Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Control The Freak

I've been thinking about my childhood a lot this week
Maybe because my sister is having some trouble with her son
Nothing serious, he's just being cheeky and a bit difficult
I'm sure he's confused
Confused as to  why his parents don't live together and why his aunt is a mess
He's 12 now and super smart, he picks up on everything
Even though I wasn't aware of it, my food issues started very young
I loved food as a child, it was  the highlight of my day
I  guess I turned to it as there was a lot of chaos at home
My dad was a functioning alcoholic and a control freak
It was like once us kids got to a certain age he completely turned on us although I got off lightly compared to my older brother and sister
My mother spent all her time trying not to upset him
There was a big age gap between me and my older siblings so for the most part I felt like an only child
My parents fought everyday and I walked on eggshells
It was ok when he was drunk, he was all happy and laughing
But it was the hangovers you had to watch out for
One morning in the kitchen, my mother asked my father if he wanted breakfast, he replied by throwing a cup of tea in to her face
I remember as a child packing my suitcase to run away
I packed two things
Socks and bread
I had a thing about bread
I remember my neighbours used to put out bread for the birds and when they went in I would sneak over and gobble it down
People used to say 'oh look at Ruby, she's such a good eater, she loves her food'
I hated this
I wanted to be a petit, delicate eater, only taking little bites
As I grew in to a teenager I spent as little time as possible at home
I remember restricting at school and worrying about weight
I did ballet and one day my teacher told me that I was losing too much weight
I was secretly delighted
At the barre, I looked at the girl in front of me
Her arms were thinner above the elbow and I remember thinking 'I want that'
By now I had started to dabble in drugs and I have to admit, part of that was wanting to lose weight
My mother told me that when I was in school one of my friends mothers rang her to tell her that I was purging in their bathroom
I honestly have no memory of doing this but I don't rule it out
Fast forward to age 19 and I'm living in Dublin with 3 friends
I used to steal their food and I was so confused as to why I was doing it
They used to blame each other and I was too ashamed to admit it was me
I was due to start a new job the next day and I remember feeling so overwhelmed that I sat up all night crying and slashing my wrist
By now I am taking heroin and things are going pear shaped
I became addicted very quickly and my life turned up side down
My father talked me in to applying for a job in the bank and the night before I was due to start, a huge row broke out at home and myself and my mother walked out
We checked in to a hotel for the week and I started work
The job was in Dublin and I had easy access to drugs
I used to go and score in my work clothes (bank uniform) and they dealers used to think I was a guard
A couple of months later and my mother finds syringes in my room
I leave work and things get even worse
My sister, an alcoholic at the time, moves in and things are chaotic to say the least
The next few years are horrific
A never ending merry-go-round of drugs, treatment, methadone
Inevitably you end up doing all the things you swore you'd never do
Thankfully my sister and I are both clean now and things have settled down
I suppose I am thinking about all of this and I'm sure my sister is too because we don't want my nephew to go down the same road
Unfortunately genetics are loaded against him so he has to be very careful
My sister worries about being a single parent but I think it's better to have a single parent and a happy home life than two parents and a chaotic one
In my opinion my mother should have left my father when we were kids but she says she wanted to wait until we were reared
My older brother and sister's relationship with my father is non existent, in fact I'm probably the one who is closest to him
But even saying that I am still wary of him
He doesn't drink anymore but  still retains his control freakishness
I don't want my nephew to have to go through what we went through so like a lioness guarding her cubs we will do our best to protect him

