Tag Archives: university
There’s a really annoying boy in my bed right now. The sort of boy that turns up at 6am, drunk, to tell you he misses you then ask you to be his “plus one” at his work Christmas party. I think this is a little bit ridiculous. I mean, its not entirely his fault seeing as I’m totally buff and super amazing, but still, why can’t people fucking chill? Seeing as I haven’t slept at all and he is now sleeping like a really tired, hungover person, I thought I’d catch up on some blogging.
To be honest, I’ve not been blogging much recently, in the reading and posting capacity. It’s mostly because I’m actually doing ok right now. I have my moments, but I’m spending a lot of time with my friends, boys, the Fam, at uni etc. so I am actually busy. I’ve gone from never busy to often busy. And I’m enjoying it. I really like my friends at the moment, a few in particular, and I’m getting my confidence on again so I’m actually talking to people. People are so good. Sometimes you forget, but remembering again is fun.
I’m still under the HTT, which I guess is good because I still have my unstable moments, especially when there’s any contact with the Ex. I literally cannot hack him. He completely ruins anything that makes me feel happy. I know that sounds dark, but he makes me feel so horrible. Like, I spoke to him the other day and ended up crying in Tottenham Court Road, spending £30 on stationary and buying darker hair dye purely because he likes my hair lighter, then getting home, crying, dying my hair and painting my nails black because I was angry and shouting at everyone I spoke to and self injuring. That boy has a lot to answer for when it comes to my mood. He fucks me up so much I swear. And I hate that I miss him. Cunt. And generally I’m not so rude about people. Well I am, but in a lolz way, not a serious way. This is a serious way. Still, he’s fading and I have people shaped distractions.
There is good news though. I’ve finally been seen by my new psychologist. It’s sad because I’m going to have to say goodbye to my super nang therapist who I love and actually sometimes trust, to be replaced by some next woman I don’t even know. The Psychologist is still seeing me weekly right now, but probably not for long. He wants me to write him a goodbye letter, and he will write me one and then we’ll read them to each other. All sounds a little bit too cringe for me really. I’m not sure I’m up to that challenge. I guess I’ll have to give it a go, but I so badly don’t want to :(. Plus I don’t want to say goodbye to the Psychologist because I love him so much. I hate it when people go. I’ll probably cry and look like a dick, but what can you do? I have to be ok moving on to some new therapist who might suck out and I might hate and might be really horrible. I hope she’s not, but who the fuck knows? Soon there’ll be a new the Psychologist and I just have to deal with it.
Still, this change means I no longer have to attend stupid coping stupid skills group. I hated coping skills group so much it’s ridiculous. Seriously. All the way in fucking Essex. So much travel for so little gain I swear. Plus I didn’t like the facilitator that much because she was too loud and in your face and the people in the group we’re all a lot older than me and no where near as logical and scientific thinking, so what I told them didn’t really resonate and vice versa. I don’t say that like their thinking was bad, it just wasn’t at all like mine and it made it hard to feel comfortable. Maybe that’s just me trying to rationalise my own prangs, but it is how I feel. It’s fine though because I never have to go again, which is a huge fucking relief.
But anyway, I still haven’t finished being assessed by IMPART yet. Apparently there’s only one left, but who the fuck knows really. There have been so many assessments you couldn’t imagine. In the whole process, I gained another diagnosis – panic disorder. Gotta catch ’em all in NHS mental health service. Really annoying, but I guess I already had it and now it just has a name.
I’ve been pretty open about my mental health with the sleeping boy seeing as I can’t go out in the dark by myself and he lives about 2 mins from my psychiatric hospital, but he has some pretty wafty ideas about mental health. He’s anti-medications and thinks that treatment doesn’t work and talking therapies fuck you up more and you shouldn’t have them. I didn’t really want to smash his opinions down with scientific research, statistics and generally knowing what I’m talking about because he’s only 20 and I didn’t want to be rude, but I’m sorry what the fuck? Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 25, anorexia the biggest killer of women under 25, people with psychotic disorders really fucking need their medications to stay stable, as do many people with other problems. It really bugs me. I spend so much of my life surrounded by people who either do or try to understand mental health, I forget sometimes how much people opinions can differ and be based on negative stereotypes. Still, at least he’s not rude about my mental health which I appreciate and he does try to get it. Jeez I’m such an over-sharer. He is a bed teef though, which makes him supes annoying.
Blah anyway I’m babbling away, losing my point. Standard though. This is what happens when you don’t plan your blog posts properly. I really should get some sort of structure to my blog. Except I can’t be fucked really. Maybe I’ll do it sometime. It really doesn’t help that I literally haven’t slept at all. No amount of sedatives stops insomnia anymore. Annoying.
