Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas: The Good, The Bad and The... Miracle...

Every year I am struck by the potential that Christmas has for being, in Dickens' words, the very "best of times and the worst of times". 
Whilst my natural inner cynic appreciates the odd bah humbug (and my mind's eye smiles affectionately as it casts over little blueprints of those I recall as I write), I cannot help but to be somehow drawn by the magic and sparkle that fans of Christmas sprinkle so liberally around the Western world.
As the festive season unravels, the dreariness of Winter is peeled further and further back as twinkling warmth unfolds and rests over the all too familiar landscapes in our lives. 
Strings of  lights glow warm on trees and houses, and people nod more; smile more; allow more.
Displays hark back to richly coloured illustrations of rosy cheeked, Victorian children gathered around candlelit fir trees.
And the world is in soft focus, with a gentle sepia overlay.


Until, 
that is, 
you turn on the news to hear about more bombs, more earthquakes, more famine, more drought, more human suffering than can be held in one heart.
And that's just the stuff on the radio.
Then there are all those that you know who are facing their first, second, third (and on..) Christmas without loved ones; grief gnawing away at brave faces, determined to make it bearable.
There are the many (so, so many) for whom the contrast of the magical Christmas atmosphere only serves to bring the agony of their own personal pain into unbearably sharp focus. Grief made more raw, bitterness more  acid, longing more weighty, loneliness more solitary, and heavy sadness more piercing.
I don't want to be a party pooper... I can actually be the life and soul of one given half a chance, but perhaps because I've been there myself, I can't help but feel like writing a miserable letter to Slade as the line "everybody's having fun" streams from the radio 


And then there is the real meaning of it all.
Which we miss, so easily... Lost amid the bright gold curling ribbon and the strewn wrapping and the glossy metallic bows and gift tags. 
How did we manage to turn it into something so loud that it can drown the cry of a newborn?


If you are the sort who believes in the miracle of Christmas, as am I, you'll probably agree that sometimes it's hard to remember that all the gifts and the glitz aren't really a celebration of US at all.
It's really all about the fact that a child was given to the world. Divine, and yet human.
No. I can't get my head round it either.


Today is a hard day for anorexics too. Food and drink dictate the day.


This year I asked God for a miracle for Christmas.
Or should I say, ANOTHER miracle.
I asked him to take the illness away.


Miracles do happen.
There is much evidence to show that they have always happened.
Without wanting to sound ham, I do believe. 
I will wait. 


Wishing anyone who passes here a merry Christmas, full of the warmth of meaning.
And if you are one of the struggling, I wish you peace and hope you can somehow take heart from the fact that it's a couple of days out of so many. And they are more painful, so much more. But you will survive them and the rawness will be soothed. I promise.
Take heart.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

It's twins...

Possibly because of Belgium and ridiculous EU rulings about the shapes and sizes of fruit and veg... Siamese tomatoes are in short supply...

... so it was worth a photo



!!!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

It's My Party...

... and I'll cry if I want to.

Okay so No Party and No Tears, but it IS my birthday...
...and whilst it's been nice in many, many ways, I've struggled to keep my smile in place. 
On two unguarded occasions  it slid off my chin, provoking the observation that I looked sad.
It's important to me that they don't think I'm sad today. 
The pain is more painful for those who watch.


My weight moved up by point seven of a kilo last week. 
I can't begin to describe the misery that this small gain has caused, or the battle which has ensued.
Yet, I know I have to kill this Anorexia.
I know it even as I skip manically; as I push my body up on breaking arms; as I reach a breathless forty on my knee - to - elbow jumps, and as I crunch unforgiven coccyx on the hard floor.
I know it as I push each coveted mouthful past guarded lips, willing myself to swallow, to allow, to stay.
Each grind of my teeth, a perfectly synchronised nod and shake. 
A simultaneous, stereophonic yes and no.


In all my wildest nightmares, I never once imagined that my birthday this year would be spent trying to claw my way out of Anorexia.


