My eating is out of control again. Sometimes I get wee thoughts like “at least I’m not eating until I nearly throw up”, “at least I’m not eating until I am worried about gastric rupture”, etc, as if it’s not that bad really. I am not logging my binges because I am not logging anything. I was always shocked when I logged them at how large they really were. I think “oh that wasn’t so bad” but I bet it was.
Now it’s 2-3 times a day which is back to its worst. I feel totally helpless in front of them. I say “no more” then the next thing I know I am binging. I feel like it is already decided and my attempts at stopping are just laughable.
I am piling on the weight. It’s everywhere. My abdomen, my breasts, my arms, my legs. I feel grotesque and huge. I feel like a monster. Wearing clothes two sizes bigger. Bits of me disproportionately distended and massive. Feel like discontinuous parts. Not human, anyway. I realise this will make me sound crazy but honestly, my body is shaped so wrongly now that it does not look human anymore. I think this is another one of those things that only makes sense on the inside of my head.
All this nonsense about a body a bit bigger. It’s not a few extra inches round various circumferences. It’s what it means. It’s means more and more people are starting to treat me like a fat person again which is not intrinsically or fundamentally a bad thing in itself. But here and now, where I live and who I know, it is unsafe. It’s men thinking I must be ‘easy’ or ‘desperate’ and not accepting no. It’s having “fat cunt” shouted out of cars. It’s fucking doctors. It’s people looking down on me.
Things are nowhere near as bad as they were when I was ‘morbidly obese’ but it’s starting. And I can’t bear it. Which makes me feel desperate which makes me binge. Round and round. (There’s a joke in there about me getting rounder. Can’t work up the energy.)
What do I actually want? If I disregarded everyone else’s opinions, what I want is to go back in time to the hotel and put the bag and elastic over my head with the noose and sink down and let it tighten. Actually do it. I want none of this to have happened. No traumatic hospital stay, not meeting the man on the ward, not thoughts getting even more batshit, not eating out of control again. Not all this relentless, overwhelming pain.
I feel like such a fucking fool. Such an incredible fucking fool. I used up an ambulance. I was in A&E taking up a bed. I am using up a psychiatric bed. I can’t seem to stop crying. I am so ashamed. I can’t face anyone. Oh god, I can’t believe I am in hospital. I absolutely cannot face anyone. How the fucking fuck did I let this happen? I had so many choices. So many chances to choose differently. It is all my fault. I don’t deserve all the care that I’m getting. It hurts so much that people are being nice to me.
And I’ve lost my escape route. It’s all gone.
I have mixed feelings about being in the bin. One fight over, another one starts. It is such an odd feeling knowing I can’t kill myself (well… if… says the little voice, it is immortal). I am so relieved that the dogfight in my brain is dead because one side has lost everything (at least for now). I am trapped and I am free and I am trapped and…
It was sunny today and I sat on the grass in the garden. I wanted to touch it so I did. It was beautiful. I had said goodbye to all this but it’s still here.
I am in a hotel. It is the middle of the night. I arrived yesterday evening. I have put black bin bags and towels down. I have set up three of my methods (the fourth won’t work as something has gone wrong). I have cleaned and organised my house, as best I can though I couldn’t get everything done. I threw out everything (url NSFW) I don’t want my family to see. I don’t have a Will but I printed out my wishes for my affairs, a list of household accounts with contact details and a list of people to contact. I organised all my paperwork and identification and put it together. I deliberately didn’t write a suicide note. I walked round and said goodbye to my favourite park and some other places. It was beautiful in the sunshine. I had my favourite dinner. Everything is ready and I thought I was too.
I started one method and stood there waiting to take the final, tiny step. My head was empty. I just didn’t. I just stood, Something took my hands and we moved away. (That reads as utter nonsense but I am not talking about details of methods because I know for a fucking fact that that will stay in the minds of my fellow mad people and might rear up when they are next ill. So nonsense it is.) I didn’t feel that disheartened as I have my backup plans. I emailed the Samaritans. I have been emailing them for weeks. They have been so good. Then I lay on the bed and put on the Headspace meditation about how you are not your thoughts and or your feelings, you are the blue sky (sorry sorry will explain another time) and I felt sleepy afterwards. I was surrounded by all these tiny steps to death, I had made it as easy as I could for myself to just get over the line this time and… I had a nap. Yes, I am laughing, a bit hysterically.
I woke up an hour ago. What have I done for an hour? Other than cried. The Samaritans emailed back, a warm, compassionate email that hurt so much, why does people being nice to me always hurt so much, and they have offered to phone me and said it’s okay if I just cry and can’t talk because at least I won’t be alone. Crying again. I want my Mum back. Maybe I can try again. My thoughts are breaking down. You’ll never get peace till you’re dead. Look what you have done, over and over. All you are doing is causing pain. Everyone you touch, you hurt then. You are bad. You’ll never be free till you’re dead. All that is left for you is shame, guilt and pain because that is all you deserve.
