A New Year. A New Start.

On December 31st, 2016 I tried to not bring ED into 2017.  I wanted a clean slate.

I failed.  But, that doesn’t mean I give up.  There is always time and there is always room to make changes and to start again.

So today is that day for me.

It’s been a great couple of weeks for me.  The start of the end.  The end to my demons. It’s the Jewish New Year and is a time to reflect on the past 12 months.  Make changes. Continue with good habits.  I’ve been making changes.  Little ones that are turning into big ones.  The light at the end of this tunnel is called recovery.  Every little step I take helps me reach that goal.

My little brother said to me a couple of nights ago, “Seems like you are having more fun than the monster lately.”  Monster indeed.  Demons.  Devil.  Hell.  There is no better way to describe an eating disorder.

Pain, torture, distress, torment, horrendous, affliction, agony, horrifying, misery, depressing, suffering, anguish, burden, nightmare.  I think you get the idea.  It is an awful world to live in and a terrible life to give up to such a debilitating disease.

So, as we welcome in the year 5778, I look forward to my new beginning.  My clean slate and my fresh start.  I know it won’t be perfect.  But life isn’t about being perfect.  It’s about the effort you put into it.  And I am giving it everything I have to continue down the path that is much better than the hell I’ve been living.

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You almost have cancer

What if you were told that you didn’t have cancer, but if you continued your life the way you were living it, you would get cancer.

I’ll take a stab at it.

You would stop whatever you were doing to prevent a death sentence, am I right?  You would do anything and everything to make sure this wouldn’t happen.  Anything!

I was at the doctor yesterday to review my test results.  Nothing alarming, but a few things were “off”.  As my brother put it, everything is okay, but on the borderline of not being okay.  I did question why, for example my iron is so much lower than it was 6 months ago when I’ve been doing better recently.  Why are my hormones so out of wack?  Why are my calcium levels dropping?  Why?  I’ve been treating my body better and yet it’s not reacting the way I would want to or expect it to.

Because my body is rebelling.  For years and years I have tortured it and treated it like a piece of shit.  So it maintained itself.  It now has to normalize.  It now has to take the food I am eating and decide what to do with it.  It has to level out all of my electrolytes, blood counts, platelets and everything else.  It has been so use to working one way that it is learning how to work the right way.

But as I sat in my doctors office I thought that this was the closest I would ever come to a warning.  She has told me time and time again that the day she came back with blood work that was worrysome, I would have less than three months left to live.  There will be no warning.  My body will simply shut down.

So there I was.  Being told that everything is okay.  For now.  But a couple more wrong moves and my death sentence is inevitable.  I won’t lie.  Getting those results was disheartening.  It made me feel that my hard work was going against me.  But I had to think logically and listen to what she said about my body trying to work itself out.  I am smarter than ED.  I know that if I continue to engage with him, I won’t win.  I need to let my body normalize.  I need to let my body get bloated to trust that I will continue to feed it and I need to take that meeting with my doctor as a sign that I am on the right track.  I’ve been feeling better than I have in such a long time and don’t want to take a step back.  I have to trust my body!

At work today I was discussing my doctors appointment with my boss.  I’ve been with him since January of this year.  He said that he has noticed the changes in me over the past several months.  “You are a totally different person than you were 6 months ago.”  He’s right.  And he didn’t have to say it, but I know that I’m a better person than I was 6 months ago.  So even though my body isn’t necessarily giving me the results I want internally, I have to be patient and give it time to trust me.  It deserves that.

I would do and I will do anything in my power to avoid my death sentence.  Given the opportunity to save myself isn’t something I take lightly.  I have so much to live for and I will continue the fight of my life.  For my life.

 

I Don’t Want To Fail At Having An Eating Disorder

They say an eating disorder is about control.  I’ve always disagreed.  I feel that you have no control when you have an eating disorder.  You want to make decisions but ED makes other ones; the wrong ones.  So how does that give you control?

The key to recovery is taking back the control.  Gaining control and making the decisions you want to make.  To get better.  To be well.  To live.

When you have an Eating Disorder it becomes a very physical illness.  People see your changes and essentially they see your “progress”.  Sadly, I became great at my Eating Disorder.  I was a pro.  I perfected it.  And that is where the perfection quality ties in to this illness.

So giving it up.  What does that mean for a perfectionist?  For someone that worked so hard to create this ideal Eating Disorder, what does that feel like?

It means failure.  It means you can no longer engage with this illness and you are giving up everything you worked so hard at creating.

That is what ED wants you to think.  That by recovering, you are a failure.  You gave up and can no longer maintain this “wonderful” mental illness.  An Eating Disorder is work.  It is HARD work.  It doesn’t come easy to anyone.  There is such strong physical and emotional efforts that go into this – it becomes exhausting.

