Monday, 29 July 2013

Another day, another doctor

My usual doctor is recovering from surgery and Nice Woman Doctor is on her holidays
So today I saw another doctor who I will call Little Man Doctor
I've seen him before a couple of times before and he is very pleasant
He was a bit flustered when I went in as he was running late
I explained that I needed my weekly prescriptions
He left to get the methadone prescription and apologized when he came back in
The methadone script is different to a usual script
It's more like a form than a script
And it has to be filled in precisely or the pharmacy won't accept it
He took his time filling it in and asked me to look over it when he was finished
After I ok'd it I gathered up my things
He jumped up and opened the door for me
Nice touch I thought

I walked out to reception to make another appointment when I discovered that next week is a bank holiday so I actually needed 8 days meds
Back in to the doctor where the whole process was repeated
He said he would write out a new one as he 'didn't want it to look bad'
I mad my appointment for next week and left for the chemist

Having been on methadone for 9 years I've gotten to know  the staff in the chemist quite well
The girls are lovely and always stop for a chat
However the pharmacist herself is not all that nice
She is all business
Never says anything other then what price I owe
I've stopped trying to make conversation with her
She has been working there for a few years now
The pharmacist before her was much nicer
I had been seeing him from day one and had built up a nice relationship with him
When I went behind the counter to take my methadone, he would always ask how things were going
He was so positive and encouraging and I loved having a chat with him
Then one day a member of staff said they had something to tell me
I didn't know what he was going to say when he explained that the pharmacist was no longer working
He didn't explain why
He just said that he wouldn't be coming back
I was quite upset and I did think it was a bit strange

A few months later I was talking to a girl in town
She told me that the pharmacist has been let go because he had been 'over friendly' towards a female customer
The customer complained and he was sacked
I was shocked to hear this because I had always found him to be so nice
Friendly yes but not in a creepy uncomfortable way
In fact I thought he had a lovely manner
I really wanted to thank him for being so kind to me so I wrote him a thank you card and left it in to the chemist for them to post to him
And so he was replaced by this current pharmacist and collecting my meds has never been quite the same
I did run in to him a couple of years later and he is now working else where

I guess it goes to show how important these professionals can become in our lives
I was new to this area and it was hard enough settling in to a new town and especially because I was a former heroin addict
People can be quick to judge and it's hard to shake off a bad reputation
But for every person that condemns there is always someone who will show compassion and empathy
And they're the ones who make it all worthwhile

I have been making a big effort to get out of the house to prevent binging and purging
Especially on a Sunday because it's a day I find extremely difficult for some reason
And I'm feeling the benefits
Getting out of the house gets  me out of my own my head
And my head is a dangerous place to be
Sitting at home I become so introverted and withdrawn
Being out and about reminds me that there is a whole world out there and that the world does not revolve around me and my issues
Yesterday my mother and aunt and uncle went to a morning mass at the Holy Well
The Holy well is an amazing place
So peaceful and tranquil

After mass the priest was giving blessings to people that were ill
My mother wanted me to go up but I felt just being there was enough

After mass we went to Strandhill for lunch by the sea
I was anxious to say the least
I ordered butternut squash and roasted pepper soup
It came with brown bread
I managed to eat half and didn't purge
After eating I felt uncomfortably full
I had such an urge to purge but I didn't

We went for a walk on the beach then
As we walked a noticed a girl walking in front of me
She was extremely thin and frail
I couldn't stop looking at her
I was both fascinated and repulsed
I said it to my mother as she usually notices these things too but she hadn't noticed this girl
She may just have been very thin but I'd hazard a guess that she had anorexia
It's always startling to see someone so thin
Seeing this girl made me wonder if that's what people see when they look at me
In my head I look perfectly normal but I do accept that I have a skewed perception of what I look like
But I definitely don't see an underweight person when I look in the mirror

My weight dropped last week but has stayed stable since then
I don't know how I feel about my weight
I want to lose more but I also don't want to either
I am used to being this weight now and the thought of having to gain is terrifying
It's the one thing keeping me stuck in this place
The one thing I can't face

What about you?
Are you happy/satisfied with your weight?
How does your weight affect your life?

Friday, 26 July 2013

Tea or Coffee?

As well as having disordered eating, I think I may have disordered drinking
Like my food habits, my drinking habits are far from normal
And like my ED, my liquid intake is either too much or not enough
All or nothing
If I am restricting I tend to restrict fluids aswell
Or if I'm going through a bulimic phase, I tend to drink an awful lot
Like my eating I find it hard to strike a balance
I am a self confessed tea addict
The first thing I do every morning (after I weigh myself) is put the kettle on
My breakfast always consists of a big cup of tea and a cigarette
In fact I probably need 2-3 cups of tea before I can function
I don't like coffee and never have
I like the smell of it though and I like the idea of it

I only use Barry's tea
None of your fancy stuff for me thank you very much
Making tea is like a ritual
I boil the kettle
Get my cup ready
One tea bag, 3 sweeteners and a dash of low fat milk
I don't like it too strong or too weak
Somewhere in the middle is just perfect
I like to make my own tea
It's never the same when someone else makes it
I'm afraid to count the number of cups of tea I have in one day
I estimate between 10-15 cups
I love to have a cup of tea with a cigarette
My idea of heaven

