Love Story

Faith
was a myth I never quite
believed.

Trust
was a lie, a few
empty words.

Love
was a story I wrote
for you,
and you took it away
so easily.

I turn the pages
but you changed the ending.

(c)

When I met O, I had such hopes and dreams for us; just as I had for every other past relationship. He was to be my saviour, a knight on shining armor to rescue me from every mistake I ever made and every man who ever made me feel worthless. At the time I believed that nobody – not a single other person in the whole world – felt as much for somebody as I did for O. I adored him. Clung to him like a limpet. Demanded his attention 24/7; at the time, I honestly believed I was doing the right thing. I thought he appreciated knowing just how special he was to me.

And for a long time, we wrote a love story together. O was just as attentive and clingy; demanding to know who was texting me or why I’d not answered my phone. We were perfectly destructive for each other, but the constant friction created a passion which kept us coming back to each other, time and time again. 

Then it all changed. He broke free of the bonds we’d created and walked his own path. I thought I had the ending all worked out, but he added his own epilogue. 

The sense of self

Recently, I’ve aired my views about blog awards on other sites, and have expressed my concern that it’s all one big chain-letter or, as another blogger said, a popularity contest. As regular readers may have noticed, I’m not exactly known for my popularity, and being part of something is a very difficult concept for me to wrap my head around. In school, I was never in the popular group – heck, I wasn’t in any group – and nothing’s really changed since then. Mostly, I’m happy with it, because I’m not a natural extrovert.

I receive a lot of awards. Each and every nomination makes me smile, because when I started writing this blog I had no idea how far it would reach. I may not have as many views as many others, but I’ve had a lot more than some and that astounds me. I’ve said before; this is just my diary. Me. Written down. One life out of billions of others.

Earlier, I was nominated for the Outstanding Blogger Award by My Bipolar Bubble; one I haven’t received before. As always, I’m touched to be considered; if nothing else, it shows that I’m doing something right, and it’s a good feeling to know that somebody chose me out of billions of other blogs out there. I may have my doubts about awards, but I’ll gladly accept it because, quite frankly, being nominated gives me a warm feeling regardless of how I may otherwise feel about it all.

I haven’t been reading My Bipolar Bubble long, at least not properly. I read a lot of blogs every day and it takes a while to catch up. In the past I’ve only ever had negative experiences with mental illness – especially bipolar –  and religion, so reading a blog about a woman with bipolar and belief is interesting, and restores quite a lot of faith in me. I’m not religious at all, yet her blog is a source of comfort. She writes beautifully, and has a habit of fitting in a lot of words; it feels good to not be the only wordy one, and what she writes is well worth taking the time to read.

The award asks for something important about myself, and I’m struggling with the word “important”. In my world, nothing I do is important, simply mediocre. I don’t say that to fish for sympathy or compliments; I just can’t see importance in what I do, and that’s something others tell me to deal with quite regularly.

So, my important thing is my self-confidence, or lack of it. In everything I’ve done or seen, it’s followed me like an evil twin, swaying my opinions and turning me against myself. I see it as a separate entity; something cruel, stuck to me for life and determining all the mistakes I make.

Perhaps a better way of phrasing it would be “self-worth”.

How do you have self-worth when you have no sense of self? Over the years I’ve become fragmented and everything feels like one big jigsaw puzzle. I try to find who I am, but depression inevitably creeps in and snatches any progress away. J used to tell me I had multiple personality disorder and for a while I believed him because there seemed to be truth in the idea of me splitting away from myself; in stressful situations or when I felt confronted, I retreated into an imaginary world where everything felt safe.

I have never understood the concept of having respect for yourself. If I treat myself well it’s because I want to protect others, rather than through any concern for my own well being. Self-confidence? I have none.

nataliedee.com

Like other bloggers I’ve spoken to, I feel uncomfortable nominating other blogs for awards. All too recently I was the girl who was never picked to be on the school netball team, and I loathe popularity contests. The idea of an outstanding blogger award… well, it has to be something special. Something really deserved.

So I nominate Gypsy at Through my eyes: Adventures in Borderline Land. I can’t really do an introduction to her blog justice, so I’ll let her speak for herself:

“Above all else I write this for me as somewhat of a cathartic excercise, and I dont really expect many other people to read this.  Now for those you who do choose to go on this journey with me, I also write this for you.  For those who can not relate to my story, my hope is to open your eyes a little to what its like to live with mental illness, in my experience alot of people that dont live with mental illness or dont have someone close to them that do, tend not to really believe in it, even if they say they do, they get caught up on the “why dont you just”s (why dont you just get a job, why dont you just talk to people, why dont you just think happy thoughts, why dont you just…).  I hope that by letting you see life through my eyes maybe itll be easier to empathize.  For those of you that can relate, 1st, Im sorry and I wish that you couldnt, and 2nd, for me personally it helps to hear other peoples stories just to remind me that I am not alone, so I hope that I can do that for you as well.”

