Posts Tagged ‘control’

>Today has been difficult. Last night was difficult too actually. I have been feeling more and more strongly that I don’t want to be here. I feel completely alone – I know I have the support of people on here, but that is different to real life support, and actually what I feel like I need at the moment is professional support, and that is what I am not getting. Last night I was actually feeling really tempted to discharge myself from mental health services – sometimes it feels like an appointment for an hour once a fortnight is worse than nothing at all, because when it is helpful I still leave feeling hopeless, because I know it is 2 weeks before I will get that again, and then there isn’t time to talk about everything I feel I need to talk about – I found that even with weekly appointments, so fortnightly are even more difficult, and then even when I am really at crisis point I can’t get any more support, so it all seems kind of pointless. Fortnightly sessions feel a bit like ‘so here’s what you could have won!’ L has always been very supportive of me, and I know I have been lucky to have her, but I almost feel like she has given up on me or stopped caring or something. Either that or she thinks I am making up these feelings. I am not sure which is worse. But either way I don’t feel supported at the moment. So I did consider contacting her and asking to be discharged, but I decided against it. She would probably have suggested we discuss it when I am next due to see her, in a week and a half, and by that time goodness knows how I feel or what position I will be in. I could be dead, or I could have attempted suicide but failed, or I could be feeling differently about things. So I suppose essentially it seemed pointless to ask for discharge now, when I am not even due to see her for a week and a half. I am just really struggling with the lack of support when I am feeling so bad. I suppose I just feel abandoned, and like nobody actually gives a shit whether I kill myself or not, which in a way is a good thing, as it makes me feel less guilty.

This evening was really difficult. A friend of my dad had asked him to go to a quiz a couple of days ago, but they only needed one for their team, so my mum and I couldn’t go. My mum was going out with a friend, and asked if I wanted to go with them, but I didn’t. Anyway, my dad phoned me at 5:45 and said he had spoken to his friend and there was room for me at the quiz after all, as someone couldn’t make it, and that we would need to leave at 6:45. I wasn’t actually sure if I wanted to go by that point, as I was anticipating a night here on my own, but I also knew that with how I was feeling that probably wasn’t the most sensible option, so I agreed to go. The trouble is, it wasn’t giving me nearly long enough to get ready – it was about 6 when I started to get ready, and I had a quick shower but didn’t have time to wash my hair, so just straightened it instead. That didn’t take too long. Getting dressed is another matter however. I find it incredibly hard to know what to wear if I am going anywhere other than an appointment or rehearsal, in which case I either don’t give a shit what I look like, or wear dance type clothes. When I am going anywhere else getting dressed is an incredibly stressful and time consuming process. I put on a skirt, top, and cardigan, then decided the tights were no good, then decided it wasn’t the tights that were the problem – it was my huge legs. So off came the skirt and cardigan, and on went skinny jeans and boots and a long cardigan. I decided my legs still looked hideous, and was getting really quite upset and crying by this point. Told my mum I wanted to stay home and that I couldn’t get ready. All along my mum had been trying to be helpful, but was actually making matters worse, by saying that I was being ridiculous and my legs looked fine, and that the jeans looked fine, and nobody else would look at me and think my legs looked awful, and that I was making my dad late (which I was), and I ended up yelling at her that I felt hideous and I didn’t give a shit what other people would think – I couldn’t go out feeling hideous. Was sobbing uncontrollably by this point. Took off the jeans and cardigan and tried on a different skirt, but still didn’t feel comfortable, and didn’t have a cardigan that would go with it so would have been cold. She kept on and on, and it felt like absolutely everything I said she was just dismissing and invalidating, which is an ongoing theme, and I totally snapped in the end and screamed that she was being really fucking invalidating, to which she replied that she didn’t even know what that meant in this context, and so I said that she was just dismissing and ignoring all of my feelings, and she said that was because they were stupid, and I said (when I say I said, I mean I screamed) that they were real to me, and that she was constantly invalidating my thoughts and feelings, and that actually that can be a major contributory factor to BPD. I wished immediately that I hadn’t said that, because I never want to make my parents feel bad, or like they are to blame for my problems – partly because I don’t think it is fair to blame someone else, and partly because I don’t want them to feel guilty, even when I do think they have contributed to how I am now. So I felt like a complete bitch, and was in a complete state, crying hysterically and hyperventilating. I said (cried) that I couldn’t go out and I needed to stay home, and had put my comfy jeans on by that point, not with the intention of going anywhere. My mum said I looked nice in my comfy jeans that I had on and that I should go like that. I just couldn’t stop crying. My dad came upstairs then and tried to calm me down a bit – he asked what the matter was and I said (cried) that I felt hideous in everything and I had made him late and I couldn’t go anywhere, and that it was my mum’s fault (unfair I know). He said we weren’t too late, and that I looked fine how I was, and I didn’t need to dress up or anything and that I needed to just calm down. I think my mum was also quite worked up by this time as she said what I needed was a slap, and at that point I completely lost my temper and screamed that I was going to kill her and my dad had to hold me back from going into her room after her. I don’t think that I ever would be really physically violent – I have been known to hit my dad when I have got really angry and worked up, but it is generally when he has intentionally wound me up, which he has a tendency to do it, but I don’t get any more violent than that – I have grabbed a knife and said I am going to stab him in the past, but I am certain I would never do anything like that – my anger just gets out of control occasionally and I say things that I don’t mean, like I did tonight. I then said that she was a fucking bitch and cried some more. After a minute my temper disappeared and I was just back to being upset. My dad said he really wanted me to go with him and I calmed down a bit, although I was still sobbing, and said goodbye to my mum, and we left. I then sat in the car crying and was talking to myself a bit, but my dad managed to get me to stop. I decided I needed a Diazepam a minute or two after we had left, and looked in my bag, to find that I had grabbed my Zopiclone instead of my Diazepam (and very nearly taken one – they are the same size tablets, and apart from the writing, the blister packs look identical) and so I then had a panic attack and said I had to get out of the car and I would walk home because I needed my Diazepam. A moment more of rooting in my bag produced some Diazepam though, and I took one, and after about 10 minutes had managed to calm down enough that I was just sobbing quietly, and a little while later I started to feel a bit better, and was relatively calm by the time we arrived.

The actual quiz was fine. I only knew my dad’s friend on our table, as did he, but the other people all seemed nice. I answered a reasonable number of questions, although not nearly as many as my dad – he is very good at quizzes. Food was an issue. There was a Ploughman’s included in the ticket price, so there were baguettes and cheeses on each table, and then the people on our table had brought lots and lots of crisps and nuts and things with them, and when there are things like that out I just can’t stop eating, so I ate all evening, and was feeling worse and worse about myself. Then finally there was this chocolate cake thing that someone had brought, and I had a piece of that, and it was incredibly rich (and something has to be really rich for me to say that as I have a very sweet tooth!) and I just couldn’t cope, and I ended up going to the toilets and purging. That is the first time I have purged for ages – it has been months since I last did it, but quizzes are a real trigger for me where that is concerned – there are always lots of nibbles around, and I have no self control where things like that are concerned and so just keep eating, and then feel terrible and go and purge as much as I can. It was also at a quiz that I first ever purged, so I guess they are one of the least safe places for me in that respect. I hate myself for the amount I ate, despite purging. And even though it is now 3:30am, and so it was hours ago, I still feel sick from it. I am feeling really shit about that – my weight had been slightly down this morning, and it made it that tiny bit easier to get through the day, and now it is going to be way up and I just can’t cope with something else going wrong. So it was a really bloody hard night. Although out of 15 teams we did win the quiz, and so my dad and I came home with a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates.

