The Hell Butterfly


Hard to chew, harder to swallow

I really hate being hungry.

For those who know me through this blog, you may have seen me write about my issues with food before, and for those who know me in person … well, you’ve seen it firsthand.

Since I was young I’ve had an unstable relationship with food. I find it difficult to even cook in front of people. Eating in front of friends and family is a piece of cake (pardon the pun). But strangers, work colleagues and even my housemates? That’s where it gets harder.

If I had to pick one moment in my childhood that ruined me in the healthy eating side of things, I know what I would choose. That one defining moment that, like a bad dream, has never faded from my memory. Though the specifics may be gone I can still feel the shame of it. It clings like a bad smell.

I was eight years old, getting ready for school and it was time for breakfast. My older sister had recently become obsessed with Weetabix, so my mum had bought a load and decided to try me out on it. I didn’t like the texture, the little oaty bits floating in the milk in my mouth seemed like the worst combination you could invent for a morning meal. So, obviously, I said I didn’t like it and was about to go on my way. I was happy enough to last until break time when I could spend 20p on a warm bread roll from the Tuck Shop. I didn’t see the harm in turning it down.

That is, until my mum poured it over my head. I don’t know if she was in a bad mood prior to this, or if it was me who had sent her over the edge. All I remember of that moment was her anger, and my head covered in Weetabix. Thick, gloopy wheat slid through my hair. Honestly it resembled something more akin to baby sick than edible food, part of the problem when I tried to eat it. But I hadn’t eaten it, and so there I sat at the breakfast table, pink nightie and slippers still on, coated in my own food.

And then she made me go to school.

I really don’t like to think about this. It makes me feel like a horrible person, making my mum out to be some cruel bitch who treated me like shit. She didn’t, she just wanted to prove a point. She just wanted me to eat my breakfast and be quiet about it, but she never intended to cause me any harm. It did, but that’s beside the point. I forgive her … forgave her a long time ago. That doesn’t stop it hurting when I look back though, especially when I see the correlation between the way I felt then, and the way I feel every time I try and eat now.

So off I went to school; eight years old, pink nightie on, Weetabix now congealing in my hair. I was sent off to class like nothing had happened, but obviously it didn’t take long for people to notice. I was late as it was. I entered my classroom and all of my peers, one by one, turned and looked at me.

Picture it.

I was mortified.

I don’t remember much of the aftermath of that day, just the voice of my headteacher as she washed my hair as best as she could, and dressed me into my uniform behind a sheet she’d found in the fort in the corner of the room. I have never forgotten it: the feeling of being utterly humiliated.

I think that’s why I struggle so much now.

Almost every time I think about eating food, I feel like I don’t deserve it. I tell myself I don’t need it, that I can manage without. When I’m eating I’m not enjoying it; I’m wondering who is watching me, what they’re thinking, are they judging me? I’m covering my mouth so no-one can see me chew. Sometimes I’m screaming at myself for being a fat cunt who only ever seems to shove food down her throat and then is too much of a pussy to puke it back up again after. Because yes, I tried that. But I’ve puked too much in my lifetime through travel sickness to pull the proverbial trigger.

The bigger problem shows itself however when you look at the direct correlation between my eating, or lack thereof, and my mood. If I don’t eat enough in the day, my mood takes a severe dive. It’s why I get myself into so much trouble when I don’t eat at work. Sometimes it can be a simple thing of there being too many people in the room at once, sometimes it can be a case of being in a bad mood before lunch begins which transfers into an absolute lack of desire to force food into my system. It means some days I wake up at 05:30 and don’t eat until late afternoon or evening, where some days I eat at 12, maybe 13:00 at the latest and won’t eat again that day. And if I let it happen more than once, it spirals to more than once a week, then creeps up to more than half of the time. It’s unbearable. Sometimes lunch break is pure torture.

I am also infamous in my team at work for not accepting food from people. Bear in mind there are around 12-13 of us, including my manager who adores baking of all kinds, and on top of this a senior team who want to make us feel better about losing our jobs by throwing us all pasty days and the occasional lunch buffet. Any time food is offered around the desks, it gets to me and people will either skip me entirely, or offer out of mere politeness. In the case of the latter, I have lost count of the amount of comments – not hurtful I should add, that’s important – saying “don’t bother, she won’t accept it”. Whilst this is true, I almost always will turn down an offer of food, of chewing gum even, it is also true that it hurts that I can’t accept it. Maybe it’s habit, maybe it’s fear. Personally I think it’s both. That’s why I’m trying to break that habit and hoping with it so too will the fear dissapate until I can just … eat.

