A Letter From 25 Year-old Me to Today’s Me

Hey you,

It’s five years on and I am still here despite some of your efforts. The world isn’t too bad you know. My scars have faded but not yet gone and my hair is slowly recovering from when you assaulted it with bleach and dyes too numerous to list.

I am still unhappy with my body, but instead of trying to change, I am now content and accepting of my dissatisfaction towards it. It may not be ideal but it works for me. You won’t always hate your scars. You won’t always get those looks and those questions because of them. And anyway, if you did, your sass and otherwise awesomeness out-ways your struggles, addictions and past. At the moment, I am on a mission to demonstrate that I am more than my self-destruction. I will not fall into the self-fulfilling prophecy of self-doubt and the gaping black hole where my self-esteem should be. I know that at the moment you need all the validation and encouragement from others to see you through but that will change.

A lot will change actually. Five years is a long time. You might even be qualified as a doctor, but I won’t say for sure as I can’t pass on any spoilers. But what I can tell you is that you will have times when you fall back again, but you will make it through.

A word of advise though that I would like to pass on, alcohol is not your friend and most people do not want to be your enemy. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat! 

I am so proud of you for giving life and medical school another shot, as both you and I know how much harder it is to pick yourself back up after having stumbled. There is no need to be embarrassed or ashamed, hold your head high and scream to everyone I FUCKING WELL DESERVE TO BE HERE! Because you do. We put the work in, and wether or not attempt two at uni succeeds, it will not reflect on your worth or potential.

Lots of love,

Older You xx

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Finding a Box That Fits.

I’m having a Zoolander-like crisis.

I just don’t know who the hell I am.

I feel that by the age of 20, most people have an understanding of their sexuality. I’m still fucking confused.

I am still waiting for that day when I wake up and realise that I am X, Y or Z. I need someone to tell me if it is love I feel.

I think that I am attracted to women, but my brain questions “is that just because you have had bad experiences with men?”.

I know that I am attracted to men, drunkenly at least, but are my promiscuous behaviours in clubs just a way for me to feel that I am regaining some form of control when in the past I didn’t?

Perhaps I’m bisexual or just asexual. Please can someone enter my world and let me know! Heterosexual or homosexual or any other type of sexual I would be fine with. I want to find a true identity and a genuine romantic love.

I hope to not feel an outsider when my female friends talk about guys or a fraud when amongst the LGBTQ community. I need to start learning to be able to decipher my emotions and build a stable sense of self. I am going to invest my time into learning to trust my internal experiences and others so that in the future I will be able to have a healthy relationship.

Catching My Breath

I’ve started to run. Not far, not fast, not consistently, but more than I did before. As someone who has experienced panic attacks, I have realised that running was more challenging than it was before.

Not because I am unfit and carrying more weight surprisingly. It is my brain and it’s ability to panic that has tied lead weights to my ankles and bound my chest too tight. I am having to learn how to breathe again and become comfortable with a pounding chest and rapid breaths.

I had never thought this would be the challenge that I would face. But from this, I have realised that my thoughts are more powerful than my physical abilities. I am going to take this new-found wisdom and re-motivate myself to give my all to therapy. I am going to have to make myself vulnerable in order to confront my beliefs that have held me back for so long.

Small Steps 🚶🏻

After recieving my first pay packet from my new job, today I’ve indulged in some retail therapy.

Fuck-it! I have put on a stone and a half (9-10kgs) since Christmas and as a result I have done my usual thing of hiding away from people and mirrors. To put it another way, going to a large outlet centre on a bank-holiday was kinda terrifying.

With my twin sister who is recovering from anorexia in tow, I felt more self-conscious than ever. “Oh dear!” she would exclaim, “they don’t do a UK size 4”. So I treated myself to two perfumes that were ridiculously reduced to under £10 and also to a running top and leggings.

Yes, it wasn’t a huge amount and you are probably thinking “why the hell is she telling us this?!”

