My Current Experience Of Anorexia

I’ve had an eating disorder since I was diagnosed with anorexia the age of 17. Up until the age of 29 anorexia controlled my life and had a serious impact upon my mental health and well-being. Then slowly I started to increase my calories and have a healthy diet. Over a number of years I began to eat more and more and my anorexia turned into binge eating disorder.

For the past four years I have switched between binge eating disorder and anorexia, and each period of these illnesses lasts for many months. With binge eating disorder I feel completely out of control and full of shame and guilt for eating food.

My current experience of anorexia is completely different from that during my younger years. Right now I like my experience of anorexia (and I only speak of my own experience). I feel completely in control, my mental health has improved greatly. My suicidal thoughts have diminished and my anxiety is quite low, although I do still experience paranoid thinking and feelings and have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

My self-esteem improves with anorexia, I take more care of my appearance and my environment, and I am full of energy, my motivation is good, I buy new clothes which fit me and there are parts of my body which I like (such as my arms, shoulders and lower legs). It’s really quite nice to like parts of myself, and on the whole, to be enjoying life.

The downside is that my health is starting to deteriorate, my blood chemistry changing, my blood pressure has dropped, I have orthostatic hypotension, and the QT interval (part of the heartbeat) is beginning to elongate. This means that I could become an inpatient for the treatment of anorexia.

I’m working very closely with my psychiatric team, and we are following an anorexia nervosa harm reduction model. Increasing my calorific intake too quickly increases my anxiety and suicidal thoughts, so we are increasing my calories at a very slow rate. Every increase that my psychiatrist and I have agreed I have stuck to, which is very positive and am pleased that I am making progress. My progress is slow and it won’t be enough to keep me out of hospital, but it is progress. We are trying to keep me out hospital for as long as possible because I find hospital and overwhelmingly scary experience.

On a personal level I have no desire to either increase my calories or my weight, why would I when anorexia improves the quality of my life experience? The only motivator that I have to change is the desire to stay out of hospital and to reduce the length of time of a likely admission.

This is a photo about amorexia, and shows the food that I will eat today.
Todays total calories. Although this may appear to be a small amount of food, it is double that of what it was in May when my psychiatrist and I agreed to follow the harm reduction model.

My current experience of anorexia, which is a positive experience for me, is far different than it wasfor me in between the ages of 17 and 29, and I am aware that other people’s experience of anorexia is often very negative.

Recovery is possible from all eating disorders, and I am working with my psychiatric team and making use of support froman  eating disorders charity. Am I a positive role model for recovery from anorexia? On one hand my response to this is no because I’m enjoying my experience of anorexia and I am still losing weight. On the other hand I have to answer yes, because I am working with my psychiatric team and making use of third sector support. I have also stuck to every increase in calories which I’ve agreed with my psychiatrist, without backtracking at all, and I’ve stopped purging completely. Recovery in my mind is doing anything which increases quality of life. Following the harm reduction model has meant that I’m experiencing less muscular pain and increased ability to walk around, and be able to be fully engaged with my photography and study.

A larger town that is nearby to me has an outpatient day service for people with eating disorders which I have requested to attend. The difficulty is funding for a place. The day service is run and managed by different NHS trust than the one for the area where I live, and obtaining funding from my local NHS trust to attend an out of area service is time-consuming and frustrating.

For those of you who read this post, who also have an eating disorder would like to stress that recovery is possible, my recovery may not be the greatest example, the recovery can be difficult and slow process for many of us. Baby steps, one step at a time, but sticking with these steps and moving forwards is definitely progress which is achievable and sustainable.

If you have an eating disorder please try to talk to somebody you know and trust, and ask them to support you in attending your doctors.  There are many eating disorder services and charities throughout the world.

