Eating Disorder Awareness Week, 2017

Before we begin

This post marks Eating Disorder Awareness Week and, as such, it’s necessarily about eating disorders. It discusses my own experience of living with, and recovering from, an eating disorder. It also touches upon self-harm and the diet industry.

If you are recovering from an eating disorder, or are vulnerable to disordered eating you may prefer to sit this one out. No worries – I’ll see you in the next post xx

Oh – and it’s also a very LONG post. So now you’re armed with all of the facts, let us begin.

I lived with an eating disorder from my teens until my mid-twenties and those years were, without any shadow of a doubt, the darkest I have lived through. It started, as I suppose these things often do, innocently enough: I was a teenager, I was growing and I didn’t like it. So I went on a diet.

Of course, now I know that it was a little more complicated than that. Thousands upon thousands of people go on diets every year and for most of them it doesn’t end in the horror and chaos that I brought to bear upon myself. For me, there were other factors in the mix. I was unhappy, I was angry, I felt I had no control. I was also quiet, conscientious and prone to perfectionism. Add to that the tendency to obsess and, well, safe to say, I was the perfect eating disorder storm.

It didn’t happen over night – it crept up on me, slowly but surely, until one day it was too big for me to stop: it was a juggernaut smashing its way through my whole life. On the face of it, it was a numbers game because I soon discovered that everything, including my own worth, could be counted. For the longest time, I valued myself in calories, pounds and ounces and BMI; the lower the better.

Beyond the numbers there was nothing but horror in my head. I hated myself with such conviction that I started to hurt myself – in part as punishment and in part to prove to myself that I was capable of feeling something. Of course, what I really wanted to prove was simply that I was still alive – because for years, I felt dead. I know how dramatic that sounds, but in the end that’s what it came down to – my eating disorder took the feelings that go with being alive and replaced them with an all encompassing sense of nothingness. When I think of myself back then the living dead is the thing that most vividly comes to mind.

living-dead

It took the best part of ten years to get that particular monkey off my back, although I would be lying if I said I don’t still struggle from time to time. Mostly it’s a fleeting thought that threatens to burn through everything before I stamp it out but I live in constant fear that one day, I won’t be able to extinguish it. To this day, I can still recite the calorific content of pretty much any food you can think of and find myself tallying up my meals as if its second nature. I still sometimes feel a little flutter of excitement when I realise I’m hungry because somewhere in my brain being hungry still equals good work. I still struggle to eat in front of strangers, and I still have the strong urge to a) always leave food on my plate and b) conceal what I leave. Habits, as they say, a minute to make, a lifetime to break….

Finding a path back to a healthy relationship with food is the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. The urge to restrict my calorie intake was so powerful, the cycle of denial and reward so overwhelming, the desire to disappear so all encompassing, that there were many times I wondered if I was capable of swimming to the shore at all.

Above all else, I struggled with the conflicting messages from the people who were supporting me, and what I saw as the world at large. In every sphere of my life I came across people who were on calorie-controlled diets, and the biggest diet message at the time was low fat, low fat, low fat. There has been much debate about the role in the media in the prevalence of eating disorders, and it isn’t one I am going to be able to solve here. All I can say is that, for me personally, the never-ending dichotomy about how certain food groups are ‘bad’ (when they were the very food groups I was being encouraged to eat), and about certain body shapes being ‘beautiful’ (when I was – as I saw it – not allowed to pursue those body shapes) hindered my recovery.

In the end, of course, I made peace with myself. I came to understand that nutrition was a fairly straightforward balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals – and that the kinds of diets you find in lifestyle magazines were by and large, bullshit. I came to understand that healthy humans come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and that in the end, the size of other humans was really none of my concern. I made a promise to myself, a promise that I keep to this day. I promised that each day, I would do my best to nourish my body properly and, if I ever found myself unable to nourish my body properly, I would seek help.

As far as mantras go, I’m pretty pleased with it.

Pleased.gif

I still come across people who are dieting on a near daily basis, and that, as I’ve said, is none of my concern. Sometimes, though, it worries me. The diet industry seems so much more pervasive than it did twenty years ago, the messages so much more mainstream. The notion still persists that some food is good, and some food is bad. Fat is frowned upon and thin is the Holy Grail. More often than not, the nutritional science is sketchy at best, and to me, some of the advice seems to have been lifted straight from the eating disorder playbook (The 5:2 diet, for example). The constant pursuit of ‘thin’ over health makes less sense to me the further away from my eating disorder I get.

