Which is more damaging the pro ana, or the one in denial?

You know what really really irritates me??? The people who say they are recovered but are actually still very poorly.

I was thinking about it earlier whilst sending a message to one of the most inspiring and determined people I know and in my opinion (because this is my opinion and nothing else) those out there who claim to be recovered from eating disorders on social media are probably the most damaging and stigma imposing (I don’t know the correct way to say they back up the views of ignorant people, of those who also suffer and strengthen stigma) people with in online communities.

At the moment I see a lot of ‘this community has become toxic’ in various social media sites. Part of this is due to people who are pro Illness saying damaging things which back up a persons beliefs, but I personally think the problem lies more in those who claim to be recovered, but are 1) still under weight 2) still using behaviours or avoiding food 3) switching between illness (towards orthorexia commonly).

You see those who are pro Illness are niiave and ignorant. They are people strongly influenced by the society we live in and have many insecurities because of that. Those who are pro illness have not been subject to the harsh reality that maybe it distracts from in problem, but an illness in its self is a whole lot worse.

But those people who are spreading the message that they are recovered with out restoring to a healthy weight, with out been able to eat out still or the same meal as their families, those who eat, but still in a restrictive way- they are aware of the pain cause by developing a mental illness (specifically an eating disorder) they are aware of the emotional and physical pain. They have felt the torment first hand. They know the physical consequences are very real and the impact it has upon the whole of their lives. Yet by claiming to be well when they aren’t, they are allowing people to look up to them, in a way which could be very harmful.

How many times do you see someone who is ‘recovered’ eating a salad when your meal plan says x and then question why should you be eating x? It makes you feel additional doubt and guilt. How often do you see those who are ‘recovered’ going to the gym everyday or becoming obsessed with certain food groups (protein) and then question why you can’t go to the gym everyday or feel pressured to add extra of one food group and less of another?

How often do you look at you weight restoring or restored body and compare yourself to the ‘recovered ‘person and feel your body image worsening and yourself asking why they were allowed to remain one size when you are told you keep in gaining?

You see the general public know very little about Illness. Those who are pro Illness have a distorted view of what it’s like built on ignorance. But those who were ill and have now ‘recovered’, well they have been there and as an individual suffering we look at them with hope. Hope of recovery yes, but also disordered hopes. Hope that we will only ever have to eat clean food, that we can keep avoiding food groups or exercise everyday. We look at the small size and believe we can stop there to or we can keep set meal times….

But the truth is, we can not recover by doing things halfheartedly. In recovery we can’t compromise or meet in the middle with the Illness. In recovery we have to give up every rule and every behaviour. And unless we do that, we can never trust live. If we hang on to parts of an illness, in a way we can disguise, we are just as poorly as someone in the deaths of a disorder. We still are consumed by thoughts and limited by our fears.

Recovery is something which we have to choose say in and day out-even on the days we don’t want it. Recovery is challenging everything you thought you knew and learning what really is true. Recovery is crying for hours and planning a relapse, but still avoiding the gym or the bathroom and instead eating something extra. Recovery isn’t easy and any change towards recovery is extremely positive. However for those contemplating recover or struggling in recovery, those who claim the be recovered whilst living a disordered life (and most likely being in denial of those fact) can be very damaging both emotional and physical to others.

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What would make someone want to die- after all, we are dead for an awfully long time. 

