I need somebody…

My feelings came home, and they brought with them all the big bad wolves I’d begun to optimistically think might no longer be scratching at the doors to my mind. Due to the deterioration in the state of my heart, I have spent a significant portion of today… unconscious. I have spent the rest of the day with my head buried into a balled up blanket and music playing very very loudly… because I can’t stand to see or hear myself crying, and today I have SOBBED – raw and ugly and uncontrollably until it was too much for my heart and I’d pass out right were I sat.

When people don’t know what to say, they just don’t (my mother included). When people don’t know what to do, they don’t do anything. When people aren’t sure how to be there, they run. It’s like a reflex, a natural protective mechanism that often occurs without complex thought. I don’t blame people at all but my goodness do I miss them. They don’t have to change the way they act with me because of a rebellious organ, they are the normal I am so desperate to maintain and normal conversation and interaction makes things so much more manageable. Things are tough at the minute, without the network of people I’d found a home in suddenly retreating like rats fleeing a sinking ship. I totally get the instinctive recoil. It’s natural to run from a lit fuse. But it was the loneliness that broke me today, the lack of any sense of normality because I didn’t have anyone just to chat to, and my own mother didn’t have time to listen because of work. That isolation was the first feeling to sneak behind the wall of my apathy, and once the dam was breached, the emotional pain was so intense it was almost physical. My body can do whatever it likes, as long as there’s a life left to lose if it fails. Lose the people that matter, lose your social life and your support network and that sense of self and of your own humanity… And you spend your day crying, and collapsing, and crying, and collapsing. Today I felt like I was ceasing to exist again. It cannot slip through my fingers again.

Heads up – the next bit contains triggering themes, and talk of suicidal ideation.

Things are going to change. Due to my physical incapability I am going to have to spend a lot more time in this flat, and attend less at university (only on the other side of the River Thames, but the walk to the bus stop is too much and I cannot afford a cab). All I wanted was to put on my shoes and go to that bus stop and walk into a lecture theatre and just pretend to be an everyone else. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to talk about stupid trivial things that won’t matter tomorrow, and poke fun at my friend who says he looks like a child now that he’s shaved his beard off. Then instead of that I picked up a blade, and I held it over an artery and watched it bounce to the beat of my heart as tears rolled down my cheeks. I liked the ultimate control I had then, at a time when my life no longer feels like mine. I liked that a poorly timed sneeze would have been the end. I liked that it was that simple. It made me feel like this hell is something I have a choice about whether or not to endure (there is no choice but to go through it all, but I needed that illusion). And then I cried harder because I didn’t want to die at all, I just wanted a way out of the prison my body has become again and I realised that at that particular moment, severing a major artery was pretty much the only way. I cried so hard the blade fell from my hand. I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe in. I cried so hard that the palpitations got so strong I almost felt like I was being punched from under my own sternum. And then I passed out again, and that was ok.

When I woke up, the only two people from my course who know bare bone details about my health decided to video call me. When I answered that call, I was suicidal and crying. Within minutes, I was smiling, and I felt alive again, I felt like me, I didn’t feel like a freak to be feared. I didn’t feel like a heart problem. I didn’t feel like all was lost. We only chatted for a few minutes between lectures. When they went, I lost consciousness again. When I woke up, the tears did too.

I’ve more than served my time, but my heart has imposed another sentence. I knew that would eventually hit home. I knew all these feelings were there but I refused to acknowledge them. When I started crying, it took me ten minutes to stop stopping myself and just let it happen. And now, almost six hours later, I don’t know how to stop.

I feel so stupid, so ungrateful, so PATHETIC. But given the situation, and the reactions I’ve seen of the staff involved in my care, I feel like a few tears would have been justified. I just feel so alone. I want to go home, I just don’t know what that is. There is nowhere I feel safe – I don’t feel safe in my own body, how could I find a place to feel safe outside of it?

I’ve gone from this (a few weeks ago) to this (yesterday’s post), to emotionally (and physically) being riiiiight back where I was months ago. Only I’ve been dissociated and apathetic for so long that emotion is a very foreign and hugely overwhelming thing right now.

I’ve never wanted a small dog before (I always told myself nothing smaller than a Spaniel), but I really want to get a teeny tiny puppy, just to end the loneliness, just to be around something that sees me beyond this situation. Just to feel like something isn’t afraid to be around me. I’m going to be spending a lot more time at home. I don’t want to do that alone. I need something to need me to be alive, I just need somebody, even if they have 4 paws. If I don’t find somebody, I’m scared about what I might do, because I can’t cope right now. Physical health issues don’t just damage organs, they take down entire minds.

No idea where I ‘m hiding, but there’s no way but through.

Advertisements

How Did I Get Here? – Thoughts on Starting Another Degree

I’m not ok in any sense of the word; physically my heart is struggling, my body has decided to become spectacularly anaemic, and my health continues to hiccup. Mentally, I am in a complete crisis and have been for some time – I don’t know how I’m alive, simply because I’ve no idea how I persuaded myself not to ensure that outcome with my own hands.

