Monday, 30 September 2013


Doctor day
My usual doctor is off again so I saw Nice Woman Doctor this morning
I asked her to write a referral letter to the treatment centre which she did
Everyone keeps asking me why now, what is going to be different about this treatment admission
I don't know quite how to answer this question
All I can say is that I don't know what else to do
Where to go
Out patient therapy is not working
I am getting worse every day
Every day another little piece of me breaks off and shatters
I feel so numb
Can't cry
Can't get angry
Can't even say how I'm feeling
The lights are on but no one is home
I don't even know if I want to go to treatment if I am honest
But what other option do I have?

I remember the first time I went to drug rehab
I wasn't sure I wanted to go
I wasn't sure that I wanted to get clean
But I went because the only thing worse than going to treatment was carrying on the way I was
At some stage during treatment, things began to change and it was the start of me getting my life together
I'm hoping that will happen if I go this time

So I've had to think about what I will do differently in treatment this time
I always struggled massively with weight gain
It's the reason I was discharged on 2 occasions
I've decided not to look at the number on the scale when being weighed
Ignorance is bliss and all that
Also medication
I've always asked for more meds than I truly needed
Sleeping pills
Anti anxiety meds
It's the addict in me coming out
I need to be honest about this
And of course binging and purging
I really need to get on top of this in treatment
Another thing is that I used to spend a lot of time in the smoking room hanging out other patients
I probably need to do less of that and more working on myself
And also I need to try and not let myself get sucked in to ED behaviours by other girls
I need to try and do my own thing and not get in to intense ED friendships
I've always spent a lot of time on bedrest in treatment so I'm going to try and avoid that too
I don't know if these things will help but I think they've held me back in the past

It's not so much going to treatment that worries me
It's when I come home
My house is quite a big trigger and I'm just afraid of relapsing when I get home
But I'm jumping way ahead
I'll cross that bridge when I come to it

I went clothes shopping with my mother and 2 of her friends at the weekend
My mother needed to get a winter coat
They all tried on clothes and I gave my opinion
I was fascinated with how honest they were with each other
When my mother's friend tried on a top, the other friend told her that she needed the next size up
And the friend was fine with that
If someone said that to me I think I would have a meltdown
I wasn't looking for clothes myself but I saw a lovely cream jumper and decided to try it on even though they didn't have my size
We all laughed when I came out of the dressing room and the jumper was swimming on me
Once the ladies had done their shopping they turned their attention to me
They coerced me in to trying on a purple coat
It looked ridiculous on me and I felt so uncomfortable
They all stood around telling me how lovely it looked
I couldn't wait to get it off

Another thing that is playing on my mind is my weight
I am not at a critically low weight and walking in to treatment at this weight is not a nice thought
Even though I know it's not about weight
Even though I know it's more about my behaviours
Even though I know most of the girls in treatment are of a healthy weight
I still feel I need to justify my place in treatment and the title of anorexic by being a suitably low weight
That sort of thinking is messed up but it's the way I feel

I will continue to see Mary until I go in to treatment and will also resume seeing her after I leave
I can't lie
I am terrified
I am terrified of leaving the safety of my ED entering the 'Real World'
I've lived this way for so long
In a prison of food and weight
I don't know how to live any other way
I don't know that normal people do
How they fill their time
What they think about
There will be a huge hole in my life when my ED is gone and I don't quite know how to fill it
What do I like to do?
What will I fill my time with?
What will I think about?
What will be my purpose?

Who is Ruby without anorexia, bulimia and addiction?
I have no idea

My mother said to me that I will die if I don't do something soon
Why doesn't that scare me more?
It sounds like freedom to me
I'm hesitant to write this but I have thought about taking more drastic measures
About disappearing for good
But I just couldn't do that
I couldn't do that to my family
And I guess that's as good a reason as any to stay around

I think all I can do at the moment is try to stay sane and keep my options open
There are other things going on in my family at the moment that I won't write about here but I will say that someone very close to me is going through a very tough time
I want to be there for that person as they have always been there for me
It's a tough road that we are on
But I know that we will come out the other side
I have to believe that
Otherwise what is the point?

Friday, 27 September 2013

'Mental Patient'

 Recently the supermarket ASDA  launched their new Halloween costume entitled 'Mental Patient'
Although they have since withdrawn it, it should never have seen the light of day
If I had the energy I would write about how utterly offensive and wrong this is
How the stigma of mental health is still very much alive and kicking
How I know many many people who have mental health issues and not one if them brandishes a meat cleaver or walks around in blood spattered clothes
How absolutely outrageous it is that ASDA suggests that people with mental health issues are violent and dangerous

This is not the face of a person with mental health issues

This is the face of a person with mental health issues

Spot the difference........

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Decision

I saw Mary yesterday
Things have finally come to a head
I was honest with her and told that I was spinning out of control
That the purging is the worst it's ever been
She weighed me and I had lost two and half kilos since last week
Usually I am quite coy about my ED behaviours but yesterday I just said it the way it was
I don't have the energy to sugar coat the truth
She that it's a choice between life and death
I said that I wasn't afraid of death
That life scares me more
That's when she brought up the 'treatment' word
She asked if I want to get well
I find this question impossible to answer
I do and I don't
I want to but I can't
I want to get well but I don't want to put on weight
I want to get well but...
There's always a but

She asked if I wanted to feel better
I said that I can't remember what it feels like to feel good so I don't know what I'm missing
I've been this way for so long that I don't know what it's like to feel any other way
We talked and talked
Going around in circles
In the end she gave me an ultimatum
She said that she can't continue to see me if I continue on the way I am
She gave me an ultimatum
My first option is that I go to treatment
My second option is that I continue to see her but agree to stop purging and restricting
I guess that there is a third option in there, that I do neither but I don't think I want that
That would be like giving up
So I have to make a decision and ring her on Friday morning to let her know

