July 30, 2004

Reality Check

The appointment yesterday was good but rather sobering. It was quite a comprehensive assessment, but what really got to me was the summing up by the psychologist. She said to me that they use a form of therapy called CBT-E, which I've had a little experience with in the past. Of the people that do it, 70% get better, 20% improve, and 10% don't change. Of the 10% of people that don't change. 90% of them have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • The eating disorder has been entrenched for longer than 10 years
  • They use/abuse alcohol or drugs
  • They have major depression
  • They have been in long-term therapy previously without effect
  • Physical, emotional or sexual abuse history
  • Underlying major psychological illness (e.g. bipolar) or mental disability

Each of the factors they have decreases their chances of recovery. If you have 4 or more factors, your overall chances of living for 2 years after seeing the eating disorders team and completing CBT-E is around 1-2%.

And that's even if you're like me and not particularly underweight. It's just that the combination of the time you've had the illness and then the other factors on top mean that the physical toll builds up until your body just kind of crumbles. Also of course that factors in non-eating-disorder things like suicide and overdose and accident and homicide, all the usual suspects.

But still. Very sobering really. I don't think it's quite sunk in. I have a unjustified and realitively unshakeable core belief that I'm an exception to statistics. Which I suppose everyone does, or no-one would buy lotto tickets or ride a motor-bike or smoke tobacco. But it is very focusing to have a doctor say to you that statistically there is a 98% chance you will die in the next 2 years.

Nope. Not going to think about that for now. Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala. I will survive this though. I always do. Statistically speaking, I should have died 20 times over by now. And the solution to this really does lie with me. It's just a case of finding the strength to do it. And frankly, it was a motivating interview.

I have my first appointment with my new therapist today, too. Should be good. I went out and bought a whole lot of canvas and paint the other day (my god! yesterday! man it's been a long 24 hours) which cost rather more than I should have spent but I'll go out of my tree completely if I don't have something to do and painting is just it at the moment. Anyway as so often happens I've wound up with 5 or 6 concepts all at once so it might be a bit of a working bee over the next few days, which will be an excellent and distracting thing!

Posted by phreq at 10:39 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 28, 2004


have you seen the Simpson's episode with Marge's fear of flying? She gets on the plane and ends up running up and down the centre aisle going letmeoffletmeoffletmeoffletmeoffletmeoff... and then Homer makes the comforting remark of the century "It's ok, honey. We'll just wait for the killer bees to come to us." :) lol... well that's kind of how I feel today, it's a Stop The Bus, I Want To Get Off day.

Just stressed about tomorrow, I think. My stomach is so sore... it feels like I've got a stitch from drinking ice water before running on a hot day. I will be glad when the assessment is over, hopefully I will then have a better idea of what to expect from the service and what my next couple of months is likely to look like. I would really like to come up to Wellington for a short break. I was talking to David the other day and he was keen on the idea as well, so once I know what the immediate future is likely to hold I can plan on that. It would be so good to see everyone again, I miss you all lots!

It seems very telling to me that my ex wants to help me out to the point of buying me plane tickets to relieve my homesickness, and yet my parents act like complete cretins. The situation seems totally bizarre until you meet the people involved, and then it makes perfect sense. Dave is fundamentally a nice person, and my parents are fundamentally screwed.

I have read 41 library books in July. That's quite a few, even for me. 19 of them were fiction, so for the first time ever, I think, I have read more non-fiction than fiction books in a month purely for enjoyment. I've learnt a lot, that's for sure. Even if I count non-library books, I think it would still hold the statistic.

I will try to post again tomorrow after I see the eating disorders team... Thank you so much for all your supportive posts yesterday, guys, they made me cry but in a good way. It is just so nice to feel less alone in this, to know that I have friends out there who care about me and support me. *hug*

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July 27, 2004

Dog Soup, And Some Other Things

Every morning I make some delicious dog soup, which contains zero dogs but is full of hearty goodness. Basically it's chicken mince, rice, beef stock, a dab of olive oil, peas, pork bones and any leftover food from the previous day - popcorn, apple cores, mashed potato etc. Then you mix it all together with a few litres of water, cook it up for a few minutes and serve. To the dogs. It looks and smells like... well, a dog's breakfast, but they do seem to enjoy it.

Well the puppies have gone off to their new homes yesterday - except Georgia, the little female, which Deb is keeping. Soooo very cute. All the pups were microchipped before sale - ohmigod! Have you seen an animal being microchipped? The needle they use to insert it looks more like a woodworking tool - it's like this sharp edged hollow metal tube about 2mm in diameter - and they just jab it in with that! Ouch! The pups yelped and I'm not bloody surprised... not pleasant. But I guess it does make sense with pedigree animals, because if you're forking over $1000 for a dog you want to make sure you can prove it's your if it gets nicked.

I will post some pics of the pups next time I get online, I took some before they went yesterday.

