P for Positivity

Positivity is important. No one can feel positive all the time, and in recovery it can be rare, so when the moment comes we need to try our best to remember what that felt like.

On Thursday I had my birthday party (I turned 17 on Monday), and it was after my party I had a rare moment of absolute satisfaction and positivity.

So I recorded it , I jotted it down like I was speaking excitedly to a friend. And that’s what I thought I’d share with you today. Sheer, genuine, in the moment positivity and appreciation for life and recovery.

“I had such a fab time at my party! Felt a bit ill towards the end of it but never mind.
And do you know what? I ate loads, like loads to a normal person not just to me. I had crepes, a milkshake, pizza, a slice of birthday cake.. And do you know what? I’m still alive, I’m still ok, I haven’t exploded! My stomach is round and content with food. It’s full. And full is good, full means my body can get to work on any repairs it has to do! Full means my body can learn that I’m not going to starve it any longer. More importantly, today taught me that there is more to life than an eating disorder, there really is. Laughing and chatting with friends, being loud and eating in front of people and actually, you know what?, not caring. Because I couldn’t have had such a good time without food, if I hadn’t eaten it would have been awkward for them and for me. And what’s better than watching a film with a bunch of friends and a pizza on a paper plate? What’s better than laughing at charades with your friends? Yes it was quite loud and challenging for anxiety etc, and I received some absolutely amazing presents and I love them so so much, but it’s hard for me to get presents so that was a challenge to. But I did it, and I’m ok with that.
I don’t know, I just feel so positive right now. Like maybe I do have a place, maybe I can recover and live a full life. I want every day to be like today, challenging but full of purpose and fun.
Only recovery can get you here, only recovery can allow you these opportunities. I couldn’t be gladder that I’ve stuck with recovery, even through darker times where I’ve nearly lost hope. Please remember that, there is always hope. And where there is hope, there is determination, and with determination you will get there.”

I really recommend jotting down moments of inspiration like this, because reading back on it can be so helpful and inspiring and can help pull you up from dark and difficult moments.

Today I am not feeling particularly great, so I’m reading that and trying to remember how it felt. I’ve learnt to live for these moments. They may be few for now, but you never know, one day my life could be full of them. I just have to get there.

Thanks for reading.

F for Faces

Sometimes when I can’t sleep I like to draw. Usually I draw on my ipad because then I don’t need to fuss about with getting my pencil case and notebook out (plus things never rub out properly and I always manage to get pencil marks on my bed!), but recently I got a calligraphy set which is very exciting!

So I drew some faces. I am awful at drawing faces (as you can see), so I usually go for abstract which avoids the need for them to look realistic!

I decided to test my calligraphy pens out in an unconventional way.. With my eyes shut! Half them are with my eyes open and bald with my eyes shut.. Bet you’d have a hard time guessing which was which though! (The iPad ones were drawn with my eyes open)

  

I remember having to do similar exercises in inpatient to try to challenge perfectionism, and as it’s pen you can’t rub it out! It was a bit challenging actually but I embraced the fact it wasn’t perfect and it helped distract me and go to sleep afterwards.

Drawing it a great way to distract yourself, and it can sometimes help you actually relaise how you are feeling. Sometimes I’m just so tired, overwhelmed and hopeless and I don’t know how I feel, and drawing somehow helps me calm down and gather my thoughts.

If you suffer from anxiety or an eating disorder where up need distracting after food, I really would give drawing a go. I don’t do it as often as I like but it’s a really great thing to try.

Thanks for reading.

The blade’s lullaby [original poem]

MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING.

I wrote this last week when I was feeling the most depressed I’ve felt in a long time. Looking back on it is quite shocking, it is a very very dark piece of poetry.

I was in two minds about posting it because I’m worried it is just triggering and unhelpful and doesn’t need to be shared, but at the same time I feel like this sums up why I self harm sometimes? I feel like I have to, it’s not something I want to do but more of a need, like something terrible will happen if I don’t and that I deserve the pain.

Please let me know if you find this triggering or think it’s unhelpful/ best left off the internet and I’ll take it down.

