Thursday, 26 November 2015

Methadone and trip to Cork....

I don't think I mentioned it on Monday
But my methadone was reduced 
My doctor had been talking about it for weeks
And he finally made a 2ml reduction this week
So I am now on 28mls
As you may know 
I am quite resistant to being weaned off the methadone 
And to be honest
More than putting up resistance 
I am petrified about it
I've been on this drug for ten years 
I'm physically and mentally 
Totally and absolutely addicted to it
My doctor asked me why I don't want to come off it
I couldn't really give him a reason 
Other than I am afraid 
I'm actually on more methadone now than I was last year
Summer 2014 
I was down to 22ml
And we could see an end point in sight 
Now the goalposts have been moved again
And that is down to me
And my fear of letting it go

It's also the structure of the methadone programme
Going to the doctor every week keeps me on the straight and narrow
And keeps me accountable 
I know if I use 
There will be consequences 
Then there is going to the chemist 
Collecting my Meds 
It's all an integral part of my life
I would feel a bit lost without that structure 
Or maybe I wouldn't 
Maybe I would relish my new found freedom
And get a new lease on life 
I don't know 
Because I'm too afraid to try
More than coming off the methadone
I am afraid of relapsing 
The very thought chills my bones
I would rather stay on methadone for the rest of my life  
That use for one more day
That's how scary it is to me

In other news 
I'm going away for the weekend tomorrow
My Mum, my sister and I are heading to Cork to stay with my sisters partner for a couple of nights 
It's a marathon drive at six hours down to the south west of the country
But we've been meaning to go for a while now 
So tomorrow is the day

I got a text last night 
From one of the ladies from AA 
I was delighted to get the text 
I guess I thought that people would just forget about me
It has really given me the push to go back to meetings 
So I am hoping to get to one next week
Fingers crossed 

You might have noticed that I have not write a personal post this week
That is mainly because I don't want to acknowledge what is happening
Needless to say
It's not good 
I feel like I am hanging on to recovery by my fingertips 
Every day it seems further and further away 
I'm not seeing Breda for another ten days
And I haven't yet contacted Mary 
As I keep hoping that things will improve
I'm reluctant to write too much about it 
As then it makes it real

That's it from me 
Just a short one today
I'll try and post from Cork
See you on the next post.... 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Interview

I mentioned a little while ago 
That I recently did a Skype interview with Angela Barnett
The author of the blog Fucking Awesome Bulimics I Know (FABIK)
We spoke for two hours early one Saturday morning 
And it was a pleasure from start to finish
I answered Angela's questions
We laughed a lot 
Shared our experience, strength and hope
Despaired at the lengths we went to got our disorders 
Angela contacted me yesterday to let me know that the interview is up on her blog
So here it is
Hope you enjoy....

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Hunger Games

One of the most dangerous aspects of anorexia
Is that the disorder always wants more
More weight loss 
To the point where sufferers become entangled in a twisted game of 'Who is the sickest?'
I've played this game 
Many times 
And no good can come if it 
Being an addict 
And having attended support groups
I have met many other girls like me
Who are cross addicted
And developed EDs as well as drug/alcohol addictions
Two girls in particular I became good friends with
We're we helping each other?
I'm not so sure 
I know I measured my weight against theirs 
One of the girls and I used to tell each other our weight
And  I committed it to memory 
And secretly tried to achieve a lower weight

They say that in regards to recovering
1/3 will recover
1/3 will live somewhere in between their disorder and recovery 
And 1/3 will never recover 
Those statistics ring true for me and my friends 
One of us has recovered
One is still knee deep in the disorder
And one is somewhere in between the two 

People with EDs 
Often have the sense that they are not sick enough 
And therefore don't deserve the title of 'anorectic'
Because there is always someone sicker or thinner than you 
If you are admitted to inpatient
The Hunger Games become amplified 
For me
Inpatient did not work 
I found that being surrounded by other disordered people made recovery and weight gain nigh on impossible 
I compared myself to other girls 
What we weighed 
What we ate
How much exercise we did 
It was all a sick and twisted game 
I just wasn't able to allow myself to gain weight in that situation
And have never completed treatment successfully
I've always done much better from home  
With support of course 

There is a kind of competition that comes with anorexia 
We wear our bones like trophies on our bodies 
We award ourselves with medals for the different milestones we achieve
Given the title of anorectic
Seeing a counsellor
Inpatient especially has a kind of holy grail aura about it
Because we never believe we are sick enough
Being told you need to go in to inpatient is like being validated that yes you are sick enough to go to hospital  or treatment 
I know I spend much time worrying about the fact that I don't have an ED
Rather than the fact that I do have one

