Image from Crystal
- It will be sunny one day (thereinventedlass.wordpress.com)
- 12 of Stephen Fry’s Wise, Witty Quotations (mentalfloss.com)
- The Stephen Fry Effect (traceypallett.wordpress.com)
It’s finally cooled down a little. The breeze from the sea has picked up, and I’m no longer wilting. I don’t know if I can take much more of this heat; I have an appointment to get my ankle scanned at the hospital tomorrow, and the idea of another hot, sweaty day – especially if I have to sit for a while in the tiny, cramped waiting room – is almost unbearable. Usually I’d meet S for a coffee in his break, but this appointment’s at 9am; so it’s unlikely we’ll see each other.
After some encouragement, I’ve finally set up a Facebook account/page for Halfway Between the Gutter. Over the last few weeks I’ve had a lot of visitors from Facebook; others have linked to my posts, I assume. I’m thinking maybe it’ll be a way to chat with other bloggers without having to sacrifice being anonymous.
You can also like the blog page with the widget on the right hand side.
I’ve also had a photograph featured on Broken Light Collective; a community of photographers living with mental illness.
According to BBC weather, it’s 21° C and cloudy outside. Sitting in my bedroom with my window flung wide open, sweating like a pig and hating the sun… I beg to differ. I went outside earlier for a cigarette, and after a couple of minutes I could already feel my shoulders and face burning in the heat. I know a lot of my readers are from the USA, and I don’t know if news of the UK’s weather has reached that far but… it’s hot. Very hot. Yesterday was showing 30° outside, and it’s much the same today apart from a breeze coming off the coast.
Don’t get me wrong; I love summer. I love the green trees and being able to wear sandals. I love how the sun brings out my freckles and gives my normally grey face some colour. I don’t tan – natural gingers just burn, and burn badly – but the sun clears my skin up and makes me look healthy; something which doesn’t happen often.
Of course, sunshine also helps with pain; a lot. I love the first warm day of the year, knowing my muscles and joints will calm down for a while and give me some respite. However there’s such a thing as too warm, and this is it. Lyrica and Celebrex don’t seem able to cope with the neck muscle spasms which too much heat brings; last night I was in agony, moody and sweaty and trying to move my head to the side with little success. My head pounded, and my jaw muscles ached every time I opened my mouth. This is the bad side of summer.
So, I’m holed up in my bedroom, drinking cold coffee and wasting time on the internet. My brain feels like it’s melted; fibro-fog ahoy.
I feel guilty. I’ve been invited to a going-away party for somebody I know online, through a local forum. We were supposed to be meeting at 1pm outside an ice-cream parlour in town, but as much as I’d like to, the combination of unexpected pain and fatigue (and general anxiety) have put paid to any plans. I’m too nervous. Too shy. Too self-aware of my weight and looks. Too hot. Too achey.
I could have admitted to that, but I lied. As I always do in these situations. I don’t know why I can’t just admit that I’m not up to socialising; it’s hardly the biggest crime in the world. I just feel ashamed, I suppose. I don’t want to seem weak. I don’t want to be the always-sickly one who never comes out because I’m constantly unwell. I just want to be normal sometimes, and refuse for normal reasons.
I feel so uncomfortable and restless today. Nothing can hold my attention. Sleep is tempting, but I don’t want to ruin the almost-normal sleeping pattern I’ve created since starting Lyrica. I have the first three seasons of ER to watch, but I don’t want to stare at the TV screen. I don’t want to read. I’m happy, but just feeling physically drained by the heat.
As always, the weekend was glorious. I don’t usually write much about my weekends with S; regular readers know we spend a lot of time doing the same things – playing computer games, cooking, reading together – and I don’t want to bore anybody with my relationship. However, this weekend was different. Firstly, I felt something I’ve never felt before. I don’t know what to call it – it’s not love, because I already feel that for S – and I don’t even know how to describe it.
We were lying together on his bed, naked and chatting about little things. His arm was draped over my waist, and our heads were touching, our faces almost totally squashed into each other. We do this a lot, usually after sex; S has never been one for just turning over and falling asleep or getting up to do something else. After sex, he holds me. Every single time. He cuddles me close and we talk. It’s fantastic; something I’ve never had before, and something I was convinced didn’t actually happen outside of Hollywood.
It was like a welling up in my chest. An explosion deep inside me, somewhere I never knew existed. As S’s hand stroked my back, something in me threw out this emotion, daring me to feel it. For the first time in my life, I let the emotion in. I let myself feel something otherwordly for somebody else. I refused to doubt it; and finally spoke my feelings out loud after months of keeping my mouth shut for fear of rejection.
“This may be soft as hell, but you’re the one person I can see spending the rest of my life with. Who I’d want to spend the rest of my life with”.
S settled his head on my shoulder, and I could feel his smile against my skin as he spoke to me:
“You’ll just have to wait ’til I ask you formally, then”.
