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If we get through this alive, I’ll meet you next week, same place, same time.

I stayed away from sharp things. Suffered from the codeine; entirely self-inflicted, and I’ll never be proud of shoveling bright red pills down my throat until the anxiety stops. Binged on Kits Kats and plain crisps at 3am. Lay awake in bed on Wednesday night, swimming in a sea of chemical highs and sweating out every last bit of water in my body, determined to sleep but flying too high from the codeine and dope.

I don’t know how it works elsewhere, but in the UK codeine can only be bought mixed with paracetamol; 500mg per pill. More than two tablets is therefore an overdose, and I usually need eight or so to give me enough chemical serenity… and I know my liver is paying for it. My addiction… once, I thought I’d be okay, that I wasn’t like other people who had to rely on drugs to get by in life. I convinced myself that I wasn’t addicted. I could stop any time.

 

Now, the lower back pain and constant diarrhoea is telling me otherwise. The headaches and nausea and bloating… it baffles me how I can be terrified for the health of my liver, but still continue to assault it with large doses of paracetamol.

I’m not a stupid woman. For all my failings, I know I’m pretty intelligent. However, I have the ability to create my own strange logic; to remove myself from situations and become convinced I’m okay and won’t damage myself so long as I take the occasional break. And on the whole, I’ve been doing well – since deciding to give up codeine, I’ve managed months at a time without even touching the stuff. Recently though, it’s been harder to resist. The world has been heaped on my shoulders without my permission – with the tendonitis and the fraud allegation – and I’ve retreated to the old habits in order to cope.

This is what relapse feels like.

I intend to make it as short as possible, because cutting myself and overdosing instead of coping with situations isn’t emotionally or physically healthy. Thinking about purging is a dangerous road to travel down; I made myself sick a few months ago, and don’t want to get back into that habit so soon – or at all – because I’ve been doing so well. It’s one of the few things I feel I can be proud of, and I’ve let myself down far too many times in the past. Over a decade of bulimia, and I’ve almost cracked it… I don’t want to go back there; don’t want the puffy face and swollen fingers and constant taste of bile in my throat.

 

Sixteen years, in fact. Sixteen long years since I first stuck my fingers down my throat in a tiny blue cubicle, skipping a lesson so I could throw up everything I’d eaten. Sixteen years since I first realised that fat = unhappy,  and I had to do everything in my power to prevent it.

Seventeen years since I first cut myself. Since my first overdose.

The codeine? That began when my relationship with O started falling apart, six years ago. I would stay awake at night, smoking out of my bedroom window and waiting for the chemicals to kick in and squash the rising panic dead. If O didn’t call, I’d take a handful, knowing it would take away all the anxiety and paranoia that he was cheating on me. When I found out he was cheating on me, I stepped it up; packets of amitriptyline, diazepam and co-codamol, taken as and when I needed to calm down. Days and nights spent tripping on Tramadol overdoses.

I’ve had a lot of abnormal liver function tests. Still, I punish my body so my mind can feel okay.

When you’re young, you think nothing truly awful can ever happen to you. When those bad things do happen, you still think you’re invincible and no amount of abuse could ever harm you. Even years later, when the dentist points out the eroded tooth enamel… it’s not real. Bulimia, self harm, pills… they’re all an addiction, and the brain plays cruel tricks so you don’t give the bad habits up.

 

This weekend, I plan to sit down with S and tell him what’s been going on. About all the stress and bad thoughts. I’ve told him a little about the rising anxiety, but brushed it off somewhat. I don’t like talking about these things in person, and I’m always afraid he’ll find it too much to deal with.

Most people do.

 

 
45 Comments

Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Every day life

 

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“We can’t let her think we’re unintelligent, T”

My mother is still stressing out over the benefits situation. This morning found her surrounded by bank statements again; double, triple and quadruple checking dates just in case she’s made a mistake somewhere. The living room floor has become a holding pen for pieces of paper, pens and cups of cold tea as she tries to ensure every last little bit of money in her account can be explained. Pension credit. Money my father occasionally paid into her bank for work on the house. Gifts. Every last penny is being accounted for, and it’s driving me crazy.

I don’t know if she’d ever understand this, but they’re investigating me, not her. I’m doing my best to ignore all that’s happened and let it wash over me, but the constant stress of my mother’s obsessive perfectionism is ruining my attempts at coping. I want to slap the bank statements out of her hand and shout at her; tell her it’s my life on the line, not hers, and if I can try to deal with it then she should too. I know that’s a selfish attitude to have, but I wish I could make her see that she’s just winding herself up. The fraud officer… she doesn’t need all this information. I wish I could explain that, but my mother doesn’t hear me when she’s determined to prove some sort of private point to herself.

