Posts Tagged ‘Wales’

Poem by Ali Valenzuela

March 4, 2008
Ali wrote this poem about her experience of recovering from an eating disorder and kindly sent it to me for publication on this site. I would like to take this opportunity to commend Ali’s courage, determination and generosity. In her struggle to gain treatment for anorexia and despite being desperately ill, she has worked tirelessly to raise the profile of eating disorders in Wales.

I was lost and alone, didn’t know who to be,
and felt like an outcast, unaccepted for me.
When I needed a friend; a voice to console,
I heard a small whisper: “You’re not on your own.
I’ve seen you around and you’re needing a friend,
and i promise to be there right until the end.”
I jumped at the offer of close company,
but little did I realise quite how close it’d be.
I felt proud to decline food-it showed me my strength
To say bno to the things I would want at great length.
I felt so in control and my confidence soared,
what with all of the exercise, I was never bored.
People said “what willpower it takes to do this!”
but little did they know it came with a twist
I was hungry and needed to eat a good meal
But the voice would get louder and started to squeal:
“what the HELL are you doing, you fat, dirty BITCH?!
We’ve got you SO far, now you shovel down THIS?!
It doesn’t make sense to delay your progress!”
But by this point, I only began to obsess
about every morsel that passed my lips
Added shame and disgust to the top of my list.
Temptation’s no match for this beast that’s insidethat slowly consumed me- I had nowhere to hide.
It was eating me up, and rotting my soul-
If it were to continue, it’d swallow me whole.
My clothes wouldn’t fit and my body was frail,
but no matter my state I couldn’t possibly fail
The anorexic voice that drowned out the lot
of my terrified family, begging me to stop.
Who crept into my room in the dead of the night
To see if their daughter was still breathing alright.
People gasped at my bones that protruded my skin,
pointing with horror at ‘the girl that’s so thin!’
I was ashamed and afraid, so much internal pain,
I thought i would never become me again
It was the worst nightmare i could possibly know
as even when I woke up, it was there in full flow.
At a rock bottom where I could have easily died
Finally, hospital help had arrived!
It took all away control of anorexia’s ways
and slowly but surely I started to change
My passion for life started to get on track
I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back!
With recovery started, I learnt to control
The anorexic voice, and listen to my own.
But I still live in terror of the voice I followed,
Dragging me back to it’s world of sorrow
So I’m sharing my story of horror and pain
to prevent this from happening to anyone again
I can never repay those who supported me through
the hardest time of my life- all i say is Thankyou.

xxx
Ali Valenzuela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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letter from bulimia sufferer

February 28, 2008

 

This is an extract from a letter I received this morning, written by a woman suffering from bulimia. I wish to protect her identity so it is anonymous… She describes so clearly how it is to suffer from bulimia – an illness often side-lined or ignored as “taboo” in comparison to anorexia nervosa…

 

 

 

Thankyou for your message Wenna.

I can understand how you must feel about body image. Only with love of ones self, can you really see how beautiful you are.

Anorexia is a hell.

I recently viewed an episode on an intervention talk show that is aired in America, called ‘Dr. Phil’. One of the episodes featured an anorexic girl who had severe problems with binging and purging. You cold obviously tell that her extreme low weight made avoiding binging and purging, extremely difficult. Her body was at a point where the need to eat over-rid her, but she always compensated her binges with purging. Up to 150 times a day.

She is an absolute shock to look at. Extremely emaciated.

I think one of the reasons I developed this binging and purging obsession once I reached a certain low weight is similar to the girl’s reasons. I have tried so hard to spend my day not giving into it.

But I just cant.

The girl also stated that her binges have left her with no food and money and she has regularly shoplifted to fuel her compulsion. I feel very ashamed to admit this, but that is where I am.

I cannot stop this. I promise I have tried so hard. But I cannot escape.

I live alone without any family and friends. My dislike for my body and my huge problem with body dysmorphia makes socialising far too difficult. I live alone in a flat. My day is spent going out food shopping and shoplifting, and binging and purging in the evening. I have never eaten a meal normally for literally years. I cannot eat at all and keep food within me.

 

EDAW UK events…

February 22, 2008

Three days…

EDAW’08 will take place between Monday 25th February to Sunday 2nd March

See below to find events in your area. If you know of additional events occurring throughout the week, please let us know.

 

Events in Wales

Cardiff

Wednesday 27th February at 5:30 pm, WAG building.

A range of speakers and the launch of the cross party for eating disorders aims and objectives…

If you are a service provider please also complete our data base form on-line at www.grahammenziesfoundation.com (under the resources link).

 

Events in Scotland

Presentation evening at Royal Edinburgh Hospital

Medical students will be presenting their research at the Young People’s Unit at Royal Edinburgh Hospital on Thursday 28th February from 6-8pm.

