anxiety

  • Babysitting.....

    They say that we all have a "Guardian Angel".

    Someone with our best interests at heart, "watching our back", ready to step in and fight our corner the minute that things start to get tricky.

    Except that when I was drinking, I didn't need a Guardian Angel. I needed a full time carer. Preferably one who didn't sleep and who was happy to work 25 hours a day, 8 days a week.

    Continue reading

  • Single White Female.....

    I remember how scarily brilliant this film was when it first came out. It scared the shit out of me. I was on the edge of my seat with a cushion over my face for at least half of it.

    Can you imagine that?? Like if that actually happened to you??

    Because you've just happened to cross paths one day with someone who decides that they want what you have. And so they decide to take it....with or without consent. And fuck the consequences...

    But then that would never happen obviously. Because Single white female is just a film....

    Continue reading

  • Self-Preservation.....

    Birmingham New Street train station main entrance is not the place for a meltdown. This is what I am telling myself as I wave goodbye to the taxi driver and attempt to drag both myself and my bags through the automatic doors towards the turnstile.

    I'm tired, wired and just really need to catch my train today. So, tempting as it is to just sit on a step with my head on my knees and make the world around me go away right now, it's not really an option for me at the minute. 

    Continue reading

  • There's No Place like Home....

    I've travelled 350 miles to see my family.

    All two of them.

    It's not going great.

    I should be sat in my mums house keeping her company but my buttons have been pressed enough for one day and I can't handle that right now. So I'm sat, by myself in Wetherspoons, nursing my pretend beer and killing time until I can't put the rest of the evening off any longer.

    Continue reading

  • FUBAR....

    I'm attracted to chaos like a moth to a flame.

    I always have been. Since I was a child - Subconciously re-creating car crash scenarios.

    It's familiar.

    I know where I am with chaos. I know "what to do".  It's all I've been used to. Noise and uncertaintainty and drama. So I've always had a plan B for when plan A goes wrong. Which is most of the time.

    Continue reading

  • Despicable Me....

    12 months ago I was unemployable. 

    I wore the same crumpled clothes for days on end, rarely showered or brushed my teeth and my hair was matted and tangled. I weighed just over 6 stone and was so thin and malnourished that  I struggled to walk.

    Continue reading

  • Blacking Out.....

    My friend Nathan knows me pretty well - We spend a lot of time together. A lot more time than we used to actually, now that I'm sober and capable of stringing more than just the odd sentence together.

    Tonight we are talking  about my drinking days. I don't really want to have this conversation but it's Nath and he was worried for a while and so  I know that I should.

     I take a sip of my drink, grit my teeth and prepare myself for a bumpy ride...

    Continue reading

  • Hands Clean....

    Before I became ill and way before I became a writer, I had a completely different life.

    I was a fixer. A magician. A person who performed miracles and made magic happen. If people said that it couldn't be done I would prove them wrong  by being  the person to do it.

     

    Continue reading

  • Hospital Food....

    So this is a story about a man.

    A funny, intelligent and articulate man who has recently snowballed into my day to day life.

    Out of the blue. From Nowhere.

    Completely unexpectedly,  and completely unannounced. It's kind of a complicated story. Involving an extremely complicated man.

     

    Continue reading

  • (Inner) Fox Hunting....

    Before I met M I was a fox.

    That's not me being big-headed. I just was. I was  confident, outgoing and liked to show my seductive side.

    I used to have flings. Wear pretty, girly playsuits and dresses with sky-high heels. I  Drank Champagne; dabbled in Class A's in swanky hotel rooms. I was careless and fearless. I knew who I was and where I was coming from..

    Then I let somebody steal my sparkle.

    He was drawn to my face, my figure and my confidence. But then used them as weapons against me. 

    At first I didn't notice the signs. But then they became unmissable. And inner fox went down the rabbit hole - having found herself surplus to requirements. 

