Sunday, 31 August 2014

Time for action

I had a bit of a meltdown after my last post
Convinced that I had gained a substantial amount of weight in the last 3 days
I tried on all my clothes
And came to the conclusion that I was indeed fat
I decided to take drastic measures
And decided to do a fast
A water fast no less
I was feeling quite manic and stressed
And generally that I had no control over my food and my weight
My sister sat me down and gave me  a good talking to
This is why I love my sister
She is honest with me
Even when it's hard to hear
And as you know
I really appreciate honesty
She told me in no uncertain terms that a fast was a ridiculous idea for someone with an ED
She even said 'That is your anorexia talking'
Gosh she has been listening and reading
Then she told me that I was eating far too much chocolate
We then worked out that I was eating 2000kcals a day in CHOCOLATE ALONE!!
I knew I was eating a lot
But I had blocked out the actual amount
So that was a shock to say the least

We had a very honest talk
I told her that I don't keep down every thing that I eat
And that I really want to get my diet under control
We decided that tomorrow we are going to make a meal plan
We're going to work out the calories
And for the moment I am going to cut out crisps and chocolate
Not forever
Just until I feel I can manage it
I am also going to eat at the table
And with others
No eating in the living room
No eating in front of the tv
No eating in between meals
I need these rules
I need the structure
Because at the moment there are no rules
I am all over the place
And it is driving me up the freakin' wall people!!

I don't want to use my ED to get my food under control
I don't want to be bony and skinny
I don't want to be unhealthy
I want to be fit
I want to be strong
I don't want to be that weak and listless person I was for so many years
If I am honest
Then yes, I do want to lose a little bit of weight
But I know that is dodgy territory
So I am hoping that if I look after my diet
Then my weight will look after itself

So for dinner tonight
We made vegetarian chilli
With kidney beans and black beans
I ate a small bowl
I felt really full after
But my sister had worked out the calories and it was under 200
So that eased my mind
I managed not to purge
That is the first meal I have not purged in ages
Now I just need to carry on like this

I need to do this
I need to take control of my life
And that starts with my food
As my sister said
I have given up heroin
I have given up the smokes
I can do this
It's time to take action
To reclaim my body
And be the best person that I can be

Thank you to everyone who commented and made suggestions on my last post
Thank you for your understanding
And your honesty
Your words are appreciated so much

To weigh or not to weigh?

As you know
I have not being weighing
And haven't done so in the past couple of months
So I have no earthly clue what I weight
And didn't really want to know either
But for the past week my curiosity has been pricked
I threw my scale in to the lake a few months ago
But there is another scale in the house
So I got it out this morning

It took me a few hours to psych myself up to do it
I stripped as I always do
And stood looking down at the scale
Wondering if this was a good idea or not
I had some numbers in my my mind
Acceptable numbers
Not acceptable numbers
Safe numbers
Dangerous numbers
I held my my breath
As if the air in my lungs would effect the number
I closed my eyes
and tentatively stepped
I must have stood there for 30 seconds or more
Daring myself to look down
My anxiety was through the roof
My heart was thumping
Adrenalin was surging through my body
You would think that I am exaggerating here
But I'm really not
It really caused me that much stress
Because I know how knowing that number can effect me
The number goes up and I spiral in to a black hole of depression
The number goes down and I sky rocket in to euphoria
It has such an effect on me
And I hate that it does
I hate that the number has so much power over me

I finally managed to open my eyes
And look down
To my surprise it read 'Low' on the screen
For a second I was confused
As I'd never seen that before
What does that mean?
That the scale has decided that I am a low weight?
Then I realized
Low meant that the battery was low
And so it couldn't give me a reading
Well if that isn't a sign I don't know what is
I didn't even look for a battery
The universe had decided that I shouldn't know my weight today
So I am not gonna argue with it

But it does leave me with a dilemma
Should I get a battery?
Should I weight myself in the doctors tomorrow?
Should I just leave well enough alone?
When I was with Mary last week
She suggested that I weigh once a week
Is that a good idea right now?
I really don't know

What do you think?
To weigh or not to weigh?
That is the question.......

Saturday, 30 August 2014


I need your help with something
I am thinking of submitting some of my writing to an on line mental health magazine
But I am having trouble trying to pick a piece
This is where you come in
Is there any post that you particularly like?
Or one you think would be suitable?
My favourites are the ones with black humour
But I don't know of they would be suitable or appropriate
So if you have a favourite post
Or one that you think I should submit
Do let me know
I'd love to know what you think.......

Teenage Kicks

Because now I no longer smoke
And have long since given up drugs and alcohol
I have had to find other ways to get my kicks
To escape
To check out of reality for a little while
To get out of my own head momentarily
Drugs and alcohol are very effective at doing this
They literally get you out of your head
But having used them for years
The high wore off
Because of all the crap that goes with them
They are expensive
The wear off relatively quickly
And you build up a tolerance to them
So you have to take more and more to get the same effect
Plus drugs are illegal
So you run the risk of being stopped or arrested
Also drugs can kill
You would think that would be the top reason why I stopped taking them
But actually that's probably part of the reason that I did take them
So I would die

Drugs are more trouble than they're worth
And for me the biggest high was the anticipation
Those few minutes before taking the drug
When you knew you were just moments away from oblivion
Your heart thumps
Your skin goose bumps
Your brain is just waiting for the delicious feeling of warmth and numbness
That feeling is almost better than the drug itself

And alcohol
Well, I stopped drinking because I was a horrible drunk
I either became loud and obnoxious
Or teary and emotional
I just couldn't handle my booze
I didn't like myself very much when I drank
And the hangovers just weren't worth it
So that had to go too

