r bee

@rosie-bee | contributor
travelling along the long road to recovery with pit stops at failure and relapse.
Community Voices

How Tattoos Have Helped Me Cope with Mental Illness

I have tattoos.People are genuinely surprised to hear this, because my first is on my hipbone and so not visible. My second is freshly done, and definitely visible (it’s on my bicep) but it’s winter now and hidden beneath layers of soft knits and scarves. Maybe people are surprised because I don’t look “the type” for tattoos; I’m not a barista. I’m not an overly muscular male pumping weights at the gym. In other words, I don’t fit the stereotype. I’m a tiny five foot nothing human, I’m a tutor expected to act as a role model, and I plan to become a doctor – eventually anyway, once I figure out my own health first. So maybe they’re just not expecting someone like me to have had ink permanently etched beneath my skin.

That’s kind of the point. The reason why I have tattoos is because they’re permanent reminders of where I am and where I’ve been and how far I still have to go.

The first is on my hip bone, and it’s a quote in cursive which reads “do not go gentle”, from Dylan Thomas’ poem by the same name. It represents the struggles I’ve been through and come out the other side of. It represents strength and perseverance and bravery in the face of adversity. It represents not giving a fuck. I will not go gentle into that good night. I will not let darkness consume me so easily.On a slight anecdotal tangent, during eating disorder treatment, I was asked what kept me motivated in my recovery. I volunteered this poem as evidence. When I graduated the program, my team presented this poem to me, as a reminder. I told them I had had the quote tattooed on my body six months ago, and carried the reminder with me permanently.

I got my second tattoo a few weeks ago. I designed it myself based off of Rupi Kaur’s illustration “and here you are living despite it all”. Underneath, in my own script, is the word courage, and the O is replaced by the NEDA symbol. It represents being a badass, and reminds me to approach life as one. Recovery is one of the hardest things I have ever faced, and it takes courage, but here I am living, despite it all. Because recovery from anything, even just living with mental illness, makes us all badass.

Maybe people are surprised because my tattoos are not purely for aesthetic reasons. Maybe people are surprised because my tattoos mean something, and only to me.They remind me of my own permanency, and my own fight. They remind me to keep on fighting when the struggle is dark, and now, each time I go to hurt myself, I will be reminded that I am living, despite it all, and with just a little bit of courage, I can move forward. I will not go gentle into that good night, no matter how much I may want to at times. The lure of death may be strong but I will rage and rage and rage against the dying of the light. I will not give in, and I will not give up. I will not go gentle. #Depression will not take me. The battle against my own brain will not take me, not yet. So yeah, I have tattoos.

Community Voices

What I Don't Need From Doctors as a BPD-sufferer

Discriminatory doctors exist. That’s sad, but it’s a fact. This discrimination hits people like myself, people who have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, incredibly hard. I am seen as three letters, as my abbreviation. Doctors see me as the negative adjectives in my notes, in the words “aggressive” and “sedated” and “self-inflicted”.

They don’t see me for what I am: hurting, and in need of help. Now, please understand, this is not true of all doctors, not by any means. I have also had some lovely doctors treat me in the emergency department. Sadly, however, it is very true to some.

Making the decision to go to hospital for self-inflicted injuries is a tough one. It’s complicated to explain. It’s inconvenient. It’s frightening – you never know if you will be helped or admitted. Recently, I self-harmed quite badly. I know when I’ve gone too far while cutting, and this night I had gone too far. The wounds were quite. I knew they wouldn’t heal nicely without stitches.

And when it was my turn to see the doctor, his words hit me like ice:

“That’ll heal on it’s own,” he said. “Not much I can do here.”

I think I had an unlucky break this particular night, when I was desperately seeking help, anxiety blossoming out of me as breathlessness and a tremor. I think you, the doctor delegated to me, didn’t understand my condition very well – if at all – and I think you’re punishing me for punishing myself.

Look, I understand that I put these wounds on my body, and I understand that I did this to myself, but surely you don’t truly believe I like the scars? It is true that some people do, but I am not one of them. Do you honestly believe that in one, two, five or ten years, that ragged wound that you left hanging open will have healed nicely?