I can’t help wonder if the diet industry is designed to keep people on constant diets that don’t work, because they don’t work if you see what I mean. For some people, that will be endlessly frustrating. For others it will perpetuate negative messages about good food, bad food, sins, fat bodies, thin bodies, and fasting. And for some, it is more damaging than you can begin to imagine.

Eating disorders are serious psychiatric conditions that are difficult to beat. Research suggests that 46% of anorexia patients make a full recovery, 33% improve and 20% remain chronically ill; for bulimia patients these figures are 45%, 27% and 23% respectively*. I find it so very sad that more than half of the people affected by the two most common eating disorders won’t be able to escape the terrible clutch it has over them. At the same time, it seems clear that it isn’t all bad: if you approach the research from a slightly different angle, it suggests that 80% of anorexia and bulimia patients go on to make a full, or at least a partial, recovery.

Recovering from an eating disorder is completely possible – I’m a living, breathing example of that – but it isn’t easy and for some, despite their best efforts, it remains beyond their reach. Eating disorders are complex conditions, with a varied range of contributory factors, issues and challenges for each patient. Against this backdrop it is difficult to fully understand why some people who are affected by eating disorders find recovery so difficult to achieve.

As with so many things, early intervention seems to be key. In that regard, I was incredibly fortunate. I received swift referral to specialist support services and, benefited from having a sympathetic and knowledgeable family doctor. Years later, when I found myself struggling to cope with some significant changes in my life I started to worry about relapsing, and again, the best support network the NHS had to offer seemed to swing into action around me again. Sadly, that isn’t always the case which is why B-eat, the eating disorder charity, are focusing on getting people into treatment as early as possible during Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

You can read more about the work B-eat do, and why early intervention is so important on their website at the following link:

https://www.b-eat.co.uk/support-us/eating-disorder-awareness-week

If, like me, you understand how important this work is, you might like to consider signing the petition calling on government to ensure eating disorder patients are treated without delay:

https://campaigning.b-eat.co.uk/page/6557/petition/1

That’s all from me folks. So long, and thanks for all the fish……

Love you lots like jelly tots,

WeeGee xoxox

 

* https://www.b-eat.co.uk/about-beat/media-centre/information-and-statistics-about-eating-disorders [accessed 02/03/2016]

What’s that coming over the hill?

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but there’s this petulant man-child who thinks he’s the President of The United States of America ALL OVER the Internet. I think he might actually be COMPLETELY nuts, as in “Maybe someone ought to stage an intervention before this shit gets out of hand” kind of nuts….

nuts

There are many things I don’t understand about Donald Trump. His hair, for one thing, is a constant source of wonderment. I mean, HOW THE ACTUAL FUCK does a dude who gives every appearance of being vanity personified – and who has all the money he professes to have – try on all of the hairpieces in the million dollar hairpiece shop and decide THIS is the look he’s going with:

I know it’s a cheap shot and I know nobody would dream of commenting on his appearance if he happened to be a female politician. The thing is, my concern is less about his appearance and more about what his hair tells me about his judgement. I truly don’t know what to make of his daily decision to leave the house with something that might actually be alive sitting angrily atop his head. There is one thing I know for certain, though: that wig was ABSOLUTELY NOT chosen by a rational man….

overcomb

At the end of the day Donald Trump is not my President, so Donald Trump isn’t really any of my business.

ASIDE: If I were an American he’d be ‘hashtag-not-my-President’ but as things stand, he is ACTUALLY not my President. Politically speaking, this is the only advantage I can find to being British at the moment….

The trouble, of course, is that the President of The United States has long been regarded as the de-facto leader of the ‘Free World’ and I think I might belong to that, whatever it is, if it still exists.

Look. All I’m saying is that if aliens landed tomorrow and I was forced to introduce that stinking sack of bile as Our Leader I’d be FUCKING mortified on behalf of the whole of humanity. To be honest, when the aliens do land tomorrow (What? Aliens land every day. ALTERNATIVE FACTS ARE FACTS TOO, deal with it, snowflake.) we might be better off taking the little buggers to a different Deplorable Leader – one who can string a sentence together and who perhaps isn’t completely devoid of any of the qualities that usually stop other people, and presumably aliens, from wanting to punch you in your face until you stop saying words.

