The Wish

The Wish

I wish I didn’t have an eating disorder. I wish I was normal and I wish food and exercise didn’t rule my life.

I wish that I wasn’t obsessed with exercise and walk most of every single day, taking the same routes every single day, day in day out. It’s boring and seems like a waste of time really but I have to do it. I hate going a day without exercise. It’s torture for me and I feel awful when I can’t do it. I feel guilty enough about every single thing I eat without adding a non exercise day in to the equation. I stopped doing the whole ‘I’m not allowed to eat unless I have exercised’ rigmarole, quite some time ago, but recently I’ve been so unhappy with my weight and how I look that I think I’m going to start that again. I really don’t want to put on any more weight, I’m terrified it’s never going to stop.

I wish I didn’t have a binge eating disorder, with a desperate need to purge after eating a kilo of pasta with sauce and cheese and oil and other highly and disgustingly fatty foods, stuff I would never, ever, ever touch as ‘real’ food. Like, ever. Ever. This happens every single day and I can’t stop. I don’t even like doing it anymore, I’m just going through the motions, every time. It’s the same food each time and you’d really think I was sick of it by now but I’m not. I’m addicted and it’s a real problem. Not to mention the fucking cost of it, it’s astronomical. I spend like two hundred quid a week on this shit, and then complain I have no money for nice things like going out or going for a drink or stuff we need like lightbulbs (I’m sitting in the dark right now cos I can’t afford to buy a new lightbulb) But I don’t care because I have my food and sometimes it’s like nothing else matters.

I wish I could sit down and eat a normal size plate of lasagne or spaghetti bolognaise or bacon and cabbage without throwing it up afterwards because I’m not ‘allowed’ to eat it. I’m not allowed, and I genuinely cannot do it. I try sometimes but I just can’t. I wish I could though, it makes going anywhere very difficult – like going to someone’s house for dinner, I have to make sure they’ve got plain lettuce leaves or plain boiled vegetables. Otherwise, I can’t go and I miss out on the social side of things. Again.

You know what else? I wish so much that I was ‘allowed’ more than one drink in the pub when I go, and that I could have a really sugary one if I wanted it, like koppaberg or Smirnoff ice, both of which I love, but never order because they’re so calorific. I can’t have more than one drink because of the calories. I can’t do it, only on special occasions. So I’m looking forward to Kegan’s birthday, because I’ll be allowed to let go for once and just enjoy a great night without having to rush home to binge. Kegan has to put up with my shit every single day which he does without complaint every day, God love him, I don’t know how the fuck he does it. How I managed to hold down a relationship this long while this food stuff goes on I will never know. He has the patience of a saint. I love him so much. So, on his birthday I will let go and wear a sexy dress and forget about food and weight and calories in drinks for the whole night and it will be awesome. I owe him that much, God knows.

The trouble is, I kind of also crave, really crave, and wish more than anything that I was thinner. I wish I was more in control, I wish I didn’t eat so much real food that stays down and I wish I could lose weight. I wish it so much.

I don’t like this about me. Before half eleven this morning I had met three people who said to me, and I quote, you look fan – fucking – tastic. No word of a lie. It made me feel so guilty about my plans to lose weight over the summer and be more in control. I really did, it made me change my mind. People are genuinely so, so happy for me that I am finally healthy and happy. Finally. They saw how bad I was. People say I am glowing now. I am happy and it shows from within and shines outwards. It’s being in college. I love it so much even if I do find it difficult. So what? The challenge awaits. Fuck losing weight. I’ve done that. Think I’ll eat some chocolate. Just to send anorexia a middle finger. Yeah!

The Sun

The sun is a very powerful thing. For me, it means love, light, hope, joy and new beginnings. It brings light to my life whenever it shines, and makes me feel really positive. I don’t feel like bingeing when it’s sunny, and hate doing it.

It means friends come round, it means people are around and available for contact and this makes me feel good. Nothing makes me feel more positive than being around people. I hate being alone, it makes me feel vulnerable and scared. I think I’m getting better at it though. Definitely since I started college, and when I have things I need to do, I can keep busy and don’t notice being alone so much. Oh, I still feel petrified, but I have stuff to do so it isn’t so bad. I’m alone right now, but because I have started writing this, it doesn’t feel so bad.

Anyway, the sun. I love it. It just makes me feel so good and positive, having it shining on my face and bringing light to the world. Everyone acts different in the sun. They smile at you when you walk past and comment on the glory of the day. They feel positive too and want to be social beings just like I do.

There’s another reason why I love the sun. It makes things grow. The blossom is out and the leaves are sprouting on the trees as they grow that beautiful lush green colour of spring that makes the world so beautiful.