The most important thing to mention in this post is the absolute brilliance that is ADVENT!!!! Which means advent calendars and lots of alcohol and festive spirit and mince pies and fun times and everyone is happy and it’s my favourite time of year. I love December. I love Christmas. I love winter. So much. I’m so excited and hyped all the time. Yesterday, me and almost all my S named ladies went to the Southbank Winter Festival to drink mulled wine for advent and it was so fun. Plus really pretty. The Southbank looks beautiful and festive. There’s this igloo outside the Hayward gallery which is literally so cute and pretty. And a bicycle powered light up tree. And so much good food. I had the world’s tastiest lamb burger with harissa and garlic mayo and it was so good. It might not actually have been the worlds best – that may well be the mulled wine and festive cheer talking. It was really good though. So good I could literally smell how bad my breath was and didn’t even care. I ended up getting pretty drunk, but not too drunk. Siblets on the other hand…. Well…
So anyway, I should probably try sleep if I can. Plus this massively horrible, seriously racist and really fucking irritating woman just showed up at my door (unannounced) and I have to rescue the Ma from her because none of us can stand her. Daughterly duty and all.
Here’s the igloo:
And a festive London Eye:
Wednesday 14th November 2012
So I’ve been having a bit of a blog break. My world has been a moody, hectic and stressful. I withdraw from the blog world when things are rubbish. Things are a bit rubbish right now.
The biggest rubbish thing is that Juno is very, very unwell. She started vomiting everything she ate and got really weak and feeble. The Fam took her to the vets last night and she needed an emergency operation, which she had in the middle of the night last night. Turns out, she’d swallowed a peach stone and it’d got stuck in her intestine. It’d completely blocked her gut and her gut had started to grow around it, so it was becoming a part of her. If we’d left it any longer, her gut would have probably ruptured overnight and she would have died, but she’s healthy and young and got there in time so she looks like she’s going to be ok. They had to remove six inches of her gut, and they also spayed her so she’s pretty unwell right now. She’s still at the vets to be monitored, plus she’s super doped up on painkillers, but me and the Brother got to visit her today and she seemed pleased to see us. Her bat ears stuck up and she rested her head on us and ate a little food and drank a little water. Hopefully she’ll be home on Friday (if everything goes as smoothly as it seems right now), but we won’t know for sure if she’s fully healed till a weeks time. Luckily, they don’t think there’ll be any lasting complications. Fingers crossed.
So yer, right now I have no dog and I’m worried and sad and have no one to look after me in that way that dogs look after you. They really do save you sometimes. I miss her and she’s only been gone a day. I hate not having a dog around. So much.
On top of this, our kitchen has just started being redecorated. This is stressful in an eating disorder way (obvs.), but also because my house is full of people and its loud and hard to feel comfortable. They turn up, bump into HTT, smash things and generally lead to me hiding away. I hate people in my house, especially when I’m meant to be home alone. I like my alone time. It’s important to me. I like empty space sometimes.
There are good points to it though. In one of my more hyper moments, I decided to create an incredibly selfish Facebook event in which I invite myself to people’s houses for dinner so that they can cook me nice foods to make the transition a little easier. I’ve been struggling with food a bit recently and I’ve lost a couple of kilos, so I think it’s important to try keep my eating up regardless. I figured what better to kick an eating disorder sneaking back in than letting other people cook me normal people meals. I used to find other people cooking for me horrific, then uncomfortable, but now fine. I figure this way, I’m less in control and will probably at least maintain a vaguely healthy weight for a while. Maybe I’ll even gain some weight. That’d probably be a good thing if it does happen. It’s only two weeks. Plus I’ll get to spend a little more time with my friends, which is always fun. Yesterday I saw a couple of people and their aces gecko Ricardo and we ordered Thai and drunk wine and gin and I had a nice time. It was good to see people. Especially people I don’t see enough and actually really like.
But yer, the kitchen makes life more difficult. It’s annoying and makes eating hard. Especially with Valium withdrawal. Valium withdrawal symptoms come and go in varying intensities, but it basically sucks out. I occasionally break and end up taking more than I should, but it is so hard you have no idea. It’s like the worst flu ever – tremors run through your entire body, you’re exhausted but can’t sleep, you get extreme fluctuations in body temperature and mood, my brain is louder, my appetite is just gone, there’s dizziness and generally feeling like you could collapse at any point, your head gets foggy and everything gets less real, you shake and have that not sleep you get with a fever, nightmares, increased urges self-injurious thoughts, anger, irritability, feeling like you literally might be about to die because you can’t breathe, feel nauseous and so dizzy you literally cannot stand. It’s shit. Another reason blogging has been a little rubbish recently.
Another stress had been the major amount of life admin I’ve had to go through recently. Sorting out my freedom pass, upgrading my phone with O2 and Carphone Warehouse, sorting out the Ma’s new phone contract, switching banks, sorting out a new student bank account, trying to work out uni, sorting out deferring my Professional Careers Development Loan due to being in benefits, having no money. It basically means I’ve spent what feels like years on hold. On hold to O2, Carphone Warehouse, NatWest, Co-Operative Bank, Tesco Mobile, Job Centre Plus, university etc. Urgh. I actually feel like I’ve done so much, but it’s probably haven’t done all that much really. I still haven’t decided if I want to insure my iPhone and iPad, so that might be a little bit more admin, but it’s like the least important bit left.
Treatment is also really bringing me down. I’m hating on the HTT, arguing with CDAT, telling the Psychologist I hate him more than anyone else and how he can’t help me, telling everyone off, shouting at the IMPART group that I’m never coming back because they suck. I don’t even know if I need help, but everyone thinks I do and I don’t know what to do about it. Double urgh.
Thursday 15th November 2012
So I did my finish my post yesterday – I got too Valium ill. Sorry.
