I’m not going to tame this post. It’s not going to be something fluffy and sweet, what is below the cut may trigger people. But I need to get it out, so it may be a post you want to skip by. Trust me on this, I could just skip writing it but that ain’t going to happen. I suggest if you could be triggered for self harm then don’t look. By self harm, I mean eating disorders, alcohol abuse, drug use, and cutting, these are my forms of self harm and that’s what I see them as, it doesn’t mean that everyone does and I respect that. It’s not an easy post to write, but it’s one that I need to get out.
There are ways I used once upon a time to cope. Ones that I still find tempting but will not give in to. Why? Because I promised my sisters, I promised myself, and one person whom I respect to no end has told me she’s proud of me for not using those coping methods any more. On particularly bad days or over particularly bad years I would:
- take a sharp blade to my skin (usually my thighs) and allow the blood to pour from my veins. I would feel the pain, see the blood and for a brief moment the rush it caused would numb the emotional pain. Until I woke up the next day and beat myself up over the fact I’d attacked my body.
- Binge and purge or starve and exercise. When I was being bullied at school (seven years of it), I would alternately do these things. At one point my calorie intake was down to about an eighth of what it should have been for a healthy teenager and I was doing four dance classes, gymnastics and trampolining. At another point, I ate ten packets of hot dog sausages, two boxes of cereal and brought it back up. I felt like I didn’t deserve to eat, wasn’t good enough, wasn’t worthy. None of it had to do with weight. It was about control. Unfortunately it has left me with weight issues and I have to remind myself to eat occasionally.
- Drink myself into oblivion so I couldn’t feel anything any more. One particular bender at uni lasted from the Monday to the early hours of the Saturday morning and I still can’t remember getting to the airport and getting back to my then home. I do know I slept for roughly two days after that. Mum attributed it to exhaustion and having lost two people I cared about in the same week. I know that I went through a major detox for about a week after that and it wasn’t the only time. Thankfully I haven’t had an issue with alcohol as I’ve gotten older. I know it could have been a very different story.
- Smoke pot. Yup I tried that too. At uni. It was another way to cope with the pain by ignoring it. After Mum died I smoked myself into a stupor once back in halls. Every time I felt on the verge of breaking down I’d light another joint. And I had friends willing to provide the pot. That continued on and off for a couple of years.
Today has been a bad day. 29th December always will be. It is a day engrained in my mind. A reminder that I lost Mum and the arsehole who contributed the other half of my DNA is still alive. It’s his 65th birthday and last night that caused flashbacks and my PTSD took control for a while. But I recognised what was happening. That’s a step in the right direction for me and something that wouldn’t have happened even a year ago. I reached out to my sisters, reached out and with their help took control. Today I’ve indulged in my favourite shows, rearranged the bedroom, done a charity shop run and eaten good food. Today I have chosen to cope in ways that won’t give me adverse issues (well other than the fact I think I’ve pulled something when rearranging furniture).
So now, as my side is hurting, I’m going to sit and watch television, make rainbow loom band bracelets to sell for C3, cook a good dinner, and allow myself to relax. This post is another way to cope with today. It’s reminded me of how far I’ve come. I’m lucky that in my life I’ve had some amazing people stick by me, some truly inspirational people who have kept me going, and this year, someone has re-entered my life in a completely different way and they have kept me pushing forward and I truly believe that they are an angel sent by whatever higher power is up there. If they read this they will think I’m nuts (so I’m hoping they don’t), but I truly do see it that way.
Here’s to the next year being better than this one. Here’s to the healing that has begun continuing.