Scars

I haven’t responded to a Daily Prompt for ages. Ages and ages. Today I stumbled across it when I came here to write a post. It fitted my thoughts and feelings perfectly. It summarised what I wanted to write, so I am using the Daily Prompt today. It means I have to think a little less, and that will help.

I am revising for exams at the moment. One of my units is, essentially, about the brain. That of course means studying mood disorders: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, the list goes on.

I find the brain so engaging and interesting and mind blowingly cool (excuse the unintentional pun). But that doesn’t make some of the topics any easier, when I have to revise them over and over again. Studying the brain makes me revisit memories, scars, I guess that you could say. It makes me remember things that I try my hardest not to think about. It pulls at my heart and pushes me over, and it breaks me. I’m trying not to let it break me. This is science, and it doesn’t have to involve looking back at the things that hurt me, but it does. I just can’t help it.

Leavers dinner, afternoon’s in coffee shops, summer drives, tears, late nights, fear, worry, love, pain, friendship.

It hurts. I’m trying not to cry. I have to take an exam on this. I have another three weeks of revision to get through before that exam. But memories are impairing my revision, and I need someone so badly to come and hold me and tell me that I don’t need to worry about the past. I want to be safe, and I want everyone else to be safe. But nobody is ever really safe. Everyone is haunted by their past, scars never go away, mental illness doesn’t go away, and it makes me fear for so many people in my life.

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5 days later

I have had a headache for five days. It’s probably a tension headache, or maybe I just need an eye test, but it’s agonising. It’s sitting in the back of my head, refusing to budge no matter how much water I drink or pain meds I take. I gave up with the pain meds 2 days ago, but I have a Skype meeting this evening that I cannot miss, so I’m going to try again.

It’s exhausting, I have too much to do, and I’ve just dissolved into tears. I’m going home tomorrow, but I’m off to volunteer for a week on Sunday. I’m only home for 24 hours before I need to be a responsible adult, and I can’t go feeling like this.

I can feel my shoulders raised, but I can’t relax them. My head is excruciating, and I really am not coping this evening. I need a hug, that’s the only time I’ve ever been able to physically feel tension swim out of my body.

I want to go home. I want to go to bed. I want this to go away. I have too many other things on my plate right now.

Disappointed

Do you have a friend who you would go to the other end of the earth for? Someone who you love unconditionally and would do anything for? Someone who isn’t quite like the others, and understands you in a way that nobody else will ever be able to? I do.

But I’m starting to think that perhaps I don’t understand friendship. That perhaps this is all very one sided, or something. I’ve got it wrong somewhere, because it just doesn’t work. I’m not sure that I even know what a friend is anymore. Maybe I’ve never known, maybe I’ve always been wrong. I just wish I’d figured that out before I got myself in too deep, because now I cannot turn back. I’m hurting, and I can’t change it.

I remember back to last year when at the last opportunity of seeing her before she went to university five hundred miles away, her mum didn’t allow her to go. I didn’t see her. I never got to say goodbye. I remember when we came home at Christmas and I was late taking her back home after coffee by about ten minutes and her mum was livid. And then Feburary, when despite that we had trains booked for her to visit me, the day before she came she changed one to go home earlier to help at her mums request. I always thought it was her mother. I feel awful that I’ve always held a slight grudge against her. Now I think that perhaps my friend just doesn’t want to see me. I wonder why she doesn’t just say.

I’ve never coped well with change, or changing plans. She knows that. But still they change, and still each time I expect them not to. But she doesn’t. She cancels, she changes them. It never works anymore. It’s no fun anymore.

All I wanted was to be normal. To have fun, to laugh and to smile. I just wanted to be like teenagers should be without tears and frustration. I just wanted one night. We’re done with university for four months, and I asked for one night. To be friends.

But yet again I’m crushed. Stupidly, I allowed myself once again to believe that once plans were made, they couldn’t be changed. But they’ve changed.

