Thursday, 24 December 2009

Cheery?! (*hic) And a story of bear fuelled insanity ...

(Apology in advance: I discuss alcohol in a flippant manner in this post. If you have issues with alcohol then please take care over the holiday and don't, on any account, do as I do.)


Imagine how frustrating it is. I wait for hours with nothing happening and then I get just 2 minutes of pleasure. No folks, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the bloody internet connection. Lack of, thereof. Obviously it is not going to be fixed before Christmas. Or even this year at the rate they're going. Still, my CPN told me about a pub that is open on Christmas day afternoon where they have wi-fi. That would give a new and different focus to the day, trying to get out to get some connection.

Usually Christmas day for me is alcohol - possibly stirred into the porridge for breakfast, Christmas pudding with rum poured over (AKA drowned in. Not worth eating otherwise), Queen's speech (need to be drunk to "appreciate" that anyway. It's usually watching from behind a cushion type of thing given the extreme cringe factor rating. I don't think I've ever managed to get through a whole one yet) , and then sitting in front of TV all day in various stages of inebriation.

This isn't as bad as it sounds (though actually it sounds quite enjoyable if you like a tipple). I'm not drinking to dull the pain - although obviously it helps in that sense too. I'm drinking because it is one of the few days in the year that I mark with drink - the others being Boxing day and New Years Eve and day. And that's it. The rest of my alcohol intake is purely medicinal (hic). Did I mention that I've been ill now for 3 whole weeks?

Given the amount of alcohol already existing in my Christmas day, would it be that different to spend it in the pub anyway? But I have to tell you that I never drink out of the house. This is because I have such a low tolerance for alcohol. One drink and I'm anybodys barely able to stand up. Which usually suits me just fine on Christmas day because the amount of time I spend standing up is minimal. However, if I'm going to go to the pub, I will, ironically enough, have to hold off the alcohol until after I get back. Just to make sure that I do get back. I will also, of course, have to tackle my agoraphobia on Christmas day ... Maybe I'll just wait it out in hope of a few moments of pleasure at home?

Given that this is Christmas Eve I'll spare you the story of my Monday Monumental Fail. But don't worry, I'll be straight back here with it after the holiday. You're not escaping that easily. In the meantime, I'll regale you with the story of the Bear's Christmas Present Meltdown.

Every night this week I have been trying to sleep against the backdrop of a grinding grating noise (OK I just had to get a bit of my own misery in there) from some roadworks in the vicinity - something to do with the cable not working? Who knows, Virgin will tell us nothing. Anyway, my brain so successfully tuned out of this noise that I didn't hear 2 text messages sent in the night from the Bear's girlfriend. The first told how he had bought her a present which turned out to be faulty and had lost the receipt. He had spent a long time searching for it to no avail and was having a panic attack, and could I please call when I woke up. My heart sank when I read this about 5 hours after it was sent. I could picture the scene so clearly. The ranting, the raving, the panic, the screaming, the crying ... she must have been pretty desperate to text for my help in the middle of the night. The Bear only uses cash, so no receipt = no refund. I found out later that this was the only present he had bought her, so if he didn't get it sorted out she would have no present at all.

Anyway, it was with trepidation that I moved on to the second message sent about an hour after the first. After hours of turning the flat upside down, he had found the receipt just outside the front door. Relief! But then she wrote "Now he has gone nuts". Pretty serious I thought, if he has completely gone in the head area. You can just imagine how that can happen after several hours of extreme stress and panic. What would be left after such exertion would be a shaking trembling wreck. I was unnerved. And then she ended the message with a cheery "The bears say hi" .... WTF???!?!?!?!? And that is the bit I can't get over. Has she lost it as well, I thought?

I should explain. "The bears" refers to the large collection of teddy bears owned by the Bear. He and I used to spend many happy hours discussing what the *bears* were thinking or saying. And still do in fact. For example, I can tell you that the bears are STILL cut up over the closure of Woolworths. They used to love nipping out while the Bear wasn't looking and getting a big bag of pic'n'mix to share amongst themselves. His girlfriend however, didn't get in on this game for a long time. Lack of imagination? Slow on the uptake? Not into such nonsense familiar with ursine thought patterns? I can't say as I don't know her that well. Anyway at some point she started joining in the bear fuelled frippery.

But then to end a text telling how the Bear has suffered a mental meltdown with a cheery missive from the bears? I mean, as though they would have been able to sit through such a drama without being terribly affected themselves. Their poor little nerves must be frazzled. Saying "hi"? They're screaming their bloody heads off woman! Poor old bears.

So I seriously doubt her sanity.

And you, dear reader, are by this stage seriously doubting the sanity of everyone at this end.

Anyway, after the Bear had taken a bucketload of various meds which produced no positive result at all, and had done plenty of crying, he and she went to Argos yesterday afternoon and got a refund. They then went round the shops where he proceeded to buy her quite a few presents which she chose and was delighted with. And by the evening everyone was happy again. Don't you just love a happy ending?

The *bears*, however, say it will be quite some time before they recover from this debacle. I'll have to nip round later and give them each a drop of whisky. Purely for medicinal purposes, you understand.



BTW Am I the only person who thought Jack's post entitled "Ways losing weight is like writing a letter to Santa" should have been called "Ways losing weight is like having sex"? Some of those lines I distinctly remember having said to the Bear. Check it out here.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

I lost it and it's all Kevin Costner's fault

Victoria Wood and Julie Walters discussing diet and exercise esp in relation to a fat woman they both know.

VW: "You have to clench your buttocks"

JW: "Well she couldn't clench her's. It'd take two strong men and a wheelbarrow!"

Ok. I just thought I'd cheer you up before yet another depressing post.

Firstly, I have no internet connection. There has been a cable problem for the last 4 days and Virgin STILL haven't fixed it. They ain't rushing. I really hope they sort it out soon. I just can't face Christmas with no connection. The first day I was so depressed. I felt cut off. I wanted to know what you were all up to! Seriously it has made me miserable. I miss you all so much. After all, who else is going to wish me better when I am ill? Only you, dear bloggers.

Then there's the cold. It's very cold here and my heating won't come on for some unknown reason. I have a fan heater but it is fanning more than it is heating. The massive air circulation is a bit draughty. I do have another little heater which was great at heating. In fact so great that its heating capabilities extended to burning up the plug and melting the socket it was plugged into.

Finally I worked out that I could go to Argos and buy a new little heater to tide me over. Except I can't cope with the Argos in town. It's in a busy shopping centre and Christmas week? I'll be waiting in there with a million other people. Then (cogs turning very slowly folks!) I worked out I could go to the out of town one. This was Sat 6pm and I thought maybe it is still open? But I couldn't check because I have no internet. So I thought fine, I'll go tomorrow. And then I managed not to do anything on Sunday. At all.

So, I was freezing, frozen to the bone cold, very lonely without my internet connection, struggling to breathe - I feel like I need someone to just put a tube down my throat and suck out all the gunk (sorry). I have a big booming cough that signals to the whole neighbourhood that I'm ill. But at least my earache is just twinges now and then.

Anyway, you know how it is when life is heaping it on you ... well I usually find that's just the very best time to start thinking about how I have completely cocked up everything this year. And why stop there? Surely there is more rubbish I can dredge up to make myself feel even worse? You betcha. Christmas on my own? Always a good one. I could go on here but I don't want to lose you to despair, dear reader.

I happened to be watching Dances With Wolves. I've never watched it before (yes, how late am I?) And just as my own shit is seriously getting on top of me, they have to go and bloody shoot the wolf. I COMPLETELY LOST IT. Bucket loads of tears followed by the inevitable suicidal thoughts.

So somehow I got myself together and went to the shop round the corner. I think you know what's coming.

I recognised that I was giving myself permission to binge because, "Who cares when I'm going to kill myself anyway?" But even though I could see this, it didn't stop me.

It wasn't the worst binge in the world. Only because I have largely been off rich food. I have no cravings for very sugary things - so no packets of Mr Kipling cakes. Or anything in bulk. This is because my digestive system has been out of whack the whole time I have been ill.

I have been unable to eat to plan because I couldn't eat my usual fish and veg. I have been eating carbs at every meal. I felt like my innards needed something to hold onto. So I've been eating only porridge and dry carbs. Because the drier something is when it goes in, the drier it'll be when ... yes, OK, you get the picture.

I have been eating pitta bread a lot. Why? I have no idea. I HATE PITTA BREAD. Here's how they make pitta - they take some sawdust and the dried out contents of a hamster cage, grind it up and mix in with a little wholemeal flour, yeast and water. They put it through a mangle to squeeze the life out of it, then bake it. Finally, just to make sure there really is no life left in the damn thing, it gets mangled yet again.

Then they seal it in plastic and the percentage of sawdust means it'll have a shelf life of about 6 months. Cos how can it go off if it's completely dried out dead already?

If I bought a sliced loaf, even if it was the biggest loaf you'd ever seen, it would be gone in 2 days. A packet of 6 pitta can easily last a week.

I am safe with pitta.

But that still doesn't explain why I have been into them recently.

The ONLY thing they have in their favour is that you have to put either salad or banana in there. Otherwise all you can taste is sawdust and hamster scrapings. Therefore, the possible combinations of filling I do are fairly healthy. And I think over the last 2 weeks I've pretty well covered them all.

