My life changing recovery from 30 years of bulimia and anorexia

I recover from 30 years of anorexia and bulimia by following a food plan organised by Overeaters Anonymous a 12 Step programme dealing with eating disorders

I had my first bout of anorexia at the age of 7 starting a 32 year battle with eating disorders which very nearly killed me.  At that time (the late 1970s) it was incredibly unusual for children of that age to have eating disorders so everyone in my family was mystified. I had always been a very thin child. But I suddenly decided I was “fat,” would lock myself in my room for hours screaming that I was fat, weighed myself and exercised compulsively. Everyone in my family blamed my mother, who was an overeater and crash dieter. And it is true that I had a very bad relationship with her, as she was absent most of the time, and did not want to be like her.   But I now think the reason behind that first bout of anorexia was that it was at that age that I was first sexually abused.

My parents had already taken me to see a child psychologist because I was dreamy and lost in a fantasy world.  I had 70 imaginary friends, my teddies, all with their own voices and personalities and would create complex Elephant v Snoopy sibling rivalries. We had schools, we had hospitals, even our own Christmas Day. My mother said the psychologist said I had “behavioural problems” but that there was nothing wrong with me.  I now realise that the reason I had retreated into a fantasy world was that my mother was away 6 days a week, my father was unreliable and, by the age of 8, I had had eleven nannies that I could remember.

The anorexia went away. But when I went to boarding school at the age of 10 and was homesick and under a lot of academic pressure, I started having competitions with my best friend as to who could eat less. I was the winner, of course. My parents took me back to a child psychologist who said I was in danger of developing anorexia again if I stayed at the school so they took me away.

However the eating disorder wasn’t just about being thin. So troubled was my relationship with my mother that I was also obsessed with staying a child forever and not growing into a woman at all. When I was 11 or 12 and started developing breasts I would bind my chest with belts so tightly I could hardly breathe to stop my breasts growing. By 13 I had started making myself sick on “special events” such as Christmas Day when I would eat a lot of food. I had no knowledge or understanding of bulimia, was not copying anyone I knew, it just struck me as the “natural” thing to do. The refrain that has followed me all my life started at this time: “where do you put all that food?”  When someone eats a massive quantity of food, then literally runs to the toilet at the end of the meal, I think it should be pretty obvious what they are doing with the food. But I managed to conceal my bulimia from my family for 25 years. Perhaps they didn’t want to know.

Then, at the age of 13, I had the most traumatic event of my life, my parents vicious divorce in which both of them turned on me, their only child, my mother telling me I was evil and my father telling me I was ugly. My mother calmly sat opposite me in our house threatening to put a contract out on my father, and saying I was just like him and wasn’t even her daughter.  My father said my academic achievements (I was a very clever child) were “boring” and that my legs were too short and my head too big. I am mixed race,  as my mother is Jamaican. But he started making racist comments about black people and Jamaicans with his blonde blue eyed Swedish girlfriend.  I felt totally rejected.

The bulimia was erratic. There were other girls at my boarding school who had bulimia and anorexia but I never saw myself as someone who had an eating disorder.  Nonetheless, as my efforts to stop my breasts growing had failed, I took a drastic step at the age of 15 and tried to cut them off with a carving knife.  I didn’t get very far just superficial scars and never told anyone or sought treatment.

Meanwhile the bulimia was progressing. In my first year at Oxford University I would vomit in the sink of my room. And in the second year, when I had to appear in a see-through body suit, as Titania in “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” I starved myself jogging and doing squats for 10 hours a day. Then as soon as the play was over, I started stuffing myself with jacket potatoes cheese and sour cream. I adopted a strict Atkins diet regurgitating all the carbs down the loo.  My cat also became bulimic after I fed him sweet and sour squid. The fact that I’d given him a couple of blow backs from a joint probably didn’t help.

Sign up for updates on this blog

After I left university, the bulimia was sporadic. I had been severely depressed since my parents divorce at the age of 13 and was diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 22.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 22 by the psychiatrists at St Mary's hospital in Paddington where I was being treated at the Patterson wing and was actively suicidal ending up with a carving knife at my throat

As I was actively suicidal and ended up with a carving knife at my throat, about to cut my throat, the bulimia was the least of my problems.

After intensive therapy, I recovered from the clinical depression at the age of 25 and it was then that the bulimia and my substance addiction problems took off. For some reason, I’m not quite sure why, all my addictive behaviours were kept under control by the depression, possibly because I was so depressed that there was no way I thought anything would improve the way I felt, suicide was the only option.

I had smoked dope at University and tried ecstasy in my early 20s but it was the beginning of my first serious relationship at the age of 25/26 that both my using and bulimia took off.  My boyfriend had quite a lot of money and would regularly take me out to expensive meals which I would eat then run to the loo to purge. He also crucially introduced me to cocaine which would be my downfall 10 years later.  I was diagnosed with bulimia at the age of 25/26 and was once again back in treatment with NHS mental health services.  The therapist who’d helped me with the depression couldn’t help me with the bulimia at all as she wasn’t an addictions therapist. So I stopped seeing her completely and just ploughed on with the bulimia and substance abuse. I was dumped by my boyfriend triggering my drinking and bulimia to spiral out of control.

At my job as a producer reporter at BBC TV I would literally run to the loo to vomit after lunch every day.  People noticed that my eyes would be red after I came out of the loo and everyone thought and would openly ask if I was on cocaine. But no one guessed about my hidden disorder bulimia. I was prescribed 60 mg of fluoxetine, an anti depressant, every day for the bulimia. But this did almost nothing to curb the symptoms of the bulimia although I did feel the fluoxetine “come up” like a medical version of ecstasy at midday every day. The staff at the BBC reacted badly when I started dancing in the office.

Then a disaster happened that almost ruined my life. My mother had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when I was 17. The doctors had recommended she have an implant in her brain to control the shaking, but as she was living in Jamaica, she would have had to move to the United States or travel to the United States every two weeks to have the implant monitored. Determined to stay in Jamaica, she decided to have a partial lobotomy instead.  This led, almost certainly to a massive stroke and a series of further strokes. By October 2001, two years after the operation, she was paralysed but shaking uncontrollably, having psychotic hallucinations and screaming from 5am to midnight every day. As her condition deteriorated, she had begged me to move out to Jamaica to spend time with her and so I took a career break from the BBC. My mother’s illness made me want to slash my wrists and had a disastrous impact on my substance use and bulimia. I first started drinking on my own at home, deliberately trying to get drunk, then continued with the binge drinking in public which had started when my boyfriend dumped me.

My family said I had a drink problem. I was in total denial and thought you could not be an alcoholic unless you had been filmed on reality TV attacking the police in Newcastle. So I decided to up my cocaine intake to “control” my drinking. When I went to a Jamaican ghetto at midnight to score drugs, thinking I was very likely to be gang raped and have my throat cut, when I finally found a dealer he asked me “how much do you want one kilo or two?” I left with a massive bag of cocaine knowing I would get addicted to it. Meanwhile the eating disorder had escalated sharply – apart from making myself sick I had discovered that diet apocalypse Xenical, a fat blocker which would literally remove large quantities of the fat from food, The side effects were disgusting – constant diarrhea – but I didn’t care as it made me thin.

As the cocaine addiction escalated to using 22 hours a day so did the bulimia. I would eat healthily till 7pm but then start going out on trips to score fast food like fried chicken and ice cream then vomit and score some more.  These trips became so frequent that I would literally eat the fast food over the toilet vomit and go out again. The doctors who were treating me for bulimia in London said that every time I made myself sick on the quantity of cocaine I was taking, which happened at least 3 times a day, I could easily die of a fatal heart attack. But as I was distraught and trapped by the terrible state my mother was in I thought I wanted to kill myself.My cocaine addiction progresses to 22 hours a day and my bulimia to three times a day as I am deeply traumatised by my mother's illness after she has multiple strokes when I live in Kingston Jamaica. I now realise that I was in denial about my mother’s abuse as a child and underneath was angry because the minute she got ill her and all her family expected me to drop everything and look after her. I wasn’t even aware of my anger let alone being able to express it so I turned the whole thing in on myself.

When I went to the psychiatrist treating me for bulimia at the Eating Disorders Unit in London at the beginning of December 2004 and said I was drinking a litre of vodka a day and taking large quantities of cocaine he said he could no longer treat me. He expressed extreme concern about me going back to Jamaica where my addiction had spiralled out of control and said I needed to sort out my drug problem. Seeing the in patient anorexics at the Eating Disorders Unit, who looked like concentration camp survivors so thin they could barely walk, I thought my problems weren’t that bad. I said I had to go back to Jamaica as I couldn’t abandon my mother. I went back to Jamaica my cocaine addiction and bulimia spiralling to a whole new level. I spent Christmas day 2004 on my own with a litre of vodka and a large bag of coke and then, desperate, told my family about my cocaine addiction and bulimia.

