Saturday, 30 January 2010

Assessment

I mentioned a few posts back that I was off to have an assessment for psychotherapy on the NHS. So I feel I should update you on how it all went.

Diagnosis: Bulimia Nervosa

(How enlightening!)



Ok, let me stop myself there. I need to say at this point that anything sarcastic/rude/mean that I say about my therapist or my session is just my frustration talking. She actually turned out to be one of the nicest people I've ever had to talk to (out of several doctors, nurses, councillors and other random do-gooders). She was the first person that I have ever spoken to who I did not feel was judging me. I would even go so far as to say that she understood. My words made sense to another human being - it was incredible - in an odd way, for the first time, I felt sane.



So, it was quite revealing - all the stuff I had to talk about. My non-existent, fucked-up relationship with my Mum. My alcoholic Dad drinking himself to the grave when I was a child. As a teenager, the hated of my ugly, putrid face and the hatred of my body, my filthy, disgusting body. And now, my inability to eat like a 'normal' person.

I never completely made the connections before... all the shit that my head descended into when my relationship with my parents disappeared. The way I can't think about my Dad without a mixed sensation of anger, sadness and longing. The way I can't face my Mum without wanting to harm myself. It all started to fit together in my head... the ragged bits of my life and history started to form a picture of who I was today.

Anyway, like I said, this was just the initial assessment. I won't start proper therapy for another 4-6 months (bloody NHS waiting lists). In the mean time I got given literature and plans to try to implement before I started therapy.
You should see the suggested meal plan.
It's hilarious.
As if I'm going to eat that much and keep it down.



Almost everyone I know comes from a privileged background.
I forget sometimes, that I am not one of them.
My past is black, my history is grim, and no one knows - no one will ever know.
I am Ophelia: chatty, confident, charismatic.
Liar.
Skeletons in my closet...
... bones, bones, oh beautiful bones.

Let me repeat that...

But even on that Sunday evening, as I cried myself sick, as I surveyed my existence with utter despair and hopelessness, I wouldn't have done it. I wouldn't have ended my life.
I get up the next day, and the next, and I carry on.
Because I AM A FIGHTER.
I've been fighting the odds all my life. I've been fighting against so many people, so many circumstances, so many thoughts... and maybe I dream beyond my scope, maybe there is no hope, maybe I want more than I can have... but I'm going to live this out until the end.

I will always be a dreamer. I will always have THIS dream: that one day I will be so happy, with a man who loves me, a family, a career, a home. I believe I will look in the mirror and see the body of a woman who succeeded. Even though on paper I am the biggest fuck-up in existence, I believe I can defy the odds against me.
Call me crazy, but I really do believe.


I know all of you are here because you're like me. You don't have the ability to give in. That's why we're still writing and reading and fighting.
I fought to win D. It didn't go according to plan, but so what, I'm moving on. Next day. New fight.
I fought to lose weight. Then I binged, I failed, but so what. Next day. New start.
It's pointless to waste time crying when I should be fighting. And you know, I can feel myself getting stronger. The whole thing with D would have rendered me sick in bed and binging for weeks at uni. Not anymore. One binge, one day under the duvet, and I'm back out again. Fighting.
Do you know why I stayed at 'the club'? Because leaving would have been giving in.

Do you know what most 'normal' people do? They give in. That's what makes them the normal, average population. Oh look, I'm hungry, I'll eat whatever is convenient, whatever tastes nice. Oh look I'm fat, I'll just accept it and buy clothes in a bigger size. Oh look I'm not achieving everything I'm capable of achieving, but I can't be bothered try harder to improve myself.

Do you know why we're here, why we're outcasts? Because we desire to be exceptional. AND WE ARE NOT AFRAID TO FIGHT FOR IT. It's incredibly rare; the fighting gene; the inability to give in. But we have it.

Pain is weakness leaving the body.
Every battle makes us stronger, braver, more skilled.
Until one day, warriors, we will triumph.




Never forget this.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Pain is weakness leaving the body

I don't know what I'd do without you all.
How on earth could I possibly get by without this blog? Without the love and support I receive through this medium?
I just don't know.
My physical 'friends' hate me whenever they see a glimpse of my true tortured soul. I am so sick of this aching, brave facade, but it's not a choice, it's a necessity.


