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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is there really an “Obesity epidemic?”

Okay today I am coing to you about Obesity. Yes that big scary work signifying somehwere no one wants to be as in todays society it is shameful.

I’ve been doing soe observations and I would not say that there is an “Obesity epidemic.” I do not agree with the fat that 58% of english adults are overweight or obsese. Okay maybe clinically in accordance with having a BMI of above 24.9 but that doesnt take into account many things. Bone structure, set point, muscle mass.

It is quite easy to be clinically overweight or obsese but actually at a perfectly healthy weight for your body.  I honestly don’t get why there’s such a fuss about this so called “Obesity epidemic.” I am aware obesity is a problem where it is impacting on peoples health and costing the NHS extortionate amounts of money but from my obsrvations of the general population whilst out and about I don’t belive it is as big as the media makes it seem.

So why is there such a huge fuss over it? I honestly feel it is just diet culture and money aking by the big dieting businesses. It’s all diet culture. That’s whats to blame.

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 !

 

Energy requirements in recovery

I come to you today to discuss energy requirements in recovery.

2 years ago when I started recovery I did not for one second belive that I would need 3000 calories a day. I mean it’s excessive isnt it?
It really isn’t. To come out of my relapse I have been trying to listen to my body, it’s the best way forwards and yes while still counting calories. I found out I have been clocking up 3000+ a day.

This is so scary, it honestly is. My eating screams that it’s too much , that I shouldn’t be eating that extra afternoon snack or that extra pancake. That it will make me fat. I have come to realise that it’s not true. I have a raging appetite because Im under my body’s set point. I need to gain to feel well again. Too succeed in my A levels. I have also now come to realise that.

I completely messed up my law mck on thursday, despite doing plenty of revision and knowing all the material, apart from the last quesion… but my brain was not functioning in the exam I attribute that to not eating all morning. My brain was underfueled, of course it wouldn’t function the way I’d like it to.

On the other hand on monday I fueled my brain for my business mock. Turns out I was two marks off an A*! Amazing really, considering I’ve been a walking zombie all term and the time pressure in BUSS3. I never believed I could do it. But I did.

Our body’s need food, food is fuel. And food is meant to be enjoyed. If god didn’t intend for food to be enjoyed we wouldn’t have so much to choose from.

Stay strong my lovely recovery warriors and keep on fighting!

xxx

 

 

 

What is a Restrictive Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is the demon inside of you, the one that can’t be got rid of by exorsism or any other religious means.

It’s the voice that is trying to kill you.

It’s the control, for an out of control life.

It’s a voice that pretends to be a friend; lies to you – breaks you.

She takes away your Quality of life, she takes away what living truley is.

An eating disorder is a mental illness which consumes every thought.

She sends you panicking over weight gain, weight maintenance, weight lost. She sends you panicking over that number on the scales.

That number on the tape. You have a 26inch waist lets get it to 24, 23, 22, 21, 20…. She tells you  you can never be too skinny, she tells you you must lose more although not everyones eating disorder started because they wanted to lose weight.

It’s just that losing weight, the focus of losing weight. It distracts you from the problems in every day life. Soon starvation has a sense of euphoria associated with it, self destructive behaviours. Purging. You do them to cope with what’s going on with life, it isn’t really to lose weight. That’s just what she says.

If you do this, you will be beautiful.

Beautiful.

That’s one thing we all want. To be loved, to be beautiful to be accepted.

And that is what an eating disorder is. The demon inside you, the voice inside of you that promises all of these good things.

She makes you latch on to her grip, get deeper and deeper into it. You never realise that she is out to kill you.

Feeling Out of Control and Stress About Prom Dress

There are those days, those weeks in recovery where you long to restrict, you feel more out of control than ever before. The reason may be completely irrational but that doesn’t change a thing.

I am hiding what I’m feeling through getting lose in a fictional world, one of fandoms. I’m smiling laughing, to hide what I’m feeling inside. 

There’s just something about not counting calories it just makes me feel so out of control,  so fat, so greedy. I’m not going to progress in my recovery however if I continue counting and counting calories in all honesty it does start to drive you crazy. 

I’ve maintained my weight for 3 weeks now, but I still thought I’d gained 5000lb recently. I fear that I’ve gained weight, i fear it to the point I don’t want to step on the scales but I do. Not counting calories increases that fear, in the past when I have not been counting calories I’ve gained a minimum of 1lb a week. There’ only so many lbs one can gain before they become overweight. Before they actually start to look fat to others and not just themselves. 

The fear is increasing in my mind, I worry my prom dress won’t fit come wednesday. I will suddenly blow up like a balloon.

And what if I get my period? (It’s 2 days late) I will be so bloated then that there’s no hope on earth that it will ever fit. And what if it doesn’t fit?

