Suicide and Me

Thursday, 12 March 2015

"That's interesting, I thought people with bipolar were the sort to attempt suicide." 
Brushing a beer-foamed moustache from his upper lip, an acquaintance of a friend professed to me in a pub three weeks ago. 
Sidled on a bar side, I imagine him hanging an imaginary patronising white coat over his shoulder. 
He does not go to bed rearranging his doctorate certificates above his bed, he's probably never cried in front of his mum, he does not know me, he does however hope I'll respond "oh yes." When he inevitably and eventually asks me if I can draw comparisons towards myself and Stephen Fry.
"Sorry?" I slump, biting the red wine remnants off of my lip and the rest of the skin on it nervously.
"You just don't seem the type."
I pat the pads of my finger around my glass. Eyes pointed at my feet, frowned.
"You're too confident and happy for that shit, you know?"
I wonder how I can satisfy his cliche perception, clawing at what it is that he thinks I am purely from a label.
What would Stephen Fry do?

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time off school ill. 
At the time, I knew something hurt or something didnt feel right, but I wasn't sure what. 
My stomach knotted and my head pulsed, a virus that kids contract by any other name or symptomised issue and Id plead desperately to have the day off. 
More often than not after tear tempered fits, my parents would let me have it.
I was- ill . I did feel strange and uneasy, as though I could vomit on queue the same way boys of my age were chanting "Pull my finger! see what happens!" And farting on demand. At any given point if I let myself I knew I could pass out cold or  throw up the three plates of mash potato Id asked for dinner.
Sometimes, I'd eat baked beans on penne pasta out of the pan at 2am and then throw it up hours later. 
I felt hollow, I wanted to cement this strange hole closed and I did so with food. I imagine now this is the relationship I have with wine. 

In those days off Id mostly watch loose women and stare blankly at Facebooks old, tired interface. It was an easy release, much less demanding than maths or history, and under the blanket on my sofa i felt safe. Each day would pass and every morning much later than I should've woken Id utter a 'still not well' from beneath the duvet, eyes peaking uncomfortably over and Id be left. 
It was usually the third day in that I'd stare forcefully at the window pane of my sitting room and feel alive. Convulsing with ideas and repulsed that I'd missed educating myself in the same way others were. I suddenly felt as though I could take over the world, be whoever I wanted, do more than my peers and was halting that by not attending.
Id go back to school and follow a similar routine, for years.
Even earlier than this memory, I remember watching Project Runway, believing I could win it at 11 years old and buying a sewing machine and forcing myself to make outfits for parties in under 5 hours with the remenants of a curtain. 
Later, id find myself in a shower after a phonecall, mind racing and, at the time, jovially forcing the thought 'you're like Jesus.' Stepping out of the shower and realising for those few seconds I genuinely believed it. I was high off of whatever my blood was nourishing me with, narcissistic and a bloated ego from a natural chemical drip plugged into my brain.
Then, a boy would break up with me, I'd throw my head over the bath to wash my hair to go to his best friends party, my friend listening to me sobbing through the echo of her hairdryer.
My nose blocked with snot that smelt of his cologne. I down a litre of vodka that night and make it out alive but experience depression in its extreme for the first time at fifteen. 

I struggle, I pace, I cry in lessons uncontrollably, I score scissor marks down my finger tips so I can't write my GCSEs and write letters to examiners instead of actually writing the paper I know I am competent enough to write. I feel ashamed. (I have withheld tears writing this until now)  I feel failed. I am embarrassed by what I have become but I assume I'm just hormonal. Mostly, because That is what three different doctors have told me. 
Six weeks later, at a party at my own house, I panic. I walk upstairs to see my friends and I don't recognise anyone. 
I know, everyone. 
They are all just faces and voices, potentially mocking me, and it is overwhelming.
Feeling anxious, I sit in the downstairs bathroom and have my first panic attack. Recovering, I am devastated. Devastated that it has happened and devastated that the short breathed paranoia has stopped. 
Reaching for the bottle hidden beneath the toilet basin, I drink half a cupful of bleach and pass out beside it. 
I vomit, I cry, I call a boy I have quickly convinced myself I am 'now in love with' who is just also a boy and sit out in the snow and cry some more until I pack my bags and move to my friends house for three days. 

