Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Stolen lines on the new year.

A friend of mine has come up with some amazing words on the year and those to come. I don't really do re-posts and stuff like that, so you know what will follow will be good; it's proper got me thinking. He wrote everything I didn't know that I felt, until reading it, and that's the beautifully powerful thing about the written word, I reck. But enough of me, here's to Johno Challis and his wisdom, to end the year. Have a beaut one, everyone-

When I think back to the beginning of this year, I'd barely just covered from an essentially mental breakdown a couple of years earlier, and had very little job prospect. I was sitting there counting the pennies and change given to me whilst performing, hoping it would rack up to enough to pay for decent food and to enjoy my life a bit, it was tight, but i was happy. 

It just goes to show how much difference one year can really make, people are so quick to shun off a year as a "bad year" and "hope next year is different", why? A year is a period of time. A year is not a ticket, or token to a better life. What makes your life better will be what you do in that year, what you accomplish or what you challenge yourself to do.

Sure, sit there and make a new years resolution you may not follow through. Sit there and wish 2014 is a better year, place your reliance on external factors to make your year better, your life better,

or take life by its metaphorical balls and change it. If you don't like something, change it now. Want to quit smoking? Stub out that cigarette now, don't wait until midnight. Wan't to diet? start now. Learn a new language? Start now and see it through. 

And it's for this reason I never make a resolution at new year, and i'm sure as hell not expecting 2014 to be a completely happy and positive experience. Life is like photography; you need the negatives to develop.

I don't know what life will look like this time next year, but what I do know is this:
Life has 2 rules. 
1/ Never quit
2/ Remember rule number 1

Happy new year everybody.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Christmas with the fam.

I don't know if I've ever told you this, but I happen to have the best family ever. No, really, I do. I've learnt not to take them for granted, though, because being in hospital, particularly with it being psychiatric, I've met so many people with varying degrees of shithead making up their families. I'm ridiculously lucky, I really am.

I got to see most of the family (it's quite a big one- we're Catholic. Well, I'm not, but that's just because I'm in recovery from religion) over the few days I was home, and got to spend Christmas day with some of my favourite human beings. I can't even describe how amazing it was, especially after spending last Christmas in hospital and, well, all of this year itself in, too. I'm so grateful for how most (I'll maybe explain why it's most I say and not all another time, I'm too happy right now) never make me feel like a shameful secret. I try to be a good person and I get through the days as best I can, that's all that matters, I think and that's summat I, as much as anybody else, need to remember.

Christmas was brilliant, but it's not as horrific as I thought it would be, coming back to hospital. I'd rather be with my blood, but I've also got a water family here, and that's another thing that makes me lucky. I'm feeling very, very, I don't know, honoured, right now.

Don't ever take brilliant Christmases for granted. My family made last year as special as it could have been, but nowt compares to Christmas at home. So proud to have been well enough this year for it :)!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Progress?

My head is a shed right now. And not one of those ones that old men retire to with their Werther's (that's all old men eat, right?), their hip flasks and their old wireless... the shed of my head has no deck chair and leg room; it's one of those crammed full of all that crap you've accumulated over the years, all the rubbish that you really ought to get rid of but just can't seem to throw in the tip. It's jumbled, full of forgotten bits of tack that somehow manage to rise to the surface, and it's all useless mess that needs really to be gotten rid of. Maybe just bulldozed, along with the shed. That doesn't quite fit with the imagery of it being my head though, SO LET'S NOT BULLDOZE MY HEAD.

I'm confused about, well, everything. I'm exhausted. I don't know who I am or what I'm doing. I can't separate myself from the self that I try to project. Am I really such a? Blech. I have seriously cried more over the last few days than I probably have in a year, I genuinely hope I'm PMSing because otherwise I can't blame my hormones for how I'm feeling and really have to face up to things. Sorry, I'm being irritatingly vague. I really hate vagueties (apparently that's not a word, but it really ought to be. I'm going to go all Shakespeare and start inventing words left, right and centre), and I definitely hate that I'm full of them. I want a plan and I want some action, rather than just living in a bubble of beige with nothing more than my demons for company.

Maybe this is progress. The fact that I hope I have PMS definitely is, I've only just started getting periods again and I find them far more exciting than I should. I wish progress wasn't so painful, but I suppose if it was simple it wouldn't be worth anything. Like, right, I tried so hard today to go a day without vomiting, I worked my arse off and felt crap, just for someone to make a fairly innocent comment and for me to spiral out of control. I desperately wanted to be able to tell my best friends and my mum and even my nurse that I'd done it, I really wanted to give people a reason to be proud of me. I know it wouldn't exactly be something that your parents brag to their friends about (I'm always grateful to my brother for giving my parents something to be proud of, when they bump into people they've not seen in a while. I'm not exactly a child to rave about), but it'd mean something to me and, I hope, them.

Life is anything but simple and straightforward and I suppose I wouldn't want it to be, I'd be bored. But a few days respite from my head and a little time, that'd be nice. I'm alright- not everything is as negative as I'm painting. I have real laughs and I have real good times. My mum is incredible, the rest of my family are pretty damn great too, and the friends who continue to stand by me mean more than I can say. A simple, random message from someone can keep me smiling for an hour and a visit keeps me sustained for a week. My friends in here keep me going... I have far more good people in my life than ever before, and far fewer negative ones than ever, too. I need to keep counting my blessings, picking myself up and standing to fight another day. I can do this. I just wish I knew who 'I' am.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Garble garble.

Oh, what a week! My CPA (big scary meeting, remember last post?) went almost scarily well. Completely swimmingly (I can't swim... don't let that take owt from the sentiment). I was so scared beforehand that I'd got up at 6. Rebecca Condron does not get up at 6. I get up at 8.32 of a weekday and at whatever time they drag me out for meds of a weekend, after which I go back to bed. It's a combination of powerful meds and general slobbishness, but mornings are not my favourite. I can't even tell the time before 11. Anyway, that was a tangent. I'm in a weird hyper mood today, I've had too little human contact and too much time watching Come Dine With Me, I think.

Back to my week. My CPA was beaut, I think helped by the fact that my consultant actually forgot about it and so was quite easily guilted into giving me, dumdumdum, three nights over Christmas, at home. That's an early bloody Christmas miracle; remember I've only had one night at home ALTOGETHER over the last year. Amazing. Oh, and NYE at home, too. Another Christmas miracle. Otherwise, apparently I'm making progress generally, although I'm still, yanno, crazy and detained in hospital and all that. Getting out would be a miracle that every god I don't believe in couldn't produce, even together.

So that was Tuesday. Wednesday was a bloody nightmare. I ended up doped up to try and fight flashbacks, then the person in the room above me flooded their bathroom and so, by extension, my whole bloody room. Water pouring through the light and all that. And I ended the night in A&E. My body, right, is really bloody good at doing all it has to to keep me alive, despite all I do to it. I know when there's summat seriously wrong, and I know when my body is just having a bit of a whinge, that it'll get over. Wednesday, it was having a bit of a whinge and my blood sugars dropped right down and I couldn't eat anything, so I ended up in A&E. It was the most pointless trip ever- even by the time we got there my body had got over it and was borderline alrighty, but even so I had to wait for... I don't actually know how long, I laid out over a load of waiting room chairs (NHS chairs are painful. Had I not been so totally drugged up, I'd have been buggered) and slept, then had a stupid 3 minute chat to the doctor, who said I was fine. Giant shocker.

Thursday- oh God, I don't think I can even write this without laughing- health and safety came to assess my room after the flood and the charge nurse got into a load of shit, because my room was apparently such a hazard that if the fire brigade came the whole place could be shut down, HAHAHAHAHA. I was told to get out of bed- not even my bed, another room I'd been dumped in because mine was such a violation- and half my possessions. That was traumatic as, and took 5 hours. Less said the better.

Friday was pretty uneventful after all that, just a bit crap because my bezzer here went home until Sunday... probably why I'm a bit barmy- more barmy than usual- today. COME BACK BECKY. Today, I'm having a really great boob day and haven't got out of my new Peppa Pig PJs. Why would I?

I'm dead sorry for this post, it's so garbled. Believe it or not, I've actually cut a load of garble out of it. Normal service will resume soon.

Monday, 2 December 2013

CPA? Oh, I CBA.

Imagine that you got a school report that was based not only on your school life, but also on your home life, including how you eat, sleep and even have a laugh. Imagine then that you had to sit in a room where people who control every aspect of your life sit and dissect the reports, in front of you. Imagine that the decisions based on these reports will decide exactly how you live you life- including, even, where you'll be for Christmas and what you'll do, as well as how often you can even nip to the bloody shop- and that there isn't a great deal of influence you can even try to exert. Imagine that, and you have my day tomorrow. Every 6 months, you have what is called a CPA meeting, where your treatment team both in hospital and from home sit and, well, discuss, dissect and exsanguinate you. They're almost always horrific, because all your not-so-fine times get discussed out of context and your brighter moments are kind of only mentioned in passing. None of the niceties involved in school reports- 'Rebecca is a natural leader'- are involved, but instead they seem to do the opposite- 'Rebecca gets on well in group situations, but tends to dominate'. Just a lot of inference and negative connotations, all 'round.