Saturday night and Sunday involved Bad Eating. But blimey, I was hot! Yes, a minuscule number of those calories were successfully converted to heat. But I think most landed on my thighs. I DO NOT NEED ANYMORE ON BOARD INSULATION THANK YOU VERY MUCH.


The above was written yesterday which was a good eating day, involving ground rice porridge for breakfast, 2 meals with pitta bread and 2 snacks. Then I managed a monumental fail in an entirely different direction, but I'll save that for another post.

If you are reading this it's because I am connecting via wi-fi from a neighbouring building. If I am late commenting or responding to emails it's because I can only pick up my neighbour's wi-fi intermittently. Hopefully the cable will be sorted out very soon.

PS Sorry for the lack of Christmas spirit! 



Thursday, 17 December 2009

Still ill

Hi Folks. Thanks for all your well wishes. I really thought I was almost better a few days ago but this thing has flared up again and it's actually worse now than last week.

Over the weekend I was very done in and frustrated with still not being able to get out and get walking. But I was patient and took it easy. I walked to the supermarket and back on Saturday but stayed in Sunday. I went to see my healer on Monday and made it up the hill without a problem. I had a great day Tuesday with tons of energy and getting a load of jobs done around the house. I had far more energy that day than at any time in the last 6 months. It was weird. But that night I started with a bad sore throat and by the next morning I was full of cold. Then last night things got worse. When I got into bed I had the most severe earache I've ever had in my left ear. It radiated to the left half of my head. It was so bad I was actually frightened. Then I was aching all over. It was a bad night.

I've spent much of the last 24 hours crying. I have really had enough.

I know it's stupid to get so upset. It will go away SOMETIME. But it looks like it'll be another week. And I've already been ill for 2 weeks. It is grinding me down.

I had to cancel a meeting today with the lady who helps me get out.

I am sick and tired of feeling like SHIT!

Sorry I can't write more but I am feeling too bad.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Yuckity Yuck!

Hi Folks. Sorry for my absence from blogland the last few days. I've had a bad virus (swine flu?) since Friday and been really unwell. Started Friday afternoon with diarrhea, wild temperature fluctuations, aching all over and feeling pretty awful. Now I am exhausted and my nose is still running and lungs aching. I'm really hoping to be back to normal by the end of the week. I have missed my walking so much, missed just being out in the fresh air so much. Weird for an agoraphobic to say that huh?!

I haven't felt up to reading and commenting on blogs or answering email so you'll have to bear with me while I catch up. I've got a lot of reading to do!

Thank you to everyone who commented on the last post. I think there's a lot more to be said on that subject about how we eat and what our expectations about eating are.

In the meantime I'm just going to try and catch up with everyone!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Day 16: Thoughts on rigidity, chaos and "normal" eating

Another award! This was so kindly given to me by Amazon Runner, Diane at Fit to the Finish, and Katie J. I really feel I don't deserve it as I don't manage to post that often!

There are rules attached to this one:
Each person who receives it must link to the person who gave them the award
They must chose 5 deserving bloggers to pass it on to
They must display the award and link to this post which explains the award
They must add their name to the Mr Linky list on the above link so the originator can keep track of everyone who has received it
They must display the above rules
So many of the people who deserve this award have already been given it, so I have chosen people who to my knowledge have not received it yet. I would like to pass this award on to:
Green Stone Woman who posts at least once a day and is always a good read,
Amy at The not so secret life of a not so super together mom - who has raised many interesting food issues on her blog and written beautifully about her mental state,
Sean at The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser - I admire his determination to post every day whatever, and how does he find so much to say?!
Wendy at New Me: A Fresh Start - I might not always agree with what she says, but it's always interesting and challenging (for me) and highly relevant for anyone dealing with their relationship with food.
Jogging Auburn at Quest for a Mile - her posts are just so beautiful! She hasn't posted for a little while now so I hope she'll start again soon.
All the above are in my bloglist. And I have still not passed on my Best Blog Award! Next time ...
So, about the diet. I have completed day 16 and all is going well so far. I hit my target of walking 4 times last week and have 1 walk under my belt this week, done on Sunday (my diet week running from Sun to Sat). I had a very active day today walking and actually running part of the way to my healer (because I was late!) for 35 mins and then I walked for an hour afterwards. But I don't count it as an official walk unless it's at least 1 1/2 hours continuous walking. My eating has been spot on and despite many times over the past week when I felt very down I haven't even really wanted to "depression eat". I have had occasional bingeing thoughts but have dismissed them quickly from my mind because I know so well how "fantasy bingeing" has a tendency to turn into the real thing. The only thing I am still struggling with is getting to bed on time. It's certainly much better than it was but I have still had a couple of 2.30 bedtimes and one 3am which is obviously way off what it should be. But I'm going to continue trying on that one. I also haven't yet built up my toning exercises. I'll get there!
But overall I'm very happy that my good eating and exercise routine is nailed in place. It feels so much better waking up after a day of clean eating compared to the horror I have felt every morning for the past few months of waking up after another day bingeing. Literally horror. I have of course still felt very depressed and low during the last 2 weeks - because I'm suffering from depression aside from my eating. But I don't feel I'm in chaos anymore because my eating is not chaotic. I don't have that circling, behind the scenes terror about what I'm doing to myself with eating ridiculous amounts of food. I'm not filled with anxiety about being out of control and not knowing how I'm going to stop it. So the difference in my mental state is dramatic. I feel so much calmer.
And I am just so grateful that I'm not really struggling to stick to my healthy eating regime. It is not a battle. If it were a battle then I wouldn't be succeeding. I don't have very much willpower at my disposal as concerns my eating. I do and can force myself into doing the walking. That does require quite a bit of determination - just to get out there due to my agoraphobia, and in the cold windy wet weather. I have willpower there. But I don't believe I have that much with eating.
For me there are two states of being with eating (since I had a breakdown) which are eating in a very repetitive rigid pattern or eating totally chaotically. I seem to have moved from the latter to the former. But I don't know how.
Today I read on Leslie's blog about her desperation to pack in the bingeing that's been plaguing her weight loss efforts for some while now. She asked for suggestions on this and several people have written interesting comments in response. Vickie's suggestion was that Leslie should only eat at home or if out, only eat food she had prepared herself. So to keep complete control over her eating. I had made a similar suggestion to Leslie the day before about nailing a healthy eating pattern in place and not deviating from it except for the coming actual holiday days. What I was meaning was something very similar to what Vickie suggested ie to 100% plan her eating - what to eat and at what times, and stick with it no matter what. But I didn't push the idea because I was worried that what I was suggesting was as much disordered eating as her existing bingeing pattern.
Keeping to a very rigid repetitive structure is the only way that I myself can cope with food, and I'm very aware that this is not "normal". It is the flip side of chaotic eating - total rigidity and routine. It also has many problems associated with it - such as never being able to have any spontaneity, never being able to eat out, the tendency that if I do step out of my pattern I'm in real trouble - I can't handle it at all and may end up bingeing/ compulsive eating for months before I regain control. I wouldn't want anyone else to suffer this of course.
So how can I make such a suggestion? Shouldn't we all be aiming for sane eating? Is it wrong to aim for anything other than that? On the other hand, sanity for me can only be found in sticking to my trusted routine. That is where my safety and sanity exist. And what is normal eating anyway? I saw an obesity surgeon on TV not so long ago and when his team stopped for lunch everyone got out their tupperware boxes and tucked into their sandwiches. He pulled a can of tuna out of his pocket and that was his lunch. His mantra was "Never eat anything beige!" ie no cakes, biscuits, pastry etc. He was very thin of course, but judging by the faces of his colleagues, they all thought he was nuts. I have to say that seeing this man eating a can of tuna for lunch everyday to the derision of colleagues made me feel that my eating wasn't so weird after all. This guy was essentially saying that what we consider to be "normal eating" is the reason why 2/3 of adults in this country are overweight or obese. He was unashamedly abnormal in his eating.
So to come back to Leslie, is rigidity the key? A zero tolerance approach to eating outside of set meals she has prepared herself? I honestly can't say. It would be great to get the weight loss going again, for sure. But what about all the socialising involving food? With buffets one can just abstain, but sit down meals with friends and family? Work socials? Also, how long would it last? This is something that needs a solution for life, not for a few months.
But this is the stuff that everyone who wants to lose weight faces. Saying no when other people are gorging away right in front of you. Saying no to yourself when you want to eat chocolate cake (I'm even frightened to type that food!) Saying no to yourself when you are hungry. In other words, taking control. Generally you only get to have a serious weight problem by being out of control so the only way to rectify it is to be very much in control.
So it's all about finding a type of control over your eating that you can live with. For Sean for example it's about eating all his favourite foods whether healthy or not so healthy. He eats it as long as it's within his calorie budget. For me it is about eating the same food at the same time every day.
Of course control over your eating is only tackling one end of the problem and Lori-Ann made a great comment to Leslie's post about thinking how she would deal with life after she had lost her weight - what would her mission be then? And the anxiety that accompanied these thoughts.
Eating to plan in no way addresses issues such as how you will live your life as a thin person, fear of change in body size or any emotional issues that keep you clinging to your extra poundage. But if it means you can live less chaotically then you might just have the time and space in your mind to address the other issues rather than have your life dominated by bingeing hell.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Passing on the Love!

