Monday, 15 October 2012

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

My mother is on to me
She knows I am struggling
I came home the other day to find her looking up a treatment centre on line
I asked her why
She said 'ruby, you're not well'
She said she knows I so very low even though I make a huge effort to try and seem in good form
She can see through the thin veil of my act
I actually thought I was doing quite a good job
Thought that I was fooling everyone
My dad asked me very politely not to take all my meds last week
He said I am so very distant when I do
That he can't get through to me
I honestly hadn't noticed but then I was out of my head
The treatment centre my mother was looking up is relatively new
I actually rang them once before but they weren't accepting health insurance at the time and it cost a ridiculous amount of money
There are 3 main treatment centres for eating disorders in this country
I have been to two of them
So I guess it's only logical to  try the next one
The last time I went to treatment it took me a year to muster up the courage to ring
My one hour with Mary is not enough
Not by a long shot
She seems to think that I am doing well
She says 'You have come so far Ruby'
Then why don't I feel it
I still feel as entrenched in this eating disorder as ever
Yesterday I spent the day binging and purging
Literally all day
I have a path worn from my kitchen to my bathroom
And the sick thing is that I was actually looking forward to it
Looking forward to eating what I wanted with no consequence
I had been binging in the night too
Getting up in a sleepy stupor and raiding the biscuit cupboard
So I taken to hiding all the binge food in my mothers room at night
It's worked so far
The night terrors are also back
I get them from time to time
Plagued by horrible nightmares and waking up screaming
They used to be so bad that I had to sleep beside my mother so she could wake me up
How much longer will this go on?

I don't understand why anyone would want to be this way
Why anyone would welcome this in to their life
I didn't want to be this way
I didn't invite this illness in to my life
It silently crept in
In to my body and my mind
I didn't even know I had anorexia for the first couple of years
I had no idea I was under 80lbs
I thought I was skinny because I was a drug addict
The number on a scale meant nothing to me then
All I knew was that not eating made me feel good
I was doing a drug detox in hospital when a nurse sat me down and told me I had anorexia
I didn't believe her
Didn't want to believe her
I was in denial for a long time
It wasn't until I went in to drug treatment that I faced up to the reality of my situation
There was another girl there with an eating disorder
 Our behaviours were so similar that it was like looking in to a mirror
I couldn't deny it then
In the beginning you don't even notice the illness
It's so very subtle
You begin to eat less but there's always a reason to explain it away
You begin to lose interest in food
And it feels good
Your clothes become looser
And it feels good
People comment on your weight loss
And it feels good
More and more you feel guilty for eating
So you start purging
You feel you have found a loophole in the system of eating
A way to eat but have no consequence
And if feels good
Then your family express concern
You are getting too thin
But surely there's no such thing as too thin?
And anyway you are still fat
The mirror tells all
You start to weigh yourself
You carefully record every number
The numbers get lower and lower
And it feels good
But as the numbers plummet so does your mood
Depression and anxiety creep in
As the numbers decrease so does your energy and will to live
But you can't stop
You are so very cold now
Colder than you've ever been
It's in your bones
But you still can't stop
Your skin turns grey and you grow lanugo all over your body
Your periods cease to exist
But you still can't stop
Your family are sick with worry
They say you are emaciated
But they are lying, the mirror still says you are fat
Along with the weight you will feel like you are losing your mind
But you still can't stop
Then one day you break
You start to eat
And  eat and eat
You binge and purge like it is going out of fashion
But you still can't stop
You gain weight and you hate yourself for it
People presume because you have gained weight that you are better but that couldn't be further from the truth
You reach breaking point and contemplate suicide
But instead you decide to lose all the weight again
But this time it's not so easy
This time your body is fighting you
Every pound is hard fought
It's just not the same anymore
It takes forever but you lose it all again
Now so very weak you end up in hospital
They try to make you eat
They make someone sit with you all  day
But you are two steps ahead of them
You go to treatment and make some progress but then it's time to go home
And the cycle start again
The next 10 years are a pattern of lose weight, hospital, treatment, gain weight, lose weight, hospital, treatment..................
Lather, rinse, repeat

