Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Friendships: Scared to Get Close

Hiiiiiiii!

I’m extremely happy; yesterday I met up with a friend for coffee and each time we see each other, it’s just fun and chilled and time just flies. I can be myself; I can struggle to get out of bed because I haven’t had a good night’s sleep, or my joints and muscles are aching, I’m feeling lethargic from the side-effects of my medication, but it feels worth the struggle; I don’t have to pretend that I’m feeling superb but still have a great time because I with a friend I can open up to.

We’ve known each other for about six or seven years now and up until this year we would only see each other when I went to one of his gigs (he’s the lead singer in a band. It wasn’t until summer of this year I realised that not only was he now my oldest friend, but we hadn’t really hung out 1:1. So since then, we’ve been meeting up to have coffee and a catch up regularly and I feel like I’m ending the year on a positive.

I may not have any family, but I have an amazing girlfriend who I’m madly in love with and a friend that I can rely on and be myself with.

It is petrifying though…

Each time I get close to somebody, they hurt me.

They want me to be somebody I’m not, they want to be able to forget my blackness so that they can say shitty things about black people and people of colour, they want to forget about my disability, they want me to give my life and everything I am to accommodate them to the detriment of myself.

In the past four years I’ve lost an entire family (both immediate and extended), best friends from school and early adulthood, and people I formed intense bonds with only to realise that our friendship had been built on sand (I still know my bible references!).

So, I am frightened of getting close to people. I’ve been rejected by both of my parents, of course I have abandonment issues!

It’s only natural right?

I’m also incredibly impulsive which leads me to make intense relationships with people I realise I hardly even know (which is actually a symptom of personality disorders). For instance: My BFF from Bumble, I had no idea where she even lived yet I truly believed I’d made a best friend for life! And I told this gal eeeeeeverything like we’d known each other for years. Which she then used against me because that was the kind of person she was and I’d failed to see it.

I guess I wear my heart on my sleeve.

So I’m scared.

But at the same time, I’m not one for standing still. I’m one for trying to pick myself up and move forwards. Therapy has taught me that not everybody is going to hurt and abandon me. Human beings are not a monolith. I’m also becoming really good at checking my judgments with others, particularly my girlfriend, just to check that I’m reading situations right and not being too impulsive with my relationships with other people. Sometimes it’s just good to check in with people you trust to protect your heart and mental health.

Posted in Poetry

Our Love is Wrong

My pride is strong, 

But not as strong as these chains

From my past that bind me,

Which is why I feel wrong,



Wrong for you because

Your past is pure like spring.

There are not storms for you,

Which is why we must pause



Our love. My pride is strong,

But my will is weak. When I see you,

I can't imagine loving another.

Even though for you, I'm wrong.
Posted in Blog

Dark Shadows: New Horizons

During my suspension, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the couch re-watching Mad Men.  My least favourite character has always been Betty Draper/ Francis:

Betty Draper

(Jeff York (C) 2015)

She reminds me too much of my own mother. During this season, Betty’s also gotten fat… I’m not going to lie… the bitch in me delights in this after watching her put her skinny little arse before her children for four seasons…

Betty Draper Thanksgiving Dinner

(This Thanksgiving dinner! Hahahahahaha)

… You would think that I could at least sympathise with Betty, she clearly has mental health issues, but….. *thinks*….  nah.

However, I saw her in a new light today when she said this to her second husband Henry Francis in Episode 9 “Dark Shadows” of Season 5:

You’re always thinking about other people, and then you’re angry because no one’s thinking about you.

Leo Double Take.gif

(Hold up… that was Betty Draper??!!!?!?!?!?!??!?!)

I admire Henry Francis: he took on A LOT of shit when he took on Betty. I’m not defending Don Draper as a husband. Furthermore women as a collective, during the 1960s, faced a huge amount of torture. However, despite the masculine cacophony the majority at least attempted to make life better for themselves and their children, while Betty as a mother is just a monster who very evidently takes her own unresolved childhood issues out on her children and while Don manipulated this, Henry took this on, faced it head on and helped her. Unfortunately, he probably won’t ever alter my perceptions of Betty – as I said, she reminds me too much of my own mother, however for her to finally recognise enough how much Henry does for other people, and how little he gets in return for it and also recognise his anger for that, is pretty awesome.

 

This is something that I have been dealing with, because I’m constantly thinking of others. It’s something it seems that I was born to do. From a young age I was doing it for my family and now I do it instinctively, so much so that I forget that not everybody else does it too, and if they don’t that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t care. However, that doesn’t invalidate my anger.

 

Betty then went on to say:

It’s so easy to blame our problems on others but really we’re in charge of ourselves.  

