My name is Matt Christian and i have an eating disorder. The journey…………

Hey Guys. Hope this week has been kind to you?

Another week has gone by.  I sit here with just a couple of days to go until my first appointment with the eating disorder clinic. An appointment i am very glad is almost upon me. Like i keep stating i am ready to take the next step on getting myself right again.

Everyday i feel drained and emotional by this illness. As i leave Number 1 on a Sunday the dread surfaces and i have to mentally prepare myself for another week of fighting my thoughts and my obsessions. Although i have managed to break the fitness obsession of sorts, i still need to break the others which are holding me hostage……. If i could just delete the calorie app i would be much happier. Unfortunately i know that is not going to happen for a while just yet.

This week has been a “fat” week. I have felt fat all week. I have absolutely no idea what made me think it, but for some reason i woke up Monday and all i could think was that i feel fat and i look fat. The rational part of my brain is either not functioning properly at all or it has gone totally. Monday through to Wednesday night the pictures i take of my face were being deeply analysed as i struggled to comprehend that what i was looking at was not the same as what everybody else sees!! I have shown a few people these pictures and feel its about time i share a few of them here.

 

 

 

From left to right these are Monday through to Wednesday night.  See a difference???? Your answer will almost be certainly no. For me, Monday is the result of my “excess” on Sunday.  So Tuesday and Wednesday i punish myself by eating very little. Such a messed up way to live my life……. The only picture i was sort of happy with was the Wednesday offering. I felt happier with my face. Trouble is i was so so weak on Wednesday. The inevitable result of punishing myself.

As the week progressed through Thursday and Friday, my depression deepened. The constant thoughts of putting on weight bombarded my every waking moment. I have no idea what is driving these thoughts this week. I have woken every day this week feeling as though i have not rested what so ever. My body aching, drained but i cannot just stop and rest i have to keep moving to make sure the weight does not pile on………… Pile on!!!! I know… what a statement!!! I know how that sounds but its the way i am seeing things if i am not doing exercise then this is the only i can make sure i can keep the weight off. My brain is a harsh master for me at the moment, i struggle to comprehend the many thoughts that hit me all at once. Confusion reigns supreme. I feel that i have to justify my every action and meal to my mind. It rules me, i am letting it rule me because i am to weak to fight possibly??

Let me give you an example of the ruling……….. For breakfast everyday i have porridge (much more than i used to have e.g i used to just have an apple.) I have a cup of tea and then another tea when i am at work. I then starve myself until lunch time (even though at 11 am i could quite conceivably have a bit of fruit or even a biscuit with my cup of tea). Lunch turns out to be a late afternoon meal. I have it so so late just to make sure i have burnt off breakfast. A ham and salad roll is what i have everyday, i have fruit and a drink. Not much i acknowledge that but for me at the moment its enough. Well i say that very loosely………. It is no where near enough, considering i am on my feet all day…….. Now after this my body feels fuelled for the rest of the afternoon. This should be a good thing right???……WRONG!!!! I hated every bite of that roll. I do not mind the fruit after all its healthy!! Why i think like this god only knows? I mean i have no energy as i am going about my morning, so why am i feeling guilty about having energy???? Where on earth is the logic in that?????? The same can be said for dinner. Again starve myself until i feel that the lunch calories are gone then eat the evening meal mainly a bland but healthy mix of Quorn products and green vegetables. Still all in a small quantity. Fruit or greek yogurt for dessert. Both these i feel comfortable with. But again the harshness that has manifested itself punishes me for being full!!!! I will say at this point i have no desire what so ever to go and stick my fingers down my throat……. I just sit and punish myself mentally for eating!!!! This is the daily cycle. As i type this out  i am thinking that this surely cannot be Anorexia???? This behaviour is just bizarre. What is wrong with me? I mean i literally hate myself so much that i could cry for fuelling my body.  So the starvation begins again for the next day…………..

If i could disconnect my head for just an hour i would love that……. To sit in complete and utter serenity would be a dream come true. Meditation is something i am going to have to look at seriously. May well be the only way?? Nothing else i do is working so far.

I woke for work Saturday again feeling like i had been awake all night. I really had no energy for the day.  A quiet day at work which made it drag severely. Everything i done was a huge task. Walking up and down stairs, bending down to pick things up, generally serving the customers all were a massive task for me. I knew exactly what i had to do but was my mind going to let me?? Of course not!! Cannot get fat, cannot get fat, must keep active was the broken record playing through my head. So i pushed on and on towards another late lunch. Today as a result of this i binned the roll and had a side salad for lunch plus the usual fruit. Pitiful! How was that going to fuel me for the afternoon. It didn’t of course, i felt just as drained plus i only sat down for 20 minutes or so. Needed to get back on shop floor to burn more of the nothing!!

Sunday i woke late, after a terrible nights sleep. I made my way over to pick Number 1 up lucky for me was also up late. I had no idea what we were going to do for the day, not that i plan ahead. I sometimes have a small idea what we are going to do then take it from there. Today i had no idea?? I asked her on the way and she suggested Museum of Power. She likes it there she loves to ride the little railway they have there, if i’m honest i like riding it too. Number 1 had her usual marsh mellows whilst i had my tea at the coffee house before hand. We then made our way down to the Museum….. Sadly there was a car meet at the Museum and the railway was not running. Gutted!!! What were we to do. Well as the weather was nice we decided to park up and take a little walk around a little place called Beeleigh. It is a nice little area right down by the river with some beautiful paths to explore. I had been there many times and i must say i love how peaceful and tranquil the place is, Number 1 loves the outdoors she goes on many walks with her grandad and his dogs and is always telling me how she enjoys it when they spot different animals. So as we made our way around spotting as much wildlife as we could which was great fun. We took various tracks through the wooded area i showed her the Abbey which is situated in the area. Apparently the place is haunted but i did not tell her that………… The day continued but with the constant nagging of calorie burning in the back of my mind.  The walk obviously doing the trick. We ended our trek and made our way round to my sisters. Number 1 loves playing with her cousins and love it when they see her. We decided to take them to Mcdonalds for lunch. PANIC mode for me because as ever the choice of food is not the best for me. I settled for a SALAD typical reaction up in my brain this is not enough to sustain you but i cannot risk having anything that is to heavy as the weight will pile back on!!! Insanity reigning again. I try and eat as normal as i can in front of Number 1 as i do want her mimicking my actions as she grows older. The salad consisted of grilled chicken and bacon which has around 184 calories in it, now this is quite disturbing that i know the calories on a Mcdonalds menu but i do!!!! I had a bag of fruit for dessert. Number 1 fancied a Mcflurry after her meal so i forced myself to have a sugar doughnut (189 calories) just as a “treat”. Every bite was forced and i hated myself. Most meals now as i said earlier have this feeling for me. I look at myself in the mirror when i get home and check the face is not getting fat. Well not getting but is fat. We finished the afternoon by taking the kids to the park. They ran off and played whilst i had a conversation with my sister about the messed up brain that i am carrying around with me these days. As the day drew to a close the dread surfaced, the feelings i know all to well.  Hate this time of the day as i have said so many times. I am sad that i am saying goodbye to Number 1 until Wednesday, but also knowing the struggle between me and my brain continues unabated. I ended up going for a walk, it got the step count up for the day along with burning off that “damn” sugar doughnut. Yes that is how i see it. Shocking i know…………

As Monday lingers in the background i have no idea what the week will bring?

Tuesday see my first appointment with the eating disorders people and a psychological nurse. At last some answers i hope!!! Now, i have this really bad nagging feeling that they will discharge me just as the first attempt at help did. I realise this is not going to happen (i hope) but i just cannot get the thought out of my head. Where will i turn should this happen???? I am thinking far to much ahead i know that but it worries me. Take each day as it comes is what i should be doing………………….

