Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Turn around

The good news first: I've had a Good Food Day today. I got up late and instead of reaching for a carby breakfast of porridge or cereal (2 or 3 bowls) I found I just couldn't face it (more on that later). So I had a diet yoghurt followed by a load of veg I cooked the night before with some fish in parsley sauce (135 cal). And I loved it. I followed it with a caramel Wispa bar. Then I had to go out to see my CPN. We had and a good meeting and when I told her about the continuing trouble with agoraphobia she suggested that once a week someone could meet me at the supermarket and go round with me. Strange that I've never been offered help with this before but then it's rarely been as extreme as it is now. Anyway, that will make sure I get out to the supermarket once a week.

After I'd seen her I was able to do some Good Shopping and I was literally dripping with sweat by the time I got home with heavy bags. It is still VERY warm here (on the SW Peninsular). For tea (as we from the north call it) I had fish pie and plenty of veg and a little salad + a diet yoghurt + low cal choc drink (40cals).

So I have managed a day without any starchy carbs and I didn't even feel like any.

But the reason today has been so good is because last night was so bad - although generally after a bad night the carb monster is still raging. I had a major choc/ cake/ biscuit binge. I hadn't had a binge since last Monday.

The reason for last night's binge? Tuesday is always a bad day because I do my laundry and I get stressed over it and I couldn't face the rest of the evening without a "treat" but instead of buying just one or two things I bought a carrier bag full. So even though I'd cooked a load of veg before I went to the shop I wasn't able to eat it because I can't eat good food when I've just eaten a load of rubbish.

I didn't even enjoy it beyond the first two Cadbury Twirls. I was forcing it down but I didn't want it, need it or enjoy it. I did feel guilty afterwards; that I'd made myself eat food I didn't want. I also felt frightened. Frightened of the effect of all that rubbish. I thought about throwing up afterwards but couldn't quite persuade myself to do it.

Great to feel guilty; that what I did was wrong. And strange to be suddenly frightened. It shows I've come to my senses a bit over my crazy eating. I hadn't binged since the previous Monday, so I went over a week without bingeing. And I wasn't massively overeating dry carbs either. In fact my eating the last week has been more normal than it's been in a long time. Why?

A weird thing happened on the Sunday - I binged and it caused me to cry. I felt miserable that I was putting too much food in my body. Really sad. And then when I got up early on Monday morning after very little sleep I ate the rest of the bingeing food I had in. I got back into bed with the last chocolate bar and when I next looked down at it, it was practically gone and I didn't remember eating it. The down side of eating when you're not fully woken up yet. That shocked me and made me feel really terrible. Like it hadn't been worth it. And I was miserable over my silly binge for the rest of the day. And crying over it.

But I recognised that although I felt bad this was actually a good thing. Whereas before I had cried when trying not to binge, now I was crying because I was bingeing. So my bingeing wasn't reinforced anymore by that feeling of relief and the enjoyment of the food; so I haven't wanted to do it anymore. In fact I had a miserable, down feeling whenever I thought of it last week. Last week when I went to the convenience shop and looked at the bingeing foods I felt turned off, rather than pressing the "go" button in my brain, the lets-just-buy-a-load-of-chocolate-cake-biscuits-crisps etc button that results in a basket full of rubbish.

So why did I reach this point? I think it's because it has just gone too far. It's been going on too long. I'd been bingeing badly almost every day for over 2 1/2 months (with just one week when I didn't binge and ate mainly Readybrek).

Not that I haven't done worse and gone on for longer in the past. But I think the difference is I've never done so little for such a long period of time. I've been feeling ill with pains in the chest, aching, agitation, skin problems. A lot of this is due to sitting indoors hardly moving all day long.

The worst time I ever had in my life was 2002 when put on 6 stone (84lbs) in a few months. But I didn't feel as bad physically as I do now. Why? Well I was getting out a lot more. Just walking into town (15 mins), around town and back again. Walking round with The Bear. And maybe I was just younger then - 30 instead of 37. Makes a difference.

And this time I have really given up on everything. No healing, hardly ever going into town at all, no going to the library. I've only seen The Bear about twice and my CPN twice (apart from today) during this mad bingeing phase.

All this time I have chosen food over people. All "normal life" has been suspended. I have been too ashamed to go out and be seen by other people and spend time with other people. But working through all that stuff about shame has really helped me. A couple of days ago I went into town on my own and sat in a cafe and read a book. I was self conscious and worried who might see me, but I was also relieved and happy that I did it. Not having binged for a week helped too of course. Really annoying then that as soon as I got stressed I binged again.

