anxious day the next day and felt pretty horrible about what might have happened.
I wear baggy clothes or my long coat or hide in jumpers because of that. Those eyes permanently on us because we happen to be a young woman who’s attractive. I hate the eyes that looked us over and decided they somehow had the god-given right to wait for us and then, who knows?

I hate that all of this reminds each one of us that once upon a time, a monster thought that because society tells girls and women to “lighten up,” and “don’t take it so seriously!”, he believed it was his god-given right to subject us to six years of abuse.

That’s why I wear baggy clothes. Better to hide away than have those unfriendly eyes all over us. Better to wear unflattering, big baggy jumpers so all that gets stared at is our legs. I am so sick and tired of the eyes, and I want to keep us all safe.

25 often reminds us that we are all safe, that we have the Dutchman and she is equipped to take on potential threats. She says I am capable of telling weirdoes where to stick it and to get off our case.

The thing is, once protected by something that is formless, that risk halves.

So next time I hear someone tell me that I need to wear nice things more often, I’ll just tell them this story and remind them that my work clothes are all form fitting, because they’re dance clothes.

Any questions?

Advertisements

Forgiveness, and why it’s bullshit.

Oh my god, just had the most irritating conversation EVER with my parents.

I love them so much but they are Christian and I am not, and they cling to this outdated concept of forgiveness.

They believe it is letting go of what happened to you and exonerating the one who did you wrong- as long as they admit they did wrong in the first place.

Thing is, my ex never will. They know that of course, but they said I have to forgive him internally… Really?

To me, forgiveness means wiping the slate clean and saying that everything that ever happened to you did not exist. It means obliterating the past in favour of a saccharine future.

I do want to forget what he did but I don’t want to let him off the hook. People like him deserve to wriggle on the end of a fish hook forever.

True power lies in clinging to whatever strength you have. My strength lies right now in my ability to not sweep this under the carpet any more. My strength lies in my puppy, sleeping on my knee. My strength lies in my family, my sister, my friends.

It does not lie in forgiving someone who will never feel remorse for what he did. In my head, that is not bitterness- it’s reality. That’s the hard lessons I’ve learned whilst being subject to eight years of agony.

My illness is a ninja.

I’m frightened by what happens when my guard is down.

Partly I know my reactions are normal-ish, but the normality ends when I stop seeing where my bipolar starts. I am so unaware of when it happens, and my family just think it is me getting over the top. The problem is, I’m not doing it on purpose, and it’s not a cool party trick. I genuinely feel upset and frightened and hurt when it happens.

Take today for example. On a family outing, on the way back in the car, it strikes and makes me feel about three years old again, arguing for no point and no reason. I only realised I was manic when my boyfriend pointed it out to me- I think my family thought I was trying to be funny, because they were all laughing.

In fact, I’m still steaming angry right now and feeling horrible for arguing with J. I know he isn’t going to take it personally but I still feel stupid and horrible. I know it’s not my fault but I feel like it is and I
just want to punch a wall.

This post has to be short because I’m still not feeling well and too many people are in the house.

Is this just me or…..

I was bored today and flicking through posts on Buzzfeed- and this cropped up.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/cyndipop/16-ways-to-tell-youre-in-a-comfortable-relationship

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I endured each and every one of these whilst I was with my ex. I remember feeling unwanted, degraded and stupid a lot of the time when these things happened. I remember wishing to disappear a lot of the time when these things happened to me, especially when I would be trying to have a serious conversation and all he would say is “I love you”, over and over again, interrupting me so I had no chance to finish what I was saying and no choice but to give up my story.

Sometimes, every little thing he did would annoy and frighten me in equal measure. I used to dream about being able to do the housework alone, without him coming in and getting me to work on his stupid essay when the kitchen was a stinking mess. I used to hate how I felt, because surely that meant that he was right about me all along, and that I was a bad girlfriend.

This is of course, wrong. I wasn’t a bad girlfriend. I was trying to fix up my kitchen so that we could prepare food on clean surfaces, or I was trying to explain to him why I believed intellectual idea X was wrong. All he had to do was either help with the kitchen or leave me be, or listen to my point of view. That sort of thing.

Instead, I was completely ignored. As usual.

I have expressed my anger with him before, but it’s these little things that wore me down. These are the things that eventually stop you from saying no; from standing up for yourself; from actually being aware that bad things are on the horizon.

