Tuesday, 30 September 2014

50

I am 50 days smoke free today
In some ways I can't believe it's been that long
In other ways it seems much longer
But it feels good to have reached this milestone
It's been hard work
Fighting off cravings
And trying to find something to do other than smoke, smoke, smoke

I was a dedicated and passionate smoker
I loved it
And I loved my precious cigarettes
Rewind 20 years
And that's when I had my first cigarette
A home made one with Rizla
Crudely made with cheap tobacco
And a cardboard roach for a filter
My friend Lisa taught me how to inhale
I was a diligent student
And practices day in day out
We sat beside each other in school
Pooling our money to but 10 silk cut purple at lunch
We sneaked out of the school grounds to buy them
And hid in a building site
Where we smoked 5 each in quick succession
Dizzy and light headed
We made our way back to class
Our breath stinking of smoke and mint chewing gum
We thought we were so cool

Smoking punctuated my life
There was always reason to go for a smoke
First thing in the morning
With a cup of tea at 11am
After lunch
When I was stressed
When I needed to have a good chat
When I needed to complain
To give out
To console
To celebrate
There was always a reason

I fell in love with cigarettes
With the way I could use them to attract attention
I had seen people smoke in the movies
I knew it could look sexy and smouldering and impossibly cool
I never for one minute thought about the negative health effects
It just didn't seem to matter
When there were so many positives

Then came the drug years
Money was scarce and the drug was the priority
We down graded from cigarettes to roll your own
I never took to them
My boyfriend rolled them perfectly smooth and straight
He gave out to me that mine were inferior
And utterly unsmokable

When we ran out of tobacco
We raided the ashtray
Fishing out butts and the little bit of tobacco that was left in them
Gathering it all together to make one smoke
It was pathetic
But such is life when you are addicted to the drug

Fast forward years later
And I now no longer use drugs or drink alcohol
Smoking is now my only vice
And I use that as my excuse
I smoke like it's going out of fashion
And it was
It no longer held the same allure that it once did
I smoked out of habit
And boredom
I began to hate them
And my pockets were forever empty
The only thing stopping me from giving up was the probability of weigh gain

Suddenly and without very much warning
I decide to give them up
I have never really tried before
So I kept it quiet as I wasn't confident that I would succeed
My uncle brought me back 2 cartons from Turkey
400 cigarettes
I decided when they were gone
I would give them up
It was my 'Last supper' if you will
I went to town with that 400
I smoked my head off for two weeks solid
I must have lit one every 20 minutes
Because I knew the end was coming

Then on Monday morning 11th August 2014 in London
I found myself with my last cigarette
I knew it was the end
I saved it until I was positively gagging for it
Conditions had to be perfect
I made a hot cup of tea
Got my book
And settled myself on the bench in the garden
I savoured it
Relished it
Was present for every drag and puff
All too soon it was over
I smoked it to the butt
Not wasting an inch
I put it out in the make shift flower pot ashtray that my uncle had made for me
I said a quiet goodbye
And walked away

I decided not to use any smoking cessation aids
And in the end I didn't need them
The first few weeks were easier than I thought
I didn't miss them as much as I thought I would
But now
Now it's harder
Now I crave them
Now I walk by people smoking in the street and I inhale deeply
I can't lie
I miss them
I miss them a lot

I wish I could say that I gave up smoking for health reasons
But I didn't
I gave them up because I simply couldn't afford them any more
I was spending over 100 Euro a week on them
I was constantly broke
And now I can manage my money a lot better
I can contribute to the house
I have extra money for incidentals
I can relax a little

So yes
Today is 50 days smoke free
That's 700 Euro saved that would have gone up in smoke
Was it worth it?
Yes
It most definitely was

Monday, 29 September 2014

ED free week

I've been writing this blog for over two years
And the majority of those posts have been about my ED
I think I have finally reached a point where I am sick of it
Sick of talking about my ED
Thinking about it
Engaging in it it
And writing about
When I was really ill
My ED completely consumed me
Nothing else interested me at all
I thought abut it 24/7
I spoke endlessly about it
It took most of my time and energy

But now that my ED has some what loosened it's grip on me
I am finding that I want to think about other things
I want to read about different topics
I think about other things
And I am finding things that interest as much as my ED used to you
My ED has started to become boring
Monotonous
And repetitive
I've had it for 14 years now
And I think I have had enough

So for this week
And this week only
This blog is an ED free zone
I am going to write about other things
Funny things
Quirky things
Because we are so entrenched in out illness
I see no harm in taking a little break from it
I have no idea what I am going to write about
But I'm sure I'll think off something
There is a whole world of things to write about
Life
Death
And everything in between

So today I will leave you with a quote that I found via Niki's blog

EVERY MORNING I SIT AT THE KITCHEN TABLE OVER A TALL GLASS OF WATER SWALLOWING PILLS. (SO MY HANDS WON’T SHAKE) (SO MY HEART WON’T RACE) (SO MY FACE WON’T THAW) (SO MY BLOOD WON’T MOLD) (SO THE VOICES WON’T SCREAM) (SO I DON’T REACH FOR KNIVES) (SO I KEEP OUT OF THE OVEN) (SO I EAT EVERY MORSEL.) (SO THE WINE GOES BITTER) (SO I REMEMBER THE LAUNDRY) (SO I REMEMBER TO CALL) (SO I REMEMBER THE NAME OF EACH PILL) (SO I REMEMBER THE NAME OF EACH SICKNESS) (SO I KEEP MY HANDS INSIDE MY HANDS) (SO THE CITY WON’T RATTLE) (SO I DON’T WEEP ON THE BUS) (SO I DON’T WANDER THE GUARDRAIL) (SO THE FLASHBACKS GO QUIET) (SO THE INSOMNIA SLEEPS) (SO I DON’T JUMP AT CAR HORNS) (SO I DON’T JUMP AT CAT-CALLS) (SO I DON’T JUMP A BRIDGE) (SO I DON’T TWITCH) (SO I DON’T RIOT) (SO I DON’T SLIT A STRANGE MAN’S THROAT).

JEANANN VERLEE

Insert head here -

You know that your head is up your ass
When you go for an hour long walk with your dogs
With your headphones in your ears
And you get back and realize you've been listening to nothing............

Sunday, 28 September 2014

For you, yes you!

