Beating ED, eating disorders, overcoming obstacles, Recovery, respect, Uncategorized, women in the workplace

Love Handles

In recovery, one of the hardest things that I have to deal with are comments about my weight. People often mean well, but these ‘observations’ sting, every time with a newfound pain. For me, a part of my eating disorder revolved around other’s opinions. Sure, I purged for myself – desperately clinging on to any form of control, trying to achieve the perfect body. But a massive part of my ED was about how others viewed me. Did they think I was skinny? Did they see the massive whale that I saw in the mirror? Often, if someone would ever compliment my body, I would grab my stomach or bingo wings and exclaim: “What, you think this is beautiful? You need your eyes checked.” Or, I would say nothing. Blush quietly and smile, while the voices in my head twisted their kind words into hateful thorns, pricking me until I bled out.

I have recently started a new job. It totally revolves around teamwork and camaraderie; we all help each other to get the job done quicker. However, last night, something shook me so badly that I am questioning whether to go back. Many of my colleagues are romanian, and they often speak to each other in their language. Last night, someone told me that while I was working, one of my male co-workers called me fat. “Look at that chubby one. So cute.”

Now, to many, that sounds almost like a compliment. ‘He meant it as a joke! Don’t be so sensitive’. But when you have an eating disorder, being called fat, however said, can be absolutely detrimental, both to mental and physical health. I was in the middle of my shift, and I felt like my heart had been shattered with a sledgehammer, the sharp pieces injecting themselves in my lungs, cutting my breath short. I had spent almost three years in fear of this kind of comment. It had finally grabbed me by the hair, pulling with all it’s might. As I carried on my shift, robotic smile sullenly plastered on my face, I realised. As we work, we often give each other small touches on the shoulder or arm to show that we are there for one another. But where does this stop? The male co-worker in question had been squeezing my ‘love handles’, the small area of fat that just spills over my jeans above my hips, every chance he could get. Waiting in line for our orders. Behind the bar, making drinks. As he walked past me. A couple of times, these touches even went below the belt. I put it down to a friendly touch, to let me know he was there. The same way that I touched the girls in the restaurant. But it wasn’t. This comment, paired with the inappropriate touches, could have meant a month of starving myself. I could have run to the toilet and stayed there, making myself puke until I was numb. Or, the suicidal thoughts could kick in. It only takes one comment to send one spiralling.

I talked to my co-workers, who both said that they had experienced the same thing. We all decided to go to the boss, who handled the situation very well. I received an apology, but he will never understand how this will affect me. My superviser couldn’t promise me that he will be fired. I might have to see this man every day until I leave, and leaving now is not an option. Simply, I need the money. Even thinking about seeing him again is putting a lump in my throat. Seeing his best friend, who may or may not know about the situation (they speak romanian, remember?), who may hate me because I got her friend, someone who has worked there for fifteen years, sacked? Honestly, I am shaking.               The manipulation and control of women in the workplace is still happening in this day and age. This fact makes me sick. What makes me even more sick is that if I didn’t have my ED, I would have let the inappropriate touches go. Dismissed them. It was the comment that spurred me into action, and for that I am lucky. However, I now have to go back into work, somewhere that I no longer feel comfortable. Because of one man. Because of a touch. Because of a comment.

These comments, especially in the workplace, have to stop. These touches do not represent camaraderie. They are not nice. We don’t ask for them. We don’t want them. But how can we stop them? I am lucky that I had my co-workers by my side. Many don’t.

It is nearly 2018. When is enough enough?

Uncategorized

Suicide = Selfish?

This post can be extremely triggering to anyone going through a period of recovery from either suicidal thoughts or depression. If any thoughts or feelings arise while reading this post, please refer to http://prevent-suicide.org.uk/ , download the Stay Alive app, or for immediate help, call the Hotline Numbers: 116 123 (Samaritan) or 0800 068 41 41 (Papyrus)

It has taken me two months to write this post, but never has a time felt more right than now to publish it. Recently, two young people in my local community have committed suicide; one, an A-level student, and the other just starting her GCSEs. I can imagine that there have been many, many more. As those of you who have read my previous blogs will know, I don’t cushion the blow of the reality of mental health. I’ve found that people tend to view both eating disorders and depression as an untouchable subject; especially in the Jewish British community – it is not up for discussion because it doesn’t exist.

