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Unspoken

Sitting together and so far apart,
a thousand words unsaid and truths unspoken,
I never felt more alone, more out of place,
as I do tonight,
sitting by your side.

.
A bottle in my hand and a cigarette in yours,
I open my mouth but no words will form,
it all seems so trivial when I feel this broken,
when you’re sitting so close to me,
yet not here at all.

(c)

Writing about 2008 is more difficult than I ever imagined. On one hand, I almost feel uncomfortable writing about my past relationships now that I’ve been with S for eighteen months; I know he probably wouldn’t mind, but it must be weird for him to know I’m writing about my exes. On the other hand, it’s only now that I can see just how low I sunk; I knew I was falling apart but what I didn’t realise is that I’d totally cracked long before it got to this point. I can see that now. It’s difficult to think about. I acted in ways I’m not proud of and damaged my body god knows how much with handfuls of amitriptyline, tramadol, diazepam, co-codamol, small antidepressant overdoses to get me through the night in a dazed drug-fuelled stupor instead of having to deal with the reality of everything in my life going incredibly wrong. 

O and I… we stopped speaking one day. Conversation turned to bitter arguments and shouting matches. Slammed doors and a smashed laptop. Midnight chases down the street; it was always me doing the running. I just couldn’t face any of it. 

I remember sitting on his swivel office chair, gulping from a bottle of cheap peach schnapps and watching him smoke cigarette after cigarette, sitting on his bed and brooding. He threw me out that night. 

Of course, we got back together. We did a lot of getting back together. 

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Every day life, Poetry

 

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In absentia

It’s a strange feeling. Sitting on the sofa, listening to 4 Non Blondes, drinking coffee, and realising I finally made it. Knowing it took what felt like forever to get here, and trying to accept that I now have my own life. My own rules. My own independence.

Neglecting my blog, and everyone involved… it hasn’t felt good. The occasional tinge of guilt sneaks up on me, knowing that so many people have supported me for over a year and are still commenting despite my absence. However, sitting in the front room and seeing my belongings mixed with S’s… I honestly never believed it would happen, and real life has to take precedence.

Yes, we moved in together. I escaped; and not only do I have freedom for the first time in years, but I also have access to my own finances for the first time in my entire life. I got the bus into town two days ago – a feat in itself, considering how long it’s been since I felt brave enough to use public transport – and checked my bank account. Seeing money in my account for the first time since receiving my stepfather’s inheritance… you don’t know how amazing it feels. Knowing that, for the first time in twenty seven years, I am entirely independent. For the first time, my life is my own and not controlled by anybody but myself.

The past couple of weeks have been an unbelievable nightmare, culminating in a full-force BPD freak-out where I cried, screamed, howled, and eventually called a taxi to take me to S’s. I couldn’t cope with anything at all, and I admit there were a couple of situations where it looked like I was going to lose it entirely. I hit myself in the face. Toyed with a razor and a pair of scissors. Pulled a chunk of hair out, just to feel anything but the horrible pain inside of total loss of control. Stopped eating entirely for a week, living on strong coffee and the last of my dope stash, codeine; anything I could get my hands on to numb the fear just for a short while.

In truth, I don’t know how I got through it all. Trying to explain just how wrong everything seemed to go…it’s impossible. You can’t put such things into words.

You see, it wasn’t just the move stressing me out – although it really didn’t help – and my habit of not being able to cope with more than one thing at once really didn’t help. Quite why I decided to stop taking my medication for a few days, I’m not sure… I should know better, and can only assume that BPD was telling me I’d be better off without them. It’s happened often in the past but I thought I was over it, and had more sense now. Obviously not.

Within two days I’d gone back to the old ways. Panic. Everything was a disaster. The world was ending. Paranoia, beyond belief. Constant – and I mean constant – tears. The need for reassurance. Grabbing onto anything to survive. Laying awake at night hearing the slight whisper of the voices creeping in. Shadows and movement just out of my vision. Feeling victimised by things which hadn’t even happened.

I don’t know how I used to live like that.

Along with everything else I was trying to deal with – the return of fibro pain from not taking Lyrica or Celebrex/Naproxen, the tendonitis getting much, much worse, my mother freaking out over every little thing connected to the move – I finally got to the Biomechanics appointment which had been moved around so many times; I thought I’d never get there. Waiting was pointless though, as nothing was achieved. In fact, I may as well have stayed at home and abandoned any hope of help.

After months of waiting, after being discharged from physio after nothing helped, all the appointment involved was being told I need to do exercises to help the pain in my ankle and foot. In other words, I waited months – and worried – simply to be told exactly what I was told at physio. Told exactly what I already knew. I tried explaining that I’d had to stop the exercises since they were so painful but was simply told to do them regardless. Then, I was referred back to physio.

What is it about me? Why does nobody take me seriously?