So this morning I rang the treatment centre
I thought I had calculated the time so that I would ring while they were in group and could leave a message
But the phone was answered on the second ring
It was a voice I recognized but it wasn't Imelda who runs the EDRP (Eating Disorder Recovery Group)
I said who I was and the voice said 'Oh hi Ruby, it's Una here'
Una worked on the ward on the my first 2 admissions
I was glad she remembered me
That I wasn't just another anonymous anorectic
I didn't know what to say or where to start
She asked me some questions
My weight
My behaviours
I said that I was wondering about going back in
'Why now?' she asked 'What's different now?'
All I could say was that I am spinning out of control
Purging umpteen times a day
Feeling like I'm going crazy
She was very kind and said she would speak to the psychiatrist at lunch time and ring me back this afternoon
I felt relieved after the call
It wasn't so bad

I understand Mary's thinking behind asking me to make this decision
I can't go on this way
Every day march from the kitchen to the living room to the bathroom
I am literally going round in circles
My father sat me down last night
I could tell he was frustrated
I can't bear the fact that others know what I'm doing
In my mind no one knows
But in reality they all know

The purging is beyond bad at the moment
Something is going to break, be it my body or my mind
I just can't continue this way
It's a living hell
It's a bad dream that I can't wake up from
Every morning I wake up and dread the day ahead
The only respite I get is when my head hits the pillow at night
For those few moments before I fall asleep I have a little bit of peace
A little bit of freedom
But then I wake up the next day and start all over again

It's not that I particularly want to go to treatment but I have to do something
I guess it doesn't hurt to find out what my options are and go from there
That's all I can do for now

Ps, Apologies for not commenting, replying to comments or emailing back, my head is all over the place

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


Monday was doctor day
Just after I sat down in the waiting room, I saw an old friend of mine walk in
I haven't seen her in months
Maybe even years
My knee jerk reaction was to bury my head in the magazine I was reading
It's a reaction that I can't help
It's not that I didn't want to see her
I think it's a shame thing
Shame for not keeping in contact
For weighing the same as a baby elephant
Out of the corner of my eye I saw her approach me and sit down beside me
She envelopes me in a big hug
I had heard that she had relapsed back in to bulimia
She's in the same boat as me
We talked for a while
Compared war stories
She said that she felt so bad that she had gained weight but in my eyes she had lost weight
She told me that I was 'fading to nothing'
She hopes to go to treatment
This thing has almost broken her
I showed her the magazine I was reading (Slimming World) and we laughed
It was so nice to see her
To sit and talk to someone who gets it
To know that I'm not the only one who feels this way
Don't get me wrong, it's amazing to have the support here but it's not the same as sitting down with someone and having a cuppa and a chat
It's not the same as a hug
Her doctor called her and she was gone
I wondered when I would see her again

It got me thinking about friendship and how important it is
My social life online is very active and I have lots of friends who I am in contact with every day
But I have neglected my real life friends
I just haven't been able to socialize
I know some of you meet up sometimes and I would love to do that but I don't know of anyone that lives in this country
I was contacted a few months ago by a girl who lives a couple of hours away
We emailed back and forth
I suggested to her that we meet up sometime and I never heard back from her and she hasn't emailed me since
I wondered if I had scared her off

It is difficult to hold on to friendships when you are eating disordered
Along with the disorder often comes depression and anxiety and that makes it tough to socialize
Losing weight and maintaining my disorder became my priority and I distanced myself from a lot of my friends
I guess that was one of the main reasons that I started writing my blog
I was lonely
I needed to talk to people in the same situation as me
And I have found many amazing friends here
But I think as great as they are, it is no substitute for real life friends

It takes me a while to build a friendship
I'm naturally quite a shy person when I first meet someone so it takes a bit of work for me to become comfortable around them
And I'm not very good in groups
Ideally I'd like to speak to someone one on one
I tend to get on better with people who are older than me
When I said this to Mary she said that it was probably because I compared myself to people my own age
That's true I think

My friend is thinking of going in to treatment, the same as me
It's hard to see her struggling so much as she was always such a positive influence in my life
It just goes to show that anyone can relapse
Anyone can slip
It's scary

I have no doubt though that she will get back on track on
And hopefully I will too

I was wondering about you
Have you managed to hold on to your friendships?
Do you spend more time with on line friendships that real life ones?
Do you meet up with people that you've met on line?

Monday, 23 September 2013

Beauty Pageants, yay or nay?

We've all seen them on tv
On shows like Toddlers and Tiaras and Little Miss Perfect
Hair perfectly coiffed beauty queen style
Spray tanned such a deep mahogany that their eyes and teeth almost glow
And of course the 'I'd rather be anywhere than here' smile
They look like little dolls
Like charicatures of themselves
And of course behind every pageant kid is a competitive, slightly loopy mom

Ireland hosted one of it's first pageants on Saturday
It split the nation
It seems that the world is divided in to 2 types of people
Those who agree with pageants and those who don't
The debate continued on a popular Friday night talk show
3 ladies took part to defend the upcoming pageant
Annette Hill from Universal Royalty, the pageant organiser
Micki Wood, the mother of Eden Wood, a beauty queen from the US who appeared at the pageant on Saturday
And Stephanie an Irish mother whose daughter Ashling was competing

Micki Wood came across as a pushy, outspoken mama bear
She vehemently defended her daughter and her beloved pageants
The organiser of the pageant said to expect 'family fun', 'new friends' and 'good competition from Saturdays pageant
She described how the kids get dressed up in 'glitz' dresses
Applied fake tan
Used wiglets
And also 'flippers' (fake teeth)
They made it all sound like good clean fun

