Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

I was sitting outside (okay, so I admit I was having a cigarette) when I saw one of my neighbours walking up the back path towards me.

I said: “Hi”
He said: “How are you?”
I said: “Good”

And that was it. I had lied through my teeth, but it was okay because he just kept on walking and then walked in his door, leaving me to contemplate what I had just done. The conversations (if you can call them that) I have with this neighbour never amount to much more. I have similar conversations with another neighbour. I lie to him too. But that’s how we talk to most neighbours, isn’t it?

This time I was struck with how easily the “good” rolled off my tongue when actually I was feeling anything but good. Would it matter if I said, “good” in answer to any such questions, for the rest of my days? Does anyone actually want anything beyond this lie?

It’s easy to say, and it’s easy to hear. I’m not requiring anything of you when I answer your question this way. You can just keep going about your day. Even for friends and family, it’s easier that way. No need for you to do or say anything. I’ve given you a ‘free pass’.

But I could get side-tracked by that as I write. It’s easier for me if I don’t tell you how I really am here, on my blog, either. Maybe it’s easier reading for you too. But I’m going to push myself to not opt for the easy. You see, I’m not good. Actually, I’m struggling.

I know you want to read positive stuff on a blog that refers so often to hope, but right now I’m struggling to find my hope.

My mood is dropping and I am fairly sure it has to do with the stress in my life right now. The more stress, and the more I struggle. My stress comes mostly from caring for my mother. She needs more from me now, but has less to give me in return. She mostly knows who I am. She certainly always still recognises me, but clearly has trouble connecting that recognition to the right person. Me. Sometimes she thinks I’m her sister and she used to mistake me for my father. That doesn’t happen so much now. She struggles to remember him at all (he died nearly six years ago). Nearly 54 years of marriage seemingly wiped from memory! This illness is so cruel.

It’s hard. I don’t have expectations of her, but it’s not easy day after day, teaching her the same things. Telling her stories of her life. It would be heartbreaking no matter who she was, but this is my mother. All the things she taught me as I child, I now teach her. And I feel very alone in this.

There’s more, though.

My eating is considerably off track, and to even admit that much takes an enormous amount of courage. Much more will require more than simply an empty screen before me. You’re just not going to get the details, this time anyway.

In the last year, I have lost 17 kilograms with no conscious effort. I know, lots of people would love that to happen, and true I love that I have lost it. I needed to, I was overweight (yes, people who have had Anorexia twice can be overweight!) but I hadn’t done anything to lose it. It has really gone through firstly ill health back at the middle of 2016, and the rest I guess, has been through stress.

The reason I’m telling you this though is that unless you have been where I’ve been you have no idea how tantalisingly dangerous it is. Seventeen unconscious kilos are tempting me to consciously step back onto the eating disorder ‘merry-go-round’ (don’t think for one moment though, that such a move would be the fun of the fair!).

I don’t make it a habit to weigh myself, mostly because of this reason. It’s too easy to get taken in by one kilo lost and before you know it I’ve been sucked into losing 20 or 50. I was weighed when I was admitted to hospital briefly back in July. I saw then that I had lost seven kilos. Then I was admitted to hospital briefly a few weeks ago for an minor procedure. The deadly mistake was looking down at the scales. And I choose to use the word ‘deadly’ because that’s exactly what it can be when you have an eating disorder.

So I admit it. I am back to considering every mouthful. And part of me hates being back there, but I admit, part of me loves it. That’s the ‘deadly’ part.

But then, there is more…

  • My black and white thinking is very definitely more black and less white.
  • There is no light at the end of the tunnel. Whoever said there was, was fooling me.
  • Everyone is against me. I struggle to think anything different. I can’t believe that anyone would be on my side.
  • I said a few weeks back that I would write about anxiety. Meanwhile,it’s just getting bigger and bigger. And yes, more consuming
  • Is the sun going to rise tomorrow? Right now, I just don’t know.
  • I’ve come to a new appreciation of people who choose to keep their curtains pulled shut through the day. Sometimes it’s a way to cut the world out. They can’t get me! I fool myself so easily!

I’m sorry if you came here for a post full of recovery and hope. I guess what I need to say to you is that recovery and hope is not a linear journey. Sometimes the dark overwhelms us. Sometimes people are throwing so many lemons at us, that it is almost impossible to make the damned lemonade. Sometimes all we can do is throw the lemons back. Let someone else make the lemonade, I’d rather have a coke.