But right now I am on a bus. A new version of the old London Routemaster that my granddad used to drive along this route for a living. I am on my way to a new university, to start a masters in cardiovascular science (a very competitive course at a world leading university, that somehow and for some reason picked me). This is a day that for the last three years was something I very hypothetically talked about from time to time. I still can’t believe I survived and acquired my undergraduate degree, let alone that I’m about to start a graduate degree that will hopefully give me the qualifications to make sure that someone else’s future differs from my past and my present.

I’m going to hold my hands up and say it has been a struggle. I denied myself any admission of this reality until I was completely broken. It’s hard. Everything right now is overwhelming and everything is a struggle I no longer have the mental energy to know how to face. But I’m here. I’m somewhere even I never thought I’d be. I’m terrified. I’ve spent days having anxiety (a very unpleasant new addition), nightmares, random crying moments and all sorts about this day, because I didn’t know how to do it. I have been dreading it. Now it’s here and I wonder how on Earth I made it. How am I alive? How did I manage to pass my third year without attending a single lecture, becoming bed-bound, losing most of my friends and replacing their messages with those of paramedics and doctors and other people who understood how it was simply incredible that my body (let alone my brain) could still function. The word inspirational has been thrown at me a lot and I still hate that. I am buckling and crumbling and have no choice but to keep living the life that has caused me to do that. It’s not optional. If it was, I’d be insane not inspirational.

Anyway. I am about to meet a group of new people at a university where nobody has ever seen me unconscious, where nobody has seen me vomit blood, where nobody has seen me in a wheelchair or being stretchered out of university accomodation. I can pass of as an “everybody else” and that’s refreshing. They have no idea how awful I feel both physically and mentally – how much both elements of me are straining to breaking point. They aren’t scared of my body or to be around me. They’ve never seen me in resus, they’ve never had to give me CPR or visit me in an ICU and sit for hours while I lay there totally or if it with no idea anyone is there at all. They’ve not been on the emotional rollercoaster that is my life. They’ve not received messages at 3am when I’m convinced this near death experience is the one where I finally run off with the grim reaper and there’s nobody else there to share the terror. They’ve not seen me have flashbacks in the back of an ambulance, not seen me vomit with fear at the sound of a siren, they’ve not seen me attached to 5 IV pumps whilst riding the drip stand as a scooter. They’ve no idea how much I carry and the effort I go to in order to hide it. They’ve no idea how much my health issues have knocked my confidence, how lonely I feel or how many years I spent in hospital missing all the milestones they hit. They’ve no idea what a miracle it is that I’m still alive, no idea that my former personal tutor gave me a superhero cape after my graduation because he had never believed someone like me could exist let alone get a degree and a decent enough one to get me into a masters programme.

As far as these people are concerned my biggest stress was deciding what to wear, moving into a new flat, the presentation I have to give tomorrow. They have no idea of the wounds haemorrhaging deep inside my soul. They’ve no clue of any scars or how deep they run. I’m just and everybody else today. And that’s why I’m nearly crying on a bus.

Those days you don’t know how to survive? Those days where you can’t go on any more? Today, like most of those before it, is one of those. And I swear to you my former self was very right.

There’s no way but through.

All you need is half a chance. You’re still here. You’ve survived 100% of the days you didn’t know how to, got through 100% of the things you didn’t know how to cope with. If you can do that, given your record, you can do today. You’re doing great and it doesn’t matter if you have no idea how you got where you are right now, what’s damn impressive is that you’re reading this right now. Thank you, I’m grateful but I’m also rooting for you.

;

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.”

– R. Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

In my mind, this post stopped at the end of that quote. In reality, I also almost stopped recently – wrote a final thank you card pleading for forgiveness, and a list of contacts, stuck both tear stained articles on the wall at the end of my bed, and prepared to curl into the darkness of whatever waited beyond daylight and moonlight. I could not see the wood for the trees. There comes a point when you are so tired – tired of hurting (physically and mentally), of thinking, of sinking, of almost dying, of being, that all you want is a break. And when life won’t give you that break, when it sees your white flag and doesn’t cease its fire… Your mind, the lone and weary soldier, pulls out the revolver that has until that point just been a comforting presence in your metaphorical waistband and decides that it has no option but to pull the trigger whilst the barrel is aimed at its own skull. The unpleasantness cannot take you alive. The pain is not one you can endure.

I am in a great deal of physical pain after my latest heart surgery, taking morphine and tramadol just to try and sleep through nerve pain caused by scar tissue sitting on top of a nerve. But my mind… nothing could numb that.

My revolver was medication. Medication that sat there, sparing me from further unpleasantness when I took it at the prescribed dose, but that any higher dose was also my revolver – deadly. Quick. Freeing. The knowledge of that was enough of a comfort to keep me going. There was a failsafe. I didn’t have to hurt forever. Just one more day. And then the next day, just one more – and while I couldn’t imagine it, I knew there would be a day where survival wasn’t a task, but something I didn’t have to think about. And then came the day I wrote that card, and made that list, and could not stop the tears.

I have been saved all too often lately by words. Words that came from places I didn’t expect them to, from people who understood me in ways I wished those closest to me could. First, my personal tutor at university (who I also almost died on last week, because my heart is an ARSE) – with one simple sentence about PTSD that took away the stigma my mind sharpened and used against itself, and completely transformed the way I saw myself. I used the support available for me. I asked for help I had been turning down for years. Then, the other night, a dear friend, amazing human, and creative soul behind this blog, who accidentally saved my life with words that found me in a place that nobody else (myself included) could.