I don’t know. I’m clearly in here too deep, aren’t I? There’s a skew in understanding of friendship. Hers is very different to mine, and I often wonder if she actually really considers me a friend at all, or perhaps just someone who interferes, gets emotional too easily, and needs a shoulder to cry on once in a while. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t want to see me anymore for longer than she has to.

I would go to the end of the world for her. A few months ago I paid way more than I should have to visit her for an hour. I blew a weeks food budget. But I missed her, and I took the opportunity while I could. I thought I’d see her tomorrow, and tomorrow night. I thought I had managed to find 24 hours in four months where we were both free. But she’s not staying. I’ll only see her for an hour. She can’t come back to mine because she can’t pay the £2 bus fair home. She’s saving to pay for something big and every penny counts, she says. It’s strange that she finds time and money to go camping with other friends, or nights out, or to see her university’s friends when they come to England. But not me. She probably knows I’m hanging on too tight and whatever she says I can’t bring myself to let go. I love her too much and I will hold on forever to keep her in my life.

I’d just drive her home, but its not me that pays for petrol and I know my dad will be frustrated if I do. It would cost half as much for her to get the bus, and he’s annoyed that I always am the one to give people lifts and ferry them around. I don’t want to annoy him on Father’s Day weekend. He’s my dad.

I’d just stay at hers, but my brother needs the car. Besides, I specifically said I wanted her here to show her my new room and new running route. I don’t chose to live fifteen miles away!

I’m tempted to just give her the bus money. But it’s too late now. She would only stay because I was forcing her to. If she wanted to stay, she’d find £2. It will be no fun if she doesn’t want to. She doesn’t want to. It’s not mutual anymore. I’m broken. But I still want to put £2 in her hand and solve the problem. I miss her.

Perhaps I’m not worth it. Sometimes I sure feel like I’m not. I’m not worth the two pound bus fair. Our friendship isn’t worth that. And I was so excited. I got my hopes up. I sure as hell should have learnt by now, shouldn’t I?

And whilst a part of me wants to get angry and annoyed, and shout and scream that it’s not fair, part of my wants to stamp my feet and kick and tell her that she lets me down like this every time we have a plan, I won’t. If anything, I need to teach myself a lesson. I need to get over it. I won’t tell her that she has to stay and she can’t change the plan, because this is how it has always has been, and it won’t change her. She would be here because she thought she upset me, not because she wanted to be . That’s no fun! So instead, I can’t be like this. But it’s hard. She’s my friend. I wanted time with her this summer. I’m dissapointed.

I’m more than dissapointed, but I’ll try not to let that show. I don’t want her to know that I’m heartbroken and unconsollable right now. I’m trying to blame myself, it’s my fault. I don’t understand friendship. I’m not good with relationships and people. It’s all me. It’s not making it hurt any less though. She cancelled on me. Again. But I’ll see her for an hour. The time that she can afford.

It’s not fair, but there’s nothing I can do. I just have to be grateful what I have and instead, blame myself. It’s me that needs to change. 

But I love her. And she’s let me down. All I asked for was one night, but she let me down.

Reflecting on 2014

I’m not sure that this is the most sensible idea that I’ve ever had. It’s been a difficult year, a year of hopes and dreams and heartache. But maybe it’s time to try and draw a line under this year, and to move on, to let 2015 be a new year? Or at least, to try to. To actually do so will probably be nearly impossible, but surely there’s no harm in trying, right?

I don’t remember every little in and out of 2014. Lots of it is a blur, except the end of June, leavers. I’ll try to give this post a little structure though, when so many of my posts are not. I’ve decided, that whilst it might make me cry and rip my heart into a thousand pieces, that I should reflect on 2014 month by month, by reading my old blog posts.

First though, I’ll think about NYE last year, the first time I drank alcohol (albeit two glasses of WKD). I sat with my parents and chilled, and whilst didn’t think that I was up to it, I did the complete opposite this year. A meal and night out in town with my friends, I have got a stomach bug I feel awful, and I was also rather nervous about fitting in, and what if I wanted to come home before the taxi was booked? It was fine though. In fact, it was more than fine. I can have fun if only I can let myself relax. Breathe.