I pondered this for a while after the appointment. There’s no denying that I’ve been let down by the NHS a ridiculous number of times; pushed from pillar to post, sent from one specialist to another, and always been made to feel like more of a nuisance than a genuine patient.

So I sat, and thought, and came to perhaps a controversial conclusion; that my past history of mental illness is affecting my treatment. I know this sounds paranoid – and it’s understandable that perhaps the idea of doctors refusing to treat me due to mental illness is something many would pooh-pooh as ridiculous – but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

You see, I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that many see me as a faker. A chancer. Someone who goes to the doctors just to get attention and treatment I don’t need. Munchausen’s syndrome comes to mind.

It’s possible that some of my symptoms are psychosomatic; in fact, I know some are. Others however… you can’t fake them. It’s impossible to fake things like hair loss, swelling joints, jaundice, constant coldsores, endless urinary infections, weight loss, tendonitis, crunching knees and fingers, sciatica… all these things are real, physical symptoms, and have been proven to exist. So I can’t be faking it; doctors themselves have confirmed a myriad of symptoms and illnesses.

Yet… I’m not getting the treatment I’m entitled to.

Last week, I discovered something I’d never known, and it’s only served to confirm my suspicions. I spoke to my mother about accessing my medical records – she agrees that I’m not being treated fairly – and I found out that when I was seventeen, I was sectioned.

I never knew. Nobody told me. I assumed I was simply being ‘kept an eye on’ when I was stuck in hospital after a failed overdose, but in reality the truth was kept from me to protect me. I can understand why, but still… it’s a lot to come to terms with. I’ve always held onto the belief that no matter how crazy I’ve been, I’ve never been sectioned. Somehow that belief helped me cope. Now everything’s been turned upside down. A lot of my life has been a lie.

It’s a weird thought. I was sectioned, and never knew.

It makes me wonder what else I was never told. Just what my past involved. I know for a lot of my teens I was out of it, and couldn’t take much in except for the difficulties and problems I experienced, and I know I was often trapped in some form of psychosis; living my life in a bubble created to protect myself. There’s so much of my teens I can’t remember – medication, craziness, lack of sleep, lack of food, drugs, drink… it all blocked out memories – and it’s entirely possible that things happened I wasn’t aware of.

So much of my life has been pieced together from flashes of memory; some of which may not even be real. In truth, I don’t know half of what I’ve lived through. I just… locked it away somewhere.

They should have told me. I had a right to know.

Right now, I’m trying not to think about it too much. I have an appointment with my GP on the 9th, and I’m planning on talking about all my worries. I’m really not up to it right now – a lot needs to be done to the flat – but this needs to be sorted once and for all.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Every day life

 

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No alarms and no surprises

* Trigger warning: contains talk of calorie amounts and eating disorders. 

I’m not entirely sure what happened this weekend. Something inside me doesn’t want to write about it, but I’m aware that I rarely talk about my weekends; by the time I get home from S’s house I’m exhausted and it sort of slips away until it feels too late to describe the days.

I’m aware that while I’m writing so much, I’m neglecting other blogs, and that makes me feel guilty. It’s very much all about give and take for me, and knowing I’m taking all this support and not giving anything back… it’s uncomfortable for me. I apologise; things have become a little difficult and writing feels like my only outlet.

Food. Food is an issue. Today I ate a whole low fat banana loaf and some vegetarian sausages and beans on wholemeal toast. Around 1000 calories. Yesterday… maybe around the same; I didn’t count. The past week… around 300-400 calories a day. Sugar-free squash and strong coffee and taking anti-inflammatories on an empty stomach. By Friday I was flaring heavily and dizzy from lack of food. A good dizzy. Confirmation that I’ve restricted enough calories. My stomach was rolling and, despite being almost empty, cramping like crazy. I spent most of Friday afternoon on the toilet.

So really, I do know what happened. The flare combined with restricting; not forgetting regular joints and a bit of alcohol… it all brought me down. S doesn’t have much money right now – it’s getting close to payday – so I packed two big bags of food from the cupboards and fridge. I’d bought a cherry pie and ice cream, thinking that we could snuggle up together in front of a film and I’d feel safe enough to eat. I baked the pie; baked it at 11pm and we watched Andy Kaufman’s standup on Youtube. I couldn’t eat it. I tried; I really did. I wanted to. However much I attempted to swallow though, the pie just became bigger and bigger in my mouth. It tasted of nothing. All I saw in the bright red sauce and cherries was calorie upon calorie. I ate perhaps three small spoonfuls, then gave up. I’d only had a tiny slice. A 16th of the pie, S said.

I tried chocolate Philadelphia on walnut bread. Two small slices later, I felt horribly full and self-aware. Coffee with almond milk became a big no-no once I started thinking, “nuts have fat in…”. I told S that I was feeling ill and that’s why I wasn’t eating. It wasn’t exactly a lie; I felt downright bloody awful.