Then came my ED
When I had my addiction under control
My ED always came to the surface
A very effective way to have the illusion of control
Because of course I wasn't in control at all
The disorder had me by the neck
But I went along thinking that I was ok
Even when I lost all the weight
Even when I was so weak
I couldn't walk up my stairs
I just couldn't let it go
I couldn't stop
I couldn't see anyway out
I couldn't see life beyond my illness
My life consisted of doctor appointments
Hospital stays
It was like a merry-go-round
A twisted, fucked up carnival ride

I had short periods of time when my ED sudsided
But that was because I was abusing my meds
Another addiction
This went on for too long
My poor mother
I don't know how she stayed sane through it all
Me dopey
And falling asleep at the drop of a hat
I don't know how she put up with me
I can't remember how or when it happened
But I did start to take my meds properly
Probably because they had been increased
And I had enough per day to still be in a state of falling asleep
Now for the most part I take them properly
There is probably one a day a week when I misuse them
But things are a lot better than they were

I've smoked since I was 13
Cigarettes were my constant companion
I smoked when I was sad
When I was happy
When I was bored
When I was anxious
When I couldn't sleep
And whenever and where ever I could
I always had cigarettes on me
Was always ready to go for a 'cheeky smoke'
I had been mentally preparing myself to give up for weeks
I didn't tell anyone
Just incase it didn't work out
And then I stopped
That was 19 days ago
I haven't had so much as a drag since then
Everyone I tell is really surprised
Because I smoked so much you see
And I really did love my smoke
It was like a little time out
5 minutes to myself to sit and think and smoke
I did my best thinking when I was smoking
God how I miss that
But now I am officially a non smoker
And I love that I am a non smoker
Although I do get jealous when I see someone lighting up
I look at them longingly
And inhale the second hand smoke
Need to stop doing that

So what has replaced all these vices?
Well I've tried exercise
Swimming and hill walking
They were good
But no substitute
I tried travel
And found out that I am a home bird
And shopping
I've shopped a lot for clothes
I see something in a shop
Or on line
And I think that my life would be complete
If I only had that pair of Fat Face jeans
Or Blowfish boots
I especially love buying online
Because then you get  package delivered
And these is nothing more exciting than getting a package delivered
I ordered a pair of boots a couple of weeks ago
I was out when the postman came
So he left me a note to call in to the post office after 4pm
Well 4pm couldn't come soon enough
I was like a child on Christmas Eve
The anticipation was thrilling
What is that feeling like?
Yes you've guessed it
It's just like that feeling I used to get before I took drugs
So when I got the parcel
I resisted the urge to rip it open
Put it on the passenger seat of my car
And broke the speed limit driving home
I got home at brake neck speed
Tore in to my house
Held the package for a moment
Relishing the feeling
And ripped the package open
To find my new size 5 Blowfish boots
I took them out and admired them
Very nice
Very nice indeed
I immediately put them on to wear them
But that's the thing
Once I have worn them once
The novelty kind of wears off
Because they're not new any more
So it's back to square one

So that's the story of my addictions
The ups and downs
The highs and the lows
I really am a teenager in an adults body
Now I'm off to do some more internet shopping
(Will I ever learn?)

Friday, 29 August 2014

Lizzie Velasquez: The skinniest woman in the world

I saw this show advertised in my newspaper
Lizzie Velasquez: The skinniest woman in the world
I was reluctant to watch it
As I thought it was about someone with anorexia
And I usually find those shows massively triggering
But it wasn't
It was about a girl called Lizzie
With a disorder so rare that it doesn't even have a name
Her body is not able to store fat
So she looks emaciated
No matter how much she eats

Lizzie is 27 years old
When she was 17 years old
She came across  Youtube video of a  local interview that she had done
She clicked on it
And was horrified to see that she had been dubbed
'The ugliest woman in the world'
It was an 8 second clip
And when Lizzie saw it
It had already been viewed by over 4 million people
In an interview Lizzie said
'At that moment I thought, well my life is over'

But instead of crumbling
Lizzie decided not to let this get her down
She decided to do what women have done for centuries
She decided to use her looks to her advantage

“My parents said you can have your one good cry and let it out, but you have to pick your head up and move on to something positive,” she told Fox News Latino. “And for me, that was in the form of setting goals, speaking out against cyber bullying and reaching out to the media so people could hear my story.”

Now, 10 years on from seeing that article
Third generation Mexican-American Velasquez was born 4 weeks pre-mature
She has zero per cent body fat
No matter how much she eats

“I hated my condition because it caused so much pain in my life. Not physical pain, but emotional pain. I mean, being a teenager is hard enough, but being a 13-year-old girl with this syndrome, who is blind in one eye, who weighs 58 pounds, and who is constantly picked on by people is almost unbearable,” she said.

But, as she grew older
Lizzie began to love herself

Now I actually look at my condition as a gift,” she said. “I honestly think of it as waking up every morning and it’s Christmas Day and it’s something that I’m blessed to have and I want to share this gift with anyone who will have it.”

Lizzie is now a motivational speaker
Her third book will be released this month
She also has a documentary in the works called The Lizzie Project

“This is not going to be a movie just about my life,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been given such a huge platform that I want to take full advantage of it. ‘The Lizzie Project’ is a call for anyone who wants to unite and make the online world a more positive place,” she said. “My mission is to show that there’s light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to bullying and I’m hoping to do that throughout this movie.”

