Wednesday, 29 September 2010


I have to admit that my blood ran a little colder as I drove back to the gym and heard this report on the radio...

I guess it is silly to get worried. After all, my choice right?

But the girl who died was six and a half stone.

I have fallen below six that there's nobody to scrutinise me.

My fear of a heart attack doesn't seem quite as strong as my horrible determination to lose weight.
Until I'm alone in the dead of the night, that is.
Then the fear of death at least matches the will to risk it.

Friday, 24 September 2010


It's never ideal when your Wednesday feels like a Friday and your Thursday, a Monday.

As hinted at in my last post, the main reason that the week has felt much longer than the four days it has contained thus far, is that the 'brown letter' (nowadays, 'the brown phonecall') arrived on Monday lunchtime announcing the imminent arrival of an OFSTED inspector. When I say imminent... I mean he would be darkening our doorstep in precisely twenty one hours time.

Twenty one DAYS may offer enough time, twenty one hours however, is barely enough time to get off the toilet after receiving the terrible news.

For the benefit of my sweet blog pal abroadermark, the name OFSTED is to teachers, what the name Voldemort is to Hogwarts.

Sadly, OFSTED, is not just a figment of an incredibly well utilised imagination.

The fear inspiring acronym stands for: Office For Standards in Education. I won't go into it in too much depth because it all becomes slightly political and I'm not really that way inclined! However, whether they are ultimately beneficial or detrimental, the organisation exists and, when inspecting your school, stress and anxiety levels go through the roof and people begin to behave in an extraordinary manner.

I suppose in some ways, OFSTED can bring out the very worst and the very best.

They have the power to close you down if your school or unit fail. And it does happen. Which may well be a good thing in many cases.

Happily, we passed. And not just with a 'satisfactory', but with a 'good'.

My individual lesson received a 'good with outstanding features'.

I was amazed because I had felt it went badly.

I was nervous and felt that my questioning reflected my nerves.

The relief is hard to put into words.

I think it is the first time in eight years that I have considered that perhaps, I judge my teaching too harshly. Perhaps my bosses and colleagues haven't been lying to me all along.

The idea made me want to cut when I first had it. But I didn't.

I have lost weight but tonight I have binged on chocolate and jelly beans. I have two weeks coming up where I won't have to answer to anyone so I will be able to eat or starve as I please.

I can't wait.

I'm so sorry I am behind in reading people's blogs. I hope to catch up this weekend.

I've written a lot more than I meant to but wanted to answer the OFSTED question and I should probably mention therapy, which, at the moment, is quite like as series of very expensive chats. I'm trying to work out whether this is partly her ploy to drop me.

If I thought she wouldn't want to make light of it, I'd tell her how it is for me. Not that I haven't tried, just that I feel that she doesn't want to know it.
It's far easier to concentrate on all things joyful.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Very Hungry, Very Harrassed and Vaguely Hysterical

I'll be brief.

If you are one who is not acquainted with the fear-inspiring acronym 'OFSTED', then you might not understand why I simultaneously battled urges to laugh, cry and crap when I was told at midday that we were being inspected tomorrow.
My lesson will be hit.

Food. A pear, an apple, some lettuce, 5 baby tomatoes and... an endless chain of chocolates and boiled sweets. I could cry. It comes after a fairly restrained weekend where I worked out so hard on both days).
I ALWAYS have to go and sabotage my own efforts.

My dad appears to be so disgusted with my "serious illness" that he has barely spoken to me since Friday. Although I have no right, I feel hurt.

(Did I just admit that?)

Therapy. I really just wanted to get back to work for the evening.
We talked about something which has disappeared into the grey. All I can remember is sitting and wondering how I could change the subject without her realising. (Cos you've got to be clever to get away with something like that with a therapist).

Oh. And we talked about how an ED can stop you (one) going mad. And how a psychotic, perverted teenager, who I am teaching at the moment, suddenly (and completely randomly) said a word that made my blood run cold.
An unusual historical name that my (ill, and, quite possibly equally psychotic and... I don't want to say 'perverted' because she's not... Not in a sexual way anyway) sister had a strange obsession with.

Bed. I changed my bed earlier, figuring that if it's gonna be a sleepless night, it might as well be a sleepless night in clean sheets.
How's that for forward planning.

Maybe tomorrow won't come?

I HAVE taught a few arsonists in the past... It's possible that in the event of tomorrow, the unit I work in might be less of a building than it was..? Perhaps?

Perhaps not.

Monday, 13 September 2010

This Little Piggy Went To Therapy.

It's been a pretty bad few days.

I paused as I wondered how I could possibly put this across to The Woman who sat, eyes cast down quietly, waiting for me to be ready.

I started with the weekend, which, FYI, I drank my way through.

I lost time on both evenings. I explained that on Saturday it was as though someone pressed the 'pause' button at around eleven thirty in the evening and neglected to press it again until around four in the morning.
What happened in those four and a half hours is anyone's guess. My guess is that I fell through a portal of the whisky kind.

My memory is bad enough, but add alcohol and I no longer exist at all.