I think the solution to the Tuesday problem is to go to bed for 2 or 3 hours. Sean (DD of a WL) said that when he felt like bingeing he used to go to bed and when he woke up the need to binge was gone. And Nora (Green Stone Woman) often uses the method of going to sleep when she feels bad and when she wakes up her brain is reset. So this is what I'm going to do next Tuesday. Have to wait and see if it works.

BTW My healer really loved the flowers - she texted me to say she was "over the moon" with them. I hope I'll be going to see her again in the next 2 to 3 weeks. I'm really looking forward to it.

PS I accidentally deleted an email entitled something like "Extremely Confidential". So if you sent such an email, please send again (unless it was junk)!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Lighter Post!

Hi Guys. Thank you for plenty of really great comments yet again. I'm going to write about those issues in another post. But today is a lighter post with no navel gazing!

Tammy of From Fat to Fab has awarded me the Honest Scrap award. I haven't won any awards since I was 11 years old so I have to admit that I'm quite pleased about it! Conditions of the award are that you have to tell people 10 things they didn't already know about you and to chose 10 people to give the award to. While I'm up for the first of these I don't really go with the second part. I think you should give the award to the people you think truly deserve it rather than have to stick to a specific number. Also I think it's a bit silly to give it to someone who's already been awarded one of these. Once is enough!

10 things:
1) I have red hair (dyed these days)
2) I am educated in psychology to postgrad level
3) I had a breakdown late 2000, and another end 2007
4) The only person on TV or in film I fancy is Kevin Whately aka Lewis in Inspector Morse. When I am severely anxious I get under the bedclothes and listen to him reading Morse novels.
5) I have a very large Sindy doll collection
6) I used to be an Ebay addict (explains no.5!)
7) I wanted to be a detective when I was a child until I realised I'd have to join the police - I'm too much of a rebel ever to wear a uniform
8) I wanted to be a fashion designer until eating disorders made it too painful to look at fashion magazines anymore
9) I love gardening but have never owned my own garden
10) I am a scorpio but not the sexy jealous stab you in the back sort. I even lived with 2 other scorpios in a shared house when I was younger and we never had a cross word between us.

Here are the blogs I would like to pass the award on to (all in my blog list):
A Healthy Mind and Healthy Body - Chris is maintaining her weight and is honest about the difficulties involved in doing this. Her blog is well worth a visit if you haven't already. She plans out her food for every day and puts up beautiful photos of her healthy colourful meals. She is honest about the fact that she still sometimes binges and finds herself struggling to stay in control. There are also many beautiful photos of the countryside where she lives and places she has been on her travels recently eg Hampton Court Palace, London and Windsor. Highly recommended!

Vicarious Therapy - Aqua writes about her depression and how it impacts on her life. She is very brave.

The Green Stone Woman - Nora is an amazing writer who usually posts once or twice a day. I find both her honesty and her writing totally inspiring.

Wishing and Discovering - Cheryl writes about the struggles her family have been through dealing with a mentally ill child. You'll also find many beautiful photographs of the area where she lives.

Something Brilliant is Brewing - Leslie writes about her battles with the inner binger and her analyses recently have been getting quite deep!
Losing Waist - This lady is searingly honest about her eating problems, body image issues, relationships, the lot. Again, very brave.
The winners can copy the award above to their own blog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Shame and Guilt

Firstly I want to thank all those people who left such excellent comments to the last post on shame. They are definitely worth a look if you haven't already. To give you a flavour: Natalie (my kashi diet) felt that she was rarely motivated by shame whereas Amy H. (no to the deuce) thought that shame serves a positive purpose in society and had motivated her to lose weight. Pamela, who was the original inspiration for that post, made the distinction between guilt and shame and left a link to Brene Brown's site which has three videos discussing these issues. I found them illuminating. Brene's definition: "shame is this intensely painful feeling or belief that we are flawed and somehow inadequate and unworthy of connection [with other people]". Her basic thesis is that shame acts to disconnect us from other human beings and is highly correlated with continuing bad or destructive behaviours, whereas guilt is about wanting to put right what we have done and therefore about reconnection. Leslie (something brilliant is brewing) summed it up perfectly in her comment "shame is not productive ... it is destructive and perpetuates self-hating behaviours. Guilt or even regret can motivate self reflection and eventual change. Shame sends me to despair about WHO I am, not WHAT I've done."

