Friday, 30 January 2009

I remember in the summer...the summer I was almost saved

So, that trip to Athens that I was raving about last week?

As I arrive back at my flat on Tuesday afternoon having purchased 200 euros and two boxes of cereal bars I get a call on my mobile telling me that there's a strike at Athens airport and my flight out will be delayed by 24 hours minimum. The man recommended I get a full refund. So, I did, walked back into my cold little room and promptly scoffed both boxes of cereal bars in agony.

So, no pretty photos from Athens. Just plain words from England.

I finished my final essay in the end, handed it in a day late, and it was a pretty poor effort, but like I say, not really bothered, I just needed that final pressure off my shoulders.

Yesterday I ate about 6 bowls of cereal, 4 slices of bread and lots of biscuits in a binge, and I actually have a physical tyre around my waist. I'm disgusting. Just sickening.

I've been thinking recently about a guy I know - an old romance if you will - or well, it was a romance in my eyes...
His name is James. I've been completely and utterly in love with him since the very first time I laid eyes on him in my first week of my first year at uni. He was a third year then, stunningly gorgeous, confident, popular and just so eligible that I knew he'd never look twice at me. In fact for the whole of my first year at uni, I doubt he even knew I existed. He was the only guy I've ever known who I was shy to be around. In my second year as I got to speak to him a little more I would still turn into a rigid, bashful doll every time he graced me with his attention. Usually if I like a guy I would put on a massive show of confidence and flirt outrageously with him, but James was just so out of my league I couldn't behave like that.
But I always knew that he found me attractive, I knew the power that I had.

When he and his girlfriend broke up at the end of my second year, I was genuinely upset for him. I thought she was perfect in every way and I knew how besotted he was with her. I thought they were a match made in heaven. By the time I found out, it had been over a month since it happened. What I didn't know at the time (but later found out) was that he was 'romancing' a girl I knew. I say 'romancing' because it is just the perfect word for what he does.

At the same time, he decided to start romancing me, much to my sheer disbelief and astounding joy. I thought I had reached heaven and all my ultimate, unbelievable dreams had come true - Me and James. It truly was beyond my wildest dreams, he was always the untouchable personification of perfect in my eyes.
The details of this romancing and our connection to the other girl is a fantastic tale, but one I cannot publish here for fear of bringing shame upon a certain organisation. Needless to say, the whole thing caused a tremendous stir amongst our circle and tears flowed as a result.

I went to visit him for a day during the summer before these revelations had occurred, and I cannot remember a day when I have ever felt so happy. I felt beautiful, stunning, loved, special. It was a perfect summers day, perfectly blue skies and bright green trees painted by an inspired hand. We spent the day frolicking in the lush fields and woods of the countryside, and I swear, I cannot have wished for a more stunning picture of joy in my heart.

Despite what has happened since, it is a day I hope I never forget.

Of course it had to end, and for me, it ended the very next day as he drove me back home. There was to be no relationship he said, he liked girls who were more charismatic.

All the rest of it doesn't matter, I don't want to write anymore detail on it. Everything came to light afterwards, and it doesn't matter.

Anyway, like I say, I've been thinking about him of late. Back on that summers day we wrote a list of all the sexual adventures we wanted to experience. We said we'd do them all together to learn and experiment. Of course following the events of the summer I was hurt and angry and the idea was put to sleep. Twice since then I have seen him again and been susceptible to his charm, and both times we agreed to do the list as we had promised.
The power lies with me to say one word: yes.
One word to become his fuck buddy, his experimental sex partner... and a terrible part of me wants to do it for the adventure... and a vulnerable part of me knows I'll have feelings for him that he'll never return - even if I deny it to myself.

I just have to say one word.

Monday, 26 January 2009

I need you

Today has been one of those rock bottom days.

I hate it when I get like this.

All I can do is sleep. I can't do anything else, my brain just won't function. Even if I've slept for 12 hours straight, if I get up and attempt to do anything, I'm just overcome by an intense wave of tiredness.

I've just now got back from a binge-trip to the local supermarket, scoffing a double chocolate muffin and a wholemeal bread roll. I feel really sick. I hate muffins!

Anyway, the usual thing to do right now would be to kneel infront of the toilet and shove my fingers down my throat. Well, I'm not doing it. My teeth have been really sensitive of late and I know they're rotting away with the amount of vomiting that I do. I have got to stop. I have got to stop. I HAVE GOT TO STOP!