And, of course, just like the stupid article says, after a while it doesn’t matter any more. You’re there because you “love him”.

What a bunch of balls.

That article lists things that stripped me from my ideas, opinions, self-worth and freedom. Some things on that list, he felt about me, and others I felt about him, but that in no way denotes that we were in a “comfortable” relationship.

Unless, of course, your idea of “comfortable” is actually abuse, masquerading happily as a functioning relationship.

Go figure.

Diagnosis? Yeah right.

Today was D day. You know, something I had been dreading and looking forward to in equal measure. I have finally had a label slapped on me, and I am SO FUCKING ANGRY right now.

Apparently, I could have ‘Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder’, which is, yes, you’ve guessed it, Borderline Personality Disorder.

Only, the Psychiatrist failed to tell me I apparently have BPD.

Apparently, ‘the label doesn’t matter, just finding out what works for you matters.’

Right now I am so angry I feel sick. Right now I want to scream. What is the POINT in explaining that I need HELP when all that happens is I am given a generalised diagnosis which is given to a lot of young women who also need HELP? What is the fucking point in telling him my ex RAPED ME, ABUSED ME emotionally and then tried to get me back if he wasn’t prepared to think about how that might fit into the picture?!

I’m so fucking done with this shit. I don’t see him again til March. In that time, hopefully Psychology will be in touch with me and my newly-perscribed antipsychotics will be working. That is, if they will.

I am ready to throw in the fucking towel with the NHS. I would accept this label if I believed it fit me. It fucking doesn’t. I don’t have unstable relationships with my family. I don’t have an eating disorder. I don’t get into physical fights or snap at people uncontrollably. I most CERTAINLY don’t use self-harm to get attention, as SEVERAL clinical websites have tried to tell me. Christ, I am so angry.

I thought the session went well. I thought I was listened to. I thought I was getting somewhere. The fact that he DIDN’T FUCKING TELL ME that EPD IS BPD blows my mind. Clearly I am fucking back to square one.

I wasn’t angry like this an hour ago, but since then I’ve done my research and I am so so angry for not having been listened to AGAIN. That’s what I feel. “Oh, she doesn’t fit happily into one diagnosis so let’s shove her in this box and hope she fits.” AGAIN.

WHEN am I going to get practical HELP for this?!?! J, my mum, my auntie, my dad and sister have all helped me FAR FUCKING MORE than any bloody psych. My friends have helped me. All these amazing people I know have held me when I cried, believed me when I told them about the rape, dried my tears, reassured me, taken me out when I needed it… the list goes on. They have HELPED me PRACTICALLY.

The NHS? I can see now I’m being bullshitted to again. I would be more content to accept this “diagnosis” if any of the mental health professionals actually KNEW what was involved in BPD, instead of taking wild and often derogatory guesses. I think it’s another way of saying to all of us diagnosed with this, “Shut up, you know you’re crazy, and nothing you say is true.”

Well I have had enough of that with my ex, thanks. If I am going to be treated this way by the NHS then there is nothing you can say to me that will change my mind. Screw you. I want out of the system if all that is going to happen is that I am treated as a stupid, silly little girl AGAIN by people who are promising to help me.

There isn’t a word for how I feel right now, but I think BETRAYED is the closest I can get to.

Sorry for all the swearing and the rant, but I am so angry and I have no clue what to do with it.

No rest.

Today is yet another bad day. The voices hate me. I am sick of waiting for the psychiatrist. I am sick of trying to drag this diseased carcass through another abuse-filled day. I hate the inner contents of my head.

The voices were merciless today. They told me that I have no one to rely on, that nobody cares and that I am going to have to make another attempt on my life. I have argued with them, fought them, yelled at them and ignored them, and for what? Literally another earful of abuse.

Someone called me a slut today. The voices loved that. Some unknown commenter trying to insult my boyfriend said one of my trigger words, and I am at 5% on my moodscope score… Not much needed to push me the fuck over the edge.

Why am I such a loser? Why can I not be normal? Why can I not have a brain that works properly?

I think the psychiatrist doesn’t give a flying fuck about me, considering that it has now been TWO FUCKING WEEKS  with no communication save what I have begged out of them. Monday, I had to cope with a whole goddamn day of dissociation. Today, and a couple of days ago, voices and flashbacks. I want an end, and if I don’t get one soon I am terrified that I will listen to my stupid auditory hallucinations and go for another attempt.

Really, at this point I am out of fucking options.