Quatre ans plus tard.

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Il y avait longtemps que je pensais faire un blogue. Puis, je me suis rappelée que j’en avais commencé un il y quelques années. En relisant mes anciens articles, j’ai été surprise de voir que j’en avais publié un il y a quatre ans, presque jour pour jour. J’y parlais de mon sentiment de nostalgie et de fierté que j’éprouvais un an après la date de mon entrée à l’unité interne des troubles alimentaires de l’hôpital Douglas. C’est drôle comment la vie peut parfois nous surprendre. Demain, il y a 5 ans, j’entrais pour la première fois, et, à ce jour, je suis hospitalisée pour une troisième fois.

      J’ai décidé de laisser l’ancien article actif sur mon blogue (voir article: Il y a un an de ça) et d’en écrire un nouveau aujourd’hui. Comment je me sens face à celui-ci? Eh bien, je l’ai trouvé rafraîchissant. Le fait de lire comment j’allais bien et comment la vie était belle à ce moment-là me donne espoir que ça peut arriver de nouveau. Je me souviens qu’à cette époque j’étais persuadée que l’anorexie ne viendrait plus jamais gâcher ma vie. J’ai été naïve. Mais au moins j’y ai cru pendant 5 ans, et j’ai vécu à fond pendant ce temps. J’ai accompli des choses que je n’aurais jamais pensé pouvoir mener à terme. Je suis aujourd’hui infirmière, j’ai presque terminé mon BAC et j’ai la tête remplie de projets!

        Aujourd’hui, oui je suis hospitalisée pour une deuxième fois cette année, oui je suis déçue de moi, oui je suis fâchée, triste, name it! Mais le regret ne me mènera nullepart ailleurs qu’où je suis présentement. Ça ne me ramènera pas des années en arrière ni n’effacera mon passé, mais ça pourra peut-être me permettre de faire différemment cette fois. Alors, à quoi bon rester figée? J’ai décidé d’avancer et de regarder vers le futur.

Je m’appelle Florence Tremblay Gagnon, j’ai 32 ans et j’ai toute la vie devant moi.

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Mon univers

Je vous partage mon univers de la danse. Voici un montage vidéo de quelques vidéos de dans que j’avais. La danse, c’est tout pour moi, mon moyen d’expression, ma passion. Je ne danse plus depuis 1 an et quelques poussières et ça me manque énormément.

Faire ce vidéo pour vous ma fait un grand bien, j’espère que vous allez apprécier!

https://youtu.be/6UjFuivaogs

Comment passer au travers des fêtes avec un trouble alimentaire

Le temps des fêtes est une période de l’année très convoitée pour beaucoup de personnes. Elle compte parmi les fêtes de l’année préférée de la population. Toutefois, pour certaines personnes, elle est aussi synonyme de stress, anxiété et angoisse. C’est notamment le cas pour les gens qui ont moins de sous, qui n’ont pas de famille ou qui n’aime tout simplement pas ce temps des fêtes. C’est aussi le cas pour la plupart des gens qui souffrent d’un trouble alimentaire. Les fêtes de Noël représente des repas en famille et pour ceux qui ont un trouble alimentaire, manger en groupe ou tout simplement manger représente une grande source de stress et de souffrance. Chez moi, on a toujours aimé Noël. C’est un moment de l’année avec beaucoup de frénésie et nous attendons avec impatience le soir du 24 décembre. Par contre, ayant un trouble alimentaire depuis plusieurs années, c’est aussi un moment que je redoute et qui me stress. Alors comment je réussis à passer au travers? Voici mes petits trucs!

 1. Se rappeler que les fêtes ne sont qu’une fois par année et qu’aucune catastrophe n’arrivera

Noël ou le jour de l’An n’arrive qu’une fois dans l’année alors aussi bien profiter des gens que j’aime. Je n’en mourrais pas (contrairement et ironiquement au trouble alimentaire qui lui pourrait finir par me tuer) et je ne prendrais pas 10 kilo en quelques jours de fêtes. Tout au plus, je prendrais une ou deux livres et ce ne sera pas la fin du monde et puis aussi peut-être que je n’en prendrais même pas! Qui sait? Est-ce que ça vaut vraiment la peine de vivre quelques jours de torture, de ne pas profiter des siens et de les faire souffrir pour quelques putains de livres? Honnêtement, non. La vie est bien trop courte pour passer à côté de moments comme ceux-ci avec des gens que j’apprécie. Évidemment, oui je sais, ce n’est pas si simple que ça et je sais que mon Noël ne sera pas rose comme je l’entend, mais c’est mes petits trucs à moi qui m’aide!

