134 Months — November 9, 2017

134 Months

Exactly 17 years and one month from birth, the baby had sprouted into a premature adult and most definitely not by choice. 17 years and one month later she was sat in the hospital, tending to a boy with fluffy brown hair and chestnut eyes and a faded smile. She changed his colostomy bag and she sat beside him, clasping his hand on the bed; a perfect team.

18 months prior things had changed for the boy- he was diagnosed with a treatable disease which proves fatal most of the time. The girl was beside him, fixed frozen to the worn waiting room chair as the words fell and crashed around her, disappearing like snowflakes and falling so much less delicately. He didn’t seem upset, though. He shrugged his shoulders and wrote the next appointment on his hand as he tugged on hers. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t speak. Her throat felt swollen and her eyes felt weak. But then she picked her self up, gave a weak smile and followed him through the door.

Fast forward to the day they were back in the hospital, her clasping his hand. And well, clasping his body close to hers. It was late in the evening and a month prior, on her birthday, he had given her a panda bear. He told her to have and hold it, when she got sad. It was one of those times that she wish she had it, as pain descended over her. Her muscles were weak from pacing and her mind was cloudy from overthinking.

Through the needle in his arm, he had just been delivered another dose. She reached for the bed pan; a ritual and almost natural response now. He pulled a face, but not the usual. This time he looked more sickly, more exhausted by the repetitive sickness. The bags under his eyes bulged and his pupils shrunk almost entirely. He looked into her eyes the deepest he had ever dared to venture and she felt him searching through her soul for something, but she didn’t know what. His arms fell to his side; he wasn’t trying to support himself as he usually would.

The girl rang and rang the nurses button, holding the pan. A nurse popped her head around the door and simply said “that’s perfectly normal, dear” and went on her way. By the time she turned her back the girl was screaming and crying.

He urgently needed help, it wasn’t normal.

She placed a fresh bed pan in his lap, kissed him on the forehead and ran for the door, flinging it open and tearing out. Bursting into a busy corridor, she made her way for the one point of call they said would be available, anytime. One lonely nurse stood behind the desk, frantically scribbling. Without words, she pulled her arm and forced her to run with her. It was only a short way but minutes couldn’t go to waste.

The two flew back into the room, swinging the door loudly behind them. He had grown more pale still, as he lay eyes closed on the bed. Vomit was strewn down his gown, but it had finally subsided. She froze like the day 18 months ago. But this time she was stronger, she was back in motion, moving towards the bed. She wrapped her arms round him, cradling him. The nurse was yet to move from just inside the door.

Shaking his hands wasn’t working. Kissing his barely warm skin wasn’t working. Talking to him gently and stroking his hair in the way he needed to be soothed wasn’t working. A solitary sorry remark came from the doorway…

Ignoring the vomit, she rolled him to his side, his head on her chest as it smeared on her leg. Tears formed quietly in the corners of her eyes and then rolled roaring down her cheeks, falling ferociously onto her chest. She pulled back his hair to stroke the scar he formed the first time they went skating and as she stroked it, she felt the life drain with it.

She looked down at him and felt the guilt wash over her- she didn’t even know the exact time it happened. She couldn’t even tell everyone the exact moment she lost him. It could’ve been the moment she left the door, but it could’ve been the moment they got the news that ultimately changed their lives. And still changes one life to this day. He didn’t go peacefully or gracefully in the slightest- he died alone and fighting.

To this day I admire his bravery. He showed a courage that lasted 18 months without failure and enough for the two of us. Of course I wish he was with me. For one I wouldn’t be pouring my heart out to strangers and secondly, I might have been able to feed off of that fighting spirit to get me through my dark days. Then again they might not have come, had tragedy not have befallen us.

I get emotional because he has no grave, no place I can go and know he’s only six feet away. Six feet I won’t bridge for a while, but closer than where we currently are. His family, who never changed him and barely visited took his ashes away, and scattered them somewhere. I don’t know where that somewhere is. So I cuddle the panda bear each night and he’s almost cuddled up to me. For a while I couldn’t touch the thing, I couldn’t bare to look. Now, at night you won’t find me without it.

And on these few nights of the year surrounding three years later, I have been thinking of him perhaps more than ever. Maybe my maturity has developed in order to feel grief and acknowledge the life changing consequences of a horrible truth. Or maybe I’m just ready.