I know of a local place, or more I know of a local website, that offer courses, classes and in-person councelling sessions for eating disorders. I don’t know if what I have is a “disorder”, but I think they can help me. I am thinking of contacting them. I’ve had this for years. For 14 of my 22 years I have lived with this. It is crippling. Do you know how many panic attacks I’ve suppressed in restaraunts trying to have a nice meal with my family? How many hours I’ve spent crying because I’m so hungry but thinking of food is too excrutiating to remember how to breathe? At it’s worst I can go into total shut down just trying to pick up my fork. And all the while the voice in my head is verbally battering me with cries of “pick it up, you twat” and “just fucking do it” and “it’s only food; what’s wrong with you?”

I’m trying to make sure I eat lunch every day. So what if there are four people in there? There are more than four chairs, and I need to eat too. I have also discovered there is one person at work who can get me to accept food. Mostly I feel guilty for not accepting because he asks so nicely, but I think it has a lot to do with trust as well. Trust in him that he won’t pressure me into taking it, just encourage. But perhaps trust in myself that nothing bad will happen if I take it. Public eating is still hard, but it’s a start. I still can’t comfortably sit in a restaraunt and eat a meal, only time and practice will help that.

I want to get better. I’m sick of it. Food has held this power of me since before I hit double-digits and it’s time to stop. Time to kick the unwanted house-guest from the bedroom of my brain.

I want to be free.

– I’m No Milburn Moneybags –

I never liked Monopoly,
we used to play it all the time
when it was raining.

Steady dripping pitter-patter
of the droplets on the canvas
overhead …
… it made me wonder.

In sheltered spaces of our singular worlds;
the dog, the iron, the boat
and me.
I am the hat, it suits me best.
But that’s beyond the point.

I never liked Monopoly.
We played it all the time
when we were bored and stuck inside
the flimsy canvas of our tiny world.
Rained in again, no chance to go outside
and so we play.
We play at money-making,

Making microcosms.

We take a Chance:
“Go straight to jail.
Do not collect £200.”
Our freedom dependent on
the roll of a dice.

I never liked Monopoly.
When the opposition owed me money
I told them “keep the change”.
I never cared for exact sums;
The paper rainbow of the game.
Brighter than the real thing,
it makes you want it,
makes you want the greater value;
five zero zero, dollar signs in the eyes
of the materialistic.

I used to play for the sake of playing
before I learned to hate the game.

I never liked Monopoly.
Pretending at success in round
upon round
upon round
of paying money;
making money;
spending money
to earn more money.

Making microcosms.

– Pendant –

How like the Boy who Lived; to know

the yearning for the unattainable.

Before my eyes I see it, feel it almost

but I cannot grasp at it, slips through my fingers

like the traitor water in the font that mocks,

that goads.

Outstretched fingers to an object of defiance;

never shall it surrender,

a mutiny against the hands that pray for it.

Perhaps to drink may let me…

Yet would I

if I had the chance, take hold of what destroys?

I forget.

Time and time again it screams,

but do I hear it now? I cannot tell.

Whispers tearing through the throat that

taunts me.

Voices of another life,

another time in which I might have heard them.

And hear them yes, I did, but now…

I cannot hear it anymore.


No more do the echoes of an idol

call to me.

O, Boy who Lived, how could you make him drink?

To know it hurt, a poison to the lips

of he who taught you all you knew,

who spoke to you the only

words that you held dear.


And yet I wish for it.

To drink perchance to know,

Know how to feel again.

To feel, perchance to live.

Do I live now?

I forget…

That Time Again

As you may know, Christmas is a hard time for me. The last three or four of them I had to bail upstairs to escape my family even if just for a little while. It gets intense around them and I never quite feel welcome. Two years ago was the worst, I won’t drag you through the details again but that December through February were pretty fucking hard. I got over it eventually, just, but it sucked.

