Thursday, 29 October 2009

A is for ....

A is for Award. And this one was given to me by the lovely Paula Rodriguez at paulawannacracker. Hurray!!! (And I finally learnt how to link! )

Paula is looking great after losing 30lbs so far and working hard on improving her eating at the moment. Her's is an honest blog - trying to be careful with what you eat is not easy, especially with a large family to entertain. I think Paula is often too hard on herself because she's actually doing an amazing job. Cheer her on if you're not already.

A is for Appreciation. If you appreciate great writing then you will love Green Stone Woman's new Writing Blog. Her writing is quite exceptional. Check out "Rituals" posted on Oct 28th. Paragraphs 3 and 4 particularly put me in mind of Ted Hughes' "Lovesong". See what you think. She has also set up a new Art Blog where you seriously want to check out those sculptures. My favourite is Bog Woman, but The Frog is pretty amazing too. Of course Nora continues to write her daily journaling blog too. In her post this morning, her wish was that people would follow her new writing blog, so let's wave the magic wand and make her wish come true.

A is also for Anger and Appropriate. As in, Is anger an appropriate response to someone else's pain? I have read several bloggers writing about the anger they feel when someone else is depressed. Especially if the pain is so severe the person actually feels suicidal. Apparently a suicidal person is particularly deserving of these people's anger and disgust. Yes, the word disgust has been used in this context. One blogger actually wrote that she was "offended" by other people's pain. Offended???? WTF??? And these people call themselves Christians?

Can anger and disgust ever be appropriate responses to other people's pain?

For example, if you are very overweight you have possibly at some time been on the receiving end of someone else's anger over this issue. It may have been your parents, your partner, even a complete stranger in the street. Did you find this remotely appropriate? Remotely helpful? Chances are you found someone else's anger directed at you a crushing experience. At the very least it's highly unpleasant that someone else seeks to increase your pain over this issue. Why would they do that? Does it make sense? Does it achieve anything?

Why do some people feel intense anger when someone says openly that they are depressed? Or suicidal? What does that anger signify? There could be various factors at play here, but the most obvious candidate is denial. Denial of their own pain. To some people, admitting that they have such negative emotions is too frightening for them. They want to stuff those feelings down. Pretend they don't exist. Those feelings are linked with feelings of their own inadequacy and lack of self esteem. Some people prefer to block this stuff out of their mind. It gives them a feeling of superiority, after all, that they have been able to "overcome" (supposedly) the causes of their pain, and not "give in" to those feelings.

Why do overweight people in particular often bear the brunt of other people's inappropriate anger? Well, as we know, excess weight is often pain made highly visible. Unlike alcoholism, or drug taking for example, which are not immediately apparent when the person walks down the street, the compulsive eater's pain is there for all the world to see at all times.

So people are trying to distance themselves from their own pain when they look down on someone else who is obviously in pain. And an inadequate ego will always get a boost from feeling superior to other people of course.

I remember when I did a creative therapy class some years ago, and before the first session when we were all in the reception area waiting to go in, a woman in the group proclaimed very loudly that "People think that to come here there must be something wrong with you". And she went on to explain (to her highly embarrassed listener) that there was nothing wrong with her. Of course not. Like she was just there for the craic.

Fact is that everyone attending that group had been diagnosed with depression.

She told me in no uncertain terms that she was not depressed. And evidently felt that because of this she was rather superior to the rest of us. She was not mentally ill. She was not one of us. She then proceeded to paint a very large piece of paper entirely in very dark grey and black. Yeah, I thought, you're so not depressed.

Being British, no-one in the group mentioned it. Every time this poor deluded woman dropped another clanger (supposedly demonstrating her own psychological superiority to the rest of us) there was much raising of eye brows, shaking of heads and knowing smiles exchanged.

Thing is, this woman was the most depressed person in the group by a very long chalk. Her desperate attempts to bolster her own flagging ego only signalled the enormous hole she was in emotionally.

For the other members of the group, treating this woman as a figure of fun (in their own heads) served to stop them (to some extent) being hurt from the message that this woman was transmitting ie you are worth less as a human being if you are depressed, if you suffer from mental illness, if you are in psychological pain. We tried to insulate ourselves from her opinion that we were unacceptable and weak; less than "normal" people. We tried not to allow her to increase our pain.

This woman's feelings of disgust towards herself could have had a very destructive effect on other people. And possibly did in other situations.

Her unfortunate, hurtful behaviour towards us was really to do with her feelings about herself. Ie feeling that she was worthless, unacceptable and "less than" other people.

Appropriate responses to other people's pain are things like empathy, offering comfort, understanding, making suggestions to ease the situation, telling a story from your own experience of how you dealt with something similar, or simply listening (or reading).

Inappropriate responses are anger, disgust, feelings of superiority. These responses say a lot about the person feeling them and zip all about the person they are aimed at.