IXYpi.gif

——

I suppose the thing with Donald Trump is that he demands a reaction. It doesn’t really matter whether you loathe him or you love him, one way or another you can’t help but respond to his strange dog whistle. Maybe the best thing to do is to choose not to respond to the hatred. I fear it may be too late for that this time but I’ll tell you what, next time an odious dickhead in a toupee turns up wanting to be the boss of anything I vote we ignore the fuck right out of it……

My response to Trump is, as you can see, wholly negative. I don’t get it and if I spend time trying to get it I start to feel like nothing will ever be right again – at which point I have to stop trying to get it for the sake of my sanity. I can’t understand how someone so graceless, so nasty, so utterly vacuous and so completely incapable of articulating even the most basic of arguments has become so fucking powerful. I JUST DON’T GET IT. I mean I get that some voters feel disillusioned and disenfranchised and I get that disillusioned and disenfranchised voters will (and indeed should) seek to effect change but I don’t get why anyone would seek anything in the darkest of dark places that is President Trump’s mind.

ASIDE: Incidentally, I feel much the same about Nigel Farage and his nationalist cronies here in the UK, although thankfully, as things stand, they are ‘just’ all of the above without any of the power. Farage, for all his bluster and airtime, is still nothing more than the shitty little tail that wagged Britain’s dog straight out of the European Union…..

straight-outta

The question I’ve been asking myself, for months now is WHAT IN THE NAME OF FUCK are we supposed to do? How do you stand up for what you know to be right when what is wrong is so much louder than anything you can come up with? How do you make the world the best it can be when the worst of it is at the fore?

How do you stop monsters in their tracks? 

Of course, I don’t know the answer yet, not really, but I do know that there’s no good trying to do it all at once: How do you eat an elephant? Bite by bite. How do you make the world better? A little at a time.

Personally, I know I need to be careful. I need to be mindful that my mental health can be fragile, that I have a tendency to obsess and that I am easily crushed, defeated and overwhelmed. I need to remember that refusing to stand idly by is not the same thing as taking on the whole world. 

And so, I’ll draw my lines in the sand. I’ll figure out what matters the most, as far as I can, and I’ll figure out how I direct my energies towards making even the smallest of differences. My time, my money, my words, my actions: these are the things I have and I’ll use them. I’ll write to the dudes in suits, I’ll smile at strangers on trains, I’ll march, I’ll agitate, I’ll volunteer, I’ll send charities what I can – in cash and in kind. In short, I’ll take my anger and I’ll use it. 
sign-1

I won’t sit down. And I won’t shut up. Most of all, I’ll turn up for the task, every single day. Bite by bite and a little at a time, the monsters will be quietened. 

Love you all lots, like Jelly Tots.

WeeGee xoxoxo

The C word

It’s okay – it’s not a post about that C word, because, you know, I’m rarely that vulgar…. This is a post about the other C word: CHRISTMAS. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Everyone loves it, right? Ho ho ho and it’s Chriiiiiiiiiiistmaaaaas. (A la Slade*).

For my own part I like this time of the year well enough, although I wouldn’t put myself down as one of those hard-core Christmas enthusiasts. Truth told, I’m happy to take it or leave it – I like buying presents, I like Dr Who, and I like being able to drink alcohol before twelve noon but apart from that, I like all of the other days of the year just as much as I like Christmas day.

drinking

I’ve been alive for 38 Christmases, and (of those I can recall) only three of them have been shitty. That’s a fairly good return, although PLEASE GOD can you not ask me to work out the percentages. Nobody should have to work out percentages during the season of goodwill…….

percent

My first shitty Christmas was 1996. I’ll never forget it, and to be honest, when I think about Christmas now my thoughts are still clouded by Christmas 1996** Christmas 1996 was, for me, Eating Disorder Central. I spent months worrying about how I would pick my way through the calorific reality that was coming my way, and then I spent months atoning for it. I sometimes wonder how different my life might have been, had it not been for Christmas 1996, but then I remember that there’s no good blaming your whole life on a few sausage rolls and I move on. Again.

My next shitty Christmas was my first year in Surbiton. That was the Christmas when everything I thought I knew changed IN A HEART BEAT and I found myself alone even though I thought I would never have to be alone again. It was also the Christmas I moved house and got tonsillitis all AT THE SAME FUCKING TIME. That year, it snowed four days before Christmas and I remember that because four days before Christmas I still hadn’t bought a single gift which meant I had to hike my way to Kingston in FIFTY feet of snow FOUR DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS and buy gifts for the people I loved even though I just wished I would drown in a puddle of melted snow, without the people I loved ever having to know. That was a pretty shitty Christmas…..

