Thursday, 7 March 2013

You know you have a problem when.........

You know you have a problem when you wake up in the morning and count the hours until it's time for bed again

When you spend more time with your dogs than you do with real people

You know you have a problem when your parents are afraid to leave you on your own

When number on the scale can send you spiralling in to a black hole of depression

When you look down and see there is vomit on your clothes

You know you have a problem when the number on the scale can send you sky rocketing in to euphoria

When  you are driving so fast you hope you will crash

When there is a constant war going on inside your head

You know you're losing it when you have a path worn between your kitchen and your bathroom

When you barely leave the house

When you feel like an emotional yo-yo

You know you are in danger when you're saving up your meds

When purging feels as natural as breathing

When you feel like you are broken beyond repair

You know you are sick when you enjoy the sound your stomach rumbling

When you wake up in the night because you are so hungry

When your thoughts are consumed with weights, food and numbers

You know you have a problem when you can't cry

When you can't remember the last time you laughed

You know something's wrong when you avoid your favourite foods

When you panic because you can't exercise

When sleep is the only peace of mind you get

You know you are getting worse when you push all your friends away

When you think about vanishing every day

When your sister won't let you babysit your nephew

It's a reflection of your state of mind when you have to psych yourself up to have a shower

When the number on the scale dictates your mood, self worth and self esteem

When you avoid the mirror at all costs

When you feel like you are dying inside

You know you are losing it when you feel so alone

When 12 years later you are still in the midst of this illness

When nothing else matters

When the future is too scary to think about

When you have a passive death wish

You know you have a problem when all your hopes and dreams have been dashed

When you feel like your thoughts are killing you

When numbers impact you more than words

When your afraid to have friends because you'll just let them down

When life scares you more than death

You know things are not right when you just want to walk out your front door and never come back

When losing weight is the only thing that matters

When you feel like you are going insane

When you have to make yourself think of reasons not to overdose

When you're lying to yourself everyday

When you're losing the will to live


You know you have a glimmer of hope when you won't let any of this stop you from getting well

You know you're going to be ok when you remember you have people around you who love you

When you look back over the last year and see how far you've come

When you wake up and think 'I can do this, just for today'

You know you can get well when you remember that you are stronger than your eating disorder

When you look in the mirror and don't hate what you see

When you remember that you are not a bad person and are in fact a good person

When you realise you have new hopes and dreams

You know you are winning the battle when the voice in your head is just a whisper now

When you do the opposite of what your eating disorder wants

When you wake up and think 'I don't want to die today'

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The scale tells the tale

I got my period a few days ago
Or to quote Cher from Clueless 'I'm surfing the crimson wave'
Only my second in over 10 years
It hit me really hard
I had crippling cramps in my stomach and everytime I stood up I felt so dizzy
I was feeling so bad that I rang Mary to cancel
I just wanted to curl up in bed and feel sorry for myself
She talked me in to going though and I'm glad that I did
It's quite traumatic when your period comes back
I was so used to not having it that I just didn't miss it
It was normal
I suppose now that it's back it's a sign that my body is trying to get back to normal
I should be grateful really
That everything is working as it should
But I can't help but feel a bit sad
It's a clear signal that my body is starting to recover
Letting go of my eating disorder is tough
Yes I want to get well
Actually that's a lie
I want to want to get well if that makes sense
There is still a big part of me that is too afraid to take that leap of faith
So I'm mourning anorexia
They say there are 5 stages of grief
I think I am stuck at disbelief

Then Mary said she would weigh me
I really didn't want to do it as I figured  if I had my period then I would be bloated
I prepared myself to see a significant gain
I carefully stepped on to the scale but couldn't bring myself to look at the number
Never has the saying 'Ignorance is bliss' been more apt

I sat back down and Mary said it was important to discuss it
So she told me the number and I was down 2 pounds
I was genuinely shocked
And I can't tell you how relieved I was
It just goes to show that I can't trust the way I feel
Or even my own eyes
The only way to get a true reflection of my weight is to weigh
The scale tells the tale
My father mentioned yesterday that I didn't look well and  asked if I had lost weight
All of this is fuel for my eating disorder
It feeds off comments like this
I often think trying to fight my eating disorder is like taming a wild animal
You can train it and manage  it but there is always the possibility that it will bite you

I've noticed that I'm probably one of the oldest in this community
Most people think that eating disorders only affect teenagers
Anorexia is often stereotyped as a 'rich white girls disease'
Yes it's true that most sufferers are under 20 but there are plenty of us in our twenties and thirties who have carried this illness with us in to adulthood
Relatively speaking I guess my own eating disorder developed quite late
I was 18 when I first became aware of it and wasn't diagnosed until I was 23
For those first 6 years my weight hovered around 6 stone although I had no idea how this I was
Thinking back to my childhood I can see that my eating was always quite disordered
Maybe if it had been caught when I was 18 I might not have gone so far
But it went unchecked for so long that when I finally did seek help my behaviours were so entrenched that recovery seemed elusive

