What can I say, I love pop culture references…when I was thinking of what to write, for some reason The Smiths started playing in my head. What are your top 3 Smiths songs? Mine are: Please please please let me get what I want, I know it’s over and Last night I dreamt that somebody loved me. I was destined for failure! None of the happy ones!
…Which brings me to our topic. I am currently experiencing a lot of conflicting thoughts about the cues and breadcrumbs I tried to leave everywhere, so that people would’ve understood how ill I was when my illness stopped me from fully realizing it myself or seeking help. My unhealthy thoughts were not challenged by (mental) health care professionals that I met at various clinics since about early 2015. More recently, in late 2017, when my illness was actively trying to kill me, I was not given treatment I would’ve greatly benefited from but rather left to fend for myself with my ill thoughts. I would’ve been happy if at least at my original consultation with the doctor that I saw when I was fearing for my life they would’ve said that I do deserve help, I do deserve to exist and that my eating disorder absolutely does not help me to deal with my anxiety. Instead, I was left to wait for the next appointment (in four to six weeks) thinking that all the compulsive irrational thoughts I had were totes legit.
People didn’t understand how such a smart, happy-seeming cookie could have such self-destructive behaviours and thoughts. My parents could not help me. My friends didn’t realize the severity of the issue. I know why this is. When I was with other people, I felt better. Hearing the voices of others, concentrating on what they were saying, I was getting a break from the internal monologue of ‘You shan’t ever do anything nice anymore and then you shall die because you are so horrible’. People who I am not close friends with may remember me as a happy person. Now, I am quite often genuinely happy. Before entering recovery, not so much.
When I went to the doctor I was able to explain my issues convincingly, using Very Big Words. I self-diagnosed myself with a particular condition and the doctor gave me the diagnosis I wanted. It was never anything that would’ve motivated me to fix my eating of course. Even when I went in saying I am fearing for my life, the doctor probably didn’t take my issue seriously enough. I was able to dress myself and use the correct terminology. A smart person isn’t going to top themselves. Nothing to really worry about. But I was not in control of myself. My illness was.
Towards the end of last year I was at a mental health day centre of sorts. They had a poetry jam event and as I like writing, and occasionally performing poems, I went on to perform a few. One of them ended with the lines (poor translation) ‘I’m not interested in the magpie sitting in the tree, the Idols programme I don’t give a f*uck about, I want to die all the time’. No-one, absolutely no-one, came to ask me if I am okay afterwards. This is a place staffed by mental health professionals. The poem was also on my poetry blog and people read it. Some friends and acquintances read it too. No-one asked me if I was okay.
Again, I know why this is. The problem of caring for someone with the kind of ED I had. You can appear so so functional the severity of your suffering is not understood. I tried to communicate my desperation through my poems or any other way I could, but it was not understood. You have to be very skilled to be able to see behind the facade of functionality. There may be people behind the facade who are exhausted beyond what is reasonable for any human to experience. I don’t know how best to help those people, but I hope I can help develop ways through my expert by experience work and the advocacy activity I am involved in through my own association (etelansyli.fi/en). One needs super-sensitive spidey senses to spot those falling through the net and there is much work to be done.
I’m currently listening to happier music than in ages. Some sad songs too. But I am in treatment and able to help myself and it is reflected in everything I do. Who knows, My favourite Uncle Moz song might in the future contain for example these lines: “Just do your best and don’t worry, oh….The way you hang yourself is oh, so unfair…Just do your best and don’t worry” …pretty uplifting for Morrissey eh?