Christmas Conundrums

Monday, 30 December 2013

It is an incredibly difficult place to be constantly at war with your own brain. Every moment of every day, whether spent awake or asleep my brain batters me with abuse and conflict. For a girl who cowers at the sound of an argument, it is torture. So, I am trying something new. I must see anorexia as a separate entity (bare with me guys, I'm not going to start shouting at myself-promise). Ive been asked before "what would you say to anorexia if it was doing this to your little niece?" Honestly- I would punch it's lights out, then rip it limb from limb. I need to start fighting this monster as I would if it were attacking Lola (my gorgeous niece). For me, this is a tricky prospect, and I am only now starting to truly understand why. I do not value myself as I value others. I do not feel I am of the same value as my friends, my family, the other patients here. For them I could kick scream and bite this bitch, but for myself, I just shout at everyone else and cry. People have constantly advised me to value myself as I do others and I think this is partly where I have struggled, for me, that is a big ask, so I must consider the effect anorexia has on all those around me to fight it and you know what? If I gain the weight and hate it, I think we all know I am pretty damn good at losing weight, so I always can. But I may as well give weight gain a chance and give it some time, so I can make a rational decision and choice, because being down here is shit. So, I'm going to do 2 activities to try and keep me going and push me through. The first, I would like to ask for some advice from anyone still out there who has a minute. What would you do to anorexia? Whether I am the only person you have seen it in, or if you have seen it in yourself, whether a loved one struggles with it, anything really, what would you do if you could get your hands on it and why? Even what you think it looks like? I am going to make a visual reminder of what I am fighting and how to attack it.

It's odd being in hospital at this time, it's 12 weeks now, which I quite honestly cannot believe. If anyone had told me I would still be here at this point, I probably would've gone ahead with my insane plan to leave the country (I am not joking). Sadly, I was convinced out of it by my mother telling me I would be stopped at the airport and the idea of such extreme humiliation was too much to bare. So, here I am. The situation is further exacerbated by the time of year. The run up to Christmas is a time I bask in, the day itself presents me with a lot of anxiety and concern, but the lights, the parties, all the preparation is exactly what I love. My favourite part is getting presents for my loved ones. Of course however, the run up has pretty much been non existent for me here. Yes, we did have a ward Christmas celebration, which was surprisingly enough quite a lot of fun, but it wasn't quite the same as the excitement I feel battling down Oxford Street to search out the ideal gift, getting home and wrapping them beautifully with my carefully selected wrapping paper (usually paper chase) and ribbon. Wandering around Selfridges, ear marking all the beautiful things. Getting to carefully select the most beautiful wrapping paper, ribbons and bows then pedantically wrapping each gift to my exquisite standard. As it was, Christmas this year was a bit of a mad rush. I only discovered that I would be allowed home a couple of days before, although this was incredibly exciting, the rushed nature of the trip caused a lot of anxiety. How the hell was I going to eat? I knew if things didn't go well I was pretty much scuppered for any leave for a while, but then equally, the guilt that comes with what feels like 'choosing' to eat is crippling. More than anything however, I was excited. The potential for an ounce of freedom was too exciting to believe. Only a few months ago I was leaving the house, returning, whizzing around London as I desired, the juxtaposition of the radical change in my circumstances is pretty much inconceivable.

So, the time came and I was free. I left the unit with one of the lovely girls whom is a constant source of support and kindness. The second we got out of the door we looked at each other, screamed and ran down the road laughing to each other "we're free, we're free". I'm sure no one around would've had any reason to guess we had just left the mental health building…So, we parted and off I went to try and sort some last minute shopping. Id been allowed 3 hours to shop the week before, however, had not managed to get all I needed. By the time I got home in the evening I was shattered. It was Christmas eve, though it didn't feel that way, and I spent a happy while reacquainting myself with my home, which had grown slightly less familiar to me. The emptiness of our lofty victorian house struck me, exacerbated by the Christmas tree mum had stoically wrestled into place and decorated herself. To me, the coming of the Christmas tree was synonymous with the house being full and slightly chaotic, but constantly buzzing, as my aunt and cousins joined us from australia for the festive season. Sadly, it was our year to go to them in Perth, an inconceivable idea with my current health. So Christmas would just be my mother, brother and I, for which I felt both guilty and sad. Last year was the same issue, and the year before that we went on a large family ski trip (I wasn't allowed to ski), which I made pretty difficult for everyone due to my anxieties around food and some of my medication giving me rather odd side effects. I was, as a result, anxious that I would NOT ruin this Christmas. I had pre-ordered some special ready meals, including a Christmas Dinner, from a high quality internet company, even before I was certain of my leave. This felt far more manageable as every meal was a known quantity, with no risk of me over/undereating on leave. It did feel rather peculiar, sitting at the dinner table with my mother's beautifully prepared Christmas dinner and a ready made dinner in front of me, but it was the most normal I felt I could manage, and it was reasonably close to the real thing. So we did it, had a super relaxed Christmas. And I returned to the unit with a sense of achievement, partnered with terror, waiting to see what would happen at my next weigh in…

Next to tackle, New Years Eve!

