Thursday, 18 September 2014

This sums me up today


I was in the hospital this morning with my sister
As she had to have some tests done
It was very strange being back there
The last time I was there was when I had pancreatitis
In March of last year
And before that I was in there in 2007 for 3 weeks with my ED
At the lowest weight I have ever been

The smell of antiseptic and sickness hit me as I walked in the door
I saw the shop on my left where I used to magazines
The toilets where I used to go to purge
The smoking area where I chain smoked cigarettes
I saw faces that looked familiar
The church where my mother brought me to mass
I wasn't allowed walk
And had to be pushed in a wheel chair
I remember hating that
But they wouldn't let me go anywhere without it

Back in 2007 I was eating very little
And I was working too
I was running on adrenaline
As my body was getting very little fuel
I had been feeling so weak and dizzy
That my mother insisted that we go in to A&E
I didn't put a fight
I didn't have the energy

My memories are very foggy from that hospital stay
I remember in A&E the nurses were so so nice to me
One in particular was so kind
I'll never forget her
I was worried that they would send me home
And tell me that nothing was wrong
But they took my case very seriously
I learned later that a girl had died from anorexia some weeks previous
So I guess they were being super cautious with me

After a long day in casualty on a drip
I was brought up to a ward
Where I was weighed
Afterwards I heard the nurses talking
'My God, she only weighs xxkg'
I myself had no idea of how thin I was
But my Dad told me recently that I looked like a 'bag of bones' around that time

The next day I was given a room of my own
This was a bad idea for me
But great for my ED
I ate my food
But I purged every bit of it
I also plagued the poor staff for meds
Namely sleeping tablets
I had no intention of playing along with them to get well
I was just there for a rest

That hospital stay lasted about a week
And I left no better
I was back in within weeks
This time they did things a lot different
They put me in a high observation ward
So they could keep an eye on me
And also had a care worker sit with me most of the day
This made maintaining my ED a lot more difficult
But I was very creative
And still managed to get away with a lot
Like hiding my food
Or pretending I had drank my Ensures
When really I had tipped them down the sink
I was weighed every second day
My weight continued to drop

In hospital I spent my days reading, writing and sleeping
I hated getting visitors as I just didn't have the energy to talk and be sociable
My Dad used to come every day
But that was fine
As he used to read his paper while I slept
He drove and hour every day to see me
And always brought my favourite chocolate

My carer used to bring for a smoke a few times a day
Thinking back I had no idea how bad things were
It never even occurred to me that I was in danger
Never mind die
My body and mind were so starved that I was in another place
A place where nothing really registers
Where feelings are not felt
And emotions mean nothing
I was numb
There was nothing going on behind my eyes
I was held hostage by anorexia
And she kept me distant and cold

I stayed in that hospital for about 3 weeks
Before I was transferred to the local psychiatric hospital
As much of a pain it is to be in hospital
I have some fond memories of being there
The staff were so nice to me
Although some did keep their distance
I don't think they knew what to say to me
And my illness being so obvious meant you couldn't really avoid the subject
Looking back I am lucky to be alive
Given what I have put my body through

It was good today
To be going to hospital with some one else
And not being the patient for once
My sisters tests came back clear
So that was a relief
And I was glad to leave the hospital
Here's hoping I won't have to go back anytime soon........


So you you know that one part of my eating disorder that I have really struggled with is shoplifting
It was part of my bulimia
I first shop lifted food
Then branched out in to other things
Like clothes
Or make up
Or jewellery
I used to speak to Mary about it quite a bit
And I had stopped
But recently it has crept back in

I was in town with my sister the other day
We split up as I had to go to the dentist
And I went to a couple of clothes shops before I met back up with her
I went to a particular shop first
And tried on a couple of pairs pf trousers
They were ok
Nothing special
But for some reason I decided to take a pair anyway
I didn't even check to see of there was a security tag
I just stuffed them in my bag
And off I went

I got out of that shop quick smart
And headed to another
I decided to have a look in one of the shoe shops
And as I walked across the threshold the alarm went off
I was surprised
But not worried
'Don't worry, you only have to be concerned if it goes off on your way out' The shop assistant said
So I had a browse around for a few minutes
And didn't give it another thought
When I walked out of the shop
The alarm went off again
Everyone in the shop turned to look at me
But the girl just said 'Go on, you're ok'
I thought it was a bit strange that the alarm went of twice
And it didn't even occur to me that it was anything I had done

