Thursday, 31 May 2012

Day 30 Someday I....

write a ‘someday list’. You can share a list you have written in the past if you wish, or it can be a list you write with regards to what you hope for in the future. Do checkout the trailer for Someday Melissa on the website above for inspiration for this blog challenge and to take a sneak peek into the new DVD.

In the words of a Blue Peter Presenter, 'Heres one I made earlier.'
This is my Wish List from February 2011

My wish list

To eat from the same size plate as the rest of my family.

To eat takeaway without having to have consumed far too much alcohol beforehand!!! With the exception of kebab, you can not eat one of those sober!

Reduce my alcohol consumption, I do not need it to be confident, funny or enjoy myself.

To choose items from the supermarket because I want them, not because of the fat or calorie content.

stop being critical of the way I look, to embrace my curves (when they get here)

Not feel guilty/bad/unworthy when I have something I would otherwise deemed as unsafe food.

Not to have safe/unsafe foods.

Eat at a restaurant without needing to see a menu beforehand.

Not be ruled by numbers, be it on a scale, a calorie, a clothing size.

And Im very proud to say that my 'someday' came and stayed.

My future  Someday......
I will learn to drive and actually get past doing a three point turn, not hit a tree, or a dog on the beach and get put forward to my test.

I will finish a project. Look, Im nearly here, only one more day to go. Ok I may be 5 days late but Ive done it.

I will be confident enough to just be me.

I will get Gary Law back on his double bass and sing Peggy Lees 'Fever,' at the Ritz Acoustic Club.

I will stop over analysing situations and see them as they are.

I will stop blaming myself for things that have been out of my control

I will finish the ironing!!

I will forgive and stop blaming myself

Day 29 This Is My Song

Choose a song which means something to you. It can be one you wrote yourself, it can be about EDs and/or recovery, it can be something that you feel is generally positive, uplifting and/or encouraging. Post the song title, artist and lyrics and write about what this song means to you and how it has helped you during your journey. Give as much detail as you are able to do.

Amy MacDonald
This Pretty Face.

I don't care
Who does her hair or
What clothes she wears
I don't care if it's Y.S.L. I don't care if it's Chanel
What matters to me is a strong belief
All this beauty is skin deep
Don't care about hair, don't care about eyes
It's about what's inside

You'll never know who you'll meet on you way to the top
You'll probably see them again when your fame starts to drop
Down down, I'll meet you on the ground
It's no good with your hair and your shiny blue eyes
It's no good when you finally start to realize
I need something more
This pretty face don't work no more

What happened to achieving
What happened to believing in yourself
Why listen to the musings of someone, somebody else
I'm sorry I don't see and I can't quite believe it anymore
What happened to believing that beauty's in the eye of the beholder

You'll never know who you'll meet on you way to the top
You'll probably see them again when your fame starts to drop
Down down, I'll meet you on the ground
It's no good with your hair and your shiny blue eyes
It's no good when you finally start to realize
I need something more
This pretty face don't work no more

You'll never know who you'll meet on you way to the top
You'll probably see them again when your fame starts to drop
Down down, I'll meet you on the ground
It's no good with your hair and your shiny blue eyes
It's no good when you finally start to realize
I need something more
This pretty face don't work no more

Apart from the fact that Amy MacDonald is a wonderful singer/songwriter and this song has a wicked uplifting melody line, for me the words mean so much. Our society has changed so much and there is so much emphasis put on physical beauty and attributes.I particularly like the line You'll probably see them again when your fame starts to drop as realistically fame wont be the only thing dropping or sagging.
I could have picked several other songs such as Ingrid Michaelson, Be OK, or Fix You by Coldplay but I picked this one for a particular reason.
Yesterday I sat in a clinic in Harley Street in London waiting for someone very special to me to have Botox.  She is 29 and bloody beautiful.Whilst she was having her consultation I sat in a very posh waiting room, with airbrushed models on posters on the walls telling me how wonderful I would look after having the top layer of my skin peeled off or being injected with botulism!!!
I couldn't help but wonder as I looked around the room at the people coming and going, what they were having done. They all looked so perfect, wonderfully groomed, shiny hair, white straight teeth, pert boobs........I was beginning to feel anxious. What on earth did they think about me?  I seriously began to feel ugly!!!  At that point I wished I had post it notes in my handbag so I could leave messages inside the beauty magazines and before and after brochures and tell these people they were wasting their time and money as they didn't need it.
I don't have an issue with cosmetic surgery but I have an issue with professionals making money out of others insecurities when they do not need something doing.
The sad thing is that despite my nagging and  'youre beautiful as you are,' speeches, she still had the Botox done!!

