Birthday Celebrations – Over the Hill? – No Way!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I’m going to let you into a little secret. Some of my ‘older’ readers will know this already, especially given that I have young grandchildren. However, to some of my newer readers, this might come as a surprise. Having just had my birthday, I’m now officially ‘over the hill,’ according to the polls! I feel most indignant about that statement as I’m now 65, not 95 (nothing against the 95 years olds amongst us, nor people older than that). According to the polls, the age categories run like this …

18 to 24
25 to 34
35 to 44
45 to 54
55 to 64
65 and over

So … where are you supposed to go after you reach 65. Apparently, there is nowhere to go other than obviously being officially over the hill and, no doubt, going down the other side. Does this mean that the pollsters consider the only fitting thing for me, being ’65 and over’, is to shuffle off this mortal coil! I object!

Having got that little bugbear off my chest, I will continue on a happier note – my birthday, last Saturday, 3rd September. I had the most wonderful week. To begin with, last Thursday, I spent the day with nine family members, my daughter and son-in-law, my son, four young grandchildren, my sister and brother-in-law, who’d travelled up from Dorset, plus my friend, who’d been kind enough to take me to see them all. It was a perfect day, sunny and warm; not too hot like we’d had in the summer. September is nearly always a lovely month in the UK. We walked into the restaurant and big hugs were shared between us; some of my family I hadn’t seen for over two years, so I was thrilled to bits to see them all again. I felt so loved and very blessed to have such wonderful people around me.

The food arrived, which we’d pre-ordered. I’d asked for Pad Thai, one of my favourite meals. It was delicious, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We then ordered pudding, although I don’t know where I found the room after the lunch, but I did, as did everyone else. More deliciousness. After eating, we took the children to the local park to run off their energy (and dinner). It was so lovely to see the four cousins all together. It was such a special way to celebrate my birthday.

Delicious Pad Thai

Last Saturday, my actual birthday, I met my best friend in town, and we went for another meal in an Italian restaurant. My friend, Debbie, presented me with a beautiful birthday card and an even more beautiful gift. I was so touched by the thought she had put into choosing something so special. We are both vegans, and having eaten our main course, a pasta dish, we plumped for pudding (again!). The dessert was amazing – a rich chocolate cake with honeycomb pieces called Zillionaire’s Slice with vegan sorbet with chocolate ripples. I could feel my waistline expanding after all the food I’d had. My diet was nowhere to be seen, but I wasn’t in the least bit bothered – there’s always another day for that.

Zillionaire’s Slice

So … all in all, perhaps, being 65 isn’t too bad. I’ve got absolutely no intention of shuffling off anywhere, least of all, off this mortal coil. I’m having too much fun.

Love Ellie x 🦢

Home From Hospital

I just thought I’d pop in briefly to let you know I’m home from hospital now. My friend came and collected me from the hospital this morning and was kind enough to stay some of the day at home with me. You’ll be pleased to hear my operation was successful. There was a minor complication, but the hospital really did look after me well. I have to visit my GP in ten days to have my stitches taken out. I’m also on antibiotics, still somewhat wiped out and have very little energy. Not surprising, though. Early days yet.

I was lucky to have been on a reasonably quiet ward, or as quiet as wards can be, with the general hustle and bustle of hospital staff being as busy as they are. That, along with a variety of pings and beeps from hospital equipment. The doctors and nurses were all lovely, and so were the care workers and cleaners, and I feel grateful for being cared for so well. What would we do without the NHS?

My home help, a good friend, is coming over a couple of extra times over the next week to make sure I’m okay and see if there’s anything I need. It’s very kind of her, and I appreciate it. My neighbour got some shopping in for me yesterday, so I’ve got food, although I’m not very hungry. The hospital food was yummy, and they even had a good choice of vegan meals which surprised me. I think food always tastes nicer if someone else has cooked it for you!

I probably won’t write much for a few days yet as I’m still pretty exhausted. I don’t think I’ve got all of the anaesthetic out of my system yet, either. I will try and catch up with some of your recent posts as soon as I can. I’ve missed you all being part of my life. It’s funny how people we don’t really know away from WordPress can become a big part of our lives.


I’ll say night-night now as I’m going up to bed early. I might even let Peanut, my cat, come up with me as I think she missed me while I was away. A neighbour popped in a couple of times a day to ensure she had enough food, water and a clean litter tray. I missed her too.

