Blitzkrieg Bop

O, hai.  How iz you?

Yeah, everyone starts their blog entries, or zine introduction, or whatever else, with “sorry i haven’t posted in such a long time, but i’ve had all this stuff on…”  So i’m not going to, because it goes without saying, right?

Here are some things i’ve been meaning to write about, here in my blog, recently:

  • Going back to Overeaters Anonymous
  • Having a nasty incident and going teetotal
  • Money money money
  • My dissertation/placement
I think there may well have been more, but, well… i’ve forgotten what else.  Anyway, that’s quite  enough to be going on with, isn’t it?  It’s not like i’m an especially prestigious blogger who Must Tell The World Everything.  Even though i am a bit of a bigmouth and can’t seem to shut the fuck up, i’ll admit – part of the point of this blog is so i can Talk About That Shit here and not in my daily life where, quite frankly, i imagine most people i know are sick of me referencing it in every other sentence.  Let’s do ’em one at a time, then.

Twelve-step Fellowships

Yeah, i’ve started going to Overeaters Anonymous (O.A) again.  I’d been meaning to for ages – years in fact – but for some reason never got round to it.

(There’s also A.B.A – that is, Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous – but to be honest i prefer O.A because all sorts go, including anorexics, bulimics, binge-eaters and compulsive eaters; plus there are a lot of similarities between all eating disorders.  You can learn a lot from someone who might, upon first glance, appear to be very different from yourself.  I prefer the variety and i just prefer the style.  Seems many people do.)

So i went back, finally, after what, three years of intending to, perhaps?  Ha ha… never let it be said that i faff about or procrastinate, eh?  And to my surprise, it was very good to be back.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, despite having been before; i wasn’t sure if it’d be any good or if i’d feel weird or uncomfortable or anything.  But no, absolutely not: i was reminded how kind, accepting, welcoming and non-judgemental people can be.  They all have their own stories and real lives and experiences.  They’re all pretty amazing if i’m honest.

Now, i am still having reservations about the whole Twelve Step / spiritual approach.  I mean, what a load of freaky-cult pseudo-religious bollocks, eh?  To be fair, i don’t really think that – i’m just voicing (well all right, typing) what a lot of people think and, to a certain extent, what i did and still do think.  People who dismiss it like that, let’s face it, are the people who’ve never been.  But anyway, i certainly don’t think it’s bollocks, but i do kind of think, well, that’s not going to work for me.  I’ll just go along to listen and talk – you can see how that’d help.  But how do i explain my thoughts on this?  All this God and Higher Power stuff, well i can’t see how i’d do that – i can’t just switch faith on and off – nor, for that matter, can i see why i’d want to.  Meditating and saying i’m powerless and praying to some non-existent deity to ‘cure’ me?  How’s that going to stop me bingeing and puking?

Well, the answer is, firstly it’s not that simplistic.  There are all manner of things going on in the programme and within the meetings themselves.  People who ‘get it’ are there to support each other.  It’s all very well, me half-saying bah, what do i need them for when i’ve got loads of lovely mates who know about my shit?  I’m not isolated or lonely.  It might be a good thing for people who are, but i’m not like that.  Right?

Thing is, i do feel lonely.  I isolate myself, choosing the eating disorder over real life.  And there’s only so much you can talk about with your mates and your family, isn’t there?  They can be caring and patient and supportive – and yes, mine certainly are and i’m incredibly grateful and glad to have such amazing people around – but it’s hard for them to understand what we do and why we do it.  I mean, it’s hard for us to understand!  And let’s face it, it’s a horrible subject and we don’t really want to overburden anyone with it.

As for being so resistant to the twelve step approach itself, well i think i’m just being an arsehole, really.  What makes me so special, so different, that a programme that’s worked for who knows how many other people, won’t work for me?  And when did i get so wise and clever that i can know this before even giving it a proper go?  And finally: what i’m doing now certainly ain’t working, so maybe it’s time to try Something Else.

“Fuck-ups of the world, unite!  You have nothing to lose but your eating disorder!”

