Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Psychs, Piercings, Scans and Sobriety

I've got a big week coming up.

Tomorrow, my GP is picking me up to take me for a 4pm appointment to meet this new psychologist. I can't say I'm looking forward to it. I've managed years without a psych, and I'm kind of scared of the power they hold, but after putting it off for so long, my GP isn't giving me much choice in the matter.

Then, I've got to go into town for 5:30 to get my tongue web piercing taken out. My piercers are amazing, and I messaged one of them the other day letting them know I'd be in, and asking what times she or her husband would be around so I wasn't just dealing with strangers. She's amazing, and is going to make sure one of them will be in, even though their trainees could probably manage it.

I'm nervous about going into the heart of town, but since my GP couldn't get it out and I really need this MRI done (due to the seizures, synthetics and head-banging), I've not much choice.

Friday, I'll be up early to take extra meds in preparation for an 8am MRI. Cue 30-90 minutes of being in a confined space with loud noises banging around.

Then, the next day, I've got to go back into town to get my piercing put back in. Since it's one of the few times I'll have to go into town (whenever I've gone for dinner in town, mum or brother drop me at the door and escort me in while the other finds a carpark), I'm going to get a new piercing while I'm there, so keep an eye out for that!

I also ended up having a visitor on Monday, which doesn't happen often. Since letting Him (the abusive ex) into the house, I don't let people in the house very much anymore.

I was having a hard day, and had taken the entirety of the next day's meds when I had my night meds, and cracked a bottle of red. By the end of the night, I'd gone through a bottle and a half. I wanted to knock myself out so I wouldn't do anything stupid.

Not long after I started drinking, I got a message from A, asking if I wanted to catch up. Apart from R, he's pretty much the only other person I've socialized with in the past 4+ years.

I snuck out with him back in December, when I first met him. I don't think I ever fully wrote about it. Basically, we were friends on FB, and one night he drove down to Geelong and I hopped the back fence. Didn't tell anyone at the time (smart, right?). We went back to Melbourne and drank, played pool, heck, I even went to a strip club for the first time in my life. It was during a manic episode, and probably not the best choice, but hey. When he drove me home, he ended up crashing here before the long drive back, and witnessed me having a seizure (but didn't get help until I came out of it and he told me what had happened).

Now is probably a good time to mention, I am desperately lonely, pathetic as it may sound. Especially after seeing R the other week, then crashing back to the reality of loneliness... It's a stark and painful contrast.

Like I mentioned, I wasn't feeling very stable, and felt I'd end up ODing and SHing, so I figured having someone around to 'babysit' would help prevent disaster.

I didn't want to get stuck in a situation that I didn't want to be in, so I put on my big girl boots and told him there'd be no messing around, that my head's not in a good place, as a sort of caveat before he'd even gotten in the car. He agreed, and stuck to it.

He even brought me a box of chocolates, which was lovely. I don't think I've ever been given chocolate or flowers before.

And as a final note, I've officially been off synthetics for over a month. I never thought I'd be able to, but last month's episodes (posted about here, with follow-up here) really rocked me to the core. 'Sobriety' mightn't be the right word, as I've still smoked the natural stuff, but really, it doesn't bother me that much. I can manage it - synthetics just fucked me up.

I want to do something to celebrate this milestone that I never thought I'd reach. I'm thinking of going out to dinner with the family this weekend, but I'm just not sure where. I want to go for Japanese as it's my safest option, but the last time we went to our usual spot, I ended up seeing Him sat across the room having dinner. Obviously, I have no intention of ever going to that restaurant ever again.

I've only been into town once since - again, dropped at the door for dinner. Especially since I've got to go into town twice for the whole piercing thing, I really would rather not having to go in a third time, so I might try to find somewhere further out of town.

Billy invading Misty's side of the couch


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Stuck! (and the Unexpected Not-Quite-Outing)

I swear, this dog will be the death of me.

As if he didn't scare me enough with his tumble the other week, he sure did yesterday.

Mum was gardening out the front, and as she does sometimes, had Billy closed in the yard with her.

