Family

I am so lucky that I have the opportunity to reach out to so many people through social media, published articles, my blog and just from being vocal about my eating disorder.

Many of you have connected with me about your personal struggles, those of people you care about or just to offer me words of encouragement and love.

The one thing that people don’t understand is that if you are trying to recover you are trying.  Trying is the hardest thing to do.  Admitting you have a problem and doing something about it is the most important and difficult step.  Working on recovery is tough as hell don’t get me wrong – but switching your mindset from being stuck in an Eating Disorder to wanting to get out of it takes so much effort.  Acknowledging you want to change and trying to do something about it is the key to getting out of this illness.

I’ve been suffering for 20+ years.  I’ve wanted to get out numerous times.  I thought I wanted to get out but wasn’t ready.  The first time around during my 20’s I didn’t want out.  I liked it.  I was good at it.  I was getting the rewards I wanted.  But eventually the illness took it’s toll on me.  As I got “better” at it, I had to increase the quantities and that is when it became not only physically exhausting but emotionally draining.  You can only keep a secret like this for so long.

That is a very hard part of this disorder.  The secrecy.  It’s not because we are proud of what we are doing and don’t want to share it.  It’s because it’s embarrassing as hell.  We don’t want to admit it to anyone.  Admitting it would mean there is a problem.

I remember in September of 2014 – we were at my parents house for the holidays when I was in the living room with my mom, dad and two brothers.  I broke down.  I told them it was back.  It had been back since April.  I have been living with ED, again for five months.  I was scared because I know how he can grab hold and not let go.  So by this point I knew I was in trouble.  As sad and afraid as I was, I vividly remember my family’s reaction.  As always, they were supportive, encouraging, loving and made damn well sure that I knew they were going to be there for me.  But I also knew their hearts sank.  They had lived through this before and knew what was in store for them.

I have always said I am getting better for myself.  And I am.  But you should know that my family (which includes blood relatives, friends, acquaintances and anyone that holds a place in my heart) is the most important thing to me.  I want to get better for them too.  Because by getting better for me, they will be able to have me back.  Have Lisa back.  Not ED.  He doesn’t belong in my life and most certainly doesn’t belong in theirs.

People have gotten use to me bringing salad dressing in my purse for lunch, drinking through straws, not being adventurous with food, being mindful of what I eat, commenting on the changes to my body and loosing the little spark I once had.

BUT…those things are changing piece by piece.  If I still drink through a straw, that’s okay.  If I need to bring my dressing with  – that’s not the end of the world.

Last night I surprised my parents and brought the boys over for a visit.  As we walked upstairs my dad said, “Your legs are looking better.”

What ED heard was “You are putting on weight.  You are getting fatter.”

What Lisa heard was “You are winning.”

The smile on my dad’s face when he said that was priceless.  It made me happy because I know my efforts  mean I’m getting healthy.  And it makes me happy to see my dad happy.

Of course there is a part of me that still struggles with knowing I have to put on weight and watching my body change.  But I remind myself every day that if I don’t – I will die.  If I don’t I will miss out on life.  If I don’t my kids will miss out on having a mom.

My family has struggled along side of me for many years.  And I sometimes forget how hard it can be on them too.

I found this article that may be helpful:

http://www.mirror-mirror.org/families.htm

Tomorrow is a huge day in our house for baseball.  Two out of three kids have major tournaments.  Feeling bloated today I had a choice.  Take laxatives and get rid of the feeling.  Or deal with it and be available tomorrow for what’s important.

Guess what I’m choosing?

 

 

Three Days Gone

Last year is when I swallowed the most laxatives during my 20 year old Eating Disorder.

I remember that I always promised myself I wouldn’t take more than one box, which contained 60.

That day in 2016 I took 255 laxatives.  In one day.  It took me about an hour.  I would gulp them by the handfuls.  It’s awful.  Just thinking about it makes me want to puke.  That many pills.  All of that poison.  Being so horrible to myself.

The problem with laxatives (besides everything you can imagine) is that your body becomes accustomed to them.  The more you take the more you need to take.  So every time I had to increase the quantity in order to get the results I wanted.  This is why it’s a never ending cycle.  It’s a moving target.  There really is no end – okay you get the point.

As you can imagine, I became extremely, extremely ill.  But not just the usual nausea, sweating, dizziness, dehydrated, lethargic,  tired and weak kind of illness.  Magnifiy that by a zillion to even imagine a fraction of what I put my body through.  I took them at work on a Friday.  Somehow I mustered up the strength to get through the day.  Lucky for me, my boss was in meetings so I was either in the washroom or in the spare office hiding under a desk so I could put my head down.

Around 3pm (we finished early on Fridays) I was thankfully feeling better.  I was hoping that was the end of it.  I had something to eat, drank a few bottles of water and headed home relieved that it was finished. But also surprised.  That was all?  That was it?

Fast forward to about 6pm after I had made dinner for the kids.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  The pain came back with avengence.  It was unbearable.  I went upstairs to lie down and told the kids they could turn on a movie until dad came home.  I had to close the door and turn off the lights.

And that is where I stayed for the next three days.  I could barely move.  I honestly thought I was as close to death as I had ever come and at one point seriously considered calling 911.  I told Rob I had come down with the flu  – which I’m sure (actually I know) he certainly didn’t believe.  I couldn’t move.  I couldn’t eat.  I couldn’t drink. I couldn’t focus. My head hurt. My body was in excruciating pain.

