Saturday, 20 September 2008

Part #7

So much to write about today. It's a fantastically beautiful Autumn day here but I feel washed out, sapped of energy, aching, have a need to be near a clean, private lavatory, and just want to get things out - so a second post for today! Well, considering I was awake at 'stupid o'clock' again, what do you expect?!

I'm going to write about my last few months in Oman now and it may take two posts as all sorts of things are returning to me. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...(this was always the preamble on the radio in the 70s for a children's story-time show called 'Listen With Mother'!)

We were nearing the performance of the pantomime I was directing for the school and I was getting fairly stressed out with our prima donnas, the in-fighting, the inability to get the back-stage crew working and all the other odds and sods which accompany putting on a theatrical production. I went to see a doctor at a nearby surgery - you could pretty much use any doctor you wanted out there as long as you paid up - and I had heard that this doctor was a bit of a pushover. I asked her for tranquilizers and she prescribed me a type of Valium. Only a week's worth, but enough for me to just slow down a bit and get some sleep at night.

My cutting was very bad. I was slicing my body as though I was taking a cheese grater to myself. Indeed, it has taken five years for me to expose my limbs in the warm, summer months as they looked so shredded. If the 'White Mist' kicked in and I wasn't near a knife, I'd go for anything: Coke can ring-pulls; scissors; the lids off tin cans; razors and one night, I sat and held the lit end of my cigarette on the inside of my forearm - anything to cause external pain and distraction from the ongoing screaming in my head.

I was looking quite slim at this stage - bulimia was utterly ravaging me now and had more than dismissed the initial, sensible Weight Watchers diet I had embarked upon - and the scabs and scars covering my body prompted that memorable comment from the ex about me looking like 'A Road Traffic Accident'. I knew I looked pretty repulsive, but I'll never forgive him for compounding it like that when all he had to do was show some compassion. 

We visited Dubai for the weekend: me, the ex and the girls; my 'best friend', 'the other woman', and her husband; their son, and her brother, C. There was a definite male-female split to the trip: 'the other woman', an ardent shopaholic, took me to Deira City Centre while the men took the children to the Wet 'n' Wild park. I'd had an anxiety attack alone in our room, binged and purged quite badly, and taken a ring-pull to my legs as no blades were available. I guess it had been a bit on the dirty side, as I had pulled it from a bin, and the cuts did end up rather infected. I had to trawl around the shops for hours with 'the other woman'. It was tedious. I might be one of the few women who isn't that interested in walking around shops - give me eBay any day! 

Eventually, I begged 'the other woman' to return with me as I was starting to limp more and more; the cuts were still bleeding on my legs and blood stains were seeping through my trousers. I felt exhausted and when I passed comment about it to the ex, upon his return with the girls, I was treated to a somewhat sarcastic tirade about how shopping didn't appear to be anywhere near as much hard work as looking after two lively girls in a water park. 

We had organised hotel baby-sitting for the night as we were all set to go out on the town. I wore my new clothes, did my hair nicely and, for a change, felt quite attractive. 'The other woman''s husband, AM, told me I looked 'stunning' which was a lovely compliment for me. He was a very kind man to me - he was my confidante throughout all of this as he had self-harmed many years previously. Where Anal let me down, AM stepped up to the challenge. And Anal didn't like it - and still, to this day, wrongly accuses me of having an affair with him...As an aside, the ex didn't pass any comment about my appearance. Which is hardly surprising considering what ensued in the following weeks.

We were to eat at a Thai restaurant. Five adults - no children. I was utterly dreading it. I didn't want to go through the ignominy of eating, having money spent on me which would ultimately be wasted, and then have to go searching out the toilets. I begged them to let me walk around the shops - it was Ramadhan and the shops were open until very late in the malls - and I would meet them when they had finished. They wouldn't let this happen, and so the inevitable did. 

I hated it: I hated the way as soon as food hit my stomach, I fell on everything else like a greedy pig, devouring the fattiest, most calorific, tastiest foods: Aren't you eating that? Can I have it? Who wants this last one? Oh, I'll have it then. Shall we get pudding? Who's for Tricky Coffees? 

And then it's the same old chestnut: Just need to pop to the loo. Shan't be long...