Mostly, I wanted to thank all of you, my blogging buddies and readers, for your very kind comments and good wishes – I’ve just had time to read some of them. It’s lovely to know people care, and it means a lot to me. See you all soon. Xx .💟

THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

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Well…..here we are again! It’s nearly Christmas and the country has gone mad! Everywhere you look, everywhere you go, people are pushing and shoving to get last minute bargains or expensive gifts to give to their loved ones and fill the childrens’ Christmas stockings. Food is selling so fast, the supermarkets can hardly keep up with filling the shelves quickly enough. Millions of trees are being chopped down to become fairy lit trees, and processed into cheap Christmas cards that will be hastily written, expensively posted, arriving at their destination only to be dropped into peoples’ rubbish bins (or if they’re really lucky, the recycle sack), after a few days of gathering dust on the mantlepiece! All for two days! Two days! And all that waste…. and for what?  For the sake of commercialism and ‘feeding’ the ‘fat-cats’ who are at the top, making all the profit and doing little of the work in most situations. Come the 25th we’ll all be sitting down and stuffing ourselves with turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, chipolatas, pudding, cake, mince pies, chocolates and sweets, alcohol and so much more and then complaining we’ve all got bellyache! It’s all so much and yet there are hundreds or more hungry and homeless people in the country. To say nothing of the rest of the world which is another story entirely!

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I’m far from perfect. I know that and I include myself in the above but I am not sending numerous cards; instead I’m giving what I can afford to charities of my choosing and will probably send some e-cards to those fortunate enough to have technology at hand. I will chatting on the phone to those family members that I am still have contact with and to close friends (a privilege I appreciate); I have an artificial Christmas tree and Christmas dinner and ‘trimmings’ will not be over-extravagant. And you may cry “bah, humbug” at me but, truly, what on Earth has happened to Christmas?

I mean the real Christmas. I mean the real reason for the season? Where does Jesus fit into all this? Yes, many churches will be holding Christmas services and that’s when the churches are bursting at the seams, (once a year!). What about the rest of the year? Christmas is for giving – giving of ourselves to God as well as giving to those less fortunate than ourselves in every sense.

Where in the bible does it say “thou shalt stuff thyself with turkey”, or that “thou shalt have more Christmas cards than thy neighbour”?

What about the birth of Jesus? In the bible it reads (Luke 2:4-7, 10-11)

Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David. Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David. He went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him. She was pregnant, and while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby. She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger—there was no room for them to stay in the inn.10 but the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. 11 This very day in David’s town your Savior was born—Christ the Lord! 

This is what we need to be celebrating – the birth of our Lord and King who was born and came to save us from our sins and who died in order that we may have eternal life. I know for me, as a believer, that this fact brings me a lot of comfort and peace.

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But….don’t get me wrong! I am just speaking from my own point of view and beliefs. I respect the fact that everyone has their own ideas of what is right and what is wrong; what is true and what is not. I don’t intend to ram what I believe in down everybody else’s throats – I’m not really a Scrooge but I’m just saying….ok?!

FIRST DAY COLLEGE TRIGGER

I have to say, having completed my first full day at college plus travelling (by wheelchair), I’d forgotten how exhausting it all is, having not done it for many years. I got caught in the rush-hour. I haven’t had the ‘pleasure’ of that for years, thankfully!

I arrived at college early so had time to have a much-needed coffee which always calms me down if I’m feeling anxious (I know that goes against all the health guidelines about caffeine but it works for me!). The course started at 10am. It was really strange being amongst other people in a learning environment. It’s been many years  since I’ve been in a classroom of any type. I took notes on my laptop because of my physical inability to write. The topic was interesting…Food and Mood of which, having been anorexic, I thought I was an expert on! But this wasn’t about calories and kilos but about the chemical changes that take place in your brain and how that ties in with nutrition. There was only five of us given that a couple of people were away sick and another couple had backed out at the last moment. I was pleased in a way as I find working in a large group too impersonal.

college

We stopped for a lunch break and I got chatting to two of the other students over coffee (and a banana, my lunch!). We got on really well and swapped phone numbers so we could stay in touch and in fact, I have already spoken to one of the girls from there this evening which was nice.

Then came the afternoon group (a totally different ‘kettle of fish’ altogether). I felt intimidated both by the size of the class and also by the tutor who seemed very unapproachable and obviously  wasn’t used to working in a mental health environment despite the fact we were studying NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) which is a type of therapy or way of managing life. Useful? Yes. Interesting? Yes. Interaction between students and rapport with tutor? No.

