Posts Tagged ‘Bulimia’

Unbinding

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

I need to check in over here. I wondered whether this belonged on Finding Melissa or my new blog. If I was splintering off from myself again by reverting back. I don’t think I am. This post is very much part of my eating disorder journey, though the learning of course extends through my life.

I have been struggling to get back to where I need to be with food. The struggle has taken the form of bulimia (and naming it still remains hard). It had been scarily easy to revert to old forms of behaviour (2 years of recovery have very little on 17 years of illness) and scarily easy for the damage to re-emerge. A bloody mouth and shaking hands are worrying but not quite enough.

For the first few months, I tried to return to the strategies that helped me recover the first time round. Planning, preparation, distraction, pick a date, share your intention, put things in place. The strategies didn’t seem to work this time; and, more worryingly, I seemed to kick back against my attempts to enforce a structure. It has taken me a while to realise what this backlash was about.

The first phase of my recovery bound me in structure and routine; and, whilst this swaddling kept me alive, it did not let me fully live.

So this is the tension and the question. How to find recovery in the real world. How to regain control of the food without relinquishing the delight I have experienced in going with the flow. In loosening the rules and routines. In moving away from breakfast at 6:45, lunch at 1:15; bed at 10:37; and next days’ clothes laid out before dinner. Don’t rock the boat with anything too emotional; pick to pieces every decision; kid glove treatment; no rather than yes – and sometimes the other way around.

My life is heading in the right direction; it is only the eating disorder that is trying to yank it back.

And so I think that this is the next phase of recovery, although it is painful and not wholly certain, yet, which way I will tip. It has been suggested that I’m nearly ready to let go and jump in the world – and that it is the snagging of the last remaining traces of eating disorder that are holding me back. I think that this is accurate, given that the immersion does not feel as deep nor as depressing as it has in the past…but as behaviours can quickly suck you downwards, I still need to watch out.

And so I am writing this post as an acknowledgement of where I am, and because I wondered whether this was a common experience for anyone else. Whether after the first part of recovery when you’ve got back to health, there is a wobble as the scaffolding comes down; and, if this is the case, what’s the best thing to do next? I am working along the lines of balance (hooks to hold onto rather than ropes to bind me down) and also refusing to go back (because if I have fought tooth and nail for the life I have built), but this is all new territory and I’d love a little extra support.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2011

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

I started writing a post about Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

I stopped because I am not sure, yet, what I’d like to say.

That, of all psychiatric disorders, Anorexia Nervosa has the highest premature mortality rate. That the mortality rates for Bulimia and eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) are equally terrifying.

That part of the complexity of eating disorders lies in the fact that no experience is exactly the same. That there are resonances and similarities, but each person’s experience is unique.

That I am deeply worried by the closures of units that I keep hearing about, especially those that I have known. That I am also scared by the growing number of sufferers and, particularly, of younger – and older – and male sufferers.

That it is as important to focus on awareness of recovery as it is to focus on awareness of being ill.

I don’t know.

All of these – and nothing. A large part of my life has been stolen by an eating disorder and I do not want to give it anymore time –

No. This is not quite true. Part of the taking back is choosing to give it time. It’s just that the time is spent in a different way.

I have had a rough few months. I try and skim over it because it is easier that way. Because there is less room, now, between me and my blog, and it is therefore much harder to hide. Because the time has been golden, too, and it’s hard to reconcile the magic and the struggle. Because even with 18 years of experience and a good whack of intensive treatment, an eating disorder can still ambush, ensnare and baffle. Can re-emerge, when you think you’re on the straight and narrow; or slip in when the routines that you’ve built to keep it out get perturbed –

And so this is my message.

Not that an eating disorder haunts forever – but that it is a difficult battle to win.

That it needs to be talked about for these reasons. Because it is a difficult battle to win and a difficult experience to talk about; and because the complexity of eating disorders means that they are difficult to understand. Because we’re not winning yet and we need to work together. Because recovery is very possible, and it’s important to tell that story as well.

