Saturday, 7 June 2014

Is honesty the best policy?

A commenter on my last post made a very interesting point
That us eating disorder folk seem to fall in to two categories
Those that can't seem to open up at all because they can't bear to face their problems
And those and the other end of the spectrum
Who are impulsive and open almost to a fault
Obviously this is a generalisation and we all don't fit neatly in to one of these boxes
But in my experience it is mostly true
I've seen it in treatment and with my own friends

For a long time I was type one
When I was strictly anorectic
My life revolved around rules and regulations
And God forbid if I ever broke them
My day was always planned out
I struggled to express myself at this time
On the surface I pretended that everything was fine
But underneath there was a massive amount of turmoil and distress
I found it very hard to be open and express myself
I was worried what others would think of me
A huge part of me wanted to be perfect
A perfect person
A perfect size
No flaws whatsoever
It's truly exhausting being this way
I can remember crying at the thought of all the exercise I had to do
Then don't do it I hear you cry
But I had to
My ED said I had to so I had
No matter how   tired or sore I was
It was a horrid existence

Over time my ED morphed  in to bulimia
And with that came a lot of change
I had been regimented for so long and it just wasn't sustainable
I couldn't carry on any longer
I can remember when it started
It was when I was using drugs and didn't eat at all
When the drugs ran out I would go home to recharge my batteries
My appetite would then came back and I remember going to the kitchen and being so overwhelmed by all the food
This was when I started to binge
Then quickly discovered purging

As well as my ED changing my personality also changed
I became more impulsive and compulsive
It was like I couldn't control myself any longer
I became a lot more open
A lot more willing to talk about my issues
This had probably a lot to do with the fact that my family began to talk about things a lot more openly also
But I was honest almost to a fault
I trusted the wrong people
Let people take advantage of me
And left myself very vulnerable
Where as it's very admirable to be open and honest I think we have to be careful who we trust and who we let in to our lives

I remember when I first started going to meetings
I used to share absolutely everything that was going on in my life
Until a kind stranger took me aside and gave me some friendly advice
That I should get a sponsor
And meetings weren't the place to sort out such issues
I appreciated that because there are a lot of sick people in those rooms

So that brings me to my blog
I started writing this blog two years ago
Reading back on my most recent entries I can see that I was pretty open from the get go
And started posting photos a few months in
My blog has continued in this fashion
I've always written it like no one is going to read it
Whether that is right or wrong I'm not sure
I guess I love using photos as they can say so much more than words

Over time I have become more and more open
And as more and more people started to read this blog I had to go back and delete posts that I thought could come back to haunt me
Recently I received a comment saying that I am becoming increasingly open
And I was
I was being very lazy and had posted photos of other people
I quickly deleted those too

It seems in blogging too there are two kinds of people
Those who give little away
And those who share their entire lives
I think I definitely fall in to the latter

For me I think it's about wanting to be liked and accepted
More than a narcissistic thing I think it's very human to want others to like us
I've always been a bit like this
I was bullied as a child
And since then I've tried very hard to never let that happen again
But then I was trying so hard to be liked that I was forgetting to be myself
When I lived in Dublin I tried so hard to fit in and even acquired a Dublin accent in my attempts to be liked

I guess it is a spectrum and we are all on it somewhere
The ideal I think is to be somewhere in the middle
Open enough to be honest
But not so honest that we leave ourselves vulnerable

I was wondering about you
Where do you fall on this spectrum
Do you think there is such a thing as being too honest?

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Walking the walk?

After some thought I decided to delete my last post
I didn't feel right after I posted it
I felt like I had given away too much information
I thought that because I was trying to recover that I shouldn't keep any secrets to myself
And my weight was a big secret
But now I can see that I don't have to share every little bit of information
Weight is a very personal thing
Even people with out EDs don't go around broadcasting their weight
Not sharing my weight is not feeding in to my ED
It's taking care of myself

Some kind commenters pointed out that taking photos of weight and posing in the same clothes is feeding in to my ED
It's looking back and not  forwards
You are so right
I guess because my weight is a big issue for me at the moment
I kind of got caught up in what I look like
And it really wasn't fair of me to ask you to compare those photos either

I think that has always been a problem for me
Sharing too much
I am an open person
But I forget that maybe everyone isn't
And maybe some people are uncomfortable with that level of honesty

I don't even know if I can say that I'm in recovery
I still purge
I'm very mindful of my weight
It's hard to know if I am in recovery or if I just wish I was
I talk the talk alright
But do I walk the walk?
I talk about feeling better
Improved mood
Wanting to live
But am I living?
Or do I still have one foot in my ED?

