This is a blog about depression. If you are easily offended or take offence to my very sarcastic humour, please do not read any further. Mental illness is not a joke; it is not something to point fun at and I fully understand that. BUT…when the going gets tough, sarcasm and humour is my defence and so I will be parading it around all over this blog.
If you need help, please get it. Whilst I hope this has a happy ending, I don’t know yet and given I’ve not been able to fix myself, I really don’t want others using this as a ‘How To Be Happy for Beginners v2.0’
Friday morning to most people signifies only a few more hours before the weekend. Today, Friday morning signifies the day I’m going to face up to the scales. This is it. It’s finally happened. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. Only am I the heaviest I’ve ever been but I’m now medically obese. Only by 3lbs but still, I’m obese. It doesn’t feel good. I know some of the weight will drop off if the binges stop. I know a bit more weight will come off if I move just that little bit more. So, I’m now not only drowning in debt, I’m drowning in fat too. On the positive side though, I’ve brushed my teeth and washed my face. I mean small victories and all that.
I’m in a taxi – yes, I know! I’ve read the above and this is the wrong decision – but I’ve got my trainers on. At least these are shoes that won’t rub if/ when I walk home tonight.
Last night, Friend NM was talking about how she runs into work. Wow, to be able to run for 50 minutes. In fact, to be able to run at all, that would be amazing. I’ve recently ‘connected’ with an old school chum on social media. Based on a couple of their posts, I decided to be brave and share my blog as I suspected they may not be in the best of places either. They have recently posted that they are trying to get their fitness back and using the free NHS ‘couch to 5k’ podcast. I think I’m going to try this. Let’s hope. I’ve downloaded it, that’s the first step right? If only it was the only step! I’m feeling positive, I can do this, I can get fit both physically and mentally, I can cope, I can go back to work.
The taxi drops me off outside a Tesco. I go in to get a bottle of water. To reach the cooled drinks though, I have to walk past the biscuits. My positivity is wavering. Maybe just 1 last binge tonight? I mean, Patient C come on, you are obese already, one last self-sabotage won’t hurt. I find the water and pay. I make it out with only the water and a Ribena. I’d love to tell you all that this is because I am going to be strong and not binge but it’s really due to not wanting to carry bags of binge food into the hospital.
Friday CBT is with Therapist W. I like his session but please would H stop trying to rescue me. I get in stating that I felt positive on the way in but then Tesco’s biscuit ailse firmly put me back in my place. So, basically, I either feel positive or like hiding in the dark with my cats and lots of biscuits. Yay me. Therapist W is about to say something when Patient H ‘comes to the rescue’ to tell me how that’s the first positive thought I’ve felt in 3 weeks and don’t I realise how absolutely amazing this is (yes, he really says it with that much enthusiasm). Patient H then tries to suggest I binge on bananas. I mean dude, come on. I appreciate some people in the world have not had an eating disorder, those lucky luck people, however, for a lot, food is a difficult relationship. Not necessarily a full whack eating disorder but still, challenging. So, to all those people, does a banana help fill the emotional hole after a bad day? NO! Eating disorder or not, if I even become that person who has a banana as a treat, you all have full permission to slap me. Therapist W interjects, which is probably best for everyone. He points out that I am not making eye contact, I’m reverting to childish mannerisms to cope. He’s right. If I can’t physically run away from something, not looking at it is the next best option. Take the letter from work yesterday. Therapist W points out something that I know, I fear people’s judgement. In my mind, I assume everyone will think I am an awful person. If I look them in the eye, I must face up to reality. The thing is, by not looking them in the eye, I don’t see their reactions which often are not reactions of complete disgust. Darn you for being right, Therapist W.
The group moves on and I list out some goals for tomorrow. I have nothing planned for Saturday but I am meeting a friend on Sunday so I can’t hide all weekend. I can’t wait for a day at the flat but, my goals list includes getting dressed, washed, doing some washing, unloading the dishwasher, having a bath and working on losing the 56lbs I think I need to lose to be an ‘optimal’ weight of 20.9 rather than my current, overwhelming BMI of 30.4.
I tune back in as Patient S asks for some time. He’s stating, very confidently, he’s a good person. He is, I can attest to that. That’s no the issue, it’s that he is so confident that he is a good person. It’s shocking to me, shocking someone can say with such conviction that they are good and they don’t deserve this hell. I want to feel that about myself.
We end with some wise words, as ever, from Therapist W:
Facades often hurt the person wearing them the most
Having arrived riding a wave of positivity, I get to the restaurant and have the veggie pasta with a side of chips. Ha, bye bye weight loss goals. Patient J3 joins me but finishes before me and leaves. I am about to take my last bite when Patient H asks to join me. Ah ha! I have a very valid reason to say no. I have a 1:1 with Dr. E so need to leave. Although I am not looking forward to the 1:1, at least it gets me out of this situation. Before taking a seat at another table, he asks if I’d like to join him and his god daughter on a day trip tomorrow. No. No no no. My head is shouting it very loudly, I just need to translate this into kind words which do not include ‘yes’. I find a way, somehow. He tells me it’s an open invite so no need to decide now. Well, Patient H, I can assure you that I will not be joining you. I am looking forward to my day at the flat!
