You fancy me mad

I'm either on the verge of a breakdown or a breakthrough.

Model Behaviour

Life and death, energy and peace.

If I stop today it was still worth it.

Even the terrible mistakes that I made and would have unmade if I could.

The pains that have burned me and scarred my soul,

it was worth it for having been allowed to walk where I’ve walked,

which was to hell on earth,

heaven on earth,

back again,

into,

under,

far in between,

through it,

in it,

and above.

— Gia Carangi

Nail Therapy: Rings & Things

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My nails have been mostly painted black since September. Occasionally I’d go for postbox red, sometimes classic French and over Christmas I painted a gold accent nail. But 90% of the time, my nails are plain black, which aids my niece’s theory that I am in fact a witch. Time for change!

I am not a girly girl at all but in honour of the arrival of Spring I’ve gone for pink. In the photo above it looks quite pale but close-up it’s a shocking shade of bubblegum. Yet three strangers stopped me yesterday to comment on my nails, including the model-like salesgirl in Topshop, so I must be doing something right.

There’s something very calming about doing my nails. It’s nice to take half an hour out of my day to concentrate on one tiny thing instead of worrying about the vagaries of life. Being a perfectionist means that the task of doing my nails can be extremely satisfying and makes me feel like I’ve achieved something, which is an important device in the battle against clinical depression.

My tremors make it super-hard to do my nails – I can’t paint them freehand anymore because it’s a total mess, and I get frustrated and upset with myself. So I buy loads of full covers off t’internet for dirt cheap and do them that way.

I find that doing my nails is definitely an effective tool to alleviate the symptoms of mild anxiety and stress. It also distracts me from intrusive thoughts. And, of course, my hands look pretty!

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Ring finger: Vintage, Mother of Pearl on silver – bought from a car-boot sale in Falmouth, Cornwall.

It’s small and simple and in no way unique but I love it because I was with my dad and my brother when I bought it (not that either of them remember!). I haven’t taken this ring off since I bought it in 2008 and I often wonder about who it belonged to before. I asked the woman at the stall about its history because its clearly well-worn but unfortunately she couldn’t tell me anything. Still, it’s fun to imagine the ring’s past owners and to wonder who will wear the ring after I let it go.


Middle finger: Silver Claddagh – another ring from Cornwall.

This ring was given to me by a very wise, very old Irish lady in 2005, when I was 13. It’s a very simplified version of the traditional Claddagh, but all the components are there: the crown and the heart held by hands. Again, I love the simplicity of the design.

I have not spent a day without wearing it since the woman gave it to me. At school I wasn’t allowed to do phys ed because I refused to take this ring off. I only ever take it off when my relationship status changes: if I’m single, the tip of the heart points outward, toward the fingertip (as it is now), but when I was in my long relationships the tip of the heart pointed inward, toward my self. I love following traditions and this is a big symbol of my Celtic heritage.

One of my friends once said, “If someone finds your body rotting in a ditch, you’ll be able to be identified by your ring! Any clued-up killer would pull out your teeth and cut off your tattoos, but if they leave your ring, we’ll be able to tell it was you!” Yeah, great. We’re not friends anymore funnily enough.

Also I punched someone in the face once and my ring left the print of the heart on their face which confirmed my status as a force to be reckoned with. Enough said.


Index finger: Amethyst column in sterling silver – I don’t wear this all the time but, when I do, it makes me feel strong and powerful. When I’m afraid or when I know that I might need to defend myself, I feel safe with this ring on my finger as it can cause that extra bit of damage.

I bought it in 2012 when I first completed 30 days without alcohol – the amethyst has long been associated with sobriety, and the strength and healing that comes with abstinence. As predicted I went back to drinking and drugs shortly after. I feel like a fraud when I wear it if I’m not sober, it felt wrong to see the reflection of the ring against my glass of wine. But I have done 37 days sober (!) and so I feel good to wear it again.

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Ring finger: Moonstone on sterling silver – I adore this ring, it is so unique in terms of the design and the stone (the moonstone looks different colours at different angles and in different lights). I have a strong fascination and connection

It also makes me think of my little niece and nephew. My niece thinks I’m a witch, and she calls this my Magic Witches Ring. I told her it was moonstone, and she took this to mean that it is made out of the moon (she’s so sweet). My baby nephew has just started talking and he points at different sections of this ring and says, “Little triangle… Circle… Big triangle… MOON!”

Taken from crystal-cure: The moonstone can “bring good emotions to the wearer, while protecting those of a sensitive nature […] Moonstone is a very personal stone. It is a reflection of the person who owns it. It does not add or detract, only shows how it is. This is why the moonstone is said to perceive that which “is.””

