When I am With My Thoughts I am Most Alone

At the times of my most poor mental health I withdraw into my head. I no longer see myself as attached to my material body or in fact the material world. People appear robotic and “other”. My thoughts become so loud they drown out external sounds. I get my thoughts screaming at each other. This was a piece of my A Level English Coursework in which I attempted to illustrate this utter detachment that had occurred before a previous suicide attempt. It is weird, wordy and different to my usual content but here it is….

 

Reunited

It was the 21st of December and the darkened shop windows were lit only by the scattering of lights strung over the skinny frames of the dehydrated conifers. Laces tied, my shoes were looped around my neck and beating out of time to my stride against my chest. Though still not above ten degrees I was wearing only a cream skirt and summer blouse, the skirt of which was under constant threat of blowing up in an unexpected gust. When I reached the beach I placed my shoes down beside me and let my toes sink into the cool sand before making my way towards the water’s edge.

When I got there the white stampeding horses of earlier had calmed but the fierce burning of the cold was yet to be tamed. The now tranquil barrier at my ankles oscillated in the evening light throwing the dying sun’s rays into a frenzied dance upon my face. I looked down and noticed a woman staring back at me. Her features had been sculpted by sharp lines though they had not been drawn by laughter but by pain. Her lips had become a patchwork of scarlet fissures and the lingering remnants of a deep rouge lipstick accentuated by her permanent pursing giving her a general air of discomfort. She may have looked as if she was in preparation for a kiss or posing for a photograph but her cold eyes told a different story. I reached out to rescue her from behind the waves but as my hand touched hers she dissolved into a mess of muted colour.

I fumbled in the icy water trying in vain to retrieve her but all I found was one of my shoes. I turned to look down the beach and realised how far the sea had crept up the sands and swamped the beach and wiped away my footprints. The handful of wet sand I had found earlier inside the shoe was melting through my fingers and creating a satisfying splash as it hit the water. I followed its lead and slumped into the briny pool. With the water tenderly stroking me at the waist, at last I felt some protection from the overwhelming force of gravity and sat, wishing that the tides would take me with their next breath.

 

And she waited…

 

With her skirt now white in the moonlight billowing out around her she could have looked as if she was perched upon a cloud had it not been for the presence of a pale green carrier bag that skimmed its way along the shore. It may have been branded ‘environmentally friendly’ but someone had clearly failed to let the lonely sea-gull know as it attacked and shredded the plastic until it was wound a satisfactory number of times around its neck. Its demented shrieks would have surely been enough to warrant attention from someone had it not been for the buzz of the bass that spilled out from the busy night clubs and bars, a noise deafening enough for even the roar of the sea to be swallowed. The stars up above that should have speckled the darkness had been stolen by a layer of yellow cloud emitted from the large ominous lamp posts stood regimentally along the city’s many streets. Stripes of black interspersed the jaundiced outline, wheezed out by the factories close-by still coughing despite them sleeping.

 

And still she waited…

 

Her body was rigid with cold except for the occasional fit of shivers that engulfed her uncontrollably. The blue haze of her skin camouflaged her into the grey waters though the aura of pure clarity that surrounded her separated her from the transience of the rest of the city. Her long shadow was broken by the waves as the night drew on and the moon glided across the sky her shadow shortened and distorted into something barely recognisable. Her eyes glanced up into the dense blackness that separated the remaining stars and she wished that there was no light; nothing to torture her with her reflection in mirrors; no piercing gazes from those who she knows judge her; no shadows. Shadows turned those treasured stuffed animals into monsters and gave a sanctuary to the beasts under the bed. Shadows followed her her whole life taunting and bullying. They were always there to laugh when she fell and to push her back down when she reached for a helping hand. At the day of choosing she was assigned Lucifer as her guardian and his presence was now felt stronger than ever.

Suddenly she moved. She wandered into the waves and as she did she whispered ‘You can’t touch me now’ before she was swallowed into the watery depths.

 

I felt her take her final breath and I knew she was coming to be reunited.

 

How Much of Me Is Left?

My face is swollen and I have a blood-shot eye.

