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Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

Yeah so… I am still alive.

I’ve tried to write a blog post numerous times, but I can’t seem to sum up what is happening at the moment.

Because… I’m doing really well.

After resisting binges left right and centre, being able to remind myself that I don’t need extra food, having that little voice in my head instead of just this screaming for me to binge… I haven’t felt the urge to binge as much.

I haven’t had to talk myself out of a binge so often, it’s as if the voice persuading me to binge is interrupted by a resounding NO. No, actually it’s not. I think saying NO to myself for over a decade and then sabotaging myself is a key pattern to my Eating Disorder. Being able to reason with myself has been something I’d never tried before.

I can binge if I choose, but it is a choice. If I eat this chocolate bar/3 bowls of cereal/huge bag of popcorn, then I have to take full responsibility for it, whether it leads to weight gain, or sinking into depression. But as well as this, it means I can take responsibility for if I don’t binge, it means I’ve done something to be proud of.

My therapist explained when I first came to her I was in a child ego state. I’d left Uni and moved back home with my parents, I was unemployed, had no money and so no independence, I wasn’t being very sociable, I was gaining weight… it was all going downhill, and I couldn’t stop it.

I didn’t want to save myself, I wanted someone to save me. I wanted it all to go away, and I didn’t want to have to work for it, because why should I have to? Not everyone has an Eating Disorder and Depression. Why did I have to deal with it when other people my age were getting on with their lives, and I was sliding backwards?

But now I’m thinking as an in control adult. I have a job (for now), my eating and weight is my responsibility, so now I can control that as well. I have an income, and I do things I stopped doing, like cleaning, things that I don’t want to do but I do because that’s what being an adult is all about. I don’t want to talk myself out of a binge when I feel the urge, I just want to grab the food and go. But I do talk myself out of it, because otherwise I’m choosing to binge, choosing weight gain. And I don’t want weight gain. I want to lose weight, and become fitter and healthier.

So that’s where I am right now.

How has your Eating Disorder progressed?

Hayley Emma

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I’ve thought of quite a few blog posts in the past fortnight, but every time I’ve sat down to write them I’ve stared at a blank page.

Although I’ve had a few ideas, I’ve felt like I’ve been carrying what I think might be the key to fully understanding my Eating Disorder. I’ve been carrying it round with me for a week, unsure of whether I should write about this without having had a proper discussion with my therapist.

Last week I was 20 minutes late for therapy. At the time I was upset about a difficult situation which I’m pretty powerless in, and I was tired from work. I found it difficult to drag myself out of bed and so was late, and then there was traffic, so my Dad took pity on me and after battling through the traffic, took me to therapy.

I said it was my fault and I should have gotten up earlier, but I didn’t realise how annoyed she was going to be, since most weeks I’m on time. It was no big deal, right? She said everything happens for a reason, but I thought maybe it was just really busy traffic and then she said:

“I’m not offended, but I know if you were going somewhere you were really excited about, you’d be on time.”

I nodded, but I thought “No, I wouldn’t.”

The discussion led to whether I thought this, as in therapy, was working for me. I left the office having to seriously think about what I wanted.

I considered leaving. Maybe therapy wasn’t for me? I felt like I’d been covering the same thing for a couple of weeks not really keeping up with the progress I’d made but not regressing either. Maybe having a job had lifted some of the Depression and I was in a better place, financially and emotionally?

But then I thought about how I’d have to really change my eating for good, and most importantly, how I’d lose weight. And what if I lost my job, or had a rough time at my job? In the current climate it’s very possible I’ll be unemployed again as soon as next year. It’s just so uncertain. What if I’m then plunged back into this swamp of Depression, jobless, struggling to leave the house and avoiding all of my problems until I’m even more overweight than right now?

As much as I want to sort it out myself or just get over it, I haven’t managed to do that before. If I’m hoping things will be different just because  I want them to be, then I have learnt nothing over the past couple of years. Lighterlife is a very attractive option which I might have gone back to, had I not gained this awareness into Binge Eating and Eating Disorders.

And then it hit me, I wouldn’t be on time to an event I was excited about. I cancel on my friends all the time because I get so anxious about what could happen whilst we’re outside, mingling with people who can see my body. It’s horrendous, and I never feel comfortable even though I want to see my friends. If I carry on the way I’m going, no one is going to want to meet me anymore, because I’d probably cancel and waste their day.

And honestly, the mess I’ve made of my house. I have been so messy and, there’s no other name for it, a total slob when it comes to cleaning that mess. It’s awful, i leave wrappers lying around, don’t put my clothes in my wardrobe but chuck them on the floor. I’m disgusted with myself. I am not this person. I’m not a clean freak by any means but I like things tidy, I like to be organised, I like to get to places early. And yet I’m not like that.

I kind of, sort of, hate myself… a little bit.

And it dawned on me, that giving up therapy now, following the same route I’ve taken before isn’t just going to suddenly change because I hope it will.

