Monday, 30 May 2011

Grey day

I've read the words 'black and white thinking' a lot lately. It seems to be an apparently common trait among people with restricting eating disorders. And I thought I knew what it meant. All or nothing, right.

But knowing what it means, and being able to see it in your own actions are two very different beasts.

I was hell bent last night on sabotaging everything. Don't ask me why. I'm not really sure. All I know for sure is I felt rotten, and the only way out was to restrict (oh, and a really long run would have been nice too).

Yep, that would have solved everything.

So those were my *only* options; recovery or relapse.

B&W - get it.

And after all, grey is such a dreary colour, why drag grey into it anyway. I'll tell you why - because it is really relaxing. It is funny and it doesn't care if the washing is done or if the kids all get their homework finished. It just says "this will do for today".

Grey also says it's okay to be grumpy and crap. Grey doesn't make you feel like you have to pretend there's nothing wrong - after all, grey is not sunshine and rainbows

And funnily enough, when I let myself be Little Miss Grumpy Pants today - I got so fed up with myself after about 20 mins of sooking that it actually became quite hilarious. Just trying to hang on to my grump became an amusing distraction (thanks to @weightinghelp @Junia87 and @akaMemily for playing along with me on twitter).

So I'm going to add this to my recovery checklist:
1. nutrition
2. support
3. wide variety of tasty foods
4. aim for grey thinking

I think I'll have to have a few more grey days in the near future - today was pretty fun! - and since I live in Melbourne, that shouldn't be too hard :)

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Can you take a day off?

Wondering tonight about the merits of taking a day off recovery.

Honestly, when all the pushing uphill becomes just too much effort, is it okay to take a day off? Or is this a cop out? Or does this constitute a slip?

My thoughts are that surely a planned day off doesn't count as a slip. After all, I can't do anything else that I need to do to diffuse this feeling - so maybe a little break is acceptable for stress relief?

But then I know that these are all just excuses - and I know that no excuses are acceptable when it comes to recovery.

So here's what I should do:
1. accept that I feel disgusting and uncomfortable and sick. I do. And that's just tough luck.
2. talk to Mr PJ - remind him of my warning signs checklist, and tell him I'm going to need it again
3. put today behind me. Go to bed (it's after 10:30pm) and start again tomorrow
4. if I still feel like this tomorrow, ring my gp and schedule in an appointment for this week - don't wait for a relapse to really take hold
5. breathe

but all of this takes courage...

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Advice for mothers living with eating disorders

I was so thrilled today to receive an email from the inspirational author of A Girl Called Tim - June Alexander (see my post about her book here). She wrote to let me know about a article she had written on her website containing some fabulous advice from international eating disorder specialists - and was advice specifically given to help mothers living with eating disorders while trying to care for their children.

Thank you so much June - I am so grateful to you for taking the time :)

Please visit June's article here ('mothers with eating disorders') to read all the helpful suggestions for mums.

**Edited 6 Aug 2011 - Now that June has a blog she has updated this article as a blog post found here

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

dealing with being hurt

Had my gp appointment this morning. Overall she's very pleased with my progress - especially as I still haven't weighed myself (ahem, that's 5.5 weeks now - OMGosh!). Hello humble brag, much!!!

But it didn't take long for us to stray onto the topic of the fact that I have cancelled my upcoming appointments with K (my councellor). I really like her - she is very lovely. But she really hurt me the last time I was there.

She said what a tragedy it would be for my children if I died.

I know it doesn't sound like such a crime, after all it is true - but unfortunately for K it's not the first time I've been told this, and what I hear when someone says this is "you are a bad mother - you don't love your children enough to choose to get over this"

I know that was not what she said - but I still feel very hurt.

So I decided that I can't afford for anything to upset me that much - the risk of relapse is just too great. Hence my rush to cancel...

Dr C (bless her) did listen to what I was saying, and did understand. But she didn't agree. She did agree that it was okay to let it sit for a few weeks, but then I need to either:
tell K what upset me and that I don't want to talk about it yet, or
tell K what upset me and that I want deal with it right away.

Either way I need to tell her what upset me.

And for a very good reason...
if I can't be hurt and work through it in a safe space, 
how am I going to cope with being hurt in the real world?
That's the real relapse risk.

I like Dr C's style. She has a great way of explaining things so that I understand (although I do have a mental picture of her banging her head against a brick wall most of the time, poor thing - but I am trying :) )

Monday, 23 May 2011

a little too personal

I'm really on a roll at the moment. I reeeeeeally want recovery - now!

So I found some courage over the weekend and asked the advice of someone I trust. I wanted her opinion on how to get my recovery moving faster.

And the answer I got was not what I was expecting at all.