United Kingdom

BEAT

Men Get Eating Disorders Too

United States

NEDA

Canada

NEDIC

India

The Minds Foundation

Australia

NEDC

 

57 Replies to “My Current Experience Of Anorexia”

  1. Hi, I have no experience in Anorexia nervosa, but according to research I did, it is treatable, Then I may advice those who have it, not to loose hope, because there is another chance to live a normal life without fear of being overweigh. Don’t starve yourself or do much exercises, but look for Medical Proffessionals.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so brave to share this personal struggle. Even though you enjoy parts of anorexia, I agree you are a positive role model because you are so honest and you are trying. I have struggled with anorexia as a teen and I still struggle with body dismorphia, but mostly with sharing these usually private issues. I wish you well, I am rooting for you, the world is better with you in it ❣️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you Richard for being so brave in sharing this. I am close to someone who faced an addiction of a different kind so know how difficult it can be to even admit to it and then seek help. It’s a long and painful process but I hope with professional care and your own sheer determination you will eventually recover, Judy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thankyou Judy. One step at a time. The photography helps a lot. It helps me to explore things from a different perspective and see things that I would normally close my mind to.

      The person you are close to – sounds like they are doing ok now?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes she’s doing great. It’s nearly 6 years since she came out of rehab for alcoholism & she has built up a new & so much more happier life. It was difficult for her ( & us) but we are so proud of her for overcoming her illness. So many people are quick to condemn but until they are personally involved it’s easy to not understand addiction is an illness not a choice.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It’s so good to hear that she is doing well. I think often those that judge are completely ignorant of their own behaviours and attitude. Addictions are awful illness, and as you know, the consequences touch upon the lives of all loved ones.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Brave and strong. That is what I see and read from your blog. I am happy you have people to talk to. alot of people never do. You are happy and that makes me happy. I think of you as my friend. I pray you will always love you and let others love you too. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Richard, this is a very brave post, thank you for helping me understand the condition and how it affects you, I am sure this will help others in a similar siuation. I am glad that you do have a motivation to improve even if it just to stay out of hospital. Keep it up mate and thanks again for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re admirable to share your stories and being unapologetic for your positive feelings toward anorexia, at least at this point in your life, rather than simply mark it all as negative. Sometimes we choose to do things knowing fully the consequences simply because it does makes us feel better, just gotta be aware of the balance which I believe you are. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anorexia is a very difficult condition to experience but it can be treatable. Ur awareness of your condition and ur response to it is great as u are making a conscious effort to better yourself which is a huge factor in improving ur health. Although i haven’t come across people with this condition so i’m a bit confused as to how one can enjoy it. But hope u get well. Take care 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoy the improvement of myself esteem and end of suicidal thoughts. I enjoy the increase in energy and motivation. I enjoy not having shame or guilt for eating. I enjoy having a smaller body.

      It’s a hard illness to understand because in so many ways it’s completely illogical.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s brave and honest of you to speak out and say how it is for you Richard. I do hope you get the needed funding to access the other day service and that you’ve got something with you fighting your corner.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. One of my favorite writers Brene Brown says that vulnerability is the action of courage. When we perceive vulnerability in ourselves, we judge it as weakness. When we as empathic people perceive vulnerability in another we judge it as incredible courage. Your purse blessed me so much. I recently for the first time perhaps in my entire life posted a pic picture of myself showing my body size. This brings me a lot of shame. Brown says that she needs three things to grow: 1. Secrecy 2. Silence 3. Judgment. The way to kill shame is to pour empathy on ourselves. And as I felt this iincredible admiration for you as I read this post, I suddenly knew that if I could be equally vulnerable/courageous, I could melt the shame in myself which is actually creating my disease. Thank you so much for writing this. With deep bows of gratitude for your courage, honesty and vulnerability, Niki

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Niki. I completely accept your praise. I wouldn’t normally, but you’re right. I haven’t read, or watched you of Brene Brown for some time. She had done some incredible work on herself and with others.

      I’m so impressed that your were able to post your body picture. That’s incredible. How did you feel afterwards, and how do you feel now?

      I felt very vulnerable for a while after my post. I still do a little bit much less.