I have to make the change.

I missed therapy last week because I was in bed. I struggled to get out of bed, but who hasn’t when it’s still dark outside, and cold? But people get up, because they have to. Otherwise they’ll be late, or they’ll miss work etc, and there are repercussions to these actions.

Today I sat in front of my therapist and explained all of this. I’m scared, because moving forward on a different path means the unknown, and for whatever reason, I’ve wanted to avoid that for years. But on the other hand, somewhere new has got to be better than where I’ve already been.

Hayley Emma

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My master plan was to take a break from blogging to write multiple  blog posts in advance and also write some fiction. I haven’t been able to write fiction at all this year, I think because I’ve been so distracted by my Eating Disorder. You know how some ‘artistes’ find they’re inspired by melancholy and heartache? Well, I don’t seem to work the same way.

When I’m depressed, brushing my teeth is a big task that I cannot be bothered with. If I forced myself to write a novel in that time – and I wouldn’t be able to, because chocolate and staying in bed would always win over typing – but if I did, it would be a steaming pile of poop.

And so my blogging break was  filled with anxiety, depression and chocolate coated tears. Yeah I just wrote that. It just came to me. I really must be an artiste.

Unfortunately it took me a while to realise I was more depressed than I’d been in months and  I wasn’t going to snap out of it like I always hope I will. As much as I try to shake it off, it’s impossible.

I tell myself I need to go for a walk, it’ll make me feel better and I’ll get exercise. Exercise usually focuses me. But as Annie said in Bridesmaids “I can’t get off the couch.”

To go for a walk stops being just a walk and becomes a monumental effort. First of all, I’d have to stand up, and my limbs do not want that. They gravitate towards the sofa, the bed, I’ve even had a pit stop sat on the stairs because doing nothing is so much easier than doing something.

That pit stop becomes a 10 minute stare at the wall, thinking of nothing. I’m not particularly sad, I’m not crying of even looking at my thighs and silently wishing I could stick a needle in there and just suck all the fat out. When I snap out of this trance-like state, and realise 10 minutes has passed…

10 minutes?! Wow, you only sat here to … why did you sit here again? Oh yeah, you were on your way upstairs to get ready for a walk. Go on.

…you gasp and look at the time and wonder what you were doing, and you know you should be moving, but for some reason – that you don’t understand – you sit there for another 5 minutes.

When I finally do move, the thought of getting in the shower, brushing my teeth, drying and straightening my hair, putting on a face of make-up and then stepping outside is exhausting.

I get ready at a snail’s pace, finding any excuse to just sit, or when there is no excuse because I’m running late, I just sit anyway. The straighteners weigh my arm down, I mess up the streak of liquid eyeliner on my top eyelid, do I really have to brush my teeth? Any excuse not to face the world.

I didn’t want to write this blog post because ‘lazy’ is a trigger word for me. How lazy is it when I don’t even want to clean my teeth because that would mean 2 extra minutes of work? That’s lazy. And unhygienic. And it is not me.

That’s why I’m writing this post, because when I’m not depressed, I’m a little obsessive about cleaning my teeth at least twice a day, and after every binge, even if I just feel like it. I’ll scrub, floss, feel the burn of the mouthwash. I won’t step out the door without mints so I can keep the freshness as fresh as possible. That is me.

I am not depression, just like I am not my Eating Disorder. I am lazy when I’m depressed, yes, but I work hard to pull myself out of depression. And I binge (although I haven’t for months now) but I am going to therapy and working on not bingeing.

So if someone makes a snap judgement about me, that I’m lazy or I eat too much, then that’s ok. I am, and I do, sometimes, but that’s not all I am.

I am a superhero.

Oh, you didn’t know?

Hayley Emma.

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I cannot tell you how relieved I am that you all got the meaning of my last post.

Last week I looked at search engine terms used to find my blog and saw this gem looking back at me. As you can see, I’m more used to getting plus size model searches, bingeing and body image and as I wrote this post on thinspiration then I do get the occasional ‘wannerexia’ click.

This search engine term stayed with me though, and I wanted to highlight just how ridiculous is sounds from a disordered perspective.

No one wants to be schizophrenic, because it’s not glamorised in the media. If anything, it’s demonised. Schizophrenia is largely misunderstood, as it’s an umbrella terms used to describe different types of schizophrenia such as paranoid schizophrenia, disorganised schizophrenia, catatonic schizophrenia, undifferentiated schizophrenia and residual schizophrenia.

Like the term Eating Disorders covers Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge-Eating Disorder, EDNOS, Orthorexia, and many more.

I know how destructive having an Eating Disorder is, with poor body image, sometimes distorted body image, cramming my body full of food and being depressed because of the guilt, not to mention the shame of being overweight… I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

And because of my experiences with my Eating Disorder – especially it not being a romanticised one – plus the Anxiety and Depression I’ve experienced, I am so grateful that I don’t have Schizophrenia. And that goes for any other mental illness: Bi-Polar Disorder, OCD, MPD, all of the disorders you’ve heard of and all of those you haven’t.

