This blog first started long before I ever spoke out to anyone about being unwell. Over time, as I began to speak about my illness and life changed, so has my blog and what I like to write about. Because of this, my blog has become much more than what I ever thought it would be, however now I’m working so hard on recovery and trying to find my light again, I’ll now be blogging at a new URL. My new space is for me to share my recovery journey with you, in a dedicated space of its own. This page wont be used as much, so I’d LOVE it if you could all pop over to my new site and subscribe, if you like, and continue to share my journey with me.

Thank you for being such an amazing ‘blogging’ family and I hope to see you over at Fighting for Freedom!

What’s happening and where to next?

After slowly sliding down a very dangerous and icy slope over the last 8 weeks, this week I reached break neck speeds and eventually came to a not-so-graceful stop in the emergency department last night. Almost double over with some pretty epic chest pain and dizziness, it was the reality check I needed. With 6 hours of sitting around, with intermittant bursts of conversation with the ever-so-lovely Miss S, I had some time to think and realised I just need to let go. Just a little bit. I’m holding on so tightly to something I can’t even understand that I’m bringing myself down and making myself sicker in an attempt to protect myself. I’ve beel learning to find my voice and I’m trying to ask for help.

At the beginning of the week I made some calls and scheduled in some appointments with J and C. Yesterday I met with C who gave me some pretty scary ultimatums. Either I start to pick the pieces up myself or the control’s going to be taken out of my hands and someone else is going to have to do it for me. Being the control nut I am, I’m doing my best to work it out for myself. So I went to her. I sat. I talked. I asked her what I could do. She spoke to me about uni, how much it’s impacting on my life and how much of a toll it’s taking. She mentioned how much she wanted me to try the day treatment program. I brushed the idea aside because of uni, I don’t want to fuck up another semester.

I discussed why briefly with MissS last night, but it came up in conversation with J again today. She asked me why and I found myself explaining when I thought I really had no idea. Uni seems to be the only thing I have that is ‘mine’. It’s what I want, I worked my fucking arse off to get it. Nursing is what I want my life to be about and I don’t want to let go of that. It’s something I’m passionate about and strive to succeed in. It’s makes up my identity. If I let that go, even just to defer, for treatment it feels like I’ve failed. It feels like there’s nothing there that I need nor want to do, nothing that makes up my days that I feel like I have to get done. If I defer uni, then what am I going to do have there that I want? Even if I defer for the sake of recovery, it feels like I don’t have anything to put the effort in for. Even though uni is stressing me out and bringing me down, it’s my saving grace as well. It’s been giving me a purpose and I’m scared to let go of that, scared of where that will take me. So, after lengthy discussion, we realised that there needs to be a happy medium, where I can still have uni and have the possibility of engaging in stronger therapy.

My problem was I couldn’t work out any options. I could only see two, part time or defer. Neither of those I was too keen on. So I asked J what she thought about me talking to the dean. Whether I could see what ideas she had. She thought it was a good idea and off I went and hunted down my dean and organised a meeting. We chatted about where I was, what was happening, I filled her in on ED history and told her that I was struggling at the moment. She asked what support I had so I ‘introduced’ her to the team. She asked about a psychiatrist and when I said I was struggling to find one she said she’s speak to her partner, as he’s a mental health worker, and one of the other tutors and find me some names. I was blown away by how quickly she jumped in to support and how willing she was to help. I still can’t quite believe she was so cruisy. We sat and discussed a plan and the stress of how I’m supposed to do this is starting to relieve. I can see, if not light, then something that could provide the path to find that light.

So what’s the plan from here? What am I actually doing?

– Going to uni two days a week. This gives me room to negotiate potential day program for three days a week.

– Deferring prac. Even though I’m absolutely devastated about this, the option was taken out of my hands. The dean said by just looking at me she wasn’t going to let me go. This means I’ve got 4 weeks left of semester and then have a 6 week break, rather than 9 weeks and a one week break.

– Deferring my exams until winter term, this gives me some extra room to study and less pressure right now.

– Finding a psychiatrist to review my meds, because clearly something isn’t working.

– Making regular appointments with my team, working with them and fighting.

