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.

Sorting out statements and spending money

I’ve hardly slept for three days. The stress of the accusation, along with the horrible muggy weather, has left me unable to switch my mind off and relax. I’ve been sitting on top of my bed in my underwear, waiting for the sun to rise so I can go downstairs and make coffee, then falling asleep for a few hours in the morning. I’ve been trying so hard not to let everything get to me, but there’s always a little part of my brain whirring away, trying to make sense of it all.

I’ve wondered if whoever reported me reads my blog. After all, any number of people from a local forum could have the link now. In the past, I’ve been very outspoken when it comes to prejudice towards the disabled claiming benefits – many arguments have started because I’ve refused to let a judgemental idiot make innocent people feel small – and once, somebody posted that the DWP were watching what I wrote, and to be careful. Another member said that I was living off the state and taking the piss. It’s safe to say that the general tone of the forum was of bigotry and bitchiness (it’s the general tone of the town I live in, really) and so there’s a high chance that somebody from there is the one who reported me.

This is where I come unstuck. I don’t know these people from Adam; okay, I met S on the forum and I do have friends who I met on there, but mostly the members were just faceless strangers who had no connection to me other than geography. They only knew what I chose to tell them. They didn’t know me.

I know I can be forceful when I feel wronged. I’ve freaked out when somebody’s backed me into a corner and made some pretty unhinged posts in the past on there. But… I’m nobody to them. Why would they want to try and ruin my life just for kicks?

My mother and I went into the bank today to sort out the statements the fraud officer needs. I almost freaked out; my mother tried to explain to me what I had to say (I’m awful in these situations) and I couldn’t remember what she told me, and I was already panicking slightly over the weather’s ridiculous control over my naturally frizzy hair, so I almost lost it. I don’t know how she brought me back from it, but somehow I managed to explain – haltingly – that I’d been accused of benefit fraud and needed proof of my innocence. The assistant was amazing; he sorted out all my statements and sent off for the ones from my mother’s account, and also helped me send off for another bank card after my mother took mine for ‘safe keeping’.

Relief. Days of stress fell away, because I now know we’ve done all we can until the fraud officer receives the statements. Even my mother – who’s been freaking out constantly since last week – calmed down and we spent the rest of the afternoon spending too much money and, for once, not arguing. It’s her birthday, and I haven’t been able to get her a present so I offered to pay for something she wanted from town. She faffed and umm’d and ahh’d, and I didn’t end up getting her anything. I feel bad, because I never get her presents on time. Still she seemed pleased with the card I got her.

The relief of finally feeling everything may work out okay pushed me into a spending spree. I hadn’t planned on spending much money today but ended up spending nearly £100 on clothes, make-up and presents for S; he’s thirty in a couple of weeks and I think he deserve spoiling this year after helping me through so much.

Z is going to bleach and dye the orange bits in my hair tomorrow, using Directions in Cerise, and I’m going to henna her hair. I’m glad we’re spending time together again. Afterwards I’m meeting S at the pub and we’re going to get the train to Liverpool on Saturday to visit the Tate. He’s taking me for a meal afterwards.

Maybe things are going to be okay.

But the story is over.

Worry of any sort inevitably leaves me with the total inability to sleep, unless I take codeine. Since I’m trying not to rely on it, stress means sleepless nights now, and last night was no different to the usual rigmarole. I sat up in bed all night, watching films and trying to read; all while wondering if today would bring hideous, horrible, devastating news.

By 9am, I was fast asleep, finally worn down by the hours of staring at two different screens and leaning against pillows too soft for my neck to feel supported. I did try to stay awake, but by the time I crawled under the topsheet I’d decided that I wasn’t going to miss out on vital sleep just because somebody’s decided to make my life difficult.

And made my life difficult, they have.

The fraud officer was quite nice; but I’m a cynical cow at heart and I wasn’t sure if she was just trying to get me to confess to some terrible crime. You see, someone had reported me. Not only that, but they reported me for the most ridiculous reason; they contacted the benefits office and told them I had a job.