 2. S’en remettre à une personne de confiance pour portionner nos repas

On s’entend que si c’est nous qui portionnons, nous aurons toujours l’impression qu’il y en a trop. Pour moi des fois j’arrive à faire ma propre assiette, mais quand je ne suis pas certaine, je demande à ma sœur si selon elle c’est une portion normale ou lui demande carrément de me faire une assiette. Je suis certaine, dans ce cas , que ma portion sera raisonnable et je fais confiance à ma sœur pour qu’elle n’en mette pas trop.

 3. Essayer de se mettre en tête que c’est important pour nos proches d’être présent pour cette période de l’année

L’année passée, j’ai passé Noël à l’hôpital et j’ai donc manqué le soir du réveillon chez ma mère. Je sais que ça à été difficile pour eux que je n’y soispas. Cette année, bien que je sois hospitaliséeencore une fois, j’ai la chance d’avoir des sorties pour pouvoir être auprès des miens le 24 décembre. C’est mon cadeau de Noël pour eux. Profiter des bonnes choses, avoir du plaisir, je sais que ça les rend heureux et que ça vaut bien plus que n’importe qu’elle cadeau. Juste d’être , juste d’être en vie, juste d’avoir choisi la vie.

 

Bien entendu, ce sont mes trucs à moi. Ça ne veut pas dire que ça fonctionne pour tout le monde, mais si avec ce petit article j’aurais pu aider une seule personne, et bien j’en serait heureuse.

 

Sur ce, je vous souhaite un excellent temps des fêtes, et vous souhaite de profiter au maximum de cette période qui est supposé apporter beaucoup de bonheur!

 

Perdre du poids, perdre du moi

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    Aujourd’hui j’entame ma 12ième semaine de traitement. 78 jours, 1872 heures, de batailles, de pleurs, de colère, de rires, bref pas mal toute la panoplie d’émotions qu’une personne peut ressentir. Après toutes ces semaines, j’avais envie de vous faire un petit « update ». Je crois que ce qui change le plus au cours du traitement (outre notre corps évidemment) est nos émotions. Cependant, avant de vous parler de tout ça, il faut que je vous explique un peu plus profondément l’impact que les troubles alimentaires peuvent avoir sur notre corps.

        Le corps, c’est une machine. On sous-estime souvent les mécanismes d’adaptation que notre corps peut mettre en place pour nous permettre de survivre. On l’entend souvent, l’organisme à besoin de glucides, de lipides et de protéines pour permettre au cœur et au cerveau (et plusieurs autres organes) de fonctionner. Alors qu’arrive t-il quand on en donne pas suffisamment et qu’on est sous-alimenté? Il pige dans les réserves. Tout d’abord dans nos réserves de lipides ou de « gras » comme on aime bien le dire. Lorsque tous les lipides ont été utilisés, ce sont les muscles qui sont consommés et c’est la que cela devient dangereux parce que le cœur est un muscle et qu’il a besoin de ses muscles pour continuer de carburer normalement. Le but principal d’utiliser les protéines des muscles est pour les transformer en sucre pour que notre cerveau continue de fonctionner. Alors où je m’en vais avec mes affaires de glucides machins trucs lipides? J’y arrive ne vous inquiétez pas!

