Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Leaving 2015 behind

Now...I wrote a whole blog post which was ready to go up, I was just adding some pictures and then I thought I had saved the post, but it clearly I hadn't! So being new to this whole blogging malarkey, I accidentally said yes when Internet Explorer asked me if I wanted to leave the page. Yes it will be fine, I saved the blog post, but *spoiler alert* the blog post did not save gasp from the audience. I know tragic isn't it!

So instead of trying to recreate the blog post again, I am just going to write as it comes. I sometimes think trying to recreate it in these situations just causes more frustration. In some cases, such as when it happens at work, this is not possible, but since this is a blog post and not a working document I am just going to roll with it.
Now, I am not one for New Year's mainly because of the hype and immense pressure surrounding it about having the "perfect night" which usually ends up being a bit of a let down, well in my experience anyways! I tend to enjoy the more quiet New Year's eve spent with friends, family and the boyfriend. What I do enjoy is people's reflection on the year, what went well, what they would have liked to have done differently and their hopes for the next year. This is usually a tangled conversations of New Year's resolutions, of course there is the obvious ones, to lose weight, exercise more, be more productive. Haven't we heard them all before? Haven't we made those promises to ourselves all before! It is usually an epic fail, well in one case my 2012 New Year's resolution was to lose weight and on the 2nd January 2013 I was told my weight was too low to be managed in the community and I would need to be admitted as an inpatient for anorexia, surely that counts right? No, no? I guess it was pushing it hehe (NB. I know inpatient treatment and anorexia are both very serious issues, I am not devaluing them in any way, but I just find humour helps me cope!).
So I digress, the last couple of years I haven't made many resolutions, obviously in January 2013 it was to recover from my eating disorder, but generally I am not one for New Year's resolutions anymore. After reading Lord Still Loves Me blog post and watching the BBC News this morning, has inspired me to reflect on my 2015 and to think about the year ahead.
In some ways I have had a lovely year, in my last blog post (you know the one I lost ahem) I wrote about all the amazing things that had happened and it really made me appreciate some of the positive good times.
My sister and I went to Venice...finally! This is a trip which has been in the pipeline for a long time, we have been wanting to go for such a long time and we finally did it. It was an amazing couple of days, we sampled the local delicacy (ice cream) and did all the tourist activities such as taking a gondola ride, I know we are super cool!

My boyfriend R and I celebrated at our first anniversary together, which was lovely. We also went on holiday to Thailand in November, which was an epic experience!

I achieved my greatest work accomplishment and as a result of my new found confidence, I changed job roles at work and essentially managed to seek and get a promotion! Which has been stressful and rewarding all at the same time, but I wouldn't change it for the world.
My best friend had a gorgeous baby girl a few days before Christmas and I cannot wait to meet and spoil her loads!
These are just some of the highlights, but yes there has definitely been some good times. Of course my relapse into anorexia has been difficult and can often taint many of the happy memories, to be honest most times it made situations to be harder and more anxiety provoking. It hasn't all been sunshine and ice creams (although that was fun too!).
So what am I hoping for the New Year? Recovery. When? I am not sure, but I am hopeful. It may be stupid blind hope, but it is hope and I am clinging onto it.
So my questions for you today are:
  • What are your thoughts on New Year's?
  • Do you make New Year's resolutions?
  • What are your New Year's resolutions for 2016?
  • Do you have any plans for New Year's eve?

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Pity posts, me feeling sorry for myself

So this blog has become a sort of diary so I apologise in advance if these entries seem pointless and repetitive. So Christmas was manageable food wise, I am not going to sit here and boast about how it was a great recovery win or gloss over the day. It was tough but I managed to get through it. I'm not going to say what I ate but I know recovery wise it wasn't a great success. To be honest I am so glad it's finished, the sense of relief is overwhelming, I feel a lot better. That's a horrible way to think but it's true.