All day I've just been craving to get on this blog and write about how empty I feel today. And I kept stopping myself.
No one reads your stupid blog, I said to myself. It's pointless and stupid and attention-seeking and no one gives a shit.
Well, yeah, so what if that's true, you know what I don't care. This is my fucking therapy now. I need this. I need YOU, the reader that does not exist.
There is no one in the world that I can talk to as openly as this, and this is stuff that I need to say somehow to someone, even if you're not there.

Ok, so I've lost it and I'm ranting.

I stopped taking my medication for about 3 days. Did that have anything to do with this hideous enslaught of depression today? I don't know. I had an essay due in at 12 noon today. I haven't typed a single word. I've just stopped caring. I'm supposed to be sending off my applications for a Solicitor Training Contract tomorrow. I can't be bothered, I just don't care anymore.

When I wasn't asleep and having nightmares, I was awake and planning ways to commit suicide without it looking like suicide. Of coure I won't do it. I can't, not while my mum is still alive. I would never do that to her. I endure this pain of living so that she can still have hope and a quality of life - I am all she has in the world.

It was the funeral of a friend of mine on the weekend, but I didn't go. I couldn't face it. Hearing about it today from a friend who did go only served to heighten my black mood. It's so unfair. I fucking couldn't stop crying and I have no idea why. I'm not scared of death, it wouldn't trouble me at all to die, so why would God take the life of someone who was so alive and loved it?! Why didn't he take me instead. What the hell am I serving a purpose for.

The only thing in the world that I want right now is to be held in someone's arms who loved me and cry my heart out.

And so I lock myself in my room, curl up in a ball under my duvet, and pretend that I'm not there.

Thursday, 22 January 2009


I have, of late, been living a reversed life.
Reversed in the sense that I stay up all night and go to bed in the morning.
I've had a mountain of deadlines this week and more next week for all my university assessments, and for some reason, I just can't work during the daytime but work incredibly well at night.
More than this, however, I think there is also an underlying fear of daylight. I've had this phobia since I was in my mid-teens. I remember in the morning before I went to school, I would spend so long getting ready, putting my make-up on, covering each single blemish, then re-covering it, then re-doing my hair, and then changing it again...I keep on and on amending myself until I looked bearable. I was frequently late for school, not because I overslept, but because I couldn't find the courage to step outside.
In unnatural light or in the evening, I usually can cope with how I look. If I look in the mirror while I'm under daylight or very bright light, I absolutely cannot stand it. It repulses me. In good light, you can see every, single imperfection on my skin, however much make-up I wear, I am hideous underneath and this cannot be hidden by anything.
There are times when it literally breaks my heart to have to step outside into the daylight. On bad days, I have panic attacks and break down in tears, tearing at myself in the mirror in a crazed state. On good days, I avoid all mirrors and anybody I might know as much as I can and walk with my head down.

Am I really that ugly?

I have many boys always wanting to flirt with me, I have people constantly telling me that I'm pretty. And deep down, I know, deep, deep down I KNOW that I am prettier than average, and that I am extremely lucky and I know, I know that I am not ugly. But still I hate the way I look. It disgusts me and has made my life miserable, being so consumed by my ugliness has taken away so many opportunities. I have wasted years of my life to it. It has crippled me.

I am back on 60mg of Fluoxetine since my last visit to the doctor two weeks back. The ''great whacking dose'' as she calls it. I have to say, it does kinda help, even if it is a placebo as some people claim, placebos work - after all, this is an illness all in the mind...

The eating has been marginally better. I have been binging only 3/4 times a week instead of three times a day...soooo I have to keep working hard at it. It's crazy, when I get the urge to binge, it's like my head just shuts down completely, and nothing I say, nothing I do to try and stop myself will work. Once it's there, it's like I just get overtaken by someone else...and then when I wake up, I'm horrified and disgusted with myself.

I was supposed to get in contact with my eating disorders nurse and local clinic/support group after I saw my doctor, but for some reason I just keep putting it off. I left them back in May, confident and happy, and honestly for about month afterwards I was eating three healthy meals a day like a normal person - it was fabulous. But since then it's been a toss and tumble between healthy and crazy, and finally over Christmas I decided to go 100% for the crazy.

For the last week or so I've not been able to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time. And sometimes, I am so deadly tired, and I just lie there with my eyes open because they simply will not shut. I think as well as the stress of chaotic eating and looking disgustingly fat, these essays for uni have been playing on my mind constantly and I just can't seem to relax for a moment. I think it will get better once I've finished my last essay - due in on Monday!

