Scars

Scars are usually a touchy subject for a lot of people, given that the majority of us have one or two. I remember when I was younger and I tried to talk to a friend about scars and she laughed and said “oh yeah! I think I have one of those”. Until that point I hadn’t quite realised how abnormal it was to have more than “just a few”. This talk had happened just before I turned 18 and at that point I was pretty damned pleased with myself that I would turn into an adult without a 3 figure number of scars. Sure 97 wasn’t that different to 100 but at the time it felt like it was a world of difference.Now my number is over 120, and at that point I relatively gave up on counting them. I keep a rough tab for no particular reason.

The main thing I have learned with talking to people about my scars when they have asked is that, well people seem to place a certain hierarchy on scars. “That’s tiny, that doesn’t count”, “That’s only a white one, I am sure that didn’t even hurt” or “You did that to yourself”, “oh god how did that happen to you”. People only want to take certain sizes, colours and causes seriously, they only have sympathy for something they deem to be worthy. If it was an accident, doesn’t count. If its self inflicted, its your own stupid fault. Surgery and animal related scars I have found tend to get the kindest reactions from people, but even then everyone has to put their own value on it.

The majority of my scars sit on my arms and hands, these ones are odd little shapes and most of them are white. I found out at the age of 12 a friend had avoided touching my hands because she thought I had a skin condition because of how they looked. These ones came from my brother mostly. He has severe autism and developmental delays and when he was younger it was hard for him to express his anger when upset so he lashed out. I have plenty of other scars on my legs from pure clumsiness and dyspraxia. Those ones are purple and bigger, mostly from falling over or slipping while shaving.Anyone with dyspraxia or hand tremors will know that shaving your legs quickly becomes a daunting task, getting through it without a single cut or graze becomes a huge personal success. After these I have my medium shaped scars, some on my arms one on my hand. Those are from my panic disorder. When I first had daily panic attacks I couldn’t cope, without noticing most of the time I would just start scratching myself until I calmed down. It was soothing weird as that sounds. Then there are my surgery scars, most people will never see those as they are pretty low on my pelvis.

All of these scars look different, feel different and have different stories behind them, and people will react differently to each of them. Some people will insult me, or pity me or completely misunderstand me based on these small coloured patches on my body. None of them are particularly big or noticeable but still people want to judge me by them sometimes, and that use to get to me. I use to wonder about which ones were valid, which ones aren’t, which ones should I be honest about or lie about and shouldn’t I just try to cover them? But what ever value other people put to a scar, or you put to it, its going to be there. Odds are it will fade with time but that can take years, so its much easier on yourself to learn to accept it rather than to fight it.

All scars have different meanings and stories behind them, and honestly there is nothing wrong with any scar.A scar means something bad happened and you made it, nothing more. There is nothing wrong with you just because your skin healed a slightly different colour, and that’s all it is, a different colour. If it has to mean anything let it mean you are interesting, that you have a story however big or small. Scars don’t have to have the huge negative connotations society and other people want to give them. My favourite reaction to any of my scars was my 4 year old cousin. When she was 3 she took my arm and twisted it around to look at them and after a while announced ” they are pinks?” and I just said “yes, pretty cool right?” Because that’s all they need to be, if you will let them. Pretty colours on skin, nothing more nothing less.

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Rock bottom

Lots of us know what it feels like to hit rock bottom. Its scary, defeating and just plain depressing. Whats worse is when you hit rock bottom and you just keep going and going and going and going. These are often the times we feel most alone and most scared, and always almost seem to follow some bugger saying ” Hey it can’t get worse” and when it does get worse they remind you ” hey it could be worse”, reminding you that things can and probably will get worse.  So for anyone out there who might feel just a little less along from hearing it, I am going to just blindly express my current experiences with rock bottom. I say rock bottom, I am pretty low and keep getting lower, if I really do find a “bottom” to this situation, I will let you know. Also – Trigger warning- I will be talking graphically about my anxiety and a tad of info my endo, so if regular period talk grosses you then seriously don’t read this on a full stomach though I won’t be getting graphic with this part of things.

Its hard to believe just a year ago I was doing amazingly, and honestly happier than I had been in almost a decade. I had a new boyfriend who was wonderful, had just gotten rid of all the toxic people in my life and I had been accepted to a brilliant university for which I just missed out on the grades. Things had never been so good, and clearly I opened my big mouth and said ” Roll on 2016!”. No stupider words were ever spoken. Honestly this is a year I feel we as a society just need to forget, never even mind our personal issues this year.

Just before 2016 started I started to get sick. Like really sick. I had a serious “period” for want of a better word that lasted over two weeks so I had to go to a walk in centre. This was followed by more doctors than I can count and not an awful amount of help. Since then I have had surgery, but things sadly could still get worse. Before the surgery I had a pain in one of my tubes and an ultrasound tech told me the tube looked blocked. Now the doctors are telling me its nothing, that I imagined this in my head and that I should take anti depressants. That’s right, because when you are not depressed and in chronic pain anti depressants are going to do so much good! Nhs logic for you there folks. Friends can see from looking at me that side is still swollen, and its bringing more symptoms than I should mention in a non endo focused post.

From here on out I just lost all faith in the chance I would ever get better and ,as anyone else with anxiety and panic disorder will know, doubt is just food for the paranoia fire in your mind. My anxiety made a comeback in a big way with my panic disorder reaping havoc right before my exams. My course work grades are constantly below my level from the pain and the anxiety, and I barely make it to my exams with this bloody fatigue, it almost feels like it would be worth dropping out all together. When these thoughts take over I honestly just get the urge to rub my hands together until the skin rubs right off, I wind up having to submerge them in cold water to avoid washing them raw.

