Help? I think I need people to listen? - Talk ED (eating d...

Talk ED (eating disorders)

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Help? I think I need people to listen?

spiritgirl profile image

I am looking at the different topics and questions on here and now im wondering if this is the right place for me? All the advice on trying to recover or at least how to healthy changes to ones diet, sound good to read - good sound reasonable advice. But if it was that easy surely we wouldnt all still be suffering and carrying on the way that we are? I wish i could read all the info and have it sink in enough. I know what I "should do" and I know what im doing is wrong. Ive got 2 small children and you would think that this alone would be reason enough to make me stop doing what I am doing (starving myself) but it hasnt. I feel huge amounts of guilt but i cant stop. my bmi is 15.5 and im 42 years old. I feel fat and i look fat and if i eat, I can literally see the fat coming back - making me look fatter.

I had a spell in hospital about 2 months ago. I had been starving and taking high fat burning pills for a long time until I got rushed to hospital because i couldnt stop being sick. it was terrible. as i sat on the floor in my nightgown, i was in so much pain all i could think about was what if i died there in the hospital and never got to see my babies again? I vowed Id get better. When I came home I chucked a shopping bag full of laxatives, slimming pills, slimming tea out. took me a month to be able to eat soup without my body rejecting it..but as i put on the weight, 4 pounds to be exact. I went straight back into panic mode and now am starving to lose it all and exercising at night in secret. I feel in hell. I saw my docter this week for a review of my meds, as i also have depression and borderline personality disorder and she is referring for a mental health assessment at a local hospital. Im getting worried about what i should and shouldnt divulge as i dont want to be hospitalised and taken away from the daughters.

13 Replies

Oh Spiritgirl, I really feel for you. It is so hard. The things we do to our bodies that are killing us are also the things that are keeping us alive, without them how do we go on?

I've tried to curb my purging and self harm after a scary incident 4 months ago but it doesn't stop my mind racing. My depression is crushing me, my anxiety levels are sky high and I am overwhelmed by the urge to cut or be sick, anything to turn it off. Daily I consider ringing the doctor and asking for help and daily I put it off. Like you what would I disclose? Fortunately I do not have children to think about, I cannot imagine the terror you are feeling. I worry enough because I have a job that really relies on the fact that I am a sane, suitable person and what will happen when they realize I'm not?!! Yet we owe it to ourselves and those who love us to try and get the help we need. I wouldn't ask my worst enemy to go through this.

You do need to talk to someone. Perhaps the assessment will generate this. In the past I have seen a psychologist and it did help although it would have helped a lot more if I'd been more honest with her. If you stress your desire to be treated as an outpatient they should take this into consideration. After all they are there to help you not cause you more distress. The problem is the length of the waiting list for help and how ill you are physically.

It is so unbelievably hard and all the good advice in the world doesn't take that away. You already know you have to eat. I already know I have to eat proper food and keep it down. However that knowledge is counter intuitive to everything we feel. Certainly for me my disordered eating habits are so entrenched - I've had then since before I was 13 and I'll be 40 in a few weeks I cannot see another way to live. Even when I'm not in a binge/purge cycle I graze on my binge food, I cannot deal with real food, proper meals. As a result I am stuck at a much higher weight than is healthy for me but I do empathize with your issues of body image. In the past I have lost a lot weight - my doctor, friends and family rejoiced - but I was terrified. I could not adjust to my new size, I hated all the attention, I was still bulimic and I felt so unsafe in my skin. As a result I shot back up to a place of safety. All of which is a rambling way of saying I really believe we must get to the root cause of our behaviour before we can give it up and to do that we need professional help. (Also means if I'm not a hypocrite I need to be making appointments for myself.)

This is such a long rambling reply and I'm not even sure if I've said anything of any use but please don't feel alone. There are others of us out there who are still searching for the path that will lead to recovery. Don't give up.x

Dear Spiritgirl,

It's so hard to stay positive when the illness seems so utterly hopeless. I think a lot of people on this forum can identify with that feeling of knowing what they 'should do' to recover but simply not managing it for one reason or another.

I very strongly believe that guilt and failure are two emotions that 'feed' (for want of a better word) our eating disorder / self harm issues. These feelings leads to awful conflicts within the brain and catch-22 situations. For example, If you're feeling guilty because of your illness, or because you've put on 4lb's, you'll cling onto the ED as your coping mechanism...which will make you feel more guilty...and the downward spiral continues.

