Emergency Dentist

If there’s one thing I try to avoid at all costs, it’s going to the dentist. Yes, I’m an adult. Yes, I’m a big girl now. I can’t help it. Even the thought of going to the dentist brings me out in a cold sweat. I hate it SO MUCH! Too many traumatic experiences as a child. You know how it is.

There are times, though, where you have to (try to) suck it up. You HAVE to go to the dentist. It is not optional.

I was doing well. 5 years since my last visit to the dreaded dentist. (I know, it’s bad, but this is the choice I chose to make).

THEN…

Picture the scene:

Friday morning. I am feeling a little low in the sugar levels, so I decide to have something to eat to give me some energy. Food of choice? Biscuit. Not, like, a typical robust in texture kind of biscuit. No. This biscuit was soft. I repeat: S O F T.

So I take a bite. So far so good…WHEN SUDDENLY!!

*crunch crunch CRUNCH*

[[NB I did not feel any pain or discomfort at this point.]]

My tooth. Broken. In half.

…shit…

NOW I HAVE TO GO TO THE DENTIST.

Cue the rising panic.

I research emergency dentists in the area, and realise that even getting there is going to be a challenge. Having recently moved to a new location, I don’t know the surrounding areas so well yet, and the public transport is not as frequent or reliable as the city transport network I’m used to.

Long story short:

Saturday morning. I call the number for the (nearest) local emergency surgery to me. I get an appointment, and after a crisis with the public transport, my housemate kindly drives me there.

She did a great job of keeping me calm too – I was next-level freaking out – and she came with me and held my hand while the dentist took a look and sorted things out. I panicked in the room, but the dentist and my housemate looked after me.

I now have a temporary filling, and the dentist gave me a recommendation for a couple of surgeries that offer sedation. I am going to look into this because I will, at some point, have to have the rest of this broken tooth sorted out. If I can have the work done without having to have a panic attack then I will consider going to the dentist more regularly again.

Recreational Reader

I am living the dream.

I live at the seaside, I have a job that I am really enjoying, and I have the time to read…FOR FUN! No text books in sight. It’s all fiction these days.

I’ve read three books in as many weeks.

Well…

…two and a half, because one was a super long book that I started reading in May and only recently had the time to finish…

Most recently, I read Filth by Irvine Welsh.

What a fine piece of literature.

I honestly could not put it down. (Except when I had to go to work – didn’t quite manage to read the whole thing over a weekend). And when I wasn’t reading it, I was certainly thinking about it. There are a lot of great books out there, but not all of them get into your head. This one sucked me in, and I couldn’t let go until I’d finished. Even then, I’m still in complete awe.

If you like gnarly, gritty, abrupt fiction then you need to read this book.
If you’ve seen the film already – still read the book!

Normally I like to read a book before I see the film, but in this case, I had seen the film prior to realising there was a book. It didn’t matter all too much. I think the film is excellent anyway. But it is nothing compared to its original form.

Read this book. Seriously. You won’t regret it.

New Beginnings

It’s been a while.

In my absence, I have spent a lot of time just enjoying summer. Making the most of my family and friends before my big move to the seaside. I really have had the best few weeks. Moving back home to live with my parents was tough at first, but I have come so far in such a short space of time that the fact it sucked at first seems like such a minor detail now. Looking back, it was worth it. It gave me the motivation to do what I needed to do to change things.

And now…my new beginning has officially begun. I have moved to the seaside, and I am loving life. In terms of location, I’m really quite far away from my hometown. I don’t know anyone, and I don’t know a lot about the area. Weirdly enough, I quite like it this way. I am a free agent (work permitting), and I can get out and do things on my own steam. I can’t wait to get properly stuck in.

Of course, I have friends from university who live geographically nearer to me now that I’ve moved. Some are still studying so I won’t be able to see them often, but at least I know that it will be easier to visit them in the holidays now.

I’m really looking forward to starting my new job too. So far, the people that I’ve met have been really accommodating and helpful. I have the typical nervous apprehension that one would associate with new surroundings. But so far, I have not been reduced to a crumbling ball of intensified anxiety. I am completely chilled out.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 10-11 weeks, it’s these three things:

1. It’s okay to live in the now. (Actually, it’s quite fun!)
2. Life really isn’t scary at all.
3. When you surround yourself with good people, feeling good is infectious.

Summer Confessions

The hype of graduation has well and truly passed. I am fully settled in at home and making the most of it before I have to move away to start my new job. I have reconnected with some old friends, and even made some new friends. I am having the best summer ever.