In writing that last post I was trying to deal with the crushing shame I have felt recently over my eating behaviour and consequent appearance. Shame has certainly acted as a motivator for me to lose weight in the past. I would reach the point where I felt such intense shame over my appearance that the only way to ease it was to get off my butt and get dieting and walking to lose the weight. And as I was walking I would be thinking every step of the way about how great it would be when I could go out in public again and not feel ashamed of myself and my appearance. So shame can be a positive motivation if it is about reconnecting with others.

But on the other hand if the ONLY way you can be acceptable to others is by being thin then ultimately this is not a positive thing. And this is the down side of the way that I used shame as my motivation. I felt (and still feel) that I am unworthy of connection with other people unless I look as perfect as I possibly can. This is a legacy of my family's ethos that I have no right to exist unless I am perfect. This is a situation in which I can never be worthy of existence as of course no-one is perfect.

It would be much better for me to feel that I was acceptable to other people based on my personality, SOH, caring etc rather than my weight. To echo Leslie, my self worth should be based on WHO I am rather than what I weigh. And in that sentence is the whole problem. That who I am is essentially a flawed, unlovable and unlikable person - according to my family at least. So in the end all I had left was trying to look good, to make the outside as good as it could be because the inside was never going to be worth anything anyway. So this is how I have come a cropper. When I was unable ever to feel thin enough (see 16th sep post) I was f*cked.

To feel worthy of connection with other people must be about the inside of me, not my appearance. This is the way forward.

And guilt? After noting Brene's ideas about the positive effect of guilt I realised that I have never felt guilt or anything approaching it over my eating. Not ever. Why? Because I could never feel guilt about hurting myself; I am just not worth it. I thought, OMG, is there something majorly wrong with me; am I some kind of psychopath incapable of feeling guilt? But no, I feel terrible guilt if I ever even accidentally hurt anyone else. But to feel guilt about hugely destructive behaviour towards myself is an alien concept to me.

The best thing here then (if you're still with me!) would be to love myself and care about myself and therefore feel guilt for feeding myself total rubbish and making myself fat and feeling ill all the time and reducing my quality of life to nil. Then to resolve to feed myself better and get some exercise so I can enjoy life and feel healthy. This is the ideal. This is what I should be aiming at.

In the meantime guilt over the fact that my bingeing has hurt someone else is at last proving a motivator to turn this thing around and get myself going again. And at this point I'm glad to have this motivation.

Here's the story: a healer who I used to go and see weekly at her house had sent me several texts over the last few days trying to reach out to me as I haven't been to see her while I've been in this current crisis (2 1/2 months now). But I didn't get them because of a problem with my phone. Then last night all the texts suddenly arrived and I felt SO GUILTY. She said how worried she was about me, she missed me and she wished we could talk. There were three texts like this. I felt so bad that she has been worrying over me and feeling upset, even though it wasn't my fault the phone isn't working properly. I feel so upset that this connection with such a sweet, caring person has been broken due to all the bingeing and excessive eating I've done recently. I cried and cried over it and am still crying now.

So this is my motivation to get better. So that I feel able to go and see her again. She is so good to me and sends me healing when I don't see her. She is a true friend and I am hurting her by staying away. I have to stop all the bad eating. I HAVE to get healthy enough to walk up the very large steep hill where she lives.

The shame over my behaviour has not been enough to stop me this time - it has just made me feel very bad about myself and caused me to hide away from other people. But the guilt over hurting someone else really makes me want to change.

I wrote her a letter today apologising about the phone and about not being in contact with her, and the florist will deliver it tomorrow evening with a large bouquet of flowers.

I AM going to repair the damage I've done - for her sake and ultimately for mine too.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

The binge that saved my ancestor

Introduction or disclaimer: I was in two minds about whether to put up this piece or not. It seems to be a complete contradiction to the last post, diametrically opposing the idea that there is no such thing as "natural fatness". That post was about being told I was fat when I was not and therefore spending my entire life feeling I was fat, even when I was, in reality, thin. In writing this post I was trying to deal with the very great shame I am carrying over my eating issues and the consequent damage to my appearance. It's unfortunate I got into using the word natural. What I was really trying to say was that EDs are an adaptive response; the interaction of natural biological and psychological responses to the behaviour of other people and the food available in our environment.

I thought about perhaps changing it all, completely rewriting it with the emphasis on adaptive responses. But what I am saying here is that eating behaviours are natural, normal and human, and only what is to be expected given the environment a person has grown up in and evolutionally potentiated biological preferences.

What I am not saying is that that means a large percentage of us should just accept being fat. This is not a fat acceptance piece. I want to be thin. I've wanted to be thin all my life. Maybe what I am saying is that the reasons a lot of us struggle with our weight are just the expected responses given our lives and circumstances, and therefore there is no need for shame. And also, that if we do understand the complex processes and interactions involved then we have more of a chance of changing them.

