Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….


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EAR WORM No. 25 – The Pearls – GUILTY #BPD

Ah…just as well I love this innocent little song from back in the day, as it has been haunting me for what feels like forever…

If you, like me, were growing up in the ’70’s, chances are you remember this catchy British version of the original First Choice song.

Also, if you are BPD like me, you will have a long, complicated relationship with guilt and will have done so, probably most of your life.

Because, seemingly, like many kinds of abuse, one inadvertently ends up wielding the same stick that one was beaten so savagely with.

I was, suffice to say, made to feel guilty for most of my life, for, amongst other things, being selfish (for expecting to be treated like I mattered), for not helping in the home (when my sibling was not expect to do so), for asking for normal clothes instead of old ladies cast offs (so I wouldn’t get my head kicked in at school quite so often), for causing arguments (aka defending myself), fighting with my brother (who was older/bigger and ALWAYS struck the first blow), yada, yada…

This resulted in permanent paranoia, the inability to trust, the constant need to defend myself, prove my innocence and point out the real perpetrator.

Much good that did me, really.

It also made me afraid of ever admitting failure or fault, which isn’t great as everyone makes mistakes.  Even me 😉

But the most harmful side effect of this kind of abuse, is thinking that the reflex response of others is a good idea.

To be honest I didn’t even know I did it until recently.

Well, I knew I was very adept at defending myself, and felt more than entitled to do so, after all the shit I’ve had to endure to date, but the one thing I failed to realise is that no one likes to be proved wrong for all the world to see.

Even if they were wrong.

I’ve been let down many times by boyfriends, friends, family and work mates.  This is because I did that classic BDP thing of putting all my eggs in one basket when it came to making friends.

I would eschew building lots of different relationships with a cross section of different people, find the one who I thought was my soul mate per se, bonded with that person, told them everything, showed them everything, trusted them implicitly until that fateful day arrived that they dropped the ball and fucked me over, betrayed me, or even just let me down.

Most people are upset by betrayal. But most people have a whole back up team of other friends and family behind them, so they will usually shrug such behaviour off, forgive and probably keep that person in their life in some capacity.

Someone like me however would be absolutely devastated and incandescent with rage, and would then seek to expose this bitch/bastard for their rude/selfish/vicious behaviour so that the whole world would see how awful they were, and how hard done by I was, before dramatically kicking their friendship to the kerb.

Forever!

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I know.  Not very attractive behaviour, is it?

But the worst part is that when your anger dies down, and you put things in perspective, you realise that you’ve dumped all the good qualities of that person along with the bad.

Over the years, I evolved a little.  I didn’t always dump people forever, but I did still, very skilfully, very stealthily prove to them that they were pretty horrible people, that their behaviour sucked, that I would NEVER, have done it (whatever it may be) to them, that others in our circle/family now knew what they were really like, and that they should change ASAP if they wanted to keep good, loyal, innocent folk like my good self in their lives for the foreseeable future.

It didn’t always happen.

It didn’t always happen straight away.

But eventually a lot of these so called sinners extracted themselves from my life of their own volition, and I am no longer in touch with them.

Because no one likes to face harsh truths about themselves.

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This was especially applicable when it came to my love life.

But they deserved it for making me feel shit about myself!

Didn’t they?

This kind of reaction, according to my shrink is ‘angry child’, a maladaptive coping mode that i reach for in order to avoid ‘vulnerable child’ the most painful state of being of all.

In other words, anger is my default, and unless I learn to feel what’s really going on for me, find away of comforting myself in that fug of unbearable, powerless pain, instead of reaching for my metaphorical uzi, I’m never going to be able to adapt to this world, and find my authentic self and my place in life.

And guess what coping mode we’re doing in group right now?!

Awful, awful, awful….but I must and will grit my teeth and work through it.

I hated and still hate people who play the guilt card; including myself.  But I’m trying to catch and make myself put down that weapon before doing irreparable damage to others, and inadvertantly, myself.

it’s not easy though, as I’m so very good at it.

Yes, like the song says I’m G-U-I-L-T – WHY, and housed in a prison of my own making.

But I’m working on my parole.  Honest.

Shit.  Why is life so fucking hard?

Namaste all x


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STAY WITH ME/IN THE LOVELY HOUR

It’s been a gruelling couple of weeks, but I’m finally starting to see a bit light at the end of the tunnel.

It just had to get worse before it got better, natch.

In the form of cancelled jobs, a parking ticket, some fucker keying my car (AGAIN), and finally the resulting stress causing my neck and back to seize up and go into lock down, to the extent that I could barely move my head.

