I have had an eating disorder since I was 16 years old. Though I had severely disordered eating for at least a year before that. As a 16 year old I was fairly old (in teenagers) to be diagnosed with anorexia. I hated it immediately and I still can’t say the word out loud.
I was referred to the adult eating disorder services (EDS) in my local hospital and spent 8 months as an outpatient before reaching a mildly near ‘healthy’ BMI and was rapidly discharged with my full urging. I didn’t feel recovered, all I wanted to do was exercise and lose all the weight I had been forced to gain. That didn’t happen.
Instead, my eating disorder coalesced into a form which I didn’t know how to deal with. I started bingeing if I ate at all. I would try so hard to eat a normal or less than normal amount for breakfast, which would lead to multiple slices of toast, biscuits and buckets and buckets of tea. I remember one occasion having breakfast with my mum before driving to college. On the way I stopped at the Co-op and got malt loaf, hot cross buns and a small loaf of bread. I sat in the college car park and ate three quarters of the food in less than an hour. I felt physically sickened with what I was doing to myself though as much as I tried to stop it I couldn’t go back to purely restricting. I hated it. I still do. Because that is what I am now dealing with now I’m back at home.
When I’m at uni I can restrict quite easily. If I know there is no food in the house that is not allowed, I’m fine, I eat my allocated foods and can go about my daily business in peace and my ED is okay, because it knows how to restrict and it’s pretty good at it. But now I’m home I know there is so much food in the house. There are all these foods that I haven’t eaten for the last 10 weeks. There are foods that I haven’t eaten since Christmas and which my family are expecting me to be able to eat. And I’m hiding it all, of course, I don’t want to be put on ED watch like I was as a teenager, so I’m having to eat these foods at family meals. And then I’ll binge on them when I’m alone. I am so torn up. I can’t handle this. I can handle restriction. I know what to expect, I know *how* to do it and I know what the consequences are. But restricting and bingeing is still a new kettle of fish to me and I can’t do it. I don’t feel comfortable telling anyone about this in person (aka my doctor) because it’s embarrassing. I went from straight and easy anorexia nervosa, underweight and slowly dying to a confused mixture of restriction and bingeing and its disgusting. I am disgusted with myself.
Being in your late teens and early 20s is such a strange time. You’re growing up, you’re learning to be an adult and you’re learning now to look after yourself. You’re growing up, learning how to be away from your parents and learning who you are and how to be that person. It’s difficult. It is so so hard.
I’ve come home for the holidays and realised that I don’t fit in properly anymore. I’m a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Things are all different. I’m not the same person who left to go to university 2 and a half years ago and it’s a bittersweet return because these are the people who I love and who taught me how to be, and I’m not the same. I don’t feel old enough to be living on my own, but I feel too old to be living here at home for the foreseeable future. I have learnt how to be independant and how I live and how I do things and to re-learn how to do all the routines at home is frustrating.
I am am not an adult yet. I don’t know how to do taxes and I in no way want to buy a house never mind that I can in no way afford it. But on the other hand, I know who I am and I know my own mind enough not to blindly follow my parents. I know how to live on my own and I revel in it. I feel like we’re all bumbling around trying to work out what to do and just making it up anyway.
I suppose it’s okay to feel this way. It’s okay not to know what we’re doing and where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. We’re all afraid and it’s okay to admit that, it’s just a frustrating time.
I’m writing this after waking up from a very bad night. It may not have been *the* worst I have ever had but it was up there on the list. I was really really depressed. I recognise that it sounds weird considering that I have depression and therefore am always depressed but this was a proper dip down into the dark murky depths of the abyss.
I was trying to sleep and getting nowhere because my brain was on panic mode overthinking and overplanning all the revision that I need to do for my final exams (6 weeks and counting). And it spiralled as it is wont to do when on that level of ‘shit I am depressed’. For me, it’s the kind of depression where I can’t do anything. I can’t think, I can’t write, I can’t formulate sentences, I have no motivation to do anything. Realistically, that’s safer then the other type of depressed I can get where I have the motivation to go out and overdose or self harm in some other way so on a scale of 1-10 it wasn’t awful awful. But I hate this type of depression more. I can’t self harm so I can’t feel anything. I can’t string words together so I can’t talk about it. I did text my one and only friend who I talk to about all the mental crazies and that took me long enough. It’s the kind of depression when I can’t even sleep because that requires effort. It’s on an overdrive in overthinking while plunging off a cliff into the depths of numbness and the crawl out is horrendous.
This morning when I finally fell asleep and then promptly woke up my brain was cooperating somewhat. I got dressed, made a cuppa and drove to the gym because exercise is supposed to help and I won’t have it be said that I don’t try. And yes, that has taken a few more spoons then I may have had for social interaction today but you know what? It is miles better than last night and I’ll take that anyday.
Unpopular opinion – I don’t like summer.
I don’t like the heat. I don’t like being sticky and uncomfortable and warm and sweaty and it’s a horrible little bundle of sensory hell. ((It also exacerbates my ED lol)). And unfortunately for me, we have entered spring in the northern hemisphere and temperatures have risen above 12 degrees centrigrade and I am dreading the next 6 months.
Realistically, I know that considering I live in the UK it is never going to be that warm but it still gets to me. And it’s frustrating because I realise that part of it is purely my uncomfortableness with wearing less clothes. It’s also sensory hell and just leads to tears.
