Promises

I promised my GP that I wouldn’t cancel my appointment this week. That I’d come even if I were feeling terrible.

The promise was made as a safety plan of sorts. A couple of weeks ago I overdosed the night before my appointment with her, then used the app to cancel my appointment. I told her. I was honest.

So now I’m to show up this week without fail. There’s also the silent, un-discussed expectation that I won’t self-harm in any way. No cutting, no overdosing or misusing medication.

I’m holding on. Barely.

The eating disorder is screaming at me. ‘Don’t eat, don’t drink, don’t think, don’t feel’. The same negative mantra it’s screamed for half my life. It is getting the better of me. The eating disorder plans feel safe and familiar. I’m falling into the trap of thinking that if I just follow the rules well enough that everything will be okay.

I know following any kind of ED rules is the quickest way to end up in the local emergency department. Dehydration in combination with my medical conditions is a recipe for disaster.

I don’t see a way out right now though. Going with the eating disorder seems safe and comforting. At least it doesn’t involve binge eating and piling on even more weight. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last nine months. Binge eating so often that I’ve depleted all of my savings. I’m broke from this damn eating disorder. At least restricting is cheap. Plus I’ll lose weight. Winning all round, right?

I know I’m making poor choices. It sounds utterly ridiculous, even writing it all out. This is where I’m at though. Completely emotionally exhausted, overwhelmed, struggling, losing any remaining hope.

Trying to Tread Water

I haven’t written a proper post for close to a year.

That’s how long depression has been kicking my butt. Not constantly. There have been light, happy, joyful moments and days sparsely sprinkled amongst the doom. The doom, however, heavily outweighs any lightness and joy.

Tweaking my antidepressant no longer helps. I suffer horrid side effects when I increase the dose. My psychiatrist is hesitant to change medications, but it’s something I’ll be pushing for soon.

Along with the unrelenting depression has come almost all the unhelpful behaviours you could think of. Aside from alcohol or illicit drug use. I rarely drink, and have never used drugs. I have enough going on physically and mentally without adding unknown substances to the mix!

Self-harm. Multiple overdoses. Binge eating. Not eating. Not drinking water.

The same behaviours over, and over in moments of ‘I can’t do this anymore’.

I had an inpatient psych admission a couple of months ago. It was helpful, and I was discharged in a much better space. However… within a month I’d overdosed and self-harmed.

I’m supposed to be journaling when I feel anxious or otherwise not okay. Journaling instead of leaping into unhelpful behaviours. I did. Once. That stirred up something inside. Flashbacks started, and small, scared chatter began inside.

I shut that shit down and dove headfirst, straight into an unhelpful behaviour.

Damn it. Not unhelpful. Self-harm, overdoses, eating disorder behaviours. They all help in some way, otherwise I wouldn’t be using them. They are helpful, but in a very short-term way, and they have unhelpful consequences. They don’t help me longterm.

I feel like I’m drowning. I’m trying to keep my head above water, but I’m struggling to do that. I keep going under, gulping water instead of air, only to rise again, cough up all the water, and start breathing…. before going under.

I don’t know how to fix this, and I don’t know what would help.

Drifting

As I write this I’m dissociated. I’m detached from my body, from my emotions, from the world around me. I’ve tried drinking coffee, hoping that the caffeine kick will get me more connected with my body, but nope.

I’ve aimlessly don’t more chores than my body can usually tolerate all because I can’t quite feel my body, the pain, the deadening fatigue.

Grounding? I can’t think what helps. I can’t think what I’ve done in the past.

I’m drifting. Staring blankly into space before realising I’m doing so and trying to jerk myself back to reality, then drifting again.

I know self-harming would be grounding. The sudden pain would bring me back into my body. That’s not something I want to do, or something I’d ever recommend though!

I thought getting my brain working, writing blog posts, would help. It hasn’t. This is the third post I’ve worked on today and I’m quite rapidly becoming more and more dissociated.

Thankfully there isn’t anything that I need to do today. No work, no obligations outside of the house. I just need to eat, drink, and take care of myself.

There’s so many grounding skills I could try, but I’ve been here before and they tend not to make much difference.

  • Counting everything I can see around me that is red (or blue or yellow)
  • Drinking icy cold water quickly
  • Putting an ice pack under my feet (and focussing on the sensation, not dissociating from it)
  • Counting backwards from one hundred in multiples of three
  • Saying the alphabet backwards

We need to talk about self-harm

An amazingly powerful video and story were published on the Sydney Morning Herald website about self-harm. Both the video and the story are worth a look, but they do contain images of self-harm scars.

Self-harm is something that’s generally not spoken about. People’s scars are sneakily glanced at when they’re not looking. As someone who’s self-harmed for well over ten years and has visible scars I find this behaviour hurtful. Are you judging me? Are you looking at my scars and writing me off as a crazy lady?

I’m not crazy. I self-harmed when I was unwell, overwhelmed, and trying to stay alive. Self-harm, for me, is about taking the edge off the emotional pain so that I can keep going. Over the years the frequency and severity of my self-harm has decreased, but I still do it.

It’s not attention seeking in a dishonest, manipulative way. Sometimes it is a cry for help. Think about it though – if that person had the skills to cope with overwhelming emotions and seek support from appropriate people in an appropriate way they wouldn’t need to self-harm.

Have some compassion when you see someone with self-harm scarring. Sometimes it’s quite obvious that it’s self-harm – the distinct pattern of the lines from the cutting tool. Sometimes you won’t know it’s self-harm, or a horribly accident that caused the scarring. Be kind – don’t stare, don’t steal sneaky glances.

“I know you hate me.”

OD, overdose, self-harm, self-injury, prescription, script, medication, meds, tablets, pills, mental health, mental illness, safety, depression, suicide, suicidal, endep, amitriptyline, psychotropic, psychology, psychiatry

“I know you hate me.” That’s what my GP said to me when I saw her last week. I’d asked for a new prescription for one of our medications, and she’d agreed to write it, but with the condition that … Continue reading