I said I wanted to go into treatment but that I wasn’t in a rush. This was after I’d been given 3 months to live by the psychiatrist in Jamaica. My family had other ideas, packing my bags and forcibly escorting me to the airport to get on a flight to the UK. There I decided to go to St Chillin’s, Britain’s most exclusive rehab, as I felt it would look best on my CV. I smuggled enough benzos and diet pills, Xenical, into the rehab to keep me going for the first week. I was also addicted to lorazepam as it was the only thing that could make me sleep after 22 hours of using cocaine. I went absolutely mad when the diet pills ran out begging the psychiatrists to prescribe me more. You’ve got an eating disorder they said we’re not prescribing you anything. Desperate and defiant I scored laxatives at the local chemist not attempting to hide this from the other St Chillin’s residents. I was confronted in my therapy group about the laxatives and said that the main reason I was in rehab was not to sort out my drug problem but, obviously, to lose weight. I’d also adopted a protein only diet at St Chillin’s to foster my goal of weight loss. They said I could not be treated on the general addictions programme but needed to move to the Food Disorders Factory at the main branch of St Chillins in London. In fact they packed up all my bags, including 12 pairs of Agent Provocateur lingerie, 36 handbags and 15 pot plants, and tried to forcibly move me. But when I went for an interview at the London branch of St Chillin’s they said there was no way I could go to the Food Disorders Factory if I had a drug problem as so many of the women in there were on drugs.

I returned defiant to the rural outpost determined not to be moved. And although I wasn’t in an eating disorders programme the treatment at St Chillin’s had a remarkable effect on my eating disorder. I was put on a strict diet of 3 meals a day, no puddings or snacks. I considered this a massive curb on my human right to snack but actually it worked.  The enforced abstinence from alcohol and cocaine also had a massive impact on calming down my bulimia. I was only sick once at St Chillin’s, my eating disorder was on its way to recovery.  I was told that I would know when my eating disorder was in recovery when I no longer cared what size I was.

With enough mental health problems and addictions that my ego had a serious problem of crowd control I was told by the psychiatrist at St Chillin’s that I had “too many issues” to be treated in the private sector as I would “bankrupt my family.”  He told me I needed to move to a state rehab. As my own decisions had ended me up in rehab, totally broke, I decided I’d better start listening to other people.

At my next rehab, a tough outfit in South London bristling with ex-cons, they told me I would have to leave if I was sick as they couldn’t treat bulimia. As the puddings were delicious, I developed exercise bulimia instead spending 5 hours a night on the exercise bike in the gym.  I burned as many calories as Neanderthal Man at the darkest point of the Ice Age. When somebody broke the exercise bike I threatened to put out a contract on them. But as I’d been bankrupted by my shopping addiction the would be assassins said that the packet of fake nail glue – which was all I had to offer – just wasn’t enough. I wasn’t sick once at my second rehab but I did get very thin.

At my third rehab I put on weight ate perfectly normally and was only sick once.  But once I was out of the cozy cotton wool of rehab the bulimia flared up again. From the beginning of 2006 to 2009 I would be sick every couple of weeks, sometimes once a week. It was much better than before but the bulimia was still not in recovery. I would also do compulsive exercise.

My friend from “Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous” introduced me to the food programmes of Overeaters Anonymous. I had attended OA at St Chillin’s where I’d been taxied to the meetings despite my reluctance. But the next rehabs I went to were mainly focused on drugs and didn’t get me to go to OA meetings.

Following my friend who was a kind of mentor for me in recovery, I adopted the OA food programme which consisted of a certain amount of protein, carbohydrate, vegetable and fat at every meal. Also crucially the OA food programme banned sugar and high fat food which had often been the trigger for me to binge and puke.

Following a food programme designed by Overeaters Anonymous I cut out sugar and high fat food from my diet and recover from the bulimia that I have had since I was 13

After about 6 months of doing the programme I made myself sick for the last time in July 2009. I have never been sick since then though I have done compulsive exercise.

I no longer follow the OA food programme and have re-introduced small quantities of sugar and high fat food into my diet. It is important that I only have these foods occasionally and that it does not become a habit as if it did I would be exposed to the desire to purge the high calorie food through bulimia or compulsive exercise. I control my portion size, never eating an amount that would be too large as this would make me want to purge.  Also, as at St Chillin’s, I have three meals a day and do not snack. I am quite thin, I got down to 105 pounds when I had a nervous breakdown at the end of 2013. I only realised in retrospect that, as well as doing crazy OCD checking rituals 10 hours a day as I felt out of control, I was also controlling my food.

My weight is now slightly higher at 107 pounds but I am still very slim. I have not and will never reach the level of recovery from an eating disorder where I don’t care what size I am. I have no desire to reach this state as I might then be happy being fat!  Being slim gives me freedom as I feel I can indulge in sugar and high fat food maybe once or twice a week. When I was a normal size when I had a high sugar or high fat meal I would feel a twinge of compulsion to purge or compulsively exercise. I have not compulsively exercised for at least six months. My recovery isn’t perfect but considering I was given 3 months to live because of my bulimia it’s has definitely changed my life.

Sign up for updates on this blog

Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

Next week: My battle with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

 

 

More than 30,000 hits on my blog and Literary agent very interested but Mr Right has got lost in Antarctica.

AGENTFACEBOOK

Day 1. Disastrous date as having spent an hour getting ready and hours getting there when I saw him I realised he’d put up an old photo and was now, unfortunately, bald. As I love thick dark hair on men this meant that the date was a waste of time. He also didn’t have the scintillating intellect I was looking for. He obviously liked me and tried to kiss me as we said goodbye but I evaded his advances. Having only fancied one man I’ve met online this date was a turning point. Never again, I resolved, would I go on a date with someone before I was sure what they looked like now. I would insist on Skyping them first. This would not only weed out those who’d put up a super flattering photograph but also stop me getting so wildly excited by the photographs that I’d married them, had their children and planned the entire education of the child before we’d even met.

Day 2. I put this plan into action. A man I was due to meet the following day had only put up one photograph on the dating website. I texted him to say I was reluctant to meet based on one photograph and wanted to Skype instead. He said he didn’t like Skype but would send me some extra photographs. A flurry of photographs followed but when I looked at them I wasn’t sure I fancied him at all. Mr Dangerous and Unavailable (former drug dealer) was at my Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous meeting that night looking suitably dark and hot. I told him he couldn’t move in with me as a lodger as I fancied him too much. His response was “I’m unavailable.”

Day 3. I didn’t get back to the non-Skype online man till the following morning saying I wanted to meet by which time he’d changed his mind and pulled out of the date because he said I was giving “mixed messages.” I had been slightly put off by the fact that he had been texting me every day as I thought this was too keen. Also he didn’t sound as intelligent on the phone as Mr Right (now after he’s dumped me Mr Unavailable) from Britain Stronger in Europe. But as this new guy was now unavailable and had rejected me I was therefore desperate to meet him. It is clear that I am threatened by the prospect of a relationship with a man who is actually available. Having had over 30,000 hits on the blog, which I’ve now turned into a memoir, on WordPress and a US addiction website,  I had received an exciting full manuscript request from an agent. So instead of going on the date sat at home finishing the memoir instead. The first half of the memoir is already with a top publisher so I should know within the next two weeks whether it has commercial potential.

Day 4. More work on the memoir as I ruminated over my never ending attraction to men who are dangerous or unavailable. As I have recovered from OCD, bulimia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, clinical depression and drug and alcohol addiction this is my only remaining mental health problem. I resolved I would throw my weight towards breaking this barrier which was keeping me alone and would hurl my entire recovery tool box at it.

Day 5. I went to an all day “dating workshop” organised by dating website Guardian Soulmates. Of course I hoped that this would give me an opportunity for face to face contact with hot men on their website. Maybe I would meet an available Mr Right who I was actually interested in. When I got there there were 500 women and 3 men.  But the men were very attractive, tall and dark and I wondered if I would be able to fight through the throngs of women to speak to them. The dating guru who took the workshop said it was vital to “create opportunities” by going up to people you fancied in public places and trying to get their phone number. Of course I’d been able to do this very successfully when I was working for Britain Stronger in Europe as I had the excuse of asking them to “help with my campaign.” I resolved I would put this advice into action and approached two men I fancied in the interval. One gave me his phone number but spent the entire conversation eyeing up a busty blonde and the other said “I’m not looking at the moment.”  Clearly my unavailable men antennae were fully functioning. I learned a lot from the workshop in particular the earth shattering news that it was necessary to “give” to a man. My primary interest in men before had been what they can do for me. I left the workshop resolved to put this new giving into action.

