A letter to my sister 

When my sister expressed concern over what people would think of her weight, I wrote her a letter. This response is for all my sisters too. 

Your weight does not measure health, nor how much of a caring mother you are, nor how funny you are, nor how you are a great friend and sister, patient wife….. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re one of the most beautiful people I know. You are as beautiful now as when you were fire-trained fit!!! 

We have been trained since birth to think of ourselves as women who must look pleasing to the male sexual gaze. To think that that is where our value lies. And we have done our best to live up to those expectations. We apply makeup liberally, we convince ourselves that we are not pretty without it. We feel confident when we put it on, are slim, and with the ‘right’ clothing and jewelry adorned, we can be sexy. That mindset has been fed to you. Directly sometimes, subliminally at all times, that it results in….becoming yours too. So now we feel pleasure and confident when we fit this mould. We feel wanted, we think we belong. 

The antithesis to this, is learning how to deconstruct these ingrained thinking patterns. Understanding you did well learning what you were taught, but that lesson is not fair. It’s not fair that you feel ashamed of your body and worry about what your teacher would think. Your teacher was wrong because it is not serving your best interests, it only serves the violent and toxic patriarchy. Pull those thoughts away from inside. Watch them float away like clouds in the breeze. Invite your wisdom to become clear because the emotions were clouding it be justified. You are a person. Not an object to be used. You are valuable because of who you are. You have this caring yet funny personality. I laugh the most when I am around you. You stand up for what you think is right for all, not just one. You are brave and opinionated, yet open to learn and grow. You make mistakes, and you own them. You are meant to be human, not a perfect machine. 

So, let those toxic thoughts fly away and replace them with acceptance. You don’t even need to love yourself if you can learn to reserve judgment. I have many rolls on my body right now, it doesn’t make me any less beautiful. It makes it harder to move. I don’t feel so healthy with the junk I’ve been eating. That doesn’t mean I am bad or less acceptable. We are doing the best we can, with what we have got, at this moment in time. 

Xo

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I want to vomit 

I haven’t had that thought in a very long time. 

I’m a recovered bulimic. I’ve never come back here to say that, but I guess it has only been recent times that I claim that with certainty. I am recovered, and I continue to work on recovery as that could change at any moment. 

Like now. 

This one thought has the potential to start a spiral of events that could lead to my downfall. The fact that I have worked on recovery for so many years means that the instant that thought went through my mind, I could see red flags. I stopped in my tracks and gasped, shocked at the words that formed a sentence that once was so familiar and necessary. 

Backtrack. What did we call it? Some sort of analysis. A chain of events that led to this. 

I know why. What once was PLEASE MASTER, now ABC PLEASE can indicate my vulnerability. The fact it is 1:42am and I am awake? The fact that I have had some alcohol? Little exercise? My emotions of frustration are high because I have tried to work today with children around and a puppy in 42 degree Celsius heat? The anxiety has intensified because I have so much to do and it’s getting to crunch time…. and it’s possible to get it all done…. but, kids. 

So here I am. Responding to that thought.  Analyzing why I am thinking this, and what can I do about it? 

I will sleep soon. I will watch one more episode of ‘The Newsroom’ and then sleep. In the morning I will do 15 mins of low intensity yoga. Just 15mins. No more. I will put a load of washing on, and I will arrange childcare for my children for today so I can work and not fall apart. I have been there for them near constantly over these holidays, and any guilt about this would be unjustified. 

‘It’s ok’. ‘Nice catch… good work’

Helpful thoughts. 

Recovery intact. 

Slip and not fall

As I sit here in the private clinic, my home for the moment, I have time for reflection. 

Thoughts of what I don’t deserve. That I’ve made such a fuss. Just get over it. Don’t be so drastic. What if they don’t believe me? What if they see BPD and chuck me out? My presentation right now might look too together. 

It’s ok. I’m not back in crisis where I used to be. I’m proactive. I have great insight.

The psychiatrist was warm and understanding. I didn’t have that new doctor awkwardness where you have to go through your whole life story again. He thoughtfully asked the right questions, discreetly understood my history. 

We have a plan. To get back where I was and functioning well. Medication with time. We need time for it to take. Regular outside support, so I can manage my strategies but keep accountable. And while I’m in here, get back to working with the strategies that were working. Back into exercise. Yoga. Meditation. Singing. All the things that I allowed work to gradually consume. 

I slipped, but I have not completely fallen. I have grabbed onto the railings, using the support to be there and keep me sturdy so I can confidently walk without them once more. 

The note (TW suicide) 

I’m losing it. I must be. It was my ‘good’ week and it has ended in tears once again. I think back over today and put it on replay. The early composure, the conscientious perfectionist that thrives on control and outcomes. I felt so ‘above it’ all. Like I’m walking on the highest of clouds, skipping from one to the next. Sorting them all, supporting them all, aligning them just so. Think about everything but how you feel. The thoughts run so fast it’s hard to keep up. So hard in fact that I miss patches. “Did I put my keys here?” I don’t remember finishing that drink, but I must have because it’s empty. Weird. Now why did I walk in this room? 

