Sunday, 30 December 2012

Ana's kryptonite

Despite my last couple of posts, I am enjoying myself
I am allowing myself to soak up the sun
To laugh
To goof around with my sister
We get on great
We have the same black sense of humour
We only have to look at each other to know what the other is thinking
I have huge admiration for her
She grew up in a small town in Ireland where being gay was at best a novelty, at worst a crime
She moved to Sydney 12 years ago and made a life for herself here with very little help from anyone else
She has been through her fair share of hard times
She stopped drinking a few years ago after it got out of hand
Now she practises mindfulness and uses buddhist methods to live a better life
She is independent to a fault
She marches to the beat of her own drum
And I love that about her
We laugh all the time
About anything and everything
She is my partner in crime

So 2013 looms
We are going to watch the fireworks tonight
I don't usually make resolutions but I'm thinking about making some this year
Maybe to get out of the house more
To do one thing every day that scares me
To not give in to fear and anxiety
I am hoping and praying that 2013 is a better year
But I guess it's up to me to make sure it is
Let's do it
Let's make next year our year
Let's not be crippled by our eating disorders anymore
Let's fight as best we can
Lest's not waste another year, month, day on this illness
As the ad says we are worth it
Don't we deserve to happy?
To be well
To have peace of mind
To be free of our own personal demons
Don't we deserve to have a better life
At the end of this year I will have clocked up 13 years with anorexia/bulimia
Half my life living in this twilight
Half my life spent ruled by food and numbers
My health compromised
My education abandoned
My sanity elusive
My happiness shattered
My family so very worried and hurt
My friends forgotten
My happiness long gone
How much longer are we prepared to live like this?
This half life
The years go by so quickly now
If I don't do something soon, I never will
I know that you are suffering too
Sacrificing your life to what some call 'ana'
But even though we personify anorexia, it is not a person
It is not a friend
It is a disease
An illness
A monster
A demon of the mind
A poisoner of the body
It is like a parasite that is living off us
That won't give in until we are dead

Her whispers are lies
Her promises are empty
She tells us that her way is the only way to be happy
But believe me her way is a sure fire way to misey
She sucks the life out of us
She is trying to kill us
So please don't listen to her
Don't start off 2013 in her grasp
Fight for your life
Escaping from her won't be easy but it will be the best thing you ever do
The greatest gift you could possibly give yourself

I know that you feel tired and weary
I know that she had broken you down over time
Crushed your spirit
Killed your ability to resist
But she does have her own kryptonite
If we do the opposite of what she says
If we tell on her
If we eat when she wants us to starve
If we resist when she wants us to purge
If we don't give in to her demands
If we do these things she gets weaker and weaker
We may feel like we are no match for her but we are
In fact we are stronger than her
We just have to believe it
We just have to tap in to it

That negative tape that plays in our heads
We can change it
We can rewind, erase and play a new tape
God knows we have suffered enough
Too much
I for one am so very tired of hating myself
Of beating myself up physically and emotionally
I really can't take much more
I really can't go on like this
I would rather die than live the rest of my life like this
Under anorexia's spell
She has brainwashed us
Groomed us and lured us in
She is an abuser
A bully of the highest order
She won't give up until we are dead
She is evil
She is the devil incarnate

So let's leave her in 2012
Let's not invite her in to 2013
She is not welcome in my life any longer
She has taken too much from me
I'm not willing to lose any more
I can't afford to lose any more
I am hanging on by my fingertips as it is

This is the end of the road for us
I don't need you anymore ana
I choose to be me
I choose to be well
I choose to be happy
I choose life

For you Peri

Friday, 28 December 2012

Down Under

I thought that being away my eating disorder might be easier to handle
But if anything it is harder to deal with
I'm opting out of lunch and dinner when we're out because I don't know if I'll be able to purge in comfort
Even in the house purging is a problem
I purged yesterday and blocked the toilet
Thankfully I was able to unblock it with a toilet brush but now I'm afraid to purge there too
This leaves me very restricted
I'm only eating small amounts
Erring on the side of caution
Stopping before I become too full

My sister challenged me about my behaviours yesterday
We had been at the beach in the morning and I spent most of the time asleep
I fall asleep at the drop of a hat here
It's a combination of my meds, lack of energy and the heat
She asked me in no uncertain terms if I was going to spend the whole holiday asleep
When we got home she got really upset and started crying
I tried to talk to her but she wouldn't tell me why she was crying
She spoke to my mother though
Later on my mother told that my sister was having a hard time with my behaviours
My not eating
Falling asleep
Obsessive behaviour
For some reason my behaviours are more noticeable in other peoples houses
The last time my sister saw me I was very thin
Barely 90lbs
I'm sure when she saw me this time and saw that I'd gained weight, she probably presumed that I was more well than I actually am
It's an easy mistake to make
People think that because you look well, you must be well
This is a huge myth about eating disorders
That you have to be emaciated to have one
But in reality only a small percentage of people reach a state of emaciation
Most maintain a healthy weight
It's not about what weight we are, it's about our behaviours
And my sister is noticing mine now
I'm sure she feels frustrated
I would be
If I was looking at me I'd want to shake me
Slap some sense in to me
I'm so used to my behaviours that I forget they're not normal

