Life is what you make it. I recently moved from a quiet town in the country to chase my big city dreams. Nothing ever goes smoothly, nothing is ever what it seems, but everyday I am getting closer. I am yet another slightly less-than-average girl trying to find her way in London, and in life.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Questions.

Some days we all wake up and feel alone. I'm having one of those days, inexplicable and out of the blue as can be. I've never had many friends, and I've always been jealous that I could never be one of  those people that people take to, that can chat for hours about nothing and everything at the same time. I've been feeling a lot of guilt about that lately, about not having enough to talk about with people and as a result thinking of myself as boring.

Compared to this time last year, I am in a great place. I have people that want to be around me, but I don't know why. Whenever they suggest doing something, I wonder why they want to be around me and worry what to talk to people about. I've had an incredibly sociable couple of weeks and have the same coming up, but instead of making me feel better about myself it is making me question what is happening. Why do these people want to be around me? What do I say so fill all of those hours together? Why do people seem to like me when I don't like myself? What do they see in me that I don't?

Is that normal? I feel like I need to increase my medication. It has balanced me out but I think it could be better. I also started taking beta-blockers, hoping that would alleviate my nerves but after a month that hasn't done anything so I will increase those too. I'm looking for that quick fix, I know that, but I am trying to work on myself too. It's exhausting.

I'm in a constant state of worry, in my house going to the kitchen and praying that no one is in there so I don't have to come up with stuff to say. Getting a message from someone and worrying what to reply and most of the time just ignoring them. Going to the shops at lunch and dreading it when someone says they'll come with me. When it's the end of the day and my best friend K asks if I'm ready to go to walk to the tube together. I hate being in this constant state of worry, I wanted human interactions and now I'm getting them. Why hasn't my self-hatred dissipated now that I have real strong evidence that other people don't hate me? What else do I need to do?

Stats:
Medication: 20mg Citalopram daily, 40mg Propranolol daily
Weight: 13st 6lbs
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Thursday, 3 November 2016

Suddenly we're here.

So that was a strange feeling, reading back through posts that I had completely forgotten that I'd written, feeling like an alien was talking to me, someone that I didn't know I had been. I'm 26 now. Ironically, still the same weight as in my previous post from a year ago (fuck PR - she didn't beat me, but I didn't win either).

I've moved jobs. I came off my anti-depressants (fuck PR again, recurring theme here?). I turned to alcohol for comfort. I've been hiding.

I went on a night out with PR and a few others in August 2015, we had an argument where she accused me of having no feelings or emotions. She was crying, I really didn't feel anything. She was also very drunk, but at the time I just heard exactly what she said and took it at that. I didn't (and don't) care about her option, I don't care about her, but I didn't want to be a robot. I started questioning everything.

I have always felt like an outsider looking in, that I didn't have normal reactions and emotions and that I was just odd. I'm an only child, my parents are divorced, I am very tall and I've always been noticeable, so I've always felt that I stood out. I always felt like I was different to others around me. I started anti-depressants when I was 17, and I couldn't really remember a time without them. So I blamed my medication for making me feel like an outsider, and I honestly felt like I didn't know who I really ways, deep down, without the meds. I was just a pharmaceutical experiment, those evil corporations had just convinced me that I needed their medication so they could take my money and laugh at me from their ivory towers. They were laughing at me, they were looking at me. It was all about me.

Blaming an external entity was the easy solution, obviously. It is always easier to look outwards than inwards, to shift the blame and find a quick fix. The drugs were making me feel like an outsider, they were fucking me up. Which is, ironically, the reason that I started taking them in the first place, but that didn't matter. I was convinced that they were evil.

 I flushed them down the toilet. And about a week ago, I hit bottom. Again.

I've been struggling along without them for just over a year. I convinced myself I was doing well without them, that I didn't need them, that I was stronger than that. My mum was proud of me, she hates thinking that I need something to help me, that there is this foreign body that I rely on to be normal, something she doesn't know or understand. Why can't I just be happy and be me without them? I don't need them, I'm perfect as I am. I wish she was right, but she isn't.

On a normal Monday 2 weeks ago (after a different type of drug binge on the Friday night which probably didn't help) I got to work at 8am and I felt hopeless. I am not an emotional person at all (hence PR's robot comment, which surprisingly enough still stands and I haven't become a patriarch of emotional intelligence and empathy since flushing those poor, doomed pills down the loo) but I was crying as soon as I got in to work. My team are all men (apart from K who was on holiday) and thankfully having the same level of EI as I do, no one noticed. But I realised then that I needed help. I had been struggling. I didn't realise how much, but I was miserable. I had given up everything I enjoyed, apart from drinking. I quit the gym, running and dancing. I didn't leave my bed on weekends. I cried myself to sleep at night and enjoyed it. I didn't reply to people's messages. I hated myself for being alone, but I didn't want to be around anyone. I didn't want anyone to see me or look at me - I was repulsive. I didn't want anyone to speak to me for fear of them realising how boring I really was. I hated myself and wanted to change, but I didn't know how. I didn't feel like I was able to do anything. I dreaded the future, social events, life. I didn't realise how bad it had got.

