Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Skinnier You Get The Fatter You Feel

This is the overwhelming urge right now:
I would like to find a picture where there is a massive sandstorm going on above the ostrich as this would truly encapsulate how I feel (minus the skinny legs).

I had my CPA review today. I knew it wasn't going to be a fine and dandy affair. Even champion bullshitter here fails to pull the wool over people's eyes after a certain point. My mum attends the meetings along with my support worker, ot sort of person and nurse. The dietician and consultant should be there but they are 'too busy' (cant be arsed).

They did a very good job at beginning with 'all the positive leaps I have achieved' and that usual spiel, but as I am a cynic this just struck me as a patronising preliminary to the bombardment of everything else that I am slowly screwing up.

Of course they don't address it as screwing up, to them I am 'struggling', I'm having a 'really tough time', they just want to 'know how can we help you?'

I sit there and what I want to wail in a whiny voice is 'just let me lose weight, pleeeeease mum...I'll keep my clothes clean I promise...cant you just let me lose a little more?' Obviously I don't. Obviously I rub my head and mutter that I just don't know. I reel off all the usual suggestions and evade the question. I stringently oppose more 'supported meals' because this means I'll have to actually EAT. No, I'd take ten thousand bullshitting 'therapy' talky, boring as fuck sessions before I do more actual 'eating therapy'.

I feel exhausted. I'm stuck in a whirlpool I have created and I am running out of energy to fight the drag to the centre. The only thing that is stopping me give up completely is I know what is at the centre-HOSPITAL.

This time they have what I consider to be a ridiculously high cut-off for me being admitted again. I am 0.2 BMI pointy things from that. I have shouted and sworn at everyone who tells me this. How can I make them see that I'd rather step in front of a train instead of walking into a Unit at that BMI. I would be laughed out of the door. Then we have the other major deterrents against IP. Yet ANOTHER break in my existence in the world to explain on my CV, being in the worst kind of prison, they'd MAKE me gain weight, being away from mum, and I really wouldn't blame my friends if this time was the last straw on the camel's back and they just got tired of my stupid games.

My restriction in the past few days has dipped rather steeply. A number of reasons really; realising the high I had partially forgotten I could achieve, the way my other problems shrink in the calorie counting food vacuum, the diminishing numbers and of course simply making sure I could still restrict- making sure I WASN'T getting too reliant on food. And other bits and bobs.

The hardest thing is scraping yourself back after a relapse. Food and amounts that once not only seemed acceptable but even that sometimes seemed 'safe' now appear to be the enemy. I am terrified that I have somehow tripped up my biology and metabolism by this episode of restriction and to return to a more stable eating pattern will make me balloon.

I am in no man's land. I know I cant lose more weight because of the very imminent threat of hospital. Yet the thought of returning to my old intake level makes me sick with worry.

I just want to be the ostrich. Especially if I get skinny legs like one!

Wish me luck on the return journey.

Oh but a little positive- I worked an ice cream from IKEA into my intake today and it was fecking gorgeous, here is the beauty...(and the ice cream hehehe):

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Haven't You Heard? Starving Is The New Screaming...

I've tried and tried, written and deleted, re-written and re-deleted this post. I wanted it to be a 'good' post. I wanted all the wonderful words and perfect paragraphs. I wanted it to be tidy.

I guess some emotions and life issues will just be too chaotic to refine into a 'pretty piece of prose'. I kept spilling over the edges. Veering off topic, overflowing.

So I gave up. Instead I reverted to the forced structure of a list to keep me in line. Much easier.

This is about me and my family. This is about the times when I feel like I have no place in a family.

1: Family gatherings are nearly always at our house; the 'family home'. I do not contribute to the preparation. I guess it is a form of rebellion...or denial. Mum does all the food and cleaning and making presentable.

2: We wait, Mum is buzzing about, I hover by the buffet, salad picking. Cars pull up.

3: People arrive and I don't move to greet them. I feel frozen like a statue. The 'not going to greet' is a form of procrastination. It is also a form of rebellion against what I see this is; a stupid game of fake smiles and forgetting. I will not play this game.

4: The desire that is always lapping away at my shores now breaks over me; the desire to be anorexic again. I long for my badge of identity back again. I Long for the time when I was invincible to people. Instead I feel fat and false.

