DBS, apparently, means the Disclosure and Barring Service which is the new name of a CRB check – you need one where they thoroughly check your criminal records etc before you are allowed to work with vulnerable people, such as the elderly or children.
For me, DBS if something will different. It is Deep Brain Stimulation. Basically, they insert two electrodes in your brain (under local), and then a wire is inserted down your neck to under your shoulder blade where a rechargeable battery is inserted (under general). It’s extensive surgery; it’s brain surgery.
So, you need to be BMI 13.
This is a higher BMI than I’ve been for a good few years – fucking terrifying for any with an eating disorder. I was at CHM EDU (I figure I shouldn’t name places exactly, that’s just initials, so it’s not as bad?). Anyway, that final admission was to see if I could make a real change. I’d been in hospital constantly for over four years at this (and on and off for three years before then) point and only had NG tubes or drinks (mostly drinks), and this was my last chance, in effect. I was being given a real chance to start eating food, and gain weight and comply and work with them.
This is a huge change to my other admissions. I was a nightmare, I’ll admit it. At one point I was being restrained by five men four times a day just to get a tube down my throat. Once, I made every patient in the dining room wait for three hours because I wouldn’t drink (that there was their ‘tactic’ for making me comply). I’ve absconded more times than I can remember. I’ve ended up in general more times than I can remember. At one point I was ending up being blue-lighted about once a week from self-harm. I’ve overdosed more times than I want to admit.
So, this time was different, in some ways. I did cooperate. I didn’t overdose once. I self harmed only superficially. I sat down to every meal. I didn’t always complete, but it was better than usual. I wasn’t perfect. I still purged. I still had arguments with my consultant and dietician. But I tried. I actually ate food! For the first time (by then) in nearly five years, I ATE FOOD. REAL FOOD. BY CHOICE. Not like having syringes of ice cream mixed with peanut butter, or some other concoction, trying to be shoved into my mouth with those big syringes whilst under restraint. (And, yes, that did happen. And I can’t remember how many times.)
But, basically I didn’t do enough. My inspiration and the the reason I carried on was because I was offered a place on this DBS trial by Rebecca Park if I managed to make BMI 13. But I didn’t, by about 0.4. So, I sort of gave up. I stopped eating food again, except for porridge in the mornings (that was the easiest).
Thus, I was discharged. My God, it was last April. Look how bloody long I’ve lasted! Most amount of time I’ve been out of hospital in 8 years. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make me proud. I wish it didn’t.
Look, I’ve been telling you you about DBS and it’s turned into the history of my ED just about (there are lots of other bits obviously, particularly about the early days, how it started).
SO, DBS. The theory is that stimulating the nucleus accumbens, highlighted in the first diagram) can help patients with EDs. Or specifically people who have SEEDs (Sever and Enduring Eating Disorders). The nucleus accumbens is the reward centre of the brain; theory being that this can help people cope with a different lifestyle.
It’s completely in trial stage: twenty people have undergone it in Canada with pretty positive outcomes, but twenty means nothing in scientific terms. There’ve been a few trials in the UK (maybe a few individuals). The woman running the trial is Rebecca Park, and we’ve been in contact. I made a contract with myself to reach that BLOODY BMI, and you know what? I did. What I’d failed to do in hospital for so many years, I managed living with my parents. What does that mean? I’m not sure.
We were in contact yesterday. I’ve done my bloody bit, and it’s been been fucking awful, let me tell you. But, one of her colleagues is now off sick, and their scanner hasn’t even started to be fixed – I did know that it needed work, but that was months ago. And there’s no funding from the government. So, we’re talking about June when the scanner’s fixed, and god knows when with the funding.
I’m so angry. I DID MY BIT. I know it’s no one’s fault, but it’s just so unjust of the university. For the first time in my life, I was actually fighting my ED.
You know what? I can’t be bothered anymore. And I full well know – I’ve been told enough times by every sodding person I’ve seen since yesterday – that it’s throwing away what progress I have made. But this was it.
I told myself this was my last chance. I said something had to change before I was 25; it’s a significant year for me. You know what? I’m 25 in six days.