Today I am thankful

Today, as you are probably already aware, is Christmas Day.
And I want to celebrate all that I am thankful for.
I am obviously thankful for my presents which are all lovely, but there are so many more important things that need celebrating and we might take for granted in day to day life.

I am thankful for my family, for their ever-supporting presence and their kindness and love. Yes, sometimes we may argue or my sisters might tease me, but at the end of the day I love them all the same.

I am thankful for my friends, I may not have many but the few who stuck by me are fantastic and have never faltered in their unconditional support. They are there to have a good laugh with, but are also a shoulder to cry on through tough times. I couldn’t wish for anything better.

Without my friends and family I would never have come so far in recovery, so I thank them most of all.

I am thankful for not only material things such as having a roof over my head, being able to go to a good school etc., but I’m also thankful for unsaid, non-psychical things.

I am thankful for my recovery. No matter how hard, no matter how many times I just want to be thin again, no matter how hard I may find it, it was the best choice I ever made. At times I feel like it wasn’t, that I should never have tried, but I know that is my demons talking, and I will not listen.

I am thankful for today. Seeing all my family is wonderful, and the excitement of Christmas is somewhat contagious. Yes I may still have underlying feelings of sadness and worthlessness, but I will not let them ruin this day. No. This day is a special one.

My aim is to make every day a special one like today.

I was worried about posting this, for fear of people thinking I was “lame”. I know if my sisters saw something like this they would laugh and roll their eyes, but why should being greatful and actually taking a moment to appreciate what we have a bad thing? It shouldn’t be, if everyone took the time to notice the small things in day today life and slowed down just that little bit, I think we would all be much better off.
And thus I concluded to publish this post anyway, doubts or no doubts, because at the end of the day if I never tried, how would I know what the reaction would be.

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope today is a good day, and today really try to beat your demons because you do deserve happiness. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, everyone deserves a second chance.

Thanks for reading.

We can never be prepared for some things

Today I found out that a boy’s (who goes to my boyfriends school) parents were murdered last night.

He was in the house, and heard something in the night. I don’t know exactly what happened, but essentially he called the police and tried to save his parents, but it was too late. He had to hide while this murderer was in his house. He has to watch his parents die.

Apart from the obvious terrible pain and terror of this, what is so awful is that the day before, he was probably messing around with his mates, stressing over homework and whether he was going to get invited to the next party… All such small things. And before he knows it, none of that matters anymore. His parents are gone. He’s alone.

I wonder what the last thing he said to his parents were. I wonder when he last told them he loved them.

Now I know it must seem silly, how affected I’m getting when I don’t even know this person, but it is just such a shock. I may not know him personally, but my boyfriend knows him and is in the same year as him in school, it’s just like having someone in my year’s parents be killed.

It happened in Fetchem, a lovely little village in Surrey. No one was expecting it.

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I guess it’s just made me realise that we never know what’s going to happen in life.

I already tell my parents I love them every day and hug and kiss them, purely because I’m scared that one day they’re not going to be here and I’ll be thinking back to the time I was with them with sadness and regret.
I don’t want that; no one does.
I am so scared of my parents dying or leaving me.
Whenever my parents drive somewhere, especially at night or if it’s far away, I wonder if they’ll be safe.
I don’t know what I’d do without them.
My therapists come and go, as do most friends and people in your life. But my parents, they’re different. They love me unconditionally, they have to, that’s who they are as parents; caring and loving, even if sometimes it might not always show in the way you want.

I know this post is rambling and doesn’t have a particular point yet. I guess I am simply just so shaken up by this murder, and I can’t help but think about if it were me, if one day my parents were there and the next day they were gone.
And the truth is, I can’t imagine it. Because I know that if they went, I’d go too.

This boy was so incredibly brave to call the police and try to save them. He was right to hide and keep himself safe, I just hope and pray with al my heart that he sees it that way too.

