Kaput!! (More Bad News)

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse in my world, they just did! My laptop completely crashed again today. It was utterly kaput, defunct, expired, deceased, and needing more than the kiss of life to revive it. I lost everything; all my work and all my open tabs again, where I had stored all my blogging friends’ valuable posts and more besides. This happened to me a few days ago, although not on such a large scale as today. I’m past the stage of crying now, and if I could let myself go, I would scream very loudly.

Last time, my techie guy came to try to reset my laptop. Today, he had to come back again and was here for over two hours, having to reinstall everything. He charges £45 ($57) per hour. Today’s fee was nearly £100!! Added to that was the fee for coming out last Monday, which was a Bank Holiday. The total came to £175 ($221).

To add to all my despair, I had a tooth taken out this morning. It was an unexpectedly complicated extraction (more about that tomorrow). I was in the dentist’s chair for forty minutes, having had six injections to properly numb my mouth. I had to pay to go privately, as my regular NHS dentist couldn’t extract my tooth because I have a pre-existing condition, which makes having teeth out a risk. In the end, after much pulling, pushing and tugging, I ended up with three stitches.

When the anaesthetic started to wear off, I was in agony. I had strict instructions to just sip water and not to eat anything solid, not that I’m hungry anyway. I still feel quite traumatised and exhausted from the whole procedure. Tomorrow, I can eat soft food and drink warm drinks – whoopie doo!! The cost of my extraction, strong painkillers and antibiotics came to £500 ($632). Add that to the laptop repair, and it totals over £600 ($760)!! It looks like I won’t be getting much shopping this week. Just as well, my appetite has disappeared.

So … here I am again, begging for forgiveness for losing all your recent posts. Honestly, right now, I feel like throwing in the towel, but I know if I did that, I would only regret it. I so wanted to catch up on your blogs, but it looks like it’s not meant to be.

I’m absolutely shattered now, so will head on up to bed in the hope that a good night’s sleep and more painkillers will help me to feel better in the morning. I really do hope so – it’s been a day and a half today!

My Past Experience of Anorexia


TRIGGER WARNING – THIS IS ABOUT EATING DISORDERS (ANOREXIA)

This account is purely about my own experience of anorexia. This disease affects all sexes, not just women. It can also affect people of any age group. In my case, I was in my forties when it began. Treatment these days may well be different; I don’t know. If you are struggling with an eating disorder or suspect you may be, please seek help from your doctor or any of the helpline numbers given at the end of this post.

Anorexia isn’t about the food; it’s about control. I wanted to control my life but thought if I could control my body and weight, I’d start to feel better. How wrong I was.

It started with me cutting out fats and carbs like many people on diets. I began to lose weight and felt like I was achieving something. As I lost weight, I still wasn’t satisfied, though, convincing myself I was overweight and needed to lose just a few more pounds. I lost more weight, but I still wasn’t content. I began to develop rituals around food, such as cutting food up into tiny pieces to make them last longer or seem more and, weighing everything I ate, then totting up the calories. I stopped drinking coffee with milk and drank only black coffee and Diet Coke. Still not satisfied; eating salad wasn’t enough to control my habit. I began to weigh the lettuce, water well shaken out of it, and work out the calories in three thin slices of cucumber. The weight started to drop off me, but I couldn’t see how ill I was.

I need to make it clear that anorexia is not a choice, a fad, or a diet; it’s an extremely serious and dangerous illness, which is nearly always caused by significant trauma in childhood, as was the case with me.

More rituals developed, and the weight loss continued. I’m not going to go on to describe all those habits and routines because I DO NOT want this to read like an ‘instruction manual’ for anorexia. Suffice it to say; I ended up in the local psychiatric hospital on the eating disorders ward at a very dangerously thin weight of five and a half stone! I was confined to bed and only allowed to use the bathroom with a staff member present. It was so embarrassing.

My first meal there was presented to me two hours after I’d arrived. It was, to my horror, vegetable curry and rice followed by bread-and-butter pudding and two scoops of ice cream. It wasn’t a small portion, either. I don’t think I’d ever felt that sense of panic before. A nurse sat with me and insisted I ate every stone-cold mouthful. I cried, I sobbed, and I begged, all to no avail. I was made to eat all that food despite having terrible pain in my stomach. It seemed barbaric to me. It took me nearly three hours to force the food down. Other than that, they threatened to tube-feed me, and with my phobia of choking, I couldn’t bear the thought of that.