With this in mind, it's a double-edged sword having loved ones to recover for. I think having someone that you need to survive for (whether a partner, parents of children) can be a strong and effective driving force towards recovery. However, it can also add pressure to the situation, and the guilt is magnified when we feel we've 'messed up'. We feel guilty towards ourselves if we put on weight and feel guilty towards them if we loose....guilt guilt guilt....and what does that do - fuels our illness (which leads to more guilt)!

Another thing to remember is that it's quite common for our illnesses to get worse when we start recovery. It's difficult addressing the buried issues that cause our illnesses and, as a result, it's quite common to resort back to our coping mechanisms to deal with them. Again, this can lead to feelings of guilt and failure, and magnify the downward spiral. However, this really doesn't mean we're failing, it's just an essential part of the recovery process.

I hope that all makes sense. I'm not going to tell you everything will be ok or advise you where to go from here as your post doesn't sound like that's what you're seeking. What I will tell you and, if you take nothing else from this post, please remember this: BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF!!!!! The more you beat yourself up, the more you're encouraging the guilt. If you have a bad day, try focusing on why it was bad, what were the triggers (so you can work our ways to avoid those triggers in the future)? At least then, something productive is coming out of your bad day.

You can also turn this on it's head and look for 'good points' in your day; work out where they came from and try to encourage them more often. Perhaps this bit is something your partner and/or children could help with as It's sometimes hard for us to recognise good in ourselves. Getting them involved in your recovery will take the pressure off you and make them feel more involved (therefore hopefully alleviating some of that guilt).


H xxx

You are right the advice all seems very logical and you cannot disagree with it, but actually acting on it is hard. This is what an eating disorder is, you are right again.

Im sure you will be able to give advice to someone else, and without being a hypocrite, there is almost no way you would follow it yourself.......probably becasue you think "they deserve it, im not 'that' ill" Denial! This is a huge issue, I am learning.

Ive been hospitailsed several times and my cpn classes me as SEED (sever and enduring eating disorder) but it doesnt mean things cannot change, even my understanding of it.

I expect you know things are not right and do not feel happy, yet do not think that you fit into the category of having an eating disorder, something like not being ill enogh!?! Again, I know its hard to take in as this is a description of me, but it is a characteristic of an eating disorder too. Health professionals do not have money and are always trying to cut costs, they do not know you on a personal level, they deal in facts and textbook cases not you as a person, so they would not have anything to gain by not telling you the truth.

Im still struggle. I dont take on board advice i file it away in the back of my mind, but i have developed better ways of managing. Honesty being a very relieveing one! It is the lies that make you panic, the lies that make you panic and do seilly things which then sprial out of control as once you have started, it makes it harder to own up and you have to keep up a facade, but at some point it WILL crumble, then owning up or being found out will be worse and this is when perhaps what you really want to avoid, will infact happen!!!

It doesn't mean giving up your eating disorder, challenging scarey behaviours or weight. But just being honest about what is and is not going on you will find a huge relief. Rightly or wrongle noone can really make you do what you do not want.

Putting you in to hospital would be to salvage not sabotage your life, and it would probably be a last measure to keep you safe. If you do not want this to happen. I suggest at first you just be honest with your "home team, doctors, nurses, etc" Then they will respect you more and feel safer. When behaviours are being used secretly, to be fair they don not know how to help keep you safe and hospitalisation is a way to manage it, but by being honest there are no surprises and nothing is irratic and panic! Living a double life is not a good thing as its hard to control and remeber what you have told to who and get your story straight. Im also sure they can tell when the truth is being bent, the tone in your voice, the use of words such as erm and being vague.....or the false assertive rehearsed speech, shifty eyes, or trying to stare them out overcompensatingly confident to hide nerves.

One last note. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT we have an outlet where we can be honest and we should have the right to say how we feel as it can be desperately lonely. However, and this is by no means a personal dig, but i think with the intentions of this website in promoting recovery, or perhaps if this is too strong a word, promoting life, i think that this is not the place to go into detail about behaiours, numbers weights.......regardless of the number we can all empathise and the numbers can be triggering or encourage / discourage people in a fragile mindset, or maybe even off balance someone who tought they had a handle on things. the end of the day, just be honest, its tiring making things up and conversations are pointless if you are saying what you think you should say. You will no where you are, they will know where you are and there are no surprises or shocks. Keeping things hidden, as i said, noone will know what is going on and this is when you lose control. By saying whats what, they can trust you and monitor you properly and there should not be a need for desperate measures.

I am not preaching or lieing. I know its not easy..................give it some thought.

I can really empathise with you - the fear the frustration - from my own experience living with the ED is like having two personalities - the "on show" you that the real world sees - and the secret "anorexic" side which, as someone pointed out to me, is the actual controller of our lives. We so want to recover - be "normal" - but the force of the ED is so powerful that it seems to prevent us making changes and completely controls our thoughts - especially when it comes to food.

