Botox & Ready Meals

One good thing right now is, work matters have settled down.

But now that I have job security I’ve plummeted back to my everyday anxieties, insecurities and obsessing about all the things I need to change about myself.

I was recently complimented because of how well I “look after myself”.

This was in reaction to how my weekends this month are booked up at various salons for treatments like Botox, Fillers, nail extensions, eyebrow microblading, hair cut and colour, etc.

Was it a complement or a dig? It doesn’t matter because it was triggering all the same.

Triggered because I know myself that what I’m doing and what is driving me right now is really fucking unhealthy.

People see a version of me that has her shit together – and why wouldn’t they I suppose.

I struggle with everyday conversations with people that have no clue what’s really going on with me.

People make small talk and I’m trying to respond appropriately, find the right words, facial expressions and tone of voice to hide the fact that IM FUCKING SCREAMING INSIDE.

Life is easier if I don’t have to engage in small talk. Especially not in work.

I’m sat here at work in the lunch room now.

I’m trying to avoid eye contact with people, hoping they leave me alone so I can finish eating my microwave meal in peace.

Leave me to my thoughts and miseries thank you very much.

Thoughts like, why is my head spinning? Oh yeah, I’m chronically dehydrated and my cortisol levels are through the fucking roof.

Don’t speak to me, don’t ask me questions.

Stop reminding me of the fact that I’m not okay.

Stop making me lie about how I’m focusing on the wrong things and I’m not actually looking after myself.

Stop making me gloss over the fact that what I am doing isn’t self-care, because I’m driven by persistent feelings of shame and self-loathing.

You don’t want to hear me say that I think I’m ugly and I hate what I see in the mirror.

You don’t want me to get dark and morbid about how I want to erase the old me and start again.

What if I told you that I’m getting Botox because I feel empty and worthless?

What if I said actually, I wish I never existed and I’ve found a way to make that happen without taking my own life?

Looking after myself, my arse.

The Minister

This is not a story about god or religion.

I want to write about my old boss, a beautiful human being and my first ever mentor.

This man is a Minister. His church and his congregation saved my life.

I’ll never forget the first day I met him, the day of my job interview. Tragically, my interview was on the day after my aunties funeral.

(She took her own life)

I was in pieces that day and by some miracle I got the job. I was relieved because I was so broke and needed to find a part time job to fit around university.

I was desperate to make enough money and save up for a deposit so I can move out of my grandmothers house.

The mad house, as I used to call it.

Little did I know at the time – just how much of a blessing this was. A few months into the job I was suddenly made homeless because I was being threatened with violence.

A couple of my cousins were after my blood.

It all started one night at my cousins house. She got deliriously drunk and tried to strangle her 8 year old son. I was stone cold sober and was able to stop her.

We managed to escape from the back door of her house. My cousin then called the police and told them I had abducted her child.

The police found us standing in the street. It was pissing it down and we were in our bare feet waiting for a taxi.

They picked us up for questioning and her son disclosed that his mother tried to strangle him, and I confirmed his story.

As a result of this incident, my cousin and her sister decided I was in the wrong and told my grandmother they were going to kill me.

It wasn’t safe for me to stay with my grandmother anymore.

I reached out to the Minister and he arranged for one of the congregation members to give me a place to stay – and I am eternally grateful for that.

I am seriously convinced that if I hadn’t got that job and I hadn’t worked for the Minister I would be dead or in jail right now.

I’m serious.

At one point I ended up in A&E nearly dead, in need of an emergency operation and blood transfusion.

On top of all this, I was such a lost soul at the time, so young and absolutely clueless.

This was pre-ADHD diagnosis so I was broke, unstable, un-medicated, historically unable to hold down a job and just barely keeping my head above water.

My minister was more than just a boss – he was my first mentor and at the time, the only person in my entire life who saw my potential and invested in me.

He inspired me and taught me what I needed to know about life and my own abilities so I could dig myself out of rock-bottom.

He had “unconditional positive regard” for me and everyone he met.

Such a legend.

He emailed me today and asked me where I was on “my journey”. I responded straight away, but I reframed the dark stuff. I disclosed all the recent traumatic events with a positive spin.

I wasn’t as honest and raw as I am here on this blog. It didn’t feel necessary.

I thought about posting a redacted version of my response but I decided against it in the end.

Primed for Abuse

Here’s the thing. I have a bit of a track record for falling in love with abusive men.

I’m vulnerable, sure.

An easy target and “primed for abuse”, as they say.

But why?

What makes me so vulnerable?

I’m pretty fucking sure a messed up upbringing might have something to do with it.

Here goes…

My upbringing was profoundly oppressive – thanks to both parents – and living in the Middle East.

I am the only daughter to an Iranian man and a Scottish woman.

My father is the typical “Middle Eastern Father” stereotype, moody, unable to show affection, over protective, controlling and impossible to please.

The only time my father made eye contact with me was when he was lashing out at me.

He is a complex man. All the ways he primed me for abuse is a struggle for me to put it into words at the moment.

So for now I’ll say that he taught me to accept the “darker” side of masculinity.

The result of having a father like him is that I am mainly attracted to men that really, fucking scare me.

Moving on!

My mother was brought up by her militant, catholic grandmother.

She is neurotic, self-loathing, completely oblivious to her own internalised misogyny. The head-fuckery which she was proud to pass on to me as her “teachings” – so that one day I might become a good wife.

My mother has all kinds of mental illnesses that moulded me to who I am today.

The stories about her are disturbing and I am building up the courage to share them one day.

