Woke at 5.30am, reeking of fake tan and feeling wide-awake. A few hours later, I’m sitting up in bed, half-watching the first season of ER and trying to pick dried wax out of my eyebrows and off my face. S is taking me for a meal tonight at our favourite Indian restaurant, so I’m trying to remove all ten tonnes of body hair before he sees me; having polycystic ovaries is a nightmare sometimes. I’ve been managing the symptoms quite well for the past few years – losing five dress sizes almost overnight in hospital helped – but it’s slowly getting worse again.
My diet is failing miserably. I lost 6lbs, then started binging again. Not badly; just enough to halt any progress in its tracks. I’ve been avoiding the Slim-Fast tins in favour of bowls of cereal and toast, convincing myself I’ll get back on track tomorrow.
It’s never tomorrow. I’d do well to remember that.
After the stress of yesterday, I slept like a baby last night. Drifted off around 9pm and slept right through. I’m not even sure I can remember dreaming – which is incredibly rare – and when I woke, I didn’t feel the usual urge to snuggle under the covers and put off beginning the day. Rolled a joint, made a coffee, checked my emails and played some Boggle, all before 7am. Considering I’d been getting up around 3 in the afternoon and going to bed when the sun rose… I think I’m doing well. There’s no doubt it has to be down to the Lyrica; nothing else has changed.
When we bumped into S yesterday, my mother chatted to him about how Lyrica’s worked for me:
“It’s a miracle, isn’t it?”
S gave me a hug and looked me up and down:
“It’s great, it’s fantastic seeing her so bouncy and happy again”
- Your Health Questions Answered: PCOS vs. Diabetes? (pphsinc.wordpress.com)
- Vitex: A PCOS update (scatteringmoments.wordpress.com)
- In The Beginning (unapologeticallybrilliant.wordpress.com)
- A Different Polly? (shescoops.com)
- current PCOS journey (alliwanttodooo.com)
Suddenly, I find it difficult to respond to comments, especially on my poems. Somehow I don’t feel worthy; it’s not that I’m receiving massive amounts of praise, just that suddenly my private life is out there for anyone to see, and I’m not sure how that makes me feel. Only two people know who I am (as far as I’m aware) and both of those are internet friends. To have strangers poking around in places I’ve previously only kept inside… it’s strange. It’s what I wanted, so I can’t complain, but I’m not sure how I should react to it.
I suppose I thought I’d have given up writing by now. I’ve certainly been putting it off lately.
It’s been a strange few weeks, emotion-wise. Romantically, it’s been amazing; I really can’t begin to describe how happy I am with S. We spent this weekend lazing in bed, drinking vodka, watching Citizen Kane and playing Black Ops. We’re in our late twenties and perhaps we should grow up a bit and stop acting like teenagers, but it feels like the welcome break I always needed; no pressure, no pretending. I lay on the bed and read the whole of Tortilla Flat while S worked on programming, and it felt so blissfully comfortable. Tonight, he held me while I waited for a taxi to take me home, and I told him how happy he makes me. I know saying such things leaves me open and vulnerable, but I figure it’s time to grab with both hands and allow myself a bit of bare honesty.
The strange thing is, confessing my feelings to S no longer scares me. It’s like all the fear of rejection and humiliation has left me. I never imagined that would be possible.
My declaration to stop abusing my body with painkillers hasn’t really worked. True, I’m not swallowing codeine by the minutes, but I’m craving it. In fact, I’m currently craving everything; opiates, cannabis (having a horrible time trying to get hold of any – M will have some in a couple of weeks, but that feels like forever), food, alcohol, exercise, company, solitude… my life is one big craving at the moment. I’m chain-smoking, eating like a pig, worrying, drinking into the early hours of the morning. I have no real reason for it, I’m happy, I shouldn’t be falling on addictions.
Yet I am.