5: I hate the hugging. I feel covered in spikes. People don't see my spikes. The grasp at a fat rigid body and hug me anyway then move away.

6: Children spill into the room. They make it loud and noises stresses me out and the calm home is all messed up and now the noise is in my head. I hate this. Claustrophobic.

7: I just want to run away. Run away or sink into the floor. I shouldn't be here-I cannot DO family situations so I just shouldn't be here. I am not in this family. Wow, among everything else I can even fail at doing nothing but smiling and idle chatter. Screwed up girl.

8: Time passes. Everyone is together. I am on the outside. Full of resentment and envy. Full of bad. Unloved and unnoticed. I want to stand up and scream at the top of my lungs, make them freeze. Starving is the new screaming don't you know?

9: I have an urge to go and sit next to each person in turn and say 'who am I then?' Maybe then they'd suddenly realise they couldn't answer.

10: At times I make stabs at conversation with people, half hearted, fake. I give up because it makes me feel nauseous.

11: More time passes. Finally it ends. Just as everyone arrived at once, they all leave at once.

12: The silence in their wake is more deafening than their presence. The pecked buffet table looks abandoned. Scattered chairs are empty and too many. Dust motes float in all that air and space.

13: I feel all wrong. I hated the whole thing yet now I feel abandoned, bereft. The feelings of self hate and failure sweep over me. Another family gathering ends up seeming like a method of self harm. I feel so confused. So tired in my brain. So huge.

Maybe you've read this and now just think; 'god what a stupid whiny kid. Why doesn't she just stop feeling sorry for herself and make some effort'. Well don't think I don't feel that too.

The truth is I am so fucking tired of trying to make my feelings pretty and acceptable for family. I'm sick of having the sweet little saint approach;'Yes it caused my problems and it hurts me, but I know I can't change it so I just have to think on the bright side and I have this and that to be thankful for...'...blah blah FUCKING BLAH'.

I want to stop pretending. I want to stop pretending my sisters aren't what they are- half sisters.

I want to point out the plaintively obvious fact- You lot all have the same Dad and I don't. You lot all had a life well before I came along. How can you think this doesn't cut me up???

Ever feel like a situation is so royally fucked up that you just want to start afresh? What are you supposed to do when the situation is your 'family'? You grow out of clothes so you get new ones. It doesn't quite work when you feel you've grown out of your family.

PLEASE don't misunderstand me. I love my sisters. If I didn't I wouldn't have written this because I wouldn't be hurt. It hurts because I love them but I do not feel like I fit.

Friday, 21 June 2013

I Really Want this to Work...And Everything Else Too...

So I have had 2 official shifts at the Homeless Charity. By the way I hate calling it that because it does have a name but I'm sure I'm 'not allowed' to put it here. Never been told I cant but I have a feeling it is probably breaking rules somewhere along the way. Anyway it is what it is.

I am at the dangerous stage now of wanting it to work out. Dangerous because this means I've settled there a little, dangerous because if the straw house gets blown now down I will feel pretty shit. People keep laughing at my pessimism and worrying and saying pointless things like 'but what reason have they to not want you?'. I find it so annoying because although they are being 'normal' and 'rational' it is like they think I'll just snap out of this state of mind and realise I'm being silly just because they laugh at me when I express these feelings. I tend to think they are under the impression that I don't fully believe that it would all go wrong and I'm just fishing for compliments etc, but the sad truth is I live in constant fear of everything going wrong. I walk along expecting to trip over, I go to the bus stop thinking I've already missed it, I meet friends and convince myself they only do it out of obligation or pity. And where does it get me? Nowhere, that's where. When bad things happen I still feel gutted and disappointed, even though I have supposedly anticipated them so it really serves no purpose- all this fretting.

I want this place to work because I'm craving some meaningful work, consistent, regular, smile making work. I want to 'fit in' to a group of people, feel part of a team, a part in a mechanism however small. I want a little patch of my life which is mine only, something I have made and I 'do' alone, independently. Whenever I have needed to fulfil this before I've used anorexia. The last time I felt this was when I was at work, and I left there in October. I lost a lot of what I thought of as 'me' when I left there.

Another thing that has happened kind of recently is that I have got a new support worker from the ED dept. This is the person who meets me once a week for a check in and lunch. The lady I used to have went off to have a baby so now I have a different lady. I was slightly apprehensive when this change first occurred because I got on so well with the first one and my pessimistic head was confidently telling me it just wasn't possible to get someone just as nice again-not me! But lo! It was proved wrong, and after 'settling in' with her I actually really like her.