Saturday, and the weather was lovely. I spend it indoors, either sleeping or reading. I couldn’t face daylight. Cooked pasta and again, couldn’t eat it. S said it was lovely – I’d cheated and used ready-made sauce, but had chopped up some onions and garlic to add to it – but I just couldn’t taste anything. It was like eating cardboard.

I slept a lot, sweating buckets all over S’s mattress. Occasionally he’d wake me with a kiss or a nuzzle, and give me a cuddle. For the first time, well, since we met really, we didn’t have sex once on Saturday or Sunday. I just couldn’t feel anything. Couldn’t find the energy. S didn’t mention it, which is a comfort. Since O left, I worry that the man I love will walk away because I can’t always manage to perform. S… it just didn’t seem to be an issue with him. I’m very lucky; I know that.

He treated me like a princess. Fluffed my pillows and tucked me in with a kiss on the forehead. Didn’t tease me about my hairy, unshaven legs. Helped me over the back step when we went out for a smoke. Didn’t pressure me to go to a party we were both invited to, and came back in the time he said he would, giving me a big kiss and telling me about how much I’d have hated to be there anyway.

We talked a lot about the new flat. The bathroom’s been done; there’s a large corner shower apparently, and they’re doing the kitchen now. We’re getting an oven, fridge/freezer and washing machine. New cream deep-pile carpets. S has a huge leather sofa with a chaise longue. A chaise longue! We’re going to get a Rasperry Pi and set it up as a server for all our music, and have Age Of Empires battles.

We’ll be moving in soon. Around two or three weeks from now.

I’m hoping a lot will change once S and live together. He grounds me. Keeps me balanced.

I came back home on Sunday night, shuffling into a taxi and clinging onto my new phone like crazy so I could have some connection to S. My mobile broke a while ago – the camera stopped working and then the touch screen – and on Thursday I spilled a full cup of coffee on it, destroying the poor thing entirely. I spilled a lot of coffee that day. I’ve been knocking drinks over like crazy for a couple of weeks now.

An acquaintance (I’d say friend, but you know the issues I have with that word) offered me a Samsung Ch@t for free, and dropped it off at S’s house on Friday night. I can’t help but mistrust this person, like I do pretty much everyone else, but it was a kind thing to do. I hate the name of the thing – Ch@t, for god’s sake – but it’s a cool little thing and has a QWERTY keyboard, meaning I can send texts comfortably again. Touch screens made my fingers ache.

Didn’t sleep on Sunday night. I missed S too much. When I’m feeling like this – down, but not depressed – all I want is to cuddle up next to him and feel his arm around me. When we sleep, he wraps his whole body around me sometimes. We’re always touching in some way, and we usually wake up holding hands. It sounds unreal, and part of me is still convinced it is. I just wish I could get my brain in order; I can see a future with this guy.

And I don’t think that’s the BPD talking.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Every day life

 

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Alcohol and Tramadol

Washing ashes down the sink,
as though it would always be so easy
to wash away memories of you
and everything you meant to me.
Finding all the lovesick notes,
crumpled and faded under your bed
- at least, I imagine all the words I wrote
now mean as much to you as the words I said.

Words like “I love you”, I know mean little to you now
soulmates no longer, or that’s how it seems
all the carefully constructed speeches and promises
now lie strewn around us, torn apart at the seams,
and the one thing you never considered
was that I could be hurting as much as you
that I could be regretting every last moment
I could be hating myself for everything I put you through.

Hurting myself to forget the pain,
and pills to help me sleep at night
how could you believe that I knew it would happen;
and that this was something I thought was right?
Alcohol and Tramadol,
quick fixes which never seem to last
uneasy sleep and confused dreams,
and morning always comes too fast.

I slide further downwards and I don’t want to stop,
this is all I believe I ever deserved,
bittersweet lullabies and a twist in the tale
how can you say that I never cared?
Three weeks by the window,
three weeks on the floor,
21 days in the corner,
1260 minutes by the door.

Waiting impatiently for your call,
knowing I could mean so little to you
compared to my feelings, which never changed
despite everything we put each other through.
Despite it all, I still reach out,
I still never felt safer than I do by your side
I still think of you last thing at night
I still want you, and only you, to be mine.

Washing my hands but I’ll never come clean,
I’ll always be stained by all that I did
it was never as easy as you’d like to think
I always told you the truth, more than I hid.
Lovesick letters, secreted in books,
where you’ll never see my weakness for you
I kept the letters, the pictures, all the photographs
despite everything we put each other though.

(c) 2008

2008 was the year of poetry. Clichéd late-night ramblings fueled by painkillers and cheap bottles of red wine. Cigarette burns on the PVC bedroom window frame and knocking myself out with tranquilisers to hide from the inevitable breakdown. Things with O were coming to an end and his habit of breaking up with me then coaxing me back into bed – speaking of how he couldn’t live without me – confused everything to the point where I fell apart entirely. Poetry was the only way I could stay in reality. 

