Monday, 27 October 2008

Part #23

Well, I haven't posted for a wee while as I've wanted the light relief writing of HexMyEx. But thank you to Bob and Cassie for your comments of concern. All is relatively OK here, but thank you very much - your messages really made me feel good.

Last Thursday, Melissa S and I decided to have an 'International No-Scales Day' (she lives in the States, and I live in the UK, so if that isn't International, I don't know what is!). To be perfectly frank, the scales don't control my life like they used to, since Ian got rid of the last set. They are hidden under our bed and it really is a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'. So, it wasn't as tough for me as it may have been for her, and although she struggled, she got through it and I am really chuffed for us both but especially her.

I have also been attempting to eat more and more. And a lot of it has stayed down and in. The laxatives are still playing a major part in my life, but again, I am attempting to cut down on a gradual basis.

I saw my counsellor on Friday and had a very good session with her. We talked very deeply about things, I felt. She described me, from what she had heard and read so far on this blog, as behaving like an apologetic little girl - constantly wanting to please; terrified of offending; punishing myself in my head, with my mother's intonation when I was being 'silly'; and trying to perfect myself. Listening to her slant, and understanding her rationale of it all, I was able to see that the way I speak to myself is very, very harsh: I never stop telling myself I am 'stupid', 'pathetic', 'childish', 'rubbish', 'a whingeing faggot' ('faggot' doesn't mean the same in the UK as it does in the States, by the way!); 'a waste of space'...the list goes ever on...

I divulged a few things to my counsellor about my Mother's control of me last Friday. These things are still exceptionally painful to me and it never ceases to amaze me that a parent could do this to their adult child, with full compos mentis.

Last May, I was working as an account director for a website design company. My job involved 'schmoozing' with potential clients; drumming up business at British Businessmen's Meetings (even though I am a woman!); quoting for work; running the e-marketing side of the business and making the coffee! (I was the only female in the company and it sort of always fell to me...). At the time, I was recovering from my last 'episode'. I was eating healthily, keeping it all in, not taking any laxatives, not touching alcohol, socialising and also working very long hours to get stuck in and leave a good impression. I was also fighting my ex, tooth and nail through the courts to get access to my children, which he had denied me after I fell to pieces when Ian and I split up in November 2006. I was a very driven woman, with high ambitions, going out on dates 3-4 times each week, looking healthy, slim and smart.

One day, out of the blue, my mother called me at work. My initial thought was one of panic, as neither of my parents ever disturbed me at work unless it was important. So when she asked me if, when I got home that night, I would call her and help her to write a medical letter, I was relieved and more than happy to assist. She had, four months ago, been taken into hospital with pericarditis, and I knew it was still troubling her, so my first assumption was that she was demanding better care and medication.

When I returned home, quite late, I called her and asked her to read the letter to me.

She started off:

Dear Dr R****.

I am writing to inform you that I am greatly concerned about my daughter, Alison, who, as you know, has suffered with an eating disorder and depression for many years. She is still struggling greatly and I feel, it is now time, for her to receive inpatient care and I am wondering how you would feel about sectioning her for some time...

At this point, I stopped her. I was utterly speechless that she could do this to me when I had put on weight, I was eating, I was very, very happy (apart from the legal wranglings), doing exceptionally well, career-wise, and earning a hell of a lot more than her darling son who had two Bachelor's Degrees and a Master's under his belt and was little more than an Office Junior, according to her. So what was her problem? Why, at this juncture in my life, did she decide she had to step in and cause trouble? I have my own suspicions and I am fairly sure that she could see me slipping away from her dictat and was attempting to reel me back in.

It didn't work. In November 2007, when Ian and I reunited and I informed her that I was engaged to be married (we weren't on best of terms at the time, anyway, as I had just started a new job, and again, was doing rather well so she had decided to give me grief at every turn) she slammed the phone down on me and has only spoken to me twice since; both times, I have had to call her about the way she has been manipulating my daughters.