There is one subject that in my experience of mental health, I have not yet touched upon; suicide.  This is an extremely hard topic for me to discuss, as I am still in the recovery period, and still have blips and relapses, however, this is a matter that needs to be talked about. This is my journey, how I’ve dealt and am dealing with the effects of suicide, and how suicide and suicidal thoughts can be noticed and dealt with. If any topic discussed brings on strong or unwanted feelings, please refer to the numbers and website above.

Exam time. Pressure. Running around like a headless chicken, testing your pens frantically, desperately reading, re-reading, re-re-reading your notes. ‘The worst time of your life.’ For some.

The worst time of my life was the day I tried to commit suicide.

I was careful, ever so careful. I had been planning it for months. A traumatic experience in my summer break (which I plan to talk about in a later post)  had led me back to my old friend, Bulimia, but this relapse had brought with it the darkness of death. Well, of wishing for death. I began to think about death, about what would happen if I did, well, that. What my funeral would look like. If anyone would care about the fat, unloved girl from high school. If I was ever going to be worthy of those around me. If anyone even wanted me around. Thoughts filled my mind every day, desperate thoughts. I used to imagine all the different ways that I could die -and they were so, so detailed. Every little thing had been put into place, every scenario fool proof. At the time, the only thing I couldn’t imagine was acting on them. But this, ladies and gents, is where it all started. Thoughts. Thoughts which led to action.

A reoccurring dream of mine was that I would get a knife, a large one from the kitchen drawer, and I would cut every ounce of fat from my body. I imagined blood pouring from my open wounds, the sharp pain of the first incision, then release. Relief. At least, in death, I could be perfect. Another dream, the main dream, was pills. Easy. Purchase from different shops, then simply swallow. I was sure that I wouldn’t be an angel, but at least I would be remembered as skinny.

What about my family? My friends? The people I would leave behind? As I said, I never believed I would act on my thoughts. Yet, it was not a choice. It was never a choice. I was swept up in death’s loving arms, desperate to leave. To leave this life. To be honest, I truly believed that everyone would be better off without me.

It was just so hard. The trauma I had suffered had left me feeling totally worthless, a failure. The fact that I couldn’t recover from an eating disorder, that I was still so depressed. Then, I got ill. Ill as I was in between recovery and an eating disorder, ill as the stress of trauma, exams and being a teenager had got the better of me. I couldn’t hold it together anymore. It was too hard to care about anyone else. Too exhausting.

Then, the worst thing that could happen, did happen. I was holding out for a specific university offer. The promise of leaving home, of the future where I wouldn’t be known as the ‘girl with the eating disorder’, was my only hope. It was the only thing that kept me going – if I lost this one thing, the one light left to guide me down the tunnel which would lead to happiness, then I was done for. Only, I didn’t receive this offer. It broke me. It was the last straw, the last shitty thing that I could take. And then, everything happened.

I walked up and down Hendon High Street, in and out of each corner shop. Two packs of paracetamol from here, one pack of ibuprofen here. Altogether, I had eighty. Six packets. Sitting in Costa, coffee mixed with salty tears. Minutes turned into hours, hours were seconds. At the time, I remember being scared, but the fear was mingled with a sadness, despair, an exhaustion so huge that fear was not an option. I had written a list of things that needed returning; my library books, a little china bird (one of my prized possessions), borrowed money and who it should go to. No note. It felt too much like a movie cliché. I sent texts instead. Sitting in the Costa toilet, fear, happiness, and liberation ran down my cheeks in rivulets. I was finally going to achieve something so brave. For me, this was the only way in which I could ever be happy – if I was dead, I would no longer be a burden.

My best friend and I had created a pact; if I died, she would die too. We had been there for each other for so many years, what would stop us now? Apparently, me. I sent her a message saying that I would have to break our pact. I kept it short and sweet, just telling her I loved her. I couldn’t be talked out of my decision – if I heard her voice, I would have crumbled. Another text to my sisters, telling them how amazing they are, what good lives they would lead. The silent message; a better life without their crazy older sister who brought so much unwanted drama to their lives. And lastly, to my parents. The wonderful people who had put up with so much over the last year – but no more. Lucky them.