This year wasn’t so bad. I opened my presents without too much self-consciousness, ate my entire meal and then tried to enjoy the food-coma TV session. The latter became too much as expected, but this year instead of slipping upstairs to cut myself, I decided go get drunk on shots with my sister. We invented drinks, I learnt that I can layer Baileys on Creme de Menthe, and we actually had fun. Then I got emotional. Now, I’m not much of a drinker, so I don’t really know what kind of drunk I am. I usually get a little cuddly, then get self-depricating. This time however I let my December stress erupt in tears while my family watched Apollo 13 in the other room. I still don’t know if they heard me crying, but I was a mess.

Me and my sister talked for a good 30 to 40 minutes. It’s the most open I’ve been with her (voluntarily) in pretty much ever. I don’t want to say what we spoke about, but it was nice and helped put certain things into perspective. One thing I told her was that I still have anxiety and depression. She knew, of course, that I’d struggled. She accidentally saw one or two of my darker posts on here so she knew I cut and she knew I’ve struggled. But this time I chose to tell her myself. And now I’m telling you, just because it helps me to get it out in written text.

I’m struggling. Again for my own reasons I don’t want to talk about some of it, some things are too personal even for The Hell Butterfly. But I trust you and I like to write about it, regardless of whether you want to read it. I’m not happy in my job. I work in web support for 3 well known train companies here in England. I help people make bookings, process refunds, sometimes file complaints. It’s not a bad job and it pays enough, but I’m not learning and it’s stressful. People in the public are stupid, and rude, and sometimes even insulting. And when an angry Indian man who you’ve just denied a £100 refund to starts yelling and swearing at you down the phone, it’s hard to keep the anxiety from fucking up your job (yes that happened). I want to quit so bad, start a career in writing or editing or publishing, but I need the money and I’m trying to make a living in a dying industry. The conflict of what I want to do versus what is out there for someone like me is intense and it makes me uneasy.

I’m also finding it very hard to eat at the moment. I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about my food issues on here. I find it very hard to cook in front of people, and nearly impossible to eat in front of people I don’t really know or trust. It gets harder still when the depression and anxiety kicks in. I start over thinking, worrying about my weight and body shape,  what people will think of me, and it spirals to where I tell myself I don’t deserve to eat. I care so much what other people think that I start to hate myself and feel disgusted with myself for even being hungry. I’ve had a long-standing chaotic relationship with food. I think it stemmed from a childhood incident involving Weetabix, my mum pouring it on my head, and being forced to go to school like that in my nightie. I don’t like to remember that. About 4 or 5 years ago I would make sure I didn’t eat more than around 500-600 calories a day. I kept a spreadsheet. If I ate over 1000 I punished myself in ways I imagine you can guess, knowing my personality. My point is, the last few weeks have been tough and with it has come more issues surrounding my ability to eat. Some days at work, if there are 4 or more people in the break room I can’t eat. There’s too many people and I panic.  It means some days I wake up at 05.30 and don’t eat until 15.00, or eat at noon then don’t eat again that day.

I’ve recently come down with the illness everyone seems to be getting too. It feels like my voice box is trying to claw its way out of me through my ears. I feel nauseous a lot and that in turn affects my eating. Add the stress of my job and a recent (mildly terrifying) personal scare and we have a recipe for disaster. Yesterday I had a few cups of tea, some pasta at about 1pm, then only managed to stomach a half bowl of ice cream and a few sips of tea before bed. I was ill and in a very bad state of mind. It had been a hard day and a tough month in general. Finding the desire to put food in my mouth is a task in itself. I feel sick thinking about moving the fork to my mouth and chewing. It seems the only times I eat right these days is when my boyfriend’s dad invites me round for tea and cooks for me. I’m trying to fix that.

So basically this post is just me saying I’m struggling with food, my job, and my personal life. I’m hoping I can get back on track with writing as I’m finding it hard to know how to do even that but it does make me feel better to post on here, no matter the subject. Thank you all for sticking with me and Happy New Year everyone.

– The Line –

O, why must I be Hamlet?

Two feet walking step by step

along a line that is paved with blood.

Poison in my heart, pierced.

To my left I see a family,

all smiling like they mean it, yet


plotting my demise.

I must deny you, sweet girl.

The right is all-destroying Darkness.

Though true, it’s right, but is it right?

Whether ‘tis nobler to agree,

or disagree,

or walk the endless walk of Time

and His cruel agony,

perhaps soft Sleep will tell. To sleep

perchance to dream. Dream forever.

