Tuesday, 30 August 2016

I can't get no sleep!

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

The night-time always seems the worst.
My body is exhausted and yearns for rest but my mind won't switch off.
The thoughts are bouncing back and forth, some good some bad.  I lay awake, distracted by the sound of my breathing as I try to count backwards from a thousand which seems to work better than counting sheep.
I focus on a comment passed on my weight.
I know my clothes are loose, the scales tell a story and I'm not so blind that I cannot see, but why do I see things differently to others?
I focus on my thighs and legs but the discomfort from lying down tells me something different from what's going on in my head.
The hunger in my stomach is almost punishing.  The noises a reminder that yes, I have succeeded in another day of not being good to myself, and for what?
I can see the pain in my Husbands eyes, hear the concern in my Sons voice, feel the love of those around me...... and still I allowed this monster back into our lives.

It is so very tough at the moment.  I know that it is me that needs to turn things round but with no professional support ( still waiting)  I struggle to make sense of things.
Take care.

Friday, 26 August 2016

No literary masterpiece here. Just honesty

My writing in the past has concentrated on the subject (eating disorders, recovery, mental health, body image) as well as trying to inject an element of humour or poetic prose. 
 Today I am not going to do that.

Its not about engaging people or getting followers. My punctuation and grammar will no doubt be all over the place but in this moment I just need to get it out.  No holds barred.

Its been a really tough few weeks. After my last entry I spent a week in Portugal with my Husband and a good group of friends.
The weekend before I wasn't going to go and had pleaded with hubby to go without me if I didn't feel up to it. There was no reason why my circumstances should stop my other half missing out. Kev was having none of this and assured me he would be staying too!!
I tried to focus on all the positives and put a lot of energy into taking this step.  I am so thankful that I did this.
Despite a twisted foot, and a few wobbly moments, the villa was spacious enough to have my own space if needed and had a relaxing and much needed holiday.
The downside for my friends though was that I did become a bit of a feeder and spent a lot of time in the kitchen preparing food.  I didn't hear any complaints.
I tried to get back into a routine as much as possible at home but this was proving difficult.
A week away not knowing what I weighed made me more cautious about what I was putting in my mouth.
I had no idea if I was gaining or maintaining.  This then developed into a more obsessive way of thinking at home.
The nights are now worse......
Thoughts are very food focused, calorie focused and weight focused.  This combined with other pressures which I won't go into is giving me a total head fuck.
Sometimes I have wanted to run away, dissapear and just not be here.  Feeling like a waste of good air and a problem to others is not a good thought to have!!
Some days I really want to beat this and other days I feel so screwed up I don't know what I want.
The lack of proffessional support makes me feel like I don't deserve it or don't need it.
I am so pissed with myself that I don't feel the strength I had before.
I am emotionally and physically exhausted but trying to take one day at a time.
On a positive note, the anxiety is manageable.  My blood work came back clear.  My GP bypassed the mental health team to refer me to the ED team and I have nice nails.
 Rant over........

Much love xxx

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Tell It How It Is.

I have heard the phrase 'Recovery is a journey,' many times. This is a journey 5 years ago which I thought and hoped had ended.  Most journeys end with something pleasant, something worth the wait, with a clear road, no red lights or diversions.
 Other journeys may need a bit of refuelling, a top up of oil and a battery recharge before reaching the final destination.
So where did I take a wrong turn?
Why is this shiny new Porsche  now feeling like a burnt out old banger!!

I knew that it would never be an easy ride as I'd driven this road before but I thought I knew which way  I was steering. I didn't expect to be back in a dark tunnel, but maybe this is how 'it' maps out.
I can see how it started and I know how it can end.

The depression kicked in first. Slowly bringing me down, putting me down , letting me down.
Its friend anxiety paid me a visit too, preying on my every thoughts, picking at my confidence, whispering over my shoulder to do better, sitting on my chest and squeezing the breath out of me, taking away my voice, my passions, my beliefs in me. My trips outside became less and less and usually included earphones in, head down, and panic. My time indoors would be spent just sat, doing nothing.
I stopped being I will, and became I can't.