And then I remembered the poem that begins this post.

The emptiness of oblivion is comforting, tempting, enchanting, but not a destination I am yet supposed to visit. I owe it to the humans whose kindness and understanding have been transformative forces in recent weeks, to move beyond its temptation, to carry on going wherever I’m going. Those people made me realise that feeling like this is not weak, nothing to be ashamed of, but understandable, excusable, human… and survivable, somehow. I made no promises to them anywhere outside of my mind, but I cannot betray them. I made promises to myself – to get this degree, to do something, to raise money to help fund research so that other people’s bodies might not drive them to the hell I have been to/through. And thanks to people (some of whom I have never met) I see myself as someone worth keeping promises for. I have a long long way to go before I get rest or respite of any sort, physical or mental, and I have to accept that, grit my teeth, turn off, and keep walking – sobbing and screaming and writhing in pain if that’s what it takes (also things that before I took as signs of my own weakness, and now acknowledge as a strong person doing anything and everything they have to but give in). It doesn’t have to be easy, and I know it won’t be. My situation is tough, it’s even recently been described to me as “crap” by somebody I expected to brush it aside. I’m allowed to find it tough. I’m allowed to hurt so much I can’t keep going. It’s ok to cry myself to sleep, to want to never ever wake up again. But these thoughts I keep inside are promises I have to keep. I have an unimaginable amount of miles to go before I am allowed sleep.

The way out of this is not six feet under, or wherever the wind may take my ashes. It’s through.

Agonisingly, impossibly, soul destroyingly (yes I know destroyingly isn’t a word)

There is

No way but through.

I sat myself down and had a thought at myself (if that’s even a thing).

When you can’t run, walk. When you can’t walk, stumble. When you can’t stumble, crawl. When you can’t crawl, drag yourself. When you can’t drag yourself, roll. When you can’t roll, just hold on. When you can’t hold on, reach out. When you can’t reach out, scream. When you can’t scream, talk. When you can’t talk, whisper. When you can’t whisper, blog. If you have to fire your revolver, fire it into the sky. And through it all, play Bastille. It’s colder six feet under. It’s lonelier when your ashes have been dispersed by the wind. There will be far more tears if you let go, the difference is, they won’t be your own. There is no way to live this life, or to be a spectator to it, that does not involve hurting. And no form of pain is a choice or a flaw – it’s a limbic system and nocioceptors (hello inner biomed student) – unconscious, understandable, protective, logical measures. Don’t expect to live and not hurt. Don’t expect to hurt and not still find reasons to smile. Pain may right now be all you feel, but even if it is ever present, it is not all that waits.

Finally, I have been taught that it’s ok not to be ok. That’s the most valuable thing any lecturer has taught me, the most precious gift a friend has ever given me (thank you blogging human, you know who you are). Something I hope not to let go of. Something I will someday pass on.

Inside The Ice

My normal isn’t normal, and my fine isn’t fine. My acceptable is not acceptable in any other body, and the state I walk around in would have most people in a heap on the floor.

But they don’t know that.

Today I feel like there is a giant rift between me and the rest of the world. My friends think that because I went to hospital, I’m better now. They think that because I was let out, I am fixed. Far from both. I woke up today in a state that, had I left it and not injected into a vein every 30-60 minutes for 5 hours, would have killed me within 3-4 hours. Maybe less.

I woke this morning knowing what was going on in my body, but with no idea how to stop it. I messaged My Fellow Third Wheel and tried to get out of bed, eventually succeeding after a couple of hours, but after a shower I gave up on the idea of leaving my room, and relented. I got back into bed and hoped I’d feel less awful sometime soon. I didn’t (my improvement had plateaued), so eventually I just had to get up and get on with it. Dizzy and spaced out to the point that my vision and hearing kept going, I got dressed. My heart was racing, my head ached, I felt like I was going to throw up and pass out all at the same time… I was home alone and had been locked in the house, so I climbed out of the dining room window and walked to the shopping centre behind where my family live.

“You look SO tired.” Were the first words My Fellow Third Wheel said when I met him in the shopping centre, and he gave me a huge hug. He told me that for someone who a few hours before had been struggling to leave the bed, I was an idiot to have climbed out of a window and dragged myself out to meet him, when he was going to my house anyway. We talked. I bought some stuff I needed to grab (food and drink and flash-cards for revision… and dog toys for my everything – a chocolate labrador), and he insisted on carrying my rucksack because he didn’t want me to carry heavy stuff. He’d offered to grab anything I wanted/needed on the way over to my house, but I don’t like to feel weak, so I wandered around on the verge of unconsciousness and decided to meet him there. He knows what I’m like. He’s kind of my limiting factor in a really good way, in that he stops me being an idiot.