There’s lots of stuff going on this week. beat have released a much needed report on the use of images in the reporting of eating disorders; there’s a busy schedule of online and offline events; Men Get Eating Disorders Too have launched a new membership scheme; we’ve got a cool Facebook page focusing on the positives of recovery –

And I’m using the time to touch base with myself and think a little bit about how I’m going to move things forward in the coming months. How I can make sure that I win my battle, and continue enjoying the amazing things that recovery can bring.

Teeth. Yet again.

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Starting at the top right. Filled hole at the top. Filled hole at the top. Reconstructed biting surface. Interior gum swelling. Gum lesion. Porcelain veneers. Filled hole at the top. Reconstructed biting surface. Reconstructed biting surface.

Bottom left. Extraction. Root-canal filled Crown. Chronic recession (back and front). Gum graft. Fractured tooth. Lower interior filling.

I can’t stop thinking about my teeth. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and check that the fracture has not fractured, or that the teeth are still there.

They are inescapable, as is the damage. It has already been done, although it is now being compounded; one sugar coated acid blast at a time.

If they crumble I do not know what I will do –

And yet the fear is as strong a trigger as it is a disincentive, which is how an eating disorder maintains its hold. That, and the sense that you can not share what’s really going on in your head.

If it doesn’t work, try something else, and other lessons…

Friday, January 14th, 2011

I have been quiet over here recently.

It’s partly because I haven’t been able to find the words to say what I am feeling; and partly because I’ve had to change my get-back-on-track strategy. I am trying to squeeze the eating disorder out with activity, this time; and have learnt that, without flexibility, I just keep going round and round –

It has been a case of the doing the same thing and expecting different results phenomenon.

What helped me the first time I stopped the bulimia doesn’t quite fit with where I now am. The feelings and challenges are similar – but the context is totally different; and so, as a very wise friend pointed out, the solution I had proposed no longer matches up.

It has taken a while for the penny to drop.

I have moved through frustration (“why can’t I do what I need to do?”) to fear (“I don’t know how to change things”) to acknowledgement (“I am still not moving in the right direction”) –

I can hold onto the fact that I’ve done it before – I just might need to do it differently this time round.

This is a both liberating and terrifying realisation. It has also taught me a few things about the recovery process that I did not fully appreciate before….

Adaptability is fundamental. If the first approach isn’t working, then it’s not a matter of failing – it’s about trying other things until you find a way that works.

The slip-ups are not, as I had positioned them, gaps that will become openings for the eating disorder. They are, instead, opportunities to spot the weak points and make sure they don’t trip me up again.

I have known that recovery is a dynamic process, but never seen it so clearly, nor managed to step away from the disappointment when it does not go to plan. This is the other lesson in there.

Recover a bit – more forward – slip a little – learn something new and recover a bit more – move forward –

I am growing stronger, I think, although it has felt like I have been getting lost.

Day One

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

A friend mentioned that the eating disorder is back in my eyes. She didn’t need to tell me. I can feel the glazing over, even if I can’t see it.

I am stopping today.

I decided, a few weeks ago, that I needed a date because that was how I did it last time. I know that it doesn’t work like that for everyone; but for me, bulimia has always been all or nothing. I need clear rules and high boundaries or I spiral quickly out of control.

And so, I am writing this to mark the moment and capture the learning. There has been some, even though the lesson was hard.

I have learnt that…
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A reality check

Friday, December 24th, 2010

I am devastated by what has happened over the past few months.

The dam broke, earlier this evening, and the magnitude of my devastation has finally come out.
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Food and what I forgot

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

I re-discovered a half finished post in my drafts box. I wrote it, a month or so ago, in response to an email asking how I dealt with the sense of deprivation from giving up bingeing. I decided to reply with a post because it was a fear that I remembered particularly well.