Yesterday I decided to book a trip to Athens for myself. Yeah, on my own, why not! I just need to get away so badly, I really feel so suffocated at the moment. This whole month has just been non-existent - I haven't really spent a moment of it alive, I haven't stepped a foot into the world. So, after Monday, what faced me was two weeks off uni, and, with my loan just having come through, I knew exactly what I needed to do.

Athens! I have wanted to go there since I was a little girl! I used to be absolutely fascinated by Ancient Greek culture and mythology and was completely in love with the Goddess Athene (she was the best out of all the goddesses by far!) And in week's time, I will be there, at her temple - imagine! Oh it puts me in such good spirits to think about it! I'm looking forward to my little adventure, and am not at all worried about going on my own. I never really worry about things like that, for all my insecurities and problems, I am very independent - probably cos I have to wear a constant mask (literally and figuratively) when I'm around anyone.

I sent off my application to law school today as well. I intend to do a law conversion course when I have finished my studies at university this year - I'm not really sure why, but it's what my Mum would like, so why not. It's not like I have many other choices.

Anyway, pictures from beautiful Athens coming soon!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

"Bulimia is not a pretty disease. It does not bring the admiration of peers, as starving does. Writer's have spoken about "the moral superiority" of anorexia nervosa. Being able to starve is an "art" because it involves self-control. One feels so morally superior! Society admires starving women. Not so with purging out-of-control women! There is no moral superiority in throwing up your food after stuffing yourself."

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Bulimia is not an illness; it's a way of life

Bulimia is not an illness; it's a way of life.

It is my life. That is how I live it. Scared of food, obsessed with food, intoxicated by food. Eating it knowing that I will throw it up in a minute. Eating with that knowledge that keeps me safe - the knowledge that keeps me fat.

Bulimia is like any disease in that it begins to define you. I choose to be defined by bulimia, and yet, it is not a choice.

I choose to cut myself. Sometimes I grapple with my emotions and force myself to stop...but if the knife is there, it's so easy and everything gets better. And yet, when people ask me why, I cannot explain it.

To other people, I am just a girl on pills, a girl who can't sleep through the night, a girl that writes strange things and sees the world in a different way. I am a girl with scars on her arms. I am a girl who thinks she is fat. A girl who worries too much.
I am an attention seeker.

When I went to therapy last year for my eating disorder, I made progress, but still I didn't fully commit. I didn't do all the tasks that were set for me, I didn't attend all my sessions. I think, perhaps I didn't fully believe that recovery was possible because it was just such a stable part of my life.

With this latest relapse over the last few weeks, I have come to accept that nothing has been fixed and I have not been cured, and that really, I was so possessed by bulimia that nothing remained to fight it.
Now, I have this blog, and I know that every time I fail, every time I am weak, every time I disgrace myself, I will have to chart it here, and it will haunt me.

I am a bulimic. I self-harm. I have depression.
I am removing the 'I' from all those sentences.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Too fat for sex

I’ve just eaten a plate of rice with soy sauce because I was craving the saltiness. There is now nothing in my shared fridge at university which belongs to me :)
I binged on a packet of cookies and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s this morning, but didn’t even enjoy a single mouthful. It was just compulsion I think.
Last night, at about 5am, wringing my hands in madness at not having any junk food to binge on, I walked a mile up to my local 24 hour supermarket and ate a Sneakers Bar and a whole loaf of bread (yes, a whole loaf) on the walk back home again. To tell the truth, I had gone to try and buy some sea salt as well in order to do my first salt water cleanse. I could only find yucky table salt and didn’t fancy torturing my body with that.
So, tomorrow morning I intend to search all the health food shops and supermarkets that I can in order to find some real sea salt!

I’ve put on over half a stone over the Christmas period, which is, for want of a better word, disgusting. This is the fattest I have ever been. It’s grotesque.
With the renewed intense disgust at myself has come, of course, a great deal more self-harming. As well as more symmetrical lines across my arms, I now have lovely purple scars that read: ANA on my left thigh, and FAT on my right thigh. – You gotta admit, that is really sexy. I hope they fade fully.

