For a place and for a time.

Maybe it’s because tomorrow I have my first exam since my GCSEs.

And I feel clueless and like I’m fifteen again.

[Only that time, I was too ill for school, I was right to be nervous and afraid of my exams.  I came back that day to quietness.  God knows what was happening to me.  Ten years later and I still don’t know.  I managed a few months, here and there, once got applause when I came in, 90 minutes late, but I did. I took a proud bow.  By that time they had stopped chastising me, and my name no longer adorned most columns of the school’s late book in the secretary’s office.  I didn’t need notes from my mum anymore. Just showing up once in a while was good enough.  Eventually, everybody stops asking.  You hear from the lower forms you’ve slipped into mythology without even realising it].

And it’s too quiet here, in my adult life, with my dad dead now and my mum very quiet on the phone.  I miss the sound of them fighting.

Upstairs’ television blaring down fills me with nostalgia. Except it used to be downstairs blaring up.

Exams were the times when there was hot tea on the fire place in the morning.

I know I have family here in London.  Robert and the cats are my family, too.

Robert introduced me to his grandparents over the weekend.  I was in a family photo, looking more adult than I have ever done.  I want to introduce him to my granny, she’s the only one left.  And she’s brilliant.  At daddy’s funeral, at his graveside, she asked me if I believed in god.  I told her honestly no.  She told me she didn’t either but she hoped there was a hell so Iain Paisley would burn in it.

I know I tell that story a lot, but it says all you need to know about my granny.  That, and when I went to hospital a year or two ago, we traipsed the ward with our cold coffee to visit her in intensive care after a major operation.  She wasn’t there; we thought the worst.  We had tears ready to ambush the poor nurse.  But she’d been moved- two days in, not weeks- to the normal ward, and was sitting up.

But I miss my mum and my brother and sisters.

I haven’t seen them in ages because I couldn’t get home for Christmas.  How can Belfast feel like the other side of the world sometimes?  How can fifteen seem so present when there is nothing in my earthly possession but my nervousness and faulting memory that is from the years?

I miss my dad.  I miss his grave, and like missing him when he was alive, I’m afraid to go home and see it in case its in an even worse state than when I saw it last.

I'm the wreck here! Face sponsored by Olanzapine.

I miss home!

Tender and tired.  Goodnight.

Body dysmorphic disorder- the only ex I hate

I received an email a few days ago asking me why I never mention body dysmorphia these days. (This reader also has body dysmorphia and wrote that she liked this blog because there’s not a lot out there about it).  And I realised I did rather abruptly stop talking about it.

Well!  There’s a few reasons for that.

The first one is that I have never liked to discuss it as I just felt vain.  It’s also a very boring topic, your looks.   The times I talked about it most were when I was going through CBT, with body dysmorphic disorder being the diagnosis that led me there.

The second and most important reason it doesn’t feature largely on this blog is because it no longer features largely in my thoughts.  I don’t have body dysmorphic disorder any more.  The rituals are gone, as is the overwhelming anxiety.  So I consider that one dusted.

So, in this entry I’m going to talk about why that is, and what helped me.

This got long…

Continue reading


“Oh dear”, I thought.  “I spent three days asleep.  I keep bursting into tears for no reason.  Every time Robert opens his mouth, every time I open my inbox, every time I pick up the phone, read a sentence, watch an advert, I think they’re criticising me.  And why wouldn’t they?  I’m so crap.  I’m so stupid and ugly and hideous.  No wonder I didn’t get accepted to King’s.  No wonder everyone hates me.  I just want to eat.  I just want to eat chicken and chocolate and go back to bed in my pyjamas.  I stink like shit.  I haven’t washed in days.  I can’t face doing any of my work.  I have no energy.

Am I getting depressed again?  But there’s no reason to be depressed.  And that’s always a bad sign.  Oh shit, oh bollocks.  Not again.  I can’t do this again”.

Then a day later, curled in the foetal position, a powerful pulse of pain.  I reached for the painkillers and cancelled the evening.  And then I realised.  I’m not depressed.  It’s just, y’know.


Never been so grateful to be doubled up in agony.  I was getting worried.  I have become hyper-vigilant to my moods.  I’m constantly waiting for another episode of something to knock me on my arse into the dust.    I sometimes forget I’m the type of woman who gets down and emotional and thinks plants are calling her fat when I’m Y’KNOW.

Today I feel normal again.  And I view my five days of bursting into tears at Andrex ads like a little bit of a holiday.  This is why I missed my periods when they stopped dead from stress.  I remember when I wasn’t using tampons but I was using Lithium and listening to women moan about PMS.  I felt a sense of grief at how natural and how uncomplicated that was.  There is something so wonderfully ordinary, something that makes me feel part of the human race, about being a woman on her period.

