I can tell you now that I probably won’t post for the next few days (to compensate for that, this one is very long). I won’t post because I’m struggling to post now, struggling to think and tolerate the combinations of words I keep typing and deleting and typing and deleting. I am self critical at the best of times. Right now, I hate everything about myself, and everything that occurs as a result of my actions. Right now, I’m almost in tears. But there is a panic. Not a pure panic, an emotive panic (only way I can think to describe it); my mind is backpedalling and scrabbling for something to hold onto and stamping on a brake pedal attached to wires that have been cut. Because I go back to university on Monday, and for weeks that has felt very, very far away. Until now. Until Monday the 9th of January is the day after tomorrow, and I have to start planning things, and even attempting to find out what time train to catch and thinking about the journey I have to make stresses me and makes my mind have an internalised panic attack until it shuts down and I smother some other thought over reality to stop it breaking me.
I can’t cope. With reality, with people, with functioning. I am trying so so hard to find it within myself to try as hard as I occasionally manage to, but I know things are going to fall as my sinking mind throws things overboard to try and keep itself afloat. I know this, because it’s what I’ve done for months now. And it’ll throw this blog overboard. And even when I try to post, I’ll end up sat for an hour getting frustrated at my inability to write what I want to say, what I want to project. Today I want to be upbeat and hide the way I feel, and I also want to let it out, and I can’t balance that in a big long string of words.
(T R I G G E R W A R N I N G – I’m getting as sick of writing that as you will be of reading it, so I’m putting it in different ways now).
Today my mum and I left for London in the morning and packed up everything in my accommodation. I didn’t do anything. I sort of sat there and stress-ate my way through an entire packet of cracker-type biscuits. I looked out the window, because when I turned around and looked at the chaos everywhere, my brain couldn’t see a way through it or around it and it got so stressed I almost cried. Logic deserted me. Logic would have told me that we had a system and we were sorting things and it was all going to go into the car and it just needed to be organised better. I don’t know what the rest of me thought, because it just caved in around me and deserted me as well. Pathetic. Illogical. I don’t like not understanding myself, I don’t like not being able to think my way out of a thing. I don’t like being out of control… And I was. I am.
My mum forgot bin bags to put my bedding and stuff in, so I had to walk back to where she parked her car to try and find them. She’d parked down a small side-road next to the ambulance station which is behind my accommodation. Thankfully, there were no ambulances outside, because they tend to induce panic, given my history with hospitals and the fact that they are always at the end of an ambulance ride. I found the bin bags (not that you care, don’t know why I’m even writing this). I had popped into the shop on the way to buy a bunch of food to eat (my subconscious reaction to the failure of any other alternative coping mechanism that didn’t involve not existing. Maybe if the monster was fed, it would stop trying to consume my life? No. But anyway). I was carrying this bag of shopping that had everything in it, and I was breaking and hurting and desperate and giving up… And my heart wanted what my heart wanted. And my head couldn’t rationalise well enough to tell it no. And I’d passed so many joggers and it broke me EVERY time. So I ran.
Only ten metres (actually, only past the ambulance station). I accidentally picked the perfect place to be such an idiot (even though in that moment it didn’t feel stupid, and it still doesn’t even though I know it was) because on a quiet, empty road right beside a building full of paramedics (where no humans other than those paramedics would see you in the mortifying situation you may end up in) is the PERFECT place to take a risk on a flaky organ, right?
I ran. I just ran. I couldn’t not. Honestly, I could not stop myself. Sirens were screaming in my head like STOP YOU IDIOT STOP. But there was this smile that I couldn’t not smile, and this huge, overpowering voice just shouted back BUT FEEL THIS. FEEL THIS. RIGHT IN THIS MOMENT I DON’T FEEL LIKE THERE’S NO WAY. RIGHT IN THIS MOMENT I AM OK. FEEL HOW GOOD THAT FEELS. WE’RE RUNNING, MONSTER, AND YOU CAN’T CATCH US. And I went with that voice. And it felt like I ran for minutes and minutes. Just a short little burst of jogging, and my mind was a bearable place to be.
But my body was not.