To this day, I still can’t explain my third shitty Christmas, unless being mental is an adequate explanation. Somehow I knew that Christmas was approaching but somehow I also didn’t give a shit about it. I stuck my head in the sand – as I’m wont to do – only conceding that Christmas was going to happen regardless a week before it actually did. It was around about this point that I shoved a tree up, flung some tinsel in its general direction and took to wearing a jumper with a quirky penguin on because, you know, quirky penguins are FESTIVE. Ho, ho and fucking ho.

I don’t think this Christmas is going to be a particularly shitty Christmas. I’m looking forward to it well enough (it’s that thing I said about drinking alcohol at noon): my tree is up, my gifts are bought and I’ll get to spend time with the people I care about. Most importantly of all, from my point of view, my head is in a reasonable place – I’m calm and collected and not especially mental. I head into Christmas knowing that a) I’m going to survive and that b) surviving isn’t going to be a problem.

Still – I keep thinking about those people who might be where I was during my three shitty Christmases: people who might be afraid, or alone, or just off the scale mental for no good reason. I keep thinking how difficult it is to find a way through at this time of the year, and I keep thinking how much I wish I could tell those people, who feel the way I once did, that however hopeless the hopeless things they are dealing with feel – there is hope to be found at the end of the hopelessness. You just have to hold on tight.

Christmas brings so many expectations with it, and it’s easy to get carried away with the idea that everything should be perfect for that one day. At Christmas all of your insecurities should somehow melt away, and you should be with everybody you love, and you should feel miraculously joyful and everything should be completely perfect BECAUSE CHRISTMAS. Here’s what I know: ‘because Christmas’ isn’t the answer to all of the challenges you were facing before Christmas. Here’s what I also know – ‘because Christmas’ doesn’t make anything worse, or more intolerable, or more unbearable than it might have been either.

Christmas is tough for so many people, for so many different reasons. But Christmas will be over soon enough, and the reasons make sense in the end. Tomorrow will come. Until then hope is important, shout up if you need help, and I’ll see you in the new year.

Oh. And ho, ho ho……

mofo

Love you lots like jelly tots

WeeGee xxx

*Wait – is it Slade? I’m starting to wonder if it might be Wizard…..

**Can everybody please be too polite to mention that 1996 was TWENTY years ago, thanks.

 

Today came around. Again….

It always rains in WeeGee land on 19th September.

To be fair, I don’t know if it actually always rains, or if my memory just thinks it always rains, but it very definitely rained today and since that fits with my pre-conceived notions of what today should feel like I’m going to go with it.

It’s been fifteen years since the 19th September first meant anything to me. Fifteen years is a long time. It’s so long that I can’t properly remember the person I was back then. It’s so long ago that my friends are different, that my life is different, and that whatever it was I hoped and dreamed of at the time is long forgotten and given up on. I’m a grown up now – it’s all behind me – none of what mattered then matters now. Life moves on, people change, you stop looking for the big answers and start dealing with the little questions one by one.

Today shouldn’t mean anything to me. It’s an anniversary of something that only I remember and that has no meaningful impact on my life now. Like I said, life moves on.

Every year, the 19th September comes around. I dread it for weeks, and then it comes around and before I know it, it’s over with. I try to mark it, but I never manage to mark it well enough because…. Well, because – how do you mark a thing you want to remember but don’t want to acknowledge out loud?

As it goes, the best I can do is to withdraw into my own head for the day. All I can do is make today about today – I can let my thoughts rest on things I don’t otherwise let them rest on – I can stop for a moment and I can let everything that has happened in the last 15 years settle around me.

I’ll wake up tomorrow and today will be over with. That’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? Today doesn’t matter because tomorrow is on the way.

What you’ve lost is less important than what you have. Hope is important.

Love you all lots, like jelly tots,

WeeGee xxxxx

And so I kept living

I wrote this post to mark World Suicide Prevention Day 2016, and it perhaps unsurprisingly, discusses suicide. Please scroll on past if that might put you in a difficult position. If you need help right now – pick up the phone, send an email (feel free to use my contact me form – I’m here, I won’t judge) knock on a door, head to A&E (ER). Take care of yourself xoxox

 —- 

Four years ago, I wrote this post to mark World Suicide Prevention Day 2012. So many things have changed in the years that have intervened – for me, for the people I love, and in the world – but sadly, one thing hasn’t changed much at all: the figures on suicide around the world.