I was at my mindfulness class last night
The guy who gives the class really is inspiring
He talks a lot about how life is so short
How we need to live in the now
Instead of ruminating about  the past
Or projecting in to the future
I forget that we have a finite time on this earth
This isn't a dress rehearsal
We get one shot at this thing we call life
So we better make it count
And a life dedicated to anorexia or bulimia or addiction is not a lived
It's a life wasted

I wonder if I am fooling myself that I am in recovery
Do I think that I am better than I actually am?
I guess I thought that when I regained weight that everything would magically fall in to place
But weight re gain is only one small if essential part of recovery
The real work happens in our minds and thoughts
I've been at a place where I've been weight restored but still had an anorectic mind set
It's a truly horrid place to be
I don't want to be there again
I want to not care about the numbers
I want to like my own body
I want to look in the mirror and not want to smash it
I just want to be free of this thing once and for all

I feel like I am in a very strange place at the moment
Some where between my ED and recovery
It's time to pick one once and for all

Here's where I need your help
How do you know when you are in recovery?
How can you tell that you are not in an ED frame of mind?
I really need to know as I can't tell right now
I feel so confused at the moment

There's something about Mary

Mary rang me yesterday afternoon after the meeting to arrange our next appointment
I asked her if it was true that she is leaving
She said it is
She said that it's important I come to all appointments until then
The service Mary works for is called C.A.W.T
Co-operation and working together
It's a cross border service between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland
It's funded by the EU
But the funding has been pulled so Mary's job is no more
Her new role is in suicide prevention
She starts September 1st

This news came as bit of a shock
I've been seeing for more than two years
She has helped me massively
I can't even put in to words how much of a support she has been
The past two years have been rocky to say the least
But she has been a constant positive force in my life
She never got frustrated
Was endlessly patient
When I overdosed a couple of months ago, she was the one that sprang in to action
She has saved my sanity and my life many times

The fact that the funding has been pulled really angers me
This service is badly needed
Mary was always so busy and her role was vital in helping people suffering with EDs
But that's just typical of this country
It pulls resources from the people that need it the most
The say you can tell how well a country works by how they treat their most vulnerable
Well in that case this country sucks

I don't know where that leaves me
As of September I will have no counsellor
Mary specialized in eating disorders
A general counsellor just isn't tuned in to the way a person with an ED thinks
I will miss Mary terribly
She believed in me
She always told me that it was possible to recover
She was so positive

She's leaving at a critical time
A time when I need a lot of support
Things are just starting to turn around for me and I do need all the support I can get
Mary has so much experience in this field
She will be a great loss not only to me but to the service and many other people suffering

The thing about Mary is that she goes the extra mile
If I cancel an appointment she will always ring to make sure that I am ok
When I overdosed she rallied the troops to help me
She has such a good insight in to the mind of someone with an ED
I could tell her anything

As well as helping sufferers Mary is a great support to families
She brought Bodywhys to this area and set up a support groups for families which my mother attends

I just feel really sad that she is leaving
I'm sure there are many other people like me who will miss her dreadfully
I guess I will have to start looking for another counsellor
That sucks
I will have to start from scratch all over again
I've seen so many counsellors and therapists over the years
Mary was by far the best

She kept me accountable
She helped me see that there is a life beyond my ED
She helped me believe in myself
That I can recover
That I can reclaim a semblance of a normal life
I just hope that I can hold on to the progress that I have made
I know that things can nose dive quicker than you can say relapse
I know my ED will try every trick in the book to lure me back in
I have to stay strong
I have use the tools I have been given to live life on my terms
It's going to be hard
The hardest thing that I will ever do
But I am willing to do it

I was blessed to have has Mary in my life for so long
I'm so lucky to have  had the chance to work with her
She was one of a kind
As for me
I hope that I will be ok
I will lean on my other supports
I will continue to fight
Continue to battle the thing we call ED
I won't let it claim another young life
I'll do it for Mary

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The meeting

I met my new psychiatrist yesterday
He is really lovely
Such a gentle manner
I'm kind of glad to change doctors as I used to butt heads with my old one quite a bit
This particular psychiatrist also spoke at the ED conference that I spoke at last year
He said he remembered me
That I gave a very articulate speech

