The Places I’ve Been (Part 1) a.k.a. “word turd”

I haven’t posted for a while (my apologies for stating the obvious). There are multiple reasons for this. I’ve been through a lot. Mostly inside of my head (which is something I’m only just learning to partially discuss through the fog of my own shame about it), but also, I became unwell in the way that healthy people become unwell, which was refreshing but also… Upsetting for other health hiccups. I have given up on social media, because it wasn’t a helpful place for me and I realised I existed perfectly fine without it, so I haven’t viewed my social media profile (yes, I only have the one and I’m a 20 year old, shock horror) in over a week. I also began to question the blogging environment, as going through a difficult time this was not only something I couldn’t cope with, but something I realised was not helpful at me at all – in fact, lately, it had been un-helping.

I tried to post, and I couldn’t. I couldn’t find the words, just like I can’t now (I have visions of having 0 followers at the end of this post I’m that certain this is going to be word turd… I may have to rename this blog word turd. It’d be more accurate and it amuses me). They were wrong, they didn’t sound like me. I got frustrated at myself and I almost cried (note: I don’t do that easily) and then I started to almost panic about my lack of ability to communicate, knowing people would take everything to be exactly as I made it sound. All of my posts had been like that, and a lot of people were telling me they understood, and providing examples of their own life. In reality those people can relate to one area of my life, but I do not share all on here, and even an individual who knows me well was making assumptions based upon words that I felt just couldn’t hit the nail on the head, and didn’t show the rest of the iceberg beneath. That made me feel alien. It made me feel like I would never be understood, and it was entirely my own fault. Those words don’t take into account the rest of the stuff I’m trying to deal with. I felt pressure to get those words right, because that seemed fair.

So after a few days of freaking out if I even thought about writing anything, I tried to post again, and read a few posts from bloggers who followed this blog. And I found chunks of my blog posts lifted and used with no mention of my blog. I found the format of a couple of my blog posts used by other people, and hey, I don’t have claim to a style of writing (and that isn’t what bugged me, sharing is cool, it was the lack of a “this idea/ exact paragraph originated here” that somehow did, in that moment), but I have been feeling very used in many areas of my life (because I have been) and it was salt in a raw wound. I kind of felt… Violated, in a weird way. And worthless. So that was it. I couldn’t. I was in a very, very bad place staring through a mist that made everything else seem equally bad, and I gave up on blogging. I decided my words didn’t matter (because events that I can’t mention on here made me feel like every thought and memory I have ever had was wrong, and I didn’t understand why we had to pretend everything was fine).

So here is a format of post that I like. I like it because it’s raw. It’s as I felt it. Here is the notes section of my phone, from the 8th-11th of January. For the indefinite future, my posts will probably be solidly based around these. I can’t think any more than that,  and these words aren’t me trying to explain thoughts – they are just pure, raw thought. As it happened. Mostly while I was sitting on a train or curled up under a blanket and my chocolate Labrador. I wrote it down to try and capture it for myself, to try and process it. There’s a lot I chose not to share, because right now, here doesn’t feel like a safe place for me to share. I’m suddenly super conscious that people can read this, and take my words and post them as their own. And in doing that, they take pieces of who I am and masquerade them as their own. It took me a long time to write anything here, to want or be able to share anything here. It still feels unpleasant. It feels inherently wrong. But then again, so do I, right now.

Warning: This post is very, very long (because I apparently had a lot of thoughts on the 8th – 11th of this month) and these words are like grains of salt – if you have any raw wounds in your mind, they are very likely to find them and burn like hell (my way of saying, trigger warning, because I’m bored of those two words).

8/01

“Dad: If you were a bit nicer I might say I’d give you a lift but you make me not want to

Mum: Why don’t you ask for help, why don’t you ask people for stuff?

Me: because I don’t want to inconvenience anybody

Dad: Yes you do, you inconvenience people all the time. You’re inconveniencing us now

And I instantly just covered my face and broke down in tears and apologised and said I don’t mean to, and he said I was being silly and told me not to leave the room and I couldn’t even, I was just destroying myself. When you feel like the world would better off without you and you ate a giant inconvenience. That tops it. (I’m not putting what I wrote next).”

“Mum: are you awake?

Me: *groans*

Mum: Come on, wake up, you have to do your jab (injection). Don’t go back to sleep! Sit up! Look at the state of this room. It doesn’t need to be like this.