She is a complete contrast from her predecessor who was quieter, more reserved and genteel.To begin with all I knew about her was that she was Scottish, that she got the job because originally she was on placement from uni where she is doing a masters in psychology, that she laughs often and loudly and that she always eats cheese sandwiches when we meet.

I am now very much more enlightened. She amazes me. Her life has been anything but bland. She isn't Scottish really since she grew up and lived most her life in Hong Kong. She has travelled all over and returned with many funny and amazing stories. She has been a restaurant manager in Hong Kong, Hotel manager in Guernsey, and then a shelf stacker in Sainsbury's (bit of a step down I'll admit but the contrast adds to the amazement) and much more. She is in a happy relationship, (like most people but me!)she seems to talk to everyone, and consequently has weird and wonderful connections all over the place. In short she has everything I want. Including cheese sandwiches which cause me extreme envy.

Ordinarily hearing of all her escapades and impossibly long list of careers at her age (she isn't especially young but neither is she yet 'middle aged') would make me feel like crawling under the table and crying in the miserable puddle of inferiority and failure that I am. But somehow she doesn't.

Her attitude when she relays her life is one not of self assured satisfaction that smacks of smugness, but is one of relaxed, casual narration that implies that she drifted into all these wonderful opportunities through a series of happy coincidences and luck. More importantly her enthusiasm for me to taste the sort of lifestyle she lives is impossible to resist. She leans forward in her seat, eyes widening, hands gesticulating and she illustrates all the doors that could open for me too. I find this a wonderfully selfless and generous quality.

I can wander through town to meet her in a state of bland indifference, only to part from her an hour or so later buzzing with ideas and a little light lit inside where before there was just gloom. Now, I wont lie and say this feeling of optimism lasts beyond an hour or two but I'm willing to enjoy the period that it does carry me forth. I take hope from the fact that there IS at least a candle within me that CAN be lit. I just need to work on making it more resilient to my winds of pessimism that keep snuffing it out.

After a long time of telling everyone, including myself, that I had no idea what I wanted to do and didn't really have any great talents apart from starving myself and screwing myself up, I am actually 'awakening' a little more. One revelation is that I now think I actually know what I want to do career wise.

I would love to be a writer. A journalist, a critic or commentator, anything that lets me paint my wages with words. Starting this blog made me realise that.

I am in need of another dose of my Lady Optimism, then maybe I will contact some publications and see if there are any opportunities for me there. I am sceptical because I have no real qualifications in that field except my GCSE and AS level English. You can but try. As my lady says 'it's all about having balls'. So true. Balls and Bullshit is my moto!

Oh I forgot one little snippet from my first shift at the Homeless place. It's just a silly little thing but I cant stop thinking about it. Well a couple of hours in another prospective volunteer arrived to do their taster day like I did. I was dreading having to work with them because when I'm a newbie in a place like that the last thing I want is to be around someone else who doesn't know their arse from their elbow either, because it just seems to make the whole scenario of finding your own feet more stressful. Also two newbies is twice as annoying for those supervising you and therefore heightens the likeliness of people getting irritated with your presence.

This attitude evaporated the moment the new person walked in the kitchen. Tall, slim, well dressed and extremely good looking. A warm smile and lovely eyes. Sold! The rest of the shift flew by in flutters of eye lashes (mine by the way!) and nervous conversation, but conversation none the less! God I hope he gets taken on and PLEASE let him be single, straight.... and like me.....not a tall order is it!? Yes it is! Boo!

I'll carry on dreaming.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Night Before The Morning To Come

Ohhhhhh so full of nerves and discomfort. I really do hate feeling like this.

I should explain my nervy, agitated state- I have my first proper shift at the Homeless Hostel tomorrow. I've been out of work so long, over 7 months, that I am utterly terrified of the prospect of even volunteering. I used to get very nervous about going back to work after just a couple of days off so imagine how this feels.

