Everybody has experienced intense emotions in their lives. Grief from the death of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, excitement for a long anticipated and exotic holiday and love when you get married or have a baby. But imagine feeling all of these emotions in a single day.
A typical weekday for me (weekends are a whole different story!) will usually start with waking up hopeful (unless I’ve had another bad dream or didn’t sleep that night, in which case I wake up afraid but again, that’s a different story). Today will be different, today will be good and I will be calm. Then I will get ready and receive a good morning text from my FP (yay! They love me!)
By the time I get into the car I’m usually happy (except for the painful tummy but I’m used to that) and feeling so loved that nothing bad will happen. In the car we’ll chat about the night before or do in car karaoke.
By the time I get to work, everything’s so good I can’t ever imagine it being bad. I’ll get breakfast from the sandwich lady and usually stuff myself so full I regret even eating (uh oh) and then my mind will turn. Why did I eat that? I’m so fat and disgusting. If I eat like that everyday then I’ll get even fatter and then no one will like me. But if I don’t eat, I’ll get sad and spiral. I’m so useless, I can’t do anything right.
By 10am it’s time for a smoke, that’ll take my mind off the horrible thoughts. I’m right! Man I love the people I work with, everyone’s so lovely and funny!
Back to working I go, I’m still really full but being around good people makes it easier to quiet the mean thoughts. For a while…
By midday I’m hungry again. Nowadays I’ve learnt to plan for this and usually have a stockpile of crisps or chocolate to snack on. But it’s not the same as an actual meal and the spike and fall in blood sugar means I start getting sleepy.
It’s time to meet the FP otherwise I’ll be alone and sleepy, never a good combination for me. If they meet me, it’s ok, for a while, I feel loved again and everything is awesome. If they don’t, the thoughts begin. You’re fat, that’s why they won’t meet you. They don’t like you anymore. You’re so annoying and you ruin everything. Why can’t you do anything right.
Then panic starts to set in: oh gosh, I’m going to spiral at work again. How am I going to make it through the next 4 hours. I’m so tired and so alone. I’m going home alone tonight. I’m going to be alone forever. They’re never going to speak to me again. What if something happens at home when I’m alone? No ones there to save me. I can’t save myself. I can’t be alone again.
Help me! I frantically text my FP ever increasingly desperate texts to get them to meet me. I need them to meet me. I start to disconnect from my body and surroundings. I don’t exist unless they’re here.
It’s ok though, both my FP and my best friend meet me for a smoke and I remember that I’m not alone. Everything’s ok, they’re not going anywhere. They’re just busy at work.
You’re so stupid for forgetting this. You’re such a burden on everybody. Why are you like this? You’re so useless. Remember your skills. You’ve got to learn to control this. You can’t keep distracting them from working all the time. You need to work yourself. Stop being so stupid and get back to work and focus on your job.
By 3pm I’m really tired, it’s exhausting being in a state of constant panic and battling the mean thoughts. The more tired I get, the less able I am to control the thoughts.
I start to remember my ex. I remember all the good times we used to have, how I was never alone and he was always there. Then I’ll remember the bad times. How he was never actually there, he would get angry and shout until I was afraid and alone, then he’d go outside to smoke for a couple hours.
But I still wasn’t technically alone. Having someone nearby is better than no one.
I start texting my FP again. Please don’t let me be afraid. Please don’t let me be alone. I can’t be alone anymore. Do you still like me? Are you sure? Why? How can you like someone who freaks out so often? I’m so sorry. I don’t want to be like this. I don’t want to freak out all the time. I’m so tired.
Then I’ll get angry: why won’t you help me? I don’t want to meditate. Meditating makes me want to pull my hair out. Just make it stop, please! I don’t want to do this anymore. Please. Make it stop.
By 4pm, with only an hour left, I’ll calm down. It’s almost over and I can go home and watch the telly. I can go home and see my cats.
In recent weeks, my FP will usually come home with me most nights concerned for my safety. You’ve got to stop doing this, Toria. They need to sleep. They need their own life too! You’re so stupid but if you’re alone, you won’t cope. You’ll fall apart like last year when your ex left and you’ll be awake and in pain, all night. You’re useless.
5pm and it’s time to go home. I get in the car and breathe a sigh of relief. And then realise I’ve done it again. I’ve essentially guilt tripped my FP into coming round, once again. I start to tell him I’m sorry, again. I promise to make more of an effort tomorrow and I really do mean it. I don’t want to be this way and the guilt kills me inside. Every time he has to come to mine on an unplanned night, I feel so much guilt and shame and disgust with myself.
But it’s easier to ignore the bad thoughts because he’s here. Everything’s ok when he’s here. There’s nothing to fear, he’ll look after me when I can’t look after myself.
We eat some food and watch a film or the new programme we’ve started and have a lovely night. Then, at 9pm, he tries to go home. I say try because it usually takes a good half an hour to get me off him so he can go home.
You’re not going to sleep unless he’s here. Something will happen if he goes home and you’ll never make it through the night. You’re not safe. You can’t take care of yourself. Don’t let him go.
He needs to go. He needs to sleep. You’re doing it again, Toria. You’ve got to stop this. He has a life and you are ruining it. He won’t want to come back if you don’t let him go. Stop it! Stop the puppy dog eyes. Let go of him. Make him go otherwise he’ll never come back. He’ll hate you. And you have to go to work tomorrow too. If you lose your job, you’ll lose your house and your cat. He has to go.
Once he’s left, I have a smoke and settle in to him being gone. It’s usually better than I thought it’d be. I’ll roll my fags for the morning, brush my teeth, feed the cats, smoke and go to sleep (after receiving a text to say he’s home safe and wishing me sweet dreams).
I’ll go to bed, the memories of the day reeling through my mind and promising myself that tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow I will be more in control.
Not every day is like this. Some days are better and mostly good things and thoughts happen. Some days are worse and I barely make it through the day at all and beg for help or to be sectioned. I never know which it’ll be, although I’m starting to learn my triggers.
I still live in hope, though, that things will get better. Until then, I just need to focus on making it through each day, one moment at a time.