Me: *says some useless inadequate string of words that nowhere near explains that I hate living in this mess and don’t want it to be a mess, but look at it and don’t see any way to fix it and no solution and melt down so just add to the mess too because I am a mess too and nothing matters*

Mum: I know you don’t care about anything but how could you let it get like this after al that time we… I can’t! I can’t even talk about it! Do whatever you need to do (as she walks off)

What those words and her disproportionate upset over a room said to her brain: The state of your room matters more to me than you. I think you’re being pathetic. I think you deliberately let your room become a mess. I’m taking it personally. I care more about the time I spent in here with you than I do about you. this matters more to me than your mental state, which I am willing to make worse to aid my own, because you don’t think about me. You hate me, I can’t stand to talk to you any more. I can’t stand to look at you. I give up caring about this room. Go it alone. You hurt me. Always. He was right, you ARE an inconvenience. I can’t cope with YOU.

What happens in my imagination: I cut deep and grit my teeth through the pain and dip my fingers in the blood and write it in tiny letters on my wall: I’m sorry. Because maybe she’ll understand how much I mean if it is written in my dying blood. And then I die. I take an entire row of tablets and then I die. I die a thousand deaths in every way I can think of, and I give up.

I can’t do this to them. I can’t stay here.”

“Go on social media and see these INCREDIBLE drawings like… wow. Someone on our course has done them and started their own company printing them on t-shirts and postcards, and that’s something I tried and failed to do and I now realise that was stupid because my drawings are nowhere near as exquisite and I realise how stupid and naïve I was to try. And suddenly art isn’t my thing any more. Just make it stop. I want to go. I am inadequate in every way.” See how it twists things?

“I took a permanent marker and I wrote their words on my thigh. They hurt me so much emotionally it seemed illogical that they leave no actual mark on me. I learned from them. I did not want to forget what scum I am because I don’t deserve that, so I wrote their words on my legs. Word for word. And they will say I twisted the meaning, they will say they didn’t mean them (actually they won’t say any more) they will get angry that I clung to those letters that flew from their mouths and they will say I took it out of context:

Do you have any idea what you’re PRESENCE here is doing?

You inconvenience people all the time, you’re inconveniencing us now

My mood in the last week has done this   \    because of you

Having you around makes our family difficult

You’re taking the rest of us down with you

I am vile. I don’t deserve to forget that hurt. I am poison. And now every time I look down I will be reminded, I will carry those words beneath my clothes.

I had visions of a mortuary worker giving me a final wash and finding written on the other thigh I care about you all so much. You are finally free of me. I can only apologise it took so long.

They say they don’t want me to [end it all] and then they say words like those with such hurt in their voices that I know what I must do. And I sobbed then. Because I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to die. ButI care enough to do anything for my family. Enough to kill myself to set them free. Enough to put their need above my own life. I am sorry. Words cannot describe how sorry. And I can’t talk to them because it just turns to shouting.” Those words on my thigh were spoken by my parents.

“Me: Would you be happier if I left?

Bro: Some of the time but not all of the time

Me: Why?

Bro: Because I’d miss you.

Me: But you’d be happier if I wasn’t here?

Bro: No. Where would you go anyway?

Me: Doesn’t matter (I don’t want him to know I’m talking about ending my life) would  you be happier without me here?

Bro: No. Leaving wouldn’t make anybody happier.

Me: It would make everybody that isn’t you happier

Bro: How would it?

I tell him I inconvenience people all the time and having me here makes our family difficult, that I was asked if I had any idea what my presence here is doing.

Bro: Who said that? Dad?

Me: Mum

Bro: You don’t need to leave, where would you go?

Me: It doesn’t matter. Would you be happier? Do I need to go?

Bro: No.

And that is how my 14 year old brother just saved my life while making a salt and vinegar crisp sandwich at 11pm.

I’ve gone downstairs to watch TV because I don’t deserve to sleep. All my mum cares about is uni and my room, and I have to give her that. I have to give her that because I can’t give her a daughter that fills her with love and makes her happy by being there, or even one she wants to be around. I would kill myself for her. I almost did. This isn’t so different. I need to punish myself, I deserve to suffer. I will not sleep. […] I was going to start uni work but I can’t. I tried. I picked up the notebook. I can’t brain. I can’t focus. I was going to tidy my room but it overwhelms me, I don’t know how or where to start. But I have caused so much hurt, and I don’t want to cut myself or anything, but I will use exercise as a punishment – not running, not the kind that brings relief or upsets my heat, but the kind that hurts. Until failure. I will not stop until I cannot even even.”

