Moving Platform

I don’t know what’s happened. 

People just aren’t viewing my posts anymore or interacting (bar one or two lovely people) and it’s really affecting my self confidence that is already severely debilitated after 5 years with Anorexia, depression and anxiety. 

Blogging is a really important part of my life and I thoroughly enjoy the process of writing, but I also need some sort of acknowledgement after baring my soul and making myself so vulnerable. 

This being said; I’ve decided to move to a different platform to continue my journey of self discovery and raising awareness. 

I’ve created a website I am proud of on Wix, and even created a GoFundMe page to perhaps help with the cost of creating my own domain. 

As of now, the blog is called: 

http://theglitterfight.wixsite.com/theglitterfight
(Stupid I know, but bare with me) 

I’d really appreciate it if you were to follow that blog if you currently follow this one. 

I’ll still be on here reading your brilliant posts and interacting, but I think it’s time for a fresh start for me after 50 posts on here. 

Thank you. 

Three Years Since the Hospital Saved my Life

Wow, this is a momentous day! Three years ago, on the 27th of September, I was first admitted to the general hospital 🏥. I had no idea what that meant in terms of how drastically unwell my body was, and was sure I would be able to go home to continue my deathly descent after a day or two. But more and more time passed in the hospital, on constant bed rest, so unwell I had to use a commode behind a curtain in the middle of the open children’s ward. I was watched constantly in the shower in case I fainted, told off for standing to brush my teeth. 

I was there for a whole month. 

I was then transferred to the Evergreen Centre (inpatient), terrified. I had just turned 14 and I was going more than a hundred miles from home to live?! How had my life turned to this? 

I don’t have any happy photos from this time at all; they are all black and white, body checks, and I’m quite sorry you have to see it. 
My life has changed immensely since then. Even from the last year when I wrote this entry, hating every inch of myself and rapidly descending back into Anorexia’s icy grasp. I’ve been back to inpatient since then and actually accepted the help they had to offer me and I am extremely grateful. 
I have gone from such awful Anorexic rituals, destroying my body, exercising every night/early morning until I passed out, fainting with my boyfriend every time we were together, having countless ECGs because my heart was failing. I have gone from self harming multiple times a day, deeper and deeper just to feel something as Anorexia number all of my feelings. I can’t remember years and years of my life because Anorexia has wiped it all away. 

And Anorexia has a way of putting those beautiful, rose tinted glasses on; creating elegant nostalgia from such horrific times. It lies. It always lies. This was not a beautiful time in my life where I was darling and fragile, happy all the time in my wispy ways. I was dying. I told myself constantly I wanted to die. I was so suicidal, every single day of existence was an achievement; just being. My head lay, lifeless on the desk every day at school. I didn’t care. I was so dizzy constantly; a whirlwind in my head. 

And when I made it to inpatient, Anorexia twisted everything. I was the fattest there, of course. Everyone was so tiny, so disordered, and I was a fat fake. I kept my big, black hoodie on ALL the time because I was so utterly ashamed by the size of me. 
And now, everything is different. So incredibly different. I never ever thought I would reach this point. I never self harm anymore, just tiny tiny slips. I am not addicted to exercise anymore, not trapped in compulsions (although that is admittedly trying to sneak back in, but NO thankyou). I can eat chocolate bars I never dreamed of. I can eat things without knowing the calories. There are so so many things I struggle with but I am battling every day and WINNING. 
Thank you all so much for being part of my journey; I love you all so so much. 

