When your Anorexia is screaming at you to lose weight again (or something equally unhelpful you’ve worked so hard to stop) remember this….

Would you talk to someone the way you talk to yourself?

Really?

Didn’t think so.

But you don’t understand. I’m different. I deserve this.

Maybe you don’t see it right now but those thoughts are the illness. I’m having them as well. We are in this together stranger.

You are no different. Nothing you have done or ever will do warrants the way this illness makes you treat yourself. You are perfect how you are. I don’t know you but I do know that. I also know that you’ve probably heard this all before BUT there is no arguing with this- you really don’t deserve this whether you can believe it now or not.

And that is exactly my point. You cannot argue with this illness. I’m sure there are a million and one things you could come up. I am sure you could describe in detail why you should do X, Y or Z. Plus it would only be once, right? It wouldn’t be that bad if you just….

STOP.

When someone is angry and shouting at you they aren’t really in the mood for a sensible debate. I am yet to meet someone who is better at talking sense when they are @*&%ed off.

Walk away. Come back to it if you need to. Now isn’t a great time to make a decision methinks.

You have come a long way and now isn’t the time to turn back.

Love, strength and hugs stranger,

Madasanegg

 

 

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When your Anorexia is screaming at you to lose weight again (or something equally unhelpful you’ve worked so hard to stop) remember this….

What to do on difficult days in recovery

Today has been a difficult day in recovery.

All I’ve wanted to do is to go back to what I used to think was the answer; focusing on food and weight, because today they weren’t what I ‘used to think’, today they really did feel like the answer.

Many professionals will tell you that on a difficult day you need to get out your box of ‘recovery tools’ and remind yourself of all of the things you have learnt.

What the professional don’t always tell you is that on these days sometimes the illness is so strong that you want to shout “screw recovery, it’s too friggin difficult and it isn’t worth it anyway”.

The last thing you want to do is force yourself to sit down and go over a list of ‘reasons to get better’ and in fact you are so firmly in self destruct mode you intentionally don’t do what you know you need to do.

The reality is, within all of us is the knowledge of what we need to get well and what we need to do. No amount of forcing yourself to get well is going to work if you don’t want to get better. It’s a hard fact to swallow (pardon the pun) but one which is ultimately uplifting when you realise that you do want to get better, even on the bad days.

I can choose to not eat and I can choose the live my life how I used to but fairy-tales of simplicity and mindless oblivion aside, I know I was desperately, desperately unhappy. All I need to do is look back on the few blog posts I managed to hash together during that time to get a small glimpse of the hell I was spiralling towards. The memories of it are so much sharper and painful.

So what did I do on my difficult day? Nothing. I didn’t read anything I had written to myself, I didn’t throw myself passionately into thinking how great life would be without this illness and I didn’t think about what I had to lose if I got sick again.

I just went through the motions and did what I had to do. No overthinking and contemplating. I just did what I always do now that I am recovering because eating is non negotiable these days and going back is not an option.

And what have I learnt? I don’t have to force myself into recovery because I want recovery. A difficult day hasn’t knocked me or taken that away. I have times where relapse seems like a good idea but I know (and more importantly cannot forget) that it isn’t.

I want to get better and if you are reading this, I have a feeling at least a part of you wants to as well. That part isn’t going to go, even if you lose site of it for a while on a difficult day.

Bring on tomorrow!

Keep fighting,

Madasanegg

What to do on difficult days in recovery

Leaving Eating Disorder Inpatient Treatment

I have come a long way but I am not where I want to be.

I’m not ready to leave but I can’t stay here.

I want my life back  but what is my life going to look like?

I am petrified but I am excited. One minute I am high on the prospect of buying pegs, the next minute I’m crushingly low when I realise that I’m perched awkwardly bang smack in the middle of all of the things that made me sick in the first place.

Everything is new and with that comes moments of utter joy (think waking up to your cat licking your face and fresh PJ’s in YOUR OWN freshly made bed…..oh and purchasing pegs because you can hang your washing out these days) and utter panic (think the realisation that you and solely you are responsible for your life)

Leaving hospital is like having your roots firmly planted back in soil that has the potential to not give you the nourishment that you need. I’m not talking food here; I’m talking purpose and direction in life, close bonds and people that you can share your deepest darkest emotions, experiences and fears with; people that automatically ‘get it’ without you needing to start explaining from scratch.

You need to and have to (if you don’t want to live your life desperately unhappy) totally change the way you do everything. That can leave you feeling alone, incredibly anxious and overwhelmed whilst you try and juggle the practicalities of what you need to do whilst you….

Change how you deal with emotions. Change how much pressure you put on yourself. Change how you relate to yourself and others. Change the need to be strong and independent all the time and the reluctance to ask for help. Change how you talk to yourself (think you are bloomin on this girl/ you got this/ I think you need a bloomin break- the use of the word ‘bloomin’ is purely optional BUT….

Keeping up doing things differently, keeping up being gentle on yourself and taking your time to find new sources of nourishment in old soil ARE NOT OPTIONAL.