The frustration builds. I’m so savvy tho that I recognize it and go for a skill to bring that down a little. I can bring it down enough to face the music and continue on my charade. 

I listen to a guest speaker talk about her mental illness and ability to hold a full time job, and shine in her other performance job. I am jealous. I didn’t realize that till right now as I wrote it. 

I’m sad and I’m jealous. 

I want to be authentic and not have to hide my health struggle. I want that support. I wish to be able to have my calming piano music in my ear without worrying about losing my job. 

It’s so stressful trying to hide mental illness. It’s so heartbreaking when you don’t want to hide it but fear, yes fear what happens when you if you don’t. 

At the time I wiped away the tears and reassured my boss I was ok to go and present. I would have been if everyone had been nice and cooperative. It was unexpected that they weren’t, and I had to leave the room. 

I managed to gain recomposure again and go back and deliver the next 55mins. 

The result is exhaustion. And more tears. Tears that fall with defeating thoughts. Tears that seem to fall for unexplained reasons, in the middle of random places. 

Drip, roll, drip roll……

Wipe

Sniffle. 

And again. Over and over. 

So now I’m seriously considering going back on my medication. 

Or seriously considering writing a note. 

When I was suicidal in the past, it had never occurred to me to rent a hotel room. My mind goes there now. 

What if, instead of doing work and releasing stress by catching up, I just leave altogether?

I would hate for someone to have to find me. I could perhaps write a note and stick it on the outside of the door at the last lucid moment. 

Please do not come in this room but call emergency services. I have committed suicide and would prefer only paramedics to deal with my body

Or pre-record a message and call when it’s too late? 

I would ruin my children’s lives. Forever. I wouldn’t just be killing myself but my family too. Their lives would never be the same. No, I cannot do this to them. 

So I binge and purge, and this makes me feel better for now. That’s twice in 2 weeks. Another slip. For now, I fall asleep and nap and I feel a little relieved. 

Try not to think of the purge as feeling better…. That behaviour will just get more frequent and before I know it I’ll be relapsing. 

I can’t have that. I can’t deal with that again. 

Keep positive, keep perspective. Keep swimming. 

Just keep. For now. Just keep. 

Perfectionism

I was overcoming this, on the mountain top waving the conquer flag… Urgh. Rephrase.

I was overcoming this, waving my flag as I climb the mountain with an occasional stumble.

There, that’s better. Perfec…..

Stop.

Deep breath.

After a solid time in recovery, life is becoming fruitful in the ways I had missing. I am noticing now tho, my perfectionism creeping back in.

I started feeding it in my work. It was fulfilling and at the beginning I didn’t see the harm. This was my project that I could control. My family can’t wreck this. It’s all mine I mistakenly thought.

We have moved house and it’s temporary but I am not happy here. There a few things that are messing with my body and my head. So to manage my frustration and anxiety with how things are, and with my body off limits, I delight in my work.

Perfectionism can be so rewarding until its inevitable wall smash.

I cannot have control over my work. There are too many other people at play. Hundreds of them actually. My children also interfere. By delaying my start time with an hour long hypochondria stint making me late for work. Or perhaps the discipline applied which results in school refusal. The stress has risen to breaking point.

I am doing a fabulous job dealing at acute times, using strategies to bring my anxiety down a little. Time takes its toll and this level of stress is not sustainable.

Making sure I take time to remind myself of the meaningful things in life is imperative. Taking time to express myself and emotions is critical. Writing, singing, advocating. If it gets bottled inside I will implode.

Even though my head is shouting toxic thoughts about myself and jumping on my self esteem I will reach out. I will go and have coffee with a friend. Even when my head is saying I am not likable. That people don’t want me as a friend. That people see me as weak. That I am fat. That I need to lose weight, to cut, to harm myself in some way to justify my existence. Even though I face this I will continue to face my fears and live with them. I will adjust my chameleon suit for another day.

A reminder: You work to live, not live to work.

Off with the meds! 

The struggle is real but I have had a really good week. A week where I feel like I have accomplished meaningful and important things.

I went off my meds just after Xmas. I had tapered down a little but then just dropped off. It’s not too risky on these ones seeing as tho they have a long half life. At first I lost sense of time. After 2 weeks I thought it had been 6 weeks. My sense of balance and proprioception changed. I felt like my eyes had just got a new prescription of glasses and I was walking around not exactly sure where things began and ended. That has gone away. After about 3 weeks I have had a rough time dealing. Irritable, shouting, teary, crying. I’ll give it another 2 weeks…. And this week has been great.

The struggle is still real. My sensitivity feels heightened and my body responds. Whether it is goosebumps or the urge to cry, I have to work hard with the strategies I have learnt in recovery to continue to keep from purging or self harm. I’m still winning.

Here’s hoping that “off with the meds” is not “off with my head”

Shared musings 

I want my feelings to spill on the pavement.
Out of me.
The shame inside is too much.

I need to get rid of this shame but keep from exposing this to anyone else.

The urge to secretly let it spill where no one can see is a convincing thought. Let out the poison.
Yes, dump it; so no one knows, just how deep the ‘you don’t want me’ goes.