* * *

This is a secret. It is a secret that I also keep from myself. I like food. I particularly like food that I don’t feel comfortable eating. One of the reasons why I found it so hard to challenge my bulimia was that it seemed the only way I could imagine allowing myself to eat. I thought I’d miss the pleasure that I got (albeit on a decreasing basis) from the bingeing, and that, after gorging myself so regularly, it would be impossible for ‘normal’ to feel like enough.

The body is a miraculous thing. I found that, as my body got used to eating regularly and as I slowly gained the weight back, the cravings started to lessen and I was able to feel satisfied eating the things that would have been a starter for my binge.

It is impossible to realise this when your body is starving – sated – starving – sated and your mind is craving food, and emotion, and relief. It is impossible to disprove the fear when you give up bulimia without making sure that you are eating enough. It is impossible to maintain the stability if you don’t deal with whatever’s going on underneath.

* * *

Shortly after writing this, I slipped, and I am now experiencing the same fear that I was trying to placate. I am back in “just one more time” territory, and had forgotten how difficult it is to face this challenge when the trust has gone and food has become divided into safe – and unsafe – again. It is hard to disentangle yourself when the physical effects of bingeing, the chemical highs and lows, really take hold –

Because there is nothing to hang onto. Nothing to suggest that the experience of food might be anything else.

A few weeks ago, I read an article that relates to this chicken and egg situation. The interplay between the physical and the emotional that I sometimes lose when I am busy being analytical or trying to think myself out of the situation.

The article was about the need to gain weight in order to recover fully from anorexia, and it reminds me of the leap of faith that you have to take around stopping bingeing. The knowledge that it is impossible to see the wood from the trees when you are submerged and trapped in the behaviour, and your mind is so consumed by the physical effects of the food.

This passage, particularly, struck me –

“for the anorexic, gaining weight is the prerequisite for mental recovery, rather than vice versa. Put another way: you can’t make an anorexic want to put on weight until he or she has begun to do so. Put yet another way: the mind may make the body sick, but only the body can help the mind be well again”.

- and, whilst there are differences in the processes of weight restoration and stopping bingeing, the initial step into the dark is not dissimilar.

And so, I am reminding myself now of the words that I was writing to someone else. That even though I can not imagine it being okay, it’s hard for me to see clearly at the moment. And even though I am hoping for the lightbulb moment, it is unlikely to come.

But if I give myself a chance, it will.

A reminder

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Every hour that I spend, crouched over bowls of food, is an hour away from the people that I care about and the things I love. 

I know the exchange is not that simple; but I have become acutely aware that

Every minute spent dashing between shops and every moment spent slumped over a toilet bowl is time, stolen, from the life that I am building for myself. 

It is tempting, at this point, to let the guilt and the taunts of “wrong choice” imprison me, but - 

Every wall that is created when I creep around or attempt to disguise what is going on; and every inch of self respect that is snatched when I find myself wearily cleaning up the aftermath is a direct result of the thing that is trying to convince me that I would like it back in my life again. 

No. 

I understand that it is not a simple this or that decision; but sometimes the complexity blurs the fact that I am clinging onto something that is responsible for every crumbled tooth and swelling gland and aching rib. That will steal, without a backwards glance, time and money and thoughts; consuming energy and confidence and the headspace that I’d much rather devote to far more important things - 

And this is a reminder, not a self attack. 

This is my ammunition, not its. 

That every hour it claims belongs, in fact, to me. Every minute it negates has a value that I don’t want to give up. And every promise it makes is exposed when I consider the reality of its price. 

Doing it until it feels like normal …

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Is an old cliché, but one that I have re-discovered in the past few days.

This week has felt better. Not perfect, but a marked improvement – and it’s because I’ve focused on doing it through the discomfort, rather than waiting for the feelings to go away.
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Letting it be

Friday, November 19th, 2010

The past few days have been much better.

Not perfect, but there have been some gaps in the clouds; and I am learning to let these, and the clouds themselves, be.

This has been the important bit that I had nearly forgotten how to do.

Sit with the discomfort for a little bit in order to acknowledge whatever’s going on and then learn that it passes.