I went away this weekend with 'the club' - one of our weekend camps if you like.
Of course D was there. He spoke to me once or twice in passing, but that was it. It wasn't as if he ignored me exactly, but there was none of the sweet friendliness and enthusiasm that he had shown towards me before. It seems he hadn't told anyone about me visiting him last week, or in fact acknowledged to anyone that we had become anything closer than mere acquaintances. Perhaps on the weekend he felt that he couldn't let the others see him being overly friendly with me? Perhaps he felt awkward? Perhaps he just wanted nothing to do with me? I don't know; I probably never will.

At the end of the weekend, we all went for drinks and some food. I drank too much. I needed confidence. I was convinced the D I knew and loved would suddenly return, all charm and smiles, and at least engage me in conversation. But no, he was still acting like I was nobody, like we weren't even friends. Who was this guy, who privately had made such an effort to get to know me? It was like he'd completely forgotten how well we got on.
Of course I made sure I looked my absolute best.
All that fucking effort. Again.
After he left and I was drunk enough, I texted him, and sure enough, super-friendly, super-sweet, came the reply... so why not act that way to my face - in front of others?

I want to thank you all for the supportive comments on my last post. Things were very black. Your love kept me strong. I promise to catch up with reading and commenting/replying in the next few days. And to Savory in particular, for reminding me why I strive for perfection, why I fight, why I carry on: "you do it for more than just this rubbish boy who doesn't deserve you in all your fragile perfection. We do it because we know there's something bigger and grander out there."

So, D, I don't need your shit. You may like me, you may not. It is irrelevant. You are irrelevant. I'm focused on the bigger picture, the long term goal, I'm focused on ME.

Anyway, that evening, slightly drunk, I came home to my mum to find her in a furious and vile state - something about me not answering her phone calls (although I didn't get any, but hey.) She'd been through my things and read something... she started hurling abuse at me, calling me crazy and sick... even now I'm still not sure exactly what it was she found...
I couldn't deal with it...

I lost control.

It's hard, sitting here now, sober and controlled, trying to write about exactly what happened. I just lost it. I wanted out. I wanted to end it all.
I cried my heart and soul out on my bedroom floor. The rage inside me was uncontrollable. I couldn't even scream. I'm so caged and restrained and restricted in my own home. I wanted to rip up my whole room, burn everything, throw my possessions against the wall, smash my whole existence into pieces... but all I could do was lie on the floor and cry - harder than I can ever remember crying before.
Being away, for just one weekend, being able to escape everything in my life, and then finally having to return to this horrific, cold, unloving reality of home was unbearable - seeing the hate in your mother's eyes and knowing all that exists here is loneliness, emptiness and sickness.
I feel so exhausted with life. Living is just so painful. I have given everything, for nothing. And I cannot escape.

What's the point of being beautiful if you are so dead?

But even on that Sunday evening, as I cried myself sick, as I surveyed my existence with utter despair and hopelessness, I wouldn't have done it. I wouldn't have ended my life.
I get up the next day, and the next, and I carry on.
Because I AM A FIGHTER.
I've been fighting the odds all my life. I've been fighting against so many people, so many circumstances, so many thoughts... and maybe I dream beyond my scope, maybe there is no hope, maybe I want more than I can have... but I'm going to live this out until the end.

I will always be a dreamer. I will always have THIS dream: that one day I will be so happy, with a man who loves me, a family, a career, a home. I believe I will look in the mirror and see the body of a woman who succeeded. Even though on paper I am the biggest fuck-up in existence, I believe I can defy the odds against me.
Call me crazy, but I really do believe.


I know all of you are here because you're like me. You don't have the ability to give in. That's why we're still writing and reading and fighting.
I fought to win D. It didn't go according to plan, but so what, I'm moving on. Next day. New fight.
I fought to lose weight. Then I binged, I failed, but so what. Next day. New start.
It's pointless to waste time crying when I should be fighting. And you know, I can feel myself getting stronger. The whole thing with D would have rendered me sick in bed and binging for weeks at uni. Not anymore. One binge, one day under the duvet, and I'm back out again. Fighting.
Do you know why I stayed at 'the club'? Because leaving would have been giving in.

