Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Sideways

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

35 comments:

  1. Hi Ruby,

    I came across your blog a few months ago by accident and have been following your story. I don't usually comment because I don't have a blog myself or an eating disorder. Your post today has made me sad though, to read that purging has such a strong hold on you. I really hope you can get over this somehow. Could you try and just pick one day a week without purging then slowly increase?

    I was really pleased to hear about your methadone though, I used to have a summer job in a pharmacy and have seen the affects of people who are on methadone for a long time. Has your doctor mentioned a blind reduction to you? Apparently it works for some people. I really believe you can get off your methadone and your life will be better for it. And then hopefully you will beat your ED demons. I look forward to reading more about your fight and your success in building your new life

    L x

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  2. Hey L,

    Thank you so much for your comment, it truly made my heart swell
    I often wonder who if anyone reads what I write so it's so good to know that there are people like you following my story

    No I've never heard of a blind reduction but I'd love to know what that means
    If you could let me know that would be great

    Thank you for your well wishes, it really means a lot x

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  3. Ruby, I hope you choose life... Almost 13 weeks I ago, I chose life and I have not looked back... I don't have ED as you know but I had so many other things. It is worth the change, it is worth working towards... 13 short weeks ago I had no life, now I do and you can too... I keep hoping you can find the strength to choose life over ED... (I am so glad you messaged me on my blog one day... you helped me change)

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    1. You've helped me too Launna
      I'm so glad that things are better for you now
      You've put in so much effort and you deserve a happy and healthy life

      Keep fighting the good fight x

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  4. I found your blog when I was looking for information about a documentary called "Don't call me crazy" which you had reviewed. I liked your writing style and I am interested in eating disorders because I once lived with a girl with anorexia for a few months. Its difficult to be on the outside and not even be able to tell someone they look "good" because of what that might mean to them. Its nice to hear the other side.

    There might be other names but a blind dose reduction is when they reduce the methadone you take without you knowing. I think they top it up with syrup or something so you take the same volume but less actual methadone. It is very personal though, its good if you want to reduce but can't see past the numbers but not so good if you like to be in control. Can be risky and end up with the person back on a higher dose but might be worth looking into. I'm sure if you google it there will be some info

    x

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    1. Wow that sounds very interesting
      I can see how it could work for some people because a lot of the reliance on methadone is psychological
      I think I am a person who can't see past the numbers so I don't know it would work for me
      But yea, I will definitely google it and read a bit more about it

      Thanks for the info x

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    2. Just keep on pushing yourself to take little steps whenever you can. You have come so far already, you can do this too x

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    3. I'll do my best and yes baby steps add up to be great strides x

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  5. Bonjour, mon amie. Maintaining is...good I'd say. Obviously, it would be good to gain over time, but I think the way to do it is gain-maintain that gain, then slowly add more, that way it gives time to adjust and adapt to it. A year into recovery and I've maintained the same 2-3 pounds. 19 could be a high bmi, because I believe you mentioned your weight vs how you look is very different, which can be common in many people. But sometimes you just have to force yourself.

    I've been thinking of sharing your story with a friend of mine who is struggling quite a lot, she recently "tested" (I use quotes because America has a bullshit system of diagnosing) positive for whatever the official disgnosis was and because of that can't go abroad next year, she's crushed. She's struggled fora very long time, and just doesn't know what she can do anymore, I thought of sharing your story with her because it's one I respect very much. I just wondered if that was alright.

    Love you so much dear, tu es magnifique. (I'm practicing my French)

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    1. Yes, feel free to share my story of you think it will help your friend. That is the reason I put my story out there, in the hope that it may just help someone
      Let me know how it goes x

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  6. Hey Ruby, your head must be spinning with so many thoughts, I hope you are managing the whirl wind as best as you can! It is so hard to know the logic of recovery (Eat, gain weight, over time mentally recover, and hopefully as time passes reach for a better life that so many people seem to achieve), yet knowing at the same time that your ED still pulls you back because being without it seems about as attractive as jumping into a shark tank. I hope in your mind over time you can find some comfort and resolution.
    The Purging is very difficult to overcome, the way I would try to look at it, is just to take one day at a time, don't think about tomorrow how you musn't purge, and how the pressure is on to not screw it up; I think that adds more pressure and is ironically more likely to make you resort to purging. I'm making goals for myself too this week to not b/p, and although i'd like to manage for a week I am just going to take one day at a time, and keep busy! Out of the house! I think also part of the problem is trusting that nothing terrible will happen to you if you don't purge what you eat; it's hard to take that leap of faith. Hope you have a nice birthday, mine's on the 10th, so soon as well. Take care! xxx

