My Day (Today) – Update

Yesterday, I wrote a post called, ‘The Day Before‘. So many of you (my friends and blogging buddies) were encouraging, kind, thoughtful, and caring, sending me your love and best wishes. I can’t tell you how much that support and love from you meant to me. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. However, as I had feared …

BAD NEWS

I got home at about 3.30 pm (it’s now 8.15 pm), but I’ve been trying to get myself back into a space where I can communicate without breaking down again. I could hardly see the screen on my laptop through my tears. I feel totally exhausted from crying so much.

The counselling with my lovely counsellor, C., is definitely ending on 21st December, and there is absolutely no chance of continuing to see her again after that date. I’m devastated and heartbroken 💔. I have been through so much despair and heartache with her trying to come to terms with the frequent child sexual abuse and rape that I suffered from the age of eight until I was twelve. I haven’t said those exact words on my blog before, apart from the odd mention in my poetry, but, there it is – in black and white, as that is the truth of what happened to me.

I’m only part of the way through working on this awful trauma, and now I will be completely alone and without my counsellor. We spoke, in between my tears, about going onto the waiting list for general counselling, which I would have to pay for. Up until now, I’ve been treated under the Eating Disorders’ umbrella, which has been free. General counselling would be less specific and, although, my eating habits aren’t as bad as they were, I definitely can’t say that I’ve recovered from those issues.

C said she would speak to the organisation’s manager to see whether they would even accept me under the general team. She said, as I feared, there is a long waiting list. As it is, the counselling offices are closed from the 21st of December until the middle of January 2023. So, I know I’m in for a long wait. I feel panic-stricken at the thought of going it all alone until a place comes up (that’s if they accept me). I really don’t know how to cope with this situation. If I’m accepted (and I won’t know this till December), I’ve got to find the funds to pay for it. As I said in my last post, I can’t afford to heat my home this winter (I appreciate the ideas that people have suggested that might help). Something is going to have to give. It’s a case of whether I heat my home or eat decent food.

Assuming I am accepted, it will mean starting all over again with a completely new and unfamiliar counsellor. I don’t know if I can face going over all those painful memories once again. I feel despairing. My doctor is phoning me on Friday; I will have to update her. There is nothing else she can do. I’m exhausted with all the emotion and will have an early night accompanied by two Diazepam to attempt to give me some respite from what feels like being in the hall of crazy, distorted mirrors at the funfair. It just sums up how my life feels today – crazy and distorted.

Please forgive me if I missed reading your blogs today. I can hardly keep my eyes open. I will catch up with some, or I may have to miss today’s blogs and start afresh tomorrow. Thank you for listening. Until tomorrow … Love Ellie Xx 🖤

The Day Before

TODAY IS THE DAY BEFORE. It’s the day before I see my counsellor (C). She was away last week, so I’ve had to wait two long, painful weeks for an answer. Tomorrow is the day C tells me whether I can continue to see her after my last session, which is due on the 21st of December this year. Up until now, my therapy has been free under the council-funded Eating Disorders service, where I got six months of treatment, for which I’m very grateful.

However, now I cannot get any funding to continue seeing C under the general health team at that counselling organisation. It’s not just that, but there is a waiting list of ten months to even be considered. I can afford a little, but not the average fee for counselling, which is in the region of £50 – £60 per session. On the improbable off chance that C can continue with me without the ten-month wait, I will have to find the money. As it is, I struggle to make ends meet, and because of the UK cost of living crisis, I can’t even afford to have any heating on this winter. Being cold is miserable, but I’ll put up with it if it means I can continue to see C. I’m counting the hours and minutes until I go for my session tomorrow. I feel absolutely sick with worry.

All that aside, I have also lost three people this week (not through deaths, thankfully.) Their losses have been a blow, nevertheless. I had a Befriender from the Hospice who had phoned me every Friday – we’ve been chatting for nearly a year – just day-to-day stuff, like friends. She called me on Friday to say this was her last call as she was leaving the service to work with her daughter.

The same day, I had a call from my lovely pharmacy assistant, who’s been dispensing my medication for the last ten years, and whom I got to know on first-name terms and almost like friends. She always had time for a quick chat.

Finally, I had a call from Amy, who works for the NHS Wellbeing Team. She told me, very kindly, that because my mental health has deteriorated, she can no longer work with me. I just can’t figure that one out.

I’ve seen images on Google that say something along the lines of the picture below. Sadly, it’s no consolation to me right now. Please, wish me luck for tomorrow and keep your fingers crossed that the decision goes in my favour. I will update my situation either tomorrow or within a few days depending on the outcome.

Thank you to all my amazing and beautiful friends and readers who have been there for me on every step of my recent painful journey. Love Ellie Xx 🖤

(Image source – main photo – Photo by Liza Summer: https://www.pexels.com)

STROKE – COMPASSIONATE LEAVE

Image result for Right Brain Stroke Damage

Life has had a nasty habit of throwing us curveballs now and then. That ball has certainly knocked me down many times, but I think the important thing is that it’s not how far I fall but whether I can get up again from there. That’s true for everybody at some time, but I feel like I’ve had to do an awful lot of climbing back up over the years.

