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When I finally fall asleep, Iím seven years old. The kitchen begins to close in on me; I know that I canít run away and thereís no one else in the house to help me. I know that theyíre going to catch me and I know what it is that they will do. I always wake up before, though. Crying, and unable to leave my own body. The only safe position I could be in would require breaking my backbone; your body just wonít contort like that, I have found.
How selfish do you have to be to dream that?
I had a new dream last night. It wasnít horrific or tormenting; it was very mundane. Nevertheless, it felt entirely real at the time, and probably upset me more than one has ever done before. I think my subconscious may be trying to warn me of whatís going to happen if I donít pull myself together. Because being like this is what drives people away. Iím convinced ďthis is true, for itís happened countless times beforeĒ. But thatís not right. I drove them away on purpose, they didnít leave me. I think my imagination is becoming a little blurry again.
Last night, my pyjamas smelt of someone else, somehow. It wasnít a scent that I recognised; it was simply new. It made me uncomfortable, like there was something foreign around me. I couldnít stop sniffing it; I wanted to place a name or feeling to it, but there was nothing. I never realised it before, but thereís a lot of comfort in familiar smells. And when that recognition just doesnít come, itís somewhat unnerving. Feeling lost in your own bed is quite scary.
Of course, in the morning I realised it was probably just mum using a new fabric softener.
I now have five bedtime friends. A few months ago I could manage to sleep with just the one, but now, I have a whole fleet. I suppose itís a mini fleet. I can legally drive, and itís less than a year Ďtil Iím legally considered an adult, yet I require teddies to get a good nightís sleep. Or, scratch the Ďgoodí, and just go with: I need them to get to sleep in the first place; we can live with the constant waking up.
Al is my hugger. He suffers the nightlong hug. The others just watch over me.
I woke up this morning trying to place the memory of my sister killing me, and when exactly it had happened. It took a while for me to realise that it was only a dream, and that no one in this house is all that likely to suddenly chase me with the intention of stabbing or choking me to death. Of course, that wonít really settle my mind; Iíve always tended to see the worst in people. I ignore the fact that itís all
the sick one. Iíd lose a lot of people if they realised.
I enjoy drunken sleep; I remember very little of it. Any dreams that I recall, if any, are a mish-mash of images, and very rarely contain anything worrying or frightening. And if they do, itís blurry. If alcohol is involved, itís very easy to pretend it didnít happen. Or you can at least assume that everyone else was so drunk that they didnít notice the way you behaved.
I couldnít sleep without wine for the past few months. Iím managing better recently. It takes a long time to actually get around to sleeping, but I can just about manage it.
Post-gig sleep: buzzing ears and the faint smell of tobacco, even if you havenít been lighting up. Sweat, and droplets of someone elseís beer all over your clothes; itís inevitable that the short ones get it on them. Being short, youíre in a constant position of trying to lean as far back as possible as well as craning your neck. This improves your visual only by a margin; the head of another member, maybe a few more flashes of light, but itís worth it. You end up with a sore back and neck; another obstacle in the way of sleep.
Lonely sleep, I didnít even realise there
such a thing. Not until a while ago anyway. I never knew vulnerability in sleeping habits was yet another thing I was letting myself in for. Vulnerable, thatís not what I wanted.
Crazy. Vulnerable is
, I have found. Perhaps all of the original fear would have been reasonable had it been with anyone else. Because though Iím now all
vulnerable and dependant
, I know that itís not
. Instead, itís made me safe and stable and happy. I think that the clue was in the fact that I needed no convincing.
Preparation for endless sleep commencing, thank God. Well, not
endless, but itís certainly going to be a nice long Ďun. Dosed up on medication, check. Nice DVD to make sleep happy, check. Cup of tea? Perhaps not. Whilst my throat is all closed up and would
a cup of tea (cheers for the offer, like) I think that caffeine (thereís caffeine in tea, right?) might not be the greatest idea. Nothing can in the way of me and my bed right now. I must be getting annoying; people have started telling me to ďgo and get some restĒ.
Sleep: the cure for any illness, apparently. ďGet some restĒ; I would if I could only
breathe through my nose, damn it
. I quite like this; constant waking up and nodding back off. After all, I only have to go to college at 3pm. So I try to make the most of resting, until itís not even midday and Iím wide awake. Why be awake when you donít feel fit to do anything at all? Itís ridiculous, you feel sleepy when staying awake is of utmost importance (apparently sleeping in exams is frowned upon) but never when you
No need to worry yourselves; all we got was bikes, trains and a small misfortune never resolved. All that worry for nothing. We didnít sleep for hours thinking about the possibilities. We even wondered if all the concentration would make it more likely; self inflicted, like.
