Tuesday, 26 October 2010

8 weeks in and this is where i find myself....

So, dearest followers, i would like to send you a brief update about my progress (or lack thereof) after 8 weeks of DP.

I am not sure how much progress i have made in terms of overcoming the ED and sometimes, it makes me think that the problem is ME. Big ol' me. Not literally. Whenever i sense something is not going well, i always try to look externally and not internally. Because the programme works for some people. Some people leave, having made great strides in terms of overcoming the ED. Some leave with a worrying level of 'recovery'. Still unable to eat regular meals, still trying to dodge meals. I don't want to settle for partial recovery.

But i do accept that i may ened up leaving the programme with partial recovery. If it took me more than a decade to get to where i am, how can i expect the departure of the ED with barely a whimper. It's not possible, i tell you. Or maybe it is. So, i return to my assessment of me in DP.

1) I am still on the side of the ED. This is clear from the fact that each opportunity i get to throw up after leaving DP, i do. Of course, i still stuck to my one goal of never purging when i am in DP and i am proud of myself for sticking to that. But then, i never thought that would be my greatest challenge anyway. But i do find that i am trying to make up for lost opportunity at the weekends and sometimes in the evening and i am trying to 'undo the damage' i have done by eating during the hours of the programme.
2) My motivation levels in terms of recovery are waning and to begin with, it was not that strong. There was a time when i had the greatest motivation to overcome the ED. That was mainly because it was killing me. Mentally, more than physically. I was having all sorts of crazy thoughts (which i now recognise as clear signs of serious depression). So, i decided to trade the ED in for sanity, even if that meant eating 3 times a day. And eat, i did. I ate the same thing, 3 times a day, and did not throw up, no matter how much i felt the urge. I decided that i would allow my weight to settle at whatever it wanted to. Whatever God had deemed it right to settle at. But i do now realise that i was not having enough calories, hence some weight loss, whih eventually beame slightly addictive and led to my urrent descent into anorexia. In part. The depression was the other thing which led me to return to purging. So, basically, i am not as motivated to recover.
3) I have not been totally honest with those close to me about how entrenched this ED is at present. I don't tell them about how frequent the purging still is, in spite of DP. I don't tell them about how devious i am about the binging and subsequent purging. Of course, i am still on the side of the ED. That's clear from my devious ways. However, i am also cautiou about telling them everything and having them monitor me like hawks and then me taking every opportunity i can, when they are not there, to then purge.
4) I want to do it my own way, in my own time, but who knows if i have time on my hands with this ED. Although, i am at an anorexic weight, and my electrolytes are out of balance at the best of times, somewhere in me, i still reckon i am okay. Like i don't really have that much of a problem. I am taking liberties with my body, and mind to a great extent. And both continue to tolerate it. For the time being. So really, i should just ask for inpatient so that i can get a grip on behaviours. But, i would never hand over such control. I want to decide how and when i put on weight. I want to determine the pace and the course of my own recovery. Hmmm. Not sure what else to say on this one.
5) Finally, i fell like me and the ED are 1 at the moment. Like i am on its side and it is on mine. I cannot seem to separate us at the moment. I know that say that learning to do this is essential in recovery. So if i am not able to do this now, when i have been able to do it in the past, does that mean that i am further from recovery than i would care to admit???

I don't know if i have much else to say. I am scared that i have missed the 'romantic boat' and that i won't find a partner. Spouse. I really want to have kids and that seems to be one of the few things which turns my mind seriously to recovery again. Not even the creative things which i am interested in. But more the thought of having kids. Hmm.

I am all written out.

I have been on automatic since the end of last week and this is the first time that i am collecting my thoughts. Shame that i could not bring a bunch of roses to the cyber table. Feels like i am gathering weeds at the moment.

I'm out.

I hope all of you are well. I wish you good health and wealth.

Thank you for subscribing.


Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Things I Learnt This Week/Food Boredom

Hmm. It was certainly a week of highs and lows. Such is recovery. Such is life.

The start and end of the week reigned supremely low and somewhere in between, my jovial self returned like the prodigal son (or should that be daughter?) - unsure about whether i had the right to laugh, to enjoy myself, to engage in dialogue once again.

Before i carry on, i must list the things which i learnt this week and which have carried me through this weekend to some extent:

1) Body checking keeps us entrenched in disordered behaviours. I have now given myself a 10 second rule whenever i do find myself body checking.
2) It is okay to be full and feel full. (I am still struggling with this)
3) In order to move forward in recovery, at some point, you WILL have to change something. You cannot produce different results if you are consistently engaging in the same behaviours (not just ED behaviours).
4) The things we place value on are sometimes the things we are most loathe to change. These things do not always need to be changed but where they are damaging for us (like placing value on being slim, lean) then we must look at the root of why we value these things and then consider whether we ought to place such a high calue on them.
5) If there are areas in your life in which you are flexible, consider why and see if you can export some of these thought patterns into the ED. For me, i am laid back when it comes to things which i feel are out of my control because i consider that since there is not much i can do about it, it will be okay. I need to adopt the same attitude to recovery. If and when i gain weight, it will be okay. Even if i am not at the ideal weight i have in my mind, life does not stop. It will be OKAY. It is okay to be okay.
6) If you give up at the point at which you are most challenged, then you risk never moving forward in life. Never discovering new things, people, places, ideas etc.
7) The world is such a bigger place when we lose all the rigidity we have around food. I get to travel with others freely, be free in the company of others, venture into new territory etc.
8) Although others may not understand what it is like to have an ED, we can still enrol them onto our support network and make requests of them.
9) Just because we cannot rely on the support of others 100% of the time does not mean we should NEVER ask for their support. This is a big one for me. I know that i am worried about what i will do when others are not there to support me so in my mind, i have decided that the best thing for me to do is not ask for their support at all.
10) Whenever you feel yourself being drawn into depressive, anxiety provoking or other negative thoughts, it is important to think about what is at the root of those thoughts. Why are you angry, frustrated, feeling down? What solutions can you find if any for any of the problems you come up with. Sometimes, there are no answers and i am told that is the point at which i need to sit with it (you try sitting on top of a bed of nails, i say and that is what it feels like- but people do it, somehow).
11) I need to take recovery at my pace. I need to do it in a way which does not jeopardise or sabotage my recovery. It is okay for me to do this whilst i still have problems trusting myself around food fully. This is important for me since i struggle with purging so much.

I have encountered a strange problem at DP. I have become utterly bored of eating. So bored in fact, that i have lost all pleasure in food when i am there. This was not previously an issue for me but it has become so in the past week and a half. I am not sure how to remedy this. It means that oftentimes at meals, i am ready to give in and say no more and this is not even about the sensation of fullness because i am not feeling ovedrly full after the first meal. It's just that i get bored of chewing, of the monotony of eating and of the same food. I can only compare it to the boredom of eating a chocolate bar after having eating 10 prior to that. Not saying i have done that but it is the same kind of thing, if you get my drift. Any sugestions???

This weekend is not over yet so i cannot call it my most successful yet but so far, it is going okay. Last night was a catastrophe simply because i had made up my mind to purge. I need to make up my mind to do other more productive things with my evening. Not in an attempt to avoid food completely but as a means of giving myself another focus in the evening. I have not committed to doing that tonight but tonight is a night as good as any other. Hmmm. We'll see.

That's it from me. Sorry this post is not as sparkling as it could be but i guess it is the same with life and recovery. It can't all be razzle dazzle ey.


Monday, 4 October 2010

If Depression were a person

It would be full of anger and frustration.
It would be unable to vocalise either of these emotions.
It would be confused, constantly wondering whether there was a purpose to life.
It would be withdrawn.
It would not have a gender, colour, religion or such a distinguishing feature.
It would be both full and empty simultaneously.
It would be deprived of sunlight.
It would be in a trance for much of the day.
It would not know whether it was coming or going.
It would not enjoy the company of others.
It would not leave the house much.
It would struggle to find creativity and beauty.
It would be lost even with a map.
It would be unable to reminisce.
It would never have known the joy of laughter.
It would be unable to cry even when choked up with tears.
It would be unable to hope for the future.
It would need much but ask little.