From time to time, we all have a passing thought about killing ourselves. But for the vast majority of people it’s a flippant thought, one that’s it’s swept away as quickly as it appeared. Yet despite us all thinking of suicide, it’s something very few people are able to understand. 
Through out life we are constantly told to make the most of everyday. We have it repeatedly drilled Into us that life is short and we never know what’s round the corner. We are told to appreciate what we have, because there are always others worse off. And after all, death is certain and last for an awfully long time. But it often doesn’t matter. When feeling suicide, we are blind to what we once accepted as fact.
For an alarmingly high, but statistically negligible, number of people, suicide isn’t just a fleeting thought. It’s a thought which lingers, that screams, that becomes an obsession. It’s a thought which can’t be silenced by the fact we are lucky to be alive of that we will eventually die. When a person is in such a place where suicide becomes a realistic option, they could have everything or nothing and it wouldn’t make a difference. 
Suicidal thoughts don’t discriminate. They don’t only plague a specific type of person. A business man, a celebrity, a homeless person, a parent, an addict, a hair dresser….. It doesn’t matter. No one is immune to thoughts or even acts of suicide. 
So what would make someone attempt, or complete suicide? Well simply, there is no one right answer. Trauma, stress, financial worries, relationship breakdowns, mental illness, addiction, employment, physical illness, natural disaster, guilt, beliefs……anything which negatively impacts an individual’s social, mental, physical, spiritual or emotional health may lead to suicide, or thoughts of suicide. 
For many, the thoughts just stay thoughts, but for approximately 8,000 people around the world, thoughts turn into fatal actions and for many more, thoughts turn into attempts to end their own lives. 
When a person is well, they are able to think rationally. They can see that the pain won’t last, they can problem solve, or they can move forwards. But for a suicidal person, even if they have previously managed well, sometimes there seems to be no hope, their thinking is impaired and they are unable to see a way out. They stop seeing all that anchors them to life, and instead believing they are a burden or someone replaceable (the individual not the anchors) and that death is the only solution. 
It’s not easy to kill ones self. Not only because no method is 100% reliable, but because the body instinctively fights to survive, even if the mind wants to be dead. But when the world feels so dark and when each breath is exhausting, it doesn’t matter about the risk, the danger of what could go ‘wrong’, that the body will fight back, they just need to stop, escape, leave. 
We all die eventually and we are lucky to be alive when so many loose their lives so early. But a suicidal person is ill. And just because they choose death, it doesn’t make it any different to someone who lose their life to a physical illness. They are still killed by a condition, we just have no tests that can show us it’s there. And those who attempt suicide and survive, they need help, no matter what. Because they are poorly and with the right treatment they have an opportunity to be made better and have an improved quality of life. 
But we should be waiting until someone has killed themselves, or attempted to in order to ask what we could have done to help. We need to step in before. Just because a person is suicidal at some point, it doesn’t meant they always will be. They can be helped, they just need to be given help, before it’s too late. Tell a person you are there if they want to talk. Tell a person that it gets better. Take a person to see a doctor. Give a person hope. Sit down and help a person find a potential solution to their worries…. Be a friend, a parent, a sibling. Be yourself, but allow a person to feel they can lean on you and that you won’t run away. There are many reasons why a person may feel suicidal, attempt suicide or complete suicide, but it doesn’t have to get to that point. We can’t predict who will seriously consider suicide as an option or when it may become an option- but we can be there for them, before, during and after. We can prevent suicide. 

And when suicide goes wrong- suicide prevention week 2016

I was there, I was no longer scared. I was sure. It wasn’t want I had planned, but it was the only option I had. I sat for what felt like a life time, but was a matter of seconds- I heard my mum come. It was now or never. I jumped. 

Flash: a tube been inserted down my air way.

Flash: screaming for my mum as the ceiling moved past me.

Flash: ‘it’s going to get a bit noisy’ as head phones were placed on my head. 

Flash: ‘I don’t know who he is, but I like him’ a statement I was told I kept making every time the nurse did anything. 

It wasn’t until 2 days later that my memories become more constant. Until my vision returned and I could finally process what happened. 

My back, broken, now held together by metal rods. My ankle in a heavy cast. My chin help together by glue that I desperately wanted gone. 

I still don’t know all that happened. Most of my memories are still flashes. Flashes of sound, before fading out again. And I don’t regret it, it was a vital part of my journey. But I survived and I have never managed to make peace with that. 

Survive is always a risk when it comes to a suicide attempt. For every successful suicide, there are 40 failed attempts: the odds really aren’t in a suicidal persons favour. But when suicide becomes an option, life is so unbearable, that the risk is worth taking. That doesn’t mean survival is easy though. 

For those close to a person who attempts suicide, a successful suicide creates a painful grief. However when a person attempts suicide and survives to tell the tale, the situation isn’t only about emotionally distressing and worrying for family and friends, it also brings a heavy disappointment for the individual. A disappointment which lingers and increases the negative and driving thoughts behind the attempt. 
I have never felt relief after surviving a suicide attempt. I often am left feeling angry and disrespected. I made a decision to die. A careful and weighed up decision and that was ignored and overrode by another. I will argue at that time that if someone cared for me they would respect my decision and let me die. Unfortunently, it doesn’t work like that. 

Human nature is to save people. Although it feels others are acting out of selfish intentions, the reality is, is that they are doing it out of, not only instinct, but also care. People in your life want you to be alive and are willing to make you temporarily angry, in order to give you a chance at life. 

Surviving a suicide attempt, for whatever reason, it’s distressing in its self. The consequence of surviving can be life changing: chronic pain, disfigurement, paralysis, liver failure, brain damage….but emotionally the consequences are equally as difficult. The worry and distress around causes guilt. The judgments and stigma cause shame. No only because you are ill, but because you acted in such a way can cause you to loosing out on a job or a dream. 