The eating disorders ward had strict rules. Everything was done on a reward and punishment basis. To begin with, I wasn’t allowed phone calls or visitors, not even my family, and I wasn’t allowed out of my room. Weeks passed, and as I gained weight, albeit reluctantly, I was ‘rewarded’ with a phone call to my daughter, then my son and my Mum. They were all worried sick about me and dreadfully upset that I was going through all of this at the same time, realising I was very ill and needed help. There was no way of ‘cheating,’ although some of the people there tried. We would have lost a reward if we lost weight, which was impossible with every mouthful being supervised. It was such a thoroughly miserable time. At the time, I thought it was tortuous; it certainly felt like it.

However, there are only three ways out of anorexia in my mind. One is to get better despite it being painfully hard work (but well worth it); the other is that you spend your life battling with your illness for, possibly, the rest of your years (and believe me, that’s pretty awful), or you die!! It’s as simple as that!

I began to make good progress and started to feel better physically. I was allowed to eat in the dining room with the other inpatients on our ward; I could go to activities and learn about the basic psychology of eating disorders. We were taught about CBT therapy and offered other forms of treatment once our minds had started to recover from the starvation. We were basically given another chance at life, and I was grateful for that.

Finally, after being in hospital for six whole months, I was allowed day leave, and then weekend leave etc. Eventually, I was allowed home but had to attend the day hospital every day.

I don’t think you are ever really ‘cured’ from an eating disorder, but for me, it’s like being in remission, and I never take my life or health for granted. Anorexia is an addiction as well as an illness. Like any addiction, you have to consider yourself in permanent recovery. Now, at the age of 65, I’m making the most of my time and intend to live the rest of my life without harming myself in this way. I’m happy in my life with two adult children and four gorgeous grandchildren. If anyone is reading this and recognises themselves in what I have written, please, please, seek help.


UK HELP: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/

US HELP: https://www.helpguide.org/home-pages/eating-disorders.htm

AU HELP: https://au.reachout.com/articles/support-services-for-eating-disorders

(Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

An Ear To Listen

An ear to listen, a hand to hold

My story’s been told a hundred-fold

About my abuse, about my pain

And my mental health that fucks with my brain


~~~

I’ve told of my struggles, I’ve told of my fight

Whatever I do, I can’t get it right

My body is tired; my mind’s been stricken

With thoughts that make my heartbeat quicken


~~~

My mind is a jumble, just word upon word

My thinking is such that the lines become blurred

When will my world stop spinning around?

My head craves silence, please, not a sound


~~~

Yet, the thunder continues; there is no rest

And bedlam moved in as a permanent guest

Is there no respite for one such as me

While chaos reigns but no one can see

~~~

I sit and ponder these thoughts of mine

And watching the clock, eating the time

The mornings are better; not so afternoons

Bedtime can’t come a minute too soon.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Little Boxes

Tie it up in little boxes with a ribbon and a bow
Tuck it all away inside, so nothing is on show
What to do with all the trauma creeping through my brain
Without support, where can I stuff down this amount of pain?


Secure those feelings firmly behind closed cupboard doors
Hide away from peeping eyes; they’re not wanted anymore
I thought I might be winning; I’d almost passed the post
Having to lock it up again while I haven’t got a host*


C* said the time has come now for me to put it all away
Leave sleeping dogs to lie rather than come out to play
Waiting for the next in line could be a year or more
Counting down the days while my brain keeps the score


The bonds we built between us were kind but very strong
Boundaries as they should be, respectful; nothing wrong
I should be feeling tougher, but my heart and soul cry out
I should have trust in myself, but no, I’m full of doubt


She said I could leave notes for the one who’s coming next
Just in case my mind’s in hiding and my memories repressed
I’m dreading the goodbye day; I mustn’t make a fuss
I’ll just be left with me alone and not the both of us.

NOTE: This poem is about a conversation I had with my counsellor this week in reference to my counselling coming to an end. She was suggesting that I try not to explore my childhood trauma too deeply in the few weeks we have left for fear of it becoming overwhelming again, and then having no one to process this with. She described it as putting all the trauma memories in a box until I see the next counsellor, whoever that is going to be. The waiting time could be up to a year. I can’t lie and say I’m not terrified because I am.

