Mental Health

Day 15: Self destruct (warning rape triggers)

I really want to shop.

Yup it seems to be a weekly thing! Last week my parents tempting me with clothes.  This time it is all on me.

I really want to shop. 

Some people when sad they drink, others eat their own weight in doughnuts.  I shop. Ok, I also eat my own weight in doughnuts. Which is bad because the antidepressants I’m on mean that eating gluten makes me feel really ill. As in bloat up so that even my shoes are tight!

The time I shop the most? At about 3 – 4am! I suffer from very disturbed sleep patterns.  I normally get about 1 – 1.5 hours sleep each night.  This has been going on for 5 years.  I have flashbacks of being attacked, wake up and can’t sleep because it feels like it is happening all over again.  That basically means that I get in a week what you are meant to get in one night.

I really want to shop.

Unsurprisingly that means that I get a bit tetchy.  And that I have A LOT of time on my hands late at night.  There are only so many magazines to read and so I turn to the internet. And Collectif, Ebay, Lindybop, ASOS etc etc.

And so I started this blog.  Most of the posts I write are done at 3 – 4am as it stops me shopping.

I really want to shop.

One of my closest friends told me the other day that they hate watching me self sabotage. Really they want what I want which is to be “normal” again, whatever that means. I try. I wish I could just turn back the clocks to 5 years ago and not go out that night.  That I’d convinced my then boyfriend to stay in with me instead of going to that stupid party. That I’d not left my drink alone when I went to the bathroom… what if what if…. and that is what I spend my long nights awake pondering.

I really want to shop.

I eat wheat when I’m out because when I go for the gluten free option it reminds me of what the scumbag did to me while I was out of it. And that makes me want to eat more doughnuts. And when after that I feel sick and go on a shopping binge.  Which makes me feel sick in a whole new way.

And so what is the solution? I’ve done the therapy that is meant to prevent the flashbacks, it lasted a week.  I workout several times a week, it works for a while after.  I regularly take my antidepressants, god knows how bad I’d be without them! I google “how to improve depression?” and follow the tips and tricks. But nothing seems to help.

I really want to shop.

I should be proud that I have got myself up started moving forward.  I should see myself as a “survivor”.  I have spent 5 long years telling myself that this is not the thing that defines me.  But at the end of the day it is a huge part of who I am – Shopaholic Steph the rape victim.

Yes everyone goes through stuff, everyone has their issues and problems. But I can’t get past this one huge problem in my life.

I really want to shop.

I worked so hard until I pretty much had a breakdown. I gave up my career teaching because I threw my all into it to distract myself from all that happened. I’m back working in the family business, doing the same stuff I did when I was 18. I’m almost 30. If that’s not failure then I don’t know what is. I enjoy it but I can see the pity in everyone’s eyes. After all why is the intelligent girl with the science degree working in a humble café?

I really want to shop.

When it first happened I joined a group and remember being considered the best functioning of the group.  I still worked, I could still use public transport (with some caveats – not too busy etc) and looked pretty normal.  The reason I looked so normal was because I kept shopping. And getting my hair done every month. I spent over £5000 that I received as a golden hello on shoes, skirts, dresses….anything to give me a temporary high.

I really want to shop.

And 5 years on? I still want to.  Because at the end of the day, when I am sitting in bed at 5am waiting for the sun to rise and my working day to begin, I am completely alone.  And I can pretend for all my friends but I can’t pretend to myself.  I’m depressed, I’m tired and I wish I could just “get over it” but I can’t. I can count on one hand the number of people I am close to.  And the insane number that I have lost because I hid away. And I continue to hide.

I really want to shop.

I keep trying, not for myself but for my parents. They love me so much they deserve to not have to worry about me so much. They shouldn’t be the ones helping to curb my spending/ eating/sloth. I should be able to stand on my own 2 feet. But at the moment, while everyone else sleeps?

I really want to shop.

(If something similar has happened to you please don’t leave it and hope it will go away. If you are in London please go the the Havens, they offer free counselling. If you are based in Merseyside please contact RASA. I’ve had help from both and I’m forever grateful for that.)

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