I am so full of contradictions. My whole personality is one big contradiction. A part of me will be striving for something tooth and nail whilst the other half tries to tear away from it. Tomorrow for instance. I know in my heart of hearts, somewhere deep down in the stew pot of confused wants and aspirations there IS a desire to move upward, to try and lift out of this world of 'safe' habits and rituals. Yet I feel compelled to follow my routines because they are what I know. I will be 'safe' and unhurt if I don't venture outside the perimeters of my little bubble. Yet more and more frequently it is as though a flash light has been shone on me as I bumble about doing 'my little necessary rituals' and shows me that they ARE compulsions and no longer just 'preferences'. For a long time I didn't question what I was doing day in day out, always the same because I genuinely didn't see it as abnormal. Now I do. It makes me feel trapped. The feelings of entrapment, which are all the more alarming for being something I have created, make me panic. The panic makes me do things like forcing myself to apply for voluntary work at the Homeless Hostel even though it terrifies me.

I guess opening myself up to the unknown world of potentially harmful things is actually less terrifying than looking into that void of black that could be my life, where nothing new ever happens and I never change, I just stay in the same circles and places. I'd much rather die trying to escape than live in a perpetual half life with no feeling at all.

I'm not very good at listing my attributes. This is annoying because when people want to help they always want you to acknowledge them and seems to think its an acute state of modesty that you refuse to do so when in all honesty you truly think you have virtually none. Some days just plain none. However I do usually find myself thinking I am determined. I can certainly remember feeling determined, often ridiculously competitive. Then I remember that to be Anorexic you must be pretty damn determined. But I know I AM also determined, not just the anorexic me. I remember getting highs when I raced in the swimming club; the absolute impossibility of failing. I remember when I used to rock climb, throwing myself again and again at Routes until I completed them even when my fingers were raw and my limbs dead. I hope I keep my determination. I hope it helps me tomorrow.

I know that tomorrow I will do what I do in all scary situations- pretend to be someone else. I have done it in these kind of situations for as long as I can remember. It is about self protection. I hope that I feel shielded by the mask I create and act with. I hope that this person will be better than the real me. I hope they will be more liked, more sensible, have more common sense, smile more, do the job better than the me cowering behind the painted face. I'm like a child at a dress-up box. I always pick a real person to emulate. I pick them to fit the situation- matching up their qualities and attributes for the demands of the situation. They say you should be yourself. I do not like myself right now. So tomorrow I will try and try to be someone else.

God I don't want the morning to come. My shift is 8-12.

I am trying to look beyond. At 2 o'clock I'm meeting my lovely friend for guess whats?? COCKTAILS! I am so excited. Only one. I'm going to chose one I actually LIKE the sound of though, NOT the one I think will be lowest calorie. Although if it mentions 'cream' that might be pushing it haha.

Last night I had a horrible dream about doing something terribly wrong and being sacked. The feelings of crushing shame and failure.

Shit I'm nervous.

Arg. Night!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Now please turn your attention to Exhibit B as Exhibit A would like a little privacy while she fucks everything up

I'm pissing about.

The past week or so has seen me squirming and flinching from various people. Ok, so it's just been family to be honest. I've taken refuge in my friends.

I'll be the first to say that. I'm not in denial as everyone seems to think. It seems everyone thinks I have no idea where this could lead. Wrong. You see I am in the driving seat and the wind-shield is perfectly clear- I know exactly where I'm driving to. Driving back to. Except there never is 'back' to go to- I never recapture the place I left when I am forced to leave my anorexic world. Every time I have relapsed it has been because I want to be back in the place I was before, mentally, emotionally, physically, because I am convinced that is the way to happiness. Absurd. Yet I'll still try to time travel in the time machine of bones.

It can be very confusing when you are in recovery. Half the time when you 'trip up' people will say 'you mustn't be too hard on yourself', 'You're bound to fall off the wagon from time to time', 'You will have slip ups'. Then the other half of the time people are drumming things like 'You must not be tempted even for a moment', 'old habits are just around the corner', 'You cannot afford to slip back'.

I've been telling people over and over this past week that 'I'm just having a wobble'. Between me and you I don't really think it can still be called a wobble after a week. Speaking for myself; I know it only takes two consecutive days of some form of restriction to become a precedent-a trend I am compelled to follow...and inevitably reduce further.

Imagine there are a set of huge flood gates, behind them they hold an incredible mass of water (this being the enormous weight of suppressed ED behaviours), imagine trying to open on of these gates just a fraction, intending to just release a little water to lessen to tension. The minute you unlatch the gate the power of the water would just be too strong, it would force the gate wide and all the water would try to gush out. But to everyone else 'don't you worry- I'm just having a wobble! K?'

