My nephew is my guardian Angel – Day 17, 18, 19

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Christmas is my favourite time of year, the family, the love and the festivities.

Christmas and boxing day and the 27th of December I spent most of my time sleeping.  I was feeling so lethargic. I tried to write, I tried to read, I tried to spend time with my family and it all seemed like a struggle.

Christmas morning, I struggled to get out of bed. It was only until I saw my nephew that the fog lifted slightly. His excitement for the presents, his hugs and his laughter. We sat opening all his presents together and I helped him get into his spider man suit that my mom bought him for Christmas.

The way he spontaneously says ‘I love you’

I don’t know why and I don’t know how or what. Maybe it was because Christmas last year was awful. Maybe its the memories of being asked for an annulment 5 days after my wedding. Perhaps its feeling that my childhood had ended, because I was now married and I felt that I lost a part of myself. And how my ex husband told me I wasn’t a wife and I wasn’t ready for marriage, that our marriage was a mistake?

I don’t know. It was hard these past three days.

Despite my magical family, the most wonderful and loving people in the worlds, I couldn’t lift that fog. If it wasn’t for my beautiful nephew I don’t know how I would actually had made it through. Thank you, I love you.

PART V – History strikes a nerve – Day 1

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Today is day 101 and my husband is still miserable and blames me for ruining his life – fun times.

I am working for my parents until Friday and then back to the city and then I will be back on the following Friday for holidays.

A sliver of me was enjoying the day while the rest was anxious and felt like boiling over—with what, I’m not sure.

It is strange being home and working again. It is also a massive trigger for my eating disorder I have learned. When I was eighteen I worked for my parents for two months before going to study and it was during one of the most debilitating phases in my eating disorders. I hated myself. I was exercising 3 hours a day. I was binging and purging all day and then skipping dinner.

Being home is bringing back those memories. Having the same routine and having meals with my parents where my dad comments when he isn’t happy with the food, and how it upsets my mom, I see her shrugging it off and trying to ignore it but of course it gets to her. All the kind of foods I used to binge on are still in the grocery cupboards. All the chocolate is still in the same place. The exact scale I used is in my brothers bathroom which used to be my parents bathroom.

I’m scared to run. I went this morning but it took me forever to get out of bed, not because I was lazy but because I am absolutely petrified that I slip into over exercising and that I don’t find a balance. In a way this is also self sabotaging because I love exercising but ed is keeping me from it because it somehow tries to convince me that I don’t deserve good things. Much like when I want a healthy meal, I eat junk food because there is some connection in my brain that registers that I don’t deserve anything good. I deserve to be ill.

Ugh.

It’s funny, when I am on the farm with my parents I am ok. When I am in my family home where I grew up and I am working, I am scared and I am anxious and I feel like that eighteen year old girl forcing herself to run for another hour to make up for a binge.

We are all entitled to our own views and opinions, but you do not have the right to make shit up about people and then oppress them with the shit you made up- Day 25

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So calling my husband for his birthday yesterday was an epic fail. Whilst I felt content about our relationship. He felt the opposite.

So since yesterday afternoon I have been bombarded with mail and been called the following – notice that all this name calling is coming from someone who is not emotionally abusive, instead very loving and caring:

You ruined my birthday by calling me. You have put me into a dark depression. You are a liar and a user and you will be exposed for who you truly are.You are a coward.You are mentally ill You’ve been playing the innocent victim to your friends and family. You developed an interest in someone else and discarded me to pursue this interest. I’m not saying you cheated on me. You lived a double life Danielle there are things I know about that you do not know I know about. Danielle people are going to see your true colours in time. You are very ill. You are damaged. I feel deeply deeply sorry for whoever suffers from your cruelty. I sincerely feel sorry for any honest decent human being that experiences the pain your evil causes. They deserve my love – not you. I feel desperately sorry for the poor person that falls in love with your emptiness.

I don’t care what is going on in your life, you don’t speak to people in this manner. No one has the right to think they know anyone better than they know themselves. No one has the right to treat people this way.

Today was in fact lovely – Day 12

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Work was lame.

Dinner with him was lovely, got indian take out. Watched a bit of TV, drank a bottle of wine and just lay together chatting.

Perfect.