I am feeling really guilty about the things that I said to, and about, my mum. I feel like a terrible person. When I lose my temper I just seem to lose all control, and when I am very upset and then she says things that upset me more I just snap. My dad does it too, but kind of intentionally – he does wind me up on purpose sometimes. Strangely I don’t think he means to upset me – it is like he doesn’t realise that what he is doing or saying is really upsetting me or making me angry, despite the fact it happens on a semi-regular basis. I think he just genuinely doesn’t realise how his words affect people. I suppose it is just a complete lack of tact, and not thinking before he speaks, and an almost childlike sense of him thinking something is fun, even when the other person quite clearly isn’t enjoying it. And so I do get really furious with him. My mum is different. She means well, and she tries to help, but I really do find her very invalidating a lot of the time, and when I am already upset I just can’t cope with it. My mum and I bicker a lot, but it is very rare for me to lose my temper with her to the extent that I did tonight. In fact I am not sure that I ever have – I have always had the self control before not to point out that there may be a link between her behaviours and some of my problems, and I lost that tonight, and feel really guilty for doing so, as I know it will have upset her, and that is the last thing I want to do when she does so much for me, and tries so hard to support me. I think I am just feeling so awful at the moment that it really isn’t going to take much at all to flip me over the edge in the way that I did tonight. And the worse I feel the more I hate myself, and the more self critical I am, and the more irritable I am, and therefore the more frustrating I am to my parents, so it does tend to be that the lower my mood, the more we argue, which then makes me feel worse and more suicidal, and acts as proof to me that they would be better off without me. I am really not in a good place at the moment, and I don’t know what to do. Suicide looks more and more appealing every day.

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>Christmas and New Year

>Christmas Day was actually ok. It was pretty quiet, as it was just me and my parents for most of the day. It was actually nice to just be relaxed and for it to be quiet, rather than busy and noisy with lots of people – it felt easier to cope with. Food was difficult, but then I think that food will always be difficult for me, and particularly at the moment, when food plays such a central part in trying to control my mood. I didn’t eat an obscene amount I don’t think – it is just far more than I am used to eating, and when there is constantly food out then it can be difficult to deal with. Plus alcohol calories always bother me. But it was quiet and relaxed, although in retrospect I am not really sure what we did with ourselves. Then at about 6 one of my sister’s friends came over for the evening – he is single and had his children with him until 4, and then they had gone to their mums so he came to us, and we played Jenga and cards in the evening/night. I wasn’t excited or enthusiastic about it being Christmas, but I got through it, and it was fine and not too stressful.

Today was more difficult. Both of my brothers came over with their families, so there were 8 people in the house, plus me and my parents, so it was much busier and louder, and I just found it a bit much really. I went down for a while and then just found it all too much, so came upstairs for a while to spend some time on my own and then went down again. It wasn’t that they were doing anything wrong – I just wasn’t feeling very good, and I didn’t have the energy to put on my happy face or sit and make small talk. My parents are going to visit my brother tomorrow, but I have decided to stay here for a couple of reasons – firstly I don’t see a need to see them again when we saw them today, it seems pointless, but really I just can’t face another day with a lot of people – all of his wife’s family will be there tomorrow as well, and I just don’t want to have to see lots of people, and it is much harder to escape when you aren’t in your own home, so I will stay here with the dog.

I am feeling really quite awful. I wasn’t feeling great yesterday, but I put on a happy face, and because it was all pretty quiet and laid back I got through it alright. Today was a lot more difficult, but I was trying to hold up but it was like a big wave of desperation and hopelessness came and hit me this evening, after not feeling good all day. I don’t really know why – I just know I feel really awful and nearly burst into tears in front of my parents for absolutely no reason, which is so unlike me. I even said that I felt really crappy, which I very rarely do. I just didn’t want them to think I was just being grumpy or ungrateful or anything. I suppose that although I haven’t been consciously thinking about it, I am very stressed about New Year. I do not want to be alive by then, it feels like more than I can deal with, and I don’t see the point, and the speed with which it is approaching is really quite terrifying, particularly now that Christmas is over. Not having anyone I can contact to talk to doesn’t help, but then I don’t think talking would make any difference – I have felt for months like I didn’t want to live to see 2011, and I still feel like that – telling someone that I feel like that won’t change anything, so maybe it doesn’t matter anyway. I just feel really horrible.

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>From the time when my dad moved out when I was 12, things continued in the same way for quite a few years. He would come over some evenings. He would come on holiday with us, and stay for a while over Christmas. At some point he started spending the weekends here. Then there would be times when I wouldn’t see him for a couple of months because of my mum or I getting upset about it all and cutting contact with him. Neither he, nor my mother, were seeing anyone else. It was a fairly strange relationship, as it was so uneven. My mum desperately wanted him back, and so everything was on his terms. He came over when he wanted, but if he wanted to do something else instead then he would, and my mum would get upset, which would generally lead to a period of her not wanting to see him. If she didn’t want to see him then I generally didn’t see him either. I hated going to his flat – I only did it a handful of times over a period of about 6 years. I didn’t like seeing that he had his own life away from us, and I didn’t feel comfortable there. So generally either he came here, or I didn’t see him.

At 16 I finished school and went of to 6th Form College to do A levels. It was a relief to leave H and co. behind – I don’t think I have seen anyone from my year group since I left school over 8 years ago, apart from briefly bumping into a couple of people, including her. Maybe she is a nicer person now. I hope so. I did ok in my GCSEs, but didn’t get the results I should have got, because I did no revision. That is something of a pattern for me. I think my fear of failure is so intense that I take it the opposite way and work on the premise that if I haven’t tried then it doesn’t matter if I have failed or done badly, whereas if I worked really hard and still didn’t do as well as I should then I would have no excuse – I would just be a failure.

Anyway, 6th Form College was a much better experience than school in many ways. It was literally 10 times the size in terms of student population, and obviously they were all aged 16 – 19, rather than 4 – 16 like my school had been, so there were rather more people in a year group at college – about 50 times more…. C was going to the same 6th Form, and I also knew a couple of other people, through performing, who were going there, but that was it. Oh, and a guy from my school, but I rarely saw him. In theory everything should have improved for me in college. I had friends, and obviously I was studying the subjects I wanted to etc. And in some ways it was great. I had some really good teachers, one of whom I am still in contact with now – he came to see me in Carousel. The main problem with it was that I didn’t want to be there. In the summer between finishing school and starting 6th Form, I had done a 2 week Musical Theatre summer course at one of the drama schools in London, and absolutely loved it, and therefore resented going off to study academic subjects when I wanted to be doing performing. I wished I was doing a Musical Theatre BTEC rather than A levels, so that I could be doing what I wanted to do. In retrospect I am glad I did A levels, and I don’t think my parents would have let me not do them anyway, but it resulted in once again my attendance being pretty poor, because I couldn’t be bothered with it, and so that, combined with not doing any work that didn’t absolutely have to be done, and not doing any revision at all, meant that I finished my first year with pretty poor results. I didn’t dislike college – as I have said, I had friends there, I enjoyed some of my lessons. I was very fortunate in that the Head of Music/Performing Arts seemed to think the sun shone from my arse, and so I got quite a few opportunities in that area. I was in the college choir, and got all the solos – I sung the Once In Royal solo 3 years running at the carol service (yes, I stayed 3 years – more on that later), as well as various other solos. I was always asked to perform in all of the concerts, and to record songs for the music tech students etc. In my 3rd year they did Les Miserables, and I pretty much got to choose my role, although that was actually a new member of staff directing that who had never taught me. We had a couple of auditions, and then were waiting ages for them to decide casting, and one day I asked if they had cast it yet, because I said I wanted to include it in my UCAS personal statement, and wanted to be able to say what part I was playing (oh the arrogance!) and got the reply, ‘well we haven’t finished casting yet, but I am assuming you would like Eponine as you sung On My Own in your audition?’ I said I would please, and that was that settled. College gave me a confidence in my abilities that school never had – in college there were 2000 people, all of my age, and yet I was the one who got the solos and the leads, and who the staff knew, even if they didn’t teach me. At school there was a lot of nepotism going on with casting, and so I never got leads, despite being the only person who regularly performed out of school (and regularly was cast in leads there). So college was good for making me realise I must be better than school had lead me to believe. My first year of college was fairly uneventful. I went to lessons some of the time, stayed home some of the time, did some of the work, didn’t do some of the work. I was still doing dance and singing lessons outside of college, and some shows, although I had started doing less by that time.

