TW: More pain and panic and hell in my own body.

So, May started really well, we were doing ok…

And then BAM. Cyst pain, plus anxiety from hell that carried the crawling skin with it again. We have a deep-seated phobia of parasites, and all we wanted to do was cry.

The Dutchman has been so good with us, but yesterday really made us realise that he is in this for the long haul.

Monday- I’m at the gym. I’m feeling a little rough from a cold, very tired and weak and sleepy but I go anyway. The hamstring curl machine has a bench to lie on, but it’s angled so there’s a small raised part in the middle. I pull myself up a little higher before starting set three and suddenly, there’s a sharp, searing pain in my right lower abdomen, close to my hipbone.

Immediately everyone is panicking, and the younger two (14 and 15) start freaking out. What if it was something really bad? What if we were going to have to call an ambulance and wait three hours again? Nineteen isn’t happy, worrying about what happened last time there was this pain- five hours of hell before being discharged with a handful of painkillers, not believed, and told to man up. I’m frightened because I know this is cyst pain, but the pill I’m currently on for birth control should have stopped this.

Monday continues to drag on and the pain gets worse. There’s blood as well, and that just makes it all worse. How big was this thing anyway? How long has it been sat there? Fuck.


Tuesday- cyst pain is there all night, with crawling skin and sleeplessness. Anxiety claws at us all day. We struggle through choreographing a dance for some students who are going to take an exam soon, but pretty much teach from a chair. Then comes the last class of the day- beginners’ adult ballet, which basically means we have to dance flat out all the time so they can see what to do. Adrenaline helps us ignore the pain, but by the end of the evening we are struggling to put our shoes on. Eating has become difficult, for two reasons- 19 is so upset with our misbehaving body that she doesn’t want to eat, and it’s physically not appealing. We feel too full and aren’t very hungry.


Wednesday- Depression sets it. We wake up in the morning with more pain and blood. Gym is out of the question. We pretty much work on massage coursework all day and then head off to teach in the evening, where we can barely do anything because we feel awful. When asked to do class, we say we really can’t because we still feel so horrible, and we are told by our mum that it’s a little weird that we have been unable to do class for three weeks running. She alludes to May being a difficult month with suspicion, as if I’ve accused her of making May hard. It upsets us so much because she has nothing to do with making May hard- it was that fucking horrible boy way back in 2005 who has made May such a gargantuan struggle, but apparently she thinks it’s her somehow and is now annoyed with us because we are bleeding internally and can’t dance. We spend all of the rest of the day feeling awful, guilty and very upset. We’re also asked to cover classes on Thursday AND Friday. We’re left feeling like we are second-class citizens in our own home, because instead of being taken seriously, we’re told that we need to be more flexible and cover more classes. It hurts. Why is nobody listening?


Thursday- We wake up AGAIN with pain and bleeding. This has to stop. Please make it stop. The blood is triggering us, the pain is too. We head off to therapy, and I’m so tired from shouldering the pain for all of us that I have no energy to drive, so Nineteen kindly volunteers.

Thing is, our therapist is in a meeting and we had re-arranged for the day after.

Nineteen loses it.

She decides that she’s not eating for the rest of the day, and she then decides that she’s been lying to herself. She gets angry and upset and decides that even after being invited to lunch with Mum and Sis, she’s not going. So she drives us round the hospital and out, then on a network of roads where you really need eyes in the back of your head to be able to drive there. She refuses to open the window, despite the heat- England has been hotter than the Med recently, and yesterday was no exception. She refuses to drink, so we are weak and dizzy and dehydrated. She decides to walk us incessantly round the town centre when we would normally have our coffee break, and makes sure that when we do sit down, it’s somewhere cold and uncomfortable.

I can’t do anything, I’m too tired. I can barely raise my voice to comfort her. 14 and 15 are begging her to eat, they keep saying they’re hungry and frightened- both of them get upset easily when they haven’t eaten. 19 is so convinced that she doesn’t deserve love that she’s even ignoring the one person who can make us all feel less anxiety- the Dutchman is worried as hell, because just before 19 took full control of us, 14 sent a message to him. He’s petrified of us not eating enough and fainting on the motorway, so this is a huge concern to him. Nineteen then deletes all social media and leaves our phone at home. She doesn’t want the slightest chance for any of us to be able to contact him.