If depression were a person, i would be able to distance myself from it.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

How do you shake off a bad mood?

This blog entry does not represent the truth. It is solely my opinion on a given Sunday morning following an awful 3 days. It is not intended to offend, upset, confuse or frustrate any reader.

Feel free to comment at will but please keep it polite.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Where's My Pot of Gold?

That's what came to me yesterday.

Where is the pot of gold which lies at the recovery end of this ED? Where is the life of unending joy, guaranteed success, a wonderful husband, lovely kids who obey my every command (i promise, i am not a dictator/tress), a wonderful career, a great house, an ability to communicate wonderfully with everyone i come into, a life without anger, frustration, depression etc.

This is the pot of gold i am referring to. And it came to me on one of my walks yesterday that if this pot of gold is not guaranteed, then maybe i ought to stick with the devil i know - the ED. Why should i give the eating disorder up for a Life of Guaranteed Uncertainties?

I guess because that is what life is: a bouquet of uncertainties. This fact is inescapable. And to try to escape it with the certainties which come with an ED (bony/slim body, an emotional catheter, depression, possible death) is akin to NOT LIVING. This would be what it means to choose existing over living. It really is about saying "i choose life - and all that comes along with life" which fortunately or unfortunately includes UNCERTAINTY.

So, back to my pot of gold. Does it exist? Hmmm.  I guess that is one of the flowers in that big ol' bouquet of uncertainty. It may exist. It may not. By choosing to live, you risk discovering that there are more withering than thriving flowers. Or, vice-versa. The optimist in me will never die. We can still do something about any flowers that we are not happy with. Take them out, keep them and see how we can still create a beautiful bouquet.

We have some control even in the midst of uncertainty. And even though sometimes it feels that we may be reacting more than acting, the fact still remains, there are some things we can change but there just may be some things we can't. I can't dictate to life or God that i will have a wonderful husband and kids. I can pray for it. Sure. And if it doesn't come, or it doesn't come in the way i expect, what then? Will i choose to wallow in misery or say that i can still be content in spite of.

And i guess that is the note on which i will end this pot of gold post. With a question.

Can i still be content in spite of.............?

Just an update regarding the Day Programme. Today was intense. Wow. I think i left feeling like the ED is so much more complicated than i thought and i don't know how i will ever accept my physical self. I want to. I want to be okay with me just because that is a better way to live than in a constant state of discontentment.

I am still struggling immensely wth the urge to overexercise which i am totally giving into and i am also struggling to recognise the language of my body. When i feel a slight pang of somthing akin to hunger, does that really mean i am hungry even though i had a decent sized lunch a few hours ago, and a snack an hour ago. Much to work on and it has taken a month to get here. I am worried that i need a whole year in DP and not the half a year allocated. Hmm.

Anyway, i will try to take one day at a time and continue reflecting through this blog.

Thank you for lending me your eyes.


Monday, 27 September 2010

Real Tears Draw Us Closer to the Truth

The Truth or the Root. Whatever it may be for you.

This evening, i cried in the middle of a binge.

It didn't take me long to work out what the tears were about.

I was tired. Tired of giving in to the ED. Tired of having to see professionals. Tired of letting myself suffer. Tired of the ED. Tired of living in this way.

It wasn't a full-on gut busting, back-hurting kind of binge. But it was a binge and it really upset me. I have never cried like that before. I wasn't sobbing uncontrollably or wailing like a banshee. But i was crying. Tears dropped steadily onto my lap, my view was impaired momentarily by the transparent liquid which accumulated on the lower rim of my eye. And then i paused and continued eating. Because i had to. Because i needed this binge to be over so the purging could start and then end. And so that i could put an end, albeit momentarily, to the chaos of this eating disorder.

It's been a long time since i cried about the eating disorder. I have not often been driven to tears by the ED. My first vivid memory of tears driven by the ED was over a year ago. I remember it as if it was only a blink ago. I had just returned from the doctor and told her that i had an eating disorder and that i needed help. She was so kind. She was old and seemingly stern in appearance but soft in her reception. "I will make sure i help you," i remember her saying. And she did. She referred me onto the appropriate services. And that day, i returned to an empty house (which is rare) and i cried uncontrollably for 45 minutes or so. These were real tears. Not the kind of tears you use to manipulate people or situations, or the kind of tears which are triggered by empathy. These were tears of relief. That finally, i had told a professional about the ED after living with it for almost half my life and getting on with life with the ED unapologetically by my side. I cried because it had taken every inch of strength for me not to run from that waiting room. It took every breath i had to utter the words: "i have an eating disorder" instead of "i have just come for a check-up".

A few months later when i was fighting the ED alone after being told that i would have to wait over a year to be referred to a therapist, i sobbed uncontrollably on the way to work. I walked and cried. Sat on the tube and cried. Walked across the bridge which led to my place of work and cried. And this time, i cried because i was mourning the time i had given to the ED. I was mourning the life i had lost to the ED, the way in which it had isolated me from relationships, from true bonding with friends and family, from the carefree-ness which comes with eating without worry. I mourned and i sobbed and i didn't care who saw me. I didn't care that i was in the midst of young and old alike, on a tube, with tears rolling down my eyes and boggers up my nose. I just cared that the ED had robbed me and i had allowed it to.

And so i am drawn to the conclusion of all that i am sharing. Real tears are empowering because they draw us towards the heart of the matter which if we are honest, is sometimes the truth we are seeking to avoid. I wanted to avoid dealing with the regret i had about allowing the ED to take a hold of me so cunningly. I wanted to avoid having others know that i had an ED, including professionals. I was scared of people knowing.

And so tonight, when i cried, it drew me closer to the truth which i am trying to avoid confronting: that this ED is robbing me of life and i am not fighting. I am allowing it to. Don't get me wrong. I have not waved the white flag and i am still trying but if i am honest, i don't feel like i am fighting with all my strength. I say this simply because i have seen my determination on previous occasion and i know what that picture looks like but this canvas which lies in front of me, portrays a different me to the one i am used to. And that disappoints me.

I want to live without regret. I want to know that i have given this my all. That i really tried to overcome. And even if i don't, i want to know that i tried. I don't want to be 35 with an ED, or 40 with an ED. I don't want to be like the people that say: i just didn't fight and i don't know why. I want to know that i gave it my all. I don't want to settle for managing the ED, or living with it or whatever else equates to a life with an ED. I want to be free of it. I want to know that i fought to be free of it.

That is the truth which i am drawn to this evening.

I bid you all a Good Night and hope that you are all drawn closer to the truth. Your truth. No matter how painful it may be to confront that truth.


Sunday, 26 September 2010

On Mood and Openness

I tend to write my title first and then i stray off target and then by the end, i somehow get back to where the title suggested i should be. Let's see if this follows the same pattern.

On Mood:
For someone with an ED, i can imagine that mood is something which fluctuates immensely. Mood can affect motivation. For me, the fact that i have been of low mood for over a year has affected my motivation to recover in strange ways. Initially when i was what i would term 'severely depressed' or of 'very low mood', it made me question what was at the root of it and once i realised that it was the ED, it made me want to fight against the disorder. The reason: i was getting suicidal thoughts/urges/compulsions which at times felt like they were coming from me and at other times, felt as though someone who wanted the end of me was compelling me to essentially, take my own life. I had only once ever had those kind of thoughts and that was during my early teen years. As an adult with an ED, i had never suffered from depression. It was after the entrance of these thoughts into my mind that i realised that the ED was in fact trying to kill me. Sounds dramatic. I know. But that was what it came down to. So i was of very low mood but yet somehow motivated to put things into place to beat the ED and i worked very hard initially to combat the ED. My faith helped me a lot initially and i was able to eat 3 meals a day for a few weeks. But as the weeks went on and old frustrations returned, i turned to the ED as a comforter. My mood was still low and i was still getting a lot of suicidal thoughts but somehow, i started to see the ED as friend and foe. Meaning that my ability to fight it ebbed and flowed.