Five weeks ago, she telephoned my GP. He was unable to take her call at the time but told me the next day when I attended a medical appointment that he found it odd for a Mother not to know her daughter's new married name. I begged him not to return her call and he readily acquiesced, advising me that there would be nothing he could or would divulge to her, being bound by the Hippocratic Oath. She is aware that I am struggling with anorexia at the moment. She knows nothing else about my life, though and that's the way I intend to keep it.

Today, I have undergone an operation and am a bit groggy from the GA - most of this post was written yesterday, actually. Beth and Ian accompanied me to the hospital - two of the three people I love most in this world. I was 'nil by mouth' from midnight. And for the first time, this morning, I utterly craved a slice of toast! How ironic is that?

I'm in a heck of a lot of pain to be honest - but writing is a distraction from it. And I'm not looking forward to going to the toilet tomorrow! I'm on 'legal' laxatives - prescribed by the surgeon. I am apprehensive about it all - I have had this type of operation before and was in agony for about three weeks. However, I did succumb to a bacterial infection that time, which exacerbated the wounds 100-fold.

My oldest daughter isn't talking to me at the moment as we had a furious row yesterday. She went to stay with her father to calm down and hasn't made contact at all. This hurts, too. I am too weary to fight with her tonight if she is still angry. I shall call her tomorrow and see how she is, but for today, it's just time for quiet, I guess.

I feel as though there is a small shift in things. Despite feeling like crap, and having worried myself sick about this op, I have achieved a good number of defeats of that gremlin over the last week. Certainly, I have won more times than he has. And although I'll still be taking the laxatives, there will be no other form of purging going on. So things are looking up. Two steps forward, one step back is far superior to two steps forward, three steps back...


MelissaS said...

Annie, its great to have you back. i hope you heal as quickly as is humanly (okay, super-humanly) possible. i usually don't like to diss people's parents, but your mother is - well, UNBELIEVABLE. i don't know you got to be the wonderful, loving person you are. for that alone, you should be patting yourself on the back every two or three seconds. Still, there is nothing, nothing worse than not having gotten and not getting appropriate Mother Love. it seems almost unnatural. We get extra credit for somehow learning to take complete care of ourselves at very young ages. more pats on the back, sister. thanks for the support. i haven't been on the scale since last thursday! flew by it today with both hands covering my eyes. BE WELL

Karen ^..^ said...

Oh, that is so wonderful!!! I am so happy to read that in spite of the pain you must be in at the moment, you are feeling so mentally healthy. And yes, I'm so glad that you have seen your therapist again, and it was a good session.

I'm so proud of you, and even though you struggle on a daily basis, your fortitude shines through so brightly. You really can accomplish anything you set your mind to, as for your mother, she is a nasty, jealous shitbag who doesnt deserve a wonderful daughter like you.

She is so obviously jealous. Of what, you may wonder? Of your light. She wants to steal it for herself. She wants the sort of free spirited beauty she sees in you, and wants to deprive you of it by trying to bring you down. She'll never succeed in this if you refuse to have anything to do with her. She is an extremely sick woman.

As for your oldest, she'll come around. It is a difficult age. It really is. She's had a lot to deal with too, and needs to find her way, too. And the ex doesn't help matters by lying to them. Very confusing for a young teen.

I'm so proud of you and Melissa for your victory over international No-scales day! Each of these steps are amazing victories, and should be celebrated accordingly. I'm so proud of you. I hope you feel much better, very soon.

Love to you all.

may_be said...

Annie! Lovely to see you back around. I was thinking of you and hoping you and Ian and co were doing ok.

Hope you feel better soon. Post-op groggy is never good, particularly if you know the way the experience is going to unfold for the next couple of weeks. You'll get there :)

I can't believe the stories of your mother ! How someone can treat someone of their own flesh like that.

I'm glad the counsellor is helping you through things - sometimes it is good to have the 'outside' perspective that can make you realise things you are too close to to see.