I can't sit here and pretend I am happy, while my mood isn't bad at the moment. I am tired. Tired of living in this eating disorder of the feelings of cold and hunger. Unlike some people who suffer from anorexia I don't rejoice at feeling hungry. While a full and bursting tummy is hard to deal with, feeling hunger isn't enjoyable for me I don't feel better for feeling empty and the churning inside my stomach like a washing machine. It's painful, no matter how much people try to sugar coat it that they  "enjoy" it, it's horrible. A feeling where I am so hungry I could cry because I just want to eat but I can't because it feels so out of bounds. There is nothing great or to be celebrated about that.

I spoke to my sister about becoming a day patient and she thinks it's a must and by not going I am just going to end up in hospital again. Which of course would be far worse, at least this way I can sleep in my own bed which is a major positive for me! I feel better knowing I have her support, she has tried so hard to understand this disorder and she really does get it! She understand that this isn't what I want and this hold, almost a block, stops me from acting. It's like I want to reach out and my hand just hits a glass wall, I can see it and I am close enough to think it's attainable, but my hand crashes into the glass, I can bang and bang as much as I want but I can't get out, no one can get to me and I can't get to them.

I want this nightmare to stop, but this post is a very woeful me. Only I can take action, only I can make those changes! I need to take responsibility and make the changes. I hate myself because I am acting like I have no say in this because I do! I'm being a hypocrite. I am acting like all the people I get angry with and want to shake and say just try. Nothing changes unless you try, try to make changes. 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas eve and update

So yesterday I went to visit the day unit at the clinic. It is based in the same hospital as where I have received inpatient, outpatient and rehabilitation care for my eating disorder, but luckily it is in a different building. I met with J who showed me around the different rooms. The building is shared with other mental health services, which is different to the previous ones I have used which were just purely for eating disorders, however other conditions such as personality disorders are treated there also. I am not sure why this is important for me to write, I guess I am just trying to set some context!

Anyways so J showed me round the facilities, unsurprisingly there is a kitchen with a dining table. This has basic facilities, microwave, kettle, toaster and I am not sure but maybe a cooker. I didn't get a close enough look. There is then the art therapy room, which is no longer used for art therapy and is used for more general sessions. The group room, where patients would spend the majority of their time, this opens up to a little square garden which is quite nice, in case you want some fresh air, but doesn't lead directly back to the hospital grounds, if that makes sense!

Finally and most importantly not least there is the treatment room, where the scales sit. Hmm, no other explanation needed there.

We ran through the program and it is what you would expect if you have ever been in anymore intense treatment before. The day looks a little something like this:
10 am start - Morning snack
  • 10:30 am - Group
  • 12 pm - Head to the canteen to buy lunch
  • 12:15 - Eat lunch
  • 1 pm - post lunch supervision
  • 1:30 pm - Group
  • 3 pm - Afternoon snack
  • 3:30 pm - End of the day
To me the timetable sounds quite full on. Everyday attending the hospital for a full day of eating and groups. Do not get me wrong, I work full time and understand the pressures of everyday life but even this daunts me.

On Tuesdays we sit in the Canteen to help us practise eating in public. Every other Thursday we do social eating at a restaurant and every other Friday we do snack, shop and cook with the Occupational Therapist. You would also meet with your key worker and the dietitian once a week.

There is a contract you have to sign agreeing to the term and conditions of the program, including a minimum weekly weight gain, which interestingly is lower then what is expected as an inpatient. Which is good because they take into account the physical activity, while when you are inpatient you are kept sedentary. I have even found where I have tried to make increases myself, my weight hasn't sky rocketed just because I am continuing with every day life. Travelling to and from work, looking after my flat and going out on my daily activities actually takes up a lot of energy, which we definitely underestimate. Do not get me wrong, I sit a lot as well. After a day at work, I physically do not have the energy to contemplate exercising or anything else.  