Since then, I have felt this way countless times. I have acted on it six times. Sometimes in a full attempt and others to seek attention. Mostly, seventh pill in on an attempted overdose I see sanity for the first time in months and stop. In those episodes, I can't see my family. I can't see my friends and I can't see those who love me. They are invisible to me and I am invisible to myself.

I write this whilst I'm in a job I couldn't have dreamed of. I write this with family who love me beyond my worth, with friends who rely on me. 
I write this as an individual who deep down knows they have a lot to give to the world and would never let the perception of a mental illness get in the way proffesionally or personally. 
But, I am still a human being.
My body refuses to tell anyone that I know cares about me that this is going on in my head, but now I call a doctor. She's not pressured with emotional connection to save me, she won't go home and cry that I'm sad but she knows that I am a human being who needs help and that's what she does. This doesn't make my family or friends redundant, but it's not their job to superglue fragile pieces back together.
I just need their reassurance. 

Last week I attended the funeral of a family member who took her own life. 
I have spent these seven days reflecting on her beauty, her importance and her love- regardless of how long I felt them. She imparted emotions that so many of us are yet to feel or are yet to appreciate we have. 

Through devastation and loss, through grief and through pain and compassion, I look to her for telling me unspoken that my life is worth living. That people care. That I have as much time as I grant myself. 
That I will be conscious of my thoughts if not for myself but for the beautiful baby she has left with us in this world that might also need this message one day. 

What you have done is not selfish, what you have done is not indulgent, what you have done makes me strive to be a stronger person that wish I could've been whilst you were here.
Rest in peace. 

I am as much my own little girl as I am my own grown woman

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Bread bloated and Dalmatian skinned, with one hand I prod my thick fleshy thighs and reminisce back to the paradisal evenings where I could feed my exam pressures with two chicken mayo McDonald's burgers and still weigh no more than the six textbooks I should've been consuming instead. 

I scrape the societal camouflage I had hastily painted over my uneven cheeks with a foundation tinged flannel and watch each shade of orange and pink in their wet gradients pour down the sink. 

Raw faced and soot black under eyed, I pull grimaces at myself and pressure black heads with gnawed at finger nails. I am stressed. 

I try with determined will to change my habits almost upon the instant that I see this strange reflection. 
I still look young, no crows feet or strayed hairs, excess-oil waxing a pubescent sheen across the bridge of my nose- but you can nearly spot the indentations of a forty year old woman pressing to get out from within my tired glazed eyes, the youthful embers dimming. 
The fire now just a reflection of the passion in others, like two oval ashtrays upside down in the dishwasher. 


A month goes past with rapid spirit, chasing my heels that pace with a lash of unconvincing energy and I realise that this forty year old woman, with her punishing office anxieties could be harnessed into someone much kinder.

Lassoed by my heart strings, I pull her close and teach her how to be my mother.
An internal guardian to remind me to brush my teeth, change my socks, finish my peas and to tell me-

You're doing alright kid, stop beating yourself up.

I hold my own hand and learn the importance of believing that you have a duty to not feel alone with yourself.
That I am as much my own little girl as I am my own grown woman and I soon feel fortified again. 

A Relationship With Anxiety

Monday, 23 February 2015

Rushing my hand over old receipts and prickly house keys in my coat pocket, I clutch and curve my palms over an inhaler. 
Its shape, awkward and bulky, protrudes out of the cracks between each finger and whilst it's not yet uncapped in my mouth, its weight serves a soothing semantic objective. 
The monotonous daily drill of life had suddenly started to become terrifying. No seats on the tube? Panic stricken. Ten minutes late for a meeting? All consumed. 
Silly things, like getting a fork stuck in the dishwasher forced me crashing down on my knees and the bleak belligerent head of anxiety sucked all of the air from my lungs and demanded thousands of short breathed shut downs. 