Thanks for reading

 

Cate

Spring Follows Winter

I was wrong.

There. I’ve said it. I was wrong when I suggested in my last post that there was no hope. I wrote that instead of hope there was only a void.

I don’t mean to deny how I was feeling, but that’s the point. It was a feeling, and I was forgetting what I know.

Think about it. What I know is that there is hope. At the time I wrote I was feeling that there was no hope in my life, but really, that didn’t replace what I knew.

I might feel down, discouraged, and even depressed and frustrated, but deep down…

I still believe there is hope.

It will get better.

I don’t know when, and I don’t know how, but I know it will happen. Even if I can’t rely on my own knowledge. Even if I get so down that what I forget what I know.  I know that other people who love me know there is hope (see my post Borrowed Hope).

“I am a success today because I had a friend
who believed in me and
I didn’t have the heart to let him down”

 – Abraham Lincoln

This past week I met someone who I knew about 20 years ago. I only met him once but he was a friend and work colleague of my then husband. It was at an extremely difficult time in my life. I was struggling with severe depression, PTSD and Anorexia Nervosa. I was being judged by all sorts of so-called friends and extended family.

But this man seemed to accept where we were at, and he supported my husband at a time that he needed all the support he could get. I know that I was far from easy to be married to at that time.

This week, this man reminded me that spring follows winter, and dawn follows night. It was a simple reminder of something I knew, but had forgot.

Spring starts in New Zealand this week, although it’s been a few weeks early. The weather here has been great and the spring flowers are blooming.

Image credit: Anita Martinz, Wikipedia.org Colorful_spring_garden.

Perhaps spring is my favourite season for this reason. I need to be reminded over and over again that spring follows winter. There is an end to the dark and cold. Even to the depression and despondency. It might not come for me this week, but I have hope that it will come. And that’s what matters.

To be fair, I know that spring can also contain it’s challenges. Life will be better but it might not be all plain sailing.  There might still be times of darkness. That’s the reality of mental illness. I think I’ve got to a point in my life where I can accept it, even if I don’t always like it.

Thanks for reading

Cate

That Pair Of Jeans

Caution: The subject of Eating Disorders and Body Image is raised in this post, so proceed with caution if that is a trigger for you.  I promise that there are purposely no numbers included.  No weights, no sizes.

That pair of jeans has been hanging in my wardrobe for a long time.  A very long time!  When I take them to the Red Cross shop next week, I am sure they will be sent to the ‘vintage’ section.  They are ‘hipsters‘ (before hipsters had their cool phase) and not ‘skinny‘ as we know ‘skinny jeans‘.  But they are ‘skinny‘ in all the wrong ways.

I am clearing out my wardrobe.  It’s something I occasionally do, but I’ve always resisted clearing out this particular pair.  You know how some items of clothing you just can’t bear to part with?  Well this pair have fit into that category, regardless of the fact that it is many years since they fit me.

I bought this pair of jeans from what was known as a ‘Labels‘ second hand shop.  They were meant to be the good quality clothes, and this particular shop was one of my favourites.  I didn’t know I had a brewing case of Anorexia Nervosa at the time I bought these jeans.  I just thought I was fit and slim.  Actually I was too fit (read over-exercising) and too slim (yes, there very definitely is such a thing).  It’s just that no doctor had yet the chance to raise the issue at that time.

As I lost more weight, I thought I was finally starting to look ok.  ‘Ok‘ is as far as I’d go because I still hated what I saw in the mirror.  Actually no matter how much weight I lost, and how loose the jeans became, I still couldn’t like what I saw in the mirror. I could slide the jeans off without undoing them, but I didn’t see a problem.  I didn’t appreciate it when a doctor finally raised the issue.

Eventually the jeans were too big, but I held onto them anyway.  But then in time, I started eating again, simply to keep the doctor quiet.  He had constantly been telling me I needed to put on weight.  He told me I looked terrible.  He saved my life.  Unfortunately friends continued to tell me that I looked great.  I can’t hold my friends responsible for my eating disorder, but they really didn’t help.

The jeans?  Well in time, and I’m talking a long time, the jeans finally became too small, and the doctor was pleased.  I, on the other hand, was not pleased and I had learned nothing of disordered eating and positive body image.  I admit that I’d only learnt to eat so that the doctor would drop the subject.

