Other Ramblings...

Friday, 30 November 2012

Treacle. Through Which I Am Walking.

I want to cancel my doctors' appointment.

It took me all my courage to make the appointment and that seemed like the biggest hurdle overcome - admitting that I need to do something - but, apparently, that was an easy part.  

Now I'm worried that I've made a mistake and there's nothing wrong with me and I'll be wasting the doctors' time.  What if there isn't anything wrong with me?  What if I'm making up all the symptoms, and it's something I'm choosing to do?  What if I could stop it tomorrow if I wanted to?  Do I even want to?  

The questions are going round in my head constantly.  I don't know what to do.

I've made a step, but I haven't got a clue whether it's in the right direction.

And now it's Friday evening, and I'm panicking because I've got to go out for a meal with my seminar group on Monday.  And I don't know what I'm going to eat, because there isn't anything remotely within my 'calorie-range' on the menu.

And, although I am continuing to deny that there is a problem, I have just hidden three-quarters of a bag of crisps and most of the chips I was supposed to be eating for my tea.  I am writing this down, mainly, for myself.  Because things like that are forgotten, or glossed over in my head all too easily and, next time I'm a phone call away from cancelling all the help I've worked so hard to muster up the courage to get, I want the truth to come and hit me in the face.

Because Geoffrey (who is my eating disorder as well as my OCD - very talented man!) is still telling me that there isn't a problem.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Epiphanies in Funny Places.

Today I had an epiphany.  Or, as my friend Bekah would say, an 'eniphany'.

We had a 'party' during our last Spanish seminar of the term this afternoon.  I didn't eat anything, because I can't eat anything in front of most people, and also because I wasn't allowed the calories.  I was expecting to find this very difficult, and for everyone to ask me questions.  They didn't, and the seminar passed without me feeling too panicky.

In the lecture afterwards, I was sitting with my best friend and she mentioned that another friend calorie counts sometimes.  I showed her my list of 'Food That I Can Eat' to illustrate calorie-counting-gone-mad, which runs to about twenty things, and has the calorie count of each listed next to it.  At the bottom of the page is my daily calorie target.

'I'm going to be harsh here,' says she, 'If you carry on eating like this, you're going to die.'.

And that was my epiphany.  I don't want to die, of course I don't.

I'm so fed up (see previous post!) of eating like this, and of being like this.

I need help.  I definitely need help.  I've been in half-denial for long enough and it's time to stop.  I don't want to be the selfish person who makes all the people around her worry about how ill she is, or the one with such forcibly low blood-sugar that she can't have a proper conversation.

So, tomorrow, I'm going to book a doctor's appointment.  And I'm going to be big and brave and, finally, do something about this.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

I Can't Do This.

Or, to give it it's full title: I Can Do This, But I'm Really Fed Up of Doing This.

I am fed up of worrying that what I'm eating has more calories in it than I should be eating.

I am fed up of worrying that I have eaten too much.

I am fed up of worrying about how I am going to get rid of what I have eaten.

I am fed up of being the one who doesn't eat.

I am fed up of people watching me not eat and not commenting.

I am fed up of being too small to fit into some clothes and wishing that I did fit into them.

I am fed up of wishing I fitted into smaller clothes.

I am fed up of drinking bucketfuls so that I don't feel hungry.

I am fed up of thinking about how I can cut out food tomorrow so that I'm not quite so hungry today.

I am fed up of having a flat chest.

I am fed up of worrying that my stomach is not entirely and completely flat.

I am fed up of looking so vain because I look in mirrors all the time.

I am fed up of people not wanting to talk to me about my eating disorder.

I am fed up of being the only one in the world.

I am fed up of looking at other people and thinking that I'm the fatter one.

I am fed up of never, ever being able to have any fun.

I am fed up of worrying that I've got to go out for a meal.

I am fed up of worrying about whether the doctor would think I was too fat if I went and explained to her.

I am fed up.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Today has been a good day.

Geoff doesn't want me to write that because he says that that means that tomorrow will be an awful, horrible day in recompense.

But I don't want Geoff to make me seem really ungrateful, and I would just like to say - to the universe in general - thankyou for making me laugh today, and thankyou for my friends and my family.  Thankyou for giving me the opportunity to do my artwork tonight, it was lovely.

Geoff says that if I cross that out, then I can publish it.

So, thankyou.

If tomorrow's horrible, then at least today has been lovely.

