Formerly - dontwanttobeaverage
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My name's Kasia. I'm a 17 year old girl
in recovery who's recovered from Anorexia. I've had Anorexia since May 2010. I also suffer from severe depression, anxiety and some OCD tendencies.
I've been in recovery since September 2010, but I only began taking recovery seriously, and wanting it for myself, in January 2011, once I realised I was wasting my life in hospital.
I went into hospital at the end of October 2010 and left in March 2011. I went to hell and back there.
I am at a healthy weight recommended for my height, but I will not discuss my weight or height because I believe any discussion of numbers leads to a disordered competition, so please do not ask.
I'm trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, whilst inspiring my followers to do the same by choosing recovery.
This is where I will write about my ups and my downs, and I hope to show those of you with eating disorders that recovery doesn't mean "getting fat". It means leading a healthy and happy life with freedom. My posts will mostly consist of personal posts, inspirational photos or quotes, research into the psychology of eating disorders, and also a few items on fitness and nutrition.
My daddy has a page on my blog called "The Gospel According to Dad" which I'm hoping will show you how much your ED affects those around you, and maybe if a parent of an eating disordered child sees my blog, they will see that they're not alone in this experience either.
Think of this as a recovery blog, but if are you triggered by talk of exercise then please read with caution as I sometimes post about my workouts. This is a place that inspires recovery, and also a healthy lifestyle.
I love giving advice, so if you need help with anything, I'm always here for you, even if it's just as a distraction. And you can always contact me by tagging a post with dontwanttobeanorexic.I answer privately if it's unrelated to me/my food posts/my blog. br>
• Posts I am most proud of
• Snippets of my story
• The Gospel According to Dad
• Amazon Wishlist
• Fashion, Beauty and DIY blog
• Answered Asks
• ED Behaviours Challenge
• Nothing you confess, could make me love you less. (Ask)
My idol and I (Taken with Instagram at BP Hospitality Pavillion - 2012 Olympic Park)
Some people have asked why Kasia’s mum doesn’t feature much in this blog. There are two main reasons for this. One is that I am more awesome than she is. And the second is that her mum’s role is very different from mine.
As you may have guessed, we’re divorced. We were one of the most mis-matched couples in the history of marriage. For starters, I am the world’s most untidy human being. I can’t invite women back to my house anymore because they usually panic and think I’ve been burgled. Kasia’s mum, on the other hand, is a cleaning freak. Her idea of a good time is to hang out in the household products aisle in Morrisons stroking bottles of Domestos. She doesn’t just clean, but she has particular methods of cleaning which must be adhered to, or you will HAVE TO DIE. So, in short, a bit anal.
These differences were rather reflected in our approach to parenting. I was always the laid-back one, who talked to Kasia about pretty much anything. Been treating her like an equal since about the age of four (her age not mine. She wasn’t born when I was four). We always talked about pretty much everything. When she was six she asked me when she would be allowed to have a boyfriend (Answer: “Same day as my funeral”). When she was ten she asked me what happens when you have sex (Answer; “Your dad dies”). You get the picture. On the other hand, her mum was… well… anal. Very organized. Which isn’t really as glamorous or as fun as being the laid-back parent, but nonetheless is just as important.
What’s all this got to do with anorexia? Well, the thing is, whatever you’re relationship is with your parents, you can’t change that overnight. And as a parent, you’re pretty much stuck with the role you’ve already created for yourself. At first, this was very tough for Kasia’s mum. I was the touchy feely one, and she was the organizer. Much as she also wanted to do the touchy feely stuff, it just wasn’t possible because that wasn’t the nature of her relationship with Kasia. So she had to accept that she was going to do the crappy, organizational stuff. Hospital appointments. Meal plans. Anything to do with excel spreadsheets. And to be very clear, boring and unglamorous as that was, it was and is just as vital to Kasia’s recovery.
The other thing that this did was divide our roles up. No duplication. If Kasia’s mum tried to be touchy feely, then she’d fuck it up. If I tried to organize anything, I’d fuck it up. So we stuck to what we’re good at. Played to our strengths. Anorexic You will try to come between your parents and make them fight. Did you know that 75% of parents who have an anorexic child end up divorcing? No, of course, you didn’t. I just made that up. But it will try to come between your parents. We had a big advantage in that we don’t live together, so we had to communicate. If one of us went to visit Kasia in hospital, the very first thing we would do afterwards is call the other one the tell them what had happened, or been discussed, or agreed.
