Monday, 22 August 2016

Laxative Overdose

There's a first time for everything. Last week, I had my first laxative overdose.

It started on Tuesday. I was feeling down, and looking for support wherever I could find it. I was getting through the day relatively safely though, until he said it.

I was talking to A, and made the mistake of sharing old photos of me, pre-ED. I was at my set point, healthy, borderline underweight. For reference, my BMI would've been somewhere between 17.3-18.8. At the time, I was comfortable with my body, and logically, I knew I wasn't fat.

It makes me sick to even think of what he said, but long story short, he told me I looked like a cow.
Then, when I reacted, he tried to justify it as a compliment.

I stopped replying to his messages. I tried to talk to mum, but after expressing that it made me want to die, she walked out.
I talked to a couple of my friends from here. It helped, but nothing could stop the negative thoughts.

Then the pill popping got out of control.

I'd already had 4 earlier in the day.
I had the last 8 in the pack around 7pm after he said it.
By 8:30, I opened the new pack and took 100 Senokot (senna).

Now is probably a good time to mention that these days, I only use them when I legitimately need them, with the occasional 'emotional' use (which, I admit, has become more frequent in the past two months). But I haven't abused them for years, so generally speaking, I felt safe keeping them around.

I told myself that I deserved all the pain I would get. That it couldn't be worse than what I was already feeling.
And maybe, just maybe, it might make me less of a cow.

I popped ten at a time into a pill cup, counted them to make sure I hadn't dropped any (I'm paranoid about dropping any meds and having Bill or Misty pick them up), then swallowed them and popped ten more. I couldn't stop.

Before this, I think I'd only taken a max of 8, maybe 12, in a day. But I couldn't resist the urge to OD anymore, and it was either these or the other meds I've slowly been stockpiling.

I fell asleep curled up on the couch, repeating aloud
    “I'm just a cow and cows do not deserve to live.”
(Note: This is not entirely true. Livestock probably have more purpose and right to live than I do.)

One of the last things I saw before going to sleep was yet another message from A -
    “In what must be karmic payback, I just had a car accident,”
(Drama queen. He scratched his bumper while parking.)
    “That actually happened … I'm gonna give up and go home and forget there's a world outside my bed for me to fuck up.”

At midnight, I woke up. 'Cramps' don't even describe what I was feeling. I was in agony, and felt like my insides were ripping apart.

I grabbed the emergency container I keep under the couch for random bouts of nausea, and vomited up my stomach's contents in two almighty heaves. With a fever, sweats, chills, and my heart racing, I knew I'd fucked up.

I called out for mum. I couldn't move, I was in so much pain. I asked if she could grab me a bucket and some water.

    “What are all these pill packets from?!”
    “All of them? How many did you take?!”
    “I'll be fine. They're not that dangerous. I just need to stay hydrated and keep my electrolytes up, and probably have killer cramps for the day.”

I thought I'd be camping out in the hallway outside the bathroom with water and a sports drink, but mum wasn't comfortable with it because of the AN and my physical state. She wanted me to go to the hospital. I asked her to check if my brother was awake to drive me to Private A&E (she still can't drive), but as it was so late, their A&E was closed. I'd even been keeping $190 aside recently for their admission fee because I've been feeling so unsafe lately, I figured I'd end up in A&E for one reason or another.

I asked if she could just check with the Nurse on Call hotline first. She rang, and they weren't too sure what would happen, so they forwarded her call to Triple Zero.

The paramedics came out and checked me over. They didn't know what effect so much senna could have on me, so they decided to take me in. I grabbed my phone, wallet, and Boo, and got into the ambulance.

I always feel ridiculous taking up time from the emergency services for something self-inflicted, both with the paramedics and in A&E.

In A&E, they had to google senna. No one really knew what to do or what would happen. They decided to just play it by ear and try to manage the symptoms as they arose.

Over the next several hours, I had 3 litres of IV fluids until I could stomach starting to take fluids orally. They gave me various painkillers and things to help with the cramps and nausea, as well as slow down the digestive process, but nothing was helping with the pain and cramps.

I didn't get much sleep that night. I dozed on and off through the next day, between meds, OBs, IV changes, running to the toilet, doctors assessing me and nurses checking up on me.

