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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Laura's Soap Box: Good will hunting

Laura's Soap Box: Good will hunting: How much control do we have over our actions? People with addictions and mental illness used to strike me as people who just weren't tryin...

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Importance of a Blood Test

Blood Results from 16/4/12:

Potassium: 2.9 (normal range: 3.5 - 5.0)
Ah potassium. Yes, it's taken a bit of a dive since Thursday when it was 3.8. This is one of the main reasons I get my bloods checked twice a week. Low potassium (hypokalaemia) can be FATAL. Also, to my knowledge,  big swings in the potassium level (as I've graciously demonstrated here for you) can be more dangerous than smaller changes. And, just to round it off, a high level of potassium in the blood (above 5.0) is just as dangerous as a low level. Phew. It's one to watch.
I always feel that I have to touch a shed-load of wood whenever I mention potassium, because I'm very aware that I walk the finest of lines when it comes to my own. Though I rarely (if ever) go beyond the range, I'm most often found some way below the range.
For some, a potassium level of 2.9 may be fatal. It's different for everyone. It is common though to see changes to an ECG (e.g. heart arrythmias) when k+ falls below 2.5...but like I said, everyone's different and this is not an electrolyte to get complacent about (says she..).
I have a contract with my Care-Coordinator that when my k+ falls below 2.5 I must be immediately admitted to hospital for I.V. replacement as the risk is then far too great to manage at home. In reality, we both know that I could drop dead with a potassium higher than this. Over the years we have come to a bit of a compromise. Prior to this I would be admitted to hospital when my potassium fell below 3.0.  The unfortunate thing was that I was in and out of the DGH like a yo-yo at times and instead of keeping me safe it actually started to become detrimental. The reason? Well, when your dehydrated body is hooked up to an I.V. and has bags of saline (the liquid used as a carrier for the potassium) pumped into it, well it -naturally- very thirstily slurps it all up. The salty solution ensures that the fluid gets retained in your body tissues.
The rather alarming end result can be (and in my case is) severe oedema, i.e. bloated to fuck thanks to retained fluid. So, I'd go into hospital; get my potassium up; be discharged...
And come out with an uncontrollable urge to:
I was blinded to the danger I was in and compelled to binge (terror/anxiety/need to dissociate) and then of course vomit and vomit and vomit and vomit....and  oh..there it is: my potassium has fallen below 2.5 again and I'm back in hospital with the I.V.....and on and on ad infinitum...An incredibly un-merry-go-round. 
I have not got enough fingers and toes to count the amount of times I have been a reluctant guest at the DGH.
Or indeed, discharged myself prematurely against medical advice....
 Here's the problem:
 My anxiety sky rockets merely from being away from the sanctuary of my flat ; the fluid really compounds that and, frankly, at that point, with everything heightened to unbearable levels I'd rather be dead anyway (in that moment of head-feckered-crisis, at least). At this point I am not rational.  The constant in-out-in-out just leaves my head spinning and at new depths of irrationality..and physically in a very precarious position (which of course exacerbates the psychological difficulties).
The doctor's placating "the fluid will ease if you give your body a chance...just stop the vomiting" slid off my consciousness like water off a duck's back. And...I discharge myself after the first bag of life-saving fluid with the rationale that if I get anymore bloated it'll worsen my need to binge and vomit. Not clever. Not rational (well, maybe a little?). Just desperate.
Hmm..I have blathered on rather more than I really wanted to..apologies if it's all a bit repetitive.

 These days I have a repeat prescription for potassium supplements, and that bit of leeway to have a go at getting my potassium up myself before I'm subjected to the I.V.
Touch wood it's been nearly a year since my last trip up there. Given the chance, I like to think I can pull things back from the brink. I know one day I'm probably going to be wrong about this. It is easy to get complacent. Even writing this I feel so far removed from reality that the danger often fades into the background too. However, I have taken my potassium supplements this morning and will take more at lunchtime and I will try to minimise b/p this evening while upping my fluids during the day and...*sigh*..yes, it's one big balancing act. Any "normal" person would be appalled at my "management" of my eating disorder, I'm sure. But I do the best I can (I think).

