“I wouldn’t be buying plug-in air fresheners if I didn’t want to live with you, would I?”

We’re nearly there. Empty boxes are beginning to outweigh full ones, and the hallway carpet is finally visible. S spent today sorting tools and electronic bits into drawers, while I painted the underside of some shelves I started yesterday, and a shelf S build from some scrap pieces of wood to attach to the blackboard I made from the backing to an old painting I found in the basement. We’re putting them up in the kitchen; I’ve accepted that my piss-poor memory isn’t going to improve any time soon, and any tools to help me remember the most basic things would come in pretty handy.

We’re finishing off tomorrow, and putting the Christmas tree up. After years of making sure my mother’s collection of decorations was in her will – I’m not kidding, I really love those decorations – she announced a few weeks ago that I could have them. Neither S or I are particularly big on Christmas, or public holidays of any kind, but I sort of want a tree and some sparkly lights for our first Christmas living together. We went to Tesco tonight to pick up some essentials, and ended up getting excited over festive food; something I never thought would happen.

lights

 

I confess, my first solo-ish Christmas combined with finally unpacking has brought the BPD out a little, and I’ve had a couple of outbursts; panic-driven, tear-stained, get-the-hell-away-from-me-or-I’ll-explode. I’m getting finicky about calories again and standing in front of the full-length mirror, loathing everything about my silhouette. Started wondering, “what’s the point in worrying about all this when i’ll inevitably go wrong anyway?“.

So I was quite surprised when S, who was leaning his head on my arm as I read in bed, said, “you are still enjoying living with me, aren’t you? I know I can be a pain.

It’s rare for S to show any real vulnerability. Not out of some misguided macho pride; he just doesn’t, and it seems to work for us. It’s always a surprise when he does, and I never quite know how to deal with it. After all, could I really be 100% honest without terrifying him? “Actually, I’ve never been so happy, and just being around you is making me more comfortable than I’ve ever felt in my life. Waking up with you is the best thing ever, and I feel like I could explode when you make me a cup of coffee because it’s so damn awesome to finally be living with you”.

No.

Past relationships – especially those with O and J – have taught me that it’s very easy to say the wrong thing, and sometimes it’s best to just keep my mouth shut if I want things to run smoothly. So I just stroked S’s hair, kissed him on the nose, and said “I wouldn’t be buying plug-in air fresheners if I didn’t want to live with you, would I?

Couple-on-Sofa

 

The past week has been strange to say the least, and I feel guilty for writing posts and not responding to comments. I had planned to get stuck in to this blog a little bit; find the time somehow to sit and relax and really think about everything which has happened and all the little occurrences I should be writing about. I do read every single comment, and it’s not like I simply shrug them off; many of them stay with me while I’m going about my day, and I find myself thinking of certain readers, wondering how they are.

I never really explained in my last post why I had a great big needle stuck into my ankle. In truth, I haven’t really wanted to speak about it much because although it’s wonderful that I’m finally – finally – being taken seriously and tests are now beginning to show results, it’s also scary. Words are being thrown around which I’m not entirely comfortable with. Suggested diagnoses. Referrals back to rheumy. Discovery of a misdiagnosis, and something big which was missed entirely.

Long story short, my ankle/foot pain was never being caused by Achilles tendonitis, despite it being diagnosed by physio, the bio-mechanics clinic, and orthopaedics. I’ve actually damaged a tendon in the side of my foot, meaning that the exercises I was all but bullied into doing despite my protestations of pain were just exacerbating the problem. The ultrasound I had a couple of months ago showed a tear in the tendon, and also a light mass in my ankle joint. Fluid. Lots of fluid.

So I was rushed through X-Ray. Being rushed through any department in my local hospital is a miracle in itself.

Then finally, after almost two years of constant pain, referrals, tests and appointments, it all began to come together.

Xray

 

The damage to my tendon is a symptom, and the reason why I’ve been in so much pain is because my ankle joint is incredibly inflamed, so I’m getting pain from both things, and the tendon can’t heal because the swelling keeps it constantly stretched.

