Monday, 28 July 2014

For every cloud........

It's strange how an eating disorder can change and morph over time
Rewind to 2000
I was 19 years old
And already knee deep in to a nasty heroin addiction (Is there any other kind?)
I had lost a lot of weight
But put that down to the drug
Everyone knows that drug addicts are skinny and scrawny
And I was no different
I was quite oblivious to it really
I was always quite slim anyway
Having found out about my drug use
My parents frogmarched me in to a detox unit in a hospital in Dublin
It was sheer hell
A locked ward
Cameras every where
I was a young girl from the country
Surrounded by hardened addicts
I was in way over my head

I wasn't eating
But I didn't think anything of it
Then I noticed that I was being watched at meal times
Soon after that of the nurses sat me down one day
I remember her name was Anna
I had affectionately nick-named her Anna-conda
She told me very bluntly that I had anorexia
I was beyond shocked
And refused to believe
I couldn't take it in
Not only had I a drug addiction to deal with
Now they are throwing an eating disorder at me
I was incredibly upset
I remember telling my mother that the very idea was ridiculous
I didn't want her to worry any more that she had to

After that I went out of my way to prove that I didn't have an ED
However I didn't eat
I hid food in my locker
Flushed it down the toilet
But I was still adamant that I did not have this illness
After the detox I was supposed to go to a treatment centre
However I wasn't physically strong enough so they wouldn't accept me
I was discharged from the detox unit soon after
I relapsed within hours

Around this time I continued to lose weight
But I still couldn't accept that I was ill
Back then I went for days without eating
I never felt hungry
Not eating made me feel good
I remember looking at how concave my stomach was
I was proud of it

I used to stay in my boyfriends house when I was using
There was never a scrap of food in the house
When the drugs ran out I went home to recharge my batteries
I remember being so overwhelmed by all the food
This is when I started binging and purging
I felt so guilty that I had food and my boyfriend didn't
I remember bringing bags of food out to his house for him
He was so skinny too
I always felt bigger than him

So now my eating disorder had morphed from anorexia to bulimia
But I still refused to acknowledge it
I didn't know what was happening to me
I couldn't understand it
I felt so out of control
I hated it

Over the next few years I bounced between anorexia and bulimia
I gained and lost weight over and over again
It wasn't until 2004 that I finally admitted that I had an eating disorder
I couldn't deny it any more
It was incredibly difficult to come to terms with
I didn't want to have an ED
I just wanted to be normal

I have never been able to restrict the way I did back then
Not that that's a bad thing
As I have grown older I have lost that control
Has that happened to you?
It seems that it has happened to a lot of people that I know with EDs
I don't know what happens
Maybe my body just won't let me do that any more
It craves food
It wants to be nourished
That is natural I guess

I have never fit neatly in to any one label
I have a mixture of addiction, anorexia and bulimia
I guess you would call it cross addicted
It makes life quite difficult
Because I have an addictive personality
I have to be careful
I can't drink
I have to be careful with meds
I have to be aware of it all the time

But don't feel sorry for me
Don't pity me
I have learned to live with these conditions
I am used to it
And it's not all bad
I am the person I am today because of the experiences I have had
It's made me stronger
It's made me sensitive
And empathetic
In a strange way it also brought me closer to my family
For every cloud there is a silver lining

I was wondering about
Has your eating disorder changed over time?
How so?


  1. I haven't been around much lately; things have been difficult. Things are still difficult.
    I've been reading your blog as always, I just haven't had any words to comment. But I was moved out of my reticence by this post.

    My ED (as much as I will allow myself to believe I have one) has morphed at lot over the years.

    Initially ED-NOS with obsessive exercising. I was restricting a lot and with the exercise, I remember eating one day and feeling so hungry and out of control, and so confused about what I was allowed to eat I purged. Enter bulimia.

    I think if I had continued with my other behaviours I would have eventually met the weight criteria for anorexia. Instead I spent four years binging and purging, drinking heavily and my weight plateaued. I was exhausted from bulimia and my personal circumstances changed so I knew I couldn't continue the way I was.

    I stopped purging but the binging continued, I was smoking and drinking heavily. My weight increased a lot. Honestly, it was about the worst self harm I could do. It was mental torture. Those were dark dark days.

    A few years ago I quit smoking, cut right back on drinking, started running again and gradually got control on binging. My weight has come down steadily.

    And now? Well, I seem to be falling right back into square one. ED-NOS. Low end of healthy BMI. I'm restricting a lot, exercising quite compulsively and I have weight loss goals. I also purged a couple of times recently when I ate "too much".

    Honestly though, I'm a bit scared and confused at the moment. I don't want to go down the rabbit hole of anorexia. I'm also an addictive person and I know if I go too far with this I'll have a big problem. I really really don't want the madness of bulimia.

    But I also want to lose weight and I want to feel in control. I feel a little bit like I'm playing a dangerous game, I'm not avoiding my triggers and I'm not trying to be healthy or sensible about my intake. I'm playing with fire and I'm enjoying it. And that's scary as hell.

    Sorry for the long post, I guess I just wanted to tell someone.

    Cee x

  2. I was good at restricting and exercising when I was younger. Now I find that I have to eat or my whole body shuts down, especially if I add exercise.

  3. I am just back from visiting my family. It was a day's drive and two weeks of stress. We returned yesterday and I immediately went to the grocery store, as the kitchen was bare. I bought more than I have in months. This morning I sent my family off on their days and started B/P and catching up on blogs.

    Your post made me stop and think about what I was doing, and how I survived the last two weeks. I didn't eat much during my visit, constantly aware of my intake and thinking people were watching me. I would sneak food around the clock but managed to keep it all down (well, except once).

    Now that I'm in the comforts of home and have time to breathe I find that B/P plays a big part in relaxing for me. I am not normally so stressed so I rarely B/P, but now that I stop to examine I can see the pattern.

    Heavy Sigh!

    (see what a help your blog is)

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