Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The long and winding road

I've never been the sort of person who just spontaneously plans a trip (I'd love to be that person it's just not in my psyche). When I set off on a journey I like to have a good idea in my head of where I am going and how long it will take to get there, maybe this is why I am finding recovery so hard. It doesn't come with a set of directions to follow, it isn't nicely gift wrapped. Recovery is an unknown journey for me, the only certainty is that by the end of it i'll be the one thing I am scared of most in this world, heavier.

People have the misconception that recovery is simply a case of eating more but it really is so much deeper than that. I am having to learn to ignore those voices that tell me food is bad, that enjoying food is greedy. I didn't stop eating because I wanted to thinner, I don't think the skeletal look is an attractive one, I stopped eating to gain some sort of control over my life as I went spiralling into the depths of anxiety. I aspire to have a body like the athletes I cheered on at last years Olympics - strong and functional.

My problem with food goes way back to my early teens, a time when I was suddenly conscious of my body (puberty is a bitch for everyone!) I had aspirations of becoming a ballet dancer, I worked my body hard and then I pushed it even further, I was a typical 'bun head' I lived to be in the dance studio and on stage. My friends were starting to have periods and mine were still absent, I was desperately trying to fit in at school and yet I was different - I knew what I wanted to do, I didn't go out to parties as there was always a dance class I wanted to go to more, I wasn't interested in boys, I wanted good grades and I worked hard to get them. These things singled me out and in an attempt to blend in (or disappear) I controlled my food. This means my eating disorder has been a part of my life for 13 years. Whenever anything has gone badly for me I've coped by restricting my diet, this isn't turned around by simply eating more - if only it was. I need to learn to make choices based on what I want to eat rather than what is the lowest in calories. I need to learn that my self worth isn't measured by how little I've eaten, I need to learn to take control and fight back.

Recovery doesn't come with a set of directions, every single person who is recovering from an eating disorder will be on a different path to mine, one that throws up different challenges. Every step I take is taking me further away from my comfort zone and deeper into the unknown. Is it hard? You bet your life it is, but I have never been so determined to fight in my life.

Monday, 29 July 2013


I don't know about you guys but I seem to spend a large amount of my time shaving, this probably has something to do with my refusal to wear trousers and the fact that when I am teaching I wear strappy tops. Until recently I was spending a huge amount of money each month on razor blades - I'm a bit of a fuss pot as soon as I think a blade needs to be changed it gets changed, using this logic (?!) I tend to get through a blade a week, then my hubby happened to find out about a King of Shaves offer.

King of Shaves is the brain child of Will King, in 1993 he invented the worlds first shaving oil to minimise the pain and irritation he was left with after shaving. 20 years later KoS is a worldwide company offering razors, blades, oils, serums and gels for both men and women (the Queen of Shaves). My first experience of KoS was when my husband brought me one of their razors:

I have to be honest the design fascinated me but also left me a little confused - they look nothing like the razors I have been using for the majority of my life and I don't like change. What a revelation then when I used it for the first time - no tugging on the skin, no cuts, just an amazingly close shave that left my legs feeling wonderful. From that very first shave I was hooked!!

This blog post isn't about a razor though, it is about a subscription that KoS offer - in my opinion it is one of the best things I have ever signed up for. For £4 a month you can have 4 blades delivered to your door, once a month, every month!! I have to admit I am maybe a little bit in love with my razor - it even floats in the bath, for someone who is ridiculously clumsy this means that I can never lose it!

To sign up for the subscription simply go here. I promise you it will be one of the best things you do :)

 Small print - I purchased the above product myself and have not been asked to write a review I jut wanted too!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Friday Letters #031

Woohoo it is finally Friday! This week feels like it has been dragging on for weeks, whilst I am loving having some time off work I am actually starting to get a little bit bored of my own company. With this is mind I have decided to get my craft on and sort out our back garden - so far I have ideas for jam jar candle holders, spray painting branches of our old tree to hang home made bunting on and lots more ideas - cannot wait!!

Dear Twitter - Why are my strangest and old tweets suddenly being favourited left right and centre?! 
Dear Facebook - I am starting to get a little bit bored of you, debating deleting my account but then again how would I fill those random minutes looking at other peoples pictures?
Dear Coffee - I love you!! Looking forward to learning more about you and discovering the secret of making excellent coffee every time.
Dear E.D - You think I'm not strong, you think you can beat me? There are days when you win and then there are others when I know I can fight you no matter what, hopefully those days will start becoming the norm for me.
Dear R - Thank you for thinking you can confide in me, I love you and I am here for you whenever you need me xxx
Dear Felicity - You are the greatest friend a girl could wish for, you have picked me up more times than I can remember and I know you are there whenever I need you. xxx
Dear Stuart - You rock!! That is all xxxx

I hope you all have a great weekend xxx

Thursday, 25 July 2013


It's not very often that a company genuinely shocks me but today O2 have done just that. My phone bill was overdue and as a result a bar had been placed on my phone - not a problem when I am in the house as we have wifi so I was able to keep in touch with everyone thanks to iMessage. Later this afternoon though I have another counselling appointment, I had texted my husband panicking that something might happen and I would have no way of being able to contact him (or anyone else for that matter). Stuart rang O2 and explained the situation to them and the nice person at O2 agreed to lift the bar for me so that I can leave the house without worrying.
This is a huge deal for me, chances are I won't need to use my phone later, but thanks to O2 I know that I can, as a result I feel less panicky and am ready to face the world.