I’m grateful for my physical health, I can walk, run, cycle, do the buttons up on my shirts, booty dance to Beyoncé and pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time. Admittedly it takes a while to get the rhythm going, but I can do these things. I would never mope about not having a broken leg or Osteoporosis.

If you are so privileged that the only thing you can focus on is becoming unhealthy, then you need to look at other aspects of your life that are leaving you unfulfilled. Something is wrong, it’s just you can’t choose your problems. Like you can’t choose your health issues, be it mental or physical.

If you have a perfectly good relationship with food, why would you want to destroy that? I can’t speak for those suffering from Anorexia and Bulimia, but my relationship with food is hypocritical of itself. I love food because it relaxes me, it gives me comfort, it allows me to forget the real problems behind my Eating Disorder and focus on the superficial – my Eating Disorder is making me overweight, if I can just stop bingeing and lose weight everything will be fine.

Yet I don’t enjoy food. It is stuffed into my stomach leaving me feeling uncomfortable and sick. This full feeling makes me feel disgusting, yet satisfying. I’m purposely eating lots of food that I know won’t help me lose weight. I’m giving into something so unhealthy, and continuously trying to undo my bingeing by pressuring myself to exercise to my limit, and when I don’t do that because I’m depressed and tired of life, I feel terrible. So I eat.

I’d love to one day get to a stage where I can enjoy food, for the texture and flavour, but right now, my idea of recovery is to be able to tolerate food rather than have such exaggerated emotions towards it.

So if you have a healthy relationship with food, cherish it.

These people who want to be Anorexic don’t want to be Anorexic, because real Anorexia is so far from glamorous. I wrote the last post based on rumours and stereotypes surrounding Schizophrenia. Not all sufferers of Schizophrenia are dangerous and want to burn your house down, like not all people suffering with Eating Disorders are thin and wear bug-eyed sunglasses so their face appears smaller.

There is no excuse for ignorance. There are so many resources available on the internet, in libraries that will give you so much information, there just aren’t any excuses left.

I researched most of my information about Schizophrenia here.

I researched Eating Disorders here.

And I read blogs (see blogroll) to get a true perspective of Eating Disorders.

Emma

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Guys, I’ve never mentioned this before, but I actually really want to be schizophrenic… it’s just I don’t here voices. Can you help?

Like, I watched A Beautiful Mind a couple of years ago and I loved it. I mean, this guy was super intelligent and then he started living this dramatic life running from spies and stuff, except he was hallucinating it all. It wasn’t real.

Anyway so when I saw this film I was like, that would be really good. To, you know, be schizophrenic. And, like, I really want to be schizophrenic and go to treatment and counselling and that, because then I’ll get quite a lot of attention.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to actually hallucinate and think people are there when they’re not. I mean, I don’t want to be crazy LOL. If I just heard the odd voice, that would be really good. Then maybe, like, the guy I like will finally notice me, because I’ll be all emo and anti-social, and he’ll look into my soul and shit.

Anyway, so I was thinking how can I become schizophrenic, but only schizophrenic enough to get attention and I came up with the idea! Maybe there’s a website I can go on!

Maybe there’s like, a site that gives you tips on how to become schizophrenic. Like, maybe rocking back and forth in a dark room helps to make you schizo, because I’ve heard that’s what crazy people do.

Right? Maybe there’s a site which will tell me wearing a tin foil hat will help the paranoia increase, because people who do that are crazy too. And, like, maybe muttering under your breath in public will help as well. Like, I really want to be schizophrenic because I’m so mentally healthy it SUCKS. I mean, like, I have so much already, that I kind of want to hear voices. You know?

Just because I don’t hear voices doesn’t mean I can’t be schizophrenic, right? I know people say it’s a mental illness and it relies on inherited predisposition and environmental factors… but I still think I could be schizophrenic. I mean, how hard can it be?

And for all the people who say it’s not so simple, and that I shouldn’t be trying to make myself schizophrenic when there are people out there actually suffering, who can’t get a job because of mental health stigma, and who actually have visual and/or auditory hallucinations, psychotic episodes and have to be on medication possibly for the rest of their lives? Yeah well, I don’t think about that stuff. That’s not going to happen to me. All I want is to be temporarily schizophrenic, you know? Just to be the awkward girl in the corner, like Bella from Twilight. I mean, she was so awkward and quiet, and Edward noticed her. If I were schizophrenic, people would feel sorry for me and talk to me more.

So don’t try to tell me not to be wannaphrenic, OK? Because you just don’t understand.

But if you know if recording your voice and playing it back to you when you’re asleep works, then let me know, K?

Love,

That girl that you want to shake some sense into.

(I hope you know where I’m going with this, but I’ll post Part 2 tomorrow just in case)

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