Thank you so much guys for your support over therapy/eating disorders thing. It's nice to know I've got warm thoughts out there. It's freaking me out still but I have decided to kind of write off this week and not be too hard on myself for not accomplishing much. If I get to both those appts, I'll be doing well.

Things are weird that the moment with my family. I asked Mum and Dad for some money a couple of weeks ago, because I was pretty desperate (food vouchers from WINZ-level desperate). They said basically that they weren't sure how much they could do to help me because it felt like I only ever got in touch with them if I needed something. Anyway we actually had quite a real conversation - I ended up bawling my eyes out but at least we were kind of honest with each other about some things. I told them how early my eating disorder and suicidality had started in my life, and how much the sexual abuse had stuffed up my life and continues to do so.

So a good conversation. Then a couple of weeks went by without me hearing from them - I caught up with my brother Matt (awesome time with him, our relationship has improved no end) and with Giffy - and then I finally got scared because my doctor was threatening to send my bill to Baycorp. So I called Mum and asked if they could pay it. That I understood if they didn't want to give me money, but could they send me food vouchers for the supermarket? That I needed to go to the doctor but couldn't afford it. That I needed to get back into therapy but couldn't afford it.

They said that they would pay that bill, but they didn't feel they could do anything else to help me until our relationship improved. And that they weren't sure whether they were getting the full story, part of the story or if I was just lying to them about my childhood in general, and the sexual abuse in particular.

So basically I'm worth a begrudging $50 for the creditors, but they will not help their anorexic daughter buy food! But you know what really hurts the most? Is that my parents fundamentally assume that I am such a fucked up person that I would lie to them about being sexually abused as a child to extort money from them! I mean, my GOD! Notwithstanding the last 4 years I've been in therapy. Or the suicide attempts at school that they wrote off to "attention seeking". Or the disturbing notes from primary school teachers that they wanted my to see a psychologist. Or the 8 months I spent in hospital last year. Or the fact that I'm living on the bones of my ass trying to make ends meet and have been for the last several years because it's damn hard to hold down a job when you're terrified every moment you're outside your house and end up in the loos at work crying every break time because it's just so exhausting being that scared the whole time.

WHAT THE FUCK COULD I POSSIBLY HAVE TO GAIN? That they can look down their noses at me for yet another reason? You think I want to put the image of me being abused in their minds when they look at me? You think I want them to think of me as a mentally ill failure? You think I wanted to be raped and hurt and ignored and then DISBELIEVED on top of it all? And they wonder why the hell I didn't come to them earlier.

I knew all along in my bitterest heart-of-hearts that they would accuse me of lying. And I've told myself for years that I'm not being fair, I'm prejudging them, I'm not giving them a chance to be understanding. I guess now I know I was right in the first place. But god this hurts. I can't describe the pain of this abandonment and denial. I'm glad I didn't tell them sooner because I think if I'd done this when I was any weaker that I am now the pain would have killed me.

All I wanted was a hug and a "we're so sorry that happened to you. we're so sorry you had to go through that all alone. what a terrible thing to happen to a precious little girl. we love you and we want to protect you."

Fat chance.

Grrrrrrrrrrrr. Ok, rant over :)

Not much else is happening, really. I did a cool painting about anorexia over the weekend. I'll take a picture of it and post it when I put the puppies up.

--- Later ---

Puppy pics and painting pics follow... there are a few of them but I will take them off once this page goes to archive to save server space :)










Posted by phreq at 09:50 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 23, 2004

An update at last

I seem to get to the net less and less frequently these days so I hope my friends will excuse me the lack of emails and catch up on my doings via this blog. It's either this or a bulk email (which I find more impersonal).

Today is Leon's birthday, he's 28. This morning he's up at the hospital... poor guy, what a way to spend your (probably) last birthday. He is understandably fairly distressed. I bought him a wee gift, but men are just so hard to buy for if you don't know them all that well.

Nah, Giffy, I hadn't cut my hair when you saw me (but thank you for the compliment nonetheless!) - I will have to take a photo of it when I take a puppy pic and post them both. The puppies are leaving on Monday (*sniff*) - all except for the little girl (Georgia) which Deb is keeping as a replacement Cavalier breeding bitch. So that will help to ease the separation tug! Marmoo (the tiny little boy) is just so cute - it is lucky he is not staying any longer, I'm too attached already.

I finally (after 6 months) got an appointment at the Eating Disorders service down here, next Thursday. It's both a good and a bad thing... I mean, good to get some help, because I need to, but I guess like the junkie facing detox I'm tempted by the 'one last bender' mentality and also very scared of having to give up something so much a part of me. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am fully cognizant of the necessity of doing something about this, it is really affecting my life, and I don't want it to... but that is the long term view, and in the short term each mouthful is terrifying and each gram is too much.

I know that sounds nuts, it's because I am :) But it's like a phobia, I guess. I know my fear doesn't make rational sense but it doesn't make things any less scary.

