The little things matter...

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Before I ended up in an abusive romantic relationship with a narcissist (I call him 'the narc'), I often found myself merrily skipping down the street; I would randomly just start skipping or burst into dance whenever I felt like it. I just felt this childlike freedom, and I genuinely didn't care what others thought of me. Actually, I didn't even think of others watching or judging me.

This is something the narc made me aware of ~ how others could be watching and judging, at all times. He actually made me very aware that others' had opinions of me, which eventually made me very self-conscious.

I stopped skipping after the narc had a hold on me. And I've not skipped that way again since.

I noticed this week that I have a new way of feeling that childlike freedom though. It hit me yesterday, as I was walking from my therapy session towards my house, I found myself suddenly stopping and just standing there in the sunlight. I closed my eyes and faced the sun. Feeling the wind on my face and the air around me. Listening to the wind rustling the leaves of the many trees nearby. 'Twas beautiful. That moment helped me realise that I do this often; I stand in sunlight or moonlight as much as possible. If the urge hits me, I'll stop anywhere and look up, I'll close my eyes and bathe in the light, and just stand there appreciating the moment. I don't care what others think once again, if only they knew the path I've walked to get to these moments.

Sometimes, under that magical natural light, I even lip sync my favourite lyrics or mantras that help me feel safe & balanced.

And the narc will never know that part of me.

I love that. I love that he no longer knows me; he doesn't know the woman I'm becoming.

Fuck yeah!

I read somewhere recently that every 7-10 years we essentially become new people as, in that time, every cell in our bodies has been replaced by a new cell. That made me smile as in a few more years I would have slowly replaced the cells that asshole touched. I love that he doesn't know the woman I am today. He has no clue how much I've grown and who I've become. I love that so much. It's like slowly washing away the evil from my body & mind. I am the woman I choose to be.

Grief Period

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I'm gonna get straight into it...

After my abortion, I bled ~ non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no breaks, just a constant flow of heavy bleeding from my vagina ~ for 8 months straight. I was told by doctors before I went into theatre ~ I had to have a surgical abortion, I wrote all about it here "Do you ever think about our abortion?" ~ that there would be some bleeding after the operation; that was normal. However, I was not prepared for 8 months of constant bleeding, and it seems like this was surprising to the doctors too as various tests and check-ups were carried out over some time to see if anything had gone wrong during surgery. Nothing was found, there were no other health issues either; everything was "fine". There was no explanation for the constant bleeding that I thought might never end. I was then given some tablets to stop the bleeding ~ which did reduce it but the bleeding continued, and it was only after 8 months that the flow of blood stopped.

I was 19 years old, surrounded by abusive relationships (familial and romantic), heartbroken and really struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness. After those 8 months of bleeding, I was so happy to no longer be bleeding that I did my best to suppress my feelings and just move on from the abortion. After all, I didn't want kids so this abortion didn't mean anything...right?

It wasn't until over a decade later that I opened that abortion box and began to deal with the feelings I felt back when I was 19, feelings that were now intensified as I had forced them to hush for so long. With the help of a ~ bloody (pardon the pun) marvellous ~ therapist, I started to process and deal with that abortion; how I felt about it and everything else surrounding it, such as my abusive then boyfriend who forced me to have that abortion, the history of trauma in my family and in my life, the pressure to be a young woman who conforms quietly into a sick society...y'know, the usual.

I'm in a much better place now at 31 than my 19 year old self was; I no longer suppress my emotions and I have boundaries now ~ which helps keep narcissistic people who emotionally abuse me into having abortions away from me.

I feel good, I'm taking care of myself; I'm healing.

But I never again questioned that 8-months-long-post-abortion bleeding. Not until recently, when someone I've been following on Instagram for a while talked about grief period ~ not just the time of grief, but the bleeding that can take place for some of us during times of grief. The person who mentioned this has recently gone through a really traumatic time and has been on her period since the trauma. Her doctor told her that "it is perfectly normal to experience irregular or "mourning periods"" as she calls them. Since she shared her story, many others have contacted her to share their mourning period story too. This blew my mind, left me in shock, opened a wound that I thought I was done with; a wound I believed had healed. Did I bleed for 8 months straight after that abortion because I was mourning? Whether I was mourning or not, I don't know how else to explain that constant bleeding other than the abortion was quite traumatic for me.

Since this realisation, I've started to remember how attached I felt to whomever was in my belly. It's opened a gate for me. I remember the morning sickness (or more like all day long sickness ~ why is it even called morning sickness?), the cravings ~ I couldn't go a day without oranges & orange juice ~ the emotions, and I did feel attached; I felt this strange & mysterious love for my child. It was painful to have that abortion, it was painful to go through all of it; the pregnancy test, hearing the "it's positive" result, being manipulated by a narcissist boyfriend who claimed to want the best for us but who couldn't even attend the post abortion appointment with me because he had "football with the boys". It was all just too fucking much.