We were working through several leaflets, handouts and books, breaking NLP down into various sections. I found it quite fascinating and could connect with most of what was being said or studied. But suddenly i was overcome and shocked by a flood of unexpected feelings which left me completely paralyzed and locked in my own little world. Why? Because we’d turned the page and the not-so-approachable tutor announced that we were going to talk about triggers!! She was apparently referring to positive triggers like evocative memories of music, smell, feelings etc. I was ‘gone’ by then….flashbacks flooded through me, memories of abuse including smell, touch etc suffocated me. She mentioned pleasant scenes from the past being positive but all that was going through my head by then were very negative, abusive, terrifying scenes from the past. I found myself holding my breath; my eyes welling up; my body shaking and then the PTSD took over and I had a full-blown panic attack followed by uncontrollable sobbing.

post-traumatic-stress

I managed to wheel out of there into the kitchen, swiftly followed by one of the students I’d got chatting to earlier who made me a coffee and sat with me for a while, for which I was very grateful. I couldn’t go back in to rejoin the class though as I was too shaken. I really hadn’t foreseen that one coming. However, on a positive note, I’m not giving up. I’m going back on Thursday to have another go, including tackling the NLP group as this time I will be prepared, just in case, although the centre of the topic will have probably moved on by then but if not, I will stay with it and not let my abusers prevent me from furthering my education as they did as a child.

I will have a future and move on from being held back by my past. I will not let those bastards win. This time, I will beat them!

EATING DISORDERS BITE BACK

I’ve had an eating disorder ever since I was a child. At times, it has been severe both as anorexia and periods of bulimia. I have been hospitalized (sectioned) twice in 1996 and 1998 as my anorexia was severe and my weight dropped dangerously low to five stone only. I was in my late thirties at that time as contrary to popular belief, eating disorders affect both men and women of any age, not just teenagers although I was in the minority being that age on my ward.

I don’t intend to go into details about my past eating behaviours as this post isn’t about encouraging anyone who is struggling with tips on how to eat less and all the other negative practices associated with an ED. This is just about my feelings about myself.

eating  disorders are not optional

As most of you know, I am now in my early fifties and over the years my weight has gone up and down like a yoyo. I have also acquired, as a direct result of my ED, severe osteoporosis and problems with my teeth amongst other issues. (NB. This isn’t the cause of my disability although it obviously aggravates my symptoms).

Suffice it to say, I still have great difficulties with my eating and know I have a distorted body image but despite counselling, I still have a daily battle. My weight is fine (although I would like it to be less [but that is the anorexia speaking] and classically, think I look far too fat). I come slap-bang in the middle of the healthy range on the BMI scale yet I still see this as bad instead of healthy and good. I generally eat fairly healthily but maybe a little too less than I should. But, this is interspersed with sudden desperate urges for chocolate, cakes, ice-cream etc for which I go out of my way in my wheelchair to the local supermarket or newsagent for too large a quantities! I don’t keep any ‘naughty‘ food as such, in the house because I wouldn’t be able to control my bingeing on it.

I hate having an ED – it rules my life and is just an added stress on my mind and body along with the effects of my child abuse, rape, PTSD etc which I have written much on previously. Many people consider that once you have gained a healthy BMI, you are ‘cured‘! This is not the case, unfortunately, speaking for myself that is. I only wish it were. EDs don’t always get better; they may wax and wane or be mild or severe at times). Currently, I would put myself in the middle of that scale which is a constant battle.

I detest my ED. It’s the first thing that springs to mind whenever I am stressed or have experienced current feelings of trauma such as flashback and new memories surfacing. I think about food first thing in the morning until last thing at night. When I was younger and in out of hospital, I truly believed at times that I had become free of my ED. However, this is not the case….eating disorders can bite back! However, I still have fight in me and will never give up believing that one day, I will be free of all this.

hold fast to your dreams

BESIDE THE SEASIDE :)

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Well, I do have to say that I am feeling really good and that makes a change so make the most of it because I sure am! 🙂

Today, I feel great, and yesterday I felt great too. Yesterday was fantastic – I had such a brilliant time. I went with a group of people I’m involved with, on the train, all the way to Clacton-on-Sea (which is a little seaside town on the south-east coast of the UK). It takes about one hour on the train. Now, bearing in mind, I’m a recovering agoraphobic, this was quite amazing for me! It was a day full of ‘firsts’ too…it was the first time I’d seen the sea for about five years! Better than that…it was the first time I’d been on a train in about fifteen or so years!! Incredible!

I felt safe with this group of friends which helped, especially safe with ‘Carol’ who’d organized the whole thing (thanks Carol although you don’t read my blog!). It was my first trip out of my home-town in my new powered wheelchair…Oh, thank the Lord, I didn’t have to be pushed in my old manual wheelchair! How I hate that, always. It make me feel helpless whereas my electric wheelchair makes me feel empowered. The train journey was ‘a piece of cake’ as we say here…meaning ‘easy-peasy’. (Now I’m showing off!).