Phosphate: 0.93 (normal range: 1.7 - 2.6)
Electrolytes like potassium and phosphate don't live in a vacuum (so to speak!)....More on this in a later post because I can't be bothered to get into protein metabolism, re-feeding syndrome and such right now.

Creatinine: 97 (normal range for a person of average BMI: 45 - 105. My normal range should be at the lower end of this or, even, lower)
Due to decreased muscle mass (thankyou anorexia - bmi: 12) my creatinine should also be decreased, because it comes from the muscles. They have a proportional relationship:
Muscle mass goes down = reduction in creatinine.
Simply, if your bmi is low so should your creatinine be.
The fact that it is not reduced, indicates impaired renal function i.e. struggling/damaged kidneys; the creatinine is "spilling" over into the blood instead of being processed by the kidneys as it should.
Kidneys: "Oh buggery, we can't keep up!"
It can soar quite quickly upwards in acute renal failure as the kidneys struggle to filter waste products - such as creatinine and urea - and this waste starts to build up in the blood. Ergo, the levels of creatinine and urea are used as early indicators of kidney failure. Essentially, you're being poisoned by your own waste products. Nice.
I've experienced acute kidney failure twice due to dehydration compounded by the use of Ibuprofen (damn toothache). Luckily I was stabilised by I.V. rehydration.  However I'm left with sluggish kidneys that are damaged and don't filter as effectively as they should.
PLEASE NOTE: At the time I did NOT experience a lot of "kidney" pain (it is not uncommon for kidneys to be reduced by up to 80% efficiency before colicky pain kicks in) but I was very confused, and generally felt unwell. My blood pressure was lower than even my "normal" low (as is the case in dehydration. Plus low blood pressure can wreak havoc on the kidneys (particularly if dehydrated i.e blood volume is depleted) because they just don't get enough "oomph" to do their filtering job).
Bear in mind too that if your kidneys are knackered you're most likely going to retain a whole heap of fluid.
The lesson is: Love your kidneys and keep hydrated! Yes, I do feel like the ultimate hypocrite. Sadly knowledge does not always equal (enough) power (again, thankyou irrational might of anorexia).

Urea: 6.6
This is on the rise so I must be careful to stay hydrated. Urea increases with dehydration as, like with creatinine, it is a waste product that will back up in the blood if the kidneys don't have that "oomph" (pressure) to deal with it. The higher the urea the more dehydrated you are.

Glucose: 6.7
This is a little high, for me....

It would seem though that I have run out of that little bit of oomph to carry on with this blood results analysis - for the moment (I started this yesterday!). I'll perhaps go into further detail in future posts where in this one I have lacked.

Suffice to say it is important to ensure your bloods are checked frequently if you have an eating disorder. There are not always obvious symptoms even when there are potentially catastrophic changes going on inside your body.

I also want to add I am not a medic myself and what I know is purely through living with my eating disorder. Everyone is different even if there is usually a common theme. The body is very complex. If you're worried about anything get it checked out by a professional.
I thank you.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Cowardly Bacteria Need Not Apply

An exciting schedule of blood tests and therapy today.
I'll be interested to see what my potassium is doing, as the weekend has not exactly been one of my, um, best.
Last week I just about averted a trip to the DGH (District General Hospital) when my k+ (potassium) dropped to 2.5 - the absolute lowest threshold I can talk my way out of before having to submit to the I.V. That was on Tuesday. Bloods re-tested on Thursday and by some miracle (er, yeah..called "shed-loads of potassium supplements" and a dogged determination not to end up in hospital) I'd managed to get it up to a "within-range" 3.7. Better. Much.
But knowing my blood chemistry like I do (and the effect I can have on it), it would not be beyond belief if my k+ had fallen, a tad..or so, since then. Simply put, it's been a bad weekend.
I managed to drag my sorry carcass to bed last night before 11pm, but, this morning I still feel like I've been trampled by my local herd of wild animals (damn beasts) and beaten around the head with a heavy club (living in the area that I do it's actually not the vague possibility you might think).
I feel sick. Not purgey-sick. Sick sick. Nauseous. Ugh. Bloaty-bellied.
Oh yeah, and I have a tooth-ache.
Still, as ever, I've managed my toast (buttered + honey) and my coffee (I'm sure the caffeine will really help my tender innards *eye-roll*), taken my trough of meds and will swill a bottle of Yakult down shortly for my dose of good bacteria (although, I'm not sure it was formulated to deal with the harsh environment of my stomach which I'm sure is akin to an SAS assault course for the poor little beggars - if not just certain death *sigh*..Oh well, it's the thought that counts..).
Hopefully I won't drown in the bath because I'm having a slight problem with keeping my head up...oops. Great, I'm sure the keyboard-indented-on-forehead is a "key" fashion statement this summer..ahahaha..ah..err..yeah.
Right, time to root out some kamikaze friendly bacteria...

