King’s College London Eating Disorders Department are currently recruiting carers and supporters of adults (aged 16+) with anorexia, to take part in a research project.
‘We Can’ is an online intervention, consisting of 8 modules and a supportive forum, where carers can interact with one another if they choose to do so. All carers who are eligible to participate in the study will receive free access to the programme, which has previously been found to be effective in helping carers build skills to support their loved one with anorexia.
Inclusion criteria for the study are;
Caring for an individual (aged 16+) who is suffering from anorexia, or another eating disorder characterised by restrictive eating
Fluent in English
Not currently suffering from an eating disorder, or other severe mental health difficulty
Additionally, individuals with anorexia whose carer is participating will also have the opportunity to take part in the study, by completing a number of questionnaires at various timepoints. However, carers are still eligible to participate if their loved one chooses not to take part in the study.
To participate in this study, carers can create an account and check to confirm that they are eligible using the following link; icare-wecan.minddistrict.com
Alternatively, if you are potentially interested in participating in the We Can study, and would like to receive further information, please contact Lucy Spencer (KCL Researcher) at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is thought that Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa may be associated with specific patterns of thoughts, behaviours and brain activation. This project is recruiting adults (age 18-25 years) with Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa to complete online questionnaires and attend one study day, where they will answer some questions, provide a blood or saliva sample, complete computerised tasks and receive an MRI scan. All participants will be compensated with £100 for their time.
I found myself unexpectedly on the ITV This Morning show alongside a woman who weighs her 6 year old daughter every day. And she weighs herself every day. I was first horrified; my reaction was “This is Child Abuse!” and I had to speak to myself to make sure that I stayed professional and called upon evidence to show this very misguided lady – Nadia – that she might be doing her daughter harm. When I read up on this story beforehand, I discovered that no matter what people say to her, she is not going to change her mind. People do all sorts of things to try and care for their children. When she was asked to explain herself, she told the nation in a rush of words of a babble that she is a good mother and her children think that her behaviour is a bit of a joke. She thinks that she is trying to save her child from being bullied and she confessed that she needs to do this so that she will know if “I am going wrong”. She said that her own mother weighed herself every day and I realised then that this is a person who is battling her own weight and self worth and she has no idea that this kind of behaviour is obsessive, and possibly harmful and tells us a little about the chaos in her own internal world. Poor little girl! Poor misguided Nadia! Obesity and teasing can lead to eating disorders and low self worth it is true.. Weighing a child obsessively sets her up for future serious problems with body image problems when she is a teenager. Her worth is tied up to numbers. There are solutions for weight problems in children. This is not the solution. I desperately hope that Nadia gets some help for the problems with control of which she speaks. Source ITV Good Morning
All of us here at the office are inundated with Anorexia Blogs, posts and stories. We welcome your writing, and we know that writing about anorexia helps you if you are suffering.
This is an account of Anorexia written by Lizzie Porter. It is Eating Disorder Awareness time again and we wonder if what you are writing helps others, or helps them to reach out.
We get very sad reading all this ourselves. But it is OK if this helps us to treat anorexia or if this helps you to recover. Or if it adds to our awareness and understanding of the disease.
I do not think that any descriptions aid understanding because people with anorexia do not really understand themselves; they just describe in a lot of very colourful detail. A starving being is stripped of self awareness. It is up to us psychotherapists to know about the nature of the Voice and to know what else is hidden underneath this condition. It is the hidden material which is not in awareness.
I have talked today to a journalist about pro anorexia websites and what is bad and good about them. I explained about anorexia and what it means if you have it. It isn’t just a wish to be thin and you can’t treat it with threats and promises. It is like Aids of the soul.
If reading Lizzie’s article helps you, along with all the other books and stories, then we will keep on sharing your stories. Please, please, please, please, however send us more stories about what helped you to recover. Please use your suffering to help others recover, if you can. I recovered from anorexia many years ago and it is simply a shadow memory. I do not give it house room any more. The wish to be thin never goes away, but the Voice now bounces off a different life for which I am always grateful.