I cheated on him; slept with a 45 year old man. He cheated on me; throwing himself at a nineteen year old. Everything was messed up. We never recovered. 

I’m glad. 

I have S now.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Every day life

 

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Walking in circles

I don’t usually warn if there are going to be triggers in my posts, because I can’t censor everything I write and the nature of this blog is probably triggering anyway. However, there’s detail of self-harm which, if you’re feeling at all vulnerable, probably should be avoided. Eating disorders too. Be safe <3

A lot of the posts I write never get published. Some are still sitting there in my drafts folder, others have been permanently deleted because I never want to read them again. Some I abandon halfway through because typing those words is just too painful. Others I start, but then I pass out in a dope/codeine/alcohol haze before finishing them.

This post, I want to publish. I don’t want to write it – God knows I don’t want to write it – but if I’m going to be honest and keep track of the ups and downs, I have to stop hiding behind the magic “publish” button. True honesty – the entire point of this blog – can’t be had if I’m going to delete posts and never let anybody know they existed.

Today, I thought of both cutting myself, and making myself throw up. Not only did the thought enter my mind, but I planned exactly how I was going to do it; taking my new razor apart (with much sweating and swearing with a pair of scissors, trying to cut the plastic off) and repeatedly cutting all the part which made me feel inferior. My pale, wobbly belly. My flabby underarms. My hips. Inner thighs. My chin. All those hideous freaks of anatomy which make me avoid full-length mirrors and looking at myself naked. I walked around Asda – supposedly shopping but avoiding buying any real food – with my paranoia switched to full and the urge to harm myself almost reducing me to panicked, hysterical tears at the checkout.

I take two steps forward, and ten back. Some days I can almost believe I’m on the road to recovery from all this shit, and on others I realise that I’m always one tiny step from total meltdown and the slightest thing could send me all the way to crazy again.

I didn’t harm myself, or make myself sick. By the time I finally got home – what felt like milennia later – the urge had dulled a little, and a couple of joints calmed me enough to feel safe-ish. Not safe, just ish.

However, something came home with me. 28 Solpadine Max tablets.

Codeine. My old friend. My worst enemy.

I’ll always be walking in circes.

 
37 Comments

Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Every day life

 

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I hope you’re feeling happy now, I see you feel no pain at all.

We drank vodka and orange juice, beer, cider and rum and coke. Played Boggle online, keeping a tally of scores. Sat in the garden – both rain and shine – and smoked while getting sunburned one day and sheltering from the torrent by squeezing into the spider-infested shed the next. Ate pizza, kebabs, garlic mushrooms, toast, a roast dinner, chocolate mousse, biscuits and pack upon pack of Wotsits. We sat by the lake and stuffed our faces with chips, watching a swan paddling away near a stack of beer barrels and an old paddle-boat which is long past its prime but still takes tourists out on the lake in the summer; rust and all.

We lay in bed for hours. Napped when we felt like it, and stayed up late. Ventured out to buy large mochas and sat for hours, watching the world go by. Bought blackcurrant beer and German ale, and laughed at the weird and wonderful passing our little spot in the street. Had mind-blowing, sweaty sex, over and over. Watched Trailer Park Boys on YouTube and ordered takeaways so we wouldn’t have to go shopping. Played 8-ball with a couple of friends and smoked a not-so-sneaky joint outside the pub. Got drunk and stoned and laughed at nothing, for days on end.

Now, it’s Wednesday morning – almost 5am – and I’m sitting on my bed, wide-awake, cannabis smoke floating in the air and through the detritus which covers my bedroom. I don’t know what happened; a miniature hurricane, I can only assume. Pill packets and incense sticks are cluttering up my desk, along with bottles of nail varnish remover, jewellery holders, and empty tobacco packets. The coffee I made is strong and bitter, with grounds still floating on top, and my mouth is dry from all the smoke. I haven’t slept, and I have a doctor’s appointment at 9:30.

After such an amazing, hedonistic weekend… I should be happy. I am, really. I’m just… eh. Angry, I suppose.

I’ve occasionally mentioned having tendonitis. Acute Achilles tendonitis, to be exact. I’ve had it for over a year. There was no real obvious cause; the sole of my foot started aching every time I moved and, in a worryingly short space of time, I lost the ability to flex my foot up or down. I stuck it out for months, deciding it was yet another frustrating part of fibromyalgia, until the pain became so unbearable – like knives being driven into the back of my ankle – and I woke up one morning unable to hold any weight on my left foot. It was just dead; tingling and unresponsive with sharp ribbons of pain snaking over the whole of my lower leg. Naturally, I was a bit concerned and, considering I couldn’t walk and felt a weird combination of numbness and excruciating pain – along with balloon-like swelling of my foot and ankle – I went to A&E.