    My pretty dresses became jeans and leggings. My heels became converse and ballet pumps. My make up went from elegant and girly to muted, then faded....then non existent. My beautiful, crazy cave-womanish hair that always drew compliments was hidden in buns and side ponytails. So that I wouldn't attract attention. 

    It wasn't enough. 

    Every man who glanced at me wanted to take me to bed. Most of the women too....according to the way that M's mind worked. In his head I was constantly out shagging the world the minute that his back was turned. I couldn't keep up with his accusations and escalating violence. Because of course I needed to be punished for being so "available" to everyone who crossed my path.....He drained my vitality and left me with ashes. 

    Anyway, that was a year ago.

    I left him. Although not before significant damage had been done to my head and my confidence.

    I've been trying to rebuild for a while. And now I'm taking my power back.

    Despite his "encouragement" and suggestions that I "donate" my "old" wardrobe back then to the charity shop, I didn't.  I kept hold of my pretty dresses and my shoes. Well, the ones that he didn't manage to wreck anyway....

    They are here, now, in my wardrobe.....

    I unpacked them today... 

    Because inner fox has been missing for too long, and I want her back. I miss her. She completes me.....

    So today I have made what I used to call an "executive decision"....and I am going back down  into that rabbit hole. But I'm not staying long. It's just a flying visit. And when I come out I will have both my inner fox and my sparkle back.... 

    And this time I'm keeping hold of them....

  • Inner Diva goes Camping....

    So I didn't actually tell him that we're over.  

    We somehow went camping instead....

    Big mistake -  Massive in fact. It turns out that my inner Diva doesn't like camping. Or more accurately she does - but just not with him.

    Anyway. It started to go wrong at Sports Direct. AKA Inner Diva's idea of hell. Apparantly it was necessary to buy walking boots. Oh God. It was the quickest Sports direct sale in history. "These in a size 5 please. No I won't need to try them on. BrilliantThankYouBye" And..."Whoosh!". Inner Diva was gone.  Off  to join my inner fox in Lush. 

    Anyway. Camping.

    Nowhere near a wood or a forest by the way.

    No.We were on a car park. In the middle of bloody nowhere. In a gale. . Brilliant. What was also lovely were the lack of facilities. As in there were none. Nada. Nothing. Unless you counted sheep.

    Not so bad at night time having a wee in the dark in the bushes.  Not quite the same the next morning attempting to wee in broad daylight and then finding out that my lady garden has been clocked by several elderly coastal walkers and car drivers pulling into said car park.

    Mortifying. For me. Not them.

    So then we go coastal walking. In the rain. Up a cliff.

    Inner Diva is not impressed. One iota. It's blowing a gale and she's morphed into a sulky toddler who's run out of prams to throw her toys out of. Inner Diva is essentially throwing a strop to end all strops. He is left in no doubt at just how little she is enjoying this. It would have made painful viewing. If there was anyone else around. Because mysteriously, not many other people seem to be halfway up a cliff. In the rain. Clearly not having fun. No. They are all doing normal stuff. In the warm somewhere. Like I should be doing. 

    God I need to end this. I'll tell him tomorrow. 

  • This Is Depression....

    I wrote this last night. It's a tiny snapshot of just how shit my life was a year ago and where my head was at that time. A lot has changed in a year and I am now happy and healthy. More good luck than judgement. But I'm grateful that I am here and that things are so much different now......

    This was my depression....

    I'm getting thin. There are dark circles under my eyes. My clothes don't fit me and my hair is a mess.

    I look terrible.

    I don't care.

     

    Continue reading

  • Constant Craving....

    It's Saturday night.

    I'm alone in my room watching Netflix and occasionally checking my twitter account.

    All of my friends are either working or doing things that tonight don't include me and so I am home alone, just me myself and I. I'm bored and don't really know what to do with myself.

    I thought about going out but it's not really the same just sitting on your own.  Plus I work here. I try and keep my work and my private life separate. I don't want to be sat propping up the  bar on my nights off.  It looks a bit desperate.