Tomorrow, I am doing weaving at University.  I have chosen the lyrics from one of the hymns we sang at Grandad's funeral as my 'inspiration' piece, which we've got to take in.  I'm using the last two lines of the last verse or Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.  They are absolutely beautiful and they make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  So I thought I'd finish today with them:

'Sweep through the earthquake, wind and fire,
O still stall voice of calm.'

Monday, 19 November 2012


I should be asleep, because it's the middle of the night, but this just came to me, and I wanted to write it down.

Before I start, I know this is an OCD/mental health-y blog, but I don't blame other people for my OCD or for my eating disorder.  I think that everything in my life has contributed equally but I don't think any single factor is solely responsible.

The Secondary school my parents chose for me wasn't the one that all my friends went to.  I had a very, very best friend at Primary school, to whom I'm still very close nearly ten years after we left, and then I had two other close friends.  As a class, we all got on well together and, after seven years of spending time together, we were quite tight-knit.

When I first started the school, I knew one girl vaguely, and my Mum suggested that I might sit with her for the first couple of days.  I knew immediately that this wasn't going to work.  She was in a group of four, and they were very close, and they were also going to show me that.  On the first day, I knew that we weren't going to be 'best' friends because they would form a circle and leave me slightly outside it.  It made me cry, but I didn't really mind because I thought that there would be other girls in my class who I would get along with.

After a week or so, they had made friends with another two girls in the group.  I was still trying to sit with them, because I didn't have anyone else to be with, although it was really very clear at this point that they didn't really want me there.  They would wait until I was trying to tie my shoelace to run away and leave me behind, and they also had a group 'chant' which they used to show me that I was most definitely not welcome.

Anyway, after that spectacularly long preamble, the specific incident I want to talk about happened in an Art lesson in about the third week of term.  It was a Monday afternoon.  I was sitting on a table with the six girls.  I can't remember what we were doing particularly clearly, but I remember that, about halfway through the lesson, I asked to go to the toilet.

When I arrived back in the classroom, I was fortunate enough to see the huge globs of Pritt Stick glue on my chair.  I was perplexed at first: I asked why there was glue on my chair, and whether they had put it there, but they all denied it.  I could tell from their smirking faces that they had, and I knew exactly what had happened, but I was powerless to do anything about it, apart from feel quite glad that I hadn't sat in it (although, perversely, I can remember wishing that I had, because maybe, I thought, then they would have been slightly less frosty towards me.).  At the age of eleven, telling the teacher that someone had put glue on your chair - especially when the culprits are going to vehemently deny that they've done any such thing - is going to get you nowhere apart from ticked off for fussing and wasting the teacher's time.

The bullying continued to get worse.  The pinnacle, I remember, was sitting in a Food Technology lesson and being asked to hand out some workbooks.  When I gave them theirs, they then wiped them on their shirts, insinuating that I was dirty, or that I was passing on some horrific germ.  I can't write any more about that because I don't have the words to describe how upset or embarrassed I was by that.  By this point, I had stopped trying to spend any time with them, or speak to them.  I, naturally, didn't want anything to do with them.

The third incident that I remember is standing in front of one of them in the dinner queue.  She was showing her sister something inside a notebook, at which the sister gave a sharp intake of breath and asked who the subject of the notebook content was about.  Yes, you've guessed it.  'It's her.', she said, and I knew that that meant me.  I never saw the notebook, and I can only imagine what was inside it.

I did, at one point, try and tell my form teacher.  Somehow, and I'm not sure how, the girls found out what I was doing, and told me that I shouldn't tell anyone, 'Because we'll get into lots of trouble and it's mean to make things up.'.  And so I told my teacher that I'd made it up.

Even now, at twenty, I want to run away and hide when I think of any of that period of my life.  And, even now, at twenty, I don't understand it.  I don't understand how a group of girls can be so vitriolic and plain nasty to one person.  I wasn't hurting them.  Why would they hurt me?

And so, Amy, Becky, Lizzie, Dulcie, Melissa, Sophie, if you ever read this, I hope that you realise what you did. I hope that if you ever have children, you teach them how wrong it is to bully.  Nearly ten years later, I still feel the effects of your 'game'.  I still walk into a room and wonder which of the people there will bully me.  I still worry about being visible to other people, and I still wonder whether it was my fault that you felt the need to be so horrible.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Sunny Knows!