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Crushed Grapes

Oh how could I nearly forget the highlight of my week?! An experience in Asda (bear with me: it gets better).
Now, I hate the whole shopping experience: the startle-bright lights; Imposinging flashy boards screaming "Sale!" here and "3 for 2 on all cakes" there. Bright. Far too bright. Mostly, it makes my insides churn and threaten to dump themselves all over the poor lady with the "try before you buy" tray. Ack. Thankyou but, no no NO!
Skirting past her at speed as my senses are assailed again by the smells; the sounds; the clamour of folk whizzing by trying to bag their bargains. I try to maintain my tunnel-vision; list in shaking, sweaty hand; focus; focus. Oh good grief, my head! I knew I should've shopped online (but for the fact that the delivery man surely must think I am giving asylum to a whole host of refugees!). Sweaty pits; not good.
Supermarkets are where folk go to give their raw, primal urges a good workout. I swear. Elbows at dawn and all that. This is no environment for a nervous wallflower.
Oh and bugger, I forgot, the kids are off school! My palm smacks my sweaty brow. Doh! And, of course, the best place to entertain the kids is in the gloriously super-duper-fun fun fun aisles of Asda. But yes! Of course; so much to see; so much to do; so many anxious wallies like me to skid, skip and jump in front of.  Whoop-WOO!!
Kids: I love'em, I promise, just..couldn't eat a whole one.
I stretch the smile of (what I fear is) mania across my  face..
"Oh no, no that's fine" I make a piffling hand gesture to the little darlings' Mother "they're just having fun, bless 'em". And, to be fair, I imagine Asda's not a bad place for a bit of hide 'n' seek, it's just..well, not under my trolley!! 
Mini-meltdown averted as aforementioned child gets dragged by (to be fair-again) his rather harrassed looking Mother from under my wheels.
And, breeeeeeeathe. "Shoooooooooooooo..oooook".
So as to not dwell on the finer points of the hell that is shopping I arrived, somewhat flustered (and scrutinising my trolley with the vain hope, that during the ordeal, I'd had the wherewithall to scoop up a bottle of anti-perspirant -because, good Lord did I need it now!) at the checkout.
I dumped my items onto the belt (well, when I say "dumped" what I actually mean is methodically lay them out in such a way that the professional bag-packer (me) is able to perfectly place all items into bags without squashage or affront) and waited.
My turn: I just want to pack up and get out of this crazy place. So, let's go Mr cashier-bloke...
He's staring at me. He's staring at me? He's staring at me. Does he not see the sheer desperation on my face? I gotta go! Come on man(/boy): Chop chop!
Finally, he starts to ring through my shopping..
Beep.......beep........beep.....beep...........................He was pretty slow, which usually in Asda I'd be grateful for as I'm a tad anal about my packing being 'just so' (I know, the surprises keep coming!) and can fall into an all -out panic attack if my purchases are mounting up around me due to the cashier mistaking his/her job for an Olympic event. But the staring had not ceased. He looked a little as if he was in a trance. Very strange (says she!).
 "I've just got an hour to go".
Oh, O.K. Now, all I have to do is form a sentence in response. Whilst trying to pack. And my mind is going blank. And I'm freaking out because he. Is. Staring at me (???) Why is he staring at me? Why is he staring..aagghh!! Too much too much too much.
Can't. Quite. Cope.With Multi-tasking.....Response to question: Not forthcoming!! And....
Aha! There it is: the manic smile from earlier..and it's...ON *PING* :) Me: "Oh that's good, and you're busy too so the time should fly..should *PING* ;)"
Yes, yes *flag-waving*:) I'd done it! I'd made a little small talk! Excellent. So what if the packing went a bit to pot? Meh *shrug* I responded like a 'normal' human-being! I'd cope with the semi-squished grapes when I got home. Phew. Nearly done now.
 Then, stammeringly, Mr Cashier-bloke utters these words:
"You  know, you're really pretty"
WTF?? It appears that whilst checking out my goods he had also been checking me out !? The staring; the trance; the go-slow; the "I've just got an hour to go"...Aaaah..oooooooh. Woah! I've heard nothing close to that for so long, I admit I felt a surge of 'feel-good'.
I just about managed an "", as I totally did for the grapes by dumping a carton of juice on them and fumbled my way through paying.
So, yeah. Such a small thing. Maybe it wasn't the best chat-up line in history, but I want to thank that guy for giving my self-esteem a much needed boost and, really, I should apologise to him for my lamest-of-lame response!
Now all I have to do is to not go down the 'turn every positive into a negative' route by questionning the guy's eyesight (I'm thirtysomething with a bmi of 12 and he a young lad!??...stress-stress-stress...maybe he was just taking the piss? I'm sure he probably says that to all the haggard looking women just because he's such a nice young man..blah blah blah...) or berating myself for allowing such naive and simple feelings to well up in me. Pleasure? Feel-good? NO!......... Oh, sod ya; YES! If there's one take-away from this it's that I have to get a grip on this over-analysis trap!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Ed's Ocean

