Back up again! It ALWAYS gets better.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written and now I find myself inspired. A week ago I bounced back from a sever depressive episode. It was a gut wrenching period of unrelenting sadness, sobbing and paranoia. I pushed people away, stopped going out and completely stopped taking care of myself. Add to that the horror and following grief of witnessing my beloved cat get hit by a car and I was finished. Done.
I spent up to twenty hours a day in bed. Chores ignored, bills unpaid and totally nocturnal. I hadn’t suffered so much in years.
This time however, was different. Having reached 35 this year and having a pattern of behaviour to look back on I knew that no matter how hopeless things felt it WOULD get better. I didn’t know when but I was absolutely certain it would. It was like a tiny thread of light preventing me from falling entirely. I’d never had that certainty before and although I still had to suffer the soul wrenching sadness – which still seems to be indescribable regardless of how many ways I try to explain it – I knew it’d go. That one day I’d just feel better.
Amazingly (for once haha!) I was right! One day I woke up (it was 6pm but hey it takes a while to get a healthy sleeping pattern back!) and felt a tiny glimmer of motivation, a need to just DO something. It was too late to go out so I washed up and that one simple and apparently easy chore made me feel better. So I bagged some rubbish and so on and so forth.
With some insight and research over the years I’ve had these sudden little realisations that I’ve put away in my mental tool box. Tools that I get out and use to bang the misbehaving parts of my brain when required. A hammer donning the label “your friends don’t hate you!”, a large wrench sporting “nobody’s out to get you!” So it was nice to have a shiny thread called “I promise, it WILL get better.”
It WILL get better.

Body Love for All!

Like many people I suffer from a life long weight problem. I’ve been up, down, round, flat and baggy over the last 34 years and I’ve tortured myself in many terrible ways in the pursuit of the ‘ideal’ body. Well I have finally realised:

THERE IS NO IDEAL BODY! Just as much as there is no ‘right’ size or shape to be! There is only the size or shape that YOU are. Now we can all continue to torture ourselves, diet, call ourselves names, self-harm, binge and purge but NONE of these things will EVER make you either happy or healthy and THESE are the things  we should be aiming for.

So what’s the solution? Well as I mentioned above I’m 34 now and I have decided I’m not going to spend the next 34 years or more of my life finding myself disgusting because I’m not. I’m intelligent, crazy, funny, pretty, weird, cool, creative and sexy as hell!

“That’s not a solution!” I hear you cry. Well admittedly no but it was an epiphany and a turning point for me and didn’t come out of the blue with no help. I’ve been reading articles on sizeism (against ANY size), self-love, self-acceptance and anything that I can find related to body acceptance. It takes time and practice and you will have bad days but like everything in life we’ve got to just carry on and try again. 

Let’s do the obligatory bit about the media: “Yes, yes we’ve all heard the media is to blame!” Well yes and no. On the one hand media does saturate our every day lives with images of the ‘perfect’ body and even though we ALL know that only a tiny percentage of women can pull off the teeny catwalk clothes (the same goes for men and buff bodies) we’re STILL trying to be slimmer, firmer, fitter, prettier with better skin, shiner hair, longer nails blah blah blah! If we have to kill ourselves every day to achieve any of this then it’s not REAL! Make the most of what you already have and rock your own style! You’re bound to feel happier and more confident when you’re being yourself.

So I mentioned how we feel about our bodies isn’t all to be blamed on the media. This is where EVERY SINGLE PERSON OF INTELLIGENCE comes in. We all have a type that we’re attracted to right? Some like curves, some like skinny, some long hair, some short, bald, glasses, tattooed, piercings, boxers, briefs, man, woman, trans, bi, gay, straight, curious, kinky, vanilla, Dom, sub, equal etc. The things that we all LOVE in each other are so varied and unique that it’s simply madness to buy into ANY advertising, TV, magazines and more that tell us we will be happy, successful and lusted after if ONLY we looked like that!! 

WE CAN ALL MAKE A DECISION NOW TO NOT BUY INTO UNREALISTIC IDEALS AND START BEING HONEST ABOUT WHAT WE REALLY LIKE IN EACH OTHER.

I’d love to see comments from you letting us know what you find attractive in a person. Do you like a particular hair colour, eyes, fat, thin, punk, goth, job role, a particular piercing or something you think nobody else will get? Let’s start showing each other what we love!

