Anorexia Recovery? Update

My recovery from anorexia and bulimia is sometimes frustrating. With the aid of my nutritionist I am now eating. I’m eating healthier than I ever have done, and I enjoy it. But I’ve put on weight and I have that voice in my head calling me fat and disgusting. Despite this I binged last night.

I won’t compensate, I won’t purge, I’ll follow what I’m meant to eat today.

My eating disorder is not about food. It’s a symptom of my desire and need for control because I find life scary, intolerable at times. I want to change how I feel. Recovery is scary because my feelings come back, because my powerlessness over life comes back.

I will keep plodding on despite being scared. Despite my ups and downs. Two steps forwards and one step back is still a step forward.

My Anorexia Recovery Update

The ups and downs of anorexia recovery

The ups
Eating public is highly uncomfortable, I don’t like doing it. But it was time for my snack. I reminded myself that if anyone notices they just see a person eating. For many people this is so normal they wouldn’t even notice. If they had noticed they wouldn’t see an anorexic eating, they would just see a guy eating. Do I identify myself too much as an anorexic, rather than a person with a mental illness? The seagull was the only one who noticed.

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Two hours later and I’m now in a cafe and am about to have two chicken salad sandwiches. My meal plan for today is two ciabattas with jam, but I can’t get that in a cafe. I took advice from somebody who is further along in their recovery than I am. As chicken is on my plan (day 5) then I can have the chicken, I’m used to it, and it means that I’m not introducing a new food unplanned. New foods are tricky and are best eaten at home. It feels like everyone is staring at me.

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The downs
I purged on Wednesday. It’s irrelevant how I purged, but I did. That’s a relapse. It left me feeling distant from the people who love me and my support network. Purging brought up feelings of shame, guilt and worthlessness. I felt useless and had thoughts of not attending my self-help group. Addictive behaviour makes my world smaller, and hand on heart šŸ’“, I deserve better.

The love
Despite fearing rejection I got honest. I told people that I have built trust with, my long-term friends, and I also shared about it in a self help group that I attend. I was treated with love, gentleness, kindness and understanding. People called me after the meeting and helped me to explore why I did it.

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The why
I have so many thoughts about food, about bingeing, about starving myself. Its obsessive, it dirsturbs me. I hate those thoughts. The way that I purged isnt important. It takes those crazy food thoughts away from me and brings some relief. But it also puts me at risk in so many ways. My paranoia and anxiety increase.

The solution
Shopping is a trigger for me. I need to stop walking around shops just to be around food. I need to either shop online or just shop at the co-op. I know where everything is in the co-op so I can go in with a list and shop quickly. As shopping is a trigger I could message a friend before hand so that I can remain accountable, and to have someone else that cares about me aware of my discomfort.

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IĀ also need to be patient, loving, kind and gentle with myself. Recovery is a process – it’s not an instant fix. Some days I will struggle, and some times my thinking will drive me mad. I’m going to have to learn to sit in discomfort. Many of my peers in the self help group have been recovered for years. I can’t force myself to be at their stage. I need to give myself permission to be where I am, and to keep moving forward. Hope will help me with this. Knowing that others have been through this and come out of the otherwise is inspiring.
Richard, I love you. Richard, eating is the loving thing to do. You’re so worth it.

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The last half of the sandwich was so hard to eat. It looks to much for me. But my therapist, nutritionist says this is the right amount for now.

UK Based Eating Disorder Charities

BEAT

Men Get Eating Disorders Too

Men and Boys Get Eating And Exercise Disorders Scotland

InternationalĀ Eating Disorder Charities

United States

NEDA

Canada

NEDIC

India

The Minds Foundation

Australia

NEDC

Peer Support groups

Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous

Smart Recovery

Over-Eaters Anonymous

Eating Disorders Anonymous

Two vlogersI have found useful who are in recovery or recovered

Megsy recovery

Tabitha Farrar

Early Recovery Exhaustion – Following Your Blogs

Feeling exhausted is not something that I expected and it’s a big surprise to me. Perhaps this is because my body is beginning to heal.

The routine of the meal plan has become more comfortable, although I do forget sometimes. I’ve remembered eventually, so it just means I run late. Im used to only eating once per day, so I’m not surprised that I occasionally forget.

The 3 meals and three snacks are mostly what I’m used to eating, but I am managing to introduce some new foods. Interestingly, I’m aware that I need and want to eat more food. My food intake has increased significantly but it isn’t enough to sustain me. I have no idea how to do this in a manner that I can cope without triggering my anorexic response. My therapist and I can discuss this and make adjustments when we next talk. It’s a more complicated process than just eating more. Be told by well-wishers really doesn’t help. Despite their genuine and sincere hope for my wellbeing it makes things harder for me.