The thought of living this way for another decade is too much
This eating disorder is like a job I detest
I work hard all week and expect a big fat pay check in the form of weight loss
But no matter how hard you work it's never enough
The boss is the mirror and it's boss is the scale
It decides if you've worked hard enough
But it's never enough
If I were strong enough I would stop this madness now,  today
I wouldn't waste another second on this cruel illness
But oh if it were only that simple
If it was I would have done it years ago
I know a lot of people here are struggling right now
Many suffering in silence
It breaks my heart
We are all connected by the common thread of pain and food and numbers
They say eating disorders are a 'rich, white girls' illness
But in my experience it can affect anyone
It does not discriminate
I hope there is a reason for all this
That it will be explained in time
I still believe that there is a reason for everything
I'm just not sure what it is yet

All my love,

Ruby x

Friday, 12 October 2012

Girl Interrupted

I'm slipping again
I can feel it
I think because I was craving drugs I turned to my eating disorder instead
I've been abusing my meds again
Using them to knock myself out
Yesterday I went food shopping and I shoplifted dog treats
Not because I couldn't afford them, just because I wanted a buzz, a rush
I hadn't shoplifted in months, it hadn't even crossed my mind
Suicidal ideation is taking up more and more space in my head
Thinking about and craving death but not actually doing anything about
My eating disorder is draining every bit of energy I have
I'm mentally and physically exhausted
The thoughts of having to live like this for another year, month, week,  day is too much to bear
I'm sure others think I am doing well
I put on a well rehearsed act
But that is so very tiring also
I don't want to leave the house anymore
I just want to hide
Or should I say my eating disorder wants me to hide
A friend of mine used to say 'tell on your eating disorder'
'Do the opposite of what it wants you to do'
But these days I can't tell my own thoughts from my eating disorder
I had planned to go to an NA meeting but last night
But I took 3 days worth of meds instead and slept for the day
I fear for my sanity
I fear I may be going mad
Or maybe I have already
I'm not quite sure

I've been in contact with a girl from treatment
I told her my situation and she suggested that I ring Imelda from the EDRP (Eating disorder recovery programme)
I would love to ring her and would maybe even consider going back in to treatment but 2 things are stopping me
I've been in this programme 3 times in the last 5 years and the last time they told me that if I came back, then that would be my last chance
So you see I have to make sure I am 100% committed if I do go back, I don't want to waste that chance
The other thing that stop me going back is the nurses
I had some trouble with 2 nurses in particular
One day I heard one of them taking the piss out of me
As you can imagine I was devastated
This nurse was in a position  of authority and I was in a very vulnerable place
I remember crying so hard all day and ended up self harming with a razor
Imelda was great and took my side but the nurses all stuck up for each other
My friend told me that this nurse no longer works on this ward
But I'd still be nervous to go back

Apart from a couple of incidences my time in treatment was pretty positive
As I said I've been in there 3 times
The place is a psychiatric hospital but it's not like a regular mental hospital with cold hallways and stark rooms
This place was comfortable and quite plush
Everyone had their own room and bathroom, they were like little apartments
It costs a ridiculous amount of money but I'm fortunate that my parents have health insurance
The EDRP was on a ward called St. Brigid's
It wasn't just eating disorder patients on the ward, there were people with all kinds of mental illness like depression, anxiety, bipolar
The programme was very intense
Groups all day Monday to Friday such as goals, body image and meal planning
I have some really fond memories from this time
Mostly of the other girls
They were some of the most beautiful, talented, intelligent, artistic girls I have ever met
I really felt like I could be me in there
Because we were are all in the same boat there was no reason to hide
I could cry, shout, scream and no one would have batted an eye lid
It was so freeing just to be me without any of the amour I use in real life
I could let all my defences down and just be Ruby
I guess it says alot about me that I felt so comfortable in a psychiatric hospital
Everyone spoke so freely about their illness and nothing was taboo
It's a sad truth that there is still such a stigma to mental health
I know in this country we are very bad at talking about it
All too often it is just brushed under the carpet and hoped that it will go away
Mental illness is rife on my dad's side of the family but it is rarely talked about
I'm quite open with my own struggles and will talk about it to anyone who asks
And surely that is the key, talking about it
Too many people suffer in silence, afraid of the back lash from others

I'm quite sure where to go from here
I'm seeing Mary in an hour
I'm lucky to see her once a week but I don't think it's enough
One hour a week is not enough
I feel like a fly caught in a spiders web
I am no match for the spider
This eating disorder feels like it is so much bigger than me
That I am powerless
I know my eating disorder wants me dead
It won't be satisfied until I am 6 feet under
I wish there was more of a fight in me
That I cared enough about myself to fight
The truth is that death doesn't scare me
Life scares me more
I can't decide which is worse, a life with this eating disorder or a life without it
I want to want to get well if that makes sense
I want to want to live
I wish this thing would loosen it's grasp on me
I wish I had the courage to walk away and be free
I wish I had the will to get better
I wish you did too
I wish that I wasn't in so deep 
I wish.............