This seismic event happened in my chest as my heart rebelled, apparently siding with my brief and apparently fickle logical thoughts. I stopped running when I hit the pavement again (yes, I ran in the middle of the road, on the wrong side of the road, and I couldn’t see if there were cars coming, and they wouldn’t have seen me until it was too late, and I realise this now but right then I didn’t care). I walked, but there was this smile on my face and this spring in my step and this BUZZ running through me. My chest hurt. It HURT like it hasn’t for a long time, and the tremors of my cardiac earthquake returned to my no-longer-home with me, but my goodness I felt free. For the next few hours my heart hated me. It shouted at me and I ignored it. The inability to cope took over, sitting there while my room was sorted was exhausting, because at the moment even passive things like trying to watch TV are too much for my mind. And I kept just feeling trapped, not in the room, but in myself. I wanted to tear myself apart and let myself out. I wanted to put my hands on my head and tear away the hair and scalp and bone and whichever parts of my brain were being so illogical and unhelpful and destructive, and I wanted to release the suffocating, withering remains of myself. And I couldn’t. I withdrew. I curled up. I stared out of the window, but joggers kept running along the canal and through the park and every step they took was like a dagger in my mind and I just didn’t know how to… Be.
Driving to London this time wasn’t as stressful as usual. Leaving was nowhere near as much of a lifeline. I didn’t realise how tense and stressed I’d get at certain landmarks along the journey back to university until I drove right up to campus knowing I didn’t have to go there and was suddenly free from it. I half expected the ground to open up and swallow the car as we drove away, knowing I would never step foot in that area of that building again, that I’d just ended a part of my life… But it didn’t. I couldn’t care enough about anything to feel about it. I felt heavy. We went back to my parents house. My dad had driven up to collect a car load of stuff and it was piled high in the hallway when we walked in.
And then my little brother and nephew got home. They’d been out and bought lots of packets of sweets just to get the free temporary tattoos inside. Now, I’ve wanted an actual tattoo for a while. I have multiple scars inflicted by surgeons and scalpels, but only one that fills me with the kind of shame you’re not meant to have about your scars. It’s a vertical scar from my wrist up my forearm for about 3.5cm. Most of my scars represent moving on, healing, strength. But this one was the result of medical negligence, and I have flashbacks to feeling every snip during the surgery that made it when they messed up y’know… The whole, not feeling two men cutting about inside of you thing. The surgery was to fix a mistake. It was an emergency at the end of me going for six hours of tests and ending up ventilated in intensive care instead. And it’s right over my radial artery, and when 16 year old me remembered that, it became a “if you ever want to die, just cut along the dotted line”. It’s super sensitive and dead to all feeling in different parts, but it hurts just to look at sometimes. Because during the events that left me with PTSD, I slept with my teeth to that scar, wanting to bite down and end it all but too afraid to sin. So I hoped in my sleep I might sneeze or bite down. And that’s what that scar was, my way out. My saviour. My only saviour. But people always notice. They immediately assume it is a self harm scar and so they judge. Doctors, university colleagues, strangers who don’t even know me. I wear a lot of wristbands on that arm to try and cover it, but they move, and people see it, and I see it. And then my nephew gave me a temporary tattoo of the wonderwoman logo that is about 5-6cm long. I was going to put it where the cannula goes in at my infusion site, or over my heart or on my chest – somewhere only I knew where it was. But then I saw the scar. And for so long I’ve wanted a tattoo of an ECG trace to cover that scar, or an anatomically correct heart (I am undecided, hence no tattoo… Also, because of my health hiccups, I can’t get actual tattoos, but hey, I’d do anything right now).
I put a wet sponge over the paper and waited for the image to transfer, and when I pulled it away, I laughed. And then I shouted YOU CAN’T EVEN SEE IT! OH MY GOODNESS YOU CAN’T EVEN SEE IT, IT’S GONE! LOOK! I was so excited. The scar is a good few millimetres thick, and it looks like it’s raised. It’s a different colour from my skin and it’s so obvious I didn’t think anything would hide it, but it was hidden under the longest part of the image, just poking out a little between the inverted peaks of the “W” but only I would ever notice its subtle presence there. And it was gone, just like that. Gone. To such a simple solution. It looks almost like a real tattoo. So my nephew gave me three more wonderwoman tattoos, and my little brother said he’d give me any more that he got (the designs are varied between each packet of sweets – today they bought about 20 packs each so…) And I went and bought myself three packets of candy sticks that I didn’t even want, just to try and get more things to cover that scar. The boys came with me, my little brother and I walked along together talking, and he carried my super heavy bag of shopping, while my nephew literally ran and jumped all over the place a few metres in front of us. (My little brother put a batman tattoo on his nipple – keep in mind what happens to this area of a human being when they get cold – in a rather unfortunate position which means that batman’s trousers look rather… Full. Especially when my brother is cold. He is currently wearing five temporary tattoos, but this is the only one I cried with laughter over. I am a child).
