Turth be told I haven’t really known what to talk to you all about, it’s been a very challenging month. Despite a lot happening, I just didn’t feel able to round it up with a possitive pink bow for you all.
It’s really been hard.
I had a panic attack again today, thank fully not a big one but enough to leave me in a mess.
I don’t usually come into college on Thursdays but today I had to. We’re selling at the town market tommow as part of the business course and I’m selling hand made candles. So I was up at my usual 6:20 and off to that dreaded place.
One of my main issuesis that I can’t handle a change of routine. So when my tutor says I’m done and go home, hours earlier than I had planned,my brain kicked into overdrive.
It sounds so silly right, a little change could freak me out that much?
I guess it was a combination of a routine change, being in a new class room, not having acess to my lunch card and being told I could leave earliy that caused me to get into a tizz. Infact this tizz was so bag that I couldn’t leave the class room.
I was too scared to leave the room.
I’m not sure what I was scared off but I ended up sitting at a table for an extra hour unable to leave. When I finall got to the place of stepping out the room I had to dash to the toilets as a full panic had taken a hold. After a calm down I tried to take controll and make my way home and to my bus stop, but I didn’t get too far.
I’ll spare you the details of what happened next, but I found myself sitting in the park. It’s usually full of dog walkers but today it was empty, giving me the chance to break down and cry. What I didn’t realise was that a medical contidition I have that effects my circulation had taken a hold and impacted my hands whilst my head was a mess and I was in a surprisingly large amount of pain.
So that sucked.
I’m sitting in a warm cafe at the moment, that I deem my ‘safe place’ in town where I run to when something has gone wrong and now talking to you guys. I’ve just warmed my hands up and got them back to normal where I can type.
Aside from the increasing panic attacks and having them two Thursdays running, these few weeks have had some amazing moments. I’ve eaten for 9 days running what’s a new record. I even got to speak to a room of about 35 Chirstitans about my testamony on Tuesday, what I loved. The situation at home might not be imporving but a family member who I was concered about has finally started to seek help and see someone what is a big step in the right direction.
These few weeks haven’t been terrible. But right now all I want to do is focus on how bad today was and cling to the feeling of failure.
Instead, I’m challenging myself to try and hold into the positives, sure today was horrible, but that doesn’t change all the good things that have happened.
So yes, today was bad but I’m refusing to let that spoil my smile too much.
So remember a while back that I wrote a post called coffee shops and counselling? I really liked doing a little reflection from my sessions, I found that it really helped me get my thoughts together afterwards. So Today I’m back in my favorite coffee shop, Liar Liar, doing another one.
So I may have hit a little bit of a stumbling block a few days back and have been a having a little bit of a hard time getting myself back on track. A challenge that I’ve been walking through as part of my sessions is how many days in a row I can eat ‘normally’ for. I manged 4 days then last week had that little stumble and only managed 3. Despite the stumble, these numbers are such big achievement for me, they really are and I’m really pleased with them.
Today after discussing what went wrong last week and working on some new techniques on how to cope if what caused me to stumble happens again, S (my name for my counselor on my blog) set a big step for me.
Instead of being horrified by this, I’M REALLY EXCITED.
I really can’t believe that I’m excited that I’m going to be trying to eat properly for such a long time. What is wrong with me?
For those of you who have never experienced the black lash of an ED, this might seem like such a simple, easy thing that you an do without even thinking. But for me, this is going to be so hard, I know this. S had told me that this will be a challenge and I have come to terms with this already.
I don’t know about you, but everyone I’ve spoke to in either the counseling or medical profession have always used the image of cars when it comes to fighting an eating disorder.
One of the first things my Doctor said to me when I was fist referred with a suspected eating disorder was this,
Will your car work if you don’t put petrol in it? No, it’ll stop working. Your body is the same thing, you might hate eating but at the end of the day your body is like that car. If you don’t put fuel in it you will stop working.
I’ve battled with this for a while. Those closest to me will know that even despite have a qualification in science, I still will always question WHY? when i’m told to eat. Why do I need to eat? Why can’t I live off 1200 calories (No, I don’t eat that little everyday, my daily average has gone up so it’s now closer to 2000).
S told me this today, and it’s a really good little tip to remember when I’m struggling.
Your body is going to be the best vehicle you’re ever going to have and it’s going to have to last you a long time.
Your body is a Ferrari. Some people have lorries, but your’s is a Ferrari, so you look after that vehicle and it’ll take you far
It sounds so silly right?