O, Ophelia, why can I not choose like you?

Sleeping with the fish, warm in the riverbed,

I envy you.

To sleep the final sleep, it’s true,

may not have been your choice.

But you could make one.

The crazy girl that sung

and danced

and broke out in hysterics just because she could,

because your fate was sealed by foul lips

that uttered words like nails to your coffin.

You were so pretty. They thought it a waste.

You made the choice to take it, crushed

though you were by the weight of your rejection.

Forgive me,

I could not, cannot, choose.

I walk the line once more, my dear Ophelia.

I do not, will not, drown.

My eternal Princess of the deep.

I am but Hamlet,

and I’ll never choose.


This is both my first blog post written and published on my new phone and my first post at all this month. I should be sitting here thinking about how this may look when I hit publish, if the format will come out okay, or if you my readers will accept my neglect of The Hell Butterfly. Instead, I have been thinking about how depression is like custard.

Depression is like custard. Your brain is like a swimming pool and the water it is filled with is your life. You have to learn to swim in it. As a child you cannot swim,  but you have the in-built knowledge that means you already secretly know how. At first you wear the armbands of Mum and Dad. They keep you afloat until you learn to swim alone, and by then it is second nature.

Then one day you realise you’re getting tired. Your arms and legs don’t work so well anymore. Staying afloat is not so easy. You begin to drown. But then the water begins to drain, replaced from outside by a steady flow of custard. This thick, yellowy substance starts pouring down on top of you. This custard is depression. You know that you must get above it or you’ll be lost forever.

So instinct drives you to get out of the pool. The exertion that it took to lift yourself out with custard raining down on you has all but killed you and now fatigue makes you kneel, sit, lie down. You no longer have the energy to stand up. All you can do is watch the water get overwhelmed by custard. Watch your life be overwhelmed by depression. You are outside of yourself. You are there but you are disconnected from the chaos. The water is draining, draining and you can’t even get up off the floor.

And then the flow of custard stutters. The stream becomes a mere trickle, little bubbles of yellow goo growing and detaching to hit the surface every now and then. You can still see one patch of water in the far corner and you know that if you could just get to it you could turn on the pump and get the water back. You’re so tired, but this is the only way to make everything right again.

But you’re so comfortable down here. You can finally rest. You’ve been swimming so long you never knew how good it felt to just stay still. Be so quiet and so still … Maybe you don’t have to make it to the other side, you think. Maybe you can just stay here and enjoy resting until the pool has finished filling with custard. It will all be over then and you’ll never have to struggle again.

But you know you should get up. You know you have to get up. You must.

So you drag yourself up off the floor, arms shaking from fatigue. You prop one knee up, then the other, and you stand. You’ve been swimming for so long that you don’t think you remember how to walk. The complex act of swimming has replaced your knowledge of walking, the simple act of surviving. Now, with legs trembling in protest, trying desperately to hold your aching frame erect, you take a step towards the poolside. A breath and then you go.

Depression is like custard. You can walk on it so long as you keep moving. Steady steps, balancing your weight so evenly and so calmly. That is how you make it over alive. But when you stop walking, that’s when you begin to sink. Like quicksand the custard will claim your soles and down, down you’ll go. And the deeper you sink, the faster you fall. The deeper you sink, the harder it is to get out.

By standing still, you are doing nothing but falling. If you let yourself give in to the fatigue, give in to the desire to rest eternally, all that awaits you is certain death. But if you keep moving, you will make it, I assure you. You have to force yourself on, push your body and mind to the limit. You have to go on knowing if you make it you must start swimming again, must swim forever. But you must do it.

And you must do it remembering you have to learn to walk before you can swim.

-Sleeping Pandora-

Shattered lines.
Literary shells
from a voicebox unprepared.
Physical, the trepidation
of the sentence, piercing.
Trapped between the walls
that make them.
Broken letters lose their meaning.
Lexical annihilation.
Harsh are the shards
of a syntax born of Mutiny
and Melancholy.
A fist unclenching in
the throat of the destroyer.
They will not come.
Glass fragments of Soul’s window
impale them,
those suicidal words of murder.
A knot entangled in
the fleshy chamber, lodged
somewhere behind the traitor tongue.
Intent betrayed to silence.
But for the throbbing ache
that stabs in spite,
all is unchanged.
He shall not bleed.