My bed feels larger than when I was small

 

I’m tired of struggling through every day. Of pushing and pulling and forcing myself to at least seem okay. I’m tired of speaking and having the words come out jumbled before they can even leave my mouth. Of sleeping only when beyond exhaustion. Of making excuses. Of seeing the sunrise every single morning, having been awake all night. Of not being able to find a single bit of beauty in it.

Today, I broke all my personal promises and posted my feelings on Facebook. Oh, not the big stuff – that’s for here only – but I went into far more detail than I’ve ever felt comfortable with, and I’m still not comfortable with it now. I only did it because I can’t take unrealistic expectations anymore; I have never, ever been able to cope with being expected to act a certain way and, truthfully, I’m sick of pretending.

I was pulling myself out of it, with the help of antidepressants which have been proven to work for me. I was trying really goddamn hard, and I was almost there. I’d started eating normally again, and having showers. Things seemed to be on the up emotionally, even if they weren’t so great physically.

Then… just one little thing. That’s all it takes.

I don’t even know what that little thing was. All I know is I’m sitting on the sofa after leaving S in bed. I cried all day. I realised I just can’t take this. Everything. The pain. The sickness. The tiredness. Any of it.

 

world

I’ve been vomiting again, and the conclusion my mother and I came to is that it’s stress. Truthfully, I accepted this explanation because the idea of facing just one more doctor is too much to bear. I’ve thought about it throughout the day though, and I realise it’s probably true; even on days when I don’t feel like a total emotional wreck, I’m still terrified of what will become of me, and it’s like a ball of pure acid in my stomach to even consider the future.

Can I even see a future for myself?

Not really.

I’m relying on those closest to me – my mother, S, and a couple of people I’ve come to call friends – to keep me afloat, because if left to my own devices I begin to sink almost instantly. I can no longer talk to Z about any of this; it became apparent a while ago that we’re probably never going to be on the same page when it comes to life.

Just like last time, the vomiting has kicked off feelings I’d rather not have; feelings of calorie counting and tape measures. Truthfully I hardly need to worry about such things since eating has become incredibly difficult with the constant nausea and risk of sudden projectile sickness, but something inside decided to worry about it anyway. I’ve lost a lot of weight without even trying over the past few months, and you’d think I’d be ecstatic but instead I almost feel cheated because I didn’t do it myself. So, yet again, I grab for control.

I don’t even believe my own lies about having control anymore. I know nothing I do gives me the slightest safety.

 

Slight return

I sit. Read the comments on my last few posts. Sit a little longer. Sleep. Play computer games. Sit some more. Smoke.

Honestly? The energy isn’t there; and it frustrates me because there are so many excellent comments which deserve a well thought-out reply. So I sit, and read, and make myself forget because right now I can’t be doing with worrying over yet another thing I can’t cope with.

Food? I’m getting there, slowly. My mother’s noticed my eating habits – she screamed at me over them, in fact – and although it’s utterly terrifying I’m managing to make myself eat. It’s not easy. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, because I do need to lose weight – genuinely –  and I’m shit-scared of bloating and the idea of calories sloshing around in my stomach when I’ve come this far. I’ve been told in the past to worry about losing weight sensibly when my ED’s are under control, but what nobody seems to understand is that my ED’s are never under control where weight loss of any kind is concerned.

S is being incredibly supportive, in his own way. I feel safe eating around him, and he doesn’t push me. My mother… she thinks she can shout at me until I eat again.

 

I have an appointment at the biomechanics clinic in the morning. Friday, I’m taking my incredibly phobic mother to the dentist. And some time in the next couple of weeks I’m moving in with S. There’s 27 years of shit to sort through before I can even consider fitting it all in a van. Most has to go to charity. In a way I’m glad; I want shut of this life now. I’ve been stagnating for far too long in a seemingly endless cycle of bad boyfriends and ruined friendships, all while festering in this house and wasting my life away. I want to start again.

Dear Diary: 17th/19th January 2006

< 9th/10th January

< 11th/12th/13th January

< 14th/15th/16th January

Tuesday 17th January 2006

College was just horrible. Felt ugly, fat, and the mirrors just made me feel worse. I always feel so unattractive in college; maybe it’s because everyone else seems to have great hair. Fell asleep at 7pm, woke up at 11 and now I can’t sleep, again. I’m totally dreading being on reception duty in college tomorrow, but I just can’t force myself to sleep.

