With a…bsolutely no help from my friends

Oh dear, I have issues. I got a phone call earlier from a woman I was referred to by the benefits office. My advisor there asked if I would like to do a condition management programme – something used in the UK to help people with long term physical or mental health issues learn to cope with them better. I thought ‘why not?’ at the time, but when my sister handed me the phone earlier I…um…hung up. Because I am sensible and grown up like that.


I have a bit of a problem with people thinking that I might be less than 100% in control of my mind, body or behaviour. I’ve done this before – I have turned down so many offers of referrals to various groups or programmes from my CPN. I don’t want to sit in a room full of crazy people moaning about how terribly unfair everything is and how none of it is their fault, thanks. I take responsiblity for my own actions and recovery, I don’t need anything from anyone, so they can’t go accusing me of being attention seeking or needy or demanding, so there. Um, except that no one was accusing me of that in the first place. This is the problem. I see every offer of support or expression of concern as someone telling me that I am hopeless and useless and can’t sort anything out on my own, so I get hugely overdefensive and insist I can don’t need any help and how dare they insinuate otherwise. Sigh. I even do this with my friends sometimes, if someone reads on my blog that I’ve had a bad day and leaves a comment telling me to hang in there and not use eating disordered behaviours to cope I see red. I wasn’t thinking about relapsing – what on earth do they think of me, that I don’t have any control at all over my mind?! Yeah, I know that that response is ridiculous, because I have spent the last 12 years recovering and relapsing from this eating disorder, and although I feel quite confident that things are different this time, I can’t see the future and this is one ridiculously sneaky illness.

So. This might be the first and only time you ever see me write this on my blog, but…can anyone help me with this? 😛 Please let SOMEONE out there have had a bit of an issue with this themselves, so that I don’t feel like you guys are all reading this and thinking I just need to take the stick out of my ass. I swear I am a nice person usually, it’s just in this type of situation…I never used to be like this, it’s only since I was in hospital two years ago. Because in there I WAS treated like I was demanding, attention seeking, too needy, too crazy, not taking enough responsibility and just needed to pull myself together by my asshole of a psychiatrist – even though the whole reason I was in there was because of a really bad reaction to antidepressants, so it was chemical and there was bugger all I could do to ‘control’ it. I never want to get into the situation again where I am desperate and asking for help and people just tell me that there’s nothing they can do. But clearly I also need to relax a bit too, because this is getting ridiculous. I’m scared to accept things which could help me, for God’s sake, just in case someone doesn’t understand that actually I am completely independent and don’t need whatever it is and am just there out of curiousity 😛 Oh ffs.

Anyway. I am not in as good a mood as I was yesterday, clearly! I think it’s half lack of sleep and half wonky hormones. Going through puberty for the third time in your life is no fun at all. The lack of sleep business is more annoying though. For the last two nights I have woken up four or five times throughout the night. I don’t know why, I just keep getting nightmares and waking up boiling hot and dehydrated. Last night was quite reminiscent of when I was at my worst with the ED. My parents came home from holiday so everyone was loud and excited, and I felt like the noise was skewering my nerves, so I went to bed at about 10. It took me three hours to get to sleep, and then I couldn’t stay asleep – I woke up at 1.45 in the middle of a quite horrific nightmare, then at 3, feeling like I was about to melt, then 5 and 6.30ish. I actually started crying at one point, which is just weird, because I don’t cry. My stomach was all messed up and what I can only describe as bubbly all night as well, which didn’t help things. So, body, I would really appreciate it if we can actually try SLEEPING in bed tonight, rather than wriggling around and whining pathetically. Is that OK with you? Hmm?

I have another confession actually. I got a bit distracted online yesterday. I ended up lurking around a certain website (not pro anorexic, don’t go freaking out on me :P) which was full of people posting their weights and calorie intakes. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but every time I end up on one of those places I get this sort of selective blindness where I can only see the people who were sicker than me and my eyes completely skip over all the rest. Anyway, I spent about an hour getting lost in numbers and then felt shit about myself for the rest of the day. Not about the weight I am at now, strangely, more having to fend off thoughts about how I was never anorexic in the first place. I think even though I can look in the mirror and be OK with what I see, the psychological connotations of almost being weight restored are messing with me a bit. What do I usually do when I have reached an acceptable weight? Oh yes, that’s right, relapse again. For the last two and a half years I have been either gaining or losing weight – letting go of the anorexia for good is just mindblowing. What the hell do I do now?!

