Intoxicated

You know what hope is?
Hope is a bastard.
Hope is a liar, a cheat, and a tease.
Hope comes near you, kick it’s backside –
Got no place in days like these

Picture Window, Ben Folds and Nick Hornby

I downloaded the album with that song on it this morning and I thought the quote was appropriate, just so my blog can have two differing opinions of hope in one day.

*******

So I was sitting there in my bedroom at 10.30pm, freezing cold and unmistakably hungry. Most of the time I didn’t feel identifiable hunger, so it was easy to pretend that I just wasn’t eating because I forgot, or because my digestive problems were making me feel sick – but this time I was definitely hungry. I’d spent the day walking whilst an internal battle of numbers and insults had played out in my head. Twelve hours of the previous day had been hiding spent in my room, refreshing various websites and wishing I wasn’t such a fuck up. I knew exactly what was happening but I really did not want to admit it to myself. The regression from recovery to relapse was clear in hindsight – I could have charted the way that a gentle loss of ground turned into a landslide, stuck pins in the defining moments. But I never saw them for what they really were at the TIME, that was the problem. By the time I finally noticed the damn thing had taken over my brain again and I felt like an alcoholic who had just accidentally ingested a double vodka. Ashamed but intoxicated, and desperately wanting to put off the moment of confession for a couple of drinks longer.

I knew that eating disorders were tenacious and often chronic illnesses, but I was stubborn and had wanted and aimed for more than that. What seemed to be my undoing with each relapse was the fact that there always came a point where I began to underestimate my adversary. See, every time I went through the process of recovery I eventually reached a stages where I felt invincible, like I really understood the illness now and I couldn’t possibly be tricked again. I had too much to lose. Then something would happen to rob me of my appetite – a stomach bug, stress, whatever – and I wouldn’t eat as much for a few days. I could bounce back from one little trigger like that, but if it happened again I would struggle a bit more. If it kept on happening, after a few weeks I would slowly find myself beginning to capitalise on it. Beginning to feel safe and comforted and tranquilised, and wanting to make it last just a little longer. What more had I ever wanted than for my head to be quiet? And what had ever worked more efficiently than anorexia? Every attempt at recovery felt like an uphill battle, with the positive being that it was incredible for my self esteem to find that I COULD cope without it. My life was so much richer and more fulfilling when I was well. The sticking point was the coping part. Life never got any easier. It became more interesting, and in a rational state of mind I would insist that it was a worthwhile pay off – in return for being able to live my life I would accept the price of having to fight hard to keep my life-long problems with anxiety in check. Things became more complicated when I found myself not in a rational state of mind. When I was weakened by illness or stress, and the quick fix called to me. There is nothing glamorous or desirable about addictions or eating disorders, but equally there is no escaping the fact that every time I relapsed, it felt right. Like coming home. Like anorexia and my fucking stupid anxiety-ridden brain were made for each other.

If I was honest, I was never really all that surprised when I turned around one day and realised that once again I was more disordered than not. Because that was me, wasn’t it? I fucked things up time and again. If there was one thing that I believed about myself, it was that I was too weak to survive and that I was destined for chronic illness or premature death. But other people always seemed shocked, even angry with me. It didn’t fit with their picture of me. How the fuck I ever managed to give out the impression that I was strong and capable I have NO idea, but every time I’ve reached one of those points in my life when I had to give up trying to pretend that I was coping, I’ve had the same reaction.

And the thing is, I’ve written most of this in the past tense, because it would have applied to me at so many different points in my life. When I had to drop out of my A levels the first time, when I relapsed after I was raped, when I left Cardiff, when I ended up in hospital in 2007, when I stopped trying to fight the weight loss during my digestive problems later that year, and when I went to York. I could have written those exact words to describe the exact same experiences for each time I repeated the cycle of relapse and recovery.

But this isn’t a page out of one of my old journals. This is what is going on in my head right now. That first paragraph is a description of today.

I debated on whether to make this private or to disable the comments, but I’ve always been open and honest on my blog and I’ve always insisted that I blog for myself, no one else. I am not going to pretend that I’m fine to save face. But please don’t give me advice. I know what to do…I just don’t appear to be doing it at the moment.

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12 responses to “Intoxicated

  1. ((hugs))
    I couldn’t give you advice even if I wanted to because I’m sort of in the same position but if I’m being entirely honest, my heart sank when you said that first paragraph was about today. I’m worried about you. I don’t always comment but I follow your blog (and I say that in the least stalkerish way I can :p) and all I can say is, I really hope you (and I) get back on track soon. I know you don’t know me but you can throw me an email if you want to talk. Of course you don’t have to but the offer’s there.
    Take care hun,
    Michal
    xxx

  2. Just a girl

    Oh Katie, I read this with a sinking feeling. No advice, just a little note to say I’m thinking of you and really hope you can turn this around. I’ve often thought that those of us who use our eating disorders to quell anxiety have a harder time of it, because you take away the disordered behavior and the crippling anxiety remains, which makes going back to disordered behaviours all the more attractive.