Ok
So you know that I have been tentatively dipping my toe in to recovery
(Kind of, sometimes, maybe, a little bit, sort of)
No I have
I really have been trying
You know that my mood has greatly improved
Praise the Lord!
You know that I have re-gained some weight
Like I would let you forget that little nugget of information
You know that my sister is home
And is a massive support to me
You know that my purging has dramatically decreased
That I am now living life a lot more
Rather than living a half life
You know my methadone is being reduced
With a view to being completely off it within a year
You know that my anxiety has lessened too
That I am in quite a good place
And my out look is positive
You know all this

But it wasn't that long ago that I was in a living hell
It wasn't that long ago that I felt like I was losing my mind as well as losing weight
I was in treatment this time last year
My outlook was bleak
My body was weak
M y resolve was non existent
I had very little hope
Zero faith
No belief that I could ever get better
I don't let myself forget that feeling
Because I know that I could be back there in a New York minute
I know that all the while I am trying to recover
My ED is doing press ups
Getting stronger and stronger
Waiting to snap  me back up
I know that it's there just waiting until I have a weak moment
I have a healthy amount of fear
It keeps me from becoming complacent
From taking this life for granted

I am not recovered
Hell I don't even know if I am in recovery
All I know is that things are a hell of a lot better than they were
I know I have a long way to go
But I've taken the first step

I know that there are so many of you out there that are in this hell right now
I know that many of you reading have all but given up
Feel battered and bruised by your ED
Stuck in deaths waiting room
I want you to know that this post is for you
For all the girls and guys that are suffering
Starving
Binging
Purging
Over exercising
Cutting
Self medicating
Self abusing
For those that are new to this illness
Or have been suffering for a life time
For those that are trying to recover
For those who don't want to recover
For those who have lost all hope
And faith
And belief
For those whose confidence is shattered
Whose self esteem has been stamped out
For those who are depressed
Lonely
Anxious
Afraid
In danger
For those thinking about going in to treatment for the first time
For those who are in treatment right now
And those who have just left for the umpteenth time
For those whose health is failing
Whose hair is falling out
Whose teeth are rotten
Whose skin is grey and papery
Whose body is weak and malnourished
Whose hair is lank
For those who are emaciated
Obese
And everything in between
This post is for you

For those of you who have never told a soul about your pain
Who wear a smile every day
And never let their hearts break in public
For those who look healthy on the outside
But whose soul is crushed on the inside
For those of you are just about holding it together
Who feel like they could snap at any moment
For those of you who are truly alone
And don't have any one to hug
Or hold
To talk to
To be told it's going to be alright
For those of you who have cheated death
And cursed because of it
For those of you who are thinking of disappearing
Because you can't find even one reason to stay around
This post is for you

For those of you who have been put down
Bullied
Abused
Ignored
Neglected
Forgotten about
For those of you who can't cry
Can't laugh
Can't feel
For those of you who are not sick enough to qualify for help
Or those who are too sick
For those of you who cried yourself to sleep last night
And hate to wake up in the morning
For those of you who have a passive death wish
Who welcome their demise
For those of you who can't stand to look at themselves in the mirror
Who hate their own bodies
And want to shrink until there is nothing but bone
This post is for you

This post is for you
If you believe that recovery is not possible
If you believe that you are not strong enough
If you believe that happiness or even contentment is not possible
If you have been beaten up by life
Screwed over by the people that you love
For those of you who are too trusting
Too kind
Too sensitive
For those who get up every day and face the world
Who hold down jobs
Run a house hold
Look after children
For those that put everyone before themselves
And never get around to taking care of themselves
This post is for you

Why?
Because you are brave beyond belief
Because you keep going
Because you deserve to be told that you are ok just the way you are
Because you are a strong woman/man
Because you are unique
Special
Because you matter
Because you are here for a reason
Because every day you don't give up, you grow even stronger
Because you are loved
Because you deserve to be loved
Because it's going to be alright
Because you deserve to be happy and healthy

This post is for you

As good as it gets?

I've been in a strange place the past couple of days
I can't really put words on how I feel
All I know is that on Thursday I was so hyper
So much so that my sister had to sit me down and try and get me to calm down
I just had so much nervous energy
And when I get nervous
I start to talk
And talk gibberish
We went to yoga Thursday morning
My sister and I were the only ones there
The instructor was talking to us
And I was anxious so of course I started babbling about how I live in a really scenic area
And I live in between two mountains
She must have thought that I was stone mad
And I probably am

I was supposed to meet a friend from treatment this week
I cancelled on her three, yes three times
I can't even tell you why I cancelled
It wasn't because I have gained weight
I know my friend sees beyond that
It wasn't because we were meeting for lunch and I didn't want to eat in front of her
It was because I didn't want to leave the comfortable bubble of my house
I wanted to stay at home and drift in and out of sleep
And not have to deal with real life

I have started giving my meds to my mother again
As I was misusing them again
My methadone has been reduced to 20mls now
Which is the lowest it's ever been
Although it would  be great to be off the methadone completely
I am so afraid
I shit you not
I am afraid I won't be able to cope without it
I am afraid that I will get cravings for drugs
I am afraid that I will relapse
I'm afraid that my body is so used to methadone
That it won't know how to cope without it
I guess I will have another year before I am off it completely
And I have my other meds to rely on
But that is exactly the problem
I rely on them way too much
Really I am as addicted to them
As I was to heroin
Only this is a legal addiction

My sleep is another problem
I'm not letting myself get enough sleep at night
I stay up late
And get up really early
I can't get through the day without at least one nap
It's not healthy
I need to address this issue

Sometimes I wonder how well I really am
I look healthy
I give the appearance of being healthy
Most people I know have assumed that I have recovered from my ED
But have I really?

I got a text last night from a girl I was in treatment with
She asked me how I am getting on
And I told her I was a lot better
She admitted that she is struggling
Namely with purging
Then it hit me that I am still purging too
Every single day
Sometimes multiple times a day
That must mean that I am struggling too
Right?

