This truly is bipolar disorder at its worst. The voices tell me to keep my mouth shut and hide behind a door, while a part of me wants to scream “HELP ME” to the whole entire world. I guess I will settle for hiding behind my bedroom door and avoiding talking to anyone, but write about it here, to my anonymous readers who do not know me. That way the voices are still getting what they want and I get to let some things out.
For the past few days- maybe a week, I cannot recall- it has gone something like this every day: One moment I am skipping about (literally), or chasing my puppy around the house with a bag of frozen peas, or dancing around my room with my eyes shut, listening to upbeat, happy music; and then the next I am arguing with the voices in my head, physically holding my head in my hands out of sheer mental distress, then I am crying uncontrollably, before the whole cycle begins again.
At least I have had my ‘up’ periods where nothing bad seems to matter for that time and I am smiling, laughing and singing and music is just…. It is like God (although I am an Atheist). But today it is like I have entered into this dark, dark world inside my own mind and there is no way out. It is completely out of character for me to shut myself in a single room and not want to talk to anyone. I cannot begin to describe the pain I feel in this moment; the loneliness, the desperation and the total and utter despair. I didn’t get out of bed until 3pm and I couldn’t tell you what I have been doing since then. At some point I came in here, I put on loud music and I shut my door to the whole world. It has to either be this way or I do something totally mental and very damaging. That is what I feel like doing. I feel like buying a litre of vodka, getting on a boat and going somewhere where no one knows me and drinking myself into oblivion before potentially throwing myself off the nearest cliff.
I have always been fascinated by death. I was once told I had an obsession with it and I felt offended, but now I see that it’s completely true. I am fascinated by it, I fear it deeply and yet, so often, I desire it as if it is some sort of an addictive drug that will bring me pleasure and relief.
I have lost far too many people (and animals) for a person of my age, if there’s actually some sort of a rule to loss. Those I have lost in my short life included two young friends, James, who tragically took his own life at 21, and Jake, who died suddenly at 22 while travelling around India. It is truly awful to lose anyone you love, but no one ever expects to lose their friends who are of a similar age. Before James died (who also had bipolar), we had many chats about mental illness and unhappiness. Although I was still a teenager and misdiagnosed with general depression at the time, when James spoke to me about his disorder I related to it so much and soon came to the conclusion that I, too, was a sufferer (although I was not officially diagnosed as bipolar until I was 21).
I am telling you this because, on the news of his death, everyone was of course shocked and incredibly saddened, but it never stopped there for me. He left this world in 2008 and there are still nights when I shut my eyes and I visualize his final moments. It is hard to even write this as it seems so graphic, but James, he hung himself in the woods and I will often see that last struggle in my mind. The image is something that has haunted me since the moment I heard of his untimely passing, I don’t think I can control what I see in my mind almost every night, but it fascinates me because I wonder if I will end up going in that dramatic way.
When I am like this, every day I plan my own end. I have taken countless overdoses and I have cut my wrists and I just keep on surviving. Most days I am grateful to have survived on so many occasions, but I cannot help but wonder to myself how I will do it ’properly’ next time (if there is one). You know when someone really means it, like James, because there are ways one simply cannot ‘fail.’
I see that this is all getting a bit too morbid. I suppose I am one of those people who just does as they feel; I write as I think and feel, and I certainly somehow manage to say absolutely everything and anything that happens to come into my mind when I am talking to most people, to both their and my own detriment, much of the time. In some ways I suppose that is something to be proud of, and not ashamed of, because I am completely and painfully honest. I guess not many people can say that of themselves. Perhaps it is a gift, but most of the time it feels like a curse.
Anyway, the other thing that has happened this evening is that I ‘decided’ to go back to Her, to Ana; the anorexic personality that lives in my head, whom I talk to, argue with, get angry with, thank and praise. This begins now, tonight, since all I ate today was toast so I can wake up to my first (almost) empty morning tomorrow, and HELL have I missed that feeling for the past 12 weeks.
I wrote a list (or should I say She wrote a list). A list of all the many reasons I need her back in my life, fully, including points like “Fuck everyone. Fuck everything. The pain and torture of this world is nothing to me when I am permanently hungry,” and “It is just the most wonderful and elating feeling in the universe to be in total control of my weight and what does (or does not) enter my mouth.”
For the most part of three months now I have been trying to ‘recover’ on my own. With no professional help and with very little support from any other person, aside from one. But Ana has been ever so loud for the past few days. She never completely left, always there in the back of my mind telling me I’m making a grave mistake every time a single crumb passes my lips. But I have been managing to ignore her, for the most part. I reached a point recently where I accepted my body’s natural shape. I came to the realisation that I will never adore my body, but I can accept it at least and not stage any wars against it. I started to enjoy my food again and not see it as my enemy, and my metabolism started working again so I didn’t gain weight every single time I ate. Things were going rather OK, but my life was not.
So what went wrong tonight?
Tonight I realised I cannot stand living my life (as it is, which is a mess) without doing anything self-destructive. I am an addict, through and through and I constantly need to be doing something (at least when I am unhappy) that will allow me to hide from my real feelings. A couple of days ago I went out of the house on my own with a sincere plan to throw away almost four years of sobriety and get incredibly drunk. Two hours later, I found myself walking home with a takeaway coffee in my hand, so I guess the bigger part of me wants to maintain my recovery in that area of my life. I value it more than anything, so I can only fast forward the tape and imagine how I will feel once I sober up. I then considered self-harm, but concluded that I have enough horrific scars on my wrists as it is which are never going to go away and I have to look at them and remember my mistakes every hour of every day. My other trick to get away from my problems is to starve myself and indulge myself in the release that that sort of destruction brings me.
Tonight I realised that there is no one around me now who is going to give me any hassle for not eating. I am no longer in a relationship, so I cannot screw that up. I have also reached a point where I really don’t think anyone at all- bar my one real friend- actually cares if I start that up again. Also, I can afford to be weak and ill because I have no one to see and nothing to do, unlike where I lived before.
I cannot think of a single genuine reason not to self-destruct right now. You may call me crazy (I think you would be quite right), but I sort of think taking this course of action will- in a way- save my life, for the time being. I have so, so many thoughts of killing myself, but when I concentrate on anorexia it is like I have a reason to live. It is hard to explain… When I am starving myself that becomes my one and only purpose in life. Admittedly, I am probably crazy in thinking I won’t let it get as far as the last time, which resulted in hospitals and rehab. The truth is, once you are back in, there is often not much chance of coming back out again. But I am just so sick and tired of my daily existence and its pains that I have lost the drive to get any better.
I told someone last night that having one person I know who truly cares what happens to me is not enough of a reason to go on. That is the honest truth.
There’s this song I am listening to now, ‘Strip My Mind’ (by the Red Hot Chili Peppers), and it says ‘please don’t strip my mind.’ In fact, I would say the opposite at the moment, ‘please, strip my mind.’ Strip it back to before the bad thoughts arrived, back to when I was young and naïve and never worried about a single thing.
Strip my mind and let me start again, and I’ll try not to fuck it all up this time…
[In Loving Memory of James Hayward: ‘Space Man.’ Always missed, never forgotten. x]