January, then, before I career completely off topic. I only wrote three posts in January, the most poignant of which was about parents evening, and failing biology. I wasn’t good at writing down my emotions then, and while I was bricking it, it doesn’t seem too obvious from the post! Maybe I’ve improved a little, then?

February was the result of only two posts, one of which was about my new task to get swimming in an attempt to get fit. I loved the early morning swim sessions with my best friend over the next few months, and I wish that we could have that time together again.

March saw the first time that I ever really wrote about my thoughts on my best friend having an eating disorder, in a post entitled ‘All I think about is food…’ It’s something I’d been worried about for a long long time before, but it was then that I realised exactly how serious it was, and exactly how responsible I was, as the only person who realised this. It was then that it started to kill me and crush me and everything around me got harder and harder until it just became all too much.

April saw a whopping nineteen published posts! While I was slowly finding ways to cope with school and my parents, my best friends eating was ruining me. It was killing me, destroying me, and I wasn’t sleeping at night. The next few months were a haze of pain and support, and it was hard. I’d do it again though, a million times over. I know that in the future, I’ll have to do it again. She’s not okay, and I want her to trust me.

May was the month of my first exam, and I was still consumed by my best friend whilst also struggling with my own problems. I thought about giving up, but I decided that I had to find my voice. I thanked my best friend for helping me out, and for a tiny little while, I let myself ride the wave of happiness.

With exams in full swing, June had me starting to think about moving away to University. Sadly, there was the dreaded leavers dinner, which still makes me feel sick and my stomach flip with guilt. Even though it was the right thing at the time, it didn’t help and I can never ever forgive myself.

DofE, and music tour whipped me up in July, and what happened at leavers escalatedI (although still helped NOTHING!). Summer began, I had some fun, but I still worried endlessly about results day.

August was all about results. I met a teacher for coffee to discuss how things had been since leavers, and I got my results and got in! I still worried about my friend as I realised how bad things still were. I knew that I couldn’t give up, but I still found things hard, and cried an awful lot!

September saw goodbyes and he beginning of University. It was all a bit of a blur, and I guess that there isn’t much more to say than that!

I wrote 28 posts in October, so of course, I don’t have time to reflect on them all. I was finding uni hard and my best friend had stopped eating again, we fought and argued as I struggled to get to grips with the new life. It wasn’t long though before we were friends again, and we’ve been doing amazingly ever since. I knew moving away would be hard, and I think this blip only made us closer, and remember what we’re here for.

I was struggling with doctors tests at the start of November. I was getting mixed need from home too, and it was hard. I wanted to protect my best friend, and I worred again about what would happen if she died. I was counting down until I saw her again, and I was settling into university. I may not have blogged about it much, but i was beginning to feel like I fit in, even if only just a tiny little bit.

And now, it’s the last day of December. The year is over, and it has been long. Very very long. I was very very accidentally late submitting an essay at the start of this month. As the weeks passed though, my thoughts moved to getting home, and reflecting on what I’d learnt in my first semester at university (I love post!). Eventually, I did get home, whoooop! Yey! I survived!

It’s not even an easy year, and writing this has broken my heart and made me want a hug once more. But I wouldn’t take it back and change it, because everything I did was because of someone I loved or something I cared about. That’s important. There was reasons, good reasons for the tears and the pain. There was happy times too, even if not too many, there was enough. That’s not what it’s about though, it’s about support, and learning that we can get through anything, if only there’s someone by our side to hold our hand and help us along the way.

Happy New Year. Here’s to 2015, however good or bad it may be.

Security Blanket

Sometimes it’s best to pull people into a false sense of security, to assure them that you’re okay, and that it’s okay, and that there’s no need to worry. Sometimes it’s safer, and it’s easier, and saves hassle and questions.