I then received 11 frantic calls from my best friend, begging me to answer. But I knew that if I picked up the phone, my plans would be ruined. Another failure to add to the list. I sent her a message, telling her I couldn’t talk. Eventually, I picked up. I don’t remember much; the whole day was so traumatic that I simply shut my memories off. So I am now relaying her memories. She got my message when she was in class – we were both doing our A – levels at the time – but didn’t see it until twenty minutes later. She tried to call, but the phone rang off. She sent messages, voice notes, but to no avail. I’m not sure what made me reply, but I did. A simple message, saying I couldn’t trust myself to talk. She then called more. Neither of us truly remember what got me to answer the phone, but it must have worked, because I’m here today. She asked me a ton of questions, but when my only response was that it didn’t matter, she became more and more resilient. She told me to meet her at Costa, however, she had to get permission to leave school, running around like a headless chicken to find one of our heads of year. Neither were in school. Shocker. After faking sick, she finally found me, crying alone into my coffee cup, in a total state. We talked for the next four hours, however, I was not in my right mind. I was totally psychotic. I wouldn’t let her touch me. I was drained, but still irrepressible. I wasn’t sad or depressed. I was cold, logical. Nothing had changed, and my life still needed to end. My mum then called – at least 7 times. When I finally answered, I immediately registered the panic in her voice – all she kept saying was ‘get yourself to the hospital’. I wouldn’t allow her to come to Costa, I simply couldn’t face her, face the disappointment. So I went to the hospital, and was saved.

I was ok. I was stopped. But what would have happened if someone would have realised before? If someone would have asked; checked on me? Anyone would have sufficed. I just needed to know someone cared. I needed that physical reassurance, because I had no mental clarity whatsoever. I didn’t get it, because no one knew to give it.

That day, sitting on a hospital chair with my mum crying, my sisters totally unaware of what was happening, was the worst day of my life. It was when I realised how selfish I was. If I had succeeded in killing myself, what would be left? A family who would never be whole? My dog, crying by my bed as she did whenever I left home? And what of me? I would never experience love, never go to uni, never travel, never have a baby, never get wrinkles or grey hair.

I was recently told, by a teacher of all people, that ‘not everyone who commits suicide has a mental issue.’ I was told this in front of the entire class, with total, blatant belief in his views. As someone who has been suicidal, who has nearly acted on those desperate thoughts, who was stopped, thankfully, this truly hit home. The class debate was on the topic of mental health, something which I thought was great. Mental health, suicide, depression and eating disorders are things that should be discussed, however, I believe that as a teacher, one should keep their own beliefs on the matter private. His ‘view’, his rash comments could have broken me. Could have broken anyone. Any person suffering from suicidal thoughts and feelings must have an irrational thought process – because there is no rational situation in which suicide is the answer.

Now, many people may disagree. “What, are you going to go and kill yourself because of something so stupid? Because of a dumb comment? Because of a teacher you didn’t even like?”

Yes.

Once you are in that terrifying, mind-numbing situation, a school of thought and feeling which could last for days, for weeks, then yes. Anything even remotely triggering could set off another set of feelings and thoughts which could turn even the most stable person into someone they barely recognise.

As a society, we need to understand this. The stock mental image that most people have of suicide is a small girl with her knees wrapped up to her chest. It’s a romanticised, commercialised. Just recently, when browsing on a website I found a Halloween costume; a latex ‘razor blade suicide scar’ – two small stickable, red scars – worth £2.95. But suicide is more than just a scar or a memory. Suicide, for many, is a way of life. Even if your dreams of death could never become a reality, one little thing can change that. And many, far too many, succeed.

I have had many people ask me about my thoughts on a programme that has caused uproar; ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’.  Schools have sent emails to parents, warning them of ‘obscene’ images, and the entire PTA are reeling. I, however, see differently. I think that this TV show is great. Talking about subjects that are not usually mentioned; rape, suicide; depression and the effects that words may have on our mental state presents a movement, a fight towards justice for those who suffered and are suffering still. Contrary to belief, it actually de-romanticises suicide. It presents it in a fashion which presents the effects of suicide on a community, on the people who loved the protagonist, and how she was not a ‘hero’; instead, it presents the carnage she created due to her actions, and how so many were affected. It also shows the effects of small actions on mental stability. Granted, the show covers many aspects of issues in a modern teenager’s everyday life. Problems that teachers and parents do not understand, because in ‘their day’,  it was taboo.