It's difficult to be my age and still be so disordered
People think  that I should just grow out of it
That's it's something that adults should just get over
But if course it's not that simple
Eating disorders don't discriminate
They can affect anyone
Any age
Any sex
Any race
It is an equal opportunity illness
It's so important that it's caught early for the best possible chance at recovery
But unfortunately all too often if a doctor is presented with an eating disorder patient in the early stages of their illness, they don't take it seriously
By the time the doctor sees fit to intervene it's almost too late

I do feel a sense of shame and guilt about my illness
Guilty that I keep putting my family through this
That they worry so much
I think when one person becomes ill, the whole family gets ill
It affects everyone within a certain radius
And I feel shame about the fact that I can't seem to be able to get my life together
I should know better than this
People presume that eating disorders are a vanity thing
For me it's never been about vanity
It's a coping mechanism
An escape
An addiction
And anyway what is vain about having papery grey skin
Lanugo all over your body
Limp and lank hair
I think not

I feel so out of my depth at the moment
Like I'm drowning
I'm kicking and trying to swim but the harder I try the deeper I seem to sink
I really don't know how to get out of this place
And even if I did I'm not entirely sure I want to get out
I can't decide which is worse
Living with anorexia/bulimia forever
Or living without them

How long have you had your eating disorder?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

One foot in the grave

For the last year and a half Mary has weighed me once a week
But a few weeks ago she asked me if I would do it at home to get used to weighing myself
I wasn't too happy about it but I would try
The first time I weighed myself it took me days to muster up the courage to do it
Even thinking about weighing myself sends my heart aflutter
For a couple of weeks I managed to do it just once a week and left it at that
But in the last couple of weeks I've been weighing myself more and more and have lost 4 pounds in the process
4 pounds is not a huge loss but it's enough to give me a little buzz
A feeling of satisfaction
It's enough to make me want more
I find a loss a lot more triggering than a gain
A gain tends to send me towards food where as a loss tends to send me away from it
The high of losing is addictive
Like with drugs, you chase that high endlessly
But it's never enough
Another thing that may be contributing to my weight is the fact that I stopped taking the mirtazapine (anti depressant)
I was afraid it was making me gain weight so I haven't taken it for a few weeks
In reality though it wasn't
Seeing the numbers go down is both thrilling and terrifying
I know how this story ends
I've been there
Done that
Bought the extra small t-shirt
I know the misery that this life brings but part of me is willing to put up with it if it means I get to be the weight I want to be
It's so confusing to think that the one thing that makes me feel safe, is the one thing that's killing
It just goes to show the power of eating disorders
They groom us and lure us in with false promises of happiness
It's hard to resist the promise of being beautiful and loved
I should know better
I know that these promises are complete bullshit
I know that what anorexia brings is nothing but heartache and pain
For me and everyone around me

My doctor prescribed me laxatives and suppositories a few weeks ago due to severe constipation
He also gave me some home enemas
I had never used these before and was reluctant to but I was in desperate state a few weeks ago so I tried it
It worked like a dream
I felt completely empty
Can you see where this is going?
Yes, I've been using them far more than is safe
I'm starting to rely on them
I even found myself going to different chemists to stock up
I need to tell Mary
But I'm afraid
I saw her last week and she had a serious talk with me
She said if I don't get a handle on the purging that she won't be able to see me anymore
That she can't facilitate that behaviour
The thing about this service is that if you get too ill then they won't see you
For example if your BMI goes below 16 they won't see you
This doesn't make a lot of sense to me
It sounds like a contradiction
Surely someone needs more help if they are in that state
Mary said in order to progress I need to stop purging
She made the suggestion that if I made a contract with myself that maybe that would help
So we wrote out a contract of things I had to do
Here they are

- Eat regularly
- Don't purge
- Go to a meeting
- Weigh once a week on a Monday
- No binging
- No tv until after 5pm
- Keep food log
- Don't write the day off if I'm struggling
- Ring someone if struggling

I signed the contract making a commitment to stick to these tasks
But here I am a week later and I have yet to complete one of them
I'm seeing Mary later on and I am dreading it
I feel like cancelling
I feel like never going back
I feel like holding up my white flag and surrendering
I'm so tired
Tired of fighting
Tired of losing
Tired of the constant tug of war in my head
Tired of living this way
This year I will have clocked up 13 years in the midst of this illness
13 years
They should have been the best years of my life
I should have been enjoying my youth
Spending time with friends
Getting an education
Falling in love
Instead I have been living this half life
Stuck in this limbo
Somewhere between life and death
One foot in the grave
Every night I vow that tomorrow will be different
That I will make an effort
I promise myself that I won't waste another day to this illness
That I will do the opposite of what anorexia wants
But tomorrow never comes
I just don't know what to do anymore
I'm so confused
So lost
I don't know how to get back from this place
Do you?