Long story short, I was given some painkillers and told to go home and rest. I wasn’t even seen by a doctor. I cried, but it got me nowhere. After going to my GP to complain that nothing was done to help the obvious damage, I was referred to a podiatrist/physiotherapist. He manipulated my foot, gave me insoles to force the tendon into place, and covered my ankle in ice until it burned. Whatever he did, the swelling refused to go down and so he referred me onto the biomechanics clinic to see a rheumatologist who specialises in movement.

Of course, they wrote to me and informed me that my appointment was to be moved to September.

That’s not why I’m angry. I’m angry because, after over a year, I’m still in pain. It’s yet another ridiculous sensation to deal with, and I’m sick of being pushed from pillar to post when nothing really seems to achieve anything. I’ve had an ultrasound scan, but still – over a month later – don’t know the results.

For the past four days, I’ve been unable to walk without standing on tip-toe on my left foot, because the tendon is so damn tight I can’t move it without pain. Tooth-gritting, wincing, tears-in-the-eyes pain. S has been his usual amazing self – fetching cups of coffee for me and helping me get over the back door step – but now that I’ve come back to my mother’s after an extended weekend (from Thursday to last night; S took some time off work) I’m quickly sinking into the old frustrations and regrets about not pushing harder for treatment. I’m such a mouse sometimes. I don’t want to tell anybody what to do.

That has to change today. Originally, I was seeing my doctor for a swollen finger; hardly the medical drama of the century, but a very painful inconvenience, and I figured I could get the whole blood pressure/side-effects/general emotional well-being stuff out of the way for another month or so. However, the red skin and suspicious ridged nail will have to take a backseat, because I’m determined to get something done about this damn foot today.

If I have to cry, I think I will. I rarely cry in front of doctors – I already feel inferior to them – but quite honestly… I just want this pain to stop. I have enough to deal with already, and I just need some respite. Some time to enjoy the effects of Lyrica – which doesn’t work on tendon pain or swelling – and try to start living my life again. Instead, this fucking tendon has taken over my life.

Over the weekend, the photograph of myself I posted has been weighing on my mind. Did I do the right thing? Am I utterly off my head to think that putting a photograph on such a personal blog is a good idea? More than once, I’ve thought about removing it; just deleting the post and forgetting it ever happened. However, doing that would also mean I’d lose all the comments which, although hard to read without wanting to run away, really made me feel secure, and my cold old heart was pretty damn warmed by knowing there are people reading this who don’t think I’m disgusting.

Also… nothing is ever lost on the internet. It’s there forever now.

So I just need to suck it up and accept that my anonymity was ruined a while ago, and it’s not like I’m a celebrity. The chance of somebody I know finding this blog on their own is still lower than low, and if they did find it… well, maybe they shouldn’t be so nosy. Perhaps they’d learn something.

I should really write a list for my GP. Each time I see him, I forget something vital. I only refuse to do it because my mother insists I write a bullet-point list – typed and printed – for every appointment; a bit of teenage rebellion which I never quite grew out of. This time… I haven’t slept. I haven’t drunk nearly enough coffee, and the weed is stronger than usual. Great for pain; not so great for thinking clearly.

If I throw myself on the floor and have a tantrum, do you think it’d achieve anything? I feel like it’s about time to direct my anger elsewhere than at myself.

 

 
53 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Every day life

 

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Drugs and alcohol

When it comes to alcoholism and drugs, it should be a different issue. They’re self-inflicted and shouldn’t be an issue. They’re not real disabilities“.

I was talking to my mother about the government debate on mental health earlier. She seemed pretty uninterested, which disappointed me; it’s a subject painfully close to my heart, and it’s the government who decide my fate, after all. My mother is always panicking over my DLA, convinced that when I get called into the inevitable assessment my benefits will be either dramatically cut, or removed entirely. Personally, I try not to think about it. I am scared, but worrying about something which might not happen doesn’t seem the best way to deal with that fear.

While I was trying to speak to her and attempting to explain how I’m dubious about any changes being made. I said, “I’ll believe it when they stop taking innocent people off benefits”, and she replied with the quote above.

Considering my own problems with addiction, I took the comment quite personally. It took me a long time to understand why my mother was so biased against those who rely on substances; now I know the extent of my father’s alcoholism and my auntie’s spiral into days spent in bed with a bottle while my cousins raised themselves, and I get it somewhat. However, I can’t entirely comprehend her prejudice. My mother doesn’t know much about my past – I’ve purposely kept it that way to protect her because I don’t think she could cope with it – and certainly doesn’t know I still take drugs. She doesn’t know I’ve ever touched them, as far as I’m aware.

My father hit her. He pushed her down the stairs and tried to throw my sister E out of the bedroom window whilst high on something. He still drinks, and shouts abuse at her when he visits. I totally understand why she’d have such a bias against alcoholics; my dad is an idiot. My aunt is a sanctimonious woman who judged my mother for leaving my father and raising myself and my three siblings on her own, yet she drank and didn’t look after her children until they were older, and she had been in a violent relationship herself. Neither of those relations were great adverts for those struggling with addiction. They don’t exactly make themselves likeable.

