To my family ❤️

Content warning: self harm, scars

The photo above probably isn’t as shocking as I expected it to be, I know that you know something is up when I wear sleeves in 35 degree weather, I know that it’s something you’ve suspected for a long time. I’ve touched briefly on it on this blog once, and told myself that was it- I wasn’t going to go any further into it. It’s scary to let the people who love you know that you have been hurting yourself. But my life is changing, I’m getting married, I’m in a therapy program that will really help turn my life around, and I’m honestly trying to quit. So in the name of complete honesty I wanted to post this to let you all know about my not so secret secret. 

I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you sooner, and believe me none of this is any of your fault. You are all wonderful, loving and supportive in ways that I am so thankful for. It is because of all of you that I am able to say I’m on the way to fully recovering from this and starting a new chapter. This is hard for me to talk about, and hard for me to tell you all, in part because of the guilt I have for keeping from you for so long. 

I have been self harming since I was 11, and frequently doing it since I left school. I’ve spent hours and hours in hospitals fixing the mistakes I’ve made, and I don’t want to waste any more of my life. My family and friends deserve to know the honest truth about what has been going on. My body doesn’t deserve the punishments I dish out to it, and neither do I. 


Here’s to 2 weeks clean- and to many many more. 

It gets worse before it gets better

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Starting a new therapy program sucks. It’s been two weeks and I’m completely overwhelmed- there is so much to learn and so much to do. I’ve committed to a year long DBT program and I’m going to stick it out, but I’m also going to complain about it.

I’ve been told that it gets worse before it gets better almost too many times over the past few weeks, so I can’t say that it’s blindsided me. I just didn’t expect the “worse” to come so quickly. I don’t even know how to write what’s going on, and when I started writing this I thought it would be easy to complain about how much my life feels like it sucks right now. Complaining is one of my few talents, as you should all know by now, and it’s odd for me to not be able to tap into that talent at will. (See she even complains about not being able to complain properly).

I know that my life is not the worst life to have, and I actually have things pretty easy as far as life actually goes, but that doesn’t stop my brain from going a little haywire sometimes. When I challenge the unhelpful behaviours and try to change them my brain kicks back hardcore. So while my brain kicks me in the face I’m going to lay low, practice self care, and learn how to cope with all the changes coming my way.

Mental health issues suck, and I am definitely having a pity party. It’s gotten worse, but according to the saying- that means it’s going to get better.

Magnetic North Theatre Company- Medusa

( Featured image and promotional images by Artemis Green @ artymess )

TW: Rape mention.

As a bit of a departure from the topics I usually cover in my blog, I’m happy to announce I’ve been given the opportunity to write about something I am passionate about (good theatre), combined with something I’m even more passionate about (good feminist theatre).So here is my complete rave review (and I do mean a complete rave review) of Medusa, presented by Magnetic North Theatre Company as part of the Anywhere Theatre Festival.

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(Image by Artemis Green)

“This devised work challenges the monster hood rape victims inherit when they accuse their abuser…”

Written and directed by the ridiculously talented Artemis Green this incredible piece of theatre was captivating from start to finish. The use of the space, the performance of the actors, and the set and lighting design were all equally stunning.

I’m not going to lie, I am always very wary of modern takes on Greek tragedies and myths as I find that they struggle to find relevance to today’s society, often trying that bit too hard. But with Medusa I was pleasantly surprised, it rang terrifyingly true to todays society, and I was completely entranced by every aspect of the production.

When you first enter the space you are engulfed by whimsy and magic (thanks largely to Tiff Lane, the production Designer). From setting foot in the lane way to the performance itself you are surrounded gorgeous, breathtaking art. The lane way was honestly incredible, with one side piled high with treasures and keepsakes, and the other covered with white lace and pages of books it was something directly out of a fairytale. The whimsy is stripped away once the performance begins, with hushed tone the narrator character (played expertly by Sam Zell) entices you into the world of gods, and the story of Medusa.

Medusa, played by Brodie Shelley, was a commanding presence on the stage using her physicality and voice to portray the characters vulnerability. Athena the goddess of war (Maddy Parkinson), was just a complete goddess tbh, with her impeccable use of restraint the slow build to the characters pivotal scene was exciting and the subtlety and nuances used made for an extremely believable performance. Perseus (Aka Joseph Wilson) brought (even more) energy and life to the performance with his commitment to his role, his interactions and relationships with the other characters created some beautiful moments on the stage. Andy Green was disgusting, scary, and confronting in his dangerous overtly masculine portrayal of the character Poseidon, in other words he acted the role with conviction and added yet another level of fear, intimidation, and suspense to this already thrilling show.

