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. 

Attached at the hip – another oldie

Stars hung low in the sky tonight
Suspended by threads less fragile than ours
Street lights flicker and tobacco burns
A single light glowing in the dark.

The moon covered by a cloud
But hung by a rope, stronger than anything we could have made
Skin deep promises count for so little
On these nights by the windowpane.

A burned out joint in the gutter
A feeling of being anything but high.
Standing smaller in the dark than I’ve ever felt
In the dark, beneath the night sky.

The wind chills my fingers as I watch the road
Waiting for cars, but nobody comes
Just flickering night lights to pave my way
An illumination on all that I’ve done.

Lighting the shame, the guilt and the doubt
A spotlight upon my every move
Why can’t they see, this was only about me?
This was never about my feelings for you.

Stars hang low above my head
On threads made of promises, kisses and sighs
Threads hold us together, attached at the hip
Built of deception, coldness, heartbreak and lies.

(c) 2008

In the corner, by the door

Tonight, like the last, I thought too much
My mind the enemy like too many times before
The candle by my bed burned out long ago
And somehow I find myself sitting on the floor
In the corner,like I’ve always known
That safe place I always retreat
My head plays tricks on me tonight
In the silent dark, I admit defeat.

Tears flow, the pain won’t end
I sing a song but I can’t sleep
I sit in the corner, cigarette in my hand
Fragments of poems laying around my feet
Too many words, too many lies
When all I need is to hear the truth
Too many heartbreaks, too many times
Too many thoughts of losing you.

My head full of thoughts I’d rather not think
Crippled with images I’d rather not see
Playing like a movie with no happy ending
You and her, when it should be you and me
Sick imagery I can’t forget
Burned forever on my heart and soul
Disappears when you hold my close
But tonight, again, I am alone.

And nights like this, I can hear the rain
I can convince myself it’s all falling apart
I can miss your skin and your breath more than ever
I can feel the cracking of my heart
Once again tonight, I fall from grace
Sitting in the corner, by the door
Heart weighing heavy and thoughts of you
As I sit here, alone on the floor.

These are my words, all I can offer
My prayer to you and all I held dear
This is my heart and these are my feelings
My pain, my heartache, my loneliness, my fear
I close my eyes and count to ten
But it’s not a dream and I can’t undo
All the wrongs I caused unwittingly
All the pain I caused to you.

Tonight, like the last, I’m wide awake
In the corner, by the door
Can’t shake the pictures, those sick lullabies
Can’t shake the feeling you might have wanted more.

(c) 2008

Knowing your fiancé is cheating on you is a strange feeling. Painful, more painful than anything I ever imagined, and somewhat desolate. You feel alone, because even the person closest to you has turned to somebody else for whatever you can no longer give. Yet he still wants to be with you. He wants to be with her, too. He wants to have his cake and eat it, and because you can’t imagine how you’d ever survive without him in your life, you let it happen. You cry and scream when you find evidence of her in his bedroom – a picture she drew for him (what, is she like 12?) or a curly, long, brown hair on his pillow – but you still accept his kisses and let him make promises because he’s all you have. 

And you don’t want her to win. You want to be better than her – a better girlfriend, better in bed, a better person in general – but eventually you can’t fight anymore. She wins. He runs to her. 

Then back to you.

To her.

To you.

For months. And you let it happen. 

They’re all out to get you, once again.

“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.”

Psychosis is impossible to explain to anybody who’s never experienced it first-hand. Wikipedia describes psychosis as an abnormal condition of the mind, and is a generic psychiatric term for a mental state often described as involving a “loss of contact with reality“, and given that my fantasy world was as far removed from reality as it’s possible to be, that’s what I’ll call it.

Of course, I don’t remember what was real and what was simply imagined, so I can’t accurately describe exactly how my psychosis panned out. Although I now realise that certain torments and threats were entire fantasy, I sometimes wonder just how much of my life as I see it is just an illusion. I confess… I don’t like feeling that so much of my life was a lie.

I can remember sitting on my bed in the room I used to sleep in, and feeling convinced the entire world could see me. Not through cameras, but in their heads; I don’t know, some sort of telepathy. They saw me and judged me on everything I said and did. Sometimes I got dressed under the bedcovers, worried about everyone seeing me naked and laughing at my body. I would turn photographs and posters to the wall in case they were somehow a way of people watching my every move. At one time, I had hundreds of posters and, when stressed, would refuse to look at them in case they knew that I knew.

