Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Part #15


It's a term normally associated with diabetes. But it does happen to those who don't eat. The human body needs carbohydrates in order to survive - feed the brain; feed the muscles. I know this. I did an A' level in Human Biol.

My mother is insulin-dependent diabetic. She was diagnosed when I was around 11 or 12. She was vicious when 'hypo'. The first time we witnessed it, the household awoke to her screaming in agony due to the cramps. I thought she had gone mad; my father didn't know what to do; and the only person she called for, repeatedly, was my brother. She was bundled off into an ambulance and 'stabilised' at the hospital. We became inured to it in some ways. We could tell when she wasn't looking after herself - she'd go and treat herself to some delicacy from the bakery, cheat her insulin and then fall flat after these 'fast carbs' had been eaten away by the extra insulin with which she had injected herself. She always used to tell me she would rather I succumbed to cancer than to diabetes.

I recall one night, waking up at around 3am and seeing the kitchen light on from my bedroom window. I went downstairs and saw her making a hot drink. Into it, she was ladling margarine. I didn't stop her - I was only about 13 then and just thought this was some weird way of bringing her out of her hypo, but when she took a mouthful and gagged, I realised she had got mixed up.

She never wanted anyone but my brother when she was very low. She would literally howl for him. I would run to her to hug her and she would push me away abruptly, begging for Paul. I know she wasn't in a compos mentis state of mind, so I definitely do not bear her any ill will for this.

When I returned from Oman in 2003, I used to suffer hypos a lot. And I have suffered 'the real' ones, too, from having injected myself with my mother's insulin as a teenager in order to do away with myself. So I know what they are like. The less you eat and the more you work, the less you can function.

The ex had advised me, by phone from Oman, that I could have monies to pay the mortgage and utilities and that was it. The rest of the monies I had to find myself. So he was living in a rent-free villa, with all expenses paid apart from his clothes and food, on a tax-free salary of around £45,000 (US$90,000) and I had to get a job to feed and clothe me and the girls. As the girls were so young (8 and 6), and I was guilt-tripped by Mother into NOT getting an office job, I went out to clean other people's houses, iron their clothes and work as a dinner lady at the local High School. I have to confess my snobbery here and admit that it felt very ignominious at times. I had been a successful journalist and editor, and now I was scrubbing other people's toilets. But, sod it, I am not that proud when the chips are down.

I was probably cleaning for six hours each day as well as doing two hours at the school. The ironing was delivered to my door every other night and I would get up at 5am to do it. Now, I am not wallowing in self-pity here. I am simply stating what I was up to. That's all. Some days, I would get so stuck into the cleaning that I felt simply marvellous - seeing a gleaming house is something worth stepping back from and saying, Great! That looks bloody good! (And I got paid for it!)

But because I wasn't eating - and I think this was probably the start of the anorexia proper, moving from the bulimia which had plagued me over the previous years - I did start to feel somewhat washed out at nights and weekends. And one weekend it took its toll and I passed out in our local supermarket, Asda (Walmart). I keeled over, fell to my knees and blacked out.

I remember coming to on a public bench in the shop with staff hovering over me and trying to placate the girls with colouring books, sweets, cakes etc. I was utterly bewildered and disoriented. One lady, Wendy, wanted to take me to the local hospital, but I refused and told her I would be more than fine. So she drove me home in my car - we still chat now whenever I go into the shop and she is always kindness itself.

I told the ex over the phone and he grunted.

He was due to return to the UK on leave within a few days. He took the girls up to see his sister in Yorkshire and I decided not to go - for personal reasons (i.e. his sister was a condescending woman who enjoyed nothing better than to belittle me when wearing her D & G/Armani/Gucci/Versace clothes and skitting me for shopping at Second Hand Shops). The girls told me when they returned that they had felt sickened at their laughter at me passing out at Asda. He had related the incident to his sister, C, and they had fallen about laughing when he stated, She f*cking doesn't eat, what the f*ck does she expect, silly, f*cking b*tch!

