Friday, 26 September 2014

An ashtray and a speech.

Life right now is looking a bit like an ashtray at 4am. Dirty; overflowing; full of the sad remnants, the ghosts, of the night before. Whisperings of excited conversations, speaking of sore feet and hearts and screams of horror and delight. Everything is murky and a lot more complicated than it looks. Unless, in romanticising an ashtray (maybe the ashtray has a crude message across it because it was bought in Skegness), I'm making it a lot more complicated and turning it into a lot more than just a saucer for fag ends. Anyway, I stand by my analogy. Life is a bit grim now, but the excitement, horror and delight were here not so long ago.

I'm too tired to explain. I'm too tired to do much apart from berate myself for ruining my own excitement and run of good days. It's been a pretty lovely week. It's ended with my first box of laxatives in years. It's ended with me already pained and dreading the next few days. Where, oh where, is the glamour that the pro-ana imbeciles would have you to believe existed? 

I will explain all, just not right now. I'll explain it all. For now though, here's a speech I read at my hospital's music fest this week:

(feel free to finish reading here. Or anywhere, really)

Welcome to the Big Blue Festival. We're here today to celebrate, support and fund-raise for Jeans for Genes day and MacMillan cancer care. The chances of either affecting you are a lot higher than you'd expect on first thought; I won't go into statistic mode (I'm really good at maths and once I start I won't stop), but I'd definitely recommend digging deep and researching the charities because they're really quite brilliant. Jeans for Genes day is, at its heart, a family day, due to the passing of the conditions the charity hopes to one day eradicate going down family lines. With cancer also having the ability to be passed through, both groups of conditions are pretty much family linked.

My family are so great, that sometimes telling stories of the mad craic we've done feels like bragging. Over the last few years, through the amazing women I live with here, I've learnt how lucky I am to have the genetic family that I do. More than that though, I've learnt how lucky I am to be able to forge my second family here, with those amazing women I just spoke about. I've gained 15 sisters, but we also take in turns to be whatever family role another needs. When I'm sad, like a child, sometimes I just want my mum. When I'm sad, I have over a dozen sisters to let me cry on and more often than not, give me the kick and the fight back, when I feel all is broken.

It's not all miserable. My girls, my sisters, have provided me with more laughs than I've even had in my life. They provide me with music, dancing, laughter, and, naturally, tears. Whether we are dancing in the corridor (strictly off the record), mattress surfing in the corridor (ahem, off the record), or simply sitting around and chatting, I am so honoured to be a part of this family. Blood may be thicker than water, but we are made of stars and that's really bloody bright.

I am just one woman, on one ward in this hospital and so I don't really know many people who aren't from [my ward], I'm sorry for that, because if they're anything like the Bitchez [from my ward] (trademark), I'm missing out. To my girls, thank you for your love. To any visitors today and the staff; thank you for coming to witness the incredible talent on show here. Thank you to those who have played any part in shaping any one of us. Thank you, more than anything, to my [hospital] sisters and brothers who are going to perform today.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


We age. It's a straight forward concept, but one that, as you become an adult, seems to be a tide you're to constantly swim against. Physical ageing is kind of beautiful (well, at the very least its better than the alternative; there are no beautiful corpses). As much as innocence is beautiful- I love looking at my cousins' hands and knowing they've not crammed them down their throats or used them to drag a blade across the blank canvas of their skins- there's something about the wisdom of each grey hair and wrinkle, the way that they speak of a past that you can never understand. It's like a book with yellowing pages and loose binding.

It's not just the physical that ages, although that's the easy bit; all you have to do is exist. The mental ageing is a blind tunnel. I've spent some time recently trying to work out whether my ever growing anger I feel towards my past and my previous selves is a sign of mental ageing or if it's stagnation or even regression. Or whether it even matters. Physically, the anorexia is making me feel 85. Mentally, it's making me feel like a child.

It's ok to be angry. So I tell myself, anyway. I've spent so long desperately trying to avoid my own anger because I'm so scared of turning into one of the monsters that have caused me so much pain. I'm starting to feel it, but I'm still taking it out on myself. I need to stop and breathe. I need to celebrate how I became the person I am. The adult. The grown up Condron. The powerful one.

I've written before about how life's challenges do not necessarily make a person stronger, so I won't labour that point. But challenges, for better and worst, do shape the person you become. I have a hell of a lot of anger at who I am and how I got here, but I need to lay it to rest. I need to celebrate that I do have redeeming features and I've found myself surrounded by lovely people, so I can't be as bad of a person as I assume. Is this the beginning of self esteem? Or at the very least, self respect? I hope so. I'll make it so.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Busy busy.