This world is a messed-up, scary place and sometimes those we find to guide us through leave for whatever reason. We have to remember it’s not necessarily their choice and nothing more can be done. We have to live with what we gave to them- be it enough, marginally inadequate or even nowhere near enough. We have to go forth with courage surmounted to be more than enough by everything they gave us.

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The Wooden House — July 26, 2017

The Wooden House

I ran my fingers over the dry, splintering door frame and across the smooth glass panels. I ran my mind back in time and my eyes over every surface.

I twisted the key in the lock; once hidden out of sight. My heart twisted with it, as if I was tearing it out with my curiosity. As if opening that door was the best and worst thing to happen.

The carpets had been rolled up and the photographs hung lifelessly on the mahogany coloured walls. The dolls slept in chests and the video tapes slumbered in drawers and on side tables. The childhood I had known so fondly was carefully yet so ruthlessly leaving the house and manifesting in me once more.

I went into the bedroom; it was hot and sticky, it was the way I remembered it. It was like not a thing had been touched, not the dolls house nor the literature concerning fairies and magical creatures. I had believed so much in fairies. I had believed in guardian angels. Until the life of that house, the life holding it together was taken away.

I walked to the swingset, the dust path I rode my first bike down, the house who's owners children used to play with me. We didn't speak in tongues, but in childish ways. Not understanding each other wasn't an issue, because the beauty of being a child is that speech isn't necessarily the native tongue. Children speak in bodies. In ways to break barriers and social constructs. In ways I can only dream of understanding as fully again.

Then I braced before I broke the threshold again. This time, the house was still. A chill ran down my spine as I imagined the suffering that cursed the walls. That cursed the life of the house. The entrapment that eventually brought her to her demise. It felt altogether different and indescribable.

As I examined the place in which she died, I felt reconnected. I no longer felt distant and I was able to feel sadness. You wouldn't believe me if I told you i missed the sadness; the fullness of emotion, even if it wasn't happy. I felt in the middle. That's the way to put it; not better or worse, but in the middle. Not of something or anything or anyone. Just. In the middle.

It is for you to decide whether I speak of visiting my nanas home since her passing, or whether I simply fantasise about an eventuality that might allow me to feel again; a look inside my heart. My house with walls and now a lack of life.

[Bull-e-ME-a] — May 4, 2017

[Bull-e-ME-a]

The passivity I speak with here is intentional. I feel possessed by a demon that has been on my back. 

On the 4th September 2012, I believed that I was at last in remission. However it was nothing but the start of something that was altogether worse and altogether consuming. It was amazing how the hope of a new school year overcame me, but the sickness was stronger. I was told I was stronger still. 

In the following January, I claimed to have beaten the disease, burying it in baggy clothes and hiding from the mirror. But it claimed me. 

I felt like for a while it might have left me alone; that I had peace at last. I went a year without it and now I’ve gone a further four years caught up in compulsion, wrapped in self loathing and hate. 

A lot of people ask what it’s like, why I would do such a thing. One of my friends persists to say that I’m beautiful, but honestly I can’t believe it. Saying that I never thought I was pretty because I am the DUFF (designated ugly fat friend); used to make the other girls feel better and look better against me so they can have whichever guy they pick out in a club. 

Even if I can take a guy home, when he wraps his arms round me, if at all, I cannot bear them to touch my stomach as it spills onto the sheets. When my best friend sleeps in my bed he won’t even put his arms round me, yet he has the audacity to tell me that I’m pretty. It’s all rather hypocritical. 

I tried to cut food out altogether but my mum began to notice I wasn’t eating my lunches or when I’d refuse my breakfast. I got better at it; I was binning my lunches and promising to eat as soon as I got into school, even if it meant getting up 10 minutes earlier. Which, by the way wasn’t easy for a teenage girl. 

That’s when I realised I enjoyed food. When I began to eat out at nice restaurants and discover what I liked, I found a love for food. I loved it too much to give it up. I’d starve and binge for a while but it wasn’t cutting it. 

I read blogs and articles about bulimia for a while- I guess you can say I did my research. It was a way for my to enjoy my food and feel less guilty. It was hard at school because I worried that people would notice but then I worked out when the bathrooms would be free and when I could commit my atrocity. It was easy enough at home as no one was in. 