There is one message that we, as a society, as a community of young people, and as a global movement can take from the horrific effects of suicide; that it has to be prevented. There is no way that this can go on. This year alone, 6,639 suicides have taken place; so many could have been avoided, if only the correct support was available.

So please, don’t ignore suicide, because if even one person recognises the stages, we can prevent it. Suicide is hard enough for the person experiencing it, so please, don’t make it any worse. Let’s prevent suicide, before it’s too late. Below, my friend and I have devised a list of possible signs that may show that a loved one is suicidal, or contemplating suicide.

 

1) Making comments about being hopeless, helpless or worthless. They may feel totally totally alone. In this situation, make sure that they are in a loving environment, even though they may feel totally helpless, constant reassurance is key. It may feel as if you’re are hitting a brick wall, but I promise, it may change everything for them.

2) Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends (for example, when I made my list of library books to be returned, etc). This sign may be extremely subtle, however, it is a major priority to someone who is suicidal. In this situation, there is little to do but be there for them; they may not appreciate it now, but it makes all the difference.

3) Excessively talking about suicide or death. This may seem harmless, but might lead to an attempt. Watch out for joking about how one might ‘do it’, or referring to possible scenarios.

4) Losing interest in activities they once used to care about. This is a key aspect of both suicide and depression, but keep trying. As a friend or parent, you must not give up. Keep inviting them out, make them feel special. They may lash out, however, remember it is not really them – the depression is simply taking over, changing them, making them into a different person entirely.

These key aspects of suicide may seem petty, and truthfully, there is little that family and friends can do for someone suffering. But, just as small things can trigger suicidal thoughts or attempts, small things can stop them. Just be there for the person struggling: they may not even achnowledge it now, but believe me, it may change everything for them, and then later, for you.

As the great Ellen Degeneres always said, “Be kind to one another”.

 

Uncategorized

#BeatTheBloat

Today was not different to any other. I logged into my Instagram account and started to flick through the drunken pictures, photos of food and celebrity ads. I won’t lie – I am a sucker for those things. The gummies that make your hair stronger? Fantastic! New clothes line? Get twenty percent off! I love being able to look at what people are doing; I think it’s a great thing, if you like having your entire life exposed to everyone. Anyhow, I came across an ad that made my stomach churn.

Celebrities post adverts for different a range products, and a few of them make me really uncomfortable. Now, there’s no harm in being healthy; by all means, post videos of you in the gym, or eating a nice hearty salad. That being said, some of these celebrities are obsessed. We are looking at wafer thin girls sporting skimpy bras and tight leggings on a daily basis, and we are therefore believing that this is normal! Girls, I can assure you – this is not normal. Spending four hours at the gym is not normal, and having to count every calorie is not normal.

The posts that really get to me are the posts about ‘flat tummy teas’, or detox teas. Celebrities post that they need to ‘beat the bloat’, because they may have eaten a little excess that weekend, or had one too many pina coladas. They pose in a sports bra and leggings, their flat tummies taught and smooth, and smile. No damage caused.
What they don’t know is that I am suffering from bloat. Not because I had an extra serving of my sunday roast, or felt that my jeans were a little bit tight. I’m talking three months pregnant bloat. This bloat is from my eating disorder.

One of my biggest fears during the weight restoration process was that I would wake up and be massive; that I would balloon out of control. My worst nightmare came true as my body started to recover. At first I thought I was crazy, and that my eating disorder thoughts had somehow come back. However, after some of my high-waisted jeans wouldn’t fit over my bloated stomach, I started to research. I realised that when you have an eating disorder, your body has been in a state of starvation, and has been feeding off of it’s own muscles and organs; your body is literally deteriorating to keep you alive. This is why girls can die from an eating disorder; because your heart is a muscle too, and it shuts down. 1 in 10 people die from eating disorders. It’s nothing to joke about.

Since I had been keeping my body in a period of starvation, it was holding on to any nutrients that it could to stay alive. As an act of self-preservation, my body was insulating my vital organs, meaning that my weight was being stored around my midsection. In order to ‘beat the bloat’, you have to carry on eating.

This is a struggle for a lot of girls in recovery; it tests you to your limit, and ensures that you are both mentally and physically strong before your body fills out. I am still in the bloating stage. I am embarrassed to wear half of my clothes. I know it will end, and I am persevering.

