Thursday, 27 March 2014

Darkness to light

Ever since I was discharged from hospital 6 weeks ago, I've been trying my level best to pretend that everything is fine
That I'm fine
That my life is fine
That everything is tickity-freakin'-boo
I've put on an all singing, all dancing show that I am ok
I had got so good at it that I had almost convinced myself

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my 'half hearted overdose'
I thought I had got over it
I thought I was ok
But this week I found myself again, sitting with a bag of medication in front of me trying to think of one reason not to take it all
I felt like I was breaking down
The anxiety was overwhelming
And the binging and purging was endless
The only person who knew about the previous over dose was my mother
I didn't tell my doctor as I thought he would stop all my meds
So I carried on like nothing had happened

On Tuesday I saw Mary
I wasn't planning on telling her but somehow I just blurted it out
I told her I was thinking of doing it again
She took immediate action and asked me to wait outside while she rang my psychiatrist
Having spoke to him, she told me that I had 2 choices
I could either present at female admissions in the local psychiatric hospital
Or wait for an appointment with my psychiatrist the following day
I agreed to the latter

Mary asked me to phone my mother which I did and she immediately came home
She also asked me to guarantee my safety  until tomorrow
I agreed
But when I got home it all got too much and I overused my meds again
Not too much to call it an overdose but enough to knock me out

I was nervous to see my psychiatrist the next morning
My mother came with me
I explained the situation to me
He said that I need extra support
And I do
I really do
He also prescribed me prozac which has proven very effective in people with eds
He talked at great length at how important it is to have a structure to my day
I agree
At the moment I have no purpose
No reason to get up in the morning
I am just floating along
So he is going to have someone from occupational therapy contact me
I left feeling slightly better
Slightly more hopeful

I have since told a couple of people how bad things are at the moment
I have to say I was surprised and relieved at how great people been
And it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders
I don't have to pretend now
I don't have to wear the 'I'm fine' mask

I'm just back from seeing Mary again today
She is being amazing as always
We talked a lot about anxiety today as mine seems to be getting worse
She assures me that when regular eating is established that both mood and anxiety improve greatly
That itself is a motivator
I swear I can't stand this constant fear that's inside me
It effects everything that I do and stops me from doing most things that I want to do
I made a plan with Mary for the week
I have to do it
More than having to do it, I want to do it

The point of this post is not to tell you about my horrible week
It's to tell you that there is help
That you don't have to do this alone
I think that eating disorders thrive on secrecy and lies
We keep so much to ourselves because we are afraid
Afraid of our coping mechanism being taken away
Afraid that people won't understand
That they will judge us or think less of us
Afraid of being a burden
Of letting people down
But most of all we are afraid of life without our eating disorder
Who will we be?
What will we do?
What if we fail?
What if we're not good enough?
What if people don't like us?
What if?
What if?
What if?.........

Up until yesterday I really thought that pretending I was ok was best for everyone
My parents wouldn't worry
My doctor wouldn't change my meds
Everything was just ticking along and as long as Ruby seemed ok there was no panic
But the thing about this is that you can only pretend you're ok for so long
It's exhausting
It's draining
It's impossible to maintain

I didn't want to ask for help
I felt that I should be able to do this alone
I felt I was weak
It came down to 2 choices
Either lie down and admit defeat and take that bag of medication
Or reach out and tell someone
I'm so glad that I choose the latter
Because I do need help
And there is no shame in that

If you are anything like me you probably compare yourself to everyone and anyone
I look at other people and see them holding down jobs and raising children and being an all round superwoman
I spend so much time doing this that I forget about me
I forget that I am enough
I am a good person
I am able and strong and I can do these things too
My psychiatrist told me yesterday that I have many chronic conditions
I was quite shocked to hear this
I had never heard anyone put it like that before
I had always out my behaviours down  to being a bad person
I have to remind myself that I am sick
I am unwell
I do need help
I do need support
And that's ok

What I am trying to say here is that if you are struggling today
If you are feeling beaten and broken
If you can't see anyway out
If you have lost all hope
If you feel that you can't take anymore
Please tell someone
If there is only one thing you do today, tell someone
I promise you the relief you will feel is immense
Sharing the burden will make you feel so much better
After all if a friend came to you with a problem, wouldn't you do everything in your power to help them?
So whether it's your mother or father, your sister, your friend, your doctor
Tell someone
Do it today
I did it and I am already starting to feel better
A little bit stronger
A little bit more in control of my own life

You are not what your ed would have you believe
You are not fat or ugly
You are not a bad person
You are not selfish or needy
You are not a burden
Don't let your ed tell you otherwise

I know that I have a long way to go
I know that recovery is a lifetime or work
I don't profess to be doing it all perfectly
I'm still in it up to my neck
But this week I made a start
I broke my silence and told someone
And the help and support I got this week was amazing
With the help of my friends and family, I now feel like I have chance
A chance to live
You can too
It's right there, you just need to reach out and grab it