And that was a long time ago.  Since then I my diagnosis was changed to Eating Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (ED-NOS), which meant my weight was normal but I still had issues of disordered eating.  It’s still the same today, but no one (read no health professionals) talk about it now.  And the jeans have continued to hang in my wardrobe.

I couldn’t part with them.  The jeans nearly fit again when over-exercising (read too much running) featured in my life again.  I admit I was very happy.  You see, in spite of all the therapy I went through, there was a part of me (that I couldn’t express) who wanted to wear those jeans again.  And I certainly hadn’t learnt anything.

For some very warped reasoning, those jeans spelled ‘healthy’  in my mind.  And perhaps because once my weight was ‘normal‘ again (and even ‘over weight’ in time) no one was interested in helping me with my disorder. No one was interested in helping re-assign what ‘healthy‘ really meant. Unfortunately when the physical was dealt with, there was no interest in helping me with the emotional.  One thing I know now is that is completely the wrong way to treat an eating disorder, but I had to learn that for myself.

So those jeans continued to hang in the wardrobe.  I simply couldn’t consider discarding them.  Yes, a part of me knew I would never be that size again, and I never should be that size again, but another part silently couldn’t wish that size good-bye.

But it’s come time to shrink down my wardrobe.  Soon I will be shifting out of my home for five months while earthquake damage is repaired, and so the less I have in my wardrobe, the less I have to shift.

This time it came easy to give up that pair of jeans (and a whole lot of other clothes).  I doubt that my issues have necessarily become any healthier, but time really does heal.  And this time I can put them in the box to take to the shop.

I was never going to wear those jeans again, so it’s time to let go.

“Food is something I am going to have to face at least three times a day for the rest of my life. And I am not perfect. But one really bad day does not mean that I am hopeless and back at square one with my eating disorder. Olympic ice skaters fall in their quest for the gold. Heisman Trophy winners throw interceptions. Professional singers forget the words. And people with eating disorders sometimes slip back into an old pattern. But all of these individuals just pick themselves back up and do the next right thing. The ice skater makes the next jump. The football player throws the next pass. The singer finishes the song. And I am going to eat breakfast.”

― Jenni Schaefer, Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too

Love Doesn’t Cure Mental Illness

This week, not surprisingly, there has been a whole lot of talk on our screens about mental illness and suicide.  Having those subjects ‘out there‘ is a good thing, but I can’t deny that unwise words and ill-formed arguments have not helped anyone, most especially those personally affected by the tragic death of Robin Williams, and also importantly, those people struggling with their own mental illness battles and suicidal thoughts.

I read a lot that I really wish I hadn’t read, but one article I came across perhaps summed up the issues for me more than ever.  I have shared that article in several places but if you haven’t seen it I urge you to read the wise writings of Molly Pohlig:

When the Illness You Live With Becomes Breaking News
(I Bet Robin Williams Knew He Was Loved. Unfortunately, Love Doesn’t Cure Mental Illness)
http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/08/12/robin_williams_and_mental_illness_when_depression_is_breaking_news.html?wpsrc=sh_all_dt_tw_bot

One thing we perhaps know from this week, is that fame, fortune, a great sense of humour, laughter, family and perhaps above all, love does not cure mental illness.  Robin Williams appeared to have all these things.  Depression is not magically spirited away by the possession of such things, and the struggle with suicidal thoughts is not relieved.  Oh, that it could be.  Wouldn’t it be great if mental illness was so easy?

If love were enough, my depression would have been cured years ago.

If love were enough, along with maybe a plate of my favourite food of course,  then perhaps my Anorexia would never have got the dangerous point it did, not to mention halting the permanent damage it did to my body.

If love were enough, I wouldn’t have struggled with chronic suicidal ideation for so long, several times plunging my body close to death.

If love were enough just maybe Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) would never have become the major stumbling block in my life that it is.

And perhaps finally, if love were enough then Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) would have been cured.  But then for me PTSD was triggered into a perhaps worse state by the presence of love in my life.  Now that’s confusing if you believe love will solve all.

Love certainly made the last 20 years of my life better than it would have been without it, but only because in spite of the pain I was in, I knew someone cared and perhaps I wasn’t quite as alone as I felt.

But love didn’t fix the pain for me.  It didn’t cure my mental illness.  I had a family surrounding me who loved me.   It was hard for them to know that their love couldn’t fix me.  I guess that hurt like hell.