Around 7am, someone from the mental health team came down to see me. I was nervous, but at least the Horrible Psychiatrist no longer works there (who was always a little too eager to section me, and scared me out of going to the public hospital for several years).

Everyone kept looking at my record and asking if I was sure I wasn't trying to kill myself. I told them it was just for self-harm. I felt too stupid and embarrassed to add that I thought they'd make me less of a cow (which I know is ridiculous because I know laxatives don't make you lose weight).

    “Do you take them daily?”
    “No – I haven't abused them for years. These days I just keep them around for when I actually need them. This was just... impulsive. Self-harm.”

They asked if I wanted to link back in with ED services, but these days I can just twist the truth a little (just a little). I told her I was seeing a dietician weekly, and that she was monitoring it, plus regular appointments with my GP and seeing a psychologist, even though I've actually only met the psych once. That seems to placate them without referring me for ED specific treatment. I might embellish a little, but it keeps me where I'd rather be.

By 8am, the nausea started to ease, and I had my first oral intake with a cup of coffee. But the cramps just kept getting worse. After 8 hours of trying multiple doses of two different painkillers, all to no avail, the nurse looked through my chart and returned with oxycontin.


Given my history, especially regarding substance abuse, I'm still surprised they gave it to me, but I guess that shows how bad the cramps were (and I have a relatively high pain tolerance). Even though I knew I'd get bad cramps, I wasn't expecting them to be as bad as they were.

Later in the morning, they gave me more oxycontin. Around 9am, they moved me from the main part of A&E to a 'short stay' bed, for those there longer than A&E but not long enough to move upstairs to a ward.

It was midday before the cramps started to ease, and then I just felt completely weak and drained. Exhausted, I revelled in being able to finally lie down straight instead of curled up in a ball, and dozed on-and-off for the next couple of hours.

Later in the afternoon, the doctor said I should be fine to go home soon. She said I should get some Buscopan from the pharmacy, that it was really good for cramps (and what finally helped, plus the oxycontin, but I knew I wouldn't be getting that at home), and to keep my fluids up.

I got home just before 3pm, completely exhausted and still feeling the effects of the senna. I asked mum to pick up some Buscopan, as well as Hydralyte, when she walked to the pharmacy to pick up my regular meds, plus requested a script for 500/30 paracetamol/codeine from my GP.

I spent the rest of the day drinking proper coffee after having instant in hospital, sorting out my usual daily notes, and trying to compile notes for my journal, not having the mental energy to actually write about the incident for a few days.

I went to bed early and just crashed, although I had to wake up through the night to run to the toilet and have more meds to deal with the painful cramps, which returned every 4-6 hours after the meds wore off, and continued for the next few days.

By the next morning (Thursday), I was mostly just passing torrents of water, and trying to keep myself as hydrated as I could. I had to run to the toilet three times in 5, maybe 10, minutes before I finally made it to my armchair with my coffee.

The rest of the day was spent just resting on the couch, watching movies and replaying the same old games I've played through a thousand times before, trying to keep myself distracted as I tried to replace the water I was losing.

I also saw the dietician that afternoon. After discharge, I asked mum to see if the dietician had any gaps for the next day, plus checking when my GP would be able to next see me. Thankfully, the dietician had a cancellation and we got a call around midday Thursday, although my GP couldn't see me until the following Wednesday.

I didn't actually make it to my regular Tuesday appointment with the dietician (the day of the overdose). Leaving the house is getting so much harder, and I couldn't bear the thought of catching another Uber that morning. Throat aching, tears falling, I stayed at home. 650 meters and 3 minutes' drive shouldn't be so hard, but it is.

The cramps started to ease across Friday, although they still came back whenever the meds wore off. By then, I doubt there was much left in me to pass, but I still seemed to be losing water as fast as I drank it.

It was a solid 72 hours until the physical side passed, and then on Saturday, I had to face the mental side of it. It hit me like a tonne of bricks. I felt so anxious, so disgusted, so sickened. I just wanted to call up in a ball and disappear. The overdose might've hurt, but at least I didn't have to face the mental and emotional pain for a few days.

I had extra PRNs throughout the day. I didn't want to think. I didn't want to feel. I just wanted my head to stop. To be honest, if I had more laxatives, I probably would've done it all over again just to escape this pain.