I am on the stairs at a party and unanticipatedly I am drowning, deep sea flailing in the puddles under my eyes, clutching my heart like a life buoy that won't float me upwards but is instead rock weighted. I realise I must look nothing short of an overemotional prick off the back of no resolute reasoning or tangible slap to the face but still, a friend stays up with me until five in the morning telling his dark exchanges by way of making me feel normal and the hyperventilating subsides with the rise of a stronger emotional connection. 
It's frenetic unhallowed nature entangled in a warming trust exercise. 

As it robs me day by day of an extra hour asleep, the pangs burrow deeper and irritation grows thicker through the curved fleshy tubes in my body. I ache, I digress, I allow it to be and trudge through it a little more worn. My fingers starred with discomfort, pain shooting like confetti cannons from the base of each digit.

This is customary, a sequence I find sadist companionship in, it hurts with its volatile grasp but it is also laden with excuse cards as to why I'm not always top of my game. 
We've battled against each other for so long that I'm almost just as scared of being free as I am of the suffering it etches out.
It is only now, inhaler in hand, propranolol resting on my tongue and mantra echoing staccato in my head that I realise I don't need it. 

For so long it has shadowed each morning and taken the minutes in each meeting, a second head growing from my shoulder and speaking for me. Cutting the chords I am now desperately trying to set myself free and whilst it is testing in its unpredictable nature, I feel stronger than I ever knew. 

Pancake Porn: Where The Pancakes Are

Monday, 16 February 2015

Huzzah folks! The fourth best day of the year is upon us.
(The first three are obviously my birthday, Christmas and Friday's.)
I don't know about you, but arm me with a frying pan and some hot oil and it usually means someone's going to end up with an effortful time trying to explain an eccentrically shaped burn.
Shrove Tuesday is not the day for desultory trips to A&E, so this year I'm leaving it to Patricia because she knows a damn thing or two about buckwheat.
In 2015, I feel knowing what to do with buckwheat is of fashionable importance.
Nice job, Patricia.

Beth and I made our way over to Where The Pancakes Are at The Proud Archivist, which you'd be right in thinking is where there actually are, some pancakes. 
There's also a very nice canal if you fancy a post-pancake-stroll.
Nestled away outside in a quaint MDF structure, Patricia and her team are frying buttermilk and buckwheat and a good measure of duck eggs.
Already, this is going to be out of my usual 'Orrr, I'll 'av a bit of sugar and lemon on mine please.' 

Indecisive at the best of times, it'd be foolish for you to think I was ready to settle for one stack.
We ordered, in a nutshell, three quarters of the menu.
Kumquats and tangerine cointreau cream, cinnamon pineapples with lime syrup, thyme slow roast tomatoes with avocado and preserved lemons, a bit of cumin, scallions, green chilli and lime and corriander butter- you name it, it was in my mouth.
And also down my jumper. 

If you're stuck for somewhere to get battered (sorry!) I cannot recommend this little spot enough.
Ridiculously exquisite. 
I mean, it's a pancake, it's not supposed to taste that good, but they do.
Also worth mentioning that they're dairy free, incase that pleases you as much as it does lacto-sceptic me.
Patricia will be frying your way to heaven until the 22nd of February and then (let's all hold hands and pray) she will hopefully be opening a permanent paradise in the summer.
My fingers, although podgier than when I first entered, are irrefutably crossed.

It's okay to say no to sex

Monday, 9 February 2015

I am a yes woman. 
Want another drink? Yes! Second helping of food? Yes! Do my personal tax returns for me? Yes! 
(No but really, give me your tax returns, I love it.)
I am somewhat inherently unable to say no. 
Perhaps due to watching that film about being awash of negative responses opens up the key to eternal happiness or just plainly, because I don't want to be rude. 
This in turn has led me into situations as a young woman, I honestly would have much rather have declined. 
I have the power to say no, I am coherent and intelligent and mature enough to know that 'no' is indeed in my vocabulary and has as much power and prowess behind it as I need or want it to, I'm just often too scared to use it. 
I also use it so infrequently I forget that declination can be just as euphoric as complying. 
That there are also positive sequels awaiting after the 'N' word. 