Well my friends, I haven’t engaged in more exercise than a two-mile stroll into town for the last six months. I have been reluctant to, since my latest attack/ self mutilating episode directed to my arms. I finally found a long sleeved running hoody that was within my price range and I actually wanted to cry with joy. It is beautiful.

Summer Shines and the recent London Marathon have inspired me to re-discover my inner athlete. Fingers crossed that I can keep it up into June!

*Trigger Warning* Pictures of Self-Harm scars.

This post is a tricky one to get right. I want to get it out there that I am not of the opinion that people should have to cover-up scars but I do; I can’t deal with the potential questions and wandering eyes. Rather than stress over a long-sleeved top that might ride up my wrist a little too high when reaching across a counter, I like to utilise my make-up bag.

For readers in the UK, camouflage make-up can be requested as a prescription through your general doctor or accessed independently. There is an amazing charity called Changing Faces who provide free individual sessions at specific locations where they can teach the art of applying such make-up and colour testing for your skin. I highly recommend doing this if you can.

You have to be realistic in terms of how much these products can do. As much as their coverage is amazing, they will not be able to flatten scars or remove them completely.

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I have decided to show both sides of my arm as my under-side has more keloid-like scars as opposed to the upper-side. So here goes…

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The process is simple and accessible to even the make-up avoiding beings out there. Using specially designed camouflage products are often more effective as they last longer on the skin, offer a greater range of colours and also do not leave marks on clothing when applied correctly.

To achieve the coverage that I did, I first applied the lighter of my two creme colours all over with the sponge to provide a base and even my skin tone. I the used the darker one on the upper side of arm.

I then went on to use a small brush to apply a greater coverage to the larger scars in a cross-hatch pattern and in the creases at the edge of the scar before blending out.

I left this for five minutes to set before adding to bits that I had missed then generously coating with the loose powder.

The loose powder needs to be left for another ten minutes before being brushed away and then you are ready to go! You can purchase water-proof fixing sprays to make it last longer or for areas, such as your hands, that may be more prone to water-exposure. Mine can last up to three days providing I leave it alone.

I hope this will prove to useful to a few or provide relief to others who were otherwise planning on boiling in their long-sleeves and trousers as summer approaches. It has been amazing since I have been able to cover my arms but I want to emphasis that make-up is no alternative to self-acceptance and professional help.

6 Tools and 15 Minutes | When Time Doesn’t Heal Quick Enough

Thoughts That Weigh Me Down

My therapy session this week didn’t start off all that well. The uniform that my work had ordered for me had sleeves that halted before my wrists. I felt humiliated and disgusting; some of my scars were on show.

After my shift I went to get food as it was coming up to 3pm and I hadn’t eaten all day. I chose a very nice, fragrant Mediterranean vegetable pasty. I brought that back up only ten minutes before the session started.

I shouted at her (my psychologist) and I feel guilty about that. I feel guilty about throwing up in a public toilet, something that I haven’t done for years. I also feel guilty about allowing myself to be so self-absorbed and self-indulgent when it come to these therapy sessions. I am scared that after only four sessions, I am too attached to her.

She is of a similar age to my mum who is no longer present in my life. I want her to give me a hug. I want her to tell me that I am not just another whiney brat who should stop clinging on to their teenage angst. I want her to be able to just step inside my head so that my emotions and reality aren’t lost in my translation of them into words.

I hate that I only see her every seven days. I also hate how she has made it impossible for me to write a journal for this week. She made me talk about things that I don’t talk about when I am sober and made me question my own perception of my past and present. How could I have been so stupid to allow someone to affect so me much? I have made myself vulnerable to her and I don’t like it.

In My Skin

My skin is too tight and too sensitive.
It crawls with electric currents that don’t allow it to be at ease.
It prickles and puckers as the breeze blows by and kisses my scars,
But worst of all it hugs and clings to my sins.