– Finding more geographically suitable housing.

– Staying out of hospital.

– Doing the absolute best I can to stick t0 my meal plan and build it back up to where it was not too long ago.

– Checking in with the dean regularly to make sure I’m okay and that I’m as supported as I can be.

This isn’t how I wanted things to work out, but reality says that this is how it is and I can’t fight it. I’ve just got to make the best of what I’ve got and try to get my life back into my control. I don’t want to be a frequent flyer in the emergency department and don’t want my life to spiral so far out of control I’ve got nothing left. I need to start picking up the pieces now before I completely lose sight of where I’m going. It’s going to be hard. Getting back on track is going to be terrifying and brutal, but I need to do it. Baby steps is all, and even if I take the same step over and over again, at least I’ll be doing something.

Now I’m off to class and watching the clock until home time. I’ve been awake for far too long and desperate for sleep!!

2 weeks

I was hardly through the door of her office before C had pointed out to me how pale and unwell I looked. Watching me closely as I sat down she waited until I’d positioned myself to ask what was happening. As I filled her in I try my hardest not to cry. I tell her how I’m struggling. How ED is too strong. How I can’t do this on my own but at the same time want to tell her to fuck right off. I told her I don’t need her any more. Then told her I do. We had a talk about why things are so tough. We looked at what I need to do between now and Monday (when I see her next) to try and get some control back. Eating, of course, being top of the list. She doesn’t care what. Or even how much. As long as it’s SOMETHING. Has to be better than how I’ve been going over the last 7-8 weeks. I’m furious with myself that now, instead of waiting until I finish prac and trying to get it together between now and then, before considering stepping up treatment to a day treatment program we’re now waiting until next week when my other psychologist comes back. Two weeks is all I’ve got to get some control back and try to get this shit under control. To try and pull back from ED and get back to where I was a few weeks ago. I feel so pathetic that it’s reached the stage where I’m being treated like a baby. Where my team are making decisions for me and taking away my options. I hate that ED is winning right now.

So now, I embark on the quest to get my shit together within the next two weeks and avoid day program cause I really don’t want to miss another prac because I fell apart. I don’t want to fuck up another semester of uni and put my degree off even longer. I feel like such a failure.

Look at the people around you. How would you know?

Age, Rage, Gender & Size play no part in determining who is at risk of developing, or even who is suffering from, an eating disorder. Anyone can be affected by this illness and it’s easily overlooked. Look around you. If you’re sitting in a public place, look at the people who are sitting close to you. Look at the people walking by. Any one of them could be fighting a demon within themselves and you wouldn’t even know by looking. Any one of them could be fighting for their life this very second, and you wouldn’t know. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness. They take years to recover from; 7 years, in fact is the average period of time for recovery. The mortality rate of Anorexia Nervosa is 20%. One in five sufferers. Doesn’t that astound you? Doesn’t it make you think? 

It’s statistics like this that make me so furious when someone makes a flippant comment about ‘wanting to have Anorexia for  while’ or wishing they were Bulimic so they could eat what they want and not gain weight. It’s a serious illness to have, the same as cancer. You wouldn’t say someone who’s just come from a round of chemo that you want what they have, would you?

We don’t deserve to feel like we need to hide behind a black curtain of shame, like we should hide our illness from the world so we aren’t percieved as attention seeking. So we aren’t looked down upon, or judged. So we don’t have to listen to stupid, flippant comments about our illness that is tearing our world and our lives apart. So we’re not ostracised for society for fighting a demon we’ve no control over.


My Discovery of Inner Strength

It’s difficult for me to explain what the recovery process is like for me. It seems that no matter how hard I try, I don’t feel that i’m getting very far. And I’m sure it’s even harder to understand this process as someone from the outside looking in. This message conveys what I otherwise have difficulty putting into words.