I don’t think so.

I think that you’ve been caught in the stigma trap without even realising. You just poked and prodded me, turned my wrist over, checked both arms just in case, then lay my shaking arms back against my side. You didn’t even clean it. You didn’t even dress it. You just sent me away again.

This is one of the reasons, the strongest reason, why I wanted to study medicine. Because what happened to me in the emergency department is not okay. It is not okay to treat me as a diagnosis, and not as a patient. It is not okay to fail to offer me adequate care just because my wounds are self-inflicted.

I don’t care what you say; what you did was not okay.

And every time a doctor like you succumbs to the stigma, it makes going to the hospital that much harder. It makes seeking help that much harder. It makes the lives of people like me, of us borderlines, but also of everybody else suffering from a mental illness who needs medical attention, that much harder.

We don’t need that. We don’t need to be rejected more than we have been by our friends, family and colleagues already. We don’t need our traumas regurgitated by your invalidation and stigmatisation. We don’t need to be afraid of going to hospital, when the hospital is supposed to be there to care for us, no matter what condition has brought us there. We don’t need any more difficulties piled on top of all the other ones we face every single day. We don’t need your ignorance, and we don’t need your dislike of one abbreviation.

We need your compassion. Your care. Your empathy.

We need to be treated like people, and not like letters. We need to be treated like any other patient. And maybe if you got talking to me, rosieblogs.net/2019/06/06/shes-a-deep-one have, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll see we aren’t the Big Bad Borderlines you’ve let yourself believe we are.

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Community Voices

#HolidaysAreHard - so hard in fact, that this will be my first christmas i've chosen to spend apart from my family.

i moved out of home when i was 17, and i can't bear the thought of facing my family on a holiday when i need to be all smiles. i never know what my #BPD will throw at me. plus i live in australia, which means revealing my scarred arms and legs by wearing the mandatory singlet and shorts / a bikini. this year, i'm choosing to stay right where i am, and eliminate the biggest holiday stressor of them all - my family.

1 person is talking about this
Community Voices

I am Rosie Bogs, I experienced bullying growing up, and I #Pledge2EndBullying

6 people are talking about this
Sarah Joy

The Mental Versus Physical Sides of Eating Disorder Recovery

I’ve had a minor revelation recently, and I feel the need to share it. I propose there needs to be a deconstruction within mental health — specifically in relation to eating disorders. I believe we, as those who live with them and carers alike, need to deconstruct the assumption that mind, body and behavior all perfectly and consistently align. This is not always the case, as I have recently discovered. Moreover, when these three things are misaligned, there is potential for all hell to break loose. Metaphorically. Usually when I talk to someone about my eating issues, I say I “used to have anorexia” or that I am “recovering from anorexia.” That is to say, I am no longer an unhealthy weight, and in most situations I can pass quite genuinely as a “normal” eater (whatever that is). Recently, after an unusually and disconcertingly low mental period, I had a moment of clarity. I am not “recovering from anorexia” (hear me out). I am simply “coping” with anorexia. I’m a sort of “high-functioning anorexic,” if you will. My body and my behaviors are no longer anorexic, but my mind is. My body and behaviors have largely recovered, but in many ways my mind has not changed at all. Many of the same illogical, disordered thought processes are still very much there, and that’s where my difficulty lies. My mind is in one place and my body in another, and it is the friction between the two that makes me feel low, desperate, panicked, confused, anxious and self-loathing. I had an appointment recently in which I told the nurse I felt happier when I was thinner (which she wrote down as a “belief,” and I corrected her and said it was simply an observation). As disturbing as that observation was, it now makes so much sense to me. My mind and my body do not align. They are disconnected, and the subsequent tension between the two is extremely unsettling. Within this framework, all my pre-weight loss tweenage years of clawing at my skin, with an inexplicable urge to climb out of my body, suddenly make sense. Conversely, when my mind and body are aligned, things run more smoothly, life is more comfortable, and I am reassured. Unfortunately, my main experience of this alignment is when my body is thin, my behaviors are controlling, and my mind is its usual, disordered self. For many people, this alignment may look like a healthy mind, a healthy body and healthy behaviors. I feel that should be the goal of recovery. But all too often the physical and behavioral seems to be prioritized over the mental. This isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault — it seems inevitable really, due to the more tangible, measurable nature of weight and habit. As a result, my mind is now playing catch up with my body. Recovery is an active process. In physical terms, I’ve been quite good at this in the past, writing food challenge lists and turning my previously destructive, goal-oriented nature into a productive asset. But I’ve never taken a purposeful, active approach to my mind. Now I have realized this is essential. I have been very passively “recovering” for a long time now, and all this means is that I feel constantly at the edge of what I believe I can cope with, occasionally slipping slightly over the edge when I wake up, take stock, and suddenly realize my body is even further removed from where my mind is programmed to want it to be. It’s like running a race, keeping up well, then blinking and seeing your opponent disappear over the horizon. Unsettling, to say the least. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure where to go next with active mind recovery; I have a few ideas, and it’s up to me to try them out — but understanding the cause of my unease has given me a renewed hope of full recovery. I hope this article gives an insight into how eating disorders can continue to affect people’s day-to-day lives, even long after the major recovery period is over. I hope this article helps carers to understand there can be many dimensions to eating disorders and recovery — the physical, behavioral and mental are all equally important, despite being unequally visible. And I hope this article gives clarity to those who feel their persistent disordered thoughts and hopeless feelings are now invalidated by their healthy weight and “normal” behaviors. You are not “letting yourself go,” you are not “out of control”; you are brave and you are strong. Image via Thinkstock. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Sarah Joy