According to the World Health Organisation an estimated 800,000 people worldwide lose their lives to suicide every year. It’s difficult for me to imagine the human picture behind a figure like that so I tried to break it down – it averages at around 90 people every hour; or three people every two minutes. In the time it hasn’t taken me to write this post nearly 100 people have taken their own lives. For every person who dies by suicide, another three people make an attempt on their life. So, in the time it has taken me to write this post 400 people have found themselves willing themselves out of the world. Sometimes, there are no words for how awful the human picture actually is.

Here in the UK, the picture is no less discouraging. In 2014 (the most recent year for which figures from the Samaritans are available) some 6581 people lost their lives to suicide in the UK and ROI – the highest number of men since 2005 and of women since 2011. Whichever way you look at it, the number of people who die at their own hand in the UK has increased – I don’t know whether that makes me more sad or angry, but I don’t suppose it really matters right now. I am a suicide survivor, and as hard as it is to say THAT is what matters to me right now.

As a rule, we still find it difficult to talk about suicide and that’s a huge problem because one of the best means of defence we have is talking about it.

Here’s what I know:

  • Talking about suicidal feelings gives you the space to examine them, outside of your own head.
  • Talking about suicidal feelings helps to remind you that you are never alone with them.
  • Talking about suicidal feelings gives you a distraction from the actions that are gathering ever more momentum in your mind.
  • Talking about suicidal feelings helps us to remember – above all else – that it’s okay to talk about suicide.

So – at the risk of repeating myself: I am a suicide survivor, and I am not ashamed. There have been times in my life that I wished not to have life anymore – it wasn’t ever that I wanted to be dead, more that I didn’t want to be alive anymore. The two things have always been, and remain, very different to my mind. The feelings that I had at those times don’t make a lot of sense to me right now but I remember the desperation, and hopelessness, fear and pain. I remember those things in my bones and in my heart – I carry them with me and use them to remind me that whatever happens, and however I feel: my life is worth having. And so I choose to live. I choose it every single god damn day.

Suicide is complex – nobody knows that better than I. But suicide is also, almost always, preventable. There is work to be done and we need to look to each other – to our family and friends, to our politicians, our media, our healthcare professionals – to make it happen. Most importantly of all we need to keep on finding the courage to talk about it, until all the shame is banished and until every single person who thinks they are lost is  in no doubt that we are ALL here for them, and that we are here to get them through.

I end, as I did four years ago, with some words that mean the world to me – words that have lifted my heart and carried it for me, words that have comforted me, words that have saved my life:

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”

Lady Chatterley’s Lover. DH Lawrence

Keep your lights burning brightly, my friends. And remember, it’s good to talk.

Love you all lots, like a million and one jelly tots – WeeGee xoxoxo

wsp

Burning my very special little candle, in support and solidarity and hope

Unique. Loveable. Diabetic. Bit of an asshole….

The cat has a blog all to him very self now……

Hiss and Tell

It’s difficult to get a sense of just how many cats are being treated for diabetes at any given time, although the most recent estimates seem to sit somewhere between 1 and 4 in every 100 cats. For my mind, that makes it reasonably rare although I also understand that the prevalence of feline diabetes seems to be increasing at a steady, if not alarming rate – more about which some other time.

My cat, Gryff is currently being treated for diabetes. We’re still at the very beginning of our journey and I’ve got a feeling we’ve got an awful long way to go – not least because his blood glucose levels are still pretty much off the chart. Still we persevere, slowly, slowly catchy monkey and all that.

From what I can tell, cats make terrible patients – they don’t follow the clinical rules and they don’t always let on when things…

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He is home. That is all.

Just a quick, bullet-pointy update because my brain is frazzled and my heart is too full…..

Headline

  • Gryff is HOME.
  • Hip, hip and double hurrah.

