Sunday, 14 September 2014

I want to live, not just survive

It's time to set the record straight
There are a lot of things that your eating disorder would have you believe
That you are fat
That you are worthless
 A bad person
A burden on your family
Our EDs are like a little voice in our heads
Whispering/shouting/screaming these things in our ears
We hear them so much that we begin to believe them
But they are not true
EDs lie
They lie to us every single day

There are other things that our EDs would have us believe
That we are under complete control
That we are pure and clean because we deny ourselves food
That we are delicate and dainty and fragile because we are thin
That we are tragically beautiful
That people envy us because we can go without food
That people will like or love us even more because we are thin
I need to tell you that this is utter horse shit
We are not under control when we are in the grip of this illness
In fact we are spinning wildly out of control
We are not pure and clean because we deny ourselves food
We are weak and malnourished and cold and starving
Others do not envy us because we are thin
They pity us
They don't love us more
They worry about us more
We don't get more attention
We get sympathy
We are not special or unique or different
We are like millions of other girls and guys who are really unwell
There is nothing special about that

It's probably the hardest thing that we will ever do
But we need to stand up to that voice
We need to drown it out with positivity and love
We need to believe in ourselves so we don't fall for the lies
We need to tell on our eating disorders
Take away their power
The truth is that our EDs want us dead
There is no pretty was to say that
They want to kill us
And while they kill us
They want us to be utterly miserable

I don't know what life will be like after living with an ED for 14 years
I can't remember life without it
But it has to be better than living this half life
In death's waiting room
I have listened to anorexia for too long
I've let her live rent free in my head
I've let her destroy my body and my mind
And what has she given me in return?
Weak bones
Rotten teeth
Lank hair
Grey papery skin
A warped mind
A distorted body image
Hatred of myself and my body
A deathwish
And a devastated family

For the first time in years
My life is turning around
With the help and love and support of my family and countless others
I am separating myself from my ED
I am finding the true Ruby
The girl who as locked inside this illness
Stifled and suppressed
I thought she was gone forever
I thought I would never find joy in life again
Or laugh again
But it's happening
It's truly happening for me
I am under no illusions
Things are not perfect
Far from it
But I am getting a little bit stronger every day
And I have people around me to catch me when I fall
Which I do often
I am breaking out of the prison that is my eating disorder
I am fighting back
My eating disorder has taken so much from me
But it hasn't taken my hope
My spirit
My faith
And my belief
I have so much to love for
I can see that now
I can see that now

Birthdays and Body Image

As I wrote on my last post
It was my Mum's birthday yesterday
My sister and I started the celebrations on Friday by giving her a balloon that Honey delivered
And a cute little birthday cake after dinner
Then this morning my sister and I brought Mum shopping for a new hand bag
She chose a really lovely grey bag that you wear across the body
She was truly delighted with it

Today my whole family went out to lunch in a beautiful restaurant
I can't remember the last time we were all in a room together
So it was really special for my Mum
The meal started off with a complimentary amuse bouche
Carrot and lentil soup
Which was served on a dinky little cup
It was scrumptious
Then we had lunch
I ordered the fish cakes
When they came I was delighted to see that they were nice ans small
With a lovely fresh salad
I had been dreading huge portions
So I was so glad that there were small portions
Although I have to admit
That I did purge after them
I tried my best
I really did
And I managed to sit at the table for about 10 minutes after eating
But I just felt so uncomfortable
I had to do it
Dessert was ordered
I didn't order anything
I just had a cup of tea and some of Mum's creme brulee
So yummy

Lunch was lovely
We all laughed as I told everyone about my losing my teeth in various different ways
I seem to provide the entertainment for my family with my high jinks
But I like that
I like that I can laugh at myself
It's all in good fun
After all our bellies were full
We headed out to the beach for a walk
It was a really warm day
So we stayed until the evening
After which we all heading our separate ways

Even though we had such a great day
One thing almost ruined it for me
And that was my body image
I wore a dress with leggings
But I wasn't banking on it being such a hot day
And I wore a cardigan and scarf
More to hide my lumps and bumps than anything else
When we went out to the beach I was so uncomfortable
My dress was clinging to me
And I had to take off my scarf and cardigan because it was so hot
I genuinely felt obese
And so conspicuous with it
I spoke to my sister at one point
And told her how awful I was feeling
She told me that I was beautiful
But it doesn't matter what anyone says when I am feeling like that
No amount of platitudes can take away that feeling