I did terribly in my psychology timed essay today, I cried in my physics lesson because I’m thick and don’t understand any of it. I’m bloated, I have a terrible body image, I despise both my appearance and who I am. I felt tired and wary and down.
I wish I could say that now this has happened, I see that it’s all irrelevant. That would make sense, right? That looking at the bigger picture, at least I have a loving family and I am safe. But all I can think of is how we never know what’s going to happen next, and that makes me want to do well even more. Imagine if today was the last day I lived? I haven’t done enough. I’ve struggled with school work, not done enough homework, cried in font of a teacher.. And yes, to some extent ‘so what?’. But I also feel like I owe it to this brave boy to man up and get on with life, not be the emotional wreck I am.

I have no reason to feel like this, to feel so hopeless and depressed.
Man. Up.
But I can’t.

I need to see this in a logical frame of mind.
We need to be greatful for what we have every day, no matter how small or irrelevant it may be, no matter how much you may take it for granted.

I am thankful for my loving parents, my wonderful family and amazing friends. I am thankful for the roof over my head and the amazing opportunities I have.

I am thankful, yet I am scared and lost.

Is it possible to be both so greatful or what you have and yet so dissatisfied with yourself and your performance?

I am just so lost.

I only hope I can be found again.

My prayers are with the family and friends of the Kettyle family.

News articles:
BBC
The Mirror
Get Surrey

Thanks for reading.

Insight into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD, we all know what that is, it’s the one where you want everything arranged, so you line your pencils up on your table in colour order right?! Um, no actually. It’s sad how many people seem to think that that is what OCD is.

Firstly, let’s just introduce what OCD is. OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and as defined by Wikipedia, is “an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear or worry (obsessions), repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety (compulsions), or a combination of such obsessions and compulsions“.

As you can see from this definition, OCD is a mental condition and not just people being tidy. I know plenty of neat and organised people, but that doesn’t mean that they have OCD.

OCD is characterised by the intense anxiety and sense of foreboding if they do not do certain rituals, or do not do or organise certain things.

What many people don’t realise is that OCD can manifest itself in so many ways, some more unusual than others. Someone who appears very messy could still suffer from OCD, as OCD is different things to different people.

A common OCD area is hygiene. In this case people often wash their hands excessively (often causing bleeding), will wash excessively, and have a phobia of girls and anything dirty. If they don’t do these things (such as washing hands), they feel intensely anxious and sometimes terrified that something bad will happen.

Although that example seems to make sense, many OCD habits aren’t.

For me, my OCD is very strange and select.
There are many things I have to do before bedtime for example, including washing my feet, moving my pillow right up against the wall, switching off my phone and putting it face down on the bedside table, making sure my hair dryer is unplugged etc.
I also have OCD when it comes to school work. All notes a teacher goes through must be written down, neatly too. I cannot ‘leave a gap’ in my workings or in a test to fill out later, which caused a 34% test mark when I couldn’t do the first few questions but also couldn’t move on to ones I knew. (Now I have my tests all as booklets which I fill out to avoid this, and since then my score has gone up to 86%, thank goodness). I must do homework every day, and complete at least one, no matter how busy I am.

Rules. Rules, rules, rules.

You never get a break from them.

Imagine having your mum constantly nagging in your ear 24/7. Now imagine that amplified to an unbearable level. That is what OCD is like.

People are quick to say ‘get a grip’, but of course it isn’t that simple! I try to break OCD habits but it just makes me extremely nervous and on edge, I cannot sit still if I know I haven’t followed one of the ‘rules’.

Another problem with OCD is that it grows and evolves.
It might start out as something really small, a little habit, but before you know it it’s turned into a huge thing, that often leaves you feeling like you can’t function properly. One thing can lead to another, so one habit can multiply to ten before you realise it was an issue.

I used to have only 1 or 2 things I struggled with, such as sitting in the same seat for dinner, but now there are more than I care to count.

So next time someone says “I’m a little bit OCD about my desk”, just ask them this question “do you feel crippling guilt if you don’t do that? Does your mind feel busy and you can’t sit still, do you feel anxious and sick? Does it scare you if you don’t do that? No. Then no, you do not have OCD.”
[obviously some people will have OCD about desks and the suchlike, I am just talking about people who use it as an adjective rather than the potentially serious mental illness it is]

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I hope this helped give some insight into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and some stereotypes involved. Please feel free to leave any feedback, I love to know if I’ve helped or if something was useful or not so that I can continue raising awareness of mental health in the best way possible.

