Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Now with 73% more Dark and 89% more Twisty

It's herrrrrrre! My brand new bright and shiny blog is all ready to go and you can find it here.

Here's a sample of the first post:

***

Ooo look! It’s my bright and shiny new blog! It’s here! Hooray!
I can’t tell you how excited I am to be blogging again, and I also can’t tell you how grateful I am for the all the support and encouragement I’ve already received. Thank you. Really. Thank you.


For my first official post, I thought I’d explain a bit about what you can expect to find here. As I said in my post here, this blog is going to be focused on issues to do with mental (un)health. The right sidebar has a list of the pages for each of the topics I will be talking about [though at this time they all say ::under construction:: Posts will be coming #soon]. And yes, if you are wondering, that title is an Ed Sheeran song lyric. I love him ok. Like not Mars level love, but it is way up there.
 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

It is 12:44am on a Tuesday morning.

Yesterday I was bright and shiny and yay-sparkle-rainbows. The day before, also yay-sparkle-rainbows. The day before the day before, not so much. Today, at now 12:45am, not so much.

The post-happy-high-crash is one of the most awful things that has ever existed. Maybe not as awful as, say, being chased by the hounds, or the hounds with bees in their mouth so when they bark they shoot bees*, but still. It is tough. It is tough because while in yay-sparkle-rainbows land, you can almost convince yourself that this is it. It will stick this time. You’re better, and not pretend better, but go-to-America-and-stalk-a-band-around-the-planet-and-go-to-far-too-many-shows-and-love-everything-and-snort-glitter kind of better.

After all, you were there once. So you can be again, right?

Maybe.

But not this time.

Not today, satan.

I always find that the days following good days are some of the hardest. That probably sounds weird, like, shouldn’t you just be grateful that you had a few good days? Shouldn’t that make things seem better? Unfortunately, no. In fact the inverse is true. It’s like your brain is taunting you. Like, HEY! HEY YOU! Remember this? Remember being happy? Remember being functional? It’s pretty damn great, right! YAY YOU DON’T WANT TO DIE TODAY! YOU AREN’T WATCHING YOUR HEART RATE FALL AND HOPING IT STOPS! You’re cure--- Lolz, no, I’m just playin’. You’re still incredibly screwed up and hey let’s play a game called Remembering Every Bad Thing That Has Ever Happened In The History Of Forever! Doesn’t that sound like fun?
 

Yeah. My brain is a bastard. Honestly I don’t know why lobotomies are no longer a thing. Fun fact: I asked my doctor for a lobotomy about three months ago. Deadpan.

He said, I’m pretty sure I could pull one off if need be. Either that or make you a braindead zombie. Or just dead.

I said, hey man. Any one of those is fine with me.

 
Unfortunately he didn’t follow through with it. Something about losing his medical licence, I don’t know.


Anyway. It turns out that there may be evidence to suggest that some people become more suicidal as their depression lifts or their mental illness begins to enter a period of recovery or remission. I’m not by any means qualified to speak to the data on this or for other people, but from my own experience, I would say that one possible cause for this would be moments like this. Moments where you’re teased with the possibility of better and then it is ripped away before it even has a chance to settle. It can leave you feeling horribly hopeless, more depressed than you were before, and a bit like, what’s the point. I always end up back here. Why even bother.


These are thoughts and feelings that I am well acquainted with. I’ve even named them, because, well, this is next level ingenuity:


 





 
Not only are these thoughts entirely unhelpful, they are also entirely untrue.


Now, hear me out. I know that sounds a bit like everything-gets-better-you’ll-be fine-let’s-go-snort-glitter. That is not what I am saying at all. What I am saying is things change. They do. They may feel like they won’t, but they do. The only constant is change. In psychology** there’s a term called durability bias. Durability bias is the tendency for people to overestimate how long certain feelings and emotional states will last. It is the notion that I will feel like this forever. And it is wrong. You won’t feel the exact same way forever, good or bad, unless you happen to find a doctor who performs lobotomies***.