       L’été dernier, je courrais 30 km par jour, tous les jours. Je pouvais partir le matin en pleurant parce que je n’avais pas envie de le faire, mais c’était plus fort que moi. Je n’avais pas le choix. Plus les jours et les semaines passaient, plus je perdais du poids, mais surtout, sans vraiment le savoir, je perdais contact avec moi-même parce que je ne ressentais de moins en moins d’émotions. Je me souviens qu’on me demandait souvent comment je me sentais et je n’arrivais pas à répondre parce que je ne me sentais tout simplement pas. C’est comme si j’étais une étrangère dans mon propre corps. J’étais rendu un robot esclave de l’anorexie et mon cerveau mal nourri n’avait plus d’énergie pour que je ressente quelque chose. C’était comme si j’étais une droguée et que j’étais gelée 24h sur 24h (parce qu’en réalité c’est un peu ça, l’anorexie, c’est comme une addiction). J’étais « addict » à la course et au sentiment de contrôle que j’avais envers la nourriture et mon corps. Mais c’est faux de dire que mon problème c’était la bouffe parce qu’en vrai, mon réel problème, c’était (et est encore) que j’avais de la difficulté à vivre certaines émotions et que, malheureusement, mon moyen de « dealer » a été l’anorexie pour me geler.

       Donc, à travers plusieurs semaines ici et avec la réalimentation, j’ai pu reconstruire les muscles que j’avais perdu mais surtout, renourri mon cerveau. Graduellement, je me suis sentie moins étrangère face à moi-même, mais aussi, j’ai commencé à reconnecter avec mon esprit et ressentir une panoplie d’émotions, ce qui m’était étranger. Dans mon cas, c’est beaucoup de colère que je ressens et je suspecte que je ressens celle-ci parce que, pendant trop longtemps, je ne me suis pas permise d’en vivre d’autres. J’ai toujours été, je pense, quelqu’un de souriante et ça a toujours été sincère. Mais je crois que profondément, je vivais des sentiments que je n’arrivais pas à expliquer. Aujourd’hui je comprends mieux. La colère que je sens n’a pas de source, de déclencheur particulier ou précis et puis dans le fond, l’important n’est pas tant la cause, mais d’accepter que je vis ces émotions et accepter que c’est correct de ressentir de la colère et que ça ne fait pas de moi une mauvaise personne. Les dernières semaines ont été des montagnes russes émotionnellement. Je suis comme une enfant qui apprend à marcher, j’apprends à vivre avec mes émotions. Je ne sais pas trop comment faire, je me tiens, je m’enfarge, je tombe et je me relève. J’ai des bleus partout, mais peu à peu, j’apprends à vivre avec ma colère, et tranquillement j’arrive à pleurer et rire au lieu d’être fâchée. J’apprends à être moi.

Working with children when you have an eating disorder.

 

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Florence and I are both in treatment together at an inpatient centre for eating disorders. We published our first article together last week – I’ll link it here if you haven’t read it.

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In talking further, we thought it would be an interesting idea to write about what it is like to work with children while dealing with an eating disorder. Children, as I’m sure you know, are a very vulnerable population. Easily influenced by peers and the media, it can be delicate to share topics related to mental health with such impressionable people and personalities. Topics like eating disorders need to be navigated in a smart and calculated fashion – being open and honest is good, but we also experienced a fine line between what we share and what we keep to ourselves. Here is a little bit of our background when it comes to eating disorders and our careers.