I knew something was going rather wrong when I got weighed. Not because of the figure on the scale but because of my reaction. I got weighed- I had lost- given my present mind set you'd guess I'd be contented, even pleased. No. I was actually disappointed. Nearly straight away I thought 'that is not enough!', 'Must do better'. Oh dear, bad sign.

Whilst this 'wobble' has taken hold, I've been increasingly keeping certain family members at arms length. In my head I'm dying to say 'please, just leave me alone to get on with losing all this stupid weight. I'll be a good daughter when I'm all properly thin again'. I say this is what I want, I wonder what my reaction would be if they did all bugger off and leave me to it? Would I be like the crying child who, when all the adults turn away and carry on talking, actually shuts up because it realises no one cares? Sadly I think not. I think I'd just feel terribly lonely and unloved on top of feeling fat. That's the crux of Eating Disorders- they will carry on happening no matter what. I seriously think if we were told that the world was about to end in the next day I would still restrict in my last hours of living. After a while of having an ED you don't bother to try and fathom your compulsions, you just lie back and accept them.

People invariably make the same mistake with me. When I go through a bad patch- like now- they always try to seek out 'what has gone wrong?', 'has something happened?'. You know what- it is completely the opposite. I relapse because NOTHING is happening. Anorexia comes out when life settles down, when I get bored, when I feel hopeless and the world looks empty. In other words; whenever there is a space; anorexia will fill it. When other people get bored they might browse for tickets for holidays, festivals, whatever. Me- well I starve myself. Its's great fun you know and you don't even need to buy a tent! This is a joke by the way. It is NOT fun. It's the most self destructive past time I know and yet it is the only thing I turn to.

I know I'm eating under my calorie allowance but I cant bear to tot up calories consumed in each day when I do restrict. I did do it in a fit of masochist impulse and I just felt awful. I cant bear to think how MUCH I am eating compared to what I used to eat. In the time before my last admission I'd settled at around 200 calories a day. I don't even remember it being an effort to get to that number. It just happened; nipping and skipping  here and there. In the end I end up too fucking exhausted mentally and physically to face getting my food because it was never as simple as 'getting the food from the cupboard or fridge' like normal people. Any food I ate came with a whole complex ritual of preparation and measuring and I just ended up not being able to face the effort, therefore I ended up not really eating much.

Christ I feel like right now I'd love to be an Ostrich. Primarily for their habits of burying their heads in the sand which at the moment seems hugely appealing! Stick my head under all that sand and let the shit hit the fan in the world above and I would remain blissfully oblivious. Also I would be able to outrun pretty much everyone-very useful- and also I would finally have skinny legs again!

I guess we'll find out if this is a wobble or a relapse. Or perhaps I just need a good slap.

On the up side I just bought a lovely summer dress, then I remembered I live in GB and we don't have summer doh!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Friends- the genuine articles

Ever had that moment where you're walking along, thinking of nothing in particular when suddenly you think; 'better check I've got my phone'. There is no reason for your phone to have gone anywhere. You don't even intend to check your messages. You just have an urge to make sure it is there. You open your bag as you're walking, have a peek in. You cant see it so you scrabble about a bit. Still cant find it. You begin to panic, scrabble, scrabble, why is there so much crap in here?? You stop, even if you're in the middle of a walk way, you just stop right there because you finding your phone is more important than other people who need to navigate around you. Rummage, rummage like a crazy woman. You're convinced it has gone. Vanished. Shit! Someone's nicked it. I've left it in the loo (why on earth would I have got it out there anyway?) Evil fairies have been in my stuff and snaffled it.

Suddenly your frantic fingers trip over the smooth plastic, close and grasp the cool comforting oblong. Panic over. You smile in relief, realise you're in peoples way, recompose yourself and carry on as normal.