To follow: Ramblings of a philistine attempting to philosophise.
Those with a low cringe-threshold may wish to look away now (or scroll down for a link to a barn-storming post by an amazing woman).
Ok, you've been warned ;)

The Dread.
That weight in the pit of my stomach.
As much as I try to avoid it; not think about it; press it down and down and down...
No good;
It's there.

And now I know what it is:

A vast ocean of screaming, tumultuous feelings; emotions; pain; reality.
And I can't hide from it, or make it go away. It will not go away. It is there. It will be there until I stop pushing it down and down and down....
It will be there until I face it; walk into it's giant thundering waves
and start
to turn
the tide.

See, it's so obvious really.
It's clear that every,
of the twenty years of this; my eating disorder has
drip-fed this now frenzied ocean, heaving within me. 

And it doesn't matter how many times I vomit; or with how much ferocity.
It doesn't matter how much I stuff in.
It won't absorb this ocean of raw,
It will never be enough.

You can only run away so far and for so long.
Before you meet the water's edge.

Some day I have to face the ocean.
And the longer I leave it the harder and longer the journey to the other side will be.

Reality sure does bite hard:

Each day,
Each hour,
Each minute,
Each second...


Ok, enough of this ruminant tripe. I do hate it when I get all poetic and bolloxy, so I do apologise for the God-awfulness of my musings. Really just a stream of ..ugh...*cringe*...consciousness,  I suppose. Gah!
What I won't apologise for though, is posting the link to the bloody awesome blog post that galvanized my wannabe-philosopher into, er, oh dear, action.
The link:

This lady is one of the finest examples of a Mum doing it so very right.
Just magnificent.

Monday, 9 April 2012

AN and Autistic Spectrum Conditions

Having taken the Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) questionnaire and scored highly, thus putting me firmly on the spectrum, I devoured this article, written by Extra Long Tail, with relish. Great, concise writing and far more eloquent than I could ever be on the subject right now.

And thankyou ELT for making it clear that in itself anorexia can manifest a pseudo-autistic state. That is; many symptoms which may  indicate a dianosis of an ASC are in fact the result of "damage " done by the eating disorder to the brain and it's faculties which manifest in  ASC-type behaviours such as rigidity; poor set-shifting etc. Studies have shown that in a majority of folk who recover from an ed there is also a decrease in ASC-type symptoms/behavious.
I have a chronic course of anorexia b/p and with it a(n unwanted) collection of symptoms (both psych' and phys') which has grown over the years. It is hard to tease out which is ED, which is possibly ASD and really, essentially, what is "normal"?.
I'm certain a clear diagnosis of an ASC could/should not be made without the abatement/remission of the eating disorder. Full nutrition alone can reveal any underlying complications, such as Aspergers.
Anyhow, less of my rambling..on to the good sensical stuff:

Anorexia Nervosa and Autism/Asperger’s syndrome

I have previously written about research that has explored relations between anorexia nervosa (AN) and autism (, so I won’t repeat what I said previously in this post; hopefully merely add to it. The most research work in this field has been undertaken by Professor Christopher Gillberg’s group in Sweden and Professor Janet Treasure’s group in the UK.
In this video, Professor Janet Treasure summarises current understanding of Eating Disorders and Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC):
So why might people with ASC be more susceptible to developing an eating disorder (ED), and especially AN? And why might they struggle especially to recover?
Well first, it is necessary to understand what ASC actually is…
The defining characteristics of people with ASC are difficulties with social interaction, social communication and social imagination, alongside restricted repetitive behaviours (rituals, routines and ‘special interests’/obsessions). These difficulties/characteristics are NOT caused by the way that parents interact with their children or parental abuse/neglect. It is well understood, in most countries (except France, who sadly still blame parents) that ASC is caused by an atypical neurodevelopmental pattern and resides within the brain. Genetics play a dominant role, but so too do environmental factors which have not been clearly defined. Many people with ASC, especially high functioning ASC, balk at the idea that they have a ‘brain disorder’ and prefer to describe their neurological characteristics as a ‘difference’ rather than a ‘disorder’. They may struggle socially, but approx. 10% of people with ASC possess qualities of genius and are termed savants. The population with ASC exhibits a range in IQ, ranging from very low, to very high.
The main difficulty that individuals with ASC have is understanding how other people think (as well as having rather literal thinking). Young children with ASC may not realise that other people have different thoughts to themselves and are said to lack ‘theory of mind’ (ToM). Older childen and young adults with ASC; especially those with normal to high IQ, merely have delayed or impaired ToM. Their ability to develop ToM may be because they have used different means of reasoning (using logic rather than intuition) to understand other people. Even so, people with ASC may struggle in social groups and feel quite confused or isolated. They may worry that they will make a fool of themselves socially because they don’t know how to ‘fit in’ socially; they may worry about rejection, or they may simply be disinterested in interacting with other people – perhaps because of previous rejection or ridicule, including bullying.
Contrary to the oft-held assumption that ‘lack of empathy’ is a defining feature of ASC, this is not strictly true. People with autism usually have constitutional empathy and can resonate with other people’s emotional states; including others’ emotional distress. They can also feel sympathy towards others’ misfortunes. Many people with ASC feel emotions very strongly; however, they may not know how best to comfort a person in distress, or join in with others’ excitement. People with ASC are not quite ‘on the same wavelength’ as non-autistic people and are less likely to ‘follow the herd’ and do as their peers do. This is why people with ASC sometimes have very obscure interests that are of little interest to the majority.
One researcher of Asperger’s syndrome (a form of high functioning autism, with normal to high IQ), Professor Digby Tantam, has likened people with ASC to those in society who are not connected to the internet. The person with ASC is not necessarily privy to social information that other people pick up intuitively (mainly by observing others’ body language and behaviour) because of a reduced ability to connect with the minds of the non-autistic people who form the majority in society.
At one time it was believed that ASC in girls is very rare and that autism is predominantly a male condition. However, recent research has begun to reveal that this is most likely because the diagnostic criteria and diagnostic tools for ASC are largely based upon the male presentation. The stereotypical presentation of Asperger’s syndrome in boys is of a child who is obsessed with learning about the intricate details of trains/planes/cars, collecting unusual objects, has no friends and has noticeably unusual body language. However, girls with Asperger’s syndrome may appear quite normal (until a person gets to know them well), may be very good at mimicking others and hiding their social confusion – and may have quite mainstream obsessional interests. Common interests in girls with Asperger’s syndrome are animals, celebrities, fashion, and fantasy fiction. However, the way that the child approaches these interests is rather different to that of her peers – in that she may take on the persona of the animal or celebrity and collect information about people. Girls with Asperger’s syndrome are often diagnosed much later than are boys (e.g. at puberty or during adolescence) and because adolescence is the time that socialising behaviours change rapidly within the female population, the autistic girl may not know where or how to ‘fit in’ and connect with her peers.