I was doing some strange things to hide my body
I walked behind everyone at the beach so no one could see me
I folded my arms over my stomach a lot
And tried to hide myself with my bag
I really felt so uncomfortable in my own skin
And that is such a horrible feeling

I was so glad to get home
And first thing I did was whip the offending dress off
And changed in to a looser top
Oh the relief
The relief was amazing
I spoke to my Mum about my concerns when we got home
She told me that I just need to hang in there
That my body is adjusting
And it will settle down
She likened what I am going through to that of a teenager
You know when a teenagers body begins to mature
And they develop a chest and hips and curves
And there is that awkward time where you are getting used to your new body
That is exactly the way that I feel
Like an awkward, cumbersome teenager

I also acknowledged that I need to give myself a break
I need to stop being so hard on myself
In the last 6 months
So much has changed for me
And it's happening faster than I can process it
It's overwhelming a lot of the time
But you know what?
My Mum is dead right
I just need to hang in there
I need to be patient
And my weight will sort itself out
I just need to give it time
And I am one impatient person so that is extremely hard for me
But I am blessed to have the most amazing support
My family have been nothing short of superstars over the last 6 months
The last 6 months?
More like the last 33 years
If love could get me well
I would have recovered a long time ago
The carry me when it gets too much
I really am so lucky to them
I would truly be a lost little girl without them

Here's some photos of the day.........

All in Mum's bed in the morning

I'm always saying I would love a per pig, so my nephew got me one!
I called her Penny!

Sea and shore, my sisters lunch

Rosses Point beach

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Another birthday

It's my Mum's birthday today
I won't say what age she is
As she could very well take a contract out on me if I disclosed her age
The whole family is heading out for lunch today
Which I am a little bit nervous about
But my sister and I checked the menu on line
So at least I know what to expect

I find eating out in restaurants quite hard
And back when  I was purging every morsel I ate
It was just a down right waste of money
Paying good money for food that ends up in the toilet?
That's just silly to me now
Although I used to do it all the time

Because we will be gone all day
I had to ask my neighbours to keep an eye on my dogs
And feed them at lunch time
They are an elderly couple
And the nicest people you could meet
It was kind of funny
Because I was stood in their kitchen
And they both stood either side of me
Looking me up and down
 And telling me how good I looked
And what I difference there was in me
'I know, I've gained so much weight' I said
'Yes!' replied my neighbour as she punched the air (This woman is in her 70's)
At one point I felt like a prize pig at a show
They were eyeing me up so much
I am getting used to these comments
I am getting so many of them
I had always presumed that when I gained weight
People gave compliments because having a bit of weight on was the lesser of two evils
I didn't think they actually meant what they said

I've decided to stop weighing
It was driving me bananas
And I really don't need that stress right now

I am such an impatient person
That I gave my Mum some of her presents yesterday
I  just couldn't wait
But it's ok
Today we are bringing her shopping for a new hand bag
So that's her main present
I tied a balloon to Honey's collar
And sent her in to wake up my Mum
Honey was not impressed as you can see in this photo
Mum thought is was hilarious though

I'm off to make my mother breakfast in bed
Will post photos of said lunch later on

See you on the next post............

Friday, 12 September 2014

Teething Issues

You might remember that I wrote a post a few weeks ago about losing one of my crowns in the swimming pool
And then promptly finding it again
I thought my tooth dramas were over
As I was being very careful with my new crowns
They were 600 Euro a pop
So as you can imagine
I am trying my best to keep them intact

Friday is food shopping day in my house
My Mum and I headed off in the morning
We walked the dogs first
And then headed to the supermarket
I was trying to decide what to have for lunch
Nah, sick of salad
Nope, too warm for soup
Then some crusty rolls with seeds on top caught my eye
They looked tres tasty
So I grabbed some of those
I also got some freshly sliced ham
Some plump red tomatoes
And some crisp lettuce
We brought out haul home
And after putting everything away
I started to prepare lunch

I cut in to the rolls and made a pouch for all the ingredients
I slathered them in butter
Then set about putting the filling in
After washing the lettuce
I laid a few leaves down on the bread
Followed by slices of the delicious pink ham
Some scallions
And finally the tomato
It looked so good
I was very proud of my efforts

