Hospital Won’t Make You Well.

My very first hospital admission was in 2013. I was 20 years old and naïve; I was relatively new to treatment and had never had a conversation with anyone who’d been in an inpatient setting before. I was super motivated – I thought I’d go in, get my food on track, increase what I was eating, gain the weight that I’d lost and then be good – ready to discharge and life would be back to how it was before I relapsed.

But that’s not what happens and that’s not how it works. Continue reading

on living and connecting.

I’ve always known recovery from an eating disorder is possible, because I’ve read books about it. I’ve heard people share their recovery stories. I’ve even had the privilege of witnessing it happen from time to time. I’ve known that recovery is possible, but I’ve only known this on an intellectual level – not in my own experience. Whilst I’ve definitely had times where I’ve been more “well” in the last 7 years, I’ve certainly not yet reached a place in that time where I would say my life has been substantially improved, regardless of how things have been perceived by others, or by my friends and family. Continue reading

Before, Now, After.

There is always a before, a now and an after. Take the current COVID19 pandemic, for example. In just a few short weeks, everyone’s lives have turned completely upside down. Before this, we could sit in the park with a friend drinking a takeaway coffee and not even have to consider the distance between us or be concerned a cop might rock up and give us a fine. We could walk down the main street of our hometown and explore the little shops, wander around the bookshop, pop into Vinnies. We didn’t have to avoid people on our morning walks and make an obvious point of walking around them. We weren’t necessarily wearing gloves to buy groceries or sanitising and washing our hands obsessively or wearing masks or feeling anxious if the person in our train carriage had a cold. Indeed, we could even catch public transport without an ounce of anxiety. Continue reading

eating disorders & COVID-19

 

In the last few days I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post discussing how disabilities and mental health issues can lead to isolation and a general feeling of being ostracised in the community but there’s something else that’s come up in these last few weeks and even more so in these last few days that I feel is a more pressing issue to write about.

Obviously, everyone is pretty aware of the current situation regarding COVID-19. It’s a scary time for many, particularly those who are the most vulnerable. We’re conscious of not being too close to people, we’re aware of minimising contact, people are feeling anxious about touching coffee cups and handling money, sitting on trains and buses, going to church, entering shopping centres. There’s huge financial burdens and stresses on people which is just adding to the anxiety. Grocery stores are empty, broccoli is $11.90 a kilo (wtf) and everyone is panicking. Honestly, it took me 3 days and 6 grocery stores to find a bag of oats (shout out to Aldi). People are rationing and hoarding; walking around our local Woolies is genuinely really distressing and depressing. Every second shelf is empty and a lot of people are somehow managing to get by without the basics. Life has enough stress without this. There is still rent to pay, dogs to take to the vet, appointments to attend. There are children to protect and teach and work to be done. There are weddings and funerals and other sicknesses to be managed. Just generally, there’s a great deal of tension around. COVID-19 is constantly on peoples minds.

Obviously there are people who are more vulnerable to getting sick – REALLY sick from Coronavirus. The elderly, those with chronic illness (things you might not even think of – diabetes, heart or lung disease, cancer, various autoimmune diseases, HIV and AIDS, Down Syndrome and eating disorders, for example) are particularly more at risk than your average Joe.

So: eating disorders. It’s taken me awhile to get around to the main point of this post (soz fam, but thanks if you’ve read until now). I’ve been worried the last few days about people I’ve met in hospital who might be freaking out with all this food hoarding and panic buying going on and just today a conversation surrounding that has happened amongst a few of us. It’s going to trip a lot of us up. People who might not have an entirely clear understanding of eating disorders may not realise that some of us really struggle to be flexible with foods we eat or with specific brands that we buy. And it’s so easy to use that as a reason to forgo our meal plan or to restrict our intake. I don’t know how to address this because it obviously is what it is and some of us will certainly find ways of adapting, but not all of us are in a place where we can. What’s the point of posting about it if I don’t have a clear solution? I don’t know. But I just want people to be aware, I guess. It’s not so easy for someone to just eat pasta if they only feel they can manage rice. It’s not so easy for us to choose a different brand of yoghurt or have a different snack or have a different muesli bar than usual. Honestly, it doesn’t make sense even to me but the anxiety that comes up is real and there and undeniable. I’m worried about people with eating disorders because we’re already more at risk of getting very unwell were we to contract this virus but even MORE vulnerable if it shakes up our meal plan or routine and things become or seem unmanageable. I know for myself I’m already freaking out about the prospect of what might happen if I’m unable to be outside and exercise and how that might impact my meal plan. It all has a flow on effect. I do want to acknowledge also that there are people with allergies or intolerances who are also restricted in their food options, so it’s important to be mindful of this as well.