When you look at me, please look beyond the surface. Please try to see this eating disorder goes beyond what I do or do not eat, how much I weigh, or how I feel about my appearance. As important as it is for my health to change my food related behaviours, I need to work through underlying issues so those changes will last. It will take time for me to get my thoughts and feelings out, to heal, to make connection between what’s in my heart and my behaviours, and then…

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An Open Letter To My Body

Dear Body,

I don’t really know where to start writing. There’s so much that needs to be said, so many words – explanations, apologies and appreciation that needs to be expressed. Despite the absolute physical turmoil I’ve put you through in the last 19 years you’re resilient and, if I’d just stop to give you a chance, you can make the most amazing accomplishments! I realise that in an attempt to do all that I’ve been required to, or be what and who I wanted, you’ve been the one to deal with a lot of the pain.I want to write to you to try to apologise for what I’ve put you through and let you know that I do understand how much you do. There are times where I should have been in awe of your perfection, yet tried incessantly to perfect you further. Where, when you’d reached your ultimate level of exhaustion, I pushed you just that little bit further. Regardless of what I put you through, you always supported me. You always kept going and kept taking everything I threw at you with minimal complaint.

I’m sorry for;

– Not listening to you. You’re incredibly adept at letting me know what it is that you need. You’re persistent, that’s for sure, but you’re subtle and gentle. I’m sorry that I didn’t listen to those requests often enough. I’m sorry that you often go hungry – I’m trying to fix that. I’m sorry that when you were exhausted, I made you do just a little more. I’m sorry I ignored you and fought so hard to silence your demands.

– Trying so hard to change you. From the day I was born, you did what you needed to do to help me survive. You carried me, as I grew and developed. You took me where I needed to be. You held me through the challenges I faced each and every day. You were unique and I wasn’t satisfied, you were built perfectly to do the job you needed to do but I still wanted more. I still try to change the way you look, the way you perform, I neglect you in an attempt to force you to change. I’m sorry for that, I promise I’ll try to be more gentle with you.

– Hurting you. Through each of those challenges we’ve faced together, I’ve often felt at a loss as to who needs to be punished. Unfortunately and regrettably, I’ve resorted to punishing you. You bear many scars from my anger and pain. I’m sorry for all the blood and pain. I’m sorry that you’d become the canvas that I etched into when I had no one to scream my messages to. I’m sorry, I’m learning, slowly but surely, new ways to deal with that pain, new ways to express it. I truly do apologise for putting you through that, but I’m thankful you were so resilient.

– Not appreciating you. You’ve done so much, and I just didn’t see it. I struggle to appreciate everything you’ve accomplished. Each of your triumphs went unnoticed. Everything you did for me, I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate it.

Thank you, dear body, for being you. For being strong and resilient, for often being my sounding board and punching bag. Thank you for growing and moving beautifully. Thank you for being persistent enough to make me listen to your cries. Even in times of weakness you never gave up. Thank you for, when I’d given up on you completely, continuing to fight until I gained a little more insight and learnt that it wasn’t over yet. Thank you for being the more insightful and intuitive of us, knowing what we needed and often ensuring we get it. Thank you for protecting me, when I should have protected you. I am your keeper, I should have respected you more. I should have been more in touch with you, listened more, accepted more. I should have honoured you. I tried my best to shield you from the bullying and abuse, the trauma. I tried to shield you from the outward attacks and we both know that I was powerless to stop most of it, but I most certainly should not have joined in on the bullying you endured.

Here is where I beg for your forgiveness. I ask, however, that you continue to be persistent? That you continue to be the more intuitive one for a little while until I learn how to pick up the slack? I ask that you continue to try to show me that I was wrong about us, to show me my true beauty. You’re smart, I know that, please keep astonishing me with your endless knowledge about us. You amaze me, honestly you do. I know that some of the damage I’ve done is irreparable, but can we try again? I’m not asking you to forget, quite the opposite, keep in mind everything you’ve endured and allow me to remember that so I can appreciate you even more. I can’t promise that this time I’ll be perfect, I can’t promise that I wont forget and I can’t promise I wont slip back into old habits, but I vow to try my hardest.

I promise to try to listen, I promise to try to nourish you when you need to be nourished, I promise to try to let you rest. I promise I’ll try harder. It’s not going to be an easy process, but I know you’re strong. I hope that you’ll let me try again and that you’ll let me keep trying until I get it right. Please don’t give up on me yet.