My energy levels are very low and I’ve had no motivation to do anything productive. I’ve spent my time with my headphones on, listening to music full blast, and doing some intensely detailed pixel editing in photoshop. It has achieved anything photographically, but it’s stopped me from thinking those negative anorexic thoughts that don’t want me to recover.

My energy has been so low that it’s beit’s been too much effort to read your blog posts. You have become an important community for me, I love being in touch and sharing our lives and I look forward to being able to catch up when I am able.

I wish you all peace, love and joy. See you soon.

 

Change And Growth – Grateful For The Generosity And Love Which Means That I Now Have Professional Support

This week I felt so frustrated with not finding a dietician who could work with me over Skype at a price that I could afford. I didn’t quite give up though. I had the inspiration to contact Lynn Crilly. I discovered her on Twitter two or three years back, and followed her posts. Lynn, set up an organisation called Hope With Eating Disorders, which is now called Hope With Mental Health. As well as being a counsellor working with people with eating disorders, she has a daughter who is now in recovery/recovered (they have different meanings, and individuals use their preferred term in a positivistic way). When I was admitted into anĀ inpatient unit for the treatment of anorexia two years ago Lynn sent me a copy of Hope With Eating Disorders. IĀ  was stunned by her kindness, especially because we had only exchanged a couple of messages on Twitter. Hope With Eating Disorders is a book which Lynn wrote for families who have a loved one suffering from an eating disorder. The book is an honest, but deeply loving account of her family’s experience ofĀ living with a child who is really sick with anorexia. It discusses theĀ  difficulties, tension and struggles which the family lived through, as well as her daughters progress as she gradually beganĀ to change, get well and recover.

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I felt overwhelmed with gratitude because somebody whom I barely knew had been kind enough to send me a book which they had written. But what really touched my soul was the love which is apparent in Lynn’s style of writing.

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So I emailed Lynn this week and explained my situation. She called me back and said that she had spoken with a few people that she knows from other organisations, and gave me a couple of numbers that I could try. The first one I called is willing to work me, so I now have professional support. She also put me onto her Hope With Mental Health YouTube channel. Her family are the vloggers, and the love that shines through was beautiful to see.

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Yesterday whilst walking into town, I was crying with gratitude. I felt in awe at the love and kindness which I have received from Lynn, and witnessed within her family.

I am aware that I am growing and changing with regards to my anorexia and all of the behaviours associated with it.

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Today is the sixth day that I have followed the style of meal plan which the eating disorders unit followed when I was there two years ago. Ok the three meals and snacks are just eating more of the same things I have eaten for months. But my calories are far higher, and although I have a rough idea of what they are I am no longer counting them. Oh yes, I nearly forgot, I have introduced two new foods, porridge and jacket potato with tuna-mayo. I’ve got rid of the food I had hoarded, and my kitchen is now one which is condusive with developing a healthy relationship with food.

Reaching out to members of the 12 step recovery group hasn’t been easy. But I have called two or three of them, and a couple of us speech message each other on WhatsApp. I really value the meetings, the identification with other anorexics and bulimics means that I no longer feel shameful about, or alone with my eating disorder

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I have hope that I can recover, but I also remain aware that I’ve had hope before. I’ve made progress for a while and then fell back into anorexia. I am trying to focus upon today, this day is all that I have, and today I am ok.

The photos of my plants are included because they are growing with me. I especially like the apple and melon which I planted as seeds.

The following two links are for Lynn’s website and the Hope With Mental Health YouTube channel.

Lynn Crilly

Hope With Mental Health YouTube channel

If you think or know that you have an eating disorder and you are notĀ  receiving helpĀ or support, please be aware that help is available and recovery is possible. Please speak to your doctor or talk to a trusted friend. There are also eating disorders charities around the world which provide help, guidance and information.

UK Based Eating Disorder Charities

BEAT

Men Get Eating Disorders Too

Men and Boys Get Eating And Exercise Disorders Scotland

InternationalĀ Eating Disorder Charities

United States

NEDA

Canada

NEDIC

India

The Minds Foundation

Australia

NEDC

Peer Support groups

Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous

Smart Recovery

Over-Eaters Anonymous

Eating Disorders Anonymous

Making My Kitchen More Condusive To Having A Healthy Relationship With Food

As well as getting rid of the foods I had hoarded, I have been cleaning my kitchen. On Tuesday I cleaned my cooker.

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Then yesterday I cleared out and cleaned the fridge and freezer. I hadn’t done so for over a year.

