Sunday, 22 December 2013

Nobody Said It Was Going To Be Easy

No, nobody said it was going to be easy. But nobody said it would be this god damn hard either.
The irony of it is, they were talking about recovery when they told me it wouldn’t be easy, and I’m not pretending anymore; I’m not recovering. I realised that recently, or rather admitted it to myself as reality. There’s no point lying to other people and absolutely no point in lying to myself.

Then I began to think, have I ever actually even been ‘in recovery’? I’ve got years of this illness behind me, god too many years, and they’ve been years of ‘cycles’ of what I have previously called relapses and recovery, but now I am starting to think about it differently. Perhaps, really it has just been a straight line with me at different weights quoting different lines, half believing some of them, appeasing different people, eating more and then less again.

It has been a depressingly long time since all this started. My status and condition has been scrutinised by many people, I’ve been in different hospitals, I’ve been tested and observed by many ‘professionals’, hopped obediently on and off many sets of scales, been suckered by numerous needles, popped an array of pretty pills, munched my way through many a meal plan. My arse has sat on so many different therapists’ chairs its gone numb.
Still, I am not fixed. I am not recovered.

I have realised one thing though....

Seeing other people smile, receiving praise for your struggles, eating more, gaining weight, becoming ‘safe’ or ‘stable’ in the eyes of the medics- this is not recovery.

You know why? Because that is all about other people. So, theoretically I was not entirely wrong when I assumed I was ‘recovering’ before; I was recovering- but only in the eyes and for the benefit of other people.

I have never really recovered for myself. I don’t think I have ever truly believed that to recover and leave anorexia behind would provide me with a better life. I have never believed I could ‘cope’ with life without it. That is what needs to happen before I can honestly begin recovery. Otherwise it will just be another fake veneer, another pretty picture for someone else. Another appeasement which won’t last, can’t last because it’s all just play acting, and the curtains always have to close and the actors will wipe of their makeup and go home at some point.

So here is the lesson I have finally learnt... 

Recovery is what is in your own head. It has NOTHING to do with other people. Recovery is selfish; and that is the way it should be. It should be all about you. Because at the end of the day it is only you who is going to live in the body you are in, in the mind you have for the rest of your life. Other people can help you on your journey, but you have to be so careful that the help, aid and support you accept from them is to further your quest; not theirs.


Recovery is not the time to indulge your inner people pleaser. 

Sunday, 8 December 2013

sunday evening again

So it's Sunday evening yet again...

I had a really good Saturday, I went to the Nottingham Vintage fair with my friend which was amazing as I knew it would be.

 I A-D-O-R-E vintage...adoration to the point where I am 99% sure my birth was the result of a malfunctioning time wormhole- I reckon I popped out a good 60 or so years too late. I am suited to Babydoll dresses and lace gloves and fur and corsets and generally all things old and beautiful!

The friend I went with is one of my favourite people too, and her mum ended up coming and she is also fabulous. I am completely chilled with them, I hide nothing and they accept everything. We popped to a cool little restaurant around the corner after we had finished at the fair and spent a good hour or so just chatting and debating and laughing. Just lovely.

I met another girl that evening who I suspect isn't maybe in the best of places at the moment....I say that because she was being pretty...hmm, not particularly nice... I don't know if you have encountered that sort of person before- when they are in a bad place themselves, they turn quite nasty. Most people when feeling low become sad, quieter, more introvert. Then some people go the opposite way. This girl is one prime example of the latter. Snappy, cold, snide and generally not a great presence. Pisses me off. We all go through shit- so I think it's not unreasonable to expect adults to keep their private evils in cheque and not become so overtly .....mean. It's just like the good old saying; 'If you haven't got anything nice to say then don't say anything at all'.

Hey Ho. Hope she feels better for being a sourpuss.             I'm not the most sympathetic creature as you can see.

Today I took my eldest niece out to town and the cinema. It was her birthday recently and instead of buying her yet more silly meaningless toys or games or generally materialistic shite I had promised her a day out. I took her into town (which was seasonably rammed). A new food place has opened in Westfield- a place called Ed's easy diner. It's a chain I think. I've been wanting an excuse to go in as the menu isn't exactly anorexic friendly....hotdogs, sliders, fried everything and cheese- all things amazing in other words but not exactly feasible for me right now. So I took Emily in for a massive oreo milkshake. When I say massive ....well it came in a small bucket with a glass .....hats off to her she finished it O_o

After that we went shopping, saw the new disney film; Frozen and then I took her to Nandos for tea.

Unfortunately today was a BAD body day. I felt so bad- it was meant to be a day all about Emily and yet I was desperately preoccupied with my thighs. Every mirror they seemed to be even larger. I kept zoning out because I was trying to remember all of this weeks intake and analysing it for why I have quite obviously got bigger. I spent most of the film on my phone tracking calories and other stupid, futile, unreassuring.... but infinitely necessary things.

It's probably pretty unsurprising then that I popped some lax pills during the film, had an evening of cramps and shit (no-literally-I mean shit) and that I will be setting of for college early so I can go weigh myself at the Pharmacy before class.

They better have fucking fixed the scales. Last week I was all psyched up..prepared..empty...and the motherfuckers were out of order.

Because of course- it is entirely normal to nearly have a break down at 8 30 am in public in the middle of a Boots store because the scales are out of order....

Oh yeah and I get two history assignments back tomorrow which I am dreading. They will both have been referred as they is not a chance in hell they've passed first time. My tutor is so fucking inefficient- we should NEVER get two assignments back at once- she gives us no constructive feedback. And oh yeah...she's generally a bitch....it's late- constructive criticisms have deserted me- so yes- I'll make so with the statement that she is a bitch

tootles

Saturday, 30 November 2013

A little Day in Brum

I don't usually do 'normal' posts. I.e.:posts where my life is not appearing to end or I am not on the brink of suicide or complete euphoria.

So breaking the mould with this one and just going to share a little one...

I went to Brum today to meet my lovely friend who is at Uni in Coventry. I was meant to be staying the weekend with her...but...not surprisingly 'anxiety-anorexic-stuckinthemud-routine head' ruled over the heart and I wimped out. I am fortunate that she is a very understanding (and long suffering) friend and was not at all perturbed when I begged a compromise of a day in Birmingham instead.

If any of you lovely readers are au fait with the UK, then you will know of the wonderful Bullring; the massive shopping centre (mall) in Birmingham. Man, I love it. One thing I DO know I enjoy is shopping. The world of Fashion, the superficial, aesthetic, skinny-modelled world of fashion is my haven. Vintage, retro and that sort of edgy sect is my forte. I long to be dirty stinking rich so that even if my life doesn't ever get better, I can live out depression and anorexia in beautiful clothes surrounded by beautiful things, with beautiful hair, with a beautiful home and smelling of beautiful perfumes. However I believe the notion of anorexia allowing any such financial success in life is rather skewed.

Anyway.

Had a great day. Birmingham also has its annual German Christmas market on and we happened to be lucky enough to be there on the weekend it is set up. The market extends for several streets, each stall is in a faux log cabin, adorned with loops of bright fairy lights. The allies either side of the stalls are absolutely rammed, and you hold your bag close and shelve any notion of politeness if you have any brains. It is a case of who barges the most forcefully will get to their destination the quickest, and timid 'excuse mes' have no place in such surroundings. Sharp elbows and stampy feet in sturdy boots are required.

All around you German 'wursts' (sausage) are strung up from the gables of the stalls, looking in my opinion like rows and rows of amputated, shrivelled penises, but no doubt still very tasty ones at that. The sound of sizzling rises above the human hubbub. I was tortured by the wafts of so many fried delights and festive German bakes. Sausages, cured meats, pretzels, pastries, sugared nuts, Lebekuchen and huge decorated gingerbreads. And how could I forget the honeyed alcoholic beverages being served everywhere in traditional German flagons (said beverage accounted for much of the in-car entertainment provided by pissed-out-of-their-brains boys on the train journey home).

Everything was so pretty. Personally, I hate Christmas but this was an exception. Everything seemed very happy and cheery and twinkly. Maybe this, too, was down to the rather prolific and generous provision of alcohol and rib sticking foods; the two things that are eminently appealing to Brits.

If only I had not been bone numbingly cold we could have stayed out longer. The meaning 'I am frozen' doesn't really mean much to someone who hasn't been anorexic. I could fill a whole post with the experience of an anorexic's winter. I will, one day whether you like it or not. Suffice to say it is truly horrific.