Having said all that 
One place that I don't feel a sense of competition
Is here on blogger
Why is that?
Probably because we get to see the real honest truth about what it's really like to live with a life threatening mental illness
The fear
The loneliness 
The isolation
The depression and anxiety
The family issues
The never ending merry-go-round of recovery and relapse
It's clear from reading about people's lives here
That an ED is not what it would have you believe 

Ive used this metaphor before 
But I will use it again
An ED is like an abuser
It grooms you and lures you in with false promises of happiness and success 
It paints a picture of what life will be like when you lose weight
You'll be lighter 
The smallest of all your friends 
And of course it will tell you that thinner people are more popular
More liked and loved 
Your boyfriend will be able to pick you up with no effort at all
You will wear anything you like
And look effortlessly beautiful
Oh yes
In return for your body
Your mind 
Your sanity
And your soul 
Anorexia will give you the life you always dreamed of
Hard to resist right? 
Once anorexia lures you in
And you are now captive 
Anorexia shows its true colours
And how evil it truly is
And once she is in your life 
Life will never be the same again

Thus far 
I've focused on anorexia
But of course there are other eating disorders
They are not given the same status that anorexia is
Bulimia for example
Is widely considered to  be anorexias less popular cousin
Having dealt with both 
I know first hand that it is a lot more difficult to talk about bulimia
If anorexia is cold, controlled and aloof
Then bulimia is loud and brash and in your face 
No one wants to admit that they throw up their food
It's messy
It's disgusting
It's not something that you talk about in polite company 
I think people feel sorry for people with anorexia
And disgusted by people with bulimia
It's not a fair appraisal at all 
Then there is binge eating disorder
And food addiction 
Which must be even more difficult to talk about 
Anorexia gets the most attention
That is for sure 
Maybe because seeing an emaciated person is so shocking 
Papers and magazines love a sensationalist story
With a shocking and disturbing picture to go with it
The same with obesity
But if you ask me
Anorexia and obesity are on the same spectrum
At opposite ends albeit
But it's the same problem
A problem with feelings
With reality 
With ourselves
And of course with food 
I have no doubt that I could easily become obese 
My relationship with food can be so disordered that it is a very real possibility 
As I have said before
I either eat none of the food
Or all of the food
There is no in between 

There is no glory in being the sickest or the thinnest
In the end 
Lives are torn apart as a result 
And really
There are no winners 
Only losers 
I know all too well that our EDs will not be satisfied until we are six feet under
Death is the ultimate prize 

There is no doubt
That eating disorders are complicated illnesses 
Often we don't know why we are doing what we are doing
But we feel compelled to do it
God knows I am going through it right now
And it's a battle to get back on track
It's so important in recovery 
To build a solid foundation on which to grow from
I think maybe that was my mistake 
I didn't have a platform from which to flourish
My recovery happened very quickly
And almost in spite of myself 
I think I started using the word recovery because I had gained weight
But then recovery really did happen
I did gain weight
My mood improved 
My anxiety and depression lifted 
But was it sustainable?
I'm not so sure
I think I need to start again
To take my time 
And build up my recovery layer by layer 
So that I have reserves
For when things turn sour 
Like now 
I am struggling to hold on to my recovery 
My ED is screaming in my ears these days 
I spoke to my family about it yesterday
For the first time 
They are worried 
As am I 
I was stupid to think that I could lose a few pounds and stop there 
I've lost too much weight in a very short space of time
My body is really suffering 
As is my mental health 
I'm thinking of ringing Mary and asking for a top up appointment 
I've also reached out to friends 
So I'm hoping to get back on track

With all that said
I was wondering about you
Have you ever been caught up in The Hunger Games?
Do you think that anorexia can become a game of who is the sickest? 
What is your experience of this?
Answers on a post card please.....