It's safe to say, I'm bricking it. I've got a lot riding on this, not least Christmas and NYE leave. I cannot face another hospital Christmas and NYE, they're just too grim to contemplate. I need my family and my bed and what used to be my life. I think I also find them worse than most people because I pick up on every inflection and suggested slight. I'm way too much of an over-thinker. I also can't take things like this with a pinch of salt because with mental illness every negative seems to be a personal attack, and I'm very defensive. I generally, truth be told, abhor authority, especially when I don't feel it's legitimate. Being sectioned- that is, being forcibly detained in hospital- means that you're meant to immediately curtail to certain forms of authority, which doesn't sit well with me.

It's going to be a painful hour or so.

You get given your reports beforehand and mine aren't great. To try and counter the negative feeling I have about the meeting, I've got my outfit lined up. This sounds insanely obvious, but how you present yourself and how you feel going into these things can have a big affect on the eventual outcomes. When I'm well enough, I dress up for them. I dress waaaay up for them. For tomorrow I have a black and white prom dress that I'm wearing with a purple velvet top and tartan tights. I keep going over this, and how I'm going to do my hair and make-up, to reassure myself that it could be ok. My outfit is good, the meeting might also be. Breeeeeathe. I'll appear confident and well and breeeeeeeathe. CPA? Oh, I CBA.

Monday, 25 November 2013

'5 Reasons To Date A Girl With An Eating Disorder'

There's an article doing the rounds, you've maybe seen it; the title is '5 Reasons To Date A Girl With An Eating Disorder'. A friend from home posted a link to it on her Facebook and after seeing the title, my plan was to read it and then write a revised edition here. That was the plan, heh. What actually happened was I opened the article and was instantly so belittled, so vicious was the attack, that I ended up passed out over my toilet, fingers down throat, and then restrained down the corridor to the- often apparently ironically titled- quiet room of the hospital ward.

I'd like to be able to write a witty yet informative rebuttal, but it's hit me in a way I didn't expect. The internet is full of attention seeking kids, who will write something deliberately to ruffle feathers and garner page views. Generally, little on the internet affects me, because I know that there are people whose whole bloody life is about trying to insult me and I really can't be arsed. Going viral seems to be a pretty pathetic life goal, and that's why I've not linked here to the original article. I also have a bit of a snobby thing about insults- it's not enough to insult me to get a reaction, if you want to do it properly you've got to put some mental ooooompth into it, really go all out. Not much out there is good enough to really get to my bones, but, annoyingly, the writer of 5 Reasons seems to have more than a couple of brain cells.

That's what makes it so vicious, I think, the fact that somebody has written this article with intelligence. It's supposed to be funny, but I'd like you to tell that to my ex-boyfriend. Have a laugh with his about the times he watched the police drag me about because my mental health had deteriorated so much. Ask him about seeing me with a tube up my nose, being force fed. A pint and a giggle about my overdoses. It's supposed to be funny, and sometimes the only way to deal with a situation is through laughter, but I don't think slow suicide is really one of those situations. Especially when you take into account the three girls I met on eating disorder units who died over the last few years, due to their Anorexia. Hilarious.

I'm not precious, I'm really not, and being precious seems to really be what the writer has an issue with. What I wrote earlier about my reaction to the article wasn't me acting on my 'white girl problem', it was me being cut open and having vinegar poured in, then reacting in my most primal way. And as white as my skin is, my eating disorder is a result of a lot of fucked up events, over a fair few years. It's not a 'white girl problem', it's what sometimes feels like the sane reaction to an insane set of circumstances, a consequence of a messed up society. If poverty, sexual abuse and domestic abuse aren't problems that affect white girls, you'll have to colour my skin purple.

I hope you never know the grim realities of this disease. Even you.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Where in the world is Rebecca Condron...

If you never played Where in the World is Carmen Santiago (I think that's what her name was, but maybe don't quote me; I'm not up on Latino names or early '90s games. I am, however, clearly a poet who know' it), not only are you missing out, but you'll also not have hummed the title of this entry to the right theme tune. Shame on you. The basic game was this bird in a killer red coat bums about the world and chucks you clues as to where she is. Why? I don't know. The whole thing is a blur, apart from that coat. What a coat. I suppose, really, you might as well have just asked the whole world if they'd seen her- that coat was dead memorable. Shut up, Condron.

SO, Where in the World is Rebecca Condron? Clues, um, right. Steelworks. My favourite naughty word is included in the name. Ah, um, this is harder than it sounds, probably why I got bored of Carmen and just enjoyed her coat. Still, though, the game. I'm not sure at what point Carmen revealed her whereabouts, but I'll scream mine from the rooftop- HELLO WORLD, I'M HOME. HELLOOOOOO SCUNTHORPE!

I'm more than a bit chuffed to be here, even if 'here' is currently involving a big tele showing football. It's all good. For the first time in a year, I get a night out of hospital. Maybe, despite, or because of, the struggle, I'm slowly making progress. I've a long way to go to discharge, but I'm still dragging myself along, even if sometimes it seems to be by my teeth. Oh, it's good to be home.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Slipping.

I'm slipping. I'm angry at myself. I'm angry and so I'm slipping further, which is making me more angry with myself, which is sending me further up shit creek. It's when you begin with self-flagellation that Anorexia can jump in and really take hold. I don't know, I just try so hard to keep it together, but I'm sick of how difficult it is and I'm really wound up with myself for the fact that I just can't be the perfect model of recovery. I can't sit and honestly tell somebody that I'm doing as well as I look, because every calorie is still a battle and I'm now starting to lose more and more battles. It's just easier to cut those calories or cut these, just to have a bit of a break of the war. I call myself a recovering Anorexic because in the last few months I re-discovered food, but eating has become... bleurgh. It kind of feels like an experiment that I've tried but is coming to its natural end.

I know, of course, that there's nothing natural about Anorexia. Deliberately depriving yourself of food ends up with depriving yourself of far more. Comfort, warmth, relationships, energy.. it all goes to pot.  It's an unnatural, violent end to health and happiness, neither of which I feel worthy of.

Boredom and being sick of not being able to 'do recovery' perfectly sound like really trivial reasons for a relapse or blip or whatever the hell this is. Even I'm kind of rolling my eyes at this. It's so much more though- it's needing a rush and a change and some sort of, God, adventure or something. Not that losing weight is particularly effective at solving this deep rooted boredom and loss of interest in the pretty uninteresting life I have on this ward, but it's something to pour my energy into. As for the imperfection I face, it's even more illogical to then decide to be the opposite of what you view as perfection. I'm not one of those Anorexics who think being a skeleton is attractive or perfect or whatever, but, again, it feels more natural. I'm feeling suffocated in my skin by my fat, because it feels so alien. This is not my body. I don't even recognise myself.

Please just go easy on me until I can go easy on myself. I WILL get back on track, I will. I just need a rest and some time.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Daily Mail (or, h8rz gna h8).

I have this dream of the newspaper the Daily Mail (also known as the Hate Mail, the Daily Fail and various other names that usually contain the c-word) publishing an vicious attack on me, when once I'm well and working. I hope they'll really push the boat out and get so desperate that they only mention in passing whatever achievement of mine they think is going to threaten their fascistic way of life, and clutch at the straws of making digs about my appearance or mental health or something. You know, really go in for comment on my frizzy hair and messy eyebrows, or, even better, try the mentally unstable card, try to infer that I'm dangerous- that would be something. Not least because the Hate Mail is about as subtle as a sledgehammer, and so their attempts at inference are always hilarious, but also because it's at the point that a person in an argument starts making personal digs that they have intellectually lost. If you're debating a serious point and you get somebody attempting to insult you, they've lost. They can't make an intelligent point, so they get personal. Debate over.

The reason it's the Hate Mail that I really want to throw muck at me is because there's not another mainstream British news source that I have less respect for. Apart from the right-wing political parties, there's probably not another mainstream institution of this country I have less respect for, in fact. The Hate Mail is insidious, and, at times, pretty dangerous for the unsubstantiated bile it vomits out. I think you know if you've really made it when you really get beneath the skin of your opponents and they can't brush you off anymore, they just have to lash out. Ambivalence is far worse from your opposition than hatred is- hatred takes up energy and effort and that's when you know you've done it. There's something victorious to be gleaned from knowing that you've won, almost that somebody has fallen for whatever it is they're accusing you of, especially when that's just a side affect of you living your life and you're not actually trying to win.

As I've written before, my psychiatrist has of late taken to essentially verbally exsanguinating (that's my word of the week- it basically means to bleed dry) me, at my fortnightly ward rounds. It hit me hard because, unlike the Hate Mail, I had a lot of respect for the man; we haven't always got on, but I always respected him. I've decided though that I need to, in equal parts, take on his words and make sure that I'm not doing as I'm accused of- being manipulative, intellectually swiveling (which is another fun word) my way out of things and abusing my intellect- and, on the other hand, to let him say what he wants and, just, well, go with it. This is a bit of a drawn out way of saying H8RZ GNA H8 (to those over 25, that's 'haters gonna hate'). It's all good. And, as the psychotherapist reminded me, when I'm out of this place and I'm a free woman, being intelligent will probably never again be an insult and my so-called 'manipulative' (I still struggle with that, because it's pretty much inherently bad. but I'm pretty sure it's just part of being intelligent) streak ought to be what makes me successful.

A few staff members have now taken to referring back to what the doctor has said in dealing with me, but I'm pretty sure in that case it's just to shut me up when they're afraid of losing an argument with me. It's stupid, because I'm not here to fight or to try and get one over on staff, and that's what it's becoming, with some of them. It's as if they're trying deliberately to get one over on me by upsetting me when I'm actually just trying to have something clarified (I have the annoying trait of needing to understand the ins and outs of things, which I think comes across as me trying to 'out-maneuver' staff) But all I can do is put my head down and let it go. H8RZ GNA H8.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Perception.

