The Difference between being Well and Chronically sick.

One of the biggest problems us Chronically ill face is the lack of understanding from those who don’t suffer the same afflictions. Which, I get it. You can’t understand something like this. Something that you’ve never been experienced before and sounds so alien from your healthy person life.

I feel one of the best ways to describe it is through Christine Miserandino’s Spoon theory. Unlike the average human being us chronically ill have a limited number of energy reserves or symptom tolerance in a day. And yes technically we can go over those in a day, but if we were to do that then it would leave us with less spoons for the next day or more. Until we were to just completely stop.

Image result for spoons

Now imagine each daily activity takes away a certain number of these spoons. Even the most simplest of them.

Lets start with getting out of bed. Yes even that takes spoons from us. Now lets think of taking a shower, that can also take a lot of spoons from the Chronically sick. Even more if we were to wash our hair, or shave at the same time.

Now you’ve got the gist of things you can see that even after completing tasks that are mindless or even refreshing to the average person we end up severely compromised.

When you have a chronic illness you are constantly fighting. Constantly pushing through relentless pain and fatigue. Not to mention the whole host of other symptoms that we can sometimes face with a chronic illness.

Yet most of us look perfectly healthy and able on the outside but please understand that this is not the case. Our body is fighting a war on the inside which is invisible to everyone looking from the outside.

This is why we may not want to socialise. It’s not even that we don’t want to. Mentally we probably do. Mentally we are probably bored of feeling physically capable of nothing. But physically we can’t do it and if we do it will just continue and heighten our daily suffering.

And we don’t want that. We don’t want to end up back at our worst for weeks or even months on end when we can prevent it. Most things in life are not worth that. Not atall. Related image

So please try to gain a little understanding before you judge us or frown upon out attitudes or work ethic. If we say no. Please don’t take it personally. It’s not you. It’s that our bodies are fighting a war that you could never understand.

We just don’t have the same unlimited number of spoons that the average healthy person has. We have a limited number.

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“You Look Well”

Hello again readers of my blog. Today I’m writing about the “You look well” or “You look healthy” or any other variation of the two comment that people quite often make.

The comment that many people with eating disorders find triggering, they find to be one their head twists to mean “Your fat” “You’ve gained weight.” or “Your getting a litttle chubby.”

But that is by no means true and not what is meant when loved ones comment these things. The “You look well” comment is meant as a compliment not as anything else your eating disorder may convince you so I urge everyone to see it as a compliment.

I myself got variations of the “You look well” comment on two occasions yesterday and I could have let it really trigger me, especially seeing as that morning I had stepped on the scales to see a ridiculous weight gain in the space of a week. But there’s no need to let it trigger you or set it back in any way. Fight against that voice in your head and think about it rationally and logically.

Looking well is a good thing. It’s a compliment.

Lets put this into context with my case from yesterday. I got the comment from my dad and my aunt. The last time my dad saw me was nearly 2 months ago now. I was borderline underweight in terms of BMI, so underweight in terms of where my body likes to sit. I was majorly stressed about possibly having ovarian cancer, had no appetite and wasn’t feeling all that great. The last time I saw my aunt was nearly 3 months ago now, I was feeling ill with probably endo pain and again slightly stressing over possibly having ovarian cancer and under my body’s natural set point range.

It is a damn good thing that they think I look well! It shows I am healthy, well to some extent healthier than I was back then. And asides from the physical aspect of it, because there is a very minimal physical change in my health in terms of symptoms. We should want to look healthy. And healthy doesn’t necessarily mean skinny. For most of us healthy does mean having a bit of extra body fat and not being at the minimum possible healthy weight for our height.

I feel as though especially as a vegan. I would rather look healthy than not, just to help in some small way to promote the lifestyle rather than turn people away from it.

So fight those eating disorder voices. Because looking well or looking healthy are all good things and in no way means you need to start restricting again!

Mental hunger?

Hello again, back with another eating disorder recovery focused post because since my period ended (so friday) I’ve been crazy mentally hungry but the physical hunger still isn’t where it was before I started feeling sick again.

I feel like if you google mental hunger you get given a series of articles about how to ignore your mental hunger or emotional hunger as it can sometimes be called. It seems as if having mental hunger is sinful. But that’s not true. Mental hunger especially during and after a period of restriction or illness is totally normal and in reality, is just our body’s way of saying it needs food, it needs nourishment to get us out of that caloric deficit we somehow ended up in.