Things are a bit brighter today because I got to pick up Juno from the vet because the recovery has been going so well. She’s going to need special food and special medications and special walks for a week, but she’s doing well. She’s very confused from all the painkillers and I think they make life a little difficult, but she’s beautiful and home and the vets all really like her and she doesn’t even have to wear a cone on her head because she’s been so good and isn’t even touching her stitches because she’s so well-behaved. I love my puppy so much. I’ve been appointed supreme pup watcher for the next week so I’m going to be well on watching her to keep her safe. She makes me so happy. I’m still scared, but it looks like she’s going to be ok. I now have a purpose again – keep Juno safe and healthy and happy.
I also actually went to my IMPART group today. It wasn’t as bad as the past few weeks, but I think I’ve realised that I’m actually quite behind where a lot of others in the group are right now. I’m pretty sure I’m the youngest and I’m pretty sure that I’m not as good at managing my emotions and impulses as most of them. What they are showing us seems impossible right now. Today, it was anger and anxiety management, but it was all like “in between the trigger and the behaviour, you have all this time to intervene and stop your thought processes etc.”, but all I could think was “what time between trigger and behaviour? There is no time between trigger and behaviour.” It made me feel pretty useless. I don’t think I can stop my impulsive behaviours. I honestly don’t know how. In showing me how, I got to listen to what other people do and it was all like “exercise” which I can’t do without going overboard, or “learn to be assertive” or “step outside the situation.” I am really not good at being assertive and have pretty poor interpersonal skills. I do ok with the people who know me really well, but not so much with new people, and even when the people I’m in love with make me feel too much, I often react in the wrong ways. They deal with it though. I think there’s a general feeling within my friendship circle that I’m not actually the problems, which makes my friends super aces. I’m just realising I really don’t have any coping mechanisms for managing my emotions. Except self-harm, spending money, not eating and getting fucked. Way to go Ellie – fucking useless at self-regulation. Triple urgh.
I am actually complying with treatment though. Kinda. I struggle with the Valium thing a bit, and I drink too much and smoke too much, self-injure too much. I know this, but I’m not trying to fix it because I don’t have any other ways too. Still, I actually went to all my appointments. On most days, I do actually get dressed and out of bed, even if I haven’t slept much. I am really trying to be budget and to eat lots and to stay as safe as possible. I don’t call the HTT as much as I should, but I don’t like them as a whole unit. They can’t keep me safe from myself and I won’t let them really. Maybe I’m half complying.
The thing is, although I’m taking some action to get better, I’m not sure if I believe I’m ill or deserve help or need to get better or have the motivation to. Intense emotions suck out, but sometimes they are great because intense love and intense happiness and intense excitement are really fabz. However fleeting and uncontrollable these emotions may be, I honestly believe I feel them stronger than other people. I know black and white thinking can be bad – everything is all or nothing. However, I have a strong sense of right and wrong and I like that. When applied to myself, it sucks, when applied to outside circumstances, I have a strong opinion and without the grey, I gain passion. Sure, my identity and opinions can change rapidly depending on my surroundings, but I think it means I am more able to empathise with other people sometimes as I really do absorb their views so whole heartedly. My impulsivity around things like drugs and alcohol and shopping etc. make me more fun to be around sometimes. Sure, the dissociation, negative self-beliefs, parasuicidal behaviours, impulsivity when alone etc. suck, but there are positive things about the way I am now. And that’s the thing – this is who I am. I don’t know if I want to be anyone else. I’m taking action, yet I see the positives and don’t know if I’m ready for change.
Still, being unable to work and being unable to do the things I want to do and struggling every fucking day might make this all worth it. I just don’t like knowing what’ll be left of me when this is all done. Will I even be me? I hate not knowing.
But finally, some other great news – my uni have decided to waive my fees and make me a part-time student so I can access all the support I need. This makes me supez happy. It’s also scary as it means I’ll actually have to finish my degree this year, but I have a whole year to do a dissertation so hopefully it’ll be ok. I’m scared, but at least I’m able to access any support I need. Fingers crossed. Once my freedom pass shows up, I’ll be back at uni to try sort it all out.
So goods and bads and lots in between. This is some sort of update I guess. I hope you’re all well.
I guess this could be a trigger. Sorry.
So last night I called the HTT crisis line because I was so worked up and distressed and I’d just got off the phone to the Ex and I felt out of control and fast and mean and basically the whole world sucked and I blamed treatment.
I literally have nothing normal left in my life anymore. Since starting treatment over a year ago I’ve only lost things. I’ve lost thing after thing till now I’ve got nothing nice left. The only thing I’ve gained is a bunch of professionals that are paid to pretend to care about me, but make it pretty fucking clear they don’t give a fuck. I didn’t feel safe.
I told them I never wanted anyone to come to my house again. The guy I was speaking to is actually nice and he got worried. I told him I’d lost everything and that having people barely conceal their contempt for me only hurt me more and I didn’t want any part of it ever again. I told him I wanted out of it all and I didn’t feel safe and they weren’t helping and everything in my life has just be getting worse and worse. This went on for a little while and he eventually agreed to the HTT calling me instead of visiting this morning and told me he cared and was worried and would listen and I should call him back if I needed to.
