Friday, 7 March 2014

ED and Quality of Life (QoL)

Why do we want ED victims to get treatment quickly? By now, you likely have a good idea of a few reasons....
1) ED can kill victims quickly and without warning, even if the patient looks and feels 'fine'
2) ED is hard to recover from and the longer it goes untreated, the harder it is to recover
3) ED patients need a lot of help and support, so they need professional assistance

But what about the damage that ED does to the person's LIFE? I'm talking about quality of life (QoL), a general term for your health in all aspects (physical, mental, emotional, financial, etc.). QoL is like a summary of your entire life: is it good or bad? Do you have enough money? Are you eating well and healthy? Can you afford to buy what you need and want? Are you happy? Do you have people to support you? Do you feel relaxed once in a while? How stressed are you? Do you ever feel depressed or unable to engage in daily activities of life?

Now let's shift to the effects of ED on a patient's QoL. Finally, I found an interesting article about this: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11136-012-0157-z. Basically, this article followed some sufferers with ED (anorexia, bulimia, and binge) over time. Some recovered, while others did not. The goal of the study was to see how ED influenced their lives in the future - not just on a short-term basis. Can you guess what they found?

Sufferers described that ED had lasting impacts on their lives. Some were depressed, while others stated that they recovered fully. Some still struggled with eating enough (or too much, depending on the ED), while others stated that they still ate by the clock to be safe. Some patients described that they were stronger from their experiences, while others stated that they would never recover and would die with an eating disorder. The researchers were able to make a bold statement: recovered or not, ED has a significant impact of the QoL of patients. In a way, this is bad because some never get treatment and thus do not recover. On the other hand, it may make patients who recovered become stronger, healthier, and wiser. But in the end, whatever the outcome of the ED was, the life of a patient is forever changed.

I can relate to this. My life will never be the same again, now that I have experienced ED. I used to think that I would die with ED because I would never recover.  In recovery, I would cry that I would never be able to sit and eat a meal without crying. But now, after so much hard work (and crying, screaming, shouting, yelling, feeling full, gaining weight, and dealing with all that stress!), I can strongly say that YES, my life is changed. But not in a bad way. Yes, I will always remember my experiences with ED. I will remember the hospital stay and how depressed I was. I will remember how many times I was poked with needles and medications, and how I cannot remember the three months in the ICU when I was sedated. I will remember how I gained weight and had to get rid of all my favourite clothes.

BUT I will also remember how I became stronger and wiser. How I wrote this blog and did many interviews and got published many times. Or how I gained the support and love of family, friends, and people who read my blog. I will remember how I suffered and how this taught me to take care of my body and ignore people who judge me based on my appearance and body shape. I will remember how I became a better nurse, caring for all my patients with love and respecting their dignity. I will remember how my experiences in the ICU made me appreciate life and my family.

Did ED change my life? Of course. But the great news is that it does not all have to be negative. With complete recovery and health, I can remember what I learned and gained from this experience. I can use my experiences and suffering for the greater good - to appreciate my health, life, and to help others. My quality of life IS changed - but for the better. My message to those suffering with an eating disorder or any other illness - whether it be physical, mental, or emotional: your illness does not define you, nor does it have to be a life-long battle that negatively impacts your happiness and life. Be strong and do what you can to help yourself, and realize that all experiences will make you stronger in life and teach you new things that you never imagined you would know. Do not give up - and do not let anyone tell you or make you believe that your illness will inevitably cause you to be depressed or sad for your entire life. My dad always tell me 'the stick that does not break you makes you stronger'. And I never believed him until now, two years after surviving a deadly mental illness.

40 comments:

  1. I do believe in equality and social justice and I believ those who has or had ED deserve the best quality of life


    Hend

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  2. Yes Marina
    That is really true A N is the number one fatal mental health afflictinh youth.
    Early diagnosis and aggressive treatment and plan for ensuring maiantaince of the recovery and also plan for ensuring ED survivor live a good quality of life is very important.
    As always you impressed me with knowledge,talent,credibility and being on top of things and a head of the curve.

    Penny

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  3. This blog helped me a great deal to ignore any negaitve comments or criticism and to always look for positives.
    I learnt to look for what Can I do to make a little difference rather than thinking thta life is "sucks" and it is what it is .

    Carlos

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  4. Hey you did beat ED strong and hard .
    You not only completely recovered and maintaining your school obligations but also writing this blog and helping others and teaching many others not to give up to any mental illness.


    Way to go
    If you read this post again and again you will see how strong you have been and you can see the difference in quality of life after recovery from before.

    Congratulations

    Kelly W

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  5. Holly Marina

    Quality of life is the our number one priority now.
    If We are able to improve quality of life as you articulately explained it here, we have achieve what Health Canada hope for Canadians
    No one without a disease ,but We can live happier and productive though
    Mental health and wellbeing is number one on top of the list and if We make people happier ,will have the best quality of L

    CJ(RN and CDE)

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  6. QOL is my priority.
    Thank you for tackling this issue

    Savana

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  7. What is life if I do not have the quality and happiness


    Magaly

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  8. very well written. Excellent topic.
    Canadians deserve the best QOL

    Jack

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  9. I am enjoying the best QOL since I recovered without relapse 7 years ago. I can see the difference .
    While I was sick I had what you can imagine from fatigue ,pains,sadness,dizziness,anger etc
    Recovery made a big difference in my life (360 degrees change to better)

    ReplyDelete
  10. You see Marina
    The benefits of complete recovery is to have the QOL that you like .
    My impression about QOL is happiness and health

    Mary
    Mississauga

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  11. QOL is something I care about.
    What is the point of being a hard working if We do not have good QOL that = happiness and good health

    Azra

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  12. The pictures are quite impressive

    Arora

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  13. This post is amazing.
    I was not aware about QOL and how is this important.

