If I had a pound for every time someone said that to me over the last 5-6 years then i’d be incredibly rich right now but life doesn’t work like that.
Writing this post is probably one of the most personal things I think i’ll ever write but if it can help at least one person then that makes it worthwhile.
In 2014 I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, a mental health condition that completely wrecked my life until the start of this year. It’s a funny thing getting diagnosed because the moment you hear them words, your mind automatically responds with ‘well you’re not thin enough to have that’. It’s almost like a challenge because getting recognition that you’re thin is what you strive for but with Body Dysmorphia you still don’t feel like it’s enough every single time you look in the mirror. I think that diagnosis for me was the catalyst of hitting rock bottom.
The reason i’m writing this blog is because 1.6 million people just in the UK alone suffer from an eating disorder. 50% recover, 30% improve and 20% remain immeasurably ill. Just let that sink in. Eating disorders affect millions but only half will ever be ‘cured’.
Imagine the feeling of waking up every morning, skipping breakfast because you felt like it would make you more fat and bloated, getting to lunch and realizing at work you had to make it look like it wasn’t an issue so having a 500 calorie lunch. But wait, you just ate 500 calories for lunch.. now that means you can’t have dinner. Then comes the dreaded weighing that fuels your desire to lose more weight. I soon plummeted down to 5 stone. That was my constant for 5 years.
The pictures above show just how much anorexia took a toll on my life. The one on the far left was at my worst around 5 stone and i even edited it to try to make my body look bigger as i was so appalled for the first time and this was one of the first things that made me realize I needed help.
One of the worst things about anorexia is the constant fear of gaining weight. If I took one more bite of a sandwich than i’d estimated in my head the whole afternoon was full of anxious thoughts about my weight and how much more work I had to do at the gym to burn off all that ‘fat’ that i’d put on. At my lowest it was winter and anyone who’s suffered will tell you that these are the worst months of your life as you physically can’t keep warm, despite the 10 layers you put on.
I remember countless conversations with my mum about how she just couldn’t watch me any longer lose any more weight and just become a shell of myself and to this day I wish i could take back the pain that i caused my family worrying about me but it slowly came to resonate in my head.
Now Anorexia always has a cause, it may have many when you unravel them but at the bottom there was a big underlying issue of mine. I remember the first time my lovely NHS Councillor said to me that it was derived from a fear of being rejected, cause heavily by the lack of relationship with my birth father (who just for the record is a massive waste of space). I heavily rejected that thought straight away but have come to learn that not being in control of certain aspects of my life made me feel that constricting my eating was the one thing I could actively control. It was my outlet for my feelings and it shouldn’t have been.
If you’d have told me last year that i’d have pretty much fully recovered and the thoughts that I get in regards to my eating are probably around 5% of my day i’d have told you where to go. But thanks to my wonderful support system with my friends and family. But mostly thank you to my incredible and perfect boyfriend. I now eat like a crazy woman and you gave me the strength and love to do that. You gave me the confidence to believe in myself and for the first few months you loved me for the both of us. I only started feeling confident in myself and my life because of you. You saved my life and i’ll be forever grateful. So I owe you..some donuts. I love you forever.
I feel like my chapter on this is now closed, it doesn’t control my life now like it once did and although my anxiety comes out occasionally, i’m a very different person now to the shell I once was. The first step to recovery is always acceptance of the eating disorder. It all has to come from you and no one else, no one can push you into it and make your mind up for you. Self belief and worth will come, but it’ll take time. It’s not a quick fix but every hurdle you over come by eating one more chip will honestly give you that confidence to do it over and over again. When I eat now, I don’t think about how many calories i’m putting on. I do it because I enjoy it and you can make it to that place if you really want to.
If any of you are reading this and you feel like you’ve gone through it, have anxiety, need some guidance or help. Then my direct messages are always open on instagram or on here and there really are a few amazing charities who do such a good job and are medically trained to help!
That was tough writing but if it helps one person, i’ve done my job.