Day 6. I decided that every day I would do at least one nice thing for someone else. As I was already looking after my friend Susanna’s hamster for the summer (which was easy as it had become confused in my house and gone into hibernation) this meant at least one other thing per day. I posted this on Facebook specifying that it did not mean sleeping with various random men who hassle me on Facebook. Since the referendum when I felt I was positively influencing the future of the country, albeit unsuccessfully, I have decided I want to “make a difference” in the area of mental health.  I have come up with an idea for a “mental health survival kit” which could help everyone who goes into a doctor’s surgery with a mental health or addiction problem get extra support and strengthen their recovery.  My local NHS trust and my doctor think it is a very good idea. And I recently had my first job interview for my entire 11 year recovery, to discuss the project.  Unlike my job interviews at the BBC I was on time and didn’t have to invent any imaginary bombs on the tube to explain my delayed arrival.

Day 7. I went to a pro-European meeting trying to unite all the various groups that had split off from Britain Stronger in Europe since the Referendum campaign. I was of course interested in what these groups had to say but also thought it would be an ideal opportunity to meet a politically compatible Mr Right. There were two men I fancied there who I did speak to despite or perhaps because of their youth. But one of them I had met previously and not fancied as he was too white. As he didn’t look like the type who would be keen on winter sunbeds I thought I would give it a miss. The White Man Apocalypse seems to be on me in full force and I only find dark men attractive.

Day 7. Things were hotting up on Elite Singles and I was getting multiple messages every day. This accelerated sharply after I actually started logging on after ignoring the website for 3 months. I resolved to put my new plan in action and insist on Skyping first. The reaction to this from many of the men was extremely hostile telling me to fuck off. But after a while I realised there was a particular way to phrase it that would make them more keen on Skype. I also decided I would wear my bikini for the conversations.

Day 8. I tested this out with my first online Skype interview. Although the picture was fuzzy I could immediately see that he had put up an incredibly flattering photo on the website that didn’t really look like him. I also recoiled at his anti-European Union views. I have pretty much decided I cannot date someone who is pro-Brexit.

Day 9. I went to Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous where I revealed my intensive plan to combat my attraction to men who are dangerous and unavailable. I would, as recommended by the dating guru at the workshop, do breathing exercises with positive affirmations around dating and relationships as well as self-esteem. Although I might not believe them at first if I repeat  “I will not turn into a clingy two year old who calls my boyfriend mummy” often enough it might actually sink in.  I would also pray, I’m not sure to what as I don’t know whether I believe in God, that my attraction to unavailable men be lifted and that my inner child’s desire to heal the relationship with my father who abandoned me be removed. It is this that is behind my incessant attraction to unavailable men. I would also go on a health blitz, cutting down on caffeine and trying to do yoga to help me sleep in an effort to cut down on my psychiatric medication.

Day 10. At a meeting with my new co-sponsor in Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous I set out a series of positive actions I would try to do every day to get me out of the dating quagmire. One of these, which I’m totally unable to do due to Catholic indoctrination from my mother, is regular masturbation. She showed me a website which had a series of rather utilitarian looking vibrators which she promised would “wake me up.”  My sex drive is even more dormant than the hibernating hamster as its been bludgeoned on the head by all my psychiatric medication. I explained that I was terrified of waking my sex drive up, without a partner, as what would happen if I suddenly got out of control and had to shag someone? The reality is that not having a partner and being, as I now realise, chronically avoidant and sexually anorexic I love not having a sex drive.  She said I’d better try to find one pretty damn quickly if I wanted to have a relationship and should perhaps look into cutting down on my psychiatric medication.

Day 11. I tried to put my new yoga plan into action but alas after an hour and a half of yoga was bored shitless and practically fell asleep. This did give me the idea that I could do the yoga at night instead of a sleeping pill.   Disastrous date with the once evil now reformed Vicomte de Valmont, who I was previously obsessed with and have been avoiding for 5 years. I became very upset after he referred to a (white) friend of his as “wog” a derogatory term for black people. He then said “everyone is racist.”  I realised I was so upset as anyone posh and racist reminds me of my father who after he left my Jamaican mother would take the piss out of Jamaicans and say black people were “different” as they “had a different pelvis shape.”  I practically burst into tears and resolved I could not date him. This meant that every opportunity to date a man I actually know in real life was closed to me and only online was available.

Day 12. Wild excitement as I get an email from an agent (one hour after phone prayer session with hot Priest I wanted to marry) saying that he likes the memoir, which I’d sent him only three days before and that he wanted to see the novel. He sounded interested in taking me on and this is the closest I’ve got to an agent yet. Started reading the novel, whose two central characters are based on my ex-armed robber boyfriend and me,  which I hadn’t looked at for a year. Decided that the novel needed quite a bit more work and that I would edit it and send it in 10 days. Texted and emailed the Vicomte de Valmont, whose mother is a literary agent, and my therapist with the email I proposed to send to the agent. Was touched that Valmont took time out of his busy work schedule to read my email and text me his thoughts.

Day 13. As the Vicompte has looked after me have wild fantasies at the gym that he is my new “mummy.”  Quite how this squares with him freely admitting he is racist I don’t know. I really thought I had got over the desire to find a replacement mummy and confess this relapse to my therapist. Although he helps me again that afternoon with my email the wild fantasies about him being mummy seem to subside. I immerse myself in the novel, which needs a lot of work, hoping that the agent will think it has potential and take me on. The next time I write this blog I may be a professional writer!

Sign up for updates on this blog

Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

 

 

 

 

10 Tips to avoid relapse when you encounter alcohol or drugs in work or social settings

I celebrated 11 years of recovery from alcohol and drugs at the beginning of 2016 and have never relapsed since I came into recovery at the beginning of 2005 by following these tips Following these suggestions I have been in countless situations involving alcohol and drugs and have never relapsed in my eleven and a half year recovery.

  1. Always have a couple of people’s phone numbers in recovery you can call if you feel triggered.
  2. In a social situation, if you think you are going to pick up, leave.
  3. In a work situation, if you feel you are going to pick up and cannot go home, leave the room for 5 minutes, make a phone call, pray, meditate or do some deep breathing exercises.
  4. Carry a list with you of the worst things you did when you were drinking and using so you remind yourself how bad it could get if you relapsed.
  5. If your job involves constant client entertainment, where you are under pressure to drink alcohol, switch to another role in the company where you don’t have to do this or find another job.
  6. If your job involves regular contact with your drug of choice, consider changing your job.
  7. Avoid social situations where you know you will see drugs, particularly your drug of choice. If someone brings out your drug of choice in a social situation, leave.
  8. Explain to your partner/close friends/family members how bad your drinking/using was and how terrible it would be for everyone if you relapsed. Encourage one person not to drink at social events with you or if they accompany you to work events. Then you have a non-drinking buddy to hang out with.
  9. If your partner/family members/friends are not there, there is often one other person who is not drinking because they are driving or on medication. Sit near them or hang out with them if it’s a social setting so you feel less isolated.
  10. I was advised in rehab not to drink non-alcoholic beer or wine or soft drinks out of wine glasses. Both can trigger a craving and you can end up picking up the wrong bottle or glass that actually has alcohol in it.Sign up for updates on this blog

    Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

 

My search for the perfect sperm donor

After spending most of the year in a fruitless quest for Mr Right on Guardian Soulmates, Elite Singles and the Inner Circle I give up on the quest for Mr Right and look to find a sperm donor instead. I go to Create Fertility in London headed by Professor Geeta Nargund and look at website SurrogateFinder.com

My six month long search for Mr Right has been a disaster. I found Mr Right, another volunteer on the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, but as soon as he showed he was interested in me I went off him. Now of course as he is cold and distant from me I am crazy about him. The fact that he is twenty years younger than me and penniless has not dented my enthusiasm.

I decided earlier this year that, having recovered from all my longstanding mental health and addiction problems, I could now, for the first time in my life, contemplate having a baby. The search for Mr Right has run in parallel with the less ambitious aim of finding a sperm donor. Not that I am any less picky about finding a sperm donor than a boyfriend but at least the sperm donor does not need to understand my mental health problems. I was going to ask Mr Right but now uninterested to be my sperm donor as he is tall very good looking and highly intelligent. But as he is now ignoring my texts and phone calls that avenue is closed.

I have always viewed it as the great tragedy of my life that the men I was most interested in were not interested in me. I have now realised that this is because of me as I am only attracted to men who are dangerous or unavailable. The reason I pined after men like my friend Alex at Oxford who I was “in love with” for 15 years was because they didn’t like me. I know the reason for this – I am trying to “heal the wound” with my father who was dangerous and unavailable and rejected me as ugly as a child. But that doesn’t stop me repeating the pattern.