Micki Wood

What was peculiar about this pageant was that it was a cloak and dagger affair, shrouded in secrecy
Although heavily promoted on the internet, the location of the pageant remained a closely guarded secret because of fears the it would be marred by protesters
Even the contestants were not notified of the venue until the last minute
Hill said that she couldn't understand the mayhem and negative media storm that had followed the pageant

On the talk show we were introduced to 2 of the pageant kids
Eden Wood was the star attraction at Saturday's pageant and at the grand old age of 8 has retired from pageants
She has already published her autobiography From Cradle To Crown
Eden was dressed in what looked like a hot pink feather dressing gown and stood with her hands on her hips
She was uber confident
Precocious even
She explained how she loves getting her hair and make up done, 'rockin' and rollin' and having fun
Her idol is Selena Gomez
But there was something disturbing about her manner and the way that she was presented
It just looked all wrong

Then we met Ashling, a 9 year old pageant contestant from Co Cork
Although also over dressed and made up, she came across as lot more natural in the her manner
Her mother Stephanie explained how her daughter had seen an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras  and asked her mother if she could do that
Ashling has won prizes at 19 pageants and her mother estimated that she had spent up to 35,000 euro funding her participation
She has one to one session with a coach where she is advised on her stage routine
She learns modelling skills and how to look confident and make good eye contact with the judges
Ashling said that she enjoyed pageants but like a lot of these kids, her answers sounded rehearsed

My curiosity pricked, I watched an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras
It was disturbing to say the least
And more than the kids it was the mothers that worried me
They were competitive to the point of obsession, more so than any of the kids
Of course they are not all like that and the show does focus on the most extreme cases
The kids  take part in different divisions such as casual wear, formal wear, swim wear and talent
They wore outrageous costumes, over the top make up and hair
As it is a long day for the kids, it was inevitable that they got cranky and tired
One mother was shown giving her daughter  soda or 'pageant crack' to keep her awake

The pageants seem to mean a lot more to the mothers than they do to the kids
The majority of the kids seemed to be just going through the motions
Some obviously didn't want to be there at all
And there is no doubt that these kids are being exploited
One child came on stage dressed in an angel costume
She then proceeded to rip it off to reveal a very skimpy leotard with cones on her chest ala Madonna
Others danced provocatively
Shaking their bums
It was all just a little sleazy

So the pageant went ahead here on Saturday despite the controversy and maybe even because of it
It was due to take part in an upmarket Dublin hotel but it pulled out at the last minute
As the organisers appeared on Friday night tv, they still did not have a confirmed venue
At the eleventh hour they found a venue in Co Monaghan
But the pageant went off with a lot less sparkle and glamour than was hyped
It took place in the back room of a pub

Just over half of the expected 50 kids turned up for the pageant
It began at 11am and lasted just a couple of hours due to fears of protestors

In a week which saw the French government ban beauty pageants for under 16s, pageants are in the firing line for a lot of criticism
One paper reported that 'French women may pride themselves on their grooming but they draw a clear line between maximising your assets and touting them to the highest bidder'
Another paper described the kids in pageants as looking like 'fun size sex workers'

The thing that doesn't sot right with me about pageants is that the kids are judged solely on cosmetic appearance
Organisers believe that it is all about personality but the kids don't speak one word while on stage
These kids are learning at a very young age that looks and appearance are what is most important
Never mind that you play the piano
Nevermind that you are a maths whizz
If you can pout your lips and bat your eyelashes then you are on your way to success
These kids are being taught to rely on physical appearance and not on their personality or talents
It's just wrong
So very wrong

I was wondering about you
Do you agree or disagree with beauty pageants?
Have you ever been in a beauty pageant or ever considered entering one?
Inquiring minds want to know...........

Saturday, 21 September 2013

One Thing

The one thing that helped me get through today is my dogs (and many cigarettes!)

What's the one thing that helped you get through the day?

Ruby x

Thursday, 19 September 2013


I saw Mary on Tuesday
Tuesday is weigh day
I would have happily eaten my own foot than go to that appointment
I had stopped weighing myself as home but after being sick curiosity got the better of me and I weighed on Sunday
Somehow even though I ate next to nothing for 4 days
Somehow even though I slept for most of that time
Somehow even though I neither binged or purged in that time
I gained weight
This is hard to take because no part of me willingly participated in this gain
I decided to go to the appointment but politely refuse to be weighed
Yes, good idea Ruby

When the time came and she invited me to step on to the scale, I said 'No thank you'
I explained that my delicate mental state could not handle big horrible numbers right now
We talked for a long time and somewhere along the way I heard myself agreeing to be weighed
To prevent myself having a total meltdown I didn't look
But of course I was dying to know
It's like putting your hand on a hot stove
You know you shouldn't but you touch it anyway

Mary asks me what is so terrible about weigh gain
It's hard to explain
It has nothing to do with how I look
In my eyes I look fat whatever weight I am so it's not that
I tell her that I don't want to regain to a healthy weight and still feel anorexic on the inside
I have been there before and very nearly went insane
A couple of years ago I gained weight and reached my all time high weight
Even though I was still a healthy weight I still felt anorexic inside
People saw I looked ok and presumed I was ok
But I felt worse than ever
It's like I want my appearance to match how I feel inside
To give a visual clue of what is going on in my head
We talked about mental illness and how it's invisible
In fact anorexia is probably the only mental illness that manifests itself physically
Having an invisible illness in incredibly frustrating
If you have a broken arm people can see it
They can see you are in pain
They can empathize
They can ask you about it
But with mental illness no would ever know unless you told them and lets face it who wants to admit that they are depressed or bipolar or bulimic

