Friday, 13 September 2013

Will I ever?

It's early Saturday morning
I'm up before the sun
Following the problem with my bowel my doctor had put me on antibiotics in case there was an infection
I'm allergic to penicillin and a lot of other antibiotics but because I was in a bit if a state in with the doctor I forgot to mention that (and anyway, shouldn't he have that on file?)
I barely looked at the name of the tablets before taking them
Big mistake Ruby
I was to take 7  a day
3 of one and 4 of the other
Not long after taking my first dose I started to feel funny and a bit spaced out
I lay on the couch and waited for it to pass but I began to feel worse and worse
I dragged my weary self down to bed where I stayed for the next 36 hours
Only waking up every couple hours to crawl to the bathroom to throw up
There was nothing to throw up but that didn't stop my body trying
I woke up this morning feeling a hell of a lot better but still unable to eat

But before you feel sorry for me remember that all of my pains and aches this week were self inflicted
I made the choice to take the enemas which blocked my bowel
I failed to check the antibiotics
I basically fucked up
And the horrible thing is that it was my mother's birthday yesterday and I spent it in bed
I made her breakfast in bed this morning to make up for it

Will I ever learn?
Will I ever stop hurting myself?
Will I ever just give up being in self destruct mode?

Answers on a postcard please..........

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

What recovery is like

I was having a nightmare of a day today, then I saw this.
Just because I fell doesn't mean I have to stay down.
I can pick myself up, dust myself off and keep going
I can do this
I  just need to believe in myself and do the opposite of what my ED wants
All is not lost

'Slip Sliding Away'

Yesterday was a nightmare
It really was
The day started out as normal
I walked my dogs
Did some writing
I was due to see Mary at 3pm
But around lunch time I developed a pain in my lower abdomen
My first thought was that it was the pancreatitis  coming back
But the pain was too low in my abdomen to be my pancreas or my stomach
It wasn't too bad at first
I've been getting this same pain on and off for a few weeks now but it always went away so I wasn't too worried
I got ready to go and see and Mary but as the pain got worse I knew that I wouldn't manage to drive the 30mins it would take to see her
My Dad was here so I went and told him about the pain
He said to ring Mary and cancel
By this stage I was doubled over in pain
I rang Mary and she asked me if I was purging
I said I was and she strongly suggested that I go and see my doctor
She also said that my condition is acute and I really need to think about inpatient
The service Mary works for really only treats mild EDs but she had agreed to keep seeing me

I rang my doctor and the receptionist said they were booked solid until Thursday
After I got off the phone I realised that there was no way that I was going to last until Thursday so I rang back
The receptionist said that if it was an emergency to come in at 4.30pm and wait for an appointment

I lay on the couch with a hot water bottle trying to figure out what was causing the pain
Then I remembered that I had used 2 enemas that morning
I was worried that I had damaged my bowel in some way
My Dad drove me in to the doctor and thankfully I didn't have to wait long
I explained about the pain and admitted to purging and using enemas quite a lot
He said if I was using these behaviours to lose weight then I shouldn't because they don't work
I do know this and I don't do these things to lose weight
I do it because I can't stand the full feeling
He examined me and said everything felt normal
He said that pain could be one of two things
It could be an irritation of the bowel due to the enemas
Or it could be trapped air in my bowel also from using the enemas
Trapped air made sense to me as I did feel bloated and full of air
As a precaution he gave me a prescription for antibiotics and said to come back if the pain persisted

I got home but the pain was still there, worse even
No matter what way I sat or lay down I couldn't get comfortable
The pain was becoming unbearable and I was in tears
Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore and was going to ask my Dad to drive me in to casualty, I had a brainwave
If it was trapped air, if I used another enema, then that could make my body expel the air
Of course it could also make my situation worse but it was risk I was willing to take
Thankfully it worked and the pain vanished immediately
Thank God!