I started typing this post out as a reply to Sunny - whose wonderfully insightful blog you can find here - but it got very long, and I found that I was saying things which would perhaps make quite an interesting post (well, as interesting as my posts ever get!).

Sunny's comment said this: "Funny - I just had a conversation with a friend the other day about this kind of thing. This friend has known that I have OCD for about a year. She was asking me if I read something she sent to me online and I said, "No, it would have triggered me." Then she apologized and said that she never thought of that and that she wouldn't send me stuff like that anymore. I told her not to worry about it and not to worry about whether stuff triggers me or not. It's my job to decide what will trigger me or not and it's up to me to take care of myself. I would prefer that other people would treat me normally. Anyway, I know EXACTLY what you are saying."

And, when I read it, a lot of things made a little bit more sense.  We're obviously on the same wavelength!

I've been doing something thinking today and I've come to a semi-conclusion that, if people know about my mental illness(es), then they seem to think that they must assume some sort of responsibility for my wellbeing, which isn't the case at all.  As I said yesterday, I am quite happy to look after myself.  Yes, it's painful sitting with someone who doesn't eat anything when everyone else is having their lunch, but that's got to be my lookout and my decision.  If I choose not to have anything, then I can promise you that I'm burning up inside from the shame, and probably eyeing up your lunch and wishing I could eat it myself, but it's really, honestly, not your responsibility to feel that you've got to coax me into eating something.  I would hate to think that my friends think that if they 'take on' me, they've got to take on a full-time counselling job as well.

The thing is that, unlike a broken ankle, which would require some extra support from friends, a mental illness probably isn't ever going to go away altogether, and so my friendships can't be built on people thinking that they've got to help me and support me every day.  I want people to spend time with me, not with my OCD or my eating disorder.  I also don't want them to think that I'm the 'special' person, because this is me. Yes I'm ill, and some days I'll be having a horrible time and I won't have had anything to eat and I'll be repeating phrases in my head and everything, but I'm used to it.  I've had bad days before and I'll have them again.  I know how to cope with them, and I know how to get on with other parts of my life at the same time.  Also, quite often on these days, it's the fact that my friends make me laugh and are absolutely wonderful people which lifts the fog somewhat.

And that can't happen if they're worrying about me.

I want to thank Sunny for inspiring this post.  If you've not checked out her blog, you really have to because it's a lovely little corner of the internet!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Who Knows?

I never quite know whether to tell people about Geoff/eating disorder things.

Obviously, the people closest to me know because they have to, because otherwise some of the things I do, or the fact that I rarely eat a proper lunch, or my lack of enthusiasm some days appears odd.  I want to be really open and honest, and just accept the fact that both mental illnesses are a part of me, and something which is just another part of my life, but I'm just so bad at telling people.

I think that the problem is that I'm still embarrassed and relatively bad at talking about either.  I find it difficult to explain the strange things I have to do, and it's also challenging to explain the anxiety side of the illness to people, which is really important, otherwise they just think, 'Hmm...OCD.  Yes, I'm quite tidy; we must be the same...', and then assume I'm making a big fuss over nothing.

I told one of my friends about the eating disorder today.  He was very quiet all afternoon, and I really hope I've not lost him to it.  I shouldn't have done, because he's much too lovely for that.  Maybe I'm just imagining it?  I tend to do that as well.

Another thing which I find difficult is that I don't want to be seen as the one who needs extra attention, or the one who has to be treated specially.  What I want to say to my friends is this: I'm the same friend after I've chosen to tell you about my mental state as before, so I don't need treating any differently.  I'm very used to handling myself, and so I don't need help with anything, unless I specifically ask for it.  I just want to be a normal person!

So, really, it comes down to whether to tell people and risk them getting the wrong end of the stick, or thinking that I want a lot of attention, or not telling people and then them thinking that I'm strange, or wondering why I do things.

I don't know.  If anyone does: answers on the back of a postcard, please!!!

Monday, 5 November 2012


I have recently purchased a yellow wristband, in support of Claire Watkinson and her short film Living With Me and My OCD.

It is a nice wristband, and it is bright yellow.  Geoff is rather enjoying being flaunted for all and sundry to see so flamboyantly.  Although he gets quite shy when he thinks people might be looking and makes me put his clothing away.

At first, I wore it simply because I could, but then I thought that I might as well take the opportunity to use it to track my compulsions - or Geoff's behaviour! - and so, I've begun to move it from one wrist to the other every time I perform a ritual.