The Mental Versus Physical Sides of Eating Disorder Recovery

I’ve had a minor revelation recently, and I feel the need to share it. I propose there needs to be a deconstruction within mental health — specifically in relation to eating disorders. I believe we, as those who live with them and carers alike, need to deconstruct the assumption that mind, body and behavior all perfectly and consistently align. This is not always the case, as I have recently discovered. Moreover, when these three things are misaligned, there is potential for all hell to break loose. Metaphorically. Usually when I talk to someone about my eating issues, I say I “used to have anorexia” or that I am “recovering from anorexia.” That is to say, I am no longer an unhealthy weight, and in most situations I can pass quite genuinely as a “normal” eater (whatever that is). Recently, after an unusually and disconcertingly low mental period, I had a moment of clarity. I am not “recovering from anorexia” (hear me out). I am simply “coping” with anorexia. I’m a sort of “high-functioning anorexic,” if you will. My body and my behaviors are no longer anorexic, but my mind is. My body and behaviors have largely recovered, but in many ways my mind has not changed at all. Many of the same illogical, disordered thought processes are still very much there, and that’s where my difficulty lies. My mind is in one place and my body in another, and it is the friction between the two that makes me feel low, desperate, panicked, confused, anxious and self-loathing. I had an appointment recently in which I told the nurse I felt happier when I was thinner (which she wrote down as a “belief,” and I corrected her and said it was simply an observation). As disturbing as that observation was, it now makes so much sense to me. My mind and my body do not align. They are disconnected, and the subsequent tension between the two is extremely unsettling. Within this framework, all my pre-weight loss tweenage years of clawing at my skin, with an inexplicable urge to climb out of my body, suddenly make sense. Conversely, when my mind and body are aligned, things run more smoothly, life is more comfortable, and I am reassured. Unfortunately, my main experience of this alignment is when my body is thin, my behaviors are controlling, and my mind is its usual, disordered self. For many people, this alignment may look like a healthy mind, a healthy body and healthy behaviors. I feel that should be the goal of recovery. But all too often the physical and behavioral seems to be prioritized over the mental. This isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault — it seems inevitable really, due to the more tangible, measurable nature of weight and habit. As a result, my mind is now playing catch up with my body. Recovery is an active process. In physical terms, I’ve been quite good at this in the past, writing food challenge lists and turning my previously destructive, goal-oriented nature into a productive asset. But I’ve never taken a purposeful, active approach to my mind. Now I have realized this is essential. I have been very passively “recovering” for a long time now, and all this means is that I feel constantly at the edge of what I believe I can cope with, occasionally slipping slightly over the edge when I wake up, take stock, and suddenly realize my body is even further removed from where my mind is programmed to want it to be. It’s like running a race, keeping up well, then blinking and seeing your opponent disappear over the horizon. Unsettling, to say the least. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure where to go next with active mind recovery; I have a few ideas, and it’s up to me to try them out — but understanding the cause of my unease has given me a renewed hope of full recovery. I hope this article gives an insight into how eating disorders can continue to affect people’s day-to-day lives, even long after the major recovery period is over. I hope this article helps carers to understand there can be many dimensions to eating disorders and recovery — the physical, behavioral and mental are all equally important, despite being unequally visible. And I hope this article gives clarity to those who feel their persistent disordered thoughts and hopeless feelings are now invalidated by their healthy weight and “normal” behaviors. You are not “letting yourself go,” you are not “out of control”; you are brave and you are strong. Image via Thinkstock. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