However, I just wish she’d understand. I wish she’d see what’s right under her own nose; her own daughter is struggling with painkiller addiction. The girl she gave birth to has used alcohol to block out feelings.

Alcoholism runs in my family. I’m unsure if there’s a genetic link, or whether we’re just copying the behaviour of relatives. My father left before I was born so I don’t know how much of his violence and drinking I got to see. Sometimes I’d stay over at his tiny, cramped bedsit in Liverpool and he’d drink constantly from a plastic water bottle. Once, I tasted it; it was disgusting, like it had gone off. With hindsight I recognise the taste of cheap wine.

I loved staying with him. The house his bedsit was in felt huge, like a massive labyrith. My father lived right at the top, in a bedsit not much bigger than my mother’s living room, with a wonky ceiling and old sash windows, a mahogany wardrobe, sofa and table in front of an old two-bar gas fire, a tiny black-and-white tv and a double bed tucked in a corner. At night, I’d lie in that bed under a floral duvet and listen to the police sirens in the night.

We’d sit and watch Casualty in monochrome and eat spring rolls with soy sauce. Sometimes, he cooked chicken legs and wrapped them in foil with garlic and we’d have a picnic in the nearby park. I’d sit with my feet in the lake, watching men throwing fishing poles into the water and groups of teenagers smoking on the benches, and I’d think how much cooler my father was than my mother.

Dad let me swear. Only words like “arse” and “bloody” but, to my pre-teen self, it felt like a delicious freedom. He let me stay up late, and often took me on midnight walks around the area he lived in. We’d amble past graffiti’d walls and late-night takeaways, alleyways filled with rubbish and an abandoned nightclub. I loved that club; the walls were smooth with fake-marble tiles which were always cold to the touch and shone under the dim light from the old concrete lamp posts. Or we’d walk through the park, avoiding the teens smoking dope, drug-dealings, couples looking for somewhere private and lone men, just standing around, and we’d go to the lake. Together, we’d sit on a bench and talk about the strangest things. Time-travel. Cannabilism. Space-travel. Ghost stories. Indian food.

Once we were talking by the lake at 2am on a Saturday night and my father told me that if we were ever stranded at sea, I could eat him to survive.

I think it was the nicest thing he’s ever said to me.

Sometimes, I want to confess everything to my mother. How I once vomited from snorting too much coke. How I kept a bottle of gin under my bed when I was fourteen, and used to take a Pepsi bottle full of vodka with me to college when I was seventeen. I want to tell her about the day I realised I was addicted to morphine, and how I only stopped taking it because J prevented me from getting any. I want to explain why I once took twenty co-codamol pills in a day; not because I wanted to die, but because I was so reliant on them that it took huge amounts to get any feeling from it.

I can’t tell her any of these things. Because she just wouldn’t understand.

 
39 Comments

Posted by on June 16, 2012 in Every day life

 

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“I’m Fine”

This lack of control is killing me,
your eyes are open but you can’t see,
the pain I bury, the shame I hide,
the secret anger I keep inside.
Sometimes I speak but you can’t hear,
my words are stunted, censored by fear,
I choose it all so carefully,
I want you to know, but I’m afraid you’ll see.

My weakness and all I’ve become,
my desperation and all that I’ve done,
the holes I’ve dug and the walls I build,
I hide my feelings beneath blankets of guilt.
I can’t explain why I keep it inside,
when you know it happens, why do I lie?
You know the reality, you’ve seen the truth,
yet I do my best to keep this from you.

I slide down further, I lose my grip,
you reached out for me but I let myself slip,
and why do I do this, why do I fall?
I never meant for any of this, any of this at all.

This loss of power, it’s destroying me,
it’s chipping away at who I used to be,
I wash my hands, I tidy this away,
sweep it under the carpet because I’ll never say,
that I’m losing control, that I can’t seem to stand,
on my own, without your hands,
to pull me up out of this hell I made,
the monster I created that day.

I try to control us, but it’s killing me,
my eyes are open but I’ll never see,
past the bathroom and the kitchen light,
I reach out to you, but you’re not here tonight.
My disgrace, it’s tearing my skin,
it’s ripping at everything I’ve ever been,
a crutch I made, a path I chose,
I have no control, and I know it shows.

Tiny white pills, slowly killing me,
but I close my eyes, refuse to see,
empty bottles hidden and your photo on my wall,
nothing can save me… nobody at all.
This lack of control was always killing me,
what I loved was always the enemy,
letters unwritten and diaries burned,
pills, bottles, bathrooms – lessons I never learned.
Words I wrote never got to you,
feelings I’ve hidden, but it’s nothing new,
it’s nothing you haven’t heard before,
just another night on the bathroom floor.
This lack of control, you speak to me,
I want to confess, I want you to see,
but I fall silent, consumed by the shame,
just two words:
‘I’m fine’
…as I fall apart again.

