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

Well hey guys.

Bit of an off the cuff blog. Decided last min to do a midweek update…….

Sunday’s blog ended on a frustrated note and as we reach Wednesday i am sad to say i am still fighting that frustration. Lots and lots of things are going on at the moment and i have so much flying through my head that i find it hard to concentrate sometimes. I may seem off with the fairies which in all likelihood i am. I would like to apologise for the tone of the blog.

An awful nights sleep Sunday resulted in the train wreck feeling on Monday, but i managed to drag the aching emaciated body out of bed have my breakfast (still on the porridge) then off to work. Slightly short staffed at work which i personally do not mind deep down. Gives me a chance to really busy myself for the day keep the demons from the door. I was fully aware of my thoughts from last week and sadly they were still with me!!!!! Yes i still felt fat, yes when i looked at myself i saw a fat faced loser staring back at me!! Its all part of the loathing. On top of this i had the thoughts of my dietitian appointment on Tuesday banging away at me. This appointment is a new step on the road and hell i was anxious about it. I had booked a days holiday to attend the appointment as i do not want work to start taking a dim view of me disappearing off to all these appointments during the day this neglecting my work….. Now don’t get me wrong i feel that they would never take this view but me being paranoid thought this would be the best option. Back to the thoughts i was having……. i had no idea what the dietitians would be like or would say to me, this makes things worse in my eyes. All sorts of questions were hitting me. What would they be like? What would they say to me? What would they think of my condition? What would they make me do? What would they force me to eat? Irrational thoughts yes but i had to prepare myself for the worst as you do!!! As Monday finished i found myself at a crossroads? I was really struggling to come to terms with the fact that i was going to have have to spend Tuesday morning trying to occupy myself!! I lead a very mundane existence currently all my days are controlled by what i eat and meal times. This is how it is when you have an eating disorder.   I read a blog recently and the writer called the sensation “The Voice”. Here is how the writer describes “The Voice”

The voice is the nastiest most vile person you have ever met, but weirdly you want to impress it because you get rewarded. The voice is a bully and unfortunately it lives in your head so you can’t get away from it.

To try and explain what it sounds like it’s probably best to describe how it feels. Imagine you are sitting with a cup of tea round your best friend’s house and she’s made a cake especially for you. She would like you to try a slice and starts plating it up. You start to feel an overwhelming feeling of fear and discomfort. You feel hot and your head starts to try and worm its way out of the situation, causing lots of frantic thinking. Whilst externally you try to stay calm so as not to arouse suspicion that internally everything is panicking. It is an overwhelming feeling you can’t control. It’s the ‘voice of anorexia’, overthinking everything you eat to the most damaging degree possible.

If you eat this you can’t eat for the rest of the day. That slice is going to be huge. It’s full of calories. You have already eaten enough today. 

Out of politeness you might squeeze in a bite of cake and make a pleasing sound mmmm” but really you are in pain. For the rest of the day you will be punished by a feeling of guilt. Your day is ruined from a piece of cake.

This is spot on with what is going on in my head 24 hours a day. A relentless monologue. Now as i sat and freaked out about Tuesday i came to the decision that i was going to go into work for the morning. Change the days holiday to half a day! That would be good i thought to myself. That way i can keep my mind off the appointment i can keep my Tuesday eating regime and everything would be great!!! So the decision was made. Tuesday morning go into work.

Tuesday rolled in an another poor nights sleep, heat and worry the contributing factors. Never the less it was D day as it were. What would the dietitians have in store for me? No time to dwell i thought as i got ready for work. See this is keeping me sane!!! Or insane???? Whichever!! I had planned for a full on morning of busy busy time also a chance to burn some calories as i rushed around. Although we were back to full capacity on staff i felt i could find enough to do until it was time to leave for the appointment. As the morning wore on thoughts turned to after the appointment?? Christ i had not thought of that?? It was only an hour long after all!!! What can i do after??? Well that was that……I was going back to work. Blow it! I will work a days holiday i thought to myself. With that decided upon i set about the morning lead up. Busy busy busy.