I didn’t call back. Instead I self harmed. It was quite severe, but I managed it with my now expert injury first aid and eventually felt better enough to fall asleep at about 4am.
I then get woken up by the HTT knocking on my door, and not just them, but also my new key worker from CDAT. I got so angry and told them over and over I didn’t want them there and had been told they wouldn’t come and they refused to leave because I had to talk to the CDAT woman and I hate her and I hate them and they lied and I wasn’t dressed and I hate every single part of my mental health treatment.
After they left, I called the HTT and asked them never to come back again and I didn’t want anymore treatment from them. They lied to me and didn’t care and they make me hurt more. Apparently they’re going to call me this afternoon, but I don’t even think they will seeing as they are full of lies and don’t give a shit. They talked about sectioning me if I didn’t comply with them, but I can’t even see how they have the power to do that. You need like two psychiatrists to section someone, and it’s not like any of them talk to each other. Like this morning I was told they’d come back this evening, then on the phone I was told they’d come back tomorrow morning. None of them have any fucking clue what the plan for my treatment is. I doubt they could get two psychiatrists in the same fucking room.
I then called the CMHT to asked to be discharged from them. The Psychiatrist is on leave so I can’t leave them till next week.
Following that, I called the Psychologist and left a message for him to call back. He didn’t, so I left a subsequent message saying I never wanted to see him again. He eventually called back and said he “hopes I turn up and he won’t discharge me yet” and said he’ll leave it in my hands to contact him if I don’t go. I’m most angry with him because he pretends better than everyone else. And if he didn’t tell me the Ex was a cunt, I’d probably still have someone to love me. If he hadn’t told me it was ok to take time out of uni, I’d probably have a fucking degree. If he hadn’t told me I needed further help, none of the other fucking teams would be involved. And he called my fucking parents. How am I supposed to trust him?
I can’t get in touch with IMPART because I didn’t save their number and I’ve swapped phones. Imma try get their number from someone else, but I don’t know who yet. I fully intend to leave their services as well.
CDAT can go spin to be honest. I told her as much, but she made an appointment for me anyway. I’m not going to go. She said if I don’t go, she’ll call, but it’s not like I have to reply. Calls from mental health treatment places always come up as private numbers so its pretty easy to know which ones to ignore.
I then called uni to ask to formally drop out, but I have to talk to my personal tutor before I can do that and he’s not in so I emailed.
I want to be out of treatment now. Out for good. All I’ve got from treatment is a worse life. All I had left was my fucking degree and that’s gone now so fuck it. If I’d never started treatment, I probably could have aced a dissertation by now and be finished and not care that all my friends hate me and my family think I’m disgusting because I’d be pretty and small and that would be enough and I’d have a boy and future. Instead, I’ve complied with everything asked of me and have essentially lost everything. I make the Fam cry, the Brother always chooses others over me when I really need him, my friends all think I’m rubbish and weird, the Ex treats me rubbish and I hurt him and the DVIP people keep calling me to tell me how shit he is and he calls me to tell me how shit they are and now I’ve lost uni. The one fucking normal thing I had left.
So fuck them all. I did as I was told and tried and now I’m angry and alone and have horrendous withdrawal symptoms. I keep having panic attacks and can’t focus or sleep and get tremors all over and I fucking hate every part of ever having entered treatment. So I no longer have an eating disorder? It’s not like I have anything else.
It hurts me more to be surrounded by people who pretend they care then it does to be alone. It’s better to not have it rubbed in your face that the most important thing you do is provided by people who think you’re worthless. Fuck them all. Seriously.
So I might have to drop out of university. Fuck.
This is going to be a very long, very personal post. Most of it is going to be in my handwriting so if you can’t read it, I apologise. I think it’s reasonably legible, but who knows what anyone else will think. It’s fine if you can’t be fucked. I write quickly and in a lengthy manner and because it’s handwritten, it’s not edited or anything. I’m also going to put lots of pictures because photos are nice. If there’s a photo of you and you want me to remove it, just lemme know. Here goes…
Then, in order of mention in these pages (most of these pictures come from my camera. The ones that don’t, I have no idea who took. Even some of the ones that are could have been taken by anyone. Sorry if you read this and you know it was you and I didn’t mention):
Now I start my actual today drama, but in photos:
First year photos:
That was a bad year. But second year was actually ok see?:
That was my normal second year. Here are some pictures to illustrate how nang Bristol is:
These are now just going to be pictures of and from Clifton Suspension bridge in all its glory. They’re all from the day I graduated (so all these pictures were taken by the Dad obvs.). It’s so nice there. One of my favourite places in the world to be ever:
And for the hell of it, because it’s not on the internet anywhere – This is me at graduation:
And finally, me now:
And for the hell of it:
So there you go. Lots of photos so this post is nicer to look at. Plus it’s lots of happy memories, which kinda makes me sad, but is what I need right now. It’s a lot of insight into my brain and also my life, but I thought it’d be nice to share a little. I hope you enjoyed it.
I had my first meeting with my mentor the other day. Basically, because I’m classed as disabled by my university, the government pay for someone to meet with me to help counsel me through my work. I get to meet her once a week and she’ll help to keep me on track and moving in the right direction work wise. I’m taking a massive extension on my dissertation as my summer hasn’t exactly gone to plan, but I’d like to start-up trying to get some study done again. I stopped studying entirely for a month or so as I just got too out of control, but now I’m going to give it another go.