I had to type out a couple of cover letters earlier, to put in with the collected statements. My mother’s wittering and stressing and tutting… I made so many mistakes, and each time my mother pointed the errors out and said, “we can’t let her think we’re like the others who get accused. We’re intelligent”.

She reads the Daily Mail.

I haven’t felt able to think rationally all day. It’s 1am now, and I’ve been trying to write this post since early this afternoon, with little success. Every time I sit down to type, I get distracted. I get like this sometimes; I go from laid-back and lazy to almost-ADHD within a second, unable to stop my brain running away with itself. Today was one of those days, with a hefty dose of panic thrown in.

All day I’ve been on the edge of tears for no damn reason. I hate it when I get like this. I can remember standing at my teacher’s desk in primary school, being told off for something stupid, and bursting into tears. I felt so ashamed; no other kid reacted like that. I still do it whenever I feel threatened or backed into some sort of corner.

Before we even got to town, I was panicking and snapping at my mother. I didn’t mean to; I just had no control over my emotions. Again, I hate it when this happens… everything in my life is about control and knowing exactly where I am emotionally, and when I freak out it feels like I’m going to die. All the protection I build around myself gets stripped away by anxiety and I feel utterly exposed. Like the whole world knows I’m a big, fat failure.

It’s now 3am. I tried to sleep, but my bedroom is too warm and my mattress is at an odd angle since my mother flipped it over at the weekend. I keep thinking back to today/yesterday, and realising just how much anxiety still rules my life. It’s not just a one-off either; I freaked out at the weekend too, while S and I were in Liverpool. I was frustrated that everything was hurting, and walking was near-on impossible. I couldn’t keep pace with S and even though he tried to slow down for me, I still felt angry that I couldn’t walk normally. That I had to keep stopping and sitting down to give my hips and legs a rest. I felt like I was letting S down; he’d gone to the effort of taking me for a day out, yet I bitched and griped my way around the city.

I tried eating at the restaurant he took me to – a bistro we’d visited before – but even the Greek pizza tasted like disappointment. On the train home, I sat next to S while he chatted to an old man sitting opposite, feeling utterly miserable. I know I shouldn’t let the pain get to me, but sometimes it’s hard not to wish I could just be normal. Just for one day.

We got back to his landlord’s house and sat in the garden for a while, smoking and drinking coffee. We chatted a little, and I made a few jokes about my inability to cope. S seemed unusually introspective, and something inside me decided to take the BPD view on things. I asked if he was okay. S said yes. I asked again. I worried. I thought perhaps I’d ruined the whole day by being me. I said he looked sad; he said he was just tired. It took all my strength not to ask again, to avoid grabbing onto his arm and begging him not to leave me.

It’s now half past two in the afternoon. Managed to sleep, eventually, after going downstairs and stuffing myself with mango jelly. I’m quite proud of myself; I wanted chocolate cake, but forced myself to go for the low calorie option instead. For now, the binge cycle is somewhat under control.

Yesterday ended up being a total disaster. I was angry and defensive to begin with, and my mother commented on my paranoia; something I hate being brought up. I know I’m paranoid. I don’t need to be told. I tried to keep it together as we walked around town, but everyone seemed to be staring at me and getting in my way on purpose, and half way around the shops I realised I hadn’t taken my medication – which only caused me to panic more. Life without the cipralex and beta-blockers is unbearable, and it amazes me how quicky I can go from coping quite well, to a nervous wreck within hours of missing a dose. Especially without the beta-blockers; they slow my heart down and stop me going into the fight or flight response because of entirely ridiculous things.

I complained. Bitched. Moaned. I felt bad, but I couldn’t help it. My brain said one thing and my mouth said another. The pain in my ankle was frustrating me and every tiny little noise set me off. Our main shopping street isn’t particularly big, so it gets very crowded. Even though it was pouring with rain, the crowds were enough to make me feel entirely insecure and vulnerable, and my mother kept telling me off for being irrational, which didn’t help at all.

I’m sorry for this post. I know it’s mixed up and confused. I don’t even know what I was trying to say.