So then I went and met my sister
She was looking for a jacket
And wanted to go back to the first shop where I took the trousers
I was reluctant to go back
But what could I say
So we headed back
And she began to try on trousers
I browsed around again
And saw a nice cream top
I brought it and a few other items in to the changing room
By this stage I had decided that I didn't want the trousers anymore
And took them out of my bag
Then I noticed that most of the clothes had security tags on
Including the trousers
Then it occurred to me
That's why the freakin' alarm went off in the other shop
Because I was walking around with a security tag in my bag
Shit Ruby!
Then I wondered why the alarm in this shop hadn't gone off
I was one lucky girl that it hadn't
I put the trousers back on  hanger
And checked the cream top for a security tag
There was none
So I put it on under neath my own clothes
I don't even know why I did this
I was pushing my luck already

My sister was in the next changing room
Trying on jackets
So I went to help her
But I really wanted to get out of the shop
So when she had finished
I told her that I had to use the bathroom on the next floor
But I really wanted to go this way to go out o the back of the shop
To avoid any shop assistants
Or security systems
I got in the toilet
Took the cream top off
And stuffed it in to my bag
We got out of the shop
And I breathed a sigh of relief

When we got home that evening
My sister was trying on her jacket in my room
'Did you get anything?' She asked
And nodded towards my bag
'Have you anything she there?'
Shit, she knows
But I didn't say anything
And just made a joke
But then we were talking last night
And I told her that I had done something bold
She said she knew what it was
'Have you nicked something?' She asked
'Yes' I confessed
'Ruby you need to stop doing that'
'I know, it's ridiculous'
It's more than ridiculous, you're going to get caught'
I didn't tell her how close I had come that day

The thing about this is
I always regret doing it
The minute I have it done
I always panic that I am going to be caught
And am looking out the window of my house to see if the cops are coming
It's a horrible feeling
I know it's part of my ED
But that is no excuse
I need to get my shit under control
Everything else is going so well
It would be a disaster if I was caught
That's why I am writing about it here
So I am accountable
I don't know of any of you have experienced this
I hope not
But maybe now that my sister knows
That will be a deterrent

This is something that has come in and out of my life for a long time
I did it as a teenager
I did it during my drug addiction
And now during my ED
But  I am in recovery now
I don't need to so this any more
I just need to get that through my head

You might wonder why I feel the need to write about this
Why would I admit to this shameful behaviour
Well, the answer is that I have to
I have to tell on my eating disorder
I have to break the silence
I kept this to myself for the longest time
Too ashamed to talk about it
It wasn't until I read another blog about a girl who was struggling with this
I emailed her immediately
It was such a relief to know that I wasn't the only one
So I write in the hope that this will help someone else
Help them not feel so alone

I was wondering about you
Have you ever done this?
How did you stop?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


So today is my 500th post
Which is a bit of a milestone
So much has happened
I started writing this blog May 2012
At time I wasn't interested in recovery
In fact in the beginning my blog was quite unhealthy
I wrote about fasting
And taking diet pills
And generally being a bold Ruby

The last two and a bit years really have been a roller coaster
I was hospitalized with pancreatitis
I spoke at an eating disorder conference
I met Mary
I travelled to Australia to see my sister
So many ups and downs
Highs and lows
But I am still here
Just about

Things have changed a lot since 2012
My mind set has shifted
I'm not entirely sure when or why
Probably when my meds were changed around
And we finally found a combination that worked
My mood lifted
And that made everything else so much easier
I had been purging endlessly every day
Spending so much money on food
Not to mention stealing food
I remember one night when my Dad was staying here
I used to wait until he had gone to bed
And then start binging
This particular night
He went to bed as usual
As soon as I heard his footsteps up the stairs
I headed for the kitchen
And raided the presses
I put a pot of pasta on
And began making a sandwich to have while I was waiting
Next thing I heard the kitchen door open
I had been so engrossed in my binging
That I didn't hear him coming down the stairs
He came in and caught me mid binge
He just shook his head
And walked back out
I can remember feeling so shit
But I couldn't stop
I was out of control

There were days when I thought I was going mad
I remember going to my Mother one morning
And telling her that I thought I needed to sign myself in
Because I thought I was losing it
And I really did
My thoughts were becoming so warped
I was paranoid
Couldn't be around people
Couldn't make sense of anything
And the binging and purging was reaching crisis point
My Mother sat me down and spoke to me
I remember I went out with her that day
I felt a little better
But only a little

Having the pancreatitis was a real low point
It was after that
That I lost all the weight again
And got really sick

Then of course there was treatment
This time last year I was preparing to go to hospital
I was so motivated before going in
But when I got there
It all just evaporated
Things went downhill
I couldn't let myself gain weight
I manipulated staff to get more meds
I purged multiple times every day
Then was discharged just before Christmas

