Living with someone.

Living with someone.

When is the right time? Is there a right time? It’s a hard decision to make whoever you are, but what about when you suffer from various forms of mental illness?moving

I try to hide my struggles as best I can from my partner, of course that is hard at the best of times. It’s different though when living with someone. Not only do I have to try all the time to keep my issues hidden, not because my partner is cold or judgmental, quite the opposite actually, but more for my own shame. I know I am ill, but I don’t like to show it to the people in my everdays. I don’t want them to see that I am struggling. So I have tactics to hide things. Ways that I have adapted myself to cope with my illness and hiding it.

When my I have to wash my hands more times than normal, I do it out of sight, when my partner has to go somewhere unexpectedly rather than crumble into a mess of abandonment I seek an extra hug, another kiss or just a touch and allow myself to know that this is okay. That my partner is coming back.

My partner of course doesn’t know of my books. I have not talked of my abuse. It is very hard for me to be able to share the events of my childhood with those that I have to look at. So I don’t, but for me this means that I have to watch my issues, because my partner does not know why they are there or where they came from.

At night I sleep with the light on, I have to admit that I do not like the dark. I have to have the door shut tight and things in certain places to ensure that I can feel safe enough or as safe as can be to go to sleep. Living with someone, it interferes with all of my coping devices. It pushes the boundaries I have set in place for myself so that I can feel okay. I have to adjust, not just my problems, but to the needs of my partner too.

However, it is the right decision and maybe after opening my home I will be able to open the door to the inside of myself too and let my partner fully in.

It’s like a new adventure in my life. 🙂

Why did you do that?

Why did you do that?

Have you ever been on a diet and tried to resist a bar of chocolate? Been in a shop and wanted to buy something, but know you can’t? Smoked that cigarette when trying to quit? Have you ever tried to resist something that your mind wants but you know you can’t?

It plays on you right? The want gets bigger and bigger and it becomes all you can think about until you give in. Of course there is a little guilt after, feelings of slight shame that you gave in?

Imagine that want or desire for something so much stronger inside. That is what it is like for someone that suffers OCD. It is no secret that I was diagnosed with it. Probably not really a surprise either. Right now I have a really bad spell of it, my hands look like I have ran them along a cheese grater a few times they are that sore and because as a child I developed the need to be able to feel and hear letters pronounced properly and the fact that I am slightly deaf is driving me crazy, because I have to try and block out the outside noise from that ear in order to receive the satisfaction from hearing letters and sounds.

It’ll pass I’m sure, right now I just have things to deal with that come out this way for me.

One thing I wanted to talk about in this post was family members, not mine necessarily, but in general. Family and friends. Why when they know someone suffers this terrible illness do they think it is funny to tease? Stupid things like moving something out of place on purpose, removing soap, putting dirty hand prints on something and various other ways that people like to tease. man-eyes-120227

I was at Uni not so long ago when someone made a passing comment about their house being so messy due to studying and perhaps they should advertise for someone with OCD to come and clean it for them, of course a lot of the class found this to be a funny comment.  Would they say something like that about a person with a physical illness? Would people mock a person in a wheelchair because they can’t run? Put something up high and laugh because the person can’t stand to get it? No, I don’t think they would. So why is it funny to mock the mentally ill?

Perhaps these people don’t realise with these laughs and jokes, and teasing’s they do don’t just make the sufferer feel ashamed to be ill, but they also make the illness worse in that moment.

***Contains Swearing***

Freak!

That’s the word. I say it to myself so many times. Over and over until the tears are rolling down my cheeks and I can’t stop them. I try, but I can’t breathe, my chest feels so tight as I force my tears not to become heaving sobs. I stare down at what I’m doing.

Why do I have to do this? I don’t understand.

Please stop.

Stop.

 I can’t do it anymore.  I can’t. I can’t breathe.

I don’t want anyone to look at me. I’m a freak. I know I am. I can’t help it. I say it loud to myself. “Freak, freak, freak. Fucking stop it. You stupid fucking freak. Stop it. Stop it right now.”