I told Mary how my doctor said to me that I look well
I can't tell you how much I hate hearing those words
'You look well'
'You look good'
It's like a knife in the gut
To someone with an ED telling them they look well translates to 'You look healthy'
Which translated to 'You've put weight on'
Which translates to 'You are fat'
I know the person saying this means well
They think they are giving you a compliment
I understand that
I've done it myself
But I don't comment on anyone's appearance anymore
You just don't know how they're going to interpret it

The session with Mary is an hour and a half long and I'm exhausted when I get out
I see my father later that day and can't help but ask him if I've gained weight
He says no
I tell about the gain
I tell him I can't understand it
Then I remember back to March when I was in hospital
I gained weight then too and then suddenly lost it all
What is the common factor between then and now?
I wasn't purging
After realising this I spent yesterday eating and purging
More to test the theory than anything else
And this morning I had lost most of the weight I had gained
This is a hard pill to swallow
Knowing this makes it even more difficult to get the purging under control
I just don't know where to go from here

I can't even fully explain why gaining weight terrifies me so much
I guess it's symbolic
Of getting well
Of growing up
Of letting the past go
Of taking responsibility for my life
Of taking control of my life
Of being ready to recover
Of being normal
Of being average
So many things that I don't know if I'm ready for

Words aren't coming easily these days so instead of writing about myself I want to throw the floor over to you

Have you regained weight?
What have you found the most difficult thing about it?
If you have regained to a healthy weight, what helped you come to terms with it?
If you are underweight what is stopping you from gaining weight?
Are your reasons the same as mine?
Please do let me know

Monday, 16 September 2013

Keep on keeping on

I knew Autumn had arrived when I walked in to my kitchen yesterday and smelled my mother's chicken soup
It's strange
The seasons change
The months change
The days and the weeks change
And yet nothing changes
Does that make sense?

After reading back my last couple of posts, I was very tempted to delete them
Does the blogosphere really need to know the gory details of my ED?
I asked myself this question and came to the conclusion that yes it does
When I started writing this blog I was determined to expose my ED for the nasty, cruel, ugly, disgusting thing that it really is
I didn't want to sugar coat the truth
I didn't want to be in denial about the lengths I go and the depths I sink to for this thing
I find it quite difficult to put my drug addiction in to words but for some reason I seem to be able to explain my ED in a way that maybe a person without an ED may understand
But it is really hard to explain addiction
Especially to someone who has never experienced addiction
It's like trying to describe a colour
If someone has never seen the colour red, how do you explain it to them?
It's next to impossible

With addiction you can use words like 'compulsion' and phrases like 'physically addicted' but it doesn't really explain the feelings that someone in the grip of an addiction or an ED go through
On the other hand I find it hard to understand what it's like not be an addict
To be able to have one drink and stop there without any difficulty
For as long as I can remember I have been an addict
Maybe I was born that way, I don't know
I was addict long before I picked up a drink or a drug
Food was probably the first substance that I experienced an addiction to
Of course at the time I had no idea
As I child I loved white bread
I just had to have it
I ate at home
I requested it at friends houses
I ate it slice by slice and couldn't get enough
I remember when my family put bread out to feed the birds I would eat it when they weren't looking
I couldn't help myself
That was harmless enough but as I grew in to a teenager I became addicted to shop lifting
Then drugs
Then alcohol
The prescription drugs
And now an ED with some sub addictions (exercise, enemas, purging)
I've always been addicted to something

I truly believe that a person can become addicted to anything even if it's not physiologically addictive
If I can get a good feeling or a high of something, then I will do it over and over and over again to the detriment of my life
When I was addicted to drugs I was both physically and psychologically addicted
I just couldn't stop
I don't have that switch in my brain that says 'Ok that's enough now'
After I overdosed for the first time I was admitted to hospital with respiratory arrest
I was lucky I didn't die
But the very next day I was using in the hospital bathroom
I just couldn't stop

That feeling is incredibly difficult to describe
The feeling that you have to use even though it could kill you
Even though it's drive you insane
Even though you are breaking your families heart
Even though your life is in the toilet
Even though you are suicidal
You. Just. Can't. Stop.

Imagine you have an itch
It's the itchiest itch you have ever experienced
It's driving you crazy and it's all you can think about and focus on
Now imagine instead of fingernails you have razorblades on the tips of your fingers
If you scratch that itch you will shred your skin to ribbons and possible die from blood loss
But that itch just won't go away and you can't help but scratch it
Every time you scratch you tear in to your skin
You bleed and bleed but you just can't help yourself
Everyone is telling you to stop
Everyone is trying to help you
To bandage your skin and help you stop scratching
But you can't
You just can't stop

That's what it's like to live with an addiction
It's an itch that you just can't help but scratch
But of course the paradox is that you can stop
Yes, it is extremely difficult but it can be done
For some people it's a life changing event that makes them stop
Maybe they have a near death experience
Maybe they become homeless
Maybe they hit rock bottom
But mostly people just becomes sick and tired of being sick and tired
Then it becomes possible to stop
When the negative effect of using out weighs the positive effect
And the crucial thing is to want get well
To want to live
That is half the battle
It's a long and difficult road to get to that place
It takes a lot of hard work and an army of support to beat an addiction
But it can be done
I truly believe that

A good friend once said to me that it's not a choice between my ED and recovery
It's a choice between life and death
I think this is so true
Living with an ED is a slow suicide
It's a very visual way of saying 'I don't want to be here'
I do believe that recovery from disordered eating is possible
But I don't know if I am in a place where I want it
Of course I do want it but there is a huge part of me that feels I just can't stop