The reason I'm writing about tea is that at the end of this month myself and my mother and my aunt are going for afternoon tea in a posh hotel in Dublin
It's a birthday treat from my sister
I am so looking forward to it
I've always wanted to go for afternoon tea in a spectacular place
The hotel we're going to is The Shelbourne
That's where Michelle Obama and her children stayed when they were here
In case you don't know what afternoon tea is let me explain
It's basically drinking tea and eating miniature sandwiches and cakes
It's really more about the experience
The location
The service
The ambience
It's quite expensive too at 55 euros per person

Now my dilemma is what to wear?
It's summer so I'm thinking a nice tea dress with a little cardigan
I want to look smart but casual so I think a dress will do nicely
I saw a lovely one in town which I think I will get next week
Trying on clothes today was interesting
I saw a lovely pair of trousers but even the smallest size was way too big
I actually felt annoyed at myself for not fitting in to them
When I saw Mary on Tuesday I had lost another kilo
I did buy a lovely oatmeal coloured cardigan though so at least I got something
Do you know what drives me to despair?
The way that different clothes shops having different sizes
For example a size 6 in one shop could be a size 10 in another shop
It's confusing and annoying and the shops should have all their sizes the same
It can't be that difficult an it would save time trying on various different sizes

What about you?
Are you a tea or coffee drinker?
Are you like me and have disordered drinking too?

Monday, 22 July 2013

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

I was up early this morning for my 9am doctors appointment
It's much fresher today with a nice cool breeze
A welcome break from the heat and humidity
I walked up to reception and I saw my doctor in the back room
My heart sank a little as I thought he was back at work
Then I realised he was in casual clothes so I figured he was just calling in
I passed him on my way down to see Nice woman doctor
'Hi Ruby' he said
'Hey Doctor P, how are you?'
'Fine thanks, feeling a lot better'
He has had his surgery but he'll be off for a little while longer
Nice woman doctor was lovely as usual
I told her about my few days away
The ups and downs
She listened and told me not to be too hard on myself
I really struggle with that one

I got home on Friday and I was excited but also extremely nervous to weight myself
I waited until Saturday morning to get an accurate reading
I hadn't weight in almost a week and I was full sure that I had gained
Because I had eaten and not purged
I felt bigger
I felt like my clothes felt tighter
Like I was taking up more space
There was something nice about not having my scales last week
I felt free
Ignorance is bliss
Because  I didn't know the number, it didn't effect my mood
I literally measure my worth in pounds and ounces
On Saturday morning I stripped
I had prepared myself for a 4-5 pound gain
I tentatively stepped on the scale
Curling my feet as I always do in an attempt to not put my whole weight on the scale
The little red numbers flashed and finally decided on a number
No gain
Not one ounce
I was exactly the same weight as I was the day I left
Relief flooded through my body
But I was a little surprised
I was 100% sure that I had gained
I would have bet money on it
It just goes to show that I can't trust how I feel
Or even my own eyes
This is quite disconcerting
I have accepted that I don't see a true picture of myself in the mirror
That the only way I can get an accurate picture of my weight is by weighing
When I look in the mirror, I don't see an overweight person
But I don't see an underweight person either
I see a person of average weight
Maybe the higher end of a healthy weight
I think I look normal (whatever that is?)

I'm making a big effort to get out of the house more
I'm aware that being at home alone triggers me to binge and purge
Yesterday I went out with my mother and 2 aunts
Then more family came with their children
At first I was a bit anxious but I soon found myself relaxing
I chatted with the children
I joked with my cousin
I smiled and laughed and it wasn't forced
It seems that the more I socialize, the easier it gets
Who knew?

I have to admit though that my intake is quite limited
And since coming home from Galway I haven't been eating  with others
It's like my house is one big trigger so that's why I'm trying to get out and about more

They say that the most dangerous time during depression is when you are starting to come out of it
Suddenly you realise how low you were
How bad you felt
And the fear of going back there
At this time people are more likely to commit suicide
I think that's similar to an ED
The last few weeks I've started to feel better
But I also now realize how sick I am
How I have a long hard road ahead of me
It's quite an overwhelming feeling
And I'm so afraid of slipping again
I have to confess that it did cross my mind to disappear
I felt  it was the only way
But of course it isn't
It's a permanent solution to a temporary problem

When I stopped taking drugs, I thought that everything would get better once they were out of my life
But just like an ED is not about food, drug addiction is not really about the drug
It's a symptom of an underlying problem
When I quit drugs I soon found out that there were layers and layers of issue and problems underneath
The drugs were masking these
I found out that I had low self esteem, no confidence, no self belief, self hatred, depression and anxiety
And these things hit you like a ton of bricks once the drugs are gone
It takes time and a lot of hard work to improve these issues
It's similar with an ED
After regaining weight  and physically recovering, the real work begins
In our minds and our behaviours
It takes months to physically recover and probably years to recover mentally
My ED is masking a plethora of other issues
The same issues as the drugs hid
And that's the thing that holds me back from recovering
Having to face my demons
Having to look at the parts of myself that I hate
The ideal scenario would be to find a way of coping that is healthy
That doesn't harm me or anyone else