And so here i am, many months later, wondering where i am at in recovery. My mood is at present: stable. That means that i have no desire to end my life, i am sometimes down with the ED but never suicidal down. What effect does my current mood have on the ED? This is a strange one because i have given in to the ED for the most part. I am not sure if that is to do with my mood or the fact that i feel powerless. Like this thing is more powerful than me and sometimes, the more i fight, the harder i fall when the ED bites back. What i am relying on is the hope that doing the DP (Day Programme) will somehow help me find the motivation that i lost many moons ago. I need to be motivated for recovery or else what is left for me. No-one can desire it for me more than i desire it for myself. And even if they did desire it more than i did for myself, that would not help me recover any quicker.

This weekend has been quite a good one in terms of getting out and about and not sitting at home depressed with an ED but the truth is that the ED has still gone on a rampage. I think that i am trying to return to the time when my ED was manageable. When i could go days without bingeing and purging. When restriction was the order of the day. But in truth, this is no way to live. It will only lead me back down the slippery slope of a full blown ED and all the consequences that engenders: low weight, low mood, sickness, supplements, awkwardness with family, no family of my own, no social life, isolation etc.

So this leads me to my next theme:

On Openness:
I feel that all that is left for me to do now is cling onto any rope i can find and one of those ropes is that of my family. As support. In order to be able to gain support, we have to be open with those whose support we are seeking. Open about our behaviours (as much as we feel able) and open about how they can help us. I did that tonight with a family member and i was really proud of myself. It is important, in my opinion, that we choose carefully. I have done the same with another family member but now i feel anxious around them rather than free and with others, i know that i cannot receive the kind of support i would like from them because their understanding of the ED is skewed. Some think i just need to pull my socks up and that i will recover when i am bored with being at a low weight and not having a life (as i want it), others just keep me in mind when they pray but do not see how they can really help (saddens me, this one), and others, just don't get that i am not yet able to be normal around food so having a conversation with me about foods they like and blah, blah, blah, really is not that helpful. It is not their fault and they really should be able to discuss things freely but i am not yet that strong either. Anyway, choose wisely is what i am getting at.

So, another day of 'feeding' calls out to me like a distant wave. I think i can hear my name.

I'm outta here.


Thursday, 23 September 2010

Is fear of a relapse keeping me from fighting for recovery?

It's been 3 weeks since i started the DP. And today was a strange day. It was a great day but at the end, i left on a slightly sour note. I just felt a lot of heaviness in the air. Like the ED being all consuming and it adds a bitter taste at the end of every sweet mouthful. It felt like for every great thing that was said, there was a BUT at the end of it and that BUT was the uncertainty which the ED pours into everything. I don't know exactly how to describe it: it's like... i want to do this BUT the ED.... Hmmm

The best thing about this week was the fact that i finally feel comfortable with lunch and snacks. I FEEL OKAY. I don't have the post-lunch urge to purge and furthermore, i am beginning to enjoy lunch and sometimes, i feel as though i could eat a little more. I am so glad for this. It gives me hope of a healthy future. Furthermore, i am thinking about incorporating the DP structure into my weekends so that i am not completely devoted to the ED at the weekends.

My toughest challenge this week: well actually, there are 2.

1) What do i do in the evenings when hunger comesa-callin? I am not sure why i feel so unable to just eat a meal in the evenings and keep it in. I have no idea where to start. Of course, there's lots i have learnt in DP about portion size etc. But (there's that ED BUT again) the same support i get during DP, where we all sit around the table to eat, is exactly what i need but is precisely what is lacking at home for me. Not sure how to move forward from this but this is something i am intending to discuss with a staff member next week.

2) I am not sure if this is a challenge or a cause for concern. I have significantly increased my exercise regime since starting DP. Pretty much doubled it. The intensity has increased as well. I am not a calorie counter or a calorie burning fanatic (no disresepect intended). But, i do always push myself to run further, or walk further or do whatever it is for longer. My current increase was borne out of my desire to avoid purging in the evenings. I end up walking around town with no singular purpose but with a definite destination. I know that the main thing for me is the feeling that i need to walk off the feeling of fulness. Not so much burn calories but walk until i no longer feel so full. Also, i walk to avoid going straight home where i fear purging which will undo all the effort i put into keeping lunch in and which leads to a more chaotic evening of bingeing and purging. A part of me is walking because i feel lazy in DP. I sit, i eat, i sit some more and i eat. I am used to leading an active lifestlye and all the sitting is beginning to annoy me. I am getting used to it but i do feel the need to move more. I am sad that this is now a new sting in the ED tail but i will be honest with staff about this.

I want to be kinder to my body. It has done nothing to harm me and i ought to treat it with more care and compassion.

Some of the things which concern me is how much it seems to be about food. I feel like we don't talk enough about how we feel after meals and snacks and i feel that we need to talk more about how we can be supported. What practical steps can we take? I am also concerned about how much DP is really going to help me. I see others still struggling even though they have been there much longer than i have and i know i ought not to compare but now that i see how it operates, i can see why some still struggle. I know we all have different starting points and maybe they have made loads of progress and i just can't see it because i am new to this. Maybe i am just rambling now. Basically, i am worried this is not going to help me as much as i hope it will.

And so the title now becomes pertinent. I know that a big thing which stops me from fully giving recovery my all is the fear of relapse or the fear of partial rather than full recovery. If i have to live with an ED for the rest of my life (i pray i don't have to), then why bother trying now. Of course that sounds stupid but i might as well get it out there. I can't live a full life with the ED. But no matter what happens, i am still determined to live. ED or NOT. I hope it's a NOT.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, 20 September 2010

On Motivation or Lack Therof

Today in DP (Day Programme), i spent much of my time feeling guilty. Guilty about the fact that i am the least motivated for recovery that i have been in a year. I can recall about 3 different periods of serious motivation to recover from the ED or at least, to end my behaviours. I realised today that leaving behaviours behind still does not mean you are recovered if you are not dealing with underlying issues. I had never thought about it in those terms before. I do feel as though i am learning a lot. But, i feel guilty because i feel that someone who is more motivated, should have been offered my place in DP.

I ate lunch today, knowing that i had not given myself the option of not purging which inevitably meant that i would purge, once i got home. I will at least respect the facilities where i am doing DP and i can pledge never to purge there again. Doing that last week was a big mistake. Pain or not. But that is not what i do. I don't go around purging in public places and once i start doing that, i know that i am really letting the ED win. It is not about the shame of doing that but it is more about the power i give to the ED when i say it is okay to do that. I have purged in public toilets 3 times in the over 10 years i have spent with the ED. I don't want this to be added ammunition in the ED armoury so i choose to make purging in public loos not an option. I fully intend to stick to this one. It makes me more conscious about eating when i am out and about.

I guess the reason i allowed myself to leave open the question of purging or not was because it felt like the only way i could enjoy lunch today. The truth is that i spent the entire weekend restricting and purging so by this morning, i was starving. I was starving last night but i did not want to get out of bed and eat something because i felt that if i did that, then i would invite the ED back in, in the form of purging. It is interesting that for me, purging is not fine but somehow restricting is. So when i was restricting at the weekend, i thought that was allowed but purging brought on guilt. I guess i need to realise that all ED behaviours are counter productive. I think that because purging is what i now struggle most with, it feels as though getting rid of this would solve all my problems but i think i realise that it is just one part of the ED puzzle. Writing this out helps me see things differently.

I really want to speak to someone at DP to tell them about my lack of motivation and whether it is right for me to continue. I am not looking for a way out but for me, i am not doing well at the moment. Some days, i purge less, at the weekends, i purge just as much. I know it has only been a few weeks but truth is, my head is not in the right place and yet i feel that i need to do something. I cannot sit at home waiting for the ED to disappear. I am also worried that they will say that i am not doing well and ask me to leave so i figure it is better to get in there first and sack myself rather than be sacked. Sigh!!!!!!!

