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Posts Tagged ‘Anorexia’

I haven’t got an Eating Disorder because I’m not thin.

I just need to eat a sandwich.

I haven’t got an Eating Disorder, I’m just greedy.

I make myself throw up for vanity reasons, I just don’t want to get fat.

Upon finally reading through my emails which I’d avoided doing for weeks, I found an e-newsletter from B-eat about Eating Disorder Awareness week. I’d wanted to blog about it but having lost motivation for everything, including this blog, I totally forgot.

Eating Disorder Awareness week started Monday, so I started to read about it, I watched this video made for awareness by the University of East Anglia, and spotted the not-your-stereotypical Eating Disordered girl. I went to the B-eat website to see if she had a story because I wanted to know, was she Anorexic, Bulimic, a Binge Eater or did she have something else? So I went to recovery stories and was disappointed with what I read.

Three Anorexia recovery stories, all from the same age group, all from a female perspective. These stories will help inspire hope in individuals suffering from Anorexia, but for those with Bulimia, EDNOS, and Binge-Eating Disorder, I was left wondering, where are all of us?

I could really use some inspiration right now. A recovery story about binge-eating and weight struggles would be much appreciated, but all I can read about is Anorexia survivors. And what about males suffering with Eating Disorders, where is their representation? Are we all lurking in the shadows somewhere, hoping someone else will come forward and speak out about our struggles so we don’t have to?

I took part in a documentary to spread awareness of binge eating and poor body image, had I known when I was 10, 11, 15, 17 that there was such a thing as binge eating and even disordered eating, I would have been able to help myself much sooner instead of finally realising at 19 that I had a problem that is the most common yet the least talked about Eating Disorder.

I kind of figured I’d done my bit with the documentary. But I can’t stand the thought of people like me, men and women, teenagers and adults and even children who will read something like these recovery stories and think I haven’t got an Eating Disorder because I don’t have Anorexia. Or I haven’t got an Eating Disorder because I’m not thin. There will be people thinking I’m not Bulimic because I don’t throw up after every meal, and that’s not Bulimia, is it? Because these are misconceptions floating around about all Eating Disorders, and Eating Disorders awareness projects are the perfect chance to clear these misconceptions up, by illustrating real people’s journeys through all types of Eating Disorders.

I’m so pleased that some women may read the recovery stories and realise that they need help, realise that they’re not alone in their struggle with Anorexia, and that’s fantastic. I truly believe you have to know you have an Eating Disorder before you can fight it. We are moving forward, the myths surrounding mental health are slowly waning as more and more people speak out about their terrible experiences with people who have said “why don’t you just eat a sandwich?” or in my case “why don’t you eat 3 meals a day and snack on fruit?”

Every recovery story posted on the internet, in a newspaper or magazine or even told to a friend is one step towards a greater understanding of Eating Disorders, and one more person in the world gaining the support that they need. And since Eating Disorders are so similar in their misuse of food and their hatred of the body and self, then shouldn’t all Eating Disorders be taken into account when raising awareness?

What do you think, as an Anorexic, Bulimic, Binge Eater, EDNOS sufferer or any other Eating Disorder sufferer, are you well represented?

Hayley Emma

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Last night Inside the Body Beautiful aired on BBC3. Thanks to all of you that tuned in, and hopefully people in other countries can view it online in the near future.

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I watched it with from behind the sofa with my family. I mean, my family weren’t behind the sofa… I’d seen it last week as the Producer travelled down to Bristol to show me, yet all I could remember was the shock of seeing myself on screen and from different angles. As in, I don’t have to see myself from behind. I never see my back or what I look like sitting down. And that was difficult.

So far I’ve had positive responses (hooray!). As I said in my last post, I did it to raise awareness for binge eating disorder and EDNOS, and if I could help just one person then it was worth it. A friend texted me last night to say that I’d helped her understand binge eating more, so to me, that’s a win.

I also wanted to get across that Binge Eating Disorder is an Eating Disorder, and EDNOS, just like Anorexia and Bulimia. It doesn’t mean a person is lazy, greedy or ‘just likes food’. There’s an actual psychological problem behind it, as with other Eating Disorders. People comfort eat, restrict or purge for different reasons, it’s not always so straight forward as they want to eat more, they don’t want to eat or they want to eat and then… want to purge. Because … that doesn’t really make sense, does it?

But accepting that you may have a problem, be it an Eating Disorder, disordered eating or comfort eating, there are so many ways to combat it. I personally chose person-centred therapy and my binge eating has improved in the last year. Feeling bad about myself, thinking i was just greedy really didn’t get me anywhere, so if you’re going to comment and try to shame me or any readers about their eating and bodies, then your comment won’t be published.

If you would like some more resources to get more of an idea about Eating Disorders and stuff, please check out my Useful Info page as there’s some … useful info over there.

I’d be really interested to know what you guys thought of it, then next post I’ll stop talking about how I’m now a TV star and get back to discussing when I’m going to start collecting cats to fulfil my crazy cat lady destiny.

Hayley Emma

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Possibly triggering, talk of Anorexia and weight gain/loss, from the perspective of a younger me, who didn’t know details about Eating Disorders.

There was a girl in college who some assumed was Anorexic, myself included.

During my first year (and probably hers too) she was extremely thin, so much so that when she walked past she was a talking point. Her legs, which she always covered in tights and shorts, looked like they’d snap with the slightest force.