It's funny the things that help get me throught the day
For me my dogs are a huge part of my getting well
I got Honey and Lea 8 years ago from a local shelter
They have saved my sanity over and over again
When I don't want to leave the house, I leave to walk them
When I don't want to get up in the morning, I get up for them
Just sitting on the back step rubbing their bellies calms me down
Walking with them every morning is my favourite part of the day

Another thing that really helps me is listening to the radio
I listen to it in the morning between 9 and 12
I love phone ins
I think I like them because it means I can listen to others talking without having to join in
It's great to listen to if I'm in bad form
It takes me out of my own head
By 12 the day is almost half over and I feel a little better

And of course blogging is a great help
It has also saved my life time and time again
I would be lost without it

What about you?
What helps you get through the day?

Friday, 19 July 2013

Not quite perfect

I'm heading home today
I don't quite know how I got through this week but I did
I think maybe it might have been to soon to go away for a week but I had to do it sometime
Dive in to the deep end
After The salt incident I rang Mary
She is always telling me that I can ring her anytime but this is the first time I've taken her up on her offer
The minute I heard her voice I started crying again
She waited for me to compose myself
I told her what had happened
How hard I've been trying
That is wasn't really about the salt
More than that it was a build up of feelings and emotions and the salt was the last straw
As ever, Mary was calm which calmed me down
She talked me through the last few days and we identified things that were difficult and triggering
I got off the phone feeling a whole lot better

But the incident has set me back a bit
I've been restricting ever since and purged twice yesterday
I feel like I've gained weight
A lot of weight
Even though I am usually wrong about these things, I still feel huge
I'm excited but also terrified to weigh myself when I get home
I probably shouldn't but I know that I will do it anyway

Addictive thinking is quite strong at the moment
I've been slightly paranoid
Thinking that people are annoyed with me
Fed up with me
Afraid to speak sometimes for fear of what people will think of me
And also people pleasing
I don't say what I'd like to do
I always put other people's needs or wants ahead of my own
In drug recovery and I'm sure it's the same for ED recovery, they say that you need to be a little bit selfish
That you have to recognize your own needs and  do what is best for you
I really struggle with this
I think it's partly not feeling good enough
Partly that I don't deserve to have these needs and wants met
I need to start doing this though
It's all part of looking after myself
I think a huge part of my ED is self denial
Feeling unworthy of things
Not just denial of food and water but also things like heat or fun or comfort
Are you like that?

As hard as this week was there were some positives and I have to acknowledge them
Every so often I got a glimpse of the old Ruby
The sarcastic, fun loving girl that I used to be
She is trying to break through the walls of anorexia
I can feel it
And I know if I just let her, she could come out
All too often I push her so far down that all is left is  my ED
And my ED has no personality
She is cold and aloof and silent
For a long time I thought that my personality had disappeared
That I was just left with an empty shell
Hollow inside
But now I am starting to see that the real Ruby is still in there
She has just been pushed to one side by anorexia and bulimia

I've also realised how stuck in my ways I am at home
Every day is the exact same
I do the same thing every day almost to the minute
I made a huge effort this week to break out of my routine
It was incredibly hard at first
It felt so wrong
But 5 days later I can see the benefits
I've tried to go with the flow and not worry about my own rigid rules
The trick now is try and do this at home

The other thing I've become aware of is my impulsiveness
Making snap decisions without thinking of the consequences
For example I saw a lovely pair of jeans and a nice top in a shop
I immediately wanted to buy both even though I couldn't afford to
Being aware of my compulsion to shop, I left the shop to think about it
I went back yesterday and decided to just buy the top
And I felt good for not leaving myself broke

Overall this week has been a huge lesson
I've made mistakes and learned from them
I've reached out for help
I've tried to give myself a break
Tried to enjoy myself inspite of myself
The only hurdle I'm avoiding is my weight
I'm just not ready to regain
Not yet

Girl giving free hugs in the street

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The salt incident

Yesterday was unimaginably hard
I thought the day would never end
It started out fine although I skipped breakfast
We went for a walk through Barna Woods and down to Silverstrand Beach where we sat in the sun for ages
We came home and just sat around chatting
Evening came and it was time for dinner
We brought a table outside and my brother and his girlfriend made a lovely dinner of pork stir fry
I had been psyching myself up all day for this meal
I really wanted to eat with the others and keep it down
I carried my food out to the table and settled on a cushion
Noticing there was no salt and pepper I went back in to the kitchen to get some
It was a salt grinder and I held it over my food and twisted the top
I didn't notice at first but I was actually twisting the whole lid
I had just realised what I was doing when the whole lid came off and dumped the full container of salt all over my lovely dinner
It didn't help matters that this was Californian sea salt that had been a present from my brother's friend
Some sort of noise came out of me, like a sharp intake of breath
Everyone went silent for what seemed like eternity
'There's always one' my brother said
I snapped out of staring at the salt and took my plate inside
I scraped most of the salt off but the meal was ruined