There is a point to this ramble. I've recently found this occurrence is an excellent metaphor for the way I react to a lot of things in life. What I'm thinking of in particular is friends. One day I'm not even considering my friends in any greater depth than that they are my friends. Simple. The next day I'm suddenly in a growing panic that I have no friends at all. I'm not exaggerating. The rapid escalation and power of the paranoia that comes in the storm of emotions is alarming. Of course you only realise yourself that it IS paranoia when the incident is resolved and passed, and even then there is always a deep down gnawing doubt that refuses to completely leave you. My biggest fear (save losing my family) is losing my friends, so this makes paranoia on this subject excruciatingly painful. It will drive me into a manic frenzy whereupon I pace about, badger people with texts, and if they don't reply within a minute I will phone them incessantly until they pick up.

My friends are so much to me. They are my proudest achievement, my happiest memories, my pride, my drive and inspiration.

Compared to some people I don't have a great lot of friends, but I love and cherish the ones I have.

I made a few big decisions when I accepted I had anorexia. I would get as thin as possible. I would be invincible. And I WOULD NOT LOSE FRIENDS. I was acutely aware that nearly every description and prognosis of EDs will state somewhere '...becomes isolated...' '...loses confidence and social skills...' etc etc. I was going to defy them. More importantly I have always thought if life can feel this shit when you are suffering then what the hell would it be like if I had no friends??

To lose my friends would be to cut any remaining ties with the sane world. I would be alone and floundering in the lonely world of my anorexia. Friends were my reprieve from the prison of my eating disorder.

I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say I would probably be dead if I had lost my friends.

I used to think there was nothing more powerful than anorexia. I thought anorexia would over rule everything. I thought it would always taint my decisions and creep into my choices at every turn. It seemed it would stunt the growth of life with its tendrils of control.

Then one person changed that. I feel the need to say I AM NOT A LESBIAN! This may sound romantic otherwise haha. Anyway yes, one person changed it. I met her in hospital, the first admission I had.

I hated her. Yes, I was certain we were NOT going to get along. I mean she was so thin. This just wouldn't do. She was competition making me feel simultaneously transparent and elephantine. Then for some reason I had to speak to her. God how annoying. Stunted, jealous conversation, all the while measuring her thighs, arms, bones.

How then did we come to be snuggled by the fire together on bean bags the next day? You know I honestly cannot remember! But we did. We were chatting like old friends. I still looked at her bones but I also looked at her. From then on my fondness for her grew. She shared my dry humour, my interests and opinions. I went from resenting her totally to actually thanking god she was there with me.

We were a very close bunch in that Unit. Everyone kept making comments about how we would definitely keep in touch, go to Alton Towers, go out for fancy meals, meet up often, never forget one another. Did we all know deep down this wasn't true? I don't know, I remember being cynical for all my apparent enthusiasm. However I just had a feeling that me and X would stay in touch. I could just sense it.

I think it is a common illusion among patients in these smaller units that you genuinely have things in common, you are just as close and your forced physical proximity implies. But at the end of the day you realise all you really have in common is the disease that landed you in there. It just seems like you are all so alike because an ED leaves you feeling as though you ARE the ED. If you are all going around thinking you are anorexia then you are bound to feel pretty similar.

Then one day X self discharged. I was devastated. She left a big void, her chair woefully empty. However to my semi-relief she came back as day patient so I didn't lose her for good. Then in March I left, she staying as day patient. We exchanged numbers. The big test would start- would we have anything in common outside Anorexia?

The answer is yes! A resounding yes. Over a year on and we see each other often and message all the time.

She is one of my most treasured possessions. When I struggle with ED and depression she is the first I turn to and generally the only one who genuinely understands. Just hearing my experiences echoed by her is enough to calm me down. I aspire to her. She exudes a calm and tranquillity that belies what I know must be beneath which makes her presentation all the more amazing. She is hilariously clean and tidy, I know however hard I try I'll never be this but she makes me want to keep forcing myself to at least try! She has never abandoned me. She is the one person I can meet up with without a 'face'. I know that if I come as I am, even if I feel the pits, she will still be there for me, she will never give me up as a bad job. She sent me beautiful birthday and christmas presents when I was in the second hospital. I was so sad not to be there with her at christmas.

She is so fantastic, if I could give her a gift I would give her a mirror that showed her what is within, what I see. I want to fix her problems as thanks for helping me with mine. I want to ease her suffering as she eases mine.

She is a little angel.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Screw It All

Today is a bad day. I'm tetchy and irritable and probably going to be a right royal arse to family members if I have to deal them today.

