On a good day, I wake up feeling groggy. It's a couple of hours before the drowsiness of my medication will wear off but my eyes don't sting and I haven't had a sleep full of nightmares. I head downstairs and get a healthy breakfast of natural yoghurt and granola and then have another, because my tablets make me want to eat constantly. I feel disgusted and make a promise that I'll start starving myself tomorrow.
I get started on my to-do list for my blog. It takes me over half an hour to write it out multiple times until it's 'perfect' and then get started. After 5 minutes, I am pulling out my hair. I get stuck in the bubble that has become a comfort. The bubble has incredibly thick walls that have built up over 7 years of pulling. I get stuck inside and can rarely break free unless someone else breaks it. It's easier to pop from the outside. Inside, time becomes meaningless and thoughts disappear. This is a good day, so I manage to break free after 45 minutes and look down to see my desk and clothes covered in my hair. This is a good day, so I go and have a shower. The bubble doesn't work so well when my hair is wet. I have a shower and let the freezing cold water do it's magic. I can do this, I am strong.
After my cold shower, I get ready and head to the car to do the weekly food shop on my own. Something I can only accomplish on a good day. It takes a lot of energy to drive and I constantly battle the voice in my head that's punishing me for every little fault. I lift my foot of the clutch too fast, 'I'm an idiot', I miss a chance to pull out, 'I can't fucking drive'. When I finally arrive at the supermarket I wait in the car and count the people coming in and out the shop. I add the amount of people that go in and subtract them when they come out, when the number becomes minus, I take a deep breath and go inside.
The bright colours, lights and movements all hurt my eyes and tempt my anxiety to rise out of control but I look at my shopping list to try and concentrate on what I have to buy. I listen to music to keep me calm or ring my mum to get me through. I feel like I need to leave at least four times because I convince myself that I am going to be sick. Twice I go to leave the shop only to tell myself I'm being stupid, again, and return. I try to dodge the alcohol aisle which brings another wave of anxiety and frustration. Keep going, don't look. The whole time I feel like a failure but I carry on, it will be over soon.
When I get back to the house I put away the shopping and try again to tackle my to do-list. I try to keep my mind busy throughout, listening to music, podcasts or youtube videos. I try to start conversations with Rob and talk about lighthearted things because I want him to know that I'm having a good day. I try to concentrate but it's hard, inside my head I am fighting a battle to not over analyse and catastrophise every single thing he says. After about an hour or so of work on the blog, the hair pulling starts again. I tie my hair in a tight bun and continue to work until I can no longer cope with the head ache the bun has caused.
I have a bath for a couple of hours, again, wetting my hair to relieve me of my urges and attempt to read a book. Chances are the book is full of triggering topics, whether they're about mental illness or not and I spend most of the time fighting away my thoughts that are determined to ruin my good day. After a couple of hours in the bath, it's time to make tea.
I wash my hands until they hurt after each time I touch packaging of raw meat. I wash the utensils I use to cook with multiple times throughout the preparation and when the water splashes the other clean utensils, I have to wash them too. Because today is a good day I try to not let this cause me too much anxiety although I am only too aware that carrying out all these washings is reinforcing my worries that I will spread the bacteria of raw meat. After eating I put up with mild to moderate stomach cramps for two hours until I know I am safe from food poisoning and the cramps magically disappear.
I take my tablets and go to bed, trying to stay awake for as long as I am able to before the sedation takes over and I lose control again. Startled by every noise, I physically jump and then spend the next 3 minutes trying to calm down my racing heart. I try to relax. I am exhausted. Today has been a good day.
"People say 'take it one day at a time'... Days were mountains. A week was a treck across the Himalayas" -Matt Haig