“90% of those won’t have anorexia”

Somebody linked me to a youtube clip from eating disorders awareness week, and the head of the ed service made that title statement.
If you ask anyone in the general public about eating disorders, the consensus would be:
anorexia is being skinny
Bulimia is making yourself sick

If only it were that black and white.
At the beginning of my disorder life was simpler. I had one problem: my anorexic behaviour.
Time, stress and a lot of secrecy allowed for it to sew a web of habits. I had the odd binge, which led to purging. I started to self harm, to fast all day to binge at night, and to exercise through the night to keep it secret.
I don’t think I know what disorder I have anymore. Sometimes I feel in a very anorexic mind frame and other times the bulimic impulsive actions take over.

I’ll do it tomorrow…

You mustn’t allow yourself to go back to the ed clinic until you weigh less, or you only eat x calories a day, or you waist measure x cms.

I will eat better tomorrow.

I will do more exercise tomorrow.

I will be kind to myself tomorrow.

The past few years seem to have gone in a blur of plans to make things right; plans that are never carried out. I can’t count the number of times that I have quit therapy part way through, or refused help because of my refusal to be weighed. This one ginormous hurdle has dominated me and kept the grip of my eating disorder grow tighter.

The idea of another human being knowing and monitoring my weight fills me with utter dread. Even when I was being weighed regularly in the past, it never seemed to get easier. Then, months of cancelling doctors appointment followed and made way for the fear to grow. It has now been around 2 years since I last allowed somebody to weigh me.

In those two years, I have moved out of home, made new friends in a new city, found a new doctor, been having CBT therapy, and overdosed twice. In many ways I have had two years of very exciting opportunities, and also managed to convince some people that my recovery is going well. I think that I have become better at exhibiting “normal” behaviour, while continuing to be disordered and destructive when alone. My disorder has certainly changed- but not really for better or worse- it’s just different now because my whole life is different than when it all started god knows how many years ago!

Today has been emotional because my cbt ends very soon. The next stage is that my gp and therapist want me referred to the eating disorder service in my local area. From past experience with the ed clinic back at home, I know you can’t have the treatment without allowing them to monitor your weight. Puts me in a sticky spot….

I have been avoiding this for years, and I know that is massive sign of my disorder in itself, and I know that I’m going to have to do it to get better. But I also know that the last I was weighed, I took an overdose and researched suicide methods when the drugs didn’t kill me. Putting myself in that same situation is asking for that awful reaction all over again and I wonder if it’s really worth all the distress?

Then, there’s this little part of me that has been desperate to have somebody else take charge of my eating disorder, as that seems like a futile goal for me to do myself, and I also know that being taken on by the service would reduce my doubt over the severity of my illness. I think I’m going to say yes.

Oh god help me.

Escape from the world.

The more time goes on, the more I become tired of trying to be “normal.” I want life to be easier, but that means fully letting go of my illness and my mind tells me that is a ridiculous idea. I do have moments of recognising the value of living, but they are gone before I know it.
I know my feelings of wanting to die aren’t self inflicted, but I do sometimes feel selfish for wishing away my life away while others starve to death, or die as innocent victims of violence. But I can’t blame having a mental illness on myself!
The part of me that is purely my personality wants to relish every moment, and be able to let obsessions and bad behaviours go, and as I can’t, I feel like I’m waiting for rock bottom to come.
It feels like I hit the lowest emotional point, then somebody pulls the floor from beneath me and makes me fall further. Although I know that in reality, being in hospital would be incredibly tough, I do find myself wishing that somebody would admit me, so I didn’t have to spend everyday trying to get on with my life AND get through the mental challenges.

Protection bubble

In therapy, I have recently been talking about how disordered behaviour of any kind is often a form of defense. Until I was spoken to and questioned, and I didn’t know that I was protecting myself from feeling like a failure, the worst person. Take my school years for example: I never had a detention or forgot my homework; in fact I wouldn’t have been able to handle being told off at all. Even when my whole class was being lectured about something or other, I always felt some level of guilt or upset about it (even though I would never have done anything wrong!)

How does this happen? How does the mind form thought processes that become so cemented, but are so abnormal? Who knows…. all I know is that this has been a problem for me since I was very young.

I have a friend who recently came out of the closet, and he always says that he would choose to be straight if he could, but he was born gay. He doesn’t believe that you can choose your sexuality- just like I believe you can be born with a high chance of developing mental illness. Regardless of the circumstances I was born in to, I’m pretty sure I would have ended up this way anyway. My personality makes me drive myself to be perfect, makes me punish and berate myself for mistakes, and makes me someone who will be treated badly to avoid conflict. I would never be somebody to voice other people’s wrong doings, I just suck it all in and translate it into some kind of personal flaw.