So, what’s the payoff?  At what point during my Eating Disorder have I ever said that I was happy? Or proud?  Or glad that I am continuing to engage in this destructive behaviour?

Never.  Not once.  I have never taken boxes of laxatives, spent hours in the washroom, missed out on precious life moments and walked away the day after feeling great that I accomplished something.  Wait a second.  That’s a lie.  I have felt great afterwards on many occasions.  I was relieved that it was over.  That the pain stopped.  That I could get up and walk from my bed to the washroom without feeling like I was going to pass out.  To be able to drink a glass of water without feeling like I was going to throw it all up.  That is the only positive feeling that you get.  From the completion of your efforts and that you are no longer suffering.  Not from the efforts themselves.

There is absolutely no payoff from an Eating Disorder.

You starve yourself, than what?

You binge and purge, than what?

You over exercise, than what?

It’s a cycle that never ends.  So when you engage once, you will continue to engage.  There is not an end to this illness unless you end it.  The payoff is recovery.  The payoff is taking control.  The payoff is giving up.  Even though your parents always instilled the “Do your best” shpeal, in this case, giving up is doing your best.  Getting your life back and giving up something that has no reward, no positives, no payoffs.  Only misery and death.  That is all an Eating Disorder can offer you.

Think about your actions.  Think about your behaviours.  I know you aren’t enjoying them.  I know you don’t like engaging with such an awful illness.  So don’t.  You have the power to change what you don’t like.  You have the power to give up what you don’t want in your life anymore.

Give up.  Fail.  Throw in the towel.

Trust me, your parents would be so proud.

September 11 – 16 years

I can’t believe it has been 16 years.  I remember that day vividly as I’m sure all of you do.

I was getting dressed for work (at CityTV) when it came on the news.  I woke my dad, still not believing what I was seeing.

I went downtown and we spent the entire day glued to the TV and watched as our world changed.  Forever.

My hearts and prayers go out to anyone affected by these terrible and senseless tragedies.


I heard a very interesting quote this weekend that resonated with me.

“I know the voices in my head aren’t real.  That doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to say.”

How true.  We know that the little devil on our shoulder isn’t really there.  But we all struggle with making decisions when he tries to talk us into something or out of something that we are about to do.

It got me thinking.  When will he give up?  When will I NOT have to struggle with making a decision, but instead just do what I want to do?

I know that in life you won’t always be able to just make a decision and move forward.  That is life.  Sometimes you will want to do something and that is when the devil or angel appears to confuse the situation.  It’s natural.  It’s normal and it’s life.

But when it comes to an Eating Disorder, it’s a matter of my life and my death – so these decisions have to end.

A friend wrote to me last night and said : I thought how sad it is that many people who struggle with a disease or anything can hide it inside but not so much with your ED.

Because the effects are physical, it is hard to hide.  Should I have been an alcoholic?  Sex addict? Gambler?  Something I could hide?  Maybe.  But maybe people being able to see my illness makes it more real.  Or does it make me “want” to continue?

That scares me.  I am recovering.  I am not recovered.  Recovering means trying to recover and working at getting better.  Whether you are at the beginning, middle or end; if you are trying you are recovering.  It’s a sllllllllllllllllllllllllllllloooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww process.  But there comes a point I find that it is going to be very hard to let go.  To give up a part of you that you know so well.  Permanently.  A part that you have lived with for so long.  A part that has become who you are.  A part that is comfort.  A part that is how you deal and cope.

It’s definitely not a part of you that should exist but when it becomes a habit it becomes an addiction.

I’m worried about the last part.  The time when I cut the cord once and for all and am done.  Finished.  Recovered.  Will that come?  Will it happen?  When?  I come close every single time and than something doesn’t allow me to jump those hurdles.

It’s the voice.  The devil.  It exists even though I know how wrong it is and how fucked up his decisions are.

But I know better.  I know what my mission in life is.  My mission it to be a voice.  Not for eating disorders, but for recovery.

So when you come so close to achieving your goals – try.  Try as hard as you can to decipher right from wrong.  You know the truth.  You know what you need to do.

Do it.  Don’t let the voice that doesn’t exist have a voice.

Osteoporosis?

I had my physical a couple weeks back.

My doctor set me up for the usual tests and appointments.

Mammogram. Blood work. Ultrasound tonfollow up with some cysts. And a bone density scan.

I saw the requisition. It said: HIGH risk for osteoporosis. I’m forty fucking three.