Anyways I am rambling, so my initial thoughts? I wanted to run away screaming, but not for the reasons you would think. It isn't the eating which scares me, okay that is a lie of course it does, but that isn't my initial reaction. I would be signed off work for three months and then be doing a three month phased return. I do not want to be signed off work again, I did this already being signed off for six months when I was an inpatient but that was almost three years ago now.

Also I do not want to eat that food. Yes it is about food but hang on a minute let me finish, I want to be able to eat the food I want and not be dictated by what the hospital offers and what the canteen is serving that day. If I want Belvita biscuits for morning snack, great! If I want chicken and cous cous salad for lunch, yep fab! I want to be able to do this by myself, but I guess I have proved time and time again, that I can't.

So my new plan was to introduce a snack again, like how I was working with my dietitian T before she put me on pause. Then I introduce another snack and slowly build up to the new meal plan I had formulated. So great I now have reinstated my plan, so let me start! When do I start doing this awesome new plan?

Erm...and that is when the excuses come in. Well I need X snacks so I can't start today. Well it is Christmas today and it is all unknown food so I can't do it then. I will start next week. And so the excuses started.

I just need that initial push and I think after that I will be okay almost that I need someone to help me a long and once I have that momentum I will be fine! I think three months is far too long for me, maybe I can ask for a couple of weeks, maybe I should have done refocusing instead which is a shorter term solution where you spend two days a week at the hospital. I said no, because I didn't think it would work for me.

I don't know what to do :(

I will end there.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas - I know the holidays can be hard, trust me I know, but I hope you have a nice day whatever you are doing.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!!

Good afternoon all,
I can't seem to change my settings to the actual time I am posting my blogs, so while here it is 12 pm in the afternoon, I am not quite sure what time stamp will be posted!
So it is kind of hard to miss that Christmas is well on it's way, it is definitely the main topic of conversation and I think it is even beating talking about the weather! Which I think if you are from England, is quite a rare occurrence. So while everyone is discussing festivities and Christmas shopping, well all know it isn't quite the humbug of what it is meant to be.
Forgetting for a moment the immense social pressure on people to spend money and for those who fall in financial debt because of this (don't even get me started, as I will go on for days about this!).
Anyways this blog post isn't to enlight you about how to survive Christmas with an eating disorder because while I think this is a very important topic, many other bloggers have covered this far better than I ever could. I would recommend checking out:
So back to the main topic of this blog post, Christmas. To say I am stressed and not looking forward to it pretty sums it up! Previous years I have put myself through unpleasant events such as sitting at Christmas dos when I have been seriously ill and cried all the way home on the phone to my sister and where I have managed the work dos and Christmas days with anxiety but definitely a lot happier. So this year, I couldn't bear to put myself through it so I avoided the Christmas do like the plague and now I am contemplating Christmas. It would be fine if I were still going to my boyfriend's parent's house for the traditional dinner I could manage that, but nope we are going to his brother's house to enjoy Christmas with his wife and parent-in-laws and such others. This is where the food is unknown, I can't escape easily as it is not close by and I will be expected to keep up a level of conversation and expectation of food consumption. Don't get me wrong normally I am a very sociable person I love talking, but also I know when I am in the mist of my eating disorder I struggle, it takes so much energy. Also the food - did I mention it is unknown, I also can't deal with the nice gestures of people telling me to eat more or I HAVE TO HAVE PUDDING. I just want it to stop.
The alternative is spending it my sister, her other half and his son. I love my sister and spend a lot of time with her so this is great. I love her so much and she is so understanding that she has my safe food already sitting in her house "just in case" I do want to come for Christmas or even just stay for dinner one day. I want to be able to spend Christmas day with my boyfriend like a normal person, go see my sister in the morning for cuddles and presents and head off with my boyfriend in the afternoon.
I don't have the energy to think about this and I just keep hoping it will go away, which isn't like me I plan and plan and plan and plan, until I am going round in circles, but I just want to be left alone at the moment. I don't care if I am on my own on the day and just treating it as normal, this isn't a happy occasion and I am not in a happy place right now, but is that just being selfish? I think so.
Anyways this is more of a word vomit more than anything.
I saw my therapist yesterday and I am meeting the lady who runs the day program tomorrow let us call her J. J is going to show me round and see if it is for me. My therapist, A, called me out yesterday about my hesitancy to make any changes because I am just waiting for the day program to start, she is right, but I also feel ashamed that she pick up on this. A also informed me that we are more than a third through our sessions and it would make more sense if I was seeing her while I was making changes so she can support me. Apparently I am only allowed a maximum of 20 sessions to help me through a disorder I have had for 17 years, you got to love the NHS! The thing is I don't have the energy right now to make those changes, the anxiety and emotion is so overwhelming that most of the time I am just trying to get through each day. In comparison my weight isn't even that bad compared to the past but my mindset is the same.
None of this even makes sense, I am just ranting, I think I best stop now!
Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Some of my favourite recovery blogs...