Well again we have reached the end of this weeks journey. I am getting paranoid that i am repeating myself each week? If i am i do apologise.

I am toying with the idea of writing a blog on Tuesday after my appointment? I will see how much info and help i receive during the session then make a decision.

*Dedicated to those who are supporting me…..

Until next week (maybe Tuesday)

Peace and Love

Matt

My name is Matt Christian and i have an eating disorder. The journey……………

Hey Guys. Hope you are all well?

Sunday again!!

So here we are another week on the journey. Monday was back to work after a couple of days R&R in Kent with my Aunt which really did help me. I chilled, done a lot of talking to my Aunt as stated last week. I did however still find it hard to try and up my eating. It is something with this illness that i simply cannot get to grips with yet. Yes its early days but i still need that wire in my brain to connect.

Monday was not as big a struggle as i thought it was going to be. I slipped back into work mode relatively easily. Getting on with my various tasks that i do during the day, along with catching up with whatever i had missed whilst i was away. The usual dread arrived bang on time, if only the trains in this country could be like my dread. Although saying that it would be nice maybe if my dread ran like the trains? Hmmmmm interesting?? Anyway after work i went and sat in the local coffee house and got further into the book. Current chapter has proved to be very eye opening for me. It talks in depth about the need to free yourself from unhappiness, negativity and the past. As ever i will not be going into book report mode. Needless to say a lot of what was said throughout the chapter resonated quite heavily with my situation. I am slowly starting to believe a lot of what i am going through stems directly from the other issues i have on top of the eating?? I am not 100% sure of that because its a jumble at the moment. I need to patch it together which will hopefully provide an answer of sorts?

Tuesday was window change day at work. Always an eclectic mishmash of window models being stripped new pieces being chosen and customers to boot. Busy busy was the order of the day which again i like. Again after work it was my intention to get further into the book, this did not happen………not that i am disappointed. I walked into the coffee house and saw a guy who has been of great help to me. We had a nice chat about everything from how i am getting on to my time away and anything in between. I cannot thank this guy enough a very level head in a sea of confusion in my own. I returned home and for my sins i done a few circuits on my workout app on my ipad. I also done this Monday…….i realise it is not good but the compulsion is there and i really cannot stop myself no matter how hard i try. I have been relatively good over the last week or so no cycling but still doing just one circuit on the app. My main problem is the calorie counting still. Everyday i have a step counter running to measure my steps, i also  have an app that counts my calorie burning running in my pocket. On top of this, i take a picture of my face every night when i am in bed to check that it has not got fat. Again with this i cannot get rid of this habit.   Everyday food intake is watched and i chastise myself if i veer away from “the diet”. I use that term loosely because lets be fair its not a diet anymore………. Maybe i should rename it the nightmare. This is exactly what it is turning into for me. How on earth i have got to this stage i have absolutely no idea??? I thought the gym thing was bad enough but no!!! What i am stuck in now could potentially be a lot lot worse!!!!

Wednesday and some good news dropped through the front door. I received a letter from the local health authority. My referral for counselling has been sorted. 27th June is the date of my first appointment. Like i have stated before it cannot come soon enough. I really need to start the process and now i have this appointment the next step can begin. As for the rest of Wednesday, it was my day off as normal, so a morning of house work with the obvious calorie counter ticking away in the pocket…. Jeez i have got to get rid of it, but again the old grey matter is refusing to let go.  It was also Number 1’s sports day, that was something i was looking forward to very much. I made my way over and parked up. I grabbed some lunch to take with me on the way. Standard calorie counting i grabbed a side salad, some chicken pieces and some fruit. Not enough i know and was certainly told of it later in the day by Number 1’s mum. Of course she is right! Damn my brain!!! I have mentioned before i punish myself for these thoughts, but hopefully in the appointment on 27th i will be able to explain this and maybe get an answer of sorts. Back to sports day, a baking afternoon in store. After lunch was consumed by all the kids and parents, except myself of course. I felt it was to early for lunch even though i was hungry! Sports began with the youngest going first. After reception year is was Number 1’s year group.  She was up in the standard sprint.  As they lined up i managed to grab some photos, as is usual with Number 1 she was not keen on getting caught on camera so i got the usual “look” i get whenever i try to get a picture. The whistle went and they were off, cue the cheering…………. a 3rd place finish for Number 1 super proud of that i must say she done ever so well. The afternoon progressed with rest of the school year groups doing their respective races. Eventually it rotated back round to Number 1’s year group again, the second and final race she was in. An obstacle race of sorts. This was a little shorter than the straight sprint. Whistle blown and they were off i was up on my feet and cheering her on. She crossed the line in 1st place! Brilliant!! Again she had done so well. High 5 for me and mummy. So as was standard the rest of the school competed in the rest of the afternoon. Right at the end of the afternoon, as is normal in many school sports days the parents races would take place. Having eaten by then i was well up for the dad’s race. Number 1’s mother was not going to take part in the mum’s race which is fair enough. She was not even entirely convinced i should take part in my race. But the competitive side of me was coming out. For some perverse reason i felt i had something to prove…………… In all honesty i wish hadn’t bothered. We lined up at the 70 metre mark. Looking down the track it took me back to when i used to sprint for Chelmsford Athletic Club. I was a decent sprinter back in the day so confidence was high. After one false start from myself and 2 others the whistle went. Well………………….. i had nothing!! My legs would not move as quickly as i wanted them to,  it felt like i was treading water! Energy level non existent. That salad really had fuelled this athlete!!!! Totally embarrassing, god knows what Number 1 thought as i rolled in stone dead last. What i had thought would be a good idea was a humiliation. I know that i was probably seen as rubbish runner. I could not help thinking as i walked back to where we were seated that everyone was staring and laughing at me.  I felt immediately like i was back at school myself. People staring, judging, laughing at me. I had let down Number 1 in my eyes. I know she is to young to understand what i am going through, but my mind again was not processing that thought. As i sat there in humiliation it dawned on me again that this problem is serious and that i need to sort this urgently……………..

With sports day over the children made their way back to the school to get changed. We packed up our bits and pieces, my head now in a constant replay of the race. Question after question. Why had i done it? What has happened to me? How have i let something that seems so basic get hold of me so tightly? Will i ever be normal again? Simple answer to these i honestly do not know. As i stood in the playground waiting for Number 1 all i could think about was that fact i let her down, along with the horrible feeling that everyone was looking at me and talking about me. Number 1 eventually came out i took some of her bits and pieces. As we made our way out of the playground i dropped back considerably, i purposely let Number 1 and her mum walk ahead of me. Now in my mind was the awful thought that they would be laughed at too. I did not want that. It was my doing. Self loathing was in full swing as we made our way home.  Back at Number 1’s we spent the rest of the afternoon playing. She was not even bothered i could tell. But still the replay and loathing would not leave me……………

Thursday returning to work with what could only be described as full on depression. All that was running through my mind was the Wednesday. Shame and guilt mode. I hated myself for letting my body get in such a retched state. I mean as much as i tried to reason with myself i just could not let it go. You would think as i was not letting it go i would say that’s enough lets get back to normal. Well the body wants that but the mind is not letting me. If i could wind back the clock i would certainly say that things would be done differently. But alas you make the decision, here i am today with this problem. As for the rest of Thursday well a standard day of counting the calories and trying to reason with myself……along with the 15:30 pm dread express being annoyingly on time..