However, when I see celebrities ‘beating the bloat’, it maddens me. They are using products, mostly laxative based, in order to make their tummies that much flatter. The insensitivity is worse than the product itself!

I urge you to be sensitive to girls who are going through this. Don’t walk on eggshells, but don’t be brash. Think about what you say before you say it. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m that much more vulnerable with my body shape at the moment, but behind the bloat, I know that I’m still beautiful.

We cannot change the insensitive way in which these celebs think, but we can change the way in which we think, and how we deal with the recovery of eating disorders.

Fight back; together, our strength will light up the darkness that can come with any hardship. Look to G-d, for He will protect and guide you, look to your friends, family, loved ones; they will be your rocks in your life. I am thankful to each and every true friend of mine who stood by me in my darkness, and who have seen me to the light.

img_4188.jpg

 

Uncategorized

Seeing is Believing

Some say that to see is to believe. If you can see that someone is skinny, she obviously doesn’t eat. If someone is seemingly bubbly and happy, then they have no issues at all.

This was me.

Because I put on a mask, one that stretched my mouth into a smile and concealed my deteriorating body with baggy jumpers, people believed I was fine. I was OK. I was healthy. When in fact, I was purging the sustenance from my body at least 5 times a day, and restricting like crazy. When my depression kicked in, the strings on the mask were drawn tighter still, and I became the mask. Surely, if you act happy, you can be happy? This was my mantra. however, my life was evaporating before my very eyes, and I could do nothing to stop it.

It is difficult to describe depression, as everyone feels the effects differently. Described by the American Psychiatric Association, “Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.” However, my depression took on a different form. Yes, at first, I became constantly uninterested in many social activities; even going to school was a struggle. An excerpt from my diary describes just this:

“I don’t know what is happening to me. I just don’t want to be around people any more; I feel constantly annoyed and irritated. It makes me exhausted. I feel like someone has plugged me into a socket and flicked the switch on, rejigging my entire personality. I’m not the person I used to be, and I can’t explain why. I constantly snap at people, and have no energy – I can’t even do my work! I’m really scared…”

After this point, things escalated from bad to worse. I now know that the lack of nutrients in my system further contributed to my low mood, and manipulated my thought track to a massive extent. I was hostile, irritable and constantly low, however, this was a distraction, hiding the real and tangible sadness that I felt. My stats at this point were extremely low, and due to the amount of purges per day, I was in ill health. I had low potassium, sodium, vitamin D, C and B levels, and was profoundly weak. This, along with the lack of sleep, totally affected my mood, and turned me into a monster.

There is one memory from the time that will stay with me forever. There was one point where I believed my mum was ‘toxic’, and tried to run away. I interrupted her when she was working, and informed her that I had a cab waiting outside, and I was going to stay with  friend. I expected her to agree; I was, after all, doing the mature and stable thing. At this point, I did not feel safe in my own home. Every time I walked through the door, I would long to have a shower so that I could bring up my food. Every time I even looked at the bathroom door, I would have a longing to stick my fingers down my throat. It became an obsession. After calmly showing my mum that I was serious, as I had my suitcase packed and ready, she broke down. She asked me to wait a few minutes, and showed her patient out. I was sitting on the stairs, telling my friend that I was on my way, when my mum locked the door. “What the hell are you doing?” I asked her. She slid down against the door, looking as if she had seen a ghost. “Olivia. You aren’t leaving.” She said. I felt as if I was in a horror movie, where the evil mum locks her daughter in a door-less tower, just to spite her. I remember screaming at her, saying that the house was caving in on me, and that she was selfish. It was not the usual mother-teenager fight. This was a war. I don’t remember what I said exactly, but I know it hurt. She was crying her eyes out, and when she came up to find me curled into a ball on my bed, she realised; this was not her daughter. We talked for a while, and I admitted that I didn’t feel like myself.