For now, I'm spending most of my time frozen on the couch, marathoning movies and Dr Phil. My heart's still poundingpoundingpounding. Everything hurts too much to even keep up with my notes – recording what I do, smoke, eat, goals, everything.

It was only yesterday that I started to process it all. The comment, the overdose, the time in hospital, the impact of it all. I spent a total of three hours journalling about it all, which took most of the day with coffee breaks in between. It's taken even longer to break it all down and write this blog post.

Now I'm just waiting for my digestive system to get back to normal. I'm still taking my fiber supplements each day with my morning coffees, resisting the urge to take more laxatives as I know it'd just start the endless cycle again.

I wish I could tell you that I've learnt my lesson, that I'll never overdose on laxatives again.
I am planning to restock, because sometimes you do genuinely need them with restriction.

But in my head, it just seems like a viable option or when I get the urge to overdose and/or self-harm. It doesn't feel as risky in terms of death compared to some of the other meds I've overdosed on, and it keeps the pain from self-harm lasting for days, blocking out everything else.

As for my 'friend' (and I use this term loosely), I am trying to cut contact, but it's hard. There's a worry that if I go AWOL, he'll call/text, and if I don't answer, may just turn up on my doorstep. But part of it is on my shoulders. Friends who I can actually see in person only come around once in a blue moon, so it's not the easiest thing to give up. Although, as my brother said (the only person outside of blogger who knows who said it, and now wants to skin him alive), that is not a friend.

On the upside, I think being told I'm a perfect cow has killed my appetite for a long time. There are no words for how disgusted I am with myself.

I held on to Boo, scared and alone, the whole time. As the nurses always do when I'm in hospital, everyone kept saying how well-loved she looks, and asking if I've had her since I was a baby. In reality, my Starsister sent her to me from the U.K. about 3-4 years ago.

Mini Milo - Boo - Hazel

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Clothes, Coffee, and Closure

This week, I went clothes shopping for the first time in quite a while.

Mum was planning on doing some shopping when she caught up with my Great Aunt for coffee. I asked if we could go to a certain shopping center, as it's the only one I've been able to get to in recent years. Long story short, I used to buy my synthetics there, although I never went to any of the other shops. It was like tunnel vision, which was the only reason it was 'safe' for me, so this was different.

First, we met Aunty D at her regular coffee shop. Long black, as always (Americano, for those outside Australia - except a long black has the espresso added on top of the hot water, preserving the crema, which an Americano generally does not).

When we headed to the shops, I stopped by the tobacconist for the first time in over six weeks. It's been on the 'to-do' list ever since, but to be honest, I don't think mum trusted me, as she wouldn't take me out. I wanted to say a last goodbye to the staff that've been so good to me for so long, and to let them know I hadn't just fallen off the face of the earth.
They had to do a double-take when they saw me. Most of the time when I went in, I'd just be in my trackies, cardigan and ugg boots, with my hair tied back and no make-up on.

There were a few others in the shop, so I didn't say all that I wanted to. I kept it vague, and just told them I'd had a couple of really bad episodes on the synthetics, where the police and ambulance had to be called twice in one weekend, and that was sort of 'it' for me. They were happy for me. It's always been the people who sold me the synthetics that were the most concerned, and most relieved when I stopped.

In a way, it was a form of closure on the period of synthetics abuse. I said my goodbyes, and told them I probably wouldn't be in much at all anymore.

Then we headed over to Kmart. I just wanted to pick up a few basics to update my wardrobe a little (pictures below). I had to shop a size or two up for most things, as they didn't have many 4s or 6s, but it's better than nothing. Before my ED, I always shopped a size or two larger to try to get things long enough anyway, so I'm not exactly fussed by them not fitting quite right.

We walked past a Coles on the way out, and mum asked if I needed to pick anything up. Dumbfounded, I just stared and said  "I don't do supermarkets."
If I were to go to a supermarket, it'd be the regular Woolworths we used to go to. It was the last place I went regularly, my last 'safe' place, up until maybe four years ago. For now, I'm more than happy sticking to online orders and getting everything delivered.

AD drove us home. She's so lovely - she keeps offering to help mum with stuff around the house or washing her hair between nurse visits, although mum doesn't want to have to do anything more than she already does, which is understandable considering she's 85.