Boring cat lady summary of how the shit went down

  • Monday: Gryff goes to see the vet because he is a bit under the weather
  • Tuesday: Gryff is diagnosed with diabetes and simultaneously goes on hunger strike. This is not a good thing.
  • Wednesday: Gryff develops ketoacidosis (I’d never heard of it – but it’s SERIOUS)  and is admitted to the veterinary hospital where he is angry and growls a lot. WeeGee and Mr Awesome Thing Number Five prepare themselves for something I’d rather not mention.
  • Thursday: Gryff continues to be seriously ill and simultaneously ‘reaches the limit of his patience’ with the hospital staff because he doesn’t understand they are only trying to make him better. He does, however, agree to eat which is actually the best thing he can do
  • Friday: Gryff receives visitors, is grumpy but purrs a lot and promises to be good. Gryff is subsequently ‘quite good’ and let’s the nice hospital staff do what they need to do to make him well enough to come home. (The fact that they discovered a treat he likes may, or may not, have something to do with this change in attitude.)

gryff angry

  • Saturday: Gryff has an excellent night and manages a zero ketone and zero potassium reading in the morning. Bingo! WeeGee and Awesome Thing Mr Five return home with a cat who is very nearly back to his usual self, a shit-load of medication, and a growing sense of trepidation about the prospect of injecting a non-compliant cat on a twice daily basis. Shit.

BTW – He is very happy to be home:

Gryff home.jpg

And life is starting to get back to normal:

gryff normal

The bottom line

  • Gryff is HOME
  • Hip, hip and double hurrah

I’ll write again soon, once my head has slowed down but in the meantime – I love you all lots. Like lots and lots of Jelly Tots.

WeeGee xoxoxo

Strength you your elbow, little man

By rights, I shouldn’t be a cat person. Growing up our pets were goldfish, snails*, guinea pigs and eventually dogs – by which I mean I’m not exactly used to having cats around. More to the point, I’m allergic to them. Like REALLY allergic.

All things considered, cats don’t exactly make the most obvious choice of pet here in WeeGee Land. It’s funny the way things turn out, isn’t it?

I first met Gryff in 2005 – November the 4th 2005 to be exact. I made the 110 mile round trip from London to Milton Keynes and back again to collect him with my then boyfriend on the basis that he was a silver, black and white tabby – and silver black and white tabbies aren’t easy to come by. By the time it became apparent that he was in fact going to grow up to be a ginger, black and white tabby it didn’t matter one jot. By then, there was nothing that little dude could do to disappoint me.

The journey back from Milton Keynes wasn’t exactly smooth: we got lost and by the time we reached the M25 it was a car park. Long story short the whole thing took a lot longer than anticipated – far from ideal when you’ve got a tiny kitten with no capacity for ‘holding it in’ on board. Needless to say, the inevitable happened and we ended up with a tiny kitten who was inconsolable because he’d shat in his cat carrier on board.

It took three packets of baby wipes and a good half hour to put things back in order with Gryff getting more and more upset by the minute. In the end I picked him up, looked him square in the eye and in the gentlest voice I could manage said something along the lines of ‘It’s okay, nobody cares that you shit the bed you little fucker, just please, please, please stop crying. And he did – he looked right back at me and sized me up for a while. Eventually he blinked at me twice in that slow, trusting way that cats do and from that moment, I knew we had the measure of one another and I knew we were going to be the best of friends.

He was an awesome little kitten – mostly bossy, sometimes nervous and always good fun. His favourite pastime was scaling the bookshelves and knocking the books off, one by one, until he’d made a Gryff shaped hole to sleep in. He followed me around all the time, in the hope, I think, that I would open a drawer for him to hop into and empty of contents in seconds flat – his second favourite pastime. He was always a vocal cat and made sure to tell me all about it if ever I left him for so much as five minutes.

As time went on it became clear that whilst he would mostly tolerate his usual humans (provided we fed him promptly), he really wasn’t fond of strangers. He made a habit of creeping along the back of the sofa and biting visitors on the back of the head. Hard. He once chased a very frightened plumber into the hallway and refused to let him back in to look at the boiler no matter how much I appealed to his better nature. To others he probably seems like a vicious and aggressive cat but the way I saw it, he way always just a frightened little guy who came out fighting before anybody else had the chance to throw a punch…. It makes a lot of sense to me.

By the time Gryff was five it was all change in WeeGee Land. The then boyfriend was no more and Gryff and I set out on a new adventure together. It was the two of us against the world and we made a pretty good team. On our first night in the flat in Surbiton he burrowed under the covers, nestled right up against my tummy, and slept there all night. It reminded me that I was going to need him as much as he needed me and that was how we came at things from that point on.