Colour me beautiful...

Sunday, 24 November 2013

“She ran her hands over her body as if to bid it good-bye. The hipbones rising from a shrunken stomach were razor-sharp. Would they be lost in a sea of fat? She counted her ribs bone by bone. Where would they go?” 
 Steven Levenkron,

‘Are you sure this is what you want to do?’ Something in me constantly questions. ‘Really? But it feels awful.’ Everytime the numbers go up, every time you allow a morsel to pass your lips. Everytime you let her down, it hurts. People assume it gets easier, but the honest truth is, everyday gets harder. Anorexia kicks, bites and claws that little bit more ferociously every single time you try to fight, and my God, that bitch can scream. A cacophony of abuse is relentlessly airing in my head, bombarding me with my every fear and doubt. I feel disgusting. I feel ugly. I feel like I’m letting my most loyal ally go. What will be left if anorexia is quelled? An empty, fat shell? A devastated shadow, bereft and alone? What am I now? I am here, I think. When I lift my arms I see hands that I presume to be mine. Small and still with delicate, bird like bones. It is strange to think these things are mine. To think that I may be blind to the reality in front of me. I presume this must be similar to the knowledge that one is color blind. The simple awareness that you cannot quite see what is in front of you. That, the image before you is not that which others can see. To me my body is black and white. Anorexia creates a World without colour. This may seem unthinkable, but it feels safe. I feel secure in my World of monochrome, where all edges are slightly blurred, where life appears in a slight haze. Here, the monsters seem less threatening, the troubles are less real. I do not have to wholly confront that which may harm me, for I am small and numb. I am fading. It is easier to create my cage of bones and crawl inside than to face the World around. But I must release myself from hibernation, because the truth is, although this World is numb and protected, in here, life is never beautiful. Even when you are as high as a kite on the endorphins of starvation, you cannot truly dance, love or hope. In this parallel World, we are all ghosts, with still beating hearts. We push ourselves so close to the edge that we can almost see the other side. When I collapse from exhaustion and the empty pain inside, sometimes the devil asks me to dance. When you are so alone and scared that living seems too hard, the offer seems appealing, but I am waiting for real love, to sweep me off my feet and spin and kick and wave our arms, for the dance of life can be beautiful. Sometimes it will not. Sometimes you will miss a step, pirouette all wrong, seem ungraceful, but that is life. Things will not be perfect every single day, sometimes they will seem impossible, sometimes your heart will be broken into a million little pieces, sometimes you will fail. But we do not live for these times. I will live for the moments when my heart is whole and full of love, when I am so happy I could scream, when I laugh so much my stomach hurts and when success is within my reach. I am just learning that things will never be perfect and life would not be anything if it were. You need the bad to show you the true beauty of moments and the half life of a ghost gives you none of the colour but much of the pain. I need to begin colouring my life again, hoping that things will be beautiful. 
Life in glorious colour

Time drags on

Thursday, 14 November 2013

I am the girl who tried to disappear. The one who broke apart and drifted in the wind. Let go of herself so she didn't have to deal with life. I am the girl in the photos with the cheshire cat smile, stretched garishly across my face, all the while people wondering when she will next fade again. I am the one who fell down the rabbit hole and doesn't know how to get out again. The one people stopped looking for, realised was a lost cause. I wandered off the map and path that was set out, so deep into the gloom that the search seemed frivolous. That is who I am now. I don't know who else. All I know is that I am the girl who failed. I am failing at recovery, yet failing at life. I am failing at succeeding. I never meet expectations. I am always lagging behind. 

I am tired.
I am lost.

Third time lucky?

Sunday, 27 October 2013

“Recovery feels like shit. It didn't feel like I was doing something good; it felt like I was giving up. It feels like having to learn how to walk all over again.” 
 Portia de Rossi

Trying to eat again releases bizarre feelings. The creature bites, kicks, screams and claws its way through my brain. It feels like you are betraying your best friend, but at the same time slapping your worst enemy in the face. She has stood by me, solidly and reliably for years now, when I was scared or sad I always had the comfort of my rib cage, there to show me that I was good. I was thin. I could always be thinner though. I've been here 2 weeks now and to be perfectly honest, I feel like absolute shit. My weight has bounced around the place. My first few days, it continued to drop quite rapidly, but at that stage I was only having to consume cups of hot milk and two muller corners a day. My poor little body wasn't up to anymore and suddenly coming out of starvation wouldn't have done it any good. Gradually, my diet has been built up, now it is at the stage when I am having to eat: a big bowl of cornflakes and 250ml milk, 2 slices of toast and peanut butter, 250ml hot milk (coffee in it of course), a large main meal (always with carbs), a muller corner yoghurt, 100ml juice, 250ml hot milk with coffee (again), another large main meal, muller corner yoghurt, 100ml fruit juice, 250ml hot milk and coffee, another slice of toast and peanut butter. It is absolutely terrifying and I feel as it my body has ballooned. I am still being weighed daily, every morning at 6am, and whereas before my weight was hardly moving, it seems to now be making up for lost time. It has quite literally been coming on leaps and bounds and I am absolutely horrified. The speed at which it's climbing simply proves to me that my body is not built for food. If I eat, I will get fat. I don't need as much as other people and therefore, it's easier if I just don't eat than having to worry that every bite I take might cause me to balloon. It's insane how warped your brain becomes, a bmi of 15 seems colossal and unnecessary and the apprehension over soon reaching it is keeping me awake at night. I do know, however, somewhere in my rather peculiar mind, that I am doing the right thing. One cannot live a life with anorexia, as it is simply not a life.Every moment is dominated by fear, self loathing, routine and compulsion and there is very little room for anything else. So, although I'm scared, I know I must keep going.