I’m learning, albeit slowly, to trust you. I’m learning to respect, appreciate, honor, love, and support you. I promise to try to be the voice that speaks for both you and I. We both want, we both NEED to be heard. I promise to fight as hard as you’ve fought. I promise to do you justice. I promise your efforts haven’t gone to waste.

Too hard. Too hard. Too hard.

Everything is getting increasingly hard right now. Getting out of bed is unbelievably hard. Dragging my arse out of the house, aside from the whole so-fucking-depressed-I’d-rather-be-asleep mindset, is like throwing myself into a tank of piranhas. An ED/Trauma thought feeding ground.

“You fat disgusting piece of shit! How could you leave the house like this? FAT. FAT. FAT.”

“You don’t deserve to eat, anything, let alone chocolate. You’re too fat. You need to lose weight, not eat chocolate.”

“Why do you think it’s okay for you to go out in public looking like that? VILE. DISGUSTING. WORTHLESS. WASTE OF SPACE!!!”

Sometimes, I’m close to repeatedly banging my head against a brick wall just to get them to shut. the. fuck. up! There are days, like most days in the last few weeks, where the safest place for me to be is bed. I’m doing anything today to try to shake the depression. Showered, put on my make up, paid my bills (ok, so if anything, that’s likely to make me feel worse but it had to be done) and am going to tidy the house. ED is loud, angry and intrusive today. Don’t feel strong enough to bother fighting her today.

Absolutely have to clean my house today. Then I can curl up with some dvd’s, potentially sleep and hope for a little peace.

Some days are just too hard!

Self Preservation

“As you go about your daily life, you will encounter

many lemons. Sour expressions, sour attitudes, sour

auras! The good thing is that if you don’t want to be a

lemon, you don’t have to be! Just don’t let those lemons

rub themselves all over you! And you don’t even have

to save them! Let lemons be lemons! One of the most

important things that I have ever learned, is that I

don’t have to save people.” 

 C. JoyBell C.

The Hardest Thing

I know the pain and heartache involved in fighting an eating disorder, I know how exhausting it is. I know how tiring it can be to face one of your greatest fears – food, and to attempt to push through that fear because, quite frankly, it’s life or death. What I didn’t know, however, was how hard and heartbreaking it would be to fight an eating disorder from the outside. To sit, looking into the pleading eyes of the hostage of an eating disorder and beg with her to do what it would take to potentially save her life.

“I know how hard it is, sweetheart, but please, please put the tube in your mouth. All it’s going to do is help you think better.” She looks at me, and with a voice both weak, but full of venom at the same time spit out two small words; “I’m. Fine.” She tells me. Legs bouncing against the foot plates of the wheel chair and her tiny, clammy hands clasped around the tube of glucose, she looks me in the eye. One pleading look before her eyes glaze over and it’s like she’s not even there, an empty shell. Repeating her name and pinching the space between her finger and thumb, I repeat my statement until she hears me. “You need this, honey, you need it to live. If you don’t have this you’re going to have a seizure, end up unconscious and they’ll give it to you in an IV. You’ve got the control now to eat it, if you don’t, they’re going to take that control away from you.” She blinks slowly, “Sorry?”. She hadn’t heard a word I said. It broke my heart to sit and try so hard to get her to eat the glucose, to see her so scared, so vulnerable and so overwhelmed by her illness. Confronted to be fighting the same illness I fight inwardly on a daily basis, wanting to scream at the eating disorder to shut the fuck up so I could get through to my friend, my big sister, to tell it to let her go, to give our beautiful girl a break so we could save her life. Wanting to do anything I could to take that pain away from her. N and I both at a loss, both worried. I couldn’t be any more thankful to have had N there with me to help our friend, to have had someone else who understands, to help talk to her, to try to get her to work with us. To help talk her into going to emergency, to try to get past ED and through to our friend.

