Saturday, 20 September 2008

Supporting: Thoughts

Dying. Death.

Two words you hear a lot when referring to an ED. Of all mental illnesses, Anorexia claims the highest fatality rate, and the majority of those are through suicide. Something Fishy has a memorial page that makes for some very tearful reading. Even more terrifying for me is the thought that my Annie could join that list.

I will never forget the time I drove back with her from the hospital after her overdose. She was lying on the back seat of the taxi, her face pale, her eyes closed and her breathing shallow. As I stroked the hair from alongside her face, I let a finger stray close to her nose so I could feel her exhale. Every time I felt the warm air across my skin, relief flooded through me. Another breath. And another. Keep breathing Annie. Turns out that the amount of Iuprofen she took wasn't that lethal, but it put the absolute fear of God into me.

I can't bring myself to talk about the next time. It was after another argument, and I came home from work to find a length of rope on the floor, and an internet page open displaying knots.

Those feelings that course through you when you discover things like this are so powerful. I can only think that it must be the love I have for her that makes these attempts hurt so much. It's ironic really. The pair of us will punish ourselves for our own perceived shortcomings, and in punishing ourselves, we cause pain to the other. Annie looks at the sadness in my eyes, and feels responsibility for it. This in turn causes her to punish herself, which makes me even sadder, thus beginning another cycle of self-harm (in whatever form). My frustration at this awful hold the ED seems to have builds like a pressure cooker in my head until often, the only solution is to either go mad, or have a jolly good cry.

I feel as though we're both damned if we do, and damned if we don't. Annie has often told me that I would be better off leaving. "It's not fair that you have to suffer this," she says. I tell her that to be without her would make life utterly pointless. How can you leave the woman that has given you the ability to see the world in colour after so many years of grey?

And tonight in the bath, I asked her why she wasn't looking forward to her dinner. Thoughtfully she replied: "I think it's because deep down, I just want to fade away."

Now I know that Annie will reprimand me for taking her out of context here. She has said many a time that she enjoys her time with both me and the girls. But deep inside me, I knew she meant it in an utterly lonely way. She wanted to be alone. She wanted respite from the thoughts hammering away at her. And I just felt like a failure. I felt like she didn't love me enough to want to stay. But that's not true. It has nothing to do with me. Annie's 'rexia has the upper hand.

I have told Annie many a time, I would give my life for her (and the girls). If there was a way I could take away all that pain, I would. But reality bites hard on this one, and there is nothing I can do to take away that pain. All I can do, is once again, the best I can, which is to listen, encourage, and love the only woman that has ever had my heart.

But by God it's hard. It's like trying to mould dry sand. It just seems to slip through your fingers. Every so often, you feel like you're getting somewhere, and then, Wham! Along comes the ex, the mother, or someone else, and stamps on all your work. Sometimes I'll drop it myself. Poor me? Nope. Try again. How about poor Annie who has climbed a mountain and slipped, suddenly finding herself hanging on by a fingertip over a deep crevasse. Bah. I'm metaphorising (new word btw) too much here.

Tonight has been rough for me. Annie thinks that it might have something to do with this blog, but it doesn't. I'm mortally afraid of this blog becoming an epitaph. I don't know what I'd do if I lost her.

My last word here is one of my favourite pictures. I took it on a tripod with a timer then washed the colours out in Photoshop. It's called "Comfort".

From Family Pics

I love you Annie.


Mars said...

it's a beautiful moment. it reminds me of edvard munch's "the kiss". i love expressionist art and photography.

Linda and her Twaddle said...

I can understand that you would be concerned that this blog may become an epitaph. It would be natural when you live with Annie to be exposed to the worst on a daily basis and your worry is greater. On that website there must be some success stories. Hopefully that by Annie writing things down and turning the emotions into an objective form will help separate the cause and effect.

Miss Scarlett said...

You are a true testament to unconditional love, and "Annie" as Im sure she also knows, is very lucky to have a partner that is working so hard to understand, to help, and to love.

I cant imagine how hard it must be to see someone you love struggle though such powerful demons. You are a good man...

Bob J said...

Stay strong, the both of you, OK ?

Bob J.

Charles Parsnip said...

Mars: Thanks for the feedback on the pic. I do like it and got very lucky with the positioning of the tripod I think.

Linda: I know that this is good for her. Annie has spoken to me more openly this last week than for a long time. When she asked me if I felt better after writing things down, and I confessed that I did, I think I answered my own question.

Miss S: Thank you for your confidence in me. Supporting is tough, but it would be almost impossible if Annie didn't have the desire to beat this. In that respect, I believe she is stronger than I, and indeed, I am the lucky one. Maybe we're both lucky.

Bob: Thanks for taking the time to comment. Every single vote of confidence helps us get through each day.

Thank you. All of you.

Agnes Mildew said...

I'd just like to reiterate the thanks Ian has expressed to you all and Miss Scarlett, I do believe I am very fortunate to have a man like Ian who provides me with more love I have ever seen and received in the whole of my life.
Every day, even if we fight, I love him more and more. And if I didn't have him at my side, my fight would have ceased a long time ago.

Karen ^..^ said...

So beautiful. Your sentiments are so bittersweet. As we have all come to care so deeply for the love of your life as well.

Please forgive my "metaphorizing" for a moment. Brilliant word, by the way. I will notify Webster's in due haste.

Your beautiful Annie goes up in front of a monster every single day. She goes up, faces it, and attempts to slay this horrific beast before it overwhelms her. As the love of her life, her protecter and husband, you naturally want to assume control of the sword, and slay the beast for her. It is a natural instinct, and an admirable one. It goes against everything in you to relinquish control and allow her to wield her own sword against this dreaded affliction. It is no longer about eating or not eating. It is about surviving each horrific confrontation with this monster. I cannot even imagine the stress and terror and grief you go through on a daily basis. But it is her fight. No one else's, as much as we want to take on a peice of this monster.

I saw your photos, they are so beautiful. You have enormous talent, and like really attracts like. Annie is immensely talented, and so are you.

Take care, Ian, and may you have peace too. I'm proud to know the two of you. Annie couldn't be in better, more loving arms. That photo was beautiful. It nearly brought tears to my eyes. You are a wonderful photographer.

may_be said...

what an absolutely beautiful photo Ian.

i understand that fear, and i hope that through this, and through the way you share the experiences you will both overcome and become more than this.