I can’t. I can’t make it go away. Nothing makes it go away.  I wish I could die. Maybe it would stop then. I wish I could be normal, but I’m not. I don’t want anyone to see me. I don’t want them to look. They will hate me. They will know I am a freak too.

“Stop it, step away.” I take a deep breath.

Another minute more is another minute my chest aches inside. I try not to cry, bite my lip, hold my breath, anything to keep it all away, but I cant. The pounding in my head, I open my mouth to let out a sob, quietly so that no one can hear me. I don’t want them to see this. I don’t want them to see me.

What would they think? What would they say?

Freak!

I take another deep breath, glance out of the window. The sun shines outside and for a moment I close my eyes and try to imagine the feel of the sun on my skin, the way the warmth seeps inside and makes everything right again. Just for a second I can pretend that I am normal and I am okay, but then the sting brings me back to reality and I remember. I am not like everyone else.

The niggling feeling inside beckons. I look at my hand, the blood that comes from them, like tiny bubbles from each and every cut, but still I pump the stuff into my hands, try not to wince as the antiseptic sting feels like a million needle bites. I rub It in, all around and try to fight the pain. Like someone is peeling the skin from my hands. I want them to stop, but I can’t, because it’s me.

If I just did everything right, took it slowly. I stand, not moving for a moment and then I rinse the solution from my hands, the warm water offers some comfort for a moment as it eases the pain a little, enough that I can think and gather my thoughts. So that I can calm myself down. “Just do it slowly, get it right this time. Don’t fuck it up.”

I start again, reach over, pump the stuff into my hand one more time. It hurts again, makes me lose my breath for a second because the pain is sharp, but it is good. Slowly, slowly. Do it right. I rub my hands, the tears still roll down my cheeks, it hurts so badly, but I have to do it right. It’s the only way out. The only way to stop this.

Happy now? I rinse the solution off again, slowly, watching that its right this time. I did it correctly.

“But what if?” that voice again, I hate it. What if I did it wrong? What if its still there? What if they are not clean enough?

I sigh. Begin again. Do it right this time.

Freak.

If you saw this would you laugh at me then? Would you think it funny to make jokes? I wish people could see these moments, so in the times they chose to laugh, they see this is what they are laughing at.

Strangers with Familiar Faces

Sometimes I think of things to write about on here and then I don’t, I think I don’t want to sound as though I am depressed or only write dark kind of posts. I am not after pity, mostly support, and sharing my journey. I think sometimes I lose track of that. I post here to help me, but also to help those that might come across my words with the same issues. I know, realising  I am not alone and that one person understands means more to me than any form of sympathy.

So I think I lost sight of what I started this for and so have not posted many thoughts.

A few weeks ago, when the weather was great I had a barbeque at my house, it didn’t actually start that way, but it’s what it turned into. In many ways I am glad, what started to be something for one of my children became a day where lots of things happened for me.BBQ

For starters, I ate barbequed food. That’s huge for me. I love food cooked on a barbeque, but my OCD had stolen that from me and really it had been a good ten years since I have dared to enjoy food like that. I ate crisps with my hands (potato chips to my American readers).

I had people in my house and I didn’t watch what they touched, didn’t freak out internally every time someone wanted to use my bathroom. I didn’t freak out later that many people had used it and now I had to clean it.

I didn’t panic at my children eating food with their fingers. I didn’t panic when the children and friends took their empty plates and things into the kitchen or when someone other than me opened bread rolls or salad.

Maybe these are little things, but to me, these are things that would have sent me on some odd kind of anxiety day until I couldn’t breathe.

Perhaps though, the most important realisation was my father. I hadn’t seen him for the best part of a year, my choice really. He came with my brother and they sat away from everyone else. I talked to them and I was pleasant enough, but really, I didn’t fit there anymore. I didn’t want to. I realised that I didn’t belong with them. They were just strangers with familiar faces.

When he asked me how I was doing with my schooling I wasn’t afraid to tell him, maybe it was because there were a lot of people around and I knew that he wouldn’t belittle me then or maybe it was just because I’m happy and I wasn’t letting him spoil it.

