Oh, how do I feel about my shoes? They make me awkward and plain.

Every day you must say
So, how do I feel about my life ?
Anything is hard to find
When you will not open your eyes
When will you accept yourself ?
I am sick and I am dull
And I am plain
How dearly I’d love to get carried away
Oh, but dreams have a knack of just not coming true
And time is against me now…oh
Oh, who and what to blame ?
Oh, anything is hard to find
When you will not open your eyes
When will you accept yourself, for heaven’s sake ?
- Accept Yourself, The Smiths

 

The plan certainly wasn’t for the whole day to become an unholy disaster, but it seems I simply just don’t have a choice in these things. My mother shouted at me until I agreed to get out of bed, demanding that I sort myself out and take control of my life. This set the precedent for the rest of the day; her angry over very little, me building up into a barely-controlled ball of anxiety and fear every time she opened her mouth or even looked at me. I’m trying to keep calm for the neurologist appointment, but she won’t stop taking about it. I know I sound like a spoiled child when I say this, but it’s not her appointment; it’s mine. Just like so many other things, she has taken it upon herself to arrange transport, demanded I write down a list of symptoms, made me type out a list of the medications I take (why won’t handwritten do?), keeps bringing up the subject of scans and tests. I’m regretting asking her to go with me (although I know she’d have naturally assumed she’s be going with me) because she’s turned it into a huge drama, when I was trying to let it slightly slip my mind so I don’t become scared of the appointment.

Well, I’m scared now. Too scared to sleep, and wondering what the hell to do. If I try to sleep now, what if I just lie awake worrrying? If I stay up, what if I can’t cope with the weekend after being awake for so long?

03.15am

Unsurprisingly, I’ve given up on the idea of sleep. I did feign one attempt – even going so far as switching the lamp off and avoiding caffeine all evening – but, as usual, the brain won’t shut up. I’m thinking about tomorrow; about how tired and grumpy I’ll be in the taxi. How the smell and lights in hospitals make me feel skin-crawlingly uncomfortable. The neurological centre is attached to the hospital my stepfather was admitted to when he sustained the brain injury, and although I can’t remember what it looks like now (too much dope, too many sleepless nights), I suspect it’ll bring back feelings I’m not really in the mood to recall.

I’ve calmed down since this afternoon, after having three or four joints and listening to Erasure for a while. Earlier, I was livid; on the edge of screaming and stomping like a toddler and running away somewhere safe. The catalyst for my anxiety was this small snippet of conversation:

Mother: “Until you’ve sorted yourself out, there’ll be no more weekends with S“.

Something inside me flipped, as it has so many times before. Just those few words turned on the waterworks (which I think I kept hidden) and created a bubble of panic. I sat on the sofa, trying not to cry, torn between staying downstairs and getting into yet another argument, or running to my room, grabbing a razor and dealing with the building panic attack before it got unbearable. I think I would have harmed myself if we hadn’t been about to set off to go shopping. I suppose I just didn’t want to be walking around with the familar burn under my sleeves. I don’t want to be that way anymore and, fingers crossed, I haven’t given in to hurting myself for a long time now. Months. It’d be a shame to have to start again, all because of a throwaway comment.

You see, I’m becoming fearful that S will grow tired of my mother’s strange rules and ways of thinking, and leave me. Logic says that he’s not like that and that he understands the situation,  but since when did logic get in the way of a good freak-out? Also, I’m sick of being told what I will or won’t do. I’m utterly exhausted by it. I crave freedom and control, but I know I can never have either of those things while I’m under my mother’s roof.

The second thoughtless comment was regarding my eating habits.

Mother: “I’m going to have to start putting locks on the cupboards. I know it’s not nice to hear but you’re eating a lot and you’ll only complain to me when none of your clothes fit again“.
Way to go, Ma! Not only am I very much aware that the binging is out of control – thank you very much – but I also happen to be very stressed over it, and don’t need reminding how much of a problem it’s become again. I am aware of my weight at every second of the waking day right now; telling me I’m eating too much isn’t going to make me stop, or magically fix every problem I’ve ever had relating to food. Oh, I know it’s not entirely her fault – it’s easy to say something without thinking – but sometimes I get a little suspicious and wonder if she’s doing it on purpose. I don’t know why she would… to test me, maybe? To see if I’m truly over the eating disorders (she knows I’m not, surely?) by pushing the issue of food just when I seem at my most highly-strung?