Deanne says, when I see a story like this I really feel sad. How horrible to be trapped inside this condition for such a long time, and how lonely this lady is. I would like to help her but she thinks she is beyond help. If any reader would like to reach out to Emma Jane please let me know at email@example.com
ANOREXIA – ‘an ill and morbid state of the spirits, like a skeleton only clad in skin’.
I remember thinking of anorexia as my ‘secret friend’.I even gave her a name.
“Marnie”.Anorexia is MOST DEFINITELY NOT a friend. Unless you think of a friend as being wholly destructive, deadly, lethal, fatal.
Looking back, I still have a very clear memory of the day I decided to just eat Ryvitas. I’m not entirely sure why I picked this particular day, whether there was any great significance in it, or if the little demon that had been quiet enough in my head, had suddenly decided to have a voice and spring into life. And like the friend that I thought it was, I stopped and listened, heeding the advice that it gave me.
I had always had a rather fractious relationship with food, having been bullied mercilessly throughout most of my school life for being ‘the fat girl’, the person that no one wanted to be friends with, like I was some sort of freak of nature, an eyesore, a figure of fun. AND THAT HURT, A LOT.
I suppose I comfort ate. My childhood was fraught with severe trauma and abuse. Those scars having manifested themselves deeply, resulting in complex mental health issues, and at the time I turned to food as a source of comfort, something to enjoy.
On the day that I decided to severely restrict my food intake, I naively thought that I just
didn’t like food anymore. It was no longer the source of joy and comfort that it once had
been. Now it represented the devil, something wholly unlikeable, repugnant and a luxury I should no longer partake in and enjoy.
At the time it caused my family great upset. They just thought it was a phase, that I was
being difficult, dramatic and attention seeking. They seemed to make no effort to understand AT ALL.
I loved watching my body change shape. Hip bones appeared, something that I had never experienced before, I had cheek bones and I felt like I was finally getting the body that I had craved as a school girl, only many years too late.
The trouble was once I started to control my eating, I found that I was unable to stop. The control took over my WHOLE LIFE. It was all consuming and it was all I ever thought about. Eventually I got to a stage where my body weight became so low that I was unable to work, to live everyday life. My first hospital admission beckoned.
I was absolutely devastated when this happened. I had to leave my beloved cat at home and I was so upset that I had failed him, just like my family had failed me. I HATED MYSELF.
My admission lasted approximately 4 months. I attended all of the therapy classes and learnt a lot about myself and anorexia. It was no fairy story, believe you and me.
The day I got discharged I was so happy. Happy to be alive and happy to be reunited with my gorgeous cat again.
And I recovered. I stayed well for many years. I think I was so frightened of relapsing that I put my head down, plugged away at my recovery and made really good progress.
And then many years later, things began to go wrong.
My stepfather died after years of battling with alcoholism. I was absolutely devastated. I felt like I was to blame, that I should haven’t done more to help him. But if someone won’t accept their issues and that they need help, then you are very limited as to what you can do.
I had already begun to struggle with my eating but my mental state began to rapidly
deteriorate. I literally felt like I was drowning every minute of the day. There was no let-up.
In what turned out to be my last day at work, I threatened to jump out of the window unless I was allowed to go home. I became totally and utterly hysterical. I knew for a while that my head wasn’t feeling well but I didn’t really understand the messages that it was giving me, or that I was seriously very unwell.
I felt like I was living in some weird, blurry haze. Nothing made sense to me anymore. I
became very impulsive and tried to kill myself on several occasions. Thankfully I didn’t
succeed. My Doctor was and still is absolutely amazing. I remember going to see him after my breakdown. He asked me what had happened. I said “I don’t know but I know I’m not very well”. A whole load of jumbled up words and sentences came flooding out of my mouth.
That was one of the very few occasions where I saw him panic about my state of mind.