But it makes so much sense. When you push back all the layers you get to one simple thing, your body is such a gift, its the best vehicle you’ll ever have and you’re going to have it for the rest of your life. You’ve been handcrafted by God, who does NOT make mistakes.
So when things get bad, strip things down to the raw basics. Your body is like a car, if you don’t put fuel in it, it will not run. Don’t think of it as food, think of it as fuel.
It’s early days, I only just heard this little pearl of wisdom today and I have no idea how it will work out. But right now, I feel a little bit more optimistic about the next 5 days and if I can reach my goal. I won’ kid myself for a second that this will be easy to do, because it won’t be.
You claim to know where everything is hiding, you know where everything is, but when someone asks you to find the phone charge you borrowed last week off them and put it in your room, you suddenly can’t find it. In fact you can find everything except the phone charger. Who else has experience this?
Your messy bed room is comforting. Full of your possessions, they bring back memories of days gone by. The photo that hangs on your wall reminds you of the day you went out for a meal with your friends the week before one of them left to live in Australia. But when it’s night-time and you need to go to the toilet, you stumble and trip over your memories and possessions. In times of light and day your room is comforting but in the dark nights it is a hinderance that will probably end up with you tripping up and breaking your neck.
My life is a messy bed room.
My life is something I claim to know where everything is, but I can’t find the one thing I’m after. I can’t find God in my life, I can find everything but God.
My life is full of comforts and memories, people of my past. A pleasant memory in the good days but a optical when dark days come.
I had been praying for a long time for a mentor, someone I could talk honestly with, someone I could ask questions and ask for prayer.
God was gracious and answered my prayers.
I’ve been talking to her about things that had been happening more closer to home, what had been going off in church, my family, in my relationships.
I told her that I was struggling to see God in what was happening, how I was struggling to see how God was in control of a situation that is only getting worse. I said I knew that needed to keep my eyes on Jesus but it was so hard, I was confused.
In response she sent me this passage to look at.
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.Later that night, he was there alone,24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
She told me that sometimes in out Christian faith we have to fix our eyes on Jesus when the storms comes.
The one night I’d had a particularly painful conversation with a family member. By the end of the night I was sitting on my messy bed room floor, as the rest of the house slept, crying. Whilst the conflict was resolved I was still confused. I didn’t know who to trust, what to trust or what to do next. This wasn’t something that I could just brush under the rug and hoped it went away.
I was having a bit of a rant at God, I was listing everyone that I couldn’t trust and why I couldn’t trust them. I was honest about my pain and just went for it. In the mists of listing everyone I couldn’t trust two simple quite words made their way to the front of my mind.
It cut my rant short I can tell you that much.
In a messy life where there was few to trust there was someone I could trust, God.
I could trust his word, his unfailing love, his grace, his power, his kindness.
I can trust him.
Sometimes in our walk with God we just need to fix our eyes on him, root ourselves in his word, his promises to us.
I struggle with this, I won’ lie. But it’s something I need to do. It’s something a lot of us need to do.
When I say root ourselves in him I don’t just mean read the bible either.
It’s not about reading the bible. It’s about getting to know the author
I heard this on the radio a few days ago and it really made an impression on me. How many times had I picked up the bible and started reading because it was the christian thing to do? How many times I had I brought my bible to church but it had never left my bag? If you asked my church I don’t think any of them would know I brough my bible with me every week. How many times have I reached for my phone and not the word of God in times of trouble and sadness?
Maybe the reason why I couldn’t find God in my messy bedroom was because I wasn’t truly searching for him. I was letting myself get distracted by material things that surrounded me. Instead of relentlessly going through the piles of junk in my room, pulling the wardrobe out from the wall to look behind it, I was only skimming my eyes over the mess and deciding that if God wasn’t surrounded in big flashy lights saying ‘I am here’ then he wasn’t in my room.
Maybe I wasn’t really looking.
So how do you find him in the mess?
You search for him.
You tie your hair back, push the curtains aside, open the window and let fresh air in, with bin bag in hand and you search. You clear out your room of the junk, of the mess, the pointless things. You listen to worship music and dance, you seek him with all you’ve got and you soak yourself in his word.
I’m going to start this off with a bit of a disclaimer.
I am not a professional, I am not a doctor, I am not a therapist or anyone who is qualified in eating disorders. However, I am someone who suffers from one. What I’m going to be talking about today are the things I have come across with my own recover and my own frustrations with the people who have been kind enough to help. I am, however, going to put some links bellow to some trusted websites where you can get professional advice of how to support someone with an eating disorder at the end of this post.