After a while I stopped seeing her. I thought maybe she had gone into treatment, maybe left college or even been in residential care. Not knowing anything in-depth about Eating Disorders back then, only having watched documentaries like Thin and Dana: The 8 Year Old Anorexic, I began looking for her. After all, as fascinating as an emaciated body is, I also felt a strong connection with Anorexia that I never fully understood until I started writing and reading blogs.

 

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The next year I noticed this girl who had the same colour hair, the same style, was the same height and had same face, but she was bigger. She was, I’m making an assumption here, overweight. Not by a lot, but she was noticeably bigger, most likely because she was fairly short.

I couldn’t believe it. I stared at her whenever I saw her. I couldn’t help it. In my mind, Anorexia was all about control, how could she have lost control? Surely she couldn’t be ok with her weight? But she was walking with so much confidence, I couldn’t understand it.

I longed to ask her but I was afraid she’d tell me it was none of my business. Which it wasn’t, as it still isn’t. So why do I bring it up? Because I saw her the other day. After staying at a heavier weight for at least a year, she was slimmer. But healthy-looking.

And I realised, I assumed she was Anorexic when I wasn’t as clued up about Eating Disorders, but that generalisation has stayed with me. I automatically assumed she was Anorexia, whereas now I think maybe she had Bulimia, or Binge-Eating Disorder, or EDNOS. Maybe she was a yo-yo dieter, or maybe she went through a rough time, a grievance or something that made her eating habits change and her weight fluctuate.

Or maybe she isn’t disordered at all, and the weight gain and loss was just natural, maybe she was just going through different stages in her life.

And it reiterated that it’s not possible to tell by a person’s appearance whether they have an Eating Disorder, never mind which Eating Disorder. Nor is it possible to tell what’s going through someone’s mind.

Do any moments stand out in particular when you realised how weight obsessed or Eating Disorder obsessed you are?

Hayley Emma

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I started my new job a couple of weeks ago and enjoy it, but I’m exhausted because of it. I wish I could go into detail – actually you know what? I’ll be completely honest.

I seriously thought about shutting down my blog because I’ve lost a bit of faith in the blogging community. Blogging used to be fun and interesting. I understand so much more about Anorexia and Bulimia, Binge Eating and EDNOS than I ever could reading a text book, and I’m so grateful for this. It’s also lovely that there are bloggers out there who have gone through such different experiences and feel they can share them with supportive readers who will help just by reading, even though they may not realise it.

We all know there are risks to blogging – there are strange people out in the world and the internet gives them access to us. As well as the supportive, pro-recovery or people not sure what to do, there are people who are so deep in their disorders that they feel a need to share their happiness with the world.

As much as I don’t like this, glazing over everything not so glamorous and emphasising how great it is to not eat or be thin (it’s interesting how you don’t get that so much with binge-eating, right? I mean, there’s nothing glamorous about being so uncomfortably full you have to take deep breaths and lay down. And then the end result is usually weight gain.) as much as I don’t like this, I can understand it.

What I can’t understand is when people share their experiences of recovery and health, and then are sent ‘anonymous’ emails. A couple of weeks ago I made a brief return to blogland and left again, because, as I’m sure many of you will know, Greta’s boss received an anonymous email telling her about her blog etc.

That right there is disgusting. And yeah, I meant to put ‘anonymous’. This kind of behaviour is disgusting because Greta wears her heart on her sleeve, and gives a lot of people, including myself, encouragement that an Eating Disorder free life is possible.

As I started a new job a couple of weeks ago, I feel it would be foolish of me to write details about it. I don’t want to say what sector it’s in, the city, anything that might give away some details. So that means I can’t blog about something pretty fucking significant in my life, because someone somewhere might try to sabotage me, like someone attempted – and FAILED, may I add – to sabotage Greta.

I thought about making this blog private, but one of the many reasons that I write is so that people like me who feel they suffer by themselves, can read it and realise they’re not alone, like I’m not alone. And I’m stubborn  I’m not going to stop blogging because someone might possibly attempt to hurt my feelings or use my problems against me in real life.

I Just Thought This Was Funny. And I Don’t Even Like Bacon.

 

So I’m back blogging now. I’ve had my rant, and I’ve posted a funny passive aggressive note, I feel a lot better, so yeah. Thank you for bearing with me, I am genuinely excited to catch up on blogs and find some new ones that may have popped up since I’ve been gone.

 

Hayley Emma

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It’s been almost a year now since I read Hungry by Crystal Renn (and wrote a blog post about it here which has my favourite quote from the book) and identified with it despite not being a model, plus size or otherwise, or suffering with Anorexia.

I’ve been keeping an eye on Crystal Renn’s weight loss, more out of a concern than anything. I’m not so focused on plus size women anymore, although they are beautiful, don’t get me wrong – I can now see the beauty in any body size and shape. Plus size, skinny, curvy, muscular, sporty, toned, you name it, whatever your body size or shape, its gorgeous. So I want to celebrate diversity.

As well as loving Crystal Renn’s body, especially in this picture, I love her attitude. Going from Anorexic to a healthy BMI is an incredible achievement, but getting to be a bigger size and loving her body enough to show it to the world is incomprehensible to me. This woman is brave. And so whilst I look at her body and appreciate it and want it for myself, I also look at her struggles and I can relate. To the obsession about food and weight, to being plus sized.

Do you have an opinion about Crystal Renn? How do you think she looks in this picture?

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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