Things have improved
They definitely have
But they were so very bad
That things now,m even though still rocky, seem a whole lot better
But I forget that I am still entrenched in my ED to an certain extent
I worry I am not moving forward
That I am stuck in this place
Somewhere between my ED and recovery
Isn't the point of recovery that you keep growing and moving forward
Not stand still
Treading water

Is this as good as it gets for me?
Is this as well as I can realistically hope to get?
What is the next step for me?
I know that I have a lot of work to do around food and eating
I know that I have to at least try and get the purging under control
It's easier to ignore these problems
To hide behind my healthy body
And smile
And say 'Yes, thank you, I am doing great!'
Is this an illusion?
Is my recovery a farce?
Am I an anorectic mind in a healthy body?
Am I fooling myself and every one else?
I'm so very confused

I want to get well
At least I want to want to get well
I miss Mary
She always helped me make sense of things
And right now I really need to make sense of things
I'm losing the will to live over here

Saturday, 27 September 2014

8am Walk

Usually I am the first one up in the morning
I am an early riser
So I usually get up between six and seven
I let the dogs out
Have a cup of tea
Lea likes to get in to the car first thing in the morning
I'm not sure why
But she likes to sit in there
She seems happy so I see no reason not to let her
Then at about 8 30am I get Honey
And we go wan wake people up
I go down to my Mum first
I open her door and let Honey in
Honey is not supposed to be allowed in bedrooms
But it's just so cute to see her jumping up on the beds
Then I go and wake my sister up
And Honey gets under the covers with her

But this morning was different
This morning I was woken up for a change
My sister and Honey came down to my room at 7am
And jumped on my bed
Nice way to wake up
With a dog licking your face

We then decided to go for an early morning walk
With Honey and Lea of course
So that's what we did

Here is some photographic evidence............

Cuddling with Honey


Bundoran beach












Friday, 26 September 2014

Decision made

As I wrote a few posts ago
A journalist contacted me as she was interested in my story
I spoke to her a few times
And she asked me a lot of questions
She is a freelance writer
So the way it worked is that she would pitch my story to different publications
And I would then decide which one to go with

Because I had told her about my dogs
And how much they mean to me
And have helped me in my recovery
She decided to use that angle
I was pleased with this
As it was something different
I heard back from the journalist yesterday
And two publications were interested in my story
The Sunday magazine with the People newspaper
And the pets page of the People newspaper
There was also a token payment from each

At first when this journalist contacted me
I was really excited
And really wanted to do it
But having thought about it
And talked to a lot of people
I have decided not to do the story
For a few reasons
The number one being that both publications want my real name and photos
And I'm just not comfortable with that
It's a different story if I was anonymous
I just don't want my name and face splashed all over the papers

I would love to tell my story
Whether that's in a book
Or getting this blog published
Or submitting to a newspaper or magazine
I feel that my story is relevant
Especially to women
I have over come a lot in my life
I guess my whole life is about over coming hurdles and obstacles
To get my story heard would mean that all of this has not been in vain
That it means something
That it could help someone
Otherwise what is the point of this life?

I was wondering about you
Can you think of any where to get my story heard?
Would you read my book/E book/blog of it was published?

Dance, dance, dance.......

I love to dance
I've always loved to dance
Ever since I begged my Mother to let me go to ballet classes when I was a little girl
I remember when I got my first pair of ballet shoes
I was in awe
They were the most beautiful things that I had ever seen
It didn't matter that they were second hand
It didn't matter that they were worn and a bit tattered
What matter was that now I was a real dancer
Complete with pale pink ballet slippers

I started ballet in grade 2
And continued up to grade 7
Achieving distinction in all my exams bar one
Dancing was my whole life
In a world that was full of chaos and uncertainty
It kept me sane
And grounded
It took me to another place
Away from sadness, pain and hurt

When I hit puberty and became a teenager
Dancing began to lose it's luster
Now all I was interested in was my friends, boys and my new past time of smoking
I was turning in too a bit of a rebel
And ballet just didn't fit in to that image
I remember my last ballet class
I was there under protest
The only reason I agreed to be there
Was that I was getting the results of my grade 6 exam
I had been out the night before
Drinking and smoking with friends
And hadn't had a wink of sleep
I was in a zombie like state
Not asleep
But not quite awake either
I got through the class
Feeling like I might pass out at any minute
There were 3 of us in the class
At the end of the hour our teacher gathered us to give us our results
'Two of you passed with a merit and one of you passed with distinction' she announced
I wasn't bothered one way or the other
So when she broke the news that I had got the distinction
I barely cracked a smile
I walked out of the ballet studio
With my certificate in my hands
I've never returned since

Even though I stopped studying dance
That doesn't mean that I have stopped dancing
I spent my late teens and early twenties throwing shapes in night clubs and at raves
And I've always had a sneaky dance in my bedroom with the radio up full blast
Then about 6 years ago
I set up a dance class for kids in my local area
Mainly hip-hop and street dance
I had no experience in that area
So I bought some DVDs and basically taught myself
I ran three classes a week
And thoroughly enjoyed it
The money was great too as I was working for myself
We put on shows
At Halloween and Christmas
I loved it
And I think the kids did too

I taught for a couple of years
Until things started to go pear shaped
I began to lose weight again
And over night
I lost my confidence
I just couldn't do it any more
The thought of standing up in front of a class of kids terrified me
So I stopped
And I haven't been back to teaching since

Since then I have done little bits of dancing
2 years ago I participated in a 1920's themed competition for charity
I've done Dance for Life
And Zumba
But mostly I dance on my own
Where I can really let go and just be my crazy self
I dance in various places
My kitchen
My bedroom
The shower
And my car
I love to dance in my car

You are probably wondering where this is heading
It is heading somewhere
I just thought that I would give you some back ground information first

It was yesterday
My sister and I had gone to yoga in the morning
Had lunch
And then gone for a walk with the dogs in the afternoon
Afterwards we stopped off at the supermarket
And I ran in to pick up something for dinner
When I got back in to the car
One of my favourite songs of the moment was playing
'Shake it off' by Taylor Swift
This is the part when I admit to really liking her
She is my guilty pleasure
Her songs are catchy
Her lyrics are clever
I love that she is a bit country
And I just generally think that she is super cute

So when I heard this song
I immediately started to dance in my sear
And singing along to the words at the top of my lungs
My sister passed no remarks
As she is used to my antics by this stage
I was really getting in to it
My arms were up over my head
My head was thrown back
My eyes were closed
Oh yes
I thought that I was shit hot
I was having a great ol' time for myself
When I opened my eyes at one point
I saw a guy walking by my car laughing his head off
'Nice moves' he said
As he walked to his car
Which was parked bumper to bumper with mine
I immediately stopped dancing
Mortified is an understatement
And I'm pretty sure that I turned puce red too
My sister was in knots laughing at this point
And it really was funny