What’s next?  Oh yeah…

Having a Nasty Incident

A couple of weeks ago i got really drunk and things went badly.  I’ll point out here that i don’t have a drink problem, as such – but when i drink, i have problems.  I was stupid: i know i can’t take a lot of booze, but still i over-do it.

This time i seriously over-did it.  I woke up in hospital on Monday morning, still drunk, concussed, gash on my head, all my possessions gone.  Bruises everywhere that still haven’t gone.  Seems i slept on the street and maybe got robbed whilst unconscious.  Then i think i tried to walk home across London early in the morning, caught the bus with a complete stranger who paid my fare (perhaps altruistically, perhaps not), went into my local police station to shake the fella off then passed out as i left.

What i am certain about is that they then called an ambulance and my sister and later my Mum turned up to sort me out.  I spent the morning, a few days later, writing thank-you notes to the paramedics and everyone.  Thank fuck i wasn’t raped and murdered – it means i have another chance to live properly and take better care of myself.

So that’s it for me as regards alcohol.  I know people often say that, myself included, but i’ve never ended up quite this bad before.  Drinking just doesn’t appeal now.  I’ve never enjoyed getting even slightly drunk and i can live without it, thanks, especially if that’s what happens.

Some of my mates have said stuff like, oh, how awful – you must’ve been so scared.  That struck me somewhat.  Fear is not something i experience much, if at all.  No, i wasn’t scared, though perhaps i should’ve been.  If i felt anything much, it was more along the lines of mortified – that i could be so fucking stupid, act like such a cunt, upset and worry other people, piss them off with whatever drunken behaviour i, perhaps mercifully, couldn’t remember.

And all my stuff had gone and had to be reported missing or possibly nicked, bank card cancelled, new phone chosen and figured out (a particularly baffling subject for me), new this and that and the other.  It’s all too much to cope with and just served to remind me what a useless sod i am, no clue how to manage my life or look after myself.  At 33, that’s just shameful.

So it’s time for change.

My dissertation

Oh it’s all go.  Well, it would be, if i could do more than sit around in my pants staring into space with my mouth open.

Obviously i put on a few extra clothes before going off to where i’m doing my placement.  I don’t actually want to get arrested.

But it’s bonkers, how hard it is to fit all that work in around being unemployed.  Yeah, unemployed.  It’s bad enough feeling like a pointless waste of space, when not earning a living; self-confidence wanes and vanishes but time also loses its value.  I end up doing even less now, despite having more time than ever.  I sleep far too much and of course i Do That Thing i Do all the more when my time’s unstructured.

Just to give you an idea: quite aside from what went on earlier in the day, i’ve binged and purged four times just while writing this blog entry so far.  That’s almost eighty quid down the bog today alone – and this is budget bingeing.  Yeah, it seems a bit unbelievable and unreal to me, too; but unfortunately it’s only too real.  This is why everything hurts and why i’m in such a dire financial situation.  As my Mum says, it’s like being a drug addict – and she’d know because she used to work for the needle exchange.

It’s funny, or interesting, though, isn’t it – how ‘addiction’ appears to combine ‘a-‘ (not, or lack of) with ‘diction’ (speech).  I’m not sure it does actually mean that, because ‘diction’ comes from the Latin ‘dicere’ (to speak) whereas ‘addiction’, according to the dictionary, comes from ‘addictio’ which seems to be something to do with… deciding on and awarding property of uncertain ownership.  No, me neither.  I prefer the thing about not having a voice.

My dissertation, anyway – i don’t ‘alf go off on some bloody tangents, eh? – is underway this summer.  I’m on the final leg of my journey to being a qualified librarian.  Of course, there’ll be no library jobs – no fucking libraries, in fact – by the time i graduate.  Bah.  So i’ve been thinking about a move into the wacky world of I.T.  I know, right?  Nerd alert, nerd alert!  Still, it’s quite sobering to think, i’ll be qualified for something; assuming i pass of course.  And i’m nearly middle-aged.  Time to grow the fuck up, innit.

