Tag Archives: self-harm

Pain Hurts In Many Ways…

This is one of those bad days. And weeks. And months. Actually, let’s go nuts and say years… So far 2014 has sucked pretty bad. As was the last two or three months of 2013.

I’m in pain. I can’t work. I have to walk the dog, even though I rather struggle to walk from the pain (so I hook him up with harness and a lead and he actually pulls me, otherwise I can’t really go much of anywhere). And I’ve had to now turn down my wedding invitation to my cousin’s wedding, which I was really looking forward to seeing, because it’s about 300 miles away in Liverpool and I have trouble making it to the corner of my street (I live on the second house down from the corner). So that really sucks too.

I resent the fact I am “too ill to work”… My boss’ absolute opinion. Which is why he’s given me notice to stop working there. Apparently it seems that they quite like it when you turn up and work and stuff for them to give you money. They also apparently aren’t all that elated when you, well, can’t. Even when it’s not your fault and can’t move or walk or sit or stand. Not without a crapload of help, a back brace, and so many painkillers you have no idea what your name is, let alone where you are, or what your job even is… Opiate-based painkillers are just legalised haze of mild tripping for me. They’re not too great, but they make the pain kinda go away, so they’re also pretty good at the same time.

It can all get a bit confusing.

I’ve been trying to work from home. But I am currently locked out of my work laptop. Again. So I’m not happy. And rather bored. Despite the fact I’m fairly sure I will not do a very good job at wherever it is that is expected of me – if I actually manage to remember what it is. Data analysis is not so compatible with being three-sheets-to-the-wind.

I’m also staying in living room because feel mighty depressed and there’s naughty things in kitchen. Like knives. OK, they’re permanently blunt – for good reason – but it’s still not good to be there right now. The painkillers exasperate it all – give me that detached and numb feeling you get with depression. And nauseous. Very nauseous. Then the pain also makes me feel nauseous, and then disinterested and angry and upset and frustrated. As well as pointless, pitiful, and tearful.

It all basically replicates feeling that awful darkness coming back – so I’m not sure if it is, or whether everything together is just mimicking it all very well.

So I don’t want to eat anything, or do anything, or care about anything. I’ve had awful panic attacks, agoraphobia is having a party in my head, I’m getting awful vertigo between the pills, the pain and the fear, and I very nearly wanted to end it all yesterday.

Basically, I’m in pain and feel pretty bad. Pretty lonely. Pretty pointless. Pretty lost. Pretty sad.

I wish there was an A&E unit for broken brains, for when you feel like this. Stockpiled with tea, cuddles, puppy dogs, cats, and specially trained people to listen to you cry. Why is there no emergency services dedicated to people with conditions that make you want to do very bad things to yourself…? Unless you’ve actually overdosed, or actually there’s not much a regular ambulance crew can do for you. I would certainly appreciate one that doesn’t come with defibs and bandages, but instead comes with a listening ear, a Starbucks barista, an incredibly cute little doggy or adorable cat, and maybe a stockpile of emergency chocolate. One with trained professionals who know how to stop you from wanting to run to the kitchen for a knife, or the medicine cupboard for everything inside it. One that comes when you’re pushed beyond your limits and you need someone to stop you needing the real ambulance.

I have an appointment with the doctor again. I’m going to be asking to be dumped on a CBT waiting list. I need help dealing with being left suddenly incapable of doing anything without a boatload of painkillers and angry stubbornness. I hope I manage to stay in one piece until then. The last time I put myself in hospital was 15 years ago… I’d like to continue to be able to say that. I really don’t want the end of that sentence to suddenly read “today…”

Doggy (that would be Soul, my loving Staffy mixup) is with me now, lying on me… protecting me. In the state I’m in now, I don’t want to contemplate what I may have considered if he wasn’t here.

Luckily, he is.

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Illness More Than Pain

ILLNESS MORE THAN PAIN

ALONE IN THE DARK
Helpless. Hopeless. That is how constantly being ill makes me feel. Just… like I’m nothing much at all. Like I’m empty, pointless. I am so tired, drained – like I have nothing left.

There is the problem that these times of illness trigger the chaos in my head that depression causes. Not only do you then have to suffer the physical illness – this time, it’s pneumonia – you then become susceptible to the voice of the “Demon” in your head, who sees you’re vulnerable and weak, and cheerfully heads straight in to make everything much, much worse.