I've met some wonderful people online just recently - people who know so much more than me; people who have seen it all; and people who have lived through it all. And the wonderful woman I chose to pose this question to is from the 'people who have lived through it all' camp. So I not only trust her, but she is one of the few people I *can't* say to "but you just don't understand".

So when I got the response, I was competely taken aback - but knew there must have been a very good reason for it. And when I asked her - telling her that I found the response upsetting because it was so personal - her reply was:  
yes - that's the only way to deal with this - to meet the challenge "head on".

So I crawled under the coffee table and waited for the world to swallow me up.

But you know what? 
I can do some really good thinking under there when I need to. After all, like I said, she *really* understands what I'm going through - so I knew that she was right, I just needed to understand why she was right.

But I worked it out...

Nothing must be allowed to stand in the way of my recovery.
Nothing must be used as an excuse.
Nothing is too uncomfortable, too time consuming, too embarrassing or too childish.
No excuses are acceptable.
Do what needs to be done and that's the bottom line.
I must not minimise this illness just because it makes me feel incompetent - that is ED at work.
That is ED's MO.
That is how ED is trying to beat me.

and I won't let that happen.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

what to look for in a 'helpful' website

okay. I went to bed last night pretty cross and upset. I've learned a lot about myself lately, and one of those things is that I don't let things go! Some one 'stronger' would just move on, but I'm going to ruminate about something that has upset me for hours (if not days).

So let's do something productive with all that rumination, shall we?

Here's a checklist I've compiled to help me evaluate a website the next time I go searching for advice in unfamiliar territory:

how does it look?
is it splashy and overly produced? yes - chances are they are trying to sell you something (even if it's just selling their treatment facility).
proceed with caution - it does not mean that their advice will be bad or wrong (it could be exceptionally helpful) - but it does mean it will most likely be one-sided.

triggering photos? 
yes - close the window down immediately!
Do not even give it a second glance. If they are thoughtless and/or unknowing enough to add these sorts of embellishments to their advice, then you don't want their advice. It smacks of lack of understanding, and most likely their advice will too.
Even I - who knows nothing about recovery - knew enough not to put photos which even I found triggering on my yoga post (and believe me there are some fab ones!) -- check these pics out tho', they are so cute!!

Who was this written by?
- Are they an ED specialist? Think carefully, there can be a world of difference between a dietician and a nutritionist. Do they work in private practice or are they representing a treament facility? Will they give you unbiased advice?
- Or perhaps it is written by someone recovered/recovering? This can be a tricky one. You might find this one of the best resources you come across (like Carrie's or Laura's), but if it's just an online journal of their recovery (you know, like my blog :)) then proceed with caution - it is just their opinion and will most likely be onesided and may not be based in science and may not be consistent.
- A big red flag for me is when they proudly tout that they recovered without the aid of doctors. I feel bad enough about asking for help without having someone rub it in my face that they are stronger (and inherently better) than me. So thanks, but no thanks.

what does your gut say?
Go with your gut - I knew last night that I was in the wrong place, but I soldiered on because I thought I would find some answers. But don't ignore that gut feeling. Even if I had found answers, they most likely would not have been the answers for me, because that quite clearly was not the website for me.
Even a considered, qualified, and well-balanced opinion may not be the one for me - you have to feel a connection to the author for an article to be helpful. I like straight forward, scientific and proactive writing - but that's just me. If something works for you, if it moves you forward in your recovery - if it 'feels' right - then it is probably the place for you. Follow or get the RSS feed for that site so you don't lose it!

Having said all that, this is the first time I have come across a site I felt could actually set back my recovery - everything else I have read has been caring and considered, and on the whole helpful.
Check out my list of bloggers I trust (on my left side bar) for a good place to start :)

anything to add? let me know if you've come across anything you found upsetting or triggering and I'll add it to the checklist! thx :)

Friday, 20 May 2011

'helpful' websites should know better!

am I the only one who has ever found some of the information on 'help' websites triggering? 'Cos I found a real doozy tonight...

I should have known from the outset that I was in the wrong place.

Pictures of women's midriffs adorning the home page -- should have closed the window. The one in particular along with the caption 'eating disorders' -- that flat, flat (she's never had three enormous babies) tummy and prominent hip bones -- should have closed the window.

Why did I read on?

Why, because it told me it was a 'caring' space. Pro-recovery. And I had been sent there following a tweet which promised "resources for adult eating disorders". All I want at the moment is someone to give me some guidance on how to maintain my motivation and stick to my eating plan. So I stupidly went on until I found the section entitled 'mid-life anorexia'. Ah, I think, this is where I'll find some answers.

