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What’s happening and where to next?

After slowly sliding down a very dangerous and icy slope over the last 8 weeks, this week I reached break neck speeds and eventually came to a not-so-graceful stop in the emergency department last night. Almost double over with some pretty epic chest pain and dizziness, it was the reality check I needed. With 6 hours of sitting around, with intermittant bursts of conversation with the ever-so-lovely Miss S, I had some time to think and realised I just need to let go. Just a little bit. I’m holding on so tightly to something I can’t even understand that I’m bringing myself down and making myself sicker in an attempt to protect myself. I’ve beel learning to find my voice and I’m trying to ask for help.

At the beginning of the week I made some calls and scheduled in some appointments with J and C. Yesterday I met with C who gave me some pretty scary ultimatums. Either I start to pick the pieces up myself or the control’s going to be taken out of my hands and someone else is going to have to do it for me. Being the control nut I am, I’m doing my best to work it out for myself. So I went to her. I sat. I talked. I asked her what I could do. She spoke to me about uni, how much it’s impacting on my life and how much of a toll it’s taking. She mentioned how much she wanted me to try the day treatment program. I brushed the idea aside because of uni, I don’t want to fuck up another semester.

I discussed why briefly with MissS last night, but it came up in conversation with J again today. She asked me why and I found myself explaining when I thought I really had no idea. Uni seems to be the only thing I have that is ‘mine’. It’s what I want, I worked my fucking arse off to get it. Nursing is what I want my life to be about and I don’t want to let go of that. It’s something I’m passionate about and strive to succeed in. It’s makes up my identity. If I let that go, even just to defer, for treatment it feels like I’ve failed. It feels like there’s nothing there that I need nor want to do, nothing that makes up my days that I feel like I have to get done. If I defer uni, then what am I going to do have there that I want? Even if I defer for the sake of recovery, it feels like I don’t have anything to put the effort in for. Even though uni is stressing me out and bringing me down, it’s my saving grace as well. It’s been giving me a purpose and I’m scared to let go of that, scared of where that will take me. So, after lengthy discussion, we realised that there needs to be a happy medium, where I can still have uni and have the possibility of engaging in stronger therapy.

My problem was I couldn’t work out any options. I could only see two, part time or defer. Neither of those I was too keen on. So I asked J what she thought about me talking to the dean. Whether I could see what ideas she had. She thought it was a good idea and off I went and hunted down my dean and organised a meeting. We chatted about where I was, what was happening, I filled her in on ED history and told her that I was struggling at the moment. She asked what support I had so I ‘introduced’ her to the team. She asked about a psychiatrist and when I said I was struggling to find one she said she’s speak to her partner, as he’s a mental health worker, and one of the other tutors and find me some names. I was blown away by how quickly she jumped in to support and how willing she was to help. I still can’t quite believe she was so cruisy. We sat and discussed a plan and the stress of how I’m supposed to do this is starting to relieve. I can see, if not light, then something that could provide the path to find that light.

So what’s the plan from here? What am I actually doing?

– Going to uni two days a week. This gives me room to negotiate potential day program for three days a week.

– Deferring prac. Even though I’m absolutely devastated about this, the option was taken out of my hands. The dean said by just looking at me she wasn’t going to let me go. This means I’ve got 4 weeks left of semester and then have a 6 week break, rather than 9 weeks and a one week break.

– Deferring my exams until winter term, this gives me some extra room to study and less pressure right now.

– Finding a psychiatrist to review my meds, because clearly something isn’t working.

– Making regular appointments with my team, working with them and fighting.

– Finding more geographically suitable housing.

– Staying out of hospital.

– Doing the absolute best I can to stick t0 my meal plan and build it back up to where it was not too long ago.

– Checking in with the dean regularly to make sure I’m okay and that I’m as supported as I can be.