Two of my knuckles are reddened and the rest of my hand is bruised.

My stomach is growling and my intestines are cramping.

I recently re-watched Girl Interrupted and I am angry at how it fails to represent the utter ugliness and devastation of mental illness. I am sat waiting to watch To the Bone that is coming out tomorrow and am ready to pounce and destroy it for glamourising mental ill-health on Netflix yet again. I am not delicately thin nor modestly pretty and I am massively under-represented in media and film that chooses to portray many peoples’ most intimate struggles.

So who can I truly identify with? I am not sure.

I am struggling to see myself in anyone in the mainstream media and also I am struggling to see myself in the future. I am in purgatory. I have lost my identity. I have lost my character.

My disordered eating has taken away my every day enjoyment and filled my time with stress and anxiety. My self-injury has destroyed  my clean skin and ability to be comfortable in in short sleeves.. My personality disorder has made me question if there is any substance to my character other than destruction and chaos.

I have come off an anti-depressant that I had been on for two years. I have noticed that I am more irritable, angry and withdrawn than I had been. Is this change just a sign of my true self- bitter and hugely anti-social? Has the darker side to me been masked by the drug for two years?

I want there to be a clear line drawn in the sand to help me identify if I am more than this ugly twisted-self I have become, or if I am an addict in need of antidepressants in order to function.

Food.

Me and food have always had a chaotic relationship.

As somewhat of a perfectionist, I am almost guaranteed to have some level of dysfunction when it come to all things edible. There is no set figure as to how much is just right for the individual and there is no real way to quantify health ie. a pretty perfect recipe for disaster.

Sure, BMI gives a vague number which will put you in one of three main and very vague categories. Body measurements are even more confusing. There is no way to achieve perfection so I guess I have instead always preferred to control and abuse food.

To make it clear, I have never received a diagnosis of an eating disorder though would hazard a guess that at various points in my life I would have met the criteria for one.

The reason that I have chosen to write about this, is that the therapist that I am working with currently won’t stop going on about it. It being food. I feel as if I am being ambushed. I love food, I hate food and unfortunately (as most humans are)I am reliant on food.

Food, food and more f***ing food.

This won’t be an eloquent post but shock-horror, I’m not particularly eloquent when it comes to my emotions either!

What I am attempting to do is to write down what I really should be saying to my therapist. I want to scream out that the motivation behind all of this dysfunction is not and never was to look like Kate Moss or any other model with stick-like proportioning despite the media chucking it down our throats.

It was certainly never a cry for attention or an attempt to get the love that I craved. When my eating was at its worst no-one had a clue. It went on like that for at least three years- unnoticed and destroying every part of me.

At school I would bunk class to puke in the girls’ toilets. I would act moody and have an awful attitude rather than risk my weak legs give way whilst doing a rigorous PE class. I was branded lazy and problematic. I preferred that then ever let anyone how I would cry in secret every lunchtime when it came to deciding whether or not to break my fast of three days.

I was not losing weight or putting on weight so how would have anyone known? But it does anger me that the therapist I am working with now is taking my attempt to lose weight so seriously. Were was that help and concern when I really needed it?

I sometimes question whether I’d be in a better place now if I had starved myself when I was twelve. Perhaps someone would have seen the pain and chaos and actually helped. Maybe I would not have been driven to more bizarre and risky measures.

I guess that I am really comparing and consequently invalidating my current and residual difficulties with food with those that I had over eight years ago. But I know that I am angry.

Not much has really changed.

It has been a while…

Things have come and gone since I last posted. I feel as if I’m not quite myself.

The London Bridge attack occurred the day after I had travelled to the capital and walked that bridge. That same day I had also walked over Westminster Bridge. It wasn’t any different to how it had been before the first of the terror attacks struck the UK. It screamed to me how transient life is. It made me feel ashamed for the suicidal thoughts that had been racing though my head. Those people who lost their lives or who had had their lives changed because of these events had not wished it to happen to them.

I also received the news on Monday that a past colleague of mine had taken her life. I didn’t know her well. I don’t know how to feel about it.

As a result I have spent a lot of time thinking. And thinking is not always a great thing.