I had just started my second year of college, and so was just 17 when the next thing happened in my home life. My mum picked me up from the bus one day and was very upset – she had received an anonymous text message saying that my dad had been seeing someone for a year and that she should divorce him. It turned out that it was true – we never did know for sure who sent it, although the assumption was that his girlfriend (another 25 year old who worked for him) had got the number off his phone and sent it, although she denied it. Whilst he wasn’t living at home, and it was now 5 years since he had moved out, he hadn’t seen anyone in that time to our knowledge, apart from the initial affair, and had generally spent quite a lot of time at our house and with us. Of course in retrospect we realised that for the last year he hadn’t been spending weekends with us like he had been before that, and that he had been coming over less often, but since everything always had been on his terms anyway, we hadn’t really questioned it before. I was very upset – not that he was seeing someone, but that he had been lying to us for over a year. It really hurt me a lot, and I think made me lose a lot of trust in not only him, but people generally. I still can’t comprehend how and why he would lie like that for so long – it wasn’t like he was living here – they were separated, and had been for quite a few years. My mum was absolutely devastated. As I said, she always wanted to be with him, and this news was just too much for her. She refused to tell anyone – she wouldn’t even tell her friends or my siblings initially. She kept saying how ashamed she felt and how stupid she was for not knowing, and how if people knew they would laugh at her and think she was stupid. I think that for her too it was more about the secrecy, and not knowing than it was him seeing someone else, although obviously that hurt her too. Yet again, he broke up with her once we had found out. So we were back to keeping secrets (although we had never actually stopped) but this time it was just the two of us, as there were no siblings or friends or counsellors involved this time. And it really was role reversal – she was so upset, and had absolutely nobody to talk to apart from me, and so I listened to it all. Obviously I was older by this point, but she was really leaning on me quite heavily, and I couldn’t rely on her at all emotionally. And I started to crumble. Not in front of her. I didn’t let her know how much I was struggling. But I was struggling more and more. My mood was low and I started purging frequently.

I had a really great teacher at college who I started talking to. She was really supportive, and for a while I talked to her every week. I suppose really she was the first person I ever talked to about anything emotional at all – I had just never talked about feelings before to anyone. She was really helpful – without her I don’t know if I would have gone on to get other help. She listened, and she got me information and a self help book for bulimia. She was also the one who encouraged me to go to my GP to get help (who gave me anti depressants and referred me to the CMHT), and also to see the college counsellor in the meantime. I was very attached to her. I think my issues with attachment can be attributed in some ways to my relationship with my parents, although as I said before, even when I was very young I was very possessive with friends, so perhaps it has always been in my nature. But it was after my dad left when I was 12 that I started getting really attached to people. Never men – it has always been women, who I suppose I see as maternal figures, who I have become attached to. I feel like it should be men, since it was my dad who left and wasn’t there for me, but I suppose emotionally I wasn’t getting what I needed from my mum, and therefore begun to look for it elsewhere. There have been a number of people I have grown very attached to – wanting to be around them all the time, and for them to care about me and look after me, and I suppose essentially to parent me. It is weird because my mum and I have always been very close, and yet I have always had these fantasies of whoever it is I am attached to at the time (only ever one at a time) taking me home to live with them. But I suppose it is due to my mum not being there for me emotionally when I needed her, because she was struggling so much herself. Maybe that is why even now I find it very difficult to talk to her about how I am feeling. I think I can also attribute my eating problems to my parents to some extent. My parents have very different relationships with food. My mum is tiny, but eats a lot of food, a lot of which is crap, and by rights should be enormous. She rarely weighs herself, and doesn’t understand why I don’t just eat what she does – she can’t seem to comprehend that her metabolism is not normal. My dad is much more careful about what he eats – he is a healthy weight, but he weighs himself daily, and hates it if his weight goes up, and will cut out unhealthier foods until it goes back to where he wants it to be. As a teenager he used to frequently comment on my weight, and suggest that I should try to lose weight, frequently citing my career choice as the reason why I needed to be smaller. He doesn’t do that any more, probably because I haven’t been as big as I was as a teenager, although even then we were still talking healthy BMI range, just nearer the higher end of it. But he does still ask me how my weight is, and will make comments about what I am eating sometimes. As a family they (we?) are very sizeist – I have grown up with negative comments about overweight people etc, so I think that, along with comments about my own weight, coupled with a desperate need to feel in control of something when my life felt so out of control, was really fairly likely to lead to an eating disorder.

Despite my mental health problems, my second year of college was better than my first year in many ways. I think primarily because I felt safe there – it filled the same space for as rehearsals had when I was younger and my dad first left – it was somewhere to escape to. I suppose in a large part because college contained the only person I really trusted to talk to – at this point I had been referred to the CMHT, and at some point during the year had an assessment there, and was then on the waiting list for the rest of that year. My attendance was better, and although I was having problems concentrating, I actually did better than I had in my first year, although still not nearly as well as I should have. And then my second year came to an end, I had A Levels, and I didn’t have a clue what to do next. I was terrified of leaving college, because that was where my only support was. I had no plans to go on to university or anything. And in the end I just couldn’t face leaving. So I stayed on an extra year. I retook the first year of English Lit, because I had got 2 grades higher for my second year than I got in my first year, and then I took both the first and second year of Sociology at the same time, so that I got an A level in a year. I also worked part time at the college, as a Learning Support Assistant. Just before my third year started, I started seeing a Clinical Psychologist at the CMHT, primarily for help with my eating disorder, although during the year my mood got worse and worse, until I attempted suicide at the end of the year. This academic year was 2004/2005, and so was 6 years after my dad had first moved out, in 1998, and 1 or 2 years after we found out he had been seeing someone again, in 2003. During this time he had started spending more and more time back at home – staying there more often, and by some point in 2005 he was more or less living back at home, although he still kept his flat, and spent occasional nights there. But he was back home. The perfect fairytale ending right? And they all lived happily ever after….

I do not by any means think that my problems now are caused by my parents splitting up. As I said before, I don’t think things were quite right when I was even younger than that. But I do think it probably exacerbated matters. I find it really difficult to admit that my parents splitting up could have even contributed slightly to me having mental health problems now. What is the statistic – half of all marriages end in divorce or something like that? And people go through much worse and don’t end up with a slew of psychiatric diagnoses, which makes me think that either I must be really pathetic, other people must be really strong, or my problems come from absolutely nowhere, and it is absolutely nothing to do with my parents. I flit from one view to another depending on my mood. But I can see that L had a point when she said how difficult it must have been having to keep it all a secret, and having to try and contain my emotions to avoid upsetting my mum. That was difficult, and probably isn’t a typical experience of parents’ splitting up, although of course I don’t know for sure. I almost feel guilty for having mental health problems when I have been through so little in comparison to other people. Ok, my parents split up, but so what? That is hardly uncommon. And apart from that I had a good childhood. I got to do whatever activities I wanted, I had a good education, I was loved and looked after. I certainly was never abused in any way, or neglected, or anything else terrible. Nothing bad happened to me. And yet here I am, at age 24, with 7 years in the mental health system, multiple suicide attempts, multiple admissions, numerous CPNs and Psychiatrists and other professionals, medications, etc etc. I feel ashamed of myself for being so weak. For having these problems, when others go through so much worse and yet cope so much better. I really do feel guilty when I think about it. I don’t understand why I am in the position I am in, when there has been nothing serious in my life to cause me to feel like this. I can see that my teenage years weren’t perfect, but they were not bad enough to lead to this. So what is wrong with me? I have absolutely no idea.