Monday, 23 November 2015

Iron minds

A new show started on TV here last night
Called Iron Minds
The premise of the show is all about the correlation between physical and mental health
The show is presented by Niall Breslin
Better known as Bressie 
Bressie is the former lead singer of the band The Blizzards 
He is also a judge on the Irish The Voice
And has spoken out very publicly about his battle with depression and anxiety
Bressie is regarded as a well rounded individual here 
He also happens to be a 6'2 hunk which gets him a lot of female attention
But more than that 
He is just a really really sound guy
And genuinely wants to help others 

In recent years 
Bressie has turned to health and fitness to help him battle his demons
He runs, swims and cycles
Regularly competing in triathlons and Ironmans
To see if he could help others in the same position 
Bressie recruited four people from the four corners of Ireland
And Jade
And put them through a series of endurance challenges 
All under the watchful eye of medical experts of course 
All the participants had varying degrees of mental illness 
Jade suffered from depression and tricotilamania 
Both the guys suffered from depression 
And Orla probably had the saddest story 
She had recently lost her Mum to cancer
And her sister to suicide 
She is also a single mother
Orla is actually from my area
She is a Pilates instructor
And attended the same yoga class I did last year
I never really said more than hello to her
But I remember my sister saying that she was a cold fish 
But it turns out she wasn't 
She was actually dealing with a hell of a lot
Her whole world was caving in 
And was probably going around in a complete haze 
It just goes to show 
You can't judge people 
As you just don't know what they are dealing with
Someone who appears unfriendly or distant or cold 
Might actually be going through the wars
Usually if someone is like that with me
I usually presume it's me they don't like or don't wAnt to talk to
As I remind myself regularly 
It's not all about me 
This is a huge lesson
To make allowances for others 
You never know what is going on in their heads 

The four participants all had a base line of fitness
The all ran regularly 
And Mark was a former competitive cyclist 
So they weren't couch potatoes as such
At the beginning of the show
All four spoke about their illness
The crippling low moods 
The heavy feeling in their body
The weariness 
The feeling of being swamped by negative thoughts
I could relate to every word 
I thought they were so brave 
To go on national TV 
And talk about their deepest darkest issues 
It was clear that they all wanted to move forward 
And their strength and honesty shone through

The participants were put through a fitness test 
They were also tested medically and psychologically 
And deemed fit and well to take part 
They were under the care of a team of professionals 
And of course Bressie
Who was there for them every step of the way 
The next challenge 
Was to swim in a body of open water 
Bressie brought them to a lake in the Midlands 
And had them swim 1km
They will all very anxious about the task 
But were determined to finish it
The two girls did well
And completed the swim first and second
The guys however 
Really struggled 
And one had a mini panic attack half way through the swim
They had a mindfulness session 
And also cognitive behavioural therapy
I was blown away by their willingness to talk so openly 
It really was inspiring

At one point in the show
Orla hit a real low point
And was struggling to cope
The psychologist visited her at home for a chat 
She spoke of how she was struggling to get over the death of her mother and sister 
She was asked if her mother was there 
What her mother would say to her
Orla replied that she would say
'Relax and enjoy it'
She was then asked if her sister was there, what Orla would say to her
She had one simple question 
Why did you do it?
Why didn't you speak to one of us?
Why were you so proud?'
It was heartbreaking to watch 

A few weeks later 
And Bressie set their next task
To compete in a half Iron Man
Which comprised a 1km swim
A 20km bike ride
And a 5 km run
They were all extremely nervous 
But they had all trained hard 
And we're ready 
They all finished
With Jade coming first 
I could see they were on such a high
The feeling of accomplishment was clear to see on their faces 

I really enjoyed the show
And probably more so because I knew one of the participants 
I think the concept is a great idea
As I firmly believe there is a strong link between mental health and physical health
I can see it working in my own life 
I walk every day 
Lea especially is always keen to go for a walk 
And that's great for me
As some days it's hard to leave the house 
But I would never refuse my dogs a walk
I also started back swimming recently 
And go once or twice a week
I actually hate the thought of going swimming 
Having to organise myself to go
Getting in to the cold water 
And taking ages to warm up
But once I am there 
I really enjoy it
And I always feel great after pushing myself 
It's great for my mental health 
My confidence
Self esteem 
And it generally gives me a good feeling
I would also love to take up running
But my body doesn't seem to want to let me do that 
So I will stick to walking 

The show also showed 
How important it is to get out there and get stuck in to something 
Be that exercise
A support group
Being around other people is good for us 
It takes us out of ourselves 
It's talking to others 
And getting out of our own heads 
It definitely helped me see that I need to do this more 
Get out of the house
Get involved in activities 
Meet people 
Learn new skills 
I am a loner at heart 
But I also love people 
So it's something to think about 

The show is on again next week
So I wil update you then

With all that said 
I was wondering about you
Do you believe that there is a link between mental and physical health?
Have you seen that work in your own life?
Do you find that getting out and about helps you?
What role does exercise play in your life?
Inquiring minds want to know....