Day 28. Reality check

There remains, still, an almost glamourized myth surrounding eating disorders. Write a bracing reality check based on your experiences of eating disorders. Consider how it felt to suffer and the things your eating disorder cost you, as well as the damage it left you with, how hard recovery was etc.
I wasn't too sure how to start this challenge as I will no doubt repeat things I have said before. But with repetition comes learning. I thought about making it a little humorous but then an eating disorder is no joke.        I could beef it up with big words or fluff it up around the edges to make my words a little more readable....    but in the end I decided to give it to you straight, warts and all.
Eating disorders are not glamorous, they do not make you beautiful, they do not make people like you or you like yourself.  You will not be happier, richer, more confident, sexier or  more successful.
They will suck you in and drag you down into a pit of despair, your days will be dark and your nights will be darker.You will be drained of every bit of energy you have and what life you have left will be used to burn off calories or throw up your dinner.    They will make you lie, cheat, and deceive people. Your family and friends wont be your priority, your eating disorder will be.  Your first thought at night wont be seeing your Husband or child, it will be how can you avoid eating. You wont get asked out to dinner anymore, whats the point? You either wont eat or will throw it up!! You will spend all day relying on numbers.  Numbers on scales, numbers on packets, adding, subtracting, can I cant I, will I wont I?
Your skin will be blotchy, your face puffy, your eyes blood shot, your fingers red, your knuckles grazed, your teeth will rot.Your hair on your head will become thin and weak and fall out, but don't worry that will be compensated by growing hair on your body to keep you warm!
You will become weak and dizzy, not be able to think straight, forget things, become depressed, anxious, insular and suicidal. 
While your waist disappears so will your social life, your love life, your work life and if you don't stop YOUR LIFE. I thought I was in control, but I was being controlled.  In all my periods of disordered eating the last had to be the worst.  I think I needed to hit rock bottom in order to get back up and start fighting again and that was the hardest thing I have ever done.  I would constantly question my reasons for recovery and find excuses why I couldn't or shouldn't.It was a constant battle in my head along with dealing with the physical changes to my body. It was a slow process, a journey which I hope I have finished.
I was in a bathroom in a bar one evening and another woman commented on my size. 'I wish I was as skinny as you, how do you do it?' Well that's how I did it, not at all glamorous and sexy now is it?

Day 27 I cant believe that I

We often have very low expectations of ourselves. Think back over your life and consider the times when you achieved, survived, overcame situations you never thought you could. How did you feel when you were struggling? Why is it surprising you did/survived/coped with that? How did it feel to come through? How does it feel now looking 
back over those times?

I cant believe that I..
as still a child in a woman's body I moved 300 miles away from my friends and family,
I cant believe that I..
Trusted him!
I cant believe that I..
Trusted her!
I cant believe that I..
Hurt myself.

I cant believe that I..
Grew up
found a job that I loved and was good at. Found friends and people I cared for.
Had a relationship that was based on love and respect and stuck at it.
Became a Mother.
Fought for what I wanted and won.
Am loved for who I am.
Kicked an eating disorder.
Am still alive.

Day 26 ED activist/sufferer/survivor book review

Choose a book (non-triggering) which you have read that has positively impacted you and encouraged you. It can be directly about eating disorders or it can be about something completely different that you have applied and used in your journey of recovery. What is the title and who wrote it? What is the book about? Is there a favourite quote(s) from this book you want to share? How did this book teach you? Encourage you? Inspire you?