He mightn't be the best trained, but he does understand boundaries. He never tried to sneak out the front door, and if he's allowed out the front, he's never tried to get out.

Well, yesterday, he did.
Not that he got very far, though.

I was inside when I got a text from mum.
  "Bill go himself stuck in front gate. Calling fire brigade."
I glanced at my phone, saw 'Bill' and 'gate' and assumed he'd gotten out.

I've written before that places closer to home, things like going for a walk around the block, are some of the most challenging with my agoraphobia. I struggle to even get out the door, down the path, and into the car if it's not parked in the garage.

Bill is probably one of the few things compelling enough to make me jump up and bolt out the front door. If he'd ran, I would run until I found him. 
Thankfully, I didn't have to go so far.

As I came down the path, I saw Bill standing sideways to me, caught in the iron gate.

It was stressful, but I had to be there for Bill. I sat next to the gate and put my legs right up against it for him to rest his front legs and head on. He leant his back against the brick post, and just looked so exhausted, the poor dear. But he was calm for most of it (he was stuck for an hour) and didn't try to struggle, and I just kept cuddling and holding him.

He was wedged between his shoulders and ribs. He'd tried to walk through, but couldn't quite fit. I can see how his shoulders would've fit going forward, but trying to wiggle back out, the bars caught on his shoulder blades.

The CFA (Country Fire Authority) said to call an animal rescue group, but I suggested the SES (State Emergency Service), as my brother used to volunteer and it seemed like the sort of thing they do, and I doubted an animal rescue group would have the tools to cut through the bars.

It was the right call. After some time, a guy turned up with a SES truck. He'd been driving when he got the call-out, and happened to have an angle grinder with him. We wrapped a vest around Bill's head to protect him from the noise and sparks, and the SES guy cut through the bar in no time.

He confirmed that, if we'd called animal rescue, they wouldn't have been able to get him out and would've called the SES anyway, and we would've still been waiting with Bill stuck.

The most stressful part was probably when a lady (a local?) walked past with her toddler, and she and mum struck up a conversation, as you do when you see a white fluffy dog stuck in a gate.

The whole time I was out there, I just kept my head down and focused on Bill. I hate thinking that people can see me. I can't even open the curtains for fear of being seen, so sitting there at the footpath for an hour was terrifying. But in my head, it was only me and Bill - not the street or the cars or the people or the world. Tunnel vision.

Once he was free and we went inside though, I just broke down. Overwhelmed and overloaded and just BOOM! I had my bedtime meds at 4pm, just after we got back inside, cooked myself an egg on toast, and had an early night. Crazily early nights are becoming more common.


Saturday, 16 July 2016

Stepping Out

I know it's taken me nearly a week, but I've finally gotten around to writing about visiting my friend, R, last weekend.

Where to start...

I'd been worked up all week in the lead-up to going out and being social. It's like, once I've made plans to see friends or go out, I can't stop constantly stressing over it until it's done.

I had planned to fast the day before so I wouldn't look or feel too bloated/heavy, although I threw caution to the wind a couple of hours before R was due to pick me up.

One glass of wine to ease the nerves quickly turned into half a bottle, plus eating a little breast meat from the roast chicken mum had brought home. I'm still not sure whether I'm better off drinking on and empty stomach, or making sure I've got something to soak up the booze. It seems to be quite hit-and-miss.

I was so nervous about going out. Even just leaving the house, the fear is greater than it's ever been. Since I stopped smoking synthetics, I haven't even been out in the car for weeks except for the handful of regular appointments. The temptation to cancel was strong. I've only seen maybe three different friends in the past 4-5 years, and only a few times a year at most. Most of them have been seeing R. But, truth be told, I'm goddamn lonely, and needed a break from the house and the memories it holds.

R has always just been on the other side of town, but recently he moved out to the country, a little over half an hour away. Usually distance doesn't bother me. In fact, it's the opposite. I can't tell you the last time I went shopping in town, or even for a simple walk around the block. When I plan outings, they're usually out of town. The further away I am from home, the less chance I have of running into Him - a fear that was confirmed during one of the last dinners with my brother and his now-ex girlfriend.