It may be sunny outside but………

……….I’m sat inside with the curtains drawn. I need to get dressed as I have an important yet very depressing appointment to attend in a few hours yet I can’t move. I’ve made the mistake of sitting on the end of the bed and now I’m staring into the wardrobe. My clothing is sparse which should make choosing an outfit easy but it does not. I have a choice of two pairs of trousers, both look the same but one pair is too long and the other too tight. I have three long dresses but can’t wear dresses without anything underneath – I have nothing for underneath. I have three short dresses which I wear over trousers but the fabric is too thick for such a hot day and I know I’d suffer if I wore them. I have one bra which further limits what I can wear as it sticks up above most bust lines. I have other clothes, some drying but most in a huge pile of laundry which hasn’t reached the floor in as long as I can remember. I’m thinking about all this, how I hate my size and myself for not controlling it and worrying about the appointment.

i realise I’ve been sat there staring into my wardrobe for some time, probably 20 minutes. I grab an old top that has a few small holes in it and the trousers that are a bit too tight, go to the bathroom and rub a damp sponge over my face and put my hair up out of the way. TODAY I WILL BE MOSTLY LOOKING LIKE SHIT!

It had taken so much time to become stable and to reach a point in my life where I was as close to settled as I’ve ever been. It’s taken years of stupid mistakes by me and the support of others to help pick me up but I felt like I’d finally reached a place where things were just about ok then BAM! I’m found to be fit for work. 

Now some may read this and think “boohoo so you’ve got to work, you should be anyway!” Or something similar. To those people I would say that not everyone is able to cope with simply being alive let alone the huge daunting daily task of work. For many it is simply too much to cope with on top of an already painful and unstable life. 

Several years ago I was signed off work indefinitely and my mental health problems were the same then as they are now. The only thing that has changed are the government guidelines regarding who is and who isn’t fit for work. If you live in the UK you’ve probably seen numerous newspaper headlines and TV programmes highlighting benefit cheats, scrounges and layabouts who just want something for nothing. These cases – which are in the minority – have been highlighted in recent years as a way of further dividing the classes making those on benefits all look to be cheating the system. This obviously isn’t the case as there are proportionately more people claiming genuinely in fact with regards to financial fraud in the UK benefits fraud is a minute percentage overall being vastly outdone by Tax fraud but we done see that on the news or spread across the front page of the papers. Why? Well there’s no need to cause a ruckus about keeping the rich rich as that’s what the government want! 

So that was a bit of a rant. I don’t feel this way because I’ve been personally affected, I’ve felt this way for some time especially as it’s so obvious! People who are vulnerable to even the slightest change in income – working or not – are being penalised for being on the bottom rung financially. IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.

ok really this time it’s rant……..but come on! Ok sorry promise this time 😉

Appointment time then I may actually finish what I started writing, or was this it anyway? Who knows, it’s my blog so I guess I’ll rant!

There WILL be swearing!

I’ve been feeling so good lately but today is my punishment! I’m filled with a frustration and anger that has no cause and no resolution! Every fucking thing in my house feels broken and dirty though I don’t know why as it’s not quite the case! I can’t concentrate on getting any work done as the slightest thing pisses me off! I want to eat crap until I puke but all I have in the house is healthy shit which makes me even more angry! I’m fed up of feeling tired, fed up of being in pain and bloody well fed up of trying to mentally ski uphill!

im sorry that I have bugger all good to say today just a rant about how crap I feel. I’m being self-serving and don’t bloody care. I’m considering not posting this but if I were to do that then I’d only post when I’m either calm or happy an that doesn’t give an overall picture of how things really are for someone with bipolar.

WHY DO I NOT HAVE ANY CHOCOLATE IN THIS MUTHA FUCKIN HOUSE????!!!!

My thought of the day/night.

It has just occurred to me that I am genuinely more comfortable being awake at night. I constantly put pressure on myself to get to bed and to sleep at a ‘decent’ time so I’m awake during the day when I’m ‘supposed’ to be when actually I don’t really see why. Besides the societal regulations that seem to state we all must be up and about working, shopping and socialising from say 8am onwards I’m now wondering why do I feel the need to force a sleep/wake pattern onto myself that pearly my brain or body has never been comfortable with. 

It could be argued that the obvious – sunlight – is the reason for humans to be awake all day and sleep all night but there are other times in our history and other cultures in our present that are more relaxed with this unwritten rule of when to sleep and when to wake. Take the Spanish siestas for example and the French half day closing. There’s also the ‘two sleeps’ that has been well documented as the way we used to spend a night. First a 3-4 hour snooze followed by a period of waking for a few hours followed by another 3-4 hour sleep. People would read and write or even visit with neighbours!

