Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Part #21a

I was going to remove the blog today and go private, but that is giving in. So I'm not. For those of you to whom I sent an invite to the new one, ignore it. It was an impetuous whim borne from anger and insecurity. Anorexia feeds from that and why should she get bloated when I don't?


Why does it have to affect everyone you touch? Why is it The Midas Touch in reverse? Everything you are offered, you refuse...everything which is good for you you turn down, turn your nose up at, abuse, neglect and reject. And I don't just mean food; I also mean support and affection...and even love.

This gremlin squats in my head, living rent-free. It has never paid me anything. A parasite of vast proportions, sapping every bit of my life-blood. Even when I have sat on it and smothered its voice for lengths of time, it can suddenly find some breathing space and yell at the top of its voice. And because it is such a shock, I hear it. And worse still, I listen to it.

I never thought I would say I would opt for deafness if I was to lose a sense. I would have said my sense of smell if forced...but I really want deafness from this Voice in My Head. 

The gremlin sounds like my mother, father, brother, and a fair number of ex-partners. Never-ending criticism: moan, moan, moan. Not good enough, got to do better, try harder, not as good as x, y, z. But it's me now, isn't it? They aren't in my life any more - I have had the guts to cut those negative people out, once and for all. Their voices still echo resoundingly, but now in my voice.

Why do we abhor the most basic of requirements? Why don't we think we are worthy of comfort, nutrition and love? Why do we find ourselves so grotesque that we punish ourselves repeatedly?

I don't have this answer. Because if I did, I wouldn't be writing this. I'd be making a fantastic meal for me and my husband, ready for his return.

Numbers don't matter that much to me if I am being '90%' honest. Weight, height, BMI etc. Age is a number, too. What matters is the effect it has on you and yours. Especially 'yours'. They didn't ask for this to happen to them. They cannot change you - only you can. And sometimes it seems such a hard, tough road with many, many battles to conquer. 

I keep telling myself it will be worth it in the end as I have known happiness. I really, really have. And I want to go back to that place. It just seems to be located from a long-haul flight with an awful lot of interconnections which I have to negotiate. And it feels like I have to do it on my own, with a massive amount of excess baggage.


Karen ^..^ said...

"Why does it have to affect everyone you touch? Why is it The Midas Touch in reverse?"

Because, Dear heart, as I said before, the anorexia does not define you as a person. You are a wonderful, lovable, beautiful person with a beautiful soul, and a beautiful heart. You go up against a horrific monster day after day, and sometimes lose the battle. Those that are in your life adore you, so naturally when we see you in such agony, we feel hurt. We feel your pain, or at least a part of it. It affects your loved ones, due to the helplessness your loved ones feel knowing we can't really do anything to take your pain away. Only you can do that. It takes enormous patience, and enormous courage. There are going to be times along the way when you feel like you have neither. but then a few times later, you will. Patience is the order of the day. Yes, you do have to do this on your own. But never ever think you are ever alone. All of your loved ones are waiting for you to come back from battle intact, perhaps with a few scars, but intact, whole, and healthy.

Love you, kiddo. Hang in there. We are all pulling for you, and we know you can do it.

MelissaS said...

okay, this is going to sound really weird or perhaps like kindergarten, but here goes: what if you love your gremlin -- he's got his own purpose, i believe. perhaps he grew up protecting you from your family. what if you talk nicely to him and tell him whatever you want -- particularly that you don't need him anymore. you're both safe.

i think all this horrid stuff comes up when we are safe. when you're in the battle zone, you hang on tight and manage to function. now that you have your own loving family and
great therapist, the "stuff" comes out.

you are so open and courageous. think about what you want for yourself, continuously. over and over. visualize.

Karen ^..^ said...

Oh, and I am very glad that you didn't take this blog down. I think it is very good for you, and also to read Ian's posts, too. I think sometimes when you live with someone, and love them, there is a lack of objectivity. A lack of perception. so reading what he has to say might give you greater insight to how he truly feels. This is good.

Also, others may benefit from a carer's point of view.

Rock on, Annie!

Cunning_Linguist said...

1) I got no such invite. I am personally devastated now that you have let the cat out of the bag. :P

2) We all have our little demon shoulder squatter. The gremlin, if you will. How odd that it turns from voices of others to our own. I don't know why or how that happens, but it does. I've learned to pull a Costanza on him though. Anything he says to do, I do the opposite. Well, except for when it comes to blogging about my war with Oprah and Rosie. I'm only human after all. :)

i*maginate said...

Hiya again - donno if anyone has commented b4 that you should write a book...your writing style is totally amazing - and the way you express yourself. I am sure you would inspire others with your bravery and courage, as I have been. You obviously don't know me and I don't know you but I understand what you're going through and just reading your posts is an inspiration! I hope you'll take in that praise because I mean it wholeheartedly :)

Take care, c ya next time

i*maginate said...

