Freedom

I’m home, I’m free, it’s over. The first year of university is done, and somehow, I survived.

I’ve had a fantastic time, I’ve learnt so much and come so far in terms of positivity and confidence. I’ve learnt to make friends and to have fun. I feel like I’ve done okay and I hope the results will reflect that.

But for now I’m going to enjoy the freedom. I’ve gotten myself a summer job, I’ve got friends to spend time with and sunshine to enjoy. There’s fun to be had and the pressures are gone, so I must make the most of it.

For me, the freedom doesn’t happen that much. The pressures of exams provide a crippling pain and I’m bound by stress and fear. I’m keen to please, and deathly afraid of failure. But that is gone now.

Now, there’s walks to go on and ice creams to eat, there’s routes to run and nights out to have, plans to make and organisation to be done. It’s a four month summer and I must make the most of the freedom.

But am I really all that free? Or am I caught by the chains of my own existence? Trapped by the past and the future, a rabbit in the headlights and unable to escape. Unable to help myself, never mind others. Trapped. Bound. Afraid. Worried. Helpless.

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It doesn’t just ‘go’

A mental health issue doesn’t just disappear. An eating disorder doesn’t just go away. You don’t just get better, and suddenly eat like a normal person. And I know that. I’ve said it a million times and I know it deep down, but every time she tells me she’s okay, I believe her. I want to trust her. She’s my best friend, after all, and she should have no reason to lie to me.

But of course she lies. She doesn’t want anyone to worry, because it could stop the eating disorder in it’s tracks. She trusts and loves her eating and her mind control more than me. But I’m her best friend, and thought that we spent the last five years building equal trust. No, I’m fooled again. I fell for the lies and promises, again. And now I’ve realised, again. And I’m crying, again. Because she told me she was okay and I didn’t think she’d lie to me.

But she did, and it’s broken me.

She’s not okay and she’s never going to be okay, because food will always rule her life. But nobody knows that except me, and boy can she hide it from the rest of the world. From 500 miles away, she knows there’s nothing I can do.
‘I don’t skip meals’
‘I don’t count calories’
‘I don’t weigh myself’
‘I value my degree too much’
BUT THAT’S NOT TRUE AND IT’S BULLSHIT.

Every time she lies, and I realise, she hurts me. She stabs me, and it is her fault. Surely she knows by now that FRIENDSHIP isn’t about LIES. I’m going to worry anyway, I’ve cried myself to sleep the last few nights anyway, just thinking. And soon enough, I found out, anyway. Talk to me. You don’t have to listen to me, listening is hard, but please to god be honest with me.

Yes, I am angry. Yes, I’m very angry. Because I tried to hard to make it easy for you, to help you, and most of all, to be here for you. Don’t you remember where this started? Don’t you remember how this makes me feel? Don’t you remember how much I hate it when you LIE TO ME!? Don’t you remember how bad it got, and how bad you were, and how you just didn’t eat at all? That could be happening now. I wouldn’t know though, you’re too far away. You could be taking laxatives, or weighing yourself ten times a day again. I wouldn’t know unless you trust and tell me. But you won’t, will you? I have 21 assignments to do, but I’m curled up on my bed, crying. Crying because I love you. Crying because you lied. Crying because I’m worried. Crying because it’s not healthy. Crying because I need you. Crying because you deserve better than this. Crying because I care.

I don’t have to read back through my posts from a year ago to know how it feels to see you suffer. But maybe you should try it. I don’t have to read them to see how helpless I was and how much I cared, and how much I needed you to trust me. But I think that perhaps you do.

Lying to me helps nobody, and if you’re going to continue, I’m going to start doubting if this friendship is worth it anymore.

I know it’s hard. Trust me, I know. But friends don’t work unless we’re honest. Friends don’t work unless we care. Friends don’t work unless we respect each other.

I’m not asking you to change. I’m not asking you to get help. I know it isn’t easy and I know it won’t go away. What I’m asking is that you treat me like the friend that you claim I am. Answer my questions honestly, and don’t try to make me feel better because you think I need it.

That only makes things about three billion times worse when I found out, as you’d realise if you could see me now.

I’m broken, I’m hurt, and I’m more afraid than ever before.

Letting Go, and Allowing her to Protect Herself

It’s tough to go without contact, and there’s many reasons for that. Over the last six months or so, my trust has grown however, and it’s much easier now than it ever was before. It’s okay, she’s not like the others, and my best friend won’t abandon me. It doesn’t matter if we have a few weeks of silence, to allow her to concentrate, she’ll still be here for me, to hug me at christmas. Until then, I’ll just rock myself to sleep, shhh my own tears, and worry on my own. It’s only two weeks, I’m strong, and I can do that. I’m ready for it, and I’m feeling more determined than ever.