I think I’m being paranoid.

Shopping was a rushed trip around the main street in the rain and gales we’re experiencing at the moment (which means it was Windsday), punctuated by my mother’s exasperation at my “behaviour” and my panicked outbursts. When I’m feeling as anxious as I did today, I get angry and frustrated. For years I thought that irrational rage was down to low blood sugar, but I’ve come to realise that it’s a side-effect of building up panic and worries inside my head until I explode.

One of my least favourite side-effects of panic attacks is how I turn everything in on myself. I’m naturally an introvert, but I can become incredibly cruel to myself when I’m filled with anxiety. The first thing I picked on today was the way I was dressed. It’s hard to explain how it works… it’s like voices, but I don’t hear them. They’re my thoughts, but as though they’re coming from a different brain.  I know nobody’s actually talking to me, but it can be deafening sometimes when I’m throwing insults at myself. Today’s voices went like this:

“Who the hell wears a knee length pink coat at your age? You look like an old woman”

“You can only wear old women clothes because you’re too fat to fit into anything nice”

“Everything looks awful on you, life was much better when you were a size 10″

“Look, everybody’s staring at you because you look ridiculous in that hat. A skinny girl would suit it, but not you”

Then:

“You’ll never escape. You’ll always live in this house, and you’ll die alone, without friends”

“People just pretend to like you”

“You’re worth nothing. You spend all day playing computer games and smoking dope. You don’t even have a job”

“Those boots never did suit you”

“You’ll lose all your benefits, and you won’t get a job because you’re no good at anything, and you’ll never achieve a single dream”.

… and so on, until my head was so crowded that I wanted to run. At one point, I did leave the supermarket, and went and sat outside in the rain on the cold metal bench while my mother bought cigarettes. I was panicking at the till – not helped by the slowest checkout assistant ever – and was getting all messed up in my head over which bags the freezer stuff went in and my mother’s insistance that I’d filled the trolley full of rubbish. She tried to stop me buying Diet Pepsi, saying I’m not allowed. I bought it anyway, if only out of spite. We’ve always battled over food and drink; she believes that the only way to survive in the modern world is to only eat organic food, only drink out of glass bottles, never drink out of cans because it can “give you cancer”. My beliefs are a little more relaxed, to say the least. Sometimes I wonder if she realises that she should just be happy I’m not anorexic anymore and doing my best to fight the after-effects of bulimia. She should be happy that I eat, and sometimes don’t read the nutrition labels or worry about how much salt is in a ready meal, rather than spending every waking moment terrified by calories.

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12 Comments

  1. You are telling my story right. My mom was the same way when I was growing up. I remember going to Planned Parenthood for an appointment and my mother wanted to come into the exam room with me. But I told her not to because–at 14–I didn’t need my mother staring down at my vagina! After the procedure (I found out I had BV), I was pulling up my pants when my mom swings open the door and starts yelling at me. I was so dead embarrassed, Boo. Very much so.

    I also have an eating disorder. My dad used to tell me I ate too much and Mom tried to put me on a diet at 9. Ever since then, I would either withhold food from myself or vomit. I don’t do either anymore, but I find myself still being weird with food. I guess it never goes away. Please keep your head up <3

  2. Mom is gruff, isn’t she? How can you take control of your life when she’s doing it for you? Honestly? Mom is the one that needs counseling. She’s a control freak. And it’s not helping you. Making idle threats as to who you can and cannot see is just not healthy. You need social interaction with the world. You mom should be a little more supportive. She’s suppose to be a person you can talk to, tell your feelings. On the contrary, she’s become the last person you want to say anything to in fear she’ll berate you. I’m sure it’s very frustrating to her to see you like this. I guess she had visions of her daughter married to a wealthy man who would take care of you and have kids. Well, life ain’t like that. Yes, sometimes we need a little kick in the ass to get going, but being condescending isn’t the way to build esteem. You’re a good person! Don’t forget that. And you have every right to be a little anxious about the appt. Mom is, too. But doesn’t know how to deal with it, so she lets it out on you. Like you said, she loves the drama.

    I wish I had a solution for you. But you ARE a good person. There’s a happy person inside you trying to get out! Do you have a job? That would do a world of good for you if you could at least get a part time job if you don’t have a job already.