As you can imagine, this is pointless stress I really don’t need.

Quite why somebody would make up something so ridiculous is beyond me. Out of every option they had to ruin my life, they chose the one thing I could prove without a doubt; that I am unemployed and, apart from a few short stints attempting voluntary work, have never had a job. Not a single one. Nowt. Zilch. How stupid are they?

To prove my innocence, I have to supply the DWP with bank statements. For the past god knows how many years. It’s a nightmare; my mother is stressed out beyond belief with the thought of having to deal with it all (since my benefits go into her bank) and she’s spent the entire day ripping the house apart and freaking out. I doubt she’ll sleep tonight. See, this is why it’s all so cruel; fair enough to have a problem with me, but don’t take it out on my mother, for the love of God. She’s ill. She can’t take it. She’s a bloody pensioner; she doesn’t deserve to be caught in the middle of my battles.

I just wish I know what those battles were, because as far as I can tell I’ve never given any reason for someone to suspect I’m working whilst claiming benefits. It has to be vindictive, and that hurts. I’ve been outspoken in the past, but never cruel. If I ever have truly hurt someone, it was always when I was scared, and they knew that. As horrible as some of my exes are, I don’t suspect any of them – it’s just not their style, and they’re the only people I’ve hurt that I’m aware of.

Z messaged me on Facebook after the appointment was over – with a promise to provide bank statements – and asked if I wanted to go to the market to buy some body jewellery. I was tired and somewhat frazzled by the news someone hates me enough to piss on my parade, and usually in that situation I’d cry off, faking some sort of illness, and distract myself with computer games and food. Today though, I decided fuck it; I’ve given up too much of my life because other people have tried to push me back.

We got a lift off her friend, and spent a while browsing plugs and labret bars for his soon-to-be-pierced lip. I bought a cherry blossom plug in 14mm, and some Directions hair colour in a dark pink; I had my fringe and the hair underneath bleached and dyed bright pink last week, but the colour refused to grab and it’s mostly copper. A nice colour, but not what I wanted, so Z is going to attempt to fix it for me on Friday.

Back at her house, I chatted to Z’s boyfriend, Steve, while she pierced her friend. I suppose it probably looks weird typing that; I can assure you we’re not using frozen sausages and earrings. Z and I met on a piercing forum and we’re both quite obsessive about doing things right; the combination of BPD and bipolar works quite well in that respect.

I saw O today. We both have a friend in common, so it was bound to happen eventually. I saw him walking towards me and said “well, this is awkward”. He sat down and said hello. I asked how the kids were, and he said “fine”. I sat and smoked a joint and wondered quite why I’d chosen that particular time to visit. Our friend said, “yeah, sorry. I didn’t think. Are you two on good terms now?”.

I looked at O. Are we? Were we, rather, since we haven’t spoken for over a year?

“Yeah. Well, I hope so”, O replied.

I looked at him for what felt like a little too long. He’s the one who stopped speaking to me, after all. And for the second time today I decided to say “fuck it”, and agreed.

O can’t hurt me now. I realise that. So what harm would chatting over a friend’s dining-room table do?  Once, I loved O more than life itself, but it was an unhealthy love. It was bourne of fear, jealousy and BPD-obsession. As we chatted about his new house and his son helping him wash the car, I didn’t feel a single twinge of pain for the past. Once, I believed that I would physically tear apart if O left. Now… I have S. I have a boyfriend who – for the first time – makes me feel safe and valued. My love for S eclipses anything I’ve ever felt before. I adore him.

Something in me suspects that O and I will never be friends again. Maybe we’ll bump into each other now and then, but the story’s over.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m glad. It was a part of my life which didn’t have S in it, and I’ve come to realise that a life without S means nothing to me. In a way, I suppose I’m grateful to O for him hurting me. If he hadn’t, I’d never have met someone so wonderful.