Ended up crying to O over the phone tonight; he feels so far away. I’m just exhausted, at a loss what to do about a million things. I hate reading back through all this; it’s so depressing. Not the way I wanted it to be at all. But heck, I’m a serial whinger. That’s why I’m public enemy number one, right? Because I dare to have feelings. I’ve faced worse than all this, I know I have. So why does it feel like I’m dying inside?

I can’t decide what to do with my life. It’s getting me down.

Thursday 19th January

Reception training again. It was so unbelieveably busy and I felt like I’d go crazy. Still, I coped with it; which is something. I get the feeling I’ve overbooked someone, but it serves them right for putting someone so inept in charge of appointments.

I’m really worrying about getting all my course assessments finished in time. I know compared to most of the class I’m actually ahead, but still… it doesn’t feel good enough. I’ve only got until half-term (mid February) to complete, then I have to cough up another £52 for a level 2 logbook.

The diet’s going okay. Cheated a bit at lunchtime – pasta – but it’s okay. I can get back on track. It’s hard at college because everyone usually eats out together on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and it’s hard to stick to a diet when faced with all the things I can’t have. Plus, I don’t want to look like a snob if I don’t go with them or don’t eat. I hate admitting to being on a diet, because somebody always says “you don’t need to!” when I so obviously do. It’s embarassing.

When I started copying out entries from one of my old diaries, the idea was to follow it through right to the end. Then life took over a little and I forgot about it; reading about the past and the tangled mess of college, my relationship with S, and eventually therapy… it was difficult. Looking back with the benefit of hindsight can be painful. I did so much wrong. 

After deciding to go back to my old diary, I discovered it’s lost. The A4-sized black book filled with biro scibblings and breakdowns is nowhere to be seen. I’ve searched under my bed and through my bookcase, and there’s no sign of it. Hopefully I’ll find it when I start packing for the move, but for now… it seems the past is lost. I don’t know how it’ll feel if I never find it. Things have a habit of disappearing in this house.

Sick to my stomach

Sinking to the depths again
the ones you never quite reach
heart in my hands and head on the floor
wishing I was anyone but me.

Falling for my weakness again
and welcoming it like a friend
crushing my heart between my fingers
– that heart you tried to mend.

Sad, tired eyes searching for you
but my hands can’t seem to grip
aching head and swollen fingers
and the shame because I slipped.

sick in my skin and dead to the world
it’s cold on the bathroom floor
smash all the mirrors and hide the pieces
I don’t want them anymore.

(c) 2006

Sick

Bulimia, unlike many of the things I’ve experienced, is strangely easy to write about. The reason for this is most likely because when I think of myself as being “bulimic”, it’s like stepping into somebody else and watching myself from the outside; almost like a movie. It isn’t real. Even after fifteen years of binging and purging, something inside me still refuses to accept that I could possibly have an eating disorder. 

ED’s happen to other people, you see. Not me. I simply… have a little trouble with food. Since I first made myself sick at eleven years old it’s all been a sort of blur to me. I know it happened, but it may as well be somebody else’s story because I can’t ever quite accept it’s not all a big lie I concocted to get attention. 

Only words

You think that these are only words,
a shameless outpouring you don’t understand,
you thought that this meant nothing to me;
those feelings I offered you in my hands.

The truth should never have been so clear
in black and white, in printed ink,
you should have known what I was saying
but you didn’t see, you didn’t think
that my words could be my only way;
that just perhaps, I’m as confused as you,
you didn’t see that I could also be hurt -
that I could be feeling the same pain as you.

You held the world in your hands,
but they were just words, you just couldn’t see
that those pieces of paper, now thrown away
were everything I had of me.

(c)

Once, I showed O some of the poems I had written about all the problems we were going through together. He’d read my poetry before and praised it, and I felt it was my only way of reaching out with any real honesty. When we sat face-to-face, glaring and spitting out cheap insults, I couldn’t speak properly. Couldn’t get the words out, because I was so afraid of saying the wrong thing. 