It was a bit of a scare because I was worried that I had really damaged myself
Now I really need to address the problem with the enemas
I haven't told Mary that I am still using them
I think I may be addicted to them
But I have to stop before I do any more damage
Mary's words are ringing in my ears about inpatient
I spoke to my Dad about it
He said that the last time I left treatment my psychiatrist suggested that I try inpatient some where else
But there are limited places in this country
There are only 3 inpatient facilities and I have been to 2 of them
It's hard for me to accept that I need to go back to treatment because my weight is not critically low
Even though I know that weight is not an indicator of how sick I am, I can't help but feel this way
But what is the alternative?
Live another decade like this?
Keep seeing Mary but not make very much progress?
It's difficult because I really did think that I was making progress
I think Mary did too
Yes, I have been in better form
Yes, I did push myself over the summer
But now things seem to be slipping again
The purging has increased
My behaviours are getting out of control again
My mood is plummeting
To quote Simon and Garfunkel I am 'slip sliding away'

This illness is so sly and underhand
It let me think that I was in recovery
It let me think that I was on my way to becoming healthy and happy
It led me to believe that I had turned a corner
But it was a trick
A lie
An illusion
And because I thought I was improving I let my guard down
I relaxed a little
And now I am back in the hole again

I'm not quite sure where to go from here
I can't get my head around the idea of going back in to treatment
But I also can't get my head around staying this way for another year, month, week day
I can't live with it but I also can't live without it
My body is sending me signals that it is hurting
It's letting me know that the ED is doing damage
I went for years without having so much as a twinge but it was bound to catch up on me sooner or later

I am so grateful that my father was here when this happened as it would have been very scary if I had been here on my own
He comes down for a couple of nights a week when my mother is working away
He started coming down when I was very ill
It's strange because just last week I  was speaking to Mary about telling my Dad that he doesn't need to come down as much
But for some reason I hadn't said this to him yet
And now I don't know whether to say it at all
Maybe I do need someone to be here

I think what I will do is ring Imelda at the last centre I was in
And maybe ring the place where I haven't been and see what they say
I need to do it now or I will just keep putting it off and off
The last time I rang it had taken me a year to muster up the courage
But I just don't have the luxury of time any more

Something has to change I do know that
I just feel like shit because I had been so positive and now I feel that I am letting myself and everyone else down
I know what I need to do
I just need to do it

Monday, 9 September 2013

And then she escaped

My sister suggested that I change the name of my blog to And then she escaped
Maybe I will

It's Monday morning and I'm just back from the doctor
After talking about sport for about 10mins, he asks me how I got on with the methadone reduction
I was pleased to report that my week was uneventful with not a whiff of withdrawal
I ask him how long he thinks it will take to come off it completely and he figures it will take about a year dropping 2mls at a time
I also want to know if he has supervised any other detoxes
He said that he has and they were successful
That's encouraging
He explains that because I have been stable for such a long time, he doesn't anticipate any difficulties
In his eyes I may be stable long term but in truth I am only stable a few months
I never really told him about my abusing my meds and it's only recently that I've got that under control
All the while we are talking I am coughing and spluttering
He asks if I have a cold
I have for the last 2 weeks and I can't see to shake it
He says he will keep an eye on it

I haven't weighed myself since Mary weighed me on Tuesday
I have no idea what my weight is
My ED is telling me that I gained but I know better than to take her word for it
I don't know why I stopped weighing
It wasn't a conscious decision
I just don't feel that overwhelming urge to know theMy b number
I don't miss it
Not one little bit
I don't miss the anxiety before I step on the scale praying for a kind number
I don't miss the high I get when I see that I've lost weight
I don't miss the black cloud that descends over me when I have gained
The feeling that I am worthless
A failure
I don't miss my day being ruined because the number is up
My mood being dictated by those little red numbers
Literally measuring my worth in pounds and ouncez
In fact it is so freeing to not know the number
Mary will weigh me tomorrow and that's ok
I may or may not look at the number, I haven't decided yet

I was in the chemist this morning
They have one of those scales that measure your weight, height, BMI and blood pressure
There was a girl weighing herself
She took off her shoes and as she stood on it she closed her eyes
I know that feeling
It crossed my mind that she might have an ED
As she collected her slip of paper she studied it carefully
I wanted to run up to her and say 'Don't do it! Don't weigh yourself! No good can come of it. Don't define yourself by a number, a scale can't measure how beautiful you are!
It's easy to say these words but I know myself that breaking free of the dreaded scale is very difficult
It's an addiction in itself