I had never hears of Lizzie before seeing her on tv this week
I think she is awe inspiring
It would be so easy for her to give up
To lie down and hold up her white flag
It would be so easy for her to feel sorry for herself
But she doesn't
Not one little bit
She is using her disorder as a power for good
I have to admit if I had this disorder
I don't know if I would be handling it as well as Lizzie
She is someone who can't do anything about her condition
It's so rare there is little or no research done on it
She has to walk around every day advertising her disorder
That must be so hard
Because people can be cruel
When we don't understand something
We tend to be afraid of it

But it just goes to show
Beauty comes from the inside
It shines from the heart
And Lizzie is beautiful because love and hope and faith shine out of her so brightly
Beauty is not having a perfect appearance
Beauty is being a good person
It's helping others
Even when you can't help yourself

Lizze has really inspired me
Having re-gained weight recently 
It puts my problems and issues in to perspective
I am healthy
I am happy
I don't need  much more than that

Thank you Lizzie
For reminding me to love myself
No matter what I look like

Refercence: Latino.Foxnews

Have you heard of Lizzie?
Or seen her documentary?
What did you think?

March - August

These photos were taken in March
Just after I came home from treatment
I remember taking them
I looked at them and came to the conclusion that I was indeed fat
I could hardly bear to look at them
But now when I look at them
I can see how underweight I was
I can see how frail and pale and lifeless I was
It's scary to think that I have put on over 15kg since then
I wonder where I have put it all
Because I am still a size 8

My body image has improved in recent months
But I still have days when I look in the mirror
And hate what I see
I still have days when I trying  on clothes endless amounts of time
Because I can't find anything that doesn't make me look fat
It took me quite a few months to get used to this body
And it's ok
It's ok
I'm ok
Just the way I am

As I've said before
I compare my size a lot to others
And I have been comparing myself to my sister
She is a size 12 (UK)
To my eating disordered eyes
We are pretty much the same size
But to my sister
She looks bigger
And my mother
I think she is so tiny
But when she tries on my clothes
They are too small for her
This is very confusing
Because I can't trust my own eyes
My own judgement about what size I am

I am so tempted to weigh myself
I know what weight my sister is
So if I work my own weight out from that
I have an idea of what I weigh
But I could be way off
Something is stopping me from weighing
So I'm not going to

I've re-gained the weight quite quickly
I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing
It's done now
And I am managing to live my life in my new body

I don't have any up to date photos of myself
As I have lost my camera charger
So I have no camera
But here are some from London

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Bulimia in men

A  mental health writer called Laura Johnson contacted me recently
She has written an article on bulimia in men
I am sharing it here as I thought that readers of this blog would be interested in
I forget sometimes that men are effected by this illness
As it is predominantly a female affliction

Here is the article
Let me know what you think

Finding the Best Anorexia, Bulimia and Eating Disorder Treatment for Men

Anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders are generally viewed by society as women’s illnesses, but a large number of men also suffer from these harmful disorders. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 10 million men in the United States will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives, and 10 percent of all eating disorder sufferers that receive help from mental health professionals are male.
Although some men feel embarrassed or reluctant to get help, finding an appropriate treatment option is absolutely essential. Treatment options are varied, ranging from intensive inpatient programs to support groups and nutrition counseling. Use these facts and figures to find the best eating disorder treatment for your situation.

Do Men Need Treatment for Eating Disorders?

No matter how strong men feel, their eating disorders are just as dangerous as those that impact women. Psychologists agree that men’s eating disorders are generally indistinguishable from women’s eating disorders in a clinical sense.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness as stated in the American Journal of Psychiatry; however, according to the International Journal of Eating Disorders, only 1 in 10 sufferers of either gender receives treatment. No matter how severe the condition, those suffering from binge eating disorder, anorexia, bulimia or any other eating disorder need to seek some type of support or treatment.

The Benefits of Inpatient Treatment Programs

inpatient treatment programAlthough outpatient programs and support groups are helpful treatment options, an adult inpatient program provides the most intensive treatment regimen, including a structured, supportive recovery environment, psychotherapy, life skills counseling and controlled therapeutic meals. Eating disorder facilities generally offer fulltime, qualified staff members that include psychiatrists, psychologists and registered dieticians.
Additionally, inpatient programs help patients who need medical assistance, providing nurses who monitor vital signs and administer nasogastric feeding to supplement the patient’s diet, if necessary. After undergoing an inpatient program, individuals generally receive help developing an aftercare plan to keep them on the right track.

The Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Programs

Individuals who are not in immediate medical danger and do not require partial hospitalization have the option of undergoing an intensive outpatient program (IOP), allowing them to receive treatment discretely. Most IOP programs take place several hours per day on a few chosen days of the week. Flexible schedules allow patients to begin recovering without sacrificing work, school or other daily activities. IOD programs generally include psychotherapy, nutritional education and skill-based eating disorder support groups.

Eating Disorder Support Groups and Therapy Groups for Men

support groupMen suffering from eating disorders of every type and severity benefit from therapy groups and support groups, which are professionally facilitated groups that give sufferers a chance to share their thoughts and fears while benefiting from the eating disorder stories of their peers. These are often held during the evening at hospitals and treatment centers, and some eating disorder facilities offer therapy groups specifically for men.
Open groups are support groups that allow individuals to drop in without pre-registering, providing a great option for those who are not ready to fully commit but who want to explore the experience. Friends and family support groups are offered by many facilities as well. Online support groups are offered by organizations such as Mentor Connect and the National Association for Males With Eating Disorders on their websites.