For my dissertation i’m looking at poetry in relation to health and wellbeing.  It’s amazing there, where i’m working.  People keep bringing me cups of tea and i’m surrounded by lovely books.  I keep getting distracted by all the lovely books though and have to make a supreme effort not to just read poems all day.  I’ve already half-wasted three weeks and i really, really don’t want to end up in that situation AGAIN where i’ve got two days left to do three months’ worth of work.

I’d like to write more about librarianship and politics in this blog.  I’d like to write about things that matter to me, those other things that factor enormously in my life.  It shouldn’t be all about bulimia and how miserable and crap i am.  There are other aspects to me, other things that define me.  I have hopes, ambitions, a dark sense of humour.  Libraries are my passion.  I’m a feminist and an anarchist.  I’m a veg*n.  (I mean, i’m vegetarian at the moment, but when i sort my stupidhead out, i’ll go vegan again.)  I used to feel so strongly, get enraged or excited; i used to really care about stuff.  I find it really difficult, these days, to muster more than slight irritation or despair.  I keep telling myself i won’t be this way forever, but then i wonder, is it because i’m getting old and i’m just too tired?  I’m writing a novel (ohmigod, aren’t we all?) although it’s on hold till i’ve finished my Masters.  I love zines (i write one myself) and comics (or comix, as i like to call them).  And my dream is to be on radio four one day.

What about you, dear reader?  What makes you, well, you?  Even if it’s buried under the misery and overgrown with weeds and you’re not sure how to dig it out again, what can you think of or even just remember being really into?  What about now – can you see a way to get back into those things?  Or, if you’ve been through and out the other side, how did you re-discover, well, life?

Books vs. Bed

Ugh.  Sore throat, diarrhoea.  Too much studying to do.  But bed beckons… in such dulcet tones.  What’s that you’re whispering?  You want me to lie on you face-down in just my pants and one sock, drooling a bit?

But i can’t.  Must… resist.  I’ve got this research proposal to write.  Stop tempting me with your sweet comfort, o creature of the night!

Hmm.  I think i may be delirious on too much peppermint tea and ibuprofen.  Time for bed i reckon…

Published in: on 18/06/2011 at 1:14 am  Comments (1)  

Time flies when you’re… oh. Yeah.

At the moment i’m out of work again.  I’ve been temping whilst studying for my MA but the last one finished about a month ago.  I still miss my old (permanent) job in the library.  I worked there for six years.  But i was in a rut and i wanted to go back to university, to become A Proper Librarian, so i know it was for the best that i left.  But i do miss it.  And now’s not a good time to be looking for work, is it?  Then again, is it ever?

At home, with no structure to my day, only my rather vague resolve to work on my research proposal, and with no-one else around, my eating’s worse than ever.  No surprise there, eh?  So i’ve been looking for work, half-arsedly, in this strange state between life and death.

But i know that having a job won’t magically change my life.  Now, having a real job, a proper one where my skills are fully utilised, where i’m interested and engaged and busy with both my mind and my hands – that, i think, will make a big difference.  It’d be knackering at first, but that’s what i need.

Of course, the sort of work i can get, with a sickness record like mine and constraints on my time for studying and endless doctor’s appointments, well… i know from experience that it’s not great.  It’s mindless drudgery.  I can just work with one hand and binge with the other, sloping off every so often to the toilets.  And that’s just what i do.  Perhaps it’s a way of getting through the day, in order to ‘survive’ doing a job for which i can barely drag myself out of bed.

When the “trolley dolly”, at my last temp. job, came around to our floor one morning with her usual array of slightly battered fruit, unpleasant snacks and sugary drinks, as ever she spotted me stuffing my face with my usual bags of confectionery.

The previous time she’d been in, she’d joked, “Hide it under the desk, eh?” as i performed an unimpressive attempt at subtlety, chowing down on yet another bargain box of chocolates in a strategically-placed carrier bag.

This time, she said, loudly enough for the whole office to hear, “What are you munching?  You’re always munching something, aren’t you?”

I smiled, nodded mock-ruefully.  I did my little polite laugh and turned back to my computer, pretending to work.

Undeterred, she continued, “I seen you on the telly,” still too loudly.  “I know.”