I didn’t want to face the world today. I didn’t want to see people because I just felt so disconnected. Healthy people can’t possibly understand and it is unfair of me to expect them to. People who don’t have physical health problems can only try to imagine, and in their minds I guess they compare stuff to the flu or whatever else they’ve had experience of (which is natural, we always try to relate things to an experience we’ve had). In their minds being let out of hospital doesn’t mean that there’s not a lot more you can do and you’re going to have to play Russian roulette every day, it just  means that you’re all fixed. People were acting like I’m fine now, they were playing everything down and I was finally being realistic and no longer in denial, but they kinda shrugged off my reality as melodrama and told me I’m going to be fine and I’ll be better soon… and it made me feel ridiculous. It made me feel dramatic and pathetic and it made me feel… Alone. So, so, alone. So I withdrew. I stopped replying to everyone to save my emotional state. Everyone except My Fellow Third Wheel, who seems to possess some sort of magical power to make everything feel ok.

His was the only company I could tolerate, except I didn’t have to tolerate his presence, I enjoyed it. He knows me in a way few else do. I can just totally chill out around him, I don’t even have to change out of my pyjamas (obviously I did today because I went out in public) and we can just sit in silence together for ages sometimes and it’s good because we’re alone but not and together but not. I didn’t have to pretend to be something I wasn’t and yet… I still couldn’t let him in. I couldn’t let him see the mess that I am, I couldn’t open up, I couldn’t say that I wasn’t ok, that I needed him and damn it could he please be there. I didn’t know how to say any of those things, so I listened to him tell me about a girl he’s super close with who has been having a hard time at uni (so he’s going to stay with her this weekend, and over the Christmas break he’s going to do something with her every day to get her out and doing stuff). I opened up a little bit, nowhere near to the level I used to with my ex-uni parents, but more than anyone else. He’s so chilled out and logical and sensible, and he’s also ridiculously blunt. That helps. He helped. He listened, and he was all When was this? and Why am I only just hearing about this? and Why didn’t you call me?

And then he was all I spoke to you for half an hour the other day before you even told me you were in hospital. Why did I only find out you were there on the day you were leaving? I only found out you were even in hospital because a nurse spoke to you and when I asked what was going on you said where you were. 

I had no idea you were in such a state, you sounded so happy on the phone.

I do. At the moment I do. At the moment I don’t know how to talk to anyone, don’t know how to let them in. So I act happy. Or (more commonly) I just don’t say that I’m not. But he saw through that. He sees through that. I needed somebody to see through that and then not only to stop there but… To pull me out. He’s the only person right now who figured out how to pull me out. He’s the only person whose life is free enough of issues for him to have the capacity to truly take on mine. But… That’s why I didn’t tell him.

Because all I could think back at him was You’ve done enough. You’ve done so much. You’ve put up with so, so much of my crap. You sat by a hospital bed with me for days, you slept in waiting rooms in ICU, you bought me food and you lost sleep, you hugged me when I was scared and while I cried and when I lost my mind. You were at the other end of the phone right up until I went to uni and… then the thoughts came out loud

“I didn’t think you’d be there like that any more. I… I didn’t think I could go to you with stuff like that. I didn’t think you’d want to hear it. It isn’t fair.”

We sat on the sofa for hours and he showed me stuff on his phone. We laughed a lot, and I forgot. I forgot everything. We walked my floof (dog) through the woods. I was meant to walk him myself, but My Fellow Third Wheel didn’t want me wandering around alone, so he took the dog and walked with us in the freezing cold. In the middle of a field the three of us took a selfie together, and in that moment I was so calm and happy that I’m glad I captured it. We encountered a German Shepherd dog and instantly turned around. It wasn’t on the lead or muzzled and ran at everyone and everything barking and growling. It bit a dog in front of us and I freaked. My Fellow Third Wheel gave me the dog’s lead and told me “Don’t be scared, it’s alright. I’m here. I’ll stand between you and it.” That. Right there. Is a true pal. I felt safer. He did put himself between us and the dog as it charged at us over and over again growling. My dog walked away when I called him, but when the German Shepherd came near me, my dog started to growl and I got super scared there was going to be a dog fight. My Fellow Third Wheel took the dog lead back from me and walked on, kind of comforting me at the same time.

I only walked a short way home, as we parted ways so he could go and catch the bus home. We messaged for a while, and I told him to call me if ever he freaked out again (as he sometimes does, leading him to wander around the world at 2am). He made me promise to do the same. I asked him if he was sure too many times to count. I told him it wasn’t fair, I told him I didn’t want him to end up hating me. I told him that everybody I’d ever let be there had dropped me and walked away and that I didn’t want him to do that.

That’s the wrong attitude you sh*t

[…]

Just agree

Stop

Agree

[…]

U lil sh*t

He sent me messages like that, until eventually, after him going on and on and on, I put two letters

OK

And he celebrated and made me swear to stay true to that deal. The thing is, I said no because I was thinking of him, but all I wanted was to say YES, PLEASE BE THERE I CAN’T DO THIS AND I NEED SOMEONE AND PLEASE PLEASE JUST BE THERE. He knew that. He, like so many other friends, told me to stop thinking so much of him and consider myself for a second too. He said if he can’t deal with something, he’ll tell me. But I know what a burden all of this is. I know what a burden it is because I live it and it exhausts me. I don’t want to spread that or share that.