Starvation did wonders for my academic work. Seriously. Not eating helps study and study helps not eating. It’s a perfect partnership. Historically, I’ve not been good at prioritising work. Social, fun, being miserable, being dramatic or just watching day time t.v. have always taken priority over work for me. It’s surprising I even got through my A-levels as I spent a lot of my study leave high or depressed and don’t think I really revised, coursework the day before the deadline etc. I just didn’t have consequences. It made my first year of uni hell as I’d be starting essays 2am in the morning before the deadline. Study was something I couldn’t really be bothered with. I’d much rather get really drunk and be a mental at the Boy or something. Standard.
There are a lot of reasons I think I got really into study. Some wholesome ones include the fact that I completely loved my undergraduate degree and I grew to be passionate about it. Another reason is that I’d aged slightly. I think a big reason though is that I started starving myself. Sounds counter intuitive, but I’m pretty sure it’s true. I’ve always been kinda chaotic, impulsive and emotional. I didn’t think I was at the time, but I look back and see that part of me and I hate it. I learnt through experience that if you really try hard to lose weight, you stop being chaotic, impulsive and emotional. You become organised, restrained and numb. I was more manageable and it allowed me to focus on my studies more completely. I had charts and timed my days exactly and pushed myself so hard and it worked.
Starvation changes your brain. Your thinking becomes more rigid. You get rid of all that extra stuff like feelings and urges because you simply don’t have the calories spare to power those parts of the brain. For me, I ended up incredibly tidy, obsessive, organised, ruled by routines and focused. All the impulsive, emotional stuff got under control. I liked that I wasn’t that person anymore. I found a journal from my first year the other day and it’s mostly writing about how the Boy is cheating on me/leaving me/hates me/in love with someone else, how I hate myself/my friends/my location/my behaviour and suicide plans. I was so happy when I stopped being that. I got comfy with the boy, felt ok about myself as I was more comfy in my skin and engaged with the world. This all made me a lot less frantic and study easier to settle into.
I thought I got there with age and experience. In hindsight, I’d put more of it on starvation. Especially as it’s all come rushing back in the last few months, which has left me without the ability to control my emotional responses for long enough to study at the right level to actually complete my MA and it’s scary because I’m not sure I actually have a dissertation in me without starvation, let alone a PhD (though to be honest, I’m not sure I even want that anymore).
I really miss the ability to focus and the organisation I got out of starvation. The thing is though, it doesn’t last. It eventually leads to a complete loss of academic ability as you cannot do anything at all but organise food and organise thoughts of food and organise meal plans and calculate weight. At that point for me, my body was kinda done and I hardly got out of bed unless it was to clean or walk. I’d daydream about the merits of one type of food over another. It was a bad scene. You can’t work, you can’t get to uni, you can’t concentrate. The only thing in the world is food and you’re too weak to do anything. It sucks and study suffers until it becomes impossible. It’s not a permanent solution. You can drag out the positives of starvation for a long time if you’re lucky, but you can’t control it so you don’t get to decide how it plays out. It’s not worth it because it doesn’t work.
Now I’ve just got bare emotions and an inability to focus or concentrate whilst trying to complete the most important assessment of my academic life so far and it all feels impossible. I just wish I was more in control again, but that control was never me really. If I’m going to do this dissertation, I’m going to have to start over and find a new way to keep myself in check. One that doesn’t involve causing me any harm. With that in mind, I went to the mentor.
I think this mentor thing might be a great idea in general. Once a week I get a confidential meeting with this lovely lady who talks through my working week with me and helps me find ways to manage my work load. Because I’m classed as mentally ill, the mentor I’ve been allocated is an ex mental health nurse so she’s kinda clued how to act with me. Apparently my circumstances are “extremely extenuating” so she feels I should defer my assessment and take it incredibly slowly. The most important thing right now is to stay safe and well. We’re literally starting at a few pages of reading a day and seeing how that goes. She doesn’t want me to work myself up into a stress, plus the diazepam makes me really tired in the afternoons so I only really have half a day to work in. I think it’s pretty nifty though. Maybe she’ll be able to help me find successful ways to find focus as well as just keeping me on track. We’ll see I guess.
Today has been a bad day. I had yoga and that was good, but I spent most of the day feeling really sick and lying down. Lucky for me I have a puppy to make me feel better, but I wound up feeling really shit. I let myself wallow then wound up caught up in a serious thought spiral. I duno. Lucky for me I have therapy tomorrow. I’m actually fucking terrified of therapy tomorrow, but hopefully it’ll help me as I’ve seriously fucked up today. Ack! We’ll see I guess.
Everything is always “we’ll see.” Nothing is known. It’s completely annoying.
Wowzas. So I haven’t posted in a while. In my defense, I have a bunch of upcoming deadlines keeping me from setting aside some time to do this. It’s not even because I’m having too much fun :(.
Another reason I’ve not really been posting too much is to do with the fact that I’m struggling with recovery at the moment. I am eating enough and trying to force myself to walk less, but it’s harder than it had been recently. With my treatment at my EDU starting to wind down, support from my CMHT starting up, being physically larger than I’ve been in a long time and being unused to it (therefore feeling unbearably huge and uncomfortable) whilst dealing with the stress of work without restriction to get me through it is hard. Very hard.