And this was the man who had promised me we would make 'it work'.

As I write all of this, it does read back like wallowing in self-pity. But please believe me, I am not. I actually feel quite stalwart! I actually can read it and think: Well, you git! You purported to love me and did this?! I am well rid of you, matey!

That's truly what I am feeling - I don't want any sympathy. These are just facts - not 'please-like-me-and-feel-sorry-for-me statements'.

But in a roundabout way, what I am trying to say is that my behaviour, without carbs, is erratic. I forget so much, short-term memory-wise. I stagger and slur at times because I am not up to speed. I wake up in a 'swamp' of perspiration from the night sweats, and the cramps are very painful at times, let alone the lack of circulation wherein I have to plunge my hands into the sink full of hot water.

But honestly, I can, actually, see a light at the end of the tunnel. I think this is actually the first 'Memory' post wherein I don't feel sad - I feel quite detached. I am just getting it down. If it offends anyone, I apologise. But what is a blog, if not a journal of thoughts and memories? It can be used for vanity, catharsis, antagonism...many things. Mine is used for catharsis. And that's it.

And that's all for today!


Karen ^..^ said...

This is a great thing, to be able to blog in a more detached manner. It means that these memories, events that served to hurt you so badly at one time, no longer have power over you.

This is definite progress, a wonderful thing.

I am hypoglycemic as well. I have suffered from it for years. I am not diabetic, thank God, and I can control it from time to time, but I know when my blood sugar is low, and I get extremely crabby. I shake, sweat and feel buzzy and far away from myself. I can normally go quite a long time without eating, but there are times at work when I don't get a chance to eat. The low blood sugar attack hits me on the way home, and I come in the door desperate for something to eat. Many times I've had a date on these nights, and have been extremely crabby on the date, much to my date's confusion and horror. He is used to going without food, but I physically cannot go without something in my stomach. I have passed out as well, but never told anyone, as it was so embarrassing.

It seems to get worse during my menstrual cycle.

What most people who don't suffer from this don't realize, it is that the moods we get in during this time are not us being "bitches" or just plain mean, it is beyond our control. it is completely physical. I cannot function while feeling like this. I get dizzy, disoriented, and tend to stumble a bit. I'm sure I look as if I'm high or drunk. My pupils dilate. My daughter's boyfriend, who is a police officer, did the nystagmus test on me once, one they use on DUI tests on the road, and I failed it even though I had not had an alcoholic drink in over a month. He was amazed.

Low blood sugar can look like a lot of things it isn't. Scary condition for those who have it. An attack can leave you drained for hours. A severe attack can result in a seizure. I've seen it happen. Scary shit.

Karen ^..^ said...

And even though you wrote this feeling no sadness, I have to still say that I very emphatically (although somewhat dispassionately) still think your ex ass is a complete and total assmunch. And his sister sounds like a miserable bitch. Heh.

Cunning_Linguist said...

It's posts like that that I like. Not the subject matter, but the realism that it brings. You stripped yourself bare for all to see. There's a brutal honesty when one recants the life's memory. It's raw. It's senesitive. But, it is the truth. It's realism at it's finest and this is when writing and reading come into such a grand relationship. Only then does the author truly speak to his or her intended. Well posted.

Oh.... and I thought I was diabetic once. Very scary. I couldn't move, nor did I have the desire to accomplish anything that required thought or energy. It was only then that my ( now ex ) wife informed me I was just being lazy and to take the garbage out already. Damn, I almost had me a good excuse there for a second. tsk.

Bob J said...

There's no two ways about it : Bad shit is bad shit.

It effects people in negitive ways, and it's not whining to agknowedge it.

And it would be foolish to say that it does not have it's effects on us, no matter how objective we find ourselves able to be about the events themselves. Most of the time our abusers imply that somehow we should not react to the actions they have taken, but it's pretty clear that they make such implications in their own self-interest.