Do you know what most 'normal' people do? They give in. That's what makes them the normal, average population. Oh look, I'm hungry, I'll eat whatever is convenient, whatever tastes nice. Oh look I'm fat, I'll just accept it and buy clothes in a bigger size. Oh look I'm not achieving everything I'm capable of achieving, but I can't be bothered try harder to improve myself.

Do you know why we're here, why we're outcasts? Because we desire to be exceptional. AND WE ARE NOT AFRAID TO FIGHT FOR IT. It's incredibly rare; the fighting gene; the inability to give in. But we have it.

Pain is weakness leaving the body.
Every battle makes us stronger, braver, more skilled.
Until one day, warriors, we will triumph.




Wednesday, 20 January 2010

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead, I think I made you up inside my head

There are tears stinging the backs of my eyelids every time I shut my eyes to pause. This world is hurting me so much. The truth is, I'm living, I'm so very much alive, so fit, so healthy, at my peak... except I'm doing it for the spectres that haunt me and keep my blood running so cold. I am a living eating disorder.
That's it.
There's nothing else left in my head anymore.

You know, I'd give anything, to update my facebook status to say really 'what's on my mind'. Don't you ever just want to scream at the top of your voice. "PLEASE HELP ME. Underneath this pretty blush and giddy personality I'm dying, I'm torturing myself, I'm killing myself. Please fucking help me."

I've reached the stage where I can't eat anything without throwing it up. The only reason I'm not losing weight is because my initial intake is so much that I can't be getting even half the calories back up anymore.
I'm 22 years old and my life is over - because I cannot live it.

It's weird... I don't think anyone who knows me would believe me if I told them: I threw up four times yesterday: in fact I'm brilliant at it - I've perfected it. I can throw up anything, anywhere, anytime. Could you believe that of anyone? Surely it only happens to teenage girls on rubbish TV dramas.

I want to scream, I want to cry, I want to be held in someone's arms.
I want to be held in someone's arms. For comfort. Because they see how much I'm suffering. Because they love me. Because they understand. Because I'm not just a drama queen to them.
I want to be held in someone's arms. I want to be safe. Protected from myself.
I just want to be held in someone's arms.
But there is no-one.



I went to see D. I fasted successfully, I ran myself into the ground in the gym, burning 1,000 calories daily. I got down to my lowest recent weight. And, following that, after three days of binging, am back to my highest. 10lbs - up and down, easy as that. Starve, binge. Up, down.
I went to every effort to look perfect for him. I wore the cutest top to show my flat tummy off.
There was nothing in my body. I was so completely empty.
And I tortured myself to look perfect for him.
Nothing happened, not really. He fixed my kit, we chatted a little, it was nice, pleasant, I left. He didn't suggest I stayed longer, he didn't get me a drink, ask me to dinner and he certainly didn't kiss me. Ha!
I took it as the greatest failure.
I don't know what the fuck I was expecting to happen on a casual meeting in the late afternoon.
A declaration of love? Passionate sex?
Apparently so.
Clearly, that was never going to happen. I am seriously deluded.
So I ate. Because I could. Because I failed. Because I needed to be punished.

Well I certainly punished myself. He was all I thought about for four weeks. I am such a freak.

What's the point? My heart is so empty.


Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell: It fell upon a little western flower, Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound,

I've told D that I'm going to go to his on Thursday.
But I'm still too fat.
So I may postpone it till Friday. Or Monday. Or never.
Wouldn't it just be so much easier if I deleted him from my head, never heard from him again, never thought of him evermore. Oops, sorry D, I forgot you existed.

I went shopping today, with him in mind. Every time I remembered one of his messages and remembered something sweet he had said, I smiled - a great, big, sunny, daydream smile.
The goddamn boy makes me smile.

And yet, now, I just want to cry.
I binged.
I am too fat to go and see him, too fat to go and wow him.
I am a terrible fuck up.
It is too late, again. I messed up, I missed the deadline, I gave in. I fucked it up.

I will not go and see him at this weight. I would be humiliated. The experience would crush me.