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Memoirs Of A Heroin Addict

As I said in my last post after running in to my 'blast from the past' I contacted my ex boyfriend
It seemed like a good idea at the time
We texted back and forth for a while
He  told me that he misses me
That I was the best friend he ever had
Thankfully I don't have any feelings left for this guy
He told me that he is also on a methadone programme
That my old town is awash with heroin
When I was living  there I think me and my friends were the first heroin addicts
There were no dealers dealing heroin so we had to go to Dublin
We went up 3/4 times a week
But now there are countless dealers in my old town
I have to admit by this stage I was full blown craving and using started to seem like a good idea
Once can't hurt right?
But of course I know that there is no such thing as once
One turns in to 2, turns in to 3 and before you know it you're strung out again
I spoke to my doctor about it on Monday
He  pointed out that  if my 'blast from the past' moved up here then he must be clean, my area is not exactly 'heroin central'
I haven't heard from him either so that's good

So in an effort to stop myself from craving/using I've been trying to remember the bad things about my drug using days
All too often I remember the good times and that's when I relapse
And in the beginning there were good times
I first used heroin around the time of my 18th birthday
I was in my boyfriends house and he said he had a surprise for me
I watched as he injected heroin in to his arm
I smoked it the first time and injected it the second time
I was hooked instantly
It was like a switch flicked in my brain
All of a sudden heroin became the most important thing in my life
I was working and started to steal money
We spent every weekend in Dublin using
I still look back on this time with fond memories
It wan't until I became physically addicted that things started to go wrong
I started to wake up sicker and sicker
We moved to Dublin and our drug use escalated
I eventually went to treatment for the first time in 2004 after doing a detox in London
The stay was over 4 months long
My first couple of weeks were bumpy and I smoked hash with another girl but thankfully we weren't kicked out
I knuckled down for the next two months and made good progress
But then things started to go wrong
I got friendly with two new guys
There was a spark between me and one of them and so I became completely distracted
I was nearing the end of my time and so I decided to go on to another treatment centre
Before I left I told the guy that I liked him and he told me the same
We kept in touch by letter
Then my counsellor stopped giving me my letters as she said they were distracting me
I got so angry that I ended up walking out
When my guy heard that I had left,, he walked out of treatment too
We met up that week and started a relationship
We relapsed on alcohol immediately
I started to stay with him in Dublin
I remember it was mothers day when we relapsed on heroin
It was a disaster
I remember we went in a cafe to use in the bathroom
I was in the ladies and he was in the mens
He didn't come out after ages and when he did he said he had collapsed
Because we hadn't used in a while our tolerance was way down therefore had more of a risk of overdosing

He came down to see me here one weekend
He brought heroin and coke with him and we shot them up together
I woke up in the middle of the night to see him going to the bathroom
He had his washbag and I knew he was going to use because that's where he kept his works (syringe)
I told him not to, that he'd done enough already
But he didn't listen
A few minutes he came back rubbing his nose
He sat down on the bed and slid off the end on to the floor
He managed to get back up on to the bed
Then he started to shake
I screamed his name trying to get him to wake up but his eyes were rolling back in his head
He turned blue and his lips turned purple
I started to slap him across the face
'Fuck' I kept saying 'Fuck, fuck,fuck!'
I rang my ex boyfriend to ask him what to do
He told me to ring an ambulance
So I did
I kept trying to get him to wake up as I could tell he wasn't breathing
Images flashed my mind of me telling his parents that he had overdosed in my bedroom
No,  no, no, please no!
By now he'd been down about 10 minutes and I was sure he was dead but I kept shouting his name and slapping his face
Then all of a sudden he made a noise like he was trying to inhale and his eyes opened
He came to and told me to cancel the ambulance, so I did
He was coming in and out of consciousness and I was afraid so I called the ambulance again
Again he told me to cancel so I rang then back
Understandably they were getting angry with me and told me they were sending out one anyway
It arrived but I was too afraid to answer the door
In the end he was ok but it was one of the scariest nights of my life
I've overdosedmyself before but it was much scarier watching someone else
We broke up soon after that
I couldn't go in to that room for months after that