Gypsy and I are eerily similar in so many ways that I sometimes begin to wonder if she’s me in a parallel universe. Hers was one of the first blogs I read by somebody dealing with BPD personally, and over the months I’ve gained a lot of comfort from what she has to say; through her words, I know my way of thinking isn’t special to me, and that I’m not the only one who reacts to certain situations in the way we both do.

Reading about her relationship with Toast I have begun to understand why my past romances have been the way they have, and I’m slowly beginning to see that no, I’m not crazy. Mentally ill yes, but not crazy. I can’t be, if there’s somebody else in the world who’s so much like me.

 

An update on the privacy issue, and why I hate the internet

Not long ago I posted about the link to my blog being given out by somebody I’d trusted with that information. A few nights ago I decided to confront this person in a private message on the forum we’re both members of, and to my surprise she denied ever sharing the link, and forwarded a private message from another member, in which they said “this is what you’re after” and gave her the link.

I’ve given up any hope of ever feeling comfortable blogging about certain subjects now; these are people who know what I look like and where I live. People who know small aspects of my life but who would never be invited to read what is, in essence, my diary.

I don’t even understand why they’d want to read it. They have no connection to mental illness, as far as I know.

I chose to be anonymous because these are things I don’t tell anybody; not even my closest friends and family. I’ve purposely kept certain facts about myself a secret. I felt safe with my anonymity. I may have hundreds of views a day, but I was comfortable knowing those readers only know me as a faceless stranger on the internet. I don’t think I’m the only one out there who finds it easier to be honest when I can’t be identified.

After a bit of umming and aahing, I decided to push any BPD-related fears to the side and sent a PM to the person who passed the link on. I wasn’t hoping for much sympathy, but I can’t help but think the replies I received are typical of those who just don’t give the slightest damn about mental illness and the damage such small things can cause.

I sent:

***** may well believe otherwise; it was her choice to send me the PM.

It’s known that I write a blog. However, I’ve always stated that it’s NOT for anyone to see unless I give explicit permission; two people on ****** were trusted with the link. You weren’t one of them, so who gave it to you?

You may have been trying to be helpful, but I’m sure you can see why knowing the link has been given out would concern me a lot.

Their reply:

I responded with “What did I let slip? That I have a blog?

Why on earth would you be searching for something like that? I can’t help but find it beyond creepy that you’d actually Google something like that; something downright personal and which I’d said on **** that IS PRIVATE.

Have you given the link to anybody else?

I don’t think you quite understand how much trouble this could cause. “

Their response?

How hard is it for somebody to understand that passing on the link to something which is clearly very personal isn’t the right thing to do? Especially on a forum which has nothing to do with mental illness?

I don’t mind people finding this blog. I can’t stop anybody doing so. I’d like to think that basic human decency would overcome and they would realise that I probably wouldn’t want to have news of bulimia, breakdowns and my relationships shared on a site my friends read. Which my family read.

Obviously,  I have too much faith in others.

You live with straights who tell you you was king, jump when your momma tell you anything, the only thing you done was yesterday

It’s just past 5am, and I don’t really remember falling asleep yesterday afternoon. Woke up a couple of times and vaguely recall drinking a cold instant hot chocolate, but otherwise slept through entirely.

Yesterday didn’t go well, mood-wise. Being up all night left me irritable and snappy,  and the joints I’d smoked in the morning meant I was far from in the mood to help with the shopping. The whole house thing was weighing on my mind too, and I found myself wandering around Sainsbury’s, picking up random items and putting them down again, not really knowing what to do with myself. Buying food for the week was a disaster; ended up with a box of cereal, coffee, tobacco, a lettuce and two Quorn ready meals. I just couldn’t make enough sense of anything to make food choices.

My mother and I poked around a couple of charity shops, and although I had a minor panic when I saw a pair of jeans I really liked in my size but which seemed far too small (I don’t do changing rooms), I did manage to root out two tops – a long, tiered floral strappy one, and a long-sleeved Falmer smock – and a lovely brown cardigan with flared sleeves. Charity shops are sometimes the only things keeping me sane.

I’m very grateful to everyone who commented on my last post, offering support and good wishes. I’m just trying to clear my mind a little before I reply to you all; I’m too grumpy and spaced-out to do the kindness justice right now.

Received another message on Facebook:

After meeting ****** he informed me that we have to inform our building society that our property would become a ‘buy to let’ property and that our mortgage payments would be adjusted accordingly. We’ve thought about this and realised that our best option is to sell, the overheads now outweigh any potential rental income. I’m sorry to have to tell you this. I don’t even know if it was something you were both considering, but I have to let you know the score.