Now Friday was a different day. I had had the day off work booked since last year. I bought tickets to see Guns ‘n’ Roses. The late 80’s and early 90’s band had been a favourite of mine whilst i was at school. I loved them had every album, t-shirt, poster etc….One of biggest regrets was never getting to see them live. Well many many years 24 to be exact most of the original line up are touring again after patching up their differences and working on various other projects. Axl, Slash and Duff 3 of the original members have got back together for the NOT IN THIS LIFETIME tour. Playing many dates across Europe this summer i saw the announcement and made it my mission to see them. Tickets purchased on the day they came out on general release i couldn’t believe the day had finally come. Finally get to see a band that has been on my bucket list. Obviously at time of purchase last year i did not even think i would be in this state but hey that’s life. A brilliant brilliant gig all the classic Guns ‘n’ Roses tracks we played over 3 hours on stage. As much as i enjoyed the gig i obviously still carried on the watching what i eat and calorie counting. Evening meal before the gig was pitiful. Vegetable skewer!  Definitely not enough to sustain me. But you get into the gig area and the only food on offer Burgers, Hot Dogs, Fish and Chips, Pizza etc…….. I was lucky to find the Vegetable option after over 30 mins of walking around the various vans and stands. I mean even the Skewer came with Pitta bread!!!! Avid readers of this blog  know that i have this aversion to carbs as it were. I will admit i ate some of the bread, i had to i was feeling hungry and weak. Pathetic yes!!!  As you can tell the anorexia is taking hold. Excessive exercise being replaced by just flat refusal to even try and put food in my mouth. I seriously had to force myself to even eat some of the pitta. Every mouthful i felt myself getting fat. I curse these thoughts because i know that i have to fuel my body to make it work. I know i must sound like a broken record but i am thinking if i say if enough one day i will believe it…….. (Breath is not being held)

Saturday back to work what a hot day it was. We ticked by without getting overly busy. BBQ’s and days out for many i am guessing, what do you expect for a sunny weekend in this country? Especially given that it may change at the drop of a hat! After work i took myself to the coffee house to continue writing this blog. I write it throughout the week these days makes things so much easier. Again i bumped into the guy i was telling you about earlier in the blog. I know he does not read these blogs as he has told me, but he knows what is going with me. He has experienced hard ship in his own life of late and is slowly getting himself back in to the game. I always feel clearer about things after chatting to him, we seem to be very similar in our approach to life plus we think and see things along the same lines.  Very rarely in my life have i ever met anyone who i can connect with. I think it may be one of the reason i am a bit of a loner. Deep? Yes but this journey is not just about the struggle of the illness alone, i feel its journey to find myself again to find who i really am, to find a place where i feel accepted and comfortable in this world.

My favourite day of the week arrived. A day with Number 1. Added bonus of it being fathers day but to be honest any day i see Number 1 is fathers day in my eyes. I woke a little late after a broken nights sleep mainly due to the heat. I set about getting myself ready and thinking about what we were going to do for the day,  a hot day was forecast, so the original plan of going to a country show near me went out the window. I remember going last year and could not think of anywhere in the venue where there was good quality shade available. Having arrived at Number 1’s we decided on a day of just chilling and taking things easy. We started off by playing Crazy Golf park. A great round although somewhat slow with the amount of people who had the same idea. We had lots of fun testing ourselves at the various difficulty of holes. After the golf we set off to find some shade where we could have our picnic. As ever calorie counted lunch for myself……… We finished off lunch and chilled on the grass under a tree. Number 1 who had bought her swimming costume with her decided now was the time to go to the splash park. We set off in the direction of said park and started to queue. It was not a long wait to get to the front and pay but the 45 minute wait for our turn in the splash park was a bit to much in my eyes, but hey what can you expect from a day as hot as this one. Anyway wristband purchased we headed off to find a place to chill whilst we waited.  We grabbed an ice lolly and a drink, me again checking the DAMN calories in the LOLLY!!! So so bad how low i have sunk. I mean its frozen drink!!!! Having chilled for what seemed to Number 1 for around 5 years we made our way back to the splash park. We still had to wait another 5 minutes before we were allowed in but once in Number 1 raced off to explore and obviously get soaking wet. Now we only got 20 minutes in the splash park so you have to make the most of it. She certainly did that. I hardly saw her until the end of our session but she had a great time. That’s all that matters to me………

With the day coming to an end we made our way home and as ever the usual dread turned up as i left her until i see her again Wednesday.  It is such an empty feeling i get as i drive home every week, i have nothing to fill my time when i am not with her such is the nature of where i am at in my life. I still have the strong desire to exercise off all the calories i had accumulated throughout this day. This at the moment is the strong force i have to fight. Until i get these thoughts under control i find it difficult to search out new things…… It may not make much sense to you guys reading this, but it makes perfect sense to me………………………One step at a time!

Well again we have reached the end of this weeks journey, i hope i have made things a little clearer with each passing week. Its a pretty messed up place my head at the moment. Writing this certainly makes things a little clearer for me. Hopefully when this is all over if ever, i can look back on these posts and realise just how far i have come.

*Dedicated as ever to those who continue to support me.

Peace and Love

Matt

 

My name is Matt Christian and i have an eating disorder. The journey……………

Hey guys. Hope you are all well??

The journey does indeed continue. As i sit here in my usual perch on a Wednesday.  I thought i would get ahead and start the blog early as i have done for the last few weeks.  I have yet to hear from the doctors regarding a referral to a specialist, so the wait goes on….. i am not sure how long i am going to have to wait?? I really hope it is not to long.

After a lovely Sunday with Number 1 which i mentioned in the previous blog, Monday was back to work. I must admit i woke feeling positive about things which was a peculiar feeling considering i had not had a positive thought for a long while now.  Work drifted by in a slight blur, keeping myself busy with restocking the shop floor from Saturday plus reordering stock that i needed from various suppliers that i deal with. Mid afternoon the usual dread set in. I am beginning to accept this as the type of feeling some people get when they have to go to the dentist. “God here it comes again” is what i find myself saying. Monday’s activity as i am starting to call it was to really get in to the book i had purchased on the recommendation of an old friend.

power of now

This is the book in case you missed the last blog…… Now still early days in. I have to say that the book is sometimes challenging to get to grips with. Some bits and pieces that i have read so far i feel have no relevance to my situation at this present time…… However other bits have been spot on and have really opened my eyes to what is going on in my mind and how i perceive my life at this time. I firmly believe that i will have to read this book a few times to really gain anything from it. Like i said it is still early days in so i am not going to even attempt a book report as it were at this present time.

Tuesday was a bomb day for me. God i felt so down, frustrated, angry, all negative thoughts seemed to be hitting me at once. I looked in the mirror in the morning and my first thought was i look fat……..  I mean HELLO!!!!! Unfortunately its the process of mind. I have lately cut out the bike riding as i know it is doing me no favours. However i have now started the dangerous trait of thinking that to lose the calories that i am not burning with exercise i need to really really cut back on food intake. Yes this is so dangerous i am fully aware of that, but i cannot turn my thoughts around. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror at work and my immediate thought was “Your face looks fat”! In case i have not stated this before hand this is the whole root of my problem. I felt i had a fat face!!! RIDICULOUS!! i hear you cry…… do not worry its what is crying in my head 24 hours a day. I am used to the repetition now like a stuck record.

Wednesday day off and still the worry of my fat face was hitting me hard. As i type this i am still fully aware how ridiculous i sound, sadly the reasoning side of my brain is not letting me in. I do not think i am strong enough for the sensible side of me to try and take over at the moment and that is another frustration that i am experiencing.  Having picked up Number 1 from school we spent a lovely afternoon playing in the park. We then made our way home so she could i could put her in the bath and for her to have her dinner. She read her book to me after her bath. I am so proud of her how she is coming along at school her reading is excellent alongside her doing well in other subjects. Early days at school i know but fills me with immense pride how much she enjoys learning, considering how both myself and her mother were not fans of school when we were there.

