Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A response too long to post

I'm not entirely sure what to say... or whether to say how I feel or not...


Wanda - Thank you. I have been thinking about you and wondering how you are. xxx

abroadermark - The first thing that struck me was how down you sounded in your initial response. I did wonder whether you were being a bit sarcastic too... but perhaps not.
If you really are feeling that low then I'm so sorry. Why are you an 'idiot?' You certainly sound a LONG way from being an idiot to me...
In terms of what you say about looking for 'whys' being the stupidest thing you can do... Well, in all honesty, I completely understand how you reach that conclusion... I swing from holding that opinion and then holding the opinion that jss writes about.
I guess that ultimately, I want answers. Some people do and some don't. Some people aren't bothered by the fact they don't have an understanding of the reasons why, others are plagued by the need to know... the need to make peace with something through reaching an understanding,even if on a purely academic level.
For some it's one more struggle they could do without, for others it's the only way they can put something to rest.
Again, I would add that I swing between these two poles. I think many of us do at various points in our journey.
I don't know whether it's a stupid thing to do. Often it seems to intensify the pain and I'm caught in a web of 'do I, don't I?' and then the feeling of guilt descends... the awful 'what about all the orphans?' scenario.
I don't know.
It all makes me despise myself but no more than I would anyway so... Nothing to lose perhaps.
Anyhow abroadermark, I digress.
I'm sorry to hear you sounding so low and upset and wonder what inspired such despair. I get the impression that you might find it hard to write about it on your blog (hence your coming here...) I'm not sure about the misery thing though... That made me feel a bit... unsure... It makes me want to defend myself and then it makes me a bit... Well... Why should I need to defend myself? It's MY blog and I can be miserable if I like... But I can't y'see. Not without struggling with horrible guilt.
Do you know that I found it so so painful to be so honest about how bad I was feeling that I set up ANOTHER blog for the 'really bad' posts? Even after writing so much here I still wince at comments that I suspect come from people who are actually thinking, 'oh just shut UP you whinging, whining b*tch'.
That is a very long reply. Sorry! Summarising never was a gift of mine...

Andrea - Thank you. Perhaps that is the best any of us can do really.

jss - It's so nice to hear you. Really.
Something you said is actually quite important to me.... and the more I read it, the more I'm struck by it.
You said that eating disorders must have whys and unless we find them we will
" spend our lives trying to overcome by sheer force of will, which leaves us utterly depleted, or worse we sink further into the addiction."
Partly because of the hurt I'm causing and partly because I hate living in this cage, I have made a decision to 'get better' over my summer holiday.
It is only just starting to occur to me that it may not actually be a very realistic thing to say. I'm not sure that I can just do it by 'force of will'. And yet, there is a part of me that insists on not accepting that this is something 'real'.
You comment about the ed having something to do with my sister almost stung. Not in a bad way jss, just in the way that you get when someone has thought about something for you... Care can hurt sometimes can't it.
I guess it might be something to do with her. I just don't know what.
I do wonder about certain things but I don't dare to put them into words yet. I'm not sure how much I understand and how much is just rubbish.
I know that you understand the agony of watching someone you love destroy themselves.
I'm so sorry that you have such an acute understanding but, thank you for sharing it with me. x

abroadermark - I AM listening to you and thinking that you sound like you are hurting..?
Please feel free to express what you think. Each of us has that right and the right to disagree.

Monday, 28 June 2010

EDs in adulthood

It's a strange thing to develop an eating disorder in your thirties without having had too much of an issue in the years prior to this.
I've waded through thousands of Google pages in an attempt to find articles about late onset anorexia and bulimia. I suppose because I was hoping that someone far more knowledgeable than me could offer me a piece of jigsaw that I don't have. I was hoping to find a few sentences that would make sense of the jumbled, misshapen blobs of bewildered guesses that occasionally float between my cornea and the mirror of anorexic truth.

Most of the articles documenting episodes of anorexia in later life are actually about the recurrence of an eating disorder which the patient has suffered from as a young person. Easier to understand a relapse than an illness that comes from out of the blue.

So, what then, is going on if there is no SERIOUS tendency towards this illness until a person is in their early thirties?
What is going on there?

I'm possibly as lost as anyone else when it comes to understanding this.
I have sketchy ideas (at best) that when pursued, completely fragment and disintegrate and at once become impossible and absurd.

I haven't been here too much of late. Not for lack of wanting to write; more for not being able to find the energy.

I have a lot to say but very few words to speak with.
Please forgive me if I am not responding as much as I should be.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

On The Other Side.

"...But there's another kind of hole, and that is the wound that divides family.
Sometimes the wound occurs at the moment of birth, sometimes it happens
later. We are all fixing what is broken. It is the task of a lifetime. We'll leave much unfinished for the next generation...
...I have infinite faith in the craft of surgery, but no surgeon can heal the kind of wound that divides two brothers (siblings)"

Abraham Verghese
Cutting For Stone

As I am having huge problems finding words at the moment I have resorted to using those of others.

This resonated as I read it the other day.

There's not a lot out there which acknowledges the impact of damage between siblings.

I remember in the early days of my sister's anorexia, when the wound of her violent and total rejection was still so, so raw and my flesh unaccustomed to the pain, searching high and low for books about anorexic siblings.