I’ve booked an appointment to see my doctor again tomorrow morning. I hate having to go to the doctors to talk about my mental illness. However I say it, it just sounds stupid. I feel like some silly, dramatic teenager who wants attention and thinks it’s cool to be fucked up. The last time I went to see her was about early November. I was just having really bad mood swings, and the depression side was pretty mortifying, but I remember telling her - with a slight note of pride in my voice - that I was hardly bulimic anymore and hadn’t self-harmed in over two months. I wanted to go back on the anti-depressants to keep my mood stable and make sure I didn’t go back to being as bad as I was before. She nodded and reassured me that she thought it very unlikely that I would return to my worst.

She was wrong. And it’s my fault. Fuck. Fuck. FUCK!

I’ve been thinking, maybe I binge eat as a method of self-harm. I can’t help thinking, that in my subconscious is a voice saying, “I hate myself so much, I am going to punish myself even more by getting even fatter, and hate myself for doing it.” When I make myself sick, I see the stodgy disgusting concoction that junk food makes inside my body. I see how much my stomach must hate having that inside it, so, in order to punish myself, maybe that’s why I eat it again…

On New Years Eve I was up to my old tricks.
The Flirt of the Year Award goes to…. Me! Congratulations.
I was only going to a friend’s house party, but it still took me at least two hours to get ready because I looked so fat. I must have tried on every dress I owned before casting it aside again. In the end I settled for a loose black number. I still looked fat, but well, I was, so it’s my fault.
The second I walked into the living room, I saw Simon and my heart sank.
Simon and I have shared a couple of kisses here and there before, and a week or so before Christmas had some interesting conversations…and to cut a long story short, I had pretty much promised to have sex with him the next time we met.
I was really looking forward to it…when I was slim and sexy…not when I was as fat as this.
So anyway, like I said, my heart sank when I saw him because I had not expected him to be there! If I had…well…I’d have made much more of an effort and definitely have made a better attempt at starving myself!
We kissed…but I didn’t have sex with him. I know he wanted me to leave with him, but I couldn’t, because I was too fat. I COULDN’T BECAUSE I WAS TOO FAT!!! Fuck. I felt really, really bad. I don’t know why to be honest, because he is an absolute slut, and gets different girls every week, but still, I had promised to sleep with him, and led him on the Entire night, and then at the end, I curled up on the sofa in some other guy’s arms and dozed until Simon left. I can’t help feeling really bad. And I really want to apologise…

I led another guy on that night. You know how conversations lead on from one thing to another. I think he was quite drunk though. He was coming on to me like the hornyest creature alive. He promised me amazing sex anytime. I said thanks and left it there.
The best part of the whole night though was at the end when I was curled up on the sofa with my friend’s arms around me. It was just so, so lovely. I could have stayed like that forever. I do fancy him a little, and had flirted with him a fair bit that night as well, but…oh, that feeling, it was just perfect.
That is better than sex, definitely.

A Silent Woman, Frozen on White Pages

‘Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?’

I have no right to write this.
This is a silent cry.

The memory is a blur. But I remember his few sickening words.

I can’t write them.

The buzz that night set me alight and I was loving it. I set the part. I looked the part. I played my part – to perfection.

I recall just two brief snapshots of it - but I can’t write them. I can’t put those two moments into words. They are just two images, engraved in the forefront of my mind, and every waking moment they haunt me. There I was, there’s my picture, there I am. Somebody help her, somebody get her out, somebody, please, anybody! Why didn’t you tuck me into bed and kiss me goodnight. Like a father would. Don’t you know that’s all I want.

Perhaps I hope that if I don’t write it, it won’t be true. Perhaps I’ll forget. The spaces of blackness make me terrified. Sick. Horrified. Find me the words…
I can’t write what I woke up to.

Numbness overcame me completely like an overpowering haze in the days afterwards. I curled up in a ball underneath my duvet, shutting my eyes against the world. I wanted to understand, but my head wouldn’t let the thoughts in. There were no memories to make sense of and no words to question with.

The doctor traced the bruises with a warm, affectionate hand. I could feel her sorrow in the soft touch of her fingers. She had no words to say. I lay, being examined. Humiliated.

I imagine what it would be like to be a boy: Not caring who I slept with. Not caring what she thought. Not caring about tomorrow. Not caring about her.
But I’m too weak, and I don’t have it in me. I care too much.