    I'm trying not to look at the bottle that's on my bedside table. The bottle that has a label that reads 0.0 Alcohol Free. Because my mind can't seem to process that. It looks like alcohol. It tastes like alcohol. But it's not. Yet my tastebuds say it must be. And suddenly my head is reverting back to old behaviours. My old buttons are being pressed. Because, despite me having two similar bottles unopened in the fridge, my head is pressing me to go out and get more. To stockpile. Even though it's pissing down outside. Because my head for some unknown reason appears to want to get obliterated again. It's talking to me. Chatter, chatter, chatter. I'm determined to ignore it.

    I thought that I was over this. That I've kicked my addiction.

    However, this  internal conversation that I appear to be having with my "inner addict" right now appears to be telling me otherwise. 

    I always thought that it was bollocks when they banged on about it in rehab. Apparantly not. My "inner addict" is alive and kicking if this conversation is to be believed. It's  just taken a while for it to introduce itself. Almost a year actually. Well ten months and twenty one days. Not that I've been counting. It's just that the admission date of detox is tattooed on my brain.

    So this is not what I wanted to find out today. That there's yet another mountain to climb.

    I've been super, super careful around anything to do with alcohol since I walked out of rehab.  I'm not going down that road again for anyone. But I don't want to live in a coffee shop either. Or go to meetings every night. I'm a social girl. I like bars and restaurants.

    But I was so sick to death of drinking squash. It made me feel like a child. And I was sick of the questions. And the automatic jumping to conclusions by people who haven't got a clue about me or my life choices now let alone why I made them. 

    So going alcohol free opened new doors. I looked like everyone else now. With my beer thats not beer really.

    Only it is.

    It contains traces. Teeny, tiny bits of the poison that I used to try and drown myself with. My body knows it and my chemical hooks are kicking in.

    This is not good. Or maybe it is. Maybe it's my inner voice urging me not to be stupid about this. That it's waving a red flag ( however small) in my direction for a reason. 

    I have the capacity to make stupid decisions as my blogs and my life story have shown. But the occasional stupid mistake doesn't mean that I actually am stupid. Because I'm not. Being stupid would be for me to not pay attention to this, think "In for a penny, in for a pound" and get back onto the real stuff pronto. 

    But that would drag me straight back to hell. And that would be beyond stupid. I learned my lesson the first time.

    I get up and pour my pretend beer down the sink. Bollocks. Fruit shoot it is then.

  • Hermiting....

    I'm writing in Wetherspoons.

     I caught the bus into town. Had the obligatory conversations with the characters and old dears who live in my sleepy little village while I waited at the bus stop outside the post office a.k.a -  The hub of our tranquil little corner of the world. Then I buried my head in a book for the duration of the journey until I reached my destination.

    After a bit of retail therapy I'll catch the bus back. Walking through these green fields of nothingness until I reach my little van tucked away amongst the trees, out here in nowheresville.

    I'll lock myself in. Later I'll cook. Maybe listen to music. Shower, and then write or  watch Netflix. I'll either be in bed before Midnight or still awake at 3....

     

    At some point I need to think about socialising.

    People are friendly here; There's a generation gap a lot of the time but I quite like it. They probably already know who I am. A quick fling with a work colleague probably hasn't done me any favours thanks to his disgruntled ex girlfriend who, so I've heard on the grapevine, couldn't wait to tell all and sundry what a floozy I am. Maybe she needs to get over it. She definitely needs to stop taking my tips. It's been 18 months since they split. And she's welcome to try and get him back. Although I doubt that he would have her...she's a bit of a cow....(my thoughts, his words). Massive arse....

    Anyway - Socialising....It's on my to-do list. It's necessary. But it's a daunting prospect. It's such a tiny place. One wrong move here and you're screwed. And I'm kind of the queen of making wrong moves. Plus I'm scared. I find it hard to trust people. A side effect of living with drop outs and criminals during my brief stint in rehab and supported housing. I didn't really get to mix with normal. Just the broken and flawed.

