There’s nobody else here, no one like me…

I’m about to get a bit happy clappy, so if that gets your goat (I hear you), skip this one.

I know it’s been disaster movie of a year. There are truly despicable things happening all over the globe. So, I feel quite guilty about this, but 2016 has been my personal best for a very long time. Selfish or not I want to acknowledge my successes. Queue the happy bit. 

This year I have been comparatively sane. I’m not cured and of course there are bad times, but I have felt psychologically healthier & happier than I’ve been in several years. I’m pretty confident that I’m finally taking the right medication. Meds aren’t magic beans, but the right combination has given me much more solid ground to build on. I’ve been able to push myself, expanding  my social & professional lives in the process. 

Now, here comes the big one, I have not purposely hurt myself in well over a year. Again, I’m not recovered, I suspect the urge will always be with me. The difference for me has been releasing there are things I want more than blood. I’m not going to bullshit anyone, it’s a grind; it’s a battle I decide to fight every day. This is a war that’s been raging for 17 years, but I’m stating to believe I will emerge the conquerer. 

Next up; gettting all proud of myself & shamelessly blowing my own trumpet. 2016 has been a professional triumph. My writing has featured in publications I have long admired. My blog hits have soared & more importantly I produced more work of value than ever before. I am proud to be writing about issues that need to be talked about & creating work that readers really connect with. 

This year I also took a leap of faith & extended my wee empire to include oPeration BoPo. I wanted a thing that didn’t exist locally & so, I just went ahead & made it happen. My first event was an amazing success. I believe there is a need for accessible body positive projects & I am determined to meet it. I have some exciting things in the work for 2017. Get ready to join the self love revolution. 

This year I have gained a confidence that I feared was gone for good. I took charge. I had some big scale health issues & disappointing discoveries, but I kept rolling. I let go of yearning to be the girl I was before life got fucked & embraced the woman I am because & inspite of it all. 

This has been a year of seizing what control I can & trying to accept that it will never be the unbridled authority I desire. My body & mind will continue to usurp me. I’ll just have to wrestle them into the best submission I can manage. 

I’ll be honest my life can be brutal. You know what? I can be too. I’m heading into the new year with a 5 year plan, a growing business, my first nude photo shoot under my belt, ovaries that are really trying & the very best people supporting me. 2017, I’m ready for you. 


I hope there were some bright spots for all of you too & that next year brings you all you’re hoping for. 

Don’t patronise me…

I’m struggling to sleep tonight. My  pain got a little out of control last week & so my dr upped one of my pain meds. It was quite a big leap & my body hasn’t been behaving since.  My mood hasn’t really been behaving either. It took a dive earlier in the week for, I imagine, a combination of reasons. Perhaps feeling so bizarre, or the pain or an upcoming anniversary. Who can say?

On account of the above there have been days when even getting out of bed has been difficult. Yesterday was one those days, everything hurt & I was very foggy from the meds, but things had to be done. Bronan had to be fed. I had to return some important calls & I had to put my bin out to be emptied.  Dragging myself out of bed was a struggle, but I did it. So, up I got, flung on whatever clothes were lying on the bedroom floor, brushed my teeth & completed those tasks as best as I could. I did these not because they would lift my mood. Nor did I do them as part of an ‘action plan’. I didn’t derive any sense of achievement. They needed to be done, so I did them.


Later, I tried to write, but couldn’t concentrate for more than a minute or two. It occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten all day & perhaps something in my stomach might counteract the effect of my medications. My fridge contained some broccoli that had to be used today or it would only be fit for the bin. So, I steamed that broccoli in the micro, poured some boiling water on noodles & flung soy sauce over both. I didn’t cook because it would make me feel that I was worth taking care of. I simply used the ingredients available to feed myself in the quickest manner because otherwise, I would not eat.

I tell you these things not because they are interesting. I certainly don’t mention them because I want applause. I merely draw your attention to these mundane activities as they are the reality of day to day life.
THEY ARE NOT SELF CARE.
Mental health organisations & increasingly, just anyone are constantly spouting the merits of self-care. I am so tired of hearing this bullshit. Everything I do does not have a therapeutic purpose. Mental illness (or for that matter physical) does not define me. I am a single woman living alone. There are always tasks that need taken care of. I take each day as it comes & do as much as I can manage. That’s just survival. In that respect I am no different from anyone else. Obviously my illness can make simple jobs difficult. Things the average person may take for granted come harder to me. That doesn’t change the nature of life. I either keep living to the best of my ability or I lie down and die.

To label each chore or treat self-care is to rob me of my basic humanity. I am no longer a person, but a collection of diagnoses’. Illness becomes my defining feature. I strenuously reject that characterisation. To measure my wellbeing by how many dishes are in my sink is insulting. Similarly, to minimise serious conditions by suggesting a nice dinner will make it all better is also offensive. A cute badge with a star & I took my meds or A childish phrase is not going to brighten my day. 

I live my life as fully as possibly. I enjoy whatever I can and try my best to endure the rest. Doesn’t that sum up most people’s experience? I don’t hear anyone congratulating ‘non-mentals’ or ‘non-spoonies ‘ for continuing to exist, so why are they patronising me?

If my thoughts on this offend you, then just imagine how I feel when several times each day I am confronted with the cult of self care. If it works for you, cool, you do you. However, don’t suggest I have a bath with candles to get over terrifying flashbacks. Don’t tell me to give myself a wee treat to combat searing pain. Most of all don’t belittle me by suggesting my daily drive to survive is ‘self care’. Keep it to yourself, darling or prepare for my wrath.