(c) 2008

 
25 Comments

Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Poetry

 

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She never mentions the word addiction in certain company / Self harming behaviour

What is self-harm?

Self-harm is a way of expressing very deep distress. Often, people don’t know why they self-harm. It’s a means of communicating what can’t be put into words or even into thoughts and has been described as an inner scream. Afterwards, people feel better able to cope with life again, for a while.

Self-harm is a broad term. People may injure or poison themselves by scratching, cutting or burning their skin, by hitting themselves against objects, taking a drug overdose, or swallowing or putting other things inside themselves. It may also take less obvious forms, including unnecessary risks, staying in an abusive relationship, developing an eating problem (such as anorexia or bulimia), being addicted to alcohol or drugs, or someone simply not looking after their own emotional or physical needs… READ MORE (from mind.co.uk)

I chose not to include trigger warnings on Halfway Between The Gutter for no reason other than it would be ridiculous to label every single post as possibly triggering. Most entries contain something which could trigger certain behaviours and feelings, and I hope that readers are able to see that, and have the sense to stop reading if they feel something I’ve written is damaging to them.

However, since this post will be dealing with self harm and addictive behaviours (such as binging, purging and drug reliance) in quite a lot of detail (although there are no photos; I find it incredibly distressing when somebody posts a self-harm photo), if you feel at all triggered, please consider your safety. I don’t want to feel responsible for pushing somebody.

I speak openly about my experiences with self harm, yet I’m still struggling to put down in words just how much it affects every aspect of my life. Regular readers will have seen a pattern by now; I’m content for a little while, then something flicks a switch and I start harming myself. Usually, it isn’t a big statement; I reach for the antihistamines in cough medicine, give myself a slap across the face if I’m angry, binge-eating, taking more painkillers than I should on a regular basis, or just forcing myself down to a level of self-loathing which damages my relationships and causes me to make stupid decisions.

This is my story.

Self-harm, to me, will always be about control. There are many reasons and causes of self-damaging behaviour, such as releasing stress or dampening an emotional trauma, but my reason is quite simple; if I can’t control a situation, I have to damage myself in some way, be it physically or mentally.

When most people hear ‘self-harm’, they likely think of the oft-repeated stereotype; a teenage girl with cuts on her arms. For me though, it’s a lifelong addiction, something I never grew out of, and which became more of an issue than ever when I grew up and had easy access to alcohol, drugs, painkillers and destructive relationships. I firmly believe that I will still have the urge to harm myself in twenty, thirty, forty years. That’s not to say you can’t recover – many people do – but personally, it’s become such a large part of my personality that I can’t imagine ever being without it. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not pleased that I act this way – but it’s who I am. Some people, I believe, are simply set to self-destruct.

Cutting became a part of my life when I was twelve years old. Before that, I had displayed some self-destructive tendencies (banging my head against the wall, taking a handful of pills ‘just to see what would happen’, biting myself) before, but I didn’t actually know what self-harming was. I’d never heard of it. The day I took a cheap plastic razor to school, locked myself in the toilets and hacked away at my arm, I had no idea what I was doing, or why I was doing it. I don’t know what possessed me to carry a razor in my schoolbag, nor why I knew it was the right thing to do if I was ever going to feel okay.

I made no real effort to hide the blood on my white school shirt. By now, I was already so far down on the social scale that I could have cut my own leg off in class and nobody would have been surprised; I’d broken down in geography, walked out of assembly, cried in the P.E changing rooms… I was officially crazy, and I felt that gave me a reason to sit in the next class with my sleeves speckled with blood. It wasn’t about attention -  I hated being whispered about and stared at, and didn’t really want anybody to care – I was just too far gone to notice if  my behaviour was inappropriate.

Now, at the age of twenty-seven, I don’t hide the scars on my arms with long sleeves; not even the cigarette burns. However, the only place I can talk about my addiction to codeine and other painkillers is here, in this blog. I wouldn’t even know where to begin trying to explain about the binge-eating to people I know. As for trying to describe why I purposely put myself in dangerous situations… nobody’s ever going to understand that. I don’t understand it myself.

As a teenager, I could never have imagined that I’d want to stop the cycle one day. It’s hard to explain; when you’re obsessed with causing yourself pain and problems, you think that the only way you’ll ever be able to cope is by self-harm. As an adult, I still suspect it’s the only coping mechanism I’ll truly be able to employ, but I don’t want my life to be that way. It’s more difficult now – now I’m wanting to be on the other side – to ever see a way out of this. I can’t help but think I created a rod for my own back, though; I had so many chances to stop when I was younger, but I let it get out of hand.

The methods I’ve used have grown since my teenage years. First, there was only cutting; then, when that stopped having the effect I needed, I turned to burning myself with heated-up metal – usually a hairclip or the blades from a pair of scissors – for the increase in pain and longer healing time. Back then, hurting myself was a long, drawn out affair where I’d rip off any healing scabs and purposely irritate the wound to create the biggest scars. It sounds like a cliché, but I believed that if I made myself as repulsive as I felt inside, everybody would stay away from me. Over the years, burning and picking has left a series of raised, white scars on my arms, and pinker, flatter ones on my belly and thighs. The scars from burns on my forearms hide a lot of the cutting damage.

