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15 September 2008 @ 09:28 pm

Firstly, welcome to the new members.

I had two events worth mentioning in the past week.  One was, I had my last appointment with Trisha, my counsellor at CAMHSS (she's tired of The System and decided to get another job) on Thursday.  As of yet, I have not been assigned another case manager, although I do have an appointment with my psychiatrist, Craig Immelman, next Tuesday.

After that appointment, I went with my grandmother to see this hypnotherapist (an exercise which cost my grandparents $95 eek!).  The appointment took an hour and twenty-five minutes, most of which was just her talking to me.  My god could she talk.  I was skeptical, especially of her insistence that psychiatric medications are no good (uh, try telling that to someone with rapid cycling Bipolar I, or someone who is psychotic), and the fact that she had crystals and crap in her office, and some really typical books on her bookshelf.  She was nice, and we did something like a guided mediation for a few minutes at the end, but that was it.  My homework was to a) give myself affirmations (um knowing me, no) and b) eat (no. just no.)

My grandmother wants me to see her again, but I don't know that I want to.  It's just so expensive, and I'm clearly not going to work properly with it.

As a side note, afterwards I tagged along to go and see Mamma Mia, which was surprisingly good.

My happy thing for today: I went for a long walk on the beach, and this evening I did 6 laps of the rugby field.

Your happy thing?

11 September 2008 @ 07:41 pm

Age- 21
Gender- Female
Diagnosed with- Bulimia (although they are trying to tell me that they now think I have anorexic behaviours and am on a slippery slope because I have small binges and throw up everything I eat, and don't have normal meals)

A little bit about me-
I'm 21 and a 4th year uni student ( which has pretty much turned to crap now) Should be graduating at the end of 2009- but who knows whats going to happen now! I also work part time (which is kind of a good distraction as I don't have to eat when im there and I don't really have to think!) I have some awsome friends who i really should try and see more often. i guess I'm kinda tall ( I don't really feel it- but everyone says I am) at 179cm, and I have brownish hair and brown eyes. hmm thats about it- I'm not very exciting lol!

Mental health history and treatment-
well I was diagnosed with depression and bulimia about 6 months ago, however I have been bulimic (to this extent) for about two years, but have had 'disordered eating' since i was about 13ish?! I am currently in the care of a therapist who I see once a week, a psychiatrist who i pretty much just see when my Therapist gets worried lol and a GP who I see every two weeks (at the moment- sometimes I have to go more often) I am going into IP in the near future after being referred by my Therapist and psych a couple of weeks ago, which is freaking me out! So will be heading to Princess Margaret in Chch at some stage. Oh and I'm currently on 3 fluoxitene a day- which pretty much does nothing! I also have a history of self harm (hitting, punching and biting myself starting when i was ten-ish, which gradually progressed into cutting in the last couple of years.)

Seeking recovery-
In some ways yes, in others no! I hate bulimia and how it ruins my life, but giving it up terrifies me as its how I cope. If the one thing that I am in control of is taken away from me, then what do I have?

maybe one day when I get brave : )
09 September 2008 @ 10:07 pm

I have come across a couple of people who have been considering Ashburn Clinic, a private 'therapeutic community' in Dunedin.  I hope in this entry to give a personal opinion of Ashburn, developed during a four month stay there, which can hopefully be of use to those considering it.

Keep in mind that my opinion is biased, as I, like many others, was kept there under threat of being sectioned.  I will endeavour to be honest, fair and open-minded, and to provide as many examples to prove my criticisms.

Firstly, I want to acknowledge that the Ashburn Clinic has been a positive turning point in many peoples' lives; whether suffering addiction or illness.  I have seen people in Ashburn Clinic who, if they had not received treatment, would certainly have died (through suicide or otherwise). 

My therapist, Michelle, was a lovely person, adept at helping me to understand things.  I did some important work with her.  Typically, as an inpatient at the Ashburn Clinic, one has individual therapy twice per week, in two 45min sessions.  Individual therapy is considered an important, but very small part of the overall 'work' done at Ashburn.

