Sunday, 30 August 2015


I got a text message the other day
Out of the blue
It was from a girl I was in treatment with a few years ago
A girl who I will call G
I met this girl when I was in hospital for the second time
In 2011
G was about half way through her treatment when I arrived
She had come in to hospital at a dangerously low weight
She was very ill
G struggled through treatment 
Struggled to break out of being sick
And all that went with
I firmly believe
Whether we like it or not
That our EDs serve a purpose 
There is a reason that we are eating disordered 
Because we get some sort of payoff from it
Whether that be attention
The relief of anxiety
The numbness 
The protection
The not feeling
I guess it's different for everyone 

Back to G 
She had a history of self harm also 
And suicide attempts 
Towards the end of her treatment 
She was discharged as an inpatient
And started to come as a day patient 
From the start she really struggled 
She self harmed when she was at home 
And began to purge 
I remember thinking that purging was a useless effort 
And told her so 
But she continued to deteriorate 
She took up a lot of time in groups 
Asked to see the doctor nearly every day 
Some of our group began to resent her 
And the attention she seemed to need
But as I have since learned from being in treatment numerous times 
Sometimes there is competition among patients to be the sickest
To need to most attention from staff
To be the thinnest 
And the most eating disordered 
I've come across it many times 
Heck, I've been there myself 
In competition with other girls to lose weight
Steering conversations to get the other person to tell you how thin you are
I've been there
Done that 
Bought the extra small t-shirt

Often people
As in family and staff members
Tip toe around the person with an ED
And that is understandable 
Because the person is in a very vulnerable position
They can be weak
Mentally and physically 
But it also means that the person in question is kept in cotton wool
I remember when I was in treatment 
The person who ran the Eating Disorder Recovery Programme was a nurse
She was the nicest person you could ever meet
She was really like a mother to all us patients 
I never once saw her lose her cool
Or get frustrated or fed up
And she was dealing with ED patients all day every day
When this nurse went on holidays 
Another nurse from the ward would take over
This nurse was much more hard hitting 
She really took no prisoners 
She was honest
Brutally so
And did not hold back
But you know what ?
I actually did better with this nurse
I responded better to her
I'm not saying that's the same for everyone
I'm sure the softly softly approach works for done 
But not for me 

I'm digressing again
Back to G
We texted back and forth 
She told me that she was also diagnosed the borderline personify disorder
And was put on a cocktail of meds 
Due to these meds 
She went from a size six
To a size twenty very quickly 
And even though she was still very much bulimic 
Was not treated for her ED 
Because she was not underweight
This is something that makes my blood boil
Everyone is on red alert when someone is underweight
And rightly so
It's a dangerous time
And as we all know
Anorexia has a high mortality rate 
But just because someone has regained weight to a healthy BMI
Does not mean they are cured
Of course they could be on the road to recovery
But often times the person is still struggling
I have found that because I punished my body so much over the years 
My body physically won't let me lose any significant amount of weight anymore
My weight tends to fluctuate around five kilos up or down 
But that's it 
It's like my body won't let me be underweight anymore
And that's fine with me

But yes 
It's a common problem among the ED community 
Often the body recovers long before the mind
So we are left with a healthy body 
But a very anorectic mind
And that let me tell you is a living hell
Everyone tells you how well you look
And all you want to do is slice the flesh off your body
Often those who are bulimic 
Maintain a healthy weight
But that does not mean they are healthy
There could be all sorts of complications under the surface
This is the ignorance of people
They don't know enough about eating disorders to be aware of this information
So it's up to us 
The ED community 
To let people know 
To educate them 
That eating disorders come in all sizes from obese to emaciated to everything in between
I know that I was just as sick at my highest weight as I was at my lowest weight 

I rely felt for G
She has been through the mill
And although her BMI is now healthy
She still struggles
It was good to hear from her though
You form strong bonds with the girls you meet in treatment 
They are fellow soldiers in the war against  this thing we call ED