The mirror, it frightens me.
All I see are my fears and disdain,
I want to break free of my skin,
Shed it and start anew again.

Work, Work, Work and Too Much Self-Doubt

So I’ve got a new job. Not a very taxing one but still enough to freak me out. I’m so happy that I have now been there a week and THEY HAVEN’T FIRED ME!

Yeh I know. I have kinda low expectations.

I’ve been surprised that apparently people “like” me and no one has yet realised that I am a complete invalid with no brain…. there is still time though!!!

Apart from a slight mis-hap when they ordered me a short-sleeved uniform rather than a long-sleeved one (they then told me not to worry, they wouldn’t ask why I wanted sleeves…. wtf?! subtle) then this week has been fine. In the summer sun, I have been sweating and smelling in a uniform jumper over my shirt but hey! Who really cares?

I’m fighting the inner critic who is trying to convince me that they want me out. I was  given additional responsibilities the last few days and immediately presumed that this was a sly way of telling me that I wasn’t pulling my weight and needed to do more….

So what have I learnt over the past seven days?

For one, that you have got quash, or at least ignore, that niggling self-doubt. You will never achieve if you give in to it.

Secondly, you should give yourself an opportunity to prove yourself. Every-one feels like a fraud but that does not mean that you can not do it.

Over and out!

Being the New Girl

I started my new job on Monday. Hands shaking, eyes twitching and feeling sick to the stomach I walked in and nothing went horrendously wrong for the entire shift! Hooray!

Retail, as much as it is easier, I don’t think it is my cup of tea; I much preferred the long hours and back-ache of when I was a care-assistant at a nursing home. The sad thing is, is that I am paid more in my current job than I was whilst working in the nursing home. I had vastly more responsibility and not just over wether things were correctly priced or that I was able to advise people on our latest launches and  special offers, but over peoples’ wellbeing.

Grrrrr it makes me angry. I loved my job assisting the elderly and infirm.

People are so stupid. Of course you aren’t going to retain staff if they are paid minimum wage, have long working days and are often short-staffed!

I couldn’t go back though. My arms snaked with scars for one. The other being that everyone waived me off to uni and I couldn’t face showing my face there again. I would also do a typical me thing of working ridiculous hours, signing up for every shift going and letting my job become my identity.

I think it would be too anxiety provoking as well. Too many questions. I want to go back so bad though. Ahhhhhh!!!! In truth, I think I just want to avoid being the new girl again.

Detached, Distorted

So I’m sat on the top of a hill in the local park. My dog is sate at my feet gnawing at a stick and yet again I feel disconnected. Have you ever seen the child-line video on depression? Probably not but that is pretty much a great way of explaining the bizarre things that are going on in my head. There is some invisible smog surrounding me that is multiplying and muting simultaneously all of my colours and senses.

I am lost. I want to cry and yet I can’t. I know that I should stop wallowing and retreating into myself and yet I can’t. I can’t help but feel that I am somehow lying to my psychologist as I am pathetically shit at putting anything into words. I am turning myself into a victim; a victim of absolutely nothing. I know that I can, it is just that I won’t.

My new job starts on Monday and I honestly couldn’t care less. I don’t  care about the job nor for the money. I am just shit scared that I will be serving people that I know and grew up with. I fear that they will be able to smell my failure.

Worst of all, I’m having nightmares that my mother will waltz up to me and not recognise me. She will pick up a bottle of her perfume and pay for it and say to me “I had wanted my daughter to get this for me for Mothers’ Day”.

I sat and pathetically scraped at my arm. I am no longer causing much, if any, damage when I self-harm and I hate myself for it. Both for damaging my skin and for not committing to my self-destruction. Now that it is summer, everyone has migrated outside into my sacred territory that I had claimed over the winter. There is no solitude.

My arm is swollen from it’s recent assault and my stomach bloated from my recent heavy drinking. I want to let go. I want to let myself free-fall, I can’t though. I crave control too much.