I hope against all hope that next year, the narrative will be very different.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Update

To my addled, heavy - saddled mind, the increasing pressure to write a blog post has borne a wormish hole through my head and I can't sleep properly until I have, at least, been here and written some words.
I don't even think it matters what they are any more; just so long as I break the silence.

What follows is a week's worth of situations I have seen myself in:
 
I've been scooped and planed and smeared with gel for an ultrasound on my liver, which continues to register stupidly high ALTS in a determined display of disapproval.

I attended a weigh in appointment at the unit, which revealed another small drop in my weight. Again, I was told I was unable to 'do' this and that I needed to be back in the treatment centre. 
Again I refused, knowing that they have no real grounds for threats whilst my weight is above 31.7kg / 5 stone / 69 lb... Today it stands at 34.0kg. I am incredulous (again and again and again) at the way this illness can CONVINCE me that I have put on at least 3 pounds every week. I can even SEE it.
Or not.

I saw The Woman, having completely forgotten to attend last week's session.
She has noted that lately I seem unable to allow myself a 'whole' of anything. I can't allow a whole packet of cereal, a whole apple, a whole sweet, and (judging by a regular pattern of totally unintentional lateness) a 'whole' session of therapy. (She doesn't appear to 'DO' "unintentional". Apparently (assume cynical tone) apparently its all to do with the unconscious mind.
Needless to say, my failure to even show up for a session was duly interpreted in the light of such analytical theory rather than the more truthful fact that I'm fairly malnourished and my brain isn't quite functioning as it should be.

The Woman has continued to be my place of safety.
Today we discussed Something Very Difficult (very briefly). I let it slide across me rather than through me.
We both know it was enough for now.

Tomorrow I am going away for the weekend with two friends.
We've rented a little cottage very cheaply and though I have questioned whether I can possibly enjoy a break from my safe but painful routine, I am now quite excited by the idea that I am doing something 'normal', with normal people, in a normal situation.
Normality is an underrated state, in my opinion.

Words being available, I will make some attempt at relaying just how successful I am in my attempt to join this fleeting dance with something outside of my world of body and battle.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Ode To Honesty



Fragrant cotton
Sun-bleached soul
Death black scorpion
Sting in its tail.

Note To Self #1
All those pretty fables about the warm glow of Doing The Right Thing?
It's all a vicious lie!

(Particularly when it costs over two thousand pounds!)

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Autumn - The Side Effects


Thursday, 20 October 2011

A Post In Pieces

Again and again I stare into a murky pool of muddled metaphor and ill fitting adjectives in an attempt to find something powerful enough to describe the chaos of trying to recover from Anorexia Nervosa.
Plucking tangled fronds of slime gripped sentences that have no visible beginnings or ends... Dark words that, lifted lightwards, slide and slip heavily back into mud, resisting context and order.
Somewhere, there's a likeness between this 'independent' agony of being unable to adequately express the agony, and the quandary of being desperate to recover whilst being unable to physically complete the actions necessary for recovery to take place.
Re-feeding... This 'process' a mouth-less creature, starved to its skeleton, placed before a piece of fresh, tender meat. Driven mad by the hunger, its endless pacing surrounds the meal, carving circles in the earth.

I hold a license to eat but find my mouth has been stitched up.



Enough metaphors. 
I did warn you...


For those interested, these are the facts:

  • Although I'm not in the unit anymore, I attend fortnightly reviews / weigh ins with the head consultant, a fantastically dedicated man with whom I have a very good rapport. 
  • The aim is to move my weight up by following a strict meal plan. 
  • The consultant's recommendation is that I return to the unit. I steadfastly refuse to do this. If you had to sit in a circle and discuss how you feel about your weight day in, day out for over nineteen weeks, so would you.
  • I am managing to maintain a steady weight, although at 34.6kgs, it is still very low.
  • My current BMI is 14.1.
  • My ALT levels continue to be much higher than they should be. Doctors are monitoring it carefully. The nurse at my local surgery does weekly ECGs and takes enough of my blood for us to consider each other as friends. 
  • I had planned to return to work at the beginning of next half term. Occupational Health, my consultant and my bosses have told me this will not be possible.
Importantly, I continue to see The Woman. 
The little house in the woods is my safest place and she is a worn piece of warm, brown leather with all the woody comfort smells of autumn fog and fir and fires.
She has been the one constant in the chaos, and although my financial situation reduces my time with her to once a week, this feels plenty enough balm for a mind  addled from trying to win a battle which bleeds deeply, no matter which side wins.  