Am I deluded or confused? I'll leave you to decide.

The Binge That Saved My Ancestor

Shame. There's so much shame in our lives. If you are a binge eater or overeater then you know what I'm talking about. I read Pamela's post (see Uncovering Pamela, 3rd Sep) about her shame over a 30lb weight gain. My reaction and that of those who commented was that she shouldn't feel shame, that these things happen and she should not feel bad about herself for it. We can see how useless shame is, how negative it is, how it makes a person who is feeling bad already feel even worse about the situation. We want to take all that shame away from them and make them feel better.

Of course we can think all this when someone else feels shame about their weight; it's a whole different ball game when it's our own shame. When we feel the shame of having been "out of control", of having binged or eaten too much, of having visible weight gain - and especially if it comes after having lost a load of weight, then it's our dirty secret and we can never imagine being able to jettison that embarrassment over our behaviour and appearance.

It feels like our shame is a "natural" reaction to having done something terribly wrong. That being "out of control" around food means that we are "bad" in some way. That wanting to eat more than we "need" means we are behaving badly. That we are at fault.

But what if the bingeing and the overeating are the natural things, the natural responses to a particular set of circumstances in your life? No-one deliberately sets out to wilfully overeat or binge. It is a natural part of human existence.

Many women wish that they could eat "intuitively" and maintain a (UK) size 8 or 10 figure; they wish that it came "naturally" to them and that there is something inherently "wrong" with them that they can't do this. That struggling to maintain themselves at that size is a failure of sorts in itself. That this battle is unnatural.

But in fact the idea that intuitive eating means only eating small amounts of food and thus being thin is utterly unnatural. Do you think a cave man would turn down any food at all? Do you think a cave man would chose the lower fat option (assuming he had any options at all)? Do you think they would turn down a salty option? The sweet option? Humans are designed to seek out the fatty, salty, sweet options. Humans are designed to eat when there is food available. And if it's available in quantity they eat it in quantity. Because millions of years ago, thousands of years ago, even 100 years ago, that was the only way to stay alive. As Steven Pinker says, we are only evolved as far as the stone age.

And eating when you're feeling stressed, exhausted, depressed? Again entirely natural and entirely adaptive to the survival of the human race. When our ancestors were stressed it was generally because their very existence was in peril. Did they ever feel down? Well you know how bad it feels when you don't have very much to eat ... that feeling was designed to make sure that you do eat when food is available. Ditto the comforting feeling when you have eaten a good meal. And when you feel exhausted at work but just have to keep going? Eating snacks is the natural way to get your blood sugar back up.

So far from being natural, being thin in a society where food is overwhelmingly abundant, available in any quantity at any time of the day or night, in the sugariest, saltiest, fattiest combinations possible, is highly unnatural. To maintain a thin figure is to be battling your natural biology and psychology every step of the way.

And all this without even considering each individual's personal history of complex interactions with people and food. Each person will have formed their own adaption to the circumstances they have been presented with. Positive and negative connotations of different foods, acceptance or not of their own body and the different body shapes of other people, their family relationships, and the eating behaviours of their family and of society in general. A huge amount of information transmitted, neural pathways created and reinforced, interactions between biological imperatives and psychological processes; our resultant eating behaviour is not our fault. But that doesn't mean we can't change it. Change is possible. But I think understanding is necessary first.

You are a child of nature.

There is no need for shame.


In 1665 in a village in Derbyshire (UK Midlands) called Eyam, the Bubonic plague arrived in a flea infested sample of cloth sent from London. Quickly people became ill with the terrifying symptoms of black spots on the skin which actually rotted while they were still alive, vomiting and coughing blood, diarrhea, swelling, fever, pain. Whole families started to die. Instead of fleeing to safety, the villagers voluntarily agreed to quarantine themselves so as to stop the spread of this virulent disease. Food and other supplies were left for them at the edge of the village. By the time the plague burnt itself out less than a quarter of the villagers were still alive. Most of the survivors are thought to have been immune to the illness due to a particular gene mutation which is present throughout European populations. It was very rare to actually contract the disease and survive it.

But my ancestor did. She was wild with fever and in her delirium she consumed an entire piggin of bacon fat (a piggin is a large jug or pail as for collecting water). She survived. This mega pure fat binge probably gave her body the energy it needed to fight off the deadly plague. This "binge" was her body and mind's natural response. Yes, she was under the severe stress of illness and impending death, she was exhausted and despairing over the deaths of many people and the collapse of her entire world. Yes, she was "out of control".