All I found was a majorly condescending fluff piece article about one woman's experience. Not only does it actually go as far as to validate everything that ED has been telling me about how pathetic and shallow I am to have an eating disorder at my age -- but it then follows this up by talking about her current weight.

quick to google lbs to kg conversion.
but wait, my weight must be creeping up to that now -- so if she's in recovery, then I'm overweight! crap.

reading this site was supposed to be helpful! Why didn't I close the window?

I can't tell you how much I wish I hadn't read this. Stupid stupid mistake -- and they should know better. Really really ticked off with this website. Really hurt and betrayed.

Careful what you read people. Not everyone is as careful and understanding and knowledgeable as they think they are.


Thursday, 19 May 2011

so that's what's wrong with yoga...

...and pilates for that matter.

It's me.

Probably knew that already - but couldn't put my finger on what it was exactly that was bothering me. I'm embarrassed. I feel as though I'm being punished. Like this type of exercise is beneath my standards and ability - like I've been sent back to remedial exercise class for being naughty.

So it's a matter of perspective.

This revelation came to me today while I was doing a pilate class (my 2nd). So I tried really hard to change around my thinking, and come up with the positives.

1. this is my reward not my punishment. Dr C suggesting that I try yoga (or pilates) is my reward for working towards being medically stable. She did not threaten me with a hospital admission (punishment) she suggested a safe type of exercise (reward).

2. I can still work on muscle strength like I would in any cardio class, just without putting my heart under stress. So basically it's the same muscle workout but without the danger.

3. It gives me chance to try something new. It might not end up being my favourite thing - but who knows if I don't try. One of my main goals in recovery is to break this paralysing need I have for endless routine. And this is how I do that; by stepping out of my comfort zone and challenging those routines.

4. If I want it to be (and I stop sulking) the class can still be challenging. There is plenty of room for improvement in my core strength - and this will help when I return to my preferred exercise types.

5. I'm being social. Most of my exercise routines (and ED routines) rely on solitude and secrecy. And this breaks that. I'm in a group (albeit an unfamilar group) and I can use this to my advantage if I choose to.

I have also done quite a bit of reading about the science behind yoga and the effect it has on brain wave patterns - so I'm less anxious now about giving it a go, and even asked a friend this morning if she would like to do a class with me

...still, if that's what it takes to get me there, I guess I'll have to let someone to hold my hand :)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

my partner in crime


A recent post by the exceptional Carrie Arnold (at Body of Evidence) regarding a current anorexia treatment program (UCAN) which involves the inclusion of partners, got me thinking about how much I am loving having Mr PJ in the loop.

  • I love having him to talk to about all this.
  • I love being able to collude with him on ways to annoy Dr C.
  • I love not having having to hide the fact that I have been crying - and can just 'fess up and get over it rather than carry it around for days.
  • I sometimes find it quite frightening when I can't stop myself from running - but I thought I would hate having anyone know that because then they would make me stop - but I love having him know and making me stop.
  • I love having someone to go for a walk with - it's friendly and it's safe.

My appointment today with K did not go very well - and as soon as he gets home tonight I will tell him - and I love that :)

And although today I feel as though I'm no further down the path of recovery than I was a year ago, I know that there is now hope that wasn't there a year ago. I've tried it the secret way. IT DOES NOT WORK!!! You cannot do this alone. You need support. Lots of it. I was so scared of telling anyone - for so many reasons - but one of the major reasons was fear that ED would be taken away from me. YES! If no one knows you will never be free.

I want so much tonight to throw my hands in the air and say it's all too hard, I can't do this.

But I won't. I'll talk to Mr PJ. And I'll feel better. And I'll try again tomorrow.
And we'll think up new ways to annoy Dr C :)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Yoga? is she serious??

Weigh-in day today. 
Dr C gave me 'permission' to continue walking and do (...wait for it...) Yoga!!

Is she serious??

I have no doubt I will be kicked out for giggling within minutes of being asked to 'ommmm' - it's not going to work!!

But heck, I'll try anything once (but does it have to be Yoga?) - sigh...

Anyway, Dr C didn't give me 'the face' today, which can only mean I've put on weight.


But we did have a chat about what needs to happen before I can start exercising safely again. She thinks I should be medically stable again within about a month, but that it takes a lot longer to build up muscles than it takes to break them down - so for the sake of my weakened heart (and general body condition) I must not do any running.

Which I do agree with.

She would also like me to consider why I so badly want to exercise. And if it is for stress relief (am I really that transparent) then to think about other (safer) ways to handle that in the meantime. She would like me to only return to exercise when it is for fun and fitness - not for stress relief and weight loss.

I spy another shift in perspective being required. It's just this one has been with me for so long, I don't quite know how to change it...

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

toasted cheese sandwiches

I can't quite decide at the moment whether my recovery consists of good days interspersed with wobby moments or wobbly days interspersed with good moments...

either way, right now is good. The wobbly of the last few days seems to have passed, and I feel back on top of things today (meanwhile my next weigh-in is tomorrow, so watch this space...)