When I was in the Regional hospital nearly three years ago, I reached one of the lowest points of my entire life. I honestly thought I was going to die. I had two nurses by my bed the entire night for fear of my life. How I survived I will never know. I think it was God’s doing. There’s no other explanation.

I saw a priest the next day, and he came to talk to me for hours on end. I will never forget him. His name was Patrick I think. He talked to me about God for a long time.

Then, he said something that I genuinely believe is the only reason I started eating again. It is the sole reason. He said, you can eat your vegetables and salads and grains, because when the sun shines, it makes them grow in the ground, and then they are picked and washed and there they are, on a plate ready to eat. So really, you’re eating the sun, he said.

The thought of consuming the lovely sun was such a wonderfully positive idea that I began eating things that grow. I will never forget him, he was amazing. It’s the only reason I started eating again. It just made so much sense and the thought of eating the sun just seemed so perfect.

I thank him every day for those words. And I thank God for keeping me alive and for making the sun shine on me. Even when it rains, I don’t mind too much, because that’s God watering his plants and making them grow more and bloom for me to look at and love.

I am alive, and I love it.

The Deadline

I’m a journalist. I should be well used to deadlines by now, I get them nearly everyday in college. But I’m terrified of them and I worry about them all the time, as soon as O get one, I panic and wonder if I’m ever going to make it.I always do, well within time limits. Always. Nothing to worry about.

But I’m a natural worrier and I worry about everything. When I’m not worrying, I get worried that there’s nothing to worry about and wonder why not. Is this normal??

When I think about it though, and I’d imagine I’m not alone in this, is, what IS normal? There’s actually no such thing really. Yeah, sure, there’s normal for me, normal for you and normal for every Tom, Dick and Harry on the planet, but that’s hugely different. Like, it could be normal for me to eat eight biscuits at a time, and that could be alien to someone else. It can be normal for me to wake up at seven a.m. but alien to someone else. Et cetera.

Deadlines… were was I? Oh yeah, ok, so I was talking about getting used to deadlines and making them. The point is, I’ve made myself a deadline. This semester has been made a lot harder for me by the fact that I rush home every day to binge and purge, and stay up late sometimes to binge and end up too tired to get up in the morning for college. I’ve really made things a lot more difficult for myself, and a lot less of an enjoyable experience. I feel left out all the time, because I always rush off to exercise and stuff like that. All my spare time is exercise. And I miss out on social life side of things because I’m too focused on food and being at home to have my food and my binges.

SO, my deadline, is that by the end of the summer I will stop bingeing. Then I will have the most awesome time in college for second year, and I’ll be able to enjoy things so much more. Can’t wait. Well, clearly, I can wait… but that’s not the point, the point is I’ll be better in second year and everything will be better.

The hypnotherapy tape I listen to is brilliant. I listen to it every day now, and it’s fast becoming my favourite time of day, I actually look forward to it more than I look forward to The Binge. The tape is a recording of the hypnotherapy session I had from 26th July 2013, and that’s nearly two years and I’m STILL bloody bingeing. The time has really come to stop it now. Come on Pippa. This is getting ridiculous. But the point is, I listen to my tape everyday and that automatically makes the day non – zero. (Yeah, I’m obsessed with making days in to non – zero ones, I feel terrible if I don’t do it) I’ve never actually heard the end of it, because it sends me to sleep, or at least, in to a trance where my conscious mind is under hypnosis.

Hypnosis is very powerful. This particular tape it about guilt and sexual shame. This makes it the most powerful tape of the three that I have, because that’s where my problems lie, and the reasons why I am the way I am. Joe, the therapist, said that if anything was going to get me better it was that CD. So I listen to it every day, without fail. I really do want to get over this.

In the tape, he says when I have thoughts about bingeing, I am to see a stop sign, and say STOP, stop, stop, stop, stop. 5 times. And then I am so ASSOCIATE myself in to my body by breathing and “coming in to the here and now” and being in the moment, and looking “outwards from yourself to what you sense around you”. And now, the second I catch myself thinking about food, I say my stops and I breathe and I try to think about nicer things, namely Kegan, or college, or other stuff.

I’ve noticed that a huge part of my day is disassociating, in a different trance, by exercising. I’m barely there when I’m exercising. So many people wave at me and stuff when I’m walking along, and I get in to trouble for not waving back, but I’m in a different zone when I’m walking. And as for the gym, that’s all calorie counting and counting. I don’t think about anything when I’m at the gym, just about the exercise (mainly how many seconds left before I can stop the torture…).

I want to end on a positive note. I’m sick, yes, and I really want to get better. I think things are getting better, because I don’t look forward to binges any more, I just get it out of the way and go look forward to ‘sleepy tape time’ which is what I call it. That’s what I look forward to most in my day, rather than feeling like I have to do it and trying to struggle to get through it so I can get up and binge again. I don’t feel like that any more, I look forward to it, and I don’t want to get up again and binge. I want to stay safe in bed.