My Scars are Not

My scars to you

Are wispy and beautiful 

A poem etched

On my very human skin 

Making me more than normal

Making me 

A superfluous mystique 

An oddity 

To be cherished

To be loved 

To be idolised 

To be smothered 
I am not an idol

Not for my pain 

But for my recovery 

I am more than 

The blotchy scar tissue 

That turns blue 

And aching purple 

I am more than

The rolling red cells 

On those black and white gifs

That overwhelm 

Your dangerous dashboard 

You keep to trigger yourself 

To do the same 

Destroy your body 

For a piece of mind

You will 

Never 

Ever 

Get

My Scars are Not

My scars to you

Are wispy and beautiful 

A poem etched

On my very human skin 

Making me more than normal

Making me 

A superfluous mystique 

An oddity 

To be cherished

To be loved 

To be idolised 

To be smothered 
I am not an idol

Not for my pain 

But for my recovery 

I am more than 

The blotchy scar tissue 

That turns blue 

And aching purple 

I am more than

The rolling red cells 

On those black and white gifs

That overwhelm 

Your dangerous dashboard 

You keep to trigger yourself 

To do the same 

Destroy your body 

For a piece of mind

You will 

Never 

Ever 

Get

Eating Disorders are DEADLY; Don’t You Understand?!

I’m pissed, to say the least.

Well, no, actually, I’m past that point. I’m just fully expecting to be dismissed so I just feel a bit blasé to the situation.

In a brief summary of my debilitating emotions and anxiety, I am terrified to return to college. I feel compelled to tell you why and tell you the extent of my terror, (honestly it is; I had a mental break and ran away and did frankly shitty things at the thought of going for an hour walk around/visit) but honestly it would be too emotionally traumatic and I’m not feeling particularly stable as it is. Perhaps in the future, but it’s really deep set in me and my development so it’s a bit too raw for now.

ANYWAY.

What I did want to write about is how my college just ignores eating disorders and flippantly pushes concerns away.

They knew about my diagnosed severe Anorexia Nervosa from day one.

They knew I had already spent 6 months in an inpatient centre, fighting for my life.

In fact, the woman asked me way too personal questions about the matter because we were alone, and said some really hurtful and quite intimidating, triggering things to me. (I feel like I may have written about these. I’ll see.)

As time went on, the naivety of those even trained in the nursing profession was extraordinary. I’ll warn you, what my teacher said was pretty damn annoying, so skip if you like, but I’m sure it annoyed me much more because of my situation and the fact that I was behind the computers and I wasn’t meant to hear it.

The other group were creating supposed hospital menus as a task, and one of them had chosen to do one for rehabilitating an Anorexic person. Fair enough. She asked my teacher for advice and she said, I kid you not, “Anorexic people don’t eat. They just drink those Slim Fast drinks all the time. There’s no point making a menu, they just don’t eat, they have those.” And then proceeded to laugh at her HILARIOUS and clearly very well informed insight.

I just stood up and stormed out to sob in my isolated room the college lovingly provided: the cupboard in the staffroom.

When my afternoon teacher saw me later in the day, after I had DEFINITELY made sure not to eat anything after a comment like that, I told her, devastated at what she had said. I was very honest, making me feel so vulnerable and raw: “I have Anorexia Nervosa. I spent 6 months in hospital hours away from home because it got so severe and I’m very likely going back there soon.” And the darling lady said to me “It’s okay, Denica. People grow out of Anorexia. It’s just something that happens when you’re a teenager sometimes, but you just grow out of it.”

Yeah, really.

Well, I relapsed completely (not saying it was their fault, I was already slipping but the college failed to listen to that either).

I told them, and my parents told them from the beginning how agonising and how difficult it was for me to eat at school. So they provided me with the cupboard to eat in alone (I can’t eat in front of others, and am terrified on teenagers). As I was slipping and stopped eating at school, my weight was plummeting, and there was a meeting with my parents and those high up in the college to put interventions in place. My parents were begging someone to simply look in on me. Not even that, just see that I wasn’t throwing away my lunch (that I did literally just outside their office door). Their answer was “It’s not our responsibility to make Denica eat. She just has to deal with that on her own.”

 

Fast forward to now and my meeting there after my second 6 month admission. I was a trembling, anxious mess. I had a panic attack and sobbed. My CAMHS worker was there to express my concerns for me and look after me which I was really grateful for, and she saw first-hand how they completely ignored my Anorexia. She told them repeatedly that I had just came out of hospital for my eating disorder, that I was extremely vulnerable now. That it is was 2 weeks ago. That I absolutely cannot eat at college. That I simply have to keep up with my nutritional intake.

