Understanding the road I have travelled today

I want to use this blog to be totally truthful about my mental health issues. I want to learn more about myself and continue along the road to recovery. The road to recovery is not that straight and there are many obstacles along the way. This morning I took a small detour, it was a conscious decision, but now I have to turn around and understand the road I have travelled today.

My eating habits change quite frequently but since my GP gave me xenical  a few months ago I have been slowly and constantly losing weight. I have been thrilled by this weight loss. I even managed to lose weight over the Christmas and New Year period (even after that 8 course dinner party)! But over the last few days I have been eating more and more and so I have stopped losing weight. This morning for the first time I have gained weight!

I have found myself obsessing about food and wanting to eat more and more. I realised that I have not binged for almost 3 weeks. Is my obsession with food at the moment my build up to having a binge? Do I obsess about food before a binge?  I think I do. So would a binge give me some release from this obsession? I decided to allow myself to binge.

I have binged and I have purged and I am left feeling tired and a little shaky. The act of purging is very distressing. So what did I hope to gain from this today? I just want to be free of my food obsession for a while.

Gone are the days where I would binge and purge several times. Those days seem quite far behind me now and I will make sure things stay that way. But every now and again I do have little detours or blips like today. I can only hope that the time between these blips gets longer and longer.

So rather than waiting until tomorrow to start afresh I am restarting my day right now. I want to move on from this now…..

 

New Year

Two days after Christmas we, that is my husband, children and myself, went to see some friends. Those friends invited us to spend New Years eve with them. That was very nice of them. The last time I was away from my own home for New Year was to see in the year 2000.

I find socialising very difficult. I guess that is due to my borderline personality disorder and also my eating disorder. I do not like being around other people and having to keep a conversation going just terrifies me. So here I was faced with an invite to spend New Year with some people that I do not really know too well and to have a meal with them as well.

My husband and I did not know how to say no and as soon as we had both agreed my thoughts turn very dark. I had that same thought that always pops into my head when faced with difficult situations. I thought that I would just take an overdose and that would be it. I would not have to deal with this awkward situation. The solution seemed easy.

Within a few hours I realised that my thinking was not rational but did not know what to do about it. I knew that I would not be able to go through with these plans for New Year. How could I sit and eat in front of other people who I have never eaten in front of before. My eating disordered head was screaming at me. How could I start or keep a conversation going because all I have to say is just not interesting. I felt that my world was falling a part.

I told my husband what was going on in my head and he said that we need to do this for the children. They must see us socialising just like any other ‘normal’ family. I kept repeating this and knew that I had to go through with things and attend this dinner party at New Year.

On Monday, New Years Eve I was not able to anything as I was so terrified. I remembered that my children got jigsaws for Christmas, so I asked if I could build one of their 1000 piece jigsaws. I spent most of the day doing that jigsaw just to take mind of what was going to happen.

So the time came to get ready and I did and I went to the dinner party. Dinner consisted of 8 courses. For someone with an eating disorder this was horrifying. But I got through it.

I did not eat all 8 courses, there was not need too really. I took plenty of breaks away from the table by using my children as an excuse. I ate slowly so that I did not have to eat as much as everyone else and I am sure no one noticed. Concentrating on the food and keep a conversation going was beyond me but my husband was able to do enough talking for both of us. A couple of times between courses as the table was cleared games were played. This gave me time to try and ground myself. I even spent five minutes in the loo just doing breathing exercises. The two years of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) came in very handy.

However, I have not been able to look back at Monday evening and think that I handled that situation well. I look back and see the days full of darkness as I was so consumed by my depression.

I need to learn from this and keep moving forward…..

Christmas 2012

Tonight is the first night I have been able to get online since Christmas Eve.

I had a very good Christmas with my husband and children. It was the first Christmas in many years that I did not wake up feeling low. Christmas usually makes me feel guilty. Guilty because I think I have not done enough for my family. If only I was still working Christmas would be better for them, is what I kept telling myself. But this year I realised that my children do not care if I have a job, they have told me that they like mum being at home. I realise that they would rather I be home for them than have a Christmas that has so many presents it takes them all day to open them.

Before I was overcome by depression and an eating disorder I use to work 12 hours plus a day. I would go to work when my children were in bed and get home when they were back in bed. I use to worry that they would tell me at the age of 15 and say that they did not know me and that I was never around for them. I tried to reduce my hours at work and I even asked for a job share but this was refused and so my boss started to lay the pressure on me until I broke.I have been burdened with the guilt of being a failure ever since.

This year that guilt lifted. I realise that the time I have with my children is very precious and I am very privileged to be able to spend this time with them, even though I am struggling with mental health problems that have deemed that I am unfit to work at this current time.

So I had a very good Christmas and grateful for having that and I now see things a little differently.

Eating disorders and feeling lonely

I just wanted to let out some of my feelings around my bulimia…..

BULIMIA
What a lonely illness this is!
Once you are in her target, she will never miss.
She takes hold of you when you are feeling low
You are just another tale of woe.

She is looking to see what she can find
And slowly she is twisting your mind.
She is a drug and you keep increasing the dose
She is your shameful secret you can not disclose.

Your strength she is slowly taking
Your own self loathing she is making.
Your every breath is her fuel
Your own self pride is now so cruel.

Your life, is a world full of shame and deceit
Do not be fooled, you are not one of the elite.
This is what she has created for you
Yes, I know this subject is taboo.

As you search for her one weakness
She will plunge you into darkness.
She will hold on with all her might
But you must never give up the fight.

A Reminder Of What I Could Lose Through My ED

I was diagnosed with an eating disorder some time ago. I have relapsed again but I am working my way through some of the things that I did when I was attending an ED clinic.

