Some nights…

 

Some nights, despite the crippling anxiety, you manage to have fun.

Some nights, even though you fear getting to sleep, you still smile because there is a sleeping dog in your arms pretending she’s a baby.

Some nights, there’s nothing like sinking into a warm American drawl on the other end of the phone and talking about crazy shit, like exploding chestnuts and peanuts actually being related to peas and beans.

Some nights, friends drop you a line to say they miss you, or ask your advice. Maybe they even call round out of the blue, or message you to say they might be helping a friend to look after their horse and would you like a free riding lesson in that case?

Some nights, you indulge the smaller, younger parts of yourself by watching endless cute dog videos, or a favourite childhood film. You need the comfort, after all.

Some nights, despite it all, life is good. Keep fighting, everyone.

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Still worrying, still wondering.

I’m going to go to therapy tomorrow and talk to Dr K about the last post I wrote. I still feel like there’s more to talk about with it. I think it’s still bothering me because I feel like the mania is clouding my real feelings. I want to cry but I can’t. I want to get upset and hide in a ball but I can’t, because I get distracted and suddenly I’m laughing for no reason and feeling cheerful, but it isn’t real cheerfulness. It’s some sort of bubbled effervescent fizz, tasty but short-lived, and there’s the speeded-up-ness and the irritation to contend with. I get worried when I’m like this because it’s dangerous. If something catastrophic was to happen I would be energetic and capable enough to do something drastic. I don’t want to not be happy, I just want to not be this frenetically speeded-up.

The thing that’s been bothering me today, apart from my mania and the thing I wrote about last time, is my scars. I know that compared to others, they are not big. I know that the ones on my legs and hips are pretty small compared to some. The problem is, the UK has been experiencing a lot of warm weather recently and I’ve been peeling off my customary, long-sleeved layers. I am seeing more of my scars, and I still can’t like or accept them. I know that J calls them my battle scars, that Dr K says that they’re not big or visible, and that scars are good things in some cultures. I want to believe that they are acceptable and that I am not this shredded mess. The scars on my hips actually disgust me still. I hate them.

J has never criticised my scars. He has never criticised anything about my body. He is always lovely and sweet about me, and he would never make me feel uncomfortable- so why am I making myself feel this way?

I’ll start again on the vitamin E oil again, and I am going to talk to Dr K about these feelings too. My mum might have hit the nail on the head- she said the reason I might feel so bad about my scars is because I have a lot of horrible memories that surface whenever I see them. The ones on my arm remind me of that time I wrote about here: https://battybeth108.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/bad-day/ That day, I wound up in A & E because of my self harm. The ones on my hips remind me of the early days of my depression, of the later days just before I met J, and the later days than that just before I went into hospital. The faint ones left on my calves remind me of being thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen. I hate the fact that each set of scars throws my mind back in time to when I was at my worst. I hate how they look and what they make me feel.

If anyone has any suggestions about how to help myself come to terms with what I’ve done to my skin, and maybe some help as to trying to reduce the appearance of my scars, it would be welcome. I feel so guilty and upset when I think of them- and then, worse still, I get distracted all over again and when I next think of them, I haven’t dealt with what I’m feeling so I go back into those feelings again.

Apologies if some of this makes no sense, but I’ve taken over an hour to write this because I’m just so distractible and my head is everywhere. This is what I hate about mania- can’t concentrate for five minutes solid.

Progress?

I think I made progress today.
At my mum’s dance school, I had just finished teaching my little ones class and the teens were coming into the studio. The second one in came in, looking rather flustered. She’s a tiny, pretty little thing with long blonde hair and big blue eyes, but a great fiesty attitude I admire. She takes shit from no-one.

“Right, when I was walking down here,” she said, frustrated, “this guy followed me all the way down! He was yelling, ‘oy, come here,’ and I just came and stood in the porch until he went.”

Immediately my brain sprung into action the way it would have done before PTSD.

“What did he look like? What was he wearing?”

“He was in a grey hat, pulled down over his eyes, and a grey tracksuit.”

“Right, thank you,” I said, and I headed speedily for the doors.

On the way, I met some of the other girls. I quickly explained the situation to them and they all said they had seen him too. At that point, I rushed downstairs to let the parents of the small children I’d just taught know there was someone weird hanging around.

When I got there, one of the mums was helping her children into the car. I warned her about the strange man, and she said that she hadn’t seen him.

“You’re brave,” she said, “coming out here alone like that.”

And then it hit me. No fear, no shaking, no dissociation, no flashbacks- just a genuine desire to protect the people I was caring for.

This may not happen quite the same again, or it may- who knows? The great thing to take away from this is that I did NOT freak out, I was calm and I managed the situation.

Tomorrow’s big challenge?

Getting the train alone to my massage course.

Missing you.

