Friday, 13 February 2009

Still Alive and Kicking...

I'm sorry: I feel rather guilty for my silence on the blog and the concerned messages I have received. I'm still here, and still intact...and thanks to those of you who have written to me, and expressed your worries for me. I'm gratified that you think so much of me - thank you!

A bit of a catch-up for you. A week ago, I had to go into hospital as I had been fainting and suffering quite bad heart pains. The bizarre thing was, the actual medical condition got completely swept away when the services realised my history of self-harm and overdoses and thus, at 2am, I was waiting for an interview with the psychiatric department to plead for my release. I still don't know why I was fainting and blacking out, but I was told vaguely, by a nurse, that my blood pressure was very low and my pulse rate had dropped to 58 bpm. I was very reluctant to bring the psychiatric stuff up, and loathe to go to hospital, so I ended up having a permanent police escort in case I 'did a runner' - I was given the opportunity to go willingly, or be sectioned. As it stood, I was told later, I was under some form of sectioning whether I liked it or not. A bit of a three-lined whip there and what a waste of resources? Ian and I ended up playing 'I Spy' and other ridiculous games with our bobby on the beat. He was as bored as we were...And I think he realised that it was a waste of his time, too, having to make sure I 'behaved'.

Rosemary is still at her father's house and has embraced the purse of The Other Woman with outstretched hands. She was treated to about £100 worth of designer gear two weeks ago and has rubbed her sister's nose in it repeatedly. She has blown hot and cold with me over the telephone. We redecorated her bedroom last week - our house is a work in progress and the only room left now is the bathroom. Simply redecorating the room caused ructions as Beth claimed it was now a 'Guest Bedroom' - this led to Rosemary storming out of our house within five minutes of arriving - ostensibly she had come to 'say hi', but she was actually waiting here for her friend to invite her over for tea. Doors slammed, and then reopened as she stormed through the house, up the stairs, crashed drawers, cupboards...I took it for about ten minutes, and then decided enough was enough. There ensued yet another stand-up lecture about how this behaviour was not endearing her to us, and if she wanted to return here, hard work was going to have to be done.

This ill atmosphere infiltrated the house and left us all feeling rather flattened. As it came for her to go to her friend's, she gave me a hug...and I felt again as though my Rosie was in my arms - she didn't want to let go, and it was so sweet. Then she stalked off and I haven't seen her since.

I've not been drinking (sorry, Lola!) and thinking more clearly. I've cut down on the laxatives and I nibble through the day. I am trying to eat a main meal in the evenings and 4/7, I succeed. I am, however, finding that around 5pm, after I have accumulated worries through the day (mostly of my own making, and my own over-active mind), I will succumb to a binge-purge. Generally, just the one. It sort of takes all the crap out of my head and it gets flushed down the toilet along with the rest of the gloop. That one action really seems to exorcise my demons - and takes much less toll on the rest of the household than me caning the red wine or vodka.

The dynamics between Beth, Ian and me are fantastic, I must admit. It's as though there is more oxygen to breathe in this house. There is more levity, more fun, more peace, and stacks of laughter. I actually feel better now than I have done for around 12 months. Ian and I are getting on very well and nary a cross word has passed between us for over two weeks. Even Beth has noticed the vast improvement in our relationship and she rarely notices anything unless it is covered in fur and meows. Although I miss Rosemary, I don't miss the rows, stress, tip-toeing over eggshells, and the volatility of her temper. I hope that she thinks hard about my 'speech' to her wherein I explained that although we loved her deeply, we didn't love her behaviour and all we want is respect and civility...somehow, though, I don't think she will mither too much as she is currently being treated to everything her little heart desires. Her father is acting as though she is the injured party, The Other Woman is all over her like a rash and she is the centre of all attention. The only problem in all of this, is that Beth is now being treated by her father like the poor relation and it bites. Ian and I are doing our utmost to ensure that she is happy and contented here, but as I said to him, we have to always be aware that we cannot concede too much, otherwise another spoilt child emerges and that's no good to anyone.

I was rather shocked to learn my weight at hospital. My own bathroom scales would appear to be extremely wrong and I was 8lbs lighter on the hospital scales, fully clothed - this was also the case when I weighed in at a spa a few weeks ago. The really strange thing for me is that I feel my mind-set moving away from struggling with an ED. I don't really consider myself 'suffering', as it were - I feel as though I am trying to fight it inwardly and outwardly. I will force myself to eat, even if I don't want to, rather than surrender and starve. As I say, the ED manifests itself, physically, mainly in that one binge-purge of the day, which is a vast improvement on a few weeks ago when it could have happened 3, 4, 5+ times a day.

Mother dearest is on top form, as usual! It seems the ex has had to go for a brain scan (I wonder if they found it?). And she is deeply concerned: baby-sitting, making meals for him (the last of which he was violently ill with: a fact which raised a wry smile to my face - perhaps she is surreptitiously attempting to poison him, and the matiness is all a big front?! That's My Mum!!) and even kissing him better...'kiss-ass' was mentioned by Beth a few more times having witnessed these events this week! She is also now asking after The Other Woman. No doubt TOW will be invited for dinner one weekend in the not too distant future. Considering this is the woman my Mother christened 'That Bitch', this will be interesting to observe...

And I have actually been able to detach from it somewhat. Each little revelation from Beth brings its own twisting of the knife, but after a good night's sleep, I can generally shrug it off and objectively amaze at how completely rotten the woman is, through and through. Anyone who can behave like this towards their own child has to be mentally unstable. I appear to have been given the wrong mother and therefore, I have to cast her aside - I've done that physically, and mentally/emotionally, it's definitely on its way nowadays, thank God.

My one big hang-up at the moment is not being employed. I handed in my notice with the pharmaceutical company for whom I worked. I knew a return to that manic environment, with a boss who considered me one techy fact below Bill Gates, gave me the vaguest remits for jobs and then lambasted me if things went wrong would not be conducive to a healthy future, either mentally or physically at the moment, and thus resigned. I have been approached by a number of agencies over the last few months to apply for other Search Marketing jobs, but have declined. However, I now feel ready to face the Rat Race again in many ways. I feel very inadequate at the moment. Going from competent trouble-shooter to cosy domestic doesn't sit comfortably with me. Keeping a spotless home, cooking, ironing, running errands is all well and good, but for a very strange reason, it doesn't seem a valuable or valued job in my eyes. I want to feel as though I am contributing to this household financially as well as practically. Having been an independent, single parent for quite a long time, it is a shock to be a 'kept woman' and I don't think I like it.

But my sticking point is going to be my sickness record. Few employers would touch me with a barge-pole at the moment, and I haven't a clue how to explain it all away without coming across as a total basket-case. How do you explain anorexia to a businessman who will probably think I have a dieting obsession? How do you explain bulimia to a boss who cannot start his day without a Full Monty fry-up? I'm not generalising here - from my own work experience, every boss of mine has been enormous, or at least, thoroughly enjoyed his first light bacon butties...

So, I need to get my thinking cap on and work out how to get around this blip. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009



It's a fairly new term to the British Isles, I find, (or am I just not 'with it'?!) but frequents our current teenagers' common parlance.

'Kiss-Ass'! To me, it's 'bum-licker'; 'creep'...or if we are being more eloquent: 'sycophant'.

And 'Kiss-Ass' is the term my youngest daughter used, only 30 minutes ago, to describe her grandmother - my mother, for those of you still in doubt.

I am furious: with my ex; with my oldest daughter; and with my so-called parents.

'Parent': One who begets, gives birth to, or nurtures and raises a child; a father or mother.

'Nurture': to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development

Makes me laugh...sardonically.

My mother, on Sunday, having been invited around to the ex's house for a cuppa and to see the girls, took him both a birthday cake and card...and then offered to clean his house for him.

This is the woman who, only 18 months ago, told me that if she had the money, she would hire a mercenary and have him snuffed out like a candle because she despised him so much.

We have had to ask Rosemary to leave this house and return to her father's. Three times she has raised her fist to me: every night she is belligerent, obnoxious, trouble-making, and refuses to kow-tow to the most basic rules of discipline - e.g. wash up your dirty dishes; put your dirty laundry into the basket; let us know where you are and when you will be home...not a lot to rules were those you would ask of any normal, civilised human being, but she chose to abhor them, raised her hand to me and enough was enough. Whenever she dislikes the rules in this house, she calls her father immediately, who comes running, cajoling and caressing. He has never told her to 'listen to your mother' - he has set up opposition with me consistently.

'Good Cop; Bad Cop'

Or, as he used to term it:

'Dragon; Fun Daddy'.

Ian and I had fun and games with him on the doorstep on Sunday morning. Saturday night, we had been texting him repeatedly, asking when we could drop belongings off for the girls who needed them for Monday morning. No reply. At 9am, Sunday, I was called and told that he would be at our house, 'shortly' and needed X, Y and Z. Our Sunday morning, wherein we were lying in bed, dreaming of having won the lottery and being ordered around to find stuff. I explained that this was NOT convenient and that we would bring the items over later.

But no. No. He has to take control and tells me that Rosemary has a key and they will let themselves in and find what they need.

Well, I am sorry, but that bastard is not getting into my house again - he did it last May...Ian was away at a conference; Rosemary fell out with me, stalked over to her pal's house and, while I was asleep, allowed him access to this house with her key. He told me on the phone he came into my room and saw me pushing out the zeds.

I felt violated. Somebody, totally uninvited, and whom I despise, loathe and detest, came into my house. And he still feels as though he can, even to this day.

