Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Hunger Games

One of the most dangerous aspects of anorexia
Is that the disorder always wants more
More weight loss 
To the point where sufferers become entangled in a twisted game of 'Who is the sickest?'
I've played this game 
Many times 
And no good can come if it 
Being an addict 
And having attended support groups
I have met many other girls like me
Who are cross addicted
And developed EDs as well as drug/alcohol addictions
Two girls in particular I became good friends with
We're we helping each other?
I'm not so sure 
I know I measured my weight against theirs 
One of the girls and I used to tell each other our weight
And  I committed it to memory 
And secretly tried to achieve a lower weight

They say that in regards to recovering
1/3 will recover
1/3 will live somewhere in between their disorder and recovery 
And 1/3 will never recover 
Those statistics ring true for me and my friends 
One of us has recovered
One is still knee deep in the disorder
And one is somewhere in between the two 

People with EDs 
Often have the sense that they are not sick enough 
And therefore don't deserve the title of 'anorectic'
Because there is always someone sicker or thinner than you 
If you are admitted to inpatient
The Hunger Games become amplified 
For me
Inpatient did not work 
I found that being surrounded by other disordered people made recovery and weight gain nigh on impossible 
I compared myself to other girls 
What we weighed 
What we ate
How much exercise we did 
It was all a sick and twisted game 
I just wasn't able to allow myself to gain weight in that situation
And have never completed treatment successfully
I've always done much better from home  
With support of course 

There is a kind of competition that comes with anorexia 
We wear our bones like trophies on our bodies 
We award ourselves with medals for the different milestones we achieve
Given the title of anorectic
Seeing a counsellor
Inpatient especially has a kind of holy grail aura about it
Because we never believe we are sick enough
Being told you need to go in to inpatient is like being validated that yes you are sick enough to go to hospital  or treatment 
I know I spend much time worrying about the fact that I don't have an ED
Rather than the fact that I do have one

Having said all that 
One place that I don't feel a sense of competition
Is here on blogger
Why is that?
Probably because we get to see the real honest truth about what it's really like to live with a life threatening mental illness
The fear
The loneliness 
The isolation
The depression and anxiety
The family issues
The never ending merry-go-round of recovery and relapse
It's clear from reading about people's lives here
That an ED is not what it would have you believe 

Ive used this metaphor before 
But I will use it again
An ED is like an abuser
It grooms you and lures you in with false promises of happiness and success 
It paints a picture of what life will be like when you lose weight
You'll be lighter 
The smallest of all your friends 
And of course it will tell you that thinner people are more popular
More liked and loved 
Your boyfriend will be able to pick you up with no effort at all
You will wear anything you like
And look effortlessly beautiful
Oh yes
In return for your body
Your mind 
Your sanity
And your soul 
Anorexia will give you the life you always dreamed of
Hard to resist right? 
Once anorexia lures you in
And you are now captive 
Anorexia shows its true colours
And how evil it truly is
And once she is in your life 
Life will never be the same again

Thus far 
I've focused on anorexia
But of course there are other eating disorders
They are not given the same status that anorexia is
Bulimia for example
Is widely considered to  be anorexias less popular cousin
Having dealt with both 
I know first hand that it is a lot more difficult to talk about bulimia
If anorexia is cold, controlled and aloof
Then bulimia is loud and brash and in your face 
No one wants to admit that they throw up their food
It's messy
It's disgusting
It's not something that you talk about in polite company 
I think people feel sorry for people with anorexia
And disgusted by people with bulimia
It's not a fair appraisal at all 
Then there is binge eating disorder
And food addiction 
Which must be even more difficult to talk about 
Anorexia gets the most attention
That is for sure 
Maybe because seeing an emaciated person is so shocking 
Papers and magazines love a sensationalist story
With a shocking and disturbing picture to go with it
The same with obesity
But if you ask me
Anorexia and obesity are on the same spectrum
At opposite ends albeit
But it's the same problem
A problem with feelings
With reality 
With ourselves
And of course with food 
I have no doubt that I could easily become obese 
My relationship with food can be so disordered that it is a very real possibility 
As I have said before
I either eat none of the food
Or all of the food
There is no in between 

There is no glory in being the sickest or the thinnest
In the end 
Lives are torn apart as a result 
And really
There are no winners 
Only losers 
I know all too well that our EDs will not be satisfied until we are six feet under
Death is the ultimate prize 

There is no doubt
That eating disorders are complicated illnesses 
Often we don't know why we are doing what we are doing
But we feel compelled to do it
God knows I am going through it right now
And it's a battle to get back on track
It's so important in recovery 
To build a solid foundation on which to grow from
I think maybe that was my mistake 
I didn't have a platform from which to flourish
My recovery happened very quickly
And almost in spite of myself 
I think I started using the word recovery because I had gained weight
But then recovery really did happen
I did gain weight
My mood improved 
My anxiety and depression lifted 
But was it sustainable?
I'm not so sure
I think I need to start again
To take my time 
And build up my recovery layer by layer 
So that I have reserves
For when things turn sour 
Like now 
I am struggling to hold on to my recovery 
My ED is screaming in my ears these days 
I spoke to my family about it yesterday
For the first time 
They are worried 
As am I 
I was stupid to think that I could lose a few pounds and stop there 
I've lost too much weight in a very short space of time
My body is really suffering 
As is my mental health 
I'm thinking of ringing Mary and asking for a top up appointment 
I've also reached out to friends 
So I'm hoping to get back on track

With all that said
I was wondering about you
Have you ever been caught up in The Hunger Games?
Do you think that anorexia can become a game of who is the sickest? 
What is your experience of this?
Answers on a post card please.....


