A girl with too many thoughts...

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Choose Recovery for Yourself

Making the decision to recover from your mental illness is definitely not the easy option, but it is worth it. From the moment that you choose to recover you have already started the process of improving your life and becoming more like the person you want to be.

I think a key thing to bare in mind is that recovery looks different on everyone. For one person it may mean facing their worst fears over and over on a daily basis. For another it may mean getting up out of bed, washed and dressed everyday. Both scenarios will be equally challenging for the person who is trying to overcome them, no matter how easy it looks to an outsider.

Something that I have come to realise though is that you have to choose recovery for yourself - you have to want it as much as anybody else in your life. It's no use only doing something because other people are urging you to unless you are willing to commit.

Since moving away to University several people in my life have encouraged me to seek support from the adult mental health service where I am now living. At first I was extremely reluctant and basically told everyone to back off (in so many words). There was no use me going to see anybody if it was only to please other people, otherwise how could anyone expect me to co-operate? I had decided that being forced into treatment wasn't going to help me.

However, I then realised that I did need support and did in fact want help, but it was only when I had reached that conclusion myself that I could actually begin to engage with what people were telling me.

Obviously it's important to listen to other people when they express concern and suggest that you should get help. It's not always an easy thing to hear and initially it can be tempting to just deny everything and refuse. Sometimes when we are so caught up in a bad state of mind it can be difficult to think rationally and decide what's best for us.

Saying this, I also believe that you have to also be active and agreeable in the decision to get help and start on the road to recovery. I have certainly found this an important aspect for myself, anyway.


Sunday, 6 November 2016

People Only Like You When You're 'Normal'

I'm beginning to realise that people only tend to like you when your mental health conditions aren't affecting you so badly, when everyone can just pretend that you're 'normal'. It's like they want to be around you when you aren't mental but as soon as you show any sign of actually suffering from your condition they're outta here!

Maybe this is exactly why people are so scared of admitting to those around them that they suffer from a mental illness, because they are terrified that as soon as people find out that they aren't quite 'right in the head', they will abandon them.

People always say crap like 'I understand' or 'I would never judge you' because it's easy to say when things are going okay. They're totally understanding of mental health conditions when they read it in a book or see it in a movie, but as soon as it's real life it's a different story altogether because believe it or not, mental health conditions aren't tragically beautiful like they are often portrayed. In reality, they are shit and they destroy all of your relationships as well as anything that's going well in your life.

The minute things get difficult people can't deal with it so instead, they just ignore you until you've sorted yourself out. Stuff you if you want help from them, they don't want to deal with you right now so you're on your own mate. Oh, but of course as soon as they're struggling with something they run straight to you asking for advice or just so that they have somebody to rant to.

I'm very aware that I sound like a bitter, horrible person right now but at the moment, I really do feel like a bitter, horrible person and I'm simply typing what is going through my head. I don't even know where the old me is anymore but she sure as hell ain't around here anywhere! I don't even recognise myself at the moment.

Lately, I only ever feel angry and irritable, constantly feeling annoyed at people. Everyone seems to be upsetting me too and it has led me to feel very isolated and as though everybody is turning against me. As I said at the start of this post, it's like they just don't want to be around me right now because my mental health conditions are worse than usual and they don't want to deal with me when I'm like this.

Another thing that is frustrating me is that I feel like everyone is accusing me of things. For example, I enjoy one or two drinks and suddenly (according to everybody in my life) I'm becoming reliant on alcohol to make me happy? I can't even have a good time like a normal nineteen year old because somehow I'm doing that in the wrong way too.

It's like I can't do anything right and every move I make is constantly criticised by people around me. I'm exhausted from it and it's led me to just say 'f*ck everything and everyone, I'll do whatever the hell I like from now on because everything I do is wrong anyway!!!!!!!'

Even walking down the street I get annoyed because I feel like people stare at me. It makes me want to shout 'WHAT, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!' because I can't deal with the constant judgement anymore, it's driving me crazy. It's like have I got something on my face?! Has my mascara run?! Honestly, JUST TELL ME INSTEAD OF STARING AT ME. (Okay, so the rational part of me knows people probably aren't staring at me so feel free to tell me it's all in my head, everybody else does).

I just feel like I'm losing it! I honestly don't know what to do with myself half the time because I feel so agitated. All of this frustration is bubbling up inside of me and any minute I could explode!!!!! I don't want to be constantly judged anymore. I don't want to be accused of doing things wrong all of the time. I don't want to worry about things constantly. I don't want to feel so self-conscious. I JUST WANT LIFE TO GIVE ME A BREAK FROM ALL THE NEGATIVE FEELINGS.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Food, Food, Food...

Food, food, food - it's all my mind thinks about at the minute. I spend my whole day consumed by thoughts about food (if you pardon the pun). I go to sleep at night thinking about what I will eat tomorrow, how I only have to get through one night of sleep before I can eat again. When I wake up the next morning, I think about all the food that I can eat in that day.

I count down the hours and the minutes until my next meal/snack, telling myself to just wait a little bit longer or just be a little bit more patient and I'll be sure to enjoy eating it more and feel like I deserve it more. When I'm out, I look forward to coming back because I know that I can sit alone and enjoy whatever meal I've been planning. I don't have to think about anything else, it's just me and a bowl of bloody cornflakes.

This might sound strange coming from somebody with a restrictive eating disorder. Surely eating is the last thing I want to be doing? However, this is a common misconception surrounding such eating disorders. This may be true for some people, but not for me. People wrongly assume that I restrict because I don't like food or because I don't have an appetite for food, but in fact it is completely the opposite.

I love food. It makes me happy and it brings me comfort. It doesn't matter how down I may be feeling, some kind of delicious food that I enjoy will always give me at least a little sense of joy. But, you see, that's where the problem starts.

I hate that I am so emotionally dependent on food. I hate that I like it so much and that it has the power to influence how I feel. It scares me how much thoughts about food take over my mind and it makes me feel out of control. I convince myself that if I let myself be free to eat to my heart's desire, then I'll never stop eating. I'll eat and eat and eat and the weight will pile on. Therefore, in order to gain back a sense of control, I have to restrict.

I have to prove to myself that I'm better than that. That I do have will power and self-restraint. I have to fight the thoughts that are telling me to eat like a normal person because they make me feel out of control, like I won't be able to stop. I feel guilty for thinking about food and the only way for me to relieve that guilt is to eat less.

It's a vicious cycle though, because restricting makes me hungry. Depriving my body of the nutrients it so desperately needs makes the thoughts about food stronger and more repetitive. When you're body is desperate for energy, eating in order to give it that energy is all your brain can think about. Forget normal day-to-day life, that goes out of the window. Screw that essay that's in for next week, all I can think about how I'm going to both eat and not eat at the same time.

The conflict is exhausting and it's driving me crazy. All I want is to have normal thoughts towards food and to stop associating food with guilt, control and emotions to the extent that I do. Yes, it's normal to feel a bit guilty if you know you've eaten one or two more chocolate bars than you should have that day. What isn't normal is to feel guilty for eating an extra apple, or a bowl of cereal for breakfast, or bread at lunchtime.
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