All pain is gone. (TW-ranty)

TW- an angry rant from me, 19. Sorry about that. Stay safe.

 

So in a moment of madness, I decided it was time to push my stupid body. The one that disobeys me, hurts every fucking day, causes all of us endless anxiety and loathing on occasions. I ran up three stairs cause my heart had been behaving and BOOM-

It felt like I was going to faint. I just got to the bed in time. Black spots and white stars flashed in front of my eyes and my heart screamed bloody murder at me.

What the fuck was I thinking? I already pushed it too hard yesterday- I demonstrated (craply cause I can barely stand by the evening) roughly for two new kids, and it almost broke us. It fucking hurt. Fifteen took over and got us into the car (Dad picked us up) and we spent the rest of the evening trying not to think of how much it fucking hurt.

Now I run up the stairs… and Mum catches the tail end of my stupid experiment and thinks I am RUNNING AWAY from her to HIDE something.

Yeah. I’m hiding the fact that the dog was upstairs cause I can’t fucking stand being so godsdamn lonely in the house all the time.

That’s all, Ma, I’m not hiding blades or a knife. I’m hiding my feelings here right now cause no matter how hard I try to explain the fact that hoping for a fucking end to my pain is like a death sentence for our emotions, you don’t seem to get it. Perhaps you’re exhausted with caring for our nana, and you wish something would go your way. Perhaps you want something to change and for our pain to vanish, and for something to finally start being right about 2016. For you, it’s been a bust, we know… but…

Hope has been a dangerous thing to us. We hoped for a more understanding answer on that appointment with the consultant than, “Well it might be IBS. Here, take two medicines that may or may not help, stop taking tramadol and you’ll probably be totally fine.”

Sorry, but no. One does nothing, the other froze our digestive system like it does when we get migraines. Eating better has helped a lot with some of our discomfort, but the fucking pain is the same. Like knives in our stomach. Like something small and with too many teeth is clawing to get out through an ovary, the right one. I think we ovulated the other day and Jesus, that was rough. Agony through one ovary (the left) and searing pain along our left hipbone.

So no, I’m not hiding anything. No, I’m not cutting- god knows my body is in enough pain without adding to it. Yes, I can run- adrenaline makes a fine taskmaster, though a dumb one. I pay for my mistakes in pain, and that’s why I walk with steps like I’m terrified to wake the sleeping monster. It’s because that fear is real.

Days like this, I cling to the future because living in the present, with no hope and a lot of pain, is torture.

 

I want to run, I want to lift weights, I want to tickle my friend’s kids without the searing pain from bending over. I want to wrestle with the dog without the worry she will jump up and -splat- her paw will hit the ovary that’s still screaming. I want to actually feel normal when I go up the stairs as opposed to getting half way and struggling for breath.

 

I hate being this ill and I hate having no options for relief. I want someone to come along and take the pain away, but currently, for the pain to go, we have to get 26 to use her iron will to force it away.

 

Problem is, it just comes back to haunt us later.

 

Current listening for today.

 

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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.

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.

TW (again, sorry) Self harm, my ex, and me.

I’ve not posted about this for a long while because I was trying hard not to trigger myself, but I realise that now I am safer. I actually managed to shave my legs with a razor the other day and I was thinking entirely about that annoying patch of hard-to-reach hair by my ankle, not about hurting myself! I was so pleased with myself, I took the puppy out for a play in the garden as my reward. I was reflecting on how hard it was four months ago to go anywhere without a blade and how the itch in my head demanded new cuts, and deeper scars. I’m glad I managed to move on and pick up where I left off with my recovery- I had previously been eight months clean, I think. I was so proud of that achievement and I’m glad I am continuing with beating this addiction.

 

I remember being with J in America this time round- I’d been upset about the new scars on my legs, and terrified of wearing shorts, and frightened he would shout at me. There was no need to worry- J was as kind and pragmatic as ever. I’ve mentioned before that he refers to my old cuts as battle scars, and he has looked up solutions for reducing their lividity. This time, being with him was no different.

‘Oh, hey baby, if you want to use the vitamin E, I left it in the kitchen on the counter. Just pop the capsule and smear the gel on your leg, that’s all.’

I glowed, and went to fetch the vitamin E.

He’d seen them earlier that day and told me my legs looked fantastic, as usual, and that the scars were barely visible. He said they weren’t that bad at all, and he was soon mock-arguing with me about the merits of short-shorts versus my beloved waist-highs. Hah, I love our banter.

 

This was a stark contrast to my ex. Lying in bed with J, I rolled over and kissed his smooth, tan shoulder.

‘Thank you for being so understanding about my scars.’

‘Hey, baby, it’s no big deal. You’re self conscious of them, so I try to help out.’

‘I know. I know I keep saying thank you, but it’s just my ex walked out on me partly because of them, and I still feel guilty over them.’

‘He’s an asshole. Seriously. You just struggle with something a lot of other people struggle with, it’s stupid to walk out on someone for that. Did you try tearing the paper like I told you about?’

‘Yep. That works. I love how it feels when you have that much paper and you really sweat ripping it to shreds. I love how it’s destructive but I’m not destroying me any more.’

I felt him smile in the dark.

‘See, it’s getting all that energy out of you. It works because it’s stopping you getting all that energy out on yourself.’

‘I’m really proud of myself,’ I said, allowing a smile to creep over my features, ‘I did well with this.’

‘You should be proud. It’s a big deal. Goodnight, baby, sleep well.’

I leaned across to kiss him, and he smiled when I leaned back again. I snuggled back down next to him. It’s so odd that I feel that safe lying next to him, and even when I’ve had a nightmare he’s the first person I want a hug from.

‘Goodnight, you sleep well too.’

