Thursday, 30 October 2014

17 Effects of bulimia on the body

Maggie over at Healthline contacted me about this article
It is about 17 effects of bulimia on the body
I found it very interesting
I hope you do too

17 Effects of bulimia on the body

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Counsellors and cataracts

As you know
I see my doctor every Monday
However this Monday was a bank holiday
So I saw the doctor yesterday instead
My own doctor was off
So I saw Nice Woman Doctor instead
She asked me how I was
I told her that things have improved
But I still struggle with aspects of the disorder
I also told her that I am convinced that I am over weight
'That's natural' she said
'You were so underweight for so long'
'To anyone looking at you from the outside, you look fantastic
And it's not just your shape, it's your eyes
They look alive now'
A lot of people have said that to me
That my eyes look so different
I guess it's nice to hear

I told her that Mary is now gone
And asked if there was any counselling or therapy I could avail of
She said there were a couple of options
I could either get general counselling straight away
Or go on the waiting list for a woman in the next town
I was delighted when she said this woman's name
As I used to see her a few years ago
And found her very helpful
I can't remember why I stopped seeing her
Probably because I went in to treatment
She was great
She has a really holistic approach
Which I love
So I went for that option
It's great to know that I will have some body to talk to
Just to help me sort things out in my head

On a different note
We noticed last week that one of Honey's eyes is very cloudy
So we brought her to the vet today
At first the vet thought that it was a cataract
Which was bad news because of it spreads to the other eye
It can cause blindness
I was really upset when she said this
But then she had another look with her torch
And thought she might have been wrong
And it may be something else
So Honey is now on eye drops 3 times a day
And has to go back to the vet net week
I am hoping that praying that she is ok

That's all from me today
Just a quick post to give you an update

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Who, what, why and where?

I am very lucky and blessed to have some amazing readers/friends
Who read this blog and take time out of their day to leave thoughtful and insightful comments
After my last post
Lilly and C wrote about how I should try to start to define myself outside of my illness and diagnosis
They are so right
And really hit the nail on the head as to what is going on for me right now

I feel I am caught somewhere between my illness and recovery
Not quite sick anymore
But not 100% well either
I am dipping my toe in to life sans ED and addiction
But I haven't committed to anything
It's like I am hedging my bets
And keep both options open
Just in case
Just in case recovery doesn't work out
I will hold on to my ED and addiction
Just in case it's too scary or too hard
I will hold on to my addiction

I have made some progress
But the weight re-gain is only part of the battle
I know the real work happens on the inside
It takes months to physically recover
Years to recover mentally
And probably a life time to fully recover if that happens at all
It's a slow process
Too slow for an impatient person like me
Who wants everything now
Sometimes the process is so slow that I can't even see it
And it feels like I am standing still
It can be beyond frustrating

Back to the title of this post
Who am I without my ED and addiction?
Well, I know I am a young woman
I know I am a dog owner and confirmed animal lover
I know I am a swimmer
I know I love to write
The thing is that I don't know how to write about anything other my ED and addiction
I know nothing as intimately as I know them
I can't write about love
I can't write about death
I have no other life experiences to think of
Beyond that I have no earthly clue who I am
I don't know what sort of person I am
Am I quiet?
Am I loud?
Am I an extrovert?
You would think that I would know these things
But I really don't
I only know who I am in the grip of my illness
I don't know much more than that

What will my life be like without my ED and addiction?
Another tough question
My ED was/is like my job
My chosen career
Without it
I don't know what I would think about
What I would talk about
What I would spend my time doing
How would I fill the 24 hours that are in a day?
I know what you are thinking
I could do anything I want to
But where do I start?
How do you start your life over at 33?
I guess the answer to that is I find what I love
And do that
If I find a job that I love
I'll never have to work again

Why am I recovering?
People change for a reason
I stopped taking drugs because the negatives of that life were out weighing the positives
I quit smoking because I couldn't afford it anymore
So why am I choosing recovery from my ED?
Well, similar to the drugs scenario
It's getting old
I am getting too old for it
I am bored with it
I am sick and tired of it
I have had enough of making mine and my families life miserable
I want more out of this life