I'm just about dead on my feet, but I'm forcing myself onto my arse because I could well torture myself a bit more by prancing about. Beware though, I could well end up falling asleep on the keyboard (it's happened before. Even sober, as I sadly am now) and you might just get a string of letters from my nose planting, before my drool trips the laptop and I am electrocuted.

(just kidding)

It's been an excellent weekend. Well. Ish. It involved Young Minds training, meeting new friends, seeing an old one and spending time with the ones I already have. Pretty perfect, eh? And it was. It should have been. But that doesn't take into account my mental state and the effect on my physical. I'm struggling and, anorexia-wise, I'm on a cliff edge. I somehow talked my way off my meal plan, so I have freedom to eat or not eat, which is bloody complicated because all I want is to be happy and well, but my mind is constantly creating new ways to avoid both of these things. I'm struggling with entitlement. I want to be well, but am I entitled? Is my body? Is it better to torture myself physically, by restricting, or mentally, by not? It's exhausting.

My blood pressure keeps dropping and I'm having to hide physical weakness and it's just torture. I need a break. I'm nearly crying, because I just need a break. I'm about to stop tapping about, get up, force myself to potter and prance before I crumble completely. I'll make tomorrow better.

Monday, 8 September 2014

An open letter to a TGI's manager.

Hi, Emma.

I don't know if you remember me. I'm the girl in the heaving TGI Friday in Meadowhall, on Saturday. I'm the girl trying to overcome anorexia. I'm the girl who noticed that there were too many people around, for me to be able to eat. I'm the girl who started what could have been a full breakdown, over the thought of people seeing me eat. I'm the girl you took into the office at your restaurant, sat me down, gave me water. I'm the girl for whom you arranged a table right at the back. I'm the girl who spilled her heart out, because I was so touched. I'm the girl who is still touched.

I've been on the brunt of total ignorance where it comes to mental illness, and it's become something I expect. Having to cover my ears because the voices get too loud, trembling. Petrified by life. When once you meet somebody like you, you who went so totally out of your way to accommodate me, it's such a buzz that I'm still riding it.

I suppose I should expect more from people. I've been hurt so much and so many times that I expect everyone is only ever out for themselves. Your time and care showed me that there are genuinely good people, people who appreciate the difficulty of the battle and the fight. I ate that day, despite me struggling to fight at all right now, because I was so honoured by your actions. I fought because when somebody goes above and beyond, even if it sounds simple, it makes me want to pay it forward. It's the moments like that that makes me thing maybe the world isn't as dark as it often feels.

I'm back in hospital now. Like I told you, I've been in for 2 years and I'm slowly recovering. First thing I did when I got back, was tell my friends here, and the staff, how amazing you were. They've seen me cry over a bran flake, not so long ago, and watched me deteriorate and almost die, a few months back. It's those friends who know best how difficult it is to handle their illness in the public, and how most people will stop and perhaps stare, often afraid.

It's the things that seem small and simple that make the biggest impact.
Thank you so much; I can't even express it,
Rebecca <3 nbsp="">

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Happy birthday?

It was my birthday on Monday, and I won't lie; it was bloody awful. Without giving too many details, the ward was unsettled as hell, I was hallucinating and I finished the day vomiting for hours because I accidentally drank a smoothie with an orange juice base. I've had some shitty birthdays, so I should really be used to it- when I turned 15, we became effectively homeless. When I was 22, I was really ill and in a psych hospital in Essex, and was woken up, given a shit load of pills and then was out. I sort of came around on a motorway, then next thing, I'm in Scunthorpe's acute ward (sadly, my second home until I came to this hospital). I've had too many hospital birthdays. No more, please. Oh, and let's not forget my 7th, where at my party all everyone was talking about was Princess Diana's death the day previously, and not about how fabulous I am. Woe.

My birthday is always bitter-sweet. Memories of past birthdays and wonder that I've made it to whatever age I become. 24. Who would have thought it?

But anyway, the day before my birthday was amazing, though. This picture about sums it up:

I'm just about managing to get by, being as goal orientated as I possibly can be. I want to become informal (that is, not sectioned) this year. I want to be out really by the beginning of next. To have a relatively normal 25th birthday. I really think I'm ready, but whether I am or not, is more than a bit confusing. Sometimes, I'm not sure whether I'm pushing it because I want to get out and seriously hurt myself, but most of the time I'm certain that's not it. I don't know. I just need to keep fighting.