Nutritional Counseling and Fitness Retraining

Services, such as nutritional counseling and fitness retraining, offered by many eating disorder treatment centers keep patients on the continued path to recovery by instilling essential skills. Nutritional counseling aims to stabilize the patient’s nutrition before helping him develop healthy beliefs and habits concerning food. A trained professional helps each patient to develop a personalized meal plan. When necessary, patients receive nutrition prescriptions to help them balance electrolytes, stabilize weight or reverse malnutrition.
Fitness retraining programs help eating disorder sufferers who exercise excessively, which is particularly common with anorexia nervosa. Fitness retraining assists sufferers in developing a healthy relationship with exercise. In these types of sessions, patients challenge popular media views concerning fitness and develop a healthy exercise regimen tailored to their needs.

Is a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center Right for You?

A dual diagnosis treatment center aims to treat both an addiction and an underlying mental illness. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, 50 percent of all individuals with eating disorders meet the criteria for clinical depression. An underlying mental illness is sometimes the cause of an eating disorder, but oftentimes the dual conditions simply result from the same environmental and social factors. Dual diagnosis centers commonly use therapy, behavioral management programs and medication to treat an eating disorder and associated mental illness. A good dual diagnosis program uses an integrated approach, developing a unique treatment regime for each individual patient.

Finding an Eating Disorder Treatment Center Near You

You normally do not need to travel far to find a good treatment center, as they are offered in most major US cities. Faith-based treatment centers are a promising option for religious individuals. If there are no dedicated eating disorder facilities in your area, search for eating disorder programs at hospitals, mental health centers and substance abuse centers. The website of the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders provides  a search tool that lets you find treatment centers by state.

Start Fresh Today by Giving Us a Call

If you are, or a loved one is, suffering from an eating disorder, don’t wait until tomorrow to seek treatment. The American Psychological Association states that most eating disorder cases are successfully treated, although some may require long-term treatment. Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and other eating disorders are serious, potentially fatal illnesses. Call 888-920-1501 to confidentially receive advice and go over your treatment options. Let us help get you started on the track to recovery today.
Eating disorders might affect anyone. Among men, gay men and male athletes from disciplines such as gymnastics, body building, running and swimming are at a higher risk of developing eating disorders, according to NEDA. Despite intense social pressure for men to be incredibly fit, engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors is never the answer. Sufferers and their families are encouraged to use any of the aforementioned treatment options to get started on the road to recovery. Call us now if you have any questions.

Goddbye Mary

I had last meeting  with Mary yesterday
It was quite emotional
We talked about all the positives that have happened recently
We acknowledged the effort I have put in to get well
She said that I have worked hard
And I need to give myself credit for that
I find this hard to do
As a lot of the time
Recovery seems to be happening in spite of me
I kind of feel like it is carrying me along
And I'm not doing very much participate
Do you know what I mean?

When I was leaving
I gave Mary a thank you card
As I felt better able to write how much she has helped me
Rather than tell her
She seemed genuinely touched
She gave me a big hug before I left
Saying 'I shouldn't do this, it's not professional but I don't care'
But I think a hug was appropriate
I have been seeing Mary for 3 years
And they have been 3 eventful years
Many ups and downs
Crushing lows
And euphoric highs
Mary had been there through them all

I only wish that everyone with an ED had a Mary in their life
I honestly don't know where I would be if I didn't have her help and guidance
I have to say that I am nervous
I am afraid to go forward with out her by my side
She has been a massive support

Goodbye Mary
Thank you for your kindness
Your wisdom
Your patience
Your hope
Your belief in me
Your blind faith that I would be ok
Thank you for understanding
For listening
For being a tower of strength
For never judging me
For never giving up on me
Even when I had given up on myself
Thank you for supporting my family
For helping them understand this cruel illness
Thank you for gently pushing me in the right direction
For always having a logical reason to all my questions
Thank you for always retaining a sense of humour
For laughing with me when there was nothing else to do
Thank you for putting up with me when I acted like a bold child
For realizing that my illness was separate from me
Thank you for being a beacon of hope
Even in my darkest days

You have helped me more than you will ever know
Thank you

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


As I haven't been weighing myself recently
I have no earthly clue what weight I am
Part of me is really curious
And really wants to know the number
I guess that's the ED part of me
But another part of me knows that it is a really bad idea
And it's not a good idea to know the number

The other night I was just getting out of the shower
And I had a huge urge to weigh
But I didn't
I'm afraid of my reaction
I'm afraid it will send me running back in to the arms of my ED

As I have said before
I am going by how I feel
Not by how I look
Or what the scale says
And I feel pretty ok
My mood is stable
My outlook is positive
For the first time in my life
I feel that I may have a future
I may have a happy ending to this story

So I'm not going to weight
I don't want my bubble to burst
I have an idea of what my weight is
I can make an educated guess
I would say that I have gained over 15kg since February
But if I thought about it too much
I would seriously crack up
So I'm not going to think about it
Not one little bit

I used to weigh multiple times a day
And when I came out of treatment
My weight dropped to 40kg
I felt fat at that weight
Even though logically I knew I was severely under weight
I couldn't see it
And I sure didn't feel it
My body image has improved over that last few months
I can now see that I am not
And never have been fat
Now don't get me wrong
I still have fat days
I still have times where I feel like a beached whale
But over all
Things have improved

When I was very under weight
Gaining weight was the worst thing I could think of
But now that I am a healthy weight
I can see that it's not so bad
I have boobs
And hips
And curves
I don't have the body of a male child any more

I was in my doctor's waiting room on Monday
I was flicking through a magazine
And I came across an article about a girl with anorexia
She had become very ill
There were photos of her
She was so frail and small
For a split second I felt jealous of her
For a split second I wanted to lose all the weight I had re-gained
How messed up is that?
I saw her emaciated body
And I was massively triggered
I had to give myself a good talking to
To remind myself of what comes along with an under weight body
The cold
The fear
The anxiety
The feeling of impending doom
The depression
The loneliness
The suicidal thoughts
Is it worth it?
Absolutely not
No way
No how