They didn’t listen at all.

They just flipped it back to my social anxiety every single time.

Which yes, in a way, I am very grateful for, but my anxiety will not actually REALLY kill me. My Anorexia very nearly has in two different time periods, and will again if I am not supported.

 

When I was first enrolled in the college and I told them my situation, I was told “you aren’t the first person to come here with an eating disorder.”

I get that, I really do, there are horrible statistics.

But surely that would mean that there should be a lot more intervention than there is now.

 

I just want to sit them all down and tell them:

There are lots of different eating disorders. There are even more different levels of severities. You may well have had people with eating disorders before, but did they spend a whole year in inpatient hospital? Very often, only the most severe cases are admitted to hospital at all, so why is it that you continue to ignore something so life-threatening.

 

Sorry not sorry for this rant. Please share your experiences and thoughts below.

 

Feel Positive Words Make us Physically Strong

When I was first discharged from inpatient hospital, following my first admission at the age of 14, my sister bought me a book. It was so thoughtful of her and I am still so grateful, but that’s a side note I should probably discuss with her personally.

The book was called, as you may well have heard of before, Feel the Fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers. It is described on the cover as “the phenomenal classic that has changed the lives of millions”, and the one that I have is a 20th anniversary edition.

At the time, I was too wrapped up in my own selfish and debilitating anxiety. I was hating and relenting the recovery process from mental illnesses I wouldn’t allow myself to believe that I had, despite my diagnosis, medication and the one that I have is a 20th anniversary edition.

At the time, I was too wrapped up in my own selfish and debilitating anxiety. I was hating and relenting the recovery process from mental illnesses I wouldn’t allow myself to believe that I had, despite my diagnosis, medication and admission to a hospital ward and then inpatient facility. I let it slide as my panic attacks ruled my existence, and I was forced into eating every single day, utterly hating myself until that fateful relapse and my second admission that I left last week.

Before I was discharged my care co-ordinator GB recommended this book to me as she saw anxiety consume me at even the thought of doing very normal, every-day social tasks, as well as ultimately taking responsibility for my own Anorexia Nervosa. I knew I had it at home and had to admit I had never actually read it.

So you know, even “felt the fear and did it anyway” when initially picking up the book and beginning to read.

I am currently around ¾ through and have read it so fast. It just GETS ME.

 

The reason I began this post was an extract from the book that really took me physical surprise and may have ultimately “clicked” something in my brain.

It is found midway through the chapter Pollyanna Rides Again” *** (page 70 and 71 for reference) and references an experiment that she did in one of her classes on anxiety.

“I learned an amazing way to demonstrate the effectiveness of positive versus negative thinking from Jack Canfield, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and President of the Self-Esteem Seminars, which I have used in my workshops. I ask someone to come up and stand facing the rest of the class. After making sure the person has no problems with her (or his) arms, I ask my volunteer to make a fist and extend either arm out to the side. I then tell them to resist, with as much strength as they can muster, as I stand facing her and attempt to push her arm down with my outstretched hand. Not once have I succeeded in pushing her arm down in my initial trial.

I then ask her to put her arm down, close her eyes and repeat ten times the negative statement “I am a weak and unworthy person.” I tell her to really get the feel of the statement. When she has repeated the statement ten times, I ask her to open her eyes and extend her arm again exactly as she had before. I remind her to resist as hard as she can. Immediately, I am able to bring down her arm. It is as though all the strength has left her…

(She goes on to repeat the experiment as people are so amazed and the volunteer is adamant that she “wasn’t ready”, but again the same thing happens.)