As a form of control, my old ‘friend’ Marnie completely took over my head before I had even
realised it. I HAD TO CONTROL EVERYTHING. It was the only thing that I had left in my life.
Week after week, I lost weight. I just couldn’t stop myself, secretly elated when the scales dropped further each time that my Doctor weighed me. He kept asking me to stabilise my weight and I would smile and say that I would try, but had no intention of ever doing it at all.
And then the morning came where I was weighed and it had dropped to such a level that it was beyond dangerous now. I felt too tired and ill to care anymore. I just couldn’t carry on
‘living’ like this. Except I wasn’t even living, I was just existing and barely able to do that now.
So the next day I met my EDS Consultant and my Doctor at my house. They wanted to
admit me that day, that potentially I had just 2 days to live. I refused as I needed to sort out who would look after my little rescue cat and my horse. My whole world was coming crashing down around me. The 2 things I loved more than anything else, and yet again I had failed, BIG TIME. I have massive abandonment issues after my childhood, and here I was abandoning them. On what was deemed my 2nd day left to live, I was admitted to hospital. No level of understanding or support from my family whatsoever. I was so poorly that nobody expected me to survive the weekend, BUT I DID. T and Ro, my cat and horse, gave me the willpower to fight, fight to survive, to live. I JUST COULDN’T LEAVE THEM FOREVER.
My admission lasted for 6 and a half months. During this time I did lots of writing and also wrote and recorded some songs. It’s strange how life takes you on all sorts of paths and journeys that are completely unexpected, but welcome nonetheless.
The worst thing was, was that I HATED GAINING A NORMAL BODY SHAPE again. Where were the bones I used to thrive on seeing? My once skeletal frame that I accepted was ‘normal’, had disappeared. We had body image lessons where they try to convince you that size is just a number and the importance of being healthy. My head just screamed the total opposite to me.
As soon as I was discharged, I stupidly acknowledged the voices in my head telling me to lose weight again, not loads but just enough so that I would feel happier again. I had grown up with the notion that thin girls are popular and have more friends.
So the weight started to fall off me again. I kept vowing to myself that I would stop. I wasn’t going to make myself ill again. That would be stupid, ridiculous after nearly killing myself only a few months previously.
Except when anorexia takes hold again, it has happened before you even realise it.
Suddenly you’re back to all consuming thoughts and taking back control again to very
dangerous levels. Because control is ALL YOU HAVE LEFT.
Nearly 3 years since my discharge and I’m sad to say that anorexia as well as BPD, bipolar and PTSD are STILL causing me great harm, hurt and distress.
I feel really sad that I have let things regress to this level again. I HATE IT AND HATE
MYSELF for allowing it to happen.
There are so many misconceptions and prejudgements surrounding mental health illness. You cannot see a person’s anguish and suffering like you would for a physical ailment. This is beyond frustrating. Mental illness is just so powerful and domineering. Anorexia is certainly no friend of yours either.
I live in hope that one day, either in the near or distant future, that someone will find the right key to open up my mind so they are able to help me. Until then, that box in my head remains very tightly shut. Emma-Jane Bradbury-Jackson
I’ve been helping Buzzfeed to prepare an in-depth exposure of gym practices . Gyms are full of men and women who strive to be thin (and fit?); to shave off fat and to build muscle. Some of these people are overdoing exercise, or are too thin to work out. Some men are abusing steroids to beef up. Some gyms encourage this kind of muscle competition and advise people to take all sorts of pills and supplements that may help. This is just one step away from taking steroids, which can kill and maim.
Do gyms have a moral responsibility to single outpeople who may have an eating disorder, and tell them to stop coming?
Most gyms have a health questionnaire to fill in for members. But I would like to bet that trainers turn a blind eye to people who appear too thin to pound the treadmill or turn up for their daily 2 mile swim. On top of that, many people with life threatening eating disorders like bulimia, don’t look too thin at all.