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>I am a) absolutely furious, and b) feeling really shit. Which isn’t a great combination really. The anger is because as I wrote about a couple of months ago (here) I had to start looking after my 5 year old nephew after he finished school on Thursdays, until my sister could get here to pick him up. Although it doesn’t sound like a big deal, I have found it incredibly stressful, and I have got into a complete state at times as I have been so panicked about it. There were also a couple of times when I was supposed to be seeing T, but wasn’t able to because I had to be at home to look after my nephew, and that obviously annoyed me because I don’t often see friends, and so when I can, and feel like it, I don’t want to not be able to because I have to look after my nephew. So every week I told my mum that I really didn’t want to do it, and how anxious it made me, and then in the end after having to tell T yet again that I wouldn’t be able to see him because of looking after my nephew, I said to my mum that was the last week I would do it, and they would have to make other arrangements for the next week. Naturally they didn’t, and I had to do it again, and was really angry that I had been completely ignored yet again, and said I really was not going to do it anymore. She asked if I could just keep doing it until half term (last week) as that would give my sister time to make other arrangements, so I agreed to that, but said I was absolutely not going to do it after that, and that if I was needed for the odd afternoon because someone was ill or something then that was one thing, but I did not want it as a weekly commitment. So as far as I was concerned my responsibilites with that had finished a couple of weeks ago. Then on Monday, my mum asked me what was going to happen about him this week. I said I was under the impression that she had told my sister I wouldn’t be looking after him anymore weeks and weeks ago when we discussed it, as the whole point was that she would have time until after half term to find another arrangement. Turned out she hadn’t actually mentioned it at all, as she said she knew my sister would say how selfish and mean I was and how I only thought about myself, and she would be able to see her point. I said I didn’t care, I wasn’t doing it, and she said she would call her. I then didn’t think anything more about it, until I heard hammering on the door this afternoon. Assumed it was a delivery or something, went downstairs, and there was my nephew. I was absolutely furious. I hate that my feelings are just completely ignored – I have said so many times that I just find it too stressful, and it makes me really upset and anxious, plus I don’t want to be tied down and not able to arrange other things if I want to, but it seems like that is completely unimportant. My sister is such a bully, and as long as everything suits her then she doesn’t actually give a shit about whether something suits other people, or how it makes them feel. And I am really angry with my mum for telling me weeks and weeks ago that I only had to do it until half term, and then doing absolutely nothing about it, and then telling me again on Monday that she would speak to my sister, and again doing nothing about it. And after he had left I said to my mum how annoyed I was, and that naturally I hadn’t been expecting him today, and once again got the ‘Well I really don’t see why it is such a big deal, I don’t know why you can’t just look after him, and there is nothing about it that should make you anxious’ speech that I get from her every time. I have tried to explain that I think it is actually irrelevant that she doesn’t think it should make me anxious, as it does, and it also makes me very upset, but she is more concerned about not rocking the boat where my sister is concerned than she is about my feelings. So I am feeling really pissed off and upset about the whole thing. I don’t care if I am selfish for not doing it – I just get too stressed by it, and I don’t see why I should have to put myself through that much anxiety, just because my sister can’t be bothered to find someone to look after her child.

I think the feeling shit is primarily just the natural progression of how I have been feeling this week. My mood just seems to be dropping further. I hate this so much. Knowing what is happening, and yet being powerless to stop it. The depression is certainly getting stronger yet again, as are the suicidal thoughts. And it is continually in my mind that if I am going to act on them, I have to do it in the next few weeks, or I can’t for 2 months, and that does scare me quite a lot. I am also having thoughts that I don’t like and feel quite ashamed of. They annoy me, because they just sound so typically borderline, and I don’t want to be that. When I have thoughts that are typical of depression or disordered eating for example, obviously I hate having them because they make me feel bad, but I don’t feel anything negative towards the actual thoughts, whereas I really do about thoughts that I perceive as borderline. They always make me feel ashamed of myself and embarrassed, and so I try to just pretend they aren’t there – I often don’t write about them because I just don’t want to be thinking them. At the moment I think I am just feeling a bit envious of a couple of my friends, and I hate myself for that because they aren’t well, but I just can’t help it. It is one in particular really, my friend A who took the paracetamol overdose the other day. It sounds awful already, saying I am jealous of someone who took an overdose. She also spent around 9 months in hospital fairly recently, from about this time last year, until this summer. Anyway, she is fine, she was on a drip for a while, but she is back home now. She has been saying for a couple of weeks that she is feeling really crap and having suicidal thoughts, and obviously I have tried to be supportive and talk to her etc. But what I am finding difficult is the amount of help she gets. We had very similar histories, and she used to be in a similar position to me, and see someone weekly and that was about it. Then she started DBT, and so had quite a lot of support from that, and also got a lot of referrals to the crisis team. She had a couple of short admissions (1 week) when she was struggling. Then around this time last year she was admitted, and for some reason kept there for about 9 months. They did a lot of messing around with her meds to try and get her onto something that would help stabilise her, which made sense, but I was really amazed that they kept her in hospital for so long as she wasn’t manic or psychotic or anything else that people are usually hospitalised for a long time for, and it was just a normal acute NHS ward, not a therapeutic community or anything like that. I found it difficult sometimes when she was in hospital, as she would say she was feeling really bad for example, but some of those times I was also really struggling a lot, but on my own, without constant support like she had. But I knew that there was no way I would have wanted to be in hospital for that long when it had no therapeutic value etc, and I also thought it wasn’t a very good idea, as she would find it really hard when she left and suddenly didn’t have all of that support. As predicted, she found it difficult when she was discharged, as I think she had completely forgotten what it was like to feel really shit and not have 24/7 support, and what it is like to have suicidal thoughts and just have to get through them on your own because there is no alternative. But she had been doing ok. She was coping as well as could be expected really, and didn’t seem to be doing too badly really – the medication definitely helped her and she wasn’t self harming, and didn’t seem to be that low or suicidal – certainly a lot better than I have seen her other times. Then a couple of weeks ago she started feeling worse and telling me she was having suicidal thoughts but didn’t want to be admitted or see the crisis team, and so I tried to remind her of all the times in the past she had managed to cope with thoughts like that, and that she could do it again. And then the other day she took the overdose – it wasn’t a suicide attempt, as she told me she had done it about half an hour later, but she had bad news and she said she just did it before she had even thought about it, and she was planning to go to hospital for it etc. When I spoke to her earlier she said she was being seen by the crisis team, and if she wasn’t feeling better by Monday then she would be admitted, and she said she didn’t care either way. And for some reason I just found that really hard to hear. I think it is because of the countless times when I have been feeling so completely desperate because of how suicidal I have felt, and just how terrible I have been feeling, and just had to cope with the same amount of support as usual, ie a weekly appointment, or sometimes not even that if it has been a period when L has been away. I don’t get seen by the crisis team or offered admission. I haven’t even been admitted following suicide attempts, although I did have a couple of admissions back in 2005 when I was living away from home. And I have been feeling worse and worse over the last week or two, and the suicidal thoughts are getting stronger, but I know that it wouldn’t matter how bad things got, I still wouldn’t get that kind of support. And I do understand why, because I know I need to learn to cope with the suicidal thoughts without escaping into hospital, and that it really isn’t a solution in the long term, but sometimes I just feel so desperate, and a break from having to fight constantly to keep myself safe would just be such an enormous relief, and if I am honest I do feel jealous that she can have that if she asks, or even if she doesn’t, when I can be feeling exactly the same and get nothing. But I hate myself for thinking like that, because if she is getting more help it must be because she is more ill and needs it and deserves it more than I do, and I really shouldn’t be jealous of her for it. But I can’t help it.

I am feeling a bit stressed, as a friend I’ve not seen for 2 or 3 months sent me a text the other day asking if I was doing anything on Sunday. I said I had a concert rehearsal from 11 – 12, but was free after that. She replied asking if I would like to go out for lunch. Since I had just said I was free, I couldn’t then say I was busy, and she’s a very long term friend, who I have known since I was 4 and she was 2, and I would like to see her, but the thought of eating out is really scaring me. I always find it fairly difficult eating out, because I know it is likely to have a bad effect on my weight, but it is something I try and do anyway, because it is one of the most obvious ways of socialising with people, and actually I like some food a lot, and therefore quite like eating out – it just makes me feel guilty, and I quite often purge. But I still do it. But this time it is actually filling me with dread. I think it is because I finally, over the last week or so, seem to have got my body into a pattern of losing or maintaining every day, without really gaining at all, and I think I am just terrified of ruining that. I don’t think I have ever felt quite this scared about a meal out. I think it is because emotionally I am really feeling on the edge at the moment, and knowing that my weight is going down is the only positive I can see at all, and I am scared of what my reaction will be if the numbers start going up, as I just don’t think I can cope with any more bad feelings at the moment. I am angry with myself for letting my eating and weight get this much control over me – regardless of my weight, or what stage I have been at eating wise, ie whether I have been purging or restricting or whatever, I have always still gone for meals out, and I am just furious that I have now become so terrified by the thought of it. Why have I been able to do it for the last 7 years, and now suddenly it feels like the scariest thing evver?! I suppose it must just be because I am feeling so precarious mood wise, and so I am just desperate to cling on to the one thing in my life I can see as a positive, and I am scared that this meal will shatter that, and therefore any semblance of coping. I am scared.

