Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Write Now

I've been dreaming about Alex again. This makes me angry. My dreams keep on suggesting I want him back.
I do not.
I wish I could turn off my dreams and not have to experience them.

I want to start today with a comment from Anonymous (gotta love them) which said "You say the same things over again."
Yes. Of course I do. It's called having an eating disorder. What better way to express the hell of this cycle in which it is impossible to escape than with prose that is itself on a cycle. RESTRICT - BINGE - PURGE - CRY - PROMISE TO GET BETTER - RESTRICT - BINGE - PURGE - CRY - PROMISE TO GET BETTER etc etc.
I have a message written on my cupboard wall which is still visible if you look closely. It says: This is THE LAST TIME signed by me and dated 11th August 2008. It refers to the last time I will throw up. I've said it everyday since.

"I hate that I can't get better," I told my therapist last week. "It's so frustrating. I've wanted it for so long, and now I have the support and I have all the resources I need and I can't do it. And I hate myself for it. Every time I fuck up, I know it's because I didn't try hard enough."
"How long have you had an eating disorder?" she asked in reply.
"Since I was 15 - for 8 years."
"And how many sessions have we had?"
"I dunno... like, 12?"
"11.... If you could get better on your own and without any trouble, you wouldn't be here. We've had 11 sessions, and you've had this disorder for years. It's going to take time."


I wrote a letter to my Dad today. It said:
Dear Dad,
I miss you.


Dear Dad, I miss you. There's so much more I need and want to say. But I can't write it, I can only say it to you, ask you, listen to you, discuss with you. Screw you for leaving. Screw you for putting me and my mother through all this pain. You got out easy but we stick it out. But I can't blame you, because I understand, I am your daughter, I have your blood, I have your sadness... I am one half of you.
They say shit like this can be genetic, if so, I know I got it from you.

It wasn't so long ago that all I wanted was to die. My Mum had to sit helplessly and listen to me crying myself sick half begging to let me die. I just don't want to live anymore! I've had enough! I'm sorry. I just want to die. No Mother should have to listen to that and I can't take it back.


Who'd have predicted that years ago? When I was a popular star pupil with a Mum and Dad that took me to the park on Sundays.
I went all wrong.

If I were to pinpoint the very worst month of my life it would be...November 2010. Couldn't leave the house, couldn't stop eating, couldn't stop throwing up, couldn't stop crying...

I am out of the very darkest times now. If someone were to threaten with me a gun I wouldn't be too bothered, but I can safely say that thanks to my new job I no longer want to kill myself. The fact that I am happy and safe in my new location and new job is a huge deal and it makes me pleased to say it.
But I'm only staying in this job until July - this always has been a temporary situation - it is not what I want to do for any longer than my contract. So what do I do afterwards? Every grad scheme I've applied to has rejected me and now I've run out of time...


For my whole life I have wanted to be a journalist and a writer. My whole life. That's why I chose the A levels and the degree that I did. On my personal statement for my undergraduate course in English Literature I wrote about how I wanted to write and all the projects that I was working on. Writing is all I've ever wanted to do. It's the only thing I've ever been remotely talented at. It's the only thing I love.
So... why did I leave uni and go to law school? Why have I not done any journalism work experience or a post grad course? Why?
Because I decided I was a failure. I wasn't good enough, I'd never make it, I'd never be published, I'm second rate, I'll never make it to the top. It's too much of a risky career, no stable income, no regular working hours, I'm not tough enough, I'm not good enough.

Low self-esteem and eating disorders go hand in hand - they feed each other. Only when you hate yourself enough can you convince yourself that you need to be punished and starved and purged. I perfected my eating disorder because I perfected my self-hatred. I think I'm a worthless piece of shit, so I never even tried to become a journalist or writer. I knew, or rather I decided, that I wasn't good enough to make it.

The only thing I could put effort into and the only thing I believed in was getting thin and being successful in the eyes of society. I wanted to be perfect and polished in a perfect and polished suit, not running around in flat shoes with scribbled notes chasing stories about cats stuck up trees for the local newspaper. But no, that's NOT true, I don't want the perfect and polished 9-5 in a grey office in the grey city - I've never been that person and when I had a taste of it I found myself going mad with boredom.
Sure, I don't want to work on the local paper my whole life, but I have to if I want to reach the dizzying heights of the BBC or The Times. And at least, AT LEAST, I'll be doing what I want to do even if my Mum and society think I'm a failure in the meantime.

I gave up on my dreams before I had even tried because all I knew was how to hate myself and all I believed was that I had to please others.

I want to write.


