Monthly Archives: July 2017

Today I am angry

Today I am sad. Today I am angry. This week two girls from my eating disorders unit passed away. Only a couple of months ago a good friend from my acute died. They were all failed.

In mental health, recovery is long and slow and hard. There are ups and there are downs, you improve then you crash. With help I believe everyone can get there, can be able to live their lives. But too often services give up. They are underfunded with huge waiting lists and not enough resources to give the help needed.

I’m lucky, I’m still alive but I nearly wasn’t. I was left for a year on the eating disorders waiting list, by the time I was finally seen I was seriously unwell. And although I spent ten months on the unit, I left still very underweight, still unable to handle my purging. My first acute unit gave up on me, I attempted suicide and it nearly worked, so I was discharged for none compliance. My second acute didn’t know what to do with me other than drug me and fry my brain with electricity. But then I got lucky, instead of being given up on, I was moved to a specialist personality disorder clinic. They never for a minute gave up. And now, over 2 years since this admission started, I’m on the home straight.

And that’s why I’m angry. That wonderful women didn’t get the help they needed. Services so underfunded they label you chronic. They give up. I remember watching another girls treatment at my EDU and wondering why they weren’t pushing her towards recovery like the rest of us. No matter how many times you’re admitted, how ill you are, you should continue to be treated and to be given a chance of recovery. Another girl was discharged from a specialist unit and committed suicide. There was no community support and she was left alone. You would never leave an asthma suffer mid asthma attack in A&E and tell them they’re chronic so they can only have two puffs of their blue inhaler instead of the full treatment needed. You would never leave someone in the community without some form of treatment- you wouldn’t tell them that they can’t have any treatment because they’re chronic. It’s wrong and it makes me so angry.

Everyone has the ability to recover. They need help and support and time but I truly believe you can get better. But services give up and people die. And it’s a disgrace.

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Bulimic; A day in the life

We’ve seen Anorexia talked about. Its on dramas, on the news, in magazines and newsletters. Eating disorder recovery stories focus on weight restoration and being able to eat ‘normally’ again.  But where are the stories about bulimia? Where do we see people talking about their experiences? Where is the awareness raising for bulimia?

I’ve spoken quite openly about my experiences with anorexia. There is still a stigma attached to mental health problems, but in my experience, the greatest stigma surrounds bulimia. Bulimia attracts a lot of hate- people are labelled as greedy, lazy and disgusting. It’s so far from the truth but so hard to argue against.

I’ve had bulimia since I was 14. This is a day in my life when bulimia took over.

I wake up,  everything hurts. My head aches- bulimic hangovers are real, I feel dirty and itchy and just uncomfortable in my body. My throat is sore every time I swallow and my hand is bruised. I tell myself, today I stop binging, today I’ll stop eating again.

Later, I think I’m staying strong. I haven’t eaten yet and the familiar hunger pangs hit in- uncomfortable but also welcome. My head is killing me. As soon as I can I go into town. Once I would have been clothes shopping, now I go into the food shops, wandering round and round. Picking unhealthy foods up, reading the label and putting them down again.

And then, I slip. I have a biscuit or a latte or something I hadn’t planned for in my day. I lose control, desperately going from shop to shop. I don’t even really know what I’m buying, mostly crap but even things like fruit or cereal could trigger a binge. I feel like I’m watching myself as I move between stores, screaming at Becca, me, to stop. Put it back and leave. But that doesn’t happen. I remember once, when my anorexia was first swinging back into bulimia, getting a phonecall from my bank, mid binge, saying that there had been unusual activity on my card. It was humiliating.

I lock myself in my room and then I eat. I’m not hungry, I don’t want to eat, I already feel sick. But for some reason and I never know really why, I end up still binging. Binging is horrible, it’s out of control painful stomach fear can’t stop someone help me please. Then I become aware of all the wrappers and crap around me. And my stomach is painfully full. I can’t keep this in me. So I purge. Which, by the way, along with restriction, is the best way there is to ensure you keep binging. It’s a never ending cycle. And it is degrading and horrible. You will spend hours cleaning after and making excuses to your flatmates.

And then the day rolls around to night, another binge, another purge. When will this end?

I’m lucky, I am so much better now. I still struggle, I still go to bed most nights wondering whether I could stop eating again, I still spend hours wandering round food shops without buying, I still sometimes struggle with purging. But before, I was spending all day binge purging, I simply couldn’t stop.

And that’s it, a day in the life of my bulimia.