Girls with Asperger’s syndrome are usually diagnosed when they enter the mental health system because of (e.g.) extreme anxiety, OCD, depression, self-harm, emotional difficulties – and/or an eating disorder.
There are a number of reasons why people (especially) girls with high functioning autism/Asperger’s syndrome are especially susceptible to developing AN:
*A tendency towards obsessional behaviours – and getting stuck in these behaviours, alongside extreme perfectionism. Such obsessions may include ‘healthy eating and exercise’. People with ASC are also drawn to ‘rules’ and like to live by rules – that they have either learnt or developed within their own minds. Such rules may relate to foods that ‘should’ or ‘should not’ be eaten and/or how exercise ‘should’ be undertaken. Thus, if a person with ASC hears/reads that saturated fat is linked to the development of heart disease is some people, they may cut saturated fat completely out of their diet and become obsessed with the idea of avoiding foods that contain such fat, thereby restricting their diet quite markedly. If they hear/read that ‘healthy exercise’ entails 3 x 60 minutes of aerobic activity per week, they may become fixated on the idea that they must follow these exercise rules, come what may.
*Depression – that is accompanied by low self-worth and feeling that they don’t deserve to eat. This depression may develop as a consequence of bullying and abuse – which is quite common in girls with ASC, because they have difficulties predicting other people’s behaviours and are easily duped/taken advantage of. They form easy prey for sexual predators.
*Body dysmorphia – caused by ‘weak central coherence’ – which involves an over-focus on the details of their body rather than the whole: e.g. the measurements of various body parts and how these change over time. They may see ‘imperfections’ that others don’t see. They may also fear the changes to their body at puberty, because these involve change (which is frightening to people with ASC) and because they don’t properly understand the meaning of these changes.
*Poor sense of self. To be able understand oneself, it is necessary to be able to understand others, and how you see yourself in relation to other people. People with ASC are often confused about who they are because of difficulties (albeit quite subtle) with ToM. Such individuals may see their AN as an identity. Because people with ASC may feel so ‘lost’ and confused in the world, counting calories and having routines and rituals around food and eating may provide them with an illusory sense of ‘control’ – which reduces their general anxiety.
*Eating difficulties and sensory sensitivities. Food phobias are not uncommon amongst people with ASC, and such individuals are often hyper-sensitive to the taste and smell of certain foods, which they will then choose to avoid. People with ASC can also have difficulty with interoceptive awareness, including sensing feelings of hunger and satiety. They may struggle to eat and be very picky eaters, or may not know when or how to stop eating.
It is also important to note, as Professor Treasure states in the video link, that the starvation of AN leads to a pseudo-autistic state; i.e. the person may appear to be autistic when in reality, their apparent autistic behaviours are merely a product of starvation.
In order to determine which individuals with AN also have ASC, it would be necessary to take a developmental history that involves interviewing the mother and /or father using a tool that is sensitive to detecting ASC in girls/women – if the individual is female. This may be difficult if the girl masked her ASC well in childhood and the social/emotional difficulties only became apparent at puberty or in adolescence. Detection of ASC may also be more apparent if weight gain and maintenance of a healthy weight does not completely reverse the autistic behaviour – and the individual is still struggling socially.
How best to treat people with both AN and ASC is currently unclear. Such individuals may not respond to the therapies that work quite well for non-autistic individuals with AN, because of difficulties understanding how others think, alongside extreme cognitive and behavioural rigidity. Nevertheless, therapies that aim to broaden thinking and reduce both cognitive and behavioural rigidity (e.g. cognitive remediation therapy – CRT) may help such individuals, alongside therapies specific to ASC that improve social functioning. Self-help groups for people with ASC – and Asperger’s syndrome in particular, can help people with high functioning autism feel less isolated and alone.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Driving the Crazy Bus

