All manner of whatnot

Firstly, here’s something that you or your loved ones might find helpful:

There are two guides there – one to help a sufferer prepare for telling a loved one that they have bulimia and one to help a loved one deal with the news.

I do think it’s important to admit to it, to talk about it.  If people don’t know, they can sense you’re keeping something from them.  They’re not stupid.  They appreciate honesty.  Those few that turn tail and run, well, frankly, who needs people like that in your life?  As for talking about it, of course there are many people with whom you don’t feel able to go into detail; but that’s why there are therapists (if you don’t get on with one, try another), support groups (not just O.A. if that sort of thing doesn’t suit you), message boards (decent ones, i mean, that are properly moderated, like Something Fishy – beware of pro-E.D. boards) and so on, where you can tell it like it is.

Denial never got us anywhere, right?  So try something else, just to see how it goes.

So, Amy Winehouse, R.I.P.  It does hit me, a little bit, despite my lack of emotions and ‘normal’ feelings, when a fellow addict bites the dust.  I’m lucky, i think, to have not seen any of the ill-informed and judgemental bolloques that some people have been spouting about her.  About how it was her ‘choice’ and that she ‘deserved all she got’ and the usual sort of thing you get when a famous person shuffles off this mortal coil.

To be fair to those people, i think, to be honest, that it’s a defence mechanism.  It’s scary when a 27-year-old carks it, so long before their time.  And yes, i think people are afraid to admit that, there but for the grace of ‘god’* go i.  So they trivialise it.  I know i trivialise my own problems and am embarrassed to admit the seriousness of it, even to myself.  I know it’s not an exaggeration to say that bulimia is going to kill me.  Yet to my ears (or eyes, when i type it) it looks like some kind of teenage melodrama, so i make a darkly humorous comment or slightly off-colour joke and change the subject.

But lately i have been thinking about it a bit more, about how deadly this illness is and that i could very easily die.  Not just because of Amy Winehouse, with her alcoholism, drug addiction and bulimia; not just the shock, unsurprising though it was, of her dying so young so recently.  It’s because i know all the dangers and sometimes, especially late at night after a whole day of nothing else, i actually feel like this might be it.  I feel ready to give up, physically as well as mentally.

Sometimes i forget (perhaps conveniently) that part of my problem is anorexia.  I’ve hardly been eating lately, other than the binges and purges, so of course i feel weak and worn out, despondent and even slightly paranoid.  Have you read about Ancel Keys and his Minnesota experiment?  Malnutrition does that to people.  Anyway, i didn’t think much of it (and to be honest, i kind of still don’t) but a mate commented on my appearance lately; in fact a few people have said i look ill.  Cheers, you look a bit shit yourself, eh?

Anyway, where was i?  Anorexic tendencies – now there’s a good name for a band, ha ha.  It certainly doesn’t feel like i have these, when i’m stuffing my face with all manner of crap all day and most of the night… but life’s not so simple, is it?  There are so many myths around it all… look at this excellent article by the excellent Ilona Catherine:

You may notice my own comment beneath.  I never comment on articles!  Well, never that is, except for this once, clearly.  A sneaky bit of self-promotion was included, i’ll admit, but the point i wanted to raise was that it’s (a) not all about anorexia, as if that’s the only eating disorder out there – and there’s more than one type of anorexia, y’know?  I’ve been anorexic myself for long periods of time, but often i’d still binge-eat and purge in some way or another.  And (b) that it’s not just the tabloids or the sensationalist programmes on the telly that spout a lot of ill-informed bullshit about this sort of subject: even supposedly reputable sources like BBC radio 4 and the Guardian and, yes, the Independent itself, contribute to the perpetuation of these stereotypes and myths and untruths that just make it harder for a person to seek and receive help.

It can be so, so damaging to be told that your problem is not valid, that you aren’t entitled to help and that frankly, you can go and fuck yourself.  If that’s happened to you, or someone you know, please please please, go to a different GP, try O.A. or another support group, try online support communities, you know – whatever it takes, don’t give up.  I know you’re not in a position to fight.  It’s awful that we have to fight when we’re at our weakest.  But if there’s someone who can fight on your behalf, or if you can find people to listen and support you, or if you can just take it a little at a time and do what you have to do, then please, do it – for all of us.

Do you really want to die young, before you’ve really lived?  Do you really want your gravestone to say, “(S)he was desperately unhappy, but (s)he stayed under X kilos”?  Fuck that.  You’re worth more than that.  We all are.

*Yep, still having trouble with “the G word”, as i like to put it.  Although someone said something to me recently that may have helped me take a small step closer towards being OK with it… i think.  We’ll see, though.  It’s early days, innit.