Wedge a few crucial seconds in between thought and action so that I can think about whether I really want to do what I’m about to do.

Give the moments where I sit though the former and walk away from the latter room to breathe so that I don’t crush the good bits before they’ve had time to grow -

Let it be. 

So simple, and yet so hard when impulsivity and fear have been leading the way. 

Caught off guard

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I threw up this evening. I wasn’t going to write about it because I didn’t want to be all dramatic and this blog has come, for me, to be about hope –

But in the slither of silence, the potential to do it again is hanging and the betrayal that comes from secrecy is already starting to sting.
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The elusive “last time”…

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

A few days ago, LH left this question on my blog:

“I was wondering if you could share any tips on how you just quit bulimia cold turkey? Everytime I tell myself that this b/p is going to be the LAST, but it never is. “

I was going to link her back to a post that I actually entitled ‘Cold Turkey’, and then I realised that, actually, it didn’t happen like that.

Yes, once I’d made the ‘real real’ decision to stop, I did, and I haven’t been back since then….but the ‘real real’ decision was preceded by lots of real decisions, and decisions, and new starts, and special dates when I was adamant that I wouldn’t purge or binge –

And each of those failed attempts filled me with terror – and helped me to succeed in the end. It is a paradox but one that I’ll try and explain…
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Teeth. Again.

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

My tooth is throbbing.

It is the lower one on the right hand side.

There is a fracture that runs from the top to the bottom of it.

Apparently, it will break at some point: it is only a matter of time. I forget about it, for a little bit – and then I have nightmares and spend days pulling my lip back to check that it is okay.
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Recovery: Some of the things we talked about…

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

I did a recovery vodcast earlier this week. Because my recovery was so internalised and over-analysed, I forget that there are useful things that could be said. This is a recovery dump. It’s some of the things that we talked about that I had only talked to myself about. I don’t know whether they’ll be helpful. I’ve been so aware that my recovery has been different from his recovery – which is different from her recovery – that I’d forgotten the points where experiences collide, and that the more weapons you can rally up, the better.

It is not an easy battle, nor fought on a single front…

So, in no particular order, these are some of the things that we discussed.

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Broke-n.

Friday, June 25th, 2010

I did a lot of shop-hopping when I was battling with bulimia. I’d go out, with the best of intentions – and then the desperation would take over and I would find myself spiralling out of control.

There is a financial implication to bingeing that I haven’t talked about. It didn’t seem relevant, now that I’m not living on credit – or maybe it’s just that I’m still incredibly ashamed.

You do not worry what the next bill will look like when you’re bang in the middle of a binge. Or rather you do, on occasion – but it just drives you on (because this is the big goodbye and tomorrow, I promise, I will finally stop).

Only it was never that simple.

And so I lived, for years, on credit; working crazy hours around my study – only to spend any tips or earnings on the way home. Sometimes my parents bailed me out; other times I had an unexpected windfall (like a Birthday, or an extension on my credit limit) – but all my money ended up in the same place.

I never got as far as stealing but I ate leftovers, from work and, later, off hospital trolleys and out of bins. And I maxed out credit cards – and store cards – and loans from friends.

Which doesn’t make you feel very good; in fact, I still feel slightly queasy now.

Only I’d like to write about this, because the guilt was indescribable (when people are starving or going without, and here I am, just throwing money away); and the fear of living on a financial knife-edge still brings me out in a cold sweat.

So, for anyone else who wakes up, heart racing, to the sound of sirens (because the guilt makes you think that they’re coming to get you); or emerges, post binge, feeling sick to their stomach, wondering how that could happen and knowing that it can’t keep going on –

I understand.

I understand how scary it is, and how hard it is to separate out from your sense of self; or it was, for me, anyway. How easily, also, the real problem gets lost under the one that it has caused –

But this is part of the trap.

I didn’t find a miraculous solution. I tried cutting up credit cards – and going out with no cash – and extending my overdraft. I attempted changing the routes that I took – or sleeping at friends’ houses – and doing lots and lots of positive self talk (because it was hard to keep believing a single word that I said when I kept proving myself wrong).