In which I step outside my comfort zone, and enjoy it

Our kitchen is what you’d call a ‘galley'; if a galley could ever be so small that one person barely fits in it. On one wall is cabinets and a tall fridge and on the other are appliances, squashed together and sometimes inaccessible behind organic cleaning products and spare shopping bags. There’s little wallpaper – it was stripped off years ago and somehow never got finished – so the walls are mostly bare and nicotine-stained. The ceiling is yellow and the lino on the floor is slowly peeling up.

Because it’s so small, my family tend to take it in turns to use it; even making a simple cup of tea is a military operation if more than one person is standing near the kettle. Cups tend to build up in the drainer and teaspoons clutter up the sink.

Earlier, I was making a brew for my mother and I. She’s ill at the moment – I suspect a chest infection/bronchitis – so I’m trying to help a little around the house today. I feel guilty for not being able to help more, but I had a busy weekend (more about that later) and fibromyalgia has sapped all my energy. I’m not in pain, just exhausted. Like my body wants to fall on the floor and stay there.

My dad walked in as I was pouring the tea and trying to juggle making a sandwich while my brain feels like it’s stuffed with bubble wrap. As I said, the kitchen is small and as he squeezed past me, I couldn’t help but feel irritated; it’s a one-person kitchen, we’ve all agreed on that. I stood patiently while he fiddled with the back door a little before wandering back into the living room. Almost immediately I felt guilty; my dad’s well into his sixties, he’s not in great health because of his drinking, and we suspect he’s possibly suffering from some sort of dementia, probably brought on from years of downing spirits and cheap wine every night.

But then I thought, why should I feel guilty for getting irritated by him? After all, I’m the one who made the decision to distance myself from my father; I can’t go getting emotionally involved if I’m trying my best to ignore the man who made my mother’s life hell until she got up the guts to leave him after one too many drunken punches were thrown. He may have been fantastic in my childhood – my hero in fact – but I refuse to smile at a wife-beater. I just can’t allow myself to do it. I can’t be a hypocrite and loathe violence but chat to the man who pushed my mother down the stairs. The more I thought about it, the more irritated I got. My father never once visited me in hospital when I was seriously ill with acute cholecystitis and pancreatitis. He never spoke to me about my mental health; not when he was sober, anyway. He doesn’t even say hello when he comes to my mother’s house. He’ll grunt, or say thank you if I make him a cup of tea, but he doesn’t say hello.

I made him a cup of tea. Told him it was in the kitchen, and came upstairs.

After my GP appointment on Friday, I sat around for a while, smoking and watching E.R (obsession of the moment; I always have an obsession. Last time it was House. When I was younger, I played Age Of Empires for two years straight) and waiting for the next medical adventure; an appointment with the podiatrist who’s been checking up on the tendonitis for the past few months. It went as well as it could; I have more flexibility than last time, but it’s still swollen so I’m being referred to rheumetology again. Different doctor this time, but the same department. Sometimes I think my life runs in circles and I’ll never break free.

I don’t quite understand why they’ve passed me on to rheumetology; the podiatrist didn’t explain, or if he did I was too anxious of being in hospital to take any of his advice and feedback in. I can only assume he thinks there’s something wrong with the joints in my foot. Same old, same old.

My best friend, Z, was 24 years old on Sunday, and she invited S and I to a barbecue at her house on Saturday night. My initial reaction was the usual; I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to speak to people I didn’t know – her friends, her family – and I was worried I’d get too stressed out and retreat to a quiet corner and become my usual reclusive self, ending up going home and failing at yet another social situation. However, this weekend I felt the fear and did it anyway – with S’s help – and not only went to the barbecue, but had a fantastic time. S and I even stayed over in the spare room, snuggled together under a bright yellow duvet and shielding our silent midnight sex with a spare curtain draped quickly over the bare rail.