Do you think she felt shame?

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

I'm not naturally fat

The last time I saw my CPN I said something which made her look at me like I'm really weird. I told her that I'd discovered I'm not naturally fat. She was at a loss as to how to respond to this earth shattering piece of information, and we were out of time so it was just left hanging there in the air without any further explanation.

What I meant was that I have thought all my life up to this point that I was "naturally fat". That whatever I ate and whatever my size I was always destined to feel fat and look fat and be fat. This is because all through my childhood my cruel grandmother told me I was fat, too fat, naturally fat, shouldn't be eating the food that she had just given me, only a small portion for you, it's very naughty to be eating this - as she put my food in front of me, you'll always have to be careful, you'll always have to watch what you eat etc etc etc. All this stress at every meal I ate with her and I wasn't even an overweight child. I was never overweight until after I had suffered from anorexia and bulima as a teenager (no surprise as to why I became eating disordered). Weight wasn't the only stick she chose to beat me with - it wasn't just metaphorical beatings either. She picked on me in every possible way she could think of. That's how she got her kicks. By destroying everyone close to her.

I have gone through life always believing I was fat, even at those times when I was, in reality, quite thin. I have lived under the tyranny of fatness all my life.

So it is a revelation recently to realise that I've had to eat quite a lot to get as big as I am now. It is NOT "natural fatness". And to realise this is to see that thinness is possible for me. And I don't just mean actually being a smaller size. I mean feeling that I'm thin when I am a smaller size.

When I was thinner I wore a mac down to my knees so strangers in the street wouldn't see my "fat" thighs, shirts which covered over my bum so no one would be looking at it thinking how "big" it was. I chose clothes very carefully being supersensitive about showing any area that I thought didn't look so good.

When I was thin I suffered severe stress over imagining that people thought I was fat. I have never lived without this stress. But I'm determined that if I ever manage to get thin again I WILL enjoy it. I will believe in it.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Is it rude to tell a complete stranger to Google Sean Anderson?

Hi Guys. I was in my local store a couple of evenings ago and saw a guy looking around the shop with a sort of wild look on his face. He looked at me with this weird expression for a few moments and at first I was worried he was looking at me in particular because I'm such a mess - unwashed hair with massive roots showing, glasses on, - haven't worn my contact lenses since this bingeing episode started weeks and weeks ago - and pudgey face. Then he looked away and I was grateful and got on with making my selections. It was only afterwards I realised this guy was looking round quite wildly because he was frightened. And I realised that I often do what he was doing when I go anywhere where there are other human beings; looking to see if anyone is looking at how bad I look.

I've never seen him before, but he looked like a well to do 40 something businessman with a smart shirt and trousers on. So the reason for his fear? He was only a whisker away from bursting the seams on everything he was wearing. I've never seen a man wearing such tight clothes ever before. He was only getting the trousers done up with a very tight belt round the waist which created a large dent in his rotund figure. He was obviously very embarrassed about his size. He must have put on quite a bit of weight fairly recently and not yet upsized his clothes. I really felt for the guy - my trousers are particularly tight over the butt right now and I am in very tight belt territory myself. And afterwards I did think, would it be rude to tell a total stranger to Google Sean Anderson?

What can I tell you? I have been bingeing on chocolate, crisps, sandwiches and a few muffins since Friday night. Yesterday I felt OK during the day, let off the hook, freedom to eat what I want. I felt good. But today, of course, I feel not so good.

I managed to wash my hair - which I hate doing because it's half an hour bent over the sink with my hands above my head. But I got through it quite easily yesterday. I still have to dye it. That job takes over 2 hours altogether. I need to get it done tomorrow - I don't feel up to it today. I need to have clean hair but also a slight layer of grease on my scalp to protect my skin from all the chemicals. Otherwise all the skin flakes off my scalp. I use a herbalish dye - Herbatint - which has less chemicals than most dyes and is safe for use in pregnancy and chemotherapy - but I still end up with a swollen face afterwards. It's much less worse than the usual chemical dyes though - with those I always have nasty spots on my face afterwards as well as the swelling, and feel that it takes 48 hours for all the poison to be processed out of my system.

The downside with Herbatint is that it takes a long time to "take". At least 45 minutes. Because I have long hair it takes 15 minutes to put it on, then the 45 min wait, then rinsing it out, then washing with the special neutralising shampoo (essential otherwise the hair has a funny texture afterwards), then conditioning (again essential) and final rinsing. So that's a whole hour of rinsing, washing, rinsing, conditioning, rinsing. A whole hour of being bent over with my hands over my head. Horrible. But necessary. What we do for "beauty" eh? Ha ha!