One of my crowns has been quite lose lately
But I always forget to take it out when I am eating
So I got stuck in to my roll
It was delicious
The bread was crispy
And quite hard
I was about a third of the way through the roll
When I noticed that one of my crowns was missing
I was really confused at first
I didn't feel it come out
Where the hell was it?
I felt my teeth again to make sure that it was gone
And it really was
My sister was laughing at this point
But I wasn't
I have a family dinner tomorrow
And I didn't fancy rocking up sans tooth
'Please don't laugh' I snapped at my sister
'Check your food' she said
So I checked my roll for the crown
But no joy
It wasn't on the table
It hadn't fallen on to my clothes
I couldn't understand where it had gone

Then it occurred to me
Maybe I had swallowed it
That was a distinct possibility
At first I thought that was it
It was gone
I think by now you know where this story is going
Yes, you've guessed
'I'm going to make myself sick' I announced at the table
And swept out of the room
If my Mum or sister said anything I didn't hear them
I just knew I had to get my tooth back

In the bathroom
I paused to figure out my strategy
The toilet wouldn't work
I could lose it that way
What about the sink?
Yes, the sink would work
I tied my hair back
Rolled up my sleeves
Took off my jewellery
And purged
The first one brought up nothing but bread
I know because I had to sift through it
The second purge was fruitless too
I was beginning to think that this was ridiculous
And how was I going to find it this way
I decided to purge once more
And lo and behold
There it was!
The little sucker was right there in the sink!
Holy shit
I found it!
I was so delighted

I brought my tooth up to show my Mum and sister
All they could do was laugh
What else could they do?
It was a farcical situation
I disinfected the tooth
And popped it back in my mouth
Back in it's rightful place

This is the second crown that I have lost in a strange situation
St Anthony really is looking after me
He is the patron saint of lost things after all
But please folks
Don't try this at home
I really only did this because I panicked at the thought of losing a 600 Euro tooth
Not because I wanted to purge my food
Whatever the reason
It wasn't an ideal thing to do
And it actually triggered me
And I binged and purged a couple of times afterwards

Sometimes I really worry about myself
But what's done is done
You can't un ring a bell...........

Elle Holmes

I received an email yesterday from Charlotte Kelleher and Leigh Holmes
Leigh Holmes is the mother of Elle Holmes
You may have heard of Elle
She was a 15 year old girl from Liverpool who took her own life
She had been silently battling bulimia and self harm
Elle was a talented musician
She recorded a song called 'Mirror Mirror' before she died
Leigh Holmes has started to raise money in Elle's name
To help others suffering from eating disorders
It really saddened me to read this story
lAnother young lie cut short by this cruel illness
Please check out the song in the link below
Along with more information about Elle


This time 10 years ago
I was heading in to drug treatment for the first time
I had already done a detox inpatient
But this was the first therapeutic community I had entered
I had spent the summer in London
Doing an outpatient detox
My Mother had organized everything
Things had gotten so bad that she was willing to take drastic measures
I didn't object as I had just no fight left in me
And I needed a break from the  madness

We stayed with my Auntie B, Uncle N and my two cousins
My second morning there we had an appointment in the outpatient center
It couldn't have come soon enough as I was all out of drugs
My Auntie B and my mother came with me
Something I remember about that time
Is the endless fights with my mother
And that morning was no different
I was dilly-dallying as ususal
And my mother was keen to get out the door
The detox couldn't have started soon enough for her

The place was called the Stapleford Centerer
It was in Victoria
As we sat in the waiting room
I looked around at the other addicts also waiting
They looked so ill
I wondered did I look like them
Of course the answer was a resounding yes
A bit like anorexia
I just couldn't see it

Eventually the doctor called us in
His name was Dr Kindness
I always remember that name
He asked a  lot of questions
And explained about the detox
I would be put on a drug called Subutex
And it would be decreased every second day
Until I was down to nothing
Then I would have an implant of Naltraxone fitted
This was a little tube of medication that was inserted in to my hip
It would secrete Naltraxone in to my system
It lasted 6 months
This meant that if I used
It would have no effect
Naltraxone is an opiate blocker

To my surprise
My doctor also put me on a variety of other meds
Including valium and other Benzos
I was quite shocked as these drugs are also addictive
But I was an addict so I was saying nothing
I was just glad to have a little something