The group therapy too, has also been challenge and no doubt is all the better for it.  Nothing hammers home your negative coping behaviours more than seeing them reenacted before your very eyes by strangers in exactly the same position as you.

Urgghh.

So for three days I was locked in a cycle of misery, worry and pain.

Then last night, i made myself go to a carol service with a friend.  Mainly because I couldn’t let her down because she’d treated me to a ticket, but nonetheless I got out of the front door.

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It took place in a beautifully decorated park, with kids, lights, hot chocolate and all the things that make Christmas, and I have admit it was all rather enchanting.  It was also fecking freezing, so when it started to rain (curse you iPhone weather forecast – you SUCK), I got very twitchy cos there’s only one thing worse than being cold and that’s being wet AND cold.

But I didn’t want to let Jenny down.  So I pulled out my knackered old umbrella and stayed with her.

If nothing else it gave me something else to think about than my other aches and pains.  I shivered so much it actually made me feel more alive than I have for some time, in a strange way.   And when we ducked into the pub for mulled wine afterwards, I rediscovered that the biggest joy of going out in the cold is coming back into the warm.  When you stay in all the time like me, this is a bit of a revelation.  Sad, I know!

That said i was glad to get home to a warm flat, put my electric blanket on and go to bed as I was exhausted.

Then some time before dawn I woke up, entirely of my own volition.  And for the first time in MONTHS I was virtually pain free and alert.

Suddenly I heard a happy chirrup and something soft and warm bounced onto my bed.

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My Charlie cat.

Anyone who says that cats don’t love their humans, is totally talking out of their arse, or has never given them love and earned their trust.  Because there in the lonely hour my little Chaz, delighted his mummy was awake at such a God forsaken time, purred and butted and rubbed his little chops all over my hand (nothing says “I love you” more than cat spit) then snuggled up close, turned a few circles, and settled purring into the curve of my tummy, making it a the lovely hour for both of us, and this Sam Smith song immediately sprung to mind.  Well a more positive, feline oriented version at any rate:

‘Stay with me

Right now, you’re all I need

‘Cos this is love, it’s clear to me

Charlie, stay with me’

And I was profoundly grateful to him, and Jen, and to God for finally releasing me from my misery, and I have to say, I was totally happy and content.  If only for that hour.

Because then of course Dexter woke up, tried to nudge Charlie out the way, then they ended up chasing each other round the flat at breakneck speed, then both of them bounced and pounced and yowled at me when I had the audacity to try and get back to sleep.

Kids, hey?

I eventually got up, fed the gruesome twosome, had a bath and went to see my physiotherapist who clicked and cracked and manipulated my poor old bones again, and apart from being a bit fragile and bruised, I felt miles better.

Then the day went on like any other.

I found a great Secret Santa present.  Someone dick parked so close to my motor that I had to get in on the passenger side.  A nice looking man beamed at me in the street.  I forgot to buy milk.  I got dropped from another job.  Someone I haven’t seen for ages sent me a really rude, funny Christmas card.

Ups and downs.

There’ll be more as sure as the sun sets and the moon rises.

God give me the strength to stay with this mind set and deal with whatever the upcoming days bring.

Have a good weekend all x

OPTIMISTIC MIX TRACK 15 – Dog (Shit) Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine

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Let’s get one thing straight here before we go any further.

I do NOT feel optimistic today.  Quite the contrary.  I feel like an old, desiccated, pallid piece of dog shit, but time is running out, as is money, and these cats ain’t gonna feed themselves, and this roof ain’t gonna stay over my head unless I pay ‘the man’ so I must get back on this ole Gratitude horse, and hope it moves me forward out of the fetid, stinking hell hole I find myself in at this moment in time.

Today I am (or should be/trying to be) thankful for the following things that occurred in June 2014:

  • My one day of work (albeit unpaid) as a TV audience member with a new friend Bonnie
  • My day out at a (free) museum with Goatee Man
  • My lovely afternoon tea with my traveller friend from NZ
  • My evening touching base with two girls I met on holiday years ago
  • Someone I hugely admire favouriting my tweet to them on Twitter
  • My now pending long weekend by the sea with my sister (hurray!)
  • My cats, especially as my friends cat is about to be put down and he is heartbroken
  • Aunty C and her not losing patience or giving up on my shit after all these years
  • You lot, and your support, comments and hugely talented writing.  Love you all x
  • These remarkable images I’ve just found, courtesy of Toby Allen on cargo collective.com, whose depiction of BPD you can see at the head of this blog, which is deceptively pretty, but that’s only because the little fucker has sheathed it’s claws, hidden it’s teeth and then posed for it’s ‘selfie’. The bastard.

