Tag Archives: honesty

Learning to love my body

*Trigger warning* Please note that the following post discusses weight and disordered eating. Please make sure you are in a safe place before reading.

Food and I have had a disordered relationship for a long time. I have used food to punish and to soothe. I have used it to attempt to fill a void and restricted it when I believed I deserved it. I have struggled to see food as just food, instead demonising it and using shame to beat myself with. My weight has yo-yoed many times over the years. read more

Suicide has no rules

suicide has no rules

Whenever a story about suicide or attempted suicide hits the media there is a mix of reactions.  There are the people who don’t care, they see the suicidal as an inconvenience. There are those who have been there and understand the despair behind suicide.  Then there are those in between.  They don’t really mean to be offensive, but they are misinformed and they can’t possibly keep their comments to themselves.

The comment sections seem to be filled with these in between people. They have possibly read an article about suicide and now believe that those signs are gospel when it comes to a person expressing suicidal thoughts. People who make the news due to their suicide attempts are subjected to the scrutiny of these armchair psychiatrists. I’ve responded to these comments in the past and have been met with disbelief and uproar.  ‘I’m only try to help’, is the outcry. Yet they don’t realise or refuse to acknowledge how unhelpful their commentary is.

The most common comment I have noticed is ‘if they were really suicidal they wouldn’t have told anyone’. Contrary to the beliefs these people hold, there is no ‘right’ way to be suicidal or to attempt suicide.  Someone reaching out after they have taken action against their lives are no less suicidal because there was something that made them change their minds. A person who admits to making an attempt on their life isn’t any less suicidal.

Another common catch phrase used is that the person is ‘just’ crying for help. Well, yes they are. It’s a dangerous way of asking for help, but that is what they are doing. A friend once said to me that she found it ludicrous that self harm and suicide attempts were written off as nothing more than attention seeking. The term always said in a derisive tone, with undertones of ‘time waster’. It was her belief that if someone used such a dysfunctional way of drawing attention to themselves, then maybe we need to spend some time giving them attention and teaching them positive ways to express themselves.

I often feel uncomfortable when talking about my own suicide attempts because I sought help so soon afterwards. I don’t feel that my experiences are valid because maybe I wasn’t really suicidal at all. I buy into the stigma I fight so hard to help others see past. As usual I am far harsher on myself than on others.

There is no right way to be suicidal. There is no rules for attempting suicide. Someone seeking help doesn’t reduce the validity of those suicidal actions. You can’t ignore someone’s cry for help because you don’t think they are suicidal enough.

At the end of the day, strangers commenting on the validity of a person’s attempt on their life achieves nothing. I wish that suicide attempts were not used as news fodder, click bait headlines that lure the dregs of society to the comment section. I wish that people would think before they type something hurtful about a person who is already in an incredibly vulnerable position. I wish that they could keep their thoughts and their unspoken rules about suicide to themselves.

Linking up with Kylie for IBOT!

Receiving a disability payment isn’t lucky

In September last year I received a letter to say that my Disability Support Pension was being reviewed.  It was the day that I was dreading and it had come at an already stressful time for my family.  I thought that I had missed out on being reviewed, but new measures introduced by the current government meant that I was caught in the net.Receiving this review brought up all of my familiar anxieties about whether or not I deserved the payment.  Was I really sick enough? There were people worse off than me surely.

Of course there was also my phone anxiety to deal with.  I had to make phone calls to organise letters of support for my review.  I felt myself stumbling over the words as I was trying to explain to receptionists what it was that I needed.  I fought with my desire to help them to understand exactly what it was they needed to do, and my feelings that I didn’t deserve this kind of help.

When I was reading through the letters that my treatment team had provided I felt sick.  In black and white was laid out everything that was wrong with me.  I knew that they were talking about my worst days, that these words didn’t define who I was.  However that didn’t stop the feelings of self doubt creeping in.

Was I really this sick?  Did my mental health really have such a far reaching impact on every part of my life?  I watched as the Centrelink worker ticked all of the boxes and saw my disability confirmed.  My mental health was considered a disability.  I was equal parts relieved to have my feelings validated, and despaired that I was still this *bad*.

Applying for a Disability Support Pension is discussed a lot in mental health groups. People ask for advice when reviews and meetings are scheduled.  However there is a common thought that those who a successful are luck to receive the payment.  As if luck has anything at all to do with it.

