Friday, 30 December 2016

Christmas 2016

YChristmas has finally come, and more importantly, gone. It was a mostly uneventful day. I'd had another terrible night's sleep and was up at 2am, and despite trying to get back to sleep, my head was running and I just couldn't.

I've taken charge of organizing food for Christmas for some time now. Due to last year's breakdown on Christmas Eve, involving the raw garlic and thyme roast chicken I'd just just stuffed and trussed being thrown across the kitchen, followed by a mini overdose, my mum does not want me cooking my signature roast any more. Looking back at my old journal, she told me the next day that the only reason she didn't call an ambulance was because it was Christmas Eve. It was not my finest moment.

Mum never really made roasts. We'd usually get a pre-cooked roast chicken from the supermarket the day before and reheat it as she threw some potatoes in the oven. There was never really anything special about our Christmas lunch/dinner, or the day in general. But having made extravagant spreads for the past six years, it had started to feel special to me. I would spend a week preparing and baking and cooking, and even longer planning.

This year, I still wound up doing most of the food prep. By 5:30am, I was in the kitchen, preparing the menu mum had planned. I was even grinding coffee and whipping cream, and somehow managed not to wake anyone with the noisy appliances.

By the time the family surfaced, everything was ready, and all I had jkmmymmmmmmmmmmmto do was warm the croissants in the oven and cook the pancakes. The table was set, condiments were out, everything was taken care of.

Before cooking, I did presents.u I gave my brother a to et 18 Year Old scotch, and a leather band for his FitBit to match the more professional image he's been cultivating. He doesn't drink often, but he does like his scotch. To my surprise, he had a glass at 10am as I was finishing breakfast. For mum, I gave her a weather station, which is already getting great use in a household of weather watchers. I also managed, through the power of the internet, to source a vintage bottle of Yves Saint Laurent Opium, which was her signature scent until they changed the formulation a few years ago.

Personally, I didn't get anything. But, as my laptop died a couple of weeks ago, my brother has offered to put in for a new one as my present, so at least that's one less stress. It was just horrible timing having just drained my savings on things for my sewing room and Christmas.

As for food? For brunch, we had ham & cheese croissants and pancakes. For dinner, we had a mini indoor BBQ – just sausages, burgers, and steak. I also made chocolate truffles and caramel slice a few days in advance. I did eat some of it, though I'd be lying if I said the majority of my calorie intake didn't come from alcohol.

I got a text from the dietician on Friday, wishing me a Merry Christmas. It made my day. I know they say emails etc. have taken the magic and personality out of sending cards, but to me, it was still special. I'm eternally grateful that she gave me her mobile number. I didn't see her last week, and they were closed this week, but I'll catch up with her next Tuesday.

All in all, there was no major disaster on the day, unlike previous years. Maybe next year I'll be allowed to cook my roast, especially after still doing all the cooking this year.

It was only the next day that things really started to go downhill, something that still hasn't lifted.

Mum left in the afternoon for an impromptu overnight trip to surprise her friends. I shut myself inside, closed the curtains and doors. I revelled in being able to smoke cigarettes on the couch.

I went overboard with exercise. Across three sessions, I did two hours of walking laps around the house. Just like I did in the Clinic, albeit a much smaller loop. Even at 11pm, I kept going to burn off everything I'd eaten. The next day, I walked for two hours again. Since that first day doing loops, I've been making it to 10,000 steps a day, which isn't the easiest thing while confined to the house.

After walking, I spent most of the day gaming. I started getting distressed, and over the day I took 9.5 oxazepam. I slept a lot. I couldn't keep my eyes open, but I justified it to myself as keeping me safe.

Recently, my head's started planning another overdose, despite my GP's lecture. Laxatives have been on my mind a lot lately, with strong urges nearly every day. I can't stop the intrusive thoughts, and it feels like it's only a matter of time. I think about the oxazepam stockpile that's slowly been building due to missed dosages here and there. I was in ICU after 20 oxazepam, and I have just as many in my stockpile. I don't want to risk my GP refusing to prescribe them any more, though.