I’m so very grateful for all the support I’ve had from my blogging and real-life friends regarding alternative ways of finding low-cost therapy. I’m still searching this out, but at the same time, the thought of starting all over again with someone new is extremely daunting. Time will tell …

Love Ellie xx 💙

(* C and host refer to my counsellor)


(Image source – Pexels Free Images)

My Day (Today) – Update

Yesterday, I wrote a post called, ‘The Day Before‘. So many of you (my friends and blogging buddies) were encouraging, kind, thoughtful, and caring, sending me your love and best wishes. I can’t tell you how much that support and love from you meant to me. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. However, as I had feared …

BAD NEWS

I got home at about 3.30 pm (it’s now 8.15 pm), but I’ve been trying to get myself back into a space where I can communicate without breaking down again. I could hardly see the screen on my laptop through my tears. I feel totally exhausted from crying so much.

The counselling with my lovely counsellor, C., is definitely ending on 21st December, and there is absolutely no chance of continuing to see her again after that date. I’m devastated and heartbroken 💔. I have been through so much despair and heartache with her trying to come to terms with the frequent child sexual abuse and rape that I suffered from the age of eight until I was twelve. I haven’t said those exact words on my blog before, apart from the odd mention in my poetry, but, there it is – in black and white, as that is the truth of what happened to me.

I’m only part of the way through working on this awful trauma, and now I will be completely alone and without my counsellor. We spoke, in between my tears, about going onto the waiting list for general counselling, which I would have to pay for. Up until now, I’ve been treated under the Eating Disorders’ umbrella, which has been free. General counselling would be less specific and, although, my eating habits aren’t as bad as they were, I definitely can’t say that I’ve recovered from those issues.

C said she would speak to the organisation’s manager to see whether they would even accept me under the general team. She said, as I feared, there is a long waiting list. As it is, the counselling offices are closed from the 21st of December until the middle of January 2023. So, I know I’m in for a long wait. I feel panic-stricken at the thought of going it all alone until a place comes up (that’s if they accept me). I really don’t know how to cope with this situation. If I’m accepted (and I won’t know this till December), I’ve got to find the funds to pay for it. As I said in my last post, I can’t afford to heat my home this winter (I appreciate the ideas that people have suggested that might help). Something is going to have to give. It’s a case of whether I heat my home or eat decent food.

Assuming I am accepted, it will mean starting all over again with a completely new and unfamiliar counsellor. I don’t know if I can face going over all those painful memories once again. I feel despairing. My doctor is phoning me on Friday; I will have to update her. There is nothing else she can do. I’m exhausted with all the emotion and will have an early night accompanied by two Diazepam to attempt to give me some respite from what feels like being in the hall of crazy, distorted mirrors at the funfair. It just sums up how my life feels today – crazy and distorted.

Please forgive me if I missed reading your blogs today. I can hardly keep my eyes open. I will catch up with some, or I may have to miss today’s blogs and start afresh tomorrow. Thank you for listening. Until tomorrow … Love Ellie Xx 🖤

#Me Too*

Can’t read
Can’t write
No rest
Hard fight

Can’t hear
Feel fear
All alone
No one there

Big smiles
All day
Great acting
Run away

Feeling pain
Not numb
Silent now
Staying dumb

Giving up
Too much shame
Held inside
Played the game

Being good
No escape
Dirt shows
Child rape

So soft
Weak-willed
Too tough
Justice killed

Can’t see
Don’t tell
Keep quiet
Gone to hell


* #MeToo is a social movement originating among women, advocating for survivors of sexual harassment or violence to speak out about their experiences.


(Image source – Photo by Shamia Casiano: https://www.pexels.com)

Hands Off

Today the sky is black as coal
My mind has crawled inside a hole
He took away my heart and soul
Please, lock him up with no parole

~~~

I was only eight and very shy
And was it any wonder why
I’d never scream; I’d never cry
When after, in your bed, I’d lie

~~~

I didn’t want to play his game
He told me that I was to blame
He left me with the deepest shame
I’d like to tell the world your name

~~~

What he did was so taboo
Tucked away and out of view
Thought you’d get away, did you?
Karma will tell false from true

~~~

This isn’t who I want to be
He stole my innocence; can you see
I couldn’t run; I couldn’t flee
Just get your filthy hands off me.