I feel awful for telling your this and I apologise massively if I’ve let you down.

I need some advice. BPD is taking over right now, and I know I can’t reply when paranoia and depression will have a hand in it; allowing them to speak for me never goes well. So, what should I say? I’m often lost for words when speaking to others personally, and I don’t want to cause any grief or upset her. It’s not her fault that S and I put so much faith into renting her house.

Chloroform, hospital, a holiday in Wales and the not-so-secret diary

I’m sitting up in bed, wrapped in a dressing gown and looking at a bottle of long-expired cough medicine. Earlier, I went on a mad spree around the house, determined to find some sort of drug to knock me out or at least calm me. I eventually found a dusty old bottle of Jackson’s All Fours in the kitchen cupboard, stashed behind the tubes of toothpaste and all-natural cleaning products my mother is obsessed with. The use-by date is 2003, and the word “chloroform” keeps catching my eye. A quick sniff of the contents suggests that something has deteriorated in there, and common sense tells me to stop being silly and that drinking it is nowhere near being an option.

However, I’m tempted. I’m almost disgusted by my temptation; I feel like a junkie grabbing at anything for just one more fix. I don’t even know if it’ll work, or harm me in some way (Google gives no real clues), or will simply taste like shit. I’ve already resorted to some Bach Rescue Remedy – I don’t even believe in homeopathy – and I’ve been drinking Ovaltine like a fiend in the hope that somehow the warmth and comfort will slow my brain down for just a short time, enough to allow me to breathe.

Two things set me off today, the first being the eczema which has now plagued me for around eight months. The official name for my particular brand of skin-lurgy is pompholyx – a blistering, peeling, cracking and incredibly painful version – and today I finally lost my cool and went a bit mad because of it. The soles of my feet are both covered with big, itchy blisters and large cracks where the skin has split. I have a hole on one foot where the skin has almost totally eroded away, which burns and is agony to touch. It’s on my hands too, but for now that is somewhat under control. Topical steroids – the strongest ones available on prescription – simply aren’t helping anymore. Nothing gives relief, and I’ve tried everything. The only thing which helped was oral steroids (prednisone) at a high dose, but the rash never cleared up completely and the blistering and pain came straight back when the dose was reduced.

My dermatologist was supposed to send me an appointment, but I’m still waiting to hear from them. I’ve phoned the department and they just say I have to wait for the letter. I’m half tempted to amputate my own feet with a kitchen knife.

The second panic-giver was discovering one of my old diaries from 2006 in my mother’s bedroom. I know for a fact I’d thrown it away, and I can’t begin to understand why she’d rescue it from the bin and keep it. I know she finds me difficult to understand, but I’m fuming over the breach of privacy. I was trusting her again, after years of not knowing whether she was spying on me, and now I can’t feel that trust. Something’s been shattered, and I don’t know how to fix it. I sat down with the diary and started to read through it – big mistake – and ended up thoroughly depressed. I was such a mess; utterly fucked-up, in fact. I’d forgotten just how bad things were. With the benefit of hindsight I can also see just how wrong I was to put my faith in the general goodness of people.I wrote about how “I knew O would never hurt me“… I was so wrong, and so damn blind.

I’m also feeling guilty (yet again) about neglecting the people who read this. I know I’ve been told, over and over, not to worry about replying to comments, but it’s difficult not to when I’m still unsure why anybody takes the time to look at my ramblings. So, you know, I’m sorry. Sometimes communication is the hardest thing for me to allow myself.

I briefly wrote yesterday about ending up in A&E. Last Wednesday I woke up with more ankle/foot pain than usual and when I went to stand on it, I couldn’t. The pain was unbearable; I felt like somebody had smashed every bone in my foot while I slept. It was so swollen that I could hardly get my boot over it, and even putting a sock on hurt like hell. I couldn’t walk on my left foot at all. After a lot of umm-ing and ahhh-ing from my mother (“but we have to do the shopping!”) we managed to get me into a taxi. I have a deep loathing of our local A&E department after they royally fucked up my treatment over gallstones, but the pain was incredible and I couldn’t see any other choice.

I really wish I hadn’t bothered. After a mercifully short wait, the triage nurse called me into a small room, asked me a few questions, then sent me to minor injuries. I still don’t know how I managed to get there; I decided that a mixture of hopping and limping was the only way. I sat with my mother in the dingy minor injuries unit, holding my leg in the air like an idiot since any pressure on my foot made me want to be sick.

Whilst I sat there, staring at the orange and brown lino flooring and listening to my mother witter on about everything and nothing, I considered just how many times I’ve sat in hospitals, waiting for very little to actually happen. This time was no different.