I have often thought about having my hair cut short so I could wash it so much easier, but I've never done it. Big hair is great for "hiding" behind, and for balancing out a big body.

I've found a local OA group which meets on Thursday evenings. I'm going to ring the co-ordinator tomorrow. As long as she expects me to turn up then I will feel duty bound to do so. It's always easier for me to get out when I'm meeting someone.
They also hold art classes at the same venue so I'm going to get the info on those too. The Autumn term should be starting soon.

I feel quite positive about the prospect of doing these new things. But tomorrow when I try to put my trousers on it'll be a different story ...

Friday, 11 September 2009

More rubbish

This is difficult to write. I am making myself post tonight even though I really don't want to. But when you're blogging you have to keep going. I feel bad if I don't post!
And I feel I haven't been posting half enough. I must get myself into the discipline of posting most days even when I don't feel up to doing anything. In my defence I will say that I spend quite a lot of time commenting on other people's blogs.

I haven't been making myself do very much for most of this week. Tuesday was a bad stressful day. It started with hardly any sleep followed by a lot of itching on waking as the stress hormones were raging. I had to take an anithistamine asap. I find myself being very reactive these days. Much more than I used to be. Quite small things set me off.

After having porridge, I got out early and walked along the river to get to the other side to go to the health shop for the stuff I need to dye my hair. I have needed to get this stuff for weeks - I have well over an inch of grey roots showing. The walk along the river itself was quite nice. But after I'd been to said shop and called in at Boots I started to feel really unwell. A combination of lack of sleep, my nerves, and the tiredness brought on by antihistamines. I had to sit down on a bench for a while.

I walked back along the river and went home and did my laundry. I didn't even manage to feel good about myself for having done that walk.

On Wednesday and Thursday I did nothing. Nothing except eat too much - low fat carbs, fruit, milk, low cal yoghurt, low cal sandwiches.

It's like I've given up on myself really. That my life has reduced to sitting in this chair in front of the TV while surfing on my laptop or eating. I have hardly done anything else in weeks and weeks.

Part of me thinks "Why bother?" Why bother trying anymore? My life is going to be rubbish whatever I do. I might as well just sit here until I die.

Another part of me thinks "How can I break out of this?" Maybe I could do an adult education class? I could do an art class now as my hands are much better at the moment - such a class has been an impossibility for most of the last 3 years while my hands have been so bad. Of course, I don't know how long my hands will stay good, so I should grab the chance while I can. But do I have the confidence to face all those people? My appearance is so dreadful it saps all my confidence.

Maybe I should try Overeaters Anonymous. As posted previously, I've always been too scared to talk about my food issues. But since writing this blog and reading other people's struggles, I do feel I might be able to do this now. Perhaps, in itself, this is a significant step forward.

I think with a huge amount of effort I could get myself out walking and I could deny myself food and therefore lose some weight. But I will relapse again. I will go through all the pain of going without food for a while only to relapse at some stage in the future. It always happens.

My life is just going round in circles.

I have been suicidal at times this week. I read Vicarious Therapy's (see blog list) post about thinking she is just an afterthought with her family. Hell, at least she has family members to talk to on the phone. I really am alone in this life. No-one would even notice if I didn't wake up tomorrow morning. I only hear intermittently - about every two weeks (sometimes much longer) - from The Bear. And usually it is only when he needs something from me, ie a phone call making, or advice for his girlfriend etc. It hurts that he is only really using me. But I have no right, of course, to complain. I am lucky to still have any contact with him. Without him, dear reader, I would be dead right now.

It's not that I want to be with him, because I don't, but I would like him to be able to consider me sometimes, and to be able to see beyond his own needs sometimes. The fact that he can't do this is why I split up with him. So it's a bit ridiculous to expect anymore from him as a friend. And I do prefer him as a friend - he was such hard work as a boyfriend!

I just wish there was someone in my life who would actually care about me. But this isn't about having a boyfriend. What I wish for is the thing I can never have ie family members who care about me, not a sexual relationship. I wouldn't be upset never to have sex again. I've had to have sex far too many times in previous relationships when I didn't want it to be bothered with that ever again. Sex just isn't on my agenda.

If you don't have family then there is nothing you can ever do about it. It's the thing I can never get over. There's no sustitute for having family members who are a) alive and b) want to have contact with you and care about you.

So this is the unsolvable problem.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Slightly better, sadly no will power involved

Hi Guys. Thank you to those fellow bloggers who left messages of support after the last post. Your support means the whole world to me.