Meghan knew she wanted to work with kids from a young age. She started lifeguarding at fifteen years old, giving swimming lessons to children as young as two and teaching pre-lifeguard certification classes to swimmers in their early teens. She started her university academic career in Anatomy and Cell Biology, but eventually switched to Child Studies, where the focus was on child development and learning disabilities. After graduation, she worked for a year as a behaviour therapist with children on the autism spectrum at a private ABA clinic in Montreal. She made the switch to a more academic-focused environment the following year, where she was hired as the education coordinator at a learning centre.
Florence began working with children as a camp monitor. At seventeen, she underwent dance training, and eventually ended up teaching dance for eight years. Florence also worked as a counsellor at a youth centre, and in doing so, she realized that she wanted to work with adolescents. Florence is passionate about child and adolescent development and completed her studies in nursing. She now specializes in child psychiatry.
Meghan had a hard time dealing with an eating disorder while working in a field where children were involved. Over the years, she has been quite open about her struggles with anorexia, and that openness carried through to conversations with her bosses and supervisors. However, when she had to leave her job to enter intensive inpatient treatment, she didn’t tell any of her students why she was leaving. In fact, she never shared with them anything at all about her health.
For Meghan, it’s not that she was ashamed. But talking about mental health can be difficult with children and adolescents. In her opinion, it has to be done very carefully, with research and knowledge. Meghan didn’t feel comfortable having her students know about her eating disorder. Although she was open with her students about some aspects of her personal life, the mental health aspect was kept confidential. Explaining mental illness is tough; it’s more of an abstract concept, in comparison to physical illness. Most of us get colds or the flu or stomach aches or headaches… but anxiety? Depression? Eating disorders? Those illnesses are, (thankfully), a little less common. But they are also harder to explain, especially for students who haven’t yet developed in terms of the way they think, rationalize, and understand.
For Florence, one of the main reasons she asked for medical leave from work was because she felt like an imposter. She would counsel youth on how to take care of themselves, but she wasn’t able to care for herself. When she is doing well, though, she is able to take what she has learned from her treatments and apply it to the work she does with her adolescents. As a nurse, Florence wasn’t at ease with her patients knowing she had an eating disorder. She wouldn’t talk about things with them. Florence wasn’t ashamed to talk with her co-workers and colleagues about her struggles, though. She really believes that the more you talk about a topic like mental health, the less “taboo” it becomes.
One of Meghan’s worst moments at her job was when one of her students made a comment about her thin physical appearance. “Your legs are so tiny!” said the little girl. “Look at them! They are so small!”. It was probably one of the most uncomfortable experiences of her career. Meghan tried to cover up the fact that she had lost a significant amount of weight, but it was not always possible. It was never Meghan’s intention to have her students become aware of her struggles. She never wanted them to get influenced.
Florence’s dance students never really made comments about her eating disorder. But, because she did have to leave the dance session early to enter treatment, Florence explained herself to her adult students on the closed Facebook group that she had created. With the adolescents and children, however, she did not talk about her eating disorder. Teens and children are too vulnerable and impressionable, and it was hard to talk about such a serious issue with a younger population.
Meghan and Florence’s dreams for the future are to change the mental health landscape, particularly for the youth. They would like mental health to become stigma-free, but they also wish for girls and boys to become confident with themselves and their bodies, and never deal with body image issues or eating disorders. Eating disorders are such terrible diseases and they affect more than just the individual – friends and families struggle too, especially when a loved one is unwell. Given that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, Meghan and Florence hope we can continue to advance research and create a society where all sizes are welcomed and celebrated. Part of their goal in starting their blogs is to continue to raise awareness, to educate, and to help others feel not so alone. Eventually, they would like to be able to show others that recovery is possible (and worth it!). But they both know that to achieve this goal, they need to be well, which is why they are pushing through the difficulties of treatment.

you can also go visit Meghan’s blog at: recoverybymeghan.com

We met ten years ago, and now we are in treatment together

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Meghan et moi se sommes connu il y a 10 ans lorsque nous commencions toutes les deux notre suivie au Douglas pour trouble alimentaire. Dix ans plus tard, nous nous retrouvons à nouveau. Nous voulions écrire là-dessus. voilà ce que ça à donné!

Bonne lecture!

