Sunday, 30 January 2011


It never fails to shock when you wake up in the morning to find death sitting on the side of your bed, waiting for its subliminal whisperings to wake you.

Refusing to so much as glance at the intruder, I got up and went through my Sunday 'to do' list.

Number one, buy salad stuff for lunches... Number two, bake brownies for colleagues' birthdays tomorrow... Number three, mark kids' work... Number four, gym... Number five...

Still ignoring the cloak of darkness, I shower and find my way downstairs, chattering about Jamie Oliver and brightly listing ingredients, envisioning birthday brownies in cheery homemade boxes, red with white polka dots.

It'll be alright, I tell myself. Just keep moving. It'll pass.

Two days later, as I sit in the doctors' surgery, I wonder if it would have somehow all been okay if I'd made it to Tescos to buy what I needed.

"Back in a bit", I said, trying to ignore the back breaking heaviness and the winter chill as I grab my bag.

I never made it to the front door.

Instead, I half crawled up the stairs into my bedroom, where I sank down against the radiator, slumped in a dazed stupor wondering if there was anyone in the world who I could call to for help.

I didn't realise I couldn't move until I tried when I heard mum coming upstairs. neither did I realise that I was crying quite uncontrollably.

I've since been signed off work for a month (which I won't take) and had a week off work.

Unusually (for me), rather than the time off being detrimental, it has actually helped and I am feeling better than I did.

My folks (my poor folks) have been amazingly supportive, desperately worried and willing support me in almost anything that I think might help.

In desperate depression, I scoured the web looking for a hotel I could stay in just to get a break. The darkness worsened as my inability to make any decisions left me feeling increasingly despondent and hopeless. I figured that I would probably just spend the whole time binging and purging anyway.

I've ended up booking a week in a sort of retreat centre that I stumbled upon.

I have no idea how it will be, or whether I'll last the week. I leave tomorrow.

Certainly, last week, I was far too unwell to go anywhere.

There's no internet where I'm going so I will have to rely on my phone to check here or to post anything.

It's a risk, in some ways... I don't feel as though I am 'safe' with myself at the moment. Tonight's TWO binge and purge sessions show that.

The Woman was very concerned when I saw her last Monday.

She made me go to the doctor (saying that if I didn't, SHE would). She also gave me her mobile and made me communicate things during the week.

I was terrified by this new step.

This morning’s appointment with the Eating Disorders team was terrifying but I won't go into it at the moment. Suffice to say, they expect me to start full time treatment with them when they get up and running at the end of February.

I fought a surge of hysteria as they told me about eating two meals a day under their supervision.

I can't imagine being able to.

After this, The Woman was a warm blanket.


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Alanis Eat Yer Heart Out

"Isn't it ironic"...
...Alanis appears to state rather than question, which is probably just as well given that her definition of 'irony' sometimes (some lines) seems to be a little dubious (at best).

Semantic inaccuracies aside, she has an incredible voice (and tons of attitude) but the reason why I quote h
er right now, is
that I hear that line playing in my mind as I contemplate posting that today, the mind - cloaking darkness that has more or less disabled me since Saturday, was shot through with a narrow laser beam somewhere high above me.
And I've been like a drowning body who, in the last swelling, slipping moments, finds an air hole in the thick ceiling of ice above.

I haven't even been to work.
Can you imagine? Because I can't.

Today I walked around Ikea buying plates and bowls and other pointless porcelain vessels.
I want to move to my own place.

And all the time the Alanis song was playing.

My ray of light beamed from the numbers on the scales.
Isn't it ironic.
The lower I go, the higher I get.

And, I'm walking around Ikea investing in a future that I am doing my damnedest to end before it has the chance to begin.

Now, Alanis?
THAT'S irony

Saturday, 22 January 2011


It's true.
I'm sad.
Actually, 'sad' doesn't really 'fit'... It's just the closest I can get.

I've wanted to write here but have been unable to find the voice / words.