I think I expected my friends to notice, but they never did.  I never had anything to stop me. I never had anyone to stop me. And so it has continued to this day, six years on. 

Six years on I feel no better about myself. 

So there you have it- my sorry tale. That’s how something I controlled ended up controlling me. 

The Past Year  — April 20, 2017

The Past Year 

It’s been 360 days since my last post; a post I could have been writing on a three year anniversary. Over those 360 days I have been broken, been mended, fragmented, been healed and been hurt. 

The past year has brought to me a series of unfortunate events. And the first might seem like a happy one, but it has caused me to become weak in my happiness…

It was a sunny Tuesday, for which our collective assembled on a picnic bench outside, yet still within the confines of our sixth form building. It was an odd kind of day and somehow everything just felt strange. 

You never sat opposite me to enjoy your lunch, or near me really for that matter. Over time I began to think you might not like me, because you’d laugh in a pitiful way at my jokes, or perhaps my demenaour in its simplicity.

Your eyes always sparkled in the sunlight, not in the generic way; it was different.

You were altogether different. 

Over the passing months, we kissed at parties as teenagers do. It was playful and it was fun, but in no way was it beautiful. Drunken slurs of words and off-beat endeavours made it the most un-beautiful portrayal of what friends do. Nonetheless, I could feel my heart racing to match the mess of swirling emotions. 

But because of my crippling depression, you were the first thing I felt in a long time. 

Honestly, I contemplated inviting you over on several occasions but the mere thought of it was distinguished as quickly as it came; it would be fruitless. 

After all, I wasn’t the type of girl anyone wanted to be seen with. 

After you came a boyfriend that arose from a best friend. Sadly nothing changed, we remained as close as we were before; sleeping in separate beds, without so much of a kiss before immersing under the sheets of a loveless, lonely night. It surprised me how upset you were when I could endure no more. 

The summer after that was fairly bog-standard, as far as any 18 year olds summer goes; I attended festivals and parties, spent time with my family, took exams, failed exams and secured a place at university(all be it last minute and on a foundation level course).

The university semesters have now fallen through my fingers like sand in an hourglass; inevitably and at a pre-determined pace. In the most part I am doing well. 

My mum tells everyone I’m doing well. 

The events have come and gone, much like the friends I thought I had; they graced my life for a period of time and when tested, they fell short. However I am now left with meaningful, stable friendships now that we are stripped to the bone of all the flesh that once surrounded us. 

I’ll go into more detail about that later, though. I’ll go into more details about the events and happenings soon. 

The things I wish I could tell you — April 25, 2016

The things I wish I could tell you

I wish I could tell you I feel trapped. I wish I could tell you I still feel lonely and scarred. I wish I could tell you that I’m finding things hard right now. But I can’t. I can’t because I don’t want to hurt you.

I saw your face when I pulled off my shirt getting changed at yours and you saw things you would never forget. The way my body became red and swollen around the seething cuts.

I wish I could tell you that things will never go back to how they were. I wish that they would go back to a simpler time, when I simply had no cares and could live and laugh like nothing was wrong. Nothing was wrong then, and everything is wrong now.

I wish everyone knew the real me, and I wasn’t just a very select few. I wish I was proud of who I was.

The sad truth is that most people will never know me and never have. I slowly became more of a recluse as time progressed, but so slowly that no one seemed to notice.

However, when I am close enough to someone to be capable of relaxing around them, my world becomes a better, happier place and for a little while, I feel free.

Depression Awareness Week — April 17, 2016

Depression Awareness Week

This week is depression Awareness Week, a time devoted to removing the negative stigma surrounding mental illness and giving people the words to say when faced with difficult times.

I wish my friends had the words when I first fell down, so they could pick me up again. And I wish my mother had the words when she saw the scars on my arms, so she might support me and tell me exactly how she felt.

It really hit home last weekend, whilst I laid in bed with my best friend after a night out… She turned to me and told me she wishes it never happened, not to me. She told me she cried so many nights and she hoped she would feel the pain, so that the weight on my shoulders might be lifted.

It broke my heart to hear this after all the damage had been done.