But as I'd never wanted kids I thought "I shouldn't feel these things; I shouldn't feel attached, this abortion shouldn't be a difficult thing to go through!"

Thing is, even if we don't want kids, it is difficult. And it is okay to struggle; it is okay to not feel okay. Abortions are an extremely difficult experience to go through, for anyone; whether it is necessary to terminate the pregnancy for health reasons or for personal reasons, it is fucking hard.

When we're pregnant, our bodies adjust to become grow a baby and give birth, and we go through changes and things we just cannot be fully prepared for. I didn't want kids then, and I don't want kids now, but that does not mean that it isn't hard to go through an abortion. I believe that I would have always followed through with that abortion, it was the right thing to do for me, but I needed time to make that decision for myself; it shouldn't have been my abusive boyfriend's decision. It shouldn't be anyone's decision but the person who is having to go through this process. Terminating a pregnancy is a very difficult decision to come to, and to process and cope with. We need to let people decide what to do with their bodies, and we need to support them no matter what their decision is. The stigma surrounding abortions and periods needs to fucking end, and I hope to see positive changes when it comes to pregnancies, breast feeding, pregnancies, periods...and I plan to be part of that positive change.

To my 19 year old self, I'm sorry I wasn't there for you. But I am here now.

(I chose this photo of my 19 year old self as I was still going through my post abortion grief bleeding here, and I spent a good chunk of this party hiding in the bathroom in tears. Can't tell though, can you?)

Darling girl, I'm taking care of us now. You're healing, living ~ really living ~ and you have so much love within you and in your life now, and that narcissistic boyfriend is fucking long gone. Things get better, so much better!

I love you xxx 

I can see colours again

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Journal entries above say ~ 

28th February 2018: 
"I'm now officially 30.
As I'm nowhere near where I planned to be at 30, this birthday was actually quite a painful one.
I'm feeling less suicidal but I'm still extremely low and weak and tired."

2nd March 2018:
"I miss the old me so much it hurts.
I just want something to kill me now. I'm tired and I'm done with this mental and emotional pain."

Journal entry above says ~ 

28th March 2018:
"Things have changed so much!
Since my Laparoscopy and removal of Endometriosis, I've actually been feeling so much better.
For starters, I'm no longer feeling suicidal.
I have energy.
I feel like doing more.
I've managed to start volunteering.
My anxiety is much better.
I don't feel depressed.
I'm doing another Mindfulness course.
I'm feeling hopeful about the future.
I'm doing okay."

Can you spot the difference between these journal entries?

As you can see, I wrote the top/first and second entries on 28th February 2018 and on 2nd March 2018. I remember feeling so overwhelmed, exhausted and fed up of living with such mental ill health, I just wanted the pain to end, I just needed for it to be over. A few weeks before I wrote these entries, I took an overdose and prayed that it would end my life. I so looked forward to not waking up ever again; I so needed a fucking break from feeling pain all the fucking time.

Then a month later - the bottom/ third entry - on 28th March 2018, I wrote about starting to feel better. Within a month, my world changed. Don't get me wrong, it didn't take a month; I have been in therapy and living a recovery focused lifestyle for over three years now. But I noticed a big shift within that month - from 28th February to 28th March 2018. It's so surreal. Even though it happened, I feel the change, I still can't yet believe it; I just can't grasp how my years of constant agony changed so much within a month. It was years and years of hard work on healing and recovery, but within that one month, life changed for the better.

I came across these journal entries recently and it hit me just how little time there was between suicidal and genuine joy & stability. I didn't go from suicidal to manic, I went from suicidal to a stable level of emotional; I felt okay!

I go through old journals a few times a year now, I started this ritual during my mental health crisis when I noticed from my words - past & present - how my moods and beliefs changed drastically very quickly; I could go from manic to suicidal so suddenly, often within the same day (I can feel all my fellow Borderline Personality Disorder sufferers out there nodding along 'cause SAME).

This past year has been my biggest shift though, and I wanted to share these entries here to remind myself and others that things can change in a positive way; the constant pain and torment can pass. With the right treatment, help, support, love and self-care, we are able to heal. We really can survive that which is trying to kill us.

And it is not beautiful and it is not easy or simple, like some Hollywood movies make it seem. It's ugly, it's dark, lonely, terryfying, it hurts,it is the hardest thing we've ever had to do, it can kill, but at some stage of recovery, we can wake up and there are colours again. It starts to move in slowly; for me the world seemed less grey and painful, then it was more colourful, now it is bright - but not too bright that it blinds me, bright enough that I can bathe in the brightness of colours and look at them without being blinded or overwhelmed.