But you are a long time. You've got your head bent over a public loo, not knowing whose backside has been on it previously, hoping against hope that nobody comes in and hears the filthy noises. And if they do, then you have to break off, vomit and bile dripping from your nose, mouth and hands, hovering over the bowl as silently as you can muster. And then you resume when the hand-drier starts and you puke and puke until you feel like you're going to bring up your intestines. And then you use tissues to clean up so you don't emerge looking like The Creature From The Swamp. And then your bowels realise that some part of that meal hasn't been brought up, so they decide they'll get moving, too. Can you get cleaned up in time to take off your trousers without leaving vomit stains on them? Are you going to have an accident? Oh God! Hurry Up!!

It's like being in a 24/7 nightmare having an ED. It's a nightmare of shame, mortification, secrets and lies.

As soon as you're able, you can leave the sanctuary of the toilets. But not without applying a heap of make-up in the hope that the lipstick isn't going to enhance the redness of your eyes and nose. Hoping that the so-called 'waterproof' mascara which is now half-way down your cheeks can be wiped off without too much damage. And hoping that nobody is starting to talk about your lengthy absence.

We partied quite hard that night. AM and I broke away from the others - they wanted to return to their rooms, but we were having fun for a change. We went to Scarlet's Bar at the top of the Emirates Towers and the view was incredible. We drank cocktails, laughed uproariously at his ridiculous jokes and then the bar closed for the night.

We got in the lift and arrived at our floor. AM took me to my room, and we walked in. To find Anal and 'the other woman' in bed together...

OK. There was no hanky-panky going on - they were both fully clothed at that point - but they said they were cold and under the covers was the warmest place. I, personally, would have just turned down the A/C...What would you have done?

Sometimes, I can't see the wood for the trees. I can be fairly gullible and shrugged it off. Maybe I just didn't really care that much? I knew what a bastard he was by that stage and there was no love there. Perhaps, though, if I'd have thought a bit harder, I'd have been a bit more wary of my 'best friend' who I did love, very much.

I've left Ian downstairs for way too long now, and so I am going to see my wonderful husband and enjoy the rest of my Saturday - but this post needs to be followed up and there is a lot to come. There's a lot of anger going to follow, too, so I may end up swearing a bit! Apologies in advance.

Don't forget - if you do happen on this blog, please try to leave a comment. The more positive the better (not just for my own ego and fragile self-confidence, I hasten to add) as I am discovering that people really are getting something out of what I thought might be classed as self-indulgent vanity posting. I can assure you - this wasn't written for those reasons. If we can help others, and I can ultimately help myself with this, it won't be a waste of time.


Mars said...

i don't believe that your posts are self indulgent. and even if they are, this is your own space and you're entitled to do what you like. if people don't like it, they can always close the page.

i wonder if you've kept in touch with Alec since he seemed like a good person for support. and screw (not literally) your ex for giving that relationship a dirty name like having an affair. considering he did just the same. it's true - people tend to view things as they'd do it themselves.

i've never cut myself for real, but i've always imagined gruesome and rather morbid ways of killing myself in my head and i start laughing. and i always feel better. not that i'm suggesting you try it, but if it stops the cutting in real-time, then it might be helpful.

i*maginate said...

Well - I will read your blog in its entireity when I return...

Can someone be so truthful and honest about their probs...well...thanks for sharing. You sound amazing.

Linda and her Twaddle said...

When I write I always feel it is a way of discovering myself (no matter how silly the writing may be). I wonder if, by writing it all out, you will allow yourself to step back and realise that you are a really good person, really intelligent and all those other awful people have the biggest problem of all. Lack of compassion. You must have felt so alone, so frightened. Trying to maintain the facade and at the same time battling with your own self. I hope today is a bit better for you. Your posts are not self indulgent, they are honest and, actually, a very interesting journey.

Bob J said...

Writing it down may in itself be a form of purging, but a form with a complexity of content which accomplishes so much more.

Perhaps it's not "the cure". What that process truly is remains open to question. But writing is a means that may at least face us in the right direction, in a way that ED behaviors never do.

Glad you are taking this step.

Agnes Mildew said...

Mars: Thank you for your comments - they never cease to help enhance my self-confidence: especially the cyber hugs!
Alec & I kept in touch for a short while after I was kicked out of Oman by the ex (more of that). There were three families destroyed by what ensued. He is now living with a new woman, I believe, but does rotation in Muscat still. But no, we no longer keep in touch although I do think about him fondly from time to time, and remember his kindness.
I haven't cut myself for two years. And I don't ever want to go back there. Particularly as I have now witnessed my oldest daughter and another person, very close to me, doing it. It provides relief at the time, but just compounds your shame later on.

i'maginate: I don't consider myself 'amazing', although it seems I never cease TO amaze! Particularly with my extremes - haha!
The truth and honesty only ever comes out on 'paper'. I find it very difficult to be as raw vocally.

