I find it so easy to talk about ‘A’, but this hitch hiker I am ashamed of and writing this has caused me a lot of torment. I wrote this post the day after The ‘A’ Train and I’ve stared at it for days, deliberating whether to publish it or not. (I guess it’s no surprise if you’re now reading this)
I wanted to try though, I needed to try.
This hitch hiker was a particularly tormented dark soul; I was way too busy blocking ‘A’ returning that this one knocked me for six! This hitch hiker is the one that left the judgement in people’s eyes, the one that made me feel worthless and ashamed and the one the majority of my family see when they look at me. It’s the hitch hiker I am mostly defined by, the one I couldn’t hide like ‘A’ and for that reason it’s the hitch hiker I hate the most.
This hitch hiker isn’t worthy of a name. (Unless you count asshole as a valid one?)
We all go through journeys, it’s a part of life, nobody should be frozen in time because of their past, nobody should be held accountable for the rest of their lives for their actions (unless you committed murder or something). For me it has always felt that when I am around certain family members I go back in time and get put back on trial. I go back to feeling worthless and ashamed and leave having teleported back to that time in my mind when a dark hitch hiker tormented my soul.
My family have chosen to never talk about it, just silently judge me for the rest of my life. I’ve never really opened up to any family about it and I don’t know whether it’s just a ‘me’ thing or whether there are others out there that feel the same? I spent many years punishing myself over this hitch hiker, holding onto a deep dirty dark secret of disgust.
- Am I the only one who seems to morph back into a dark time around certain people or family?
- Family time is supposed to be a happy time, isn’t it?
- Am I only person out there that practically dies inside when there’s a family gathering?
All those feelings of being the runt of the litter, the diseased and broken child, simmer to the surface and I can no longer function in anyway other than how everyone judges and sees me from my past, reiterating what they already think they know of me.
That’s what this hitch hiker loves to do.
Torment, shatter, destroy
I can’t really remember how the affair began; it sort of crept up on me without my knowing, took control and embedded itself within me. It bought me rose tinted glasses to wear and literally went by unnoticed for a very long time.
I guess looking back now I can probably pin point when it began and the possible reasons why.
I can probably justify my actions.
- That’s what our hitch hikers love to do to us isn’t it?
Look back at the ‘what if’s’, over and over and over again.
At some point in my parents relationship something broke and when I was 18, after being together for over 30 years, they divorced. They sold the family home and went their separate ways. I had no family home and was temporarily living with my nanny and grampy until either parent could claim me.
My nanny and grampy had three children, my dad, and two witches gifted from Satan himself. The younger witch was a particularly jealous type, I don’t think she was ever fussed on my existence from the off and quite often threatened to hurt me. Weirdly, I never worried about that, I literally ignored her yet I would cry hysterically in the middle of the night because I couldn’t pin point (in my mind) where my school tie was for the morning! (Cheers for that one ‘A’!)
Anyway losing concentration again…where were we…PIPE DOWN ‘A’….
This chapter of my life could be a whole book and I’m not ready to write a novel about this time, so I’m going to summarise the next 6 years of my life and then come back to it in bits throughout my blog when I feel ready. (I am about to have an ‘A’ attack writing this, I can’t stop shivering which is normally my first sign of attack)
Disaster 1 – Parents split taking away the stability of a family home
I believe this is where my new hitch hiker came on board, I needed stability I was petrified without it. This new hitch hiker came in the form of a dark grey cloud of depression, unlike ‘A’, where I feared and felt everything, this was different; I felt numb, detached and didn’t notice this hitch hiker for some time. I welcomed the numbness after years of anxious symptoms. (What a fool I was!)
(I need to stop here and get some camomile tea, I use to laugh at people who recommended this tea but it really does calm me when I’m a shaky cold mess at the onset of ‘A’.)
……I’m back, where were we? Oh yes the disasters…..
Disaster 2 – Moved in with grandparents until parents were both settled and the decision on who goes where can be decided.
This doesn’t sound like a disaster I know but I was back in my childhood second home, back experiencing my nanny’s good and bad days. The bad days didn’t help with my asshole of a hitch hiker, I found I had less tolerance for these days, I always ran away to my boyfriends to ignore them. (I still hate myself to this day for doing this)
Disaster 3 – My grampy gets diagnosed with cancer
One of the most important figures for me growing up was now potentially going to leave me, I couldn’t grasp the concept of being without my grampy, and I needed his strength to keep my mind well. I wouldn’t survive without him. I stayed in denial throughout my grampy’s illness, he was the strongest man I knew, of course he would win this battle. I had nothing to fear, I was numb.
Disaster 4 – My boyfriend and I hit our first hurdle and broke up
He betrayed me, cheated on me. I caught him having sex outside a nightclub with his ex. I did try to stay with him because he was familiar and still wanted me and I honestly thought that nobody else would want me. After 6 years of on and off, I finally felt ready and let him go. My first taste of heart break seemed to stretch out for 6 years. It didn’t seem to come in tears and pain, I stayed detached. Eventually I felt nothing for anyone. I was incapable of feeling anything at all.
The ice queen was born.
Disaster 5 – The Satan spawned witches kick me out of my grandparents when my gramp got a lot sicker
This one caused a crack in my frozen heart, my grampy was moved into hospital permanently and I couldn’t tolerate my nanny’s bad days anymore so they had no use for me living there. The ice queen was very much activated permanently now and because I hated myself for not being there for my nanny when she needed me the most, I didn’t care what happened to me. I needed punishing and I had no value left to my life. I was without my grampy and my mother hadn’t claimed me yet.