By the way, why don't you kind of step outside of your head for a second and see what it's like...

Have you heard of that technique where u put a rubber band around ur wrist and snap it every time a bad thought comes into your head?

I haven't done that b4 (can't be bothered lol) but there's a book I recommended to u before called "Women Who Think Too Much" and you'll be amazed how many examples you could identify with!

Every time I read your blog I am just so touched by your openess. I guess writing stuff down helps? :)

Mars said...

i was wondering about the invite. that lil gremlin needs a spank on its bottom and then thrown into the nearest vortex.

i have a lil gremlin too. it's called my stomach. it won't allow me to get to my healthy size. everything its upset, it devours everything and i end up looking like i'm bursting with triplets.

hang in there. if you want to marginalize it, imagine the walt disney gremlins.

MelissaS said...

note that others think you should write a book. hate to press the point, but we need you!

may_be said...

It is an increadibly tough journey back from anywhere dark in your head, and that gremlin is deep in there. that doesn't mean you can't do it. and it doesn't mean that you aren't going to have to lug a pile of excess baggage a long way - but here's the best bit - its hte kind of luggage you WANT to lose. Think about every milestone as another piece of unwanted baggage left behind.

The thing is, I haven't had an ED, but I have come a long way back from the darkness in my head. And I've learnt that you have to do it yourself. I sat alone cursing the voices in my head, and the nightmares and asking 'why me?' over and over. And nothing changed until I said 'not me'. Until I stood up to the images and memories in my head and refused to let them define me. I divorced my gremlin so to speak. And typing that makes it sound like it was easy and straightforward and I never fell back... which is entirely untrue - I still have dark days. But YOU have to claim responisbilty for the space in your head. You don't let rubbish build up in your kitchen, you don't leave clothes mouldering for months on your bathroom floor (well some of my flatmates do... haha), so why let rubbish build in your head?

This isn't a criticsm per se of what you are typing, and it isn't an attempt to deny what you've been through. Far from it. I'm in awe of the compassionate, kind person you are DESPITE all that stuff that has happened. It is more a questioning, of whether you can move from identifying the things that are bringing you back to that dark place (and god what a display of strength to be able to do even that!), and start challenging them on your own terms.

That gremlin is living rent-free. Time to tell him to get out.

With love.

Annie T said...

Wow! A lot of comments to respond to today. Good job I did my cleaning yesterday! Right. Here goes...

Karen: Well, not a lot to say in response to that but thank you x

Melissa: Yes. There is often that thought isn't there? So many people, myself included, have referred to an ED as their 'friend'. I know it's not, and for some very odd reason, I feel it more so today than I have for a long time. I feel more upbeat today and positive. Meals are staying in, positivity is in my head...long may it last, eh?

Karen: Yes, I hope Ian continues to post, too. There has to be transparency on both sides for everyone to benefit.

Cunning: What can I say? I could grovel, I could beg forgiveness, but I shall tell the truth and say I forgot!
And you need to continue to blog about Oprah and Rosie. Then one day us poor saps in the UK won't be subjected to their tripe, either!

I'maginate: I'm really touched by what you have said - thank you. A couple of other people have suggested it to me, Ian and Melissa included. Having been a writer in a former life, maybe it's time to blow the cobwebs from the jotters, eh? Thanks for your vote of confidence!

Mars: Bizarrely, I imagine the gremlin like the Cornish Pixies from Harry Potter. Nasty, wriggling, writhing, little blue things which jabber away incessantly and cause havoc. He's quite quiet today, though and I am attempting to silence him further and further.

May: Yes, it is time to take charge and bit by bit, this IS happening. I cannot guarantee that there won't be dark days ahead - nobody can - but for some reason, today, I feel a bit stronger and more capable. And I HAVE told myself today, NO MORE! I truly have. I have lain in bed mulling things over, listened to my body rather than my head and started to come to some tentative compromise. So, small steps to recovery and each 'win', I shall cheer over and move on from 'failures'.

Keli said...

You are on the right track. Be persistent with your gremlin. It's wicked voice has been living in your head a very long time. It's going to take its sweet time in leaving. You can overcome it. I know. I had a terrible gremlin in my head for years. It caused me great pain, interrupted my life and I passed my wretchedness to those who loved me. But I hear the gremlin seldom these days. I'm not sure when it faded, but it did. Though it didn't cause an ED in my life. it did other, painful maladies.
You took an important step in cutting the negative people out. I did too and it felt grand! You will find your happiness again.

Linda and her Twaddle said...