I feel very alone with the ED at the moment and don't know how to reach out to others for help except to say lock me in a room with no food and bring me 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. But i am sure this is the quickest path to resentment on my part and on the part of those i am asking for this level of care. Sigh!!!!!

I have been very down since Friday and i know the root of this, in part, is feeling bigger in myself. Like my clothes not fitting as snugly and my face looking a little fuller. I know this is where this started. I thought it was just about jumping on the scales at the weekend, but i now realise it started the day before when i wore an item of clothing which left me feeling huge. So stupid to feel that way considering that the size that i am now wearing is way smaller than my natural size. So why do i end up questioning myself and not the clothes? Why don't i question the fact that i am not wearing the right size for me???

I'm off. I hope anyone reading this is doing a lot better than i am at the moment.


Saturday, 18 September 2010

Recovery From Anorexia Without Weight Gain

Not possible is it? I was reminded of that when i stepped on the scales this morning (that was my first mistake) after a week of not weighing myself and 2 weeks of the Day Programme. Suffice to say, i was not a happy bunny this morning.

It's strange how badly i reacted this morning in comparison to how i reacted last week. This morning, my automatic and mechanical response was to head for the kitchen and try to make myself feel better with some good ol' fashioned bingeing and purging. Oh, that faithful friend of mine. Always there to make me feel worse when i already feel worse. So yes, now i as lie here smothered in ED goodness, i wonder why i ever stepped on those scales and how i will deal with weight gain.

I DON'T WANT IT!!!!!!!!!!

Shout out to all those who want to recover without the inevitable weight gain. (I can hear the applause somewhere in the background).

Okay, time to get real. It is nigh on impossible to recover from an anorexic weight without gaining weight. There, i said it. IMPOSSIBLE. Because, being at an anorexic weight as an adult, is unnatural for most individuals. When i say unnatural, i mean that being at that weight is often as a result of manipulation. Such as starving oneself, purging etc.

I would be a liar if i said that a part of me does not love being at this weight. Herein lie some of the reasons why i prefer being at this weight:
- i feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin
- i think i look better in some clothes at this weight (jeans for instance)
- i feel less preoccupied with how my body looks (i know this sounds strange)

BUT, here lie some of the disadvantages
- some women lose their menstrual cycle meaning childbearing is impossible
- the body begins to disintegrate (bones become more fragile, bruising happens more easily, there is no fat under the skin which is a strange thing to look at, there is no fat in your butt (good for some, horrid for me))
- it draws a lot of negative and curious attention to be at such a low weight (from loved ones and sometimes strangers)
- summer is not as enjoyable since bones are not as attractive to outsiders as they sometimes are to people who are low of weight. This means i spent a lot of summer covering up. Not nice in hot weather.
- people sometimes look incredibly pale, lifeless in the eyes
- maintaining such a low weight is not fun (starving is not fun, purging even less fun, alienating oneself from any event involving food is awful). Basically, being at this weight takes a lot of fun out of living

It is clear that there are many more disadvantages than advantages. But, when i was many kilos higher, i felt very uncomfortable in my body. Recently, i did try to see the positive side of gaining: i get to look like a woman, i won't look like a kid, i get to develop a new sense of self (sounds like bullshit doesn't it?) etc, etc, etc. I guess the strange thing about not being comfortable in one's skin is that when i tried clothes on and they did not fit in a way which i liked, instead of me questioning the clothes, i often questioned myself. Not fitting into clothes made me think that i somehow didn't fit into......????????? society??? That i was somehow abnormal. And yet i know this is not the case. It was pointed out this week to me that many of the fashion designers are gay men. It is interesting to think about how this affects the fashion trends that are out there. I would be curious to hear more thoughts on this one. A lot of clothes seem to celebrate a boyish figure and not a womanly figure. By this, i am not talking about big vs small because even petite women can have an incredibly feminine body. I simply mean that a lot of clothes seem to be made for people of a narrow, straight frame, rather than those with rounder assets as a woman's figure tends towards. Anyway, i think i was writing this because i am looking forward to trying to clothes which celebrate my figure rather than those which make me question my figure. I still want to live a healthy life, eat great food, have a healthy relationship with exercise and be the weight i was intended to be.

But how do i get there when even a small change on the scales (scales are not what we should be using to measure our worth and yet i do that) sends me into an ED frenzy. Hmmm.

Another topic which i want to write about at some point is hunger. What is it? How do we know when we are hungy/when to eat?

Farewell for now.


Friday, 17 September 2010

Have you ever noticed how bossy the ED is?/Tough day at the ED office

Yep. I sure have noticed how bossy the ED is. I think i had this epihany sometime last week. I realised that it was the only thing in my life which consisted of 'have to's'. Just in case i am not being clear, this is an idea of some of the ED have to's in my life:

- i have to do some form of exercise 6 times a week
- if i have had a hard day at the ED office, i have to walk it off. But not just a short walk, i have to walk many kilometres to get rid of any negative feelings i have from the fact of eating.
- at the weekend, i have to binge and purge or exercise in the morning. If i fail to exercise when i have planned to, then i have to binge and purge as punishment. Since when was pain or pain a choice?
- i have to feel bad for eating food which is out of my control in terms of portion size (so today was a particularly tough day - i will explain more later).

You get the picture. You get my drift. There are many have to's in the ED world. Even God Himself doesn't give us have to's. He gives us a choice. And yes, there are sometimes negative consequences when we make the wrong choice but at least we have a choice.

I think i am writing this just to acknowledge the fact that the ED is a bitch, a bastard, a dictator, an autocrat/a despot and every other thing i hate. It essentially robs us of choice. If only we would use every inch of assertiveness that we have within us to just tell it to fuck off. (Please forgive the profanity).

So yesterday, the have to which made my day a tough one was this:

If you eat the lunch which is in front of you, you have to pay for it. And pay for it i did. I walked for a couple of hours and then made sure that i binged and purged when i returned home, even though my usual hunger precursor was non-existent. The story goes a little something like this:

I was kind of looking forward to lunch. It was not necessarily about the food but i was just looking forward to being with others, eating around the table and maybe challenging myself with the food (the latter shows just how crazy i am). Anyway, when it came to dishing out my portion, i was told to take double of the carb option which freaked me out because a single portion seemed more than enough for me. Added to that the protein and the vegetables which i was about to choose, my plate seemed mountainous. The plates we use are large and i think that heightens my sense of freakoutedness (invented word. i know. sue me!!!!!)

And so i spent a few minutes with the staff debating why i needed an extra portion and how i should not have to and then i was told that i could choose and extra scoop of either one, or the other carb option. Now to me, that was not a choice. I come back to what i said above: choosing between one kind of pain and another kind of pain is no choice at all. Would you rather be beaten with a whip or a belt? Where's the choice in that? So the tears rolled down my eyes, i turned my face away from said staff member and got annoyed when she talked about me being supported by the others around that table. I didn't want support. I just wanted to not have an extra portion. How many different ways can i say that?

I saw this was going nowhere fast so i chose the lesser of the two evils, as i saw it. Wrong move. It freaked me out even more and i was annoyed that i had to eat this monster of a lunch. I spent the first 15 minutes sprinkling salt over the food and mixing it in, hoping that somehow, this process would magically make the food disappear. For any of you thinking of following my lead, i can CONFIRM that this WILL NOT make your food disappear. Worse still the food gets colder making the whole process more unbearable.

When i became bored of this, i put my fork and knife down, bowed my head and watched the food grow before my eyes. I did not know this was what was happening till staff member pointed this out to me later on. Anyway, the staff member convinced me to return to the table after i said that i could not eat anything and that maybe it would be best for me to leave for the day. It was such a strange experience. I was still like a statue and couldn't pick up even a forkful of food. The other participants also helped me get over the fear of how much food i would have to eat by telling me not to worry about what might happen later on, which was my fear, and to stay focused on what i had to do in that moment.