I am trying to use the techniques that Mary taught me
I'm trying not to listen to my eating disorder
But my half hearted attempts are no match for anorexia/bulimia
My behaviours are so ingrained and entrenched that they are a part of me
I don't know how to live or cope without them
I hate what I've become
A collection of diagnosis and messed up behaviours
It feels like it's too late to change
I've accepted that this is just the way I am
Eating disordered
Self destructive
Low self esteem
Zero self worth
Non existent confidence
I feel broken
Broken beyond repair
It's sad but it's the truth
I want to believe that I can recover
I want to believe that there is another way
That I can be happy
Or at least content
I crave peace of mind so much
The old Ruby was so different
She would never put up with the shit my eating disorder throws at me
She was strong
Now I am in a prison of my own making

2013 looms
I wish I could say that I'm going to make this year better than the last
I wish I could say that I'm going to throw myself in to recovery
That I'm going to put a stop to this right now
Not waste yet another year to this cruel illness
But I fear that I am heading the other way
Further down the rabbit hole that is my eating disorder

I was looking at t-shirts in a shop today
I was looking at sizes medium to large thinking that is what size I am
But then the lady working in the shop came over to me and said
'No my dear, you are definitely an extra small'
I was a bit taken aback and all I could thin was 'How the hell am I an extra small?'
She suggested that I try on the smaller size and wonder of all wonders it fit perfectly
It still baffles me how I see myself so very differently to everyone else
When I look in the mirror I see an overweight girl with chubby limbs and a grotesque stomach
From looking at myself in the mirror I would guess I am 140-150lbs
Even though the scale says different I still can't comprehend that I am smaller than that
I can hardly bear to look at photos of myself here
All I can see is a vast expanse of flesh
Pink flesh now that I am sunburned
I truly am peculiar looking

We are going out for dinner tonight
Here's hoping that the toilets flush well!!!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Gap

Yesterday we got the ferry over to Watson's Bay to watch the Sydney to Hobart yacht race
Afterwards we walked to an area called The Gap
Dramatic cliffs overlooking rough sea
The Gap is a notorious haunt for people who want to commit suicide
So much so that CCTV has been installed
And also signs with helpline numbers like this one

Yesterday it was hard to imagine this place as a last resort for people
When I was there it was heaving with tourists, bustling with people
I thought of someone coming up there to take their own life and I felt overwhelming sadness
I couldn't stop thinking about it

Some of you may have heard of Don Ritchie
He lived near The Gap and over 5 decades he helped and talked people out of committing suicide
He saved the lives of over 160 people
He was known as the 'angel of The Gap'

He died in May of this year
He was quoted as saying

'Never be afraid to talk to those who you feel are in need. Always remember the power of a simple smile, a helping hand, a listening ear and a kind word'

I remember reading about him back in May and thinking what an amazing man he was
He approached people in their darkest moments
He offered a cup of tea and kind words
Most importantly he listened
I'm sure people don't want to commit suicide, they just can't see any other way out
I'm sure they were delighted to see Don coming
And often it's easier to talk to a stranger
We don't have to worry about worrying them or letting them down
He truly was such a beautiful soul
I myself have been at that low place
When the only option I could see was death
You're not thinking straight when you are suicidal
You begin to believe that you are a burden and that people would be better off with out you
You can't see how life could get better
Suicide ha loomed heavily over me for a long time
It's my get out of jail free card
My opt out clause
I would do it only I don't want to break my families heart
If people didn't care so much it would be much easier
If people didn't love me so much I could do it no problem
This is true I think
If we are at rock bottom then things can only get better
If we are in the gutter at least we are staring at the stars
People say that suicide is selfish but I would think that the person who commits suicide do so as a selfless act
The people who met Don Ritchie were blessed
I just wish there were more Don Ritchies out there

I've also experienced suicide from the other side
I remember being at an NA meeting a couple of years ago
I was opening the meeting and there were just 2 other girls there
After the meeting one of the girls told me that she was in  a very low place and wanted to die
I didn't know what to do
She was staying in a B&B on her own and I feared for her safety
So I did something that is not encouraged in NA
I asked her if she wanted to come out to my house to stay the night
It's really not something that's done because we are taught to protect ourselves first
I barely knew this girl and she had a very chequered past
Her ex fiance was doing time for murdering a 15 year old girl
Her own family situation was very rough
I suppose I felt sorry for her
I used to give her lifts to meetings and I gave her a little angel to keep in her room
So I brought her out to my house
She went to bed straight away and I spent the whole night worrying that she would harm herself
To be honest I felt very uncomfortable with her in the house\
I just couldn't relax
The next morning I was anxious to get her home
As soon as I could I dropped her at the drop in centre where she could get support
Afterwards over NA members gave me a stern talking to and told me that I had done the wrong thing bringing her home
They said anything could have happened
And I guess they were right
In the weeks after she did in fact take an overdose and ended up in the psychiatric hospital
She was very unwell for quite a while
Then all of a sudden she seemed to snap out of her depression
She started seeing a guy and they quickly got engaged
Then she got pregnant
I haven't seen her in over a year
The last time I saw her she didn't mention the night she spent at my house
And she never returned the coat I lent her
Would I do it again?
I'm not sure
Maybe not for someone I don't know very well
It's taking on a huge responsibility
But at the same time I would hope someone would do it for me if I were in that position

What's your experience of suicide?