I Lied and said I was Ok.

If I ever let you think this was easy, I lied.

If you look at me and think I won the war against depression, I lied.

If I gave you the impression that I’m ok, then I said it wrong. Because every morning anxiety still pries my eyes open, while depression wants them to close.

Walking into any room, any time makes my heart thud so hard I want to turn and run. It does not matter if that room is filled with loved ones or strangers. I want to run away, and I’ll feel good doing it. I like it better when I’m on my own, but I hate feeling alone. I need the people in my life so much that if they realized exactly how much, it would shock them. The people I love are my anchor. They keep me here. They make me want to stay. So if I tell you I can do this on my own, I’m lying.

BPD still wrestles with me, every day is hard. If you think I’m not holding a clamped hand over its mouth, just to hear you speak, then I’m telling it wrong. I’m straining against the claws of a monster just to make it through the day. Some days I lose. Some days it forces me to watch the world pass like everyone got a pretty invitation to stand in the sunshine, while I’m stuck behind the glass and can’t feel it’s warmth.

Some days are good days. I’m starting to be able to string more than one together at a time. I was starting to rock through an entire week…

Then Fibro came along to add her 5 cents worth to the whole mess. She is the fiercest dictator I’ve washed up against so far. She tortures so invisibly that no one can see the scars. She’s an expert in making you forget she’s got her chains around me every minute. She hides in plain sight. She sees my good days and she laughs while she takes my feet from under me.

I didn’t chose to fight these battles. I’m no angel through it all. I can be so cruel it would suck your breath out. I’m so angry I’ll scream at the sky when I run out of things to be mad about. Resentment is my poison. It shows on my face, in the holes punched through plaster, in the burned bridges I leave in my wake. It could be so much fucking worse, but that doesn’t help me on the days I want to bash my head against a wall just to make it all stop.

The damndest thing keeps happening though. I keep feeling my lips curling up at the corners, my feet keep tapping, my heart bangs and I rise again. I tell my wrong brain to shut the fuck up and carry on. I’m learning to walk without limping as Fibro rattles through my central nervous system. I tell depression to shove it, even when anxiety puts a tremor in my voice. I turn the key in the ignition with shaking hands. I keep on going.

Recovery looks different for everyone. And it’s not fixed. It changes as I do. It’s a god damned bloody spectrum, and I’ve learned to be ok with that. But if I ever told you I was ok, that it was easy, then I bloody lied. I didn’t tell my story right.

I don’t want anyone to stumble across my blog and go well look at that, we can be fixed. Because we can’t. But we CAN manage life with all this nonsense. A good life even. I can never go back to the person I was ‘before’. I can be happy. I’m facing forward with anticipation for the first time in years. But let’s none of us pretend ‘happy’ is an attainable, fixed state. Cos that simply isn’t how life works. Adjust expectations, get comfy with the new version, make peace with it. When you look at me, know how much I’ve had to fight just to be stood there, looking right back at you.

My smile is real. That part I never lied about. This world might force me to my knees more often than I’d like, but I still have no poker face. The laugh is honest, the grin pure me. My strongest feature isn’t something I expected. I thought my weapon would be humour. It’s not. The force that keeps me going is pure, bull headed stubbornness. I’m a sore loser, so whenever my ailments think they’ve got me, I’ll up-end the game board right in their face and walk on.

Every time something comes along and tells me it’s going to take something away from me, I get up and fight to take it back. I’m that plucky little kid in the school yard. You’re watching her drag herself up off the gravel, nose bleeding, to turn around and spit on her bullies. Just when you think she hasn’t got it in her, she throws sand in their eyes and runs away. I didn’t know I had this much fight in me. I’m not a brave person. I fold like a piece of paper. I hate confrontation. And it’s not because I don’t want to argue over my change, or send a crappy meal back to the chef. It’s because I’m already tired of fighting.

The point of all this work, this endless battle? I found something to fight for. I didn’t know that. I thought I had nothing left to lose. Apparently even in my rawest, most flawed moments, I won’t lose my grip on the world. I lift my bowed head, scream FUCK YOU at roaring volumes and I stay. Every blow I expect to be the last straw… somehow isn’t.

