Hello world! I guess I should tell you a little bit about myself and why I’ve decided to set up this blog. So. Deep breath. Full disclosure alert…When I was about 13, I developed an eating disorder.
Things got real bad for a few years, and then somehow they got better. For a while. I went to University convinced that things would be different – after all, wasn’t I 18 and a proper adult now? (hahahahah). It wasn’t long before things started to spiral out of control again and three years later, I was graduating in full on breakdown mode, not that you would guess from looking at my graduation photos.
Less than a year later, after months of struggling and fighting for help, I found myself voluntarily admitted to an inpatients unit for eating disorders. I was officially diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, Purging Subtype and Severe Anxiety Disorder. By that point, I was spending most of my days curled up in bed. I had no energy to do anything else and my brain was in a permanent haze.
I was lucky.
As a rule, the unit only took patients who were at a BMI of 15 or under, and despite me losing weight just to meet their requirements, I was skimming just over that.
Perhaps it was the fact that I was losing weight, perhaps it was the fact that I was purging an insane amount; whatever the reason, they accepted me into the unit.
My first day there, after a full medical and bloods, they discovered my potassium levels were so low it was a miracle my heart was still beating, and so, only a few hours into my stay, I was taken by ambulance to hospital where I spent the next few days hooked up to a drip.
Once that side of things had been fixed, I was taken back to the ward
The relentless schedule of three meals and three snacks a day began (totally normal for most, hell on earth for someone with an eating disorder). I left five months later, much better than when I had arrived, but still classified as underweight, still on antidepressants, still with osteoporosis and osteopoenia in my hips and spine. On the other hand, I felt more like myself than I had done in years. I could think actual thoughts, was feeling emotions again (those I wasn’t too happy about :P), the constant brain fog was gone. I no longer felt like the best thing for everyone was for me to just die and be done with it. Silver linings huh?
This year, Facebook reminded me that I was discharged 7 years ago ( I can’t decide if I love or hate that Timehop app) which freaked me out because it really doesn’t feel that long at all. I’ve had countless relapses. Recovery is messy, and the real hard work begins after discharge. I’ve given up so many times; change has felt impossible much of the time. This illness has been part of my life for more than 15 years – it developed in those crucial formative teenage years which means my normal emotional and physical development was affected. I felt like why try to change, when this is all I am and this is all I know?
After sensing yet another relapse on the horizon a couple of years ago, I decided enough was enough.
I vowed that by the time I was 30 I would be done with this eating disorder! So I asked for help again. God knows I didn’t want to because it felt like a huge step backwards. I didn’t want to let my family down in particular. I was supposed to be ok wasn’t I? I mean, after 5 months as an inpatient, months in outpatient care and countless hours in therapy, you’d think so right? Apparently not. I could feel things slipping away from me yet again, so I went to my doctor and asked for help.
So anyway, here I am, nearly two years of therapy down the line
and things have somehow clicked into place. I’ve finally got to a place where I no longer use my eating disorder to cope with life. I still have bad days where negative thoughts swirl round my mind. I still have anxiety. But I no longer purge, I no longer starve myself, I no longer have osteoporosis (yaaaaaaass!) and every day I’m just so grateful for still being alive.
Soooo in a very roundabout way, this leads me onto why I’m writing this blog…
When I was really ill, often the loneliness was overwhelming. I desperately wanted to open up and talk about how I was feeling, but the words stuck like toffee in my throat. If only one person reads this blog and feels less alone, even just for a moment, that would make me happy! If I can also give hope by showing that recovery is possible, then that would make me happy also! I’m not at the end of my recovery journey, far from it, but never in a million years did I think I’d be where I’m at today. In fact, I kinda thought I’d be dead by now.
I don’t only want to talk about mental health though, because I am so much more than this illness. I’m passionate about the environment and sustainability, I’ve gone vegan, and put on weight since doing so, just sayin’!
I have hit a snag in that, after years of punishing my body, I have digestive problems, which can make putting on weight on pretty tricky and means I pretty regularly in pain. Life has a way of throwing curveballs…
Anyway, I’ll be writing a little bit about everything I’m passionate about because sharing is caring :p
Time to stop rambling. Til next time!
Mind, Body, Soul <3