  1. Dearest ruby. Your words ring true that half the time if not more we don't know why we do the things we do. I'm currently inpatient and the holy grail of who is sickest appears to be those with tubes. I am alone on that forefront. My mind fights so hard day and night but my body is weak my body is tired and what little left of me is left is tired ready to roll over belly up with her little white flag. I do not wish to trigger you all I want to say is I know what the hunger games can be like. I was sectioned last week and today I was told I am not allowed to leave for quite some time. Indefinitley. It was horrible to hear knowing feeling like I am the biggest person here and yet I am the only one on a nasogastric tube I am the only one having ecgs's daily I am the only one on strict bed rest! Surely they are indicators that support the fact my body was shutting down and will continue to if something doesn't change.

    1. Oh sweetie
      I am so sorry to read this
      And that things are so tough for you right now
      It's traumatic I know being sectioned and in treatment
      You sound like you are going through the wars
      And being tube fed is probably a last resort
      Isn't it so sad that even though you are the only one with these strict guidelines
      Yet you still think you are the biggest
      And not as sick as the others
      That's anorexia for you

      I am saying a little prayer for you
      And hoping that you come through this out the other side feeling a lot better

      Take care
      And let me know how you are getting on x

    2. This admission has been so traumatic they have taken complete control even forcing medications on me and if refused calling security! They are being so strict on me it's scary! If I didn't have nightmares enough as it was I will now. Being tube fed is their last resort their only resort. And it sucks! I hate that I can't see myself as sick yet these are such drastic measures they are taking. Thankyou Hunni I keep you in my thoughts sorry I haven't commented much of late my words have been lost and my energy even more so xx feel free to email any time if you remember my email haha

  2. Hi Ruby, you said that one of your friends has recovered from her ED. Have you any idea how she did that? So many of us seem to come to a stop halfway to proper recovery. It's just so hard to change the way we think. What was it that helped her-do you know?

    1. I think it was a combination of things that helped her
      She is a couple of years older than me, now in her mid thirties
      So I think she just got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired
      Having had an ED for many years
      She just couldn't go on anymore
      She also has two children who depend on her

      Also she is also in recovery from drugs and alcohol
      So I think when she began to feel better her health improved too
      My friend has a very solid foundation in her recovery
      She attends support groups a couple of times a week
      And also has a sponsor who is amazing

      My friends life is not perfect
      But she is doing really well
      And is now maintaining a healthy weight
      In fact mentally I think she is the best that she's ever been

      I hope this helped
      If you have any more question do ask me x

    2. Well done to her! Someone once said to me " If you can't do it for yourself do it for your children..." Not as easy as that, but I can see the reasoning behind it. I also have 2 children.....xxx

  3. In the end, it's a matter of choosing life over death. An eating disorder is a slow and miserable death. It tries to convince us that it's something pretty and sparkly. We have to keep reminding ourselves that it isn't.

    A few years ago, when I was still ping-ponging back and forth between anorexia and recovery, I met my friend's older sister. I had never seen someone that emaciated in real life, only ever in photos or films. A more disordered Mich might have looked at her with envy (maybe?), but I just remember being shocked. She looked (and still does) like a 90-year-old corpse. She has no intention or desire to get well. She spends her life alone in her apartment, not eating and over exercising. She has no friends and rarely even sees her family. She is well aware that this is exactly what the rest of her life will be like, and it will be a short life, and she is perfectly ok with that.

    She was a wake up call for me, because I do not ever ever ever want to to end up like that. Giving into the eating disorder can only ever lead me down that road.

    Call Mary, and reach out to friends. The eating disorder is exactly like an abusive partner--it wants to isolate you from everyone around you so that it can control everything in your life. Don't let it. Punch that fecker in the face. <3

    1. Thanks Mich
      Your suggestions are exactly the things I know I should be doing

      I know
      It's shocking to see someone in thdt state
      Once upon a time I was in that state
      Thankfully there are not photos of me from that time

      Hope youre doing ok x

  4. i have never felt that competition thing with anyone, never really met anyone else that cares maybe having kids so very young always had older friends. but i don't notice or care what other people do or think, just control, just me ,want to be empty, am empty.
    i won't get better because i don't want to, i hope for better for you though,sorry can't be more help but you are strong, love you lots xxx

  5. I can also understand ed's being a competition, I had a friend who also had an ed and sometimes it was really hard to be around her, it's sad that we went our seperate ways, but I think it was for the best.
    The way you described Anorexia was dead on I've never heard anyone compare an ed to an abuser before, but for me it makes complete sense, as I was abused, which definitely led to my ed.
    I do find reading blogs like yours is really helpful though for us in recovery.
    Take care.xx

    1. I'm glad you find it helpful
      That's exactly the goal of my blog

      Take care x

  6. So much truth in this post!! I struggle to see myself as sick because I am not underweight....but also because I fool myself and say that if it's been a few days since I purged....that I'm recovered. *nevermind that I was on a drinking bender instead*

    I'm about to go into inpatient treatment and I'm terrified that this competition will affect me. I'm actually wondering if I can get away with only substance recovery and just see if my ED is bad enough for them to notice. Wrong mindset....I know.

    I think it took a lot of courage to talk to your family about this. They seem to be a willing and strong support for you.

    1. Oh that's great screaming willow!
      I sincerely wish you the best of luck
      I hope it's the start of something wonderful!

      Let us know how you get on x

  7. When I was young(er) my ED was certainly a numbers game with others. How little can you eat? How much can you purge? Awful times.


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