The energy it takes on a daily basis to function in this frame of mind is immense.  Not answering the door unless I am expecting someone, hiding in my bedroom away from the noise.
The fear of being outside, in places where I can't get away, where I don't feel safe. Where I think people are looking at me because 'They know.'
Sleeping for most of the day through medication or just the sheer need for rest, and not being able to do a simple task without needing a rest again.  Having a really good day then feeling it emotionally and physically the day after because you have given as much as you can.
The food issues wheedled their way in.....skipping meals due to lack of time, routine or circumstance.  What started as something most people do, was sneaking up on me and waiting to catch hold.
I didn't recognise it at first, but others did.
I was questioning my relationship around food and making excuses to myself and others.
'Its the medication, its a normal reaction to being depressed, I eat every day, but I'm not underweight.'
Yes, all the above is still true, but why I am feeling driven to continue, why can I not eat 'normally,' why do I get anxious around food.'
The fact that I am still questioning myself is a positive thing. It means I still have my healthy voice telling my ill voice that I don't want it.
Often my ill voice wins, but the healthy voice is still up for the fight.

Things are getting better.
I am less tired and more focused this week.  The tablets seem to be doing some good and a friend suggested grounding techniques and mindfulness, something I never thought would be for me, but so far so good.
I am aiming to get out each day.  Either for a walk, a visit to a friend or the dreaded supermarket.
I am now getting quite good at focusing and counting on items at the checkout to bring me back to the here and now, rather than the anxiety and sensations of panic.
I set myself goals, however small or insignificant and try not to berate myself if I haven't managed them.

I have seen a nurse at my local practise for bloods etc. A counsellor told me to think of this as self care as opposed to medical.  I think she was right.  I am lucky that I am still classed as being within a healthy weight range for my height ( I've apparently shrunk!!)  I have to tell myself this does not mean that I do not need or deserve any professional help, The only person judging me is myself.

This is me getting off the highway to hell and back on the road to recovery.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Best Foot Forward.

In March of this year I stood in front of a group of Counselling students and gave a talk about my experience going through recovery from an eating disorder.  My finishing line stated, that after my Husbands heart attack, 'If I can get through that without using e.d behaviours I can get through anything.'
So why is it, over 4 months later I am struggling again?
Maybe I was fooling myself that full recovery is possible.
Maybe I was too complacent.
Or maybe, relapse is part of this completed and never clear process.
Whatever the reasons; what I do know is that I have beaten this before and have more knowledge, tools and a good support network to get back on the right track.
Recognising and being honest with myself and others is the first step.
I have many more steps to take, some forward, some back.  I will stumble and fall down, but will always  get back up and start again.
Best foot forward, here goes......

Saturday, 31 May 2014

I need to rant!!

I am frustrated and peed off so feel the need to rant to anyone who may like to listen!!
Now those of you who know me well will have picked up a few things about me:

a) I am pro eating disorder recovery  (hence the blog!)
b) I am a passionate advocate for positive body image.
c)I believe beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

Last night I took part in a body positivity hour hosted on Twitter where I joined others tweeting about what there body means to them, what they love and how they pledge not to put themselves down, so why today do I feel like a total hypocrite??

The answer to that came from a machine in my local pharmacy.
Yes I committed the mortal sin and weighed myself!! FFS!
Why you may ask?  The reason being is that I have been steadily gaining weight over the past few months.  I know this as I had to stop wearing jeans and buy elasticated waist jeggings.
My clothing size hasn't bothered me, I think I dress well and can make the most of what I have but I was concerned that if I didn't do something my waist-line would continue growing and that didn't sit comfortably with me.
I have been careful with what I eat, cutting back on alcohol, making changes to snacks, eating more healthily, exercising more but nothing has worked!!    I seriously thought by weighing myself I would find that I had succeeded, I hadn't and all that did was make me feel bad about myself.
Lesson learnt!

After discussing this with Hubby, he came up with a little light bulb moment.  Yes we had been on holiday and probably lived life to the excess but generally my diet had remained the same. (until I changed it) so what was different?

I think the answer to this is medication.  I had started back on anti-depressants at the beginning of the year, the same tablets I was prescribed when I had Anorexia.  The same tablets that after putting the name into Google  bring up, 'weight gain' in the search bar.
I have trawled through forum after forum, reading about people who rave about the wonders of this drug but are frustrated with the average weight gain of around 16 pounds!!  No wonder my blooming jeans don't fit!

So now I have a choice. stay on the tablets but restrict my calorie intake just to maintain my current weight or come off the tablets and see how my head is!!
I have a GP appointment booked for this week so hopefully I can come up with some suggestions then.

