Saturday, 14 January 2012

I am so tired of failure

Again, too much has happened that I don't know where to begin.
Sometimes I wish my life would just slow right down again.

I will just have to write it in bits, a full monologue is too much for me right now.
Last Friday I nearly ended it with Theo.
As I said, he was taking me out for my Christmas present. I took the afternoon off to get a massage, sit in the sauna, get my hair done and make sure I looked my best.
It was the leaving drinks of someone at work so we both went along to that. Theo told me we would leave at 8:30pm. The time came and went, he did not make a move. He was drinking with his mates, I was standing with my friends, sipping my one glass of wine so I stayed sober to enjoy our dinner. I sent him a text - when are we going? He didn't check his phone. I went to sit upstairs trying to fight back the tears. I read back my last post on my blackberry... I must not take his cluelessness for lack of care, I must not act like a child and ruin this, I must not throw this away....
I made a note:
"It was 8:42pm when I messaged him to ask when we were going, and 9:08pm when I decided that it was over. This was supposed to be our special night. I hadn't taken the afternoon off to get my hair done for my work colleagues Theo, I did it for you. You should be holding on to me like I'm precious gold. I can't do it. I'm walking. Walk Ophelia, don't be weak. Walk. Don't be weak. Even if I stayed tonight, you couldn't change my mood now, it would be impossible, you've spoilt it."

At 9:15pm he called me. I didn't answer, but remained where I was in the upstairs section of the bar. I wanted to teach him a lesson. I'd been gone for 45 minutes and he hadn't even noticed.
I wandered down when my friend called me and left a voicemail.
"Where have you been? We've been looking for you! Theo didn't know where you were!"
"Yeah, I was upstairs."
They told Theo I was there now but he still stayed with his friends outside, drinking and smoking, ignoring me. Finally he came back in and asked my friend, "So what's the plan next? On to the next bar?" I was sat, jacket on, with all my bags ready to go, eyes brimming with tears. Now he was out drunk with his friends, he didn't want me any more, he didn't care about our evening together.
He beckoned me over. I got up reluctantly.
"Are we going?!", I asked.
"Um yeah...we can still make it... you ready to go?"

We left and got a taxi. I could barely talk. I was choking back the tears. I couldn't look at him. I pushed his hands off me.
We got to the restaurant and ate. He was drunk. But I started to forgive him as his moved over to my side between every course and ran his hands through my hair and told me all the most wonderful, beautiful things.
I realised he could only say them when he was drunk.
He couldn't keep his hands off me.
I realised he loved me most for sex.
At the end of the meal he told me to meet him in the toilets and sauntered off. I sat there in disbelief. I was imagining this. But I was drunk too. Why not. Cross it off my list.
I went.
He pushed me to me knees like a doll. He pressed me hard against the wall like a worthless slut. He didn't even know who I was. His face of inebriated pleasure disgusted me.

We left and he called up his friend from work.
"Where are you guys now? Who's there? How long you staying?"
I couldn't believe it. I stood on the pavement in the freezing cold while he floundered, drunk. He hadn't got us a hotel, he didn't know what to do, he dragged me into an Irish pub so he could drink more. I wanted to go home, but I knew the only option was to stay it out for this night.
"What do you want to do?", he kept asking me repeatedly.
"I want to be with YOU. I want to get out of the cold and go to bed."
I didn't know where we were, we walked for ages to some bus stop where we waited for a bus. He wouldn't even get a taxi. When we got to Kings Cross we tried hotel after hotel until we found one with rooms free. I was broken, I couldn't bear to look at him. I got straight into bed and curled up in a ball.

Tonight was supposed to be so special. I'd made myself look stunning for him, drank juice all week, brought my best underwear, sexy new shoes, fucking hell I would do everything for that boy. And look at the love I got in return.

* * *

On Tuesday I had my internal interview for the new position I wanted. I had studied every day over Christmas and every weekend and evening since I knew they were going to interview me.
They turned me down.
Shit, somehow this is even harder to write than the above.

I feel humiliated.
I lay in bed crying myself to sleep, tears flowing down the sides of my face.
Theo said nothing to comfort me.

On Thursday morning I received an email to officially tell me that I had been turned down from the other department and that my current department would excuse me from travel for two months only so there will be a meeting to discuss what is to be done. (I had asked when I went back into treatment to take one afternoon off a week to go to my appointments and to not have to travel so much because I wasn't able to eat any safe foods.)

