Life, and not getting what you want.

I think I’m in danger of causing rifts in my family.

I’ve achieved something today. I asked to do more of something and none of something else, and I’m paying for it.

This time, I feel like I’m awful.

I have upset my sister so much she’s no longer speaking to me. It’s like I don’t exist. I have tried to be everything to everyone, and I’ve hurt her in the process.

I have quit dancing as a career properly today. I decided I was shutting that door and moving on. As a result, I’ve dropped out of all the dance classes I was dancing in for more time to actually do my work on the massage qualification I’m desperately trying to get.

My sister is furious.

She wanted to joint-run a dance company with me, but since I haven’t been well again I’ve been re-evaluating things in my life that continue to hurt me. I have decided that dancing as a career is one of them. This, of course, puts paid to the joint company, and I’ve really hurt her by that.

The problem is, I’ve had enough of the dance world. Looking at my pointe shoes was starting to make me upset. I hurt so badly some night when I finish dancing because of my back, but sometimes also because I hate being in the dance studio all day, every day again. I loved it when my body was whole and did anything I told it to. Now I hate it because I hate that my leg will not lift at the back. I hate it because I have a TWO YEAR gap in my CV which will make all the professional dance companies out there laugh if I ever was to hand it in. The dance world is harsh and brutal and nobody cares if you get injured, because it means it was your fault and you were never good enough anyway, because a REAL dancer will never get injured because they’re too clever for all that.

My sis hasn’t faced quite everything I’ve faced yet in the dance world, although she knows just as much as I do how horribly cruel and unforgiving it can be. What she doesn’t understand yet is what it feels like to have no drive or passion for something you once loved dearly.

I hate the sight of the studios now. I hate my figure in the mirror, making shapes that aren’t what they used to be. My feet and legs look awkward and clumsy to me, and I hate how much effort I have to put into simple steps.

She will hopefully never feel like this. I never want her to feel this way. To hate the art that once nurtured you, to hate it so much you never want to dance or teach dancing again- that’s agony worse than a broken back.

What I have to do now is explain that to her, and hope that her hurt lifts. I don’t want to push her away even more with my idiocy, and my terror of telling the truth.

The reason I’m terrified of telling the truth?

Every time I did, my ex would push me away into a nowhere-state, filled with silence. That was worse that the other way it could go, which was rage. Give me the rage any time.

Right now, this silence could drown out the whole world.

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Crashing down.

So the inevitable crash came. I’m sorry I didn’t blog properly in so long- truth be told, I’ve been struggling since before the new year began and I’m so exhausted. Nightmares or lucid dreams plague me and I toss and turn, and wake up almost every hour to check if the door is still shut and he’s not bursting through it.

I went to therapy yesterday still trying to pretend to myself I was ok, when my Moodscope scores have been saying the opposite for a while. No scores have been above 50 this whole month. I’m drained and I need rest. Dr K has been concerned about me for the past three weeks and she let me just cry yesterday in her office. I sobbed almost the whole time I was with her and that hasn’t happened since the early days of therapy when all I could do was cry. I felt so dissociative and I told her so, and I told her that I felt a lot of the time like I was pretending again. I read a blog post recently from Shedding Light on Darkness (thank you so much for writing that) that said something about lying to yourself. I’d been telling myself that I was fine with working straight after therapy on a Thursday and that I was processing it all, when really it comes out in dreams and I saw one of the weird shadows again, plus I hear the voics more regularly at the minute. I was falling down out of the sky with no parachute and trying to pretend I was flying.

It’s like all the stuff I’ve been trying to work on, to process through my system, has been being neatly unpackaged for an hour a week, given some thought, and then I’ve tried to stick it back into the box and leave therapy. Problem is, the minute you give memories and feelings like those any attention, they gain a life of their own and come crashing through your system, so I’ve had some horrible dreams recently, some horrible bad day, thoughts of self harm and suicide. I’m rambling in my speech again, and I can’t always think of the word I need to describe something important. I called the hall table the ‘ front desk’ the other day. Nobody thought it was a warning sign, they thought it was funny.

