Hello my loves!
Before I start this post, I just want to throw a TRIGGER WARNING for anyone who will be affected by eating disorders, talk about purging, weight loss or gain and mental health. I do not provide any weights, calories or numbers in this and I have not included any pictures before, during or after when I was at my worst. If I’ve been insensitive or missed something out, please feel free to correct me in the comments or drop me a message on twitter.
I thought I’d take a slight detour on the blog today away from babbling about my future home plans, fashion choices or organisation- and instead talk about something a lot more personal and close to my heart. Something that needs to always be an open conversation- and something that I’m not in the least ashamed about sharing.
I suffered with an eating disorder for around 5 years.
This isn’t a big secret.
In fact I’ve written about it for other online platforms before. Most people I’m close with know- but it’s something that is, and always will be a part of the person I am.
But the reason that I’m writing this today is for the first time in around 8 months- I felt gross. I felt unhealthy, unmotivated.. and dare I even say fat?
These thoughts sat with me this morning, as I debated what I could allow myself to eat for breakfast after an indulgent weekend and the fact that I’m currently unable to exercise due to a back injury.
I’ve had flutters of these thoughts before- but I think that these are the strongest they’ve been in a while.
Maybe because I’ve put on some weight due to a happy relationship? Maybe because I’ve been busy at work and stressed? Maybe my hormones are making me bloat?
It made me realise though, that this is all part of the recovery process. Set-backs like this and fighting the thoughts- so I wanted to share my story.
My eating problems started when I was about 14. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact date.
I remember that my mum used to make me packed lunch, and around that time I also started getting more pocket money.
I would chuck the lunch in the bin, and buy a lucozade which would give me the energy kick I needed to make it through school, without the feeling of actually eating anything.
It was empowering at first.
I used to look at tumblr pages of tiny girls who clearly were sick. I used to read forums and once I even joined a whatsapp group of hugely mentally unwell young women, who would share tips and tricks to lose weight.
The thing about it was, I wasn’t an anorexic. I was trying to be, so that I could lose weight and embody the girls that I idolised. (Why on earth I craved an eating disorder is a whole other issue, which I don’t even have the words for right now)
I wanted to be thin. I wanted to be like them- and so I tried to starve, just like they were.
Soon this starvation took a toll, so my body did what any smart body would do- and I binged.
It was like a trance. I ate and ate anything and everything that was in my kitchen. Literally, a shark on a feeding frenzy.
Filled with shock and guilt, I swore to myself that I would never ever do it again, and punished myself by trying to eat only a certain amount of calories for the next three days.
But eating disorders don’t work like that.
Once your mind is that warped in that dark place, it’s impossible to just climb out.
I began to think of other ways to lose weight. Better ways, which I thought would mean I could still eat the food I loved- and get the results.
I went on study leave for my GCSE exams which meant that I was home alone all day. Free to binge on whatever took my fancy. Free to be sick if I needed to.
If you know anything about a bulimic, this soon becomes a vicious cycle.
The more you starve, the more you eat, the more you purge… the more you starve, the more you eat… and so on and so on.
It was a self-destructive, painful and awful cycle.
And it was also a secret that I had to keep from the people who were closest to me.
I became really good at hiding it.
My sixth form prom isn’t the glorious night that the pictures make it out to be. I remember trying to make myself sick in the bathroom, whilst holding up my silk prom dress- and wishing with all my heart that I could just go out and dance with everyone else.
I always carried concealer and thick eyeliner to hide any blotching of my makeup.
I knew what I could and couldn’t get away with when I was around family.
The guilt I felt when I finally confided in my mum was overwhelming, but there was a huge sense of relief.
That it wasn’t my burden to bear. I could finally let it all go and start to get the help I needed.
Recovery was a long, awful and painful process for me. And today, still is something that I have to cope with.
I went to therapy, I went on anti-depressants. I used to try writing food diaries to feel any element of control. But all I thought, talked about and did was eat or try not to eat.
University was my turning point.
Nearly 4 years after I’d fallen into this mental health hell I was able to start climbing up again.
I definitely found that my boyfriend at the time was one of the best support networks that I had.
But more than anything, the change had to come from within myself and willing myself to get better.
I had to, and to this day have to make the decision to be well.
I have to try and squash that monster in my head- and ignore the comments and comparisons
I’m not for one second suggesting that you can just decide to be better, because mental illness is far more complex than that.
What I am saying is that you need to allow yourself to get the help you deserve.
I needed those tablets, that therapy, the support of my family and friends. I needed to want that stuff.. and eventually I can say that I haven’t made myself sick in going onto 4 years.
That’s pretty fucking amazing if you think about it.
I want to be thin. Of course I do. It’s what the media has told me right from being a little girl that I should aspire to be.
But I’m at the point now where I can brush that aside. Say fuck it and stick a middle finger up at the bullshit that I’m being fed on social media.
I would much rather have my health, my teeth and a life- than ever be back where I was before.
A couple of weeks ago someone commented on work on what I was eating.
Instead of succumbing to my thoughts, I had to take a breath to remember-
Having issues with food, body confidence and self-image to me is like riding a wave.
Some days I feel healthy, gorgeous, curvy and fantastic in my own body. I see girls of all shapes and sizes- and to me every single one of them is beautiful in their own way.
Some days I can eat what I want, smile and not even think about the size of my jeans. I know that none of it matters- because being a kind, thoughtful and genuine person is really what makes all the difference.
But today, I slipped over. I fell back into my dark place for a bit.
Despite not acting on my impulses for the best part of 3 years- I wanted anyone who suffers, suffered or still fights these thought on the daily- that we’re all in this fight together.
You are more than what you look like.
I’m always here for a word of support, a blogpost to show that even when you might have felt like you’ve conquered something- there are still bad days. I’ve found whole support networks, twitter communities and I’m always staggered by the outpouring of love that most people will give you when you share something this personal with them. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you’re slipping backwards.
And btw, I ate two crumpets smothered in butter this morning.- Totally what I was craving, amazingly tasty and a nice big fuck you to my eating disorder 🙂
Lots of love,