Similarly there was a man I know who was previously very promiscuous – a gambling addict who would steal his girlfriends’ cars and credit cards. When I thought I would relapse and it would ruin my life if I got involved with him I was completely obsessed with him. This was purely because of his danger factor as he is very odd looking like a scarecrow with an eating disorder and when I met him I didn’t fancy him at all. After years of avoiding him I needed some help with the idea I have had to help everyone who comes to a doctor in the UK with a mental health problem or addiction. I met him with trepidation thinking I might end up in bed with him but at least thinking he could be my sperm donor. However now he has reformed is monogamous and no longer dangerous I don’t fancy him at all. My therapist said I have to look at my own unavailability and unwillingness to get into a relationship.

Since I decided I wanted to keep my options open in terms of having a child I have viewed every man I vaguely fancy as a potential sperm donor. My therapist says this makes me a sperm burglar. I actually interviewed a potential sperm donor earlier this year (unbenknownst to him) but rejected him as he had a receding chin. Then when another unavailable and dangerous man (avoidant ex-drug dealer) wanted to move into my house I thought he could be my sperm donor. However I realised that coming up to someone at the end of a Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous meeting and saying “will you be my sperm donor?” might not be viewed very well in the fellowship. I have now asked every man I actually know to be my sperm donor but they have said that any child of mine will end up in an asylum. I have asked my therapist if she has a discount rate for babies.

I have investigated all the options for getting a sperm donor from a UK sperm bank but all are completely unsuitable. Although you can get the educational background of the donor you cannot get a photograph. What happens if Quasimodo has slipped through the sperm bank’s net and the child comes out with a face that leads to a lifelong phobia of mirrors? After all I believed I was so ugly that I couldn’t go out in daylight as the sun would show everyone how ugly I was. I thought the Elephant man was Helen of Troy compared to me. No ships would be setting sail because of my face, they’d stay in port until they rusted away and got scrapped. I was informed by a fertility clinic that there is a sperm bank in California where they have film star lookalikes and you can simply go online and select your film star. Ben Affleck is the most popular. But I want a Hispanic looking donor and couldn’t think of a Hispanic film star I wanted to mate with. Anyway with the prevalence of plastic surgery in California god knows what they originally looked like. In any event you cannot get a photograph.

I interviewed an older mother who’d used a sperm donor for a feature I was doing on the record number of over 40 mothers in the UK. Although she was useless for the feature (as it turned out she’d had the child when she was 39) she did tell me that in Norway they had sperm banks where you could not only get a photo of the donor but an entire dating video. This is exactly like my scenario in my screen play the Fishtank Babies where the career woman goes to a sperm bank and surfs through all the videos.

I googled “Sperm bank Norway” but the only things that came up were sperm banks in Denmark that do not provide a photograph. I texted the lady who’d put me onto the Norweigan sperm banks but didn’t hear from her. I phoned the Norwegian Embassy in London with a desperate plea “I need to find out everything you know about Norwegian sperm banks.”  I could almost hear the giggles coming down the phone. “Erm I’m not able to help you with that,” an information lady said. “But if you send an email our sperm specialist will get back to you.” I sent them an email titled “NORWEGIAN SPERM NOW.”  I am still waiting to hear from them. In fact there has been a massive boom in the use of Scandinavian sperm in the UK which commentators have called “a second Viking invasion.”

I found a website SurrogateFinder.com where they did have a lot of pictures of the sperm donors.

website SurrogateFinder.com  has sperm donors from all over the world and does provide a photograph but I need to find out if they screen the sperm

A few were in the UK, most of them were in India. But when I was actually surfing the list of sperm donors, I realised I couldn’t do it. For a start I want a sperm donor who is highly intelligent which you cannot tell from a photograph. It is extremely expensive to contact the donors. The idea of having a child with a donor who I can’t even speak to is not possible. I may have to pay the hefty fee for contacting the donors.

But the advantage of proper sperm banks is that they vet the quality of the sperm so that only the healthiest, fittest and fastest get through. The Norwegian sperm banks guarantee that the sperm can swim at at least 50 miles per hour. If I just get the donor from what looks like an unregulated website the sperm may be slower than a donkey with arthritis. Or it may have a genetic disease. I have contacted surrogacy.Finder.com to find out if their screening procedures are more rigorous than simply asking “do you have a dick?”

Shopping for a man online hasn’t worked for me with the internet dating. I joined Elite Singles four months ago full of hope that I would meet Tarzan with a PhD and a penthouse in Mayfair. I got one message from a dwarf in a bedsit in arse end of the universe Slough. And despite receiving hundreds of messages I have yet to meet a man online who I actually fancy. This may simply be because they are actually available.

I have a final consultation with a fertility clinic next week to say whether it is too late for egg freezing. I’m hoping I can do that instead as my efforts to find a sperm donor in real life have been as unsuccessful as a polar bear trying to find an ice floe in the Sahara. However once the Norwegian embassy stops laughing at my request I am hoping to be put in touch with the nirvana of Norwegian sperm banks with their dating videos. I will introduce you to all my sperm suitors once I’ve whittled them down to 5.

Sign up for updates on this blog

Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

 

 

10 Tips for dating a normal drinker if you’re a recovering addict/alcoholic

TIPSDATINGDRINKER

  1. Do not have alcohol in your home. I was warned early in rehab not to have booze in my house in case I had a bad day and reached for it. I think this is very good advice.
  2. Keep going to meetings or in touch with your online recovery community. You need to keep reminding yourself you are an alcoholic so you don’t think “my partner is drinking I will too.”
  3. Explain your behaviour when drinking to your new partner and that it would be a disaster for you and them if you went back there. This may encourage them to abstain from drinking when they are around you.
  4. If attending gatherings where everyone is drinking apart from you always have some people in recovery you can call if you get triggered. Tell your partner if you feel like picking up a drink.
  5. Exit as quickly as possible from the situation if you actually think you are going to pick up.
  6. Work on keeping a separate identity to your partner by maintaining your own interests, activities, hobbies including contact with all your recovery friends.
  7. If you start to think “I’m cured maybe I can drink again” read your Step 1 about the horrors of your addiction or any written work you have done in treatment or groups.
  8. Get more support in terms of seeing an addictions counsellor if you can afford it.
  9. Include other recovery people in your social activities or holidays with your partner, when possible, so you are not the only person not drinking and have support for your recovery.
  10. If you have a spiritual practise, some form of meditation or prayer, use it to ground yourself and ward off cravings. If not, check in with how you are feeling every day. If you are very angry upset or tired maybe avoid social situations where you will be exposed to alcohol.                                                                 Sign up for updates on this blog                     Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

 

The 10 craziest things my denial has told me…

Throughout my cocaine alcohol shopping addiction and bulimia I managed to convince myself, despite being completely out of control, that I did not have a major problem as I had denial big enough to house the entire population of Beijing

  1. Despite drinking 21 hours a day that I could not be an alcoholic as I had never been filmed on reality TV attacking the police. Specifically, I had to be filmed in Newcastle, a hard drinking town in the north of England. My drinking was obviously fine as I had never been there.
  2. That waking up from a self-administered Rohypnol and alcohol induced blackout in the middle of having sex with someone I definitely did not want to f**k was just “one of those things that happens when you’re having fun.”
  3. That it was normal to be so tanked up on alcohol that you couldn’t actually remember whether you’d had sex with someone or not.
  4. That everyone in England collapsed on the floor of nightclub toilets, had to be carried out by the entire bar staff, went into convulsions and then almost caused a car crash by kicking the person in the head who was taking them home. This I said to my relatives in Jamaica was a “cultural difference” they didn’t understand.
  5. That the best response to thinking I was having a cocaine induced heart attack while driving in Jamaica was to take more cocaine and drive on.
  6. That my drug dealer in England (who I had heard had beaten up several of his girlfriends) was not only of impeccable moral character but also my “best friend” as he gave me free cocaine.
  7. After practically moving him into my house and doing cocaine with him 20 hours a day when he wanted to date me I said “I couldn’t possibly date a drug dealer as I might get addicted to drugs.”
  8. That being seduced by a female teenage stripper in Jamaica, who’d killed a girl the week before, and then stole my car was just one of those “funny things that happen when you’re doing drugs.”
  9. That although I had made a hole in my nose so huge by snorting cocaine that every time I breathed it whistled like a kettle when it was boiling I did not have a major drug problem.
  10. That after projectile vomiting having drunk car engine cleaning fluid while high on cocaine it was normal to attend several parties, rather than hospital, doing sign language as I couldn’t speak. I did not perceive myself as an addict but rather a party girl and socialite who’d been to too many parties.                                                                     Sign up for updates on this blog                                                                                                   Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

Brexit the future for the UK, my recovery and my hair.

I finish my job as Team leader for Britain Stronger in Europe in Brent as the UK votes to leave the European Union and Brexit goes ahead

Having been in charge of the campaign to keep the UK in the European Union in one of the largest boroughs of London I was devastated by the result. The polls, the bookies, the markets and we ourselves all thought Remain would win. The fact that the Leave camp went back on every major campaign pledge they made within 24 hours of the results just made this defeat more galling.

