BRA/MOOD CORRELATIONS

This is a post about the correlation of mood and bra wearage [based on extensive contemplation lasting literally MINUTES).

My bra is my barometer. It is my mood BRA-ometer, if you like ;)

I can tell a lot about my mental state by my underwear choice. I will keep the pants out of this post as the only pants I wear are my happy pants OBVS.

This is all about the bras- the containers of the chest bangers- the keepers of the milk makers- the vessels of the voluptuous. ETC.

When I wake in the morning, pretty much the first decision I make is “shall I wear a bra today”. That is not a random decision based on the casual heads or tails of a flipped coin. Oh no. This is the last box of the decision tree made when I ask myself the question “what do I FEEL today”.

Because I have a mood disorder of epic emotional fuckupness, the mood I wake in is quite an important indicator of how the day is likely to pan out.

Some mornings are “I’m totes gonna wear a bra” mornings (BRIGHT AND SHINY), and some mornings are “like hell am I gonna wear a bra” type ones (DARK AND SHIT).

On a bright and shiny mood morning, that bra goes on and gets fastened with the nimble fingered confident determination of a star gymnast on her Olympian debut.

On a dark and shit morning, the bra section of the top drawer gets bypassed altogether. ‘Today is a vest morning’, I will declare in my head and then sigh, or maybe even cry. My husband will hear me utter the phrase “I can’t be arsed to wear a bra today,” and will be immediately filled with a tense anticipation of a tough day ahead with a depressed, anxious and probably clingy and demanding tearful wife.

He knows what the significance of the bra wearage or non-wearage is. But it is something we never speak of. A married couple’s holy grail of conversational avoidance!

The decision to select or discard the bra first thing has almighty consequences! It sets the tone for the whole day!

For me, not wearing a bra is rebellion. It is like how a normally clean shaven guy will begin to avoid shaving as an external barometer of his depression.

Depressed men stop shaving and depressed women stop wearing bras, I’m sure of it. It can’t just be me?

Fortunately I have just the right size bazookas that mean the non-wearing of a bra is something I can just about get away with on bad days. It would be far harder to do the no bra thing if I was an E, F or GG cup, so fortunately I can get away with it! and no one need know how I am hiding my biggest indicator of a depressed mood under that baggy top you see me wearing.

Sometimes though I have tried to challenge this mood bra correlation rule of thumb, and I have purposefully worn my bra on my dark and shit days, to try and trick my brain into thinking it is a bright and shiny day. It doesn’t work! I have two degrees. I am an intelligent self-aware person. I know that I am still feeling dark and shit despite wearing that bra shaped happy mood contraption, and I just feel dark and shit, with added straplines!

I HATE bras, and I especially hate bras when I am anxious, because I don’t like my breath being constricted. It brings back triggers of bondage situations gone very wrong when I was a child being abused. On my bad PTSD days I can’t tolerate the feeling of a bra cutting into skin. Whenever I have gone to a department store to be embarrassed measured, I have always gone one ribcage size up from whatever they tell me. I can’t tolerate anything tight around there. It is a constant trigger which upsets me and makes me feel unsafe, so thinking about it, perhaps the non-bra wearage is not all about depression, but is actually a lot to do with my trauma-filled past too.

I LOVE not wearing bras. I LOVE the fact I am an adult now and I can decide whether I want to do things or not. I am glad I have consent. I’m glad I have choice, even if it is something as small as deciding in the morning whether I wear a hoist for my bad boys or not. It is bloody LIBERATING I find, to not wear bras, just as I am sure it is liberating and a relief for guys to not have the discomfort of shaving their face everyday.

I wonder whether other mental health suffering lovelies out there are similar with the bra decisions? Have you ever stopped to think what is different about you on your good days and your bad days? How can others tell how you’re feeling by the daily choices you make that are similar to this one?

One final point to note, which is actually quite hilarious, is it is not always just a once a day in the morning decision whether to wear a bra or not. Because my mood is so blimin unstable my bra gets hooked or unhooked virtually every time I have a mood swing!!! It would be so funny if a hidden camera was installed by my underwear drawer as it would be very possible to count (if a camera was rigged above my bra drawer) how many mood swings I have per day, based on the amount of times my hand reaches in to either grab one or hide one! It is bonkers! I feel good, the bra is on. I feel shit, the bra goes off.

On a bad day I am bra-less and will probably still be in my PJs as long as I can get away with. On a good day my bra will go on and stay on from 7.30am till 10.30pm!