Thursday and I decided to take a few days off work. I went away just to give myself some ME time.  I went to the little coastal town of Westgate -on – Sea in Kent . I stayed at my aunts for a few days which was perfect.  Just chilling out and trying to get my head straight. So much has happened over the last few weeks i just need to try and make sense of things and to make a few decisions. There was plenty to do and see so when i wasn’t busy contemplating.

Friday i spent the day totally alone. I made my way to Canterbury and had a look around the magnificent cathedral that they have there. An absolutely stunning piece of architecture. I hadnt been there since i was at least 10 years old. Being the age i am now i can say that i can appreciate so much more. Looking around gave me an immense sense of inner peace. I also made time to look around the town. A beautiful town it is too. Many little side streets to explore along with some fantastic hidden shops to browse in. All in all it was lovely day. I made my way back early evening and had some food in my little apartment in the grounds of where my Aunt lives……… Let me explain if that loses you.

My Aunt is a Nun. She lives in a community in Westgate. Within the grounds they have 1 and 2 bedroom self contained apartments that house various guests from other Nuns to Priests and obviously family too, should they wish to stay. A perfect get away from life i called it. I was left to my own devices and could come and go as i pleased. I obviously spent a long time talking to Aunt on Thursday when i arrived, we also chatted Friday evening at great length. She is a great listener and not just because of what she is, but because she has studied psychology and understands the workings of the mind. She gave me some very insightful thoughts which i have bought back with me.

I am now beginning to come to terms with what is wrong with me, however i am still frustrated with the constant calorie counting and the constant need to exercise.  Yes a healthy lifestyle is all well and good, but to bury that into my head and keep it there is proving very difficult. Some people i know will find this reasoning difficult to understand. Possibly sitting reading this thinking “If he can talk so meticulously about it why can he not program his head to think that way?” In short my mind will not let me basically. There is a wire loose as it were,  sometimes the connection comes good and i can see my thought process as clear as day, other times the connection is totally broke and the persistent negative thoughts come racing through. Its not nice and anyone who has ever experienced this in no matter what form will know exactly where i am coming from. So for the time being i am sorry to those people………. As i drove home Saturday i had plenty of time to think through the last couple of days and what it had taught me? In essence it has made me make one defining choice…… something i am not willing to share just yet. (So why bother saying that last sentence i hear you say). Why not? Is my reply.  These are my thoughts and to help me through this all my thoughts are going on here. Its simple really.

Sunday was day with Number 1 as you all know. A wonderful day in the sunshine lots of fun and what could be better than spending my birthday with my Number 1 girl.  I could may well be seen as living for this day each week….. but one decision i did make whilst i was away was that i am not going to be made to feel guilty for that!!! She is my world and everything i do i do for her. Yes i do need to focus on recovery so that i am strong for her. That is what Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are for!!

Monday looms large and back to work for a harsh reality check. I must say i am not looking forward to having the late afternoon dread back but slowly but surely i am finding new ways to get me through. Little steps is the motto.

*Dedicated to those who have supported me as ever.

Peace and Love

Matt

My name is Matt Christian and i have an eating disorder. The Journey……………

Well here we are again. Hope you are ok?

As we move into the 4th week of this journey……Yet again it has been an up and down start to the week. I know its early days still. As i sit here on a Wednesday i have yet to receive the results of my blood test for Hyperthyroidism. It is a condition that i do not believe i have….. Some of the symptoms are very similar to what i suffering with at the moment but others are way off the mark.

A bank holiday greeted the beginning of the week for us in the UK. Not having Number 1 i had absolutely nothing to do. Mind starting to whirl again!!!! (Got to get this under control but so tough). Me being me i went into work for a couple of hours. We had a window display change due on Tuesday at work. Normally Monday is spent picking and choosing outfits. To keep my mind occupied i went in and prepped so it was not to much of a rush for Tuesday.  Outfits picked and a few other bits done, i finished around midday. I went and met up with a guy who i had gotten to know thorough the shop.  We arranged to meet and have a catch up. Inevitably he was made aware of what was going on with me. We had long chat, talking about what i was going through etc……. he offered his thoughts and comments which was nice. Talking to various people as i have been obviously you get different types of advice. But the overriding comment that i get from all of these different people is that they tell me “I can get through this”. It gives me strength knowing that they believe in me. There are some days when i do not feel that i can carry on with this but remembering those words gives me a lift.

Tuesday was back to work. Normality resumed (well as close as it can be). A busy day at work which kept my head level. Obviously the end of the day looming was proving to be tough as is becoming the norm. Thoughts of dread about what i am going to do when i finish, shall i exercise or find something to occupy me???? As it happened i was invited to dinner by our alteration lady. She and her husband have been another couple that have been very helpful to me. Dinner was to be a light affair as they were off on a small break later in the week so did not want to have to much food in the house. Indeed they were correct, for them it was light affair…………For me however…….. Well i am completely ashamed and in my eyes utterly ungrateful. On the menu was indeed light and delicious.

One Jacket Potato

Crispy Chicken Pieces

Salad with Feta Cheese

Coleslaw.

Here i is why i am feel ashamed and utterly ungrateful. JACKET POTATO!!!!! I mean its a Jacket Potato !!!!!!!! . Good for you right????? YES!!!!  But i freaked out in my head big time.  I did not even have butter on it so where in earth is the problem????? The problem is my head and the word Carbohydrate!!!! Put these together,  well it is time bomb of weight gain in my eyes!!!   This i know is needed, i mean its blindingly obvious. However i can not get this concept whatsoever!!! My brain just registers calories. I ate it all which in its self is a major achievement so i am proud of myself for that.  A big step. (I know she reads this blog. So a personal message to her. I enjoyed dinner, do not believe for one moment that i did not. I am immensely grateful for all that you have done for me.)

After a lovely evening i arrived home. Well full panic mode set in!!!! I couldn’t think straight at all. Only thoughts bombarding me were……. i must exercise, i must get these calories gone. I mean this is how insane i am!!! I am aware of what i am doing and how i am acting, it is irrational! The best way to describe it is the fact i am standing outside looking in at myself through a window. I see exactly how i am acting, the outside me is trying to attract the attention of the inside me to just tell him that everything is normal, you do not need to exercise. It was a healthy meal for goodness sake. You needed the meal, you enjoyed it, just forget the calorie counting and all the negative thoughts. You made a big step and for that it should be rewarded.  This is essentially why i am desperate for some professional help. I need help to switch my brain around as it were. To rationalise the thoughts that i battle with daily………………

Wednesday day off.  With Number 1 on half term she was spending 2 days at school on a sports camp. She loves her sport bless her so when she asked if she could go we could not very well turn her down. I picked her up at 3 and took her out for a couple hours. We went to the local park near to us. There is currently a steam fair on the park which we she wanted to go to. So we had a wander got some tokens and went on some of the rides. We had a lovely couple of hours together. Spending time with her is such a release for my mind i really do forget all my worries when she is around. I cannot imagine my life without her. If i am honest i am not really sure where i would be without her.

Thursday morning i contacted the doctors for an appointment so that i could get my blood results and get some answers on where next for me. I managed to get an appointment something of a triumph if you know the state of the health service in this country.  This time though the doctor i wanted to see was on a day off!!! Brilliant !!! Or so  i thought? I asked for a specific doctor who i had heard was very good as a 2nd option, i must say i am very very glad i did. She was wonderful!  She first of all apologised for her being the 3rd doctor i had seen for this to get sorted. She slowly and methodically took me through my results on my blood test. All was good thankfully,  no further action required. After the explanation of the blood, we moved onto where next for me. She listened carefully to my concerns and what i felt i needed. She then dropped a bit of bomb on me! Listening to me and taking into consideration what was on my notes she surmised that i was possibly Anorexic!!! I certainly was not expecting that!  Now obviously Anorexia is something that had crossed my mind. Of course the news story on the condition was the very first thing that led to this point.  But the thought of me having actually having the condition is something that i seriously discounted out of hand. Now i self diagnosed myself as having Exercise Bulima, the doctors looking back on it now were very careful not to really use the term for my condition. The explanation the last Doctor gave certainly made me think again and do some proper intensive research…………….