I then ask the volunteer once again to close her eyes repeat ten times the positive statement “I am a strong and worthy person.” Again I tell her to really get into the feeling of the words. Once again I ask her to extend her arm and resist my pressure. To her amazement (and everyone else’s) I cannot budge the arm. In fact, it is more steadfast than the first time I tried to push it down.

If I continue interspersing positive with negative, the same results occur… By the way for you skeptics out there- I tried this experiment when I was unaware of what the volunteer was saying. I left the room, and the class decided whether the statement should be positive or negative. It didn’t matter. Weak words meant a weak arm. Strong words meant a strong arm.

This is a stunning demonstration of the power of the words we speak. Positive words make us physically strong; negative words make us physically weak.”

 

If your reaction is anything like mine, you’re dumfounded, right?

She goes on to say that it doesn’t even matter if we believe the words or not, it is what our subconscious hears from our internal chattering mind that determines how we feel and act.

This may well have changed my life.

The chapter goes on to explain how positive mantras can be completely life changing, as you are reaching out to the strong part of your subconscious mind and therefore making a physical and emotional change for yourself. It is all in your control.

 

I HIGHLY recommend this book.

Please let me know your thoughts below.

 

*** “Pollyanna is a delightful story about a young girl who made a game out of finding “something to be glad about” in anything negative that came into her life. Over the years this kind of “Pollyanna” thinking has been maligned as being naïve and unrealistic.”

 

The book Feel the Fear and do it anyway is the work of Susan Jeffers and was first published in 1987, reproduced in 2007 by The Random House Group Limited

A Week out of Inpatient Hospital: Lessons Learned

I wrote this when my emotions were all over the place and I was trying to ground myself on the day of discharge last week on the 25th of August 2016. Don’t worry, it’s actually a lovely positive post. 

Leaving hospital this time round has been so poignant and beautiful. On Tuesday I went out for the whole afternoon on the ward’s social eating; for lunch and for snack, laughing in the golden Ray’s of the sun. At night, after my favourite tea of peanut butter and jam sandwich, I went to my last yoga session in Middlesbrough, which was my favourite yet. 

On Wednesday I went for “the final soirée” with HW  (my outreach nurse who took me out weekly to challenge my immense social anxiety and helped me through sobbing suicidal breakdowns and cheered me through my achievements) that she’d promised me months in advance. We went out from 12 till 4. Blazing sunshine as we went to Yarm, sitting in the little cafe at the back of the gift shop Strictland and Holt. Browsing the charity shops, or rather, “having a mooch”. I got some Shakespeare. 

Then we went to Stockton for my first ever gel nails appointment which was so lovely. HW waited with me and we chatted away. I got a gorgeous deep orange sparkle. 

We then went to Costa for afternoon snack. 

Our afternoon was so lovely; it made me feel so happy and free. HW wrote me a really kind letter and gave it to me in the cafe, and we just reflected on all of our time together. Before she left she came to my room to say goodbye and I have her my card with a Yankee candle car freshener (as she always had a line one in her car and loved the cherry one) and a little shell from Whitehaven beach (my home town I told her all about as the centre was 2 and a half hours from home). She was so grateful. She embraced me in a hug and squeezed me and squeezed me, me crying and her with tears in her eyes, telling me

“that she has no doubts that I will achieve all that I want to. That it is entirely possible and I am so worthy of it.” 

Then she said “see you later” as she never says bye, and that she hopes to see me in different circumstances in the future. 

Today is my last day on the ward. Mam and dad are coming at 1 and it is now 11:30. I’ve cried 4 times already. I’ve parted ways with JM my psychologist, who has been so incredibly supportive and easy to work with. She’s assured me

“that this is all because of me and my incredible bravery and hard work. That I am so lovely and kind and approachable and I am worthy of all the lovely things I deny myself.”

She said she has written me a card and will give it soon, I have one for her also. (Reflecting, she wrote a beautiful quote from the book she highly recommended and I have now bought, The Life of Pi.)