Unwanted, irrelevant, Frozen.
Luckily at the same time my mum had moved into a two bed flat so I had somewhere to go. What I didn’t realise is that my mum had taken the divorce extremely badly and had turned to alcohol to mask the pain. (This was a separate battle to my hitch hikers that I spent 10 years trying to fix. I didn’t care about myself all I ever wanted to do was fix other people, people who were more important than me.)
Disaster 6 – Death claimed the wrong life
After spending a month visiting my grampy everyday in hospital, pleading with the universe to trade my life for my grampy’s he sadly lost the fight and passed away. The witches ransack the house with my nanny still in it for valuables. (It was literally like an episode of fun house)
I become anorexic.
I couldn’t depend on anyone, I withdrew from everyone. I was watching my mum become an alcoholic and I couldn’t go through another loss. I couldn’t lose the two most important people to me. So I starved myself.
**If you are recovering from an eating disorder I advise you not to read on and pick up from the next set of ** in bold, further down**
It started off feeling great; I had moments of feeling pleasure from my body’s cry for hunger. INFACT, if I’m honest, at the time, I loved it. I had control, I had the power and I would eat when I wanted to.
It all depended on whether I was having a good or bad day.
Good day – The hunger almost turned me on, I felt awesome, I felt like I was the prettiest, most powerful girl on the planet. I could do what I wanted, I could have who I wanted, and I could be anyone I wanted. I didn’t care that I was hurting the people around me. The ice queen was the most powerful being on earth. She controlled her body and her mind. (Or so the hitch hiker wanted me to think, the difference with this hitch hiker was at the time I had no idea it existed, whereas I always knew when ‘A’ was in control)
Bad day – I hated myself, I couldn’t put a single calorie into my body because if I did it felt like fatty maggots moving through me, and it felt out of control. I cried a lot, I cried to my mum a lot, I apologised for letting her down a lot, for letting everyone down a lot. I apologised for hurting everyone. I felt the most over whelming guilt id ever felt, the fear I felt because of that guilt was crippling. I was often sick to my stomach because of it.
At the age of 23 I was sectioned under the mental health act because of my anorexia. I went into hospital weighing just under 5st. It’s weird to look back because at my lowest weigh I couldn’t see it. I would look in the mirror and see a whale version of my reflection back at me, a version of myself riddled with fatty maggots.
I never saw my true self.
** anyone skipping can pick up from here**
I came out of hospital 3 months later with all the promises in the world I would continue with therapy and although I never dropped back down to my lowest weight I hadn’t conquered the anorexia. I was also diagnosed with Body Dysmorphia Disorder and started to educate myself on the topic so I could understand it.
I continued to tell lies to hide my anorexia and relapsed several times over the years. I carried on having good and bad days and I could never steady myself mentally. I was either up or down, no in-between.
Everyone would say ‘it’s because you never eat ‘, ‘just eat and you’ll be fine’, ‘you make me sick that you think you’re so fat, you’re a bone’. I never saw bones though, I really wanted to see and feel bones but I didn’t. I never could. I also did eat healthy (when in recovery) so I knew that my ups and downs couldn’t just be because of my anorexia; sure it didn’t help but I never felt like it was the cause.
I simply carried on, on my rollercoaster with my masked hitch hiker at large.
I was put on 60mg of medication (I don’t want to name any medications in case someone reading is taking it, it may work for others) to help my anorexia and depression, apparently this was the go to treatment that would help. I can’t be completely negative it did help the depression; it just didn’t help the manic episodes or my Body Dysmorphia which was fuelling my anorexia.
I started to feel like I had a new hitch hiker and I tried to tell the doctors this.
I was told:
I’m just an anorexic dealing with grief in a bad way.
It took a particularly bad manic episode which resulted in me going missing for 4 days, causing extreme worry to my family and ending up with me being hospitalised again.
I was treated for Bipolar Disorder, my medication was changed.
After another 3 months in hospital my mind stabilised on the new medication, the Body Dysmorphia faded and I maintained a healthier weight thereafter. I was never cured of anorexia or the Body Dysmorphia but without the rollercoaster moods I was able to manage it a lot better. Some times it took a lot of work and sometimes I relapsed but I never dropped below the underweight line on the BMI matrix. (Instead I hung around of the border teasing the border control weight police because I could)
My true hitch hiker was revealed to the world.
This hitch hiker- the Bipolar Disorder / the Body Dysmorphia, the lies, the pain caused, and my thin frame, is what my family sees when they looked at me (except for my younger sister and my mother).
The medication I was on made me go through the next 6 years, numb and detached.
I spent the years jumping from job to job, not committing to anything or anyone long term, lying to people that I had achieved more than I actually had, trying to achieve things I lied about achieving but always failing, always giving up. I isolated myself, I never made friends, and I lived in a safe bubble of serenity where nobody judged me. (My teddy bears had seen it all but they continued to stare at me with their loving beady, glass eyes and soft fluffy paws).
Always thinking that without the medication I wouldn’t be in control, that every hitch hiker would come back to haunt me. I was damaged goods and I would lose everything if I didn’t let the medication maintain firmly in the driving seat.
Numb was probably for the best….right?