This is still a huge problem. I wrote a ‘How to Handle your PTSD-stricken daughter’ letter to my parents. I think Dad is getting it but the problem is he works a long way away from home all day, so basically it’s mum who takes care of me and she has no clue what she’s doing. Despite that letter, despite all the things I tell her on a day to day basis about PTSD and abusive relationships, despite the sliding scale I drew of my moods…

Yesterday after therapy, Dr K and I were drawing up a plan of action. She was worried about how unwell I was and how thin and gaunt I’d become. She wanted me to have a rest, but I knew how that would go down (and in fact, how it has gone down,) with my mum. When I left therapy I was daunted by the size of the task ahead: tell my mum and sister just how bad things were, ask for a week off, try and get a lock put on my door.

I told mum how bad I felt in a heartfelt cry for help, tears running down my cheeks and a huge pain in my chest. She blinked, looked at me, and said, “well I’m teaching now, and you will have to teach your second class.”

Then she walked off.

She wasn’t even going to bring it up that evening. She was going to try to jolly me along and make me smile again so I could go back to being the smiley smiley girl everyone wants to see.

I couldn’t deal with that. So me, my dad and her had a conversation about what the problem was, and I’m still getting nowhere with her.

It’s the same sort of stuff all over again. “Working makes you happy. Working gives you a purpose. Not working makes you depressed. Work is a distraction. Work is not what made you crash last time. Believe in yourself.”

So many problems with all that.

Working like I am doing at the minute does not make me happy. I hate it. I hate Mondays with a passion. I hate Tuesdays more. I drag myself through the working week like I have no legs and I can’t walk. I don’t sleep well Wednesday nights then I’m forced to get up on Thursday to get to therapy, which is the only highlight, and then basically I’m slamming all the tough emotions and feeling straight back into the box to teach again.

I don’t really want to teach for life. I’m not interested in examining dance any more, and I want to write as a career now, more than anything. I’m done with teaching already but I need it to be able to fund the set-up of a life with J maybe, or the start of my massage business. Not working does not make me depressed- I feel that actually having time to process all the tough emotions that happen to emerge after therapy HELPS. I’m more productive afterwards if I’m able to feel bad and curl up in a ball with the dog. Work is a huge distraction- so big that it takes up my whole fucking life and leave me with nothing else at the end of the day. I still have a limited amount of energy, and it’s all wasted on work and not on self-care. I’m so drained at the end of a day that I can barely muster the energy to call J.

Work is precisely what made me crash last time. I am so on edge and exhausted, and I feel like working has heaped strain on my head harder than not doing so would. I don’t mind if my mum used work as an escape, but I don’t want to do that any more because that’s what sent me into hospital last time. I’ll be there again soon if I don’t do something about it.

All the self-belief in the world will not help if I commit suicide (or attempt again) because I am simply doing too much to process what I’m digging up in therapy. I’m not going to lie to myself any more and pretend I can compromise and just nod my head and go along with whatever anyone says other than me because that’s what I did with him. Now look where I am. Mired in severe PTSD, exhausted, and nearly without options.

I want to be with J more than anything. I miss him so much, and I need his reassuring presence. Even just having him in the room with me sometimes improves my mood. I want sleep that heals, not that fills me full of nightmares. I want no voices in my head any more, they’re scaring me again. I also want to be listened to- still not having the lock put on my door because I self-harmed in the past, and regardless of the fact that several times I actually self-harmed in public with no locked doors, I still don’t get my wishes respected. I need a lock. I need to feel safe. I hate having to change in my room because there is no lock on the door and I feel vulnerable, and it doesn’t matter how many times I ask mum to knock, she will still barge in uninvited and pretend she is surprised when I’m literally just out of the shower in a towel. I have no fucking privacy- I hide all my old journals, because she’d read them without a second thought despite the fact I’m an adult woman.

This all needs to change or I will keep crashing down and someday I’ll burn out, and there will just be a shell left of me.

