2018 has been a weird year. I’ve made so much progress despite blips along the way. I wanted to have a year free from psychiatric hospital admissions but I didn’t quite get there, but that’s ok! I went into hospital informally and for the first time ever I didn’t fight the treatment and made the most of the extra support. On the flip side, Ive made huge leaps in other areas of my life. I went back into education which is something I never thought I would be able to do. I’ve started to learn how to drive! I started dialectic behavioural therapy (DBT) this year with a lovely bunch of girls who are so supportive and kind. I’ve opened up so much in regards to trauma which has quite possibly been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I think it is starting to pay off. So a very positive year in between some of the darker moments. I am really looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring!
I live with a lot of triggers around me daily. For PTSD triggers are everywhere, but specifically on the news at the moment there seems to be more and more people talking about sexual assault and different types of abuse. I think for a lot of people this can be really hard to see all the time. Personally I’m happy for the people that feel as though they are strong enough to speak out, tell their stories and get the justice they deserve. But obviously hearing about people’s experiences can be incredibly distressing and that’s something I’m really trying hard to work on in therapy. I spend so much of my day at the moment trying to ‘ground’ myself. I often become so distressed I slip into flashbacks which make it seem as though the traumas are happening all over again and it is really hard to distinguish memories from reality. I get ‘body memories’ where I can feel all of the things that happened in the past happening again on different parts of my body. The traumas have had a lasting legacy and I find the injustice of that really hard to cope with. It gets me hurting myself because I just don’t know what to do with all the feelings. I hope that one day it wont feel this way because right now it feels unbearable. I need to learn a ways to productively use the anger and a way to not let the sadness engulf me completely. I hope with baby steps I will get there
“Light shines brightest in the darkest of places” This is a quote I have been thinking about a lot recently. Things have been really tricky and feel quite bleak. A lot of people who have BPD find themselves in and out of hospitals quite often and that is something that is running true for me at the moment. In my most recent hospital admission I met some incredible staff who really made such a distressing time so much brighter. From the doctors right to the cleaning staff, I can’t fault my local general hospital and the way they cared for me. They made me feel so supported as I waited for a bed on a specialist psychiatric ward. The staff on the general ward I was on were just as incredible as the staff in A&E. One night I couldn’t sleep and was getting distressed so a health care assistant brought me some colouring, a word search, some biscuits and a cup of tea to help calm me and keep me distracted. On another occasion I got myself really upset and the student nurse came over, sat with me, held my hand and reassured me that everything was going to be okay and if I couldn’t hold the hope for myself the people around me would hold it for me. As the hospital was tight on bed space I ended up spending my general admission was on a stroke ward, this meant I saw the ward staff being so incredibly kind to women on a spectrum of disability. The staff never once let patients dignity become compromised and treated all of us with the upmost respect. They really did make such a hard situation so much brighter, sometimes you do need a bit of darkness to really appreciate the light.
So it’s been a little while since I last posted anything on here. I’ve had major writers block and have been lacking motivation- but I’m back now with a post about something that happened to me recently. I’m currently in the long process of gaining trust with my family to be left to have time alone. It’s a struggle for me to be given time on my own without using it to hurt myself. It is a constant battle between wanting to show my family (and self) that I can use time alone safely and wanting to hurt myself so very badly. The other day I was given a few hours home alone and I managed to get through it without doing anything. Most people will see this as a good thing, something to be proud of. But for me I feel horrendously guilty for “wasting an opportunity” to self harm. Later in the day I spoke to my mum about how guilty I was feeling and she said something to me that was really helpful. She told me that everyone who is trying to overcome an addiction says that in 10 years time they don’t want to be still damaging themselves in this way. It’s all very well and good to say that you want things to be different years down the line but one day you are going to have to make a change. Today day I made that little change. I managed to take a step so that in the future I won’t be hurting myself anymore. And for what it’s worth, I’m a little proud of that.
I have recently signed up to my local gym in an attempt to get myself fitter as I’m currently more unfit than I have ever been in my life. I am having to be careful that I don’t become obsessive and keep to my initial intentions of getting healthier and not the intentions of my eating disorder- rapid weight loss. This time last year I was deeper in my eating disorder than I have ever been. It was a very dark place. My first thought in the morning and my last thought at night was about exercise I was completely obsessed and unable to let myself rest at all. I didn’t know how to stop. All I wanted was to see that number on the scales fall further and further. My relationship with exercise now is much healthier and I seem to have made a switch in my brain that HEALTH is so much more important than weight loss. I want to be healthier. I don’t want my skin to be awful and my hair to be falling out I want to have more energy and feel better about myself. I’m determined to do it right this time and treat my body with the respect it deserves.
I have lost so much to these illnesses. I have lost friends, missed events, grown apart. I have lost a view I once held of myself- thinking that no matter what I would always have control over these urges.
Until one day you have the slap in the face reality check that you, actually are not in control. I have found myself being admitted to hospital again because I’ve need someone there at all times of the day to keep me safe.
10 minute observations rapidly being upped to 1:1 then needing to be in arms reach of a member of staff. But despite all this I have still sat in a bare room as I wasn’t allowed any of my clothes or bedding as the ligature risk has been too high.
I’ve ripped clothes, bedding, curtains. Destroyed chairs and wardrobes to get something even remotely sharp that I can use to hurt myself. I always promised I would never let it get this bad. That I could stop cutting if I wanted to. I could stop all of it, just tell me when.
But it isn’t that simple and here I am in hospital again wondering how hard its going to be to work my way out of this downward spiral, but also how good it is going to feel when I have finally made my climb out.
I know determination like this can fade so quickly when you wake up in the morning to the reality of another day fighting this illness, which is why I am writing it down.
I want to remind myself that the fight of recovery is tough but it will be worth it.
I will be able to catch up with my peers and make new memories with the wonderful people I have met on the way. I will have my family always reminding me of everything I can do in life if I chose to be here for it.
I am not too broken to try again.
This new year I have set myself a goal to try and do a doodle a day and also complete a writing prompt a day. Yesterdays writing prompt was quite an interesting one- “compare your past self to your current self”. My first reaction was a very negative one- looking just at the lack of change in self harming behaviours. Thinking they have had little change over the past few years, thinking that I’m not doing anything with my life and generally thinking very negatively. Taking another look at the question a little while later I have come back with a much more rounded answer to this prompt. In the comparison of 17 year old me to now 19 year old me you can see there has been a huge amount of change and progress. Although I am still struggling with negative behaviours, there is so many more things in my life that have changed in the past 2 years that I can be so so proud of. This time two years ago I was a month into a psychiatric hospital admission and was spending most of my day harming myself- to the point that I wasn’t safe to be left alone and was eventually put on 1:1 observations. This time two years ago I was 3 hours away from home, scared and struggling to eat. I had just turned 17 and was in quite possibly the darkest place I have ever been. Two years on, I am at home and have just celebrated my 19th birthday. I am still struggling massively with self harming behaviours but I am able to keep myself safe most days. Over the past two years I have made some amazing friends and learnt to let people into my ‘world’. To not automatically shut everyone out for fear of being hurt. I am still finding it hard to open up, but I know now that there are lots of people who want to help me and reaching out for them is always an option. I may have not changed as much as I would have liked to outwardly but that doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been change. I am proud of the progress I have made, it has been hard to get to this point but I have faith that in the end it will all be worth it.