*article en anglais*

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I met Florence ten years ago, when we first started treatment in Montreal. We had both been struggling with eating disorders for awhile and made the brave decision to seek professional help. I was hospitalized as an inpatient, and Florence was taking part in the Day Hospital. Both programs take place in the same house, separated only by a wall (and a door that can be easily walked through when groups aren’t in session).
Ten years later, we entered inpatient treatment together on the same day. How did we react when we found out we would be hospitalized together? How has our relationship evolved? Are we competitive in our recovery or do we act to lift each other up? Read our interview to find out – and check out Florence’s blog to follow her journey!
Describe how you met and what your relationship was like in the early years.
Meghan: I think you were in the Day Hospital and I was inpatient. But the first time we officially hung out was when we went for coffee? But I didn’t really hang out with just you, it was always us and our other friend. I remember going to see your apartment once…
Florence: Yeah, when I was neighbours with (our friend)! I remember that.
Did you keep in contact throughout the years?
Florence: Not really. Indirectly, yes… I read your blog a lot, and all that, but we didn’t see each other in person.
Meghan: Yeah we didn’t do things together, but I do have you on social media, on Facebook and Instagram… I would always watch your Instagram stories, and I would read your posts.
Florence: We would also cross paths here (at the outpatient clinic), but it was always kind of uncomfortable!
Meghan: Yes! Because I still recognized you and knew who you were, but I was too shy to say hello.
How did you react when you found out you were being admitted on the same day?
Florence: It kind of stressed me out, because I didn’t know if it would stress you! Because we hadn’t talked about it… I hadn’t told you that I was getting admitted too.
Meghan: So I saw on your Instagram that you were packing your bags, and I knew that someone else was being admitted the same day as me, so when I saw you were packing, I was like: “oh my gosh is it her?”. But I wasn’t stressed. It’s always awkward when you know somebody in treatment, but because we were not that close, I knew it would be okay.
Florence: Yeah. And when we spoke, the day before, it reassured me. I found it nice that we were texting the night before…
Meghan: Yes! Encouraging each other to stay up a little longer, and not go to bed too early because we were nervous!
Florence: Yeah, we were looking forward to going to bed to get the day over with! So yeah at first it stressed me, but once we spoke, and I knew that you were okay with it, it really reassured me and I was happy.
Meghan: Me too. And I think we’ve matured over the years, too, so it helped a lot.
What are the “pros” and “cons” of having a friend hospitalized with you?
Meghan: For me, having someone you know is nice because you get to see a familiar face; it can be very intimidating if you go into treatment and you don’t know anybody. You have to learn to know the other patients and what they like and don’t like, and what kind of personality they have. So in that sense, it’s kind of nice to already know someone.
Florence: But I think it also depends how well you know someone… like, in our case, it was perfect because we didn’t know each other too well. So, we could still learn to know each other, but at the same time, we knew where we came from. I think when you know someone too well, it can almost ruin a relationship because you can get on each others’ nerves. Especially with our behaviours… they can be irritating to others…
Meghan: Yeah I think there are some people who I consider very close friends… people I love… but I would never want to be hospitalized with them because I think it would take a toll on the relationship and on the friendship. So I’m happy we knew each other, but not so well that it would interfere with our friendship. I think our friendship is growing but it’s not at risk.
Florence: Yeah, I’m not worried that we will hate each other at the end of all this! Even though we’ve known each other for ten years, we were not that close… but after treatment, we will be close and consider ourselves as friends, eating disorders aside.
Meghan: Yeah the same thing kind of happened when I was looking for a roommate. There are certain friends that I love that I would never want to live with because it would be too difficult. So yeah, I think our relationship was at the perfect level – it was comforting, but we knew treatment would not influence our friendship in a bad way.
Is there any competition between the two of you?
Florence: No.
Meghan: I’d say no. I feel like our eating disorders are similar in a lot of ways but also very different, so we have different things that affect us.
Florence: Yeah I would say it’s the opposite of competition. Like, I look to you for my rhythm when I eat, because I find you have a good pace. We don’t compete – we help each other. You come to sit with me, for example.
Meghan: I think five or six years ago, if we were in treatment together, it would have been a different story. We’ve matured a lot over the years.
Florence: We’ve evolved a lot in our eating disorders, too. Yeas ago, it would have been different. Today, I know that you can’t move forward if you are always in competition with others. The goal is not to be the sickest.
