I just went through my blog and made public all the posts that had formerly been password protected, bar the one regarding Jonathan’s birthday. In reverse order, in August I protected the first post I wrote about the clash of obsessions between my landlady and I, on the off chance that she found my blog while I was still living with her. I think I am past worrying about that now though. In March I made one private because it was about death, and in a very unfortunate coincidence I found out hours later that the mother of my friend had just died after a long illness. Since I knew my friend had read my blog on occasion, I thought it was best to hide it. Last November I wanted to keep one to myself because it was about a bit of a family drama, but everyone in my family knows about it now. During the same month I wrote quite an intense post about the rape, and protected it purely for the reason that whilst I wanted to write about it, having it open to anyone who came across it made me feel vulnerable. That was while I was working on the PTSD with Julie, and as it was a whole year ago I don’t mind having it public now. Finally, almost exactly a year ago on October 14th 2009, I wrote a post after I had spent the previous evening cutting myself, in my first relapse into self harming for two years. I made that post private because I was so ashamed of myself. Of course, that didn’t stop me doing exactly the same thing (but worse) two nights later, but I didn’t post about it again.
I’m making these posts public for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I received an email a few days ago from someone who had been reading my blog from the start for the last few weeks, and had reached that first protected post from last October. After replying to her email I went back and read it for myself, as well as a few other posts from that month. It appears that October is not my favourite month. Luckily I am not suffering from the hormone-induced mood swings of last year (yay for having had my period back for a whole 15 months! I seem to have come out of the other side of my second adolescence now 😉 ), but I am having a pretty hard time at the moment. I am also struggling with self harm urges again, as I do periodically. They will die down once my life gets a little less complicated; the trick is to keep on reminding myself that self harming would add to my current complications.
At the moment I am worrying about: trying to find a new house; having to cope with living in this house for another six weeks; problems with my benefits; how I am going to afford Christmas; being unable to find a job; my poor boyfriend not being terribly well; the practical aspects of starting a foundation degree in counselling next year (I don’t know which city I’ll be living in yet as Jonathan may be applying to university and I would want to go with him – this makes it hard for me to work out which colleges to apply to); my physical health (palpitations, freaking AWFUL IBS, headaches, dizziness etc); my mental health. I am desperately disappointed that my sisters won’t be able to visit me at the end of the month now, and have been overcome by delayed-onset homesickness. I was fine when I moved here, I didn’t miss home at all, but now I am stressed out and lonely I keep dissolving into tears over anything that reminds me of home.
In other mental health-related problems, because I am now scared of having to talk to my housemates I am finding it extremely difficult to make myself go downstairs for any purpose other than leaving the house. The kitchen is downstairs and I have to live here for another six weeks – I cannot avoid cooking for six weeks. Well, I could, but I don’t think my body would approve. Or my parents, if I turned up significantly thinner at Christmas. I have had a hard time keeping my weight up since moving here because I have caught several viruses, been walking a lot more because I couldn’t afford to keep my car or use public transport any more than absolutely necessary, not had the money to buy convenient calorie-dense foods like cereal bars and gluten-free cakes, and on top of all that physical stuff I’ve been really stressed out, so have lost my appetite, been feeling sick a lot and have suffered from much worse IBS symptoms than usual. Losing weight for reasons not related to anorexia is no more acceptable than relapsing back into the eating disorder, so I am engaged in a seemingly neverending battle to eat enough, and preferably more-than-enough, but often only just making it to barely-enough.
In light of all of this, it’s not really surprising that I was having real difficulty walking past a razor-selling pharmacy earlier on. If, over a period of more than a decade, you programme yourself to respond to any and all stressors by cutting yourself, even years after stopping you will STILL sometimes find yourself wanting to self harm when stressed. Most of the time when this happens I can deal with it. I quite frequently have moderate urges to hurt myself when I have PMS, and I can cope with that without much of a problem. But when my psychological resources are depleted like this it’s much harder. As in, earlier on I walked past a pharmacy, I turned around and walked past the pharmacy in the other direction, I walked back to the pharmacy, I walked INTO the pharmacy, I walked up to the razors, I turned around and I walked out of the pharmacy, I walked back down the road shaking, I tried not to look at other pharmacies. It’s times like this when I remove the couple of pencil sharpeners I own from my art supplies, take them on a walk to the park and throw them in a public bin. The kitchen bin wouldn’t work because I’d just rescue them again.
Sometimes I think my brain is trying, rather unhelpfully, to rescue me from feeling so sad and scared. I used to blank out intense and uncomfortable emotions by obsessing over numbers. I have no numbers to obsess about now, so my brain has gone back to bombarding me with urges to hurt myself when I’m under stress. It certainly works as a distraction, but it’s one that I really don’t want or need, because I know sitting with the emotions is a more effective approach, and definitely one which leads to less lifefuckupedness.
In ten days I will not have cut myself for a year, and not regularly for three years, since the lapse of last October was the first in a long time. But if I go around pretending that of course I don’t get urges like that anymore because I’m superwoman and have no vulnerabilities, I won’t make it to a year, and goodness knows how long it would take me to get it under control again if I relapsed now. So forgive me for going on about it, but I really need to. I need to make it public because keeping secrets got me nowhere but skinny and covered in scars. And in the spirit of being open about my current struggles, I have re-opened my past ones. Not to dwell on, but just so they are there – out in the open rather than hidden in shame.