I ended up, in the final years when I was strong enough to work, budgeting for bingeing, which reduced the debt, but meant that I had no money for anything else and the problem still persisted –

Because the only real solution was addressing the cause; and I spent quite a lot of time – and money – trying to avoid this.

P.s. This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for months now. I wrote it because otherwise there was a big gap in the story and a whole chunk of experiences that were unsaid -

But then, the time didn’t seem right to push ‘publish’ and I couldn’t quite see the relevance of what I was trying to say.

This link on ED Bites Sunday Smorgasbord caught my attention. It’s to an article on how hunger effects financial risk taking; and, even though I can’t quite marry up the findings and my experience, it opened up the consideration again.

The article begins “The hungrier an animal becomes, the more risks it’s prepared to take in the search for food.” That one sentence is enough to add in a new perspective.

This is what I have found in my recovery: that you don’t necessarily discover reasons and the explanations that you find are not excuses – but there’s room to fill in some gaps and build up the picture. There’s a new space for compassion, or understanding that, for me, was very absent when I was immersed in the behaviours or unable to see beyond myself.

Eating Disorders: The Bottom Line

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

I have been intellectualising and analysing my eating disorder a lot recently. Scrutinising it under my mental magnifying lens. Looking at it from this angle – and that one. Trying to order the complexity into some semblance of sense.

I have wanted to unpick each sordid secret and expose every unspoken rule. To break down the perceptions. To write myself into recovery. To say the things I shouldn’t say because maybe, together, we can help to make things change…

It is important, I think, to talk about these things.

But it is even more important to remember that eating disorders kill.

It is even more important to remember that eating disorders kill.

I am worried that I have diluted this message. That in the to-ing and fro-ing, I have blurred over this one, crucial point. That in the detail, and the dissection, I have forgotten to re-iterate the terrifying bottom line –

Eating disorders kill.

So, this is a reality check and a reminder. An acknowledgement of the cruel truth about eating disorders – but also, that recovery is possible and that there are people out there who can help.

There are people out there that can help.

It is a message that makes my eyes watery and my stomach, clench –

But it comes, along with the experience and hope of recovery, as the most important thing that I can write.

The City

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

There is a correlation, I think, between urbanisation and the rise in eating disorders.

It came up, in a presentation, and there’s probably some research; but, I seem to have created my own personal proof.

I remembered, today, as I walked down Kentish Town Road (to see how far I could go before the panic kicked in), what happened when 24 hour living – and my eating disorder – met. I was thrown back, 10 years, with a surge of pain that almost over-powered me, as the landmarks that I had been avoiding, re-appeared, again.
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A Few of the Lies My Eating Disorder Liked Me To Believe

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

My eating disorder was a consummate liar. It had a few lines that always kept me stuck. I tried, (when I was feeling brave enough), to argue the point; but there was always an element of “what if I’m wrong” that made me play along.

It is hard to challenge something when you’re cowering under its threats. These ones stick out.
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Anorexia. And Bulimia. And Stalemate.

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

My diagnosis was anorexia bulimia.

I stopped eating. Lost lots of weight. Started throwing up what I did eat. And then added in some hardcore bingeing for good measure.

I am more aware, now, of the different diagnostic criteria, and how they’re all subtyped and divided. I don’t think they were so defined, when I started out, so I mistakenly assumed I was unique…

Or I simply wasn’t prepared to listen.

And so, instead, I seemed to inhabit a lonely kind of middle land, where the one – cancelled the other one – out. I am not anorexic because I binge and purge – and I am not just bulimic, because if you take away the bingeing and purging, there’s certainly no other eating going on under there.

Neither behaviour would admit to the other – and the denial certainly wasn’t challenged by me.
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Speaking Out

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Despite adamantly believing that I would never speak about my eating disorder and vowing that, if I recovered, I would leave it behind me, I have found myself doing rather a lot of talking in recent months.