When the sun eventually burns out, what's living on this planet will have a few minutes whilst the last rays of sunshine travel through space, before The End. I'm no scientist, but I know that's not something on our immediate horizon... still though, it does make you think. Not just in the cliched kind of what-would-you-do-with-the-last-few-minutes sort of a way (priests would have to do the Last Rites en masse for all the death-bed Catholics. I think all of us recovering Catholics have an expectation of suddenly reconciling with the bloke we don't really believe in, at the end), but sort of in a... I don't know. All I know is that if The End was of an immediate concern, chances are, there'd be nothing I could do to stop it.

The sun doesn't care. Or, rather, it doesn't know that sometimes we think it should. The sun burns, whether we're cursing the cold, brittle light in winter, or squinting against the warm (warmer, anyway. This is England, let's not get carried away), strong light of summer. The sun won't try and deliberately burn out because of criticism hurdled over the weather. The sun doesn't care that you don't have a sufficient SPF on your skin, or that its rays might blind you as you're driving. The sun doesn't have fat days; I don't want to talk on its behalf, but I'm sure it has never looked upon its reflection on the moon and cursed its roundness. The sun just gets on with its purpose and burns, burns, burns, even when it's dark or cloudy or dark and cloudy. On good days and bad, the sun still burns.

When you look at the sky, you don't really know what you're looking at. You might be able to join the dots and create a picture and you might always be able to find your way through the North Star, but you don't know whether you're witnessing the glory days of a great sun, or are looking at a star that's actually been burnt out for years, a star whose light is still travelling to us. You don't know how many other people are looking at the same star as you, whether there's another you, a better you, looking at the star from another perspective, or, by the same token, a you who has done heinous things, gazing up.

I think what I'm trying to say is all about perspective. I can't change a lot things and I need to learn to pick my battles. I need to remember that there is always someone looking at the same situation from a completely separate vantage point, that another me, another you, might see all this differently. Let's be open-minded. I need to take on board the criticisms leveled at me (it was reiterated that I'm manipulative, misuse my intelligence etcetc, in my last ward round. To be honest, it was a complete assassination), and accept that in this situation, this is how I'm being perceived and all I can do is burn on, regardless. There probably won't be too any times in the real world when being intelligent will be an insult. The fact that I was told that any staff who have told me they don't agree with the damning character review are lying to me, makes it harder because now I feel like I can't trust anyone, that I'm not safe. But all I can do is burn and know that now I'm an adult, I'm in a stronger position that I was when I was an unsafe child. I'm the sun.

The sun is independent, but surrounded by other stars. I think that's a pretty wise position to be in. The sun does as it does best, and no matter how we complain (as we Brits often do), the sun is unaffected. When The End comes, the sun will burn out in a blaze of glory, knowing that its time has come and the end is natural. The sun will have done all it can and lived as brightly as natural, for it.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

If...

If Rebecca lives, there will be a relatively long stretch in hospital, followed by a far longer stretch outside of hospital... apart from an infamous case of what she'll insist is gangrene (read: an ingrown toenail), and that day spent in a hospital bay, creating chaos. She'll hit on three doctors and end up sharing a bottle of vino with a nurse, after his shift (read: they'll drink too many neon shots).

If Rebecca lives, her nurse friend will melt into a pot of many men and a fair few women, before she'll settle down with a quiet, unassuming, laid back and completely undramatic fellow, who is everything Rebecca is not. He'll be a surprise to people around her, but after a little while, nobody will be able to imagine them apart.

If Rebecca lives, she'll enjoy more than anything the times spent with her family, before she heads up as family of her own, which'll be bigger than the average Catholic rabbit's. She'll love more and deeper than she ever thought possible and will adore life with the ferocity she once reserved for hating it.

If Rebecca lives, she'll retain her knowledge of how dark and dismal life can be, and will use that to empower herself to change the world. She'll sometimes seem overly ambitious, but only to people who underestimate her. She'll realise she's in a unique position and that she has a duty to make a difference, and so will lean on governments to really care. She'll do something big and important.

If Rebecca lives, life will test her and won't always be beautiful. At times, the darkness will threaten to overwhelm her again, but she'll remember how she fought for her life- beautiful as it is or isn't- and will know she can never go back. She'll maintain her eccentricities, but she'll also manage to mostly maintain her mental health; she'll have blips, not relapses, and her days as a revolving door psych ward patient will be left in her teens and early 20s.

If Rebecca lives, she'll weep more tears through laughter than crying; will dance in her kitchen more than she will cook in it; will use her hairdryer more for warming up her knickers than for drying her hair; will wear socks with sandals more than the strange eastern European bloke who gawps at her through her window in her 30s, which she so totally hates (read: is very flattered by, and sometimes finds herself putting on a show for).

If Rebecca dies, there will be a wooden box. And silence. She'll never love, change the world, fight, laugh, dance, heat her knickers, wear socks with sandals or put on a show. Just darkness and silence.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Struggling and fuzzy.

I'm still quite fuzzy (mentally, I mean. For once my legs are smoothy-smooth. Honestly, their baldness is a turn out for the books), so I've not been writing. I've been waiting for a day when I feel clear and strong and able to properly and really articulate what's been going on. I'm coming to the conclusion- as almost every day I end up fuzzy from having to take extra meds to manage my worsening symptoms- that I'll end up with a bloody big hole here if I try and wait for the day that never seems to come. I'm not feeling clear and I most definitely don't feel strong, so maybe this won't be well articulated and written. But that, I reck, is how it'll have to be, because that's how, well, life is for me right now and I've got to accept that.

Every day at the moment is a bad day. I know you can relate to that; everybody has them, after all. But with most kinds of mental disorder, every bad day, or even negative thought or feeling, is a million times more intense and entrenched. Not that I mean to undermine the regular type of bad day- feelings aren't comparable and there's nothing for making yourself feel worse than deciding you don't have a right to feel a certain way because other people have it worse. It's all relative. But my days are full of dark and no amount of positive thinking can bring light. It's a bit like trying to turn on a lamp with your mind.

But anyway. Feeling so awful and having such a barrage of memories and voices is strangely invigorating, as well as being so awful. It shows I'm alive and that I have lived, for better or worse. After everything I've put my body through and everything I've been through mentally, I suppose the fact that I can feel anything is beautiful. It's life, and it's beautiful. Horrible, but beautiful. Horribly beautiful.

It's not just internal factors, though. On Tuesday, my consultant told me I was manipulative and abuse my intellect, to 'intellectually swivel' my way out of things. Oh, and apparently that's not just his opinion, but how the staff in general think of me (although the histrionic thing was kind of thrown away). No matter how much people reassure me of this inaccuracy, I feel like I can't trust anybody. It's even worse because I've been so down on myself recently that my intelligence was the only thing I didn't hate about myself, and now it's been made into a negative.

I'm getting upset as I write about this, so I'm going to stop. I just feel like a really, really bad person.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Histrionic Condron.

I am very and extremely anti-psychotic right now. This week has already included a lorra extra anti-psychotics; my blood, once just red vodka, is now an anti-psychotic smoothie. I've had to have extra meds every day since, I don't know. Thinking is too hard. It's been a while. It's making it quite hard to write and my thoughts are flying about my head, like bees about a hive. I think I might be tired, but thinking makes me feel all fuzzy, so maybe I'm just fuzzy. Also, typing hurts because I stabbed my right index finger too many times with my knitting needles. Knit happens.

Today, it was decided by my psychiatrist that I'm more Histrionic than Borderline, with regards my personality disorder. It's hilarious and insulting, all at once. It effectively means I've been diagnosed as an attention seeking drama queen. I'm too bloody desperate not to be forgotten, really, and for people to at least like me a bit more than I do (love in the minuses, like), that's the problem. Anyway, the title of 'personality disorder' is bad enough, but the histrionic thing is cringey as hell. MATE, I'm just a drama queen. Attention is more a consequence than an intention. I am dramatic. It's ok. We're good. Just my personality. Disordered? Pfft. The only thing disordered about me is how fuzzy, um, I don't know. I'm definitely going to write about this when I'm a bit less anti-psychotic. More psychotic? If you get me.

I just fell asleep on my keyboard and now my nose feels weird. Oh God, this is like when people post drunk and it's really annoying. Being drugged up on prescribed pills isn't as nice, honestly. I mostly just feel fuzzy and tired and sad. I'm really sad. I don't want-. Nah.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

This week, I didn't kill myself.

I know the title sounds insanely obvious- doing this from beyond the grave would no doubt be problematic- but this week I didn't kill myself, nor try, when I really, really could have done. You've got to understand, I've not been alone since last year. I class as quite the danger to myself, so I live in a strange little bubble of soft corners and padded walls. I mean, not literally, but not far off- if I even want to use my tweezers (not really a tool I use as often as I should; my monobrow has its own psychiatrist), I have to be bloody assessed. I'm allowed out from hospital only a few times a week, and during those times I'm to be in eyesight of a member of staff, apart from on Sundays where my mum takes over the role of my escort. I've been home once in the last 8 months, and that was for a day and with a member of staff tagging along (it was dead bizarre, it really was) and I've only seen the centre of the city I'm hospitalised in, twice. Imagine being a criminal toddler, and that's kind of like my current situation.