I don't think you are whining. At the very least you are making an inventory of events that would effect anyone. It's part of the journey, I think, and an important part as well.

You may worry that perhaps you are whining, but personally I hope that one day you can cry. They were injuring sorts of things, they happened over and over again, and you didn't deserve a bit of it.

Not recently, and never as a sensitive and blameless child.

Karen ^..^ said...

You know, I read the last bit of this again, and I do hope there is not anyone leaving shitty comments about you whining about anything. That is awful. I do hope not. You do not need that right now. It is admirable as hell that you are getting all of this out, and in whatever fashion it needs to come out. It sucks that you feel you have to "disclaim" your intentions here. That is very upsetting. Screw who doesn't like it! Anyone with so little heart that they have to leave hateful comments needs to be totally ignored by you. Just let it roll right off your back. Because as you said before, in your adorably English way, "SOD THE TROLLS"!

I love that by the way.

And BobJ said it beautifully. Bad shit is bad shit. That you had to be treated like shit and still did not turn into a bad shit speaks very very well of your character and how strong you are. So there ya go. I think you are wonderful.

Linda and her Twaddle said...

I eat every couple of hours. If I were to go for a few hours without food I know I will faint. It is most humiliating and I have passed out a few times at exercise class because I have not tanked up enough of healthy carbs.

But, like Karen, I have to agree that your ex is a complete moron.

Really, you need to surround yourself with those who care. All the others can just be cast aside.

Talking about how you feel and what you have gone through is not a whinge. It is just telling it as it is. The tone is certainly not whiney.

Hannah said...

Thank you for writing so freely and honestly. And good for you for being able to look back on the situation and feel clear about it. That's something most people are able to do.

Annie T AKA Agnes Mildew said...

Karen: Well, the list of things hypos can cause in you is quite amazing. It is shocking: from the 'pear drops' smell in the mouth (acetone) to the aggression. Yes, the ex is still 'an assmunch' - that description made me roar laughing! And no, there haven't been any comments accusing me of whingeing. I just felt it had a lump of self-pity attached to it due to what I was detailing and I didn't want people to misunderstand WHY I was relating these things.

Cunning: Thanks for your visit. I dead chuffed to see an avatar of the Blues Brothers on my comments! I was only watching the film a few weeks ago.

Thanks for your comments. Most appreciated. And yes, you were a bit slow with that 'excuse'. Next time, stick some shaving foam around your mouth, roll your eyes and squawk, The Garbage Needs Taking Out. Then attempt to fight it. Nobody will ever let you near it again!

Seriously, though. Thanks for the solid, positive words.

Bob: Thank you for that understanding. I do appreciate your insight into things. I have had some good cries...but I think they have been precipitated by the wrong things. I was close to tears in the therapy room at one point. Maybe, one day, it will come out proper.

Linda: The only people who talk to me nowadays are those who DO care, thankfully. The rest have sent us all to Coventry for one thing or another. I am sure they would pass out if they were to read this blog.

Hannah: Thanks for your visit and kind words. Writing just helps. And I'll do anything these days which does!

Mars said...

what a git.

Mars said...

i just read karen's comment as well - my last comment was written in a half-sleepy state, hence the monosyllabic response. totally agree with what she says.

i have the same thing as her, and it might get worse due to my hormonal imbalances, as you may recall in my previous posts.

and yes, it is not just a 'female mood swing' thing like when you pms. its an uncontrollable, completely physical reaction. i have never really passed out, but reach close enough (maybe its my body eating off the large amount of fats in me?). the crabbiness, bitchiness and sense of vertigo are all too familiar.

and 'assmunch' is rather too polite in reference to your ex lol. and i've come across bitches like your sister in law. one thing keeps me from 'hexing' people like that - knowing that karma can be a real bitch. and i smile - they'll get their comeuppance one day.