So far, so normal, really. Dr. B did say I have osteoarthritis in my knees and fingers, so why not elsewhere? Only, my othopaedic consultant sat down and asked me a load of questions about my health; when I had pain, where the pain was, how well I slept, my eating habits, the history of my fibromyalgia… read back through my notes, and spoke to another consultant.

I’m going to send these results to Dr B. With your history and symptoms, we may well be looking at rheumatoid arthritis“.

He’s the third medical professional to say that in the past six months.

Only this time, they have actual pictures. Proof. Proof that I’m not faking it, and that there is something wrong with my body. That ultrasound scan.. just one scan, 15 minutes of my time, and finally things are happening.

Do I want RA? Hell no.

Do I believe I have it? Yes. It all fits. Everything. Almost too well.

Tests are beginning next month.

Rude Awakening

Another day, another suggestion that I see my GP.

“I think you’re taking the wrong medication, the Daily Mail says Lyrica is used for anxiety but you’re on beta-blockers and Cipralex so you don’t need it all”. 

I curse the bloody Daily Mail.

Yet again, I slept badly last night. I’d napped during the day – an unsatisfying, food-avoiding fibro nap – and ended up awake until dawn. Dozed off sometime in the morning and was woken by my mother insisting I get out of bed and make an effort. Shouting about medication and having to see my doctor. I’m sick of hearing this at least once a week. Of course, I reacted; half-asleep and irritated, I burst into tears. I just wanted some peace. I wanted to wake up naturally on my own, rather than having my sleep cycle decided for me.

I used to try to avoid getting angry, but I’m tired of it now. Yes, I sleep at odd times but I’m not the only one, and is it any surprise?

Moving out can’t come too soon, but even that comes with its own hurdles. For weeks now, my mother has been trying to get me to pack my stuff away. Telling me to measure furniture and asking about curtains and toasters. Although I’m determined not to let her take over this move, I know she’s trying her best to involve herself with every aspect of it and I really don’t want her to. This is my final attempt at freedom; the first time I’ve actually moved out with a purpose. It’s mine and S’s flat, not hers… and I’m not sure how much I can humour her without blowing up in her face.

Don’t get me wrong. I know she’s trying to help. After all, she’s worried about me. Of course she is. I’m moving into a flat where I’ll have to take control of my own prescriptions and moods; but she seems to forget that S will be there too. And with the freedom living away from my mother affords, I know I’ll be happier. I know I’ll be able to move on somewhat, and hopefully work towards maybe getting to the point where I can work from home in the future and get off benefits. Living here… she’d never allow that. She’s too protective.

I’m not saying I’ll magically get better once I move away. I know there’s a lot of hard work to be done; specialists to see, tests to have, and a lot of the past needs to be dealt with before I can even begin to push on in life. I may never improve physically. I may get worse. But there’s a tiny, tiny chance that being allowed my own freedom and personality could relieve some of the stress on my shoulders and, in time, allow me to think of the future.

Yet again, I’ve wasted an entire day. After being so rudely woken I simmered in my own frustrations for hours, only venturing downstairs once to make a coffee. I avoided my mother. Didn’t offer to make a cup of tea for her. Usually I relent and accept things are never going to change, but why should I? I’m so close to that freedom – close enough to almost touch it – and here she is, still insisting I see my doctor every time I sleep in. Still combing the Daily Mail for health articles to thrust in my face as I’m trying to wake up. Still telling me to measure the walls of the new flat and fit furniture in accordingly.

Is it really the end of the world if I don’t put my desk where she wants it?

I’m tired, but doubt sleep will come easily tonight. I simply can’t cope with being woken suddenly. It throws my whole day off. I’m trying not to feel anxious, but having that bloody one-sided conversation about my fucking GP at least once a week is driving me up the wall. I’ve made no secret that I’m struggling right now; to add to the anxiety and panic attacks, I’m falling down the ED rabbit hole again. It’s so easy to do. It’s control, you see. If I control what I eat, things can’t get on top of me. Knowing I’ve hardly eaten for days is a comfort; I may not be able to deal with the stresses of every day life without freaking out, but I can restrict calories like a champion.