OK. I finished ranting now. Me, angry??!! That would be so inappropriate ....

In other news, The Bear has been suddenly demanding my attention after virtually no contact for quite a while. I have seen him every day the last three days. And we have had a lovely walk each evening. I also went on a walk on Monday evening on my own.

I was surprised that he was in quite good shape psychologically despite a bit of a crisis - which required my help and support. I really have loved spending a bit of time with him. Spending time with him helps me be more accepting of myself, because he accepts me totally and unconditionally. He is the only person in the real world I trust (I say in the real world because obviously I trust you lot).

My eating - rubbish. All rubbish. Massive eating every day. But at least my exercise levels have improved. And that is really necessary considering I will be walking a very large steep hill to see my healer on Monday.

I am feeling a little better in myself. Your comments have been very supportive and helpful. Between you lot and The Bear and my healer, I hope to crawl out into the light any time soon ...

Thank you.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


Hi Guys. I'm sorry I was unable to comment on your blogs yesterday. I slipped into a severe depression and although I read everyone's blogs I didn't feel able to formulate any responses. Hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. I hope to be able to leave some comments later today.

Thank you for all the long comments you left to the last post. I love long comments! The longer the better - because that is how this thing works. The more feedback I get the more I have to think about and the more I can learn - about myself and about life in general. I really appreciate the time people take to to respond to my issues.

The most striking thing from the last post was the fact that everyone else thinks I have a personality! I have to tell you that whenever I have said to anyone who has been treating me that I feel I have no personality, they have assured me that they don't see me in that way at all.

The difference here is between looking at someone from the outside and feeling how it is to be a person on the inside.

Once, when I was doing a group session with a load of other women a few years ago I said to them that I knew it would sound weird, but that I was not a person to myself. I didn't expect anyone to understand what the hell I was talking about because no-one had ever seemed to up to that point. I was surprised when one of the other women said that she knew what I meant because she felt she was "a nobody" as well; that she had no personality, was no-one.

Had I realised this person felt the same? No.

In my head I had put together a picture of this person based on the way she presented herself, the clothes she wore, everything she said and how she said it - how she had brought up her children, her relationships with men, the way she described her life. To me she was a fully formed being who seemed consistent within herself.

We all formulate a schemata for every person we meet, build up a picture of them based on their interactions with us and how they present themselves generally. Our assumption when doing this is that the person does have a particular personality, that they are consistent in their thinking and behaviour, and that their outward behaviour very much reflects their inner personality.

These are very big assumptions to make, but also of course necessary for us to function effectively and safely in the world - they are cognitive shortcuts for summing up and assessing other people. And generally they are correct.

However, research does show that we view other people as being more consistent than we are ourselves. This is just because we have far more data to go on when considering ourselves. For example, with ourselves, we may see we are extrovert in some situations - ie situations where we are more confident, and introverted in other situations. Whereas we are more likely to view other people as extrovert or introverted.

So, even though you have only my written words to go on, it's not surprising that you have formulated some sort of consistent schemata for me.

I'm talking a lot about consistency here. But I don't feel inconsistent within myself on a day to day basis.

What I mainly feel is that I do not have an integrated personality. My psyche is in pieces, is fragmented, and my brain has to work very hard trying to hold the pieces together. This is why I find it so difficult to do anything very much. Because my brain doesn't have very much energy left over to spare. It takes so much energy to hold together a shattered psyche. It now occurs to me that what other people see (or read) is the result of the pieces being held together - the brain's desperate attempt to present to itself (let alone the rest of the world) a fully functioning being.

The most frustrating thing is that every so often I feel my self becoming "whole" again but it never lasts very long. The status quo always falls apart again. It never "works" somehow. And every time it does fall apart, I'm devastated. And very frightened.

Being in pieces, especially newly fragmented after a period of apparent wholeness, is very frightening. It's like living with no solid ground beneath you. The whole shebang can just fall apart at any moment.

Now, looking back over your comments and the emails I've exchanged with people, I see there is some sort of "backstop" there. In large part this is the body of knowledge I've built up from all my experiences as a mentally ill person. All the pain I've felt, the lack of security, the instability (which no-one else ever seems to perceive annoyingly!), the humiliation and shame of mental illness - a lot of which comes from knowing I can't cope with life as other people can, that my brain can't concentrate on anything else other than trying to hold myself together, all the coping mechanisms I've developed at different times for different problems and scenarios, all the conversations I've had with other mentally ill people on how they view things and how they cope, all the therapy I've been through - may have been useless at solving the problem, but it was interesting to get different perspectives.

I've learnt a lot being ill - through my own illness and other people's. About the dynamics of how people are f*cked up by others. The apparently small interactions with others which can have a huge impact. How psyches are developed and melded, and fall apart. How the mind can travel through endless cycles of rising and falling mood, comprehending and non-comprehending one's life, periods of time where a person is coping alternating with periods where the person is struggling.