What I know is the BRA-ometer never lies.

:)

summerSHINES©

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BPD: ESCAPE TO THE RAINBOW

The grounding process begins. I’m digging deep and securing my emotional roots again. Today has been blissfully easy and private. I have happily hidden, barring a few conversations with selected people of lushness. I needed that after two very special but also stimulating days with my bestie mate.

Escapism and grounding seem, on first appearance, to be goals that oppose one another, but to me, being a head-ish person who lives with my head up in the clouds and balancing on the top rung of the very tallest ladder, my emotional grounding comes via escape.

I’m an escapologist and a distractor. I’m someone who pursues goals in life like my life depends on it, and that’s because it does. Forward motion is my kind of motion. Back slides are to be avoided, or if they happen, I try and keep them brief, then I set the wheels in motion for the next BIG thing. I MUST keep moving forward.

I did something useful today, which I needed to do after the utter shitness of yesterday and the melancholic depressive suicidal hangover type phenomenon I was experiencing. I have put myself forward to do mental health talks to sixth form students about my mental health story. OUCH. That’s quite a bold move isn’t it! Yup. Quite scary and quite responsible and quite adult and very VERY crucially important. I want to feel like an important adult, instead of a struggling and floundering 35 year old child, and how I do that is by contributing positively in my community, via fundraising and speaking about mental health. I actively want to destigmatise mental health, and am more than happy to put my face forward as being someone who openly struggles with life with mental health disorders, because that is the only way young people will learn it is #OKTOSAY how they feel.

I’m wondering what the point is in exclusively trying to adjust adult attitudes. Adults think what they want to think about mental health and stigma is rife. Teenagers however are the adults of the future. They are the ones I want to get in there to speak to. After all, the older generation with the quaint/CRAP/insensitive attitudes and limited understanding of mental health will all eventually die off won’t they! They can take their mental health stigmatised attitudes of insensitive bullshittery to their graves. That is their choice and not my concern. I want to speak to the young people and influence them. Their minds are open and ready to learn and absorb good messages. I want to help people and make a positive difference to the lives of others and paint my summerSHINES mental health rainbow with a broad bristled brush, touching the inner worlds of many.

That is my escape. I think of death often. “You don’t want to die, you just want to escape” said my psychologist in last weeks suicidal-themed sesh. I replied that I very much DID want to die, but given that I can’t, I have to find some ingenious ways to creatively escape. As well as the positive things I try and do in my life that are constructive and make a meaningful contribution, I also like to escape in my head and into an alternate world where fantasy improves reality.

This morning I walked the dogs as usual with the usual view I have across to the sea, but I had an unusual thought. I felt strange, almost psychotic, but not, because I knew what I was seeing I wasn’t actually physically seeing. I was merely using my vivid fantastical imagination to improve reality and turn my inner shit into sparkly sunshine.

It started with the sight of a field of wheat, bleached in colour due to the atmospheric weather conditions earlier this morning. An expanse of pale toned crops meeting the steely grey sea, meeting the luminous sky. My eye fell on a grey smudge in the sky, representing a shower of rain falling out to sea. I love how living by the sea gives a sense of perspective. The puffins out there in their nesting colonies on the Farne islands would be getting a natural soaking, which I could easily imagine happening in my mind’s eye, yet I was inland, gazing out, bone dry and protected.

“What a brilliant metaphor for Borderline Personality Disorder” I said to myself in my head.

Today, on my walk, I could see the rain clouds and the blur of rain falling from them from afar. But yesterday, I was a puffin on the Farnes, getting DRENCHED in an all-day shower of emotion. I could not see dry land, nor could I imagine ever being dry again.

When I am suicidal, I think I will ALWAYS feel suicidal.

When I am happy, I think the happiness is forever too, though not with such conviction as the reverse. Imagining things could get worse, is far easier than imagining things ever getting better.

Today I had perspective. I visualised how yesterday I was rained on by a grey expanse of bitingly cold rain. Today I knew I was dry, and I felt relieved. I realised that someone out there today, well actually THOUSANDS (MILLIONS even?) are having their rain shower of epic crapness today while I am protected and dry. I felt thankful. I wished BPD allowed the benefit of an outer perspective to know my feelings will change and the storms will pass. but when there are so many storms daily, I get sick of being wet :(

Get wet. Dry off. Get wet again. It’s called living, except with BPD its more intense and vastly speeded up.

I wondered what my antidote could be next time I’m getting rained on like those puffins out to sea. What can I visualise?……This is what came to my mind.