We had a general chat
He reviewed my meds and changes nothing (Thank God)
He asked about the methadone and my plans to come off that
I told him it was being reduced at a rate of 2mls per month
And I hope to be off it completely in a year
He also asked me about my weight
I told him what I think I weigh

He then asked about my day to day life
What do I do to pass the time
I told him that I am a keen writer and write a blog
He seemed very interested in this
He asked me how many hits my blog gets a day
And also about pro-ana
I told him that my blog is most definitely not pro-ana

Then today I had my team meeting with Mary, the new psychiatrist and my doctor
It was a family meeting so my Mum came too
First Mary called me in as she wanted to weigh me and check my BMI because I haven't seen her in a few weeks
I really didn't want to be weighed and I didn't look at the number
But then I saw it when she wrote it down
Mary said that I must have been working hard to increase my weight
I didn't want to hear it
All I could think of was that number
That number that I didn't want to be
My weight is still in the anorexic category but if I gain any more I won't be
For some reason I want to stay in the anorexic category
I'm not ready to be healthy yet

Then we had the main meeting
It went quite well
Everyone was quite positive
My doctor said that I had been co-operating with the methadone detox
And I'm quite stable as regards my addiction
Mary said that I had missed a few appointment and they wanted to know why
I was honest
I said that I was avoiding appointments as I didn't want to be weighed
Mary said that it is so important to come to therapy when so many changes are happening
I know this
I know that I tend to bury my head in the sand when things get tough

They all said that I have a lot of potential
That I have a lot going for  me
I wish I could believe that I have potential
I wish I could see it
My self confidence and self esteem remain low
I am my own worst enemy
I get in my own way

Then they dropped a bombshell
Mary is leaving at the end of the year
I am devastated
They didn't say why
I'll ask her when I see her next
But man that sucks
What will I do without her?
She is my rock
The person who I can really talk to
I will miss her dreadfully

They asked me if I had any concerns
I explained that now I am working towards recovery, I'm worried that there will be more expected of me
That I'll have to get a job or go to college and generally do all the things that normal adults do
My psychiatrist said that the only person putting pressure on myself is me
He said that recovery won't be smooth sailing
There will be set backs and disappointments
He said that they are all working as a team to help me
It's step by step
This makes sense I think
I put massive pressure on myself and I am very hard on myself
But it doesn't need to be that way
I can go at my own pace

I came out of the meeting feeling quite positive
But they may think that things are better than they are
I didn't mention anything about struggling to take my meds properly
In fact my doctor made the point that I haven't messed around with my meds for a long time
I feel like a bit of a hypocrite
Putting on an all singing, all dancing show that everything is fine
They even said to me that I need to be honest with myself and them
How bold am I?

Now that I know what weight I am
It's difficult to maintain things
The ED part of me wants to lose it all
Wants to fast
Or binge and purge
I truly hate knowing the number
I hate the power it has over me
I wish I could see that it is just a number
It doesn't define me
It doesn't say anything about me
My personality
My achievements
My character
I wish I could see that
At the moment I can't
But hopefully some day I will

Despite this setback today I will continue to fight
I will continue to live on my terms
Not on my EDs terms
I will not weigh myself
I will not restrict
And I will do my best not to purge
I've lost almost 14 years to this illness
I'm not willing to lose another  year, month, week to this thing
I've fought my whole life
I know I have an inner strength
And that will see me through

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Thank you!

I want to thank you all so so much for the overwhelming support I received after my last post
It truly blows my mind that people read my blog and leave messages of love and encouragement
It means more than you will ever know
Thank you

I must admit that I had quite a wobbly day after throwing away my scales
It was like my ED saw that I was trying so hard to get well
And it went in to overdrive
That on top of the fact that I feel so uncomfortable in my own skin right now and it made for a very difficult day
I felt quite reflective after writing yesterdays post
There have been a lot of changes recently
Mostly good
But change is hard
My ED is familiar and comfortable
Anything outside of that is pretty scary
I purged quite a few times yesterday
More than I care to admit
It was the worst day I've had in quite a while
It felt horrible
I felt horrible
It confirmed the fact that I do want to recover
I don't want to live this half life anymore
In anorexias waiting room

Getting used to my new body is taking alot of time and patience
I've gained quite a lot in a short space of time
I don't hate it but it does take some getting used to
Sharp bones and pointy edges have given way to soft curves
I feel bigger
Like I am taking up more space
I haven't reached a healthy weight yet but I am not far off it