I really want this. God, even just thinking about him makes me happier than I've been since the countryside days I spent with James back in the Summer of 2008. That was the last time a guy truly made me smile with happiness. And this guy, this D, I barely know him! I've had a short conversation face to face and literally no more that 20 messages either way since then! But I know I can't be imagining how I feel, and I can't be imaging that he is making me feel this way.
And yet, thanks to Mia, I'm going to walk away.
She made me pull out of a ski trip in 2008. She made me pull out of a sailing trip in 2009. She made me cut, she made me hide away, she made boys run from me, she made me fat and ugly, she ruined what should have been the best times of my life. And now, because of her, I'm too afraid to go after the guy who thinks about me, looks out for me, and whose words put a dreamy smile on my face.

If I were thin and beautiful, D would love me - he'd never let me go.
I don't care if that's irrational, I don't care if that's wrong.
It's not about what's true, it's about what my head says is true.

I want to curl up in his bed and have his strong arms entwined around me all night long. I want my fragile, porcelain body to be softly held against his broad torso. I want to be his little perfect, demure china doll.
If I go now, I will be some random butch friend.

I think the main reason he may like me is because of facebook - I know he stalks me a fair bit. But all my pictures on facebook make me look great. I mean, do you think I'd let ugly/fat photos be up there? If he likes me, it's this virtual me who he thinks is fit. The truth... is less appealing and er, less photoshopped...

I know I shouldn't be banging on about this guy, it's pathetic, but this is where my head is at at the moment. D this and D that. I go to the gym for D, I burn off 1,000 calories for D, I won't eat that for D.
When he doesn't message back quickly enough I binge. When he messages me and makes me smile I throw up with greater conviction.
He holds the strings of my eating disorder right now. All the strings. And he doesn't even know it - any of it.

It will be another 1,000 calories in the gym tomorrow. I did it yesterday, had a day off today because I went shopping, so back to the grind tomorrow.
And I'm going to fast. Fuck it. I'll eat healthy protein and veg when this is over. I need to fucking LOSE on an immense scale. I WANT to go and see him. I must lose 7 pounds first. If it's not done by Friday, I don't go. Ever.
If my body wants to scream at me for burning 1,000 calories and not eat, Fine. Scream. I'm not listening. I'll go and burn another 1,000 the day after to shut it up.
Damn you D. Damn you. Why did you fuck with a girl who has an eating disorder?



In other news, I have an appointment with a clinical psychologist on the 22nd Jan.
I am both delighted and mortified.
But I have to do it; I have to get out you know.
And I want it to work this time. I will work at it.
Because I want to get skinny.
I need to learn control... to stop the binging... to restrict better... I want to stop the bulimia, to make me more faithful to my thinner body.

I am fasting until I see D. I need support for this. I must not falter. Nothing but water for a flower... until I devour him.



Thursday, 7 January 2010

Ophelia, the hunter-gatherer

According to the scales, on Monday I lost half a stone (7 pounds) in 12 hours.
Yeah.
ERM.
I wish?!
But seriously. That's what both of my goddam scales told me. Seriously. Are my scales posessed or is my body just THAT ridiculous?!

After a lovely 700 calorie session in the gym on Monday and a negative amount of food, I decided to do the same on Tuesday. I hit the gym at around 5pm on an empty tummy. 700 calories later, I left the gym, completely drained of life. I felt like zombie.
On the train home it struck me: Stomach-churning nausea. The most intense and disgusting nausea I have ever experienced. I had to press my hand to my mouth to hold it in.
My body was rebelling. My stomach was being vile. It was screaming at me to eat.
I don't remember walking through the front door, I just remember the bread crumbs when it was over.
According to ABC I was only supposed to consume 100 calories. I had burnt off 700, which meant that strictly speaking I could eat 800 calories. But I lost it with the bread... I think I went over.
I just felt so foul and weak.

But I should have done better. I should have planned. Should have been more sensible.
I cannot do intensive work outs without eating something.
Or can I... yesterday I pushed the boat out and burnt 1,000 calories on a tin of tuna and half a flapjack. And it felt pretty great.

