A year and a bit ago I wrote a post called 'A Desire To Be Perfect'. I remember exactly how I felt when I was writing it, it was a feeling of sadness I wouldn't wish on anyone. My oh my how I've grown.
Never in my life did I think I'd be at a stage where I could openly talk about any of this and say 'I got through it' and yet here I am doing so. Before I properly start, this post deals with Eating Disorder struggles, I would therefore recommend you don't read this if you're triggered by that. Having said that, this is a recovery story and will hopefully keep a positive tone overall.
You don't necessarily need to go back and read my last post, as I only briefly touched on the topic of Eating Disorders to avoid being asked questions. I know that by talking so openly about all this I'm putting myself at risk of losing a lot of people. I found an amazing quote today "When we break our arm, everyone runs forward to sign the cast. When we say we have depression, everyone runs the other way." But despite how incredibly nervous I am to be posting this, something is telling me I need too. If this helps just one person then that is all I could ever hope for.
Here goes eh...
People link Bulimia with 'binging and purging’; I wasn't so much one for binging. I just sort of restricted my food until dinner, after that I'd go away and make myself sick. It's just shameful to look back on and also very scary. Such a negative self image was pushing me to practically kill myself and I didn't seem to care... We never had scales in our home so I can't tell you how small I went, I don't think I was ever less than a size 6 but I certainly wasn't healthy. We really need to fall out of that habit of saying 'but she doesn't look like she has an eating disorder', 'she doesn't look depressed', 'oh she smiled so she's okay', You really have no idea what demons someone is fighting! Around the time I started my GCSEs, all I could think about was food. I can remember I'd crave the burgers from the Rugby stadiums we went too; they were all I could think about all week (they aren't even that good...)
The problem was, I was thinking about food so much because I wasn't eating any! I'd put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to get good GCSE results and so the anxiety of that made it hard to eat. I cut back on the purging massively but I'd gone to the other extreme of hardly eating... Summer came, Wigan won the Challenge Cup, I went to Disneyland and spent around ten weeks with my friends, I didn't really have time to think about food and my weight. I was happy again.
Throughout College I started to suffer really badly with my Mental Health. I look back at the person I was and I don't know her but I know her pain. If you've ever been through depression you know how hard it is to explain what it is that's going through your head. I wanted to be alone but I hated being lonely, I would get angry if my friends were living their lives happily because I wasn't. I couldn't really remove myself from my little bubble of self hate and self destruction. Insecurity got the better of me once again but this time it seemed so much worse. Eventually I got the help I needed and for the first time ever I opened up about my Bulimia. I did eventually come out of that really dark time, I got better at fighting through my hard days. Sadly that feeling of not being good enough remained...
In the last three years after leaving College I've had some really good days and some not so good days. Not long after I posted my last blog post I started to overeat. I'd never been anything more than a size 8 but my clothes were beginning to feel tighter and I didn't feel comfortable wearing anything cropped. I fell back into this horrible habit of comparing myself to everyone, particularly Instagram Models and Influencers. I started heavily editing pictures to look thinner and became scarily obsessed with losing weight again. I'd never been on a diet or joined a gym, I just wanted instant results so I of course made all the wrong decisions... I had put so much pressure on myself to lose the weight immediately that my old self was making me do ridiculous things.
This is the first time I've admitted to the fact that I did this so recently. I hate that I've put my body through this and I've definitely had my fair share of nasty side effects, but I could sit here and live in regret or, I can learn from it and try to help others. I'd spent a week restricting and making myself sick after meals, I woke up for work one Saturday and I felt weak. I forced myself to go in but my chest hurt, I was short of breath and most of all I was just so hungry. I went home poorly that day and it was then that it hit me just how much I'd been putting my body through. I knew I needed to change.
Change is exactly what I did.
First of all, I had to change my mindset massively! I know for a fact that 17 year old me was in a state of such bad depression that she refused to believe she was capable of changing. She was certainly at a point in which she believed nobody could possibly feel worse than she did. That's the thing though, I've since met people who do have it worse... A lot worse. I've watched people fight battles so much bigger than mine. When I took a step back and looked at the way those amazing people were living their lives, it got me thinking... Why am I living my life worrying? Surely life is too short to be sad. Life is definitely too short to be harming my own body because I don't like the way I look. I mean how ridiculous is that?! God made me the way I am and for that I should love myself.
Body confidence has become so important to me, two weeks ago I reached my ideal weight and for the first time in years I looked at myself and felt amazing! The fact that I did it the right way, by going to the gym and taking care of my body makes me so proud.
The other day I wrote something about how nice it is when people notice you've lost weight but I was wrong... Recently people have been noticing that I look healthy and most importantly happy, that is the best feeling.
In 'The Desire To Be Perfect', I talked about how I missed being happy, mostly how I missed that feeling of a no worry childhood. The minute I started to believe everything happens for a reason, and told myself not to stress over things that can't be controlled, was when I started to feel that happy child within me again. Please believe me when I say no matter how much you're struggling right now, you are going to get through it! You may need to get some help along the way, counselling definitely helped me in managing a lot of my anxiety and depression.
But here's the thing, You don't need to be scared of getting help, you should be more scared of living your life like this. You need to be willing to fight to recover. Okay yes, you're going to have some really bad days but that's nothing compared to the good that's coming...
I think I knew I'd made it out of this the other day when my friend Nadia looked at me and said, "I wish I could take you back three years, just so you could show your past self you now and tell her she's going to be okay."
That was exactly what I needed to hear, I don't think she knows how happy that actually made me! She's right though, I am a different person and it's because for the first time since the age of 15, I feel free! Free of all my pain and free of an eating disorder.
I tend to neglect my blog these days, usually because it takes me a good few days to write something I'm proud to post. For the first time since posting it I read back that very sad blog post... I was first of all annoyed to find I'd made a typo in the middle of it, but I was mostly just hurt cause I remembered how awful I'd actually felt. I'm not posting this for any form of attention, but I got quite a big response from people after last time, mostly very sad people. It was a mix of what Nadia said and knowing the response I got last time that made me feel like I needed to tell people it gets better. Addressing my disorder in full has been very therapeutic and completely freeing, the fact that I'm putting this out there is proving to myself how much I've grown... I've admitted to things I've not really talked about and finally I'm ready to put it all behind me. As I said before, if this helped just one person, that is all I could ever really hope for.