Eating

Yesterday I picked my son up from football and another mum said “You’ve lost a lot of weight haven’t you?”. I agreed that I had. “Have you been trying to lose weight then?” she continued. Well, I’ve been watching what I eat so yes a little bit. “Right then. How much have you lost?” She asked. I’m not sure how much weight I’ve lost but I am sure the specifics are none of her business so I just smiled and said “a bit”. She wasn’t to be put off. She started trying to guess. She told me, no offense, but it must be more than a stone because you wouldn’t really notice a stone so it must be a lot and how much was it. Awk-ward. Eventually she gave up and we chatted about dogs. Much easier.

Everyone comments on my weight loss. Mostly complimentary. My mother-in-law, bless her, hasn’t acknowledged that I’ve lost any weight. No, instead she keeps giving me tips: hot water concoctions and Slimming World recipes. I’ll confess these are kind of mixed messages but she means well, I presume.

It’s frustrating as hell being on Quetiapine – a drug known to cause weight gain – and trying to lose weight. I fact I don’t think any more will come off. Nothing significant. I know I can’t eat any less really so here I am stuck, right on the bmi borderline between healthy weight and overweight. Is it so wrong to want to be a healthy weight? Why must everything in my life revolve around the word borderline?!

I’ve been exhausted all day, just mental wear and tear. The sedative effect of Quetiapine won’t be helping either. Once dinner had been sorted, and I had built my daughter a scooter I just lay flat out on the living room. I joked to my husband that I could fall asleep right there. He stood over me. He was wearing shorts so I was trying to perve up his shorts. “You need new pyjamas” he told me. I agreed. Mine were all far too big now. He told me that my bum looked tiny in the pyjama trousers I wore last night. I laughed. As if! As he continued it took me a minute to realise he was actually concerned. He told me he had concerns about my eating, he doesn’t know if I eat when he’s at work, he even used the word anorexia. I didn’t stop to tell him that it’s a physical impossibility for someone with my bmi to be anorexic as that might look like too much knowledge. I reassured him about my bmi and funnily enough he told me that he wasn’t concerned now as he’d checked me out in the jeans I had on and, apparently, my butt is big enough to dispel any concern! “Oh right so it turns out I’ve got a fat arse after all?” I laughed but I was confused again. 

Really all I want is a healthy bmi and it frightens me that people are starting to get involved in something that is actually very private to me (she says posting on the internet!) Surely I should be able to choose how, what and when to eat without feeling that this is also something I do for other people? Christ, does even my eating have to be for other people?! 

I wonder if there is any bit of me that is just for me? Now I’m exhausted so I really must sleep. 

I look better 

I’ve been hearing a lot about how well I look at the minute. This is because I’ve lost a fair bit of weight. I was obese at 96kg (BMI 33.2) and now I’m slightly overweight at 74kg (BMI 25.6). Losing 22kg (or 3st 6lb in old money) is certainly noticeable. I just find it really odd how I’ve been losing weight for months and a months (6 to be more accurate) but it’s only in the last couple of weeks people have noticed.


I mean, I’ve been losing it at a steady rate so it’s not like it’s all just fallen off in a few weeks but now I seem to have reached some point where everyone feels the need to comment. And it’s nice, don’t get me wrong. To be getting compliments is lovely but it just seems weird. Why now? 


I’ve been working at it for so long, logging what I eat every single day – including over birthdays, meals out and Christmas. The first few months were done privately but then I had to let my husband know for Christmas, to help me. Now that everyone is commenting I have to admit that yes, I am watching what I eat. I tell them it’s because my medication can cause weight gain (which is true – quetiapine) and people seem happy with that. I tell them that the weight loss has slowed, that I feel better for losing it and I’m enjoying exercising – all true.

It seems to make everyone happy that I’m smaller now. My husband in particular loves it, commenting and praising my body every day. He always makes sure to add that he loved it before too! When I tell people that I’m still overweight they tell me that it’s fine, bmi is only a guide and I look great. That’s nice of them so I don’t tell them that I really want to lose another 10kg+ (1st 8lb) to be in the middle of the healthy bmi range. Instead I reassure them my weight loss appears to be plateauing. 

