“Go on then, just one.”
That’s what I always say. And I always mean it, I truly do. The problem is, that I know I’m kidding myself: I can never have “just one” of anything. A multipack of crisps; a favourite cheese; a bottle of gin; a jar of herring in mustard; a box of Jelly Babies. Once I start, I have to carry on until that thing I promised to just have one of is finished.
Why have one tarantula when I can have sixty? Why buy one ball of yarn when I can have ten? Why have only one cross-stitch project on the go when I can rotate around sixteen? Tea sets? Just one more won’t hurt, surely? Let’s add another book to one of my to-read piles, or buy another decorative notebook I’ll never write in.
I have what is known as an addictive personality. It’s not recognised as a disorder (although it should be – just like SAD and female autism should be recognised as existing) but it’s a very real thing, and it can mess up your life. Acknowledging you have it doesn’t help you to cope with it, and even my psychologist friend doesn’t really know what to suggest. Drugs to make me hate alcohol? I’d probably become addicted to those too – just as I became addicted to codeine years ago. I’m sure that the only reason I’ve never been hooked on illicit drugs is the fact that they have genuinely never interested me.
If I could only be addicted to healthy things I wouldn’t mind – but no, I’m not that lucky. I can make entire blocks of cheese magically disappear, and will plough on with a multipack of cheese and onion crisps long past the point where I begin to feel sick. I can’t have “just one” of any of the things I enjoy, which is why you can scarcely move for tarantula enclosures in the living room, and books and sewing/knitting paraphernalia in the bedroom. If I can stop the gin, I’d probably still be addicted to the tonic water and the slices of lemon. I’m not even kidding. I eat lemons, and I had to stop looking at the salt grinder because I will eat salt by the handful if I allow myself. That’s probably even more dangerous than the alcohol, and was most likely just as responsible for nearly killing me as the bottles of Blossom Hill were. Show me a jar of pickled onions and I haven’t finished them until I’ve drunk the vinegar.
How much of it is sheer boredom? I have no idea. A lot of it over the years has been to do with depression – and in recent years frustration due to not being able to get out and about as much as I used to. I do know that I have to make drastic changes to my routine – which is difficult with CFS/ME, but by no means undoable. I’ll just have to think of something less harmful to do on my bad days, when I can barely make it out of bed.
It wouldn’t be so terrible to become addicted to tea and knitting would it? Having something that I could finish once started without feeling guilty about it in the morning would be quite nice.