Sometimes this is comforting. Sometimes it is not. Sometimes change makes things worse. Harder. A worsening of symptoms. A decline in health. A new difficulty or problem. Another reason to believe that things – that you – will not and cannot get better. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes change helps. It improves things. It brings a new challenge. A new perspective. Inspiration. A new method of coping of surviving or swimming when all you want to do is drown. No matter what, change happens, whether we want it to or not. And while not all changes are good, it is comforting, for me at least, to know that nothing lasts forever. That the only constant is change.


With this in mind, I have come to a decision. I am going to be closing this blog and moving to a new one. A new chapter, if you will. The new blog will be linked to this one -- which will still exist but won’t be updated – and it will still be under the authorship of The Girl With Words [that’s meeeeee]. The content will be along the same lines of the content on this blog, but perhaps with more of an emphasis on mental health as that is my focus and my passion**** [along with rambling into the wind, of course]. There is a strong theme of mental health on this blog, I believe, but I plan to make it more obvious on the new blog. I plan to use what I’ve learnt through my years of dealing with the yuck things in life to hopefully help others going through a similar thing, or to help those with loved ones going through a similar thing to understand things better. There are certain things in life that I believe are very difficult to understand if you haven’t experienced them yourself or had someone close to you experience them. I hope that I can write about those topics in a manner that makes them accessible. If not, feel free to the release the hounds on me. Even the hounds with bees in their mouths.

 

I have been thinking about doing this for a while now. Not because there is anything wrong with this blog – I love it and I love all of you for reading it – but because I am not the person I was when I started it way back in 2013. I am not who I was four years ago, both for better and for worse in different ways. In the theme of change, since I started this blog, I:

·         Travelled. A lot;

·         Adopted a puppy;

·         Had my puppy grow up into an even bigger puppy;

·         Mediated the conflict between my first puppy and my second puppy so now they are PUPPY BEST FRIENDS;

 
 
 



·         THEY WILL ALWAYS BE PUPPIES, OKAY;

·         Started treatment for my mental health issues for the umpteenth time;

·         Stuck with treatment for coming up to two consecutive years, which is my record;

·         Went back to university;

·         Began working on a degree that will result in a change in my career;

·         Remembered how much I love learning;

·         Realized that I am a giant nerd;

·         Like an even bigger nerd than I thought before;

·         And I’m okay with that;

·         Met Jared Leto;

·         A lot;

·         Like a lot a lot;

·         Like probably too many times;

·         Shhhh I’m not a stalker;

·         Lols;

·         Read the entire Harry Potter series roughly sixty-seven times;

·         Watched all the movies roughly eight-hundred-and-twelve times;

·         No really; there was a month where I had the movies on a repeat loop all day every day and I am not even kidding;

·         I have no regrets;

·         Watched Grey’s Anatomy in its entirety so many times that I am pretty certain I can do an appendectomy;

·         Attempted an appendectomy on myself;

·         Update: Cannot perform an appendectomy;

·         Update: Probably need a doctor;

·         Update: DAMN YOU SHONDA RIMES FOR KILLING OFF SO MANY DOCTORS;

·         Update: McDREAMY NOOOOOO

·         Wait he was a brain surgeon;

·         MAYBE HE COULD HAVE LOBOTOMIZED ME;

·         DAMN YOU SHONDA RIMES, DAMN YOU

…Ahem. Anyway. My point is, things change. People change. I changed. Maybe not so much for the better, but I changed. And now it’s time for my blog to change. To start again with a brand new name. I hope you will join me as I embark on the next chapter of The Girl With Words. Going boldly where no Girl With Words has gone before.

 

After all, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

 

*Fun GWW fact: I am petrified of bees. And wasps. And the wasps with bees in their mouths so when they bark they shoot bees.

**Forgive me; I am currently doing a psych degree and I am loving learning about this stuff and throwing it around like I know what I’m talking about when I so clearly don’t. Ah yes, the Rorschach test. Indeed. Freud. Yes.

***And if you do, hook a girl up, K?

****I have always wanted to be a school psychologist and work with children in need of help. I had a place at a university to do the degree when I finished high school, but it was in another state and my mother’s apron strings couldn’t stretch that far, lol. I am kidding. You guys know that my mom is my most favourite human ever. She didn’t want me to move away at that time so I didn’t.