For me, work and starvation go hand in hand like peas in an incredibly fucked pod. In the past, when I have deadlines, I eat less. It’s partly because I have less time to exercise, and partly because I find it makes my workload easier to get through. I get on this mad concentration and productivity kick when I lower my intake, plus the structure of study and eating get all tangled in each other and end up working together pretty harmoniously. It’s all “It’s time for breakfast, but I’ll wait. Once I’ve read this article/chapter/written 500 words, I’ll have breakfast.” It makes me work faster and eat less. It’s actually more stressful to work whilst eating than it is without. Having to cut into my work time to prepare and sit and eat a full meal every few hours really gets me out of the study zone, plus now I have friends that I actually want to see which makes working even more painful. At least when I wasn’t eating. I wanted to be alone so study became the best option available. Now, actually going out tempts me far too much. Anxieties about my body, diet and exercise levels run rampant through my mind as studying is doing nothing to keep them at bay (unlike my general distraction techniques), and seeing as I’m doing everything I can to go against them, only make me feel terrible. I may have them when I’m under-eating, but at least then I can settle them because I’m doing everything I can to make myself “better.” Plus my work right now is on “Women’s bodies as sites of improvement – Comparative assessment of FGM in West Africa and cosmetic surgery in Britain.” It’s depressing in and of itself.
My mood has been dropping rapidly over the past couple of weeks. I think it started with the super amounts of fear I somehow managed to work up in myself for my assessment with the CMHT. I hate assessments. What seems to happen is I get told things are worse than I think they are. I feel like I’ve been improving, and I think other people would agree with me. The past couple of months have seen me come leaps and bounds in terms of retrieving some sort of personality, having actual fun and being less focused on eating and food all the time. However, the assessment was immediately after a bad weekend (the Westfield incident), so when she asked about how often I get myself caught up in extreme negative spirals, although I was able to say “a lot less than when my referral was written”, when asked how recently, I could only say “… a couple of days ago.” Now there’s talk of more antipsychotics (though the doctor I saw says she’ll try to find a type with minimal weight gain effects), crisis support, possible diagnosis that make me sad and probably more therapy. These things make me feel crazy, even though I had been feeling significantly less so. I hate being told that actually, I’m still not functioning normally and my brain still needs more treatment. It’s not how I feel right now and it leads me to second guessing myself constantly, trying to figure out what parts of me need fixing.
Since then, with the increasing workload and the decreasing support, my mood is plummeting. Yesterday, I just started to cry on the way to the library. Alone. On public transport. Like a proper idiot. Because I miss the boy. Because I’m fat and ugly and no one will ever like me. Because I’m an idiot. Mostly because I just feel sad a lot of the time for no real, tangible reason. This sort of spontaneous crying outbreak happens a lot. I hate it. I hate crying because I’ve had it drilled into my head that crying is only a form of emotional manipulation and serves no purpose except to make others feel bad. I am ashamed when I cry. Ashamed that I cannot control myself better and it might elicit emotions in others that I never want them to feel. To me, it feels like I’m committing involuntary blackmail. I’m ok mood-wise if I keep myself going and doing something at all times, but as soon as I stop, it’s overwhelming and sometimes I freak out. It’s all those little, in between times. Making a coffee has become an emotional challenge, going to the shop makes my brain want to implode, showering is positively distressing. All those times of day where you have nothing but your thoughts to distract you, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes, leave me feeling entirely empty and spiralling into horribly low moods. Sometimes I’m able to distract myself again, sometimes I’m not and I just sit there with a head full of distressing, scary and destructive thoughts. All of which reflect what I believe about myself.
I’m hoping that after this next uni push is over in 5 weeks, I’ll calm down again. It’s not all bad right now. I’m still able to have more fun sometimes, I can actually be distracted, I’m being sociable and enjoying the company of others etc. It’s just that my low moods are increasingly regular and are increasingly painful and distressing again. It’s hard, but it would be naive to think this is easy for anyone. I often feel like I’m making a mountain out of nothing and this is just normal moods. I don’t actually know anymore what normal is really (still working that out). I’m not very good at regulating my emotions. The only ways I know how to end up with me slowly destroying my body in various ways, some of which have started to slip back into my life.
So obviously, I did what any complete moron would do. I decided that now is exactly the right time to stop smoking. So I have. I’m on day three smoke free now. I figure quitting smoking leads to weight gain, so better to do it now whilst I still have a little weight to gain maybe and the support of my EDU than when I’m fully weight restored and support-less. I feel like quitting at a weight restored place involves a higher likelihood of restriction, so if I can do it now, it can only help prevent possible future relapse. But my gosh it’s rubbish. I recommend the NHS Stop Smoking Service entirely though. They have loaded me up with nicotine to get me through the first few weeks and it’s all entirely free!