I'm hoping they through our blogs
We might be able to educate people about EDs
Mental health is still quite a taboo subject
And eating disorders and other conditions are still whispered about 
Rather than talked about 
I'm hoping that in my life time 
This will change 
People will talk openly about their issues
Without fear of being labelled 'crazy'
We've all grown up with someone on our street or in our neighbour hood
Who was labelled 'nuts' or 'mad'
I know my auntie lived in the same estate as my family
She was called Mad Mary
It's cruel
But it's because people don't understand 
And they fear what they don't understand 
My auntie was not mad
She had a bona fide mental illness
But instead of helping or understanding 
People chose to ridice her

I've often written here about my fathers side of the family
Out of his ten brothers and sisters 
All of them have suffered with some form of mental illness or addiction
My mothers side of the family has none
And out my my two sisters and my brother
My sisters and I all have been diagnosed with mental illness and addiction
And live with these traits every day
My brother on the other hand is most like my mother
Go figure 

That's my Sunday morning rant over
Don't know if I made any sense 
Congratulations if you made it this far 
Both in this post 
And in life
I have officially stopped making sense 
Think I'll go and stick my head in the oven...
(That is a figure of speech in my house
Whenever someone gets fed up they say 'I think I'll go and stick my head in the oven' ala Sylvia Plath)
Ok enough!
See you on the next post....


  1. Thank you, Ruby. I like this! I know what you mean about all these issues, and feel them and struggle with them myself too.
    Do you think that the concept of "the ED community" is itself conducive to strengthening the barriers or breaking them down or both? What role does or should ED play in a person's sense of identity, do you think?
    I'm glad your friend is doing better than once, though sorry things are still so tough.
    Best wishes to you both.

    1. Thanks for this comment
      You pose some really interesting questions
      I think the idea of an ED community can be both good and bad
      And to answer your questions properly
      I will do a post
      As there is not enough space to answer in the comment section
      So please look out for that post tomorrow x

  2. Hey Ruby ;) don´t know if you remember me ;) maybe from my blog How Nutella saved my Life ?
    =) but I today again came across your blog and I really must say, you are such a stunning person and I absolutely enjoy and love your style of writing ;) Especially this post is so true and inspiring ;) you really can be so proud of how much you already reached in your recovery :) really WOW *_*
    Oh and by the way I truly love Ireland so much, as a part of my family lives there and I visited Sligo soooooo so much often and enjoy spending my time in this beautiful part of the island ;)
    Sending you so much love from Germany
    xxx Ange

    1. Hey Ange,

      Yes of course I remember you
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting
      No way!
      You've been to Sligo?
      I live like 20 mins from Sligo
      On the coast
      Have you been to Donegal or Leitrim?

      Thank you for your kind words
      You are too sweet
      Yes I know you are recovering yourself
      And I wish you every health and happiness

      Take care x

    2. Awww *_* this makes me so happy that you still remember me :) hehe :)
      Oh yes I have been there I probably think about 13 times, it is one of my favorite places on earth I think <3
      It is so beautiful there :)
      Omg, you live at the coast? this must be so nice and amazing, and alsoooo I have already been a few times to Donegal, which is so stunning as well :)
      Aw thanks for your lovely words as well,
      I wish you so much luck and happiness
      xxxx Ange

  3. I've never met anyone with an eating disorder well maybe but didn't know and mental illness is not spoken about either despite there being loads in the family,so the only place i can talk is i hope too that one day it will be alright to speak about it too.people make comments sometimes but never bad enough for dr to notice, bmi always 16 or 17, sometimes i wish it would come out and i could get help and then other times i hide it desperately. have other stuff too so complicated, the idea of treatment and recovery terrifies me,but i just want to be normal,is that just a pipe dream ?x

    1. No It's not a pipe dream at all
      But you know what?
      Normal is over rated anyway
      I think I know who this is and I'm not sure if you left your name out on purpose or not
      So I won't mention your name
      But what is normal?
      I don't think it exists
      If you mean that you want to get well
      Then yes
      It is possible
      I wouldn't say that unless I knew it for myself
      I'm the most well I've been in a long time
      Still struggle
      But life is bearable
      And that is the main thing
      I promise you
      It's possible x

  4. Actually I think as an anorexic you reach a point where you CAN'T think you need to reach a reasonable weight to make changes. Like of course it's not solving everything but I do think saying a 45lb anorexic is just as ill as a 100lb woman is a but of a cop out.