I'm also really keen to start counting how many times I move it between wrists, because I've got very little idea of how many compulsions I perform every day.

I'm aware that it might turn into a compulsion itself, but I'm just so intrigued that it's a risk I'm willing to take.

I'll keep you posted..!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Dear Grandad.

Dear Grandad,

Mainly what I remember from today is the smell which wasn't your smell.  You smelt of hospitals and cleaning fluid and things which I didn't really want you to smell of.  Probably because it signifies the immense change you've undergone in two short weeks.

I'm sorry you were in pain, and I'm even more sorry that I couldn't understand what you were trying to say to me, especially because I imagine it's one of the last things you're ever going to say to me.  I want so much to have one last conversation with you - for you to know who I am and understand me and tell me something about your mother or about your childhood.  I'm sorry that I've forgotten already quite what it was like to have you as an - almost - fully functioning person who enjoyed eating trifle and listening to Notts County playing football on the radio because you couldn't see the TV well enough.

I would have done more.  Do you know, I wish, wish, wish that I'd taken you for a walk in your wheelchair to get an ice cream.  I promised you, and we never got the chance to do it.  I had three months off in the summer, and it would have been so easy for me - it would have just taken an afternoon - and I never did it.  Even when I passed my driving test and the world was our oyster.  You never realise what you've got until it's being taken away from you.  One day, me and you will go to the park and have an ice cream.  Perhaps, though, it will have to be the part of you which you've given to me and will always be inside me.  The part I got from Dad.

I keep thinking that it'll be the same, but it won't be.  It'll never be the same again.  And I know that this is clichéd  terribly clichéd   But then isn't everything surrounding this really, really horrible bit of life?  Because everyone feels the same feelings when they're facing the abyss; the unknown.  The same despair and the same wishing that they'd been granted one more day with the knowledge of what was so imminent.

Do you know what I'm most sorry about in the world?  That I didn't go to see you on that Wednesday evening because I was too lazy to visit you.  In my defence, I didn't know that you'd fallen so badly and that you were in so much pain and that it wasn't just nasty bruising.  But if I'd just had the - I don't know - if I'd just popped in for ten minutes, maybe I would have been able to get you the help you obviously needed sooner?  Maybe you wouldn't be in the state you're in now?  I'm sorry.  I'm so, so sorry.

I'm going to leave you now.  I don't know, in my head I've got this crazy belief that you know what I'm saying that, somewhere in that mixed up head of yours, this is going in and that, when I'm sitting by the side of your bed, you know what I'm thinking.

I love you, Grandad.

Kate xxx

PS.  Geoff feels the same.  He's been making me fold and re-fold clothes all day for you.  It's his way of showing he cares.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Meet Geoffrey.

So, after my last post, I've decided that I am not 'talking to myself', I am, in fact, talking to my OCD.

And I have also decided that I shall call him - because it is most definitely a him - Geoffrey, or Geoff for short.

I know that this might sound equally mad, and absolutely as though I've gone off my rocker and lost some of the buttons from my cardigan, but I've been thinking about it, and it really seems to help me get my head around what my OCD actually is, and what it means for me.

Because, although Geoff is another part of me, actually he's not in control.  He is simply another 'voice' in my head (not that I am hearing voices in my head...oh, this is so confusing and difficult to explain without making me sound like an absolute mad woman!) which I can choose to listen to, or not choose to listen to (that is the theory, anyway...).  Geoff, I think, will probably always be there now, but I can choose to accept him, and we can rub along together, or I can fight against him, which seems to make him more cantankerous.  It is easier to tell Geoff to 'shut up', though.  Much easier than it is to try and talk to myself.  I can tell other people that I don't want to do what they're telling me to do, and Geoff is just another person.  Why should it be any different for him?

To halt any worrying about the strange British girl who's suddenly started hearing voices in her head, I'd like you to know that I am indeed aware that my OCD isn't another little person inside my head, and I do know that the obsessions/compulsions are part of my brain, but it's just so much easier to think of it as not being part of me.  If I think of it as being part of me, then that makes me really sad because it's like there's something wrong with me when, in fact, I think that my OCD is just another part of me, same as I've got blue eyes and three wisdom teeth.

Geoff and I are off to bed now.  He says that I shouldn't be writing about him on my blog because it might make bad things happen.  I think he should know when he's not wanted...