I said goodbye to GB (my care coordinator and caring consoler), being totally honest with her about me being torn and wanting to relapse; but knowing I shouldn’t and couldn’t bear it if I did. She complimented me so much, sincerely, and she told me

“that if there is one thing I must remember from her it is that the Evergreen is always here, it won’t disappear, and there is a very real possibility that I could come back here in the future, but WHY?”

 I would have to do this whole process all over again from the start and for what? 

“People do not judge you or value you on your body shape. Being emaciated only pushes people away.” 

(This was in reply to me saying how alone I felt).

Saying goodbye to my best friend, in my world of loneliness and repelling friendships like matching magnets, KD was the hardest part. We were both sobbing, holding each other in our one to one session in the family room. She was so loving and kind and we just opened up about how completely grateful we were for each other. I just kept saying “I love you. I totally love you.” And she did too. 
Leaving this ward at 1:30 will be so difficult. My anxiety and panic has been so bad these past few weeks, but now I am excited. I’m so torn, so all over the place. So confused. 

This had to happen one day, but I am so grateful for the fact that this time it hasn’t been so rushed.

Bittersweet Bedroom

Trigger warning for those suffering from eating disorders as this was a totally honest vent. I will say the end is positive but the content is read at your own risk. PLEASE be careful. 

It’s bittersweet laying here. I’m about to actually go to sleep at my Nan’s house for the first time since well before I was hospitalised for the second time thanks to my Anorexia Nervosa. 

The last time I was in this room was 5 and a half months ago. 

I came to “bed” early, completely exhausted from another day of restriction, only to exercise the compulsive amount I must do. I would force myself. Completely force myself into something so utterly exhausting, yet in reality was barely anything, because my energy levels were so depleted. 

I’d self harm. I began to self harm again after 2 years clean. 

I’d eventually be forced into bed after sobbing on the phone to my devastated boyfriend, where I’d gasp for breath through agonising panic attacks as I felt my heart slow to less than 40 beats a minute. I felt my heart failing. I felt my organs hurting. I felt every inch of me exhausted. I was devastated at the thought of waking up in the morning to do it all again. I banged my head on the wall because all I wanted was oblivion, yet all the paracetamols and other such pills were hidden away to stop me in such a suicidal mindset. 
And I’m triggered. Rather; my disorders are triggered. 

But you know what? 

No. 

Anorexia promises the world, and has done to me so many times. I fell flat on my face, being rushed back to hospital, back to the inpatient centre I’d spent half of the 14th year of my life, just a few months before the time to celebrate my 17th birthday. Great. 

As I’m writing this, I’m aware of the time. I’m aware I need to wake early in the morning to have my breakfast and adhere as much as I can to my meal plan. I am aware I am travelling back to the inpatient centre for my last week. That I am being discharged on Thursday the 25th of August. 

That I came in this room and did not even think of self harming, nor exercising, I just got into bed. I reached for my iPod and I got out my meditation app that I do daily to keep in check with my newly learned life changing DBT therapy. 

And as completely and utterly anxious as I am about being discharged and how I may admittedly be already slipping before the day has even arrived, I have learned so much about myself in this admission that I’d say it’s nearly impossible to go fully back. I could well relapse but I know I could not bear this again. Sure, I’ll get thin. I’ll numb my emotions. But I’ll fall deeper and deeper again, plummeting till I slam into another hospital admission and start the process of recovery all over again. 

I refuse. 

I am changing. I am living.

I am not Anorexia; I am Denica and I am finally healing. 

“I do believe I am FULLY recovered.”

Hello to all of my darling followers! I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to read my ramblings and I’m stunned that anyone would care enough about me to follow me. 

With that off my chest, I felt it would be good to share some of the enlightenment that I received from a truly beautiful and inspiring young woman in today’s final “Recovery Group” on my inpatient ward. 

(I’ll change her name as I’d really like to respect her privacy. Also I won’t go into the full details of her story but will give some key points she told us.) 

Jade is 23 years old. 

She now lives in London with her boyfriend of 6 years studying Art in university with the dream to become a professional art therapist. 

