themis: a scale, a sword, a blindfold and a lion

i have always been fascinated by greek mythology. i would say greek and roman except we all know that the romans just copied all the greek gods and goddesses after overpowering the greek empire. anyway, i’ve always found greek mythology a really beautiful polytheistic conception of the world. (rick riordan’s percy jackson series anyone?)

themis is the goddess of law with the power of divination – she was an oracle, i guess. in her depictions, she is represented alongside four objects: a scale, a sword, a blindfold and a lion.

i don’t know where this popped into my head from, but maybe themis has something to say about where i am currently at. lately i’ve been trying to come to this blog with more stream-of-consciousness in-the-moment writing stuffs, so if it’s rambling all over the place know that my thoughts are probably in a far worse state. cool, back to themis.

the scales: not only a symbol of justice, of the balance of good and evil, but also a physical measure of an object’s weight. an object like, say, a certain bulimic individual who is quickly spiralling toward a relapse into her old anorexic ways. my scales were lying so i had to buy new scales, a better set, an electronic set but then i didn’t have any batteries and had a panic attack for the next two days until i went to the shops again since i had already ditched the shitty old set by this time

the sword: well, this should be obvious. i have a love-hate relationship with myself, my body, my scars and self harm.

the blindfold: themis wore a blindfold to judge things as they were, not how they appeared. but i think i am blinded by things as they appear. i am blinded by the sight of my body, which seems disproportionate and disgusting; i am blinded by the sight of food, which i will refuse to touch for days at a time or else gorge on until i purge or cut or drink or wake up in hospital with no memory of what landed me there; i am blinded to my own needs by the needs of others; and i am probably blinded by all the things my sick self says are good for me, that my sick self says keep me safe. here’s an example: i’m drinking as i write this. i was sober for such a long time and then in the past couple of weeks i’ve taken refuge again in the dull, fuzzy sensation that alcohol provides.

the lion: i want to say that i am brave, and courageous, but maybe the lion isn’t a symbol of my own spirit inasmuch as it is a symbol of all the shit barrelling towards me that threatens to hurt me, or else all the dangerous ways i self-destruct.

this was going to be a post simply about the whole scale/weight/fat-ass scenario and my current relapse (am i allowed to call it a relapse when i’m the one in the midst of it? is relapse a diagnostic word or a symptomatic one?) but then i thought of themis, and i realised i had an opportunity to go full nerd.

in other news,

the new rick and morty episode was pretty great (s4 e8).

in other other news,

my doctor threatened me with a schedule and a police search if i didn’t take myself to hospital after showing up at her practice needing sutures. so i took myself up to emergency, talked to the mh team, and was discharged 2 hours later. i don’t know whether to laugh or cry because the situation seems ludicrous, hilarious and also just really fucking sad.

every time i look at my thighs i cry.

i was trying to total the number of stitches i have had in my head, but i lost count, which is probably the worst number there is – infinite. i had 37 across two thigh cuts kinda recently, there are 10 in my arm as i write, and there were 6 last week. if i keep counting, i think there would have been about 30 on my thighs, and fuck knows how many on my arms. at least 40, maybe even 50? nobody will ever love me, not with this frankenstein flesh.

love, your very sad melodramatic bogs,

rosie.

“you’re too unstable”

someone in my professional supports finally had the balls to say what i’ve been waiting to hear: you are too unstable to be treated in the community. you need to be in hospital.

lol, okay.

but this is what i wanted right? this is what i’ve been waiting for someone, anyone to recognise. it’s taken sixteen suicide attempts for someone to finally fucking saying it.