But if that person really knows you, they’ll never truly believe it. Perhaps for a while, in a wasted attempt to be free, they’ll try to trust you, and allow you to cover them with the security blanket, too. They will allow themselves to believe that you are okay, because they don’t want to fear for your life every day.

But when that person has the revelation once more that it’s not true, it’s a shock. If that person knows and loves you, it won’t be long before they realise the lies. Actually, you’re not okay. And I should have been worrying about you.

It’s then, when that person realises that they’ve been missing the truth, that they are crushed.

It’s when they notice that things aren’t right.

It’s when they hate themselves for believing the lies, and allowing the security blanket to envelop them.

It’s only then that the person feels guilt. When the blanket is ripped away, they scream from the pain.

It’s when they feel like a hot dagger has torn through them. They stopped helping. They thought it was okay.

It’s then that they become emotionless, fearful, and afraid.

It’s then that they realise that they should have predicted it all along.

It’s only now that I realise how stupid I’ve been. I let her pull the blanket over my eyes, and now the reality has hit me with one big THWACK.

Once more, my fear for her is deep in my chest, and even if it may be one thing too much right now, nothing can make the ache go away. I love her, I can’t be blind anymore. Even if she wants to be blind, I won’t. Because I fear for her life.

Music

I can’t decide if music is my drug or my enemy. I can’t decide if it keeps me sane, or drives me to insanity, and sometimes, that’s a very very horrible thought.

I’ve grown up to be a flautist, having flute lessons since the age of seven. My first flute teacher was fantastic, but when I moved schools at age ten, playing the flute lost all its joy. My new flute teacher was evil, and regardless of how determined I always was, she knocked me down, and I failed. Time and time again. I had no musical background to fall back on, and my parents simply didn’t understand. Lacking confidence anyway, that teacher crushed me just a little too much, and when I moved schools again at age fourteen, I didn’t speak to my new teacher for a very very long time. What that lady did however, was bring joy and confidence back into my life, and I cannot thank her enough.

She’s taught me that music relaxes me, and allows me to breathe, and to forget. When I’m playing, I cannot concentrate on exams and stress, and so it gives me time out. It’s a beautiful feeling, to feel the tension fall from your shoulders, but it can mean that you open up a little too much sometimes, and that can be dangerous.

What playing the flute doesn’t do however, is make feelings go away. It may allow me to forget about work and exams, because I cannot concentrate on two things at once, but in allowing me to let go, playing music allows everything to escape that has built up inside me for so long. Bands and orchestras are a little different. It’s not ‘my’ music, and I can struggle to become emotionally attached, but solo pieces have a different story entirely. There’s death, love, smiles, and tears all associated with each piece I play, depending on when I learnt it, and what it sounds like. For someone who struggles to name emotions, music is a way that I can explain how I’m feeling. That can be a godsend, but when I’m trapped in a little room with my teacher in the corner of the music block, it can be hell. It can end in tears, because sometimes, the music just gets too much.

The more I let build up inside me, the more I find that the music tears me apart. I’ve stopped practicing my flute, because it’s too much to handle. The rush of emotion is difficult to cope with, and it can exhaust me physically and mentally for days and days. It’s horrible, because I loved it. I love playing, and I don’t want to loose that, but it’s too much emotion. I can’t cope with the flute when I’m struggling, and recently has been a time like that.

As time passes and I drift further and further from my love of playing and my desire to get my grade eight, I’m finding that other things are affecting me more. Without that little time to offload, I’m simply letting the wall get higher and higher, and so not only do I not want to talk at all, I want to ignore my feelings, and when something does make that wall come crashing down, I’m struggling to cope. Again, it’s only music that can achieve it. Listening now makes all the difference. The classical music in the foyer of the doctors, the pieces played in the christmas concert, and the lyrics to some songs on the radio.

There’s a song in the charts right now which has the first line ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you wish you were dead.’ I hate it. Every time I hear it, it destroys me, leaving a mess behind. It goes against everything I’ve taught myself to believe over the past few years, and somehow, that combination of words and sound brings back too many memories. Friendship. Eating disorders. Stress. Hope. Hatred. Pain. Talking. Hiding. Depression.