The guys cheat on their girlfriends without thinking twice- there are very few exceptions that I know. However close a friend you are to me, it still makes me sick. There is NO excuse. How dare you use that place like it’s a fucking free brothel, four walls that keep your secret safe, where you just get a random fuck and nothing more. IT DOES NOT MEAN “NOTHING”.
I remember overhearing a conversation once between two boys. ‘You don’t need a rubix cube party for the girls there to get naked,’ said one with a proudly sick smile. Well fuck you. Fuck you. Do you think any decent girl has time for some perverted little boy who’s just come out of high school? Grow up.

This is all I have to say.
I now fear the place I once went to for refuge. I fear it and I hate it. Or perhaps I just hate you, and all the others like you. The two things are almost inseparable. That place is full of the brute blood of the air that you all breathe. I was choking when I first arrived, but now it suffocates me; and I’m numb.
I know I am not as strong as other girls. I never learnt to stand up for myself, and that is completely my flaw. I know I’m running away. I know I’m letting him walk all over me. I know I’m letting him get away with it.
But the truth is, under the rules of that institution, I know I have no right to feel the way I do. I have no rights at all.
I have no voice.

I will always just be an object to them; an object judged on how I look and an object made for one thing. Living in that world for so long made me long to live up to that perfection of physicality. And now, I’ve worn the mask for so long that I cannot find the courage to take it off.
I’ve heard the way other girls are spoken about.

I will write the truth as I feel it for the first time: I am far more beautiful on the inside than I am on the outside. My external self is a creation, and I had to create it to survive: that’s how I get my respect and that’s how I am judged. My inner self means nothing: it means nothing in that place, and it’s irrelevant to its voyeurs.
I spent so long painting my mask that I forgot about my inner beauty. No one saw it, and no one cared about it, so I too abandoned it.
Every sip of alcohol was another cut and every kiss left another bruise. Every time I fell it was just another mistake. I can count all my mistakes with the fingers on one hand.
There will not be any more.
I was a mistake. I was the wrong girl, living the wrong life, acting the wrong way.
When I see the face across the room, it’s a struggle to hold back the tears and the rage. But I know I have to, because it is my mistake.

My mother is the strongest person I know. A cliché saying perhaps, but completely true. I owe her everything. I owe her absolutely everything; and above all, I owe her a daughter to be proud of. I wish I could be half as brave as she is.
My father is the missing part of me. I will never really know what I am missing and I will never know if he could have saved me. I like to think he could. Or would he be too ashamed?

One day, I hope someone will see me, as I am, naturally, ugly, fat and full of physical flaws. And they won’t see anything but the person that I am and the real beauty that I have.

Young girl don’t cry. I’d give anything to stop you knowing pain like I have. Don’t trust anyone who has breathed that air.

This is my silent prayer. Please, let me be the last.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

3 a.m.

It is 3am.
I am sick.
I have just been on another massive binge. My third of the day in fact. This time, however, I cannot throw up. The sound would echo like a siren through the silent house. It would wake my mother.
My stomach is bursting with sickness and I have to hold it in and bear its swelling in order to keep my secret.
I have a knife here, on my pillow. I scraped off my dried blood from it about an hour ago and held its newly sharpened blade up to the light. It was beautiful. I stuck it into my thigh, but it hurt too much. I just want the marks. And now, suddenly, I am tired.
When I was a teenager it was a way of life; it was the way I lived my life. Depression, anxiety, anorexia - they were all just words used to label other people - ill people. I didn't know anything about them. Now, I am them. These words have become labels for me; my new name. I am now a mental illness. I am bulimia. I am ill.
I am a liar. I tell people I am fine. I joke about my illness. "Yeah, you know me, I'm just a silly girl, living the crazy."
Everyday I pledge: I will never binge again.
I will stop.
I will be perfect.
I will be the daughter my mother wants.
I will be thin.
I will be beautiful.


I have many regrets.I have many memories of which I am ashamed.I am flawed in the worst way possible: I am weak.
I am fragile.
I am not always completely there. I cannot blame anyone for hurting me because it is my weakness that left me open to feel pain.I am unstable. I cannot expect others to hold me up. I cannot blame anyone for letting me fall because I should be able to stand on my own two feet without them.
I am a girl with standard brown hair and brown eyes. My thighs are too big. My self-respect is too small.
I am an identity. I am. A fragile. Identity.
I am a hypocrite and easily prone to jealousy. I am always so jealous, because I am so insecure.I am broken and I am torn. I am stuck together with lies.
I have scars in neat rows and a head going round in circles.
Night is for nightmare. Day is for daydream. Ophelia is for someone else in the mirror. I hate the girl in the mirror.
I do not blame you for hurting me. I blame myself for wanting you to make it better.I blame myself for wanting you because I’m weak. I blame myself for being fragile.