I have an appointment with Dr O tomorrow. It is lucky they always book me a double slot, as I seem to have a string of things to tell her. My back still isn’t better, my hamstring/hip thing is bad, and then there is the lump thing that I should mention. Plus the usual getting my medications, her making assumptions on my mood based on whether or not I am smiling, and suggesting I learn to cross stitch if I am not doing well.

I need to sleep. I have been writing this on and off for 11 hours now. My concentration is just all over the place. I can’t think properly, and my brain just feels slowed down.

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>I am not feeling good. I had gained weight today, as predicted. And as predicted, it made me feel terrible. I tried not to eat too much today. I did have quite a big dinner, but I didn’t eat anything else, apart from a few sweets that my friend brought over. I ate too much to have lost any weight, but I am just hoping I won’t have gained either, although I am feeling quite full and heavy at the moment, so I may have. I will go and weigh myself in a little while and see what is going on.

I didn’t really do much today. My friend arrived about half 12, and we watched the Oklahoma DVD with Hugh Jackman (so sexy!) and just chatted. And then she stayed for dinner, and then left at about 8. I then watched the X Factor results (boring) and Downton Abbey. I love Downton Abbey. Period dramas are great. I got annoyed because my mum made a cake, but it was a fruit cake and I don’t even like fruit cakes. And I don’t even know who will eat the bloody fruit cake – originally she had said she wanted to make a chocolate cake, as she got a recipe for a good one from my old next door neighbour, and said she would make a fruit cake as well because my dad likes fruit cake. I said having 2 cakes at once seemed pretty excessive, and also somewhat strange since the last cake she made was in July, and that I didn’t want to end up eating most of the chocolate cake myself, as she would also be eating the fruit cake. So she just made a fruit cake, but my dad isn’t even that keen on cake – fruit cake is his favourite, but he can take or leave cake really, so he won’t eat much of it, I won’t eat any of it as I refuse to eat fruit cake on principle (it doesn’t have icing, and is therefore an inferior cake, and although I don’t dislike it, it feels like a big waste of calories eating something I am not bothered about), and so that pretty much just leaves my mum. And she prefers chocolate cake really. I don’t know why she didn’t just make the chocolate cake. So I was pissed off about the lack of cake, despite me saying it was a silly idea to make 2, as I didn’t want to eat an entire chocolate cake. I am so awkward really. It is probably for the best really, or I would have had a piece every day until it went, and that wouldn’t have done my weight loss plans any favours, and I would also have purged it sometimes, as I tend to do that. But I still would have liked a piece of cake. Or a cupcake. Just not stupid fruit cake. I could of course make one myself, but then we would have the 2 cakes in the house situation that I wanted to avoid. I don’t need cake.

I think I have been struggling more again this week. I generally notice concentration first. My normal judge of concentration is my ability to read – when my concentration isn’t too bad, which is when my mood is better, I probably read a book in 2 or 3 days on average. I have been reading the same book for a week now, and it isn’t a particularly long book (shorter than my average book) and I am only half way through. There is a possibility that I just don’t like the book and so can’t be bothered to read it, but I have noticed other signs of my mood slipping – increased obsessiveness with my weight (that happens in the period between doing slightly better, when I do focus on my weight, but not to this extent, and feeling too terrible to give a shit about what I weigh, which is when there is probably genuine cause for concern about my safety), a genuine decrease in hunger (although I continue to stuff myself most days, but normally end up feeling sick as I wasn’t hungry in the first place), not bothering about what I look like at all and living in the same clothes every day, on the rare occasions I manage to get out of my pyjamas, increased suicidal thoughts, and a complete inability to cry, even when I am feeling really terrible or upset. I think that is all for now. I guess I will just have to keep an eye on things and see what happens. Although to be honest that is fairly pointless, as even if things plummeted to the point where I knew I was going to kill myself the following day, there wouldn’t really be a lot I could do about it. But it seems like a good idea to know if my mood is on the way down or up, and to what extent, even if I can’t do anything about it.

Tomorrow I am doing nothing during the day, then I have ballet at 5:45. Then at half 7 I am going to a sing through for a musical I am thinking about auditioning for. I haven’t actually decided for sure whether I am going to audition or not. There is another show on a month before I am also considering auditioning for. I couldn’t be in both, but I am not sure which I would rather do. I prefer the company doing one, and I prefer the show being done by the other. Both are good shows actually, but the female ensemble have more to do, and there are more female parts, hence me saying I prefer it. If I audition for one of them I will probably audition for both – the auditions are only a few days apart, and then I could decide based on casting etc. But I am not sure if I want to commit to doing another show or not. Partly because it feels too soon – Carousel has only just finished, and although auditions aren’t for a couple more weeks, and therefore rehearsals probably wouldn’t start for a month, it feels quite soon. But partly because I don’t know if I want to commit myself to anything else at the moment. To an extent, committing myself to being in a show feels like committing myself to stay alive until that production has finished, and right now I don’t feel in a position to say that I will stay alive until March/April of next year. That is a long time away, and I am not feeling good at the moment. I am having a lot of suicidal thoughts currently, and I don’t want to feel tied to anything. On the other hand, maybe it is good for me to be rehearsing something, and to have a goal. Maybe it makes me feel better. And it doesn’t have to be as much of a commitment as I make it. People drop out of productions all the time. As long as you aren’t a lead it doesn’t matter too much – you are replaceable. Well, anyone is replaceable if they need to be, but the bigger the role the harder you are to replace. But if I was in the chorus for one of the shows, I wouldn’t have to see that as a commitment to staying alive for a long time – if I wasn’t able to do it in the end then it wouldn’t actually affect the production – they might just have to slightly alter a couple of big dance numbers – it wouldn’t be a big deal. A principal part would be another matter, but I very much doubt I would get a principal role in either show. I don’t know if I would feel able to commit to a principal part at the moment. Firstly because that really would feel like a commitment to staying alive until the production was over, partly because sometimes I just can’t cope with going to rehearsals when I am really struggling, and that is problematic if you are a lead, and partly because learning lots of lines is an issue when I am having problems with concentration and memory. There are probably more reasons too, but they are the ones that immediately spring to mind. Being a lead is a lot more pressure than being in the chorus. The old adage ‘There are no small parts, only small actors’ is bollocks in my opinion. Ok, there are some very important small roles, but basically, if you are in a small role, it is going to be far easier to replace you than it is the lead – that is just simple logistics. If someone has hundreds of lines and 3 solo songs and a dance number, then it is going to be far more difficult to recast their role 2 weeks before the show opens than it is someone who has a cameo part with 10 lines and sings in the chorus of 2 songs. Of course I understand the sentiment of it, and I realise I am taking it somewhat out of context here, but for me a lead role is a far bigger commitment than a small part would be, and actually is more important – you can’t do the show without the lead, but is anyone really going to miss that person in the 3rd row of the chorus? Unlikely. I have gone off on a tangent again. I was saying something. Oh yes. So I don’t know whether to audition or not at the moment, because I don’t know if I can handle the commitment. I will see how I feel next week when the auditions come round. I may audition and then decide. And I only have to see it as a commitment to life if I get cast in a lead role. I might not audition for a lead role. That goes against everything my actor-ey instincts tell me to do, but I couldn’t honestly take on a part now for a show in March or April and know that I would be alive to do it.