So, the opportunity to do myself the kind of damage that I'd have once thought of as my duty, is not one that comes knocking often. Or ever, really. It popped along on Monday though, completely out of the blue; a member of staff left me alone in Asda- completely violating my Section papers, a legal document- whilst she looked for her lost phone. I ended up leaving after half an hour alone, in such a mess that I don't remember the walk back to my hospital, and couldn't talk for a good half hour after. A lot of people congratulated me on taking myself out of the situation where I could have accessed things I'm usually completely prohibited from, but to be honest it was only my anxiety that carried me out and back, rather than back into the shop. A nurse posed to me that maybe this shows there's a part of me that wants to be alive and safe, but I don't know; I'm too kind of emotional about the whole thing now, but a part of me hopes that it this is a sign that I'm recovering a sense of self-preservation. I really want to not want to kill myself, if that makes sense, and that's what mental health recovery means to me right now. I want desperately to want to live.

I've been struggling like billy-oh since, though. All I can do is berate myself for an opportunity lost and it makes me feel like even more of a failure than I already do. Really, I hope it's progress. My anxiety, if nothing else, is a part of me and it's a part that protected me. Of course, I could just be way over-thinking this. Either way, I'm alive and I suppose there are a damn sight more opportunities to be risen to alive, than dead.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Mental patient costume.

I'm sure you've read in the news, Asda produced a mental patient Hallowe'en costume. You know- I can't believe they thought of it before I did. I could have been renting out my clothes all this time (clothes maketh the mental, of course). I thought I'd share some tips, help you put together your own outfit based upon this Mental Patient sat right before you- the complete package of psycho-horror (I'm 5'2.5 of pure crazy).

Mental Patient sits before you now in a Mickey Mouse top and bright pink shorts, with her hair drippy wet from the shower. Mental patient has changed her clothes since this morning though, when she wore an over-sized vintage denim shirt, multi coloured shorts, and her hair in a top knot and tied with a black and white gingham ribbon. That's quite a lot of different components though, so what about going as Mental Patient's invisible friend? Not that Mental Patient has an invisible friend- she is an actual mental patient, not a cliche that really ought to have been left somewhere in the last century, after all- but what better way of really getting in the Hallowe'en spirit? Invisible is quite hard to pull off, but since we're talking of amazing and clever costumes, why not work it? If you fancy a slightly simpler but still as mental costume, why not dress as one of Mental Patient's real friends, who also happen to be mental patients? Becky brought fear and disaster to the world today, dressed in a sweater with a dog on and indigo jeans. Feel the nightmare and insanity! Aimee sent children running from her, in a vest, a blue cardigan and black leggings. More nightmare! More insanity! And then there's Chelsea, ever terrifying in her skinny jeans and pastel sweater. ULTIMATE NIGHTMARE! ULTIMATE INSANITY!

Of course, this might all be a bit too hardcore for you, so maybe you ought to get some fake blood and a plastic knife and call yourself a psychotic killer? Not that Mental Patient has ever killed anyone, despite getting psychosis. But, yanno, we must be modern and forward thinking and as politically uncorrect as possible. Next up- shaving your head for a realistic cancer patient costume!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Rejection.

It's been a 'mare of a week. Extra vomit and extra meds is probably the best and most concise way I can sum it up. It was my fortnightly ward round this week, and these, as you maybe know from my previous rants, are always extremely brilliant or extremely terrible- there's never any place in the middle. With my 'disordered personality' (ahem), I'm not really a middle of the ground kind of a person, and, sadly, neither is my consultant. We either really come to blows or are bezzers during my ward rounds, and, typical of the ridiculous mood swings that characterise Borderline Personality Disorder, can pendulate between the two whilst everyone else in the room shakes their heads, like they're watching a particularly quick tennis game. If my ward rounds were a person (I realise what a bizarre statement that is, but just go with it), she would be sectioned for a verrrry long time.

This week, the Good Doctor (he once told me to think of him as God. Seribo), managed to hit on my giant issue over being rejected, by asking if I really thought my current hospital is the best one for my needs. I class as 'complex' and various other grim words, that basically mean that I'm too much like hard work for services, doctors, nurses, some family members and most of my (now past) friends. Consequently, I have a giant issue with rejection. Like, really massive. I know that when it's services it's not always personal, but with every passage between services, I feel more and more hopeless because it's always a move because one more service or person can't help me. When I have a person as the face of a service, like the Good Doctor, it feels also like when friends have cut me out or forgotten me or whatever. I don't know, it hurts. But back to the case in hand, as I told the GD, if this hospital can't help me, nowhere can. The amount of units/treatments/therapies I've tried that have failed me is huge. This is my last chance saloon. It's more than wanting this to work- it's NEEDING this to work.

It was agreed though that everything this unit is doing with me isn't working. I'm not getting any better. I'm sad. I'm anxious. I have numerous flashbacks a week and, in all honesty, given the chance, I'd probably end up doing some serious harm to myself. I'm in the same position that I was when I came, just with a few extra kilo. So we're trying a new thing where they let me do whatever the chuff I like with my eating, as long as my BMI stays above 17.5, so that they can focus on my other issues. I reck it's a better arrangement because way too much focus has been placed on records of my calorific intake, and it means they'll actually be addressing instead the factors that led to this admission... but whether I'll keep my BMI up when I know I won't lose my leave if I don't eat, is, I suppose, up to me. I hope so. Mostly 'cause winter at a low weight is really bloody grim.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Time.

It's been a while since I've properly written here. In a way, there's so much to say and so little. Same two hospital corridors, same bland activities, same lack of spontaneity and adventure. Case in point, though, of nothing changing, but everything changing; I happened upon the written record of my weight, last week. I've gone from weighing a very underweight, very horrible number, to a very healthy, but somehow similarly horrible, healthy number. Nowt changed, in real terms, because I saw the number. My thighs didn't suddenly swell and my stomach didn't expand, but seeing the number may have well have done that to me, because now when I see myself, that awful number is scrawled all over my ever expanding flesh. I've gone from being glad that my bones aren't screaming out my diagnosis, to feeling that my fat is howling out from beneath my clothing. What I meant to say, in that convoluted example, is that every day is the same, but sometimes tiny details that can change everything.

The other thing is, events arrive- like my birthday, a few weeks ago- that make me realise that time has passed and the world hasn't stopped turning, it's just that now it's turning without me really being a part of it. The nights are drawing in, and soon it'll be winter, like it was when I arrived here. My place in the world is growing smaller and smaller, if I even have a place out there anymore. I suppose, I'm just sad. I don't seem to be getting anywhere, or gaining anything but weight.

I have to keep reminding myself that this isn't a short term fix. My mental health problems didn't occur over night. I didn't wake up one day hyperactive, just to crash through the floor by dinnertime and to be hearing voices by tea. I didn't suddenly limit my diet to the bare minimum, or suddenly decide it'd be a good idea to eat a week's worth of food, to then vomit until I saw blood. They didn't occur overnight and it's going to take a long ol' time for any type of recovery. And so generally, I try not to think too far into the future. That's a lie, actually, I don't really seem able to do so. I mean really, why bother? I could still be here in a year, two years, or even longer- who knows. Besides which, had I the ability of foresight I'd have never imagined this as a future for myself. I'm all or nothing- in my head I'd be mad-successful or, well, dead. But less of that.

I think the time frame is probably easier for us on the inside to handle, in a way, than it is for our loved ones. Humans are adaptable and it's a lot easier than you'd think to make a home, even in a hospital. My room here has more of my stuff than my room at home, and is covered in photos and pictures and letters from people. Communal areas are very clinical, but I've seen worse student accommodation. This is what I usually think, anyway, what I try to tell myself. With time being such an issue right now for me though, honestly, it broke my heart when Ginge left me on Sunday. You can make a nest in any tree, but there's always that one bit of foliage that really IS home and mine's back in Scunthorpe. And I miss that place. And that strange little half life I lived there last year.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

I'm alive.

I'm alive, but so much has happened since I lasted posted that part of me is amazed that I am. I'm reeling and shell shocked and I feel entirely wrung out and deposited at the bottom of some hole, somewhere. I lost a friend to that bitch Anorexia, I had an amazing birthday, I found out my weight (after 6 months of massive weight gain, where I wasn't allowed to see the numbers increase) and I caught quite a nasty little virus. I hurt both physically and mentally and it's all I can do to stop myself wriggling to the bottom of my bed and bawling for all I'm worth. How ever little that is.

I find myself squeezing my eyes shut, when first I wake up, wishing like a child that I could be somewhere else. Anywhere else. I want to run away. Even though you can never run from yourself, I'd at least like to try, you know? I'll post properly in a few days, but until then, know this- I am alive.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Secrets.

Usually, when you have any kind of secret, you can keep it guarded, store it somewhere past that barely there memory of when you got so drunk you pulled somebody you reeeally shouldn't have, in a more well lit place than your mental to-do list. Secrets divide into good ones, like planning for somebody's birthday (hint: it's mine on the first!), and bad ones, like the time you were hurt so badly mentally that you took to your bed for a week, without being able to tell anybody why.

I'm not always sure what sort of secret an eating disorder would be, if only it was possible to store it away and hold the knowledge close, privately. It strikes me as neither good nor bad, just a basic fact. No matter what my weight is- and there's no correlation between how much a person struggles and their weight, I'm just using it as an example, really, here- I don't think that I ought to feel forced to hide it or make it into a big secret. Sometimes though, it gets a bit much when you know that people, strangers, think that they know you, because they can tell that you restrict the amount of food that you allow into your body. It's human nature to make assumptions and judgments, but at a low weight, people forget that there's a bigger, secret, inner battle, away from the plain idea of starvation.

