Sunday, 29 June 2008


Friday will be exactly eleven years since Jenny died. I rarely talk about her, but not a day goes by when I don't think about her.

Backtrack a little- Jenny was several years older than me, and one of the "cool kids" at synagogue. I hung out with the kids my age, and we all looked up to the slightly older ones (you know how it is when you are 4-5, and there are these oh-so-cool 9-10 year olds!) My family stopped attending synagogue for various reasons, and carried on with our day-to-day lives.

Fast forward to me, aged 14, when I was admitted to the local hospital for treatment. Jenny was also a patient. We grew close again- her attending each day, me returning to the ward after "program" to sleep. We talked a lot about our similarities between our families, our upbringing, the daily battles we faced. Her eyes sparkled at her excitement about recovery, her determination to get well shone through her frail appearance. As time went on, due to Jenny's family circumstances, she hit a bump in the road and started to go downhill. She was admitted to the same ward I slept on, and our bond grew stronger. It was heartbreaking to see her struggle, the twinkling in her eyes start to fade. Still we talked, made grand plans for when we were well and out in the real world.

A couple of weeks later I was transferred to a unit 300 miles away, leaving Jenny behind. She made me promise that I would never stop fighting for recovery, that I was worth it, that I was stronger than this disease. I kept the card and picture she gave me by my bed and thought about her all the time. A week later, I got called into the nurses station to take a phonecall. I took the phone, and it was one of the nurses from the hospital Jenny and I had been in together. She didn't have to tell me. I knew. I remember falling to the floor, and I remember crying for what felt like months. I don't remember much else about the days/weeks that followed.

All I know is that a part of me died that day.

Eleven years later and I am plagued with guilt that I didn't keep my promise. Every time I use some kind of "symptom", I get flashbacks of Jenny and I huddled in the hallway of the hospital- me, promising that I would stay strong, that I would beat this. I hear her voice, hear the excitement about the prospect of being well- it comes in flashes, and I want SO badly to live the life that was taken from Jenny. I feel guilty that I survived and Jenny didn't. That I wasn't there for her during that last week. That I didn't DO something, that eleven years later I still don't know what I could have done.

I am angry with the hospital for letting her die. Angry at the doctors for standing back and watching someone so special just deteriorate without intervention. I am angry at the healthcare system and lack of resources in Scotland that took away the best friend I have ever had, and continues to to take the lives of others. It is so unfair, so cruel, so wrong.

I don't know quite what I believe about the afterlife, but I hope that Jenny is at peace with her demons now.

Jenny... I miss you.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Oh! I Love My Life (and all that jazz...)

I don't know what's happened the last couple of weeks, but something is different. I don't know whether it is partly physical, or purely mental, but there is something wrong. I'm not sleeping. I've stopped working. I have a hatred for myself that runs so deep I think of little more than ways to destroy myself. I don't know if it's based on facts- I have been applying for jobs, getting invited to lots of interviews, and getting rejected, time and time again. I feel useless. I feel stupid. I feel lazy for not working/trying harder/being a better person. I wake up each morning, my pillow wet from my tears through the night. I've started isolating- wanting so desperately to reach out to people, yet not willing to inflict myself on people I care about. I am a waste of space. I do nothing but suck the life out of everyone around me.

I hate myself.

I hate that I have screwed up the last 14 years of my life. I hate that I can't just be normal. I hate that all I am good at is losing weight. I hate that I can't get/keep a job. I hate that I can't just comply with treatment that may actually help. I hate that I am so self-obsessed and wrapped up in my eating disorder that I don't notice anyone/anything around me. I hate that I have become so unreliable and unpredictable. I hate that I am lying to everyone around me. I hate that I am doing all this STUFF and hate even more that I don't know how to stop, or if I even want to.

I need a job.
I need a support network.
I need some non-eating disordered friends.
I need an anxiety relieving hobby.
I need to take better care of myself.

I need lots of things. I want lots of things. It hurts to want, because they are things I'll never have- "normality". A real job, an apartment, friends, a life that isn't dictated by doctors or illness. Is there a difference between wants and needs? They feel the same to me. They are all WANTS. I don't "need" anything. Or so I like to keep telling myself.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Return To Blogosphere- the good, the bad and the ugly

It's been a really long time since I have written. A lot has happened, a lot has changed...and yet despite the drastic changes, so much remains the same.

Since my last entries, I have moved to New York. I've started seeing friends again (and developed an intense phobia of being alone after several long months in complete isolation back in the UK). I've restarted therapy. I've been working. I've been having fun. I've been trying desperately to appear "normal"- happy, carefree, conscientious, hardworking, sociable.

At night, after work, I come home exhausted and broken. I feel broken. Something still feels very wrong, and I'm not sure what. Of course, I am blaming everything else around me- my apartment, my job, the heat, the city itself...anything to avoid looking inside of myself and questioning what it is that makes me feel so empty and desperate.

Don't get me wrong. I am happier in New York. I am happy that I am doing all the things I have been doing. Yet some stuff remains so unchanged. My rituals, routines, my oatmeal-for-dinner habit, the constant weighing/measuring/checking...just to make sure I am not taking up more space than I deserve.

I have flashes of inspiration. Moments where I feel like I have everything now, and it's finally okay to let my eating disorder go...then moments so bleak when I cling to the darkness because it keeps me safe from everything around me.

I am confused.

I am conflicted.

I don't have the time anymore to give either recovery or relapse much thought. My eating disorder is in the background, running it's course, and I am ignoring it because, dammit, I have bills to pay, meetings to go to, work to do. I can't afford the luxury of indulging either the healthy or sick parts that exist within me.. Which of course becomes and excuse to fall further into my disorder. "I'm too busy to eat/I don't have time to cook/I don't have money to eat out/I can't take time off work to see a doctor". All of which is TRUE. To an extent. But I wonder how long the current status quo is sustainable for. Whether it is going to come crashing down around me like the past few years in New York, or if somehow, this is going to fix itself (I am really rather lazy when it comes to putting in effort to more than one thing, and my current focus is on being able to pay my rent!). I also can't afford the luxury of considering whether my current situation is even worth thinking through- because if I realise/decide I am not doing well, then I am obligated to do something about it. And I don't want to. Yes I do. No I don't/

Like I said, I am conflicted.

A few things I have realised since coming back though;-

- I am very easily influenced by what goes on around me
- if I don't make a conscious effort to take care of basic needs like eating/sleeping, I just...don't
- I need to spend more time around healthy people
- I am a really good liar (especially to myself)
- people who stand in line at Starbucks for 15 mins, then STILL haven't decided what they want by the time they get to the register are REALLY ANNOYING
- people who charge $150 to tell you that you should start painting and "all will be well" are also REALLY ANNOYING