Sunday, 31 August 2014

Give Me a Home Among the Gum Trees...

So, yesterday I finally got out of the house and went for a bush walk.

We went back to the You Yangs and did a 5km walk, which seemed to take forever at a little over 90 minutes. Last time we did a shorter walk, but it was nice to do an actual walk again. It's the first time I've walked more than a couple of kilometers in god knows how long.

For those of you who mightn't know, I have agoraphobia, and don't really leave the house except for appointments. I haven't been to the supermarket (the last place I went regularly) in nearly two years, and I haven't been for a seemingly 'simple' walk around the block in even longer. At the start of the year, I set myself the goal of going out once a month. I made it out in January, February, March and May, but I hadn't been out for the three and a half months since.

Anxiety aside, most of the walk was nice, but getting to the actual track involved rocky stairs, steep slippery paths, cliff faces, and lots of scary stuff considering my lack of balance and fear of heights. I handled it okay but I by the end I was really puffed and panicky and just wanted to teleport home. Recently I've been doing 1.5-2hrs of step aerobics, two or maybe three times a week if I have the energy, though last Wednesday I went for three hours straight (which I haven't done in aaaages).

Anyway, now for the pictures. I'm still really drained and just flat from yesterday, so I'll try to catch up on comments tomorrow.

The stairs from hell. They don't look as steep or uneven as they really are!

Obligatory selfie - proof I went out

We came across the Bunjil Geoglyph, which was a sculpture installed in 2006.
From the ground it just looks like a pile of rocks,
but from the sky it forms the shape of an eagle.

Golden wattle, the floral emblem of Australia.

One of my many Nightmare Before Christmas bags


Friday, 22 August 2014

Mindfulness and Video Games

I've been making another attempt to get back into gaming. It makes me so anxious to even think about, and I don't know why exactly. But right now I'm finding sewing too stressful to feel good about it, so I'm trying to find another distraction.

I used to be an avid gamer, but not long after I developed Anorexia, I just stopped (like I did with all of my hobbies). I just find it so overwhelming, and I get so obsessive about it (like I do with all of my hobbies). It baffles me how I'm supposed to balance gaming and exercise and sewing and tapestry and blogging and and and...

I have a lot of favorite games from over the years, it's hard to choose a few to name. Part of the reason it's so overwhelming and time-consuming is because there are so many games to play, but I used to play a lot of World of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2, Portal, Morrowind, Monkey Island, Pokemon, Knights of The Old Republic. When my Alienware died a few months back, I was in the process of setting up Heroes of Might and Magic II.

But anyway, this week I started playing Terranigma. It seemed like a 'safe' choice because it's a game I've played countless times over the years, which is less daunting than new content. Offline games are less anxiety-inducing, even though my social life used to revolve around gaming. I've managed to clock up a few hours in the past days, so that's something. I go through phases where I start gaming again, but it never lasts, so we'll see how it goes.

In other news, I saw the mental health nurse yesterday. I feel like a bit of an idiot, but I don't understand Mindfulness. I can't even explain what I find so confusing about it. I don't understand how to be 'mindful'. I just don't get it. She kept trying to give different examples, but I just got more confused. I don't know. It seems a lot more complicated than just "do one thing at a time".

She gave me the name of a CD called Mindfulness Skills, which I bought and downloaded this morning but haven't listened to yet. I'm halfway there. But she wants me to listen to that and practice some exercises with her. She said it can take a while to grasp, but I still felt like a bloody idiot.

I didn't manage to talk much, I couldn't say what I needed to, but my GP had spoken to her and told her that I don't feel ready to do DBT. She said she doesn't want to push me because she knows it doesn't work that way, so we're just going to work on Mindfulness and talking for now. She actually suggested going on walks together, and asked if I get out for walks, and I practically squeaked "I don't leave the house". I don't know if people forget, or they don't realize just how isolated I am.

Just a short post for today... Thank you guys for your feedback on my skirts. Sometimes I think I'm too close to be able to ignore the flaws and appreciate it. Oh well. 


Sunday, 17 August 2014

New skirts... colorized!

Today I put the finishing touches on a couple of skirts I've been making.

I haven't really done any sewing since before hospital, so sometime in May, but a couple of weeks ago I grabbed a few things and started pottering on some new skirts. I had all the fabric and things already, so all I had to buy were the buttons for the tartan one. I still haven't finished the 1880s dress yet, and I'm still making slow progress on my tapestry, but I'll get there. 

I love the style of this skirt. If you think it looks familiar, that'd probably be because I made another one last year.

I was worried about how the tartan one would come together, but I think it turned out okay. I don't know if I'll ever wear it out though. It makes me kinda anxious to think about wearing something colorful out, because people might notice it and, god forbid, see me. All black blends in better, I think.