  3. no advice, just a hell of a lot of love and hugs xxxxxxxx

  4. Katie,

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this..I don’t know what to say that can help..but I KNOW YOU ARE STRONG, because you’ve relapsed in the past doesn’t mean you’re not, in any case it goes to prove how amazing you are cause you’ve allways pulled yourself back up.

    I’m sorry for not commenting these last days, I felt like nothing I said would make any sense judging by where I’m at mentally now..but reading this I knew even if what I wrote is a load nonsence I had to reach out.

    I know it’s not fair, after all you’ve been through after all you’ve fighted for life to keep testing you, throwing things in your way, but I know things will get better. “Everything will be ok in the end, if things aren’t ok, it’s not the end” is my current mantra…

    I ‘m sorry things have been so difficult for you, but throughut the fight there have been many joyful moments and happiness..
    I know when you’re low it’s next to impossible to focus on the positive things when everything seems pointless, but if you can hold on in there, life can offer you brilliant experiences too…

    You have been hugely inspirational for me and for many other people that read your blog for sure, you’ve been the most rational voice against damn EDs that I’ve ever heard and reading your blog has helped me a lot when I’ve had no other support.

    I believe in Karma, and you’ve done so much for others that I’m certain something good has to be in store for you.

    I’m sorry I can’t help, if there is ANYTHING I can do please don’t hesitate to let me know..
    I just want to give you a BIG BIG HUG.

    Lots of love, from the bottom of my heart,

    Caitlin.

  5. ~Jessica Zara~

    I know I have no place to be psychoanalysing anyone, but from your mention of walking so far, your recent blog posts and the fact that you looked rather gaunt and strained (still beautiful of course, but on the thinner side) when we met up, I did fear that you were struggling with something like this. I didn’t like to say anything because there’s nothing worse than having some well-meaning idiot point out the obvious, but these factors combined with the change of season (from following your blog it seems that autumn and the start of the new uni term is always a particularly difficult time for you) made me fear that something like this was happening.

    Walking miles and miles in a kind of daze is something I do when I am engaged in bingeing behaviours and the same thing seems to be true for you with restriction (not saying that you are actively trying to restrict but if your IBS is preventing you from eating then the physiological effect would be the same?) and it seems to be based around numbing painful thoughts and external triggers of stress. And it IS a kind of intoxication, just as it would be for an alcoholic.

    You can pull yourself out of this hole before it’s too late. You know you don’t want to throw away the last year of hard work and struggle. You’re too strong and special for that. If you want to meet up at all or talk about this any time, if you can think of anything, anything at all that would cheer you up or make you feel better, then just tell me. I’ll be stuck in Uni most hours next week but I don’t care if I stay until midnight in the city if I can be of any help whatsoever to you at all. I hope this doesn’t sound too arrogant or presumptuous of me and I apologise if it does. I don’t think that I have some miraculous power to heal people or my presence is so wonderful ~ I just recall you saying that you always feel burdensome or whiny and you shouldn’t. I think not making this post private or disabling comments is a big step in that respect.

    *huge hugs*

    ~Jess~
    xxxxxxx
    P.S I know I’m not Jonathan or as fun to be around as him, but if you wanted to take a walk in Durham any time I would be more than happy to come along 🙂

  6. Nurse Converse

    Thinking of you Katie. xxx

  7. Thanks for being so honest. I really appreicate your writing.

  8. Thanks for being honest. I’m thinking of you. ❤

    A:)

  9. I haven’t got big wise words. But I do know that it’s ok to admit these things, and that there are many people who are here for you.
    I really hope that things get better for you soon.
    Many big bear hugs
    xxx

  10. The most painful part is admitting it to yourself, but its equally hard to admit it to those around you.
    I have every faith in you Katie 🙂
    xxxx

  11. You are not a fuck up Katie, and relapsing does not make you a bad person. From my own experiences this year I know how easy it is to shrug away the early warning signs, feel as though you’ve got it under control, until suddenly you realise that you’ve entered that difficult place again. I did the same. But it’s not too late to get back on track, and you’ve climbed the recovery mountain before, you can do it again, and this experience will teach you alot I’m sure. But it seems you could probably use some extra support right now, remember there’s no such thing as a perfect recovery – it’s ok to have the ‘downs’ as well as the ups, and you deserve help whatever happens. And I mean it when I say message me, if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know, sending hugs your way 😉

    Sarah x

  12. Pingback: Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes | Giant Fossilized Armadillo

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