Whilst I can’t promise to say nothing for the next few weeks, I can sure slow down. And you know what I’m going to focus on? That when we meet up back at home, it’ll be even more special, they’ll be even more love, and we’ll truly have lots to talk about.

There’s only niggling feeling that holds me back, and it’s the ghosts of the last few months. Food, eating disorders, pain, worry, lies, and heartache. I saw a picture today of someone on Facebook. It’s been merely months since I last saw her, and though I didn’t know her well, I didn’t even recognise her in the photo. She looks old, her face looks gaunt, and she’s clearly lost a lot of weight since moving away. Someone who I used to go to school with, and see on a regular basis, a completely different person.

That could easily be my best friend. She could quite easily not eat another thing, and exercise for three hours a day for the next few weeks, and I’d be none the wiser. She could end up in A&E having collapsed, or even from self harm, and she’s so far away that she could probably lie it all away. I’d like to think that it wouldn’t happen. I’d like to think that she values her med school exams more than that, and I’d like to think that by this point, she trusts me and values me enough not to lie. I’d like to think that she’d read those envelopes before it got that bad, and she’d ask me for help.

But it’s scary. Nobody is perfect, and the prospect is still very real. That’s why I’m scared to let go. In the past, it may have been about me, but it’s just not that anymore. I truly care about her. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. She’s like a big sister to me, and I wouldn’t cope if I knew she was lying, and I certainly wouldn’t cope if she wasn’t in this world anymore. I love her, she’s beautiful in every way, and the back of my mind is a little afraid to let go, because it means that I can’t protect her anymore. I have to trust her to protect herself.

Please say it’s not too late.

I knew there was something wrong last night. I knew it wasn’t quite normal. I don’t know how I knew, but something in my head told me it wasn’t right, and so I couldn’t sleep. The silence was abnormal, especially when she’d said earlier on that she wanted to see something. I couldn’t understand, but I pacified myself, and I slept.

I don’t know what I dreamt about in my sleep last night, but I know that it wasn’t pleasant. I woke up this morning, my ponytail hanging out, my neck blotchy, my covers tangled and my pyjamas in a mess. Normally, I’m a delicate sleeper, who doesn’t move. My dad has described me as sleeping beauty. I was definitely dreaming last night.

I promised myself last night that I wouldn’t be the first to talk today. I swore that I wouldn’t send the first message, or the first snapchat. I knew she’d been out last night, but when I woke up today and saw that there was no reply to last nights messages, and no drunk snapchat story, I was sure it wasn’t right. Thinking that perhaps she’d just lost her phone, I sent her a facebook message. A few other signs led me to complete uncontrollable panic before she replied. She’s alive, at least. No, actually, I’ve got that wrong. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that she’s simply living.

It’s rather odd that I sensed there was something wrong, when she’s so far away. But perhaps I already knew, really. A few days ago, she told me that she might have to start opening her ‘open when’ letters soon. I questioned it then, asked her if she was coping, but she denied all cases of struggle. Of course she did, she always lies to me.

I’m heartbroken. I’ve told her that later, she is going to Skype me, and she has to eat before then. I thought I was a friend, I thought that I was somebody that she could trust, and talk to. I can’t give her s choice this time, I’m just going to have to show her ghat distance doesn’t change anything. Everything had been going so perfectly, and now she’s crashed so suddenly. It was always too good to be true. I’m so worried about her, because there’s nobody up there who knows, and who can care for her. Oh wait, there’s nobody at all who actually really believes it. It’s just me and her against the world.

I can’t fix everything, but I need her to talk to me. Now, the questions are spinning around my head, and I’m glad I don’t have any lectures today. There’s no way I could concentrate. How long have you not been eating properly for? What’s happened? Have you done anything stupid? Why didn’t you talk to me?

I’m here for you. I love you. It’s a shame that you can’t trust me to be by your side as much as I trust you, because right now, you’re falling from the sky, and I’m beginning to worry that it might be just a little too late for me to give you a parachute.

Just thinking is killing me. But this isn’t about me. This is because I care about you. Deny it all you like, but it won’t change anything. I care, and I want you to talk to me. I don’t want you to be alone.

I don’t want you to die.

Naive

I thought I’d fixed it. I thought that I’d used super glue and it would never come apart again. However, I’ve just discovered the loose pieces left over. There’s one or two fragments that I forgot to put back. And what about all the dust? All the bits that were lost which we now can no longer see? They’ve been swept off and into the distance by the wind. What became of those?

I haven’t fixed it. It might look fixed on the outside, but the cracks are still there. It’s never going to be the same. There’s still a chip in the rim, and a hole in the bottom.