There’s nothing shameful or sinful about it.Which I myself have found myself feeling in the past, like I was greedy for eating despite no physical hunger. Yet what I failed to realise is  Just like physical hunger, it’s something that we should listen to and we should respond adequately, giving our body’s the food it needs. The energy it needs because that’s all food is after all. It’s energy.

Normal people don’t always wait until they’re physically hungry or physically hungry enough. Normal people do respond to mental hunger at times because that’s what being carefree around food and eating as you fancy is. It’s being able to respond to all hunger both mental and physical.

So I encourage everyone experiencing this to embrace it and accept it. Your body wouldn’t want the food if it didn’t need it.

 

Feeling like a failure

We all know a lot of people with eating disorders are also perfectionists and I am not one of the exceptions. The problem is I see most people in the recovery community meeting the overly high expectations they set for themselves. Which, don’t get me wrong is great for them, but it doesn’t help much when your sat hating yourself because you didn’t get those grades. You didn’t get the straight A*’s you were predicted, you didn’t even get the A*AA you needed for your dream university. You actually didn’t get the grades required for your insurance. And they let you in anyway, but that’s not the problem. The problem is you didn’t do well enough. You didn’t do well enough to meet those expectations you’d set for yourself. So you hate yourself and you feel ashamed of yourself although deep down you know you couldn’t have tried any harder and whatever happened happened.

You find yourself comparing your failed results with others, others who did get those 3A*’s you we’re supposed to get, maybe even 4 with that A or A* in EPQ to top it off and it fills you with hatred. Even more so when the other brags on facebook about her daughter who for these straight A’s and had a part time job and trained for sport multiple times a week. You did none of that. You had no responsibilities but you still didn’t get good enough grades.  It fills you with hatred because your jealous and you hate yourself. It fills you with hatred because you have to be the best. You were the best. And now you’re just mediocre. This is why comparing yourself to others is so harmful yet I find it so irresistible at the same time. It’s a hard habit to break really but one I know I need to break if I’m ever going to have any friends and ever come to accept myself. 3B’s and all. Just typing that. 3B’s. It makes me feel ashamed of myself. To me, 3B’s isn’t good. But if anyone else had got that I would congratulate them. If my best friend had got 3B’s I would be pleased for them. So why isn’t it good enough for me?

This is the perfectionism trait that gets to most of us wth eating disorders and it can make or break us. The positive of the perfectionism trait is that it can lead us to achieve amazing things. On the other hand, it can lead to you not doing that essay or exam because you know you won’t achieve well enough. You know you’ll never be good enough. It can also lead to burn out. And lead to your whole world tumbling around you when you tried so so hard but still didn’t achieve those perfect grades.

You try to tell yourself it doesn’t matter but it still does. You try to tell yourself it doesn’t define your worth but it does. Nothing can change how much of a failure you feel like you are. Even when other people seem proud of you. And this is why  I feel like the education system can be so dangerous and harmful to people, especially perfectionists.

In both high school and college I’ve been told everyone can et straight A*’s if they work hard enough. And I’ve been told it by plenty of teachers. IIt really is quite a dangerous thing to say I believe because it ensues the belief in perfectionists even more so that if they don’t get the top grades there somehow failures and it somehow means they didn’t try hard enough. When really that is not true, especially in perfectionists who do try hard enough. it’s because some people aren’t clever enough to get straight A*’s. Some people may have undiagnosed learning difficulties, gone unnoticed because they were getting good grades all their lives. (I honestly think  I have some mild form of dyslexia and it’s only become more apparent since starting my A-levels, and especially during A2 year.The only reason  I haven’t got myself tested is because I’ve heard it costs £400.) They may have just had a bad day, week or year for any number of reasons. Or they may have been to a college with a very bad quality of teaching and no one got straight A*’s. (Again me)

The point is there are countless numbers of reasons as to why these self-set expectations may not have been met but the perfectionist will still beat him/herself up about it because the fact hasn’t changed. In the mind of the perfectionist they have still failed and failure is such a scary thing.

I’m not going to type here about how it’s all okay if you haven’t met your grades or everything happens for a reason because I know it changes nothing. But what I am going to say is that we all need to learn to accept ourselves, go easier on ourselves. We can’t always be perfect or the best. Self-acceptance isn’t easy but it’s what needs to happen so we can be okay when things don’t go to plan.

 

 

Long needed update

Last time I posted I was going to uni to study law, although having doubts about my decisions in doing that. I have had ever since applying.

The last few weeks have been a  bit of a rollercoaster ride, what with my exercise addiction being worse than ever and my parents being not very nice to me in general, mum speaking in that tone of voice she does aad calling me things such as a “nasty piece of work.” and saying I’m being all “me me me.” On top of that they’ve both been super triggering, mum on yet another one of her diets and dad always commenting on what I’m eating, how much I’m eating and calling people “greedy at every chance he gets.

