Friday, 22 April 2011

are you sitting comfortably?

yes? well then, let's begin...

Since this is the first post I should probably start at the beginning – especially now that I know when that was (so bear with me – I don’t usually talk this much!). About 20 years ago, after a family holiday I decided that everything would be so much better - I would be a happier, smarter, more confident and more popular person - if I lost weight (you know, a *lot* of weight).
I weighed 57kg* at the time.

Fast forward 20 years. I now present at my mothercraft nurse appointment with my third bub in tow. She has known me for 8 years, takes one look at me in my clothes I bought from the kids section of my local Target, and wants to know what has been going on. I calmly explain that everything is okay. I’m only doing this because it makes noise in my head and stops me worrying about all the bad things that might happen to my baby while she is so small and vulnerable. Mothercraft nurse is not happy. ‘No’ she says, ‘I’d like you to go and see your gp’…
So I do. This is so silly. So I explain to my gp that I only restrict what I eat and compulsively exercise because it helps me to control what I think about. It makes perfect sense. I don’t want to think about all the bad things that might happen to my baby, so I fill the silence with thoughts that I control. ‘No’ she says, ‘You have an eating disorder.’

Blimey, what was that noise? Oh right, that was just the rug being pulled out from under me.

ED: she’s wrong anyway. You don’t have an eating disorder. What a load of rubbish. You’re just really clever and you’re doing this for a really good reason.
PJ: but what if this is what’s been going on for the last 20 years.
ED: it doesn’t matter, it’s working so well.
PJ: but back in my teens and early twenties I got so thin I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I had heart palpitations and would cry all the time. What if that happens again?
ED: it won’t. You’re in control this time. You know why you’re doing it and it is important. And besides, there’s nothing wrong with you anyway. And you need me…
PJ: yep, you’re right, I can’t let the gp take you away from me. I need you. You fix everything.
ED: yay!!!!

Okay that little conversation happened last July. I’ve now had two half-hearted stabs at recovery, each time knowing that I didn’t really want it, mostly because I really didn't believe I needed it; and all the while just hoping that somewhere along the line something would click and I’d realise Dr C (my lovely gp) was right. Because she is lovely and she really knows what she’s talking about. And I really like her, even though most of the time I really hate her.

But a recent relapse has shown me just how real this all is, and just how dangerous it can be...
So now it’s try #3. Only this time it’s different. This time I have support. Mr PJ knows now. Dr C is on my side. I also now have a counsellor (K) and a dietician (M). And just yesterday I made contact with a support officer at a local ED association. I’ve also been steadily arming myself with information from a number of fantastic blogs (like this one, this one, this one and this one).

I’ve also found that now that this thing in my head has a name I have soooo much to say about it. Hence this new blog. I’m probably going to blather on quite a bit. And I’ll probably whinge and complain. But hopefully I’ll have some insights along the way. And I’d really love you to share your insights with me – especially if you, like me, are a *teensy* bit older than the average. But having said that I know for a fact that there are a lot of hugely insightful people out there who are far younger than me – so all helpful comments will be gratefully appreciated**

Because this time I’m going to recover. Come hell, high water and relapses, I’m going to fix this mess…watch me!

*this will be the only time I mention an actual weight. I mention it here to underline my belief that eating disorders are largely genetic in nature. No amount of exposure to glossy mags  and barbie dolls could make a slim and fit 17 year old believe that every aspect of her world would be better and more under control if she was thinner.
** bear in mind this is *my* blog and I will edit and rewrite all unhelpful comments (especially anonymous ones) until they amuse me!


HikerRD said...

Good for you for "coming out", so to speak, and putting together a team of supports; it's never too late. And thanks for sharing my blog! Hope you got to read the post about those struggling over 30 (and beyond)
I'm behind you all the way!

spiritedladyliving said...

You can do it!!

Felicity said...

PJ your sparkling intelligence resonates through this post.
You have introduced me to a new topic that I believe many more people should be aware of and you've done it in such a way that I'm fully engaged.
The fact that you actually got me to laugh out loud and then clamp my hand over my mouth feeling guilty that I had [twice!] whilst reading this most serious topic is testament to your skills as a writer, your crackling smarts and your wonderful heart.

Go girl!

Snippet said...

You can do it - you have the support and I am always here if you need me for ANYTHING. xx

Chantell said...

Hi PJ, I'm not sure if you will see this, but I just feel compelled to say THANKYOU for sharing your story! I am struggling with eating issues too ~ apparantley I have an eating disorder ~ and I am 32yr, single mum of four children...I find it hard to accept the diagnosis because I have battled like this since I was a teenager, and, like you, I just feel like restricting my eating is a way of coping with the pressure of life ~ and it works! Like you, it was my baby health nurse who first confronted me about this a few months ago, and then referred me on to a whole team of other people...I recently started a new blog about my journey through anxiety & depression, but I'm finding that I just can't speak about the eating issues...My psych tells me that it because it is the 'germ' that started it all...Anyway, I hope you see this, and thankyou again for reassuring me that there ARE other mums who battle this too, not just teenagers...I wish you all the best in your recovery! ♥

Meg said...


I have just found you blog and look forward to reading. I'm 28 and at the middle-end stages of recovery - I'm weight restored but still have niggles.

Good luck with your recovery x

Meg said...


I have just found you blog and look forward to reading. I'm 28 and at the middle-end stages of recovery - I'm weight restored but still have niggles.

Good luck with your recovery x