Hush now darling, don’t you cry
The blade will sing you a lullaby
Let your sorrows melt away
Feel the pain in a different way
Drag that blade across your skin
Let lose the blood that lies within
Release the evil, feel the pain
Make up for weight you have gained
Again and again, swift and fast
Grab a bandage, the pain won’t last
Dry your tears, don’t you cry
It’s either this or you will die
Pills and rail tracks, heights and blades
This is your punishment, your fate is made
You cannot rest, or have peace from me
I am inside you, don’t you see?
Use your arm as a canvas to fill
Paint in stark red, and notice that still
With each new cut and bruise you make
All I do is take, take, take
Yet still here you are, listening to me
I am inside you, don’t you see?
You cannot beat me, I will win
I feel your sorrows as a grin
The whispered, haunted hymns of praise
The prayer which only you can raise
Be sure of this, my fellow friend
This is a war that will not end.
Not today, tomorrow, or next week
Your life is the ultimate prize I seek.
So while you fight and I grow strong
Remember you’re the girl who does not belong.
I will bring you peace of mind
Dull your senses, make you blind
Blind to the pain, don’t you see?
With me your spirit will at last be free.
If you decide you want to go,
I’ll help you get there, don’t you know?
I am the devil within your soul
And I’ll only stop if you reach my goal
Lose weight, cut, punish yourself
And maybe I’ll go someplace else
But for now here I am, trapped in you
A force once week, that suddenly grew.
A force so strong, you can’t outsmart
In fact it overtook your heart.

Also please don’t read this and worry about me, I was feeling in a very black place when I wrote it but touch wood things are going a bit better this week.

I’d be really interested to hear anyone’s feedback on this, positive or negative, so do please feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading.

We’re all like stretchy yellow men sometimes..

I got given one of these wonderful stretchy yellow men by my friend the other day, it reminded me of when I was little, I loved buying little bits and bobs like that or winning them on the 2p machine at the Pier when I visited my granny.

But now when I see it, you stretch them too far and the smile looks like it’s going to break. Don’t you feel like that sometimes? That people are pulling and pushing you and one day you’re just going to snap?

Anyway, I played on this theme and did a drawing last night to distract myself as I was feeling a bit anxious.

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The black words are things we ‘say’ to people and the grey are things we really feel below it. Obviously no, we are not stretchy and don’t tell people to stretch us, but in the way we talk to others I’m sure at times we are making ourselves vulnerable to being hurt because we are sad and want others to be happy.. Or maybe that’s just me.

A poem:

A toy, she thought,
She pulled and tugged
She twisted and yanked
And pinged it about.

A toy, she thought

But when it snapped
She cried and screamed
Ripped it inside and out

The mother came in,
Swept it away
Hugged her daughter
Bought a new one for a new day

But the cracks are already there,
Beginning to show

How long will it be
Until the cracks start to grow?

How long until,
The stretchy man cannot hide
Those fractures and pains
All bottled up inside.

And how long until
The little girl knows
That man is not a toy
He’s the pain inside us that grows?

Sorry for the random post, I’d be interested to see if people agreed with me though, do you ever feel like that?

This week has been tough on so many levels, just want it all to stop but I know if I want that then I have to keep fighting through. Any motivation would be much appreciated.

Thanks for reading.

The ‘anorexic’ girl [original poem]

Don’t call me that,
The harsh judgement in your tone.
Don’t use it as an excuse,
Oh she can’t help it, she’s anorexic.

Don’t separate me from everyone else,
Isolate me due to our differences,
Don’t stop and stare and whisper,
‘She’s anorexic

Don’t give me names,
Don’t stare me down,
Don’t treat me any different.
I’m just like you.

Don’t snigger as I mull over meals,
Each bite painful.
Don’t tease me when I’m down,
Don’t judge before you know me,
‘The anorexic girl’

Don’t call me selfish,
Attention-seeking, sad,
We all have struggles,
Mine are just expressed differently.

Stare instead into my hollow eyes,
The girl scared to exist,
See that I want love and support,
Like any other.

See my open arms ready to give,
See the hope in my eyes,
The smile trying to escape,
Help me be me.

Anorexia, now that is an illness.
But there is a girl,
And there is her illness,
They are not bound together.
There is no anorexic girl.

Insight into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD, we all know what that is, it’s the one where you want everything arranged, so you line your pencils up on your table in colour order right?! Um, no actually. It’s sad how many people seem to think that that is what OCD is.

Firstly, let’s just introduce what OCD is. OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and as defined by Wikipedia, is “an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear or worry (obsessions), repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety (compulsions), or a combination of such obsessions and compulsions“.

As you can see from this definition, OCD is a mental condition and not just people being tidy. I know plenty of neat and organised people, but that doesn’t mean that they have OCD.