Ultimately we are all put together and formed in the same way, by the same means. We all have better and worse times in our lives. So this knowledge can be applied to anyone - because the mentally ill are like everyone else, only more so.

The only instability that other people do perceive of course is my weight going up and down. Some people I know will be able to make the connection between my weight rising and increased depression. But I guess that to most people I am simply a yo-yo dieter or failed dieter. They don't know that I am a binge eater/ compulsive eater with a history of eating disorders - it's not something I would tell very many people. But as Jack Sh*t said to one of Diane's posts, "secret" eating - the world's worst kept secret.

I see my weight fluctuations as a visible sign of the state of my mind, and as a sign that I am incapable of coping with life. A far greater sign of failure in life than simply a failure of willpower or failure to stick to a diet plan, or failure to make good choices. I see it as a fundamental failure of personality.

This makes my weight a hugely loaded issue for me. I just have to keep reminding myself that most people in the street do not perceive any of this. But in my own head I cannot separate my mental illness from my weight because they are indeed intimately connected.

To a certain extent most people view their personality as being tied up with their appearance. Which is why weight loss can have such a profound effect on a person's view of themselves and consequently on their life. It's no wonder then that issues surrounding a person's weight are so ... er, weighty. It's always about far more than carrying around some excess poundage.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


Hi Guys. Sorry once again for inflicting all that shit on you last time. Strangely more people "tuned in" and read that post than any other ... well, a cheery title like "Toxic brain dump" really pulls in the punters don't y' know! And I want to sincerely thank the people who left a comment. I realise I made it tough for you because I left very little room for hope in there. Very little that people could respond to. Most of those who did said that clearly I am depressed and need meds. Or possibly could I turn to faith to help me through this. Both valid suggestions.

I certainly don't dispute that I am suffering from major depression. But I can tell you that I've tried every anti-dep going and none has been any good, either due to side effects or lack of efficacy. The one I was on the longest, Lofepramine is highly toxic and had little positive effect. It also caused me to reach my highest ever weight due to the fact that it lowers blood sugar, and blood pressure and slows you down so much that life becomes one long grinding exhaustion. The main way it "worked", if at all, was simply to slow down my thinking, thus I would have fewer thoughts per hour, thus fewer depressing thoughts per hour, thus be less depressed. Talk about being sledgehammered! I had to give it up due to the damaging effect on my kidneys. It also made me agoraphobic, a known side effect of this med. I was agoraphobic from the first tablet I took. I carried on taking it for as long as I did because I was desperate and there were really no other choices. I haven't been able to tolerate anything else. My psychiatrist told me some years ago that I was out of meds. Nothing left to try.

So I am now going through this unmedicated. But that doesn't really bother me I have to say. Even when I was on tablets the side effects were so bad I couldn't lead any kind of normal life anyway. So I wasn't any further forward.

Ultimately meds, if they worked and if I didn't have side effect problems, would only be covering up the pain, a band aid on the situation. They cannot solve the root cause. The root cause being that when I had my breakdown in 2000 I lost my self. I lost my personality. I lost who I was. No tablet can give me my self back.

That's why psychiatry has been no help to me at all. There is no diagnostic category for "person with no personality". In fact I have never really been able to get a psychiatrist to even understand the position I am in. They just don't seem to "get it". Or maybe they do but simply have no answer.

There is no way I've found of deliberately reforming a personality. Well, you may say what about psychotherapy? Therapy of course is designed to help people explore parts of themselves and make adjustments in personality. It depends on you having a personality in the first place to make the adjustments to.

I've been very lucky (or maybe not so lucky) to have had extensive individual therapy on the NHS: psychodynamic psychotherapy, creative art therapy, cognitive analytic therapy (CAT), psychoanalysis (a lot of which was twice a week). Not to mention groups run by the local health trust - stress, creative art therapy and relationship groups. I've also attended independent self help groups for depression and social anxiety.

I'm not stuck like this for lack of effort! This thing has had everything thrown at it. And I still really feel like no-one who's ever treated me has really "got it" or understood what I needed. But then I have no solution either. One therapist said to me that my previous learning (in psychology) must have been really useful to me when I had my breakdown. Sadly not. You can't study what it feels like to have a breakdown or have no personality.

Mainly therapy has simply increased my instability and pain. The only one which did have a slightly positive effect was the CAT which I actually found quite empowering. But it is a fixed short course of therapy (unlike the others) and I feel I needed much much longer for it to have made any lasting positive impact. I also don't think it was the type of therapy per se which had the effect, but the therapist herself. If I could have had a year with her then maybe the outcome would have been more beneficial. And that's one of the problems on the NHS, you don't really get to chose your therapist. You just get who you're given. Of course you can turn down a therapist, but then you're back on the waiting list 'til who knows when.

My last lot of therapy - the psychoanalysis (which ended summer 2008) - was the most damaging. It plunged me into total chaos again. Which is where I was until spring this year. Now I'm simply back in nowheresville.