All of a sudden I could feel tears behind my eyes
Knowing what was coming next, I left the plate and run upstairs
Cue mini meltdown
The tears came hot and fast
I couldn't catch my breath and started making noises like a donkey
I felt like I couldn't breath and realised I was having a panic attack
I tried to take deep breaths but I couldn't get any air in to my lungs
Mu mother came up and tried to calm me down but I couldn't
The more I couldn't breath the more I panicked
My brother's girlfriend then came up and sat with me
She said 'Don't worry Ruby, it was just salt'
And I know it was just salt but that wasn't the real reason I was crying

I realised later the real reason for my drama queen antics
I had been trying so hard
So fucking hard to be normal
To eat with others
To eat proper food
And to keep it down
Every meal was a battle
I was determined that I was going to eat this meal and not purge
And then I managed to fuck it up despite my efforts
I didn't need my ED to ruin it
I could do that all on my own
When the salt landed all over my dinner, I just thought feck this, why do I even bother?

All these feelings and emotions had been building up all week
And I didn't have an appointment with Mary this week
I don't want to be talking about my ED with family all the time because it's boring for them listening to me prattle on about food and weight
That's the other thing, my weight
I've been without my scale since Monday and I have no idea what weight I am
It's driving me nuts not knowing
I feel like a pressure cooker and all these feelings are boiling over

It's so tempting to go running in to the arms of my ED
Where everything is safe
Where there are no messy feelings
Where I'm in control
But in reality I know that it's an illusion
A trick
It's still tempting though
Even an illusion is better than what I'm feeling now

My brother and my mother spoke to me last night
They said that I am too hard on myself
That's true, I am
And I seem to be hyper sensitive
To the point that I find it really difficult to be around people
I just retreat in to my shell like a frightened turtle
I almost apologise for existing
I've been in the shelter of my ED for so long that I forget how to just be me
How to have fun (because anorexia doesn't allow fun)
How to laugh
How to forget my worries and just be me
I feel like I am behind a pane of glass looking in at the world
I can see and hear everything but I am on the outside looking in
I need to smash that glass
Break through
Break out of this prison I'm in

The urge to restrict is huge
I binged and purged last night because I just needed some relief
But it doesn't seem to work as well any more
I'm so torn
I don't know which way is up any more
Which way to go
If this is what recovery is then I don't want it
Not today anyway

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Fighting Ana and Mia

I'm in Galway for a few days visiting my brother and his girlfriend
I'm always apprehensive about leaving home but I really wanted to come
I made the decision before I left that I was going to make a huge effort to eat little and often, eat with others and not bail out and stay in the house and binge and purge
The first night we got here we all had dinner
Chicken marinated in lemon with asparagus and a little rice
It was a small portion
I had to give myself a pep talk all the way through eating it

Come on Ruby, you can do this!
Remember this is healthy food
You are not going to gain 10 lbs from eating one meal

After the meal I stayed at the table
I refused to bulimia ruin my little holiday
I got through it
My first meal in years without purging
This may not sound like a big deal for some but for me it was a freakin' revelation
And because I had eaten properly, I wasn't craving sugar all evening
Hence I didn't binge, hence I didn't purge
Why hasn't anyone told me about this before?
That if I eat properly then I won't binge?
Well actually Mary has been saying this ever since I started seeing her
But it has taken until now for her words to sink in
I also had soup yesterday with a small piece of bread, no purging

The weather is still hot and I am struggling with fatigue
We were out for a few hours yesterday and when we came home I slept all evening, only waking up to have a cigarette
My mood is up and down and all over the place but I am trying to enjoying myself and not let anorexia or any of her minions ruin my little holiday
I'm not going to lie, it is hard
My head constantly tells me that I am fat
That I don't deserve to enjoy myself
That I have gained 10lbs
That I should just finish myself off
Socially I am struggling
I'm just not used to being around people all the time
But I guess that comes with practise
I'm trying to do the opposite of what my ED tells me
Trying to be kind to myself and not give myself a hard time
Some days all I want to do is curl up in bed but where would that get me?
I have admit that I have had my slip ups
I purged after a sandwich yesterday and I bought an enema (after a lecture from the pharmacist)
But overall things are going better than I thought
Baby steps all the way!

I might not get to read or comment a lot this week but I am thinking of you all

Here's some photos for you delectation

The pictures of the dolls are by an artist called Rosemary Fallon, I love them
The Arts Festival is on here this week so many interesting characters about ..........

