In Their Own Words

Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

Penny’s Journey

Important post… but my warning is that is real, honest and being written to spread awareness and hope for a better future.

Most of you know, I struggle with an eating disorder, and I have been hospitalized twice at the Foothills Hospital..in good old unit 32..where there are 6 beds for ED patients in Calgary.

Yesterday morning, I had an appointment at the ED clinic with my doctor (it was a three month wait)..and I was told my weight had dropped..and how was I doing?

I broke down, and explained I didn’t know if my weight was low, because I feel fat and ugly.

My suicidal thoughts have been increasing, and I’m concerned about my well being. 

Okay..take a breath.

My doctor was fantastic, and immediately wanted to transport me to Foothill’s..where all of my file is located, and she wrote a very specific letter as to why I was at emergency. My doctor was sure I would be admitted for observation, and safety reasons.

Instead I contacted Steve, who is aware of my situation, and he met me at home..we went together.

Our arrival at Foothill’s Hospital was 11:15am, and the admitting nurse assured me I had come to a safe place…and was I thinking of harming myself there..I said no.

We sat in the waiting room for two hours.

We were then moved to another waiting area with no seats for patients, so Steve and I stood…for another two hours.

Please note, there was no bloodwork or examination done on me during this time.

At four hours, I went to a bed and chatted with the Resident in call..she was very compassionate and kind…and for the third time that day.. I told my story of suicidal thoughts and eating disorder concerns.

She assured us the psychiatric department had my file, and someone would be there to see me.

Three hours later, sitting in this area, having lost my comfy bed..a psychiatrist came to assess me..once again, I explained my mental and physical state..as both Steve and I cried at the entire scenario.

To my surprise….during this assessment, I was basically told that I was a moderate case..I don’t cut myself, I don’t have a plan..I haven’t attempted suicide..so I can most likely go home.. BUT..the resident doctor on duty would come see me after she talked to the team..omg?

Two hours later the the resident came to see me, and basically said.. he just received my file 30 minutes ago, and if I was not at risk going home..I should.. they would fund outpatient care but it would be about two weeks if I qualify?

The other option was to admit myself…I could sleep in emergency for the night (no bed), in the morning if a bed was available, I might get it..but I had to wait for someone to assess me again..and then, if I met the requirements, they would transfer me to another facility to be assessed?

Wow..ten hours, no medical examination..no- one checked on me..and we walked out with a brochure for a program at least two weeks out.

Wow…

I will tell you, I have never repeated myself so many times, cried as many tears.. and had Steve sitting beside doing the same thing..to be given a piece of paper.

I feel blessed that I had Steve and family to go home to, when the hospital dismissed me.

I felt not important, not enough of a tragedy and simply overlooked.

If I was alone, and walked out those doors, I would not be writing these words.

I have cried so much today, because I don’t know where to turn…eating disorders are dismissed and apparently suicidal thoughts only matter if you have attempted it..or completed it.

When we look badly at homeless people..have some compassion..not everyone has a place to go when you are turned away, and the options are slim.

I got up today, showered, got dressed and got my shit done.

My family is my priority, and I will fake it until I make it.

But, when I got home, and was done..I cried  another million years and wonder why I am here. 

Something has failed me, and I don’t feel sorry for myself… I am not the only one.

Substance abuse, chronic pain, eating disorders, depression..it all falls under the umbrella of mental illness.

I’m here now, but the fact that my

Story didn’t matter..will always be with me.. 

It just wasn’t enough.

Friends…I’m struggling..and I’m not giving up..although it seems like a fantastic time?

Steve and I are reaching out to all of our resources, and I hope someone will listen..someone will care and help me.

I would not hesitate to go back to the hospital if I need a safe place…because in my heart..they are trying..and I am here.

Discouraged and fucking beaten down. Puffy red eyes, and no food in this aching body and mind.

I know…The Only Way Out is Through..but it hurts…and I’m so sad for all the people that struggle with issues and can’t get help..I am thinking about you🖤🖤🖤

In Their Own Words

Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

Penny’s Blog – live in my mind right now

I want to eat and have a glass of wine. I deserve it.