If you have read the post before this one, (This Girl Can… can’t she?), I explain my depression. I projected my self destructive thoughts onto a woman that I had created in my head. I know this sounds crazy, but this is one aspect of depression. I told my mum that I had a woman in my head, who would say that I was undeserving of love because of my weight. We both cried, and it was a massive breakthrough for our relationship. We were both scared that I had schizophrenia, and made an emergency appointment with my psychiatrist the next day, who reassured us that I had depression. I was shocked, yet relieved. Finally, a reason for my unprovoked anger, frustration, self-loathing and sadness. However, I believed that my diagnosis would cure all, and it didn’t. It was a long, hard road to recovery. Recovering from an eating disorder is quite similar to recovering from depression, however, while an eating disorder is, in a sense, tangible, depression is a chemical imbalance. While I am not giving excuses; recovering from any form of psychological issue is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do, depression is much less easy to pin down.  I could, however, be more mindful, and as well of trying to take care of my body, try and take care of my mental well-being and inner happiness.

In Greek Mythology, Gaia, the mother of all monsters, gave birth to Echidna. This was always how I saw myself, as a monster, undeserving, unlovable. I now see that with the right support, I am no longer that monster. I never was that monster. I was just struggling, and could only accept support once I admitted that there was a problem, and wanted to fight back.

So, seeing is not believing. Many saw me as a friendly, outgoing young woman, when inside I was aching to hurt my body, and my mind was battling against itself. Even now, although my body is healthy, my belly is constantly, painfully bloated due to the long periods of fasting that I would take on. I will not let this get me down. It will pass, I know, with time; my body will heal, slowly regaining the nutrients that I expelled for so long. I am healing; slowly, painfully slowly, but surely. And as my body will heal, so will my relationships, my connection with G-d, and my gratitude for the life that I have. No amount of weight gain will ever take that away from me, and no battle will ever be too big to face. G-d gives you challenges, tests. You can deal with them. Although, at the time, it feels like the end, like He has turned his back on you, He is always there, ready to lend a hand when you need it. You just have to ask.

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.”

~ Thomas Merton

Uncategorized

This Girl Can… can’t she?

A lot of people tend to think that you can ‘get over’ an eating disorder. It’s like breaking your leg, right? Simply wait for it to heal, and it will go away!

These expectations are, however, unobtainable. Mental health is not bound by time or place; it takes over the human mind like an organ riddled with cancer, and is there until you are able to set it free. The name of this blog reflects a journey; my journey. A journey that I have had to complete with my demons. I feel that mental health as a whole is frowned upon, especially in the Jewish community. I greatly felt that my issues were ‘brushed under the carpet’, so to speak, and felt entirely alone. After my school contacted my parents, I was dumped. I was left to deal with my ED on my own, and ‘support’ consisted of a councillor sharing my confidential information with all the students who came to her. News of my crazy habits soon travelled around the entire school, and having my so called ‘friends’ feed the fire did not do me any favours.

Soon, the entire school and beyond knew about my issues. I felt like my world was closing in on me, and that everyone would treat me differently, which they did. I had told three or four close friends, and soon the trust that I had put in them had been smashed into pieces. I was breaking. I began to have prolonged anxiety attacks, some lasting for more than an hour, some for ten minutes. My mum would shout at me, telling me not to let ‘some stupid boy dictate your health’. She was right, of course, but at the time it felt like the end. If boys would view me as a freak, as a weirdo who couldn’t get skinny though she was trying so hard, then what would it all be for? If I didn’t have guys to validate my beauty, then how could I know I was beautiful? I fed off of compliments, they became my opium, but they were now dwindling.

Once, the rumours became so bad that I cut my own skin. It was a stupid thing, granted, but the worry of my image took over. It was small, but prominent, reminding me that I would never be enough. I would not wish that feeling on my worst enemy. The rumours sparked when one of my friends asked a group if I “smelt of puke” when they were around me. The group was made up of a bunch that I used to hang out with, but left when I realised that they were, for lack of a better word, ass holes. Another said that I “tried to look anorexic by wearing tight clothes”, but “failed”, because I looked too fat. She was another so-called friend. Soon, I had no true friends left; everyone was either creating the rumours or spreading them, and I was at the centre. The lies soon expanded to epic proportions – I was once asked if I’d been in rehab.