But sieving isn’t all bad. Yes initially it is hell. You are instantly dumbed back into the hell you wanted to leave. But this is your second chance, theirs chance, *insert number* chance and it’s up to you what happens. You can mop and continue to let your mind steal your life, or you can fight back harder than ever. Change is possible, but it has to come from you, not anyone else. It will take time. It will take steps backwards as well as forwards. It will involve meltdowns and moments of elation. But it’s possible for you to recover, move forwards and life you life, whilst achieving all you ever wanted.  

Death is permanent. We can’t bring you back to life. Death ends everything, not only the bad, but also the good. Death cuts your life short, but causes drastic and emotional changes to all those in your life. 

Yes, sometimes suicide feels the only option, but it never is. Stop, slow it down and problem solve… Seek support. Express yourself in a safe way. Give yourself patience and kindness. And it gets better, one day at a time. Getting through the day might not feel great, but it feels better than the feeling of a failed suicide attempt. 

Suicide prevention week 2016

I’m starting a bit late, however apparently this week, 5-11th September, is suicide prevention week 2016. The angle I have decided to take this year might be slightly controversial, but it’s the hard questions that need asking and the hard questions which need answers in order for the stigma around suicide to reduce allowing more people to open up and seek help when they feel there is no other option. 
The idea of suicide comes around in different ways for everyone. A different trigger, a different reaction, a different thought process, a different ending. But suicide is never the easy option. The easy option is to curl up in a small ball, hide under a duvet and to just stop and for many, it’s the fact we can’t just stop and put a stop on all that is tearing us apart which leads to the seeking of different and more drastic options. For some suicide is an option the consider when they feel intense emotion, for others it’s an answer when they feel nothing. For some suicide is an impulsive decision, for others it’s a well thought out plan. But it’s never easy. 

You sit and hold the pills in your hands and you cry. You question if it’s possible to take them all, what will happen, will it be enough. You sit and tie the rope and you shake. You know the risk you are taking, but what else can you do. You stand at the edge and stare down. Your breath is stolen and you beg for another option. But if you don’t take this chance, what then? 

People say suicide/ suicide attempts are selfish, but when your world is that dark, hopeless and lonely, you truly believe you are putting others out of their misery. What you believe may be distorted in that moment, but you believe if you were gone others would be free from the burden you create, from the pain you cause, from harm. Others say suicide/ suicide attempts are for attention and the truth is, is that some people do do things which are risky and harmful in order to get attention, but maybe if as a society we were more accepting, we could create a world in which people are able to get the attention they need through talking about their pain and suffering- because needing attention isn’t a negative, we all need it in one way or another- instead of acting in ways which could accidentally lead to death. 

Suicide isn’t the only option. For those struggling with their mental health, psychical health, social health, their is always another option which isn’t suicide. But it’s not simply down to the person who is contemplating the idea of taking their own life to make a different choice, it’s down to each and every one of us. We need to all know it’s ok to talk about emotions, thoughts, stresses and troubles. We need to all feel safe and not judged or threatened when we are honest. We need to all be more accepting and open to the idea that sometimes, even if we ‘don’t really have it that bad’. We all need to become problem solvers, not only for our selves but for others. We need to all be better at letting a friend know we are their for them, even if they don’t want to talk right then. We all need to know which way to point someone when they are finding things hard, before it hits crisis point. 

Suicide is never the only option, even when there seems to be no end the the dark dark tunnel. But when you are in the tunnel, it’s difficult to see beyond the tunnel, beyond the darkness. When you feel so lost and hopeless and exhausted, it’s hard to remember that there are GP’s, charities, crisis lines, mental health teams, the police or a&e. When you feel so desperate, it’s difficult to trust someone enough to reach out, because you don’t want to be stopped. When you are fighting to talk, eat, move and simple breathe, it feels impossible that it will ever get better for yourself. We all struggle in different ways and to different extents through out life, but we need to stop judging and make sure that all those around us know regularly that no matter what there is an answer, however outside the box they and you need to look. Suicide can be prevented, but firstly, we need to make changes to ourselves as a society. 

Suicide is an upsetting topic, it’s a taboo topic. Suicide is a hard decision to make, maybe as hard as it is to accept. But more importantly it isn’t the only answer and it is preventable. 

We are looking in the wrong place 

Everytime my mum says ‘I wish I had legs like you’ I want to scream. I’m not meant to look desirable or nice or ‘perfect’. I’m not even meant to look healthy- and yes I do look healthy, but you can’t tell me that’s body dysmorphia when the worlds perception of beauty is so warped. 
Beauty shouldn’t be a concept based on looks. A look should never be desired. No one should be told to be smaller, bigger, more toned…. We shouldn’t be told to Contour out faces or straighten our hair. Beauty isn’t what we look like, beauty is accepting yourself. Beauty is kindness, selflessness, honesty. 