      I’m increase my calories when I eat shortly. Not a lot, just what the psychiatrist and I agreed, but I’m still anxious about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much for your response and question. I felt really uncomfortable. I did it on another post to and took it down because it was a “before/after” but the after it was not where I want to be yet. But, I won’t take this one down. I am not where I want to be, but I like myself, finally. At least, I do most of the time. I’ve come a long way from thinking my entire appearance is a stain on the world and that I’m ruining everyone’s view just by walking around. I’m glad you’re making progress too.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I know everyone has already said this but you’re so brave to come forward and actually write an honest experience, no embellishments and no euphemisms, just the truth. Thanks and I hope you continue to get better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou Neich. It’s hard to be honest with myself, and it’s hard to be honest about where I am with anorexia. Physically my body is beginning to struggle, but my mental health is really good. It’s not easy to say that publicly because I know many others who struggle more psychologically than I currently am.

      Like

  11. An excellent, profound, informative post Richard. I hope it helps all those who read it as much as it is helping you to share so honestly and openly. Living with eating disorders and addiction of all kinds is enormous hard work. Your determination is an exemplar, and the steady progress you are making admirable. This body of work about eating disorder, together with your self portraiture must surely be exhibited at some point. I do so hope so. To my eye and mind it is ground breaking work. Please keep posting, but resting when you need to as well. Thank you for the insights you bring and the art you create and share.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thankyou Sarah. It is helping to process the cognitive and emotional aspects of my eating disorder. I’m logical by nature so I know and understand more about the physiology than the Dr’s who are working with me (I’ve corrected them a few times). Knowledge is neither wisdom (applied knowledge) nor recovery though.

      I think the self portraits are unique in their style, and it would be nice to have them exhibited at some point.

      Like

      1. Almost without exception people living with long term conditions know more about their condition than those looking after them! Some are able to articulate this better than others. Professional objectivity can be helpful though, and wisdom on the part of both ‘patient’ (objectionable term!) and ‘professional’ (another term full of connotation) is helpful.
        Keep photographing!!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I would be struggling further without my team. The irrationality of an entrenched eating disorder means I have to accept that although I may know more on some levels, they know more about guiding my recovery journey, which I wouldn’t do without them.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you so much Richard for your transparency and your courage for sharing this with us. I will be in prayer that you find the proper balance God wants you to have to continue being a ray of hope for others who struggle with this.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for visiting my site, I had to check yours out and while I find it disturbing, in an offhand way I think you are helping others by showing them what NOT to do.
    My advice is to change the type of food you are eating. We don’t count calories. We try to concentrate on getting plenty of good fats like coconut oil, real butter, and heavy cream. Eat Whole Foods and lean meats for moderate protein, salad, chicken, fish, non-starch veggies. Get away from bread, cookies, and pasta. Your body won’t change but your health will!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I grew up in a family of chef’s and have an excellent knowledge of food groups and health eating. I’m fully aware that sugars are the problem for the body and that the body converts sugar into fat, whilst it either uses dietary fat for energy or passes it out of the system.

      The majority of people with eating disorders have more insight into healthy eating than most, if it was as simple as telling someone to eat then there would be no eating disorders.

      As someone who has been hospitalised twice for having no dietary intake at all for 51days and 56 days on previous occasions, then I am doing incredibly well thankyou very much.

      What would you prefer! Me to follow a meal plan and gradually increase my calories in a manner that my team and I feel comfortable with? Or do it your way and end up trying to kill myself because the increase in food is too much for me mentally and emotionally?

      I’m going to keep working with my team and increase calories in a manner that’s safe for me.

      Telling people what to do when you have no knowledge of them or their history and without being able to guide them medically or psychiatrically is dangerous and an awful example for others to follow. Disgraceful.

      Like

  14. Of course, there is a lot to say about eating habits, but the most important thing is not how much you eat but what you eat, veganistic food, especially with fresh vegetables and fruit, is already a big help. What I have remembered from dietetics is that you must avoid greasy food that has been treated with preservatives and hormones.

    Liked by 1 person

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