I don’t feel sorry for myself though as we all have to cope with this experience we call life. I’ve had a significant knockdown just recently which is limiting the amount of time that I have to write my blog – not that you could ever really call me a prolific writer – I’d say more a sporadic writer.

Right now, things are tough and a real challenge. My mum was sick before I wrote my last post – she was in a local hospital with pneumonia. That was bad enough. She is elderly and becoming rather frail now, and illnesses and accidents are becoming a common occurrence now, in her 87th year.

A week later while still on the ward, Mum was found collapsed in the bathroom – she’d had a stroke. The very thing she had always dreaded and said: “It’ll never happen to me”. I thought, until this event, perhaps somewhat naively she was going to be right – that she would live to an even riper old age than she was already.

An ambulance rushed her to the main City Hospital. A friend took me there later that day, and it was a real shock. There was my mum, laying almost helplessly unable to do anything. The whole of one side of her body was lifeless. She couldn’t move her arm or her leg; she couldn’t sit up – not even with support – she lurched sideways into a sad heap and had no balance. Her face had dropped so that her eyelid drooped and what was left of her smile had been taken away.

Two weeks later, she still hasn’t made much progress in her movements. Her speech is slurred, very soft and infrequent as her cognitive function has also been affected so that her brain is working much more slowly to process information. She’s unable to swallow properly so is on a diet of small portions of rather undignified, pureed food which she still manages to pull a face at in an odd way and I just know she’s thinking, “Why am I being given baby food?” I can’t begin to imagine how awful it must be for her to be trapped inside her mind without being able to express herself clearly or barely communicate.

Needless to say, her appetite is almost non-existent, and I can’t say I blame her when food has to be spoonfed into her now crooked mouth. Pureed shepherd’s pie and carrots, having been liquidised within an inch of their life, wouldn’t appeal much to me either.

I am travelling up to the City Hospital every other day (a journey by train in my wheelchair, George of two-and-a-half hours each way). I spend as long as I can with my mum but then return home along with the hoards of workers turning out from their places of work to head homeward. Travelling with an electric wheelchair is not fun when all around me are rushing, pushing and shoving to get home after a long day or a long shift.

As you will have gathered, I might not be able to make an appearance very often at the moment, so please excuse me if I have been unable to read, like or comment on your blog. I have only had the time to sort through the most important emails and phone calls, and it’s likely to be that way for some time. Thank you for your understanding, my friends 😦

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

DELIBERATELY SLEEP DEPRIVED?

I’m absolutely shattered again today and it’s entirely my own fault (I think, anyway). I went to bed far too late, had four hours sleep (not enough for me) and had to be up at 5.30am as my carers come at 6.30am latest.

I don’t know why i don’t allow myself to go to bed at a reasonable time, when i am sleepy or exhausted. I just don’t! Sometimes i think i don’t deserve the comfort of my lovely, cosy bed, snuggly duvet and even snugglier bear! So then, i carry on writing my book, reading, blogging, chatting on Facebook etc., anything to avoid going to bed! Stupid? Maybe.Others disagree and suggest ideas, sympathize etc where some just simply berate me, telling me quite firmly that it is my own fault. Is it? Given what i have had to go through in my life as blogged about in many earlier posts, some people have suggested it’s just another form of self-harm which is pretty feasible given that i have only recently (almost) stopped cutting and i am still borderline anorexic. I really think there might be something in that but how do i stop? I know i am disabled and can do very little physical activity, but i spend my days walking around (well, sitting in my case) like a zombie.

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If i get carried away with writing my book or my blog, which i often do, i can easily be up past two o’clock in the morning and sometimes decide that it’s not worth going to bed at all when it’s that late as i’d have to be up two to three hours later. Why is it i seem to have lots of ideas pop up into my head just as the time when everyone else has gone to bed? I’m nearly always at my keyboard from early in the morning till very late at night. I know this isn’t good for me either. I’ve been told many a time, i should take a break from peering at the screen, quite frequently and that having my laptop on my lap (which was the main purpose of buying it) isn’t good either as electrical equipment like laptops give off vibes that can affect the body physically. It can affect both men and women’s fertility, for example; it can affect eyesight and the brain with continued use. It’s not good for my posture either as i am bent over the keyboard rather than sitting up with my back straight. I already have osteoporosis in my spine and hips so i’m not helping myself much there either.

Just occasionally, (well, if i’m honest it’s most nights), i’ll nod off, sitting in my chair, for a short while or even wake to find myself literally slumped onto the keyboard resulting in a very stiff neck and usually about a million or so ‘a’s or ‘z’s typed out on to the page which then all have to be deleted, or it’s sometimes easier to scrap the whole article, post etc and start again from scratch! Great! 

And as i’ve said before, often i wake up to find the letters ‘QWERTY’ embossed into my forehead and across my nose! Not exactly a fashionable look! I have got to do something about this ridiculous situation!

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(photo credit ‘Shutterstock’ from Bing Images)