Posted in Chronic illness

Like a broken smartphone

Imagine you have a smartphone. It’s battered and bruised, covered in dents and deep scratches so you keep it in a cover so no one can see because you’re ashamed of how broken it is. The battery is faulty. You charge it overnight and on rare occasions you will wake up to 100% battery and a working phone, but other times it can have as little as 15% and you can never know in advance how much it is going to charge. You have to survive the day on barely any battery. You can try to charge it during the day but you can’t use it while it’s on charge. 

At other times, you can be using it, just a quick check of emails, and suddenly the battery has dropped from a decent 60% to less than 30% for no reason.

When the battery is low, other faults start showing up. Sometimes the screen goes fuzzy and you have to wait for it to fix itself. Sometimes the apps move around the home screen so you can’t find them. Sometimes the memory thinks it’s full when it isn’t so you can’t do anything that adds new information. There’s lots of glitches and you never know when a glitch is going to appear. Sometimes it freezes for long periods of time with no warning. The tech guys can’t fix it and you can’t just buy a new phone.

Now imagine that phone was your body.

That’s what it’s like to live with a chronic illness.

Posted in Thoughts

Easter and chocolate 

I saw a video the other day of a young girl asking why she gets so much chocolate at Easter, Christmas, birthdays and Halloween, yet the rest of the year is told chocolate is bad for you and you shouldn’t eat too much.

I find it difficult to maintain a stable weight around Easter because there’s so much chocolate that is only in the shops during Easter. Because it’s not available the rest of the year, I find it difficult to eat sensibly because I know there’s a limit imposed by the shops. After Easter I won’t be able to eat mini eggs because they won’t be sold anymore. 

There’s no special Christmas or Halloween chocolate that I particularly enjoy that isn’t available all year so I don’t have the same problem at other times of year but Easter is always difficult. It’s like one long chocolate binge. 

And I know other people have the same problem.

But it’s nearly over now. I just have to eat up what’s left in the cupboard and there will be no Easter chocolate left by the next time I go to the shops. But the guilt is there still. Partly it’s related to the fact I know chocolate is bad for me nutritionally. Partly it’s societal pressure to eat well and maintain a good body, something I’m particularly struggling with this year as I’m on steroids which are making me gain weight. And partly it’s because I have a history of an eating disorder.

But soon it will be over. I’m looking forward to it being over. I want it finished with so that it’s easier to eat healthily. I want it over so I feel more in control of what I’m eating.

It’s odd to look forward to a holiday, enjoying the extra time with family, but also wanting it to be over and done with as quickly as possible. It’s the only holiday I have this problem with.

Here’s to a better Easter next year.

Posted in Thoughts

Sexism in law enforcement 

Today I was scrolling  through BBC news and I found a news article that made me feel quite sick.

A man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for beating his wife with a cricket bat and forcing her to drink bleach. Firstly, 18 months is nowhere near long enough for such extreme domestic abuse.

But what made me feel sick was this was a resentencing. At first, he wasn’t given any time in prison, because he had claimed that he had a contract to play professional cricket. He was resentenced after it came to light that that was a lie. There was no contract. But if there had been a contract, he would have affectingly ‘got away with it’ all because he had a ‘bright future’ ahead of him.

I know these things happen. Men’s futures are put ahead of the harm they have done to women. But they had done it so brazenly. They hadn’t made any excuse about why he shouldn’t have gone to prison. They made it quite clear that it was because of the cricket contract. 

I’ve always thought judges did this because the men were young and they convinced themselves that the men didn’t understand the consequences of their actions. In this case, the man is 33. He’s definitely old enough to understand that his actions would effect his future. A man of 18 should also understand this in my opinion but I could understand a judge thinking they were too young.

This news article has sickened me. It’s really shocked me into realising just how disturbing the sexism is in our society, just how widespread and ingrained it is, because of how brazenly the judge did this.

Sometimes I feel like we will never get rid of sexism. Sometimes I feel like giving up hope. That is one of those times.

Posted in Books, Popular culture

13 reasons why

My health has been particularly bad the last few days and I’ve not been up to much except disappearing into a book. I love to disappear into books and experience a whole new world to forget about my own for a while. But this week (well actually just yesterday, I read the whole thing in a day because I was too ill to do anything else), I read 13 reasons why by Jay Asher.

Warning: this post contains spoilers

I kind of enjoyed it. But it wasn’t great. It didn’t seem like a real portrayal of mental illness. The premise of the book is that the main character has received 13 audio tapes and each one contains a reason/person why Hannah Baker (who recorded the tapes before she died) killed herself.

It seems like a great way of telling the story of suicide. But I don’t think the word depression was mentioned once in the book. I expected a realisation at the end that people don’t kill themselves over other people or for any particular reason. It’s mental illness. The reason is depression and nothing more. If Hannah was not suffering from depression, those things would not have led to suicide. And I’m talking from the experience of someone who has attempted suicide. 

The story is good but the ending is a let down and it’s not just a let down to the rest of the story. It’s a let down to everyone that’s experienced suicidal thoughts. Those things may have pushed Hannah over the edge but they did not cause her suicide. 

This book has taught me once again (twilight did it first) that just because a book is being adapted to tv or film, doesn’t mean it’s any good.