Patients, parents and interested professionals are welcome to attend.

For more information please e-mail jane.morris@lpct.scot.nhs.uk

 

 

The Priory Hospital Drop-in days:

Free Information, support and advice is available for those affected directly or indirectly by eating disorders. Sessions starting at 10am, 2pm and 5pm will cover the following topics:

  • Families Beating Eating Disorders
  • Understanding Eating Disorders

To book your place at Glasgow on the 28th February or for more information contact Deborah Martin on 01416 366166 or deborahmartin@prioryhealthcare.com

 

Events in England

 

The Priory Hospital Drop-in days:

Free Information, support and advice is available for those affected directly or indirectly by eating disorders. Sessions starting at 10am, 2pm and 5pm will cover the following topics:

  • Families Beating Eating Disorders
  • Understanding Eating Disorders

Spend time with our Consultant Psychiatrist and trained Eating Disorder Professionals as well as taking away self-help literature.

To book your place at Highbank on the 25th February or for more details contact Jennifer Yates on 01706 829540 / 07717 507079 or jenniferyates@prioryhealthcare.com

To book your place at Altrincham on the 26th February or for more information contact Sarah Carroll on 0161 904 0050 or altrincham@prioryhealthcare.com

To book your place at Preston on the 26th February or for more information contact Ruth Brooks on 01772 691122 or ruthbrooks@prioryhealthcare.com

 

 

EFT – Free Workshop

Wednesday 27th February, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

EFT – Emotional Freedom Therapy is a simple tapping technique that can help to dramatically reduce the anxieties and behaviours of many eating disorders.

This 2 hour introductory workshop, will demonstrate how you can apply EFT to manage your:

  • Emotions
  • Cravings
  • Behaviours with food & self

Venue: Healthy Living Centre; Thornton Heath; CR7 8LF

To book your ticket, e-mail: info@awakeningdawn.com

or call Vathani on 0845 639 8248

 

Newcastle Public board

Thursday 28th February

Between John Lewis and Charles Clinkard, Newcastle. 9am – 8pm

It is going to be a big magnetic board in centre of town where we are going to have lots of magnetic coloured letters and we are going to be asking the public to either write the first thing( or poem, riddle anything) which comes in their head when eating disorders are mentioned.

 

 

UK wide

Free Teleseminar:

Tuesday 26th February, 6pm

Awakening Dawn – Eating Disorder Counselling and Training Services, is offering a free teleseminar. This one-hour call will cover your most frequently asked questions on all aspects of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, obesity and compulsive eating.

Call spaces are limited to 150 people so please register now, and post your own question before the 22nd February. To book your place visit www.awakeningdawn.com/html/ask.html

Eating Disorders Awareness Week Wales – Free Event

February 17, 2008

Eating Disorders

Awareness Week 2008


GMF & the Cross Party Committee on

Eating Disorders

Invites you to an event to mark

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2008

Venue: The Neuadd, National Assembly for Wales

Wednesday, 27th February 2008, 17:30pm

Please e-mail Rowenna Menzies at:

thegrahammenziesfoundation@hotmail.com

 

or contact Bethan Jenkins AM for more details.

**********************************

Wythnos Ymwybyddiaeth

Anhwylderau Bwyta 2008

 

Mae Bethan Jenkins AC

Yn eich gwahodd i ddigwyddiad i nodi

Wythnos Ymwybyddiaeth Anhwylderau Bwyta

2008

Lleoliad: Y Neuadd, Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Amser: 17:30

Dyddiad: Dydd Mercher, 27ain o Chwefror 2008

Manylion i ddilyn

addiction?

February 13, 2008

 

 

 

 

Are eating disorders an

 

 

 

 

 

 

addiction?

 

 

 

Can compulsive eating be compared to an addiction like compulsive gambling?

 

Is the chemical hit produced by periods of starvation similar to that of heroin?

 

Are eating disorders an addiction?

 

 

…This is surely one of the most controversial and emotionally laden subjects in the mental health field. In this article I will explore ways in which an eating disorder is (and isn’t) like an addiction…

 

 

 

 

I personally do not subscribe to the idea that anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are addictions. This is because eating does not create the biological dependencies which are implicit in addiction to drugs such as nicotine or crack cocaine.

For example, chemical changes occur within the body of an alcoholic so that they physically need alcohol to function in a “normal” way.

 

 

When I suffered from anorexia I was emotionally and mentally dependent on starving. There were a million reasons why I felt “unable” to eat, and physically I was unable to digest very much food because my stomach had shrunk. But I did not physically need to starve so that I could function. My need not to eat was primarily mental rather than physical.

 

 

 

 

“Addictive personality”…?