There!  I’m trying, hey?

So fuck off sweaty, heady, humid dog days and bring on the horses!

Namaste x

http://cargocollective.com/zestydoesthings/Real-Monsters-Volume-1

25 DAYS OF SONGS CHALLENGE: DAY 18 – A SONG THAT I LOVE BUT RARELY LISTEN TO

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I love this song. I really, really do. Especially this version.

And JC OWNS it.

He’s not just singing a cover to pad out an album or something. It’s the story of his life. His swan song, his epitaph. He sings of regrets, as he sits amongst his dusty photographs, sun bleached trophies and the rotting remains of a banquet, and of how, despite his successes, riches and luxurious lifestyle, he wished he’d done things differently, as he wife looks on, close to tears.

Within a year both of them were gone.

I can’t watch this video only once, as I am in equal parts, fascinated, moved and terrified by it.

I’m scared because it touches something dark, angry and despairing inside me, and the fear that when I’m his age, I’ll feel exactly the same way about my life.

Without all the success.

Because it feels too late to start again.

Then again, it always did, for as long as I remember.

I’ll watch it once again because it’s so beautiful, but then I’ll try and forget about it until the next time I happen upon it, when once again I’ll touch base with my darkness.

My sweetest friend.

PITY PARTY TRACK 17 – Alfie – CILLA BLACK

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I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself tonight, and it’s ages since I did a Pity Party number, so here’s a bit of Cilla for you, singing the wonderful Burt Bacharach’s beautifully poignant ‘Alfie’

What’s it all about? 50 odd years on I’m none the wiser, let’s hope you are and you have enough love in your life to sustain you through the dark days and lonely nights x

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/burt+bacharach/alfie_20025979.html


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BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT

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You might remember that business opportunity I was given a week or so ago?

Well I decided to go for it.  Prepped up my little kitchen, went to the cash and carry, spent an entire day baking goodies, bagging up treats and digging out items to decorate our stall and barely took a minute to eat, or more importantly, drink anything, then packed up my car with delicious things, had a bath and a nice glass of red wine to ensure a good night sleep to prepare me for the early start and busy day the next morning.

Unfortunately for me it didn’t quite work out that way.

Most of you know that whilst I’m not a big drinker, I haven’t totally eschewed drinking alcohol on top of my meds, and I generally get away with it.

This night I didn’t.  I can only assume that I was totally dehydrated, as the wine clashed horribly with my medication and I spent the whole night having crazy trippy dreams.

I won’t go into too much detail as I know how boring other people’s dreams tend to be, but I promise you, this was anything but boring. The overlying theme was my being worried about sleeping through my alarm and I kept finding myself in strange landscapes with strange people, trying to find my way home before the alarm went off.  The dream also featured me in various states of undress, insects that stung and laid their eggs on me and when I pulled out the stinger, whole grubs and bugs would ooze out and rapidly be replaced by others, all strung together, Lionel Blair, of all people, kept saying strange things to me, I couldn’t snap the string, I wandered from bus stop to train station, there was a weird keening in the background, and then an eerie cat, who turned out to be a real cat, my Dexter, woke me up glowing fuzzy and green in the dark.  Then I fell asleep again and when I woke up the next time the alarm had gone off and I felt like total dog shit.

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I tried to get out of bed and was nearly sick, and when I closed my eyes again, Lionel was back grinning maniacally saying ‘It’s the schtick.  The SCHTICK’ like a mentalist again, so suffice to say, I didn’t trust myself to drive, let alone work on a market stall, so in the end, I had to let down my friends, and bail.

To say I was devastated was an understatement.

How unlucky can one person get?

I had rung in sick in my last job so many times, that the sense of failure from having to do it for something I genuinely wanted to do for a living came flying back in glorious technicolour.  Plus I had let down my friends, and what the hell was I going to do with all the food?

Then I remembered that later that afternoon I had to go and talk to someone about claiming benefits as my financial situation is getting quite scary, and I thought I maybe I had found meaning in what had happened.

Maybe I wasn’t meant to start trading until after my therapy?

Mind you, if this was a message from God/Buddha/the Universe/Frith, I’d much sooner they’d told me about it before Id wasted shitloads of money, and baked up a storm, but no matter, I’ll take what i can get, I suppose.