    It's changed me a little bit. Toughened me up. Given me an edge that I'm not sure I like. I'm struggling to get to grips with this new, suspicious me. I give off an aura of a woman not to be messed with. Don't get me wrong, it has its plus points - I no longer get hit on in Wetherspoons for example; I've clearly moved up a few notches since those days.... But  it's a bit of a double edged sword when you are new in town and are looking to make new friends.

    Everything here is chocolate box territory. There are a lot of tractors and happy,  muddy dogs walked by equally happy "dressed for the weather" villagers. All itching to find out more about the new girl.

    There are two pubs. Proper cosy village affairs. All draft beers and real ales. I stand out in my sobriety on the rare occasion that I venture out. That, coupled with the fact that  I'm new in town makes me  stick out here like a sore thumb.

    The old me wouldn't bat an eyelid at being sat on her own amongst strangers in a strange town. But I'm not the old me anymore. My confidence took a hiding after the pyschopath boyfriend episode. So I'm much quieter these days. Bordering on shy. Which is making me just want to stay a recluse. It's so much easier than contemplating putting myself out there....

    I've lived here for three months and I don't know any streetnames, or cut-throughs or anybody's name apart from those of my work colleagues. That's a bit unsettling. I feel almost agoraphobic which isn't especially helpful to my state of mind after the year I've had already.

    So I'm not sure how to handle this right now. It's all a little bit overwhelming. I feel damned if I do and damned if I don't. I'm lonely but I'm scared to socialise. Not exactly a winning combination. Especially if in the future I want to think about dating again....because at this rate unless any future potential Mr Right breaks in to my caravan  he's unlikely to find me. And if he was to break in then obviously I would be phoning the police - not contemplating going out with him.....God. Sometimes I wish that our little post office/convienience store sold new heads. They sell just about everything else. That way I could trade this one in and just crack on. Unfortunately, although they do a mean line in novelty keyrings and postcards for those amongst us just passing through, they don't appear to have any heads in stock. 

    Bugger. 

  • Despicable Me....

    12 months ago I was unemployable. 

    I wore the same crumpled clothes for days on end, rarely showered or brushed my teeth and my hair was matted and tangled. I weighed just over 6 stone and was so thin and malnourished that  I struggled to walk.

    People laughed and talked about me...when they weren't trying to take advantage - Which was most of the time.

    I was a skeletal suicidal mess.

    A horrific year drove me to have  a mental breakdown and completely wrecked my once normal happy and stable life. It rendered me virtually incapable of anything except drowning myself in alcohol, and forcing myself to make  the everyday  necessary walk to the off-licence to buy more supplies.

    But there were valid  reasons behind my erratic  behaviour and lack of personal hygiene. Apart from the crushing depression that threatened to consume me on a daily basis....

    I didn't not change my clothes or shower because I was lazy -  I was sofa-surfing and the truth was that I was scared to take my clothes off in a virtual strangers house - I couldn't bear the thought of him knowing that I was naked just the other side of the door. For all sorts of reasons. Even though I'm sure that his intentions were good. So to be on the safe side I wore everything I owned. Constantly. Boots included. Even when I got into my sleeping bag. Especially when I got into my sleeping bag..... I was vulnerable in the day. I wasn't taking any chances at night.....

    I didn't brush my teeth because simply attempting to put a brush into my mouth made me sick. Bile mainly. I wasn't eating enough to throw up properly.

    And my hair was tangled and matted because of the way that I was living. And the fact that I didn't have a hairbrush or the money to sort it out.

    I was signed off on long term sick.  I was addicted to alcohol and my life was a car crash....

    No-one would have wanted to employ me. I wouldn't have been able to hold a job down if they did....

    It was horrific. No. It was beyond horrific. I was living in hell.

    Almost 11 months later and it is a completely different story.