Rationally I know that I am not over weight
My clothes still fit
I would say I am a size 8 (UK)
But I am just conscious that I have given up smoking
And I tend to eat instead of smoke
I always used to have a smoke after eating
It was a way to finish off a meal
Now that I don't smoke
I have nothing to finish off the meal
So I tend to eat more
I'm sure this will calm down
I am only off the smokes 16 days
The say it takes 21  days to make or break a habit
I am nearly there

One thing that I do a lot of
Is comparing my weight to others
When I'm walking down the street
I am looking at others
And wondering if I am bigger or smaller than that person
If I am thinner I feel pleased with myself
If I am bigger I feel like crap
I just keep having to remind myself that my body is just a shell
It's just the vessel the carried my soul and my personality
Most people don't care if I am little or large
The people who love me
Love me for me
Not what weight I am
I know that I don't judge others by their weight
So why do I think that others judge me?

I feel ok in my body at the moment
It still feels very new
And unfamiliar
There is more of me
More flesh
More skin
It still feels strange
But I am getting used to it
I am getting used to looking healthy
I still get a lot of comments on my appearance
But now I am able to take them and say thank you
I'm able to accept that I am getting better
I am recovering
I am living
I'm alive

I was wondering about you
Do you weigh yourself?
How often?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


It seems that we may have a troll in our midst
I've been getting a few anonymous comments lately
And they have been quite negative
One left on my last post simply read

'This blog sucks..'

Well anonymous I have a few questions for you
If this blogs sucks so much
Why the hell are you reading it?
And taking the time to comment?
I presume you are the same anonymous who commented a few days ago
And told me that commenting is 'not a one way thing'
And I need to comment on others blogs more
What I want to know is how do you know I don't comment on other blogs?
Do you monitor every move I make?
Do you know exactly which blogs I do and don't comment on?

And another thing
I challenge you to divulge your real name
Are you so brave to comment then?
It's easy to leave nasty comments when you're anonymous
It's easy to be mean
It's easy to put people down
And say that they 'suck'

You say that this blog 'sucks'
Is that the best adjective you can come up with?
Come on anonymous
You can do better than that
I challenge you to comment again
And this time try to use your intelligence

Most of the anonymous comments I get are really positive
And maybe I shouldn't be giving this person any more air time than they deserve
And I shouldn't really feed the trolls
But it bugged me
So I am going to dedicate this one post to you
And then I am never going to give you a second thought ever again

In the words of Taylor Swift.......

'Cause the haters gonna hate, hate , hate, hate, hate
And they players gonna play, play, play, play, play
I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
Shake it off
Shake it off........'

Monday, 25 August 2014

Girl Competition

I'm a girl
I've been a girl  my whole life
I have sisters
I have had many girlfriends over the years
And if there is one thing that I have learned
Is that girls like to compete with each other
Especially girls with an eating disorder

I remember when I first noticed girl competition
I did ballet as a young teenager
And every summer I attended a week long summer school in my local ballet school
There was a competition for a spot in the end of week show
So we split up in to groups and choreographed our routines
The competition was held on the Thursday night
And my group won
We were delighted as we weren't expecting it
I remember one of the girls from the one of the other groups threw a complete wobbler
And cried her heart out
Protesting that it wasn't fair
I remember being quite shocked
I mean it was only a friendly contest
But it obviously meant a lot more to her
If I recall correctly
This girl was extremely skinny
I remember she didn't eat sugar of any kind
And was on a strict diet
Looking back this girl probably had an eating disorder
She definitely had the perfectionist traits
I don't know what happened to her
I never saw her again
But when I was thinking about this topic
She popped in to my mind
I think her name was Rachel

Although I was aware of girl competition as a teenager
I myself didn't feel the need to compete
I didn't feel it at home either
I am the youngest in my family
So I felt no need to compete with my sisters
I accepted that they would probably achieve things before I did
And  I was ok with that
I don't feel jealous or envious of what they have
I know that I can have that too

At secondary school I was aware of competition
But not of the kind you would think
In my group of friends
I felt competition to be the wildest
To be the most outrageous
To attract the cutest boys
To wear the raciest clothes
I too it to the extreme
I wanted to be known as a wild child
As the girl who would drink and take drugs with anyone
The girl who partied the hardest
Laughed the loudest
The girl who was up for anything
The one thing I wasn't interested in was being known as a slut
I had seen friends bounce from boy to boy
And I didn't like it
I started going out with my boyfriend when I was 16
And stayed with him until I was about 24

It wasn't until a few years ago that I started feeling real competition between my friends
I mostly noticed it in others
And didn't get involved myself
I don't know why
Maybe I saw the destruction it caused
But the one area where I did get involved
Was the subject of eating disorders

For the first few years of my ED
I went along oblivious to my own weight loss and low weight
I didn't compare myself
Because I wasn't really aware that I had an ED
Then I went in to treatment for the first time
And boy was that an eye opener
I remember the day I was admitted
I spotted the other girls with EDs straight away
And they clocked me
But it took them a full day to come up and introduce themselves to me
They were wary of me
And I was wary of them
I immediately compared my weight to theirs
And being anorectic I inevitably came to the conclusion that I was bigger than all of them
That made me feel very ill at ease
Like I didn't belong there
Like I wasn't sick enough
It really messed with my head

I've been in treatment a few times over the years
And I've experienced ED competition every time
We would sit around and compare war stories

'I've had my ED for 10 years'

'I've lost Xlbs in the last year'

'I've had an NG tube 3 times.

