Sunday, 27 November 2016

Would I?

I’m feeling pretty lousy today. Nothing too terrible, just a general feeling of achy-ness and ugh. I have an important day ahead of me tomorrow, so I’m trying my best to prevent any further feelings of grossness by spending my Sunday curled up in bed reading On The Road by Jack Kerouac. 

As is to be expected, my mind is doing quite a bit of wondering. I envy those people who can complete relax and switch off, I don’t remember the last time my brain stopped moving. My thoughts have a tendency to bounce around at a mile a minute, but this afternoon they keep returning to the same place.

If I had the chance, would I choose to live without my BPD?

I’ve touched on the good parts of my condition before, the earth shattering euphoria that explodes through my body like lightening, my hopeless romantic nature that believes everything will work out okay in the end. For the longest time, I refused to take any form of medication on the basis that I was willing to withstand the lows in favour of the highs. But lately, I’m not so sure. 

Whilst I’ve only had one really bad spell this year, a result of a particularly horrendous and humiliating breakup, on the whole, my mood has been pretty dark for quite a while. The highs are still there but are lasting less and less time each go, and I feel detached and miserable a lot of the time. 

My delusions are becoming far more frequent as well, as are the suicidal thoughts. For the past few days, I’ve been sporadically convincing myself that taking my own life would allow me to start over, to undo all the mistakes I’ve made that have led me to where I am now, and to complete fix all of my problems. When my mood lifts slightly, I realise how dangerous and impossible this is, but these thoughts are still there. 

In all honesty, I really don’t know. Right now? Maybe, but that’s not to say I’ll feel the same in a few hours, days, weeks or months time. There is no cure for what I have, and I highly doubt much effort is going to be made into finding one anytime soon. So for now, I’m diving back into bed and into my book, because if there’s anything that’s going to give my brain some solace for an hour or so, it’s spending some time on the road. 


Monday, 5 September 2016


I'm currently sat sobbing my heart out in Cambridge train station, a cup of coffee to my right and enough wadded up tissues to rival the floor of a teenage boy. Why am I crying? Because I missed my train. Not that much of a big deal, until you come to realise that this is going to make me an hour late for my current internship. The internship that I so so desperately need to be hired for after it has finished, as it's the closest I've come to the possibility of securing a graduate job since I left university over a year ago. An hour late on the Monday of my first full week? Even I wouldn't hire me.

I'm struggling a lot at the moment. I'm eating too much and constantly feel like a complete failure. All my friends are out working great jobs, getting married or having children. I'm a bar maid. A bar maid who, last night, couldn't even make a cup of coffee properly. I am nothing, I'm useless, and I'm a complete and utter waste of oxygen. To make it through the day without crying is a world class achievement and I'm dangerously close to feeling suicidal again.

What sucker punches me in the lady parts so much is that I know missing my train and subsequently destroying every chance I have at being employed by my internship supervisors is that I know it's all my fault. I ate so so much last night. Me and Tate ordered Dominoes and I sat repulsively shovelling enough food into my mouth to cure world hunger. I was disgusting, I was revolting and if I could have clawed the food out of my body I would have done. But I can't. That's right, I'm so pathetic and useless I can't even purge.

Knowing your own failure is your fault is soul destroying. No matter how hard I try, no matter what I do, I'm still too much of a waste of space that I can't stop stuffing food into my disgustingly corpulent body, can't find anyone to love me and can't find a decent job. I want these things so badly, and it's breaking my heart to fall at every hurdle.

I've said this a lot, but I just want to give up now. There's no point in my fighting for happiness anymore. I simply don't deserve it.


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Just Breath?

TW: Anxiety

I've been experiencing panic attacks since I was in high school, not that I knew what they were at the time. One moment I'd be fine and the next I'd be sat on the floor hyperventilating in fear and being transported around school in a wheelchair because I was unable to stand. For the longest time I thought that being unable to breath properly was the only symptom, not attributing anything else to my struggle with anxiety.