If one gym expressed concern, I would also bet that an exercise addict with an eating disorder would just go somewhere else. Should gyms have a legal responsibility for clients who run on empty? I think they have a moral duty. Alongside their advertisements for classes, I would like them to have some health posters up, to guide people against exercise addiction and to help people who might have an eating disorder. They could train staff to talk to people in confidence and show them where to go for help.
People with eating disorders can be their own worst friends. I’ve heard people say; If no-one has taken me aside and worried about me, it means I am not thin enough, so tha’ts one good reason to keep starving. I’ve heard others deny that they have an exercise addiction; they are addicted to their own endorphins. Exercise addiction – are you or aren’t you… that’s another story for another day.
Gyms and for that matter, personal trainers, have a lot to answer for if they don’t know when and how to say “I’m worried about you- would you like to talk about this?”.I know someone who was driven into a serious eating disorder by a personal trainer who did not know what she was doing.
If this article is taken seriously by just one gym, it was worth writing. If you belong to a gym why not go and talk to someone who will be prepared to read it.
The Times today January 15th 2018 Bobby Clay former middle distance runner talks about her long time running efforts and its consequences in terms of osteoporosis and eating disorders . She has to take hormones to gain her period after failing to complete puberty because of her obsession with running, and to function as a normal woman despite the weakened bones which might prevent her from being able to run around jump and play with her future children. She says to us, that there are many young women out there earning their medals and getting praise and encouragement from misguided coaches, but being much sicker than anyone can know. If you have a friend or a daughter who runs, find out if they are eating a proper diet, and find out whether they are menstruating, because many women in elite sports are not. Being thin is associated with success in long distance running but a large proportion of female distance runners are running away from demons, rather than running toward medals. And it is a big open secret that no one wants to talk about.
We have had a lot of midnight calls from people in torment about eating and drinking too much. In 5 day’s time, on January 2nd, many people will be detoxing and making resolutions to lose weight. Please think again. Just before the holiday season I saw a young woman who made a weight loss resolution last New Year. She lost a lot of weight and gained a horrible eating disorder. Her family relationships are in shreds.
There is no need for detoxes. A healthy liver can detox itself. Dieting creates cravings and fosters weight gain. It makes you miserable and messes with your head and family relationships. Obsession creates compulsions and compulsions create behaviour which is harmful to you and to those who love you.
WHEN WILL IT ALL CHANGE? Try something different for a change; make a resolution not to diet or detox in January. Shut the diet books and avoid all the well-being gurus out there who want to make money out of you. Don’t fling into unreasonable exercise regimes you cant sustain. Try the intuitive eating approach and feel superior to all those poor souls who think that happiness lies in food austerity. There is another way, which is all kinds of food in small portions, (stay off the booze) and take walks or cycle rides in the fresh air with someone you love or your dog. Happiness is not just 4 lbs off your butt.
Happy and healthy New Year, make this one the time you say adios to harmful preoccupations with food. Eat and sleep well, walk in the rain, snuggle up with a cocoa and take care of yourself better.
Kings College London Section for Eating Disorders is conducting research into methods to stop binge eating.
I am looking for individuals with bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder between the ages of 18 and 60 to take part in an interventional study targeting eating behaviour. If you think you may be eligible to take part, please contact Rayane Chami from the on: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are eligible, you will be reimbursed up to £15 for travel expenses, £30 for your time, and a copy of the self-help book: ‘Getting better bite by bite’. Thank you!
Here are the inclusion criteria,
1) A diagnosis of bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder, or someone who finds that they may meet criteria but has never been formally assessed,
2) No severe psychiatric disorder (eg. psychosis),
3) Fluency in English,
4) No visual impairment that cannot be repaired with eyewear or contact lenses,
5) No cognitive/neurological impairment,
6) No drug or alcohol abuse,
7) No metabolic disorder,
9) A BMI greater than or equal to 18.5.
If you can help you will be doing a great service for fellow sufferers as well as for yourself.