Addiction is all consuming and I hate that
Addicts become completely self absorbed
They forget that there is a whole world out there
Places to see
People to meet
Experiences to have
Food to taste
Everything boils down to the drug or weight loss or.......
It becomes your whole world
Nothing else matters
Not family
Not friends
Not love

Being in the grip of an addiction is soul destroying
You lose everything
Zest for life
Self esteem
You lose that spark that makes you you and you become a shell
You lose you

I have come through drug addiction and alcoholism so I know beating an addiction can be done
Beating an ED is slightly trickier
With drugs I could literally walk away from my old life
Away from the drug
Away from using friends
My old town
I walked in to a brand new life
With food I can't do that
I can't cut food out of my life (well I could but that would defeat the purpose)
I have to eat
I have to find a balance
A happy medium
And that's the hard part

As grim as things are at the moment I do have hope
As long as I am breathing there is hope
I will continue to fight
Continue to write and spread awareness
Continue to live my life the best I can
What's the alternative?
Lie down and give up
That's not really my style
So if you are struggling today remember that it doesn't have to be this way
There is a way out
There is life beyond addiction and EDs
There is a second chance for you
There is hope
Recovery will be the hardest thing that we ever do but it will be so worth it
Don't give up
Don't give in
Keep on keeping on

Friday, 13 September 2013

Will I ever?

It's early Saturday morning
I'm up before the sun
Following the problem with my bowel my doctor had put me on antibiotics in case there was an infection
I'm allergic to penicillin and a lot of other antibiotics but because I was in a bit if a state in with the doctor I forgot to mention that (and anyway, shouldn't he have that on file?)
I barely looked at the name of the tablets before taking them
Big mistake Ruby
I was to take 7  a day
3 of one and 4 of the other
Not long after taking my first dose I started to feel funny and a bit spaced out
I lay on the couch and waited for it to pass but I began to feel worse and worse
I dragged my weary self down to bed where I stayed for the next 36 hours
Only waking up every couple hours to crawl to the bathroom to throw up
There was nothing to throw up but that didn't stop my body trying
I woke up this morning feeling a hell of a lot better but still unable to eat

But before you feel sorry for me remember that all of my pains and aches this week were self inflicted
I made the choice to take the enemas which blocked my bowel
I failed to check the antibiotics
I basically fucked up
And the horrible thing is that it was my mother's birthday yesterday and I spent it in bed
I made her breakfast in bed this morning to make up for it

Will I ever learn?
Will I ever stop hurting myself?
Will I ever just give up being in self destruct mode?

Answers on a postcard please..........

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

What recovery is like

I was having a nightmare of a day today, then I saw this.
Just because I fell doesn't mean I have to stay down.
I can pick myself up, dust myself off and keep going
I can do this
I  just need to believe in myself and do the opposite of what my ED wants
All is not lost

'Slip Sliding Away'

Yesterday was a nightmare
It really was
The day started out as normal
I walked my dogs
Did some writing
I was due to see Mary at 3pm
But around lunch time I developed a pain in my lower abdomen
My first thought was that it was the pancreatitis  coming back
But the pain was too low in my abdomen to be my pancreas or my stomach
It wasn't too bad at first
I've been getting this same pain on and off for a few weeks now but it always went away so I wasn't too worried
I got ready to go and see and Mary but as the pain got worse I knew that I wouldn't manage to drive the 30mins it would take to see her
My Dad was here so I went and told him about the pain
He said to ring Mary and cancel
By this stage I was doubled over in pain
I rang Mary and she asked me if I was purging
I said I was and she strongly suggested that I go and see my doctor
She also said that my condition is acute and I really need to think about inpatient
The service Mary works for really only treats mild EDs but she had agreed to keep seeing me

I rang my doctor and the receptionist said they were booked solid until Thursday
After I got off the phone I realised that there was no way that I was going to last until Thursday so I rang back
The receptionist said that if it was an emergency to come in at 4.30pm and wait for an appointment

I lay on the couch with a hot water bottle trying to figure out what was causing the pain
Then I remembered that I had used 2 enemas that morning
I was worried that I had damaged my bowel in some way
My Dad drove me in to the doctor and thankfully I didn't have to wait long
I explained about the pain and admitted to purging and using enemas quite a lot
He said if I was using these behaviours to lose weight then I shouldn't because they don't work
I do know this and I don't do these things to lose weight
I do it because I can't stand the full feeling
He examined me and said everything felt normal
He said that pain could be one of two things
It could be an irritation of the bowel due to the enemas
Or it could be trapped air in my bowel also from using the enemas
Trapped air made sense to me as I did feel bloated and full of air
As a precaution he gave me a prescription for antibiotics and said to come back if the pain persisted

I got home but the pain was still there, worse even
No matter what way I sat or lay down I couldn't get comfortable
The pain was becoming unbearable and I was in tears
Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore and was going to ask my Dad to drive me in to casualty, I had a brainwave
If it was trapped air, if I used another enema, then that could make my body expel the air
Of course it could also make my situation worse but it was risk I was willing to take
Thankfully it worked and the pain vanished immediately
Thank God!