Having escaped the restaurant, I am nervous for my 1:1. What the hell am I going to say. My 1:1’s always feel like an exam that I’ve not revised for. I emailed her on Monday saying I am having a tough time. She responded very kindly but this is the first time I’ll be seeing her since then. She’s running late but thankfully the waiting room is colleague free. I head up the stairs once I am called, my heart is pounding and not only due to the mild cardio I’ve just done (yes, stairs count as cardio, at least in my world!). I walk in and slump into the sofa. This really is the clichéd psychiatrist office. How am I? Well, I don’t know. I become an babbling wreck. I seem to have forgotten how to speak English. I do manage to spit out that work has sent me insurance forms. She tells me that this isn’t personal. It really is a ‘just in case’ thing and they send them to everyone off for more than 10 weeks. How do I tell her that I still seem to think we are in February? How do I tell her that I am scared this is it? This is as well as I can be? I don’t. I’m incoherent and she realises that my ‘I’m ok’ façade is just that. I am not. She’s only allotted 10-minutes to this session as I am in day care and she needs to spend more time with me. Can I come back at 2030? I say yes at first. I mean, I don’t have anything planned for tonight so why not. But, it’s me. I’ll go home at 1530 and getting back here will feel impossible. I tell her that. We agree to meet on Monday for a full session but I have to call the hospital if I need to talk to anyone this weekend. I nod whilst walking out the door. I need to get all the things in my head out so she can help me, I don’t want to let her down though.
I head back to the main hospital and there is still 20 minutes until IPT. Patient H is in the reception area with another patient. I take a seat and start chatting. The other patient diffuses his frustrating habits thankfully. We talk about how exhausting all this therapy is, how will we know when we are out the other side and dark jokes about the hospital. Whilst talking, I message Friend GG to confirm we are still meeting on Sunday. I’ll take the first step. I’ll be proactive to make sure I have plans to leave the flat which in turn means I have to wash. As I am about to head to IPT, Patient H reminds me that the invitation for tomorrow is still open, simply meet him outside the hospital at 1130. Patient H isn’t coming to IPT as he has a 1:1 so I wave him off whilst knowing full well I will not be in front of the hospital tomorrow at 1130.
Friday IP is with Therapist J and there are only 2 of us, Patient J3 and me. Wow! Ok, this is awkward. To add to the somewhat awkward tension in the room, the air conditioning is leaking one slow drip at a time onto the carpet. It really helps set the mood! I check in as low and wishing I was hiding at home. Why hiding at home? Well, running away and hiding from things is my speciality. It’s the childish way I protect myself. In fact, I once literally ran away. Many years ago, the summer of G.C.S.E results came around. I was so worked up that I’d failed them all, I ran out the house at 0530. I then walked, slowly, to school 4 miles away. I sat in a nearby wooded area until it was 0930 and time to collect the results. I did better than I the complete failure I’d expected. I passed them all. It didn’t stop me collapsing in tears round the corner though due to shame that they weren’t the perfect A’s so many other girls got. Another great example that I’ve already mentioned on the blog is that I run away after sending big emails at work. I literally run to the ladies and hide in a cubicle. I mean come on, I am a grown woman and someone calling me out on an email has reduced me to a scared little girl in the toilets.
I am not sure how but we move onto the topic of my binging. I am guessing the tenuous link is that I binge to run away from the feelings I have. Well, when I was younger, whilst my parents were still together, we never had junk food. Ever. In fact, our party bags used to be taken off us when we got home. One time, like the clever little so-and-so I thought I was, I scoffed the lot on the journey home. My father’s prized possession, a Porsche Carrera 911 was being driven by my mother. The back seats in said model are nearly non-existent. In a moment of panic, and with the inevitable vomit rising up in my throat, I opened the map pocket on the front seat and proceeded to empty my stomach contents. Once home, Mum ordered Sister to carry me up to the bath whilst she worked out what to do. Looking back at this, approximately 26 years later, I only wish I’d been sick in both map pockets! I can’t recall Father’s reaction but I can promise you, it wouldn’t have included asking how I was feeling.
Back in IPT and Patient J3 starts talking. I’ve written down that I need to learn to take care of me and to give myself the safety and care I need. Then, there is a large question mark. If I know how to do that, I’d be doing it! I’d not be here at the hospital!
IPT ends early. When there are only 2 of you, there is only so much to discuss. I head out and walk to M&S. We all know where this is heading. I pick up a basket and proceed to pick up £34 worth of binge food. I am ashamed to admit it but the very fact I feel ashamed means it’s important I tell you. Once paid, I get a taxi, another point of shame.
Once home, it’s a quick change into the pjs and dressing gown before starting on the binge. I then receive a text from Friend GG. She’s confused the dates and can’t make Sunday anymore. I reply saying it’s not a problem. It’s true, it’s not. It means more time at home with the cats and the binge food.
Once I am stuffed, I start the head nod of tiredness. It’s only 1900. Is it too early to head to bed? I decide not. I pop my night meds and slide into bed. I can’t keep my eyes open long enough to set the alarm but right now, it’s time for sleep.
2 hours 45 minutes later and I wake up thinking it’s Saturday morning. It’s not. It’s Friday night and it’s 2145. Excellent. It was inevitable, going to bed that early but I thought I’d at least get to 0300! I am too awake to roll back over so instead, repositioning myself on the sofa whilst attacking the Sudoko. This continues until 0300 when I feel ready to fall asleep again. I know, I’ve made an obvious mistake. I should have kept myself awake a bit longer. Never mind, at least it’s Saturday tomorrow which means I can sleep in and stay at the flat all day!