Dr K and I are working on all this and I think that we need to have a meeting with my mum at some point. She’s scared and cynical of Dr K. She says Dr K is planting the idea that I should never work in my head. Mum actively tried to get me some work last night with MY massage business that I haven’t even set up yet!! She was trying to book me an appointment to massage somebody on Saturday at two! I teach all day on a Saturday, and the massage business is MY business, not hers. I am so tired of trying to do what I want only for it to get subverted by my mum. The lock is a sticking point and so is this. I told her I couldn’t deal with any more work, yet here she is trying to set up more. It’s not just to build a future for me, it’s so I don’t feel any messy emotion near her and I’m that happy smiley FAKE girl ALL THE TIME. JUST LIKE HE WANTED.

Enough is enough. I’m taking the week off this week or I will end up in hospital. I’m exhausted and just need space, and I need to be understood.

Otherwise, I’ll end up back on the mental health ward again and it will be another three weeks before I’m allowed out.

Going home.

I wrote this in floods of tears on the plane, on the way back to England, on the 6th of February.

 

 

I’m on my way back to England.

I ache.

I want J so much it hurts me inside.

Throat tight, chest aching, eyes burning with tears I don’t want to shed but have to.

Here, on an aeroplane, in front of probably about twenty strangers, I’m suddenly not afraid to cry and let them see. I don’t care. I miss J so much I feel like the rest of the world should know too.

I have spent three of the best weeks of my life since being depressed here. I feel like I have made huge strides forwards in my healing by letting J as close to me as man and woman can get. He asks me to be in control, he asks me to say if it hurts or feels good.

It always feels good, because a man who treats you like a princess out of the bedroom is going to treat you just the same once you are in bed with him.

He opens doors for me. He laughs at the same stuff that cracks me up. He always tells me to “go relax, baby” and that he “will take care of it”, whether ‘it’ is washing dishes or making a cup of tea for me.

I keep crying. I want him with me, to hold me the next time I have a flashback whilst dreaming. J held me to him, stroking my hair and my arm and shoulder until finally I felt a bit more grounded. He sat me on the sofa, got me a cup of earl grey, and he manfully let me soak his shirt with tears until I finally knew where I was, which house I was in, what year it was and that I was safe.

J has been human. Real, warm and human. I love his little quirks, his routines, and the fact that he is going to quit smoking because he “hates smelling of smoke breath” whilst I am around. Actually, I’ve said to him that on him, it actually smells kind of sexy, but he still wants to quit. Good on him. He is planning to get another job, as well as his music, to support his efforts to come to England to see me.

What am I going to do until I see him next?

I know I will work really hard to get a dance job, sign back up at the bar I used to work at, and try to get modelling work on the side. I plan to make this year a real try-hard year, a year where I can finally dance and then… Who knows?

J will be behind me whatever I do. He watched me dance and told me I was “amazing”, and bought me a drink afterwards so we could chill out. I felt proud of myself, and happy that he finally saw me dance. It’s pretty boring, I think, watching class, but he sat there and watched every last exercise, every step. I want him to see me perform. I want him to see me as I was pre-injury.

I’m crying again.

I miss his smile. Gods, I miss that. It’s only been an hour and I miss it so much already. His smile is so warm and loving, and it lights me up from the inside so I have to smile back.

I told him that I couldn’t wait to see him again. Time is a bastard- I can’t wait, I need him here now. If you’re reading this, J, don’t panic- I should be a little better by tomorrow!!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve fallen head over heels for J and all he represents to me, all over again: justice, creativity, peace, happiness, liberty, and love.

I have regained them all in these past three weeks whilst living with him.

Fed up.

Today, I talked to a friend, D, who suffers from mental health issues of his own. He is currently undergoing therapy for his problem, and for some reason, today we ended up talking about the mental health services, and how different our experiences have been.

He had a huge wait for therapy, but after he moved, he was able to access therapy very quickly. He has regular sessions, and he says that they are helping him a great deal. He is also taking an antipsychotic, but it seems to be helping him to relax, and he says he hasn’t seen any of the side effects that can occasionally manifest.

He also said he thought that I hadn’t got the right people helping me, which I completely agree with.