I keep reading my flashcards (see Recovery Resources page). 
The mantras are clear and loud at the start of each day but seem to wane as the hours pass. Towards the evening, I can barely hear a whisper.
It appears that the coherence and volume of these positive statements, corresponds with the amount of food I have inside me.






Friday, 7 October 2011

Declaration at Dusk.

Still the battle rages,
And though the field dark red,
Rather now the agony,
Than live already dead.

So 'til the foe is silent,
Ignoring pleas of aching limb,
Through soul's dark night of madness
My heavy sword shall swing.

***

I'm fighting so hard that the mental exhaustion of the constant clash of thoughts, matches, even outweighs, the physical exhaustion of the eating disorder. 
At times, the swords swing so fast that I can't recognise whether it is me, or the Anorexia, who has won the round. 
Two things I know for sure: It hurts like hell 
and 
it doesn't stop for a minute in any waking hour. 


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

I want...

I want my life back.
No matter how bad things were, nothing, NOTHING can be as bad as Anorexia.


My weight remains in limbo, my mind in hell.
I am unable to complete tasks I attempt as my brain is just too addled.


I have started taking Pregabalin, despite the fear that its most common side effect is weight gain. 
I don't care anymore.
I just want the illness to go.


I wish that I could be put to sleep whilst my weight is restored.


It occurs to me that I haven't written about The Woman lately.
I have so much to say. 
So many words in a swirling vortex - half formed ideas dance purple shadows in front of my closed eyelids in the early hours.
I resolve to write posts about the nature of Anorexia and my understanding of its relationship with anxiety and depression.
I swear I'll reply to friends, blog friends and world friends, whose words and caring constantly brush soft against my bruises.
And yet, come the morning, I haven't got the mental energy.
It's all I can do just to force the bran through my lips.


I want to go back to work.
I want to live again.
I want to eat without feeling like I'm sinning.
I want to live outside of hell.


I want to ignore the old parental adage that whispers that 'I want doesn't get'.


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Graffiti That Grabbed Me

Taking a shortcut down a small alley the other day, I came across this message stencilled on a wall.
Ignoring the somewhat sinister effect of the dripping paint... the message itself brought a little flame of hopefulness in the midst of all the dark.

"You're Gonna Be Okay".
The feather-gentle sinking into reassurance. A warm blanket round the shoulders of a shaking crash victim.

Reckon we could all do with hearing that phrase sometimes. 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Hits From Reality

Things have been pretty awful. (An oxymoronic phrase if ever you saw one)

Two weeks ago I began frantically re-feeding after dutifully attending a routine fortnightly 'weigh in' at the unit, where they have insisted on monitoring me.
I hadn't quite realised how horrific I looked until I faced the concrete reality of the much feared scales. I hadn't really SEEN my sunken sockets and protruding cheek bones.
My weight had dropped below the 5 stone (70 pounds) mark again.
They told me I had a week to turn it around or... hospitalisation.

Despite my subsequent weight gain, later blood results showed that my liver had gone into crisis with ALT levels soaring.
Last Friday was a fairly terrifying of panic stricken phonecalls from the unit, my GP and the hospital. By early evening, I was sitting in A&E whilst too kind doctors apologetically eased needles into swollen veins.
No wonder I weighed light on the scales.
I wondered if they were going to bleed me dry.

Following three days of sterile corridors and needles and bleeping machines and spidery graphs and the clinging smell of industrial disinfectant and linoleum, they were satisfied that my levels had dropped and that the alarming elevation in ALTS was either due to the effects of prolonged starvation or to the delicate process of re-feeding.