Mostly.

There is one slight hitch. A frenemy has resurfaced.

On the outside I am fine. Behind the façade, though, is a darkness that I struggle to escape. It is not depression or anxiety, but my one true sickness. Underneath it all…I am not really fine at all.

Some context: I noticed a few weeks ago that some of my clothes were much looser than they would normally be. At the time, I thought nothing of it because I didn’t want to admit to myself that I was going downhill again. But I have reached the bottom of the hill and I cannot ignore it anymore. I have to regain control of this.

So here is my confession.

I have not been looking after myself. I have not been eating, and it is starting to take its toll again. I have allowed my eating disorder to get back into my thought processes. The infestation has completely taken control. It is poisoning my brain from the inside-out.

First, it was a struggle eating lunch. That was fine. I could have breakfast and my evening meal just fine, with a light snack in the middle of the day to keep me going.

Then I started getting anxieties about eating again. Full-on feelings of panic and uncertainty about having something to eat. Taking forever to decide what to eat, mainly to avoid actually eating. Then sometimes deciding to not eat at all, just to get away from the distress of the decision.

And now…well, I’m really struggling. With all three mealtimes. Forcing myself through the day on as little as possible. Battling with my brain along the way – (‘I know I’m hungry but I don’t deserve to eat yet, I have to finish this long list of tasks before I can stop and eat’). Being in my head is torture. I cannot escape food.

I know why it is happening. I have carried a lot of pain and hurt over the last few months, and it has allowed me to return to my defence mechanisms. Unhealthy as they are. I know that I need to work on getting this under control again. I do not know where to turn. I will be leaving my hometown in a few weeks – I don’t really want to get comfortable with a support network here, to have to start the whole process again when I move. At the same time…I cannot let this go on.

I have to be more vigilant with myself. I have to remember that although the ED is a part of me, it is not the ONLY part of me. It does not get to control me. I can beat this. I will revise my mantra to remind myself of the fact: ‘Don’t panic. Food is not scary. You can beat this.’

Into The Wild

I have officially made the transition from full-time education into the adult world. I am now a graduate. I have one of those obnoxiously expensive undergraduate degrees…and I am VERY proud of myself. It hasn’t been an easy ride, but I made it through.

Was it worth it?
Absolutely.

Being at university is hard enough as it is. Being at university with an eating disorder and depression is even harder. I can’t deny that there were times when I was close to giving up. (There were many. I even said it out loud. A lot). And without the support from my handful of nearest and dearest, I probably would have called it quits. HOWEVER. I didn’t give up. I stuck it out because I knew that I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t. Life is too short to have too many regrets.

In other news…

I managed to get myself a job. (Yay!!) PLUS I get to move to the seaside. I can’t wait. The next adventure is just around the corner…and in the meantime, I can now enjoy the rest of my summer without feeling guilty about not spending my time applying for jobs. Result.

I have also decided to take a break from Skyrim. I am instead investing my time in replaying Bioshock Infinite. At least now I don’t need to hide from my reality by playing video games. I can take a break from it instead.

So most importantly, this week I have learned that it is okay to feel like quitting. But I have also learned that if you stick at something, eventually the results will sway in your favour. Everything happens for a reason, and ultimately everything works out how it is meant to.

Don’t quit.

No regrets.

Cabin Fever

Four weeks at home. I am starting to feel like a caged animal. I’m cooped up and I’m fed up. It’s starting to wear me down. I probably have cabin fever. Or post-educational depression. Maybe (probably) both.

Essentially, the doom and gloom is setting in. I feel like I have no purpose or structure or meaning. Graduation is less than a week away – I do have an outfit planned now – but after that, the extent of my forward-planning ends.

I need a holiday.

(Well, I need a job first, so that I can afford to go on holiday).

I need a job, I need a holiday. In that order.

I have been waking up every morning with the same sense of “Same Shit, Different Day”. It really is getting depressing. Every day I just seem to float around the house, looking for things to fill my time. I’ve started filling out job applications in bed because why bother getting up to do it if you’re not going to leave the house anyway? (I know, it’s a slippery slope…)

I have applied for more jobs than I can even keep track of. I’m finding it extremely tiring… I mean, I’m getting interviews for probably 90% of the posts I apply for (definitely a good thing!). However, my success rate is still 100% “unsuccessful on this occasion”. I have to keep reassuring myself that eventually I will get a job…BUT…I am starting to lose my mind. I can’t go on like this.