But I am so, so glad to know he’s there. It feels so great to know I’m not alone. He has chronic fatigue syndrome, so understands the health aspect of my life more than most. He gets things in a way most people can’t. My brain seems to like that. (My other friends have been amazing too, and they want to be there, but I don’t know how to tell them how to be or even how to ask, and they have no idea how to be there in a way that’s helpful. They think things are better now and that I’ve no reason to worry any more, no reason to stress about my health, and that makes me shut myself away from them. Because I feel misunderstood and I don’t want to keep having to say it out loud – reality).

My nurse phoned me up while I was still walking my dog (after a few months of not responding to any calls/emails/texts from any of my nurses/doctors/consultants I finally for some reason picked up the phone) and during our conversation she told me a treatment option that may help me a bit costs £580 and then £200 in regular instalments… She wanted me to deal with stuff. She wanted me to make phonically and text her numbers and go to my GP to get vials of medication and stuff… And then, had we been in an episode of Thomas The Tank Engine, this would have been how the script was written:

Nurse: How have you been doing, by the way?

Me (internally): HahahahahahahaNOPE

Me (out loud): Good

Narrator: Things were not good. 

 

Nobody has any idea just quite how badly, or how seriously unwell I am right now. They couldn’t comprehend it, and they don’t, even when I try to explain. I look normal to my friends now, but my “normal” is actually quite seriously unwell, and I feel awful in ways they couldn’t imagine. My “normal” would be their dying. It kind of saddens me that nobody notices that I look unwell now. It saddens me that that has become normal, and that people think that’s me looking well. I showed them a picture of me well the other day and they couldn’t believe it. I looked like a different person. There was flesh on my bones and so much more colour in my skin, and I didn’t look “anorexic when you’re not even anorexic” as My Fellow Third Wheel says. They think I’m fine. And I am so, so far from fine. They’re happy and relaxed and how do I ruin that? They think I’m out of the woods, but I’ve only just wandered in. They think I’m in less danger than I was before I went into hospital, they think all of that is gone. They say they know I’m unwell “but not as bad as before right?” And how could they ever, ever understand? They never will, and I hope they never have reason to because I never want them to be able to relate to and therefore properly understand this. My friends are being amazing. They are there and they are trying but I feel so, so alone emotionally.

But with My Fellow Third Wheel… I don’t have that. I feel like this mountaineer with an ice pick has just hacked through the ice to reach whatever of me is left inside of whatever of me wanders around. And he has no idea how grateful I am for that (I tried to tell him, I’m bad with words right now).

I should probably do some uni work. I should probably do something. But I’m too unwell to do anything. I just can’t. I’m too unwell to even try. I’m unwell enough to use the word unwell and that’s a word that makes me cringe. Usually I say I’m Tony (one of my friends said I’m like “Tony Stark” in that I shouldn’t actually be alive, so she always asks how Tony I am today) or how stable I am (another friend figured out that ok is something I’ll never really be and unwell is something I’d never call myself).

I know I need to go back to hospital.

And I can’t go back to hospital. My own mind will not let me go back. I’m still waking drenched in sweat and tears from the nightmares induced by this admission. I can’t. This morning I laid there knowing how close I was to kicking it (far closer than anyone should be when they wake up in the morning), and I just thought I can’t do this any more. I don’t know how to do this any more. And people will call me brave for carrying on. But they’re wrong. What other option is there? There is no option but to carry on. There is no option but to hurt and fear and struggle and just… Try. There is no other way. Either I’ll get through stuff, or I’ll die trying, but either way…

No way but through.

Only Me

(Trigger warning, I guess. Seriously guys this post is like a grenade about to go off)

For days I fought the urge to end it all. I cried as I concluded that the end was the only way to cope, because damn it I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to go and yet I could not find a conceivable way to stay. I tried to think of ways to make the future ok, and I couldn’t. There is no way to avoid the unpleasantness. Everything else on this blog is nothing, NOTHING, compared to what they are asking and expecting me to go through. My mind crumpled at the though of any other way. At the thought of what it knew it had to meet, the tears came, and my world imploded, my thoughts crushing each other under their own gravitational pull until denial smothered something over the vacuum that was left.

There were three options:

The easy way, the way that no part of me could find a negative towards. The “anything”. The option I spent the longest thinking about, that made my heart sink as my mind concluded it was the only thing to do – end it all.

The hard way, the blind and hopeless hoping that will lead me through hell on earth, that will break me in every possible way. The future I don’t want to meet. The kind of life I don’t want to live. The unpleasantness I do not know how to face – let them try. Let a more specialised team of doctors try a more advanced and specific version of something that was so unpleasant before that it killed who I was and left me scarred in ways I cannot explain. Another form of death, but one that makes everyone else feel better, a death that involves keeping my pulse (hopefully) but that will leave nothing left to save. Hope with nothing to hold. No guarantees that it will even work. No idea what it will drive me to – anything, anything to escape the suffering that I know it will induce. Left with no life. Left in a worse state than before. Alive but for what purpose? Alive with no life, nothing left, traumatised again… Not a price I want to pay.

Somewhere in between. The stuff I need to do but have been told I can’t. The option that will make people judge me and walk away and… Make things bearable – change.