    I'm free from my addiction. I  have a job and a nice place to live. I sleep in my own  bed every night. I shower and brush my teeth every day twice a day.

    I wear nice clothes. I change them daily too.

    I cook for myself and my fridge and my cupboards are full.

    My hair and my home gleam.

    My boss doesn't know about the horrors of my past. I take pride in the fact that he would never guess. He took a chance on me and my CV full of gaping holes because he saw something in me that he could trust.

    I work hard and I've never once let him down by being late, slovenly or disrespectful.

    In the mornings I clean toilets. I do whatever job he asks of me with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. In my spare time I write. 

    All I needed to help me to turn my life back around once I'd sought help for my addiction was someone just to give me a chance.

    He did and I make sure every single day that I repay him for that.

    Thankfully, more and more employers are waking up to the fact that Mental Illness exists. That it affects a lot of people, and that it isn't going to go away anytime soon. 

    Living with Mental Illness is hard. A lot of people who have this feel isolated, inferior and inadequate; Because they've been made to feel this way -  People with qualifications, and transferrable life skills. People like me  who are an absolute dream to employ if someone just  takes the time to reach out and offer that chance without letting outdated ideas and social stigmas get in the way......

    Like #the888collectiv. A Social Enterprise with Mental Health firmly rooted in the heart of its Constitution - because they understand. They "Get it". They get how hard it is to sell yourself to an employer when your self esteem and self confidence are on the floor. They've opened their door anyway. No lengthy explanations needed.

    Throwing a lifeline for people like me when other people prefer to look away.

    Girls I salute you. Long may you reign xx

    Follow them on #Twitter @the888collectiv or catch up with their latest news at www.the888collective.com 

  • Generation Hex....

    Mental illness runs in my family.

    Addiction and suicide are rife - My fathers side mainly.

    I have his hair. And the same blue/grey eyes. I wonder if this counts? That one day this will be enough to tip me over. And I get to join the ranks of those who came before me. 

    They grew up in care. Seven institutionalised adults  came churning out of the machine after my nan decided that she didn't much like children after all once they had arrived. I can only imagine the damage that did to them all. Not the best start in life for any kid.

    Continue reading

  • Old Ghosts....

    I'm sat in my teeny caravan. It's where Little man and I lived after J left me. It's been 4 years but I'm still overwhelmed whenever I think about it.

    Little man is all around me. I'm sat opposite his favourite spot. I can still see the ghost of him....

    I can't believe how much emotion is still attached to this place. It symbolises Death to me. The death of my marriage. Little mans death not long after we moved here and ultimately the near death of me and the actual death of everything I thought I knew about myself.

    I'm sat in the spot where I waited to die. It feels surreal and I'm about to cry. The ghost of the old me is in here too.  She's hanging out with Little mans.

    I can't bear this amount of grief. It's like a body blow every time I come here. It's keeping me trapped. I need her to leave.

    It's going to take some doing. 

    I've been cleaning for hours with every window open to try and get some life back in here. I need this to be a happy place. I can't walk in here and be swamped with sadness everytime I open the door. It's time for a fresh start. This is the last thing that has any hold over me emotionally and I'm going to re-invent it with the same energy that is helping me to re-invent myself.

    Only it's not working. 

    It doesn't matter how hard I scrub, how much incense I burn, how many trinkets I buy to try and make it homely again nothing is working. The energy and the memories just won't shift. 

    Because she still thinks that she's dead. The old traumatised me. She actually thinks that she died here. I know how much she wanted to. To be with Little man. So that she didn't have to worry about how horribly wrong it was all going. And how she would ever manage on her own  without him to cling to.

    To her this could never be  a home, filled with it's grief and it's loss and its trauma. To her it was a coffin. She was just waiting for the lid to close.

    So I'll sell it. Or scrap it.

    I can't live in a coffin. Because coffins are for dead people. And despite it being an extremely close call for a while, I'm still here.

    I'm not dead.