Bed did not used to feel like a safe place. It does now. I love being in bed with my lovely electric blanket and warm and safe with my tape.  The kitchen is not a happy place. It is not safe. I really do believe that things are improving. Not because I’m bingenig any less, but because my mindset has altered. It’s different somehow in the last few weeks. I feel better, and I do feel like I am going to have beaten this by the end of the summer. I can do this, I will do this.

The Perspective

A truly terrible tragedy happened today. Brian Gubbins, a truly wonderful guy on my course, a gifted writer and true friend, has had his life tragically snatched away. He was a great man, loved hurling and always had a smile on his face, which lit up the rest of the room on an otherwise dull Tuesday afternoon when we had two hours of class ahead of us. He went missing after a mystery tour on Thursday night and failed to make the bus home that night. At first we thought it was funny and laughed it off, saying “Only Brian would do that!” and we weren’t worried. When nobody had heard from him by Friday afternoon and he wasn’t answering his phone, we began to worry more than just a bit.

One of the guys in my course lives in Galway and he decided that by 12p.m. on Friday night he should go to the guards about it. A search was launched and his family were contacted through Facebook. We were contacting people left, right and centre to try and find out what the hell happened, if anyone saw him leave the club, etc. Nothing. We had the CCTV at the club checked and contacted the bus company. Nothing.

A bus was arranged to go to Galway for the search that began at 9a.m. this morning. At ten thirty, his body was found in the river. My friend Michaela rang me about midday and broke the news. Heartbroken and deeply saddened does not cover how we are all feeling. It’s a terrible tragedy and he will be sorely missed by us all. My heart goes out to his poor family and everyone who knew him. Just starting out on adult life and it has been cruelly snatched away. It’s just awful and I can’t stop thinking about him.

Puts things in perspective, big time. When things go wrong, the first thing I do or think is “I want to binge” even something stupid like having a fight with my mam or boyfriend. It’s like my way of escaping. When I heard about Brian, the first thing I did was have a binge to escape the sadness I was feeling inside. Like I said, it’s my go to response when something goes wrong. So I had a motherfucker of a binge and afterwards felt not just empty of food, but even emptier than I felt before.

But it just makes you think, like seriously why are all these girls, including me, worrying about weight and food and losing weight and low – calorie shit when there are people dying right in front of us and all around us? It makes it seem so pathetic and trivial. I can’t believe that this time yesterday I was freaking out that I hadn’t done my usual four and a half hours walking but only three, when poor Brian’s family were wondering whether they’d ever see him again. How fucking selfish does that make me?

Like seriously, what the fuck does weight and food and exercise and calories really matter? It doesn’t. What matters is having a support network and having friends and people who care about us and who love us for who we are. We have each other at the end of the day and that’s all that matters. We need that, we need each other. Please, don’t ever leave me, I’m so scared all the time and I don’t want to be left alone. People out there, stay with me through this time in my life and be there for the good and the bad. I’m worried having this eating disorder will make me lose even more friends because of it and I don’t want to be left with no – one.

For now, let me sign off by saying this: rest in peace Brian. I will do things differently for your memory, even if you didn’t even know I had this problem. I’m doing it for you, as a mark of respect for your memory. You will be missed, and I pray that God is looking after you, and that you will look down on the rest of us mourning your loss. Rest peacefully now, you deserve that.

The Mirror

I hate it. The mirror is a cursed thing and I sometimes feel like joining Sylvia – bloody – Plath in her hatred of the mirror.

I honestly feel physically sick when I look at my naked body in the mirror. I’ve actually put it somewhere where I can’t see it so I don’t have to cry when I look at how much my body has changed in recent months.

It pains me that I am no longer the ‘thinnest’ and therefore feel I have failed my anorexia. It’s hard to admit that, that I still feel she is my friend and that I have to please her and make her feel good by being the thinnest and eating the least while exercising the most, more than anyone else. If I don’t do that then I have failed her, and she screams at me, a lot. Telling me I am useless and fat and a failure.

Today. I am a failure. I have done no exercise, whatsoever except walking round town with a bag full of binge food which doesn’t really count. I did not set off for a walk today, and I feel useless and a failure. I haven’t been to the gym since saturday. This is bad. But I’m sick and trying to be sensible about over exertion when unwell. But it feels so wrong. I really cannot describe how much I go against the grain when I exercise very little and still eat.

I wish hunger didn’t exist. I really do wish that. I hate it and I am still, to this day, afraid of it. I feel out of control and guilty when I eat, even the tiniest thing, and even feel guilty if I have an extra cup of tea (calories in milk). Can you imagine living with that fear, all the time? This is me, every single day of my life, all I seem to think about is food and am I ‘allowed’ this or that or the other. Every day. Like I said, I wish hunger didn’t exist.