As I have said before (An Apple Never Falls Far From The Tree), I tried very hard to prove for myself that my family didn’t really love me.  They did.  I can’t deny that.  Some of them (at least) probably thought they could help me if they could just love me a bit more and provide for the needs I had.  Maybe to sit down with me and watch a Robin Williams’ movie to make me laugh for a while.  I should say that just because I might laugh, doesn’t mean I am cured either.

I had friends who loved me, and though I tried very hard to push them away, some of those people are still my friends today.  No, they didn’t cure me, but they’ve stayed in for the long haul.  Mostly they simply kept being there.  But that didn’t cure me.

And then there was my marriage where for years a dedicated and caring husband tried harder than you could imagine to love my suffering away.  No one could fault him for the effort he made during what were the worst years of my suffering.  Strangely, the more he loved me, the more I kicked up my heels and pushed him away.  He loved me so much yet it wasn’t enough to save or cure me.  In the end was a broken marriage and still a mentally ill woman.

Why?  Obviously this is just my opinion but I think the reason my ex-husband’s and others’ love, weren’t enough to cure my mental illness was because:

I knew that I was unlovable

It wasn’t that I felt unlovable, but that I knew I was unlovable.  It is that certain.  I knew in my heart.  From my earliest days I knew I was unlovable, and actually I would go so far as to say that I knew this before I was born.  That might seem extreme and you’ll have to do without the reasons this time.  Some things are too private.

All the love around me meant nothing to me because I knew that it couldn’t be real, and I knew that eventually I would prove it to be false.  There was no way (in my mind) that those people really could love me like they said.  It just wasn’t possible.  I knew.

It’s certainly not the fault of the people who tried to love my mental illness away.  They didn’t understand that their love meant little because I was unlovable.  I couldn’t have explained it if I tried and so instead, the more they loved me the more of a fake I felt.  The more guilty I felt for not getting well.  This was not something any of them could fix.  It just was.

While I needed the love they were offering,  it was never going to be enough to cure my mental illness.  I can’t speak for others and I don’t pretend to.  This post is about me, and not the thousands who suffer from mental illness.  I can’t say if more love would have saved Robin Williams’ life.  In spite of many contrary opinions voiced this week, I believe that only he could have said what, if anything, could save his life.  And I suspect that he, like me, didn’t know if anything could cure us.

Mental illness affects different people differently.  And what is needed to cure it, if indeed that is possible, varies. To generalize simply isn’t fair on anyone.  I simply know that love was never going to cure me.

Thank you to those who tried to make love enough.  I am lucky to have you on my side and I’m sorry if I disappointed you.  There was nothing wrong with your love, it just was never going to be enough.

I saw a meme yesterday which said that love can cure everything.  I don’t believe that.  If only it were so easy.

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”

― Elizabeth Wurtzel

 

Anyone Hungry?

Does that look like a good start for lunch?
Image courtesy of [healingdream] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re not,
there are plenty who are, 
including
many New Zealand children sadly.

Spending years with my head buried in requisite textbooks wasn’t that easy for me.  I’m not really an academic person, it was simply a means to an end.  I came out at the end with a degree in Sociology and Social Work, yet still I was frustrated by it all.  I wanted to know how all this academia applied to real people, in real society.  Over the years, before and after that time as a student, I worked in a number of jobs where I was continually confronted by the realities of poverty in New Zealand.

Yes, poverty is very real in New Zealand.  You won’t see it on the tourist brochures, and I suspect if you are so inclined, you could just ignore it and just blame the people who are stuck in that trap.  But it’s there, and we have a particularly big problem in the area of child poverty.  One of the issues that has been in the news lately has been the disturbingly high numbers of children at school with no lunch (in this country children bring their own lunch to school), and many have also had no breakfast.

I don’t have a lot to do with children at the moment, apart from my lovely nieces and nephews, but I know that children are our future.  What happens to children now, defines what happens to our world in the future.  It makes me realise it’s necessary to talk about it, and even more so, do my bit towards seeing that poverty end.

Last week, New Zealand participants took part in the Live Below The Line campaign, which has already been seen in other countries including the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.

The challenge put to participants was to spend 5 days feeding yourself with NZ$2.25 a day – the New Zealand equivalent of the extreme poverty line.  As a means of comparison, this compares with Aus$2.00 or US$1.25 per day.  That’s not much, is it?  The idea behind it is to get people thinking about how it is to live in the situation of extreme poverty, something faced by 1.4 billion people in our world today.