Luckily, not only do I have my own list of reasons why I am letting myself relapse again, I also read two very insightful posts today which grounded me a bit. Sarah wrote about the importance not allowing yourself to get stuck in a cycle of anorexic thoughts and behaviours (woman after my own heart :P) and Carrie posted a link to an interesting study trying to answer the question of why anorexics appear to ‘cling’ to their disorder. I guess you could see the two posts as contradictory – one saying that anorexics often automatically get stuck in the same cycles over and over again due to neurological reasons quite out of their control, the other saying that to recover, we have to stop allowing this to happen – but I don’t think so. I think once you are aware that you are going to be drawn to the same self defeating behavioural patterns you can actively fight against that happening, as long as you keep reminding yourself that it’s an illness and not something that you personally want to do/think. So that is why I am saying AGAIN that I am not going to look at any more of those bloody websites. OK, brain? We don’t DO that anymore. *smackheadagainstbrickwall*

Some days I might not physically do an awful lot – today I just went out and drove around for a bit, bought some new gf flour and ginger tea – but I still end up exhausted just from the mental effort it takes to keep myself on an even keel. No over reacting, no panicking, no getting angry over stupid things, no cutting calories, no freaking out when my jeans fit properly, no getting drawn into hours of staring at other peoples numbers – every thought and kneejerk reaction has to be caught, examined, either allowed if it’s healthy or fought against if not. I know far too well how one small decision taken in favour of the anorexia can turn into a restrictive day, week, month, six months, and I’m back where I started. There’s no such thing as being too careful or too strict. It’s not always like this. Sometimes it’s fun rebelling against the anorexia, kicking the thoughts back down easily as soon as they appear in my head – even laughing at myself. Sometimes it’s just fucking hard. Today it’s just fucking hard.

Three good things about today:
1. Driving to the shopping centre 20 miles from my home again earlier and finding it first time rather than taking an hour long, 40 mile detour 😛
2. Knowing that being in a less-than-wonderful mood doesn’t have to affect my behaviour if I don’t let it.
3. Waking up this morning thinking I would go for a run later – then deciding not to when it started raining buckets, and being fine with that. The world will not end if I leave it until tomorrow!


10 responses to “With a…bsolutely no help from my friends

  1. Oh, Katie … you are definitely not the only one to experience this, believe me!! I think that in large part, people develop an ED in the first place because they find it so hard to ask for help. Problems that need other people’s assistance to fix? Ehh, never mind that, I’ll just lose some weight and it will all sort itself out! I think I’ve touched on that in my blog, too — I tend to get “angry” with my therapist / nutritionist sometimes for insinuating that progress is progress, because … well, it’s too long and complex to get into here, but just trust me on this, you’re NOT the only one!!

    Eek, I end up on those websites sometimes too… bad idea, for me at least. And, um, think of the world as a blank slate? You can do anything your heart desires!

    I’m sorry today is one of the hard day… I hope you get a decent night’s sleep tonight and that tomorrow is better!

    ❤ ❤

  2. I really hope you don’t mind my commenting, I’ve been reading for a while.
    If it helps, this is and was me (in reference to “I have a bit of a problem with people thinking that I might be less than 100% in control of my mind, body or behaviour.”)
    stemming from much the same type of treatment in the past as your own.

    Keep up the amazing progress that you have made. I love reading your blog when my own motivations are lacking.

  3. Yes, you are DEFINITELY not alone!! A big part of my eating disorder involves keeping too much inside, not asking for help, not expressing my feelings, etc. Food becomes a little safe-haven because people are far less predictable.
    It’s okay that today is hard. Today is not every day. I have bad days. I have days when I end up on some kind of triggering site and I feel vulnerable. You’ll get through it 🙂

  4. laurasworthlesswords

    Ok first of all, sorry if Ive ended up annoying you with any hang in there comments! Sometimes its difficult to know what to say or advise, especially since you have such a deep outlook/understanding of your illness.

    I can relate to getting angry by people and thinking that they think I cant cope. I frequently get annoyed at various family members etc because of things they say or do and I view it as them saying, you cant cope, you cant do it. Really its because I`m being over sensitive and maybe trying to hard to portray the message of I can be independant. From what I read you seem to be a very independant strong willed person and so its in your nature to try and do things yourself but maybe sometimes its good to accept a little help if you need to or the next time someone calls you for a support group or leaves a message like hang in there, try stopping for a minute and thinking about it and realise they are just offering some help they arent necessarily saying that you need it.