Pretence

Being honest here and speaking my truth as I always do, I’m not okay today. I don’t feel much like the success I referred to in my last poem. I saw my counsellor this afternoon. She was going to let me know if I could continue to see her as my funding has nearly run out. I’d spoken with the organisation’s manager on Friday, and she assured me she would discuss my case with C. (my counsellor) and that I’d have a decision by this week’s session. As it turned out, the manager hadn’t spoken to C. I expect there’s a good reason for this; however, it doesn’t help my distress and worry at not knowing where I stand. C. told me she wouldn’t be there next week either, so I now have to wait another two weeks before knowing what will happen. I feel lost and alone.

PRETENCE

It’s tough pretending to be okay
when I’m absolutely not
I find myself smiling and chatting away
to stop others sensing the rot

~~~

I’m trying to write my song differently
I’m trying to appear upbeat
There’s far too much for others to hear
if it’s only the pain I excrete  

~~~

If only they knew what the truth was
that I’m shrivelling up inside
so I stay quiet and keep my thoughts to myself
while my innocent inner child died

~~~

I currently stand on a precipice
I’m looking for a safe way to go
I join in the fun with a crowd of friends
not letting all my pain show

~~~

I’m angry inside with that b******
He’s the one who caused all this sh*t
So, why am I carrying the blame in my heart
when I don’t belong in this pit

~~~

He should have been tried in a court
They asked me if I wanted to tell
but I was far too scared of speaking the truth
I’d already been through hell

~~~

If he were alive, I would prosecute
I’d make him stand facing the beak**
I’d tell all of his vile wicked deeds
as now it is my turn to speak.


(** The word ‘beak’ is an English slang word for judge or magistrate)












Audience of One

(Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash)

I thought I might be on the road to healing

Well, it’s about time, too, they say

Questioning me with persistence

As I died a little more that day

~~~

Do you think this is simply a drama

Played to the audience through neon lights

Just a show for your pleasure, ma’am

While I instantly freeze with stage fright

~~~

Where are those skills you’ve learned

The ones that are meant to help you cope

You really ought to try harder, they say

As I turn away, giving up all hope

~~~

You’re no spring chicken; get on with your life

Don’t you think you’ve wasted enough years

Dragging up the past; c’mon, time to move on

Wipe away those crocodile tears

~~~

But I still have flashbacks; they haunt my mind

I can’t tell you how they scare me so

You don’t understand where I’ve been in my life

What d’you mean, you’re now ready to go

~~~

I’m angry now for those harsh words spoken

But I can’t get allow myself to scream and shout

I am choking back salty tears of utter despair

I just wish I could let go and cry it all out

~~~

Perhaps, it’s better you depart now

Go, get in your car if you must

Don’t come back here asking questions

My lips are sealed; ne’er again will I trust.

Scarred

(Image source – Phoebe Kay – Pinterest)

NOTE:
Just to reassure my readers that I don’t self-harm anymore. Unfortunately, I have scars that will never go away, which I have to live with for the rest of my life. It’s not easy – I carry a lot of shame for them, although I appreciate that was my way of surviving the intensity of the agony at that time. My scars are sadly worse than those in the image. I get judged by strangers who stare sometimes. It makes me want the ground to open up and swallow me. I can’t say I’m never tempted to do it again at times when I’m desperate, but I know that I won’t. I owe it to myself, my children and my ever-curious grandchildren. I have a tattoo across some of my scars – it says, “THIS TOO SHALL PASS,” and I know it will in time.

I want to heal and my writing is my way of beginning that journey. Thank you for bearing with me and supporting me with my recent outpourings of grief.

Tramlines embedded

permanent reminders

in soft, yielding flesh

disguising the pain of existence

~~~

The beginning of the slippery slope

the agonising journey

following tracks

side by side by side by side

~~~

Ensuring her instruments

gleaming in the moonlight

spotless from the flame

as she attacks with ferocity

~~~

Pearls of crimson gathering

on her lily-white skin

offering relief

from the shame and guilt

~~~

Never speaking of his sin

holding it all within

brain freeze

a blade on the skin

~~~

Silenced with threats and blame

memories, flashbacks abound

cutting the evil and torture out

of the time when cries went unheard

~~~

Child of her child’s curiosity

she tells of a fall on broken glass

submerging her truths

hoping the child’s thoughts will pass

~~~

No surrender of life or sanity

She needs no permission to write

expressing her pain in words

she’s not giving up on the fight.