This isn’t how I wanted things to work out, but reality says that this is how it is and I can’t fight it. I’ve just got to make the best of what I’ve got and try to get my life back into my control. I don’t want to be a frequent flyer in the emergency department and don’t want my life to spiral so far out of control I’ve got nothing left. I need to start picking up the pieces now before I completely lose sight of where I’m going. It’s going to be hard. Getting back on track is going to be terrifying and brutal, but I need to do it. Baby steps is all, and even if I take the same step over and over again, at least I’ll be doing something.

Now I’m off to class and watching the clock until home time. I’ve been awake for far too long and desperate for sleep!!

Exhausted

Tomorrow sees the end of almost 6 months of holidays. I go back to uni, but not only that, I’m starting a new uni. New people, new classes, new teachers, new campus. New. Different. Unknown. I’ve been arsing around all night trying to put things on my desk just the way I like them. Nothing seems to be in the right spot. Not quite sitting right. Not quite how it should be. Trouble is, I have no idea what I want it to be like. I’ve given up for tonight. I’m writing this post, sending an email, taking a shower and crawling into bed where I’ll fool myself into thinking I can lie there with the blankets over my head and pretend this week didn’t exist at all. It’s Monday and I’m already tired of it.

Today I spent the day putting all my thoughts and energy onto someone else. Focusing on them, helping them, making sure they’re okay. Giving someone else all my love and attention. Holding their hand and doing what needs to be done to make sure they’ve got all the support they need. Helping to hold the safety net beneath them, or even to hold them up as they tentatively make their way across the tightrope that is recovery.

Now, I feel like I need… Something. Anything to detract from the lingering thoughts in the back of my mind. Anything to distract me from the suffocating black pushing its way into my head. The depression has set in harder than ever the last two-three weeks. I’ve been overwhelmed by all the appointments, the hassle of organising uni, the fear that a friend is struggling and I’m not going to be able to do enough to help them. This is where I throw myself into everything that opens up and fill my diary with commitments and activities. This is where I try to pretend that I can handle it. This is where I bite off more than I can chew.

The incessant nagging voice in my head at the moment is becoming unbearable. Screaming constantly at me, reminding me how fat and disgusting I am. Just in case I’m likely to forget. Which I’m not. Especially not when I seem to be constantly surrounded by reflective fucking surfaces. Reminding me that I’m not worthy of this position at uni, or my treatment team’s time. That I’m pathetic and worthless and useless and vile. That I’m selfish and greedy. That it’d be better if I fucked right off. So would everyone around me. I wish She would just FUCK OFF! It’s draining enough to get through the day without the constant chatter. I’m beyond terrified about starting at this new uni tomorrow.

Uni aside, this week is a big one as it is. I have my second appointment with the eating disorders service at a hospital near by. I’m scared of what this appointment will involve. My last one saw me leave in tears and being unable to recall what I did between leaving the office and making my way home. I’ve only partially disclosed to them my history of sexual assault. I’ve not told them who the perpetrator was. I haven’t told them the full extent of the effects it’s had on me. I’ve only mentioned it briefly before changing the subject. I’m not looking forward to that conversation at all. This time though I’m going to have someone come along for support before and after the appointment. Apart from that I’ve got to see my psychologist and GP. I’ve got to function like a normal person and drag my fat arse out of the house every day to avoid getting myself stuck in the trap I create when I isolate myself.

All I want at the moment is for everything to stop feeling so stifling and suffocating. For it to stop feeling like I’m dragging my feet through quick sand every day. For the dark to be lifted and the heavy black to subside. For things to be less of an effort and more of an experience. For life to come naturally and become exciting and interesting. For the pain, not only mine but that of my darling friends, to ease and things to become a little easier. I can’t help but feel pure fury at the universe for being so cruel. I want to be in control again.

I’m exhausted with needing to pretend all the time.

I’m exhausted.