I have nothing left to lose. I am heading for a route that is going to break me, a route I am not prepared to take but have no option but to… But that knowledge in turn drove me to a long and logical thought process that concluded the only way to escape, to cope, to manage, was to end it all. Only I didn’t want to die. I don’t want to die. I have been through too much to go now. I don’t want to do that. But I don’t want to stay for the hurt and the fresh memories and the future that will haunt me. And the easiest thing to do, the easiest thing… Cannot happen. I cannot let it happen. I want to end everything, and I was so serious about the thought of this that I cried each time it went through my mind. And so anything – anything… I will do anything to stay alive, to stay whole.

I am just one small, insignificant human. Nobody and nothing depends on me. There is no loss to society if I self destruct. I am small enough that my absence would not leave a ripple in the tiniest pond. And so this is it. The start of what may not be the end, but what many would call stupid. It isn’t stupid though. It has been well thought through and is preferable to a deliberate act to remove myself from the planet. I am desperately trying to cling to… My life. To me. I do not want to seek the end. I do not want to be driven tot that and I am trying to find another way, another thing to give the hell that my life is about to become some sort of meaning. This, now, is my sensible. I need control over something. This is the way where the fewest parts of me die. And if it takes me, then I go with a smile on my face and a fire in my veins.

I’m going to run a 5k. “Big deal” so many of you will say, but my fellow third wheel knows how disastrous this is. I walk 20m and my body protests at the moment. Any exercise wrecks me. I cannot run. I should not run. It is dangerous. It will destroy me. But so were a lot of things supposed to. And it isn’t a case of if I can run. I will run. I am done with limitations. I am done with being unwell, with being the ill person. I am done with hospitals. I have chewed through the leashes that my situation has imposed and I am so, so done. I don’t care about the consequences. They will be no worse than what is waiting for me. And I will be happy right before they occur.

I need something to live for. I need something to hold onto, to focus on. I need to punish myself and reward myself and discipline myself and damn it if I feel like I’m dying then at least I know that I’m still alive. I tried to run fifteen metres a few days ago for a train and became dangerously unwell as a result, passing out multiple times on a train, losing the ability to breathe properly for several hours, chest pain… And it didn’t bother me. Because my legs weren’t bothered by running, which made me realise that I can do it. I felt like I was going to pass out again and I… Stood up. I stood up and I knew I was going to pass out but I felt in control. I was pushing my body until it broke. It was not going to break me. It is not going to break me. Somehow I walked – floating, drifting, disconnected from my body and fighting for consciousness. Nobody stopped me, I got a few worried looks, was asked if I needed an ambulance. But I was not going to a hospital. I am not going to a hospital. I will not be an inpatient again. I am not being that person anymore. I cannot live that life, I cannot meet the things that I will have to meet – because I can decline admissions but once I am admitted they have me, they can try whatever treatment they like because I am too scared of them to say no. I am staying on the outside. I don’t mind suffering. I do not care.

I am taking a huge chance on my own body and I am going to start training. I’m going to buy a road bike and a turbo trainer as soon as I move into my new accommodation, and I will hide it from everyone else I know. I am working on my own training regime, building from “couch potato to 5k” except I am building myself up to couch potato before I can even start there. And I don’t care if it hurts, I don’t care if every workout makes me pass out. I don’t care if fluid foams from my lungs or if my stomach becomes so distended I can’t fit into my clothes… I don’t care if my heart freaks out.

Because there are another two options: Fade (or maybe not fade at all) happily or hold on until I’m empty.

In order to keep living I have to let go. I cannot do this. I cannot carry on the way things are. I have to let go of the thoughts that hold me back, of the things that hold me back. This body will learn. It will. It will get over itself and it will do what I ask of it or so help me it will die trying.

And if this works, if somehow I manage to start swimming more than 25m at a time, and can last more than a few minutes on a turbo trainer, and build up to running that 5k… That medal at the end of the race… Will be one great big middle finger to the world. And then I will tell people that I ran. It will fill me with so much… Something. (And then I will go back to sailing and aim for nationals and finally get to sail my laser – I need this, I need something to hope for, something to aim for, something to live for).

Initially my plan was to train until it hurt. To train until I physically couldn’t anymore, until I collapsed off of the turbo trainer in my room and couldn’t move. Until my body could not physically power me any more. Until one day it learned not to fall. I felt like I needed punishing, in a weird, weird way. That first night after the appointment I slept on the floor because I was so disgusted at what I was considering that I felt I didn’t deserve a bed. I felt like I needed control, like my life was gone and the future was nothing and my way of taking that control back was to push myself. And I would motivate myself by withholding food until I had trained for that day. But that is no longer the plan. The plan became safer, more realistic – it starts with walking and it includes four rest days a week.

I told the friend from uni who I met with the other day. I told my fellow third wheel. I am hollow, I am broken, I cannot feel, I cannot think, I cannot face anything or anyone other than those two people, Aunty Godmother (and family) and my Godfather (and his family, who I met with before I saw my friend). I am fighting, so hard, to stay alive. And not against a physical illness this time. Against myself, against my own logic. My own fear… My own dread… And to my surprise my two friends supported that plan. They knew that for me to say hell, it would be bad. Watching me in the ICU so close to the end and me later saying it was just what happened gave the some idea about how crap things are about to get for me. They were more than supported, my fellow third wheel is helping me – he’s keeping me grounded within my body’s capabilities and is working on a training plan with me. My friend from uni was beyond supportive of the whole thing. Nobody else will be. But these guys know how much I’ve cried, and they know I never cry. I cannot talk to them, I cannot talk to anyone. I am not ok. I am broken. I am writing this because… Because you guys need to know that things are going to change.

