Friday, 22 December 2017

The regress before the progress- an honest account

Hello, and long time, no blog!

So this is going to be a very honest account of how my life is currently going, knowing that I jet off to Cape Town in two weeks for life-changing anorexia treatment. TW: There may be mention of BMI.

Over the past 18 weeks or so I have been having weekly 'counselling' as that is all I can be offered to someone with my BMI. I liked my therapist, which was a good thing, however, I'll say it again and again, counselling is really not an effective method for someone with an eating disorder, whether that be anorexia, bulimia, PICA, orthorexia or other eating disorders. It gets you to think about your past life events that may have contributed to your eating disorder but it doesn't actually ever combat the irrational thinking from your eating disorder, or give you any ways to deal with it. So in this sense, my 18 weeks of counselling has been pretty useless to me. :(

Over the past 4 weeks or so, my anorexia has been screaming at me more than ever before on the lead up to my treatment at the start of January. My thinking is completely irrational and the 'Daisy' part of me knows that the thinking is irrational however the 'anorexia' part of me is screaming, insisting that the thoughts that are entering my mind are totally rational and that I should listen to them. Unfortunately, the anorexia voice is very strong at the minute and is kind of taking over, which I know isn't good, but to be quite frank, I'm too exhausted physically and emotionally to fight it right now, meaning that I'm currently losing my battle. (I really hope this changes soon because I need to GET BETTER).

I'm super nervous about treatment and giving over the control of my life to a complete group of strangers, however deep down I know it really is what is best for me, and I will do it, even if it takes all the strength that I have. I've been referred to the treatment centre for 11 weeks and 6 days, so it's going to be a long journey, but a necessary one. Thankfully, I have so much support from my family, my boyfriend, my friends and the online recovery community, so I'm probably a lot calmer than some people who don't feel as though anyone supports them. (which is super sad by the way, and just so you know, I support you! Email me, we can be friends?!)

That's all for now, I just wanted to update you all in case I don't get a chance to before I jet off!

Lots of love,

Daisy May xo

Monday, 16 October 2017

Just Keep Swimming

Good Evening lovelies,

I thought I would give a quick (ish) update on where I'm at currently. This should hopefully be easy enough for me to do, as now I've started writing a daily journal to keep track of my recovery. I'm doing this with the hope that in a few years time, I can look back on this part of my life and realise how far I'll have hopefully come.

This month, I set myself a goal of trying to see things in a more positive light. This month has so far been quite tricky for me, however, I am still continuously trying to be more positive. Naturally, there have been days where I have not been able to do this, but that's okay, and I'm not going to dwell on it. I've just got to "just keep swimming" (Dory, 2003).

Recently, I've been really struggling to sleep, which has been a right pain. Currently, I just cannot seem to get to sleep and have awake until 1.30/2.30am. This impacts me massively the next day, as I am obviously a lot more tired than usual, which makes me a lot more sensitive. This then generally leads to negative thinking. My negative thinking patterns have mostly been around my body (body dysmorphia), and calories. I thought I had got out of the habit of counting calories if I'm perfectly honest, but I'm finding it very hard to not think of the calories in things.

On a more positive note, I finally booked my flights out to South Africa for my treatment and will be jetting off on the 7th January, so actually very soon. This is quite scary, but actually, a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders because I know that I'm FINALLY going to be getting some proper help from experts. The treatment cost is unfortunately quite a lot of money and my family cannot afford to pay for it. However, one of my closest friends from university is doing the most incredible thing for me. In December, he is walking from Southampton to London, to raise money for my treatment. When he said that he wanted to do this for me, I was genuinely in shock, as this is huge. I never really realised that someone would want to help me out that much, but he does, so for that, I am eternally grateful! I will post the link to his 'just giving' page below.
Link: Just Giving Page

Have a blessed day!

Daisy May xo

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

6 Things I wish people knew about Anorexia

1. You don't have to be severely underweight to be suffering:
Untrue to popular belief, you really do not have to be severely and noticeably underweight to have a diagnosis of Anorexia. The media has made it seem that you cannot be Anorexic without looking underweight/ill, and this is just not true. In fact, you can actually be overweight and anorexic.  On top of this, Anorexia is a MENTAL disorder. Weight loss is just one of many symptoms.

