Thursday, 27 February 2014

Crushing Disappointment

Well today was supposed to be THE day, I had eagerly booked a doctors appointment for a prescription  review and to see how I was doing with my recovery. I woke up early, eager to get to the appointment, I was already planning how I was going to celebrate, thats how certain I was that everything was going to go my way.

It didn't.

I had already resigned myself to the fact the my medication probably wasn't going to be reduced - next Thursday marks the end of the current round of treatment, plus March is gearing up to be a pretty hectic month for me - but I think if i'm being honest that I was still hoping for some sort of reduction. I'm lucky, my GP is fantastic at cutting through the BS she saw straight away that I was worrying and after a discussion we decided to make another appointment for a months time where I am reassured that my medication will be reduced slightly.

I was also hoping for some sort of improvement with the ED, sure I know that my head isn't in the right place yet but I am working ridiculously hard to get myself there. I've come to accept that food will probably always be a problem for me. I battle every day to get myself to eat something, enough to hit that magic calorie intake, yes sometimes I fail (more often than not if i'm being completely honest) but I try I try so hard. So it was a huge shock to me to discover that not only have I not put on any weight but I've actually managed to lose some. I cannot tell you just how disappointed I am with myself, it feels as if all my hard work has been in vain. What is the point in trying so hard if I am not going to see any results at the end? I can't spend the rest of my life fighting a losing battle.

I've cried  A LOT. I am annoyed and angry with myself, I have questioned every food related decision I have made, then I've cried some more. I am not ready to give up just yet. I am not prepared to just roll over and let this shitty illness keep me from living the rest of my life. Sure today I took a massive step backwards, but I'm not going to let myself wallow in self pity, I have too much to live for. I've given myself too many allowances from now on it's time to get tough.

Monday, 24 February 2014

My Path

This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week throughout my recovery I have strived to support and help as many people as I possibly can whilst raising awareness for EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified). I have written a lot about my recovery but I don't think I have written about how I got to this point in my life.

I wasn't born hating my body, I was an active child, I loved running, jumping, dancing, exploring etc... I loved what my body could do, I loved ballet class and playing sports, I don't think I was aware of what 'fat' or 'thin' was. I cannot remember my body ever being criticised by anyone and up until the age of 11 I was lucky enough to never have been bullied. Life changed for me when I went to Secondary School, I already knew by this point that my life would revolve around dance, I was academic and loved to learn which unfortunately meant I was bullied. I was teased for my love of dance, for the fact that I would often miss events due to a dance class, my hair was never right, nor was my make up and for the first time I was aware of body, or more importantly the lack of development. Girls around me were growing boobs, starting periods and beginning to date boys, I often felt left behind and couldn't join in conversations about periods and bras as I wasn't there yet. Don't get me wrong I was lucky to have amazing friends who I laughed constantly with and who made my school days happy despite the internal upset. It was at this point that I started to restrict food, I thought I was being clever and that I was hiding it well, luckily I wasn't - my mom sat me down and explained to me that food was fuel that unless I started eating more I would be unable to carry on dancing, at the time this was enough to push me back onto the right path. I stopped restricting food but I did develop a new habit at the time it didn't have a name but now it is known as 'chew and spit', I got to satisfy my desire for sweets without actually having to digest them. This stopped almost as quickly as it began and I settled back into an easy relationship with food.

Through therapy I have discovered that that last sentence is in fact a lie, whenever life has been difficult for me I have punished myself with food, at times I wanted to be invisible, I didn't share my thoughts and feelings with anyone around me as I was scared of being judged. I think I always knew I had a problem but instead of confronting it I kept it a secret, one hidden away in the very depths of my being. In the months leading up to my wedding I was proud of myself for not being a bride on a diet, for being able to keep myself in recovery. Yet this all changed when we went to the Maldives on our honeymoon - I stopped eating meat out there and became obsessed with where the food was from, how it was prepared and whether or not it was 'safe' to eat, all normal fear I hear you say, but for me the fear opened a box that had been locked away and forgotten about. Slowly but surely I let the eating disorder  back into my life, at first I didn't notice her until one day I woke up to discover she had effectively taken over. 