When the nurse (not a doctor) called me in, she didn’t watch me walk or offer any help. When I finally half-fell into the open-plan examination area, she told me to take my boot and sock off and kneel on the chair. I didn’t understand what she meant – I was tired and in pain – and I could tell she was thinking I was a bit of an idiot. When I finally clocked that she meant to kneel backwards, I did so only to feel like she was sticking a huge knife in my ankle. Turns out she only tapped it, but I could have cried. I explained that three months ago I had hit the back of my ankle on the top of a glass bottle while swinging my leg off my bed, and she said that it wasn’t worth x-raying my foot because the trauma was a long time ago. I was sent away with weak painkillers and an appointment with the physio department. I asked – in all seriousness – how I was supposed to get to the other side of the hospital when I couldn’t even walk, and she said “get your mum to do it”.

I was fine until I got out of the room. Once my mother had managed to haul me towards the exit doors, I burst into tears and collapsed against the wall. I couldn’t take the pain. I couldn’t take being dismissed without even a bandage. I couldn’t cope with the NHS telling me to just get on with it, like I’m not a real person.

Crazy took over. My mother managed to get me outside before I totally flipped. I screamed. Shouted. Cried. Told her I should never have been born, and meant it. Full-blown panic attack mode swept over me and all I could see was a pointless future. I wanted her to go away, so I could somehow get to the main road and stand in front of  a truck. I’d given up entirely, after years of being dismissed and treated like a nobody by the health service. Chronic pain? Dismissed. Infected gallbladder? Called a liar. Pelvic pain and flooding? Just women’s problems. PCOS? Not worth paying attention to. Threatening suicide? Told it’s just stress.

Somehow, I eventually calmed down, but not before summoning an adrenaline reserve and hiding around the other side of the hospital. I sat on the same bench I sat on all those years ago when I was being treated like a fool on the wards, and cried my eyes out. Nobody gave me a second glance; I suppose people crying outside hospitals isn’t all that surprising.

Initially, I thought there would be no way I’d be able to go on holiday with S. I eventually found some inner strength though and decided that sitting at home, in pain and feeling sorry for myself, wasn’t going to achieve anything.

The holiday itself was wonderful, even if I did struggle with some pretty extreme fatigue. Stronger painkillers helped with my foot, and being around S the whole time kept me calm. We stayed in a big cottage in Snowdonia National Park, with two living rooms, bathrooms galore, a hot tub and sauna, and a huge country-style kitchen. I forgot my camera so only managed to get a few blurry pictures on my mobile. This was the view from the bedroom window:

I’d go back today if I could. S and I spent most of our time reading in the snug, accompanied by a woodburning stove and plenty of red wine. I felt like a bit of a recluse for avoiding the other people, but I just wanted to relax and spend some real time with S. We got on fantastically, even when I got a bit grumpy one night over absolutely nothing.

One night, S had a nightmare. When he woke up, he grabbed hold of me and crushed me into his chest, saying “it was horrible. I did something awful and lost you. It was horrible”.

Onwards and possibly upwards

I feel much, much better today. In the past I haven’t had much faith in the power of prayer (I’ve always suspected it’s to make the prayer feel better, not the person they’re praying for) but right now I’m humbled. Humbled that strangers from across the world have sent me prayers, good wishes and hope, and it’s worked. I feel much more secure in myself, and even had a few surprising thoughts today.

I still can’t quite bring myself to reply to all the comments I’ve received, so please don’t think I’m being ignorant. It’s just strange for me to have so much support at a time like this. Perhaps life is finally changing for the better.

Surprising thought number one: I considered that going on a normal diet is probably the best way to lose the weight I’ve gained. I haven’t thought that way since the first diet, since the anorexia. Since then it’s been about starvation and purging and secret shameful midnight binges. The concept of a normal diet has been alien to me. Yet now… I’m beginning to consider it. Whether I’ll cope with it is another matter, since I’m so prone to taking diets way too far… but it’s a start, right?

Surprising thought number two: the realisation that the illness I’ve been experiencing for the past few days (shivers, aches, extreme fatigue, nausea, a cough, an upset stomach, fever) is mostly psychological. The anxiety I’ve been feeling and depression I’ve allowed myself to wallow in has knocked everything off-kilter.

S visited me today, and brought me a six pack of Dr Pepper. I lay in bed as he sat with me and talked about evolution and eugenics, computers and human nature. This is why I love him; every Sunday, we have a routine where we sit in the garden drinking coffee, smoking, and putting the world to rights. Even though we haven’t spent the weekend together, he made sure we still did that.

I’m a very lucky girl.

The Perfect Poet Award week 47

Love Story

Faith
was a myth I never quite
believed.

Trust
was a lie, a few
empty words.

Love
was a story I wrote
for you,
and you took it away
so easily.

I turn the pages
but you changed the ending.

(c) 2008.

Promising Poets Café