Anyway here are some snaps...






By now you should know which one I am- in case not- I'm the one with short one least hair and gold around my neck ;)

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A long Break and a Bad Day

I've been so incredibly busy that blogging fell by the way side. College is manic. Manic in a good way. When you live in a world of private, irrational eating disordered manicness; normal crazy, academic stress is like the cool-pool-dip after a spell in the sauna- a sharp, breath taking, painful flash- but absolute bliss. Even this has it's limits though, and I have been stretched. Finally I have been forced to face the mental toll anorexia has had. This is not fun. Feeling like a retard, scared your quest for thinness has actually done some real damage, having to entertain the possibility that your skinny quest may turning a perfectly good brain into something more and more resembling a dried out walnut is hard to accept.

So I don't. I'll carry on pretending.

Today I write because today, finally, the assignment bombardment is taking stock, saving itself for the next wave of assault.

So how am I rewarded from this prolonged spell of hard work, relentless study and mind numbing essaying? Peace? Satisfaction?

No.

Today has been a bad day. Hellish. Once again I allowed myself to run short on my medication, all too often I find myself having timed it wrong, or not timed it at all- the pills are all gone and its friday evening- and in the UK you're not allowed to have an urgent problem (and you can just FORGET having a MH condition ok??) outside of the hours of 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Got that? Crazies have to take a weekend off being crazy, depressed, suicidal, anorexic on state holidays, it is simply not convenient. How very British.

Mum reckons that she can tell instantly when the meds have drained low in my system. She says the change in my mood is nothing short of alarming. She says it only takes a day or two. Maybe she's right. Who cares. At the end of the day, a day like today the 'why' doesn't matter. The world is black and shit, so who cares why.

Got my script first thing, before college. Took my pill straight away. But by now I'm used to the pattern, the timings; it wont change anything for a day or two. So today was a bad day.

Today I start the day stripping down to the bear, socially acceptable minimum in the Boots pharmacy near college. 50p down and a ticket out of the weight machine later, the tone for the day is set. Shit. Not good enough. Regret. Stupid girl. You knew you'd not had a decent crap yesterday or this morning, you knew you felt bloated, so why the fuck did you just pay 50p to get a print out testimony of the damage? You've just ruined the whole fucking day.

I eat nothing at college, yet as the day progresses I feel myself getting larger. The stomach rumbles more, yet simultaneously is less and less deserving of food. Lips tighten and communication with friends becomes less frequent and more and more stilted, yet the arguments and noise in my brain gets louder.

Today, all day I was miserable. It just got worse. Every comment I relate back to myself. The girls could talk about anything, the promiscuous mating habits of barn owls even- and I would find myself convinced it was somehow linked to my lack of thinness. Everyone was out to judge what passed my lips so I made sure nothing did. At lunch, as usual, I stare and salivate over the hot food counter as I linger by my peers in the queue. The usual wistful, hungry words about the deliciousness of the crumble or the pasties slip over my lips like they always do, but today as soon as I have spoken I wonder why no one tells me that I should eat it, that I need to eat it. A few seconds is all it takes to convince myself that their lack of reply to my dinnertime commentary is a kind way of them hinting I don't need that food- clearly I could do without that slice of pie. Obviously I do not look thin enough any more. Too fat for pie. Too fat. Just too fat. You hear that, Katie?? YOU'RE TOO FAT.

This was today, and it got NO better. Imagine  that.

All day starving. All day FREEZING. (I mean it- I literally was so incredibly numb with cold from beginning to end). All day the force within me draws me to every mirror (every fucking reflective surface actually)just to show me just HOW much excess there is, just HOW many cm's of thigh too many are hiding in those jeans.

I plan to get the 4 20 bus back after college is finally done. But I miss it because by now I'm sat in the toilet cubicle crying. Staring straight up at the ceiling, trying to keep my eyes wide because my mascara and eye liner is not waterproof. I think I have stopped, but then I remember the image of myself in the last mirror I looked in and the number of the Weight print out, and the BMI, and the tears well back up and spill over. I miss the next bus too.

Eventually I get back to Derby.Tired, almost deafened from the voices. They're tired by now because perhaps the pills have broken down on the empty (but still far too big stomach). Who cares. They've done their damage. Once you're in this state it doesn't matter if the voices shut up because you're beaten into the ground. You're spent. They don't need to shout at you any more because they know they've won. They know they've got their way. They can rest now, sleep now, because they know you're all defeated, knocked out good and proper. Metaphorically lain in the gutter, torn up, battered and bruised. You aint gonna get up for a good while yet....and when you do they'll be ready for you, strectching themselves, yawning as they step out of the shadows for an easy round 2.

Days like today I wish I were dead. Days like this keep happening.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

“Out of my sight! Thou dost infect mine eyes.”

Good evening (a very late evening, soon to be morning actually).

It's been a long day, but a good long day- if that makes sense. A normal persons long day. It was long because I got up very early, travelled across town and into Burton to get college like a normal girl. Long because I have lots of college work to do, like normal students. Long because of having to commute home in rush hour on the joys of public transport like a normal person. In a nutshell a long day for all the rational reasons, not long because it's got fucking unbearable being inside your mind all that day that you just want the oblivion of sleep to blot it all out.

It takes years of having a Mental Health problem that makes these days of normal, perfectly logical feelings, even if they are 'unpleasant' seem so refreshing. It is scary too. Scary to realise that the abnormal is that close to becoming the 'new' norm for you. Terrifying to have to consider you may become that person cited in MH studies who 'get's used to just being depressed'Because the minute that transition happens will be the minute you stop realising any transformation has taken place; forget there was every any other way of feeling than blank or tortured. Forget there was a past you, and more crucially; that there could be a future you- a you who feels normal...or even happy...

Anyway I've rambled as usual and what I wanted to post about really was something that I have always felt but only recently started to think about. One of those 'so obvious it's invisible' things. And that thing is- why I am scared of recovering. Or put another way; what do I envision happening/not happening when I 'recover'.

I'm guessing if you have anorexia or any other ED you will have been asked at some point (if not many, many points) 'but don't you just wish it had never happened?'/'but don't you just want to be like you were before you became anorexic??'

For some reason I'd never really answered, if I had it was not a real answer because I never really acknowledged the question. Not until recently. And then I did start to think back- force myself to do something very uncomfortable- and recall the girl before Ana. She's at least 6 yrs away, left abandoned on the brink of adolescence. It was damned hard work to get myself to look at her. Like forcing yourself to stare at the sun with tired eyes that have become accustomed to shade.

I finally see her. 

I hate what I see. I recoil like the rich man does from the dirty beggar. The dirty beggar is most repulsive to the rich man who's deepest secret is that he came from the same rags as the vagrant before him. He recoils with some extra zeal just to make sure he hides his dark secret to anyone observing him. Himself included.

She was so...so....wrong. The girl I see was overgrown, unmeasured, messy. She was like a pint glass left beneath the pump, now filling up and overflowing, brimming with froth and turbulence. The new contents flows in without measure and it pours over the brim in an uncontrolled overflow.

I am sure I remember being called quiet before now, when I would have been that pint glass of a girl, and yet I remember someone far too loud. It is not vocality or loudness per say that bothers me- it this girl seems to just be noisy without consideration. She is like a ill-tuned radio- indistinct most of the time, a quiet, indistinct hum, only to erupt at random intervals with offensive noise. The random, over the top vocality I see her as displaying were stabs at making herself seen in a world that largely she was not.

She was not seen because there was nothing really to see. Here we get a possible clue as to why Anorexia came along instead of some other coping mechanism. I was ugly. I was just that bit too fat. Not 'overweight' just too....heavy..too..lumpy...shapeless. 

I'm not exaggerating when I say I have always been body concious and most of the time since wanted to be smaller. I remember my first body related memory- that young I was sat in the car seat, it was summer; I was wearing shorts. I remember staring at my thighs, pressed down on the edge of the car seat. I remember watching the wobble, seeing the expansion as they pressed down on the surface. It displeased me. It was not right. Ever since then I have been in a body that was 'just not right'. Then Ana came along and promised something wonderful. Would it be right to say 'I never looked back'? Pretty much; yes.

I have always been very aware that there are many contributing and maintaining factors to my anorexia, but until now I didn't really recognise this particular, definite hate of the girl as she was just before she hooked up with Ana.