So, come 4pm a very wan, shaky moi headed off to the advice centre armed with a load of paperwork, a bottle of water and a banana cake.  If nothing else, someone was going to enjoy the fruits of my labour and as it turned out, my volunteer Nadia was extremely chuffed to receive my RAK thank you gift too.

And whilst it makes sense for me to claim something (I’ve worked and paid taxes since i was 16 so I’m hardly a benefits scrounger) while I’m getting therapy, it was still disheartening to even consider it, so I went home tired, cakeless, and even though I’d made someone’s day, pretty downhearted.

I then received a text reminding me that I was going to see the movie ‘Gravity’ with my friend Adam that night.

In 3d.  Oh God.

The tickets were already bought, plus it was an early birthday present so I had to go, but believe me, I still felt very spaced out (pardon the pun) and probably wouldn’t even need the special glasses.

The movie, it has to be said, was amazing, especially as at times I actually felt like I was in it, with the added disadvantage of being able to empathise whole heartedly with Sandra Bullock’s character’s space sickness, as I probably felt worse than she did.  I also had to close my eyes in parts and flinched as missiles flew past my beleaguered head wishing fervently that I was at home in my bed, but I survived.

Or thought I had, as when i got home, I felt the onset of one of my mega migraine attacks, and couldn’t take drugs as I was scared of tripping again.

And when it kicked in i remember whining pathetically to God ‘You’re just a big bully!  What the fuck did I ever do to you?’

But when the pain got too much, I thought sod it, and took a Migraleve.  What the hell, it was just a mad dream, and the better of two very unpleasant evils.

Except this time the dream was extremely unpleasant.

I was back in an even more hellish version of my previous job were I was trapped in the building, everyone blatantly hated me, everyone was out to get me and my boss presided over and pushed me toward a variety of tortures and humiliations, none of which I could escape from.

Jesus Christ, I left that job 18 MONTHS AGO!  I’m OVER this!  I’ve even forgiven them, well kind of.

Why won’t it go away?

Then at around 3am, just to enhance the experience, my cats decided to play ‘Murder in the dark’.

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Then the scariest thing of all suddenly hit me.

What if all of this is random? What if there is no meaning to any of it?

What if there is no God, or if there is, he/she doesn’t give a shit and we’re all just ants at his/her sandalled feet, seconds away from being trampled on?

Or maybe all of this navel gazing has accelerated all of my bad karma, and 2014 is my Chinese Year of the Vengeful Payback Dragon from HELL?

I fell back into an uneasy, but thankfully dreamless sleep, woke at 10am bruised, sore and absolutely exhausted and staggered out to the kitchen with my sunglasses on to feed the cats and put the kettle on.

Then when I took them off and open the curtains, I realised that the agony had stopped.

And I was grateful.

But as far as figuring everything out, I don’t want to think about anything today.

This is the support I get, God, for taking a leap of faith and trying to get back on my feet? I get sabotaged?

I doubt you exist anyway, I might as well be trying to communicate with El-ahrairah, the Singing Ringing Tree or the Man in the frigging Moon, and if you do exist, you’re a mean, cruel arse and I’m not talking to you.

Right now, all I believe in is the mug in my hand, the cats at my feet and the mattress under my bum.  At least it hasn’t let me down.

Yet.

But at least it’s here and I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.


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POISON

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I wake up with the now familiar chemical taste in my mouth, fuzziness of head, and a shortness of breath.

My home for the last week or so has been horrifyingly toxic, thanks to the new carpet I had installed last Friday, and it has been harder still to drag myself out of bed at all, let alone do my morning yoga, as anything that encourages deep breathing will only exacerbate my misery.

If this is God’s idea of flushing me out my burrow, well it hasn’t worked.

Until this morning when I woke up with pins and needles in my left arm and hand.

The first word that came into my head was stroke.

Multiple stroke syndrome.  By far the most horrible, prolonged, miserable exit from this world that I can think of.  And I can, and do, think of a lot of them.

As after seeing my big, strapping six foot warrior of a father, flattened and helpless, thrashing like a newly caught fish, unable to speak, eat, and covered in sores, atrophy and shrivel into a dried up husk of his former self before gasping his last, it has been my worst nightmare when it comes to doing the mortal coil shuffle.

I’d sooner overdose, be struck by lightning, be squashed by a falling crane, have a stake driven through my heart or cark it on the loo like Elvis, anything but that hellish dying minute by minute, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month with no way of telling anyone what you feel or having any kind of control over your last days on this earth.

Alright, damn You.  I’ll get up and do something.