In order to raise awareness, here is my story, so that someone else may be saved…

My depression began several years ago. It started just as feeling worthless, but slowly progressed into self loathing and suicidal tendencies. I began to look in the mirror less and care less about my appearance; I simply didn’t care.

Depression progressed into self harm, to bulimia and to suicide attempts. Thinking about it now, I could be dead and have never known that really, I was loved and cared about. I could be dead.

It was a hard, long road, deep into the heart of depression, like slowly descending a chasm, soon to hit rock bottom.

I spent many nights alone and I seldom left my bedroom. I slowly lost hope that I could ever recover, and left my extroverted persona behind.

However, a young man has become my blessing. He had been my best friend for years, knowing myself and my scars better than anyone could, and accepting and loving me nonetheless. Now, I am both happy and proud to have fallen head over heels for him, and him for I. He makes me the happiest I have ever been and inspires me to become a better person. For everything he gives me, I could never thank him enough.

Unfortunately, this does not mean I have left depression behind completely, but I am slowly becoming less weighed down by the overbearing sadness.

If I hadn’t know what I do now, and hadn’t failed, I would be dead and wouldn’t have all the opportunities and happiness.

Please pass on this message to everyone you love and care about, because depression is not always obvious. If you care about someone enough, words will provide the best healing.

My plague — November 26, 2015

My plague

My plague is incurable, so why isn’t it better for everyone if I can end this torture?

“it’s selfish” they say. “think about us” they say. But is it really that selfish? I’m simply sparing them the pain which pairs with over-attachment.

The ironic thing is that they seldom think of me, yet I often think of them:

My beautiful best friend who is blessed with a loyal boyfriend who looks at her as if she is the only girl in the world. She is also gifted with incredible knowledge and a curiosity that opens doors.

My best friend with her long, curly hair that rests so elegantly and falls gently down her back. She is an incredible dancer and artist, gifted with a pretty face and a second chance. She’s ill too, but it’s of a different kind to me.

The girl who turned into a young woman before my eyes, who has been by my side for the last ten years. She too is laden with seething scars and a head full of unconquerable thoughts, but she is headed for her medical degree this year and is making something amazing of herself.

The boy who turned into a man years ago, who has recently shown his understanding of me by unravelling his own, secretive past in the hope it might help me to become better. He goes out with girls who abuse him and use him, yet gives them chances like they’re nothing. Really, he’s hurt and yet barely broken. 

All of these people remind me of myself. They signify the pieces of me that have been torn apart and cannot fit back together, like shattered glass. It’s funny that they’re all my friends really, maybe it was fate to make me pull myself together and find freedom through change.

What these people will never know is all the medication I take, all the thoughts I consume and all the times I wish I was okay.

They will never look deep enough into my eyes to later gaze into a mind that is slowly turning into a void, an emptiness, a trap for all the darkest demons. Nor will they see the darkness that manifests as I stare up at the moon with my windows open and my body quaking in the winter wind as I scream.

Because the thing is, I’ve been diagnosed with many things in my time: depression, anxiety, bulimia and self harm coupled coldly with suicidal and psychopathic tendencies.

But I’m not one of those horrible people who kills or molesters children. I couldnt kill anyone. The one reason they label me with a stereotype which is so negatively stigmatised; I lie to protect those I care most about. I know how hard it is to face the truth and if I can spare those people from the anguish which most probably lays before them, I feel better.

“it’s selfish”, they say but all things considered, selfish is the last thing I could call it.

What next? — October 8, 2015

What next?

What happens next is always unclear, but when the past begins to unravel, it feels like there’s nothing left to come.

And the thing is, I don’t want what happens next, I want it to be over. I don’t want another morning waking up, not wanting to get up or walking into school with my head down, wanting to tell them I’m leaving and won’t come back. But the words won’t come, not today and perhaps not tomorrow so I guess they won’t know until it’s over.

And the thing is, when someone you care about so dearly is on the edge and you are too, it feels all too applicable to call it quits with everything. When his words have you broken down and cradling yourself so tight you can’t think and when it’s offset the past, you’re lost.

You’re lost in a sea of emotion, of despair, of hurt and yet you’re still so hopelessly falling for this guy, even though you know it’ll set you back because I guess, as long as you’ve got him, it’ll all be okay.