As in every case, Anorexia was going to provide something to help me improve something with myself. In this case I only realised what she did from this viewpoint- in the aftermath. When I was that disgusting, unmeasured, uncontrolled 13 year old I didn't see that was what I was. I didn't know Ana could change that either. But now I know what she did. 

She toned that girl down. Made her exert some self discipline, taught her self-control in the most extreme of ways. Made her work at something, made her understand dedication and sacrifice. She forced her to look inside herself to see the defects that needed to be trimmed, ousted and exorcised. It made her see how good suffering could feel by showing her changes in her body that she had always wanted. 

Marya Hornbacher in her book 'Wasted' described the difference between Bulima and Anorexia Nervosa in a way I suddenly related to with astonishing clarity- like they were my thoughts but had never been given words. Marya began as a Bulimic but Anorexia emerged and overtook. Marya described Bulima as a 'loud', 'chaotic' and 'angry' condition, whereas Anorexia was far more 'quiet' and introspective. Think about the characteristics and emotions which fuel the behaviours of each disorder and it really does make sense. Well I think so anyway. 

I remember when I read this, and thinking how fitting it was and it made me consider something else I've always felt. So often there is the general idea spouted about that Anorexia makes a person lose their cognitive abilities due to fatigue and malnutrition. I wont pass judgement on the malnutrition but I remember (and still experience now)the sensation of perfect calm that the numbing fatigue brings. After a certain point the fatigue transforms into a serene, trance like state. My concentration and imagination rather than being stunted was dramatically improved. I felt calm, grounded, silent. I'm not advocating starvation as a means of sedation or whatever I'm just presenting my experiences.

Anyway, back on topic....

I've come to realise one of the biggest maintaining factors of my Anorexia is the fear that now I have realised what I escaped in that girl I hated so much, that if I 'recover' I will return to being her. Return to the ugly, fat, flailingly chaotic character I left behind. 

I have no doubt this whole post seems unlikely, irrational and silly but it is just the feelings I have, and here I do not censor them but present them as they occur. 

We all have irrational fears but them being irrational makes them no less real to the people who experience them.



So what about you?
Do you see yourself as significantly different before your ED came along? Maybe you don't even have an ED but something else has 'changed' you, drawn a line between one you, and the you that you are now? 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Hope You Missed Me!

Christ on a bike! How long did I leave you this time!? I have really neglected blogging and I paid for it! I've been beating myself up (quite rightly too) because although I have been very busy there have definitely been empty moments, empty hours that I've filled with nothing and I should have come here. Why do we do that? Sit doing literally nothing while the list of things to do ticks through our brains?

Anyway I need to fill you in. To get it all down I'll do it in a rather concise format (not that I've got a good track record of 'concisesness')

The most important thing is I started college! I am on the access course and I am so happy that I achieved that. ME. Something I got for myself and I am pretty smug about it too. I have met so many lovely people and I thrive of the opportunity to make new friends. My brain is being fed again and it's wonderful. I am about to start applying for Universities, it is both surreal, daunting and exciting.

I bought ANOTHER set of scales. I didn't flinch handing over the inordinate amount because they were top of the range-super accurate-calculate everything-to the mg-scales.

I continued to pull off false weigh ins with the ED service. I add more weights. My true BMI is my secret, locked away, precious, dangerous.

I go and stay at my friend's house and take nothing anorexic with me. I let my friend decide our meal. I don't just cope- I fucking enjoy it. I relax. I feel warm. Normal. Happy...I come home and hate it more than ever.

I lie to mum about my intake because I cannot bear to allow her to see how weak her daughter is. How easily she hands over to Ana. This makes me feel dirty. Lying to mother.

My moods become increasingly unstable. Sudden plummeting drops. Many coffees and shops are abandoned because the tears will not hold back. I hate Ana but I hate my body. I bleed the frustration in tears.

September comes and people leave. I am suddenly struck by oh fuck what have I done syndrome. 

I realise all the years I spent thinking I was pursuing the right goal- the true happiness I thought I was working for was idiotically inaccurate. I realise that the years I spent pursuing thinness and staring inward, my friends and peers were spending them looking outward, living life, making mistakes, learning, loving, laughing, crying, working, applying, moving, achieving and then leaving...growing up.

I have not grown up. I have grown in. I feel like a child in a 20 yr old's body. I have fucked things up.

I decide I need to repair those damaged years. I need to make this year the year that counts. It is time to grow up.

I hand over all three sets of scales to mum. I begin to add back in the fortisip.

I feel hope. 

Dangerous.

Short lived. I crash. I'm back again. Thinness becomes essential. Yet so is growing up. I cannot make the break. 

I am losing hope that I will ever recover. I am scared of becoming one of those old anorexics I've met and pitied-scorned in units.  

I spent 6 years chasing Anorexia. Now she is chasing me.

So there's where I'm at. I REALLY will blog more frequently. I know I need to. It's good for me. I have somewhere I am forced face myself.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

F**K OFF YOU SAD, SELFISH BITCH AND GET OUTA MY HEAD

In the past week or so I think I must have been mistaken (ahem 'mistaken') for a crazy lady by a fair few people. Long may it continue! It isn't exactly very common to see people walking along when suddenly they shake their head and spout 'Out of my head you nasty little bitch' (and other variations on that theme) in a spectrum of voices, ranging from sing song to gritted teeth and hissing.

Well that's exactly what I have found myself doing. I'll be a mad bag lady chasing pigeons next. But if I am a mad bag lady chasing pigeons whilst eating a big fat shortbread cookie (and enjoying it rather than it making me suicidal) then I don't give a fuck!

All of these years that I have been anorexic I have been a willing, compliant, 'all for the greater good' anorexic. The sacrifices I made for anorexia's Utopia, her zenith, her promised heaven seemed tiny. What she promised me was so unsurpassable that anything I suffered was barely even considered. I metaphorically wandered over white hot coals, barely feeling the pain because my glazed eyes were fixed on the light ahead.

I have always maintained that anorexia doesn't have complete control over me. examples of my arguments for this have been:
*But I kept my friends- I forced myself to. Katie would have died without her friends
*How can I be completely controlled when I can have an icecream from mcdonalds, drink a syrupy cocktail?

But something inside me has changed

I feel trapped. More importantly I am not trying to persuade myself of any other truth or reason for this feeling other than: I feel trapped because of anorexia

Why did I never feel this before? Well anorexia did seem to give me so much that I needed besides thinness. These are things she gave me that I couldn't seem to find any other way:
*holding onto my childhood
*Making people pity me and want to care and look after me
*I felt 'loved' and when I didn't it didn't hurt half as much because I had anorexia- she seemed so valuable.
*Finally, family stopped taking me for granted- they realised I was more than just a girl, among other things I was hurting and in revenge for the past I was going to fucking well hurt them and they could never stop me.
*Making me feel in control
*making me invincible to all other problems 
*giving me a reason to live- I constantly had Ana's goals to fulfil.
*she promised me a body I had always wanted-she was the only one who could give it to me, she gave me tasters every time I lost weight of how wonderful that day was going to be when we reached 'thin'.

Now what do I feel she gives me that is not source-able in any other way?
* a body I had always wanted-she was the only one who could give it to me, she gave me tasters every time I lost weight of how wonderful that day was going to be when we reached 'thin'.

Now I see that those afore mentioned arguments for why 'I am not completely controlled' are like tissue paper, like wisps of smoke. Here is the truth:

Yes, I am going out to meet my friends. But is it normal, is it 'ok' to have to rake yourself to do so? Is it normal to only really be able to do it so long as it is pre-planned? Is it normal to not even entertain a spontaneous meeting? Is it 'fine' to have to have an excuse at the ready for why you will have to zip off at such and such a time when in reality all you are doing is going home to....to what? Is it normal to never eat anything other than salads with your friends when other people my age are loving the fact that 'Heavenly Desserts' just opened in town and they only sell delicious puddings and treats?

Yep, I do occasionally have an icecream. But only if it's whippy, only if I know the calories, only if it is an acceptable size or there is the means to scrape some off into a bin....that's fine right? WRONG. I'll have that icecream alright but only if I have fasted all day before it. How many girls will fast all day to share half of the lowest calorie sundae on the menu with their mate and still be thinking about it two days later? Not the happy girls.