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Recovery

So, I have recived this Honesty Award from both Harlow and Flushed :
very touched, thank you :)
I've always attributed my brutal honesty to the fact that in my real life and towards real people I have to be so fake. This is the only medium through which I have the freedom to be able to tell everything as it is. As protocol is to give10 facts, and I feel in a 10 facts mood, here are 10 facts:

1. I regularly photoshop my photos on facebook to make myself thinner.
2. Yesterday I threw up three times after eating an uncountable amount of calories. Today I have burnt 500 cals, eaten 1,000 cals in protein/veg/fruit and kept it all down.
3. I'm going to watch Black Swan for the second time on Monday because looking at Natalie Portman's ballet body makes me hyper with the desire to starve.
4. I haven't had sex since I broke up with Alex in August and I'm probably not going to have sex for the whole of 2011. (Watch this space).
5. I miss hot sex. But not as much as I miss having a hot body to match.
6. My success at interview ratio has just gone down. It used to be a kickass ratio because I could act my arse off to employers.
7. Strangers always think I'm 18/19. I put this down to my chubby face.
8. I saw a picture of Lindsay Lohan today and thought she was so thin she looked disgusting.
9. I hate the fact that when I was at my super thinnest I was torturing myself worse than I do now. It should be the other way round.
10. It was exactly three years ago that I went to my Doctor at University and told him I was depressed. I asked him for medication and was signed up to the Eating Disorders Service. I didn't realise what an eating disorder was; I thought it would be over in 6 months.


Do you ever get that feeling like your brain is shrinking and drying up from too much exercise and not enough food? I'm feeling that right now, that tight feeling across my forehead - my poor starving brain.
Today was a good workout but nowhere near the levels I'm capable of. Tomorrow and Tuesday are marathon gym days. Can't wait. Nothing makes me more ecastic than sweat dripping off my body and feeling my legs burning brightly.
I went back home for a few days last week to find a Crosstrainer standing in our hallway. I nearly died with joy whilst being bemused that my mother clearly has no idea how much this helps my disorder. Plus I'm going to start tennis lessons in a few weeks. Ah, I'll be wearing shorts this summer ladies!


What is recovery?
I had an interview back in the City on Tuesday, just round the corner from where I used to work. One of the questions was: "Tell me about a time when you've had to make a difficult decision."
I spluttered and racked my brains in a panic. All I could come up with was: "When I was younger, I had an eating disorder. Deciding to get better was the toughest decision I ever made." I used buzz words like "self-discipline", "determination"...
"It would have been so easy to just let it be," I continued, "I wasn't on my deathbed, but I knew I couldn't work for a company like this, or have a family, or be the person I wanted to be if I didn't recover from my eating disorder..."

That's the third time I've lied about my eating disorder in an interview and pretended that I have recovered and "learnt so much!" The last two times I promptly got my rejection letter, one even stated that as the reason why. It was a stupid example to use and I regretted it the second I said it, but oh well, the City doesn't miss me anyway.

Instinctively, people don't give you a second chance once they know. They think I will have a mental illness for the rest of my life. And to be honest, I haven't done anything to prove that theory wrong.

I can't shake it off.

I have no idea how people recover from eating disorders. However many articles and books I read, I still don't understand my illness. I'd give anything for pills or medication or prayers to make it go away, but I can't... it's that elusive 'self discipline' that I talked about so proudly. I don't have the self-discipline to turn my back on who I am and what I believe in and desire. I don't have the self-discipline to eat like a normal person.
I'm sorry, I can't let the fat hang off my body and do nothing about it. Give me free range of the gym, give me woodland and paths to run, give me a crosstrainer in front of the TV, give me weights and protein shakes, give me that tight feeling across my forehead.
And I feel so happy, inside and out... and nothing in the world could make me eat 2,000 calories and lose this wonderful feeling. Nothing.

Recovery. Recovery to me means getting rid of the bulimia, getting rid of the manic binges and purging. Recovery means finally reaching my goal weight with controlled healthy foods and lots of exercise. That's why I left London and came here; to concentrate on my recovery.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Who is she?

A low point hits
and I have no way to express it.
I realise this is the only place where I can cry or scream or speak.

I am not a great conversationalist. This is something I have noticed in this job - where I have to sit with people every mealtime, make small talk, engage in conversation, every goddamn day. Sad to say, this is new to me. This is too much.
It is this constant requirement to talk that has shown me something interesting: that I internalise pretty much all my thoughts and feelings. I must come across as the most boring and uninteresting person with absolutely no views whatsoever - because I just don't like talking. I can sit and listen. I can nod. I can sympathise. But I can't talk. I'm not a talker. I'll sit and think, I'll write, I'll think some more. But I don't talk about what passes through my thoughts. I just... don't.