My birthday came and went just like any other day
I was blown away by all the comments, messages, emails and cards that I received
As I said in my last post my family and I went for afternoon tea in Castle Dargan
It was so lovely and the setting was beautiful
It was a marked difference to my birthday last year
Last year I didn't want to do anything for my birthday
I just wanted to ignore it
My mother cooked dinner for my, my sister and my nephew
After dinner we were having tea and I ended up having a huge argument with my sister about her not allowing me to babysit my nephew
My sister left angry and I'm sure Oisin heard us
All in all it was a disaster
Thankfully this year was very different
I am in a better place mentally
Last year even though I was at a healthy weight, mentally I was in a very bad place
I couldn't see a way out
I was bitter and resentful
Full of self hatred
This year things are a little better in that respect
I'm slowly learning to like and accept myself
To forgive myself
To be free to be me
I often judge myself on past behaviour and things I did when I was in active addiction
I could beat myself up for the rest of my life but where would that get me?
I have to forgive myself, make amends where I can and let it go
I'm not a bad person
Yes, I have done some bad things and made bad choices but I've learned from my mistakes and I do try to be a better person

I've always had a hard time accepting myself and sought to be accepted by others
I was a people pleaser
I did many things to get people to like me
I changed my looks
I wore different clothes
I even changed my personality to fit in with other people
I remember when I was living in Dublin I changed my accent in the hopes that I would be accepted
Now it's not so important to me
I'm learning to accept that some people will like me and some people won't
And that's ok
I try not to change myself to fit on with others
I dress the way I want to
I just try to be me

Here's some photos of my birthday, enjoy...........

Outfit for the day

My sister and nephew gave me this mug, he he!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Happy Birthday!

It's my birthday tomorrow but I'm going to write about it today as I won't get a chance tomorrow
My family asked me what I would like to do to celebrate it so I suggested we go for afternoon tea in Castle Dargan
Again? I hear you cry
Yes this will be the third time I have gone for afternoon tea in the last couple of months but I love it!
It's a really lovely thing to do so expect lots of photos next post

Castle Dargan

Time is passing by so fast
I swear I blinked and a year went by
Birthdays are a funny time of year for me
More than turning a year older, it's a reminder that I've clocked up yet another year in the midst of this illness
13 years and counting
Almost half my life
13 years of living this half life
13 years of weight loss and weight gain
13 years of recovery and relapse
Of treatment and therapy
Of medication
Of being on the edge of society
Of isolating myself
Of being is self destruct mode
Of hopes raised and dashed
Of seeing doctors, psychiatrists and therapists
Of hating myself and loathing my body
I've given my ED the best years of my life and I'm not willing to lose another decade

I remember 2 birthdays ago I panicked at the thought of another year of being eating disordered
I rang  a treatment centre with the intentions of admitting myself
But I never got beyond the initial phone call
It took me a year to muster up the courage to ring back

This year has to be better
It just has to be
The last 12 months have been a roller coaster
Crippling lows and euphoric highs
I crave evenness
Bouncing from top to bottom makes me feel a bit crazy
I guess I just want to feel normal
As in not low and not high
Somewhere in between
Somewhere I can have peace of mind
Without the voice of my ED screaming in my ear

I do feel hopeful about this year
Hopeful that I can turn a corner and embrace recovery
Not just play the part of a recovered person
And I do play the part
Anyone who knows me or knows anything about EDs can see through the thin veil of my act
But to the untrained eye I think I seem perfectly fine
I want to 'walk the walk'
Not just 'talk the talk'
I know that I have a long road ahead of me
It can take months to recover physically
Years to recover mentally
 A life time to get over it completely
But that's ok
I'm in it for the long haul

PS. Mum's present to me was a trip to the hairdresser, here's the result!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


I saw Mary yesterday for the first time since July
I thought about cancelling to avoid being weighed but that is just prolonging the inevitable
It was a very positive session
I told her all about  my summer adventures
Yes, there were positives but something's never change
My intake is not great and the purging is ever present
She asks me how I feel about being weighed
As always I feel shit about being weighed but I agree to do it
I couldn't bring myself to look at the number but Mary told me it was the same as it was back in July
I felt relieved

We talk for a while about weight restoration
I explain that I don't think I need to gain weight
That I think I'm at quite a normal healthy weight
I don't think I look underweight and I sure don't feel underweight
Technically yes, I am underweight but not dangerously low
Mary says that to be healthy I need to gain about Xkg at a rate of 0.5kg per week
The weight she wants me to reach would give me a BMI of 19
She said that it's unrealistic to expect me to gain more than that
I was at a BMI of 19 just a few short months ago
I tried to remember what I felt like at that weight
I wasn't particularly happy but I wasn't devastated either
I was just kind of ok with it
But could I live with a BMI of 19?
If I'm honest, no I can't
Not yet
I'm not ready