(Trigger Warning ~ Self-harm)

Everything seems grey during a mental health crisis. Do you know what I mean? Colours just are covered by a layer of greyness. Actually, everything - even black and white - has a grey cover over it.

Everything tastes and smells different too. Like ash. It's like everything turns into different forms of grey ash.

I used to keep razor blades hidden everywhere; in different corners in my room, in my hand bag, in my purse, in my underwear drawer. And I always reminded myself that I was never too far away from a pharmacy or supermarket; places where I could get razor blades for 99p. This thought was comforting to me then.

One self-harm episode though, when cutting my hands and arms didn't do the trick, I then broke a frame and used the glass to cut my face and neck.

Cutting my neck felt so satisfying. It helped soothe the intensity of my emotions. It's like when you take a deep breath "Ahhh. The release and relief. THANK YOU!"

In hospital later, I felt annoyed when I noticed that as I'd used glass rather than the razor blade on my face and neck, it didn't cut as deep as my arms."Gggrrr, you can't even harm yourself properly" that mean voice whispered.

A doctor sorting me out with stitches said "You will get through this one day, try not to cut yourself but especially not your face and neck as you'll be reminded of this dark time every time you look at yourself".

I remember feeling numb. So numb. And thinking: "Get through this? I'm not gonna survive this, let alone really look at myself again, you fool."

But I said nothing and just cried. Quietly. I can still feel the tears streaming down my face after what he said. The silence was deafening, and my tears rolled down my face as if they were so heavy they were carving paths in my skin.

Even with my disbelief in what he was saying, his words did leave a mark: "You will get through this..."

It's been around two years since that episode, and this morning I re-read the words from the above journal entries and I looked at my face in the mirror and was reminded of what that doctor said. I saw a beautiful soul, a kind, honest, open, brave, soul.

And I thought "I am no longer in that place; he was right. I am getting through it, every day. I survived. I'm surviving, I'm actually thriving."

It's been over a year since I last self-harmed, and over a year of stability and balance. It still feels surreal, I feel nervous about how well things are going. Don't get me wrong, things aren't perfect; there is struggle, there is pain and difficulties, but I manage. I can manage now, my emotions no longer control me; I can pause and feel and find comfort in dicomfort. I can explore why I'm feeling or thinking certain ways, and I can sit with what comes up without reacting. It is constant work, but it feels easier and I am so much better at doing the work. I am still messy, but now I get that I am magic and that I am mine; I belong to me and my life is mine to lead.

I can see colours again. And food tastes good again, and I can smell Lavender and Patchouli and Jasmine again. The great tastes, smells and beautiful colours are still here; they never left me after that month. I burn incenses and candles every night now, as if to remind myself of what I missed for so long and to bathe in that wonderfulness. Oh the smell is so glorious, and the colours. Have you seen the colours?!

I like to call this photo 'All the Colours'. I took this whilst out & about in beautiful & bustling Brick Lane - during my mental health crisis I thought I'd never enjoy walking around London again. I'm glad I was wrong about that.

Now I really believe anything is possible.


I had a dream...I lived a nightmare...and now I'm awake

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I had a dream last week that I was being raped, but I had agreed to it.
I think I know what that represents.
I think it represents the way I felt and believed that I had no say in what my body experienced; like it was made for the use and pleasure of others, men especially.

When I was younger, I felt I was being raped on many occasions, but I believed that was my role in life. My purpose was to be used and abused. And so I agreed to go along with what others wanted.
I didn't think saying 'no' was an option that was available to me. I didn't think it was my right. It wasn't an option open to me.
Consent wasn't a word I was aware of. That word didn't exist in my vocabulary.

The one time I felt genuine love - not like the romantic love that we are sold by society, but a mutual respect kind of love - and effortless pleasure - again, not the idea of pleasure that is sold to us but genuine 'I want to be here and connect with this person' pleasure.
A pleasure that I didn't have to force and fake.

That love and pleasure that I never felt with my narc ex.
I think that says a lot, don't you?

The one time that I felt that love and pleasure was in Candybar, in Soho. With Maria.

She messaged me the day after. Wanting to meet up - coffee?

But I felt that meeting her could lead to me dating her. I felt a connection.
And dating a woman was not my right; it was against the law or something.
Because my purpose was to satisfy men. or at least make them believe they were satisfying me.

I'm sorry to myself for not letting myself follow my intuition, my wants, my needs, my calling.
I'm sorry for treating me that way, for denying myself happiness.
It would have been perfectly fine to date Maria, my darling girl. And to experience passion and joy with her.
And to feel safe.
I felt safe with Maria. I only knew her for one night a few hours one night years ago, but time doesn't make anything special - it's what you feel and experience that makes something special.

I forgive myself.
I can't go back and follow my intuition,
but I can do it now and change my present and my future.
At least I woke up, and now I know my truth.

I'm awake.
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