So now I find myself here, a week or so later, on 20mg of Citalopram (having previously been on 20mg of Fluoxetine, then 20mg of Duloxetine, then back to 40mg of Fluoxetine). I'm not going to say I'm fine now, but I don't feel so bad. I don't feel like I'm on top of the world and that I love my life, but I've not cried again since. I'm not going to tell my mum which is hard, because I tell her pretty much everything and now I feel like there's something between us. But I don't want her pressure, because she doesn't understand why I can't just be happy. I don't understand why I can't just be happy, so I don't expect her to. But I don't pressure myself in to telling myself this is temporary. I have accepted the fact that I might need medication for the rest of my life. It doesn't make me any less me, it just makes me the me that can cope with life. I wish I didn't need them, but I do. I can't help that, and I don't want someone around me, telling me that I don't need them and that I am okay without them. I just want to do what I need to do to be healthy, and I'm at peace with what that means.

I'm going to keep updating this, because it's my therapy. This is my outlet and I enjoy it. I find it quite telling that I haven't felt able to write here in the past year, since coming off my meds. If this is what I need to do what I enjoy again, then so be it. And I encourage all of you to embrace what it is you need to be yourself, too. Don't feel ashamed, or weak, or guilty for needing a bit of help. It doesn't make you any less you. If anything, you are stronger for admitting that you need help and going out and getting it for yourself. This is an intense, boastful, balsy, dog-eat-dog, self-assured time that we live in, and those are the qualities that we are told we need to succeed. If we are not naturally built that way, we are told that we are failures. I refuse to accept that. I am not a failure. I have my many shortcomings but damn do I have my strengths. I am very strong, and opinionated, and determined, and forceful, and arrogant in many ways and no one will ever get one up on me. And that is not something that I could have said a few weeks ago.

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Stats:

Medication: 20mg Citalopram daily
Weight: 13st 6lbs

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Weight loss: Go hard or go home

I am going to Jamaica in two months. Two months yesterday in fact. Two months.

I am incredibly excited, and also fucking nervous as hell because I have a lot of weight to lose. When we went to Mexico last year I went on a spree and lost about 3 stone - I had about 4-5 stone to lose at the time. I now am faced with the same dilemma this year because I like to work under pressure and didn't do anything about it for the remaining months of the year.

This time last year I was 15 stone 9 pounds. I am now 13 stone 4 pounds. At my lowest, I was 12 stone 6 pounds but I've obviously been a lazy shit and had Christmas and whatnot and just got comfortable. By Jamaica, I want to be 11 stone 4 pounds. By Jamaica, in two months time, I want to be 10 stone something. I know that't not going to happen but I like to tell myself that I'm not really 13 stone 4, that was just the fact that I'd had breakfast/worn heavy jeans/hadn't been to the loo. Really, in my head, I reckon I'm about 12 stone 10. So 10 stone 10 is my new impossible goal.

I've made a bet with the girls at work that I will lose the most in the next month, there are 4 of us in total. 2 of them are minuscule and they don't stand a chance, but one girl, PR, is about 3 pounds heavier than me and 2 foot shorter, so she'll lose weight easier. She has more to lose. She is my main competition. She is aiming to lose 6 pounds in a month, I am aiming to lose 1 stone in a month. Go hard or go home, fuckers.

So I started this fitness kick on Monday, it's now Wednesday, and to celebrate last night I went on a date had 2 bottles of red wine and a Guinness. It was not a great call. Damn PR, she's going to beat me.

Just kidding, no chance. I am going to kick everyone's ass. I am going back to my fucking pedantic, anal, meticulous calorie counting using MyFitnessPal (I'm obsessed) and thanks to half price gym membership with work I am going to the gym every single day, usually before work. My food plan is as follows:

I am having porridge for breakfast (plain, no sugar) and a blueberry or strawberry Actimel, which comes to around 250 calories

Home-made salad for lunch (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, sun dried tomatoes, olives, artichokes, beetroot, barbecue cooked chicken, roasted peppers and maybe a slice of goats cheese if I'm feeling naughty) which comes to around 290 calories