Ian called the Police. The laws in the UK state that he couldn't have been done for anything: trespass - nope: he didn't wreck anything...breaking and entering: nope: he had a key...he didn't violate a single law apart from my sanity and peace of mind.

We asked him on Sunday for the return of Rosemary's keys...We are still waiting for them, so it is time to get those locks changed. I don't trust that bastard as far as I can spit him.

This is not helping in any way, to be honest with you. I thought I was putting on weight. After four days of abstaining from the scales, I now discover I have lost five pounds and, once again, those size 6s are feeling a bit loose around the thigh region.

Maybe I felt so heavy due to all the guilt which is resting in my heart, head and upon my shoulders? Because it is weighing me down like a ton of bricks.

I am terrified I am treating Rosemary in the same way that my mother treats me. I discussed this, at length, with my counsellor, yesterday. She believes my treatment is very different because I keep in touch with Rosemary, have spoken to her at length about her behaviour, have given her many opportunities and still tell her that I love her greatly. But the ex sticks his knife in and twists it, slowly, with his 'ever-so-caring-considerate-let's-all-think-of-her-feelings-here...' approach to us and our stance.

During his Sunday Sermon, the ex told us that he was going to ask Rosemary to keep us informed of whenever she wanted to visit - she appears to think that she has to punish us at the moment, which is fair, I was furious that she pitched up, with undisguised arrogance, unexpectedly, after school yesterday, expecting to be fed, watered and cossetted. I don't believe it is wholly her fault - I believe the ex still thinks of me as 'his property' wherein he can treat me how he pleases. I left a rather snarly voicemail on his phone, asking for a bit of courtesy. It broke me that Rosemary ran out of the house and started walking the streets.

I drove all over our village trying to find her and when I did, I brought her home, made her a hot drink and gave her something to eat. She stayed in her room, but when the time came for her to go and see her boyfriend, I caught a glimpse of my daughter - the nice girl who loves people, cares for them and wants to be pleasant. And I didn't want her to go. But she did, and I fell to pieces over the following hours.

I have been advised by two medical professionals that I have done the 'right thing' for me, my marriage and my relationship with my daughter. My doctor told me that if I hadn't taken her back to her father's already, he would have been strongly urging me to, anyway, as she is a Force of Destruction in this house.

This is not conditional love - I love her without question, but I do not love her behaviour. There is no excuse for physical violence and for treating people like scum because you are allowed to get away with it by others.

It still hurts like I have been beaten by a brick-bat, though...

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

All is Well

Thanks to those of you who have written to me personally and on the blog asking if all is OK.

It is, thanks. And normal service will be resumed shortly!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Guilty Conscience?

Guilt is an ever-pervasive feeling in the life of Annie T. The amount of times I feel guilt over things is inordinate. If I was able to list each guilt with a number and then submit those numbers to the National Lottery, I feel pretty damned sure I would win in the very near future. Yes, I am being fascetious. Don't ask me for the winning streak. I would be inclined to be rude to you!

I thoroughly read a blog today by Lola Snow. She is in recovery and is doing marvellously - I admire her from the tip of her toes to the top of her head. She writes with such wit, honesty, candidness and humour. I love to read Lola's blog - so should you! And this is not a commercial plug because, as yet, she has not agreed to pay me any English Pounds whatsoever!

Where am I? I went back to see my therapist today, for the first time in about four weeks...maybe more. We are now seeing each other under the NHS and at my local GP surgery, so there is no excuse for me to blob. And, by God, I really, really wanted to see her - there was no question of me blobbing from this engagement. And, as usual, she was marvellous - she really ought to be preserved. I wish, in some ways, that I knew her outside of our client-therapist relationship, as she has a great sense of humour, and I truly like her...

We talked about many different things, not dwelling too hard on too many. We talked about the rows between me and Ian, which are becoming way too frequent to bear; the rows between me and Rosemary, my eldest, which are just designed to assassinate; my lack of self-worth; my lack of self-esteem; my feelings of total ugliness since the hair-chopping episode (I still feel like some butch, ugly thing); complete and utter anger towards my Mother.

OK. So, there are things I haven't written about recently - I published a post about seeing her in the pub and then pulled it. But, since then, she has been in touch with MY daughters (whom she calls, 'my girls') and explained to them that, when she snuffs it (which I ardently hope will be soon) they will be in for a grand fortune. I guess I have been cut out of the will, and thus, Rosemary, Bethan and my brother, Paul, are in for a fair few long as they don't drink, smoke or take drugs. Ever. There are so many caveats to this will (and I have read it, so I know) that those girls are not going to be allowed to experience any normal processes of growing-up.

I smoke, I drink and I was first introduced to drugs (pot, only) when I went to University. I have sporadically smoked dope since; continued to smoke cigarettes, and thoroughly enjoy a glass of vin rouge. I also help old ladies with their shopping bags; take lost kiddies home when they are crying outside of Tesco, knowing their mother is in the Ring O'Bells playing darts; take the poorly priest a roast dinner; and help the disabled pharmacy assistant with the rubbish to the bin at the back of the shop. I'm not a bad bugger, deep down.

Things are eating me up inside today. I discovered the so-called reason for my mother's refusal to speak to me yesterday. Although, when I told her of my engagement to Ian, her only words were, Dear God!, and then a slamming down of the phone and total silence from thereon in.

It would appear that she is not speaking to me due to the way I treated her prior to announcing the engagment. Back in early October 2007, they let themselves into my house at 9am on a Sunday morning. I had treated myself to a bottle of red wine on the Saturday night - my first in many, many months and it had gone to my head. I called her out of duty - if I missed a night's call, there was trouble. She went ballistic at the fact I had drunk red wine. She has a massive problem with people drinking as her brother died of alcoholism whilst in the Royal Navy. His body was found in a ditch when he was on active service, three days after he had actually died.

And so, they hauled me out of my bed, screamed abuse at me, calling me 'a dirty fucking bitch', 'filthy', 'scum' and 'worthless'. Saturday night. One bottle of cheap red plonk, what I deemed would be a usually boring telecon...and then the aftermath. I was actually termed bone idle for being in my bed at 9am on Sunday. I wonder if this is why I ended up having so much trouble enjoying a lie-in for so many months?

Consequently, although I had to apologise profusely, I felt very, very angry about the whole set-up. 37 years of age and being treated like a naughty teenager. The fact that they let themselves into the house grated me no end. Yes, I had given them a key, but it was not to be used abusively. And so, I did speak to them with caution, and conservatively. But I was never, ever rude or belligerent. They deemed it their duty to come here every Monday evening to 'mind' the girls before I returned from work. I dreaded every Monday night. I would only have to clack my heels along the pathway and my mother was waiting for me in the kitchen to berate me over one thing or another. One night, I actually teetered on the frame of the door, attempting to get into my home, while she shook her finger at me, criticising me for the food I had left for the girls - home-made chilli and garlic bread. She didn't know how to bake the garlic bread. But there were instructions on the cellophane? She didn't have her glasses with her. But Rosemary can read them out for you?

So, that is where I am today. 

I spoke to a dear friend, N, last night. I have known him since I was 15 and he is married to my good friend whom I have known since I was 16. I adore the pair of them but we aren't great at keeping in touch, unfortunately. I sent him an email with this blog URL and asked him to read it. And he did! It often astonishes me that my friends bother to read it - one, Z, keeps in touch with it regularly to find out how things are going. It's heart-warming to know I have mates like these, and like my commenters who never cease to say such wonderful, kind things.

N emailed me back, having read all the posts last night, from #1 to #19. And he wrote this little message, which made me giggle, made Ian querulous, and may make you think, too!

"Each blog is like you sitting talking in front of me as your strong (if dubious at times!) sense of humour is streaked through each one. (I am thinking now of the young lady who would so easily do unspeakable things with my cantaloupes on the patio in Warrington :)"**

I have to keep telling myself that with friends like N, R, Z and a wonderful husband like Ian, I don't need my mother. And that is it.

**If you really want to know what I did with those cantaloupes, you'll have to email me. And, when I have told you, I'll have to kill you...

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, all of you - I hope 2009 is a marvellous one for all of us.

I occasionally write a more light-hearted blog and was re-reading some posts tonight from 18 months ago. I know that on Annie's Rexia I describe the slights and criticisms from my parents and the ex with sadness, hurt and bitterness, but I have attempted to inject some levity into them, too. I therefore thought I would be bone idle and copy an old Hex My Ex post into this blog just so that we can remind ourselves from time to time that we can try our damnedest to laugh at things.

I hope it raises a small smile...

I have recently been thinking about the veiled insults, back-handed compliments and the insecurity springboards which I have received over my colourful life.

Most of them have come from my dear family members, mainly from Mother Dearest who wouldn’t know how to give an unconditional compliment if it came on a silver platter and garnished with parsley. And so, dear reader, I shall share some of these with you and then you in turn might wish to employ them in order to screw with the heads of your foes.

On getting a C grade in Human Biology A Level at night school:
Father: Couldn’t you have got a B?

On getting 83% in a Health & Social Care assignment:
Father: That’s what you got last time. Couldn’t you have got 84%?

On having my hair cut into a new style:
Mother: That style really suits you. I wish you’d stop dying your hair that dark colour, though, it looks trashy.

On losing weight:
Mother: You’re getting too thin.

On subsequently gaining weight:
Mother: You look like a Sumo wrestler.

On my figure:
Mother: You’ve got a smashing figure. It’s a pity you’ve got that belly, though. Have you tried sit-ups?

On dressing up for a family meal:
Mother: I’m glad to see you are smartening up these days. You look really nice when you go out. But don’t wear that awful black thing tonight. You look like a witch.