It's really very strange because part of me feels like a failure
Like I have failed at having an ED because I have let myself gain weight
It just all feels so unfamiliar
So new
As I said the weight has all gone to my stomach
I'm not happy with that area but I know it will distribute eventually
It's a frustrating process
It's uncomfortable
And scary
But I just have a feeling that I will be ok

I saw my doctor this morning
He told me that Mary had requested up to date blood work
I love Mary
She is so on the ball
So he got the little butterfly needle out
All my veins in my arms have collapsed so he had to take it from my wrist
And messy
Blood went everywhere including on my clothes
I have a lovely relationship with my doctor
I've seen him every week for the last 10years
We rarely talk about medical issues anymore
Today we talked about child abuse
He reminds me a bit of my dad actually

I have a team meeting tomorrow with my new psychiatrist, Mary and my doctor
It's a family meeting so my Mum will be there too
I am truly blessed to have some great supporters
My family are incredible
The have been through my side every step of this journey
And all the while have kept a sense of humour
I am blessed to have Mary in my life
Everyone should have a Mary in their lives
Often I don't feel deserving of all the amazing people in my life
I get so much and give so little
It doesn't seem fair sometimes

As I said things are not perfect
I still struggle to take my meds correctly
The purging is still there
There is still so much work to do
I can't underestimate the power of my ED
She is cunning and powerful
I know I am at a vulnerable time right now
And my ED will try every trick in the book to lure me back in
I will take things slowly
One step at a time
One bite at a time

I had a reached a point in my life where I thought that recovery was never going to happen for me
And I was ok with that
I thought recovery was something that happened to other people
But now I think that it might be possible
There might be life after ED
I want you to know that it is possible for you too
I thought that I was a lost cause
That there was no hope for me
I was an eating disordered addict
With major depression and anxiety
My head was a scary place to be
I courted death
I couldn't see a future
Couldn't see beyond my ED
But if I can do this anyone can
Recovery is there for us all
We just have to reach out and grab it

Again thank you so much for your continued support
At the moment this blog is an incredibly positive thing in my life
Amazing things have happened through this blog
And the best thing was meeting all of you
Knowing that you are all behind me makes this so much easier
So thank you
From the bottom of my heart thank you

Monday, 2 June 2014

Goodbye scales, hello life!

Because my life feels a bit out of control at the moment
And I generally don't feel like I am in charge of my own body right now
I decided to take back a little bit of control for myself
So I would feel like a willing participant in recovery
Instead of feeling like a hostage
So I decided to get rid of my scales

I thought of many ways to dispose of it
Smash it with a hammer
Throw it off a cliff
But because I live so near water I decided to throw in to the lake near my house
Technically this is littering but I'm sure Mother Nature will forgive me this one indiscretion

The preparations started last night

No more weighing my worth in pounds and ounces!

One last weigh in!
Smuggling my scale down to the lake

Honey reads this sign and then ignores it

Will she, won't she.....

She will!


Goodbye scale, hello life!
I felt a bit strange afterwards
A bit sad almost
Not sad to lose my scale
But sad to let go of the girl that I was
That sick girl
The girl who was anxious and depressed
The symbolic gesture of throwing the scale in to the lake made me realise that I am growing up
Moving on
Things are not perfect
Far from it
My ED still has a certain hold over me
But I am willing to let go of it bit by bit
I am willing to recover
I am willing to live

Goodbye scale, hello life!!!!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Does this mean I'm in recovery?

The annoying thing about re-gaining weight is that it has all gone to my stomach
I know that this is normal and it takes time for the weight to distribute to the rest of my body
But man it sucks!
I feel constantly bloated
My tummy is vast and huge and I have little skinny arms and legs attached to it
I'm in constant discomfort
My clothes are tighter
I'm a different shape
Things are changing here in eating disorder land

I'm ok with the weight gain
I'm not over the moon about it
But if this is the price I have to pay for being in good form
Then I'm willing to pay it
I'm just terrified that my weight is going to keep going up
That it is going to spin out of control
I just can't take that

So this is where I need your help
If you have re-gained weight
Or stopped purging
How did you cope with the weight gain?
Did it plateau when you reached your set point?
I really need some reassurance about now so please do comment if you have experienced re-gaining weight
I'm afraid
This is all so new
It's so different
Does this mean I am in recovery?

Is this what recovery looks like?