    Ariana

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  14. This is really good post

    Simab

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  15. You bet
    ED robs victims of all good aspects of life.
    I could not feel any thing while I was sick.
    Now I have the best QOL one can dream of.

    Anne

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  16. I am asthmatic and I know what you mean by QOL as this is important for people who suffer chronic illness as asthma and one has to live life to the fullest despite having the disease

    Kozac

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  17. I was told by the health care team who is looking after me that no one disease affected QOL more than ED and I did experienced the hit and now I am trying to live my life and enjoy every single moment.
    I had enough and I did promise myself "no more suffering, I deserve to be happy and enjoy my life"

    Nanraj

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  18. Optimism is helpful and we should be optimistic no matter what.
    Feeling hope is coming improve QOL
    I learnt this from this blog

    Sebastian

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  19. Talking about QOL means you care about people feelings and not only health=absence of a disease

    Wanda

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  20. The damage that mental illness especially ED cause to victims is way beyond imagination.
    Freedom from this illness is a sunshine to survivors' life and significantly improves QOL

    Mays

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  21. The whole bog and this post are very amazing but I will stop to endorse your dad wisdom, the stick that does not break you, makes you stronger.
    It is very true that with every tough moment we learn something from it.
    We learn from our mistakes more than We learn when do things right.
    I trust you are now more stronger ,tougher, experienced and knowledgeable this year more than last year and of course much more than few years ago.
    Keep up

    Sam Ibrahim
    &6 years old grand grand father
    Burnhamthorpe ,Mississauga

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  22. God has reasons for things to happen even if we do not like now ,We will realize later that God's eye see far a head and God's plan is for our own safety and benefits.

    God wants us happy and feel in peace and May grant us peace

    Sunday Priest

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  23. Hi, I have only recently found your blog but reading through it has helped me understand my own strugles with an ED (non purging Belima). In the Orthodox church it so hard to talk about these isus ( I an Eastern Orthodox) and it was a real help to find a sister in Christ who is fighting simmer issues.

    From my experience ED can destroy quality of life, but it can be restored in recovery but only in the Grace of God and with a lot of help, love and understanding from those around us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Phoebe, and welcome! Im sorry for your struggles... ED sucks. But I am glad you found this blog, I hope it can be a source of comfort and help to you!
      I understand completely your struggles about this illness and religion.But in my experience, no one from my faith community has ever questioned my illness or made me feel inferior because of it. You are loved by Christ, ED or not. A great source of strength for me is understanding that God loves me, and He appreciates my choice to recover and everyday, He strengthens me to continue my recovery. God be with you. I am here for you!

      Delete
  24. I never thought of QOL as not only recovering from a disease but also include social ,family,spiritual,financial and eduactional aspects.
    Thanks Marina for shedding the light on QOL

    Jenn
    Welland

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  25. The pictures all amzaing and intriquing espeacilly the one that describes QOL

    Gangji

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  26. This is amazing psot

    Yara

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  27. Using alcohol for years changed my life and put me to the dumps.
    Abstinence raised me again as Jesus raised the dead.

    QOL only felt after my recovery and back to my Christ

    Clorado

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  28. My father is diabetic and all doctors talking about target numbers re A1C,Cholesterol and blood pressure and eye and feet check but no body asking how he feels and how he likes his life and how he enjoys his days and when and how to socialize .
    Thanks Marina for QOL issue that is to me and my dad more important than diabetic targets

    Maritza

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  29. The best QOL can be achieved if We do not stress ourselves. Many time I see my friends making big deal of every thing. Even with little issue they catastrophe and predicting the worse case scenario and that is why they do not feel hopeful and so get easily stressed and lose the best QOL .

    With my humble respect

    Mohammad

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  30. God has a reason for people who suffer. They will be experienced and stronger. They will handle difficult situation better when they completely recover emotionally and physically.
    I remember when I was in grade 9 I thought is the hardest year but when I passed and went to grade 10 I felt grade 9 was so easy and so on

    S K

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  31. Not only ED or mental health rob QOL .I had sever acne that made me feel terrible and I suffered lots during treatment. Now I am recovered from scarring acne and I am enjoying the best QOL
    Excellent blog

    Monroy

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  32. This post is interesting and I like to hear somebody caring for QOL

    Irina

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  33. So health,education,belief and family all affecting QOL.
    I believe no one have it all .
    So I try to feel good with what I have and with God blessing the little things I have I feel the maximum QOL and I do not worry

    Shady

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  34. Excellent views about QOL and how We can feel better.

    Sandra D

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  35. This blog is a GEM
    !!!!

    Lillian

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  36. This post to me is a GEM as I am hoping to have a better QOL than my current one

    Morandan

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  37. I agree with Lillian. This blog is a GEM

    Kapoor

    ReplyDelete
  38. Since I starting read your blog regularly. I have been feeling as if I got the best QOL I was hoping for .

    Gerry

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  39. I am hoping to have the QOL that this post is talking about.
    What is the point of having a job,education or money if you do not have a qgood QOL.

    Excellent post Marina


    Saroosh

    ReplyDelete