09/01

I walked my dog with my next door neighbour and her puppy. And I talked to her little. And she got it. She told me all about her own experiences with feelings like mine. She told me it never leaves. But she understood. She helped me. She told me that being alone didn’t help. I spent that day in her house with her. She cleared a space in their office and I sat and started my coursework. I got almost all of it done. I was more productive in those two hours, with her constantly motivating me and pulling motivation from where I could find none. And she swore she would support me, and that I should do my work round there with her, because she loved having the company. The things she shared were too personal for me to share. The relief I felt could not be put into words. The things she did for me then, and since, are above and beyond. She has driven me to the train station and picked me up, walked with me a lot, messaged me while I’m at uni and at home to check up on me… She’s like another mum to me now.

That night I watched Sherlock. And Benedict Cumberbatch’s lines spoke to me. A lot.

“Death is something that happens to everyone else. Your life is not your own, leave it alone.”

“It’s the safest place to hide – plain sight”

“In saving my life she concurred a value on it. It is a currency I do not know how to spend” – Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock, BBC

The last one was particularly haunting and scarily accurate, given the amount of times doctors have saved my life in the last year alone. And I honestly cannot justify those acts, the fact that I took up an ICU bed that was needed, and someone probably died because the people who could save them were making sure I didn’t.

“Bro: *Pulls me into a hug* Where were you going to go (yesterday)?

Me: Heaven

Bro: Seriously? *doesn’t let go. Squeezes harder. Keeps hugging me. For ages*

Me: Yeah. And then you told me not to go so I didn’t.

No words necessary.”

It seems to me like you’ve gone off the rails. And we just need to get you going again. I will support you in whatever way I can and as much as I can – my next door neighbour as she drove me to the train station to go to uni.

For the whole of my first year I was determined to go to uni even when in no fit state to, and people were trying to drag me away from it but I shook them off and tore away and carried on with lumps of who I was still in their grasp: missing, failing, flailing, dying inside and outside for the sake of a degree.

Now those same people are pushing me, and that same mind is kicking and screaming and grabbing onto anything and… Terrified.

Going to uni I went past places I know so well. It calmed the panic. But I was freaking out like I was going to a hospital appointment at the thought of uni. My next door neighbour messaged me to coach me through it. Uni pal messaged me the whole way too. She was beyond amazing. Beyond.”

“London is no longer mine.

Mile end feels foreign to me. This busy world carries on around me and I feel disconnected from it. I feel outside of it.”

“Mum: *walks into my room when I’ve just got out of the shower* What’s that on your leg?

Me: What?

Mum: Words?

And then as my brain is all ASDFGHJKL you weren’t meant to see that that’s why I wrote it there, she was all

Mum: Is it for if you… do something? (meaning take my own life)

Me: *shakes head*

Mum: Is it in case something happens to you?

Me: *shakes head*

Mum: Is it medial information?

Me: *shakes head*

Mum: What is it”

“I was walking through this train station and I walked faster than I would ever normally walk. My muscles hurt and my heart grumbled and I didn’t care. I don’t care. I walked up the stairs in one go and I pushed myself to walk as fast as I could and decided pain wouldn’t stop me, nothing would stop me; not exhaustion, nothing. I am not listening to my body until I fall down.”

“Sat in the bag rack on the train home (FYI: NOT designed for comfort, or for humans to sit in) Dinner straight away. Heart hurts which forced me to sit. Falling asleep on way to uni then in lectures.”

11/01

The day I discovered, and fell in love with the subject of immunology and re-thought my entire life plan as a result.

“Some day I will go for a five mile run before this commute.”

“I want to hurt. I won’t induce the pain, but I welcome it. Because I deserve it. I want the constant reminder that I am alive and I can still feel because pain is unpleasant but pain is a feeling. I don’t enjoy it, but I ate myself so much that I am satisfied by its presence because I deserve it, it feels fair.