We can’t gain beauty by changing the way we look. We shouldn’t think someone else is more beautiful, or desirable, based on what they look like- and the fact we are taught this from such young ages, it’s disgusting. We are all beautiful so long as we are good people. We are all beautiful so long as we are willing to learn. We are all beautiful, not because we look a certain way, but because we are individual and unique. We are beautiful because we are ourselves.
I don’t want people to say ‘if I had toe body I could wear it’, because believing beauty comes from the way clothes fit or our appearance in general is wrong!!! We never find children ugly because they are true to themselves, they are accepting and loving and honest. 
We can be short, tall, slim, muscular, wide. We can wear make up, or not. We can have curly hair, straight hair, frizzy hair. We can have high check bones or rounded faces. We can be an hour glass, an apple, or no shape at all- these things don’t matter and a society that makes us believe they are is a society which needs changing. 
We live in an age where we never feel beautiful, because we are looking in the wrong places for beauty. Look inside! Look at who you are. The things you do, the qualities you process, your strengths and weakness- all these things, the things which are unique and personal to you, that’s where your beauty is hiding and you ARE beautiful! You are a beautiful person!!!
Stop trying to change your appearance and instead let yourself glow.

Depression 

The lonliest place to be, is in a place you can not describe. A place where there is no light, no thoughts, no emotion. A place that you know inside out and back to front, and yet you can not draw a map to show others. It’s lifeless here and no matter how many seeds I plant, nothing grows. Yet by the day, I can feel my surroundings shrivelling away, making a nothingness even less. I know this place, yet I still can not find the words to tell others, or to even tell myself out loud. Because for some reason, the words in my head do not translate to any from the English language. I guess this place I am in, could be described as an isolated prison. One from which I can see colour, life, movement, yet I can not reach it for the walls around me are too thick. And from the outside, these walls that cage me can not be seen, as the human eye can not see past a smile. There is not much here, no sadness, no joy, no anger, no hope, no trust. There is simply a vast darkness of echoing noises, which are so familiar they become lost in the silence. I don’t feel distressed, for I know this place. I do not feel desperation, as I have made peace with my surroundings. I do not feel, for my mind has long gone, replaced with this prison I’m in. I continue, as I still remember the motions- but as for meaning in actions, there is none. You do not see where I am trapped, for a smile becomes an invisibility cloak, though I wish I could do the impossible: tell you, show you, let you in. It’s lonely here, a loneliness you can’t understand. There is no exit, no end. This is forever and you will never truly know.

Thoughts about weight

I think, sometimes, or at least I want to think. I’m a thinker and it driver me insane that thinking is so difficult right now. I’m the person who goes and asks the nurses at 3 am about how babies think (as my thoughts form words and babies don’t know words) or have conversations through a sleepless night about how we see colour or what the universe is expanding into. I’m the person who changes the mind of a whole class room who are certain happiness is self actualisation, that really happiness isn’t attainable and self actualisation is acceptance. I’m a thinker, I like thinking and more than anything else, more than anything else that I’m not able to do right now, I want to be able to think again. 

However I was just thinking about scales and weight and BMI. 

BMI was a calculation invented for an experiment to simply classify people into groups, not as a medical measure. So how can we accurately say what a body, what an individual should be? BMI doesn’t take into account a persons bone structure, their muscle mass, it is simply a formula made to group people together. 

 And weight it’s self is a reflection of gravity on a mass and everything has mass however small or large. Nothing can ever be  entirely weightless, because gravity  constantly interacts with everything that is and ever was. The thing is depending where on earth you are, or where in the solar system you are, your weight will be different. If you are in the top of a mountain you will weigh slightly less than in a deep valley. Weigh is variable, not only because what makes up our bodies is always fluctuating (water, waster, cells) but because it varies depending up in the gravitational pull in your location. 

Yes, scales are standardised to a measurement, but how is it possible to make sure every scale/weight in the world is exactly the same? No matter ho much you try, there will always be small, tiny, variations. 

So not only is BMI a load of rubbish for more reasons that one (it wasn’t made for medical purposes, it doesn’t take into account muscle mass or bone density….) but weight in general is unreliable. We are more than a number, a number that varies and fluctuates.  We are people. We are people with personalities, good and bad qualities. We are people who are growing, changing, adapting to the world around us. We are people who have lessons to learn, mistakes to make and a universe full of infinite possibilities to offer. The world we live in puts such emphasis on weigh; it has almost become the most important and talked about measure in society- but what about kindness, love, gratitude???
You are more than a BMI. You are more than a number. You are a person! Don’t let numbers decide your happiness. Don’t let numbers, that at one time in history dos not exist dictate your future.