Almost all liberals, progressives and outward looking people had supported Remain. The fact that we lost the vote said something pretty depressing about my country. Imagine waking up to a Trump victory? There’s been a 57% rise in reported xenophobic and racist attacks since the results of the vote were announced.

The Brexit vote has left the future of the UK very uncertain. The pound hit a 31 year low earlier this week, UK bank stocks have fallen by up to 24% on fears that they will no longer be able to operate across Europe and the FTSE 250 which covers the domestic economy is down almost 10%. Several firms have said they are making plans to move staff out of the UK. The City of London, the world’s largest financial centre and a source of massive tax revenues for the UK government is under threat.

There are strong parallels between supporters of Donald Trump – white mainly non college educated men who feel their jobs are threatened and wages depressed by immigration and global trade – and those who supported Vote Leave here. Although during the campaign Vote Leave carefully paraded their ethnic minority supporters when the results came through in the counting halls you could see most of their supporters were white. Brexit, opposed by every major political party, is a massive f**k you from the white working class vote to the political establishment.

The only good thing that has emerged is that a cross party alliance of politicians, trades unionists and the general public, many of them young, was formed which supported us being in the EU, transcending the tribalism of British politics.

A coalition of conservatives, Labour supporters and Liberal Democrats all supporting Britain remaining in the European Union form the word IN at the Big In in Hyde Park days before the EU referendum on 23rd June 2016

And from my personal point of view, the Referendum campaign – which involved me organising up to 70 events a week and in charge of a team of 100 volunteers – has been incredibly good for my recovery. I was described as a brilliant organiser and great with people by my bosses at Britain Stronger in Europe and discovered I had management skills I never knew I had. Although unsuccessful nationally, my local area voted 60% Remain, as did London as a whole which my boss said I had played a part in.

I have been extremely disorganised for most of my life. The only management job I had while I was working at the BBC was failing to organise a tea round. While I was training to be a reporter I made an incredibly poignant documentary about the bombing of a Jewish Centre in Argentina in 1994. Unfortunately I left it in the back of a cab in Buenos Aires and never saw it again. I then went on a reporting trip to cover the war in Sudan leaving half my equipment on the plane that went back to Kenya. I didn’t notice this omission for two days. When I was doing showbiz reporting in the late 90s I would have a curling tong crisis and would often miss the start of an event. Then I would be so keen to get the right library pictures for a report that it would be ready a week after it was due on air. In Jamaica I scored a massive coup becoming the only foreign journalist allowed into the country’s one women’s prison. But I did no preparation for this expose and when I got into the prison my microphone was as dead as a goat’s testicle floating in a Jamaican stew. The last documentary I did for the BBC collapsed as my mind was turned into confetti by snorting cocaine 22 hours a day.

For the past eleven and a half years I have been in recovery I have supported myself from the income from my rental properties. I have done many building projects, some very large, but have spent most of the time writing about mental health and addiction. I have never worked for anyone.I have spent the eleven and a half years of my recovery attending various rehabs including the Priory and Hope House and St Luke's then the Waterview NHS Centre and building a house in Kensal Green and writing two novels about addiction and mental health as well as my blog bloginhotpants about addiction and mental health

But I have now decided that my organisational skills are wasted on just blogging, writing novels and going to meetings and therapy appointments. I was never involved in politics before the Referendum campaign. But I was passionately concerned about Britain’s relationship with Europe and had to try to stop Brexit. The Referendum campaign, with its constant interaction with voters, has shown me that I love politics and I have now been asked to stand for office by a major political party.

I have been asked by the Conservative Party to stand as a Conservative local councillor in conservative ward of Brent Brondesbury Park. In this photo I am addressing the Labour party activists in Brondesbury Park I am not joking when I say my ultimate aspiration is to become the UK’s Minister for Mental Health – the first government minister to openly admit they snorted cocaine 22 hours a day. I have written a bio and brushed up my CV. But given the political chaos the UK is now in, with leadership contests in both major political parties, I do not know if now is the time I can start working with the government. I will probably end up working for a mental health charity.

The Referendum campaign has also been good for my recovery in other ways. Despite oodles of treatment, meetings and therapy I have struggled to love myself in Recovery. But after the Referendum I was so pleased with my achievements I thought “I do actually love myself.” After existing in a bubble of non drinking 12 Step Fellowship people for most of my recovery, I have now had heavy exposure to people who drink. Every meeting and get together during the campaign took place in a pub or a bar. Everyone was drinking around me and I was not affected at all. When offered a drink I said to most people that I didn’t drink. There were only a few I told about my former alcoholism and cocaine addiction. But now I know I can happily socialise, work and even date people who drink without any problems at all. Politics is a heavy drinking culture but I am confident I can manage this fine. This opens up a wide range of jobs and opportunities to me. The new job whether in politics or a charity will be my “bridge to normal living” which AA talks about. My only stipulation is that I don’t want to have alcohol in my home.

On the romantic front things are a bit less rosy. Despite being 11 and a half years clean I still only seem to be attracted to addicts who have a background in drug dealing or drug smuggling. I have been searching, unsuccessfully, for Mr Right for the past four months. But when I did actually meet him, another volunteer in Britain Stronger in Europe, although I fancied him at first I went off him as he wasn’t dangerous or unavailable. I am going to do an intensive two week work shop with my best friend in recovery trying to work through and free from my attraction to these unavailable men which has plagued me all my life. I am also determined to pursue a friendship with Mr Right. As they say in AA I will fake it to make it, hoping I start fancying him again.

You may notice that my hair looks different in the initial photograph. After decades of covering my hair every time a speck of rain fell from the sky and amassing a collection of 10,000 hats I have now said goodbye to what Jamaicans call “Dry wedder ‘ead” and have let my hair go into its natural Afro state. For those of you unfamiliar with the politics of black hair this is not a small thing. Apart from when I had a nervous breakdown two years ago and couldn’t do my hair the last time I had my natural hair was when I was 16. Water and damp once the enemies of my hair are now my friends creating greater “definition” in my curls. I was very pleased when someone asked me if I was Jamaican the other day.

Despite my romantic problems, (and because of my new hair) the future looks brighter for me than it does for the UK. The options for the UK seem to be leaving the EU and its single market of 500 million people entirely in order to have complete control of immigration, an option favoured by the hardliners of the Leave campaign. It was controlling immigration that was the single issue that won Vote Leave the Referendum.

The other option for the UK, favoured by Remain campaigners, is the Norway option. Norway and Switzerland are not members of the EU but have full access to the single market and accept freedom of movement from other EU states. Freedom of movement is impossible for the UK to accept because of the results of the Referendum. The UK is therefore trying to negotiate a deal involving membership of the single market but controlling freedom of movement. This would be a first in Europe and might prompt other states like Switzerland to demand the same possibly causing the break up of the EU. It is therefore being resisted by other European states.

As the Prime Minister resigned when the results of the Referendum became clear, some of the potential Conservative Party leaders have even said they want a second referendum. And there have been protests throughout the country against the outcome of the vote. Well over 4 million Remain supporters have signed a petition calling for a second referendum on the basis that Vote Leave won the vote based on lies. The claim emblazoned on Vote Leave’s Battle bus that the alleged £350 million pounds a week we send to the European Union (actually £140 million a week) will be spent on the National Health Service was retracted immediately after the vote came in. As part of their election campaign vote leave said that the £350 million pounds they said we gave to the European Union every week which in fact was a lie as it is half of that would be given to the NHS if we left. As soon as they won the vote this promise was retracted as was their pledge to reduce numbers on immigration.Vote Leave now say they may allow anyone who has a job offer to enter the UK which would mean the hordes of cheap Eastern European workers who’ve flooded into the UK could still come in. British firms, claiming they cannot recruit British workers for low paid jobs now recruit directly from Eastern Europe. But this would enrage Leave supporters.

But the leading contender for the Conservative leadership Home Secretary Theresa May who will likely be the next Prime Minister has said there will be no second referendum and no deal to stay in the EU through the back door. I think a second referendum is highly unlikely.

The British Home Secretary Theresa May who has said she wants to be the next Prime Minister of the UK replacing David Cameron and who has become the front runner in the race to become leader of the Conservative Party

The big news of the Conservative leadership race is that Boris Johnson leading leave campaigner and former mayor of London has ruled himself out of the race. This was after he was stabbed in the back by fellow leave campaigner, Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who said he was not fit to lead. Theresa May is now the clear front runner which could mean a female leader in the United States, Germany and the UK, something I would welcome.

Whoever takes over will have to find a deal that allows control of freedom of movement while trying to retain access to the single market. Otherwise our economy is f*****d.

