Monday, 27 December 2010

Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose

“If you wait to do everything until you're sure it's right, you'll probably never do much of anything.”
- Win Borden
I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to work things out, to figure out why the last couple of months have been so awful and where it all went wrong. I didn't realise how much had happened leading up to, and possibly to, contributing to this recent bout of blackness.

Since I finished my first year of university back in May things have been gradually going wrong.
I don’t like the summer and it is usually an incredibly crap time for me.

2004: bad relationship/rape
2005: height of my anorexia/low weight/physical crap/countless appointments/eventually IP Sept
2007: bad relapse but pulled myself out of it/consider it to be the start of my true recovery
2008: second rape/psychotic breakdown/depression/IP
2009: severe self-harm and ending up in a&e getting stitches every other night/crisis house

This year I was already going to the day hospital, because I took two pretty serious overdoses, dangerous amounts, and the fact that I washed them down with whole bottles of absinthe, and the latter one being on a train on my own – but they weren’t planned and they weren’t really suicide attempts. They were impulsive. The first one I just had a thought that completely took over me, that I had to take 30 pills, and I did it without thinking. It was like a task. But it came on in a minute and I didn’t plan to do it, or really even think that it would kill me, I just didn’t care if it did. The second one I really did want to die, but when you have BPD no-one ever believes that... and then end of July time I was assaulted by an old bloke on a bus, went home in a bit of a state, for the first time ever I started getting real flashbacks, got home and got told it was all my own fault because I was ‘dressed up and asking for it’, there was a physical fight between me and my parents, the crisis team came out with the fucking police, they wanted to arrest me and refused to take me into hospital, and I just fucking lost it and went to the bathroom to slash my arm up, so they couldn’t arrest me and I had to go to a&e in a fucking ambulance, when all I needed was so fucking steri-stripes, anxious as fuck because my Mum was threatening to kill herself, and I’m the one that gets fucking carted off in an ambulance... The next day I went to the crisis house again and the crisis team said that they didn’t think I can any mental health difficulties, my parents wouldn’t let me back home and I was virtually kicked out onto the street until I broke down completely and my psychiatrist stuck up for me. SERIOUSLY, THE CRISIS TEAM WERE GOING TO KICK ME OUT ONTO THE STREET, and then a bit after than I rang them up in a state with pills all counted out and they asked me what and how much and said ‘well, that won’t kill you’ and hung the fucking phone up on me.

So all in all I went back to university under a bit of a cloud, but I coped alright for a couple of weeks just before lectures started, then things went downhill all over again.

The first thing that happened was that one of my flatmates friends came over one night, apparently only drank a couple of beers, but was completely drunk, aggressive, and eventually unconscious. I think because I’m slightly older they look to me to sort things like that out, and at the time I did, called the ambulance, who refused to take him in, so we sat up all night with him. Cool. Calm. Collected. In the moment. Until it was all over. And then I wasn’t in the moment anymore but six years ago dealing with the same shit from my cunthead alcoholic rapist of an ex-boyfriend., and since then I got flashbacks pretty much every day until... well, it’s still ongoing... I’ve got support sessions at rape crisis starting next month so...

Then, I got sick, physically ill, constant headaches, not being able to stand light or sound, dizzy spells, blacking out, and I was terrified, I didn’t know what was going on, I lost all my social life because I couldn’t go out and do anything, I couldn’t make it into lectures, I started staying in, then staying in my room, then staying in bed... It turns out that I was only anaemic, easily solved, but the damage had already been done and the depression had kicked in. I quit university.

It’s been a while since I’ve known true, major depression, and it’s never been this bad before, or at least not for so long, barely speaking, not going out, locking myself in my room, ignoring the phone, ignoring people knocking, the only place that I went to was A&E to get stitched up, the last time I had to get sorted out my plastics and some of the sensations in my arm has gone so I’ve been too scared to do it again, flashbacks, nightmares, counting, checking, skin crawling anxiety, the only thing that I thought about was suicide, in every possible, conceivable way, it was like a fantasy, a lullaby that got me through those nights, the knowledge that there was a way out... and then I tried it, genuinely planned a night where I was alone and got a handful of a way through a box of painkillers before breaking down, I couldn’t do it, and the worst thing is I don’t even know why. I don’t even know what stopped me.

It’s been just over a month since that night and things have gradually got better, I changed meds from Cymbalta to Mirtazapine and its pulled me right back from that edge, of suicidal ideation and cutting and insomnia, I still have days where I don’t go out, or get up, but that’s a sort of safe depression, rather than a raging out of control hopelessness, and I know the value of life now, even if not the value of my own.

I’m still anxious as fuck a lot of time, the whole time I’ve been at home for Christmas I’ve been too scared to sleep at night, I am sure that it would be all too easy for someone to get through my window... Ah, see, anxious! If anything it’s worse since I changed meds so I don’t really know what to think about that, I try hard to not let it dictate what I can do but when you’re just sitting on your own at home and feel sick, or you try to go to sleep but you can’t because you can’t breathe right, it’s frustrating and pretty awful to feel.

I don't know what it means to be aware of all these things, these triggers, I don’t know if it makes me feel more or less in control. Knowledge isn't always power and understanding isn't the same as solving, it's definitely not the same as preventing. And if things outside of myself have caused my to crack up so completely, then what's to stop the same things, or more things, doing the same next month, or next year, or ten years from now. Or what if done of them caused it and it just happened for no reason other than my brain deciding to shoot out a whole load of crazy chemicals. Which is more frightening? The possibility that your brain can and will work from the inside to bring you down, or that the world is full of people and places and things that will do it for you.

I have no idea about 2011 in terms of what I’m doing, whether I’m going back to my degree, or any of that stuff. I just want to get... well, go the support sessions, maybe the counselling, and just... not get over, but at least cope better with all the trauma stuff, because I tried for year to deny it and just carry on like normal, but I think I’ve reached that point over the second half of this year where you just can’t do that anymore because it doesn’t work, and I can’t pretend that how unwell and fucked up i get over the summer is one big coincidence, because it’s probably not, it’s probably all related to what happened, and if I don’t deal with it in a different way, by actually dealing with it instead of denying it, then it’s just going to keep coming back, every summer, and like this year’s proved, it doesn’t even constrain itself to that time frame anymore, and if you let it take over like that then you’re only really letting them beat you in the end, letting them win, and frankly I’m fucking tired of letting them have that kind of power over me.

This is the right time to try and deal with it, not because I feel ready or brave or fearless or strong, but because if it's not now it's never, and I'm not prepared to wait that long.

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