And this blog was a gift. It gave me the voice I never had - not just to voice my eating disorder and my fears and anxieties, but also to simply voice my opinion, my everyday trivialities and heartaches...

When I feel sad, I don't tell anyone - even if I wanted to I can never seem to find the words in speech - and yet I come here and the words flow. Perhaps it is because I think the people I speak to will judge me, perhaps, it sounds stupid when I say it aloud, perhaps I'm simply just a poor verbal communicator... I don't know.


This evening has been bad.
The demons started to come back two weeks ago - when I wrote that last post. Visions of self harm started to flash across my thoughts again.
Overall, the eating has been controlled and my mood has been stable.
Protein. Vegetables. Fruit.
SAFE.
No carbs. No dairy. No wheat.
Running, gym, DVD workouts.
And the figures on the scale are going down again. Soon I will have to start putting weights in my pockets when I go for my weekly therapy sessions. She weighs me every week and I am not allowed to lose. I have to maintain. I wonder if she sees the victory dancing furtively in my eyes as I watch her draw the line on my weight graph downwards.

When I got off the train to London for my most recent appointment I took a mini detour to the Tate Gallery to stop by and see two of my favourite paintings. Ophelia by Millais and The Lady of Shalott by Waterhouse.
Two characters and two paintings that I have loved even as a child, before I understood the depth of their meaning.
The Lady of Shalott

http://www.tate.org.uk/ophelia/

Why do I love to go to that small London Gallery to stare at these two women? What do they represent? Why do I feel a connection to them?
And yet, why do they feel like they belong to another world? - is it death that separates us? imagination? dreams? or something else?
Both these women, in literature and art, were created by men. Funny. If I created a heroine would she die?


This evening has been bad.
The memories have come back to haunt me.
2010. London. The worst year of my life. That horrible, horrible chill in my heart.

I innocently looked at the facebook profile of a friend from the Club and then I couldn't get rid of the chill. That place. Those people. The mirrors. The alcohol. The sexism. The pressure. Alex. That horrible, horrible place. Why did I go there. Why didn't I just stay away from all the things I knew would only hurt me, all the things that had destroyed me while I was at uni. Why did I come back to London and put myself through it all again?

I don't want to remember that place and those people and those memories. It just... there's just a horrible chill, a twisted, sickly chill deep inside. I feel the black clouds rumble over my head and suddenly it's dark again, and I want to starve, just want to feel light and thin and in control, I want to feel glorious, I want to feel powerful, like a winner...
and the moment I got back to my room tonight, I snuck out and ate. Bread, toast, peanut butter, honey, jam.
Throw up. I throw up so it all comes out, all the binge food, all the dinner, all the feelings, all the sadness, all that twisted cold stuff deep inside, out, out, OUT,
damned spot.


I did this, I did this! And I can't scream, I can't say a word, I can't do anything, except sit here and type... and wait for morning. Because no one here knows. I can't even breathe the slightest syllable.
No one here knows Ophelia,
they just see a little girl who says yes and no with a simple smile

I don't know if I can fight this.
One side of me longs to give in, to curl up in a ball and sleep forever.
One side of me wants to fight and live and go back to the world.
And I know I can do one,
But I am not convinced I can do the other.

People like me, we're always haunted aren't we? I've read about them, they couldn't get better, they couldn't shake off the darkness. It's just... the way.

I want to smash my cup against my desk and use the broken pieces to cut my arms.

I need more water to help me throw up. There's still more to come.

I'm not going to sleep tonight. I have to write and work. Must work, must write, like a fever, must not sleep. Sleeping means fatness.
My body will be drained tomorrow. And that will feel good. Then my bed will feel so good. Weak and empty, dragging my limbs behind me. That's good.


I can feel the pressure of the water around my head. My ears still ache.
A dummy at the bottom of the pool. I ducked, kicked furiously and somehow propelled myself to the bottom. Panicking, I grabbed frantically at the body, finally getting a hold and shooting up to the surface in slow motion. Spluttering. Relief.

But what if the dummy was real?



I don't know how to escape my memories.
People say you must learn to deal with them, learn to cope, talk about them, blah blah blah. But I do face up to my memories, I don't suppress them - they are always haunting me. The problem is that I feel constantly haunted. And it's not 'the Club', it's not the memories, it's not the sadness, it's not Alex...
it's the darkness.
The eating disorder came out of the darkness - perhaps it wasn't just a consequence but a way of coping with it - I don't know. But I do know, the darkness came first.

I'm always going to be this way, wherever in the world you put me, however many new chances and new beginnings I get. I am who I am. I am what I am.
I don't know if I should accept that or fight it. I don't know if I believe in fate.