I make sure to eat in front of people. Every evening we sit down and have a family meal. These are often calorie busting so I’ll have to eat very little in the day to save up for them. I wish I didn’t have to do this. Yesterday my mother-in-law offered me some home baking; I didn’t want it. However I knew that we were staying for dinner and I’d be wanting to eat less then so to balance it out I accepted the crumble slice and ate something I didn’t want at all so that come dinner time it wouldn’t be so bad that I turned down the bread and the ice cream. I still ate more then that I’d have liked and that irritates me. Losing weight is slow and hard and having to do it in such a way that stops people prying feels very restrictive. I feel I can’t choose to eat when and what I’d like but instead have to eat all sorts in front of people to stop any unnecessary concern. The irony being of course that everyone tells me how good I look! 

Yargh!

And yes I do look a lot better and I do feel a lot better in myself…physically. It sort of feels misleading. People who know I’m ill tell me I must be doing so much better…because I look better. Well, no. Not really. Not at all actually. I still wake up and my first thought of the day is I want to die. But I can’t bear to disappoint them so I agree that it feels much nicer to be smaller – which is true but says absolutely nothing about my mental health. 

I’m the master of the mask. I just can’t help myself can I? I look so much better.

But I’m not.

I feel bad

I feel like I’m tied to reality by fine threads. Sometimes I can pull and reel reality right back in. Other times I worry that reality is going to entirely slip away  from my grasp. Today I’ve veered between these two states uncontrollably. And it’s not even 5pm.

I’m so tired.

I met a friend for coffee at 1030am. As I drove there I was wondering if I should ask her if we were really alive or was this all a dream. The fine threads of reality tugged and jolted me back. I parked up and my feet hit the real ground when I got out of the car and I was back in reality. Coffee went well. I gave my friend a lesson plan (she’s a teacher and had asked for my advice). The lesson plan had come to me in my dream last night so I wrote it this morning. It was pretty good I think!

Then I went to DBT group. I think I might have been in and out of dissociation. I spent a lot of time focusing on objects or closing my eyes. In the break I sat on the floor curled up in a ball. Then I went back in and was sort of ok. Then I wasn’t again.

Home and so tired. Confused. What’s going on? My head hurts. I want to sleep, rest and be cared for. My jaw aches. 

I’m really unsettled by these feelings. Then my dad emailed. It was weird. That doesn’t feel real either. 

I can try and tell my care coordinator tomorrow but I expect she’ll tell me this is normal (for people like me) but it doesn’t feel very normal. I must use all the wrong words. I don’t know the right words but I know I feel bad.

I’m managing 

Trigger warning: self harm and suicide.
I’m managing. That’s what I tell myself or anyone else who happens to ask. I look pretty good outwardly actually.

There isn’t anyone watching over me. No one is asking any monitoring questions. They haven’t in weeks. So no one knows that:

  • I’m struggling with dangerous impulses.
  • I can’t go near painkillers in shops despite my feet naturally pulling towards them
  • I’m self medicating with cocodamol 
  • I took 3 cocodamol the other night and was so close to taking the rest of the packet that I nearly went to give the packet to my husband. Nearly.
  • I’ve closed my eyes when driving just to explore what happens.
  • I’ve accelerated towards certain objects quite a few times now, slamming the brakes on and shouting at myself – what the fuck are you doing?!
  • I cut my own neck last week. It didn’t bleed. I found where the vein was, avoided it and took a knife to my neck. I have a couple of creases on my neck so I cut in one of them so it wouldn’t be noticeable. It was more a scratch really.
  • I cut my thigh and panicked because it wouldn’t stop bleeding. It did eventually though.
  • I’ve had thoughts of having superpowers, and maybe I should test this out.
  • I’ve been scared in the supermarket and felt the urge to scream and shout at people because they are a threat.
  • Sometimes I think I might see little things that aren’t there.
  • I faced my abuser with a letter.
  • I’ve lost 3 stone (actually a few people have noticed that and congratulated me on it).
  • I’ve been trying Quetiapine and have been on it for what 5 weeks? And increased my dose and not a single hcp has checked how it’s going.

My usual GP has disappeared. My care coordinator is new after my last one resigned and my relationship with my DBT therapist has broken down. 

So all this stuff is going on with me and no one knows any of it. Except me. I did pluck up the courage to ring my psychiatrist a week ago. I left a message and it was never returned. I’m just not ill enough – which is a blessing I suppose.