Now i have been diagnosed as it were i will be hopefully receiving the proper help sooner rather than later. However i as i said, i am still deep in research mode and looking to self diagnose. (Should i do this? Who knows?) My behaviour has roots in so many disorders i have found. Anorexia, Bulima, Body Dysmorphic Disorder.  I suffer from Low Self Confidence, Self Loathing, I punish myself for things that have happened in my past. I live in that past trying daily to sort out what has gone and what is essentially out of my control. All these are contributory factors i guess,  they have been adding up for a long while now. They have now reached a peak…….

A week or so ago i was contacted by an old friend. He had read the blog and messaged me his support. I am very grateful to him and cannot thank him enough for his advice and support. He has provided me with several options which i am seriously considering. One of these options i took action on yesterday.  He recommended i read a book which has helped him immensely.

power of now

Now i have only just started this book today (Saturday) that it is to early to talk in depth about it. But what i have read so far certainly is making some sense to me……………. As i get deeper into the book i will be sure to give you a summary about it.

Today was Number 1 day. We had a fantastic day yet again. Lots of fun, laughs and hugs something which i needed given the week i had had. Again the usual depression and panic set in as i left her. The nagging questions raising themselves again. Thankfully i managed to find something to do, i cut the grass and tidied the garden a little. I now sit here finishing this blog trying to work out how many calories i had taken in today. I must get these thoughts under control. Guilt has ended up ruining what was an excellent day as ever.

With a new week looming i have hopes that i will be contacted by a specialist to start the process of getting help. I feel ready to take the next step and have a determination to get myself better…………

As ever this is dedicated to those who are supporting me.

Peace and Love

Matt

 

 

 

My name is Matt Christian and i have an eating disorder. The journey……..

Hey Guys. Another week flies by. Hope you are all well?

I am continuing on the eating disorder journey again this week. I have decided to use this as a personal diary to chronicle the journey to recovery as well as to raise awareness of Male Eating Disorders, eating disorders in general,  along with Mental Health Issues. I am going to concentrate on Mental Health and Mental Health therapy today, as well as one other medical condition……

As many of you know who have been following so far the admission was made 3 weeks ago, something as you can appreciate was very difficult for me to do……However i done it and i am glad i did. It has been extremely tough and i have stumbled a few times which i am not proud of. As i have been told i should not be too hard on myself as it is early days. Latest stumble being 14 miles on the bike Tuesday night along with couple of circuits on the exercise app. I just cannot control the addiction and the need to workout, count calories, and watch what i eat. Some days my will power is strong, others my brain overtakes and off i go.

Talking of Tuesday. Tuesday was assessment day. I visited a counsellor with whom i hope will be able to help me patch together the problems i am facing, and to help me to help myself get back to a normal life. (I actually cannot remember anymore what my normal life used to be like before all this…)  Now the name and a bit of information about the service i am using……..

Mid Essex IAPT Service (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies)

Every year, four out of 10 people in the UK experience common psychological problems, such as depression, stress, anxiety, panic and obsessive compulsive disorders.

The Mid Essex Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme offers a new approach to help adults suffering from common psychological problems.

What is the IAPT programme? IAPT stands for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies. IAPT was developed nationally to provide psychological therapies proven to help adults with depression and anxiety disorders.

Who can be seen by Mid Essex IAPT? We welcome people aged 18 and above registered with a Mid Essex GP who are experiencing difficulties such as:

  • Depression
  • Generalised anxiety
  • Stress
  • Panic
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Health anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Social anxiety

Now this is a service that your GP can refer you to or be used as a self referral.  (I used self referral). Simple form to fill out just to outline the nature of the problem etc………

Back to the appointment. The day did not start too well. My stress levels were high by the time i reached the appointment LATE!! … I left in plenty of time as i was not to sure where the place was, alas the traffic decided to play up……  Rush hour queues, road works and my uncertainty of where the best place to park all added to the to me having to ring the venue to let them know i would be late…. I most certainly did not want to miss or cancel this appointment who knew how long i would have to wait to get another. So 10 past 9 i got to the venue. Stressed on the verge of tears the whole emotional range was being played out……. I met with a lady called Camilla. She realised i was quite up tight and emotional, she immediately put me at ease she said she would be as flexible on the time as possible. This calmed me somewhat. All seated we began. I had filled a form out that they had sent me along with my confirmation of my appointment. This was a series of questions regarding to my mental health state. Here is a copy of the form and the questions it contains…………..Please click on MDS.

MDS

As you can see some searching questions on the form. Some of them i have to say i felt were not particularly relevant to my what i am going through,  i answered them the best i could. Onto the second part of the form regarding suicidal thoughts etc i did not fill this part out. I am not in that place what so ever and never have been. Interestingly she asked me to fill out this part. Her reason soon became clear. She explained to me that whilst i have no thoughts of killing myself or actual physical self harm, i am in fact with how my mind is self harming in that way. My addiction to exercise and constant calorie counting is my way of self harming. Looking at it now she makes a very good point. My excessive gym sessions were a way of trying escaping my mind. She believes i am over stimulated, i think to much, i punish myself for things that have happened in my past. Things that were out of my control. Of course she is 100% correct. She also nailed me right down on my self confidence……I have none. I am very self critical of myself,  i do not have a very good opinion of myself, i am full of self loathing i see little worth in myself. I focus all my energies on Number 1 i told her. “What about yourself she asked?”  “What about me?”  Was my reply. It was all she needed.  Self harm again!! Slowly i was understanding why i needed to fill out that section. As we came towards the end of the form she started to explain to me that she certainly felt i could be helped by them. Which gave me a little lift. I did feel at one point that it was all going in the wrong direction. I was sitting there thinking she has not mentioned once the eating, the calorie counting. But reflecting on it now the answers i gave were enough for her to understand why i doing those things.

With the hour almost up she recommended i search out and get a book which would certainly go some way to helping me.

mary welford book

Now i am not the worlds biggest reader. Having said that and having done some research on the topic i will get this and give it read. It certainly will give me a better understanding of what i am going through and how i can rebuild. Here is a little bit about Compassion Focused Therapy.

What is Compassion-Focused Therapy?

What is compassion-focused therapyCompassion-focused therapy (CFT) is a kind of psychotherapy designed to help those who suffer from high levels of self-criticism and shame. It helps you to learn how to feel kinder towards yourself and others, and to feel safe and capable in a world that can seem overwhelming.

Founded by British clinical psychologist Paul Raymond Gilbert, CFT is an integrative approach that uses research and tools not just from psychology, but also from evolutionary theory, neuroscience, and Buddhism.

HOW IS COMPASSION-FOCUSED THERAPY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER KINDS OF THERAPY?

It’s true that all talk therapies involve compassion, and that the very nature of therapy is that that you learn to be nicer to yourself. All psychotherapists work to show you understanding and empathy.

It’s also true that Compassion-focused therapy utilises tools and techniques that other forms of therapy do, such as monitoring your thoughts and feelings and looking at your past.

But Compassion-focused therapy puts a greater focus than other modalities do on consciously developing your ability to feel and act compassionately and kindly towards yourself and others.