They guy was getting in to his car
And put his cup of coffee on the roof as he opened the car door
I was trying not to meet his eye
But I could see that he was still laughing
He started his car
And was just about to pull off
When he remembered  his coffee on the roof
I started to laugh and pointed at his coffee
'Karma's a bitch' I said
He grabbed his coffee
Now it was his turn to be mortified
He jumped back in his van and drove off

I really enjoyed that little exchange
And the guy was not half bad looking either
We were going to follow his van
But being a stalker is not a good look
So we decided against it

So what is the moral of this story?
Well, the moral is to dance
No matter where you are
No matter what you are doing
Or who is watching
Dance, dance, dance!
You never know what it might lead to..........

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Experiment

I seem to be going through a rather strange phase at the moment
Things are a bit all over the place over here in ED land
One minute I am absolutely hating my body
Hating the lumps and bumps
And curves and shapes
The next minute I really like by new body
Me new bum
My chest
And this changes from one moment to the next
I can't seem to decide if I like my body or not

It's the same with recovery
One minute I am kicking anorexia's ass
And feeling so powerful and strong
The next minute my head is in the toilet bowl

And with life in general
Sometimes I feel so positive about the future
I feel like there is a fulfilling life for me
But then sometimes I feel like I have no future
That I've messed up so badly that there is no going back

I really do feel like an emotional yo-yo
So many ups and downs
Highs and lows
There doesn't seem to be an in between with me
It's one or the other
Black or white
All or nothing

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I am so impulsive
And so easily influenced
If I see a photo of a skinny girl
I immediately want to be like her
But then minutes later I might read something about recovery
And I'll be all fired up with positivity
There's no middle ground

I've had quite a lot of back lash from weighing yesterday
It's been hard to eat today
And I really pushed myself with exercise
So much so that I slept or 3 hours this afternoon
I was just so tired

As you know I started swimming again recently
For the first few times it was lovely
So relaxing
But then I started counting my lengths
And tried to beat that number every time I went
This is where it stops being enjoyable
And starts becoming a competition with myself

I know that I am on a slippery slope at the moment
I know that my ED is  waiting with open arms
I also know that it's ridiculous to assume that I will 100% motivated
Every minute of every day
I know that it comes and goes
Some days it's there
Somedays it's MIA
I need to make a decision
One way or the other
And stick to it

I remember when I was getting clean off drugs
I told myself that I would give recovery a go for 6 months
And if it didn't work out
I could always go back
My ED will always be there
But recovery might not
So I need to treat it like an experiment
Try recovery
See what the results are
Then make an informed decision

This limbo of being somewhere in between is doing my head in
I'm neither here nor there
I 'm in a wishy washy no man's land
Pulled in two different directions
It's time to pick a side
And get on with the rest of my life

So the experiment starts today
Recovery
I mean the real recovery starts here
Not the half assed
Can't make up my silly mind recovery that I have been practicing
It's time to get serious
To give it 100%
I will never get to where I want to go if I half ass it
It's time to go full pelt
To take it day by day
Meal by meal
This means no purging
No over exercising
No restricting
I need to get my s**t together
It's time
The experiment starts here



Wednesday, 24 September 2014

TW

I weighed this morning
God knows why
But I did
I've lost weight
For the first time in I don't know how long
I've lost weight
I don't know how I feel about this
A mixture of thrilled and terrified
Losing weight always gives me the hunger to lose more
To starve more
To purge more
To be no more
To be less
I'm not trying to lose weight
And now I have triggered myself
I feel like such a hypocrite writing about this
When I wrote about finding it hard to read some blogs talking about weight loss
And now I'm writing about it myself

I need to not let this get to me
I need to carry on as if nothing had happened
It's probably just my weight settling down
But what worries me is that I carefully recorded the number in my new notebook
As if it mattered

Anyway
Hopefully it's just my weight adjusting
I just need to be strong
And not let this effect me
It's hard though
It's really hard.......

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

One thing

We all know that we are very good at picking out things about ourselves that we don't like
I could give you a list of things that I don't like about my body
Starting at my head
And working down to my toes
It would be a lengthy list
Very specific
Formed over years of hating on my own body
My poor body has taken some abuse over the years
I've insulted it
Called it names
Abused it
And just generally have not been very nice to it

So in an effort to promote some positive body image
I asking you to name one thing about your body that you like
And don't worry
I am playing along too
Mine is my eye lashes
They are long and thick
No need for falsies here

I know it's hard
I know that we can list off every little thing that we don't like
So I ask you today to give your body  a break
And give it a little compliment
Just for today
I promise you your body will thank you for it



What is one thing that you like about your body?

Torn between blogs

Something that has come up for me over the last couple of months
Is reading others blogs
I have always read a mixture of blogs
Recovery blogs
Blogs of those who are still in the midst of their illness
Those who are somewhere in between
But since I have tried to pursue recovery
This has become very tricky
As some blogs I now find very difficult to read
Because the person is in a bad place
Because I care about them
And don't want to see them like this
It makes me so sad to see people I love struggle so much
And it can also be triggering sometimes
When someone mention numbers

So this is my dilemma
Do I continue to read these blogs
Out of loyalty to my friends
Or do I avoid them
So as to protect myself

Usually I read the first few lines of someone's blog on my Google reader
So I know the gist of the post
And whether it's going to be triggering or not
And most kind people put a trigger warning anyway
So I can choose whether to read or not
And it's not really someone who is struggling generally
It's those who mention weights, calories and numbers
And those who are actively trying to lose weight

I guess it's similar to real life
And who you choose to surround yourself with
Do you choose to be around people in the same position as you?
Or do you surround yourself with a mixture of people?

I feel bad that sometimes I avoid the blog of someone that I really care about
But sometimes I have to
For my own protection
For my own piece of mind
I hope you understand this
It doesn't mean that I love you any less
Or care any less
It just means that I need to put my own recovery first
As it is so very fragile
I hope you understand...........


