Tag Archives: mental health

Becky says things about …. dreams

Dearest listeners, I had a most peculiar dream the other night.

I dreamt I was wandering the corridors of my old school and came across a lady I used to know when I was a teenager. We had a little chat – an ‘Oh hi there, haven’t seen you in ages, how’s it going?’ sort of chat, all very normal – and then suddenly we were both standing in a pool of steaming water, completely naked.

dreams-1

And as if that wasn’t startling enough, we then had a steamy naked hug. Not a sexy hug – this wasn’t The L Word, or anything – just a ‘Oh well, we’re in this steamy pool and we’re naked, we may as well have a hug’ hug.

And then I woke up.

dreams-2

Listener, I cannot explain this dream. I haven’t seen this lady in well over a decade. Sure, she pops into my head to say hello every now and then, as most people from my past do from time to time, but why should she suddenly wander into my sleepy dreamy brain? And how did Dream Becky get from the corridor of my old school to a pool of steaming water? And – perhaps the most pressing question of all – why were we naked? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being naked as much as the next gal, but to suddenly get naked with a lady I haven’t seen for over 10 years seems a bit forward.

It wasn’t an unpleasant dream by any stretch of the imagination. The hug was a bit sweaty, but if anything it was nice to see her. I might give her a call and say hi.

dreams-3

dreams-4

Isn’t the brain mad and wonderful? Confusing and sometimes terrifying, certainly, but what an occasionally brilliant place to be while you’re asleep! It is a rare treat when you have one of those excellent dreams that you try desperately to squeeze yourself back into when you feel yourself waking.

dreams-5

Whilst wandering through a gothic cathedral in a recent dream, I stumbled across a smashingly good-looking chap in a Bond-y tuxedo, and we proceeded to do some rather compromising things behind the alter. It was, frankly, thrilling, and gloriously distasteful.

Unfortunately, just as things were getting really disgraceful we were interrupted by a man in a tall white hat, whom I can only assume was a dream pope.

And then I woke up.

dreams6

I’ve done so much more in dreams than in real life! I’ve rescued Jeremy Irons from falling out of a skyscraper window. I’ve explored a mystical underground realm with a team of Girl Guides and hidden from a foul subterranean monster (I can’t remember if I saved the Girl Guides – they may well have been eaten). I’ve been on stage with Liza Minnelli and performed a Western-style dance number before an audience of green people.

dreams7

It’s not all been exciting, though. I once dreamt I walked into my parents’ living room, stood in front of their DVD collection, selected a DVD, put it on the coffee table, then sat on the arm of the chair. I didn’t even watch the DVD. Just sat there. Waiting to wake up, I suppose.

dreams8

Then there was the time I dreamt there was no cutlery in the world, and I awoke confused and full of questions.

dreams9

Sometimes it’s taken a while for my dream to leave me. I once slid into consciousness with the phrase ‘All words are spoken upwards’ tumbling round my brain, and for a good five minutes I was convinced I’d stumbled across some profound linguistic revelation, then eventually realised that there was nothing profound about it and my head was full of nonsense.

dreams10

Then there are the bad dreams. The anxiety dreams.

The teeth dream.

O, the teeth dream.

Is there anything worse than the OH SO REAL feeling of your teeth wobbling, falling out one by one, and crumbling to dust in your mouth? Feeling the grit and the crunch, like a mouth full of gravel. The dread, the helplessness, then the absolute RELIEF when you wake and frantically feel all your teeth and realise you don’t have to call the emergency dentist.

dreams11

I suppose we just have to accept that when we’re asleep our brains do what the hell they want, and if that means ladies from our past strip off and give us steamy naked hugs, then so be it.

NB. Psychoanalysis of the abovementioned dreams is unnecessary, thank you very much. They have already been comprehensively logged in the book of Becky’s Incredibly Strange Nocturnal Brain Antics Volumes 1 – 67. 

 

32 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Becky says things about … reasons to be cheerful

Oh, brave Listener. We’ve all had a bit of a rough time recently.

There are several reasons why we are all feeling a bit peeved, irked, and somewhat vexed:

1) It is February. February is an obnoxiously depressing month, it knows it, and it doesn’t care. February is insufferable.