Back at home, the stresses started again. I'm struggling with the fact I'm doing everything I can to make mum's life easier, but still getting zero support in return. Later that night I had a mini OD on about three days' worth of pills. I regretted only getting my tobacco and Zippo fluid at the tobacconist, wishing I'd snuck in one last gram.

Mum has her own lockbox now, even larger than the one I lent her, with all of her meds inside, after I sorta raided all of her oxazepam the other week.

As for mum, she got the casts taken off on Friday, although she's still in a sling and can't lift more than 500 grams. All the same rules, so I've got a few more weeks of extra responsibilities around the house.

It's having an impact on my own mental and physical health. Aside from the increased OD and SH urges, my weight has been consistently dropping for the past few weeks, after plateauing for a month or two prior to her injury. My intake has dropped further. I've only been losing 0.5kg a week on average, but it's still a change, and I'm feeling it.

I'm not sure if I've posted a photo before, but this is my fabulous Italian leather coat. My brother and I both got one when I was about 13, but I haven't worn it for years because it's too big now and I hate looking so bulky.
With this weather, though, I need a warmer layer, so it's been pulled out from the back of my wardrobe again.

Lace Cami
Plain Cami with Lace Cover
Summer Skirt, from the kids section
Skirt Detail
Longline Tee
Socks and Jocks


Monday, 8 August 2016


On top of the past couple of weeks being so busy, I've actually been a bit of a social butterfly (well, perhaps a caterpillar), which is rare for me.

First off, I've still not really had time to sit and think to process the appointment with my new psychologist, but I thought I'd fill you guys in a bit on how it went. I've been putting it off for months now, so I guess it's about time.

My GP took me to the appointment, picking me up and driving me home, on her own time, which I'm very grateful for. She was in the appointment with me for all but 10 minutes of the hour-long appointment.

She did most of the talking, which definitely made the 'getting to know you' part easier. I zoned out a little as she gave the psych a rundown of my history - big life events, diagnoses, past treatment, etc.. She gave her two letters from psychiatrists I've seen in the past, which made me majorly uncomfortable.

One was from my first psychiatrist, who I started seeing at the age of 12. He never really knew what was going on, and never really cared to know. He was just oblivious. On the way home, I asked my GP if I could see the letters at our next appointment, which she said is fine. She just thought they'd be triggering, but I'd rather know what this new psych's being told.

The psych told me a bit about herself, her history, what areas she's most interested in, that sorta stuff. To be honest, I'm not sure if she'll be able to help me. She doesn't specialize in any of the areas I most need help with, like EDs, trauma, or addiction.

To her credit, my GP told her straight-up not to push me about AN, that the dietician's monitoring me, and that they know pressuring me just doesn't work.

My GP left the room, and the psych asked me about things like the pets, sewing, baking... It felt so pointless, so tiring, that each word was an effort.

I told her I didn't really want to be there. That I don't know if I want help anymore, or if I can even be helped. That I just want everyone to leave me alone.

When I got home, mum had just gotten home from the walk that busted her arms.

I'm supposed to see the psych again this Thursday, but I really don't know if I'll go. Every two weeks might be a little much.

On the upside, my brother added mum and I to his Uber account, and he's going to cover costs of transport while mum can't drive. I can't express what a huge relief this is, as I'll actually be able to get to my regular appointments. I can't wait to see the dietician tomorrow.

Everything was too hectic to post about it last time, but on the day mum broke her arms, we'd gone out for coffee with my Great Aunt, Aunty D, that morning.

They've been going out for coffee each fortnight recently, partly to get her out of her house and routine. Usually it's been in busy places like town or shopping centers, which I just can't do, but this time they were going to a relatively new cafe in a quiet residential area, so I jumped at the opportunity to see her.

Earlier this year, my Great Uncle passed away. At the time, I had pneumonia which ended up triggering a COPD exacerbation, and was quite ill. I put off going to hospital in the hopes I'd be able to attend his funeral. Unfortunately, the morning of, I could barely move or breathe. Between being unable to walk even short distances, and not wanting to risk getting anyone else sick, it was decided I shouldn't go. I sat crying in A&E while my mum and brother said their goodbyes. The best I could do was post a message to the online memorial, and this was my first opportunity to see her since.