So it's incidences like this that put me off using
I have to remember that with the good feelings of the drug comes a whole lot of trouble
And it's just not worth it
I was lucky to escape addiction relatively unscathed
While I  was craving on Monday suicide also popped in to my head again as it does from time to time
I though about storing up my meds
How many would I need?
4 weeks?
6 weeks?
But thankfully that was just a fleeting thought
I'm planning to go a meeting tomorrow night
I need the support right now
It scared me that even thought I've been away from drugs for a couple of years, a craving can hit you like a slap in the face
Like eating disorder recovery, drug recovery takes constant work
It doesn't just go away, you have to work at it everyday
And I am working at it

Monday, 8 October 2012

Blast From The Past

I was walking my dogs down my road yesterday, like I do every day, minding my own business when a jeep passed me
It stopped ahead of me turned and pulled in beside me
I thought it was someone looking for directions
I looked at the driver and thought 'I know that face'
I couldn't mistake those ice blue eyes
It was my ex-boyfriends bestfriend
As in the bestfriend of the boy I went out with for 7 years
As someone I took heroin with everyday for years
As in someone I thought I had left behind when I moved here 8 years ago
As I walked over to the jeep adrenaline began to pump through my veins
My first thought was 'Fuck, they found me'
I never told anyone where I was going when I left
I prayed his eyes wouldn't be pinned
I know I'm not strong enough to resist if I know he's using
'Wow!' I said, trying to keep the fear out of my voice 'What are you doing up here'
'I live here' he replied 'In the next village'
Christ, I thought, just down the road from me
We talked for a few minutes and I relaxed a little although nerves were still making me talk way too much, giving out way too much in formation
He asked me where I lived and I tried to be vague
I asked about my ex-boyfriend who he said is a methadone programme also
He gave me his number and told me to get in touch
I said I would
As he drove away my legs started to shake
I couldn't quite believe what had just happened
It was like seeing a ghost from a life I thought was dead and buried
My heroin addiction was so surreal that it's like it happened to someone else
I almost deny it ever happened
But I couldn't deny it today
Not when one of the main players of that time walks back in to my life
I walked back down my road in a bit of shock
Asking myself 'Did that just happen?'
I immediately needed to tell someone, if just to calm myself down
I decided against telling my family as it would only worry them greatly
So instead of talking to someone I pounded out 4 hours on the stepper
On pure adrenaline

But in fact this is not the first time I've run in to this guy since I left my old town
I ran in to him about 4/5 years ago in the next town
He was at a music festival so I didn't worry too much a he was only here for the weekend
But this is different
He's here, living in my sleepy little village
I don't know if he's using
I suspect from talking to him that he's not using heroin but he was always a weed smoker
And just because he's not using smack doesn't rule out all the other drugs
Not that I don't like this guy, I do
He is one of those fellas that everyone loves and wants to be around
But he comes with a whole bundle of trouble
As mad as a box of frogs
I hope I'm wrong
I hope to God that he is clean, for his sake and mine

We used to be a foursome
Me and my boyfriend, him and his girl friend
Partners in crime
We ended up staying all over the country using
This guy is striking looking
Tall, tattood with piercing blue eyes
The girls loved him
Wanted to take care of him
But he was a free spirit and that made him even more attractive
He always scared me a bit
You just never knew what he was going to do next
We took all kinds of drugs to together
Got in to all kinds of trouble
He used to inject heroin in to my neck when the veins in my arms collapsed
When I had a shower last night, I caught myself looking at the veins in my arm
The heat made them rise
I always had shocking veins which made shooting up near impossible
It didn't stop me trying though
For the first time in a long time I wondered what it would be like to use again
Bad Ruby, bad!
I wondered about my ex-boyfriend and what he's doing now
So in a not so intelligent moment I decided to text him
I remembered his number, it used to be mine
Is that a slippery slope I can feel?

I did wonder though
Why do I keep running in to this person when I'm trying so hard to run away
Is there a reason or am I just looking for a reason?
I am both thrilled and terrified at the prospect of seeing him again
And no doubt I will see him again
So what to do?
Avoid him?
Contact him?
Move again?
No, moving is ridiculous, this is my home now, I have a life here
And after all, I was here first
I hope that I'm over reacting
I hope he is clean and sorted and moved here for the same reasons I did
I hope we can see each other and be nice and polite with none of the shit from the past
I hope......

