Sunday, October 22, 2006

Day 63

Smell – the power of it, and the memories it invokes; an amazing sense of dejavu. It (smell) is playing an almost uncomfortable part in my daily life at the moment. I find myself remembering through smells of products, clothes and tastes, the disjointed memories of past lives. My past lives. Times in London primarily. Recovering important periods of time that I had forgotten.

They come to me in an uneasy confusion, being instantly back in certain times and places without immediately knowing when and where I was. It fills me with panic momentarily, as if I might re-discover some horrid experience that I do not want to re acquaint myself with. I find myself spiraling through a rolodex of memory, of time and space, until I find that exact timeframe that I associate with a particular smell; always with one eye shut less I come face to face with an unwanted demon of some description.

This morning the crisp snap of frost, the coldness of the room I inhabit, the taste of tea and a cigarette on my tongue, a song playing in the background takes me somewhere old. I feel the low ebb of panic rise until I find myself remembering happy times. This too makes for sadness, because I was happy then and I am not now?

It first began with finding again a moisturiser I used to use that I found quite by chance, playing with my sister in the cosmetic store she works in. The smell of the product enabled me to remember getting dressed in the mornings, applying the moisturizer and hiking up designer tights and slim line outfits over my then skinny frame. It was wintertime and I was experiencing the first flush of love with the most recent ‘ex’ after coming out of the maddening relationship with the ‘ex, ex’. I was happy, confident, living on my own and in control of my eating.

The symbolism between being in control of my eating, and therefore life, plays heavily in patterns throughout my lifecycle. When I am heavy, like I am now, I feel out of control. I was heavy in the latter stages of being with the ‘ex, ex’- comfort eating being my forte. The food and therefore the fat became a physical fortress protecting me from the onslaught of the verbal abuse and rejection that was developing all around me. I don’t know what prompted me to muster up the energy to loose the weight back then, but I did, and began a mind-blowing act of controlling the food that went into my mouth. With the shedding pounds I gained confidence, but above all control, and some scraps of self worth that somehow enabled me to flee a violent rage that had gripped my ex the night I fled from our home, fearing for my life. This pattern has repeated itself with unfailing regularity throughout my existence.

It began with my first bout of depression and anxiety when I was 16, straight after my abortion, when I lost control of my life the first time round. I was so afraid that I was ill/would be ill, that I ate nothing but white rolls and bananas for over a year until I was slightly skeletal looking. Food became the enemy. This act of contrition fucked up my body rather amazingly and I developed the inability to eat a balanced diet thereafter without ballooning in size. My body was thrown completely off balance, unable to digest the simplest carbohydrates, dairy and sugars. The only way to keep myself at my preferred weight was to eat a very limited diet of mainly protein and green vegetables, soy products and herbal teas, a purification process of sorts. I was doing this when I was in London when I was happiest, some three Christmases ago now.

With the recent acquisition of the memorable moisturizer it makes me want to clamor back to that time and place, to clamor back into the person and physical body that I was/had then. So much so that I went shopping yesterday and bought only the afore mention foodstuffs, proteins and green vegetables. So I begin what is for me, an agonizing departure away from food again. This is not to say that I binge eat now, far from it, my diet is extremely healthy as I began a stringent healthy eating plan when I got more in control of my depression last year. 5 fruit and veg a day, maybe more – no cakes, or sweets or refined, processed foods. I swallow more supplements than you can imagine, hoping that I am somehow trying to undo the damage that I know the onslaught of all these chemical medications that I take daily must be doing to my body and system. I am hoping that by controlling the food again, it will have a knock on effect within my life, and that I will regain the slim line body that is me. That I believe is ‘me’.

I have become so unlike myself in this bloated form and daily I look in the mirror at myself and see no resemblance of self, looking back. I just see a swollen face, puffy eyes and increasing girth that can only remind me of the look of someone taking hardcore steroids.

It seems that this road to recovery is all about tricking the mind in whatever way you can.

Mum has just left to make her way back to her home and I am battling against confusion and panic. The diazepam has already been swallowed and I sit here typing feeling the panic subside and make way for mindless tiredness. “Keep busy today”, mum said closing the car door before pulling away from the curb. She knows what today and the following days will be like for me. I know too, and that is less than an easy feeling for today marks another attempt at going solo, something that has eluded me thus far. Wish me luck?

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