What did the psychologist teach you?
Every individual is different. So for every individual it would be a different thing they need to focus on when they have that negative thought. And you start with very small steps. Like one of my, one of the things I started to do was, instead of thinking, to think that I'm not going to binge, that's too big a step. Because if you've got the thought where binge, you're going to binge, there's no way you can't if you've got an eating disorder until you, you've come through on the other side and can fight it and when you are strong enough. So one of the small steps that I took was that I'd binge on healthy food. I tried to binge on foods that weren't as sugary, because I'm a diabetic. So that would make me feel, it would make my sugars less high. Which would make me feel a tiny bit, a tiny bit better than had I have binged on all of the things that I used to do. So that was like a small step that I did. When I was further down the road…
I remember one time, a specific time, and was quite a long way through my treatment actually. And I remember having binged. And I was starting to do my injections again and I was on a roll and I was starting to feel a lot healthier. And I remember bingeing. And I'd done, I'd done my night-time, I'd done my background insulin the day before. I'd done all my insulin up to that point of the binge. And I remember thinking, 'Oh, my God, this is, I'm going to put so much weight on, because I've got my background insulin'. Because obviously what I used to do was not even do my background insulins, so I'd have no insulin on board at all. But I had all my insulin in my body and I ended up having quite a bad binge and I really wanted to inject myself. I drew the syringe up and I wanted to inject myself. And I was sitting on the bedroom floor crying for a long time, thinking, 'Just do it. Stick it in you. Go on'. But there was a, another voice in my head saying, 'Oh, God, you're going to put, you're going to put so much weight on if you do this jab. You're going to be really fat tomorrow'. And then the other voice was saying, '[You're going to be unwell tomorrow. Please do your injection'. And it was this internal battle going on in my head.
So one friend who I'd talked to quite closely about it, because I couldn't keep it from every single person. I had to have one person that I spoke to. So I confided in a very, very close friend. Which took a lot of years. But she knew what was going on with me and I'd talked to her about like the psychologist and things. And she said to me that, 'If you ever need to phone me up, please phone me up, please phone me up and I'll talk to you. If you get the urge to binge, please phone me up'. And this was one of the things in actual fact that the psychologist and I had discussed, whether there was anybody that I could do that with. That if I did have these urges, could I phone somebody up and speak to them and try and change my way of thinking about the binge?
So I phoned her up and I was on the phone to her for an hour, just crying. And she said, 'Please, do your injection. I want to stay on the phone while you do it'. And I did the injection. And it was, it was a real hurdle for me to do it. Obviously the rest of the week was a bit skew-whiff. You know, I ended up not eating very much for the rest of the week. But the good side of it was at least I did my injection for that binge. Which was a very big step, you know.
So it was, it was things like that that, that, you know, that really helped that we talked about, that I could maybe do in that situation. Which is what I did. And it was very hard. But you, you feel like you've come this far, you don't want to take a backward step. You've done so well, you don't want to, because if I hadn't have done the injection I know that I was going to feel terrible. I'd feel ill; I couldn't concentrate on my work the next day. And I just couldn't bear to feel like that again. Because I'd started to feel better, I couldn't bear to feel like that again. But I also couldn't bear the thought of being really fat. And it, it's, like I say it's this, this battle going on, and you just have to kind of weigh up the pros and cons in your head, you know. And which is initially what we did. We, it's weighing up the pros and cons of your actions and thinking about them, rather than just doing it sporadically, rather than just bingeing and forgetting about it and not doing your jab. It's thinking about whether you need to have the binge, why you want to have the binge, what spurred you into feeling that you have to have the binge, why are you starving yourself. I mean normally you have a binge; you starve yourself simply as to compensate and to be, to stay thin. So that was just some of the, the work that, you know, that we did together.
And how long you stayed with her?
I stayed with her for... about three years, about three and a half years.
But when I lost my sight, obviously a lot of the same emotions that I'd had when I was younger were, had come back again, on top, along with a lot more emotions, because I've, you know, I've lost my sight, I've gone blind. So I decided and I took it upon myself, people think you've gone blind because of how you treated your body. Surely you'd never do that again? Surely you could never go back to living like that again? And I couldn't. But I'm not to know that and I'm not to know whether it might suddenly creep up on me one day. Because an eating disorder is an illness and it overpowers everything. And it overpowers the fact that you are a diabetic. It overpowers the fact that you are blind because of it. And there's not a damn thing you can do about it, you know. So I took it upon myself to go back to him and talk about how I was feeling about going blind, about having gone blind. Because I didn't want, I didn't even want to take the risk of me falling back into that trap again, you know. I thought, 'Right, I've, it's, I've lost my sight because of this. I'm feeling crap. I've gone blind at the age of 23. But there's no way I want to be blind and going through what I did before. So I'm going to go back and see this person that I saw before and talk to him about this and nip it in the bud before it's even got started'. So that, you know, that's what I did.