So while I'm in such a good mood I thought I would share something else that is making me feel good at the moment - toasted cheese sandwiches!


Bread and I have not been friends for some time - but I let my dietician put cheese sandwiches on my meal plan because I knew I could manage it.

And I like them again (albeit a nervous like..but like none-the-less)

I like them made with thick buttered farm-style white bread. I like thick handcut cheese slices. I like the bread toasted just right - I don't like over-toasted dry sandwiches, or undertoasted sandwiches where the cheese hasn't fully melted. But juuuust right...


Sunday, 8 May 2011

Saturday, 7 May 2011

there's nothing wrong with me

I'm fine, there's nothing wrong with me, I can cancel all my appointments now.

One day this will be true. But it's not today. ED is such a liar!

Time to go back and read my warning signs list again...

Thursday, 5 May 2011

something I'm proud of

having a bit of a wobbly am trying to focus on all the positive steps I have taken, and remind myself that my ED is scared of me - which is why it is trying so hard to rob me of my confidence and derail me at this moment.

So here's something I'm really proud of (time for a humble brag!!)

yep, see that gap there between the hamper and the loo?
That's where my scales used to be :-)
I'm proud of that gap everytime I see it.
(oh, and it will be 3 weeks tomorrow since I've weighed myself)

Today might not be a good day, but it's another day closer to recovery...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

a good day


Had a really great talk this morning with a very lovely lady (D). And D just happens to be fully recovered. She is the recovery support officer at a local ED association and is the first person I ever talked to face-to-face who has had an eating disorder (you know, to my knowledge). It was such a productive chat - I even managed to talk a little as well.

So many many things came up - so I'm just going to write them all here in no particular order (although, I do like the first one best!!):

1. I'm going to recover - I have it in me :)

2. Recovery is like climbing a mountain. You just keep going up, even when you slip and have to get up again. And I'm not going to be satisfied with just going most of the way to the top. I want to finish the climb.

3. I 'forget' to take my vitamins, iron supplements, and I won't drink juice or eat meat because I don't think I deserve to feel better (am aware of this one now!!!)

4. I am not alone in thinking that I can somehow protect my family from harm by depriving myself - but that it is not true.

5. My most immediate need is to eat.

6. When I manipulate my treatment team it is not me doing it but my ED - I'm a nice person, my ED is not.

7. My ED put a condition on me returning to a healthy weight to have my babies - "yes you can gain weight, but only if you come back when it's over." And so I did because the ED told me to. I need to stop listening to it.

8. My ED got worse after I first admitted to having a problem because it is scared of me :)

9. Needing help and asking for help does not make me whiney, needy and pathetic.

10. I can call on her anytime I need help :)

I really like D. I related so well to her - I think we are very similar in so many ways, except that I have *such* a long way to go...sigh...

Monday, 2 May 2011

danger, will robinson

there's so much advice in my head!!!
Dr C tells me that the fact that I have trouble accepting, and seeing the severity of my eating disorder is part of the disorder...

M tells me that it is common for patients to change their minds back and forth about recovery...

K tells me that I am going to find sticking to recovery very tough to start with because I have taken away all my exisiting forms of stress relief...

and all this advice is not only well founded, but it is needed! I've had a couple of pretty messy slip-ups and I know I'll have many more before I done :-)

So with this is mind, I've come up with a checklist of my warning signs to help me (and Mr PJ) recognise when I'm struggling before it becomes a problem.
  • feeling like I’m fine so I can just cancel my appointments now :)
  • conversely feeling like I’m ruining everything by eating 
  • not taking my multivitamins and iron supplements
  • deliberately restricting how much/what I eat  
  • drinking coffee/tea instead of eating
  • avoiding K and M
  • lying to Dr C/Mr PJ about what I’ve eaten
  • weighing myself
  • setting myself a new (lower) goal weight
  • thinking: I’ll just get down to Xkg and then I’ll stop
  • feeling physically sick at the thought of eating 
  • feeling like the tension in my chest is getting too much 
  • feeling overwhelmed by my ‘to do’ list
  • feeling like I have to exercise whether I want to or not

and I know I'm guilty of the first three today alone!!

 Obviously I don't know much about this whole 'recovery' thingo, but one thing for sure is I'm going to make a lot of mistakes.
But after reading this post over at Drop it and EAT recently I don't mind so much. I love Lori's acrobat metaphor SO MUCH!! I think of it helps me to keep going even when I stuff up big time :-)

"The longer you wallow in your disappointments, 
the harder it is to get your act together.
And after you slip, remember to pick your self up, with grace.  
Slips happen!
...and, you'll still get applause." 

So, bring on the applause!