Afterwards when he left and I saw him out, we stood around the front of my house and for the first time I looked at him, really looked at him. I thought to myself, I know what you did to me. That kind of thing has never crossed my mind before, I don’t know where it came from, but maybe that in itself was another achievement for me that day.

I’d rather break my leg

Sometimes I wish that I was missing a limb rather than suffering with various mental illnesses. At least if I had no legs or no arms, or something that disabled my physically, people would see it and understand my difficulties, but mental illness is much worse. Even to myself when I try to snap myself out of it and understand that it is just my mind. It doesn’t matter though, no amount of pep talks seem to work.

Yesterday my OCD was at a high point, I am not even sure why, something usually triggers it. I think perhaps if anything it was the fear of something going wrong and the only way to cope was for my OCD to come out.

I’d been about to cook dinner as I do every day, but something felt wrong with it. Perhaps it was that I was making something that wasn’t planned, I don’t really know, but that feeling inside that tells me something is wrong with the food wouldn’t go away. I cooked it though, cooked it for longer than it needed. But as I tried to eat it, I found myself analysing every mouthful. In the end I decided I couldn’t eat it, that bad feeling was too much for me and there had to be something wrong with the food. I gave my excuses and said I wasn’t hungry today and then put it in the trash.

I dislike the days like this, when I can’t do something just because, even though I could do it yesterday.

Digging for triggers not treasure

Digging for triggers not treasure.

The world of mental illness is often shied away from by those that do not understand and those that live in it suffer the shame of the things that can’t be helped.

I realise something has triggered me big in my head, but I do not know what it is, when I get to it, then the wave of issues I am riding will ease and I will be able to breathe once more.

I stood today and washed my hands for the third time in a row, I saw the look on a strangers face, I saw the thoughts, the way they paused as thy spoke to me. I felt my own shame flush my face because I knew that my hands were still not clean and the person was staring.

The worst part of suffering a mental illness is the looks from people.

People say they are tolerant and understanding to it, but in truth they are not. They stare, they judge and if rude enough they point.

My hands are sore. They are cracked and bleed so bad that I look like I’ve gone ten rounds with a grater. I cannot get then clean. I’ve fallen into my OCD cycle and no idea how to get out of it or what set me off.

I cannot touch anything. I have to shower before I go to bed, I feel the days dirt all over me like an invisible film. It’s dirt inside and I can of get clean, but I keep trying.

I feel like I’m crazy. I know people see me as crazy. In some ways I am crazy. I’ve self harmed almost daily that I don’t even try and stop it, it’s just another right for me to lose.

If I could just find the buried trigger, it would be like a treasure to mind. The treasure of freedom.

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Forgiveness

Forgiveness.

It’s a strange word and while I do know what it means in theory, knowing what it means in feeling it is a completely different thing. I am not even sure if it is something that is possible. How exactly do you forgive someone?

I am not a religious person; I don’t believe in God, I know a lot of people will answer with regards to their faith of God and forgiveness. I think if I did believe in God I wouldn’t know how to forgive him either.

I guess forgiveness comes in many shapes and sizes; it makes hypocrites out of us. Me especially. I haven’t been very good with keeping up with people this last month or so. Not that I have ignored anyone, or not replied, I just haven’t had it in me to talk. Messages have gone unanswered, my phone has been left, emails not responded to. Yet I in some way expect and hope that these friends will understand when I say I am sorry. Many of them have thought they have upset me and that isn’t the case. It’s just a bad time and I hope they forgive me for my lack of communications.

But forgiveness is probably part of why I have been quiet. I wonder if discovering forgiveness would be the key to removing or at least healing the pain inside. It was my birthday just a couple of weeks ago. It’s never a good time; it makes me anxious and afraid. I’d happily ignore it if I could. This year was worse, added to that is my decision to not have my father in my life. It’s made me very ill these past few weeks.