Oh and alcohol. Yes, you recognise that as a 'normal' 20 yr old you should be going clubbing. If you want to get some action that is pretty much the only way to get it. So is it standard to arrange said night out two weeks in advance, to dread it more and more as it approaches because you will suffer starving yourself all day before, suffer the constant worrying about the calories you are going to end up consuming? Is it normal to be fearing the piercing cold you will have to endure before you get so hammered you can't feel the pain anymore? Is it normal that your worrying about calories, thinness and anorexia only abates when you are nearing the paralytic stage? When the only time anorexia's veil slips is with the help of copious amounts of intoxicating material? Sadly not.

I could go on, and on and on. But I'll just summarise the rest:
*anorexia means you'll only be warm in a heatwave. In the winter you will suffer a bone wrenching cold that no one should endure and only anorexics will understand. You will feel shit because to everyone else you are just constantly moaning about the cold but you ARE JUST SO FUCKING COLD. 
*Anorexia will sap so much energy from you that no matter if you lose 100 more lbs you will still feel like lead. You will still have to do your day to day tasks because you cannot survive otherwise but they will all become 100x harder and more and more of an effort each day.
*You cannot stand to be without your friends because YOU (not ana) loves them but you are severely endangering your social life and even the most valuable friendships by your limitations and the effort it takes to maintain them.
*You may eat things you enjoy but you will be made to feel horrendously guilty and suffer restriction afterwards.
*You want children and a family more than life itself but you are infertile. You know you can change this but ana doesn't really think it is worth it.
*You do not stand on high bridges or hold blades against your wrists but you stop caring about living. If you happened to be killed it would be a relief. If you were put in a situation where you had to fight for your life you probably wouldn't bother.
There are thousands more.

After writing all this I guess you think I am ready to recover, ready to fight the bitch off. I am ashamed to say there is one thing I cannot face giving up. Yet.

I cannot face getting bigger. I am still enjoying the sensation when I see the number go down. 

How can that one thing override everything? How can being thin be so powerful? 

There are two options for me now.

1.) Curl up and cry because I see in the cold light of day the evilness of anorexia but the one thing only she can give me (the thin body) keeps me tethered to her

2.) Or hold my head up and hope that since I have had such a massive revelation, since after all these years I have finally realised what an evil bitch she is and said 'no' to her in other ways, that it is only a matter of time before I decide I can live without her thin body.







Thursday, 29 August 2013

In What Way Was That Supposed to Help?

I was going to start this post by stating how much at the moment I am struggling with my body image. Then I stopped and thought about it; and of course the truth is there hasn't really been a time in the past years that I have had anything other than a bad body image. Never have I wished to not be smaller. Never have I felt good enough.

But that aside yes, at the moment I seem to be shining an excruciatingly bright spot light on myself. my flesh in particular.

In April/May time, after years of the Derbyshire community ED team whose care I am in pressing me and urging me to do so, I began attending DBT therapy. DBT stands for Dialectical Behavioural Therapy. It is a lot like CBT except it is a group therapy. Originally formulated to treat Borderline Personality Disorder it has also been found to be helpful in the treatment of eating disorders. I think mainly anorexia but I'm not positive.

There are a few reasons why I took so much cajoling to attend. Firstly, I see any sort of therapy (with the exception of my one revelationonary Brief Solution therapist about a year ago in hospital 1) as 'namby pamby wont work for me only suggestible people'. I know this is grossly naive. Secondly, I hate mindfulness. Thirdly, I am notoriously bad at therapy which involves written homework. It just will not ever get done. Fourthly, I have no desire when I already feel fat to sit for two hours straight with nothing else to look at besides fucking thin anorexics.

Whatever- I agreed to start. It hasn't really helped me in the sense that I use the therapy itself. I blagged the homework sheets and always scribbled them in starbucks 20 minutes before sessions. And I managed to cope with the anorexics bit because there weren't any extremely thin bodies there. I continued to go because it filled up Wednesday afternoons and I liked to have a chat with the members who were actually pretty nice. Basically at that time I had nothing better to do. Once you sign up anyway it is quite hard to execrate yourself until the module ends.

I completed my first module and we just had a 'summer break' of a month or two. Yesterday was the first session of the new module. We had already been informed that as well as the existing members (bar one girl who's gone to uni) there would likely be new members. Surprisingly I naively gave this little thought.

So yesterday off I bobbed to DBT. I entered in a pretty ok mood. I left nearly crying and wanting to murder someone. This is why:

I was sat in the waiting room, first to arrive. Old group members polled up and we had a friendly catchup until one of the two 'therapists' (I use that word with one eyebrow raised) came and introduced the first new member.

Oh hello skeleton number one! Great. Did it matter that she was fairly old, not attractive, obviously physically compromised as she was using a crutch-no- because all I saw was bones. Bones, bones, bones. The first nasty twinges of jealousy and hate rippled through me. Not a great start.

So imagine my horror when the door opens and this grass hopper like person lollops over to us on her sticks, sticks riddled with tendons bulging around her protruding balls of knees. She was a tall woman, full of spiky angles and hollows. She immediately engages in conversation with the old group members- clearly they already know each other. I sit in my own bile of hate and disgust. Anorexia tearing me apart with insults and mocking at my comparative hugeness. If my actions were physically personified. I would be sat there tearing at my flesh and flogging myself whilst yelling hate filled insults.

I don't know how to describe the twisted nature of my body envy- it is exclusive to anorexia in its absolute freak absurdness. I am going to have a hard job explaining it. I hope I can. While I attempt to you are for-warned- in order to be honest and truthful I am going to sound an absolute evil bitch when I am talking about these women who are probably lovely, kind people. But anorexia does not care about personalities.

These women were not attractive. They were more than not attractive. They were both old. They posed no other advantage besides their emaciation. In anorexia's eyes this is the only thing that matters. The first woman was physically disabled, probably in pain. I doubt she had a job. She was not pretty or well dressed. But I was staring at the calves emerging from her three quarter jeans- they were sticks. The second woman had severe kyphosis, pretty much guaranteed to be the result of years of malnutrition fuelled osteoporosis due to anorexia. The deformation of her back caused a contortion of the torso resulting in the appearance of a protruding lower abdomen. But all I focused on was how this thrust forward displayed her parallel ridges of hips. Her face was the worst. Some people, no matter what weight they are, will have an unfortunate physiognomy due to the bone structure and this itself gives the impression of tight, gauntness. Add severe weight loss to this and you have the most extreme facial features imaginable. The horse-facedness was further hampered by her thin, wispy hair, as short as mine and unstylable. Her whole appearance was vulture like. Had I had the strength the look up I would have undoubtedly seen all other people gawking at her. That sort of body turns even the most unturnable heads.

So you see, these woman were (I hate to let this ugly word come from me) ugly. To society they are poor, ugly, ill, freaks. To a girl driven by anorexia they are purely markers of achievement. To anorexia their bodies become the sticks with which you beat yourself up over your inferior body, your hideous excess flesh.

I had to sit in that room for two hours and endure every imaginable mental torture anorexia could put me through.

Perhaps the worst feeling was the horror that my mind was so rotten. Insults and evil were racing through my mind. If I had tourettes then JESUS could you imagine??? I wanted to spit out venom at them. I sunk in my chair, slowly being torn apart by anorexia's self hate at my body and my own self hate that I was generating these evil, vile thoughts about two innocent people.

I was mute and rebellious the whole session. I must have looked to everyone like the most moody, ignorant teenager.

I was the first one out of the door.

My over riding feelings are hate at the 'therapists' (one of whom sees me on a regular basis and knows my body image struggles) for putting me through that.

I am seeing said therapist today and I plan to tell her I wont be attending and my reasons why at the very beginning of our session to give me no chance to become timid and not do so. I am NOT putting myself through that again.

What stings more than anything is the fact that the people who are monitoring me and telling me any small loss now will result in compulsory admission are the same people who put me in that room with those skeletons. The whole situation was like dangling a carrot before a rabbit on the very verge of starvation and putting it behind glass. What I mean in explicit terms is- the same people who are telling ME . cannot lose any more are also monitoring these women who are so obviously lower weights than me.

HEADFUCK

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

High Hopes and Expectations

Hopefully this will be a brief-ish post because it is late and I'm tired but I felt I really needed to update this, especially because I'm going away for a couple of days.

First things first; today I had my interview for the Access Course I hope to get on which, if I do well on, could, fingers crossed, get me into uni so I can study Journalism.