October marks a year since I was officially told I had anorexia.
The past year has been full of half-hearted attempt of recovery, relapse, laughter and tears.
Usually when I talk about my recovery I aim my posts to those who might also be suffering themselves with an eating disorder. Today though is a little different.
I want to talk to those who are helping someone with an ED.
I’ve had some amazing people walk along side me during this year. Throughout it all they’ve been there. However, there are somethings people have done that are counter productive.
There are a lot of resources that tell you things TO DO when helping someone with an ED but very little on the small niggly things that can be the straw that breaks the camels back.
So bellow are my peeves and fustrations that I’ve come across in my year of recovery. It’s not an inclusive list but I hope it can shed some light on how to help someone a little better.
I hope it helps.
It’s not about you.
I love helping people, if you ever need someone to talk to please message me.
But if you’re helping someone with an ED, please don’t be offended when I say It’s not about you.
One thing that really makes things worse is when you’re opening up to someone and they make it all about them.
I’ve had people say to me “I was thinner than you when I was your age“ or “When I was younger I had writs smaller than you do“ or even “Well I used to weigh Xkg“.
Please do NOT do this!
Even something that you belive might help them, for example saying “You’re not fat, I weigh X amount more that you.” doesn’t help, I’m sorry.
I can understand it you’re just trying to relate to them, to make them feel less alone but please stop. If you have perviously had a ED and are recovered cool, let them know what helped, but don’ make it about you. Don’t make them feel bad and for crying out loud don’t tell them what you weight. Eating disorders are the most competitive mental illness going, we will turn it into a competition unintentionally.
If someone feels confident enough to open up to you about their struggles, be honoured. It takes a lot of trust in you for them to do that. Please don’t break their trust by using it as a opetunity to make it all about you.
Ugh, junk food.
I used to love the stuff and chances are you do too.
But notice how I said I used to love it?
You’re going to want to offer the person you’re supporting all the junk food possible. If they’ve been struggling for a long time chances are they’ve lost weight and all you want to do is give them fatty sweet food to try and get them to put weight on fast and I don’t blame you.
But if you give someone with anorexia a doughnut they’re probably not going to eat it.
You think you’re being kind giving them sugary food but you’re not. I’m sorry.
Try offering them healthy food instead.
One of my friends used to offer me a chocolate bar everyday and I’d always refuse it. There was no way I was putting something with that many calories into my body. However, I had a friend who used to bring in almonds to college almost everyday and she’d offer me them. Want to know something awesome? when I felt able to, I’d eat them. I saw no harm in eating an almond, so I’d have one. A few weeks later I felt able to eat two or three. When I was eating more this friend would every now and then offer me half of their GoAhead bar and I would eat it. In the next few weeks I began to feel able to eat a full bar to myself, but I’d still decline the chocolate bar.
It was a slow process but in the end I was beginning to have snacks at college, as long as they were healthy.
Try healthy food first, healthy snacks. I’m not saying that they’re going to start eating suddenly just because you’ve offered them a strawberry. But they’re more likely to eat something healthy than a doughnut or a chocolate bar.
Give them time before you buy them a doughnut.
My opinion on tough love?
It’s the wrong approach.
There might be a time when you have to put your foot down and be firm with them. I fully appreciate and understand this. But don’t use it all the time.
Don’t shout at them for not eating, don’t take away their privileges, don’t be horrible.
Last winter when it was bitterly cold and we had no heating I slept without a blanket because I felt like I didn’t deserve one.
When it’s raining I didn’t wear a coat and got cold and wet because I felt that I didn’t deserve to wear a coat.
I’ve denied myself from going to see my Doctor before because I felt that I didn’t deserve it.
I didn’t deserve food.
I didn’t deserve love.
I didn’t deserve kindness.
I didn’t deserve God.
Notice the pattern?
How is you shouting at them going to make them belive they deserve love? How is you threatening them going to make them feel that they deserve kindness? How is being horrible going to make them feel like they deserve recovery?
They hate themselves enough as it is, don’t add to it.
An eating disorder is not a diet, it is not a fad, it is not a sign of vanity and it is not a form of seeking attention.
It is a lethal mental illness.
In the past I’ve ‘gave in’ and ordered food with my friends. I’ve ordered the healthiest thing on the menu and sat down. I’d only been sat down for a few seconds when one of them starts talking about the diet that they’re on. They’d tell me about how many calories that they’ve eaten today, how fattening the food is. It wasn’t too long till two other pipped up and started talking about their past diets.
I didn’t eat anymore of my food, I don’ think I ate anything else that day.