 

TITLE LYRICS: ‘Closing Time’ by Semisonic

 
 

Technical notes:

 

When it is ready, I will post the link to my bright and shiny new blog here, on Twitter, and on Instagram. As I said before, this blog will still be here along with all its content. I may occasionally link to it from the new blog the way I currently link to old posts now. I have no timeline on this, but I hope to be ready within the next week or two. No promises, though. My brain is a fickle thing and I can never be sure when it will decide to pack up and leave.

 

Maybe I should superglue it to my skull.

Hmmm. Now there’s an idea.

 

UPDATE: Not all ideas are good ideas.

UPDATE: DAMN YOU SHONDA RIMES, WHERE’S A DOCTOR WHEN YOU NEED ONE

Monday, 6 March 2017

Guess who's back...Back again...


Well helllllloooo there, everyone. It’s been a super long time since my last “real” post. I feel a bit awkward and weird writing here in this manner again because I have been absent for so long. Like, a REALLY long time. Is anyone even still reading? It’s okay if you’re not. …Which you wouldn’t know, of course, because you wouldn’t have read that. Whoops.


Clearly my [already lacking] literary skills have declined during my absence. Sorry. Hopefully I will improve back to mediocre in no time!


So, I’m sure if you’re reading, you’re wondering where I have been. Let’s just say I have been at the very bottom of The Dark and Twisty Place. Like, there’s the point where you think The Dark and Twisty Place ends, then you discover another secret hidden chamber down the bottom, and then inside there is a trap door, and after falling and falling and falling for what feels like 4000 years you reach the bottom only to find that it is full of SNAKES! AND BEARS! AND LIONS! AND TIGERS! AND MORE BEARS! OH MY! and so you try to run but the SNAKES ARE EATING YOU AND THE BEARS ARE EATING THE SNAKES AND THE LIONS ARE EATING THE BEARS AND THE TIGERS ARE EATING THE LIONS AND SOON YOU WILL BE SIXTEEN LEVELS OF DIGESTED, HELP and then SUDDENLY you discover ANOTHER DOOR and you rejoice because YOU’RE SAVED! HURRAH!!! but as you go through and the BOTTOM COLLAPSES and you realize that IT IS YET ANOTHER LEVEL OF DESPAIR and you keep FALLING and FALLING and TUMBLING and OH LORD WHEN WILL IT END and…Well. You get the idea. That is where I have been.

 
In case you can’t tell, it has been super fun. Like just damn near delightful.
 

Anyway. I am back now. Like, not back back –  I’m currently being sixteen levels of digested –  but I am no longer free-falling further and further into the three-hundredth-and-twenty-seventh layer of hell. What’s that, you thought there were only nine? Well I’ve got news for you, my friend; Dante is a sad ass liar. Nine layers of hell, huh. I wish there was only nine. I’d sell my soul for only nine.*

 
But Girl With Words, I hear you say in your non-existent voices, however did you escape layers three-hundred-and-twenty-seven through to three-hundred-and-three? Are you magic? What saved you?

 
Well kids, let me tell you.

Gather round, dear children.

Are you ready?

 

 
Nothing saved me.


Sad, huh.


I wish I had an inspirational post to write about the power of music and bands and the hope they provide (cough), but this time, I don’t. There was no AND I AM FINALLY FREE moment.** I wish there was. Posts like this work much better when I can get out my trusty red grammar police sharpie and circle a moment and say, THERE. THAT’S IT. THAT FIXED ME.

Maybe I will be able to do so in future, but as of today, I am not fixed.

What I am is a work in progress.

And that is okay.

 

Now. Please do not get me wrong. While it is true that nothing saved me, that doesn’t mean nothing helped me. Or that no one helped me. People helped me, you guys. People help. Not all people suck.  Most people suck. But not all people suck. Who even knew, right?
 

Firstly, I have a wonderful treatment team. Like for real. Wonderful. I have had many, many treatment teams in my lifetime and I can honestly say the people who work with me right now are hands down the best, she claimed, and more; a battle-scarred conquistadorrrrrr….ahem. Excuse me.***



Secondly, although it is tied for firstly, I have an incredible family. A legitimately amazing family like the ones you read about in storybooks and epic works of fiction and you wish families like that existed and then it hits you that they are real and you have one. And you need to take a moment to doubly triply quadrupley check that you’re not mistaken because damn, how is this even real? But they are real. And they are yours. And they love you, even when you wish they didn’t.