I'm highly agitated.
I have a million little flickering shapes teasing the edge of my brain.
I can't really make them out.
Or I don't want to make them out, because then they will be real.
I'm in shutdown.
Avoid avoid avoid. Don't look and it won't be there.

What are you scared of?
I don't know.
You do.
I said you do.

OK. I know, I do, I bloody know..For Christ's sake.
I'm scared of fucking everything.
Every-fucking-thing and then some.

Whatever comes next, I'm scared of it.

Bad night last night. Bingeing and purging until the early hours has left me utterly depleted. My back and chest feel like they've been trampled by a pack of desperate animals. My tongue is swollen in my mouth which is hot and raw. My glands are swollen too. In fact there's quite a lot of swelling going on. My head feels like a bowling ball on my shoulders. A dead weight. My neck might snap.

The evidence of the night's excesses were stark in the light of day. One big, black, greedy bin bag. The innards stretching it's shiny skin. Tight.
It cast a large shadow across the kitchen floor.

I manoeuvered around it as careful as I could not to touch it's bulging flanks; as careful as I could when my own withered flanks hold so little muscle for balance. And when the space is limited. And my whole world was tilting as my vision slipped. Rocking, tilting, slipping; as if to capsize me at any moment.
I would have to wrestle with that festering bag later...The thought flitted through my mind, catching on my consciousness and scratching it's meaning:
At some point today I must face..outside.
It is hard to slip unnoticed when one is hoiking about a gigantic-to-bursting black bin bag. More so when you are a mere scrap yourself trying to jiggle open the rubbish dump door. Keeping balance; door ajar; bag in control; all at once. I fear it is an incongruous farce of a feast for my neighbours'. One of those scenes which is painful to watch, but at the same time hard to avert your eyes from. This must be true because I feel the needle-point of their eyes piercing my skin as I struggle with my fetid burden. I feel it as keenly as I feel the shame. When the bags thud into the dark recess of the communal dump they take with them my small daily pittance of self-worth - and leave me with another chunk of self-loathing. I am ashamed. Again.

2.42pm: The black bag sits like a shiny overstuffed olive by my front door.
My head is banging. Or rather my brain is banging; slamming against my skull. My head is just trying to remain upright and attached.
I have missed my appointment with my Care Co-ordinator. It was supposed to be at 12.00. She will not be back until after the Easter break now. I usually see her twice a week which is both too much and not enough all at the same time.

I need to fix myself a Complan.
I had my usual breakfast (2 slices wholemeal toast spread with 2 pre-packed pats of butter and honey; a big mug of strong coffee with milk and far too much sweetener) at about 10.30am -before stumbling sweatily back to bed- and a cup of tea at about 12.30pm by which time being upright had become possible and slightly less risky.
By my (imprecise) calculations it should be about time to slop in the fortified soup.
Great. Perhaps that'll give me the energy I need to tackle the bag of crap.

I long to change my sheets and duvet cover; to feel the fresh, soft linen soothe my aching, tired body. But this aching, tired body feels very unwieldy all by itself, without the physical load of trying to shake a double duvet into it's cover. And then, of course, I'd have to have a bath; wash my hair; yada yada...because it would be slightly pointless to have a lovely fresh bed to slip into if I was straight away to taint it with that faint tang of vomit which lingers in my hair.
But, energy and strength are at a premium. I am a hermit today, so I will swallow down the shame (and stench) of my skankiness (yum) and hope for a good night's rest and, possibly, the overnight discovery of some vital elixir that increases energy by at least one hundred-fold and makes the efffects of caffeine seem about as peppy as a drowned hamster (please note: No, I don't have personal experience of the peppy, or otherwise, nature of a drowned hamster. No animals were harmed in the writing of this post).

Yup, I'm babbling bollox. Let's put an end to that.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Yes, he's quite big.