“Ah, busted,” i said, feeling maybe the tiniest bit of shame, 99.9% indifference.

“No, is OK.  You keep munching,” she said.  Magnanimous.

And i did.  No-one around me said a thing.  Used to it, i suppose.  Like me.

“Ah,” i kind of felt like saying, but didn’t, “what can i do?  I’ve been doing this for over twenty years.  Maybe it’s all i know.  It gets me through, these days.”

I don’t fight it, like i used to.  Maybe i don’t even hate it like i used to.  I used to scream at myself, inwardly, stop, stop!  Put the food down!  I can just stop now!  Fucking stop it!  Walk away!  But something went on auto-pilot and my body carried on, despite my mind.

But now?  Resigned, accustomed.  This is what i do.  We all have vices.  We’ll all die one day.  Happiness is fleeting; who needs it anyway?


I don’t really believe that.  About not needing happiness.  Everyone needs – and deserves – a happy, decent life.

I’ve had a few messages since going on the telly.  Some are sad and desperate, wanting to recover but not knowing if they ever will.  Some of them are from partners of eating disorder sufferers, worried sick, wondering how they can cope.  A few of them are so young.  If i had a normally-functioning heart, i think it would break a little, each time.

A few are from well-wishers, telling me, oh, you’re so brave; or oh, you’re doing so well.

Thanks.  I’m not, you know.  Neither brave, nor doing well.  I’m as ill as ever – maybe slightly worse at the moment.  Binge-purge wise, i’m approximately as bad now as i was a few years ago, at my worst.  Then, of course, i was frighteningly under-weight, whereas now i’m at a normal, healthy weight.  Which doesn’t make me healthy, by any stretch of the imagination; but of course, that’s what people see.

So perhaps going on the telly hasn’t made the difference i’d hoped for, as regards raising awareness of “the invisible disorder”.  And although it’s helped the other two as regards further  medical treatment, i’ve stayed the same as i ever was – just as i expected.  Nothing really changes much, for me, so my old optimism that used to astonish people with its unceasing buoyancy, has dipped and waned into the reflection of a new moon.

Was it all a big fat waste of time, then?  Well, i don’t know.  I don’t regret doing it, but for my own objectives (which didn’t include my own recovery, because a few meals and shopping trips aren’t going to “fix” anyone), maybe it wasn’t so successful.  So little material was used, so much was over-simplified or simply mis-represented, that i’m left thinking we may as well not have bothered.

I wanted to tell people that, look, i’m an apparently normal person, with a very debilitating disorder.  This is what it’s like.  I don’t do it on purpose, or to piss anyone off.  I’m not a white, middle-class, heterosexual, teenaged girl.  I carry on, stoically most of the time, coping with life as best i can.  I’m not in A&E every week.  I’m not trying to kill myself: i’m trying to survive.  I may well be like this for the rest of my life.  There are loads of other people out there, of all ages and all sorts, who are very ill.  And you can’t tell by looking.

There are dog-knows how many people out there with eating disorders.  Old, young, middle-aged, queer, straight, asexual, transexual, intersex, male, female, neither, tall, short, fat, thin, medium-sized, black, white, brown, blue with yellow spots… there are people who overeat compulsively, people who binge, people who purge, people who binge and purge, people who over-exercise, people who chew and spit, people who only eat certain things and cut out entire food groups… and yes, there are white, middle-class, heterosexual teenage girls with anorexia.  There are as many different kinds of eating disorders as there are eating disorder sufferers.

Say what you like about this illness; but it does not discriminate.

But people do discriminate.  Even if they don’t realise, they have pre-conceived ideas about eating disorders.  Strangers, acquaintances, even healthcare professionals.  “Aren’t you a bit old for this?”  Or, “you’re not thin, so you don’t need help.”

There are so many people with eating disorders who are at a normal weight, or who are overweight, but although there is some (and it’s by no means enough) treatment for anorexia, there is almost nothing for bulimia, binge-eating, or compulsive over-eating.  If you look normal, if you’re (oh god forbid) FAT, if you act normal or put on a brave face and appear to be coping as best you can… you can fuck off.