I have worked out a magnificent system for walking all four (or five) dogs at once - I have like a starfish lead. There is a half-length lead that has a handle on one end and a metal ring on the other. I threaded a caribena (sp?) through the ring and then hooked all the leads on to it. Two half-length leads, two full-length leads, which means that they can trot in formation front and back rather than fighting to all walk abreast. We go down to the local park for half an hour each afternoon and they tear around like mad things, chasing one another. They're pretty good on recall as well, as long as you catch 'em early!

I start psychotherapy again next Friday, which is also quite freaky since it will be someone totally new and I am more used to my psychotherapist in Wellington, who I've known for years and who rocks. They didn't want to move to Christchurch tho :) It will be good to get back into therapy again, but hard work to build that trust relationship with someone new. It will take a bit of effort to get the groundwork in.

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July 14, 2004

Thick Day

I'm having a thick day, where all my clothes feel too tight and my clumsiness increases. Akk. Maybe I'll just go back to bed and wait for a lighter day.

I took the dogs to the park yesterday and let them have a run around. Ollie jumped straight into the duckpond, closely followed by Lucy and Charlie Brown. Millie wasn't quite as bold, which was a good thing because she's gold-and-white and the mud shows terribly. I took them home and bathed them straight after anyway, so now they are all soft and clean again.

I woke up at 3.30 this morning for some unknown reason. So I got up and read for an hour and a half and then went back to bed. It's strange to have your body just jolt you awake for no real reason like that, but I'm glad I was able to get back to sleep.

I'm accidentally reading a bit of New Zealand writing at the moment ('The Persimmon Tree' and 'Seven Voices') and quite enjoying it. So I might make it an intentional part of my reading pattern.

You know what's great about Christchurch libraries? You can get magazines out for a month, not just a week. Also I like the way all their fiction books are mixed up, not split into sci-fi and crime, romance etc. I guess that would be annoying to some people, but since I just browse and grab at whim I really like the pick-and-mix feel of it. They're identified by little symbols on the spine which is nice and convenient. I can't remember if they do the symbol thing in Wellington, but being able to see 'historical', 'gothic', 'humour' etc classifications as you wander is very useful.

Apparently Leon isn't as out-of-the-woods as I thought. But fingers crossed. Can't do much else. At least he can come home for a few hours most days.

Posted by phreq at 10:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 13, 2004

Counting Blessings

I just had a great night's sleep, under the quilt that Jenni and Regan made and gave to me... I was so blown away. I have such amazing friends, I mean really, really amazing. The amount of care and support (practical and emotional) I get is very touching. I feel like I don't deserve it, and at the same time incredibly grateful for it. This is going to sound like a pathetic statement, but I mean it totally - it is so nice to feel loved and cared for.

Seeing Giffy was awesome too, so nice to see a friendly face from home. We talked about quite a lot of different stuff, I hope I didn't chew your ear off too badly mate! And thanks so much for helping with Alex, what a lifesaver! :)

Well I saw my brother Matt over the last few days as well, he is heading to Wanaka to do a snowboard instructor's course, and then to Canada for the ski season next year. Was really great to see him. We are much, much closer than before, I think largely because we have both (me especially) grown up a bit and dropped some of the defensive, rivalry-driven keeping-up-with-the-joneses crap. I was real with him and it felt like I got the same back, which is really precious.

Leon is slightly better, it looks like he will make it through this immediate crisis (next few days) so that's good news. The bad news is that the other day his precious best friend of the last 5 years, Savannah his dog, got run over and killed. Which just seems extra-cruel, somehow. I just feel like screaming at the universe "give the guy a break! C'mon!"

I cut my hair on Saturday. It's been falling out a lot recently and was in really bad condition, so I chopped it back to about ear-level (which is a lot of hair to take off - a good foot of hair!) and it looks a lot healthier and makes the thin places easier to hide. I chopped it myself in the bathroom mirror, which was a bit freaky, but I've had nothing but compliments and questions of where I got it done, so I guess god looks out for the poor and uncoordinated with scissors! I dyed it too, kind of a reddish brown, so that's nice for a change too. $8 colour and cut, not too shabby!

Posted by phreq at 08:07 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 01, 2004

What do you say?

I don't know what to do, say or be around Deb and Keith at the moment. Leon is dying, bluntly. The doctors expected his kidneys to fail over night and they were 'hoping' that the 5 litres of fluid they pumped in would hold him until they recovered. If they do.

I don't know what to do. It is just such an awful situation. Deb is running herself ragged all day, every day, and Keith is carrying on working (he is a therapist, can you imagine trying to counsel others when your son is dying in the next room?). All I can come up with is being as helpful as possible, doing housework and cooking meals etc. But I feel like I'm in the way, intruding.

It is so bitterly sad. And words just don't seem to cut it at times like this. I wish I knew what to do. But I suspect it's one of those situations where there is nothing I can do to make it better. It's a case of working out what not to do, to avoid making things worse.


It feels like there should be more to say on this, really. But frankly, there's not. Leon's dying. Deb and Keith are grief striken and it will only get harder. And I wish I could do something to make it easier, but I can't.

This situation sucks.


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