“if you’ve spent 5 out of 7 days of the week in hospital – you shouldn’t be leaving the hospital”

and i don’t know how i feel about that. i’ve been saying for a long time that i’m sick of the constant emergency-discharge-emergency-overnightadmission-discharge-emergency cycle.

but

i still

don’t know

how i feel

about finally hearing what i’ve wanted to hear. it’s weird.


in my last post i said i was going to wait a little bit before bringing before the blogosphere the trials and tribulations of my latest crisis. it’s not very pretty. trigger warning. like, seriously, stop reading here if you find explicit mentions of self harm, suicide, hospital or police triggering.

so i can’t remember much of what happened. i mean, i can’t remember much most days anyway, which my psychiatrist thinks will improve when i start stimulants, since i show other signs of adhd and the one time i did try stimulants (as every uni student does), i couldn’t understand how other people were getting high. i had never felt more normal in my life. so yeah, i can’t remember much. it’s all snippets, chip chop all over the shop. chunks show up here and there. in between i know that things happened but i don’t know what. i don’t know if i blacked out or if i was asleep or if i was dissociating or if i just cut it from my mind. it could be any of those options.

i took a second insane overdose of a medication i will not name here. it didn’t land me in icu this time (because i didn’t tell them i took anything at the time whoops), but it did land me in restraints, again. so yeah, i had four (five? six?) police officers holding me down, one on each limb and one over my face cupping my neck because i bang my head when i’m distressed and they really don’t like when i do that it turns out. my friend C (she’s a legend. she agreed to be my emergency contact since i have such a weird and gross relationship with my parents) read to the bible from me as i tried to calm down and it really worked. god is good. but i still got sedated, cause i dunno, they know i have a history of running and shit? i wasn’t even trying to leave. like yeah, i was hurting myself, but i wasn’t not cooperating. whatever. it seems to be the new normal now. attempt suicide / self harm, police are called, police schedule me, police restrain and/or handcuff me, ambos arrive, ambos restrain and/or sedate me, ambos take me to hospital, hospital takes care of any physical damage and/or restrains and/or sedates me, i chat very briefly to someone about the mental damage, schedule is lifted, i am discharged from hospital.

repeat.

this was the first time i properly slit my wrists with the intention of killing myself – i have never self harmed and wanted to die before, because i study anatomy (ironic hey) and i know how deep you have to go to hit something important. but this time, for the second time, i did hit something important. and this time, for the first time, it was on purpose.

wow. i do not recommend. i mean, wow. there was a literal spray of blood.

so. much. fucking. blood.

you know when you have a leak in a hose? a small leak, the size of a pin, but the hose is under such high pressure that heaps of water comes bursting out? it was like that.

and fucking hell, can i not wait to it again.


rosie bogs loves her blog

peace out

she’s still alive, let’s take five

if you saw my last post, you will know i attempted, for the sixteenth time, to take my own life. which is pretty fucked. i don’t want to put myself through it again, but you know how it is – i’m a borderline bitch *shrugs*

i do feel a need to vent about it, and i will, and this is my space for that sort of emotional vomit. for now though i need to let myself relax, apply for extensions for my two final essays of the semester, and focus on staying safe.

i’ll be back soon blogger buddies


primary herder of cats,

rosie bogs

x

sketches from the psychiatric word

disclaimer: this is a repost, from when i first became blogger in chief

i’m struggling to articulate the mess of my loud thoughts at the moment so i have decided to return to my most popular post of all time, sketches from the psychiatric ward. as you’ll read, this was the first time i had picked up a pencil for many years, and since then i have been doing more and more art. would you be interested in seeing more? leave me a comment below. so here they are, the first ever set of sketches i did to cope with my first ever stint on the psych ward.

they’re strangely aesthetically pleasing.


in 2017, i was admitted to three separate psych wards, for a total of six weeks. it might not seem like a lot, and sure i had 46 weeks of non-psych ward living, but these were my first three trips to the emergency (ever), and first three admissions to hospital for any reason. in my hometown back in regional western australia, it is much more difficult to seek help for depression, never mind bpd. if i had gone to my local emergency department before leaving geraldton, it is likely i would have been turned away, told to stop attention-seeking, or sent five hours away by ambulance to the nearest psychiatric facility in Perth.