The unit is a friendly environment at the moment,which makes all the difference. There are some lovely patients about, with ages ranging from 18 to 70. All the girls have been incredibly supportive, and one of the most vital part of my treatment thus far has been the sense of solidarity and security. One of the girls said a few days ago,when I was having a complete meltdown..."Maya, you will get through this, even if I have to drag you half the way, you can get better". Her belief in me has made such a difference. Of course, Vincent Square is still rife with bizarre behaviours relating to food, exercise, everything really. People pacing the corridors, desperate to burn a few extra calories, pocketing toast, arguing over the size of potatoes. I am not exempt, behaving in a hysterical way when it comes to food. So, that's where I am right now really. Simply trying to plod along. I have come to realise that whatever I do,it will feel like shit, so id rather try to get over this and have the prospect of a happy life than settle for a half life in a dungeon.

Here we go again

Friday, 11 October 2013

“Was I ever crazy? Maybe. Or maybe life is… Crazy isn’t being broken or swallowing a dark secret. It’s you or me amplified. If you ever told a lie and enjoyed it. If you ever wished you could be a child forever.” 
 Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted

So, here I am. Alone. Ashamed. Back at Vincent Square. I am a failure. I suppose everything spiralled out of control. Things just all seemed to be wrong, I was wrong, life felt wrong and it was easier to follow my white rabbit and fall down the rabbit hole. That is, it seemed easier, until I was plummeting, everything I was leaving behind whizzing past me. By that point it was too late. I was bound to hit the bottom. My heart shattered into a million pieces months ago and for some reason I thought I would be able to find it in Wonderland. The truth is, the heart cannot be whole when your World is so confusing. No one can love such a damaged being. I only wish that I could find my way out of here, back to the riverbank and the safety of love and kind words. The irony is, the only way out is through, and to get through you need strength, determination and belief, three things which I currently cannot find. I am tired now. It has been such a long time. It seems to be all I can remember. I can barely recall the happy girl I see in photos, who had the energy to dance, to laugh, to be a good friend. You cannot love one who does not love them self. I need to learn to love myself. To value every part of me. I need to see every kilo as part of my character returning. I want to get back to being that girl who had the capability to be loved and to accept love. I hate that I cannot be fully there for those around me. I hate that I am so weak, that I give in to this monster. It is just hard not to, when the World around you seems like such a big scary face. Thea said to me a few days ago, as we sat on her sofa and I sobbed as we cuddled "My Maya, we need to get you better, because I promise you, you won't be so scared then, right now, you are scared of just everything, and that is just not you". She is right. I hate that I am scared to eat. Even to drink. How absurd. Surely it should be ones basic instinct, yet a little, strong, self destructive part of me jumps on that instinct and goes "no no no, you don't need that Maya, real strength is the ability to run on air". I remember who I was, it seems like a different girl. 'Before', when I had curves, I would go and drink too much and do silly things, silly, but not life threatening. I would dance because I wanted to and because I loved to, not because I wanted to burn more calories. Life was not dominated by a looming presence, intent on destruction. I have gone from living, to simply being. This is not a life. And as I lie here, worrying about the fact that I have been motionless for so long, I think, is it really worth it? For on the path of anorexia, it is not only weight you lose. So so much more is engulfed and lost in this horrible illness. I no longer call myself a good friend, I call myself a burden. I am no longer anyones girl, I am a worry. So anorexia, please let me go. I am scared of losing you, and of gaining weight. I am scared of getting hips again, I always hated my hips. I diagnosed myself with 'violin deformity' (google it)- I am still convinced of this in fact. But I need to remember something, whether I have bloody Violin deformity or love handles as vast as all the love I have, losing weight will not make things better. It will numb it, but this is not life. Numbness means that nothing can get better. I need to get better. I need to leave this behind.
I am scared. 

Any words of wisdom, notes telling me I'm a bloody idiot, pictures, anything really would be gladly received. Post always brightens the day in here. If you have the time or inclination to, I am at:

Vincent Square Eating Disorder Service
1 Nightingale Place
Kensington & Chelsea
SW10 9NG 

Of course, I do understand most people will not have time for such things, just if you do. No pressure though.