Yes, you can opt out of your meal plan and slip into behaviours that momentarily help. You can slide quickly or slowly back into an illness that sometimes seems to offer you the answers for life difficulties. You can do what you like (here comes that complete sense of panic again) If you get ill again the person it matters for is YOU. Do this for yourself. Try something new because the old got you to….well lets just say, the old didn’t get you wandering happily to a shop to buy pegs listening to 90’s cheesy pop with an utterly ridiculous grin on your face.

Love and hope for your journey,

Madasanegg Xx

 

Leaving Eating Disorder Inpatient Treatment

Relapse

If I was to weigh my sense of humour, I’m pretty certain that some of it will have slipped away; that the scale will weigh lighter than before. The eating disorder is back at full strength. I am relapsing and I cannot even be sure if I care. Or at least I don’t want to care.

But I do….

I don’t want to spend my time weighing cherry tomatoes.

I want to achieve something more worthwhile than laxative induced piles.

I want to eat a pea knowing that I will never see it again, hell I want to eat a whole portion of peas knowing I will never see them again.

I know zombie films are in but I want to look less like I died and accidentally carried on.

I want to be able to talk without fearing I am wafting sick fumes up peoples nostrils like smoke signals.

I want my smile back.

I want my smile back knowing that it isn’t being slowly erased by stomach acid and diet coke.

I want my sense of humour back.

I want to eat.

I want to live.

Relapse

Food for thought

Sometimes when I am sad I squirt barbecue sauce straight into my mouth. I don’t know what I expect this to achieve but it seems to be my default position. Barbecue sauce and the boiler cupboard. One or the other. Or heck, if things are really bad then I might even simultaneously seal myself in the boiler cupboard and feverishly consume barbecue sauce in the darkness. Multitasking at its finest.

When I think about it I am not sure I even like barbecue sauce.

But I don’t think about that at the time.

I’m pretty sure not thinking is exactly the point.

A long, long time ago in the days where I believed a Penguin was just a chocolate biscuit, 7 year old me discovered an ability which does not appear to have left me to this day. The ability to discreetly ingest an abnormally large amount of food and dispose of the wrappers down the side of the sofa or push them firmly into the soil of an unsuspecting flower pot.

Not that I do that these days. Abnormally large amount of food; yes. Wrappers buried beneath my cactus; no. And this isn’t just because I don’t own a cactus.

What I mean is that one thing stays the same. The secrecy. The shame. The “I appear to have eaten all of the edible items in my house” moment.

The word ‘binge’ is tinged with the taste of guilt. It is the sort of word which I find hard not to whisper. The sort of word that brings with it loud and difficult questions.

Where has all the cheese gone? Don’t you realise I have other children to feed? Why is there a collection of Penguin wrappers gathered under my chrysanthemum?

I shy away from the years I have spent eating away the emotions I just can’t deal with. I hide them out of sight.

Over the last 10 years I have fitted myself neatly into more of the ‘categories’ of weight and eating disorder diagnoses than I care to admit. I have moved between them. Backwards and forwards. Over and over.

Binge eating. That’s where I rest now. A potent and private world of self-disgust and hatred. Feelings which I felt I could ‘solve’ if only I could stop. I stopped. I starved myself instead. It didn’t go.

After years of different eating disorders, different labels and different words; each attempting to describe the chain which links food and emotion in my mind, I have decided that that they aren’t so different after all. You feed yourself too little- you aren’t looking after yourself. You feed yourself too much- you aren’t looking after yourself. So why do we beat ourselves up? If you ask me regularly and silently filling yourself up with food to the point that your stomach feels like it’s going to burst, to the point that you want to cry or to the point that you don’t even taste the food you are eating; that isn’t something to give yourself a hard time over.

Each time when I find myself in the boiler cupboard with only a newly empty bottle of barbecue sauce for company, there is very little else to do other than say out loud “default position” and have a laugh at myself. I stand up brush myself down and wander into the bathroom and run myself a warm bath. Sometimes I binge. That’s OK. It has to be because I’m not ready to stop. Beating myself up more isn’t going to help. I’ve done that enough already….

After all, I’m not even sure I like barbecue sauce.

Food for thought

A puzzle induced epiphany

Puzzle induced epiphanies aren’t an everyday occurrence in my life but today, sitting on the floor putting a particularly difficult puzzle together I had one. Or rather I had two. The first was along the lines of “I could be outside enjoying the sun but instead I am spending my Sunday slotting oddly shaped pieces of a pig picture back together. I should go outside.” The second was slightly more helpful and marginally more profound.

Stay with me on this….. A puzzle is kind of like recovery.

There was a point in my life when I didn’t know who I was. I was defined my eating disorder. I wanted people to see it rather than me. I wanted to hide behind it because underneath my calm exterior and my togetherness I didn’t want to face the fact that I was falling apart. That in fact I had no idea who I was or what I wanted from life. That I was tired of getting hurt and it was easier to hide. That things that that had happened in my life and the chaos of my eating disorder had left me feeling a bit like a scrambled egg…..Or a box of puzzle pieces.