The other day I looked in the mirror at my body and I began to cry. I genuinely feel disgusting and so, so uncomfortable in my own skin, my own flesh. I spent 40 solid minutes at my mum’s house crying for what used to be what I think was a lovely body. It’s not like that anymore, and it’s out of control. Since I stopped going to the gym before Christmas. Now that I’m back in the gym, I feel more controlled and confident that I will be able to get back in shape. And get rid of the extra flesh there, because I honestly feel like I don’t belong in my body.

It’s actually worrying me how intense the feelings of hatred towards my body are. I’m worried because I haven’t felt these feelings since I was 18 and began losing all that weight so quickly. I honestly feel like that again.

However… the more I feel like that, the more I seem to go against it and do the opposite of what it tells me. like not going to the gym this week, but still eating. It’s almost like I do it on purpose…. this also worries me. But maybe it’s a good thing? Someone advise, please! I don’t understand my own head!

Is doing the opposite of what anorexia tells me a good thing? Because she does NOT like it, one bit. But I do it anyway, I think I have to. If I listen to her, basically, I am fucked. She is not my friend. No friend screams like that.

The Panic

 
There is nothing I can say that describes the panic I feel when I binge on something and it doesn’t come up. Obviously, the number of times a day I binge a day, this is going to happen at some stage. WHich it does. Some days, it happens with each binge, and some days just once. It’s very difficult to get it to come up sometimes. It makes me feel sick with worry and panic knowing that that food is in my body and I feel physically unwell with panic and fear about the consequences and how fat I’m going to get. When I think about it, my binges are probably only about twice to three times the size of a normal meal, and my eyes are far bigger than my stomach is. I don’t even eat that much before I have to go get rid of it…

I shouldn’t be writing this. actually, it might give people ideas if they read and and there’s nothing I can say that describes the panic I feel thinking that someone might thing I am ‘pro-ana’ or ‘pro-mia’. I HATE that shit. It is disgusting. The girls that set up those websites don’t have eating disorders, they have a death wish and they are sick in the head far greater than anyone I’ve ever seen in all those hospitals. They don’t even have eating disorders or have the problems and histories that most people with eating disorders have. They prey on people with genuine problems and it’s not even immoral, it’s amoral.

One of the sickest ones I ever read on one of those sites amongst a whole big long list of tips and hints for losing weight and hiding the eating disorder, was one that suggested putting money in a piggy bank every time you felt hungry and didn’t eat, and then use that money to buy a smaller pair of jeans. How fucked up is that. In theory, for someone really overweight who have real weight problems (which by the way is the same as anorexia, the same feelings are there and there is a lot of similarities in the relationship with food, which not a lot of people know as it happens) and were trying to get in to smaller jeans, then it’s actually a really good idea, fair play to them, a reward. But for an anorexic, it’s just one step closer to death and life – long health problems, and that to me is just fucking disgusting.

Do you seriously want to end up looking like that? Please GOD tell me no. I have great fears for anyone who ever wanted to look like that. I’ll be totally honest, and this is hard for me to admit to, but that is a picture of me. And that wasn’t at my worst either. I’m sorry for putting that there, but this is the truth and it has to come out. I am NOT proud of this. At all. I admit though, I used to be. Losing weight was like ecstasy, and I was addicted to it. But there’s nothing to be proud of here. There never was. I used to get a sick sense of pride when I skipped a meal or made it smaller, and felt a thrill when the scales went down. I used to feel superior when other’s ate and I didn’t, and something else I used to do, was feed other people. I used to make meals laiden with fat and calories and then watch them eat it, feeling so proud when I wasn’t eating it. I’m not proud of it, but I know this is quite common in people with anorexia.
Being back at college is helping things a lot. There is nothing I can say to describe the panic I feel when I think about how much work I have to do this semester and how badly I’m going to do. What if I can’t keep up? What if I fail? I’m a fraud, and I don’t belong on this course, and I shouldn’t be allowed because as usual, I’m not good enough. I’ve never felt good enough for anything in my whole life, and this is no exception.

Just looking at this quote above, and it seems like that was a good one to put there. I DO confine myself to things. and I set the bar so high that it’s impossible ever to reach them. So my walls are infinite and unreachable, so I’m permanently trapped by my stupid walls. Will I smash them down and make new ones, closer to home, where I can stay safe in a bubble and not fail. But then I’m still trapped in a box, and that wouldn’t work. How do I let people in? How do I get out and meet people and have a life beyond food and exercise? I need to know there is more out there. I need to know people want to be my friend and love me for the real Pippa that I am, I have to believe that there’s more to life and that people in college want to talk to me. I hope they do. I feel like an outcast because I’m a bit older.

