Day 8 – Air.
Today’s blog is going to be a short one but I still want to have something to mark this day so here it is.
Breathing – such a natural thing to do, and yet somehow I find it to be at times the most complicated thing ever. This week has been pretty rough on the old anxiety/panic attacks, and I struggle with catching my breath. And the more I lose those small intakes of air, the more my brain says slow down and breathe, breathe through it, and yet my chest tightens and I invariably end up holding in my breath. Almost like a juicebox being squeezed, until I have no choice but to either exhale or combust (ie pass out) and then here comes the next problem with breathing… the sound, the feeling and as soon as I hear and focus in on it, I’m transported and triggered back into a time where I had tried to use the focusing in on my breathing to shut out what was happening. That same night in instances when I fought to breathe, desperately trying to catch the smallest amount of air, and I wasn’t allowed it. And then darkness set in.
I know how daft it must sound, that something so simple can be so complicated and shrouded in such negativiy. Something so essential to living, and somehow sometimes I cannot cope with it.
Today is one of those days where I have a million thoughts running through my head, stomping on my heart and when it comes to speak them or type them. It’s funny how much noise can cause so much silence. So today I just share the words of a previous blog, that still are at the essence of how I feel on a daily basis.
Day 7 – Never Enough.
It’s never going to be enough, is it? I’m never going to be enough. Never. People can say otherwise but I know that deep down inside I am both forgettable and replacable. I will never be enough, nor will the things I do be good enough either. And here is where the truth hits hardest – that I will never been enough simply because I never allow myself to be.
I often wonder where and when I began to look at myself through negative eyes. When did I stop believing the good things people would say? At what point did I start disliking myself and subconsciously sabotaging my path? Was it as a young child where I recieved my first black eye, from someone who was supposed to care? Was it in the teacher who said I was the best artist in my family, and so I spilt water over my painting so as to not take the limelight? Was it in the running water that I wished would wash me away? Was it in the cigarette burns on my leg that just took forever and a day to fade? Was it in the declining of having my short story folio published in my own book when I was 17? Was it in the constantly altering of my appearance, the dying of my hair, the makeup I wore, the purging and sickness and all that came with that? Was it in the setting up my etsy store and letting it fall to the side?
I could sit here for hours listing the possible moment, or multiple moments on where that shift happened and yet, is there a defining time? I think I’ve always been a sensitive type who has always been more willing and able to protect and support others than I have myself. The varying moments and traumas I have encountered I think have added to it, and helped me shape this unworthy and never enough self. (Please do not mistake this for pity, as pity is something I do not do for me, and never have). I’ll never be enough and do all the things I would love to because, until I allow myself to be/do otherwise. I will forever keep myself in that box. Hidden from view, with the irony being that deep down, underneath it all – I just want to be enough.
To be caring enough.
To be loved enough.
To be remembered enough.
To be arty enough.
To be musical enough.
To be pretty enough.
To be mum enough.
To be wife enough.
To be daughter, sister and family enough.
To be friend enough.
To be bestie enough.
To be good enough for myself. To be good.
I’m combining day 5 and day 6. Yesterday was a huge write off for me. A bad nights sleep and my delightful brain remembering things I had forgotten or kept suppressed left me in a weird, anxiety filled day. To the point that despite no longer panicking I felt like I could not get enough air into my lungs, my head hurt and at one point I passed out. Ah the drama! Suffice to say, I’m still here, and whilst time is not a healer – a little rest and today being a new day I’m doing a bit better than yesterday. So I’m writing both yesterdays and todays blogs here. (I know I could just give up on this, but I want to finish what I started, plus there is a real sense of “breaking the egg to make the omelette” and the hope that maybe these blogs will do me more good than harm (just borrowing a friends words there).)
Day 5 – Relationships.
So this carries on from that less than wonderful truth that was day 4 and trust. I wasn’t going to share this, but I’m in a f*ck it kind of mood and maybe sharing is better. For years I have kept all these things a secret from pretty much every one but it’s time to just put it out there – these should not be my burdens to carry. Or at least to carry alone.