This is mine. My ruined mind and broken body. It’s Mine. This life I live is Mine. The things I seek are Mine. The people I love are somehow Mine too. So maybe I’m not that brave little girl wrestling with her bullies. Maybe I’ve had enough. Maybe I’m also that stubborn, tantrum chucking little shit in the supermarket. Jumping up and down, turning heads, shamelessly screaming MINE, MINE, MINE!

So yeah, I lied. I let you think I wasn’t completely broken by all of this. I showed you the days I found my reason to stay alive, and I hid under the covers on the days when I couldn’t. Some days I rally do want it all to stop.

And yet.

The world keeps spinning, and I keep spinning with it. I will fight, fall down, get up and do it all again. One day if you look over your shoulder and I’m not there, at least you will know that I never give up. I gave until I had nothing left. I fought for every day I had here. I tried.

Stay weird peeps, stay here.

X Bon

Rise Up

I’ve been listening to Andra Day’s song Rise Up on repeat lately…

(Click link to hear it in YouTube)

Because as Winter gets closer my fibro flares up, and so does my anxiety. Winter blues is a real damn thing. Especially if you have mental illness and chronic pain battling it out for attention!

So. I wake up. I stretch. I feel which part of my body is giving me the shits the most. I rise up. I make a cup of tea. I get dressed. I listen to music in my head phones, chuck the heater on aaaaand stretch. Move through some basic yoga moves. Test my memory from my PT stretches and go through as many as I can.

Move to a faster track and dance. Shake out these cold bones and aching muscles.

I might read. Visit a friend. Write. Hell, I might call my mum or just veg out on the couch.

Whatever it is, I find the happy thing and do it. Because I’m motoring along ok right now. But that never lasts.

So I focus on the joy. Which you can find anywhere, if you’re willing to look for it.

You can find it strolling down the street at a bus stop.

Or taking the SUV for a squirt down a muddy track with the dogs.

You can find it when you hit jack pot and take home a crochet blanket from the local Sunday market.

Or while watching Picnic at Hanging Rock on Foxtel and being swept away in nostalgia. Seriously, that show is like walking through poetry. Stunning visually and fans of the book will adore it.

You can find it sitting in front of the heater, thinking about reading a book, but really just lounging with the cats.

Or trying to do some work, but getting distracted by how cute the pup is when she snuggles with the grumpy old Nikki dog…

Or in photo’s of a rainbow neon city tunnel texted to you from a cousin…

Joy is in the small stuff. You gotta store it up.

Like a layer of blubber protects a whale through winter, so too will a layer of happiness be a cushion against bad days. And really bad days. Store up the good so you’re strong AF when the bad comes ‘atcha. It’s just good practice.

Trust me, I’m a Doctor.

Well, ok, I’m not. Just a mouthy chic who’s been on this tightrope now for nearly two decades. Yep. I’m old as hell. Ok, I’m still this side of my mid 30’s. But I got some mental health miles under my belt so just trust your local crazy lady ok? Layer yourself up in joy. It lasts longer that way.

Stay weird peeps,

X Bon

The sun will come out…

When the nights are long,

Listen to a song.

Because…

You can say hello darkness my old friend, and ask to go somewhere only we know, or admit that you’ve been waiting, and admit that sometimes your heart beats so loud you can’t even hear the beat.

You could get out of bed and be dancing on your own, you might know you’re beautiful just the way you are. Your doubt could suddenly go away somehow, even if you die everyday waiting for… something. Because every hour has come to this, one step closer. When you realize your eyes still smile from your cheeks and your heart could still fall in love in mysterious ways.

Tonight I’m thinking out loud. And I want to know that even though it’s based on your smile and I’m betting all of this might be over soon, please take what’s left of this heart and use only what you really need.

I can tell that I need to let it fade. So why don’t you be you, and I’ll be me and we’ll all be ok. Someday.

Because even though you had your maps drawn, and every road they led you down felt so wrong. You’ll be ok. Even though you’re scared, you’re stronger than you know.

So let something wild call you home.

Remember that the sun will come out tomorrow. All of this is one long hallelujah, and even though your faith is strong, you needed proof.

And you will find it.

Tomorrow.

Because baby I been here before, I used to live alone before I knew you.

All of you who make this trauma beautiful.