I wish that when I fell apart I made sure to keep hold of all of the pieces. As it is, they are scattered like confetti all over and I have lost a million little bits of me. If you find any, please tell me, for I will be waiting. If only I could've held on, but this fearsome monster scattered me in the wind and watched me disappear. It was like the tumbling of a pot of glitter, a huge mess sparkling from the floor, and however hard you try, however many times you hoover and sweep, there will still be hundreds of specs, glinting up at you, taunting. I love glitter. 

I will try and avoid a rant...

Saturday, 27 July 2013

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” 
 Eleanor Roosevelt

I have given myself a day before writing this post, largely due to the fact that yesterday, I suspect my hurt and outrage would've overcome and ability I had to form a coherent and explanatory post about this subject, also, it gave me more chance to think about it all. I shall begin with an incident. I am in my local area, I have set myself the task of going to get something to eat, sitting with my iPad and, well, eating it. Sounds simple? I was shaking. I chose a large, inoffensive coffee shop that I know should be ok. I got a soup and a salad, figuring I could have half of each. Or, if one were too overwhelming, swap one for the other. I went upstairs, as I knew this particular establishment had a large seating area upstairs, where I hoped I would be least ambiguous. I chose a nice, large table in a corner, where I figured I could sort of huddle away and get on with my task. I sat down and set myself up. It was at that point I noticed the group of youths (oh God, I'm only 21, did I really just say that?) At least one of them went to my old senior school, I only knew this because of her uncanny resemblance to an older sibling. Said girl lent in to her friends and said something, tilting her head back at me. They all tried to subtly look, at which point she scolded them for all looking at once. I sat,in what had a few minutes ago felt like a safe,enclosed, table area, suddenly feeling like a caged freak at a circus. I was embarrassed and upset and angry. Yes, I set myself up for this kind of thing with this blog most probably, however, one would think that if people recognised the crazy girl with the eating disorder, they would perhaps have enough sense to not make a spectacle of her when she is about to attempt to eat. As it was, my meal was completely hijacked by fear and upset. The soup did not get opened. The salad got separated, carefully and meticulously in typical anorexic fashion. I tried to be subtle, but I was shaking, close to tears, with the horrible horrible anorexic monster sitting across from me grinning and saying "see, you're a freak,whatever you do, you are a freak". Now, I'm sure the group had no idea of the consequences of their actions, but it got me thinking about the way all that we do can be a hell of a lot more damaging than we could predict.

I've been in close discussion with the GDST (girls day school trust) about their approach to Eating Disorders within schools. It's been really interesting, working with 2 women who work within the trust, myself, and the writer Emma Woolf (I got a bit overexcited). One of the projects we've been looking into bringing into schools is the idea of 'fat talk free week'. The concept is American, conjured up by the sorority Tri Delta, and bloody hell, it's a good one. It's become ok, in fact, a sort of ritual, for us to bash ourselves, our bodies, and one and other in the process. It is used to bond us. "Do I look fat in this?" "Oh my God, I feel obese", "God, she's gained a LOT of weight", "Wow, she's slimmed down, she looks so much better". Now, with each of these statements, these simple throw away statements, I want you to consider the message you are reinforcing. That looking a certain way is bad. By bashing your own weight, you are sending the message that you do not look 'right'. Think of the knock on effect this has? Your friend, of a similar size, may begin to doubt that she looks ok. Your child may start to cut carbs. We spend so much time bashing the media for their part in the 'epidemic of eating disorders', but really, sometimes, we must step back and realise that we ourselves are promoting unrealistic beauty ideals every single time we bash ourselves, our peers, or even, hale those who loose weight. Fair enough encouraging those who need to eat better for their HEALTH, but that goes both ways. Maybe ask if someone is FEELING better, fitter, next time you notice a change. I am not saying screw dresses, makeup, heels, because I love all of these things, I am saying, think about the repercussions of your words. Consider the connotations everything to escape your mouth can have. Love each other and judge each other for more than just how we look. Eating disorders are NOT all to do with how we look. A few people around me didn't say they were feeling fat and I decided not to eat. I have been in a sad state for a long time and decided that starvation was my form of self harm. I chose to try to disappear in a World that was all too much. Slowly and delicately I wanted to fade away. There was, however, a reason it was so easy at first. In our society, a person losing weight (who, may I add was healthy in body), was praised, my determination and 'self control' were heralded and envied at first, until suddenly, I was too thin and it was dangerous. Avoiding carbs at the age of 13, 14, however old, is not seen as totally out of the ordinary. Ordering a 'skinny latte' is 'normal'. All these things, these habits, rituals, all of it, have their connotations. Think about it. Consider it all. I will too.

Here's a video from Tri Delta. We're hoping to bring the week into GDST schools, or something similar. Do you guys have any other suggestions of what may be helpful within schools?