It’s some sort of minor miricle that I’m still a half sane indavidual, atleast trying not to relapse into anorexia.

I did get very close, especially over the last few days.

But over the last few days I’ve come to know myself a lot more. I’ve fully realised  am not ready to go to uni this year and I do not want to study law. I’ve come to realise my true passion in life is outdoor adventering and climbing more specifically and so in the future I want to do something surrounding outdoor adventuring. Whether it’s just being a climbing instructor or working at a place like PGL. If I go to uni it will be to do outdoor adventuring or something similar. And maybe one day I’ll open my own business. We’ll see…

The problem is the taking steps to achieve this goal. What i thought was social anxety before, I’ve now come to realise is more a fear of rejection. Going to church to ask the minister to sign my passport application, asking lecturers for references… I’m scared they’ll say no.  I’ve had so much rejection in my life that I struggle to believe they’ll agree and say yes to these things… because why would they?

I’ve been struggling with overexercise because it’s a distraction. I’ve been restricting because I don’t know how else to cope. I’m terrified of the adult world, terrified of failure, beng looked down on and living on benefits.

I’m so terrified of having no life that I’m using these unhealty coping mechanisms so I won’t have to face that.  won’t have to face it because I’ll be dead or in hospital.

Now I’ve identified all of this I really hope I can sort this out, rationalise my thoughts and take steps to achieve my goals in life.

Stay strong and keep fighting,

Hannah

I’m Not Selfish, I’m Mentally Ill

Hello all,

Today I want to make a blog post about well the title says it all really. I feel it’s a common belief from the none mentally ill population that people are selfish, when infact maybe even unknowingly are suffering from a mental illness. Ive heard many a person say suicide is selfish. But they don’t give any thought into how a person who has reahced that level of depression is feeling. Yes it may come across as selfish but to a person with a mental illness. Suicide or any action isn’t for selfish reasons it’s because they can’t see any other way.

Lets just take an example from today that happened to me. Today I was mant to be going to the races and for lunch for my grandads birthday but this moring I couldn’t handle it. I thought about it. I really did think about trying to go. Trying to challenge myself so hard and I thought about ths not for me. But because I didn’t want to let anyone down. I didnt want to be a disapointment as per ususal. But I looed at some sample menues and decided I couldn’t handle it. I mean the fact that they were sample menus would mean a level of uncertainty in not knowing what I could have. What if there was nothing I liked? Nothing atleast half safe? On top of that there wuld be the calorie issue. This 3 course meal would lead to too many calories. Too many unknown calories. Again that uncertainty. Would I get the nutrition I’m after? Probably not. And it’s not just the food it’s the being around people and food all day. It all seemed too much.

And yes I felt guilty for maing the decision not to go and I still feel guilty just not as so now I’ve had some time to think and calm down a bit. I know my mum and brother think Im selfish for sure. Both saying I’m wasting money… And oay my brothers 9, he can be forgiven. But my mum. She knows I’m mentally ill. I would hope she’d be more understanding. Apparently not.

But whatever people think I’m not selfish. Im mentally ill and yes sometimes that may make me come across to others as me being selfish and rude but that is the way things are at this moment in time. The best thing I can do is to work towards getting better and maybe one day I’ll be able to go out to eat even where there’s uncertainty as to the menu, calories and atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 weeks in re-recovery

Hello everyone!

Today marks 6 weeks since I started recovering from my eating disorder again after relapsing and I thought I’d make a blog post abou what I’ve gained in those last 6 weeks. Other than weight of course.

  1. Probably the most important thing first. Happiness. I’ve finally started enjoying life and feeling actually happy.
  2. Fitness – six weeks ago 20 miniutes of hiit killed me I’ve done 30-60 mins every day since saturday and I’m fine. (todays workout was hard though) I couldn’t imagine ever being able to do that 6 weeks ago. Looking forward to starting up running again in the spring! (Winter running is not fun)
  3. Intelligence – I was two marks of an A* in my business mock. It came as such a shock to me. I know without the carbs that wouldn’t have happened.
  4. Enoying food taste and flavours – I’m slowly learning to appreciate food as what it is and not worry so much. It is still an issue but little changes are being made by the meal.
  5. Energy – I’m no longer constantly zombified!
  6. Sleep – I am sleeping better most of the time. Some night I do still only get 5 or 6 hours but it is better than the 4-6 I was getting before I started recovering again.

Just goes to show. Recovery is always worth it !