These are my favourite blogs to read about recovery, they're people I can relete to and give me motivation to keep going...

Dream, recovery, live - is written by Sarah Robo, she is of a similar age to me and documents about her battle beating an eating disorder. I can releate a lot of what she writes about with her struggles. My therapist at inpatient recommended I read her blog and thought Sarah was somebody whose words I could connect with. He said a lot of what Sarah said was similar to what I said in my sessions. I was intrigued and started following her journey.

Lord still loves me  - Julia is well known within the recovery community, she has used the Minnie maud guidelines to help her recover from her eating disorder. She is still in recovery but fighting even day. This girl is a true inspiration to us all, her motivation and energy is contagious. Julia has a fantastic energy about her and honest I look forward to her updates! P.S Julia is the infamous created of pint parties! 

Write, smile, dream - Sophie is a young woman battling her eating disorder. She is fighting her way through anorexia and type one diabetes. Sophie is currently going through an extremely difficult time and could really do with all the support she could get right now. A truly inspirational girl who puts into words so poetically the daily struggles she faces. 

So what's different about this time...

it's slowly dawning on me how much of my life I've wasted on this stupid illness. For the majority of which I genuinely didn't realise I had a problem. For nearly 13 years I lived with this disorder and was convinced did by myself with the help of my mother that I was a very normal happy girl. I was told I was so lucky to have such a fortunate life. I wasn't even diagnosed until I was 26 even though I have been underweight since I was 14, restricting since I was 12 and having my GP and other medical professionals telling me all my physical issues were due to being underweight. When I was younger my mother would smile and say that I ate like a horse "you wouldn't say that if you saw the amount of chocolate she puts away" and "I monitor what she eats, she is just naturally thin". I wasn't though and it wasn't until I sought help myself. I spoke to my counsellor about it and she referred me to the eating disorder service I thought it was an extreme reaction. Anyways I was seen for a little bit and soon after admitted to the EDU.

Now I'm reaching 30 and still this remains an issue. I feel like it's not fair I realised so late. I'm now in the middle of a relapse it's still early days. Although I have a fantastic team at the moment who are concerned which is nice. I received a call yesterday and I'm being called in by the day unit service to come and have a look around and find out more about it. See if it is "for me". Then assessed in the new year. Signed off work for 3 months, am I really going to do this again. I promised myself last time I would never go down this route again, what is different this time? I know things are no where near as bad but still I'm doing it again being signed off work and spending my days at a hospital. What have I done? What am I doing? How can I trust myself?

I had this romantic idea of doing recovery again, I imagined eating chocolate, ice cream and chips. I also imagined recovering healthy and learning all about nourishing my body. I am so scared and I hate that my first thoughts are that I am not sick enough and that I need to lose more. Comments like that from other people infuriate me? Why would you want to lose more you will just need to gain it back, I want to scream! This is about getting better. I am such a hypocrite I hate what I've become...

Friday, 27 November 2015

Thailand, recovery and motivation

Hello all,

I say all but that is me assuming anyone is even reading this blog!