The next day I started my Subutex
This was a drug that was put under the tongue
And it dissolved in to the lining of the mouth
I was also taking liberal amounts of the Benzos
To top that up
I started raiding my Aunt's alcohol press
There was a huge bottle of vodka in there
I remember I didn't eat at all
I just drank all day
This left me in quite a stupor
My poor mother having to look at me
I used to sleep on the couch
So I stayed up all night
Smoking up the chimney
And watching MTV

I remember one day we went to the pharmacy to collect my pills
And it was closed
If you want to see an addict panic
Just cut off their supply
And that's exactly what I did
I needed those tablets
I really needed them
At least the addict in me needed them
Insisted that we go to another doctor
As the pharmacy that was closed had my script
I remember we went to a doctor in one of the busy train stations
I can't remember which one
But I'm sure my mother can
After waiting for what seemed like an eternity
I finally got to see the doctor
I explained my predicament
And he was very understanding
Maybe a bit too understanding
He gave me my Benzos with very little question
I didn't care
I was just happy to have my pills

The detox lasted about 3 weeks
It was relatively painless
But that was because of all the booze and pills I was taking
But no one realized how bad things had got
So we ploughed ahead with the next step
The implant
When the detox was finished
I had to wait a few days
And then it was time for the implant
The doctor put local anaesthetic around my hip
A little cut was made
And the implant was slipped in
I watched the whole thing

So now I was implanted
There was no point in using
As it would have no effect
Thinking back I little understanding of what was happening
I was more or less frog marched over to London
And I didn't protest as I just had no fight in me
I was tired and worn out from using
I needed a time out
To recharge my batteries
So I went along with it

Before I had left for London
I had done as assessment for a treatment center in Dublin
And was waiting to hear back from them
Early September I got the call
They had a place for me
By now I had realized that I might as well go to treatment
As there was no point in going home
Not if I couldn't use

So my mother and I headed back to Ireland
I was still pretty much out of it all the time
Because of the booze and pills
We arrived in Dublin
I was due to go in to treatment the next day
We stayed with a friend of mine that  night
I remember drinking myself silly

The next day came all too quickly
I was too out of it to be nervous
But I had no idea what to expect
All I knew was that it lasted 16 weeks
And to me that sounded like forever
I got my stuff together
And we headed for High Park (It really was called that!)
I remember it was a nice day
My friend and my mother came with me
And I entered treatment for the first time

To be continued.............

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Looking Up

The last couple of days have been pretty tough
My weight was really getting me down
I didn't really let on to my family how much it was effecting me
But it really was
I just wanted to crawl in to my bed
And not get up until I had lost half my body weight
I got up every morning
Trying to find something to wear that I felt comfortable in
Feeling my clothes get tighter and tighter was driving me beserk
I felt like I was a raging anorectic
In the body of an obese person
I felt like screaming my head off
And because I was feeling so shit
I wanted to escape
So I did what I do best and over used my meds
I even thought about overdosing
That's how messed up my thinking had become
I just wanted out
Off this earth
And out of this body

Then this morning I got two lovely emails
With such kind words
Such caring and loving wishes
And something shifted in me
I suddenly realized that people are not worried about the size of my body
They only care about the size of my heart
They don't mind about how much I weigh
They are just happy that I am here
Happy and healthy
I suddenly realized that my whole family must be so relieved that I finally seem to be getting well
Nobody is looking at me and judging me
I am the only one who is doing that
I need to give myself a break
I am in the process of recovery
And this is all very normal
I just need to be gentle with myself
Look after myself
I am in a vulnerable place
It's a crucial time for me
It's either keep moving forward or
Or lie down and hold up my white flag
And I'm not prepared to give in
It's not my style

I am struggling still
There is no point in denying that
But I am still moving forward
Still fighting
Still hoping and wishing for a better life
I believe it is possible
I believe that I can overcome all these hurdles
And conquer my demons
That's all I can do

In an effort to feel a bit better about myself
I went to my favourite surf shop today
And tried on some chinos
I bought these maroon ones
I am pretty pleased with them

Said maroon trousers
Thank you as always, for all your messages, comments and emails
They mean more to me than you will ever know
From a tired, confused, but hopeful Ruby x