Food intake to me is an intensely private matter. I would rather stand naked before you than divulge what I have eaten over the last few days; a person knowing my intake makes me feel more vulnerable and exposed than I would feel without any clothes on. I like that now I don't 'look' Anorexic, I can go about my business without people making assumptions and guesses at the sum of my daily calories. At the same time, though, now I don't have that look about me, it's quite hard to take that people assume I don't struggle. I do. Every calorie is a battle and every craving feels like a weakness. The anonymity of not being a skeleton is nice though, I must admit. As much as I don't think eating disorders should have to be complete secrets, not having my bones screaming out my fight to the world, is really, really comforting,

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Optimism.

I'm generally an optimist. As optimistic as it's possible to be, anyway, given my wide hand of mental health diagnonsense (when it comes to diagnoses, I employ a Pokemon style 'Gotta Catch 'Em All' type of mindset), and the symptomatic erasure of any hope that comes along. I reck that as long as I don't act on my impulses and get through the next year or so of hospital, although I might end up on mental health medications for most of my life, I can go from being a revolving door psychiatric patient to being able to manage my conditions as part of a wild but relatively ordinary life. I'll be stable enough to travel and live and love and hate and cry and laugh and all that intrinsically human stuff, which often alludes me at the appropriate times.

The problem is, my optimism is built on wobbly, at best, foundations and my proverbial strawberries get proverbially shat on quite often. I think I might be able to get better, relatively speaking... but I'm also dragging my feet over sorting stuff so I can start OU degree, because I might kill myself and then it'll all be a bit of a waste of time. That sounds really negative, I know, but I think in my head I'm just trying to be both prepared for my future and prepared for my demise. It's probably the same for any serious illness- as much as you'd like to always look forward, sometimes there just doesn't seem to be any forward to look at.

It's not always internal stuff, either. After the build up to Day One, there was a big anti-climax when it wasn't stuck to. They've ironed out some of the creases in communication that led to it, but it still reinforced everything I think I know about my present obesity and worthlessness. Every time I think I can fight, they strip me down and force me in the ring without even boxing gloves. Another meeting was called, more plans were put in place, and so far it's just about run. If not for my inherent positivity (and politeness- I was brung up reyt proper), I'd maybe tell them to shove it. But I know I can do this and I live to fight another day.

Anyway- to carry on from my last post, I'm still struggling. But I'm still an optimist. And I'll be alright, because I don't have any other option.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

This too shall pass.

It's been a long, hard few days and it's only set to get worse. My best friend on the unit leaves tomorrow, they've started getting stricter on my meals, my nightmares are stopping me sleeping properly and my mood is close to rock bottom, probably as a result. When I struggle, I lose words and my grasp on time and reality, and so it's really hard to try and pin down enough of the words zooming in and out of my tired brain, to form an entry here. The ideas or, actually, even the words just won't come and sentence-forming is a monumental task; even the Guardian's US twitter account picked up on a dodgy sentence of mine (and when Americans question your English, you know it's bad). I know in the past when I've not written here people worry that I've done something- because usually I have, right fair- but I haven't and I won't, so I thought I best put a note in. I've decided to be as honest with the doctors and nurses as I can, and so I've not tried to blag myself some unescorted leave, because I'd only bloody overdose. Well done me.

Stay with me and don't forget me. When people aren't around, I'm convinced they'll forget me and that makes my existence seem shakey. My girl leaving tomorrow is making me think of all the friends that have come and gone. Maybe I'll expand upon that another time. For now, be patient. This too shall pass.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Very Big and Extremely Scary.

Today is Day One. Every day is Day One, I suppose, or at least has the potential to be one. The first day of a non-smoking scheme (never for me, mind. I'm a terrible example- I really do love a good fag), the first day of a new job, a health kick, a relationship or, hell, the first day that you choose to wake up happy and extend your love inward. Oh my God, sorry, that was a bit drippy. Maybe I've had too much therapy. Excuse me and forget that- that's almost enough to lose me my British citizenship. Stiff upper lip, pip-pip, old bean.

Today is Day One of my new food regime. I had a Very Big and Extremely Scary (sorry for all the capitalisations here. I swear they're all completely necessary) meeting about my eating, yesterday. It was probably a lot bigger and much less scary than my capitalisation implies. I walked in from a cig- terrible example, see?- and into a meeting with my psychiatrist, doctor, occupational therapist, nurse, social worker, dietitian and Ginge. In the course of the meeting, the head chef (a role that sounds far more grand than it actually is, I'm sure) and the ward manager also joined the fun. I don't like talking about food with one person, never mind the 79 of them in the room. It actually really just ended up with my psych having a go at the staff and me demanding credit for the fact I've gone from quite a dangerously low weight a few months ago to the borderline healthy one I'm now at (thank-you, thank-you, I'm very definitely bowing).

I told them I needed to be remembered at mealtimes, rather than me being missed and my Anorexia being fed. I told them the types of food I'm eating and the portion sizes need to be normalised. In short, yanno, I just told them to do their job. I mean, right fair, they do have their strengths here. Just turns out, feeding people with EDs isn't one of them.

And so today was Day One of the Brand New Very Big and Extremely Scary new plan. And it's gone... well, it's gone. Dinner went ok, but then the stress caused a flashback. Not exactly the desired outcome. It turns out I'd forgotten how feeling like I'm being forced to eat makes me feel a bit violated. I dunno. It's messy. And so that was midday, so what about tea?

The grand tradition of this place, tea was forgotten. Oh, it'd be laughable, it really would, if this wasn't my life.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

I hear voices (or, The Pub Choristers).

As a general rule, my head is the only thing louder than my dress sense. I think if you know me, that doesn't need much context (my favourite colours are glitter and flowers), but if you don't, just count your eyeballs lucky that they've not been subjected to it. My head has been louder today than the sum of everything I've ever worn- including those brilliantly stylish '90s years I spent in floral cycling shorts. Actually, my '90s wardrobe wasn't vastly different from my 2013 one.

Anyway, off the glitter and on to the grit. I hear voices. That's actually quite a brave thing to admit... it's taken me a long time to be able to say that here. I mean, right, just as an exercise in demonstrating my bravery on that, just try to picture how you see a typical person who hears voices. What do they look like? Do they hold down a steady job? If so, are they a professional? Picture their day-to-day living. Now, honestly, I'm willing to bet you've fit a tonne of mental health stereotypes without meaning to. That's not an indictment on yourself, you must understand I'm not judging; it doesn't matter how open minded you are or aren't, it's not really about that, it's more about society, I reckon. And, I suppose the people with mental health problems that do mean they talk back to their hallucinations and can't look after their hygiene are the ones who are more obvious than those of us who look 'normal'. I've had my moments though, I'm sure there are people who have passed me at certain times and now have an image of myself, oh, maybe banging my head in a flashback, or having a psychotic episode, or a panic attack, or have even just seen me at skeletal times, and now have essence of Condron tempering their idea of a mental health patient.

You know how when you walk into a really busy pub, the kind without music but with a lot of people, kind of like a Wetherspoon's of a Saturday night, you open the doors and you're hit by a million different conversations? And as you walk through, you hear snatches, but nothing really of note, kind of like human birdsong? That's what my head often sounds like. When I'm really poorly, or I've missed my anti-psychotics, I hear more direct voices and commands, and if I'm over-tired I find it even harder to sleep because as I'm drifting off my voices start shouting my name. Generally though, when I'm struggling, The Pub Choristers, as I've dubbed the voices, just get louder and louder until I feel actually compressed and cornered by the voices of this inner pub.

Today, there's been a lot of shouting on the ward and a lot of shouting from The Pub Choristers. I'm not really great at being around shouting and the such, which is a bit bizarre given my penchant from being waaaay overly dramatic, and the louder my environment, the louder the voices. Today the patrons of my internal pub have taken words from my past, things I wish I had never heard or that I never knew, and have screamed them over the external noise. Flashbacks, over voices, over flashbacks. They're shouting abuse, calling out things from different eras and making this- amongst everything else a person does of a day; breathing and walking and talking and the such- pretty hard to write. All I've been doing since they got bad is making myself sick, really, and I'm now just trying to work out if I must have vom'd my anti-psychotic. I have a bad feeling I did. Oh, tomorrow shall be fun.

Oh, balls.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Low-risk to high-risk.

What a week it's been. How much can really change in a week? In hospital, a lot. I've gone from a level when I'm checked on once an hour (good ol' 'hourlies' as they're known here), to being checked on every 5 minutes (originally known as 'fives'- God, we're a creative bunch). That's, in a week, going from low risk to high, with a temporary stop over in the middle land. I can't even express how annoying being checked on so much is. They're not even REALLY fives, it depends really on how bored the staff are, as to how often you're really checked. Yesterday, seriously, the woman doing checks must have been bored as owt 'cause during an eight minute conversation (I say conversation, it was mostly me wailing down the awful signal we get here. It must have been oh-so totally comprehensible) with my mum, I was checked on four times. With two minutes between checks, you can't even use the loo in peace.

It's most intrusive at night- a light going on every five minutes does not a good night's sleep allow. Being on fives brings even bigger consequences than just being intrusive and irritating. In the week, it means being locked out of your room between 9 and 5, at the weekend, it's between 11 and 5. It's more or less the worst thing that could be done to me when I'm struggling and need time alone and I'm dreading the time getting to then.