Thanks for reading.

The Weight of Eating Disorders

As a victim of an eating disorder, I know that there is one ultimate secret that is hard to hide… Weight.

The numbers consume you. No matter how small they go, they crush you in their seeming enormity. Others may ask, but never will you let them know how ‘huge’ you really are.

Since I’ve been in recovery I’ve learnt that often victims of eating disorders don’t see their body how they truly are, often associated with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). However, this new piece of knowledge does not provide much comfort for the agonising pulling and pinching of your body.

No matter how many or how often people tell you you’re not fat, your view of yourself doesn’t change.
So your weight drops and the numbers plummet, you forever hoping that maybe one day you will look in the mirror and like what you see.

“Maybe if lose a few more pounds I’ll be happier in my own skin”

If only it were as simple as that.

You see, eating disorders aren’t kind and forgiving like you and I; they’re out to cause pain and will not stop at attempting to do so. A few pounds lost, the voice tells you “not good enough” and “just a few pounds more, then you can stop“.
The pounds come off, but the ‘stop’ is never reached.

Even now that I am in recovery and dedicated to it, telling people what I weigh (e.g. my parents) never ceases to be a challenge.

I got weighed today and the ultimate question was asked; “give this [weight record] to your dad on the way out won’t you?”. And did I? No. Instead I folded the sheet as small as it would go, shoved it in my pocket and hoped dad wouldn’t ask. He didn’t.

You might be reading this thinking, “Ok, so I get that eating disorders are hard… But what’s the point in telling us about it?”. The simple answer is, for awareness.

If no one knew about cancer how could anyone possibly help support that person, let alone diagnose it! It’s no different for eating disorders and other mental health issues.
When I first went (/was taken) to the GP with eating issues, he told me it was ‘just a phase’. If anorexia counts as a ‘phase’, then yes, yes it is. But somehow I think that it is not.

If more people understood and knew about these disorders, and if the stigma behind eating disorders and mental health issues were broken, maybe more people would be correctly diagnosed and treated, with more support all round and therefore higher success levels?
And isn’t even that possibly, no matter how small, worth investing in? Just a thought to leave you with.

Thanks for reading.

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Remembrance Sunday: Respect not Heroism

Today is Remembrance Sunday.
Today is the 100th anniversary of World War One. “The war to end all wars”.
Isn’t it sad that it simply hasn’t happened?
Wars happen all over the world. The innocent are killed. We should learn from the horror of war, not continue advancing in warfare and weapons.

Whilst remembering is an incredibly important thing and Remembrance Sunday a fantastic tribute to those who gave our lives for us, let us not forget that wars themselves are wrong and not a thing to be celebrated.

Soldiers in the war had no idea what they were letting themselves in for. They thought they would be a hero, they felt admired and important, pressured not only by the government and propaganda, but their own friends, family and peers. They expected to be home by Christmas. Little did they know of the terrible conditions of the trenches, the lack of support and the loneliness and ill health it would bring (both physical and mental).

People fought this war because they believed it was the right thing to do, that they were protecting their loved ones. If they hadn’t been pressured in that way, maybe there would have been more of them alive today.
It’s a sad thought, one that is uncomfortable to dwell too long on.

Remembrance poppies by the Tower of London, huge displays, one poppy for each fallen solder. Crowds gathered to pay their respects.
I think it’s time like these where people are quick to get caught up in the respect for these fallen soldiers and can easily feel like fighting is an admirable thing, one that will be remembered and rewarded. They forget the pain and pressure behind it, the ‘politics’ of war.

Wars are a horrific thing. Yes, unfortunately we do need an army to protect ourselves and our country, but people need to sign up for the right reasons;
For feeling part of a team, for intense discipline and regime, for a whole new experience. Not to feel admired and so that you’re a hero. Because this is where people slip into a land unknown to them, somewhere scary they don’t belong, somewhere that even when they leave, will remain imprinted in their minds forever.