All you need to get through a divorce and eating disorder recovery is retail therapy, a hairbrush to sing into, a box of tissues, insane amounts of chocolate, people who love you and self love and acceptance – Day 8

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I bought a new watch today 🙂 so excited and new shoes and a new handbag and a new skirt that I have had my eye on for weeks but its soooo expensive and now it was on sale whoop whoop and now I am broke :0

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I also bought a Selena Gomez album – so I feel like a 13 year old girl that constantly wants to sing into her hairbrush – its light and its fluffy and its fun – and that is white I need right now

So I am getting a bit tubby. Not even exaggerating here- jeans feeling tight and boobs growing, getting tubby. Its because I don’t go to gym daily anymore and because of the recent binging and purging. Bulimia is such a bitch – I mean seriously, she tries to convince you that you can purge the calories, but when you having gluttonous binges, there is no way you getting rid of all that food. So ironically, contrary to popular belief, you are not skinny if you have an eating disorder. I actually am at my heaviest when I indulge in destructive bulimic habits, when I restrict I’m obviously thinner, and at my goal weight and then I am healthy I am at my set point weight. I think recovery is about accepting your set point weight. The weight where your body is healthy and comfortable.

Health first…weight second

I’ve literally had half a bottle of wine all by myself…

So I’m a little anxious of course.

I did however eat all my meals today and I made myself a salmon salad for dinner and then I polished off half a slab of 99% Lindt dark chocolate. Yes I am that person, that has a whole slab of dark chocolate. And thats ok. I also then had a bowl of muesli and thats ok too.

Be kind to yourself Danielle, be kind.

This is what eating disorder therapy looks like – Day 6

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I woke up feeling so funny this morning.

I literally didn’t leave my house because I was so horrified that I would go out and buy food and binge and purge! I woke up in a complete panic, so anxious and so edgy and I still don’t know why? So I had a bowl of muesli and yogurt and I had anxiety medication and went to sleep and then woke up at 10:30 – that hasn’t happened in forever. I’m an early bird.

Still so anxious when I woke up, I decided to paint – I was freaking out, honestly I ave never been so afraid of myself and of my eating disorder. I lay on my floor crying, crying because I am here again. Yes we all go on and on about how a relapse is perfectly natural as your body will naturally resort to familiar coping mechanisms when under pressure. But who gives a fuck if its natural, it doesn’t make it any easier. And we all sit preaching to each other to stay strong and to be gentle with ourselves. Well again, thats a lot easier said than done. We would all love to be softer and not be so hard on ourselves, but your eating disorder is screaming with a microphone in your brain and your voice seems to just get lost and becomes white noise.

And you just lay there and you just cry. Because you feel like such a failure. So much work, so much pain and so many years and so many hospital visits and so many therapists and so many dieticians and so many pills and so many electrolyte tests. Then one day you wake up and half your life is gone and you feel so guilty because you should actually be crying because you got divorced yet that makes you feel so relieved! Its this illness that weighs you down, it hurts you more than any heartbreak in this world could and now you back there again. Maybe you not wearing the hospital wrist band with your surname on it, but you might as well be, because you feel like you back there. You sitting with everyone outside and everyone is smoking and you all discussing the reason you in the hospital and Pedro is shaking because his OCD is so intense at that moment that he so badly wants a drink and Colleen has closed the curtain around her bed and tells you through the curtains that on her weekend pass she tried to commit suicide and now she is too ashamed to even peak through the curtain at you. Remember that annoying old man that kept telling you to smile, fuck him, he was so annoying. Then there’s Chelsea, where is Chelsea now?

I’ll never forget booking into hospital and Chelsea was sitting there and my brother said ‘she looks pretty normal, you gonna be fine! And I’ll come visit you all the time, and these two weeks are going to go by so fast, its all going to be fine’. Chelsea smiled and I smiled – that smile where you saying to each other ‘I wonder why you here, but I don’t even care, because I know we here together and I know we going to get through this and I know both of us are trying so hard to pretend we normal and this isn’t the weirdest situation we have ever been in.’ We became friends. She had awful depression, which is strange because she was so pretty. And thats what people think, you so pretty how can you be sad. Well thats discrimination against ugly people.

So you have these thoughts and you think about all your friends and you wonder, why are some of us as deep as a well and some of us have the emotional range of a teaspoon? So you lay crying and you think of the morning that you cut for the first time in six years and you feel so ashamed, and then you wonder; did he see the scars, surely he has seen the scars on your thigh, or maybe he just looks right past them because you just own them and you for the first time in years just decided that you didn’t even care if someone saw the scars. Its just scars, we all have scars, whether they on your skin or your heart, they all there.

But we all so scared all the time, we so scared that someone is going to find out what incredibly flawed individuals we are. We just so anxious and we actually like fucking zombies and we just so ridiculous because we all so consumed with worrying what someone else will think – Well guess what: everyone is freaking out just like you are and if someone doesn’t want to see your flaws then show them to someone else.

So now I lay here on my floor and I paint whilst doing eating disorder therapy and crying and writing – because sometimes you are just so scatter brained that you cant even do one thing, your mind is all over the place so you might as well just do things all over the place and mess paint on the carpet and cry tears into your painting because thats what life is, its being fucking real and raw. Its being a wreck and then the next minute thinking you so lame because life is actually awesome, its all over the place. Life is everywhere and its no where.

