Saturday, 25 February 2012

ever feel like no-one understands *YOU*?

Well, soon there will be a book for you to give to your family, friends and anyone else you think could do with a bit of translation-education.

Bloggers and eating disorder survivors Cate Sangster and June Alexander are currently working on a book to breakdown the language barrier that often exists between ED fighters and their family and friends. This can range from simple comments like "you look well" to seemingly downright thoughtless ones like "stop trying to get attention and just eat your dinner".

More often than not the family and friends of those affected by eating disorders have NO IDEA WHAT HAS HIT THEM - and really need a hand to get inside the mind of their loved one in order to avoid saying triggering and hurtful things.

This book will fill that need. It will help family and friends to understand the language of eating disorders - and therefore better understand how to help YOU on your journey to full recovery. And it will also help break down that stigma that you are doing this on purpose, or just to 'get them back' or to 'be difficult'.

Cate and June are looking for suggestions of experiences you have had where someone has said something to you and couldn't understand why you were upset by it. But also they would love suggestions from your family and friends as well. Get them to add their voices with suggestions of comments they have made where you have reacted unexpectedly so they can help fill in those blanks too.

And spread the word too. Cate has two buttons on her side bar (see below). Go grab the codes and put them on your blog. One button is to let people know about the book, the other is to let the world know that you have been a part of this valuable project too!!

Keep Cate Busy

Keep Cate Busy

Go visit Cate's blog for the funny, and June's blog for the facts, including the email address of where to send your suggestions.


To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln:
"I don't understand ED. I must get to know him better"

Friday, 10 February 2012

I've finally become the rollercoaster cliche


I can now see how this goes!

I feel distressed so I seek support. The support helps and slowly I start to feel better. I start to eat better. My mind calms down and I start to think clearly again.

I feel strong again. I feel happy and like my old self - ready to tackle any challenge. So I set myself a little one. Just a little one, I'll just lose 1 or 2 kilos. Because that won't hurt me, but then I'll just feel a bit better. And that's ok. I'm not going to go overboard. I'm back under control now. It will all be fine.

So I restrict, just a little. Because I'm fine now. And I up my exercise, just a little. Because I'm fine now.

And that little bit, even one skipped meal, is enough space for ED to squeeze back into my mind.

And so I start to really believe my own bullshit.

And so I'm really extra amazingly fine. In fact I'm so bloody fine I don't need any of these appointments! I've got everything under control and it's fine and nobody is going to steal my motivation away from me. I'm on a roll now. This is great.

And so I cancel my appointments.

And the rug comes sweeping out from under me. I start to panic. but I can't panic, because everything is going really well, you see. I'M FINE, you see. Don't need anyone. I'm wasting their time. Can't talk about it. God I'm stupid, what did I think I was doing. I can't go back and re-make those appointments now, they'll think I'm an idiot who can't take care of herself for two minutes without whining.

And so I panic some more. Lock myself away in my own dark little mind where the only light is provided by my scales and the pain in my stomach.

And then it all gets too much. I blurt it out to someone. And I realise that I really do need some support - otherwise why did I just blurt it out like that. I needed to tell someone. Because I am the olympic superstar at covering up my pain - so if I don't talk no one will know I need help. I have to be the one to initiate the process.

And so in my distress I reach out for support. The support helps and slowly I start to feel better. I start to eat better. My mind calms down and I start to think clearly again.

I feel strong again. I feel happy and like my old self - ready to tackle any challenge...

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

getting there, slowly...

Had a really good session w Dr C today. We talked about how much my insight has improved over the last 12 months - and I would definitely agree with this. 

My session with Dr C last week was difficult as I needed to go and tell her I was struggling again. 

I had all but dropped my bundle and was crying over every little thing - which is very unlike me. I know that I'm definitely one to hide my emotions at the best of times but crying randomly in public places was starting to do my head in quite frankly. I did stop short of fully disclosing the nature and intensity of my thoughts lately (some of which I discussed here) although I touched on it by saying I had been having some dark and scary moments.

Following last weeks session Dr C decided she wanted me to get some serious sleep and come back again this week. Which I did. I'm not sure I fully realised how much my lack of sleep was profoundly affecting me. I have really been able to get things back in perspective now that I'm not so devastatingly exhausted. I have been getting by on 2 or 3 hours of sleep a night for about a month now and I didn't even notice just how bad it had gotten.

Dr C told me today that she mostly just wanted to check up on me at this week's appointment, but she was already confident that I would be much better by this week as I had identified by myself that I was struggling and I had made the necessary appointments I needed. She knew I would be better by this week because even simply coming to see her showed I was pulling myself out of the slip. I had already made the decision not to continue on the way I was - but rather to seek the support I needed to get back on track and to then follow through in returning this week.

And I really do feel much better.

In fact today, for the first time ever, I realised just how grateful I am to Dr C. I was able to sit and chat with her with an open, calm mind. And I really do owe that to her for pushing me so hard right from that first day. And I have that same feeling I had back in December of being recovered. That same feeling that I can hardly believe the last two and half years ever happened.

But this evening I saw myself in the mirror and once again saw my 'chubby' face - and I remembered that this isn't quite over yet. I am still a work in progress :)

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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Mental Illness: Why do we need an umbrella term anyway?

This post has been prompted by a post from Laura's Soap Box on the term "brain disorder"

It's not a rant. Really it's not (I know it has been in the past) - but this time it's more just thinking aloud.

One of Laura's responses to a comment in defence of the term was that fear of the term should be unfounded as if we would referred to diabetes as a 'pancreatic disorder' we wouldn't automatically attribute the same concerns to that label as we do to 'brain disorder'.

But I don't see that argument as fair.

If you walked into any shopping mall and conducted a quick vox pop on "What does the term brain disorder (or the currently official umbrella term: mental illness) mean to you?" I guarantee you the answers would all follow the same line:
someone mental
someone crazy
someone who walks down the street talking to people who aren't there
someone psychotic
someone who snaps and kills their neighbours with a sharpened fork

...get the picture.

But my big question today is - why do we need this umbrella term at all? Why do eating disorder sufferers need to face the stigma of being associated with psychotic and dangerous people. Don't we have enough stigma being vain little sillys who just want to look good in our skinny jeans??

Lung cancer, emphysema and cystic fibrosis all severely affect the lungs. But we don't lump them all together as lung disorders. So why do we do this with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia, BPD, PTSD etc etc. They all have different presentations. Yes, I suffer from anxiety and an eating disorder. But it didn't kill me to say both those things separately - so saving time surely can't be the reason.

And if the reason is to better inform the public - that ain't working either!

Any way - just my thoughts - I would be very interested to hear your thoughts. Do you like the term? Do you, like me find that it is too fraught with stigma to be useful?