I have been a psychiatric patient for twenty-five years, off and on, and I know what to do right now. I take diazepam. I put on my clothes and pick up my handbag and abandon all this stuff and walk out the room. I phone the number and cry down the phone. Fuck crying on the street. I am a manic depressive: I am a goddamn veteran of crying on the street and having everyone not-look. I could do that.
I could phone the Samaritans. I could phone one of my friends (no). I could take diazepam and sleep some more. Wake up and try again.
It’s a good thing you’re used to incoherence on this blog.
I feel a peace in my head. My thoughts are quiet and slow. I don’t have the pain gritting up my thinking and making even the basics of everyday life unbearable. I can still feel the despair but it’s settled down and solid now. I can fairly easily just ignore it. Most of all, I am not fighting anymore. I am not agonising over my decision. It’s a terrible, selfish decision but it’s for the best. I am done. Is the combination of quiet thoughts, quiet feelings and no pain the definition of peace? I have no idea (and the dictionary didn’t help).
I’ve had this peace before. It has happened in the times between finalising my decision to try my best to die and actually trying to do it. It’s not even that I’m reluctantly resigned. I’m walking towards it quite calmly and purposefully (well, as purposefully as a currently mad person can do). I say that now, of course. I’ll see what it’s like when it’s all right in front of me in the hotel room. There’ll be doubt and probably panic then. But for now, it’s so nice. Such relief. I understand why there is a cliché of “sweet relief”. It is as delicate and delicious as the sweetest treat. Fuck me, I’m about to go all #blessed.
After the list I posted earlier today, and because I like to torture myself, here is a list of things I could do to rebuild my life and try again:
Get a dog or some other pet for company and love
Do a second day at the charity project I go to for more structure and company
Alternatively, or in addition to the above, volunteer to do something useful and try and build some self-esteem
Get a private psychologist and really talk and open up (I am very lucky that my obsessive need to control my spending, after getting into the worst kind of trouble in my twenties, has had the beneficial effect of allowing me to build up some savings. I am the only person I know of that has been this lucky.)
Start running again and be brave and try new routes but cancel the gym and admit I never enjoyed it
Do the Open University Access course I have been eyeing up for… uh… years to give me a little hope that I could possibly have a future
Get a tattoo and do the other recommended things to start reclaiming my body and stop despising it
Comparing this list with my earlier list: there are major areas not covered. I don’t think those things can be solved or ameliorated. Which is why I am eating nutella and butter sandwiches and booking a hotel.
I have so many bastard lists on the go at the moment as I try to get organised. My memory is hopeless just now so I am using lists for even the most basic things. Here’s a list from ten days ago that I am referring to frequently, for comfort, reassurance and to torture myself (impressive résumé for a list):
I feel guilty for the terrible things I have done which I can never fix or undo
I hate and despise myself; I am a terrible person
I have never achieved anything and I am intensely ashamed of that
I am a burden and I drag down my family and friends; I know for a fact that they will be better off when I am dead
I will never have someone to hug and hug me
I will never have someone to love and love me
I will never have someone to cuddle in bed with
I have feelings of intense loneliness which are very painful
I will never have someone I feel safe enough to have sex with
I am putting all the weight back on and everyone is laughing and looking down at me
I am ashamed that I can’t manage my eating
I hate my body and want to rip it apart and set it on fire
I am ashamed and horrified that I didn’t apply for the ordinary degree that I had credits for and so ruined even that faint hope for a future
It really hurts and I feel intensely ashamed every time I see someone talking about managing to be a doctor or medical student with a mental illness
I am a waste of the Earth’s resources; one less human is better for climate change
I am a waste of NHS resources
I am a waste of taxpayers’ resources
I am ashamed that I can’t manage my mental illness
I am ashamed that I so desperately want people to like me
I want to be free (though I don’t deserve that)
I want to be at peace (though I don’t deserve that)
I want to be finished and gone and in the past so that the harm I did can heal
It was hard to write but I felt better for it as my head felt clearer and emptied out. It is like cutting into raw, burnt skin when I expose this intense, overwhelming shame. If it wasn’t for the fact that I will be dead in a few days I wouldn’t be able to. I don’t know why I am publishing this. It eases something and makes these last days less painful, I think. I have no right to ask or hope for that of course. Also, it’s a kind of proof to myself. I would never, never, never talk about these things if I thought anyone I knew could even remotely possibly find out. There is always a possibility that you can be outed from an anonymous blog. But it doesn’t matter if you’re dead.