I have a diabetic penal arranged by a charity called Beyond Type 1. And she (also my age, and living in Scotland) is the only person to whom I think I can face discussing a health hiccup again, even admitting they exist. I don’t know what this blog is about to become. I don’t know what I am about to become, but things are about to change. I don’t want to be that person with all the health hiccups anymore. I don’t want to be incapable. I don’t want to face the hell that a team of consultants are about to ask me to go through in hope it might help one health hiccup a bit, with nothing to try and stem the arterial spray of myself that I am about to haemorrhage. I am going to lose everything. At the thought of what is going to happen I broke down… And so I cannot think about it. I need a distraction. I need to be who I was. I need to find something. I need to find a fire to outburn the one that is razing me to the ground and calling me to end it all.

And I am willing to risk going up in flames.

Time to enjoy today’s purchases – two running magazines and more alcohol than it is healthy for me to consume (and some non-alcoholic stuff which… Won’t be consumed tonight).

I cannot cope at all. I cannot cope. I can only drink, right now. And continue to hug my dog and watch films with my fellow third wheel as we cook the Thai food we bought earlier…

I don’t know how often I’m going to blog. I don’t know what I’m going to talk about. But I kind of want to ask you to stay, to keep reading if this is a blog that you follow, because… This means a lot to me. And I think that the doctors were wrong. They were wrong when they said I would die all those times. They were wrong when they said that exercise would kill me (swimming messes me up but hey). They were wrong when they told me that there was no way things would improve, because somehow my superhuman body managed to get itself to the point where I can now walk. They were wrong. I defied their odds. And now it’s time to make my own. Stick around. Stick around to see picture of a finishers medal from a 5k race. Please.

And when I’m less broken, I will come back to this blog, and I’ll be here too.

I’m trying. I don’t know what else to do. I am torn in half and being beaten up in a blender of my own emotions, and it is taking all I have to resist running to the grim reaper, running from everything I cannot face.

You have to understand that there will be nothing left to lose no matter what happens. If I go through their hell with the feeble amount of support I currently have (or even with any form of support) I will probably kill myself to end the suffering and make it stop, or at very best end up dead and numb and devoid of all thought and feeling, and therefore be plunged into a living hell. If I end it all, then I will end up in actual hell. Or I can try to live, to carry on, and I don’t even know what’s going to happen in terms of going through hell, but there is no life to lose. If I go, I will be no more dead than I already feel right now. And hey, right before, I may even feel alive.

I am fighting so, so hard, to keep existing. But I am not giving up. And it is so difficult, it is an almost physical feeling. It is eating me alive, it is awful. It is destroying me.

I’m a mess. I’m messed up. This is messed up. I never thought I’d have to go here. I never thought I’d hear a doctor suggest that idea again, let alone go through with it. To save what? To leave me with a life I don’t want to live? Damn I wish I could talk to one of my uni parents right now, either one. I need some logic. I need someone to listen without reacting. I need help. And I don’t want it.

I am doing this alone.

I am hiding my exercise regime, hence why I’m not signing up to a gym or putting anyone in the possibility of having to watch me die in the gym at my accommodation. I will shut myself away. I will conceal the worry and the panic. I will push through it. And when the pain and the incapability and the weakness and the exhaustion have gone and passed… Only I will remain.

Only me. 

I am trying to get a life. But this time I’m running my way out of a rut. I will not give in to this feeling. I hope.

I’m Almost As Scared To Post This As I Was To Say It

Since I decided to try and consider myself a little more (or at all, actually) things have been a going a little differently. Today I decided to call my family members out when their treatment of me made me feel belittled or if I thought it was unjust… I haven’t really done this before, I haven’t really stood my ground (certainly not calmly and rationally without tears) and to be honest, I didn’t think I would get away with the whole “please stop treating me like a child”, “please don’t talk to me like that”, “would you speak to another adult like this? So why me?” thing… But, after a few arguments (which didn’t involve any shouting), they gave up with the smart remarks and ridiculous reasons and just sort of rolled their eyes and let me do what I needed to do – let it all out.

(Warning: you are probably going to hate me as much as I do by the end of this post).

I showed them how they made me feel by talking to them in the fashion that they sometimes talk to me (while laughing, because I found imitating my mum particularly hilarious). e.g. When my mum said her ear hurt, I playfully ranted at her about how all of her was broken and I couldn’t deal with it any more, and asked her if she could never just be ok for once. She was’t very impressed. I kind of needed her not to be for the message to get through, to make her think about the things she says to me sometimes in the heat of the moment, when she asks me how I am and I give her the honest answer she claims to want (which is usually I don’t feel great, but it’s ok). It was the only way I could think to make my point, to show her how it feels. I playfully criticised her for short periods a couple of times throughout the day, but rather than getting my point she seemed to just zone out and think that I was being particularly annoying (and suddenly talkative).