I have gone backwards, mentally; that, I'll acknowledge. But every attempt made by the staff to safeguard me has just triggered me off and made me fall even further back. It's all very and extremely ridiculous, really. The graduation thing really affected me; I'm restricting my intake, my mood is low and I'm altogether fed up. I've lost all my leave, too, as a consequence, and so I'm stuck in these four walls. Nobody is going to do well when their whole world consists of two corridors. But apart from an hour last night when I was restrained because I'd disassociated and was having a flashback, which comes with my headbanging, I've not hurt myself. I told them of my plans so that I couldn't act upon them, but, bleurgh, that seems to count for naught- no matter how many times I tell them I don't lie, and wouldn't lie about my risk. I've spent more than 4 years in and out of hospital, lying to get my way out, and it's clearly got me nowhere. I'm just not interested in carrying on that way.

I know from the perspective of the staff you'd think it'd be about 'managing risk' but trust me on this- you do not go on fives just because you disassociated. That's not a rule. In the past, I haven't even gone on half hours for it. I'm struggling, but this was personal. It turns out when you call a member of staff various names (not something I'm proud of, but I'm literally obsessed with fairness and I felt he wasn't being fair. Luv dat OCD), he'll take any opportunity to get you back.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Graduation.

It's graduation week at my old haunt of The University of Essex (oh yes, Little Miss Northern over here studied down there until just over a year ago. Oh, the south. CLEANSE ME. But I digress) and oh my, is it affecting me. This is actually my third attempt at writing about it, because everything I write either sounds bitter or self-pitying, or both. I'm not bitter. I don't begrudge a single person their degree or their mental health, but I'd be lying if I said I'm not jealous, so maybe that does mean I'm self pitying. I don't know. All I know is I should be in my pyjamas, planning an early night and working out exactly how much vodka I need to be able to walk in heals (a feat I'm capable of only after a few bevvies), without being even tipsy enough to dull my senses on such a day. Instead, I'm in my pyjamas knowing that tomorrow my name will not be called, and wouldn't be even if I wasn't a few hundred miles away. I'm in my pyjamas knowing tomorrow will be yet another beige day.

Not being able to finish my degree is a source of embarrassment and anger, to me. Apart from what came down to a few weeks last year, I've now been in hospital almost a year. That's... well, that's summat, alright.

I need to stop writing, I'm getting upset and it's not like it's going to get me my degree. It's also triggering my OCD, which is really dangerous... genuinely life threatening, the forms that mine takes. This is an awful post, but I suppose it's how I feel and I can't keep typing and deleting, over and over. End. Fin.


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Beige.

My life right now is beige. Nobody loves or hates beige, it's just one of those colours nobody much thinks about until they reach their sixties and get all conformist and dress in varies shades of the colour. I'm being pushed towards that eventuality forty years too bloody early. Not in the sense that people make me dress in a way that would camouflage me against the walls of a new build, but in the sense that I'm in an endless beige  tunnel with no apparent light at the end. Beige is, well, beige. It's fine, it's safe, it's inoffensive, it's not thrilling, it's not exciting, it's not interesting. Beige just isn't me. I think I'm maybe the colour at the centre of a flame.

I've gone backwards over the last few weeks; the beige is starting to choke and drown me and I feel like everything that makes me, well, me is being smothered out of me by this achingly beige existence. I knew I had gone backwards this fortnight, and when my psychiatrist brought in up in my ward round yesterday, it sort of made me relieved. I'm not one to shout and scream when I'm struggling. In fact, I'm far more likely to sit in a corner, rocking, if we're really going to use mental health stereotypes. But anyway, it's taken them a long time, given I've been here five months now, but maybe they're finally working out that I'm a bloody great actress, and when I'm too tired to fake being perky, I just hide myself away, rather than let other people see me as I am. I'm tired and I'm bored.

Being bored sounds pathetic, but you really don't know boredom though until you're living in a place where every day is planned out by somebody other than yourself, every day the same- the same routine, the same scheduled smokes, the same people, even the same arguments and drama. That's nothing against the women I'm here with, I love my girls. But it's just the life, the lack of spontaneity and freedom. I know education sometimes feels like that, but it just doesn't compare. Here, there are no adventures- planned or not- or even impromptu trips out, to celebrate a sunny day or life in general. There's no suddenly deciding to go out- leave you've been allowed must be set out at the start of the day- even if just to the corner shop for a paper. There's just no flicker of excitement and no way to create it.

Having no way to channel my usual need for constant movement is making me fixate on various ways to hurt myself, as if that would create excitement. I'm not going to, don't worry; it wouldn't do as I think, in my darkest hours, I know, but it would be something just a little bit... different, I suppose. It's a terrible way to think and it's making my eating suffer, too. God, I just need a holiday from the beige. Even just a bit of yellow.

(Sorry this is so whingy, I'm just proper struggling right now).

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

An open letter to my body.

Dear Body,
You are beautiful. You truly are. I don’t tell you that enough; in fact, I spend my life telling you the opposite. You are like the most incredibly complicated computer, far more advanced than my own conscious mind could even really care to understand, contained in the most demanded of luxury cars, one with engineering far more delicate than could be created with my own, cumbersome, limbs. All that technological finesse, mine for the use, ought to be truly appreciated and well maintained, my most prized possession. You ought to be the ideal to which all else on my life is compared, the platonic beauty, not something to be viewed as lacking. You perform the most graceful of acts, organs so well oiled and synced, whilst simultaneously tripping over your feet; completing always the other great paradox of constant renewal, whilst maintaining everything that I may or may not be- brand new, always changing, 22 years spent. You’re not perfect; you will never dance with any rhythm, nor will you sing in tune, nor manage to go a day with tripping up. But you will dance, sing and skip along, nonetheless, and I (maybe you are the shell and, I don’t know, my soul, is the real essence of what I am- I don’t know what I am, in any sense) thank you most entirely for that.

Dear Eyes,
You've shown me some divine and astounding things, disasters and horrors, love and life. Bodies right at the start of their lives and those coming to the end. I wish for you that you could have had only the best to have seen and relayed to me, but that wouldn't be life and sight is a gift I appreciate, especially since mine seems to be failing. I wish you'd only see what is really there, not the horrors that have been there before, the endless flashbacks that rattle through my hollow bones. I wish between you and my brain, you could let me see myself outside of Anorexia's distortions. I wish, I wish, I wish. I wish I'd never forget how blessed I am by your bespectacled, blue hued, ever-seeing and searching goodness.

Dear Mouth,
My hands should never have once been jammed into your cavern, never mind with the regularity of which they are. The ferocity of the abuse I commit to my body often begins with you- to enter something into my mouth, or not. To vomit, or not. To... well, you know the score, Mouth. It's not you, it's me... sorry, I couldn't resist, but it's true. I'm not sure what my issue is with you, there's just something scary about an entrance, I suppose, when you've feared for most of your life what is around the corner, who or what lies beyond a doorway. I'm sorry. Thank you for being the vehicle through which I primarily express myself, and for allowing yourself to be the exit of so many of my vocalised demons. That's not to say our relationship is purely serious; thank you to for allowing all the laughs and the mix ups and for the ability to screech and giggle. Thank you for allowing me the taste of love.

Dear Hands,
I could never express my gratitude to you in a way that really... I'm even struggling to express how I can't express. Just... thank-you. Also, you're very petite and cute.

PS. Sorry for all the scars and callouses from my teeth and for making you do not very sanitary things.

Dear Stomach,
I think it's you who have had it the worst. Whenever something bad happens, whether it be based in external or internal forces, it's you who has suffered the ramifications. Be it everlasting emptiness, or a fullness as far from satisfaction as a goat is from a slug, or a waterfall of ill-advised and over-dosed medications, it's you who have had paid the price. Retching long into the night, screams seeming to come from your core rather than my throat, always so much blood... it's you who have faced the physical attack nearest to the war fought by my mind. You'd think I'd be more protective of you, when I know myself how draining always being on the front-line is. I'm sorry, and thank-you for not having given up on me.

Dear Thighs,
I'm sorry I can't look at you guys without crying. All you do is try to keep me as upright as possible, as well as putting up with always being covered in bruises from all my throwing this body about, attempting feats not possible in this particular, beautiful, body. I wish I could offer you some sort of promise or placation, but really, I just... I suppose I can't handle you, and I'm sorry. I desperately want to love you, but right now, all I can do is promise to try all I can not to hurt you anymore.

All the love I can give you right now, and a promise that I'll work all I can to being able to give you so much more in the future,

Becs <3 o:p="">

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Condron chooses life.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about life and death. To say I've been thinking is actually a massive understatement, I'm as obsessive as water is wet. I've been obsessing about life, death, and everything in between. There's a lot I can't plan or decide about my life at the moment- such is the nature of being detained, even if it is onto a mental health unit and not like I've done anything to have put me into jail. I don't get to choose very much of what I do, and I'm living in an environment that's pretty damn controlled and structured by the powers that be. I tell you, it's pretty funny the things that you miss when you're in this kind of situation, things you'd not even think of- sometimes I just fancy nipping out for some emergency M&Ms, or having a cheeky vodka at the end of a long day or, God, I don't know, Googling something before 7pm, the earliest time I'm allowed online of a weekday.