I’m an IT contractor: when I don’t work, I don’t get paid. It’s one thing to be ill normally, and not get enough money in (at least you can live off your savings) – but it’s another matter when you’re also forced to use up all those savings to pay for a new flat to live in, as well as having to move into it within the space of just over a week. With no money after putting down an extortionate amount of it for a new flat, and no more coming in either, it’s a nightmare. You’re ill, exhausted, the demon has come to chatter hell into your ears, and then you can’t afford to to live because you’ve just put every penny you have into a roof over your head, and unable to go out to earn any more.

I do not understand this society’s attitude to illness – particularly mental health illnesses. As if being ill with “normal” things (i.e. Ones that are recognised by your average person and doctor) isn’t bad enough – and you’re lucky in this cold and selfish day and age to get any response for having them – those of us who also suffer depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders (etc, etc, etc) have to also deal with these illnesses. But then on top of that, our mental health illnesses become even more magnified – because with a weakened body you have no ability or strength left to struggle with these things that take over your mind.

But nobody seems to care. As if it doesn’t matter. As if you don’t matter. Letters come through the door demanding money you don’t have (so they go in the recycling, unopened). Phone calls come in from people on the other end, paid barely minimum wage and calling just to upset you, to threaten you for money you don’t have (so the phone gets ignored/ turned off/ unplugged). You hope there will be no knock at the door from others demanding more money (so you hide in a corner with the lights out and curtains closed). You freeze or cry or panic because there is nothing you can do, and you just cannot cope with it… And nobody cares. The humanity is gone from this world – the god of money replacing basic kindness, understanding and sympathy. There seems to be nothing that will help the pain and fear inside you.

I manage my depression every day – amazingly I manage this fairly well without medication, too. Every day it is a struggle and constant battle, but it is one I generally win overall, despite the metaphorical and emotional scrapes and bruises I end up with at the end of each day. But when I am ill, this battle is lost before it’s begun. My world becomes distorted because I am so tired, drained and in pain – then the demon comes to feed off it and make it a hundred times worse. Soon, I live not just in fear, but in terror. Paranoia grips me, helplessness suffocates, and chaos breaks loose in my mind – bringing a maddening cacophony of noise and nasty, malicious words that I cannot think through. It fills my head, like an auditorium filled with very loud people, all trying to be be heard over each other, until my head feels like it’s about to explode. The words I make out are usually awful ones, telling me how pointless and hopeless I am. Sometimes they are other ones that make me panic and flounder just as much. What I don’t get in any of this is any semblance of sense or tranquility – nothing but painful voices that hurt my very soul.

I cannot hold a thought longer than a moment before it flies off towards another. I can’t think, I can’t focus, I can’t do anything… It disorientates me, frightens me, and emotionally cripples me. And through it all I’m still suffering the physical pain and distress of the pneumonia too. I don’t know where to turn, and there is no peace to be had anywhere.

Soon enough, I feel it all become much to much, and the same compulsions come to mind again. Starvation, self-harming, inhaling up the codeine pills like they’re going out of style, eating nothing but junk food… I could do all of them, if I gave in, just like I used to. But I don’t. I still have that much power left inside me. But it really does take all the willpower I’ve got – and even when I’m in pain I stay clear of the codeine pills and suffer the pain, because I know the slippery slope I will end up on if I take them.

AN OASIS IN HELL
My distraction comes in the one salvation I’ve had over the last few years that has had me turn my back to these compulsions – my games. Playing the stories of RPG protagonists who are strong, wilful, clear-minded, helpful… even saviours – battling enemies that cripple – even kill – weaker and lesser characters in the game. They are real heroes – the ones who run into the fight when everyone else is running away.

They inspire me to do the same to my own demons. They fight dragons, demons, evil dead things, and other monsters (or aliens) whose sole goal in their existence is to annihilate the world the general population of characters inhabit. They slay the evil that threatens to destroy everything in that world, lead others into the battle, and don’t back down until those things are gone – no matter how impossible the battle or war may seem. These are things I am reminded to do with my own evil that lives inside my own head. Instead of running and cowering, I should take it head on and lead the battle into my own hell to ensure I defeat it. The heroes of these stories might be afraid, they might be excited for the fight – but either way, into the fray they go.

Once again, they have helped me immensely. At its worse, they quietened the cacophony enough to have at least some peace from it, some semblance of space in my mind to breathe, think my own thoughts. They require almost no physical effort – important when you are struggling to breathe and find it difficult to walk even a few steps. They require the mind to be clear, to strategise, to focus on winning, not being beaten. Instead of taking sharp knives or breaking glass to cut my arms, taking about twice the daily recommended dose of co-codramol, starving, or bing-eating, I am slaying dragons, battling evil dead things, or fighting aliens. Being inspired to be strong enough to fight my own.

No matter how impossible the battle or war may seem.


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