So my advice to any parent who is trying to help their kid recover from an eating disorder would be as follows:
So if you’re reading Kasia’s blog and thinking her mum didn’t have much of a role in her recovery, you’d be wrong. I’m still more awesome than her though…
One of the most important things is Kasia’s armoury was finding ways to distract herself from Anorexic Kasia and all those horrible thoughts going round in her head. I guess lots of people who struggle with anorexia can fall into the habit of wallowing in it and letting whatever ails them take over. So when those thoughts do kick in, it’s really important to do something to occupy your mind. What that “something” is is very much an individual choice. It needs to be something that you have to think about, rather than a mindless activity. And it should be something constructive, because if you’re anorexic you’re probably obsessive and so better to be obsessed over something that has some meaning.
Kasia, being obsessive, went through several obsessions. At one stage it was knitting (for a period of time she was the snood queen of North West London). That’s probably a bad example, as she found it easy to do on auto-pilot and could knit and think about anorexia at the same time. But generally, creative things are good. So is reading, if it’s the right kind of book. Or writing, if it’s the right kind of subject.
Here are some bad examples of distracting activities:
Here are some good examples of distracting activities:
All of the second list have something in common. At the end of it, you’ll have achieved something, or created something. That’s important because not only will you have a goal to aim for which has nothing to do with anorexia, but when you come out of the other side, you won’t be left with that nagging “I wasted all those months on anorexia” feeling.
But really, anything that requires concentration will do. And then next time you’re sitting there with these thoughts flying round your head, force yourself to get of your bum and do something different.
Last year I bought Kasia an old film camera to get her into photography, and for her birthday in May upgraded her to a new DSLR. This is handy because I like photography too so we can do stuff together (although it’s also annoying because now she has a better camera than me). And this is a very important point. If you have a really good idea for a distracting activity, and you’ll commit to it, then you can probably persuade your parents to buy you just about anything right now. I would probably have bought Kasia a pony if she’d asked. Too late now, of course. Bad luck, Kasia.
Who do you trust? It’s an important question. If you’re trying to recover from an eating disorder, you’re going to have to trust someone. And by someone, I mean an adult. I’ll explain why in a second, but firstly, here’s an important piece of news…
The NHS will not cure you!
It’s a bit of a shock, isn’t it? Probably a bit of a shock to the NHS too (I haven’t told them yet). If you’re currently undergoing treatment from the NHS, please do tell your parents this, because if you’re all sitting around waiting for the NHS to magically make you better, it’s all going to go horribly wrong.
That’s not to say the NHS is not important. It performs one very simple but vital role. It keeps you alive until the one person who can cure you gets their shit together. And the one person who can cure you? Well, it’s you, I’m afraid. Real You.
Now, if you’re in treatment, or in the grip on anorexia, then you’re a bit fucked really because clearly Anorexic You is going to be dominating Real You, and all your decisions will be based on what Anorexic You wants (and, just to remind, what Anorexic You wants is for you to die). So you’re going to have to take the plunge and trust someone to take some decisions for you. And that’s really difficult, because anorexia is all about control, and so the last thing you want to do is give control to someone else.
But the thing is, you already have. You are not in control right now. Anorexic You is.
I was very, very lucky that I had a very trusting relationship with Kasia. Ever since she could talk, I’ve always been very open and honest with her, and always been very clear with her about how important honesty is. When it came to the crunch, she had to take a leap of faith. I promised her only two things:
Now, to be honest, I had sod all to support the fact that I could achieve either of those things, which is why it was a leap of faith. Now I don’t know about you, or your parents, or your relationship with your family. But you are going to have to trust someone to help you when Anorexic You is just too strong…
my parents think it’s their fault i have BED, did/ do you think this with your daughter, and how did/ do you cope with the fact?
Yup, for a long time I thought it was my fault (Kasia was living with me at the time). To be honest, when Kasia was at her worst, I didn’t really have time to think about it too much because with work and going to see her in hospital there wasn’t really time to think about anything, which was probably a good thing. Later, I got the chance to talk to Kasia about it, which proved most of my theories wrong, and did my own research, which pretty much proved the rest of my theories wrong. Here’s what I think know…
Studies have shown that some people are more predisposed to eating disorders than others. All parents make mistakes, but in something like 5% of cases, those mistakes can lead to ED simply because the child was genetically more likely to react in that way. My mistake was not listening and taking seriously, over a number of years, Kasia’s issues with her appearance. I didn’t, because all I saw was this pretty, smart, funny kid who couldn’t possibly have any issues with self-esteem. I once dated a woman who used to hassle her daughter all the time about her eating habits, her weight, etc. Prime candidate for an eating disorder, you’d think. Nope, she’s fine and happy and completely unaffected by it all. Because she just didn’t have the inherited issues that made her likely to develop an ED.
