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I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 137

It was actually my girlfriend who encouraged me to tell my mum. She knew that this whole thing was becoming too big for us, and that we needed extra support. My mum didn’t really know what to say, but she wanted to help if she could. She’s remained a source of support for me ever since, and has even come with me on some doctor’s appointments. I feel very lucky. 

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I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 128

This was actually a huge moment for me. I don’t think I’d ever owned up to it before. But in the face of this simple ignorance, I felt the need to speak up and perhaps offer some understanding. 

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I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 120

This was a rather sudden development that happened with my mood stabiliser. I was crippled with myalgia, to the point where I couldn’t be touched. Needless to say I didn’t stay on it very long. 

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I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 104

I was so terrified to show this woman my comics - I only took a couple of pages along with me, but somehow I thought my drawings could explain more than I could in words. I am so grateful that comics are available to me as a tool, because I think I’d be lost without them. 

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I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 97

This is something I really struggle with. I think part of the battle of having an ED is searching for a sense of control over your own body, and having so many doctors guide me left me feeling like my body wasn’t really my choice any more. In reality, my body and my approach to mental health has always been my choice, and I chose to continue seeing my medical team in order to aid my recovery. It’s just hard to let go and accept that maybe someone else’s opinion on my body could be valuable. 

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ED messaging research

If you suffer, have have suffered from an ED, please consider completing this 8-question survey about the ways and motivation behind why we seek help and support. This research will help improve messaging targeting ED sufferers in the hopes that more people will be able to access the help they need. You can spend as much or as little time on it as you wish. 

Survey is here:

https://osucomms.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_2c5GMeJMCw144qV

Research like this is so important folks. There are people desperate to help us every day, if we’ll only let them. 

Resource directory for EDs, self harm, depression and suicide

The following is a (by no means exhaustive) quick reference quick to resources and help I’ve mentioned at various times on this blog and in IDNHAED. For future reference, this directory can be found on my front page (below the IDNHAED comic directory). Please feel free to submit any other resources you come across via my Askbox. 

Stay well and look after yourself <3

All my love, 

Khale xox

IMAlive - online chat for people contemplating suicide who aren’t up to talking on the phone - Please note, I’m currently investigating this service, as I have received word that they may be affiliated with extreme religious groups. If you have any information on this, please contact me. 

Crisischat.org - online chat for people contemplating suicide who aren’t up to talking on the phone

Suicide support phone lines in various countries

Alternative strategies to avoid self harm

More coping strategies for self harm

A printable list of copies strategies for self harm

Coping strategies when triggered to binge or starve

Eating disorder recovery tips

Useful reading list for ED sufferers (not extensive)

Confronting someone you love about their ED

Supporting someone with an ED

Helping someone with an eating disorder - online brochures

The Thoughts Room - a tool for discharging pent up emotional energy through text

I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 79

I would definitely recommend living with others when dealing with depression or EDs. You spend waaaaay too much time in your own head when you live alone. 

During these times I also really, really wished I had a dog. I love my cats to death, but dogs are pretty much always happy, you know?

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Fanmail responses (names omitted)

I understand that fanmail allows more characters than asks, making it easier to share personal experiences that don’t easily fit into a few sentences. As I can’t directly respond to fanmail, I will continue to post them anonymously to give senders the best access to a response. 

"I have a problem. I have an eating disorder, but instead of bingeing and purging, I binge and then starve. I tried some techniques to work through it but it seems most of the self help books are either for binge eaters, or anorexics, and advice for one part of my issue does’t help when I’m having the opposite issue. Anyway I don’t really know if I am looking for advice from you, but I wanted to say thanks for you comic, it makes me feel less alone in my food struggles and depression. I hope we both get to good places eventually if not soon.

if you want to put this up could you keep me anonymous please. 

thanks for everything”

I’ve indulged in similar patterns in the past. One thing I’ve learned is that while there are common trends, there’s no ‘normal’ when it comes to disordered eating. I know that can make it difficult to find the right support resources, but please know that everything you’re going through is valid. 

One thing I’ve found helpful lately for getting nutrients into the body is drinking through a thin straw. My GP has me on Sustagen (nutritional supplement powder mixed with milk) which I really struggle to get down. Having it ice cold through a thin straw is helping because not only is there very little entering my mouth at once, but the extreme cold helps numb the taste so I can just get it down. This may work with smoothies or eggflips too, if that’s your thing. 