At no point did the thought occur to me that none of this was real or strange. It felt so normal that I never questioned it; you see what’s in front of your eyes, and what I saw may have been removed from reality but I saw it all the same, and had no reason to be suspicious I was living in a false world. If you see a cup on a table, you don’t think, “hey, is this real?”. You just accept that the cup and table are there. I accepted that the things I thought and believed were there too.

I’ve written before about how happy my years in primary school were, but I neglected to mention a few problems I had along the way. On the whole it was an amazing experience, and one I’ll always cherish –  I can still smell the cut grass on the school field which signaled it was summer – but it wasn’t always the rosy-tinted childhood I make it out to be. I suppose I haven’t felt ready to talk until now.

I have never got on with numbers. Basic arithmetic is the best I can manage, and I’ve done a lot of avoiding maths in my life. I still don’t have my maths GCSE; I wasn’t even competent enough to take the exam. It’s not that I don’t want to learn, something just stops the numbers processing properly. It’s like they turn to mush in my brain as soon as I try to solve all but the most simple problems. In the first years of primary school this wasn’t a problem because even I could understand that 2 + 2 = 4. What I didn’t reckon on was being introduced to basic fractions and decimals when I joined the junior classes. I couldn’t process them. They made no sense. I couldn’t accept that there was any rhyme or reason to any of it, and I began to panic. I started needing to pee all the time, and often used it as an excuse to escape to the toilets next to the classroom and hide from the numbers.

This is where things get cloudy. I have memories, but they may not be real. I have brief flashes, but I’m not entirely convinced I didn’t invent the whole thing.

All I remember is those toilets. Three small stalls and two sinks opposite. Tracing paper toilet roll. And somebody – somebody male – in those toilets with me.

His legs are all I can picture. Dark trousers and black shoes. That’s it. His legs. Nothing else.

It’s only a fragment of memory. A tiny second out of twenty-seven years of life. In the grand scheme of things it barely exists. So why does it follow me around? I just know that toilet stall is somehow important. I just don’t want to consider why.

The last two years of juniors is when I started retreating into myself. I started spending time alone on the playing field, picking daisies and throwing them. Once, I fell over and badly cut my hand on a piece of glass which had been sticking out of the ground. Instead of going to the teacher on duty, I stood and watched the blood. For a long time. I remember kids crowding around me, and a teacher wrapping a bandage around my hand.

By the age of eleven, I was inventing scenarios in my head which never occurred. I began to tell ridiculous lies; lies which were so obvious yet I was convinced I was actually speaking the truth. It’s hard to explain to somebody who’s never experienced it. Even though what I claimed was clearly impossible, as the words came out of my mouth I believed them entirely. When the bullying started, my beliefs became more and more outlandish; to the outsider it must have sounded like I was trying to make myself sound cooler than I am, but in reality I had no such plans. All of it – the invented boyfriends, imagined situations – were 100% real in my head. The people I created lived out their lives and, when something bad happened to them, I felt sorry for them. When one died, I cried in the history classroom, putting my head down on the desk and sobbing into my black blazer.

This is all so difficult to talk about. You just can’t explain something which was never there.

Sometimes the walls moved in one me. Loud bangs would shoot off in my head, as though there was a gun going off inside my ear. Music played when there was none. I saw figures standing just out of my vision, always watching me. I stayed up late every night, worried that somebody or something would grab me if I fell asleep, and I would stare at the reflections in my tiny bedroom television, convinced I could see people moving inside. Not once did I consider that tiny people inside my television might be quite an unusual event.

I knew, without a doubt, that my every thought was being broadcast somewhere. Where, I never quite decided; most likely to my enemies, the people who hated me most and who were waiting for me to put a foot wrong so they could point and laugh at my total inability to fit in with the social norms.

By far the worst aspect of being bullied was knowing that two desks behind me I was inevitably the subject of a caustic bitching session. This bit was undoubtedly real. I did experience name-calling and shoving in the corridors, but that wasn’t anywhere near the feeling of being totally ignored. I had a handful of friends but my increasingly wacky behavior – muttering to myself, writing poetry on wardrobe doors and turning up to class with my white shirt sleeves soaked in blood from where I’d hacked at myself with a razor – quickly drove them away and although we still hung out at break, I was suddenly being invited to a lot fewer sleepovers.

I skipped class often. Nobody ever missed me and I often whiled away hours in the toilets near the R.E classroom, locked securely in a stall far away from the door. I’d hear girls come in and chat about the usual mundane things. Once, I was sitting on the toilet seat and writing in the back of my English book when I caught my name in their conversation.

