You can change someone’s life in the blink of an eye

Many of you know this story.

Many of you don’t know this story.

On July 16, 2015 my husband Rob was driving downtown.  It was late.  It was dark”ish”.  He noticed something out of the ordinary as he was passing over a bridge.  A young woman was standing on the ledge, ready to jump.  Many people would have to stop and think about how to react in this situation.  Rob didn’t hesitate.  He pulled over, ran across the fast moving traffic and approached her.

He said she reminded him of me.  Her body was frail and she was very petite.  He tried to talk to her, but she didn’t respond.  She had clearly made up her mind that today was the day she would end her life.  And Rob had clearly made up his mind that today was the day that he would not let her end her life.  By this time, some other people had stopped and 911 had been called.  Rob conintued to talk to her.  We never discussed what he said to her.  I never asked – he never told me.  What I do know is that someone is alive today because Rob did what we all should.  Have each other’s back.  Be kind to one another (as Ellen DeGeneres says every single day).

We found out later that she was on a day pass from the North York General Psychiatric Ward.  She woke up that day with the intent of dying.  Of ending her life.  Of jumping off a bridge and having the police call her family, friends, next of kin to tell them that she committed suicide.

None of those things happened.  Because of Rob.

She may have wanted the help but didn’t know it.  She may not have wanted the help and was pissed off that Rob intercepted her plan.

But with the right help, she will learn that on July 16, 2015 she had an angel looking out for her.  And he was driving a blue jeep with the licence plate KRYP2NTE.  So, maybe not an angel, but definitely a superhero.

 

Do I Really Want to Recover?

If you ask someone who has an eating disorder if they want to recover they will always say yes.  It’s a shit place to be in.  Your mind is occupied with food, weight, when, why, where, who and how.  It’s emotionally and physically exhausting.  It drains your thoughts and it sucks the life out of your body.  Yes, as much as a sufferer wants to give it up, there is a bigger part that doesn’t want to.  That part of course is the Eating Disorder.

Because I am not all better, weight restored and in a better frame of mind, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to recover.  It means I’m trying.  It means I am in recovery.  I’m not recovered.  That is still something to be proud of.

I do want to get better.  I do want to continue down the path of recovery. But there are times when I don’t want it.  There are times when I want to throw in the towel and just go back to what I know.  To go back to what seems easy.  To stop fighting myself.  To stop fighting ED.  Fighting is hard and fighting is equally exhausting.  BUT…I have to remind myself of what is at the end of this fight.

If I throw in the towel and stop fighting, I will die.  An Eating Disorder will kill you.  Eventually.  Up to 20 percent of people with anorexia die from their disorder, making it the deadliest mental illness there is.  Bulimia and other eating disorders can also lead to life-threatening complications.  And in addition to physical complications, eating disorders often lead to psychological and social issues like depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem and withdrawal from family and friends.  These conditions don’t only affect those that suffer from them they affect those that care about them as well.

I have had therapists, dieticians, life coaches, nutritionists, forums, seminars, courses and so many other things to help me down my road to recovery.

What I’ve learned is that I was able to take a piece from each person I met, and turn it into my own recovery plan.  I am the one and only one who will be the answer to my prayers.  And the same goes for you.

You can go into an inpatient program, get weight restored and have all of the therapy in the world, but in the end you need to want to recover.  You need to want your life back.  Because that is what you get.

I think, no..I know that in the past I thought I wanted recovery.  But I wasn’t ready.  You have to really, really want it.

I am ready.  And I have been ready, working on it every single day.  I am ready because I am fighting so damn hard.  I am not giving in.  I am finding ways to cope, deal, manage and not let it win.

So even though ED is still present and trying hard to kick my ass, my answer is YES – I really do want to recover.

A website I have found to be quite helpful is this: http://www.mirror-mirror.org/eatdis.htm

The best resources for me are the ones that I can relate to.  You need to find what works for you – who you connect with and what makes sense to you.

Look at my life.  Incredible parents, amazing husband, fantastic brothers and sister in laws, perfect kids, loving friends, and an extended family that has always been there for me.  I’m lucky.  I’m blessed and I have everything I need to be happy.

So, as I continue my long road to recovery, my answer is Yes, and will be Yes until this blog is called Skeletons in My Closet – I am Recovered.