It’s not lucky that my mental health has been determined to be a disability. It’s not lucky that I have to live with the impairment of a mental illness considered bad enough to be labeled disabling.  It’s not lucky that I feel the crippling effect of anxiety, the despair of depression or the hot rage of my borderline.

Winning the lotto is lucky.  Disability is not.  Finding $50 on the footpath is lucky.  Mental illness is not.  Buying a winning raffle ticket is lucky.  Disability is not lucky.

Hands where I can see them inmate


*The following post contains descriptions of self harm.  Please ensure you are in a safe place before reading*BANG!  BANG! BANG!

“Hands where I can see them inmate.”

She woke with a start, disorientated in the bright fluorescent lights that lined the inside of her cell.  She looked towards the small window in her door and saw the sneering face of the guard who had woken her.

“I said hands where I can see them or you’ll be in the padded cell for the night”.

She didn’t like being in the padded cell at night.  It always felt colder at night, especially when you were forced to sleep on the floor.  She rolled onto her back and placed her hands by her sides, then looked back at the door until the guard walked away.  She shivered in the cold.

It was early August.  She was sleeping in a concrete prison cell and the temperature dipped into single digits every night.  The warden had seen her self harming behaviour as an act of defiance that needed to be punished.  She was informed that the warden had given the guards instructions to remove her blankets.

The prison uniform in the secure unit consisted of a short sleeved, knee length gown.  Even in winter.  Her sheets were removed and she was forced to sleep on the cold plastic mattress that was issued to all of the prisoners.  She wanted to curl in a ball to keep herself warm but every time she did the banging on the window would start again.  She was not to be trusted.

Her self harm made her feel ashamed.  She felt like an animal, ripping chunks of flesh out of her hands.  Everything else was blunt, round edged and safe.  The nurses chastised her, warning of infections that could kill.  She didn’t care.  She just wanted it to stop.

Some of the guards understood, many didn’t.  Some of them wanted to learn, they asked questions and treated her like a person.  Others refused to listen, refused to see her as more than an inmate number to record in a book.  Inmate self harmed today.  Inmate placed in seclusion.  Inmate continues to be defiant.  Inmate is not responding to punishment.

If they took the time to listen.  If they took the time to hear their own words.  Then they would already know that they were punishing someone who was punishing herself.  She already thought she was worthless.

The preceding story isn’t fiction.  It’s a mash up of my experiences while I was in prison.  It tells the story of how the prison dealt with self harming behaviour when I was an inmate.  I don’t know if it has gotten better, I doubt that it has.  Other women were also punished for engaging in self harming behaviour.  They were segregated and had privileges taken away because obviously what a mentally ill person needs is more time alone to think. 



It’s OK if you don’t miss your child

I don't miss my child

I have a controversial confession to make, I don’t always miss my son when I am not spending time with him.  For a long time I felt guilty about it because I thought that it proved that I didn’t have a bond with my son.  It sounds strange when I write it down, I’m feeling guilty about not feeling guilty.When I organise to have child free time I do it with people who I trust.  I know that he is safe when I am not with him and that the people he is spending time with care about his well being.  I wouldn’t leave him if they didn’t.  So it suddenly occurred to me a couple of years ago, that I didn’t need to feel guilty when he was spending time with other people.

Society tells women that if they are mothers, then they should want to be with their children all of the time.  The first question to working mother’s is often ‘who has your children’, like you’ve committed some kind of sin by not spending every waking moment with them.  On the flip side men are asked where their partners are if they are seen outside the house alone with their children.

I still think about Mr 6 when I’m not with him.  A few taxi drivers have been treated too an excited ‘oo look it’s a fire truck’.  The joys of having a child who is obsessed with emergency vehicles! I think about him and I wonder what he is getting up to but I don’t miss him.

Often when I am having child free time, Mr 6 is with Paul or his sisters and their kids.  He has an awesome time when he is with them.  They do the things that I don’t particularly like doing and he enjoys the time with kids his own age.  I don’t feel guilty about that time anymore because I know how happy that time makes him.

If you are spending time away from your child or children please don’t feel guilty when you don’t miss them.  Please enjoy the time you have to yourself and know that having that time to recharge is OK.  It’s OK to have a life that doesn’t completely revolve around your children.  It’s OK if sometimes you need to take time out to catch your breath.  We’ve all been there.  It’s OK.

Do you miss your children when you spending planned time apart?

When was the last time you had child free time?