These two awards were so kindly given to me by Green Stone Woman.

I would like to pass the "Atta Girl" award on to Lori-Ann at Amazon Runner because she really is making a difference with the Lakota Crafts project. This project is about providing the Lakota people with income from their own traditional crafts and thus working towards alleviating their poverty. You can read all about this project here and link from her site to the shop if you are tempted for a beautiful selection of unique handmade gifts for Christmas.

I would also like to pass the "Atta Girl" award onto Tammy at From Fat to Fab. She is a true inspiration dealing with large amounts of personal and family stress whilst battling food addiction. Her fortitude never ceases to amaze me. And even though she has so much already to cope with in life she is always generous with her time in helping other bloggers. Her presence in the blogosphere really does make a difference!

I also give this award to Diane at Fit to the Finish. I don't think there has ever been a greater inspiration than someone who has really suffered with her weight and then successfully dealt with it and maintained a healthy lifestyle for 12 years - despite a further 4 pregnancies. She is making a difference to so many people who are struggling to find a way out of their weight problems. Diane proves that it CAN be done and I am so happy that she chooses to share her experience of this whole journey with us.

The Deborah Award was created by Ces for her friend midlifepoet. The explanation of this award is here (I'm unable to copy it into blogger of course) and it really is quite beautiful. This award is for special (female) blogging friends who have stuck with you through your journey.

In Gratitude I would like to pass this award on to the following people who have all offered me friendship and support through the last few months, both on my blog and through email:

Chrissie at A healthy Mind and Healthy Body
Paula at paulawannacracker
Leslie at Something Brilliant is Brewing
Tammy at From Fat to Fab
Judith at The Art of Not Working
Cheryl at Wishing and Discovering
Lori-Ann at Amazon Runner
Natalie at My Kashi Diet
Amy at No to the Deuce
Losing Waist (Don't know if I'm allowed to give her name!)
Amy at The not so secret life of a not so super together mom
Jogging Auburn at Quest for a Mile
Lisa at In Weigh Over My Head
Letta at Jumping off the Binge Wagon
Diane at Fit to the Finish
Patsy at Musings on a 100lb+ Weight Loss Journey

All can be found on my blog list. And I'm sorry that these awards are only for the ladies because I can think of a couple of men I would have passed these onto as well. Sorry guys!

I have other awards to pass on but those will have to wait for the next post. In a way, this seems like an appropriate day to be thankful for all the friendship I've been shown in the blogging community, given that it is Thanksgiving in America today.

A bit ironic that on a holiday when Americans are being thankful for the abundant lives they have, so many people are so anxious about having too much food! I hope all those who are celebrating today have a wonderful day with lots of love and healthful eating.

Anyway, what about the diet? I am on day 12 of my diet and things are going surprisingly well. I was very anxious about it all the first week. So worried I would mess things up yet again. I was super careful. Making sure I only shopped when I wasn't at all hungry, making sure I didn't go into any convenience stores after my walks - the time when I felt most vulnerable. Making sure I only bought good things at the supermarket. I was so relieved to make it through that week! My eating was perfect and I got 4 good walks - I was actually rather annoyed at myself as I felt I could have done 5 if I had put my mind to it.

However, I was still not making it to bed at a reasonable time. This has been a problem for me all year and I am so tired of it - literally! So this week I have been working on it. I reframed *getting to bed on time* as an essential part of my weight loss efforts rather than just an add on. And thus have managed to make it into bed at or before 2am the last 3 nights. I feel SO MUCH BETTER for getting into bed 2 hours earlier. It is as Sean says, you have to make it your highest priority otherwise it won't get done.

I also feel ready to add another goal to the 3 already listed, which is to build up a routine of toning exercises. So far I am doing push ups and plank exercises, and I want to add stomach crunches and leg exercises.

I am still not feeling very confident about things. For me it is not about "stringing together good days" like Jack Sh*t. To do this thing I have to focus on the bigger picture, to think in terms of weeks and months. To be constantly thinking of where I want to be in 4 weeks, in 8 weeks, about the clothes I want to be wearing in the future - all the ones I have right now which I can't currently get into. Also I am not the type of person who loses weight day by day. My body tends to save it up - sometimes for weeks - and then I have a sudden big overnight loss. I always suffer this significant delay - which is agony! So what I'm doing today, or this week, is only going to show up in about 3 weeks time. If I didn't focus really hard on the future I'd be lost. I don't even get a big water loss in the first week - in fact my body's response to healthy eating is usually to retain even more water. Urrrgh! Luckily the water retention situation is starting to resolve now.

So far this week I have done 3 walks and I feel my speed is now picking up. The last couple of days I have barely even noticed that I was walking, apart from near the end. So my fitness has improved dramatically in a very short time.

I started my walking program 3 weeks before adjusting my food intake. I actually put on a bit more weight during that time as I was still eating too much. But I was able to build up my muscles and stamina - and I think maybe this is easier without the double whammy of calorie restriction at the same time. Why is it that we always put so much strain on our bodies all in one go?

Hope you are all having a great day, whether or not you are being thankful!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Doing it!

Hi Folks. Thanks once again for so much support. You're showing me a lot of love here and I really appreciate it. Writing the last post helped me calm down a bit about things over the weekend. The problem is still there and still needs to be sorted, but I really had to put it on the backburner for now just to save my sanity - or the last shreds of it anyway.

I mentioned how sometimes in the past when everything is feeling so bad and there are seemingly unsolvable problems, I turn to the one thing that I can fix - my weight. Previously this has sometimes happened deliberately and sometimes it just happened.

I have felt out of control around food for most of the last 4 months. I have not been able to turn this thing around at all. I did manage one good week but it was a struggle and I wasn't able to sustain it. I was in the binge mode not the healthy eating mode. I failed to switch modes.
But over the weekend it happened.

Admittedly you could say I have been working up to this given that I had spent the previous 3 weeks doing a lot of walking. This gradually calmed my blood sugar down and I was able to reduce my food intake. I was still eating too much though.

It wasn't until Sunday that I was FINALLY able to start my diet and return to healthy eating. It wasn't until then that I felt able to commit to a diet and exercise plan.

I have returned to eating the Hay Way - a way of eating which is otherwise known as Food Combining. It is principally about not mixing protein and carbs at the same meal. It's a way of eating which makes sense to me and which I have sustained for long periods in the past. It's not specifically a reduction diet but can be adapted to that. And it doesn't involve counting calories. It naturally lowers your (starchy) carb intake by limiting them to one meal a day.
I have thought about going low carb and my one good week out of the last 4 months was achieved by adopting that approach. It was great for my blood sugar and I was very happy with it - apart from my skin. Over the course of just one week my skin really suffered. I had seen this in a friend over 10 years ago who was low carbing. Her skin looked dreadful. And when I tried the Atkins diet a decade ago the same thing happened.

I don't know how to solve this problem. If any low carbers have any experience of skin problems related to their eating I'd love to hear about it.

So, my goals are

1) to eat healthily for weight loss in the food combining pattern I have now re-established

2) to do a walk of at least 1 1/2 hours 4 days a week

3) to get to bed between 12 and 2am (rather than 3 and 5am)

In the last 4 days I have eaten brilliantly and done 3 long walks. I even made it through a VERY stressful Tuesday without slipping up.

It went like this - Walking into the centre of town to pay a bill at the bank (a very long queue), going to a couple of shops - one on the High St and then a trip round the supermarket and walking home with heavy shopping. Putting the washing on. Then downstair's cleaner asked if she could borrow my hoover as their's was broken. So I felt unable to relax while the washing was on because at any moment there might be a knock at the door with a question on how to empty it or just thank you for lending etc. Then when the washing had finished I had to take it to the launderette to dry it because the dryer is broken. There I had to deal with strangers and the old lady who helps run it - let's just say she's *a bit of a character*.

And, after ALL THAT I still really really wanted to do a walk! I had to stop myself for fear of overdoing it and ending up calling in a convenience store on the way home and buying the old bag of rubbish.


Friday, 13 November 2009

Stormy weather

Hi Friends. Sorry for the lack of posts over the last week. The title of this post is correct in two ways - the weather in the UK is indeed stormy today with heavy rain, galeforce winds and flooding in many places. It hardly seemed to get light today and was totally dark by 4.30pm. So a bit of a non-day really. I'm just very lucky that I'm not in danger of flooding at all being on slightly higher ground. I would be living in terror otherwise. The river this week has looked quite swollen already without all this rain today. I do worry about the roof leaking though. It makes me feel quite vulnerable.

The first few years I lived here the whole roof would sway in a high wind. Then some work was done to strengthen it and it's been fine since then. The property is Georgian so about 250 years old and I often feel it's as solid as cardboard! The method of building in this part of the country at that time was just to use a load of rubble and skim some stucco over the top to make it look smooth and posh. I have seen the truth of this myself when surrounding houses have needed to have the stucco replaced and so have it all chipped off to reveal the rubble underneath. It's slightly worrying ...