Linda: Do you know, this is exactly what I am hoping to achieve and said as much to Ian last night. I want objectivity. By revisiting each post as often as I can, I am starting to sense a slight form of detachment to the events creeping in. Where once there was 100% emotiveness attached, now I feel it is slipping to, say, 95%.
I'm glad you are enjoying the reads. And I appreciate all your support, my dear.

Bob J: Thank you very much for your visit. And thank you for your insight/words of wisdom. You're correct: writing is a form of purging for me; most definitely. It's something I should really have done a long, long time ago.
Many thanks again.

Karen ^..^ said...

Your posts are anything but self indulgent. I feel the pain that is in every line, the humiliation, the sincere underlying wish that you didn't do this, or feel this way. I wish I could change that for you, I really do. Such a lovely person should not feel so badly about herself. Horrible people are responsible for that, and they will suffer accordingly one day, if not already. I'd hate to be either one of them, they are so vile and miserable.

On a better more positive note, at least you don't seem to be cringing with embarrassment as much as in the beginning. Still a bit unsure, but I think this is a very safe place for you to let it all out. You ARE among friends. And you are not in any way glamorizing this, which is so helpful to others. I am so proud of the good you will be doing when people read this. It can't be easy, divulging your most painful secrets about yourself. I admire you so much.

I've passed this blog on to so many people already, and I have no doubt that many will be able to relate to this. For one, it is extremely well written, and easy to understand. Your writing is intelligent, and you are not "all over the place". You are a sympathetic character, and by that I mean others will be able to relate to you, as you've seen already. They will also relate to the abuse you suffered during your first marriage. I used to say about my ex: If there was an insult to add to an injury, he would do it gleefully. Anal assmunch has my ex beat by a mile. I've never read about a more loutish peice of shit in my entire life. He truly gags me. I am so glad you had the good sense to get away from that vile peice of trash. Thank God you obtained and took away the best aspects of that relationship with you, your beautiful girls. Your oldest looks like Carrie Underwood, I realized it yesterday at work, as I flipped through a hair magazine with a client. She is truly adorable, and sounds brilliant. So does your little one. They are both so beautiful and amazing. You have done such beautiful things in your life, and focusing on that will enable you to recover, I beleive. Your kids are the best things to ever happen to you, that and you have healed up so much already, in your second and extremely wise choice of a spouse. See how far you've come already? It can't have been easy. In fact I know how hard it is to raise kids on my own, having done it the past nine years. Not at all easy. You are made of strong stuff, and are well prepared for what lies ahead in your recovery.

I wish you the best with that, and may you find the help you need, good help. And may you find peace, my new friend. Above all I wish you peace in this life, and contentment. Take care, and stay strong.

Bob J said...

I hope you can step back and take a look at what sort of impact this sort of treatment might have on not just yourself, but any sensitive child.

What sort of impact it might have on their developing sense of self, but more to the point, what the nature of their task might be, now that they are grown.

Have you been able to put into words what that task might be ? The answer is not simple I suspect, but begining to define it at some point will likely be important.

Agnes Mildew said...

Karen: Thank you. That's all I can say, my dear. Thank you for your kind words, your insight and your support. You, too, are a very, good and kind friend - and I appreciate it, as does Ian. Much love to you xx

Bob J: I am attempting to assemble some form of objectivity now. Writing it out, publishing it, reading it back, editing it (again and again!) is sort of giving me some distance.

Yes, I have often thought about how another child would cope - which is why I have tried so very, very hard to be a different parent to our daughters.

The task? Hmm. I don't have the answer to that one just yet. But give me some time...I'll get there. I promise.

Thank you for your comment - everyone's support is so greatly appreciated.

may_be said...

your strength in posting constantly amazes me. congratulations for not cutting for two years, it is a hard addiction to give up (i struggled with it too).

it is amazing to see the responses on your posts also. I hope you see what you are giving other people through your sharing of your story.

The writer formerly known as Agnes Mildew said...

May: Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and comment. Cutting. It's a foul thing, isn't it? The temptation to do it again has fleetingly crossed my mind over the last six months, but I have managed to overcome it - more through revulsion to be honest. But, when it did happen, the most inordinate relief used to sink in. Hmmm. So why can I walk away from that and not my anorexia? That's a poser, isn't it? And one which I shall think about further today...

I hope that some people do get something out of this blog. I don't know what it will be, but I genuinely hope it is positive - even if it is to provide some insight into the thoughts of someone with an ED.

Thank you again.