Mum and I got there early and found a table where I could hide in the corner. I was so happy when I saw Aunty D walking by the window.
We both got up to give her a hug, and she said  "It's so good to see you out and about!"

I ordered a long black, and they both had cappuccinos. There was only sugar at the table, but that's why I take my liquid stevia with me whenever I go out.

We were just going to have coffee, then mum suggested sharing a slice of cake between us. We went to the counter and looked at all the cakes and muffins and cheesecakes. Then, AD spotted an amazing looking slice, and announced
  "Let's just all have a piece of hazelnut slice each!"

It was like my grandma's caramel slice, but with pieces of hazelnut through the caramel base instead of crushed biscuits. It was indulgent, but I'm going to try making some of my own at some point.

We were there for over a hour. I mostly just listened, but I did tell her about my tapestry that I've been working on on-and-off for the past two years - 'Shearing at Newstead', by Australian artist Tom Roberts. I'm only about 1/4 of the way through, even after spending some 90 hours on it. Mum did a matching one years ago, called 'Shearing the Rams', but AD's lounge room is full of Australiana tapestries. Next time I see her, I'm going to take mine to show her what I've done so far.

I was actually a little worried that I might get emotional and start blubbering about Uncle, but the last thing I wanted to do was upset her, so I had extra meds beforehand and kept my mouth shut. Missing the funeral, I don't feel like I got closure. It didn't seem real, that he was gone, and in a way, it still doesn't. I worry about going over to her house and not seeing him or his armchair there. That could very well make me crack.

I'm not sure how often I'll be joining for coffee. It depends on where AD chooses to go, whether or not I'll be able to. Once mum's healed up, I want to go to the op shop AD volunteers at to do some rummaging, and of course, sit out the back and have a cuppa with all the lovely old ladies she works with. I haven't been there in years, or to any op shops, really.

Long Black and Hazelnut Slice

Then on Saturday, I woke up to a message from R, asking if I'd be free that evening to catch up for a few drinks. On top of everything else that's been going on, it was a bit overwhelming, but I figured the break would do me good. So I spent the day doing the whole bath/shave/pluck eyebrows/straighten hair/paint nails/makeup routine to try and make myself resemble a human being again.

I'll admit, I did have a few little glasses of wine before he picked me up, just to ease the nerves and make me more chatty. Social lubricant, and all that. I didn't drink much while I was there, though, and my tolerance for alcohol has really improved in recent months. Since I stopped smoking synthetics (six weeks today!), I've been having a few glasses to end the day once or twice a week.

Being out in the country has a certain peacefulness to it. It's so calm and quiet, it feels like a world away.

I had some pretty intense nightmares - they've been getting worse lately - but I just had an extra couple of PRNs, cuddled up to Boo, and tried to get back to sleep.

It was really good to get a break and not stress for 18 hours, though. Now I'm settling back into reality & routine, with busy days and little rest. I've been really reaching my limit the past few days, as far as increased responsibilities around the house go, and have had a few breakdowns and snappy moments.

I can push myself to try and do these things because I know it's only short-term. If I had to do this much work everyday for the rest of my life, I just couldn't do it. I have enough trouble with personal care, let alone housework, cooking, laundry, etc.. I can't wait until this 6-8 weeks is over.


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

No Rest for the Wicked

It was only that morning, mum was talking about how life can change in a split second.

On Thursday, when my GP was taking me to meet this new psychologist, mum went for her walk to pick up my meds, a route she walks every day. 
When she was on the way home, she tripped over and injured herself quite badly. The worst of it was her arms, which she must've landed on awkwardly when she fell.

Nevertheless, she drove me in to my piercer to get my tongue web piercing taken out in preparation for my MRI the next morning - even if I had to reach over to help steer around corners and park the car as she couldn't without extreme pain (which was scary as hell considering my total driving experience amounts to 5 minutes some seven years ago).

Stubbornness runs in the family. She was going to wait until the next morning to get checked by a GP. Then I asked if we could try to pull her sleeves up to have a look.

Her left arm was swollen, but once we managed to get her right sleeve up, I was shocked. I don't think I've ever seen such extreme swelling before.
I took one look at her elbow, and said she really had to go into A&E that night. When my brother got home from work, he drove her in.

