My disorder may not be ‘culturally popular’, but it still exists

One of my recurring negative voices is “you never did anorexia probably, you were never thin enough, you were never sick enough, bulimia is an eating disorder to be embarrassed about, you couldn’t even do anorexia properly, no one cares about a bulimic etc etc etc.

I’ve never quite got rid of this voice, and while I can recognise it as not having a useful place in my life, it’s always like a low hum in the background.

Every now and again something happens to crank up the volume on it and today it was this:

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 19.48.16

This headline came up on my news feed (yes I need to clear my browsing history so the internet stops highlighting this stuff). It is is the relation to the the new BBC3 show ‘Overshadowed’ which while very good, and important, is the latest addition to a recent wave of anorexia shows/films.

I read it and thought to myself, you know what, actually we need to be talking about other eating disorders. We need to be talking about bulimia. We need to be talking about binge eating disorder. We need to be talking about the atypical presentations of anorexia and bulimia, we need to be talking about unspecified eating disorders.

We need to be talking about the disorders that are not a priority for treatment funding or research funding. We need to be talking about the eating disorders that the very people who suffer with them don’t even want to talk about. We need to normalise these illnesses to take away the insufferable immense deep dark shame that they can result in. I will talk about my periods of anorexia, but I won’t talk about how I would drive out of town to a supermarket to not be caught buying binge food. I will tell you about how cold I was when restricting, but we won’t discuss details of how to throw up into a plastic bag in your wardrobe without it leaking. I sought help when my weight reached a magical threshold that might make people pay attention, but no one would comment on my over-exercise if my thighs and belly are wobbling when I run. I cannot verbalise ‘I have an eating disorder’ at the moment because I am far too afraid that the response from a person who is educated by media such as above will be ‘but you’re not thin’.

Then, just to wind me up even more, I saw this:

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 19.48.57

Yes- it’s that hoodie. The slogan is wholly inappropriate, no one will disagree about that. Yet I’ve been more disappointed by the articles that have been written about it. I know I know these are quickly written response to capture a passing barely-news story but the fact that anorexia is the default go-to just reinforces that negative voice. Most of the stories are about how this hoody trivialises anorexia, how it’s disrespectful to people with anorexia, how anorexia is far more than self-control, about how we need to educate people about anorexia more. Throughout this, there are barely any referencing to bulimia. The hoody is far more insulting to the illness of bulimia but no one seems to want to talk about that – but is that again due to the shame that the illness can carry – that we’re far less likely to raise our hands and say ‘bulimia sucks too (and I have it)’.

Okay, rant over, I just needed to get the crazy out of my head. I know this is something I have to work on, and I’m aware the above rant is definitely not a well-researched critical appraisal of modern media- it is just my thoughts going ‘arrrrgggghhhh’.

Good night all x

 

 

Advertisements

This isn’t what I wanted for my life 

I go to bed tonight with a sore throat, a heavy heart, wet eyes and bleeding skin.

This isn’t what I wanted for my life. I thought I was stronger than this right now. I thought if I kept fighting it would be okay.

I know this is just a knock. I know it’s a bad day, a bad night. I know I will wake up tomorrow regretful but renewed. I know I will keep going, but right now I can’t help but think that this is not what I wanted for my life. It doesn’t matter though, what I think tonight, what matters is tomorrow morning getting up and facing it all again. 

I will wake up in the morning and face it all again because that is what recovery is, step by step, day by day. What you do everyday matters more than what you do once in a while, and everyday I shall try. 

Tonight will pass and tomorrow will come, at least I can be sure of that.

A pledge to myself

I’m going out for dinner with friends tonight and I’ve been super anxious about it. I’m really trying not to purge at the moment but going out for meals is always a difficult one. 

I don’t want to eat too much and then purge.

I don’t want to not eat enough so that I come home and binge and purge. 

I don’t want to drink too much that my mood plummets.

I want to be able to enjoy time with my friends and not be obsessing over food//weight/body thoughts. 

I’m in a panic trying to find something to wear that I feel comfortable with and I’ve already made myself late. 

Some days I can breeze through this, and some days like today it just really gets me. These are good friends. Both know about my ED history and one is aware it’s a little more current than historic at the moment, I don’t know if that’s why. The reason doesn’t really matter though as I am going to 

-get dressed 

-show up

-eat

-laugh

-be mindful  of drinking 

-not purge 

That’s my pledge to myself for tonight! 

Saturday night at the supermarket

Today I’m just sharing a win with you guys. Short version: I bought a rice pot, I didn’t binge or purge,I feel like a superhero.

I was at a friend’s house for tea and cake yesterday late afternoon. It was at an awkward time so threw me a bit in terms of meal planning. I had planned on having my afternoon snack there and was going to have a slice of cake as she bakes amazing cakes and I feel safe eating her stuff. 

I had the cake and then also had quite a few candied nuts. They weren’t on the plan but I’d never tried them and once I had one the ‘danger binge coming’ switch went on. 

I rationalised with myself that I would make the cakes and nuts my dinner as one solution (hello restricting ED), but I was worried that I’d be setting myself up for a rough day tomorrow as my body does not like any restriction at the moment.

Then I thought that I was planning on going to the supermarket anyway afterwards so I could buy something quick to binge on and purge everything (oh yes hello binging ED’s twisted mind where the solution to eating too much is eating more?)