I have a specific tree I walk under, which grows by the side of the country lane I walk along. I call it the pixie hollow tree, because I have watched Disney’s Tinkerbell FAR too many times with my girls. It looked like aa usual tree at first glance, but then I thought if I set my imagination to work I could make walking under that tree a different experience. What if the tree was producing golden mental health pixie dust that made everything all BADASS and SPARKLY and SHIMMERY? Yeah…..I like that idea :) And then what about if there is a waterfall cascading down off the top branch? except the water is rainbow coloured water, and every individual stripe of colour fixes one particular genre of mental health symptomology?!!! YAAY! I like that idea too! Red sorts out anger, orange- frustration, yellow- anxiety, pink- self-hate, green- negative comparisons, blue- depression, indigo-low self-esteem, violet-suicidality. Awesomeness!!

I was busy grinning inanely to myself when I spotted the Yorkshire couple in the distance (so named because they are a couple from Yorkshire). They were walking their dogs in the same direction as me but further up the road, and I thought that familiar sight I see could be jazzed up even more too to make it something beautifully escapist, so I turned the walking dogs into magical galloping unicorns with rainbow manes and imagined them becoming airborne and flying into the clouds, exactly where I wanted to be.

And then I thought…. maybe I am still hungover and sleep-deprived and need some strong coffee. :P

summerSHINES©

UNICORN sparkle *

I’m high. I’m low.

I’m fast. I’m slow.

I soar, then I’m grounded and stuck fast.

Free as a bird, until the cage door clinks shut.

Sociable butterfly meets reclusive hermit.

Introvert who can extrovert like the best of them on red letter occasions.

Sure, I’ll help support you….. wait, this is TOO much.

Hope evaporates. Storm clouds build.

Lost at sea, till I catch a glimpse of that paradise island. There I’ll stay, right?

….wrong.

Sunshine, showers. Snow, wind, and rain. Have had many more than just one mood tsnami or hurricane.

Rollercoaster shuts down for the night but I’m left upside down, suspended, blood rushing to my head. Getting cold and feeling heavy. Where are the fucking engineers, and how long must I stay hanging uncomfortably here?

I numb it out, then I begin to hate the numbness so make myself FEEL by any means possible.

The rescuers are here. I BLOODY LOVE YOU, for you make my life easier and what is life for, if it is not to make it easier?

(Except for the people that enter your life and proceed to make it FUCKING SHIT.)

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I feel everything, or nothing.

I care fully, or entirely absently.

I appreciate you, or I can live without you, easy.

Flippant tosses of shiny copper coins, except I’m not the source of the flipping. Borderline Personality Disorder is.

BPD underlines everything, manipulates everything; manipulates me- more specifically contorting me into this crazy mess of utter confused contradictions and extremes I describe.

BPD is the three letter diagnostic label that draws all these contrasting coloured threads together. It weaves together the blackest black with the whitest white and the most intensely saturated and vivid colours of the rainbow ,creating a mess that people point and stare at.

People live vicariously through my extremes. Believe me, I’m extreme.

I’m not pastel in hue, I’m florescent and day glow and garish.

I’m effervescently alive, then I’m soon drowning again in suicidal fantasies and imagining blood and the energetic charge I call “pain” bleeding out all over.

Self-injury kills the bit of you that wants you to kill yourself, and shuts it up for a little bit.

I emotionally bleed. I witness the figurative pools of blood dried up and brown the morning after.

There’s no pill for dodgy emotionally driven mistakes that DON’T involve intercourse.

Then comes the mop up operation; like the whole post-party beer bottle napkin and half eaten canapes on greasy dish collection process.

It’s messy. I get to work tidying it up.

My memory. OUCH. The contents HURT. Cleaning that mess up pricks my fingers.

BANG goes the environmental trigger designed to send me into a backwards spin.

Like a toddler hellbent on exploring their environment with reckless abandon, my eye gaze falls onto yet another emotional spillage I made that makes the desperate clutches of kitchen roll soggy and heavy. So what if it’s 4-ply premium brand? My emotional spillages are MESSY. Even Waitrose kitchen roll won’t soak this up.

I’m everything, until I’m nothing.

I’m somebody, until once again I am nobody.

I’m hidden, then I’m brutally and painfully exposed. The self-consciousness alarm sounds loud enough to wake a small village……..

BBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP sounds the PTSD siren. This thing that is happening now, is DANGEROUS. Be on guard!