 
33 Comments

Posted by on July 3, 2012 in Every day life

 

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One lovely blog award, and some big confessions

lollipopsandrazorblades and lifeonaxis1 have both kindly nominated me for the One Lovely Blog award; a nice surprise on a day where I’m coughing up my lungs and getting through boxes of tissues whilst suffering with the virus from hell. Seriously, I haven’t been this unwell in a long time, and I’m cursing everybody I came into contact with last week. I’ve spent the past two days in bed, wanting to curl up and die. That the virus coincided with my little slip up is a particularly frustrating coincidence; I suspect it’ll take some time to recover.

Anyway, I owe lollipopsandrazorblades a huge thank you for my nomination; check out her blog for an amazing and humbling amount of honesty. Also, massive thanks to lifeonaxis1; she’s never been nominated for an award before and shares my reservations about award posts. Visit her blog, because she has some amazing words to say about the mental health system.

The Rules of Acceptance:

Thank the person/people who nominated you and link back to them in your post.

Share seven possibly unknown things about yourself.

Nominate fifteen or so bloggers you admire.

Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know and link back to them.

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Seven things

Writing seven things about myself is always difficult; when you write with the intention of being totally honest, there’s very little to confess to. What could be shocking or surprising enough? With that in mind, I’m going to aim for the mundane.

1. I realised today that I’m entirely stuck in the late 80′s/early 90′s. Not in the trendy “LOL I’m so retro” way, but in a nostalgic way I can’t bear to let go of. Despite everything which has happened, I did have a happy childhood until depression and anxiety took over. I grew up in a semi-detached house in quite a suburban area, and although my mother was possessive, I was happy with what I had. I remember long sunny days in the garden or cul-de-sac down the road, riding my sister’s yellow scooter and visiting the family next door to play on the Master Station with my friend Daniel. I have amazing memories of running across my primary school field in a blue-and-white checked dress and lace-topped ankle socks, throwing grass and laughing.

I know most have rose-tinted memories of their childhoods, but because I was so prone to curling into myself emotionally (I’ve always been shy), I found beauty and fascination in the most simple things. Primary school was an incredibly happy time for me, and I look back on it with fondness. Not only do I look back, but I spent a lot of time thinking and, most nights, dreaming of it. I watch old TV programmes from that time and listen to the music I heard as a kid, just to recreate the feeling of pure uncomplicated living. It’s been a long time since life was uncomplicated.

Contrary to popular belief, I wasn’t a boy.

2. I love Erasure. And Bronski Beat. 80′s synth-pop and New Wave have always made me happier than anything else can, and I refuse to apologise for it. None of this is a secret or unknown, but wonderfully naff nonetheless.

3. Although I smoke cannabis for pain, I also sometimes smoke so much that I pass out; just to calm my fears. I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding mental illness and dope, and all I can say is that I’ve known people who’ve smoked it all their lives and never become mentally ill. I’ve known others who have a diagnosed disorder such as bipolar who use it to control their manic phases. On the flipside, my ex, J, got no benefit from smoking weed; he was a stereotypical pothead and didn’t seem to understand that his bipolar got much, much worse when he smoked, and calmed down significantly when he stopped.

I wholeheartedly believe that all drugs are dangerous if used incorrectly, but if you treat the majority of them with respect, perhaps they can be a good thing. I don’t see a difference between prescribed medication and illegal drugs; after all, morphine can be diagnosed for back pain, but heroin (the same thing) is illegal. Codeine kills thousands of people a year. Addiction to prescription drugs is higher than ever, if statistics are to be believed, yet these addictions are far more accepted by society than addiction to illegal drugs.

Cannabis stops me having panic attacks. Stops them dead, with just a few tokes. Meanwhile, diazepam takes time to work and is highly addictive. Can kill you. So if I choose to use a class-B drug rather than benzo’s… is that so wrong?

But yes. Sometimes I smoke for the hell of it.  Because I like it.

4. For a long time, I lived in an imaginary world. A world were everybody was nice and respected me for my invented talents and very unlikely beauty. As a child, I often spoke these fantasies out loud and the habit carried on into my teens, leading to a child psychiatrist assuming I heard voices. I didn’t; I just confined myself in a fantasy world to the point where I believed it all. I didn’t live in the real world, but in a false reality. What happened, only happened in my head. At some point, the childish fantasies became a psychosis and that’s when everything changed in my happy little world; I invented slights and insults, and became convinced that, rather than adoring me, everyone loathed the very ground I walked on. Being bullied in secondary school pushed me further into the fake reality and only confirmed (in my addled brain) my suspicions that everyone was conspiring against me.

I foresee a blog post on this subject.