.Z’s two-bedroom house is rented out by her boyfriend’s parents. When she told me she was moving in with Steve, I was jealous; the most I could hope for was a small flat or paying well over the odds for a tiny house in a dodgy area. They have a huge garden and enough room for their animals; a cat, a corn snake, two degu’s and whichever cat from next door wanders in. However, it soon became obvious that she and Steve were struggling to cope with running a household. The first time I visited, the living room was filled with boxes and half-empty cups and the carpet hadn’t been hoovered since they moved in weeks earlier. The kitchen was a death-trap, and the bathroom had no door. Steve and Z have a strange relationship. I’m sure they love each other, but they’re so different to S and I, and sometimes I can’t understand how they stay together. Z is incredibly clingy and possessive, and always demanding reassurance. She doesn’t always take her medication for bipolar and I’ve stood awkwardly on many an occasion while Z overreacts to something Steve says and starts asking if he wants to break up with her. It’s uncomfortable, and reminds me a little too much of myself.

I confess, I wasn’t at all prepared for Z’s birthday. I’ve been losing track of dates recently – I have no idea what today is – and I have a really difficult time remembering birthdays anyway. I try, but it just doesn’t happen. I still can’t remember my brother’s birthday after knowing him for 27 years. Numbers just stress me out too much. Typically I hadn’t remembered  to buy Z a present, so I had to do a mad dash around Tesco’s on Friday evening while S and I were shopping for pizza and Fosters, grabbing a baked eyeshadow set and a box of Thornton’s chocolates; hardly innovative, and entirely crap for a best-friend gift.

My friend G (we actually call him G as well, it’s not just a nickname) was invited too, and walked up to S’s house with his staffordshire bull terrier so we could get a taxi together. G never spends money unless forced and the only reason he gets away with it is because he’s so charming. I call him a friend, but I’m still not entirely sure what that words means; we speak, chat on Facebook, and he used to live with me when I was in a relationship with J, does that mean he’s my friend?

Sometimes I think I’ll never understand social interaction. It just doesn’t come naturally to me.

Z was quiet when we got to her house – I was worried she hadn’t taken her meds again – and she barely acknowledged our presents. I instantly started panicking; I know I’ve been an awful friend and isolated myself, but she can’t leave me. She can’t abandon me; losing people has happened too many times now for me to cope with. Z leaned into me and whispered, “I was going to call the whole thing off” then pulled me into the kitchen. As partygoers pushed past us, she told me somebody had hung themselves. She said who but I was too Lyrica-muddled and panicked to take it in. Somewhere in my head I was still stressing over her lack of reaction to my admittedly shitty present.

A couple of years ago, Z’s cousin hung himself. She took it very badly, and still gets tearful if his name is mentioned. She told me that knowing somebody else who’d commited suicide in that way brought it all back for her. Everything brings it back for her. I tried to hug Z, but she wouldn’t let me.

S was chatting with Steve and G, poking around the barbecue and trying to be all manly, so I went to talk to Z’s next door neighbour. Ann is in her fiftes and lives with five cats in a house filled with nick-nacks and photographs. She has severe osteoarthritis and can barely walk, and she’s awesome. We sat in her house and rolled a joint each, chatting about the painkilling benefits of weed and my mother. Nicely chilled and calmed, I went back to the party, bumping into my friend (again, friend…) Debbie. I’ve only met her once before – when I was ill in hospital – and although we’ve chatted a lot on Facebook, I’ve always made excuses not to meet up. I’m too nervous. Being thrown into the situation suited me much better; she hugged me and we chatted while I broke the Lyrica rule and drank cider and Fosters. I figured if I was going to be ill, I may as well go out in style.

A couple more joints later, I was feeling okay. Z had brightened up (although she was still somewhat aloof; understandable),  and watching S holding the corn snake and marvelling over the muscle structure cheered me up in a way only geeky boyfriends can. I started chatting to other guests – there were about ten in total – and actually mingled. I never mingle. I’m very anti-mingle.

The night was a success, and I’m glad I made the effort to socialise for once. We ate birthday cake and played with G’s staffie, throwing balls across the garden for him to catch. Cooked burgers and watched S pour a whole can of Fosters down himself; nobody’s let him live it down. As it went dark we set up a plastic table and some chairs around the back of Ann’s house and smoked blueberry and weed shisha, accompanied by hash brownies and Jägermeister shots. Played music on our phones and talked about everything and anything.