I've been weighing the past few days
Curiosity has been getting the better of me
It's slowly going down
I've been exercising up to 6 hours a day
But I'm giving myself the day off today and only going to walk my dogs
I'm loving the thought of a day spent watching Masterchef  Australia and Come Dine With Me

Why can't I get this guy out of my head?

Friday, 5 October 2012

Numerical Roulette!

I saw my friend again
After cancelling on her a couple of times I finally called in to her yesterday
She also has an eating disorder and a drug and alcohol history
She sees Mary too
We're both in a pretty similar situation recovery wise
We've both put on weight recently
Not enough to reach a healthy body weight but enough that we don't look ill anymore
She told me how someone had commented to her that she had 'filled out'
As you can imagine this crushed her
I don't know on what universe people think it's ok to comment on someone's weight, good or bad
I never pass comment as you just don't know how someone is going to take it
I know comment about my own weight have sent me spinning into relapse
My friend is the only person I tell my weight to and she tells me hers
She is a few inches shorter than me and a few pounds lighter
Even though that means we're probably the same weight I still thought that she looked a lot thinner than me
She said she felt huge and didn't like to leave the house anymore
I can relate to this
In my head I am so big that it is embarrassing
I feel fat therefore I am fat
I didn't see Mary this week so I have no ides what my weight is and I'm not going to play numerical roulette and  weigh myself
Those little numbers still have too much power over me
They dictate my mood, my self esteem and my self worth
If the number is up I spiral in to a black hole of depression
If it's down I sky rocket in to euphoria
That's not good
People say to me  that the scale doesn't tell you what a good person you are or how pretty or talented or how giving or loving you are
I hate that those numbers have such power over me but they do
My mind is consumed with food, weight and numbers
Numbers on the scale, numbers on my stepper, calories, measurements........
For the first few years of my illness it wasn't about numbers
I was oblivious to what weight I was and never weighed myself, never even wanted to
All I knew was that not eating made me feel good
I had no idea that I was barely 80lbs
It wasn't until I was admitted to hospital that numbers became important
They weighed me every second day and it seemed to be very important so I started taking notice of what I weighed
Then in treatment we were weighed 3 times a week
Suddenly the number became crucial
I had a spectrum of safe weights and if I went above this I completely panicked
They say it's not about weight but it is for me
Reaching a healthy weight is still terrifying
My friend and I were talking about how people presume we are well because we have put on weight
Another myth about eating disorders, that you have to be emaciated to have one
I was just as sick at my lowest weight as I was at my highest weight
It's a mental illness with physical side effects
I'm glad I went to see my friend though
Just to get the identification was great

We were talking about how great Mary is
Not just with the food stuff but with life stuff
In fact food is nearly always the last thing we talk about
I have seen my fair share of therapists and counsellors over the years
Ranging from the weird to the wonderful
When I first moved here I was looking for a counsellor
A friend put me in touch with a man who ran a half way house for male addicts
He was a former addict himself
So I started seeing this man on a weekly basis
At first things were fine
He was very informal and let me smoke in his office
Some of his theories were a bit left field but I just thought he must know what he's talking about seeing as he runs this centre and had set up others
But then things took a strange turn
He wouldn't ring my methadone doctor and said 'why should I go running to her, she can ring me herself'
When I tried to talk to him about food he said 'well that's fine, no one wants to be fat'
That was my first inkling that things weren't right
As the weeks went on he became less interested in my addiction
All he wanted to know about was 'had I been out at the weekend'
He frequently asked me if I had a boyfriend or had I been with any boys
I started to feel uncomfortable seeing him and started to skip sessions
His questions were becoming more and more inappropriate and I didn't like it
I remember I was keeping a diary at the time and wrote about him in that
Eventually things just got too weird
I felt like he was coming on to me and I didn't fee comfortable being alone with him so I stopped going to see him
Months later I told my friend why I had stopped going
He replied by telling me that this man was now being investigated by the probation board
It turned out he was up to all kinds of no good
In fact I had got off lightly
Eventually I had to give a statement of what had happened
I did have a gut instinct about this man from the beginning but I didn't listen to it
Yes, it could've been a lot worse but the fact that he preyed on me when I was vulnerable shook my confidence in seeking out a new counsellor
The man said my statement was bullshit but I was believed and he lost his job
He did untold damage and all the while hiding behind the guise that he was helping addicts
What a cowardly and despicable man
I'm always afraid that I will run in to him somewhere but I'd say he has left the area
From then on I've seen women counsellors as I just don't feel comfortable with a man
I hope that man never works again

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Be you!

