Friday, 30 November 2012

Weighing The Facts

I was supposed to see Mary on Wednesday but I cancelled
She gave me another appointment for today so I'm going to see her soon
The reason I cancelled was that I couldn't face being weighed
The anxiety I feel when I think about being weighed is almost too much to bear
You would think after years and years of being weighed that it would get easier
But if anything it gets harder
I would rather not know at the moment
The saying ' ignorance is bliss' has never been more appropriate
I'm not quite sure when these numbers became so important but they have
For the first few years of my illness I was oblivious to what I weighed and even if I knew it didn't bother me all that much
Maybe because I weighed so little
It wasn't until doctors and psychiatrists started weighing me that these numbers became so crucial
They seemed important to the doctors so they became important to me

In treatment they say it's not about the weight but to me it was all about the weight
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we would reluctantly gather on the pink chairs outside the office to be weighed
I remember one particular instance when I had been on bed rest for the past 10 days
If I didn't gain a certain amount if weight I was off the programme and going home
I entered the office hoping the nurse couldn't see that I was wearing 3 pairs of pyjamas and 2 pairs of socks
I had also downed as much water as I could stomach
I didn't want to go home and I needed all the help I could get
'Do you usually wear socks Ruby?'
I removed my socks cursing silently
I stepped on the scale holding my breath as if the air in my lungs would affect the number
The number was no where near enough
So I was sent home over a  couple of kilos

In treatment everything revolves around weight
It determines where you eat
If you get to go out at the weekend
Whether you're on bed rest or not
So I don't know how they can say it's not about the weight
Of course it's about the weight
It's all about the weight
I know they say that the scale doesn't measure the things that matter like how good a person you are
But to me the scale dictates so much
My mood
Self esteem
Self worth
And more
I hate it but it does
It is what it is
Those little numbers have the power to send me sky rocketing in to euphoria
Or spinning in to a black hole of depression
I think I will just flat refuse to be weighed today
I shall stamp my foot like a small child and say 'I won't do it, you can't make me!'

Everything is such an effort these days
It takes me a whole weekend to psych myself up to have a shower
I remember when I was on drugs I didn't shower for weeks
It isn't a priority when you're strung out on heroin
I'm not quite that bad now bit it's still a struggle
It's the cold I can't bear
And also I can't see the point
I mean it's not like I'm going anywhere or seeing anyone
Is that depression talking?
I think so!

I haven't managed to go to another meeting since the last time I went 2 weeks ago
I've used any and every excuse not to go
The truth is I just don't feel part of the 'gang'
I feel like an outsider
Like I don't fit in
Of course I haven't seen these people in a year so I suppose  it's understandable that I feel this way
I guess it's up to me to make the effort
To go to meeting
To say yes when I'm invited somewhere
But it's hard to believe that anyone could like you when you don't even like yourself
I almost become suspicious if someone wants to be my friend
I've become such a hermit
A virtual recluse
I only go out in the early morning and then hurry back to the safety of my house
Where I'm going I don't know
Recovery feels so elusive
Happiness is a dream I once had

Peace of mind is a distant memory
My head is a noisy place
Different voices fighting for control
I better go and see Mary now
She'll know what to do

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

When the going gets tough.......

1 cup of self hatred
2 tsp of low self esteem
2 cups of hopelessness
Sprinkling of despair
Mix well

I don't know if I mentioned it but I'm going away next month for 4 weeks
My mother and I are heading to Sydney Australia for Christmas

My sister has lived there for the past 10 years
Although it doesn't seem real at the moment
I won't believe it until I step off the plane and get a blast of warm air
I'm looking forward to it
It'll be the first Christmas ever where I'm doing what I want to do
I am usually the first person to get excited about Christmas but this year I feel nothing but empty
However I am incredibly grateful to be going away and getting to spend time with my sister
But I'm also anxious about going
How will I deal with my eating disorder away from home?
I only ever eat in my house, I rarely eat anywhere else or in front of others
Someone suggested that I leave my eating disorder at home
But of course it doesn't work like that
It's not  that simple
My eating disorder is a full time job
She doesn't take any days off
Just because I am going on holiday doesn't mean she is
No doubt she will stow away at the bottom of my suitcase
An unwelcome guest