For now, I’m just trying to keep working and not smoking. I have no idea how much I weigh and that bothers me every single day. Especially as there are staffing difficulties at my EDU so yesterday, I was told that my next dietetics appointment had been cancelled (my last one was three weeks ago), with no appointment lined up, and possibly not for another month or two. This is seriously bothering me. I don’t know how much I weigh. I was going to find out on Tuesday, but now I have no idea when I’ll next know. And I’ve quit smoking, which I know effects your metabolism and appetite in scary ways and I was hoping for some guidance with that. Plus I was hoping I’d be told it was the right time to start making the transition to normal, intuitive, maintenance eating. I can’t stay on a weight gain plan forever, and right now another month definitely feels like forever. I cannot just keep growing and growing. It makes me want to restrict and right now, every meal and every snack is difficult. I’ll keep eating though I think. I don’t like it, it’s not enjoyable, but somewhere in my mind there’s a part of me that knows that it’s just not an option to start slipping right now when I’m so close to physical recovery. It doesn’t even feel like a choice to eat anymore, but just something that has to be done. It’s painful at the moment though. I am trying to get in contact with the dietitian, but she hasn’t called me back. Honestly, I’m not sure how long I can keep eating and not weighing myself. I’m a normal weight now, so maintenance is what I’m after. I’m closing in on breaking point and really need some direction from my team as to what to do next because honestly, I don’t even know if I am or should be gaining weight right now. And without that knowledge, starting to cut back on my intake, increasing my activity levels and trying to maintain seems like the right thing to do for my ongoing health and stability. I don’t know. I don’t think I even know how to maintain my weight. Especially as all I want to do is lose it.
My life right now is predominently freaking out. Freaking out about my mood, my body, my diet, my work, my addictions, my social life, my treatment. It’s just a lot of freaking out.
Uni work, confusing dietary needs and quitting smoking. Gah! Wish me luck.
There is literally so much on my mind I think I’m about to explode.
None of it is food or exercise, but all of it makes food and exercise a problem.
“Panicking? Miss a snack and go for a walk with music blaring really loudly in your ears.”
“Uni work? Well you kinda want a new nose ring – why not walk to Walthamstow to pick one up. You can even dance home!”
Today I have walked for three hours. Fuck’s sake Ellie. Which meant I was conveniently out over a meal time. Same yesterday, Saturday, Friday….
Multiple walks a day. Big walks, little walks. Yes it is a stress-buster. It helps me mitigate the physical effects of anxiety and panic whilst giving me a change of scenery and a little thinking space. But I think this is getting a little extreme. Especially as my sleeping has just gone to shit all over again. Walking really helps me not engage in other destructive behaviours because I can stamp and jump and punch my thighs as I go to physically unravel in a less dangerous way. But it is getting to the point where it could sabotage other aspects of my life.
No sleep, lots of walking, missing food, incredible confusion and stress, a lot of negative emotions. It’s a recipe for disaster. It makes me miss it. That feeling of empty whilst stomping about London. It’s a bit gross I know but I keep finding myself reminiscing about “that time I didn’t eat all day and went walking around for hours before my hair cut – I was so empty. My thoughts were so clear. I felt right.” etc. There are many examples. It’s actually really sick, but I can’t help it. Walking, and exercise more generally, on a starving body is something I can’t really describe, but I crave. It’s why I love running in the mornings – you can legitimately do it before breakfast. My brain makes some pretty hideous conclusions sometimes.
Honestly, what do people do when there minds are going one hundred miles a minute and they are freaking out? How do you cope when your body is reacting for you and tensing up all over, begging for some sort of relief?
I still think some things are going well. I’m making better food choices and have minimal food guilt and am eating regularly and most of my meal plan. I don’t think it’s that bad in general. I just cannot waste so much time walking and cannot justify missing bits here and there from my meal plan in the name of something definitely considered exercise.
Maybe I just need to talk. Sometimes I think I just need to talk things through with as many people as possible till the issues have run their course and I’m less in my own head. But I’m crap at talking because I never know who to ask and when. Maybe I just really need to see the psychologist. To be fair though, I think I need people who can be a little more judgemental than his job description allows. Real life people – see me soon!
Or maybe it’ll improve when the week is out. I have to meet with my study group tomorrow and have yet to really speak to anyone on my uni course so am shit scared. Plus I’m getting bone density scan anxiety (which is tomorrow). And family therapy this week. Plus a plethora of family celebration which will inevitably involve food are coming up in the next few weeks. Then there’s personal things coming to a head too. Urgh.
Someone just come and sit on me please. Just sit on me and don’t let me go anywhere. Multiple walks a day aren’t helping anyone. If I don’t walk, I’m home to eat and eating is fine.
So being the stupid clichéd eating disordered, obsessional, perfectionist that I am (I’m such a stereotype I know), I’m really pissed. I got one mark – one measly mark – off of a distinction in my essay. And now obviously I feel like an absolute failure. But for NO REASON. It’s not even part of my assessment and doesn’t count towards my grade at all – it’s purely for feedback purposes and it told me exactly how to make it a distinction. Plus it’s only one mark so it wouldn’t matter if it was assessed. But it’s not good enough. I hate myself for thinking it’s not good enough because it should be, but I know it my heart of hearts it’s not. If it’s not distinctions I’m not doing well enough. I got one and a half marks of a first in my undergraduate degree, I don’t want to make that mistake again. So annoyed. At least uni is over for the term now. I still have a lot of work to do though for my dissertation (if I even stay at uni…) so no relaxing for me over Christmas. And obviously I have to be putting more effort in. Still, at least I’m not failing as much as I thought I was even though it still feels like failure to me. I didn’t go to the end of term course drinks (obviously) but I did finally speak to someone on my course today without having a panic attack! Shame it’s probably the last time I’ll see her but she was really nice actually. I gave her a cigarette and we talked about the film from the lecture (world premier guys! Someone who used to be at my uni made a documentary called My Grandmother about the contradictions of development projects in the Israel/Palestine conflict – interesting stuff. Also very depressing) and she was really happy and chatty so I didn’t have to do much. I don’t even know her name though and she’s in my seminar… I’m not really a social butterfly.