And still they keep it coming! They are now offering me a three year package of individual psychotherapy, group therapy plus fortnightly support group meetings to run concurrently (as the judge always says). I jokingly said to the Head of Psychotherapy, "So I get out of jail when I'm 40 then??!!" She didn't really appreciate it.

I've turned it down so far as just being too much to take on at the moment. Given the lack of any progress in the past it just seems ridiculous to carry on doing something that only makes me feel worse. It's still on the table though. Mainly because it's the only thing they have to offer me now.

I'm gutted that therapy was so useless for me. I was a true believer in it. I started studying psychology all those years ago because I actually wanted to be a therapist myself. What a joke! I find it hard to sustain any belief in it at all now. I've never known anybody who was seriously mentally ill actually benefit from it. Obviously I can see it may be of some use for people who merely need to make personality adjustments. But that ain't me.

The other suggestion made by some was about faith. I am an atheist. But at this point I'd like to thank those people who said they'd keep me in their prayers. I do appreciate that. I wish I did believe in god because then when I was awake in the middle of the night I wouldn't feel alone. It's wonderful to feel that there is a being of some sort looking over you, taking care of you etc. But belief is belief and not pretending to believe. It's not something you can fake in my opinion.

Strangely enough I did believe in god for the first 18 months after my breakdown. I mean totally believe. I went from being a complete atheist before to a complete believer. There was no doubt in my mind. But I was able to believe in god for that time because I was completely not myself. It was as though a line had been drawn down on my life and everything I was before was alien to me. I couldn't even begin to understand that person anymore. After those first 18 months I came out of that initial headspace and was then unable to believe anymore.

I do believe however in spirit guides due to my own experiences and the healing I have received. But a spirit guide, to me, is a guide that helps you get where you want to be, if it is possible. They don't show you the way, or answer your wishes/ prayers. They don't have the all encompassing power supposedly had by god. They can't show me the answer to my problems.

I say I believe in guides but I don't claim to understand how this thing works. I have no knowledge about my guide.

Well, that's all got a bit deep hasn't it!

I did feel a sense of relief for having got all that shit out last time - so thank you for reading it. It's weird that it makes a difference to have put it out there in public, rather than just writing it down for myself - which I have done many times previously. I don't know why it makes such a difference though.

I can see for example the extent to which I am hung up on not being able to have a "normal" or "proper" job. Really hung up on that. But now it occurs to me I will just have to hope in the future to find something I can do working on my own/ for myself.

I had reached a stage of feeling that there's no point in trying anything in any sphere anymore. But now I think I'm just going to have to try for the best quality of life I can - which is certainly higher than I have right now ie stopping bingeing and getting back on an even keel with my eating and blood sugar level. This would be beneficial on every level. My behaviour, while not deliberate of course, is only making things much worse. Like Fitcetera says, "stop doing what hurts".

I will have to think for much longer to come up with an answer as to how I can be me again. Any suggestions ....? All thoughts gratefully received.

In the meantime, there was no washing this Tue due to work going on in the basement so I was let off the hook! So no bingeing on Tue or Wed. The bad news is that I binged continuously from the Thursday - Monday before that.

My healer also sent me a card which arrived on Wed. A beautiful card with a lovely message in it. I was able to ring her after that and made an appointment for 2nd Nov to go and see her. Maybe having that goal will help me get myself together a bit.

I think the best thing I can do from here is to a) think how I might go about reforming my headspace into something useful which will enable me to lead a happier more productive life, and b) try (yet again) to improve my physical health by eating healthier and slowly building up my walking time.

So thanks for all your input. I am feeling slightly more positive now. Only slightly mind ...

Monday, 12 October 2009

"Toxic brain dump"

Leslie (of Something Brilliant is Brewing), "toxic brain dump"? I'll give you toxic brain dump! It doesn't get more toxic than the stuff here, so if you're feeling bad already, then please DON'T READ IT. I wrote it yesterday as just an outpouring and didn't dare post it because it's just C*R*A*P in the sense of crap going round in my brain. But it's also my life story of the the last decade. It's an example of the thinking and thought processes of a depressed person - hence all the repetition. But this doesn't mean there's tons of distortion there. It is actually the truth. This is me.

The X referred to lower down was a man I met and fell in love with before my breakdown in 2000. The failure of that relationship was a major factor in the breakdown.

I've thought recently that I had reached a place of acceptance of my illness but I see from reading this that that is not really the case. I am just in a terminal quiet despair over it.

I apologise in advance for what you are about to read. SORRY.


What is bingeing about? For me it's a stepping out of reality. When I binge the calorie content doesn't matter. I can consume vast amounts and there are no consequences for that. Of course there are consequences - but at the time of buying and consumption in my head there are no consequences.