A Head Full of Beauty Prelude - Part 2 - High School

My father died when I was 11 years old. I suppose you could say that that’s where it all started to go wrong. Somehow, between then and now – a period of ten years – I have managed to leave behind one life for another and grow into a woman that I deny is truly me. When my Dad died, I was left with no-one but a mother who oppressed and domineered over every part of my life. I had no other family to turn to when in need.

A few months later, I left the only friends I had ever known behind at Primary School and went to a new High School. This is when I also left behind the bright-eyed and confident child I had always been. It’s a difficult time for most children, but when I came home in tears, I found there was no one there to help dry them. Making new friends was hard, simply because I had never felt so lost in my life. The death of my best friend, my father, had hit me harder than I had ever realised. If I could go back, I would have taken the support and counselling that was offered to me. But I was proud even then. Maybe it’s only in hindsight that I can see how much I had drawn all my strength and love from my Dad. I didn’t feel it while I was still at Junior school because I was settled there, and had close friendships. But the second I was flung into the unknown and hostile environment of High School, I realised just how much of my strength had been drawn from my Dad in times of loneliness, confusion or pain. He died just before I needed him most. Without him, the confident happy child couldn’t grow, so she died.

I was full of spirit. Once. I lived life passionately, filled with adventure and excitement. Oh the world was a beautiful creation, one in which I fully intended to leave my mark in and blossom beyond my wildest imagination. But the world wasn’t ready for me, or rather, I was not ready for the world.

High School was once a part of that adventure, a dream which I had longed so hard for - it was to be my first step to success. But without my father, all that consumed my life was fear, just fear, and I couldn’t fit it. Maybe I didn’t want to; I don’t really know. I just hated it. Everyday was the same, the same bleak bus ride in the morning, the same empty house in the afternoon. I used to get dressed in the cold and dark, afraid to see who I was, or perhaps just wanting to save myself the pain of hating what I saw. Every year saw me deteriorate more and more, growing uglier and uglier in my minds eye, sinking further and further into my seclusion and fear. The world was so cold in those days. In every memory I have from those seven years at high school it is always dark, cold or raining. It is always winter. The days in the science labs, maths block, computer rooms, technology, english, history, french, you name it, it was bleak and lonely. Seven years of memory. Wasted on that. And that uniform; a badge of who I had to be, hanging off me in drags of shame. Even today when I see girls in that same uniform it makes me cringe. It turns off the warmth and light in my mind, sends me back to those memories and the way that uniform used to make me feel.

In year seven I was crying every night. By year eight I was walking to school because I hated the attention of walking on to the bus and having everyone look at me. I hated people looking at me. By year nine I was spending all my time creating stories for me to live out, and by the end of year ten, I was obsessively writing lists of every single calorie I ate. Through year eleven, I believed every laugh I heard was at me, and my imagination, my dreams were becoming more desperate and I began to live in those fantasies rather than the real harsh world around me. By the time I was doing my GCSE exams I was sleeping three or four hours a night. For all those five years, I carried on and held my head high as if there was nothing wrong. I did not admit the truth. I was too proud.

I battled depression, anorexia, anxiety – but primarily I suffered from an intense hatred of myself. I hated myself for not being able to be happy. I used to clutch at little rays of sunshine in my life, musical films, ballet, Justin Timberlake, tennis, classical mythology – they were all just some of the ‘obsessions’ I had over the years to keep me going. But I was always top of the class in everything. There was no subject in which I struggled, from art to science I was always A* standard. But I worked hard for it, don’t think my success came from natural ability, I worked day and very often all night to get the grades that I did. I was certainly never what you could call lazy. Not like I am now. My mother taught me that happiness came from success. I can tell you from experience, that is not true.

Things began to break down again when I started Year 12 – the year which also saw me start my new job at WHSmith. That job was like stepping outside of the bubble that I had lived in for so long. It was one day a week when I was not shut up at home or trapped at school. It was one day a week where I was free to be someone else, someone who looked good and wore makeup. Someone who was ‘happy’. It was like the real world came and touched me for the first time, and it shook me, badly. After that I didn’t work as hard as I used to. Makeup and CDs were far more important. But still my school and home life remained the same. My mother kept track of everything I did and everywhere I went – which basically meant that I went nowhere.