Today I feel hopeful
That I am not a lost cause
You're not either
Please remember that
We can do this
We can go from darkness to light

Monday, 24 March 2014

Secretly Starving

I wrote a couple of months ago about a reporter from The Daily Telegraph called Sarah Rainey who contacted me because she was writing an article about blogs about eating disorders
I answered some questions for her and the article was published last month to coincide with Eating Disorders Awareness Week
Here's the link

Friday, 21 March 2014

I saw Mary yesterday
For the first time since last September
I was nervous to say the least
Walking up the hill to the centre loads of memories came flooding back
The pub I used to go in to to purge
The chemist I used to get my enemas
I was early so I sat in the reception area to wait
This place is like a general health centre so there are lots of comings and goings
I love to people watch so I took a seat at the back for optimal viewing

I saw a woman come in with her two little girls
I man taking selfies of himself and his baby
I heard a woman talking about growing apple trees in her back garden
I could have sat there all day

Mary called me in
We walked down the corridor
It's a long hall
I peeked in to some of the rooms
The were all set up for therapy
Two chairs facing each other
The weighing scales
And the obligatory box of tissues

I sat down with Mary
My anxiety was massive
I could feel myself holding tension in my neck and shoulders
And my face was twitching too

I explained my current situation
That I been in and out of hospital twice in the last 6 months
How I get so far and then I get scared and retreat back in to my eating disorder
We went through that pros and cons of living this way
She asked me what I want to receive from this treatment
I don't want much
I just want to break this viscous cycle that I am in
Establish regular eating without purging
All I want is a life
A place of my own
A circle of friends
A partner
And of course lots of animals
I want piece of mind
To be happy in my own skin
To not hate myself so much
To not have a passive deathwish

I came out of the session feeling motivated
Feeling strong and ready to fight

Mary said that for the moment we concentrate on not losing weight and tackling my behaviours
I know that weight will increase though if I continue this way

All through the session, I was distracted by the black and white scales in the corner
Eventually she asked me to stand on it
I figured that it wouldn't be a true reading as it was mid afternoon and I had a lot of clothes on
Although my weight stayed the exact same

Overall the past week has been better
Since I hit rock bottom two weeks ago, I have tried hard not to give in to my ed
I pushed myself to get out of the house
To meet friends
To take car of myself, my home and my dogs
And it feels good to take responsibility
To be independent
I'm an adult for God's sake
It's time I started acting like one

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Clare Richards - Slave To Food

I watched a documentary this week called Clare Richards - Slave to food
Some of you will know Clare as the lead singer from the pop group Steps which was around from 1997 - 2001

Since the band split up Clare has become infamous for a very different reason
Her weight
While in Steps, Clare maintained a very slim size 8 figure
But after the break up of the band Clare gained 4 stone

Desperately unhappy in her own skin, Clare vowed to lose the weight and participated in a magazine shoot to show off her new size 12 figure

Since then, Clare has lost and gained the same 25kilos over and over again
And the media was there every step of the way to document her journey

I think Slave to food was made 2 or 3 years ago
It was a fly on the wall documentary showing first hand her battle with the bulge
Clare admitted that while in Steps, she survived on little more than one meal a day
She said that she bigger than the other two girls in the group and felt huge pressure to remain thin
Once the band split Clare turned to food to help her cope

I thought the documentary was quite good
Clare was very honest about her struggles
She was aware that her battle with her weight had overshadowed any of her singing work and she hated that
She confessed to having low self esteem and said she was an addict
Some people turn to drink and drugs
Clare turned to food

I could identify with Clare a lot
I think that we are on opposite sides of the same spectrum
She said that she feels out of control when it comes to food
I feel the exact same
If I didn't purge I would surely be the same size as her
I swing between anorexia and bulimia
There is no inbetween
No middle ground
I do believe that it is possible to be addicted to food
For me, food can be an escape
For those few moments that I am munching through a bowl of pasta, I am in heaven
All I'm thinking is how good this food tastes
It's a high
A temporary high
As I am still chewing the last mouthful, I am already on my way to the bathroom
It's just completely out of the question that I would keep this food down
The full feeling and the anxiety is just too much to bear
Purging itself is addictive
The relief
The instant gratification
The feeling of being empty
And so I do it again and again and again........