So tell your parents not to beat themselves up. They most likely didn’t do anything different to any other parent. They, and you, just got a bad draw in the genetic lottery. You and they should just concentrate on getting better. And you can and will…
Do you like to talk about everything Kasia has been through? such as what she was like before her ED. My parents do this all the time, they tell everyone they know about what a miracle it is that I have survived, the stuff I used to eat. I know they care, but it’s driving me insane! I just want to forget it all!
I don’t know whether I LIKE to talk about it. I kind of had to though, because it impacted on every area of my life - work, personal relationships, social life. Make no mistake, if you’d asked me a year and half ago what was going to happen, I’d have told you that Kasia was probably not going to make it. And her recovery since then has been amazing, and all down to her.
When Kasia was doing really badly, I used to talk to her a lot about the kind of person she used to be (because when she was very anorexic, she was bloody horrible!). And we talked about food in the sense that she used to lie (mainly to herself) about her old eating habits. Now she’s recovering, we don’t talk about that so much because she’s much more like she used to be. Got her creativity back, and her sense of humour. And we don’t about what she used to eat, mainly because she’s a boring knit-your-own-muesli vegetarian now, but also because it’s not relevant any more.
I dont’ know how bad things got for you, but if your recovery has been miraculous then it’s hardly surprising they bang on about it all the time. But if it’s driving you insane, just tell them! It’s not going to be a big deal for them.
Were you ever ashamed of the eating disorder? Like because it was *your* daughter? Did you ever blame yourself and feel sad inside about it? Did you always understand or did it take a lot of work to understand? Do u understand now, or do u just try to help and support even though you know it’s quite an irrational disease? Were u ever scared you might lose your daughter? Have u told any of your friends about her ed + if not, why not? And if yes- how did they take it? ps.ur an amazing dad! xx
I’ve probably answered some of this already, but just to run through them in order… Yes, I was ashamed of myself for failing as a parent. Being a dad has always been the most important thing to me, and I thought I was good at it. It took five years after my divorce to win the argument that Kasia should come live with me, and then it seemed like moments later she’d developed anorexia. On my watch! So yes, blamed myself, felt sad inside. And also outside.
No, I didn’t understand it initially. I mean, who would. It’s a crazy condition. I did do a lot of research later on (I’m still considering doing some PhD work in the area of media and psychology, although it’s a lot of work and I may just decide to sit around the house eating pizza in my underpants) and I think I understand a bit more now. But understanding it’s causes isn’t really important for a parent anyway. I’m not convinced that a parent can prevent eating disorders. Understanding recovery is far more important.
Yes, I was very scared I was going to lose my daughter. I’d tell you more but I don’t like to remind her of it unless she’s being annoying or untidy, and then I bring it up to make her feel bad about not doing the washing up.
Yes, anyone who knows me knows about her anorexia. No choice really - work had to know because I would have to disappear with no notice to go help Kasia at any time. Friends knew mainly because I would often vent my frustrations on social networks. And strange women in bars knew because I would occassionally get a sympathy snog out of it. Everyone was very helpful and sympathetic, especially the women in bars. And a lot admitted their own battles with ED in their youth.
how do you get your parents to understand you’re sick? my parents just say i’m being attention seeking, and that i need to get over it :/ it makes it extra hard to recover without support and i really want it from them.
Well, I was very lucky. For a long time, I was very much in denial. I kept making excuses for her, even when she once fainted at a concert. And then someone anonymously sent me her infamous anorexia blog. I don’t know who it was and I wish I did so I could thank them properly. Kasia sometimes thinks it was another anorexia sufferer who was jealous - this is because she is sometimes, to use a complex medical term, a bit of a tit. Once we had the blog, we could confront Kasia with it, and she could no longer deny that she had an ED.
As for your parents, show them this blog, show them my page. And give them this message from me…
Your child thinks he/she has an eating disorder. If he/she thinks he/she has an eating disorder, he/she probably does have an eating disorder. And the earlier you start to help him/her recover from it, the better. So listen to him/her. If I’m wrong, and it’s just attention-seeking, then you’ve lost nothing (and hey, maybe they need the attention anyway). But if I’m right, you’ll be glad you listened.”
If that doesn’t work, talk to a teacher, or go see your doctor. Teachers always get a bad rap, but Kasia’s year tutor was awesome, and crucial to us seeing that she had a problem.
my parents keep telling me that they are here for me and want to support me but whenever i try to talk to them they make whatever i say into a joke and try to laugh about it. i know it’s a coping mechanism for them but it really hurts me. how do i deal with this?
Well the best thing is to talk to them about it. Humour is a very tricky thing. I tend to joke about everything. But eating disorders to strip their victims of their sense of humour, along with everying else in their personality. So I didn’t tell a lot of jokes back then. It’s different now, of course. I make jokes about anorexia with Kasia that would probably shock you. The other day I flew on a Japanese airline called ANA, so I stole a teaspoon with ANA on it, because I knew she’d find it funny. If I’d done that 18 months ago, well, I’d probably be typing this with a teaspoon jammed up my ass.
