You’ll notice I’ve added a trigger warning to this post. I want to go into detail about the weight side of my health in this post, and might discuss a few numbers. I know a number of my friends have disordered eating, so I’ve stuck a warning on this so they can make an informed decision before reading – or not.
I’m currently in the process of writing a big explanation of what Borderline Personality Disorder is from my point of view. It’s going a little slowly because it’s a long post and I lost focus and motivation half-way through, but the nice thing about wordpress is I can just stick it in my drafts and come back to it later.
I’m very aware that reading about my health is probably not the most exciting thing, unless you know me in real life (there’s a few of you out there, hello!) and you have a vested interest in knowing about how happy and healthy I am.
This is not the first blog I’ve kept. I had a livejournal account for a number of years, and since my memory is horrific I used to find it useful to write about this kind of thing because then I could look back every now and then and certain patterns I hadn’t previously noticed would appear.
I’m also pretty aware that there’s nuances to the disorders I have; not everyone, for example, gets while looking at a list of Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms, for example, how much it impacts my day-to-day life and the kind of effort I put into being a happy and cheerful person when someone catches me on the street, or when I go out to see people.
Some people haven’t even realised I have a mental health problem at all until I’ve mentioned it (which is a nice change from even a few years ago, when I could barely hide it if I tried!). There are symptoms of depression you wouldn’t pick up on if you read through a diagnostic manual – the fact that my memory IS this bad is, in itself, a symptom of depression.
My mood has mostly improved since the last time posted; I’m not drifting into random periods of crying for no specific reason any more. The annoying thing about the crying spells is that it happens when any of the media I’m subjected to is remotely emotional, regardless of whether the subject is actually making me emotional. I like it when I’m moved to tears over something; I hate it when I’m not actually moved but I’m crying anyway.
My mood improvement may be due to the fact I’ve been drawing a little more over the last few days. As an art student, art is something that I love. As a person with depression, art is often frustrating when I don’t actually have the motivation to draw, but conversely it improves my mood massive amounts when I actually do it. Bridging the gap between “I don’t feel like doing this” and “this will be good for me in the long run” is a mammoth task I have found no easy solutions for.
However, I’ve noticed moments where it feels like my brain is leaking out my ears and the world just shifted ten metres happening way more often than I’d like. Random bouts of dissociation is annoying to say the least; I don’t like doing things I feel any pressure to do right when I’m dissociated, as my inhibitions also shift ten metres with the rest of the world. I do however feel a massive amount of anxiety around doing these tasks in case I do them wrong, which prevents me from doing them.
Things I feel pressure to do right: crossing the road, doing any of my volunteer work, talking to people I don’t know very well, operating heavy machinery (this is one of the many reasons I do not have a driving license, despite actually being fully capable of driving massive tractors), leaving my flat, cooking (I have become the master of relatively healthy meals that require not much more than a microwave).
This is by no means an exhaustive list but one intended to show why this effects my life so much.
This might be why I’m drawing more. I don’t actually feel much pressure to draw well. I probably felt more before I started to study art; studying art taught me that even the drawings we don’t like can be learning experiences or convey an idea to store away for later. Besides, anything I don’t like can be hidden in my multitude of sketchbooks.
Drawing is also something that regardless of my concentration levels, I can normally do for at least a couple of hours. Sometimes I can only draw for five minutes at a time, but that’s probably down more to how frustrated I am, rather than concentration.
One thing I have found useful when I’m dissociated is games on my tablet. I can tap away for hours at a time on it in my bed, and have been finding puzzle games with ridiculously good art for the moments I feel incapable of doing anything.
My sleep, which surprises me way more than it probably should, has changed. For years I have been chased by a drowsy and debilitating brain-fog first thing in the morning, which can last for hours and make it really hard to go anywhere or be on time for anything (my sense of time, in this state, is even more god-awful than it is normally, which can even hamper downing enough tea to get out of it!). I put this down to anti psychotic use; it seemed reasonable, to me, that my sleep might change semi-permanently when exposed to prolonged use of heavy sedatives.