It’s sad that I’m leaving music behind. It’s just another way to cut myself off from the world, but this time, it’s something that I really love. I don’t want to loose the things that I love, because that will only make coping harder. The worst is yet to come in all sorts of ways for all sorts of people, and I need to be strong, and I need to be ready. Now isn’t the time to say my goodbyes to music, but I’ve simply forgotten how to use music to my advantage. I’ve forgotten a lot of things related to emotions really. I’ve forgotten how to talk, I’ve forgotten how to play. And I mustn’t. I mustn’t allow myself to do this anymore.

Perhaps tomorrow I can face my fear, and play my flute. It would be nice to do so without the pain, and it would be nice to do so without someone having to remind me, or ask me. Something tells me however that I won’t do it without a nudge. It’s just like leaping off a diving board for the first time. If you’re afraid of heights and there’s nobody behind to push you, you probably won’t bother. This time, there’s nobody to nudge me.

How I’m Feeling

Whilst I might have been lured into a false sense of security by about midday that my pain had resided, and I was allowed a few hours to work, it’s now back, and with full force.

I can’t hold back the tears anymore. My pillow is soaked, and I still haven’t told anyone that I feel bad. I know that I should eat, and I’ve taken my iron, but the smell of the others cooking is nauseating, and no matter how many times I try to stand, I just cannot walk to my door. I don’t want to have dinner, I really don’t.

I’m exhausted, and in so much pain, I can’t remember the last time anything hurt me physically, or at least not to this extent. I wish that there was someone I could talk to, about anything. I wish there was someone out there to call and check that I’m okay.

I’m really worried, because it hurts so much. I don’t think I’ll sleep tonight if it continues, and that’s just going to emotionally drain me even more. I won’t concentrate tomorrow, and I’ll cry until my eyes sting, with nobody around to fix it.

My thoughts are jumbled, as you may have noticed. My only coherent thoughts really are that my body burns, and I feel like I could be sick at any moment.

Go away pain. I don’t get ill, and I don’t want to start now. I’m already demoralised, I don’t need illness to come and make it worse.

Pain

After telling myself last night that I would have a lie in this morning, I woke up at seven with a stomach ache. Determined not to get up at such an ungodly hour on a weekend, I sat in bed with a bowl of granola, and watched a documentary.

It’s now 10.30am, and over the last hour or so, my stomach pain has gotten worse. Until now, I’ve been just about able to stagger to the toilet, but I’m not sure I could manage that now. The physical pain is excruciating, like someone is repeatedly stabbing me in my chest and stomach, and now I can barely move. I’m confined to my bed, curled in the foetal position, and fighting back tears. I don’t cry from physical pain, and I don’t intend to start right now. Standing makes me dizzy, and I have an overwhelming urge to be sick. It’s almost like I’m loosing feeling in my feet, but I’m telling myself that that’s impossible, I’m fine.

I don’t know what to do.

I can’t afford this today, I need to start revising, and catch up on the mountains of assignments. I need to have a productive weekend. Right now though, the pain is unbareable, and there’s no way I can sit at my desk. I don’t want to burden anyone, and I don’t know anyone well enough here to tell them, but I’m beginning to worry that this may be a little more than ‘just a stomach ache’.

Go away pain, let me sleep, let me work, let me do something. Please, I’m begging you.

I need something

All week, I’ve been trying to reach out to my best friend. I’ve been trying, because right now I’m going through probably the second most horrific thing that’s ever happened to me. And she’s the only one who knows. I’m trying to get support, and my god am I prepared to work around her, but she just doesn’t have any time any more to listen. None at all. I’ll admit, that this week she’s been in A&E a couple of times with stupid drunken cuts. But she’s promised me at least five skype dates in the last week, and not one has happened, really. I haven’t been able to talk to her, and it’s destroying me.