On entering Ashburn Clinic as an inpatient, you are assigned to one of the two units; Gwen Wilson, or Frank Hay (the ward where all those with eating disorders are placed).  You are appointed a psychiatrist (or psychiatric registrar), and a therapist. My psychiatrist was Dr. Brett Ferguson, and my therapist was Michelle.
You will initially be placed in one of the downstairs bedrooms, closer to the nurses' stations on either units, and will be on half-hourly observations.  Depending on what your medication needs are, you will have to wait outside the nurses' stations at the appropriate times.  Night medications are typically given at 9pm, after hand-over. Beware, because if you forget your medication, it is unlikely that staff members will remember to dispense it to you.  This was a problem that occurred multiple times during my stay; owing to my absent-mindedness.

It is a staff decision what parts of the program you will be included in initially.  Unit meetings are group meetings in which the Frank Hay or the Gwen Wilson unit patients and day staff meet seperately.  One person acts as chairman and names absences and leavings,  asks for volunteers for 'ward cuppa', and organising sport and rec. activities.  Discussions are also initiated about: who is on half-hourly, or hourly observations, and who is on a 'graded activity program' (activity restriction programs for the eating-disordered patients). Who is on observations is decided by the patient group (but in my experience can be vetoed by staff members).  Before the entire patient group of the unit, people on half-hourly or hourly observations are asked how they are going, how safe they feel, and may ask to go off obs.  Details of the patients' behaviour are encouraged to be shared by the staff members, and one gets the feeling that nothing is truly confidential at Ashburn Clinic. 

Community meetings are held in the mornings, twice weekly.  Occasionally, they are held as per requested by staff or patients for various issues.  They include almost all of the day staff, therapists and psychiatrists, and all of the patients from the Frank Hay, Gwen Wilson, and the unit for those who have moved 'up the hill' to the staff-free flats and who attend the day program.  Unless called for a specific purpose or issue, the community meetings have no 'subject'.  Patients often 'own up' to disordered behaviour (i.e. drinking, self-harm, suicide attempts) in these meetings (or alternatively, staff members tell without asking for permission).  Sometimes, an empathetic and caring response is generated from the patients (although efforts to be empathetic and caring are often deemed "trying to make things nice").  More often than not, a negative response is received.  Often this negative response is initiated by the staff members themselves. I have been in meetings in which patients have sworn at other patients.  Many meetings involve verbal abuse of patients, beneath the euphemism of a 'challenge'. Needless to say, it was humliating to be heavily criticized by the staff members for my binge/purging in front of that many people (as was done on the 6th March).  I left the meeting feeling like a criminal and hating myself even more for my behaviour. 

In my opinion, there is a complete lack of confidentiality, trust and safety within the community. If staff members aren't outright sharing confidential details of patients illnesses with other members of the community, they are implying it in order to 'cover their tracks'.   Things like the numerical details of other patients weights, weight gain/loss, are openly discussed between staff and the community.  I find this particularly unhelpful, so after Scott shared the details of another patient's BMI, I politely asked him one-on-one, if he would mind not discussing such things in front of me.  I was told: "I'm not going to wrap you in cotton wool.", and that was that.

In my opinion, the Ashburn Clinic violates a number of patients' rights under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights.  Firstly, the right of respect. The following are quotes said either to me or to other patients there during my stay:
“All of the anorexics are one-eyed and deaf-eared”
“Are you thick?!”,
“You can starve yourself to death for all I care!”,
“You’re a bully. Nobody wants you here.”
“You’re obviously trying to undermine the whole community.”
”You’re sick. You’re really sick.”
“You weren’t sick; you were perfectly in your right mind.” [said to the same patient within a short time frame]
“You must have misheard.” [on questioning about abusive comments]
“I think she seems to find this quite exciting.” [about a very physically compromised patient]
“You are destructive to the other patients.”
“I think we’re trying to find a bad guy here.” [when people start questioning the staff, this is generally the response] 
I feel that these are very disrespectful, and in some cases downright abusive.