After that night, with hindsight, I was so naive and downright stupid to think that future relationships – romantic and friendships mainly, would not be affected. I carried over the scars of that event with me and it changed me. Maybe it was because somehow I had become more flippant and had lost the fight in myself. To be fair, maybe the night that spun me into a spiral, showed me how little fight for myself I had? Anyway, I had changed. Looking back however, I realise that in changing myself to survive, I attracted more of the wrong sorts. The ones who would be there for you and would get under your skin and who would use your vulnerability against you. I became friends with/dated/formed relationships with people who I felt that in time I could trust. I even came to telling two of them about my past. (over a period of 5 years). Not in full detail, but enough for them to understand me. And both took that trust and broke it. (If you know me, you will know by now that I am an idiot and don’t learn from my mistakes). Anyway, cutting story short – one who I worked with, essentially blackmailed me with this private information – telling people they would share the knowledge of my past with colleagues. Not a great position for me to be in – the blackmail continued for about a month until they lost interest in me, as another person joined the office and they moved onto them instead. The other, a person I was dating , who knew enough of my past to know that I was not easy in the bedroom, was frustrated with me, and told me the only way to move on was to just get over it and on night told me I had to keep on going, if you catch my meaning.
In the summer of 2009 I decided to move to Australia. I had split up with my boyfriend of a year in the previous December. We worked in the same building (see I never learn) and the relationship was not going anywhere, I wasn’t happy and I called the relationship off. At first he was upset for a few weeks, and I felt guilty to be the cause of such upset, but then one Monday it changed. I came into work to find my desk covered in notes and flowers (from him) – he had began to embark on a journey of trying to win me back, which when he realised was not working, he turned angry and into a stalker. He would yell at me/slam doors at me in work, in front of people. Scaring me as well as embarrassing me. Followed by apologies and gifts to my desk. No one at work wanted to help with the situation as the company was not looking promising to survive the year, and plus he was ‘harmless’. He would text, call from various numbers and often I saw him watching from his car when I was out places or at my house. And so I moved to Australia – yes to start afresh and do something I had always wanted to do, but also to put proper distance between myself and this guy.
However, all of this has left me feeling very confused as to what it means for me. Even to this day. What did I do to cause this? What part of me attracted these kinds of people? Was I that broken and flawed and worthless? Am I still that person? because something must be inherently wrong with me. Maybe there is something about me, deserving of meeting such people?
Day 6 -Friendships
I don’t really do well at friendships. Infact I am lousy at it. I don’t make for a good friend. People who know me, invariably give up on me. And I’ve come to terms with that. I’m a lot of hard work, and I don’t bring a lot to the table. I try my best to be there for others, to love and not judge, and I hope that it’s enough. Sadly, life and circumstances invariably mean it’s not enough and and neither am I. The other night, I had a bad time and I felt like running. And there wasn’t a single number in my phone that I could call. And I know some of that is down to myself and me not wanting to be a burden to others, others who have so much going on in their current lives, and here I am haunted by the past & things I should be over. I have only got myself to blame, that my life is filled with people who either walk or push me away. Or maybe at times I push them away too. I’m going to work on that.
Day 4 – Trust.
I could roll that word around in my mouth and spit it out, give it a moments thought as it takes up residence in my brain, or as it clutches onto my heart and stomach. What is trust? To many it’s a word that represents a connection, belief and hope. A safe place.
Trust is just a five letter word, and yet it is one that fills me with regret, heartache, hurt and failure.
I realise in these blogs – I must come across as someone rather negative and pessimistic. Always looking on the less than favourable side of things. Always self deprecating, or insulting. And yet, I’m not that way all the time, and when I am – I have reason to be.