r bee
r bee @rosie-bee
contributor

The Metaphor That Perfectly Describes Being Suicidal

Think of what it would feel like to drown. The water covering your head, entering your throat and nose, trickling into every possible entrance — smothering, choking, burning. Imagine the panic that bubbles beneath the surface, the terror that streams from your stomach to your chest and up out of your soul through tensed shoulders and a gasp. Now imagine drowning in thoughts and distress. Imagine that every torrent of thoughts is a wave that threatens to drown you. That your mind whispers to you over and over and over to just do it, just do it, just do it, you useless b*tch. As if it wasn’t enough that you were drowning already, your body – which is desperately refusing to sink – now has to fight against your mind – which is desperate to do the opposite. Just do it. Just close your eyes. Just end it. Imagine that this is something you fight daily. Every moment is part of the flood. Every second, you are torn between drowning and death and life, stuck in a limbo where there’s only faltering hope and misguided dreams and darkness to light the path. You’re reminded of every failure, every mistake, every anxiety that has ever concerned you comes streaming back into your mind, to match the tears streaming down your face. These memories pummel you. Over and over and over. See, they scream, see why you deserve this? Just do it. But still, instead of listening, instead of drowning, you let yourself hang in the balance. Struggle. Thrash between the current. There’s light at the surface, and there’s darkness down below you, but here you drown in between. There’s an escape, and it would be so easy, it’s so close, it’s within reach. But still you struggle. You let yourself drown, without dying, without returning to the surface. Perpetually drowning, beneath a torrent of thoughts, a flood of emotion, and an undertow of distress. Panic in your throat, empty lungs anxious for air, and a mind crazed for a breath, for a break. But you don’t know how to swim. The current is too strong. The waves overwhelm you. This is what it’s like to be suicidal.

r bee
r bee @rosie-bee
contributor

The Metaphor That Perfectly Describes Being Suicidal

Think of what it would feel like to drown. The water covering your head, entering your throat and nose, trickling into every possible entrance — smothering, choking, burning. Imagine the panic that bubbles beneath the surface, the terror that streams from your stomach to your chest and up out of your soul through tensed shoulders and a gasp. Now imagine drowning in thoughts and distress. Imagine that every torrent of thoughts is a wave that threatens to drown you. That your mind whispers to you over and over and over to just do it, just do it, just do it, you useless b*tch. As if it wasn’t enough that you were drowning already, your body – which is desperately refusing to sink – now has to fight against your mind – which is desperate to do the opposite. Just do it. Just close your eyes. Just end it. Imagine that this is something you fight daily. Every moment is part of the flood. Every second, you are torn between drowning and death and life, stuck in a limbo where there’s only faltering hope and misguided dreams and darkness to light the path. You’re reminded of every failure, every mistake, every anxiety that has ever concerned you comes streaming back into your mind, to match the tears streaming down your face. These memories pummel you. Over and over and over. See, they scream, see why you deserve this? Just do it. But still, instead of listening, instead of drowning, you let yourself hang in the balance. Struggle. Thrash between the current. There’s light at the surface, and there’s darkness down below you, but here you drown in between. There’s an escape, and it would be so easy, it’s so close, it’s within reach. But still you struggle. You let yourself drown, without dying, without returning to the surface. Perpetually drowning, beneath a torrent of thoughts, a flood of emotion, and an undertow of distress. Panic in your throat, empty lungs anxious for air, and a mind crazed for a breath, for a break. But you don’t know how to swim. The current is too strong. The waves overwhelm you. This is what it’s like to be suicidal.