Man carving dog out of sand

Man playing cardboard guitar

Monday, 15 July 2013


Monday again
In the past week or so nothing has really happened but everything is changing
Thinking about it, it started last weekend
I can't really talk about what happened but lets just say it was enough to make take a good hard look at my own life and where I'm going
I think I already wrote about getting hyper from lack of food last Sunday
It wasn't on purpose
I only realised at the end of the day that I hadn't eaten
In this hot weather my appetite disappears
It happened again yesterday but when I became aware of it, I made myself eat something
It was such a scary feeling
It seems that my whatever about my body, my mind can't take not eating anymore
It's had enough
I've had enough

Last Friday I had a session with Mary and also my mother attended
To be honest I was dreading it
I worried about what my mother would say
Would it be the same as what I had told Mary?
I thought about cancelling but my mother seemed to want to do it so I went
In the event it was fine
It was positive and quite light hearted compared to the first one
It was eye opening to hear her perspective
I left feeling hopeful and motivated, something that eludes me most of the time

As you know I believe in signs
I believe if you look you will see clear signs pointing you in the right direction
I at the beach Saturday morning and had to go shopping and then fill my car with petrol
Usually I go shopping first but yesterday for some reason I went to the filling station first and went to one that I don't usually go to
I can't say why I just felt that's what I should do
I was coming out from paying and just about to get in to my car when I heard someone calling me
I turned around and saw a guy in a black car with shades on
He was waving
At first I had no idea who he was and just stood staring at him
Then I realised who it was
It was a guy a used to be friendly with and went to meetings with
I walked over genuinely happy to see him
We chatted for a while even though we were still parked at the petrol pump
I told him a little bit if what's going on and how I really want to go back to meetings
He was very kind and listened and made some good suggestions
I left telling him that I would see him at a meeting soon

When I got back to my car and drove off I started thinking what a coincidence that was
It was quite early on a Saturday morning in a town neither of us are from at a place I never usually go and it's probably the first time I've seen him in over a year
I had actually texted this guy last week to wish him a happy birthday and then he was put in my path
Strange but true
I took it as a clear sign that it's time to go back to meetings
Even if it wasn't  a sign, it's still a reason to go back

Also the fact that my doctor is out sick indefinitely
The woman doctor who replaced him is so nice and on the ball and she told that her sister had an ED when she was a teenager
Was this doctor put in my path too?

In the afternoon we went down to see my nephews new kittens
I love animals and they were adorable
I was taking photos and I asked my mother to take one of my sister and I
When I looked at it I noticed the difference between the two of us
I looked tired and frail and she looked healthy and fit
I didn't like what I saw
It scared me

Yesterday morning I got that same hyper feeling again
It's like I had boundless energy and couldn't stop talking
I remember feeling like this when I was in Australia
One day in particular
I hadn't eaten in two days and we were going out for dinner that night with my sister's parents
I wasn't aware of it at the time but thinking back I was quite manic
They must have thought I was nuts
It's only now that I am starting to make connections between my intake and my mood and my mental state
Yes, only now
I began to get really scared yesterday and could feel paranoia creeping in
I went to my mother and told her I was worried about myself
That I felt I was going crazy
That maybe I should go to hospital
She managed to convince me that I wasn't
I immediately ate something
She was going to meet her cousin at the beach for a walk and she suggested that I go too
I was afraid to stay on my own so I went
Very unusual for me
So I went and I was so glad that I did
The change of scenery and getting out of my own head made a huge difference
My head went quiet and I even relaxed and laughed a little
We spent a few hours there and by the time I got home I was feeling a million times better

All these things and more have made me very afraid
I have never been afraid when it comes to my ED
Drugs, yes
I got to a point where I was terrified of what would happen next and that's how I feel now
What will happen next?
Will I really lose my mind?
Will my body give up?
As I've said many times this thing eventually catches up with you no matter what weight you are
I think it's good to be afraid
A bit of fear is healthy
And why wouldn't I be afraid?
I actually can't believe it's taken this long to finally become scared

So I've been making myself eat
Little and often
Even though I don't want to
Even thought the scales was a little up this morning
Even though my whole body is screaming NO!
I'm doing my level best not to purge
I'm doing little things to help myself
I'm trying
I have to
There is nothing that recovery can throw at me that is worse than being this way

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Hot and Cold

The weather is hotting up in this part of the world
Apparently it is hotter here than it is in Spain
Very unusual for little old Ireland
If you've ever been here you will know that the weather is extremely unpredictable
If you are heading out for a day you need to be prepared for all kinds of weather
The sun could be shining one minute only for the heavens to open and rain upon you the next
It's best to prepare for every eventuality
Maybe wear something light but always, I repeat always have a rain coat and an umbrella handy
Odds are that at some point, most likely when you least expect, it will rain
And I'm not talking about the odd drop of rain
I'm talking about huge big fat rain drops that will soak you to the bone in seconds
They may or may not be accompanied by great gusts of wind that will ruin hair before you have time to get inside, leaving you looking like you've just stuck your finger in a plug socket
Snow in May and sunshine in February are not uncommon

So yes, for the last few days we have been sweltering in the heat
Everyone is stripped down to their bare essentials
Every second person is sporting angry red sunburn
I don't know what it is about this country but we don't seem to have grasped the fact that lying in the sun is dangerous and that sunburn is un attractive
But don't hold that against us, we rarely see the sun here so when we do we take full advantage of it
I think that we are so pale here that the thinking seems to be that blotchy red sunburn is better than no colour at all
I remember when I was in Australia back in January, I got sunburned after a day at the beach
I distinctly remember my sister telling me that I was 'wearing my ignorance on my body'
Nicely put I thought
But I have learned since then and I don't sit out in the full glare of the sun anymore