 

The Dash (Thanks CD)

The Dash

by Linda Ellis
 
 
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
 
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end
 
He noted that first came her date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
 
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years
 
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
 
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
 
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
 
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
 
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
 
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
 
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
 
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
 
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
 
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
 
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
 
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
 
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
 
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

 
This is a terrific poem by Linda Ellis that was recommended to me by a very special friend. It’s so true.
Sadly, I have thought about my funeral.  How awful.  43 years old and I’ve thought about my funeral.  And it isn’t a funeral when I’m in my 90’s.  It’s a funeral when I’m in my 40’s.  The thought of my family and friends sitting at Benjamins, paying their respects to me does more than break my heart.  It absolutely destroys me.
I have more to live for than I could ever imagine.
This Eating Disorder has taken over 20 years of my life and turned it into a living hell.
Not all of it.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have lived a part of that life with complete joy and happiness.  And it’s all because of my family and friends.  YOU!  I am so fortunate to be surrounded by people that are loving, caring, thoughtful and supportive.  If I didn’t have that, I would’ve likely fallen apart years ago.  ED can do that to a person.  You feel like you are on a merry-go-round that you cannot get off of and decide that you have had enough.  You completely fall apart and give up.
I would NEVER, EVER allow ED to convince me that I have had enough.  I will keep fighting until I win this battle.  I will continue to fight until I win.  I will continue to fight until I am a voice for recovery.
Imagine this.
You are at work.  It’s 4:30pm.  It’s a day when you would take laxatives.  You close your door and begin the process.  You are just over halfway done when you get extremely nauseous.
WHAT THE FUCK?  This shouldn’t be happening.  I’m not done!  But you can’t muster the strength to take one more.  You also cannot sit at your desk – so you run to the washroom.
You sit on the toilet and plant your head in your lap to try and stop the room from spinning.  You begin to sweat and don’t know if you are going to throw up, pass out or have a heart attack because you can feel it beating through your chest.
Someone comes in the washroom.  She is fixing her hair and makeup before she goes home.  All I want is her to leave.  I need to be in there by myself.  After a good five minutes (which seems like an eternity) she leaves and I have to lie down.  The room is spinning and I am about to faint.  The stall is tiny and I don’t fit on the floor.  So my body is literally wrapped around the toilet.  A dirty, disgusting, public toilet.  I never in my wildest dreams would’ve ever thought I would end up in that position.  First off, I’m a clean freak and secondly – just what the hell am I doing?  But in the moment, I do what I have to in order to survive the pain.
Luckily it’s the end of the workday so everyone begins to leave and I have the privacy I need.
I rotate from throwing up to using the toilet for a good hour.
I have help at home so I know the kids are being taken care of.
I know that my kids have likely called me a couple times on my cell phone (as they always do at the end of the day), but I don’t have it with me.  My only goal at that moment is to let this pass so I can be strong enough to drive home.
As I’m lying there what am I thinking of?  A lot of people have questioned how I spend that time.  What is going through my mind?
The Eating Disorder is commending me for accomplishing what it set out to do.
Lisa is cursing the Eating Disorder for screwing once again with my mind and damaging my body.
I feel my body get weaker and weaker.  You are not made to have these things happen to your body.  You are not made to empty out the contents of your body like this.  It is not normal and it is not healthy.  But at the time, ED doesn’t give a shit about me.  His “voice” tells me how proud he is that I am going to have a flat stomach shortly.  Part of me just wants it to happen so it can be over and done with.  To move on.  To get home and live the part of my life that I love.  The other half swears that I will never do this again.  But I know it’s not true.  I know that it won’t end.
The key to recovery is believing that it’s the last time.  Believing that you want to recover.  We all say it.  We all wish that we could eat and not worry about it.  We all wish that we wouldn’t have to have a battle at each and every meal.  We all wish that we could be the way we were before ED.
My dash cannot be about days like this.

 

My Cry For Help That Was Ignored

This was an email exchange between myself and a Toronto Eating Disorder Program. Read from the bottom up. One email was completely ignored.  And the other time, when I was literally begging for help; they acted as if I needed a cold sore treated.


Hi Lisa,
Your family doctor sent the referral and it was received on Dec 14th, reviewed and I dropped it off at X’s office today for her to coordinate the appointment for you to be assessed by one the inpatient MDs.
Thanks,

——————–

From: Lisa Boltman [mailto:shynz10@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2016 2:12 PM
Subject: Fwd: Wait List

Can you help?
I’m petrified. It’s coming close to a day when I would take laxatives.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Lisa Boltman <shynz10@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Dec 16, 2016 at 2:09 PM
Subject: Re: Wait Lis

Hi.
I forwarded the information to my doctor – have they sent you something.
I’m at my wits end and realize everyone’s situation is important.
But I just calculated how many laxatives I have taken since October 21st and it’s over 5,000.
I’m so scared.
What other options are available?

On Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 3:49 PM,  wrote:
It’s quite long at the moment. I couldn’t tell you how long it would be as every patients needs for treatment are different. The best thing would be for you to be assessed by one of the inpatient MD and discuss it with them.

Let me know what you decide.