The other stormy weather is in my head. As issue has come up over the last week and really slapped me round the chops. And for once it's not something to do with my weight. Which is a relief in a way. The issue is not something I can discuss on my blog which is really tough because I'd love your opinion on it. I know you would have some great ideas. As it is I have not been able to speak to anyone about it so far. I have just been driving myself almost mad in my own head. It has been hell.

I have feared that I was having another breakdown. That is how much it has shaken me up. It may even have happened. I don't know right now.

I have been very shaky in a way which is totally different to depression. I have had some very distressing thoughts and a bucketload of anxiety. All the worry and upsetting thoughts have actually made me feel physically ill. I have struggled to find a level place in my head.

Sometimes the only way to escape all of this is to move to a completely different place in my own head. Ie almost become a different person. Not that I do that deliberately. It just happens sometimes.

Today I felt lonely. I wanted to be with other people because I need that support. I still haven't been able to go healing at the library. My goal is to get there some time before Christmas.

I was due to see my healer the coming Monday but she texted to say she is unable because she's visiting her mother in Cambridge. I think I really needed to see her. It will have to be the Monday after that instead.

The aforementioned issue is tied up with The Future and how I will survive then and what I will be able to do. I know your immediate reaction to this will be to concentrate on the here and now and leave the future until I get there. But this issue means I DO need to think about it now and plan out what I'm going to do.

But what can I do? Will I be able to work ever again? In the last 3 years I have been unable even to do 1 hour a week voluntary work let alone anything else. Of course I want desperately to be able to work. I cannot have a normal life unless I can work. But the reality is that I will certainly never work full time again and even part time work will be incredibly difficult. I just get stressed so easily.

But without being able to work I have no future at all that I can see.

I am so worried about my future prospects. In a way it is a good sign that I can even think about this stuff because over the last few years I haven't been able to do that. But now I am in a crunch position over it so I have no choice. And I'm not handling it well.

Chances are I will just end up more ill.

With my weight I have almost accepted that I'm just going to be a seriously mentally ill person shuffling around town (when I'm able to get there lol) with undyed, unkempt hair, wearing glasses and looking fat, greasy and spotty. So attractive! But I don't have the mental or physical strength to do any better at the moment. And that is if I can even get into town ...

My eating is less than it was due to my blood sugar being better from all the walking I have done. I've only managed 2 walks so far this week but I did 5 long walks a week the previous two weeks. But I am still eating too much.

Often in my life when everything has seemed over whelming and out of my control I have decided "OK I can't fix all that but at least I can be thin", and then proceeded to do what was necessary in adjustment of food intake and getting some exercise to achieve that. It isn't going that way at this time. I wish it would because at least I would be achieving on some level.

I don't know how I am actually holding it together at the moment. "Only just". I have been in a battle for psychological survival the last week. I don't know what the outcome will be. I need to find a solution to the problem.

Sorry about the shabbiness of this post ...

Monday, 2 November 2009

Saw my healer!

Hi Everyone. Thank you as ever for some amazing comments in response to the last post. I felt very bad about putting that post up. I knew it would touch on difficult stuff for a lot of people, and I want to thank those who shared their pain and experience through comments and emails.

I also felt bad because I was writing from a position of anger essentially about other people's pain (manifesting as anger), which is an inappropriate response - which is what I was complaining about. So how dumb is that?

But I felt I had to say it because I'm tired of reading this stuff on some people's blogs - that they have a right to look down on someone who is depressed/ suicidal. I will not be told by those people that I am not as good as them because I'm feeling worthless .... Errrr ..... Hmmmm. Maybe I do have some self esteem hidden somewhere after all.

Anyway, today I saw my healer! I was so worried about it over the weekend. But today went much better than I expected.

I had built up my walking time last week - 45 minute walk on my own on Monday evening, walking with the Bear Tue, Wed and Thur - up to 1 1/2 hour walking. On Friday I had an appointment with my CPN and the lady who will be meeting with me once a week to help with the agoraphobia so I didn't do a walk but I walked to the appointment, to the supermarket and back.

On Saturday I really struggled to push myself out, but I did it and ended up walking for about 2 hours 20 mins. I walked through some streets, up a very big hill and then down the other side of it. Normally I would walk back on the flat from that point skirting round the edge of town - 1 1/2 hours in total. But when I got to the bottom of the hill I realised I really couldn't face going anywhere near the centre of town. There were just too many people around - many students wearing fancy dress as well as the usual Saturday night crowds. So I had no choice but to turn around and walk back up the bl**dy hill again! And these are big hills let me tell you.

All the time on Saturday I was huffing and puffing and thinking how much harder it was without the Bear to distract me and reassure me just with his presence and his chuntering. I felt very uncomfortable physically doing that walk. Like I was heaving my stomach around the place - it is huge. I really felt my heaviness. And it was a warm evening so I was sweating like anything.

By the time I got back to the bottom of said hill I was in tears and feeling dreadful.

I have lived in denial through my bad bingeing the last few months of how much weight I've actually put on. It's only when you start trying to climb out of the pit that you realise just how bad things have got. Sitting around at home not seeing anyone for the most part, allowed me not to fully face what I had done to myself.

Boy did I face it on Saturday night!

I thought of how shocked my healer would be to see me looking like this, having put on so much weight since I last saw her. I didn't know if I would be able to see her on Monday. I was looking for ways to possibly cancel it.

This morning I was very stressed, and the stress caused me to feel drowsy. I took 200mg of Modafinil and still struggled to move. Everything I did felt like I was on a go slow. But this did mean that I had no energy to specifically worry about seeing her. I was too taken up with just concentrating on getting there.

At the last moment as I was about to leave I found my flies where undone - so I searched for the zip end - and found nothing. The zip had broken. And these trousers are the only ones I have that fit right now. I had dug them, a couple of weeks ago, out of a suitcase where they had lived for several years. They are my Biggest Ever Trousers (BET). I can't tell you how depressed it made me to have to wear BET. I have occasionally, when looking for other items, run across BET in that suitcase and held them up in amazement that I ever had to wear such large trousers. So you can imagine how bad it felt that I am back in them again.

Anyway, I was in a panic. I could just have pinned them closed but of course I tried to force the zipper down and only succeeded in making the whole zip bulge out. I decided that I hated BET anyway and I would try on Next Biggest Trousers (NBT). Amazingly I could actually get into NBT but I would be on a wing and a prayer with them as they are scarily tight and the belt digs in so much that a very large chunk of me hangs over the top all the way round. But I decided I'd go for it. They looked a lot better on than BET. I thought, if they split at least my coat comes down to my knees. That should cover it.

Happily NBT are still intact!

Anyway, I made it up the hill to her house without too much trouble. And she was so happy to see me! And I was so happy to see her! (I'm in tears now).

It was so lovely. And I felt fine.

We had a hug and she took my coat and we sat down and started chatting. And I felt rather silly that I'd been so worried about seeing her and even thought about cancelling. There was nothing to worry about!

I chatted to her for about an hour about how things had been the last few months.

And then she gave me some healing.

When I was about to leave she gave me a bag with a birthday card and two presents in it. It's my birthday this week. I had told her it was my birthday and that was the main reason I hadn't cancelled, because I knew she would have got me something. And she did! (Tears again!)

I feel so lucky.

Today was a great "normalizing" experience. A wonderful reconnection. And, as a bonus, I walked for 1 1/4 hours afterwards and did OK on the food as well.

Thank you once again for your support and prayers.

PS I've been given two more awards! More on that next time.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

A is for ....

A is for Award. And this one was given to me by the lovely Paula Rodriguez at paulawannacracker. Hurray!!! (And I finally learnt how to link! )

Paula is looking great after losing 30lbs so far and working hard on improving her eating at the moment. Her's is an honest blog - trying to be careful with what you eat is not easy, especially with a large family to entertain. I think Paula is often too hard on herself because she's actually doing an amazing job. Cheer her on if you're not already.

A is for Appreciation. If you appreciate great writing then you will love Green Stone Woman's new Writing Blog. Her writing is quite exceptional. Check out "Rituals" posted on Oct 28th. Paragraphs 3 and 4 particularly put me in mind of Ted Hughes' "Lovesong". See what you think. She has also set up a new Art Blog where you seriously want to check out those sculptures. My favourite is Bog Woman, but The Frog is pretty amazing too. Of course Nora continues to write her daily journaling blog too. In her post this morning, her wish was that people would follow her new writing blog, so let's wave the magic wand and make her wish come true.

A is also for Anger and Appropriate. As in, Is anger an appropriate response to someone else's pain? I have read several bloggers writing about the anger they feel when someone else is depressed. Especially if the pain is so severe the person actually feels suicidal. Apparently a suicidal person is particularly deserving of these people's anger and disgust. Yes, the word disgust has been used in this context. One blogger actually wrote that she was "offended" by other people's pain. Offended???? WTF??? And these people call themselves Christians?

Can anger and disgust ever be appropriate responses to other people's pain?

For example, if you are very overweight you have possibly at some time been on the receiving end of someone else's anger over this issue. It may have been your parents, your partner, even a complete stranger in the street. Did you find this remotely appropriate? Remotely helpful? Chances are you found someone else's anger directed at you a crushing experience. At the very least it's highly unpleasant that someone else seeks to increase your pain over this issue. Why would they do that? Does it make sense? Does it achieve anything?