The squeaky hinge gets the grease.

It’s another thing i’ve accepted.  I may be ill for the rest of my life.  People like me slip through the cracks for decades.  The illness gets so ingrained, it becomes part of us, harder and harder to beat as the years drain away.


Now… i often wonder, as i swing by my usual confectionery stops: do the shopkeepers recognise me?  Do they notice what i’m buying and guess what i’m going to do?

Back in The Old Days, i’d assume they were too busy and disinterested to notice, had so many customers there was no way my face would stand out.  But of course, that was Back Then, before i was on the telly, announcing my madness for the nation to gawp at.  Now it’s far more likely people will recognise my face.

And when i buy £50 worth of confectionery, eny fule can put two and two together.

Tidy workplace, bombsite at home: i’m a mess

Aarghs!  Still haven’t finished my assignment.  Got another to get on with as soon as possible.  And i didn’t make it to the Zine Symposium – one of my favourite events in the whole world.  I miss out on so much because… well, i’m a stupid waster: my life’s a mess.

That’s how i feel anyway.  Although i must admit, it’s odd.  I’m always telling myself i’m worthless and no good, even though at the same time i know i don’t really think that way.

Anyway, today’s burning topic is: disorder.  No, not affray, but physical and mental chaos – in relation to each other.  A bit.

It’s surely very telling, something any half-decent psychologist would jump on as blindingly obvious, that while my work, my handwriting and all the outward, professional aspects of me are incredibly clear, small, neat and meticulous… somehow my bedroom, my hair, my clothes and my personal diary are a complete shit tip.

Even someone as (relatively) unscientific and (thoroughly) bonkers as i can tell that the latter is a reflection of my state of mind; of my life in fact.  I am a mess.  I’m under no illusions as to how much of a mess i am.  I’m a disgrace.  Bulimia alone shouts this fact from its lofty throne (‘scuse pun) even if you haven’t seen the chaos within which i exist.

They – by which i mean eating disorder specialists; i’m not going to spout some kind of “them and us” conspiracy theory – reckon a characteristic of eating disorder sufferers is perfectionism.  Let me assure you, this does not apply to me.  I’m a shoddy, slap-dash kind of a gal.  Just look at my hair, my clothes, the way i ‘play’ guitar in my shouty punk band.  I’d LIKE to be more organised, more dedicated, turn out a better standard of… well, everything; but as i’ve already explained, the eating disorder has always got in the way.

Bulimia consumes time as it consumes confectionery and earnings.  It chews up self-esteem and munches away at any hope of a brighter future.  It gulps down opportunity and pukes up any hope i’ve ever had of being any good at anything.  It devours me and so many others like me.

Even whilst anorexic, time was there to be endured, seen off, while i waited for my life to “begin”.  I’ve never wanted to wish my life away, yet i waste my time and my life in the midst of a filthy illness that makes no sense.  I don’t have the answers.  If i did, i wouldn’t be in this mess.

Published in: on 24/04/2011 at 4:31 pm  Comments (4)  

Procrastination

Hello!

I’ve deliberately been trying not to write another post, till after i’ve finished my assignment for university; but so far today i’ve had a nap, ate some sweets, read part of the Guardian, lost an argument about anarchism over breakfast, frittered away precious time on Facebook, eaten everything in the house, been to the shop to replace it, started cleaning the bathroom but ended up face-first in the kitchen cupboards chomping again, spent more hours on Facebook and checked my e-mails several times… so all that’s left now, really, is to come and complain about it here.

Collection Development – how hard can it be?  Well, if you’ve had a couple of months to write a report about a fictitious library collection yet have left it till three days before the deadline, pretty bloody hard.  I’m stupid and useless.  Don’t be stupid and useless like me!  Do it now!  Whatever you’re putting off – go!  Go and do your homework or tell your nearest and dearest you love them or have a bath or  scratch your bum or apply for that amazing job before the deadline passes!

In case you’re curious, well, yes, i’m studying for my MA in Library and Information Studies.  I am, however, too stupid to follow my own good advice so here i am, arsing about on a blog when i should be writing about preservation issues with electronic resources, the advantages and disadvantages of co-operation, key reference tools for my made-up library and drafting a collection management policy.