I was fascinated to read an account of one woman’s experience of being on the Challenge:

“By day two, my coordination was down, I lunged onto someone in a group fitness class, and I only managed half of my usual Wednesday workout before declaring myself too tired! On average I needed an extra two hours sleep a night throughout the challenge, my energy levels were so zapped, and I lost 2kg in 5 days, which didn’t strike me as the healthiest of crash diets. Its (sic) clear that to live like this everyday would be detrimental to your health.

But I think what got me the most during the challenge, was the effect that being hungry has on your brain. I found myself making basic errors, simple spelling mistakes and needing people to repeat themselves on the phone – my concentration was shot to pieces, and one day I wore a top inside out for an  hour before I noticed…

For me it adds huge weight to the current debate about food in schools, having witnessed first hand how useless I was when my brain hadn’t been fed, I can’t see how a hungry child is supposed to learn or retain information at school, and that’s looking at life in a modern, developed country – let alone in countries where people are trying to survive on under $2.25 a day.”  (1.)

This comment really hit home hard to me for a reason, that actually I wasn’t expecting.  I’ve never had to live in extreme poverty thankfully, although my parents were far from wealthy when I was growing up.   I have gone hungry though, although for me it was entirely self-inflicted, via the illness Anorexia Nervosa, which I struggled with for many years.  What hit me is how familiar all this is, although I totally accept that mine was borne out of mental illness and not an issue of a shortage of money and access to services.

Interestingly, after years of starving myself, I learnt not to feel hunger and even though I am recovered today, I still find that I don’t feel hungry, even though I may need nutrition.  For those on the 5 day Challenge though, I’m sure they all felt hunger.

I’m wondering whether my training my body out of feeling hungry is the same for the children who do not have access to regular meals?  Do they somehow learn to not feel the hunger pains?  I suspect they probably do, but actually that is far from good.  We need to have accurate messages from our bodies in order to be able to meet the needs our bodies have.  But when you’re in extreme poverty, you can’t meet those needs.

I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on nutrition, or on the effects of malnutrition, but this quote below, describes very clearly the effects to the author of malnutrition caused by Anorexia, very similar to my own experience:

“Physically, things were less than princess-like.  For a start, my hair was falling out.  My teeth were turning yellow and felt loose, like my gums had shrunk.  My pulse was slow. I was hypoglycemic.  I hadn’t had a period in four months.  I was dehydrated.  Constipated.  I was suffering from severe malnutrition and freezing all the time.  My hands, lips and feet were blue.  My eyes were dead.  My body chemistry was all over the place.” (2.)

Not for one moment am I suggesting that eating disorders have some connection to malnutrition caused by extreme poverty.  But it’s clear that malnutrition, of any cause, has a major impact on the body and it’s ability to function adequately.  As well as the matters highlighted above, my body has taken a lasting hit in terms of loss of bone density, reproductive ability and no doubt other matters of which I have yet to learn.  

I was an adult when I inflicted this on my body and mind, but imagine what the malnutrition (regardless of the cause) must do to a child and their ability to function.  I found it extremely difficult to concentrate and focus on standard every day activities.  Simply my brain wasn’t working adequately to cope.  How then, can a child learn and grow when they are constantly under-nourished?

One more thing to consider.  We know that childhood experience has a huge impact on mental health in future years.  My own mental illnesses were in some ways (but not all) a result of things that happened in my childhood.  What concerns me is that if a child is unable to function and grow, what is that doing to their mental health?  Both now and for the future.  I believe that the hunger faced by children in New Zealand, and many other developed countries, is going to have a detrimental impact on the health (including mental health) of our populations of the future.

New Zealand doesn’t look like a country that would have a child hunger problem.  It’s always been said that it is a great place to raise children, and in that respect I know I had a good childhood.  But you don’t have to scratch the surface very deep, to see that children (and adults)are regularly going without food, and that there is a constant battle for some people of whether to pay the rent or buy food for their families.  There’s simply not enough to cover both.  What that tells me,  is that those people need practical help now and if they don’t get it, from you and me, the future for us all doesn’t look good.

.

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” 

―    Franklin D. Roosevelt

Notes

2.  Robinson, Sancia (1996). Mary Jane – Living through anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Sydney: Random House, Australia.