I haven't been able to think straight for a while.
I'm still struggling to order my thoughts and to complete even the smallest of tasks. The painting was one thing I managed to finish, and now this blog post is another, although I haven't got the emotional strength to write about the things I want to; things that swirl in frenetic streaks through my mind, clamouring and clambering over my sleep.
There is no rest...

Enough now.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Monday, 8 August 2011

Life Outside...

I want to be honest.
Although nothing in me will tolerate the conditions of returning to the unit, I am, quite frankly, finding it very hard to manage the process of re-feeding.
It's tough going from the moment I wake up.
Impossible not to compromise on the calories I'm supposed to be having.

My weight is down to 5 stone, BMI 13 point something... maybe less.

I'm going to do a meal plan for tomorrow so I don't wake up and torture myself in the middle of the night with it all.

Friday, 29 July 2011

When in doubt...

... make an owl.


Sunday, 17 July 2011

Fascinating Trivia

When I attended a review meeting at the unit this week, I caught up with some of the lovely girls from my group.
One of them asked me what I was doing with my days and it got me thinking...
Because my weight has dropped a little, I am finding concentration very difficult. I am also spending vast amounts of time walking about, an anorexic 'behaviour' really.
Anyway, what follows is a list of some random information.

Currently reading: How The Light Gets In - A fantastic first novel by M.J Hyland who creates a complex and fascinating protagonist, a young exchange student whose troubled life leaves her desperate to both 'fit in' and 'escape' almost simultaneously.
A Purpose Driven Life (Rick Warren). My spiritual reading being almost zilch over the past year, I decided that the title of this popular book sounded like something the doctor might order. The two and a half chapters I've read so far, have confirmed this instinct.
Being True To Life (David Richo) - A random find on a rickety table outside a secondhand bookshop last weekend. The whole purpose of this book is to inspire the reader to write poetry. Flicking through, I was instantly captivated by the lines:
I'm too depressed
To write a poem
Yet here it is
Simple. Brilliant. Truth.
So far, I've only read the introduction.

Currently Listening To: The Avett Brothers - I And Love And You - Loving this album at the moment!
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues -Quirky, choral, undoubtedly indebted to Simon and Garfunkel for inspired melodies.
Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More - What an Album!
Anything country, as per usual really.

Currently Watching: T.V series, The Apprentice (even though I hate Alan Sugar and the absolute unbridled arrogance of the contestants!)
Film - Mystic River, which I turned off halfway through cos my attention span is short right now.

Currently coveting: The Canon 430D SLR camera, although I have also looked at the Canon SX30 IS. I am passionate about photography and would love to take it up as a proper hobby. However, I am reluctant to 'rush' into anything at the moment and these cameras are very expensive.

Currently Enjoying Eating: Tesco Goulash Hearty Soup This is one very good low calorie meal if you halve it and add the odd new potato and salad! (Not that I should be doing low cal in a big way but...)

Currently Creating: Felt Flowers (er... yeah... I'm not sure either but hey... I have some time to spare between the hours of 4 and 6 most mornings).
My Recovery Project Scrapbook is still looking sparse (but not quite as sparse as my recovery itself - ho ho ho, tounge in cheek, hurts a bit to laug, etc etc...). I'm trying to complete a page about scales and numbers.
And there you have it. An assortment of trivia.

Anyone want to share in a similar fashion? Feel free to reply in comments.




Thursday, 7 July 2011

Bombshell


At around midday yesterday, unit staff announced the decision to reintroduce two much dreaded 'high energy' supplements into my meal plan.

The room around me blurred and whitened as my mind whirled into the shadow flecked vortex of spinning panic and dissociation.

Today I sit in relative calm.

The pain and the panic whirl around me but not within.

I discharged myself from the unit.

I'm not entirely sure how I will manage

but

failure is even less of an option that it was last week or the week before.

So:

The work of rebuilding continues.