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Today I have cleared and cleaned the surfaces, draws and all crockery and utensils. Everything now has a place.

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Tomorrow I will be cleaning the floor and hoovering the rest of the house. Despite living in it, I cannot believe what a shit tip I had left the kitchen in.

I have a very poor relationship with food, and I know that in order to recover my eating will change over the next few months. That’s going to be a whole lot easier to reinforce if my kitchen promotes a positive attitude towards food. I’m also going to wash my cup and plates up each time that I use them.

Do You Know Of, Or Are You An Eating Disorders Dietician? – First Day Of Recovery From My Eating Disorder

Firstly, I am looking for an eating disorders dietician who is willing to work over Skype. I had a look on google for dietitians in the UK and they were well beyond what I can afford. I have a contact page, so please feel free to contact me if you are in a position to help or point me in the right direction.

Secondly, today has been a big day for me. As far as I am concerned it is the first day of my recovery from Anorexia. Today I have sorted through and got rid of the food that I had hoarded from October last year til April this year.

It’s common for people to obsess about food when they have been lacking the food that they need to survive, and this is a common experience for people with Anorexia Nervosa. Hoarding food that isn’t going to be eaten is also a common experience.

I knew that I needed to get rid of it, and I also knew that it was hidden all over the house But it has shocked me just how much there was. I will be donating it to a local food-bank, and I have also taken some to one of my neighbours.

I had such a strong emotional attachment to my hoard. Before I have let friends visit or stay over, I have made it clear that the house is full of food and they are not to touch it. One friend has been encouraging me to get rid of it for ages, but I haven’t been able too, the thought of doing so has been terrifying.

Today there were some foods that I really didn’t want to let go of. I had to go through the pile that I was going to keep repeatedly so that I let go of foods that I didn’t need. There are a few things that I will genuinely use as snacks, so I have kept them, but it took a long time to get rid of the stuff that would never be a genuine snack. Some of the things that I was trying to justify keeping, but there is no such thing as half recovery, they had to go.

I have made videos as I have gone along, its part of the record of my journey, my illness and, fingers crossed, my recovery. I have received so much support from my peers, who have become my friends, and also from many fellow bloggers. I thank you all deeply. The turning points have been the sudden decline in my health whilst on holiday in London, and a kind friend pointing me towards a twelve step fellowship which is specifically for people with anorexia and bulimia. There are also a couple of vlogs that I have been pointed too by people who are in recovery or recovered from anorexia. I will add links to them below the video.

I am so grateful for all of your support, and today, I am grateful for my willingness, courage and strength. I am so proud of myself that I bought myself a bunch of flowers. I honour my willingness, courage and strength.

I have also stuck to my meal plan for the past two days. Cant believe it. Its so good to have done that. But the food that I eat is not nutritious, but I am stuck with the fear of trying other foods, which is why I need aĀ  dietician that specialises in eating disorders. I know how to eat healthy, but its needing someone to guide me through the fear and to take control of my eating plan.

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Here are the links.

Megsy recovery

Tabitha Farrar

UK Based Eating Disorder Charities

BEAT

Men Get Eating Disorders Too

Men and Boys Get Eating And Exercise Disorders Scotland

International Eating Disorder Charities

United States

NEDA

Canada

NEDIC

India

The Minds Foundation

Australia

NEDC

Peer Support groups

Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous

Smart Recovery

Over-Eaters Anonymous

Eating Disorders Anonymous

 

 

Need To Write – Feeling Vulnerable – Change

I feel an urgent need to write. It’s a bit of a weird thing have a compulsion to write, but it’s better than s compulsion to starve or binge. Although I’ll keep it short or it will just be an aimless ramble.

Letting go of the controlling anorexic behaviour, working with my team, accepting I’m sick, and actually wanting to recover – it’s a big internal shift for me. It’s left me feeling quite vulnerable and unsettled. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really positive and I have genuine hope. But I feel vulnerable.

I was with a friend and was due to be away for a few more days, but I had to come back to my safe space. I needed the routine and familiarity and my own routine. It wasn’t easy to say to my friend, but a strong and positive thing to know what I need and to be able to do.

I even dusted this morning.

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All is ok with the plan, I’ve stuck to it so far, and I’m not obsessing about food, starving or binging, which is nice. I’m actually looking forward to getting my calories up to a normal and healthy level. It will be a gradual process, but with larger increases than before.

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I’m still keeping up with photography and coursework, although I’ve needed to back off a little. I’ve just developed a series of photos for coursework, and I’m just considering how to blend them into the montage as required.

Wishing you a fab weekend.