The Truth — August 1, 2015

The Truth

The truth is that I’ve told a lot of lies lately, too many to count on my fingers…

I lied to my therapist as to why I couldn’t make my last session. I lied to my mum as to where I was going that day. Simply, I had gotten to the point where I didn’t need her words telling me I smile when I’m nervous and I have issues because anyone that knows me well enough could’ve told me that. And I can’t tell mum I’m skipping my sessions because I know she knows I’m not better and she has to think I want to get better, or she’ll worry.

I lied to my best friend when I told him everything is fine. See he’s on holiday having a great two weeks away from me, except from the fact that he’s missing his girlfriend like crazy. She’s my other best friend. He ensured I’d cut things off with the boy who brought me pain and I wasn’t lying then, but I had to make out like I thought I was better off without him.

I lied to the boy I’m falling in love with when I told him I’m not scared or worried that he’s a psychopath. I love him all the same because nothing can change how far these feelings reach, but I’m scared of loving him, because of what he can be. Whether it’s the false charm, the manipulation or the lying, I will never know. I know I shouldn’t love him but I can’t help it. His dark hair and eyes on his tanned skin, his husky voice, his nicknames for me, his posh accent that slips a little when he uses slang, his arms wrapped tight around me, his lips on mine… These things all draw me closer. And he’s been away the last three weeks, but the longer he’s gone, the more helplessly I fall.

I lied to my friend when I told her I was happy to be alive again, that I was okay again. Maybe I’m okay but things aren’t all well or how they were before everything happens. I lied when I told her I was wearing all my bracelets because I felt summery and they didn’t rub on paper when I wrote. I lied when I told her they were only old scars and I wasn’t hiding any. But I didn’t lie when I smiled, because it was one of the best nights of my life and for once, I forgot about things for a little while.

The worst part is I lie to myself too much- I tell myself different stories in my head to cover up the appalling things I’ve done. The way I look up and down in the mirror, I pull at my arms and my stomach and tell myself I’m ugly but that evening I’ll tell myself I told myself I looked beautiful, to try and comfort the hardness of my heart. It’s probably compulsive and excessive, but now I can’t help it and I wonder if I too, am becoming a psychopath, just like him, and now we’re one of a kind.

I don’t know if that helps or makes it worse because people look down on people like him and I, but for once I can be at peace with myself because I am like him, and he likes me and he sees me as indifferent. And I don’t know how bad that’s going to get, or how scared I’ll be, or even how soon I’ll decline. But I know I won’t beg myself to stop or to be happy because that’s caused me way too much heartache for my liking.

Summer Break — July 22, 2015

Summer Break

So yesterday my summer break began…

School finished at 12:30 after the big assembly as usual and I’d even been nominated for one of my subject awards. Following “the big assembly”, I hung around for a few minutes, saw an old friend and then proceeded to leave for my friend’s house so we could begin to get ready for the evening.

I went to work with her for an hour, in which we cycled round the village hills delivering prescriptions for the pharmacy. Most of the hills were steep and large, but I told myself that this was simply another way which would contribute to my daily exercise; something that’s become very important lately in the way of changing my current body image. It was tiring and dragged out, and I wasn’t exactly wearing attire suited for the situation, but we made it, I had a shower and we left for the party.

Her mother remarked on the lack of clothing I was wearing, at which point she said “Did you forget to put on a skirt?”. I plastered on a fake smile, followed by a fake laugh, only to be followed by a judgemental look as I got into the car. Suddenly, my outfit wasn’t such a good idea such a good idea any more, and my heart was sinking fast towards my feet.

The night to follow was a good laugh, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but something wasn’t right because my best friend wasn’t there. For the past week, myself alongside her boyfriend have had the task of telling everyone she’s too ill to be in, and it’s been tough- partly because I missed her and partly because I hated lying to my friends, but needs must.

However, now my summer can begin. The beginning of a peaceful, stress-free 6 weeks to be filled with partying, work and working out. I have to hope that everything will sorts itself out and come together in the coming weeks, or I don’t know how I’ll make it. I intend to make it the best it can be- going to festivals, going to parties, relaxing with friends…

But who knows whether that will happen. Everyone else can afford to go on holiday to beautiful places, leaving me here, only seeing them intermittently. So, this summer I’m going to have to find a way to make new friends so I’m not lonely