Just as I was beginning to believe that what happened at leavers had been the best outcome for everyone, I’ve realised just how far from the truth that really is. Here I was, happy in my little oblivious bubble, thinking that we’d achieved the perfect outcome. My best friend was still talking to me, my best friend found someone that she could trust and told an adult about everything that’s happened in her life, my best friend’s mum was informed, and her mum made a doctors appointment. The situation was taken out of my hands, I thought she was safe, and I was much more relaxed. How could I be so naive as to believe that it would be so simple.

Then, last night happened. We were talking about her doctors appointment, and while the addressed some other things at that appointment, they didn’t mention eating. Her mum isn’t worried about her eating because she doesn’t look skinny enough to have an eating disorder. She thinks that it all stemmed from her other issues and that it’s not a problem, and so she didn’t mention it to the doctor. She couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’m helpless and there is nothing more I can do. The adults in her life know, but they have dismissed it. I’ve done what I can, and now I’m lost. Completely hopeless and lost. It doesn’t matter what I say, because she won’t act upon it. I’m worried about her going to uni. Hell, she’s worried about herself going to uni, but without the adults in her life behind her, she won’t do anything to try to change. I’ve tried so many things in the past, and none of them worked. I’ve cried, I’ve screamed, I’ve blamed myself, I’ve told her that she’ll die, I’ve told her that it’s killing me. But I am not an adult, I’m just a friend, so she doesn’t listen to me. I did the hardest thing, and I told those adults, yet they have simply ignored the concerns.

For the first time in months, I cried myself to sleep again. I wanted to talk. I’ve learnt over the past couple of years how amazing talking can be, but I suddenly felt very alone once more. Nobody else could understand this, and of the three people I’d trust to talk to, I don’t want to burden any of them. This isn’t their job or their responsibility. Those adults aren’t trained to deal with this, and I’m sure they don’t have the time to deal with my ‘petty little worries’.

So for now, I’ll speak only to the darkness, and pray that it somehow gets better. Right now though, I’m simply watching her die.

Living. Laughing. Loving.

alex122rw

Okay Without Wishes

I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it tonight. I spent a few hours in A&E this evening, and we were pushing it. I had the thrill of changing in a car park, and running to the venue where someone else had luckily tuned my flute for me. It’s always me that gets into the wars, isn’t it!?

I had to be there. Tonight was the night of my last ever concert with my school jazz band. That’s sad, I’m so so upset to leave. In the last piece of my set, I had tears in my eyes, but tonight, I found watching the other bands harder still.

With her very ill and at home, I stood and watched others play the solos that should belong to my best friend. Once more, I looked for a star to wish upon. Again, the clouds meant that I couldn’t find one. Maybe that means that we don’t need a star and it’ll be okay without wishes. I’m not going to stop wishing on my heart though, I simply cannot take that risk.

I’m contemplating life again, and I’m not sure how it’s going to pan out. It’s a big and scary world out there, but I’ve decided that I need to keep up a game of pretend, concentrate on the little things, and have fun. I’ve enjoyed tonight, but I think that the given situation meant that it was important to sit alone and let down my guard for a few seconds, to allow myself to worry.

Living. Laughing. Loving.

alex122rw

Panic.

If you asked me if I’d ever had a panic attack, I’d say yes. I thought I knew what panic was. That feeling where your breathing goes all funny, and you feel like you’re loosing control. When I panic, I clutch my best friends hand and slowly wait for reality to return. My stomach churns and it doesn’t seem to matter how hard I try and concentrate, my breathing gets faster and faster and faster until I begin to feel dizzy.

Tonight however, I experienced a very different type of panic. An email arrived in my inbox. It was an email that I was half expecting, but at the same time I was dreading. The name flashed up at the top of my iPad and I panicked. Usually, I can feel the onset of panic and suppress it, but this was different. Lets say I was sure happy to be on my own. My face heated up, my stomach flipped, and I felt almost instantly as though I was having an asthma attack. My chest tightened, I couldn’t breathe, and by the time I finished reading the email, I was shaking uncontrollably. It took every last bit of energy to get up, have a drink, breathe, and not throw up. When the panic eventually subsided, I lay on my bed and waited for my energy to return. I was exhausted.

I wrote this post a long time ago, back on 12th April. It has taken me this long to work up the courage to actually post it. That’s mainly because I’ve been waiting to see what the outcome of that email might or might not be.

Fortunately, the next time I saw the person who sent me the email was over two weeks later. By then, I’d all but forgotten about it (give or take). She hadn’t. So I spent another flute lesson in tears, and this time I couldn’t even call my best friend to come and rescue me, because it has been her that we were talking about. We can’t talk anymore. She will have to tell someone who will change things. My friend doesn’t want that.

The worry continues to grind me. I’m lost once more. Please just let my exams be over, and please someone show me what to do.

Living. Laughing. Loving.

alex122rw