What am I really doing?

Catching up on all my mistakes from the past week, and adding new obligations to my calendar.

I have done nothing important and no-one recognizes that I’m barely hanging on?

A terrible hair cut crushed me..not out of vanity…simply because it depletes my hard work.

I’m struggling, for the first time in a long time, to find my meaning here.

Damn..eating kills me, the pressure and comments from people are disheartening.

I hope I find a purpose…

The Only Way Out is Through 🖤

In Their Own Words

Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

Penny’s Understanding

It’s not about  me tonight, and it will be short and sweet.

I had an acquaintance be very open and honest about some personal issues that she is going through… her mom is having a second hip surgery tomorrow, her dad is going for serious tests on Friday, her friend Is suicidal, her friend is in he hospital for mental illness issues and she, herself, is married, two kids, lonely and depressed…and she talked about it, openly and being vulnerability to anyone that was listening.

She kept apologizing for being open and honest.

What is wrong with our society..can we not hurt and can we not be afraid?

I applauded her.

Now, I am familiar with mental illness on a lot of levels, and so I hugged her..whispered quietly…I understood, really ..get in touch anytime .

That’s all I can do.

I can’t change anything but I understand without judgement.

This person utilizes every crisis line available, and I now worry about her well being.

I reached out to her privately but I don’t know if I can make a difference, but I’ll try every time.

The Only Way Out is Through

In Their Own Words

Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

Penny – Facing the Truth

Facing the truth….

I have kept this quote for weeks, because I want it to be wrong.

I want it to be a quote that I immediately delete, and yet it sits here.

I am finding the days harder, and the nights unbearable.

The peace in my heart that was so dominant, has turned to turmoil.

Although I am not isolating myself in public, I am isolating in my heart and soul.

I feel inadequate, and ugly. Every time I step forward, something pulls me back, and I want to scream.

I was home today..not feeling great physically, and I found the hot tears flowing..when they are hot, that means they are built up.

I shed tears for me, you, your family and the extended family.

I cried at every animal post and I sympathized with every sappy quote I read.

I am slipping back to darkness, and I see it, I feel it happening.

Losing weight, feeling bones, feeling tired, frustrated and discouraged.

I know the signs.

I  so disappointed with myself, but encouraged to get through this.

Food is medicine. Wine is not dinner. Being healthy is good. Empowering. Keep people that hurt you blocked and deleted. Be thankful.

I know.

More warm tears tonight, I know I have the tools, and I need to get back to me.

If I don’t…I won’t be here and that’s not an option.

Mental illness is a slippery slope, but I want to win.

The Only Way Out is Through 🖤🖤🖤

In Their Own Words

Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

Penny – Getting back to life…

Getting back to life….

Friends…it feels like it has been forever since I had the time to sit down and write.

It feels so amazing to be tucked in my corner in the couch, with my furry blankets and write this post🖤

I need to go back a couple of weeks…I had a really tough doctors appointment and it brought up a lot of emotion.

I found out, after being weighed, by choice, that my had dropped a ridiculous amount, and I was only pounds away from the weight I was when I went into hospital.

I was devastated, and had no idea this was happening. I have made so many changes…yet, there I was feeling that my fight had been for nothing.

I cried for three hours when I got home.

I was devastated and embarrassed.

What did I do?? I got myself together…that’s what I did!

I put a new plan in place and promised myself to eat more..which is difficult, because I was eating.

There is nothing like getting an unexpected slap in the face, and having to deal with it immediately! My doctor had no suggestions for me, and basically shrugged her shoulders at me…this is the after care for eating disorders. How fucking frustrating!

This is a perfect example of why recovery is so difficult, and makes you feel very alone.

That same week, I was offered a part time job, and was absolutely thrilled!

Two weeks into it…I love the girls I work with, and it’s interesting being in a ‘normal’ environment, where no-one knows my history. I’m just Penny, and no-one cares beyond that.

My job is physically demanding, and it is non stop movement every shift.

