Thursday, 23 February 2012

Inspiration.

I have this... I don't know. This is going to sound a bit pathetic, but you know what I'm like by now. I want, I need, to be inspirational. I want to mean something and I want to make something of all this, be something for people who are where I have been. But the thing is, it's messy. It's dirty. Nothing in this, for me, has been pretty and it's not been inspirational. I suppose if any of this was, there would be workshops in slowly killing yourself, burning your humanity and then rising from the ashes. But some people and their beautiful words and sentences, they make it sound like something other than a waste of life and time and pain. But that's just not how it is for me, I've not burned and risen, I've sweated and I've slogged and it's made me dirty and ugly and broken. Like a thing that's been smashed into a thousand pieces and taped back together, some parts tarnished and crumbling, some chips missing, some parts not fitting quite as they should, cracks on the surface- damaged and never quite as it was before. I'm far more like that, than like a phoenix and the flame. I've hurt and cried. And I still hurt. Not as much, but I hurt.

People write such lovely things and some manage to make mental illness sound elegant at the very least, and their fight inspirational. They can talk about their fight and somehow sound strong and capable, about how they destroyed their demons and how they're better. But I can't, and this pains me. People talk about getting better and their lives, and it seems so easy. In some ways, I know it is- I'm a thousand times better than I was when I started this blog, I'm not the person I was two years ago. If I did that, it can't be hard, I'm not even sure how it's happened, but I'm happy it has. I couldn't have the life I have now two years ago. I'm happier. But I'm scared that I've not learnt what I should have, or made what of it what I should have. I don't have an inspirational story, and stupid as that sounds, it bothers me. My therapist said that getting to where I am, to a good university, getting a good degree, is amazing, with everything that has happened. But it's not pretty. And if I'm resigning myself to not being pretty, I need something to be.

But it's gritty. It's not inspirational, it's survival. I don't know, maybe that's all it is. Reading this back sounds ridiculous, I sound like a twat. I just expect more from myself, and it bothers me when I can't be all that I wish I was.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Hurt and shame.

I don't do things like this usually, because I think it's incredibly unclassy. Class isn't about how much money you have or how well you speak, class is about being dignified. And what I'm about to do is very undignified. But I'm hurt. I'm really, really hurt and I've been trying to ignore the hurt for a long time and tonight I can't. I'm sitting here alone, crying and drinking vodka from the bottle, when instead I should be working on the essay that I've meticulously planned and researched, and was ready to kick arse on. I'm looking at the papers now, my plans and notes, and the words that I laboured, happily and with total immersion, but laboured nonetheless over, mean nothing. I don't care.

I'll maybe regret this lack of class that I'm about to show, since I don't know who reads this blog. But right now, I don't care. I don't care who knows.

I talk about my mum's family a lot. My brother, grandma, aunties, uncles, cousins and, of course, my best friend- my mum. I've never really spoken about my dad's side though because it's all very complicated and there's a lot of hurt that I have to control, in order to live. Something tiny happened today; I saw I was no longer listed as my dad's daughter on facebook. It's tiny and had it been a stand alone event, I'd have possibly laughed and then called my mum to tell her. But it's come at the end of a long line of events and suddenly the hurt from the past has broken through what I thought was the impenetrable dam I had built, and I feel like I'm drowning. I'm spluttering in an acid and a shame that's not even mine.

I'm working hard to be ashamed of who I am. I'm not a bad person, I know I'm not. I'm not a waste and I try to do the right thing, even if it doesn't always go how I meant it to. I'm at university and I work hard, I want to get a first class degree and there's no reason why I shouldn't. I've made mistakes, but I've done more than my time for them, and carried the punishment that people who have hurt me never had to, that I can promise you. I feel disgust sometimes when I look at myself, when I look at myself and I can see the past, when I remember every physical and mental scar, see every beating and mark. When I see my expanse, my human form, my deformed face and fat thighs. But I'm working hard, so that any shame or disgust that I feel about myself, I can put down to the illness and I can almost reconcile myself to the fact that I am NOT a bad person, just sometimes it's too hard to fight.