I ordered a stepper at the weekend
I seriously considered cancelling the order as the last time I had a stepper I spent hours every day on it
Against my better judgement, I picked it up yesterday
I've had it less than 24 hours and I've already spent 4 hours on it
As before, I parked it in front of the tv
And I have another confession
While waiting for my methadone in the chemist on Monday, I was browsing and I found caffeine tablets
Again, even though I knew it was stupid, I bought them
Being an addict, I never take meds or tablets as directed
It said to take 1-2 a day
So I took 4 - 5
Now you understand why I spent 4 hours on the stepper
This morning I am thinking 'What the hell are you doing Ruby'
I know this is incredibly stupid
I know I am heading for a slippery slope
I know how this story ends
But I still can't seem to stop myself
Since bulimia has gone on holiday my intake has decreased
All of a sudden food seems to be the enemy
All of a sudden my safe foods are dwindling and I'm making batches of Weight Watchers 0 point soup
All of a sudden it seems urgent that I lose weight
I'm not quite sure what has changed but my something in my head has flipped
Even though I know these behaviours only too well and I know where they lead, I'm unable to stop myself
I remember my ex sponsor giving me some advice once
'Ruby, if you don't know what to do, do the opposite of what you think you should do'
This was simple but effective advice
If I don't think I should go to a meeting, get my ass to a meeting
If I don't think I should eat dinner, eat that sucker
If I think I should jump off the nearest cliff, think again
At the moment I seem to be doing the opposite of the opposite if that makes sense
But what am I doing?
I know I can jump from bulimia to anorexia so is that what's happening now?
This illness is so sneaky, so seductive
As they say in the meetings, it is cunning, powerful and baffling
I'm not seeing Mary until Friday and I will try and not give her a censored version of what's happening
I had a chat with my Dad yesterday
I was trying to explain the way I think about food
He asked me my weight and I told him what I think it is
I asked him if I am fat
He laughed
He said 'Ruby, you're not looking as ill anymore but you could do with a few pounds'
I wish I could see what he sees
I feel huge
I feel fat therefore I am fat
So where is this all going?
Hopefully I'll come to my senses but since when did sense have anything to do with it?
I guess time will tell


  1. So many hugs to you, my dear friend xx

  2. *Hugs*

    When he asks questions, be honest. I think that's one of the best things you can do for him.

    DON'T edit or censor for the doctor. You're needing an extra hand and if they don't know they can't help. Fuck another decade of this shit, amiright?

    I wish I could come over there and have chicken soup with you and distract your from the stepper every now and then. I could bring my collection of weird teas. I'm working my way through the Lucky Dip jar atm, and ugh everything tastes like fake jasmine flavouring in there. Even the rooibos chai. So gross.

    Fat isn't a feeling! It's a method of energy storage and a vital ingredient for a good cheese!

    I love you so much Ruby. I wish there was a way I could help. Always here for you, no matter what. Look after yourself if you can ok?


  3. Hey Peri,

    I think you're right, being honest is the best way to deal with him.
    He knows I'm not well but I don't think my sister wants him to have the full story yet and I understand she wants to protect him.

    I would only love to share some chicken soup with you. Maybe someday we will meet up and make our way through all your weird teas.

    I love you too darling Peri and you do help me with your lovely comments and you make me laugh too which is the best medicine.
    I'm here for you too, always x

    1. There is a point where protecting them helps more than hurts. Maybe age-appropriate disclosure?

      Yessss chicken soup! I'll hunt up Grandpa's bread recipes so we can have homemade bread with it :D

      Laughing is good. I can do bad jokes and stuff like that.
      What's black and white and red all over?
      A penguin in a blender.
      (Don't ask me how you'd fit a whole emperor penguin into a blender. It's a fairly tricky operation)

      The Boy counted the stairs from McClaggan st to my house, and there are over 200. 200+ clicks. I learned very fast to keep my iPod charged!

      I'm lucky that my gym is so awesome and we literally have all sorts there so you don't feel weird. Young rugby blokes and a ballerina and office workers and a few teenager and endurance athletes and old folks too. Everyone is really friendly, staff AND patrons!

      The "Cardio Records" board on the wall has "under 30" "30-60" and "60+" age brackets for men and women, and theres something in ALL age/gender combinations. I'm the only under30female to do over 500m on the rower, so I'm #1 for the 2km row. (Is it unfeminine to do more than 500m on the rowing machine or something?)

      I fucking HATE cliques! I was on the fringes in High School, kinda found the weird shy outliers and made them talk to eachother so they had a group. I stayed away from the "popular" (Teacher-brown-nosing perfect bitches) ones because they were so catty and BORING. No imagination or talent at all. All their energy was put into worrying about social status with nothing left to have a personality. They always gave me weird looks when I spoke, some of them never heard my voice for the first 4 years of school!