On commenting whether I needed to lose weight or not:
The Ex: I’ll give you a stone either way. Put on a stone and you’re dumped; lose a stone and you’re dumped.

On commenting how romantic candle-lit meals were:
The Ex: Don’t expect me to be making soppy remarks to you over the dining table. I’ll have me head down eating me nosebag.

On making a three course birthday meal for my Mother:
Mother: Is there garlic in this? Urgh, I hate garlic.

On playing the baddy in a pantomime:
All my 'friends': You're very natural as a witch.

On getting the principal boy part in a panto with lots of singing:
The Ex: The only people in the audience who'll appreciate your singing will be the handicapped kids.

On asking why a (then) boyfriend had stayed so long with his psychopathic exgirlfriend:
Ex-boyfriend: Because it was the best sex I have ever had in my life.

Me as a cleaner
On being offered a dream job as a writer:
Mother: You'll be home later than usual? You can't do that. What about the children? Why don't you go cleaning? Cleaners get well paid and you can choose your own hours.
[Obviously, this is why I am studying an English degree, as there is a high demand for well-read cleaners]

On being offered a dream job as a writer #2:
Daughter No.1: So you'll be home later than before? So all you care about is the money and not me? You just don't care about me, do you? [I turned the job down, eventually]

On losing quite a lot of weight and fancying a bit of hanky-panky that night:
The Ex: You look like a road traffic accident.

On going on a diet after repeated remarks from Mother that I was huge:
Mother: Have some apple pie and cream. Go on, I made it especially for you.
Me: I told you I was on a diet.
Mother: That won’t kill you.
Me: No, but it will put weight on me.
Mother: You’re obsessed, you are…

On taking my driving test after 12 lessons:
Mother: You’ll not pass. It took me 25 lessons before I passed. Waste of good money.
Ha! I passed!

Me on a good dayAll I can say is that it’s a jolly good job I am thick-skinned and have oodles of self-esteem. But, I have to end it here - I must go now as I have an appointment with my psychotherapist…

Thursday, 25 December 2008

My Mother, My Self?

I'm reading a book at the moment called, "When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends" by Victoria Secunda and it is a shocker. Although it focusses mainly on mother-daughter relationships, there is absolutely no reason why 'she' cannot be substituted for 'he'. Although mother-son relationships are different, if the mother fits into any of the categories listed by the author, the same screw-ups can apply the whole world over regardless of race, creed or gender.

It has been an eye-opener for me. Although I remember a lot of events in my childhood which have affected me, I would be inclined to say that those events occurring in my adulthood have left me feeling most bereft, unloveable, useless and groundless. Many of these I have firmly believed have been solely my fault: that I have driven my mother to such frustration that she has lashed out and I have paid my penance. Reading similar stories in black and white suddenly angers me that it was not necessarily my fault and I had every right to want to be ME.

From leaving home, aged 21, my every move was monitored and criticised. My first taste of freedom was in a dingy room in a shared house in Headingley, West Yorkshire. I was studying at the Metropolitan University in Leeds, and taking a BSc in Speech and Language Therapy. This was not my first choice, I must explain. I wanted to study Occupational Therapy; but this was just 'glorified nursing' according to my mother, and suddenly, placements were lined up at speech therapy clinics by 'nice Mrs Cleaver' the Senior SLT for Halton Borough, who was a neighbour. And so I started a course in SLT.

My grades (attaining either first class or 2:1s in the first year) needed to be surpassed each time; I wasn't feeding myself well enough (I lived on vegetarian pastas for some time which I made myself, from scratch); I didn't do my laundry enough; I wasted electricity, gas, water; my housemates were useless and idle; my friends were either 'lovely girls' and 'adore their mothers' or wastes of space...nothing was ever good enough or right.

When my long-standing boyfriend, Mike, and I split up after 5 1/2 years, I was in the dog-house with her. She called him every week to see how he was and reported back to me how heart-broken I had made both him and her. She hated my new boyfriend (who went on to become my first husband and now 'The Ex') and refused to say anything pleasant about him, preferring to compare everything about him to Mike.

I married Anal despite what she said. She had nothing to do with my wedding plans which embittered me: I'd had dreams of going shopping for a dress with her; choosing the bridesmaid's outfit; picking out menus, flowers, favours - all sorts of things. Nothing from her. The most she contributed one day was to tell me about a pink lacey nylon wedding dress she had seen on Albert's Stall in Widnes Market for £25.00 and that would be perfect for me. By this stage, I had saved up enough money to purchase a raw silk, hand-made dress from one of my clients (I was a Personal Tax Senior at the time) and was gutted that she could belittle my wedding so much as to suggest such cheapness. Her later comment, when I informed her that I was actually marrying out of the parish church where Anal and I lived rather than return to her region, was that of supercilious scoffing. She advised me that I may as well get married over the Blacksmith's Anvil in the village and have a fish 'n' chip supper, to save on money.

After our marriage, and as I asserted myself as a wife, woman, housekeeper, worker etc., the bitterness and criticism became more and more apparent. An invitation, during the summer, to spend a week in our cottage and use it as a B & B, to come and go as they please, turned into an exercise in taking over my every authority in the house. When I firmly asked her, after four days of this, to STOP; that it was MY house and I was more than capable of handling things, she lost the plot, screeched to my father that they were leaving and I didn't hear from her for over four months.

The only reason she spoke to me at Christmas was because Anal wrote to her, explained that our first baby was due in four weeks and would she want anything to do with it? She returned her response, dripping with vitriol, emotional blackmail, hatred and venom, but said that it was her duty as a grandparent to get to know the child. We arranged for a peace-keeping mission on Christmas Day 1994. We drove over 100 miles to get there for lunch. My grandmother, who was still alive then, was attending the meal, too. My brother had cleared off from the house at the crack of dawn to spend the day with his girlfriend.

So, around the table sat Nanna, Anal, my father, my mother and me, heavily pregnant, dispepsic, nauseous and very, very nervous. Even as I had walked into the house, the first words spat at me were, not, Happy Christmas, but 'There are three bin bags of your stuff there. Get rid of them.' At present-giving time, I received nothing, but the gifts I passed to my parents were dismissed. I bought my mother diabetic chocolate and a Wedgewood biscuit barrel. 

'Huh. Chocolate'...thrown onto the bookcase...

The corner ripped from the paper on the biscuit barrel; a quick peek at the pattern, no words, and taken into the kitchen.

A classics album for my father...

'Don't like this type of stuff. You can have it back...'

The night I went into labour: February 2nd 1994. I sat on the toilet downstairs, heaving with contractions, excited, scared and full of wonderment. Anal was equally as excited. Who should we tell? Who is going to be the first to hear about Sam's birth? (I was 100% convinced I was having a boy, and his name was Sam...later to be changed to Rosemary April!). Anal suggested ringing my mother. He told her I was in labour and passed the phone to me.

'Do you want me to call you when the baby is born?' I asked.

'Not if it is in the early hours, no. Your father has to get up for work in the morning, to wake him would be selfish. Leave it until a sensible hour.'

I can still remember the sock in the guts as I heard those words. My own mother didn't want to know about her first grandchild.

And so as it stood, the first person to hear of Rosemary was my best friend, Rebecca, at 3.20am, and then, Anal went through his family, shouting his news with joy.

My parents were informed at 11am on 3 February. Mother's first words were, I thought you were having a boy? How would I know? Gender scans were not permissible in the 90s. You ensured the baby was healthy and that was it. Any indications of a penis were not vocalised at all...

'Well, your Dad will be pleased, anyway. He hates boys...'

So I had, at least done one thing right in having a girl...

We moved to Bath when Rosemary was just shy of three months old. I had a fair number of friends in Yorkshire, whom I knew I would miss greatly, but I kept in touch with them by telephone as often as possible. We were moving down to Anal's old stomping ground; to the friends with whom he had visited prostitutes in Bangkok; brothels in Paris; threesomes in a bed with two blondes; 'F*ck 'em and Chuck 'em' girls...his best man had given the speech of a lifetime at our wedding...the video recollection is a real 'Before and After' it starts, I am happy, glorious, gay and the end, my brow is furrowed, worn; my face is pale and I return from heaving my guts up in the toilet with vomit smeared down my silk wedding dress...It was during that speech that I learned about the whores. Such taste. Thank you, G...

I dreaded that move, but determined to throw myself into everything, which is my leveller whenever a move is anticipated. We found a beautiful 1930s semi-detached, shifted our furniture in and attempted to start anew. We were living in a very small town. I discovered, from my forays into baby groups and health centres, that few people made friends as all their relatives were on their door step. I was an outsider and they weren't interested.

In desperation, I placed an ad into a local paper, asking to meet like-minded people with young children for days out, coffees, chats, walks in the park etc. I got three responses, by letter. The first was utterly bonkers - a chap who thought my words were euphemisms for rampant sex. The second was a young lad who worked at a second hand car sales garage, never married, no children but who wanted to try 'Out of Body Experiences' with me; and the third was a girl with two children, a third on the way, all to different fathers, who wanted to train as a midwife.

We met up in the park. She bore tattoos all over her knuckles; she swore at her children, and she laid a blanket out on the grass, smeared with excrement. Rosemary crawled right through it...I tried my damnedest to talk to her, but she was monosyllabic and when the time came to take Rosemary home for her evening meal, the relief poured from me...When Anal got home from work, having had a 'few sherberts' in Bath with his chums, I was beside myself with perceived failure.