2. The services in the UK are crap unless your health is at serious risk
The eating disorder service in the UK is horrendous. Although N.I.C.E guidelines CLEARLY state that weight should not be a determining factor for getting treatment, health professionals, more often than not use weight/BMI as the indicator as to whether or not someone should get treatment. This, however, is not entirely their fault. Due to government cuts, it is just not financially possible to get treatment for Anorexia on the NHS. This is leading to people (such as me), seeking help privately (which by the way is very expensive). Why are we not supporting people in the early stages of their eating disorder? Surely it's cheaper to support/treat someone during the early stages than it is to treat someone when their body is failing. It just really doesn't make any sense to me, especially as Anorexia has a higher mortality rate than any other mental health disorder.

3. Eating disorders are competitive, so please don't show me pictures of your friends who have suffered from anorexia. 
To be straight, it can be triggering. Unfortunately, Anorexia changes your perception on things, so although I understand that you are trying to help, it's really difficult to see pictures of other people who have suffered. Anorexia doesn't allow you to see yourself as others see you, and when viewing pictures of other warriors of Anorexia, you often see them as a lot smaller than yourself. This can make you feel totally inadequate and as though you're not worthy of a diagnosis of Anorexia. This very often leads to you wanting to lose more weight, which of course is very dangerous.

4. I don't want people to feel guilty when they eat in front of me if I'm not eating
I am not judging you. I love the fact that you can sit and eat, it makes me so happy! This is what deep down, I want for myself. That is all.

5. Anorexia is SO lonely
It doesn't matter how many people you have around you, supporting you, Anorexia is a lonely condition. There are some things that you just cannot express to anybody because you simply don't know how to, as some things are just so unexplainable. Most of the time this is due to not actually understanding yourself. On top of this, there are often comments about how being Anorexic is attention seeking, so obviously, why would you want to share your deepest and darkest fears? 

6. I am more than my eating disorder 
Hi, my name's Daisy. I'm 19 years old. (I have anorexia).  I love the theatre, it's great, why wouldn't you love it?! I really want to travel one day and explore the world. I have the most gorgeous family and a beautiful set of friends. I am training to be a children's nurse and want to one day work on an oncology ward, maybe abroad, who knows?!  Ask me about this stuff, I have some cool experiences and goals in life. Don't dwell on my diagnosis. I am not my diagnosis. 

Be Happy, shoot for the stars,

Daisy May xo

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Long Time, No Blog!

I realised recently that it has been a long while since I last posted on this blog, despite the promise to myself that I would update it regularly. How annoying.

The last few months have been absolutely crazy, filled with many ups and many downs. After my last post, I went on my search for treatment so that I would be able to return to university in April, however, it didn't really go to plan and finding treatment is NOT as easy as I thought it would be. I have been finding out the hard way that within the NHS, and due to my location in the UK, although I have an official diagnosis of AN, and although my BMI is still a lot lower than it should be, I don't qualify for funded treatment. This is due to my BMI not being below 15 (a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9). A BMI of 15 or below is very dangerous and life threatening, so only qualifying for treatment at that stage seems ridiculous. I could go on and rant about how upsetting and frustrating the whole process of finding someone to take me seriously within the NHS has been, however, I'm sure you can work it out. Being rejected from anything in life is upsetting, but when you're being rejected from getting MEDICAL help, it's the most infuriating thing ever.

After very quickly realising that I was not going to receive treatment on the NHS, my family and I started to look privately within the UK, but to my absolute horror, although they would 'take me in' for treatment, it was going to cost between 16k-40k to receive this treatment, and this just isn't visible. At this point, I felt completely stuck and really overlooked by the health care system in the UK.