But what do you do when your dad is ashamed of you? What do you do when you're 16 and Anorexic, and told you're an embarrassment because you didn't eat much on holiday, that you showed him up in front of other holidaymakers by you lack of appetite? What do you do when he never visits you in hospital, or even sends a text? What do you do when you get mugged, drugged and end up in hospital as a result... and he still doesn't text you, to find out if you're ok? What do you do when the only communication he sends you is to tell you not to talk to your 14 year old step-sister, because she's asking questions about eating disorders? When he'll protect her from knowledge of its existence in your life, when nobody was protecting you from the disease itself, when you were little more than half her age? When he tells you not to be open about your fight, because of what people might think? Seriously, what do you do when your dad is ashamed of you?

I know this sounds melodramatic, but it's not just the facebook thing. It's so much. And I'm so hurt.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Tips and tricks.

'Can I have a vodka diet coke, please?'
'Vodka and coke, yep!'
'Nah, DIET coke.'
'OK. Are you on a diet? Oh, you know a really good way to lose weight...?'
'Yeah, I probably do. Hundreds. I'm recovering from an eating disorder, there's nowt you could teach me. I've done things that would make your balls shrivel.'
'Oh... Well, um, here you go.'

Very definitely no need for me to be quite so blunt to the poor bartender and his bollocks, but I find it dead annoying that everyone has a weight loss trick to pass on. Especially since they're almost always bullshit to say the least and, otherwise, downright dangerous. I know that most people are genuinely only trying to help, and I know I've been guilty of passing on the odd tip. You know, like... oh, one of my aunties was talking about trying to lose weight and I advised her off wine and on to vodka, hahaha. And I will always and forever lecture anybody who is trying to diet by eating fewer than 1200-1550 calories (depending on height and all that, I'm scientific as owt, me), that they won't be able to keep that up, nor be able to consistently as well with so few as they would with a few MORE calories. There is though, yanno, a difference between a tip to get healthier and some sort of bullshit secret, dangerous trick. But anyway, the bartender. I felt guilty, later, for being harsh to his testicles, so I ended up asking him what his trick was. And it was summat stupid about lemons, I don't even really remember- I was drunk and it was stupid.

Everyone is after a tip or trick for losing weight, everyone wants to think there's an easy way. Whether it's giving up carbs or fat, thinking it'll fall off quickly with minimal effort. Or whether people who are overweight or obese just don't want to be any longer, want to lose it healthily. I respect losing weight for health; although I find it difficult to congratulate someone for weight loss, I understand that some people need to, to be healthier, and some people are happy losing a few kilo and then going about their lives. It's only the same as me learning to eat properly, so I can be healthy. It's all good. So fair play to you, if that's you. Eat healthily and exercise and you'll do it, that's all. No tricks, just a few tips- don't drink things with added sugar, eat something like porridge for breakfast, get your five-a-day and don't deprive yourself of anything in moderation, and off you go. Best of British to you.

Now, don't google this, just take my word for it, but there are a whole host of pro-Ana websites out there that want to offer girls with low self-esteem, tips and tricks. Some for losing weight, breeding your very own eating disorder (or, at least, emulating one) and some for hiding the eating disorder that you're attempting to breed, or breeding. They're laughable, when you read them with the knowledge of what comes after... if you work on it, if you reach whatever the ideal is they're after and you acquire the diagnosis, there are only a few places to go. There are no secrets, when you're dying. In fact, the end result is pretty much written in the stars. If you stop eating, your weight drops, at some point you'll have to gain it. There is always a feeding tube waiting. And even if you don't... at some point, your eating disorder will become a battle that is fought by everybody who comes into contact with you. Your family will try and fight when the disorder becomes you, trying to kill it before it can kill you. Your friends will have to leave or take on the battle of their lives. Even the people who don't know, who think they are meeting you, are actually meeting the disorder and have to deal with the demands, the black-and-white, the monster within. You'll lose more than weight and electrolytes. You'll lose friends. I lost my dad. My dad is very much alive, but he couldn't be, and now isn't, next to me on the front line... and that's what you risk.