OCD is characterised by the intense anxiety and sense of foreboding if they do not do certain rituals, or do not do or organise certain things.

What many people don’t realise is that OCD can manifest itself in so many ways, some more unusual than others. Someone who appears very messy could still suffer from OCD, as OCD is different things to different people.

A common OCD area is hygiene. In this case people often wash their hands excessively (often causing bleeding), will wash excessively, and have a phobia of girls and anything dirty. If they don’t do these things (such as washing hands), they feel intensely anxious and sometimes terrified that something bad will happen.

Although that example seems to make sense, many OCD habits aren’t.

For me, my OCD is very strange and select.
There are many things I have to do before bedtime for example, including washing my feet, moving my pillow right up against the wall, switching off my phone and putting it face down on the bedside table, making sure my hair dryer is unplugged etc.
I also have OCD when it comes to school work. All notes a teacher goes through must be written down, neatly too. I cannot ‘leave a gap’ in my workings or in a test to fill out later, which caused a 34% test mark when I couldn’t do the first few questions but also couldn’t move on to ones I knew. (Now I have my tests all as booklets which I fill out to avoid this, and since then my score has gone up to 86%, thank goodness). I must do homework every day, and complete at least one, no matter how busy I am.

Rules. Rules, rules, rules.

You never get a break from them.

Imagine having your mum constantly nagging in your ear 24/7. Now imagine that amplified to an unbearable level. That is what OCD is like.

People are quick to say ‘get a grip’, but of course it isn’t that simple! I try to break OCD habits but it just makes me extremely nervous and on edge, I cannot sit still if I know I haven’t followed one of the ‘rules’.

Another problem with OCD is that it grows and evolves.
It might start out as something really small, a little habit, but before you know it it’s turned into a huge thing, that often leaves you feeling like you can’t function properly. One thing can lead to another, so one habit can multiply to ten before you realise it was an issue.

I used to have only 1 or 2 things I struggled with, such as sitting in the same seat for dinner, but now there are more than I care to count.

So next time someone says “I’m a little bit OCD about my desk”, just ask them this question “do you feel crippling guilt if you don’t do that? Does your mind feel busy and you can’t sit still, do you feel anxious and sick? Does it scare you if you don’t do that? No. Then no, you do not have OCD.”
[obviously some people will have OCD about desks and the suchlike, I am just talking about people who use it as an adjective rather than the potentially serious mental illness it is]

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I hope this helped give some insight into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and some stereotypes involved. Please feel free to leave any feedback, I love to know if I’ve helped or if something was useful or not so that I can continue raising awareness of mental health in the best way possible.

Thanks for reading.

What you’ll never know [original poem]

I’m feeling really down tonight so decided to express it in some poetry. I haven’t checked it and gone back to improve it; I know it isn’t a beautiful piece of writing but I have to share it. These thoughts are consuming me and I am a hollow shell, a carrier of my depression. At least writing poetry, I can feel. That even through this pain, I can still be connected to myself. I am still human.

***

Do you know how it feels
To be constantly checking the time as you wash
Not wanting to stay too long behind the bathroom’s locked door.

Afraid of your mothers knock,
Her nervous voice as she asks if you’re ok.
She thinks you’re cutting.
Dragging that razor blade across your skin
Again and again.

You’ve stopped that. For now.
But the pain will never stop for her.
You open the door, wearing short sleeved pyjamas so she can see
You’re ok.
Her relief she tries to hide
Plastered on her expression like a newspaper headline.

You go off to bed, but through the night she stands and listens at your door
Checking, again and again, that the silent, choked tears aren’t falling.

At breakfast as you sit picking at your cereal,
She sits watching, pretending to be interested in her own food,
But all the time scared of the demons that are hiding in you
Out of her control.

At school you’re confident.
At least that’s how you appear.
The smile and laughter does the trick,
The silly games and jokes,
Why would anyone guess that it was all an act?

Your mother goes to work.
But all the time thinking, ‘I wonder how she’s getting on today’
Never knowing what the answer will be.

The breakdowns have no countdown,
Nor time limit or reason,
They come on all of a sudden,
Consuming you and taking your mother with you in a cloud of doubt and fear.

But you keep going.
You plaster on that smile,
Do your homework.
Be a good girl.

Who would ever guess all this was going on in your head?
This is why it will never get better.
No one knows you.
And no one ever will.