Taking care of myself is not something that comes naturally (or at all) to me. When I was a teenager I discovered that abusing my body let me feel in control of my emotions and manage my distress. It made sense because it made me feel better (no matter that it didn’t last long). Over the years I have learnt other ways of coping and can/do choose to use those methods if I want to. I can manage my distress in more traditional and non-destructive ways. Unfortunately somewhere along the way my belief that I am a terrible, evil, worthless person developed and has just grown stronger as time goes by. So how do I deal with this? Self harm and neglect. Again, it makes sense, why take care of something worthless, and that’s what I am, a thing, not a person. I have spent years cutting myself, covering my body in ugly scars that serve to remind me how disgusting I am. 12 years ago I started taking small overdoses of paracetamol on a regular basis – in the beginning I often made myself quite unwell but never seeked treatment and then I learnt ways of avoiding the horrendous physical reactions to paracetamol overdoses. I still do this but these days I’d have to take a significant amount to feel more than just a little under the weather although I am well aware of the potential consequences and that I am most likely damaging my body in ways I cannot see. That’s part of the draw – I know I am causing damage but no one can see it, not even me. Physical illness 4 years ago forced me in to a position where I will have to take blood thinners for life. It wasn’t long before I discovered I could use this as a way to hurt myself. All of this leaves me in a position where I spend most of my days feeling ill. I often taste metal for no good reason (not a side effect of any meds I am on), the paracetamol causes almost constant nausea and I am pretty sure I am physcially addicted to the codeine contained in the painkillers I choose to abuse.
Added to this is the fact that I do very little to take care of myself. A side effect of current medications and those of the last 18 years is increased appetite and weight gain. This makes me feel even worse about myself so I binge and make things worse. I am disgusting so why not prove it, why not show everyone? When I get ill I start to lack energy and what energy I do have goes on basic functioning. The antidepressants and antipsychotics I take have a sedative effect as does the codeine and it becomes hard to remain active. I spent 16 or so years refusing to visit the dentist, partly thanks to a sadistic orthodontist but mostly because why would I? There are physical issues I should probably see my GP about but I don’t, hoping that the pains/aches/illnesses I experience daily will just slowly kill me. I have barely bought any clothes over the last 5 years because it involves seeing my reflection which means that most of my clothes have holes or don’t fit. I don’t take care of my living environment either. As an example, I stripped my bed on Sunday but have not yet put clean sheets. I don’t clean and my stuff is strewn around my flat just waiting for me to have a burst of energy. I rarely cook these days and when I do feel positive enough to go to the supermarket and fill my fridge with something other than processed and junk food, it remains there for weeks until I find the energy to throw it all away.
I would like to get through a day without feeling like my body is giving up on me but at the same time I don’t know how to do anything other than to destroy myself. Maybe one day I will discover that I am worth taking care of but not today.