Two weeks ago, I was sunburned and half-delirious from an unexpected heatwave. Today, it’s cold and overcast, with temperatures heading towards zero and snow falling less than twenty miles away. The wind is rattling fence panels and blowing through the bay tree in the back garden, under my bedroom window.
There’s a candle on my desk, and tobacco on my laptop. Yesterday was mostly spent sleeping.
It sounds romantic to spend most of my nights awake, chain-smoking joints and reading novels. For a while, I suppose it was. However, although I’m naturally nocturnal, I do miss the feeling of getting up in the morning and actually doing something.
I know I have all the excuses in the world. Pain. Depression. Anxiety. Worries about the future. Anyone would want to sleep to hide from it. Some days, like yesterday, getting out of bed is a painful, fruitless exercise anyway. Yesterday, it was my knees and ankles; I could barely move them. I managed to go downstairs a few times and make myself sit up when I was awake, but painkillers don’t help and sleeping is just a much easier option.
I like being the only one awake at night. Always have done. I adore the peace and quiet, and being able to hear the tiniest noise; it just feels more comfortable, somehow. I like looking out of my bedroom window and seeing which houses still have lights on – seeing who’s still awake – and imagining the reasons why they’re not asleep. At night, I can write without distractions and spend time thinking about things without interruptions. It all sounds terribly selfish, really. I’ve just never really been a day person.
After spending four days together, I’m missing S. I suppose you could say that we’re somewhat attached at the hip, and when I’m apart from him it feels unnatural. Strangely though, it’s not in the obsessive, clingy way I missed O or other ex-boyfriends. I don’t get the urge to phone S every half hour, or pester him with text messages. I don’t feel as though my heart is being ripped out. It’s just… he’s not here, and it feels a bit empty without him. He’s my sidekick.
Sometimes, I still wonder how I managed to find somebody like S. Not only that, but how I’m not half as governed by BPD in this relationship as I have been in past ones; although that’s most likely down to medication. In the past I’ve always been obsessive and unable to listen to reason, poking at wounds relentlessly until an argument breaks out. A year and two months into my relationship with S, and there still hasn’t been a single fight or even small falling out. There’s just been no need for it.
Over and over, I’ve searched for any possible reasons why I could be somehow making things out to be rosier than they really are, as I’ve been apt to do in the past, but I honestly can’t find a single one. For the first time in my life, I have something real.
Spent most of the night wasting time online, reading other blogs and smoking. I never sleep well the night after I leave S’s house; I miss having his arms around me when I fall asleep. I know, soft isn’t it? I’ve never liked sleeping in the same bed as somebody else – I move around a lot, kick, flail, get too hot then too cold – but sleeping with S has never been the problem it always has in the past. He just has to put his arm over my chest and dig his nose into my back, and I’m calm. I sleep like a baby.
In contrast, most of today has been spent catching up on the sleep I missed last night. I did manage to get out for a walk (admittedly, I was forced to go because tobacco supplies were running dangerously low), wander down the embankment near the marshes and actually get out on my own for once. It’s been a long time since I felt able to go for any real kind of walk, but the sun (it’s been another hot, unseasonal day) buoys me up significantly.
I paid for it, of course. Aching legs and a headache. I used to walk miles every day without thinking about it; now all I can manage is a trip to the shops. Sometimes, that’s a really depressing thought.
I’ve never been particularly into fitness, but in my childhood I ran around a lot. In my teens, I walked constantly, wandering for hours. Early twenties, I’d make myself go out every single day for long walks along the sea front. I love the freedom of being outdoors, which is strange considering my agoraphobia; you’d think I’d hate the wide-open spaces and being able to see right across the sea. I don’t though; it’s only people I can’t stand. On my own, I’m in my element. I miss having that freedom now, and feel almost cheated that it’s been taken away from me by chronic pain and fatigue. I want to try walking again – today’s attempt could have gone much worse – but I’m worried by my limitations. I still don’t know when to stop, how to conserve energy for the rest of the day.
Sometimes I worry this is all I’ll ever be able to do. That my strength is gone.
I still don’t have the guts to weigh myself. I should have done it two weeks ago, but I’ve been putting it off in case I somehow weigh more or haven’t lost anything. I’ve been controlling the binges quite well, and I’ve stopped eating in the middle of the night, and along with loosely following the Slimfast diet I think I may have lost a couple of pounds but I just don’t dare go step on those scales in case it sets off a series of events I can’t control.
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?
The weather has taken a turn for the downright horrible; heavy rain, hail, wind and sleet. When I got home from S’s last night, my mother informed me that she’s still getting headaches and feeling sick when she puts the gas fire on. So now we don’t have any heating in the living room until we can get someone in to sort it, which is more money we don’t need to be spending but heck, it could explain a lot of what’s been going on with my health too, if it is throwing out carbon monoxide.