I also should have learnt a whole load of music for tomorrow (i’m also in an amazing choir which i love and don’t want them to hate me for being a waste of space) but… have i fuck.  Plus it looks like i’m going to have to miss this year’s London Zine Symposium and, even if i do make it for a short while, yet again i have no zine to distribute.  Too much to do, not enough hours in the day.  Aarghs!

If you’re now scratching your head, wondering what a zine is and why it gets its own symposium, have a butcher’s here for more information and resources:

http://www.londonzinesymposium.org.uk/

Anyway, yes, yes i know.  I know i’ve the same number of hours in the day as everyone else; and there are many others who get SO much done, it’s incredible.  I’ve nothing but admiration and respect for them.  And maybe just a tiny bit of envy.  But in a curious, what’s-your-secret way, not a horrible mean begrudging one.

Let’s face it though: i may not know what their secret is, but i certainly know what’s holding me back.  Frankly, i’d have far more time to do what i want and need to do, if i didn’t waste so much time eating rubbish and throwing it up.  Of course.  Sorry to be blunt, sorry to be disgusting, but there it is.  Bulimia is a massive waste of time.  And money.  Crap me, it’s expensive.  I may as well, as one specialist so kindly pointed out once, just flush a few twenty-pound notes down the lav every day.  And myself, while i’m at it.  (I added that last bit – no need to call the tabloids, eh?)

On a related note, my temp. job is nearly up, so at the end of the month i’ll be skint AND out of work.  I’m a bit scared.  I’ve applied for loads and loads of jobs, none of which have been out the range of possibility, since going part-time with my studies.  I quit my last job so i could go back to university towards the end of 2009, thinking with my work experience and Awesum Sk!llz i’d find another soon or at least eventually; but each attempt is met with the don’t-bang-the-door-on-your-way-out faces of bored interviewers who don’t really want to be there listening to my crap.

Only the other day i had a thoroughly dire interview, for a job i could do with my head in the bin, but through which i mumbled and wittered till the cows actually turned up and knocked on my front door.  God only knows how they managed to navigate the underground.  Hats off to ’em.

Except i’ve lost my hat, haven’t i?  Along with my phone and my e-mail address.  I think the universe is conspiring against me.  Either that or i’m a ridiculous mess who needs to sort her life out.  Nah, i think the former’s more likely, don’t you?  It must be my face.

And no, i didn’t get the job, by the way.

Published in: on 16/04/2011 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Awooga! Awooga!

Blimey.  So the programme’s actually on the telly.  I suppose i never quite believed it would get to this point because, really, how bonkers is it that i’m on the telly?  When i don’t even own one or watch the bloody thing?

Of course, this is why god invented 4od – i have been watching the series, of course, on the web site.  Two episodes so far, both of which provoked a flurry of discussions.  Got questions, comments?  Ask, my pretties, ask away.

Since it started, i’ve been back to see Dr. Helena Fox, the consultant involved, who’s going to write a letter and make recommendations for referral and all that sort of thing, now that i have a new GP.

I’ve got to do my placement and dissertation this summer, so the healthier i am the better.  I don’t want to defer again, not least because now you have to pay through the nose to get to university.  As opposed to just through the arse, which i’ve already done but, well, bulimia’s effing expensive so there’s no way i can afford to pay any more.

More to me than bulimia

So i started up this blog partly to show that there’s more to me than bingeing and puking.  I am a normal person – er, other than that bit.  Now that i’m here, however, i’ve no idea what to say.  Stop staring at me like that!

Oh, hold on, there is one obvious thing: i’m in a band.  We’re called Candy Panic Attack.  We’re crap but hey, it’s all part of our shoddy appeal.  Maybe i can give you a link to one of our songs, just to start, then go on to say other (i hope interesting) stuff in future posts.  What do you reckon?  Ah go on then.  No idea whether they’ll show the bit they filmed or not, but here’s a little bit of us on Youtube:

Published in: on 06/04/2011 at 6:05 pm  Leave a Comment