Where do I want to go?
As in life I mean
Do I want to spend the rest of my life hating myself?
And hurting myself?
I really don't have the energy for that
I just want a quiet life
And I want to give my family a break
God knows we need it

I guess it's a leap of faith
To use a much overused phrase
Even though I am terrified of life
I am more terrified of a life time of addiction and disordered eating
I won't always have my family around me
To bail me out
And save me from myself
I have to grow up at some point
I have to forge a new life for myself
And that is the scary part
I have a bucket load of insecurities
I'm afraid that I'm not smart enough
Not talkative enough
Not brave enough
Not pretty enough
I'm afraid that people won't like me
That I won't ever have enough money
I'm afraid I'll never make it on my own
That I'll never fall in love
Or have a family of my own
I'm so afraid

I have taken some steps to venture in to a new life
I now swim nearly every day
I talk to people in the leisure center
And pretend that I am a normal human being
I go to yoga
And try to fit in with cool zen people
I have even phoned my local dog shelter twice to volunteer
But no one has got back to me

The thing is
I always feel like a bit of a misfit
Like a square peg trying to fit in to a round hole
I feel like I'm not like everyone else
That I am just a little bit mad
But maybe everyone feels like that
I don't know
Do they?
Do you?

But I am glad that this is being addressed
As I'm sure it will go some way to helping me figure out this weird place that I in

On a lighter note
My mother told me today that I am doing well
And she is 'very proud' of me
That was nice to hear
It makes all this worthwhile

Monday, 27 October 2014

M is for Meds

I've been very bold this week
I had got 8 days meds because this weekend is bank holiday in this country
But now it is Monday and I had none left
Because I was greedy during the week
Usually I lull myself in to a false sense of security
That I am clean and sober
That I am not injecting heroin any more
Therefore I am clean and sober and happy out
But am I really?

Yes I have stopped using illegal drugs
Yes, I am a lot more stable than I have ever been
But now I am on a cocktail of medication
And still very much dependent on methadone
Even though I am on a low dose

When I saw my doctor last week
He mentioned reducing the methadone again
I immediately balked
And asked if he could wait a week
He told me that he would be away next week
So we would have to wait two weeks to reduce it
I was happy about that

The thing about my meds
Is that they kind of keep me in a state where I could fall asleep at the drop of a hat
And me being me
I like that
I like that I can switch off at any given moment
That I can check off the planet when ever I like
Being someone that doesn't do well with reality
That suits me just fine

But is that sobriety?
I have my doubts
In fact I am quite sure that is not sobriety
I'm not saying that everyone on meds is the same as a using drug addict
Most definitely not
If someone needs to be on meds
For a medical reason
That is perfectly ok
But I am not entirely sure that I need to be on all the meds I am
For instance I am on the highest dose of two anti depressants
Who needs to be on two anti depressants?
Me apparently

I am on a high dose of anti anxiety meds
But my anxiety has improved greatly
So I really don't think that I need it anymore
I think the problem is that when my state improved
My meds weren't looked at
I guess it's just easier to leave things the way they are

I look forward to Monday's
Doctor day
Because I get a fresh batch of meds
A whole big bag of goodies
I look forward to Monday's the way I used to look forward to pay day when I was in active addiction
Money = drugs
Drugs = oblivion

Have I just moved from illegal addiction to legal addiction?
Is my doctor now my dealer?
Is my pharmacist now my distributor
I don't know
I just know that the whole thing seems shady to me
But that's because I have no meds today and I am thinking clearly

So what is my problem with reality?
Why do I want to sleep my life away?
Well maybe it's because the only reality I knew was disordered eating
Maybe I need to give reality a chance now that I am feeling better
I know I get bored very easily
And I need a lot of stimulation
Maybe I need to get an iphone, he he
My sister is constantly on hers
Maybe that would solve my problems

But seriously
What do I do when the day comes that I am taken off my meds?
Do I stamp my feet like a toddler
And say 'No, you can't make me'
Do I confess that I use my meds to escape reality
That would not help matters me thinks