Why do I need to step out of reality? Because reality is too shit. My reality is horrible. My life is a big nothing. A big stressful nothing. I am nothing. Nothing except a failure. A permanent mental health patient who can't hold it together for any length of time. Stuck in inadequate accommodation. No way of ever earning any money ever again. No marriage or kids. No job. No home of my own. My circumstances are grim indeed and it will only get worse as I get older. Because I am under 40 I still have a sliver of hope that any of these things may yet happen. But get past 40 and none of those things will ever happen. That's why I don't think I will live far beyond 40. Because I'll have no hope then. So time is running out for me on this earth.

And yet I spend my days wasting them away with bingeing and not leaving the house. If you had only a short amount of time left on this earth - less than 5 years I am certain - if you were given less than 5 years to live what would you do with the time? Chuck the diet in that's for sure! What else? Travel the world? Spend the time achieving something you always wanted to do before it's too late? I'm sure you'd have a list. I don't have anything I want to do or achieve before I die. That's how unconnected with life I've become. I am like an amoeba. Brainless and intellectually and emotionally numb. A big blob of nothing.

And bingeing is just reflecting or covering up the pain.

The only things I do in life are binge for a while and then diet for a while. I feel like that is all I've done for the last few years. Trapped in this endless cycle.

Of course, when I'm dieting and improving my health and fitness I feel like I'm on an "up", however painful and miserable it is - and the process does cause me to cry a lot. But at least I'm doing something to improve my situation. At least I have a goal, an aim in life. A reason to exist - even if it is only to lose weight. My life is planned around that - food that I'm eating, when I eat, cooking the food. The exercise - walking takes up a lot of time. It feels virtuous. It feels like I'm doing some good. And of course it's undeniable that it's better to be out walking than sat at home. It's better to eat veg and feel healthy than to be stuffing endless amounts of rubbish down myself and feel terrible.

But basically, overall, what am I achieving with my life? If I cut out the bingeing and subsequent necessary dieting, what then? What would be left then?

I have no other achievable goals. I'd like to get a job, but my levels of anxiety and depression make that impossible. I'd like to have got married and had kids but I've never met anyone and have few opportunities to do that now. And who would have me now? I'm a dead loss. I can't earn any money. And in this country at least, no man wants a woman who can't earn money. I tried internet dating but the only men I met were complete non-starters. If they weren't complete non-starters they'd be able to get a girlfriend. And if I weren't complete non-starter I'd be able to get a boyfriend.

I'd like to live somewhere nice but I can't afford it so I'm trapped here.

I can't see anything else I could achieve or do with my life apart from this horrid cycle.

Everyone needs to feel they can achieve something, that there is a reason for them to exist. Many people suffering severe totally incapacitating mental illness which they know is never going to end - like schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder - see the battle for psychological survival in itself as the meaning of their existence. And I did myself for the first year after my first breakdown. Because just to survive that year for me, when I was in such mental chaos and there was no help for me in terms of tablets or a diagnosis that pointed to a specific treatment (my diagnosis has only ever been "depressed after a breakdown"), was an achievement in itself. Every day was an achievement just to get through it. But since then I have got used to this hell. I am not in mental chaos anymore. Just total despair. I exist between this and numbness, because generally it's too upsetting to think about the reality of my situation, all the things I can't have and can't achieve any more. In fact the only good times in the time since my breakdown, almost 9 years ago, are when my eating has been very much under strict control, often (though not always) combined with a rigorous walking regime. And the worst times have been when my eating is completely out of control. They have been desperate despairing suicidal times. BUT in the last two years I'm pretty much desperate, despairing and suicidal all the time. Because I know that time has run out for me.

The only difference now between being fat or not is that when fat I have no confidence at all when I'm out of doors. When thinner it's still a huge struggle to get outdoors, but when there I am more confident. Still stressed, but more confident than when fat. And that's it. Oh yes, I have that sense of achievement when I lose the weight. But it's not real achievement of anything that will actually make a whole load of difference in my life. Yes, being more confident would improve my life a little bit. But how much time do I spend outdoors anyway? At this stage in my life and in my illness, which I believe to be terminal, is it really going to make any difference?

The next important age in my life is going to be 42. I assume this to be the age when I will kill myself. I know what ages are important. I knew since at least the age of 10 or 11 that 28 was a fundamental, important age in my life. I actually thought I would die at that age. And in a way I did - I had a breadown and the me I was before, the competant me that could achieve anything in life if she put her mind to it, died. And I wish I had completely died, because there has certainly has been no reason for me to be alive since then. Since then I have been no more than a shit machine. Next age I knew was important was 36. I thought maybe I was going to have a baby at 36. I really thought that. I didn't know that age was important because I was going to have another breakdown which left me feeling like I would never be intimate with another human being ever again. And also took away any desire for that. And in practical terms I could never have children now because no-one will ever marry me and I would never be able to pay for the support I would need to look after a baby. I mean I can barely look after myself. I wouldn't make someone a good mother. And I feel too old and tired already to do it now. It takes great energy and positivity to do that. I am exhausted from what life has already thrown at me.