 

In the days that have followed, I have run through this conversation in my head many times. I don’t think there’s a moment where I could quite believe how lucky I was to start with when I met J, but this conversation was another in a series of amazing eye-openers. Self-harm has lost me friends. It had some poor misguided kid trying to copy me (horror of horrors, please god no). Worst, my family does not understand it (my mum has had me nearly naked, trying to find the last place I took a blade to myself. She means it well, but it humiliated me) and my ex left me for it.

That first year we were together and I was at ballet school, I’d already been struggling with it since I was thirteen. He had a counsellor for a mother and claimed mental health issues himself, but he had no clue why I sliced my skin and didn’t want to bother finding out why. I tried to tell him once, and I remember he blocked the conversation by telling me that he had a much worse problem with depression than I did, and that he never cut himself, so I shouldn’t either. He took away my dad’s old penknife that I’d been using. At the time, the taking of the penknife proved to me he loved me so much that he couldn’t bear to see me hurt. Now I think it was simple control. The only person allowed to hurt me was him. I couldn’t even hurt myself.

I did stop self harming, but I never addressed the issues behind it because he told me I had quit self-harming “for love.” Ew. No, I hadn’t, I had just buried it- and it all streamed back out when the dance school I went to became one of the most awful things I’d ever had to go through. I cut incessantly. I used to wrap my pointe shoe ribbons over the cuts on my legs. Ballet teachers asked me where I’d got the cuts, and I lied. Broken razors, stupidly-placed furniture, falling on gravel… They went away, secure and stupid.

But I confessed to my ex. I wanted sympathy and support and a way out, which I got a little of to start with. Only a little while later, when it kept happening, I got tirades of abuse.

‘You were supposed to have given this all up for me! What the fuck? I thought you loved me more than this. Clearly you don’t.’

I’d cry and promise not to do it, then Monday would hit and it would start again. It just got worse and worse. Eventually, the night I ran away, he had been chewing me out over my self harm again and I’d been apologising for it again and again. Then he told me he wasn’t going to talk to me again until I had sorted out all MY problems, and then hung up. That’s what triggered me to run. That’s what made me carve two scars into my wrists and go.

Those two on each wrist are the only two scars I have from anger. I never cut because I wanted to hurt someone else, and I never cut out of anger. Those are the only two I have where I was all kinds of fucked up: anger at him, a fuck-you-I-am-sick kind of feeling, despair over the break up and over my stupid life, and the wish to die. I’ve cut since then because I wanted to die, but I think that was the only time I had that particular cocktail in my veins.

 

J has been nothing but good about my fading addiction. He understands my self-consciousness over scars, red ones, purple ones and little white ones. He’s kissed those on my arm and on my hips, where they lie like spiderwebs now. He’s researched help with quitting and methods to get rid of scars, and thinks I’m beautiful in nothing but my scars. I can’t get over how fantastic that is.

My ex? He caused many of them. May he wind up understanding my pain at some point- if there is a hell, it would be poetic revenge for him to suffer everything I have.

 

 

The best thing about the first time J saw me naked? No scar comments. Not a one. Just the biggest, happiest smile I’d ever seen on his face til then. That honestly made me forget my scars, and it allowed me to just be. Now, you see why I’m itching to get that back. I only have to wait four more days, and I can feel that way again.

Interlude: Father, and his day.

TW- I know for some folk, Fathers’ Day is a massive trigger and hurts a lot to think about. If you don’t feel safe, don’t worry about reading this. I’m only saying nice stuff, but sometimes that hurts too. ❤

 

Oh, daddy. You’re asleep in that chair again, or watching Formula One with me, or playing with the puppy. Maybe you’re mowing the lawn on Saturday, or maybe you’re annoyed because you were trying to fix that database and it’s screwed up again.

It doesn’t matter. If I wake you, or call you, or text you, you will answer.

I was sixteen, the first time I truly realised how amazing your love for me was. Of course, I’d been told the stories of you lifting my infant form to the curtains, to the sink, the flowers, the windows, and telling me their names, but it never really sunk in til we took Terry for a walk and you told me you would rather me ring you than cut myself. I was shocked. You do love deeply, and you would rather use ten words to express something than a hundred, but you told me that and I knew you meant it instantly.

It happened again after I broke up with that narcissist, my ex. I remember feeling destroyed in the worst possible way but you were still there to hold me close and tell me you loved me. Even if he didn’t, you did. Then later on that holiday, I got a text from my ex telling me he loved me, after all the shit he’d put me through. I know that your anger made me realise what I’d been being force-fed since being 15 was wrong. I was angry too, but secretly proud of your anger. It meant you cared.

You even showed up in the porch to collect the things he was returning to me, and I am glad you stood there with your stern Norman countenance. My personal 1066 elite guard, mon papa.

I had my breakdown, and you were there for me. You kept telling me you believed in my dancing and you believed I would recover from my injury, and I knew that you meant it. I was drowning in voices and despair and you kept trying to grab my hand to save me.

When I found J, you and he got on like a house on fire. It was nothing to do with him sucking up to you- this was true, real, mutual friendship and appreciation. It was the most lovely thing to see after all the hurt my ex had fired your way. J’s honesty was beautifully refreshing and it made you respond to him the way you respond to family. You are sociable and chatty when the mood is on you, and that’s how you were with the new man in my life.

When I crashed and burned and broke again, there you were. Again. You visited me every night without fail in hospital, and you did crosswords with me and hugged me when I cried. I am here because you wanted me to win over the PTSD and bipolar and voices and terror. You wanted me to win, along with another universe of people, and I’m here.

Thank you is not enough, but it is a start. Thank you for accepting my panic attacks and the voices and standing by your bruised and battered daughter. You love me, and that’s enough some days. Thank you.

From your loving child.

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.