I've had quite a dark week or two, deciding, in a way, that death is the only thing I can choose and control. But it's not. I was wrong. I can choose death, or I can choose life. Yes, I can take my newly earned unescorted leave and use that on yet another overdose, or I can take my unescorted leave and just enjoy the fact that I've earned, and deserve, a few hours without anybody checking up on me- another thing you really do miss, but take for granted completely when you're not in this position. I can choose to starve and vomit, or I can choose to look after my body and use all the energy I put into hating myself into loving myself. I can choose to plan the one moment of death, or to plan the many, many moments of the life that's just waiting for me to pour myself into. I'm ill, yes, but I don't need to be terminal.

I choose life. I don't think death can ever be as beautiful as I'm so sure life can be. My life, my past, hasn't shown me the beauty that I'm certain is there, for my taking, but that just means that I'll reach that bit further, swim that much harder against the current, because I've never had, nor do I believe in, mediocrity, as a way of life. I have had ugly, and now it's time for beauty, no in-betweens. My life, right now, isn't my own, but neither would my death be; there's no freedom, the thing I crave most, in death, just a finality that's even greater than the one I feel right now. My current hospitalisation, and I've been in hospital solidly now for over 6 months, seems never ending, because nobody can give me a time-frame, just that I'm almost certainly going to be here until at least next year. But what is death? Death is for eternity, whereas this won't even be a life-sentence. Emergency M&Ms, cheeky vodkas and Google are not waiting for me below the ground.

Choosing life is really liberating, and a bit scary in its vastness, like diving into the sea. It's not as, well, neat as death, if you get me; it's wider and vaguer and messier, but that's freedom, and I reckon it's ok to fear it when I've existed in such a tightly controlled environment- literal and mental. Whenever the thoughts come of things I could do to myself, I try all I can to work through, in my head, if they're compatible with the choice of life. A lot of the time, they're really not. It's not easy and it's not like mental illness and suicide ideation are fixed purely through positivity, but it's just the choice- I choose now not to die by my own hand, whether directly or indirectly; through overdose or eating disorder related disaster. Generally, I don't think there can be much point in doing much of anything until life has been chosen; when death is an ever-present option, motivation for life is all but impossible to muster. Since the choice to live was realised, for me, the world opened up a touch and things have taken on a little more meaning. I can't say life is suddenly sweet, but now at least I know that making it sweet is a possibility.  Life is fleeting- it's a cliche, but it's true- and I'm sure there'll be plenty of time for death when I have truly lived. I want my life to be beautiful, exciting and full of love and cheeky vodkas, and you can bet all your glorious brain on the fact that that's what I'm going to make it.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

(Celebrity) sexual offences, part deux.

[I wrote here about the range of celebrity, and non-celebrity, sexual offences and, although you'll not need to have read that to understand my points here, that gives a bit of background that I'm going to bypass.]

It's a sad fact of our civilised society, in this enlightened era, that we're meant to be grateful for every sentence doled out to a sex offender. Me? I'm almost as offended by this fact, and the pathetically short sentences usually given, as I am by a sex offender walking free. Summat you might not know about me is that I was a university politics student before I had to leave due to my mental health, and as a former politics student, I'm a news fiend. One of my many, many geek traits is that I will literally watch the news all day. All day the same rolling stories, because the feeling of not being one hundred per cent in the know- about anything, but in this case, current affairs- makes me feel like I've been swept up in a hurricane; completely out of control. A lot of my friends on this unit are the opposite; they'll go completely out of their ways to avoid the news at all costs, because there are too many buzzwords that they need to avoid, mostly around sex offences, because of links to their pasts. We are a ward of  survivors, and to survive, we must do as we must. News stories of sex offences can trigger all kinds of dark things in my fellow survivors, but they spur me on. There is so much injustice and if nobody else is fixing it... I must.

Now, I don't want to go all Daily Mail (as if I could. I don't particularly like Princess Diana, I have no problems with any sexuality, I think immigration is good for this country and I'm a feminist), but a gross injustice happened yesterday in the latest of the alleged celebrity sex offender sentencing. Stuart Hall admitted to abusing 14 girls. Well, you'd think, that must carry quite a sentence. I mean, that's 14 people who will spend their whole life avoiding references; looking over their shoulders; hiding; sleeping with one eye open; curled in the foetal position with his image burned upon their eye lids, and his touch burnt and branded upon their skin. That's 14 families hurt, confused, ashamed and feeling guilty, amongst other things. Rape is like being murdered in a particularly horrible manner, and then having to live with it whilst pretending it never happened, because of a societal stigma.

This great sentence handed to Stuart Hall? 15 months. Just over a month, per victim. Several great injustices lead to this holiday park sentence- the maximum sentence for the types of abuse he carried out is 2 years, unless the victim is under 13, in which case it is 5 years. At least one of his victims was under this age, at 9. When you think about the whole thing, it gets even muddier. If he'd abused one person, he'd have got the same kind of sentence, so is it a case of abuse-one-get-the-rest-free? 

I don't really know what else to say or what conclusions to draw from all this, except I'm not grateful that 'at least he's locked up.' I don't care that the crimes were historical, I don't care about maximum sentencing and I don't care that Stuart hall is now a soiled name. What I do care about is the people he broke, the families he destroyed and all of that lost innocence- taken from both the people he touched directly and the people with any kind of link to those. I care that his barrister apparently told the court, in mitigation, that Hall had "all of 13 [13 was the original claim, it later went up to 14]" victims compared to Jimmy Savile's 1,300. I hurt for a society that thinks this is a valid point and/or that 13 victims is not too many, when in fact it's 13 too many.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Sneaky sneaky.

This unit really, really believes in The Power of the Group. That has to be capitalised, it really is, like, what it's all about. I wanted to make a cult based here, and I most certainly believe I could, hahaha. Here, the idea of group work trumps logic, I sometimes feel- stick-face-packs-on group; colour-in-pictures-of-Winnie-the-chuffing-Pooh group... granted, plus a few more therapeutic ones, if you can imagine anything more therapeutic than those ;). Me, I'm a bit of a dosser. If you saw my attendance at uni, and configured it with my attendance to groups here, you'd see I have made a touch of progress, but I really am about the skive. Everything is better when you're meant to be doing else- it's a terrible, glorious, fact of life. Hiding, watching the news, reading a book- sometimes boredom inducing, but all more delicious when I ought to be playing Bingo. Right now, I'm in a group. And, although I am allowed to be using the computer, this feels very, satisfyingly, naughty. Sneaky sneaky. I sound terrible, right? I'm not as bad I sound, and I am working on it, swear down. I mean, I go to the worthwhile groups, morning meetings and reflection and therapy that kind of thaang. I'm just a bit of a nightmare with authority, and I've completely convinced myself that skipping bits and pieces is sticking it to the man. I shouldn't have spent my teens wishing I was in Paris in 1968, pfft.

But anyway, in actual news, yesterday I saw the dietitian. It started quite well, I told her that I was sick of this disorder and I just want out, which is completely and utterly true... until I'm faced with food. Then Logical Condron goes to sleep and the beast of the disorder rears its ugly face and completely takes over. Long story short, I agreed to try potato in the next week, and then mentally shut down and disassociated completely. An hour and some meds later, I calmed back down and I stand by everything I want to achieve. I'm not quite ready to gain weight, but I'm definitely ready to increase my intake, stop losing weight, and try what I've deemed a 'Gateway Carb'- the humble potato. The humble potato is becoming symbolic. It's the Marijuana of the world of carbohydrates, leading me onto hardcore carbs... watch this space, I'll maybe one day face, dun dun dun, pasta.

Well, group is all but over and so I'm going to have to leave this mess of an entry. Time for a cheeky fag and a nap, I think. It's a hardknock life.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Take me away.

I never much want to be here. It doesn't matter how nice a hospital is (and this one isn't all that lovely), or how nice your fellow patients are (and these ones are especially lovely) or how much the treatment is needed (and I think we can all agree this is pretty damn necessary an admission), I don't think anyone much wants to be in a hospital, especially when they're there out of force. A hospital is a hospital and locked doors are locked doors. This last week though, I've wanted to be here even less. I'd usually beg you to take me anywhere, but right now I desperately just want to be back in Essex, getting ready for the uni's Summer Ball tonight. I want to be celebrating my graduation, with my best friends, and feeling giddy over the end of exams. I want to excitedly fear a bright future, not be sitting wondering if I'll have any sort of future, or at what point I'll re-emerge into the world and what my place will be. Will the place be back into the revolving psychiatric hospital door, or will it be as an uneducated adult, with no work experience in the last few years? This week should have been the best one since my first Freshers Week.

My best friend had a baby at the start of our second year of uni, and completed the end of her studies this week. Had you told either of us, at Freshers, that at the point of graduation that this is where we'd be- her with a toddler and me in a long-term psych hospital- I wonder at our reactions. Disbelief? Maybe at her situation, but with some soul-searching, probably not at mine. I wonder at what point this became an inevitable, maybe even fated, turn for myself. Are we going right back to the first time I was coerced into a sex act? The first time I sat in my infant school comparing my thighs with the other girls'? The first time my fingers went down my throat? The first time the blade went over my skin? The first time I didn't eat for a day? The first time I was tube-fed? The first time...? There have been a lot of firsts, I suppose, but what of the points that all of the above became second nature? Is it when all those firsts just became, well, life?