IMG_2339

which is sad, because the psych ward is not what i had expected. And not what most people would expect, i imagine.

let’s talk about that third and final admission for the year. i was discharged exactly one month prior to writing this. i was suicidal, and this time i was going to do it. fortunately, i was already at the hospital for an eating disorder assessment, and was admitted from there, which made things simpler, and far less anxiety provoking.

being admitted involved a lot of tears, emotional exhaustion, silence, withdrawal, scratching (a form of self harm), anxiety, screaming (not from me), locked bathrooms (because of the bulimia), quiet conversations in side rooms, and meetings with various doctors, nurses, psychologists and occupational therapists. it wasn’t much fun, and hospital is certainly not a place I ever want to be, but it kept me safe. (and since then, further admissions have continued to keep me safe, as shitty as it is to have my rights removed as an involuntary patient, i can mostly see the benefits of hospital retrospectively). i gained a lot of insight into how my depression, borderline personality, self-harm, and eating disorder function and protect me.

the psych ward also involves a lot of dissociation, board games, card games, drinking tea, sharing with other patients, making good friends with other patients, watching television, doing sudokus and crosswards, and drawing.

drawing is my lifesaver. i hadn’t picked up a pencil or a canvas since year 10 of high school, because i channelled all my energy into the single most powerful distraction in my life – study (and i still rely on this distraction today). but now that i’ve picked up my pencils again, i can’t put them down.

these drawings are raw, they are real, and they illustrate my mind in it’s most distressed state. behold, sketches from a psychiatric ward.

they’re strangely aesthetically pleasing.


your primary herder of cats and struggling artist,

rosie bogs

a long overdue update

it’s been a few months. a lot has been happening. i need to vent, and this blog has become a safe space for me to do that, even if i have been away for a while. i don’t know if any of the friends i made through the blogosphere will see this, or even care if they do see it. certainly none of my friends irl give a shit about me right now, which is exactly why i am venting here, instead of screaming at them. also because it’s shitty of me to scream at other people when i can scream somewhat anonymously into an internet abyss instead.

i lost two very good friends. and i don’t mean lost to suicide, although honestly, that is still a likely possibility, in both their cases. more accurately, i hurt two very good friends, and they abandoned me. isn’t it ironic that i never thought i experienced abandonment issues until somebody decided to abandon me? only now am i truly a fully inducted borderline, i guess.

another central irony: i haven’t been this small since i was sixteen, but i have never felt fatter. my boss noticed my forearms cuts / scabs / scars so i’ve had to go back to slicing up my thighs. i forgot how fucking easy it was to shred thighs to pieces.

rediscovered the best self harm quote on the internet: they see no scars, they think she lies. but they check only her wrists, and never her thighs.

made my own best self harm quote on the internet: i didn’t need to be told / that people were afraid / of those of us / led astray by blades. / it’s not our fault / we say. we’ll see / better days. / we’re braver than those / who avert their gaze.

i became an ‘insta poet’ (ugh, so cringey). @rosiebeepoetry. i was paid to perform some pieces of my choice. i was honoured to have others share their stories with me, in exchange for sharing my own so publicly.

i had two (three? four? i think four since my last post) quite serious suicide attempts. spent some time in hospital. and somehow i am still existing, even if i hate it.

i started uni for 2020. it’s probably the only thing keeping me alive and out of hospital, at least for the next seven weeks until break.

i am unsafe tonight. i want to slice my stomach off. it’s probably the only way i will ever lose weight since i don’t have enough fucking self control to do it any other way apparently. i’m not sick enough to deserve treatment, whether in hospital or out. i’m not sad enough, irrational enough, hurt enough. i’m not cutting deepest enough. who gives a fuck if i slice up my thighs, but don’t reach anything subcutaneous? they say all self harm matters, but does it really? i was convinced that some cuts recently (practically scratches) should be seen to by my doctor (who is great, btw) and all i could think was that i was wasting her time and resources on something a fucking cat could have done. i hate this. i hate cutting but i love hurting myself. i hate anorexia but i love being in control. i hate binge eating but i love losing control. i hate being alive but i hate failed suicide attempts. i hate hospitals but i want help. i hate hospitals but i need help. i hate myself and so i need help.

i was also reminded of this quote by blythe baird: when people asked what i wanted to be when i grew up, i said

small.