Every performer in the cast was noteworthy, every aspect of this show was noteworthy. The ensemble and stage manager (Erin Williamson) work together seamlessly to create a seriously heart wrenching performance, and bring to life an expertly written script.

If you only see one piece of theatre this year, please let it be this one. It starts and contributes to the conversations around victim blaming, and is an important and much needed piece of theatre. It’s easy to watch the shows that make you laugh, it’s important to watch the shows that make you think, and Medusa does just that.

It runs for 4 more nights (thursday 18th May – Sun 21st May), and has limited seats. So book now by clicking here. Seriously. 

**Trigger warning for rape, and violence**

 

Honesty is scary tbh


Some days are tough. No- most days are tough, and some are tougher. Today is tougher. I had an important appointment today (the first in many steps to get into the treatment program I need to be in), it went overwhelmingly well and yet here I am being miserable and cranky. 

It’s days like today that make me want to yell in my own face; “get out of bed, stop sulking, you are making something out of literally nothing, today was a good day!” But to do that I would have to get out of bed, and we all know that just isn’t going to happen. And even if I were to make the effort to stand up, take the three steps to the mirror and yell- it wouldn’t help- because this is where the guilt spiral steps in, I feel guilty for feeling bad after a good day. I feel bad because I feel guilty. I feel guilt because I feel bad for feeling guilty. You see the problem? 

It’s feelings like this that my mind tells me to run and hide from, tells me to self destruct and use all of those unhealthy coping mechanisms I’ve been unsuccessfully unlearning in five years of therapy.  It’s too easy to run back to my maladaptive coping strategies at the first sign of trouble, the first sign of the guilt spiral, the smallest discomfort or strong emotion. I honestly cling so desperately to these behaviours because I’m scared to face the world without them, I’ve worn a well used path into my brain and I don’t know how to go another way without getting lost and wandering back to the original path. 

I know most of you know this, even if I haven’t told you directly. And it’s making my heart race to type this because I wanted to wait until I was #recovered to write about this (being honest is hard tbh). I struggle with self harm, and I struggle pretty severely. I’m not going to go into the gory details, don’t worry. But in the name of complete honesty I’m going to tell you today has been hard. It’s hard to ignore the urges I have most days, and it’s harder after days like today. I’m safe, I am with my dogs, in my bed, and next to the person I love most in the world, but still it’s hard. (Please don’t worry about me too much, I’m getting there, slowly but surely and I try to take good care of myself.)

Anyway- It’s okay to eat cake in bed at midnight, it’s okay to admit you aren’t always okay, it’s okay to rant on your blog about how shitty your mental health is today and it’s okay to admit that your recovery is a work in progress. 

Please feel free to message me if you are worried about me (especially after this post lol). Also feel free to message me if you need someone to talk too, or if you want to eat cake in bed with me because I’m always okay with cake in bed. 

Positives?

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I’m scared a lot of the time, I’m scared of doing things, going places, and meeting people. I’m scared of change. And I’m scared that this is it, that this is the best my mental health is ever going to be. It’s easy to look at all the negatives, but doing that all the time would make me want to just give up and become a hermit, who does nothing but eat and sleep all day. There are negatives in my life (sometimes it feels like an overwhelming amount of negative things), and I’ll get back to dealing with them later – for now I’m going to talk about some of the positive things happening in my life right now, because they deserve to get some spotlight.

  • I have family and friends who love me- we don’t always agree, we don’t always talk, but I know that they are all there for me should I need them and I am always going to be here for them.
  • I have a house to live in that is comfortable, functional, and full of things that bring me comfort.
  • I am in a great relationship with someone I love.
  • I have two gorgeous pups who always make me smile.
  • I have access to the medications I need to keep my brain working the best it can right now.
  • I have access to medical attention should I need it.
  • I have food in my fridge and pantry, and running water in my taps.
  • I can write and read.
  • I have access to technology.
  • I just got the best new bed (thanks Marlo and Tony!).
  • My body works, and does all the things a body should do.

The point of this was to prove to myself that even though there are things that scare me, or make me feel down and sad, there are a lot of things I have to feel so greatful for.

I’m going to go cuddle my dogs, listen to some new music, and get ready to go out. Today life is okay, today I am choosing to think about the positives.

 

Time to start being serious, I guess?

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There is nothing scarier than looking at yourself and realising you need a major overhaul. I don’t mean looks, because this body actually serves me well and I’ve come to appreciate it- fat and all. I mean my mental health, there are certain things I need to stop doing, things I need to start doing, and things I need to recognise that I’m doing in the first place. I need to actively start trying to recover from the problems I’ve been experiencing for the majority of my life.

I’m diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, which sounds scary (it’s not really, or at least doesn’t have to be). And to give you a quick overview of what that means for me I’ll list some of my relevant symptoms and behaviours in list form without going into too many details.