I said it sounds laughable, but it also terrifies me. All the crap, all the pro-Ana bullshit, is so accessible. Right now, there are girls reading that crap, absorbing that crap, learning how to fight life. It makes me feel physically sick that people are producing the lies, the lies about how glorious the disorder is and the worth of that eating disordered 'life'. I can understand why girls drink that shit up, 'cause I did. I was young and impressionable and had been through a lot. The internet is incredible and terrible, all at once. But I sure as hell don't want my step-sister nor my cousin losing their lives, their freedoms, their family, or their friends to this. Eating disorders aren't a consequence of the internet, but the eternal cultural search for a weight loss trick is horrific, draining and incredibly dangerous. Let's stop killing our children, yeah?

Monday, 13 February 2012

Attitudes to mental health.

I've not massively thought about stigma before. I mean, sometimes I think about how, had I been born a century or two before I was, I'd probably have spent my days locked up in some asylum or other, but it's a very idle thought. It's sort of like, to me, thinking about how had I been born a chicken, I might be a battery chicken; to be honest, it's just not even an interesting thought experiment. I'll buy free-range eggs but I'm not massively arsed about chickens, nor about how shit could have been- it doesn't change what IS. I mean, by the same token, I might have been born in different circumstances and had an entirely lovely life, not a care or a chemical disturbance in the world. The modern day asylums, the psych wards, that I have seen the inside of, would just be the stuff of films and the occasional 'true life' story. The drugs and the needles and the tubes all completely abstract. That type of thinking doesn't help me nor change anything.

But maybe that type of thinking just makes me accept my lot. And maybe my lot COULD be bettered. There's a lot about at the moment about mental health attitudes and stigma. Or maybe there isn't, maybe I'm just mega tuned into it because it relates to me... if that's the case, please google 'time to change' because I have a lot of time and a hell of a lot of respect for what they're trying to do and I think their adverts are bloody genius. I hope they've made people without mental health problems think, 'cause they've sure as hell got me thinking and I suppose I'm not really the target audience, hahahahaha.

There are so many types of stigma that I'm realising I've been subject to and this entry is about the crap from people close to me, rather than the big wide world, I'll write about other types another time. Some is almost completely harmless. I have quite a big, quite a complicated family, and they all handle it in slightly different ways. My big brother is both brilliant and an absolute knob- you maybe have to have a big brother to understand that sentiment, hahaha. James will simultanaeously look after our mum when I'm in hospital and call me an attention seeker. Ok, to be fair, the attention seeker shite isn't related to my many hospitalisations, it's usually to do with what I post on facebook, mental health related or not. I mean, tonnes of the accusations relate to other shite, but I still don't get it. Sometimes, when I'm feeling shite or whatever, it can really get to me, really make me question how I'm feeling and whether or not I have to right to express it. Whether or not other people agree with him. But by the same... I adore my brother. And I know him calling me an attention seeker is fine, it's what we do. It's completely harmless, even if it doesn't sound it here (you have to remember this is out of context and I know my brother better than you, if it sounds bad.). Other members of my family have destroyed me. Silencing me kills. And I'm not going to talk about them here because they can't defend themselves and it's too raw for me. It still hurts.

I think the nicest thing a member of my family, aside from my mum and brother, have done for me when I've been hospitalised, is when my auntie brought my little cousin Emily to see me when I had a nasogastric tube the other summer. I've written about Emily before, she is one of my absolute favourite people on this earth. She's 10 years of perfection, you can't not fall in love with her. And the other summer, when I was low and in a mess and in hospital with an NG, my auntie brought Emily. That's a big deal- you have to remember that Emily was 8 and so that opened up a whole world of questions. And seeing her carried me through; I don't want to be her cousin who was always in hospital, I want to her cousin who was like a fun big sister, because to me she is my gorgeous little sister, and you can't be fun in hospital. I've never been told what I can and I can't tell Emily, but I hope that my auntie and uncle know that hurting Emily would kill me and when one day I tell her about all this, they know that I'll tell her only with the view of making sure she never sees hell herself. She won't know all this until she's old enough to know she doesn't want this mess. Knowing that they respect me, Emily, and mine and Emily's relationship that much meant everything to me, and still does.