So it’s a good thing that I’m managing. Just like I managed all this stuff before. Until I can’t manage anymore and decide to take a break. And then… ? 

Well, it so totally doesn’t matter does it? 

Another Crisis Survived 

Another crisis survived. It’s a victory but a quiet one. No one cares. They’d have cared, presumably, if I hadn’t managed the crisis. Although when I say cared I mean be angry at me for being selfish etc. 

But I did manage yet another crisis. I’ve had a lot of these crises over the last few weeks. Each time I get through it, without professional help, without much of a fuss and, I suppose, that may invite judgement:- these can’t be real crises if I’m managing them on my own. Hmmmm. I disagree. When I can’t leave my house for fear of buying pills to overdose, can’t care for my children, just can’t manage much at all other than crying, or being vacant, or sleeping? When I have a constant narrative to harm myself or to be dead? When I find my hands moving to my own throat to choke myself? I think that counts but I guess it doesn’t because I am managing it.

I was very depressed yesterday. I went to DBT group and that was quite good actually. We started Interpersonal Effectiveness and I think I need this more than I had realised. I enjoyed the session because I felt like I was learning. I enjoy learning. If something interests me then I just want to soak it up. Pretty much as soon as I got home the emotions became intense. Although I was alone I felt harassed. I had so much to do, too much to do. Every time I tried to tick something off the list it created another job. I was totally overwhelmed.

By evening it was too much. The emotion was overwhelming. Be dead, be dead, be dead. Urges. So I started thinking about my crisis plan and recognised that it was pretty pointless. The crisis team can’t do anything so no point ringing them. My husband can’t help, he gets emotional and overreacts and makes it worse. I looked at the NHS Suicide section on their website. It suggested emailing the Samaritans. I could do that! So I did, I emailed jo@samaritans.org I knew that they couldn’t do anything but listen but, to be honest, that in itself was hugely helpful. It’s funny how many professionals I speak to but rarely feel listened to; they have their specific questions. Everything is lead by want they want from the appointment. 

After the Samaritans I chose self-soothing. I had a little Graze box treat and a hot chocolate, took my quetiapine, made a hot water bottle and retreated to bed. I put lavender on my pillow, cuddled up to my blanket and bunny. Then I took 3 cocodamol for good measure and downloaded an audiobook (The Humans by Matt Haig). With my headphones in I drifted into the safety of unconsciousness. It’s the next best thing. 

My night was full of vivid dreams of the past. Some of it was reliving abuse and some of it was comforting. The important thing was how I woke up and I woke up ok. Ok. Tired, mentally bruised and battered, but ok. Another crisis survived. It’s a quiet victory and no one will celebrate it, not even me. For me the feeling is relief. I know that this is temporary. I expect that I’ll hit crisis point again in the next few days so I’ll try and make plans now with the aim of avoiding crisis. I get scared. How many times will I successfully negotiate these urges? I’m so used to this; to having to survive. I do get resentful about it, about having to fight so hard for something that I’m not sure I want. Having to fight for something that other people want (my survival) on my own.

Still, survival brings options, death doesn’t. So quietly I’ll just go about it. Invisible. 

Mummy is in bed

My children are in the hall outside my bedroom playing catch. My daughter’s voice is full of joy and giggles and she bounces about shouting “catch!” to her older brother. He’s excited because he’s wearing his new football boots to his game today. Hearing them happy makes me smile. I’ve already had bad thoughts this morning and hearing them is a nice antidote.

Then my husband tells them off – they shouldn’t be playing here, making all that noise. Mummy is in bed. Mummy doesn’t want you to do that does she?

Triggered.

His intention is good. He knows that I was in a bad place yesterday and he wants me to have peace. He regularly makes these assumptions about what I need though without actually asking me. I’ve told him more times than I can count that he doesn’t need to silence the children on my behalf. It makes me so sad. All I want is for them to be happy and healthy. Please don’t stop that for me. 

I was already having intrusive thoughts when I woke up (I could overdose when they’re all out and then just start walking until I fall somewhere). Now I feel worse. Everything is my fault.

Mummy doesn’t want you making all that noise.

Mummy is still in bed.

Leave Mummy alone.