I felt virginal, frigid and childish next to those tales which were regaled amongst the lads and I have to admit, much to my shame now, that I set out to surpass any paid whore. And I know that I undermined myself in some ways: allowed myself a lot of subjugation, humiliation, pain and disrespect.

All along, I used to inform my mother that my married life was marvellous: every aspect of it; particularly between the sheets...she would rejoinder that sex was disgusting, that she had never enjoyed a moment of it and that all it brought was humiliation to the woman. I goaded her, gleefully, with how much fun I had. But I did lie, profusely, because there was never one iota of love in our 'love-making' be perfectly frank, I cannot remember one single episode during our sessions where Anal actually kissed me...maybe he did, but it must have been so rarely that it has been long-forgotten.

I can also recall, vividly, two years ago, telling my mother exactly how many men I had slept with. She thought it was three. I was thrilled to spit at her: Nope! Many More Than That...

Why did I feel that this form of cheapening myself was one-upmanship? She lied to me and told me that she had never had sex before marriage, and when I did, after the initial understanding and warnings, I was later told that God would not want me as I was sullied goods: that no other man would ever want me as they demanded virgins on their wedding nights. To be a virgin, to me, was something elusive, ethereal, God-like and sacrosanct - and I had blown it at the age of 15. So, I was dirty...and therefore, I decided to go hell for leather having one-night stands, screwing around whenever I felt like it. At the time, I didn't once feel cheap or dirty: I always felt as though I was getting what I wanted as I enjoyed sex...most of the time it was utter rubbish, admittedly, but so often, I slept with somebody in order to stick two fingers up at my ex and most of all, my mother.

My attitude has changed out of all recognition now. My parents frown and condemn my union with Ian. It makes me balk that rather than get to know this lovely man who shares mine and my daughters' lives, they would rather cock their snooks and befriend the man who beat me, belittled me, drove me towards insanity, cheated on me, and walked out on me. They are sick and, returning to that book, becoming more aware has riven me with the desire for revenge - something I never really considered before.

On Christmas Day, after they had called the girls at the ex's house, Rosemary and Bethan told me how they had said how 'touched' they were to receive a card from them. Ha! The ex had forced them to write one because they had treated him to a pub meal a couple of weekends ago...that blog was in process and then left...maybe I need to finish it so I can tell you how I felt when I saw that bitch for the first time in 18 months, purely by accident?

I do want revenge at the moment. I want to regain 38 years of wasted, angst and guilt-ridden feelings. I want to reclaim my life as I feel as though so much time has been lost. I can only keep on reading, assimilating, accepting and one day, come to terms with it all.

When I recognise things like this, it makes me cold; I lack the desire to eat at all - not even to binge; I withdraw into myself and I introspect. I also become moody, aggressive and bad-tempered. And Ian has borne the brunt of this on many an occasion. I attempt to talk about my feelings, but sometimes, it is hard to vocalise them - I find it far easier to write them out.

I ate well on Christmas Day - I forced myself to be 'normal' and we started off with a home-made spiced mackerel paté on toast with Buck's Fizz. At lunchtime, with us clearing off to collect the girls from their father's house, and having gone for a lovely walk to blow the cobwebs off, we snacked. Our evening meal contained salmon fillets, marinated in sherry, spices, lemon & lime, soy and balsamic together with steamed vegetables. I refused to weigh myself the next day. Nor did I overdo the laxatives.

I got on the scales this morning and found that I had lost 4lbs. Ian says I look thinner than normal. I am full of cold and heading towards a chest infection by the sound of my wheezing. Food is the last thing on my mind; bingeing is even further away. The violence required to throw up a cal-fest is not something I have the energy for, so I would rather nibble peacefully, or go without.

I still want to be a size 8 by the end of January. I no longer wish to entertain size 6s...

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas

Thank you to all of you who have left such kind comments on the blog this year; and the constructive commenters, too!

Blogging is off until after Christmas, but events aren't too bad here, all things considered.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, wherever you are.

May 2009 bring happiness, peace and understanding to us all.

Annie x

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Self-Harm & Self-Hatred

I found this video on You Tube this morning which you can view below. It's very quiet in the house. The girls are at their father's, and Ian has gone out to the shops for a few hours. I despise Christmas Shopping, and do all my stuff online - he's more of a pioneer than I am and braves the crowds while I cower behind the PC monitor.

I guess I must confess that I have dropped to my nadir. 

Did I implode on Thursday night? I think, possibly, I did. 

And I hope to hell that this is now my turning point.

There may be a few readers who can empathise with me when I write that self-harming seems to come, hand in glove, with an ED. Indeed, the video also shows it. I have self-harmed, on and off, since 2001. My arms, legs and torso are scarred dreadfully, and summer can be a trial as I attempt to hide the marks with loose, long-sleeved blouses, light cardigans or what have you.

But I have never done this before.

I shaved my hair off.

I felt so disgusting; so ugly; so repulsive and despicable inside that I wanted to show it on the outside, too. I was frantic, manic, inconsolable and mad. It happened in three stages, strangely. I have (had) very, very thick hair. I tried to get Ian's clippers through it. All that happened was that my hair thinned out. I screamed, cried, and got the scissors. And hacked clumps out...and then the clippers did the final work.

I now look like a reject from Auschwitz. Skinny, saggy, shaven and sad.

There was hair all over the bedroom floor and I got the vacuum cleaner out to suck it all up today. I also recovered a stack load of empty blister packs from the tablets I had, once again, taken, and passed out with. Two crews of ambulance men were sent by my eldest daughter to the house and I blagged my way through it, laughing away, lying incessantly that I hadn't taken a single pill. This will probably also come as a revelation to Ian as I haven't even had the decency or guts to tell him. I hid the blister packs under the bed for disposal at a later date. This morning was prime time.

And as I approached the bin, I saw my thick, heavy hair, lying, dead in the purple bin. I grasped it in my hand, felt its softness, its luxuriousness and I sobbed my heart out at my stupidity, my selfishness, my desperation and my madness.

I have hardly slept. All through the night, I sweated, agonised, tossed, turned and my head felt as though it was exploding with all the fears, worries and anxieties rushing through it. I even, seriously, considered banging my head against the wall to try to numb it all. But I didn't.

Do you know what I did do?

I went downstairs and ate two slices of toast with Marmite.

I have to make an effort for a change. So I did.

It came out later - not via my mouth, but I shan't go into any further detail (!).

Why do you think Ian has gone shopping without me?

Because I am too scared to set foot out of this house. And he has gone to buy me a wig. I don't care, really, what it looks like as long as it isn't blonde, as I'd look really, really daft with blonde hair what with my dark colouring. In my wildest dreams, I hope it is bright red. Something to stick two fingers up to the world with, in effect. Whatever he gets for me, I know he will have chosen it with love and care. Because he does love me. And all I do is drive him away. 

And it's time for a change.

Bob_J, a regular commenter on this blog, remarks about "emotionally tuned responses" from my mother and asks me if I felt/feel/understand them. I think Bob is a very, very switched on chap and I wish he had a blog we could read (hint, there, Bob!!!). I guess he works in some form of mental health environment. He understands things so well.

No, Bob. I don't have any emotionally tuned responses. At all. I cannot remember the last time I was in tune with my emotions, really. They seem to be all skew-whiff with me nowadays...

I am unsure as to whether I need to take a short break from Annie's Rexia. It seems to deplete me an awful lot. Ian, bless his heart, reads these blogs and sees the sadness which emanates. He wants me to discuss them with him but I am rubbish without a 'feeder' question - I rarely, unless very impassioned, bang on about myself without a prompt. I told him this last night. And so, I think things will work out for the better from that confession.

Wish us luck, please x

Just a quickie

I have a wonderful friend who, for personal reasons, has had to go undercover! She has a great blog at I HATE TO WEIGHT and I think you'll recognise her instantly!

She talks sense and she writes with honesty, compassion, warmth and a rawness which can make you whince at times!

I hope any readers of Annie's Rexia check her out - she makes for some interesting reading...

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Have you noticed...

...that I have stopped calling these entries 'Parts'? I got fed up of having to check back to know what number I was up to and realised the titles were rather dull and needed enlivening!

I haven't taken any laxatives today. It has, so far, been a conscious avoidance of the box of Bisocodyl sitting on my kitchen worktop. I feel a bit panicky, a bit brave, a bit naive and a lot scared. I didn't get a good night's sleep because I was on the toilet so often, having taken far more laxatives than I had initially promised myself. Damn. Just writing this is agitating me now...

Do any of you visitors look at the poll in the top right hand corner of this blog? Ian advised me to taken it down if we ever reached 100. That almost sounds mercenary, doesn't it, in black and white. That wasn't the intimation behind it...Almost every day, that poll depresses me more and more. It now stands at 47% current ED sufferers. 22% have never suffered, and thus the remaining 31% have been touched by an ED in some way, shape or form. So why, if this blog is public, open to any cross-section of demographic, do we have almost half of its viewers as sufferers and we are told by our health services that EDs affect 1 in 10 people. I did my Maths O'level one year early and got a B. I iz not thick. There is a vast difference between almost 50% and 10%...

Ok, ok, you could turn to me and say, Well, only those who are interested in EDs are going to be drawn to your blog. And I will certainly hold up my hands to that statement.

But the hard fact is that it's scary.

What is even more scary - and girls, this is not said with any acrimony, bitterness, condemnation or judgement; I am gratified that you deem this blog worth reading - is that there are some Pro-Ana authors reading. They are very quiet, peaceful people. They don't make waves, and they don't advocate their own beliefs. They are NOT to be condemned, but at the same time, sorry, girls, I don't condone it. 