But I'd never been to the area before, and it was a long way away. It was scary. The distance. The unfamiliarity of it all. Not having even ventured more than a kilometer away for weeks.

What if something goes wrong? What if I need to go to hospital? Or get the urge to flee back to the known?

I'm not good with unknowns at the best time, and this seemed filled with them.
But, in the end, I wasn't as stressed as I thought I'd be.

I'd spent most of the day getting ready and putting the essentials (notebooks, comfort items, sweetener, phone charger, a copy of Unbearable Lightness, hair brush, etc.) in a pile on the coffee table. Some things were already in my bag, but the ones I needed to use throughout the day were swept into my bag, and I headed out to his car.

I'd barely gotten in before I awkwardly said  "I forgot my bottle of wine. I'll be back in a sec."  and did a u-turn back to the front door.

He recently moved out to the country, and we spent the half hour drive catching up on everything that's been going on since we last saw each other. I let him do most of the talking, but those few glasses of red beforehand proved a major help in filling the gaps and keeping things rolling.

When we got to his, I poured a drink and stood by the fire trying to warm up while he went to grab more wood.

We ended up watching Unbreakable, which I've already seen through a couple of times, as he hadn't seen it before. We made it a decent way through the first season, before my stomach turned sour after eating a 90-cal pack of sea salt chips (evidence for drinking on an empty stomach?). After coughing up a little stomach acid, it was time to call it a night.

Amazingly enough, this early bird managed to sleep in until 8:30, instead of 4 or 5. There's a certain calmness about small country towns. The quiet. The dark. The big-wide-open-ness of it all.

He made coffee and toast, and I had half a piece of multi-grain toast with margarine. Each bite felt like a boulder in my stomach. I don't usually eat breakfast, but I didn't want to be weird, and being so late already I figured I could just call it lunch and leave it at that.

Despite my careful planning and packing the day before, I managed to leave a few key items on the table when I grabbed my bag, most notably my phone charger. I wasn't even jumping for my phone though, except to check the time. I was just enjoying time as it was.

And not needing to smoke made a huge difference. Usually, I can't sleep, and end up running home first thing in the morning just because I need that smoke, even if I don't want to leave.

He drove me home around 10:30. I realized I felt noticeably less stressed than I did going out. I was relaxed. Content. Despite the anxiety, I felt comfortable.

As always, there's been a come down after getting home and crash-landing back to reality, but there always is after I venture out.

New eyeshadow palette, with reference to my
childhood favourite Disney movie


Saturday, 9 July 2016

Dread, and 2,000 Days

Billy took a bit of a tumble this morning.

Among a plethora of other health problems (including constant skin problems, eye problems that he had surgery on some years ago, having half of his teeth removed, and my personal favourite, being desexed twice - he literally 'grew a pair' a few years ago), when he was just a puppy, one morning his back went without warning, and he couldn't move.

He had an emergency trip to the vets, followed by a long drive up to Melbourne to have same-day emergency surgery. It was terrifying, holding him as his lay rigid in his bed on the backseat. He recovered well, and his back has been more or less fine since, but the fear of it happening again has always been there, especially knowing we probably couldn't afford another bout of surgery, especially given his age.

This morning, he was trying to get up on one of the chairs on the back porch. Usually, he's fine with our outdoor chairs, but mum's had a different chair recently as her's broke. When he tried to jump up, he fell and landed awkwardly, twisting his back. He started making this choking noise he makes when he's anxious (he has an elongated uvula that sometimes gets in the way, and yes, anxiety), and I panicked.

Rubbing his throat didn't work, so I picked him up and just held him, and he calmed down. His back was fine, thank god, but I'm a wreck.

He's getting older (13, I believe) and I'm so scared. I don't want to lose him. I don't know what I'll do when I do. I was heartbroken when we lost Silky, and ever since then, I've been painfully aware that one day, we'll lose Bill too. She had no health issues, and we lost her so quickly. One morning she was fine, but by 10:30am, we were coming home less one family member.

As stupid as it sounds, I'd never even considered that we'd one day lose her. She was older than Billy is now, but it'd still never crossed my mind.