Thankfully, through my dad's work, he knew a private psychiatrist who used to be the clinical director of the priory hospitals, and he offered to speak with me to assess me so that he could give his advice on what to do. A week after being offered this time to talk to him, I went to see him. I'm not going to sit here and say that re-telling my ED story was easy, but something about the way he responded to me put me at such ease, he actually LISTENED and was honest with me about my options. He suggested that I look at ED treatment abroad, and specifically in Cape Town as they have a very good reputation for supporting people with ED's and it will also work out about 10k cheaper than receiving treatment in the UK.

So that kind of leads up to now. I'm just about to start a 20-week course of CBT with a local charity so hopefully, that will be of some use while waiting to go to Cape Town in January.

Regarding university, I have been trying to work out what my best options were, and have come to the conclusion that I do not want to waste the grades I have already received at university, so hopefully, in April 2018, I will return to my studies and finish my degree!

I will be setting up a new just giving page and shall post the link once it is set up.

Have a pretty day,

Daisy May xo

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Reunited with family + Ana...

It's been a few weeks since I last posted on here, and that is mostly due to the fact that I was sorting my bits out at uni and then moving back to my hometown. I GOT TO SEE MY CHICKEN'S AND THAT MAKES ME SO HAPPY !!
Dave the Chicken (she's a girl)

I've been back a couple of weeks now, and to be honest things haven't been all that great. My treatment is STILL not sorted, and I feel so out of control of everything in my life right now. I have no 'schedule', there is nothing I have to do. I was trying to explain this to my friend earlier over the phone and figured the best way to explain it is as followed: When I was at uni, I knew what I had to be getting on with, whether that be uni work, or doing a shop. I actually had a schedule, I worked around my lectures and uni timetable. I knew that if I didn't go to lectures there would be direct consequences, I knew that if I didn't do a food shop, I literally would have nothing in the flat to even snack on. However, since being back in my family home, this isn't the case. Even if I set myself tasks to do for the day, I know deep down there will be no consequences for not doing those tasks, so I don't see the reason to do them. Nobody's going to 'tell me off', right?  This is why I need treatment to start soon, so I have some sort of organisation in my life again.

One of the more difficult things since being back has been discussing Ana with my family and trying to get them to see where I'm coming from. The first person who approached me about it was my younger brother, who basically told me that he doesn't believe in mental health, and feels that too many people now 'have' mental health issues, that it must be made up and for attention seekers. I tried to explain to him my situation, asking him why I would have taken a year out of uni for 'attention' or why I have been seeing someone about Ana since the start of uni. He just doesn't get it, and I don't know if that is a maturity thing or not, but whatever it is, it's frustrating.

My dad (bless him), has recently been signed off work for stress, depression and anxiety, and it's the first time he has personally been affected by mental health issues, so he kind of knows when I'm not 100% which is useful, but he has no idea how to go about having a daughter with an eating disorder. For the first few days of me moving back in, my dietary habits were not discussed, which I REALLY appreciated, however, this didn't last long. My parents have the right intentions and really tried to encourage me by letting me come shopping with them, and telling them what I feel okay eating for snacks etc, I again, appreciated this and managed to pick out a few things that I feel okay with eating. Only a couple of days ago though, my dad attempted to have a discussion with me about how he and my mum can support me throughout this next year, but I honestly didn't know what to say to him, I don't know what's best and this is the issue. I can't help them help me when I can't even help me?
My dad also brought up a close relative's eating disorder and unintentionally compared my 'behaviours' to theirs; telling me how I eat a lot more than they did when they were struggling and that getting that individual to eat a potato a day was an achievement. This, unfortunately, has triggered me quite badly.

I am lucky to have lots of supportive friends up here whom I can turn to if I am feeling down, but currently leaving bed, and the house seems a challenge in the head space I'm in.

Love one another lots, give your family a hug,
Daisy May xo

Monday, 22 May 2017

Skinny Shaming

In today's society, body shaming is such a normal everyday thing, and this really frustrates me because people are just becoming immune to it. Admittedly, 'fat' shaming is more prevalent within society, but recently 'skinny' shaming has been on the rise.  