Thank you and enjoy the sun xxx

*NB- To the girls who were out yesterday, I want to clarify, I really am not angry with you. Every day I come up against adversity, a blip, the tiniest thing can send me into a spiral (that's the nature of the beast). You've in NO way done something that is out of the ordinary for anyone, nor did I think it was spiteful or malicious. That was sort of what I was trying to get at in my explanation of fat talk and the work i've been doing with the GDST. I am 100% guilty of things too. It is my OWN insecurities that lead a minor incident to worry me so much and plunge me into a spiral. My goodness, anorexia is a monster that will use any excuse to tell you not to eat. A day at an ED clinic can have you watching a perfectly rational conversation taking place about how someone cannot eat this meal as they have been given the wrong fork. I simply used yesterday to exemplify what we all do all the time, something which i've been discussing with the GDST, and how to help one and other over come it. I do it too. I promise. You have in NO WAY made my eating disorder worse, nor have you set my recovery back 500 miles. These things are sent to try us and they do really. I was very tactless in using such an obvious situation as an example and do not wish to cause any upset.

Dreams shattered by shame

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

It's been impossible to know what to write recently, not because nothing has been happening, but I suppose, due largely to a feeling of shame. I am ashamed to still be in this position, to still not be well. I feel as if anyone reading this must be sick of me, think I'm attention seeking, an idiot, pathetic for still being ill. It's evident that I have so much to live for, i've got great things in my life, but I just cannot cope with the crap when it comes. The lovely Chloe Cook who i've been seeing every 2 weeks for hypnotherapy asked me why i've not been writing recently and when I told her i'm too ashamed to write, she suggested I write about that shame, so here I am. I guess guilt is quite a common factor of all illness, but especially when it comes to mental health I imagine. There is so little understanding of mental health, I mean, I don't get why I can't just eat, or why I care about the number on the scale, so it would be asking a lot for other people to understand it. When I put it into words, spell it out, explain it, it makes absolutely no sense. It makes me miserable, people who I thought would be in my life forever have run, have gone from loving me to seemingly wanting me and my problem out of their lives. It has hurt me indescribable amounts. Reeked havoc on my life, yet when something goes wrong, when I have a moment of doubt, a tough day, I catch myself in a shop window, anorexia digs its vicious claws into my head, my heart and drags its pincers down, leaving its painful pathway through my body. Being empty gives me a high, some people drink, some people smoke, take a number of drugs, all of these are coping mechanisms and being empty is mine. I have a constant internal pull, me vs anorexia. The problem is, every time my day has a hiccup, however big or small, anorexia trumps Maya and the only way to silence the feeling of failure is to starve it. Starve and I am not failing the anorexia teaches. Yet, starve and Maya fails. Whatever I do I feel I am failing and it is shit. This illness is ugly and robs everything good. I miss my life before, I hold onto some moments, feelings of genuine happiness that starvation has robbed me of for the past 2 years. Why the hell can I not get back? Why am I so stupid? I miss life and smiling, but that feeling of hunger still looks so beautiful. Will I get better? Is there such a thing? Or will I battle this disease for the rest of my life?

Please join...

Saturday, 20 April 2013

I was absolutely astounded and disgusted at the daily mails publication of an article by Samantha Brick. It clearly glorifies an unhealthy attitude towards food and body image. Please join the petition to get the article removed and an apology issued.

A link to the article is also below. 

Many thanks 
Maya xxx

Humiliation is never sweet...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