Why do some people feel intense anger when someone says openly that they are depressed? Or suicidal? What does that anger signify? There could be various factors at play here, but the most obvious candidate is denial. Denial of their own pain. To some people, admitting that they have such negative emotions is too frightening for them. They want to stuff those feelings down. Pretend they don't exist. Those feelings are linked with feelings of their own inadequacy and lack of self esteem. Some people prefer to block this stuff out of their mind. It gives them a feeling of superiority, after all, that they have been able to "overcome" (supposedly) the causes of their pain, and not "give in" to those feelings.

Why do overweight people in particular often bear the brunt of other people's inappropriate anger? Well, as we know, excess weight is often pain made highly visible. Unlike alcoholism, or drug taking for example, which are not immediately apparent when the person walks down the street, the compulsive eater's pain is there for all the world to see at all times.

So people are trying to distance themselves from their own pain when they look down on someone else who is obviously in pain. And an inadequate ego will always get a boost from feeling superior to other people of course.

I remember when I did a creative therapy class some years ago, and before the first session when we were all in the reception area waiting to go in, a woman in the group proclaimed very loudly that "People think that to come here there must be something wrong with you". And she went on to explain (to her highly embarrassed listener) that there was nothing wrong with her. Of course not. Like she was just there for the craic.

Fact is that everyone attending that group had been diagnosed with depression.

She told me in no uncertain terms that she was not depressed. And evidently felt that because of this she was rather superior to the rest of us. She was not mentally ill. She was not one of us. She then proceeded to paint a very large piece of paper entirely in very dark grey and black. Yeah, I thought, you're so not depressed.

Being British, no-one in the group mentioned it. Every time this poor deluded woman dropped another clanger (supposedly demonstrating her own psychological superiority to the rest of us) there was much raising of eye brows, shaking of heads and knowing smiles exchanged.

Thing is, this woman was the most depressed person in the group by a very long chalk. Her desperate attempts to bolster her own flagging ego only signalled the enormous hole she was in emotionally.

For the other members of the group, treating this woman as a figure of fun (in their own heads) served to stop them (to some extent) being hurt from the message that this woman was transmitting ie you are worth less as a human being if you are depressed, if you suffer from mental illness, if you are in psychological pain. We tried to insulate ourselves from her opinion that we were unacceptable and weak; less than "normal" people. We tried not to allow her to increase our pain.

This woman's feelings of disgust towards herself could have had a very destructive effect on other people. And possibly did in other situations.

Her unfortunate, hurtful behaviour towards us was really to do with her feelings about herself. Ie feeling that she was worthless, unacceptable and "less than" other people.

Appropriate responses to other people's pain are things like empathy, offering comfort, understanding, making suggestions to ease the situation, telling a story from your own experience of how you dealt with something similar, or simply listening (or reading).

Inappropriate responses are anger, disgust, feelings of superiority. These responses say a lot about the person feeling them and zip all about the person they are aimed at.

OK. I finished ranting now. Me, angry??!! That would be so inappropriate ....

In other news, The Bear has been suddenly demanding my attention after virtually no contact for quite a while. I have seen him every day the last three days. And we have had a lovely walk each evening. I also went on a walk on Monday evening on my own.

I was surprised that he was in quite good shape psychologically despite a bit of a crisis - which required my help and support. I really have loved spending a bit of time with him. Spending time with him helps me be more accepting of myself, because he accepts me totally and unconditionally. He is the only person in the real world I trust (I say in the real world because obviously I trust you lot).

My eating - rubbish. All rubbish. Massive eating every day. But at least my exercise levels have improved. And that is really necessary considering I will be walking a very large steep hill to see my healer on Monday.

I am feeling a little better in myself. Your comments have been very supportive and helpful. Between you lot and The Bear and my healer, I hope to crawl out into the light any time soon ...

Thank you.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


Hi Guys. I'm sorry I was unable to comment on your blogs yesterday. I slipped into a severe depression and although I read everyone's blogs I didn't feel able to formulate any responses. Hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. I hope to be able to leave some comments later today.

Thank you for all the long comments you left to the last post. I love long comments! The longer the better - because that is how this thing works. The more feedback I get the more I have to think about and the more I can learn - about myself and about life in general. I really appreciate the time people take to to respond to my issues.

The most striking thing from the last post was the fact that everyone else thinks I have a personality! I have to tell you that whenever I have said to anyone who has been treating me that I feel I have no personality, they have assured me that they don't see me in that way at all.

The difference here is between looking at someone from the outside and feeling how it is to be a person on the inside.

Once, when I was doing a group session with a load of other women a few years ago I said to them that I knew it would sound weird, but that I was not a person to myself. I didn't expect anyone to understand what the hell I was talking about because no-one had ever seemed to up to that point. I was surprised when one of the other women said that she knew what I meant because she felt she was "a nobody" as well; that she had no personality, was no-one.

Had I realised this person felt the same? No.

In my head I had put together a picture of this person based on the way she presented herself, the clothes she wore, everything she said and how she said it - how she had brought up her children, her relationships with men, the way she described her life. To me she was a fully formed being who seemed consistent within herself.

We all formulate a schemata for every person we meet, build up a picture of them based on their interactions with us and how they present themselves generally. Our assumption when doing this is that the person does have a particular personality, that they are consistent in their thinking and behaviour, and that their outward behaviour very much reflects their inner personality.

These are very big assumptions to make, but also of course necessary for us to function effectively and safely in the world - they are cognitive shortcuts for summing up and assessing other people. And generally they are correct.

However, research does show that we view other people as being more consistent than we are ourselves. This is just because we have far more data to go on when considering ourselves. For example, with ourselves, we may see we are extrovert in some situations - ie situations where we are more confident, and introverted in other situations. Whereas we are more likely to view other people as extrovert or introverted.

So, even though you have only my written words to go on, it's not surprising that you have formulated some sort of consistent schemata for me.

I'm talking a lot about consistency here. But I don't feel inconsistent within myself on a day to day basis.

What I mainly feel is that I do not have an integrated personality. My psyche is in pieces, is fragmented, and my brain has to work very hard trying to hold the pieces together. This is why I find it so difficult to do anything very much. Because my brain doesn't have very much energy left over to spare. It takes so much energy to hold together a shattered psyche. It now occurs to me that what other people see (or read) is the result of the pieces being held together - the brain's desperate attempt to present to itself (let alone the rest of the world) a fully functioning being.

The most frustrating thing is that every so often I feel my self becoming "whole" again but it never lasts very long. The status quo always falls apart again. It never "works" somehow. And every time it does fall apart, I'm devastated. And very frightened.

Being in pieces, especially newly fragmented after a period of apparent wholeness, is very frightening. It's like living with no solid ground beneath you. The whole shebang can just fall apart at any moment.

Now, looking back over your comments and the emails I've exchanged with people, I see there is some sort of "backstop" there. In large part this is the body of knowledge I've built up from all my experiences as a mentally ill person. All the pain I've felt, the lack of security, the instability (which no-one else ever seems to perceive annoyingly!), the humiliation and shame of mental illness - a lot of which comes from knowing I can't cope with life as other people can, that my brain can't concentrate on anything else other than trying to hold myself together, all the coping mechanisms I've developed at different times for different problems and scenarios, all the conversations I've had with other mentally ill people on how they view things and how they cope, all the therapy I've been through - may have been useless at solving the problem, but it was interesting to get different perspectives.

I've learnt a lot being ill - through my own illness and other people's. About the dynamics of how people are f*cked up by others. The apparently small interactions with others which can have a huge impact. How psyches are developed and melded, and fall apart. How the mind can travel through endless cycles of rising and falling mood, comprehending and non-comprehending one's life, periods of time where a person is coping alternating with periods where the person is struggling.

Ultimately we are all put together and formed in the same way, by the same means. We all have better and worse times in our lives. So this knowledge can be applied to anyone - because the mentally ill are like everyone else, only more so.

The only instability that other people do perceive of course is my weight going up and down. Some people I know will be able to make the connection between my weight rising and increased depression. But I guess that to most people I am simply a yo-yo dieter or failed dieter. They don't know that I am a binge eater/ compulsive eater with a history of eating disorders - it's not something I would tell very many people. But as Jack Sh*t said to one of Diane's posts, "secret" eating - the world's worst kept secret.

I see my weight fluctuations as a visible sign of the state of my mind, and as a sign that I am incapable of coping with life. A far greater sign of failure in life than simply a failure of willpower or failure to stick to a diet plan, or failure to make good choices. I see it as a fundamental failure of personality.

This makes my weight a hugely loaded issue for me. I just have to keep reminding myself that most people in the street do not perceive any of this. But in my own head I cannot separate my mental illness from my weight because they are indeed intimately connected.