Then I repeated this cycle over and over again. Then went to buy some art supplies and made the mistake of buying a mcflurry because I don’t know how to stop the anxiety so you eat it and naturally freak out, and bulimia keeps nudging and says ‘ice cream is so easy to purge’ just do it. So you do it because you know that once you get that release you will release all of that anxiety – and again you find yourself in that familiar place, your hair tied back and eyes blood shot and you have stabbing pains in your chest but you just keep going. The sickest part is that you literally think to yourself ‘ice cream is so easy to purge, have to remember this for next time, so much easier than purging chocolate”, I mean really, how fucked up are you when you think those thoughts? How ashamed are you, why do you have this incredibly unattractive illness? Why cant you just have OCD or something like that, why do you have this ravenous illness that takes over your body. Why are you so fucked up?

YOU NOT! You are not fucked up for thinking those thoughts. You have an illness and thats ok, the mere fact that you have recognised this and are working on it is all that matters. Thats what we all tell each other right? My old instagram account that was dedicated to my recovery, all my followers and me would always comment ‘dont be so hard on yourself, stay strong, keep fighting, you are worthy of recovery’ and so on and so forth. But none of us believe it when it comes to our own hearts and souls. We continue abusing our bodies because A. It’s not as easy as it sounds to just recover; and B. Because its so much easier to take the easy route and listen to your eating disorder than to actually fight it and fight the voice, and challenge it and challenge the fears and the feelings!

But like I always say, there is nothing sexier than personal growth. Absolutely nothing, except maybe a good perfume or cologne or a great shade of red lipstick, other than that personal growth is sexy and its raw and its real.

And we all hypocrites and we all dishing out advice to each other and we all seem wise, well we are all wise, just in different ways, I guess its up to you to decide who you showing this to. Who are you going to be your raw self with and when are you going to be scared and horrified and cry and sob and feel sorry for yourself and just be open and just say ‘I’m a human and I’m flawed and I want to be perfect but I cant be and thats fine and its also not fine at the same time because thats human nature’. We all so freaking flawed and we just trying to be perfect.

Well guess what – everyone always thinks I’m perfect because for some reason I am the most resilient human being on planet earth, I mean really – give me a grenade thats about to kill me and I’ll probably find something creative to do with it. Thats just me. But you, you resilient as well, you just have to show it and stop hiding and stop being scared and stop isolating yourself! And how ironic – here I go, dishing out advice, because we all fucking hypocrites.

Doing eating disorder therapy all night

I held my heart in my hands and I listened to it – Day 2

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Binge and purge on four bowls of granola this morning – I love granola! So awful start, also skipped gym. Got to work and wasn’t feeling particularly motivated but I gave myself a stern talking to because I really to start getting inspired and excited about work again.

Naturally skipped all my meals for the rest of the day and this evening I sat and I did eating disorder therapy homework and it was incredible. It was hard at times and there are many interesting observations I made. I am quite clearly still harbouring a lot of anger towards my ex husband (I wonder when it will become ex husband, things are really taking their time)

I also have many issues with not being good enough.

Interesting observation, is that I have a fear of growing up, I think many of us with eating disorders do. I think its perhaps because I am the youngest, I am the baby of the family, it just happened so. I am always being protected and everyone is constantly looking out for me and worrying about me, I am the baby. This is all good and well but I feel that I have this fear because I am scared to fail and also because my husband always called me a child – its engraved in my mind that I am a child.

Somehow I feel that my growth keeps getting stunted somehow. My family really wants me to grow of course, but I am still the baby in their eyes. The one that needs to be looked after (I cant exactly blame them for feeling this way as I have for some reason my whole life always found myself in some kind of emotional turmoil). As a child, my brother and sister used to call me the tap – because I cried all the time, I was literally like a tap that you could switch on and off. I was so incredibly sensitive. I went to boarding school as well and there I had my brother and sister look out for me.

When I was about 14 I often used to burst into tears because I didn’t know what was wrong, I didn’t know what I was feeling. I would cry because I was scared that I would never amount to anything and I would cry because I didn’t feel like I fitted in anywhere or that I couldn’t relate to anyone.

Because I went to boarding at the age of six, I was never taught how to deal with emotion and I never witnessed a lot of emotion in my family as I only saw them on every third weekend and then during the holiday. When we got together it was all about celebrations and being together – if there was something that I was upset about I would just sweep it under the rug because I wanted to enjoy my time with my family. Only when I was nineteen and all my drama came out did I actually connect with my family on a more emotional level. Only then did I become open with them.

Anyway, growing up scares me because I feel in a way that no one is allowing me to. The fact that I don’t earn much money makes me feel awful because my mum still gives me money – I feel like I cant make it a month without her help. Also the fact that I now live on my uncles property. The fact that I don’t feel that I am growing at work anymore.