Tonight I'm bad.
I've never binged like I have tonight.
I've been purging for an hour and still feel nowhere near empty.
I don't know how to cope.

Since my last post, I've been threatened with inpatient treatment and forced to have blood tests and ECGs.
I feel a mixture of horror and relief that the funding for inpatient treatment has been cut. I've been 'summoned' for treatment in a day clinic which opens in March.
I'm not sure I will make it that long.

My weight is an all time low.
Work have told me they will hold my job for me if I go away for any period of recovery.

I know I can't 'succeed' here.
I need to go away.

Half of me fantasises about a Greek island for a couple of months.
Half of me believes I will have die like this.

I need to get away but don't have a safe place to go TO.
Where in the world can I go to try and get better?

I'm desperate and frightened.
I've never been this lost.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Lies, Damned Lies....

... and Anorexia.

If Anorexia is a faceless figure in an old black and white horror, then deceit is the dark cloak wrapped around the shadowed form.

As a fourteen year old, I watched as this graveyard figure misted around the sister I adored, breathing lies and cunning into the mouth of her soul.
When she spoke, it was with a new voice; a voice of distrust, defence and guile.
I hated the dainty steps of deception that I heard moving so quietly along the upstairs landing; from bedroom to bathroom; from sink to window, from hand to mouth to toothbrush. I hated watching the cloak pass over her - through her, each time stealing away a piece of the sibling I loved more than myself.

Lately though, I too have taken breath from the figure. I understand now, that same desperation, which shakes the pounding heart, and will go to such lengths to protect and disguise the disgusting truths of an anorexic existence.

Fingers pushing against the wall of my throat, I heave and retch, praying to keep silent.

My dad knocks on the door and asks to be let in.
I am washing the last of it down the basin, frantic, talking all the time.
I let him in.

"What were you doing just then, with your door locked?"
I search in corners furthest from the truth.
It must be feasible. It must be shameful.

I can't bear the look in his eyes.

"I was... weighing myself".
I manage to whisper,

He wraps me in his arms to comfort my despair.
"Oh love... " Words of comfort pump shame around my body. "It'll all be okay... Just as long as you're not secretly drinking or making yourself sick"

A couple of days ago, a similar scenario. This time, I'm sure he knows.

Eyes watering, throat burning, nose running.
I was washing my hands.

Not only does Anorexia make liars out of its prey; it is, IN ITSELF, a lie.
It's a throat grabbing, heart stopping, life sucking LIE.
And although one part of me knows that this lie is fundamental to the discovery, diagnosis and medical definition of this disorder, another part cannot possibly disbelieve the truth of what I see and feel.
It doesn't matter that that 'truth' is a distortion.
It doesn't matter that it may be a deception.
What matters is that no matter what the scales say, the truth is, it's never small enough.

Sucked in.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Therapy - The Return

Somehow, the monster had fallen asleep in the overlooked shadows of the cave.
And the cave, in it's way, had forgotten the echoes of it's clawing and shrieking; forgotten even the heavy thuds of the desperate turning as it tore deeper at the gashes of its matted flesh.

The cave fast forgot and its rock surface smoothed soft.

In the Friday floodlight, the cave prayed for dimmer light as the monster stirred.

"You're censoring a lot", said The Woman - (not a question, you'll notice).

I nod dumbly. Then I jest, "Just taking it easy".

Really though, I'm afraid to wake something up.


My worst enemy.

Need breeds need.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Therapy Breaks, Angels and Emails

Despite offering a full English breakfast, Christmas film, popcorn and a Christmas Quiz, we never get a huge amount of kids in on the last day of term. In fact, at particular times of the year our attendance often becomes a real issue.

The kids we DO get in are often either those who might be classed as our more 'phobic' kids, who are too anxious to attend a mainstream secondary school, and those kids for whom home life is just so chaotic that they prefer the safety and security offered by the unit.
(Our very disaffected ones tend to be off mugging people at the first possible opportunity).

