I know everyone always says that they much prefer giving gifts than receiving- *pause for groan at the cliche statement* But this year I have really found this to be the case. Last Christmas I didn’t have the chance to buy or make any presents- and there are only so many risk free christmas crafts a bunch of mentally ill teenagers can make. I have made many a scrapbook page on all of the things I have been enjoying this festive season that I didn’t have access to last year. Such as;
- waking up in my own bed
- wrapping presents
- fairy lights
- A christmas tree!
And many more! But on christmas morning, 2015 the moment that made me the most thankful to be at home was handing over a gift that I have chosen or made, in wrapping paper with a ribbon that I tied around it. Giving someone a gift that I put thought into- I didn’t have the spare thoughts last year to even contemplate what someone would have liked for christmas. Having the means to get my loved ones gifts was really priceless. The gift of giving has gotten even sweeter and made for an incredibly special christmas.
“Last Christmas, I was in a psychiatric unit. The very next day not much had changed. This year to save me from tears don’t ever send me back there. Once bitten the nurses were shy, I threw my shoe and it almost hit her eye. So tell me Tilly ‘do you want some lorazepam?’ I say yes- it doesn’t surprise them.”
Just a silly parody I wrote this time last year when I was spending christmas in hospital. Never fails to put a smile on my face when I hear the original 😉
I hope you all have a Merry (and safe) Christmas and be kind to yourselves.
I was at our local GP surgery today with Mothership. The appointment was booked for something irelivent (at least irrelivent to this blog) but as we were in there the topic of my scars came up, we began to talk about if I have any options to reduce the scarring or to help with the pain I experience. When the seasons change and the scars become painful (due to the change of temperature.) For the first time ever, the option of having some of the bigger scars surgically removed came up. My Mum has been very patient and understanding towards my thoughts and emotions around this being a possibility for me in the future. Part of me wants my scars to go away so maybe some day soon I could slip past people in the street without stares or comments. But another part of me is emotionally attached to the story behind all of my scars, they all add up to a bigger picture and I know that I will still be left with scars after the surgery and maybe this could become part of the story too, I can’t help but feel hesitant in hiding parts of my past. The good the bad and the ugly- it has all shaped me into the person I am today and yes, that includes my scars too. My scars start conversations, yes not all of them are ones I wish to have but every so often people share hushed comments of a path we have both crossed. Just being the person that I am and growing more confident in my body -that is ever changing has the potential to open up peoples minds to difference. It is okay to have scars, stretch marks, birth marks and everything in between. They are individual to you and make you the wonderful version of yourself that you are today. Cliche I know but it is very true, beauty goes further than skin deep. This all being said I am making the decision to not have my scars surgically removed. I only want to have medical treatment if it will reduce the pain. I didn’t think I would be making this choice 4 years ago. I want to see how far I have come and seeing that journey on my arms keeps me motivated to keep on keeping on.
I am a very festive person. I love christmas from mince pies to fairy lights and everything in between. This time last year I had been admitted to hospital and we were going full speed ahead into the christmas period. I wasn’t allowed home for christmas. I can still conjure up that punched in the gut feeling when I was told I wouldn’t be able to even go off of the grounds. But this post isn’t about any of that, because here we are a whole 12 months later. We have the christmas tree up and the music is playing. I haven’t felt this excited about christmas since I was a really young child. I am so grateful to be at home and be with my family. The fight to get to this point has most definitely made this christmas so much sweeter. It isn’t about the presents or the food it is about being alive and loving it. Being around the people I love in my favourite time of year. I thought christmas wasn’t going to ever be the same again after last year. Everything was a reminder of 2014, being ill and so desperately sad. But now we have got past the anniversary of my admission and I am now remembering that christmas is about living and being in celebration. Last year I wasn’t living, I was barely getting through the days. I didn’t have the space in my head to enjoy the celebrations. This year christmas is magic again and I am so beyond happy to be at home.
I have a lot of self harm scars. They are pretty extensive. To the point I have had comments in public bathrooms as I am rolling up my sleeves to wash my hands, being told that “no body wants to see that” or how I should be more careful since there are “children around”. I hate having to grab something just out of reach as the fear of my sleeve rolling up too far and my scars being revealed to anyone who steals themselves a glance. This might sound superficial and maybe I shouldn’t worry about my appearance as much as I do. But what you should know is that wearing short sleeves will grant me several things; Feeling peoples gaze fixated on my arms. Double takes and turning heads. Seeing people nudge there friend slightly so they can stare together at some of my darkest moments that will forever be etched on my skin. Some people (strangers I must add) have even gone to the effort of lightly touching my skin to feel the scar tissue, in a similar way I would have watched them place there hands on an expectant mothers stomach. I don’t know if they have the same thought process behind both of these actions but I can’t help thinking that maybe they think my scars are something I have ‘grown’ or a mark of pride? I hope one day that I will look at my scars and feel proud of the journey I have faced. But quite honestly this is going to be a very personal and key part of my recovery that will never tally up with the way my scars are ageing or the way that other people see them from the outside looking in. My scars will fade, they will attract less attention as the months go by but the meaning will not fade. Those nights will never be un-done. It is hard to know that the link between the emotions and the hundreds of scars I have is almost irrelevant. How I put self harm on a pedestal, it was my world and I wanted my scars to show that- but they never truly will. It’s the same with other peoples perception of my scars, they will not understand the reasons behind them. My scars do not define me in the same way cutting once did. They are a souvenir of my struggles, from a trip that gave me a lot of baggage.
This time last year things were very much falling apart in regards to my mental health. It doesn’t feel like 12 months ago I was nearing the beginning of my 9 month hospital admission, the past 12 months feel very blocky. Before admission, during my admission- things were still tits up, during admission- things were getting better and finally- home again! I am finding it really hard to think about the past and just how unwell I was 12 months ago, so in an effort to change the way I have been thinking about this time of year. I am going to share some goals that I will hopefully be able to say that I have achieved by 11th December 2016.
- I would like to be writing more and more.
- I hope to be able to go into a shop and talk to a member of staff if I can’t find something in store.
- I would love to do some volunteering again
- I want to be able to confidently talk to strangers/companies over the phone
- To be maintaining a healthy weight (this is a big one, not too much pressure on it!)
- Wear short sleeves- outside
- Catch up on all of the water-sports that I missed out on this year.
- To continue staying strong and not cutting
- maintaining healthy relationships with friends and loved ones
- Have a tattoo!
These are just a few of my goals for the upcoming 12 months. I don’t want them to be huge, but they are meaningful and realistic and I am excited to start reaching them.