My heart hurst so often that I am almost concerned when I don’t have chest pain because I wonder (illogically) if my heart is about to stop or something. The chest pain recently is almost constant, it is induced by all levels of activity, accompanied by tachycardia and usually a bit of arrhythmia, which gives me cramp and lactic acid buildup in any muscle I’m using (usually legs) and the pain becomes quite overwhelming. That should stop me, but now I ignore it, push through it. It tells me I am defying. It tells me I am doing something the entire universe doesn’t want me to do. It is a rebellion against myself, against something that will not work with me. But… It isn’t even that. It’s a lack of concern for anything and everything, the same lack of concern that made me just step straight out into Mile End Road (a very busy main road) today and nearly get hit by a van. I walk everywhere as fast as I can because I just want to be on time for uni  or have this overwhelming desire to get out of London as fast as possible and I don’t listen to the thing that tells me no. I go at a pace far greater than I usually would, and it hurts, and sometimes my muscles are so underfeed they won’t really move but I won’t stop even then, not until the ground rushes to meet me. And I don’t care any more. I’m terrified of death recently and yet I’m pushing it. I’m being an idiot. And I know it’s stupid but I don’t CARE. And I want to care. I know I should. But I value myself so little that I can’t. I can’t. I am writing this while on a train, but I am off the rails. Some days I stop taking one medication or another, not consciously, but by accident. Today was my heart meds. Didn’t think there’s be a difference and then I got out of breath just walking to the train and coughed pink froth and realised it helps at least a little. I don’t even understand it. I want to try but trying is so difficult. SO difficult.

I’ve fallen in love with immunology. Like. IN LOVE. New favourite module of all time ever.”

“Got in and walked the dog. Came over dizzy while shopping with (brother). When I got in Mum said I looked pale and told me I’d overdone it. Went to eat dinner, came over SO dizzy. My stomach was HUGE. Could hardly walk (dizzy isn’t even right, nor is light headed. It wasn’t fun though). I was zig zagging all over the place. Mum told me off exclaiming that I was always ill. Wanted to shower as I was freezing, ended up just crawling into bed. Messaged [Uni Pal]. Slept. Couldn’t stay awake. Woke up and couldn’t breathe, it felt like soup instead of air. Coughed a lot. Really struggling to breathe now. Made it downstairs at 10pm to try and work because Mum wanted me to work. Heart thundering away at an alarming speed. Wheezing and stuff. Nearly not enough breath to talk. Last time I felt this bad I was in a Cardiac ICU.

I don’t think I can deal with being around so many people [three friends].

Was weird to be walking the dog two hours after being in London for a lecture. Nice. Sun setting over the valley spilled out before us. Let my (very arthritic) dog run attempt to run. He now growls at any dog that comes anywhere near me (overprotective much?!) he had so much energy and was so disobedient that I had to anchor myself to a tree to prevent him chasing a dog away.

At least I got a seat after 1 stop on the train home today.

Mum told me not to work and to just go to bad. I’ve been to lectures in far worse states than this.”

And that’s the completely all over the place nature of my thoughts. Some of it. There. Apologies for this sorry excuse for a post.

 

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4 thoughts on “The Places I’ve Been (Part 1) a.k.a. “word turd”

  1. I’m really sorry you’re going through such a rough time. I hope things look up and your mental health is able to improve. Some of those comments your family made were completely inappropriate and I hope you don’t continue to believe them. You are not an inconvenience or a burden. You’re chronically ill and that isn’t your fault. My older brother has type one diabetes, and so I only relate to that situation as a bystander, but even when his illness has interrupted my life or made my family have to make some changes, I never thought he was a burden or that it would be easier if he was gone. As someone who is chronically ill I know how easy it is to feel like it would be better for your family if you were gone, I think that all the time. At the end of day I truly believe even though I don’t know you that your family, especially your little brother, would be devastated if anything happened to you. This post was really good, it made me think about my own situation, and I love how open and straight forward you are. I hope you have a good weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Firstly, I want to thank you a lot for this.

      My family are very sceptical about mental health issues in general and seem to think it’s something to do with my generation and it wasn’t seen in theirs because people just “got on with it.” Their lack of understanding leads to frustration and I tell myself they don’t mean what they say… but some part of my subconscious clings to their words and engrains them in my perception of who I am, and the guilt it produces makes everything so much worse and reinforced the idea that I’m basically a human skid mark. And they are so sure of their words, theirs such passion and emotion behind them that when they say they just said things in the heat of the moment it doesn’t make it hurt any less. My dad means every word he says. I think deep down they both do.

      I think it’s a stress multiple health hiccups. My family get frustrated and say they always have to pick up the pieces (they don’t, doctor’s do) and seem to forget that actually it’s also unpleasant to almost die once, let alone with the frequency my body has liked to over the past few years. I think it’s hard for them to see me beyond everything I put them through I guess.

      The trouble is, I can justify everything even though I know logically there isn’t a justifiable reason or stuff isn’t ok. I just decide the fault is in me and… turn the negativity it generates on myself.

      Thanks for what you said about this post, I was really worried about the reaction I’d get to it, because it’s pretty much me on a page and I thought people wouldn’t like that. Hope you have a good weekend too!

      Liked by 1 person

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