5. At the height of my bulimia, I ate food from the rubbish bin in the kitchen, shovelling damp biscuits into my mouth then throwing them up in a green plastic tub I kept especially for the purpose. I threw up in plastic zip-lock bags and hid them under my bed, surrounded by empty crisp packets and chocolate bar wrappers. I ate, then drank handfuls of water from the bathroom tap so I was as close as possible to the toilet. Sometimes, I’d vomit when I’d only eaten a small handful of carrots, terrified of the calories seeping into my veins somehow.

6. Once, I had sex with a man who was in his mid-forties, because my ex-fiancé told me he wanted me to sleep with someone else. The whole situation is somewhat convoluted so I won’t go into every single detail. My ex-fiancé and I were fighting constantly, having drifted apart sexually and emotionally, and he started getting close to another woman; Ally, who he now has two children with. I took the phrase “sleep with other people” to mean “I want to sleep with other people”, and, in stupid desperation to hold onto a decaying relationship, I hung my engagement ring on a chain around my neck, swallowed what little I had of my pride, and ended up in bed with a balding man with a constant runny nose and the inability to finish without jacking off over my chest. I remember staring at a slight damp spot on his bedroom ceiling and realising I had reached the lowest moment of my life.

7. Every morning when I wake up, I want desperately to be back in my dreams. Not because they’re happy or interesting, but because they’re so familiar. Since starting on antidepressants I’ve had incredibly lucid dreams which all take place in the same fictional town. Over the years I’ve explored houses and run down streets which are more like home to me than any place in the waking world.

It’s difficult to nominate other bloggers for this award, since I’ve already nominated so many. The following links are to blogs I read for their honest content and because, in different ways, they inspire me.
The Secret World of S / ryoko861 / May I Be… / bipolarmuse / Jacqui Talbot / NZ Cate / My Ox is a Moron / whereimstaying / Resiliant Heart / Destination Girl / Displaced Housewife / lazyhippiemama / Word Flows

I’d love to say something about each blogger because each of them deserve recognition, but I’ve already written over a thousand words… perhaps the mundane confessions weren’t all mundane.

 
64 Comments

Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Every day life

 

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Another appointment

My GP’s waiting room is a collection of blue chairs, scattered around tables with old Mojo and Country Life magazines, and the walls are covered in posters for diabetes drop-in clinics and stopping smoking advice. I assume most GP surgeries are the same, give or take the annoying radio which plays Smooth FM at deafening volume. I’ve sat on those chairs so many times in the last few years that I know every last stain and blob of walked-in chewing gum on the carpet. I know when the baby drop-in centre runs and how many patients didn’t show for appointments each month. In a way, it’s like a second home.

Today’s appointment was at 9am. I’m getting good at leaving the house on time now; usually I wind myself up into a state of total panic and end up rushing down the road, sweating and coughing like only a chain-smoker can. Although I didn’t sleep well last night – which concluded in a binge – I managed to be ten minutes early. It was only a routine appointment – medicine checks, craziness checks – but I still somehow convinced myself that I’m a “frequent flyer”; somebody who spends their lives hassling GP’s. I feel guilty for the amount of use I’ve had out of the NHS, and although my doctor has reassured me in the past that I’m not wasting anybody’s time, I’m still not convinced.

We chatted about the side-effects I’ve had from Lyrica – dizziness, nausea, stomach upsets – and also discussed the panic attacks I’ve had over the past couple of weeks. I asked if it could be caused by Lyrica, rather than my anxiety getting worse, and he said that although it’s not a common side-effect, it can happen and my history of severe anxiety makes me more likely to react in that way than the usual 1 in 1000. I feel a bit happier knowing it could simply be down to medication; I can cope with that.

He asked how I’ve been doing on Lyrica otherwise, and I told him the truth; that I’ve slept properly for the first time in years, I can walk without a stick most days, and that I’m in much less pain. I have considered that perhaps all this is placebo effect, but even if it is… I feel better than I have done in a long time, and I can see a future again. With that in mind, my GP has upped the dose from 150mg a day to 300, and once I’m settled on the right amount he’ll keep me on it long-term. Great news, and again… hope for the future. It feels amazing to know I’m still being taken seriously by medicine, if not society.

 
27 Comments

Posted by on June 8, 2012 in Every day life

 

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A fairly boring day

After days of worrying about her reaction, I finally sent a message back to the woman S and I were going to rent the house from.

Don’t worry about the house at all. It was an option for us yeah, but there are other places out there, and it’s got to work for you too.