My mental illnesses often give me a very distorted sense of reality – sometimes I lose touch with reality altogether. I wear this ring every day with hope that it can help me to realise what “is.” It also reminds me to just simply be.


Middle finger: This ring has no stories behind it, no special memories or powers. It’s just a decorative midi ring that I picked up in a charity shop which I wear to draw attention to my nails and to make a bit of a change from the norm. I think I paid 20p for it, and I’m sure that if I wore it for long enough it would turn my skin green! For me it’s always really important to mix things up with jewellery because I wear very plain black outfits most days – sparkly rings and huge earrings are the things that make my outfits different and more exciting.


Index finger: White opal and Mother of Pearl on sterling silver. Again, no real story behind this one – I just liked its structure and the complimentary stones. I also bought it because its quite “big” but still manages to look so delicate. I have other big rings that are like shields but always find them too heavy-looking on my tiny hands (plus, those huge rings tend to be pretty impractical anyway). But this one is lovely – I mainly wear it on special occasions.


Now, all I can think about is how weird hands are… Fingers are strange things… and imagine if we didn’t have palms, if our fingers came out of our wrists… I should probably go and take my meds and lie down hahaha

shock

And in the end,

after we had shared our lives with one another,
and loved each other so passionately and so completely,

it astounds me that

so much means so little to you,
while so little means so much to me.

And so it begins…

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One ‘daytime’ tea every morning + one ‘bedtime’ tea every other day, for two weeks = skinny again in time for my birthday.

This past month that I have spent sober has made me put on a lot of weight. Having fizzy drinks in the pub has made me so bloated, I feel gross. And all the sugar in fruit juices has caused my skin to breakout and my teeth to ache.

I’m also eating purely from boredom. I’m at home a lot more now so it’s easier to snack. And because I’m bored I find myself cooking huge meals when I’m not even hungry. When I’m at the pub I also order meals out of boredom, to distract myself from everyone around me who is necking pints and to make me feel as full and satisfied as I did when I was drinking alcohol.

From writing this out, it appears that I have replaced booze with food and I’m really not pleased about that. I am petite with a naturally slim build and I am usually body-confident; but I’ve found myself wearing loose-fitting clothes that are four sizes too big for me in an attempt to hide my self-harm injuries and my bloated stomach. I want to wear fitted dresses again!

So I’m changing my attitude, my diet and my exercise regime, and hopefully I’ll be back to my usual weight by my 22nd birthday (which is about three weeks away). Wish me luck!

Mad Bad Sad Girl

I didn’t expect to see you this evening. Your presence made me feel odd. I felt safe and uncomfortable all at once, as I usually do when you’re around. Hearing your voice made me want to drink so I decided it would be wise if I left.

As I was walking away I could feel your eyes on me. Your gaze bore into my back, burning through my winter coat, piercing my skin and then smothering my lungs. I kept my head up and started down the road. But all the while, I was thinking,

“Run after me. Run after me. Come on, you bastard, don’t just stand there, come after me. Run after me. Please run after me…”

Of course, I never looked back.
And of course, you didn’t come after me.
And that makes me a lot sadder than it should.

20th

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My mind is out of control, constantly spinning in the wildest of directions to far flung destinations that only the sickest souls will ever be unfortunate enough to visit. The thoughts form on their own, often with alarming lucidity. But since my head exists in such a volatile state, I can never fully catch up with it, I can’t hold on to it, and I can’t stop it.

The permanent chaos of my brain makes it extremely difficult to do “normal” things, like make rational decisions, form cogent opinions, maintain morals, uphold personal standards, understand other people’s beliefs, make wise choices, and say ‘no’ to things.

Decision-making, for me, can produce the most crippling anxiety. Full physical meltdowns, crying, screaming, ripping hair out over choosing a film to watch is not unheard of. I got very tearful last week because I couldn’t pick which book to read next – I felt like it was an all-or-nothing, life-changing decision. At least that’s what my head was telling me. But perhaps this is where I am going wrong.

My mental wellness has declined over the past decade. I used to be a very sensible and pragmatic individual, and possess the majority of the personality traits attributed to Aries: a very strong, independent leader, but often impulsive and reckless. Following my heart would get me into trouble, and I didn’t like to make mistakes – I always had to be right. Which means that I learned to listen to my head rather than my heart from a young age.