Thank you O2, not only for excellent customer service but also for understanding mental illness - if only there were more companies like you. FYI - my bill is now paid!!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Happiness is...

I feel as though this blog has been all doom and gloom recently so I am going to try and rectify that by posting the things in my life that make me uncontrollably happy.

These Guys:

They never fail to make me smile, they love a good cuddle and they fill my afternoons with giggles following their antics. This is them listening intently to my neighbour getting home in the hope that they would get a fuss from her!


Thanks to it being the end of the school year I have been generously gifted with lots of thank you flowers. The are currently making my house smell amazing and they never fail to make me smile whenever I look at them :)

Blue Skies:

I am sure that I was designed to live somewhere hot, as soon as the sun comes out I instantly feel more energetic and happier. Long live the blue skies we currently have.

This Guy:

The love of my life, my best friend and the person who is keeping me stitched together at the minute :)

Sunset Walks:

This picture was taken during a recent trip to Whitstable, I love nothing more than sitting on the pebbly beach, listening to the waves crashing, it is a perfect place to just lose yourself in the moment.

There are many many more things that are keeping my spirits up at the minute, including you guys for all the messages of support you have sent both on here at over at twitter.

Bad Wife?

This question has been playing on my mind for a while now, I am sure it stems from my struggle with anxiety but it is one that I can't seem to shake off. Stuart is the love of my life, I honestly never thought it was possible to love and trust someone as much as I do him, and yet in the last 10 months he has been to hell and back with me with no end in sight. I am a perfectionist by nature, if I am going to do something then I want it to be done properly, I got married for better for worse I just never in a million years thought the worse parts could be this bad.

Stuart has been through my side throughout all of my struggles, has held me when I have sobbed hysterically, helped me come to terms with my diagnosis, fought my battles and tried so hard to protect from all the things that are triggering me at the moment, yet I keep pushing him away. I avoid those conversations about what is really going on inside my head, mainly because I honestly have no idea how to answer that question at the minute, I shy away from intimacy. I am one of the lucky ones, Stuart supports me 100% he is unflinching in his support and I know he will be by my side forever.

In many ways I am a great wife - I know how big headed that sounds but we really do have lots of fun with each other, we laugh a lot, we enjoy exploring the world together and we have the same ideals and goals for our lives together, yet I cannot get rid of this niggling feeling that perhaps he would be happier if I was more 'normal' (for want of a better word!) This has nothing to do with anything Stuart has said to me and is just yet another example of the turmoil that is going on inside my head.  

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Over the last couple of weeks the question I've been asked the most is 'Why do you want to get better?' it's normal that people want to know what it is that has triggered me fighting back, but I don't always have the answer. I have to be honest and admit I don't really know what the correct answer is, there isn't a goal in my mind and I don't really know who I am without some aspect of control in my life. So who am I - am I the hippie, yoga loving, flower wearing girl? The book loving geek? The history fanatic? Or am I the control freak I am now? The thing I am most scared of is waking up one morning and not knowing who I am, what if I therapy away all of my issues only to find there is nothing left of me?

At the minute having an eating disorder defines who I am but I don't want that to be the case for the rest of my life. My brain is fighting two conflicting battles, I so desperately want to lead a 'normal' life and yet I am terrified of increasing my daily intake. I am loath to talk about calorie intakes, eating disorders by their very nature are competitive and I know that when other people mention how little they are eating I compete with them to try and eat even less, I would hate for this blog to trigger anyone so for now weight and calories will remain private. 

I want to be the girl who can go out for lunch with friends and not have spend hours beforehand browsing the menu trying to figure out what I can and cannot eat, I want to enjoy evenings in with my husband eating ice cream from the tub, but right now I can't, I am surviving on black coffee, fruit and a handful of the food that has made my 'safe' list. I say surviving, I am existing - I am exhausted both physically and mentally. I know what damage I am doing to my body and yet I just can't stop - I want to, believe me with every fibre of my soul I would love to just walk into the kitchen right now and eat - but what if I can't stop? What if giving into the hunger means I just eat and eat and eat? 

So what is my goal to get better? There isn't one, not really, I just want to be me again. I want to live a long and happy life with my husband and I want us to have a family. I want there to be a time when I can look back at these posts and not recognise myself, I want to be proud of everything I have achieved and most of all I long for the day when I can eat properly and not mentally beat myself up about it. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

Friday Letters #030

calais, sunset
Sunset over Calais.