My bubble of ed behaviours, depressive and anxious thoughts/ actions feel safe and comfortable, and temporarily relieve whatever given emotion I feel compelled to numb, but really it is protecting me from being. I can’t think only of the present moment, and when I can do that, it is always a negative focus on a present error or imperfection. I simply don’t understand how the average person thinks and behaves, as from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep my mind is full of this little voice that shouts all these horrible things.

Persistent voice

Why are you so fat?
You will never look good
You are a failure
There are so many people more talented than you
People are talking about you
Eat. Go on. Shove everything in.
Starve. Kill yourself if you don’t get thinner.
Just give up will you?
Don’t bother getting up today, you won’t be happy anyway.
Check you have everything. You may forget anything.
Tidy up now. Everything must be organised exactly right.
Don’t sit down. You don’t deserve a rest.

Admiration and feeling inspired :)

You know when you love someone? A boyfriend/girlfriend, a parent, a friend? Obviously the latter kind of love is a form of appreciation and an enjoyment of time spent in their company, rather than a relationship kind of love.
Well I’m lucky to have lots of people to love in my life: my family, and friends who say they love me in spite of my problems.
Today has reminded of a very special relationship I have, with an ex tutor. When I was being taught by this person it was fantastic. They inspired me with their knowledge and skill, and I admired their attitude to their work and their students. My disorder became something they chose to become a part of, and they were a lifeline through some
Incredibly difficult moments. They taught me to have some patience for myself and to try to be honest with people. The gratitude I have is indescribable, and speaking to them today has reminded me that they inspire me for who they are, for how much they care about me, and for how much my admiration for them hasn’t changed with time.
Life can suck sometimes, but I am blessed to know such a decent and lovely lady.

Is everyone’s relationship with food flawed?

Obviously, I accept that my own relationship with food is complicated and emotional, but lately it seems that everyone around me has an individual use for food (in an emotional/ coping sense).
As a child, my black and white naive thinking led me to believe that one of my family members was super healthy. For the purpose of their privacy I will call them X.
X has a physically challenging job, which requires them to keep fit and strong. So, they’ve always had a good deal of muscle and always been slim. They understand the metabolism, the bodies systems , the way nutrition affects the physical build up of the body, and what new fad diets are trying to hide from the public. X has always seemed knowledgeable, and has always been slender- so they must be healthy, normal, balanced, right?
Sure, x definitely gets in all the vitamins and minerals we need, eats lots of protein, uses olive oil, and eats little sugar, but they are obsessional. They will get by on very little for a large part of the day, then eat a combination of healthy and less healthy food items in large quantities. Clearly, given their body fat and physical capability they are not malnourished, but it is all or nothing; a whole bag of sharing crisps, or none at all; a whole packet of grapes, or nothing but water.
Then on the other end of the scale , I have another family member who has been overweight in my entire living memory. I see them eating quite a lot of decent, nutritional, home cooked meals, but in large quantities, and I see them always thinking about and snacking on food.
The problem is, “snacking” is an entire sandwich, or 2 bags of crisps, or basically anything that could be a meal to most people. By midday today, id seen them get through 3 weetabix with oats, 2 cups of coffee, 2 pieces of thick toast and marmalade, soup, 4 crackers, some fruit, sliced chicken, and a cupcake.
There isn’t a perfect way when it comes to eating. Everyone seems to have some bad choices in their diet. What the hell am I supposed to be like then?!

What is “it”?

I remember the first time I found myself relating to eating disorder stories on tv, or online. I suppose I knew that my behaviour wasn’t normal, but I found it hard to believe that I was bad enough for it be a “thing.”
That was quite a few years ago, yet I’m compulsively walking to burn calories as I question the existence of my disorder as I write.
I had a therapy session today- with a woman I really like, but it has left me feeling a bit lost!! As I’ve been seeing her for some time now, we’ve covered a lot of different issues from panic attacks to social eating to self harm. On many levels I have learned a lot about myself and how to take a step back when things are chaotic, but still, I feel utterly out of control of myself.
Sometimes I feel so crazy and extreme that my own personality gets lost in the insanity, but other times I just feel like a liar.
Do I really feel depressed?
Did I really overdose to kill myself?
Do I have an eating disorder at all?
Am I just a dumb young girl who doesn’t want to be fat?
Am I really struggling?
Am I just useless at life- unable to cope?

The problem is, eating disorders are crafty; they make you want to be the best at having one, and they make you want to hold on to them.
Of course I know I would be happier if I didn’t have to live like this, but it is starting to feel like I will never be “normal”. I don’t even know if I want to be normal or not! Wow… That sounds mental.
I understand more, but I still can actually do many things any more healthily or normally.