I actually don't like extreme heat
It saps my already dwindling energy reserves and it makes me restless
So I've been sitting in the shade and reading my book
My dogs are struggling too and take cover in the cool of the stone kitchen floor
I would much rather be too cold than too hot

In this country people get great mileage out of talking about the weather
It's a topic that is constantly spoken about day in, day out
In shops
With people you meet on the street
At watercoolers the country over
People bond over talking about the weather
Mostly they like to complain about it
If it's really cold they will compare stories about how their radiators are air locked or how much they are spending on oil to heat their house or how they almost died of hypothermia (ok I'm exaggerating now)
If it's hot people will pretend they are enjoying the good weather but in reality they are melting and won't
 mind telling you that they are sweating profusely
People try to out do each other with stories of how it was so cold that their wee froze before it hit the toilet bowl or it was so hot they had sunstroke
We are never happy

The thing I don't like about the summer is the fact that we have to wear less clothes
Well we don't have to but it's not very nice covering up and stewing in your own sweat
I was on my own today so I wore a pair of shorts and a boob tube top
But if I was going out I would only get my arms out
I much prefer Winter or Autumn and snuggling up in a nice baggy jumper and jeans
Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate this fine spell we are having but my ED doesn't
She tells me that I am too fat to expose my body
That people will snigger at me if I do
It's terrifying having your body on show
I feel so uncomfortable unless I am enveloped in layers of clothes
Yes, this weather is great and all but I'll gladly take back the rain and cold
I can handle rain and cold
I can't handle this heat

I absolutely hate sweating and try to avoid it if I can at all
Sweating reminds me of being sick
Of having no drugs and being strung out
Sweating is one of the first things that happen when you are sick
And not just little beads of sweat
Oh no
This is serious sweat that soaks your clothes and bed linen
Hot and cold
So ever since quitting drugs I've had a phobia against sweating
It reminds me of bad times

Come back rain, all is forgiven!

Do you like the heat?
Are you like me and hate wearing less clothes?

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Don't call me crazy: Part 3

The final episode of Don't call me crazy was on last night
I'm sorry that it's over now as I feel I've become so involved with the characters and I wonder how they are doing
I think this episode was the best of the 3
I'm not quite sure why
Maybe because the kids were getting used to having the cameras around
Maybe because it focused more on the kids characters and personalities rather than highlighting dramatic incidents
What ever the reason was I think it gave a good insight in to what goes on in the minds of people with mental health issues

This week the show concentrated mostly on the boys but also followed up Beth's story
First we met Matty
Matty was 17
He hears voices
One in particular which tells him that someone is going to kill him on his 18th birthday which was fast approaching
He was convinced he was going to die and was pre empting this by trying to take his own life before it happeneD
Can you imagine that?
Really believing that someone was going to kill you
He must have been terrified out of his mind
It doesn't bear thinking about
We saw his room where he had written down all the things he heard in his head
These voices seemed to plague him and we saw him sitting in the corridor banging his head and telling them to shut up

As his birthday grew closer and closer Matty became increasingly anxious
Also he wasn't sure where he was going to be as the unit were trying to get him transferred to an adult unit
In the end he was moved and turned 18 there
That will be a big adjustment moving from the adolescent services to the adult one and I hope he gets the support that he needs

Then we met George
George was described as being as talented rugby player who had won a sports scholarship to a prestigious boarding school in Cumbria
But since moving from his home in Essex he had fallen in to a deep depression and had tried to kill himself
He spoke very openly about his illness and was a very likeable chap
He clicked with Beth straight and you could tell they liked each other as they seemed to spent a lot of time hitting and throwing things at each other
He seemed very mature for his age and made the difficult decision not to return to boarding school as he felt that he would have more support at home

I thought it was so brave of the two boys to speak out
Especially George as he would have been in very male environment being a rugby player at boarding school
Men aren't seen as emotional creatures and are often told to 'suck it up' and 'be a man'
It easy to forget that they suffer with mental health issues just as much as girls and are more likely to commit suicide
I know in this country there is a huge problem with young male suicide
I think this particular episode will really help young men out there who are struggling
I hope it does anyway

Maybe these young people are signs that mental illness doesn't have as much of a stigma as it once had
I know it's still there but it is programmes like this and young people speaking out and giving mental illness a face that will really change the way people think about these issues
It shows that it can happen to anyone
And it doesn't mean you are crazy
It doesn't mean you are violent
It means you need some help and we need to come to a place where we feel comfortable asking for that help without fear of judgement or ridicule or being locked up