But now my head is unreliable. It is messed up to the point where I don’t know who I am – I can’t remember my reasons for disliking certain political parties, I just “know” that I don’t support them. I know that I’m a vegetarian (and have been for 14 years) but I don’t know why. I’m not sure if I believe in fad diets, if I care about global warming, if I like the idea of getting married. Sometimes I laugh at “get back in the kitchen” jokes, but sometimes I abhor them. I can’t remember who I am. So surely, since my brain is so unpredictable, when faced with a decision I should follow my heart.

But my heart is also damaged, immeasurably. My heart has been broken into too many pieces to count, and these pieces have been scattered all over town. Some pieces of my heart have been left to rot in places farther afield, hiding in churches, fields and markets across the continent, defeated. Tiny segments of my shattered heart float in the Atlantic and the Med, the freshwater lakes in which I have swum and the mountain springs from which I have drunk. Bits of my heart can be found at the bottom of your teacup. So if my heart is in pieces, which bit do I follow?

18th

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“I love you.
I hope you go to sleep knowing that.”

UPDATED: New About page – check it out!

I’m aware that recently I’ve been doing a terrible job in running this blog, so please accept my apologies!

I’ve had my head in the clouds as usual, and have been slowly shedding my destructive Winter mindset and replacing it with my more constructive Spring mindset.

I’ve been keeping myself busy, socially, physically and creatively. I am planning on making some positive changes in my life; no doubt I will write about these things in due course.

Thank you so much for all of your comments and emails of support – your kind words have not gone unread, I just wanted to take time to reply to them properly and will do so when I get the chance. X

One month sober

And so it is
Just like you said
It would be
Life goes easy on me
Most
Of the time…

Nobody can quite believe that I haven’t had any drink or drugs for a whole month. All the ‘I’m so proud of you’s are followed by ‘I can’t believe it, I didn’t think you’d last a week’ or ‘I was certain you would be back on the booze by now’ or ‘To be honest babe, I really didn’t think you could do it.’

But I fucking have, so fuck the lot of you.

I’m not shouting because I’m trying to show off and make myself look better than you, no, never that, for we alcoholics are all as bad as each other. I am shouting because I’m so angry that none of my friends had any faith in me, and that nobody in my family believed in me. None of you thought I could do it. But the worst part is that I didn’t either.

I didn’t believe in myself. I thought I was setting myself up for failure. I didn’t think I would survive those first few days, let alone weeks. I had no faith in myself whatsoever. I didn’t think I could do this, but I have, I’m still doing it. It makes me so sad to realise that I didn’t believe in myself. I saw myself as weak, desperate, pitiful, powerless. Just another sad, lonely girl in a big, bad world. But, actually, my month of sobriety has proved otherwise:

I must remember to always believe in myself, even when nobody else in the world does. Why? Because I am a hell of a lot stronger than I think I am.

Extra, Extra!

26 days sober

Does reading the news on a daily basis encourage my inquisitive nature, allowing me to hold well-informed opinions? Or should those who are of a sensitive nature and depressive disposition avoid reading “bad news” stories?

I read newspapers. I watch news channels. I have several news apps, which I check at least 3 times a day. I check the news when I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. But sometimes I wonder if checking the news is the reason why I can’t sleep.

Since the summer, I haven’t been so busy: no university, no permanent employment, no boyfriend, barely any social commitments to speak of, and I deleted all forms social media. My life has become quieter and I have found myself with more free-time than I had previously. My seemingly stagnant life perhaps explains why I have found myself becoming obsessed with the things that are going on. But the articles that I am drawn to most, the stories that I fret about and cry about and tell others about, the stories that I follow religiously are always the most devastating ones, stories which affect me in profound ways.

The disappearance and murder of 14 year old Alice Gross which dominated British news throughout September and October 2014 has become something which I doubt I will ever forget. I’m not sure why but I became fascinated with the case from the day it was announced that Alice was missing. Reports of missing teens barely make the local news, let alone make the national headlines so I had a terrible feeling about the circumstances surrounding her disappearance from the outset.

I told my mother how sad I was about Alice, and every night I prayed that she’d return home, safe and sound. Maybe I felt a connection because I had just started working a mile away from where Alice was last seen. And she looked so small in her photos, so vulnerable. The search for Alice went on for weeks, and every morning as I walked from the station and into work I’d notice that more posters of Alice had been put up around the area. And yellow ribbons. God, seeing the yellow ribbons on the trees and lamp posts broke my heart. I saw her face everywhere, it was as if the whole of West and Central London had been covered with posters of her. I mentioned to my dad how I was hopeful for her safety. Dad told me not to hold my breath.