Sign up for updates on this blog

Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

 

We lose the Referendum as Britain votes to leave the European Union

 

Britain well actually England and Wales vote to leave the European Union after a referendum on the 23rd of June

Shock and horror as wake up on the day after the Referendum to decision by the UK electorate to leave the European Union after vigorously campaigning for us to stay. Before I even switched on the news, I received a text message from a volunteer in Britain Stronger in Europe to say we had lost. I was not expecting this, insulated by living in the Remain bubble of London which voted 60% to stay. My local borough, Brent, where I organised almost a hundred events in the four days of polling week, voted overwhelming Remain. Feel out of step with the rest of England and am dismayed by what this decision means about my country. The liberal progressive outward looking forces have lost this argument. The Bank of England had warned that leaving the EU could cause a recession, higher inflation and unemployment. Almost every major British company came out in favour of Britain staying in as did the IMF, the WTO, and the institute for Fiscal Studies an independent think tank. The fact that all these voices, and that of the Conservative government which campaigned strongly to remain, were rejected suggests the British people value controlling immigration above their own economic self-interest. The job losses have already started.

I can see that a flood of Eastern European immigration since the European Union expanded may have depressed wages and that this could have been the deciding factor for people on lower incomes. And that people feel there is too much pressure on public services caused by migration. But EU migrants contribute far more to the economy than they take out. This extra money could be used to alleviate the pressure on public services. I fear the belief that leaving the EU will allow us to escape EU regulation will be proved to be a fallacy. If we want to export to the European Union, which takes over 40% of our exports, we will have to comply with their regulations.

And what does this mean for me? I have devoted my entire life to the campaign for Britain to stay in the European Union in the past few months. At its height I was coordinating and organising almost a hundred events a week. Before I got involved we were doing zero events a week. The campaign has changed my life. Before the only thing I was in charge of was doing occasional maintenance on my rental property and re-stocking my fridge.  But during the campaign I have been responsible for organising and leading the campaign in one of the largest boroughs in London with a team of well over a hundred volunteers.  I have been so efficient in organising all these events and people that no one knew I had any mental health problems.  The only management job I had while I was working at the BBC was failing to organise a tea round.

I cannot go back to my old life of just blogging and going to recovery meetings and therapy appointments. Since I have discovered these organisational and management skills I have to get a job in mental health. You might have thought it was a joke when I said I want to be the Minister of Mental Health but it wasn’t at all. The referendum will make this much more difficult as now the Leave camp have won their will be a purge of pro-Europeans from government. All my extensive activities for Britain Stronger in Europe will be anathema to the Leave Camp. But maybe as the Leave camp was accused of being racist and Xenophobic by its critics they will try to employ ethnic minorities to counter this claim.

Diary of polling week

Saturday before Brexit: all is quiet on the campaign front as it has been suspended after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox a prominent Remain campaigner.  Spend the day publishing and promoting my blog on Facebook and Twitter. When this is over switch my attention to refining my plans for polling week where we will put on an unprecedented number of events. My house is now so full of leaflets it now looks like a Britain Stronger In Europe distribution factory.

Sunday before Brexit: A bloginhotpants type disaster as I am due to attend a Stronger In event for a thousand people to form the words IN in Hyde Park.

A thousand supporters of Britain Stronger in Europe which was campaigning for Britain to stay in the European Union meet in Hyde Park in Central London to form a human chain spelling the words in the Big In

As the email invitation says that the nearest tube is Queensway in Bayswater I spend an hour trying to find the event which is actually at the other end of the park. Arrive at the end of the event as everyone is leaving. Decide will keep this quiet from contacts at Conservatives In as will tarnish my new found image of promptness and reliability.  Spend rest of day planning activities for polling week. Pre-polling day activists meeting goes on till 10pm and is very well attended.  Excitingly a posh attractive Asian looking volunteer is at the meeting and I wonder if he could be Mr Right. Then see that my unavailable man antenna are clearly in force again as he is wearing a wedding ring..

Monday before Brexit:  Refining plans for polling day and polling week. This is complicated by the fact that I have to drive about 50 miles across Brent to leaflet at a school and am due to spend 3 hours at a meeting of councillors in Harlesden to make a speech about the European Union. Am now so blasé about public speaking because of the campaign that I spend not a second preparing the speech. Speak to the Muslim Labour leader of Brent Council who though not particularly tall is very attractive. Also, despite the White Man Apocalypse in which I’ve stopped fancying white men, I also thought the Prime Minister David Cameron was hot when I met him a week ago. I wonder whether I am attracted to power? Stay up till midnight refining plans for polling day and do not eat till after midnight. This obsession with the campaign is almost as bad for my eating habits as my previous 10 hour a day OCD.

Tuesday before Brexit: Still juggling last minute changes to events this week and trying to cram in more schools leafleting as they will almost all be closed on polling day. As I am spending 6 hours a day at events this is holding up the publication of my polling day plans. Have secured a ticket to the Great Debate between prominent Leave campaigner Boris Johnson and the leader of the Scottish Conservatives and first muslim mayor of London Sadiq Khan who support Remain. David Cameron is not taking part – critics say he is scared of losing to Boris Johnson. Am already late when get a call from one of the bigwigs at Conservatives In whose ticket I have saying that I must leave immediately as the doors are about to close. As me providing his ticket is great opportunity for hobnobbing with Conservatives and anger could be provoked if I fail to turn up, I sprint to the station and hold my breath for most of the tube journey. Run to the arena faster than Usain Bolt on speed. Have been hoping that can use the debate to find ethnic Mr Right but rush there covered in sweat with hair looking like a hedgerow. The debate is partisan so we only cheer those speakers from our side and try to compete with the extremely noisy leave supporters. Boris Johnson head of the Leave campaign finishes the debate with a call for 23rd June, the date of the Referendum, to become our “Independence Day” in which we “take back control.”  The Media and pundits say leave have won the debate.

Leader of the Leave campaign Boris Johnson has a debate at Wembley Arena with the head of the Scottish conservatives Ruth Davidson and the first muslim mayor of any major European capital Sadiq Khan who support Remain

Wednesday before Brexit: Still juggling current week’s activities and attending several events and have not published my polling day plans. Have therapy session via skype in which we reflect on the new managerial and organisational skills that this campaign has shown I have. Also that putting my head above the parapet by writing the blog and exposing myself to criticism has started to prepare me for the rough and tumble of a career in politics. Rush off to a school and do not finish my polling day plans till midnight. But have already confirmed with those volunteers who will be active what they are supposed to do. Again eat at crazy hour of 12.30 am which is just as bad as during my nervous breakdown. Debate about what time to set the alarm the next morning but eventually opt for a lie in. Need to be at my local tube station at 7.30 am and set the alarm for 7.29. Do have slight fear that if I do this the entire morning’s activities will fall apart but decide I have mental health problems and need my sleep.

I get up at 4.30am on polling day to organise my team of 65 volunteers from Britain Stronger in Europe for all the activities of polling day including leafleting tube stations, schools Ark Academy in Wembley Kingsbury Green Primary School Sinai Jewish Primary school in Kenton St Mary’s Church of England Primary school Neasden St Joseph’s Catholic Junior school Wembley and Harlesden High Street, Wembley High Street, Willesden Green High Road and Kingsbury High Street

D-Day Polling day: Wake up at 4.30 am as I cannot sleep and decide that, if I am going to get myself together for polling day and then coordinate everyone else, I’d better get up straight away. Start hassling people at 6.30am by text to make sure they are going to turn up to the morning’s events – leafleting at all the major tube stations in Brent – and have all the campaign materials. Disaster looms over the morning as there is torrential rain. But after I send an encouraging text to the volunteers only one person out of dozens who have been deployed fails to turn up.  When I call several of the primary schools we are supposed to be leafleting later that day they appear to be closed. We have to do a quick reshuffle to visit those that are open. Vast numbers of people turn up to the campaign HQ to volunteer so we have loads of extra people for our activities. Although I had imagined that I would be campaigning all day, to use my persuasive campaigning skills, realise that cannot do anything apart from being on the end of the phone to coordinate people who cannot find each other. Disaster strikes at 4pm as my internet goes down just as I need to email everyone the canvassing sheets for the night to go around door knocking and “get out the vote.” Eventually sort this email problem out but not till after some heated rows with other volunteers. As everyone starts with the door knocking my day starts winding down and I start to think about dinner. All the feedback from the door knocking is very positive so I go to bed shattered but optimistic.

The next day after the result feel like I am hallucinating in the gym as my life has gone back to normal. There will be no more meetings for me with the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London now the campaign is over. Indeed the Prime Minister has resigned. Instead of being in charge of organising a hundred volunteers and almost a hundred events a week I am now solely in charge of confronting my fears of terrorists on the tube to get to my therapy appointments on time. Have various conversations with political bods about future career in politics and am asked if I will stand as a local councillor. But get no reply from my voicemail message to Nicolas at Conservatives In. I guess I’ll have to take a rain check on being the Minister for Mental Health.