Arse Over Head

I have had the craziest couple of days, finally sitting down at my desk for 5 minutes for the first time since Wednesday, I’m just starting to process how full on it really was. On Wednesday I’d planned a study date with Cassie (which of course means play date in L & Cassie speak!). We had lunch in the shopping centre, went to the play ground and played on the super cool equipment (cue bruise number 1) and then headed to Gloria Jeans to ‘Study’. On the way back we decided to go see what the beach was like and went to the headland for a look. We spotted a fisherman on the rocks and were trying to work out if he was young and good looking or old with young looking legs. “His legs do look really young” I say. Suddenly I’m arse up in  the air, heading for the footpath, iPhone in one hand and handbag in the other. By some miracle both items landed upright and unharmed. Meanwhile, I’m still nose diving for the footpath, unable to catch myself, smacking my head, falling sideways onto my shoulder blade, then my hip and somehow grazing both my knees as I slide down the slope. It hurt. A lot. But it was fucking hilarious.

Think it might have looked something like this, but replace the cool, soft snow with hot pavers.

As I tried to regain some sort of dignity, Cassie is almost wetting herself with laughter. “You’ve gotta laugh. If you don’t laugh, you’re gunna cry” I thought to myself. So I burst out laughing and there we were. Sitting on the walking track around the headland, one with a bloody knee, foot and red shoulder blade, holding her forehead and laughing, the other in stitches trying to ask if I was okay. Man, I wish I’d had one one of those out of body experiences so I could see just was I looked like. I literally went arse over head. When we’d regained some degree of composure we headed home. You’d think the saga was over then, right? Nope. Not I. I don’t do things by halves. By the time we’d got into the car and started driving I had a raging headache and my stomach was churning. We got home and I had a shower and cleaned up and Cassie was getting worried about my head, thinking maybe I had a concussion. I debated for a while, saying I was fine, but when my head wouldn’t stop spinning I got a tad worried too. We called the nurses hotline, followed their advice and off to the ED we went, feeling like a complete and utter fool.

The ED was as boring and uneventful as watching the grass grow. I was triaged, they were worried that my left pupil was fully dilated and my resting BP was 154/87. Regardless, they sent us back to the waiting room to wait for a doctor. When I was finally seen I’d started to perk up again and was feeling better. The Dr said my head was fine, and seemed more worried about the grazes on my knee and feet. After they were dressed we were sent on our way, with strict instructions that I wasn’t to stay alone that night, so off to Cassie’s we went.

Thursday I woke with one incredibly stiff knee and an ache in almost every joint possible. Cassie and I spent most of the day in the rainforest with our text books pretending to study, then I had a driving lesson in traffic that can only be described as ‘Fucking insane” and came home to get ready for Thirsty Merc. Talk about exhausting. That was a great night, despite the wait for the band to actually come on stage, the drunken dancers who had NO perception of personal space and the guy who came and grabbed me and consequently ended up with a glass of water down his shirt. Apparently I was the bad guy there, getting abused for ‘wetting my fuckin’ shirt you slut. Keep ya fuckin’ drink in ya fuckin’ glass.” To which I promptly replied “Well then, you should keep YOUR hands in your pocket and OFF my body. Touch me again and you’ll be sorry you were ever born.” The abuse from his end continued until my aunty stepped in and told him exactly where to go. Other than that, I had a fantastic night, the band was amazing, the music was great and the company was lovely. I LOVED the feeling of the music from the speakers, which were literally a metre or two away from me, pulsing through my body. The not-so-coordinated movements from the audience and screaming the lyrics at the top of my lungs just ’cause I knew no one could hear me. They’ve always been one of my favourite bands, I’m so glad that they sound just as awesome live as they do on their records.

This week is going to be a crazy one for me. I have so much study to do it’s almost scary. Not to mention appointments to attend and classes to go to. My exams are exactly two weeks away. On Monday it will be two weeks until I leave for placement. I’m running out of time. I’m scared things are getting too full on again. I don’t want to get overwhelmed, just when I start to feel like I’m chugging along okay. I don’t want to derail right now, I need to keep my shit together.

I’m thinking about going back to work. I’m currently writing up a resume to hand in at Crazy Clark’s for a position over the Christmas period. Despite saying that things are getting too crazy again, I’m broke. But who is going to hire me when in two weeks I’ll be leaving for two weeks. No one. This Monday is my second last psychologist appointment that will be covered and I’m in no position to stop therapy. So I need to some how pull money out of the air to pay for that, not to mention find money for accommodation and food while I’m on prac. This whole being a grown up thing sucks. I wanna be 5 years old again with no responsibility. Or maybe just no mental illness that is costing me more than my life is worth.