'Well I've been in inpatient for the last 18 months'

'My doctor told me I was the worst case he's ever seen'

'I purge until I see blood'

And it can go on and on like this

I don't need to tell you how unhealthy this is
But I have had conversations like this
I have competed to be the thinnest and the sickest

Why do we do this?
Maybe because it's all we have
Maybe because we need to feel like we deserve the title of eating disordered
Maybe because we don't feel worthy
Whatever the reason
It is because of this that I have never progressed in treatment
Being surrounded by other sick girls all day everyday
Spending so much time with each other
We start to feed off each other
Copy each other
Mimic each other

I remember during my last stint in treatment
I was experiencing severe constipation
So I started to take a glass of prune juice with my meals
One by one all of the other girls started to copy me
And soon all of them were also taking prune juice with their meals
Constipation or no constipation
It was comical really
But it's just one example of the way things can in treatment

But of course it's not just us ED girls that are competitive
I've known friends to compete over anything and everything
I hate that we can be like this
I hate the one-up-man-ship that goes along with female friendships
Why can't we be happy for each other as we progress in life?
Why can't be celebrate each others lives?
Instead of feeling jealous and envious
We should be standing together
Instead of pitting ourselves against one another
We need to be there for each other
In good times and bad

I think this feeling of competition comes from insecurity
If I am feeling bad about myself
The I am surely going to feel left behind if one of my friends gets a promotion at work
I think we need to work on our self esteem
If we are going to eliminate this competition between us
We need to build our confidence
Be sure of our talents and abilities
So we can celebrate the victories in our friends lives

I was wondering about you
Have you experienced girl competition?
How did you handle it?
How do you think we can eradicate this phenomenon?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Lucky Tooth

I walk my  dogs everyday
On Friday I brought them down one of the back roads from my house
In one of the houses down there, there is a beautiful red setter
He is obviously young
And always seems really curious when we walk by his house
He wears one of those collars where he gets a shock if he goes beyond a certain boundary
So he can't come out to us
I have started going in to the garden to see him
And of course Honey and Lea come with me
The red setter gets so excited when we go  in to see him
He runs around from me to Honey to Lea
And can't quite contain himself
On Friday he was jumping around so hard that he head butted me in to my mouth
And proceeded to knock one of my new crowns out
I had to pull myself away from him
And retrieve my tooth
I gathered Honey and Lea and headed home
I managed to slip the tooth back in
But it is not secure at all
So I really need to go to the dentist to get it re-cemented back in place
At the moment it is just kind of sitting there
And it is one of my front teeth
So I need to get it sorted

Then this morning
Myself and my sister decided to go swimming in the local pool
We got our stuff together and headed off
We were the first ones there
And so had the pool to ourselves
I dived straight in completely forgetting about my lose tooth
But it didn't budge
So I carried on swimming
I swam lengths in the lane
Loving the feeling of weightless ness
Really enjoying it
Then all of a sudden I felt something in my mouth
I didn't know what it was
So I kind of spat it out
It wasn't until I put my hand to my mouth#
That I realised that it was my tooth!
My bloody tooth!
It was gone!

I began to panic
The pool was now filling up quickly
So I needed to be fast if I was going to find it
I motioned to my sister to come over
'My tooth is gone' I exploded
'My feckin' tooth'
My sister as ever, was cool as a cucumber
'Ok don't panic' She said
'We'll find it, you check the water and I'll check to see has it been thrown up on the side of the pool'
I donned my goggles
And started to duck-dive in the area that I lost it
I found lots of disgusting things like chewing gum and sand and ear-rings
But no tooth
I carried on looking
Sweeping the bottom of the pool
And just below the water line in case it was floating
But no joy

I was starting to lose hope
I didn't know what I was going to do
I would have to go in to hiding
I couldn't face the world with a missing front tooth
And a little shard of tooth in it's place
I couldn't talk to anyone
I couldn't show my face
And how would I get a new tooth?
These crowns were specially made
And it would probably take weeks to get a new one
I felt like screaming I was so frustrated
Where is my bloody tooth?

So I did what my mother always does when she loses something
I prayed to St Anthony
Patron saint of lost things
It went something like this

St Anthony?
It's me Ruby
I know I don't pray very much
But I really need your help right now
You see, I've lost a very expensive crown
It's my front tooth
And I really do need it
I am paranoid enough about my appearance as it is
I really don't need a missing tooth to add to things
So if you could please help me
I would really really appreciate it
And I promise I will go to Mass at least once if you help me find it
Thank you
And God Bless!

I carried on searching for the tooth
I really was starting to lose hope at this point
It was like trying to find a needle in a hay stack
I consulted my sister again
And she decided to go and ask  the pool attendant to check the filter
In case it was in there
So off she went
And I continued my duck diving
But really all I wanted to do was go in to a corner and cry
Jesus H Christ
Why do things like this always happen to me?

I decided to do one more sweep of  the pool
I was swimming just below the surface
When something white and square floated by my face
I followed it with my eye
And managed to grab it
My tooth!
Holy shit, it was my tooth!
I couldn't quite believe it
What were the chances of me finding it?
I was over the moon
And so very relieved that I didn't have to go around with a big gap in my lovely new teeth
Oh the relief
The relief

I held the tooth tight in my hand
And went to find my sister
'I found it' I shouted when I found her in the dressing room
'Yay, high five' she replied
And we did a little happy dance to celebrate

I put the tooth in my shoe
And went back in to finish my swim
Safe in the knowledge that it was ok

So my tooth is back in it's rightful place
And I am being very careful not to lose it again
What a lucky tooth!