Okay, sure, she says she has to work for her exams, and that’s okay. I’ve fucked up enough before for her, and I won’t allow myself to fuck up her chances at uni. If she’s genuinely behind and struggling and slaving away for hours each day, then fair enough, I’ll cope, but the more time passes, the more and more I doubt her. She’s not doing that. She’s blown me off for nights out, and spontaneously hanging out with friends. Again, that’s okay, but just stop making promises that you never really intended to keep. Today, she told me she wasn’t leaving her room at all she had so much work to do, but then I find that she’s gone to watch a hockey game. It’s just lies, every time. And I’m dumped, five minutes into our chat, and usually in tears. Every time.

I’m not playing this up. It makes me feel sick, and it’s really really horrible news that I’ve had. But even feeling like this, I still don’t expect to be put above everything. I certainly never expect to be put above university work, and even prior commitments. I don’t expect to be put above every friend and every single time, and I don’t expect to hear from her every day. I don’t expect her to drop everything and come running, but just to occasionally say ‘hey, I’ll listen to you for an hour today. We can laugh, and I’ll give you some decent advice too’, or even just to send me a five minute scrawled letter when she can’t sleep. At least I’d know she actually cared. She always says she does, but she’s really not showing it to me right now, and I really don’t believe that’s just because of exams.

I need something. I need you. I need you to laugh, and I need you to listen to me. I know I can’t always have what I want, and I’m prepared to accept that. Maybe I appear selfish, but I’m not trying to be. I simply want to know where I stand. Honesty is all I need, really. I can do without the rest if I have to. I can do without skype dates, so long as you can be completely honest. Always and forever.

To be honest, it feels a little bit like she just got the facts, did her nosying, and now she can go back to the fun stuff. It doesn’t matter how many times she drops me and let’s me down, because she knows I’ll always come running back soon enough. She doesn’t have to worry about how I feel, because I’ll be there when she needs me, regardless of what happens before that. It doesn’t matter that I really need her right now, because she’s only worried about herself and her new friends. Not me, and more importantly and worryingly, not uni work, either. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong and I’m seeing only the narrow path, but that’s how it feels.

And it’s breaking my heart. Slowly but surely, it’ll ruin me.

Bruises

As a child, I was bullied quite badly by many kids on the playground. I was kicked, called names, and generally shoved around. I learnt to simply ignore it, to stay quiet, and keep out of the line of sight.

As you get older, you are bruised less. You learn to ignore and to fight back, you learn to defend yourself and your friends, and you grow old. Sometimes though, the bruises you receive in your journey from childhood to adulthood can be all the more painful than those you used to get on the playground. You might not be able to see them, but they’re definitely there. Usually though, those are the bruises that stay with you for the longest.

There’s a reason that I’m scared of the dark, there’s a reason I’m apprehensive about drinking, and there’s a reason why my best friend doesn’t like close contact.

Those stories are not ones which I am prepared to tell just yet. As a kid, you have to let that bruise on your knee heal for a while before you can kneel down again. Being an adult is no different. Adulthood bruises, mental bruises, are not forgotten. You’ve got to let them settle before you can tell the story. The worst bit, is just as you begin to think that you’re forgetting, or when you’ve learnt to compartmentalise, it comes back around and smacks you in the face again. These bruises never really heal, and the darkest moments from your past haunt you forever.

When the alcohol comes out, I still get that same flutter of panic, and images of cars and adults pass through my brain. As I take the first sip, I still hear the screaming.

When it’s dark, and I’m alone, I’m checking every corner, waiting for someone to come out and attack me. I’m on guard, I’m ready to fight. The adrenaline is whizzing around my body, but really, I know that I’m helpless. I won’t be able to do anything if anything bad happens, and just because I’m aware it might happen, that doesn’t make it go away.

Those mental bruises stay with you forever. They smash through your dreams and flash around in the daytime. When you think it’s healing, something triggers it, and the pain returns once more.

I may not like them, but the bruises I’ve received in my life make me who I am, and really, I’m not entirely sure that I’d change them.