I'm supposed to try and not purge between yesterday and Friday when I'm seeing Mary again
But even as she's saying the words I know that's not going to happen
To me purging is an addiction
One that is near impossible to break
In the last 10 years I haven't gone more than a few days without purging
It's normal now
It's part of eating
I don't know how to stop
I don't know if I want to stop
Part of me has just accepted that this is the way things are
Sad but true

When I was growing I had 2 bestfriends
They were sisters and lived 2 houses up from mine
Sarah was a year younger than me and Jean was a year older
We saw each other every single day
We went to school together
We hung out together
Did everything together
We experienced all the mile stones and rites of passage of growing up together
After we left school we went our separate ways
We could go for years without seeing each other but when we met up we picked up where we had left off
Sarah lives in the UK now and Jean lives in Co. Kerry
I haven't seen either of them in about 7 or 8 years but from time to time I hear bits of news about them
Sarah got married a few years ago and this week I heard that Jean is to be married soon
To the boy she started seeing when she was a young teenager
It's stranger to see how differently our lives have turned out
They have grown up, moved out, gone to college, got jobs an boyfriends that are now husbands
My life has panned out very differently
I have never really grown up
I haven't developed and grown in to an adult
I've stayed the same
My ED has almost stopped time for me
My friends have moved forward but I move neither forwards or backwards
I only move sideways
I stay stuck in the same place
In this half life that is my ED

It makes me sad to think of this
As happy as I am for my friends, I can't help but feel but compare myself and my life
It's not that I want to get married
But I want the option to get married
I want the option to go to college
To get a job
A boyfriend
More than anything I want my own place
My own little corner of the world
Where I can be independent
Where I can surround myself with things that I like
Where I can do my own thing
Don't get me wrong I love living with my mother but this is her house
I'm living under her rules
And I know the only way to do this is to get well
And that includes weight restoration
I can't recover and stay at this weight
It would be like me giving up drugs but continuing to drink alcohol
It just doesn't work
So I guess it boils down to which do I want more
To be underweight and miserable?
Or a healthy weight and have a chance at happiness?
This dilemma should have an easy answer but it doesn't
And this is what keeps me so stuck

I feel like I am at a crossroads once again
I struggle with the smallest decision so this is so overwhelming
If I could just loosen the reigns of me ED I would  have a fighting chance
 I just need to trust the process
Trust that recovery is a better way
It's my birthday in a few days
Where does the time go?
It slips by so very fast

PS, I'm sorry that I haven't been replying to comments recently but I will do my best to reply today

Monday, 2 September 2013


I saw my doctor first thing this morning
He asks me what I'm up to today
I say that I'm going home to watch Seamus Heaney's funeral on tv
Seamus Heaney was Ireland's and possibly the worlds best known Irish poet
He died last week
The minute I mention the poets name my doctor pushes back his chair from his desk and tells me some of his own 'Seamus stories'
Someone said last week that everyone has a Seamus story'
I think this must be true because even I have one
Last year he was coming to my town to give a reading
My mother bought the tickets 6 months in advance
I have to admit at the time I was in quite a bad place and did not realise the significance of seeing Seamus Heaney read his own work
I studied his poems at school but did not really appreciate them at the time
My brother, his girlfriend, my mother and I all went to the reading
I was abusing my meds at this time and at some point in the evening I fell asleep in the theatre and missed most of the reading
I must be the only person ever who has fallen asleep at a Seamus Heaney reading
My brother must have been disgusted as he is also a writer
But I had enough medication in me to tranquillize a horse
I'm sure Seamus would have understood
Anyway it was my loss

After we swapped Seamus stories my doctor my doctor raised the subject of reducing my methadone
Darn it!
I thought he might have forgotten
I say that I don't feel ready but I guess if I waited until I was ready I would probably never do it
I ask how much he wants to reduce it and suggest 1ml
3mls he says
2mls I say
Ok that's a compromise
He says that measuring  out 28mls may be tricky so he gives a syringe so I can be as accurate as I can
So I guess all I can do is just see how I get on
I don't anticipate any major symptoms of dropping 2mls but it's more a psychological thing
Just knowing that I am taking less makes me feel different
But to look at the positives it is a step forward
A step towards becoming completely clean
That has to be a good thing