I was concerned it may come across a little cold; I was tired and stoned, and didn’t really want to contact her. Her reply, though, was much better than I expected.

Thanks for telling me. I’ve been really quite worried about you and how you’d take the news. However, it sort of pales into insignificance compared to your health and well being. I just feel relief that you’re on the mend

She offered us any furniture she’s getting rid of, if S and I manage to find somewhere to live. So although I was upset when the offer fell through, I do feel better now. Another possible rent has come up, although it’s only 90% certain it’ll happen. Still, it’s something, and much better than dealing with estate agents.

Fibro hit hard today. I woke at midday to mum tapping my knee, asking if we were going shopping in the afternoon. I said no and rolled over, determined to spend another hour in bed, but then she said those immortal words; “we’ll only have to do it tomorrow”.

Point taken, I half-heartedly put some makeup on and smoked a joint, trying to ignore the feeling of hunger in my stomach. The diet/healthy eating has been going well, but I over-indulged over the weekend and the carefully-constructed mechanism to pretend I don’t feel hunger fell apart a little. I finally weighed myself, and in the past three weeks I’ve lost four pounds. No binges, no cutting calories dramatically, and no purging. There’s a small voice shouting at me – telling me that four pounds in three weeks is rubbish – but I’m managing to mostly ignore it.

I’ve been wearing size 18 jeans for two weeks. They’re huge on me. I know it’s ridiculous to wear clothes which are too big, but I’m still struggling with working out how much space I take up in the world. It’s never been clear to me just what I truly look like, and I know that the reflection I see in the mirror probably isn’t anywhere close to being a true representation of me. My mother is convinced I have some sort of body dysmorphia. Maybe she’s right.

 
36 Comments

Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Every day life

 

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Crazy English Summer, Part Three

 

crazyenglishsummerPart One / Part Two

I don’t know how long I stayed in the unit the second time. Days turned into weeks, and my brain slowly became mush from the boring daily routines and therapy. Twice a week, we would all be taken into a big hall and be made to do trust exercises – catching each other, that sort of thing – and I hated every moment. I was crazy, not five years old. I didn’t see how running under a big plastic sheet would magically cure my bulimia and general madness. One time, I found myself talking to an empty chair, like the plastic ones we used in school; the patients were encouraged to sit opposite a chair and pretend somebody who’d hurt us was sitting in it. We were supposed to tell them why they’d caused us pain, but all I achieved from the exercise was feeling like an utter twat. I chose to ‘speak’ to a girl who’d been one of my best friends all through primary school and into secondary, who’d done a runner as soon as I started losing my marbles. I told her that she shouldn’t have given up on me, and that I needed friends. The member of staff overseeing it all said I’d done a good job. Again, I didn’t see how it could possibly help. It didn’t. My heart wasn’t in it.

In fact, I had absolutely no desire to get better; I didn’t think there was much wrong with me or my behaviour. The horse had been led to water, but there was no way I was going to drink; I felt a great injustice at being locked away in some sort of crazy place when all I was doing was struggling a bit with teenage angst.

Evenings were the worst times. The staff gave all the patients a rota for making tea, toast and cereal. I felt enormously guilty when it was my turn; Victoria would chew silently on a piece of buttered toast, tears running down her face, threatened with hospital if she didn’t eat it. Sometimes it took her two hours. We were also expected to do our own laundry, which soon became my nemesis. I avoided it, terrified of breaking the machine or somehow doing it wrong. I wasn’t domestic in the least, and had never used the machine at home. The staff assumed I’d know how to work a washing machine. I never asked; I was too shy.

Oe night, after midnight observation, we heard shouting and door slamming. We peeked our heads out of the door to see Rachel being dragged out. The staff told us to go back to bed, and that she had ‘hurt herself’; we knew what they meant, and so when she came back the next day with a massive bandage on her arm, we weren’t surprised. Again, she’d used a hook to gouge at herself.

It was easy to self-harm, binge and vomit in PL. Although there were regular observations and checks, there were plenty of hiding places. I kept a package of broken razors in the cheap MDF drawers next to my cheap, MDF bed. Carla broke a mirror to cut herself with. We took it in turns to throw up, one listening out for staff while the other tried to get it over with as quickly as possible. We’d troop to the Safeway down the road once a week and stock up on binge-foods, Although it was supposed to be a closed unit (apart from short trips in groups once we were considered ‘safe’ enough. It only took me a couple of weeks to be allowed outside) the door was often left unlocked and staff rarely checked the signing in/out board in the cramped hallway.