r bee
r bee @rosie-bee
contributor

The Metaphor That Perfectly Describes Being Suicidal

Think of what it would feel like to drown. The water covering your head, entering your throat and nose, trickling into every possible entrance — smothering, choking, burning. Imagine the panic that bubbles beneath the surface, the terror that streams from your stomach to your chest and up out of your soul through tensed shoulders and a gasp. Now imagine drowning in thoughts and distress. Imagine that every torrent of thoughts is a wave that threatens to drown you. That your mind whispers to you over and over and over to just do it, just do it, just do it, you useless b*tch. As if it wasn’t enough that you were drowning already, your body – which is desperately refusing to sink – now has to fight against your mind – which is desperate to do the opposite. Just do it. Just close your eyes. Just end it. Imagine that this is something you fight daily. Every moment is part of the flood. Every second, you are torn between drowning and death and life, stuck in a limbo where there’s only faltering hope and misguided dreams and darkness to light the path. You’re reminded of every failure, every mistake, every anxiety that has ever concerned you comes streaming back into your mind, to match the tears streaming down your face. These memories pummel you. Over and over and over. See, they scream, see why you deserve this? Just do it. But still, instead of listening, instead of drowning, you let yourself hang in the balance. Struggle. Thrash between the current. There’s light at the surface, and there’s darkness down below you, but here you drown in between. There’s an escape, and it would be so easy, it’s so close, it’s within reach. But still you struggle. You let yourself drown, without dying, without returning to the surface. Perpetually drowning, beneath a torrent of thoughts, a flood of emotion, and an undertow of distress. Panic in your throat, empty lungs anxious for air, and a mind crazed for a breath, for a break. But you don’t know how to swim. The current is too strong. The waves overwhelm you. This is what it’s like to be suicidal.

r bee
r bee @rosie-bee
contributor

The Metaphor That Perfectly Describes Being Suicidal

Think of what it would feel like to drown. The water covering your head, entering your throat and nose, trickling into every possible entrance — smothering, choking, burning. Imagine the panic that bubbles beneath the surface, the terror that streams from your stomach to your chest and up out of your soul through tensed shoulders and a gasp. Now imagine drowning in thoughts and distress. Imagine that every torrent of thoughts is a wave that threatens to drown you. That your mind whispers to you over and over and over to just do it, just do it, just do it, you useless b*tch. As if it wasn’t enough that you were drowning already, your body – which is desperately refusing to sink – now has to fight against your mind – which is desperate to do the opposite. Just do it. Just close your eyes. Just end it. Imagine that this is something you fight daily. Every moment is part of the flood. Every second, you are torn between drowning and death and life, stuck in a limbo where there’s only faltering hope and misguided dreams and darkness to light the path. You’re reminded of every failure, every mistake, every anxiety that has ever concerned you comes streaming back into your mind, to match the tears streaming down your face. These memories pummel you. Over and over and over. See, they scream, see why you deserve this? Just do it. But still, instead of listening, instead of drowning, you let yourself hang in the balance. Struggle. Thrash between the current. There’s light at the surface, and there’s darkness down below you, but here you drown in between. There’s an escape, and it would be so easy, it’s so close, it’s within reach. But still you struggle. You let yourself drown, without dying, without returning to the surface. Perpetually drowning, beneath a torrent of thoughts, a flood of emotion, and an undertow of distress. Panic in your throat, empty lungs anxious for air, and a mind crazed for a breath, for a break. But you don’t know how to swim. The current is too strong. The waves overwhelm you. This is what it’s like to be suicidal.