13/05/2014

M.E. Awareness Week: Anorexia & M.E.

written by Laura.
This is something i feel i can give a unique perspective on. After all, i have never met/heard of anyone with Anorexia as well as M.E. I know that there's most definitely some of you out there but we are not well known about, or easy to treat at that! So, as part of M.E./CFS awareness week i thought i'd share how they both play a massive part with each other, ways you can deal with it and hopefully raise a little awareness in the process.

At both the CFS clinic i went to (it was for the whole of Hampshire and the Isle Of Wight) and the Eating Disorder clinic i went to neither of them had ever dealt with or heard of problems such as mine. But, as the personalities of people with M.E. are very determined and lived very hectic lives before getting ill, there's probably quite a few of you out there that are dealing with an ED alongside M.E. Boy, i know, it isn't easy. Though, having M.E. may have actually saved my life!

I can't go into it because of legal matters but i had a very abuse-filled childhood which meant i started getting anorexic tenancies at the age of 11. I coped with it ok and stayed on the edge of a healthy weigh up until i turned 15 (year10/2008). I don't know what set it off really but at 15 a lot of problems and past issues rose to the surface again which meant i started to struggle. At this point i was in the netball team, helping coach the younger netball team, in the rounders team, going running and swimming nearly every day and eating less and less. Not a good mix. Then in the September i turned 16 (year11/2009) i got M.E. This is what the Doctors think lead to the virus which lead to me getting M.E.

I couldn't exercise any more but that was the way i dealt with all my problems. I could walk out the front door and run for as long as i wanted. So, food became the thing i could control, which i'm sure many of you can understand with the way M.E. rips away all control you had over your life. My eating got much much worse, putting my weight down to around 4-5 stone. Not a good look.

at the beach a year after getting M.E.
In the years between then and now, i gradually put weight on until 2012 when it dropped again due to M.E. getting worse. From then until now i have been gradually loosing weight, but due to M.E. not Anorexia.

By no means am i 'cured' of Anorexia, i struggle with it every single day. Michael can tell you that. A day doesn't go by where i don't ask him questions about my body. It's tough. It's tough on Michael when he just wants to help me. But, by me asking him questions i'm letting him in.

I have Body Dismorphia. I have this kinda bad habit of comparing myself to other people that i think are 'beautiful. But, i also use it to try and work out what size i really am; i'll pick a person and ask if i'm bigger or smaller than them so i can put them on a line to try to work out where i fit in.

taken from the NHS website
So, that's me done. Now i'm going to give you some tips with how to deal with Anorexia and tricks you can do to make sure your M.E. isn't affected.
  • Get rid of those damn scales! Seriously, throw them out. Nothing good ever comes from stressing over a few numbers. And remember, you could look very slim and fit but weigh more than average. Bone density counts folks.
  • Take back control in a new way. Do your make up every day. It might tire you out and 'waste' a spoon but in the long run you're saving energy by changing what your controlling from something destructive to something which makes you feel much better.
  • Talk about it. I know it's not always that easy. Believe me, i know. Michael was the first person i ever told and he helped me through it for  a year until i was ready to get help. You'd be surprised how supportive people can be (though the older generation might not 'get it').
  • Get dressed. Again, i can't do this myself most days (i probably get properly dressed once every 2 weeks) but it makes such a difference. I put my pretty clothes on and i feel so much better, not quite beautiful, but good enough. 
  • When you're bedbound people can't always see how little you are, my nurse even told me i was overweight when my size 6 clothes are getting too big after wrapping a tape measure round my arm! WTF! Seriously! Others might not notice things are going on under the covers so ask for help and be honest.
  • You're ill, your weight will go up and down. I am bloated 24/7 since i've been completely bedbound. But, there is nothing you can do about it. Don't poke or prod your bloated belly (guilty), don't stare at your body if it makes you feel bad (guilty again), don't worry if your clothes are a bit tight (very guilty). You have a chronic illness which is comparable to HIV, MS and cancer!
I hope this helps. This was quite a hard post to write considering i don't really talk about Anorexia, but i think i did okay. If you are having trouble with anything i've talked about then email me at: laurabrockway1993@gmail.com or even if you just feel a little low about your body and feel it could spiral out of control you can talk to me. I've been dealing with Anorexia for 10 and M.E. for 5 so i know what you're going through.
 

2 comments:

  1. I don't have an eating disorder but before i developed M.E. I had depression & a lot of the coping tips you mentioned are what has stopped me from back sliding into depression again.
    It must have been horrendously difficult to manage the anorexia whilst loosing the control of your life. M.E. has a fudge of a lot to answer for!

    Sally
    http://www.wheelingalong24.com

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that, any mh problem with M.E. is a pain in the backside! The Anorexia got a lot worse with M.E. but although Anorexia is still a huge part of my life the M.E. actually stopped me from working out.
      M.E. is definitely a biatch!
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