I said things I didn’t mean instead. Anything to hide what I was really thinking. I messed up so many times, saying the wrong thing entirely rather than the truth. Things which only made O shout and sulk more. 

I showed him my poetry. He knew I was falling apart.  

He read it, shrugged, said he didn’t understand it and threw the piece of paper on the floor. It lay there, half under his bed, for months. All I wanted was for him to see the truth. He refused to see. 

Posted for dVerse Poets, with the prompt:

 It’s not fall yet, but the promise of autumn seems to tease us from around the nearest corner, and offer us something better to anticipate.

The very real but difficult to express level of delight this caused me made me stop for a moment to think about the nature of amorphous concepts like anticipation, hope, despair and so forth, and how, like so much of poetry, they express something enormous that is neither physically measurable nor concrete, that only exists in the mind and spirit.

We have science for facts and process, philosophy, metaphysics and religion for the questions of existence, but for defining and expressing our own most elusive internal constructs of emotion, we only have art, poetry and music.

That’s the coded message behind the most analytic and dry poem as well as the most saccharine pop song, conveyed with varying degrees of skill and effectiveness: that we have only these tools to try to communicate a vast reservoir of fluid intangibles we all experience but have difficulty defining or expressing any other way.

As for me? I’m doing okay. Yesterday afternoon was spent tidying up in preparation for moving; today was supposed to be an exercise in extreme cleaning (my furniture is filthy from hundreds of spilled coffees and months of dust) but yet again, fibro strikes.

Food… I’m trying. I ate a small bowl of chips last night with some bread, and a pack of bread sticks. Nothing eaten so far today, but there’s time. I’m incredibly grateful for the messages of support I’ve received over the past few weeks; I know I haven’t always responded to comments but that doesn’t mean I don’t read them and take the words on board. It’s just difficult to reply when everything is so up in the air.

Not that I need proof.

3.30am. We were outside. Me sitting on a slightly damp mesh chair, S standing; smoking and drinking white wine.

S kissed me on the forehead.

Me: “If I had a problem, and felt weird talking to you about that problem, would that be silly?“.

 

So I told him. Confessed I’d lied last weekend about feeling ill, and in fact I was trying my best not to eat. Explained how it’s all about control and, haltingly, listed the reasons why I’m grabbing onto a past ED to cope.

He didn’t ask why.

He didn’t tell me to stop.

And he didn’t get angry.

He just kissed the top of my head and rubbed my shoulder.

“How are we going to fix this?”

None of us are free

Listening to: Frou Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires by Cocteau Twins.

It’s 5.08am. My stomach is empty and the diet Dr Pepper is making four days worth of heartburn worse. It’s become a toss-up between stomach pain or curbing my appetite, and so far the pain seems like the most sensible option.

See, restricting does strange things to your mind, especially when it comes to rational decisions. I may not have much confidence in my abilities or even respect myself much, but I know I’m not a stupid woman. I can dissect situations, and can think logically. Those have always been my greatest strengths, and though I’d never go so far as to say I’m proud – I don’t think I know how it feels to be proud of myself – it does offer me some comfort to know I at least have something I can do well. Right now though… logic simply doesn’t come into it.

I don’t know how long I’ve been avoiding food for now. Two weeks? It feels longer, especially when every breath brings a mouthful of acid up my throat. Strangely, I’m not dreaming of cake and chocolate. If anything, I’m just not hungry anymore. Or rather I am, but it isn’t registering as anything other than a pleasant sensation of emptiness.  This is what worries me – and worrying about my eating habits is a new feeling – because I recognise that pleasure. That feeling of being on a higher plane because your stomach is empty. Pure. Unspoiled. The only uncomplicated thing in your life. The only thing you have complete control over.

I don’t understand why I can’t bring myself to speak to S about all this. I still haven’t said a single word to him, even though I promised to when the anxiety was kicking off. I know it sounds like an excuse, but there honestly hasn’t been a suitable time to bring it up. “Hey by the way, you know how I used to be anorexic? And bulimic? Well, I’m aiming for like, 300 calories a day and pretending it’s the answer to all my problems. Want a brew?” doesn’t exactly go down well when everything between us is perfect and happy. I don’t want to taint the relationship by bringing up my failings.

I’m beginning to think I’ll never escape from ED. Never.