I was glad i had their help but later on, once the day was over, i had to do 'pennance' for having eaten the devil's poison. I walked for hours just to get rid of the feeling of food inside of me and in order to drain myself of my emotions. It worked. By the time i had finished walking, i was so tired that i had no energy for tears and no space for anger. Of course i know this is all the ED ordering me about but i didn't know how else to deal with the situation. I was so angry that i had eaten that food, i felt as though i had let myself that, that i was not honouring  my word to myself that i would not eat it. I hated myself for giving in and eating it. aaaarrrggghhhh.

I hate this ED. No amount of intelligence in the world saves me from it. The more i know, the more i am struck by how powerless i feel against it.It's like you can see the tidal wave about to hit but you are frozen on the spot.

Anyway, today was a lot better. I struggled a little with food and i am not sure why. It took a while to finish it. But overall, the group sessions were cool and i laughed a lot. I felt a lot more at ease after lunch, even with the knowledge of that food inside of me.

I did notice today that the new fear is that of what i ought to do once i feel the slight pangs of hunger in the late afternoon. Of course, another ED command is that i must binge and purge everyday. It tells me that i need to. I believe this lie so i end up bingeing and purging at least once a day if not more. I know this is a lie, that i don't need to. But i am not sure what to do when i feel hungry after the programme because my fear is always that i can only eat in an uncontrolled manner. Even though i have proven this not to be the case in the past, i still cannot detach myself from the all or nothing perception of food. Either i eat nothing, or i eat everything. Hmm. Something to work on next week perhaps.

Tonight was not good because i had serious shakes after purging which i think means that my blood sugar is low. Not good but i was kind to myself and gave myself some sugary drink. The last thing i want is to end up collapsing.

Not an inspiring end to this post but i feel a little down tonight. One of the therapists thought it was good that i was able to understand why i do disordered things in relation to food like overexercising or purging. But i just think it makes me feel more powerless. Like i know why i do it and how bad i feel later and yet i keep maintain that cycle. I just want to it to end now. Rome was not built in a day. I know. But when i think of Rome, i think of the final product. I don't know about the ocean of blood, sweat and tears which went into building Rome. No-one does. All we see is the final product. And that is what i wish for. The final product. Recovery. Not partial recovery, manageable ED or any of that. I lived like that for over 10 years. With a manageable ED. But it does at some stage get out of control. And that is where i find myself today. With and out of control ED, wondering when and if this will all end peacefully.


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

First Step Back/Tough Road Ahead

So for the first time in the Day Programme, i stuffed up - as i consider it. I purged after lunch. No real excuses but i was experiencing severe stomach pain.

I sat during the rest period, trying to summon up the courage to use my voice and shout from my internal prison. I wanted to go to someone and say: i am really struggling, i am in pain, i really want to ease my discomfort. But then i didn't want to 'bother' anyone. I did not want to disturb people who looked busy - the staff. And, i felt like those around me, the others with eds, were mere strangers. I felt i could not confide in them. I felt alone even though i was hemmed in on all sides by people. And afterwards, i felt such relief. I felt better that the pain was no longer, that i would be able to concentrate for the rest of the afternoon and not have to focus on how much food i had inside of me and how much i hated feeling full.

It is such a terrible thing that we do to our bodies when we introduce purging into the mix. When i burp, i feel the food coming up, when i purge many hours later, i still sense food from many hours before. My digestive system is probably as confused as i am at times. What can i say. It is such a fucked up thing to do to oneself and yet the knowledge of this neither empowers me nor liberates me.

That was yesterday.

Today, i was determined to keep the food in and kinda knew i had to. I did not agree to do the day programme so that i could 'cheat' the system and purge after lunch. I agreed to it because i knew i needed extra help. That was why i was honest with a staff member today about what i had done. She appreciated my honesty. I appreciated her understanding. I sensed she kinda suspected it anyway and she confirmed this. I was grateful. I know i have to be honest if i am ever to be liberated.

Today was tough. Lunch was lovely. I really enjoyed it and could probably have eaten more. But then a strange thing happened. Dessert was the usual. Fruit and custard. And i got upset about the fact that i had to eat a little more fruit than normal and that i had to add some juice to it. How stupid is that???????? I almost cried. I kept thinking of the fact that it was extra food and i would feel uncomfortable. I ate it without saying a word and for the next hour, i said nothing. I stood for a little while, closed my eyes for a bit and stuffed all the anger and every other emotion, back inside of me. I wanted to scream and shout and say that: you bastards are violating me, but i couldn't. And, i wouldn't. I would never let them know how much it hurt me to have to keep that son of a bitch food in. That's how angry i felt about it. And yet, i know i need it. I need food. I may not want it, but i need it.

Even afterwards, many hours later, i felt comfortable. My stomach was not overly distended and i was not at all uncomfortable. And yet the only thing i could think was: i need to get control back. I need to binge and purge. Irrational? Yes. Juvenile? Yes. And yet, the real me is none of those things. But the ED me, is.

How do i physically separate myself from it. Will an exorcist please make their way to the front of the crowd. I need some help. The good thing was that i learnt that i can tolerate it somehow. Even if all the while, i was mad and wanted to kill someone and then hurt myself. I am pronbably saying too much but..........

That's all folks......

Final thing: how do you seek support during mealtimes from loved ones if your main struggle is with purging, not restricting????

I was told by one of the others that it will get better. Not necessarily easier, although i am told that will come too. Am i to believe this? I think it is possible but how do you deal with things until you arrive at the destination called 'Better'?

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Day After the Week Before

That was the week that was: difficult, funny, thoughtprovoking, challenging, draining, tearjerking and every other emotion under the sun.

Saturday morning started off with me trying to regain control. I cuddled up with my eating disorder, wrapped its blanket around me, nestled my face in its bosom and wished i could take back the damage (read reparation job) of the previous week. The damage i am referring to is that of nourishment and nutrition which my body was crying out for but which my mind hates. I have noticed some subtle changes in my body after a week of the Day Programme and i hate each one of them bar 1.

My cheeks feel fuller (i hate this because it makes me feel 'huge')
My stomach does not look as flat (i hate this because it feels like i am undoing all the hard work i have put into having a taut stomach).
Whenever i binge, my stomach muscles feel all out of place. It feels lose inside of me.
My body feels like it has filled out ever so slightly. But enough for me to not like my physical self again.

The thing which i have  most enjoyed is the fact that my eyes seem more alive. A lot sparklier. I look back at old pictures of myself when i hated my body and the one thing which stands out is how much LIFE there was in those lil' ol' eyes of mine. It is that which i have most enjoyed.

It is funny how much an ED distorts your sense of physicality. So this week, i have felt 'big' all week because quite a few of the others on the Programme are a lot more underweight than me. So, i walk around, feeling like a giant. I am pretty short. Shorter than the average height for a woman which is 5"5 i think. But i am still over 5 feet tall. I am underweight by any measurement going. Enough to fit snugly into the AN classification. And yet, this week, i walked around that place feeling huge because many of the others around me are considerably smaller.

And yet, i am told by others that i am 'thin', have lost too much weight. It makes no sense. Added to that, i feel a lot heavier now, than i did when i had many more kilos on me. When i was just outside of the normal weight range, i felt i looked too lean. Now i am considerably underweight, i feel huge. You tell me where the sense in that is.

Added to the complication is the fact that when i use the mirrors at home to regard myself, i feel huge. But when i catch a refelction of myself when i am out and about, i see that i look sunken in the cheeks and that i am quite dimunitive now. So, it is true what the say. This shit fucks with your head.

I am not a swearer. Trust me. But it really is the conclusion of every ED equation i work out.