A lot tougher and a little lonelier, but it continues nonetheless.

At the moment I am shuffling through rubble, feeling little more than dazed as I survey the extent of the wreckage and try to keep breathing through the swirling fusion of chalky dust and stone.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Er... About that "lighter note"...

... In all honesty, I find it significantly easier to write 'lighter note posts' when I am lighter in a more literal sense.

When I last posted I had taken almost two weeks away from the unit. One week on a trip down to the Cornish coast and a few days 'thinking time' to decide whether or not I was able to truely commit to treatment.
In that relatively short amount of time, I somehow managed to 'achieve' a comforting weight loss of four pounds (approx 2kg). Thus, with my BMI safely hovering around 14, I felt able to be a little more relaxed.
In the end though, the misery of the rapid increase in restrictive eating and the anxiety caused by the fact that I felt like a fugitive, aided my decision to return to the unit to continue the treatment.

After a couple of weeks of fairly intensive 'refeeding' (ugh! So much 'treatment lingo') Thursday's 'weigh in' revealed that my BMI is back up to 14.5. My tears though, were relatively shortlived as somehow, my brain appears to experience some miraculous kind of backlash against the anorexic desire to sabotage any weight gain through intense exercise.
For reasons possibly only known to God himself, despite the panic of being faced with jacket - potato - with - tuna - mayo lunches, and margarine sandwiches with hummus, I seem to have managed to maintain a fairly determined, positive attitude towards the concept of recovery for the remainder of the week. In fact, in another attempt at taking steps towards defeating this twisted illness, I handed in my pair of scales on Friday. As I passed them to one of my favourite staff members, I felt as though I was holding my hand against a hot iron.

The burn hasn't cooled yet and if anything, I know it will become even hotter tomorrow morning as 'weigh in' approaches.
I can only hope that time will afford some healing.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

And on a lighter note...


... the sight of a pile of these made me grin as I stood in Topshop last week...

Saturday, 4 June 2011

...And The Dream Of Being Special

Every now and then, I read something that is so searingly honest that reading it feels like pressing on a fracture.

I recently came across one such piece of writing and thought I'd share an extract of it here.
...And The Dream Of Being Someone Special

And in the summer sunshine
You believed the things they told you
For it's part of being little
And the trust is right inside you
Like a ball of summer sunshine
In the middle of your body
And you think that it will never
Fade away
But as the days go flying
You are troubled by the shadows
In the hearts and hands and faces
Of the people you had trusted
When they promised you the sunshine
For you hear the winter now
In what they say
And the dream of being special floats away
And the whole damn thing looks so grey.

Adrian Plass
Clearing Away The Rubbish

Thursday, 26 May 2011

One Balloon At A Time

A girl floats above the earth, looking down at the ground with a mixture of longing and terror.
She is frightened of SO MANY THINGS.
Things that are UNNAMEABLE because to speak them may bring them into being.
To name them all would be exhausting.
And besides, some of the fear doesn't have a name.
It's just there. Just because.

The girl is kept suspended by a big bunch of balloons.
Each balloon has something written on it. Some element of her illness and of the fear which may lie behind it.
The balloons keep her safe. They keep her looking at the world without quite being in it/ part of it.


A Christian lady I met on a course I recently attended had this in her head as she prayed for me.
She told me that God was handing me a pair of scissors and that he was gently encouraging me to cut just one string...
She told me that I'd still have the other balloons so I wouldn't plummet to earth.

I thought about this a lot.
It reminded me of British graffiti artist, Banksy, and his brilliant image of the little girl holding the balloons.

Yesterday I drove into the unit turning the picture over in my head.
At lunchtime, I took the scissors and cut the balloon with the word 'Jacket Potato' on it.

It sounds absurd... but my fear of carbs is just one in a long list of foods which is holding me in this illness.

I should note here that, as promised, cutting the string attached to that particular balloon, has not made me fall to the ground, a puddle of flesh.
It caused huge fear afterwards, but I'm still very much suspended.

For now, I'm still fairly 'safe'.