Just seen a brilliant ad on TV where a woman is getting a quote from a plumber (with a bad case of workman's bum!) and before he delivers the catastrophic news ie how much it's going to cost, an airbag inflates from her stomach to cushion her against the blow! And my only thought on watching this was that I have a built in airbag on me at the moment in the shape of my swollen stomach. There's a whole load of stuff in there about people using fat as a defence against the world ...

Anyway, as it says in the title, things are slightly better. I am eating a more moderate amount of food. But sadly this has nothing to do with will power or strength or resolve of any kind, and everything to do with me feeling really ill since Friday. On Friday morning I got up feeling very hungry - probably as a result of the sudden exertion on Thursday ie being out for a few hours - and so I ate a lot, a mountain of food for "breakfast", and felt incredibly ill afterwards for the rest of the day. And since then I have simply been unable to eat to excess again due to feeling so ill and having quite a bit of stomach pain.

I'd so like to say it was a conscious decision, that I was at last making sensible choices, better choices etc. But that is not the case. I am just being physically prevented from binge eating at the moment. It makes me think a lot of Lisa's decision (see Less of Lisa on blog list) to consider going for a gastric band.

What you eat, when you eat, how much you eat is all about habit. Once you are in a good habit it's quite easy to keep going - unless something upsets the apple cart of course (which is what always happens to me) - but if life gives me an even chance, with nothing too stressful going on I can keep it up. In fact I actually enjoy the challenge of having boxes to tick every day and getting into bed at the end of the day and being able to tick all those boxes. It gives you a sense of achievement. Even when I cry every step of a walk due to the pain of my psoriasis - and I've done plenty of that earlier this year - I can enjoy the immense satisfaction afterwards that I've actually done it.

So the problem isn't doing it, but getting into it in the first place. Getting into the habit of eating much less and moving far more - getting to that place is very difficult. Because every aspect of your being is set up to expect large amounts of food and/or calorie dense foods, both physically and psychologically. To overturn all those expectations is really hard work, igoring your body's constant demands for food, and doing exercise which (at first) as you're doing it just makes you feel really bad physically, requires an iron will. If you are not in a place of any psychological strength at the start then it can become insurmountable.

As you may have guessed, dear reader, I am not in a place of any psychological strength right now. Therefore the facility of willpower is not readily available to me.

So my body is, for once, giving me a helping hand in making me too ill to eat too much in one go.

Friday, 4 September 2009


Caution: I am aware that we are under a full moon tonight. If you are feeling bad at the moment then please DO NOT READ ON. I am not writing this post with the intention of making anyone else feel bad, but just for myself and to let you know how things really are in my life.

So tired today. Got a migraine trembling on the edge. Thing behind the eyes going on and headache. No doubt carb induced. Been going on for hours now and I don't know if it's going to go full blown or not. About 10 years ago I used to get them regularly and would be in bed for 3-4 days with a bad one. But since then I've had probably no more than a handful and probably only one full blown.

I am feeling wrecked. Total wreckage.

Needless to say I didn't make it to healing as I haven't been out today.

Part of this exhaustion is because I was out for quite a few hours yesterday. And part is a carb hangover. I have just eaten totally to excess the last 3 days. I am aching all over from it. I have eaten so much that the food is coming out the other end only partially digested (no laxatives involved). I will never feel the same way about muesli again ...

I had to go out because I had an appointment with my CPN. She was glad to hear that I haven't been suicidal since our last meeting 2 weeks ago. That meeting was with the head of the psychotherapy department to see what they might be able to offer me. I told them I had been seriously suicidal in the previous few weeks of bingeing hell. I actually contacted Dignitas, the Swiss euthanasia clinic, after reading their website to see if they could help me. They do offer their services for people who are not terminally ill, and have in the past helped people with mental illness to kill themselves. But under Swiss law they need to have it signed off by a psychiatrist and currently they don't have anyone working with them who can do this. The return email said I should keep in touch in case the situation changes.

I thought about Dignitas because it is a safe way to kill yourself ie you are guaranteed to die. The only thing that stops me doing it myself is the high chance of ending up damaged or disabled rather than dead, guns not being readily available in this country.

When I told The Bear about my emailing them he said it was a waste of money and I could save the estimated 7,000 pounds and kill myself for free! I hasten to add that most of the money does not go to Dignitas themselves but is legal, mortuary, post mortem, cremation, etc fees. There's a hell of a lot of paperwork when someone goes through this process.