Self-harm and depression have never gone hand-in-hand for me; at least not the physical sort. There’s no denying that I use other forms for coping when I’m depressed. The most popular one is drugs with knock-out or calming effects, such as codeine, weed (although I also smoke when I’m not depressed; it just feels different when I am), antihistamines, Naproxen, natural sleeping pills; anything which will produce even more of a numbing effect than depression already does.

When I physically harm myself, it’s through a loss of control which sets something off in my brain – an irrational fear – and the only way I can find to calm that fear and gain perspective is to hurt myself in some way. Physical pain brings clarity in a way hurting emotionally never can.

It seems strange to me that there are millions of people around the world who find the idea of self-harm unnatural. I understand them just as poorly as they understand me. It’s been a part of my life for so long now that sometimes I forget it isn’t normal.

Since meeting S, I’ve become determined to at least try other coping mechanisms. I’m trying to stop shoving codeine down my throat (it’s been around two weeks since my last tablet binge) and getting the overeating under control has become a priority. It’s not like I want to keep my habits a secret from him or get better just for his sake; I suppose now that I have someone in my life who makes me happy, the idea of hurting myself appeals less. The cravings are very much still there – I don’t think they’ll ever go away – but there’s a sort of light at the end of the tunnel now; my relationship with S is still going amazingly well, and I’m starting to allow myself some hope for the future.

Very few people know the extents I’ve gone to in my life to cause myself damage. I’m not one of those crazies (said with affection) who tells everyone what’s wrong with them; not in real life, anyway. I used to, but soon learned that unless you happen to bump into a person who’s experienced it themselves, they inevitably shy away. Even if it’s unconscious behaviour, they still get that look in their eyes, the one which says “what, are you dangerous or something?”.

This is the biggest misconception surrounding self-harm, of all kinds – and there are a lot of myths out there – because hurting yourself has nothing to do with wanting to be violent. At least not towards others. It’s about you, and the moment, and the brief release. I’m not an expert so I can only speak personally, but I hate violence. Violent films? I can cope, to an extent. Violent video games? Bring them on. Violence in real life? It does nothing for me, and actually scares me. I don’t like seeing wounds on other people, but opening up my own skin or picking at a scab until it bleeds is something entirely different.

Perhaps I’m trying to find myself; somewhere deeper than normal means can reach.

 
36 Comments

Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Every day life, The Past

 

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Hormones and depression

“You think that the only truth that matters is that truth can be measured. Good intentions don’t count. What’s in your heart doesn’t count. Caring doesn’t count. But a man’s life can be measured by how many tears are shed when he dies. Just because you can’t measure them, just because you don’t wanna measure them, doesn’t mean it’s not real. And even if I’m wrong, you’re still miserable. Did you really think that your life’s purpose was to sacrifice yourself and get nothing in return? No…you believe that there is no purpose, to anything, even the lives you save you dismiss. You turn the one decent thing in your life and you taint it, strip it of all meaning. You’re miserable for nothing…I don’t know why you’d wanna live.”

- House, M.D

Sometimes, life throws me a curveball. A ball which curves so much that I miss it entirely and let it sail past my head without realising how much I really need to grab onto it, for my own sanity.

Today’s curveball was as simple as getting my period. Something I can’t control other than the usual pack of pills to stop me getting pregnant and give me a false bleed once a month.

I temporarily sunk. Only for a short time, but a short time feels like a lifetime when you’re feeling despair for no good reason. All because of some hormones flinging themselves around my body, just like they do for every other woman.

It’s frustrating to know that even if I kick depression’s arse, hormones will take control once a month. I’ve spent the day alternating between screaming at my mother over nothing and wanting to drink myself into oblivion, is that normal? I spent time staring at my walking stick, wondering if I’ll ever be brave enough to use it, and if I’ll ever need to use it every day. It was difficult getting out of bed today, it was even more difficult to reply to comments and I really, really don’t want to be writing this. I want to sleep and forget. However, I promised myself that I would write my moods down.

I should be happy, and that’s why I’m angry enough to punch a small kitten. Before depression comes anger, and I don’t want to slip into that darkness again. S stayed over at my house at the weekend. My mother was visiting my sister in Yorkshire, and her paranoia about having the house broken in to means I had to look after the place while she was away. From Friday to Sunday night, S and I spent our time wrapped up in each other – physically and emotionally – and it was amazing. We squeezed into my little single bed and slept with our legs and arms tangled together, occasionally waking and smiling at each other.

I should be happy. Instead, I want to hide away.

Stupid hormones. It’s not fair.

 

 
33 Comments

Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Every day life

 

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