Please be aware of this. Those who know people with eating disorders, those who have family members with eating disorders – please know we might need some extra support with foodstuff at this crazy time. There is likely to be greater anxiety and we might need extra encouragement. We might need you to swap muesli bars with us if you don’t really give a shit what flavour you have. We might need you to grocery shop with us so we don’t have huge panic attacks in the cereal aisle, or even shop for us. This is a crazy time for everyone but there are different layers to this for different people and groups.

And for those who this is an issue – reach out. Share with people what’s going on in your head; share what the eating disorder might be shouting in that head of yours. Maybe you feel undeserving of food, or feel like you need to leave it for others but this is not the case – you deserve it. You need it. You need food just as much as anyone and you are so worthy of that.

So. Here ends the blog post.

Bek x

for Liam & for you & for me & us all.

I’ve been thinking about writing this post all day and had carefully crafted in my mind everything I’d wanted to say. But here I am, 8pm on Thursday night and I’m at a loss for words. But anyway, let’s see how we go.

This week, an old school friend of ours died. He would’ve been 28 this year. We’re all shocked and understandably devastated in our own ways and for different reasons. For me, Liam was one of those guys in school who I’d always have a bit of a laugh with. He was a jokester. He had nice eyes. The goofiest laugh. A friendly smile. A dry sense of humour. He was smart. He was unique. There was no other guy like Liam in our year; he was friends with everyone. He was special to a lot of us. I definitely had a crush on him at some point. He was a goofball. I loved that.

After we left school in 2010. Liam and I stayed in contact. The odd message here and there. Mentions of catch ups and coffees but life always managed to get in the way, as life does. At times when I was really struggling with my eating disorder, he’d always reach out. He always read my blog and he’d always message me after a post if something I’d written had really resonated with him. He encouraged me during some really hard times and was so open and honest about his own struggles with other addictions and his own recovery in that.

Liam believed in recovery from addiction and from mental illness. He believed in me and MY recovery. If he knew others who struggled with similar issues, he believed in them and their full recovery too.

So this is why I blog. For people like Liam who read my words and who can relate. For family and friends who want a better understanding of mental health and addiction and compulsive behaviours. For people to not feel so damn alone and isolated in this. We’re all here, doing life together as best we can, so let’s keep doing it. We need to do the best we can with what we have and we need to show our love and care and concern for others so they don’t fall between the cracks.

Big love,

Bek X

stick around for the good days.

You might not believe it, but the good days exist. Or the good moments exist. The good minutes, even. A stranger walking by who catches your eye and smiles. Sunshine after a week of rain, or rain after the driest summer on record. The beautiful meow of your cat when you arrive home. The magazine you subscribe to arriving in the mail. Peanut butter. Bowls of rice. The satisfaction of finishing a book. Giggles escaping from your mouth that you didn’t even anticipate occurring. Your favourite song playing on the radio. Cards in the mail from friends; text messages saying hey thinking of you praying for you love you I’m glad you exist. Delicious smells of fresh bread when you walk by a bakery. Wisecracks from oldies. Cups of tea before bedtime and soy flat whites during the day. Breakfast. Breakfast for breakfast, lunch and dinner because it’s the damn best.

Green, lush grass that a month ago was crunchy and dead beneath your feet because of the lack of rain. Thunderstorms. Walking by the ocean. Watching a sunrise; watching a sunset. New, fresh tubes of toothpaste. Sleeping through the night. Dogs. Your dogs. Strangers dogs. Big dogs. Little dogs. Fluffy dogs. All kinds of dogs.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the good things.