Tonight, I’m missing J an awful lot. I was lying in bed this morning and I looked at my room, and wished that there was a comforting and familiar weight lying next to me. I wished that I could roll over and slide an arm along his side, and hear him mutter sleepily, “You ok baby?”

I usually reply that yes, of course I am, but had he been there this morning I would have told him that yes, I am ok with him. I’m always ok with him.

J has been having a tough time recently. He has his own issues and on top of that he is quitting smoking, which is pretty hardcore and I admire him so much for it. Still he is there for me, despite the fact that some nights he is too stressed to chat on Skype. He always sends me little emails of encouragement- funny stuff he’s found on the internet or stuff he knows I will be interested in.

In America, I was lying next to him the night I told him I loved him and I was bursting with the need to tell him, and I wasn’t frightened at all when it spilled over my lips. He has told me every night since that he loves me, and it’s not tinged with that horrible fake feeling I used to feel whenever I said it.

It’s because this time, it’s real.

Interlude- Crawling feelings of shame, scars, intense self-loathing and suddenly a ray of bright hope.

My skin was crawling. I wanted to scrub my skin raw- so I did. I stung a little in the shower, sun burn on my back smarting against the bath sponge. Still the crawling. Was I unwell?

But there was no crawling during the day. The crawling started the minute I lay in bed.

I still sleep in the same room I was in when my ex insisted, as there was nobody in, that we had sex on the floor. I remember feeling completely uncomfortable with it and hating the fact that he picked then and there, on MY floor in MY room in my PARENTS’ house. And now, as I lay there, I realised- the crawling was body memories.

Now there is no more crawling, but I’ve had a very heavy period that’s sucked the energy out of me. I realised that I was suffering because I once had sex in a room that was meant to be my sanctuary- well, not for him. He ruined it.

But I am taking it back.

Soon, there will be a new bed. Soft and wide and inviting. There will be new cupboards, wardrobes, new storage spaces. Places for me to put my shoes so I see them properly. I’m finally having my room redone, and I will soon feel totally at home in my new, calm place, just for me.

I was looking in a mirror last week. Standing there, hurting so badly it made me want to cry. Instead of the usual muscular slim girl I see, I saw a fat scarred freak in a bikini she didn’t suit. The red scars on my legs gleamed, mocking me. My body, in the dim lights of the chop changing room, looked huge. I placed my hands over my eyes and I tried to ignore the dark passenger. That day, I had to take an extra dose of promazine to shut them up.

The upside?

I tried on the bikini at home and loved it. There was that muscular shape I’ve always known, and the bikini looked lovely. I was pleased that I had bought it and hadn’t freaked out. I vowed to myself to never call myself fat again, when I’m not. Most people call my skinny, if anything. I rarely get comments on my lack-of-weight now. I used to be teased about my stick-thin legs, frizzy hair and glasses. Now, I’m proud of the body I’ve honed through hard work.

I talked to Dr K today about all of this. She was concerned that the shame of the rape is still affecting me this way, and that I still suffer body memories. She was also saddened about my hatred of my scars. She has been polite and professional about them, and also very reassuring. I am not scarred badly- my skin heals lightning fast – but I can still see those telltale white lines that point out my fading addiction. I talked to her today about the nature of my self-harm: repress all emotion, it is all too overwhelming. Feed the dark passenger. Kill yourself.

Right now, I’m ecstatic because I am FINALLY going back to America to be with J, for nearly a month! I decided to book the flights and not give a damn what anyone else thought. I have the issues I’ve just written about, it’s true, but I am ok. I am getting through this. I have J to see and look forward to. I am going to see him for the first time since February! I can’t wait to hold him close again. He has to know I love him, and one day I will manage to say it properly. Not a scared little whisper, but I want to look into his eyes to tell him. He deserves that.

The voices? Right now, the dark passenger is drugged up, sedated. I am too, I’m very tired. I am staying in a different room in the house whilst I’m having my room done and I can’t wait to feel safe again.

 

admitted part six.

Hi everyone- I’m sorry if I’ve frightened anyone with my silence, but sod’s law, my phone broke and I am making do with my mum’s very irritating and unreliable phone. It barely connects to the internet but, you know, it’s better than nothing.

Currently I’m at home for overnight leave. I love how quiet it is here. I forget how noisy the ward is and how hard it is to sleep sometimes. I am lucky that the promazine has helped me sleep, and that it’s taking effect now as I write.

I tried to post this earlier today but the phone didn’t save it, grr… At least now everyone isn’t panicking!

I had a flashback this afternoon at the ward whilst eating lunch. I couldn’t finish what I was eating, but getting in the shower for a healthy scrub (not one of those that peels your skin off) really sorted my mood out.

I have been chronicling what has happened to me in my journal, so when I come home I will write it up so everyone can see what’s been going on. Right now, I’m chasing my American… Come on J, pick up!

It feels nice to have some more normal worries for a change.

Thank you to everyone who has commented. I miss you all and I promise I will respond when I have the time.

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?