[suicide, no mention of methods because I am not that fucking irresponsible]
If you have been unfortunate enough to have read the recent nonsense on this blog then you’ll know that I am planning to end my life. Sorry, that was a bit abrupt. Should have paid more attention to those Breaking Bad News workshops. Actually, they did come in handy when telling all my Mum’s friends that she had died. I didn’t cry once. I don’t know if I should be proud or ashamed. Anyway. My thoughts are bad these days and it’s hard to create a chain of thought. My thoughts are like trying to grip water in my hands: I can see they’re there but I can’t hold them.
Blah, blah, blah, tl:dr; had enough.
I set another date as last weekend fell through (yes, that phrase is doing a lot of heavy lifting) and have started lining the practicalities up, eg finishing food, distancing myself from people, “tidying up loose ends” as the nurses put it. I adapted my plan (have a series of plans to try to account for my inevitable fuck ups) and was waiting for something to come through the post which was due the middle of next week. It arrived today. I’ve had a lot of psychotherapy in my life so I now quite often find myself observing myself as my life happens to me. (Psychotherapy never has any disadvantages or harmful effects.) I watched myself go from “oh fuck, I don’t know what I think about this” to the sudden delighted excitement of “I could be free today!” to despairing “I bet I fuck this up again”. It was lovely and awful and overwhelming. Is it odd to say I felt some hope fluttering about in my head?
I calmed down and opened up my post. Only half the order with the rest due the middle of next week as originally planned. I definitely felt some relief. I feel bad for admitting that. Does it mean I’m not committed to my plan? Am I going to fuck up again? Am I going to pull out? I don’t think so. I feel quite steady and settled in my decision to die. It will most likely be horrible but there’s nothing I can do about that; will just have to thole it. It will pass. If I don’t kill myself now then I will have years of this pain to get through. My friends and family will have years of pain of having to deal with me. I think it is natural to have a little bit of trepidation or regret about big decisions (I think I learnt that in psychotherapy) but you have to be resolute too. I’ve been certain that I was going to succeed only to fail in the past. I just have to keep trying.
I’ve never been brave. Never really stood up against authority. Never really fought for anything. Never really created anything. My funeral is going to be really boring and probably embarrassing for my family.
There is too much pain in my head taking up all the room for me to change. I am in too much pain to ask for help. Two friends today have sent me messages with soft invitations to talk. I can’t. I can’t bear to. I am too unbearably and overwhelming lonely to be able to manage being around people. I have turned down two invitations for today despite not seeing or speaking to anyone for days. I can’t cope with it. My thoughts and feelings will tear me apart. I can’t have anyone see that.
I can’t undo the terrible things I’ve done and I can’t make them better. I can’t even say sorry, not that that would make it better. The only way for those things to heal is for me not to exist in the world anymore. I need to be in the past and forgotten.
I can see that I need to do something or I will die. The hotel is booked for tomorrow. I can’t die today as it is my friend’s birthday. I have a multi-layered plan with backup options if there are fuck ups. I have learnt from my past experiences and other people’s. I think it will work. I will keep trying until it does. I have a list printed out of all my financial and household accounts with phone numbers and websites and a list of people for my family to contact. My house is not completely organised but what’s left won’t take long. I could be free. I could be at peace. Finished and gone.
There’s still a little part shouting that there’s a chance left to rebuild my life and this time maybe make a life where I feel happy sometimes. I remember the last time I felt happy: it was about four or five months ago and I was playing with my sister’s children. We were dancing round the kitchen laughing and shouting and I felt this creaking, old thing open up in my chest and head and suddenly realised I felt happy. Pretty much as soon as I named it, it disappeared. Then it fluttered back to life about ten minutes later for a few seconds. I recognised it as happiness but maybe it was joy. I don’t know the difference. I remember nearly crying and feeling embarrassed. I also remember thinking that I couldn’t remember the last time I felt that. Very long way to say that I don’t know how to feel happy. I don’t know how to create a life with happiness in it. I don’t even know where to start.
When I consider my life and weigh up the times I’ve felt happy and the very little good I’ve done against all the pain I’ve felt and terrible things I’ve done there is no contest. The average manic depressive lives to their early sixties which means I’ve probably got another twenty years of this. No. I won’t do it. (And you can’t make me.) I have had enough. I have to die.
I have a whole menu of self-destructive behaviours to call from when times are bad. I rarely do them nowadays and I think to the outside it looks like they are in my past and done with but they feel very much available to me whenever I need them. I find that a comfort and it makes me feel safe.
I self-harmed a lot as a teenager. I drank problematically and took recreational drugs too much in my early twenties. I binge ate for two periods in my late twenties and late thirties though a large part of that was down to the physiological effects of dieting. I have comfort eaten/emotionally eaten (eating when not hungry but instead to relieve emotions; not binging) my whole life. Neglected my sleep despite knowing it was key to managing my mood. Not exercising at all for most of my adult life then over-exercising to the extent of injuries in my late thirties. Deliberately and accidentally socially isolating myself despite being the type of person that really needs social contact. Deliberately being horrible to people to push them away because I don’t deserve people being nice to me (it feels wrong). Fucking with my prescription medication (it’s going great). Deliberately not doing things I enjoy to punish myself. Oh, the list just keeps going on.