I've been shitting it all week. I kept revisiting the course specifics and requirements and each time I seemed to see more areas and stipulations that I was sure I wouldn't fulfil. By this time last night I was panicking a fair bit that I would arrive and be completely stumped and have a mind-blank. I was sure that my usual 'bullshit my confidence until I believe it as well as them' approach would flop on its face. Plus it didn't help that when I was gathering all my certificates together yesterday I discovered I haven't got my AS certificates. I have never needed them before now. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if a reckless 18 yr old me didn't chuck them out in an act of self mortification and shame. I'm clinging onto a hope that I just never picked up the officials although I can't honestly remember ever being contacted to do so. Anyway I'll sort it...I hope.

To cut a long story short the interview went a lot better than expected. What I thought would stand in my way actually worked in my favour. I left with an offer of a place on the proviso that my maths and english screening tests are good, but the interviewer assured me that from what she could see of my academic history I shouldn't have too much to worry about there. Rest assured I will still worry!  I have to wait for a letter to tell me when to go for the tests and enrolment is on the 29th. Finger, toes and other extremities crossed for me please!

Also, tomorrow I'm off to London to stay with my sister and her boyfriend. I'm going with mum because Claire is taking her to the Proms for her birthday present on Thursday night. I am to be left with her boyfriend the whole frikkin evening!? I like him a lot, I think he is lovely and all that jazz but we don't really...well...gel. There is nothing bad between us- the problem is there is nothing between us! I never have the foggiest about what to talk to him about and he (in the classic style of the male race) feels no obligation to create conversation. But I HATE awkwardness. My solution is usually alcohol and night clubs...somehow I don't think that tactic will be appropriate on this occasion. God knows what I'm going to do with him.

Anyway, awkward men aside, I have taken rather a big decision for me. I am going to London for two nights and I am going 'naked'. I.e: No special foods (except my evening meals), no portable kitchen scales, I won't weigh myself there, I'm not taking any special crockery, I'm not taking any 'safe' foods like a bag full of sugar free jellies, lettuce, cucumber, fat free this and that.

I would normally arrive for even the shortest visit with an inventory of all my 'essentials'. The last holiday I had taught me this is a mistake. No one else has a problem with it, everyone accepts it as 'me'. This no longer helps, in fact I realised it bothers me that anorexia has been accepted as part of me. Over recent months I have been more aware and consequently more frustrated and upset by the hold my strict rules around food and routine has on my behaviour and life. When I went away to Wales I saw it as a time where I would escape routine and my life for a few days. I didn't consider that by taking ALL my 'comfort' things and foods with me I was obviously planning to try and instil that very routine I wanted to get away from in this new and fresh environment. Thus I contaminated it as soon as I arrived with all my paraphernalia.

When I got home I was full of frustration and anger that I had wasted that opportunity to show myself I could cope without all the things I revolve my day and nights around. I could have had a little taste of what independence could be like. Don't misunderstand me- I know I wouldn't magically be a normal, happy person and for those days not be an anorexic. I wouldn't suddenly sit down and join in with the BBQ sausages and creamy puddings. But I would have had my own little victory and that in itself would be a massive step.

So tomorrow I am doing what I should have done then. Yes, I am very apprehensive. Yes, the jellies will be calling me from their cupboard as we leave. But god damn it they're all staying there!! I want two days that I can say I managed without things I have fallen into the trap of relying so heavily on.

Wish me luck!! Night Night Pumpkins!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Is This The Voice Everyone Talks About?

So many people with ED's talk about 'the anorexia' (in my case) having a distinct separate identity to themselves. I hear a lot of 'but the anorexia/but ana was telling me...' 'ana doesn't want....' and they seem to identify it as a definite different/alien part of them.

I have had little or no experience of this. That statement fills me with doom because inside when people tell me 'but it is anorexia that wants that, not you!' I am left nodding quietly but inside thinking 'I wouldn't be so sure...I'm pretty sure there is only one person in my head'. I am afraid it isn't as simple as conquering the anorexic voice because what if it isn't ana- it is just me? What if I AM ana?

So the idea of irradiating ana is pretty scary if I'm honest. What would be left if ana was exorcised? Just a fat shell.

Anyway I wanted to make this post as an experiment. This morning I am making some decisions and I would like to try and describe it where there ARE two identities fuelling my thoughts. I sort of hope that seeing it in the screen will make it magically clearer. Perhaps make me hope that perhaps there is someone else inside.

I should explain quickly the situation with me taking my fortisip:
           When I have my prescribed fortisip I have to have it as soon as I'm up. In the past, if mum knows she wont be here she has left me a long note reminding me the importance of taking fortisip and encouragement, sometimes she even takes a bottle out the fridge and puts it on top of the laptop. She knows what time I get up and usually texts me to see where I am at with taking it. This doesn't make it easy but it makes it a lot 'easier' if that makes sense.

I lie in bed brooding about whether to weigh this morning or not. There is a voice telling me I should because it hopes the number has sorted itself out after yesterday's 1kg gain. I think that must be Ana Another voice telling me not to because if it hasn't done what I want I will feel shit and it will colour my whole day. I guess that's Katie.

I go to the toilet, I strip, I drag BOTH sets of scales out and weigh, double check on the other set. Fuck. I'm only down 0.5 kg. Not good enough at all. Ana is angry and Katie is upset and disgusted.

Pj's back on, go downstairs. I know my mum is out until twelve and it is only 10am. There are no texts on my phone from her, there usually is by now- telling me/asking me about fortisip. There is no bottle put out. There is a tiny envelope, that's all. I open it. It is a very tiny loving note but all it says is she is proud of me. 

It is so lovely but inside Katie screams 'IS THAT IT??' Katie is so angry. Katie wants to take her fortisip. Ana jumps in and laughs and says 'Hahaha fat cow- you were looking forward to that vanilla milkshake weren't you, fatty?'  Katie says 'I will be starting a habit of not having it then I will lose weight, it will happen, and I will be back to the same situation as a few weeks ago where I am threatened with a forced admission to hospital'. Ana says 'don't be stupid, you gained 1kg from NOT having it those two days so do you seriously think HAVING it is a good idea???' Katie says 'But what about the low weight I achieved when I had been taking it??' Ana replies 'Fluke! pure fluke. The only weight gain that is really believable is weight gain. And you still need to get that gain OFF!' Katie is despairing with Ana's refusal to believe it will end inn hospital. Ana carries on 'That figure on the scales is revolting. You first need to lose that kg then you need to lose about another stone to be anything NEAR good enough'.

There. I'm still not sure I believe it but I am more inclined to do so now. I still struggle with the fact I worry that I take fortisip because I like the taste- like a milkshake (and imagine how long it is since I had one of them!) and not because of it's other benefits to my life. This makes me feel a fraud because everyone is telling me I am drinking it to stay well, inside I'm thinking 'if only you knew...'

Oh god I'm a mess. It seems the facts are thus; I can never quantify recovery unless I am constantly being told to do so. I won't eat unless I am told to. Why am I so twisted?

I am so full of hopelessness.

How can I ever recover if I am only doing 'recovering' things when I am told to do so. Surely it has to come from within?

I guess this is what is so different about trying to do this at home and not in a ED unit. I hate them but you know every single day you have no choice but to eat. The voice telling you not to is forced to be quieter, at least for that time. But as soon as your alone it unfurls, starts sniping at you until its as loud, if not louder, than ever before. Well that's the case with me anyway. With all the successful ED people they tell it to fuck off. It still snipes, but it isn't as loud or as powerful as their own voice.

I don't quite know if this post makes sense or is even a 'post' and not just a jumble of this mornings bad thoughts. So apologies if you've read this far and are confused or feel you've wasted your time!


Friday, 16 August 2013

Trapped and Slipping- Who is really winning here?

My mood has been drip, drip, dripping recently. A gradual slide towards this morning's crowning glory as I stepped on the scales- A gain of 1kg. Tears. Panic. Disgust. Injustice (I had not had my fortisip for the past two days so WHY has it leapt up??)

I think my biggest fear is loneliness. Pretty confident in saying that is my biggest fear. Consequently I am very sensitive when it comes to thinking and talking about friends and socialising. I am constantly scared that I am going to lose them because of the way I behave. I need them. Without them I'd kill myself because having friends and relationships is my only way of measuring my own worth, or just my existence at all. I don't have many friends. I don't have the lose sort of network of 'casual' friends a lot of people my age do. Generally my little bunch of friends are my best friends and anyone else I talk to who is not them I class as an acquaintance.