Monday, 4 March 2013


Sunday is by far the worst day of the week for me
I've hated Sundays since I was a child
Back then it was the day before going back to school
And as I grew older it was the day before going back to work
In fact I think that Sundays are worse than Mondays in a lot of ways
For me now Sundays are usually dedicated solely to binging and purging
It's the only day that I am here at home alone
So I have free reign to self destruct to my hearts content

I walk my dogs in the morning
An extra long walk so they're nice and tired
Then I pile them in to my little car and we head for the shops
I usually have in mind exactly what I want to buy
But more often than not I'll just pick up whatever looks good
I'm trying very hard not to shop lift food anymore so I begrudgingly pay for my shopping
I say begrudgingly as I hate paying good money for food that won't go to good use
It's literally flushing money down the toilet
I had a surreal experience last week
I was in a supermarket with my Dad and I was paying for my goods at the counter
I had a few bags of crisps and I gave the check out lady one of them to scan and told her I had 5 in my bag
My Dad said to the woman jokingly 'Are you not going to check her bag? She could have any amount in there'
The woman laughed and said 'No, not at all, she has an innocent face'
I was dying inside because the truth was I had a lot more than 5 bags of crisps in my bag
How ironic......

I make sure not to forget to buy a big bottle of 7up free
All the better to purge with my dear
I head home
It's like being blinkered
I have one aim
To get home and wreak havoc
To get the buzz of eating forbidden food
And then the high of having it leave your stomach
All the while safe in the knowledge that I won't gain weight

I arrive home
I put all the food away
Mentally working out the order in which I'm going to eat it
I make a cup of tea
Drink it with a cigarette
And wait
Wait for my mother to leave
She usually goes out between 1pm and 2pm
I clock watch as she gets ready
Counting down the minutes
She comes in to say good bye
'Light a fire if you get cold' she says
She always worries that I'm cold
I wait until I see her car leave the drive
And then?
Let the binge begin........

I choose food that takes a short time to prepare but a long time to eat
First up is usually chicken curry with jasmin rice
All washed down with plenty of 7up free
I don't eat at the table
I eat cross legged on the living room floor
I eat in a certain way
Each mouthful is carefully selected for maximum enjoyment
I keep the salt beside me at all times as I'm a salt junkie
I'm already heading to the bathroom as I'm chewing the last mouthful
In that moment nothing could stop me from getting to that bathroom
The house could be burning down around me and I'd still make sure I got there
What happens next is not pretty
It's not glamorous
It's not romantic
It's messy
It's disgusting
There's a reason it only happens behind locked doors
The vomit comes up quickly
It's food covered in foamy 7up
Over the years I've learned to be quick and quiet
You never know when you're going to be interrupted
I've always thought that purging is such a violent act
It's self harm in such a graphic way
I can only imagine what damage I am doing internally, forcing food from my stomach
As I'm cleaning up I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror
I look like a crazed maniac
Blood shot eyes
Water streaming from them
Vomit on my cheek
My hair stuck to it
I quickly look away
As if doing so made it all disappear
I tidy myself as best I can
And head to the kitchen for round 2

When I'm binging and purging I don't have one big binge
It's more like lots of little binges
I guess technically they're not binges at all as they're normal amounts of food
But to me it's a binge
I don't know why but the food never tastes as good as I think it will
I eat slowly and carefully
And back to the bathroom
The day follows this pattern
Binge, purge, binge, purge..........
Kitchen, bathroom, kitchen, bathroom.............
I start to wrap things up at about 5pm as I know my mother will be home soon
I get rid of any evidence of the day
I burn food wrappers in the fire place
Make sure all the dirty dishes are in the dishwasher
When my mother arrives home I am sitting in the living room as if it never happened
I am the picture of innocence
After the days events I am drained
All I can do is lie lifeless on the couch
Only moving to have a cigarette
I feel nothing
No emotion
Just empty
Dead inside
I vow never to do this again
I promise myself that I won't waste another minute to this cruel illness
But then I say that every Sunday

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Love from......

