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Sunday, 28 December 2014

A blog for Jesus

Recently there was a discussion about religion in my family and it made me stop and think about how I ended up where I am now.

I was raised as a Christian. I went to Sunday School, I learned about Christianity at school and I was confirmed in the church when I was about 13.

Whenever I was at primary school though, it occurred to me that a lot of what I was being told made no sense. I even remember when I was 11 my teacher saying to me "you're more of a scientific person aren't you Rachael?" I think it was pretty clear I wasn't going to blindly believe in something I had doubts about.

Alas, I went along with religion for a couple of years for my dad's sake. At secondary school I tried out the Scripture Union although, once again, I was not that convinced. Around the first couple of years of secondary school I referred to myself as "Agnostic" ie. I had no idea if it was right or wrong but felt it was dubious.

Things made less and less sense and I stopped partaking in any religious activity. I held my head high during prayer time with my eyes open and I skipped out on obviously religious talks being held for our year to listen to.

I started referring to myself as an atheist about halfway through secondary school. Although that sounds pretty concrete about what I believed, there were still ambiguities. If heaven doesn't exist, what does happen when I die? This went unanswered in my mind for a few years to come.

As I became more and more depressed, I tried anything I could to make myself feel better. I decided to try out Christianity once more and began to read some Bible passages at night. I thought it would give my life meaning and make me feel like I'm worth something.

I couldn't have been more wrong. I'm not sure what other people read into in those passages but all I felt was that I'm an even worse person than I originally thought. I gave up.

Next, I decided to print out the entire book of the Church of Satan to try out. I'm not too sure why but I didn't feel I fit into it either. I don't think I loved myself enough to warrant being selfish. I next was willing to try Buddhism but at this point thought maybe religion wasn't for me.

My current thinking is that religion works for a lot of people to help them through difficult times or just to guide them in their life. It shouldn't be hated on for that purpose. Personally, I'm trying to figure out how to get through life and get through difficult times with my own inner strength. I want to be able to guide myself.

My current thinking for the afterlife is that there is nothing. Once it ends, it ends. The elements that make up my body will return to earth to become part of something else. But for me? Everything stops. That may sound a little depressing but I try not to think about it.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

medilife

These days things aren't so bad. I last cut just over 3 weeks ago.

My focus recently has been on my physical health above all else. I've been using the exercise bike downstairs (almost to excess at times) and going for long walks with the dog.

I find I prefer the exercise bike. I can burn many more kcal in much less time when compared to walking the dog. Of course, the focus when I exercise is on my weight. In all honesty, I was told to diet and exercise to lower my cholesterol (it's on the high side of okay) but I do like taking things to extremes. When given the opportunity to focus on my weight, I'll take it and - quite literally - run with it. The whole thing is giving me a decent reason to actually change something I hate most about myself: my appearance.

I don't have the same worries when walking down the street now as I did as a teenager. Back then I worried about people thinking I was a weirdo; now I worry about people thinking "look at how fat she is" when they look at me. I feel at this point my whole self worth is based upon my looks. I could be the smartest, funniest, most interesting, fun woman in the world and I'd still think I'm worthless because of my physical appearance.

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Above is a post I was working on a few months ago and decided not to post. Things have since changed quite a bit...


Saturday, 14 June 2014

More Than a Cut

There is an ongoing struggle to keep myself relatively sane. One issue I face is the cutting. I stopped it for a while but actually just replaced it with something else. Cutting oneself isn't very convenient or socially acceptable. Drugs, however, are easily hidden/consumed. Because of this, I turned to co-codamol. Nothing "extreme", something you could get over the counter quite easily.

It's so much easier to just make myself high on something - something I know will kick in and will make me feel better. The problem, however, is that the amount I was taking was "potentially harmful to my liver." This was something always mentioned by my doctors, my counsellors, my social worker but not really anywhere else. I'd be lying if I said it didn't make it much easier for me to get away with such addiction issues with those around me being so clueless.

The cutting was something that couldn't be hidden inside my body. This make it a lot more noticeable to... well... everyone. Having to constantly be on guard about those close to me discovering what I'd done wasn't easy and wasn't preferable. If they did find out, all hell would break loose. There'd be confrontation, screaming, crying, me getting more upset and ultimately just repeating the whole cycle again by cutting to make myself feel better.

People don't understand the cutting. After so many years, I think I do a bit more. My understanding has warped over time though and only began with the simple things you're told in leaflets or info pages about it. Maybe it's just my progression through the years; it used to be enough to cause myself some pain. Then it moved on to needing to see blood. Then it was needing deeper and wider wounds. I've reached a point of where if I don't make at least one cut deep enough to remove any touch sensation in that spot, it's not good enough and I must keep going. That's a worrying place to be.