But, needless to say, not everybody is like that. God, there's so much. There was the time I was accused of teaching another cousin to make herself sick, I don't even know where that came from. The men who have added me on facebook, saw this blog and then never spoke to me again, apart from to tell me how freaky the whole thing is. That always hurts. Knowing that, had I been silent, they'd have dated me? God, that opens a whole world. I want to write, I want a book published... but if I do, will employers forever reject me? Will everyone forever reject me?

Because, of course, it's not just men who have rejected me. Some of them, I can understand. The friend who couldn't watch me get more and more ill, when I refused all help? I completely and utterly understand and could I time travel, I'd go give you a giant hug, Rachel. I missed you, but CHRIST I understand. But then, some... I thought we were best friends. Some, I don't understand. I just don't, I tried. I understand that maybe I was inconvenient, but I really hope that I'm more than my mental health problems and that I could have been fun to live with. I hope my beautiful Ellis thinks that. I think that maybe I could have been fun and we all... I don't know. Maybe it's good you rejected me. I know that I can completely and utterly trust my best friends now. It's a test that friendships shouldn't have to face, but they do. And only the best pass.

I understand that, in the long run, it probably works out for the best- I'd rather not hurt people and I suppose when I'm in a bad way, I do. I never really wrote about Daryl, and I'm not going to really now, because I respect him too much, but I went out with him a year and that ended at the end of last year and I loved him. I have never loved anybody in that way or that much. And I saw him last week and he looked a million times better than he did during our last few months, when I suppose he didn't know how he'd find me. That's not stigma, that's real life and real love. This crap HURTS.

I don't really know the point of this, you know. I didn't think, I just typed. Let it be talked about. Let it hurt. But don't punish people for it, please don't. I suppose most of what I've written about isn't even stigma, it's just real life and real attitudes.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Feeling massive.

I want to cry. As a general rule, I cope. I don't stand naked in front of the mirror, critically assessing angles and curves and bones and fat, anymore. I don't stand with my feet together and then starve if the gap between my thighs isn't great enough. I get up, I eat, and I digest the majority of what I swallow. I do whatever needs to be done. And I cope. Most of the time, I just don't have time give into it 'cause it's not just the time it takes to act on the impulses, it's also the time it'll take to pick myself back up again. It's the risk that if I give into it, I can't just guarantee that it'll be a temporary thing. I can't just go on a diet. And I most definitely do not have time to fully slip, time for general hospitals and psychiatric hospitals and eating disorder units and drips and tubes. So I cope.

But right now, I don't know how much longer I can cope with my body. Don't misunderstand me, I'm most definitely not suicidal or owt like that, it's just this grotesque mass that I have to heave around. I feel like I've locked myself into a fat suit that keeps inflating further. Eating disorders are double pronged- not only do you feel massive, but the idea of being massive is so, incredibly terrifying. If one of those could slip, if I did not feel so completely obese, or if I was not so completely terrified of being obese, I think I'd breathe a little easier.

I really, really just need to lose a few kilo, but is it worth it? Christ knows. Last few days, I've found myself doing summat that I haven't done since... I don't even know when. Going through facebook, and finding girls who are skinny and flicking through their pictures, just to punish myself. That and critically assessing myself against every single woman I come across, to decide exactly how much fatter I am than them. And I am always so much fatter. It makes me sound like a horrible, judgmental, person, but I feel like those people you get on the 'World's Fattest...' programmes. The biggest. Like everyone is staring and laughing about how fat I am. I know, logically, that that's completely not true and I'm just paranoid, but God. GOD, my thighs. My thighs stick out so much at the top, I swear they're wider even than my shoulders. And my stomach is like jelly when I touch it, without the glorious feature of jelly that means it'll wobble away, if you prod it hard enough.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Strength.