Wow, what a topsy turvy kinda week, I have been overwhelmed with messages of support I have received. Very excited to be on the next step to my recovery :)

Dear Stuart - You rock! Where on earth would I be without you? The last 6 months have been really tough for us, instead of getting annoyed you have stood by my side, held my hand, wiped away the tears and calmed me down during panic attacks. There aren't enough words for me to be able to tell you  how much you mean to me. You really are one in a million xxx
Dear Bailey - I love you but please stop digging holes in the garden!
Dear Tetley - Loving how cuddly you are at the minute, long may it continue!
Dear Twitter - Why are my most random tweets suddenly being favourited left right and centre?
Dear F - Every girl needs a friend like you, you are amazing xxx
Dear Sun - Thank you for finally making a long overdue appearance! Today I am hoping to sit in the garden with a good book and enjoy you :)
Dear Twitter - You really are a good place when you need support, complete strangers this week have confided in me, sent me messages of support and reminded me that the world is a good place.


Enjoy your weekend guys, I hope it is filled with sunshine and giggles xxx

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Yesterday, unlike the song, my troubles weren't that far away, yesterday I made the decision to be honest with myself and finally pressed publish on this post. It was hard, really hard, I sat there staring at the little orange box wondering if I was doing the right thing, wishing there was someway of knowing, before I had chance to talk myself out of it I published the post and immediately shut the laptop down. After a couple of hours had passed I figured that just pressing send wasn't enough, to let people know what I was going through I tweeted a link, again I was terrified - part of me wanted to sit in my own little corner of the world, not drawing attention to myself, pleading ignorance, but that wasn't going to help me.
Last night I was inundated with tweets and messages of support, complete strangers congratulating me on speaking out, other sufferers telling me their stories and telling me that I will get better - I will treasure those messages forever, they will become my motivation, something to look back on when the going gets tough(er), my reason to keep fighting. I want to be able to sit and write a blog post about my recovery, looking back at this time and being unable to recognise myself, I know that time will come, and I know that speaking out yesterday has proven to myself that I am stronger than I ever realised.

To all of you who sent me messages, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


Fighting a daily battle with your body is exhausting, from the moment I wake up until I eventually drift off at night that's exactly what I am currently doing. I don't like to think I have an eating disorder, in fact seeing it there in black and white makes my heart race and I can feel tears pricking at my eyes, but I do and I was doing a pretty good job at hiding it from everyone. My battle with food is a complicated one, one that even I don't fully understand yet but I know I need to be strong.
A typical day will see me exist on nothing but fruit and coffee until the evening when S and I enjoy a dinner together, I obsessively check the calorie content of everything, I exercise excessively, I will make up excuses as to why I need to walk up and down the stairs. My body hurts, my head hurts and the only person to blame is me. There is not a moment during the day when I am not thinking about food, trying to decide what I am going to eat that evening, how I am going to be able to up my exercise to burn extra calories. It hurts, I hurt - the constant battle is exhausting and never ending.

I can't remember when it began, but I have a feeling it has been building for a long time. A couple of years ago I had to take extended leave from work which meant that I wasn't dancing at all, I made a conscious decision to cut down on food then in order to maintain my weight and things have accelerated from there. That fateful day when I made that decision is the reason why (I think) I am now in this position, I know there is more to it than that, but those reasons are personal and I am still working them out with my counsellor, one day I hope to be strong enough to share them with you all but for now I can't.

I long for a day when I can go out for dinner with friends without spending the day worrying about what I am going to order, when I can spontaneously eat without feeling ashamed of myself or panicking about how I am going to fit extra exercise into my already busy schedule. I want to be ok, I want to get better and for me admitting that is the first step to getting better, I need to stop avoiding the issue and accept that there is a problem before I can get better.

My name is Gemma and I have an Eating Disorder.

Monday, 8 July 2013

The Invitation

I stumbled across this poem and absolutely fell in love with it, I decided to share it so that on those days when I need to get out of my head I can read this and remind myself what I have.
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer. 

Lost my mojo

I started this blog because there are always so many thoughts running around my head and I thought this would be a good outlet for them all. Even now, I have 4 half started posts sitting waiting to be finished and yet I have discovered that I can't end them. I have lost my words, I don't know who I am or what I want to say. I feel like I am stumbling through without a destination or a path to follow, however I know that this will pass and I will be back blogging up a storm. I am determined to finish off the posts I have sitting waiting for an ending and then I will make more of an effort to keep up to date with everything that is going on.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Phazey bucket list

This weekend Stuart and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary together. Whilst we were waiting to  catch the ferry home we came up with a list of 30 things to do before our 2nd anniversary. Below is the list and as we tick each thing off I will be sure to update you:

Climb the bell tower in Bruges.
Go on the London cable cars.
Go snorkelling (again).
Have a no phones date night once a month.
Start learning a new language.
Visit a new country.
Run a 10k.
Give blood.
Go camping.
Watch a sunrise.
Learn to make a signature cocktail.
Learn to make/prepare sushi.
Sort our wedding album.
Drink more champagne.
Have one big blowout meal.
Go to a ballet.
Take a dance class together.
Have a winter BBQ.
Get lost somewhere.
Be in 2 places at once.
Maintain the garden.
Climb Mt Snowdon.
Go to the races.
Learn to play an instrument.
Go on a horse ride.
Find a four leaf clover.
Climb a tree.
Plan and pull off a 6 course dinner.
Get a tattoo

Bonus - Break a record!!