I am ashamed to say that I do not read as often as I possibly should but I do read true life stories.
These are usually about individuals who have overcome such immense trauma, abuse or hardship in their lives and have ultimately gone on to become strong and inspirational people.
One book which really impressed on me a young woman's courage and strength was 'Beautiful,' by Katie Piper.
Katie was a young woman with a promising career in TV and as a model. She suffered horrific abuse from her partner and in 2008 had sulphuric acid thrown in her face by an attacker which was instigated by her partner.
Katie was left with horrific burns and lost the sight in one eye.  Despite the emotional and physical scars, tremendous pain and extensive skin grafts and plastic surgery, Katie Piper did not sit and dwell in self pity, she spoke out, stood up for others and fought back.
She is a truly inspirational woman who has turned the result of a cowardly and vicious assault into hope for others with burns and disfigurements.
Katie has not let herself become a victim but a survivor and is living proof that beauty is so much more than what is on the surface.
I read this book whilst going through recovery and also helping to organise my Mums funeral, a quote from the book was, 'Everything,s going to be ok,' a voice in my head said. 'Your journey's just begun.You'll get through this.'
How amazing is that?

Friday, 25 May 2012

Day 25 recovery toolbox

Share your recovery secrets. What helped you? What soothes you? What encourages and inspires you? How do you manage when you feel triggered? How do you cope when everything feels too much? Be as honest as you can, no matter how unorthodox (providing it’s safe and legal!) – In fact the more original the better!

There were certain times during the day which I found difficult to cope with and these generally were around food!!

I hated being on my own during the day and was frightened to eat.  I thought that once I started I would never stop and then end up being sick.  My answer to this was not to bother!!
After having my evening meal I would feel intense guilt, anxiety and stress.
Social situations during recover, eating out, Christmas, holidays, Birthdays.

These were the ways in which I dealt with them.

I would keep any 'binge' foods out of sight. I would put lots of 'safe' foods in Tupperware in the fridge where I could nibble during the day.
I would text a friend after eating, generally about a load of rubbish just until the initial feelings of anxiety had worn off.
I would take a walk on the sea front whilst listening to my music and watch the sunset.
Before going to restaurants I would check the menu online to avoid the initial stress and panic when I get there.
At functions which had a buffet I would ask a close friend to keep a check on how much I was eating so I would not over do it.
I would write things down in my diary, how I was feeling, why and what affect this had on my eating behaviours at that time.
Relax, take a bath with bubbles (if appropriate to be in the bathroom at this time) light candles, listen to music.
Use pictures, post it notes, fridge magnets, anything to remind you of how bloody awesome you are.

I will add that's it 5.45am and I'm awake!! I have had a difficult few days and have been starting to feel quite low.
Yesterday the old crappy feelings reemerged. The sick, heavy dark feeling in the pit of my stomach, and for a split second there seemed an easy way out of feeling like this!!
It didn't happen, i sat on my bed, I cried, i thought about it and acknowledged what I was feeling.
Theres a few things going on a the moment.  On Saturday it will be the 3rd anniversary of a friends death, something which I think I will always carry an amount of guilt about.  We had a close and at times extremely intense friendship until a year before she died when we had a falling out.  We didn't speak after that.  I still miss what we had so much and despite the love I feel for my close friends now,  our friendship wasn't something you can just find in someone else. 
I'm also going on  holiday in just under a few weeks.  I thought I was OK about my body but trying on bikinis before going to a friends hot tub yesterday proved otherwise. 
But after psyching myself up and a few glasses of pimms I did put on a bikini, I did get in the hot tub and I did feel ok with myself.
 I think 10 weeks of inactivity has taken its toll on my slightly, a scarred thigh, wonky hip and walking with a crutch doesn't instill me with body confidence on a beach!! Now I can actually walk to the kitchen the junk foods are being eaten out of boredom. Junk food , pub lunches and inactivity can only lead to one thing!!!
Today I need a bit of reflection, a bit of listening to my own words,going to my fridge and reading the inspirational words on it, acknowledging what I am feeling and maybe a bloody good cry if need be.  It feels good to write it down though........

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Day 24 Parent conference

Imagine you are speaking to a parent of a person who suffers from an eating disorder in precisely the same manner as you did. What would you advise that parent? What would you tell them to avoid? What would you encourage them to do? What should they say? Not say? Are there any resources or agencies you think would help them? What are they?

This is quite a difficult one so I will approach it as how I felt and how I reacted to what people said to me.
I didn't suffer from an eating disorder until I was in my late teens, but was an adult.  I was still someones Daughter.  I also lived away from my parents so they didn't really have a lot to do with it.  The one thing my Mum did say to me nearly 2 years ago was, 'youve beaten it before and you will do it again.'  I'm so glad she was right.