To a certain extent most people view their personality as being tied up with their appearance. Which is why weight loss can have such a profound effect on a person's view of themselves and consequently on their life. It's no wonder then that issues surrounding a person's weight are so ... er, weighty. It's always about far more than carrying around some excess poundage.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


Hi Guys. Sorry once again for inflicting all that shit on you last time. Strangely more people "tuned in" and read that post than any other ... well, a cheery title like "Toxic brain dump" really pulls in the punters don't y' know! And I want to sincerely thank the people who left a comment. I realise I made it tough for you because I left very little room for hope in there. Very little that people could respond to. Most of those who did said that clearly I am depressed and need meds. Or possibly could I turn to faith to help me through this. Both valid suggestions.

I certainly don't dispute that I am suffering from major depression. But I can tell you that I've tried every anti-dep going and none has been any good, either due to side effects or lack of efficacy. The one I was on the longest, Lofepramine is highly toxic and had little positive effect. It also caused me to reach my highest ever weight due to the fact that it lowers blood sugar, and blood pressure and slows you down so much that life becomes one long grinding exhaustion. The main way it "worked", if at all, was simply to slow down my thinking, thus I would have fewer thoughts per hour, thus fewer depressing thoughts per hour, thus be less depressed. Talk about being sledgehammered! I had to give it up due to the damaging effect on my kidneys. It also made me agoraphobic, a known side effect of this med. I was agoraphobic from the first tablet I took. I carried on taking it for as long as I did because I was desperate and there were really no other choices. I haven't been able to tolerate anything else. My psychiatrist told me some years ago that I was out of meds. Nothing left to try.

So I am now going through this unmedicated. But that doesn't really bother me I have to say. Even when I was on tablets the side effects were so bad I couldn't lead any kind of normal life anyway. So I wasn't any further forward.

Ultimately meds, if they worked and if I didn't have side effect problems, would only be covering up the pain, a band aid on the situation. They cannot solve the root cause. The root cause being that when I had my breakdown in 2000 I lost my self. I lost my personality. I lost who I was. No tablet can give me my self back.

That's why psychiatry has been no help to me at all. There is no diagnostic category for "person with no personality". In fact I have never really been able to get a psychiatrist to even understand the position I am in. They just don't seem to "get it". Or maybe they do but simply have no answer.

There is no way I've found of deliberately reforming a personality. Well, you may say what about psychotherapy? Therapy of course is designed to help people explore parts of themselves and make adjustments in personality. It depends on you having a personality in the first place to make the adjustments to.

I've been very lucky (or maybe not so lucky) to have had extensive individual therapy on the NHS: psychodynamic psychotherapy, creative art therapy, cognitive analytic therapy (CAT), psychoanalysis (a lot of which was twice a week). Not to mention groups run by the local health trust - stress, creative art therapy and relationship groups. I've also attended independent self help groups for depression and social anxiety.

I'm not stuck like this for lack of effort! This thing has had everything thrown at it. And I still really feel like no-one who's ever treated me has really "got it" or understood what I needed. But then I have no solution either. One therapist said to me that my previous learning (in psychology) must have been really useful to me when I had my breakdown. Sadly not. You can't study what it feels like to have a breakdown or have no personality.

Mainly therapy has simply increased my instability and pain. The only one which did have a slightly positive effect was the CAT which I actually found quite empowering. But it is a fixed short course of therapy (unlike the others) and I feel I needed much much longer for it to have made any lasting positive impact. I also don't think it was the type of therapy per se which had the effect, but the therapist herself. If I could have had a year with her then maybe the outcome would have been more beneficial. And that's one of the problems on the NHS, you don't really get to chose your therapist. You just get who you're given. Of course you can turn down a therapist, but then you're back on the waiting list 'til who knows when.

My last lot of therapy - the psychoanalysis (which ended summer 2008) - was the most damaging. It plunged me into total chaos again. Which is where I was until spring this year. Now I'm simply back in nowheresville.

And still they keep it coming! They are now offering me a three year package of individual psychotherapy, group therapy plus fortnightly support group meetings to run concurrently (as the judge always says). I jokingly said to the Head of Psychotherapy, "So I get out of jail when I'm 40 then??!!" She didn't really appreciate it.

I've turned it down so far as just being too much to take on at the moment. Given the lack of any progress in the past it just seems ridiculous to carry on doing something that only makes me feel worse. It's still on the table though. Mainly because it's the only thing they have to offer me now.

I'm gutted that therapy was so useless for me. I was a true believer in it. I started studying psychology all those years ago because I actually wanted to be a therapist myself. What a joke! I find it hard to sustain any belief in it at all now. I've never known anybody who was seriously mentally ill actually benefit from it. Obviously I can see it may be of some use for people who merely need to make personality adjustments. But that ain't me.

The other suggestion made by some was about faith. I am an atheist. But at this point I'd like to thank those people who said they'd keep me in their prayers. I do appreciate that. I wish I did believe in god because then when I was awake in the middle of the night I wouldn't feel alone. It's wonderful to feel that there is a being of some sort looking over you, taking care of you etc. But belief is belief and not pretending to believe. It's not something you can fake in my opinion.

Strangely enough I did believe in god for the first 18 months after my breakdown. I mean totally believe. I went from being a complete atheist before to a complete believer. There was no doubt in my mind. But I was able to believe in god for that time because I was completely not myself. It was as though a line had been drawn down on my life and everything I was before was alien to me. I couldn't even begin to understand that person anymore. After those first 18 months I came out of that initial headspace and was then unable to believe anymore.

I do believe however in spirit guides due to my own experiences and the healing I have received. But a spirit guide, to me, is a guide that helps you get where you want to be, if it is possible. They don't show you the way, or answer your wishes/ prayers. They don't have the all encompassing power supposedly had by god. They can't show me the answer to my problems.

I say I believe in guides but I don't claim to understand how this thing works. I have no knowledge about my guide.

Well, that's all got a bit deep hasn't it!

I did feel a sense of relief for having got all that shit out last time - so thank you for reading it. It's weird that it makes a difference to have put it out there in public, rather than just writing it down for myself - which I have done many times previously. I don't know why it makes such a difference though.

I can see for example the extent to which I am hung up on not being able to have a "normal" or "proper" job. Really hung up on that. But now it occurs to me I will just have to hope in the future to find something I can do working on my own/ for myself.

I had reached a stage of feeling that there's no point in trying anything in any sphere anymore. But now I think I'm just going to have to try for the best quality of life I can - which is certainly higher than I have right now ie stopping bingeing and getting back on an even keel with my eating and blood sugar level. This would be beneficial on every level. My behaviour, while not deliberate of course, is only making things much worse. Like Fitcetera says, "stop doing what hurts".

I will have to think for much longer to come up with an answer as to how I can be me again. Any suggestions ....? All thoughts gratefully received.

In the meantime, there was no washing this Tue due to work going on in the basement so I was let off the hook! So no bingeing on Tue or Wed. The bad news is that I binged continuously from the Thursday - Monday before that.

My healer also sent me a card which arrived on Wed. A beautiful card with a lovely message in it. I was able to ring her after that and made an appointment for 2nd Nov to go and see her. Maybe having that goal will help me get myself together a bit.

I think the best thing I can do from here is to a) think how I might go about reforming my headspace into something useful which will enable me to lead a happier more productive life, and b) try (yet again) to improve my physical health by eating healthier and slowly building up my walking time.

So thanks for all your input. I am feeling slightly more positive now. Only slightly mind ...

Monday, 12 October 2009

"Toxic brain dump"

Leslie (of Something Brilliant is Brewing), "toxic brain dump"? I'll give you toxic brain dump! It doesn't get more toxic than the stuff here, so if you're feeling bad already, then please DON'T READ IT. I wrote it yesterday as just an outpouring and didn't dare post it because it's just C*R*A*P in the sense of crap going round in my brain. But it's also my life story of the the last decade. It's an example of the thinking and thought processes of a depressed person - hence all the repetition. But this doesn't mean there's tons of distortion there. It is actually the truth. This is me.

The X referred to lower down was a man I met and fell in love with before my breakdown in 2000. The failure of that relationship was a major factor in the breakdown.

I've thought recently that I had reached a place of acceptance of my illness but I see from reading this that that is not really the case. I am just in a terminal quiet despair over it.

I apologise in advance for what you are about to read. SORRY.


What is bingeing about? For me it's a stepping out of reality. When I binge the calorie content doesn't matter. I can consume vast amounts and there are no consequences for that. Of course there are consequences - but at the time of buying and consumption in my head there are no consequences.

Why do I need to step out of reality? Because reality is too shit. My reality is horrible. My life is a big nothing. A big stressful nothing. I am nothing. Nothing except a failure. A permanent mental health patient who can't hold it together for any length of time. Stuck in inadequate accommodation. No way of ever earning any money ever again. No marriage or kids. No job. No home of my own. My circumstances are grim indeed and it will only get worse as I get older. Because I am under 40 I still have a sliver of hope that any of these things may yet happen. But get past 40 and none of those things will ever happen. That's why I don't think I will live far beyond 40. Because I'll have no hope then. So time is running out for me on this earth.

And yet I spend my days wasting them away with bingeing and not leaving the house. If you had only a short amount of time left on this earth - less than 5 years I am certain - if you were given less than 5 years to live what would you do with the time? Chuck the diet in that's for sure! What else? Travel the world? Spend the time achieving something you always wanted to do before it's too late? I'm sure you'd have a list. I don't have anything I want to do or achieve before I die. That's how unconnected with life I've become. I am like an amoeba. Brainless and intellectually and emotionally numb. A big blob of nothing.