You have been too polite to Mr Gremlin. So now, you must look at Mr Gremlin, tell him you have heard his story a bit much now and would like him to be quiet now. He has had his 15 minutes (or years) of fame and now it is Annie's turn. Her voice is the only one that matters. She has so much more to say.

Annie T AKA Agnes Mildew said...

Linda: As it stands, for the last 24 hours, I have been arguing my head off with that little sod. And I actually think I have the upper hand at the moment. More because of my state of mind than what I am doing. Because there hasn't (yet) been any laxative intake; there's been no bingeing; there's been a wee bit of healthy food partaken of; and I am LAUGHING AND JOKING! And that destroys the little bugger. I have wound Ian up non-stop today. That is the way we interact amiably. We spar and parry. And it appears to work, normally. And that is how I want it to be. A meeting of minds, an improvement, a look to the future. And I am doing so. Things went badly wrong on Sunday night, but an epiphany can take place, can't it? And I am trying my damnedest since. And I WILL shake that gremlin off. The scales scared me today in some ways and my immediate thoughts made me take a step back and look at things objectively. What do I want? What do I need? What do we need? The answer was there...happiness, contentment and peace. And that will happen once that gremlin has gone.

Karen ^..^ said...

Yay, for Annie!!! Every day you banish that evil little gremlin makes you stronger! I am so glad, and so proud of you. I had no doubt you could do it. I'm so proud of you, and so happy for you.

I hope you know how much.


Cunning_Linguist said...

Lie to me and grovel and beg. I like it more that way ;)

Of course I'll keep fighting Oprah and Rosie. Remember, I take them all on in the blogs so you folks don't have to.

Good on you for finding the answer.

Lexy. said...

You will always hurt everyone around you more than you hurt yourself. Particularly considering the lengths you have to go to hurt yourself anymore. You have to keep upping the ante to hurt yourself, where the same things you started with are hurting everyone around you just as much as they always did.

Not to antagonize you, but an eating disorder is selfish. You know that. Each day you choose your pain above that of those around you.

The question isn't when it's going to be too much for you, it's when it's going to be too much for them.

Love can't be one sided. You can't love someone who's trying just has hard to prove how much they hate themselves.

Who's going to choose the breaking point? You or them?

Annie T said...

Karen: Thanks - things continue to improve in small ways.

Cunning: I shall work on my grovelling technique. The floor's a bit too cold for prostration at the moment.

Lexy: I disagree that an ED is both selfish and a daily choice. Yes, it hurts others - just as any physical or mental illness hurts those who love you. The causes of EDs and those with a pre-disposition to them are still unknown, but research is being carried out into both the possibilities of over-active dopamine receptors in the basal ganglia region of the brain as well as genetic 'kinks' there from conception. They are surely uncontrollable?
Did you actually 'choose' to become anorexic? Did you wake up one morning and say, hey, I'm going to be anorexic, I feel like doing that from now on? I doubt it. Nor did I. Nor do 1000s of other men and women.
Where 'breaking points' are concerned, if your own child developed an ED would you turn your back on him/her? Where would your breaking point come? A breaking point is just another area of conditional love.
As for upping the ante, no, I am lowering mine as much as possible. I'm not actively seeking out greater ways to hurt me and mine. Quite the opposite.
But, all of us have very different life experiences and what applies to one person, doesn't apply to another and therefore, it can be unfair to make generalisations on each other.

Annie T AKA Agnes Mildew said...

Keli: I appear to have oddly missed moderating your comment and thus responding to it, for which I apologise.

I recall your own writings on your gremlins and how you dealt with them. It is a technique I thought very productive. Good news is that I really do seem to be shouting this voice down at the moment. I think I'm on the winning side in small but significant ways just now. And the more that continues, the bigger the ways will become.

Ian T - Parsnip no longer... said...

It's not antagonistic to say what you said lexy, it's just not true.

This may be a matter of perception though. Annie is hurting herself more than others. Sure, I am feeling pain, but I am not killing myself over it. That may be over-simplifying things somewhat, but there are many many things going on in our lives that would indicate that I am hurting "less". I am not sure how you're defining selfishness in your comment, but what Annie is doing is not selfish in my mind.

And what Annie says about it being "too much" is true. Imagine it was any member of your close family. Would you turn away? Maybe you would, maybe you wouldn't, but I know what I would do and I don't think other peoples' feelings can be generalised in this way. One thing I have learned in living with someone with an ED, is that you can never assume to know what is going on in their minds. Sometimes it's hard for even them to explain.

