Cathartic Interview: Ruby - Her Experience With Eating Disorders, Addiction, Recovery And Blogging.

 

In today's blog we are delighted to be speaking to Ruby, a 34 year old woman from the West Coast of Ireland.  Ruby is currently in recovery from anorexia/bulimia which have been part of her life for 14 years.  She also battled Heroin and Alcohol addiction throughout her twenties.

 

Ruby writes about her experiences on her blog: andthenshedisappeared.blogspot.com where she aims to help others who find themselves in the same position she has been in, let people know that recovery is possible and that there is life after Disordered Eating and Addiction.

 

When did you realise you had an Eating Disorder?

 

I had been living with my Eating Disorder (ED) for a long time before I realised what it was.  While I was in active addiction, I thought that I was not eating and losing weight because of the drug.  When I did my first drug detox in hospital, a nurse sat me down and told me that I had anorexia, but I just wouldn't listen to her and couldn't take it in.  An ED just wasn't on my radar, I didn't think I was fat and I wasn't trying to lose weight.  So I continued to refuse to believe that I had food issues.

 

It wasn't until a couple of years later, at the age of 23, that I began to acknowledge that I did in fact have a life threatening illness.  I was in drug rehab for the first time and there was another girl there with an ED.  I could relate to her so much and I realised that I was just like her.  She gave me the courage and the confidence to finally open up about my ED.

 

What was the catalyst for you reaching out for help?

 

There was a time a few years ago when my ED and my addiction were both out of control.  I was buying prescription meds online, starving myself and over exercising while trying to hold down a job.  I remember one day on my way home from work, I had just taken a handful of tablets and promptly crashed my car into a ditch.  I woke up the next morning and couldn't remember a thing, that really scared me and was the start of my realising that I needed help.

 

My weight sank to an all time low and I feared that I might die so I asked my mother to bring me to hospital.  I didn't get recovery on my first try, I have been in and out of hospital, psych hospitals and treatment.  I found out that I actually do better from home than I do in hospital or treatment, I never managed to complete treatment in hospital.

 

A few things came together to push me to recover.  I began seeing an ED therapist who with her help helped me put my life back together.

 

Turning 30 made me realise that I didn't want to lose my thirties the way I lost my twenties.”

 

I am in very early recovery and it's tough.  Sometimes it feels like one step forwards and two steps back and even right now I'm finding things tough.  The important thing is to keep going, keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep fighting.  I have faith that I will come out the other side of this.  I believe that I will recover.

 

What challenges do you face on a day to day basis? How do you overcome them?

 

Like everyone, I have good days and bad days.  On a good day I get up early, have a cuppa and head out with my dogs.  On a good day I don't deny myself food, my mood and humour is good.  I'm sociable, positive and my good goes well and I don't feel guilty at all.  On a bad day, it's hard to muster the energy to get out of bed. I feel lethargic and weary. It's an effort to walk my dogs - it's an effort to do anything.

 

On a bad day I might not eat properly or could spin out in a haze of bingeing and purging.  I guess the hard thing for me is balance and moderation.  I'm very much an all or nothing person. I either eat none of the food or all of the food, I'm so black and white like that.  Other challenges are not to isolate, to push myself to get out and about, to meet and talk to others.  I have a tendency to shut the world out and hide in my house.

 

Any mental health issue poses a lot of challenges and I do my best to push through them and live the best life I can.”

 

What motivated you to reach out to others through a creative medium to raise awareness of Eating Disorders?

 

I started writing my blog in 2012.  I had been reading blogs for a while and found them to be a massive help.  Initially, I started writing to meet others and for support.  Over time my blog has become a huge part of my life.  I write every day and have met the most amazing people.  I guess the Internet was there for me when I couldn't socialise or met people in real life.  Many great things have happened because of my blog, I get to meet and help others in the same position as me.

 

Every day I get emails from all over the world from people who share their own story with me and I am so grateful to be part of their story.  I also wanted to break the stigma of shame around Eating Disorders and Addiction to challenge the stereotype.

 

I'm just a normal girl who happens to be cross addicted and if my story can help others then I will continue to tell it and write about it.”

 

How has the reaction been to your creative efforts to raise awareness of Eating Disorders? Has the reaction to your story helped your recovery on a personal level?

 

On the whole I've had a really positive reaction to my blog.  I now have a network of friends and contacts who support each other and yes it has helped me on a personal level.  Putting myself out there the way I do, I want others to know that recovery is possible and that there is no shame in your addiction or disorder.  Being part of a community had spurred me on to continue to fight against Eating Disorders and Addiction and helping others had in turn helped me. Recovery is something we alone have to do but we cannot do it alone.

 

Do you have any advice for those who think they may be suffering with an Eating Disorder?

 

Yes, I would love to say to anyone out there suffering with an eating disorder to talk.”

 

Talk about it, choose one person you can trust and let them share your pain.  All too often we suffer in silence and that secrecy is like fuel for the ED. It's so important to have someone to talk to as keeping all this pain and hurt and shame to ourselves is so overwhelming.  I would also say to be open to suggestions of what might help.  I know they when I was in the midst of my illness I wasn't willing to try anything to help myself and I wouldn't listen to anyone.  I thought there was no point in trying but of course there is.  I would also say never give up hope, faith and the belief that there is life after the ED.

 

At Cathartic.co we believe in the value of sharing your story and that Ruby's story is a powerful one that may well help others who are currently struggling.  It takes immense courage to share your story with the world and decide that sharing the power of your journey will help others.


If you would like to read more of Ruby's story and support her in her journey of recovery, please head over to her Blog: Andthenshedisappeared.blogspot.com