Monday, 22 September 2014

Update on the story

As I wrote on Friday
A journalist contacted me through my blog
She is interested in doing a story on me
After a few emails back and forth
I gave her my number
And she rang me for a chat
We spoke for some time
And she asked me some questions about my addiction and eating disorder
I was quite open and gave away a lot of information
Then over the weekend I panicked a bit
Panicked that I had given too much away
Without asking her enough questions about the article she was going to write
I suddenly became very anxious
I sent the journalist a couple of emails to ask some questions
Then panicked even more when I didn't hear back from her
So I sent her a firm but polite email stating that I did not want anything published without my say so
I didn't hear anything back from her all weekend
But I felt a bit better knowing that I had said my piece

Then first thing this morning
I had an email from the journalist
She apologized that she had been away from her desk all weekend
And so only got my emails this morning
She wrote that she would definitely not publish anything without my permission
And asked if I had any concerns
I wanted to know what kind of publications she writes
She told me that she writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines
And that the angle she wanted to take on my story was my dogs
And how much they have helped me in my recovery
I have to admit that I liked the sound of that
As you know my dogs are a huge part of my life
I got them when I first moved to this area 9 years ago
And they have been by my side ever since
They have been through so much with me
And I honestly don't know if I would have got well without them

I think this angle is really interesting
We all know that dogs are super intelligent
Guide dogs
And disability dogs
Police dogs
And rescue dogs
But they are also great companions
And they positive medical effects of having a dog have been proven
Recently I saw a show on tv about dogs that helped during 9/ll
The police and fire fighters used dogs to find bodies in the rubble
It was fascinating because the dogs used to get depressed if they could find people
So the fire fighters used to hide and let the dogs find them
I find that so amazing

My dogs are my bestfriends
I literally spend all day with them
We get up in the morning
And I bring them to wake up my sister and my mother
Then we head off in the car
To the beach
Or the lake
They are so good that I don't even have to put them on a lead
They just trot beside me
Then we come home and  I blog
And they have a treat before taking a nap
Honey sits on her chair
And Lea like to sleep in the car
Then they have their dinner which they love
They might potter around the garden for a while
And then I maybe take them out again in the evening

In darkest days they were such a comfort
When I couldn't find a reason to get up in the morning
I got up for them
When I just wanted to hide in my house
I left to walk them
I couldn't imagine life without them

When I went in to hospital this time last year
They took it very hard
Mum didn't tell me at the time as she didn't want to worry me
But Lea became quite depressed
She spent a lot of time in her bed
And her fur began to fall out
So much that she had a huge bald patch on her back
My Dad brought her to the vet
They took blood tests
But they came back normal
All other tests were normal too
And they couldn't find medical explanation as to why it was falling out
This continued all the while I was in hospital
And Lea continued to be down

When I came home from hospital in February
Lea's mood began to pick up
Although her fur had stopped falling out
It wasn't growing back either
Then in April things began to look up for me
My mood improved
Amy anxiety
lessened
And of course I gained weight
Then an amazing thing happened
Bit by bit Lea's fur began to grow  back
And she was back to her usual self
I was delighted
So happy that she was getting well
And I have no doubt in my mind that she began to get well when I did

I asked my vet recently of this could have been the cause of her fur loss
The stress of me being unwell and away so much
She said that if Lea was stressed
She would have been producing a lot of the hormone cortisol
And that could have been the reason for her fur loss
I just find that so amazing
It was almost like she was unwell in sympathy with me
She is a very sensitive dog
So it makes perfect sense

The journalist is ringing me again today
To talk about the next step
I am still unsure if I am going to proceed with the story
So I guess I will keep my options open........


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Is your eating normal?



I saw this over Izzy's blog this morning
And I thought it looked interesting
I think I am somewhere in between the two
Not quite 100% normal
But getting there
Purging has become something of a problem again
I don't know why
But I seem to be doing it more often these days
It has crept back in like the little evil little devil that it is

Is your eating normal?

Thank you!

I want to thank each and every one of you
For your support
For your comments
And emails
And well wishes
I have been struggling to come to terms with my situation at the moment
But I have been overwhelmed with encouragement from you all
It truly means more than you will ever know

I didn't know where this blog was heading when I started writing it
I had been reading blogs for a while
And one night decided to start my own
Like a lot of my decisions
It was made on impulse
I was in a dark place
I was lonely
Isolated
Depressed
And anxious
The first couple of months of my writing was very unhealthy
I had no interest in trying to recover
I was only interested in maintaining my illness
And meeting like minded people
Which I did
But I never felt comfortable encouraging others weigh loss
So I don't do that
And never have
I don't congratulate when someone loses weight
I don't comment at all
I'm more interested in the person
Rather than what they weigh

Tempest left a very interesting comment on my last post
Which I will share here

When you find yourself thinking something like this, stop and think about whether you are holding yourself to a different standard than other people. If you feel like you are an exception to the rules that apply to everyone else (what is a minimally acceptable healthy weight, what is a healthy weight range, what is a healthy size, what your weight and size say about you) then it is the ED lying to you. There will be bad days, but you have shown that you have the strength to get through them. Don't believe the lies.



This comment really got me thinking
Because I think I do hold myself to a different standard to others
A much harsher standard
I don't judge others by what they look like
I don't see a person for the size of their body
I see them for the size of their heart
But when it comes to myself
I am so very critical
I worry that people think I am fat
I worry that I am not a size that is acceptable in society
I hate on my own body
And that is just not right

I think a lot of us ED girls hold ourselves to an impossible standard
We strive for perfection
And nothing less will do
And we are so hard on ourselves when we fall short of that standard
It's sad really
Because our best should be enough
We should be enough
I have so many amazing people around me
And I am pretty sure not one of them is judging me on my weight
Or what my hair is like
Or what clothes I wear
They like me for my personality
For my quirks and foibles
For my crazy sense of humour
For my love of laughter
Their love for me has absolutely nothing to do with how I look
And my love for them is solely based on them as a person
Not what brand names they wear
Or what they weigh