By day 2 Rob was getting desperate.  He said that if I didn’t eat something he was going to call an ambulance.  He was going to have me admitted to the hospital.  I had nothing in my system.  I couldn’t imagine eating or even drinking. I was beyond sick.  The trips to the washroom were frequent but short because I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t crouch, I couldn’t lie on the floor.  I had to be in bed.

I was worried that this was never going to end.  This was going to go on forever until my body just stopped. Until I died because of a laxative overdose.

My kids would come in my room every so often to check on their mother with “the flu”.  What fucking bullshit.  I fed them such fucking bullshit.  And all they cared about was making sure I was okay.  I had to convince them I was doing better even though I had no energy, no voice, nothing.

Later that night I had toast.  It was like being torture fed because I felt so ill but I had to. For Rob’s sake.  And for my own.

I had to call in sick to work on Monday. My body was still too weak. I couldn’t get out of bed. Walking from the bed to the washroom required so much energy that I had to sit down and rest to catch my breath. It was so laboured.  I remember not being able to take in a decent amount of air. I was huffing and puffing. This was probably the most afraid I have ever been.

By Tuesday morning I felt some relief. Enough to get up. Enough to eat. Enough to join the human race.

72 hours. I went through 72 hours of the worst pain imaginable. And I did it to myself. For what?  Looser pants?

72 hours of my life. Gone.

Time

Kids are simple.
Yes. They want stuff. Electronics. Toys. Snacks. Trips. Camp. Events. To see and do cool things.
But when push comes to shove they want one thing more than anything else.

They want you to be available.
They want you to be present.
They just want you around.

They. Want. Your. Time.

So I can buy my kids anything in the world, take them on trips, let them eat snacks to their hearts content, but at the end of the day they just want me there to throw the ball around with them, to play a board game, to watch them go down the water slide, to eat dinner at the table together, to snuggle on the couch and to tuck them in at night.

It costs nothing and takes no effort. And that is the most valuable and precious gift you will ever give and you will ever get.

It’s also the one thing you don’t ever get back.

So use your time wisely.
Don’t spend it worrying about food, calories, your weight, being bloated, working out or skipping birthday cake because it’s not a ‘cheat day’. Use that time and use it well because you won’t ever get it back.

And it’s the best thing in life to enjoy. Time. It’s simple.

I’ve lost out on thousands of hours because I was in the washroom. Missing out on the smallest things but essentially the most valuable. Time with my kids.

For what? To be in the worst imaginable pain because I took hundreds of laxatives. To be so nauseous that I end up vomiting profusely.

For what?

Time at the park, ice cream shop visits, late night movies on the sofa and walks to school all gave me the same thing. Time. And happiness.

Time. Use it. You won’t get it back. Ever.

Dear Abby

Please reach out to me. Please ask my advice. Please ask for my opinion.

I am CERTAINLY not a medical professional, but as someone who has been living with an Eating Disorder I have the best knowledge out there.

Many of you have emailed me asking for help.

A beautiful, caring mother to a 17 year old boy has connected with me about her son’s struggles.

He had a great day yesterday and I was so happy to hear the smile in her email.

She asked if I had words of wisdom. I do. It’s called the truth, honesty and stories right from my heart. It’s not from a course, textbook or class. It’s real life living. And that’s the best advice you can ever receive.

So please reach out. I am here for you.

shynz10@gmail.com

Dear 20 Year Old Lisa

Don’t do it.  Don’t go into the convenience store and buy laxatives.  Don’t take them.  Don’t worry about feeling bloated.  Don’t think this will just be one time – it won’t.

This will change your life forever.  One action today will become your new life.  Your new norm.  It’s a life that will change everything you have going for you right now.

It seems like a solution.  It seems like you can control it.  This is a short term reward that will turn into long term awful, horrible consequences.


I saw my doctor this week.  I got weighed.  She was happy. I am moving in the right direction.

She gave me a bunch of requisitions to keep on top of my health and make sure everything is status quo.  She’s incredible like that.

Blood work

Urine analysis

ECG

Ultrasound

But this time she added something new.  A bone density test.

High risk for oesteoperosis.  That’s what she wrote on the form.  Oesteoperosis.  My 95 year old grandmother had that.  Your grandmother progrably has that.  I’m forty fucking three.

The thing about my body is that is has been very forgiving.  It has allowed me to live.  But it’s also not invincible to what I have done.  Unfortunately you can’t see what’s inside.   So I don’t know what I have done.  I don’t want to have any regrets.  I don’t want to do something to my  body that I can’t undo.  I am fortunate that it has given me chance after chance after chance to survive.  But it can only do this for so long.


Lisa, that box of laxatives is going to make you feel light.  It is going to make you feel empty.  It is going to make your pants looser.  You are going to like how you look tomorrow.  To you, it will seem like a solution.

But in 20 years you will be trying to fight an illness.

You will have been in the washroom for thousands upon thousands of hours.  Have ingested more laxatives than I ever would want to even guess and spent so much money on this awful, horrible Eating Disorder.  Nothing good will come out of you buying that one box of laxatives.  Nothing.  If anything, that one box of laxatives will symbolize the end of your life at 20 years old and the start of a new one.  It’s called hell.

Put the box down.  Go get a popsicle instead and get the fuck out of the store.