The next few paragraphs are going to be total juxtapositions; possibly hypocritical; extremely confused...

I see the photos on Thinspo. I see the bones, the tendons, the blank, bland eyes which are lifeless, devoid of emotion, care, feeling, yet filled with utter self-hatred - although that is my opinion. I can quite honestly say that there is nothing about those images which fills me with envy, desire, jealousy or longing. I don't want to look anything like this.

I wrote a comment on a blog today about an email I had received in response to a petition to the British Government demanding more help for ED sufferers. After waiting for about three months, we had a response from our glorious leader, Gordon Brown (who could probably do with staying off the pies for a few months himself) that parliament were proud to inform us that, over the next three years, the issue of eating disorders will be injected with a governmental grant of £135,000. (About US$ 210,000). Divide that by three. How many of you live in a family where the annual income is less than £40,000 p.a.? There aren't that many. So, to feed a family of two adults and 2.4 children costs around £45,000 p.a. And £5000 less than that is being spent on the so-called 10% of nationwide ED sufferers in the UK.

I feel like being sick. And that is without sticking my fingers down my throat.

I don't want to end up looking like that girl in the above picture. Truly, I don't. I don't enjoy any aspect of this 'disorder' but I keep driving myself on - it's like a competition with myself. Over the last couple of days, four extra pounds have come off. I was actually shocked, as I had been trying so hard to eat bits here and there - way more than normal. Our scales also seem to be out of kilter. When at the hotel two weekends ago, having worked out at the gym, I was 9lbs lighter on two different sets of scales than that which read on our own scales, my brow furrowed. So, if they stated I was 8.7 stone then, and my scales stated 9.2 and I have now dropped by 4lbs, things are going awry, aren't they?

I sit here, writing this blog and as I do so, my stomach naturally sucks itself in. It's not due to vanity as I am wearing my husband's big, baggy fleece as it is so bitterly cold. It just happens, and suddenly, I am thinner than I was five minutes ago.

If any of you readers hate this, too, and want to overcome it, we need to unite. We need to fight this bastard with tooth and claw. EDs create indolence, comfort zones, walls and pain. If nobody else can help us, surely together, we are a force to be reckoned with?

Don't let me down. Please. We CAN do it.

A xx

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Phone calls...

Trying times.

Too much rattling around in my head.

I am rarely alone in this house as my husband works from home. And so I am always putting on a face. He doesn't demand this from me - I do it because I have to. For me. And so, when left alone, all the walls come crumbling down around me and I behave as I wish I could at any time I choose.

And so, last night, when Ian and the girls went Christmas shopping, I found myself pondering those two missed calls from my parents' mobile phone number, and without thinking anything through clearly, impetuously called their house.

I was very polite at first. My mother became belligerent, aggressive, defensive and told me she hadn't called the house at all. I was able to dispute this, so a stream of lies issued forth. Then she squawked for my father who didn't have a clue what was going on. She made out that I would have picked the phone up, that I never went I told her I had been in hospital that weekend.

'Because you are 'dying' of anorexia?' she sneered.

I declined to answer that question.

At the very end, I said to her: "The girls are f*cked up enough as it is. Stay out of their lives, for God's sake."

She started to screech abuse at me, so I put the phone down.

And then I sobbed my heart out. And later on, I took it out on my best, beloved husband, who adores me unconditionally; who tries to make it all right for me; but cannot ever hope to compete with that demonic woman.

Phone calls. Even more of them...

The ex called last night to speak to the girls. I explained they were out shopping. He paused and then thanked me for encouraging Beth to meet with TOW two weekends ago. I was agog and almost speechless. I just about uttered a 'You're welcome'. And as we hung up, again, I cried at how hard and bitter we have to take things before there is any civility. I honestly considered that a change had taken place after that. So I called him only 20 minutes ago and asked, Please can I have my keyboard back.

I had eight years of organ lessons and became quite a proficient player. If Ian and I visit a church, the first place I hit is the organ, hoping that it is unlocked. It never is. In the summer, I asked Beth, by phone, on our way back from an afternoon out, could I have my keyboard. Nobody but me plays. It has sat in the ex's spare room for four years, untouched, gathering dust. He came out, dismissed Beth, and told me, in front of Ian, that the keyboard was now his. This is despite me saving for it from my own freelancing, and despite me being the player. I turned on my heel and walked away. I will not beg. 

I thought, after his thanks last night, he would be a more benevolent character.

No. After my initial request, he ignored me, started talking to the girls whilst on the phone, then came back to me and said, What? What do you want? 

He had heard me, rightly enough.

So I repeated it, feeling smaller and smaller as I did so. I even told him how much I missed playing. He 'ummed' and 'aahed' and then, eventually said, I guess so...

I feel so ridiculously stupid now...

Another phone call today. To our priest, Father Farrell. I am not a Roman Catholic by choice, really - I converted two years ago out of selfishness to get the girls into a decent local school. Prior to that, I was an extremely poor Wesleyan Methodist (no drink, no fags, no sex, no nothing - yeah, right!). But Fr F has taken me into the bosom of his heart and never, ever given up on me. Every week, I had to attend one-on-one classes with him telling me about the Scriptures, the Popes, the tenets, the Mortal Sins. It went in one ear and out of the other to a certain extent, but I always respected Him, as a human being. He made me laugh out loud when he told me his views of Adam & Eve; Noah; the Old Testament as a whole...he may be in his late 60s or so, but he is one Cool Chap. And I love him so much.

I invited him for lunch on the 19th. He said to me, You sound marvellous, Alison. Really, really good. I walked out of the conservatory, where Ian sat working, and told him the truth.

And now I will tell you the truth. It's taken a while, hasn't it? 'Cause I am not reet good at the truth from time to time.

Why was I in hospital three weeks ago? 

Because I tried to take the overdose to end all overdoses.

I have no recollection of anything after Ian finding the empty blister packs where I had hidden them behind the curtain on our bedroom window ledge. He told me that my breathing almost stopped, that I was in so much rigid spasm he couldn't place me into the recovery position suggested by 999. I have also been informed that while under the influence, I was sent for a CT scan as nothing was functioning. The only time there was any recognition was when my eye flickered as Ian kissed my brow. Does that sound cheesey? He asked me the same question. It didn't sound it to me...

I was supposed to stay in for about five days. They put me onto all sorts of drips to which I had enormous allergic reactions, desperate for breath, crying out for help. It took 15 minutes for a nurse to bring me the oxygen I so badly needed. I had four canulas inserted into me - badly...I developed minor phlebitis and moving my wrists and arms was painful for about a week.

They hammered me. But then, why shouldn't they? A suicide case? Someone who doesn't give a turquoise toss about themselves? Why should those over-worked, under-staffed, filthy hospitals care? I don't blame them. I am just a drain on their resources.

I discharged myself. I fought for it, I'll admit. I had to lie through my back teeth to get out of there, stating that I regretted my actions; that I should never have done it; that I would never, ever think of it again.

Don't get me wrong. It's far from my thoughts at the moment. And to be honest, I have a slight, sneaking suspicion it is never, ever going to return due to a 'switch flick'...

I have digressed.

I told Father Jim about it.  He went silent, and then he told me one of the most plaintive things I have ever heard in the whole of my life: he told me he would be incapable of conducting my funeral because he loved me too much. He said he would be unable to speak for crying. 

He told me that he had few friends, but a certain number had touched his soul since arriving in Weaverham four years ago. And I am one of them. He told me that, from the moment he met me, he liked me; that I am a very good friend to him and that to lose me would hurt him immensely.

I don't tell you this to boast. I tell you this because I have never been told this before. It is alien to me. It chokes me because, instinctively, I think, deep down, I am a rotten, evil bastard. Why does a priest see good in me?? Am I that good an actress? Because I am black to the very core of my being. And only I know that.

I'm not trying, food-wise or laxative-wise at the moment. I haven't binged, but I haven't eaten. My stomach feels so full all of the time with all the liquids I keep swilling into it - I have suddenly become an ardent tea drinker after years of despising the stuff! Coffee is now anathaema! How strange...

OK. Another confession, and one which Ian may berate me for (sorry, darling). He bought me some raunchy stuff last night - nothing overly mucky, honestly: just sexy. I put the dress on tonight after showering and curling my hair. We have a large mirror in our bedroom by which I titivate myself when feeling up to it. I stared at myself in that mirror and realised that I looked like a plank of wood. No breasts; no bum; no belly. Just a piece of 6 x 4...How abhorrent.

What does he see in me?

What does anybody see in me?

As a PS, the ex didn't return the keyboard to me. What a suprise...

Friday, 5 December 2008

Denial is not just an Egyptian River!

Yesterday, I drove out to TK Maxx (this is a sort of designer outlet store in the UK wherein you can get famous brands for about 60% less than in the High Street shops) to buy some jeans for myself. I knew they had a sale on and jeans were available for around £7.00 (about $12.00) from the likes of Diesel, Guess and FCUK. I do like my designer jeans, but NOT at designer prices! As it stood, I had only one pair of jeans which fitted me; all the others were my eldest daughter's cast-offs and cut on the 'skinny leg' which is not a flattering look for a 38-year old woman, I don't think.

I purchased all sorts of wrong sizes for myself. Not wholly intentionally - a bra I thought read at 34A, according to the section it was in, was actually a 36B and dropped off my chest when I put it on! But the jeans were intentionally mis-sized. I have dropped to a size 6 (US 2) and don't like to admit to it, verbally. So, I bought size 8s and they hang from me. 