    I get that it's a mentality and I agree, I have the mentality. Even if it's not food anymore I still struggle with not feeling "right". But at least I won't die AND i can be a productive member of society AND I want change. Plus I can live in the world without freaking out about where I will eat and when and all the things that go along with that. You get your spontaneity back.

    in the throes of anorexia you actually DO NOT want change until it's unbearable.

    I try not to ENABLE others just to please them as that is an anorexic mentality.

    If I was wrapped in cotton wool I never would have recovered. And I believe it's a barrier to recovery. Because even though it's hard to accept there are payoffs as you say, and it's a very self centered reality.

    X shelby

  5. Of course I don't mean physically as sick
    Obviously someone who is dangerously underweight is in a lot more danger
    But mentality wise
    And behaviour wise
    But I stand by the fact that I was sick no matter what weight I was
    It's the reason so many people don't come forward for help
    As they don't believe that they are sick enough x

  6. to comment on a few of your posts that i have read:

    - i want to say that most never really set out on the path of being "fully recovered". recovery, to you, can mean anything. you are the one living with the disorder, so recovery for you can be "making meal times more tolerable" or "making ED more bearable."

    recovery for me is living a life in which my eating disorder does not hinder the possibility of me enjoying it.

    do not forget that recovery is not exactly very defined. when i started to recover, i believed that there was no full recovery for me. i was very bent on living with my ED until my dying day. now, i am so repulsed by the idea that i don't think i could ever deliberately harm my body in this way.

    it can take years of recovery before you reach a proper equilibrium. or it can take months. the more i recover, the more i hate the illness. there is a point in time where ED is sort of a friend and sort of an enemy. i think you spend a great deal in recovery in that stage before you hop onto the next one where "ED is definitely the enemy."

    life is so precious. too precious to be hindered by numbers and food. it doesn't matter in the end. i think something hit me once when i was reading this particular post i saw on instagram and it said something to the effects of "when you're eighty and dying, do you really want your biggest accomplishment to be that you turned down pizza so you can maintain a thigh gap?"

    recovery is the most important thing right now. everything else lags behind.

    if honesty is the best policy, there is something that has been bothering me: i hope i can say that i hope you do stop purging. i also want to say that any kind of bulimic behaviour i've noticed takes a long time to come back from. it took me about two years of recovery to even think about giving up my laxative habit. it will take just as long or maybe longer for you to really give up a BN habit. i find that it is the hardest for most people to give up, and that during times of stress, it seems to get worst. i would recommend that you just stop cold turkey. i am only advising you out of pure and utter love. i do not want you to be harmed any longer. by others, or by your own devices. you have done nothing to deserve that form of pain. you deserve what you think others deserve. you are no different than anyone else. if you think someone deserves happiness, you deserve it too. it's only logical.

    i have to add on, your piercing looks quite fabulous. i had to laugh when i scrolled down to reading Bella's comments (yes, i obviously stalk Bella on other people's blogs).

    (continued into another comment)

  7. (continued)

    i do notice that with a lot of us. we are so low in confidence that often we let others walk all over us as if we were nothing. this is something that you must work on. i think that part of recovery that people do forget about are the personality "quirks" they picked up when they were ill.

    here are the ones that i have noticed: low self-esteem, low confidence, introvert type personalities, shunning invites, feeling uncomfortable in social situations, feeling judged in social situations, anxiety, isolation.

    you must talk more to other people. the more you go out and do things, the more you would be able to. and since you are volunteering at the shelter now, i hope that you actually get to know some of the people there. because you deserve to feel at peace with the world.

    i talk to anyone. and they talk to me. i often find that i do not know normal social mannerisms or protocol, but obviously, that isn't enough to shut me up.