I feel so ill that Iíd really like to just go back to bed instead of dragging myself in for a full day of college. Still, I think Alís slightly mad at me for sleeping with someone else last night, so itís probably best I let things cool down. Except Iíve got a temperature.
Sleep has no business in the day. Dreams donít just appear in front of you. At least, theyíre not supposed to. Workings of the (sick) imagination tend not to simply present themselves in a material form, at any part of the day. Day is separate; itís for sanity and smiles and other completely normal things.
You only ever see them at night; thatís the
Without that, no one would know what was real and what wasnít. Itís most definitely not real. It can be dealt with every few nights, but not in reality. Itís not supposed to be
Peaceful, in comparison. (Nearly) uninterrupted sleep. Actually able to switch off your mind, at some point. Rather than the images (youíve only been
about them, but they were enough to make you cut and scream back then. You couldnít and canít even begin to imagine the reality of it) swimming around in your head; they convince you itís all your fault. Are they comforting in some way? Somehow, they reassure you that you didnít do the worst, that you only put the cherry on the icing.
Of course, thatís exactly why you promised youíd never leave or hurt her.
Gambling for glasses. Iíve been trying to piece together these random images for the past hour, and thatís all it amounts to. Gambling for glasses. Glasses that, now Iím awake, I donít even recognise. The wall jumping and nearly getting killed by her helped maintain the illusion that it was somewhat interesting, but I havenít remembered all of that part yet. We shouldnít really be surprised that even my dreams are completely mundane and boring. If I canít be vaguely interesting whilst Iím awake, I shouldnít expect any different while Iím asleep. Thatís what it is, Iím the norm, now.
Thereís only so much that can be said about dreams and sleeping. Itís probably been stretched out too much already. At least it keeps me busy.
So, starting tomorrow, Iíll be doing: One Compulsion A Day.
Fifteen entries of self obsessed ramble all about me; just what I love. Iím not sure if I even still
that many compulsions.
Then again, you forget about the ones that no one sees. I still have compulsive rituals to do with eating. Iíve had them since I was at primary school, and because no one can see them, I doubt theyíll go.
let anyone help you. Not with anything physical that requires perfection, at least. This is of utmost important; if they offer help,
it means that they think you are inadequate.
Screaming at them usually scares them enough to prevent them trying it again.
2. You are responsible for
. Mainly people you know. You have the power to hurt them, or even cause their death. Ritualistic behaviour can prevent this.
3. No matter how insignificant it seems, everything matters. In fact, the smaller the action, the more importance it probably has.
4. ...Try to resist all compulsions.
Always start with the left; left dominates right. Alternate between the two, whilst ensuring left is allowed slightly more than right. Itís like Iím on auto-pilot, I donít feel
to do it, but the ritual is there. Iím so used to it, I never thought about not eating like this. Iím wondering if I should attempt to avoid it tonight and see what happens.
Itís ridiculous that such a small change could make me feel that nervous but, you know. Ritualistic behaviour is what makes the world go around. Everybody has OCD to some extent, or so Iím told.
The Ďspinning thingí. My mum sometimes calls me Ďthe whirling dervishí. Attempts to explain it have never been successful. Other people with OCD have described similar feelings, but never the exact same action; I think theyíd get it if I explained in detail.
If my body has moved more than 180 degrees in one direction I start feeling uncomfortable. I have to spin to make sure Iím always facing the Ďoriginal directioní. Itís not like itís my mind that cares; itís my body. My body starts feeling like itís screaming all over; I feel giddy if I resist the urge.
Having a hand-washing ritual is so horribly
. Wash once initially, wash again to counterbalance the effect of the dirty soap, and again to top it off. Thereís more to it than one hundred words allows. Itís nice to feel like the dirt is being burned away.
I sometimes read through the Wikipedia article on OCD, and it irritates me just how many of the symptoms listed on there apply to me. I dislike the feeling of being
. I sometimes go out of my way to make people think Iím odd; thereís a sort of protection in it, somehow.
In one of our bathrooms, thereís a cupboard on the floor which you could probably fit a person in. Iím convinced thereís a dead girl in there. Not completely dead; obviously she is reanimated and will instantly see me and kill me. Her face is really gross; itís grey and blotchy where veins have exploded. The logical side of my mind knows that she isnít there and wonít ever be, but every single time I enter that bathroom, I have to check. And I have to close the door in a certain way to make sure she wonít get out.