To understand how Compassion-focused therapy is different, it can help to look at what inspired its development in the first place. Founder Paul Raymond Gilbert worked with clients with complex mental health challenges who often had backgrounds that involved neglect, abuse, and trauma. He noticed many of these clients suffered a very high level of shame and self-criticism that didn’t improve with cognitive therapy only. In other words, therapies that helped Gilbert’s clients understand their negative thoughts and behaviours didn’t make them actually feel better.

what is compassion focussed therapy?Gilbert began to realise that his clients needed emotional resources as well. They needed tools to be able to soothe themselves and experience inner peace .

So CFT was developed to help create positive emotional responses that other therapies didn’t in those who suffered with a low sense of worth.

Compassion-focused therapy doesn’t have to be used by itself, and is often used alongside other types of therapy. For example, a Cognitive behavioural therapist or a Person-centred counsellor might also integrate Compassion-focussed therapy into their work with clients.

WHO IS COMPASSION-FOCUSED THERAPY SUITABLE FOR?

Compassion-focused therapy helps anyone who struggles with the following issues: 

  • deep feelings of shame
  • an unrelenting inner critic
  • a history of emotional or physical abuse including neglect and bullying
  • an inability to feel kind towards themselves
  • difficulty believing the world is a safe place
  • anxiety and possibly panic attacks due to feeling life is threatening
  • find it hard to trust others

Compassion-focused therapy may help with the following mental health challenges:

Source: http://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/counselling/compassion-focused-therapy.htm#ixzz4i0k5yXOa

You can now see why i am so interested to read this book.

As we reached Thursday I received a letter from the IAPT Service to inform me that they are unable to help me. The letter hit me very hard. I rang them to get some more information regarding their decision. Turns out the excessive exercise and calorie counting is something they cannot help me with. It is not their speciality. This is the help i need most at the moment. I was told that once i had that under control i was more than welcome to reconnect with them and have further counselling. They suggested a private venture that may be able to help me…..

http://www.renew-us.org

This is an organisation local to me which deals with the specific needs I require. I am not 100% sure how i feel about this organisation. I will not deny,  reading the info on their site they seem to offer a lot of help and therapies. I will not totally discount this option as I do need to keep as many avenues open as I can.

Friday feeling helpless I rang the doctor to see if I could be referred somewhere. It was a different doctor to the one I saw very first. I purposely asked for a different one, I needed a second opinion.  This doctor was very helpful and understanding. He sat back and listened to the problems I was facing. He reassured me that he would seek out the right help for me. Somebody who specialises in the condition. He also sent me for a blood test! This surprised me, as he explained why he was sending me. On the bottom of the blood test for was the word Hyperthyroidism. I had never heard of this what so ever. Here is a little about it.

Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

An overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism, is where the thyroid gland produces too much of the thyroid hormones.
The thyroid is found at the front of the neck. It produces hormones that affect things such as your heart rate and body temperature.
Extra levels of these hormones can cause unpleasant and potentially serious problems that may require treatment.
An overactive thyroid can affect anyone, but it’s about 10 times more common in women than men and it typically starts between 20 and 40 years of age
.

Symptoms of an overactive thyroid

An overactive thyroid can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:

I do not believe that this is what is wrong with me having checked out this information. The doctor did say that i needed to have this blood test as the people who i will end up seeing will need to check on this as part of their evaluation.

As Friday concluded i was feeling very emotional and drained. I had all these thoughts running through my head. Will i get the proper help? What if its all wrong for me? Where do i turn? Will i ever get better? I had a feeling of utter despair as i sat and contemplated with tears in my eyes………..

So to Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was as usual a work day. Busy,  but still my mind whirling out of control. I find the mornings at work easier than the afternoons. Afternoons for me are filled with dread,  i know that the working day is coming to an end and the anxiety sets in with thoughts of what i am going to do to fill my time. I am aware that i need to rest but that is something i just cannot do at this moment in time. Saturday evening i managed to stay away from the bike even though it was a beautiful evening weather wise. I did however exercise! Many circuits of workout on my ipad were completed. I ignored my body crying out for me stop and powered through. I still have this unhealthy obsession of looking in the mirror after i work out. It is something i must stop as i am still not happy with what i see. I am constantly worried about putting weight on. My head is a battle field at the moment, i am hating every minute of it.

Sunday as usual was spent with Number 1. We had a fabulous day out in the sunshine in the grounds of a local steam museum that was hosting a free kids day.  We rode a mini steam train (twice). We again saw some beautiful birds. This time these were Owls. Number 1 held two lovely Owls, both of these originally from Africa. It was great to see her interacting with these birds, she loves all animals. I possibly think she will end up having a career within this field. We took a picnic and had that after the second ride of the steam train. At this point i was feeling very close to being back to my old self. I was not actually thinking of counting calories or anything, i was just enjoying the day laughing and joking with my daughter.  Rest of the day was spent with Number 1 playing on the bouncy castle, the swings, she also had a go in the Zorb Balls. She absolutely loved it even though she was being flung around in what essentially is a massive see through inflatable ball. She did struggle at time bless her. But as with all good things they must come to an end. As we drove home the dread hit me. All i could think was what shall i do? Shall i go out on the bike? Shall i do the ipad workouts? After a tearful goodbye as ever, i drove off in a direction i wasn’t even sure of? Mind doing overtime in trying to stop myself from excessive exercise. I ended up at a local golf driving range. I paid for a round of their 9 hole Pitch and Putt facility i thought this would be a nice distraction. As it turned out it was a nice distraction……. I got 4 holes in and the rain came down!!!!!! Brilliant! I could not carry on i was getting soaked. I made my way back to the clubhouse and decided to try the driving range. 65 balls i hit many very very badly i feel golf may well not be my game. However it was nice to do something different. Once the last of the 65 was sliced about 50 yards, i left and found a nice quite pub just down the road. I pulled in and grabbed a soda and lime and sat and contemplated the day. Partly i was proud of myself which i quite rightly should be. I had managed to fight off a few demons today. However i am still punishing myself which is not good. My eating is still erratic which i am slowly addressing. Hopefully my blood test results will be back Tuesday that means another meeting with the doctor is scheduled to see where we go from here. Hopefully he will suggest the next step which will be a specialist to help me on the next step of the journey…………….

Again this blog is dedicated to all those who are supporting me.

Peace and Love

Matt

 

 

My name is Matt Christian and i have an eating disorder. The journey begins……

Hey guys. Hope your week has been good?

So after last weeks admission i thought i would give you a quick update on the journey i am embarking on. As many of you know i have an eating disorder. I have what is called Exercise Bulimia. (Please refer to my last blog for full explanation)

It has been a very tough week this week. I made my condition public on social media too and i have been overwhelmed by the messages of support i have received from many people. I am truly humbled.

As i said it has been a very tough week. Emotions running high and low.  A huge desire to get back to working out which is not the best thing for me right now. I do have an appointment with a counsellor on Tuesday. This appointment cannot come fast enough in my eyes. I need to get talking and to really get to the route of the problem.  I have fallen from the wagon a few times this week it has to be said. Sunday after dropping Number 1 home a huge wave of depression engulfed me and i got on my bike and cycled 17 miles! Utter madness! I just rode and rode, all i could think of was to burn the calories that i had accumulated during the day, the fact that i had hardly eaten anything which was beside the point. Tuesday i fell again. A tough day at work left me very down i got home and just stood in my bedroom totally lost, not knowing what to do with myself. I got changed and went out on the bike yet again, this time only 14 miles!! Only!!

