Please understand, I wasn’t trying to be difficult with my counsellor. I was just being honest. I didn’t feel capable of taking care of myself. When she asked me to promise not to kill myself, it felt like a huge demand. I said yes, but only barely. I just didn’t have the will to take any better care of myself at that point in time. But at least with the support of my medical team, I could survive week to week.
I think this is what being suicidal often looks like. It’s not a passionate wish to die, it’s just giving up. No longer caring about life, about taking care of yourself, about whether you live or die. It was hard for me to sit in front of my counsellor like this - I’m usually such a people pleaser, that I want to look like I’m putting in a big effort. But I just didn’t have the will any more.
I think this is something that a lot of people with depression have experienced. It feels so limiting to have no energy whatsoever for performing even the most basic tasks. I’m usually a very tidy person, so letting my house go - not picking up after myself, doing the dishes, putting away clothes, doing laundry, taking out the rubbish - felt like a real low point for me. I was too embarrassed to have anyone over, but that didn’t matter, because I was hiding away from company anyway. If I needed to see people I would use it as an excuse to leave the house. I was lucky that no one really got any insight into my messiness, so I didn’t feel judged.
Wow, going on daily Xanax, what an adventure. It made me feel like such a zombie. My friends were lovely, and spent time looking after me when I didn’t have the energy to really do anything. I am very blessed with the support network that I have. But something about the Xanax affected either my concentration or my depth perception. I really couldn’t seem to figure out the space around my car. I soon told my doctor what was going on, and she took me off the Xanax. Medication adjustments can be quite the challenge.
(In other news, I hate drawing cars! It looks like a little kid’s Fisher Price car! I swear I drive a real car, not a toy like the one pictured).
I don’t know if it makes any sense, but giving blood really does help me to keep my self harm under control. Something about seeing the blood flow out of me into that rocking bag somehow satisfies the urge. Plus, giving blood is a great way to feel really cared for (in my experience, any way). The nurses are so kind and gentle, and they really attend to your needs.
I like to have a drink on the weekends. It’s important to me to be able to socialise with friends, and that often involves a few glasses of wine. But alcohol is a terrible combination with antidepressants and other meds. I should know this by now.
Letting go of those clothes was so important. It was such a tremendous relief to finally donate them and know they weren’t in my life any more.
My girlfriend had left me a few pairs of jeans that she’d grown out of, and it felt wonderful to have clothes that fit me well. In addition, in a beautiful gesture, she had ordered me a collection of t-shirts online in a more comfortable size.
I have to recommend this for anyone struggling with the weight gain that can come in recovery. Go out and buy clothes that fit you well. Don’t worry about the size. Cut the size tags off! (I did) You will feel so much more comfortable in clothes that aren’t reminding you of how small you used to be.
This was a really big deal for me. I had so many clothes that had fit me when I was at my smallest, and the idea of throwing them away terrified me. It was like admitting to myself that I was going to be fat forever (it should be noted that in all likelihood, I was not fat, I just felt like I was).
I remember getting unbelievably upset about this one skirt. It was just a skirt, nothing special about it, but it had been my one work skirt that fit me really well and made me look feminine. Now, what you need to know about me is that I often dress in an androgynous way for work, but on some days I like to look girly, both to express myself and to avoid workplace stereotypes about how lesbians look (don’t even get me started on that conversation). When I realised that I couldn’t fit into this skirt any more, I felt like I was losing my ability to express my femininity, and that I would be judged for always wearing slacks to work. It felt like a really big deal. If you add to that the fact that I was feeling pretty fragile at that point in my recovery, it’s not surprising that I ended up in a teary mess about it. The problem was, I genuinely could not convey to the people around me (in particular my poor mum) why this was so important. To everyone else, it just seemed like I was getting incredibly upset about a dumb skirt.
I think these kinds of situations occur pretty regularly during recovery. As a word of advice to those supporting loved ones with eating disorders, depression or anxiety: even if it doesn’t seem important to you, even if you don’t get it - if your loved one is upset about it, that means it matters.