I’m not saying that you can’t talk about food round someone with an ED, what I’m saying is that diet talk is very triggering and that you need to be considerate.
It’s like smoking. Say you’re wanting to quit smoking, you’ve done great so far and haven’t touched a cigarette in a week. You decide you’re going to go out with your friends and catch up with them all. You’re all waiting at a bus stop and one pulls out a cigaret from their pocket and lights it up. You’ll immediately want a cigarett won’t you? It doesn’t matter that you’re trying to stop, you know it’s bad for you, but you can’t help but crave one.
The same goes with diet talk. It’s as triggering as a cigarette to someone who is trying to quit smoking.
Another thing is DO NOT ASK THEM FOR DIET ADVICE! It’s really insulting.
How are you?
“How are you?”
Fellow Britts you will know my frustrations with this question. I think it’s some unspoken law that in the UK when someone asks you “How are you?” you have to answer with “I’m fine thanks.”
Maybe it’s just the UK that does this, maybe it’s global, I don’t know.
The point is that it’s rare this question is answered honestly. Sure, there are people in my life who I know will ask me this question and mean it, my mum and boyfriend being pretty good examples. But let’s be real. People don’t answer this question honestly.
There has been times where I’ve been asked how I am and the first thing that comes to mind is
“I’m feeling crap, I want to rip my skin off, I am a fat whale of a b*tch and I am done with life”
Of course I didn’t say this out loud, my reply was
“I’m fine thanks, how are you?”
You can’t make someone tell you how they are. But you can give them the opportunity to speak, and no, simply asking how they are doesn’t count. Sit down with a cupa, walk the dog together, do something that gives you the time to invest into a full honest conversation. There’s no certinty they’ll want to talk about their ED but spending quality time with someone is never wasted time.
Talking about it and knowing that someone is bothered about you go a long way in reducing the isolation that an ED can bring.
You can not make them recover
I’m sorry, it’s painful but true.
You can’t make them recover, you can only love them.
You can’t make thedecision for them, but you an decide to walk with them.
You can decide to care for them
You can decide to be patient with them.
You can decide to hold them.
Recovery is a decision , it’s a hard one. I’m only just starting the road of true recovery, of real recovery. But it’s not your decision to make.
Look after yourself.
So lets talk about you.
People with big hearts tend to suffer the most damage. The closer you get to someone who is hurting, the more likely you are to get hurt by them.
I think that sums it up pretty well.
You want to help them right?
You’re going to be no use to them is you are tired, worn down and cranky. If anything, if you’re that worn down chances are you could snap at them unintentionally and undo any good work or progress you’ve made together.
Take care of yourself.
Give yourself time out.
Talk to someone if needed.
Keep you safe and ok.
And finally, Thank You!
Thank you for helping someone, thank you for walking along side them, for being a shoulder to cry on.
You’re playing a big part in their recovery and potentially saving their life. Remember, it is a potentially lethal illness.
So I just want to say thank you.
Who ever you’re helping might not be in the position to thank you right now. They might not even recognise what you’re doing for them. But carry on in the hope that one day they will look back with thanks as they realise how you’ve walked with them every step of the way.
They might not be able to say thank you, but I can.
You’re an amazing, inspiring, kind-hearted person. You’re the type of person that gives me a glimpse of hope in the madness of this world. So THANK YOU!
I’m not a professional or qualified in eating disorders, but these guys are. If you need some more information check out these websites.
For those who have been following me on twitter, you will know that I’ve been binge watching Ted Talks these past few days.
There’s something about these talks that I love, they have such an amazing variety of stuff, some make you belly laugh, others leave you on the verge of tears but what they all have in common is that they make you think. I really love watching them.
I was watching one about small talk what you can check out here .
The purpose of this talk was about skipping the small talk and forming deep meaningful connections with people, something that I struggle with.
In honesty, I can’t stand small talk. I want to go for the deep stuff. I’m not to bothered what you had for dinner last night or what item of furniture your cat just broke (but if you have a video of said cat doing something stupid, then you’ve got my attention). I want to know you and that includes you guys, my small happy army of readers (You’re all awesome!!).
I want to know you.
So after watching this talk it was time for class, and by class I mean sit in a room with only half the class present as the supply tutor plays on the computer. Two of the guys were on the windowsill, myself and my friend were on our phones and one of the other guys was on the computers. As no one was talking I decided to ask the question that was discussed in the Ted Talk.
“What do you want to do before you die?”
One of them looked very taken back by the suddenness of the question, but hey it’s me, they should be used to it by now.