      Ok I'm planning a trip to the UK sometime in the next 5 years. I'll head out to your lovely leprechaun-infested land and we'll go to a Zumba class together. I'll act like a dick and make people laugh at me so they'll not be intimidated by your innate dancing talent. Unless being associated with the weird foreigner is not cool? "That's Ruby, the really good dancer who inflicted that mental kiwi on us!" Gah, overthinkoverthink. We need to learn to make the brain shut up and let us attempt fun.

      Get your ass off the stepper for a few minutes to watch this:
      Better than Zumba?

      Love love love you <3

    2. Yes! If you do make it over to this neck of the woods, you are totally welcome to stay in leprachaun land, in fact I insist that you come.
      I will so come to a zumba class with you and the gym and you can teach me all about it.

      I hate cliques too, I avoid them at all costs, in fact these days I'm avoiding people full stop, not good,
      I'm in danger of becoming socially handicapped.

      So make sure you put Ireland on your itinerary when you plan your trip.

      Love love love you right back x

  4. The advice your sponsor gave you sounds like it works. At least you know the more healthy choice to make, even if you can't make it yet.

    1. It is good advice Emily, I know what to do I'm just trying to muster up the courage to do it x

  5. Hey Ruby,

    I think our childhoods very much affect how we turn out as adults. Affect our choices in life, and how we deal with certain things. Food is a natural source of solace; since the beginning of time humans have turned to food for comfort seeing as it's an essential part of life.

    I can also remember, as a 4 year old child, running away from a chaotic home. Packing my bag with what I needed most; paper for drawing and biscuits for... well I wasn't sure what I needed them for, only that I did. I can also relate to "stealing" food from birds...

    Understanding our childhoods might help us understand why we react to things in different ways, and give us a clue on how to change our actions in the future.

    I'm sorry your dad was so awful to you and your family.


    1. Hey Ebba,

      I totally agree, I think my childhood had a lot to do with how I deal with life and the choices I made
      A lot of my memories as a child relate to food, I suppose it was the only constant in my life
      I am trying to understand my childhood and the reasons behind mine and my families actions.
      We are quite sick as a family and it's all cleverly covered up.

      Thanks Ebba x

  6. Darling you're so strong. You've had such a hard life, but you've come so far. I know you can keep on fighting and one day you will get through this.
    I kind of know how it feels jumping from one thing to another. Not on quite as large a scale, but since 13 I've moved from self harm, drinking, smoking cannabis, starving and now purging.
    Recently I've been trying to stop them all (except the starving I'll admit I haven't tried to stop that) and all I've done is make other problems worse.

    Good luck finding a less destructive way of coping. I really hope you find a way darling.
    Take care.

  7. Thank you sweetie,

    We must have addictive personalities, without my addictions I feel naked but I know they will kill me in the end

    Keep fighting the good fight

    We will get there x

  8. If it's not one thing it's another. I find that I can't not have SOMETHING to secretly feed, something to define me through what I keep from others and/or society. Drugs, diets, adolescent sex, sketchy jobs, harder drugs, public sex, body obsession... Every time that I think I'm free from the chains that bind me, I find another set of chains holding me securely back.

    You are not alone.

    1. It's nice to know I'm not alone but I'm sorry you are struggling so. You are right, they are chains that hold us prisoner.
      I hope you can break free of yours some day.

      Thanks for your comment x

  9. I can identify do much with your past.. I used to pack clothes too mine consisted of underwear, socks and clothes. I didn't even think of packing food. Seems like we both wished our parents would split up.. I often wonder about how different it would be now if they had. Your nephew seems lovely, bright and no one knows what the future holds - he doesn't have to go down a path of addiction as long as he has support and a good environment and is well informed maybe he will make the right choices. But all kids make their own mistakes - heck I made mine.. Despite what I thought was my better judgment. And my dear, I had a stepper too and I used to do the exact same thing. I would "watch football" with my dad - I would use that as an excuse to be on the stepper for hours. I would wake up at 5am every day.. Scary thought, and I wish there was something I could do to stop you heading down the slippery slope..

    I hope you can tell Mary about this, she seems to really help.

    Lots of love xx

    1. Darling Rayya,

      I know, it's strange to think of what might have been but I guess we have to deal with the cards we are dealt.

      My nephew is smart and even though his parents are separated, they do an amazing job with him. He probably has a lot more sense than I did at his age.

      I will tell Mary, definitely

      Lots of love to you too x


Thank you for leaving some love x