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    1. My head is spinning V, that's exactly how I feel
      I'm just so tired of being this way yet I can't seem to let it go
      It's like I can't live with this ED but I also can't live without it
      It's a love/hate relationship
      I know that you understand

      Yes, one day at a time is a good place to start
      Or even one meal at a time

      Oh you're a virgo too!
      Are you a typical virgo?

      Take care of you too x

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    2. Hi Ruby, I suppose I would say I was a typical Virgo- quite pessimistic, not easily trusting, always assumes the worst, massive worrier. But on the plus side I hear that virgo's are meant to be loyal friends, despite constantly analysing everything. I read that a Virgo's worst trait is that they are very judgemental of themselves, which I think is true for me. How about you? Hope your mind has found some quiet. Xxx

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    3. I don't know if I'm a typical virgo
      I've read that they are perfectionists and like order and control
      I'm live that to a certain extent
      But yes I am fiercely loyal to family and friends so in that sense I am quite typical

      I'm blown over by the response to this post
      It means so much that people can relate
      It makes me feel like I'm not alone x

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  7. Because I developed mine at such a going age it didn't matter that I had it. I was doing fantastic in school, graduated first in my class, got accepted into my university, it was fine. It wasn't until this last year that I truly realized that this wasn't going to be okay, living like this. My friends were now graduating with their degrees and getting engaged. They were getting real jobs and I was struggling to commit to what I wanted to do long term, staying with a guy that I didn't see myself happy with long term. There came a point when I saw that I had to choose to work on being healthy and let myself grow up or I had to stay stuck in unhappiness.
    I'm not saying it isn't hard, but it's worth it. I love coming down to the kitchen and eating three things for breakfast and a big old lunch and not having to be manic from depression and starvation. (Now it's just the usual college mania :D) I like being strong. I can have a low BMI by eating a lot and lifting weights and that's something I can enjoy doing. Before, I constantly had to eat less and less to get the same affect. Now I'm applying for a counseling graduate program. now I have an amazing boyfriend. I think you should try, Ruby. what do you have to lose? What's so amazing about about purging and being worried all the time about things your ED dictates? Nothing. I completely understand how hard it is because it's been my life too. But when you get an inch of happiness, you never want to go back. Anything you have to lose is better than years of your life trapped.

    Lots of good thoughts and prayers and a hug for good measure..:)

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    1. Things seem to have turned around for you so quickly Eve and that is great
      I know that as quickly as things can spiral downwards, they can also improve as quickly too, I need to remember that

      I guess I got a glimpse of what my life could like this summer but instead of embracing it, I ran in the opposite direction
      It's my 2 old friends fear and anxiety rearing their ugly heads

      I'm so glad that you have found a way out, it gives me hope x

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  8. I think one of the biggest struggles with our eating disorders is the short leash it has on us. Like one of those retractable leashes that lets you get a bit further, then one split second later, you're pulled back to where it wants to keep you. I pray one day you can run away from all of this.
    Lots of love. XOXO

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    1. That'a a great description Katie
      That's exactly the way it is
      I guess the goal is to break free completely

      I hope so too, hope you're doing ok x

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  9. I may be going against the grain here but I can't agree with a BMI of 19 being 'high'...how you THINK you look and how you look to most other people are clearly very different and even if you gained xxkg/lbs, I still could not see you as looking remotely overweight (from what I've seen of you in photos). My personal belief (as someone both with an ed and who works in mental health) is that true recovery comes when you no longer have to use weight management behaviours, be they restricting, purging, exercising etc Not saying the rest is easy (ie all the mind crap) but I wonder whether getting to AT LEAST 19 will give you a fighting chance. Having your life ruled by purging and all the other crap is just plain miserable. I may come across as not understanding and I don't mean to be. I myself am really struggling with the notion of getting to a 'healthy BMI' yet I can't deny that every single person I know who has recovered, has done so much better once they are truly weight restored I think 'oh it's different for me because I already look overweight at an underweight BMI'...but even if that were the case, do I want to spend the rest of my life watching everyone else get on with life and me being stuck in this hell? Not easy to answer but I believe in you and I wish you could see what the rest of us see...and that is a beautiful woman who has so much to give and gain and yet is trapped in hell. I know which path I'd be encouraging you to take at the crossroads xx

