I’m changing how I do things for a while

Hi pals

I’ve been talking about feeling uninspired for a while and even when I have ideas for posts, I find the motivation to actually create them isn’t there. I’ve been writing more for my WIP and the inspiration and motivation to do that is slim and far between, I don’t want to be trying to force myself to write for my blog and burn out on it and sabotage the progress I’m making on my WIP. So generally the plan is every two weeks will be a post on the blog rather than weekly for a while. I may not even do that depending on how I’m feeling. But the monotonous repetitive cycle that is my existence at the moment makes it hard to write for my blog when all I want to do is complain!

I’ve also been working on other side projects which has taken up time and energy. I’ve had two self tapes/auditions for small films I wanted to try and go for as the pandemic did get in my way. I started dipping my toes in the acting world again in late 2019. If you’d like to see some videos on my experience doing self tapes and auditions as a disabled and neurodiverse person, let me know! Sub to the channel and leave a comment on this video.

I’ve also had to focus more on my health again. I was meant to taper down 1mg of steroids every month but when we tried to go from 9 to 8 first time, I became very unwell within three days and had to go back up to 9 and it took me a while to feel better again. So we changed it to every two months we would try to taper 1mg and it’s that time again. Trying to make this easier on myself, I’ve been doing 8mg one day 9mg the next and onwards to try and make the transition a bit easier and less shocking to my body. I ended up changing it to 8.5mg for a few days (I’ve had to use my pill cutter for this) and I’m doing OKAY ISH and will go down another half in a few days to test the waters. I’ve also been more relaxed on my diet/how I’m eating to make sure I am not stressing my body further with food expectations or eating less than maintenance (my nutrition coach always reminded me that being in a calorie deficit will add stress onto your body, so I’m making sure I’m not in a deficit to not add extra stress on my body whilst trying to taper as that is stressful enough trust me) so I’m just trying to enjoy food, eat more nutrient dense foods like fruit (and veg when I can, I just like fruit a lot more lol) and eating foods I enjoy. Food has always been connected to emotions for me so eating the way I like for a week or so will also help reduce emotional stress. I’m planning on doing an updated What I Eat In A Day: 1 Year Pescatarian video so leave a comment on this video if you’d like to see that and hear about how I’ve been finding the change in my lifestyle.

I’m trying to remember to take my supplements more regularly as well!! Urgh, I’m so bad at remembering to take anything after my morning meds, I’ve been forgetting my evening pills as well and taking them later. I’ve also been taking more pain reduction precautions, using certain creams that are supposed to help (like biofreeze and CBD products) and taking an extra painkiller at night. I’m trying to keep up some weighted exercise as it helps reduce pain for me as well. I did film a few clips over my weekend which I’ll upload soon that will talk about a lot of this stuff and show you what kinds of weighted arm exercises I do etc.

My sleep has been out of whack since the time change (sound silly I know but I’ve read Neurodivergent people do struggle more with this so it makes sense) plus the steroid tapering, I’m pretty tired. I struggle to get to sleep before midnight coz it would have been 11pm before the hour change. Waking up at my usual 8:30 (sometimes 7:30 coz of the hour change) but struggling to stay awake, so some days I sleep an extra hour. I’ve had a few afternoon naps this week as well which is very unlike me. But as I’ve said, I’m doing what I can to just listen to what my body needs, it needs more rest/sleep at the moment and that’s fine.

Some of my upcoming videos planned are 1 year on Adalimumab (Amgevita) injections (check out the linked video for 6 month update), Gossip Girl reading vlog part 2 (the other half of the series, check out part one here), I’m going to continue watching Dawson’s Creek and vlogging each season, I’ve heard there’s a possible reboot coming so more reason to carry on! I’m working on a Manga Reading Marathon video still, the scans that diagnosed my TAK is also one some people were interested in as I mentioned a few in my pre-diagnosis video last year and a range of scans they do use in my TAK 101 post, I also want to do some book themed videos as I’ve been reading a lot of books by Black authors I wanted to make a video to recommend them and a video about the poetry books I have read as I’ve also been reading a lot of poetry through NetGalley. Leave a comment on this post if you’d like to see me make these videos! I also have a lot of books by Asian authors I want to get to reading, I’d love to make a recommendation video on those books too.