I don't mean to sound self pitying, and I suppose it's obvious, but this really was not how my life was supposed to go. I was bright. I never expected that I'd be left behind, educationally and in every other sense, and on anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxieties and a tonne of supplements to try and aggrandise my terrible diet. I definitely didn't expect that I spend the afternoon of my final Summer Ball slightly disconnected through extra Diazepam and Haloperadol.

I'm really sorry, I mostly try to be as positive as I can, both on here and in real life, but this is all I can do and be today, and that has to be ok. I have to be ok. I will be ok. I just really miss the dream.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Sunshine and scars.

The power of a bit of sunshine is not to be underestimated. I think, really, I just was not made for Britain and her weather. I mean, alright, I'm so fair skinned that I make freshly fallen snow look grubby, and half my face is covered in freckles (it's quite ridiculous, the left side of my face is so covered in freckles that they're almost at the point of joining together to make me look tanned. The right side has put in a grade U effort to keep up and has a coupla token bits of pigmentation), but the general lack of sunlight makes me mardy as owt. Apparently, this has been the coldest spring for about a trillion years, and it's also been the worst spring for my mental state for about a trillion years, too. Like how I'm conveniently skating over the fact that it's now June, and I haven't had more than a few hours outside of hospital since last December, and the effect of that on my mental health? Shhh, let me talk about sunlight and blame the lack of it, ok?

Warm weather makes me panic, a little, though. It means not being able to hide my recently cultivated fat behind big jumpers, and it means having my self-harm scars out. I don't really mind having my scars out in hospital- my friends here understand better than anybody, the horrible things I have done to my shell, and what they mean to me. We all have different relationships to our scars, and I, arrogantly perhaps, think that I have one of the healthier attitudes. I'll neither go out of my way to display nor hide them, because they're no different, to me, to Chickenpox scars or the bruises left from dialysis, or, God, the spots on a leopard. They are what they are. They're not pretty, but neither are they ugly. They represent my survival, because had I not done the actions that created them, I'd very probably not be sitting here, tapping away, but they also, more superficially, show the pain I have gone through. Having all that pain out there kind of makes you vulnerable, maybe it looks as if you have a mental deficiency or weakness, I don't know. To me though, whilst the pain is self-evident, they will always, even when they're faded, white, and barely visible on my pale skin, be a sign of that survival. Only living skin scars; I am alive. I am alive and the scar tissue is deep and protective- it both shows my life force and strength, and puts it into context. I AM ALIVE.

Whilst I'm not ashamed of my scars, I know how society views self-harm. I sometimes feel like I'm being backed into a corner of shame, like that's the way people think I ought to feel. It's quite a self-centered thought, because I think it's far more likely people's eyes are drawn to the protective marks and then are drawn back to the offers on hair-dye in the local supermarket. Still though, there are always the glances and there are always people who will think that they should be covered, in shame and clothing, no matter what the weather. You know me though, I don't believe in hiding.

I am more careful with open wounds, though. You have to understand the difference between ambivalence to people seeing or not seeing my scars and the trend that exists of taking pictures of recent self harm, to be displayed on the internet. That, I don't like. That... that's for competition and I just can't verbalise how that gets to me. I'm more careful in covering open wounds (not that I have any right now- 3 and a half months gone since I hurt myself in a non ED way, waaahey :)), because I know how they can be triggering to others, and they make me feel a bit too vulnerable- like I'm being watched in a kind of I Know What You Did Last Summer sort of a way. But anyway, it shouldn't be about pride of what you've done to yourself, how you've harmed yourself; it should be pride that you're a survivor and indifference to society's judgment. I wish that I hadn't felt that I had to do the things that created the scars, but I don't regret the actions themselves, apart from when I look at the blemish-free skin of others. I look at my beautiful 11 year old cousin's hands, for example, and wish I was an artist so that I could paint them. How beautiful the fact is that they've never been down her throat, nor used to take out her anguish on her body.

Despite all this, I love the sunshine. It makes me happy. When you shut your eyes, in the sun, you could be any, beautiful, place. I know you can do that any time, but everything is more beautiful in the sun. Maybe even me, too.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

'If you don't know why you're here... you probably need to be here.'

The women on this ward have a lot to complain about. Not in the big ol' grand scheme of things, maybe, but in little niggles with staff, rules and the drama of all this oestrogen muddled up with the usual fickle moods of BPD, 24/7. We complain together about staff and rules, like blokes complaining about the visits of their mothers-in-law in the sanctuary of their local. We assert that we don't need to be here, how we've been much worse and have done insane- for want of a better word- things (I once thought I had a chicken leg instead of a thumb and tried to carve it. True story), that we don't do now or haven't done since we've been on this ward. We decide that the staff are keeping us here for various, personal, reasons and that they're just trying to punish us with whatever restrictions we're currently subject to.

Sometimes, I think we have good points; I was once refused my tweezers because I'd skipped breakfast. Other times though, we, or maybe I should switch now to 'I', vent and I know deep down that the nefarious reasons I see behind rules, and my general detention in this hospital, are just the ramblings of my mind and quite unimportant in the whole context of, to be perfectly frank, keeping me alive.

Some days are really dark. Really, really dark. I've written before about absconding, something I've only done twice since I got here. That count of two would be far greater had I not learnt that voicing the urges is far better than acting on them and being dragged, in restraints, back. The dark days though, I want to run from the monsters in my head, stop to take an overdose, and then carry on running until I fall away from this world. I fantasise, plan every moment. Those days, if I wasn't in hospital, would be suicide attempt times. And who knows if I'd survive another. Or if I'd want to. I can count the amount of times I'd have died, since I've been here, and not just on one hand. Other times, like today, I know that I can control the urges and that I don't NEED to escape. There's a lot about escapism with me, I always need to run and hide (which you'd not believe if you saw the amount of different colours I usually throw into an outfit).

Days like today, although I feel relatively in control, I can understand my hospitalisation. I know why I'm here. I was chatting with two of my friends on this ward, about whether or not we need to be here, and how long we'd realistically survive in the outside. Me, I know that it wouldn't be long. And even if it was, I had no quality of life 6 months ago, just before this string of hospitals started. It wouldn't be fair on my mum, for me to be outside, either. When it was decided I'd be away in hospital for a long period, my mum had to agree and she did so because she didn't think I'd still be alive by Easter, if she didn't agree. I want to live, and I'm starting to think that if I take all I can from here, maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to live a real life. It's the only way forth.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Nostalgia for Essex Uni.

You know how it often seems older people fantasise about a past Britain, a Britain that probably never existed, where community spirit overrode personal preference and where people were endowed with sense and a stoicism that we, the youth, don't possess, because we have life so easy? They act as if crime were a modern convention, movement always regressive and the only honourable generation was/is their own? In the same way, I physically ache with longing for the life I've left behind, at the bequest of my demons. Like all nostalgia, it's making me yearn for a past that is far glossier than it actually was. Maybe a platonic idea of what I think my life ought to have been like, created in my head as another way to torture myself for not being all that I feel I should be.

For those who have been following me and SBIWYB for more than a year or so, you'll know that my university life, while fruitful in some ways and eventful in even more ways, wasn't all that... successful. It was more of an experiment than an experience, really. I lived a mostly irresponsible life of drinking, dancing, waking up in strange beds and ridiculous adventures- I have some brilliant stories that you'll hear over a cheeky vodka, one day. In my first year, I fell in love. I also met my best friend and, a year later, met her son when he was born. My worldview expanded and I began to plan and dream of a future I never before thought I'd be a part of. I became grounded and a part of something; living, for probably the first time in my life, a normal- by student standards, anyway- life.

Of course, that's my university experience with nostalgia's gloss and the rose tinted glasses of romanticism. Really, it was a mess of mental illness, alcoholism, sometimes drugs, always irresponsibility, sex and hysterics, set to a soundtrack of indie crap that I'm more ashamed to admit to listening to than the other shit I did. It did involve the introduction of my best friend and the romantic love... but it also involved terrifying that best friend when I was sectioned, one of many times, and the police informed her that due to my mental health I was a threat to her newborn son (oh yes, that really happened), and finishing that romance because it was too much for me to accept and reciprocate- an act I'm sorry for and regret, every day. Nostalgia and romanticism of the past forget the revolving door nature of my numerous hospital admissions during those years; the overdoses, feeding tubes, cuts, burns. How hard that was for my friends, boyfriend, and family who were all hundreds of miles away. It also conveniently forgets all those appeals where I had to plead to stay, the irritating student support sessions every week that I was contractually obliged to attend and the aching loneliness and isolation of my second year.

Yet still... nostalgia is mauling its way through my consciousness. I feel like I've been thrown out of real life and into a vacuum. Existing, plodding, but not doing anything of value. I've always done everything with thoughts of where it'll lead me, I've been brought up to work and that you work your childhood and beyond to better your career opportunities. But I'm not doing that, I'm not being intellectually stimulated or working towards anything concrete. More, it's all about working towards some vague idea of mental health. Sometimes, that's just not enough. I suppose I'm feeling inferiour, to the person I was and could have been. Like I've let myself down by being where I am, figuratively and literally, right now. I'm nostalgic for the life I've left, yes, but more- to the life I could have left had x, y and z not happened. It's not a healthy or useful way of thinking, but I feel like stamping my feet. This is not what was meant to happen. This is not who I was supposed to be.

On a slightly different note, I've never promoted anyone on here before, so you know that the blog Imma link to is something really special. Click on her name to meet Katie, one of the most interesting, witty people I have ever met, and her, quite frankly, brilliant blog.