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    1. I have to admit that I was a bit taken aback by that comment and wasn't sure how to respond. I had typed a reply but deleted it
      I did make a comment a few posts ago that I thought that even though the number on the scale said I was underweight, that I thought I looked like I weighed more so I think she was referencing that
      But even so, a BMI of 19 is by no means high
      It's the lower end of a healthy weight

      No, I definitely don't want to spectator in this life
      I can't think of anything worse than watching others live the life that I crave
      I would imagine that I would become very bitter and resentful and I don't want that

      No, you don't come across as not understanding
      In fact I appreciate your honesty
      I would rather hear the truth than what people think I want to hear so thank you for that

      I hope we can both take the right path and be free of this thing once and for all x

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  10. Happy Birthday! Take your day to reflect on where you've been and where you want to go. I think you've made a lot of progress, especially in your thinking this past year.
    19 is a low BMI still, and I know you know that but keep reminding yourself. Most people are 21 and above (including me). Being a little bigger than you are now won't make you fat, it won't make you fatter than everyone else, and it won't prevent you from enjoying yourself. In fact, it may even make your days more enjoyable.
    Whatever you do, love yourself!

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    1. Thanks Emily, it actually not until Saturday but I guess it's on my mind
      I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that it's important that I gain weight
      It's hard but I'm sure I'll get my head around it x

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  11. I can relate to only moving sideways. When old friends contact me and ask what I've been up to, I don't have anything to say. I just bounce from side to side, but stay much in the same place.
    A BMI of 19 is by no definition high, but I know it's still hard to wrap your head around. Just a thought: If you don't feel comfortable gaining straight to a BMI of 19, could you compromise for a smaller goal first, maintain for a while, then go for 19? It might give you more time to readjust.

    And happy birthday for Saturday dear. Love you, sending huge hugs <3 xx

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    1. Yes Bella, I think that is the only way that I could manage the gain, having little goals instead of one big goal

      Thanks for the birthday wishes lovely

      Love you too x

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  12. I often feel the same way, stuck between wanting to get better and wanting to embrace my disorder. But we both know that the only way to ever have a real life is to get better. The only way to go forwards instead is to get better. And you will not be fat at a BMI of 19...you might feel fat, but you feel that way at your current BMI, and you would at 5 less..it's time to fight the "fat feeling" and try to find a healthy feeling. I'm really really rooting for you Ruby...you're doing a number to your body and you don't deserve that at all. Keep fighting. Trust Mary.

    And please have a most wonderful birthday! Try to lock your ED up for the day and enjoy it :)

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    1. It's true Anna, I can't stay this way and have recovery
      It just doesn't work

      Thank you and yes hopefully she will not make an appearance at my birthday x

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  13. I identify with this sooooooo so so much. I am in complete denial that my weight needs to go up for me to recover.
    I convince myself and attempt to convince others that it is my thoughts, rituals and ocd which ana generates that is trapping me. The weight is a minor thing.
    However the thought of not losing weight ever again let alone having to GAIN weight makes me feel almost suicidal.....what does that tell you- other than I am totally not ok if this is how I feel about weight.
    I too, feel like I am stunted in my growth as a person. I am making progress to adulthood but it is much, much delayed and I feel it goes at snails pace and is 100x harder for me because I am having to battle and push through all my usual ana boundries to contastly push through comfort zones and rituals. It is exhauting.
    It is a negative cycle- an ED will keep you in the same place but by the time you realise you want that to change you are too demoralised and feeling shit because you feel so much of an amoeba compared to everyone else your age that you feel too depressed and lacking in confidence to try and push forward.
    I guess you have to try and think that it is never to late to recover, never too late to start life.
    Who cares if it takes you ten, twenty even thirty or more yeards to grow up. The achievement is the same if not greater than if you had done it at the same time as everyone else.
    We'll grow up together Ruby!
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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    1. I'm glad but sad that you can identify Katie
      I wouldn't wish being this way on anyone