Friday was the best day of the Programme. Not because it was Friday and the weekend was heading for shore like an out of control boat. No. That would be very cynical of me. It was the best day because i got to laugh with some of the others, it was a relaxed atmosphere, the group sessions were cool and i find myself getting stronger and reclaiming my voice. That don't mess with me voice which the ED robbed me off. You see i tend to be quite an opinionated person at the best of times. But with the ED, i just feel as though i cannot say anything to anyone without hanging my own head in shame. When i meet an ED professional, i feel as though i should apologize for essentially, keeping them in employment. How crazy is that. I feel like saying: "sorry for my eating disorder".

But i am feeling a lot stronger and less apologetic about it now which means that i do at times end up 'arguing' or 'discussing' the finer points of why we are asked to do the things we are asked to do in the Day Programme. Although this may end up making me appear confrontational at times, i think it is healthy for us to challenge them, even as they challenge us and our behaviours.

I say that because everything food related that we do seems to be questioned and challenged. Don't cut up food this way, have this amount etc. Since i truly don't see myself as AN, i don't think that my issue is with disordered eating as much as disordered after eating (the classic BN dilemma). The things which is slightly disordered in my eating are my dislike of mixing foods (have had this pre BN days) and my slow eating |(i do this when i know i am going to keep food in). For me, rushing food is synonymous with purging food. But if someone challenges the fact that i cut up some of my food for ease of eating rather than in an AN way, i think they are saying that all disordered eaters do things for disordered reasons and that is simply not the case with me. I prefer to be honest with professionals but i sense that there is little trust of ED 'patients' simply because of the deceitful nature of the ED. Hmmmm

I did have my first moment of true annoyance with one of the staff members which i will not elaborate on too much. Suffice to say, i will not allow anyone to dictate to me what i can and cannot do where family are concerned. I am not an open book. I don't have to be and i choose not to be. It is weird that it is fine for them to peer into the annals of our lives without so much as a hint of embarassment and yet we know nothing about their lives and their histories. I don't know if any of them have had ED's and maybe it is none of my business. And yet similarly, parts of my life are none of their business. I am not being illogical. Where the ED is concerned, i intend to be honest with them so they can he;p me in the manner in which i need. Where other parts of my life are concerned, i choose not to share it with them.

I often wondered at points in the week how they view us 'ED patients'. As crazy people? deceitful people? 'crazies'? children? patients? or simply people? I prefer to view us as the latter. We are people even as they are and we have challenges of our own even as they must have some of their own. I deserve no less than they and them vice-versa. I deserve respect, even as they deserve it. If there are rules, i should respect them even as they ought to respect some of my own personal (not ED) rules. I did not really intend to spend as much time on this but it was just that at different points this week, i smelt a distinct lack of respect and maybe something akin to patronization on the part of some of the staff. So be it. I may have an ED but i am neither stupid nor submissive.

Anyway, i am not sure what the rest of this weekend will look like. I imagine that i will get back into bed with the ED and cosy up for a while. Although i talk about my intentions unashamedly, it is worth noting that i know that all of this talk is from the ED not from the real me. I know that the ED is telling me that i need to feel better again and feel empty and it is telling me that i am going to put on too much weight, that i have already put on loads of weight, it is telling me that once i start eating, i will not be able to stop so i need purging in my life, it is telling me that i am going to start looking 'healthy' which equates to huge, it is telling me that my body is going to swell to epic proportions, it is telling me that the ONLY way for me to feel good, is for me to feel empty and it is telling me that i need to take control back and the only way i can do that is through the medium of ED.

Well, i am all written out and you might be all read out so i am out - of here.


Thursday, 9 September 2010

On Regrets, 'Looking Recovered Even if you're not Recovered' and Facing my demons

So much in here. I am not sure where i will start.

Okay an update of the Day Programme.
Toughest food day: Wednesday. Hated it. Found it tough to make a choice about what to eat. Then when the food did come, it was pretty bland so there was absolutely no enjoyment in it. This angered me no end and i knew i would have to 'make amends' for the fact i had eaten food which was not of my choosing and ingesting food which was not pleasing to me. Exercise the following morning and b/p straight after. I am completely aware that this is not the real me. I, the essence of me and the person i am proud of, was not present in the dialogue i had with myself which led to the conclusion that someone needed to pay for the fact i had just eaten that rubbish. And that person had to be me.

Biggest Progress: Wednesday morning when i let go of my desire to go for a long run and miss breakfast and instead sat down for and hour to write out what was going on in my head and driving my ED instincts. It was such a brilliant piece of writing. It really motivated me to have breakfast that morning. Basically, i discussed why i wanted to exercise rather than just enjoy a leisurely morning. I talked about the fact that for me, weight gain equates to failure and 'other people' winning and me losing. But i managed to find my rational voice and remember that 'they' (whoever they might be: professional in particular) are not the ENEMY. I would have to forego my sense of achievement that i secretly harbour in reaching my lowest weight yet (still not low enough the ED says). Also, not letting go of the ED stops me from tackling other things which i fear. Like the fear of not having a family and the relationships that entails, the fear of creative failure, the fear of growing up and moving on with life etc.

One thing i noticed as i wrote was that the ED works on 'have to's. That means that i have to run, i have to purge, i have to binge, i have to compensate, i have to restrict. The ED does not suggest, it imposes it's will. But in life, there are no have to's. There are simply a series of choices. Am i overanalysing? Probably? Will this process be the quick fix i am after? Breakfast said no. But, i still think it is something i need to be aware of.

Other things were my fear of 'looking recovered' even if i am not recovered in my mind. I would almost rather keep this unrecovered body because then it is obvious that my mind is unrecovered, rather than receive a new and improved recovered body, with an unrecovered mind. Hmmm. I don't want to return to the relative wilderness of bulimia. That is basically what i am saying.

Not recovering is not an option. Even though as i type this out, i am overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions about where i am in this ED madness.

Most challenging day overall: Thursday (today), without a doubt. I know it was a challenging day for others on the Programme for reasons i will not elaborate on. But for me, i found it challenging because i spent so much time dwelling on regrets, i was reminded that i am not 'fertile' at the moment by a professional and one of the other participants (inadvertently) and i also spent a lot of time 'overexercising'. I don't often admit to the latter. So in the morning, my mind was decided that i wanted to pound all my anger into the pavement and nothing was going to stop me. I went ahead. It was a lovely run actually but i did understand that it was not a run that was totally about relaeasing those happy endorphins to combat depression and stress. It was in part about the ED and just pushing my body to the limit. This continued in the afternoon after the programme when i decided to walk miles in order to 'walk off' lunch and shale off the discomfort i was still feeling in my stomach. By the end of the walk, my body was screaming out for mercy and my pace was slower than a snail's. I was very upset that i was reminded on two ocassion as well as by the content of others' conversations that at the moment, having kids is not possible. I would love to say this spurs me on to kick the ED in the butt but unfortunately, in over 15 years of this ED and fewer years of actively trying, i have never been able to rid myself of it once and for all. I was pretty sad by the afternoon, even though lunch had gone relatively well. Sad that i was in the Programme and not out there (wherever there is) living. I was sad that i had allowed myself to get so bad. I hate this body so much sometimes. In some ways, i am more comfortable than ever with my body but in other ways, i hate it because it is an illusion and it is delusionary (is that a word?). This body grants me nothing in this state. I am not saying i want my old body back necessarily but i don't want to enjoy this juvenile body.

Highlight of the day: Thursday afternoon. Beautiful clouds up above inspired a poem. Silence sometimes speaks volumes and i spent much of the day silent (which i have a tendency to do when i am most full (of emotions and thoughts). I enjoyed this. I think it means someone else has to do the talking and sometimes, it allows me to work through my thoughts rather than use conversation to shield me from them.

And with that, i bid you farewell. This post feels very flat to me and i had been summarising the days on paper but it will take too much effort to write it all out.


Monday, 6 September 2010

Custard and Fruit: wtf?????

This was the most appropriate title for this post. The mystery will soon be unravelled.

