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No Mother’s Day for you

Anyone who has followed this blog for a while will know how my relationship with my parents upsets me, and how it always has.

My childhood was awful, and I’m confident a lot of their behaviours pushed me towards a fair chunk of my mental health issues now. Since leaving home at 18 they’ve been just as bad, but thankfully I don’t interact with them much anymore.

My parents entirely lack support for any of my issues.

It’s always me chasing after them to talk with them, making sure I phone on Mother’s Day, remember birthdays etc. They never get in touch with me to ask how I am, and for the longest time when I tried to talk about seizures I was met with silence or whistling as they watched TV. Insulting…

I am hugely pissed off right now because today is Mother’s Day.

I tried to call them first thing in the morning to wish my mum happy mother’s day. With having seizures I never know how my day’s gonna be, or how cognitive I will be in the evening, so I try do important things as soon as the day starts.

Both my calls went unanswered, so I waited until evening to get in touch again as I knew they’d have sunday lunch with my dad’s mum, and then go to my mum’s sister for a family meal in the evening to celebrate mother’s day. It’s been this way for years.

I sent my dad a message at 7pm asking when they’d be home so I could ring, and he said soon.

We exercised our dogs so they’d be tired for a call, and I shut all the curtains and sat under a blanket so my seizures would hopefully not make an appearance (light changes at dusk and the added brightness of lamps and screens are a huge trigger).

We’re waiting and waiting, doing nothing but hanging about so I can wish my mum happy mother’s day.

At 9.15pm I send my dad a message saying we have stuff to do now; my puppy on crate rest needs toileting and sorting, my dogs need letting out, feeding etc. I can’t sit under a fucking blanket any longer and my dogs can’t wait any longer…we waited two damn hours and he didn’t even let us know when he’d be ready -__-

He messaged back saying he was ‘just about to message us’ and ‘would ring in five minutes’.

Too late. Sick of your bullshit. Wish mum a happy mother’s day from me, I guess. Or not. I am beyond caring…

Someone please tell me how to cut ties with my parents, because I always go crawling back to them and I just want all this crap to stop.

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Dieting, exercise, relapses, struggle

When I was ten years old my mum took me uniform shopping for primary school.

The trousers in the 10 – 11 age bracket didn’t fit, and she made the mistake of griping that I “looked like a barrel”. This is something that had a massive impact on my life.

I’m not saying this comment caused an eating disorder in my teenage years, but it’s something I frequently revisited and, following it at the age of ten, I stopped eating desert with my school dinners.

Previously I had never worried about my weight.

I’d always been a small skinny kid. When I was about 22 I was looking through photos with my parents & saw a photo of myself at 10 years old. I asked who it was; I didn’t recognise me. I always remembered myself as being chubby, ugly. In the photos I was a perfectly healthy weight, a normal cute kid.

I had disordered eating from the age of eleven to sixteen. My Grandad was diagnosed with cancer when I was about nine, but I didn’t know until I was twelve, and he died when I was thirteen.

From twelve to thirteen I was barely eating, but when I did eat I binged massively. A close friend at the time told my form tutor, who threatened that if I didn’t eat she would phone my parents – this was easy enough to avoid as I lied every day about what I had eaten.

From thirteen to fourteen I ate three packets of polosa day at school – my parents were used to paying £5 a week for school dinners at my small village Primary school, so they carried on giving me £5 a week at Secondary school. I didn’t tell them that was barely enough to pay for food for one day, let alone five. Three packets of polos = 90p; if I didn’t have money I couldn’t eat!

After school I would go to my grandparent’s house and try to avoid eating, but more often than not I would binge on biscuits, half a dozen packet of crisps and yoghurts. I’d hide the empty packets in the outdoor bin so she wouldn’t know.

At sixteen the fun really began. I wasn’t eating all day at school. After school I walked home, which took about an hour, and would continue to exercise. I *had* to do 20 minutes cycling on my exercise bike and a dozen sit ups a day. I’d eat a large hearty meal with my parents at night so they didn’t suspect a thing.

At eighteen the eating disorder was in full swing.

I was losing weight rapidly and my life was consumed with calorie counting, meal planning and exercise. Monday-Thursday at school I wouldn’t eat, and in the evenings I had started cooking my own meals before my parents got home from work.

Meals varied from a small portion of veg and two Quorn sandwich slices to a small portion of veg and one onion bahji. I’d scatter crumbs on plates and leave mess everywhere so I could tell my parents of the massive meals I’d ‘eaten’.