I don't have many words this week. Everything is just such a push, so forced. I push myself to finish these skirts, I push myself to exercise, and I don't even feel good about it. It doesn't make me happy. I just can't relax until it's done.

I have a tendency to crash after finishing sewing projects. Partly because I get into a mindset of "why the hell did I just waste so much time and money making this? I never go out, I'll never wear it, it's all pointless", but mostly because I will never be truly happy with anything I sew, because it will never be perfect, it will never be good enough. It's the little things; the seams that are a couple of millimeters out of line, the buttons not being perfectly even, the not-entirely-straight hemlines... I know it's pathetic, but it's things like that which leave me crumbling in tears, because it will never be good enough because I will never be good enough. 

Sorry they aren't the best photos. I'll try to take proper ones soon. I just don't have the energy, physically or emotionally, to put much effort into taking nice photos right now. I've crashed hard and didn't even want to try the skirts on, let alone take photos, but I thought I'd share them and check in with the blogosphere. Excuse the wrinkles etc.. 


Excuse my butt. I still need to sew a hook and
eye on, but right now I'm just too tired to care.

Half the work's on the inside


Friday, 8 August 2014

Progress (?)

I saw my lovely GP yesterday, and it actually went okay. A lot of things got sorted out and I left with more hope than I went in with, at least.

She asked how I was going with the mental health nurse and I just said 'not good'. She looked a little confused. It took a while to get the words out, stopping and starting. I explained how she's pushing DBT and everything's moving way too fast. It took months for my GP to get me to even see the nurse, and then it was supposed to just be to have someone to talk to, and to go slowly about it since I hadn't seen a mental health professional in so long.

She was wonderful and understanding and is going to talk to the MH nurse next week and get things back to the slowly-gently approach. I'm not ready to be pushed, I don't trust her enough for her to push me, and if I'm pushed I'll run.

I asked her about my antidepressants again. She said she didn't want to change my meds, I said I still didn't understand why. She thinks what I've got with mirtazapine is the most I'll get out of antidepressants (which is nothing).
"So it's not even worth trying then?"
"No, it is..."

She asked what it is I want from antidepressants. I told her that each day is just so hard to get through and I'm so tired of everything. All I ever want is for the day to be over, but then I wake up the next day and it's just as difficult and painful and I wonder why I even bother. On Wednesday I woke up from flashback nightmare hell and broke down crying on the floor within a minute of waking up, which spiraled into five hours of tears and self-harm and hysterics. I don't expect medication to make everything better, I know it doesn't work that way, I just want things to be slightly less unbearable, and maybe it'd help me get to the next step of starting therapy or seeing an actual psychiatrist or whatever.

She meets with a psychiatrist once a month to get advice on her patients, which is how I ended up on seroquel and the last two tried-and-failed antidepressants, and she's going to ask if there's anything she can change around with my meds. That's in three weeks. I know it's not much, but it's some hope to hold on to at least.

She listened to my chest and wrote me a script. Another infection brewing. My oxygen levels were low but "not jumping-up-and-down low". For the first time in ages my blood pressure was low (99/60-something) and then had a postural drop when I stood. She asked if I've been dehydrating myself, which I haven't; if anything I over-hydrate.

Then she asked if I thought I was getting close to an admission for my ED, and honestly, I wanted to laugh. I've managed to avoid psych wards and ED units for three and a half years now, and I've been within the same ~6kg range for the last three (42-48kg, BMI 12.3-14.0). The dietician's pretty happy with how things are going - my intake isn't great but my blood sugars are stable and my weight isn't plummeting. I work damn hard to avoid inpatient and treatment while still keeping anorexia close; I really don't think I'm going inpatient again any time soon.

To finish on a positive note, I started working on a couple of new skirts this week, which is the first sewing I've done for months, so expect pictures soon. Shockingly enough, one of them isn't all black.
Also, I'm trying to plan my next outing with mum, hopefully for during the next few weeks. I want to do another bushwalk, but the weather's so awful it mightn't be practical, so my other idea is to go to one of the zoos or wildlife sanctuaries for the day. But yes, plans are in the works. 

Thanks to everyone for the feedback on my last post. You guys are amazing and I love you all to pieces. I'm pretty sure I'm overthinking the whole mindfulness thing, like, I don't know how to do it 'right'. I made an appointment to see the mental health nurse again in two weeks and I've been writing down notes and thoughts and questions on mindfulness, so I guess I'll talk to her about it then. 


Saturday, 2 August 2014

Be Mindful

It's strange to think it's August already. My New Years Resolution this year was to get out of the house, in public, once each month. Not counting appointments and the hospital admission, I've achieved that a grand total of four times. The last time I went out was when we went to the cheese factory on May 16th. It just seems I've lost all motivation to re-immerse myself in the world.