I’m not saying that underneath my eating disorder I’m a dismantled portrait of a pig but instead that….

  1. I have no idea if all the pieces are there.

I broke the golden rule of Puzzling (Yes there are golden rules). Never buy a puzzle from a charity shop. You will get towards the end and realise that a face is missing an eye, a flower is missing a petal or a landscape is missing an.…erm….bit of landscape. When you set out finding out who you are without your illness you just have to trust that if you keep going then you will start to emerge. Trusting that isn’t easy, especially when….

               2.  You have no instructions.

Nobody can tell you what you will be like. You aren’t going to be the person that you were before you got ill. You learn so much about yourself; deep stuff (I am passionate about people having a voice, I want to use my experiences to help other people and I never give up no matter how bad things get) and not so deep stuff (I love standing on my sofa dancing to Chumbawumba- Tubthumping.) There are so many things to gain in recovery but you also have to face that…..

               3.  Some bits don’t fit

I like a challenge and, in a moment of madness (among many) I thought it was a good idea to get a puzzle which had some extra pieces which look like they should fit but just don’t. Much like this, there are things in my life which I wanted so desperately to keep hold of but they just don’t fit with who I am anymore. A close friend of mine just couldn’t accept that I was getting better. We had bonded at a time when things were really hard for both of us and neither of us wanted to accept that we were drifting apart. No matter how hard, sometimes you have to let go of things rather than mashing them in where they don’t belong. Which brings me nicely onto my next point which is….

                4. I’ve lost pieces

Years after began a Snoopy puzzle (You are getting the wrong impression of me, just to set the record straight, I’m not actually an avid puzzler!) I found a piece inside a sock. Who knows how it got there or if I had worn this sock since, what I am trying to say is that things get lost along the way. One of the hardest things that I have lost during my illness and subsequent imperfect recovery is pieces of my teeth. Chunks washed away by stomach acid. Sometimes it makes me sad when I see myself smile and I think about how much this illness has changed me and how much of my life it has taken away. But I use that to keep myself fighting. I don’t want to lose any more than I have to which means that….

                5. As Dory would say “Just keep puzzling (or swimming if you prefer)”

Never give up no matter how bad things seem. The next piece is just waiting to slot in place.

So there you have it. Some of many the many reasons why recovery is like a puzzle. I am sure there are plenty of reasons why recovery is not like a puzzle as well but I think I may have taken the puzzle analogy slightly too far already! Time to stop methinks.

Keep fighting,

Madasanegg xx

A puzzle induced epiphany

How am I ever going to get better?

Recovery from my eating disorder is like a spiral. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting somewhere only to arrive in the same place. The same supermarket for copious amounts of ice cream, followed by the same toilet bowl for copious amounts of vomiting, followed by the same copious amounts of wondering  ‘How am I ever going to get better?’.

After nearly 10 years of asking myself the same question I stumbled upon the answer and in the place where all the best answers are found; an unexpected place.

My unexpected place was in half of an apricot. I can remember the apricot clearly. The way it glistened, the way it lent against the side of the bowl, casually laying in a bath of syrup. I remember it clearly but even more clearly I can remember the other two half apricots relaxing beside it. Clearer still I remember the sudden and all-consuming fear that a ‘third apricot’ had made its way into my bowl threatening to overturn the very foundations upon which I built my morning ; two halves of an apricot. No more. No less. Definitely not three.

I would like to say that at this point that I ate the extra apricot and I danced happily into the then unknown territory that I now call recovery. But recovery doesn’t work like that and neither does life. I didn’t eat the apricot but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t the start of something. It wasn’t a big start and it didn’t happen in that moment. Only now, long afterwards, can I see its significance.

That was the day I laughed at myself; when I realised that I had reached a point in my life where half of a canned piece of fruit could make me cry harder than even the most depressing James Blunt song. Sitting on the floor, cross legged with the bowl in front of me there was nothing to do but acknowledge that I had been broken by one of my five a day. And to laugh at how surprisingly bad things had become.

Finding my sense of humour again is the best thing I have done. It is a dark, strange sense of humour but it is mine in a way that my eating disorder never was and never will be. Nobody is supposed to be afraid of a piece of fruit, no one deserves to carve their world up into the smallest possible bites or stand over a toilet bowl until their throat aches. Nobody deserves to not allow themselves to truly live. But that’s what having an eating disorder stops you from doing. I have spent so much of my life unhappy and punishing myself so now I search for the humour in everything. Even if it doesn’t change anything, it makes it easier.

How I see it, like all good spirals, recovery moves outwards, away from the centre. Even when it feels like I’ve been somewhere before and things are terrible and I find myself eating flour out of bag with a wooden spoon, I remember the apricot and how it felt to laugh and that takes me further from the eating disorder and closer to me.

How am I ever going to get better?