Take care, thinking of you.

Annie T AKA Agnes Mildew said...

Melissa: Thanks for your kind words. And congratulations for not having scale-hopped since last Thursday. You really do deserve a round of applause - well done! I am very proud of you!

Karen: Thanks for your comment and your love. Jealousy has always featured very heavily in my mother's life. She has resented anybody's good fortune, no matter who they are. I have never come across such a bitter woman to be honest with you.

Today is a bit of a painful day (!) and sitting down for too long is becoming a nightmare! But it is far from as bad as the first time I had this done, so things are looking up. I reckon I shall be dancing around the kitchen again by the weekend...

May: Thanks for your visit. I've been thinking of you, too, and wondering how your Boyfriend is getting on. My counsellor does seem to be helping me. I do have to think hard about responses and reactions at the moment as it is very early days and I don't always employ tactics immediately. But I hope to improve over time. Little steps, get rid of the clutter and fill those spaces with good stuff to keep hold of. It'll happen, given time and patience!

Mars said...

hope you get better soon :)

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

I think you're doing grand Annie, especially considering all the crap that keeps raining down. Keep on fighting.


Bob J said...

Dear Annie,

"... I was able to see that the way I speak to myself is very, very harsh: I never stop telling myself I am 'stupid', 'pathetic', 'childish', 'rubbish', 'a whingeing faggot' 'a waste of space'...the list goes ever on..."

I know. And you really have to wonder what it is with that, because you are obviously none of the above, and on an objective level I suspect you know that. And at the same time...well...I know how hard it must be to keep those sorts of condemnations at bay.

Sometimes I think it has to do with the fact that when things are not going as well as we wish they might be, or when others do things to try and shame's really hard to believe that the cause could be anything other than a result of our own inner failings or "badness." When in truth there are plenty of logical reasons behind why we feel so awful. Reasons that don't really stem from "our many flaws and weaknesses." And yet look how quickly we are to turn the condemnation back on ourselves.

I hate to say it, but it seems to be kind of an "ED thing" and one of the very most pernicious aspects, I think. It can be really hard to turn our anger tward the real reasons, you know ? Reasons that often have little to do with any sort of authentic inner badness.

Hope your recovery from the operation goes well, and that you don't find yourself suffering as much as the last time.

Maybe I am missreading the tone of your post, but for some reason you sound less willing to put up with Mr EDs bullshit ??

Keep the faith, OK ?

:- )


Annie T AKA Agnes Mildew said...

Mars: Thank you

Ian: Thank you, too! x

Bob: Yes, on an objective level, these condemnatory remarks are not warranted. It's just that voice of argument in my head. It's not a reasonable voice in the slightest. The voice is the most insidious aspect of an ED. If it shouts loud enough, nothing of any logic can seem to drown it out. I do feel as though I am shouting slightly louder than it at the moment, though, which I am glad about.

And yes, you are right in the way you gauged the tone of this last post. I AM getting fed up of the 'voice'!

Certainly don't feel as bad with this op as I did last time - which gave me the most inordinate amount of relief. I was utterly dreading going down, but I have been 'pleasantly' surprised!

thewishfulwriter said...

I too am glad you are back and writing - for both sites ;) Nothing wrong with relief writing! Hope you are healing from your surgery and from your row with your eldest daughter.

craving a slice of toast is huge - as is ignoring the scales. Progress is progress, no matter how small it may seem to others.

Take care of yourself :)

Linda and her Twaddle said...

I am guessing you have recovered from your invasive, poking around operation by now but hope you are taking it easy still.

Sad with you mother. That the only way she can communicate with you is via trouble and drama is to be pitied. Irrespective of her poor parenting of yourself and your brother, it makes me wonder what on earth went on in her childhood. And that she never once had the thought to step back and be objective about her role in your personal problems is odd. Some people never can look within. To them, it is only about how they feel and never about how they are making others feel.

Glad you are having a lull in the ED department. Must be a relief for you.