By time I got the the supermarket I hadn’t quite made up my mind what to do. It was dangerous me being there but I had run out of key foods at home and have study plans for today (Sunday) so I really didn’t want to have to go to supermarket then. 

I walked down the aisles in the supermarket contemplating what to do. I really didn’t want to binge/purge and feel rough the next day, yet I was feeling so guilty about the nuts and yet also knowing that they weren’t enough for dinner that I was exposing myself to a binge later anyway. 

Eventually I realise that I could strike a balance, I could get a ‘treat’ for tea that would satisfy the binge urges but not makes me need to purge. I picked up a fresh lentil rice pot quick meal, I would never buy these normally as I don’t buy ready meals and they are £3 for something I can make myself for far less, but I knew I wouldn’t go home and make a proper dinner so I bought it along with the other stuff I needed. It felt rebellious buying the rice pot because I’d never had one before but it was a safe meal in terms of calories and was actually nutritious food. 

It felt powerful making a good decision. I was smiling to myself thinking how far I have come, that I could now be in a supermarket with the opportunity to either restrict or binge/purge and that I am choosing neither. I was literally grinning to myself! I came home and cooked the rice pot and ate it mindfully at the table and then had some fruit for dessert and then watched some Netflix before falling into bed content with my decision making. 

This morning’s self is very grateful to last night’s self for making a good choice and setting me up well for the day. 

Recovery is one win at a time, and all the baby steps are starting to join together. Hurrah!

A near miss

I just nearly got caught purging after a mini-binge. Probably one of the closest misses I’ve had. I was in the bathroom finishing when I heard my mum get home. The evidence was on my bed still, had she not being bringing in the shopping I would have been caught. 

I was racking my brains for a lie and realised I couldn’t come up with one. There was a split second when I thought I would just have to admit it and whatever fall-out would come, would come. But then I heard her go back out to the car and I had time to cover my tracks. 

She’s gone straight out again now, leaving me to unpack the shopping, and calm myself down. I feel horrible, not just from the binging but from the secrecy and the deviousness that this illness brings out in me. 

I have done 3 days of full meal plan and yet I still binged. My counsellor reassures me then when I eliminate restriction the binging will stop, but it’s tough to believe it on days like this. However, I know keeping moving forward is the only way to avoid feeling like this again. For now I just need to breathe and calm down! 

“It’s not a safe food”

I had a very honest moment with my friend today. She bought us ‘breakfast muffins’ for breakfast this morning. I looked at them and had the immediate panic of do I a) refuse and it be awkward 2) eat and purge 3) eat and try not purge 4) eat some of it and then panic about eating the rest 5) eat some of it, then binge later as the resisting was too much, and then purge….. and so on and so on….

She noticed my face and asked if I didn’t like them – I was going to say no but before I could, I admitted that I did. She said have one then – so I said I would have a small piece. She said no have a whole one and before I knew it I was saying ‘it’s not a safe food’.

She asked me what that meant (aside- imagine a world where safe foods/ danger foods do not exist!What?!) and I paused and then admitted- it’s the kind of thing that I would eat 10 off and then need to be sick. She looked shocked. I guess understanding it in theory and me saying it out loud is different. She asked me should she not eat such stuff in front of me, or not offer it to me. That made me sad, as while that would avoid the issue for now that is not real life. I told her that me learning to eat just a little is a good thing.

It was sobering to realise that purging is so shocking to some people, and yet so mundane to me. I don’t want purging to be part of my life- or at most the smallest part as I can make it. It was mortifying to admit out loud that I would binge (although I still avoided using that word) but it was important too.

I am not a lesser person because I have binged. I am not a lesser person because I have purged. I am doing my best with what circumstances I find myself in. That is all I can do at any one time.

But I do want to take this moment to say to any of you that is ashamed of your binging and/or your purging. This is an illness. It is not a weakness. I am not judging you – because judging myself would not be helpful. It is not our fault we have the urges, but it is within us to change things. Sufficient consistent eating, everything in moderation, self-care, reaching out…we are worth it.

Normalising over-indulgence

Tonight I ate sweets. Quite a lot of sweets, of the mini kind (stupid left over halloween sweets – I’m getting them out of the house tomorrow whether my boyfriend likes it or not!).

It was definitely a lot of sweets, and I definitely wasn’t hungry for them. I ate the first few for the taste of sugar, and then the next few as crazy ED brain goes ‘binge binge binge then you can purge them and that will purge dinner too then everything will be right with the world’.

Then I stopped. I could feel myself eating them in a way that was harmful to me and I gone beyond enjoyment. A small amount is a pleasure, but it’s a fine line before I do it in a way that makes me feel crap about myself. So I stopped and then had to deal with the full feelings that came.

I have over-indulged. But that’s okay. That happens sometimes. It’s a normal thing that occurs for people every now and again. I could purge, and believe me there’s a large bit of me that wants to, but then all I’m doing is teaching my brain and body that over-indulgence requires purging. And it doesn’t- this is a revelation to me! I over-indulged….so what?! I will digest it, this is not my everyday diet, I won’t balloon, it makes no difference to the good work that I did with the children today, or the nice date night time I had with my boyfriend, or the afternoon I had planned with friends tomorrow. I am not a bad person because I over-indulged. Even if you’re reading this thinking ‘oh I would never do that’ that’s fine-but it doesn’t make you a better person. What we eat or don’t eat has nothing to do with our contribution to mankind.

I am normalising my over-indulgence and I am going to bed on another day where reason triumphed over ED. Night all!