Sign up for updates on this blog

Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

 

 

I drop the search for Mr Right as Mr Dangerous and Unavailable wants to move in with me

after over 3 months desperately looking for Mr Right on dating websites Guardian Soulmates, Elite Singles and the Inner Circle I actually meet Mr Right through my Britain Stronger In Europe activities but realise I am actually looking for Mr Dangerous or Mr Unavailable

Day 99. After completing all blogging activities go to Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous meeting in Hampstead. Of course as the meeting is an hour and a half long, way beyond my concentration span, I arrive at the end of the meeting. Spend the tail end of the meeting scoping out the crowd to see if there is anyone I fancy. There is a Greek positively Arabic looking man but he has previously been very hostile. However at a group dinner after the meeting his attitude to me seems to have improved and he asks for my phone number. Not missing a trick I ask him round to my house the following day.

Day 100. Frantically blogging and promoting on Facebook my post about meeting the Prime Minister David Cameron. Then do an hour campaigning for Britain Stronger in Europe in only-safe-in-daylight Harlesden with Labour councillor. Mr Right, perfect parent to frozen embroyos comes to my house to pick up some leaflets but I realise I don’t fancy him any more. This is annoying as, although he is 20 years younger than me, I think he would make a very caring boyfriend. Gorgeous Greek/Arabic guy texts me to say he is coming round. Wildly excited I tidy up the house. He spends 3 hours at my house and says he wants to move in with me. Just as a lodger unfortunately. But because he is an addict and has previously been hostile and unavailable I decide he is the perfect boyfriend. As he is a Marxist and I am a Tory this may not work.  We discuss in depth my plans to become the Minister for Mental Health.

Day 102. Another big Britain Stronger in Europe event with the Prime Minster, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and a senior Labour Party figure. Have met Prime Minister so many times this week it is starting to get very boring. As the event will be shown live on Television I try to position myself in prime view of the cameras. But unfortunately judge this wrong and only my foot is broadcast.

Myself Caroline Turriff and the Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett at a rally for Britain Stronger in Europe involving the Prime Minister David Cameron the Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron and senior Labour figure Harriet Harman

Get picture with Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, who is very nice. Then spend rest of day practising speech to give to crucial meeting of Labour Councillors in rough but improving Stonebridge.

Day 103. More campaigning for Britain Stronger in Europe as I visit a school in Harlesden to hand out leaflets about the referendum. I notice that many of the ethnic minority residents of my local area are not sure they are going to vote. This saddens me as it means they will be disenfranchised from this decision.   Just before women’s Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous meeting very excitingly get a text from Greek Arabic looking guy inquiring about the theatre trip I have suggested. Am so wild with excitement that I feel like I’ve done 4 grammes of coke and, although I try to stay off my phone during the meeting, have to send him a text. Share about my attraction to Mr Dangerous and Mr Unavailable and resolve will try to stay away from him.

Day 104. Frantic day preparing my speech on the benefits of the European Union to what is supposed to be a massive gathering of Labour councillors in Stonebridge, Harlesden. Sarah my close friend from Divorced from My Drug Dealer Anonymous coaches public speakers for a living and gives me various presentation tips.   When I turn up only 4 people are there revealing the apathy of the Labour Party about the Referendum.

I give a speech to the Stonebridge branch of the Labour Party including Councillor Bobby Thomas and Councillor Ernest Ezeajughi giving the facts about the EU referendum

The speech and Q and A session afterwards goes very well, Sarah says I am a natural presenter and should be on TV. We formulate a plan to try to make the Remain message more interesting to Labour voters. If Labour voters don’t turn out we could lose this Referendum, hence David Cameron’s cosying up to them.

Day 105.   I share with my therapist that I am feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work and responsibility I have taken on for Britain Stronger in Europe which has displaced the blog as my new obsession. We decide I will refrain from answering emails at midnight. Still, as I have not had a job apart from doing building projects for my entire 11 year recovery, we both agree that the campaign is fantastic training for me to get a job in politics. Throughout my 13 years at the BBC I have never managed anyone. As I was always up to an hour late I was only ever asked to manage a tea round. Now I am organising a team of a hundred voluteers covering 30 events a week with supreme efficiency and flair. This requires quite a lot of psychology which I’m good at having spent decades in therapy. There is absolutely no sign that I have any mental health problems. I also love interacting with voters on the door step and trying to persuade them with my arguments. I could actually be a Member of Parliament, the first MP who opens admits to having snorted cocaine 22 hours a day!

Day 106.  More campaigning for BSE as we go to a school in Wembley North London. Most of the parents are ethnic minorities and do not look like they are going to vote or know much about the referendum. I fear that many ethnic minorities are going to be disenfranchised from this referendum. Avoid going to Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous meeting in Hampstead where Mr Dangerous/Unavailable is going to be. Go to women’s Divorced from my drug dealer anonymous meeting, genuinely seeking recovery. But, as receive a barrage of texts emails and phone calls from people at BSE, cannot focus on the meeting.

Day 107. Wild excitement as drag myself out of bed pretty shattered to go to a Conservatives In leafleting event in South London. Not only is a government minister, Mark Holdsworth there, the head of the Conservatives In campaign but also the unpopular but constantly on TV business secretary Sajid Javid.

Picture of Caroline Turriff with government ministers Mark Holdsworth and business secretary Sajid Javid

Is fantastic opportunity to show off highly effective street campaigning style to Tories in government as part of my mission to secure a job as the Minister of Mental Health. My first job, in charge of Mental Health, will be to tackle the massive disparity in waiting times across the country. Is such good opportunity for hobnobbing I ditch a Labour event in North London that I was due to go to. Minister Mark Holdsworth invites me to go on battle bus with Prime Minister David Cameron the following Monday. In such close proximity to Prime Minister I must be able to get a selfie and more rubbing shoulders with those in power will help my political ambitions. Spend afternoon leafleting in once dodgy as fuck but now improving Harlesden with Labour party councillors. But having had  a whiff of power from Tory party cabinet ministers in the morning this is a bit of an anti-climax.

Day 108. Meet Mr Right as part of campaigning activities in the morning which unfortunately are stopped by torrential rain. But he is looking rather white and as White Man Apocalypse in on me in full force categorically do not fancy him. Have a coffee with him and stare at his beautiful face and wonder why I don’t fancy him. Because he was showing signs of unavailability – not answering my texts the previous night as he was out on a date – I thought perhaps I would. Rush to get nails done in preparation for meeting with the Prime Minister. I thought he was very hot – and I’m sure the feeling will be mutual. Alas while out campaigning that night get message from Conservatives In that there is no space on the bus for me. Will have to show off my nails to 75 year old married man I am campaigning with.

Day 109. Campaigning from 7.30 in the morning till 9.30 at night and finish the day feeling exhausted. But, apart from my commitment to the cause and wishing to avoid predictions of a recession and a million job losses if we leave, my obtaining a job as Minister for Mental Health depends on our side winning the Referendum. My Britain Stronger in Europe activities will be music to the ears of  pro-European ministers. But if David Cameron has to resign and Leave campaigner Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister there will be a purge of pro-Europeans from government and my Stronger In activities will be an anathema.

Day 110. Wake up so exhausted cannot go to my Step Aerobics class and realise I will have to tone down the campaigning. Have decided will only do a few hours today and will take night off and go to my women’s Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous meeting. See Mr Right again but he is looking very white. Fabulously my sponsor who has left London is at the meeting and we have a great catch up. Love this meeting and the women at it!

Day 111. More pressure from Stronger In as they say we have to deliver our polling day plans to them in two days time. As only about 5 people have confirmed they are going to be available on polling day we are not going to be able to do very much. Resolve that I will spend the whole evening phoning people to get them signed up for polling day. The opinion polls are looking bad – the people who want to leave Europe are ahead – and we have to put in every ounce of effort if we are to avoid being dragged out of the European Union. The wildly ambitious plans Stronger In had for polling day are simply not got to fly unless they supply us with more volunteers. As I have noticed that many of the ethnic minorities in Brent particularly muslim women look like they are not going to vote I hatch an idea to get the mayor of London, first Muslim mayor of any European capital, to my local area to address ethnic minority voters. This will generate TV coverage and maybe I will be interviewed. As I am trying to emphasise my minority credentials in order to get job in Tory party have decided I will change my hair extensions to semi afro and let my natural hair be in its natural semi Afro state.

Day 112.  Shocking news that young female Labour MP, Jo Cox, mother of two young children has been shot and stabbed to death in her constituency. Jo Cox was a prominent campaigner for us to remain in the European Union and the person who killed her reportedly shouted “Put Britain first” before he shot her. Britain Stronger in Europe suspend all our campaigning activities fearing for our safety. As members of the public have free access to MPs and councillors in the UK this raises serious questions about the safety of all public figures. After such a lot of interaction with voters during the Referendum campaign I now want to be an MP myself. It is a testament to my recovery from decades of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that this brutal killing does not put me off.