You keep my post traumatic bearable.

So fill your head with the ocean, fill your head with the sea, and dream of sailing with me.

I’ll pull you closer to my chest. Because I knew I loved you then, though you’ll never know.

Just say you won’t let go.

I am not the only traveler, who has not repaid his debt. I’ve been searching for a trail to follow, again. So then I can tell myself what the hell I’m supposed to do.

Take me back.

And meet me in tomorrow.

Where the sun will come out, and you can betcha bottom dollar that we’ll be ok.

Because I’ve had that dream a thousand times. A thousand times. I’ve had that dream a thousand times. My eyes are red, the streets are grey… but…

We will be ok. We will.

Just stay. One more day. Then another.

Please.

💙 Bon

Songs/artists/albums used hash tagged below…

#hellodarknessmyoldfriend #lilyallen #somewhereonlyweknow #lisamitchell #valium #kinagranis #christinaperri #edsheeran #thinkingoutloud #jackjohnson #cocoon #jamesbay #letitgo #somethingwild #thesunwillcomeout #tomorrow #kdlang #hallelujah #beautifultrauma #postraumatic #whenyoudream #lordhuron #thenightwemet #sayyouwontletgo #a1000times

From there to here.

Two years ago today I posted the above missive. Thanks for that Facebook memories. I actually felt happy to see it. Yep. I read a post I know I wrote from a place where I was genuinely suicidal, had already had several overdoses, one bad enough to land me in hospital. I had also been recently recovering from a genuine attempt at killing myself. Not long after this post I would be a guest at a grown up time out resort. For those that don’t watch Santa Clarita Diet a) why not and b) that’s fancy talk for a psych ward. But from here, looking back to there, I just feel grateful. Because I am here. Sat on my couch, in my favorite pj’s, tapping away at my phone. Writing this. That post wasn’t the last thing I wrote. Far from it. So I’m going to talk about it. Because I can. And because if you read it, you might find it useful. You might even laugh out loud. If I make you snort your tea or feel a bump in the old heart muscle, I’ve done what I set out to. Here we go…

I don’t think that post was an attempt at sympathy. I was genuinely thinking of depression as a terminal illness and suicide as euthanasia. I was begging for people to understand… sometimes living just hurts. Depression will give you pain I can’t describe. On all levels, in every form, pain. It god damn sucks. Back then I was in a bad place and I thought it was forever. It wasn’t. I’ve learned since that was my ‘wrong brain’ talking, and I’ve been actively ignoring it ever since. When the Black Dog barks you tell it to shut the hell up and move right along!

All things pass. They do. And then they come back again. And then they pass again. Life is kind of like bowel movements that way. No really, wait, I have a point! The pressure builds and builds like a stab in the guts until something shifts, you get up and get ready to take care of business and boom… sweet relief and… happiness? Momentary, fleeting. It feels good. You’re thinking about your last really, nice, big shit aren’t you? Are you thinking of that moment when it’s over and you feel ready to get up, get yourself in order and get on with things? THAT feeling is what I’m talking about. I’m a wizard with words. And mental pictures. Now, back to the story. No more toilet talk, promise.

Them’s were hard times for me, I was 32. I’d had a feeling for a couple of years that my 32nd year on planet earth would be amazing. That it would be a massive year for me. My year. And weirdly, it really was. Just not quite what I pictured. I’d had a big old major mental illness and some form of companion crazy since I was 18. They called it Schizophrenia for over a decade, now they call it Borderline Personality Disorder. Through it all, Depression and Anxiety were holding hands and skipping along in the background. I read that post now and I remember that girl in the deep dark hole. I feel her pain like a dull thud. An echoing heartbeat, a sharp breath. You know what else I remember? What I like to focus on when I think about that time and feel a little bit scared of myself? All the people around me, trying to pull me out of the dark. To literally grab me and move me into the light. I’m not using the word ‘literally’ as an excited teenager would, some days people would physically come and pick me up and drive me places. Appointments, lunch, or simply take me home and put me on their couches and cover me with blankets, cats, dogs and endless cups of tea. A change is as good as a holiday. Especially when you can’t quite manage the English language or get dressed.