As to your fourth paragraph, I disagree again. And I really think this boils down to a definition of love. For me, Annie has given me the ability to see the world in colour, where before I saw it in shades of grey. And this has nothing to do with her eating disorder. It's just her. And I love her. That love will never change, no matter what happens in the future. if she ever tells me that she is in love with someone else, I will still love her. I can't help those feelings inside me. And it hurts - by God it hurts to watch her go through this, but I don't love her any less. In fact, I love her more for fighting it the way she is.

And I do have breaking points. We all do. But that does not mean that we love them any less. Take the young teenage child that destroys the house having a party while you're away for the weekend. Are you angry? Probably very angry. Do you call the police to have them arrested? Maybe. Do you stop loving them? Unlikely.

But I cannot speak for others here (or anywhere) for that matter. I disagree with your comments, and that is my personal opinion.

Who chooses the breaking point? I'd say it would be the person that breaks. And that definitely has two points of perception.

Lexy. said...

If your child were a drug addict, how long would you support them? I have no doubt you'd do your best, you'd do everything and more in your power to help them but eventually there'd be a breaking point. Eventually there's a point where helping them, means not bailing them out. Means not supporting them.

It has nothing to do with the amount you do or do not love them, but when each and every day they choose drugs despite your best efforts to help them get off them... what do you do? Despite the fact that you know it's an addiction, that you know and have seen what it's like to physically go through withdrawal, does it not still hurt you that they're using?
Is there not still a part of you, whether you admit it or not, that is angry?

I don't mean to call your love or devotion to each other, or your children, into question but there's a difference between loving a person and loving an addiction. Would things be the same between you if the other were a junkie?

I think an ED is an addiction, rather than an illness. I think that the initial 'attraction', whether to an ED, or Drugs, or Depression, is the illness.

As far as upping the ante, I didn't mean to imply it was intentional, or even still continuing. It was just a way to explain that one day it was enough for you to skip a meal, then it wasn't. You started purging, or using laxatives, or whatever your progression of symptoms was.

Karen ^..^ said...

I really and truly do not see where Ian is "enabling" Annie to "continue" her ED. I do not see him supporting the ED, only Annie. You can have love and support for a drug addict without enabling them. You can have love and support for a cancer patient without enabling the cancer. Why are you so bent on being so objectionable toward Annie?

I think it is absolutely wonderful that you have won your battle with your ED, but the war may never be won. Annie has beaten her ED several times, if you remember, but due to not having the core problem dealt with, it resurfaced again. This may be the most horrific battle yet, that enables her to win HER war. Please keep in mind that everyone is different, everyone is unique. What worked for you might serve to damage Annie further, and vice versa. You have no reason to criticize her methods, nor her very openness on this blog. Annie's bravery in opening herself up to such ongoing criticism has been monumental. And you have gotten more and more irrational in your attacks. I am sorry, but I see what you are doing as an attack, and I wonder why? Tough love is one thing, but what truly do you have invested to be defined as "tough love"? As a former (and I suspect, current)sufferer yourself, did you not want to have occasional validation and support of those around you? Just because you no longer suffer from an ED doesn't mean you are cured. A sufferer still suffers from multiple behavioral disorders, one replaced by another. It may not be an ED right now, but it is something. It is still there.

I am not attacking you, but you might want to review your motivations for why you come off so attackful.

Ian T - Parsnip no longer... said...

Lexy: All I know is that I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and say that I did my best. That may be totally different to what you define that as, as well as many other commenters on this blog.

I think it was when you said "you can't love someone if..." that I took the most exception to. I try, in all my writing to talk about my experiences, and not to tell other people what to do, or feel, or how to react. That's because I know that each persons illness/ED/whatever is very much personal to them. A broken leg is a broken leg. The effects of that are simple to see, however the psychological effect of it can be completely different in different people.

In the paper today, I read a very sad article about a soon-to-be-professional rugby player who had an accident and was paralysed from the neck down. Rugby was his life, and as far as he was concerned that life was over. Other paraplegics said that it was "just depression" and he would have recovered, but his mother said differently. She took him to a Euthanasia clinic (outside of the UK) and assisted with his suicide.

The author of the article went on to say how sad the whole story was, and how it was unfair that his parents should return to the UK to face possible prosecution and up to 14 years in jail.

I am sure that a hundred people reading that story would have a hundred opinions on what was right, what was wrong, and what should happen now. The result though is that that lad, and his family went through hell, and (I would hope) did the best they could at the time. Who are we to criticise? We who really know nothing about what the family was going through? We who know only what we've read in that short article by a (biased?) reporter.

I do suffer pain. I do hurt. I reach my breaking points. I am not denying that. I wish to God I was stronger than I am sometimes, but I do the best I can.

Walking away (in whatever form), no matter how tough it gets, is not my answer. But that's not to say that it's the answer for others.

I just try to do my best.