A letter to my brain.

Dear Brain, 

Meet Silverthorn – I would really appreciate it if the two of you could cooperate this afternoon. It would be a huge help and significantly beneficial to my education. It would also reduce my stress levels, dear brain, if you could do your best to hold onto every piece of information Silverthorn has to offer. I promise that you will be allowed to have a rest soon, but I really need to get these exams over and done with and I’m sure you could agree with me when I say a resit is going to be really inconvenient. I’m sure you understand how desperate I am.

Thank you for your cooperation,

MissL,

xx

Hit By A Truck

I really feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. I’m so emotionally drained and physically exhausted.  Our mental health presentation this morning went really well, everything went smoothly and our class was interested and engaged. We received a distinction (22.2/25) for the assignment. Although it went well and I was happy with it, I did find that I was easily triggered by small statements or even our own information. On the plus side there were no tears!!

I spent the afternoon with the lovely Cassie, driving around the outskirts of the city ‘exploring’. We went to the pet shop for ‘puppy therapy’ and then to the beach and had hot chips on the headland. We got stalked by hundreds of seagulls! They wouldn’t leave us alone. Among the seagulls were three magpies, we tried to feed the stray magpie’s among them because they were different and special. It was really cool to play with the magpies and get them to come up to us. I had the camera and snapped some pretty cool shots. It was all fun and games until the seagulls got cranky with us for not sharing our chips and left a lovely present on Cassie’s shoulder.

Tonight I need to revise my steps for the four possible scenarios that I might be given in tomorrow’s assessment task. Although I know how to do most of them, I really struggle with administering nebulisers and forget EVERY time record their resp rate and auscultate before I administer. Tomorrow afternoon I’m going to take some time out for myself, maybe take mum out to the beach and go for a swim in the wave pool if the weather is nice. Then this weekend I’m going to sit myself down and catch up on my Psychosocial unit and put together study notes for my exams at the end of the month. I have 5 weeks and 2 days until holidays. I just need to hold my shit together for those 5 weeks. I just wish I had time for the nervous breakdown that I feel I deserve!

Now, I’m going to do the dishes, iron my uniform for tomorrow and go over my step-by-step list of what I need to do tomorrow and then sleeeeeeeeep! So. Freaking. Tired!

Day 28: What stresses you out?

At the moment, the thing that is stressing me out most is uni. I’ve got so much to get done and it seems that each day just passes me bye with a sneaky little wave and a smirk that says “Ha, another day gone!” on it’s way out. I often find myself sitting at my desk rubbing my tired, weary eyes staring at the ‘to-do’ list I’ve created. It seems to be ever growing. It never, ever stops. For every little thing I tick off, I add another two or three to the bottom. I’ve begun to think I’m not cut out for this uni thing. There’s so much work, and a lot of the time I really don’t have the energy to get it done. I’m behind in work, at risk of failing, lost all motivation to care. Am I just wasting my time? Am I stressing myself out over something I shouldn’t even be doing? It seems like I’m way out of my depth here. I wake up and the first thought that runs through my head is “I’m never going to get all this work done.” I just want this semester to be over. I want the workload to stop. I want a break. I don’t want to feel guilty about going to bed because I should be studying, I don’t want to feel guilty for going to my medical appointments because that’s another day where I don’t get any work done. I don’t want to feel stressed all the time.

Day 25: Something you are looking forward to.

I’ve got so much to look forward to. Both the near and distant future hold amazing possibilities and exciting opportunities. I’m hoping to go on a trip at the end of the year to see my best friend Laura for her birthday (and mine, seeing as they’re 3 days apart) and then to Sydney for the Harry Potter Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum on my way home. Providing things (and finances) go to plan, it should be a lovely little end of year/I survived my first year of uni/birthday present to myself. That’s mainly what I’m looking forward to at the moment to get me through the monotony that is university life.