When news came of the discovery of Alice’s body, I was devastated. I didn’t go into work because I didn’t want to see people taking Alice’s posters down. Then they found the murderer, hanged in a nearby park. I can’t bring myself to type his name. The press photo of his face will forever haunt me. I was upset about Alice for so long. I guess I still am. My family could see I was in pieces. At one point my dad even said, “You shouldn’t read the news babe, it’s bad for you. It just gives you more things to feel sad about.” Maybe he’s right.

I felt like I had only just begun to move on from the sadness I felt for Alice and her family when I became obsessed with the disappearance of Durham University student, Euan Coulthard. It was clearer why I was so affected by this case: he reminded me of my brother. 19 year old uni lad, out getting pissed with friends and never returns home. My brother had just turned 20, and he’s a uni student up north too. I was so shaken, phoning and messaging my brother begging him to not get so drunk and to always stay with a friend and to get a taxi home if you’re too drunk to walk. I was frantic. I was refreshing the FIND EUAN Facebook page for updates every half an hour. Even the press photos of Euan reminded me so much of my brother, which made it hard to stomach the announcement that Euan’s body had been recovered from the River Wear. When I found out, I was in the pub with my dad and started to cry. We raised our drinks in Euan’s memory. Which, now I think about it, is ironic, as if he hadn’t been drinking that night he may still be alive.

Now I am in absolute pieces over the recent murder of 16 year old Becky Watts in Bristol. While police are yet to release details surrounding her tragic death, Becky’s case is another story which I have been following closely since news broke of her disappearance. When I read “Breaking News: Dismembered body parts found in Bristol” I threw up. My parents knew I was following the story and knew how upset I was about it, so when I text them both to inform them of the police’s grim discovery, my parents tried their best to comfort me.

It’s not just these awful stories about young people in my country that affect me so badly. I follow all ISIS-related articles with both intrigue and contempt. I also keep tabs on what fresh hell the UK government is creating for the 99%, any new cock-ups made by the NHS and the overall mess that is Greuro-zone.

I’ve been under the care of the NHS mental health trust for nearly 10 years. During this time, 3 health professionals have advised me, in so many words:

Do NOT follow the news.

Apparently, knowledge of all of the dreadful things that are happening in the world would be detrimental to my mental health, would destroy my well-being and hinder any progress with recovery. While this seems a little extreme, I can see their argument. The Alice Gross story affected me so much to the point where I was unable to work, so indeed there is evidence to suggest that perhaps those with “depressive tendencies” should avoid news stories that are, well, depressing.

But by avoiding the news altogether would I not be aiding the isolation that I impose on myself by actively making sure that I am out of the hypothetical loop? Wouldn’t I just be turning myself into a poorly informed member of society, with no passion about stories, no opinion of current affairs and nothing to input in topical conversations? Sure, there are other things that a mentally ill service user can do to feel involved in the community and integrated into society, but surely to lessen stigma one must do “normal things” — and “normal people” follow the news. Even if people have differing opinions, they still share a common ground in a sense that they are arguing about the same story in the same newspaper. And even if I don’t read the news, I hear about everything in the pub anyway (perhaps not the latest literary scandal, but everything else).

The terrible typos, dubious sources and shockingly bad headlines of the Great British press are enough to depress any self-respecting member of society. But the majority can look past glaring grammatical errors and just absorb the words without feeling “personally involved” in a story.

So, what to do? Do I hold an experiment, stop reading the news for a week and see if my mood improves? Carry on as I am but try to avoid the worst of the worst? Or become a hermit with no connection to the outside world… Thoughts please!!

The Good Guys

“Where did all the good guys go? Men are such bastards, I swear to God, all the genuinely nice guys are either taken, or gay…”

or still sitting on the same kerb that you kicked them to all those months ago, nursing their broken hearts and shattered egos with all the other lovely guys whose kind intentions you chose to ignore because they weren’t “edgy” or “rough” or “exciting” enough for you.

That guy you’ve known since childhood who clearly adores you? He’s sitting there with all the good guys too, instead of being next to you in bed, and all because he isn’t a footballer or a top lawyer, and you don’t like guys with freckles anyway.

The most gentle of gentlemen sit side by side, a chain of rejected souls, kicking themselves for not being tall enough, for not having a beard, for not wanting arms covered in tattoos.

The good guys have learned the sad truth, and they learned it the hard way. After all, the boy who rides the bus will always be overtaken by the guy on the motorbike, right ladies?

Robert Doisneau 'Amoureux aux oranges'

Robert Doisneau ‘Amoureux aux oranges’

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