I did get my previous benefits back recently so I have got some financial support back again (still, if you know PIP, it’s pennies) so I would really appreciate people checking out my Kofi, leave a tip or buy some of my art. I have 15 art pieces up for sale, plus a selection of handmade cards. Please check out my links throughout this post and to my social media accounts, leave some likes and share some posts, it helps a lot! I post on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. I am starting to stream on Twitch again but whenever I link it here it error codes out so search artiecarden. Don’t forget to check out my affiliate link with the BookShop for any books you are interested in buying, it helps me out a lot! If there’s something you’re specifically looking for that isn’t on my lists yet, let me know in a comment what you are looking for and I’ll see if the Bookshop have it and link you.

I post pretty regularly everywhere, I just feel like I need to change how I do things for a while.

~ Artie

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Body Shaming When You’re Chronically Ill

Hey pals,

 

I’ve been hearing a lot about fatshaming in the medical industry and also general body shaming and certain standards people are expected to meet online recently. I have a long, complex history with my body and other people’s relationship to my body so these topics have brought up a lot for me I wanted to discuss.

 

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I don’t talk about my weight online, not in specific numbers anyway, because everyone changes their opinion of me once they hear the number. It doesn’t matter if its the weight on my scale or my BMI, people make a judgement they didn’t initially have. My BMI is currently in the ‘overweight’ category leaning close to ‘obese’, and I’m not trying to be up myself here but how am I nearly obese? I am an average mid-size person, but the NHS BMI calculator is saying I need to lose 26.5lbs (12kg/almost 2 stone) to be in the healthy weight range (not mid-healthy i mean barely in the range).

About 6 years ago I was two stone heavier and I received enough fat shaming from my NHS health team to make me want to die. I had to be weighed for my contraceptive pill and I had purposefully been avoiding the scale and said, “as long as you don’t tell me.” and stood on it. I did really well not to succumb to the temptation of looking all for my doctor to just outright tell me anyway! Of course as soon as I hopped in the car I googled the number into ones I understood. I always worked in lbs. And that night I wanted to die.

Before I had gotten to this weight, I was probably roughly the weight I am now maybe 10lbs lighter, and I’d finally decided to go ask for professional health with my disordered eating. I’d told him all the things I had done and been doing and how I was trying to stop doing them, and even though my behaviours fit best with Bulimia, he told me I had Binge Eating Disorder (BED) ignoring all of the self destructive things I was doing from starving myself to purging, I barely even binged, my binged were minute compared to other bulimics I’d met or other binge eaters. I was astonished. Part of his advice is what lead me to gaining so much weight so quickly and sending me even deeper into depression and triggering me more. All of the note books he gave me were for binge eating, not starving or purging or any of the other things I did. All because I was ‘overweight’ by BMI standards.

I’m disabled. I suffer with a lot of chronic pain. I have been told countless times to lose weight because that ‘will make it better’, without thinking about anything else going on with me. I suffer with so much fatigue I barely function 90% of the time. Exercise wipes me out for DAYS. But we should all exercise for 30 minutes a day and if you don’t YOU’RE LAZY.

 

At this point in my life, I am dealing with a very unstable IBD. As I write this, I feel nauseous and cannot eat my dinner and had a couple of bad episodes on the toilet because I accidentally ate something triggering to my stomach yesterday and now just have to suffer. I have barely moved from bed today. I also have an abscess in a VERY uncomfortable place which means I can’t do most of the exercises I’ve been recommended and felt able to do: walking sometimes aggravates it, I can’t sit on a bike seat so can’t get on my exercise bike for 15 minutes, I can’t really leave the house to go to the gym or a yoga class coz I might suddenly be in so much pain I can’t participate and may not be able to drive myself home. But I’m lazy for being overweight. I’ve fiddled with my diet constantly, partially coz I’ve had to cut out foods that trigger my IBD flares, but also trying to get the right nutrients into my body without fucking starving.

I’m bad at feeding myself, coz either I’ll forget and suddenly be so starving I feel sick, or all I do is EAT. I’ve been put on steroids that make you want to eat. At one point, I couldn’t stop eating even though I was so full I wanted to be sick. With an IBD, weight loss is BAD. Either your gut isn’t getting enough nourishment from your food or you’re shitting so much of it out so quick there’s no time for your body to absorb it. So, I guess at least they worry if I’m looking more trim lol.