I would basically just love to live in Arctic, in the Antarctic, in Alaska. Anywhere that didn’t give me like over 13 degrees centrigrade worth’s of heat.
The other sadder part is that summer makes it more uncomfortable to be depressed. It feels so wrong to be depressed when the sun is shining and it’s warm and people are laughing and meeting up and having BBQs. It feels wrong and I feel so much more ashamed to have depression in the summer than when the weather is cold and more fitting to my mood.
This post is all over the place and I apologise, but I think it’s an accurate representation of my mind right now. It isn’t quite straight or functioning 100% (I’m even writing this to procrastinate my revision for my final exams oops) but I’m plodding along. Life goes on, the universe keeps expanding and all the atoms keep circling.
I’ve recently realised that what I deal with is not just pure unipolar depression. I have times, periodically, every couple of months or more frequently, where I have a span of days (4-7) where I am hyper. I am so on top of the world, I’m so ready to socialise and do things that I’m not normally comfortable doing, I start drinking alcohol, I start wanting to eat takeaway and do new things. I feel great when I’m like that, I feel like normal maybe (though I can’t really remember what ‘normal’ feels like), most if not all, of the suicidal thoughts disappear, I can do things and I can follow conversations. However, when I inevitably switch and my mood drops back to a 0-2 I feel absolutely awful because of the things I have done. Some of the things I can stop myself doing – for example, I won’t go and get a takeaway because I know later on, my ED will beat me up about it no matter how quiet it was at the time, so instead I’ll still not eat properly, I’ll just maybe have 3 slices of toast, not 2. I will feel bad about the social situations I said I would go to, but when my mood drops I can’t go to, and I feel like I’m letting my friends down.
I was speaking to my friend and she said perhaps I should talk to the doctor because it didn’t seem like it was ‘just’ depression, but I feel a little bit stupid because I hate the depression, I hate being down and unable to function how I want so these spells of hyper-ness are a welcome respite from them. And I’m very afraid that the doctor will dismiss me or assume that I am a hypochondriac and finding things to waste her time with.
Many people (principally therapists that I have seen) will say that the ability to be self-aware of the symptoms of your mental illness is the massive first step and means that it will be easier for you to deal with them. I don’t agree.
I would say that having dealt with mental illness for the past 6 years, that I am fairly self-aware of what is usually happening in my head. This does not mean in any way whatsoever that I can control it, or do anything about it. I can recognise that I am slipping into a depressive state, I can recognise that my eating disorder behaviours are completely illogical and I can recognise that certain thoughts are not my thoughts but are someone else’s thoughts stuck in my head. I can’t do anything about them. I can’t change how i react and act around food as that is a coping mechanism that I fall into when I can’t cope anymore. I can’t change how my brain is going to function and somehow stop myself falling into a depressive state, just as much as I can’t stop it when I fly through all the other stages of emotion and reach hyper. I can see that it is happening, sure, but there’s not much I can really do about it.
And I’m getting more cross about it. I have been told a lot recently, that because I know that I am depressed that I be able to do something about it (this is from the sort of people that would suggest ‘eating healthy’ or yoga as a cure for depression). It doesn’t work like that. And I really really wish that people would realise that.
I am sick to death of how mental health can be treated by health professionals. Some people get picked up very quickly, they are referred on almost immediately and they get the help they so desperately need. However, there are other people (including me) who are left to fall between the cracks. No one seems to care about them, and this can lead to situations getting worse and can lead to them needing more intensive help than would have been needed if they got the help they needed in the first place.
I have been seeing a doctor at the university practice for the past 3 years now. He knows all (mostly) all about my mental health situation as it is right now. I have told him about the self harming, eating disorder behaviours, depression, OCD traits and behaviours, and de-realisation symptoms. And nothing has really come of it all for the past 3 years. I recently begged to be referred to the community mental health team, which he reluctantly did though since I was not actively acting on my suicidal thoughts (in his knowledge) he deemed it unnecessary. The lady that I saw was lovely, she picked up on the de-realisation and suicidal intent and *said* she would refer me on to see a psychiatrist and would look into CBT for the OCD behaviours.
I have waited for 6 weeks now and neither my GP surgery nor me have received any information about the outcomes of the hour long meeting since. And I am getting to the end of my ability to keep myself safe. I have tried ringing up the GP surgery to ask for an urgent appointment but apparently I’m ‘fine’ and therefore do not need an appointment. So I booked one for 3 weeks time.. which was then cancelled by someone at the surgery. I am doing all of the things that people say you should do when you have deteriorating mental health issues – I am ringing all of the people (save the crisis line and 999) that I should be ringing. I am ASKING for help and I am getting nowhere. And I’m angry. I’m angry because no one should be made to feel that their mental health is not ‘bad’ enough for treatment and no one should feel that they don’t deserve treatment. I am not even holding a delusional belief right not – all the evidence that I have to go on is telling me that I don’t deserve help and that nobody is concerned. And I’m angry that this could happen to other people who are begging for help who are then ignored and left. No wonder the NHS is struggling to deal with people presenting with serious mental health issues if when people present at their primary care giver, they are turned away and told that they are undeserving of treatment. And I really wish this wasn’t the case.
I decided to remake my blog a little more anonymous because it was getting more personal than I expected..
But here it is, my remade blog that I am sure will feature mostly rants regarding my mental health