But for all I know it could be another breakdown waiting for me at 42. I have no expectation of anything else. Why expect anything else. 28 was certainly a symbolic death. I wish 36 had been a symbolic rebirth. But sadly not. Sadly it has just given rise to endless despair. A sort of emotional flatness borne of trying not to think about things too deeply, or at all, because it just leads to suicidal thoughts. But if you can never address the issues then you can never find a way forward. But I've tried so many times to address them and find a way forward and failed. That is why I've given up. For some people there is no solution.

So what is there left? Making sure I wear a size 8 shroud in my coffin? That feels like the only thing I have left to aim for now.

I am so without hope. But this is not just a lack of hope due to depression and stinking thinking. This is real evidence based lack of hope. I can't see the point in anything anymore.

I've been round that diet trail so many times and it's led nowhere. A feeling of "moving forward" with my life which is actually false. Just another turn of the wheel. Another part of the cycle.

I feel trapped and there's no way out. Not that there's no way out of my weight problems. But that there's no way out of my mental health situation. The weight problem is just a manifestation of that. It has no real importantance at all.

And why am I mentally ill? I can't cope with relationships with other people. It could be argued I don't get to meet many other people to have relationships with. But I had a breakdown in the first place because I was so isolated. I became so isolated because contact with other people seemed too painful. And it still is. Because of the sh*t I feel about myself that I project into other people's minds. Always thinking they think ill of me. And this is not weight dependant. And not dependant on my mental illness. Though neither of these things help of course. They're just things to hang other people's disapproval of me on. I felt that way before the breakdown and when I was thin. I have always felt that way. That I am not worth it. Not worth anything in fact. And there seems no way to change this.

How could I ever become a worthwhile human being? I can't do a job and contribute to the community in that way. I can't be a mother and contribute to society in that way. I know you may say I make a contribution in blogland. But I don't have it in me to write on my blog every day ie to really make it a big thing in my life. To be an inspiration to other people like Diane fit to the finish, or to give people things to think about like Lyn of esccape from obesity. I just don't have it in me.

That's the worst thing of all about having a breakdown. Losing the ability to write. Before it was my raison d'etre. Now I struggle to squeeze a few words out every 3 or 4 days. Really, I find it so difficult. I find I have little of interest to say. I'm bored with myself and my braindeadedness.

Self hatred welling up again.

It doesn't seem like anything I can do would count in the real world. I could do art classes. But it would only be for me. Not for a career or anything I could sell or make a life for myself from. I could study some more, but I'm unable permanently to do a job so what's the point? Just for the sake of it?

I can't anymore cling to anything that's false. And further study would just be false because it's not leading anywhere.

I have tried so many times to work something out, to sort out my life, to find a way of moving forward. And every time I'm buggered because I can't work. That's what it comes down to in the end. I can't actually take part in real life. Not that I don't value all the contacts and support I've found on line. Of course I do. But I have no possibilities in real life and that is the problem. No solutions. And I've needed a solution for the longest possible period of time.

Desperate and suicidal yet again and feeling in need of a binge. So sad that my life is like this. It's been this way ever since X left. I should have killed myself then and avoided all this pain. My life has indeed been fucked up by falling in love with the wrong man. And there is now no way of undoing the damage. It's been too long. There is no way back from here.


I should point out that I am not suicidal at the moment. I'll make a deal with you, dear reader, if I'm going to do it, I'll let you know first. I think that's only fair. And then you won't be worrying about me unnecessarily.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Another Tuesday Fail

You know it all already just from the title. I messed up again due to Tuesday stress. A chocolate and cake binge. It could have been a lot worse. It could have involved donuts and sandwiches and crisps and ice cream. Only the agoraphobia stopped me going back out for more.

The mistake I made was going out AFTER I'd done my washing. I had to go out but I should have done it BEFORE I did the washing. And then I could have just vegged out afterwards. Now I know the rules. Just get bl**dy organised so I don't have to go out on Tuesday at all. And if by some unforeseen calamity it really is necessary then to go out BEFORE I do the washing.

I feel so dumb that I have to make these rules for myself; treat myself like a little child that can't be trusted. I'm an intelligent adult for god's sake. And that's the thing - that I can't trust myself. At least not at the moment.

I didn't eat because I was hungry. I ate because the horrid toddler within wanted a treat, a reward for getting the washing done. A reward for going through the stress of it.

And as with the last chocolate binge I didn't enjoy it beyond the first 100g. In fact I found it really difficult to eat it. I had to FORCE the stuff down. My body really really really didn't want that all that chocolatey sugary goo. Yet force it down I did. Which reminds me that this is a compulsion. Not an addiction. Although certain foods are addictive, I've never really thought of myself as a food addict. Because I eat even when I don't want it all physically. It's like someone compulsively drinking water. You can't be addicted to water, but you can drink it compulsively - and thus do yourself serious harm. People have died from over consumption of water. That is how I feel about food. When I'm eating more healthily, I'm just compulsively consuming large amounts of veg instead of large amounts of chocolate.

