Update

Okay so it’s been a while, I spent 8 months in a secure unit with my weight dropping and my mental health declining, then in December an eating disorder nurse from my home team came to see me at 8am in the morning. I remember being woken at 7am and having a shower on a chair because my legs would not stand and then being whisked off to the relaxation room to see her.

The nurse wanted to admit me to a general hospital for refeeding but I refused as it was so close to Christmas and I just wanted to be where I felt settled for the festive period. That night I was driven back to my home county and admitted to a general ward. I felt like I was living in a nightmare. I had an NG tube inserted and was started on a feed straight away, drips were in my arms and blood tests taken.

A month later, here I am, still in the same bed, still being fed through a tube and struggling enormously. I feel fatter with each day, the sips of ensure are getting harder and not easier. The plan from here is to go to an eating disorder unit in London which I’m super scared about. I don’t know any more. This battle is hard.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2016

This week has been eating disorders awareness week and today is Sock It To Eating Disorders Day. I’ve been unable to blog during my 5 month (and continuing) stay on the psychiatric ward but I just wanted to bring your attention to this week with some blasts from the past.

My Fixers film ‘Sectioned’ focused on my experience of being sectioned for my eating disorder. I wanted to tell people about the reality of these illnesses and the difficulties that come along with recovery.

I think it’s important that people are careful when posting about eating disorder awareness on social media as sometimes people post their low weight pictures which leads to competition, triggering others but also reinforcing stereotypes. I wrote an article on this for The Huffington Post. You can read this HERE

You can also check out 101 things that no one tells you about anorexia HERE

Get your silly socks out, have fun raising awareness and if you can, donate to b-eat the eating disorder charity HERE

Anorexia 101

Even typing ‘anorexia’ into Twitter, the first suggestion to come up is ‘anorexia motivation’. I often worry that society doesn’t see it as a life destroying mental illness but instead see it as a lifestyle choice that is both glamorous and okay. Pro-ana is so easily accessible that even those that don’t want to see it do, pictures of rib cages, thigh gaps and low calorie meals are all over the internet. People are actively trying to have anorexia which is absurd. You don’t see people who are pro-schizophrenia or pro-bipolar. @Justdreamingof (twitter) and I noticed this and decided to come up 101 things that no one tells you about anorexia. So here they are:

  1. You will become obsessed with food and it will feel like everywhere you look people are eating and drinking just to taunt you.
  2. It will make you jealous and angry towards everyone eating. Which is um everyone!
  3. Food is all you can think of, however if someone talks to you about food you will want to stab them in the eye with a fork!
  4. On the odd occasion you cook yourself food you will feel extreme anger towards anyone in the kitchen.
  5. You will rapidly learn all social interaction involves food and so will end up isolating yourself away from friends and family.
  6. You will spend weeks alone in your room in silence and utter despair.
  7. You will have showers instead of baths as your spine and bum are too bony to relax in a bath.
  8. You will never look fashionable because you will be too freaking cold to care.
  9. You will wear layers, partly to hide your shape and partly because you will have no control over your temperature!
  10. You will feel too cold and weak to leave the house. The thin you were striving for is only seen by doctors.
  11. It will take a long time to learn, and you may never, but it will NEVER be enough.
  12. You will probably end up binging. It will torture you both mentally and physically.
  13. And you will most likely purge. It will be horrific and you will clutch your stomach at 3am wishing you were dead.
  14. You best have a good pain threshold when your laxative addiction reaches 20+ a day.
  15. Your nails will flake, split and bend. Forget having pretty hands ever again…
  16. You will make everyone cry and fear for your life. You will become everyone’s problem.
  17. A trip to the supermarket may take you hours and you may well leave empty handed in tears as hunger pains shoot through you.
  18. You will scream at them about fat whilst they inject you to calm you down in hospital.
  19. You will feel fat. Always. In fact, the thinner you get, the fatter you feel. It doesn’t get easier.
  20. You will feel any food you swallow growing on you. Your skin will itch with it. You will want to tear it off.
  21. You will hurt. Every last bit of you will ache with pure exhaustion that no amount of sleep can cure.
  22. Your medication won’t work at a low weight and without food. You cannot ease the depression you will feel.
  23. You won’t remember what it feels like to feel okay. And to be okay. What is okay?
  24. You will wake up sweating from the nightmares where you eat and eat and eat.
  25. Your memory will become appalling. You will spend your time walking into rooms forgetting why you are there.
  26. Concentration will become non-existent. You will spend hours doing absolutely nothing.
  27. You will zone out during phone calls/at important meetings and only realise when there is silence that you need to reply.
  28. You will be so absorbed in your eating disorder that you will miss weeks, months, years.
  29. You will hate yourself with a depth and a passion you never knew possible. You will hate yourself more than you hate spiders.
  30. You will do everything to please your eating disorder. Cut all your hair off, your beautiful hair. Gone.
  31. Your hair will become your nemesis; oily, lanky, dull, frizzy, falling out. It will do all of these, sometimes at once!
  32. Your bones will ache. Your teeth. Your spine. Your legs. The pain will be unbearable.
  33. When something goes wrong with what you planned to eat you will wonder if it’s a sign…
  34. You will look forward to the food you have planned 3 days from now. You will think of little else.
  35. Your skin will be dry and flaky, no amount of exfoliating and body butter will improve it.
  36. You will have so many stomach problems, especially when you refeed.
  37. People you don’t even know that well will tell you that you don’t look well. Get used to it. It will happen a lot.
  38. You will get so used to it and if you hear anything else your mind will twist it and convince you they’re calling you fat.
  39. Someone telling you you look better will translate to you look fat, ugly, horrific and disgusting. You will be crushed.
  40. You will worry about the ‘calories’ in your tablets.
  41. You may develop a fear of having food in your house, in case you eat it when asleep.
  42. You will lose count of the number of times you weigh yourself in the day. You will be chained by the scales.
  43. You may go to the other extreme, and have cupboards full of food. It is for show. It is not to be eaten.
  44. Special occasions will make you want to die.
  45. You may have multiple sets of scales, to compare results thus ensure accuracy and also as back up should a battery run out.
  46. You will feel everyone is judging you.
  47. Occasionally people you don’t even know will comment on your weight ‘have a biscuit, you look like you need it.’
  48. And everyone will stare at the state of you. A mixture of shock, horror and concern.
  49. You may on occasion allow yourself to eat something as a treat. You will regret it, you will feel it tainting your body.
  50. You will bin your Easter eggs and advent calendar. You will want to cry at everything you are missing out on.
  51. You may be taken into the office at work, and told that maybe you shouldn’t be there, that maybe you are too ill to work.
  52. You will exercise until you cry or pass out.
  53. You may be treated like an idiot, with contempt and made to feel like you are wasting the professionals time.
  54. You will lose your hopes and dreams. No. You will forget your hopes and dreams.
  55. Other people may give up on you too.
  56. You will feel there is no escape from your nightmare other than death.
  57. You may manage to stabilise things. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. You are not safe from it.
  58. You will convince others you’re recovering when really the weight gain is from binging and purging.
  59. Your previous laxative abuse will leave your bowel unable to function normally. But you’re too scared to take laxatives…
  60. Your most glamorous moment will consist of nurses measuring your wee when your period has returned!
  61. You will fear a period. It is a sign of weight increase and its arrival is truly devastating.
  62. You will want to harm yourself over eating chocolate.
  63. You may hate to see other people eating in a carefree manner. The thought, the sound and the smell induce both fear and nausea.
  64. You will be stopped from exercising and be forced to sit down for months. It’ll feel like torture.
  65. You will become devious and lie about what you have eaten to those who love you. You will hate yourself for it.
  66. As a woman you will detest your womanly features.
  67. You will sit in the clinic waiting room praying no one else comes in. If they do you fear they will think you are fat.
  68. You will be so disinterested in sex. You won’t give a hoot about having a boyfriend.
  69. You may become irrational and irritable, pushing the few people who’ve stood by you further away.
  70. You will set yourself impossible standards. You will always feel useless.
  71. You may sit in the exam hall and struggle to write your name legibly with a pen as you have not eaten for over a week.
  72. You will think you can snap out of it but you can’t. You are trapped.
  73. Your grades will drop as you’re now scarcely eating, and punishment for the low grades you’ll eat even less.
  74. You will probably end up with no qualifications. No career. No life.
  75. You will struggle to pick up your beautiful toddler goddaughter as she runs towards you to be lifted up.
  76. You will feel unworthy and undeserving of everybody’s time.
  77. You may develop random phobias which will fill you with terror.
  78. You will cling to the walls as you walk to the toilet. Your legs will ache with weakness.
  79. Someone may call you chubby as a joke because you are painfully thin. You won’t find it funny. You will be crushed.
  80. You will body check until it drives you mad. Pinching skin. Obsessing over flaws in the mirror.
  81. You may avoid mirrors all together, and windows, and glass doors and anything else that may reflect your image back to you.
  82. If someone takes a photo of you, you will stare at it and how grotesque you look. It’ll make you cry and want to die.
  83. You may set yourself goals of what you can wear when you lose weight. But when you get there, you will still feel too fat.
  84. I hope you like GP and hospital appointments. Your life will become a timetable of them.
  85. Any physical problem you develop will be written off as due to your anorexia. You may feel no one listens. A lot don’t.
  86. You will forget what the air outside feels as you rarely leave the house due to depression and weakness.
  87. When you do go out, you may feel everyone is looking at you. You are sure they are all thinking you’re fat.
  88. You will cancel on your friends and family because you feel too fat to see anyone.
  89. When you are unable to avoid seeing them, you will exhaust yourself pretending that all is well. No one will be fooled.
  90. You will have the weakest bladder imaginable. You will worry all the time about where the toilet is.
  91. You will rapidly realise that mental health is not an NHS priority. Neither are you. You will be seen as selfish and weak.
  92. And when you are screaming that you are not okay no one will hear you. You have no choice but to suffer in silence.
  93. ‘All you need to do is eat. It’s not difficult’ will be something you hear over and over and over again…
  94. You will cry with frustration when everyone refers to your nightmare as a choice.
  95. Everyone will have an opinion, usually the same one and they will all tell you it’s obviously all about control.
  96. You will sit in group therapy and you will hate it.
  97. You will have osteoporosis before you are 30.
  98. You will sit in waiting rooms full of elderly people.
  99. You will look back and realise you have wasted 20 years of your life, and yet still you can’t stop.
  100. You will find it easier to visualise yourself dying than to visualise yourself eating.
  101. It is all consuming. You will no longer recognise who or what you have become.