I got weighed this morning. So the whole 'Katie not knowing her weight' plan kinda fell through. It was formulated last week because I'd had a fair few loses and they were trying the tack of keeping me in the dark  and seeing if it helped. You see I just can't not know. I feel suddenly completely out of control. So I asked. I'd gained. FUCK. fuck fuck fuck and fuck it all.

I've gained before but today I just felt more fucking angry than ever.

I am not going to sugar coat it to you. I'm in the kind of mood where if people ask me how I feel I am not going to give the spiel I am supposed to give. I am going to give both barrels and let rip. This is not going to be a feel good post, not motivational, but it WILL be god damn honest.

I am sick of this. Sick and tired of everything. I feel like throwing the towel in. What is the point of this 'recovery'. What even IS recovery? Right now it feels like my 'recovery' is me being fat and fucked off about it.

What is better about how I am now than how it was before exactly? You know I even had a job the day I went into hospital both times. Granted I was probably on the last legs of being employed, I lived every day in fear of being sacked. You cannot really be a care assistant in a Nursing Home and turn up for work half starved and shrinking day by day into your tunic and trousers. But still, I technically had an 'adult life'. I still had friends.

Now I have no job and feel pretty damn shit about it. I don't have any more friends than I did before. I'm not fertile. I don't attract boys. I don't do any art work. I am not suddenly full of happy energy because I'm eating more. I still get cold. I probably think more about food than I did before and this in turn makes me feel like a gluttonous pig.

Most of all I am TOO BIG. my BMI is till 'underweight' but what the fuck does that matter. I'm an elephant compared to what I used to be.

What is the point of all this extra fat that's been planted on me? Why did I let them take my bones away? At what point did I think having a rounder face would make me look better?!

I feel angry. Resentful. I am directing this resentment at those close to me. I have done this to please them. I eat to please them. I smile to please them. I carry on being alive to please them. I am sick of pleasing others whilst hating myself and my life.

When I became anorexic I finally found my back bone. I had always been a push over, taken for granted, reliably unassertive. Suddenly I did the equivalent of standing up in their midst and screaming 'FUCK YOU'. Suddenly I made them all realise I am NOT to be taken for granted. I had the power to threaten them with the prospect of my life.

With my body and behaviour I said 'I am the one in control. I will control myself and I will control you. I will do what I want and nothing can stop me. I am invisible. You've all failed me and I am going to break off from you to a place where I don't need family. All I need is my bones.'

I miss this me. I feel a faded version of a previous me. A fraud. A failure. I am a champion boxer who had become lame. I'm chucked out of the ring and I have fallen into the crowd, lost among normal people.

I do masochistic things. I read books about anorexics. I gawp at photos of sick people with stick legs. I call myself names. Fat. Failure. Nothing.

My masochistic behaviours have started making me think things. I wasn't even that thin. Everyone was exaggerating. Properly thin would have been two BMI's lower.

I am beginning to think that the 'next time' I tell everyone will never happen, should. Next time I'll be even better. Next time I'll go to 10. Perhaps I'll get further.

I am sorry for this post. I cannot be strong forever. You are the people I do not lie to.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Meringue Monologues

Today a memory of a long passed event floated back to me and made me smile. I can laugh about it no but when it happened I was pouring with tears. I hope it shows how fucked up an ED can make you, making minor blips seem on a par with world disasters and making you bawl like a baby at something invisible to others.

I'll set the scene. I think it was winter time but I cant be too accurate there- I was very ill at the time and so it could have been July and I would still have been in two dressing gowns with the fire on, but I remember it being mid afternoon and it was gloomy outside, I had the lamps on in an effort to tempt cosiness into a miserable day. I'd been to see my Dad in the morning and I'd come home to an rattlingly empty house, an all too familiar scenario which only ever makes me feel just as empty as the house and twice as lonely.

I was scrunched into the sofa, riddled with inertia and cold, something playing on my laptop with me barely seeing the images. I was suffering an attack of the the hideous hunger that only attacks the acutely malnourished. Unless you've felt it you cant understand it. It isn't a straight forward 'hunger' that rumbles the belly and is staved off for a bit by a drink or walk. The only way I can describe it is a 'bone hunger'. I felt crumbly and weak, tired and ancient. I felt a hundred years old but with a mind as restless as a two year old's. My mind is full of food. It isn't a dangerous place- I have never binged, even at my worst, most desperate times. No, I just watch a film real of temptations that I am sure I will never taste play through in my shrivelled up brain. I am sure nothing will stir me. I'm pretty sure I'll be in the same spot when mum comes home in a few hours time. It wouldn't be the first time. Then something clicks in my head. A little, tiny speck of a thought, somehow I have the energy to reach out and pull it closer. It takes form, here's how it goes...