So to the appointment….. I had a catch up with my eating disorders doctor before i went on to to meet with the dietitians. We talked about how i was coping with the tasks and if i was still following them. I admitted to her that i had lapsed over the past week she understood my reasons and offered some insightful feedback which although i struggled to take on board at first the more we discussed and broke these things down the easier it became for me to see where she was coming from. I told her i felt i really needed the therapy to start but she told me at this time it would not be wise considering the starvation state my body was still in. I told her about how i never really felt hungry anymore which was nothing new to her. Its all about the body switching off its hunger sensors. I need to get the nourishment in my body for all the sensors to be switched back on. Once these sensors are back and my eating is normal then i can begin the therapy. I have one path out at the moment and that is to pull the body out of starvation mode. I agreed with this synopsis. As the discussion progressed i described the feelings of helplessness and how i felt most days that i was at a crossroads at the moment. Simple she said choose which has light!!! Yes simple but both i feel look so so dark at the moment i said. Again she laid it on the line choose the path where heart attack is likely, she outlined possible complications due to heart attack, these included lack of oxygen to the brain.  I could potentially be left brain damage. That was just one of the scenarios. I was told the longer i leave this the more my life expectancy goes down. This is a frightening scenario. I am still in early days, the hardest bit is what i am going through at this current time. Initial weight gain is the toughest part of the first couple of weeks but do not feel as though i am going backwards. I have to be brave take the steps and realise this is medicine for me. Like i’m taking a pill………. The catch up finished with the weigh in. Standard for me now. Result………. I have dropped a pound.  I am back to 7st 6lbs. Well after all that feeling fat i had lost weight. As i have said before i am not sure how i feel about it? It is a strange feeling………………… I will leave it at that i think.

Having finished with the eating disorders doctor the dietitians were ready for me. I was taken down the corridor to another room to meet them. This is when my anxiety about the day started to peak. I was not sure what the deal was like i said earlier on. Immediately i was put at ease. They introduced themselves and basically explained their roles in the journey. It was good to hear, it put my mind at ease i have to say. The pressure was easing. They explained that they were there to advise and guide me back to appreciating food and not to be driven by “The Voice”. I was glad of this, i explained how i had images and thoughts of them telling what to eat and what to do no matter what. I was informed that this would only be the case if i were to be admitted to hospital for treatment. This is all about helping me to help myself. If the hospital card were to be played then things would be different….. Out of my hands totally. Not a good route to take they told me!!!!!!!

The first half hour was spent analysing my eating, referring to the food diary. They made their observations, we discussed various myths that people hear and read about food from so called experts. I learnt a lot and had my eyes opened. I have some great reading material which i am going through. This they told me would help guide me on my journey out of this illness. I have also been given a few little tasks to add to the ones i am currently doing. They explained in depth how these little steps will gradually become second nature to me as time goes on all helping me to get better.

The last half hour was general discussion about my feelings towards food. I explained how i was feeling with the day to day obsession i have with calories and carbs. Again all things they had heard before. They explained how Anorexia and other eating disorders force the mind and body to work against each other. We discussed how people react when they find out about my disorder. I told them that some people are very understanding and are really helping me. Where as some people just do not understand what i am going through. The hour drew to an end we tied up the lose ends of what we had discussed. We all agreed that the tasks i had been given were the best way forward to start with. We would discuss further options at the next meeting and maybe add another task should i be comfortable and ready. As ever its small steps…………..

Now over the last couple of days i have been doing quite a bit of research into Eating Disorders. I have found and read a lot of interesting bits and pieces. It has certainly helped me understand my mind and the mind of a person with an eating disorder. One of most common things i came across is things people say to people with an eating disorder. These things have been said to me and i thought i would share a few pearls of wisdom with you to further explain my thinking…………………..

You look great/healthy/better than ever!”

This one seems like it should be something that would be helpful to say. However, someone said this to me the other day and it is an incredibly triggering comment. Unfortunately, eating disorders can change the way a person perceives different words. Because a person with anorexia (or bulimia) may need to gain weight as a part of treatment, the eating disorder will cause any comment noting a change in appearance to I’m glad you ate dinner/lunch/breakfast.”

Don’t congratulate us on our efforts at mealtimes

 

We may be trying REALLY hard and perhaps you’ve noted that we’re making progress.  Maybe we ate more quickly, tried a new food, forwent a ritual or ate more food than in previous meals.  Each of these is an amazing achievement but acknowledging it will halt us in our tracks.  We’re trying hard but the anorexic voice is ANGRY with us.

I will leave you with this last little thing that i found earlier today. I found that it perfectly explains my mind.

Before you say anything to someone recovering from anorexia, especially if it’s anything to do with food, weight or appearance, think about the most warped and twisted way your words could be wilfully misinterpreted to make them into a negative rather than a positive…  Then you’re probably approaching the milder end of how your friend’s eating disorder will have them interpret your words.

 

Whilst we’re battling hard not to lose weight, those around us are relieved to see things stabilising or getting better and in the spirit of encouragement, they will often share their glee with us.  But anything you say which suggests we are looking or acting more healthily will be interpreted as a failure on our part.  Even though we may be engaging with recovery, the anorexic voice is never far away in the early days and will misinterpret comments around food, weight and appearance very negatively.

Until Sunday.

*Dedicated to those who are supporting me.

Peace and Love

Matt

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