I digress.

Some of the things she taught me were things like – all men are evil and that woman-hood is nothing but suffering.

As a result of having a mother like her I feel worthless, ugly, fat, unlovable and a failure as a woman.

As well as being controlled and abused by both parents, I grew up as a second class citizen.

I lived in the Islamic Republic of Iran for 7 years, from the age of 12 to 19 years old and the experience for me, a teenage girl was totally unbearable.

I could write endlessly about the injustices for women and girls living in Iran, and I will get round to it…

(Spoiler: I ran away from home, got back to to the UK and was homeless for a while)

I know there are people who are far worse off than me…but looking at the shitty cards I was dealt, it’s obvious that I never stood a chance in love and relationships.

I lost the game before it even started – right?

Sleep walking to addiction

Over the last few weeks I have spent most evenings under the influence of alcohol. I haven’t been able to sleep without it.

It all started when I got some news about changes at work, which was isn’t the end of the world but destabilising – so I started using alcohol as a coping mechanism

I hate myself for it.

I am a social drinker and alcohol was never a coping mechanism for me in the past.

I come from a family of alcoholics on my mums side, so my relationship with alcohol is messed up. I actually hate it and I hate myself for needing it to cope right now.

Part of the distress I am going through is feeling that I’m not in control and at the same time my brain trying to rationalise WHY I have I started using it now.

I normally drink craft beer or pale ale and now I’m on the Gin & Tonic of all things. I don’t even really like Gin but this fancy flavoured stuff is so damn strong at 40% alc.vol – it gets me where I need to be in a *very* short space of time.

I’m trying to justify it to myself – like, I am struggling to sleep and alcohol makes me sleepy quite quickly, and I feel a million times better if I’ve had a proper nights sleep.

How the fuck has piece of news like this sent me spiralling again?

It’s because I’m still very fragile.

I mean, I know that a big change at work is destabilising for anyone – and of course something like this will cause me a bit of an autistic meltdown.

Is my fragility (PTSD) an explanation for taking alcohol as a coping mechanism?

I’m thinking back to my relationship with my abuser and how his drug and alcohol addiction affected me.

He would drink every night and I ended up drinking with him. I was only having a couple of beers but I was drinking just because he was. I was able to nip it in the bud.

But I’m also remembering the drug addiction part. Like, how he would torment me and then administer Xanax to calm me down. Xanax isn’t prescribed in the UK and he bought them illegally from the dark web.

Needless to say, I was dependent on his supply and this was one of the ways he had control over me.

The physical withdrawals coming off the Xanax were insane. The only thing that got me through it was knowing that for as long as I was dependent on the Xanax then I wouldn’t be able to leave him.

Anyways, back to now…I was doing so well but I’m back in that place struggling to sleep without alcohol or drugs.

I wanted a break off the booze so the last couple of nights I drugged myself to sleep with a cocktail of diazepam, phenegram and propranolol.

Believe it or not, the drug cocktail has made the whites of my eyes really white, which is amazing.

I feel so rested but I need to keep the drugs for emergencies.

I have half a bottle of fancy Gin (43%) in the fridge.

I know I’m sleep walking to addiction if I keep going like this but I don’t know how to break out of it.

No strings attached

I’m starting to feel more comfortable with intimacy and sexual contact. I discovered this earlier this summer, after a lovely weekend away with a very attractive male friend.

To give you a bit of background about my friend, we met on Tinder a few years back. Our friendship was never platonic but it was never romantic either. One thing is for sure it has been entirely uncomplicated from the beginning.

I like uncomplicated.

There is comfort in knowing we can enjoy each others company, and then go our separate ways. It could be months before we make contact again and this how we like it.

I consider this weekend away, a major milestone in my recovery from domestic abuse, but I have ways to go yet.

I’m still incredibly tetchy around men. So much so that on the drive to meet him I found myself catastrophising and getting anxious, but it was fine. He was an absolute gentleman and we had a lovely time.

But I still have ZERO self-confidence at the moment.

My abusive relationship ended in February, just 6 months ago and it still feels like yesterday. As a result of the abuse I’m struggling with PTSD (chronic anxiety, inability to sleep, etc.), and severe self-esteem issues.

I know I need to cut myself some slack but I feel really shit about myself right now. My old hang ups about things like body image are now tenfold.

I feel utterly undesirable and unlovable.

On top of this I have discovered all kinds of new baggage that I didn’t have before. Baggage that is causing me to arrange a “first date” with someone from a dating site and then cancel it at the very last minute.

Right now I have ZERO faith that I’ll ever be happy in a loving relationship.

I need to be brave now. I’m trying to be brave.

I have identified that I have unhealthy coping and avoidance mechanisms, where I deny myself physical contact.

I’ve taken a bold step and I’m trying not to shut myself away from the world. I’m trying to be more sociable but it’s so hard.

Im finding that spending time with people, even friends – is either boring or emotionally exhausting.

All things considered I know it will be sometime before I can embrace a new relationship – but I can take baby steps.

I am taking baby steps.

My weekend away has shown me that maybe I should start “seeing” someone regularly, BUT there are so many caveats to this.

First of all it would need to be very clear that I would not be looking for anything serious right now.

In my case of being Autistic, having PTSD and recovering from an abusive relationship – I think I’m asking for too much.

He needs to be laid back, reliable and predictable. I need to be in control of the pace and he can’t make and any emotional or sexual demands from me.

So, last weekend was major milestone in my recovery – but I still have ways to go when it comes to intimacy and relationships.