She turns to drugsPosted: September 6, 2011
Honestly, my capacity for self-harm seems to be without limit. Sleeping with a man who makes me feel like utter shit (even if he doesn’t mean to, which is actually worse) is doing wonders for my self-esteem. That’s sinking nicely. But what about my physical health, huh? Why should that get a break?
Sounds pretty innocuous. There are worse things a girl could do. But me and coffee, we are not friends.
I’ve never done drugs. Not for any moral reasons. I am physically unable to smoke. Just can’t do it. I lack the co-ordination, and it hurts! Why would people do that?! And when you can’t smoke, you can’t really do weed. I know you can eat it or do bongs or whatever, but most people start with having a joint. And then they move on to pills – Ecstasy or Speed or whatever. And then maybe cocaine. But it starts with cannabis, and I missed the start.
I have been wondering lately whether I ought to see what I’ve been missing out on. 32 and never tried drugs? Doesn’t seem right. I asked some people at work what they’d recommend as a starter drug. Someone I don’t know very well suggested mushrooms. Someone who knows me very well indeed swiftly interjected: “God no. D should NOT be doing hallucinogenics. Are you MAD? Cocaine. That’s what you need. Good, clean coke.”
Seems a bit daft starting now though.
There is another reason I’ve never done drugs, and that’s because, based on my reaction to perfectly legal coffee, I am a bit scared about what will happen if I move on to something harder. I am very vulnerable to caffeine. It makes me feel dizzy and light-headed and drunk, gives me the jitters – puts me totally on edge, in fact, with the nervous energy of a thousand Ds – gives me chronic stomach ache, has a laxative effect, makes me feel vomitty and totally kills my appetite.
You can see where this is going, right? You can see what I’m planning to do to myself?
I have a complicated relationship with food. Not unusual for a girl, I don’t think. I overeat when I’m happy. I really overeat when I’m unhappy. But when I’m totally despondent, when I’ve hit rock bottom and can’t see any way out? Then, I starve.
It starts with a physical inability to eat, a feeling like my throat is made of cotton wool and there’s no moisture anywhere in my body to help the food go down. And then I start to enjoy the feeling of deprivation, the control over my own body, the control over SOMETHING. My stomach rumbling is satisfying. I imagine the effort that it takes my tummy to make that noise is burning calories, and I am pleased. Every churn is one step closer to… I don’t know what, since the ultimate goal is not to be thin, but to punish my body for being fat. Do you see the difference?
When I was 17 I used to do some modelling. Local stuff. Wedding fayres were my bread and butter, but also beauty shoots for the county magazine, ‘catwalk’ for party plan companies and the local department store, promotional work for double glazing companies and garages, hair modelling for local salons. Dire stuff, really. But you know, I was pretty and thin. Pretty and thin enough to get a reasonable amount of work. Pretty and thin enough to get bullied mercilessly by the girls in the year above me at school. And pretty and thin enough to think that I was ugly and fat.
So I stopped eating. For about 6 months, I allowed myself one green apple and one low-fat, low cal yoghurt a day, with at least 4 litres of water. And I lost weight.
You know people who say they’re not fat, they’re big-boned? I’m actually both. My frame is big. So while people noticed I was losing weight, it wasn’t alarming. Until I had sex with my boyfriend and my hip bones made him bleed. And I stopped getting bridal work because my collarbone was waaaay the wrong side of Skeletor.
And then one of my 6th form tutors saw me getting changed after cross-country, and immediately hauled me into her office and called my parents. No-one other than my boyfriend had seen me naked. I was wearing size 10 trousers, you know – it’s not like I was disappearing. Except I was. I was skin and bones, all jutting angles and stretched skin. My Mum was furious with me, and with herself for not noticing I wasn’t eating. And she made me eat, and I left school and put the bullies behind me, and it all became OK again. A brush with an eating disorder. Nothing to see here.
I tried dieting again in my 20s, and a similar thing happened. Not as extreme, but still quite bad. I’m not good at dieting. I can’t do balance and measure. I am all or nothing – the whole bar of Galaxy, or one lettuce leaf a day. There is no middle ground. I am a control freak.
And here I am now. A desperately unhappy control freak, who has just purchased a Dolce Gusto machine. It will do bad things to me. But it will make me thin. I could feel my waistline narrowing just pushing it around Tesco in my trolley. I will drink coffee and the desire to eat will disappear and the fat will melt away and, of course, I’ll find another reason to hate myself, but it won’t be a blubbery one. I still won’t be able to climb that hill in Northumberland, but I’ll look a lot better while I’m not doing it.
And honestly, I am sick of every waking thought being consumed with The Pirate. It will be nice to give myself something else to angst about. My weight. Yes. Fixate on something you *can* control.
I love that I know exactly what I’m doing, exactly how stupid it is, and yet I’m still going to do it. I rock.