  1. I am scared of being alone, being left alone, and being abandoned.
  2. I have little to no idea about who I actually am.
  3. Impulsive, self destructive behaviours.
  4. Poor impulse control, particularly around spending money.
  5. Extreme mood swings, with little or no provocation.
  6. Anger.
  7. Dissociation.
  8. Self harm.

I struggle daily with most of these, and often do things I regret. I hurt the people who love me so that they can prove over and over again that they won’t leave. I constantly seek validation that I am good enough, bad enough, and just plain enough.

I’ve hit a particularly rough patch lately, and after facing the threat of another hospitalisation I have decided to really put my all into getting better. It’s not going to be easy, and I’m going to be a total pain in the ass while I’m settling into the changes I’m making, so I’m sorry in advance.

I want to be held accountable, and so I’m putting this out there. Change is hard, letting go of the things I’ve relied on for years is going to be hard. I’m scared of the reactions, I’m scared of confrontations. Most of all I know that I will get the support I need from the friends and family I am surrounded by, all of whom love me and want to see me succeed in life.

I hope this post doesn’t come off too whiney or like I’m making excuses for poor behaviour, because that’s not my intention. I own what I have done wrong in the past, and what I’m sure I will do wrong in the future, and I apologise to anyone for things I may have done that hurt them. Please feel free to message me if you feel I have something I need to answer for- I often lack understanding of my own actions and the effect they can have on others, and as part of learning how to change that I need to be made aware when I am doing or when I have done the wrong thing.

I’ve never made such a commitment before, and I’m excited/nervous/anxious/scared* to start this new part of my life, starting with publishing this post.

*Mostly scared.

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Saying goodbye to Trixie and hello to Scout. 

Anyone that knows me knows that dogs are one my favourite things on the planet. I want to adopt literally every dog I see. This last week has had a major down and a major up to do with my pups. 

To start off I had to find Trixie (my gorgeous cuddly huge dog) a new home because the real estate said no to a big dog. It was hard to say goodbye, it was hard to think that I would be going back to a one dog house. We found her a home with a lovely couple who live on acreage and two other dogs her size. I miss her like crazy, but thinking of her having all that room to run makes me so happy for her, and I truly think it was the right choice for her and her life is going to be 10/10. 

Another reason that I know it was the right choice was that my little chihuahua Spencer never got used to living with the big butt head. Trixie has a heart of absolute gold, but played just a little too rough for spencer to ever get used to her. He lost weight from stress while she was here (almost a kilo, which is a lot for a dog that only weighs 4 kilos). Spencer has calmed down since she’s been gone, and is back to his happy pre big dog self. 

After Trixie left, I was feeling down and sorry for myself and started browsing gumtree. I found some gorgeous chihuahua x mini foxie puppies. Just the right size for spencer (he always loves playing with other dogs closer to his size), and so so adorable- I couldn’t say no. Sunday we made the drive to the Gold Coast and picked up the little angel (pictured above) and have named him Scout. Spencer and him are already playing, and so relaxed around eachother. 

I still miss Trixie, I love and always will love her. She just wasn’t right for us right now, and even though it sucks so much, both her and Spencer are going to be better off, able to live the lives they both deserve. 

I wanted to wait until I could explain the situation to introduce you all to the new pooch in the Rose-Haworth family. Now that I have, there will be never ending photos, so get excited! 

How I got here?

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(Picture of me as a child because I’m cute af)

I haven’t written in a little while because I suck at sticking to things, and also because, to be honest, I just didn’t feel like it.

I’m feeling overwhelmed at the thought of everyone on my friends list knowing (or being able to know) this much about something I’ve fought for so long to keep private. I’m also overwhelmed with how much I want to share parts of my life on this blog, and I’m having trouble choosing what to write about.

I’m going to start at the beginning (beginning enough anyway). Think of this as some kind of timeline of treatment, starting with the first times I talked about my mental health with a professional to now.

Starting with Kids Helpline. I was at least 18 (Or maybe I was 17 turning 18 we don’t know) the first time I called kids helpline and spoke to the lady who became my first regular counsellor and spoke to for almost two years. Audrey answered the phone one night when I rang on a total whim, because I was scared of walking home alone in the dark. She wasn’t the first counsellor I spoke to, but she was the first that I spoke to more than once. She was there on the other end of the phone when I stopped working, when I started uni, and she was an important part of that time in my life. She was the first to tell me about anxiety and depression, and the reason I started going to face to face therapy in 2012/2013. She was rad as heck and just a beautiful lady who helped me get to the point where I felt comfortable getting the support I needed. I’m talking about her like she’s dead, but I don’t think she is, she just had to leave Kids Helpline. Which was sad because she was the literal best, but life goes on and I stopped calling Kids Helpline.

