Addiction saved me, and then I had to save myself.

Addiction saved me, and then I had to save myself.

I feel like, since I was young, self destruction has flowed in my blood. Then it’s divided and multiplied like a pathogen or parasite inside me and it’s lived there, among my organs, ever since. I don’t know why I’m so attracted to the prospect of destruction and excited by recklessness. Why do I prefer to live my life in chaos rather than serenity? To thrive in chaos is an omen. This is something I learned only recently, after 5 or so years of starving myself into non-existence. I’ve known a big part of me is an addictive side to my personality, the part that can’t ignore impulses and doesn’t want to acknowledge consequences for my behaviour. It was first the anorexia, then the self harming, then sex and then alcohol- almost like my mind can’t help but find new things to get stuck on. A big part of me is fearful, but somewhat darkly excited by the question: what will it be next?

I think in some ways, addiction is addictive because we know it’s toxic. It’s that kind of mentality that it’s so wrong but it feels so right that the part of my brain that just can’t get enough, bows down to. But no matter how much our brains romanticise the things that are going to kill us there is one thing we have to remember, as much as it feels like a lie, it is an illusion. As much as we repeat the same old thing in our heads, like a mantra ‘to convert a dystopia to a utopia, it must be destroyed’, it is and will always be a lie. There’s that parasite that lives inside us that we mistake for ourselves. It blooms like algae when we feel the most hopeless and the more dependent we become on it, the more is grows and grows into the body of us. And what started out as a problem, finally goes by our name. A shape-shifter of sorts. But the secret that keeps growing inside us can’t stay hidden. It shows itself on the outside, empty bottles of vodka, clothes that keep getting looser and looser around out waist, scars or long sleeves and a sadness on our expression. You see, what started out as something to help tame our unruly feelings, or keep us safe or give us an escape, didn’t just destroy the things we wanted to rid ourselves of, it destroyed us and everything else around us as well.

The long process of recovery and rebuilding begins when we, our family or our body can’t keep it up anymore. Someone or something says ‘that’s enough’ and we come back down to earth much faster than we ever went up. It is excruciating. Learning to restrain the parasite that’s made a home within us. You fight yourself whilst also trying to save yourself, because as much as the addiction saved us from what we wanted to forget about our lives, it will never make it go away. It will never be enough. With help, that impossible process can be made possible. A life that seems too painful to bear becomes kinder, and somewhere we want to be. And with every step towards peace and serenity we take, the air we breathe says ‘welcome home’.

-Emma Catherine

Instagram- @rain.on.rosy.cheeks

WordPress- thelilaclysander.wordpress.com

 

Love Yourself beyond your body

Love Yourself beyond your body

love the parts of you that you never even think of
your elbows and your brain
your laugh, your stride, your expressions
love the bits of you that you hate
snores, sneezes, dodgy hip, achy neck
make sure you love the things you can’t see but know are there
the attitude that sparks blazes
and the shyness that makes your cheeks glow amber
most importantly
love yourself beyond your body
love yourself when you give more love than you take
or when you ache in your stomach from feeling
everything all at once or nothing at all
that part of you that feels every emotion of your friends
even when it seems like no one understands your brain
the mind of so many ideas its like a firework display
or the gentle calm you bring when you smile
remember to love your voice as well
not what it sounds like, but the words it speaks
love the chaos in what you scream
and the power in what you sing
(even if it’s only in the shower)
love yourself because of who you love
and
love yourself because you’re learning to love yourself.

-Emma Catherine
Instagram @rain.on.rosy.cheeks
thelilaclysander.wordpress.com

Poem- To Rebuild a Body

Poem- To Rebuild a Body

The desire to starve, destroy, bleed, break apart and balloon
Is a gaslight where our stomach should be and a bonfire between our ears
Like it’s the only thing that’s keeping us warm
It’s the blood that carries our oxygen and our glucose
And it’s nerves that are threaded through our bodies
And to rebuild a body to make it work
Feels like the thought of splitting every atom in the soil of Earth and growing worms in their place
Because when your body grows brittle from the riptides of euphoria
And your neck becomes sore from carrying the poison that you can’t seem to get out of your skin
It’s time to say
If it takes flooding my stomach to extinguish that fire
And a blot of lightning to calm those nerves sewn into me
And an explosion of those infinite atoms that make up the earth beneath our feet
Just to make sense of ourselves and rebuild ourselves
Then
That’s what it takes.