The last few days have been pretty hard
As I try to make sense of this new situation
This new body
This new life
I am trying to see my body for the amazing instrument that it is
It has survived so much abuse
So much hard living
It's been through so much
I used to look at super skinny girls
And wish that I looked like them
But I have noticed recently that I am looking at curvy girls
And thinking that I would love to look like that
I used to always go for the heroin chic look
Skinny body
Pale skin
Dark eyes
Sharp cheekbones
But now I am more attracted to curves and shape
A healthy look
This is something of a revelation for me
And it's also a surprise to me that I now feel this way
I now have a bum
I have hips
And boobs
Sharp edges and pointy bones have given way to soft curves
And dare I say it
I am starting to like my new body
I have said before
That I am trying to go by how I feel
Rather than what I look like
And I feel ok on the inside
My mood is stable
My depression and anxiety are under control
I feel strong
And healthy
And capable
And able
I am starting to feel comfortable in this new body
And getting rid of my old anorectic clothes has been a huge part of this
Trying to squeeze in to those clothes at this size was ridiculous
I now have new clothes
Clothes that fit me
And show off my new body
I feel good in them
Or at least I am beginning to

It's weird
I kind of feel like I am cheating on anorexia
That I am a traitor
Going behind her back to have an affair with being healthy
I almost feel guilty
Like I should be loyal to her
Even though she is a cruel bully
I still feel like I am two timing her
Does that even make sense?

My sister keeps reminding me that I am in recovery
And I need to be gentle with myself
And be kind to myself
She is so right
I need to give myself a break
I've been punishing myself for long enough
We've been suffering for long enough
Life is too short
To waste it on this cruel illness
I want to live
I choose to live




Saturday, 20 September 2014

Confession

Ok
It's time to be honest
I am struggling a bit
Having examined photos of myself from my last post
And others that have been taken recently
And I have come to the conclusion that I am indeed fat
It's not a feeling
It's not an emotion
It's not a state of mind
It's a fact
My body is big and cumbersome
My face is round and moon like
My ass could have it's own solar system
It's true
I have let myself go
And there has been major back lash

My purging is increasing
I had got it down to once a day
If even that
But over the last few days
It has crept up to multiple times a day
And there have been days when I have restricted too
It's so hard to admit this
But I have to
I have to be honest
What is the point in pretending that everything is ok
When it's not

I don't feel like myself
I feel like this weight does not suit me
I feel like there is so much of me
Too much of me

I guess it is normal to feel like this
This body is still very new
And everyone keeps telling me to hang in there
But being a person who wants everything NOW
That is proving very difficult

I keep finding myself thinking
'If I could only lose Xkg, then I would be happy'
But that's exactly the kind of thinking that got me in to this mess in the first place
Thinking that a certain weight equals happiness
I know better than to fall for that one
But still
It's so tempting
To eat less
And purge more
And weigh
And carefully record the numbers
To feel the buzz of an empty stomach
The relief of purging
It's so very tempting

Today I am not ok
And that's ok
It's ok not to feel f**king fantastic
Every minute
Or every day
It's ok to feel the pull of my eating disorder
The important thing is to keep talking and writing about
To keep telling on it
Her voice is so loud at the moment
A whisper has grown to be a roar
It's hard to stay strong all the time
It's exhausting trying to fight her day in day out
Sometimes I feel like I am fighting a losing battle
That there is no point in even standing up to my ED
I feel no match for her

It's days like this when I need to hear that I am doing ok
That it's ok to feel this way
It's days like this when I need to have a good cry
A cuppa and a smoke
Oh what I would do for  a smoke and a cuppa right now
It's days like this when I need a hug from my nearest and dearest
I need to hear that everything is going to be alright
That I am going to be alright
That there is light at the end of this dark tunnel
That all this pain and suffering is not in vain
That I will get through this
And come out stronger than ever

I guess I am just jaded today
My body is hurting
My mind is in turmoil
I feel torn between what I know I should do
And what my ED wants me to do
I need to eat
It's the single most important thing about recovery
Food
And probably the single most difficult thing about recovery
I feel the pull of restriction
I count the hours since I have last eaten
And I feel a sense of satisfaction
Shit Ruby
That is so wrong
And it is a slippery slope

I need to be a bit kinder to myself
I need to be gentle
Treat myself the way I would treat anyone else
With love and patience
I''m not ok
Right now
Today
At this very minute
I am not ok
But I will be
I will get there
I will be ok........



Story?

I was contacted by a journalist yesterday
She is interested in doing a story on me
She is a freelance journalist
So I don't know what publication it is yet
It's also a paid article
She rang me yesterday
And we spoke for some time
Part of me is really excited to do this
I want to share my story with as many people as possible
I want to show that there is life beyond an eating disorder
That it is possible to get out relatively unscathed
How ever I made it clear that things are not perfect
And I still have a lot of work to do
But part of me is also a bit wary
Putting myself out there like that sounds pretty scary
As she would use my real name
And she also asked for photos
l guess I need to be careful
Not to put myself in a vulnerable position

The journalist found me through this blog
After a few emails back and forth
I gave her my phone number
And she rang yesterday afternoon
She asked me a lot of questions
About both my ED and my drug addiction
She said she thought my story would resonate with readers
I know I need to be cautious here
And not give away too much of myself
But I still want to do it
I didn't talk about my family at all
Other than to say that they are very supportive
Which they are
She even asked me if I had pets
I told her about Honey and Lea
And she asked for some photos of them
I told her how when I was in hospital last year
Lea's fur started to fall out
And the vet could not find any medical explanation for it
It continued to fall out over the next few months
And then when I came home
And started to get well
Her fur started to grow back
I think that is really amazing
And I have no doubt that her fur fell out due to stress
And she began to recover when I did
It makes perfect sense

This is the second time that a journalist has contacted me to tell my story
If you remember a journalist from the Telegraph contacted me last year
When I was in treatment
That turned out well
The article was considered and well written
So I just hope this goes the same way

I was wondering about you
Have you ever been contacted through your blog to do something like this?
If you were me would you do the story?



Friday, 19 September 2014

Clothes Post

As my weight is ever changing
I have had to buy some new clothes
I have put all my 'anorectic' clothes away
I haven't been able to get rid of them yet
Can you think of any suggestions as how to say goodbye to my skinny clothes?
I threw my scale in the lake near my house
I smashed my ashtray with a hammer
Now I need to find a creative way to get rid of my old clothes
All suggestions welcome..........