It broke my heart moreso knowing that if our roles were reversed, the situation wouldn’t be much different. I absolutely hated sitting there getting angry at her for not doing what she needed to do to keep herself alive, but at the same time thinking to myself that I was the biggest hypocrite in the world. It killed me to see what this illness does, as an outsider fighting for someone who’s been like a big sister, getting angry with her, getting frustrated, telling the nurse to just “give her a fucking IV, ’cause she’s not going to eat this!” because I was at a loss as to what else to do. It terrified me to be standing against her bed, calling her name over and over, pinching and rubbing her arms to get her to come back to us so the nurse could do a proper assessment. Two hours and a bag of fluids later, you wouldn’t even know that the quick witted, laughing, smiling young lady in front of you was the same person.

It’s times like that make me realise how quickly these illnesses can take hold of a persons life. It makes me furious that this illness has taken away so much from so many. And times like this that make me thankful that I have so much support. I’m terrified of what this illness is doing to me and continues to do to me. I’m terrified that Ursula is so loud and intrusive today. I HATE that she’s got so much power. She doesn’t have the right to be running my life the way she is.

I know that there is never going to be an easy part of recovery, there’s never going to be anything that ‘just works’, it’s going to take hard work and commitment, it’s going to make me want to scream and cry and yell and run away, but it’s those times that I need to put in the most work and take the most from those experiences. It’s the times when I don’t want to do it any more, that I need to fight the hardest.

Never, ever stop fighting. You’re not alone, and you’re worthy of recovery.

When will the black end?

The darkness remains unrelenting, ED is getting louder and stronger and I’m getting tired. I can’t stop crying, I can’t focus. I can’t sit still. I’m angry. Angry at the world, angry at my friends, angry at everyone. I keep telling my team it’ll pass. “I’ll ride it out. I’ll deal with it and go through the motions until it’s gone.” V pulled me up this week. “You’ve been ‘riding it out’ for 5 weeks now. You’re getting no closer to it passing, if anything you’re in deeper now than you were then. You’re not helping your situation by not telling your friends how bad it actually is. You need their support.” She’s now making referrals to a psychiatrist and making sure I get meds reviewed. She’s right though. I’ve been waiting for it to pass for too long, and I’m a little scared that it’s just getting stronger.

Unfortunately, though, it’s just a shitty situation all ’round. I haven’t told friends how bad it is, how unsafe I’ve felt, how scared I am because they’ve got enough of their own problems. I’ve caused enough burden and I’m a little bit worried that they’re even regretting intervening at the start of the year in the first place. A friend has had a tough week and I’m overwhelmed with guilt that if she hadn’t spent so much of her energy fighting against my crazy head at the start of the year, she wouldn’t be in the position she’s in now.

I’ve got so much on this week. Life seems too overwhelming right now. I’m meeting with my case worker and her manager about my housing situation in 11.5 hours. I’m scared they’re just going to tell me to pack my shit and tell me to get out. I’m scared that I’m never going to be stable. I’m scared that this slope I’m stuck on is just going to keep getting steeper. Scared that I’ll come to a cliff and be plummeting too fast I wont be able to stop before falling off the edge. I see my GP tomorrow as well. Last week and the two weeks before she’s told me she’s scared for me. She’s threatened to not let me go home. She’s harrassing the MH acute care team to make sure they keep harrassing me. So, I have 2 assignments, a wedding, a wedding pillow to sew and this meeting tomorrow to try to get through.

I’m literally living from day to day at the moment, and if I’m feeling really pathetic and even that’s too hard, making it through the hour is an achievement. Really hoping that something changes soon cause I’m tired of feeling like this. I’ve had to cut back therapy to fortnightly after this week ’cause I’ve already exhausted my first 6 sessions and I’ve only got 6 left. It’s March. At this rate I’ll have 6 months with no access to therapy until my sessions are renewed. It’s actually quite scary to think about considering how hard I’m finding things right now. Not to mention the fact that we’ve JUST started touching on trauma. That’s great. Reopen the deepest wounds and then I’m stranded while they heal over again. The mental health system sucks.

On that note, I’d love it if you’d check out E’s latest blog post and share around with your peeps. It’s important we share stories like E’s to the community. E was admitted to the psych hospital on Thursday. She was told she’d be discharged by Monday, even told that someone “needed the bed more than her”. Help us & help E. With only 2 acute care beds in the state, it’s unacceptable that ED patients need to be dangerously sick to access the necessary help.