Christmas came and went
I had a family wedding
So that was quite stressful
I went back in to treatment around New Year
But I didn't do anything different
And I've since come to the conclusion that treatment just doesn't work for me
It's just too hard being around other girls with EDs
There was a constant competition
To be the thinnest
And the sickest
It just didn't work

I came out of treatment in February
And continued to slip
My weight dropped the lowest it's been in years
The outlook was grim
I sank in to depression
I was so lost
So low
So hopeless
This culminated in an overdose
Which I told nobody about
It wasn't until a week later that I told Mary
She took action immediately
And I saw my psychiatrist the next day
He put me on 40mg of Prozac
But I didn't hold out much hope
I have put on so many meds over the years
And they rarely helped

But then something happened
The dark cloud in my mind began to lift
The heaviness shifted
And my mood started to get better
Bit by bit
That made everything a little bit easier
The binging and the purging miraculously ceased
Not completely
But it was a hell of a lot better
Mu quality of life improved
I started to see my friends again
I got out in to the world again
It's was a feakin' revelation my friends

My weight began to increase right around the time I started the Prozac
But I'm pretty sure that it wasn't just the meds
It was the fact the I was a lot more relaxed around food
I can't lie
The weight gain has been really difficult to come to terms with
It's probably the hardest part of all of this
But I'm  listening to the advice that my mother gave me
And I am going to hang in there

Other events were that
I gave up smoking after 20 years
I threw my scale in the lake
And I got finally got my teeth fixed

So that's the last two and a half years in a nutshell
It's been eventful to say the least
Let's just hope that the next two years are better

Happy 500th post blog!!!

Here's some photos from the last 2 years

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hi.I'm Ruby. I'm recovering from an eating disorder

I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
A lot of the time
I am confused about what it happening
Please be patient with me
Please understand that this is all new to me
And I am doing the best I can
To stay as well as I can

I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
I struggle with body image every day
Some mornings I try on every item of clothing in my wardrobe
And can't find a thing that I look nice in
This body is new and unfamiliar
Please forgive me if I ask for constant reassurance
It's something that I really need to hear
As I can't trust my own eyes
Or my own judgment

I'm recovering from an eating disorder
Some days I just don't want to get out of bed
Some days I can't find a reason to go on
Some days I just want to disappear
Please be patient with me if I am struggling
Please give me a hug and tell me that everything will be alright
I need to hear that sometimes

I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
I'm starting a new phase of my
It's new
It's scary
It's unfamiliar
A lot of the time it's like feeling your way in the dark
Forgive me if I am short
Or cranky
Or snappy
Sometimes it all gets too much
And I am trying my best

I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
Food is still a bit of a minefield
I'm trying not to categorize food
I'm trying not to label it safe or unsafe
I'm trying to eat like a normal person
Please give me time to adjust
I will get there

I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
I know you want to acknowledge how far I have come
I know you want to celebrate that
And give me a compliment
But please don't make too many comments about my weight
Or draw attention to my body
I'm self conscious enough as it is

I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
There is a lot of change happening right now
Everything is changing
From my weight
To my mood
To my thinking
Please be patient with me during this transition
It's all new to me too
I just need support and love
And many many hugs

I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
Sometimes  I'm not sure if I am doing the right thing
Sometimes I miss my ED
I miss the comfort
And safety of it
But I know that  that is just an illusion
I know there is nothing safe or comfortable about it
I know that my ED wants me dead
And wants me miserable while it's doing it
Please understand that sometimes I feel torn
Sometimes I need to be reminded why I am doing this
I need the reassurance
Please be kind and gentle
And tell me that I am doing the right thing

I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
Some days are harder than others
Some days I slip
And fall
And mess up
I'm not perfect
So please understand that there will be days like this
And help me to get back on track

I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
I'm doing the best I can
To be the best person that I can
I am learning how to live
How to cope
How to manage
I am learning new ways of dealing
New ways of surviving
New ways to manage pain and fear and anxiety
Give me time
I will get there
In the mean time
Be patient
Be forgiving
Be kind
I need to hear that I am doing ok
And that everything will be fine

I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
I need your support now more than ever
Even if I tell you that I don't
Please just be there
To listen
To hug
To laugh to cry
What I am doing is not easy
But it's easier if you stand beside me

Monday, 15 September 2014


Today is a day of milestones
First things first
I am 5 weeks exactly off the cigarettes today
I can't quite believe it
When I decided to give them up
I had very little faith that I would be able to do it
Because you see I was such a heavy smoker
And relied on the so much
As an anxiety reliever
A stress reliever
I meal finisher (Not a word but you know what I mean)
I smoked when I was happy
When I was sad
When I was bored
And occasion was a reason to smoke
And smoke I did
Like it was going out of fashion

