Don’t get me wrong – I am the first to shout out about the superiority of the supposedly fairer sex because let’s be honest – we are fairer. And emotionally stronger and brave and much more beautiful and we deal with so much rubbish but get so much done and we can be anything a rubbish boy can be, but do it with a hell of a load more style, dignity and skill. As a gender, women pretty much have it sussed. We are definitely the better half of the species. Recently though, I find myself thinking that maybe boys don’t always suck. Recently, the boys in my life have been really on form. Sometimes they can make up for their chromosomal deficiencies. So today I’m biggin’ up the boys.
So first I guess I’ll start with the boy. He is bloody fantastic. This time last year, our relationship was falling apart. I was a mess, so fueled by anorexia that my world just got smaller and I was becoming less and less able to have a relationship with anyone that wasn’t my eating disorder. Basically, I stopped being me, I stopped being fun and I started to get scary to look at. Not that it was all my fault (though I really struggle to believe this sometimes) – he wasn’t being entirely honest and some of his actions showed disrespect for me and what I was going through. Basically, I was pushing and he was retreating. I cared more about not eating and over exercising and giving up on normal life entirely than I did about anything else, he cared more about being young and not having to be a carer and having a life. I don’t blame him, but some of his behaviours only worsened and already tense situation. By March, he broke up with me. I was too hard. Absolutely distraught, I basically lost the plot after this, started binging and purging every day (something that was never before a regular part of my ED, and hasn’t been since), eating even fewer calories, exercising even more. I stopped seeing all my friends and spent all my time obsessing over numbers. I missed him something terrible though, and once I’d managed to pull myself out of the horrible binge/purge cycle, I felt confident and happy and I thought I could be a girlfriend again. We took tentative steps and for a while, and although it was really apparent that nothing had changed at all, we decided to try again back in July. I was still restricting down to lower and lower calories, losing weight incredibly fast and entirely numb to the world. How can you love someone if you love being small more? I don’t really think you can. Things only started to really improve around six weeks ago, as my weight slowly crept back up and I started to think about other things. We are really good right now. It’s like being a new couple all over again. It’s actually fun and exciting – exactly what a young couple should be like. And he is here, like he hasn’t been in over a year. He comforts me, listens to me, tells me lovely things about me, holds my hand when I’m scared. All those good things I’ve missed. I don’t believe I am any good and I firmly believe that the rest of the world agrees with me, but I believe that he doesn’t think I’m rubbish. I believe that actually he really thinks I’m an alright person. Obviously there are still a lot of issues due to my illnesses, but I’m slowly building a life back up and he’s a major part of that. So this is good in and of itself. I hate talking about all this stuff – talking about any problems with my relationship with the boy makes me worry that other people will think I’m crap and that I shouldn’t be bringing him down because I’m wrong and thus the illusion of the perfect relationship I so long to hold will be forever out of reach. Fucking perfectionism – why must you haunt me so?
There is a reason for all this immense gushing right now. I hate talking to anyone when I’m not feeling good. I internalized everything and turn my thoughts into a weapon to hurt my head with. No so great. This time last week, I had a terrible night full of flashbacks and fears that someone would come into my house and attack me, but obviously I deserved it because it was all my fault. I had a panic attack and actually cried and couldn’t function. He called. I told him to go away. He called again and asked me what was wrong. I didn’t want to talk at all and I said that, so he decided he would just say nice things. He told me about a puppet show held on a barge in Regents Park. They have a christmas performance called ‘Little Rabbit meets Brer Santa’. He told me he was going to take me special. That we would wrap up warm in hats and scarves and take a thermos. That he wanted to go as close to christmas as possible. How he hoped it would snow because then I get excited and laugh a lot. He told me that he wanted to do something special for me because I was trying so hard. For those of you that know me, you’ll know this is like the best possible day I could ask for. I literally love winter. I love layers and wooly hats and coffee in my pretty thermos and snow is one of my top five all time favorites and the puppet show on a barge sounds so fun and I get so excited about christmas. I sat there and I thought “he knows me so well. It’s actually bizarre. I would love this more than anything, yet would never dream of doing something like that right now. I can’t plan my own fun, yet he’s planning it for me. And I couldn’t have had better ideas that I would like more.” We have been dating for just over four years so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he knows me this well, but I was surprised anyway. I spend so long worrying about all the various problems in my life I completely forget what I find fun, but he really hasn’t. Gotta love the boy sometimes. He said the right thing without even trying.