Feeling like a pawn in a celestial game of chess, where God has picked me up by the ankle and hurled me onto the next square whether I like it or not, with nothing more than a vague curiosity as to whether I’ll survive the game.

I get up, shower and head out of the door without really knowing where I was going or what I was going to do.

Which is why it was even a surprise to me when I found myself at Shagger’s yoga class, with my lungs and body full of toxins, my limbs stiff with misuse and a sudden unexpected bank of vitriol and hate lodged directly under my diaphragm.

I have worked hard at dissipating and dealing with my anger of late, with a lot of success, but suddenly, as if knowing I’m at my weakness, it has returned with a vengeance and is keen to make up for lost time.

I grab a mat and avoid all eyes, setting up my spot as quietly and unobtrusively as I can.

The door opens, and in walks some guy who eyes me furtively, with considerable interest.

I immediately look away, leaving him in no doubt that I had absolutely no desire to connect with him or anyone in any way, shape or form this morning.

His response to this?  To pick up his yoga mat, and put it within centimetres of mine.

I look around me with disbelief.  Whilst the place is filling up fast, there is loads of room and he could have gone anywhere.

I feel pure hatred like a lump in the back of my throat, and close my eyes and lie in shavasana as I try and block him out.

No such luck.  Two minutes later, he drops the sleeve of his New Age poncho on my belly, and as my eyes snap open, his are there to greet them, grinning inanely at his clumsy subterfuge.

‘Whoops, sorry!’ he stage whispers.

Fuck off and die.

I don’t say this out loud, but what I do do is totally ignore him, just catching his look of disgruntlement as I remove flick the offending garment off me and close my eyes again, intent on spiritual oblivion.

Two minutes later.

‘Excuse me?  I think you’re going to have to move over a bit.’

I stare at him with undisguised venom.

‘If I move my mat over any further my arm is going to keep hitting the wall?’ I retort icily.

‘That’s why we “stagger” them!’ he chortles in response, looking for an audience to share his ‘joke’ with.

Walls don’t “stagger” to accommodate people, you tosspot, they’re inanimate and made of concrete!

Ignore him Sista, ignore him.

‘Ummm, huuh, uuummmm, huuuh…’

Oh God, a fucking breather right in front of me, doing everything she can to catch my eye, presumably craving my admiration.  Perve to my right, wanker straight ahead, what’s behind me, a fucking huge, rusty spike?

Then the class begins.

And everything hurts.

My back.

My muscles.

My lungs.

My head.

My anger ravaged soul.

I have absolutely no idea where all this fury is coming from.

I work through the class with grim determination, pausing when I know a move is too much for me, ignoring the trembling, determined limbs of my fellow yogis.

And when the tediously, predictably jutting crotch of my teacher is dead level with my eyes as he pulls my arms parallel to the floor, I avert them and catch sight of the bright russet leaves of the great oak through the window, rustling in the wind against the bright blue sky, and words spill from my psyche into the air around me.

Oh God, I have never believed in you more or liked you less.

I don’t want to be here.

I hate this body, this ageing, creaking, pissing, sweating, shitting lump of bones and meat where you have trapped me.

And right now, right in this moment, I hate you too.

You watch me from your throne, like a half squashed flies thrashing miserably in the dust, and you are INDIFFERENT to my agony.

Well, screw you.

Then unbelievably, someone’s hand brushes my arse.

Baldy pervert man.  Of course.

How I don’t turn around and bawl my outrage in his stupid, simpering, butter bean face and hurl him bodily across the room, I’ll never know.  I can only tell myself it was an accident, and anyway, if I twat him, someone will call the police.

I know I’ve been here before.

I don’t want to be here.

And I certainly don’t want to come back.

And as I go into shoulder stand, I feel not energy, not relaxation, not peace, but poison, masquerading as blood, streaming through my veins and plumping my heart.

I just want to GO.

Then as I drop to plank, I feel the hands of Shagger, and brace myself for further outrage.  But to my surprise, he did not grope or invade my space, but deftly, gently, with great kindness, pressed my screaming limbs into a better position and I stared ahead with grim determination, fighting the sudden urge to cry, and prayed for it to end before I made an utter fool of myself.  

And when it does?

I walk away, still black with pollution and wondering who, what the hell I am.

One book, ‘The Exorcist’ I think, muses on the theory that we are all fragments of the fallen angel, journeying inch by inch, dragged by an unseen force over rocks, stones, land and sea to the inevitable reunion with the Almighty.

I can buy into that.

It’s just so hard when it takes oh so long.