As some of you may know from Instagram and my previous post, I had an anorexia relapse starting a couple of years ago.
However, independently I was able to gain some weight back after the treatment services offered me was inaccessible to me, and I had actually reached a point where I was managing relatively okay.
I had what I would describe as a ‘functioning’ eating disorder. My weight was just about healthy and relatively stable, but I still had to live by certain food ‘rules’, was obsessed with weighing myself and had ongoing body dysmorphia.
Over the last couple of months, I’m not exactly sure why, but things have deteriorated very quickly and if I am honest I would say I am probably in my worst relapse since 2016. Things are tough.
In April, I decided that I was tired of living with this constant background noise of what I could and could not do, how much I should weigh and how much I should be moving around. I asked for a referral back into the ED team and was told essentially that I declined the group offered to me in 2017 (which I couldn’t attend because of work) and had a healthy BMI, so I did not meet the criteria for treatment.
Since things have gone downhill so quickly, I’ve been back and asked for another referral. I truly do want this to be over, I hate it. So now I play the waiting game. I am, quite honestly, entirely stuck, and I feel like a lot of that stuckness is their doing. I know now that in order to access treatment I need to fit into the criteria for anorexia, which I now do. I’ve been backed into a corner. I tried to ask for help before and was turned away, so what other choice do I have? I have absolutely no inclination to try to make any positive changes myself because I honestly feel like it will end up being to my detriment as I will probably get turned away again.
And while I sit and play this waiting game, my list of acceptable foods is shrinking whilst my list of fear foods grows longer and longer. I am constantly weak, I can’t sleep, my stomach hurts with chronic emptiness. I can’t concentrate on anything and spend hours a day watching cooking videos on the internet, staring wistfully at all the things my mind won’t let me eat.
My functioning is waning as my BMI drops. Recently I’ve noticed bits of my hair have started falling out again. My heart rate is frequently all over the place: at 55 one minute and 190 the next. I am not well and I know this, yet still I can’t stop myself nor do I feel I can until services take note of how difficult things are for me and how desperately I am reaching out to them for help. I am now underweight, and I feel like I have been backed into a corner by having to reach this point.
Services need to change and adapt to catch up to the fact that eating disorders are incredibly complex and need a thorough assessment before agreeing what treatment pathway, if any, is appropriate. A piece of paper with a summarised list of symptoms should not be enough to turn someone away for, without having spoken to that person face to face.
I have now had a letter saying I will be offered an assessment; though I don’t know when this will be I am so relieved that I am getting one that I don’t mind waiting just a little bit now. I feel like the race is on to lose as much weight as possible before they see me though. They make me feel like I have to prove to them that I am struggling, rather than just taking my word for it.
If they don’t accept me at all for treatment, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m trying not to think about it too much because if that happens I think I will entirely give up hope altogether.
So please, keep your fingers crossed for me for good news, and I’ll let you all know if I make any progress.