This sparked off a really nice conversation, one guy wanted to go skydiving before he died and others simply didn’t know. We even managed to ask the supply tutor what he though and he wanted to meet people from different cultures, an answer none of us was expecting.
It was quite amazing how much I found out about my classmates by just asking one question. I learned that the quietest guy in the class was so family orientated it was unreal, that if he was to die tomorrow he said he’d go to Burger King then spend the night with his family.
Another said that he’d buy a plane ticket and travel the world.
This got me thinking though.
What would happen if we just skip the small talk and just spoke?
I love talking to people about God but it’s such a big topic to approach with anyone, I even struggle talking to other Christians about it. But how amazing would it be if I just asked? How much more could I grow if I just let go of my fears and ask the big questions.
So I’m going to leave you with a question today.
What would you do if you knew that you were going to die tomorrow?
Yes you did read the title right, I did say feral kitten.
Last night my brother brought back a kitten from work, a very angry, scared kitten.
He is a ranger at a Nation Trust property. One day by their workshop they discovered some kittens. These guys weren’t your average domesticated kitty’s though, these were the equivalent of farm cats. They had no contact with people and hunted for their own food, the ones that will try to claw your face off if you try to pet them.Wild moggys are great for keeping the mice population down in the castle, so they decided to leave them and let them do what they were designed to do, hunt and kill.
My brother told me about them a week or two ago and we thought nothing more of it, untill last night.
Meet our latest house guest.
This angry, hissing, spitting, ball of rage is one of the kittens from the castle. Unlike the others though, it wasn’t from the workshop. This little was found alone by some dustbins on its last legs.
As tough as my brother acts, he has a soft heart so he volunteered to take the kitten to the vets to see if it could be helped. It was estimated that the little thing was only about 7 weeks old. With no mum or strength, there was no way it could hunt and would be dead within the nest few days due to the cold nights and lack of food.
As mentioned before though, cats are good at the property as it keeps the rodent population down, so it as decided that the kitten would be helped and one day let back onto the property. This is where my brothers big heart got the better of him and he volunteered to look after the mite untill Monday where he’s pass it on to one of his work colleges as she wanted a turn with the kitten.
That’s how we ended up with the small ball of rage in our home.
Here’s the thing though.
We have been trying to look after this kitten. We’ve been feeding it, giving it kitten milk from the shop, made it a home in a big cardboard box with a ticking clock, put a hot water bottle wrapped in blankets in with it so it can have some sort of warmth, but its terrified of us. All it does is hiss, spit, growl and swipe at us and let me tell you something, kittens have sharp claws.
This is too be expected.
In its short life, it’s never been cared for, it’s never been looked after or had interaction with humans.
It’s terrified of us and all it can do is defend itself from people who’s trying desperately to keep it alive.
It’s amazing how something so small can teach us such a big lesson.
In some ways I saw a lot of my own behaviors in that kitten.
Have I been looked after and cared for throughout my life? Yes, 100%. However, I have been very independent when it came to my problems.
Take my anxiety as an example.
As my anxiety increased over the past 7 years, I ran and isolated myself. Like the kitten found alone behind some bins, I had done the same and just like the kitten I hadn’t had the strength or life experience to survive. I developed anorexia and have been in a bad way physically for a while.
But then someone found me.
I’ve known God for 2 years but recently it feels like I’ve been found again. Gods scooped me up and taken me to safety.
Just like that kitten, who has us as a family trying to help it, I have people around me trying to help in the form of my church. But I’ve never had a church before. I’ve never had this sort of friendship and if I’m honest, it’s terrifying.
I’m left lashing out and pushing people away from my church because I’ve never had a church before. It’s new and scary and I don’t like it, my anxiety is seriously getting the better of me.
The doubts, the fear, the confusion, the suspicion, the anger and the pain just leaves me hiding away from this group of people who ultimately just want to help.
The saddest thing is, I’ve only just saw this.
I have no idea how to let them in though.
I’m really worried and scared.
I’m lonely and on my last legs. I’m fighting my eating disorder every day, I’ve gained weight and am slowly becoming healthier. It’s a slow process but I’m taking the right steps to get better.
However, my anxiety has shot through the roof and it’s the worst it’s ever been in all of my life.
I’m a mess.
I feel like a terrified, small, vulnerable kitten who hasn’t got a clue wha to do next. I want to hide in a small dark space and defend myself from anyone who gets too close.
But I’m so lonely and completely unable to get through this on my own.
I’m desperate for friendship and meaningful relationships, especially with my church.