I do know though, that I must work hard to seriously challenge this illness.
And that the best way to do it is to use the scissors.

Just one balloon at a time.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Words...

... don't come easily.

One of the (very many) unpleasant side effects of anorexia and the re-feeding process is constipation.
I know.
Not something that makes an attractive reading experience.
Nevertheless, a rather uncomfortable reality for me right now.
(One I deserve, no doubt)

I mention this because, as I try to sit down (which requires an untold degree of discipline given that standing up burns more calories) and write something, ANYTHING, about how things are looking for me (or... inside me) at the moment, the medical definition of the word 'impacted', paints pictures in my head.

The ever reliable Websters Dictionary defines the term as:
1 a : blocked by material (as feces) that is firmly packed or wedgedin position impacted colon>
b : wedged or lodged in a bodily passage impacted mass of feces>impacted fetus in the birth canal>
2 : characterized by broken ends of bone driven together impacted fracture>
3 of a tooth : wedged between the jawbone and another toothimpacted wisdom tooth>
... And all three of these seem to perfectly describe my current mental, emotional and spiritual state.

I feel the agony of the growing mass, bulging and folding against the walls of my mind. I feel the acrid sting of sobs, pushing painfully against the base of my throat and the heavy, heavy blur of words that won't attach to each other, trapped as they are, in the indistinct, impacted shit.

My communication channels been impacted for weeks now.

Monday, 2 May 2011

A Day in Life at The Unit. Part 2

The state of neglect that has befallen this particular pocket of cyberspace is indicative of some of the trauma and some of the inexplicable sense of exhaustion that follows the experience of being cooped up in the unit day in, day out.

By the time I get home in the evening (having first run frantically around a range of supermarkets / shops / country lanes in an attempt to 1)get some sort of exercise and 2)create some sort of sense of separation between my life as a recovering anorexic and my life as a human being) all I really want to do is disappear into a protective shell.

At the moment, I'm thanking God (and Kate and William, of course) for the second three day week; thus a break from the intense goldfish bowl environment of the unit. However, I know that come Tuesday, the brief period of reprieve is over and there can be no avoidance of further weight gain.
With no exercise, supervised feeding of high fat foods and the addition of an obligatory three hundred calorie 'Fortisip' drink, the gain is inevitable.

I could write about the splits in my mind; the constant warring thoughts; the terror of the terrible losses that grow as I gain... but it's too soul destroying to even think about right now.

I am ruled by absolute fear.

I'm afraid that I will gain weight and lose the sense of safety that I worked so long and so hard for.
I'm afraid that I will lose weight and be forced to include another bloody Fortisip in my diet.

I'm afraid that I will be on this refeeding thing forever, yet I'm frightened that I might start piling on weight at a ridiculous rate.

I'm afraid that I might not be able to get over this hideous illness and I'll never enjoy food again, but I'm scared by the physiological responses to refeeding which make me hungry much of the time and less able to resist food.

I want to get better
but i don't want to put on weight.

It feels like a no win situation.

And I feel like a hamster, stuck on a wheel that won't stop turning, so I can't stop running, so it won't stop turning, so I can't stop running... and on it goes.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

A Day in Life at The Unit. Part 1

Thank you all for continuing to support my journey on the roller. I guess it's quiet right now.
Or rather, the screams are stifled much of the time.

I'm very tired and lacking in energy.

Re-feeding is an incredibly upsetting experience and I'm already dreading tomorrow (a 'weigh' day in case I haven't put on enough weight and have to face the prospect of even more food being added to my meals or snack times in the unit.
In keeping with the desperately 'split' nature of Anorexia, I am equally dreading the possibility that I may have put weight ON.
However, I write this after a day where I feel as though I have barely had a moment without stuffing some artificially sweetened / low fat / low - as - I - can - get - away - with foodstuff down my gullet. (And yes, technically speaking my meal plan is supposed to exclude all such products but hey, it's the weekend.)