Pride, my friends, is a dangerous thing. Let’s be cautious of that, and celebrate their lives and learn from them a lesson; don’t live your life giving into other people’s pressures and desires, follow your heart and get where you want to be. Don’t get stuck in the no-mans land of destruction.

Happy Remembrance Sunday. Let’s live by the message the soldiers wanted us to hear, “the war to end all wars”.

Thanks for reading.

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Life is like a loo roll [my original analogy]

Life is like a loo roll. I bet you’re thinking “how on earth is life possibly like a loo roll?! That’s ridiculous! Well yes and no. It may sound it at first, but if you read my post maybe your perspective will change. I’d be interested to know your thoughts/ opinions, so do comment below what you thought!

So, life is like a loo roll.

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A loo roll is made up of hundreds of sheets, joined together and wrapped around the core in layers.
It’s there for everything, from doing your business to wiping tears from a sad film or emotional time. You can clear up dirt or spilt paint with it, whatever you wish.
You can take individual sheets or several at once, but if you pull them too hard and aren’t careful, the whole thing can unravel and fall to the floor.
Then you have to spend the time and effort rolling it back up, helping its last little bit flop back over onto the roll. Sometimes you do it well and sometimes you do it badly; if it’s done badly then the loo roll can be more prone to unraveling again, or can just not be quite the same neat roll it was before.

I believe life is very much like this.

You as a person are made up of core values, thoughts, feelings, and morals; much like the layers of the loo roll. Each individual sheet is a thought/feeling/value that you have, about yourself or the world around you.

You are there for others. You’re there to comfort others, you’re the one they rely on and you share both good and bad times with. The blowing away the tickle in your nose on a hot sunny day, and the drying of their tears as you hug each other for comfort during challenging times. That’s what friends are for.

People can use you to do their dirty work. They can say mean comments or a snide remark, just like they’ve ripped a sheet of tissue off your roll suddenly, and the roll spins a bit because of the sudden impact. People can treat you like shit (brilliant pun if I do say so myself), and it is hard.

Unfortunately there’s only so much people can take, and when too many things happen (such as bullying, difficult situations, family or friendship issues, low self esteem; you get the idea), we just can’t take it. We aren’t prepared. It’s like someone’s ripped too many pieces off the roll too quickly and too violently, and suddenly it spins out of control and unravels.

Sometimes people don’t even notice.
Have you ever been to the loo, come out etc, only to come back a while later and find the whole loo roll has unravelled? And you don’t remember this happening at all?
I really think people are like that. Often it happens too quickly or people just don’t see what’s really going on, and before they know it that person is no longer ‘*happy’.

That person needs support and help to build themselves back up and step around the obstacle. It’s just like wrapping the sheets back around the roll. It takes a while to wrap the sheets back around, but with help it can be done.

Yes, sometimes when you’ve helped and the loo roll is back in place, it isn’t quite the same, and some people are different after they’ve been through difficult times. But often these changes aren’t a bad thing. Sometimes people can grow as a person, learn things about themselves they didn’t know before, and finally realise that there are many people out there who care about them and are willing to help.

I guess you can explain eating disorders, anxiety, depression, bipolar, any mental illnesses at all in this way, because at the end of the day with the right support you can recover from them and live a fulfilling life, sometimes you just need a bit of help to start you rolling back up, the. Then you’re off!

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*I put ‘happy’ in quotation marks because no one can be happy all the time, it’s impossible. But you can be largely happy, more about inner confidence and a healthy approach to life than anything else.

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I really hope that made sense and I did that analogy justice, because (without wishing to sound big headed as I did make it up) it is one of my favourite analogies because it makes me believe that things can change and I can ravel myself back up, but it’s also realistic in the fact that yes, if you don’t recover ‘properly’ you are more prone to relapse. But none of these things are unbeatable, and although hard times are horrible and can affect us, we can get through it. I guess that’s the message of this post really; life is hard but we can deal with it.

Anyway, I could go on forever. Personally I think there are just so many way this applies to life and the more I think about it the more I can add to the analogy and the more I feel like I understand life.. Weird huh?

I really hope you enjoyed this post.

Thanks for reading.