A 15 year old girl who lived in the next town to me committed suicide last week
It's the third suicide of a teenager in the last year in my area
This girl was being cyber bullied
It obviously got too much for her and she eventually hanged herself in a wood near her home
The site she was being bullied  on is called and when asked about cyber bullying on their site they gave a ludicrous statement
The claimed no responsibility and said that children in the UK and Ireland are more cruel than other countries and that they get no complaints of bullying from other countries
The girls father was on tv a couple of nights ago
He described how his daughter was outgoing and bubbly, she did well at school, had lots of hobbies and was well liked by everyone in their town
She didn't tell anyone that she was being bullied
Even though it was done anonymously, I'm sure she knew who her bullies were
So why was she a target?
I'm sure it's different in every case but in this case it seemed to be jealousy
The bullies didn't like the fact that this girl was pretty and doing well, so they decided to knock her down a  peg or two
It baffles me how people have that nerve to post these hateful comments but they don't have the balls to put their name to it
They hide behind computer screens in their bedrooms, not knowing the amount of damage they are doing
It's so very sad that this girl didn't tell anyone and suffered in silence
As you can imagine the town is in shock
The school held a meeting
The fear they're may have been a pact and are asking people to come forward with information

I've written about bullies quite recently and my own experiences with them
I've been dealing with different versions of the same bully my entire life
They say that bullies quite often used to be bullied themselves
I believe people are the way they are for a reason so it makes sense that a victim of bullying would become a bully
After my first experience of bullying, I used to tease a girl in my class, it might not have been outright bullying but it was a reaction to what had happened to me
Even though bullies do bad things, I don't believe they are bad people
I actually pity them
They put others down in order to feel good about themselves so they can't have much self esteem or self confidence
But I can't deny they do untold damage and in this case the worst possible outcome came about
Cyber bulling is a new and more cruel method of bulling
Anyone can sit in their bedroom, in front of their computer screen and anonymously tear apart someones character
They can't see the reaction therefore they don't know the damage they are doing

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem
This girl must've been in so much pain to actually consider taking her own life
I've had suicidal ideation for a long time - welcoming death but not actively seeking it
Or as I call it a passive death wish
I've never attempted suicide but I have thought about it plenty of times
When I'm walking my dogs down my road I will a car to crash in to me
Or I'm walking on the cliffs hoping a gust of wind will catch me
I remember when I was trying to get clean off drugs I made a deal with myself
I would try recovery for 6 months and if it didn't work out I would kill myself
As strange as it sounds this actually kept me going
Knowing I could end it all was a comfort
I still have suicidal thoughts but they are fleeting thoughts
Thankfully I have the foresight of my families hurt if I did it
It might be the end of my problems but it would open a world of pain for my family
Someone said to me that we shouldn't talk about suicide too much because it puts the idea in peoples heads
This is true
Studies show that after a suicide and it's publicity, the suicide rate goes up
This puts people in a difficult position because it needs to be talked about but not too much
The boy who committed suicide a few weeks ago, his family denied he had killed himself and said that he broke his neck after falling off his trampoline
I can understand his families pain but I do think it is better to be open and talk about it

So why do bullies target certain people?
I have no doubt that in a lot of cases with girls it is jealousy
And in a way girls can be more cruel than boys
Boys are more physical, more likely to throw a punch
Girls are more subtle and sneaky
They talk behind each others backs, they exclude and tend to verbally bully rather than physically bully
They can be so subtle that you question whether you are imagining it
I think bullies also pick on people who are different
I used to do my best to blend in
I just wanted to be one of the crowd, didn't want to stand out
I went to great lengths to fit in
I wanted to change everything about myself from my hair to my personality
I even used to change my accent
But as I bet older I see that it's our differences that make us who we are
Our quirks and our foibles make us interesting
As I've said before I don't want to be a clone of someone else
When I was younger it was important to look like everyone else
Same clothes, same hair, same everything
But now I like that I different
I like that I don't blend in
Dare I say it, I like me
Like a dog that can smell fear, bullies also seem to be able to sniff out fear
They prey on the vulnerable
But I do think that as well as the victims, the bullies themselves need help
They are obviously in a lot of pain themselves if they feel the need to do this to others

So with all  that said I was wondering about you
Have you experienced haters or cyber bullies?
How did you handle it?

Monday, 1 October 2012

Stay Strong!