Good days exist, good moments exist and good things exist, but some days we need to look extra hard for them. Some days are painful. Some days feel unbearable and it can feel like it’s just one horrible thing after the next. Depression isn’t just mental, it’s physical. It’s crushing and ever present. But there’s blue among the grey and I hope the grey starts to become less and less for you all x

Mental Illness is not a Flaw in Character.

We’re not very good as a society at talking about mental health. It’s awkward. It’s kind of gross, all that vulnerability that is felt when you put yourself out there and share parts of life that aren’t all that nice. We fear people will judge us, that we will be seen as attention seeking, looking for sympathy. It’s just generally not a nice vibe. And so we conceal it all inside of ourselves, and we become inauthentic because we aren’t being our true selves with friends and family Continue reading

a rambling rant // a friendly reminder

This is a friendly reminder that eating disorders are a mental illness, not a physical illness. The basis for diagnosis is thoughts and behaviours. And whilst there may be (but is not always the case) physical consequences to an ED, this is not a marker for how serious ones eating disorder is. In fact, all eating disorders are serious. Continue reading

on friendship and eating disorders

Oh man, a blog post! What a time. I’ve had so much to write but also so little, and lots of words running around in my head but no space in my brain to sit down and write them out. And to be honest, I still don’t have the space so these words will likely be clumsily strung together – sorry fam. Bear with me in this time of writers block Struggle Street. Continue reading

Lick the Damn Spoon!

The other day I baked some incredibly delicious “breakfast cookies” (but let’s be real, I had one with my coffee for arvo tea that same day I baked them – defs a snack, m’iright or) and the recipe called for half a cup of peanut butter. I used this scrumptious dark chocolate PB from Fix & Fogg (and I 110% support you going and purchasing some bc #delicious). After scraping it out of the measuring cup and grabbing another spoon to mix all the ingredients together, I did this thing which I wouldn’t usually do when baking – in fact, that I downright just wouldn’t do because it scares the heck out of me – I licked the rest of the peanut butter off  of the spoon. And then I scraped the last of the jar and ate that. And then I used my finger and scraped the rest of it off of the measuring cup before dumping all of the dirty dishes into the sink. It was just like, the most natural thing. It was probably one of the most normal behaviours I’ve done around food in a long time, actually. And to someone who doesn’t know much about eating disorders or anything at all really, or who doesn’t know me and who wouldn’t understand why I was inwardly freaking the heck out just a wee bit, it wouldn’t make any sense at all. Truth be told I can’t even tell you it makes complete sense to me either.

So many thoughts crossed through my mind in a matter of a mere minute or two – was it OK that I did that, do I have to restrict somewhere else in my day if it wasn’t OK, is that (barely) a teaspoon of PB going to affect my weight in some way (1 – irrational, 2 – magical thinking)?

The non-eating disordered part of my head can sit here, look back and tell you that those thoughts were irrational, they were untrue and there was no need to take any action about licking that spoon, but in that moment when every single morsel of food that goes into my mouth is kind of really a hell of a lot frightening, those thoughts were real. They mattered, but what mattered more was what I chose to do with those thoughts and if I decided to take action against them.

I chose to try and justify it to my brain and reason with myself but then eventually moved on to ignoring them, despite the anxiety that was sitting in the pit of my stomach (along that sweet, sweet peanut butter). I sat with that, and I sat with it for a few hours and eventually the anxiety eased and I moved on with my day. And then that afternoon I ate one of those cookies and it was pretty dang good, if I do say so myself.

Licking the spoon: such a minor thing, but somehow a major thing as well. There’s a lot of symbolism in that – it’s a bit of an up yours to the eating disorder, actually. There are so many things that my head prevents me from doing on a daily basis because of these exact reasons that licking that spoon brought up – but just for this one day and in this one moment I was able to just let that go and have this one moment of normality and nostalgia (come on, who doesn’t lick the rest of that cake batter from the bowl before they put that cake in the oven? I can tell you I certainly used to prior to 2009 without fear or shame).

Lick that spoon. Eat those crumbs. Eat that last piece of chocolate just because it’s entirely delicious and you deserve to enjoy that and experience that and eat yummy things. There’s symbolism in the small things, and there’s freedom buried in that symbolism.

Go right ahead; I dare you.

Bekah X