~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.
I wear my hurt on my body like wallpaper
Florals, textures and stripes
Inked and stuck down on skin.
Patterns I wonder if they are out of date
Trimmed and unfitting the wallpaper covers me
(It’s hard to breathe under a mask)
Eyes judging my beautiful tiger stripes
Cover your childrens eyes
Hope that one day they become humans instead of plasterboard.
~in which I share my own experience of emotional abuse through signs that I noticed on reflection of my childhood~
- Being ignored, unsure of what I have done to deserve this, for extended periods of time, meanwhile parental roles were neglected. Often Y was left to look after me while X refused to acknowledge my existence, even while I was very young.
- Fear and anxiety when X is talking to me or nearby, I find myself wanting to keep any contact to a minimum.
- Discomfort and unease with any phsycial contact.
- X was often found to be reading my diary or searching my bedroom while I was not there- this was a strong breach of my privacy. X often looks through my bin.
- X often would control how much money I spent and what I spent my money on. Y was often not allowed to spend money unless it was approved by X.
- X controls and decides for me some of my major life decisions, such as what options I was taking for a level and what degree I would like to take at uni.
- Y feeling like she wants to escape the partnership, yet feeling powerless to do so.
- X often expresses anger undirectly through sarcasm, slamming of dishes and talking down to Y and I.
I feel like I am falling in love, over and over again, every minute. I am submerged beneath waves of happiness that I can quite literally feel flowing over my body. I am perspiring and shaking. And although I am in blissful beautiful Euphoria, it’s agonising, painful, uncomfortable and frightening.
Being at such extremes of mood means feeling out of control and spiralling. I’m not sure I’m in control of my limbs or speech. Things come as bursts or explosions rather than flows of water in streams. These rushes of speech can have consequences but when your manic: actions have no consequences.
Time to stay up till 4 in the morning, I guess.
My cheeks are so rosy
That red and purple flowers bloom from them,
planted stem by stem
My face is a garden of roses,
My head is full of thorns
And I cannot escape them.