We also talked about her decision to read up about MS online. She said she wasn’t going to, but found a link and had to see. She looked at me and said, “you have every symptom, don’t you?”. She reminded me of all the times when she thought I was drunk and we got into fights. I knew I hadn’t been drinking, but she always said I was spaced out, vacant and slurring slightly. I have no recollection of this. I admitted how, at a house party last year, I went to stand up and my right leg refused to work; I collapsed and couldn’t walk at all for about half an hour. I put it down to exhaustion, or just sitting funny… but heck, it now seems I’ve been ‘sitting funny’ for a long time, given all the times I get pins and needles or my foot goes entirely numb. I attritibuted it all to fibromyalgia… but so much has never fit with that diagnosis.
She says she’ll go to the appointment with me. I’m glad. Normally I hate having anybody in the room with me at appointments, least alone my mother, but this isn’t something I think I can handle alone, for once.
I met S at the pub on Friday evening. He gave me a kiss and a hug and bought me a drink. Lent me his filters because I’d run out. Told me I looked “pretty” and put his arm around me. We got quite tipsy; him on Kronenburg, me on a mixture of lager and Tia Maria and coke, and talked about the usual ridiculous things; rubbish band names (“Europe” won), crap Christmas presents, songs you get stuck in your head. He drunkenly went off to Tesco to buy some food and wine for the weekend and I got a taxi to my dealers. It’s weird to think I now have a dealer; it sounds so Hollywood. Stayed there for a while and smoked, chatted to his older daughter about Facebook and music, had a cup of tea and choked embarrasingly on one of his joints; he’s a heavy, heavy smoker, far heavier than I am, and even I can’t cope with what he rolls. He mentioned that O had been ’round a couple of times to buy weed, and I just grunted; I’d sort of hoped he’d give it up when he had the kids, he’s never really reacted to it well. It makes him angry or over-emotional.
S and I spent most of Friday night in bed. For once sex didn’t hurt, and I was able to relax again. I still haven’t told S… it’s weird, because we always talk about sex quite frankly and openly. I just feel strangely less feminine and attractive when sex hurts.We had a takeaway, drank wine, and talked. I’d never really experienced pillow-talk before I met S. I was pleasantly stoned and giggly through the night, S was at his soft and cuddly level of drunk; it couldn’t have been more perfect. Before we went to sleep, we lay together, listening to the rain. He put his arm around my chest and kissed my back. Said he loved me.
Saturday was much of the same. In the afternoon, we went to pick a hard drive and some bits and pieces up from the lockup he’s keeping all his furniture in. He found his mother’s diary, which she’d written when she knew she had terminal cancer, a ridiculous photo of him as a child (“you grew into your looks, didn’t you dear?”) and I dug out some PS3 games and a few DVDs. Afterwards, we went to the pub with his friends (his best friends, I suppose) and sat around for hours, talking shit and getting drunk. I smoked a joint in the smoking area; I was having a good night. S’s friends talk to me like an equal… I’m not sure I’ve ever had a relationship where that’s truly happened.
That night, I asked S if I could read his mother’s diary. I wasn’t being nosy; I really wish I could have met her, and wanted to see things from her point of view. Anyone who could produce someone like S… I love her for that. Her handwriting is sloped like mine. She alternates between blue biro and black ink. She loved her children. Every morning, she would read the bible (she became religious when diagnosed) and loved socialising with friends. She forms her “f’s” the exact same way I do.
Her diary made me think about my own writing. I’ve thrown out so many diaries, ripped up so many pages and even burned one or two… and now I wish I’d kept them somewhere safe. Perhaps if I had, I could rationalise things which have happened.
Facing miles out to sea
with a distance between us I can’t bear,
I look at you now, someone I barely know,
reaching out but you’re not there.
Someone I thought had all the answers,
I could never imagine you’d become estranged,
sitting so close, rain on the windscreen,
heads tilted back, everything’s changed.
Watching lightning across the sky
with unsaid words caught with my breath,
and who would have thought you’d break my heart?
I was the last one to know, the last one to guess.
Someone I thought I could depend on,
was the one person who took it all away,
a few simple words, you crushed my world,
you look at me now and have nothing to say.
Weathering storms, I thought you’d attempt
to give me a chance and forgive me once more,
and what have I done? I no longer know,
what you’re tearing my life apart for.
I hold onto you, knowing you won’t respond,
remembering words with a bitter taste,
wishing I didn’t love you this much
now all those feelings have gone to waste.
Facing miles out to sea
with tears in my eyes and your kiss on my lips,
your every word creating a contradiction,
can we ever hope to recover from this?
I hold onto faith as you drive me home,
rain on the windows and storm clouds above,
I can’t find the way to say all those words,
I love you,
I need you,
I’d be lost without you,