I started a new creative project. I’ve been reading my book. I have (probably) spent more time outdoors on Skyrim than I have in reality. (10/10 Em. Good effort). I have reconnected with one or two old friends – also a good thing – meaning that when I actually do go outside, I have people to appreciate it with.

What am I going to do?

For starters, I need to rebalance the ratio between my time spent in actual reality and time spent in virtual reality. I am hiding from my problems in a fantasy world that doesn’t really exist. I have to stop doing this. There are plenty of adventures to be had in the real world, after all. I just have to find them!

Don’t panic. This is not permanent.

I am starting to think that maybe I have too much time on my hands…I miss having a structured life.

Time for a reality check.

I’ve had a week to settle in at home, but what have I actually done with my time?

I left the house a grand total of 4 times. Once for a job interview, once just to get outside, once to go drinking with my brother, and once to visit an old friend. So far…so…good…? I know it’s only been a week since I left university, I should cut myself some slack. I have made at least some progress with my new way of life.

Exhibit A: Routine. (Relevant on most days, exclusively but not limited to those where I don’t have to leave the house).
Be out of bed by 10:00. Breakfast. Coffee. Play Skyrim until I think of something better to do.
The couch potato lifestyle is easy to adopt, but it gets old fast. And let’s face it – while my Skyrim character is highly skilled, being able to dual-wield destruction magic is not really appropriate to reality.

Exhibit B: Creative use of free time. (When inspiration strikes).
Couch potato life aside, I have also put this excess time to more constructive use. For instance, I finally got around to finishing a music project that I started around a year ago. It’s on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/crazyandem/ezekiel-2517 – I’m very proud of it. I am also finding that I have the motivation to create more music, too, I just have to tease the ideas out little by little. I am also playing in an orchestra that one of my old teachers runs. This gives me some violin music to learn, and a reason to leave the house at least once a week. My first rehearsal is tonight, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Exhibit C: GET A JOB!
I don’t want to be living with my parents forever, which brings me to the other thing I’ve been dedicating my free time to this week…every graduate’s worst nightmare: JOB APPLICATIONS. (Yay). It’s a draining process, and it’s frustrating. Nothing quite says “welcome to the real world” like yet another apologetic rejection email. ‘Thank you for your time, but I regret to inform you that on this occasion you were unsuccessful.’

I repeat my mantra to myself: “Don’t panic. This is not permanent.”

Cultural Adjustment

As much as I would like to deny it, my university experience is now over. My graduation ceremony is in roughly three weeks, and I haven’t even thought about what I am going to wear… I have more pressing issues to think about, such as the endless and desperate job hunt to (I hope) avoid being perpetually unemployed. I also have questions that I believe only I can truly discover the answers to: 1. What am I going to do now? 2a. What is adult life? 2b. How do I live like an adult? 3. Where did the last three years of my life go? Take me back – I blinked and I think I missed it.

June 11th 2016:
In the space of a day, my living situation changed. I packed up my room in halls of residence, my parents drove to pick me up, and after five hours on the road we arrived at the family home. Thus ended three years of independent living (except for the holidays, of course). Moving home for the time being is convenient because I have nowhere else to go, but it is also a shock to the system. For starters, I am officially emancipated from the grip of the education system. After eighteen years of referring to ‘this year’ as September-August, I can finally say goodbye to the academic year. However, not being a student anymore means that I have more free time than I know what to do with.

Re-integrating back into the family home, knowing that I’m not going back to university in a couple of weeks has been trying at times. It is a special form of cultural adjustment. I am not a lazy person, by any means, but there are certain perks of living alone that do not apply when you live with your parents. I no longer have the luxury of doing my laundry when I feel like doing it, I can’t take a thirty-minute shower if I want to, and all-day/night Netflix binges are strictly off-limits – my parents do not have unlimited internet. And of course, household chores are mandatory, with only a limited amount of time for completion before you are told that you’re ‘not helping out enough’.

Of course, there are positive benefits to my new location. It’s not all doom and gloom! For one, I don’t have to worry about not being able to afford rent, bills or food. I also don’t have to pay to wash my clothes anymore. My bank account balance will finally remain more or less static… There are three things in particular that I have thoroughly appreciated since returning home, though. Firstly, being able to sleep in a double bed again. So…much…space! So…comfy! Secondly, my Xbox 360. A particular indulgence that I could not allow myself for my final year at university. I tried it during my second year, and I spent a lot of time playing video games when I could have been studying. Finally, just being back in my home town has made me realise that there really is no place like home.