My current manager is now trying to force me to resign from my current position because in interviewing for the other department I have proven that I am not committed to my current role.
We had the meeting yesterday morning.
"For the business, we want someone who is committed to the role for several years."
"Everyone on that floor is going to move on at some point," I argued back. (In fact, there are only three people in the whole of the department who have stuck around for more than a year.)
"You don't want a career in this, you want to move to the other department. We can't have that in this role. We need someone who is fully committed."
"I am happy where I am and I don't want to leave. I have studied in my spare time, been fully committed to the role during work hours and have given excellent results as proof of that."
"That's not the point. You want to move to the other department if an opportunity arises. I can't have that in my team."

They were doing everything they could to force me to resign.
I signed a document to allow them to have a letter from my doctor.
They are going to ask for a letter explaining my ability to do my job and what effects it has on my health.
"If I choose to do a job that is detrimental to my health then that's my choice." I said angrily.
"Yes, it is, but we need to know, from a 'duty of care' perspective how best to accommodate you."
So they are expecting the letter to come back saying that I shouldn't be working in a high-pressure environment and should not travel. (All of which is absolutely true, I will never get better in this job and my doctor of all people is the one who is most aware of how true that is.)

And they will then use my illness as a way of forcing me out of my job - by way of their 'duty of care' towards me.
My eating disorder took away years of my life, it was the reason I got turned away from jobs in the past, it destroyed friendships, it destroyed relationships, it destroyed opportunities and hope. The great hurricane of destruction clearly hasn't finished it's rampage yet.

This is the most depressed I've felt for over 12 months. All my motivation and lust for life has been sucked out of me again, I cry at the smallest thing, I can't go to the gym, I can't restrict, I can't smile at people. I've gone back to the dark, cold place.
Theo, still in contact with me all week, knows all that happened above, and has not offered a single word of comfort.

Two weeks ago I was dreaming for everything finally falling into place. And now I am standing where I stood just over a year ago. Frightened, empty, alone and humiliated. The girl that everyone wanted to beat at school, the girl who worked so hard, won every award, was going to be great at whatever she chose to be.
All I know now is failure.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

This is the year

The problem with not posting for two weeks is that my life moves very quickly, and it is now impossible for me to accurately transfer my emotions from the first week (which were very different to this week) into the written word. However, I will do my best.

After the drama of the work Christmas Party, I spent the final week in the lead up to the holidays waiting for Theo to ask to see me. He was going to France with his family over Christmas and I expected him to suggest we go out one evening that week before he went away.
I'd eaten atrociously in the aftermath of the anxiety and stress of the Christmas party season and started the week half a stone heavier than when I had graced the floors of the dinner hall in my beautiful dress on Friday evening. The scales were now showing me a weight that I had not seen since August. I kid you not.
Naturally I was tearing my hair out, and in my deep stupor of depression was unable to drag my sorry arse to the gym and run like crazy to burn off this weight which I had bingeed my way to in the last week or so. Although I was desperate to see Theo again before Christmas, I was also acutely aware that there was no way I could bear him seeing me in such a state of fatness. However, everyday that he did not suggest we go out was another day that I binged in despair.

But really, this was just me being insecure and crazy again. We were talking every day over messages, we'd just had an incredible weekend together - there was nothing wrong. I was the stubborn one who wanted to see him that week but was too proud to ask. I was unfairly testing him without his knowledge and was furious and distraught that he was failing. The poor boy was sitting a few minutes away from me in another department of the office, completely ignorant of the angst and pain that was reverberating through my body as a result of his inaction in this psychotic test of commitment that I was secretly putting him through.

I remember very little of Monday 19th December now, except that I ended up crying and throwing up all night long. This was the effect that the number on the scales had had that day. To see a number I dreaded seeing again, to pinch new fat along my waist, to remember all the food I had stuffed into my face and to know that I alone was responsible for this catastrophe.
I had to take the morning off work to patch myself up. I called up the hospital responsible for my treatment to learn confirmation that I was able to start treatment again on Monday 9th January. Theo still did not ask to meet up with me. So I binged and did it all again.
Wednesday was even worse. I ate nothing all day and then when everyone else left the office to go for drinks, I stayed and attacked the vending machine. Chocolate bar after chocolate bar after chocolate bar, then left the office to buy more, bread, cakes, to eat and then throw up in the toilets at work - only the second time I've ever purged there. As I choked in agony, forcing my fingers harder down my throat, I wondered for a split second what my colleagues would say if I were to be found the next day, dead over a toilet full of vomit.
"So terribly'd never have known..."
I was so angry at Theo. Again. Irrationality. The voice of my evil eating disordered sister. Poor Theo, all my anger directed at him while he remained ignorant of it all.
Again, he had still not asked to see me this week before he left for France. I was nothing to him. It was over. I was stuffing my face.
I deleted his number from my phone. I would never contact him again.

He messaged me that evening, he messaged me the next day. No, he is not a heartless monster, he never was. He just never thought to suggest we went out that week.