I came across this lovely little idea last week
The idea is that you write an anonymous letter, card or note to a person and leave it in a public place for someone to find
The letter can be about anything
It could be a love letter telling the person how great they are
It could be inspirational
It could be encouraging
It could be a post it left on a mirror in a public bathroom simply saying 'You are beautiful'
Most of all it should be positive and life affirming
I wrote one last weekend and left it in a car park ticket machine
I checked it a couple of hours later and it was gone so I hope someone found it
This weekend I wrote another one
I think I'll leave it in a cafe
I think it's such a simple but brilliant idea
Imagine finding one of these letters
I know if it was me it would make my day

Friday, 1 March 2013

Blake and Amy

I don't usually watch The Jeremy Kyle show but I watched it yesterday morning when I saw that he was interviewing Blake Civil Fielder
For those of you who haven't heard of him he was married to Amy Winehouse
A lot of people blamed him  for Amy's drug addiction and some went so far as to blame him for her untimely death
I didn't know much about Blake before I saw this interview
I only knew what I had read in the paper and they had portrayed him as nothing short of a monster
His mother Georgette had been interviewed on the show previously and she had encouraged him to speak out and tell his side of the story

He described how he has first met Amy in a bar in Camden called 'The Good Mixer'
He was 21 and she was 20
He said that she looked and sounded different to other girls
That is was love at first sight
At this point he was using cocaine recreationally
He admitted to offering it to Amy but she refused
At that time she abhorred Class A drugs but she did smoke weed
Over time they both moved on to harder drugs
Blake confessed that he was the first person to introduce Amy to heroin
Gradually they used it more and more until they were both addicted
It was around the time that 'Back to black' came  out and Amy was becoming extremely famous
Blake was in and out of prison and Amy continued in a downward spiral
I remember photos from that time
Images of Amy looking so thin and dishevelled
They were a modern day tragic couple
Her the small girl with the big voice
Him the classic bad boy
They couldn't live with each other but they also couldn't live without each other

Blake was in prison when he heard that Amy was dead
She died 23rd July 2011
She was just 27 years old
She is now part of an infamous group of musicians called 'The 27club'
Along with Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and many others
They all died when they were 27 in tragic circumstances
Blake overdosed accidentally after her death
He was in a coma for 21 days and was not expected to live
By this stage he had a new girlfriend and a new baby son, Jack
He has been clean ever since his overdose

The media have really given Blake a hard time and you would be forgiven for getting the impression that he was a nasty piece of work
But I thought he came across very well
He was softly spoken, articulate and incredibly honest
I thought he was a very likeable guy
It was clear that he truly loved Amy
Jeremy Kyle asked him if he really loved Amy, why did he give her drugs
He said that he never thought it would so that far
I can relate to Blake and Amy's story
It was my boyfriend at the time who first introduced me to heroin
And like Amy's family, mine blamed my boyfriend for my addiction
Of course they want someone to blame and it's easy to blame it on the other person
But I don't think it was my boyfriends fault that I got addicted
Yes he was the one I first took it with but I have no doubt that if it wasn't him, it would have been someone else
I can't blame him for my actions
I took the drugs
He's not responsible for that
I have my own mind and I made the conscious decision to take the drugs
When you're young like that it's very easy to make a mistake
Of course I knew the danger of drugs
But in my limited experience I had never had a negative experience with drugs
I had never seen anyone strung out on heroin
And I just didn't think getting addicted would happen to me

Blake is clean now
He came off methadone about a year ago
His girlfriend Sarah was with him
She seems to have been instrumental in him getting his life back together
I hope he manages to stay on the straight and narrow
It will be especially hard for him though
Trying to get work will be difficult as people will have made judgements based on what they read in the papers

I have to admit I find it incredibly difficult to watch any footage of Amy, if her video comes on I change the channel
I don't like to look at images of her
I can just about listen to her songs
I find it so desperately sad to have witnessed her decline
My favourite song is 'Tears dry on their own' but I haven't watched the video in years
Most people probably don't notice how pinned her eyes are from heroin use
The last few years of her life, in every video, every photo her eyes are pinned and glazed
Being a recovering heroin addict I find it so very hard to look at
Eating disorder wise, it is the equivalent of looking at a very sick and underweight person
I have read Amy also developed an eating disorder and her ever shrinking body would back that up
It's not that I find it triggering, I suppose it's like looking in a mirror
The haunted eyes and frail body are exactly the way I used to look
I followed her career from start and in the early years she was so different
Curvy, fresh faced and so very talented
Having watched and read interviews with her, she seemed to have very little self esteem
I remember her saying that the lower her self esteem was, the higher she made her signature beehive
It's heartbreaking how someone with such a precious gift to really touch people could have so little belief in themselves
But isn't that always the way
I was shocked when I heard she had died but I wasn't surprised
It was inevitable really
Apparently she had managed to get clean before she died but was still drinking and had a massive amount of alcohol in her system the night she died
The only comfort I take is that she is at peace now
Safe from the demons that haunted her
Sleep well Amy

Are you an Amy Winehouse fan?
What do you think of Blake Civil Fielder?
Do you think he played a part in her demise?