I really don’t feel like I am growing. The fact that I took the risk of getting divorced and putting so much work into healing and into my personal growth has really made me look at every aspect in my life in a completely different way. If it isn’t feeding my soul anymore then why am I still doing it?

At work I am starting to feel that the only reason I am still in my job is because of my boss. Because I love her and I am so loyal to the business and we have become such incredible friends. I don’t feel like I am challenged at work or motivated or growing. I am doing this for her, for her business and because I don’t want the brand to fail, I want the brand to thrive. However, I am no longer thriving?

This really is the year of me. For the first time in my life I am putting myself first and doing whats good for me and taking responsibility for myself.

I think this is one of the reasons why I fell for him so quickly – because I just said ‘fuck it, I want to kiss you so I am going to kiss you’, I didn’t lie worrying about how it would affect me later, I didn’t think about my husband, I didn’t think about the fact that I am still technically married. It just felt right and I just followed my heart and I took a risk and it has been amazing.

I thought I could never pull out from under my husbands stare. Well I did. I held my heart in my hands and I said ‘fuck it’. I’m taking your word and I’m listening to it, and as real as the blood pumping through the veins in my heart – that is how real this year has been. That is how real things become when you listen to your heart and you risk everything for your heart.

I fear I’ll die from complications – complications from the things that I have left undone.

Therapy – Day 21

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I binged this morning in a parking lot and then I tried to purge at the shopping centre and nothing came up. Honestly probably 1/10 of the food. I just gagged and gagged and then I cried because nothing came up. Bulimia is swallowing me whole.

I went to therapy and it was wonderful because my therapist is so great. I really felt like a weight had lifted off my shoulders when I saw her.

Basically I have been binging and purging and its all anxiety and its all because of fear. Because I have many habits to unlearn which I am really committed to doing. She feels that I have dealt with many issues and there are still a few things for us to touch on but psychotherapy has gone really well and now we have to focus on cognitive behavioural therapy because its all about patterns and coping now.

So I am now going to journal when I feel anxious. I have to journal the trigger and the action I took and take healthy actions. For example my triggers have been:
This guy – because romantic relationships are a huge triggers for eating disorders, getting so close to someone, he is so lovely and wonderful and I get so scared because I don’t think that I deserve so much kindness – so the emotions become so overwhelming that I binge.
I have gained weight – this makes me feel awful and my self esteem drops so I binge.
I had a big meeting with my boss yesterday – beforehand I was so nervous because we were doing a performance review and I always feel that I am not good enough so I was so anxious and so I binged.
I dont have much money at the moment – this is always a trigger because it stresses me out and so I binge, which is just fucking ridiculous because then I spend the little money that I have on binge food?
Woek is also a major trigger – When it gets overwhelming and the work load gets a bit much or my boss gets demanding, which is all completely natural in the work environment, I tend to get extremely anxious though and then self destruct.

Thats an idea of the triggers – are they very small and minuscule in the grander scheme of things, yes they are. To my disorder however, the smallest things can become triggers and I need to teach myself to hold the anxiety and do the harder option – it is so much easier just to b/p when I am in a uncomfortable situation than it is to face the feelings head on and just let them be.

PART II because today 10 October is mental health awareness day – Day 17

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Recognise that an eating disorder is a mental illness.

Recognise that depression is a flaw in chemistry not a flaw in character.

Recognise that things effect different people in different ways, just because you don’t see something as a big deal, doesn’t mean it isn’t for someone else.

Recognise that just because something is happening in your mind and your thoughts that it doesn’t mean that it isn’t real.

Recognise that making jokes about mental illness is painful, you wouldn’t make a joke about someone who is diabetic or has heart problems would you? Mental illness is a disease.

Recognise that you cant fix or save anyone, you can only be there and be supportive.

Recognise that mental illness is not attention seeking behaviour.

Recognise that just because you don’t fit the profile in the DSM that your illness isn’t valid, mental illness comes in all forms.

Recognise that you are not alone and that even though it doesn’t feel that way, there is someone who understands and is willing to help.

Recognise that you are worthy of love.

Recognise that asking for help and admitting that you are not ok is not a sign of weakness.

Recognise that metal illness awareness is still on the rise and there are still many people who are ignorant and don’t take their words too personally no matter how hurtful they are.

Recognise that you are not your mental illness.

Enjoy it cautiously or just let go and be – Day 16

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Feeling positive again today and I feel like I have more of a sparkle in my eyes than I have this past week. I had a really chilled and relaxed evening last night, listening to music and drawing and writing and lying on the floor like I always do. Just reflecting and being present. I think that is partly why I feel so much better today.

Having dinner tonight and looking forward.