If I had written this post at the time it would have been full of anger - at him and at my fat self - full of anxiety, pain, heartache and destructive despair. But I am writing it now - nearly two weeks later - calm, secure and at peace - so I write it with a different sadness. I look at the raging monster who was ripping her insides to shreds, walking with a clenched fist and her hands clawing out her hair and I can see that girl was not me, but the monster I turn into when my insecurities and body dysmorphic disorder gets out of check. I cried and hurt myself over a boy who did no wrong to me. I did further damage to a body I hated because I hated it.
Who was that girl?
12 months ago, that was the girl I used to be everyday. Seeing her come back was frightening. But at the time, for those string of five days of so, I couldn't control her, I couldn't banish her, I had completely lost sight of all my rational thoughts and concerns.

I cried uncontrollably on the floor of the kitchen while my Mum helplessly looked over me.
"There's nothing you can do. I can't stop when I'm like this."
I pulled out all the drawers and cupboards to find the knife I used to use. It's been taken or lost. At least there is an active part of my brain now that forbids me from buying another, but I am still unable to control the part of my brain that craves the sharp sensation of blood letting when I am on an edge.

A terrible week. It has been several months since I have had a breakdown on that scale for so many consecutive days.

So Theo went to France on Christmas Eve and I didn't get to see him. He did ask in the end - on the Friday - but I was unable to leave work as early as him and he was unable to stay for longer. He passed my silly little test after all, and I had ripped myself to sheds because I had decided that he was breaking my heart.

I started to mend and transform back into a human being over Christmas. I eased back into restricting and running again, and though my body was still a far cry from the figure I had earlier in the month, it was becoming more at peace with itself. This week I eased off the exercise and into a juice fast. Theo was coming back on Friday and we were going out in the evening so I had to make sure I was back to my best.
I had a slight crisis at the realisation that although I was back at work, much of The City was still at home with their families this week. Everywhere in the square mile that made fresh juice was closed. Faced with the prospect of only high sugar fruit juices and smoothies from the supermarket shelves, I had to resort to shady ancient bottles of wheatgrass and carrot juice from Holland and Barrett.

Friday came at last and I had forced my weight back down to a more acceptable figure. In my mind there was still no doubt that I had extra inches on my tummy, but there was not much I could about it now. I was somewhat comforted by the fact that Theo would almost certainly have put a few extra kilos from the excess of food on his family dinner table over Christmas and I was still going to be in better shape than him. I barely felt the hunger all day, and after sitting in the half empty office makeupless and drab for the last few days, I delighted in getting my hair done at lunchtime and making myself look pretty for him.

I almost ran out the doors of the office when he finished work and called me to say he was ready to go. He was waiting for me by the road with a huge umbrella ready. Although I wanted to remain composed and perfect, I couldn't help but burst into a huge smile at the sight of him. I tumbled into his arms and kissed him.
I was with Theo again.

We went to the same bar where we had our first date and I snuggled up to him happily.
He stroked my hair lovingly, "I've missed you a lot you know."
I looked at him, half surprised. "Not as much as I've missed you!"
"I'm sorry I left you for so long."
I smiled. I had been such an idiot for wanting to believe that he didn't like me. "I'm just glad you're back now."
He ran his hands through my hair and gazed at me. "Beauty."
Shit I'm going to start crying like a fool.
"I've been thinking about you a lot you know, and that never're gorgeous, intelligent, driven, sexy, good in bed... gorgeous". Gorgeous. He kept saying it.

I melted away in his fingers that evening. He said all the things that I had spent years dreaming someone would say to me one day. No man has ever looked at me in the way that he does or loved the things about me that he does.

The talk turned to eating disorders again when he asked me what I would spend my excess money on if I won the lottery.
"I'd use the money to raise awareness of eating disorders and make more treatment facilities available for those that need it. But I know it's controversial and people would never see it as a worthwhile cause."
I told him about the NHS waiting lists, I told him about the blogs I had read of girls in their early teens, I told him of the terrible underground hideaway that so many run to, the unknown number of people that suffer without understanding their illness or being able to find help or kindness.
He asked me again if I still had problems.
I looked at him and didn't say a word. I loved him and trusted him and wanted to tell him, but I had promised myself that he was never going to know.
"If I did, I would never tell you," I said.
"Why not?"
"Because it's not your problem - it's mine. It has nothing to do with you, why would it matter?"
"Because I care about you..."
I stared at the table. "Let me tell you something..." I paused, unable to find the words. He sat silently and intently. I had to say it. "My ex... he broke up with me because of my eating disorder. He couldn't handle it."
"Did he know?"
"Yes, he knew, he knew I was very ill at the time... but there is a very big difference between knowing about it and seeing it. And when he saw it, he couldn't handle it, and he walked away."
He pulled me close to his chest and tenderly kissed me on the top of my head.

