Thursday, 28 February 2013

Stopping behaviours and recovery?

I've been doing some work in therapy recently about looking after myself a little more and making room for a little bit of 'me' time - and whilst I always assume I never have 'time' to look after myself, on my day off yesterday Nathan and I went shopping at Westfields yesterday in attempt to treat myself. Whilst that succeeded in some forms, I told myself I wanted to buy myself some new clothes - as it's something I rarely do.

Why I rarely buy clothes for myself links back to my history with an eating disorder. I rarely try clothes on in shops, often thinking I look too 'fat' for them or that I don't have the body to carry it off. Yesterday, I begun walking into clothes shops, freaking out at every turn and barely even picked up anything before walking straight back out of the shop again. The clothes almost intimidated me. The shop assistants intimidated me, the thin, delicate customers wandering amongst the clothing they could clearly look good in made me feel awful, panic rushed through my head and I just froze.

I guess what yesterday taught me was that I have far more work to do than I ever thought I did. I try and mask the fact that I still have problems and insecurities because I want to look strong, for my amazing friends who I met on this journey, my blog and channel viewers, and my family, but in reality I'm a lot weaker than I make out and am still struggling internally.

I guess the difference is now that I don't use behaviours to take these thoughts out on myself. Nathan helped me immensely through my self-injury and eating disorder, and going back to both of them, although tempting at times, would mean radical implications on not just our relationship, but my job, my degree, and everything I've 'worked hard' for. I know in that sense, rationally, I've come a long way. I have thoughts of self-injury and suicide but this time, Nathan comes first. And that's what has changed.

However, I still have the same thoughts towards myself that I have had since I was young. I still think I'm fat. I still hate myself. I don't think I deserve to be happy. I still live with regrets. I still think I'm worthless and good for nothing. I put on a front when I'm silently struggling, fighting a war with myself. And I've realised that I need to tackle that now.

You can stop self-harming, stop the overdosing, stop starving yourself, do what the doctors and therapists and psychiatrists tell you to do to stay alive. Sometimes that's the easiest part. It's that inner battle, the self-hatred, the constant voices telling you you're shit at everything and not worth anyone's time that is the most difficult part. Because for me, those voices have been there since I can remember. And I'm finally realising that I need to tackle that now, because I'm not going anywhere with my life. I'm unhappy because I'm not going anywhere and part of that is because of all this hatred towards myself. I feel like I don't deserve a life and I don't want to feel like that anymore.

I'm now starting to embark in new private counselling, something I've been quiet about as I'm quite ashamed but not quite sure why. Hopefully this will be the start of something new that I've needed to tackle for a long time.

 We should never be ashamed to admit that we need help.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Eating Disorders Awareness Week


I very rarely speak about my past eating disorder on my blog. It’s something that still, to this day, I never like to fully admit to, despite only receiving a formal diagnosis for it back in 2010, struggling with eating issues since the age of 13.

It’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week this week, and for it, I put together this collaboration video to raise awareness. The wonderful ladies in this video are all at different stages of their recovery, whether it be just admitting they have the illness, in recovery, or fully recovered. They speak openly and brutally about the impact that an eating disorder has had on their lives. 3 days into this week and the video has received almost 2000 views. I'd encourage you to watch it and share it, not just with family and friends but with your dieticians, therapists, schools. I think we can definitely get a strong and powerful message out there. 

Last night I was looking through old diaries of mine. It's something I guess I shouldn't do, but it's sometimes interesting to look into the past and work out how and why you are the way you are.
I never really identified a 'point' where all of my issues begun to develop, which I think is what is frustrating for me. I was 12/13 years old, bullied excessively and I hated myself because of that, but I always wonder where I ever got the idea to starve myself or to cut myself and it frightens me, really. At that age I should have embraced being a kid.

In my diaries I never once mentioned that I had an eating disorder or that I was anorexic. Yet I spoke about how much of a success it was that I ate so many calories in one day, would call myself fat in capital letters on a consistent basis, and always mentioned how teachers were pointing out how thin I was and I just lied to them, straight up. 

Because I was never hospitalised for my illness I never saw it as serious, hence why I tend to speak more about my depression and anxiety in my blogs. I know I had a problem but never thought it was worthy of people being worried over me. I was terrified of people thinking I looked normal, and therefore, not anorexic. Now, I'm still slightly underweight and when I look back I do notice my face and my arms looking noticeably different. But it doesn't feel like that was me. The girl who didn't buy food in her school canteen or refused to eat in school for 6 years. The secretive one, who would put a lasagne in the oven, throw the lasagne in the downstairs bin yet leave the packaging in my kitchen bin so my parents would be convinced I ate it. The one who every now and again, would sneak in one of her Mum's diet pills or two, or five. The one who was even afraid of drinking water infront of her own deputy head teacher. The one who thought she was 'too fat' to have an eating disorder. The one who was fed up of being a failed anorexic so tried to purge as well, and succeeded twice. My teachers used to just repeat how thin I was on a consistent basis and I just thought I looked disgusting. 

Even writing this blog is taking me longer than expected, as I'm finding it hard to remember all the things I used to do. I think I've made a huge attempt to block my teenage years out of memory. They were full of complete darkness, pain and secrecy and I'm ashamed to say I lived my teenage years in that way. 

I need to forgive and forget my past mistakes and move on but sometimes it's not that easy. And it really does demonstrate the everlasting impact that an eating disorder has on you. I guess I'd describe mine as a state of confusion, never really knowing where I was or what I was doing. I never really realised how much I hated myself at the time because I saw it as normal, and now, in a period of self-acceptance I look back and can't believe how much I punished myself for everything. No-one deserves to go through that.

I'm not really sure where I was going with this blog post (rambling, as per usual) but I guess I've been looking back with regret over the past few weeks. I'm feeling a little fragile and not as strong and inspiring as people make me out to be. It's a strange feeling.

Please watch the video I put together, share and link it around - together we can raise awareness and make a difference. 


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Juggling

Have been feeling incredibly run down over the past few days. My headaches and earaches are returning, I've lost a little bit of weight, I'm developing mouth ulcers which are really painful and not allowing me to speak properly or eat, and I'm just generally tired.

I really hate being so pessimistic on the blog as of late - but I guess posting here is all about honesty, right?

I've got an awful lot on my mind and on my plate at the moment and I've really just had enough of it, running away would be the cowards way out but somehow it seems like the easier option. Not that I'm ever sure where I would actually run TO. It's not even running away in a literal sense, just quitting everything and hiding away, where I won't be hurt and affected by everything. Protected and safe in my own bubble.

I know that life isn't like that and I can't be safe but I guess I'm fed up of feeling as worthless as I do. There are so many obstacles that I have overcome in the last few years especially, yet there seem SO many more to work on, and I guess I don't have the energy to fight that anymore.

I've spent such a long time promoting the idea that you must be positive and how recovery is 100% worth it, and it is, but something is always dragging me back alongside it. As soon as I get my hopes up, something crashes me back down to earth again. I want to give up, so badly. In a sense I think I am starting to already. For the first time in a long time, I am asking myself if it really is all worth it.

My Dad has already confronted me about the amount I'm taking on right now. Saying he's worried that I'm not looking after myself. And he's perfectly correct, yet looking after myself doesn't seem to be an option when there's too many other things in my path. And besides Nathan, I literally have no-one to offload these feelings onto, meaning I store them until they manifest into one of these killer headaches I'm having right now!

Nathan is my life and everything I have and without him I would have fallen apart a lot more than I have right now. He keeps me going and reminds me that I should stay on that path, of hope. But boy is it tough.