When it comes to bingeing, I find that a distracting activity that keeps my fingers busy can really help. Fiddly jigsaw puzzles are great for this if you can get your hands on them. Otherwise video games, playing an instrument or even popping bubble wrap has been known to help. It’s different for everyone, but distraction can go a long way. 

I’m sorry that you’re struggling so much right now, but please know that you are never alone. Scores of others before us have fought this battle and won. We will join their ranks one day soon. 

"I feel like I am “choosing” depression, too. I feel so horrible and guilty, and it makes me doubt if I am even sick, cuz it’s not like someone “chooses” any other kind of illness. I hope you’re doing a lot better than I am right now. Reading your comic makes me feel less alone and weird. I hope you are getting better."

Thank you so much for your encouragement and concern. It really makes a difference. I hope today is better for you than yesterday was. 

We don’t choose depression, but because our ailments are invisible, it’s tempting to think (or for others to imply) that we can just stop being unwell. The addition of that guilt and shame can be a trigger for even further upsets. But as my partner constantly reminds me, we didn’t choose this. It’s a part of our lives, and something we can work on, but we didn’t do anything to deserve this sadness. Who would choose to be miserable? At the end of the day, all we can choose is to keep fighting and moving forward. There are so many good days waiting for us on the other side of this. You deserve to reach those good days. Stay strong. 

"Hey, I just wanted to thank you for some of the advice you posted on your blog recently. I’ve always had a bad habit of scratching and pinching my hands when I get really nervous or upset. Pretty tame as far as self-harm goes and it’s never really bothered me that I do it since I never had any intention of going farther than that.

But last night I was just in a really bad place, and I was scratching harder than I ever had before, until my hands were aching and I thought I might draw blood. I remembered what you’d written about holding an ice cube as a way to avoid self-harm or panic, so I ran to the kitchen and grabbed one pretty hard in each hand. It hurt like HELL all the way down to the elbow and after a minute or two of shivering, all that energy had drained out of me and the urge to scratch was gone. I did end up with some red patches and tiny friction blisters from the scratching, but the ice diverted me enough that I didn’t do any worse than that.

I really just wanted to thank you.”

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m glad you were able to find a way to cope get through that moment that was kinder to your body. Sometimes our emotional stress just needs an outlet, and that’s OK. The fact that you are willing to offer yourself that kindness when you need it is amazing. You are wonderful, and you deserve to be treated as such.

For others struggling with self-harm, here is the list of strategies in question:

http://misspixnmix.tumblr.com/post/18184500723/trigger-warning-self-harm-i-do-not-have-an

I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 77

I still find it so, so hard to figure out where my motivation comes from sometimes. No one likes to be miserable, and at times my depression feels excruciating. But as my girlfriend once put forward in a very long and tearful discussion, ‘it’s almost as if you want to be sad’. Ordinarily, this sounds ridiculous. Why would anyone want to feel hopeless and unloved? But the nugget of truth in that suggestion is that this particular deep, lonely sadness is something that I’ve carried for over a decade. Even though it’s been a burden the entire time, at least it’s familiar. Coping, hopefulness, health and even happiness are wrapped up in a whole lot of newness and mystery, and sometimes I feel like that in itself is too much to bear. Depressive lows are, if nothing else, a place of predictability and familiarity for me. 

I hope that helps make sense of why the ED side of things magnifies this possible ‘wanting to be sad’ idea. Whilst being in those pits of despair feels unbearable and inescapable at the time, there is a quiet, nagging voice way at the back of my mind, reminding me so gently that if I make it through this one, I’ll come out the other side having lost even more weight. I should probably mention that I’ve never had a ‘goal’ weight, or an idea that I needed to weigh as little as possible. There was (is?) just this bizarre concept of needing ‘head starts’. There’d be this seemingly undeniable truth floating around my head that at some point in the not too distant future, I was doomed to put on a huge amount of weight and be fat and saggy and busty and unhappy forever. The more weight I lost now, the longer I could stave off that inevitable life of obesity. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but as always, that’s kind of the point. 

Right now, in this particular moment, all I have is an overwhelming desire to say 'Screw you, ED. That is seriously messed up. Get the cuss out before you kill someone'. 

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