I am struggling a lot with suicidal thoughts at the moment. They are quite strong, although currently not at an out of control level. What is difficult is my brain keeps going into planning mode and then getting stuck. I have certain rules around suicide. I would never do it say in the lead up to Christmas, or over Christmas, or on, or in the days before, somebody’s birthday, or other significant dates. I think suicides are hard enough for the people left behind to deal with, without the anniversary of it popping up at a time when they are supposed to be happy, like at Christmas or a Birthday. So that is the first rule. The second rule is not to do it if something particularly difficult has just happened, for example I was very suicidal, and had just made an attempt, 2 years ago, and then my grandmother died, and although my suicidal thoughts were incredibly strong, I knew it wouldn’t be fair to make my mother lose her mother and her daughter within the space of a week. That would have just felt wrong. However desperate I was feeling I couldn’t have done that to her. The final rule is that I can’t do it if I am committed to something, so for example in the month leading up to Carousel I couldn’t have, however bad I felt, as I would have been letting so many people down. Prior to that it would have been acceptable, as I could have been replaced, but when there was only a few weeks to go I couldn’t. So basically those are the rules. The other thing with suicide, is I like to know when it is an option. For example, when I am having strong suicidal thoughts, but I feel able to fight them a little longer, a tactic I use to do that is to say that if I am still feeling the same by X (say 2 weeks ahead for example) then I can act on them, and that is ok. It is just something I use to help me cope with them. Sometimes things have improved a little by X, sometimes they haven’t really but I manage to find something else to keep going for, or have received more support, which has helped me to keep going etc. It doesn’t always work – if I reach absolute breaking point then X goes out the window, so I would never promise to anyone, including myself, that I would be alive until X, but I do try to stick to it, and it is an aim at least. At the moment, although the thoughts aren’t out of control, they have reached a point where I feel a need to plan when I would be able to kill myself if I needed to. And that is proving difficult. I usually try to set my first target for at least 2 weeks ahead, as that seems reasonable, and weekends are a no go because of people being around, which would make the first possible day I could kill myself November 15th. However, that is then less than 3 weeks before the concert I am doing, and so starting to encroach on the commitment rule. But the concert is in December, and so if I said that suicide wasn’t an option until after that, it would be messing with the special occasion rule. Which therefore means it would basically mean being alive until January. And that thought terrifies me. It makes me feel really desperate and scared, and makes me want to kill myself now. Really quite badly. January is 2 months away – I can’t say now that I can live for 2 whole months longer. It really scares me a lot. To the point that I am now thinking I need to kill myself now, within the next couple of weeks, to avoid that. I don’t want to be alive for 2 months more. I don’t want to be alive for 2 days more – committing to a further 2 months terrifies me. I could kill myself now. I don’t mean right now, I mean at some point in the next couple of weeks. 3 weeks maximum. After that it is too close to the concert, and then Christmas. I hate Christmas. And I hate New Year even more. The thought of being alive for New Year is hideous. It makes me want to kill myself right now. I am not going to, but I want to. So I am feeling really confused. I do feel suicidal, and I do want to die, but I feel like I could hold off on acting on it for a couple of weeks, but saying I won’t act on it for 2 months feels impossible, and not acting on it within the next 3 weeks is saying that, and that just makes me feel so desperate and out of control and scared.

Writing is so strange. I started writing this 45 minutes ago, and I had no idea what I was going to write. I just started writing because I felt in the mood to write, but I had no idea what, apart from the little weight rant and what I did today stuff. Then when I start writing everything just seems to pour out of me, and I start talking about things I didn’t even know I was thinking about some of the time. Strange.

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>The power of the scales

>I feel shit. It’s weird – an hour or two ago I was in one of my hyper moods with lots of energy, and now I have totally crashed. It was like normal – I didn’t feel happy, but I had lots of energy, and I wanted to do something. I felt like singing, I was in the mood to sing, so I was singing, but it was midnight, and my dad was in the mood for sleeping, so I had to stop singing. And then I thought maybe I would go and make a cake, but I knew I would get bored half way through so I decided not to. And then a little while later my mood started dropping, for no reason, and all my energy disappeared, and I ended up feeling crap. I then just put the final nail in the coffin by going and weighing myself.

I ended up weighing myself in the night last night – I couldn’t resist. It was good though, it made me pleased. I weighed less than I was expecting, and knew that meant I would have lost weight when I weighed properly today. And so when I woke up I weighed, and I had lost weight, and I was pleased. All good. Then today I ate more than I should have. For no reason. I wasn’t hungry. I just felt like eating and so I ate. And then I got scared of what the scales would say tomorrow. Just now I needed to go to the toilet, so I went downstairs and went to the toilet, and then weighed myself. I was thinking over and over again ‘Please don’t be more than X’, which I always do – I have a figure in my head that I need to be below whenever I weigh, based on what I have weighed the last time I have weighed myself, and to an extent on whether I think I have lost/gained since then. So I had the figure in my head, and I was a pound more than that. Which means that tomorrow when I weigh myself I will probably be best part of a pound more than I was today. And it is my own fault for being greedy. I hate myself. It made me feel sick when I saw the number come up. The scales have so much power over me. I was so pleased last night when I weighed and it was less than I was expecting – I was really happy about it. But when it is higher than I want, it actually feels like the end of the world. I know how melodramatic that sounds, but it is like being punched in the face. It makes me just want to cry and cut myself or overdose or just do anything self destructive. I am trying to content myself with biting my duvet really hard. It isn’t really doing the job. I just hate myself so much. I feel so fat and greedy and disgusting, and I just don’t understand how I can have so little self control and allow myself to eat an amount that will have made my weight do that. I know that my reaction seems disproportionate to gaining a pound (0.6 of a pound compared to last night actually, but I am wearing slightly lighter pyjamas tonight, so that makes up the rest of the pound) but it just feels so hideous.

I have a friend coming over tomorrow. I think I mentioned that yesterday. I am scared I will eat lots when she is here and gain even more weight. I can’t cope with that. It terrifies me. I need my fucking self control back. I repulse myself. I wish I hadn’t weighed myself tonight. I was already feeling terrible, and now I feel hideous and disgusting and greedy as well. I suppose at least it won’t be a shock in the morning now. I just wish I could die. Not because of my weight. Or not just because of my weight anyway. It is just everything.

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>Being erased

>I have been sitting here for hours now not knowing what to write. My head just feels empty. I haven’t done anything today. I am not even sure where the day went. There were a few things I meant to do, but suddenly it was evening, and now it is nearly 2am. I watched Neighbours twice. That seems a little excessive, but I was sitting here when it came on again, and even though I had watched it at lunch time I didn’t actually remember much of it, so I sat and watched it again. I probably still wouldn’t remember it. It has been one of those days.

I was wondering earlier what it would be like to have a whole day without suicidal thoughts. A whole day without thinking about it once. And a whole day without thinking about my weight, and how much I hate my body, and feeling guilty every time I eat something, and wondering how it will affect my weight. I can’t remember either of those things. Even when I am not feeling actively suicidal, I still think about suicide, and every day if given the choice between continuing to live, or being erased so I had never existed, I would choose being erased. I don’t remember the last time I had a day when I would have chosen to live. That is obviously different to feeling like I am going to kill myself, because with suicide you have to think about other people, whereas being erased would be my ideal, as I could cease to exist, but without upsetting anyone. I wish there was a way to make that happen. Sometimes I think about running away and disappearing so that nobody knows where I am, and then killing myself. If I disappeared first then nobody would actually know I had died and so it might be less hurtful. I suppose it is like trying to erase myself.