Christmas is a bitter sweet time of year for me
When I was growing up more often that not it was a disaster
My father would get drunk and offend people
My parents would argue
People would get hurt
It can be a lonely time of year
A reminder that you are all alone
Also reflecting on the past year can be tough when you see that you are still in the midst of this illness
And the years seem to fly by now
Every year goes by quicker
Every year I vow that the next will be better
That I won't waste another minute on this cruel illness
By now living with my eating disorder is a catch 22 situation
I can't live with it
But I can't live without it
The more time that goes by the more entrenched I seem to get
My world has shrunk to just me and my eating disorder
Family and friends have been pushed away
Jobs have been lost
Education abandoned
Health compromised
Sanity long gone
Happiness is elusive
I feel so very numb
I can't remember the last time I laughed
I mean really laughed
I've become a shell of a person

Of course I spend a lot of time and energy trying to look like I am ok
I wear a variety of masks
Happy, confident, well

My act is polished and well rehearsed
An all singing, all dancing performance of 'I'm fine, no really I'm fine'
People presume that because I've regained some weight this year that I must be better
Yes, my body has started to recover but my mind is still so very far behind and still so sick
Anorexia is plain to see but bulimia is invisible
No one would ever know you had it unless you told them
People tell me 'You look well'
I hate those 3 words
I don't hear 'You look well'
I hear 'You've gained weight'
I know  people think they're giving you a compliment but to me it's an outright insult

I worry so much about the future
I rely heavily on my parents and they are not getting any younger
Apart from them I don't have many people in my life
When they're gone I will truly be on my own
What do I do then?
It's hard to imagine a 'normal' life
With friends, boyfriends, jobs, holidays and hobbies
I've been this way for so long that I don't know how to live any other way

If I were stronger I would dive head first in to recovery
I wouldn't lose another year, month, week, day to this illness
I would grab life with both hands
If I had more courage I would take that leap of faith
I would break my silence and tell my story
I wouldn't listen to the whispers of my eating disorder
I would help others through my experience
I would tell others how I truly feel
If I believed in myself I would take a chance on living life
I would reach for my hopes and dreams
I wouldn't hold up my white flag and surrender
But the reality is that my eating disorder has beaten me down over the years
It has shaken my confidence until  there was none left
It has knocked any self belief out of me
It has stamped out my self esteem and self worth
It has ruined any chance of achieving my hopes and dreams
All  I am now is a collection of labels and diagnosis
I'm not a person any more, I'm just an illness

By the way I am aware that this has been a bit of a bipolar post

Are you looking forward to Christmas or does it fill you with dread?
How do you deal with your eating disorder over Christmas?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I have just received a nomination for the Liebster Blog Award from the lovely Camille over at 'I tick the way I do because I am me'

Thank you so much Camille, this truly made my day!


 - When you receive the award thank the person who gave it to you and include their link in your blog
 - Post 11 things about yourself
 - Answer the 11 questions of the person who nominated you
 - Choose up to 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers
 - Create 11 questions for your nominees
 - Inform the nominees of their nomination

So here's 11 things about me:

- I'm a dreamer

- I'm a typical virgo

 - I have 2 dogs, Lea a beautiful golden retriever and Honey a feisty little terrier

- Blogging has saved my life over and over again

 - I love to dance

 - My favourite singers are Lana Del Rey and Bat for Lashes

 - I live in the west of Ireland

 - I'm quite shy until you get to know me

 - I'm a recovering heroin addict

 - My eating disorder is killing me

 - If I could bring one thing to a desert island I would bring a radio

Camille's Questions:

What do you love most about blogging?
I love connecting with people who are going through the same thing as me
I also love that no matter who you are or what issues you have you are accepted here
Writing is the only way I can truly express myself

Name 2 of your bad habits?
Smoking, I hate that I'm a smoker and I hope to give up soon
Biting my nails, I bite them when I am anxious or nervous

What kind of music do you listen to?
I love all types of music from heavy metal to classical
At the moment I'm listening to a lot of Lana Del Rey and Bat for Lashes
The type of music I listen to depends on my mood

What does your perfect day look like?
My perfect day starts off with a cup of tea and a cigarette
Then I'll blog before rounding up my dogs and going for an early morning walk
I listen to phone in shows on the radio as I walk
I'd go to the local market to get something for lunch and the rest of the day would be spent relaxing with family and friends

What are your favourite foods?
My favourite food is Italian especially spaghetti bolognese
I rarely allow myself to eat it though

What is your favourite thing about yourself?
I'm a good listener

What is your favourite colour?
Purple or navy

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
I'd love to be a unicorn ( I know they don't exist but I've always been fascinated by them)

What is something that you strongly believe and why?
I believe that everything happens for a reason. It comforts me to know that even if something bad happens, there is a good reason as to why it happened that way

What is your favourite letter of the alphabet?
S, I love the way it sounds

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Definitely New York, the city that never sleeps

My Questions:

1. What's  the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
2. What starsign are you?
3. When did you start blogging?
4. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
5. What 3 things would you bring to a desert island?
6. Have you ever been in love?
7. What is your party trick?
8. Who is your hero?
9. What actress would play you in a movie about your life?
10. Do you prefer giving or receiving gifts?
11. What is your motto?