Let me explain a little of what is going through my head. My reasoning, my thinking, how i see things at this moment in time. Basically i feel as though i will gain weight if i sit down or stand still. I count every calorie i eat, i watch every calorie i burn during the day. I have a step counter on my phone I also have a calorie counter too, working out how much i am burning throughout the day.  I work out how much i need to get rid off to stay as i am or if i feel i have indulged a little too much then i need to lose it before i do anything else.  I sound mad i know!!  I tell myself that every day but it just part of the condition at the moment i guess. It is an obsession.  I know i need to put weight on, but at this moment in time i’m scared to. I am still half in the zone of thinking there is nothing wrong with me. It scares the hell out of me, if i carry on as i am i WILL end up in hospital or worse.

Along side this the depression is quite bad now. Some days are a constant battle to stay positive i feel very lost. I have a huge desire to run away i realise this is pointless, my mind comes with me wherever i go. Facing up to this is what i need to do and follow it through no matter how hard it gets. I went to a friends birthday party last night, i was so nervous and anxious about going knowing that the majority of the people knew what i was going through. I did not stay that long i had had a very busy day at work on top of everything else going through my head i was just drained. I turned up and was so shocked at the reception i got from people the supportive words, the hugs and pats on the back it really opened my eyes to the realisation that i was not confronting this alone. I did feel awkward talking about things because this was a celebration and the last thing i wanted to do was to bring people down, thankfully they all put my mind at ease. Like i said i did not stay long and after saying my goodbyes i returned to my car with a tear in my eye. I feel very lucky to have the support of these people.

Today a new day, was of course spent with Number 1 we went to a small animal petting farm just on the outside of my town. We had a fantastic day, we fed the animals, Number 1 had a picture taken with a few beautiful birds of prey. As i watched her play my mind was in overdrive. We had taken a picnic which we enjoyed in the sun, i am however still counting the calories of everything i eat which is something i am desperate to stop doing, but as i was told last night 1 day at a time little steps. This is of course true but being as impatient as i am i know that this is the correct way. Talking of little steps towards the end of the day i treated us to an ice cream. Who knew that something which many take for granted could cause my head to almost explode. I did and i did not enjoy the ice cream, i fought the urge not to drop it by “accident”. I cannot do this in front of number 1 she cannot see me weaken was the thought running thorough my head. I finished it thankfully and was glad i did. However still nagging in the back of mind was the issue of exercising so that the calories were not in my body to long. As i drove home after dropping Number 1 off the anxiety was sky rocketing,  my  mind in over drive how can i get rid of the ice cream calories so that i could have some dinner? There was only one way i feel ashamed and angry with myself!!! I went and cycled 9 miles! I did not need to do this but its my head leading me. I am desperate to get this under control i am not sure how many times i shall fall as i battle to get this under control.

So as i enter a new week having no idea what is in store, i post this blog as a testament that admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery. It will not be easy as you can see. However if you have people around you for support it certainly does help. I felt i had no support when i first realised i had a problem. How wrong i was. Reach out you may well be surprised. I for one certainly was. I thank all those for their messages of support.

This blog is dedicated to each and everyone of them.

Until next week. Stay healthy people.

Peace and Love

Matt

My name is Matt Christian and i have an Eating Disorder.

Hey Guys. Hope your week has been good for you?

This week’s blog is a very difficult one for me to write.

This week’s subject is eating disorders. I will come clean straight away. I am suffering from an eating disorder. My disorder is called Exercise Bulimia. For those of you that do not know what this is here is a little about it.

 

“Exercise bulimia is a form of bulimia nervosa. It comes with an intense desire and obsession with working out and burning calories. It can include tracking everything eaten and calculating how to burn it off. It can also include a desire to exercise until a certain number of calories are burned or a feeling of ‘emptiness’ is achieved.

It is much like purging type bulimia because food eaten must not be allowed to remain in the body for caloric absorption. In other words, all food eaten must be negated somehow. It is also accompanied by anxiety around food and calories, preoccupation with weight and often a distorted body image.

Some people suffer a combination of both, while others suffer only with the workout serving as a means of purging.”

Now this is a condition that i never even knew existed. Obviously as you can see it is very similar to Bulimia except with a few differences. What began with swimming twice a week to get myself fit and healthy after turning 40 has turned into a full on gym and exercise addiction. How i let myself get to this stage i do not know? I would go swimming on a Tuesday and Thursday evening with cycling on the non swimming days (in fact i cycled to swimming).  After a while i became a little bored of the swimming. Winter was coming too and i did not really fancy the combination of the two. Ok the pool was not an outdoor pool but it just put me off.  I looked into the possibility of adding a gym membership to my swimming one. I spoke to the centre and found the price to be very reasonable. So i signed up. Who knew that September 2016 would be such a big turning point for me. I have never been into the idea of bulking up and having big muscles like some of the guys you see in gyms. For me it was a case of wanting to just keep fit and tone up any flabby areas. Simple? Well yes it was to begin with. As I started the journey it was good. Working out all areas of my body felt good. I would start with the cardio, bit of running on the treadmill 20 minutes that would do me nicely. That got the old heart beating then after that onto some weights. Nothing to heavy as like I said I’m not looking to bulk up just enough to tone.  This routine was great couple of gym visits mixed in with the swimming if I fancied it. A nice healthy lifestyle developed. Eating healthy too.  I must add at this point I had downloaded about 4 or 5 months previously a 7 minute workout app on my iPad which I followed at home.  I enjoyed the app it gave various workouts that only lasted 7 minutes. Obviously multiple reps can be done so that you could carry on should you wish.  So the regime was up and running. I was enjoying it it gave me focus i had more energy than before which is always important when number 1 is around.

As the months ticked by people at work and who I saw in my daily life were commenting how good I looked which in turn made me feel good. However things were turning sour, I was going more and more on the cardio side, I would play games whilst on the treadmill  pushing to burning 400 calories before the 20 minutes were up on the timer. This focused my mind and took it away from other problems in my life. I found myself saying lets see how many I can do in 30 minutes then move on to weights. My diet was getting erratic too I started doing something I promised myself and my colleagues at work that I wouldn’t do……..Count calories. Every bit of food I ate I was looking at the calories. Working out in my head how many I would need to burn at the gym that night to be inside my daily allowance.  As I got fitter the gym visits were 6 days a week.  Cardio was the always the first order of the day.  Treadmill for 20 minutes turned to 30 minutes then a further 10 minutes on the cross trainer just to test myself to see how far I could go. Calorie count was taking over. If I got to a certain amount then that would be the goal every day for that week.   Could I just nip over it before the end of the week? If I could wow what a week. Next week lets try again. My body was hurting as I was still trying the weights after the intense cardio session. I was fully enveloped. Christmas was a terrible time for me the gym was SHUT!!!! Extra sessions on the iPad and running again watching to see if I could burn as much as the gym.

As the new year turned i thought to myself “Right lets do some gains, you have lost enough weight, lets do a bit of bulking and just build up a little”. Sensible head on! Or so i thought. Every time i went to the gym the cardio side was just calling. I felt i couldn’t just get in there and do weights as some of the other people were doing, it felt alien to me to not be sweating before getting on the weights.  My colleagues at work were becoming more concerned with my weight loss. Telling me i needed to just build myself up a little and i would look fine. I listened but it was just not filtering through. I am quite a stubborn person and feel i know better. I thought.. “I know my body, i know my limits i can handle this”.  At the back of my mind there was a haunting thought that maybe i was indeed pushing things to far. I sort help from one of the personal trainers at the gym. She spoke in depth to me about my routine, my eating habits etc ….. and what i should be doing. She made me see some sense……………………or so i thought. Yes i did take her advice on board but not for long. My stubborn streak reared its ugly head and low and behold i fell back into the old routine.