I have actually put on a few pounds. This, a response to last week's blood results indicating the fact that my liver, heart and kidneys are struggling; my white blood cells are decreasing and my protein intake is way too low.

How this should be happening now, at a point where my diet is more varied than it has been for months, seems to beggar belief but my doctor explained that there is often a bit of a 'lag' with these things.
The guy who runs the program we follow at the unit (who, for reasons I will explain at some point, I will henceforth refer to as 'The Godfather') offered me the option of potassium supplements or 2 bananas a day.
Needless to say, the bananas are not a feature of my new heart-sustaining regime.

So.
Tomorrow is tough before it has begun.
Although that's not exactly positive thinking and I understand that I should possibly reframe that thought in a CBTish kind of way.
Still.
Here's how it's going to look on a purely practical level.

I'll get up early, shower and make myself look as 'well' as I possibly can without looking like one of those orange make up ladies behind the Max Factor / Elizabeth Arden counters at Debenhams.
I'll chop an apple or small pear into small slices and eat it painstakingly slowly regardless of whether I am early or late (and despite panicking that I am, in fact, the latter).

I'll blare my way through the beautiful countryside at a speed which is as far above the limit as the car in front will allow (OK... so I know this is not a good way of doing things but I have a weird obsession with never allowing myself to be too late), twitching and 'dancing' as much as I can to burn off calories.

Arriving on time, or even half an hour early, I'll drive around looking for a non existent parking space until I am about 5 minutes late.
Getting into the unit, I'll sign in and go through to find the girls I've grown to love so much.
It's Monday and the anxiety of the weigh in is thickly palpable. I'll dig out 'Sticker of the Week' and they'll all choose a cute, puffy animal sticker which they will either wear or stick on the new week's food diary. Some of us crowd around two clipboards, one of which contains a table headed 'Lunch' and the other 'Snacks'. We have a selection to choose from for the day. Girls will wander in and out as we take it in turns to go to the weighing room where one of the lovelier clinicians awaits our blustered, flustered entrance.

Once this procedure is over, The Godfather calls us to sit around in the circle and we check in and talk about our weight. No specifics. Just whether it's up or down and our feelings around it.
The group are then invited to feedback.

This goes on all morning until snack time at 10.30 and continues until lunchtime at 12.15.

Sitting around 2 tables, each with a hawk eyed member of staff, we swallow our food with varying degrees of cheer.
We are well bonded.
We are there because we want to get better. Sort of.
But there is rarely a meal where someone doesn't sit, tears running down tortured face, as the sandwich appears to be more threatening than usual.

I'll stop here because I'm so tired and I haven't been sleeping too well lately.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Hitting Critical.

So.

I've been found out.
Big time.

The unit I have been attending for treatment for the last four weeks demand regular ECGs and blood tests.
Although I have been complying with their re feeding stuff when I'm there, outside of the unit I have been over compensating to such a great extent that this week I weighed less than when I started.

I have been cheating their scales very well up until a spot weigh on Friday.

At about half past seven on Wednesday evening I missed a call from a doctor who left a message asking me to phone back to confirm that I was being followed up by the ED unit.
My most recent ECG showed that my pulse was under 40.
I know my weight has been under 5 stone for some time and has dropped significantly.

I have been informed that if my weight does not increase this weekend then more energy will be packed into me during the day and I may well face hospitalisation.

The terror of the situation has driven me to eat like I haven't eaten for a long time. And yes, the food is lovely but the torture and the panic and pain
of re-feeding is almost overwhelming.

The pain of the swelling in my hands woke me at five thirty this morning.
My feet are purple.
My body aches.

I am drained beyond belief.
Shattered.

Until now, I have managed to maintain such composure within the group.

They value my support but I have not been able to be truly honest with them or accept any real support from them.
The Woman suggests that this is all defence, denial even.
I know she is right.

I have never been so grateful for her.

Clocks go forward tonight and, one hour earlier, tomorrow
brings the fresh prospect of sunshine and an endless stream of food to make me feel more swollen, bloated and out of control.

