Today has been a very weird day, and all of a sudden I find myself pacing the kitchen and wanting to just blurt from the start and work out where I am on my journey. Here goes:
1)As an under confident teenager, I always felt super aware of what others thought of me. I wanted to get perfect grades, be the perfect friend and look perfect.
2)Then I decided, subconsciously that perfect= thin. After an entire childhood of being a fussy eater, who picked at food, never finished things, weighed myself from a young age, liked being ill to lose weight and had phases of liking food to weigh under 100g, my body seemed to be the answer to control.
3) The lead up and the process of taking my exams made me begin to cut down lunch (eventually to nothing) and count calories. Over the summer this continued to be something that played on my mind increasingly.
4) A transition from that part of my schooling then made me feel more uncertain about who I was and whether I would be liked and coupled with the pressure of my first adult group performance I started to crumble under the pressure, and my need to lose weight and be on top of my life was growing constantly.
5) The more I was asked about my new habits, the more I denied there was a problem, but underneath a tiny bit of me knew that the strain I was putting my body through was actually a massive cry for help. Needless to say, I continued restricting, worrying and trying to convince myself (through discussions with friends and family) that I was “absolutely fine”
6) While I consistently achieved good grades, my emotions began to run away with me and I felt like crying all the time; in fact, almost anything could spark tears as I isolated myself.
7) When I finally got told that my eating was “disordered” and “had I heard of anorexia?” I was well aware in my well mind that I had a problem, yet it felt like a friendly voice that was going to give me what I wanted. A refusal of proper help then made me convince myself further into denial and further into unhealthy patterns.
8) Another summer had passed by this point, and I went back to the start of my final year- another daunting and uncontrollable period. Luckily for me though, I found a couple of people who have turned out to be invaluable support to me.
9) Professional help turned out to be pretty useless and usually more stress than gain, and so I became more reliant and grateful to those who were helping voluntarily, yet doing the job a million times better!!! Over the next break, panic broke out and in came the bulimic purging method (too embarrassed to write the physical action :S…) Both of those things terrified me to a state of sitting on the floor in floods of tears, alone, and unsure of how I was ever going to get out of the mess.
10) As ever, the help I was offered at this point was short lived and left on my own things carried on spiralling. My short lived period of “binges” (only ever eating outside of my restricted plan, not a full on feast but it felt like it!) led me into the lowest I have ever felt. The guilt of eating and then the subsequent guilt of doing such a disgusting thing by being sick was unbearable. Everyday I would think what the world would be like if I didn’t exist, and how that would make everything go away. My panic persisted, and I felt I was fighting a losing battle.
11) Inamongst all of this though, some of me was fighting very hard to keep going and getting through each day. That plus some of the most kind and supportive people ever helped me have a reason to leave the house everyday. I was fortunate that I was rarely on my own in the most desperate and emotional moments and so I kept on going and hoping that I would reach some kind of calm at some point.
12) Back into having “proper” help, and back came the added stress of numerous challenges and certain annoying therapists. As an A* student, with a lot of determination and ambition, being spoken to like a child almost made my eating disorder rise to the fight and battle against her. Sadly, I seem to have been on the receiving end of a lot of incompetence which has added to the large vocabulary of negative phases I have about myself as it is. Not all of it has been bad, but the system basically makes you wait until something drastic happens before you get the required help, and even then, I discovered not all of it would be helpful!
13) Moving on in education again was becoming closer and so I knew there were some barriers I had no choice but to overcome. With those things my intrinsic determination has got me through some difficult moments and out the other side. 🙂
I have gone a full circle and ended up back in a time of uncertainty, which I am controlling by maintaining and strengthening the restriction of my intake and by doing a lot of exercise. Although my perspective has changed a huge amount and I am able to keep anxious thoughts at bay most of the time, I am still fixated by my food, my body and my constant need to organise my life. I often think about whether my life is important and when I travel, I hear the thought “imagine if you jumped onto the track/road/out of the plane.” I wouldn’t say that I was happier as such, but I would certainly say I have grown and learned how to live with my situation. That might not be seen as a good thing- surely I should be in it or out of it and be “recovered”… well, I think you can be going backwards, forwards or living with both the ups and the downs. That is where I am right now: sometimes trying to fight and sometimes trying to hold on.
I am unsure as to whether I can ever feel at peace with my diet, or whether the strength of my feelings now are to powerful to ever be fully gone. In regard to that, it is true that I do have a “companion” in my illness and so whatever it takes to keep my label, I will do it. It is not uncommon to go on for years keeping yourself at an acceptable level of risk and so I know that I can hold on to my situation, while not being seen as completely out of control and lose the things that are important to me.
I am well aware that I need to be in that “ok” place and not below it, or all of my aspirations will be crushed. In many ways I would definitely say that I have lost some of my life in all of this, but I continue to learn a lot about life in general and myself as a person through the good and the not so good decisions I make. At no point in the immediate future do I wish to gain weight, or stop my exercise addiction but I do want to be at a stable enough place to keep on going with my life. Everything happens for a reason and so I wouldn’t wish that this wasn’t happening to me. When the time has been right in the past things fell into place here and there, so I have confidence that that can happen again.
Right now my biggest hope is that I move on in a situation that can grant me the help I know I need to avoid changes overwhelming me any more than I imagine AND that I am able to also do well in the coming stage of my life. Everything is crossed..