  3. Oh, love, i’m sending you LOTTSA love! I think you rock! Man, you are a miracle. No more anorexia, no more bulimia after living with Mrs. Monster-like. My mom was the silent monster. She leered, and made comments about my fatness, my flatchestedness, or my this or my that. I was a bleeping beacon of errors to that woman. These days i take on my Mom’s voice … as i see you do (or did … i hope). You are amazing. I hope your health is going well.

    Going for a Happy Head is a great venture, love. You’re a warrior!!! your pal, melis

  4. I know exactly what you mean about your mother’s condescending conversations regarding bingeing! My mother is the same, she constantly makes gets mad at me for eating-even normally-and says I’ve had too much. I hardly ate at all over the summer, and it prompted her to bring me to a therapist to make me eat, and yet she STILL gets mad when I eat. Hmph, I guess some people just won’t understand. Have you tried writing her a letter or talking to her about how her comments are far from appreciated? If you have a therapist, maybe it would be helpful to bring her into a session to chat about it. Best of luck and lots of love! x

  5. Here’s a tough one, but one you will find to be very very beneficial once you grasp it. Relax. Slow down, inhale deeply and slowly, and relax. It can be difficult and even seem like it’s not going to work. Do it until it does work, even if it takes an hour of inhaling and exhaling. I suffered extreme anxiety at one point in my life for about a year. I would get worked up about the smallest things, and because I was so anxious and had so much adrenaline coursing through my bloodstream, everything was in a knot. It made eating incredibly difficult, and it was to the point that I looked very sick. I overcame it myself by making myself relax. I told myself that the only way I could control it was to relax and that it would pass. I told myself that I could handle it, and yes, I thought I was lying to myself at first. After doing this at any sign of panic and anxiety, though, I found I was capable of handling it. The anxiety started to take less time to wear down.
    And remember, your mother, deep down, is not your enemy. Those that have a difficult time understanding or don’t understand are ignorant. They don’t fully understand the problems, so they can’t possibly know how to help the problems, often times making situations worse without realizing or understanding they’ve done so. Relax with her, talk with her. Remain friendly at all costs, and you both will develop an understanding.

  6. Some parents are ignorant regard to their children’ needs and desires. It can be age differences, education, perception etc. But there is one thing i do believe is that they have tried their best (in their ability) to love their children. Even though in most of the case, it’s not how we want to be loved, but the efforts are still appreciated. I know it sounds corny and in the past I used to hate my parents with my passions. However, I have reached the era when I don’t feel the need to hate them anymore. They are who they are and no matter how disappointed I am toward them, the situation will not change for me. One thing I can change is my attitude. Hating them will not make me any happier, so I choose to focus on something else. And if they can change, it’s great, if not, oh well, they are not living my life so why bother.

    But of course, it’s just the way I look at my parent’s issues. Maybe I am too light hearted lol.
    I think that you will eventually get out of the house and girl, you sure have a lot of supporters here who love and care for you. You are just being so self-critical. You are perfect the way you are, you know that. God makes us different for a purpose. The voices you sometime received are judgments from others. We stored everything in our past experiences/memories in our subconscious. These harsh thoughts are not yours. It’s like you look at yourself from a distance and evaluate you on some standards. But the good news is, we all do that because we get that from today society. They make us to not want to be ourselves but someone else.

    At the end, we all are beautiful and unique in our own way. Love you the way we love you, and then you will see how important you are to us.

  7. but since when did logic get in the way of a good freak-out? -Great quote. I live with my parents too I can relate, I’m 29 and it just got within the last year that they will let me go to my dr and psychiatrist appointments by myself.

  8. Since letting go of my ED, and I mean REALLY letting go, I’ve found those voices disappear. I understand COMPLETELY when you talk about hearing a voice that’s not there outside your brain, but still in your head. That voice was THE single most terrible side-effect of my ED. Now that I’ve re-introduced oils, good fats, and even sugars back into my diet my brain is back to normal. I never ever hear that voice anymore, its disappeared completely. I’m happy. I never thought I’d be happy again. I don’t read labels at all anymore. I don’t weigh myself anymore. I still make mostly healthy choices, but the greatest advantage I’ve gained recently is I’ve learned how to listen to my body again so I no longer binge.

    They can disappear. You just have to make the choice to stop listening. Then they’ll go and find someone else who WILL listen.

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