One night, one of the patients (Richard; ADHD) went missing. He was soon brought back, and spent the night in an isolation room.

I was never isolated; I was nearly always on my best behaviour. I was still in thrall of authority and was afraid to truly freak out in front of the staff, which proves I wasn’t sick enough to be there. To me, at least. Having my freedom removed was killing me; I’d dream of being at home and cry at night when Carla and Victoria were asleep. I hated showing any form of weakness – the other patients called me mum – and I felt I needed to be strong for everybody else. They seem to be suffering far more than I was.

The psychiatric staff were struggling with my diagnosis. When I was admitted, it was with the belief that I had schizophrenia. I had been hearing voices and had become increasingly paranoid, suspicious of everyone and convinced that they could hear all my thoughts. I’d turn photographs around because I believed they could see me, and dressed under the covers in case there were hidden cameras in my bedroom. At the time, those thoughts seemed perfectly rational, and I’ve never spoken of those delusions before. I’ve been ashamed of them; they’re embarassing.

However, I was believed to be “too rational” to have schizophrenia, and too able to control my temper when I was in company. In fact, by the time I left PL I had been given an entirely clean bill of mental health; I was sane. Nothing wrong with me but the fact that I was fourteen and shy.

Most days were pretty quiet in PL; nothing like mental health units in films. There was the occasional outburst or brief spell of violence, but most of us were too drugged to kick up a fuss. There was only one violent patient – Chris – a tall, wide-shouldered, acne-ridden nose-picking guy with a tendancy to stare at my tits and shout “FUCK!” whenever he thought he could get away with it. He smoked in the courtyard when staff allowed him to, and once I passed him in the hallway. He grabbed my chest and laughed. I never said anything, but refused to sit near him in therapy. Chris would wander into the girl’s rooms, but staff soon shooed him out. I don’t think he’d have done anything; despite his obvious problems he didn’t seem like a rapist. Heck, maybe I should have mentioned it. I just didn’t think anyone would care. One thing I learned in life is that nobody believes crazy teenage girls.

Despite feeling more comfortable being in PL than I did the first time around, I still contested my need to stay there. Needing control has always been my biggest coping mechanism, and you have no control in a mental illness unit. You’re watched; eating, showering, when you’re sitting in front of the TV. You’re forced to play childish games to ‘build trust’ and swallow the pills they give you. If a member of staff says jump, you ask “how high?”, because these people, these so-called professionals, have complete control over your life. We had to sit through a talk on safe sex and, god forbid, how babies were made. Carla managed a sardonic laugh at this. Having been abused by her father since she was six months old, she didn’t feel she needed the biological side of sex explaining to her. I was still a virgin (that would change the next year) but I knew how babies were made, and I didn’t need to be sitting in a cold room, under stark flourescent lights, putting a condom on a banana. I wasn’t a child. If fourteen year olds know anything, they know how babies are made. It’s all they think about, after all.

Then again, Chris sometimes masturbated in the day room, so perhaps it was required listening for some of us.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on January 25, 2012 in The Past

 

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I packed a fishing line and counted on it.

I always had amazing balance as a child. In primary school, I would always be the last one left standing if we stood on one leg in P.E, and I could stand on a wall for ages without wobbling or losing my footing. I was strong too; much stronger physically than many of the other girls. I could lift up boys and heavy boxes and furniture with ease. I also had an amazing memory for words and spellings – although anything involving numbers left me cold – and could reel off obscure words with ease.

So when I find myself stumbling into a shop display, as I did today, I feel disappointed.

I miss having control over my own body. Although the steroids have done an amazing job at helping with the fibro pain and muscle twitches, I’m still losing my balance. I put it down to all the pot I’ve been smoking at first, but then remembered that balance isn’t something which affects me when it comes to weed. If anything, it helps me concentrate on walking. Walking through town today with my mother, I felt like a newborn giraffe, my legs flying in all directions while my brain struggled to keep up.

.

I had strict words with myself regarding the binge-eating last night. It can’t carry on, and I have to set a deadline to stop. That deadline is today. I’ve decided that the best way to try and curb the habit is to stock up on healthier snack foods – dried bananas and apricots – and force myself away from the late-night cheese and butter frenzies. I also need to stop living in my ‘fat jeans’; they’re making it too easy to accept piling the weight on.

I have no idea how much I weigh, and I’m not sure I want to know. I’m a UK size 16. When I met S in February, I was a size 10 and happy. A bit curvy still, but slim and confident.

So today, it all stops. Stuffing my mouth with fat and salt stops now. I promise.