I finally persuade her to head for a shop and buy a bottle of Vimto. I tried to get her to buy Lucozade, but she says it’s too sugary and there are too many calories in it. She won’t even buy biscuits. She apologises a lot, and is on the verge of tears. She’s really upset and thinks everything she did today is evil. I have to eat the biscuits we keep at the dance school as a snack, and she says she can’t eat them because she doesn’t deserve food.


When we’ve taught our class and headed home, I’m finally able to surface for long enough to drive. I’m in pain and exhausted, my back is sore, the cyst (or burst cyst, because that’s what this is) is aching and we are all very upset. Nineteen is buried so deep somewhere in my head that she is hard to reach. The waves of self-loathing are crippling from her. We manage to get in and message the Dutchman- with a wave of guilt, we see that he tried to call us, not on Skype, but actually through our number. Nineteen feels even worse.


Fifteen and Fourteen take the call between them. I’m too exhausted even to talk properly, I’m shattered and upset and desperate for 19 to talk. She won’t come out. She’s decided to stay inside and not talk to anyone until she fades away, then we can have a lovely life with the Dutchman without her fucking it up. 14 and 15 relay all this to the Dutchman, who sounds very sad and concerned.

Eventually,. Fifteen is a badass and forces 19 to come out and talk. She’s less than impressed. 14 backs fifteen up, and they wait and watch and make sure she will actually talk.

They have a long conversation. Nineteen is so utterly convinced she’s evil, she’s even refusing the hypnotic hugs the Dutchman can create for her. She isn’t listening to him say to her he loves her, and instead thinks she has only got one option- to grow up and leave everyone alone, because all she causes is trouble. She doesn’t even believe we would all grieve for her and miss her. It’s horrible.

The one thing that finally gets through to her is the Dutchman telling her that of course she flipped out for a good reason today- people keep piling shit on her head and taking her spoons (Spoon Theory, we’ll explain in a minute) away without her permission.

That starts her off crying. Nineteen hates crying and doesn’t do it, as a rule. This time she’s in floods, crying into the hood of her jacket to muffle her sobs.


The Dutchman very kindly explains that she starts the day with a certain number of spoons. We think that, at full fitness and healthiness, we start with about 12 spoons. Imagine without spoons that you can’t eat anything, therefore you don’t have energy if you don’t have any spoons. At the minute, the Dutchman and Nineteen work out that we all have about eight spoons when we wake up, because anxiety and insomnia and pain are taking their toll. Add to that the fact that getting up, showered, dressed and actually getting breakfast takes about three spoons- it would take four but we ate, so we get a spoon back. Normally after that something unexpected happens- the other day our provisional booking form for getting married came back with all our dates changed, so we freaked out and had to ring up the registry office to find out what had happened. As it happened, that involved one call we made and another call we had to take, so take two or three spoons away for that. The Dutchman thought that taking three was probably right, because we are scared of phones, ringing people or answering calls. That means we only have two spoons left.

Next, we have to get started on coursework. That’s labour intensive, so take away four spoons- hold on. We only have two. We’re now in negative territory for spoons- that means we are running on less than empty. Lunch is currently only replacing two or three spoons because we aren’t feeling hungry enough to eat what we normally would, so that doesn’t actually help. Lastly, we have extra things- teaching takes at least eight spoons, so now we are at minus eight or nine spoons, and then tea takes so long to get into us (because we finish teaching so late) that it only replenishes about five spoons (that’s including the fact that normally it would give us six or seven, but at the mo, due to cyst pain, we don’t want to eat too much). So, we end the day at -3 spoons.


The Dutchman was kind to us all, reassuring to every one of us, and kept telling Nineteen he loved her until she finally believed it again. She thought that telling us all that we deserved our abuse was evil and cruel and she deserved no love for it, but he kept telling her that she’d been abused so much that she honestly knew no better. He kept letting her know that she had had a number done on her, that it wasn’t her fault, and eventually she began to tell him that she loved him too. I’m pretty sure she still doesn’t believe that she’s worthy of love, but we will all help her get there.


All in all, May is proving vicious this year, which we’re disappointed by, considering that last year, it was nasty but not this bad. Please, please let the rest of the month not be like this. It’s a good job we’re seeing the Dutchman today, because we need the comfort. We’re all very fragile and wrestling with depression, anxiety, pain and panic attacks and insomnia. We just need a break away from everything.