I've just reached out again to my GP for help - as I realised I was getting dangerous thoughts, wasn't coping with life at all - and felt helpless to get out of the dark place I was in. But, its not just about reaching out for the help - for me the real challenge - and the real scary bit - is accepting the help and actually taking action. I see my ED as the enemy now - telling me complete lies about how I look, how I should cope with life, and what I should eat ... but its how to fight this enemy within that has such a hold on my life - and on my mind.

I know I can't do this without a great deal of help and support - and from professionals - friends are great - but they can also do more harm than good with well-meaning advice.

I would say that you are right to get help - but you do need to be honest with them about things - or they're not going to be able to give you what you need. I would also suggest that you need to see specialists in EDs - not just "ordinary" mental health pshychiatrists - you need to ask your GP to find out where the nearest ED specialist unit is and see if you can get out patient treatment through them.

If it helps - I had an emergency appointment at an ED unit just this week - my GP had written to the local mental health team who over reacted when they saw my weight level and thought I needed immediate hospitalisation. They'd never seen me - just rang me and said they'd got an emergency appointment that day! However - the appointment went really well - I saw someone who was a true specialist - they really listened to what I had to say - what I felt I needed - and instead of hospital admission felt out patient treatment was best - allowing me to stay in my family situation and recover this way. So I would say that specialists in EDs I feel see the whole person - their whole life - and consider this when offering their treatment - based on experience of EDs not just mental health issues generally.

As you can tell from the comments so far - you are not alone - there are many out there just like you - feeling and struggling as you are - you are no different from a good many others - so don't feel you are stupid and don't beat yourself up - you have an illness and like any other illness it needs treatment.

Praying for you and your girls.

I'm astonished to learn there are many older ladies with Bulimia here who feel very much like myself.

How did you express to your doctor about the help you need. I hate bothering mine but must make an appointment this week. I have no idea what is on offer here in London and I don't think the doctors know either, so will need to go in armed with information for Bulimia and other mental health problems.


I just told them how it was - nothing missed out - it took time but I eventually found a GP who listened and took me seriously - it took perseverance but eventually I got there. Good luck with your journey. Anorexia and Bulimia Care helpline was also great - so give them a call.

Spirirtgirl, I so really really feel for you too, and i know exactly how you;re feeling. I'm almost 38 with 2 young kids too, and I jut think that at this age, i should be old enough & wise enough to turn my life around. I've lived like this for pretty much all of my adult ilfe but it's so flaming hard. Sometimes it's only the thought of leaving my kids without a mum that keeps me going.

Fadedlizard (we're also chatting on another post), I too had a scary sh incident 3 weeks back, and since then I am trying my utmost hardest not to give into it again but it really is hard. My youngest child is such hard work sometimes and sometimes all i wanna to is lash out at myself but apart from one mega minor incident, I just can't. I can't put myself, my hubby or kids through that again. Or me actually. I've had to miss my fav gym classes & swimming with kids, had to cover up at home & work on some of the warmest days, and just really been limited in what i can do.

Spiritgirl, you say all the advice you read on trying to recover is stuff you think you should be able to do, me too, but for me now, i just seem to have reached a point in life where i honestly do not want to live like this anymore, i want & need to get better. But it's so so hard. I've just finished 2yrs of intense therapy (3rd time i've had therapy) and am hoping for final discharge from ED service, but altho i'm doing 'ok' (heaps better than say this tie last year) I am shit scared of losing the security of being in the ED service. Almost feels like i'm losing my comfort blanket. And with regard to actual ED, I'm still not sure i'll be able to cope with life without it.

You will get there, just gotta try & keep thinking positive and doing everything you can. Small steps are the best way.


Spirit girl,

I felt the need to comment on your post because up until 7 weeks ago I thought the same way...'I know what I've got to do but can't do it'!

Nearly losing my life, hurting my family, losing relationships, poor physical health, risk of infertility, oestoperosis, 2 stints in hospital, ruining my looks, ruining my education and all the other aspects that come in the package deal of n eating disorder just didn't seem enough still to make me change... Doesn't that just show the power of ED. the fact that ur children could or will ultimately end up without a mother may not be enough either because of the belief that 'it won't happen to you'. But why take the risk?

For myself I have had what I hope to be 'a lightbulb moment' when my partner said he was going to leave me and meant it. I dont know why it was this out of everything else I've lost that made me click. I do partly believe that it's timing and we just get to a point where ED just doesn't make sense anymore.