Today I’m struggling. I feel really good writing this, in this moment. But it’s been rough for weeks, maybe a couple of months if I think on it. It’s a weird time of year. Winter is coming (as John Snow says) and I dunno… I feel tired all the way down. Mentally and physically. Fuck it, let’s just call it existential exhaustion. I know I’m actually doing really well just to acknowledge that. I mean look at where I’ve been! This ain’t bad at all. I know how to focus of the flashes of joy. The times I laugh out loud. To actively turn my focus to good things. Like this meme.

See? There’s always reasons to smile. Didn’t like that one? How bout this one?

I’m strong, I’m funny, but I’m also fucking tired. Officially they call it a return of symptoms. I call it a warning. From my brain and my heart. They’re getting pushy. When they give me insomnia, anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia, moodiness, extreme swings from happy to crying I have to learn to hear what they’re actually telling me. Hey lady! You’re doing great but you need to look inward for a hot second! Assess! What do you need? Probably a nap…

Being aware of symptom precursors like that help me avoid the big bad. I have been in therapy since that Facebook post and this time it’s working. I found a doctor I trust and who listens. I have a psychiatrist I see about every three months to check in and talk meds, and a therapist I try to see every fortnight. I like that part the best. Talking therapy works. Especially with all the rest as back up. I’m learning that needing to take care of myself does not make me a burden. It’s not a chore to look after myself, it’s my job. And if I stop doing it, my brain reminds me why I have to. Like a Fitbit’s annoying announcements ‘it’s time to get up and move’ my brain is gonna send me updates until I listen… or I risk falling all the way back to days like those again. Maybe that will happen one day, and if it does I will get back up again. I will. But I’d rather not have to because it’s hella stressful, expensive and takes a really long arse time. It’s bloody hard work.

I only work properly if I do some proper self care (insert dirty joke here). I need to take care of myself, or I start to shut down. Like systems shutting down to prolong life when a person is facing hyperthermia. I’m alive, but internally I’m focused solely on basic system maintenance. It’s not a lot of laughs. I’m not happy like that, and no one else around me is either.

I need rest days. I need things that nourish my heart and my brain. I’m gonna say no to things that don’t help. I have to say yes to things that do. I will tell everyone that today is a day when I’m not answering the door. It’s a lie down day. It’s a crochet, Netflix, reading type of day. It’s a cookies and pajama type of day. It’s essential to rest and recharge. After that? I need to get the fuck up. To show up for adulting. To get dressed, go out, talk to other human’s, get some air, smile at strangers. Occasionally shower or they won’t smile back.

*that cartoon is from Allie Brosh’s book ‘Hyperbole and Half’. Read it now, thank me later.

As cliched as it sounds life is all about balance. Sometimes it can feel like we’re wobbling on a razor thin line, and sometimes it will feel like we’ve got both feet planted on a foot wide plank. Those days you might as well dance. But if you get wobbly again and you need help, ask. There is no shame in it. Ask a friend. Ask a doctor. Scream it out on Facebook. Call a helpline. Jump in a support group. Just. Fucking. Ask. Because no matter how alone you feel, someone WILL answer.

That’s the most important thing I think. To feel heard. To know you’re not alone. If I have a take away from all of this it’s that I’m loved and wanted. When you have depression you’re brain will try to convince you of your uselessness. It will try to tell you you are completely irrelevant. Basically it tells you every day that you don’t matter. So to finally stand up and say hey, I’m important to people, that’s no small thing. Actually it’s the best damn thing I could ask for. Maybe that will be my next tattoo. I will have ‘wanted’ put somewhere on my body. Real pretty like, in calligraphy script. Or just that word, simple and un-presumptuous, somewhere I can see it everyday. Others may think; what a stupid word to choose. But I’ll see it and I’ll know. I am wanted. In a world that sometimes makes you feel about as big as a bug in some vast ant farm, that’s pretty special.