Hope For Discarding The Imagined Ugliness

Image credit: FB-Observing the Sounds of the World

A few weeks back I wrote Imagined Ugliness as an introduction to my battle with body dysmorphia, an issue which means it is  difficult, if not impossible for me to see how I really look.  It was difficult to write and I was relieved to get to the end, but I did promise to pick up on it again…

The ‘Imagined Ugliness’ came from a title of an article I read about the subject, and it completely summed things up for me… except I don’t see it is imagined, I see it as very real.  After sharing this post, a (in-real-life) friend wrote to tell me she always thought I was ‘gorgeous’.  I’ve known her for a very long time, although we live in different parts of the country now so haven’t seen each other for some time.  After the shock died down ( I was gobsmacked that she would describe me that way), I quickly told myself that she was wrong, or she was just saying that to make me feel better, or… well anything other than that she might be telling the truth.  I still don’t know, although I know that I trust her opinion.  I also know she wouldn’t say something unless she really meant it.  That makes it hard because then perhaps I need to believe her?

I realised too why it was so difficult for me to write that last post.  It’s because I don’t think I look like I should to have this issue.  Crazy isn’t it?  I don’t know what I look like but I’m already judging it as not appropriate somehow.  And what right have I to say anyone with BDD should look a certain way?  It’s a little like the eating disorder.  When I was Anorexic I couldn’t see it and so concluded that I didn’t look like someone who would have Anorexia.  I didn’t think I fitted the image.  Interestingly, I can see that I looked the part alright.  The odd photo tells me that loud and clear.  There is no ‘right’ way to look with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), and it’s challenging for me to realise that actually I don’t only judge myself but also others who struggle with this.  And that’s not something I want to do.

Today I got my haircut.  I have mentioned before that I hate doing this, and actually it is beyond me to understand how some people love it.  What it meant is nearly an hour of my image in the mirror right in front of me.    I couldn’t get away.  Plenty of time for self-examination and self-criticism.  In between answering dumb questions about how many children I might have and what I do for a living (that’s all part of why I hate the process) I actually came to a conclusion that actually I couldn’t possibly look the way I was seeing myself.  It was too distorted and… well I’ve never ever seen anyone else look that bad.   So maybe it’s not possible.  Maybe a part of my brain is lying to me.

Why am I posting all this?  It’s not just for the sake of stripping bare my soul to you.  It’s because I’ve realised that in a way I’m too comfortable with BDD.   The way I see and feel about my body has been this distorted since I started to hear that I was a ‘big girl’ back when I was about seven years old.  While it has caused some serious turmoil and distress over the years, I’ve got used to it.  I have just accepted it, assumed it would always be that way and adapted my life around it.

Today I can see that what I see in the reflection is distorted and I have been making my life accommodate that.  I’ve made a life where I hide from the world, keep myself separate from other people, and stay away from mirrors.  And avoid the hairdresser.

Now I am realising that it’s not what I want for my life anymore.  I want better.  Maybe I will never absolutely love how I look, but I at least want to know what is real.  The reason I am posting this is to in some way hold myself true to this.  Work to change.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  I’ve come far enough to realise that change is possible, and now it’s time to find a way to change this.

I feel quite hopeful.  I’ve got some work to do to turn around the distortion but I’m lucky enough to have good help to do this.  What also helps (interestingly) is that I no longer feel the need to hide.  That fear is being lifted somehow, although I’m sure that in the right location I would still be fearful.  Being stalked over such a long period taught me that hiding myself was perfectly natural.  Actually it made total sense because it kept me safe.  If other people could see the real me (even if not the distorted image I chose to see) it meant to stalkers could see me too.  That was the last thing I wanted if I was to feel in any way safe.

It’s a funny connection between the BDD and the stalking but it makes complete sense to me now (hopefully I’m making some sense in sharing about it here).  I was almost ashamed of who I was, ashamed of what I looked like, because it was that primarily the physical way of seeing me that the stalkers based their obsession on.  They really didn’t know the real me, how I think, what I feel, so it is logical to want to deny who I am physically.  I blamed me for their actions, even though I had done nothing wrong.

I’m tired of hiding me from both myself and those around me.  I’m actually realising that I’m tired of cutting myself off from life.  It goes beyond the physical and involves the emotional/mental side to me.  I’ve been doing it for so long now that it just seems natural, but it doesn’t enable me to be the person I can be, or experience the joy that I know in my heart actually does exist.  I know this isn’t an instant transition but I feel more hopeful that I have for as long as I can remember.  Somehow I am going to make this work.

I’ve posted this music to finish not because I need someone to sing it to me.  I really need to learn to be able to sing it to me myself.  This is a journey.