I brushed my teeth for a particularly long time because I was thinking about this

At the moment, I’m unemployed and I have no partner. That’s not likely to change anytime particularly soon and in our cultural climate of competition and comparison and with the “what do you do?” atmosphere, it can be hard to deal with the expectations and judgements of other people.

I’m not as bothered as I once was that I’m not “succeeding” in the conventional way in my life as I once was. I graduated around two years ago now and I’ve been off sick ever since. This post isn’t about my PTSD though, so I’ll move on.

I guess, what I’m reflecting on here is how it’s made me rethink how I value myself and how I find meaning and engagement in general without occupation in a “work” sense.

I think I’m quite self-aware and that’s something I let myself take credit for. I know that I’ve had to actively try to build a sense of self-worth over the last few years partially due to my negative experiences. I do value myself pretty highly now and I look out of myself as much as I can.

I also think that I’ve gained a sense of perspective, and although I can have low mood swings and feel utterly shitty sometimes and pretty sensitive, I know that I can get through things, I often find myself saying to myself “I’ve been through worse, I can do this.”

Making a conscious effort to find good qualities in myself has helped me, I recognise my compassion and my ability to nurture and trust in strong friendships. I also think I’m quite thoughtful and imaginative 🙂 – it sounds odd to say such things about oneself sometimes, because I don’t think many people are raised to actively accept and acknowledge pleasing traits in themselves, but I think it’s a helpful thing to try and learn to do.

Physically, I’ve also had to make this effort. I remember being dissatisfied with my appearance at various points in my life, like a lot of people are, and how, now, I love myself whether I think I look good or not. I’ve come to realise I’m under no obligation to any one else to look good and I found that to be freeing.

I’ve said to myself in my own head, when I saw something I didn’t like or if I took an awful picture: “I still love you”, y’know. And I might’ve mentioned this before, but when I had CBT a while ago, one of the main things I took from it was the notion that I should treat myself as I would treat a close friend, because I deserve that and I’m glad I do that now. (In the past, when I’ve had something pretty difficult to do, like a really stressful phone call or something, I’ve written little lists to break it down and signed it with something like “love ya babe ❤ ” – and it actually helped, I got a little flicker in my heart once, almost as if someone else had said it, haha.)

Regarding the whole “other people” issue, because I support myself now (and let my close friends help) and I know that I’ve improved, I no longer give as much of a shit if other people are unimpressed or bewildered by my current no-job status.

I’m sure I’ll find a bit more of something soon, and even thinking about this – and listening to some Mariah Carey (Touch my Body if you’re interested 😉 ) has helped me feel a little more hopeful about the next few days and weeks, as things have felt a little heavy lately.

P.S. Love ya babe ❤

See, it’s nice isn’t it. 😛

Sanctuary I – Self

It was hard not to take on the opinions of others and let them weave into my psyche,

I did succumb, not willingly but they crept in and my flesh grew around them and they were enmeshed inside for a while.

It took my own gumption to replace them with gold thread and unlearn ideas and beliefs about my worth and about my reasons for suffering, and my body works tirelessly each day to protect and grow the cells I’m made of.

Thanks Pretend animals

I’ve been particularly unwell recently, I had a really bad cold/ fluey symptoms on top of my usual issues you know and it sort of stripped me of the little things I can usually have the option of doing because I was just laid in bed sweating yknow.

I felt isolated and bored as well as sick, and it just rubbed the bad feelings around and they sunk in further for a few days, to the point where I could feel that I was physically improving in terms of my illness but still couldn’t get up properly because of the characteristic heaviness of my mental health issues.

I felt like all the calories of energy I had were being used on the heart-beating basics as dramatic as it sounds, and in feeling bitterly unhappy and lost.

I guess I’m trying to figure out how I came out of it, the visible wilting of my mum (brought on largely because of my wilting) led to me gathering the energy from somewhere to put some clothes on and let her drive me to the supermarket to get some earphones. While there, I bought myself a My Little Pony colouring book as well and some new gel pens, ha.

I don’t watch My Little Pony, but I find them quite adorable and full of friendship and sweetness and I like colouring them in because it makes the hours go past gently, especially when I can do little else.

Also, a friend of mine – I lived with him at uni, we had a sort of inside joke about them that developed into them just reminding me of laughing and someone giving a shit I suppose, and that’s a nice restful way to feel. 🙂

Marble

I’m back,

What to say.

Don’t really know where I’m at, I’m definitely tired though.

Here, let me write for you.

Bang something out just here,

Talking of a

“Heavy wisp in a body,

Fast mind and slow hands,

Head slipping molten off it’s crux,

Rolls, metal orb along the floor and down the stairs to wilderness,

Pulled through the bottom layer of floor and foundation

Bolts into core to blissful heat”

– It’s mediocre but it’s something.

My poems follow themes and the themes follow days and moods

Last night I yearned,

This night I loved – that love was directed at myself and sprung from feeling a little vulnerable and finally being able to have a hot bath after weeks of cold water.

I wrote 18 poems on the first night,

I wrote about 4 just now.

Because I feel the love for myself tonight, I’m letting myself sleep 14 poems early.

All in the amygdala (and in the world). Spreading the word about the internet community “the red pill” and it’s effect on actual living humans. Content warning: abuse, PTSD, the red pill

I just saw on article about “the red pill” shared by The Body Is Not An Apology on my Facebook feed and my body went limp around my over laboured heart as the violence came flooding back.
It was difficult to write this post, had to lay on my side and practice breathing slowly and with conviction.

When people make fun of content warnings and safe spaces it reeks of a lucky life untouched by trauma and the after effects and it quite heavily annoys me as it undermines my experience of life as someone with PTSD. Either that or they’re just ignorant of the meaning and purpose of procedures that help preserve people’s choice to be exposed, or not, to content that might make them go to a scary place.

If you don’t know what the red pill is, the article is here. I haven’t read it because I can’t but I trust the source that shared it, The Body is Not an Apology.  (NB: If you need a resource I would recommend this website and it’s affirmations of “radical self-love”.)

When I get like this I have to assert my own worth to myself as my body aches and tires from the vivid muscle memory of abuse.

The doctrine of the red pill is one of dehumanisation and allows people to be humiliated, manipulated and mistreated at the hands of people they should be able to feel safe with- intimate partners. It creates a place where boastful discussion of abuse is met with applause and fraternal approval, and it normalises disturbing notions and behaviour.

I’ve had to talk about it in therapy before but I feel it is widely unknown about even by professionals in mental health, I’ve had to explain what it is more than once to counsellors.

Anyway, I suppose I want people to know about the damage things like this can cause because the Internet and groups that form or congregate there are part of our real life and they have real life consequences on real life brains and bodies and the daily lives of human beings.

I feel vulnerable writing this so I just want to do a little heart to share the love ❤ . Remember that your worth is not affected by the things you suffer through.

H x

P.S. The amygdala is the place in the brain that is responsible for fight/flight and freeze responses, it sort of processes trauma and makes your body act and feel as if you are in a dangerous situation even if you are not.

It does this by recognising flags such as particular sights or sounds that remind one of previous experiences of trauma and fear. It works to help us survive but it’s response is often unneeded and excessive in the case of PTSD.