But there are no jaffa cakes left.

FAKE EDIT: I’m aware some of you will read this and roll your eyes.  Please feel free to discuss CHICKEN, JAFFA CAKES or FEMINISM in the comments instead.

Rethink podcast: mental health and social networking

A while ago I was involved in a podcast with Rethink on the topic of social networking. I wrote a bit about it here.  All the swearing has been edited out so now you can listen to it!  Links below.

If you are still feeling charitable, please go to the podcast on the iTunes store and give it 5 stars. Then send the link to your friends and ask them to do the same. This is really important, because if we get more than 20 ratings, we could become the highest-rated mental health podcast on iTunes – which will help us make the case for Rethink investing in and producing more podcasts, including items more directly focused on helping people affected by mental illness.

Direct link to iTunes

  1. · – share and enjoy.

It is also on the main Rethink site here:


Thank you!

Life is unfair, kill yourself or get over it

Privated last post, I think I have enough comments now.  Few months to decide.  Realistically, I feel I’m going to have to push ahead with this year.  A large part of me just really wants to get started, I spend so much time reading student nurse forums and feeling jealous.  My non-realistic side is saying, “Follow the dream!  The insanely competitive dream!” From people “in the know” (nurses, lecturers), I’ve been very strongly advised to go this year due to intake cuts next year.  So who knows!  Either way I can’t mope and wah about it.   Continue reading


Edited this post, I think I have enough comments now.  Few months to decide.  Realistically, I feel I’m going to push ahead with this year.  A large part of me just really wants to get started, I spend so much time reading student nurse forums and feeling jealous.  My non-realistic side is saying, “Follow the dream!  The insanely competitive dream!” From people “in the know” (nurses, lecturers), I’ve been very strongly advised to go this year due to intake cuts next year.  So who knows.  I’ve spent the past four days asleep so I think I’m a little bit down anyway and it’s clouding my judgement a little.

If I’m being really, painfully honest, I just hoped to feel all excited about it all, and I’m not. This is a once in a lifetime thing, really.  After fucking up my education so badly the first time around, I never imagined I’d even get to university. I’d allowed myself to hope I’d get to the place I was so desperate to go to. Then I messed up my interview!  Whoops.  I’d hoped I’d be all happy and celebratory when I got my (just the one for now) offer.  I really wanted to be, I tried to be.  I wasn’t, that’s passed, and there it is, all gone.  I think I am just disappointed about that, almost above all else.  I wanted another go at it so I was excited instead of anxious and worried (at the moment I cry almost every time I think about it all).  I wanted to feel proud of myself, like I’d achieved something, but I don’t feel that way.  That’s my own fault, though, that’s my own ridiculously high standards that I set for myself.  I have a perfectionist streak a mile wide, and I am competitive, as much as I don’t like to admit to it sometimes.  But yeah, it’s just a moment in time, it doesn’t matter.  Future does, so, suck it up, eh?

I don’t have my certificates yet, so I may end up with nothing, which would be hilarious.

Thanks for the advice, chaps. x

Whoops, I’m fine!

I made an old post (October 2008, so very old) about an overdose public because somebody emailed me remembering that they’d read it and wanted to again.  For some reason, it always publicises on Twitter or emails people when I change the post status.   Because of this, it looks like a recent post if you don’t check the date.  Likewise, it means that sometimes you’ll see a link on Twitter or Facebook to a non-existent post- that’s usually me accidentally publishing an old post that I didn’t mean to.

So, just to reassure people- I am, in fact, completely fine!  Thank you for your well-wishing, but I haven’t taken an overdose or been to hospital.  Well, I have, but not in two and a half years and I’d really be milking it by now.


Comic Relief and there is a duck outside my flat

Edit: read my previous post, people are saying interesting things!

Why is there currently a duck outside my flat?  It’s been there a while.  It scared the bollocks out of me when I heard it quack.  I like my nature where I can find it, at a safe distance in parks, not on an estate in South London.

What do I?  Not used to nature visiting like this.  Do I offer it a fag or something?  I’ve only got menthols.

Speaking of ducks, it’s Red Nose Day tomorrow!

That’s an event sponsored by Comic Relief, one of the better UK charities and whose annual with Rowan Atkinson scared me as a child.   They fund many great projects, including some of mental health charities such as Rethink. I went to their BBC Radio Three concert on Monday and galliantly- along with almost 4000 other people- broke the world record for most kazoos players in one room!  Hooray!