Mostly, I come across 'skinny shaming' online. This is often done through people making comments on social media such as: 'Only dogs eat bones', calling people names such as 'twiggy', telling someone to 'eat a cheeseburger'. If this were the other way round, and people were making comments such as 'only dogs eat meat', or outright calling people fat, there would be absolute outrage from society! , However, for some reason, this is not the case when an individual skinny shames. A lot of people turn a blind eye to it and ignore that comments were ever made and this is SO wrong. Surely if calling someone 'fat' and is classed as a 'hate crime'. then calling someone 'twiggy' or 'anorexic' should also be seen as one?

The main trigger for this post is because of something that happened to me today. It was around 22 degrees (which for the UK is a heatwave...) so I decided that I really was not comfortable walking around in jeans, and so put on a pair of floaty shorts. I felt extremely uncomfortable when I first walked out of my flat with bare legs but very quickly got over it, as it made the heat more bearable. Later on, I was waiting for a bus to take me back to uni, and a group of four young people (they looked around 19-20?) walked passed me and made some comments about my size. "Wow, she looks unhealthy"... "haha, maybe she's never heard of chocolate?"...."...or anything that isn't vegetables for that matter?".  I have never felt so conscious of myself in my life. Immediately, I regretted wearing the shorts and started questioning why I ever thought it would be okay for me to wear them in the first place. If there hadn't have been four of them there I probably would have said something but I felt so small and belittled by their comments that I just let them pass. 

What I'm trying to get at, is that 'Skinny Shaming' is just as hurtful as 'Fat Shaming' and neither should be taken any less seriously than the other. Some people have medical reasons for being underweight/overweight other than eating disorders!! 

Sorry for the rant.

Just Keep Swimming, 

Daisy May xo

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Adult Decisions

So post-ED assessment,  they re-diagnosed me with Anorexia Nervosa. Part of me was really hoping that they'd tell me that Ana is all in my head (ironic because it is) and that actually I was okay and didn't need to panic myself. But, it is what it is...

After coming to terms with the re-affirmed diagnosis, I had a bit of a rough week and sunk into this deep depression, and it was scary. I've never really had 'suicidal' thoughts before, but I guess there is a first time for everything. Due to my mental state, it got to a point where I had to leave halls for a night- I wasn't coping and felt alone even though I had people around me.

I went to stay at my grandmothers' so that I could think things through. While I was there she opened up to me about her past and it turns out that she was treated for severe depression and an ED while she was 7months pregnant with my uncle. I had no idea until then, but they used to treat mental illnesses with something called an ECT, which is basically electric shocks to the brain. I haven't researched it myself, but a friend of mine did and told me that although it was abolished, it has been brought back in. Personally, I think this is crazy?! It's sooooo dangerous.

While at my grandmothers, I talked to my dad on the phone about what to do in regards to uni and my mental health. Long story short, after lots of tears and arguments (with myself!) I made the decision to suspend from university for a year so that I can focus on recovery. This will enable me to come back this time next year, with hopefully a much better state of mind.

Of course, with suspending my course comes all sorts of financial, emotional and health related issues. One of the main things that I have been super worried about it transferring my treatment up to my home town, so I decided to get the ball rolling on this so that it was one less thing to worry about. I contacted the NHS mental health team in my area and explained my situation to them; but what they replied with shocked me, although it shouldn't have. They cannot offer me treatment for my ED in my home county because THERE ISN'T ENOUGH FUNDING. The only way they could treat me is if I had a BMI of below 13 or a BMI of 15, that was dropping dramatically. I fit into neither or these categories.  One thing I really hate about the treatment of ED's is that they are still assessed so heavily on a person's BMI. Someone can have a healthy BMI and still be suffering from Anorexic thoughts? And what about those people similar to me, who have a BMI below 18 but not below 15? Do we just have to wait until we're really sick in order to get treatment? It infuriates me.

So now what? I've sent an email to the next county across explaining my situation in the hope that they'll be able to do my treatment there. If this doesn't work, I'm going to have to look privately which is a complete and utter ball ache. Thankfully, although my parents can 100% not afford to pay for private health care, they are being very supportive and are quite open to the idea.

That is all folks, an update from moi!

Daisy May xo