Pupils dilate. Adrenaline and cortisol pumped. Blood pressure increases in the time taken to blink a solitary ‘I’ve seen too much in my lifetime’ weary eye.

I CAN’T SEE! I’m blind. I am fucking BLIND people, don’t you understand this?

I can’t see. I can’t move. I can’t speak. I’m immobilised. Emotion BLINDS me. It isn’t funny guys, untie this blindfold and let me SEE again.

My throat is hoarse. My eyelids droop. My head hurts and sways and wobbles without it even making any objective motion at all.

“It’s all in her head” taunts the bully in my head.

My head perceives lots of things, until the sensory processing factory closes down production.

White noise. Only quiet crackling to disturb the peace that the noise destroys.

I’m disoriented. The fog is THICK. But don’t fret, I’ll float up high in my bubbly mint aero balloon.

Dissociation will save me from myself.

I am cute little kittens and playful meerkats and a tiger with a huge empowered ROAR, and a nervous gazelle and a rainbow-striped zebra and a majestic galloping wild horse and a slow snail and a hiding turtle and a pricky hedgehog ALL IN ONE day glo PERSONALITY.

I am everything and alive, until I am n.o.t.h.i.n.g and I am imagining myself in an un-breathing state.

Is this all a dream?

I am thinking I want to die, wishing I could, while also relieved that back then (those three failed attempts, that I didn’t). I am scared of terminal illlness and what death will feel like and what will happen after I die to things like my soul, while also trying to treasure every moment of being here for my beautiful children.

I’m a Mum. I’m also a once-abused and neglected child.

I’m a Mum, and was once a trophy daughter.

I was once a sister and a neice and an auntie and a grandchild.

I am always my husband’s wife. We grew up together and will share our life together.

Except, despite the security of this loving partnership with my soulmate I’m just me.

Alone.

With lots of people.

Feeling cared for, while also feeling unloved.

I am attached AND detached.

I am switched ON and switched OFF.

I am HURTING like mad, but also too tired to express it.

I am full on, AS WELL AS sometimes the most watery of ‘I like to blend in like wallpaper watercolours’.

I am a Turner painting AND a Jackson Pollock.

I am obsessed with flamingos and like how they stand perched with only one foot in the shit….. That is what I want to be, just one foot in the shit and one foot held at a jaunty “I AM SO TOTALLY IN CONTROL OF MY EMOTIONS” angle.

I will fish for validation, yet be unfulfilled and empty after the feast has ended.

Praise is nice, for 2 minutes, till the trace of it fades as if it were never there.

I love chinese more than indian. I love pizza more than pasta. I love a creamy risotto more than a salad of rabbit food rocket. Forget the salsa. I AM THE SALSA!

This is my journey of exploration into my personality and a hint of life with BPD/PTSD.

Are you confused and baffled???

So the actual fuck am I!

summerSHINES©

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WATER ON CHALK

Gymnasts can’t do those amazing things they do on the bars without chalk on their hands. Their hands will slip. They will lose their grip. They may even fall to the ground and do themselves an injury. Gymnasts are not weak people for needing chalky hands. They are just sensible, trying to avoid doing themselves an injury.

People like me, with BPD, or perhaps just me, writing as a person with Borderline Personality Disorder, (I can’t speak for all of you) are frightfully bad at retaining our emotional grip on the bars of life.

Our grip can be lost before we’ve even realised, and before we know it, we are falling, plummeting, sinking, drowning. Our emotions are encroaching, exploding, peaking- we find ourselves weeping. Our sanity, we are not managing to be keeping.

[Sorry, couldn’t help but rhyme there!]

That is what happened yesterday. I was working the bars (living) with no chalk on my hands and no emotional grip. I hate posts like I published last night…angry negative ones. My blog has absolutely changed as my depressed mood has become more and more entrenched and stuck fast. The content is vastly different to what I was writing.

But I have to write as I see things at that precise second, otherwise what is the point of mental health blogging? If you don’t write and share when you’re feeling crap, you’re not being authentic about how crap chronic mental ill health can be.

I can’t be honest about mental health and my life, if I filter out the bad bits.

The bad bits are what mental ill health is!

I write about my symptoms, but not in a textbook way; I write instead in a ‘this is true for me and it is happening right now’ way. That is why I love the immediacy of blogging.