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

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

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

 

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

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

This is what relapse feels like.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Most people do.

 

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.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions

1:25am, and I’m worrying.

In the morning I’ll be meeting Dr B, the consultant rheumatologist who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia in 2006. I haven’t seen him since the diagnosis – choosing to forgo the usual treatments – and to say I’m nervous would be an understatement. Dr B is a very straightforward man; brilliant at his job, but he takes no prisoners and rarely smiles, and the last time I was in his company, he poked and prodded me until I cried. It’s not an appealing prospect.

I’m wondering if I’ll have any sort of clue as to my future after tomorrow, or whether I’ll just be referred to yet another department. I’m glad neurology found nothing wrong, but I’m tired of seeing different doctors and repeating my symptoms for the hundredth time.

Even with medication, I’m stressing. I have a habit of being on my best behaviour in front of doctors; and that means not showing any pain or distress. I play my symptoms down, not wanting to make a fuss. I’m fully aware of it and I know it’s part of the reason why nobody can quite work out what’s going on with me, but seem unable to admit to any sort of weakness; physical or emotional.

Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way

Diet cherry Coke and The Sims. A joint. My laptop screen. The only things keeping me company as I attempt to pull an all-nighter to reset my body clock. Stupid daylight saving, stupid upside-down sleep weekend.

The weather was beyond glorious over the weekend, and S and I spent most of it sat in his landlord’s garden, smoking, drinking red wine and talking about nothing. On Friday, I sat under the veranda of the pub and waited for him to finish work, nervous with anticipation and apprehension about telling him we’re not going to be able to rent the house. Sat and smoked, feeling a bit paranoid I was being watched; a silly delusion, but happens when I’m stressed.

Of course, I needn’t have worried. I need to stop letting myself panic so much; S has proved over and over he’s not about to run away screaming if I hint at any commitment. We had a drink and I told him I’d had a message from the woman, saying she was going  to sell instead of rent it out. S just shrugged and said, “oh well, we’ll have to find somewhere else then”. We spent an hour or so looking at flats and houses online, and – surprisingly – there were quite a few nice ones within our budget.

I had to let paranoia get a small look-in, so I asked S if he really still wanted to live with me.

“Of course, i want to wake up with you every day, I need to live with you”.

Where did I get that man from? And can I never have to give him back, please?

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Lookingforapurpose nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger award in a recent post. As always, thank you!

RULES

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass the award to seven nominees.

Seven things about myself:

1. I have a new addiction. Coffee. I mean, it’s always been a favourite of mine, but lately I’ve been coming to the conclusion that I rely on it perhaps a bit too much. Ten large cups a day don’t feel like enough. Is there anything I’m not going to become addicted to?

2. I forgot to take any of my medication for two days this week. I’m feeling okay, but it usually takes a few days to have an effect. I can see the weekend being a disaster of panic and worry.

3. I can’t grow my nails for shit.

4. At the weekend, S told me that he “wants  to build a life” with me. I almost don’t want to believe he may be telling the truth, in case I get hurt again.

5. Although it’s easier to post old diary entries because it’s in the past, it’s been difficult reading about my relationship with O, especially now I have so much hindsight. The denial is hard to swallow. The ways I often acted shameful. All the concerns about him cheating, and he ended up leaving me for someone else anyway. The naive attitude I had to love and relationships, and what trust should be. It all leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

6. I cover my mouth with my hand a lot. I hate my huge, misaligned teeth.

7. At the moment, I can’t sleep properly. I have half an ounce of weed in an Amber Leaf tin, and weed stops me sleeping. I get creative or want to read all night. It’s not good for me given the insomnia I frequently experience, but I love having the night to myself, just sitting on my bed and smoking, being alone with myself.

Seven nominations:

Hello Sailor

Tattooedmultiple’s waffle

zen and the art of borderline maintenence

fightingmywayback

Manic Musings Magazine

adverseuniverse

skidaddy