I went online and bought some better temporary tattoos – they even had them in ECG traces, so I got some of those, and some other cool designs, and a new rucksack to keep my laptop protected on my SUPER LONG commute to uni. Which I then had to start thinking about, because I have to do it on Monday. And then everything was real. And I realised how much I don’t want to go back to uni. And the dread set in. Heavy, crushing, dread. And then panic. And stress. And so many feelings my head is like a pressure cooker and I could not words. I am beyond not ok. But leaving uni or even taking a break isn’t an option. My parents made that clear. They go on about how much money I will have wasted. And I worry that going back is going to push me into an s word that will waste so much more than money – it’ll waste all the time I could have had left on the planet, all those years. And I’m not strong enough to promise I won’t do that.
The commute is fine if I can get a lift to the train station 5 miles away – then it’s just a half hour ride to a train station, a short walk to the tube and 10 minutes later I’m at uni. But when there’s nobody around (i.e. on Monday) I have to walk for 5-10 minutes to get to the bus stop, and I can’t be late because the buses here run every 30-40 minutes. Then after 20 minutes on the bus, I have to walk to the train station. I haven’t lived here for a while, I can’t remember the way, not from that direction, not on foot. I’ve no idea how long the walk will take, but I estimate around 15 minutes. Then I get on the train. Then I get on it, then walk to the tube station, then have to battle with all the stairs to get to street level… And my heart is going to HATE that. The whole 2 hour commute (including the waiting around and stuff) is like heart hell.
I get chest pain just walking slowly around the house at the moment. Getting to the shops (which isn’t as far as the bus stop I need) left me breathless and puffy with fluid. If my other health hiccups join the party and almost succeed in killing me in the fashion that at least one of them is prone to doing once every week or two (which made it a near impossible effort for me to get to uni when it was a one minute walk that literally only required me to step out of the front door and cross the road to get to campus), I won’t make it there. So then I got annoyed at the person who handled the housing situation so poorly that I ended up with no option other than to live alone. And then I forgot that, because my mum asked Auntie Godmother if I could stay with them sometimes (I’ll also be staying with my grandparents a lot, she suggests). And I just felt awful. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to bother them or make her say the things I’ve driven my mum to feel about me.
In the back of my mind I am aware that there are the three assignments I have due in on Friday, which would be ok if I even knew what they were or had been to more than 4 lectures since the start of November. I have no notes for either modules because I’ve been drowning in my mind for a long time and hiding it far too well (news flash – I can’t any more, I give up hiding I just can’t any more it’s too much energy that I no longer have, it’s all coming out in the wash and people are stunned and horrified). I don’t even know how to deal with even thinking about work. And then exams will happen. And the world is a scary place right now in general and… (see where my mind goes with all of this. I’m a joke).
Then I thought about hospital appointments for NO APPARENT REASON. I have to rearrange the ones I was intimidated into just letting people book. Only for one health hiccup, because I could only deal with trying to see one team, but they made a load of appointments with different specialists in that area and I’m like NO THANKS. I have to rearrange them for days when I’m actually in London (all my health care has been based in London for a few years because I’m complicated and London hospitals are like… The top of their field in the country, most of the time), which is how things used to be. No more early morning appointments because I AM NOT getting a commuter train (standing for that long will overwhelm Skippy, and I will pass out in a heap of arrhythmia. No thank you. I’m struggling enough to even take all my medications at the moment. Some of them aren’t taken not because I don’t want to but because my brain just doesn’t seem to have the ability to think about that stuff at the minute, it’s too focussed on trying to find a reason to… Want to be alive.
And I hate that I have this attitude. It isn’t me. It isn’t who I am. Who I am is still in there shouting that I am so lucky and at least I’m not in a wheelchair now and I can walk, and at least there are buses and trains and ways to get there, and a two hour commute could always be longer. But something else throws a load of dread and stress on top of that. Every time I get it together enough to think more logically, I overthink and the stress sets in. I’m trapped inside of myself. And I hate the person I have become.
I just want to be with my dog. I am so sorry that I’m so pathetic, and so sorry that this post was so long. Thank you for reading this. Sorry. I’m trying so hard and yet failing so much more spectacularly. I don’t know why. It’s so pathetic. Nobody needs to tell me, I already know.