Still though, I love college. I have a non – zero day every day without even trying and that’s awesome. It makes me feel so so good, and I love having a purpose in life. Something to work towards, a career, a future and a life. A life full of positive things and great work. I just hope I can step up and be the best that I can be, while at the same time being ‘average’ and being OKAY with being just okay, and not perfect. Cos let’s face it, none of us are. Everyone is different and thank God for that.

The Hospitals

I’ve decided to throw some positive quotes or pictures in to my blog so it’s a little less boring and not so much block text to read, cos I do have a habit of rambling on a bit about things. Especially when there’s so much to say.

What follows, it has to be said, put my family and friends through hell, and this blog post is a plea for forgiveness to those I hurt during these years. Some friends, I have lost, because of this. Those still with me, I thank, endlessly for staying with me and sticking by me through some of the worst, difficult and most painful years of my life. I have decided not to use any names on this, but the people who truly stuck by me and remain my friends know who they are. I cannot thank you enough. I know I put you through so much pain and angst and worry and for that I give my truly most heartfelt apology.

Those who didn’t stick by me, I don’t blame. Situation reversed, I don’t think I could watch someone slowly kill themselves time and again. I could now, because I have learned patience and empathy and I could now spend time and energy helping that person. That’s why I started this blog, so that others with this problem could reach out to me and talk to me and hopefully with my help get through their difficulty. So this post is also an appeal to anyone with a problem to come talk to me. I am a friend and I understand. Anyone who wants to talk even if it’s just to bitch about life, that’s fine with me, I’m here whenever, just to chat, as a friend. Doesn’t have to be anything more than that if that’s not what you want.

Anyway, the hospital years. It started in England, where I spent ten months as an inpatient in a hospital in Preston, which is in the North of England, relatively near Manchester. The cost of it was astronomical and the effort my parents and doctors and family put in to get funding for it was amazing, so thank you for that. What sickens me is that not everyone in my position would be able to get funding for it, what happens to them? Do they just struggle on and eventually die of this illness? What are they supposed to do? It doesn’t bear thinking about. I had intensive therapy there, and a lot of physical care and slow, very slow refeeding which has to be done very slowly not just because of the emotional struggle there is to an introduction of food but also because of the physical dangers. Re – feeding syndrome can set it and it can be life – threatening. I got it once, later on, in hospital and it was really dangerous.

I spent ten long months there, followed by six weeks doing day – care, which meant my dear mother had to move over to England to be with me, and we lived in a cottage where I gradually began to lose all the weight I had put on in the Priory. As I write this, I am battling the urge to get rid of the small dinner I just ate with Kegan, who patiently sat with me as we ate together. I made something, and ate it. I find that almost impossible to do. But I did it. I deliberately didn’t eat my banana today so I’d feel better about it but I don’t. I really want to get rid of it. So I’ll keep writing this until I can’t bear it anymore. It might not be very long, it might be an hour. I don’t know.

By the time I got back to Ireland, the first doctor’s appointment I had required a weigh – in, as I was well used to, since I got weighed every single morning at half seven in a special robe that weighed nothing. I used to drink loads and put weights in my knickers so they wouldn’t increase my calories again, which they always did. I dreaded seeing the dietician because she always put my calories up. By the time she was done, I was eating over three thousand calories a day and not putting on weight. When they weighed my in the surgery, I was exactly the same weight that I was on my first weigh – in in the Priory. I was shocked and horrified. All that effort, all that money and all the time everyone spent putting in to getting me better had been for nothing. All those star charts I made… six stars a day, gold if I ate and didn’t cry, silver if I ate it and cried like a baby, and none if I puked it up or refused it. Eventually I had a week of gold stars and I was so, so proud of myself.

Getting back to Ireland was difficult. I came back to a broken home. My parents were in the middle of separating. I hadn’t seen it coming, because I wasn’t there. Within weeks, I was weighing 33kg and dangerously ill. It was hospital time again. This time, a general hospital, where they were by no means equipped to deal with someone in such an emotionally damaged person. This was medical, not mental. I had a brilliant dietician this time and she called on my adult side to eat what she prescribed and not make a fuss. I did this, every time, and I made more star charts and kept to it. Mainly because the consultant threatened me with a naso – gastric tube if I didn’t. I didn’t want that. It meant taking away all my control. I was adult enough to not require that. For 8 weeks I stayed there, and I felt safe. I got to 38kg and they decided I was ready to face the world.

I did okay for a while, and lived with my boyfriend who I re-united with. Not the banana guy, the other one, who made me happy. It worked for a bit, I was away from my parents, away from the fighting. Eventually, my mum moved out. I stayed with my boyfriend, but he was more like a nurse. We became like brother and sister and it didn’t work. He broke up with me, so I got a tattoo. Fuck it.

