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…..



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…..

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…..


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

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

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

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


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
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

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
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

Understanding me….


I wrote the following in November 2009…..

Several months ago I was told by my therapist that I had Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). All I knew about this condition was something that I had read in a book entitled ‘The Angry Heart’ by Joseph Santoro and Ronald Cohen. When I read this book, I was reading about myself. So when I was given my diagnosis it was not a surprise to me. In fact, at the time I felt relief. It was not until I started doing group work that this diagnosis started to trouble me.

I am acutely aware that I have problems identifying my emotions and regulating them. Text books refer to this as ‘emotion dysregulation’, which is the outcome of a combination of a biological disposition and environmental influences. In my case this is correct.

As I have trouble with my emotions this places me in situations that I can find almost impossible to tolerate. I am a very sensitive person and I understand that to others my reactions to things may seem ‘over reactions’. I also find it hard to organise myself. Something I have struggled with all my life but something I have managed, to a certain degree. I have had to otherwise I would not have graduated with a masters degree or functioned as a senior manager within the regions busiest retail outlet. All of those attempts to organise myself were always coupled with extreme stress that I was able to hide in front of others for some time.

So the oversensitivity to events and emotions are part of my biological disposition. My environmental factors are the ‘invalidating environment’ that I grew up within. As described by Santoro “Our family environment is our gift or our curse”.

I did not grow up in a very supporting environment. I was constantly worried about how my parents viewed me. Everything I did I worried about their reactions and of course how other people would view me. My parents did not hide their disappointment in me, if only I was more like my brother who was slim, bright, had nice friends and did what he was told. I tried everything I could to be accepted by my parents. I know they loved me but they did not love who I was. They could not accept that I was a large girl, even though they confused my eating from an early age. They could not accept that I had learning difficulties and just thought that I was lazy. The health problems that I had as a child were put down to me exaggerating and looking for attention so visits to the doctor were out of the question. Even when I had tonsillitis I was not allowed to see the GP for antibiotics.

As I got older I found things that I was good at, maths and music. I concentrated on those and my grades in other subjects started to improve too. But music could not make a good career, so I gave up something that I loved. I still regret that to this day. I was invited to join an orchestra and I turned it down for fear of my parents. It was not just verbal communication my parents used to discipline me; they also communicated using shoes, belts, dog chains etc.

As stated by Santoro when someone has a dysfunctional family environment this ‘creates a person whose heart is wounded by fear and anger and whose mind is often confused and impulsive. This is someone, who, because of his or her family environment, develops a personality disturbance and is at risk for addiction, failure, and even self-destruction’. The impulsivity of the borderline person is also described by Maccoby, who states that impulsive behaviours are used as emotion regulation strategies. Indeed I have impulsive behaviours which include: Self harming, Suicidal or parasuicide behaviours, Unsafe sex – (this was part of my past and not something I engage in now),Reckless driving (also a thing of the past),Excessive spending and alcohol abuse.

So to summarise as someone who suffers from BPD I have difficulties with my emotions and impulsive behaviours. But the official diagnostic criteria of the American Psychiatric Association’ Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV 1994) requires that five or more of the following be present before a diagnosis of BPD can be made.

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships.
3. Unstable sense of self and identity.
4. Impulse behaviours.
5. Recurrent suicidal actions, threats, thoughts or self injury.
6. Unstable, intense moods or emotions.
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness, boredom or loneliness.
8. Inappropriate or intense anger.
9. Temporary, stress-triggered paranoid ideas or sever dissociative symptoms.

I have certainly scored 9 out of 9 at certain points in my life but I am working hard at reducing all of these. I believe it can be done and with the right help and support I know I can change things for the better for myself.

Written November 2009

A Poem For My Husband

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


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.