On Sunday, Z and I left the men to do some work in the garage and went to a local food festival. It was shutting down a little as we got there but we still had a good time; loads of free samples and I tried anything which had chilli involved. Afterwards Z bought me some chips and we walked back to her house. I confessed that I’d been feeling guilty over not seeing her often, and she said, “yeah, but it’s your mum, she’s too controlling“. True, and I decided not to mention the other reasons; fear, anxiety, paranoia. Thought I’d just pretend it was all my mother.

I’ve promised myself I’ll make more of an effort to socialise; I’ve realised that when I do, I enjoy myself. As long as I have a safety net of dope and somebody I know to look after me, I’m okay.

I’m not going to die.

I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you

When you spend most of your life shut inside your bedroom, there’s often not a lot to write about. One reason why I sometimes back off from participating so much online is because the jealousy surrounding the wonderful, full, active lives of others can start to consume me, and I’ve fallen apart more than once due to that envy. There’s only so many times I can type “played the Sims” or “slept all day” before the reality of my life being pretty damn boring becomes apparent.

Pain has been a constant for the past few days. Not agonising – it’s been much, much worse – but a permanent dull ache in my ankle, foot and hands. For once, my neck isn’t too bad; S gave me a back massage at the weekend and it seemed to loosen things up a bit. I’m loathe to take any Naproxen; I’ve been forgetting to eat (more about that later) and I don’t think my stomach could take it. IBS has been terrible for about a week now, and the smallest thing is sending me straight to the toilet with cramps and horrible pains, so the last thing I need is to irritate it more.

Yesterday, I had planned to go to the bookshop (where I used to volunteer) after closing time for drinks with P (the manager who was my closest friend, but it turns out he had feelings for me and he stopped speaking to me when I met S) and C, the little guy with glasses and an Elvis obsession who worked with me on Mondays.

At first, the idea seemed possibly not that great. P and I have spoken on Facebook since we ‘fell out’, but I suspect he still feels resentment that I picked S over him. I was concerned it would feel awkward. After I got together with S, P sent me a huge bunch of flowers; I flipped somewhat, and he cried on my mother’s shoulder when he realised he’d done totally the wrong thing.

I needn’t have worried. After deciding to just go – despite his overreaction to my relationships, P was a wonderful friend and I don’t blame him for making mistakes; I’m an emotional failure myself – I didn’t hear anything about what time I needed to be at the shop. Despite improving hugely in dealing with uncertainty over the past couple of years, I panicked. The rational thing to do would be to phone the bookshop, but I didn’t think I could cope if a volunteer I didn’t know answered. So I bailed.

Bail number two was a photoshoot on Sunday. I was supposed to be taking part in a goth/alt photoshoot for a friend, along with Z. It was an incentive to lose some weight and make an effort with my skin, so I was quite looking forward to it in a nervous way. I hate having my photograph taken, but figured it might be good for me to force myself in front of the camera.

I was the first person to join the Facebook group about it, and was first on the list. I’d posted in the group about going. I’d planned to bring S along, and get a professional photo of us together. Then I get a message online, from someone I sort-of know. She said that O and Ally were taking the kids to the shoot, and that I should probably know before I turn up. Sure enough, when I check the group, O has confirmed, along with a message saying “he’ll bring the fam”.

There’s no way I could have gone. Not even with Z and S alongside me; no amount of medication could hold me back from giving Ally the slap she earned when she slept with O, knowing he was still engaged to me. I already gave O his slap (I’m not proud, the red mist took over when he told me they’d slept together, just after having sex with me) but I don’t know if I could stand to look him in the eye after all the lies he told me.

The madness I have seen

I used to know a guy. Let’s call him Neil.

Neil and I met through my ex-boyfriend, J. They had been in a psychiatric unit together – J for bipolar/psychotic outbursts and Neil for schizophrenia – and when they were released J did his usual act of taking someone younger under his very unstable wing, acting like a “father figure” (his words, not mine) to Neil.