It was a bit of a scare because I was worried that I had really damaged myself
Now I really need to address the problem with the enemas
I haven't told Mary that I am still using them
I think I may be addicted to them
But I have to stop before I do any more damage
Mary's words are ringing in my ears about inpatient
I spoke to my Dad about it
He said that the last time I left treatment my psychiatrist suggested that I try inpatient some where else
But there are limited places in this country
There are only 3 inpatient facilities and I have been to 2 of them
It's hard for me to accept that I need to go back to treatment because my weight is not critically low
Even though I know that weight is not an indicator of how sick I am, I can't help but feel this way
But what is the alternative?
Live another decade like this?
Keep seeing Mary but not make very much progress?
It's difficult because I really did think that I was making progress
I think Mary did too
Yes, I have been in better form
Yes, I did push myself over the summer
But now things seem to be slipping again
The purging has increased
My behaviours are getting out of control again
My mood is plummeting
To quote Simon and Garfunkel I am 'slip sliding away'

This illness is so sly and underhand
It let me think that I was in recovery
It let me think that I was on my way to becoming healthy and happy
It led me to believe that I had turned a corner
But it was a trick
A lie
An illusion
And because I thought I was improving I let my guard down
I relaxed a little
And now I am back in the hole again

I'm not quite sure where to go from here
I can't get my head around the idea of going back in to treatment
But I also can't get my head around staying this way for another year, month, week day
I can't live with it but I also can't live without it
My body is sending me signals that it is hurting
It's letting me know that the ED is doing damage
I went for years without having so much as a twinge but it was bound to catch up on me sooner or later

I am so grateful that my father was here when this happened as it would have been very scary if I had been here on my own
He comes down for a couple of nights a week when my mother is working away
He started coming down when I was very ill
It's strange because just last week I  was speaking to Mary about telling my Dad that he doesn't need to come down as much
But for some reason I hadn't said this to him yet
And now I don't know whether to say it at all
Maybe I do need someone to be here

I think what I will do is ring Imelda at the last centre I was in
And maybe ring the place where I haven't been and see what they say
I need to do it now or I will just keep putting it off and off
The last time I rang it had taken me a year to muster up the courage
But I just don't have the luxury of time any more

Something has to change I do know that
I just feel like shit because I had been so positive and now I feel that I am letting myself and everyone else down
I know what I need to do
I just need to do it

Monday, 9 September 2013

And then she escaped

My sister suggested that I change the name of my blog to And then she escaped
Maybe I will

It's Monday morning and I'm just back from the doctor
After talking about sport for about 10mins, he asks me how I got on with the methadone reduction
I was pleased to report that my week was uneventful with not a whiff of withdrawal
I ask him how long he thinks it will take to come off it completely and he figures it will take about a year dropping 2mls at a time
I also want to know if he has supervised any other detoxes
He said that he has and they were successful
That's encouraging
He explains that because I have been stable for such a long time, he doesn't anticipate any difficulties
In his eyes I may be stable long term but in truth I am only stable a few months
I never really told him about my abusing my meds and it's only recently that I've got that under control
All the while we are talking I am coughing and spluttering
He asks if I have a cold
I have for the last 2 weeks and I can't see to shake it
He says he will keep an eye on it

I haven't weighed myself since Mary weighed me on Tuesday
I have no idea what my weight is
My ED is telling me that I gained but I know better than to take her word for it
I don't know why I stopped weighing
It wasn't a conscious decision
I just don't feel that overwhelming urge to know theMy b number
I don't miss it
Not one little bit
I don't miss the anxiety before I step on the scale praying for a kind number
I don't miss the high I get when I see that I've lost weight
I don't miss the black cloud that descends over me when I have gained
The feeling that I am worthless
A failure
I don't miss my day being ruined because the number is up
My mood being dictated by those little red numbers
Literally measuring my worth in pounds and ouncez
In fact it is so freeing to not know the number
Mary will weigh me tomorrow and that's ok
I may or may not look at the number, I haven't decided yet

I was in the chemist this morning
They have one of those scales that measure your weight, height, BMI and blood pressure
There was a girl weighing herself
She took off her shoes and as she stood on it she closed her eyes
I know that feeling
It crossed my mind that she might have an ED
As she collected her slip of paper she studied it carefully
I wanted to run up to her and say 'Don't do it! Don't weigh yourself! No good can come of it. Don't define yourself by a number, a scale can't measure how beautiful you are!
It's easy to say these words but I know myself that breaking free of the dreaded scale is very difficult
It's an addiction in itself

My birthday came and went just like any other day
I was blown away by all the comments, messages, emails and cards that I received
As I said in my last post my family and I went for afternoon tea in Castle Dargan
It was so lovely and the setting was beautiful
It was a marked difference to my birthday last year
Last year I didn't want to do anything for my birthday
I just wanted to ignore it
My mother cooked dinner for my, my sister and my nephew
After dinner we were having tea and I ended up having a huge argument with my sister about her not allowing me to babysit my nephew
My sister left angry and I'm sure Oisin heard us
All in all it was a disaster
Thankfully this year was very different
I am in a better place mentally
Last year even though I was at a healthy weight, mentally I was in a very bad place
I couldn't see a way out
I was bitter and resentful
Full of self hatred
This year things are a little better in that respect
I'm slowly learning to like and accept myself
To forgive myself
To be free to be me
I often judge myself on past behaviour and things I did when I was in active addiction
I could beat myself up for the rest of my life but where would that get me?
I have to forgive myself, make amends where I can and let it go
I'm not a bad person
Yes, I have done some bad things and made bad choices but I've learned from my mistakes and I do try to be a better person

I've always had a hard time accepting myself and sought to be accepted by others
I was a people pleaser
I did many things to get people to like me
I changed my looks
I wore different clothes
I even changed my personality to fit in with other people
I remember when I was living in Dublin I changed my accent in the hopes that I would be accepted
Now it's not so important to me
I'm learning to accept that some people will like me and some people won't
And that's ok
I try not to change myself to fit on with others
I dress the way I want to
I just try to be me

Here's some photos of my birthday, enjoy...........

Outfit for the day

My sister and nephew gave me this mug, he he!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Happy Birthday!

