Coping

There’s a fine line between making yourself better, and pretending you’re making yourself better. And sometimes it’s easy to know when you’re faking it, and sometimes not so much. 

Right now it’s the former. Exercising and healthy eating is my cover up, a reason to look to the future and see positively. My old best friend once told me “you’ll never be happy with the way you look”, and she’s right. This fever will break soon enough, when I lose weight and still see the same me in the mirror, unchanged. 

But for now, if this gets me through the days without hurting myself, I’m all for pretending. 

The backlash of a diagnosis

This last week has seen every emotion I have, and managed to sap any energy I had left over from a busy month. 

This time last week I had done one exam, preparing for the next. My focus was solely on being able to pass my exams after missing so many lectures and being so disengaged. This meant the comfort and study eating was real — buying food out rather than making it was quicker, and snacking on chocolate and crisps was much more satisfying. I knew I had probably gained weight and this is normal, I was giving myself the grace to do what I needed. 

A few days later I started to feel the damage. Once my focus had drifted from exams, I started to notice that I had maybe gained a bit of weight, but i knew I could probably lose it again. 

Thursday I had a follow up CBT appointment to decide on treatment and more information. Here, all my thoughts and worries spewed out, and both I and the therapist realised the root of a lot of my problems – the way I look. She diagnosed me with body dysmorphia disorder, a disorder which means you see yourself in a distorted or exaggerated way that is not true to real life and there is a constant focus on the way you look. I cried instantly with relief, and then I cried in sadness. Why? Why couldn’t this be easier. 

I got home, sat for a while and wondered what to do next, and settled on going out and buying some shorts, a move I have not previously made. I wanted a big fuck you to my head, that I could wear them, atleast out of my bedroom and not feel such a huge shame for my legs that are so different to everyone else’s in my flat. A weight had been lifted, that someone had actually seen what I experienced as unusual and not normal. 

And of course, the doubt kicked in. I looked down and I could see the ripples of uneven skin, and the excess fat flattening on the floor when I sat down. 

But seriously, what if my legs are as big as I think they are, are as wobbly and have as much cellulite, but I focus on it too much, and that’s what makes me different. How is it possible that I actually see myself differently? Surely that’s not a thing that can actually exist. It’s an excuse. It’s an excuse to settle with myself for how I am rather than what I can be. 

I don’t know what I see when I look in the mirror and that’s more terrifying than I realised. The more I think about it, the more it dawns on me that I am not in control of my perception or how I see myself. 

 
It’s made my realise I feel so detached from my body. I don’t recognise that it’s mine, because I don’t actually know what it looks like. I don’t know if I can look at it holistically at all, it’s just mismatched parts stuck together that don’t work together. 

I experienced my first realisation about how linked everything is since my appointment. I got stressed, and I got uncomfortable. I was annoyed with the tv (first world problems), and I began to feel my belt digging into my stomach, and my arms moving under my cardigan and the way my trousers tightened when I sat down and I couldn’t bear it. I wanted to tear into my skin and scream, looking for someway to escape the feeling that I was growing in a matter of minutes. 

Sometimes I just want to let it win. It would be so easy just to go back to bed, and give up on fighting back and just accept that this will be me now. 

My real problem. Why the fuck do I have to write a blog post on my diet and my body. I could write about so many things, there’s so much more to me that this, I know that and yet, I choose this. Because this is the one thing that dominates my mind. I am not comfortable if everything is not perfect. My feelings on my body reflect how I act in everyday life – I want everything to be perfect, predictable and easy, but life, and managing bodies are none of those. My stomach bloats after a big meal, sometimes it’s just a bad hormone day, sometimes you just can’t eat anymore salad. 

I really can’t find the words to express my experience of BDD, partly because the feelings change day to day, and hour to hour. I’ve tried to quite a few people, and find myself just repeating the same things “I know I sound vain but it’s not like that”, “I hope I don’t sound dramatic”, “it’s hard to explain” in fear that I just sound like i want attention from a made up illness. I’m so tired of being weak, this last year I have felt nothing but. I keep telling myself that this is the up, and that it will get better now, and yet there always seems to be something shoving me back down again. 