Yesterday, I was having constant thoughts to overdose and self-harm. I was tossing up between drinking or exercising to keep myself distracted. Result? I did both. I walked laps of the house, listening to music with a glass of red. I drank half a bottle and was quite tipsy by the end of my 45 minute walk. I never drink that fast. Maybe I should walk and drink more often.

I've been drinking less recently, which I suppose is a good thing, except for the fact it has been a huge part of keeping my weight stable the past 6 months or so (although, admittedly, that is one of the reasons I've cut back). After I stopped smoking synthetics (6 months, 3 days, and counting!), I started drinking two, three times a week or more. Now, I'm down to once a week, and when I do, I drink a lot less than I was. This week I've admittedly been drinking more, although hopefully I'll get back on track in the new year.

There's no doubt that my stresses, with food and weight, the OD & SH urges, the trauma issues, have gotten worse since Christmas, despite the day itself going relatively smoothly. I don't even know why exactly. Maybe the fear of a new year? I really don't know.

I hope that you all managed to get through the holiday unscathed, and maybe even enjoy it.

See you in 2017...

Chocolate truffles, plus a few random things mum grabbed 
from the confectionery store (the only one that particularly 
interested me was the peppermint creams).
As it was a toasty 38°c, I drank Midori and lemonade (sugar-free, of course) 
through the afternoon. I did have some wine with dinner though, 
and a small Black Russian for dessert.


Friday, 23 December 2016

FEAR - Forget Everything And Run

Christmas is coming up in just a few short days. I feel less excited for it than I have in a long time. Due to last year's breakdown, which resulted in a raw roast chicken being thrown across the kitchen and an ambulance nearly being called, I am no longer permitted to cook a Christmas roast. After some six years of cooking everything for Christmas, spending a week planning and preparing and baking and cooking, I feel somewhat lost.

Part of it means less stress, which is a good thing, both with cooking and eating. Mum's never been one to really cook Christmas roasts, anyway.  But for me, it's taken a lot of the magic out of Christmas. It's back to being just another day.

I've started learning how to drive this week. Since Sunday, I've had four lessons with mum supervising, all close to an hour each. As I'm over 21, I no longer need the 120 hours of practice before I can sit for my P plates, allowing me to drive solo. Instead, I can take the test whenever I feel ready.

However, there are a fear big fears, the reasons why I've put off learning how to drive, all related to my mental health.

The one that's playing on my mind the most? Once I know how to operate a car, even if I can't legally drive without a supervisor, there's a nagging fear that if I'm on the edge – whether it be feeling trapped at home, if we're arguing, if I want to barricade myself in a room, if there's a threat of calling an ambulance – I feel like I might jump in the car and run. Just to get away, especially if I'm manic or unstable.

You see, the car has always been a 'safe' way of going out into the world. It's like an extension of the house in my mind, and it doesn't threaten my agoraphobia in the same way as it does to be out in the world on my own two feet. Up until about a year ago, mum would take me on meandering drives daily to distract me or calm me down, and it always felt safe.

I talked to my GP about it on Wednesday. I explained the fear of running. There's also a fear that I could use a car as a means of suicide, driving off a cliff or speeding into a solid barricade. Much to my surprise (and my mother's horror), her advice was to make a plan, and find somewhere safe I can go to hide out and calm down. Somewhere I won't overdose or go over a cliff.

I'd expressed this fear to mum after my first drive. But when I told her of my GP's response, she was furious.
But it's illegal!”
But the danger!”
But you won't be covered by insurance!”

Don't get me wrong – it's not something I'm actively planning to do, nor is my GP encouraging an illegal and dangerous situation. It's making a plan to stay as safe as possible in case it does happen. Just as we make plans for how to deal with other crises such as self-harm or overdosing, this is making a plan for if I lose control and find myself behind the wheel. It doesn't work to just say “Don't do that thing”. You still need a plan for if it does happen.