Why have I done this? I simply couldn't bring myself to acknowledge that I am officially a size 6. I was completely in denial that the weight is not coming on; it's coming off. I refuse to believe the girls and Ian when they say they can see my ribs, that my arms are skinny, that my legs are like sticks and that I have no backside. I fob them off - particularly Beth - and joke about it all. It doesn't cut the mustard. I know.

Ian told me yesterday that I was starting to look 'ill'. I don't know if I am or not. I don't seem to look any different, facially, to how I looked a few months ago, complexion-wise. Certainly less spotty, for some odd reason, though.

I have noticed that if I do any leg exercises, while lying on the floor, the skin which sags downwards from my thighs, pulled by gravity, looks like an old lady's. If I bend over the bath, naked, my breasts hang like two thin pieces of veal. Most unattractive - 'withered' as my doctor described them.

Yesterday, whilst out at the shops, my mind wandered and I lost myself thinking about anorexia and what harm it is doing to me. I wracked my brains, repeatedly as to why I continue with this behaviour, why I cannot simply let go of it, why putting on weight fills me with such dread and why the low self-esteem manifested itself in this particular way.

Self-esteem is a big thing for me at the moment. The terrible blushing has disappeared again, thankfully, but there are too many 'labels' and insults flashing around my brain. I wrote this, as part of a letter, two days ago and the more I return to it, the more it hurts me:

Deep down, I guess I am quite a bitter person. I feel selfishly hard-done-to. Little things make me cross – stuff which shouldn’t. I feel angry that nobody bar Maureen has attempted to communicate with me from work. I feel petty anger that, twice, I have told my friends in Oman about my marriage yet received nary a Kiss-My-Ar*e or nothing. I feel cross that I worked so hard at Rowlands and was called a f*cking tw*t when something screwed up, which was a complete accident on my part and ultimately, perhaps similarly to you, I feel as though I have missed out on a healthy parental relationship. As a teenager, I was so bitterly jealous of my girlfriends who got on with their fathers. And as I got into adulthood, I started to become jealous of those women who rang their mothers on a regular basis, went shopping, had fun and laughter, and were not just related, but were friends. I miss having a Mum. I don’t have a Mum – I have a Biological Mother who despises me for me doing my own thing. She despises me because I haven’t followed her every footstep and dictat. And that is a hard lesson to learn and assimilate because I know very well that this is extremely wrong. One doesn’t have children in order to mould them into something you wish you could have been…I don’t know why I was born to be honest – and that isn’t a ‘suicidal’  or self-pitying thought. I just query, in my own head, why? Eight years difference between me and my brother? Times of severe hardship financially? Being told that labour was horrific and not wanted ever again? Being told that if it wasn’t for me, happiness would abound? I genuinely don’t think I was a wanted child…There are many studies performed of babies in the womb and how they pick up on things from the mother. Do I self-destruct because I have never felt as though I should be here? Maybe that sounds histrionic, but it does run through my head from time to time. Why, when under the influence of NLP/hypnotherapy, did I suddenly get a traumatic image of abortion when my timeline was drawn back to the womb? All conjecture, I know. And I apologise for any hyperbole or melodrama. These are simply my meandering thoughts.

My brother moved out of the parental home, at the age of 44, he didn't even tell our parents. Little by little, he just shunted out his few belongings and that was it: never seen or heard of for a long time. My mother was bereft. My father was disgusted. He is a very accomplished carpenter and had crafted a solid mahogany table for Paul for his own home. Paul walked out and left it. Months of hard work and graft, just left. Each Mother's Day, Mother's Birthday, Christmas and Wedding Anniversary which passed, without a card, left my mother more and more depressed. When she was admitted into hospital for a hip replacement, I called my brother at his place of work and asked him what was going on. He refused to speak to me, and refused to visit. My father then decided to cut him out of the family will. Although this never actually came to fruition. When my mother was taken into hospital with pericarditis, in January 2007, Paul finally came to visit as it was life-threatening. I couldn't bear to look at him and was thus harshly berated for my attitude towards my brother. My mother told me that all she wanted was a happy family. Paul made that choice to detach from his parents without any indication of what had sent him over the edge. I know for a fact that my only misdemeanour is to have married Ian, yet I have been damned for the rest of my life by them, in some ways.

My father has been in touch with the girls again. My mother is making it patently clear that she wants nothing to do with them. They couldn't care less and cannot understand why I ask them questions about the contact. I guess I am like a dog with a bone, gnawing away at something which takes an eternity to wear down and splinter. I am glad that my mother's ostracism of the girls doesn't bother them (or doesn't appear to, fundamentally) and I am so glad that they are sensible enough to realise that she has more problems than the four of us put together. So, if two young girls can do that, why can't I? Why don't I adopt that type of detachment?

Beth once asked me if I would ever punish her for doing something I disagreed with like her Nanna did to me. I roared laughing, and firmly said, No! But it's not actually funny, is it? Why did I laugh? Did I find it so utterly ridiculous that she could think I would behave like my mother, or was I laughing because I didn't know what else to do?

Everything in the garden ought to be rosy at the moment. Financial worries have been utterly lifted; the girls are calm, happy, hilarious and amusing; Christmas (one of my favourite times of the year) is almost upon us; the house is warm, inviting, beautifully decorated and furnished and things, on the whole, despite a few blips from time to time, are much better between Ian and me (touch wood! *pats herself on head*!). 

So why do I feel so much unrest and dis-ease? Is it a chemical thing? After being in hospital a week or so ago, I had to come off the anti-depressants (Citalopram). Ian had given them to the orderlies who proceeded to lose them. I then had to reorder a prescription upon my discharge which took a few days, and thus, I was six days without the drugs. It's almost like my body is learning to get used to them again and so, by mid-afternoon, I feel slow, sluggish, laboured, yet agitated in my limbs and nauseated. When I went to bed last night, and after I heard Ian breathing deeply, my buttocks went into overdrive. I jiggled, shook, rattled, battered and felt like screaming out with frustration, anxiety, anger and pain. I could not stop. And it was driving me bananas. I so wanted those muscles to relax, ease off, be still and quiet - and they would not give me a moment. So, I have woken this morning, feeling, once again, like I have trained for a marathon. Why isn't my backside as taut as Kylie's at this rate??!

Does it sound like I miss my parents? Believe it or not, I don't. But I do struggle with confusion, co-dependency and fears. I still fear my parents terribly. There is a lull for me at the moment, but each day, a quick thought will pass through my head, when the postman has been, is this going to be the delivery which contains that letter? That letter of vitriol, condemnation, hurt and recrimination? 

Only time will tell, I guess...

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Part #29

I wasn't going to post for a while, as I am feeling a bit raw at the moment, but there are some things burning inside me which need to be put down on 'paper'.

I have been in hospital for three days. I discharged myself, against medical advice, but to be perfectly frank, I am making better progress away from that filthy hell-hole stuck in a six-bay ward with four men (all wards are mixed, but despite there being space in a more female-dominated ward, they kept me with the men) where you get no sleep;  the bathrooms are shared with the men (and the toilet doors didn't lock properly); the nurses are foul-mouthed, lazy, and 'forget' your drips: I was left for 15 minutes, gasping for breath before they could be bothered bringing me oxygen when I had an enormous reaction to the stuff they were pumping into me. What a place.

The nurses hammered me so hard with canulas that I have suffered bruising across each wrist, so bad, it is wholly purple and yellow. The pharmacist agreed that it may be the start of phlebitis, the veins have been so battered, but it is subsiding now, as is the pain. There were four attempts to insert a canula as veins were not forthcoming due to my low blood pressure. The liquids they filled me with have caused veins to stand out across each arm so I could now easily give Madonna a run for her money...or, slightly less glamorously, some Wicked Stepmother from a fairy tale.

I hate hospital with a vengeance - at least, I hate that hospital which is Beelzebub's Holiday Cottage. Considering I was on a cardiac ward, it was incredible that the patients were fed greasy fish and chips, peas boiled into submission and a thick, clarty rhubarb crumble covered by custard with which you could have rendered the outside of your house. 

No, I didn't eat any of it...

I discharged myself on Saturday and came home to two very subdued young ladies who had attempted to go up to Yorkshire with their father and The Other Woman (who shall hereon in be abbreviated to TOW as I can't be fagged writing it all out all the time). Beth lasted two minutes in the house before bursting into tears, watching TOW walk around the kitchen, helping herself to 'snackettes' and ordering her son to dry his hair, using Beth's drier, in Beth's bedroom where he had slept the night before. TOW couldn't have made Beth feel more like a stranger in her own home. She ran out to Ian who had promised to wait for a few minutes, 'just in case', and Rosemary followed closely on her heel.

I was so proud of the three of them. Beth tried to do something which had filled her with so much insecurity, uncertainty, fear and confusion. But she tried it. Rosemary, despite desperately wanting to go to the pantomime, and spending an eternity on getting herself ready, stood by her sister without any conditions or guilt-trips, and Ian gave them the support, encouragement, listening ear and comfort that they so desperately needed at that time. I hated myself for not being there for them.

On Saturday evening, I noticed a strange answer machine message from a mobile number which I didn't recognise - nor did anyone else in the house. The message, according to our service provider, couldn't be delivered. This, in itself, was odd. So, I called the number and the phone had been turned off. There is only one person I know who uses Tesco mobile services and that is my mother. Sure enough, when I checked through my blocked numbers, hers came up and it was the same as the number on my phone.