Anyway, today I am going to moan and I don’t care. I know that I have to get healthy and gain weight and that’ll make everything that’s hard at least a little bit better with time but I don’t have to like it. I’ll do it, but I have the right to hate it. I hate gaining weight and I hate eating this much food and I hate my body and I don’t want to do this anymore. I will do this but I hate it. I see absolutely tiny people wherever I go and I’m jealous. They get to be small still and I don’t. As I queue up for my coffee and cereal bar, I hear people talking about the fat content in flapjacks and how there’s just so much you shouldn’t even share one as that’d be too much. It’s a flapjack – it’s hardly bad for you. Needless to say I now feel like cereal bars and flapjacks are too greedy and unhealthy for me. And it’s nearly Christmas and I don’t feel festive. I don’t want alcohol calories and extravagant food calories and it makes me dread Christmas. Plus it’s the brother’s birthday night out this weekend and most of the people going last saw me twenty-two pounds ago and will think I’m fat or at least judge the fact that I’ve gained weight. Gaining weight is not really socially acceptable and people will judge me. And it’s hard. It’s hard to eat this much even if it’s not even that much as it goes against every fiber of my being. It makes me feel like a bad person. I talk about all these foods I’m eating like peanut butter and chocolate and potatoes and ice-cream and you know what? They make me feel bad. I know I shouldn’t have these opinions because they are meaningless but I feel like they are ‘unhealthy’, ‘junk’ foods and I judge myself for eating them because obviously they are just categorically bad. Except they’re not. They are just food and right now they are particularly good for me because I need extra fats and carbs and energy. That doesn’t matter though because illogically, it makes me feel like rubbish. Like a bad person doing unhealthy, unjustifiable things. Right now I’m eating so much food just to maintain my weight. I desperately don’t want to add more. You need an excess of 500kcals (ish) a day to gain a clinically significant amount of weight in a week (0.5kg) and I’m already eating above what’s recommended for women of my age and activity level who are a normal weight. I don’t want to eat more even though I know I have to. I try to kid myself that maybe this is my “set point” as I’m maintaining on weight gain amounts of food, but it’s still underweight and I still don’t have periods so it’s just a lie really. I don’t want to have to choose the full fat products in the supermarket. I want to choose things that I feel safest with. I know exactly what yogurt has the lowest calories and every week I have to deliberately chose ones with higher fat and thus calories. It takes so much energy to not weight out my blackberries to make sure I don’t over do it. I mean – its bloody blackberries girl! I could eat all the blackberries in my house and over shoot my calorie target by what, 50kcals? Does that even matter? Of course not, but it still pains me to just guesstimate amounts using handfuls as a guide. And don’t even get me started on spreads. I do these things everyday and I desperately don’t want to do them. My days are full of things I hate, weights that make me feel worthless, things that make me anxious and scared and upset, but I do them anyway. In fact, I actively pursue them even though they make me feel awful because I hope that in the future there’ll be a payoff for all this rubbish now. It takes all my energy and effort and I hate it. But then again, no one said I had to like it, just that I have to do it.
And that’s the crux of the whole thing there. I have to do it. I have to do all these absolutely rubbish things in the hope that in the future, none of it will bother me anymore. It’s not only gaining weight, it’s also behaviours like calorie counting, excessively weighing food and myself, restricting myself to only “healthy” foods etc. None of these behaviours and worries should be normal to anyone (although they are to an alarming amount of the population) and for me, they have proven themselves dangerous. I have to cut myself off from all my “healthy living”, “diet”, “daily exercise” and “low-fat” experiences entirely as this road leads to no good, but in a world where these dangerous actions are seen as self-improving, I can’t help but find myself feeling lazy, greedy and somehow immoral. I know that health and nutrition guidelines are essentially all rubbish, but I took them to heart years ago and to me they just feel right. Even though they’re hyped up nonsense. Weight loss, diets, low-fat, high fibre, exercise, at least 5 daily fruit and veg, low carb, low sugar, unprocessed, less meat, less dairy, more whole grains, unrefined foods, low sodium etc. All of this is nonsense really. Fibre is only good to a certain amount, half an hour walking a day is actually enough exercise, fruit and veg is great as long as that’s not all you eat, fat is crucial for functioning brains and reproduction and we need both saturated and unsaturated fat to be healthy, carbs and sugars are great energy boosters, sodium is really important for health, meat is so high protein and full of vits & mins, dairy is great for your bones, whole grains are good, but so are processed foods too. It’s all about moderation. Everything in moderation. Except I like to take things to extremes.
You know what though? The extremes are rubbish.