I honestly wish I could come to this with a message of success, with the hopeful and happy news that i'm doing much better, that I feel hopeful, that I have been steadily gaining weight. I am humiliated by the truth and i'm sure people must be sick of my moaning. I am sick of my moaning. I want recovery desperately. I want to be happy. I want to be able to eat and not feel guilt. I want to have freedom. I want my brain to be working to its full capacity. I want to have energy. So why the hell can't I just gain weight? Why is the thought of getting on the scales and seeing the numbers go up so abhorrent that I am doing anything I can to prevent it? It doesn't make sense. It's a total head fuck and it is driving me mad. I've been thinking about it heavily over the past few days and i've come to realise something. I am scared, terrified at the prospect of letting go of my 'crutch.' It has become part of my identity, and having lost another part of my identity recently, it all seems too much to lose this as well now. I know I have to, because this is not a good part of my identity, in fact, it is a debilitating and destructive facet, yet, it reflects how I feel. My emaciated body communicates how I am feeling inside. I feel fragile, constantly on the brink of tears. I am terrified, I have no idea where i'm going, if i'm going to achieve anything, if I will get a good degree, if I will get a job, I don't know any of it. I feel vulnerable. I feel disgusting. I feel stupid. I feel I am of little worth. I feel I deserve punishment. My figure reflects all of this. My body screams "I am not coping", and for that reason, I am scared to get bigger. I am scared everyone around me will think "Oh, Maya is fine now, look, she's big again", when actually, I think I will probably feel worse than ever, because I will have lost my security blanket, the knowledge that I am good at one thing...losing weight. Without starvation I will have to be an adult, make decisions. I will probably go back to looking in a mirror and criticising my body for being too big. Look at the fat grasping my hips, the way my thighs curve, no comforting large gap. It will all disgust me. And I am scared I will hate myself even more. Want to lose weight desperately, just like I used to. Anorexia did not just spring up on me. I craved weight loss for years. I wanted to be thin. Every time things were tough and I was struggling, I would set myself a new goal, a lower weight, a new diet, an exercise regime. I just wasn't very good at it. Then some how, something clicked and I became a pro and at first people were telling me how good I looked. And I felt good. I knew I could lose more though and I would be the best and I would feel better. There was always more to lose though. Always the niggling voice telling me that if I skipped lunch, I would feel better, if I pushed myself that extra mile I would feel better, that being thin would give me everything. That people would love me, want to be my friend, I would achieve at school, I would be superwoman...if I was thin. It is devastating to look back over my diaries from childhood, as young as 10/11 I was writing about my weight, drawing pictures of my 'gross' body. I would write about something tough that had happened in the day, something that had made me sad and my solution to this was "LOSE WEIGHT MAYA". Always. This makes me wonder...was I always 'anorexic', just not thin? Impossible, you can't be fat and anorexic? But if you hold the belief that the answer to your problems is weight loss, you strive to be thinner, you obsess over it, what is the difference cognitively? I don't know. I am so scared of going back to that, having all the thoughts, feelings, but being fat. I am scared I will never stop feeling like 'the big one', inferior, less attractive, intelligent, controlled, kind or loveable. Even now, in hospital, I feel like 'the big one'. I feel huge compared to everyone else here. I worry they look at me and wonder why I am here. Discuss me and sneer. I shouldn't care, but I do. My brain is a big scribble. So messed up. I just want to be ok. I don't want to go through the pain of it all though. The struggle of gaining weight. The feelings that will come with it, but with no promise at the end that I will be ok. That I won't always hate myself. I will have lost the comfort of sharp edges and jutting hip bones and had them replaced with soft flesh. At least with anorexia I can blame any rejection on my illness. I is not me they left, it is the illness. What about when it's gone and they are rejecting the fat girl? What if I don't achieve perfect marks? What if I do look chubby in that dress? What if I don't get invited to that party? What if I upset someone? What if people don't want to befriend me....what if I cannot blame any of it on my illness? I look at myself and sometimes I see a thin person, some days I can see how drawn and weak I look. Sometimes, all I see are the bits that I would like to be smaller.

I wish they could cut out a little part of my brain labelled 'anorexia' and insert 'normal cognitive behaviour'. I wish someone could tell me I will be ok and happy, and for it to be the truth. This illness doesn't make me happy, but what if I feel just as awful, but I am big as well? Then no one will help me.  I am scared.

They all fall down...

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A grenade, an atom bomb, anything too close it will destroy. That is the nature of this disease. Spreading devastation in its wake. Slowly but surely all those with sense will run, move away from the danger. It is instinct to anyone with sense. I wish I could run from myself. Instead I am sat alone, surveying the mess I have caused. Why was I brought into this World? What is my purpose? This cannot be it. Please God say destruction is not my mission. I did not ask for this, I did not ask to appear; yet I cannot disappear without hurting those around me. There is no solution and I feel lost. Confused. Trapped in this body that does no good. This head that does not work. I have only myself to blame for all I have lost. I am a monster, I should have never been created. I do not deserve love, so what happened was right. I am unlovable.  Hate me. It would be best for everyone.
            I am burning, engulfed by the fire I created, my skin slowly blistering, my body disappearing, but the flames will not stop licking and there is no promise of water anymore. No hope of relief.
            I should’ve known no one loves a monster. Put down the heavy load and run for your life.

       This past six weeks has been tough and testing. I could not hack being an inpatient, being in the land of doom and gloom 24/7, I wasn’t sleeping and spent most of my time crying. Things were basically not good. So I cried for help and in they sent a very nice doctor to speak to me. I explained that I’d really like to go home and that I couldn’t handle any more. He stood, thinking for a bit and then told me that if that was how I felt…he may have to consider holding me under the mental health act, i.e. a section. He went on to tell me that my weight was exceptionally low and he couldn’t be sure of my safety. I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe. I was livid with this man I did not know even suggesting the mental health act and through my cries told him that it would not stand up if I were to argue against it as I was clearly of sound mind, I just have an eating disorder. I doubt my hysterical tears did much to prove this. I asked him to please go and get a second opinion. He did. He spoke to the consultant who knows me and knows eating disorders and I was granted bail. Thank God. I went home to my comfortable bed and slept and was happy…ish. Obviously that could not be it though, I was still not ‘fixed’, so a meeting took place a few days later. In that it was agreed, after much pleading from me, as well as my explanation that I honestly could not cope being there all day everyday, that I would be allowed to be a day patient. This means that I am in the unit 6 days a week, 10am-7:30pm. It is not ideal, I am still having to eat the horrible food. Ironic really, isn’t it? That on an eating disorder unit, we are being fed 3 meals and 3 snacks of hospital food. It is not nutritionally balanced, something that really bothers me, one girl told me that although prior to entering hospital her red blood cell count was fine, since starting the program she now is anemic. Really gives you a lot of faith in the system? I will also soon not be receiving individual therapy in three weeks time, due to the NHS budget cuts. Again, doesn’t seem like the smartest move. Pump me full of 3000 calories a day until I feel like a balloon and don’t help me deal with it? I know I should not complain, the nurses are kind and caring and I’m getting on well with a few of the other girls, but I cannot help it. It is very difficult to put your faith in something that seems to have such gaping issues. But I go, and it is reassuring my parents at least. My weight this month has not actually changed, its gone up, and then down, up and then down, but this is being attributed to stress, it’s been quite a tricky month for many reasons. All I can do is keep on trying. Push on.