Also, Nineteen? We still believe in you, we still love you. What you had yesterday was the mother of all panic attacks. The Dutchman said to tell you he loves you too.



I have been debating whether or not to write about the change in my life. I am worried about hurting anyone, but I really, really want to shout out what is happening and how much I am grateful to the universe for arranging this for me.

It starts in 2012. A fractured girl, both mind and back, stumbles down a Manchester street dressed as a zombie. She doesn’t know it at the time, how brokenness lies under the surface, but she is thrilled and excited. She exchanges photographs and words, and notices a tall zombie, beard caked in blood, surrounded by amazingly costumed friends. She wants to say hi but is too scared.

Talking on the internet with the other zombie walk members, the tall guy interacts with her words. She likes him. He’s nice.

Fast forward, it’s 2013. She’s so sick. She really wants to do the walk again, but the times are scrambled. She misses it- but through the internet, she had actually managed to find a group of people to walk with. Tall guy is in this group. He’s the Dutchman.

2014- much recovered, in a relationship, and finally the friends meet! In all her zombie glory, she comes face to face with the devil, and Bonnie- metalheads, awesome and lucky are words that pop into her head. The walk goes amazingly. The Dutchman is so kind and so lovely that she feels incredibly safe. They also spend time making a film, and just before the Dutchman has to go home, she manages to get past her fear of new people and men to invite him to spend an evening watching films and chatting. There’s something there. A good friendship starting. She classes him as one of her close friends right there.

2015. Radio silence for a week from J. A year apart with little face to face contact. The metalheads getting married, and an invitation for her to go.

She wasn’t prepared for what followed.

The Dutchman has changed. There’s a beard, there’s a trim figure and there’s a frisson in the air between them. The wedding runs on, and she just wants to spend time with him and the Metalheads. A child notices the connection, and tells her mother.

The next day, there’s a zombie themed event which results in the two of them becoming zombie royalty. Photos are snapped, and a throne offered for a dead girl and her bodyguard.

Six more says spent together. The gap in between is torture because of the tear in her heart- America, or Europe…?

The choice becomes clear suddenly with static in the air and a question.

The choice made. The hardest phone call ever dealt with…

There is a happy ending, there is. Past the guilt, past the pain- there’s a clear future starting to unfold.

Being Death’s Maiden sounds frightening, but nobody can see the heart under the robes but her.

TW: Pain and panic and hell in my own body.

Sorry I’ve been AWOL. I was doing really well.

I’ve been working at the dog kennels my auntie has recently bought, I’ve been busy with my best friend’s hen do, and living life and having fun. I feel like I’ve been doing so well and I’m so pleased that I have been managing so well.

I planned, in my therapist’s words, “a fairytale hen do,” and I enjoyed it so much. R’s face lit up in childish excitement, her eyes sparkling prettily and her smile glorious, as I unveiled each surprise. I’ve been her friend since we were eleven and I really wanted to show her bow much I care for her and respect her.

She had a brilliant time. We all did- me, my sister and her. My sister and I came home, we started unpacking, thinking about doing washing and sorting the house out for when my grandmother and uncle came to visit us the next day, and


I was suddenly crippled by pain. I curled up on my bed, gasping. It felt like the chestburster from Alien was clawing its way through my skin out of my womb. Pretty sure at this point it was a body memory, I pulled myself higher up the bed and willed it to go away.

It got worse.

My sister came in to ask my advice over something and was met with the sight of me unable to move, shaking and wide-eyed. She decided then and there we should phone the ambulance, but I didn’t want to. She decided on the emergency doctor instead.

Three hours later (yes, three hours of me being unable to move due to pain, screaming at times, crying and blacking out) the paramedics finally arrived. They were, as usual, amazing, and decided it was off to hospital with me. They got me into a chair in the ambulance and I told them what had been going on with my symptoms, and also managed to disclose what my ex did to me, and the miscarriage. The paramedic, a male one too, took me seriously, commended me on my bravery, and gave me gas and air to take so I would be ok and I would relax.

I got to A and E (ER for you American readers) and I was delivered to the Triage area and waited there. I was seen after about twenty minutes by a very grumpy nurse, who didn’t let me explain very much about why I was there, didn’t take my pain seriously and gave me a handful of painkillers to take.