Having said that I don't think we should just lose and lose and sit around waiting for it to 'click'

Recovery is bout fighting...that means putting yourself in uncomfortable situations, facing fears and hurting.SO

Eat fear food, only weigh once a week or not at all if poss, face the bloted full feeling, listen to ppl when they say u look well (not fat), eat three meals a day and snacks, (understand how much u can eat and gain very little), get rid of skinny clothes, take one day at a time and dont think about ur weight next week, dont have a target weight at first as its too overwhelming. But hardest of all, fight every anorexic thought that comes into ur head cu u know they are not logical and ED lies.

U will hate how it makes u feel: fat, ugly, powerless out of control but recovery isnt easy. It is a FIGHT. U cn only imagine, it is that powerful that it can take u away from ur children so u can only imagine how strong u need to be to fight back. Surround urself with ppl who u can rn o when u feel gross. They won care about ur rnin because they'll jut be happy to see u making changes.

Sorry if harsh but i know that I needed someone to tell me 'how' to practically make changes so I hope that what I have said helps....teach urself to want recovery hunni because u deserve it. No1 deserves the hell that is an ED

Good luck and love x x

in reply to bumblebee20

Very threatening and hard to actually grasp, but nonetheless thankyou for writing that. It is the sort of stuff we need to read, to keep us thinking at least.

All the best to you.xx

* sorry or spelling errors... I ment surround yourself with ppl to rant to because they won't care about the ranting and tears as long as they can see change! X x

thank you everyone that has left me comments i have read each and every one and now ik going to think about them some more and then re-read. for now,

Hi spiritgirl, I read your post and the many others and it pains me to hear.

This is the hell situation we all hate, we know what we should be doing, we have the logic to give sound advice to others but when it comes to us, the 'what we should do' goes out of the window and the saying 'do as I say not as I do' is what we do. I understand what you say, you really want someone to listen to you, our thoughts and what is going on in our heads but the fear we will be locked up (so to speak) can prevent us from doing so.

It is as though we are having two worlds to attend to within our head (where we are with others and our own private and dark thoughts) I truely simpathise and my heart goes out to you.

It is the right thing to do to speak out, I had to make that decision and when I did I didnt feel so alone and somehow I felt I walked into some reality. Without honesty there is no way forward and you can hopefully receive the help you need if you can step out of the darkness. The fear will fade and you can receive some comfort knowing you have identified your needs to HCP's, This site is for you and us all, we all have times where we feel we are deep within our ED with no way out but there is light and hope, keep going because unfortunately, it takes times and there will always be hiccups but you can get there.

On this site we all write about .... but we are all struggling in different ways, I feel if I can be positive and write about the methods etc it helps me to keep on my road to recovery, I do struggle very much but I keep focussed on what I want, kids with my partner and so many other things. Its very difficult some days and so hard I don't want to see the world thats when I know I need to get writing, it keeps me sane!!!!

with love x

Hi, I felt sad to read about all you're struggling with and agree, advice is generally not helpful when you are struggling with complex emotional problems. You are doing well to be looking after two small children while coping with an eating disorder and borderline personality disorder. I wonder what it feels like to be given three different diagnoses when to me you are a person struggling with emotions and coping with them in different ways. That must make life hard for you. You didn't say whether you are a lone mum or have a partner, either way it must be difficult.

I will not ask about your problems on a public website but the fact that you fear of what to divulge suggests that your past experience taught you that divulging can be dangerous - maybe someone told you not to divulge, or you tried to divulge and worse things happened. Whatever it was, people who were there to help you perhaps made things worse which did not help.

Whatever the cause of your emotional problems they were not your fault, nor are your mental health problems. I know from experience how hard it is to change the ways I learned to cope with feelings. You clearly love your two small children and can obviously trust people as you shared your fear on the website, but you are frightened about what people with power might do with what you tell them. I also learned from experience that not everyone is trustworthy, but some people are. I don't know whether the person you see at the hospital will respond to what you tell them in ways you find helpful, you will have to find that out for yourself when you meet them. Tell them whatever it feels safe to say, trust your feelings of fear and safety. If it feels safe to do so then share the fear you have shared with me, perhaps they will suggest other ways to help you without hospital admission. That's all the advice I can give.

I trusted someone and as a result I am no longer dealing with my life in quite such self-destructive ways and feel very much better most of the time, although sometimes I can slip back into feeling angry or depressed. I do hope you find a way to do the same. Good luck at the hospital. I do hope you meet with someone who can understand your needs and respond to them appropriately and in a way you find helpful. I will be thinking of you.