In Britain, when you're waiting around or queuing or whatever (the British national sport is queuing. Me and MG once queued for 20 minutes, in the freezing cold, 'cause it was a pretty long one so we assumed it had to be for summat good. We then realised it was people taking their toddlers to go see Father Christmas, so we queued a bit longer anyway, just for the sport), there's a pretty simple and mostly accurate way to judge a personality. The effects depend a fair bit on geography... I mean, chances are, if you try it in the north of England, you'll walk away knowing all about that lady's son, who died of brain cancer. You try that in the south, and chances are they'll clutch their bag close to their chest and shuffle quickly away, wondering whether to call a psychiatrist or the police. In Scotland or Wales, well, you just wouldn't want to try it, 'cause then you might be stuck talking to a Scottish/Welsh person. But anyway, the method. It's ingenious and you can judge a person immediately by their reaction. You can tell how educated, interesting, entertaining, shy, confident, whether they're northern or southern, almost anything. So, are you ready? The brilliant phrase which unlocks it all?

'God, this weather...?!'
And BOOM, personality unlocked. Do they answer? Do they look away quickly, after answering? Can they look you in the eye? Is their answer creative? Utter BOOM, seriously.

In the exact same way that that predictable phrase can, and is, used by a million people, all the time, in reaction to being with strangers, the reaction to telling somebody what you've been through can be pretty much predicted, too. I mean, this doesn't work in quite the same way if you're on the psych ward, banging your head against the wall, or restrained in a hospital bed with a feeding tube up your nose, but in normal situations, if you tell people that summat bad has happened to you or that you have a mental disorder, you will most definitely be held us as strong, or praised for your strength. Honestly. Well, not always, it's not a foolproof as the weather example. You'll get a lot of awkward silences and comments about what a 'mental bitch' you are, but SERIOUSLY stand up if you've been in that situation and never been told that you're 'soooooo strong' by a formerly cheerful girl, who suddenly feels inferior for feeling a touch fat or having boyfriend problems. More people sitting down than at a James gig? That's what I thought.

I'm going to tell you something that is hard to admit, even to myself. It's an ugly truth and not one I'm especially proud of nor comfortable with, but a truth nonetheless. If you said to me that you could take all the past, present and future pain, all the suffering, everything I have seen about how ugly and downright disgusting the world can be, and the damage that it continues to do to my life, and give that all to a stranger? If you could take the fear I have of being infertile from it all, or the fear that if not, my children might be taken into care due to my mental health, and give that to a stranger? If you could bring my mum the most refreshing of slumber to the most sleepless of nights, take away all the worry that there has been, is, and will be, and give that to a stranger's mother? If you could take the paralysing fear and uncertainty that I have that I might one day succeed where I have failed in the past, and leave a Becs sized hole in my family, utterly destroy everyone who has fought so hard for me, and give that to a stranger? I'd bite your hand off, I'd be so desperate.

And so, I am not strong. I've fought tooth and nail to get to where I am, but I didn't fight alone and it's not a fight that you couldn't face, either. You just haven't HAD to, it's not a choice that I would ever have made. When people carp on about how they wouldn't take away the hell, the darkest of nights, because that's made them a fucking butterfly or whatever... I don't believe them, or doubt that they've ever truly seen hell. I just don't believe you can see or live in hell and be grateful for it, I don't. Maybe one day I will be, maybe I'll look back and I'll have used my experiences to do something beautiful... I want to change the world, because I know it can be a fucking ugly place- and maybe that's something. Maybe I will change it, because I want to, because I know it can be so hideous. But even so, I just can't believe that the years of pain could ever be worthwhile; I've wasted years. Or part of some journey or other. I wasn't made or created to live the 21 years I have, I was made because my parents had sex. That's all, biology. I've had the 21 years I've had due my choices and the choices of some unsavoury people around me. That's all, environment.

I'm not destined for more, but I will be more- not because I'm a butterfly or a phoenix or whatever cliched picture you want to imagine, but because I will make sure that I am. You see, mostly, suffering is just suffering, shit is just shit, there is no wider plan. People don't hurt you because they think it's going to make you a stronger person, in fact it's more likely they degrade you to make you weaker. You have to fight and you have to change shit, not to make you strong or to prove your strength, but because that's the only way to survive. And that's what all the girls, the ones feeling inferior about their boy problems and heralding me as strong, don't understand- you do what you have to, to survive. Whether it's a boy problem or dealing with an illness. And sometimes you can't, and other people have to look after you, to make sure you do survive. But that's all it is, it's survival. It's not pretty and it's probably far less inspirational, and I'm truly sorry for that, but it is as it is.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Moderation.