Eating disorders don't just happen overnight, and before you know it you are sucked in to what I can only describe as a lonely and torturous existence.
If you are concerned about your child speak up. Ask for advice from your GP or an eating disorders organisation, don't think it will just go away because It wont.  Don't take no for an answer from the GP, get a second opinion if needed. Do some research on the Internet if need be.
Try to communicate as a family, with your spouse, partner, other children.  It can be so easy to focus on the individuals eating disorder and push others out.  Try to support each other.
I wrote about identity on day 22.  This  person is more than their eating disorder, try to keep that in focus. Help them to see who they are as a person, their achievements, goals, personal attributes. Focus on who they are as a person, how special they are to you and how much you care for them.
Try not to focus on their weight, how much they have lost, or what they look like.  Telling me how skinny I was  would only add to how much I thought I had achieved.  Telling me how well I looked meant I had gained weight.....No win situation at times.

Speak to other parents for support, maybe on an online forum or local support group. It can help to know you are not on your own.
Remember that your Son/Daughter is not doing this to hurt you or to get back at you. Its not your fault. Its a serious mental illness which they think they can control when realistically it is controlling them.
People can recover from eating disorders,there is hope, just try not to give up.
Organisations which may be of help include,

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Day 23. Choose a quote that means something to you

Share the quote. Where did this quote come from? Who said/wrote it? What does it mean to you? Why? How has it helped you?

This is taken from a greetings card given to me by a friend when I was going through recovery.  It acknowledges recovery as a process and a journey.  I have it on my fridge along with other inspirational pictures and messages to remind me of what I have achieved and what I have to live for.


Every Goal that has ever been reached
began with just one step
and the belief it could be attained

Dreams really can come true
but they are most often the result
of hard work, determination
and persistence.

When the end of the journey
seems impossible to reach,
remember that all you need to do
is take one more step.

Stay focused on your goal
and remember...
each small step
will bring you a little closer.

When the road becomes hard to travel
and it feels as if you'll never reach the end...
look deep in your heart
and you will find strength you never knew you had,

Believe in yourself,
and remember that I believe in you too.

Jason Blume

Another card given to me on my Birthday read,

If I could give you just one gift on your Birthday,
I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes.
Only then you would realise how special you are.

Photos of my fridge which is a haven of cupcakes, gorgeousness and inspiration.
My cupcake obsession 

Birthday card from my son and inspirational verses

Musical card which plays a song 'you are beautiful'

last Birthday card from Mum which I had after she died :(

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Day 22 Keep you, kick ED

Did you ever feel you couldn’t tell where you ended and your ED started? Many people find it difficult to fathom their identity separate from their eating disorder. Who are you? What makes you – you? How do you tell the difference between the eating disorder and you? Why is it important to find you identity and recognise it as being separate from your eating disorder?
One of the greatest things I struggled with when making the decision to let go of my eating disorder was losing a part of my identity.
Regardless of how long or short the period of illness is It consumes your whole being, your thoughts, your spirit, its what you live or die for.  Nothing else comes close.
In a way I had become my eating disorder and it was me. Friends commented on how they missed 'me' and wanted 'me' back. Whilst going through recovery I felt a huge sense of loss, who was I, what was I going to do, what could I focus on.  It was almost like bereavement or losing a good friend.
I must have written numerous list of pros and cons of recovery or staying how I was. I was supported with the eating disorders nurse to look at myself, who I was, a friend, a wife, a Mother, a Daughter, a colleague, a person totally separate from the illness.  
I no longer have an eating disorder and I have a huge smile on my face and a lump in my throat as I say that. I am me, I have a job I love, I have wonderful family and  friends, I talk too much, I spend too much money on clothes and shoes, I love to sing, I love to dance and that's who I choose to be.

This is a poem I wrote in November 2010 where I wrote about Identity.