//

your blogger in chief

rosie bogs

Scars, sisters, and scarred sisterhood

I have a sister. Although I don’t mind revealing my identity, I want to keep hers private, so let’s call her K.

K and I were never close. K and I never talked. But recently, K got engaged, and then her fiance’s dad passed away.

And, suddenly, I was receiving middle of the night texts when she couldn’t sleep, asking if I was up and wanted to talk.

For the first time ever.

Since she was having a tough time, I welcomed her into my life for a day. We hung out. It was nice. She has never been to Sydney, so in typical tourist fashion, I took her to The City, for some classic selfies with the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. I think she enjoyed it, but honestly it’s hard to tell. I always thought I was the closed off one, but maybe I retreated so far within myself I never noticed the similarities between K and I.

I haven’t seen her for nearly two years. And in that time, as regular readers will know, my mental health hasn’t exactly been great. I have been self-harming since I was fifteen or sixteen, but until this year, I never self-harmed on my wrists. So K was pretty confronted today, when she saw my scars.

Some of what she said upset me, and I could tell she was upset, as she asked me why with tears in her eyes. So I told her: I hate myself, and I hate being alive a lot of the time, and I deserve to be punished for making mistakes and taking up too much space.

Those aren’t real reasons, she said.

That hurt. (It also made me want to cut… which I know is the opposite of what K would have wanted, but it just hurt so much, and I needed to make that pain apparent. I didn’t though. I binged instead. Which will probably lead into some self harm later anyway, but then at least K isn’t directly responsible.)

But I suppose, seeing your younger sister for the first time in a long time, with her mental health finally visible for all too see, would have hurt too.

Like my flesh, I suppose our sisterhood is scarred in some ways. I know we didn’t get along well when we both lived at home, and I know I was often provocative. But I also know that I felt entirely inadequate next to her. I also know that sometimes, the things she said made it seem as though she knew my struggles and was just another person bullying me about it.

A sister, scarred, and a scarred sisterhood. Hand in hand, I hope we can heal each other.

Pulsating

Like the rest of the hospital, it’s unlikely that you, dear reader of this especially cherished corner of the blogosphere, will believe that I cut an artery accidentally. But it truly was an accident.

I bought better blades. Sharper blades. The best blades I have ever had – much better than the scissors I was unnecessarily attached to (probably destroyed by the police anyway after they confiscated them from me on a midnight manic suicidal run through a random suburb). These blades are sharp. They are so sharp they glisten in the light. When I drag them across my flesh, it’s so easy to draw hurt. It’s so easy to make a mess of my Frankenstein flesh. The beads of blood burst readily from beneath my skin.

Which makes these blades especially dangerous when I am particularly angry.

Dragging a sharply honed blade across your flesh with the same amount of force you once applied to do damage with blunted scissors will lead only to disaster.

To another night in the emergency department.

To another night questioned ceaselessly by the mental health team (who know me a little too well at this point).

And, to another night of self-harming, but this one with a terrible difference: there was so. much. blood. It poured from my arm. It made a mess of my carpet. It drowned the bathroom tiles with scarlet sludge.

It was scary, to have such a bad consequence to my self harm when (for once) I wasn’t intent on having consequences. I wasn’t wanting to go deep like at other times where I have need stitched up. I hadn’t decided, when I touched the blade to my skin, that I would slice an artery. But I did it. And, honestly, it was scary and exhilarating.

Self harm and I are having a moment; a relapse, if you will. It calls to me like a long-lost friend. I forgotten how much I loved it, and the emotional care it offered me in return.

But it’s okay. I have the best blades to keep me company, and a wealth of anatomy knowledge at my disposal with which to successfully avoid cutting anything crucial.

Detained.

I don’t recommend drinking cough syrup with suicidal intent. Not because it tastes bad, but because respiratory depression is a rarer side effect than they make out.

Things have been hard again lately. For the first time maybe ever, I thought I might actually been happy – that’s why the blog posts dropped off for a bit there: things were going quite well for me.