I think it was on another writer's blog that i saw something similar to the following written:
"When you are restricting, it's not always obvious that you have a problem. But when you have your head down a toilet, you know you have a problem"

And so it is with me. I know i have a problem even though i have never stared down the barrel of a porcelain toilet bowl. But the reason i know i have a problem is because i come face to face with the contents of my stomach at least once a day. And that is the reason i agreed to a day programme even though i have no desire to go down this route. It is not the fact that i am at my lowest weight, it is not the comments or concerned looks i get from others and it sure as heck isn't the fact that my blood work is all over the place and i am clearly living recklessly with the ED at present. Added to the regurgitated contents of my stomach is the fact that my mind had finally become my worst enemy. I understood what it was like for your own self to turn on yourself. It was scary and that was what initially led me to the wooden door of my GP.

So yes, purging reminds me that i have a Real problem. So even though a great part of me believes that i should not be anywhere near any kind of programme, i know that i need help and support. And this leads me onto Day 1.

I now know why a loved one who i shall refer to as GoGetter (GG) prefers not to spend too much time with people who are depressed. Cos you'll end up looking just like them. That is what came to mind within an hour of me turning up. That, my friends, is exactly what i do not wish for and what i most fear. I wanted to avoid ending up in some kind of system which claims to have THE Answer, THE Cure, when the truth is that all it does (i do not trivialise it by saying all, i just want to put some perspective on this) is point us in the direction of healing and it holds our hands whilst we walk towards that place of healing. It doesn't carry us. If the sand underneath our feet is burning, we may have to run quicker cos noone is going to carry us. We must use our own legs.

Today, i learnt that the hardest part of this programme will not be the turning up part, or the huge lunch and 2 snacks; the hardest part will undoubtably be what happens afterwards.

There was no huge fanfare when i arrived. No staged introductions. No energisers, icebreakers or appetisers. Oops. That's something else isn't it?? Anyway, my introduction to DC (daycare) was a mugful of soya milk, tears (not on my part. i don't cry in front of others like that), a stuttering morning, and admonition for leaving the room to ease myself ("well if you'd explained the rules in the first bloody place....").

I questioned everything today: the overcompassionate, halfpatronising expressions of the group leaders. I questioned the words of the other "patients". I questioned the need for the words "hospital property" to be etched into the cutlery and wondered whether i was now also "hospital property" and most of all, i wondered which mad scientist (read, crazy professional) thought that custard and fruit salad made for a good combination. I thought we were meant to be the crazy ones.

As we queued up for lunch like lambs to the slaughter, or death rowers waiting to be seated on the executioner's chair, i wondered where the joy and laughter i was so used to being surrounded by had gone. I looked around at the sombre, pensive faces and wondered whether it would be a wise idea for me to wipe the smile off my face. I hate misery. And more than misery itself, i hate the face of misery.

By the end of the lunchtime dessert, my ED brain kicked into gear as i wondered whether adding more water to the contents of my stomach would help me bring it all back up once i'd returned home in ummmm, a few hours. I decided it wouldn't be possible so i would 'sit' (how i hate that word. "Have you thought of sitting with those feelings?" "No, but i sho would like to sit on them") with that meal and allow my body to breathe if only for a little while. Lunch was more more pleasant than i'd imagined but i know the hard work will really begin when i have to increase my portion size in a few days time. aaaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhhhhh. I even smiled at one point, thinking about how nice it was with the condiments i was allowed. I am glad i read some of the recovery blogs on here. It reminded me to stay grounded in the present.

I am by no means, a wallflower and although i spoke when invited, i wasn't completely me - wherever she is.

I decided to request something from a professional. All they can say is no and No has never been known to cause any physical pain before.

Now as i sit on a double decker bus listening to Brooke Fraser, green spaces roundabout me and listless clouds above me, i accept what my evening will look like and hope i can reduce the frequency. I am curious to discover how long it will take before i feel hungry again (7 hours later, i was not hungry. My stomach had almost recovered from lunch) and whether i will find a large enough pothole to empty this binge food into. It would really have gone down a treat in a totally empty stomach but with the contents of lunch still doing a merry dance somewhere inside of me, i think i need to keep my index finger on the pause button for a little while longer.

A few other notable things:
- I found myself problem solving for others in my head as they talked about some of their issues. Other times, i was bored by the talking and lost myself somewhere in the fog of my mind.
- Is it possible to die from therapy overdose? It was only Day 1 but i think i am completely wiped out by issues and problemsolving and suggestions and planning and sitting with things or sitting on things (as i prefer). I am bored shitless and tired of this and i am not sure how much more of it i can take. All i kept saying in my head in the first few hours after arriving was: are you kidding me? is this what i signed up to? Rapunzel, will you please let your hair down?

Sayonara Day 1
(i didn't mean for it to be this long - really, she says with a sly smile)


Sunday, 5 September 2010

On Loneliness and an ED Analogy

I think i will talk about loneliness after i speak about what the ED means to me.

Sometimes i refer to the ED as a leech. Sucking every good thing out of my life. But then i am not sure that does justice to the ED. Like a leech has also been used for medicinal purposes and maybe i can see the ED as something which leads me to eventual healing. So with that in mind, let's think about the ED like this:

It's a pretty hot day in some foreign, strange land somewhere. Crater like potholes litter the roads and then it comes, like manna from heaven. Rainfall. Rain falls from the sky and fills up those potholes. Yes. Huge monsterlike drops of rain fall and covers those potholes. To the unobservant motorist, those potholes no longer exist because the water serves to obscure the truth which lies beneath those wheels. So the motorist travels happily along that road at crazy speeds until those potholes begin to attack his wheels. It is then that the motorist realises that there are in fact potholes scattered all over the road and he must in fact take note of where he is driving.

In so many ways, the ED is for me like the water. At times refreshing, at times beating down on me but most of all, the ED fills all the potholes i have in my life. It fills my loneliness/emptiness, assuages my anger, covers my guilt. It does this and so much more for me. If i was to spend a lot of time thinking about it, i could see that the ED does so much for me. And yet it is a treacherous road which i am driving on. Because water is fluid. It simply complies with whatever container you pour it into. It fits the mould so to speak. But it is not solid. You are on very shaky ground if you decide to build your house on water. Stilts or not. And there it is. I have been on very shaky ground for over half my life. Now this water is eating into the concrete which lies underneath my feet. All those potholes are slowly merging into one fat crater and i feel myself sinking further into the ground. The deeper i sink, the harder it becomes to see what lies above. I can still see the clouds. Everyday i am able to make out their shapes and form and texture and colour. I feel very prvileged in this respect. That i still have hope. But the truth still remains the same: i am sinking.

And it is with that, that i move on to my second topic: On Loneliness.

I have recently begun to believe that loneliness is in fact the biggest of all the potholes i have in my life. It became so much clearer over the weekend as i cosied up with ED. It was all there was. It is currently my only confidante. I cannot do without it and a part of me hates living with it. But it feels like all there is and all i know. And yet with ED, there is room for none other. I rarely talk about the ED as a personality. I don't dare give it a name lest i somehow begin to imbue it with more qualities than i ought. For me, ED is in fact called Bullshit. It became so easy for me to call it this when people begun asking me what was wrong as i started losing more and more weight and the depression wrapped its filthy fingers around my throat.

"What's wrong? Are you okay?"
"Yeah, it's just Bullshit", i would say.

They may have thought i was talking about bullshit in general terms but for me, Bullshit was the name i gave the ED and Depression. Best friends those two.

Back to loneliness. I think for me, the ED was like family. I can hear the chorus "We are family, i got all my Bullshit with me". It was my best friend at times, my only friend at other times, a parent/caretaker, a comforter, a soothing balm. Yadda, yadda, yadda. It was so much to me. But the more i allowed it a foothold in my life, the less space there was for others. You can only truly be intimate with one person at a time. Surely??? So now that i find myself in the midst of total, abject loneliness, i can see how the eating disorder actually creates the situation it seems designed to resolve. It was the answer to the loneliness i had in my mind and in turn it created real physical loneliness. Hmm. I could say so much more on this but i fear i may bore myself completely.