So to everyone I have in my life making it that little bit brighter, I am grateful. I’m lucky to have both excellent quality real life friends and soul sisters who live flung across the world and exist mostly in my phone. I owe so many laughs, tears, happiness and joy to my Glee Team, my Queen Squad, my Bubbles, Poodles and Pink Ted’s. I have friends who’ve become family and actual family who know all my stories good and bad and love this pink haired nutter anyway. Old friends who have put up with my nonsense for years on end and new friends who have dipped a toe in the upsie down world of Bonnie and decided to stay… I fucken love ALL you guys. Staying alive is a fight, but I will fight it every damn day because you all said I was worth fighting for. You yelled it, texted it, PM’d it, hugged it at me and wrote it to me until my stubborn ass heard it and believed it. I’m one of the lucky ones.

And if ANYONE reading this ever needs me to say it right back? I will. Every time. Because you’re worth it. You belong here. You are valuable to the world. You are wanted.

X Bon

Who Am I?

I’ve been wrestling with my demons over this again recently and these are the thoughts that I could grab hold of tightly enough to scribble down…

Who Am I?

Am I… Kind? Loving? Funny? Loyal?

I’d like to say yes… but does it show? Can you see it? Can I show the world what is in this poor old heart of mine?

Am I…

Just my rage and fury?

When I am the rage monster I whirl and twirl and burn the world around me. My hurt and pain spin around me like the fires of hell. I’m dancing with my demons and all we want to do is burn, burn, burn.

My anxious heart beats, beats. The blood in my veins is fire. It consumes. I feel powerful and free. The rage inside finds its way out and

out

it

pours.

I could light the world on fire when I am angry and happily burn myself right along with it.

But the fire never lasts. When I’ve stopped spinning, when I’m standing on the shattered pile of everything I have broken, what do I have left? Who am I then?

Deflated, deflating…

Breathe in, breathe out.

Look around. I’ve burned it all down, but I’m not rising like the powerful dragon I imagined I was. I’m standing here alone like a god damn fool. I haven’t set the world on fire. I’ve only hurt myself.

Who am I now?

Who am I when that anger turns inwards?

When all I can hear is my own voice lying in my ear…

Who am I when she whispers, whispers, whispers. She’s the hardest to escape. Is she me?

Is she me when she tells me everything I’m afraid of?

My own voice telling me I’m awful, ugly, unwanted, broken, useless, cruel.

Who am I when she tells me I’m no good, not worth all this effort, all this fuss. That my own children would be better of without me, that my husband would be happier…

Oh, how she lies, that voice of mine. Lies and lies and lies until it starts to sound like truth.

Until the only thing that will make her just SHUT UP is that cool blade across my skin.

Yet even then, still she whispers…

Coward, coward, coward. Deeper, deeper, deeper.

But I never can, because maybe she’s right. Maybe I am a coward.

Who am I now? When all I have left is trembling bones in the aftermath of her attack, my hands full of blood and an aching, sorry heart.

Who am I when she’s silent?

I am alone in the sudden quiet. Even more lost than before.

Who am I now?

I am a woman who made a promise to myself not to do it again.

I am keeping that promise I made. I am working my therapy. Working, working, working to be ok. I’m holding myself tight, keeping my head above water.

I am my own best friend and my own worst enemy. I’m one year down with no cutting, now I’m two…

I’m waltzing with my demons and I’m winning.

Who am I now?

After all of this fucking work and effort and trying and failing. After all of this falling down and getting back up again. Who do I see when I look in the mirror?

Who am I?

I am… that girl who flirted so closely with death, who thinks too much about the nothing. Who can almost hear the eternal quiet ringing in her ears. Forever peaceful, almost free.

I am… the dragon inside who roars. That fire breather who defends me from the body blows. I am the one who knows that sometimes only the loudest scream can soothe that old familiar heart ache. I am the roar. I am the quiet afterwards.

I am… growing with all my pain. I am taking it with me. I am still here living. Still searching. Fixing my mistakes. Forgiving and loving and learning to move forward.

I am… the mother that loves with her whole heart, who is trying my dears, always always trying.

I am… the wife that would hold up the universe just so my beautiful husband could stretch his arms wide, wide, wide enough to dance.

I am… the little girl who only ever wanted to see the beauty of the world. I am the woman whose heart broke when she saw the world had wounds she couldn’t love hard enough to fix.

I am the child, I am the mother.

I am human.

I bleed, I fight, I get angry, I get calm.

I am wrong, I am right, I am broken, I am mended.

I am all of them and none of them.

I’m still trying.

I am here.

X Bon