I beg you not to think I am being dismissive or ungrateful or anything like that. How many times have I heard 'it is quality not quantity' and generally people telling me they'd kill for 4 great friends instead of lots of superficial ones. And I swear to you I would not give up the ones I have for anything, ANYTHING.Thing is, the people who quote the 'quality not quantity' probably have never been in the situation of only having those small group of best friends so have no real idea what it feels like. I'm sure to them it's not all that terrible and I should just buck up. But it stings. And these past few weeks have been a chain of angry wasps and I'm getting very sore.

Now, I severely doubt there is anyone out there with an ED (or many other MH issues) who hasn't been told (or asked themselves) who is in control- them or the illness? The inevitable reaction ensues; sufferer bows head, sighs and admits it is the illness controlling them. We are used to the idea of every decision having to be vetoed by your ED, very much aware that most choices are alter motivated. You no longer are excusing yourself from a social situation early to go and clean a genuinely messy house- you are now bowing to anorexia and leaving because food is going to be involved and your thinness may be at stake and that is the most important thing right now. YES! I am not denying that happens all the frikking time.

However, I have a dilemma. After having a MH issue for a long time you will usually have been in cycles of therapy and now are incapable of thinking anything without analysing it- digging through the 'hot thought' tracing the 'chain' to the 'result/behaviour' -I know that is the case with me. I wouldn't have so much of a problem with this if I could be sure that my analysis's were correct. But I'm not. I don't have a spell check on my brain and I don't have a window for someone else to peer in and check for me. If I was suddenly endowed with mind reading abilities I wouldn't zoom off to read anyone else's mind- I'd be straight there with a mirror trying to find out what the hell was really going off in my own brain!

Because I am hyper aware of any declines in my social life I have been horrified to find I have ended up cancelling two things with friends this week. One I kind of have an excuse for- last time we met I was really upset by her attitude to me. She shocked me with her harshness and lack of empathy. I left her feeling genuinely hurt and it's still bothering me now. Also it would involve food and if I don't eat what she deems appropriate we will have a repeat of last time and given my feeble emotional state at the moment I chose not to put myself in danger. It wouldn't hurt but I know she can be such great company. We make each other laugh and we've been friends for years. I don't WANT to lose her. Everyone who knows about me cancelling her agrees with my reasons but I am also worried I'd still have be tempted to cancel even all that shit aside.

Anyway, The other friend- I was supposed to be staying at her's tomorrow, the night and then a bit of sunday. I was worrying so much about this the closer it came. Other people keep telling me it is not my weakness so much but my awareness that I will probably end up restricting (definitely no fortisips) because in these situations I have to err on the side of caution and usually this results in big restriction- and this is really not a great idea when I'm still on a sticky wicket it the ED team about my weight. Luckily she understands me fantastically. Of course she is probably pissed off, and has every right to tell me (she hasn't) but instead she didn't have a go just suggested we meet up in the day and rearrange the sleep over.

The reason I am so stressed is because when things like this happen to me it is never just 'a bad week', or 'bad couple of weeks'- no, it is 'ohmygoddd this is the start of the slope towards the bottom. rock bottom'. I think most people who have had depression will empathise in the sense that you no longer have 'bad days' that are written off when the sun goes down, no instead you automatically freak and think it is the depression returning.

CONFUSION! I am so upset and confused because for the first time in my life I am increasing my intake at home- technically taking control, doing things that do not please anorexia, and yet I feel more trapped than every by anorexia. In my head I am still not 'choosing' recovery- I'm 'choosing' not to get sent in to hospital- does this still count as taking charge?

I feel like I am finally being honest with everyone- metaphorically standing on the roof tops shouting 'I am doing this because I hate myself and anorexia is in control and I don't care about my life' and everyone looks up and shouts back 'No! don't be silly! You are doing this because you want to live!' In other words I feel I've finally come clean but people don't want to hear it. That makes me feel even lonelier.

I've started new medication- Venlafaxine. Got it yesterday, and the first thing I check is if it is harmful in overdose. You will be pleased to know it isn't. That thought made me sick. My disregard for my family, my almost childish irresponsibility and more than anything living with this person who is so sure life is no better than death and is forever tempting me with ways to find out... In punishment I'm suffering rather grimbo side effects.

I hope tomorrow is better. In my honest anorexic, black little heart I just hope the number goes back down. I hope people will forgive me and love me even though I've done nothing to deserve it.

What a Jolly old Bean I am today!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Mum

Yesterday was my mum's birthday. I wont say which number but suffice to say she is my little fossil!


This is the cake I made her. For any poor, poor, deprived person who has not experienced Despicable Me; this is a Minion. The cake underneath was a rather yummy (yes I had a crumb or two :o) was a plain sponge made with addition of greek yogurt and one of my precious Vanilla Bean Pods. She is worth it!

Anyway I thought this would be a fitting opportunity to make a post that for a long, long time I have felt needed to be made.

Until about a year ago I had spent my life professing that I had such a wonderful, fantastic and pretty much perfect Mother. It wasn't bullshit either because I genuinely believed it. Me and mum do not fall out much, I mean probably never more than 4 times in a year. Of course this was different when I was little because kids will have tantrums however perfect they are. But in my older we basically never really 'fall out'. Naturally she will annoy me sometimes, and no doubt I really, really annoy her sometimes but it never results in a conflict and it is very transient.

So imagine my reaction when I had a therapist tell me I was deeply angry at my mum, and not just that but that I apparently felt she had hurt me deeply and the wounds were still smarting. This is what happened about a year ago.

I reeled at this insinuation. I spat back my denial. I defended her without ever allowing myself to even really listen to my therapists argument never mind entertain that it could be even minutely true. We spent maybe 5 sessions in this tennis match of abhorrent suggestions and venomous defensive reactions.

I honestly can't remember how this stage of therapy transformed into what it did become. It doesn't really matter, all that matters is that I stopped proverbially covering my ears and shouting 'LA LA LA' and I realised he was a very, very clever man and that he was not just not talking shit but that actually; he was spot on.

I was furiously angry at my mother. Frustration, hurt and rage sprung up in the well I had capped for all these years whilst I had been telling everyone how much of a wonderful, ideal maternal figure she was. I don't need to explain the reasons for all this suppressed hurt. It would bore you and seem completely irrelevant.

All that matters is I realised that what I had been wanting all my life was my oh so perfect mother to stop being oh so perfect and FUCKING WELL SAY SORRY. Admit she had hurt me, admit that she had been wrong, see how much she had wounded me and see how much salt she allowed the fall into those wounds that I have spent my life frantically trying to cover.

A couple of weeks ago we were sat in a beer garden and I just started talking and suddenly the five year old in me sprung up and spoke the words and shed the tears that she never had. And you know what; for the first time in my life (and probably hers) my mother was dismayed. She did more than apologise. We left that pub on a plain we had never before inhabited.

Now I will say: My mother is not perfect. But then she finally said she was not perfect. She didn't just apologise- she repented. Then she became more perfect than ever before.

If I could give all those people suffering mental illness a mother like mine I would.

How many of you want someone just to listen to you, not to try and rationalise everything you say?

How many of you would want someone to have never forced food upon you because they know the most likely result would be not a cured anorexic daughter but a bulimic daughter?

How many of you would like someone to come into your room in the middle of the night when they see your light on and you sat shaking from hours of agonising panic attacks, and not bring you a cup of milk and go back to their room, but instead come and sit with you until you fell asleep or simply to make you feel less alone? Even if that meant all night.

She is repairing all those years of hurt by how utterly selfless she is being now. That's enough for me.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

It Is Not What Happens In Someone's Life That Causes Mental Illness It Is About The Person It Happens To

I increasingly think 'Mental Illness' should be termed 'Mental Condition' or 'Mental Disorder'. The word 'illness' gives the impression it is short term, that is has a horizon, and a horizon that can be movable with the correct treatment or medication.

Unfortunately I have come to the realisation (that I think most sufferers will in their own time) that sadly, it is likely to never be completely irradiated from you. This by no means implies that it will continue to control your life, or that it will run at the fever pitch that it is at when it is at its most severe. But yes, it will always be a part of you. It is much like a skin condition such as Exma that can fade for months at a time with the right conditions/cream etc, but can easily flare up and make life miserable and itchy and sore once more.