And bingeing is just reflecting or covering up the pain.

The only things I do in life are binge for a while and then diet for a while. I feel like that is all I've done for the last few years. Trapped in this endless cycle.

Of course, when I'm dieting and improving my health and fitness I feel like I'm on an "up", however painful and miserable it is - and the process does cause me to cry a lot. But at least I'm doing something to improve my situation. At least I have a goal, an aim in life. A reason to exist - even if it is only to lose weight. My life is planned around that - food that I'm eating, when I eat, cooking the food. The exercise - walking takes up a lot of time. It feels virtuous. It feels like I'm doing some good. And of course it's undeniable that it's better to be out walking than sat at home. It's better to eat veg and feel healthy than to be stuffing endless amounts of rubbish down myself and feel terrible.

But basically, overall, what am I achieving with my life? If I cut out the bingeing and subsequent necessary dieting, what then? What would be left then?

I have no other achievable goals. I'd like to get a job, but my levels of anxiety and depression make that impossible. I'd like to have got married and had kids but I've never met anyone and have few opportunities to do that now. And who would have me now? I'm a dead loss. I can't earn any money. And in this country at least, no man wants a woman who can't earn money. I tried internet dating but the only men I met were complete non-starters. If they weren't complete non-starters they'd be able to get a girlfriend. And if I weren't complete non-starter I'd be able to get a boyfriend.

I'd like to live somewhere nice but I can't afford it so I'm trapped here.

I can't see anything else I could achieve or do with my life apart from this horrid cycle.

Everyone needs to feel they can achieve something, that there is a reason for them to exist. Many people suffering severe totally incapacitating mental illness which they know is never going to end - like schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder - see the battle for psychological survival in itself as the meaning of their existence. And I did myself for the first year after my first breakdown. Because just to survive that year for me, when I was in such mental chaos and there was no help for me in terms of tablets or a diagnosis that pointed to a specific treatment (my diagnosis has only ever been "depressed after a breakdown"), was an achievement in itself. Every day was an achievement just to get through it. But since then I have got used to this hell. I am not in mental chaos anymore. Just total despair. I exist between this and numbness, because generally it's too upsetting to think about the reality of my situation, all the things I can't have and can't achieve any more. In fact the only good times in the time since my breakdown, almost 9 years ago, are when my eating has been very much under strict control, often (though not always) combined with a rigorous walking regime. And the worst times have been when my eating is completely out of control. They have been desperate despairing suicidal times. BUT in the last two years I'm pretty much desperate, despairing and suicidal all the time. Because I know that time has run out for me.

The only difference now between being fat or not is that when fat I have no confidence at all when I'm out of doors. When thinner it's still a huge struggle to get outdoors, but when there I am more confident. Still stressed, but more confident than when fat. And that's it. Oh yes, I have that sense of achievement when I lose the weight. But it's not real achievement of anything that will actually make a whole load of difference in my life. Yes, being more confident would improve my life a little bit. But how much time do I spend outdoors anyway? At this stage in my life and in my illness, which I believe to be terminal, is it really going to make any difference?

The next important age in my life is going to be 42. I assume this to be the age when I will kill myself. I know what ages are important. I knew since at least the age of 10 or 11 that 28 was a fundamental, important age in my life. I actually thought I would die at that age. And in a way I did - I had a breadown and the me I was before, the competant me that could achieve anything in life if she put her mind to it, died. And I wish I had completely died, because there has certainly has been no reason for me to be alive since then. Since then I have been no more than a shit machine. Next age I knew was important was 36. I thought maybe I was going to have a baby at 36. I really thought that. I didn't know that age was important because I was going to have another breakdown which left me feeling like I would never be intimate with another human being ever again. And also took away any desire for that. And in practical terms I could never have children now because no-one will ever marry me and I would never be able to pay for the support I would need to look after a baby. I mean I can barely look after myself. I wouldn't make someone a good mother. And I feel too old and tired already to do it now. It takes great energy and positivity to do that. I am exhausted from what life has already thrown at me.

But for all I know it could be another breakdown waiting for me at 42. I have no expectation of anything else. Why expect anything else. 28 was certainly a symbolic death. I wish 36 had been a symbolic rebirth. But sadly not. Sadly it has just given rise to endless despair. A sort of emotional flatness borne of trying not to think about things too deeply, or at all, because it just leads to suicidal thoughts. But if you can never address the issues then you can never find a way forward. But I've tried so many times to address them and find a way forward and failed. That is why I've given up. For some people there is no solution.

So what is there left? Making sure I wear a size 8 shroud in my coffin? That feels like the only thing I have left to aim for now.

I am so without hope. But this is not just a lack of hope due to depression and stinking thinking. This is real evidence based lack of hope. I can't see the point in anything anymore.

I've been round that diet trail so many times and it's led nowhere. A feeling of "moving forward" with my life which is actually false. Just another turn of the wheel. Another part of the cycle.

I feel trapped and there's no way out. Not that there's no way out of my weight problems. But that there's no way out of my mental health situation. The weight problem is just a manifestation of that. It has no real importantance at all.

And why am I mentally ill? I can't cope with relationships with other people. It could be argued I don't get to meet many other people to have relationships with. But I had a breakdown in the first place because I was so isolated. I became so isolated because contact with other people seemed too painful. And it still is. Because of the sh*t I feel about myself that I project into other people's minds. Always thinking they think ill of me. And this is not weight dependant. And not dependant on my mental illness. Though neither of these things help of course. They're just things to hang other people's disapproval of me on. I felt that way before the breakdown and when I was thin. I have always felt that way. That I am not worth it. Not worth anything in fact. And there seems no way to change this.

How could I ever become a worthwhile human being? I can't do a job and contribute to the community in that way. I can't be a mother and contribute to society in that way. I know you may say I make a contribution in blogland. But I don't have it in me to write on my blog every day ie to really make it a big thing in my life. To be an inspiration to other people like Diane fit to the finish, or to give people things to think about like Lyn of esccape from obesity. I just don't have it in me.

That's the worst thing of all about having a breakdown. Losing the ability to write. Before it was my raison d'etre. Now I struggle to squeeze a few words out every 3 or 4 days. Really, I find it so difficult. I find I have little of interest to say. I'm bored with myself and my braindeadedness.

Self hatred welling up again.

It doesn't seem like anything I can do would count in the real world. I could do art classes. But it would only be for me. Not for a career or anything I could sell or make a life for myself from. I could study some more, but I'm unable permanently to do a job so what's the point? Just for the sake of it?

I can't anymore cling to anything that's false. And further study would just be false because it's not leading anywhere.

I have tried so many times to work something out, to sort out my life, to find a way of moving forward. And every time I'm buggered because I can't work. That's what it comes down to in the end. I can't actually take part in real life. Not that I don't value all the contacts and support I've found on line. Of course I do. But I have no possibilities in real life and that is the problem. No solutions. And I've needed a solution for the longest possible period of time.

Desperate and suicidal yet again and feeling in need of a binge. So sad that my life is like this. It's been this way ever since X left. I should have killed myself then and avoided all this pain. My life has indeed been fucked up by falling in love with the wrong man. And there is now no way of undoing the damage. It's been too long. There is no way back from here.


I should point out that I am not suicidal at the moment. I'll make a deal with you, dear reader, if I'm going to do it, I'll let you know first. I think that's only fair. And then you won't be worrying about me unnecessarily.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Another Tuesday Fail

You know it all already just from the title. I messed up again due to Tuesday stress. A chocolate and cake binge. It could have been a lot worse. It could have involved donuts and sandwiches and crisps and ice cream. Only the agoraphobia stopped me going back out for more.

The mistake I made was going out AFTER I'd done my washing. I had to go out but I should have done it BEFORE I did the washing. And then I could have just vegged out afterwards. Now I know the rules. Just get bl**dy organised so I don't have to go out on Tuesday at all. And if by some unforeseen calamity it really is necessary then to go out BEFORE I do the washing.

I feel so dumb that I have to make these rules for myself; treat myself like a little child that can't be trusted. I'm an intelligent adult for god's sake. And that's the thing - that I can't trust myself. At least not at the moment.

I didn't eat because I was hungry. I ate because the horrid toddler within wanted a treat, a reward for getting the washing done. A reward for going through the stress of it.

And as with the last chocolate binge I didn't enjoy it beyond the first 100g. In fact I found it really difficult to eat it. I had to FORCE the stuff down. My body really really really didn't want that all that chocolatey sugary goo. Yet force it down I did. Which reminds me that this is a compulsion. Not an addiction. Although certain foods are addictive, I've never really thought of myself as a food addict. Because I eat even when I don't want it all physically. It's like someone compulsively drinking water. You can't be addicted to water, but you can drink it compulsively - and thus do yourself serious harm. People have died from over consumption of water. That is how I feel about food. When I'm eating more healthily, I'm just compulsively consuming large amounts of veg instead of large amounts of chocolate.

After I'd shoved down as much chocolate and cake as I could, I actually started fantasising about the veg and fish I would have had if the binge hadn't occurred. I could actually almost taste it. That's what my body really wanted.

