I wonder, have I lived a skeleton’s life,
As a disbeliever in reality
– Wallace Stevens, As You Leave the Room
This is a recovery blog. It’s about getting better, getting through this, getting past it. Lately it’s been harder to write positive things. It’s been hard to know that the positive steps I’ve taken have left me exposed to things I fear. Part of getting better is talking, being honest about things. And I have, and for all that it’s right to, it’s left me open. Ridicule; disgust; anger; shock. Responses I am terrified of, and fear I deserve. Once something’s been said there’s no escaping it. It’s there, in the world and to me it feels as though the truths I’ve told are written all over my face. Sometimes, mid-conversation, I flinch with the sudden tightness under my ribs: people have seen my worst sides, my secrets, my weaknesses. And it feels like everybody has. It’s humiliating. It hurts more than I ever thought it could.
This makes me angry. I’m furious at myself for being so weak. Then I’m furious at the people I trust because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have admitted things, and I wouldn’t be sitting around blushing every time I try to think. I’m unkind when I’m angry. Guilty when I’ve been unkind. Vicious cycle. I’m sorry.
When my sister was little and spilt something, or hurt herself, she would turn to the nearest person and get annoyed with them. That’s how I feel now. I am so embarrassed that all I can think to do is shout. It’s a risky strategy, because the things that could be shouted back might kill me. There are things that could be thrown back at me that would make me choke on my tongue rather than speak ever again. Exposure.
I have pushed away someone close to me, because I can’t trust myself to be a good friend, or even an average one, or even to be normal. Last night, instead of a friend, I texted someone who hurt me, because I don’t care if I upset her, and because I would like to be hurt again. I want to be made to feel bad. I want evidence of what I know I am. If I am going to be hurt, I want to be the executor of it. I want to want it.
I try to stop talking to my friends. Because I know how hurtful I am when I’m hurt. Irrational and sometimes nasty. Always to the people who deserve it least. I try to stop talking… but my need overtakes and I’m back to stupid texts and messages, spilling from all sides, feeling sick because I can’t just leave people alone. I can’t count on both hands, now, how many people I have told things that I would throw up if I had to hear them out loud.
Today, a close friend called my parents. She was really worried- she said she has never heard me sound this ill. She (among other friends) wants me to check into a hospital. She doesn’t know what to say to me. No-one does at the moment and it isn’t their fault. I get annoyed because that confirms what I don’t want to know: something is really, really wrong. It panics me- I feel ungrateful for not being better, I feel sad for not being kinder. I have no right to be unwell. There are a million excuses:I’ve written an essay, I can’t be ill. I went out to lunch, I can’t be ill. I didn’t have nightmares yesterday, I can’t be ill. I need to be well because I am a grown-up, I am fine, I am an MA student, I want things, I need to get on with things, I need to do things, I’m busy, I have insight, so I can’t be ill.
Yet, that insight is how I know this isn’t right. Sitting here at 4a.m. after waking sweatdrenched, barely breathing, unstitched arm sore and salty. Craving a drink minutes after surfacing. One bottle of wine today was nowhere near enough, what can that mean? Now I’m unable to concentrate even on “Outnumbered”… because this needs to be written.
I feel calm now because that hour and a half was the best sleep I’ve had this week. The state I woke in, unbelievably, was the best it’s been recently. I am alone, so there’s no-one here to witness any of it, and that’s a relief. Drilling in my mind: my girlfriend doesn’t want to be with me because who would want to be near someone so pathetic, so childish, scared of the dark, crying on waking, scared of “the nothing that is there & nothing that isn’t” (Wallace Stevens, The Snowman). If I always slept alone, if I kept myself quiet inside myself, maybe I would be less stressful.
I fell asleep swelled up with shame, mind running over my latest confessions like a tongue over a chipped tooth. It always feels bigger inside, doesn’t it? I’m being accused of something inside myself, something that relates to everything I’m thinking of at the moment, one sentence that links all these things: I wanted it.
I fucking wanted it.
But even if it’s true… that I want this, that I deserve this, honesty demands that I do what’s right. Stop hurting the people I love by trying to cover this up… it is not working. I spent a large part of yesterday holding my hand over my left elbow because I noticed blood coming through the sleeve. People are seeing what I won’t say- it keeps happening. Physically and emotionally, this is not working any more.
Before I give up, before I take the worst path, I owe it to a lot of people to try to live up to my resolution.