By the nature of it's longevity there will be ample chance for you to experience the damaging effects of some peoples unsympathetic misunderstanding of your condition at some point in your life. I guess I always knew it would happen to me at some point.

This week it happened.

What really bothered me though was because it didn't come from someone who didn't really know me. That wouldn't have been nice either but I think it would have stung for less time. As it was it came and smacked me in the face from someone I am quite close to. Someone who knew me before Anorexia moved in. Someone who continued to be close even when I was suffering. Someone who claimed to have experienced (in a smaller portion but experienced none the less) much of the mental distress I suffer/suffered.

I am not going to go into details of my personal experience, firstly because it will probably bore the pants off you, secondly because it will only make me upset and angry again- I prefer to try and let it scab over for now.

 Instead I just want to write a little bit about the common misconceptions of what it means to suffer Depression or any other mental condition.

You have to have had some major, easily identifiable trauma which 'validates' your condition...
No one has to have died, parents don't have to have split up, you don't have to have suffered physical or sexual or physiological abuse or any other noticeable horror in your life to develop a mental disorder. Of course there is a trigger (usually a combination of little things) but it does not have to be anything as shocking or dramatic as anything like the above listed triggers. I, myself have known many mentally tortured people who I thought came from Chocolate Box lives...I was forced to reassess my own misconceptions.

You CHOSE not to see the good in your life or your own assets/ qualities/talents
Many people with depression would be able to tell you things they are 'good' at. Many would have jobs they know they do well. Many will have families they adore. The problem often is these things do not outweigh the negative things and problems that they perceive with yourself and life. I mean, look at Marilyn Munroe- she accepted her icon image as a Sex Symbol and seemingly embraced her body; but people only considered that she could have problems when she committed suicide.

It is acceptable to point out all the other 'worse off' people
One of the worst things to do when communicating with someone with a mental disorder is to say things like 'but at least you're not starving to death' or 'at least you're not short of money' ANYTHING like that is not only hurtful but also very destructive to the sufferer. I think I wouldn't be wrong in saying an awful lot of people who's suffering is in their mind would gladly have a 'real' physical problem to deal with rather than the inescapable, constant battle in their own mind. All it does is make the sufferer feel ashamed and now even more guilty than they already did.

People with mental disorders don't see or don't care what it is doing to their loved ones
Ok, so sometimes you might not know the entirety of the extent to which your suffering is affecting those close to you, but you are rarely unaware at all. It just hurts even more to be constantly told how much your actions or behaviour is pulling those you love to pieces.

Depressed people or 'properly' ill people always look sad, always feel shit and have no life
Some people do seem to always look depressed and they are the few that the stereotype has unfortunately been built on. I was the opposite really- when I went out with my friends or was in any social/work environment I always had a happy face. I smiled and acted normal. It wasn't even a conscious thing. I only realised I did it by the fact that as soon as I was out of that situation it was like I'd walked back into my empty house that I hated. So in many ways the play acting in a sense turned into temporary reality; I believe this is what saved me from further decline.

So there a a few, sadly there are SO many more.

What misconceptions have you been faced with? How did it make you feel?





Saturday, 3 August 2013

You've Got A Week, So Drink Up

The fortisips have returned. Dun Dun DUNNNNNNNN!

And guess what- I'm actually taking them. To explain the last bit; last time this happened- just before I was carted off I asked the Pro's for a prescription for some to make them think I was serious about sorting myself out. I did it primarily to get them off my back, buy me some time, a teensy part of me entertained the idea that I probably should take them and at least try. But they all ended up down the sink.

But this time they've gone down me instead of down the sink. Well, yesterday I only managed half because it was the first day of them and they're so damn rich. But still that was 150 calories in a few sips that was not easy to take. As I write I am sitting with the second half of one next to me waiting for me to drink. I need my mum to remind me it is ok to drink it, that it doesn't make me evil or dirty or instantly huge.

I deliberately picked the flavour I hate (banana) because it makes it 'easier' to take. I don't know if you ever feel this way but if you don't enjoy the calories then it is less painful. Don't get me wrong drinking 300 cals in one go is never going to be a rose garden, but if I feel a smidgen less guilty it makes it that little tiny bit easier. It is twisted isn't it? When I was in hospital and I got to the stage where I could pick my snacks I used to pick the horrid, vile, chewing on pebbles fruit and nut packs. To enjoy it would have made me feel I 'chose' to eat it and that I was eating it for the pleasure of taste not function. And that is NOT what a 'real' or 'good' anorexic should do.

When I picked the fortisips I wanted I had a choice between flavours. I very, VERY nearly had an honest to god Gollum moment. I really came very close to blurting out 'the fat cow wants caramel! Fat greedy piggy isn't she?'. I didn't. Wonder what reaction I would have got? But jokes aside; that is how my mind works.

When Vick and Anna went back the other day I was torn apart. I put off and put off going back home because I dreaded what I would find (or would no longer find) and how foul I was going to feel. Unfortunately it wasn't a case of I didn't know how bad it was going to be until it happened. No, I knew from the day she arrived I didn't ever want her to leave me again. Then she did go and it WAS that bad plus more. I came home and felt hollow, empty, and displaced. I had lost my rut- everything was different and wrong. And I was god damn lonely.

But shut up, Katie and man up.

I have chosen to put my fortisips in Anna's little beaker she left behind. It helps remind me why I am drinking it- to get well enough to go out there and ultimately be biologically able to have my very own little Anna.


What I am doing is terrifying me. The thought of losing the bones I have achieved makes me feel sick. I often feel like I am never going to stop feeling the need to be thin. Skeletons are my only route to satisfaction. BUT the prospect of hospital, the prospect of losing everything I have achieved (The Homeless place etc), the prospect of being taken far away from my family, the prospect of subjecting my friends to yet another cycle of this stupid charade, and the horrific prospect of being made to stay longer and get to an even higher BMI than I have ever had to before (this is what I have been told will be the case this time) is all a big fat NO. I will kill myself before I go back in anywhere.

So drink up, chickadee, and stay home.

PS whilst writing this I have finished the other half. :s :#

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Straws On A Camel's Back

Well what a mean, dirty trick that was!

Today I was spot weighed.

It was a major 'Oh shit!' situation.

My weight had been dropping recently (although I'm pretty sure its slowed down in the past couple of weeks) so the Eagles' eyes have been on me. I am on the very knife edge brink of being admitted. I have avoided it one way or another for now.

Last week I took advantage of my nurse's holiday leave and didn't turn up to be weighed at the ED place. I also conveniently 'missed' all subsequent phone calls to rearrange that week.

What naive, idiotic person thinks they will just get away with that at this stage? Me is the answer to that.

Today I had a family therapy appt at the same place with a different therapist but still part of the ED team of course. As soon as she started speaking I sensed she was going to ask me to be weighed. She did. I said no. She said yes. I said no. She said ok but, Katie we will have no choice but to arrange a MHA. I said WHAT THE FUCK!?

Ever had the experience of having not realised how completely you had buried your head in the sand until someone comes along and rips it out and slaps you. That is what today was. As soon as we came to this confrontation I realised what deep shit I was in. If I refused to be weighed they would arrange a MHA and I doubted my ability to bullshit them into letting me go. I've heard too many stories of how strict they are. Basically most people have given me the impression that a MHA is as good as giving you a Section there and then. People barely ever walk away having 'won' and kept their freedom. So obviously this was NOT an option I wanted to pick. However if I weighed and had lost- well then I would definitely have a MHA and probably sooner. Add into that my general abhorrence of being weighed when I am not expecting it and 'am not prepared'.and you have quite a melting pot of emotions.

I very quickly descended into floods of gasping tears and wailings at the injustice of the situation. My Mum didn't really say anything. The therapist kept reeling off wads of loo roll (yes the place is that stingy they won't even buy proper tissue boxes) and saying things that I didn't want to hear.

For a short while I considered running out of the place and getting the bus back to Derby and doing something stupid. Without too much detail that plan involved lots of purchases from different drug stores and supermarkets and a me walking along with a massive, rattling bag full of over the counter pills.

In the end I ended up stood on the scaled in a snotty, drivelling mess. I argued and won that I be allowed to keep my big sweater on. Seems the angels popped in to visit at this point.

Conclusion- I'd lost but 'not as much as we'd thought'.