I am trying to resist the urge to go and weigh myself at the moment. I am in this stupid pattern where I weigh in the middle of the night to try and predict what my weight will be the next day. I don’t know why I do it, because if I weighed now and knew I would have gained tomorrow then there would be absolutely nothing I could do about it, but I still do it. Somehow it feels even scarier to step on the scales without having been pre-warned about what I am likely to weigh from my middle of the night weigh in. I ate too much again today. I feel really greedy at the moment. From Monday I am going to make a really concerted effort to try and lose weight. I always think it is daft when people say they are going to start a diet in a couple of days time, but weekends are always more difficult as my parents are about, and so I tend to eat more at the weekends, plus on Sunday I have a friend coming over. She is someone I met during Carousel. So anyway, it will probably be easiest to start on Monday. Not that it is ever easy – there always seems to be things in the way. I just need my will power and determination back. It is definitely missing at the moment, and I want it back. I can’t believe how long I have been trying to lose weight for now, and it really hasn’t happened. I have lost about half a stone, but that has literally taken 5 months. I have lost an awful lot more than that actually, but I have put on a lot in between as well. I have been going up and down several pounds each month, which is why I haven’t lost more. It pisses me off immensely – I have a bad week food wise, and find I am back where I was a month previously, and that upsets me. The last couple of months I haven’t actually lost any weight at all – I am actually a pound heavier than I was during (some of) August. But I have also been 3lbs heavier than this several times between then and now. It is pretty confusing really. I just want it going steadily down. Even if it was only a pound a week. Goodness, even half a pound. As long as it kept going down and there were none of the stupid weight gains in between. I always think that I should be able to lose 2lbs a week, but it so rarely works in reality. But 1lb sounds like a realistic target. And would put me at my medium term target weight for Christmas I just worked out, which would be nice. I would still want to be lower than that, but if I lost 7 – 10lbs I would be so much more comfortable with my body than I am now. My long term target weight is unrealistically low to be healthy – it is just my dream weight. It isn’t scarily low, but it would make me well into the underweight section on the BMI chart, which isn’t really a good idea. But it has been my goal weight for 7 years – I can’t just let go of it. But my medium term goal weight is a reasonable weight, that I have been at several times before, and I genuinely feel like I should be able to get to and maintain. It is just so much easier said than done….

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>I am not feeling that great. Not desperately suicidal or anything. Just not good. I suppose that is a bit of a daft thing to say really as I never feel good. I don’t know how to explain it really. I suppose it is partly just the post show blues making me feel flat – I think that is something everyone experiences after performing. It fills so much of your life, particularly during the actual performance period, and the week or two leading up to that, and so it is bound to leave something of a void when it finishes. It is strange how slowly the last few weeks have gone – it is less than 3 weeks ago that my friend was here, and it feels like so much longer. Back then, just 2 weeks ago, I didn’t even want to go to rehearsals, and I wished I wasn’t doing the show at all. Then it took over for a couple of weeks, and whilst I would say I was happy to be going off out every night, and I didn’t always feel like it, I got on with it, and it was fine, and sometimes it was fun. And now I suppose I just have a gap. It has been quite a few years since I have done a big musical, which may be contributing to it I suppose – I didn’t perform at all, apart from some concerts and festivals, between 2006 and this year, so that was a 4 year gap, which is really quite a long time. I was still dancing, and I did some teaching in that time, and some directing and choreographing etc, but I didn’t actually perform myself, and the last musical I did before Carousel was Les Miserables back in 2005. I actually hadn’t realised quite how big a gap there had been – I knew I hadn’t been performing for a while, but it is only now I have opened up my CV and am actually looking at dates that I have realised just how long. Then in 2006 I did open air Shakespeare, and a very small part in a play, and then absolutely nothing bar concerts/festivals, and extra work in one film in 2007 (which I don’t count as acting as you just stand about and move when you are told to) until the one act play I did earlier this year, then The Tempest, and then Carousel. It is strange – between 1998 and 2003 I did 2 musicals every year, and sometimes a play or pantomime too, and then usually a couple of concerts as part of a choir as well, and various other things, and after that I started doing less and less, until I stopped completely in 2006. I know that is no coinidence – 2005 is when I first tried to kill myself, and also when I moved away to university and was hospitalised etc, and although I did a couple of things in 2006 when I was back home, I know things had changed. They had started to change before that actually – I did my first summer course at a big Drama School in 2002, when I was 16, and I came home pissed off that I was starting A levels rather than a performing course, and unhappy with the quality of the productions I had been doing, and just wanting more. I also had my first audition for a West End production that year, which despite being dreadful, made me want to perform even more, and therefore made me even more frustrated with college etc. Then 2003 was when everything seemed to go wrong and I was first diagnosed with Depression, and given anti depressants, and an Eating Disorder, and referred to the CMHT. And I suppose I just started performing less and less as I just didn’t have the motivation or energy, and I found being around people too difficult. I kept up with dance classes virtually the whole time, and I carried on with singing lessons until about 18 months ago, when a) my singing teacher moved away, and b) I was having severe problems with my voice, and I did some acting classes for a while, and some summer courses etc, but there were absolutely no productions after the summer of 2006, until the spring of this year.

Then this year I decided to force myself to do things, even if I didn’t feel like it. I knew that performing was still the only thing I ever cared about, despite not caring the majority of the time. So I got involved in the 1 act play. I can honestly say I regretted that about 99% of the time. There wasn’t a single rehearsal or performance I wanted to go to, I couldn’t be bothered with it, I didn’t care about it, I didn’t enjoy myself. Then it was on to the Shakespeare. That was better. I still didn’t want to be doing it most of the time, but there were some points that I was enjoying it. Shakespeare wrote so beautifully that it is hard not to get into it – when something is that well written you have to put everything you can into it (as of course you should with everything, but some thing just demand it). So although I never felt like going to the rehearsals or learning my lines, there were times when I was pleased to be doing it. And then Carousel. That has been a bit of a mixed one. I would be lying if I said I haven’t enjoyed it some of the time. I still felt a real lack of motivation towards going to rehearsals, but they generally improved when I got there, although not always. I liked working with a good choreographer. I liked doing the pas de deux (bar the somewhat scary Saturday performances, and of course hurting my back!). It was a little difficult only being in the second half of Act 2, as that meant I didn’t go to many rehearsals, and so really didn’t get to know the cast very well at all, apart from those I was in scenes with, until the couple of weeks before the show week, but when I did get to know them they were a really lovely bunch. I got to know the other principal females particularly well during the week of the show when we were sharing a dressing room, and that was great – they were good fun. So there were lots of positives. On the other hand, there were also days when the thought of going out to a rehearsal had me in tears, as it just felt too much, and a couple of rehearsals that I didn’t go to because it was just more than I could face. 3 weeks ago I would have said I would be massively relieved when it was over. But it really did improve a lot during the week before the show, and the week of the show itself. I wasn’t happy, and I wasn’t hyper and excitable like I used to be during shows, and like other people were. I felt quite flat and numb. I didn’t get at all nervous, which actually isn’t a good sign, as you need a bit of adrenaline to give a good performance I find. But it was the most positive performing experience I have had this year. Maybe because it was a musical, and really that is what I am most passionate about, or maybe because of having such a great cast, particularly in my dressing room. I don’t know. I still didn’t have the spark I want, but I didn’t spend my whole time wishing I was at home, and that has to be a good thing right? Goodness, this was such a tangent. I can’t even remember what my point was….

Right, yes. So when you are doing a show, it kind of takes over you life, and when it finished you are just left with this hole. I suppose it is particularly strong because I haven’t been doing anything else this week either – normally I would have been to ballet twice, but it has been half term so that hasn’t been on. So yes, I suppose I am partly just feeling a bit empty because of the show being over. Then I am struggling with my weight and food as usual. I ate far more today than I should have, and so feel terrible, and am really scared of what the scales will say tomorrow, but not weighing is not an option. Then there is normal depression stuff. I am doing better than I was a few weeks ago I think – I have read a few books over the last couple of weeks, which is usually at least a vague indicator for me, as when things are really dreadful I can’t read. But I just feel kind of on edge. I am still having lots of suicidal thoughts, but I am not in that numb, unable to move type depression. I feel a bit impulsive I suppose, which kind of scares me, because in some ways it feels more unsafe, but I don’t think I am at risk of acting on the suicidal thoughts at the moment, even in an impulsive mood. I have been getting a lot of urges to self harm though. They are often strong when I am really frustrated with my weight and body. I wish I could just cut big slices of fat off. Off my thighs. I keep getting these pictures flashing into my head of just carving massive chunks of fat off my legs. I won’t attempt it – that isn’t my style, but I would like to. I really need to find a way of getting in control of my weight and what I am eating, because at the moment it is just making me feel terrible about myself. I need to lose weight. I can’t even express how important that feels at the moment, and yet how impossible.