The Woman listens to the story far too kindly.
My"pre emptive strike," she reflects.
"No. It's all my own stupid fault," I kick at a wall in my mind.
"Interesting word, 'fault'" she returns, and I break my toe against the wall.

Doesn't she want me to take responsibility for my actions? Hate me. Go on. Be disgusted. Tell me I'm pathetic.

(I'm suddenly very tired as I try to recall something from the session today. Another blank. Swiss cheese has nothing on my memory).

I told her about the dreams I had last night. She interprets them to be sexual. Apparently my unconscious mind is leading us to roads that need to be travelled down; roads which I am frightened of.

I wondered if she is actually a direct descendant of Freud.

Ok. So I'm part jesting, but twenty six cuts later, I can afford a little humour.

The desperation and despair that I have felt over the past three days have, at times, blown through me with a strength that has left me bent double.

i didn't make the gym once and as a consequence, combined with the calories I have consumed in alcohol, I managed to put on two pounds. Today I have barely lived a minute without sucking a piece of chocolate. It's compulsive.
Tonight I stood on the scales, hands over my face, registering the higher numbers through the gaps between my fingers.
I wanted to take a wood plane to my thighs.
A double edged blade had to suffice.

Normally a safe haven for my mind, even my workspace was invaded by the swooshing compulsion to lock myself in the second floor toilet and shred my skin with the scissors.
And all of this because of the desperation at not being able to stay in control of my body.
I need to be small enough to feel all my bones and yet, pathetically, I am sabotaging my own attempts to get thinner. More than that, I am actually putting ON weight again.

In a fit of frustration at this absurd part of myself, i declared that I could just 'give it all up'. I could eat normally again. i could just stop all this nonsense and eat.
The words even sounded hollow to me, but I carried on asserting it because a part of me wants to feel that it really could be that simple.

The Woman explains so gently, "it's a manifestation of your distress... BLANK BLANK BLANK... the extreme self loathing... BLANK BLANK...."

She goes on but I've shut my eyes and I'm holding my insides so tight against her words because her kindness is making my breath ache and my eyes sting and I can't let go, i just can't.

"Shutting me out?".

I don't know and I can't answer because loosening one part of me is all it will take for everything to split and fall apart.

I can't remember what she said then, but the pressure of her kindness leaves bruises around my eyes.

Today as I left the little house in the woods, I carried the heavy sense that I had spoken too much.
I have that same feeling about this post.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Please Sir... Can I Have Some More (Time)?

Four times a week I put myself through a pretty rigorous workout at the gym. Part of my routine is to run at least two miles (for 'run' read 'sprint') on the treadmill.
Being familiar with this torturous piece of equipment, I understand how it has evolved as a common metaphor to denote the state of travelling on a seemingly relentless path or journey, exerting effort yet not really getting anywhere.

MY reason for thinking about treadmills at this moment in time is not however, to illustrate the tedium of routine (although, when it comes to forcing myself to exercise to the point of near collapse, there IS that) but to reinforce my sense of having literally hit the ground running.

As with most people, returning to work after a long summer holiday is a shock to the system.
I hit the ground running last week, and I haven't stopped to even catch my breath since.
It really has been like landing on a treadmill which is already moving at ten miles per hour... Which is a horribly convoluted way of explaining why I haven't been here or on anyone else's blog.
I have burned the candle at both ends only to find that the candle hasn't been long enough.

Talk about mixing metaphors.

A brief update.

With the return of work comes the return of my routine. It has been something of relief, although to describe it as such seems to infer the presence of a somewhat masochistic streak.

My weight, which (to my distress) had gone up (mainly to please my family) has now gone down again. This is largely due to the fact that my folks have been away on a holiday.
They return tomorrow and so, I write with a certain amount of dread at the return of 'the watchers'.

Following a two week break, I had my first therapy session on Monday.
I had no feeling about it as I drove to the little house in the woods. I have barely missed her. Perhaps because I couldn't afford to.

The session seemed to last for at least forever and at one point, I wondered if she had forgotten the time and gone into another session.
Apparently not.
Whilst she has been on holiday I have been utterly self contained and yet, whilst detailing my weekend (part of which was spent being a carer to my - very heavily medicated - sister) I had to stop talking as I was unexpectedly overwhelmed by horrible, strangled tears caught in my throat.
Embarrassed I assured her I was fine and that I hadn't been at all upset about it.
She wondered whether I had been ok because I hadn't allowed myself to experience it until I was back in therapy.
(I wondered whether there was an argument for the fact that I don't feel bad until I have therapy and therefore, the whole thing is actually making me worse).
Something to ponder anyway.

Aside from that, I found myself looking at The Woman's familiar, tan colour shoes (which I'm sure I've never really liked before) and feeling a sudden mixture of relief, familiarity and comfort.
Odd, I know. (I did wonder if I'd gone totally, barking mad)
Guess it shows how much time I must spend looking at her feet! <--- (As I write this observation, I am reminded of a line from one of Byron's poems - possibly 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage' - which refers to people walking with their eyes cast down, thinking "thoughts which dare not glow".
Another 'hmmm' moment, perhaps.)