So far, I am STILL waiting for regular therapy. I have had NO HELP managing my symptoms. I had to stop cutting by myself. I still have panic attacks, and the antidepressant I am taking has only helped me feel a little more balanced. I have still felt suicidal on it, and if I forget to take it, I suffer chronic headaches which make my jaw lock.

I have been prescribed an antipsychotic which I am not going to take because I can’t afford to see if I will gain weight on it- I’m a dancer, and my stupid judgemental peers will never hire me if I am the wrong shape. Personally, I enjoy being fit, and I don’t want to be any more lethargic than I already am.
I still have no diagnosis after seeing three psychiatrists and a CPN. I saw a psychologist for four sessions, and I know I need more because that was what helped.

I am slowly coming to the conclusion that the mental health services actually don’t care that I hear voices, that I have a history of suicidal thoughts and attempts, of self harm, of emotional and sexual abuse. I think I am yet another unsolvable problem to them and that I will never get the help or answers I need. You may say that’s paranoia, but I am at heart willing to believe the best of people. So far all I have seen is that the mental health professionals I have seen just don’t have a clue what to do with me, and some of them don’t care.

Despite the mental health assessment going well on the 23rd December, it’s now the 9th Jan and I still don’t have a follow up appointment or a referral to their psychologist, something they both promised me I could have.

Stop bullshitting me, please. If you don’t want to fix me just say so, and I will continue to try and fix myself. So far I’m not doing to well with that- I had another panic attack on the tube yesterday. I see my ex wherever I go in London. I am terrified he will find this blog and I will lose you all.

I suppose my big question is this- what happens next? When do I get help?!

I am beginning to fear that the answer is never.

The good news is that my awesome friend D is going to give me the number of the mental health team who look after him. Maybe then I will get some answers, and they might help me like they have helped D.

I hope.

A change.

Well, I’ve taken a big step and moved back to the big smoke. I was terrified of the train journey, but I ended up talking to a really nice man who made me remember that there are some decent men out there who don’t see women as prey. I met my friend Z and her husband N at the station, and they helped me with my luggage on the way back to the flat.

They’ve been amazing, and I can’t thank them enough. They have made the journey back much much easier, and I have found their flat a lovely, welcoming place.

Z knows all about the voices, and so does N. So yesterday, when we were out with some of their friends, the male voice decided to take that moment where I was alone to come and talk to me. He said that the scars on my arm were just the beginning, and one day I would cut those veins and die. He said that I was just avoiding the truth and I would be dead on the 17th of December.

I was standing alone in the bathroom of the pub, shouting for him to fuck off. I left as soon as I felt calm enough and made my way back to the table where Z was sitting with the rest of the group.

The voices told me not to tell her what had just happened. They told me I’d be sorry if I did. They said that I was going to die and I was going to carry their plan through no matter what. As an act of defiance, I leant over and asked Z if we could step outside, which she knows is my way of saying ‘stuff is bad, I need help.’

Once standing in the square, where the nice cold air hit my face and forced me to take deep breaths, I told her what he had said. She was amazing, and listened, and told me she believes that the voices were put in my head by my ex also.

Z is a Christian, but of that awesome variety who genuinely cares about others and doesn’t let the bigotry of the Church affect them. She also believes that alongside her god, there are the forces of evil, and she has said to me she’s dealt with bad things like my voices before. As I was explaining to her what he had said, all three voices chipped in and said that she was getting bored of my shit, like everyone else.

I reflexively swore at them then apologised to her, and she asked me if I minded her ‘getting all Christian for a moment.’ She also knows about my feelings on religion, and has always respected them. I said she could go ahead- and she delivered a blistering attack on them, telling them where to stick it. She told them in the name of her god to leave me alone, and not to dare to talk to me.

Well, whatever she believes, the voices did not like being confronted like that. They buggered off and left me with a quiet head for the rest of the evening, and I was able to go back in the pub and behave normally again, and have a good laugh with N, Z and their friends.

She is the second person to be able to shut them up entirely. J is the only other person who can knock them on the head and get the dark passenger to shift. I am amazed and pleased that I know someone else who can help get rid of them for me when I am having problems doing it myself.