Provided with some great opportunities by Professor Janet Treasure, I have spoken to students, professionals, and general bods; and, found it a remarkably rewarding process and a real way of being able to change a few perceptions.
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The Aftermath

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Now that the worst is over, it feels, sometimes, like I’m left to pick up the pieces of a life or clearing up after a party that has gone horribly wrong.

In the moments of quiet, when I’m trudging up the stairs to my lonely flat or clutching my stomach in the middle of the night whilst it spasms, backwards and forwards, then I wish that I could reclaim a little of what I have lost –
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Maintaining Factors

Monday, February 1st, 2010

I have been asked to talk about the things that kept my eating disorder going for so long. The ‘maintaining factors’, in medical speak.

It is difficult to answer this now, when the reality of so many lost years feels like an open wound, and, if I could go back and violently shake my previous selves, I would.

It is hard not to turn to myself and say, yes, Melissa, what exactly did you think you were gaining from choosing an eating disorder over the things that most people aspire to, like jobs and husbands and families and friends…

Maintaining factor 1: Oblivion
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My Guardian Angel and the First Binge-Free Month

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

If they ever develop a way to clone humans, I’ll be recommending my brother. I’m not sure I would have got through my first binge-free night without him, and I’m certain I wouldn’t have made it through my first binge-free month.

Whilst he probably doesn’t want to repeat the experience and I don’t think he’s available on loan, I’ve been trying to identify what really made the difference – because, whether he admits it or not, he helped me turn my life around.

So, in the absence of cloning and a sibling loan provision, I’ve tried to break-down my brother and pinpoint the things that helped; because, there might be some other guardian angels flying around out there, or you might have wings yourself….
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Sick

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I have been feeling a little sick over the past few days.

This is not a good thing.

The last time I was sick was the big d-day; the final swansong before I waved goodbye to a friend that I knew was killing me.

I realised, of course, that there’d be times when I might be ill, or instances when I’d find myself bending over the toilet again, whether I liked it or not; but, I didn’t anticipate the sudden stirring of memories that the once familiar taste of bile would evoke.

Like a horror film, with the flash-lighted-frozen-framed images getting closer and closer, the throbbing in my neck and the somersaulting of my stomach have triggered a slideshow in my head –

And it starts like this.
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Trusting Food

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Yesterday, I brought a box of chocolate chip cookies.

This is a significant occasion: it has taken over 14 months to trust myself with food again.

After so many planned – and unplanned – food related disasters, I have been slightly wary of anything resembling temptation.

Bulimia’s as corrosive on an emotional level as it is on a physical one: bingeing steals your self control – and then it undermines your self.
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A note on ’special offers’ (for bulimics)

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

My bulimia loved a bargain.

When most of the money that passed through my hands seemed to end up being flushed down the toilet pan; BOGOFs and ‘special offers’ and 50% extras felt like a godsend. A little cut priced bingeing stretched the pennies further and completely overrode any quantity control: why stop at one when the second’s free – and the third and fourth can be saved for tomorrow.
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Arguing over mince pies

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

This is what I remember when a cut price box of Chocolate goodies feels too good a bargain to miss; or the buy one get seven free offers would save me money in the wrong run, because I’m just going to end up succumbing to the temptation –

Stop.

What I am really paying for is a particularly violent binge, after which (and if I’m still standing) I will feel like death – for the sake of a bargain.
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Filled Pasta (and life after an eating disorder)

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Filled pasta is my proof that there’s life after an eating disorder –

And that you can do things that you didn’t think that you would be able to do.
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A Good Dentist…

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

I don’t have much of my real teeth left.

If you’ve got bulimia, get yourself a good dentist – there’s stuff that they can do.
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2 am

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Sometimes, it would get me in the middle of the night.

They don’t warn you about that.

Sometimes, the addiction would penetrate through my sleep; and, I’d find myself, bleary eyed and sleep headed, standing in the kitchen trying to assemble a pile of food.

While outside was still and sleeping and time seemed suspended, I’d be retching my guts up in my own private world.
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Bulimia

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

On Thursday, it will be 11 months since I last threw up.