Meghan: You’re right, and unfortunately, that’s something that happens a lot in treatment. People compete to be the sickest or the one who is the “best anorexic/bulimic”. And yeah, a couple of years ago, I did have that mindset when I would go into treatment. Not always, but sometimes it was there. But I think now we are both just so fed up of this illness and we help each other. You know, if I see you sitting, I’m like: “I should stop standing and go and sit too”. We encourage each other and are there for each other.
How has your eating disorder evolved over the years?
Meghan: Before, it was a lot of competition, and getting in each other’s business in terms of who is doing well, who is not doing well, and all that. For me, I feel like I have enough issues of my own now… and it’s not that I don’t care about anybody else, but the real goal is to focus on myself.
Florence: Yeah, I don’t need anyone else to trigger me, I trigger myself and need to work on that.
Meghan: I have my own triggers too and I don’t need to look to anybody else for that. I think in treatment, you learn not only to manage your eating disorder, but you develop who you are as a person. I’ve become a lot more independent – the first time I was away from my parents was because I was in treatment, so I’ve learned to take care of myself.
Florence: The reasons for an eating disorder evolve too. When I started to become sick it was more of a question of physical appearance, whereas now, it’s mostly control and managing anxiety. It’s not only about being thin.
Meghan: There are so many factors that go into eating disorders and definitely mine has evolved. I started to lose weight because I wanted to get in shape and look good for the summer and now I have a lot more obsessions and compulsions and anxiety. So yeah, with each relapse, there’s a different reason for my eating disorder.
Florence: For me, now, it’s kind of the same thing all the time – in the last year, it’s been about managing my depression by running excessively, but most of the time, I start to train because it was summer, I wanted to get in shape, and eat well, and it derails from there. It’s like we never learn from our errors! We tell ourselves it’s going to be different, but now I realize I can’t do that stuff.
Meghan: We are too vulnerable.
Do you see recovery happening for yourself?
Florence: Um, no. Not completely. When I relapsed last year, I found it incredibly difficult to deal with the fact that I relapsed after four years of being well. For four years, I was convinced that it would never come back. But the eating disorder did come back, and quickly – and I understand now that it will always be a part of my life. And I think that’s an important step – to not judge yourself if it will not go away completely. Because then you will feel disappointed if the eating disorder remains. The tendencies might always be there. You know, like reflexes to do certain things with food, or the fact that sports will always be complicated for me. But I am confident that I will be able to lead a normal life.
Meghan: I’m the same way. I think because I’ve been sick for so long, it will always be a part of my life. At least for the first ten years, where I’m just going to have to manage it. There are certain situations… you know, if I’m going out to eat with friends, or to a restaurant – I think there will be anxiety there for a long time. People always mention full recovery and I think it’s hard to define that.
Florence: It’s not like if you had a broken bone, and would completely heal… there’s no test that says you’re cured. But you can always identify your red flags.
Meghan: I think we can get our actions to become healthy, but I think the thoughts behind our actions will be there for a long time. I don’t like to say fully recovered, because I don’t think the illness will go away completely for me, but I think I will be able to manage it in my everyday life so I can lead an everyday life without entering treatment again.
Do you plan on staying in contact after you get discharged?
Florence: Of course!
Meghan: I would like to. I think especially because we’ve known each other for so long. And being in treatment with someone, you are basically living with someone for months.
Florence: You can develop friendships in treatment in 2 months that you might develop with someone you see less frequently over the span of a year. We see each other so often, and we have a lot in common. We like going to markets, we like coffee… I think you will become a good ally for me.
Meghan: Yeah, especially because our relationship here is so positive, so it would be good to continue to encourage each other even if we are not in treatment together. I think it’s a good plan – we will update you (our readers, followers, friends, and family) in a year!

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Il y a un an de ça…

Un an jour pour jour j’entreprenais ce qui allais être pour moi le plus gros défi de ma vie. Pendant 4 mois, j’ai affronté mes peurs, j’ai toléré mes inconforts et un an plus tard, je peux dire que je ne regrette rien de cette démarche. Malgré des moments difficiles, des craintes, des angoisses, je suis aujourd’hui pleine de vie! J’ai peur parfois que ca revienne et même que parfois, je suis convaincu que ça repart.. Mais pour la première fois de ma vie, j’ai été capable de remonter la pente sans me laisser couler. J’avoue qu’aujourd’hui , c’était une journée bizarre, un mélange de nostalgie et de fierté.. Je ne sais pas pourquoi la nostalgie, je ne sais pas ce qui me manque de ça, parce que « ça » ce n’est pas une vie… Mais, ça me permettais quand j’avais besoin de prendre une pause de ma tête, de geler par la faim ce qui rongeais mon cerveau… Enfin, un an plus tard je suis là, en santé et fière de moi!!!

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