I don’t pre-write posts to be shared at some later date. I write every post in one go and publish immediately, because if I don’t I’ll lose my immediacy and rawness and reality. If I get interrupted and cannot finish a post in one sitting I get frustrated. That moment I was trying to capture has been lost, just like a landscape painter has to capture a scene despite the clouds, objects and colours shifting and evolving before their eyes but then it starts raining and your painting is ruined.

My emotions evolve continually. There are few times when my emotions just pause and I stop emoting. I am always emoting, just like in Manchester it is notoriously always raining.

In my emotional world it is constantly raining. Maybe that is what causes the chalk to wash free from my hands.

Maybe that is why I fail to keep my grip.

If the chalk is always being washed away by the rain, then what hope do I have of holding onto what or who I want to hold onto?

Therapy is supposed to make my hands chalkier. It is meant to make me more emotionally robust and resilient. I have gone backwards in that regard. My hands have just got wetter and it has rained and continued to rain more and more emotionally heavily.

I may as well just bloody move to Manchester the way my life is going lately!

The chalk concept is on my mind because I was painting furniture for my mother-in-law this morning. It was chalky furniture paint in pastel colours. There is nothing pastel about me, nor chalky, but what I was thinking about was how that chalk paint is a water-based paint. It contains BOTH dusty chalk, and the soppy moisture of H2O. How on earth do they sit together?…. the water which is watery? and the chalk which is chalky? and how does this metaphor fit with my musings on mood and BPD?

Well, I guess without the water, chalk paint wouldn’t stick to anything. It would just be akin to brushing pastal dust over your furniture. It absolutely needs the water to bind the solution together. And without chalk, the watery paint would be sloppy and slippery and wouldn’t give any coloured coverage. Both by themselves would be useful. So you therefore need both water and chalk to create an effective furniture painting solution.

You need enough chalk (grounding) to keep your grip, and you need enough water (emotion) to make sure you create the effect you want.

Emotion is energy in motion.

Water moves things.

Tides of water shift according to the gravitational pull of the moon.

Emotion moves me. Emotion helps me create changes that I wish to see in the world. Emotion generates momentum, transformation, and allows a challenging of the status quo.

Chalk grounds me. Without chalk (grounding) I am just emotion. I am just movement, and I am not always moving in the directions I want to go. I need to keep my grip.

Yesterday I lost it.

Today I am finding it.

I am here quietly, mixing my chalk (grounding) and my water (emotion) into better life paint. One that allows me to make pretty pictures instead of the ugly ones I painted yesterday.

I need to be watery and chalky. My problems arise when the chalk dissolves away and all I’m left with is water.

Water needs chalk. Without it, it is just water, and you get wet.

Yesterday I got drenched.

Thankfully today I am drier.

Metaphor exhausted. That’s me. Done.

summerSHINES ©

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POST-TRAVEL HUM

I hear the hum of the aircraft, still ringing in my ears,

The roar of the car barely hides the rumble of my fears.

Back home now to safety. Duvet pulled up, I’m smothered,

My silent melancholy, proved not so thoroughly covered.  

Couldn’t hide my sad today; my worried or my mad,

Travelling an onslaught of crap that made me bad.

Mental health ground down; recovery is halted,

“No more please” the mother pleads, my wound is already salted.

Crowed places, empty spaces, 

Echoey noises, un-tied trainer laces.

Security officials wield their power, 

Don’t order me, making innocent travellers cower. 

No duty free, and what a poor rate of exchange,

I’d do anything to be un-ill, and make my life improve and fucking change.

No more triggers. No more PTS and chuffing D,

Scratch off veneer facades, like an onion ‘peel me”.

Don’t prod me & don’t you dare stare,

No more photo flashes or tugging of my hair. 

Scream goes the girl. Scream goes the boy.

Adults play around like the child is their toy. 

Arrived at trauma central. No suprises why. 

Went through the place where unknown children fucking died. 

Never again. That was my last waltz there.

Found myself a partner for life, as for you, “I don’t bloody care.”

Caring hurts, threatened anxiety alerts,

Seasoned travelling survivor bravely asserts….

…herself against an unfair world,

Rollers in, nora batty tights, shiny hair sprayed and curled.

Home now. Anger simmers.

Calm emerges. Hope glimmers.

Happy. Sad. Mad. Bad.

Back then when this daughter still had her Dad.

:( 

This was a quick poem processing my horrible journey back from France, via Manchester airport. I’m going to commence hiding now. I feel awful. I’m so relieved to be home. I don’t want to travel again. I question if the psychological disruption is worth it 😔😔😔 

I’ll treasure the amazing memories though.

SummerSHINES