Once we’d arrived at the seafront, I was as free as a bird. I paired up with another girl, also in an electric wheelchair and we bombed it up the promenade, looking at all the little kiosks selling ‘kiss me quick hats’, beachballs, buckets and spades, blow-up dinghies and the like. Some of them sold food too. We sailed past one stretch and I said to L, “what was that gorgeous smell?”. She replied “doughnuts” and they were cooked while you wait. So, another first, a freshly cooked, hot ring doughnut covered in sugar that it’s impossible not to get all round your mouth! Yummy!

More zooming about (carefully dodging pedestrians, of course!) until it was lunchtime. We decided to stop at another kiosk and had coffee, and, for the first time (again), I had a fresh hotdog in a bun, complete with fried onions and ketchup and God knows how many calories! Oh, and chips! And did I care about my ‘diet’; did I heck! I thoroughly enjoyed it. So did L – she had the same.

After a while we met up with the rest of the group, found ourselves a little café to get coffee. But did I stop at that? Nope! I spied an ice-cream stall close-by and before I knew it, I found myself sitting with a strawberry Cornetto in my hand; another first. I don’t usually ‘allow’ myself ice-cream so that was also a first of sorts.

I had a fantastic time and the journey back was good too and I think, for once, I had a smile glued permanently on to my face all day long! I’m already planning when I can do it all again! It completely took me away from all my problems, heartaches, pain etc, etc…which did me a power of good because today, I’m still feeling the ‘feel-good factor’ and still smiling. Oh, what it is to have my independence! I wouldn’t exchange it ‘for all the tea in China’. (I don’t know if you have these quaint little sayings overseas, that I have been littering my chit-chat with?). If not, I can ‘translate’ at a reasonable fee!

Traditional, corny old British song (excuse the pathetic animations), coming up!

ANOREXIA BITES BACK

I’d like to say that i have totally recovered from my life-long anorexia, and yes, to a certain extent, i have, but it never quite goes away altogether. I still have the anorexic voice in my head, day in day out.

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I don’t look painfully thin although i am slim and it’s a constant battle to keep that voice at bay. It ebbs and flows but the tide never actually goes out. i’ve been dangerously underweight and in treatment more than once and i can honestly say that i don’t want to go back there again. I just wish the nagging voice would stop.

 

I watch, like a hawk, everything i eat. I know the calorific value of everything i put into my mouth. I mentally count the calories i’ve consumed. I always buy the lowest fat, lowest calorie food product of each type; milk, yoghurts, ready meals, fruit and vegetables even. I don’t eat anything ‘nice’. “I’m not allowed it, i don’t deserve it, i’ll lose control”, says the voice.

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I don’t allow myself potatoes, bread, crackers, pasta, rice, sweets, cake, biscuits, etc and definitely no chocolate! Stupid, i know. We all need carbohydrates for energy (no wonder i’m alway so tired). I dread eating out and will starve myself all day if i know i have to go out for a ‘sociable’ meal.

 

I still binge sometimes, when i’m really hungry, and then i make myself pay for it by hardly eating the next day. I used to misuse laxatives every day to ‘get rid’ of the food i’d eaten but i no longer do that although after a life-time of doing so, my digestive system has never recovered and i have to take non-addictive, prescription medicine, daily, to be able to ‘go‘ at all and i’ll weigh myself at least three times a day but i’m not anorexic!

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(Mischa-Barton photo)

I don’t look obviously anorexic and although my few friends i have left, say that i look ‘drawn’, i don’t agree with them. I think i’m still too fat. What a bloody, useless, fucking  failure of an anorexic, i am. I don’t recommend that anyone starts the perilous journey to this never-ending road. It hurts and it’s agony and you’re never free of it. ‘I am dying to be thin’. And anorexia does bite back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INCOMMUNICADO

I am writing this post by way of an apology to you all.

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I am sorry i have been so out of touch recently; that i haven’t read or replied to your blogs; that i haven’t said thank you for all the kind comments you left on my last blog, which i have only just seen; that i haven’t been of much use to anyone really. In addition, i found a crass, sarcastic comment from some sick pervert which i didn’t ‘Approve’ so that it didn’t appear on my page to upset anyone else. I seem to attract perverts. I think i have done so ever since i was a small child.

 

I have very few friends and most of those have buggered off since i’ve not been well! I know i have my blog friends, here, who i value highly even though i’m never likely to meet any of you and we are all, to some extent, incognito.

