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.

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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.

Need to breathe.

When I was little I used to think I had my life sorted out. I’d planned on escaping, moving away from the pain and fear and climbing straight to the top. There were no struggles in my naive little childhood dream. I’d go to uni, graduate, work, buy my house, get married, have kids, be happy. I’d be successful, my kids would be successful and we’d be that family that everyone loved. Not a thought crossed my mind that I might find myself desperately scratching the walls of the black pit I’m stuck in trying to find my way out.  I never, ever thought I’d be ashamed of what my life had become. Never thought I’d be collapsing in tears at the bus stop because things have turned out the way they have. I didn’t ever anticipate that things would turn into such a fuckballs of a mess.

Not coping is an understatement. I’m about to withdraw from uni, I just CAN’T do it right now. I’m skipping a lecture in the hopes I’ll get some of my assignments started (yet, find myself on wordpress) and try to take some of the stress away. I just want things to slow down, I want time to stop and the universe to cut us all a break so I can catch my breath. I hate that I can see some of the most important people in my life struggling so much and not know what to do to help them. I hate that I feel like such a failure and I’m continually letting people down.

I just need a nap. And another hot chocolate.

Tired

The days and nights seem to be getting longer. Each breath, each movement takes more effort than they should. I have no motivation to do anything but lay in bed and stare at the walls. All I really want is the ground to open up and swallow me whole. There are triggers everywhere. Ursula screams at me as I move through the motions of my days. “You’re fat. Disgusting. Worthless. Pathetic. Fucking vile slut. Look at you. You make me laugh.” I shudder each time I hear the little tone on my phone reminding me it’s a meal time. It’s almost like turning up the volume, as soon as I hear that tone, Ursula gets louder, stronger, more demanding. 

I’m hoping it’s the weather or hormones or a combination of both contributing to my mood being so, so low. I’m hoping that this blackness will ease soon. The weight on my chest, the emotions… I’m getting tired.

I care not about being at uni. I don’t want to be here. I’ve had four hours of lectures this morning and I didn’t comprehend a single thing the lecturers spoke about. I have assignments and exams coming up, the stress of knowing I expect nothing less than almost perfection from myself is increasing. I’m almost tempted to withdraw from the course completely. In all honesty, I can’t be fucked with it any more.

One Day You Will


You feel like you’re falling backwards

Like you’re slippin’ through the cracks
Like no one would even notice
If you left this town and never came back
You walk outside and all you see is rain
You look inside and all you feel is pain
And you can’t see it now

But down the road the sun is shining
In every cloud there’s a silver lining
Just keep holding on (just keep holding on)
And every heartache makes you stronger
But it won’t be much longer
You’ll find love, you’ll find peace
And the you you’re meant to be
I know right now that’s not the way you feel
But one day you will

You wake up every morning and ask yourself
What am I doing here anyway
With the weight of all those disappointments
Whispering in your ear
You’re just barely hanging by a thread
You wanna scream but you’re down to your last breath
But you don’t know it yet

But down the road the sun is shining
In every cloud there’s a silver lining
Just keep holding on (just keep holding on)
And every heartache makes you stronger
But it won’t be much longer
You’ll find love, you’ll find peace
And the you you’re meant to be
I know right now that’s not the way you feel
But one day you will

Find the strength to rise above
You will
Find just what you’re made of, you’re made of

But down the road the sun is shining
In every cloud there’s a silver lining
Just keep holding on (just keep holding on)
And every heartache makes you stronger
But it won’t be much longer
You’ll find love, you’ll find peace
And the you you’re meant to be
I know right now that’s not the way you feel
But one day you will

One day you will
Oh one day you will

Why keep fighting?

I went to see my psychologist at the ED clinic this morning. Flicking through my food diary she comments on how well I’ve done in the past week. “You’ve worked so, so hard to eat more regularly, eat better foods and to fight the urges that ED is going to bring up. You’re fighting, and you’re fighting hard – I can see that. If you look at this, look back at your entries, can you see that perhaps you’re stronger than ED after all? This is amazing. Seriously.”

I look at her, blink back the tears and resist the urge to tell her she’s full of shit. She asks me what it is that keeps bringing me back to her office. What is it that I keep holding onto, that I keep in mind when all I want to do is run away.

“I don’t know,” I whisper when what I really wanted to say was: “I want my life to be about nursing, friends, love and laughter. I don’t want every waking moment of my life to be about what I can and can’t, should or shouldn’t have eaten. I want to be the girl who can confidently walk into a room, scan her surroundings and strike up a conversation rather than avoid social situations as much as possible because she’s convinced she’s too fat and repulsive to put people through the misfortune of having to look at her. I want to be a 19 year old who has her whole life to look forward to, instead of spending her days planning how to end it.”

The last few days have been a blur. An emotional, exhausting blur. Yesterday, after spending an hour on the bathroom floor sobbing my heart out, I ended up taking my medication at lunch time and sleeping for 20+ hours. The black clouds continue to roll in, pushing what little blue sky was left away completely. I feel as though I’m walking around in lead shoes and I have to make a conscious effort to remind my heart to keep beating or to remember to take my next breath.

Yet, I’m keeping up the fight. I’ll keep getting out of bed most mornings, getting dressed and leaving the house. I’ll go to uni. I’ll go to my appointments. I’ll put food in my mouth, see friends, laugh, talk, live until it starts to come naturally again. I’ll go through the motions until I find the trick to making to black disappear. I’ll keep working towards recovery so I can be the girl I described, so the flowers have colour and the rays of sunshine make me eager to leave the house each day. I’ll keep fighting because I know that I couldn’t have better friends and family. I’ll keep fighting because the girl I want to be is hiding in there somewhere, she just needs to find the strength to kick ED in the groin and take hold of life once again. I’ll keep fighting because the benefits of living far outweigh the confines of an eating disorder.