Being in constant pain from sciatica doesn’t help. I don’t cope well with pain anymore, so reach straight for the co-codamol. I’m on Naproxen, which helps but doesn’t have the same calming effect opiates do. The Naproxen makes me feel sick and gives me stomach pains, so that gets me down. When the painkillers wear off, I’m reminded how feeble I am; few thoughts are more depressing than knowing that my body simply doesn’t work properly. When the sciatica gets better, I know I’ll still have pain from a thousand places in my ineffectual body. It sometimes feels hopeless.
I’m becoming more depressed and affected by the constant pain and lethargy. I know that tomorrow I’ll be good for nothing, all because I spent the weekend with S. I wouldn’t change the weekends for anything, but it’s hard knowing that it takes me days to recover from simply sitting around with the man I love.
So it’s been a happysad couple of weeks. Better than just sad, I suppose.
Let me start off by saying that, as shameful as it sounds, I don’t have many friends. Oh, I have acquaintances, I have people I can nod at and maybe chat to a little, but real friends, I can count on one hand. It’s been this way all my life; as a solitary person who likes her own space, I don’t tend to do the things which build friendships for my age group. I don’t go out drinking (I go to the pub, but that’s an entirely different social scene), I don’t drop everything to go to a party, I don’t work, I don’t study, and I left school at thirteen, leaving all friendships behind.
Regardless of this, I’ve always been able to have at least one ‘friend’, someone I can spend time with, go shopping with, have coffee with. Of course, I also have my boyfriend, so I’m not alone.
Because I live at home with my mother, who can be quite strict and judgemental (without always meaning to be), I’m not afforded the same opportunities as others when it comes to socialising. She watches me like a hawk, and at the slightest hint of my fibromyalgia flaring up or my anxiety getting worse, she crowds around me and drops hints about how I should rest, take it easy, stay in bed, have some time to myself… and because I no longer wish to fall out with her over such trivial things, I usually go along with it. It’s easier than turning a simple request to go out into a balls-out argument with tears and shouting. I hate that, I can’t take it, so I just accept defeat and stay in my bedroom, watching the rest of the world carry on without me. Oh, I know I should be stronger and more assertive, but I simply don’t have the strength to be that way any more.
I’ve spoken before of my friend who has bipolar type 2. She’s a very full-on person, very in-your-face and demanding at times, but I love her to bits. She was there for me when I split up with J, she was the one person who knew the full story of what happened at that festival (including how he put his arm through a wall, when he was aiming for me). I’ve also been there for her.
Suddenly though, I can’t take it. It feels as though she’s demanding far too much of me, and I don’t know what to do. My mother suggests I should let the relationship between us fade away until she latches on to somebody else, but isn’t that cruel? My mother has a natural aversion to mental illness, I think her dream for me would be for me to become friends with somebody ‘normal’, but when you’re crazy, how do you meet normal people? And why would they put up with me? I make friends with the mentally ill because they’re like me, and because they understand in a way nobody else can.
In the past few weeks, she’s:
- Turned up on my doorstep with no announcement, and insisted I go shopping with her. No problem there, apart from warning would be nice. I could’ve been having a bad day, after all.
- Asked me to cut her hair, when I’ve already said no several times before. I gave up hairdressing due to the extreme pain it caused me, and she knows this.
- Told me (today) that she’s bought a rabbit. Never mind that she’s in debt, she has nowhere to keep it. I used to work for an animal rescue, and to hear that she’s leaving it at her parent’s house, just like the kitten she ‘had’ to have then left for them to deal with, makes me feel uneasy. She hasn’t even neutered that cat, months after buying it (or rather, getting her boyfriend to buy it for her).
- Asked to borrow money off me, when she has no way of paying it back.
- Insisted I entertain her because she’s bored, on regular occasions.
- Phoned me over and over, when she knows I’ve been ill, then waited for me to log into FB, and posting messages on my wall asking where I am.
I don’t know. I’m just ranting. It sounds so trivial written down, but when I’m trying to deal with fibro pain, anxiety, illness and just generally getting through the day, it mounts up into a big upset I can’t deal with. I feel like I can’t do anything without her. I met S’s auntie and uncle two weeks ago in Manchester, and when I told her I was going, she seriously asked if she could come along. Well no, she said “take me”. It’s not the first time that’s happened, it’s quite regular that she’ll want to tag along. I have no problem with that at all, but sometimes it’s obvious (to me, at least) that certain situations are for me and me only. Meeting my boyfriend’s family is something for me to do. After all, I couldn’t expect his relatives to pay for her meal and drive her around, could I? I just would never ask to be included in that sort of situation, it’s manners.