After I'd shoved down as much chocolate and cake as I could, I actually started fantasising about the veg and fish I would have had if the binge hadn't occurred. I could actually almost taste it. That's what my body really wanted.

My body has been very happy on the cereal free regime. Very happy. My blood sugar has been flat as a pancake (that would be a low carb pancake with no sugar or syrup obviously). My bowel swelling - which always happens when I binge eat or just eat wheat had gone down by the third day. Amazing! Normally it takes much longer to completely deflate. So now I can't kid myself anymore that my stomach is just that size due to the swelling and I'm left with I very clear idea of just how much fat there is - not pretty.

But the blood sugar is the amazing thing. I have felt hungry at times but that hunger manifested itself in a little tummy rumbling. It was located entirely in my tummy - where it should be. And was thus very easy to ignore. So different from the whole body experience of insulin induced hunger. So it turns out real hunger is actually the easiest to ignore. Then carb induced - which takes a hell of a lot of battling. And the hardest hunger to get round of all is psychological hunger which has nothing at all to do with the calorific needs of your body. And yet this is the most difficult. This is the one that gets me every time. I've always thought that I can handle anything my body throws at me, even the carb induced stuff, if my head is in the right place. If it isn't, then I'm sunk.

Of course I've been getting round that psychological one by the thought of not wanting to have to write up a binge again, which has worked a lot. But yesterday even that thought couldn't stop me. My head was in a different place. The toddler just wanted. And I was dumb enough to respond. To give in.

The only reason it didn't expand into the donuts and so on is that the convenience store was very busy at the time I hit it, and that sent me into a bit of a spin, and then I was standing near the front of the queue thinking of other things I wanted to put in my basket - but that would have meant rejoining a very long queue and I couldn't face it. I told myself I'd just have to come out again if I wanted more - and of course that didn't happen due to the agoraphobia.

So, another Tuesday fail. I found it incredibly difficult to sleep of course after all that sugar so I had a bad night and finally woke up today feeling terrible - very miserable about it all. A miserable failure. And thinking bingey thoughts.

It was only the weather that stopped me going out there and doing more damage today. It just rained torrentially all afternoon. I would have been utterly sodden within 3 minutes of being out and I really hate to get my feet wet!

Now the rain has calmed down and I'm thinking bingeing thoughts again. This is the thing, if the toddler gets it's own way once it thinks it can have it's way again. That's why I have to stamp on it and say No, it was just one day and can't carry on. Like the willpower muscle I read about on someone's blog (sorry can't remember who's). I can come back OK from one bad day, but it's much much harder to come back from more than that.

Having said that, I am still struggling with those thoughts at the moment and don't quite know how I'm going to stop myself. Today has been surprisingly good so far but not because of my willpower.

I've now been given the Over The Top Award by Karen at *FiCETERA* (thank you!) as well as Leslie and Amy, but I'm too depressed to do it tonight. I had planned on posting it last night of course along with celebrations for having got through Tuesday without bingeing. I also had hoped to set myself some goals, but now I feel too wobbly about it all yet again.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Doing OK

Hi Guys. Thank you for all the offers of tea, shopping and laundry. If I'm ever in America (where most of you live) I'll never be short of a cuppa! Seriously, your support means a great deal to me.

I've been eating pretty well since Wednesday.
200g diet yoghurt + banana + 2 cups 40 cal choc drink with instant coffee added
Fish in parsley sauce + veg + 1 choc drink + Galaxy chocolate bar (48g?)
Fish pie + veg + salad + 1 choc drink

The chocolate bar was left over from my mega binge on Tuesday - I had two left over from that night and ate one on Wed and one Thurs. A miracle I didn't scoff them both for breakfast on Wed - that's what normally happens with any left over binge food. Eating them after a meal with tons of veg meant that it didn't tip my blood sugar off.

Fri: as Thurs except no chocolate bar and 1 extra cup choc drink. Pissed off I had so much choc drink, but I was really fighting the urge to binge in the afternoon. The only thing which stopped me going to the shop and buying the bag of rubbish was the fact that I couldn't face having to write here that I had another bad binge. So accountability does work!

Walked to a supermarket in town in the evening - easy on the way there but very difficult carrying heavy bags on the way back. All that veg weighs a lot more than cakes and chocolate etc.

200g diet yoghurt + banana + 2 choc drink with instant coffee
Fish in parsley sauce + veg + choc drink
Binge: 1 bowl porridge (35g oats) with sultanas and honey + banana + choc drink
Fish pie + veg + salad + Ribena Really Light made with hot water

In the evening, before my last meal, I walked 15 mins to a different supermarket in the out of town direction and walked back the long route round the houses which took about half an hour. I really struggled on the way back even though I only had one bag but managed to only stop once for a few moments. I felt so pissed off that I am so unhealthy. Ridiculous at my age to struggle with such a short walk, especially when I was walking 1 1/2 hours several times a week earlier in the year.

