Disability, Me Myself and I

Mental Health Check-In

Things are changing when it comes to my mental health. They are slow and gradual changes, but they are changes nonetheless. Things are taking a gradual move into the positive direction and I want to document that here on my blog. I’m not going to cut any corners in this post, so I suggest you don’t read below the cut if you think that this post may trigger your own issues. I’ll also touch on my ASD as well as my PTSD in this post because they can aggravate each other.  Having PTSD as an Aspie, I’ve found, can intensify the things that I experience as a result of the ASD.

At the end of this month, I will be able to say that I haven’t indulged in my negative self-harming behaviours at all in the past 19 months. That’s a huge step. There has been no cutting, no lapses into my eating disorders (I will never class myself of cured of this, but in remission, yes), no drinking myself into oblivion rather, I am drinking sensibly when I fancy a drink, and no scratching until my arms bleed. When things got too much in the past one or a mixture of these behaviours would be carried out. But for 19 months (almost), I haven’t done any of them. In fact I find that, especially lately when things have been crazily stressful as I job hunt, I’ve channelled that energy into sketching, colouring, and writing (need to do more of the latter). In the past week, I’ve done 7 full on sketches. Each time I’ve felt the stress getting too much, I’ve sketched during the past week. And it’s completely freeing. For the average of 4 to 8 hours that it takes me to complete a portrait, my mind is solely focused on the sketch and I can escape into another part of my mind and clear away the negativity.

Another milestone for me will happen at the end of this week. Whilst I haven’t cut or scratched in the last 19 months, there have been points where I was sorely tempted when things got too much. But at the end of this week I’ll have gone a month without even being tempted to cut or scratch (except for a genuine itch on that last one). In channelling my anxiety into alternative, positive, methods, I’m able to avoid that temptation. I won’t say I’m clear of them yet, but they’re another  couple of self-harm mechanisma that I’m heading towards being in remission from. To be honest I never thought I’d reach that stage. Never thought there wouldn’t be a day where it was easier to just pick up a blade and run it across my legs, or scratch my arms until they were raw with my nails (and no it doesn’t matter what length my nails are…. I’ve been able to do it in the past with the shortest of nails).

The flashbacks and nightmares are also slowing. I mean they are still there, but they are slowing. I don’t know if that’s down to the paper journal I’m keeping or the fact I know I now have someone I can talk to about them in detail (no not a therapist). It might be both. But I do know I’m able to halt them now when they start going or at least calm myself down a lot better and a lot quicker after one occurs. I’m not scared that he’ll find me any more either. I mean there are times when living on my own makes me anxious, but I’m not scared of that any more. I feel safer and more protected than I have in years.

I’m also starting to let go of my abandonment issues. I mean they are still there, they are still strong at times, but recent events and conversations have helped me let go of one of the biggest fears when it comes to people leaving. It was a private conversation, so not to be shared here, but let me say this, I am no longer scared of being left without anybody to turn to or anyone who loves me. A promise was kept and that promise has shown me that there is someone whom I can count on not up and leaving me.

My social anxiety and sensory overload have been fairly calm as of late. Without the constant barrage of flashbacks and nightmares, I’m not going into sensory overload as frequently. I’ve also been able to get out daily and go for walks, including to the town centre without panicking at the amount of people around and the need to communicate with some of them. I’m hoping that this continues at LFCC this weekend as I’m working it for R&T and two of the three days are completely sold out. I spent the whole of the Saturday last year shaking as I worked and moved around the convention because it was so busy, but was able to keep things fairly under control.

I’m looking at the positives in each day at the end of the day as I go to bed, and thanking Goddess for each of them. I’m not focusing on the negatives as I try to sleep (insomnia seems to be a side effect of stress this time round). Accomplishing things like a sketch, applying for jobs, going to interviews, go for a walk, even just getting up and getting dressed are positives and I am grateful for them each and every day. I’ve also (on the advice of Momma), started thanking my body for the things it’s enabled me to do that day. I’ve found that in doing that my mental perception of my physical health is shifting and I’m better able to emotionally cope with the bad pain days.

I want to thank a few people for helping me get this far, especially over the past 12 months:

Manda, you’ve stood by me even when I’ve been, how shall I put this? A right bitch.
Jessie, you keep me smiling even on the hardest days.
Kazzie, your steadfastness as a friend and sister is amazing and beautiful.
Clare, you’ve lifted my spirits on more than one occasion.
Momma, in the past 14 months, you’ve become the person I can trust with anything and everything. You’ve shown me so much of myself and allowed me to be me. Your guidance and your humour are invaluable.

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