Fragments

Fragments

My Eating Disorder Today – New Plan/Old Plan

My physical health, emotions and eating have been chaotic since my health deteriorated in London. I had to return home early from London, my health got worse and had a couple of days where I couldn’t walk, binged for 8 days and ended up in A and E because of concerns about re-feeding syndrome, and then three days of not eating.

If nothing changes, nothing changes.

I’ve reached out to a peer support eating disorder recovery group, and logged in online every day. Seeing people who are in recovery has given me so much hope. Change is very scary but hope and goals help.

Goals

  • Stay out of hospital
  • Keep enjoying photography
  • Complete my studies
  • Travel to India next April

These are all very important to me, and if I don’t change then none of them will be achievable, so these remain my focus.

When I was in an inpatient eating disorders unit a couple of years ago they had a meal plan of three meals a day and three snacks a day. It worked for me while I was in there, and for a few months afterwards.

My psychiatrist and I have decided it’s time to put this in place again now. It maintains blood sugar, because I know what I’m eating and when it makes it easier to avoid either binging or restricting. Binging is really common when food is increased after long periods of restricting. The brain sends out all kinds of chemicals to try to restoreĀ nutrition, so knowing where the next meal is coming from helps psychologically to avoid binging.

We’ve also increased my calories by 25%. It’s scary, a big leap, but I’m still way under what I need to maintain weight or build nutrition. If I want to stay out of hospital then I need this increase, and the next, and the next.

This is all so easy to say, and so scary put into practice. Today I’m going to follow the plan. I don’t know if I will tomorrow or the next day, because all any of us can live in is today. If I succeed today, then I have a better chance tomorrow.

I have developed some close and supportive friendship with my fellow OCA students, and other WordPress bloggers. I really appreciate your kindness and support. Thankyou.

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A Successful Day Does Not Have To Feel Good! Thankyou.

Yesterday was a day won. That I won. That we won. Yesterday I succeeded.

Yesterday I felt physically unwell and in distress, and was challenging mentally and emotionally. I went to bed drained and had nightmares that involved me being force fed, binging and people being intensely violent towards me. But yesterday was very much a successful day for me.

Despite my panic around calories and feeling the need to restrict my calories further, along with an obsession about binging, I did neither.

I stuck to the foods and calories that my eating disorder team and I have agreed. This is an achievement considering how I felt.

I was nurtured by my friend P and cousin L, and supported by you, my friends and fellow bloggers. I thankyou all so so much. I can’t express how much being nurtured and supported helped.

This old saying rings true:-

I alone can do it, but I cannot do it alone.

I can make no promises about today. I’ve woken up with the desires to binge and starve, and yet I feel much calmer and more positive, and I feel very grateful that yesterday was a successful day.

Anorexia Is Impacting Upon My Health – I Feel Torn

I would prefer to not have to face up to the reality that anorexia is having an impact upon my health. I would prefer to be in denial or refuse to accept it. However, I have a stronger desire to stay out of hospital.

I had to cut short my trip to London because of weakness, dizziness and being close to passing out. Whenever I stand up I now go dizzy (orthotic hypotension). My back and shoulders ache alot of the day (muscular hypotrophy). I’m walking more slowly (muscular hypotrophy, bradycardia and muscular hypotrophy of heart muscle). I have continuosly cold legs and arms (circulatory and anaemia). Actually writing this all here has just had an impact upon my perspective. Seeing it all together is concerning.

Yesterday I had to see the psychiatric nurse for blood pressure and blood tests, and my blood pressure was low enough for her to seek additional input from the psychiatrist and it was touch and go as to her agreeing to me visiting a friend for three days.

We agreed that I would increase my calories again by the usual increment. I was ok with this until I re-read the amount of calories in peanut butter which I have every other day. I had worked this our previously as being 120calories per day less than what I actually have, and this is scary. It means that by sticking to what I currently eat, I’m still having more calories than what the increase would take me up to.

That’s why I feel torn. Medically I need to be on considerably more just to maintain organ function, and substantially more to maintain my weight and stay out of hospital.

Knowing how many calories I’m actually having, rather than I thought is terrifying. I want to decrease my calories because of this. I can’t decrease or stay the same without damaging my health further, and meaning at some point in the near future I will end up in hospital. I’m terrified of increasing my calories.

If you don’t have an eating disorder this probably makes no sense. Despite having anorexia I can see that it makes no sense, but seeing that doesn’t stop the anorexia from being an all powerful, overwhelming experience. That’s mental illness. All I can commit to today is to not decrease my calories. I can’t speak for tomorrow. But just for today I will stick to the same intake.