Also, I got pride for him right now. He was offered a six month job in Amsterdam! And not only that, when he told the Institute he works at for two days a week, they offered him full time work as well. So he’s staying in London! Very clever and talented that one, though he always thinks he does everything wrong. He was convinced he’d never get the job and convinced he never be financially stable whilst trying to stick to his morals. Well now he will be. Two job offers in two days! I have all the pride. It does make me sad though, not for him or at him, but for the entire lack of a life I have in comparison. He’s going out and making an adult life whilst today I got signed off by the doctors again. He is always busy with all these exciting projects and work drinks and nights out and dinner parties whilst I get perscribed antipsychotic drugs and most of my appointments are at the hospital, not social or professional engagements. It makes me resent everything that mental illness has taken from me. It makes my life feel unimportant and makes me feel useless. He has this great life starting whilst I’m just trying to get through this year in one piece. I feel like I’m starting from scratch, taking very small steps to try to get what everyone else seems to already have. I want to be where he is now – leading the exciting life of an adult. Not stuck at home hoping that tomorrow won’t be as painful as today, walking for hours so I don’t hate myself and being scared of food. And do you know what the worst part is? I so badly want to take him out and celebrate with dinner and drinks but I’m too fucking scared. Fucking mental health.
But after that general storm cloud, you’ve got to admit – score one for the boys.
Next up is the brother. He has always been my best friend, which I know a lot of people think is weird, but it’s just how it is and I think I’m super lucky. Alas, the eating disorder struck again and I became too irritable, too grumpy, too sensitive, too disinterested in anything but getting thinner. Like a lot of things, I pushed him out so I could have less distraction from my main aim. And again, he too retreated from me. He literally moved in with his girlfriend to get away from me – I was too sad to be around, too hard, too much effort. He left later than the boy, and came back earlier, but he was still gone for a good long while. We’d see each other and not say a word. I was angry with him for not caring and not trying to help me, and he was probably just angry because I was being a massive prick. But now, after a lot of hard work and effort, we talk. I have a problem and I go to him and I get upset and he makes me think about it differently. But not only serious stuff, we chat now too which is pretty novel. Recently I had the mother of all panic attacks and he just sat with me, rubbed my back, talked at me until I was calm. He looks out for me that one. Big brothers are where it’s at famo wise.
Score two for the boys.
The last boy on the list is a friend. Throughout the whole of this, most of my friends eventually gave up on trying to spend time with me, which although I appreciated when I wanted them to go so I could perfect my eating disorder, now I realise that I’ve just lost a lot. He never stopped texting though. Very occasionally, we go out for walks. He listens to me be a crazy person, but chats to me about a lot of really silly things too. It’s probably a whole load of nothing to him, but for me it’s another tentative step towards having a life. I don’t call or text people much if I can avoid it as I tend to end up panicking and not knowing what to say. It’s not because I don’t want to, it’s purely isolation driven by fear. Immense fear that everyone thinks I’m rubbish, ugly, boring and doesn’t want to know me but has to pretend they do because they pity me. However, some people don’t seem to give up and he is one of the few that didn’t. He is one of the home people who reads my blog, so he’ll probably read this (hello!) and today, he really made things better. I wasn’t feeling very good and was on the overground heading to therapy when I checked my emails. After reading up on my last few stormy posts, he sent me a seriously lovely and incredibly cheesy email about me being great and how he’s sorry he’s not around more and how everyone misses me and how we should meet up soon and how he wants me to feel better and then http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHcm1ec7CcY to cheer me up (it is really really funny, but you have to get to the very end. And just so you know, the comments are super lolz you are right). For a little while, I felt I was worth something. Something small, but something.
This makes it score three for the boys.
Obviously, the ladies are better and there are some super ladies out there too, but right now, I’ve got to hand it to the boys. They make my very small world a little bigger right now. You’ve got to hand it to them – sometimes the boys really do come out top.