So talk to them about it. Tell them you understand why they do it but it’s not helping you. And if that doesn’t work, you could fight humour with humour. Next time they make a stupid joke out of it, say [This is Kasia, I deleted my dad’s joke, as even I found it offensive. That’s how bad he gets.] That might wake them up a bit…
Ever seen one of those films where someone is possessed by the devil? That’s how I think of anorexia. When Kasia was fully under its power, she was like another person. Not a very nice person, to be honest. It made it much easier to deal with her as a human being if I thought of her as being possessed by something. And the reality is that it’s not too far from the truth - lack of nutrition does indeed change the pathology of the brain.
Sometimes, a glimpse of the old Kasia, Real Kasia, would peek through, and I could engage with her and talk to her. But most of the time, Anorexic Kasia was dominant, chucking things about, swearing like an Irish sailor, devious, deceitful. And so I treated Anorexic Kasia as a different person – not my daughter, just a creature who looked like her. It wasn’t easy, but it was something I had to do because my ultimate goal was to kill Anorexic Kasia
Chances are there’s an Anorexic You. Don’t believe me? Ask your parents…
“Hey dad, do you think my personality has changed since I developed anorexia?”
“Yes, you’re fucking horrible.” (Note, he may not actually say this out loud).
Anorexic You is not your friend, however he or she tells you different. Let me say that again because it’s really important. ANOREXIC YOU IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. Write it down and stick it on your wall. Tattoo it on the inside of your eyelids. Anorexic You destroys your confidence, tells you you’re not good enough, drives you further and further to self-destruction. Let’s be really, really clear here – Anorexic You is trying to kill Real You. No ifs or buts. Anorexic You will NEVER tell you you’re thin enough, or good enough. Anorexic You will NEVER let you be happy. Anorexic will not stop until you are dead. And the only way you’re going to win is to kill Anorexic You. And Anorexic You is very, very killable.
These days, Anorexic Kasia is very much in the background. She still pops up from time to time, whispering shitty things in Real Kasia’s ear. Most of the time Kasia deals with these things herself, but in the beginning she didn’t have the mental strength to do that. I was very lucky that she would call me when these “voices” got to strong (I should point out, lest Kasia come round and knee me in the bollocks, that these weren’t really voices. More compulsions. But you get my drift). Which is where trust comes in. Of which more soon…
For those of you who wanted to do a Q&A with my dad, we’re going to sit down and answer any questions you have for him on Saturday 23rd, so send in your questions about parents involvement in recovery and other recovery stuff by then. Please can you mark your questions with “Q&A” so I know which ones I can answer before Saturday :-)
Also, Guru Dad advises that if you haven’t told your parents about your ED, or you’re having a tough time talking to their parents about things, then use the Q&A as an excuse to get them talking and listening again.
If you’re struggling with anorexia, then it’s very feel that your parents just don’t understand. Do you know why? Well, it’s because you’re right. They don’t understand at all. I still don’t understand. I don’t understand how my amazing and intelligent daughter came to the conclusion that it was a good idea to starve herself to death. I don’t understand how she couldn’t see what she was doing to herself. I couldn’t understand how someone who had always been told how great she was - how smart, how funny, how pretty - could decide that somehow she wasn’t good enough. I mean, we’re not just talking about my daughter here. We’re talking about my best bud, my wingman, my bro. How the hell did this happen? I spent a long time trying to figure it out. At one point I didn’t eat for three days just to see if I could see what it felt like (the really pissed Kasia off. She was very possessive about her anorexia. “It’s MY thing!”).
You know what? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that I don’t understand. It doesn’t matter how it started. It doesn’t matter if your parents don’t get it. Parents are looking for a rational answer, and anorexia is so irrational that rational answers don’t get a look-in anyway.
So don’t get mad that your parents don’t understand something that really isn’t understandable. All that matters is that they understand that what you’re going through is tough. It’s a really hard battle you’re facing. That the cure for anorexia isn’t a sandwich and a smile. It’s months and years of persuading, cajoling, reassuring and battling with demons inside you. If they understand that, then they can they can stand shoulder to shoulder with you throughout it.
emergingasabutterfly asked: I HAVE to say this: I love your dad! <3
WE APPRECIATE YOU
I should point out that I have no qualifications for this. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a psychiatrist. I’m just parent with a laptop and a bad attitude and I’m not afraid to use it…
FIRST, SOME GOOD NEWS…
Before I say anything else, I have two bit of good news for you…