How I haven’t ended up with a borderline personality disorder diagnosis is a miracle and I think basically is because I am naturally a very personable person and was brought up middle class. I did four years of medical school and am pretty well read and get called “articulate” (I smile and try not to tell them to fuck off) so know the pitfalls of what healthcare professionals find difficult. I get on well with them and make an effort to do so. I wonder if that sounds manipulative. I bet it could be interpreted as manipulative. I see it as self-defence. They can literally decide where I sleep that night and whether I am dragged out in a cage of nurses unable to move properly. I think they are less likely to do that if they think I am an ‘easy’ patient. I never tell them if I have suicidal thoughts and answer only vaguely when directly asked which they don’t do very often. Healthcare professionals are a potential threat even when they are being nice to me. I would rather keep away from them, or at least keep them at arm’s length, and be safe even if I am alone. Does that could as a self-destructive behaviour? Not really engaging with psychiatric services? Or only engaging superficially. I don’t think they could do anything anyway. All I see is disappointment from my real life and online friends. Obviously this strategy is working out tremendously as you can see from how well my life is going.
In the post linked above, I was bragging that I hadn’t self-harmed in a very long time. Whoosh, gone. Have self-harmed several times in the last week. I don’t know if self-harm is generally seen as a kind of addiction anymore but to me it feels addictive. I feel like I want to do more and I have to exert effort to stop myself. My mood is fucking horrendous just now (bet you can’t tell from how articulate I am) and the self-harm was the most beautiful relief from the agitation. Better than any medication or ‘healthy coping strategy’. There’s the secret: it’s so addictive because it just goddamn works. But but but… It always escalates and always spirals out of control eventually. It isolates me from real people as it’s a barrier that they can’t understand and I can’t overcome. And it damages my poor, abused body that has really had enough. I can see that it is innocent and doesn’t deserve this. I do but it doesn’t.
Your body is not an object, not a sculpture based on some universal and enduring Platonic ideal of beauty — it is a living creature, an animal in your care that needs care and compassion, that suffers and dies if neglected. https://t.co/Q1lTdtI1or— Michelle Allison (@fatnutritionist) December 20, 2017
So going to have to knock this self-harm on the head again. I read this thoroughly compassionate article about self-destructive behaviours in Psychology Today. Cried but the soft tears when you feel like an awful, tight pain is unclenching and releasing. Then I read the follow up article by the same writer about how unhelpful shame is when trying to deal with self-destructive behaviours. And I sobbed for a while because I can’t deal with my shame. It’s too huge and overwhelming. I’ve self-harmed pretty severely (until it doesn’t hurt anymore; you either know what that means or you don’t and I’m not going to spell it out because I worry more about triggering the people who do understand than I worry about educating you) and shame hurts order of magnitude more than any physical pain I’ve experienced. The second article made so much sense to me. This is the key quote: “[D]o not shame yourself as an attempt to make yourself overcome the behavior. At best it will leave you feeling worse about yourself. At worst it will increase your dysregulated behavior.” I’ve heard that so many times before but the writer actually laid out her thinking here. It was like she levered some space in my head.
Of course, I feel like I very much deserve my shame and deserve to be punished. Still have that strong push to punish myself and like that would be doing the right thing. But it’s nice to get that little unclenching and space for a while at least.
As I’ve written here before, I am using the Headspace app to do guided meditations. There is a course called Appreciation which aims to help you “[d]iscover a renewed sense of gratefulness for life”.
I was in my twenties before I discovered that there were genuinely people who were grateful for and enjoyed life. I’m not talking about making the best of things or finding moments of joy or moments of peace that pass and then you remember them fondly. I know those things exist as I’ve experienced them myself. But these people’s overall assessment of life was that it was something to be thoroughly appreciated. Appreciated as something precious, even.
Blame it on my rural Scottish Calvinist upbringing that teaches and rigidly enforces the idea that seeking pleasure is wrong, a sin. Definitely letting the side down anyway. Or blame it on my decades of mental illness. Not the fluffy, milder variants that are suitable for awareness campaigns but the version that means I’m sitting here typing this with a black eye and two broken ribs. (So there won’t be any jokes for a while because it’s going to hurt to laugh for the next month.)
Life is not something to be grateful for. Life is something to endure, a trial, an ordeal, something to suffer before you return back to the darkness and the silence. Maybe there’s a point to it. I don’t know but I think there isn’t. Thinking you should be grateful for this is just fucking Stockholm syndrome.