After that I spent about a year out of hospital. I did a fashion and sewing course, after deciding that music was the worst thing I could possibly doing with my life. Loved that. I was seeing a therapist once a week, and a psychiatrist who I had met in England, she actually flew over to meet me in the Priory. Didn’t like her much really. Eventually the weight fell away again as the exercise increased and the food got less and less. I ended up in St. Michael’s Psychiatric Unit in Clonmel, Tipperary. I was warned. Rightly. It was hell, absolute hell. I couldn’t have been in a worse place. Paint peeling off the walls, and it was, and this sounds fucking awful, but it was a nuthouse. I FELT crazy in there. Ok, I was fucking crazy, and I belonged there because I was insane. I spent three months there. It started out in what was called the OB, high obs, where there were about six or eight beds, all in one room, and the nurse’s station in a glass box looking in at everyone. There was a smoking room and a lock away quiet room where you went if you kicked off and went crazy. I’m not kidding. I only went there once in all the seven times I was there. Once, I was only there for a day (I checked myself out), another three month stay over the years as well. There was no bathroom unaccompanied, no shower without a nurse, and I was in a wheelchair to preserve energy. Not that I ever stayed in it.

But seriously, there is just no way to even describe this place. I was hit, slapped, kicked and had my stuff stolen from other patients. People were really ill there, as was I. I don’t think people realise how unwell you can actually get when you’re mentally ill. People have no idea how bad things can get, how literally ‘out of your mind’ one can get. It can be horrific, believe me, I’ve seen it.

After these stays, I stayed out for a while, and went to study childcare in Cork. While I was there, the girls I was living with decided I couldn’t live with them, because of my eating disorder. They kicked me out. In fairness to them though I was stealing their food and God knows what else. I did not have a good time in Cork. It was very, very difficult because I wasn’t ready to be living away from home, I wasn’t well enough, and it just went so badly.

After this, the weight began to fall away from an already very low weight. At the time, I was spending one week with mum and another with dad. I was the only reason they had any contact, which is a difficult position to be in. Probably not as difficult as it was for them though, I can see that now. They did a sort of ‘handover’ on a Monday morning, like the nurses did in hospital. I got away with murder at mum’s, walking like crazy and bingeing and all the rest, and then was on a very tight lease with dad. He didn’t let me do anything. The amount of food I hid and that got found every single day was unbelievable. He searched me every day, and I wasn’t even allowed to go to the bathroom alone. Aged 22. On the other hand, mum offered to take me to the bathroom after meals, so that I wasn’t tempted to throw up. She was helping. We got in a lot of fights though. To this day, the only thing we fight about is food. I love my mam.

Eventually, I ended up back down at my lowest weight ever, 31kg. That’s a BMI of less than 11. I was naso gastrically fed for eight weeks. I threw up that tube so many times, and I also used to turn down the amount of calories on the machine so I wasn’t getting as much. How they ever put up with me I will never know. I wasn’t even allowed out of bed to go to the bathroom, and was supervised on the camode.

I moved out of home away from mam and dad, which was really only so I could binge more. We began writing letters to the HSE to get funding to go to an eating disorder unit in Dublin. I got it. Only one person in Ireland has ever been awarded it, and that’s me. I went there, and lasted ten weeks of the twelve week stay. Eventually it got too hard for me and I went back to my binge house. Within weeks I was at my worst ever…

The last hospital stay was also in the regional in Limerick. Again, I went down to 30kg. I spent the night in HDU (high dependency unit) but refused naso gastric feeding. I was old enough now and wise enough that I said I would feed myself under supervision of the dietician. It seemed to work, the plan. Except it didn’t. I binged at every meal, and put the nurses through hell. How I got away with it for so long I’ll never know. I was on one to one nursing, which meant having someone with me at all times, day and night. It ended one night when I had a binge on cereal and a loaf of bread and butter, which actually, is tame when you think about what I do every day now… anyway, I was dragged back from the bathroom before I had a chance to get rid of it, so I puked on the floor like, everywhere, and I mean everywhere, as I was dragged back to bed. I was screaming. It was torture. At one am, I was convinced that I was going to die, that this was the end. I no longer wanted to be alive and did not see a way out. I phoned my mum and asked her to come and say goodbye. I had two nurses by my bed the entire night.

Since then, it’s been uphill. I began to eat better, and was released. Well actually, I fell out with my doctor and discharged myself, but I haven’t been in hospital since. I’ve said in a previous post I haven’t weighed myself since I was 24, which is nearly two and a half years, about two months after that last hospital stay. I met Kegan and moved out of the binge house. We moved in together and I am so happy now with him and our two cats. Ok, I still binge, but I don’t starve myself anymore.