We couldn't keep our hands off each other, but after a few cocktails, things were starting to get blurry. I hadn't eaten anything solid for several days and I simply couldn't handle the alcohol.
I apologised, "I can't drink anymore... I'm too drunk. I need to eat."
I told him I hadn't eaten all day and he was shocked. "Let's go find a place to eat."
We found a little Vietnamese restaurant and he let me order. I tucked into the dishes, sobering up almost as soon and the food touched my lips.
"Have some more," I told him, not wanting to look like a glutton. He shook his head, "No, you haven't eaten all day, you need it." He wasn't hungry at all and I understood that he had taken me to the restaurant only to see me eat.
After a few more drinks at another bar, we went back to our usual hotel. I wasn't my usual confident, sexy self at first. I knew that I had extra inches on my tummy and was scared about him seeing it. My old fears of bright lighting started creeping back in case he saw how flawed my skin was underneath the makeup. And as a result it was missing a spark.
But he is Theo, and Theo tells me I am beautiful. I finally let all the fears and insecurities go. And just enjoyed the sensation of holding him again.

I looked at myself in the mirror the next day and wondered what it was that he saw and prayed that he always continued to see it. Even when my mind goes black and I see a monster before me, I prayed that he never saw it too. All evening and all the next day we behaved like a couple in love. Holding hands, kissing, playing with each other. It was simply wonderful. We haven't discussed the status of our relationship, but I know that we are a couple in everything but words now.

I went to bed, sound and happy, welcoming in the new year of 2012 with a heart bursting with happiness and love.
Thank you, Theo.

I wish I could end the post there, but unfortunately, the eating disorder has to rear its ugly head again. This coming Friday, Theo is taking me out. Being the slightly rubbish, disorganised man that he is, he didn't get me a Christmas present before Christmas, but is organising something for Friday instead. He won't tell me what it is, but I suspect he's going to take me to a nice restaurant (I'd be surprised if he has the ability to organise something more than that.) So after eating with him this weekend, it is back to the juice diet until Friday.

I know that everything between us is perfect at the moment, I know that he thinks I am beautiful, and I know that he is falling for me, but I can't help it. I don't want to be enough for him, I want to be exceptional.
The irony is that in wanting so desperately to be perfect for Alex, I fed the eating disorder and sickness which made him leave me. Of course I don't want to make that same mistake with Theo now, but I also don't want to lose him, I want him to think that I am beautiful forever.

A number of you commented some perfect truths in response to my last post. Theo is not Alex, I must not and should not have the same fears concerning him. Theo is pretty clueless - sweet, wonderful, caring - but nonetheless clueless. I must not mistake that cluelessness for lack of care, because when I am with him, I can see so clearly that no one has ever cared for me as intently as he does.
So why can't I let go?
Well I guess that's the nature of eating disorders isn't it. You can't let go. I will always put pressure on myself to be thin and beautiful for Theo. In a sense, it's my way of showing him how much he means to me. More importantly, I am going back into treatment on the 9th January. I will go back to having weekly weigh-in sessions, eating diaries, and work hard at maintaining a proper diet. I want to do that for Theo as well - and for myself - because I know, especially after seeing my frightening, old behaviour come back in the last few weeks, that our relationship will never withstand the destructive force of my full-blown eating disorder. I want to commit to this properly, I want to be with Theo, I want to be happy, I want to love and be loved. I do not want to destroy myself or my chances at happiness anymore. I believe that I deserve this.

I read back all my old posts today. I was horrified and heartbroken to remember the sadness that reverberated in the words I wrote and to remember so clearly all the dreadful things I had written about. I was a wreck at university, I lived in a terrible world and lived a terrible life. And this blog only covers a tiny part of my life trapped in a torturous bubble. I ruined a great deal of my life, I could have been magnificent.

But I've still come a long way from the girl who started writing in this blog three years ago. I am not full of self-hate and pain. I have broken out of the cold, empty prison. The bleak four walls of my insecure, body dysmorphic, eating disordered brain do not keep me trapped me any more. I've come so far from the numb teenager who couldn't look at herself in the mirror or walk out the door in the mornings. I've fought some fucking horrendous battles to get where I am, and I'm not going to lie, I very nearly didn't make it, I very nearly burnt everything to the ground and gave in.
I don't know what it was that gave me the strength to start standing tall again in 2011, but I'm so glad it did. I believe in recovery. I believe that others have done it, and I believe that I can too.

I just have to reach my goal weight before I start treatment. And then I promise, it will be easy for me to work hard in therapy and learn to be healthy and 'maintain'. I promise, 2012, this is the year.