This episode also followed Beth as she prepared to leave the unit
After 6 long months of ups and down
Highs and lows
Being sectioned
And lots of tears, she was finally told that she was well enough to go home
She did have a little slip in her final days and self harmed but I think that was understandable
She must have been feeling anxious about leaving
I know any time I was leaving was always a shaky time
I wanted to leave but I was also terrified
Beth let the camera film her being weighed and we were told her weight
I thought this was amazingly brave of her
I think for us being weighed is an incredibly intimate thing
It's like bearing your soul
It was definitely a sign of her getting well
One thing that did worry me though was her  reaction when her sleeping meds were stopped
She became very upset and I wondered why
I think it concerned me because I get the same way when ever my meds are adjusted
And I for me that is partly due to my addiction
It didn't specifically say why she was so upset but I hope that she wasn't becoming dependent on them
At last her final day came
She was elated to be going home at long last but I could tell she was nervous
It's a huge adjustment leaving treatment
Going from having 24 hour support to being on your own is difficult
And the chance of relapse can be high
But it said that Beth was doing well even if she was struggling to maintain her weight
She was also told that she could return to her beloved dancing
I was glad of this
I didn't think it made any sense to take away the one thing that brought her joy

In this episode I think it gave the most realistic picture of what life is like in a place like this
It showed the kids messing around and laughing a lot
And there are a lot of laughs
There are many tears too but a lot of laughs
After all they are kids and kids want to have fun and get up to mischief
I liked that they concentrated to their personalities
It showed that we are much more than our illness
Underneath the labels and diagnosis, we are just regular people
We just happen to have mental health issues
Some people have diabetes or CF or a bad heart
Some people have the problem in their minds
It's no different
So why are we so afraid of mental illness?
Maybe it's because we only hear the horror stories of when someone is violent
But these are rare cases
Most of the time you wouldn't know that someone had a mental health issue
You would only know if they told you
We do not stand out
We do not act crazy
We are human too

Did you see this episode?
What did you think?

Monday, 8 July 2013

Anorexia V Bulimia

Gosh, Monday comes around so quickly
Too quickly
Even though I'm doing not very much, time seems to slip by so fast
It's a good thing and a bad thing
It means the world is still turning even though my life has come to a stand still
But it also means that the weeks are turning in to months and the months are turning in to years
I swear I blinked and 10 years went by
And I am still in this place where time has no meaning

I saw my doctor first thing
Notice I am saying 'my doctor' and not 'nice woman doctor'
Yes I have adopted her
Not officially of course,  I am still under my other doctor, only in my head
I finally decided to ask why my usual doctor has been out for so long
It turns out he has done his back in and needs surgery
Looks like he will be out for a while
She asks how I am
I tell her some but not all
She asks if the interruption to seeing my usual doctor has been stressful
I almost laughed when she said this because it has actually been the opposite
A fresh pair of eyes on the situation has helped I think
I tell that it hasn't been too stressful
That I find it easier to talk to someone I don't know than someone I do know
You can't disappoint someone that doesn't know you
After speaking for a while she tells me that her sister had an ED when she was a teenager
I was a bit blown away that she shared that with me
I wanted to ask loads of questions but I held back and just asked her if she had recovered
She had
I was glad
Maybe it's this reason that she is taking my case so seriously
She really listens
I can tell because she stops writing and turns and looks directly at me
She often tells me not to beat myself up about things
I need to hear that
I seem to beat myself up about the littlest things
And my ED thrives on that
On guilt and shame
I leave feeling hopeful
And you know what?
I don't even know this doctor's name
And I don't really want to know
I just like to think of her as a kind stranger

I wrote on Friday about wanting to address the purging and it was one of my goals for this week
Friday went ok
I purged once
But in my eagerness to stop I seem to be going to the other extreme
All of a sudden I am afraid to eat and even drink because I don't want to purge
Yesterday was not a good day
I went the whole day without eating and drank only a small amount of water
I don't know about you but when I stop eating I get really hyper
I'm like an energiser bunny
Talking non stop
Moving in fast forward
I actually became afraid last night because I couldn't calm down and forced myself to eat some tea and toast
I don't know why it is although I'm sure there is a biological reason for it
I really don't like it though
I feel so out of control

It bothers me greatly that I seem to bounce from one extreme to the other
All or nothing
Black or white
Too much or not enough
I don't seem to have grasped the concept that there is a whole grey area in between
A balance
A happy medium
I don't fit neatly in the the label of anorexic or bulimic
I think what I have lies somewhere between the two
On any given day I could be one or the other
I guess you could call it anorexia with binge purge sub type
I seem to have the worst traits of both conditions
The rigidity and inflexibility of anorexia and the impulsiveness of bulimia
It's confusing to say the least
But I think probably not too many people meet all the criteria for any illness

I mentioned on Friday that I have become bored of my ED
And I have
I am boring myself
Talking about it
Thinking about
Everything about it
She is like a friend that I've outgrown but won't take the hint and go away
I think it's a good thing though
It doesn't have the same mystique that it once had
Now it's just like a job
A mind numbingly repetitive job
I work hard all week restricting and exercising
And at the end of the week I expect a big fat pay check in the form of weight loss
My weight continues to drop and I continue to not give a shit