I'm skint. I'm always skint. I'm sure you've realised by now that there's not a single thing that I do in moderation, and spending money is just another thing I go all out on. It's horrific, it really is. You know all the bits you get, usually in card shops and the like, that say 'shopaholic' on? God, ahahaha. Not only is it a stupid phrase (alcoholics are addicted to alcohol, shopaholics are addicted to... shopahol? Mmm, shopahol is my favourite!), but shopping addiction really is a bugger. Don't worry, I'm not going to go all uptight about the phrase on mugs and t-shirts an' that, 'cause it's all fun and I'm pretty sure I'd have told you I was a shopaholic when I was a wee 'un and, hilariously, probably a chocoholic at some point (aw, little me. I don't even really like chocahol). But Jeee-haysus, I'm skint from all that shopahol right now.

And alcohol, for that matter. Addictionaddictionaddiction, eurgh- it's not as glamourous as they'd have you believe; it's not all Hollywood rehab and nothing tasting as good as thin feels and selling your story. It's counting out your last coppers so you can buy vodka and constantly feeling sick and ashamed and embarrassed. Injections in your arse, to combat the withdrawals, when your mind or body begins to shut down, and you have to detox. Inappropriate behaviours and inappropriate comments, all at the most inappropriate of times (being too anxious to go to class, unless you're drunk? Check. Passing out from vodka, the first time you meet your boyfriend's parents? Check. Your dad calling you an embarrassment, because you can't bring yourself to eat some fried fish? Check). Oh, and I'm not only skint, I'm indebted; it's all a bit of a mess and I'm a little bit stressed.

I did two essays last term, when I was really depressed, and I did terribly on them. Except I didn't, I got 2:1s. This is summat I can't complain about to anybody because it makes me sound like an absolute dick, because a 2:1 is a bloody good score. I know people who are so chuffed when they get them and I'm not saying owt bad about them, my rules for myself don't translate to anybody else. I think it was Ellis or maybe Willis, but one of my bezzers made a comment about how I must hate fat people, and they couldn't have been more wrong. Fat on other people doesn't even register with me, and by the same token, I don't judge other people on their grades, nor think, objectively, that a 2:1 is bad. But I just... getting them, I don't know. I knew I hadn't done well, I was so down that I could only type about 50 words at a time, before my concentration died, but even so. I did another essay a few weeks ago and got the grade back today and I'd got a 1st. I can't even describe the relief. I NEED to do well, it's not even that I'm glad when I do well, I'm just relieved. I think this is the best sign that the meds they put me on in December are bloody better, the ones they put me on in July, and wouldn't change until December, had me miserable all last term and I got 2:1s. Now, I hope, I'm back on my game. I know I need to moderate my views on grades, but I just have to get 1sts. Maybe that's not a bad thing. But I've deliberately failed so many important exams 'cause I'd rather fail than do ok, and that's not too great. I don't even know what to think.

Mod-er-bloody-ray-tion. I don't like to sleep, I don't like not being in control and aware of my environment, so I restrict it until I can't anymore, and pass out and sleep 18 hours. I don't like to clean, until I snap and have to bleach everything (that's only just an exaggeration. Never bleach a keyboard). And you know what I'm like about food, hahahaha. I'm actually doing really well at the moment, food-wise, but it's a struggle to keep that up because I'm feeling HUGE (and God, I am. You should see the pics of me from last weekend, I'm massive), so it could go. I don't seem to be able to function in the moderate world and it's doing my head in, you just can't be so extreme and live in the real world. I don't feel like I completely fit right now, and I desperately want to. For all its flaws, it's a beautiful world and I want to be a part of that, but I feel like I'm living right now on the extreme fringes, where the beauty has faded out and the feeling of pain seems a more viable option than owt else. The want is there though, and that hasn't been since, ohhhhhh, early last year, before all the Sections and messes of 2011. So that's good. Good. And good is... good? It doesn't have to be terrible or amazing? Oooft.