“Will you just stop it?” Whatever the reason, it had a negative effect almost instantly.

But I had a point to prove. After yesterday and the thoughts it threw up, I’d had enough – enough of being made to feel like a substandard human being in what is some of the time referred to as my own home. I wanted someone else here to understand the impact that constantly feeling like you’re letting someone down, of falling below par, can have on your mood. The difference was that made it clear that I did’t mean it. And on a couple of occasions I think I wasn’t the only one that saw the funny side of my attempts to impersonate people. One thing was certain – I was not letting it go until I’d made my point in concrete, allowed it to set, and built a house on the foundations.

I hadn’t really dared to be so persistent with a point before – my usual response to the outlet of their justified frustration (I understand that the things my health puts my family through are not fair on them at all, they have to watch it, and I think watching is worse than experiencing the pain that I quite often don’t remember first hand) is to hang from every word, replay things they said in frustration but didn’t actually mean, and drown in the lava of the self-hatred it all induces within me. But no matter what I do, it seems to end up wrong (entirely my fault, not theirs). I fall short of what they are quite right to expect of me. I feel like a failure when I screw up, because I try to think of myself from their viewpoint and I realise that I am a totally rubbish excuse for offspring, and not at all what my mother probably imagined I would be.

This morning I was stood in the kitchen preparing to dive into a pool of self loathing in response to a few comments, when I suddenly realised that trying harder while maintaining this outlook was not going to make any of us happy, and that maybe the way to break that cycle of feeling more and more like a complete sure up was to stop looking at myself through their eyes and teach myself to focus on the person in my mirror -me. From my own eyes. From my own viewpoint. From my own mind. And by default, when I am a good enough human being for myself to accept or tolerate, I will be a good enough person for them. And they might be happier, which is all every single part of me wants for my family – what they deserve. Until I can accept myself, it is unfair to ask anyone else to do the same, and the self hatred generated by my guilt will always warp reality into soul destroying situations until I learn to switch it off.

No more hurt, no more dismay, no more frustration – I want to make them smile. I want to stop being the cause of their pain and (completely justified to be honest) anger and frustration that my life sneaks into those of the people around it. So I tried to show that I have had enough of this endless downward spiral of crushed self esteem. I realised in that moment that I did;t have to stand for it any more. I wanted to be happy too, and I needed someone else to realise that I am making an effort to be something I haven’t have the confidence, or, I felt, deserved the privilege of being, for a long time – myself (admittedly I’m not even sure what or who this is any more, but I finally want to reinvent whatever that may be with the things that my health has yet to take from me).

And it felt empowering.

It felt so, so good.

And it’s so, so selfish. But sometimes (a lot of the time. Most of the time.) it feels that in this house I make sound waves, but my voice is not heard. They want to tell me how my health issues and everything make them feel, how difficult it can be to have me around, but build a defensive wall of decibels when I try to level the playing field and gently explain how I feel too, how sorry I am that they have reason to feel that way, that they ended up with me. I’m not sure what makes them argue before I can make my point – guilt? A refusal to accept that just because they don’t mean things in the way they come across, I can’t be hurt by them? A belief that Oh for goodness sake! I blow off like a fuse, I didn’t mean that! puts back all the tears that I cried?

I am an independent adult, and today, I finally felt like one in this house. So judge me if you want, hate me, shake your head, tut, roll your eyes. Nobody is taking that away – I’m no longer trying to look at myself through everyone else’s eyes, and it’s so hard and I often hate myself for it, but it’s making me feel more positive about who I am, and less of a waste of space. I finally feel like someone (just about) deserving of a place on this planet, and now that I’m focussing on trying to save myself a little bit instead of just wanting to save everyone who knows me by removing myself from their lives, I consider voluntarily surrendering my existence to the grim reaper a lot less. That feels nicer than I ever imagined it would.

The only way I can think to make them happy, is to try to be genuinely happy myself, to try viewing myself equal to the people I care about (and everyone else on the planet) instead of far below them. And the only way to do that is to stop caring about what their tiredness and frustration makes them say occasionally, stop blaming myself for EVERYTHING, and block out even the justified negativity, in order to persuade myself that I am someone worth tolerating, worth standing  by, worth being around. And then maybe I might believe that someone else will. Maybe my smile will return for good. And maybe then my family will be able to smile too. I felt utterly and shamefully selfish for doing this, until I somehow stumbled across this website about the line between putting yourself first and being selfish (which made me feel like less of a complete —insert rude word of your choice–)

“When you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself.” – Paulo Coehlo

“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival” – Audre Lorde

“That’s the problem with putting others first; you’ve taught them you come second” – unknown

I don’t intend to put myself first – I just want, even for a few seconds, to place myself alongside everyone else. To feel equal, worthy… It’s just difficult – so, so difficult to come anywhere close to this for more than a couple of minutes. I’m working on it. I hate myself for it, but I’m trying to push through that. Usually I just try to only depend on myself because of quotes more like the following:

“I don’t like

depending on people

because people

leave

all the time.

Because at the end of the day

all you have is

yourself

and that has to be

Enough”

A.M

But I’m trying to force that to change.

(Tomorrow’s post will talk about puppies, totally come back for that)