I asked my mother this morning if I am going crazy because I really thought that I was this weekend
She said no
She said that yes I am sick but not crazy
Do you ever feel like that?
That along with the weight you are losing your mind?
Losing my mind scares me a lot more than losing my body
I can handle physical pain
Give me it over emotional pain any day of the week
The thought of losing my mind terrifies me
It doesn't bear thinking about

Today I am trying to strike a balance with food
And not err on the side of caution too much
I have no idea  what to eat or how much
Like a child I need to relearn healthy food habits
But it can be done
I know it can
Recovery is possible
It's not something that only happens in books and films
People can and do get better
Yes, it will be unimaginably hard and I will want to tear my hair out
But it will be worth it
I haven't come throught the horrors of heroin addiction on for my ED to kill me
To be free of this thing would be life changing
I have to believe that
Other wise I will completely crack up and really will go insane

Are you like me?
Do you find it hard to strike a balance with food?
Answers on a postcard please?

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Supersize V Superskinny

I watched Supersize V Superskinny this week
It was on Thursday night although I'm pretty sure that it wasn't a new episode
For those of you that don't know this show, it takes one very overweight person and one very underweight person and brings them in to what they call 'The feeding clinic'
Basically they swap diets
The show also does segments about people living with obesity and it's consequences and also people living with eating disorders

I have a bit of an issue with this programme but I feel compelled to watch it
For a long time I couldn't understand the reasoning behind getting these people to swap diets
Surely that is just switching from one unhealthy diet to another and how does that help?
How is that healthy?
The underweight people end up eating masses of high fat, high sugar foods and the overweight people end up eating a very restricted diet
And they don't actually explain why they are doing this
But then it hit me why they could be doing this
Maybe it's because the person sees a mirror image of themselves and what they eat
They are sitting across a table from some one eating what they usually eat
So they get to see how excessive or restrictive their diets really are
I know if I had to look at someone eating my diet, I would be concerned for them
When it's me it's ok, but someone else doing it I can see how unhealthy it is

This week we met Jo, a young mum who weighed 21 stone
And Ross, an engineer who stands at 6 feet tall and weighs a meagre 8 stone 11 pounds
The difference between the 2 of them was startling
They were on opposite ends of the same spectrum
Both had incredibly unhealthy diets
Too much and not enough

At the start of the show Dr Christian sent Jo over to the states to meet someone who he felt Jo could end up like
She travelled to Georgia to meet a woman who weighed 38 stone
Like Jo she was a mum of young kids and was finding it increasingly difficult to manage everyday tasks
Jo could relate to her a lot and acknowledged that she was heading the same way

Back in the UK Jo and Ross enter the feeding clinic and swap diets
Jo's potions are huge and she is a serial snacker
Ross goes the whole day without eating and when he does it is just a chocolate bar
Both of them struggle greatly but they carry on and manage to get through the week
At the end of the week they are given their own meal plans to take home
3 months later they return to give an update
Ross looks so much better
It's obvious he has filled out and his face has colour and his eyes are brighter
He managed to gain an impressive 15 pounds and it really suited him
Jo did well too
She lost well over  a stone and looked a lot healthier

Emma Woolf did  a segment on the show
She is a journalist and is recovering from anorexia
You may remember a post a did a few months ago about her book An apple a day which recounts her journey in to recovery
On this show she was investigating whether anorexia is inherited
She spoke to a professor who said that recent studies show that people with anorexia's brains are slightly different to that of people who don't have it
This means that some of us are more susceptible to developing it
This is ground breaking and may help with the treatment of anorexia
Emma spoke to a girl who had grown up watching her mother battle anorexia
The girl also developed an eating disorder but she believes that it was the environment that she grew up in that caused it, rather than her inheriting it
It's an interesting argument
I believe that like addiction our genes can make us more vulnerable but it alone can not cause an eating disorder
I think an eating disorder is born out of a mixture of nature and nurture
I am the only one in my  family to have developed an ED
All my siblings and I were brought up the same way so I can't blame that
Genetics may have loaded the gun but circumstances and environment coupled with plain bad luck pull the trigger
Some people turn to drink or drugs or gambling
And some people stop eating or start purging
They are all different ways to coping
Of hurting ourselves
Of escaping

I have to admit that watching this show can be really triggering
They mention weight a lot and I invariably end up comparing myself to the skinny people
And they do seem to be in their underwear a lot through out the show which I think is un neccesary
They are obviously trying to shock us by showing us extremes
I'm pretty sure that the underweight people do not have eating disorders
Yes, they have an unhealthy relationship with food but they could not be labelled anorexic or bulimic
They know that they are underweight
They are not losing weight on purpose
They just have bad eating habits and losing weight has been a side effect

I truly believe that I could just as easily be over weight
I could be anywhere on the spectrum between skinny and obese
My weight is constantly changing
At my highest weight I was about 130lbs
A perfectly healthy weight for my height but it didn't suit me
I take after my mother and have a small frame
So any extra weight at all really stands out on me
I'm probably at my most comfortable at around 115 - 120 lbs
Although the thought of gaining that weight is terrifying

So yes, now I can see why they get these people to swap diets
There is a method to thier madness

What about you?
Have you seen this show?
What do you think about it?