The lovely Bella left a comment that she thinks professional input is essential right now
And I am beginning to think that she is right
The only professional I am seeing right now is my doctor
And usually we talk about anything and everything outside of me
I miss Mary
I miss the way she was so rational and logical
And made so much sense

I guess it's in my hands
I need to help myself
Before the s**t hits the fan

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Weight Debate

I recently read an interview with the plus size model Ashley Graham
I had never heard of her before
But she is a model from the US who is a size 18
Not entirely sure if that is a US 18 or a UK 18
It was an English article
So I am presuming that she is a UK 18
Whatever size she is
She is smokin' hot

'Style has no size' Graham says
'I don't know how to be anyone but me. I was born with curves, I've never been a skinny person.My butt rolls, It's really out there'.
Graham has been modelling since she was 12 years old
And admits that in the past she had felt pressure to lose weight
She says 'Sure, I have been asked to lose weight, but I reckoned why? I'm healthy, and men have always liked me. Now I feel passionate about being a role model for young girls'.

Graham has two younger sisters
And her and some like minded friends have set up a web site and support group called Alda, which goes in to schools and colleges to talk to girls aged 13-26 about body image.
Graham is quick to point out that she doesn't promote obesity
'I'm not pro obesity, but I think beauty comes in many forms, and it breaks my heart to see girls being anorexic and bulimic in their teens. you can be fit and larger. Larger girls are accused of not being healthy, but lots of skinnies aren't at all healthy'.

The article on Graham was interesting
And it also posed the question if we are becoming more accepting of different body types
It mentioned Adele
Gabourey Sidibe
And Beth Ditto who are all challenging our perceptions of the perfect body type
And unless you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks
You will of course have heard Meghan Trainor's number 1 hit 'All about that bass'
An anthem for the larger lady
While I don't particularly like this song
And it does seem to shame on skinny women
I realize that it aims to send out a positive message for those who are not a 'silicone, stick figured barbie doll'
And I have to say
I don't think Meghan Trainor is particularly big
Yes, she is curvy
No doubt about that
And she challenges the perception of the skinny minnie pop starlet
Which is great
But don't hate on skinny girls
Body acceptance and positive body image is about celebrating every size
From the skinny to curvy and everything in between

I guess I am wondering
Are we becoming more accepting of different body sizes?
Have we moved away from craving bones?
Statistics of eating disorders show that we are not
And sufferers are getting younger and younger
However it seems that all body sizes are becoming more celebrated

Having recently developed my own set of curves
This interests me a lot
I was always pretty skinny
Straight up and down with no hips or boobs to speak of
It is only with this recent weight re gain
That I have acquired an impressive set of boobs
And a pair of hips to match
Not to mention a substantial bottom
At first I was at a loss as to what to do with them
I didn't know how to dress them
I didn't know if I should strap them down
Or put them on display
And one thing I really need to do is get properly fitted for a bra
As I have no idea what size I am
And have been living in sports bras since they appeared

Depending on the clothes shop
I am now between a size 8 and a size 12
I go for a 12 because I like a bit of room in my clothes
I have to admit though
Adjusting to this size has taken a lot of time and patience
And I still don't know if I am there yet
But when I see a beautiful smart woman like Ashley Graham
It makes me feel a lot better about my size
It shows me that you can be attractive whatever your size
And to realize that is amazing
It truly is

When I find someone attractive
It rarely has anything to do with their size
In fact it never has
Confidence is attractive
Loving and accepting is attractive
Being good at something is attractive
Being interesting
And attentive is attractive
There are so many things other than the size of a persons clothes that are attractive

For the first time in my 33 years on this earth
I am starting to appreciate my body
I am not starving it
I am not actively trying to shrink it
Or make it smaller or bonier or thinner
I am looking after it
I feed it
I water it
I exercise it
I rest it when it's tired
I listen to what it needs
And try my best to meet that need
This is all entirely new to me
I never cared about my health
I was a heroin addicted anorectic for Christ's sake
I spent most of my time trying to hurt, abuse and kill my body
Liking or dare I say it, loving my body is a whole new concept
But you know what?
It's so much more better than hating it

I was wondering about you
Do you think we are beginning to celebrate all body types?
How do you feel about your own body?
Are you trying to change it?
Or are you happy with it?
Inquiring minds want to know......

