Hello again! It’s been a long time since I posted but here I am, posting today. That rosy glow of just being discharged from hospital and getting my life back has faded. I’ve been out of hospital for 5 months, which I am incredibly proud of. But I also struggle now with the realisation that I may be out of hospital but mental health still has a massive impact on my life and i’m not (as I perhaps naively hoped) cured.
I’m living a life unrecognisable from the one I was living just before I got admitted. I have a job, I work in admin at a GP surgery which I love and which gives me something to get up for each day. It’s also a challenge every day, every day my anxiety builds up but I still make myself get up and go in. I’m proud of that. I’ve taken up violin lessons again and despite my anxiety, I go every week and almost always enjoy myself. My family and my boyfriend are massively important to me and play a huge part in my recovery.
But it’s so much harder than I thought it would be. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t posted- I felt ashamed to still be struggling after all the input I’ve had. When I first came out from hospital I was almost giddy with relief. I was free! I could go where I want, when I want. I was going weeks without self harm. I was home again. No more medication queues, no more observations, no more leave forms or ward rounds. I had everything back (socks included!)
January is a trigger month for me. Specifically the 18th. I was dreading it, it’s always been a time I really struggle. I actually managed okay this year. Mum and I turned it into a challenge day- we did an eight hour skiing course which was awesome and definitely kept me occupied away from the negative thoughts and memories. It worked well!
But the last few weeks have been harder. Self harm crept back in and my mood dropped a lot. I’ve felt, well, flat and tired. I find myself struggling with flashbacks, both to the assault and to events that happened in hospital. And bulimia has taken over again. I find my time alone consumed with thoughts and anxiety around food until I break and spend hours binging and purging. I hate it and it scares me. It’s a hard pill to swallow, transferring from the bubble of hospital life to the uncontrollable nature of real life and discovering that you’re not, in fact, cured.
But I’m not giving in. I didn’t spend a year doing DBT to just go back to old habits! I have a big poster with my DBT and grounding skills. I take daily walks, often with my ipod to keep me company- it turns out sitting on the swings or just outside the church is quite calming. I talk to my mum. I feel at times very low and quite beaten. But I’m a hell of a lot further on than I was this time two years ago.
And an aside, in two months mum and I are walking the Just Walk 45km and I’m walking to raise funds for Beat Eating Disorders. I would appreciate any sponsors so much!