My daughter is going to the football game despite her chesty cough. It is 830am, cold and damp outside and I worry about her chest. My husband decided to take her without talking to me because it’s what I need, apparently. 

Guilt. Shame. Anger. Love. Sadness. All swirling around. 

They’ve gone now and I’m alone. My family are gone. Without me. I feel so wretched. Swallowing a load of tablets wouldn’t phase me at all but I can’t do that. That doesn’t help them. Instead it’ll be the knife. Will need to go torso I think. Better weather is coming soon…short sleeves…

Oh, I didn’t take anything last night except my quetiapine. That was a positive step forward of which I’m quite proud of. I slept til 4am and then I was restless/awake and any sleep came with nightmares. Lack of sleep is a vulnerability factor they say. Lucky for me I get to stay in bed whilst my family are out together.

Lucky me indeed.

End 

I know that everything I say here will stupid, it will be illness, but I’ve got to say it all and I’m not going to try to make sense.

I cried a bit in DBT group today. Not properly, just that choked up, can’t talk or I’ll sob kind of way. I feel like crying now but I can’t because my son is here. He was sent home from school sick. In fact I had to leave group to collect him which makes perfect sense because in group I was saying/choking about the fact I can’t stop self harming because I’m scared something awful will happen, particularly to my children.I told them all in group that I would chip away at this belief so it is fucking obvious that my boy then got sick. The message is there. It’s so clear. In group I gave the example that I had written details of my last self-harm and send it to Monica because we never get through a chain analysis because I can never remember what happened. Anyway, my appointment with Monica was cancelled this week. She was ill. Nothing suspect there except I know. Of course it was cancelled! Each time I try and push back against ‘this’ it rebounds back at me, knocking me down. I cried that I could have told them that my appointment would be cancelled: I do something ‘positive’the universe pushes back. It’s like chess. 

I had been crying quite a lot this morning so had hoped i wouldn’t cry in group. I was crying this morning because I feel like the end is coming. As I up my efforts to ‘get better’ my opponent ups their efforts too. Then comes the strange contradiction: the suicidal who is scared to die. I just don’t want to leave the kids, i really don’t. I just want them to be safe and ok. 

And I feel totally alone. The universe is organising things so I become more isolated…pushing me further. So my care coordinator Nora left. Then Monica cancelled my appointment. Now I’ve had to leave DBT today. My new care coordinator keeps fucking up appointments so I haven’t even met her….obviously. She rang the other day to reschedule and didn’t bother asking how I was, or asking how the quetiapine is going or you know basically anything. I’m so confused. I don’t know how the quetiapine is going and I don’t have anyone to talk to about it. I  just don’t know anything.

Last nights dreams upset me so much. I dreamt my mum loved me. I dreamt that when I was a baby she had done so much for me, made huge efforts out of love – like flying to London to buy a special baby sling that you couldn’t get where we lived (and it being 1980!) and she did that because she wanted to be close to me. I felt such a fool in the dream. Yes, she had done all these terrible things to me but, actually, she had loved me, she had tried. Then I woke up and remembered that she hadn’t. I cried a lot then. 

I also dreamt of the rape. I kept trying to see his face. I wanted to stare him in the face. I wanted to know his face so I could recognise it if I ever saw it again but he was the shadow man again. This afternoon as I sat on the sofa I saw him out of the corner of my eye, stood in the kitchen door. Gone in a flash. Thankfully I didn’t startle because my son was there. The whole thing just makes me so so sad. Why is he back? I don’t understand. I tried to deal with it before, I told and nobody cared so what is the point?

I just don’t know what to do so I keep trying to do the things that are supposed to be good, to be the right things for recovery but the more I do the worse things happen. I’ve thought a running away this afternoon at least then maybe everyone would be ok.

I’ve got to go. The cat is being a twat and I now have to pick up my daughter. Somehow I need to rein all of this in and be the mum they deserve. Fuck. I can do it for a few hours and then, when they’re in bed, I can break.

A Losing Battle

I went to yoga this morning. What I wanted to do was slash my belly but yoga it was. It was hard work. I thought it’d be chilled but no. Intense. Anyway signed up to go back next week.

Then I went to see my GP. Poor guy was running an hour and a half late. He always does to be fair so I came prepared with activities. Didn’t matter though. I couldn’t take being in the waiting room with all those people, knowing that I am a waste of the doctors time. I went back in, waited some more and sketched a picture of my daughter.