 

“Just go for a walk,” they say, “anything to raise your pulse,” they say… but anything I like doing I’m not ‘allowed’ because of my disability so OF COURSE I’m not consistent with exercise you tell me I can’t do stuff I enjoy. One doctor even told me I only enjoy those things because I am good at them, because of my disability… is that a crime? Am I not allowed to enjoy things I can do? Ballet and yoga don’t hurt me as much a circuits or zumba (which gave me shin splints btw). I also found out recently I can’t even swim anymore because of muscle problems in my right arm, it’s too painful to actually swim… the number one recommended activity (which I also don’t really like but now I can’t even do)

 

We constantly see skinny people selling us health and size as if it’s easy to reach without a 6 figure paycheck, a personal chef, personal trainer and surgery tbh. And the ‘normies’ of the world who don’t have a disability or chronic illness that takes a toll on your energy and activity level like to cram it down our throats that we just aren’t doing enough. There’s 24 hours in a day, you can use 1 for exercise. But… I sleep 10 hours on average, some days more, I’m slower to do things, I have to remember to take 1500 pills morning and night, doctors appointments and how I’m going to get there and be emotionally prepared for what they are going to say, or wow I need to cook myself dinner but I can’t bring myself to stand in the kitchen nor think of a meal I could make… Check out the spoon theory if you need more explanation.

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Not everyone can walk their dog, or get to a gym, or AFFORD A MEMBERSHIP, or have you ever thought about the process of getting ready to swim and then getting ready to leave from swimming? Most changing rooms are hot and you’re sweaty and you can’t dry off and you can’t get your clothes on and now you’re dizzy and you might be sick! It really just goes on.

 

Most people, including doctors, do not think I am ‘overweight’ when they look at me. I carry my weight around my middle mostly so occasionally I jokingly call myself ‘skinny passing’.

 

Here’s a great experiment: Me, my mum, and my gran. Different heights, I’m 5’7, my mum 5’4, my gran 5’2. Carry our weight differently, mine is mostly my stomach and upper arms, my mum is mostly her bum and stomach, my gran is almost entirely her chest. Poor little woman with great old nunga-nungas. We are all very similar clothing sizes. My gran needed a size 18 to fit comfortably over her boobs. I’m roughly a 16/18 on top for broad shoulders and ribs and 14-16 on bottom for my skinny legs but wide waist. my mum is around 14-16 on bottom but she has issues with the waist being too loose or the calf area too tight. I moved into wearing more men’s clothes coz somehow a small will be tight fitting like a 14 in t-shirts but there’s not shame in wearing a men’s large or even extra large… because there’s no number. Men’s trousers are still a fucking mess if you ask me the waist size isn’t accurately in inches, I’ll tell you that for free.

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My fat friends don’t go to the doctor unless they really have to. They aren’t believed when they think something is seriously wrong, it’s all put down to weight. Skinny white women struggle to be listened to as it is in 2019. Imagine being anything else, poc, disabled, chronically ill, queer, trans, fat, no one listens to us and we have to learn to be a self advocate or bring a trusted person with us to help advocate when it’s too much. I have been spoken to like I’m a fucking idiot and been told how to wipe my own arse on more than one occasion by the same man (a surgeon btw, surgeons have zero social skills) as if I haven’t lived like this for a long time already. I am also belittled by other sick people who have had their disease longer than I have and tell me my case is mild when the last year of my life has been nothing but suffering.

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I’m just tired and angry at the able people out there making assumptions, and the doctors and nurses out there deciding they know what’s happening to my body before I finish telling them everything, and the other sick people who think they are better and more knowledgeable than me because they’ve had it longer or are older than I am. I’m angry for myself and I’m angry for my friends and I’m angry for my community.

I got enough to deal with, kindly, fuck off.

 

~ Artie.

Check out this video where I finally get rid of my ‘skinny’ clothes!

Check out this post by Zipporah Arielle on getting comfortable talking about Crohn’s as there are many ways body shaming can sneak into your life as a disabled person.