In the meantime I'm off to the Indian Takeaway.
Happy Saturday.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

For A. x

Today I learnt the news that a friend had sadly lost her husband. The death of someone you love is never easy and this was just so tragic

I have only known Arielle for around 4 years but we have never met. She is a strong and beautiful person who is an advocate for eating disorder recovery. She gives of herself selflessly and has no doubt played a huge part in the recovery of many Men and women with eating disorders.
Her relationship with R. was what fairy tales are made off.  She adored him, and he her.  I remember last year on their 5th wedding Anniversary.  Arielle arranged to have anonymous love letters sent from all over the world which she saved and put in a wooden box for him to read and keep.
In the letters were reminders to R. of what a wonderful and adoring Husband he was whom Arielle loved dearly.  My love note was amongst the many he read that day.
I cannot express the sadness I feel for this beautiful Woman and the family left behind.  I hope that Arielle can get some comfort from the support of her family and friends....  she has many.
Rest in peace R.
Love to you Arielle xxx

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A nail in the coffin for those with an eating disorder.

It has been far to long since my last post.  Epic fail of at least one of my New Year Resolutions!!  I shall save the rest for another day.

I have just returned to work after nearly 3 weeks leave including a 2 week break in glorious Cuba.  The morning started badly due to having to drag my arse out of bed before lunchtime (I'm still on Cuba time) and continued when I logged onto my PC to wade through the numerous emails and appointments waiting for me. Still dreaming of white sand and crystal blue oceans I gingerly ventured into the drops, which contained carefully filed 'important' bits and bobs to be dealt with asap when something caught my eye. Hidden amongst the humdrum of my daily working life was a beautifully hand written envelope ..... with my name on it.  What was inside made my day.
Along with a photo of me holding a china tea-cup and a thank-you note delicately written was a press cutting from a local newspaper.
It read.

Sharing The Distress Of Eating Disorders
Cheddar WI.  " I was intrigued when I heard that we were going to have a talk on eating disorders.  As someone blessed with a good appetite and a cast iron constitution and who had lived on a wartime diet when the only problem with food was a storage of it, I was keen to learn more. I had, of course, always felt sympathetic when I read about some of the usually high profile cases of anorexia and bulimia and I was soon to be enlightened as to the enormity of the problems these and other eating disorders present.  Jackie Tanner, from The Somerset & Wessex Eating Disorders Association (sweda)a user led, pro-recovery charity on the principles of self help, was our speaker.
We were privileged to be the first group she had ever addressed, but you would never have guessed, as she immediately held us in thrall when she started to speak and you could have heard a pin drop as soon as she made us aware of all the trials, self-doubt, emotional pain and distress which plague people with eating problems.We heard how misunderstood the problem is, and what a huge problem it is for so many sufferers, men as well as women, and what a lot of courage, perseverance, understanding and self-help they have to summon up to drag themselves out of their particular pit of despair.
Jackie bravely took us through her own struggles which started at an early age as she recounted a whole gamut of worry about her appearance, anguish about unkind remarks, starvation,bulimia, alcohol, exercise and finally hospital admission. Thankfully when she had reached rock bottom, with the help of family, friends and recovery groups and with a growing understanding of the problem she began to recover. She found that writing about her feelings helped. Jackie's little book (the royalties of which go to SWEDA) entitled The Cupcake Queen Bites Back is a little gem about recovery, told through her poetry and excerpts from her personal blog. We all wish Jackie well and hope many people will hear and benefit from her touching and heart warming talk."

Betty Chalkley.

That day in February now seems so far away, but I can still remember how scared I was, the relief when it was over but the burning desire to do it all again.  The hope that I could reach out to just one person and give them a glimmer of hope makes my pain worthwhile.
You can then imagine my sadness when I was contacted by a local radio station and told that sweda was at risk of closing. There was always the risk that this could happen when the PCT pulled the funding from SWEDA a few years ago, but hearing it could happen soon was just awful.  
SWEDA is a lifeline to many, as there is no need for GP referral. You can call them up, email them, go to support groups or arrange for counselling.  They are there to help all affected by eating disorders which include carers. I know if I was to ever become ill again and sweda was not around it could be disastrous.  Waiting list on the NHS for therapy are very long.  People with eating disorders cannot wait, if people are asking for help they need it then.  Not in 6 months time when it could be too late.  This makes me so angry!!  
I was invited onto BBC radio Somerset  to give my views which you can listen to  here.  I sincerely hope that their efforts to raise money has worked and will keep you all posted.  In the meantime you can help by clicking on the link to my book with all royalties going to sweda or if you're a millionaire wanting to support an amazing charity, please feel free :)