A question that struck me while watching this show is when does an unhealthy relationship with food become an eating disorder
Yes, Clare's relationship with food was definitely negative and unhealthy
But I think it's safe to say that she doesn't have an eating disorder
So what's the difference between her and me?
I think the same question can be posed to a drug user
When does drug taking turn in to drug addiction?
I can only speak for myself
With my own drug using, I knew it was turning in to addiction when it began to take over my life
When it effected every area of my life from work to health to relationships
And the negative consequences began to outweigh the positives
It's the same with my ed
My relationship with food started to turn in to an ed when my life began to revolve around it
When it took up every waking moment
Every thought in my head
It became the only thing of any importance in my life
Nothing else mattered

A lot of people have food issues
Heck, nearly every woman I know has a complicated relationship with food
But most people manage it
They maintain normality in their lives
They hold down jobs
Have healthy relationships
My ed is all consuming
I think about it all day
That's when it becomes dangerous

So many women struggle with food and weight and body image
Clare is no different
Towards the end of the documentary Clare was starting to gain control of her life
It's something that she will have to watch probably for the rest of her life
It's the same for someone living with an ed
It's an ongoing battle
But I imagine that it's worth it
What's the alternative?
Certain misery and not much more

When do you think a persons relationship with food turns in to an eating disorder?

Monday, 17 March 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

It's the 17th of March
St. Patrick's Day
I'm ashamed to admit that I had to ask my mother to remind what St. Patrick's Day is all about
Because you see in this country, to most people, this day means two things

1. Day off work

2. Almighty piss up!!

I'm sure that I did know somewhere in the back of my head what this day means but I needed a little reminder
Basically St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland
And banished all of the snakes
The snakes being a symbol of evil and the Devil

History lesoen over

In my former life I was one of those people heading to the pub today
I was downing pints and knocking back shots and taking whatever was going
Not anymore

Today I got up early and went for a walk with my mum and dogs
I could tell you about about it
Instead here's some photos for your delectation

Lea enjoying a dip!

Missing shoe!

Mum and me selfie-ing!


Happy St. Patrick's Day!
What are you doing today to celebrate?

Thursday, 13 March 2014

For you

This week has been hard
On Monday when I stocked up on my meds, I took a handful of them in a bid to escape reality and get out of my own head
I remember nothing about that day other than my mother being really annoyed with me (and rightly so) and spilling endless cups of tea
I woke up on Tuesday morning with a foggy head
I checked my meds to see how much I had taken
There were 6 sleeping tablets and 6 anti anxiety meds missing
I also had mysterious burns on my legs
I hate that I worried my mother so much
I hate that I am doing this to myself and my family
It felt like I had hit a rock bottom
My self worth was at an all time low

I woke up on Wednesday morning determined to turn things around
I arranged to meet up with a girl that I was in treatment with
But even leaving the house was a massive deal
Dressing was difficult
And I was anxious about driving my new car
What if I crash?
What if I leave the cooker on and the house burns down while I am gone?
What if I can't cope?
What if? What if? What if?..........

Anyway I managed to leave my house and set off
It was lovely to see my friend
She is doing great
Now she struggles but she is not letting her ed win
We had a great chat
We talked about how our eds stem from negative core beliefs
I'm not good enough
I'm not smart enough
I'm not pretty enough or thin enough
I'm not enough
I felt so much better after speaking to her
You know the way negativity can rub off on you?
It seems that positivity does too
As the saying goes 'You are the company you keep'
And in case you're wondering
I didn't crash my car
I didn't kill anyone
And the house didn't burn down while I was out
Go figure.........

Today I met another friend
She also has an ed but is doing very well
I haven't seen her in quite a while and as she talked I couldn't help but feel a little sad
She told me about the concert she had been to at the weekend
The new guy she was seeing
I was so delighted for her but I also felt upset for me
I guess comparing myself to her it emphasized hoe small and limited my life has become
And all I have to show for it is an emaciated body
I want what she has
I want to want to live
I want to be going to concerts and meeting new people
I want out of this shitty way of life

I had a very honest chat with my mother at the weekend
We spoke about my life and where I've ended up
It seems that the older I get, the harder things become
I remember when I was a teenager I was fearless
I didn't have the fear and anxiety that I have now
I'm sure I had a bit of anxiety back then but it didn't stop me living my life
Nowadays even the smallest task seems insurmountable
I have very little self confidence
If I have to make a decision, even something small like what type of bread to buy, I just can't do it without running it by someone
I have no confidence that the choice I make will be the right choice
I'm so afraid of getting it wrong
Here is an example.....