All I found was a reasonable amount of literature on 'Helping Your Child Eat' or 'Coping With An Anorexic Child'. That kind of thing.

A good few years ago, I figured that one day I might have found the healing and the balance I needed to help me write a book about anorexia with siblings in mind. I thought that somehow, I would be able to look on the years of loss with the glow of gentle understanding borne of the twisting grief of watching the slow suicide of a sister I loved with everything I had.

It would be called, "On the Other Side" in reference to a range of recurring nightmares I had for the first ten of the seventeen years of her illness. The dreams were all variations on the same theme... I was always stuck on the other side of the shatterproof, soundproofed window as she was mugged, the other side of the pond as she was buried in the mudslide, the other side of the turquoise lagoon as she drowned.

And the feelings are indescribable and yet, so many of us are familiar with the extraordinary pain of watching those who we love the most, kill themselves slowly and painfully, whether that be through eating disorders, drug addiction, alcohol dependency or just very, very poor life choices.

Not to minimise the angst of those who are compelled towards death by the strength of their addictions, but I honestly believe, and I'll speak only for myself in an attempt to avoid sweeping generalisations... I honestly believe that it is more painful to watch someone you love in agony than it is to be in agony yourself.

The Other Side exists for all of us at some point in our lives, but rarely to the degree that it does when it is the absurd chaos and torment of severe mental health problems and addiction that tear a family apart.

No surgeon can heal the wound that divides two sisters. If I could find one who did, I'd sell everything I ever had.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Welcome To Hell...

...It's where I have been since Friday's therapy session.

I've scoured Google Images. Searched all the most horrible words I can think of in, a vain attempt to find a picture that captures even a tendril of the mass of ... mass of what? I don't even have the vocab for it... the mass of whatever it is that lies throbbing and bleeding inside.

It's a mass of hot, white unknowns which twist in me; sometimes surging in violent, murderous ire, sometimes burning slow and orange. Other times the mass is suddenly pain in a cold, black ache.

It's all to do with the hell that is an eating disorder.
The aftermath of a purgeless binge.
The clawing desperation to tear huge chunks of flesh from my body just to weigh less.
It's the pathetic despair of facing a future with nothing better than this.
It's the dull agony of depression.

I'm screaming but the screaming isn't a sound. It's the absence of sound. It's the silence that becomes an unbearable pressure on ears that ring, desperate for noise, desperate to be freed from oppressive quiet.

Therapy must have really been huge in Friday, right?

You'd think.

You'd think there would be some profound reason for the fact that I've spent the weekend under duvet, trying to stem the bleeding from my finger which ended up getting the raw deal from the double edged blade.

All it was, so far as I can work out, was that the woman didn't really seem to understand.

I'm stuck for words to explain and my head is screaming at me to stop typing this. Such resistance.

The woman suggested that when I have my own place (I'm trying to buy a house) it will be easier for me and my eating disorder (my need for control) will die down.
She said that many people just found a weight they could live with and then got on with living.
She mentioned the gym and said maybe I'd just enjoy the healthy exercise. She talked about food and suggested that I would find a balance.

(My face is threatening to collapse as I type)

Okay so I have typed and deleted in circles for five minutes so I'll just be done with it now.

I heard her say that
your life will be a struggle forever
your ED will never really go away.
and it all basically amounts to
this is the best that you can hope for

...and the words of an old favourite ring in my ears, as they so often do when death feels the best chocolate in the box...

"and the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep"

(K. Rogers. The Gambler)

I predict a heart attack.
Or diabetes.

I found this which, I suppose, isn't too bad a representation when it's all said and done.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Writing About Therapy.

Aside from the obvious prerequisite that one can actually recall something about a therapy session, I've discovered that writing about therapy makes at least two demands on a person.
The first is that the victim (did I just say 'victim'? Obviously, I meant 'client') is able to find words for what he or she is experiencing or has, in the past, experienced, and the second is that he or she has the guts to engage with some of the things that are being looked at.
Suffice to say, I've not really had much of either lately. More to the point, as a previous post explained, dissociation has made the act of recalling sessions somewhat impossible.

Today I was grateful not to be continuing in the same vein as last Monday's session, which, predictably (some might even say, conveniently) , my little chicken mind can't remember at this very moment in time.
We did however, end up talking about school days and white knuckle bus journeys and terror and little girls who cried in the mirror because they held so much hatred for the image that stared back at them.

We've been talking lately about the parts and, she has also thrown in the term, 'splits'.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding of 'splits' (gleaned from a friend and a little bit of surf power) is that they are very similar to parts except that they are formed at a younger age and have to do with the inability to recognise that good and bad can exist alongside each other. So for instance, in my case, I may glorify someone, unable to see the 'bad' that they may have done because a part of me that contains memories of anyhing negative about the person is split off.
I might be SO wrong here. In all honesty, the woman may have explained but I can't remember, let alone get my head around the concept so...

Sometimes I wonder whether therapy is actually unhealthy...

I remember the days when a "split" was a spliced banana draped in velvet chocolate with sprinkles that were bad for my eczema; when "parts" were things like arms and legs and ears, and "dissociation" meant 'to quit hanging about with'... or... actually, a word that wouldn't even have been in my vocabulary.

Okay. I know I would still have been terrified that the mind thing is early onset Alzheimer's, and I know that I would still have been in pain... I know it's not a simple as all that... But still...