She, or my father, called on Thursday night. The night I was taken to hospital, and also the night my father called the ex, crying, purportedly, that he missed his grandchildren. There are only two reasons why they would call here. First, they want to know why I am in hospital OR, the ex has told them to sort out Christmas (which my father is trying to organise) with me. Either way, I am not interested in communicating with them. Beth feels that her grandmother now despises her. My mother refuses to talk to either girl - it is only my father who is making the effort. Beth has told my mother to stop this nonsense and my mother, as I have written before, has taken umbrage at being told off by an 11-year old. That is how petty she is. A child gets 'sent to Coventry' for speaking her mind.

Since then, there have been no further calls.

And also since then, I have done a lot of thinking about my life and my family. Ian and I have talked long and hard about events which led me to the hospital's A & E. There is a shift in my thought patterns. There is resolve about certain aspects of my life - I have no doubt that the resolve will falter from time to time as I am human, but for the moment, it is very strong. To this end, I have ditched the alcohol, am throwing myself into writing and work, laughing more, and accepting that where my parents and my ex are concerned, I simply cannot do anything about them and there is no point worrying myself sick about their actions. The only things I can do, from now on, are to ignore them, talk things through thoroughly with Ian, accept that they cannot and will not change, but also accept that they do not have to spoil my day. With this realisation has come a happier, marginally calmer, more trusting Annie.

I have gained a bit of weight - a few pounds. It doesn't sit well with me, at all and I am not, deep down, happy about it, but I am also not doing anything about it. I haven't restricted myself stupidly, I haven't stepped up the laxative intake, and I haven't gone exercising as though I was training for a marathon. I am just ticking over, trying not to upset the equilibrium. 

The atmosphere in this house has changed perceptibly. Although there have been 'challenges' from the daughters, and external worries which, last week, would have tipped me over the edge, this week, I am attempting to remain calm and take things in my stride. I don't know if it is my imagination, but it seems to have infected Ian, too, who is handling parenting issues with the wisdom of an old hand, which helps me inordinately in many different ways.

I am tired of punishing myself and, by default, punishing my family. Everyone has a right to be happy in this life, so why shouldn't we take our cut of it? There's still a nugget of self-doubt in me...which is akin to self-hatred. From time to time, during the day, a thought will flit across my mind that I am doing everything wrong; I'm rubbish at this life and I yearn to be a different person. 

Each day, since 'escaping' the hospital, I have felt glad I am home and alive. I almost wasn't, from what I can gather.

It's now time for a change and one for the better. The gremlin still talks to me on an hourly basis, but mentally, I am walking away from him, raising my hand to him and saying, Enough - you bore me. Sometimes I am unable to get away from him, particularly late at night when I am tired and at my most fretful/agitated, but I am coping much better during the day than I have for about six months.

I feel fear about the future from the ED point of view, paradoxically. I really, really dread gaining weight. I dread losing what I deem my own control, but I also see that I am controlling other aspects of my life more efficiently than ever before, so perhaps one will substitute for the other? I want to see my ribs still, yet I want my breasts to return. I want to keep my thin thighs, but I don't want the sagging empty skin on my buttocks. I want to keep boney legs but I don't want the concomitant bruises. I don't want to take my bigger clothes down from storage, but I don't want to undermine my daughter's self-esteem by being in a size smaller than her.

I just want it all, don't I?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Part # 28

My blogging buddy, Melissa, who authors Balancing the Scales has written a new post in which she explains that it is her ED talking, and not her rational self. I found that admission incredibly brave. Or was it that the fact that she could 'realise and acknowledge' that I envied?

There are a number of arguments, harsh words, worries, anxieties and fears which are borne from the ED for me. My husband differentiates between 'me' and 'Annie-under-the-influence'. He can see that when I am not consumed (if you will pardon the weak pun) by anorexia and its concomitant neuroses, I am loving towards him, pro-active, hard-working and (relatively - I am a woman) reasonable. But when I am listening to that Gremlin, I weaken, turn vituperous, malificent and vindictive. I must be a horror to live with. Although he acknowledges this difference, it isn't always easy for him to remain objective, which is perfectly understandable whilst under attack.

The ED spoke to me quite loudly tonight - not for long, admittedly, and I was strong enough to not react verbally - but upon my return from taking my daughter to the Orthodontist, Ian informed me that he had his first counselling session booked, for December, through our Doctor's surgery. He has had to wait for approximately six weeks. I was informed, right from the outset, that I could be waiting six months, and thus, it would be better for me to go private. So, scrimping and saving, we have done. I have a 15 mile round trip; Ian has less than a mile round trip. I have 16 years of ED problems and its side-effects; Ian is screwed up by me, my behaviour and my tempers.

It broke my heart. I felt let down by my GP, whom I have always revered, and also, very, very jealous and bitter. My ED wanted to spit at Ian: What the hell is wrong with you? You frigging left me! You wanted me back in your life! I did so and NOW you can't cope! Get a grip!!

I am also eaten away inside by anxiety over the forthcoming weekend. 'The Other Woman' is finally getting to meet Beth. Beth has succumbed/acquisced/agreed because she wants to see her cousins performing in a pantomime. The ex informed her, unceremoniously, on the back of a placatory email from me, that 'The Other Woman' would also be accompanying them in the two-hour drive. So, the first time in five years that Beth meets her will be in the claustrophobic environment of the car.

I'm probably, in all honesty, more wound up than she is. I feel so bitter that, over the last five years, I have been made out to be 'The Evil One'. Many a time and oft, without evidence, the ex has claimed that I had affairs which led him to stray towards my 'friend'. It could not be further from the truth. I sought out friends when he wasn't, or wouldn't make himself, available; yes, one was 'her' husband, but he was as lonely and disillusioned as me and we found that we laughed long and hard together, shared the same interests, could talk to each other without recrimination, commitment or condition.

It feels, in all wallowing self-pity, that they have come up trumps again. My faults towards my first marriage included nurturing my own life: getting a highly-paid, respected job for the government; being a freelancer for international mags; running a charitable theatre group; acting in a semi-pro drama troupe...and making good friends outside of the ex's work colleagues' wives. I was told, by Expats International, before I expatriated, that to do so took a 'Pioneering Spirit'. I took that statement to heart and swore that NOTHING would stop me throwing myself into my new life and environment wholeheartedly. So I did. And even after the ex had told me to 'Get A Life', it didn't sit well when I took him up on the offer.

What does a cornered rat do? It bites back. Anal was cornered; threatened by me, so it would seem from his bullying, aggression, belittling and threats. Unfortunately, although outwardly I would fight tooth and nail, inside it killed a little more of me.

When we divorced, in December 2005, I naively assumed that was it: I would never have to tolerate any more of his bullying, control or dictat. I have never been more wrong in the whole of my life. Divorce has led to the most inordinate amount of manipulation, twisting, coercion, demands and unhappiness than I could ever have envisaged. He plays the girls as pawns, constantly. I attempt, so hard, NOT to play these stupid mind games, but when he garbs my 13-year old daughter in a hooker's outfit (low-cut, clingy black satin, barely skimming her backside, coupled with 'f*ck-me' patent leather 5" heels) and I protest; he puts the phone down...I just bang my head against the brick wall with frustration, bewilderment and desperation.

And what does it make me do? 

It makes me obssess about food. It makes me ponder cutting, purely for release. It makes me feel low, sometimes almost suicidal, as I feel such a frigging failure, and so bloody impotent that I wonder if it will make any difference me being here or not (and that is NOT a statement to engender sympathy: it is purely what goes through my head). It also makes me regret so much, feel so weary, so defeated, and so desperate to escape.

I don't feel particularly strong at the moment, to be honest. I feel very, very turmoiled; as though my stomach has partaken of a salmonella bug: it is rumbling, hurting and annoying me. Just like my head and my thoughts. 

I want to be alone for some time, to think, ponder, assimilate and get my head around everything. I rarely have this solitude. Even now, as I write this blog, I am being asked about spellings, mathematical equations, English translations for métier, and I would like to get this out. But that is just bloody-minded selfishness. Because they need me and I must be there.

I want to lose more weight. That's the simple and honest truth. Because I feel like my grip is going. I need some grip. I am not doing well, am I? 

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Part #27

I seem to be making a habit of this. On Monday, I passed out again in the bathroom, after engaging in a massive purging session. I fell against the chrome toilet roll holder attached to the wall, cut my upper eyelid and am now sporting a marvellous purple and black egg there. It hurts immensely - as though I have a toothache which will not stop niggling. All I remember is crawling off to bed and waking about four hours later feeling like I had been partying non-stop. It didn't go down very well. I was very disoriented, very out of the game and just 'not there'.

Things are getting me down immensely. Ten days ago, my GP prescribed me anti-depressants. I am normally loathe to take these things but I acquiesced. So far, they don't seem to be agreeing with me very well, but I have been told by a number of people, that the initial side-effects abate after 2-3 weeks. Side-effects at the moment involve constant 'jiggling' and agitation of the buttock and thigh muscles which cause horrific aches and pains; nausea; tiredness; paranoia and wild nightmares. I have another 4-11 days, potentially, of riding these things out before I throw in the towel and say, Enough! if necessary...

I haven't been near the scales for two days now. I refuse to countenance them. I don't like how they affect my mood for the whole day: so out of sight; out of mind. I am still eating one healthy meal each day. 

On Monday night, I succumbed to an old, negative behaviour. All I can remember is feeling so bloody weary, so bloody fed up of this carousel and desperate to rid my head of the screaming voices. I felt very furtive, duplicitous, ashamed and guilty as I tried to get five minutes alone. But I did, and I took a carving knife and sharpening steel into the outhouse toilet and in the semi-dark, with only spiders and cobwebs for company, I honed the knife and sliced myself on the arm, upper thigh and across my breast.