~by Emma Cunningham

Happy Halloween (a poem on mental health)

Happy Halloween (a poem on mental health)

*trigger warning*

 

This house is haunted.

There are doors that slam in the night and

I feel cold hands slip into mine

from time to time

This house is cold and

I am followed by a ghost that

Makes me shed my skin from now and again

But it is far from dead

It is alive and screaming in the evenings

An unhappy family is a noisy one.

This body is haunted

No need for a costume

I have a wardrobe full of masks and capes and witches hats

To keep me warm on a cold night

Footsteps run from the back of my head to my eyeballs

And voices loud enough to make me shake

My body feels like a skeleton on bad days

My body is a skeleton some months

My mind is haunted

My brain a living nightmare playing over and over and over

And there is no running away from a mind you can’t escape

There are no nightlights in my head to keep the monsters away

Even on days where the only sound I know is

the beating of my heart on the inside of my skull

But I am not scared of monsters

You learn to steady the tremble

And sit through the jump scares

And wait for the morning

 

 

 

 

Saying goodbye to the anorexia

Saying goodbye to the anorexia

Exactly one year ago, give a day or two, I relapsed yet again, hopefully for the last time ever. I have lost 5 years of my life to this illness and I refuse to listen to my anorexia. Since relapsing I have developed and intensified my countless other mental illnesses. But I will not do this anymore. I hope I never relapse. I don’t want to be anorexic anymore, I don’t want to be skinny, I don’t want to sick and I definitely don’t want to waste anymore of my life. I am so much more than my anorexia and each day I get stronger and it gets weaker. I look back on my relapse with sadness. That I thought that was the answer to my misfortune. I am recovering (almost recovered from my anorexia) because I love laughing, I love writing, reading, being cosy and warm, comfortable, safe and happy. I am recovering and I WILL recover. Goodbye anorexia, this is me finally letting go.

Recovery is a field. 

Recovery is a field. 

Some days recovery is a field. And a yellow weed is growing in a beautiful ploom in the centre.

It takes your energy and all of your strength to pull the weed (as beautiful and wild as it seems) out of the ground. But when you turn around there are hundreds of new weeds, some of them yellow, some of them green and blue and purple and crimson, sprouting up from the earth.

Then you realise you need a helping hand to get rid of the weeds. You enlist family, friends, therapists and doctors to help you clear your field. It feels good to have a helping hand.

From time to time weeds pop up here and there but now you have a team to help you pluck them away and help the earth beneath you heal. As seasons change and sun shines the condition of the field changes and varies but it always remains your field.

And soon you see flowers blooming on the grass in vibrant colours and shades. A fiesta of energy and life.

Other days recovery is a battlefield.

Why we fall in love with our illnesses

Why we fall in love with our illnesses

~We often find that, although we hate our mental illnesses with a passion, there are moments when we can feel in love and deeply attached to our illness. I have experienced this with my eating disorder and self harm, and to some extent depression too. This can make recovery from these issues particularly challenging~

“I feel like I belong in my illness.” It is where I’m meant to be. The real world is too hard to cope with and I am left with my poor mental health and unhealthy coping mechanisms that I can just sink into and soothe myself, escaping from the world around me. Sometimes relapse can feel like coming home.

“My illness is the only interesting thing about me”. Often we feel as if we were chosen to be sick. It sounds bizarre but sometimes we can feel special for having an illness. And once we are deep into it, it is so all-consuming that we don’t have anything else going on in our lives to love. And we may have distanced our loved ones so much that we are isolated and alone with our illness. It feels as if it is the only thing we can rely on.

“No one will care when I’m better” Being sick often means lots of appointments and much intrusive therapy and social care. The attention, although sometimes unwanted, reinforces the idea that being sick means we are more loved. This is not true, but when our perception is poor, it can feel like it.

“My illness is my friend”. Mainly applies to eating disorders but I feel this when everything thing in my life seems to be going wrong and my ED is the only thing I have. It is a constant. It feels loyal when everyone around me is not. But it’s fake. It’s a lie designed by the illness to make me fall in deeper and trust it. And it’s not true at all because, even though you may be unable to see it, it is not your friend and you have plenty of people who love you and care about you in the world. Your illness is not one of them.