Since then I've realised that so many more of the symptoms I experience, collapsing, being completely unable to focus and wondering around in a complete daze, are all connected to feeling anxious. Right now, for instance, I'm attempting to work on an article while my brain is spinning and my chest feels tight, I feel nauseas, guilty and could burst into tears at any moment, the fact that I'm able to write this post is a miracle in itself. Thankfully I'm slowly calming down and, once I've given myself adequate time to feel better, I should hopefully be able to continue with my work by 11 o'clock. Time really is the best healer for me in these situations.

What I think is important is that people realise how many different symptoms can be attributed to anxiety. I'm not saying that everyone who's ever felt a little bit on edge or frightened should be diagnosed, but I know that once I realised my random collapsing was a result of anxiety I was able to learn how to make myself feel better. Drinking a cup of tea with enough sugar to have an entire playgroup bouncing off the walls and lying on my back with my legs in the air is far more helpful than a hundred and one people crowding around me, thinking I need to be taken to hospital and making me feel 100 times worse for wasting their time.

For some people, hyperventilating may be their only symptom, and they should be helped in a way that best suits them. Fresh air, space, anything they need to allow them to feel better. What is important is to not dismiss or ignore what you or the person involved may be feeling. Just because you don't recognise something as a more traditional or tell tail sign, does not mean that the person in question is not being affected by their anxiety in a lesser way.

What I found most helpful was to learn what may be a part of a panic attack for me, and what may not. One of the problems with mental illness is that so few attributes are one size fits all, and it's important that everybody knows and understands their symptoms, so as not to make themselves feel any worse than they already do.


Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Devil Wears Self Pity

One of my deepest, if not very well kept, secrets is my love for trashy chick lit. Yes, I do have a degree in English literature and therefore love me some of the classics and anything with a twisted plot/some kind of addiction/death etc, but give me 400 pages of a blonde hunting round New York for the love of her life and I'm as happy as a stoner in Amsterdam.

When the film adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada came out in 2006, I was as obsessed as the rest of them. A plucky fresh-out-of-university Anne Hathaway making her way into the snake pit of post grad employment with nothing but a satchel and an ill fitting riding boot by her side, only to emerge phoenix like from the ashes of her Forever 21 wardrobe with help from her fairy godfather Stanley Tucci, before none-to-politely telling her boss to fuck herself sideways and returning home, tail between her legs, to try and win back her ex? What's not to love about that shit? I watched the film a bajillion times and, during a particularly traumatic travel experience that left me stranded in a French airport for 16 hours, picked up the book and begun to fall in love with Andy Sachs all over again.

During my most recent, and far less traumatic, trip to France, I decided I couldn't possibly go any where even remotely fashion week related without re-reading one of my old favs. I downloaded the first and second novels onto my ancient iPad to save space in my suitcase and set to work flicking through, eager to remember why I adored each and every line and wanted so badly to be Andrea all those years ago.

Oh how wrong I was.

Call me cynical, call me a millennial, call me whatever you want, but thirty (admittedly very small) pages in I wanted to throw my phone at the self righteous Miss Sachs. To secure the job that "a million girls would die for" and spend it finding mini victories in forbidden fag breaks and fantasising about spitting in the coffee of the most adored-yet-feared woman in fashion made me simultaneously seethe and wince. Originally published a petrifying 13 years ago in 2003, my job prospects may not have been as horrifying, but reading from the perspective of a woman who has been chewed up, spat out and then swallowed again only to be regurgitated onto her bedroom floor onto a pile of rejection emails, my ability to feel anything other than frustration and near hatred for the long suffering assistant was impossible.

I'm not disputing that it's a good novel, or indeed a good film. Weisberger is one of my favourite authors and I've reread Chasing Harry Winston going on about a thousand times. But, if even one of the most skilled and talented writers of women's fiction can't portray a strong and dominating female lead without making her hated by everyone in the continental US, then there may not be much hope for female literature as a whole.

Women can be strong, successful and well liked, and I'm pretty sure it's possible to create these characters without turning them into the devil incarnate.