Grey top -  Roxy
Blue Jeans - Roxy
(Yes I wear a lot of surf clothes and no I am not a surfer)


Please excuse my fatness


Cream top - Dorothy Perkins
Maroon chinos - Brakeburn





Couldn't resist this onsie - Penneys



Thursday, 18 September 2014

This sums me up today







Hospital

I was in the hospital this morning with my sister
As she had to have some tests done
It was very strange being back there
The last time I was there was when I had pancreatitis
In March of last year
And before that I was in there in 2007 for 3 weeks with my ED
At the lowest weight I have ever been

The smell of antiseptic and sickness hit me as I walked in the door
I saw the shop on my left where I used to magazines
The toilets where I used to go to purge
The smoking area where I chain smoked cigarettes
I saw faces that looked familiar
The church where my mother brought me to mass
I wasn't allowed walk
And had to be pushed in a wheel chair
I remember hating that
But they wouldn't let me go anywhere without it

Back in 2007 I was eating very little
And I was working too
I was running on adrenaline
As my body was getting very little fuel
I had been feeling so weak and dizzy
That my mother insisted that we go in to A&E
I didn't put a fight
I didn't have the energy

My memories are very foggy from that hospital stay
I remember in A&E the nurses were so so nice to me
One in particular was so kind
I'll never forget her
I was worried that they would send me home
And tell me that nothing was wrong
But they took my case very seriously
I learned later that a girl had died from anorexia some weeks previous
So I guess they were being super cautious with me

After a long day in casualty on a drip
I was brought up to a ward
Where I was weighed
Afterwards I heard the nurses talking
'My God, she only weighs xxkg'
I myself had no idea of how thin I was
But my Dad told me recently that I looked like a 'bag of bones' around that time

The next day I was given a room of my own
This was a bad idea for me
But great for my ED
I ate my food
But I purged every bit of it
I also plagued the poor staff for meds
Namely sleeping tablets
I had no intention of playing along with them to get well
I was just there for a rest

That hospital stay lasted about a week
And I left no better
I was back in within weeks
This time they did things a lot different
They put me in a high observation ward
So they could keep an eye on me
And also had a care worker sit with me most of the day
This made maintaining my ED a lot more difficult
But I was very creative
And still managed to get away with a lot
Like hiding my food
Or pretending I had drank my Ensures
When really I had tipped them down the sink
I was weighed every second day
My weight continued to drop

In hospital I spent my days reading, writing and sleeping
I hated getting visitors as I just didn't have the energy to talk and be sociable
My Dad used to come every day
But that was fine
As he used to read his paper while I slept
He drove and hour every day to see me
And always brought my favourite chocolate

My carer used to bring for a smoke a few times a day
Thinking back I had no idea how bad things were
It never even occurred to me that I was in danger
Never mind die
My body and mind were so starved that I was in another place
A place where nothing really registers
Where feelings are not felt
And emotions mean nothing
I was numb
There was nothing going on behind my eyes
I was held hostage by anorexia
And she kept me distant and cold

I stayed in that hospital for about 3 weeks
Before I was transferred to the local psychiatric hospital
As much of a pain it is to be in hospital
I have some fond memories of being there
The staff were so nice to me
Although some did keep their distance
I don't think they knew what to say to me
And my illness being so obvious meant you couldn't really avoid the subject
Looking back I am lucky to be alive
Given what I have put my body through

It was good today
To be going to hospital with some one else
And not being the patient for once
My sisters tests came back clear
So that was a relief
And I was glad to leave the hospital
Here's hoping I won't have to go back anytime soon........

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

500

So today is my 500th post
Which is a bit of a milestone
So much has happened
I started writing this blog May 2012
At time I wasn't interested in recovery
In fact in the beginning my blog was quite unhealthy
I wrote about fasting
And taking diet pills
And generally being a bold Ruby

The last two and a bit years really have been a roller coaster
I was hospitalized with pancreatitis
I spoke at an eating disorder conference
I met Mary
I travelled to Australia to see my sister
So many ups and downs
Highs and lows
But I am still here
Just about

Things have changed a lot since 2012
My mind set has shifted
I'm not entirely sure when or why
Probably when my meds were changed around
And we finally found a combination that worked
My mood lifted
And that made everything else so much easier
I had been purging endlessly every day
Spending so much money on food
Not to mention stealing food
I remember one night when my Dad was staying here
I used to wait until he had gone to bed
And then start binging
This particular night
He went to bed as usual
As soon as I heard his footsteps up the stairs
I headed for the kitchen
And raided the presses
I put a pot of pasta on
And began making a sandwich to have while I was waiting
Next thing I heard the kitchen door open
I had been so engrossed in my binging
That I didn't hear him coming down the stairs
He came in and caught me mid binge
He just shook his head
And walked back out
I can remember feeling so shit
But I couldn't stop
I was out of control

There were days when I thought I was going mad
I remember going to my Mother one morning
And telling her that I thought I needed to sign myself in
Because I thought I was losing it
And I really did
My thoughts were becoming so warped
I was paranoid
Couldn't be around people
Couldn't make sense of anything
And the binging and purging was reaching crisis point
My Mother sat me down and spoke to me
I remember I went out with her that day
I felt a little better
But only a little

Having the pancreatitis was a real low point
It was after that
That I lost all the weight again
And got really sick

Then of course there was treatment
This time last year I was preparing to go to hospital
I was so motivated before going in
But when I got there
It all just evaporated
Things went downhill
I couldn't let myself gain weight
I manipulated staff to get more meds
I purged multiple times every day
Then was discharged just before Christmas

Christmas came and went
I had a family wedding
So that was quite stressful
I went back in to treatment around New Year
But I didn't do anything different
And I've since come to the conclusion that treatment just doesn't work for me
It's just too hard being around other girls with EDs
There was a constant competition
To be the thinnest
And the sickest
It just didn't work

I came out of treatment in February
And continued to slip
My weight dropped the lowest it's been in years
The outlook was grim
I sank in to depression
I was so lost
So low
So hopeless
This culminated in an overdose
Which I told nobody about
It wasn't until a week later that I told Mary
She took action immediately
And I saw my psychiatrist the next day
He put me on 40mg of Prozac
But I didn't hold out much hope
I have put on so many meds over the years
And they rarely helped

But then something happened
The dark cloud in my mind began to lift
The heaviness shifted
And my mood started to get better
Bit by bit
That made everything a little bit easier
The binging and the purging miraculously ceased
Not completely
But it was a hell of a lot better
Mu quality of life improved
I started to see my friends again
I got out in to the world again
It's was a feakin' revelation my friends

My weight began to increase right around the time I started the Prozac
But I'm pretty sure that it wasn't just the meds
It was the fact the I was a lot more relaxed around food
I can't lie
The weight gain has been really difficult to come to terms with
It's probably the hardest part of all of this
But I'm  listening to the advice that my mother gave me
And I am going to hang in there

Other events were that
I gave up smoking after 20 years
I threw my scale in the lake
And I got finally got my teeth fixed

So that's the last two and a half years in a nutshell
It's been eventful to say the least
Let's just hope that the next two years are better

Happy 500th post blog!!!