The bloggers I am nominating are:

Katie Elizabeth
English Rose

Monday, 26 November 2012

Suicidal Blonde

Last night I pulled out a notebook to do some writing
As I did it fell open on the last page
I saw some writing and when I looked closer I saw that there were messages on it from girls I had been in treatment with
I must have had this notebook with me in there
I've been in treatment twice in the last year
I read the names and the notes of love and encouragement
Immediately memories came flooding back of my time in treatment
Of meeting each other for the first time
Nervously checking each other out
Wondering if the others thoughts you were fat
Having that first awkward conversation
We became firm friends fast
Spent every waking moment together
I remember meeting every morning to go to group
Queueing up to go to lunch (we were always first, why I don't know, you'd think we would have been last)
Having post meal group
Curling our legs under us in an attempt to look smaller
Hanging out in the smoking room chains smoking
Sneaking out if the grounds to go on marathon walks
Shopping for new clothes when our own got too small
Waiting on the chairs in silence in our pyjamas every Monday, Wednesday and Friday waiting to be weighed
We knew by looking at each other whether we had lost or gained
We could read each other like a book
We laughed together
Cried together
Came through it all together
We were girls from every corner  of the country
City girls
Country girls
We were all so different but we were bound by thee common thread of our illness
I never felt as comfortable as I did around these girls

I remember we used to get anxious when we knew that a new girl was coming in
How sick would she be?
How thin would she be?
Will we look fat beside her?
But of course the girls that came in were all different sizes
From emaciated to over weight and everything in between
Sometimes there was competition to be the most ill
Sometimes girls craved attention
Others didn't want any at all
But as a group we stuck together

We came through the wars together
When one was flailing we carried her
When someone cried we held her

When someone left we hoped she'd be ok
But the reality was that the same girls came in time and time again
I've been in there 3 times and have seen the same girls come and go
Like  any addiction relapse is part of the illness

I remember being down in the coffee shop one day
The kids from the adolescent ward were also there
I saw one girl who was very thin and deathly pale
I couldn't stop looking at her and it made me so very sad
All of a sudden it occurred to me that that was what my family saw when they looked at me
Is  that what I look like?
I saw the same girl a couple of months later and she looked great
I hope she's ok

These girls were so beautiful
So talented
But they didn't know it
They thought they were unlovable
They came in and out of the revolving door  of treatment
Lose weight
Gain weight
Lather, rinse, repeat
People presume that because I've regained some weight this year that I must be well now
But of course this isn't true
They don't know what goes on behind closed doors
They don't know that I purge up to 10 times a day
That every day is a fresh hell
That I am hanging on by my fingertips

I have considered going back in to treatment
The last time I was there they told me  that I only have one more chance to come back
So you see I have to use it wisely
I have to make sure that if I do go back in that I am committed
The last time it took me a year to muster up the courage to ring
One thing always stops me from picking up the phone
The fear of losing my eating disorder
Even though it's driving me insane, I still get incredibly anxious when I think of life without it
If it was taken away what would be left?
A big eating disorder shaped hole?
I suppose what would be left is me and that's exactly what I've been running from all these years
I just don't know anymore
I just don't know

Have you been in treatment or are you thinking of going in?
If you were me would you go back in?

Friday, 23 November 2012

We are family

I'm quite new to the blogosphere
I just started writing my blog in May of this year although I had been a silent lurker for a while
Thankfully I was welcomed with open arms in to this community
And for that I'm so grateful
We have a truly unique community here
For me it's a safe place to go
A place where I can pour my heart out
Where I can bare my soul
It's a place where I can share my darkest secrets

And painful memories
It's somewhere to vent
To get the demons out of my head

It's somewhere where I know I won't be judged

I can also share my joy and happiness here
I receive unwavering support from you girls
You've seen me at my worst and at my best
Geographically we are worlds apart
We may never meet or even speak
But I still consider you all some of my dearest friends

We come from all walks of life
Different ages, races and places
But we are all connected by one common thread
We are eating disordered
We are struggling
We are in pain that is almost impossible to bare
We are a bit lost
We don't know where we are going

We are victims or more like survivors of this illness
We are all at different stages
Some of us have been suffering for a long time
Some are dipping their toe in to recovery
But we are all in this together

In treatment, at meetings, in my life and through this blog I have met some amazing people
People suffering with eating disorders are some of the most beautiful, caring, loving, talented, artistic and sensitive people I have ever met
I think we are hyper sensitive
We feel pain and hurt so very easily
But it also means that we feel compassion and empathy for others
I think about the friends I've made here a lot
I wonder how you are doing
I worry if you are going through a hard time
Sometimes bloggers disappear
One day they are there and the next they are gone
I wonder what happened to them
Did they recover?
Did they get worse?
Dis they go to treatment?
Did they die?