My body has been very happy on the cereal free regime. Very happy. My blood sugar has been flat as a pancake (that would be a low carb pancake with no sugar or syrup obviously). My bowel swelling - which always happens when I binge eat or just eat wheat had gone down by the third day. Amazing! Normally it takes much longer to completely deflate. So now I can't kid myself anymore that my stomach is just that size due to the swelling and I'm left with I very clear idea of just how much fat there is - not pretty.

But the blood sugar is the amazing thing. I have felt hungry at times but that hunger manifested itself in a little tummy rumbling. It was located entirely in my tummy - where it should be. And was thus very easy to ignore. So different from the whole body experience of insulin induced hunger. So it turns out real hunger is actually the easiest to ignore. Then carb induced - which takes a hell of a lot of battling. And the hardest hunger to get round of all is psychological hunger which has nothing at all to do with the calorific needs of your body. And yet this is the most difficult. This is the one that gets me every time. I've always thought that I can handle anything my body throws at me, even the carb induced stuff, if my head is in the right place. If it isn't, then I'm sunk.

Of course I've been getting round that psychological one by the thought of not wanting to have to write up a binge again, which has worked a lot. But yesterday even that thought couldn't stop me. My head was in a different place. The toddler just wanted. And I was dumb enough to respond. To give in.

The only reason it didn't expand into the donuts and so on is that the convenience store was very busy at the time I hit it, and that sent me into a bit of a spin, and then I was standing near the front of the queue thinking of other things I wanted to put in my basket - but that would have meant rejoining a very long queue and I couldn't face it. I told myself I'd just have to come out again if I wanted more - and of course that didn't happen due to the agoraphobia.

So, another Tuesday fail. I found it incredibly difficult to sleep of course after all that sugar so I had a bad night and finally woke up today feeling terrible - very miserable about it all. A miserable failure. And thinking bingey thoughts.

It was only the weather that stopped me going out there and doing more damage today. It just rained torrentially all afternoon. I would have been utterly sodden within 3 minutes of being out and I really hate to get my feet wet!

Now the rain has calmed down and I'm thinking bingeing thoughts again. This is the thing, if the toddler gets it's own way once it thinks it can have it's way again. That's why I have to stamp on it and say No, it was just one day and can't carry on. Like the willpower muscle I read about on someone's blog (sorry can't remember who's). I can come back OK from one bad day, but it's much much harder to come back from more than that.

Having said that, I am still struggling with those thoughts at the moment and don't quite know how I'm going to stop myself. Today has been surprisingly good so far but not because of my willpower.

I've now been given the Over The Top Award by Karen at *FiCETERA* (thank you!) as well as Leslie and Amy, but I'm too depressed to do it tonight. I had planned on posting it last night of course along with celebrations for having got through Tuesday without bingeing. I also had hoped to set myself some goals, but now I feel too wobbly about it all yet again.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Doing OK

Hi Guys. Thank you for all the offers of tea, shopping and laundry. If I'm ever in America (where most of you live) I'll never be short of a cuppa! Seriously, your support means a great deal to me.

I've been eating pretty well since Wednesday.
200g diet yoghurt + banana + 2 cups 40 cal choc drink with instant coffee added
Fish in parsley sauce + veg + 1 choc drink + Galaxy chocolate bar (48g?)
Fish pie + veg + salad + 1 choc drink

The chocolate bar was left over from my mega binge on Tuesday - I had two left over from that night and ate one on Wed and one Thurs. A miracle I didn't scoff them both for breakfast on Wed - that's what normally happens with any left over binge food. Eating them after a meal with tons of veg meant that it didn't tip my blood sugar off.

Fri: as Thurs except no chocolate bar and 1 extra cup choc drink. Pissed off I had so much choc drink, but I was really fighting the urge to binge in the afternoon. The only thing which stopped me going to the shop and buying the bag of rubbish was the fact that I couldn't face having to write here that I had another bad binge. So accountability does work!

Walked to a supermarket in town in the evening - easy on the way there but very difficult carrying heavy bags on the way back. All that veg weighs a lot more than cakes and chocolate etc.

200g diet yoghurt + banana + 2 choc drink with instant coffee
Fish in parsley sauce + veg + choc drink
Binge: 1 bowl porridge (35g oats) with sultanas and honey + banana + choc drink
Fish pie + veg + salad + Ribena Really Light made with hot water

In the evening, before my last meal, I walked 15 mins to a different supermarket in the out of town direction and walked back the long route round the houses which took about half an hour. I really struggled on the way back even though I only had one bag but managed to only stop once for a few moments. I felt so pissed off that I am so unhealthy. Ridiculous at my age to struggle with such a short walk, especially when I was walking 1 1/2 hours several times a week earlier in the year.

I am also really pissed off about that mini binge. I ate it because I had been fiddling for ages trying to get some software downloaded and it was really difficult and frustrating so in anger and tiredness with it all I binged. I ate the porridge because it was already cooked - I had cooked it Wed morning and then decided against it (a first - normally I can't cook porridge and not eat it) - and made the mistake of putting it in the fridge. I should have chucked it because I wouldn't have eaten any porridge on Sat if I'd had to cook it. That 6 minutes of preparation time would have ensured it didn't happen. I know in terms of calories it was still a good day, but I had intended to go a few days with no cereals at all.

And it could have been a whole load worse. After the supermarket I went to a nearby Tesco Express - ostensibly looking for some fish or fish pie. It was a nightmare in there! This was 9pm at night and they close at 11 but they seemed to have a mass of freshly baked donuts, brownies, muffins, pastries etc. The smell filled the whole shop. Why do that so late at night? But they wouldn't do it unless they were going to sell them so I can only guess that people already well refreshed and going from the pub to the clubs in town probably call in there on the way and buy some carbs to absorb some of the alcohol.

I know from experience that I can't manage more than one food shop in a day - my will power tends to collapse the more food choices I am faced with. I wandered around the shop for about 3 minutes looking at so many possibilities but amazingly I made it out of there without buying anything. The thought of how miserable I'd feel to fail yet again stopped me from doing it.

I woke up about 9 and felt really "off" and like I needed an alcoholic drink - very unusual for me to have a hankering for alcohol. I decided as I was feeling so ropey to go for it and I had my favourite tipple of Ameretto and white rum - only a very small amount - with 2 pieces of crystallised ginger. Then I went back to bed. When I woke up I found I had a big, gurgling cough - the type which threatens to sit on your chest for quite a while. This explains the need for alcohol - I find I often need a tot when I'm fighting something like that.

200g yoghurt with some sultanas on top + 3/4 banana + 2 choc drinks with coffee
200g yoghurt with sultanas sprinkled on top + another 3/4 banana + 1 choc drink
Eve meal: Fish in parsley sauce (sorry to be boring!) + veg + salad + 1 large Worcester apple + 2 small pieces crystallised ginger. Ribena RL and 1 choc drink

I think I had a lighter food day today because of being a bit unwell so I just didn't feel like eating anything heavy earlier on.

So I've had 5 pretty good days. Cutting out cereals ('cept that one bowl) has really calmed my blood sugar down. I haven't been waking up with the carb monster raging and the usual struggle to even wait for the porridge to cook, so my breakfasts have been very light.

The first few days I was quite stressed out with all the prep and cooking and having to do plenty of shopping because I don't have a large enough fridge to store many days veg in. I've calmed down about it now and feel more on top of it. Hearing about the prep that many other bloggers are doing to make sure they have healthy food at the ready has helped (eg escape from obesity and Losing Waist). And having to get out to the supermarket is very good for me both in terms of agoraphobia (although I'm only managing it in the evenings) and exercise.

Yesterday after my binge and all those dreadful thoughts at the supermarket I really didn't think I would carry on with this way of eating. I felt confused. I've had no desire to eat the usual bowl after bowl of cereal and porridge but I'm still quite uncertain about my eating at this point; as to how sustainable it is - can I really keep this up? I've felt so wobbly in myself about it that I've been unable to set any goals or commit to anything which has been really annoying when everyone else is doing "The Hot 100"!

Earlier this year I successfully dieted for 3 months eating The Hay Way - separating carbs and protein, and I ate that way for most of 2007. It was one of the best years I've had in many years; I lost weight and I felt good about my appearance the whole year. My eating went to pot in December 2007 because I had a breakdown of course - due to a combination of psychoanalysis, which I have heartily regretted doing ever since, and trying to reconnect with my father as a part of that - and being rejected yet again. I've been in chaos in my head and with my eating ever since then and put on a huge amount of weight. Apart from 4 bursts of dieting (the longest of which was the 3 months this year) I have been in no routine with my eating at all. The times when I've been dieting, and therefore eating in a regular pattern are the times when I've felt much better psychologically. But which way round is it? Eating in a restrictive regular pattern makes me feel better or I feel better so I can eat like that? I think it's a mixture of both.

So I may go back to eating The Hay Way again as this has been sustainable in the past, but for the moment strangely enough, cereals just seem like so many unnecessary calories - not to mention blood sugar issues. I'm just going to have to continue feeling my way along, not just one day at a time, but one meal at a time.

Finally, thanks to Leslie and Amy for each giving me an Over The Top Award! I'll answer all the questions in my next post and possibly even think of a few people to pass it on to.