 
38 Comments

Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Every day life

 

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He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called “The State I Am In”

I’m suffering.

It’s my own fault; which only makes the taste even more bitter. There was no good reason for me to binge last night, and I should have had more self-control. Now my stomach is cramping from the ridiculous food choices I made, and along with IBS I’ve concluded that there was no reason to take laxatives anyway; my own body has decided to evacuate without any additional effort from me. I should be pleased, but I just feel disgusting.

Sleep was a strange creature last night. I eventually nodded off after forcing myself to smoke a very strong spliff in the hope that it would knock me out, and as a result I totally missed getting up to phone the doctor to get an appointment for a second opinion. I’m frustrated with myself, but I suppose the important thing is that I’m awake now and I can give sleeping another try later.

Shopping didn’t go too badly, even if the entire main street did seem to be full of people crazier than I am. Usually I get stressed and panicky if it’s too crowded or full of dimwits shambling about like lost children, but I think I had my determined head on today and I coped quite well.

Appearance-wise, I think I probably frightened a few people today. The act of giving a shit about how I look started off with good intentions of wearing something pretty, but inevitably I ended up wearing jeans. Jeans which don’t even fit; which are so big that my legs don’t even touch them. I’m still wondering why I didn’t take them back, or at least think logically about buying a size 16 – as I said, I have no idea of my body size or shape – because they’re driving me mad. At least my muffin-top of epic proportions doesn’t ooze out over the waistband like so many other pairs of jeans I own. Small mercies. I didn’t brush my hair, choosing to shove a green bobble hat over my head instead, so masses of frizzy orange hair was sticking out all over the place. I wore my old pink coat (the unflattering one) and knee boots, and surrendered myself to the big bad world; terrible hair and all.

I used to care a lot about the way I looked; too much, really. Everything had to be perfect – not a hair out of place – and I felt so comfortable with my physical self when I put the effort in. I’m not sure what happened to all that. I still spend the money on the products, but I don’t seem to look any better or less bedraggled.

Had a long, hot bath and a joint as soon as I got back home; sweat was clinging to my back and hair, and I felt disgusting. The steroids may be wonderful for clearing up the eczema (I have almost normal skin now!) and help with the muscle pains, but they make me sweat like a pig. A big, horrible ginger pig. Threw a load of extra-moisturising olive oil bath milk into the water along with some Bio Oil, rubbed in a John Frieda emergency hair mask (I hate this time of year; it couldn’t be less hair-friendly), sandpapered myself with vitamin E body scrub and tried to concentrate on the book I’ve just started reading; Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson.

Plucked my eyebrows and checked my face for steroid-swelling (there, but not as noticeable as I’d feared), rubbing my too-orange makeup off and trying to untangle the ungodly knots from my hair without breaking most of it off. I bought two salon-sized bottles of TIGI shampoo and conditioner today; money I can’t really afford but if I don’t get this haystack under control I’m going to lose it.

Spoke to Z a little on Facebook messaging about seeing her tomorrow. I realised I can’t afford to take us for coffee as I’m getting my hair done (I was going to buy her a coffee, to make up for being a shit friend) so we’re going to stay in, watch films, drink amaretto coffee and play with make-up. I think I feel okay about it; it’s a little easier to cope if I plan ahead. Of course, that could all change if I sleep as badly tonight as I did last night.

 
27 Comments

Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Every day life

 

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In which I attempt not purging, and why binge-eating is my most shameful secret

Cheese. Cheshire cheese. White bread. Real butter. Full-fat milk.

I should be asleep; instead I’m nursing an uncomfortably full stomach and feeling the pangs of binge-regret wash over me. Guilt over losing control. Anger at myself for giving in to the cravings. What exactly am I playing at here? What emotion am I trying to feed? I’m not sure I know anymore. It’s just become such a bad habit.

Against my better judgement, I’ve made a descision to not purge. That includes slimming pills, laxatives and any other bizarre form of punishment I can find. Laxatives is a very easy option right now; I have a pack right next to me in my dresser drawer and could swallow a handful in a couple of seconds if I really wanted to. It’d help with the bloating, and the full-up feeling, and just generally relax and comfort me (strange words to say about laxatives, really) until I feel ready to try eating healthily again.

It’s 4.46am. I’m sitting up on my bed, waiting for the stomach pains to start. It’s my own fault; I truly can’t go on like this. Why do I have such a fucked-up relationship with food? What is it that makes me sneak downstairs in the night and grill cheese on toast, sorting wildly through the fridge for precious fat and salt?