2) We are still paying off our Christmas credit card bills. This is intolerable.

3) Our New Year’s resolution diet and exercise regimes have failed miserably and we are eating more doughnuts, peanut butter, and full fat milk than ever before to cope with the depression of February and Christmas credit card bills.

cheerful5

4) The couples amongst us have had a relationship-busting argument on Valentine’s Day, and the singletons amongst us have just been reminded that they are SINGLE and ALONE and destined to remain that way for the rest of their sorry lives.

5) There is nothing to look forward to. Sorry, Easter, no one looks forward to you. You are not exciting. You are a legitimate reason to consume biologically harmful amounts of chocolate, and therefore you are a beastly contribution to our self-loathing about our failed diet and exercise regime, and also the reason we are alone.

6). THE WEATHER. Oh, the weather, Listener. We in Englandland have had the shit beaten out of us by the weather. For the last 3 months, this has happened on a daily basis:

cheerful3

Some of us are underwater. Some of us have no roofs. Some of us have lost everything. The print journalists amongst us are fed up with trying to find synonyms for ‘wet’ and ‘flooded’ and ‘catastrophic’, and never want to see or write the word ‘deluged’ again. Several of our politicians have spent a considerable amount of time in Wellington boots pointing at floods. 

cheerful4

And over in the US of A, you have had a POLAR VORTEX.

A POLAR VORTEX.

A POLAR VORTEX, Listener??? What is this, The Day After Tomorrow??? Polar vortexes happen in disaster films, in comics, and in the dark nubs of my brain when someone asks me to do Maths, but SURELY NOT IN ACTUAL REAL LIFE???

cheerful6

Unfortunately, the only explanation for this deluge of catastrophic shitness is that we are finally entering the Apocalypse and will very soon all be dead, and because of this irrefutable fact, I would like to try and cheer you all up. I can’t make it stop raining, or thaw out Lake Michigan, but I can give you some reasons to be cheerful.

Becky’s Reasons to be Cheerful

1) You weren’t presented with this cake for your birthday:

20140216_130135

My mum was. She was presented with this cake for her birthday this weekend. My cake-baking skills are normally phenomenal. This time they weren’t. I failed. My mum had a failed cake, presented to her by a failed daughter.

Fortunately, once we stuck a candle in it, it looked MUCH better.

20140216_131052

2) Life is full of small joys that make you realise how ridiculous it all is; the brief and unexpected moments of such tom-foolery and slapstickery that happen to everyone: that little trip up the kerb that you have to turn into a jog, or the poorly-judged lunge of your foot into your knickers that gets your toe caught in the elastic and sends you hopping across the room and eventually colliding with the wall, or the premature opening of the dishwasher while it’s still on.

cheerful1

Yes these moments initially make us want to kill ourselves, but next time they happen just imagine you’re the person next to you watching the whole ridiculous scene unfold, and remember that your idiocy is extremely amusing.

3) This joke exists in the world:

What’s grey and can’t climb trees?

A car park.

Thanks to my cousin’s 4 year-old son Oscar for the greatest contribution to the world of comedy EVER.

4) You did not arrive at work this morning and realise that your securely-fastened Tupperware box had spilt a lot of homemade soup into the bottom of your recently-purchased bag, and consequently your worldly goods, including your make-up, phone, and wallet, were smothered in pureed beans, spinach, and peas.

cheerful2

5)  If you just had a relationship-busting argument on Valentine’s Day, or are a lonely singleton, or are generally friendless, isolated and alone, and have no one to talk to but the voices in your head that tell you to make questionable advances towards badgers, HAVE NO FEAR!! Talk to yourself! Talking to yourself, out loud, is one of the many joys of life. I have spent most of this evening talking to myself in a Northern Irish accent. No reason. I just fancied it. I made a beef stew whilst enjoying the lyrical twang of my verbal commentary. I once had an entire conversation with myself in a supermarket that went thus:

cheerful7

cheerful8

cheerful9

cheerful10

cheerful11

cheerful12

cheerful13

See? How fun is that? Talk away! Ignore the strange looks and harsh judgement of society, and cheer yourself up with the wittiest, most intelligent banter around!*

*Actual attempts at talking to oneself may not be as successful, profound, or as imaginative as mine. I accept no liability for attempts at talking to oneself that result in boredom, anger, sexual arousal, or mental illness. 