In one month and 5 days, it will be a whole year since I last threw up.

At first, I counted the hours. Then hours became days and weeks and then months. After trying and failing for so long, these things are important.

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Talking about bulimia

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Secrecy is key to bulimia. It’s what the condition demands. It’s what it depends on. And it’s not difficult to go along with when you consider the amount of shame that the whole process involves.

I’m about to break the rules.

Given the depths that bulimia has taken me to and the price that I have paid, I feel that a little frankness is in order.

Even if it’s not pretty.

Even if it’s incredibly scary.
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The cost of bulimia (physical)

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Reading about the effects of bulimia always seemed to result in me throwing up even more.

It seemed like the only way of managing my fear. The only way of proving that what I was reading or hearing was not true. A kind of tempting fate just to see what will happen because at the pit of your stomach you suspect it’s bad scenario.

This isn’t going to stop me from saying what happens. It just comes with a little advice. Don’t let it scare you; that’s part of the problem.

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The cost of bulimia (emotional)

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

I am having to write this bit quickly. Before I lose my nerve. Before I get too caught up in worrying about what people will think. In the implications of self exposure.

This is the problem with talking about bulimia. This is why it’s such a big secret. This is why it puts a big brick wall up between you and the rest of the world.

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Cold Turkey

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

My one-cigarette-less-a-day cut down method was a great act of self delusion.

Hey, it was fine to smoke right down to the burning lip line and inhale as deeply as physically possible – because those cigarettes were ‘allocated’. They were okay. And it was fine to fantasise about smoking, it was completely understandable to count down the minutes to the next cigarette – because you had your quota to go with.

The outcome’s no surprise. 10 mysteriously grows to 11. Which, following an unexpected crisis, becomes 12. Then 13 –a one off. And then the floodgates are opened.

Before I really realised what was happening, I was back to where I started, and the only lesson I’d learnt was that giving up smoking was all about deprivation and preoccupation and frustrated desire.

And that I was hooked on something that would probably kill me.

It’s just the same with bulimia.

The self delusion was identical.

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Giving up bulimia

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Giving up any addiction is a challenge.

Giving up bulimia feels doubly difficult because you can’t just take food out of the equation.

I don’t think there is one hard, fast and proven-to-be-effective way out of bulimia. It is a strange and precarious mix of circumstance and determination and planning and support and being prepared to go through the uncertainty and the unknown.

It’s hard to get it right first time round.

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Honesty

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Anorexia is not very honest. It tells you things that aren’t true – you eat too much – and makes you tell other people things that aren’t true – I eat enough. Bulimia’s similar although the lies are slightly different. I imagine that other eating disorders operate along the same lines of deception.

It’s not a conscious deceit – it’s all about the illness taking control. If something tells you that black is white enough times, you start to believe it. At the very least, you start to question whether black is white.

Honesty’s hard when your minds being addled. When you’re lying to yourself, lying to others is path of the course. And it makes everything a whole lot easier.

Talking about an eating disorder is humiliating. You do things that you wouldn’t normally do.

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Understanding the Appeal…

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

I’ve been trying to get my head around this whole pro-anorexia trend. Wondering whether, in the process of healing, I’ve forgotten what it felt like and lost a little of the empathy that would make understanding possible.

It’s hard to go back there.

When you start to see the damage and have struggled – and struggled – for your freedom, then remembering the attraction is difficult…

But it’s probably important.

If you can understand the appeal then you might be able to offer an alternative.
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At Victoria Station

Monday, June 1st, 2009

acid-rain

I don’t get on with Victoria Station. It’s not the floundering tourists or the one-track-minded commuters that I can’t take.  Nor the noise and the dirt and the tedium of waiting for delayed or crammed trains.  I can even put up with the constantly interrupted conversation. 

It is, instead, the smell of food and the onslaught of food vendors that I can’t take. Even after 9 years of distance.

Stations were a playground for my bulimia.

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