Body Shapes

When I was in treatment
We had a body image class every week
One week we had to wear leggings and a tight top
We had to look in the huge mirror (That was kept behind a curtain)
And determine which body shape were
From these shapes here

I found it quite easy to recognize others shape
But when it came to my own
I couldn't figure out which one I was
If I remember correctly I thought I might have been an apple shape
But I was told that I was a neat hourglass

I went swimming this morning
And as I caught sight of my reflection
I could see that yes, I actually do have a neat hourglass
I have boobs
I have hips
And I am quite curvy
So am I happy with this body shape?
I guess it's not too shabby
Not too shabby at all

Which body shape are you?
Do you find it easy/hard to identify which shape you are?

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Tainted Insight

My sister saw this exhibition in MCA in Sydney
It was called Art Express
And it was done by teenagers
This one caught my eye as it is about anorexia nervosa
It's called Tainted Insight
What can you spot in the picture?


I started smoking when I was just 13 years old
I had just started secondary school
And had made a new bestfriend
We were kindred spirits
We both hated school and all the bullshit politics that went with it
She introduced me to cigarettes
And taught me how to inhale
We used to go to the local shop and buy 10 Silk Cut purple
I remember they cost £1.61
We went in to a building site beside the school
And hid behind one of the structures
Where we huffed and puffed and chain smoked
We weren't doing it to be cool
We were doing it because we were looking for something
Something to make us feel like we belonged
Like we were part of something

I have smoked every single day since then
20 years of poisoning my lungs
Before I gave up I was smoking up to 30 a day
Although if anyone asked me, I said I smoked about 15 a day
I was too ashamed to admit that I spent 100 Euros  a week on the filthy habit
But out of those 30 a day
I would say that I only really enjoyed about 5 of them
My favourite smoke of the day was my first one in the morning
It was a little ritual of mine
To make a cup of tea
Light a smoke
And settle down on my favourite chair
If I was lucky I would get a little head rush
And become a bit lightheaded
I miss that feeling

Most of the other cigarettes I smoked out of boredom
Or habit
Not because I really wanted them
But in the run up to my quitting
I knew I was going to stop when my duty free cigarettes ran out
I was mentally preparing myself
I felt ready
I felt like I had to do it
I had to stop
So the morning of my last smoke came
I sat out in the garden in my Auntie's house
With a cuppa and my book
I savoured  it
Relished it
I knew it was goodbye
The end of a relationship that has lasted the last 20 years
But it was killing me

For the first day I didn't miss them at all
I was high on motivation and determination
I didn't tell too many people that I was giving up
I didn't want to in case that I failed
Which was a likely possibility
I have never tried to give them up before
Never really given it a fair chance
I decided not to use Nicorette patches or gum or anything
I wanted to see how I would do cold turkey
And so far I am doing ok
But right now
Right as I type  these words
I am dying for one
My tongue is hanging out for one
A smoke!
A smoke!
My kingdom for a smoke!

Sometimes I forget that I have given up
Sometimes I reach for my cigarettes
And then I remember
I am a non smoker now
A non smoker
I like the sound of that
But I get really jealous when I see someone else smoking
I walk by and I inhale to get a sniff of the smoke
And yesterday I was in my car
And I took a butt out of the ashtray and sniffed it
That's how bad I wanted one

I've often heard it said that giving up cigarettes is harder than giving up heroin
Well people
Having given up both
I can tell you categorically that heroin is most definitely harder to give up
No contest!
With heroin you have the double whammy of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms
That is no joke
I have been through it many times
And I don't lie when I say that I would rather die than have to endure that ever again
With smoking
It's more the habit of having something in your hand and mouth
That is probably why people eat more when they stop smoking
As it fills that need

The main reason that I have never tried to stop smoking before now
Is that yes, you've guessed it, I didn't want to gain weight
So have I gained weight since I gave up?
The honest answer is that I don't know
As I am not weighing myself
I have decided to go by how I feel
Not by how I look
And I feel pretty ok
So let's go with that

But even though I am missing them
Even though I would give my right arm for one
I am glad and relieved that I have given them up
I am nearly two weeks off them now
And to treat myself
I bought a pair of winter boots with the money I would have spent on cigarettes in the last week
90 Euro they cost
It just goes to show
When you put your mind to something
It's possible
I really thought that I didn't have the ability to give up
I thought I had zero willpower
But maybe it has nothing to do with willpower
Maybe it has more to do with just being ready
And being sick and tired of the behaviour
That want
That desire and need to give up
Can out weigh the pull of the habit
Whatever it is
What ever the reason
I am so glad to be free of the habit
I am proud to be a non smoker
I truly am

I was wondering about you
Do you smoke?
Have you ever tried to give them up?
What stops you from giving them up?

Friday, 22 August 2014

There's something about Mary

I saw Mary yesterday
It was my second last session with her
I have my last one next week
And then I'll probably never see her again
It was a really positive session today
We acknowledged the positive changes that I have made
We talked about how far I have come in the 3 years that I have been seeing her
The have been a lot of ups and downs over that last couple of years
Euphoric highs
And crippling lows
But I got through it
With Mary's help
 I got through it

I have seen countless therapists and counsellors over the years
There was  the one who gave me a Weightwatchers book
The one who told me that I was 'emancipated' (I think she meant emaciated)
So many came and went
But Mary was by far the best
I don't know why
Maybe because she had so much experience
Maybe because she understood that an eating disorder has very little to do with food
Maybe because I felt I could tell her anything
Whatever the reason
She has impacted my life more than she will ever know