Dear Friend,

You came into my life many years ago and have never left.  You always turn up uninvited, without warning, giving me no time to prepare for the chaos and distress you bring to my life and those around me.
I may not see you for years on end, but you are always at the back of my mind.
let me tell you that those years you were not around were the best years of my life.....
You have influenced me, gave me motivation, control and a numbness from things I found difficult to cope with in my life. also lied to me, controlled my thoughts, my feelings, my actions.  For this you are never forgiven.
You turned me into a liar, a cheat, a manipulative person who hurt those around me, those who care.
You threatened my health, my friendships, my relationships, my self esteem and self image....and continue to do so If I allow you to.
I am often scared to let you go, scared of losing something special and part of my identity.....but with that loss comes hope, a new beginning, a future a life.
You have moulded me into the person I am today....a strong, positive and determined woman who can and will fight. 
 For this, Dear friend, I thank you.

Day 21 Healers with heart

Think about a professional or somebody in your life who has helped in your recovery and healing. Write a poem, letter, stream of consciousness or any way you choose to express what they meant to you and how they helped you. What would you like to tell them? Have you told them? If so, how did they react? If not, why not.

Recovery was not a quick fix. It didn't happen overnight. It was a process, a journey and with any journey you meet many people along the way, some impacting on your lives more than others. Doctors, Nurses, Dietitians, Counsellors all had a part in my recovery and I needed each and every one of them just as they needed each other for the process to work.
My friends and family had a huge impact on my recovery, each in their own unique way.  I have written in previous blog posts about most of them but this lady surprised me the most :)

Thank you,
For knocking on my door to see if I was Ok.
I cant remember if you knew what was wrong, whether you asked, if I told you but that's not important.

What is important is that you stayed, you listened and you came back.
I trusted you.
You had reason not to trust others but you trusted me too.
You did not judge.

You felt my sadness,
you wiped away my tears,
you hugged me when I hurt,
you spoke when I couldn't.

You made sense of things that were so screwed in my head that I wanted to scream,
You were my conscience when I really wanted to damage someone or myself,
You were my voice of reason ,
you were a reason I'm still here,
and for that I love you.


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Day 20 The sound of silence

Often people who battle eating disorders, and mental health problems generally, experience a kind of silence in terms of the restrictions that illness or other people place upon their ability to share about their struggles. What does silence mean to you? Can you think of a time in your life when silence has been a negative force? How did that feel? How did you change it? If you haven’t changed it in some ways – what do you think you need to break that silence? How did others reinforce that silence? How could others have helped you to break that silence?

At first I was silent because I wanted to be.  It was my dirty little secret, my life, my shame, my control, my drug, no one else needed to know. The thing with mental illness is you cant see it. Its not like now after my operation that its obvious; I use a crutch.  People I know feel comfortable with asking what has happened, and I feel comfortable with telling them.
I was ashamed to talk about my eating disorder, even with the professionals that were trying to help me.  Its not like they hadn't heard it before but still, quite often the words wouldn't come out.  I was scared of being judged, of shocking people and I was ashamed.  Because of this at times I wasn't truthful with those around me and this probably slowed down my recovery process.  It wasn't until I had accepted parts of myself as a person that I could be honest and speak out.
I was silent about what was troubling me. I was silent about the things going on in my head, the way I was feeling about myself and others.  I was silent because when I spoke out I was called jealous and paranoid.
I was silent at night when I cried into the pillow, I was silent when I was throwing up, I was silent when I wanted to end it all........
The gradual acceptance of myself and the forgiveness of others broke the silence and the ability of those I loved to listen and hear what I was saying.
February 2012 was eating disorders awareness week-breaking the silence.
This is what I wrote then for those that haven't read it before.

Day 19 Write a love life limerick

A limerick is a witty often nonsensical five line poem with a strict AABBA rhyme scheme
For a ‘how to’ guide and examples check out this site. 

There was a young girl from the Boro,
who tried to get people to love her,
She starved and she strived
To an inch of her life
while doubting she'd ever recover

Consumption of food was a sin,
and most of it went in the bin,
she lived on the scale
'im the size of a whale'
she screamed someone please help me win.

But one day she said 'this is it,'
I'm worth so much more than this S**t
So out came the hammer
and smash the scale shatter
Regrets? No not one little bit.

To say it was simples a lie,
But the choice was to live or to die,
Life was what i chose,
As you can see from this prose,
Recovery's good, now where is that pie?  :)

Eating disorders awareness week 2019

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