Of course I do understand why things have changed so much what with the kind of jobs we do nowadays, nightclubs, families, shop opening hours etc but I have come to realise I shouldn’t pressure myself to sleep in a pattern that doesn’t seem to fit. 

To all you stressed insomniacs – don’t be so hard on yourselves. I know it’s frustrating and maddening trying to get something as seemingly natural as sleep but you may be one of the many fighting innate patterns that don’t suit so grab a good book and some hot chocolate and chill……………….damn that does sound good!

 

Sleep or lack of!

It’s one of those nights. I had a sleepy day and stupidly had two naps despite trying to force myself to work (I run a business from home) and have given up trying to sleep after 4-5 hours in bed.
For those of you who have bipolar or other issues that cause sleep disruption or bad patterns you’ll know the frustration of trying to sleep a standard 8-9hr night. The worst part being the more frustrated I get the more impossible it is to sleep so I lay there thinking about the things I could better spend the time on such as designing and creating more jewellery so eventually I get up.
It’s now just after 6:30am and I’m at my desk preparing for The Alternative & Burlesque Fair in Bristol on Saturday ( https://www.facebook.com/events/225392304299570 ) so right now I have a little more on my mind than usual. I also have an 11:30 appointment in town today and for some reason just knowing I have to get up causes me to stay awake fretting – is that a ‘me’ thing or does anybody else find this an issue? It’s quite a significant issue as the world runs on appointments, dates and times so I often feel outside of that ‘normal’ world adding to a sense of alienation.

Well I did get up to work so I should grab a coffee and carry on. Bright side is I’ll be prepared for Saturday! 🙂

Symptom: Agitation?

Today hasn’t been great or awful so there’s not much to say there so I thought today I’d ask a question of other sufferers.
Do you suffer from agitation and irritation and to what degree?
I didn’t realise until recently that this was a recognised symptom, I’d just assumed for the last few decades that I was a highly strung bitch. This confused me though because at the same time I knew that I wasn’t. I didn’t feel like a hateful person, I didn’t enjoy losing my temper at the drop of a hat (or piece of cutlery!) and I hated myself for shouting at the people I loved. So where did all that anger come from? The answer is nowhere really. I know when I’m a boiling pot of irritability and I warn those closest to me who then spend the day walking around on the proverbial shells. I know that I’m yelling at someone I love dearly over something relatively unimportant but simultaneously cannot stop myself despite the tiny ‘normal me’ in my brain saying “Erica, you’re being a bitch just shut up!”. I have a huge inability to let things go which has got myself and partners into trouble over the years.
How I look and choose to dress – which is obese and outside of social norms – causes me to be a walking target for street rudeness and drive-by comments. I suffered incessant bullying at school and also issues at home so at the age I’ve now reached I have an attitude about me wherein I refuse to be a victim. So when rude people make comments, shout insults on the street or even attack myself and company by throwing glass bottles at us I have in the past found it impossible to keep my mouth shut and not retaliate. This has been met with a mix of responses. Personally I love it when they’re so shocked that I’ve stood up for myself that they shut up however on a few occasions I have caused a situation to escalate. Clearly these were people out to cause trouble but I could have zipped it and probably ended it there but instead by retaliating I have caused trouble for those I have been with at the time for which I am to this day very sorry. I’ve learnt a lesson because it doesn’t matter to me how much abuse I get from people who are clearly just trying to elevate themselves in front of gawking mates but what I cannot stand is when those around me get threatened as a result of me not being able to resist a bit of backchat.

So as tangential as that was it is probably still relevant to my question. Being susceptible to irritation, anger and agitation can cause a person to be impossible to live with. Myself and my mum have always warned my boyfriends about the perils of living with me yet they find it hard to believe until it’s too late. This is because I am a genuinely kind, caring, honest and thoughtful person making it all the more difficult to imagine the she-devil I become when I let people get emotionally close!

I’ve hit a wall with writing for now, it’s been a strange day where I’ve found it difficult to stay awake and I do hate naps as I always wake up grumpy. I don’t know whether that’s a ‘me’ thing or a bipolar thing but the question is irrelevant really as it’s both. Many things I’ve thought about whether it’s mental illness or just how I am but I was born this way and I’ll be this way for the rest of my life so separating who I am from the reasons why I act the way I do is pointless.

I would like to hear others feeling, views and comments so feel free to add anything. As always, take care of yourselves xxx