At one point she asked me how my dogs were
I began to tell her about Lea
When I went in to hospital before Christmas
Lea took it particularly hard
She missed me a lot and it showed in her behaviour
Then her fur started to fall out
She had quite a big bald patch on her back
When I came home from hospital
We brought her to the vet
But she could find no reason for the hair loss
As Lea was perfectly fine in every other way
She wasn't ill
She was eating as normal
I remember wondering at the time if it was stress
The stress of me being sick
And then me going away
Lea is a particularly sensitive creature
So I was worried for her

When I came back from the UK on Monday
I checked Lea's fur to see how it was doing
I was delighted to see that it had fully grown back
And now you would never know that it had fallen out at all
I was telling Mary about this yesterday
She said it was known that animals had side effects when their owners were ill
And that they recovered when their owners recovered
I think that is so amazing
Lea got well when I began to get well
It makes perfect sense

I want to get Mary something
To say thank you
I will get her a card a little gift
She has done so much for me
She's been a huge part o my life
And of my recovery
She has been an integral part of my story
The part where I finally manage to make some progress
Where my happily ever after begins

We talked also about how life can be so unfair sometimes
How some people seem to sail through life
With very little hardship
Everything seems to fall in to place for them
And they don't come up against many obstacles
Mary said it was important not to compare myself to others
But I can't help it sometimes
When I see someone my age with an amazing life
I can't help but feel envious
That's natural I guess
Mary pointed out that material gains aren't everything
And she is right
My mother said to me recently that given everything our family has been through
We are not doing too badly at all
This is so true
My family has had more than it's fair share of heartache and misfortune
But we have come out the other side
And closer
And grateful to have each other

I could spend my days feeling sorry for myself and my situation
Yes, I have had it hard
I have had to deal with a lot
But I do believe that everything happens for a reason
Even if that reason is not 100% clear at the time
I firmly believe that my life has a purpose
There is a concrete reason as to why I have gone through what I have gone through
In a lot of ways I am truly blessed
I have an amazing family
Two fantastic dogs
A roof over my head
Food in my fridge
Clothes on my back
In a lot of ways I have had it easy
Very easy
I know a lot of people who have suffered way more than me
There I go comparing myself again

I am glad that I got to meet and work with Mary
She touched my heart
And helped me in so many ways
I am lucky to be leaving her in a good place
Now it's time to move on
I know what I need to do to stay well
I just have to do it

Goodbye Mary
Thanks for everything
You are one in a million
There most definitely is something about you......

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Daniella Westbrook

I saw an interview with Daniella Westbrook this morning
For those of you who don't know her
She is an actress that rose to fame playing the past of Sam Mitchell in the soap Eastenders
However she became infamous for something else
Her drug addiction
Daniella first took cocaine when she was just 14 years old in a night club
She quickly became addicted
And by age 21 she was spending £500  a day on the drug
Her addiction was widely documented in the British press
She under went surgery to have her nasal septum rebuilt
After it collapsed due to her drug use

After years of addiction
Daniella finally got clean after a stint in rehab in Arizona
She got married
Had children
And seemed to have really turned her life around

However this year has proved difficult for the troubled star
In January, her 12 year marriage to Kevin Jenkins ended
She also suffered a miscarriage soon after
After 12 years of being clean
Daniella replasped

She is now trying to get back on track
And has checked in to rehab

I was sorry to hear this about Daniella
I've followed her story over the years
It was hard to avoid it
But her story scares me
It just goes to show that no matter how much clean time a person has behind them
It's still possible to relapse
No matter how good your recovery is
It is still possible to relapse

Daniella claimed that her relapse was not planned
That she was offered it
And couldn't say no
I don't judge her
If heroin was put in front of me
I don't know if I would be strong enough to say no

I've relapsed more times than I care to remember
For a long time I didn't want to get clean
And so I welcomed the drug in to my life
I truly believe that a relapse happens long before you pick up the drug
A relapse could start of by becoming complacent
By stopping going to meetings
By isolating
By being triggered
It starts with a thought
That then turns in to a behaviour
And before you know it
You are up to your neck in it

It's scary how easily a relapse can happen
I remember I was in treatment about 10 years ago
It was a working farm in the country side
The guy that managed the farm was a recovered addict
He had many clean years under his belt
And was a great help to a lot of people
But after I left I heard that he had relapsed
I remember being shocked
How could some one so stable fall back so quickly?
But it does happen
They say while a person is in recovery
Their addiction is outside doing press ups
Getting stronger
And more powerful

I worry about myself in the future
Part of me still thinks that I have another round of addiction in me
Most of the time I stay clean for my family
Especially my parents
But when they are gone
I wonder will I stay clean
Will I be strong enough?
I really don't know

I've relapsed many times in to my ED also
It can happen so quickly that you don't realize it until it is too late
It can happen to anyone
Even those who have had a substantial amount of clean time
It's like I always say
Recovery is like taming a wild animal
You can train it and manage it
But there is always the possibility that it will bite you

So how can we prevent possible relapse?
I think it's important to be very vigilant
To keep on top of recovery
That is probably different for everyone
For me maintaining my addiction recovery means not using drugs
Attending my support groups
Linking in with other people in recovery
Step work
And helping others

To maintain my eating disorder recovery
I need to eat regularly
And keep the food down
Allow myself the food that I need
Avoid binging and purging
Moderate exercise
Attending therapy
Seeing my friends
All of these things are essential

I know what my warning signs are
I know when I start isolating I am heading for trouble
When I start thinking negatively
When I start thinking that I know best
When I skip meals
When I deliberately trigger myself
When I start to feel sorry for myself
I know I need to be careful

I was wondering about you
Have you experienced relapse?
How did you come back from it?