The ordeal really began then. After two and a half hours of waiting, where I was denied more painkillers, not told whether or not I was allowed to eat or drink so I couldn’t… I finally saw a harassed male doctor who informed me I had pelvic pain which was, apparently, common in young women (bullshit, it really isn’t that common), and apparently it would go by itself. Here, take some painkillers, stop over-exaggerating, and go the fuck home.

I was sent home in pain.

I’m still in pain.

This whole experience has taught me something: In the UK, the NHS is fucked. We have doctors who won’t help because they have to tick boxes and avoid expense. We have a mental health service with too many psychiatrists and not enough psychologists. We have paramedics who should be paid what a consultant is paid, because I have quite frankly not met many consultants who knew what they were doing.

In the meantime?

I am living each day exhausted, hurt, and upset. I am trying hard to reassure fourteen-year-old me and fifteen-year-old me that we are ok and we won’t die. I have to ring up tomorrow and talk to the people who may have to do, along with a normal ultrasound scan, a trans-vaginal one, and explain why the appointment may take longer than they expect. I am left picking up the pieces of a broken system which does not, on the whole and excluding a few professionals working within, care at all about me or why I am in pain.

Endometriosis has been mentioned, and I am wondering whether the person who gave me her opinion could ne right.

I am anxious, upset, frightened and craving to have J’s hand in mine this Sunday. I’m praying it will all go well, and I will have a solution to the problem soon.

I’ve lived in pain for so long- my back, before that horrific periods, now this. I can’t go on in pain all my life. I don’t have much left if I lose my body.


TW: little one.

I barely have words for this.

I’ve been doing better- dissociative, absent-minded maybe, but better. And now it’s nearly July and I had my miscarriage then, and I am currently bleeding because I forgot to take a pill two days ago.

It’s bringing back memories of the horror of realising I was pregnant and pretty much immediately after that realising my marble was dead, my baby was gone. I have that hollow emptiness between my hipbones again where life should have grown. I am not cradling a three year old girl or boy in my arms, soothing my little one to sleep. I’m ragged and in pain, bleeding just like I did then.

I thought I had managed to put this aside a bit better than this, but I think that my body has not finished grieving yet. It’s still grieving for all the sorrows, crying out for all the times it was hurt and couldn’t do anything to stop it.

I hope I stop bleeding soon. I keep thinking that there’s something wrong, but what’s really wrong is that someone once put me through so much emotional pain that I lost my child.

I think I will have to ring the phone number the doctor gave me for the rape crisis centre near me. I think it’s time to find out what’s happening with my body, and to let myself continue to grieve for a dream that never happened.


Hard Times.

I’m so sorry I’ve been AWOL recently. This latest discovery in therapy has rocked me to the core. I am now a person abused in childhood, someone I always felt sorry for but rationalised that I never was that person. I knew what I was doing. It was my fault.


Now, I’m realising that it was not my fault, that I was fourteen, a child. I teach children who are fourteen. I don’t want them hurt, and I certainly wouldn’t blame them if someone cruel took advantage of them. Why have I been blaming me?

I’m so tired and fragile at the minute- the smallest thing sets me off. I cry at things that wouldn’t bother normal people. I was sent the third smear test reminder letter in a row today, and it floored me- I was so upset at its callous tone, it’s schoolteacher-style nagging, its overtone of disappointment. I’m fighting a battle with trauma here, and I’m struggling to cope. I’m not having it done- I’m sending the smear test refusal letter back to them. Yet another moment when someone else wants me to do something I’m not comfortable with and doesn’t understand how much pain they’re causing.

I pretty much cried all session with Dr K today. The very hurt fourteen year old was out and upset, and didn’t want to talk but just wanted to cry. I sat there, feeling very small and very afraid, and also very shameful and dirty. Dr K spent the whole session trying to calm me down and to stop me from feeling so horrific. The fourteen year old inside me wanted suicide,self harm, an end to her pain and an escape into the dark. Twenty five year old me wants peace and J and just to curl up on his chest and let him hold me. The only person allowed that close to me is him. I brook no trespass from doctors thinking they can swab me and expect me to be fine. I won’t be.