    i used to be very frightened of telling people that i want something specified in a restaurant or answering the phone. i can now pick up the phone, barely looking at the number and answer. i can definitely also tell people that i don't want ice in my Diet Pepsi or that i want extra cheese on my pizza or some other malarkey like that. the more you do it, the easier it'll get over time. in fact, you probably won't realise how well you're doing until you look back and thought, "six months ago, i used to tell my father to specify my order because i daren't even look at the man in the eye."

    by the way, i am reading the L post and i just have to say that you were executing yourself perfectly. i understand where you are coming from, but i also understand that L had to make a point as well. i'm glad that it came up to a nice outcome. shame about the two friends you had lost :( ah, this community seems to be shrinking! it's quite sad. but i hope we never lose you. <3

    *gives you a very stern expression* ^ and that is why i advise on completely stopping the purging as i do not want anything to happen to you. i find that the more we go against nature's planning, the more we bring flaw to its design! our body was always made in a way to keep the food IN for a reason after all.

    now, onto this post... (i'll write in a separate comment)

    -Sam Lupin

  8. (now onto this post...)

    "Sometimes there is competition among patients to be the sickest" this is one of the thoughts i resent the most about this ED. turning everything into a bleeding competition. one person ate a salad for lunch, i will eat a leaf. it's absurd. it's the equivalent of a cancer patient deciding his tumour was too benign and then deciding to stay in radiation plants until somehow, it got bigger and he would need more help. but see, this is the interesting thing - even us, mentally ill people, when struck with a physical ailment would take our medicine without a second thought. then what is this disparity where we take one form of medication but not the other?

    actually, interestingly so: i find that at higher weights, i struggle more than when i am at a lower weight (not sure if this counts but i am more on the BN spectrum of things). it is much easier for me to overeat than it is for me to undereat. it is very easy to spiral back into BN habits that way. i'd eat a tonne, but i didn't want to gain any weight so laxative abuse and over-exercising were tools i kept in my arsenal back then since i gave up on purging (with a few minor slips). of course now, i enjoy my Zumba class so badly that i daren't even think about overdoing it (the only time i do overdo it is because of 2-3 hour Zumba events where i generally eat whatever the fuck i want because if i eat/don't eat, my body will still be inflammed from the extensive amount of exercise afterwards).

    "Often those who are bulimic
    Maintain a healthy weight
    But that does not mean they are healthy"

    ^^this. i think this speaks for the BN community lots. i think that we are often shunned because 1) many of us do not look unhealthy, 2) like me, i've lost a lot of weight but because in the 'morbidly obese' category before - all i get are compliments about how good i look, which is very triggering. i believe i'd love the "oh, you look healthy" rather than "you lost so much weight! and you look so good. please keep it up" or a personal favourite of mine "ah, you lost so much. the only thing you need to lose now is a bit off your bottom", 3) you can really see the damage of purging later on in the years or at least, that was how it was like for me (i have blood sugar issues from it. i cannot eat certain foods without it screwing up my digestion) and 4) any purgative behaviour is exhausting.

    i believe that many recovering people that suffer from BN do not get as much help in treatment + there is the thing i mentioned about giving up a purgative habit being absolutely hellish. i know many anorectics that have developed BN habits that cannot get rid of them very easily and that dominates a majority of their life. and it doesn't help how "disgusting" the feeling of indulging the habit is.

    of course, i say this without disrespect to the AN or any other ED community. no ED is glamourous. every one of them kills and every one of them has its own host of problems. comparing AN to BN or BN or BED is like comparing different forms of cancer. it isn't made to be compared. but again, as Shelby mentioned - you can't really treat a benign tumour like you do a massive one. everything and its relevant scenario of course.

    -Sam Lupin

  9. I'm pretty sure nearly everyone on my mother's side of the family has some mental health issue (I know Mumsy dearest has a cocktail of undiagnosed personality disorders all on her own...), but in the way of the family, such things are never discussed. Mental illness is very much a taboo in that family--they see any kind of mental problem as a major weakness, which is just not acceptable. It's been a frustrating way of living to say the least.

    I'm glad that it seems like now the taboo surrounding mental illness is starting to lessen. It definitely gives us sufferers a better chance as far as getting help and getting better.


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