I really admire the the spirit of Dignitas. To give people the freedom to make their own choice in a safe humane way. Their work is brave indeed and I am very grateful that they are there. They face continual battles to keep the service going and I hope they will keep on with it.

Meanwhile, re the therapy, I have already, over the years, had psychodynamic therapy, cognitive analytic therapy, and psychoanalysis. So now the nice lady is offering me a programme of group therapy plus individual therapy. I can honestly say that therapy has never helped me at all to date and I'm not desperately keen to do anymore. But what else is there? I can't do ADs due to side effects so this is all that's on offer. There is nothing else.

This is why I was suicidal recently. Because I can see no way forward from here.

I suppose since that meeting - which ended simply with a decision to meet again at the therapy department in three months time - I have felt there might be something in the future. But I don't know.

I know some will say this is evidence that I shouldn't take my own life as things may improve. But I have been in this hell for so long already. I can't see that my life will ever be worth living.

I hasten to add that I'm not suicidal right now - which may be due, in part, to the 5-HTP I am taking, as well as the (very) faint possibility that some treatment in the future may make a difference.

Re food: The really frustrating thing is that I know my body wants, indeed is crying out for veg, salad, fish and fruit. Yet I still can't eat it for some reason. I am listening to my body - well I could hardly miss it as it's screaming at me - but I'm unable to respond in the appropriate manner. Why am I so unable to take care of myself?

BTW Sorry my formatting collapsed in the previous post. I pressed a wrong button and couldn't undo it no matter how hard I tried.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A Bad Day

I went out early today to do my shopping - and didn't find it too difficult to get out or be out. When the agoraphobia isn't 100% full on, I can manage very early, before most other people are around, or very late. It's just the 12 hours in between that I have the problem with.

Anyway, I've been so worried recently about not getting out and continually running out of food, that I made sure I wouldn't run out in the near future by buying loads and loads and loads. I think you can probably already imagine the rest before I tell you ...

A lot of bloggers complain that they are good all day and then binge in the evening. But I'd say although it's bad to binge any time of the day or night it's much worse to binge first thing in the morning because then your blood sugar is kaput for the whole day.

And yes Chris I do that multiple slices of toast with sugar free jam thing too. So I'm typing with jammy fingers. My laptop will suffer a certain amount of crumb infiltration if I'm not careful now ...

Just searched for "adult education (my town)" and came up with

"Naughty (my town) Wifes [sic]
Husband Out For Work: You In For
Naughty Pleasure. Join For Free"
Is that educational? Sadly I'm not married.
Anyway, why the binge? A certain amount of domestic stress - I won't go into the details. This is really annoying; that any even fairly medium sized stressor can set off the bingeing. I've only had about 3 hours of sleep each of the last two nights which is a very bad sign in retrospect.
The only good I can draw from this is that most of the food I've been eating is not of the fatty and/or sugary variety. The one or two items of fatty food that I did have provided no "hit" for me. I was surprised that I didn't really enjoy them. This is due to breaking the fatty food addiction with orlistat. I ate the fatty and sugary things first of course and then threw about half back up and took orlistat for what was left to ensure that addiction didn't take hold again. But I still have a bad carb thing going on.
For the rest of the day I've been compulsively eating (without any vomiting) low fat carbs - multiple bowls of muesli, bananas, dates, sandwiches, large quantities of crumpets and toast with half fat soft cheese and all fruit spread ... Definitely better than the stuff I was eating in the previous bingeing weeks. But still way way way too much; leading to several hours this afternoon of scary severe stomach pain followed by near diarrhea.
With the physical consequences of this behaviour being so bad - not forgetting of course the obvious weight gain - it just hammers it home yet again that this is a mental illness. My body definitely doesn't want me to do all this to it. Yet at the time it was the only way of dealing with my stress, anxiety and depression. I did consider taking a tranquilizer - I have a few left over from some dental treatment I had last year - but it didn't appeal. Would have probably been the better thing to do though I'm thinking now.
The previous evening I had dealt with the stress by drinking alcohol. Better than eating and don't worry I'm in no danger of being an alcoholic - I can't tolerate very much alcohol at all. I only had about 3 units worth. I did consider - at least I was considering the other options to eating I'm thinking now - I did consider having a drink this morning but couldn't do it. My body just doesn't like alcohol that much. But then it doesn't like vast quantities of food that much either lol!
Hopefully, as the stressor has now receded, I will calm down in the next few days and manage to reduce my food intake to where it was. I had hoped to get back to my diet this week, but as I have to cut down gradually I can't see myself getting there until next week now which is really pissing me off.
All I can do is try to stay calm and keep going....