    Hmm I visit those sites, not the pro ana ones but there are a few sites I visit and I do find them extremely helpful but at times there can be some triggering comments and I find myself comparing my position to others and then feeling just like you described. Its best really to just keep off those sites once you’ve stopped. They can just get you tangled into obssessing over your intake or image or make you feel like you arent doing things right.

    Todays been a hard day for you, hopefully tomorrow will be better 🙂

  5. ohh yeah I think I know just what you mean. I think for a lot of us, accepting help makes us feel like we aren’t capable and functional as we are, as if we’re somehow defective. I know that’s why it took me so long to do things like getting into treatment and claiming benefits! I think it’s good to remind ourselves that sometimes seemingly ‘normal’ people who don’t look after themselves psychologically and accept support can be very ‘non-functional’ too, just in more socially acceptable ways 😛 in a way, it’s a sign of strength to take help you’re offered, because even if you COULD cope without it, doesn’t mean it’s fun! like today, sounds like you coped ok despite being triggered and having intrusive thoughts, but coming on here and venting about it wasn’t saying ‘I’m not in control’, but just ‘I need a rant!’. which is SO necessary sometimes!

  6. I relate very much to the attention seeking and the insinuations that maybe i need WAY more help than *I* think I do component of things. I have come to TRY and figure out that regardless of what other people think (ie even if they DO think those things), that it shouldn’t matter and at the end of the day IF whatever they’re suggesting could be useful then I’m the only one losing out if I don’t give it a go. Doesn’t mean that its not a fight sometimes, but I’m getting better.

    Also, with the whole sitting around with other people in a similar situation whinging etc… that is something I do worry about a lot. I worry about it on numerous levels, firstly that it will be triggering and competitive (i’m not really competitive with people I get ot know 99% of the time, but with people that are the “competition” you betcha!) and also that it doesn’t end up being usefully focussed…. so I tend to stay away from support groups at this point in time, i would consider it later on maybe. But, again, if something appears that it might be useful, I’m quite okay to give it a go IF *I* think it is useful… just gotta get over caring so much what others think which is always the stuck point for me.

    Just chip chip chipping away at it really. In the end, these people often have the experience that we don’t and its whether we have the energy to do something and how much energy we expend for something that might only give us one extra key and whether that extra key is worth it for that extra energy…. (We might get LOTS of “keys” but its always a risk until we try)….

    Anyway, just my rambling thoughts 🙂

    Oh and I”ve been looking on the other blog, just exhausted at the moment so I”ll be there in my detail when I can be 🙂


  7. I didn’t even have a CPN for ED related things (PND) and I was *still* really similar to you!!! I’m afraid I have to go to the park and I only got a few paragraphs in but I felt the need to let you know that a 7th person reacts in a similar way to you (and I’ve hung up on people when the phone’s been handed to me too!)… xxx

    • themilkfreeway

      My CPN isn’t for ED related things, I think I am her only anorexic client and I’m a bit of a curiosity to her 😛 I was assigned to her (at a normal weight) when I was suffering really badly with depression and anxiety and had to be hospitalised. I’m still seeing her two and a half years later, but nowhere near as frequently 🙂

  8. Oh, I wish I had something helpful to say or some better advice to give, but I’m pretty much the opposite in the sense that I am quite ‘needy’ in the respect of relying on my parents to stop me from overeating when I’m having a hard time. That said, I have absolutely no time for groups (totally agree about the moping around that seems to go on…no constructive aspects at all and a lot of blaming other people when the responsibility ultimately lies within ourselves) and have refused all psychological help recently after five years of bad experiences. All I can do is try to reassure you that it is okay to let your guard down a little sometimes, and it’s understandable to get annoyed when people say that they’re worried or that they don’t want you to relapse because it almost shows a lack of faith or belief in you, and that can be very disheartening. I have put the phone down on numerous people in panic when my Mum/Dad hands it to me. I still have a huge fear of telephones!

    So sorry you got caught up in a ‘numbers’ coma…we must be telepathic somehow because the same thing happened to me last night…not with other people’s weights but with BMI calculators, etc. I get the blinkered vision entirely ~ when I’m out in town I only ever see the thin people.

    Thank you so much for doing so much research on coeliac disease for me! Unfortunately barley and rye have an equally bad effect..rye bread is actually just as terrible as regular bread. I’m going to be completely open with the GP on Monday and see what she thinks would be best for me.

    I hope today is a better one : )

  9. I sometimes wander onto websites like that as well, I think before you called them “eating disorder porn.” yes I’m guilty of looking at it too– but whenever I tend to get on to those sites, I quickly hit up youtube.com for some funny videos to get my mind clear.

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