But, I have to say, if I had to choose only two, I'd be strong and successful any day of the week. My career has always and will always trump other people's opinions of me, hands down.


Monday, 27 June 2016

The Twentythird in Paris, part deux

(This post was originally meant to go up on Friday, but it was easier to find a condom machine than it was to find a decent wifi connection while I was away so I'm a few days behind)

I'M HERE!!!!!!!!

Yes, after being sat on a stationary plane for 2 hours, during which I discovered that a) there are some people stupid enough to allow someone stoned off their nut to drive them home, and b) that plane sangria is most definitely a thing, I'm now getting my hipster on, sipping black coffee and trying to find a mother fucking wifi connection whilst simultaneously drowning myself in Evian.

I don't care how much this fucking bottle cost me, I will do a lot for my job, but I will not dehydrate.

As I mentioned in my last, whiskey soaked, post, this past week has not been kind to me. My BPD reacted so badly to the surge of emotions that comes with being dumped, that I ended up feeling suicidal and almost checked myself into respite care.

Just to clarify, this "episode" was in no way my ex's fault, and I'm not blaming him. This is just what happens when BPD acts up.

Yet, in spite of these hideous few days, I still managed to buck myself up, return to work and travel to another country by myself for the first time in my life. From going to an anxiety and scar ridden suicidal blonde who couldn't get out of bed or make it through two consecutive days without harming herself, I seem to have become something vaguely resembling a functional human being. Pride doesn't even come close.

Yet, for reasons I cannot explain, there are still an upsetting number of people in my life that refuse to accept this. Preferring instead to believe that I can't make I through the day without needing some kind of guidance, and throwing their 2 cents in so often that I really should be a millionaire by now. What these people don't seem to understand is how these controlling behaviours suffocate me, how they make me feel so sick that my skin crawls and, for a single moment, I consider cutting them out of my life just to make this repulsive feeling go away. They just can't accept that controlling me is the last way of going about making sure I'm okay. I'm 24 years old and have put a mass rapist in prison whilst combatting self harm and completing a degree, I don't need, or want, you to hold my hand.

I'm hoping that this trip, and the time and space it is allowing me to bask in, will prove to people that I don't need looking after, that I'm in no way a child and can get by pretty well without their criticism and opinions clouding my brain. Or I'll just get shit faced and eat enough croissants to make Jesus think he didn't bring enough snacks to the feeding of the five thousand. Either or.

But, until then, I'm going to go back to my coffee and spend an hour or so submersing myself in the glorious words of Lauren Weisberger.

Because I could hardly come to fashion week and not re-read The Devil Wears Prada, could I now?

Au revoir


Friday, 24 June 2016

The Twentythird in Paris

This past week has been shit. I was unceremoniously dumped via Facebook messenger on Thursday morning, my BPD went into free fall and I spent 3 days hysterical, delusional and unable to get out of bed. I've had worse weeks, but I've also certainly had better.

Luckily, I'm writing this drinking a double jack and ginger on my way to work my second consecutive fashion week, this time in Paris, so things are definitely improving.

Now, I hear you ask while I sip on my delightfully rewarding beverage, very much deserved after finding myself unexpectedly sans boyfriend mid last week, am I preparing myself for for the short but sweet flight fantasising about meeting a tall dark and handsome stranger with hair I could run my hands through for days? Fuck yes. But I'm also thinking of how far I've come.

What people don't understand about my job is that, in order to succeed, you really do have to start at the bottom. If I want to spend my future travelling, writing and absorbing all the delights a career in fashion has to offer, I need to pay my dues.

I spent February hand delivering invitations in the rain and freezing my tits off, handing out press releases to women who's shoes cost more than my car, and now I'm blogging in Gatwick airport, waiting to board a plain to Paris for the weekend to support my boss during the fashion week resort collection. Three months really can make the world of difference.

So to anyone has ever mansplained, mocked, pitied or judged me for the amount of hours I've spent working for free, I say fuck you. When your sat on your sofa in 30 years time hating the same job you've done day in, day out, for what feels like an eternity, I'll have the career of my dreams, in awe of how far I've progressed from being the shy 23 year old graduate who had only just decided what she wanted to do with her life. It's not luck, it's hard work and pure, unbreakable passion.