For now that is all.


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

What does it feel like? What do you think when a big cup of full fat milk is put down in front of you and you are expected to drink it. A plate of macaroni cheese you are expected to eat. Pudding afterwards, ice cream, yogurt, all to be consumed. How does it make you feel? It hurts, God it stings. I am burning when I think about all I have consumed this week. I am panicked, I must be spinning out of control. Bite by bite moment by moment I am being assaulted. "YOU PIG" "WHY ARE YOU SITTING DOWN?" "WHY ARE YOU STANDING STILL?" Then, as if for conformation, I am weighed every morning, 6am, woken and weighed, recorded, the numbers going up. It is terrifying, but it must be done. I am very lucky to have a caring mother at home, someone to look after me, because being in hospital all the time proves to be too much. I beg and plead with the doctor, hyperventilating when he says "You are too ill to go home", I need to be comfortable, I need to sleep, I need my mum. I cannot have those things here. Finally, he goes to get a second opinion from another doctor, I am granted leave for the night, I can go home to my mum and cuddle up and let her hold me whilst I eat. I will be good. It will be hard. 
It's tricky to explain what it's like, half of me is happy that I am doing this, I know I have to, I look and feel like shit. I am exhausted and boney. Poor Jacob was scared to cuddle me too hard, frightened of breaking his girlfriend of fragile bones. I look like hell, yet my fragility reflects my insides. Inside I feel fragile, I do not feel strong and ready for the World, I am in pain and screaming and the lack of nourishment reflects that. That is what anorexia can do, gives you a platform to reflect how you are feeling. To get better, I must disentangle all my feelings of self loathing, disappointment in myself, feelings of low self worth, from my feelings related with food. I must put all of them to one side, and food on another. I must feed myself for my brain to work though. That is what I will do. Bite by bite, moment by moment, things must get better. Please, I beg of you, do not say to me "you're looking well", or "oh Maya, you're looking much better". Not until I am ready. Those throw away comments can throw me into a depth of despair I cannot explain properly, I know it must seem silly, it is the aim of the game to look well, to get better, to move on, but right now I cannot hear those things. Also, until I truly am 'recovered' (in a weight sense) it is not helpful. Hearing how 'well' I look, when I may still have another 5kgs to go will make me feel as if I needn't bother, and I am sure that is not what you mean. Anorexia has the capability to twist anything and make it into a verbal assault. I am hoping that over these next few weeks I will work to restore some of my weight, and work to feed myself, as I am unwilling to relinquish all control. If I give up all control, then I have not really fought the battle, and I have to to recover. I have to look the monster square in the face and say "FUCK YOU-I am worth getting better". So I will. I will munch and guzzle and it will feel crap, but I will do it for me, so that I can get on a plane and use the rest of this year to do lovely things with my mum and friends. I will get over this. I will be proud to say 'I am recovered'. I will listen to what those who love me have told me, that I was so much more attractive curvy. I always wanted to be thin, I always hated my hips. How many young women have struggled with hating their bodies? How many times a day do you hear people making comments putting themselves down or talking about things related to their appearance? Think about it. It's like a girl code, self degradation, I will put myself down to fit in "You look nice", "oh no, I look a bit chubby in this". On my birthday my gorgeous Grace uttered to me "Boobs look GREAT in that dress Maya". Anorexia reared up, ready to whisper about mounds of fat, but I battered her. I took the compliment, I did not shoo it away. "Thanks GC". It felt good. Good to be a girl. I want to be a woman. I want J to be proud of his girlfriend. To not have to hold the hand of an emaciated 8 year old. My big strong man, over double my weight, well over double my weight, it's not right. I truly believe that in order to combat some of the causes of eating disorders, we need to stop putting ourselves down. We need to take the compliments and just say "thank you", or offer one back, if we are being sincere. Why not? It makes you feel good. I must also learn this skill to beat my monsters. 
Along with others.
For now, I will lift my fork and eat.