6) There is dancing in the world. And there is plenty of space to do it in. Do you think a crowded station platform prevents me from performing an incredibly small jig that is invisible to the naked eye, yet gives me insurmountable glee? NO!

cheerful14

cheerful15

cheerful16

cheerful17

cheerful18

cheerful19

cheerful20

cheerful21

cheerful22

There is no reason to be peeved, irked, or vexed when there is dancing in the world.

And finally…

7) There is love.

Yes, there is love. There are people in the world who will give you a huge, enormous, squashy hug when you feel a bit low, when you are depressed about your credit card bills and your lack of exercise and your heinous doughnut consumption and the fact that your house is underwater or your local supermarket it totally out of beans because people are panic-buying due to the impending Apocalypse, but throughout all that, there is LOVE. And yes, I may be saying this predominantly for my American listeners, because you LOVE a bit of mushy talk about love and emotion and whatnot, and my English listeners will be sitting in front of their computers thinking ‘Blimey, Becky’s gone a bit overboard with the slushy love stuff. I feel a trifle nauseous’ – but, Listeners of all nations and values, there is a whole heap of love in this world, and no one loves you more than my friend Stickman.

cheerful0

So cheer up, my courageous listeners. The weather cannot continue to be this crap, your credit card bill will eventually be paid off, you will make up with your other half after your horrendous Valentine’s Day bust-up (unless it was over food, in which case that will take a lot of healing), and you can tell the excellent car park joke to all your friends and family and spread the general glee and merriment.

Hurrah!

572 Comments

Filed under Health and Exercise, Life eh?, People, The Beauty of Life, Thoughts and Musings

Becky says things about … the epic fail of an eating disorder

I greet you, dearest Listener, a perturbed Becky. Something happened yesterday that has made me want to say some very important things.

Whilst in a shop, I overhead the following conversation between two young teenage girls. I’m appalling at judging people’s ages – I thought Mick Jagger was 348, turns out he’s only 70 – but I’m guessing these two girls couldn’t have been more than 14.

Girl 1:  I really need to lose weight.

Girl 2: Do what I’m doing.

Girl 1: Yeah, you’ve lost loads of weight.

Girl 2: Yeah, over a stone! Seriously, just spit everything into a tissue, you never actually swallow anything! I’ve been doing it for ages.

Girl 1: I might start doing that.

Girl 2: Do it, we’ll be well skinny.

Girl 1: (Smiling) Yeah.

eating1

Listener, this conversation left me colder than a polar bear who’s fallen into a frozen lake, climbed out, spent all night in the rain, then been told the local shop has no woolly jumpers left.

These two girls were healthy-looking and slim – in fact the one who said she’d been hawking food into tissues was erring on too-skinny (unsurprising, as she’s probably ingested about 7 calories in the last month) – and neither of them needed, by any stretch of even the wildest imagination, to lose even an ounce.

Yet here they were proudly discussing the merits of what is essentially a form of bulimia. In a bid to get ‘well skinny’.

eating2

Every gram of fat, every ounce of muscle in my body wanted to grab them by their perfectly lean shoulders and yell

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T EVEN GO THERE. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, STAY WELL AWAY FROM ALL THAT, AND JUST EAT.

The thought of these two healthy girls slipping into the bony grip of an eating disorder was horrible. Depressing, and horrible. Two words that exactly describe an eating disorder. Or, if you’re less wordy, the word

SHIT

will do nicely.

I’m not just having an aimless rant, I know what I’m talking about: I spent nearly two years in my early 20s starving myself in a bid to get skinny. At the end of 2005, the world had a healthy, happy, curvaceous, 9 and a half stone Becky. By mid 2007, the world was frankly bored and rather irritated by an unhealthy, miserable, bony, 7 and a half stone Becky.

eating3

What started as a bid to ‘lose a few pounds’ and ‘tone up’ plummeted into an uncontrollable need to control what I put in my mouth, and before I could say ‘I don’t have an issue with food and I could never be anorexic’, I had a monumental issue with food and I was anorexic.

eating4

An eating disorder is basically the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors. In fact, I’m surprised some English literature professor hasn’t written a thesis entitled “Feed Me, Seymour: Audrey II as a Metaphor for Anorexia”. (That one’s mine, hands off.)