Au revoir


Sunday, 12 June 2016

Self Care

TW: This post mentions self harm. 

Life has been feeling pretty hectic lately. The combination of starting a new job alongside my internship, meeting an amazing man and spending a good 75% of my time on a train, has meant that I've been feeling a tad fragile. As always, I convinced myself that the kind of exhaustion I was feeling, and the hideous mess that my skin had become, were totally normal, and that it was something I had to do in order to keep my career goals on track. After finding myself in eating disorder melt down, knelt on the floor in Boots holding a pack of razors trying to determine whether it would be more effective to cut or to go to town on the purse full of prescription medication in my hand bag, I realised it was probably time to ease up on myself. 

After this potentially damaging episode, a conversation with a friend reminded me how important it is to take time for self care, for something as mundane and cheesy as a bubble bath or painting my toes. Due to my eating disorder, the prospect of exercise leaves me worrying so much about not doing enough to reach my, aforementioned, imaginary 'goal weight', that I end up giving up before I've even started, convinced I'm going to fail at each self inflicted hurdle despite how vital exercise is to maintaining my BPD. I needed to start thinking straight and realising that, no matter how hard I work or train, if I've burnt myself out to the point of no return, success is never going to come my way. 

I think maybe these feelings didn't register because I feel that this is something I need to do in order to be successful. As I discussed in my post Millennial Exhaustion, feeling inadequate about the steps I am taking to reach my career goals feels natural to me, and I constantly feel that I'm not doing enough to secure something that even vaguely resembles my dream job. This toxicity is second nature, and I repeatedly find myself asking if I'm meant to feel stressed throughout the day, wondering if it's part of everyday life or something that I should be questioning and investigating. 

Since then I've been a little better. I've lowered my hours at work to ensure I get some time off during the week, and I'm making sure I allot myself time to work out even if it's just to squeeze in half an hour of yoga. 30 minutes might not be a lot, but if it's the difference between me standing frozen in Cambridge city centre having a panic attack and feeling calm and happy, I'm pretty sure it's enough. 



Thursday, 9 June 2016


TW: Rape

Obviously, I would have to be a tad stupid not to have noticed news stories about the Stanford rape case that are travelling around the internet at the moment. Also obviously, I have no right to comment on the experiences of the woman who was attacked, and therefore am going to say no more about it. It's her life, no one else's, end of.

What I refuse to ignore however, is how she has been described in the media. I've seen countless news stories describing the effects his actions have had her, which I completely agree with, and identifying her as a 'victim', which I don't.

This was one of the main issues I had throughout the trial to put the man who raped me in prison, I really can't stand to be called a victim. To call me a victim gives him control, tells people that he has taken a part of my life and that I am now suffering because of it. And yes, to an extent this is true, but in his actions I found my own strength and did everything I could to make sure that he spends the rest of his life living in misery and fear. A victim I most certainly am not.

To me, it's similar to the phrases you would use to described a person in a wheelchair. Would you describe them as a wheelchair user? Hopefully not, unless they did so themselves, as that is putting their wheelchair at the forefront of their identity. They are a person who uses a wheelchair, it is not who they are, and therefore should not be given priority.

In the same way, I am not just a woman who has been raped. I am a woman with passion, stubbornness, intelligence and so many other things that make me up as a person. Having been raped, whilst having changed me, has not removed or discredited everything else about me. In the same way that I have blonde hair, I have been raped, I am not a 'rape victim'.

So next time you start to use the V word, think about it. In cases like this you may think you're being sincere, but all you're really doing is focusing on the person who has committed the crime, making them and their actions more important than the person they affected. The man involved in the Stanford rape case may have had a severely negative impact on this woman's life, he did not take away who she is.