Just writing that has sent a cold belt of steel across my heart, if you can sort of understand that. A belt of utter shame and disgust.

From my former cutting days, I have arms like trellises. My right leg sports a gash which you would presume came from a car crash. It became infected at the time so that I was unable to walk for a few days and was given antibiotics. It was never stitched, hence why it is so noticeable to this day. The day Ian left, I carved his name into my left thigh. For some unearthly reason, that disappeared, but none of the others have. My friend, Rebecca, joked to me at the time, that I could turn it into the phrase, 'I've been to Spain', until I pointed out that '-ain' and '-ian' are we decided that I could purport to have dyslexia. Light-hearted banter about heavy-hearted things. We need to do that from time to time.

That gash on my right leg featured in my dream of Monday night. I dreamed that I had it across the breast I had cut and it was ugly, gaping and repugnant. When I awoke yesterday morning, my fear was how to disguise it during any love-making between Ian and me. I resolved to refrain from intimacy for a few days until the rawness had abated. That's not a good thing, or a solution, though, is it? And unbeknownst to me, Ian had observed spatters of blood and put two and two together. When we think we are being so clever as to conceal things, we always miss dead give-aways...such as the blood on the top of my jeans: the blood on my nightdress which I didn't notice until much later. 

Before I expatriated to Oman I was an Autumn Child. I loved the nights drawing in; the cosiness by the fire; the smell of bonfires in the air; snuggling up in bed, watching crappy black and white movies on telly; wearing thick, heavy jumpers and embracing the cold, crisp days. I hate them nowadays. This darkness only reflects my moods. It is depressing that the sky is black at 4pm, the rain soaks, chills me to the marrow and I rarely feel warm. I long for the sun on my face. I don't like all the anniversaries which bombard us at this time of year, either. There are too many of them. These memories stir up different emotions, none of them positive. They imbue me with guilt, sadness, concern and fear for the future.

I live in the past; too much for my own good. I have mentioned 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' before. I so wish I could gain that - obliterate my mind of the painful memories - be selective, too, in holding on to the good ones. I am asking for way too much, I know that - I sound like a spoiled Verruca Salt (of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!) who wants it all: Daddy! Daddy! Get Me That Unsullied Memory, NOW!

What a complex organ the brain is. How can it hold so many abstract and intangible things? No wonder scientists claim they can only fully understand about a 1/3 of its workings. How can those electrical impulses which constantly fire off cause elation, sadness, euphoria, desperation, hunger, warmth, irritation, love, affection, infinitum...What an amazing creation we have, sitting in our 'shell-likes'. And I am rambling...

Things aren't all bad in Annie's World, though, so I apologise for being so morose. In my last post, I described my current worries. One of those, as Ian predicted, has now gone. He finally 'sold' his house yesterday - all the legalities are now in place and it is time to clear the property. When we first got back together, over a year ago, he told me he was going to do things properly this time and before I agreed to a future together, he was discussing placing his house on the market. The Global Economy Crisis is taking its toll everywhere and it has taken a year for his house to sell. Believe it or not, that's not too bad here - my neighbour split with his wife in 2006 and the house is still for sale. We have been lucky to a degree.

Ian's ardent desire was to start afresh. Get rid of his property, feel part of this household, 100%, and make a go of it. The economy has been against us, materially. Before we realised how bad the credit crunch was getting, we started looking at properties for ourselves - a new life, together. We found a fantastic house which was formerly a Scottish Manse house. It was in a fair state, but needed a lot of work. It had been on the market for two years and had depreciated by £100,000. We knew we would have to bust a gut to get it fit for the four of us. But everything is corrolated. My property, where once I had a hell of a lot of equity in it, is now not worth as much; Ian's house has been dropped by 17% to sell. So we must hold on. 

I have always seen Ian's house as his bolt-hole: somewhere to run when the going gets tough. It has left me foundationless, insecure and feeling like a cat on a hot tin roof. I abhor the arguments where the bags are packed, the doors are slammed and silence reigns in the house. I need some form of safety net and security which is unconditional. I hope that this house sale goes some way to affording me some sanctuary from my fears.

Most dreams I have these days are about being lost and not being able to find my way back. I beg people for assistance but I am always let down. There are obstacles in my path; there are obstreperous characters to handle; there are problems to overcome...but I just don't seem to get there, ever. Strangely, Ian rarely features in any of my dreams - I am always begging my parents to help me, and they never do. What does that mean, I wonder?

What a rambling mess! 

Monday, 10 November 2008

Part # 26

Blogging has taken a back seat for me just recently. I have been urged and encouraged by a number of people to attempt to put this account down in book form, and so I made a start last week. I am not so vain as to think that it will ever go anywhere, but what I have noticed is that blogging contains superficial details, on the whole; whereas writing a book requires more attention, minuteness, background and concise information. Only nine pages have been written so far. But they were nine pages of so many early childhood memories. So many of them had either been pushed aside, forgotten or blocked off that it was strange to relive them so vividly. I have an incredible long-term memory (short-term is rubbish!) and can recall smells, shapes, colours, clothes, sensations as if they were happening to me in the here and now.

Ian can tell me something and hours later I will have forgotten and ask him about it again. He sighs wearily and I apologise. Bizarrely, though, months later, I would be able to recall it with vivid detail - and that is where he will have forgotten! I wonder if it is the medication I have been prescribed which provides that 'comfortable numbness'?

I have to hold my hands up in submission now and state, quite honestly, that I don't think I am improving. One meal each day, keeping it in and down is bugger all, in truth. If you are only eating grilled/baked/steamed fish/seafood with steamed veg, you aren't exactly having a Hog Fest, are you? I guess I am kidding myself, really. 

There are so many things which are either irritating the hell out of me or worrying me sick at the moment that I cannot seem to drop them and concentrate on me. For the purposes of catharsis, I am going to list them. Just to see them in black and white and potentially be able to reason with them at a later date today or tomorrow.
  • Ian will get sick and tired of me struggling with this bastard disorder and leave
  • I am way too sensitive for my own good and any perceived slight affects me so much as to cause a row
  • I dread confrontation with either my family or Ian's family - Ian calls these 'missiles' and they come in the form of texts, letters, emails, phone calls. Each time his own mobile phone beeps or rings, my heart sinks. Each time our home phone rings, my heart sinks. For six months, I have been given an easy life. I wonder how much longer I can 'enjoy' that as there have been no missiles recently...
  • Will Ian's house finally sell? Will we have less financial worries? Paying two mortgages isn't much fun. An empty house, acting like a money pit, down south, is a millstone around our necks. We are always 'so close' to completion of the sale, and then the purchasers' solicitor gets his teeth into a silly issue which has to be thrown back and forth until Ian's solicitor gives them a rap across the knuckles and tells them to behave. But it's long, slow and arduous.
  • Am I about to be usurped? Beth has finally relented and agreed to meet with 'The Other Woman'. Recalling 'The Other Woman's' campaign of 'Being The Most Popular Mother in Oman' is not something I can forget easily. Remembering her telling me she adored Rosemary as if she were her own daughter, seeing the presentation of very expensive diamond earrings to Rosemary for birthdays, and the oppositional attitude of attending to every cut, bruise, fall by fussing and falling over them makes me quail. Although I am a firm believer in unconditional love and affection, I do not believe that a paper cut on the finger requires Calpol, a hot water bottle and a Band Aid. She did...And the girls revelled in that at one time...
  • I worry that I have lost my way. I was once such an ambitious woman. I was the only person in the organisation who understood my job. Everyone else listened to me and heard what I was saying. I was both self-taught, on-the-job-taught, and passed exams with high 80 percentages. I knew what I was delivering and in my first month of taking over the role, I turned over more stock from my online nicotine replacement sales than the whole of the 500 branches across the UK. That is vanity more than anything. I increased turnover by 1500% in three months but I don't ever feel I can go back to it as I am terrified of my colleagues. A former worker, K, suffered with bulimia (I never met her). She had been gone for a good 12 months by the time I started work. They still tore her to pieces for it. Anybody, with any 'mental health' problem, was annihilated. Considering it is a health industry, they ought to hang their heads in shame...
  • I worry about my position in this family. Reputedly, I am the 'Figure Head': the one who holds us together, mediates, softens, delegates, and acts as diplomat. I don't want to do it any more in some ways. I am weary of having to flit between one set of hurt to another. I want hurt people to talk to each other openly, which is what I would do, on the whole. Being a mediator is a hard task. But, at the same time, I know that it is hard for the other three and they DO need a mediator. We had a social worker at one point who said that being a step-parent was the hardest job in the world. I agree, implicitly. But I also think that being the natural parent on a new marriage is pretty tough, too, due to divided loyalties and attempting to maintain some form of equilibrium
So, don't get me wrong. Things 'chez Annie' are not awful - far from it. There has just passed a lovely, gentle, interesting weekend. Nary a cross word passed (apart from the general bickering between Rosemary and Bethan, to which I have selective deafness!) between any of us, and it has been notable in its unremarkability. I give thanks for that. 

I just wish I could escape from my thoughts. My dreams last night were full of angst. They were actually filled with 'missiles'. I awoke at 4.30am with severe heartburn, got up for ten minutes, swilled down a load of water and some peppermint, and then returned to bed where I fell into a deep sleep. My final dream was that all my eyebrow hairs had fallen out due to the anorexia. I checked them out this morning, after my husband had complained that his face was a mess due to me picking a spot on his cheek. 

Such is life, eh?!