Winner, winner chicken dinner

It was yesterday
I went swimming in the morning (146 lengths)
While my Mum walked Honey and Lea
Then we went food shopping
First to Lidl to get fruit and veg
Then to a more expensive supermarket to get meat and condiments
I was starving after swimming
And was pulling things off the shelves at great speed
Everything looked so good
I bought a jar of red onion relish
That looked yummy in the shop when I was hungry
But actually on inspection tasted disgusting
Note to self: Don't go food shopping when hungry

We came home
I had a ham roll for my lunch
My sister was going in to town to meet my other sister
And my Mum was also going in to town with my uncle
So I volunteered to make dinner
My sister wrote me out a recipe for chicken chasseur
One of my most favourite dinners
When the house was empty
I got to work

First things first
I cut the fresh chicken breasts in to chunks
And fried them off in a little oil with salt and pepper
Until they were just done
And removed them to a plate
Then I chopped up mushrooms, carrots, onion and garlic
And sauted them off in the same pot
Then added two spoons of tomato puree
And let that cook off
The chicken went back in
Gave it a good stir
I made two pints of stock
One with a chicken stock cube
And one with beef
Poured them in to the pot
A dash of worchester sauce
Checked the seasoning
And left to bubble

After an hour it was smelling delicious
I decided to have a small bowl
Just a small one mind
Because I had to leave some for the others
I enjoyed it so much
But that didn't stop me making a trip to the bathroom
By this stage my family had been out for hours
And I was starting to get both lonely and bored
For lack of anything else to do
I ate

First I made pasta
Pasta seems to double in size when it is cooked
So I only ate some of it
Visited the bathroom
Then I had some crisps and white chocolate
Visited the bathroom again
Every half an hour
I found myself walking in to the kitchen
Opening the fridge
Looking for something to fill the hole
The hole in what?
The hole in my mouth?
The hole in my tummy?
The hole in my soul?
And every time I went in to the kitchen
I took a couple of spoons fulls of the chicken dinner
By late afternoon
I had gotten through about one third of it

At about 5pm
I got a text from my Mum
Telling me that they were all at a gig in one of the pubs
And they would be a while
As soon as I had the text read
I said 'Feck it'
And too another bowl full of the stew
There was now about half left

It was at this point
That I started feeling like a greedy bulimic
Except bulimic's are not greedy
People think they are
But they're not
We just literally can not help ourselves
Even though I knew my family would be home and hungry at some point
Even though I knew it was a waste that I was eating this food
And promptly throwing it up
I still couldn't help myself
I just had to have it

I gobbled down the stew
Another bathroom visit
Then mild panic set in
I worried that there wasn't enough food left
That my family would ask me where the hell all the stew had gone
But you know what?
Only for I knew that they would be home soon
I would have eaten the whole pot
Not a bother to me
Thankfully they all came home shortly after
And finished off the food
So I couldn't

So I think it's safe to say that bulimia is worming her way back in to my life
I had got it down to once a day
But I have noticed over that last week
That it has been increasing every day
I'm not sure why
I know that I need more support
I know that I need to be talking more
And I need to be more honest here too
Yes, it's great to acknowledge the positives
But I also need to say when I am struggling
Because that's what is really going on
That's what I am dealing with
And that's real
That's life
That's recovery

I guess there is a huge part of me that is afraid
Afraid that now I have to take the next step
And what is the next step?
It terrifies the be-Jesus out of me
I wonder sometimes which is the easier option
Or death
I'm not quite sure
Which  takes more courage?
Which is more worthwhile?
I used to think that death was the easy option
Now I am not so sure

My family came home and ate my chicken dinner
And thankfully there was enough for everyone
I guess the point I wanted to make with this post
Is that having an ED is very similar to addiction
Everything else goes out the window when that binge/drink/drug is in front of you
Nothing else matters
Not one little thing
But at least if you are a drug addict
Your nemesis is not in your face all day every day
It's not advertised on tv
In magazines
Every where really
It's not easy