SO, back to my question. Are eating disorders curable?  Can you ever get over depression? The answer is yes. I am realising that although the road to recovery is long and winding, making many twists and turns, the end is there. There is, if you’ll excuse the cliche, a light at the end of the tunnel. When I was diagnosed with depression, it all made sense. The low mood, the lethargy. The purposelessness. The black cloud that seemed to constantly rain on me had suddenly created lightning and thunder, just to add to the mix. Not only could I not even look at myself in the  mirror, but I couldn’t even see a way out. Depression is difficult – it comes in many shapes and sizes. Mine, however, came in the form of a woman (and I don’t mean my mother). After my own thoughts would turn dark, I would tell myself, day in, day out, that I was fat. A whale. A monster. When you hear a thought so many times, it becomes true. However, one day, the thoughts stopped being my own, and became the voice of an old woman. I know it may sound crazy, but depression can do that to a girl. This woman, who I named Catherine, would constantly tell me how crappy I was, and that I did not deserve anything good in my life. Pretty heavy stuff, I know.  Looking back, it was no wonder that I was lashing out, hurting those around me. Not only did I have vicious rumours circling, but I also had constant thoughts about my own worthlessness. Depression can be linked to, what I like to call, Lonerism (copy rights please), however this was not the case. If anything, I was more bubbly, more outgoing than before. This was all a cover-up. I needed to hide the truth – that I was a nothing, a nobody, just like Catherine would tell me.

I can now see that ‘Depression’ did not mean that I was an emo; it altered my thinking, made me crazy, and alienated me from the people that I loved. Depression, Anxiety, Anorexia and Bulimia all worked in sick, twisted harmony and made me forget who I was, who I am. They made me snap at any given moment, made me rely on friends who were ultimately using me, and made me hate myself. But no more. They aren’t there for my best interests. These four want to bring me down, and for two years, I allowed them to. Just like an abusive relationship, I made excuses for them, and allowed myself to believe that they love me. Only once I stepped back, took off the glasses and earmuffs that were my depression, could I see the life that lay in front of me. A life of laughter, love. A life where I could make a difference to people’s worlds, a life where I could be happy, because I wasn’t normal  – but because, due to my triumphs and setbacks, I am unique, different, exquisite. I am learning not only to love my body, with all it’s ups and downs, but also learning to love my life, and all that it has to offer. So, Bulimia, Anorexia, Anxiety and Depression; I WILL NOT LET YOU TAKE ME DOWN. I am strong.

This is my contribution to the women’s march, as my anxiety of big crowds got the better of me.

This Girl Can beat anorexia

This Girl Can beat bulimia

This Girl Can beat anxiety

This Girl Can beat depression.

We can all beat the bumps in the road, if we open ourselves to love and happiness. This is what I am trying to achieve, and it is what I hope we all can; one world, one love, one aim – happiness.

 

 

Intro, Uncategorized

The Discovery of EDNOS: My Journey

I was reluctant to start a blog. There, I’ve said it. Blogging always seemed like an attention seeking way of getting people to notice you, and I was not going to be ‘that girl’ ever again. I soon realised that publishing a blog is a lot easier than publishing a book, and rethought the instant shudder that would run through my body when I heard the words: “You should write a blog!” What I wanted to do, and have been wanting to do since I began the winding road to recovery, was to write about my personal journey with my best friend; Bulimia Nervosa.

I was diagnosed with EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) in late 2015. My parents and I were ushered into a sweaty room with a bunch of doctors, who said things that I couldn’t even pronounce. I had just had my sixteenth birthday. I described my feelings and actions in a flash, forgetting what I had said as soon as the words came flying out of my mouth. I was then told that I had bulimia with aspects of anorexia. ‘YES!’ I thought as the doctor began to mumble some medical verse to which my parents were intently listening. “I know what this is!” A friend had suffered from the disease when I was in my early teens, and her intense journey had always stuck with me. The initial excitement soon wore off, morphing into confusion. I had absoloutley no idea why they had pinned this label on to me, and the harder I tried to pull it off, the more the glue stuck.

When I had been to twenty agonisingly deep sessions of therapy, I was told that I was cured. The month was April, just in time for my exams in July. It had all worked out perfectly. Until my old friends came back to haunt me, this time taking no prisoners. In the summer of 2016, I relapsed harder than I ever had before.

Now, almost half a year later, I am finally understanding that you cannot simply ‘recover’ from an Eating Disorder; you have to learn to cope with it’s highs and lows, with the ebbing and flowing of the tides of body image. To truly heal, you have to look in the mirror, and love the person staring back at you. This is what I am trying to achieve.

With the coming posts I will try and explain my journey with these so called diseases, and explain why now I am letting go, and focusing on the future.

 

Peace and Love,

 

Olivia x