I'd love to hear what you all think about the way we bash ourselves and about feeling fat/dieting etc. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people are dieting in the UK at any one time, this number is phenomenal, and I want to know why we cannot just have a healthy relationship with food? Please comment if you've got any thoughts, what body parts get you down, if you think we go self-bash and why etc etc. 
Would be really interesting for me and others and you can even comment anonymously now, whether you have an account or not!
Thank you

White Walls

Thursday, 31 January 2013

“When you're lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you've just wandered off the path, that you'll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it's time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don't even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.” 
 Elizabeth Gilbert

I am back in a plain walled room. The tide was too rough for me to steer. Every part of me aches and I am tired. My body is exhausted. I have been plunged into a world that turns skeletons into goddesses, and it is here I must try not to burn. Things were too difficult, I tried and strived to scramble out of my rabbit hole, but it was just too deep. To say I am disappointed would not cover it. I am angry that I was not strong enough, I am sad that I am once again in hospital, I am terrified of what is to come. A little ball of emotions. I forgot that in here, people are not still. We are all tired, exhausted, little bodies under so much strain they are close to giving up, yet there is constant movement. Jiggling legs, rocking bodies, every opportunity to stand, taken. In here, it is these things that mark you out, that mark out those who want to recover and those who are forced in here. This is also defined by the brash question "did you agree to come in or were you sectioned?" "Agreed", I smile. Met with shock. I was clear, always have been clear, I will not be sectioned. This is a chapter of my life, I will not let it define it. A section and half my job prospects would disappear, so I came when I was told to. Like a good girl I shuffled in, with my entourage of mum, dad and lots of stuff. Sunken, hollow faces are real life in here, not only the thing of nightmares. It baffles me, I look at them and I do not find it attractive, I do not yearn to be like that, I want to run away, my response is still natural, yet part of me still wants to lose weight. A bit of me screams "BMI OF 13 YOU PIG, they are all looking at you and thinking fat fat fat". Maybe some of them are, maybe those with a BMI of 10 do find me abhorrent. I spoke to Claire, in despair that I would be the biggest, she laughed "of course not, God Maya". Her American twang makes me smile, makes it easier. I trust her. I will get my weight up enough to be allowed to get on a plane, to go to Australia and see my family, to lie on a beach and bask in the glorious rays and heat of the sun, next to my beautiful cousin, to run by the water and enjoy it like I used to, not just to skip away the calories. I will finish my weight gain there and get back to health, happiness. The truth is, this is not life. This is a surreal parallel universe where starvation is a preference. My brain is not working and tricks me into believing things which are just not true. I must reprogram, reboot, and get back to the real World. Where I can be warm. I do not feel safe. An hour and a half with a doctor when I arrived. A doctor who was surprised I could sit up and do his "squat test". Thousands of personal questions, with the answers they will draw a picture of who I am. Who is Maya? Why does she want to be thin? Is what they mean. I don't know the answer to either completely. I know Maya is a daughter, a friend and a girlfriend. I am a student. I like to play music. I like to act. I like to write. I like to run and dance and play tennis. I often look at my feet. Right now, most people would say "oh, the anorexic one?" This will not define me, that is not all I am. It is just part of me. A part that is too dominant at the moment and that needs to be quelled. I am not the space between my thighs. I am more.

I think of myself like Gollum. Ugly and widened by my addiction. Anorexia is my ring. I am both Gollum and sweet little Smeagol. Completely wrapped up by the pretty shiny ring, that promises so much, but creates and ugly monster in reality. MY precious. It can't be shared. It makes you invisible. I am blessed to have a team around me, ready to take the ring to Moordoor. My mother joked that she is the dwarf, realistically, she is Sam, reliable and faithful and constantly there. I have Jacob, riding strong on his horse, ready to kill anything that gets in my way. I have Grace and Thea, faithful and loving, ready to show me love and make me laugh. I have all my incredible friends, who I have mentioned many times, ready to help me get that ring and TOSS it into Mount Doom, unlike Gollum, I will not jump in with it, because there is too much in my life to fall in with it. Today, my first on the ward is over, i've left the shire and entered into the big scary World, I can hear Awks all around me, but I will keep on going. I have to.

The first meal was Hell. I am on a "soft diet", because my abused body can't take very much. Everything is white. It is meant to be easily digestible. Each bite was a fight. Each mouthful was of shame. Around me are girls and boys all fighting their daemons. Self loathing and pain drips from the walls of the dining room. 45 minutes it takes us to eat. We cut into tiny pieces, mash and fiddle, anything but eat the food. Then it is gone and we all sit together in an awkward room, being watched. The thought of the next few weeks is abhorrent. I know I will feel many things, disgust and self loathing being the dominant emotions. I will want to curl up in a ball and it all to be over, all over seeing the numbers go up on the scales. Why? It doesn't matter. I love people whether they are fat or thin, yet I cannot love myself. It makes no sense. I need to stop trying to understand it, it will drive me mad. I must sleep as I will be woken through the night to check my vitals.

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