The most important thing I should note today, is that my son is 11.  11 years ago I became a mom.  The day my life became even better than it already was.

I know he doesn’t read this, but years down the road he likely will.

I have only one wish for your birthday.  To be happy.  You bring joy, love and happiness to my life and everyone around you.  You are caring, sweet, sensitive, thoughtful, outgoing, funny, smart, inquisitive and the most genuine boy I have ever met.  You deserve to be happy.  Every. Single. Day.  It is because of you that I am happy.  I love you more than anything in the world.  Happy Birthday TY!  XOXOXOX

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6 F’ing Years Old

I was dropping my son off at camp yesterday.

I know most of the kids there, as they go to the school right by our house.

There was a group of 5 boys standing around being, well…boys.  Silly.  Making fart noises and picking their noses.

I said goodbye to Cooper and passed the group of boys.

“She’s so skinny.”

I turned around and one of the kids who I have seen around school was staring at me as were the other kids.

“Pardon me.”

He said nothing.

“Pardon me.” I repeated myself.

“I didn’t say anything.” He walked away with his friends.

I was sad.  I was sad because again I was recognized for my body.  I was also sad because how the fuck does a 6 year old boy recognize skinny?

 

There is good in the bad

Tomorrow will be two weeks since my last ‘slip’.

Now….keep in mind, I am not glorifying my Eating Disorder by any means but emotionally and medically stopping cold turkey is dangerous and not good for the mind or body.

So….the positives here are:

1. I’ve gone two weeks!  That’s amazing, incredible and a huge achievement for someone that use to take over 200+ laxatives every three to four days.

2. The quantities I have taken are  in single digits!  Again….a big milestone.

Believe it or not they do say weaning off is a better option. Your body experiences something called edema. Basically it’s water retention. A small price to pay, but it can happen very quickly in your abdomen, legs even your organs. Your body does not know how to function without them so the effects come on very quickly causing extreme discomfort and sometimes require emergency medical attention.  So yes, cold turkey is not recommended believe it or not. The physical is important, but the emotional side effects do fucked up things to your mind, so it’s equally important to have it happen slowly so that watching your body change doesn’t set you back.

The bad news – I slipped two weeks ago.

But there is more good than bad here.

Two weeks for me is huge and the fact that the quantity is so, so, so much less is huge.  I am basically retraining my body to work on its own without shocking it. And it’s been 7 weeks since my last overdose when I took more than my body could handle and I was sick as fuck.  I certainly don’t miss sleeping on the washroom floor.

So I congratulate myself on a milestone.

Happy two weeks.

I cross my fingers that I can tell you it’s been three weeks next Monday.

 

 

 

Stop and smell the roses

Got a call from my son’s camp. He was having pain in his ‘man parts’. Fast forward to the doctor who sent us for an emergency ultrasound to rule out torsion (the testicles getting twisted).  Thankfully everything worked out okay and he may have a small infection, but nothing to be worried about.  Phew!

Some days I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. Sometimes I want a break. A holiday. A chance to breath.

I get it. This is life. And I love every single minute with my family, friends etc…But I feel that life is passing me by. I keep blinking and it’s moving too quickly. I worry about looking back and regretting what I’ve missed out on.

Just an emotionally exhausting day.

Good thing it’s Friday.

I’ll try to stop and smell the roses a bit this weekend.

Know The Facts

Ever wonder the who , what, why, when and how’s of an eating disorder?

Here are the true facts about this illness:

Related Anorexia Statistics

Only about 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment. Anorexia statistics show that 20% of people with anorexia who do not get treatment will die. About 80% of those who do get treatment don’t get enough of it; they receive some impatient care, but are sent home before the recommended length of stay is up. There may be several reasons for this. Patients may leave against medical advice because they don’t think they need the treatment, or their health insurance coverage may refuse to pay for further treatment. Anorexia statistics show that inpatient treatment costs an average of $1000 per day, and the recommended length of stay is usually three to six months.

  • Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents.
  • 40 – 60% of high school girls diet.
  • 50% of girls between the ages of 13 and 15 believe they are overweight.
  • 80% of 13 year old girls have dieted.
  • 40% of 9 year old girls dieted.