Keeping an eye on my medication is going to be a challenge over the next couple of weeks. As the pharmacy is closing for a few days here and there, they're delivering an entire week's worth of meds, instead of just three or four days. The more pills I have access to, the more likely I am to take them.

It's sad to see how far I've fallen. About two years ago, before I went to Webster packs, mum still had charge of my meds and put them in weekly containers. I remember trying to gain more independence over them, starting with the least dangerous one, which at the time was mirtazapine, one of the many antidepressants I've been on.

I was allowed to keep them in the medicine cabinet in the kitchen instead of them being hidden. I still remember, after popping the first week's dosage into the containers, I called out to mum, jokingly,
  “Look! I just put out my antidepressants and didn't overdose!”

Now, I'm given a few day's worth at a time, already in their little package for each dose.

Finally, I would like to wish all of my lovely blogger friends a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I know it's not an easy time for a lot of us, and I'm always here to lend an ear if you need support, I'll help out as much as I can. Unfortunately, amongst the chaos of the past few months, I did not get around to doing my Christmas cards this year. But I would not have made it through were it not for the support of this wonderful community, which means more to me than I can ever express.

Going to visit my friend, R, last week


Monday, 12 December 2016

Finding my Feet (and Fabric Shopping!)

I've been settling back in at home and trying to find a routine again.

Last week I had two appointments on Tuesday, first with my dietician and second with my GP, a few hours apart. I figured I'd try to get out and go to my favourite fabric store while I was out, and maybe grab a coffee.

I haven't gone out much at all this year, compared to the past few. I was doing well at going out once a month, until I saw my abusive ex at a restaurant last year.

When I saw my GP, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt and blame. Talking about the overdose, she aid she get into as much trouble as I do. That she beats herself up and asked herself “Oh why did I do that?”. She's got me on contract to keep seeing my new psychologist every two weeks, or else she won't keep prescribing my medication. I have to see her for at least six months before I could even make the decision to see someone different.

The fabric store was right across the road to the medical centre. I haven't been for years, and not since they moved shops some years ago. I used to be in there constantly when I spent a lot of time in town. They were closing for good on Thursday, so for the past couple of weeks I've been determined to get in one last time.

When we got there and parked across the road, right in front of the medical centre, their sign wasn't out. I started to panic. After having a mini freak-out in the car, mum walked across to check, as I couldn't bring myself to.

It was a huge knock to find out they weren't open that day, after spending all morning getting dressed up all nice, doing my hair and make-up, and just psyching myself up to venturing forth. Even going for a coffee to kill the time before my appointment was too much, so I sat in the car and smoked until it was time to go in.

The next day, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I kept it in the back of my mind in case I felt up to it, but on Thursday, I pushed myself to try again. I knew I'd regret it if I didn't.

The store itself was very empty. There were maybe eight bolts of fabric, plus some zips and a few near-empty rolls of lace and trims. They even had the actual store fittings for sale. I picked up the last five meters of a black and white lip print cotton, plus 10 various zips, mostly purple. I don't know when I'll use them, but at such a low price, I had to grab some. I also grabbed what was left on a roll of a blue-grey lace, which I'm sure will come in handy for a sewing or craft project one day.

Even just going out for a 15 minute shop was exhausting. It's been so many years since I've gone out regularly except for my appointments. I'm hoping to get back to my 'once a month' goal next year, but I don't know.

It also looks like I'm going to be learning how to drive, to work around mum's new rule of not driving me to appointments or anywhere. Instead, I'll drive and she can supervise. I did get my learner's permit when I was 16, and have a good understanding of the road rules, but driving makes me so nervous. My total experience amounts to five minutes around a quiet industrial area after I first got my permit. I'm planning to get behind the wheel later this week, so this will be interesting...