The doctor at my local surgery is the one who pointed out to me that I’m officially a person abused in childhood. She’s trying her best to help me. I’m terrified of the pain I end up in after sex, or even just when I’ve over-exercised, and she wants to help me find out what it is. She also wants to help me to report the abuse, and for that, I need an examination. I’m terrified of that too, but that one less so- that’s something I can choose to opt in or out of, to be able to tell them I can’t and leave or to be brave and do it. I have the control there. I’m just terrified that they’ll find that he scarred me and that I’m broken, or that maybe there’ll be nothing there and I will be told I’m making it all up. I’m not: I know what happened to me.

I became childlike again today, drawing on the paper Dr K had in her office, explaining all the pain and hurt in pictures. She believes that I’ve done some good today with them, that I’ve made progress and been able to explain what’s wrong and how she can help. I feel like we made progress there too. The drawings I did two weeks ago were just as powerful, the things I wrote from fourteen year old me. I’m so tired now, and all I want to do is curl up in bed and watch something pleasant.

If anyone has any advice for me over all this, I would love some. I don’t know how I’m going to cope with this and what it really means that I have parts of me. I dissociate, floating away, but I remember it all and I know that I’m there. Is this DID? I don’t know.

I need hugs, sleep, and a rest from everything. I’m so tired, everyone.


Life, and not getting what you want.

I think I’m in danger of causing rifts in my family.

I’ve achieved something today. I asked to do more of something and none of something else, and I’m paying for it.

This time, I feel like I’m awful.

I have upset my sister so much she’s no longer speaking to me. It’s like I don’t exist. I have tried to be everything to everyone, and I’ve hurt her in the process.

I have quit dancing as a career properly today. I decided I was shutting that door and moving on. As a result, I’ve dropped out of all the dance classes I was dancing in for more time to actually do my work on the massage qualification I’m desperately trying to get.

My sister is furious.

She wanted to joint-run a dance company with me, but since I haven’t been well again I’ve been re-evaluating things in my life that continue to hurt me. I have decided that dancing as a career is one of them. This, of course, puts paid to the joint company, and I’ve really hurt her by that.

The problem is, I’ve had enough of the dance world. Looking at my pointe shoes was starting to make me upset. I hurt so badly some night when I finish dancing because of my back, but sometimes also because I hate being in the dance studio all day, every day again. I loved it when my body was whole and did anything I told it to. Now I hate it because I hate that my leg will not lift at the back. I hate it because I have a TWO YEAR gap in my CV which will make all the professional dance companies out there laugh if I ever was to hand it in. The dance world is harsh and brutal and nobody cares if you get injured, because it means it was your fault and you were never good enough anyway, because a REAL dancer will never get injured because they’re too clever for all that.

My sis hasn’t faced quite everything I’ve faced yet in the dance world, although she knows just as much as I do how horribly cruel and unforgiving it can be. What she doesn’t understand yet is what it feels like to have no drive or passion for something you once loved dearly.

I hate the sight of the studios now. I hate my figure in the mirror, making shapes that aren’t what they used to be. My feet and legs look awkward and clumsy to me, and I hate how much effort I have to put into simple steps.

She will hopefully never feel like this. I never want her to feel this way. To hate the art that once nurtured you, to hate it so much you never want to dance or teach dancing again- that’s agony worse than a broken back.

What I have to do now is explain that to her, and hope that her hurt lifts. I don’t want to push her away even more with my idiocy, and my terror of telling the truth.

The reason I’m terrified of telling the truth?

Every time I did, my ex would push me away into a nowhere-state, filled with silence. That was worse that the other way it could go, which was rage. Give me the rage any time.

Right now, this silence could drown out the whole world.


lost in the darkness

I have been putting up the Christmas decorations today, trying to keep my good spirits up, but they have crashed and I’m left feeling lost and lonely.

I was told by Dr K to expect this, but it’s left me drifting. I feel cut off from my family and very alone.

I’m cuddling up to the puppy and trying to comfort the frightened, shamed eighteen or nineteen year old who still doesn’t get why she was subject to biting and pain and misery. She doesn’t get why she was whipped with a metal belt and made to be an object for humiliation and pain. She is me.

I never acknowledged the biting and the whipping as abuse because he lied to me and told me it was BDSM when it wasn’t. It was abuse.

At first I thought the lost feeling was anxiety over Christmas, but it isn’t. I’m upset for injuries that happened in my past that still hurt in the present.