The mental health nurse had even more printouts for me this week, all of them about Mindfulness and BPD. She asked what I'd thought of the handouts she have me last time, and I told her no one had mentioned BPD to me before, and she just said "oh, shit" a couple of times. She said that doctors tend to hesitate on actually talking to people about it, which makes no sense in my mind. I was just like, are you fucking kidding me? I thought that crap only happened back in the 60s, à la Girl, Interrupted. It certainly doesn't give me any more trust in a system that's screwed me over countless times.

Anyway, one of them had a mindfulness exercise about mindfully eating an orange. I've taken a photo of it if you want to have a look, but basically is describes the process of eating an orange, and doing nothing else. The senses, actions, thoughts. It's interesting to read over. I am mindful while eating most of the time, I guess, although it's more an ED thing than anything else. I don't know how to apply it in other areas. I can't do the breathing exercises because of my lungs, it just distresses me more, which sucks.

How to eat an orange, mindfully
I feel a little lost with the whole mindfulness thing though, and admittedly a bit stupid. I don't know. I guess I don't feel like I'm ever present enough to think to practice it.
For any of you out there that do, when do you practice mindfulness? Any hints would be greatly appreciated.

Then she started talking about DBT. It's a two year course. She gave me a URL to an online self-help DBT course to have a look at and get an idea of what it's about, and said we could do it one-on-one since I don't function in a group setting. But I really don't feel ready to start something like this, and I don't understand why everyone's suddenly pushing it. I didn't ask for help with this and I don't feel ready for it. Too many of the behaviors etc. are linked with trauma stuff and I can't deal with that right now.

Frankly I'm just tired of hearing about it all. BPD had never been mentioned to me until two week ago. Now it's all they're focusing on, and I don't want to talk about it anymore. Before that they were fine focusing on the depression. The BPD's been lurking for a long time, it's nothing new, and I can deal with the behavior stuff at the moment, I have been anyway. It doesn't effect me as much as the depression does.

But now she says we need to be doing something like DBT. "Otherwise, what do we do? Just sit here and twiddle our thumbs?". So I shouldn't even bother coming in. I was apprehensive enough about starting to see the mental health nurse, but after my GP said it would just be to have someone to talk to, that didn't sound so bad. But that's not how it's working at at all and it's not okay and it's making me panic. If I felt ready to do more than just trying to talk I would, but I can't.

She said it's up to me whether or not I want to do DBT, but what other choices do I have?
I just wanted new meds and someone to talk to.
I can't have antidepressants. My GP suddenly doesn't want to change them, when even 6 months ago she was still trying new meds. I can't just go see a psych. Every psych I've ever seen has done more harm than good. I really don't feel ready/able to do DBT. I can't even have someone just to talk to about why everything's so shit.

Then I start to wonder, why even bother? Why get help to make daily life less unbearable when, at the end of the day, all I want is to disappear?

Towards the end of the appointment she asked if I thought I needed to be in hospital. Naturally I got defensive and said no.
"If I saw someone as sad as you, I'd be thinking they needed to be in hospital. But you've been through all of that before - does it help?"
No. There is nothing more useless than inpatient. She asked if I could try going into A&E when I feel like cutting, and I just said hell no, that the private A&E don't deal with psych emergencies and I would die before seeing the Horrible Psychiatrist in public again. She asked if I thought the cutting was dangerous enough for me to be in hospital, but I highly doubt it. No one's mentioned it as being particularly dangerous and I stay away from risky places, and my calves are plenty meaty, obviously (ugh).

On Tuesday I was a full half an hour late to the dietician's appointment. Mum phoned ahead and thankfully she'd had a few cancellations so it didn't really matter. I was still crying in the waiting room. Usually I can hold it back until I'm at least in a less public place, but not this week.

She saw my crying and said she was proud of me for still coming in, but it's not really an option to not. I don't have much routine in my day-to-day life. Appointments are really all I have left, and the dietician's are the only ones on a routine basis. Everything else is sporadic. If I didn't go to see her every Tuesday morning, life would descend into chaos.

My weight is creeping down so unbelievably slowly it makes me want to cry. Food lately has mostly been fruit, soup, yogurt and liquids, with occasional things like crackers or rice with soy sauce. I still just feel too sick and low and exhausted to put much effort in, or to move much at all really. My GP was sick on Friday so the nurse just took my stitches out, but I couldn't get my lungs checked or anything. I have another appointment Thursday. I know I should probably see someone earlier but I really don't want to see a different GP, and it's not that bad (famous last words, anyone?).

Sorry for being so negative all the time guys. I'm just miserable and so tired of everything. Living shouldn't be this fucking painful.