Perhaps now is the time to admit defeat, and ask about some sort of therapy for the binging. I’ve held back because of waiting lists and shame, but I’m not sure I can beat this on my own. I know the steroids are partly to blame, and hopefully it’ll get easier when I come off them in four weeks (I’m dreading it, truth be told, they help enormously with my joint and muscle pain). I don’t know what sort of therapy to ask for – CBT was the biggest waste of time in my life – because there’s just not enough available in my area without going private. I’d have to start walking the streets to afford private therapy.

I need to be asleep, but the more I think about it, the worse I feel. I have to go to town with my mother tomorrow/today, and I don’t want yet another clapped-out zombie walking around shops experience. The people who live in the house opposite my bedroom are awake; at least, their living room light is on. It’s often on at night, perhaps there’s a fellow insomniac in the area. Or maybe they just don’t care about electricity bills.

I need to remember to get a few things in town. Hair products is the main priority; I don’t know what’s happened to my hair lately, but it’s turned into a mane of orange frizz. I’ve got a hairdresser appointment on Friday and it can’t come quickly enough. I’m far from impressed by what’s perched on my head. It means I’ll have hardly any money for the weeked, and S is also out of funds, but I need the confidence good hair gives me. Try growing up with frizzy, uncontrollable ginger hair; you soon learn to spend money on fixing it.

Okay. The urge is passing. With luck, I might get three hours of sleep if I calm down soon. It might seem a little strange that I’m typing away on a blog in the middle of a shit-don’t-purge freak out, but I suppose it’s a big enough part of my life (one of the biggest) to merit some sort of detailed mention.

I have been a binge-eater since puberty. Given that I entered puberty at nine years old, that’s a long time to be trapped in the cycle. Bulimia and anorexia took over at times, but binge-eating has always been one of my closest friends and worst enemies. I can’t remember life without it, and the idea of it not being  there is a frightening one. I simply don’t know how to cope without it; and I want to, dearly. I want to be free from the need to stuff my face every time I feel the slightest emotion. I need to stop beating myself up and using calories as punishment. Somehow, binge-eating feels more shameful than anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia has that cool aloofness; a purity. Bulimia is raw and visceral. Binge-eating though… it’s just bad manners. It’s clumsy and out of control, associated with greed and a supposedly ever-growing obese society. It’s unhealthy and unattractive. Binge-eating needs to be secretive, and the feeling when you’re caught shoving cake into your mouth is like no other.

And it is so easy to let it spiral out of control.

I confess; I often long for anorexia. I don’t consider myself cured, although it’s been a long time since I truly starved myself, and I miss the feeling of utter power and control. Allthough I’m somewhat on the ‘other side’ now and can see that rationally there is no control where anorexia is concerned, there is a part of me who wants to have that ability again. The ability to ration food and memorise calorie contents. The ability to lose 7lbs in a week. I know I can’t allow myself to go down that route now; I have too much to lose. Still, I miss it. It’s like a long-distance friend I haven’t seen for too long.

Okay.

Sleep.

 
23 Comments

Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Every day life

 

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Under neon loneliness

I fell asleep last night with plans going through my head; plans to rearrange my bedroom, visit Z, and go for a long walk. I didn’t sleep well as a result (thinking too much hurts my brain) and kept getting up to eat chocolate and smoke. The diet isn’t going well. I’m undoubtedly eating healthier, but I’m still stuffing my face. The combination of steroids, munchies from the weed and a still-going huge Christmas pig-out has left me with no real motivation to shift these few stones. I know I need to get a grip on this binging, because it’s teetering on the edge of becoming a massive problem and I have enough to deal with right now.

As usual, the plans didn’t exactly materialise. I woke up around 2pm with a fuzzy head, and spent far too long trying to pull myself together. Washed my face (second day in a row, go me!) and spent a millisecond considering getting dressed before realising that there was no way I was going to leave the house today, let alone visit Z. Stayed in my pyjamas, lit some candles, lied to Z and said I had no money (horrible friend, horrible horrible friend) and spent the day sorting a few small things out and replying to comments on my blog. I just didn’t feel like I could speak to anybody today, let alone find the money to pay for a taxi and spend the day at Z’s house. I’m getting nervous about being in public again, which is a bad sign; I can’t lose that confidence. Everything goes to shit when I stop going out, and I haven’t been leaving the house much at all recently.

I’ve arranged with Z to go for coffee with her on Thursday, and I’ve told myself that I will go out.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Every day life

 

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