The only hope I have is that my depression and anxiety have carried on, potentially because I have not found the root of them. And this diagnosis may be part of that, the underlying cause, which in my eyes is quite feasible. I explained BDD this evening as my underlying mood – I could have the best time, but if I don’t feel confident and ‘right’ in myself, that can dictate it from behind the scenes, tainting a lovely memory. From September I will start therapy properly, and until then I will work on making myself feel better in my own skin. I want this to be my better year, where I finally get control of my head again and stop making excuses for myself constantly. I’m fed up of apologising for being a burden, or being weak or for crying for no reason again.

So far the shorts haven’t been worn outside of my room. But I’m only hoping it’s a matter of time before I get the strength too. 

P.s. I’m sorry if this post is a bit all over the place, it took me 5 days to write it,because I couldn’t get the words out. 

Scarves 

The beach is, and always has been, my happy place.
I am so reluctant to ever refer to what I suffer with as depression. And I think it’s because I hate that I suffer from it. I hate that I talk about it and I hate that it’s even a thing that exists and I hate that it’s a part of me. 

It’s mysterious, it weaves itself in quickly through my thoughts, turning a moderate day, into a slightly less bearable one, to one i can’t wait to get to the end of, to one I can’t live in anymore, and I can feel myself kicking and screaming inside my skin. 

Most days I can act normal. I can act like it’s not happening and this battle isn’t being fought in my soul. But days like today, I’m sure you can see it in my glazed eyes and the way my mouth stays still and mute, in fear everything will fall out and crumble.

It casts a thin veil on all I do, like little black scarves, partly concealing pieces of my mind one by one, until everything I have in me is darkened and there’s no way out. 

This morning I was okay, it felt like any neutral day would feel. But a trigger happens and I feel guilt, and another happens and I feel anger, and another happens and I feel stress and suddenly I feel the shift and I’m gone. And I can’t see anything positive. Everything is covered by a scarf and there’s no way out to bring me back, and the panic hits. 

Today, I am close to breaking. But not in the usual way. Normally there are tears and panic. But today, there is nothing. I felt the guilt, anger, and stress and I felt it leave me as swiftly as it arrived. I can’t see the whole picture anymore, and I am filled with blanks that I can’t complete. I know that I should feel okay and that I should just be able to push through, but I’ve lost the ability to know how, and the strength to find it again. And I’m scared, the parts of me I know hide away. 

Going to the sea tonight helped, its given me a few blanks back. But I am no way as complete as I was yesterday, and the day before. And it will take time to get to that point again, but I hope it won’t be too long. 

You’re lying to me

I’m sure my lips form this sentence at least every other day, and on the other days my mind whispers it frequently.

I have been complaining over the size of my legs for years. They obviously know it bothers me so give me an easy answer.

They know I couldn’t solve it quickly if I wanted to, so why tell me the truth.

They think it would hurt my feelings too much to say.

They can’t be bothered with the backlash afterwards if they were honest.

 

And it’s not even just people that lie.

 

It’s just a good angle of photo.

It’s good lighting.

You’re having a good day because you’ve eaten well and been to the gym.

It’s just the outfit, it’s not normal life.

 

For the first time in such a long time, yesterday I caught myself in the mirror at the gym. I looked in proportion. I looked like everyone else. I was a normal shape. I looked strong, I looked sexy. Maybe I can see what the others see. Maybe this is actually me.

 

But bad feelings are so much stronger than good, and before long, I’m convinced I imagined it. I don’t even know where the truth is anymore.

IMG_2566

Thinking myself unhappy

I haven’t written in a few days, and don’t get me wrong – I’ve had a lovely few days. And maybe that’s the problem? Not an actual problem, just for me. When I feel happy in those times, when I can honestly tell myself I am happy, I worry that I won’t feel that again for a while.

I do it to myself – I think about being happy so much I think myself unhappy. I don’t appreciate the quiet times, that I look back on and miss. I don’t enjoy the drives home or the peace of going from one activity to another. I don’t enjoy being on my own, until I actually am and can occupy my mind with something, doing my nails or sketching. Otherwise it occupies itself with thoughts, both unnecessary and pointless.