Conclusion No.2- I have a week. 1 week to stop this.

So an hour later I was stood in Sainsbury's scrutinising the boxes of Complan mix. I didn't buy it. I told myself I'd get some tomorrow. But tomorrow the first thing I'll remember is not the fact that I must buy said Complan but instead I'll be musing over the 'not lost as much as we'd thought' comment.

I am screwed up. I am tired. I am messing everything up. I am pissing all over every chance I am given.

On top of all of this My sister and little Anna go back to Taiwan tomorrow after staying with us for 3 weeks. I have been dreading this day since they arrived. It isn't the fact that I am not going to see them for years, or at least until I am rich enough and well enough to fly out there. No, it is the massive void that is going to be left here without them.

With Vic and Anna around I feel 'safe'. Safe from myself and safe from the house. I hate the house. I mean it- I truly hate it. I've lived in it all my life and used to call it home. No more. Now it is a shell. Empty, big and cold. I feel lonely and the house personifies this. It was once full, I was once a happy, loved child inside its walls. Now it is empty except me and mum and the walls mock me with their silence. Echoes of the past reverberate from the plaster and bricks.

Whilst Vic and Anna have been here it is like they have been a cushion between my head and the brick wall I smash against. They are leaving and my cushion will be gone. They have filled the house with noise and wonderful, alien mess. Bright toys and childish squeals. As I write this I am crying. I truly cannot bear to let them go.

I'd like to be able to hide myself in the comfort of my friends. But I just feel I will come across as an attention seeker. At some point they are going to get bored of my mental/emotional retardedness. To be honest I often think they already have. I am bored of myself. I wish I could be different.

Tomorrow is going to be beyond hideous.


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Could THIS be my new 'thing'?

LOOK YOU GUYSSSSSSSS! 

Add caption


So yeah after years of saying I would I finally got inked. And I am so, so chuffed with it. I am already planning my next one!

In other news .......I really do not know what is going on with me.

My moods have been like riding a see-saw with a mind of its own. Or a roller-coaster that I don't remember queuing up to get on. I can't really remember when it started, perhaps about a month ago.

Until recently in my life I had never cried. If I did it was in private. From being tiny to a few years ago I had this inherent conviction that no matter what; I must not cry. No matter the pain; I must not cry. I remember the sensation of a throat on fire, your gut turning to a pit of writhing, knotting snakes as you bit back tears. And for what? To appear 'strong', to be beyond the imperfections and inconveniences of human nature. Tears were a watery weakness. Now it is all I do.

Well my last counsellor would be proud. In our final session he concluded 'We have covered a lot of ground, made a lot of progress....but I do wish you had cried'.

I can sense it coming. I'll be on my carefully rocking, calm nice see-saw like everyone else and then I feel the slight vibrations beneath me. I can feel the tension building up. Then as if caught in a storm it begins to rock. Within half an hour the slight, ominous rocking has escalated to a wild, violent swooping and crashing. My head becomes full of another voice. It tells me everything that is wrong. How big I am. What I am eating and how disgusting that is. More and more voices come in, screaming at me and filling my head so tightly I am sure it will split.

The other day I was in town when it happened and I had to leave every shop I went in because I  felt the tears spurting up. I went into every set of toilets in the Westfield centre and let my tears go, each time hoping it would be the release and that all the poison would have been expelled. Not the case it appears. So I cam home and broke down on my mother.

That was just one instance- it happens all the time.

The thing is when I feel like this I do stupid things. If I was a cutter I would cut. I am not. But only recently have I had access to 'hard' medication. For instance my oh-so-wonderful gp prescribed me that nifedipine to try and help my circulation despite my already very low blood pressure.

When my head is full of nasty voices I get out my little orange pearls. In they go, one more, one more, one more...and wait. Swimming, watery brain inside a head like a cauliflower on a bendy straw. Feet that plod on a ground that feels like cotton wool. It is a distraction more than anything. I messed about with my sertraline too to achieve the same sort of things. Then the other day I unearthed some codeine. Added to my special zip away pocket of release.

Oh and I bought some scales. We're back to the every morning routine. Asking the scales as I would ask a crystal ball if I had one. How will I feel today? Why the FUCK do I do this to myself?


Sunday, 21 July 2013

WTF did I actually enjoy that???

I honestly thought those few days away in Wales with my family were going to be hell. I was freaked out about the food situation, I was convinced I was destined for feelings of isolation, boredom and loss of control. Basically I was pretty determined to have a shit time.

So when the time came to return and I was actually feeling sad it was an odd sense of accomplishment I experienced. In fact I was revelling in the normality of my emotion. The knowledge that I was having a completely rational, common and simple emotion was such a refreshing feeling. To not be feeling hideously depressed after nothing more than walking through a doorway, or feeling crushed because someone had said how well or pretty I looked, or feel completely freaked out because I was eating five minutes early was so lovely.

I think what made it so successful was the fact it wasn't the entire family. The sister I am most distant with (we basically have no relationship) and her husband (who can be a right twat at times) and her 3 rowdy children didn't come. This made for a much more chilled out atmosphere. Anna (my little niece who is three) is a very un-intrusive child. She is just a lovely happy presence, bobbing about laughing and chatting in her garbled english and chinese.

All in all in our lovely holiday cottage which we rented for the duration there was; Me, mum, my eldest sister sarah, the next in line-Claire and her boyfriend and then my pregnant sister Vicky who lives in Taiwan and her little girl.

There were lots of reasons it was such a happy few days.

The weather was glorious- roasting hot and sunny from dawn til dusk.

Beautiful location- our cottage was huge and luxurious and overlooked the sea. Wales is the land of most of my childhood holidays which were obviously the happiest times of my life.

The company as already stated was actually great. Vicky is calm and gentle, Claire can be very abrasive at times but she neglected to indulge her abrasive qualities for the whole holiday. Kris is a very calm presence and often buffers Claire's potentially offensiveness. He is also an excellent photographer so there were lots of lovely pictures. Plus he is also very calm and laid back and funny. Sarah is a bit like mum- understands every thing I am struggling with, never accuses me or makes me feel bad or forces me to eat. She is forever willing to talk to me and listen. Anna is like a bouquet of pretty flowers in every room or a uplifting soundtrack always playing in the background- she doesn't have to do anything in particular to make you feel less miserable. And of course Mum- always there to understand me however distressed, depressed, awkward, freaked out or just plain fucking awkward I am being. She is like taking your favourite Teddy with you- when you feel bad just a cuddle and a talk to it makes you feel so much better.

Food-I was not at any point forced to eat. I was allowed to go about what I needed to do or not do without confrontation. I don't mean to say people actively ignore me restricting or whatever- just that they didn't get pissed off with it or take the opportunity to press food on me at every turn. I took all my normal foods and special crockery and scales with me so I felt pretty safe with them.

Activity- I have crappy energy levels at the moment and the idea of the usual family walking holiday fills me with horror. However what with the company of a heavily pregnant lady, a 3 yr old and a slightly injured Kris and astonishing heat, it was a very sedate holiday.

So you see- there was lots of reasons for why it was such a success.

The most important factor was without a doubt the banishment of loneliness. What was doubly great was there was not the hideous horizon of stepping right back into the loneliness as soon as we returned. This is because not only are Vicky and Anna staying until the end of the month also Claire and Kris came back with us until Monday. Ordinarily I would hate this prospect- but having such a good experience in Wales has changed my perspective (at least for now).

Don't get me wrong; it wasn't without patches of tough times. It wouldn't be Katie without an teary emotional crisis or two. But with mum on hand it wasn't a disaster and no one made a big deal out of it.

As always I can't help but criticise myself on certain points. In my head I call it 'constructive criticism' rather than just slating myself. I was frustrated with myself that I still felt driven to try and maintain my routine even in that environment. I had the perfect opportunity to take a holiday from it but I chose to bow down to it even there. I took my crockery, scales and 'safe foods' when I should have challenged myself to a few days without anorexia. I could have been more cheery. Once again my report card reads 'satisfactory but must try harder'.

But fuck that- All in All it was great. Here are some pictures (credits to Kris)

In the river at betws y coed, from the left; Me, Sarah, Claire, Mum, Anna and Vicky.

I wasn't murdering her- she had a touch of sunstroke which I was trying to massage away!

Chilling in the shade

Moi

On the way to the beach

Author of the pretty pictures :)