This blog and you girls have literally saved my life over and over again
Reading comments makes my day
I've been shown such unconditional love and support that sometimes it's overwhelming
I don't consider myself a great speaker so writing is ideal for me
And I've discovered a real passion for it

We are all fighting our own personal war
But it's a war that we will win

We are all afraid
But we won't let that stop us

We feel utterly alone
But we have each other

There is a war going on inside our minds
But we will have peace of mind one day

We may feel we are going insane
But that's not true

We believe we are weak
But we are stronger than we know

We are afraid of what the future will bring
But we only have to worry about today

We've forgotten how to laugh
But we will again one day

We are killing ourselves slowly
But we will survive

How has blogging helped you?

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Time Travel

Do you ever wish that you could go back in time?
If you could would you change anything?
Sometimes I wonder if I could go back, what advice would I give myself?
I would probably go back to when I was 14 years old
Up until the age of 14 I was a regular girl
I did well in school
I had friends
I studied ballet and was in the local swimming club
I was passionate about both

But things at home weren't great
My father was a drinker and my parents fought a lot
The atmosphere in the house was tense to say the least
My parents were so different
Where he was insecure, she was confident
Where he was a loner, she was a social butterfly
Where he was a control freak, she was a free spirit

I was quite a shy child so when I started secondary school I decided to reinvent myself
I created an alter ego who was confident, out going and gregarious
I quickly made new friends and began to enjoy a new life
But I took it too far
I started to get in to trouble at school
I took up smoking and drinking and started sneaking out to night clubs
I became interested in boys
Now the only things that mattered to me were hanging out with my friends, impressing boys and trying to be 'cool'
I lost interest in my hobbies and gave up my beloved ballet
Then I left the swimming club
I spent less and less time at home
For the next 4 years I got in to more and more trouble
I began dabbling in drugs
I didn't care about anything, least of all myself
I remember the last day of school
I walked out the gate expecting to feel amazing
It was a huge anticlimax
Instead I felt totally overwhelmed
What do I do now?
I felt so lost

I fell in to the first job that came my way
At the age of 18 I became addicted to heroin
The next 6 years were spent on the merry-go-round that is addiction
Drugs, methadone, treatment
Lather, rinse, repeat
All the while my eating disorder was silently developing and I've been struggling with it ever since

So what advice would I give my 14 years old self?
First I would tell myself to be myself
Get to know myself, find out what makes me tick and not to be ashamed of who I am
I used to have a habit of changing my personality to who ever I was with
I even used to change my accent
I would tell myself to be proud of who I am and where I come from
That I don't have to be like everyone else
That being different is ok
Being different is interesting
It is our quirks and foibles that make us who we are and make us stand out
Who wants to live in a world where everyone is the same?

If I could go back I would tell myself not to give up ballet and swimming, that I would bitterly regret giving then up
I would tell myself to get a good education
To go to college
To find something I love and be really good at it
I would tell myself to enjoy being a teenager, that I don't need to be in a hurry to grow up
To enjoy being responsibility free and carefree
That I will be an  adult for long enough
To wait until I was older before I started drinking and going to nightclubs
I would definitely tell myself not to start smoking

I'm not sure if I would tell myself not to do drugs
That experience has made me who I am today

I would tell myself not to worry about my appearance so much
That I am perfect just the way I am
To wait before I had sex for the first time
To wait until I was with someone I loved and trusted
As regards my eating disorder I would definitely tell myself not to start purging
That it would ruin my life
But I don't know if I can tell myself anything else because it was not something I chose, it chose me
Maybe not to let the number on a scale have so much power over me
I would tell myself not to start shoplifting
That it would be so hard to stop once I had started
I would tell myself to believe in myself

To believe that I can achieve my hopes and dreams
That I am capable and strong
That there will be hard times but I will get through them
I would tell myself to tell the people I love that I love them
To show them I love them
I would tell myself that I am unique
That there will never be another Ruby again
To push myself out of my comfort zone
To do things that scare and not to let fear and anxiety hold me back
And above all to never give up

If you could go back in time what advice would you give yourself?