I like that, but am also finding it a bit of struggle.

I get so hungry, so I eat, but feel guilty after the fact.

I have gone from absolutely no extra physical activity, to lifting 70 lb mirrors, and moving things all day.

I haven’t focused on my body for a long time, and I’m feeling that pressure again.

I also feel ugly and dirty at the end of the day. But accomplished.

Some days I come home in tears, and I don’t even know why?

I am good at what I’m doing, and  proud of my work.

But when that voice creeps in, telling me I am weak for eating, and I have indulged…it’s hard.

I am going to continue to transition back into the world, but I would never guessed the struggle.

Feelings come up that I thought were gone, and I have to fight so much harder.

A dear friend of mine took on s new job recently, and she found it too overwhelming. She recognized her health was suffering, and we spoke for hours about what her priorities really are..she left that job, and is continuing in the nursing area..where her ‘family’ is…I have so much respect for her.

I don’t know how I feel today…I’m excited to be out in the world, but face a battle within myself.

The Only Way Out is Through…..

🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

In Their Own Words

Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

Hannah – Worth

Worth by Hannah

In Their Own Words

Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

Beautiful Messes…

I stumbled across this quote today, and it actually made me stop scrolling and re-read the words.

My journey has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride, which makes it both exciting, and terrifying at the same time.

There are times that I feel like a warrior, I can take on the world, and I can stand tall, solid… never waiter..never break!

And then there are times, I am so fragile, that the slightest touch, breeze.. or glance might knock me down and I am defeated.

Recovery isn’t pretty, and the days that are tough, are unexplainable.

The days that are amazing, may not always be recognized and spoken about.

I appreciate those who don’t judge how my days will never be the same, and my mood will be dictated by what is helping me survive at that moment.

My beauty will vary on my secure, confident days, and the days that the scars cannot be concealed.

The days that no amount of make-up or glue can hide where I have broken, and I show my true self.

The task of becoming whole again is one that may take a lifetime, and I don’t know if it ever ends.

If you know someone that is trying to make themselves whole again… that has been broken… have been hurting…remember one thing:

Be Kind. Stop judging.

We are all beautiful messes.

In Their Own Words

Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

All you Need is Within You…

I closed my business in December 2017.

Although it broke my heart in many ways, I knew my health was more important, and I decided to reach out for help.

I sat on the waitlist for five frustrating months, wondering why I chose this path, and what would be waiting for me?

I have now completed 8 weeks in hospital and 8 weeks of Intensive Outpatient. ( That’s what was waiting… lol)

My last day of outpatient was only a week ago, and I found myself feeling a bit lost and alone.

I was done! I did it! I completed all the tasks that were asked of me, never missed a day or a meeting!

Recovery win, right?

But… there was no big celebration waiting for me, there was not an abundance of congratulation messages coming in, there was no pat on the back and there was simply no validation in what I had accomplished?

I was left pondering, what next in my recovery, and who really gives a shit?

This reminded me of last year when I was training for my 21K marathon, and I would get up at crazy times to push myself to the next level in my training.

I spent hours focused on this, I did everything I needed to do, and I was prepared the day of the marathon.

I completed the marathon in the time I had predicted and I crossed the finish line!

Fantastic right?

But there was no celebration waiting for me, no pat on the back, and there was no validation that I had completed this outrageous task!

I felt physically and mentally terrible for weeks. What now, and who really gives a shit?

Here’s the lesson my friends- in life, we constantly set goals in order to accomplish a task, challenge ourselves and hope ‘people’ will be proud of us.

What I realized, is that the only person I need to answer to… is me, and the only validation I need, is my own.

We spend so much time waiting for other people to tell us that we did a good job, are important, proud of you, succeeded, are strong, inspiring, motivating…etc. and if we don’t get that, we start to doubt ourselves.

Recognizing this, as a problem of mine… I asked myself how I was feeling about my commitment to recovery?

I decided that I did a fantastic job starting my recovery and that I was all in, with my heart and soul.