Looks creepy but it isn’t finished!


This was a better idea than giving in to the urge I had to rip the fire extinguisher off the wall and spray CO2 everywhere.

By the time I went in I was jittering, gabbling, edgy. I was embarrassed at the same time as I could see how off my behaviour was but couldn’t stop. He did the required pre-quetiapine health checks. He said the cut on my wrist looked sore. I said it was fine. He asked if I’d done that because of being distressed so I said yes. Inside I was ashamed at what a pathetic cut it is. I should have done more. I want to do more. Anyway there isn’t anything else he can do for me. I’ll try not to think about that.

I went to see my neighbour when I got home so I couldn’t hurt myself badly. 

Then Nora rang me because I’d left a message for her. She was supportive and said I may be experiencing something called extinction. Basically as a new positive behaviour is implemented the old negative behaviour kicks up a fuss and refuses to die. 

Die.

This voice inside of me keeps shouting all these awful things for me to do: to cut myself, to overdose, to go to the train tracks, to make a noose. I’m so stuck. I’m fighting with myself. I hate it. I can’t win if I’m fighting myself. It’s impossible.

I can’t even explain it. Nora said that could be because my distress goes all the way back to being so little I was pre-verbal. I just want to pull my hair out and scream in pain. 

Husband will be home soon. Then the in laws. Everyone expects me to be better because I was doing so much better but now?

I’m done. I just need my brain to rationalise the next step and then I can take it and end this nightmare.

Here’s what I wrote in the waiting room if you’re interested. No, no one is.


Why I’ll Try Quetiapine 

A simple analogy.

I am trapped in a cage with a tiger. It can be fearsome and actually, pretty bloody violent! Well, that’s tigers for you! This tiger can take great big swipes at me and if it catches me with it’s claws then ouchie!


When you’re trapped in a cage with a tiger you learn ways to coexist. So sometimes I might just run round and round in  circles with the tiger chasing me. Other times if I play dead and hide in the corner the tiger will come and paw at me but it’s not so bad. Sometimes the tiger goes for a sleep. I never know how long his nap will be. If it’s a really long sleep then I can almost forget he’s there as I go about, y’know, regular cage stuff. 

Apparently though there are better ways to manage a tiger. It’s called Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, or DBT. I’m learning this tiger taming stuff but, I tell you, it’s hard. Sometimes my tiger just doesn’t do what he’s supposed to – my mother in law would say he hasn’t read the book! Other times I’m so busy trying to stop the tiger from mauling me, like he might have me pinned to the floor, that trying to implement these tiger taming skills is nigh on impossible. Sometimes the coaches pop by and they will shout advice from outside the cage. All very well and good but can’t they see I have a tiger on top of me?! There are occasions when their shouts feel critical and that really hurts. I’m doing my best. Who wants to be bitten and scratched by a tiger? Not me!

So I’m learning all sorts of tricks. Happily I see him behaving every so often. I’m tired though. So, so tired. Learning how to tame a tiger when living with an out of control tiger is utterly exhausting. It’d be much easier if I could just pop in to the cage for a few minutes a day – like learning a musical instrument – instead of being stuck in this cage with him all the time.

A ringmaster suggested a pill I can give to the tiger. This should quiet him a bit which will give me a better chance of learning how to control him. Control is the wrong word actually. It’s not about control: coexisting or managing are better. The DBT coaches are purists. They believe it’s best to tame tigers naturally and that’s what I’ve been trying to do but I really am very injured by him. I’ve been told that this pill could cause all sorts of problems from me and my tiger and I’ve been very reluctant to try it. After all, I wanted to learn to tame him properly, I wanted to please the purists.

Thing is, though, I’m scared. Tigers can actually kill people. Did you know that? Being locked in a cage with a pissed off tiger does increase the chance of that happening. So, I’m going to get that pill and try it. It will make him very sleepy. That could be a bad thing as he might be too sleepy to learn but I think I need to try really. I do feel like a failure for resorting to it and I’m very nervous about how it will go. I’ve asked lots of people and been given a variety of answers but the decision is made. 

Next time I see the ringmaster I will ask him for quetiapine for my tiger. 

One day…this’ll be my tiger and me