I have been strapped into a rollercoaster which has jerked forward unsteadily and set off to a slow roll.
The screeching and grinding of the steel on the old metal tracks is drowning out my shouts as I try to tell them I want to get off.

Please.
Please.
Excuse me?
Can you stop it..? Please. I need to get off. I changed my mind I want to get off stop Please PLEASE LET ME OFF.




Sunday, 13 March 2011

Being Here

I've made countless attempts to write a post here which might somehow capture the absolute rollercoaster of a journey I've been on in the last fortnight at the Eating Disorders Unit.
So far, all such efforts have been thwarted by a complete sense of overwhelming exhaustion when I try to string more than a few words together.

Suffice to say that the experience of being stuffed full of food at far too regular intervals between 10 and 4, has been almost intolerable and I have to admit, I have tried to cheat wherever possible.
I am like the naughty schoolgirls that I so often have to teach.
Only, I'm far more fragmented in many ways.

The rest of the time is spent in the group... doing group everything.

This has proved to be an interesting experience inasmuch as the strength of bonding occuring within the group and the incredible sense of love I have felt for these girls.

Overall, despite the feeding (and because they are new to open and therefore have not set up properly yet - and so no evening meals yet) I have lost weight.
Mainly this is muscle wastage. I can no longer run or even jog.
Climbing stairs is difficult.

I will write when I have more energy.

I'm sorry that I haven't kept up with other blogs lately.
It's all very, very tiring and overwhelming.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Right now...


I'm in hell.

I can't say more than that.


Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Difficulty Of Getting Something Down...

... is partly due to my inability to find words apt enough to describe the way I feel. This is compounded and made considerably more difficult by the fact that the feelings surrounding the food issues which occupy my mind much of the time, are not only in constant conflict with one another, but also shift precariously from a mode of total freeze over, to a frenetic clamoring of overwhelming proportions and volume.

Add to this the tide of lethargy that ebbs away at the desire to even attempt to find a voice, and the contrasting sense of compulsion to never sit still (thus burning calories almost constantly) and you have the ingredients for a pretty hit and miss blog.

Due to a binge session which my body won't allow me to purge, no matter how far my fingers get down my throat, I am battling the urge to just tear my stomach open and pull the food out by some twisted, self performed C-section type thing...

Nice.

I am, as of next week, beginning a program of re-feeding at a new Eating Disorders Unit.
The terror I feel is pretty much indescribable, but the backlash against the inevitable weight gain has been drastic.
I never knew my weight could drop so fast once past a certain weight.

I now fall into the "critical" category with a BMI that puts me at very high risk.
With a body that is so weak and painful, I find it almost unbelievable that I STILL fear gaining weight... I don't know if I will ever understand how on earth my thinking has become SO WARPED, so disillusioned, that death seems to be the ever-so-slightly preferable option over watching the numbers on the scales increase.
At this point though, understanding hardly matters and in reality, the agony of my family is my greatest concern.

A part of me is looking for recovery, still trying to cling to hope, desperate for balance and normality.
I've bought SELF HELP books on eating disorders for goodness sakes.
I'm not a self help book person. In fact, generally, the trite, over simplified advice given in them, kills me... that or the fact that an equal number of books which profess to improve you, your life, relationships, memory, income, confidence, whatever, are written by people who learned to write alliterative lists of rehashed proverbs.

Moving on.

Reflecting today, I realised that this blog is less and less 'A Journey Through Therapy' and has (excuse the pun) been devoured by my eating disorder.

It seems that, for the time being, it will now centre around the struggles of 'recovery' (albeit, merely a notional reality for me).

With all this in mind, I apologise to anyone who has been misled with regards to the content herein.
I have considered starting another, more appropriately titled space, but realised one blog was hard enough to manage. The Woman still wants to see me weekly, if this is possible and so I will still be charting aspects of what goes on in The Little House In The Woods.
I guess in some ways, I will be examining the effects of both CBT and psychoanalytic therapy and just how effective and useful they are for me, and perhaps, for others in similar situations.