I am also really pissed off about that mini binge. I ate it because I had been fiddling for ages trying to get some software downloaded and it was really difficult and frustrating so in anger and tiredness with it all I binged. I ate the porridge because it was already cooked - I had cooked it Wed morning and then decided against it (a first - normally I can't cook porridge and not eat it) - and made the mistake of putting it in the fridge. I should have chucked it because I wouldn't have eaten any porridge on Sat if I'd had to cook it. That 6 minutes of preparation time would have ensured it didn't happen. I know in terms of calories it was still a good day, but I had intended to go a few days with no cereals at all.

And it could have been a whole load worse. After the supermarket I went to a nearby Tesco Express - ostensibly looking for some fish or fish pie. It was a nightmare in there! This was 9pm at night and they close at 11 but they seemed to have a mass of freshly baked donuts, brownies, muffins, pastries etc. The smell filled the whole shop. Why do that so late at night? But they wouldn't do it unless they were going to sell them so I can only guess that people already well refreshed and going from the pub to the clubs in town probably call in there on the way and buy some carbs to absorb some of the alcohol.

I know from experience that I can't manage more than one food shop in a day - my will power tends to collapse the more food choices I am faced with. I wandered around the shop for about 3 minutes looking at so many possibilities but amazingly I made it out of there without buying anything. The thought of how miserable I'd feel to fail yet again stopped me from doing it.

I woke up about 9 and felt really "off" and like I needed an alcoholic drink - very unusual for me to have a hankering for alcohol. I decided as I was feeling so ropey to go for it and I had my favourite tipple of Ameretto and white rum - only a very small amount - with 2 pieces of crystallised ginger. Then I went back to bed. When I woke up I found I had a big, gurgling cough - the type which threatens to sit on your chest for quite a while. This explains the need for alcohol - I find I often need a tot when I'm fighting something like that.

200g yoghurt with some sultanas on top + 3/4 banana + 2 choc drinks with coffee
200g yoghurt with sultanas sprinkled on top + another 3/4 banana + 1 choc drink
Eve meal: Fish in parsley sauce (sorry to be boring!) + veg + salad + 1 large Worcester apple + 2 small pieces crystallised ginger. Ribena RL and 1 choc drink

I think I had a lighter food day today because of being a bit unwell so I just didn't feel like eating anything heavy earlier on.

So I've had 5 pretty good days. Cutting out cereals ('cept that one bowl) has really calmed my blood sugar down. I haven't been waking up with the carb monster raging and the usual struggle to even wait for the porridge to cook, so my breakfasts have been very light.

The first few days I was quite stressed out with all the prep and cooking and having to do plenty of shopping because I don't have a large enough fridge to store many days veg in. I've calmed down about it now and feel more on top of it. Hearing about the prep that many other bloggers are doing to make sure they have healthy food at the ready has helped (eg escape from obesity and Losing Waist). And having to get out to the supermarket is very good for me both in terms of agoraphobia (although I'm only managing it in the evenings) and exercise.

Yesterday after my binge and all those dreadful thoughts at the supermarket I really didn't think I would carry on with this way of eating. I felt confused. I've had no desire to eat the usual bowl after bowl of cereal and porridge but I'm still quite uncertain about my eating at this point; as to how sustainable it is - can I really keep this up? I've felt so wobbly in myself about it that I've been unable to set any goals or commit to anything which has been really annoying when everyone else is doing "The Hot 100"!

Earlier this year I successfully dieted for 3 months eating The Hay Way - separating carbs and protein, and I ate that way for most of 2007. It was one of the best years I've had in many years; I lost weight and I felt good about my appearance the whole year. My eating went to pot in December 2007 because I had a breakdown of course - due to a combination of psychoanalysis, which I have heartily regretted doing ever since, and trying to reconnect with my father as a part of that - and being rejected yet again. I've been in chaos in my head and with my eating ever since then and put on a huge amount of weight. Apart from 4 bursts of dieting (the longest of which was the 3 months this year) I have been in no routine with my eating at all. The times when I've been dieting, and therefore eating in a regular pattern are the times when I've felt much better psychologically. But which way round is it? Eating in a restrictive regular pattern makes me feel better or I feel better so I can eat like that? I think it's a mixture of both.

So I may go back to eating The Hay Way again as this has been sustainable in the past, but for the moment strangely enough, cereals just seem like so many unnecessary calories - not to mention blood sugar issues. I'm just going to have to continue feeling my way along, not just one day at a time, but one meal at a time.

Finally, thanks to Leslie and Amy for each giving me an Over The Top Award! I'll answer all the questions in my next post and possibly even think of a few people to pass it on to.