Thirdly, I have fabulous, kind, patient, and loving friends. Friends who have repeatedly resolutely refused [try saying that three times fast] to ditch me even after I gave them approximately eight hundred reasons to. Per week. I will never understand why people like, love, or care about me, but I will be endlessly grateful that they do.


Finally, although there is nothing final about this because it matters every single day, through the combined efforts of the above three groups of my favourite humans, as well as some hard situations and a lot of working on yuck things and crying and giving up and crying and giving up and trying again and wearing my hair across my face like a patented Hair Shield Of Invisibility™ and also crying and did I mention the crying? No? Well, there were tears. Like Alice in Wonderland level tears:

 




 
…as well as all that and about a gazillion other things, I am officially at the point where I am 5000% D O N E with the bullshit inside my brain and am BEYOND ready to beat it right out of my head with a baseball bat.


Game on. @ my brain, fight me. Cash me ousside, how bowdah? I guarantee you will lose.

 


Sometimes, kids, nothing saves you.

 
Sometimes, no grand moment or event or person or band gives you the thing you need to hold on or renew the fight against your Neurons Of Mass Depression™.

 
But sometimes, no thing saves you. Singular. Sometimes it is so many things Рso many wonderful, kind, compassionate people, as well as your dogs, and following your passion by returning to study to get your second degree, and reading Harry Potter for the sixty-seventh time, and yes, listening to your favourite bands Рsometimes it is so so so many things and people and events and everything everything everything that you cannot pinpoint the exact moment when your voice became louder than the noise inside your head. You cannot name the final piece that completed the puzzle. Sometimes, and I know that this is a clich̩ but it is a clich̩ because it is so damn true, but sometimes, nothing and no one saves you. With the help of others, and I mean a lot of help and a lot of others, you can learn to save yourself.

 

So yeah, folks.



And expect more posts from me on this topic and on mental health in general, mental health recovery, my love for Jared Leto [which still burns like the fire of a thousand suns just fyi], and hopefully some fiction too because as we all know, rambling into the wind is what I do best.

 

Take care and I MISSED YOU ALL GROUP HUG

 




Xoxox

 

 

*No I wouldn’t. But, y'know. Don't lie to me about only nine circles of hell, Dante, you jackass.

**I’ll tell you what though, my ability to drop a good Mars lyric into literally every conversation has not suffered or broken or tired or wasted, surrendered to nothing or given up…

***I legitimately cannot help it.


TITLE LYRICS: 'Without Me' by Eminem

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Studying.


You sit at your desk in the cold, dim room, contemplating the textbook in front of you. You stare at the words, but they are meaningless. They twist off the page in obscure terms you don’t understand. Oligodendrocytes. Astrocytes. Schwann cells. Terms you should know – terms you do know, in some small, quiet part of your brain – but for now at least, they are meaningless.

Everything is meaningless.

Your stomach twists.

Absently, you list its contents in the order you imagine they sit.

A few cubes of watermelon [9; 87 grams].

A few grapes [also 9; 36 grams].

A bite of bread.

Some leaves of lettuce.

An entire baby cucumber.

Two cherry tomatoes.

A slice of low-cal-gluten-free-fat-free-dairy-free-egg-free-everything-free bread smothered in salt and raw vegetables and a positively sinful sprinkling of vegan coconut oil cheese then grilled to resemble pizza. Pizza!

Many, many litres of sugar-free drinks.

Your stomach twists again.

You blink, attempting yet again to focus on what you are reading.

Supposed to be reading.

 

You find yourself in front of the fridge.

You feel off balance, unsure when the time lapsed between sitting at your desk and standing in front of the fridge fingering tubs of soy yoghurt as though they are precious metals.

You slam fridge shut and stalk back to your desk. Chug down the remainder of the bottle of water you keep with you at all times. Tap your fingers on the laminate. Arrange your pens. Blindly stare at the pages of the textbook.