Here's some photos from the last 2 years






















Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hi.I'm Ruby. I'm recovering from an eating disorder

Hi
I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
A lot of the time
I am confused about what it happening
Please be patient with me
Please understand that this is all new to me
And I am doing the best I can
To stay as well as I can

Hi
I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
I struggle with body image every day
Some mornings I try on every item of clothing in my wardrobe
And can't find a thing that I look nice in
This body is new and unfamiliar
Please forgive me if I ask for constant reassurance
It's something that I really need to hear
As I can't trust my own eyes
Or my own judgment

Hi
Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
Some days I just don't want to get out of bed
Some days I can't find a reason to go on
Some days I just want to disappear
Please be patient with me if I am struggling
Please give me a hug and tell me that everything will be alright
I need to hear that sometimes

Hi
I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
I'm starting a new phase of my
It's new
It's scary
It's unfamiliar
A lot of the time it's like feeling your way in the dark
Forgive me if I am short
Or cranky
Or snappy
Sometimes it all gets too much
And I am trying my best

Hi
I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
Food is still a bit of a minefield
I'm trying not to categorize food
I'm trying not to label it safe or unsafe
I'm trying to eat like a normal person
Please give me time to adjust
I will get there

Hi
I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
I know you want to acknowledge how far I have come
I know you want to celebrate that
And give me a compliment
But please don't make too many comments about my weight
Or draw attention to my body
I'm self conscious enough as it is


Hi
I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
There is a lot of change happening right now
Everything is changing
From my weight
To my mood
To my thinking
Please be patient with me during this transition
It's all new to me too
I just need support and love
And many many hugs

Hi
I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
Sometimes  I'm not sure if I am doing the right thing
Sometimes I miss my ED
I miss the comfort
And safety of it
But I know that  that is just an illusion
I know there is nothing safe or comfortable about it
I know that my ED wants me dead
And wants me miserable while it's doing it
Please understand that sometimes I feel torn
Sometimes I need to be reminded why I am doing this
I need the reassurance
Please be kind and gentle
And tell me that I am doing the right thing

Hi
I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
Some days are harder than others
Some days I slip
And fall
And mess up
I'm not perfect
So please understand that there will be days like this
And help me to get back on track

Hi
I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
I'm doing the best I can
To be the best person that I can
I am learning how to live
How to cope
How to manage
I am learning new ways of dealing
New ways of surviving
New ways to manage pain and fear and anxiety
Give me time
I will get there
In the mean time
Be patient
Be forgiving
Be kind
I need to hear that I am doing ok
And that everything will be fine

Hi
I'm Ruby
I'm recovering from an eating disorder
I need your support now more than ever
Even if I tell you that I don't
Please just be there
To listen
To hug
To laugh to cry
What I am doing is not easy
But it's easier if you stand beside me

Monday, 15 September 2014

Milestones

Today is a day of milestones
First things first
I am 5 weeks exactly off the cigarettes today
I can't quite believe it
When I decided to give them up
I had very little faith that I would be able to do it
Because you see I was such a heavy smoker
And relied on the so much
As an anxiety reliever
A stress reliever
I meal finisher (Not a word but you know what I mean)
I smoked when I was happy
When I was sad
When I was bored
Upset
Angry
And occasion was a reason to smoke
And smoke I did
Like it was going out of fashion

Two weeks before I gave up
My uncle brought me back 2 cartons from Turkey
That's 400 individual cigarettes
I  had it in my head that I would give up when they were all gone
So I went to town and smoked my little head off
The last supper as it were
Then on Monday morning the 11th August
I found myself with my last smoke
I saved it
I waited until I was gagging for it
I went out in to my Auntie's garden
Conditions had to be perfect
I made a cup of tea
Got my book
Found a comfortable place to sit
And lit my last cigarette
It was one of the nicest smokes that I have ever had
I relished it
Let the smoke swirl around my tongue before I inhaled in
And blew it out in little puffs
All too soon it was over
And I had to extinguish it
I didn't want to waver
So I quickly said my goodbye's
And walked away from my beloved smokes

Even though in the end I hated them
I don't regret smoking
I thoroughly enjoyed it when I did smoke
It helped me through hard times
Helped me celebrate good times
When I was at the end of my tether
A smoke always made things better
A cup of tea and a smoke really is heaven
I did my best thinking with a cuppa and  a smoke
And of course anything can be resolved with these things

I can't lie
When I see someone lighting up
I get very jealous
I look at them longingly
And even try to inhale some of their second hand smoke
I can't help myself
Do I miss them
Yes and no
Yes I would love one
But no I just can't do it

I didn't give them up for health reasons
I wish I could say that I did
But I didn't
I gave them up because I just couldn't afford them anymore
A 30 a day habit was costing me 15 Euro a day
That's 105 Euro a week
Maybe if I was working I could afford that
But I'm not
So I can't




Milestone number two
Is that I have reached 20mls of methadone
As in my methadone has been reduced to 20mls
I have been on methadone for 10 years
I was put on it after being addicted to heroin
It is an opiate substitute
It's a syrupy green liquid that I take once a day in the morning
Going without it will leave me with in serious withdrawal

I was originally put on 80mls of methadone
After a few years of slipping and sliding
I finally got to a place where I could begin to reduce it
So slowly but surely over the years it has decreased
And now I am on 20mls


I can't lie
I am terrified to come off it
The only thing that helps is that I know I have other meds to rely on
But still
It's hard
It's scary
It's unfamiliar
But in the same breath
It would be amazing to be off it
No doctor every week
No hassle when travelling
I would be free