The first boy in Smiths was Lewis – nearly a disaster, but luckily my star was looking after me and I had a lucky escape. He was a loser, in every sense of the word. A horrible, pathetic little boy who, despite being three years my senior, was ridiculously immature. All he wanted was sex. Horrified, I declined. And he broke up with me. Of course. Then came the whole Elliot fiasco. The beautiful boy with a girlfriend. Sadly, having been locked up from society for so long, I didn’t think that trying to steal him from her was necessarily such a bad idea – after all, I was prettier than her. It didn’t work out. So I turned my attentions elsewhere – across the road in fact – to Clarks. Here there turned out to be four boys of interest, named suitably Clarks Boy 1 - 4. But it was Clarks Boy 1 who had drawn most of my attention, perhaps because he was the one who looked back at me one time, I don’t really know. Anyway, all my pride to one side as usual, I went and got him, and he turned out to be Kieran, my boyfriend for nine months and love of my life for all eternity – or so I thought at the time. Yes, at times he was amazing, but it was the fault of my small world that I didn’t know any better. He was someone who loved me, and I hadn’t been loved very much in my teenage years. He gave me everything I had ever desired – love – no matter how ugly I was.

I come to university, and suddenly I’m beautiful, as if I’m an ugly duckling. Suddenly the reflection I see is pretty, and it’s not just me who thinks so. Boys. Absent from my life for so many years, I suppose it’s natural that I have a problem with them – I’m crazy about them.

A Head Full of Beauty Prelude - Part One - Admitting Mental Illness -

In early 2008, I discoverd that I have Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Before I read up on it, I never knew it existed, and certainly never understood what it meant.
Most of my friends were familiar with my insecurities and bad times over the years, and it had been such an established part of my life that I didn’t really question it or see it as a problem. I hated the way I looked and I was obsessed with losing weight - that was just the way it was. I didn’t see it as a problem; it was just the way I lived my life.
Even when I was as young as 6 and 8 I remember specific instances when I broke down publicly because I felt so hideous and beat myself up for being fat. Those were the happiest times of my life, and I was super skinny then!! I should probably have picked up on my problems long before I reached 20.

Of course High School was the ultimate horror for me. I would not get on the bus because I couldn’t bear people looking at me. I would cry in front of the mirror and claw at myself for half an hour before I could step outside the front door. I would get dressed in the dark so I didn’t have to see myself.
But honestly, for me, that is just how I was and I never considered that there was anything wrong with me. I hated myself, and in my opinion at the time, I hated myself with just cause. I certainly could never admit the true extent of what I was experiencing because it just sounds so stupid and superficial. I would always have my mirror out, and people would always laugh about me, calling me vain. But that mirror was held up to my face because I was so paranoid about the way I looked and hated it so much. It’s so hard to face up to mental heath problems when the world has such a stigma about them, and more so when you yourself had a stigma about them. I really believed that people with mental health problems were just weak, pathetic and attention-seeking, and I considered myself to be no exception.

In Autumn 2007 I was probably the healthiest I had been mentally since I was 13. I was still obsessed with food, but obsessed with eating a healthy balanced diet rather than not eating. I was still terrified about my appearance, but was pulling off incredible confidence stunts and at times feeling really good about myself. Everything was better - not solved - but much better. But then in the middle of my second year at university everything with Jon (my beautiful boarding school boy) just tore me down. I was completly and utterly crazy about him. I thought he was perfect. I thought he felt it too; but he didn’t. For me, the answer to why a boy doesn’t like me is simple: I am too ugly and I am too fat. I really still can’t see a reason beyond that. Because of my lonely position and tough living situation I lost the plot... Yes, I have had massive breakdowns before, spectacular and messed up, but I picked myself up by….well, by finding another guy… The disaster with Jon came at a time when I had all my assessments in and everything was just crumbling in front of my eyes. I just fell away from uni and society, and no one was there to stop me or notice it happening.

I have been through periods of starving myself before and my weight has gone up and down like a yo-yo since I was 15 when I was at my worst. At that time my periods stopped for 6 months and I scared myself with the knowledge that I would become infertile, and I reversed and ate loads and loads. That has been the general cycle, but I have never been as bad as when I was 15. During Christmas 2007, however I lost control of my eating and within a few weeks had developed severe bulimia. It started off making myself sick once or twice a week. I would often try more times than I would succeed, but I got the knack for it quickly, and it became so easy. I would eat knowing that I could throw up it all up 5 minutes later. It became routine, every day, sometimes twice a day. It got to the stage where I was even doing it in public toilets, I didn’t care anymore. Soon I was cutting myself. I had never, never harmed myself before (I used to hit myself a lot, but never cutting) and I honestly never understood how or why people did it, but it just became another habit, one which I dreadfully regret because my scars have still not faded. For the early part of 2008, I couldn’t step outside the door without having panic attacks because I felt so hideous. I stayed in bed so that I didn’t have to face the world or face myself.