Now all I have to do is stop bingeing and eat full meals like everyone else does. The next few posts will be my attempts to get better and beat the bulimia. Words of encouragement greatly appreciated!

I’ve decided to throw some positive quotes or pictures in to my blog so it’s a little less boring and not so much block text to read, cos I do have a habit of rambling on a bit about things. Especially when there’s so much to say.

What follows, it has to be said, put my family and friends through hell, and this blog post is a plea for forgiveness to those I hurt during these years. Some friends, I have lost, because of this. Those still with me, I thank, endlessly for staying with me and sticking by me through some of the worst, difficult and most painful years of my life. I have decided not to use any names on this, but the people who truly stuck by me and remain my friends know who they are. I cannot thank you enough. I know I put you through so much pain and angst and worry and for that I give my truly most heartfelt apology.

Those who didn’t stick by me, I don’t blame. Situation reversed, I don’t think I could watch someone slowly kill themselves time and again. I could now, because I have learned patience and empathy and I could now spend time and energy helping that person. That’s why I started this blog, so that others with this problem could reach out to me and talk to me and hopefully with my help get through their difficulty. So this post is also an appeal to anyone with a problem to come talk to me. I am a friend and I understand. Anyone who wants to talk even if it’s just to bitch about life, that’s fine with me, I’m here whenever, just to chat, as a friend. Doesn’t have to be anything more than that if that’s not what you want.

Anyway, the hospital years. It started in England, where I spent ten months as an inpatient in a hospital in Preston, which is in the North of England, relatively near Manchester. The cost of it was astronomical and the effort my parents and doctors and family put in to get funding for it was amazing, so thank you for that. What sickens me is that not everyone in my position would be able to get funding for it, what happens to them? Do they just struggle on and eventually die of this illness? What are they supposed to do? It doesn’t bear thinking about. I had intensive therapy there, and a lot of physical care and slow, very slow refeeding which has to be done very slowly not just because of the emotional struggle there is to an introduction of food but also because of the physical dangers. Re – feeding syndrome can set it and it can be life – threatening. I got it once, later on, in hospital and it was really dangerous.

I spent ten long months there, followed by six weeks doing day – care, which meant my dear mother had to move over to England to be with me, and we lived in a cottage where I gradually began to lose all the weight I had put on in the Priory. As I write this, I am battling the urge to get rid of the small dinner I just ate with Kegan, who patiently sat with me as we ate together. I made something, and ate it. I find that almost impossible to do. But I did it. I deliberately didn’t eat my banana today so I’d feel better about it but I don’t. I really want to get rid of it. So I’ll keep writing this until I can’t bear it anymore. It might not be very long, it might be an hour. I don’t know.

By the time I got back to Ireland, the first doctor’s appointment I had required a weigh – in, as I was well used to, since I got weighed every single morning at half seven in a special robe that weighed nothing. I used to drink loads and put weights in my knickers so they wouldn’t increase my calories again, which they always did. I dreaded seeing the dietician because she always put my calories up. By the time she was done, I was eating over three thousand calories a day and not putting on weight. When they weighed my in the surgery, I was exactly the same weight that I was on my first weigh – in in the Priory. I was shocked and horrified. All that effort, all that money and all the time everyone spent putting in to getting me better had been for nothing. All those star charts I made… six stars a day, gold if I ate and didn’t cry, silver if I ate it and cried like a baby, and none if I puked it up or refused it. Eventually I had a week of gold stars and I was so, so proud of myself.

Getting back to Ireland was difficult. I came back to a broken home. My parents were in the middle of separating. I hadn’t seen it coming, because I wasn’t there. Within weeks, I was weighing 33kg and dangerously ill. It was hospital time again. This time, a general hospital, where they were by no means equipped to deal with someone in such an emotionally damaged person. This was medical, not mental. I had a brilliant dietician this time and she called on my adult side to eat what she prescribed and not make a fuss. I did this, every time, and I made more star charts and kept to it. Mainly because the consultant threatened me with a naso – gastric tube if I didn’t. I didn’t want that. It meant taking away all my control. I was adult enough to not require that. For 8 weeks I stayed there, and I felt safe. I got to 38kg and they decided I was ready to face the world.

I did okay for a while, and lived with my boyfriend who I re-united with. Not the banana guy, the other one, who made me happy. It worked for a bit, I was away from my parents, away from the fighting. Eventually, my mum moved out. I stayed with my boyfriend, but he was more like a nurse. We became like brother and sister and it didn’t work. He broke up with me, so I got a tattoo. Fuck it.