 

I’ve come to a massive crossroads in my life. I’ve now become too sick to work – that is very much clear, therefore I cannot look for another job. Therefore I’m going to have to claim benefits.

I’ve also decided that it’s time to find my own place. As much as I love my partner, I can’t live with him anymore because I need my own space and my independence, and the stress of living with somebody else while so ill is actually more detrimental to my health than its worth.

This doesn’t mean however, that we’re breaking up.

 

It’s incredibly scary because I’m not going to have a job, yet I’m looking for somewhere to live on my own?

Am I crazy?

Yes. Yes I am!

But it’s also the first decision I’ve been able to make in the last few months that makes me feel pretty damn good.

 

It feels bloody good to be taking charge and soon also take charge of my own happiness.

Posted in Blog

Everybody Needs A Homie

Last Saturday I went on my first run in over half a year. I managed to do just over 4km and it was exhilarating.
The following Sunday my partner and I went on a 5km walk; it was fun, it was easy, and I even managed to keep up with his long-legged paces. (He did admit later on, that he had slowed his own pace down just a little for me to keep up!)

Lately my partner has been encouraging me to exercise more.
Last year I did a 10km run to raise money for Epilepsy Research UK. It was excruciatingly tough. I had the summer holidays to train whilst simultaneously having seizures almost everyday – sometimes I’d have seizures while I was running. However I pushed through it (I still remember one afternoon while out on a run I had a complex partial seizure in the park, threw up, and then carried on running) and I did it. I finished the run in just over an hour and a half.

image
Only God knows how!
Perhaps having something physical to focus on was the perfect distraction to turn me away from my deteriorating health because as soon as the training stopped, so did the positivity.

Soon after the run, my Epilepsy team agreed that Lamotrigine wasn’t working and so we changed over to Oxcarbazepine. I barely had any strength- mentally and physically. Furthermore, the seizures didn’t stop. I was having complex partial seizures everyday – at times one after the other after the other. It’s funny because people always assume that medication is the answer to your prayers and if it’s not working then it’s something wrong with you.
People also assume that you’re just playing up to the illness for sympathy:

“Surely it’s not that bad”

“How can you STILL be tired?! It’s been almost a week!”

“Don’t you remember I told you what date we were going to that dinner? How many times do I need to remind you?”

“It’s just a short walk to Tesco, how can you be so lazy?”

I could go on and on about how much my Epilepsy annoys people but I don’t want to beg for sympathy here!

People also compare the ‘current you’ to the ‘you of the past’ and fail to understand that a chronic illness progressively changes you.

When it became clear that the Oxcarbazepine on the highest dose wasn’t working either, my Specialist Nurse sat me down to warn me that she was concerned that my Epilepsy was worse than originally thought. The reason for changing my medication in the first place was not only because it wasn’t working, but also because I had started to have new types of seizures. Now I was beginning to run out of options as well.

Feeding this kind of information back to your boyfriend is pretty scary. A million thoughts fly through your mind including: “he’s finally going to think I’m a freak…..” And “everybody eventually thinks about the future, children, etc etc. If I don’t even know what my future holds, what’s the point in being with somebody like me???” (not that we’re at that stage yet; it’s only been two years!)

Surprisingly he wasn’t phased. He’s concerned of course, however it doesn’t change the way he sees me. (I still can’t believe that even after the time he had to feed me while I was completely out of it post seizure and drooling all down myself he wasn’t freaked out.) To him, I’m not the chick with Epilepsy – I never have been and this confirmed that I never will be.

One morning last week, I was in the kitchen getting my lunch ready for work when I had a seizure; my boyfriend was drinking coffee in the front room, and he came in straightaway. When I’d recovered I asked him how he’d known to come in (I hadn’t been able to speak and wouldn’t have been able to ask for help). His reply: “you suddenly went quiet and I knew.”

He also understands and shares the things that are important to me: my writing, my Masters and most of all, running. Therefore, he pushes me but in a non- aggressive way. He’ll say “come on we’re going for a walk” in order to get me out of bed; he encourages me to try new things – I almost didn’t apply to University to do my Masters however where I saw a million obstacles, he saw none at all and encouraged me to go for it. After my first and second assignments, during which I’d been struggling with health and family issues and hadn’t done as well as I’d hoped, all I saw was despair and failure, whereas he saw the improvements and possibilities. Thanks to him, I didn’t quit, I persevered and improved remarkably in my third and latest assignment.

He is going to be embarrassed reading this but I need to tell you about him because people need to know that when somebody suffers from mental illness and a serious health condition, we don’t need people being mean to us and better yet, we don’t need to be pushed; we just need to be loved. We need someone to lean upon, but better yet we need somebody to help us stand on our own and conquer.

image

Everybody needs a homie like mine by their side 🙂