I was a wreck for the longest time after losing her. I'll never forget looking into her eyes the moment the light left them. It haunts me to this day.

But Billy is my baby boy. I loved Silky beyond words. We'd had her since I was a small child. But Billy was adopted as mine. He's the one who can tell when I'm not feeling well, the one who'll stare at me and whimper when I'm upset or distressed. He can read me like Silky and Misty never could.

After his tumble this morning, I was crying for hours. I'm terrified that I might not have much longer with him. And I don't know what I'll do. Silky's death devastated me, but losing Billy could very well destroy me.

I know I shouldn't think about things like that, and just enjoy the time we have. Given his health issues, words cannot express how thankful I am that he's had as many years as he had. But how can I not worry for him?

It doesn't help that I've been feeling especially fragile the past few days. The first few hours of the day go okay, but by the afternoon, I'm completely overwhelmed and a wreck, even if there's no obvious trigger. I've been having my bedtime meds around 4pm, just so I can end the day quicker and hope tomorrow will be better, but it never is. Most days, I've been falling asleep outside in my armchair before I can even make it inside.

I feel like I'm constantly chasing my tail. My to-do list is neverending, and no matter what I do with my day, it's never enough.

The self-harm urges have been too strong to resist, and the OD urges even stronger - although mum's cracked down even harder on keeping medication well hidden. I bought a pack of razor blades on eBay, justifying it by the fact it'd be safer than using decade-old, rusty, broken ones. At the moment, I'm just taking my meds as soon as I can and hoping for the best.

I truly believe I'm too far gone, mentally, to be able to come back from it and live a normal life, or to even want to.

I just want it to stop.
I just want it to be over.

In other news, I'm actually catching up with a friend tomorrow (one of those 'real life' ones I rarely see). In an attempt to make myself look more like a human being again, I dyed my hair this afternoon, and I'm about to finish painting my nails. Fresh, vibrant hair colour always boosts my confidence, even if only just a little. I'll post a picture after it's dry and straightened, but it's the same colour I've had for years.

I usually suck at social encounters, especially the whole 'conversation' thing, so wish me luck.

As for "2,000 Days"? I finally reached the epic milestone for days in a row on MyFitnessPal. So at least that's a positive for today.

My Baby Boy


Monday, 4 July 2016

Get Me Out of My Head

Things at home have been slowly returning to status quo after the weekend from hell.

I saw my GP a couple of days after I last posted. She was of little help. I asked if she could give me an extra PRN oxazepam, or even something different, just for a week or two while I work all of the synthetic crap out of my system, but she said to make do with what I have. Basically, keep on cutting, and they'll keep patching me up.

The nurse was lovely though. She even walked me out to the car after she finished with my dressings, since mum doesn't even come into the waiting room anymore.

Whenever I stop smoking, it hits me like a tonne of bricks just how little I have in my life. It's easy to not think about it when you smoke so much, and it's very confronting when you do have to face it.

This is probably a good time to mention - I'm doing much better this week - as far as smoking goes, at least. I haven't smoked anything but tobacco since the weekend from hell. A little over a week mightn't sound like much, but this is pretty much the longest I've gone without in years (with the exception of hospital admissions).

As it tends to happen, though, one coping mechanism is quickly replaced by others. Not only is, ED-head in overdrive, but the urges to self-harm and OD have been unbelievably strong and impulsive. Twice, while making coffee, I've ended up pouring boiling water straight from the kettle onto my hand and arm.

There is a huge urge to OD, just to get out of my head and stop feeling for a little while. There is nothing to dull my senses anymore, and I'm feeling every ounce of pain amplified. It's time like these I suppose I should be grateful for my GP's insistence on daily dispensing. There are rarely leftovers because I'm so desperate by each medication time, skipping them to stockpile is simply not an option.

Since my first OD at the age of 12, medication has been heavily supervised and generally kept hidden from me, apart from a few things like antibiotics, prednisolone and basic ibuprofen. One night, I spotted my brother's hypertension meds sitting on the bench. My head started spinning, wondering if they'd drop my blood pressure to dangerous levels. In a moment of impulsive clarity, not wanting yet another ambulance call-out, I pretty much threw them into mum's room and said she should probably hide them.
  "Otherwise, cutting won't be the worst thing to happen to me tonight."