Sunday, 5 June 2016

The Things They Never Say

Last week, yet another incredibly offensive article popped up on my news feed about the perils of being in a relationship with someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. At its best Sophie Saint Thomas' Vice article, What Is It Like to Date When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder, describes it as 'hard for partners to focus on other things in their life if their relationship is so demanding', and its worst BPD is described as 'an illness about pain, fear, and struggling'.

Pain, fear and struggling, what a great introduction to a condition that makes up such a significant part of my personality. I may put it on my CV under special skills, "So why should I hire you?', "Because I live each day with an illness compiled of pain, fear and struggling, and I can fit my fist in my mouth". I'd get my dream job in a hot minute!

Obviously, I'm kidding, but that doesn't mean that Saint Thomas' article isn't hideously offensive. Casual observers are quick to judge the bad side of BPD, the screaming, the crying, the cutting and the all around self destructive behaviour, but no one ever even mentions the positive, that for ever intensely dark period I go through, there is an equal high just waiting for me.

Remember when you were a kid, and you'd jump in puddles or throw yourself into a pile of leaves, that pure sense of unquestionable elation that you so seldom feel when you're sat at a desk, drowning in emails and trying to make even the smallest amount of sense out of the words in front of you? I still get to feel that. Be it through meeting someone new, listening to a great song or playing with bubbles when I do the washing up. A date once asked me what it must be like to still have the imagination of a child and, to all intense and purposes, I still do. What goes down must come up and for the longest time I withstood the dark patches, forgoing medication and therapy because I knew things were about to become so euphoric it was worth the pain to get there.

Since then I've realised I can't function without basic treatment and have been taking mood stabilisers and anti depressants for well over a year now, but the highs are still there. The happiness I feel is something I've been trying to explain to doctors, nurses and psychiatrists for years, and I hate that it's so completely ignored in the analysis and description of BPD. You may get to live a stable life with a regular mood, but I feel intense happiness like nothing I could ever describe.

So, Sophie Saint Thomas, next time you decide to write an article about BPD, maybe get yourself a more balanced opinion before you start tapping at those keys. I find it hard enough to meet people I want to date in the first place, I don't need you scaring them off for me.

That's my job :P


Friday, 4 March 2016

Body Positivity?

TW: This post discusses eating disorders.

When I was a teenager, from the age of about 13/14 I developed an eating disorder. My mum had an eating disorder and, as you often look to your parents to teach you how to behave and what is (quote unquote) 'normal' I was convinced that I was fat, that I was eating too much, that I'd be happier if I lost weight and made myself a lot smaller.

That's not to say my obsession with weight loss didn't start before then. I saw a documentary when I was in primary school about how girls who reach seven and a half stone were considered 'weight ready' to start their periods (or however it was phrased). At the time, I lived in a very toxic home environment and was very close to my dad. For whatever reason, I was convinced my dad wouldn't love me once I started my periods, as I wouldn't be his 'little girl' anymore. So my drive to lose weight and stay small probably started when I was around the age of 10.

Eating disorders are strange things. I have what is known as EDNOS, or eating disorder not otherwise specified. There is no way of fully expressing the feeling of not being able to be deemed anorexic or bulimic. I was never strong enough to starve myself long term, too weak to make myself small enough or stick to the diets I read about on pro-anorexia websites. It was agonising, and something I still deal with today, to the point that I find it difficult to speak with friends I know who have lived with these kinds of eating disorders, because of the all consuming jealousy that I live with.

Around about November last year, I realised that I'd essentially had an eating disorder for a decade. What started out as EDNOS soon became binge eating disorder, as my body was so hungry for nutrients in went into overdrive. For some reason, I decided that I had to reach 8 stone 7lbs, after seeing a magazine cover with Lindsey Lohan, who supposedly weighed 120lbs and was considered to be too skinny.

I have never, nor will I ever be, a fan of Lindsey Lohan. Apart from in Parent Trap.

Obviously, my body could not reach this unrealistic goal and I would binge constantly, eating from the second I walked in the door after school until I went to bed. Here came another sense of failure. I couldn't purge. I have no gag reflex and no amount of sticking my fingers down my throat or drinking cups of salt water ever allowed me to purge the food I had consumed. I was in a state of mind I just couldn't escape.