Friday became ”food Friday”, at lunchtime I would allow myself a 6 inch sub sandwich from the canteen. The dinner lady knew my recipe off by heart: lettuce, cucumber, onion, peppers and rice. A huge binge for me at the time.

My exercise regime was also overwhelming.

8am – 20 minutes on exercise bike, 30 repitions of weight lifting, 20 sit ups – all before school
3pm – hour long walk home
4 – 7pm – 20 sit ups, 20 push ups, 1 hour on the cross trainer, skip whilst cooking tea, 20 minutes on the exercise bike
8pm onwards – 30-45 minute walk, at least an hour on the exercise bike

One night I was on the exercise bike for over three hours. Several times I pushed myself too far and would collapse when climbing off, either blacking out or just lying on the floor fighting the dizziness. I’m lucky I never smacked my head on the way down.

By the time I was eighteen and a half years old I had gone from a healthy 9 stone 5, which I had weighed for years, to 6 stone 10. I was consuming 300 calories a day, and it was hell.

The summer after I’d turned 18 I weighed 7 stone 4 & was going on holiday abroad with friends. My mum took me shopping for clothes & when we got home she made me model them. Her reaction really fueled my eating disorder – she said I looked amazing after losing weight (FUCK YES!) and  also told me not to lose any more because my knees were thicker than my thighs (DOUBLE FUCK YES!).

Can you imagine how encouraging this was to someone with anorexia?

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The holiday with friends opened my eyes to how fucked up my rituals were.

There they were eating whatever and whenever they wanted, and I was eating half a Wheetabix made with water and baby carrots from a can. Those were two separate meals to me. I was still exercising as much as I could; hours spent swimming at the beach & pool.

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When I left for university things changed. I gained confidence & self worth, and along with this weight. My weight actually went up to 9 stone 10, but I felt okay and I was eating healthily.

I lost weight during the summer back home and went back down to 8 stone 10, but I wasn’t restricting calories ridiculously.

At the start of my second year, just after Gog and I had started dating, I found out that a family member had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Almost overnight I stopped eating and upped the exercise.

Gog found all this very scary and hard to cope with; he’d never known anybody with an eating disorder. Nevertheless he was an awesome support and tried to help in any way he could, including being with and distracting me after food so I couldn’t purge.

In just two months I had lost all the weight I had previously gained, it was terrifying. None of my clothes fit & I was exhausted, yet still I ate only half a sandwich or some fruit a day alongside hours of exercise.

One afternoon we were laying in bed and I started having heart palpitations and struggling to breathe. Terrified I ate four apples in a row, and I remember thinking so clearly ‘there you go disgusting body, that will last you until tomorrow – happy now?!’

How scary that to me at the time four apples was a HUGE amount >__<

When my parents saw me for the funeral my mum was actually alarmed by my weight. Things continued until, s-l-o-w-l-y, Gog helped me get back on the healthy eating track.

I would not have managed this without him.

For the next few years I was at a good weight: about 9 stone 7, give or take a few pounds. There were a few wobbles where I lost weight, but they didn’t last.

Gog was cooking healthy meals and constantly boosting my confidence, and we adopted our first dog and spent hours every day walking him. From beating an eating disorder stand point we were fucking rocking it!

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Looking good!

Then in 2012 my first psychiatrist prescribed me Seroquel to help manage my Bipolar. There was no mention of weight gain and no questions were asked if I had trouble with my weight / body image.

I gained over 2.5 stones in four months.

To me this was absolutely horrifying and undid a lot of the hard work Gog had put into how I thought about my body. I was already doing a minimum of 2.5 hours exercise a day, and by the end of the four months I was doing 4 hours exercise a day and had reduced my intake to 600 calories.

Once I came off Seroquel I stopped gaining weight, but I couldn’t lose all the weight I had put on. This left me at just under 11 stone.

For a few years things were okay. Then a different psychiatrist put me on Seroquel again, even though I’d told him about the weight gain. I was on it for six months before I took myself off it (they refused) and last time I weighed myself I was over 13 stone.

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Although Gog continues to reassure me that it doesn’t matter how much I weigh, and that of course he still loves me, I HATE my body right now.

I have constant thoughts of how disgusting and repulsive I am. I spend hours romanticising about when I was in my late teens and at my skinniest; the way I’d fall asleep with my wrists resting on those sharp, sharp hip bones. How flat my stomach was.