My mother received a phone call this morning from a work colleague
My mother works in adult education and a student had approached this colleague about her son
He is 20 and has anorexia she is very worried about him
Knowing that I have an ED this colleague contacted my mother to ask for some advice so she came to me to ask what I thought
I don't know very much about the young man
But apparently his mother is thinking of having him sectioned
I don't think that's a good idea at all
If he is sectioned he will be put in to a public psychiatric hospital and won't get any specialized help there
And if he has a bad experience there (which is a distinct possibility) it may put him off seeking help in the future
Beyond that I am really not sure what to tell this woman
I suggest that mother give this lady the number of the hospital I was treated in which she does
I considered maybe giving this guy my number so he could contact me if he wished but having thought about it I don't know if that's a good idea
I am not in a place where I am qualified to be giving out advice and I would feel like a hypocrite telling someone what the should be doing when I'm not taking my own advice
Also I would worry about being triggered by this person
In NA they drum home the message that when you are getting clean off drugs, you have to help yourself before you help anyone else
Helping newly clean addicts is left to those who have a significant amount of time and experience being clean
It can be massively triggering being around someone who is just in the door just as can be triggering to be around someone who is still in the throes of their ED

Then there is the question of whether this guy wants to get well
He is 20  and I got the impression that he wasn't suffering too long
Maybe a couple of years
I do believe that unless the person wants to get well, then all the therapy, counselling, treatment, love and support doesn't mean a damn unless the person themselves wants to get well
They say that the earlier the illness is caught, the more chance the sufferer has of getting well
I don't think that is always the case though
I think that if a person has had the illness for a short period of time, then they could still be in the 'Honeymoon stage' where they are only experiencing those initial highs of losing weight and feeling great
Because they are only experiencing the highs and not too many of the lows yet, they may be reluctant to give up their ED
It's only months or even years down the road that the negative impact may become apparent
So it's hard to know what to say to this guy
He may be just as the beginning of his 'ED career' and anything I say may go in one ear and out the other
But it's worth a try  I guess

I think back to the early days of my ED
I was just a year younger than this guy when I first developed anorexia although it wasn't until I was about 23 that I acknowledged it
Over the years a lot of people including family, friends and professionals tried to talk sense in to me
But it is no use trying to use rational and common sense to try and conquer something that makes utterly no sense
Something as complex and paradoxical as as ED needs a different approach
You can tell an ED sufferer they are not fat all day long and they will never believe you
They need hard evidence and fact that this is the case
We need hard proof
Not some family members opinion and anyway we will often not believe our own families because we think they are only saying that because they are family
Then there is the common belief among sufferers that they are not sick or not sick enough
We don't believe that we are underweight so therefore there is no problem
And even when we do acknowledge that there is a problem, it's very difficult to put up your hand and say 'I'm struggling here and I need help'
And especially with mental health given the stigma that is still attached to it

I remember when I attended the ED conference in my town back in February
A GP asked what she could do to help ED sufferers who came to her for help
I thought this was a really good question as GPs are often the first port of call for someone who is seeking help for an ED
I've thought a lot about this question since and I think there are a few things that they can do to help
It's so important for the sufferer to feel that they are being heard
Try and make the sufferer feel at ease so they feel comfortable enough to be honest
Be patient
The sufferer will probably not tell you the full story in the first appointment so definitely make a follow up appointment
Make sure that the sufferer knows that you are taking their case seriously
I think not making a big deal about weight is important
For the first few years of my illness I never weighed myself and was not aware of what I weighed
But then doctors started weighing me and the numbers seemed important to them so they became important to me
Also I think GPs should be aware that whatever a sufferer is telling them is probably only part of the story as it's difficult to be completely honest about our EDs especially in the first meeting

My heart goes out to this guy, it really does
I hope and pray that he can overcome this cruel illness
But in reality I think all I can do is point him in the direction of people who can help him much more than me
That's all I can do
It's really down to him and how much he wants to get well

I was wondering about you
What advice would you give this guy?
Do you think there is anything anyone can say to him that will make a difference?