I know I’m just offloading, and I’ll feel better about this tomorrow, but I do worry. If I let the friendship go because it’s causing me too much stress (which I can ill afford right now), I’m back to having no ‘real’ friends. Just S, and I can’t rely on him entirely, it’s not fair on him. I can’t meet potential friends, really, and keeping friendships is difficult when I can’t be relied on, when any day could mean I’m stuck in bed crying in pain, having to cancel plans and potentially having to stay away from pretty much everything for weeks on end. With the best will in the world, the average person doesn’t want to deal with someone so troubled, someone who can’t be relied on and who can go into deep depressions for no reason. I’m not like other people.
I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be battered down by demands either.
I don’t know what to do.
This always happens to me.
I truly hate, loathe and hugely despise being unwell. Having spent most of my life succumbing to one illness or another, the whole thing has become tedious and incredibly repetitive. This time, I couldn’t begin to describe what I’ve fallen victim to: it could be a cold, but it feels worse, it’s not flu because I can (just about) walk, and it’s not food poisoning because the need to camp out in the bathroom only lasted two days, yet I still feel like shit. It could be a virus. I could just be run down. All I know is that I feel exhausted, achey, nauseous and dizzy.
Despite this, my mother made it very clear that shopping needed to be done. I’ve always accompanied her on shopping trips; it just feels like the right thing to do. I’m not convinced she’d cope by herself these days anyway – her arthritis is terrible and she seems to become panicked a lot more than she used to. By the time we eventually got to town (via taxi, as we always have done), I was feeling a little anxious about being out and about in such a weak state. I was by no means dying, but navigating the high street with a head full of cotton wool was a daunting task when I’d almost constantly been indoors for the past few days.
A few things of note happened.
1. I bought appetite suppressants. Appesat, to be exact. Yes, I spent almost £30 on seaweed extract in a pill, in the hope that it’ll stop me binging. Earlier, I’d dug out some leftover Lipobind, thinking if I combined the two and cut down a lot, I could probably be skinny again within a few months. I suspect my weight has a lot to do with my recent low mood… looking in the mirror and seeing a chubby face staring back at me never results in a good day. I haven’t started taking them yet; I suppose the diet starts tomorrow.
2. I panicked. Not once, but over and over, until I could barely breathe. I’d had no idea that town would be full of stalls and people, there for the food festival. How I made it through, I’ll never know. Less than two hours became a lifetime as I tried to avoid making eye-contact with anybody in case they somehow knew how uncomfortable I was. Luckily, the excuse of being unwell hid the panic from mum; drawing her attention to my anxiety never ends well.
3. Sainsbury’s had an offer on fridge packs of Diet Coke. Sod the aspartame; it’s low calorie.
After getting home, I celebrated surviving the trip with a well-packed joint (extra bonus points added for new Rizlas; there’s nothing like opening a new packet) and a hummus vegetable wrap. Before drifting off for a nap, I thought about a conversation I’d had with mum earlier.
I’d told her about the Appesat. I figured that if she found the pack without knowing I’d bought them, she’d suspect I was up to my old weight-loss tricks. Spun her a line about it being good for ex-bulimics who get the urge to binge, and she seemed to accept that and not push the issue (which is rare, for her). Still, she wasn’t going to drop the issue entirely.
“You’ve been eating a lot, T. Every night I come down to crumbs in the kitchen, and last night there was rice pudding everywhere”.
“Yeah, I know” (really not wanting to discuss any of this).
“I just wish I knew what was pushing your buttons”
Ah. So that’s what she thought – no wonder she was being extra nice to me. She thought someone was winding me up, making me dislike myself, pushing me to grasp at control. So I told her, truthfully, that nothing was pushing my buttons. I’ll be damned if I understand it myself.