I often draw comparisons between my addiction and my ED
That is because they are so similar in a lot of ways
It's just that one is legal
And the other is not
It's a balancing act trying to deal with both
And at the moment I don't think I am doing it very well

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Treatment, Part 1

One year ago today
I went in to treatment for the sixth and last time
I remember it like it was yesterday
And me and my Mum were talking about it today
The morning I left I was so upset
Saying good bye to my Mum and my dogs was heart breaking
I never got upset leaving for treatment before
But this time felt different
This time felt like there was more riding on it
I guess I felt pressure to get it right this time
No one put pressure on me
I did that myself

My father drove me up to the hospital in Dublin
I remember on the way we had a very near miss with another car
I remember being so nervous to walk back in to that building
To see all the old familiar faces
To walk in to a room of other eating disordered people
I knew the score
I knew that everyone panics when a new girl comes in
And compares themselves to her
Even though I was at a very low weight
I felt huge
Even though I was sick
And being admitted to hospital
I still felt fat

My father and I arrived at the hospital
We were early
So he went to get something to eat
And I walked manically around the grounds in the pouring rain
I was admitted
And we went up to the ward
I instantly recognized one of the nurses
And she came over and gave me a hug
I was left to wait while my room was sorted out
And I looked out for the other ED patients
I spotted one straight away
Pacing up and down the corridor
Stick arms and legs
I knew straight away

The nurse came back over
And brought me in to the office for a chat
She said she had something to ask me
And wanted me to be completely honest
I was a bit freaked out when she said this
'Have you been smoking marajuana today?' she asked
I was shocked
'Why would you ask that?'
'I just thought I could smell it off you'
'Absolutely not' I said
And I hadn't
I couldn't understand why she was asking me this
And I became very upset
I just wanted to turn around and  go home
It really hurt me because I have worked so hard to get clean
That to think others think I am using really bothers me
I pulled myself together
And got on with the admission

I said a tearful goodbye to my Dad
And was brought to my room
There was two beds to a room
And I was haring with a girl called Claire
Next one of the nurses went through all my belongings
And took any flexes and chargers and hair straighteners
We wee not allowed anything with a flex
Or even the tie off a dressing gown
It took forever
But we got through it all

One by one
The other girls on the ED program came in to introduce themselves to me
There were 3 altogether
And they all seemed lovely
But then they always are
Then there was one other girl who was on the ward
But was not doing the ED program
She was 'on special'
Meaning that she had a nurse with her at all times
This was to ensure that she wouldn't harm herself
She was so young
Only 19

I spent the rest of my first day in the smoking room chain smoking
I met the others on the ward
The ward was called St. Brigid's
This was where all the ED patients stayed
But there were also people with other diagnosis there too
Like depression
Our ward was not locked
Unlike some of the other wards
People on Brigid's were relatively well in that they didn't need constant supervision

In the evening I saw the doctor that was on call
He was lovely
The same age as me
A kind of bumbling, awkward but super polite guy
I did what I always do when I go in to treatment
And asked to be put on a sleeping tablet
I am so manipulative
And my inner addict comes out
He obliged
And I was happy

I wasn't allowed off the ward until I was deemed fit enough and well enough
Blood pressure was taken 4-6 times a day
Bloods were taken every Tuesday morning
And ECGs every Thursday
I knew the routine by now

I stayed up late that first night
I turned off the light in the smoking room
And sat up on the window sill
I watched the grounds
Patients trying to escape
And the staff trying to find them with their torches
I wondered where the patients would go if they did get out
I had heard a story once about a couple of teenagers who had got in to a relationship while in the hospital
The ran away together
And made a suicide pact
The jumped off a bridge in Belfast
I don't know how true that story is
But it stayed with me all the same

I took my sleeping tablet at about 12am
Not the best but it was better than nothing
I drifted off to sleep while watching Breaking Bad on my DVD player
I dreamed that I was well
That I had no ED
I was so disappointed when I woke up and it wasn't true

To be continued..........