Yeah, she’s such a freak“.

From this point on, every word said to me was taken as a criticism on my worth as a human being. I scrutinised every conversion – looking for insults and judgement – and found that everyone, every single person I met, hated me. Total strangers knew my entire life story and looked down on me for failing to succeed, and even my own family were conspiring against me.. When my mother sent me to the child psychiatrist after I was found harming myself in school, I saw it as a direct attack. I was perfectly fine, she was the one with delusions.

Every session with the psychiatrist, I sat on a blue-cushioned chair and stared at the clock on the wall above his head. I counted the ticks. I looked at his ratty face and imagined throwing him out of the window just so he’d stop asking me how everything made me feel. I felt fine. I was okay. The world was fucked-up, not me, and I’d cope much better if everyone just stopped interfering with my life, thank you very much.

One day, he asked me if I heard voices. I answered honestly; yes, I did. And yes, they suggested bad things.

The voices… they’re not like a real voice heard inside your head. They’re more like thoughts – you don’t hear a thought, you think it – which occasionally pop up and, because it’s just a thought, you believe it.

The bad things? Killing myself. Killing my classmates. Going into  school with a kitchen knife and forcing the bullies to take me seriously for once, rather than laughing and making sly comments when I put my hand up in class. Once, I took the knife – a small one – in my schoolbag but wasn’t brave enough to use it.

I never thought that I was anything other than normal.

The psychiatrist said I was schizophrenic. I was sent to PL. They said I wasn’t. Nobody seemed to know why I was so removed from everything, other than I was experiencing some sort of post-traumatic psychosis. In one of the many counselling and therapy sessions, I was asked if my father had ever sexually abused me. I said no, of course he hasn’t; my dad may be some things, but he never laid a finger on me.

Nobody ever asked if someone else had abused me, though.

“I’m Fine”

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

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

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

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

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

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

(c) 2008

Accept

Often when I talk about myself, I feel eerily detatched from the situations and experiences I’m describing. I used to think it was similar to watching a movie; I was the lead star, but the narrator was somebody else entirely and the scripts never quite matched up. Now I realise it feels more like a form of denial – if I don’t accept something could be the truth, it can’t hurt me – and I’m beginning to think it’s not doing me any good to be so removed from myself.

All my life, I have called myself a liar. Sometimes with good reason – I lied with abundance in my teens to try to fit in – but often there’s no lies being told, other than the ones I tell myself to stay safe and ignorant. Denial has long been a part of my life; so long that it’s a natural emotion for me, one which never used to carry weight or worry me but which now makes me wonder if this dissociation could be the reason why I find it so difficult to accept things in life and move on.

When speaking to doctors and counsellors about my eating disorders in the past, I have often sat in the chair and wondered if I’m not exaggerating to get attention. I used to convince myself that my binge/purge cycle wasn’t really bulimia, and that starving myself had nothing to do with anorexia. I could use the words with ease to describe my eating habits, but there would always be a part of me shouting in the background, accusing myself of lying. I thought if I only stuck my fingers down my throat a few times a week, or didn’t completely empty my stomach, it wasn’t bulimia. It was just a bad habit, like smoking. Certainly not a mental health problem. It was always he same with self-harm; other people self-mutilated, I simply made half-arsed scratches and scrapes to make myself more miserable.

It’s difficult to explain how I could think that my habit of burning my arms and legs with heated-up bits of metal, scissors, hair clips and cigarettes could just be a way of depressing myself so I could be the morbid, cool, damaged teenage girl everyone secretly admires. Above everything else, I’ve never sought attention; I dislike it intensely, especially when it applies to the crazier side of me. I just want to be left alone, not put in the spotlight.

The point of all this navel-gazing is I’ve realised that I’m nowhere near being able to accept I have arthritis. It’s been over a week since my diagnosis, and although it’s probably normal to be in some sort of denial and that alone certainly wouldn’t be cause for concern, what worries me is that little voice inside my head, telling me I’m making it all up. That I’ve misunderstood Dr B, or invented it all as a reason for the pain. It’s ridiculous, really; I have proof from the referral letter, and I’m sure my GP will tell me the same things when I see him in a couple of weeks. I have a bruise in the crook of my arm from the blood test needle.

I don’t know what the problem is. It’s not like it’s a death sentence, after all. Yes, I will be in pain for the rest of my life – barring any medical miracles – but did I really expect anything different?