Dinner is my current sticking point. Back last year when I lost 3 stone my dinner consisted of vegetables and cocaine and nothing else, but A) the veg was gross and B) I am now 4 people's boss so cocaine on a week night is not advisable. I'm going to have to think about this. Monday night I was unprepared and starving so I ate my bodyweight in pasta and cheese. And last night, as I said, was not particularly successful either (although the date itself was a great success) with my Persian chicken and rice, flatbread, humous, tzatziki and copious alcohol that amounted to about 123862454463934 calories. But tonight, tonight will be different. I need to find a happy medium between drug fuelled starvation and binging on carbs. I think quorn is a good shout, but what else? I hate vegetables, they are just so boring. I hate stir-fry's. Maybe steamed fish? Maybe brown rice and chick peas? I think that's probably what I'll end up doing, I don't mind that. Whatever I go with, I will not be having over 1000 calories a day, including any drinks (oh tea, I miss you so much <3 p="">
Bring on 2 months of pain. Every weekday I will get up at 6am, walk 3.5 miles to work and then go to the gym for an hour. I will do fitness classes in the evenings and walk 3.5 miles home. I will then do my quota for the 30 day squat challenge (read: rest of your life squat challenge).

I need someone to talk to about this, so the short straw has fallen to you my dear friends. It will be pedantic, it will be boring. Please don't judge me.

Jamaica. 2 months, 2 stone. Bring it.

Date: 18/03/2015
Weight: 13 stone 4 pounds

Monday, 29 December 2014

Confessions

In August 2013, I was arrested for drink driving. I had always wanted to be arrested, it was on my bucket list, but it wasn't actually that great. Ironically, I got to tick a major to-do off my list, but the next day I had never felt so disgusting. I had never wanted the ground to swallow me up, to die, as much in my life. I went to court, had my license stripped away and generally had a fuck of a time. In December, I moved to London. This may have inspired the move, it may not have done. I don't really know. It's impossible to look back on these things without bias.

At the time, it was the end of the world. I could not imagine ever being ok again. I honestly thought my life was over: I'd lose my job; my parents would hate me; I would forever be branded 'a criminal'. At the time, I worked in the NHS. My biggest fear was telling my boss and losing a job that I loved. I think the turn around moment came when I told her, crying profusely, expecting to be removed from the premises. Instead. she looked at me with acceptance, told me that I wasn't a bad person, and that everything would be okay. If I needed a lift or had problems getting to work, then I could let her know. I will remember that feeling of relief until the day I die. I was always intimidated by her and always terrified of her authority and professionalism, but in that moment she was my favourite person. I will always hold that as the moment I started my life again. Until that point, suicide was always on my mind. I was a coward, I still am a coward, and couldn't handle the judgement that would inevitably come from my indiscretion. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime, people. Safe to say, I will 100% never have a drop of alcohol before driving again. I haven't driven since, and I really do miss it, but now looking back I can see that that incident may have been the best thing to ever happen to me. If it hadn't, I may have done it again and killed someone. I may have killed someone I love. 

The point to this story is that nothing is as bad as it first seems. However, it does still have its repercussions. In my current job, I travel a moderate amount around the world. Mainly Scandinavia but occasionally the US, and in February last year I went to San Francisco. I was so excited. I text my parents and then casually said, "I'll be fine as long as they don't kick me out for drink driving". I said it jokingly. I didn't really think about it. Then, the dread and the panic set in. What if I got to San Francisco, with my (new, unaware) boss in tow, and got told to piss right back off where I came from? I started Google-ing. I didn't get the answer I was looking for. It turns out no one could tell me for certain if I would be allowed to cross the border or removed back to the UK - unemployed, ashamed and suicidal all over again. Drink driving is deemed to be a criminal offence in the States, and official sources would tell you that you need to go to the US Embassy in London and apply for a non-immigrant visa. Given the nature of my work (read: disorganised boss), I was going to San Francisco in 2 weeks. Nowhere near enough time to go the Embassy, shell over a few hundred pounds and get a visa. So, I spent the next 2 weeks reading a variety of stories online, some where people said you would be fine, others where they said you'd be turned away at the gate. I contemplated cancelling. I contemplated coming clean to my new boss. In the end, I got on that plane, travelled for 11 hours, practically shitting myself with nerves. And then, miraculously, I got to the gate, saw the smiling Latino man stamping passports, went forward, and he let me through. No questions asked. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. 

Now, when I returned home, my mum said she found out just before I got on the plane that her friend's son went to Florida on a family holiday, and was immediately rejected entry for his drink driving history. Just one small offence, like mine, that held a 9 month ban. Nothing more. Why did I get in but he didn't? Is it dependant upon which state you travel to? Are these just urban myths going around to scare people into going to the US Embassy and paying over hundreds of pounds? I don't know. I still don't know. I'm in the position that I will again be going to San Francisco in February, and I am again pondering what to do. Do I get a visa? Do I go to the Embassy and spend about £400, perhaps unnecessarily, but just for peace of mind? 

At the end of the day, drinking and driving is so not fucking worth this.