Well, I'm giving my body a day off from the gym today - and have consumed an apple, two eggs, chicken breast and broccoli - 400 calories - check.
I will do some resistance/toning/core exercises this evening, just to keep my head happy :)



On another note, there's a great program on BBC iPlayer at the moment, (sorry to any international readers, I think it may only be available in the UK...)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00pqb9q/Diet_A_Horizon_Guide/

It has some of the best reverse thinspo I've ever seen. I sat through the whole 60 minutes feeling completely repulsed.
Here is what I have learnt:
- Bread is the most disgusting substance I have ever seen. (see video at 08:13) I will not EVER be putting dough into my body again.
- Sugar consumption has risen fivefold in a century and doubled in ten years.
- The human race has fucked up nature, mass-producing chickens, filling our beautiful green food from mother earth with chemicals.
- I have an intense hatred of fat people.
- Looking at supermarkets stacked full of food makes me disgusted by what society has become.
- Human beings are not supposed to be like this.
- I don't think I can eat junk food again.

I cannot emphasise enough how this program has made me change the way I feel about what I put into my body - my beautiful, pure body. It's mine, it's nature's, and we've convenience packaged the world to destroy it.
The decaying stench of human fat is overpowering every city. I'd like to think we were part of a revolution. Perhaps we, the 'eating-disordered', are actually the sane ones. Perhaps our 'disorder' is a consequence of our bodies remembering the way humans used to live and somewhere in our forgotten subcoscious we are battling the society which forces this unnatural food upon us.

It's true though isn't it : people who only eat natural, organic, healthy foods, raw foodists - are considered by modern society to be 'weird', 'freaks', 'obsessed', 'ridiculous', 'stupid'.
But really, that's how humans have been eating for thousands of years.
People judge me when I turn down junk food.
Actually, I'm doing what nature wants, I'm respecting my body, I'm loving my body, and above all, I'M BEING NORMAL.

So, here's to my hunter-gatherer ancestors hammering away for attention in my head. I'm going to start adhering to the way my genetics were set when I was born 22 years ago - before chemicals and shit in tin cans and shiny wrappers modified my lean template.
I'm designed to be super-fit, toned, slim and radiant. And so are YOU.

I feel like my head has been cleansed. I must keep working out, keep enjoying the protein, the vitamins and minerals until I've reformed
a body full of beauty.


Sunday, 3 January 2010

Lay her i' the earth, And from her fair and unpolluted flesh may violets spring!





Presenting Problem:
Ophelia presented with symptoms of severe depression and severe levels of anxiety (as indicated by scores of 22 on the PHQ9 and 17 on the GAD7 respectively). Ophelia told me that she is obsessed with her weight and how she looks. Ophelia explained that she will restrict her food for a few days, and then will eat a lot and vomit afterwards. Ophelia said that this is having an impact on her studies, and she won't go out to lectures if she is feeling particularly bad about her appearance.

Risk Issues:
Ophelia said that she often has thoughts of suicide, but said that she would never act on those thoughts. Ophelia also explained that she does self-harm about once a fortnight. She told me that these cuts are fairly superficial, and she has never needed medical treatment for them.

Treatment Plan:
Ophelia and I agreed that I would refer her for a further assessment with one of our high intensity therapists. In the meantime, I have sent Ophelia some self-help materials around eating disorders. Ophelia will be contacted as soon as an appointment for a further assessment becomes available.



Such is my most recent diagnosis.
Isn't it nice to be reduced to such an insensitive list. Such heart-rendering stuff.
The NHS is one long waiting list. They don't really care if you have an eating disorder unless you are so thin you are about to die.

I should probably never have left treatment two years ago. I might have been saved. But I lied my way though and escaped. I don't believe you can be an expert in depression or eating disorders until you have suffered the hell yourself and realised that you can't escape it. They force fed me CBT and I went home and threw it up. And finally, I said thank you, shook hands and promised I would be ok. And they never noticed or cared that I never came back. They only care about you when it's too late. I have always been able to physically stand on my own two feet - therefore I could do so mentally too. But I can't.
So you see, even if I wanted to recover, I couldn't. I'd need to kill myself first to get attention. (But as my diagnosis above states, I won't, PHEW!)



Now, here's the thing.
I am going to see D.

Ok, so on New Years Eve, I decided, while facebook stalking, that D has a girlfriend. So I decided that that was it. I was filling my head with hopes that were just going to tear me up. I was committing myself to stay in a club which I had no interest in remaining. I couldn't bear the thought of making myself look perfect for him, taking on new work at the club and then finding out it was all for nothing. That's the kind of shit which makes me bed ridden for weeks. Ridiculously pathetic, but true.
So I deleted all the text messages from my phone which had bought incomprehensible smiles to my face, deleted his number, and posted on my facebook a declaration that I had removed the last guy from my head and was leaving the club to enjoy a sane 2010.
And that was it, all the pressure lifted. No need to push myself to lose weight. I was not seeing him, I was not going back to see anyone that mattered.