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Not Backing Down

Apologies for not replying to comments yesterday
I just didn't have the energy
The last few days have been exhausting 
And it's taken a toll
I really let those negative comments get to me 
My mood suffered 
My family noticed 
They kept telling me to shake it off
But being as hyper sensitive as I am
It took me a while
I want to thank all of you for your kind words and thoughtful comments over the last week
Knowing that you are there makes this whole blogging experience worthwhile 
But I'm done defending myself 
Especially against faceless, nameless anonymous comments 
I guess it all points to the fact that my self esteem and self worth are not in a great place
And I need to work on that 
As they say in AA
Recovery happens sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly
It's not something that can be measured
But it's definitely something to look at
But look
These problems are small fry compared to some 
You may think I have an easy life anonymous
But you only see a fraction of my life 
I don't write about my family
And the issues going on there 
I have much that I don't write about 
So please 
Don't judge me
You have no right to 

So I'm not backing down
I'm not going to leave blogger
It means too much to me 
You mean too much to me 
And for what it's worth 
I'm not giving up on recovery either
And am trying my best to get back on track
I have lost weight 
But I am doing everything in my power to put the brakes on
It's not easy 
Once my ED is given half a chance 
It jumps in to drivers seat
And takes over the whole show 
Let's hope this is a slip more than a relapse 

Some of you pointed out that blogging the way I do is like a job 
I've always thought that 
Blogging is something I do at the same time every day
In the same place
Often I have to research something before I write about it 
And I reply to comments which also takes time 
It's not a paid job 
But I get something so much more than money from writing this blog 
I do it because I love it
Because I hope it helps others 
Because I feel compelled to share my story and experiences 
In the hope that it will go some way to fight the battle against eating disorders 
I'm here to stay 
Even if anonymous would rather I go and cry in the corner 
I guess the thing is not to react to these comments 
It only gives them power
I'm not prepared to do that any more 
And interestingly 
Anonymous did not comment on my last post 

That's it from me today 
This is the last time I write about this subject
I am done defending myself 
I'm off to walk my dogs 
And spend a lazy Sunday 
Yes anonymous 
What a lazy, unemployed waste of space I am.....

Saturday, 21 November 2015


I hit a really low point yesterday
Yesterday's post was written out of a place of having to defend myself 
I felt attacked by the anonymous comments who told me to 'Grow up' and 'Get a job'
And because my confidence is on the low side 
I didn't have the ability to see these what these comments were
An faceless, nameless, anonymous commenter
Someone who reads my blog
But doesn't approve of my lifestyle 
They obviously have a bee in their Bonnet about my not working 
And have been very vocal about that lately 

I actually thought about deleting my blog and leaving blogger yesterday 
That's how bad I felt 
I spoke to various members of my family 
And consensus was to ignore said comments
Read and delete
They pointed out that I don't know these people 
And their opinions shouldn't matter
Much like what a lot of you wrote on the comments section too
I'm not leaving though 
There may be negatives to writing this blog
But there are more positives 
So I will continue to blog
And continue to fight for recovery
You also suggested that I disable anonymous comments 
I would do this only that there are quite a few readers who comment under anonymous but who always leave their names 
So I don't want to do that 
Also I want to get to a place where I can read these comments and not give them a second thought
So I will leave it as it is for now

The thing is 
I felt judged yesterday 
I felt like my whole life was being torn apart 
I know I put myself out there 
So I should expect such judgment 
It's amazing how someone can get up on their high horse and cast judgment on others 
I mean 
My life is not perfect 
I do the best I can 
I am struggling at the moment 
Big time 
But I am trying my level best to get back on track 
If there is one thing I don't do 
Is judge others 
You may smoke 40 cigarettes a day
You may drink your weight in wine
You may smoke a joint from time to time
Or maybe every day 
You may never donate to charity 
Or only shower once a week
You may have stolen in your time 
Or not paid a parking fine 
You may be a staunch workaholic 
Or not work at all
You may have purple hair 
A face full of piercings 
And a body covered in tattoos
You may be gay
Whatever it is 
I am not here to judge you
Your life is your life 
And you can do with it as you please 
Let those with out sin cast the first stone and all that 

So go ahead anonymous 
Judge me
Judge me for all your worth 
I know I'm a good person
I bet if you were dealing with what I am dealing with 
You wouldn't be perfect either
I put myself out there to help others 
And myself 
If putting others down is what does it for you 
Then go ahead 
I've dealt with worse than you in my life
Far far worse 
Live and let live I say
In the words of One Direction
'Nobody can drag me down'

Can't believe I just quoted One Direction!
I don't even like them!
Can you tell I'm feeling better today....