Itís taken me about half a year to finally
that one of my obsessions seems to have nearly completely disappeared. I only realised it in the shower this morning; I havenít timed myself in the bathroom in ages. Every day without fail for a good few years, I would have a clock in there with me. That was where it was most important, but I was so constantly obsessed with timing, not just in the shower. Itís not so bad now. Itís weird that I donít even remember when that particular habit stopped, so it must have been natural.
. We have to block them, because they are highly disliked and make for lots of horrible guilt. Thereís a slight problem here, because these thoughts are very automatic and must be blocked
theyíve initially arrived, so youíve already got the guilt. In the end, you could say thereís no point in blocking them. But we still do, to make us feel better.
A negative thought isnít just of the ďoh God I canít cope anymoreĒ variety. Yes, thatís negative, but thereís no guilt. The only reason for blocking those thoughts is that they arenít very fun.
Many of the compulsions have gone, but the obsessions never seem to. They just refuse to leave. Iím utterly convinced of all these terrible things that are happening or are going to happen. I can even convince myself that they
happened; I had a lot of trouble with that one in the last year or so of high school.
All the little things are reassuring. If
is aligned perfectly, theyíll like me and I wonít be left on my own. If I can do
so many times in exactly the same way, I wonít be a failure.
Compulsions donít just relieve the obsessions, they also help lessen social anxiety. Then again, social anxiety involves obsessing, so itís basically the same thing. Iíve never really understood exactly how the two relate to each other. Tiny parts of thoughts and actions are usually easy to classify, but when you look at the whole picture they can be practically impossible to separate.
The compulsions are easier to handle now, which I suppose is what everyone wanted. Itís very superficial, but it helps. Itís like when you pretend to be confident, you end up convincing yourself, making you
I still check my room for hidden monsters. I flick my bedside light on every few minutes to scan the room for anything that has changed, anything that looks out of place. Iíve always been convinced that thereís some being that I canít see that is out to get me. In silly ways; heís in my pocket, discarding of my money and taking the key lock off my phone so all my credit is used. It used to loosen all my earrings, but I had to stop with the constant vanity checking because it was an anxiety-related safety behaviour, apparently.
Most of them concern avoiding getting hurt. Iím not obsessed with avoiding death, I realised. It makes me wonder; Iím so terribly scared of
but when it comes down to it, Iíve never been scared of dying; itís just something that could happen.
Therefore, itís avoiding being hurt thatĎs most important. I go over horrible scenarios in my head on a regular basis, just so that I might be a little more prepared should they ever actually occur. Itís like one of the effects of physical self-harm; you become numb to the pain so you can handle actual accidents.
I can quite easily replace one obsession with another. I only just came to the conclusion (in the past hour whilst I was sorting through a yearís worth of notes for four subjects) that it doesnít matter if I fail my exams so long as I get thin. The guilt of not revising is largely cancelled out by the fact Iíve been running every day this holiday, and have lost a stone in the past month or so.
It beats having to rewrite pages and pages of homework because of
one tiny mistake
. The frustration would bring me to tears.
Skin had direction, it still does in some ways. You go down the palms, but up the backs of my hands. Up is fingertips to wrist. Arms go shoulders to wrist, thereís a small pause at the elbow. Some places, joints mainly, are stationary blobs. They require a quick pat, rather than movement.
I donít think itís that unusual. When something is wrong, you correct it. Thatís the way it is. Your body is wrong, all the time. Certain movements can briefly straighten it out. It makes sleeping difficult, and staying totally still is near impossible. It just feels natural.
With every step, the numbers increase. Not in an orderly fashion, mind. Other people have said they do the same, but the numbers are in uniform for them; each step goes up by one. The numbers in my head are a bit more sporadic; perhaps Iím just a maths freak rather than an obsessive compulsive.
Itís like theyíre building up to something, eventually weíll reach The Number thatíll make it happen but we donít really know what the value of it is. The higher the number, the more dangerous it is, but itís OK; weíre prepared and armed with counting.
I suppose, in the end, all obsessions centre around one thing; self-obsession. I donít really think about other people, and when I do, itís to consider the effect they have on me. Even having a great dislike for oneself is just self-obsession when it boils down to it. A friend used to always ask me
I was always changing the colour or style of my hair and
I wanted more and more piercings. Itís simply that all I think about is myself, and how to change me. Iím worried whatíll happen when thereís no room for more piercings.
Any type of change is good; I even appreciate new bruises, simply because they change the colour of my skin. I used to have bruises all up my legs, but I never knew how I got them. Theyíve stopped and I miss them. I dislike that my legs look the way they were intended to.
I still have scars across my thighs, though they are fading. Even now, all stripy and gross, Iíve become too accustomed to the way they look. I get bored easily and find small ways off changing my skin. Itís like a permanent change of clothes.
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