The other great piece of news is that FINALLY the psychiatrist has agreed to see me on the 9th of December. I rang the office to ask if they had an appointment for me, and I think that my pleas for help have finally been recognised. The receptionist sat there with the diary and made an appointment for me on the phone, and I am feeling a little better to know that at long last I might actually get a diagnosis on this thing I have. Maybe, finally, I might actually get some medication that will work and that will shut the stupid voices up for good.

Wish me luck- so far  I’ve had to cope with the Tube, strange men, and a horrible moment where I was positive I had seen my ex- thank the gods, it turned out not to be him. I am trying to re-start my life, and so far it’s working. J is busy finishing off his album at the minute, and I am so proud of him for still being there for me whilst he’s working so hard.

Fingers crossed and two magpies, ey?

Nightmare.

Apparently, PTSD sufferers experience nightmares. I had been wondering for a while whether I have PTSD along with whatever else I have, and I’ve written about that before.

Now I’m fucking positive.

Last night, I had a nightmare that’s still on my mind now.

I dreamt I was being the bigger man again, like I always was, and trying to patch it up with me and my ex-boyfriend. I was attempting to be friends with him again and he had agreed. I dreamt I’d gone to visit him in his flat, the one he said was perfect for us both, and I was trying to be friendly and not act as if we were still together. He was the opposite: talking about how he thought we should be together again, that it hasn’t been quite right since I left, that he never really meant to let me go like he did. He then told me he wanted to marry me, and that I should say yes and we should start talking about arrangements, and that I could just move straight in with him and it would all be fine. He was repulsively close to me, and kept touching my arms, grabbing my hands, kissing me. I kept turning my head away from him, trying not to let him kiss me, trying to move away.

Eventually I just took a huge step back from him and told him I had met someone in the States that I cared about more than anything, and if he wasn’t prepared to be friends we would have to part the ways.

Well, after that he went crazy.

He turned from being kind and caring and sensitive to violently angry and contemptful. How dare I think of anyone but him! I was a complete slut for going and hooking up with some arrogant prick in America, and how dare I shame him and his family by coming here to beg for friendship he didn’t think I deserved. How could I even look him in the eye!? What a bitch I was!

He started throwing things, not at me but at the walls, and pacing around. He yelled in my face. I argued straight back with him that my new boyfriend wasn’t an arrogant prick, he was all the amazing things a boyfriend should be- completely unlike my ex. He shouted back that I was a complete whore, going over there and putting myself out for him.

I started grabbing my stuff and trying to get out, and he was yelling at me and calling me a slut over and over again as I headed for the door.

Mum woke me up, and I literally thought I was still trying to escape him, and that he was nearby, insulting me and J and making me feel terrified and small again.

This is the impact the sorry fucker has had on my psyche. I hate him so much for it.

One of the other nightmares I have had about he and I was when I dreamt I was living with him, his mother and stepfather, his grandparents and sister. He was being his usual abusive self, and I had decided I had had enough. I told him we were over as a couple and I was moving out, and the whole family apart from his sister started laughing at my scars, belittling my mental illness, and tormenting me. They made it nearly impossible for me to pack, I was crying so much, and I had to put my belongings in a taxi and let the driver take them to my parents’ house whilst I walked my dog the long way home. For some reason, he was in the dream too, only he had also been living at my ex-boyfriend’s house. It was getting dark, and I was concerned for my dog because he’s old and pavement walks hurt his back legs.

After that one, I woke up in tears.

I re-live my assault in my dreams too, and they get more and more graphic. The last one had me being picked from a line of girls to be the victim of a serial killer- he was supposed to choose one girl to kill and another to assault. Lucky me, I ended up with both. I woke up as the knife was plunged into my chest.

 

I still haven’t heard a thing from the psychiatrist. I think they don’t care. I suspect this evaluation is not happening quickly enough because I’m not a screaming lunatic on a street corner.

Be careful what you with for, mate. I am attempting to re-start my dance career, giving it one last go, and if moving back to the Company proves a trigger, then that may be exactly what you get.

Especially if I keep having these fucking nightmares.