During those early days in Surbiton, Gryff saved my life. It sounds so dramatic but that doesn’t stop it being true. When it all fell apart, and I stopped caring, and stopped hoping, and didn’t know where to turn Gryff was the thing that got me out of bed in the morning. He was the thing that helped me put one foot in front of the other, he was the thing that kept me trying. He was constant and forgiving at a time when nothing made sense and everything was harsh. Gryff kept me in the here and now when the past hurt too much and the future seemed liked a foreign land.

In time of course, we got through it and found our way to the other side. Life started feeling like life again and the future became a possibility. That said, when Mr Awesome Thing Number Five first arrived on the scene I think it would be fair to say that Gryff and I both regarded him with an equal measure of suspicion. For my part having a whole new person around in my life was a pretty big and scary deal and to be fair, I don’t think it was too different from Gryff’s point of view.

In the early days of Mr Awesome Thing Number Five and Gryff there was a lot of patience, endless gifts (or bribes) and some not inconsiderable injuries on the part of the Mr and not much more than the occasional glimmer of something a little better than contempt from the cat. It didn’t seem possible that relations would ever enter truly friendly territory between them. I suppose what happened in the end – which was nothing short of miraculous just goes to show how far a kind heart and the patience of a saint can take you with an aggressive, frightened and over protective cat. Gryff and Mr Awesome became, and remain, the very best of friends.

Gryff is 11 years old now and I’ve spent every single one of those years loving him. I love him even more than I ever thought possible and if I’m perfectly honest, I can’t think of many humans I regard nearly as highly as I do my boy.

Gryff is very, very poorly right now in fact, he’s in the hospital fighting for his very important little life. I’m doing my best to will him on from here because if the very excellent veterinary staff can get him through the next 48 hours then we’re in with a shout. Right now, I don’t need a miracle – I just needa shout. Like I said, Gryff gave me a reason to put one foot in front of the other for such a long time and I owe him a debt of gratitude. Now, I need him to find what he needs to find to get through this, because I’d like the opportunity to pay the debt off in cuddles, and tuna, and toys. But mostly in cuddles….

Strength to your elbow little man, strength to your elbow.

*  Yes, snails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On where I am now

Since last I wrote a whole lot of time has passed. Some of it has been happy and some of it has been sad and some of it has been other things – things I don’t have a name for yet – things that don’t quite fit into the ready made categories we’ve got set out for them.

Also – I haven’t been eating right. It’s a difficult subject to tackle, and I’ve thought long and hard about how to write about it. I don’t want to end up with some kind of ‘pro ana’ blog on my hands because even at my worst I was never about encouraging that kind of shit. Even at my worst, and most poorly all I really ever wanted to do was leave that nonsense behind.

Still. YOU ARE WHERE YOU ARE. Of all the lessons I’ve learned, that’s the most valuable and important. You can only ever deal with what’s in front of you.

Okay – so what’s in front of me? Lots of meals that I don’t want to eat for reasons that I couldn’t explain to you if I wanted to. But, by the way, I don’t want to explain myself anyway. Take it all with a pinch of salt but I mostly couldn’t give a fuck one way or the other.

Here’s the truth. I’m not as ‘thin’ as I used to be. The trouble is that ‘thin’ is the only thing I’ve ever achieved. The thinnest I was? That was the best I was. The thinnest I was – that was the person I want to be, the person I should be. The thinnest I was – that was the best I ever was.

In so many ways I know that everything I’ve said is nonsense. It’s nonsense and bullshit and airy-fairy rubbish. At the same time I AM WHERE I AM.

And I don’t know where to go from here.

Love you lots like jelly tots xoxox

The week that was

It’s been quite a week here in the UK. Did you hear? We voted to leave the European Union.

scream

The fall-out has been extraordinary. Around 80 Members of Parliament wrote to the Prime Minister and asked him to stay but he resigned anyway and then at least twelve million members of Parliament wrote to the Leader of the Opposition and asked him to resign but he said he was staying on regardless. To say we’re all feeling a little contrary is a massive understatement….

There have been several low points this week.

Low point number one

The day after the referendum more than a handful of people who had voted for us to leave the EU pointed out that they didn’t think them voting to leave the EU meant we would actually leave the EU.

200

WeeGee says: Words. Must. Surely. Fail. Us. All.

Low point number two

More than a handful more people said that the referendum wasn’t actually about the EU despite the fact that there was only one VERY EXPLICIT QUESTION ABOUT THE EU on the ballot paper.

ballot 2

WeeGee says: if there are only two options on a ballot paper there is NO SUCH THING as a protest vote. Pass that little nugget on, whenever you can.