I feel bad for summarising her story somewhat, and I am in NO way minimising her journey. It’s just that it took a good hour to explain it all to us in her specially caring and confident manner and voice. 

For many years, Jade was bullied. Throughout primary she felt that it was alright, it was manageable and she was not alone. Then, transitioning to secondary school things got much worse. Before long, inevitably her self esteem was severely reduced and the beginnings of her struggles with her mental health began. Here she began her downward spiral, developing EDNOS: having a damaging relationship with food, regularly binging only to then starve. She insisted at this time it was certainly not related to shape. 

As time progressed, her disordered eating habits descended into full Anorexia Nerovsa, clinical depression and self harming. She needed control after a triggering personal event in her life a few years later at around age 15. As things got progressively worse, her teachers began to notice and after finally allowing herself to confide in her R.E teacher, she began to regularly chat with her until things began to escalate further and she was regularly emailing her telling her how worthless she felt. When she admitted to self harming, as a safeguarding policy, intervention had to happen. Jade was soon attending CAMHS in secret from her mum, during her lunch break, but after making no progress the school insisted that they must tell her mum. She admitted to screaming and sobbing and begging them not to tell her, but they had to. 

Her reaction was not as Jade has expected it to be. Rather than shouting, she lovingly told her that she was not alone anymore and that her mum was there to help her through it. 

Things progressed to needing intervention from an outpatient unit, and things began to slowly improve. 

Jade saw the same psychiatrist as I do for overseeing my care, the darling Ginnie. She told Jade that having  Anorexia was like a pressure cooker: that the bubbling on the top (or in Anorexia’s case, the malnourishment and restricting) was just a symptom of what was beneath, the blue, burning flames (or whatever it was contributing to you acting and thinking in this way.) 

As things progressed , Jade began to use art and music as an outlet rather than restricting or self harming. This was admittedly really difficult and of course she wasn’t cured overnight. Things were still incredibly difficult; the Anorexic voice still screaming at her from behind. 

It wasn’t until her mum went on a holiday with her friend that the “infamous click” happened. Anorexia had meant that she had become more clingy and childlike than her 5 year old brother in her late teens. With her mum leaving for that short time, after battling for so long for her mum she realised that she had to do it for herself. For her life.

It’s been a long journey for her, yet she truly does believe now that she is “fully recovered” and has been for 5 years now.

I was dumbfounded with tears pricking at my eyes, my handles trembling and fidgeting as my heart pounded against my chest. 

She is FULLY RECOVERED. 

How is that even possible? 

I was so blown away. It’s something so deep within me, the overwhelming belief that I will always have this disorder and that it is something that I need to cling on to and keep in my life. 

She explained how she felt she needed the disorder in order to get care, and in letting go of it, she would in turn lose all of those who currently cared for her. 

This is EXACTLY how I feel. This is exactly why I relapsed so hard, exactly why I have so many breakdowns. 

But she told me how sincerely she does not have Anorexia anymore and does not feel this way. In answering some of our prepared questions, she told us that she does very occasionally hear, as known to her “Ana’s voice”, but that honestly a bad year for her would be if she heard that now whisper twice a year, and she can immediately cancel it out. 

She told us that despite previously comparing herself to everyone, literally anyone (which I CERTAINLY do), she knows her own identity enough now to never feel the need to. 

She says that food no longer has any control over her. That she can enjoy food without it affecting her. 

She does admit that after surprising her appetite for so many years she no longer feels hunger cues and that she must be strict with her regime of regular meals as she could easily forget. She hopes that this, in time, will return to normality and there has been some improvements. 
I felt I just HAD to share this super inspiring story with you, as my gift to you if you are struggling. 

Please be sure to comment below and tell me how it made you feel. 

I’m sure it was nowhere near as good as meeting this glowing beacon of inspiration in real life on the ward, but I certainly hope it came close. 

Denica, X 

Fighting against the romanticising of mental illness.