When I was looking for a car I had narrowed it down to two choices
One was an automatic
The other a manual
The decision about which car to choose drove me damn near bananas
I asked everyone and anyone what they thought and which would they choose
I knew that I preferred the automatic but I wanted to make the right decision
After some deliberation I went for the automatic
But I was still so afraid that I had made the wrong decision
I needed so much reassurance before I finally accepted that my own decision was the right decision

This week has given me a glimpse of what my life could be like without my ed
I saw that I have friends
Friends who like me for me
Not for what I look like or what I have
I'm still quite surprised when one of then wants to meet me
I think to myself 'Why do you want to see me? I'm not a good friend or a good person'
But they do want to see me
Because I do have something to offer
Because the like me
Why is that so hard to accept?
Maybe because I don't like myself very much, I struggle  to accept that others like me
I feel like I am a burden to my family and friends
That they would be better off without me
But as my mother said to me recently
There is only one of me
I am irreplacable
I'm an important part of my family
Yes, I am not well
But I am not a burden
I'm not dragging people down
I'm ill
I'm not a bad person

Today I just wanted to remind you of this
You are important
You are unique and special
No one can take your place
There has never been anyone like and there never will be
You are worth it
You are worth getting well
You don't have to punish yourself
You deserve to nourish your body and allow yourself to eat
Please don't forget that
I am saying this as much for myself as I am for you
God knows we have suffered enough
We deserve to be gentle and kind to ourselves
It's not selfish
It's not self centered
It's taking care of ourselves
Putting ourselves first
Because we matter
Because we want to live

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The New Car!

I bought a new car this week
I say 'I' but I did have a little help financially
I also say 'new' as in it's new to me, not brand new
I had my old car for about 5 years
It was 15, yes 15 years old
Just about verging on being a banger
I can't complain about my old car though
It served me well and rarely gave me any trouble
But really it was the dogs car
They had completely taken it over
They absolutely love going in the car
The minute they hear the rattle of the car keys they're on their feet and ready to go
Lea is a big dog so she takes up most of the back seat
And Miss Honey has her own little place up in the back window

Old car, looking well at the grand ol' age of 15

I'm so excited about having a new car
It's all bright and shiny and I am so proud to drive it

The only thing is the new car is automatic
I have never driven an automatic before so I had lots of fun trying to get the hang of it
I nearly put my mother through the windscreen quite a few times!

I didn't want to put my dogs in the new car
My old car was destroyed on the inside with dogs hairs and sand and drool
So determined to keep the new car spic and span, I decided to put them in the boot as it is an open boot
Here's how that went....

First I tried to coax Lea in
She got totally confused and kept going over to the old car
Then I decided to lift Honey in it
Once she was in she got very territorial and growled at Lea when she tried to get in
Scratch that idea

I thought the jump in to the car was too high for her so I put a chair out for Lea
But she just got even more confused.....

Then I decided to get in to the boot in the hope that she would follow me in
That went well......

Scratch that idea too

Eventually Lea finally realised what I wanted her to do
She jumped from the ground straight in to the boot and over the back seat
Lea 1
Ruby 0

In the end the dogs got their way and sat in the back seat
Ah well there's always tomorrow........

Monday, 3 March 2014

It's ok not to be ok

Following my post titled Anybody out there? I received a few emails from bloggers who have stopped blogging or deleted their blogs
Many had stopped blogging because they felt blogging was helping them
They felt it kept them completely locked in to their eating disorder
Although I was sad to see them go, part of me was happy that they had identified that blogging was not a force for good in their lives and wanted to  move on
I can relate to feeling this way
I am blogging almost 2 years now
In the beginning it was a really positive thing in my life
I had isolated myself so much from the real world and I was incredibly lonely and sad
Blogging opened up a whole new world to me
One where I could talk to others in the same position as me
Back then there was a real buzz about blogger
There was a thriving community and it was really exciting to be a part of it
This changed over time though
So many people have come and gone
Often without a word of why they were stopping blogging

I've written about this before
How I'm not sure if blogging helps or hinders me
There is no question in my mind that there are positives to writing
But there are also many negatives
I spend so much time thinking, talking and writing about my ed
I know that I want to recover I have to replace my ed with something more constrctive
But the thing is that I don't know if I can recover
I don't know if I'm strong enough
I don't know how I'll cope
I don't know if I want it enough

Having an ed is like having a bully take up residence in your head
She constantly puts me down
She tells me I am weak
I am a failure
I am fat
I'm worthless
That I have nothing to offer
That my family would be better off without me
There is an endless negative commentary running in my head 24 hours a day
It's exhausting
It's draining
It's utterly soul destroying

I do believe that people can and do recover
But I'm starting to wonder if it will ever happen for me
I look in the mirror and I see an old woman's face
It's frightening

And it's not just me that this cruel illness effects
Like ripples in a pool, it effects everyone around me to varying degrees
My mother has started attending a support group to help her deal with it
I forget sometimes how hard it is for my family
I can't imagine how heartbreaking it must be to witness someone you love slowly kill themselves
I know that I couldn't handle it

I feel quite beaten and broken at the moment
I just can't seem to get out of my own way
My hope is dwindling
My belief in myself is at an all time low
My faith is non existent
This may sound like I am giving up
And in a way I have
I'm just so tired of fighting this demon
Day in day out

Apologies such a depressing post but I have to be honest and tell it as it is

I thank God for my two wonderful dogs
They have saved my life over and over again