So on Tuesday I got back from Thailand, an epic 10 days of sun, sea and sand. I went with my boyfriend and it was our first time it being just us two on holiday so I was slightly worried. Last year we spent 2 weeks in America, which was more of a concern as we had only been together for 6 months at this point! That was fine and we stayed and met-up with loads of his family which help to break it up. I know long periods of time with me isn't always fun.

I was so excited to go but also quite scared about the food choices especially given my recent situation. I have been working with my dietican T to start implementing morning and afternoon snack back into my diet and formulating a new meal plan. It was going well and I had somehow developed a lot of motivation to keep going, the problem with motivation is that it doesn't last for long. I have started panicking around food, which is difficult, these are feelings and emotions I thought I had dealt with but suffering from panic attacks again has been quite scary especially since I thought those days were behind me. A few days into the holiday I realised that I was going to continue feeling this way until I changed something, so again I increased my intake and felt great. Towards the end the thoughts became unbearable and thus I am at this place where TW my morning snack has disappeared and I am unfortunately tracking everything back into MyFitnessPal. I will warn you that there will be triggering comments on here, while I will never refer directly to weight or calories and stay clear of numbers, unfortunately it is the reality of an eating disorder and the stage I am at now.
I had my therapist appointment the day after I arrived home. A and I spoke about a lot of different things including a leave of absence from work. I will admit work feels so overwhelming at the moment but I also have issues of spending time alone, which we are working on. A thought because I am struggling so much with my intake and the thoughts that the day patient program may be helpful for me.
Now while my BMI is not healthy I am nowhere near as ill as I was before, I am still very far away from my lowest weight. I am starting to think I shouldn't go to day patient, I know it is more of a preventative measure they do not want me to be admitted and neither do I, but I am scared about going into this program and not being "ill" enough. I hate that I am having these thoughts, but I guess being told by the services I am not ill enough is hard, they are trying to help but I am taking it the wrong way. I don't even know if it will be open to me yet, it is only in discussion, the last time I went to see my consultant, it was suggested I wasn't bad enough for day patient and my weight has remained pretty stable since then as I have been trying to increase my intake.
Otherwise Thailand was amazing and really did remind me why recovery is so worth it, the beautiful beaches and snorkling in the sea. It makes you really think how much of a world is out there beyond your eating disorder.
I just feel stuck, stuck in wanting to move and scared to let go because I feel like I only ever get help when I am ill.
So while I doubt anyone is reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts about what you think of day patient programs or if you think doing it as an outpatient is better? Also what motivates you to stay in recovery?

Monday, 9 November 2015

Good morning

Good morning,

I don't anticipate this to be a blog that is read, as much as I would like to share my story with people I highly doubt anyone will want to read this. I am bored of the endless thoughts in my head so I don't know why anyone else will want to read it!

I have suffered from anorexia since I was 12 years old, I am now 29. A few years ago I was admitted into an eating disorder unit for nine months after a bad period in my life. I left, had some blips but generally was doing a lot better, I would say I was in quasi-recovery but definitely making some positive changes and hey I was out of hospital. I was just at the point where the eating disorder unit were going to discharge me from outpatient care, I was given a break from the service to see how I would cope. Unfortunately I relapsed, with the threats of hospital admissions and all of that looming over me, I decided I didn't want to follow that route anymore. I wanted to leave anorexia in my 20s it wasn't something I wanted to continue into my 30s. So I am in recovery trying to regain the weight, which is a lot harder when you are an outpatient, when no one is forcing you and I am having to continue with my everyday life of going to work and managing day to day activities, but I want to keep fighting on.

I thought I was immune to relapse I was determined in my head that it would NEVER happen to me. I wouldn't be like the rest, but I was cocky, professionals told me I will always be vulnerable, but I didn't listen, now I realise they were right.

So I wanted a place to vent, to recall my story, as I head into the last 6 months of my 20s wanting to leave anorexia there and get on with the rest of my life.