It starts as an innocuous seed in your brain: I want to lose weight. You start eating less, you start losing weight. You get smaller. The seed gets bigger. It wants more of your flesh, more of your blood. You duly provide. The less you eat and the smaller you get, the more it consumes and the bigger and more monstrous is becomes, until it’s got you dangling from its greedy, slobbering lips and you realise with a sudden terrible certainty that there is no escape.

eating5

At this point you may as well say goodbye to everything that shapes you as a person. Any aspirations, hobbies, enjoyment, pleasure, hopes, sparks of character, or that fire that burns inside you with your name on it – forget it. You are one thing and one thing only: an eating disorder. Every single second of every day is consumed with focussing on losing fat, with not eating, with trying to avoid eating situations. Food is your nemesis. Yet you can’t think about anything else. It doesn’t matter where you are, what you are doing, who says what to you – there is only one thing you can think about.

eating6

The enjoyment you took in everyday things – hanging out with friends, dinner with your family, shopping, lounging around being yourself – disappears. Suddenly everything is a terrifying problem. An invite to a house party becomes a desperate quest to look skinny and avoid those evil plates of nibbles on every surface. A harmless question from a parent – ‘Are you in for dinner tonight’ – is a gut-punching, brain-screwing imperative to lie. And lie you will. You will become an expert fabricator of life’s minutiae, and you will be ruthless. 

eating7

To avoid having to stay in and eat what was put in front of me, I once told my mother I was going out for dinner with friends. I wasn’t going out for dinner. It was a massive, slimy lie. I borrowed her car and drove round the streets of South West London for three hours, then came back and gushed about what a lovely meal I’d had. Not only did my eating disorder turn me into a slithering, pathetic liar, it rendered me single-handedly responsible for England’s carbon emissions.

An eating disorder makes your once happy, sparkly life utterly miserable. And now let me tell you what you achieve in your diehard quest to be skinny:

eating8

The tragic irony is that in your quest to be skinny, there is no such thing as ‘skinny’. There is no single weight, no end goal, that will satisfy an eating disorder.

eating9

‘Skinny’ is a terrifying, bottomless concept that you will never, ever reach. Even when everyone in the world is telling you

YOU ARE REALLY SKINNY

it is never enough. Comments like that are a sign you are doing well, and you should carry on. Basically, in today’s lingo, an eating disorder is an epic fail. Before you even start, you have failed. You will never reach your goal because your goal will scuttle off into the gloom like a cockroach. Even when you can happily see your cute little collar bones strain through your skin, and you can admire your twig-like arms in the mirror, it still will not make you smile. I have never been so miserable, so wretched, or cried or shouted so much, as I did during my eating disorder.

eating11

Eventually, if my experience is anything to go by, your willpower and your self-control will snap like a piece of taut string – it may take one year, two, ten – it may never happen – and you will plunge into a desperate, blacked-out world of uncontrollable, panicked binge eating. Late nights in the kitchen, tearing through cupboards like the Tasmanian Devil, shoving anything and everything you can get your hands on. I probably owe my parents hundreds of pounds in binged-on food. And the bitter truth is that I have lost more hours to the blind frenzy of binge eating than I have to starving myself. An eating disorder has one hell of a long hangover.

And even if you make a full recovery, like I did (and guess what: I love food and I’m bloody happy about it), and get back to a healthy weight and stop viewing food as the Devil incarnate, your body image and your self-control will always be a little bit broken. 

eating10

I didn’t say anything to the two girls in the shop who wanted to be ‘well skinny’, and I spent the day wishing I had. True, they may have told me to Fuck off, and remarked amongst themselves that I could do with dropping a few feet from around my bum – but on the other hand, they might have thought about the stranger that felt strongly enough to say something, and they might, just might, have packed the whole thing in and gone for a pizza.

So I’ve said it on here instead. Trying to be skinny is shit. It is impossible. You will never reach it. It will get hold of you, and it will never quite let go.

137 Comments

Filed under Food, Health and Exercise, Life eh?, People, Thoughts and Musings