A year today…

I was admitted as a day patient to the Priory exactly today last year. (Then after 1 month I was transferred to inpatient)

It’s weird how it’s been a whole year since I was first admitted.. It feels both more time and less time since I first went. Mostly it feels like less, I can’t believe a whole year has passed since then.

I feel like I’ve wasted so much of my life on this stupid illness, yet I find it creeping back on me all the time. I know I am much better, and that yes, maybe I have done well and come far, but I’ve still got a hell of a long way to go.

I ate so much today and I feel so guilty. But I’m trying as hard as I can to remember that it’s just a feeling (that I ate too much) and it will pass.
It’s ok to treat myself, it’s ok to nourish my body.
Weight fluctuates and there are days you’ll eat more and days you’ll eat less, and that’s ok.

As my friend so kindly said during our text conversation today, “You are definitely stronger and I know it’s hard but you must remember that you still have a slightly irrational part of your brain that’s telling you all the wrong things and telling you lies, because you certainly haven’t been a pig, and besides, last year you were critically ill and near death so I think it’s a very very good thing you’re not like that anymore.”.
I couldn’t thank her enough. It’s times like these when I am overwhelmingly thankful to have such amazing friends. True, I may not have many friends, but the ones I have are worth the world.

Anyway (let’s get back on track here), if my friend(s) can root for me and support me, then I must try my best to do the same for myself.
I will try to believe her words, try to believe my own logic, but it is hard.

Eating disorders are horrible, horrible things, but they are illnesses that can be beaten like any other.

Today I’ve eaten:
• 3 mini pan au chocolates
• 2 glasses of Apple juice
• A flake 99 ice cream in a tub
• A big serving of battered cod and chips with peas
• A glass of coke (full fat)
• 3 dark chocolate Kit Kat fingers
• Waffle, baked beans and fried egg
I feel like that’s so unhealthy but I don’t eat it every day and I’m trying to convince myself it’s ok.
I am not fat. I am not greedy. I am not fat. I am not greedy. I am not fat. I am not greedy. I am not fat. I am not greedy. I am not fat. I am not greedy. I am not fat. I am not greedy. [repeat until I believe it]

Tomorrow is halloween and I am both nervous and excited. I’m having a party which I’m really excited about, I’m just nervous about the food because I know I’m going to eat lots and I know I’m going to gain a shit load of weight.

Ah well, these are just the things you have to deal with if you are recovering from an eating disorder. And I personally would much rather be having a hard time while giving myself a chance of recovery and life, than having a hard time in my illness and just wasting my life with no hope of recovering and leaving it behind.

Thanks for reading.

Why evolution/ human nature is no reason not to accept transgenders

I read an article earlier today about how we should not be accepting transgender, but instead ‘help’ them as it is a ‘mental disorder’.
I, however, do not agree.

The article stated that transgender was a mutation and made no sense/ was not naturally human in other words. However they accepted gay/ lesbian relationships.

Let’s get things straight, none of transgender, gay, lesbian, bio sexual, asexual etc. is problem or thing that needs fixing.

Humans have been around for thousands of years, of course we are going to be different. It is likely almost all of us have mutations of one form or another; in fact mutations that are beneficial or not a problem often become part of who we are as humans. We are a species, and like any other we are developing.

Now I understand that originally the key purpose of human (and most animal) life is to reproduce, and therefore being attracted to the same sex is illogical fitting that theory.
BUT as humans have evolved to be a highly intelligent and thriving race, we no longer have this instinctive need to reproduce, or at least not as strong as perhaps it once was. Therefore it cannot possibly be a problem or issue that needs revolving, as relationships are no longer purely based on the idea of having children. Many couples, opposite sex or same, have no wishes for children at all. And if a same sex couple wants to have children, there are ways they can such as adoption.

Transgender is no different. It may not have made sense when humans first evolved, but in today’s modern society there are many factors that could effect this, and at the end of the day it is their life and their choice, the least we can do is accept it.
Their choices in life are none of our business and as long as they are happy and feel that they belong in their bodies, then that should never be an issue to us or anyone else.

Whether you agree with transgender or other sexual preferences or not, the least you can do is accept other people for who they are; not everyone is the same as you and we are all entitled to our own views.