It's my birthday tomorrow but I'm going to write about it today as I won't get a chance tomorrow
My family asked me what I would like to do to celebrate it so I suggested we go for afternoon tea in Castle Dargan
Again? I hear you cry
Yes this will be the third time I have gone for afternoon tea in the last couple of months but I love it!
It's a really lovely thing to do so expect lots of photos next post

Castle Dargan

Time is passing by so fast
I swear I blinked and a year went by
Birthdays are a funny time of year for me
More than turning a year older, it's a reminder that I've clocked up yet another year in the midst of this illness
13 years and counting
Almost half my life
13 years of living this half life
13 years of weight loss and weight gain
13 years of recovery and relapse
Of treatment and therapy
Of medication
Of being on the edge of society
Of isolating myself
Of being is self destruct mode
Of hopes raised and dashed
Of seeing doctors, psychiatrists and therapists
Of hating myself and loathing my body
I've given my ED the best years of my life and I'm not willing to lose another decade

I remember 2 birthdays ago I panicked at the thought of another year of being eating disordered
I rang  a treatment centre with the intentions of admitting myself
But I never got beyond the initial phone call
It took me a year to muster up the courage to ring back

This year has to be better
It just has to be
The last 12 months have been a roller coaster
Crippling lows and euphoric highs
I crave evenness
Bouncing from top to bottom makes me feel a bit crazy
I guess I just want to feel normal
As in not low and not high
Somewhere in between
Somewhere I can have peace of mind
Without the voice of my ED screaming in my ear

I do feel hopeful about this year
Hopeful that I can turn a corner and embrace recovery
Not just play the part of a recovered person
And I do play the part
Anyone who knows me or knows anything about EDs can see through the thin veil of my act
But to the untrained eye I think I seem perfectly fine
I want to 'walk the walk'
Not just 'talk the talk'
I know that I have a long road ahead of me
It can take months to recover physically
Years to recover mentally
 A life time to get over it completely
But that's ok
I'm in it for the long haul

PS. Mum's present to me was a trip to the hairdresser, here's the result!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


I saw Mary yesterday for the first time since July
I thought about cancelling to avoid being weighed but that is just prolonging the inevitable
It was a very positive session
I told her all about  my summer adventures
Yes, there were positives but something's never change
My intake is not great and the purging is ever present
She asks me how I feel about being weighed
As always I feel shit about being weighed but I agree to do it
I couldn't bring myself to look at the number but Mary told me it was the same as it was back in July
I felt relieved

We talk for a while about weight restoration
I explain that I don't think I need to gain weight
That I think I'm at quite a normal healthy weight
I don't think I look underweight and I sure don't feel underweight
Technically yes, I am underweight but not dangerously low
Mary says that to be healthy I need to gain about Xkg at a rate of 0.5kg per week
The weight she wants me to reach would give me a BMI of 19
She said that it's unrealistic to expect me to gain more than that
I was at a BMI of 19 just a few short months ago
I tried to remember what I felt like at that weight
I wasn't particularly happy but I wasn't devastated either
I was just kind of ok with it
But could I live with a BMI of 19?
If I'm honest, no I can't
Not yet
I'm not ready

I'm supposed to try and not purge between yesterday and Friday when I'm seeing Mary again
But even as she's saying the words I know that's not going to happen
To me purging is an addiction
One that is near impossible to break
In the last 10 years I haven't gone more than a few days without purging
It's normal now
It's part of eating
I don't know how to stop
I don't know if I want to stop
Part of me has just accepted that this is the way things are
Sad but true

When I was growing I had 2 bestfriends
They were sisters and lived 2 houses up from mine
Sarah was a year younger than me and Jean was a year older
We saw each other every single day
We went to school together
We hung out together
Did everything together
We experienced all the mile stones and rites of passage of growing up together
After we left school we went our separate ways
We could go for years without seeing each other but when we met up we picked up where we had left off
Sarah lives in the UK now and Jean lives in Co. Kerry
I haven't seen either of them in about 7 or 8 years but from time to time I hear bits of news about them
Sarah got married a few years ago and this week I heard that Jean is to be married soon
To the boy she started seeing when she was a young teenager
It's stranger to see how differently our lives have turned out
They have grown up, moved out, gone to college, got jobs an boyfriends that are now husbands
My life has panned out very differently
I have never really grown up
I haven't developed and grown in to an adult
I've stayed the same
My ED has almost stopped time for me
My friends have moved forward but I move neither forwards or backwards
I only move sideways
I stay stuck in the same place
In this half life that is my ED

It makes me sad to think of this
As happy as I am for my friends, I can't help but feel but compare myself and my life
It's not that I want to get married
But I want the option to get married
I want the option to go to college
To get a job
A boyfriend
More than anything I want my own place
My own little corner of the world
Where I can be independent
Where I can surround myself with things that I like
Where I can do my own thing
Don't get me wrong I love living with my mother but this is her house
I'm living under her rules
And I know the only way to do this is to get well
And that includes weight restoration
I can't recover and stay at this weight
It would be like me giving up drugs but continuing to drink alcohol
It just doesn't work
So I guess it boils down to which do I want more
To be underweight and miserable?
Or a healthy weight and have a chance at happiness?
This dilemma should have an easy answer but it doesn't
And this is what keeps me so stuck

I feel like I am at a crossroads once again
I struggle with the smallest decision so this is so overwhelming
If I could just loosen the reigns of me ED I would  have a fighting chance
 I just need to trust the process
Trust that recovery is a better way
It's my birthday in a few days
Where does the time go?
It slips by so very fast

PS, I'm sorry that I haven't been replying to comments recently but I will do my best to reply today