But the thing is whether you are mentally ill, chronically ill or just going through a royally shit time, nothing lasts forever. I know right now my life is pretty messy, but it will get to a point where I can cope, and to anyone who can relate to this post- you are not alone. Life is horrible and it sucks sometimes, but I know it got better before, so it can get better again. So knuckle under until it does get better and try to steal as many good minutes as you can to make this time meaningful and to take back a bit of control. Doubt may be one of the things that can wash over your mind and ruin everything, but hope is what carrying you through.

Not today Satan, not toady.

To be completely honest I am usually a pretty high functioning person. High functioning autism, high functioning anxiety and when I got sick I was determined to keep this up. To repress all of the pain and the negative feelings along with my mental illness so that I could keep on being productive and break down when I had the time for it.

The thing is sometimes, even for those of us who strive to always be “high functioning” sometimes things get too much. For me that’s this week. This week my anxiety is throwing everything it has at me, almost as though its trying to force me into panic attacks every time I get a minute to breathe. My hypersensitivity is running wild with all the Christmas crowding and the loud noises and obnoxious lights everywhere. On top of all this my endo has decided this week, the week where everything else is messing up, the week I have to revise and do my exams, find an 80 hour placement and still do course work and try to be a good friend, this week of all weeks it has decided its just going to give me all its got. The bloating, the pain, the hormones, the morning sickness, the fatigue, every symptom I do not need right now it is giving to me at its worst.

Honestly weeks like this I want to just make a nest on my bed ( not going to lie that does happen on occasion…) and just forget the world exists for a solid month, maybe a year.But life doesn’t really care for our wants and needs. Our responsibilities don’t just go away because we are sick and tired, if anything they only seem to get worse when we are struggling.I know I am not the only one, I am sure this is going to resonate with a lot of people, because to be honest, sometimes life just sucks with no silver lining or end in sight.

For me this week will not be a good week, but I know I will get through it. If it takes all of my remaining painkillers and all the hot chocolate in the world by god I will get through this week and ace these exams. Life is going to keep on throwing its shit at me but I will sit here with my middle finger up shouting “Not today Satan, not today”.Its important to try to stay positive, what ever your own positive is.For me my positive is being sassy and sarcastic about my situation. God life is pretty bad right now but hey at least it isn’t boring. If this is a bad time for you right now, odds are it will be bad whatever your mindset about it most likely, a mind set won’t change whats happening to you but it can take away some of the pain.

It might seem hard to have a sense of humour about these things but once you find that funny side life doesn’t seem to bad. It often feels like chronic illness and mental illnesses are actively working against us so why not treat them that way? When I give up and sink into bed in the evening I am often found groaning abusive statements about my ovaries and general lady parts as well as my brain. Fucking cortisol, push me to the edge one more time cortisol!Just you wait and see what happens! Sure, if anyone saw me they would probably be more than a little concerned but hey it makes me feel better. If your positive is looking forward to tomorrow then you remind yourself every chance you get that tomorrow is a new day and that day may be all the better. If your positive is looking forward to something good then think about it every chance you get, talk about it, fantasise and put so much energy into bringing that bright horizon a little bit closer. If your a bit of a weirdo like me then bitch and moan your way through, complain about normal people things and exaggerate to make the narrative more fun. Out of hot chocolate ? That’s it shorter episode of game of thrones, Harambe died and now this? Clearly the end of the world. Shout abuse at your body and your hormones as though they were people, what ever gets you through the day.

Sometimes life is shitty and not everyone gets that sometimes there are just bad days and there’s not an awful lot we can do about it. I have a tiny Halloween devil on my tree because I swear and abuse a figurative Satan in my life so often, is it offensive? Probably. Does it make me smile? Definitely. We can smile, and sometimes that makes all the difference, so don’t you ever let anyone make you feel lesser for how you choose to get through anything. You got through. That’s what matters.

A quick introduction

By the time most of us get to university we feel as though we have finally made it. That all the hard work has paid off and we are finally ready to be an adult and live independently. We tell ourselves we are ready for the copious amounts of drinking, the stacks of work and the crippling financial situations.

For me it was no different. By the time I got to Reading university I felt I had made it, that I finally got my life plan on track. I had spent the past year battling and beating my panic disorder ( or so I thought), I had learnt to cope with my dyslexia, my Asperger’s and well most parts of adult life. But then life doesn’t give two shits about our plans. By Christmas break, about this time last year, I took a huge step back. I was in constant pain, had seen more doctors than friends in the course of a few months and had no idea this was about to be the new normal. Not that I knew it at the time but I was just getting my first symptoms of endometriosis.

Endometriosis, for those of you lucky enough not to know, is in short hand where Satan himself moves into your pelvic area and while you sit there in pain you look up wondering which god you pissed off and how you can get back on his good side. This triggered my panic disorder and more stress than I needed whilst trying to sort out course work and exams.

Since then I have all but bounced back with a new determination to put this struggle to good use. I have picked up more coping mechanisms for pain, stress and mental illness than I have time to use and more self care routines than hours in a given day. As people we tend to neglect our mental health, and life tends to take its tole pretty harshly.

As a person I tend to be pretty open and blunt when it comes to my own experience with the more taboo parts of life,I never saw the point in saying your fine when you obviously aren’t. Nice part of this is you always know where you stand with people, and you can usually give better advice from the experience, and beyond advice sometimes our struggles are funny and we need to laugh at ourselves a little bit otherwise whats the point.

So from my blogs you can expect a whole lot of bluntness, honesty, humour ( sometimes a little on the dark side) and some tips and advice on how to cope with your own problems. So if that appeals to you please feel free to stick around, if not well find something you do like and read that!