I think of anorexia as a bit like ivy. In the same way that ivy works itself so well into a wall, that you don’t realise what a good job it’s done until you try to remove it, anorexia creeps into everything. It takes up all your space. Anorexia edges into the existing vulnerabilities that […]

I’m coming to the end of a good few weeks in Day Service. And this time I’ve done some of the things I wanted to do over a year ago and didn’t manage. Behaviour changes. Weight gain. Food rules. And what strikes me is how messy the process has felt so far, and how lost […]

Anorexia chooses you. You don’t choose it. And today I am sad today because of the people I know, it seems to choose the lovely, careful, kind, particular people and it makes them believe that they need to be fixed. It chooses people who are already trying desperately to ‘do the right thing’, to do […]

As the Power-Threat-Meaning framework is launched today it seemed fitting to repost a version of something I wrote a year or so ago when I first heard about it. For a good while now, I’ve viewed my ‘stuff’ through a ‘social/trauma’ lens, very aware of the impact of power, difficult relational experiences and what could be […]

Your definition of recovery can change as you move through the process. Mine definitely has. I said recently to someone that I think my initial definition of ‘recovered’ was quite ‘anorexic’ in that I thought I’d eat differently (more food, more variety, higher calorie foods) until I reached a healthy weight range and then go back […]

There has been growing debate about the usefulness of mental health professionals sharing their own lived experience of psychological distress. As a social worker with my own mental health label, this naturally interests me. I have written about the difficulty of being on ‘both sides of the desk‘, and the tension between my professional role, […]

So. It’s been a few weeks now since having more intensive support with eating. Overall things have been fairly steady. Ok, but not where I’d like them to be. I still need to restore more weight. I need to embed the changes I made in day service more into my daily life, and not let them […]

Someone asked me recently whether I would ever consider not calling my eating disorder a ‘disorder’, given that I also describe it as a way of surviving in the midst of difficult circumstances. The suggestion was, I think, that if a particular strategy develops as a means of coping, then at one time, it was useful, and needs to be recognised as a sign of resourcefulness – and a resource. What we call ‘anorexia’, even at it’s worst, did to some degree allow me to cope emotionally, I was able to study, to work – even if I wasn’t able to do much else. I was consumed by numbers and emotionally numbed, and at one time, that helped. Perhaps it was even necessary. Eating disorders often develop in a context of difficult feelings. There is always a story behind ‘I’m fat’.

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‘I feel fat’. It’s something most (not all) people with an eating disorder diagnosis can relate to, and often it can be a real barrier to making progress in recovery. If you feel ‘fat’, how can you possibly allow yourself more food, more rest, or to consider the possibility that weight gain might actually be a good thing? Continue reading

To begin with, a caveat. I’m obviously not saying that spending most of your formative years in an environment dominated by alcohol (or any other form of out of control behaviour/violence/aggression) is ideal.  Not even close. The impact of addiction within families is often  under recognised or dismissed and it is something I’d want to protect any child from at all costs. However, I do […]