Anyway, back to today, i spent some time with others in response to the realisation about loneliness. The result was that i missed out on the exercise i was hoping to do and i had to eat with others. Darn. The benefits were that i got to reconnect with people whose company i enjoy, i got to have a good conversation with a family member and i got to spend more than half the day without ED behaviours.

Downside is that as soon as i got home, i wanted to make up for the fact that i had eaten and not exercised and so i fully embraced the ED. Still, i have learnt a lot from today.

On a sad note, the conversation i had with a family member led me to realise that at this weight, the ED really affects my relationship with others more than it did when i was a normal weight. At this weight, the focal point becomes my weight. Not necessarily my emotions or the things that drive the ED, but my weight. And this annoys me. It makes me think that i should get up to normal weight as soon as possible so that everyone forgets that i ever had an eating disorder. So that people don't worry, so that people don't act 'carefully' around me and so that people return to the thought that i am normal and someone they could live with and be around. I am not saying all i want to in this regard but i was almost driven to tears by the honesty of said family member. I sucked it up and pretended that i was not as affected by their words as i might have been. Truth is, it made me realise that no-one wants the burden of living with someone at such a visibly low weight. At least that is what i think. Who wants to spend their spare time wondering whether someone is eating or purging or restricting or overexercising?? I sure as heck don't want to. And yet i am that someone....

Hmm. I am both sad and happy this evening. I am still going to attack the streets tomorrow in order to make up for the fact that i ate this afternoon. I was not in control of the circumstances which led to me having to eat and as soon as i returned home, i took control. Not enough. More is needed tomorrow ahead of my first day in 'treatment'. Hate that word. Don't want to do it. Bullshit has spoken a lot in this final paragraph.

I bid you and me, farewell.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

The Things They Carried and the Winds of Change

I gave this post the following title for reasons you will discover.

I once read a short story called The Things They Carried. It was about men serving in the Vietnam War and the items they carried with them like letters, ammunition and the intangible things they carried like fear and guilt. For me, i am writing specifically about the intangible things i am carrying today: Regret. I had my final session with my principal therapist yesterday and i still carry many things with me which i chose not to share with her for different reasons. I wrote down some of these things yesterday to help ease the load on my mind and yet i am still troubled by the fact that i felt unable to share them with her. I also felt as if our final session was my worst session with her. It was cold and without feeling and yet i feel a lot. It is as though sometimes you only realise the importance of an event, process or person after that thing has long gone. For me, it is still close enough for me no to regret the things unsaid so i have decided to try to schedule 1 more appointment with her in order to dispense with regret.

For me, motivation is like a strange breeze which blows without warning. Which direction it will come from is unknown, where it will lead is unforseeable but if you are able to catch that breeze, ride on the wings of that breeze, it may just land you closer to recovery than you ever thought possible. And that is where i find myself today. Hoping that i will catch that breeze, looking to the weather forecast to see where i can catch that specific breeze which i need to propel me towards recovery. I have to ask myself why i am least motivated at my lowest ED point ever. I don't know. I was more motivated to recover when my weight was stable and when depression was at its peak. Now that i am not obviously depressed and my weight is at its lowest, i find myself unmotivated.

I am doing something about recovery. I said yes to a day programme which i never thought i would find myself in this time last year. I have always been able to 'Live' with and ED. I paraphrase the word live because to me, i was living. I got to travel, study, work, write, laugh, enjoy simple pleasures whilst having the ED in my pocket or was it the other way round? Was i in ED's pocket. I don't know. But at least i thought i was in control of sorts. I could but b/p away for a few days, cuddle up to restriction and believe that i was in control because to me, there is nothing worse than binging and purging. I would happily choose restriction. The lesser of 2 evils i figured.

And yet was i really living? Was i enjoying the beauty of companionship? Was i sociable or was i living like a hermit/recluse at times? The latter is the answer. I chose to see friends when ED allowed, i attended events as ED allowed and i shunned people when ED dictated. I downright cut people off if ED needed greate attention on any given day. Do i regret the fact that i have never been in a longterm relationship because i chose ED? Yes. Do i regret the state of my relationship with God at present? Yes.

But i am constantly reminded that i cannot rewrite the past. The pen i have only flows from left to right. Not the other way round. All i can do is plan for the future and plan for a future without regrets. Pain is inevitable they say. Suffering is not. Hmmm. I continue to ponder this one. Well, the pain i refer to at present is the pain of recovery which to me translates into the pain of eating, feeling my body grow once more, tolerating emotions i would rather put to one side. I see some of this pain returning as i start day programme on Monday. Am i nervous or anxious? I don't know. I am simply choosing no to think about what Day 1 will bring.

I know that in my mind, i am not planning on reducing the amount i exercise since i consider it healthy. I am not planning on wholeheartedly following the meal plan. Not for calorific reasons but simply because i am fearful of b/p and i am still a control freak. There. I said it. Sue me!!!!!! I think it is important i write this out because i want to go into it motivated to change and i want to go willing to do all they ask of me and i want to succeed/not please. I want to RECOVER. But am i willing to totally trust the professionals? No. Why? Because a part of me feels that they are the ones that got me into this mess in the first place. Another part of me thinks they simply want me to put the weight back on so i can be considered 'better'. I am stubborn to a fault. I admit that. I would rather be a low weight bulimic than a restored weight bulimic. There i said it. In their opinion, i am considered AN. In mine, i give a wry smile because i simply consider myself a very successful bulimic with all the irony that engenders. How can you be successful at having an ED??? Hellooooo!!!!!!!!!! Well clearly, i consider 'success' the fact that i can maintain a low weight and still eat all i want. Is that messed up? Yes. Is that the real me talking? Of course not. The real me knows that success is a life without an ED. Success means subtracting the ED from me. Hmmmm.

Well, here's to Monday. We'll see what their kind of recovery brings.

I want to say finally that i have been inspired greatly by the blog of Now is Now who gave a frank account of her time in a Day Programme in the US. I am based in Europe and want to give an account not the account, of what a Day Programme is like in one of Europe's greatest cities (in my humble opinion).


Friday, 3 September 2010

Desperately Seeking Me

So strange to be writing a blog. Never thought i would do it and certainly didn't think i would share my journey through recovery in this way. I guess having been inspired by the blogs of many others, i thought it would be a good idea to start my own and see what it inspires/leads to.

So here is a snippet of my story. I have had an ED for over 12 years. Longer than i care to remember in fact and long enough to not remember what normality is/was. Life with ED is now my normality but i am desperately seeking me without this ed and hoping to subtract this ED from my life as though it were a simple mathematical equation. If only life were that easy.

I decided in the middle of last year that i could no longer keep going as i was, trying to fight the ED alone. I guess i chose to jump off the cliff rather than be pushed off in a manner of speaking. The ED was beginning to drive my mind to distraction and hellish places and i decided that whilst i could tolerate the physical symptoms of the ED, my mind no longer could. And with that decision made, i decided to reach out for professional help.

It has been a long time in coming but i am grateful for the support that i am now receiving and yet saddened by the fact that my condition (seemingly) had to deteriorate in order to receive that level of support. If this blog could achieve one thing, i would hope that it would inspire others to reach out for help as early as possible. The wait is not worth it. In fact, it is a costly journey whichever way you look at it.

I don't know what i believe about recovery. Somedays, i think i will get there and on other days, i don't see how i can erase the memory of the ED sufficiently enough for the ED to no longer be a feature in my life but what i am hoping to do is discover a life minus ED.

Final thing: i suffer from an utter and astonishing inability to comunicate my thoughts and feelings directly to those around me. This inevitably leads to quite a lonely existence. I am hemmed in on all sides by people and souls and things and yet i am unable to communicate with them in a way which will reduce the sense of loneliness i have in my head.


More to follow............