Friday 24 February 2012

Surviving Anorexia - A true Story

Some of you will read that title and will know me and instantly think 'no way' and you will be right, this isn't a post by me. This is a true post that has been written by a fellow blogger who wishes to publish her story anonymously and as I am someone with an eating disorder myself (albeit at the opposite end of the spectrum) I have an understanding and am thus proud to share her courageous and sad story.

Here you go...

I’m writing this anonymously not because I don’t want the blogging community to know who I am, but because family and friends read my blog who don’t know the real extent of my problem.

I first stopped eating when I was about 15, I don’t really know why, it just kind of happened. I was at an all girls’ school, I knew I would never be the cleverest or the prettiest, but I could be the thinnest, and thin I became. I’d either throw my packed lunch in a dustbin on the way to school or spend my lunch money on CD’s. Initially I flipped between under eating and over eating, until almost total non-eating took control. I felt good when I was hungry, like nothing could touch me. I felt almost invincible. In reality, I was far from invincible. I was a wreck. I slept under two duvets to keep warm and wore two jumpers in the day. My hair started falling out. I looked awful, but I was convinced that just losing a few more pounds would make me happy.

My parents dragged me to the doctor eventually, who to be fair, did his best, but a sullen, non-compliant massively underweight teenager was probably out of his league. Under duress I started to eat again, and my weight plummeted further to the point where I was almost hospitalised.

The next few months are a bit of a blur for me. I remember seeing a dietitian, writing down all the food I ate, revising for exams and slowly coming out of my self induced isolation. My biggest regret is that I lost a lot of friends in that period of my life. I was a self obsessed anorexic with no time in my life for anything but food. While my friends were out trying to get into nightclubs and having their first kisses I was snuggled under layers of clothes trying to keep warm. It was not a nice place to be.

My parents for some reason decided not to send me to counseling…the result of that was I eventually got back to a normal weight, but didn’t resolve my emotional issues.

My University life was turbulent with big highs and lows. It’s fair to say that alcohol and I did not mix well, especially if the alcohol was consumed on a somewhat empty stomach. My weight fluctuated up and down over these years depending on my state of mind, but there were weeks and even months when I felt quite normal. I even managed to find someone mad enough to marry me. I don’t really know when things went wrong again, it happened slowly just a few pounds here and there and before I knew it I was back in the vice like grip of my eating disorder and; When my periods stopped again I knew I had to do something, so after crying on my GP he referred my to a psychiatrist. To cut a long story short the next few years saw me in and out of therapy and counselling. I think the realisation that I might have damaged my body to the point where I couldn’t have children was the big turning point. I knew I had to sort myself out.

My husband has been amazingly patient throughout our marriage, never blaming me, but gently encouraging me to get better. I owe him so much.

Looking back now, I feel like I had a lucky escape. Things could have ended so differently. Somehow, I managed to pull myself up and out of the gloom to a place where I am happy, where thanks to medical technology (my body needed a bit of a kick start for me to conceive my first child) I have children.

I still have days where I don’t want to eat, where I feel I don’t deserve to eat. I’ve lived with my eating issues for so long they are part of me. I have to tell myself that being in control does not mean not eating at all, it means eating sensibly. One bar of chocolate does not have to turn into ten. If I‘m having a bad day, I think of my children, I think of who they want me to be, of who I want to be. I don’t want to be a shadow of a person, I want to be strong, I want to give them someone to look up to, and I want them to be proud to have me as their mum. So that is who I strive to be, each day is hard, but each day gets easier.

Thank you so much for sharing. I have read this account a few times now and every time it tugs at me. There are so many children suffering in silence. I blogged a while back about my friends little girl who was diagnosed with anorexia at 10 years old. Sadly she is in hospital at the moment, nearly two years later.

I asked the lady who wrote this story if she would consider herself fully recovered now and she said that she still has an eating disorder but mostly feels in control of it and would consider herself to be recovering. As someone with an eating disorder I have a massive fear that my children will pick up my unhealthy attitude to food and may develop problems themselves.  So I asked the writer if she had any concerns about her children. She said 'I try very hard not show any food concerns around them, we focus on food being 'healthy' or not healthy as opposed to bad for you, fattening etc. Not wanting them to pick up on anything is part of the reason why I fight to stay a healthy weight, I'd be heartbroken if any of them went down the same path as me'.

If you are suffering and would like to speak to someone who has been in your shoes then do feel free to email or DM me on twitter and I'll pass your details onto the writer.  I assure you of my confidentiality.

It is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, there is lots of help out there if you need it. Start at the BEAT website.

Do leave some comment love please....

Thanks, Mich x

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