Would I allow myself to skip backward because people weren’t jumping for joy around me??

Hell no!

It’s my journey, and it’s my responsibility to make choices that benefit myself.

It would be easy to give up and stop fighting, It’s so exhausting and time-consuming.

However, I am in charge of my life, and I need to be my biggest fan!

I can accomplish anything I set my mind to, and I will do it for me.

I no longer feel that anyone needs to pat me on the back everytime I meet a goal or challenge in my life. It’s simply not their job.

My relationship are very special to me, and I will never put that burden on people.

I’m choosing to move forward in my recovery for me.

The Only Way Out is Through…

In Their Own Words

Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

Appreciate those that don’t give up on you…

Appreciate those that don’t give up on you…

I have been very lucky in my life, to have friends and family that have never given up on me. Through all my good days, bad days, ups and downs… I have never been unloved or rejected.

Recovery from any kind of mental illness is a challenge that you live with every single day, and some days are a bigger struggle than others.

What some people don’t understand is that mental illness is just that… it’s not about food, drugs, alcohol, compulsive shopping or self-harm.

It really is all about emotions.

It has taken me 25 years to finally understand that my eating disorder isn’t about food at all… crazy right? When I drink too much wine, it’s not about the wine… crazy, I know.

It’s because something is hurting me so much inside and I don’t want to feel the emotions.

I want to numb the pain until I can no longer feel it, and then I want to hide away, to be alone.

I have learned a lot of wonderful coping skills and I am learning to feel my emotions… to make myself feel them… and recognize why I am hurting.

But I’m not perfect.

Some days as life keeps piling shit on me, it can get very overwhelming and I forget to cope.

So, I thank the people who check in on me, call me out when I am hurting and let me speak.

Thank you for having faith in me, and for just loving me.

On the days my soul is hurting, and I don’t know if I can go on… I stop. I breathe. I find wise mind. I am learning to cope.

If you know someone struggling with a mental illness, please choose to be kind, and listen when they are hurting.

It is not their choice to have a mental illness, and they are doing their best under the circumstances.

In Their Own Words

Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

Penny -The ‘Change My Life’ Challenge

I know that a lot of us struggle with self-esteem, body image and just loving ourselves in general.

When I was halfway through my hospital stay, I was asked to do a very interesting challenge, and at the time, it scared the hell out of me…. so I did it anyway.

The challenge was to go home on my weekend pass, and go through ALL of my clothing, and get rid of all that no longer fit me.

I (due to my circumstances) had to label them my ‘sick’ clothing, and if I ever fit into them again… I knew I was sick again.

This played with my mind, my body and my soul, and it made me have to think about my illness. Did I really still want it in my life, or could I finally let go, and surrender.

I went up to my room alone and slowly started going through my drawers, my closet… everything that I owned.

NOthing fit me anymore. Not one damn thing.

I cried, and then I sobbed. Not for long, but it hit me how much clothing and size defined me.

I loaded up my bed and bagged up every single item that I was going to donate.

When I looked in my closet… 25 years of my eating disorder was gone, and it terrified me.

I took a picture of all the clothing that supported my illness and keep it as a reminder of what I used to be.

I wanted to keep some items ‘just in case’ I could use them again, but I knew that meant I was slipping back into old habits.

Money was tight, as I wasn’t working, and am still fighting to find a job now.. stress, however, I went and bought a few things to get me started.

I kept it simple and comfortable… not really my style, however… I decided to challenge myself and my perception of who I wanted to be.

Days passed, and I felt very empowered.

I took the challenge that scared me, was life-changing, and made me feel emotions.

You know what? It didn’t kill me. I’m still here, breathing and wearing comfy clothes…lol.

For any person that struggles with body image, weight issues or make your clothing a priority to fit you forever…

I challenge you to do this and see how much weight is lifted off your shoulders when you no longer have to fit a ‘size’ or ‘size specific’ clothing.

I promise you a life change and a feeling of self-accomplishment that you have never felt before.

Life is a challenge, but please don’t let these things define you… nobody else does.

The Only Way Out is Through…