Posts Tagged ‘living with it’

The “I don’t care” voice

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

I am starting a new job on Wednesday. It’s the first time I’ve gone into a new job without the eating disorder to lean on. It was, I am beginning to recognise, a big part of my defence against the world and so I feel rather exposed venturing out on my own. If it all goes wrong, I will have nothing to make me feel better and nothing else to blame.

It is a little hard to acknowledge these thoughts.

I’ve been digging around rather uncomfortably to see if I can find out what they mean…only I already know the answer. They mean that I have to stop pretending that I don’t care.

In which I remember how hard it is to speak….

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

I went out, at the weekend, with some people I hadn’t met before.

It was a beautifully hot day and my friends had brought a picnic so we sat, on the Heath, with the other picnic-makers, and I fell asleep in the sun. The conversation rose – and fell – around me; and I drifted in – and out – of what was being said. At some point, one of the guys (a chef, I think), produced a box of homemade cookies and handed them around. A joke was made, to his girlfriend, about how hard it must be to live with a great cook; and she replied, that it didn’t matter, because he’d taught her how to be sick.

The comment winded me.

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.

Fixated with Food?

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

It doesn’t take a genius or the horrors of Belsen to illustrate the connection between anorexia and food fixation –

There’s nothing like a touch of starvation to really focus the mind.

Anorexia gets you hooked on an emotional level – but it’s the physical reaction that will really screw with your head.

Jekyll and Hyde and Multiple Me-s

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

An eating disorder makes you someone that you’re not.

At first, it made me a liar; then it turned me into an animal; for a while, it made me feel like a fraud; and, then it decided that I was nobody.

Or so it felt.

Jekyll and Hyde and the multiples of me has been ringing around my head for all these years and I couldn’t explain it until I’d put some of the pieces back together; until I started to get re-acquainted with the real me.

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.

The friend foe dichotomy

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

When you’re sick, you want to get better.

Unfortunately, it’s rarely that straightforward with an eating disorder. It’s never just an illness – it takes a while to even recognise it in this guise – and it’s hard to work out whether it’s a friend or an enemy.

Because it’s both.

The paradox screws with your head.

The dichotomy makes moving on and getting better a real challenge.

Ironically, it’s also the key to recovery.


Patient to Person

Monday, June 15th, 2009

I think I may have mistaken concern for care, confused professional curiosity with personal interest. I think I may have become accustomed to being looked after, grown used to the attention.

There’s nothing like a chronic eating disorder to rally up a medical army. It does a great job of ensuring that you’re well looked after, takes you right back to a parent child scenario – and it’s not hard to guess which seat you’re occupying.

It feels like a safer place to be. It feels like you’re special.

For a while. But then, like a child throwing a tantrum, you find yourself cranking up the volume. It’s not always a conscious thing – you’ve just got to work that little bit harder to get the same response.


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.

Sections and Secure Units

Monday, June 1st, 2009

I get that I might not be here today if it wasn’t for a few well timed hospital admissions but you’ve got to be a bit careful with the inpatient option: anorexia can be a little devil when it’s cornered.


Unspeakable Things

Monday, June 1st, 2009

At the height of my anorexia, no one asked me whether I was okay. I’m far more approachable with a fractured ankle. It’s been quite a talking point.

The contrast is striking.

People are scared of anorexia. They tiptoe on eggshells around it. People don’t want to say the wrong thing. They don’t want to aggravate it. They don’t want to be implicated in it, maybe.

I completely understand. I didn’t want to talk about it either.

And therein lies the problem: we’re all concurring with it. It’s privileged, permitted to run riot, tacitly prioritied – because no one wants to speak about it. No one knows what to say.

The silence is deafening.

Anorexia is the great big elephant in the room.


At Victoria Station

Monday, June 1st, 2009


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.