The face to face counselling came next, and has more or less been a regular occurrence since I started. I booked my initial appointment with Headspace Nundah, and it was an ordeal. I was anxious, and found it hard to tell the complete truth (I did try my best), they asked me a mountain of questions about things that I was experiencing and then  recommended I speak to the psychiatrist and the psychologist. The psychiatrist was my least favourite part of the whole process for a number of reasons, a few of them being that:

  1. He put too much emphasis on weight as an issue for me (it wasn’t).
  2. He told me over and over again how I wasn’t very self aware.
  3. He insisted that I must be worried about being bipolar (again, I wasn’t).
  4. He told me that my mum would need to be involved in my treatment, which I wasn’t ready for at that time.

All in all, I went in anxious and came out anxious, exhausted and worried about a whole bunch of things I didn’t need to worry about. I probably don’t need to tell you that I didn’t see him again.

I had my first session with my first psychologist, and honestly I can’t remember what happened. But she was much nicer than the psychiatrist, and I continued to see her for a year and a half. She ended up leaving and moving to Europe with her family. I then saw another psychologist (who I just didn’t click with), and then taking a break from therapy for six months. I returned to therapy after figuring out that I function a lot more like a human being when I am in therapy, and have been with the same psychologist since (even though I no longer attend services at headspace). My current psychologist “gets me”, and puts up with my reluctance to talk about the things I want and need to talk about.

I have also taken several different medications, which is probably best left for another blog post because that’s been a roller coaster.

 

 

 

Motivation

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Or lack of motivation happens to be one of my biggest struggles. That might be a little dramatic, but it definitely impacts on my life in a big way. I’m sure everyone has trouble getting motivated at some point in their life so you can all probably empathise (sympathise? idk).  Ironically it took me three days to start writing this.

I’m not just talking about my motivation to clean the house (which I never have), I’m talking about a profound lack of motivation that makes it incredibly hard to do anything at all with my life. If you have experienced this in any shape or form I’m truly sorry and you should come and be a couch potato for a day with me so that I am not alone in being completely and totally unproductive.

This symptom of my mental illness has me a little fucked up at the moment. It’s gotten to the point where I have dropped out of my studies because I was failing all of my classes. I feel so lazy, and so useless sometimes that it makes me very sad. I try to remind myself that I am not useless, or really that lazy (I’m pretty lazy, but it’s not always a bad thing. Self care is important!), it takes a lot of effort for me to leave the house. It takes a lot of effort for me to do simple things, and I have to work myself up to even doing small things a lot of the time. I can see how this frustrates and infuriates the people around me, the people who care about me and know that I can do better than what I am currently doing. It frustrates me too, and I want to apologise for the times I haven’t shown up, the times I haven’t kept a clean room (sorry ma and Sophia lol), and the times I just haven’t done anything at all. I want to apologise to myself for letting my education fall to the side, and for not reaching my potential.

I’m working on it, just like I’m working on a lot of things (like drinking more water, and eating breakfast). I will get there, and when I am well enough I will make one heck of a student and employee or whatever I want to be. But for now, I am one heck of a person in recovery from mental illness and that is okay.

 

Jumping on the bandwagon or something.

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(unflattering picture of me being greeted by my dogs after not seeing them for a week ft. hospital band.)

I’m coming right off the back of my first (and hopefully last) stay in a mental health ward, which means I’ve decided to start trying a little harder when it comes to taking care of my mental health. Some of the first things I was told by my therapist was that writing my feelings and experiences down, and being more open with people about what is happening in my life would both be good for me.

So here we are with a blog, open for anyone to read. Which is daunting to be completely honest, so please be gentle with me while I figure out how much I want to share, how I want to share it and how to actually use wordpress.

I’m not going to go in to detail about the people I met in the ward because it’s not my job to share their business, but I will say that I met some of the most interesting, lovely people and I gained an appreciation for the many good things in my life. I had visits everyday from Sophia, and even though I tried to keep my admission a secret I had visits from my aunty, nana, and mum. The friends that knew where I was and couldn’t visit let me know how much they care about me, and I never felt alone the whole week I was away.

I’m not going to lie, one of the roughest parts of the week was when my family found out (I didn’t want to worry anyone basically), but we all survived and it was okay in the end. Actually more than okay because I got maccas out of it. But really, I learnt that my mental illness isn’t as scary as I think it is, my family can handle knowing about what’s happening, and I don’t always have to bear this load on my own.

The main thing I learnt over my week (six nights, and seven days. But who was counting?) was that hospital food sucks so bad, and that in itself is a good reason to never go back.