In February 2008 I went to the doctor with depression. As far as I was concerned the panic attacks and the eating was just a side problem – the result of being ugly and nothing more. I believed (and still believe) that when I am pretty these problems will go away). Obviously as the doctor questioned me, the eating and anxiety issue arose and he started to build up a picture of my problems. I was sent to the eating disorders nurse and I was absolutely horrified. Yes, I had a problem with eating, but it wasn’t actually a PROBLEM. I felt embarrassed at being sent there because I wasn’t skinny enough to have an eating disorder. It was like going in for an x-ray when you hadn’t broken your leg. Even the first comment that the nurse made was, ‘You look so healthy!’ I think because no one ever worried about my health I saw no need to either. I really didn’t think I had a problem. I was just a little depressed and needed a few anti-depressants.

What I have learnt since then is that people with eating disorders cannot be categorised. When I went to my first self-help group I was terrified of going because I was certain that I would be the fattest person there. In fact almost everyone was my size or bigger, and in addition, I was the youngest person there! I had no idea how many people understood what I was going though. I thought it was just me. I thought I was just a paranoid fool. But actually I have textbook BDD and bulimia and in a way it makes me feel comforted because I know what’s wrong with me, and I know I’m not on my own, and I know that there is a way to get better, and I know that I can get better. I’m starting to understand what is going on in my head and how to overcome it.
There is so much help and support out there, and I never knew about it! I never knew BDD even existed! I still haven’t got much better, but am on the right path and going in the right direction. I cannot spend the rest of my life like this and I will not spend the rest of my life like this. When I have come out of it all, I will be so much more.

I know I should stop getting involved with boys because they just bring out my insecurities in hives and having wild nights out (because they made me cry and binge eat a lot). The problem is that I developed a brilliant performance at being happy and confident, especially at university, and with boys and particularly on nights out, my mask was at its heaviest. When things fell through and when I came back home, it was so hard to deal with who I really was and what I was really feeling, and it really made things worse, because I felt like a failure because I couldn’t be who I wanted to be and just couldn’t be happy. It was very hard.

Sometimes you have to admit that you’re weak to know that you’re strong. I could never admit how weak I was before, and it almost destroyed me. I am still very ashamed of my problems, but I know that if I do not face them I will not beat them. I still feel like an idiot when I tell people, but I will be an idiot who has the last laugh.

A Head Full of Beauty - Finally, Here I Am

This is my very first anonymous blog!
I’m an addictive writer, absolutely obsessed with it, and have, until now, always posted onto blogs on my myspace/facebook, so obviously everything I wrote had to be completely censored. I always had to write so cryptically that I felt like my words were being smothered in cotton wool – making them safe and inoffensive to any of my poor friends that stumbled across them.
There is no one who really knows the true extent of who I am. No one really knows who I’m talking about, or what they have done. No one really knows how I feel or what is going on inside my head. No one….except you!

So, here is some brief background info on me.
I am female, 21, in my final year at a good UK university (studying English Literature funnily enough!) When I am not at uni, I live with my Mum. My Dad died when I was 11 and I am an only child. I suffered from anorexia when I was 15, but managed to scare myself out of it before I got too ill. In the past year I have been severely bulimic and started self-harming and all that great kinda stuff. I have of course suffered from numerous extensive bouts of depression ranging from mediocre to extreme. I suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder – in other words I hate the way I look. It disgusts me and I have punished myself for it. There are some days I cannot be seen by people or walk out the door without a panic attack.
Sooooo that’s my mental illness summed up in a rather blunt paragraph. It manages to say more than all my years of censored writing.

I am also, addicted to men. I live my life by whichever man I am crazy about – and it changes pretty frequently. Despite my compulsive hatred of my appearance, I am generally deemed attractive and have little problem getting involved with guys. I do, however, only fancy the bad ones (who doesn’t!) and that combined with all my craziness and insecurity leads to a continuous stream of mess.
I always needed to find a real voice to speak about my fucked up shit. Finally, here it is.