Although the schizophrenia was quite controlled with medication, Neil often heard voices, telling him to hurt himself and other people. His ex-girlfriend had committed suicide a few years earlier, and he never got over it. Still, he was a nice, gentle guy, too tall for his personality, apt to social bumbling and saying the wrong thing, but sweet and caring. We sometimes played D&D together, or talked about Discworld, or just chatted about every day stuff. I suppose I classed him as a friend; although, as I admitted, I don’t have a clue when friendship truly happens. He did text me sometimes and we chatted at parties and got on pretty well, so I went by that.

A couple of days ago, I read in the local paper that he’s been jailed for three years, for throwing lighter fluid on his brother while he was smoking.

I’ve had plenty of first-hand experience with the mental health system in England – mostly negative – and I can’t help thinking that, yet again, it’s let a vulnerable person down. Neil may have been given medication, but nobody ensured he was taking it; he was said to be “of no fixed abode” in the newspaper. Nobody made sure he went to his therapist appointmets, or looked out for him. Perhaps his family helped – they said they still love him and want to help him – but is it too little too late? Too many people just let the mentally ill fall by the wayside, letting the NHS pick up the pieces in an ineffective way.

I’ve seen so many people being seemingly abandoned by mental healhcare, left to fend for themselves and told to go away with a pill packet, and it makes me worry for my future, as well as that of others. If I have another breakdown, will those around me have the foresight to keep me from being sectioned? Or will they be sick of me falling apart on an annual basis, and lock me away for some peace and quiet?

Not everybody has to worry about this, I suppose.

In happier news, it’s been a long, lovely weekend. S took Friday and Monday off work, and so I stayed at his house from Thursday evening and we spent the time drinking white Russians and amaretto, watching Buster Keaton films, playing Worms on his computer, smoking in the garden and talking in bed. I gave very little thought to my decision to end my so-called friendship with O; I thought I should feel something, even though I stopped loving him a long time ago, but it just felt like a closed door.

It’s funny; O was the first person to suggest that S fancied me. We were in his car, parked around the corner after a quick night-time shag by the water treatment plant, and when he said that I just shrugged. At this point, I only knew S online; we’d never met in real life, and I had no indication that he found me attractive.

It did spark something in my mind though; the thought that perhaps it wasn’t so strange that I did like something about S, even though we’d never met. That maybe there was a reason why I looked for his name when I logged in to the forum. So, in a way, O tempted me into flirting a litle with S. He was the master of his own fate.

O and I…. it was a love story. He’ll always be the first man I loved, and I’ll always have fond memories of that short time we were blissfully happy. It will never compare to the story I’m writing with S, though.

Letting go of O.

Today, I realised that my friendship with O, my ex-fiancé, has officially ended. Not only that, but it ended a long time ago, when I met S and stopped sleeping with O. For a long time, I believed his promise of always being there for me, and his assurances that we’d always be best friends. Even when we didn’t speak for a long time, I let it slide because I thought he’d eventually call or text.

Nothing, though. I haven’t heard anything from him for months, and I think it’s time to close the lid on that friendship. I’ve realised now how gullible I was; O was only sticking around for sex, and once I stopped giving it to him… well, it didn’t take him long to drop me.

It makes me feel sad in a way. My relationship with O was turbulant and paranoid, and we were woefully mismatched, but I’ll always look back on our time together with fondness. My feeling for S have far eclipsed what I ever felt for O, but I was happy, sometimes. It was my first adult relationship, and we were together for over four years. Knowing he’ll never be in my life again is a strange feeling, but can I ever offer friendliness to someone who only wanted something physical from me in the end? Who dumped our ‘everlasting friendship’ once I met someone and fell in love?

I feel shamed that I let O use me and believed him when he made promises to always be there. It seems that friendship came with conditions; that I couldn’t meet anyone else, but he could have a girlfriend and two children.

Those conditions just seem unfair.