The pains of being honest at heart, and the problem of guilt

“Don’t you find it strange, opening up like that? I couldn’t do it”

Tonight, I spoke to my mother about my blog, and how it’s helped me. She’s always known I write this, although I would never in a million years show it to her. She’s always been suspicious of the internet, to the point of obsession over supposed threats social networks could pose to me, regardless of how careful I assure her I am (I’m not; I’m just not interesting enough to be worth stalking, and if someone wants to hack my bank account, go for it; I have a grand total of nothing in it, and it’s been empty for a year now), but she’s recently become quite attached to reading forums. Mostly it’s the same one; a money-saving forum. She tells me about the lives of the various members as though they were close friends, and I actually think it’s nice, and probably good for her. I worry about her total lack of a social life, and I suppose in a way she’s involving herself now, even though she doesn’t ever post.

I sat on the stairs, balancing a mug of light chocolate Ovaltine next to me and hugging my knees while we spoke. We often seem to speak in strange places; we’ve never been that good at expressing our emotions around each other, but we’re starting to, and I like it. Since my diagnosis of Borderline Personality, I’ve become more open with her. She’s done her research on it, and I know there’s no point pretending everything’s fine with me now when I freak out, because she knows exactly why.

I’ve always been a very honest person. I may have lied and twisted facts in the past to make myself sound cool or popular, but when it comes to my emotions, I’ve rarely bothered holding back. I suppose I just don’t see the point in hiding such a huge part of my personality. Sometimes, that honesty has come back to bite me on the arse – not everybody treats the truth with respect – but I’ve always tried to bounce back from the insults and judgements, believing that the best way for me to cope with life is to be honest about who I am and the way I feel.

Tonight, I wanted to be honest in a post, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. It’s the first time I’ve struggled with laying myself bare online in a long time, and I’ve never once held back on this blog. My reasons for holding back were twofold; one, I didn’t want to be seen to be looking for sympathy, and two, I just didn’t think anybody would be interested enough.

I didn’t write the post in the end. It seemed easier to just let it slide, but I’ve been unable to shake it from my mind. It was nothing amazing or groundbreaking – simply explaining how much physical pain I’m in today/tonight – but when I started this blog, I promised myself total honesty, even if I didn’t like what I had to write about myself, and so I now find myself typing away at my laptop, propped up against a V-shaped neck pillow in my little single bed, writing to purge the imagined sins of dishonesty.

I mean, I wasn’t even dishonest. I simply omitted to mention something, which in itself is no biggie and certainly won’t cause any major disasters to happen. In the comments of my last post, people said I should stop being so hard on myself, and they’re right. Guilt consumes so much of my life that sometimes it’s all I can feel.

The truth? I’m in pain. A lot of pain, all through my body. I’ve hardly moved today, although I’ve tried to force myself. My fingers and wrists ache, my ankle is bruised and swollen (it’s been that way for months), my neck feels as though I’m carrying a concrete slab on my head, and my skulls feels like it may explode. Earlier, I had earache, probably caused by a swollen gland on the left side of my neck. My knees hurt. My jaw hurts. Even my eyes seem to hurt.

The Celebrex is doing nothing except scrambling my already jumbled brain. Naproxen helps, but I can’t take both and I need to stay on the Celebrex until I see the rheumatologist. I haven’t had any weed for a couple of weeks now, so that’s not an option. Staying in bed doesn’t help and neither does moving around. Hot baths don’t touch the pain in my neck and head at all. Heat does nothing. Cold does even less. So the only thing I have is fucking codeine. How can I deal with an addiction if I need that substance to even begin to function?

I’ve tried to behave and stick to the correct dosage, but I’ve slipped a few times. Last night I took seven caplets, in an attempt to sleep. I’ve only had two today so far, but the effects wore off hours ago. I feel like I should be apologising to my liver.

I can’t help feeling cheated by life. I suppose being sick is a lot like grief; I’m going through the stages.

The stages, popularly known by the acronym DABDA, include:[2]

  1. Denial — “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.”
    Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with anger
  2. Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”
    Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.
  3. Bargaining — “I’ll do anything for a few more years.”; “I will give my life savings if…”
    The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, “I understand I will die, but if I could just do something to buy more time…”
  4. Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon so what’s the point… What’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”
    During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
  5. Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
    In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with their mortality, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event.
Wikipedia link

Only, I keep flipping back and forth between anger and depression. I seem to be stuck between them. Some days I can almost accept it, but then something happens – I drop a cup or wake up unable to move my neck – and I’m right back to being frustrated and furious, or depressed and convinced I may as well just give up because life can’t ever get any better.

Denial was the best stage. It lasted a long time. I don’t know when things changed.