A few months ago I started dating a really lovely guy. 
Genuinely, bloody wonderful. 
A fantastic example of when saying yes worked in my favour.
I'd say yes to dinner and then yes to drinks and then yes to same time again next Tuesday
Naturally, as a given in any progressing relationship I was often proposed a night at his, a suggestion that leapt as quickly as the compliments that proceeded it after the last round of drinks.
"No, I think I'm going to go home tonight. But thanks!"
I'd smile, half at him and half bemused at myself as this foreign word raged off my tongue. 

He understood and would get off with me a bit, running his hands over six layers of coat and scarf and go on his merry way back to his flat on his own. 
I, jumping on the tube alone sat anxious. 
Would this be the final time I could say no? Did he think I was a prude? Or frigid? Oh god, am I a cock tease? 
Shit, I should probably just say yes and have sex with him. 

It'd bounce feverishly in my head as though they were tangible things to be of concern, as though I was using language thats influence had an expiry. 
It's not that I didn't find him attractive, I'd probably mentally undressed him across the table more so than he'd ever done his older sisters hot friend, and being physical outside of the bedroom gave me that sort of ruffled and discomposed teenage pang I'm terrified I'll lose sight of by the time I'm 30. 
I just didn't want to have sex with him yet. 
I liked the pace of what it was for the first time in my entire life and wanted to prove to myself that my fear of being 'a girl for now and not for later' was purely paranoia and not true. 
That someone might want to keep having dinner with me because I can quote The Simpsons in the same breath as Dawkins and do insanely unattractive yet highly entertaining things with my eyes. 
(One goes left and the other spins backwards, it's amazing.)

I have in the past told myself that guys won't want to be my boyfriend unless I step it up physically, quickly.
Forgone is my wit and intelligence, they'll probably lose interest unless I take off my top. 
I consciously removed my self right to say no and would reluctantly say yes in hope it'd mean he'd fall madly in love with me, carve my name on a tree, buy me a house rabbit for Christmas and introduce me to his mum. 
Those things never happened. Obviously.
I'd wake up in the morning with a vague stain of awkward regret on his bedsheet and go home never to hear from him again. 
I'd then, in some kind of ugly self berating paradox, blame myself for coming across as easy and that obviously he wouldn't want me to be his girlfriend because I answered all the naked questions and gave away my mystery too soon.

News to me, you don't keep mystery in your pants. It's in your head. 
Also, a huge portion of that is ridiculous. 
I can hear you all vomit in unison at my cringeworthy delusions, rolling your eyes at how I've over analysed something relatively simple to a degree of neurosis- but it's really bloody difficult to get out of that psychological cycle once you're in it. 

This embroiled path of solicitude over sex has stemmed from two things. 
Boys in the past have made jibes at my lack of sexual confidence, I'd always seen myself as a relatively undesirable chubby girl and whilst they might teach you how to put a condom on a banana at school, they definitely miss out how to turn on your inner Asai Akira goddess when you need it. 
Additionally, I have said no in the past and boys have ignored it. 
This is something that needs exploring in less of a light hearted tone as this article has been implicated, but it has rendered me voiceless on a number of occasions causing me to be riddled with negative connotations towards sex. 
I've been grabbed and touched outside of my own will and want despite showing no consent and have been handled as though my perspective is irrelevant. 
In ways, and at times, this has made me feel saying yes is easier than dealing with the aggression and confrontation of saying no. 

We stopped dating after a while, he stopped texting and I stopped looking at L'Agent Provocateur with no intention of purchasing or parading in it. 
Initially, I thought it was probably because we went on six dates and he didn't ever have to pretend he had a meeting at 9am to get me to leave his flat before his house mates woke up. Or even worse, make me breakfast.
In reality, it's probably because we just weren't right for each other. 
Because that, is also a thing. 