This binge/starve pattern continued until I had put on over 2 stone since I'd decided I was too fat. I joined slimming clubs and online forums, bought exercise equipment and diet pills, anything I could to 'fix' my body.

During my first go at my third year of uni I began to starve myself again. Losing a stone and becoming essentially a walking skeleton. People would tell me I looked too thin and I would become angry at them, furious that they didn't want me to reach my goal weight of eight and a half stone and finally be happy with my body.

I should point out that, not only did I still think I was grotesquely fat at this point, but I was also trying to reach a goal weight I had come close to before I went through puberty. Because that makes all the sense in the world.

In November last year I realised that I'd been living with an eating disorder for over a decade, and needed to let go. Up to that point I'd become fixated with my weight once again, thanks to being put on medication that caused weight gain. I weighed myself constantly and begun using laxatives. Even shitting myself in my kitchen wasn't enough to tell me that I was going too far. Thankfully, I finally came to terms with the fact that a goal weight just doesn't exist, noticing I'd actually I became more and more miserable the more weight I lost, because I was trying to fix a problem with my body that wasn't there. I left yet another slimming club that I had joined, and decided I would never weigh myself again.

Stupidly, I broke this vow last month. There are a set of scales at my gym and I hopped on them before a work out. My weight hadn't changed by a single pound, but the uneasiness was still there.

These past few weeks I have been slipping back into old thinking patterns. A close friend has lost an amazing amount of weight and, despite the fact that we have dramatically different body types, I find myself once again consumed with jealousy and anger that I have not been able to lose as much weight as her. I've begun calorie counting again, and have set myself a goal weight that I know isn't remotely healthy. For a long, long time I've felt like I didn't know who I was without my eating disorder, that I'd be lost without it and it gave me a sense of rhythm and purpose. This total bullshit of course, but these things affect your brain in almost exactly the same way as they affect your body.

I'm trying to get out of this cycle, to remind myself that no matter how much weight I do/ don't lose I will never be happy with my body until I accept it as it is, but it is in no way easy. With summer on it's way, the thought of not  being on a pre summer diet seems alien to me. I simply don't feel able to function without it.

There is a good chance I'm going to slip into my old ways. Constantly calorie counting again and berating and punishing myself when I eat just a fraction more that I had wanted. Ironically, this mind set prevents me from exercising, from doing something that makes me feel strong and healthy, because I feel like I'm never doing enough. But I know now that enough simply doesn't exist, and that I'm never going to find piece in my body unless I learn to love and accept it the way it is.


Wednesday, 2 March 2016


Rejection sucks. Anyone who tells you otherwise is out and out lying to you. No one has ever, in the history of time, put themselves out there for something in the hope that they won't succeed. It's just fucking shit.

As you know I'm job hunting at the moment, and I just received a rejection email for an application that took me weeks and hours of anxiety to perfect before I submitted it, for a company I really wanted to work for. I'd just taken my laptop upstairs after writing Tuesday's tear stained and anxiety ridden post, so hearing that I'd been unsuccessful really didn't make me feel any better.

If I had written this post a year ago, the previous paragraph would have been littered with the word fail. My thinking process is very black and white, and so I frequently see a lack of success as a reflection on me personally. Not getting the job I applied for doesn't mean I wasn't good enough, just that I wasn't 100% right for the role, and that the other people who applied were more suitable.

As you know, when it comes to matters of the heart I struggle a little bit. I'm not good at handling my emotions, and so used to see being rejected or 'dumped' as a reflection on me, as opposed to the relationship as a whole. Add to that the fact that I've had God awful taste in men in the past, and it paved the way for a lot of tears, wine and ice cream. As I'm getting closer and closer to the grand old age of 24, I'm coming around to a different way of thinking. Every situation, relationship or job role that doesn't work out the way you want it to isn't a failure, it's just bringing you a hop and a skip closer to where you are supposed to be.

Hella cheesy I know but sometimes the old cliches are the best.