Tag Archive | eating disorders

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.

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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.

Two Girls

Two girls, both similar age. Both studying at university. Both are of ‘normal’ appearance. If you passed them on the street there would be nothing to suggest anything out of the ordinary about either of them. Both girls are working in the kitchen, preparing food.

Girl 1 stands with the fridge door open, pondering the possibilities of dinner. She finally pulls out a piece of steak and slaps it in the frying pan. It sizzles and spits. She pulls out a loaf of bread and defrosts two slices, spreads it with margarine and waits for her steak to cook. Meanwhile, she talks to girl 2 about how much she has to do for university. Girl 2 responds with simple, one worded answers. Hardly hearing a word girl 1 says.

Girl 2 is carefully preparing her meals for tomorrow. Cutting up fruit and salad vegetables. Adding up in her head the nutritional value of each item she cuts up, ensuring she’s adding all the essential elements in order to adhere to her meal plan. Protein – 2 serves, carbohydrates – 3 serves, fruits – 2 serves, vegetables – 5 serves. She’s careful about portion size, content. She’s making tomorrow’s meals a night ahead. She’s following her strict meal plan.

Girl 1 walks into the loungeroom to sit in front of the TV with her dinner. Girl 2 stops what she’s doing to catch her breath. To settle the anxiety and to attempt to justify her emotions. Girl 2 is jealous of girl 1’s ability to “just eat”. Girl 2 is in recovery from an eating disorder and putting her heart and soul into preparing her meals for tomorrow to make the process even the slightest bit easier. Girl 2 mourns for the carefree adolescence she’s missing out on.

Girl 1 is totally oblivious.

The Butterfly

It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.

I finally put aside my fear of needles and got a tattoo this morning, it’s definitely something I’ve wanted for a LONG time but I wanted to make sure that I got something that had meaning for me. That’s why I got a butterfly. Butterfly’s are the most incredible creature. They’re free and graceful and I love how they evolve from something that isn’t quite as attractive, like the caterpillar into such an amazing, graceful being. To me, the growth of a caterpillar into a butterfly is similar to recovery. So far I’m still winding my cocoon, but I’m fighting to spread my wings and take of the freedom of a butterfly.

My Mind Is Like A Mine Field

Over the last couple of days I’ve found myself comparing the workings of the human mind and emotions to a mine field, that if walked through tentatively and with immense care, with a few expected tears and a small shock here and there you might get to the end without exploding into an emotional mess. Unfortunately I’ve found myself walking into a few of those mines, blowing myself apart, turning into an emotional mess and working my arse off to pull myself back together and start walking the path over and over again.

Thursday afternoon I thought it’d be a good idea to go for a run. I had so much on my mind I couldn’t settle. I’d spent the day pacing my house, picking things up, putting them back, picking them up again and then getting frustrated because I didn’t know what I wanted. Running usually helps relieve anxiety, so off I went. I got half way, and I started to panic. Kilometres from home I was terrified – of what, I wasn’t sure, though I knew that everything I’d been mulling over for the past week kept bugging me and I totally lost the plot. Right there on the beach. In public. A sobbing, emotional, frantic lunatic walking circles on the beach trying to figure out which way was the best escape route. Must have been a fine sight, I’m sure!

Thursday afternoon made many decisions for me. The events made me 100% sure that from now on, I put myself, my feelings, my needs and my health first. No matter what. What I need is what I focus on. Unfortunately that does mean that there are some things that need to be done and dealt with that are going to be difficult, hard and emotionally exhausting but I hope in the long run I’ll be better off. My psych told me today that she’s so happy with the steps I’m taking to help myself. She also said, however, that they’re more like leaps than steps and she’s cautiously watching that I don’t move too fast and come crashing down again. While she’s happy that I’m making progress, she’s concerned that my head is playing games, letting me take these steps and then it’s going to come in full force and completely gut me. Taking me down totally and in a spectacular fashion. This is where I need to rely on my care team, to lean on them, let them hold my hand and walk one step ahead of me and warn me to step around those mines. I need to make sure that I do everything humanly possible to try and avoid triggers and keep myself in a safe little bubble until my head and my soul are strong enough to cope on their own again. Tentative baby steps are the key right now, but I’m fucking determined to take this bitch down and get my life back.

I Did NOT Ask For This

I’ve been fuming over the comments and conversations that have revolved around eating disorders this past week. Myself and my darling Miss E have been at the forefront of some pretty awful comments from pro-ana and pro-mia supporters. I’ll just say now that I’ve had it up to here with people assuming that this is a ‘life-style choice’ or something that we choose to do. I didn’t want this. You don’t want this. Don’t EVER say to me that you’d “love to have the will power of an anorexic” or be tasteless enough to joke that it must be “the life” to be bulimic because you can “eat what you want and not put on weight” – It’s not all roses and fucking buttercups, let me tell you and I don’t care who you are or where I am, I’ll remind you of that.

It’s painful. Every single day is a battle. It’s a fight against ourselves, our heads. To deal with the SCREAMING inside your mind, even over the simplest of things, to writhe in pain as your muscles cramp because your potassium is in your boots from vomiting, to need to grab hold of something when you stand up because your head is spinning due to your suddenly plummeting blood pressure, to be unable to hold down a job or get through a semester of uni because you can’t keep your shit together. To have a psychologist tell you they’re genuinely scared for your well being is the epitome of terrifying. Some one who’s seen and knows the worst of the worst tells you that they’re at a loss as to what to do next. To have your GP give you her personal phone number because she’s that concerned about you. For those who SUFFER from an eating DISORDER (Yes, it’s a very real ILLNESS) it’s insulting to hear comments that promote anorexia or bulimia as some miracle diet. It may (but also may not!) make you thin, but it will also cost you everything you’ve got. It will place a choke hold on you and control every minute detail of your life.

For me, it’s a battle every single day not to tell every person I know and love to get bent, because my eating disorder is convincing me I don’t need anyone but Her in my life. I’ve destroyed so many friendship beyond repair because of this. I’ve caused problems in my family. I’ve had to quit my job because the stress of working and uni was too much. I’m sick of being the girl who submits more special consideration forms than she does actual assignments. I’m sick of being the one who’s life is put on hold while her care team decide what to do next. I’m sick of organising my schedule around doctor and psychologist appointments. I’m sick and tired of being so sick and tired. Every day, I’m literally fighting for my life.

I did not ask for this. I don’t want this. I didn’t sign up for any of this. If you want it so bad, take my spot because I’m done with it!

 

The Great Unknown

The Unknown

Standing at the T-section of a road, with Her standing on one side, and nothing on the other, I feel stuck. I know that there are those who care for me, who love me and who are trying their hardest to fight Her with me, but when I’m stuck like this, I don’t see them. I see Her and The Great Unknown. This vast expanse of uncertainty in one direction and Her in the other. She’s alluring, convincing, striking. She’s telling me I can be stunning like the butterfly.

The only problem is now, I see two butterflies. One that will fly with me into the great unknown, show me life and excitement and one that will fly alongside Her and hold my hand as She shows me who She wants me to be. Both butterflies are equally as beautiful, each as equally appealing. Both tugging on my hands with such intensity, both wanting me to follow them. One butterfly has the added strength of Her tugging at my waist, the other is relying solely on which ever decision I make.