By March things were turning a sinister corner. Gym session Monday through to Sunday. I had picked up a slight pain in my ankle at work so the running had to be curtailed. What could i do?? Low impact? Something that would not put to much pressure on the ankle yet could still maintain the routine. BIKE. The exercise bike of course!!!! Now you have to put a little more effort in on the bike to burn the same calories as the treadmill (see how deeply i had looked into this?) 40 minutes on the bike i worked it out after the first few goes. Boring? Yes, Insane? Yes.  All these were going through my head. But the excercise was giving me a buzz i was enjoying it the achievement, competing with myself to see how far and fast i could get on this bike. Full on addiction. It consumed my every thought thoroughout the day.  Thinking of my next fix after work. It was like a drug i needed more and more the more i could do the better i felt. Of course all this was on top of counting calories of every single thing i ate. I worked out if i treated myself then the natural thing to do was to starve myself the next day of sorts and push the limit at the gym.  My body was aching crying out for rest. I could hardly manage the stairs at work most days.  My behaviour at work was being erratic too, i was irritable, i was withdrawn people were afraid to talk to me. All this working out was getting to much maybe??? No!!! Again i knew better i could handle it.

Last month things got worse. I was now up to 50 minutes of cardio on the bike. The most amount of calories i burnt in single 50 minute session on the bike was 948. After the cardio it was on to the weights. 45 minutes of weights!!! What was the point??? I had nothing left in the tank, i was not gaining any muscle. Still i continued, by the time the session was over i had burnt well over a 1000 calories. My highest of calorie intake for one day was 622. In my head i knew something wasnt quite right,  yet the daily routine continued unabated. Could i have a problem? That was the nagging question going through my head. I just tried to dismiss it and carry on, after all i was fit, i was healthy, i was slim.  How could this lifestyle be a problem??? “Nah i am fine” so i thought.

So to this month May. Starting as normal with gym sessions aplenty. Now plowing through the 50 minute barrier with the 45 – 50 minute weight workout after that (for what it was worth).  A week ago Tuesday morning whilst getting ready for work a story came on the news regarding male eating disorders. The story involved the rising number of men who are seeking help regarding a disorder. It made me stop in my tracks a little i have to say.  At the end of the piece they gave the name of a website should anyone feel they have or suspect anyone who may have a disorder. Regardless i went off to work gym bag in hand. Throughout the day the article played on my mind, eating into my brain was this question……” Could i have really have a problem?” That evening after work still thinking about it i made the usual journey to the gym. 55 minutes of cardio this time, 45 minutes of weights. Body aching, crying for rest i carried on trying to forget the morning’s story.  With session over i made my way home to sort myself out for the next day.  That evening laying in bed surfing the net the story was gnawing at me, so i reloaded the article i had seen in the morning.

Once the article had finished i wasnt 100% convinced that an eating disorder was what i had as such. I clicked on the link to the site Anorexia & Bulimia Care. I carefully navigated around the site to see if there was anything that was relevent to me. It was then that i found the fitness page.

What i read on this page hit me like a train. Virtually everything that was described was me!!!! I had a problem a big problem. I just couldnt believe that i had let myself get to this state. I had to do something. I read on and googled to see if i could find any sites that could help me and give me some direction.

I found another site that gave me some valuable insights to what i was going through.

After a terrible broken nights sleep i woke up determined to sort this out. Being a Wednesday i had the day off. I needed to start sorting this. First stage was to tell someone, admit that i had a problem.  I was having lunch with my Mum and Sister so i decided that i would tell them. As we sat down i started my story. They were both very worried about me as you would expect they had both noticed my dramatic weight loss. Mum offered to help me out all she could. Starting that very night. Cut the gym, do not go, stop entirely!!! Wow could i do this???? I am going to have too there was no hiding now! As is customery on Wednesday i pick up Number 1 from school. She is too young at the moment to notice anything i hope, but i have to sort myself for her. She is my world i cannot let her down. I decided on the way over to tell her Mum. Number 1’s mum had been telling me for weeks that i had lost to much weight and that i needed to see someone i brushed it off everytime. So we sat and chatted before it was time to go to the school,  i told her everything. Turns out she was preparing to ring my mum and express her concerns. I had been totally blind to all of this as the addiction took control.

At work the next day i broke down and told one of my colleagues who had been worried about me for some time. She offered to help me anyway she could. She suggested i make an appointment to see a doctor, she would ven come with me. I couldnt believe how many people were prepared to help me. On Friday i had a holiday day my colleague contacted me and informed me she had spoke to my boss. I met my boss after work and we spoke long about my problem and how i was feeling. He gave me his full support which again overwhelmed me. I told him i was making a doctors appointment on Monday.

After a tough weekend of highs and lows, mind in overdrive, depression sinking in, Monday arrived. I rang and made an appointment with my doctors. As promised my colleague accompanied me, i do not think i could have gone without her support. My name called out it was time to tell the doctor and seek the help i obviously need. I spoke to the doctor about how i was feeling the routine and rut that i was in. He sat back and took it all in. He suggested that it could be a mixture of things the exercise addiction, my unhappiness in my life at this current time, the fact that i am OCD with certain things in my life. A lot of things need to be patched together. The suggestion as i knew it would be, counselling.  Finally he weighed me. 7 Stone 10!!!! Another train hit me. Last time i weighed around that i was 16 years old!!! According to my doctor’s records. Suitably shocked we left. Back at work i completed a self assesment form that the doctor gave me and posted it, not knowing how long it would be before someone would contact me.

It has been just over a week now since my admission to my Mum and Sister. It has been one of the toughest weeks of my life i have not been to the gym once. I am riddled with anxiety about putting on weight and how im not working out. I am finding it hard to concentrate and am constantly tired and depressed. Every day i feel like bursting into tear and running away but i know i cannot do this. I have to get the help i need to recover from this. I am determind to get over this for the sake of Number 1. She doesnt deserve her father to be like this.  I feel ashamed of myself.  I sit here writing this having told a few more selected people before going public with this blog.  I want to share my journey of recovery with people to show that you do not have to suffer alone with any hardships that you encounter in life. Reach out and you can be helped. The biggest thing is admitting you have a problem, that is the key to the start of the journey……………

Here is the list that made me realise i had a problem. Check it out maybe you see the signs in yourself or someone you know.

How do I know if I have exercise bulimia?

Exercise bulimia is a fairly new diagnosis. Because working out regularly is viewed as a healthy habit, it often goes undiagnosed or unrecognized by friends and family. The following questions can indicate that a person is struggling:

  • Do you regularly skip other functions or events in order to exercise?
  • If you miss a workout, do you experience extreme anxiety or guilt?
  • Has anyone ever suggested that you have a problem with exercising too much?
  • Do you work out until you have burned a specific number of calories?
  • Are you excessively tracking and analyzing your food intake?
  • Is fitness one of the most important aspects of your life?
  • Do you base your self-worth on physical factors, such as weight, body mass index, running distance or endurance?
  • If female, is your menstruation infrequent or extremely light?
  • Do you constantly measure yourself, either on a scale or with a measuring tape?

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, you may need to seek help. A licensed professional can provide a diagnosis, and you should seek a physical exam if you have been excessively working out for a long period of time.

I sit here about to begin my second week on the road to recovery, i feel this blog has cleared some of the thoughts that are going  through my head at this current time. It will inevitably take some time for me to get back to normal as it were. I was contacted by the counsellor on Friday,  an answer phone message asking me to conatact them regarding an assesment. I shall ring them in the morning and hopefully an appointment will be arranged sooner rather than later.

I know this goes against my normal blogs but i felt the need to share this to highlight that men have eating disorders too.

Until next week

Peace and love

Matt

SOURCES:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-39803493/i-know-anorexia-could-kill-me

http://www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk

http://www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/professionals/fitness

http://www.bulimiahelp.org/articles/what-exercise-bulimia-and-how-can-i-recover