I'm digressing.

Over the last 18 months, one of my girls has faced particularly horrendous traumas. As her form tutor, I have had regular sessions with her just to offer support, listening and as much care as is possible within obvious boundaries.
As the last day of term wore on, this student grew increasingly impatient.
Unable to watch the film, she wandered from teacher to teacher, talking about anything and everything. I watched as I sat drawing "Christmassy" things with some of the young people.
I remembered how I had been struck by her reluctance to leave us for the summer... and also how badly her behaviour, her health and her attitude had deteriorated after that 6 week break.

Having a place of safety in the midst of utter turmoil is not just important, it's essential.
It's somewhere familiar, when so often, the world is overwhelming and frightening. It's somewhere predictable, where it's not necessary to walk on egg shells in case something or someone explodes. It's somewhere that nurtures rather than competes with or abuses.
And, perhaps most importantly for a small number, it is a place which will stay safe, stay familiar, stay concerned and stay THERE despite all the railing and kicking and yelling.
(The parallels are obvious...)

For some, coping when the place which holds them together suddenly isn't there for a fortnight (or much longer), is a painful and terrifying concept, which can result in a sense of hopelessness and self destruction.
Before she left, on impulse I ran to fetch the tiny doodle I had been doing.
It was of a small, silver angel.

Pressing it into her hand, I told her that the angel was going to stay with her over the Christmas holiday and that it would bring her back safe and sound.

"Does it matter if t
he angel comes back with me or not?"
(Instinctive reaction = Fear. Will I have to look after it?)

No, I told her. Even if it disappeared, it would still be watching over her and looking after her, but it was a secret. Not everyone had an angel. (And to be fair, a number of the kids would have used it as a roach for a spliff as soon as they got past the front door!!!)

You may well be asking where on earth all this is going... and you'd be right, because I haven't thought it out very well and as a result, it's a very convoluted way of saying something probably quite simple.

In a recent comment, JSS picked up that I had made some progress in being comforted by The Woman's concern before the therapy break.
It occurred to me as I typed the last post, that in some strange way, her insistence that she wrote down her email address (which I did point out was on the Internet) was an angel that she put in my palm. It wasn't about using it, it was about knowing that somehow, although my one place of safety was disappearing from my view, it was still there. It IS still there.

For a person caught in a trap, the knowledge that someone is coming back for them, may offer them enough courage to hang onto life for an extra minute.

For the teenage girl forced to live with someone who ruined her childhood, maybe the thought that an angel hears her cries, is enough to make her feel heard until we can.

And for me, maybe merely having the option of communicating, is enough to remind me that she would still hear me.

Let's hope so.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year

If I had less alcoholic tendencies, I'd have stood a better chance of enjoying the first day of 2011. Sadly though, in characteristic pathetic and humiliating style, I was unable to withstand the temptation of hitting the bottle too hard at a party last night.
My body is not a happy one.

I suppose it could be seen as a fitting way to end a year where my mind and my body have been in almost constant conflict. A year of internal chaos.

Perhaps the battle can be added to the fact that I'm 1) very hungover and 2) half bloody starved, as possible reasons for why I begin this year feeling too weak to even get up today.

Unspoken words lie like bricks inside me. To actually write them would be exhausting.

Therapy breaks often leave me in a sort of blogging limbo, although this one hasn't been too bad.
I was comforted that the woman didn't seem to want to leave me. She even made sure I had her email, although I think she knew I'd never use it.
Boundaries keep me safe, even if they also keep me in isolation.

I feel as though I should probably have all sorts of resolutions but in all honesty, I feel too tired and, rather embarrassingly, too hopeless.
It's been tough enough resisting the urge to entitle this post: Same Shit, Different Year.
(Does anyone else remember that trend where nearly every cynical, smart ass person they knew had a tshirt which declared 'Same shit, different day'? )