Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Not giving in....

I watched an episode of Dr. Phil this morning
We were introduced to 15 year old Isabella and her mother 
Isabella had bulimia 
And also OCD
She blamed her illness in the fact that her mother mocked her for being slightly over weight 
And not exercising 
Isabella confessed to bingeing and purging multiple times a day 
She stole food
Used laxatives 
And was generally very low and depressed
The thing that bothered her most of all though 
Was the fact that she wasn't underweight
She was a healthy 120 pounds 
And she felt that people didn't think she was that bad 
Because she looked ok
She seemed healthy 
People presumed that because she wasn't severely underweight 
Then it couldn't be that serious 
Isabella was in a lot of distress
She spoke through sobs of tears
And felt bitter anger towards her mother
Her mother also suffered from anorexia/bulimia when she was 15
You would think she would be more sympathetic 
But she just wasn't 

I can totally understand Isabella's pain 
It is a huge myth that every one who has an ED is underweight 
In fact most people suffering with an ED are of a perfectly healthy weight 
This can be confusing 
As we are all used to the images of anorexia 
Emaciated bodies 
With protruding bones 
And sunken cheeks 
The extreme pictures of desperately underweight people 
But in reality 
Those with an ED are more often than not 
In the healthy range 
Weight wise 
I know myself 
I've been every weight from 77 pounds to  130 pounds 
My weight rarely stands still 
It's constantly fluctuating 
Up and down 
But I was equally sick at all weights 

I remnember when I was in treatment 
People seemed to think that it was ok to pass remarks about your weight 
And of course the classic: You don't look like you have an ED
I finally found a good answer to that statement 
You don't look like you are depressed/anxious/suicidal 
It's the only way to deal with such comments 

I really felt for Isabella
She said she felt disgusting at the weight she is now 
Even though she was beautiful and articulate 
She felt like a big fat failure
I know this feeling 
When I was at my highest weight 
I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin
So disconnected from my body 
It didn't portray the way I felt on the inside 
To the world I was of a healthy weight
My eyes were bright 
My hair shiny
My skin with a healthy glow 
But on the inside 
I was dying
My outside did not match my inside 
I felt  so confused 

As it is Eating Disorders Awareness Week
I think it's important to address these issues 
And talk about them openly
In a lot of circles 
Bulimia is a dirty word
Anorexia gets a level of respect 
It is almost seen as tragically beautiful and romantic 
It is shocking to see an extremely underweight person 
And I think the overall feeling towards sufferers 
Is one of sympathy and pity
Bulimia on the other hand 
Is anorexias less popular cousin 
She conjours up images of greediness 
And vomit 
I mean who wants to admit that they spend a significant amount of time with their head in the toilet bowl 
Anorexia sufferers are seen an delicate, fragile 
Almost angelic 
Bulimia sufferers are seen as greedy and disgusting
And they never achieve the one thing they crave the most 
And that contributes to make one very miserable person

Three years ago 
I made a speech at an eating disorder conference in my towns
Mary asked me on the Tuesday
The conference was on the Thursday
I had written out my story the previous week
I wrote it thinking that no one would ever read it
It was honest and raw
I remember showing it to my Dad
And he said to read it out 
That is was perfect 
That day 
I read out my story out in front of a ballroom full of professionals, sufferers and families 
I was beyond nervous 
My mother also spoke at this conference 
And we both got great feedback 
I remember Mary giving me a big hug 
And telling me she was proud of me
It was an amazing thing to do 
And something that makes me feel proud when I think about it 
I almost felt like it was my duty and responsibility to speak for our community 
And I really wanted to do you justice 
I wanted to tell my story 
Your story 
Our story 
EDs are such secretive illness
And I felt compelled to break the silence 
And tell people what our lives are really like 
I hope I did you proud 

I am trying to get back on track 
After a bumpy few months
This year I clocked up 15 years in the grip of this illness
But also a year in recovery 
I am doing my level best to get and stay healthy 
I am looking for other more healthy ways to maintain my peace of mind 
A healthy mind 
And a healthy body 
It's not easy 
But then anything ever worth having isn't 
I'm not giving up 
I have too much to lose 
Too much to look forward to 
For the first time in a long time 
I feel hopeful 
I feel there is a life for me beyond my ED and addiction
I'm not giving in 
Not yet
Not ever


  1. I've always loved Dr Phil. It's my guilty pleasure. Shame it's getting harder and harder to find full eps on YouTube.

    Feeling hopeful is a beautiful thing. Here's hoping it lasts for you.


    1. I watch him from time to time
      I don't always agree with his methods
      But he talks a good game

      Hope youre doing ok Bells x

  2. I'm glad you're recovering. It seems very hard though.

  3. I agree with you completely on how bulimia seems to be seen as a disgusting illness, while anorexia isn't. I've found EDAW to be difficult as recovering anoretics would share their stories and be specific about their behaviors, but bulimics felt unable to do so.
    The stigma won't ever end if we refuse to talk about things just because they aren't pretty.


Thank you for leaving some love x