All proceeds of that raucousness went to Comic Relief.  If you support them, donate!  I’m partly posting this because my limit right now is a fiver, so I hope if people read this and like Comic Relief they can add a fiver, too!

There’s also twitrelief on Twitter and eBay, auctioning off celebrity twitter following and some extras.  I’m not sure whether that’s inventive and generous or cynical profile raising shit but it raises cash, so who gives a toss?  If there was an auction for kicking Nelson Mandela right in the balls that raised money, it’d be worth it.  If there was one for kicking Ricky Gervais in the balls, I’d happily donate both money and an afternoon to really dedicate myself to it.

Anyway, hooray for Comic Relief!

Observer article on confessional blogging

Hello!  If you want to read the article, it’s here:

It’s quite an interesting article about the roots and rise of confessional blogging.  Why do we share so much, and what are the pitfalls of using the internet like a box in a church?  In the print version, I was slightly amused that the strapline accompanying my piece was, “Bipolar writer blogs about her sad but darkly funny life”.  It was the, “sad” bit that made me grin.  I might get, “Sad” tattooed on one knuckle, and, “Darkly funny” on another.  I don’t have a sad life- I don’t think I’ve had a sad life, either.  Apart from the usual things of a troubled family and dead parent- and, of course, periods of being a bit mental- I think my life has been quite a good one.  Right now, it is a lovely one.  In general I’m not particularly sad in my demeanor.  I’m wondering if people who read it now think I blog in a darkened room, adorned in a veil, capturing my tears in a well. (I actually catch my tears in a saucepan, then add them to ink).

That aside, it’s an excellent article. Part arch cautionary tale, part wink-wink celebration. I know why I started: I’ve always kept a journal and I was worried about boring the knobs of the people around me with my tiresome bibbling about treatment. I know why I wound down, too- I started out as a barely-left-teenagehood mentalist and have ended up a 25 year old woman who was tied to the identity of a young mentalist. I’ve been quite lucky in terms of blogging.  I write about something that is intensely personal.  In the before-subbing version of my bit, I mentioned that this topic leaves you open and vulnerable to some very damaging criticism, or just plain malice.  I haven’t had much of that.  Apart from a few unpleasant commenters, the worst thing that’s happened to me as a result of this blog is somebody finding my address and harassing me via email and other means, threatening to come to my door.  If they had, they would have had their balls knocked into their throat by me.  That was ages ago, though.

Having said that, I am still keeping the majority of this blog offline for now. It isn’t trying to hide my past, it’s that my past is in a searchable archive that people keep quoting back at me. And also some of it makes me bite my fist in its melodramatic silliness. I’m not ashamed of my past, though, and not ashamed of this blog. I do feel less of a compulsion to write here these days, and I’m sometimes irritated at myself for finding it difficult to write about topics that aren’t confined to the few square inches of my own skull.  It’s not good.  But I am weirdly attached to it!

Anyway, go, have a read! And if you blog- why?

Show Me Something Saturday

I’ve updated my other blog with this post, go there and show me something!


PS: Don’t use the link to get here anymore, it’s gone!

I think I might be in the Observer magazine on Sunday

(Edit; Not writing about world events right now as it would sound trite, but I hope Japanese readers out there are okay).

I think, anyway.  I’m not entirely sure but I wrote about confessional blogging for them, and to my knowledge it’s being published on Sunday.  So if you want to read it, there you go!  It’s about the pros (and pitfalls) of being a non-anonymous blogger.  I haven’t read the final edit of it so it’ll be a surprise to me, too!

So much for not blogging anymore, eh?  I sneakily lost about 70% of my readers in the process, which I don’t mind, and I’m a lot more comfortable here now I have privated a lot of my posts.  I let the domain lapse, too, which I regret a bit, but I didn’t know how to sort it out.  I had started to become freaked out by it all, which I’ve explained before (see above post).  This is a quieter place now, come to my lounge, let us drink tea and talk of times past!

If this is going to be a pluggy self obsessed post, I may as well get it all out the way now…

I wrote an article for lovely One in Four, too, about recovery.  Their current issue is now out. It’s over here:

I also have a backlog of emails to respond to- I’ve been on a shitty mobile connection for two months and I haven’t been keeping up. I was doing blog posts on Word then emailing them and copying and pasting.  I’m aware it’s self important to say such things, but I feel like an arse for not replying to emails when I know the balls it takes people to write them.

I finally have Internet Proper, which means streaming Robocop and fantasising about making tiny armour for the cat.  Aside from wasting my time doing that, I am inundated with school work, which is pretty much sapping my life.   The knockback from KCL somewhat dented my momentum on my course, but I’m shaking it off and trotting on.  I missed my ICT class tonight due to needing to do a presentation on Tuesday.  About polycystic ovarian syndrome.  Anything  you need to know and be delivered nervously on endocrine disorders, I’m yer girl.