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The working world

An anonymous reader left a comment on yesterday's post
Asking about the fact that I don't work
And pointing out that I have it easy
I replied to the comment in my replies yesterday
But I also felt a need to write a post addressing this issue
As I'm sure there are others who wonder about my situation 
I'm not annoyed or upset by this question
And I have absolutely no problem in replying 

To the outside world
It may look like I have it easy 
And I guess in some ways I do 
I live with my Mum
And I live here not only because I can't afford to move out on my own
I live here because I like living with my Mum
To all intents and purposes 
It feels like we are house sharing
Rather than living with a parent
I contribute to rent and bills
As well as paying my own car and phone bills 
I do my share of the house work 
And we take it in turns to cook
It would make no sense for me to move out now 
And try to maintain the running of a house/flat on my own
And more than all of that 
I am happy here 

I kind of feel like I am defending myself here
And that's not why I wanted to write this post 
I may look like I am having a great ol' time not working and living off the state
It hasn't always been this way
Up until my ED developed 
And even during my ED
I worked 
I always worked 
A few years ago I was put on disability allowance
And have been on it since
My last job was teaching dance to kids 
I taught 4 classes a week
But over night 
I lost my confidence
And never went back

Confidence poses a huge obstacle for me as regards work 
I just don't have the confidence that I can do a job
And do it well
My self esteem has taken a battering over the years 
It's been shattered 
And I'm only now beginning to put it back together 
I also don't want to secure a job until I am sure that I can maintain it 
I did apply for part time positions during the summer 
But nothing came of those 
I really want to feel capable of holding down a job before I start working
I have a long history of starting things and not finishing them
And that really knocks your confidence 
I want to be in the best frame of mind possible 
And I'm just not there yet

Which brings me to my next point
I don't know guys 
I don't even think I can truthfully say that I am in recovery any more 
My head is all over the place
Purging has increased in the last couple of weeks 
My weight continues to drop 
And I am generally acting like a very eating disordered person
To be honest 
I feel like I have one foot in recovery
And one foot in my illness
Committing to neither
Trying to have my cake and eat it too
I'm caught up in the honey moon phase of losing weight
And even though I know how this story ends 
I can't seem to stop
Logically and rationally 
I know what I am doing is wrong
It's the behaviour of someone who really should know better

It's scary 
The years are flying by
One year blends in to the next
And nothing changes
Yes over the last year I have been dabbling in recovery 
But did I ever really fully commit?
That's up for debate 
I know I need to man up
And choose a path 
One way or the other 
I can't have both
One always bleeds in to another 
And I'm left in this kind of limbo
A no mans land 
Neither here nor there 
That's not where I want to be 

I want to get well 
I do 
But I have to admit 
The safety of my ED appeals to me 
In that it's all I have to worry about 
Even though it's a living hell
I don't have to deal with life on life's terms 
I have often said that death doesn't scare me
Life scares me a hell of a lot more
Thus far
I haven't been able to handle life without the use of a substance 
Or a behaviour 
The truth is 
That I've not lived in reality for a long time
And now I'm wondering if I can't handle it at all 
I find living in reality hard
I don't know 
Maybe everyone feels like this 
And they just don't say it 
Maybe people just get on with things
And maybe that's what I should do too 
I don't know

So yes 
I know I am blessed in a lot of ways 
I have a strong family around me
And if anything bad ever happens 
They are there to help me put back the pieces together 
But please 
Don't think I have it easy
I fight a battle every day
To stay clean and sober 
To not inject myself with mind and body numbing drugs 
Sometimes I see or hear or smell something that reminds me of heroin
And literally have to stop my self from jumping in to my car and heading to get drugs 
A craving is a powerful thing 
And I get them all the time
Be it heroin 
Or alcohol
Or cigarettes
I fight to not lose the plot completely where food is concerned 
As I wrote recently 
My black and white behaviours means I eat all the food 
Or none of the food
I fight not to binge
And not to purge 
It doesn't always work 
But I keep trying 
Some days I wake up with a sense of impending doom
And I don't want to get up and face the day
Some days just getting out of bed is a triumph
Some days eating my lunch and keeping it down is a victory 
And sometimes just leaving my house to walk my dogs is success 
It's all relative
It's easy to look at someone else's life and think that the grass is greener
But I wouldn't wish the issues I deal with on anyone

I hope this explains my situation a bit better
And I'm happy to answer any other questions that you have 
You know the saying don't judge me until you've walked a mile in my shoes?
I think that applies here...