WHAT IF IT DOESN’T FIT!

The thought of it not fitting is haunting me, breaking me. It’s exhausting me and causing me a huge amount of stress. I have thought about buying a new dress, an emergancy dress. But from where? And it will have to match all my other stuff. I remember once I decided I was going to buy it in a size 14 although I am only a size 8/10 (UK that is) 

I feel so out of control because food is a fear but I can no longer just not eat. It’s not that simple anymore…

I wish it was.

A year today, I started my recovery Journey. At this point I do not think I was underweight, or if I was it was very borderline. That’s because you don’t have to be underweight to have an eating disorder and you don’t have to be underweight to recover.

I have relapsed, ended up “significantly undwerweight” as my triggering doctor mentioned, that day when I entered the room, alone, wanting to recovery but not wanting to recover. I said I ate normally but that was a lie. That was september 1st 2013. I started recovering before-hand. A year ago today.

After a few long talks with my mentor I didn’t want to stay sick. I didn’t want food to be such the controlling power it had become over the past 5 years. I chose to try and fight against it. Actually make an effort to eat “Normally” At first I did lose a little more weight, then I maintained. I was only eating 1200 calories, but it was a good start. I started to increase my calories, knowing I needed to gain weight. 2000-2500. I tried to eat healthily. It was all good. Actually recovery was quite fun.

UNTIL

That morning… that dreadful morning in the summer holidays when I had stepped on the scales and gained 1/2lb. YES 1/2LB So I started restricting again, 900-1200 calories if I remember rightly. I lost 2lb in 3 days…. Don’t ask me how. On Holiday straight after I had a raging appittie and ate 4000+ calories most day, I am sure of it. Although it was all unknown and therefor could not count. I gained 3lb that week. That’s when the relapse really started.

I was underweight already but 3lb. It was too much! That was when I started restricting to a MAXIMUM of 900 calories a day. I tried to fight it. Part of me still wanted to get better. I tried to challenge myself, I just felt so awful. I thre food in the bin, pretended I had eaten it. I remember once I had awful knee pain and wouldn’t take ibuprofen. Do you know why?

Because of 0.5 calories

Now that’s just a little extreme right? I had to be empty, I barley at any of dinner with my family, but just enough to keep them unsuspecting. As the weight dropped off the fights started. I found it hugely unfair that my brothers didn’t have to eat dinner but I did? It wasn’t even like I had much of an appitite by that point, I could only eat a few mouthfulls and I felt sick to my stomach. It was awful.

As I had said previously, I was trying to fight it, it was just so hard. That was when I started to binge and oh god did that make me feel awful. See I have this phobia of throwing up and I had binged 4 times within a week. That sunday evening I couldn’t sleep. I felt so sick, I knew it was because of the food. I remember spending nights purposfully keeping the window open, leaving off the duvet, doing endless sit-ups and lunges. Anything to burn off all that fat. Discretly burn off that fat, without my parents knowing.

I remember when my form tutor said “It’s because you are slim.” SLIM! SLIM! That wasn’t good enough for me. When a class mate said “Your so incredibly skinny.” That was good enough for me. “Skinny. Skinny.” Yes I liked that, being refered to as skinny.

So at some stage picked myself back up, I got my dad to make me breakfast to make sure I ate it. 2 slices of toast. 1 Jam. (NO BUTTER OR SPREAD) 1 Marmite (NO BUTTER OR SPREAD). That was when I really started to get better and also when recovery turned into some sort of living hell at times. When I realsed how triggering the world truly is.

Not many people knew about my eating disorder, at first. Eventually I learnt to become more open about it. Which is why I started blogging. I want to raise awareness and show people that they are not alone in this.

The weight gain stage is terrifying, stepping on the scales is terrifing. Even today. There are some days I can’t bring myself to eat cake, some days I can’t bring myself to eat lunch, or dinner. Some days I majorly overeat. (Like today) But I can honestly say things get better. I am in a better position both mentally and phsycially than I was this time last year. I’m happier, I can walk up the stairs without feeling like I’m about to have a heart attack and I actually enjoy life; even though most of it is spent in my room atm cause exams and shiz.

I weighed in at 9st this morning. I still feel fat, I still feel like it’s too much and I havn’t come to accpet my body fully yet but I am getting there and I am working towards it. I give myself days where I don’t count calories atall. (Weekends) and only rough estimate some of the time. Now I am trying to learn to listen to my body. It’s hard, but in the end I am sure that it will be worth it.

The last year has been a whirlwind full of emotions but if there is one thing I would like to end this on, it’s that:

Recovery is worth it. 


Pre-ED age 9: Summer 2007
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Recovery Snaps 🙂

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