My world fell completely off kilter when I was 17. A pre exams/study leave get together at my best friends house with a small(ish) group of friends took place, and what was supposed to be a fun, and relaxing night turned out to devastate me. My boyfriend and his two best friends decided their idea of a fun night was something completely different to my idea. (I’ve been trying to type these few sentences for the last 20 minutes, and I still find it so difficult to just say it – to just find the words…) And see that’s the thing with the word or rather the concept of trust – see I trusted my nice boyfriend in our relationship when he said we would take things slow and that there was no rush to having sex. I wholeheartedly believed him when he said he cared and that he understood, etc etc etc. And yet all that was said were lies, and he and his friends made sure my first time was going to be one I was not permitted to forget. Ever. Trust – I knew them, I trusted my judgement and I trusted the foundations on what our friendship, with all three of them, was built on. I got it wrong when it came to trust. My inability to see people for who they were, or my needing to be loved, my lack of judgment and misplacement of trust led me to being raped by people who knew me and I knew them. Closely knew them.
And see, what I’ve just written kills me, and yet that night, despite all that happened, the biggest betrayal of trust (I think) came from my best friend. We had known each other since we were 11. We had grown through the years together, helped each other during the school setting, we’d gotten upto mischief, we’d gone on holiday abroad together (with her mum and aunt). She had been there when my dog died, and I had been there holding her as her gran got sick. We were closer than friends, cliche as it sounds, we were like sisters. And yet that night there was a shift.
Afterwards that night, I came to be in the bathroom in her house (I don’t know how I got there or whatever) and I remember sitting on the cold, white tiles with my back against the cabinet door, her crouched in front of me, almost holding me together. Her hand holding a wet wash cloth against the cut on my forehead/eyebrow. I distinctly recall asking her to help me. That could she phone someone. I needed help and could we go to the hospital or somewhere. I can still see her face, imprinted on my brain – as she recoiled back, stood up and left the room. A couple of minutes later (I think) she came back into the room with a folded, towel and told me she couldn’t be the one to help, and that she thought it was a bad idea to get help. She leant into the shower, turned it on, and left. Trust – in that instant, or those instances disappeared completely. I had failed in trusting yet again.
And so I stood under that water for what seemed like an eternity. Until the using of any soap/cleaning stuff/anything on my skin masked the touch and my senses felt altered. Until the heat of the water and the intensity I scrubbed at had turned my body raw. At least those marks and that pain was mine. Until the water ran clear and I wanted sleep.
So yeah, I find it difficult to trust. I find it difficult to make friends. I find it hard to believe when people tell me that they are there for me. I find it difficult to believe when I’m told I’m loved and cared for. Now that’s not to say I don’t have good people in my life that I know are honest and true to their word, but I don’t know if the bridges of trust will ever be truly repaired. And maybe that is on me, and my mistakes in the past. How naive I was to have put my trust and faith in people who would either inflict pain and torment on me, my body and my mind, or who would cast me aside without a moments care or hesitation. What does that say about me?
Day 3 – Anxiety and being a good person.
Anxiety is kicking my butt these past 24 plus hours. My heart is racing, I feel sick, my body aches, I feel dizzy and breathless and I have no strength. It is kicking me when I am already down. I have no ability to fight it, so I just let it consume me. It’s going to anyway. I could be a fake smiling person in a crowded room, or lying on a cold bathroom floor- the feeling does not alter.
I have this feeling that I am not a good person. Well maybe not a feeling, more the knowledge. I was raised on the idea that good things happen to good people… and so I must have done something wrong. I must continually do something wrong. And that just sucks. Desperately so.
I’ve been wracking my brains trying to come up with ideas for these truths. It’s not that I don’t have plenty to say – it’s more about finding that balance, and discovering what is the purpose of each truth. I don’t want to be sitting typing out words that paint me in a negative light when that is just one side of the story. I also fear writing things that are just too heavy for people to understand. That fear, hand in hand, with the possibility/probabilty of being seen differently by people. Anyway, I digress – here is today’s truth.
Day 2 – I don’t speak up or ask for help.