I am trying my best to identify situations which may lead me to feel like self harming. With the help of counselling and a book I've recently read, I think I've made some progress; I'm no longer taking co-codamol (I'm not sure how long that will last) but I have recently cut for the first time in a few months (and I reached my goal of cutting away the sensation). I figure these things should be handled one step at a time and I have never had to be hospitalised or had to receive stitches for cutting myself. 

I do find it strange how outside of the medical profession, drug abuse is more widely accepted than self harm when the former causes such serious damage to the internal organs and cutting is damage that is skin deep (and heals itself relatively quickly). Perhaps it is because the damage is just that: internal. We're taught to internalise everything as we grow up. When were you ever specifically taught a healthy way to express your emotions?

I wish I had one.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Brain Drain

It has been rather a long time since I last wrote anything on here (not that I haven't been meaning to.) Nothing specifically eventful has happened which has made it even more difficult for me to write.

Mainly, I've been plagued by continuing face pain making it difficult to get through the day. I'm not talking normal "I'll take some painkillers and it'll go away" pain; I'm talking 2 minutes max of extreme debilitating pain that actually makes me curl up into a little ball (I'm not sure how that would help - it's just an automatic response.)

I have actually been down to Dublin since I last wrote for an MRI. Quite a terrifying experience, made worse by me taking an extra 80mg Propranolol in hopes it would make me less anxious...

Actually, it made it impossible for them to find a vein for the dye and resulted in a very painful burst vein after the nurses called a doctor down to try. He told me at the time it would leave a very impressive bruise and he was right. If you're into that kinda thing here's a picture taken when I got home that day and here's one 2 days after.

As I said, the experience was quite scary even without the whole vein thing. Everyone was so nice though. It was a private clinic because the NHS list for an MRI scan was so long and they were outsourcing some down south. A very tiring day overall, I'm not used to travelling so far but my dad was there for me as he always is.

Another major event was visiting my month-and-a-bit old nephew in Malta at the end of February. Much anxiety but the weather was cool enough for me to get away with wearing a cardigan most of the time without sweating profusely. I wasn't feeling too great a lot of the time - I'll put it down to medication and a change of air - but I was alright aside from a few mild anxiety attacks (the first night sitting alone in my hotel room was the worst).

At the airport coming back I felt the stares of about 50 people in one room as I stood in the middle sleeveless. I know, realistically, many were too busy to notice me - I don't exactly scream out for attention. The feeling I get in that situation though is horrendous.

The worst part is I can feel every inch of pity people have for someone like me. "Aww poor girl" or even some "that's a lot of times to miss a vein"... ha. That's what I'd think, anyway.

More than anything, recently I've been trying to avoid any contact at all outside these four walls. I go and see my social worker, I see a psychiatrist when they want me to, I see my counsellor, I go for my medication every week, I see my boyfriend, anything more is unnecessary. Unless it's a situation where "if I don't do this, no-one else will", I avoid anything I possibly can.

My mood over the last few months has reached a new low. I spend a week or maybe two (if I'm lucky) just "going with the flow", nothing particularly on my mind, not focused on anything...

...then it turns. Gradually I actively think about things. I doubt things. I think about my future (or lack thereof.) I see little point in being around. I don't feel like it'd make much of a difference if I weren't around. I think it might even be easier for everyone if I wasn't. I remember things that have happened and I think of what I did to warrant them (because each and every time I can think of a reason I deserved them.)

The cutting has worsened. Well. In a way. One time required "medical attention", I guess that's the best way of putting it. No stitches needed since they saw it a couple days after it initially happened. It's healed quite well actually considering how it was. I should point out this is the one and only time in my 10 years or so of self harm that I had to get a nurse to look at it. That's an indicator of the point things are at.

The psychiatrist says my social worker is to see me a fair bit right now because of how I am. I think they're also hoping the Lyrica I've been put on to supplement the Tegretol will help my mood and anxiety (I forgot to mention my blood was tested to see if the Tegretol could be upped any more for my face... my blood levels showed that 1200mg a day was the max I could have of it.)

My life revolves around drugs right now: taking them at the right time, dealing with the side effects, self medicating to get to sleep, self medicating to stop anxiety... I've stopped cutting so much, replaced that with medication. That's something my mental health workers aren't too happy about. They'd rather I be cutting myself than giving myself liver damage. Liver damage is much easier to hide from others though isn't it?

I think I've covered pretty much everything that's happened/happening right now. I do realise I need to keep up the whole "blogging" thing... it's something that helps to keep my brain healthy at the very least.