Bloody spiders.
They're everywhere.
Maybe you know, but spiders and I have a long and torrid history. As a child I was your classic shoe-crunching, book-belting, scream-curdling arachnophobe. Utter TERROR.
 From your mammoth, oiled-up  furry beast down to you piddling little baby beasticle..they were all fair game as far as I was concerned. It was me - or the spider. A fight to the death. And, handily, I had the Encyclopaedia Britannica on my side.
I'm sure I have described before, the "spider's graveyard" that was my bedroom ceiling. Having a cabin-bed and being up close and personal to the eight-legged lovelies that happened to be hanging around up there, well, let's just say it was really bad for their health.
Yes, as a child I was a murdering little fecker. Who knew that behind such an innocent veneer lay a much shadier, murkier secret? (actually, maybe not such a secret..blood-curdling screams (mine) 'n' all..doh..) Erm, yeah. I was committing arachnocide (?) on an almost daily basis. Bad times.
Lucky for our leggy friends, I have nurtured a tolerance to their arachno-antics since then and even live (fairly) happily alongside a family of dingly-dangly, spindly Harvester spiders (strictly the contract was for just one spider..but then the babies came and, well, it would have seemed churlish of me to chuck a whole family out on their spiders have ears?). They mainly camp out in the bathroom although I have noticed the largest member loping around the hallway and even, cheekily, taking a tour of my bedroom..hmm. But hey, no biggie. I'm an adult, I can put my childish fears to one side. Plus, of course we have some rules in place which they must abide by: No aggressive rushing, dangling or any other behaviour which may be construed as offensive..that kind of thing.
So, all fine then on the arachnid front. Or so I thought.
It would seem that word has got out in spider-land about my gracious hospitality. I have an intruder and he is threatening to upset the apple-cart for one reason: He is bloody massive!!
I first encountered him last week whilst on the toilet (that's me, not him). As I was in this slightly uh, vulnerable position I was forced to deal with the terror bubbling up within (and, tbh, I really could have done with not having something else bubbling up within at that moment).
We were at pretty close quarters - me sat, well, where I was and he (or 'she' I guess - we haven't quite got into the formalities) sat about a foot from..ah, my foot *shudder*. Oh shite. Aaaaand breathe.
Most annoying and disappointing, I'll admit, was (and is) my own irrational reaction to seeing a "real" biggie. It's been a while, but I had worked up to a point where I could just do a little "how d'ya do" and then scoop 'em up and plonk 'em outside. Yes, in bare hands my friends! Afraid of spiders? Me?? Pah. Don't be daft. We are at peace, I am an animal-lover for crying out loud! I welcome one and
Anyway, I was -being as I was a restricted in my mobility at the time-  forced to sit it out,  toe-to-toe (almost) with this over-sized interloper and although trembling inside I attempted to breeeathe and formulate a plan.
By the time I was, er, "mobile" I had reached the conclusion that he just had to go.
He had been sitting quietly for a while now and I fleetingly considered a free-style hand-scoop and window-lob. Fleetingly. The moment (and adrenaline) for that had passed, it was going to have to be the old-school tumbler/paper-shuffle technique.
I didn't have a tumbler.
He had the door covered.
Oh bugger.
I spied the big-blue-jug. Yes. Get in.
Readers' Digest front cover? Perfect.
Quick as a whippet I brought the big-blue-jug down upon my target.
I hadn't got a damn thing.
Out of the corner of my eye I just saw a flash of hairy leg (the spider equivalent of a one-fingered salute perhaps?) being pulled from view behind the coving. Aah..shit.
I had missed my chance. I was just going to have to live with the fact that I had acquired a new lodger whether I liked it or not.
I like it not.
He's a real joker too.
Having hidden away for a couple of days (and with my heartrate back to somewhere near to normal), he "presented" himself to me as I exited the bathroom last night. There he was, sat on the floor "ta-da!": a full-bore, full-frontal spider-exposure..Gah! I'm ashamed to admit, but my foot was raised as I assumed the position...
And then..he was gone...just that ruddy one-legged salutation (I'm sure of it) as he scuttled under the door to a cupboard. Hilarious.
So, currently I have a bit of a "Pacific Heights" scenario going on: I have a lodger that I really wish I didn't have. It creeps me out and I don't know when or where he'll decide to pop up next. I'll keep you posted (no doubt you're glued to your screen right now..yup, the entertainment's non-stop (non-start) around here!).

Apart from being reduced to a quivering (but murderous) wreck by this delinquent spider I'm just generally more nervy and anxious than usual at the moment. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I feel saturated in dread. All my senses seem to be acutely tuned in and turned RIGHT UP. Which is not great when your first line of defence against this "noise" involves shoving your head in various types of bowl.
Oh well, at least I've made an entry on here today. It really is a struggle to get motivated. I could just go back to bed, but then I'd only have to face more spiders. The blighters. They get everywhere. Even in my dreams. Damn, and I really thought I'd beaten that phobia. Oh well, exposure therapy's supposed to be really effective...Bring it on (eek!).
Oh arse. I'm boring myself. My life is reduced to my "adventures" with spiders and....ugh..the other shit.