Here is an exercise that I did from the book ‘Getting Better Bit(e) by Bit(e): A Survival Kit for Sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders’ by Janet Treasure. This exercise helps remind myself of everything I can lose if I give up the fight for recovery…..

REASONS TO GIVE UP BULIMIA

PRACTICAL GAINS TO SELF
My mood swings will decrease
My teeth will remain healthy
I won’t feel tired all the time
I will feel physically well
I will not become doubly incontinent
I won’t get so many sore throats
My confidence will increase
I will no longer need to take anti-depressants
I will not be afraid to eat with my family
I will be able to go to restaurants to eat

PRACTICAL GAINS TO OTHERS
I will have a better relationship with my husband and children
I will not talk about diets all the time
My husband will not find food wrappers around the house
My husband will not come home to a drunken wife
I will regain my husbands trust
My sex drive will increase
I will be less irritable and snappy to my husband and kids
Will be able to return to work and help support the family
I will not be such a drain on the NHS
I will make friends

SELF APPROVAL
I will not have to lie about food
I will not have to lie about what I drink
I will not have to lie about taking laxatives
I will no t have to lie about taking diuretics
I will not have to deceive people about vomiting
I will have achieved something positive

SOCIAL APPROVAL
My husband will stop worrying about me
My husband will not have to watch me destroy me life
My husband will no longer have to suffer the pain of having a wife with a mental illness
My son will stop worrying about mummy, and stop asking if I am happy
I will be able to take part in activities and become a more active member of the local community

REASONS FOR STAYING BULIMIC

PRACTICAL LOSS TO SELF
Mood swings will increase
My teeth will start to decay
I will feel tired and unwell all the time
My body will not function properly (especially with the continuing laxative and diuretic abuse)
My sore throats will increase
My self esteem will remain low
I will become a prisoner in my own home
Increased thoughts of self hatred
Increased thoughts of self harming
I will continue to feel sick after eating if I cannot purge
I will find meal times more and more frightening
I may get swelling due to water retention
I will fear my own weight and weigh myself everyday
 
PRACTICAL LOSS TO OTHERS
My relationship with my family will deteriorate
I will be constantly talking about my weight and self hate
I will lose control of how much I spend on food
I will sink deeper and deeper into my alcohol issues
My children will lose a mother that loves them
I will not be able to return to work and we will sink deeper in to debt
I will not be able to make friends and continue to feel lonely

SELF DISAPPROVAL
My self esteem will be none existent
I will lose control of everything
I will have to face up to my responsibilities
I will hate myself and body more
I will be ashamed of myself
I will lie to everybody about everything
 
SOCIAL DISAPPROVAL
I will not be able to hide my fear of food from others
My children will become more aware of my eating habits and talk to their friends about it
Social services will become involved again
My son’s school will find out that there are problems at home
My family will find out my ED is back

A Poem For My Husband

A few years ago I wrote a poem for my husband to help him understand my eating disorder……

MY ED VOICE

It is midnight and everyone is asleep
Everything is quiet, everything is calm
But I sit alone and weep
For I know SHE is there watching wanting me to eat.

SHE knows how much I love her
Though SHE fills me with such fear
SHE pretends to be my best friend
So no one else can get near

HER voice is soft and gentle
Like a lullaby
SHE cradles me and holds me tight
Especially when I cry

It is midnight and everyone is asleep
Everything is quiet, everything is calm
But I sit not alone and weep
For SHE is with me wanting me to eat.

SHE knows how much I hate her
Though SHE fills me with such love
SHE is my worst enemy
Please help me from above

HER voice is hard and sombre
Unlike that lullaby
SHE beats and scolds me
But I try not to cry

It is midnight and everyone is asleep
Except SHE who is willing me to eat.
But as I try with all my might
SHE will never ever let me out of her sight.

It is midnight and everyone is asleep
I try to keep quiet as I begin to eat
For SHE is relentless going on and on and on
But I cannot help feeling that this is one big con.

My power SHE has taken
My body SHE is breaking
My mind SHE is controlling
My heart SHE is consoling

It is morning and as everyone awakes
I put on my happy face and breakfast I do make
For SHE is still with me and laughing at my mistakes
But I will fight HER with everything it takes!

Her comments imprison me

All my life I have struggled with food. It has been my best friend and my worst enemy.

As a child I was weighed weekly and encouraged to lose weight as I was constantly told by my mum that I was over weight. Oh I hated those Sunday evenings having to stand on the scales because I knew I would disappoint her again.

“Don’t eat that, you do not need it”, “Eat up all your dinner” the messages I was given were very confusing. Do I eat, do I not eat? What am I suppose to do? Then there was even more confusion over what I should eat! “Here’s your breakfast” she said as she gave me last nights chips reheated. Health foods was something that my mum had not heard of back then.

Feeling so low about being fat and constantly told so by various family members I turned to food for comfort.  I would binge when left at home alone and as the weight piled on the more I binged the more nagging I would get. I did not know what to do, there was noone to talk to either as it was my mum who was making me feel so bad.

When I needed clothes I was told I was to fat and so I had the minimum amount of clothes I needed to get by.  My mum would sit on my bed and get me to try on my clothes when I told her I needed something new. She would tell me that I needed to try harder and lose weight. I would stand there infront of her and cry.  I felt so ashamed of myself. I wanted to disappear.

I have been bullied a few times throughout the years about my weight but when I was at university I was bullied so much that I stopped eating for a while. As a result I lost a lot of weight and people commented on how well I looked. Wow, for the first time in my life I was being told that I looked good. My confidence grew as the weight continued to come off.

When things went a bit too far my mum again commented on my appearance. “Look at you, what man is going to fancy you with your flat chest?” I could not do anything to please her. That is when my bulimia started…..more on that another time.

Today I am at my heaviest weight and those comments my mum told me all those years ago still haunt me. They imprison me within my own home.