Being Sociable With BPD: From Someone With BPD

Hey pals,

this was a guest post I wrote but the link I have for it doesn’t seem to work anymore, so I assume it is no longer up. It is a piece I really poured a lot of myself into and think is important to talk about so I’m re-posting it here to my own blog! I hope you enjoy

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There are a lot of things people don’t understand about BPD and the effect it can have on relationships. Making friends, talking to people, creating a connection, all very confusing for both parties. BPD is unpredictable and can be very different from person to person. So I’m going to try my best to encompass some of the difficulties and ways someone with BPD can make socialising easier on themselves. This can also help someone who does not have BPD to understand what someone might be going through.

 

​I’ve found (with myself and other people I have known with BPD) it can be hard to participate appropriately in conversation. Over-sharing with strangers is a big one; it’s like you lost your filter and once you start you can’t stop. You can see it in their eyes: “Oh God, who did I sit next to? How do I get out?”

​Or you find that you forget to reciprocate questions, or your questions are too personal. And it’s always too late for you to correct yourself. What’s worse? Pretending it didn’t happen? Or bringing attention to it and saying sorry?

​These things take a lot of practice. Start with small talk questions, they might be boring but not everyone will be okay with you asking about the scar on their face or which parent gave them the most emotional trauma growing up. Start with, ‘how do you know so-and-so?’ or ‘what do you do for a living?’

 

​Substance abuse is a big one for many people with BPD. Though I am technically not an alcoholic, I rely on alcohol during social situations either to get myself out of awkward conversation or to make it easier to ignore the anxious voice in my head. So if you have problems with alcohol or other drugs, try hanging out somewhere you can’t order alcohol. I love going for coffee with my friends and I have a terrible coffee addiction. Losing your logic and control to substances can also lead to impulsivity and risky behaviour. You might keep drinking to excess or buying others drinks to bribe affection from them, but you could also end up being somewhat unsafe in other ways too: unsafe/risky sex, going for a walk on your own, speaking to strangers. Generally your symptoms are much easier to aggravate as well. Try to set a budget for the night and tell your friends, they can help hold you accountable. It’s a slippery slope that can lead to a much worse situation.

 

​Splitting can be one of the more difficult symptoms to deal with. If you’re not aware of this term, splitting is the black and white thinking. ‘To split’ is to drastically have your feelings changed to the opposite end of the scale. Splitting can be triggered by something really small, like your friend making a joke at your expense. This could be okay any other time but this time it isn’t and now you hate them. Sometimes you can see what’s happening, but sometimes it’s so consuming you can only feel this emotion. Try to remind yourself that splitting is often temporary and you’ll probably feel better after you’ve had some sleep. If it’s still there the next day, then you should look more deeply into why that is.

 

The one piece of advice that will help you across the board is self-control. Urgh, yeah I know how that sounds to you. ‘How am I supposed to control feelings that are so huge and ugly?’ Practice. Also urgh, I know. But you really do get better with practice and you only really need to get to a point where you don’t outwardly lash out at people. Your feelings are huge, but they change so quickly you will regret taking it out on someone. Start learning to hold in your big emotions at the time until it’s appropriate or until they pass. It’s appropriate when you have a friend who knows and understands that sometimes you need to blow off steam and what kind of friend you need them to be. When I’m angry about something, I need to vent to someone not involved and be told that my feelings are valid and fair. But I also need to be told when I’m being the issue not the other person. It’s a hard balance for anyone and it can take time to get there. It all comes with open communication. Or therapy. Therapy is always a good idea.

If I don’t have access to this person, there’s another thing I’ve learned: leave the situation. If you can only leave for a bit, then do it. This is why I used to smoke so much; I’d leave the situation to go for a cigarette by myself or with someone else. I don’t recommend smoking! It tends to make you even more anxious and jittery than you were already.

One of the best things you can do is find a space or group for people with BPD for you to join. I understand this isn’t easy or always accessible but the benefits of going to a group are worth it. You can learn so much from other people because, even though it isn’t you, you really relate to other people’s problems in group. They also tend to give great advice and validate how you feel all in one go! It’s super exhausting though, in a good way.

 

DON’T join Facebook groups for people with BPD. Health professionals do not monitor them; the admins are also people with BPD and we are not always the best to control entire groups. When you’re genuinely looking for advice, no one will respond. The groups are all drama and people trying to start arguments. It’s just gross toxic energy, don’t bother. It will just wind you up.