I hope this made sense and I’d really appreciate any feedback.

The link to the referenced post is here, but please be respectful because although I disagree, they are entitled to their own views and should not get penalised for that.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to click read more to read the original article at the end of this post.

Thanks for reading.

Continue reading

Small things can have a big impact

I don’t know about anyone else, but I, personally, am an emotional wreck.

When something really small happens, it can have such a huge impact on me it’s ridiculous. Especially when it’s something that links to my key areas of insecurity..

A few days ago one of my teachers got really angry at me and another girl for a joke (evidently not a funny one) hiding under a desk, and as a result I was crying for hours. The bad thing is I’m not even exaggerating; it triggered suicidal thoughts, never eating again, self harm.. You get the picture. And for what? One teacher getting annoyed at me? Ridiculous right?

Well the truth is that one of my main issues is that all I want to do is make others happy, even if it is at the expense of myself. I’ve had a really hard time with friendships from the age of around 6, where I had a friend who wouldn’t let me join any clubs or talk to anyone else, and used to dig her nails into the back of my neck and arms. I couldn’t stand up to her so felt useless even from the age of 6. I was so young, I should have been enjoying myself but instead I was worrying about being a bad person.

Anyway, I digress. Essentially, if I upset someone it seems like the end of the world, because if that is the one thing that really matters to me and I can’t even get that right, then surely I can’t do anything right? And if I’m only making others miserable then I’m just being selfish being here. That’s what I think.

I don’t know who I am so I don’t know who to act. All I know is that I am deeply insecure and hate myself and all the mistakes I’ve made.. And I guess that’s why pleasing people is so important; because I know that’s something I care about, it is me, even when I’m not sure who ‘me’ is.

I apologise for the randomness of this post, I guess it was more me clearing my head more than anything else really.. But I decided to post it because I think it’s really important that people understand how others think.

If we understood each other better maybe we’d all be more open and confident in ourselves?

I don’t know, it’s a nice thought though.

Thanks for reading.

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Diffusion of responsibility: not just black and white

You know when you’re in a room full of people, and someone is trying to get everyone to be quiet so they can announce something, but everybody just keeps talking or finishes their conversation? Thinking “ah well I’ll stop talking in a minute when everyone else stops talking.” Well that, my friends, is called diffusion of responsibility.

You know they want you to be quiet, but you decide to follow everyone else and wait until they are quiet. But, of course, everyone else is also doing that. The result? It takes a good lot longer for everyone to be quiet, or sometimes it results in the person not being able to make the announcement!

I think recovery can sometimes be like this. Many aspects of it, from the “I’ll start recovery tomorrow” (and keep saying that day after day), to other people such as friends and/or family saying “I want to help them, but it’s just too draining and I don’t have the time and patience.. Someone else will do it.”. Essentially, life is full of people avoiding things they ought to be doing.

Avoidance, procrastination and diffusion of responsibility all stem a key problem: people find the rules of society hard to deal with.

What I mean by this is that without social norms of “I must say this” and “I should do that”, there most likely wouldn’t be an issue of procrastination or avoidance, because people would be doing what they wanted to do.

Do you ever feel like everything you do in life are just things that have to be done? They become tasks, no longer a choice. Because, quite simply, we are given an illusion of freedom that is not truly ours.

Our government and world leads us to believe that we are free to act and do as we please, whereas in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Going to school, is it a choice? Yes you choose your school, but you have to go, do the work, spend most your time on your studies.
What about work? Again, you chose your career path, but do you really choose to work? The answer is unfortunately no; without working, we would have no money and would not be able to live. What is money anyway, how does bits of paper and metal rule our lives? Anyway, that’s another point entirely that I shan’t go into today.

Some final thoughts I want to leave you with:
Before just saying ‘take responsibility and don’t expect others to do things for you’, I also want to point out that it is not black and white. There are many grey areas in between. Before instantly jumping on the band wagon and doing something because you are told to do it and you want to please others, first consider what you think about it, whether you want to do it or not.
In a world of little freedom, it is important that for the choices we do have, we choose according you our views, not simply out of the desire to please.

I hope this made sense and you enjoyed this post,
Thanks for reading.