I regretted it almost immediately. But they're gone now.

Things at home have still been very stressful though. For one, mum will no longer pick up groceries for me, and I just can't get to the supermarket anymore. I ended up making a delivery order when payday rolled around, but in the days before, knowing I couldn't get groceries, I spent the last of my food money on a four-bottle buy of wine - because we could just go through the drive-through and I didn't have to get out, and it was an easy exit from my head for a couple of hours.

Saturday was a bit of a disaster, and in the end, narrowly avoided mum calling another ambulance. I think it's safe to say I've not been the most stable of late.

It was election day, and mum made sausages for lunch. For those who don't know, it's a bit of an Aussie tradition to have sausage sizzles at voting stations - 'democracy sausages', they call them. Since I vote via post due to agoraphobia, I've never had the pleasure of joining in, and I was a bit surprised when I emerged from the lounge room to find a pan of sausages sizzling away. My mum, brother and I sat and watched the election coverage on TV as I weighed up my sausage in bread, and I decided it was the perfect excuse to crack a bottle of wine at midday.

Things were going well for a while, despite the constant tension in the house. It was only when mum started freezing the chicken tenderloins she'd bought at the butcher that morning that the shit hit the fan. Usually, she'll wrap up a few seperately for me, and I pay her back. This week, though, she wouldn't.

In my head, that equalled her obviously not wanting me to eat. And I lost it.

I went back into the kitchen and, having had a few glasses of wine (which probably makes me far too bold and fancy-free for my own good), I stuck my tongue out, picked up a piece of chicken, and rubbed it all over my tongue right in front of her.
  "That's disgusting!" she screamed "Why would you do that?!"
  "Because I hope I get fucking sick."

Things only escalated from there. That night, I was really upset over dinner, and sat outside in my armchair crying as they ate. When mum came out, I couldn't stop the tears, and so bolted inside and locked myself in the bathroom.

I kept hitting my head against the wall, which, if you don't already know, is probably my current self-harm method of choice. Mum yelled through the door, to 'stop damaging her house'. Her care for a solid wall over my head only upset me more, and I kept banging, banging, banging. After a while, my negative self-talk mantras turned to a stutter. My head was bleeding.

Mum got worried at the stuttering, and got a knife to jimmy the lock open. When she got in, she saw the wall covered in blood splatters and smudges, and freaked out. She thought I'd cut myself, and kept demanding to see where. I was still crying hysterically, curled up in a defensive ball, and just pointed at the side of my head.

I kept telling her to leave me alone, that I'd stopped damaging her house.
  "I don't care about my house - I care about my daughter!"
But you can probably see why I didn't believe that.

After a while of back-and-forth, she helped me up and down to the couch. She gave me some of those hidden 500/30 paracetamol/codeine painkillers, and I sculled (skoled?) about a liter of Coke Zero straight from the bottle. Slept like a rock.

The next morning I awoke with a lump and a decent chunk of dried blood in my hair. Amazingly, no headache, though it's sore to the touch. I did consider trying to get an emergency appointment at my GP's clinic, but when I thought about it, it didn't seem there was much they could do besides send me for an MRI, and I've already got one coming up this month. The bleeding stopped by the time I got to the couch, so it's not like I needed stitches, either.

Now, I'm resting, and waiting to see if salmonella sets in from the raw chicken incident. In retrospect, it was a really stupid thing to do, but that self-harming part of my brain just wanted to make myself really damn sick.

I honestly don't know if I'm more stable on or off synthetics.

Also, I really wanted to say thank you to you all for your feedback on my last post.

I fully anticipated losing a couple of followers, but I think it's an important message to get out there, no matter how you may judge me. It's been too big of an issue with my mental health to just omit it or glaze over it like I did for so long. Like I said in my last post, I hope my experiences with synthetics can have a positive influence on even just one person.


My coffee splurge

 I finally bought myself a wine rack
The Bar