 

Up to date research suggests that only 5% of drug or alcohol users become chemically addicted and that particular personality “types” are most likely to become dependent, regardless of the chemicals used.

 

 

Certain childhood behaviours may predict adult addictive tendencies… there are “early warning” signs. You only have to sit in an AA or NA meeting to hear people in recovery describe how they knew they were an “addict” long before they ever picked up their first drink or experimented with their first drug.

 

 

Common features include childhood feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and isolation. Children who are very shy or very loud. Unhappy children who use ritualistic behaviours to soothe their internal pain. Repetitive tapping or stepping, talking to one’s self, making up secret “rules” to manage anger or anxiety.

 

 

When I was a child I said individual prayers on behalf of everybody, everybody I knew, every night. I even said a prayer from the people I didn’t know. I said one from the people I would meet one day and another from those I would never meet. I said extra prayers in case I forgot anybody… it took hours. I wasn’t a religious child, but I would wake up guilty and terrified if I forgot anybody.

 

I never stepped on cracks, I only sat on the floor at home, I touched things the same number of times with my right hand and then my left. I walked the long way to school to avoid passing the Golden Labrador pup. All the children loved to pet him ~ but I couldn’t bare to leave him. I couldn’t go until I saw another kid in the distance and knew he wouldn’t be alone.

 

I failed miserably to communicate with children my own age and preferred to play by myself. I wasn’t bullied, but I had no friends. I could go on and on… mostly small, quiet things which nobody ever noticed; but my childhood was a series of carefully balanced rituals planned to avoid or justify feelings of guilt. Such disassociative actions could be perceived as the early emergence of addictive behaviour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addictions and Eating Disorders

 

 

 

Shared Characteristics

 

 

Eating disorders certainly share many characteristics, symptoms and behaviour trends with addictions. It is common to hear people describe themselves as being “addicted” to chocolate or salty foods. They also feel deprived when they can not eat these foods and crave them.

 

 

People with eating disorders (for example anorexia) may achieve both an emotional and physiological “high” when starving. A bulimic might experience stress release of tension relief when purging. Compulsive eating can provide both a rush of energy with sugar, than drowsiness when satiated. At the beginning, there is always a “reward”.

 

 

 

Some shared

 

 

 

characteristics:

 

 

Secrecy

 

 

Deception and lies (e.g. pretending to have eaten)

 

 

Ritual (Rules and specific patterns of eating, a particular routine for vomiting, etc)

 

 

Pre-occupation (constantly thinking about food)

 

Use of a behaviour or drug to “cope”

 

 

Prioritising compulsive behaviour or addiction above all else

 

 

(e.g. above relationships, finance, physical and emotional health) etc

 

 

Illegal behaviour to support behabiour (such as shoplifting)

 

 

Social withdrawal and depression

 

 

Gradual reduction in the “positive” effects of their disorder or addiction and an increase in drug or behaviour use to compensate.

 

 

Ultimately, eating disorders can become the centre of a person’s life in the same way as any chemical addiction and sufferers are likely to feel emotionally unable to cease damaging behaviours.

 

 

The relationship between eating

 

 

 

 

 

 

disorders and chemical addiction

 

 

 

 

 

Statistically, there is no hard evidence to suggest that people with eating disorders are more likely to have alcoholics or chemical addicts as close family members. I personally find this surprising to the point of disbelief.

 

 

The majority of sufferers I know have some family experience of addiction.

There is evidence to suggest that somebody with a close family member who has an eating disorder is four or five times more likely to develop one themselves. But this could be learned behaviour. We already know that amongst young girls who are not genetically related, a single sufferer can significantly increase the risk of eating disorders in her peers.

 

 

Finally, there is much written about the prevalence of cross addiction or co-morbidity. It is indisputable that a huge amount of people with eating disorders also suffer from a chemical addication or self-injury (self-harm). There is so much to say on this subject… I guess that’s another blog.

 

 

Addiction or not – an addiction model can be a helpful form of treatment. OA (which adopts the AA 12-step recovery model) provides free self-help groups world wide. And whilst the abstinence model may be negated (a person with an eating disorder must learn to manage eating healthily if they wish to recover) the emphasis on peer identification, openness, acceptance and personal responsibility can be empowering and supportive.

 

 

Interested in this subject? You may find the short film below helpful………

 

 

 

Meeting With Elin Jones, Minister of Rural Affairs

February 8, 2008

 

This afternoon I met with Elin Jones at her Aberystwyth office.
She was soooo enthusiastic, supportive and helpful! We talked about plans for a residential unit and discussed possible caused for the development of anorexia and bulimia.

Elin is going to look into property options for us…and see if WAG can help, Yay!

Thanks Elin Jones!