He dropped her off and came home, and told me they were doing x-rays and CT scans and whatnot. Just to be prepared, I went around the house and packed her an overnight bag to leave in my brother's car incase she was admitted.
It wasn't long before we were both heading in to see her, and take her the bag.

The doctor came in. After a couple of rounds of x-rays, we found out she'd fractured her right elbow ('split' it, is what they said), plus two fractures in her left forearm. At the grand age of 59, this was her first broken bone, and she managed to do both arms at once. She would need surgery on both arms, and was looking at a few days in hospital.

Feeling lost and unsafe in my own headspace, I asked A if he could keep me company. He drove down from Melbourne, and took me to my MRI the next morning.

Mum had her surgery on Saturday. After not hearing anything for some hours, I started to get really stressed, wondering if it was supposed to take so long, fearing that something had gone wrong. Around 6pm, my brother called the hospital to see what was going on. Her surgery was supposed to be in the morning, but it turns out they didn't start until 1pm, and we were told she was still in theater.

Time ticked on, and I got more and more frazzled. Around 7:30, I headed into the kitchen to get a drink and see what pills I had sitting around.
As I went in, the home phone rang. I've never been able to answer the phone, so I just sat by the answering machine to listen.
It was mum, so I picked up the phone, my voice shaky. The first thing she said was asking if I was okay.

She'd finally gotten out of surgery after 6.5 hours. All went well, and my brother and I went in to visit. Knowing she'd have been fasting all day, I put some homemade cottage pie and a bread roll in a container to be reheated, plus bagging up some peanuts and other little snacks.

She's got plates and pins now, and may even have more metal in her than I do.

Speaking of - I had to go back to my piercer on Saturday to get my tongue web jewelry put back in, plus a couple of other I was struggling with. Since I've only actually gone in twice in the past several years, I figured I'd make it worth my while, and got a second navel piercing (the other time I went in, I got my second nipple piercing).

My current piercing total sits at 19. It would've been 21 had I not had to take out the surface piercings on my hips, not to mention the multiple helix piercings I stupidly had done at the chemist before I was old enough to get them done properly, which never fully healed.

On Sunday, mum told us she'd be coming home that night. My brother and I visited in the morning, and I made her a cappuccino to take in. It was good timing, as we were both there when the occupational therapist came to talk to her about what she could and couldn't do at home.

The biggest limitation is that she can't lift more than 500 grams (1 lb), and no lifting with her right arm. When I got home, before she was discharged, I weighed all of the crockery and kitchen stuff that she uses. Anything over the limit, even her favourite coffee cups and bowls, were labelled with a "NO!", and I found lighter alternatives that I put a "Yes =)" on, so she wouldn't grab them out of instinct.

The other killer is that she can't drive for at least 6 weeks. Mum loves driving. She can't even supervise me as a learner. Running on such a tight budget, I can't afford to take taxis to and from every appointment. Realizing I wouldn't even have the dietician to talk to for weeks, I just started crying. I've not been coping with having so much time alone. My head is not a good place to be. Even now that she's home, she's been resting in bed so I'm by myself most of the time.

When she told me she'd be given oxycontin at home, I told her straight away to take my lockbox (with both keys) to keep them in. She's keeping the keys on her person, even if I help her with getting them out. A painkiller addiction or overdose is the last thing I need right now.

Her being so limited had put a lot of responsibility on me, which I'm struggling with. Even seemingly simple things like keeping the kitchen and dishes clean, feeding the pets etc.. I struggle to take care of myself, let alone someone else and a house. Someone will be coming three times a week for the next two weeks to help, but even with that, I feel like my head's about to explode.

Despite her saying she'd be living on frozen fish and chips for the next 6-8 weeks, I got my brother to do some shopping, and I spent the time she was in hospital making bulk batches of dinner meals. I've still got more cooking to do over the next week or so, but I'll be able to freeze everything, and it can all be eaten with just a spoon.

I'll post about the rest of my busy week in a few days. Amongst the chaos, I've barely even had time to sit and process the psych appointment or anything, so I'll try to write about that next time

I'm definitely putting off going out for dinner (maybe for 3 months off synthetics?).
I don't particularly want to go out again for quite some time.