Two weeks before I gave up
My uncle brought me back 2 cartons from Turkey
That's 400 individual cigarettes
I  had it in my head that I would give up when they were all gone
So I went to town and smoked my little head off
The last supper as it were
Then on Monday morning the 11th August
I found myself with my last smoke
I saved it
I waited until I was gagging for it
I went out in to my Auntie's garden
Conditions had to be perfect
I made a cup of tea
Got my book
Found a comfortable place to sit
And lit my last cigarette
It was one of the nicest smokes that I have ever had
I relished it
Let the smoke swirl around my tongue before I inhaled in
And blew it out in little puffs
All too soon it was over
And I had to extinguish it
I didn't want to waver
So I quickly said my goodbye's
And walked away from my beloved smokes

Even though in the end I hated them
I don't regret smoking
I thoroughly enjoyed it when I did smoke
It helped me through hard times
Helped me celebrate good times
When I was at the end of my tether
A smoke always made things better
A cup of tea and a smoke really is heaven
I did my best thinking with a cuppa and  a smoke
And of course anything can be resolved with these things

I can't lie
When I see someone lighting up
I get very jealous
I look at them longingly
And even try to inhale some of their second hand smoke
I can't help myself
Do I miss them
Yes and no
Yes I would love one
But no I just can't do it

I didn't give them up for health reasons
I wish I could say that I did
But I didn't
I gave them up because I just couldn't afford them anymore
A 30 a day habit was costing me 15 Euro a day
That's 105 Euro a week
Maybe if I was working I could afford that
But I'm not
So I can't

Milestone number two
Is that I have reached 20mls of methadone
As in my methadone has been reduced to 20mls
I have been on methadone for 10 years
I was put on it after being addicted to heroin
It is an opiate substitute
It's a syrupy green liquid that I take once a day in the morning
Going without it will leave me with in serious withdrawal

I was originally put on 80mls of methadone
After a few years of slipping and sliding
I finally got to a place where I could begin to reduce it
So slowly but surely over the years it has decreased
And now I am on 20mls

I can't lie
I am terrified to come off it
The only thing that helps is that I know I have other meds to rely on
But still
It's hard
It's scary
It's unfamiliar
But in the same breath
It would be amazing to be off it
No doctor every week
No hassle when travelling
I would be free

Sunday, 14 September 2014

I want to live, not just survive

It's time to set the record straight
There are a lot of things that your eating disorder would have you believe
That you are fat
That you are worthless
 A bad person
A burden on your family
Our EDs are like a little voice in our heads
Whispering/shouting/screaming these things in our ears
We hear them so much that we begin to believe them
But they are not true
EDs lie
They lie to us every single day

There are other things that our EDs would have us believe
That we are under complete control
That we are pure and clean because we deny ourselves food
That we are delicate and dainty and fragile because we are thin
That we are tragically beautiful
That people envy us because we can go without food
That people will like or love us even more because we are thin
I need to tell you that this is utter horse shit
We are not under control when we are in the grip of this illness
In fact we are spinning wildly out of control
We are not pure and clean because we deny ourselves food
We are weak and malnourished and cold and starving
Others do not envy us because we are thin
They pity us
They don't love us more
They worry about us more
We don't get more attention
We get sympathy
We are not special or unique or different
We are like millions of other girls and guys who are really unwell
There is nothing special about that

It's probably the hardest thing that we will ever do
But we need to stand up to that voice
We need to drown it out with positivity and love
We need to believe in ourselves so we don't fall for the lies
We need to tell on our eating disorders
Take away their power
The truth is that our EDs want us dead
There is no pretty was to say that
They want to kill us
And while they kill us
They want us to be utterly miserable

I don't know what life will be like after living with an ED for 14 years
I can't remember life without it
But it has to be better than living this half life
In death's waiting room
I have listened to anorexia for too long
I've let her live rent free in my head
I've let her destroy my body and my mind
And what has she given me in return?
Weak bones
Rotten teeth
Lank hair
Grey papery skin
A warped mind
A distorted body image
Hatred of myself and my body
A deathwish
And a devastated family

For the first time in years
My life is turning around
With the help and love and support of my family and countless others
I am separating myself from my ED
I am finding the true Ruby
The girl who as locked inside this illness
Stifled and suppressed
I thought she was gone forever
I thought I would never find joy in life again
Or laugh again
But it's happening
It's truly happening for me
I am under no illusions
Things are not perfect
Far from it
But I am getting a little bit stronger every day
And I have people around me to catch me when I fall
Which I do often
I am breaking out of the prison that is my eating disorder
I am fighting back
My eating disorder has taken so much from me
But it hasn't taken my hope
My spirit
My faith
And my belief
I have so much to love for
I can see that now
I can see that now