But then Ana got loud again. So loud in fact, that I was coerced into suicide attempt number three, which I (obviously) survived. The trigger? I ate some chips, and I’m not allowed to do that, so I had to be punished for breaking the rules, and Ana decided that enough is enough, fat stupid bitch, time to be punished for good. So off we went to the pharmacy, a lie slipping slyly from my lips that my housemate had requested I buy her cough syrup containing a codeine-derivative for her persistent dry cough which she has had for many weeks. Lol, no. I downed it all along with a few beers.

I found myself in the emergency department once again. This time, my therapist had called, and sensing something was off, told me I could either walk the short distance from my university campus to the local hospital, or the police could find me and drag me there. I choose the former: I will never forget the utter violation of being restrained. The chorus I repeated over and over fell on ears that refused to listen: I’d like to leave please. (While Ana whispers, yes, so we can try again, and better. Let’s go home to do it again, and better, because you deserve to be dead). Suffice to say, they were practically the only five words I uttered to the emergency psychiatric team who first interviewed me. Apparently, that was enough for me to be scheduled for admission, and detained involuntarily.

What a fucking mess I’ve made.

Considering my determination to self-harm in this small emergency psychiatric unit, I’m surprised I wasn’t sent somewhere worse, or at the very least subject to seclusion briefly. Three times I reopened recently sutured self-harm wounds with a plastic knife. Countless times I threw my body against the wall, in an attempt to relieve some of the pain generated by the thoughts in my head. I wanted to turn my head into a watermelon – the smashed kind, where grey and white matter dribbled down the sterile walls like the fruit dropped on the floor.

I’ve been released now – not discharged, released. I don’t know what I’m supposed to think or feel or do. Am I supposed to be sad? Or is it the opposite – am I meant to be glad that I woke to face another day?

This admission, I learned that when involuntarily detained, the doctor still retains the right to speak to my parents, even though I always always specifically nominate they be excluded from my care. After all, they do live on the opposite side of the country. And, after all, BPD doesn’t exist to them. I guess them finding out I still struggle is a good enough reason to stay out of hospital from now on – or at least, if there is a next time, which there no doubt will be, I need to lie my way to a voluntary admission.

I’m clutching on tight to my laptop, a good book, and two journals as I attempt to return to my mockery of a life. Three weeks until exams. Three weeks until I can try again.

Declined

M, yeah, not much I can do with this, sorry.

Aren’t discriminatory doctors the absolute worst?

They see me as three letters, as my abbreviation; they see me as the negative adjectives in my notes, in the words “aggressive” and “sedated” and “self-inflicted”.

They don’t see me for what I am: hurting, and in need of help.

This is not true of all doctors, but sadly, it is very true to some. I had a rough night yesterday (Thursday). I contemplated whether or not I needed to go to hospital for my cuts, because I didn’t want to wait and wait and wait only to be turned away and told there was nothing the doctor could do about them. I spoke to a friend who is studying medicine. I spoke to a friend’s mum who is a doctor. I used my own very limited knowledge of wound care and The Internet to figure out that yeah, it was pretty deep, and yeah, it probably wouldn’t heal nicely without stitches.

That’ll heal on it’s own.

Look, I get that I put these wounds on my body, I get that I did this to myself, but do you think I like the scars? Do you honestly believe that in one, two, five or ten years, that ragged wound that you left hanging open will have healed nicely?

I don’t think so.

I think that you’ve been caught in stigma without even realising. I think I’ve been unlucky this night. I think you, the doctor delegated to me, doesn’t understand my condition very well – if at all – and I think your punishing me for punishing myself. You just poked and prodded me, turned my wrist over, checked both arms just in case, then dropped it back at my side. You didn’t even clean it. You didn’t even dress it. You just sent me away again.

This is one of the reasons, the strongest reason, why I wanted to study medicine. Because what happened to me in the emergency department is not okay. It is not okay to treat me as a diagnosis, and not as a patient. It is not okay to fail to offer me adequate care just because my wounds are self-inflicted.

I don’t care what you say; what you did was not okay.