However, as I start to hit the two-week point off my anti-depressants, I find that the morning brain-fog has lifted – to the point that if I wake up in the middle of the night needing the bathroom, I often find myself in a state I associate with “I’m very much awake now” but is rapidly succeeded by another four hours of sleep. I’m also sleeping for closer to seven hours a night, rather than the eight-to-twelve-sometimes-sixteen I previously required. I feel it fits in quite nicely with the theory that these anti-depressants have been causing disturbances to my sleep, culminating in the massive headaches. It will be interesting to chart this and see where it goes.
I’m managing the routine of supplements pretty well, so far.
The dioralyte claims to be blackcurrant flavoured, but I can taste no trace of blackcurrant. It tastes like weirdly sweet salt, with a consistency I associate with soap. I’ve been told to mix it with a third of a glass of water and sip it. I find this hard to drink. I’ve been cheating by drinking as much of that I can stomach this way, then mixing the remaining few mouthfuls with a glass of the fruit-and-vegetable juice, mentioned in the previous post. I have also added at least one banana a day and sometimes a portion of sweet potato a day to my diet.
I’m trying to use this as a reason to change my diet to something more healthy, with the view to then loosing weight. I’m trying to cut out processed sugars, and opt for fruit more often. I’m trying to cut out processed flour, and add more whole-grain. Cutting out sugar has been way easier, so far, than in the past – this might be the iron supplements managing to curb my insatiable lust for chocolate, or this might be a psychosomatic, “this should be easier because where I did have vitamin imbalance, this is now being fixed” – I’m not questioning. All I need to know is that is easier, so I want to continue on it it before I adjust to the level of difficulty again – which in itself is pretty useful drive.
Too Much Information Warning! Having been a care assistant I do not shy away from discussions about bowel movements!
However, the iron supplements in themselves might make it hard to chart any weight loss. I stepped on the scales a few days ago – in order to record a baseline to lower, after months of avoiding the scales – to find my weight disturbingly higher than it’s ever been, only to have it drop substantially after a bathroom visit. I was warned that the iron supplements might effect my bowel movements and not to worry (particularly colour and constipation). Oh god do they!
I’m lucky that because lapses in my mental health do lead to dehydration, I’ve always placed a heavy focus on remaining hydrated even when well. I always have something to drink near me at any given point in a day. This means my urine is always clear and I’m normally a solid T4 on the Bristol Stool Chart. Right now I’m probably closer to a T5, which I think is more down to the amount of time it’s spending in my system, rather than hydration levels (as I have no difficulty at all passing them).
I think the solution possibly lies in fibre – which is where my beloved oatcakes star. I can eat a packet of oatcakes on their own rather happily, a trait even my Scottish friends find weird.
End of Too Much Information!
In addition to this; I received my very first chest binder in the mail the other day! This in itself is discussion for another post, however, I do find that it’s adding to the drive to loose weight. I simply hadn’t noticed how easy it was to be complacent when I have a far larger amount of dsyphoria around my (40E!) chest than I’d previously realised.
I’d kind of assumed that the level of chest I have wouldn’t bind particularly well, until I ran into friend of mine with a similar chest size to mine, and he’s achieving astounding results with a binder. I must admit I was instantly insanely jealous of how much more masculine he has become since I last saw him, and I brought up the fact that I have been, on and off, considering getting one, which he immediately encouraged.
With my chest out the way, I feel like the ability to present as being somewhat male/androgynous is tantalisingly within reach. I also see how much stomach and hip I have in the way, but fixing this feels so much more achievable than it ever did before.
To touch loosely again on the thyroid situation; I’ve done a little reading on what that might entail. Recently I have noticed that my weight has increased, my energy levels have sharply declined, my skin has been drier and I did have massive depressive episode over the winter I couldn’t fully explain away with seasonal affective disorder. All of these are things that could be down to other factors, though – I mean, who doesn’t get depressed and lethargic when pain is an increasingly common part of your life? My ability to exercise and move has also been impacted by my back, which is another factor.
All in all, I’m not expecting things to go either way. Either it was an issue with the anti-depressants I’ve fixed by coming off them, or all of it has been compounded by my thyroid.
All in all, I’m in a surprisingly good place right now, given the amount of stuff that’s managed to happen all in a couple of months. Long may it continue!