Low point number three

We all suddenly remembered that the dudes who had campaigned for us to leave the EU aren’t actually the dudes who are the boss of us. When it transpired that everything they had said to convince us to leave the EU was pie in the sky the best come back we had was, basically, ‘pants on fire’

you-liar

WeeGee says: if someone ever tells you they’ll give you £350 million to spend on the things you hold dearest ask them if they actually have any say in what happens to the £350 million in question before making your mind up. As a follow up question, ask them if the £350 million exists. For real, like.

Low point number four

We all suddenly realised that nobody had asked if the dudes in charge had a plan, you know – just in case people said they wanted to leave the EU when they were EXPLICITLY ASKED IF THEY WANTED TO LEAVE THE EU.

So we asked them if they had a plan. They didn’t.

Then we asked if ANYBODY OUT THERE had a plan. Negative.

Shit creek

WeeGee says: Fuck.

Low point number five

THE CAPS LOCK BRIGADE (not the WeeGee caps lock brigade, the other nutters on the Internet) MISTOOK THE VOTE AS A VOTE FOR HATE AND BECAME EVER MORE HATEFUL AND STARTED INCITING STUPID PEOPLE TO MAKE STUPID DEMANDS FOR ALL THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T LOOK LIKE THEM TO “GO BACK TO AFRICA” QUITE OBLIVIOUS TO PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING NOT LEAST THE FACT THAT AFRICA IS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CONTINENT AND HAS SWEET EFF ALL TO DO WITH FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND/OR LABOUR IN EUROPE.

Idiot

WeeGee says: Racist haters gonna hate and they gonna miss the fucking point every single fucking time. Racist haters gonna realise no sensible fucker is listening to them soon enough. Surely?

Low point number six

Before the ink on the ballot papers* was even dry some of the people who didn’t want us to leave the EU signed a petition for a re-run of the vote because they didn’t like the result the turnout was less than 75% and the majority in favour of leave less than 60%.

The last time I could bring myself to look around four million people had signed up to support undermining of one of the central pillars of our legal system (and thusly our democracy) by introducing retrospective legislation to get their own way. That doesn’t sound like a dangerous precedent at all, does it?

Bad idea

WeeGee says: democracy schemocracy. Still anything is worth a try so I signed a petition demanding the National Lottery do a redraw if my numbers don’t come up….. I’ll keep you posted.

*Please let’s just pretend the #usepens debacle never happened, eh?

Low point number seven

We went and got a bit bitter and twisted about it. In our defence, feelings were running high and we all really, really care but we probably didn’t ought to let that stand as an excuse. There was recrimination and blame and name-calling. And there were memes – so many memes. Let’s face it we all said things that neither we nor Winnie the Pooh really meant.

pooh

WeeGee says: the deed is done: we all voted and now we’re all together again in the same rickety handcart heading for hell….. 

Low point number eight

Then there was this smug twat:

smug twat

The day he turned up and the European Parliament, stuck a tiny plastic flag to his desk and went ‘nah, nah, nah-nah naaaaah’ will surely go down as one of the darkest days in this great nation’s history. Although, I guess he is, in part, quite right. NOBODY is laughing now. We’re all too busy sobbing quietly into our cornflakes.

muppet

WeeGee says: excuse me while I hit my head against the nearest brick wall again and again and again. And again.

And again.

Low point number nine

It became apparent that The Labour Party thought ‘The Thick of It’ was a blueprint for doing politics and we all settled down to revel in the spectacular shambles that was unfolding.

Then the Labour Party ACTUALLY imploded before our very eyes and we realised that this shit just isn’t funny anymore…

curly wurly

WeeGee says: excuse me while my palm meets my face for the whole rest of eternity.

Low point number ten

For the briefest of moments, it felt like all might not actually be lost because hey, we’re getting rid of SpamFace Cameron. Here, we thought, was our silver lining and so we did a tiny little cheer.

Step forward the contenders.

Fuck me. Two extreme right wingers, a dude who thinks gay people can be cured through the power of prayer, and a guy who might actually be Tony Blair in disguise. Did I say fuck me?

Right-minded liberal people across the land have realised that they might actually WANT Theresa May to be the next Prime Minister.

may

This is the strange, confused, miserable, cheerless, awful world we now live in. It sucks ass. Come back SpamFace, all is forgiven.

WeeGee says: stop the world. I’d like to get off.

Love you all lots, like Jelly Tots,

WeeGee xoxox