Day 113. Frantic planning for polling day in the referendum. While internal argument rages as to whether I do or don’t go to the Hampstead meeting of Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous to see Mr Dangerous. Although I thought I’d weaned myself off men similar to the ex-armed robber Mr Dangerous, obviously, was a drug dealer. Of course the reason I do not fancy Mr Right is that he has no criminal convictions at all. After some reflection decide will probably go to the meeting. This is feeding the addiction but I do need a man I actually fancy in place to parent my frozen embroyos. The only drawback to this is that they may be born with little horns.

Feel incredibly wired as drive to the meeting, not missing the irony that I am going to a recovery meeting in order to fix my addiction. But God (who I now sort of believe in again) had other plans. Mr Dangerous was not at the meeting. Still, spotted an unfeasibly young but very attractive posh ethnic man who I managed to manoeuvre to sit next to at dinner afterwards. I always manage to sort these logistical issues out. But he was even more unavailable than Mr Dangerous. Go to the 50th Birthday party of a fellow campaigner in Britain Stronger in Europe where the man I immediately fancy is wearing a wedding ring. I guess I better get used to being on my own.

Sign up for updates on this blog

Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

Next week: Does Britain vote to leave or stay in the European Union?

I meet the Prime Minister David Cameron and ask him for a job as the Minister for Mental Health

As the head campaigner for Britain Stronger in Europe in Brent I go to a rally about the EU referendum with the Prime Minister David Cameron and the mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Day 87. Wild excitement as my turbo charged political activities to keep Britain a member of the European Union continue. Go to Britain Stronger in Europe event I have set up and the hottest volunteer of entire organisation is there. Of course this is not entirely coincidental as he was first person I called to come. Although he doesn’t look so good in daylight (he is white and without a tan) decide that he has lovely smile and invite him for tea after the event. There is another volunteer there but this is good cover as being in charge of my local area I cannot be too obvious in my romantic ambitions. Ask hottest volunteer if he wants to come on pub crawl to target young voters on Friday night. He says he wants to come and stays for tea much longer than expected. But as he is tall and very good looking and normal can he possibly be single?

Day 88. Efforts continue to achieve Lazarus like resurrection of journalism career. Read women’s magazines all day to try to pitch story about record numbers of women having 1st child over 40. After finish phone pitches and emails,  spend all evening working on blog which, very excitingly, a top publisher has agreed to read.

Day 89. Show my therapist my phone pitches for women’s magazines as she was the Art Director of Vogue and throws in all stylist related queries on accessories for free. Decide will include in pitch to Psychologies magazine that I was previously pretty crazy but avoid mentioning this in emails to other magazines.

Day 90. Sarah my friend from Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous comes to stay as she is temporarily homeless as she can’t stay at her parents’ house as they’re not getting on. Feel incredibly disturbed to have someone in the house overnight for the first time in 3 years. Because of nervous breakdown and 10 hour a day OCD have not been able to have anyone to stay.  But her staying is sign of OCD recovery. Remember how she rescued me after breakup with ex-armed robber by offering me her floor to sleep on so very happy to see her.

Day 91. Go to Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous in Notting Hill in search of hot blue eyed secretary. But decide that, instead of arriving late and being on my phone the whole meeting like the week before, I will put my best foot forward ignore phone and share something inspiring. You do have to appear to be grateful and recovered member of the fellowship if you want to pull someone well. He does have a lovely voice and looks just like dark version of ex-armed robber. But do get feeling at the end of the meeting that he doesn’t want to speak to me and may actively dislike me. Maybe my shameless quizzing of his economic potential by asking what he did the week before has put him off? Hopes of finding real man in real life are dwindling and think will have to go for a sperm donor.

Day 91.  Wonderful interview with lawyer for over 40 first time mothers story. She tells me that if you go to a Norwegian sperm bank you can not only get a photo of the donor but an entire “dating video.”  This is totally like my idea in my screenplay the Fish Tank Babies and resolve will phone Norwegian sperm bank soon. Only problem is Norwegians are blond and blue eyed and was looking for ethnic sperm donor.

Day 92.  As hottest volunteer is coming on Britain Stronger in Europe pub crawl with me decide will pay emergency visit to the hairdressers. Have wildly successful pub crawl through local area spreading message of benefits of Britain remaining in the EU, and obviously trying to pull every hot guy I see with my new chat up line “Have you thought about the European Referendum.”  Decide that hot volunteer is fantastically intelligent as well as very attractive and that he would be perfect sperm donor. The only thing is he doesn’t know this yet. And I can’t try to persuade him until after the referendum as the question “Can you leaflet Asda Brent Park on Saturday and then will you be my sperm donor” may strike him as odd.

Day 93. Go to another Britain Stronger in Europe event with Sarah where the former Labour party leader Ed Milliband is speaking. Manage to slip in some rubber necking to see if anyone I fancy is there and do spot a very attractive half Japanese Tory who unfortunately is only 18.  Hot volunteer from my local area is at the speech and I obviously ask him for coffee afterwards. Unfortunately so focused on capturing him as a sperm donor that miss the opportunity to speak to the former Labour leader.  Inquire about hot volunteer’s housing status and find out he is renting a room, ie has even less money than the ex-armed robber.

Day 94. Leafleting session for Conservatives In in South London (Tory group campaigning to stay in the European Union) in which I meet a Cabinet minister and we get on rather well. She invites me to an event with the Prime Minister the next day and although I am completely shattered I say I will try to come.  Have organised very successful community meeting for Britain Stronger in Europe with one of its head honchos which many people turn up to, including hottest volunteer. Everyone at the meeting breaks into applause thanking me for all the work I have done for the campaign. Am so exhausted barely make it through the two and a half hour meeting but limp home afterwards.

Day 95. Wake up after early night feeling refreshed and dash off to South London to meet the Prime Minister. Of course other people will be there but am looking so hot I am sure he will only have eyes for me. Use build up to Prime Minister’s speech to scout around room looking for BSE volunteers I fancy. See tall rather fat man and shamelessly go up to him. He eyes me up and down and we start talking. He is not perfect as he was smoking which I hate and has a belly at least as big as the ex-armed robbers. But he is very posh and I wonder if he is single. Shove myself to the front of the crowd that is waiting for David Cameron. He is sharing a platform with the new Labour mayor of London, the first muslim mayor of any major European city, Sadiq Khan. Although the Prime Minister has previously said that Sadiq Khan was an extremist this seems to have been forgotten as they join forces to promote Britain’s membership of the EU. David Cameron is very attractive and decide I will ask him for a job.  As he shakes hands with the crowd after his speech I put forward my proposal that I will be the government’s new Minister for Mental Health. When he questions my qualifications I tell him to check out the blog.

Day 96. Preparing for key speech I am going to give to Labour Party activists in my local area to try to get them to campaign to stay in the European Union. As my local constituency has a 29,000 Labour majority they pretty much have the whole area sewn up. As I grew scales and a tail before the last General Election and was diagnosed as an incurable Tory I have limited understanding of the concerns of Labour voters. Speak to highly intelligent Labour Party activist from Stronger In  about what to say in the speech. After I’ve spoken to him discover he’s still at school. The great thing with Stronger In is that everyone is highly intelligent and interested in politics. Is very similar to being at the BBC. Speak to hottest volunteer about content of my speech which he says is very good. .

Day 97. Spend whole day preparing for speech and reflecting on the fact that I have actually met someone very attractive who fancies me ie the hottest volunteer. But now I realise he is definitely interested in me my interest in him is waning. He comes to support me at the Labour Party event (my first ever political speech) and I realise that I don’t fancy him anymore.  As he is tall, dark, handsome, brilliantly intelligent and very nice this suggests that my sex drive is only activated by people who are dangerous or unavailable. Is this the real reason why I am still single at 46?  That I don’t actually want to find Mr Right? Maybe I have “intimacy issues” and actually like being on my own…

I address a meeting of Labour Party activists in Queens Park in Brent about the benefits of the UK staying in the European Union according to the Bank of England the Confederation of British Industry the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and DevelopmentSpeech at Labour party event goes very well but I leave disturbed. Something is clearly very wrong with me.

Day 98. Spend whole day concealing I am a Tory while speaking to Labour councillors in my local area about campaigning in Stonebridge which was previously one of most notorious areas in Britain. I ask the councillor if my car will be stolen if I park there but he tells me I will be fine as long as I leave before dark. Have put on fake tan so look more ethnic for Stonebridge but am not sure how my expensive boarding school accent will go down. Hottest volunteer is coming (he wants to do all my campaigning with me!) and am going to have to face fact that here is a a gorgeous man, 20 years younger than me, brilliantly intelligent and really quite into me that I have somehow gone off. Am I afraid of a functional relationship?

Sign up for updates on this blog

Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

Next week: Absolutely no idea….now I’ve met the Prime Minister maybe I’ll meet Barack Obama as well!