And every time a doctor like you succumbs to the stigma, it makes going to the hospital that much harder. It makes seeking help that much harder. It makes the lives of people like me, of us borderlines, but also of everybody else suffering from a mental illness who needs medical attention, that much harder.

We don’t need that. We don’t need to be rejected more than we have been by our friends, family and colleagues. We don’t need our traumas regurgitated by your invalidation and stigmatisation. We don’t need to be afraid of going to hospital, when the hospital is supposed to be there to care for us, no matter what condition has brought us there. We don’t need any more difficulties piled on top of all the other ones we face, every single fucking day. We don’t need you.

We need your compassion. Your care. Your empathy.

We need to be treated like people, not like letters. We need to be treated like any other patient. And maybe if you got talking to me, like other doctors and nurses sometimes have, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll see we aren’t the Big Bad Borderlines you’ve let yourself believe we are.

She’s a deep one

In one of the many stories I have written, I describe how a character stitches her own foot close, and the black thread that wobbles across her heel like a tree branch, because she couldn’t stop her hands from shaking as she sewed herself back together again. It’s a chilling detail, but recently I imagined myself doing this. Would it hurt? Would alcohol help? Would it be like in a movie, where the person who stitches themselves back together again are hardcore and had a lot of practice at such a task?

It’s Thursday night as I write, but forty-eight hours ago, I cut. And badly. I went all out. Fat bubbled up from under the skin immediately, and I knew, I just knew, that I’d gone too deep. I poked at it a bit, tried to squish it together with some steri-strips and tape and it popped right back open, more globules of yellow gelatinous tissue spilling from the edges of the wounds. The bleeding was slowing, but nowhere near stopped.

Bugger.

I considered stitching it closed myself, with a needle and thread and no anaesthetic and some vodka to control the shaking.

I was seriously considering it. I don’t do well in emergency departments. The noise – sirens, shouts, moans, alarms – is too much for my hypersensitive soul, and time always dissolves away into a vacuum of dissociation as dark thoughts are compounded by a long wait. I looked at my sewing kit. I looked in the pantry, top shelf, for alcohol – nothing. I looked at the sewing kit again, sighed, and didn’t do it. I exhausted my list of friends to call who could drive me. Eventually one answered. [I probably could have driven myself, but that would have been dangerous, considering I drive manual (aka stick shift) and need both hands.]

It always rains when I go to the emergency department.

Breaths bubbled in my chest, caught between my ribs, as doctors and nurses pass who’ve previously had their hands on me. And then it is my time, and apart from my anaesthetised arm, the rest of my body trembles with anxiety, as the doctor speaks in soothing tones to keep me calm. As always with stitches and blood tests and the like, I watch. I see that crooked branch of black thread form, fascinated by the process. It twists and turns but I’m grateful for their neatness and their smallness. Finally, she pauses between sutures, and asks,

do you want to talk about it?

I say no, but I mean yes, and then the words are bubbling out and she listens intently even as she continues to wipe blood away and jabs more anaesthetic in me (ouch) and then more adrenaline to stop the bleeding and then pulls and pokes and prods with more stitches. I can’t help it. I’m so emotionally exhausted that I lose all control over my feelings. I’m at peak anxiety levels, but this doctor still tries to soothe me. I’m a helpless mess, but this doctor is helping me. I’m a waste of time here, but this doctor took the time to fix me.

She pauses again, and inspects her work,

that shouldn’t scar too badly.

I smile, and weakly remind her of the other scars that traverse the rest of my body, the ones that were never stitched, the ugly, jagged, raised scars – some pink, some white, some grey. A compulsive burst of laughter bubbles out of me, and then tears fall. One after the other. Drops collect on the white sheets beneath me as I fall silent. Not all doctors have treated me with such kindness, not with a notes list full of scary terms like “BPD” and “verbally aggressive” and “sedated” and “self harm”.

Are you certain? she asks. I’m happy to listen.

My heart blooms but my head shakes despite her generosity, and off I go, all stitched up, into the cold, wet night.