These thoughts are always there, and I think they will be forever.

Gog has always said he doesn’t find me as attractive when I’m skinny – whenever I had a mini relapse he would constantly bemoan those bones, much to my amazement! I just couldn’t understand it.

He always told me to imagine how I’d feel if the roles were swapped, and obviously I’d hate to see him get skinnier…but I could never understand why me being skinnier wasn’t the best thing ever.

Currently we are trying to eat healthier. This is not from an eating disorder perspective, this is from a ‘I want to feel better about myself & be healthy’ perspective. I don’t weigh myself and I refuse to be in photos now, I have for years.

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I want to be healthy and, yes okay, a little skinnier…but I’d settle for 10 stone instead of 6. I can’t decide if that is progress or embarrassing.

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You don’t say this to someone who is ill

This is a joint post, we are both forming it. Anon will write in italics, and her carer will write in bold.

We don’t know why, it’s just how it turned out 😛

As our previous posts show, things have been incredibly difficult here.

Anon is hallucinating, depressed and openly suicidal. Alongside this shitstorm we have had a ton of other issues pop up…repair work needed for the house, our bank cards breaking (meaning we’ve been unable to pay for anything) and needing to travel to a bank to sort it, money stopping being paid to us for no reason and, especially, one of our dogs developing a behavioural issue meaning she can’t be left alone.

Long story short we’ve been feeling like shit, and I wanted to phone my parents and talk to them, talk things through and get their support…this was not meant to be.

Sometimes my parents can be supportive and understanding about the difficulties we face, but other times when I try to talk to them about my illness they ignore me (anything I say is followed by several minutes silence), change the subject (to ANYTHING) or simply say over and over “aw, that sucks.”

Not helpful, especially when you clearly don’t mean it and aren’t listening -__-

Anyway, on this particular phone call Anon was again trying to get them to understand how much she is struggling at the moment, and was also trying to talk about the reality that we might have to rehome one of our dogs. Not because we don’t know how to work with her issue, even though it is difficult and time consuming, but because Anon is not well enough to do so. Currently we can’t leave the house, and we need to leave to get Anon help.

Anon’s dad responded to this (and they have known we may have to rehome our dog for several weeks now) with, “What? Give over.”

Further into the phone call Anon’s mum stated that Anon should not own pets because she is mentally ill (I’d just like to say that Anon is a fantastic pet parent and goes out of her way to give any animal that lives with us the best life possible).

This is preceded by a long line of shitty advice I’ve been given by my parents, such as:

–> to try harder and add more strings to my bow

–> that everyone has ‘down days’ but they all manage to pull themselves out of it (SHE HAS SEVERE DEPRESSION DUE TO HER BIPOLAR >__<)

–> she knows the hallucinations aren’t real so they’re not a big deal (sure, she knows they’re not real when I talk to her and reassure her, but she finds them terrifying)

–> that my illness is ‘just a phase’

–> that I just need to get over my fear about the (seriously scary) medication side effects, my mum has asthma and she’s had to take strong medications before

(newsflash it’s not the same when I would be on them for years, almost every single one has weight gain as a side effect, none of the ones I’ve tried have helped and some have life-changing [potentially fatal] side effects!!)

–> way back when we first started dating, a CPN suggested I keep a star chart for Anon to show her ways she was doing well (eg. she gets a red star for eating meals [she had an eating disorder at the time], a blue star for taking her medication etc)

Her parents didn’t say anything at the time they saw the chart, but later emailed Anon saying “he’s deciding when you can be happy and when you’re not.  It’s not pleasant for us to see”…uh no, Anon had such low self worth she didn’t think she could do anything right, and I was trying to help her see how amazing she was in the tiniest of ways…

 

All wonderful examples of what not to say to someone who has such a debilitating mental illness or, let’s be honest, ANY mental illness!

I used to be terrified of my parents.

I couldn’t talk to them about anything serious because they didn’t help me when I needed it as a young teenager, and they were always aggressive. Now they have way, way less of a hold on me, and I am not afraid to argue back and tell them to piss off when needed.

Even so, the things they say still hurt her. Being told she shouldn’t have pets (when she puts hours into our dogs everyday) was ridiculous.

Sorry for the confusing layout, this is more of a rant than anything because I’m annoyed. Of course I love them, but people you love can still annoy you!