Monday, 2 September 2013


I saw my doctor first thing this morning
He asks me what I'm up to today
I say that I'm going home to watch Seamus Heaney's funeral on tv
Seamus Heaney was Ireland's and possibly the worlds best known Irish poet
He died last week
The minute I mention the poets name my doctor pushes back his chair from his desk and tells me some of his own 'Seamus stories'
Someone said last week that everyone has a Seamus story'
I think this must be true because even I have one
Last year he was coming to my town to give a reading
My mother bought the tickets 6 months in advance
I have to admit at the time I was in quite a bad place and did not realise the significance of seeing Seamus Heaney read his own work
I studied his poems at school but did not really appreciate them at the time
My brother, his girlfriend, my mother and I all went to the reading
I was abusing my meds at this time and at some point in the evening I fell asleep in the theatre and missed most of the reading
I must be the only person ever who has fallen asleep at a Seamus Heaney reading
My brother must have been disgusted as he is also a writer
But I had enough medication in me to tranquillize a horse
I'm sure Seamus would have understood
Anyway it was my loss

After we swapped Seamus stories my doctor my doctor raised the subject of reducing my methadone
Darn it!
I thought he might have forgotten
I say that I don't feel ready but I guess if I waited until I was ready I would probably never do it
I ask how much he wants to reduce it and suggest 1ml
3mls he says
2mls I say
Ok that's a compromise
He says that measuring  out 28mls may be tricky so he gives a syringe so I can be as accurate as I can
So I guess all I can do is just see how I get on
I don't anticipate any major symptoms of dropping 2mls but it's more a psychological thing
Just knowing that I am taking less makes me feel different
But to look at the positives it is a step forward
A step towards becoming completely clean
That has to be a good thing

My mother received a phone call this morning from a work colleague
My mother works in adult education and a student had approached this colleague about her son
He is 20 and has anorexia she is very worried about him
Knowing that I have an ED this colleague contacted my mother to ask for some advice so she came to me to ask what I thought
I don't know very much about the young man
But apparently his mother is thinking of having him sectioned
I don't think that's a good idea at all
If he is sectioned he will be put in to a public psychiatric hospital and won't get any specialized help there
And if he has a bad experience there (which is a distinct possibility) it may put him off seeking help in the future
Beyond that I am really not sure what to tell this woman
I suggest that mother give this lady the number of the hospital I was treated in which she does
I considered maybe giving this guy my number so he could contact me if he wished but having thought about it I don't know if that's a good idea
I am not in a place where I am qualified to be giving out advice and I would feel like a hypocrite telling someone what the should be doing when I'm not taking my own advice
Also I would worry about being triggered by this person
In NA they drum home the message that when you are getting clean off drugs, you have to help yourself before you help anyone else
Helping newly clean addicts is left to those who have a significant amount of time and experience being clean
It can be massively triggering being around someone who is just in the door just as can be triggering to be around someone who is still in the throes of their ED

Then there is the question of whether this guy wants to get well
He is 20  and I got the impression that he wasn't suffering too long
Maybe a couple of years
I do believe that unless the person wants to get well, then all the therapy, counselling, treatment, love and support doesn't mean a damn unless the person themselves wants to get well
They say that the earlier the illness is caught, the more chance the sufferer has of getting well
I don't think that is always the case though
I think that if a person has had the illness for a short period of time, then they could still be in the 'Honeymoon stage' where they are only experiencing those initial highs of losing weight and feeling great
Because they are only experiencing the highs and not too many of the lows yet, they may be reluctant to give up their ED
It's only months or even years down the road that the negative impact may become apparent
So it's hard to know what to say to this guy
He may be just as the beginning of his 'ED career' and anything I say may go in one ear and out the other
But it's worth a try  I guess

I think back to the early days of my ED
I was just a year younger than this guy when I first developed anorexia although it wasn't until I was about 23 that I acknowledged it
Over the years a lot of people including family, friends and professionals tried to talk sense in to me
But it is no use trying to use rational and common sense to try and conquer something that makes utterly no sense
Something as complex and paradoxical as as ED needs a different approach
You can tell an ED sufferer they are not fat all day long and they will never believe you
They need hard evidence and fact that this is the case
We need hard proof
Not some family members opinion and anyway we will often not believe our own families because we think they are only saying that because they are family
Then there is the common belief among sufferers that they are not sick or not sick enough
We don't believe that we are underweight so therefore there is no problem
And even when we do acknowledge that there is a problem, it's very difficult to put up your hand and say 'I'm struggling here and I need help'
And especially with mental health given the stigma that is still attached to it

I remember when I attended the ED conference in my town back in February
A GP asked what she could do to help ED sufferers who came to her for help
I thought this was a really good question as GPs are often the first port of call for someone who is seeking help for an ED
I've thought a lot about this question since and I think there are a few things that they can do to help
It's so important for the sufferer to feel that they are being heard
Try and make the sufferer feel at ease so they feel comfortable enough to be honest
Be patient
The sufferer will probably not tell you the full story in the first appointment so definitely make a follow up appointment
Make sure that the sufferer knows that you are taking their case seriously
I think not making a big deal about weight is important
For the first few years of my illness I never weighed myself and was not aware of what I weighed
But then doctors started weighing me and the numbers seemed important to them so they became important to me
Also I think GPs should be aware that whatever a sufferer is telling them is probably only part of the story as it's difficult to be completely honest about our EDs especially in the first meeting

My heart goes out to this guy, it really does
I hope and pray that he can overcome this cruel illness
But in reality I think all I can do is point him in the direction of people who can help him much more than me
That's all I can do
It's really down to him and how much he wants to get well

I was wondering about you
What advice would you give this guy?
Do you think there is anything anyone can say to him that will make a difference?