So I guess this little gem of an idea happens because firstly I'm thinking about food. Secondly I am thinking what I could possibly eat if I could move myself. I mentally traipse through the cupboards and fridge, dismissing everything because it's too high calorie or just too lettuce-y or celery-y. Then- PING! Egg whites. My friends. 10-20 calories in each- I reckon I could stretch to that. But they ARE only egg whites and I'm so, so tired. The idea begins to float off again, I'm sinking back. But then another PING! Now I'm suddenly capable of some anorexic mathamatics (amazing what a previously screwed over brain can suddenly achieve at the prospect of getting one over on the calorie system) Egg white+sugar=meringue. Sugar-calories=sweeteners. Next realisation- I have a massive tub of Splenda Sweetener in the cupboard. My mind is now awake. I think I WILL move.

I decide this: I have been a genius- I am about to make virtually calorie free meringues! Imagine that!! I am going to EAT A PUDDING and it wont do a thing to me! I am ecstatic!

I do not stop to consider that it would be pretty damn unlikely that this has not been tried before- I am sure I am the genius creator of what is surely about to become an anorexic dream-meringues with all the innocence of celery!

I hurry into the kitchen in my swaddling of dressing gowns and set to work. I boil the kettle and sterilise the mixing bowl and whisks. I separate my eggs, making sure not a single trace of yolk contaminates my fatless whites. With a thrill that I've not felt in so long I weigh out the piles of sweetener powder, marvelling at the lightness of the mountain of white in the bowl. Egg whites whisked to a foam, the powder goes in, soon I have a mass of stiff, snowy cloud. All is going swimmingly. Little heaps on a lined baking sheet, each carefully measured so they are equal. I post them into the oven, close the door and stand back.

Kitchen cleaned, it's a waiting game now. It's a well known cardinal sin to open the oven on cooking meringues, but the temptation to peep is so hard. I resist. Over an hour passes and finally time's up. Baited breath. Out they come. They look perfect. My heart lifts, I even smile. Their little peaks and undulations are tanned a tempting beige. I can't wait. I imagine the delightful crumbling as the exterior puckers against my teeth. I imagine the pleasant stickiness of the slightly chewy centre, the overwhelming sweetness. Take it from me- when you are starving you appreciate a whole spectrum of flavours and sensations even in carrots so imagine what I was expecting to experience from this.

Cold hand, blue finger-nailed pokes out of the fluffy sleeve towards the chosen heap of promise. Fingers close on its base. I apply just the tinniest pressure to raise it from the tray. Then something awful happens. My fingers are suddenly flung together. I stare at the mess of crumbled powder that my hand is lying in. It has imploded at my feathery touch. I swallow. Perhaps I was too rough in my eagerness. I'll try again, be very careful. Even lighter, I barely touch its surface and the second meringue disintegrates. I am swallowing hard, something rising in my chest. Again I try, and again, and again. Every single time the same sound- the puff and crumble and then nothing but sticky powder. There are none left. Anger rises in my throat and impulsively I swipe the tray off the cooker onto the floor. Swirls of snow everywhere. The excitement is dead and its suddenly very cold again.

Looking back I laugh. I laugh because it was so ridiculous. At the time it was the end of the world. I was angry that I had finally found some happiness, some reward, some pleasure only for it to be snatched away. Someone watching, laughing at my stupidity. Of course no one was watching and laughing. No one except anorexia. She'd be laughing because she is cruel and full of false promises and crumbling meringues. I was probably also deeply disturbed that I'd reached the point where a few stupid meringues had been the only things to make me feel some happiness in months and months. What sort of life is that?

This meringue episode is the perfect analogy of eating disorders. It will tempt you, drive you even when you are exhausted. It will instil a super-human energy in you. It will make promises to you, provide false horizons and beckon you in. When you arrive you find it was all a mirage, a crumbled meringue. It is the harsh reality that you will most likely never believe this story until you have experienced it yourself. Humans are stubborn creatures at the best of times, only truly believing when it is too late to back out.