I'm not prepared to go into the ins and out of my descent into relapsing - I think it would be too triggering both for myself and others, but I do know that this relapse has been the worst one yet. I have been clawing my way out of the hole for some time and although I am nowhere near being recovered I know that I will get there one day.

As an EDNOS sufferer I don't fit the 'typical' picture of someone with an eating disorder, yes I am slim but not to the point that people would look at me an know instantly there is a problem. This is the part I have really struggled with, can I really have an eating disorder without the anorexic label? Through research and lots of detailed talks with my therapist I have realised that eating disorders are more of a mental issue than I ever realised - the problem isn't with my body, its with my mind, the way it alters my belief system about food, the way is messes with my reflection in the mirror. Recovery is about addressing everything, not just the food issues.

Everyday I have to remind myself that the ED voice is a lie, she wants me to punish myself, she wants me to be invisible, but I won't let her. I know I am strong enough to fight, strong enough to recover and hopefully strong enough to be able to inspire others.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

End of the road?

Tomorrow is my last eating disorder therapy session, does this mean I am recovered, absolutely not! This week I've been particularly bad, whilst I don't want to disclose numbers I know I am surviving on less than half my recommend calorie intake. I'm terrified about what will happen once that support has disappeared, I've spoken to by GP and she has told me that if I need more help then I'll have to join a TWO YEAR waiting list - I'm not sure I can do that. Two years is an awfully long time to go with no professional support. I'm lucky that I have an incredible support network around me, people who are desperate for me to recover, yet that desperation worries me. In a therapy session I can be completely honest, spill out my darkest fears and talk candidly about my feelings, I just don't think that is possible with the people you love. I feel like I have a weight of expectation on my shoulders, not just my own hopes for recovery but also those of everyone who loves me.

I have been told daily that I am an inspiration, by complete strangers on twitter to friends, yet I feel I am living a lie. How can I be inspiring others to fight for recovery when I am doing so badly? How can others take my words and turn them into inspiration to eat when I cannot? What on earth is going to happen to me when I am on my own? Tomorrow will mark a big step forward for me, the biggest one I have taken on my recovery journey so far, and I am terrified about where I am going to end up.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Life is a roller coaster...

...and I want to get off. I'm not sure how much longer I can deal with the incredible highs and the insufferable lows anymore. I have two therapy sessions left, do I feel ready to not have that security blanket there - no. I'm scared that I'm not strong enough, not recovered enough to make sensible choices when it comes to food. 

This weekend has been one hell of a ride. I was on cloud none on Thursday after managing two sips of milk (I'm hopeful that this summer I'll be able to enjoy ice cream) yet that disappeared on Friday after dinner when I had to sit on my hands to stop myself from purging. I've restricted food intake this weekend and suffered because of it, I've been tired, miserable and had one heck of a headache, that doesn't sound like someone making sensible choices to me.

In a desperate attempt to gain some normality in my life I finally sat down and wrote out a meal plan, I'm hoping that having everything written out in front of me will help silence the voice. Right now I'm willing to try anything.

Sunday, 2 February 2014


Wow I can't believe that it's now February, January seems to have flown by whilst all dragging on - not sure if that makes any sense at all but hey ho! I have decided to start a little series of posts celebrating what I have achieved in the past months and outlining my hopes for the incoming one.

In January I:
Learnt to knit - post coming soon!
Enjoyed a photoshoot with my husband.
Tried (and loved) aerial hoop.
Started to recognise the symptoms of a relapse and have made efforts to stop it in it's tracks.
Began to learn a new language - review coming soon!
Started my next lot of teaching exams.
Starting thinking about a holiday :)

In February I:
Want to continue my recovery.
Enjoy regular dates with my husband.
Make a better effort to stay in touch with my friends.
Make more time for myself.

It's kinda exciting for me to see the small improvements I am making every day, I am gradually getting stronger and learning to realise that a bad day does not equal bad recovery!