It annoys me I can’t relish in the moment. I’ve actually started to just get annoyed at myself for being down and feeling this way. And it annoys me that surely if I am annoyed at myself for feeling the way I do, I should be able to change it, right? But depression doesn’t work that way. It’s not as predictable as my anxiety would like it to be.

And that’s the problem. The awful, cruel combination of feeling nothing, and the worry that it could strike any moment. That I could be having a great day, or a great week, and a thought will come into my head and it all changes.

It’s a habit, a bad habit of my mind. And it snatches away at moments I know in the future I am going to wish I could relive.

My aim for this evening: tell my thoughts to do one.

A spur of the moment decision = new therapy

I’ve always been a lover of drawing, and in some cases I think I’m quite good at it. But I get annoyed if I can’t do something right or if the structure could be better and so on, my patience isn’t very high when it comes to drawing apparently!! 

Today I went on a day trip to Brighton and had such a good day, and while I was there went into a little art shop. And. Fell. In. Love. 

It was amazing (cass art if anyone wants to know). I have been looking at drawing books for a while to help with my annoyance of structure, and found this one called Draw by Jake Spicer, and so far so good!

It goes through different categories of drawing, as well as explaining the basics and tools and materials. I definitely recommend for those like me that know how to draw, just need some support with it! 

So I’m on the drawing hype again and starting off with basics! I’m already finding it soothing and think I’ll add it along with my list of things to do when times are hard. 


(My hand… Not perfect but I quite like it!)

Happiness is…


An evening walk, and a heart to heart with the sister (and dog, but he was passed out in the car by the time the talk happened!!)

It’s a shame my phone camera couldn’t pick it up well enough, I live in some beautiful places ❤️

Why does depression favour the night?

Its the eerie silence of the world to match the whispering thoughts of the mind and the tears that fall.

The breath begging to be heard, slow and pained like the depths of the deepest sea.

The occasional voice or bang from the outside, momentarily thieving attention before being swept once again by the mighty wind.

The minuscule sound of a watch, counting passing seconds full of wondering, questioning and waiting, never giving mercy,

Posibilities and what ifs spinning and winding like that of the hands, before landing once again in an all familiar place.

The darkness, matching the bleak, cloudy thoughts of midnight in the middle of autumn.

Seeking solace in mundane dark corners and maze like hallways, finding a comforting peace, like entering a childhood bedroom.

Its draws in its clutches, gripping hold of promises of unseen obstacles and regrets of the next day and beyond,

Dancing alongside prospects of unsolicited promises and hopes, around and around until finally,

sleep falls and silences all.

 

 

Uncertainty 

I think the worst part of suffering with depression for me, is never knowing how I will wake up. Whether things will look brighter in the morning, or whether my mood will deteriorate. I seem to have such manic dreams that I feel as if I’ve lived for so long sometimes, and I just wake up more tired than I went to bed. 

I have been trying to write a poem, but the words aren’t coming together very well. 

Hopefully, words will come to me soon. I need to remember that a bad day is okay to happen — it doesn’t mean I’m not recovering, just that it’s not straight forward and linear. It’s difficult to see when you’re in the midst of it all. 

Take care, x

Everything will be okay

There’s nothing like breathing a little sigh of relief. 

This doesn’t happen often, normally the worries get a hold and I start panicking over things that haven’t happened yet or the things that could happen or over thinking things that have happened. 

But at the moment those things aren’t mattering. 

Coming back home today has been lovely, nice to see the family, had an awesome steak salad and ran back at home. Now on the sofa with tea watching my new obsession… downton abbey. 

And this doesn’t mean to say things haven’t gone wrong today, just that I’m starting to let them brush over like clouds in the wind. 

It’s making me realise that being on a high dose of happy pills isn’t the worst thing ever. After a bit of a fight about it, surely something that makes my brain function like a normal person can’t be all that bad. I  think I feared people can see it, and that the tablets control me more than me controlling myself. But realising now, I’m still me, but all they do is level me out.  After all, I would say the same thing to other people, and learn the same at uni. 

Just a shame I can’t take my own advice!
P.s landscape photos are becoming a habit, so here’s some of the lovely harbour  ❤️