After that I spent about a year out of hospital. I did a fashion and sewing course, after deciding that music was the worst thing I could possibly doing with my life. Loved that. I was seeing a therapist once a week, and a psychiatrist who I had met in England, she actually flew over to meet me in the Priory. Didn’t like her much really. Eventually the weight fell away again as the exercise increased and the food got less and less. I ended up in St. Michael’s Psychiatric Unit in Clonmel, Tipperary. I was warned. Rightly. It was hell, absolute hell. I couldn’t have been in a worse place. Paint peeling off the walls, and it was, and this sounds fucking awful, but it was a nuthouse. I FELT crazy in there. Ok, I was fucking crazy, and I belonged there because I was insane. I spent three months there. It started out in what was called the OB, high obs, where there were about six or eight beds, all in one room, and the nurse’s station in a glass box looking in at everyone. There was a smoking room and a lock away quiet room where you went if you kicked off and went crazy. I’m not kidding. I only went there once in all the seven times I was there. Once, I was only there for a day (I checked myself out), another three month stay over the years as well. There was no bathroom unaccompanied, no shower without a nurse, and I was in a wheelchair to preserve energy. Not that I ever stayed in it.

But seriously, there is just no way to even describe this place. I was hit, slapped, kicked and had my stuff stolen from other patients. People were really ill there, as was I. I don’t think people realise how unwell you can actually get when you’re mentally ill. People have no idea how bad things can get, how literally ‘out of your mind’ one can get. It can be horrific, believe me, I’ve seen it.

After these stays, I stayed out for a while, and went to study childcare in Cork. While I was there, the girls I was living with decided I couldn’t live with them, because of my eating disorder. They kicked me out. In fairness to them though I was stealing their food and God knows what else. I did not have a good time in Cork. It was very, very difficult because I wasn’t ready to be living away from home, I wasn’t well enough, and it just went so badly.

After this, the weight began to fall away from an already very low weight. At the time, I was spending one week with mum and another with dad. I was the only reason they had any contact, which is a difficult position to be in. Probably not as difficult as it was for them though, I can see that now. They did a sort of ‘handover’ on a Monday morning, like the nurses did in hospital. I got away with murder at mum’s, walking like crazy and bingeing and all the rest, and then was on a very tight lease with dad. He didn’t let me do anything. The amount of food I hid and that got found every single day was unbelievable. He searched me every day, and I wasn’t even allowed to go to the bathroom alone. Aged 22. On the other hand, mum offered to take me to the bathroom after meals, so that I wasn’t tempted to throw up. She was helping. We got in a lot of fights though. To this day, the only thing we fight about is food. I love my mam.

Eventually, I ended up back down at my lowest weight ever, 31kg. That’s a BMI of less than 11. I was naso gastrically fed for eight weeks. I threw up that tube so many times, and I also used to turn down the amount of calories on the machine so I wasn’t getting as much. How they ever put up with me I will never know. I wasn’t even allowed out of bed to go to the bathroom, and was supervised on the camode.

I moved out of home away from mam and dad, which was really only so I could binge more. We began writing letters to the HSE to get funding to go to an eating disorder unit in Dublin. I got it. Only one person in Ireland has ever been awarded it, and that’s me. I went there, and lasted ten weeks of the twelve week stay. Eventually it got too hard for me and I went back to my binge house. Within weeks I was at my worst ever…

The last hospital stay was also in the regional in Limerick. Again, I went down to 30kg. I spent the night in HDU (high dependency unit) but refused naso gastric feeding. I was old enough now and wise enough that I said I would feed myself under supervision of the dietician. It seemed to work, the plan. Except it didn’t. I binged at every meal, and put the nurses through hell. How I got away with it for so long I’ll never know. I was on one to one nursing, which meant having someone with me at all times, day and night. It ended one night when I had a binge on cereal and a loaf of bread and butter, which actually, is tame when you think about what I do every day now… anyway, I was dragged back from the bathroom before I had a chance to get rid of it, so I puked on the floor like, everywhere, and I mean everywhere, as I was dragged back to bed. I was screaming. It was torture. At one am, I was convinced that I was going to die, that this was the end. I no longer wanted to be alive and did not see a way out. I phoned my mum and asked her to come and say goodbye. I had two nurses by my bed the entire night.

Since then, it’s been uphill. I began to eat better, and was released. Well actually, I fell out with my doctor and discharged myself, but I haven’t been in hospital since. I’ve said in a previous post I haven’t weighed myself since I was 24, which is nearly two and a half years, about two months after that last hospital stay. I met Kegan and moved out of the binge house. We moved in together and I am so happy now with him and our two cats. Ok, I still binge, but I don’t starve myself anymore.

Now all I have to do is stop bingeing and eat full meals like everyone else does. The next few posts will be my attempts to get better and beat the bulimia. Words of encouragement greatly appreciated!