I look back and I'm glad I said no, I have no regrets.
No is a valuable word and we should all give ourselves the confidence in possessing it proudly. 
You have to learn how to say no without an ounce of guilt, respecting and taking care of yourself is crucial and setting boundaries is healthy.
Equally, if a guy stops texting because you haven't had sex with him yet, he was probably never going to buy you a house rabbit after you'd given him a blow job anyway. 

"What do you DO?" - Le Meridien Hotel

Monday, 2 February 2015

"What do you do?"
A panic trickles hot down my throat and straight back out audibly into the conversation as I stutter a five paragraph essay in twenty six seconds.
"Oh me? It's a bit of this and a bit of that. I'm a freelance producer, writer, digital consultant, stylist and blogger."
It's usually hard to tell who winces first at how ridiculous that sounds pouring out of a nineteen year olds mouth., let alone mine.
In the questions most literal sense, my answer literally would be "Mostly, I watch The Devil Wears Prada in my pants eating cold curry and then I might do a cry and then have a nap."
Sadly, that answer never receives the raucous applause that my wannabe comedic alter ego so desperately craves.

I have absolutely no idea what I do, I just do it occasionally, get paid for it and stick it in my Twitter bio, obviously.
I've purposefully lived my life this way since I left school at sixteen because A) it's non committal and B) it gives me unprecedented access into the exploration of what else can be. IE. I've got not the smallest clue as to what my career should and will be therefore I shall stick my finger in EVERY pie and hope for the best. 
I've been avoiding facing this in a remotely adult way for all too long.

Whilst I can joke and jibe until a metaphorical farm animal returns home, not knowing what I'm doing has caused me a great deal of financial instability and anxiety over the last few months so I forced myself to sit and give it some real sophisticated thought. I knew I'd just slip the dulcet tones of Miranda Priestly on in the background if I were to stay at home, so I took myself somewhere where I would actually relax. Le Meridien in Piccadilly. Oh sweet marbled floors, you.
I checked myself in, threw on a white towelling robe and found an old Desert Island Disks episode with Russell Brand and just shut off.
Momentarily at 1am I stood out onto my balcony and entertained the idea of smoking a cigarette listening to Hozier through the battered speaker on my phone and watched and waved at drunken London. 
Then I realised I probably looked a bit of a prick and got back into my marshmallow kingdom of a bed.

Sometimes I'm not sure how I feel about adults, mostly because they often ask me what I do and also because I don't want to be one, but the adults at Le Meridien are really quite good.
They ushered me into a nice little room to check in, gave me what at first I thought was suspicious looking pill (but later turned out to be a refreshing hand wipe once wetted) and then DELIVERED ME ECLAIRS TO MY BEDROOM TO AID MY LIFE DECISION MAKING. I like them. 

I stayed up until the early hours, workshopping, pondering, inviting friends over to check out my one-night-only paradise and I awoke feeling fresh and with an opinion concise. 
I mulled over my final announcement in The Terrace Bar eating through anything and everything that can be filed under 'continental' and slammed my fresh apple juice down with cathartic glee.
No more nonsense, no more desk space avoidance or grandiose cover letters - this little space you're sat washing your eyes over is now my job. 
"Hello, my name's Charly Cox and I am a full time blogger."
What does this mean for you? Obviously, more blog posts. Also, a video every week on my YouTube channel. I'm bloody excited.

A thirty five second walk from Piccadilly Circus tube station (I know, because I counted), Le Meridien is ideal both in its location and also in doing what it's supposed to do.
A beautiful roof over your head with no need for novelties, damn good food and lovely adults in waistcoats. Definitely worth a visit.

VIDEO: A week in December

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Obviously, the Coen brothers need not quake in their boots.
But, hello, here's a week that happened in December.
If you could try and feign vague interest until the end and validate me in some way, that'd be marvellous.
I believe that's how YouTube works, right?

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