Saturday, 24 August 2013

Going... Down?

Okay...Title only meaningful to those who are familiar with the old Aerosmith track, 'Love in An Elevator', a good but vastly overplayed track (at one time). My frustration with my one time favourite band has increased as the teenage, rock-chick-love has lessened; all because they sold out to the soft rock market with dribbly anthems like 'Don't Wanna Miss A Thing'.
Apologies. My intentions to write about 'recovery' have been twisted into a rant about my old musical idols.

(Aside) It occurs to me as I apologise, that actually, Steve Tyler and Joe Perry are a long way from being completely irrelevant links to the subject in hand. Both singers have grappled and battled with serious alcohol and heroin addictions. Both know the agonies that come with fighting to be free from that which has possession of your mind.

Addiction comes in so many forms and is something so closely related to the topic of Eating Disorders that it is worthy of some careful thought.
Now however, my mind is too tired to begin debating the fine lines and the overlaps. I regularly feel the urge to write some more informative pieces about Anorexia and Mental Health here but every time I sit down to write, the words sort of ebb away from my (cognitively impaired) mind. 

That's right. 
"Cognitively Impaired". 
The term, used by the experts, to explain the condition of a mind weakened by the effects of malnutrition. 
It makes me wince to accept that this is my current state and yet, all my Anorexic protestations, the frantic scrabbling to deny truth, dwindle in the face of plain, starkly real figures. 
The scales don't lie, although, typically, in the mind of someone suffering with an Eating Disorder, they are incorrect. Not day upon day upon day they're not. 
I'm following that bloody line of decline, and I KNOW it... It's as though I am rendered completely helpless by the power of the Anorexia. 
My daylight head says, 'C'mon! Get a grip! You have to find the strength, the power, to beat this';  In the lonely darkness of the restless night, the more sinsiter voice, 'You'll be lucky if you wake up to see a new day. Your internal organs are tired. Your heart is weak'. 

A young lady who I was an inpatient with for six months, died last week. 
Multiple Organ Failure caused by a long term Eating Disorder.
She was strong, lively, witty, intelligent. 
Her death rocked the ED community I 'served time' with. 


At the same time, my best friend here in ___________  gave birth to a little girl. 
And so, the cycle of life and death continues. Everywhere today and tomorrow and for the rest of time, the mortality drum will continue, beating out it's rhythm on the lives it chooses. I get that. 
What I struggle to accept, is the slow suicide that this illness contributes to this pattern. It's so... horribly pointless. 
Life is to be lived, to the fullest. Jesus said that. And he is not to be argued with. 
Why then, am I, and so many beautiful, talented, young lives, subscribed and obligated to serve this hideous monster?

All answers on a postcard...

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A World Beyond Our Imaginations

…Maybe there IS. Maybe there isn’t.
Either way, if we don’t allow ourselves to entertain the possibility that there COULD be a different way of living life, and there MIGHT be a different way of thinking about things, we will never know.

I’m not the hippy type. I promise.

I don’t hug trees, I don’t take herbal hayfever tablets, I ‘m not a vegetarian, I’m not a member of Greenpeace, I don’t do yoga, I don’t wear clothing woven in South America and I’ve never tried Arnica.

But (there had to be, right?) BUT, I do believe that we get into certain patterns of thinking. Even scientists report that there are certain ‘neural pathways’ in the brain, which is a technical way of saying that our thoughts get used to travelling along particular alleyways, leading to familiar places, default settings, if you like. Humans are creatures of habit, brains follow suit.

What are the implications of all this for those of us in recovery?

A friend recently told me that, although they’d like to believe in something bigger, they just COULDN’T and I sympathised because I, of all people, understand doubt, cynicism and unbelief. I battle it everyday in order to keep the faith I DO have, alive. Later, I returned to our conversation in my mind and came to the realisation that the word ‘couldn’t’ would probably act as a barrier in her mind.

To be truly open to something, like the possibility of recovery, is to allow it to rattle round our minds without any thing as concrete as ‘words’ attached to it. Just as if you are rolling a ball round a clean floor; no mud, no dust, nothing to stick to it…

Sometimes, I wonder if it’s in this act of ‘allowing’, that hope filters in… unseen… unheard and then… suddenly:  there.

Opening up old wardrobe doors. No thoughts. No can’ts, cans, couldn’t, wouldn’t, must, should or shouldn’ts.  Just opening something up.

It has to be worth a try.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

To Blog Anew or Not To Blog Anew...?

That is my question. Well... I've already started a new blog... It's different. Less personal. More hopeful. Not about me... about encouraging others who are recovering... I don't know where that leaves me here. I feel ashamed of my self-centred ramblings here. And yet... It seems like such a lot to just walk away from. 
 My weight is dropping and my mind is hurtling into the no man's land that sits between life and death. It is achingly desperate that my words can fly the banner of freedom, but my mouth won't be filled with the nourishment it needs. I am afraid that in a few months, my voice will be all there is. An empty echo. 
Heard but not seen.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Moments like these

Yesterday's sky was unfathomably blue and I took this pic of a moment when it was filled with little daubs of pure white floss.
The practice of Mindfulness teaches that it is moments like these which help us manage difficult emotions. Taking time out of your own head to focus on something different, be it a sensation; a visual; a sound... can help to relieve immediate mental agony. 
Long before 'Mindfulness', DBT, CBT, NLP, and possibly another half dozen letter laden therapies,  poet W H Davies famously wrote a short verse:
WHAT is this life if, full of care,We have no time to stand and stare?—No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Whilst my natural tendency towards cynicism means I find all the spin doctor, quack style acronyms difficult, I find wisdom and inspiration in the words of this poem. It makes me reflect that life is just a series of moments and whilst some may feel like the jagged edge of a cold steel blade, others are the softness of sea sleeked stones. 
Yesterday I took a moment to stand and stare at the stunning polka sky, and in that moment, all was well.
Stick with the poets, I say.