The privacy of the patient is also to be respected.  This is not the case in the Ashburn Clinic as I experienced it. For example, Joyce (nurse) repeated a conversation that had been held in private, in front of the patient group. Dr. Brett Ferguson and staff sharing things that had been said in confidence in private sessions with him.  On a number of occasions, staff members will actually peer and look over the patient's shoulder at the computer screen.  Privacy is discouraged within the community, and not wanting to share humiliating illness with the group is considered 'trust issues'.

As I have said, Ashburn does work for some people.  But I feel that for the few people who do benefit, many more are damaged or hindered in their recovery.

Whatever your path of choice for recovery, I wish you the best of luck.


11 August 2008 @ 11:52 pm

Name: Kew
Age: 23
Gender: female
Location (optional): Dunedin
Diagnosis (optional): Bulimia, Depression...probarly other crap that my doctors have neglected to tell me
A little bit about yourself: I like sports, when I'm not to busy with my ed I study pe at otago uni, but I want to do nursing next year, I'm tall 5'10' I hate being referred to as the 'big girl' I am origonally from Blenhiem
A brief history of your experience of mental illness:I have been eating disordered since I was about 15, I only got diagnosed last year, my therapist would describe me a manipulative and self desructive.....I would describe myself as free thinking and not brain washed. I have a history of self harm (cutting) that started when I was 20ish, I took a lethal prozac overdose in May this year, a friend found me however and I was resusitated and hospitalized. at the moment my retarded care team is trying to send me to ashburn clinic....I'm digging my heals in.
Past treatment? (inpatient, outpatient, medication, therapy etc.): I am currently on no medication becuse after I overdosed I had seretonin syndrom so my body cannot handle ssri antidepressants anymore. I have been hospitalized twice in the past year for suicidal intent and I have to see my retard therapist every week. I'm not allowed to see my dietitan atm because I was refussing to follow the diet plan so thats about it.
Seeking recovery?: um some days, I'd like to be happy so yes but not from bulimia yet because its how I cope
Picture: see the profile pic its me :-)^^^^^^

Current Location: my bed :-)
Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: keep breathing - Ingrid Michaelson
28 June 2008 @ 06:26 pm
Wouldn't life be so much easier, if one could feel better...THEN give up the eating disorder?

One good thing:

Supermarket sells diet pills with lots of caffeine.  Methinks that I will buy some when I can get some money. 

Now tell me your good things?  

22 June 2008 @ 04:40 pm
Please post your applications, if you haven't already.
19 June 2008 @ 09:28 am
Ok so today nothing, tomorow nothing, the next day nothing, Sunday nothing.
I have gained. The ball is in a week and I have gained. Trust me.
I also told my techer about my eating disorder yesterday. Fuck. Did I make a mistake. I didn't tell her much because I had to go to class so she can't say anything cause I havn't really given her anything to work with. For all she knows it could just be a big joke. Does anyone know wether it is possible to keep something like this confidential? I don't want help I just needed to talk about it. She used to be bulemic so she'll understand? I hope so
18 June 2008 @ 10:26 pm


does anyone ever feel that their eating disorder is the thing that fills the void in their life? that's how i feel. 
i feel like it's something i own
something that makes me more important
(i realise how illogical that sounds)
i LIKE having crazy willpower
i'm not in a relapse phase at the moment, and i don't like it. i feel lost without a goal.

16 June 2008 @ 01:39 pm
Hey, just intoducing myself
Im 17
Don't really wan to say my stats at the moment, not feeling too good about them
From South Auckland

08 June 2008 @ 08:16 pm
definitely going to fill in my details at some point, but a) exams, have to stop procrastinating and b) it pains me to look at the history of my ed.
this com. is a great idea.
reassuring to know there are other people in nz feeling this way.
but also a little sad.