He was out of my head.

Until, of course, he commented on my facebook status.
I doubt he knew the guy I was removing from my head was him... well, maybe he does, but, I don't think it's that obvious... anyway he said I shouldn't leave the club.
So, brilliant, back into my head he goes! And there he stays.
So I managed to subtly ask a mutual friend... and find out he's single. Of course he's single. I bloody knew this all along! And of course he likes me, a guy who didn't like me would not have gone out of his way to keep asking to help me out with stuff.

So, now he's single, and I'm pretty certain he must like me - even if only a little and even if only superficially - it's ok for him to be in my head. It's ok for me to pursue this.

I dug out his number and added it to my phone again. And I texted him.
He said of course. Of course, he was still going to help me fix some kit. He's back in London from tomorrow. I can pick and choose when to go and see him.

Andddd I'm fat.
I am so fucking fat.
Just. Brilliant.

I'm going to give it 10 days. I am going to see him on 14th/15th January. Primarily because that's when my exams are over, but also, because I am going to work out every day until then. That, combined with the ABC diet should make it possible...

I need something to look forward to ok. I can't function without a goal. D is my goal. I'm so excited. I'll by a new outfit, spend all morning doing my hair, make my skin smooth as silk, and prance, light-footed into his world.

It's the only thing that can make me smile at the moment, the only thing in my life worth living for, worth starving for.
When I took it away for that brief time, I found myself staring into a year where nothing mattered. I did not matter.

But now, it gives me a reason to survive. THRIVE. I will find a way to live off this barren land, and bloom into that flower.



Saturday, 2 January 2010

ONE YEAR ON

This blog is now one year old!

I can't believe it.
Over 300 followers and still writing.


So I am going to take you back to where it all began...
In the Autumn term of my final year at University I chose a module in Literary Theory and Trauma. One of our projects was to analyse some blogs - so naturally I decided upon an eating disorder one. My google search at the time came up with one: Dying to be Thin - Anaregzig - The queen of all pro-ana bloggers. I read it from beginning to end. And that's when I found that a sanctuary for me did exist - here.
I didn't start up my own blog until the end of term, after Christmas. I never intended it to be 'pro-ana' and still don't, really. I just wanted to write freely. I wanted to be able to express exactly what was going on inside my head, exactly what I wanted and believed and exactly who I was, without the fear of social prejudice. My desires then are the same as they are now:
- I want to recover and be normal.
- I want to be thin and beautiful.
I struggle to appreciate that the two things conflict.

I don't take delight in my eating disorder. It has ruined year, upon year of my life. I know that.
But at the same time, I know that my life is nothing without the pursuit of perfection. I need Ana to make me happy, and she does.
I want to live happily and be normal. But I only want that if I am thin and beautiful.


So, one year on. I am still a full-time bulimic. I still self-harm. I still obsess. I still hide. I am still here.
The damage I've done to my body is becoming more apparent.
I want you to know, if I ever disappear from this blog, then...
...well, I want you to know I won't just disappear. I'll tell you if I'm not coming back, ok. So you know what's happened if I don't.



Yesterday I had a good cry. And I stuffed myself with a huge cake. And threw up a loaf of bread.
Why?
Because I made the decision not to have anymore contact with D and leave the club and basically cut myself off from the world outside my studies. So it was ok for me to be fat.
Yeah, no idea what was going on.
So fuck all that. All this THINKING. Drives me MAD.
I can't give it up and I know it.

I really... you know what... I don't know what is wrong with my head. Am I actually ill or am I just imagining and creating all this chaos? Why am I like this? How do I stop? Can I stop?

Am I doomed forever, Desdemona?



Ophelia Wants To Be A Flower in 2010

1. Carbs and junk just want to destroy me. I will not be destroyed.
2. I am not empty. I am full.
3. I am intelligent. Prove it.
4. I am so beautiful and pure. Underneath the fat.
5. There is no guy I want. Only guys who want me.


It's time to bloom before I go to seed.