I was flicking through the tv channels yesterday and I came across Demi Levato's documentary Stay Strong
I have seen the documentary before
But decided to watch it again
For those of you who don't know Demi, she was a child star and is now 23 and a singer and actress
I was always aware of Demi but it wasn't until she checked in to treatment in 2010 that I started to pay attention to her
She was in the middle of a tour when her family staged an intervention and she went straight to rehab for 'physical and emotional' problems
In reality Demi had been suffering from bulimia and depression for years and was also a self harmer
She described feeling fat at as young an age at 4
How her parents divorce affected her greatly
And how she had cripplingly low self esteem
Couple that with the pressure of being on tv and surrounded by skinny girls and an eating disorder was born
Like a lot of us she ploughed on regardless, taking on more and more work
She said she purged up to 6 times a day
She insisted she was fine but it was clear to those around her that she wasn't
She described being full of self hatred, fuelled by guilt and shame
She said  that she 'took it out on herself'
Eventually the family intervened and she went to treatment in October 2010 until January 2011

The documentary followed her on her first tour since coming out of treatment
She said that she couldn't say she hadn't purged or self harmed since leaving treatment
It showed her going home to Dallas for Thanksgiving and it was obvious that she was anxious
Her family was there and the house was filled with food
It was plain to see she was really struggling as she surveyed all the food
She made a phonecall to who I presume was another girl from treatment
It was touching to hear them give each other support and encouragement
It showed her eating lunch and she looked incredibly uncomfortable, glancing at other peoples plates an then declaring 'I'm uncomfortably full'

I could see a lot of sadness and pain still in Demi
The camera would catch her smiling but it would then break in to an expression of someone who looked a little bit lost
And of course she is a little bit lost
She is barely a year or two in to recovery and she is still so young
She said that she still battles everyday with body image
Made even more difficult by the fact that she gained 30lbs after leaving treatment
I thought she was so very brave to be honest about this
She could've put on an act for the documentary, painting a picture that everything was fan-fucking-tastic
But what she portrayed I think, was a realistic picture of recovery
It's not all rainbows and unicorn farts (to use a phrase of Peri's)
Recovery is hard
It's probably the hardest thing we will ever do in our lives
The temptation is always there to go back to old behaviours
Recovery is unkown territory
And it's a leap of faith
We're going down a path without knowing the outcome
Demi describes how recovery is not like bringing your car to a mechanic
You don't go in get fixed and come out brand new
She said it takes 'constant fixing'
I thought this was a really good metaphor
Recovery is not a destination
Recovery is the journey
It never ends
Recovery is working at it everyday

Even though there was alot of sadness in the documentary, the message I took from it was one of hope
She is incredibly open about her struggles and I think that has to be applauded
I read a blog over the weekend and the blogger and her commenters were talking about how Demi talks about her illness too much and how she is basically milking it for attention
I was blown away by this
Demi is breaking the silence by speaking out about her eating disorder
She could have easily put the troubles down to 'exhaustion'
But she didn't
She wants to help other young girls like herself who are suffering in silence
Surely as a fellow eating disorder survivor we should be supporting her not putting her down
Why shouldn't she talk about it?
It was a huge life changing event in her life
In the documentary it showed one of Demi's concerts and lots of girls queueing up outside
Girl after girl spoke about how Demi had helped them so much
'If Demi can do it then so can I' was quoted many times
One girl told how Demi gave her the courage to tell her parents about her own eating disorder and eventually went to treatment
That has to be a good thing

Another thing I took from the documentary is how it's so important to have something to put your energy in to in recovery
Demi has music and spoke about how it was the one thing getting her through the day
I don't consider myself to be in recovery but after watching this I thought maybe I am after all
I am fighting this thing
I do want to get well
Yes I still engage in behaviours but being in recovery isn't about being perfect
I always thought that I couldn't say I was in recovery until I  had everything sorted
Until I had recovery perfected
But maybe it's not like that at all
Maybe fighting every day does mean I'm in recovery
I don't want to be this way
I didn't invite this in to my life
Who would want to live this?
I sure don't

Overall I think Demi is an inspiration
She has been through a lot at such a young age and has come out on top
I also think it's great that she showed that you don't have to be emaciated to have an eating disorder
You can't tell by looking at someone if they have an eating disorder
They come in all shapes and sizes
From emaciated to obese and everything in between

So thanks Demi for teaching me a thing or two about my own battle