      It is exhausting being this, I totally agree
      When I went away a couple of weeks ago I really got on with my 13 year old nephew
      My sister was saying that we are like brother and sister and that we dress the same and that I act like a teenager
      She's right I am like a teenager because I have never grown up
      I think it's called Peter Pan Syndrome

      Yes, let's grow up together! x

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  14. Addictions and obsessions can control us, even when we know better. You may not think you are moving forward but we all do. No one stands still. If you are not growing you are decaying. I could say all this to myself.

    Mostly I don't feel like growing either. Decaying is easy, no one stops you because it is a settle movement forward.

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  15. Like you said about the methadone, if you waited to do weight restoration until you were ready, it would never happen :p If you got up to a BMI of 19 your body and brain would work so much better and you wouldn't run the risk of incurring more bone loss and brain mass loss due to being underweight. (Last stat I read was that people who are chronically and consistently underweight lose an average of 15% of their brain mass. Ouch. The brain is a hungry, hungry organ and your body has to cut it's losses somewhere to keep your heart going)

    I guess for you purging has replaced digestion.

    Miserable and trapped forever or unhappy with the bod but free to do all the things ED is keeping you from? Pros and cons list? (They're fucking cliche but they help sometimes. Helped me dump a toxic ex, lol)

    Take care of yourself as much as you can, ok? Love you to bits and HAPPY RUBYDAY! Can I send you a bday card? Pwease?

    <3

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    1. Yes Peri, I think I'm long over due a pros can cons list
      One to be following shortly

      Yes I would just love a birthday card from you!
      It would make my day!

      Loooove you x

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  16. Ruby as one of the "older" chicks with ED, I understand what you mean about your life verse your friends lives. I didn't expect my life to be this way either, I thought I would be different. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that this is my life and if I want it to be different I must make it different. I saw pictures of my ex-boyfriends 2 year old daughter and I can't believe that in a different world I culd be the one with a child.

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    1. Yes we are over the hill compared to a lot of girls here but that's ok, we're representing a silent minority

      Comparing is so dangerous, nothing good ever comes from it
      Must remember that the next time I'm on Facebook! x

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  17. Hi Ruby,
    Your honesty is admirable. That is so important. Your writing is flowing and full of vulnerability. You know I binged and purged almost every day for 21 years. I know what it feels like to be addicted to that behavior. That has changed a lot in the last year. I’ve had longer and longer stretches of binge/purge free days in a row. It started to shift when I created my own makeshift treatment plan which included tapering off the behavoir….aka harm reduction but with a definite gradual reduction over time. I’m pretty sure there were a few other important things I started doing too….like pouring myself into my blog. Before my blog I didn’t talk about my eating disorder except a tiny bit to my husband and a therapist. Being able to write about it and be heard by kind people has been tremendous for me in reducing the stranglehold of shame and isolation.

    I know each person has to find their own solution for their healing and recovery. But I just wanted to share that even tho we do the behavior for years it might be possible to quit. I won’t say “if I can do it you can do it” I hate it when people say that. But I hope that it gives hope to hear that another person who was enslave for 21 years is breaking free. I hope I am. I’m not solid in my abstinence yet but it is getting better and I don’t feel that I HAVE to b/p like I used to. And I can eat and enjoy food more now. There are a lot of health consequences that I still am dealing with and might never be able to eat ‘normally’ but I dont’ mean I’ve turned disordered in a controlling way…just that I have damaged my gut and it’s delicate to find the foods I can digest. But I’m finding it.

    I also have been mourning all the loss of what I could have been, what I could have developed in the way of a career and creativity with dance. I’ve just had to feel that pain a lot and express it. That is the way to heal and move on. I still have life and many things of beauty to discover. You are younger than me. Maybe you too can heal beyond the addictions and discover a new level of your deeper beautiful self that might be hard for you to imagine right now. I believe in you and that you have gifts that are waiting to be developed and contributed to the world.

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Thank you for leaving some love x