Studiously ignore the gaping hole inside you that seems to be growing by the minute.

 

You’re in front of the fridge again.

You scowl at your legs – so weak, so needy – and attempt to reason with yourself.

One soy yoghurt = 113 calories.

Six grapes = 20 calories.

A sprinkling of a crushed muesli bar on top = 47 calories.

Not too bad, you lie to yourself. It will be okay. It will be okay.

You take a coke – zero, of course – and go back to your desk. Punch the numbers into your calorie trackers. Multiple. Just in case. In case of what, exactly, you aren’t sure, but just in case.

You try to drink the coke zero slowly, to prove to yourself that you don’t actually need it, you’re not actually hungry, but you fail. It is gone before you even finish adding up the numbers for the ninth and final time.

Okay, you decide. Okay.

 

Back at the fridge.

It groans at you. Hums. Stutters and stops.

Judging you.

Mocking you.

Weak, it sings. Weak, weak, weak.

You ignore it.

Spend ten minutes choosing a flavour of yoghurt. They are all the same number of calories according to the label, which is clearly lying, but the flavour is of the upmost importance. Mango and peach is the worst. Strawberry is the best. Apricot and blueberry fall somewhere in between.

You settle on mango and peach.

No sense getting crazy about it.

You spend an additional fifteen minutes choosing a suitable flavour of muesli bar to crumble on top.

By now, 45 minutes have elapsed since that first stomach twist.

You wonder if it’s even worth the effort at all.

Your stomach twists again, harder this time. Just to let you know, it is.

Muesli bar picked. You weigh everything, starting with the six grapes [17 calories; you picked the smallest ones because those three calories matter, okay], the yoghurt [sure it says 125 grams on the tub, but how can you be sure if you don’t check?], and finally, the tip of a muesli bar, pulverised onto the surface of the yoghurt. You spend an inordinate amount of time ensuring that it is precisely 9 grams so your numbers add up. They have to add up. They just have to.

It’s been an hour now.

You take the yoghurt back to your desk. Sit it there and stare at it, proving to yourself that you don’t need to eat it. You don’t. You don’t. You don’t.

You peel the grapes and eat the skins, even though they are bitter and not very pleasant. You do it because you counted 25 grams of grapes and good grief you’re going to get your 25 grams of grapes.

You sip water in-between each grape skin from the fresh bottle you took from the fridge.

You can’t drink water out of a glass. You just can’t. You don’t even know why. It’s just how it’s always been.

When the grapes are peeled and the skins eaten, you pop their sticky insides into your mouth like candy. One, two, three. If you listen hard enough, you can almost hear the faint splash as they hit the toxic pool of stomach acid, water, and aspartame inside you.

Grapes gone.

The yoghurt is probably warm by now.

You don’t care.

You dip the plastic spoon – yoghurt must always, always be eaten with a plastic spoon – inside the tub and slowly remove it. You shake off any errant muesli bar crumbs. A thin sheen of yoghurt glistens at you, daring you to eat it.

After a few moments of arguing with yourself, you do.

Carefully.

Slowly.

Licking the translucent coating off the spoon then gulping down water. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

This continues for half the tub.

Then

something

snaps.

You begin to take bigger spoonfuls.

Mouthfuls.

Barely pausing to swallow.

Barely pausing to breathe.

The wild, ravenous hunger you work so hard to keep at bay appears and you are ill equipped to combat it.

Within seconds, the yoghurt is gone.

As is the nine whole grams of muesli bar.

Your heart is literally pounding.

Your check your pulse.

131. Fat burning zone, according to fitbit.

You can’t help but laugh.

Weakly.

Your brain insists that you get another yoghurt.

And another.

And another.

Eat, it whispers. Eat.

You close your eyes and imagine eating two more. Three more. All of them. All of them. All of them.

But with closed eyes comes the images – pictures, thoughts, memories – that you try so hard to bury and suddenly your appetite is gone. Hunger is replaced by nausea. Guilt. Shame. Disgust.

You throw away the evidence and scrub your teeth. Gargle mouthwash. Drink yet more water until you can feel it sloshing around with every step you take.

Sit at your desk.

It’s colder, now.

And read.