My hands are very sore through the overwhelming feeling of not being able to get clean, though I know some part of this is my minds way of coping with everything else. I do suffer from OCD and when it is at a point that my hands are bleeding, I know I have something bothering me. The fact that even my wrists are cut and bloody tells me I have a problem. I have had days of not eating and over eating. Nights of no sleep or nights plagued with bad dreams, but the biggest one is, in ten days I have only had two days where I have not self harmed. Some of myself harm days have been multiple occasions.

I look at all of this and why I do these things. I feel sane on the outside, but my actions feel far from it. None of my insanities can ease the pain I feel inside. I wish if I could give my father anything, it wouldn’t be confrontation, but it would be a day of feeling what I feel.

Forgiveness might be the key, but how do you do it? I’m not sure it’s possible. I wonder if forgiveness is real at all, or is it just something we convince ourselves of?

Pastry

I made pastry the other day. An odd post, I know. Perhaps if you are reading this, you’re wondering why it matters? People make food all the time. It’s an accomplishment. For me; some kind of step.
In the past if I need to make something such as this, I would buy it. Ready rolled too, then I wouldn’t have to do it.
Why does it matter?
Because I suffer from Emetophobia along with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
They make for the most horrific times in my head. My hands are never clean enough. The side to make the pasty on is not hygienic enough. It doesn’t matter how many times I clean them. If I clean the worktop then my hands are dirty. When I’ve cleaned my hands, well, what If I didn’t do the worktop correctly?
I clean the worktop again and I’m back to my hands.
Add intrusive thoughts and any number of things can happen that will always lead to becoming ill and inevitably, vomiting.
It really wasn’t worth the trauma, because at the end of this cycle, I would be broken. I would feel so damn crazy that I wouldn’t be able to cope. I often say, I feel like a sane person in a crazy man’s mind.
And I do. I have a logical side but it gets ignored.
I have such a terrible phobia of vomiting. It fuels my OCD and the many things that could happen to me and I can’t get passed them.
Not so long ago, I refused to eat chicken. Chicken is so easy to ruin. I wouldn’t touch food I was going to eat with my hands.
Have you ever seen someone eat crisps without their fingers?
I developed many cunning ways to get around my fears and thoughts that I adapted myself.
But, I wasn’t making myself better. I was making myself worse. I was telling myself that these protective measures worked. They stopped me from getting ill. They stopped me from making my children ill.
So, putting my hands into something as simple as pastry; making it and putting it onto the work top and then eating it without fear was like …walking over a checkpoint.

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Walking Through Fog.

I wrote today, not just edited, but wrote a little, it was for part of book three. I don’t know why, it felt good though, somewhere in my mind I have been hiding, but I hear the whispers inside. Maybe I am coming out of wherever I have been, I’m not really sure. It feels like my mind is bursting with a story to tell once again, but at the moment it just goes around in my mind.

I’m not sure if I’m getting better on this part, or I’m just transferring it to another condition. I know I am fighting at the moment with my OCD. I am sure people don’t believe me when I tell them I have it. I think there’s a stigma to it and people use it so often that it’s like a joke or a term for some to throw around, but I was officially diagnosed with it in 2006 when it was so bad, that I could not live.

I cope with it now, it flares up on occasion and I have to find out why, my mind shuts down and I can never just say, such and such is on my mind. I’m at that point at the moment. My hands are sore; I can’t get my skin clean. I’m fighting the need to make the words feel in my throat as I say them; I don’t want to sound like I have some odd tick, because I have to repeat a word just to feel it, so I fight it and try not to, but it’s there, like a lump in my throat I have to scratch. I make myself feel my breathing in my nose, all these things tell me I have something going on, but I don’t know what it is yet. I’ve detached still, I can feel it, or not as the case may be. I know I have easily lost myself in the world of fiction; it is a good escape of course.

Everything feels numb, like I’m not focused in the real world. I don’t feel like I am real. It’s very hard to explain, and I probably can’t do a good job of it. It feels like the world is moving and I am not. I can hear myself talking, but I stop because the words are not mine. I am not me.

It’s the self harm that does it, or contributes to it. I think I self harmed a couple of days ago, but I can’t remember. Even this morning seems like I was somewhere else. I feel like I’m walking through a fog and I can’t see.