If you know me, this shouldn’t come as much of a revelation. There was a time, albeit a short period, that I could find my voice and speak up and ask for help. My forte has always been in standing up for others and being a voice of reason and support for those in my life. However, being turned away at my most vulnerable led me to just withdraw and subconsciously decide to engulf my life in a series of secrets and ultimately I was left/am left facing things alone. Time has passed, and things have varied over the years – I’m beginning to be a little more confident with my speaking out, with various topics with various people. However, at the crucial times where I desperately, fully need someone to help or give me some form of support, to be there for me – a lump appears in my throat and the words never come. Invartiably, I fall into the habit of saying “I’m ok” or I just deflect and turn the questions/conversation onto the other person.
I’ve have always tended to be the glue in the relationships I have, be it romantic or just friendship. Nine times out of ten I am content with that. I like being there for others, simply because I know what it is like to not have that support and I would forever hate myself to know I turned someone away.
Recently, I had a conversation with my good friend Steve, and I came to realise that I immerse myself in helping others so intensely that I use it as a form of not allowing time and space to help myself. A big realisation, but at the same time, makes perfect sense. Here I am writing this series of blog posts – trying to piece together my thoughts and work it all out, and whilst this is definitely a good idea, almost a form of self therapy, I know that deep inside me there is the knowledge that if I furiously type it out on these blogposts, that I will not feel the need to burden the people in my life with my problems.
Tw: self harm/suicidal ideation
When I was in high school, my English teacher wanted to help me publish my short stories and creative pieces because he thought that they were worthy of being read by others. However, as a shy and unconfident teenager/ 17 year old, I wanted to hide from the world, so I swiftly declined pursuing that idea. And yet that thought floods my head every so often, the notion that I may be good enough at writing. The days of creative prose seem to be a thing of the past though. My poor, tired mumma brain can’t piece together any idea worthy of delving into, or spending valuable minutes on. However, I like the idea of the NaNoWriMo challenge, the target of which is to write a 50 thousand word novel in the month of November. There is no way on earth that that is achievable for me at this moment in time. I am certain that I would not be able to string along enough coherent sentences to write one decent chapter. Also, at this moment in time, I’m going through a tough season, a storm that is keeping me on my toes as my past, my future fears, as well as letting my mental health run riot. And so here we are, instead of a novel, I’ve decided I’m going to spend the month of November telling my truths, whatever they may be, journalling my thoughts and myself over the past 30 odd years of my life.
Day 1. I’m numb.
I’ve burnt out. Over the years I have become a self made expert at holding on by my fingertips. Devastatingly, but not surprisingly, I couldn’t hold on any longer and the exhaustion of absolutely everything has left my world to be coming down around me. Looking back it’s been a slow process, and yet when it hit this weekend past, it knocked me completely off my feet. A sobbing mess on the floor as it began crumbling my world away, piece by piece. I am fragmenting and it’s leaving me in that cold and silent void that is numbness.
Pain hurts but being numb is a form of personal hell to me. That’s normally when everything intensifies and I lose sight of how to keep ticking along. The cold air suffocates me as the hands of nothingness tightens its grasp. The incapabilty to feel properly terrifes me. I don’t want to be stuck in this prison for any length of time, and I am trying my hardest to find the way out of it.
When I was in my late teens/ early twenties, I found myself in a similar place. I’d held on too long and the hurt over spilled until the emptiness set in. At first, I rejoiced in this. Calm washed over me. Peace filled the air. How empty that promise of stillness was. As time passed I found myself losing what made me me, and I missed that. Boy, I hated myself but I missed whatever that self was. And so alone, numb and on the brink – I turned to razor blades (shamefully more than I would like to admit) and flirted with the idea of swallowing too many pills. I wanted it all to stop, or maybe for it all to start?
Fast forward to today, and here we are again, this numbness hitting me squarely on the chest. Sucking the life out of me, and yet somehow, something is different. Unknowingly, there has been a strength/a seed of hope growing inside me and I’m not that scared person anymore. I’m not running away. I have people on my side and I am worthy of rooting myself, and standing tall. The numb phase will pass, and I will come out unscathed.