 

I really crashed after that experience i wrote about in my last blog. I’ve been getting so many vivid flashbacks that i’m scared to hardly breathe. It seems as if they appear directly in front of my eyes in glorious technicolour and i inhale them one after the other until i go to pieces altogether, break down and feel like i am losing my mind  I can’t seem to function at all. I am unable to concentrate on anything, including my blog, finishing my book, reading, phoning family or catching up with many emails. I am so exhausted all the time and I just want to be curled up in bed permanently.

 

I’m not interested in food and am only eating the bare minimum; at the same time telling myself, firmly, that this is not my anorexia returning although i have lost weight. 

 

My therapy sessions are fraught with memories, anger and tears. Thankfully, i’m not self harming, nor have i gone back to the drink and drugs or overdosing although i have felt tempted many times.

 

Well, i think that about sums up where i am at at the moment. So, i’m very sorry if i have hurt any of your feelings and all i can say, with the scrap of humour i have left is ‘normal service will resume as soon as possible‘.

 

Hugs xxx

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MEAT AND TWO VEG.

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Coming from someone like myself who has in the past, been a very seriously ill anorexic with some years as a bulimic and some years as a compulsive overeater, this post is going to come across rather oddly, i think. This isn’t to say that i don’t still have some problems with food because i do, but they’re not serious any longer and i’m remarkably healthy, given my history. I want to try and take a lighter approach to the whole subject of food. I’m not talking about nutrition but more about situations where food is involved. May i say, i don’t wish to offend anyone who is still struggling with an eating disorder because that is just such a nightmare to live with. 

 

With all my eating problems, i have had some funny experiences which i will try and relate here. Up until two years ago, i used to be a strict vegetarian; not the type who say “I am a vegetarian but i eat fish and chicken”. That is not being a vegetarian! Some of the time, for short intervals, i decided to become vegan which was quite hard work back then as minorities weren’t catered for in supermarkets. I’m talking about the time when you could only by white, sliced ‘Mother’s Pride’ bread and if you dare ask for a wholemeal loaf, you were regarded as somewhat of a hippie!

 

As i was saying, i’d been a staunch vegetarian for twenty years (before it was even ‘in fashion’ as it’s sometimes regarded, even now). I’d not eaten any meat, fish, chicken or animal by-products for all that time and then out of the blue, and God’s know why, i suddenly had a real craving for a pork chop! A pork chop, of all things – you couldn’t get much further away from being a veggie than that! And there began my adventures with food a carnivore, or omnivore to be more precise. 

 

After the committing the first sin and devouring my pork chop with apple sauce and thoroughly enjoying it without a thought for the poor little piggie that gave up it’s life for my dinner plate. I progressed to chicken and fish. Beef, in meals, i have occasionally. I can’t bring myself to eat venison as we have deer at the bottom of my garden very occasionally. Similarly, i can’t eat duck because of my childhood memories of taking bread over to the local pond and feeding the ducks. Pigeon is off the menu too for the same reason. I don’t eat lamb very often as i think of the little things cavorting around in the fields nearby, and when i see a sheep or a lamb for real, i am very careful not to shout the words “mint sauce” within earshot of them! Sausages are off the menu as i don’t fancy the nostrils, tail, or nail clippings that they may contain.

 

Having said all that,i do still like my fruit and veg and make sure i eat at least five portions a day. I love spinach and rocket although they are often considered to be ‘bitter’. And although i think lychees are my very favourite fruit (and apparently very good for you), i do rather have a passion for our rather bent, potassium-packed, yellow-bellied friend, the banana. Now they are talking about doing away with bent bananas and only importing straight ones. I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous. It’s bad enough that they ‘doctor’ most of our fruit and veg to be perfectly sized and shaped and coloured. Which is why i choose to buy organic; and no i’m not wealthy, i just make cutbacks in other departments.

 

I rarely eat chips as i have memories of when i was younger, people having chip pans that were both black on the inside and on the outside. Back then, the oil the chips were cooked in was kept and used over and over again and, nobody knew that the oil became more and more hydrogenated each time it was used. This didn’t do our cholesterol levels any favours at all. And what about the debate now, about whether butter or margarine is better for you? They have said butter is purer…well, i have a friend who switched back the delicious, genuine butter, in moderation, i might add, and her cholesterol levels soared and she got a good telling off from her GP.

 

So all-in-all, what it is about food, that there is such uproar and contradiction about? Our grandparents were brought up on the likes of ‘bread and dripping’ and many of them are living well into their 80’s and 90’s or further. So, i say ‘”everything in moderation and a little bit of what you fancy, does you good”!