It’s not going too badly so far

I guess I managed to stick to most of my targets for yesterday. I didn’t take any other prescription painkillers or any OTC painkillers with the exception of pure Nurofen (ibuprofen) which I was allowing myself because it doesn’t contain any of the nasty habit forming ingredients. I did only take one Nytol last night to get to sleep, which worked from 11pm until 1am this morning whereupon I woke up with the worst period pain in history. I tried lying on my tummy, curling into a ball, crying, moaning to myself (although what use I thought that would do I don’t know), I tried to find my hot water bottle which I was unsuccessful in (and then remembered during the course of today that I threw it out when I left my under-grad uni), but the one thing I didn’t do was take any painkillers, and I am proud of myself for that. I went in the drawer which I keep them in, and moved the Nurofen Plus to look for my hot water bottle, and looked at them, debated taking them and reminded myself of my master plan and put them back in the drawer. Result! I know it’s only one small occasion on one day in one year, but it’s a first step, right? I’m also trying not to buoy myself up about it too much because I know not everytime will be that easy, but it’s a start.

I didn’t get all my uni work done, but then I knew I wouldn’t. The concept of getting the Tube into central London hit me yesterday afternoon so I seized the opportunity and went and mooched round Oxford Street. Amazingly I didn’t buy anything, although I saw a lovely cardigan in the Limited Collection range in M&S but resisted it, and on the way back home I even popped into the uni library to photocopy some journal articles I need to reference in my upcoming assignment.

Today hasn’t been quite so good though. After resisting the Nurofen Plus for the period pain in the early hours of this morning I woke up (actually I came to from my dozy state as I never entirely went back to sleep) and took 2 co-codamol (30/500mg) this morning. I don’t know why I took them, I guess out of habit. I wasn’t feeling too brisk this morning and was on the verge of crying every 30 seconds at the most inane of things (a photo of an albino hedgehog in last night’s Evening Standard, the piece of the Woman of the Year awards on This Morning, the kid who was mauled by a dog but has got over his fear and now owns a spaniel on BBC Breakfast, and even the weather on BBC London made me cry) and I felt really on edge so I reached for the first thing that I knew would take the edge off things, calm me down and put my state of mind into context, the co-codamol. I am determined not to beat myself up over it though, it was one slip up, which I could have predicted, but I can see how it happened with hindsight, and I need to avoid it.

I have taken a step to avoiding it, I am going to see my GP at the end of the week to get a prescription for venlafaxine so I can go back onto the anti-depressant. I know I need to, deep down I know that I felt better when I was taking them and that the lethargy and crying wasn’t as bad. OK, so I still felt shit some of the time, but there were other times where I could sit down and do some constructive work and feel as if life wasn’t too bad. I need to see her to get the prescription because I don’t want the zopiclone tagged on the bottom of it. If she asks why, I’ll just tell her I don’t want to be reliant on sleeping tablets as I feel I have spent too long dependent on them to sleep. She’ll want to refer me to the local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), she always does. She thinks I need continuous support from a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) and everytime I tell her that I don’t. The last few times I have had a CPN (prior to my mental hospital admission when I was 18, just after I was discharged from the mental hospital and also through most of my 3rd year at uni – although she wasn’t strictly a CPN) I can honestly say that I have never felt supported by them. The problem with CMHTs is that they expect you to have your problems between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday and excluding Bank Holidays. Outside of these hours you get sent to the Crisis Team, who usually turn round and say they don’t want to see me as I have no evidence of a severe mental illness (I merely have an eating disorder!), I have evidence of Borderline Personality Traits (I self-harm, have an eating disorder and can go into self-destruct mode) and therefore they cannot help. I admit, I have never tried the mental health services in Camden, but I don’t hold out much hope for them.

The bad thing is that in ringing the GP surgery I got really, really anxious and worried. Phone calls to people in power (even GP receptionists) do that to me, especially medical professionals. I was on the point of wanting to cut myself (which I haven’t done for 18 months) or stuff my face full of ice-cream, cookies and cake (which I try not to do that often) and then vomit it all back up (which I haven’t done for nearly 2 years, excluding a couple of occasions). I didn’t want to do any of those things, so I took a tramadol (50mg) tablet instead, which chilled me out, calmed me down and relaxed me so much that I fell asleep (obviously catching up on the poor amount of sleep I got last night).

I am not happy with myself for this, but again I can understand my reasons. The trouble is, looking back on it, with my current plan to avoid OTC/prescription painkillers, I think I would have rather cut myself or binged and purged. However, then the sensible part of my brain kicks in and tells me that I don’t really mean that at all, I’m just annoyed with myself for taking the tablet. I wonder if I’ll ever truely escape the eating disorder? I found myself in shops yesterday measuring different sized trousers against the size I currently wear to see how much smaller I need to be before I can fit into the lower size, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not some size-zero twiglet. I was trying jumpers on in the hopes that I could squeeze into a size that I dream of being and then discovering that I never will be able to because I have those female appendigices commonly known as breasts! I also wonder if I’ll ever get rid of the urge to self-harm when things don’t go immediately to plan, or I feel depressed or unable to cope.

I can’t tell my GP any of that. I’m not good at talking to people. I tend to breeze into medical appointments with a smile on my face, say that everything is fine, that life is OK and then waltz back out again feeling absolutely crap with myself for misleading everyone again and not being honest. Trouble is, I wouldn’t know where to start with being honest, I’m hopeless at talking about my feelings. The eating issues only came out the first time round when I was admitted to the mental hospital after self-harming badly and being deemed to be a risk to myself and the nursing staff found out that at first I wasn’t eating, then when I ‘ate’ they found the food stuffed in a bin, then they got suspicious as to how I was either losing wieght or remaining the same weight weekly when they were watching me eat. If it hadn’t been for someone confronting me and asking me the question, people still wouldn’t know. That’s what I always need, someone asking me the question outright, so I can’t skirt round the issue, I’m faced with it and in that situation I tend to be honest. Problem is, no one knows the right questions to ask, and that isn’t their fault, in fact I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault because there are no crystal balls. Well, if it has to be someone’s fault then I take the blame because it’s me that isn’t honest in the first place and therefore lulls everyone into thinking that there are no problems.

Ah well, I have another few days of convincing myself everything is fine before I see the GP. I’m sure in 2 days I can think up some lie as to why I’m seeing her and the reason for needing another prescription.

Ruth

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