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>I am feeling quite pressured at the moment. Well, I have been for a few months actually. I am not sure what to do. It is about my future etc. Obviously people often ask me what I do, and I have to say nothing. They ask what I want to do and I say perform. Then sometimes they ask if I want to go to drama school and I say yes. They ask if I am applying. And that is where I am not sure. I have applied in the past, and had final recalls but not places. Getting a place on an accredited course at a drama school is tough – most of them take between 1% and 4% of applicants per year, so obviously it is stiff competition. But that isn’t really the issue. I don’t mind doing auditions – sometimes I even quite enjoy them, and if I don’t get a place I can reapply – that is almost the expected thing to do. The issue is if I got a place, realistically would I be well enough to take it? It is really long hours – 50 contact hours a week would be the minimum, and usually it would be a lot more than that. And a lot of pressure. And I think you really have to be pretty stable to cope. It isn’t unusual for people who have previously been fine to end up having breakdowns and having to leave. People assume that performing is just a nice, fun, light, easy thing to do, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

So every year I have the dilemma of whether I think I would be well enough to go the next September if I were to get a place, and therefore whether or not to apply. Last year I couldn’t – I was having all the problems with my voice, and so it didn’t even come up. But now that is resolved to a large extent I am back to not knowing what to do. There surely has to be a limit to how many years I can sit at home doing nothing, but when nothing has changed in terms of how I feel etc, how can I expect to be able to switch to doing something very demanding, with very long hours? My mum is taking it as a given that I will be applying for drama school this year. She keeps asking me if I have got my audition pieces sorted and if I have sent off my forms etc yet. My singing teacher who I saw in the summer for my voice asked if I was going to be applying when I saw her. The general expectation from people seems to be that I will apply, which is understandable really because you aren’t meant to just do nothing, and performing is the only thing I have ever wanted to do. But I don’t know what to do. I can’t imagine being able to cope with it, but then will I ever be able to?

I am not getting any younger. If I did apply and get a place for next September, I would be 25 when I started. That isn’t that young. Ok for acting, starting to be quite old for musical theatre. Still ok, but definitely on the old side. Already too old for dance based musical theatre. So there is time pressure there. Everyone gives me the whole ‘you’re young, you can do whatever you want, you have your whole life ahead of you’ line, but that is only true to an extent with performing. And that is the only thing I have ever wanted to do. I just want to be better. I want to be able to cope with things in the way that everyone else does. I don’t want ‘could I cope with this?’ to be the thing running through my head at auditions. And it always is. It isn’t just the course. That would be a lot of work and very stressful of course, but there is more to it than that. It would mean moving out. Having to look after myself properly. Having to flat share with other people. That would be really hard. If there weren’t immaculately clean in the kitchen then I wouldn’t go near it, which could be a problem. There are so many things that could be a problem.

I don’t know what to do. Performing really is the only thing I have ever wanted to do. I was looking at prospecti from drama schools from when I was about 11, desperately wanting be 18 so I could go there. But by that time everything had gone wrong. And it has never been right since. If I can’t do this then I don’t know what I can do. It sounds really melodramatic, but if I am not going to achieve the only thing I have ever wanted to do then I really don’t see the point in being alive. There is a 1 week course the week after Carousel at one of the colleges in London that I was planning to do, but thinking about it terrifies me. Not the course itself as such, but being away, having to live with other people for the week, how I would cope etc. And if I can’t even cope with the thought of a one week course, then applying for 3 year courses seems fairly ridiculous. I really don’t know what to do. If I decide not to apply this year I don’t know how to explain it to people, and I also worry that I go through this every single year, and nothing ever actually changes, and I don’t know how it ever will. I could tell my mum, and anyone else who asks, that I am not going to be applying this year, but ultimately that isn’t actually going to solve anything. I am still going to be left in this weird limbo where I can’t cope with doing the only thing that I have ever wanted to do, and can’t see how I can change things to make myself able to do it. And if this is going to be my life then I don’t want it.

I honestly don’t know what to do. Do I a) get on with it and do the applications and auditions and see how I get on and then decide (expensive due to audition fees but an option) b) Force myself to do this 1 week course in a few weeks and see how I cope with that, even though the thought of it currently absolutely terrifies me. There is an alternative 4 day course that I could commute to daily, but to an extent that would defeat the object as living away is a large part of it, plus the other college is somewhere I would want to apply to – this one would just be doing it to work on skills, c) accept that I am not going find a miracle cure in 11 months and leave it all for this year and maybe every other year too, and accept that realistically this isn’t something that I am going to be able to do, or d) other. Please reply with your thoughts. I really genuinely would like as many opinions as possible, and what you think I should do – a, b, c, or a suggestion you have? So even if you don’t usually comment, I would really appreciate it if you would reply to this. You can even comment if you don’t have an account – I have anonymous commenting enabled. Thank you.

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>Cornwall Day 5

>So it appears that yesterday was the calm before the storm in terms of weight. In the 24 hours between weighing yesterday and today I had gained over a pound, which brings my total weight gain since I have been away up to a little over 3lbs. I was really quite upset about this, naturally. If I had gained 3lbs in half a week, and I carry on at that rate, then that will mean I gain about 6lbs whilst away for one week, which is obviously absolutely shit. Why is it that I can gain this fast, and yet I failed to even lose 2lbs a week?? It seems colossally unfair, and I don’t know what to do. You would have thought that after gaining so much weight today I would have eased up on the food a bit today, but that didn’t really happen either. I had lunch, and then an ice cream, and then we went out for a meal tonight, and I had dessert. I did come home and immediately purge the dessert, which isn’t brilliant, but I don’t actually care if it has saved me from gaining some weight. I already know that my weight tomorrow is going to be disastrous again though – I weighed a minute ago, and if I weigh at night wearing these pyjamas, then I am usually about 2lbs heavier than I am the following morning, and if that is right then I will have gained another pound tomorrow. I am feeling so shit about myself. I have already undone the weight loss from the last couple of weeks, and if I keep going like this then I am going to end up back at the weight I was back in mid July, or even earlier. I feel pathetic, but just thinking about it is making me feel really suicidal. I feel disgustingly greedy and repulsive for letting this happen. I thought if I brought my scales away with me then it might help me to control things a little, but it just isn’t working – unless I do my usual thing of restricting to one meal a day then I will gain weight, and that is absolutely impossible for me when I am away with my parents like this. I really do not know what to do – I am feeling so upset and tense and desperate about it all.

The weather hasn’t been too bad today. Not warm, but we have at least seen the sun, which is something of a novelty. I have managed to get a little bit sunburnt on my face this week, which isn’t really surprising given that I rarely bother to put on any sun cream, and I am incredibly pale. I am currently sporting a fairly red nose, which isn’t too attractive. I went in the sea again earlier this evening. I jumped and dived off the jetty a few times, and then just swum across to the beach. I wasn’t going to, as it wasn’t that hot, but I was about to get in the shower and wash my hair anyway before going out, and since we are literally about 20 metres from the sea I thought I may as well have a swim first. It was bloody cold of course, and I managed to swallow a fair bit of sea water when jumping in, which made me feel a little ill. I kept thinking that surely being in the cold water, and swimming, would have to burn some calories. It won’t be enough though. It never is. The forecast for tomorrow is rain all day, so I won’t do anything remotely active then, but I doubt I will manage to eat much less, so I will be piling on the pounds. Thursday looks like being fairly similar to today weather wise – dry, and some sun, but only about 17 degrees, and reasonably windy. The weather has been pretty disappointing really. I always hope for lovely weather when I come to Cornwall, and it so rarely materialises. I might go snorkelling again on Thursday if the weather does what it is supposed to. At least then I am doing something active, even if it is freezing cold. And then home on Friday, which I have quite mixed feelings about. I am scared that when I get home the weight gain will really hit, and I just won’t be able to cope and will end up a suicidal mess. And I really do love this place, and would like to stay longer – maybe until some good weather arrives. But on the other hand, it will be good to get back to my safe space, and be able to have more control over food, and hopefully my weight, and not be so cut off from people who would usually support me – it is stupidly hard not being able to use my mobile phone, and only having internet access sporadically. But I am quite scared about going home and how I will cope with having gained so much weight when I am back in my normal environment. Badly I suspect…

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