DO speak to your GP or local mental health charity; see what services are available. I briefly attended the SUN group (which has a few locations but mainly Croydon so best to check with someone), it was peer advice and assistance for people with BPD and sometimes Bipolar Disorder.

 

Socialising is hard with BPD but then so is everything. If you are diagnosed relatively quickly and you’ve started noticing your patterns of behaviour, you can change it. The statistic is, after two years of treatment, 50% of people with BPD recover. Try to get into whatever therapy or treatments you can, do a lot of research to put words to your feelings, and go easy on yourself.

People with BPD are not inherently abusive like a lot of people think and it is often thought to be caused by trauma or other environmental factors. You can recover; it will just take some work.

 

~ Artie

 

Edit: Here are some links to videos I like, and YouTubers who have and continue to make videos about BPD !!

Kati Morton on Splitting

The Rewired Soul on Quiet BPD

 

Taking Meds: My Opinion.

Hey pals,

 

I’ve seen this dumb as fuck post on twitter going around by @johnyelizar about how people do not need medication because he got off all of his. I thought about responding on Twitter, but I have quite a lot to say so decided to write it here.

 

I’m going to start with my personal relationship to medications, of all kinds. I have been on hundreds of different medications since I was around 14 or 15 when I first started taking the contraceptive pill. I have tried 3 different types of medications for mental health reasons and I’ve also re-tried them. I am currently not on any medication for my mental health because I didn’t feel like they sit well with me and exacerbated my symptoms. That does not mean they would not work for other people. I’ve met many people who have taken sertraline and really liked it, whereas I hated that one the most. That is okay. We all have a different chemical structure in our bodies, what works for me might not work for you. I have worked very hard on my mental health outside of medication and even then my trauma is different to yours and you may not find the therapies I liked helpful to you.

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Here is my medication draw. 

 

I take many medications a day just to function and hearing someone say ‘you don’t need them’ does really bother me. But I don’t think his intent was malicious, I think he was directing this for the people who maybe don’t need to be taking the medication they are on. BUT you should always, always speak to your doctor before coming off medication. There are all kinds of side effects and withdrawal symptoms you could experience if you go cold turkey. So please speak to your doctor if you’d like to come off any medication.

 

I do have to say though, particularly when it comes to mental health medication, lots of people think ‘oh I feel better now, I don’t need my medication’. This is fine, but I’ve heard this from my doctors and I’ve heard it in all kinds of other places, that if you feel like you don’t need your mental health medication, it means it is working and it may be best you stay on them. I would still say go speak to your doctor, maybe you don’t need as high a dose anymore and could lower it, or you may not actually need it. But I often feel that when you get to that point, your meds are doing what they are supposed to be doing and they’ve finally chemically evened out in your system. I feel it is similar to me taking my pain meds and thinking, wow I’m not in pain anymore I don’t think I need them, but coming off them would just bring the pain back because the protective barrier is gone.

 

I have some people in my life who used to be on crazy amounts of medication and did come off all of them. She found that a lot of her meds were making other symptoms worse that lead to taking more meds for those symptoms, etc. She was taking meds to try and undo what the other meds were doing. Treating the symptom rather than the cause. Yes, sometimes all you can do is treat the symptom (I, myself, have numerous illnesses where all I can do is treat the symptom and not the cause.) but her medication was causing the symptom. Some of them did not work well together, she recommended I speak to a pharmacist about my medication in case there were any that conflicted, that is something I recommend others to do as well. Her story was that she came off of all these medications, had an operation she needed and also quit smoking and found someone who told her specific allergies she had. She is allergic to a lot of foods that you wouldn’t even think of. In her case, she had been on medications for a long, long time but they didn’t seem to help so much.

 

But that is an extreme situation. Lots of people are put on medications for a reason, though I know that being put on mental health medications rather than given other support is a bit of an issue these days.

 

The thing is, I cannot tell you what is right for you, and neither can this random man. Only you and your doctor can decide this. Shaming people for taking medication isn’t the way. That is incredibly ableist and counter productive. Lots of people feel shameful of taking medication as it is without adding this to it as well. If you have come off medications and you feel better, good for you! If you feel better on medication, that’s great!

We are all different, one person’s standards of health isn’t someone else’s.

 

~Artie

 

If you want more of my ramblings, go follow my Twitter where I rant on the regular.