Additional Statistics on Bulimia and Facts

  • Persons with bulimia are often normal weight or even overweight.
  • Lifetime prevalence for bulimia nervosa is higher in Latino and African-American populations.
  • Bulimia nervosa appears to be affecting people at younger ages and the average age of onset is in the late teens.
  • 30-70% of those with bulimia also have an addictive disorder.
  • Shoplifting is common in those with bulimia nervosa due to the high cost of foods and possibly impulse control issues.
  • Self-harm is a common comorbid condition affecting 34% of those with bulimia.
  • Statistics on bulimia show that an estimated 10-15% of people with bulimia are male.
  • Homosexual and bisexual males are at greater risk for developing bulimia than heterosexual males.
  • Eating disorders among male athletes are the rise, especially in sports where leanness is the preferred body type or “cutting weight” is expected.
  • 10-66% of those with bulimia suffer sialadenosis or swelling of the parotid glands.
  • Electrolyte imbalances such as Hypokalemia, hypochloremia, hyperphosphatemia, and metabolic alkalosis are common with frequent purging.
  • There is an increased risk of suicide among those with bulimia nervosa.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the gold standard treatment for bulimia nervosa.
  • Some studies show that 60 mg of fluoxetine (Prozac) can help with symptoms.
  • Only approximately 1 in 10 people with bulimia receive treatment.
  • Bulimia statistics tell us that relapse is common, occurring in approximately 30-50% of cases.
  • Suicide is a common cause of death in bulimia nervosa.
  • Going solely on data from death certificates in the United States that list bulimia as a cause of death, the mortality rate is 3.9% (it’s important to note that cardiac arrest and other health issues are frequently listed instead of bulimia).
  • The best hope for a full recovery without lifetime medical complications is early, aggressive intervention.

eating-disorder-charts

My Reflection

Last night I was at the mall.

Feeling bloated – as usual.  Trying to deal with the uncomfortable pain.

As I walked by a mirror I caught a glimpse of my reflection.  My first reaction (and usually the most honest one), wasn’t “disgust”.  I didn’t think “Ewww I look so bloated and gross.”

My thought was, I actually don’t look as bad as I feel.

Which led me to think about how my mind and my body are not connected.

Usually you feel a certain way and you assume you look that same way.  But it’s actually not true.

How you feel is based mainly on your thoughts.

How you look is non-negotiable.

Your thoughts lead to action.

Let’s look at the scenario I just described.

I feel bloated and uncomfortable.  I glance in the mirror.

  1. I shame myself for looking so full.  So bloated.  My stomach is distended.  I shouldn’t be wearing that shirt.  I should be wearing something baggier to take away from me feeling like this. OR
  2. I look at myself and realize that it’s just because I had dinner and my stomach is full.  That’s why it’s bloated.  But it’s not as bad as I am feeling.  And I know, I really do know that it will eventually go away when the food digests.  This is not forever.

So my actions could’ve gone one of two ways.

Again, let’s look at the above situations.

  1. Go to Walmart and buy laxatives to get rid of the feeling of being bloated.  Go home and vomit up everything I ate to get rid of the feeling of being bloated.  Be sick for the next 24-48 hours.  Look  like shit for the next 24 hours.  Miss out on some valuable time with my kids.  Start the cycle all over again. OR
  2. Go home and be with my kids.  Let them tell me how camp was.  Sit and have popcorn together.  Help them get ready for bed.  Sit on the sofa and watch my guilty pleasure tv shows (not those type of guilty pleasures!!! ).  Have a cup of coffee and get a good night sleep.

So, you see your thoughts bring about actions.

I chose # 2.  My thoughts lead me to act in a way that was much more productive and way more satisfying.  Although you give yourself permission to “reward” yourself by behaving in a way that will make you feel better when you feel uncomfortable, as I’ve said in the past, it is a short lived reward with terrible, awful, life altering consequences that will never bring your long term happiness.

Sitting on the sofa with my kids will always bring me joy and long term happiness.

The trick to recovery is to actually think.  Think logically.  Think ahead.  Try not to think about the right now.  Think about what will happen if you act impulsively.  Get ahead of your thoughts.  Get ahead of ED and make the decision to act how YOU want to act and how YOU want to live.  ED only wants one thing – for you to live in misery.  Get ahead of that bullshit.