Aside from that, I really have almost nothing to say for myself!  I have inadvertently become someone who tidies up the kitchen without being asked.   I have more than two clean dishes on the go at a time.  I’ve taken up fucking BAKING.  Life is quiet and mostly happy. Except…I am struck often by the feeling I am wasting my life and that I have wasted the past five years. I had all this time, and what did I do with it but bitch and moan?  I haven’t done much, haven’t written much that I wanted to (still haven’t written a bloody book, but that’s due to fighting discomfort about being that open to boots in the balls), few jobs, no qualifications.  Starting again, in a way, twenty five and potless for pissing, screwing my eyes up at Harvard referencing and dreaming of being a nurse-writer, or a writer-nurse, depending on how infuriating I am finding the formally mentioned Harvard referencing.  But then I find myself on the toilet downloading PDFs about mental health nursing and psychology and reading them in bed or at the bus stop.

It’s something I’m finding hard to face and reconcile- I know, rationally, I haven’t wasted my life, I’ve done Stuff, some interesting, awesome, fun and unusual stuff.  (Radio 4 is still surreal when I think about, working with Rethink has always been brilliant and fun things are as fun as running over the, “This is a fucking deathtrap” bridge in the Dog Kennel Hill Adventure Playground on Wednesday, and smiling, fondly, like a mum, at the football table I’d gotten for Robert two Christmasses ago, residing happily between the warring arms of two teenagers in the youth portacabin).  I know this, but part of my surprise at enjoying baking and doing the dishes, being domestic, is because I don’t feel 25, as my life- the 9-5 working life, the saving-up-for-the-future-life (impossible on benefits) stopped when I was 21.  I might have had a 15 month old baby by now.  When I hear upstairs’ baby bawling its balls off at 1am I’m relieved, and then I hear it laughing at 8am, and I feel, briefly, wistful.

It’s ordinary, it’s a normal feeling to have.  Everyone goes through phases of thinking, “My life is a waste!” and wishing they were more windswept, more interesting.  They’ll write that novel and travel the world and they don’t, few do. Some try, have a kind of spasmodic crisis.  But it’s not a waste.  Not really. I know this, too.

I’m still doing fine.  Bit hermitty and lonesome, as my social life is dead these days.  I’m too busy doing school work anyway.   I continue to look as though I am storing food in my cheeks.   My writing ability has somewhat deserted me, and it takes a lot more effort to write than I’m used to. I keep missing out words. I know this, I was aware of this before. But it’s irritating, especially as I have essays. They’re supposed to sound dull and dry. But duller and drier still. Ah well.  I am mostly happy, though.  Having small adventures.

There’s a tank in Bermondsey.


Go and visit it if you’re in London, it’s here!  It’s just there, at the corner of a street on one of the busiest roads in the city, near the monolithic Elephant and Castle.  It’s like walking into an animation.

Anyway, I’m tired, sick of looking at Powerpoint and bibbling!  Goodnight!

Britain’s Secret Slaves

Nothing to do with mental health, but you should all watch this on 4oD.

From the website:

Over 15,000 domestic workers leave their families to come to Britain every year. Charities claim that many are not only badly treated but that they are living as slaves. Continue reading

I didn’t get into King’s

Feel completely devastated. Probably because I sucked so much at interview. Red wine and crying for tonight. I wish I didn’t live here right now, that I hadn’t moved here in the hope I’d be going there; I have to pass King’s College Hospital and the Maudsley all the time. I also wish I had some friends (most people on my FB are people I have never met, and am not likely to, to give you a measure of such things) so I could ring someone up and ask them to sit with me and listen to me bawl my eyes out because I feel foolish and lonely doing it on my own. That said, people are being lovely and supportive and cheering. But I really want my sisters! Damn sea and Newcastle.

I don’t have anything more than a mobile internet connection and few DVDs so I can’t even watch shite on TV to distract myself and cheer myself up. I am embarrassed because I found out in the middle of my class and I had to leave before I burst into tears in front of our King’s lecturer! I just feel stupid, I feel thick and not good enough. I look at my lack of qualifications, not even a job in the past four years, and think, “Of course they didn’t offer me a place. Why would they?” I feel like a failure. I know it’s irrational but it’s how I feel. I have worked my arse off.

Tomorrow I will hopefully feel better. Tomorrow I’ll think of plan Bs. Tonight I am allowed to cry for something I had my heart set on.

PS: Goodbye third year elective in Zambia. Would have been fun.

%d bloggers like this: