How do I even try to start

And craft this verse for you?

My heart is full of feelings

For which words there are too few


But start I must, despite my doubts

And endless fear of scorn

For life is running quickly now

We’re many miles from dawn


To say that I look up to you

Is calling the sky blue

It is a fact no one disputes

Despite its changing hue


I know that it’s your kindness

That’s fought to win in me

I know that it’s your patience

That’s soothed the boiling sea


Because I have you in my life

I seize my chance to thrive

Because you showed me discipline

I found my steadfast drive


Though darkness lies within me

And swims my very veins

Your light too shines upon my heart

Gives strength to fight my pains


If ever you should wonder

Or doubt crawls through the door

Know that I see and love you

And could never ask for more



The gears in my head grind mercilessly, tightening my jaw shut.

My eyeballs pulse painfully in their sockets, as if plugged into batteries.

If you’re wondering where hell is, look no further; it sits between my ears.

Ease Up

We never notice how frantically fast we go about our lives until we we are forced to slow down.

I had been cleaning my apartment at break neck speed when I dropped the thick, marble table top onto my foot. It was almost like some (painful) message from within.


Calm down.

Take a breath.

Stop speeding through everything. Walk at a gentler pace. Notice what’s going on around you. Feel how things change when you do them carefully and deliberately. Savor your life.

To rush is to miss things.

Migraine Eyes

It hit like a brick in the face, cutting deep to the bone. Every time it strikes me I am surprised by its power. Haven’t we gone down this road enough? Haven’t we done this dance to death?

I’m so tired.

Sensory Sensitivity

All my life my senses have been very oversensitive. My hearing, sense of smell and experiences with touch, pain, light and temperature are particularly troublesome at times. At first I thought these things were just part of the irritability that often accompanies depression and hypomania. I have been diagnosed with BPII, but my mood has been relatively stable for a while now and I’m still having issues.

The sound and smell thing has always been related to intensity – and my intensity dial seems to be stuck on high. When particular things are too loud, too repetitive or have a strong odor I get annoyed. Naturally there are things that everyone finds irritating – but I’m talking about a level of discomfort that makes me want to either scratch my skin off or punch somebody. The anger I feel is hardly ever relative to the stimulus, and also seems to happen with things that others are not that bothered by.

The same goes for my experiences with temperature, light and pain. Extreme temperatures seem to affect me more than others. Living in Asia has highlighted this. The summer time is absolute torture for me. As for light, well that one’s linked to pain. I suffer almost constantly with headaches, and light greatly exacerbates them (photophobia).

The touch thing is what gets to me the most though – and it’s very confusing. It isn’t just limited to certain textures (which drive me absolutely crazy) but also includes physical contact with others. I don’t always have an issue with being touched. If I initiate it or am unsurprised by it then I have zero problem. If, however, I am touched unexpectedly sometimes I become extremely uncomfortable and have to fight not to lash out or recoil. Now I know what you’re thinking – that’s not really a big deal, no one likes strangers touching them without warning. Here’s the thing though, it doesn’t happen that often with strangers. It happens significantly more with people I love, and that is a big deal.

As far back as I can remember this has been a thing. I have memories from childhood of my mother/father/brother/sister trying to hug me or be affectionate, and I can still feel my body tense up and a sense of revulsion arise from the contact. Yet if I initiate it – we’re golden. The same thing still happens today and extends to my friends and boyfriend. It’s painful. I hate myself for feeling this way because I know and see how much it hurts people. Touch is a way to express love and is important. I try so hard to ignore how I feel but it’s so overwhelming sometimes I want to scream.

I have done a little research on sensory sensitivity – and I know that it can be a part of BP. Other things popped up too though – such as ASD, SPD and hypersensitivity due to persistent anxiety. I’m fairly certain that in my case anxiety is the culprit, since it is a huge part of my BP even when my mood is stable. Whatever it is though it’s definitely a wedge between me and those I care about. I’m terrified it will be the reason people give up trying to be close to me.

Best Friend

When darkness calls

And you feel alone

When you try to smile

But it cracks like bone


When it hurts to stand

And your heart feels weak

When you need my help

But don’t want to speak




I may not be there

In either form or sound

And it may feel like

I just can’t be found


But our hearts are one

Knotted tight like twine

Yours cannot beat

Without touching mine


It is worth remembering that I am in control. Even when I don’t feel like it, I can decide what to let in and what to nurture. Sometimes it is as simple as getting outside, into the fresh air and sunlight. To remain trapped in doors with my stale thoughts and feelings does me no good.

Energy lies in nature – and so I should seek it out as often as I can. Even if it means just sitting by a tree or plant for a while. The chances of seeing something outside that will fill my heart with joy, even for a second, are far greater than if I remain shut in the dark.

Perhaps an animal will walk by and remind me of how pure things can be. Perhaps a beautiful flower will briefly lighten my heart, or a soft breeze will blow away the damp smell in my head. Perhaps bird song will, for a moment, be louder than the traffic.

Even if going outside brings me nothing but dirt on my feet, then at least I will have the pleasure of washing it off later.

Outside a number of things can happen. Inside the only certainty lies in the walls that surround me.


She emailed me again the other day, from a different address this time. She must have figured out that I blocked her other one. I didn’t read the messages – no doubt they were full of the usual torrents of verbal abuse and emotional blackmail. Before blocking her new address and deleting the cluster of emails (it’s never just one), I couldn’t help but catch a glimpse of a few words that I am by now long used to hearing.

“Selfish. Coward. You fucking rock!!!!”

Anger and sadness that I had just started to get a hold on bubbled up to the surface again. When will she realize that this is not just me practicing tough love? That this is actually me at the end of my rope. That this is me tired of being an emotional punching bag and puppet. That this is me no longer wanting her in my life in any way. That this is me finally standing up for and respecting myself. That this is me rejecting the awful person I become around her. That this is me choosing peace.

All my life I thought that the world was full of people lying in wait just to make you feel rotten and small. Only now am I starting to learn that, generally, people are kind to you if you’re kind to them. Sure there are some exceptions, like her. She will soak up your kindness and then never remember it later. She will be loving and giving only so that she can hold out her hand and say “you owe me”. This is not what I think about her – it is what I know about her.

That is not how all people are though. That isn’t even the norm. What I thought was simply shitty human nature was actually just a reflection of what I was used to. It was a reflection of me, hurting people before they could hurt me first. It was a reflection of the person I used to be; the person I no longer am.

Benzo Withdrawal

I was first introduced to benzodiazepines when I moved to Taiwan in 2016. Despite suffering with anxiety and sleep issues for most of my life I had never been prescribed any kind of benzo before. Now I can see why.

After being on them, in varying doses and several different brands, for over a year now I have finally reached a place where I feel stable enough to start tapering off them. My psychiatrist agreed and we started this week. I didn’t really know what to expect, in all honesty I naively expected nothing. I figured that because I’m in a good place, feeling strong, this should be a cake walk. Oh boy was I wrong.

The first night I immediately noticed that I couldn’t sleep. My melatonin and evening meditation session did absolutely nothing – whereas for months now I’ve been able to drift off relatively easily at the same time each night. I spent the rest of my night waking up basically every hour, and when I did sleep I had more disturbing dreams than usual. The next day I felt really weird – almost dissociated from myself and the world around me. I started forgetting small things – like my keys at home when I left for work, or what I was teaching in the middle of a lesson. My heart would start pounding out of nowhere, my neck and shoulders were stiff and tensed up and I had a lingering headache. My irritation levels steadily rose throughout the day and I felt increasingly overwhelmed by things.

Returning home that evening I decided to do some research. Well, it turns out that everything I’m experiencing is textbook benzo withdrawal. As I continued reading I was horrified to discover just how addictive and difficult to stop taking these drugs are. Long term use, which is defined as daily doses for at least three months, is highly discouraged. I find myself thanking my lucky stars that I’ve been on relatively low doses – which should make my tapering less complicated and my withdrawal less intense.

Although my symptoms are mild, they are still less than pleasant. It’s taking all of my energy to just stick to my daily routine. I’m more determined than ever to push through the discomfort and kick them completely though. My goal is to be benzo free by the time my boyfriend and I move back to South Africa in September. This shit is no joke. Wish me luck.

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