*TRIGGER WARNINGS* Eating Disorders and Suicide.
Written by Miss B
I suppose I should really explain why I’ve been on somewhat of a hiatus…
I thoroughly intended to document everything. Everything, as it was happening, to show that no matter how terrible it gets, it’s still possible to come out of it.
Well I still haven’t come out of it. And I fluctuate pretty much daily between “yes, it is still possible” and “Nope, not happening, not worth it, not interested.”
For weeks I was thinking how can I write about this? How do I put into words the fear and self-hatred I can feel burning at the back of my throat and stamp a positive message across it? How can I possibly write what is going through my mind-what I’m doing– knowing it confirmed my very worst fears about “getting better?”
I resented other recovery blogs out of pure jealousy for their ability to reassuringly recount the horrors of their story, knowing they had come through the other side. I felt like they weren’t being honest- why was I the only person who wanted to eat and eat and eat and eat?! Why was I the only person admitting to giving into this desire?! Why did I find it so hard to get up and exercise if I’m so desperate to look a certain way? If I did admit to all this, does that mean people won’t consider me as anorexic? Maybe I’m actually not…
Rational B makes an appearance from time to time so she knows on some level that’s a load of utter rubbish. But it doesn’t stop anorexia trying to tell you you haven’t got a problem.
I felt like a fraud. The feelings that came when I had my first binge (that wouldn’t be my last or even third or fourth to last) were realms of awful that don’t sound real when put into words. Self-loathing, I thought, was a necessary by-product of puberty and thus something I laid to rest a few years ago when I realised, actually, my cynical, sarky lil’ self isn’t too bad. But no, it hit me like an 18-wheeler truck, especially when my weight started increasing. I had this on repeat:
“Well clearly there is nothing else, clearly weak, greedy me can’t do it- its anorexia or being a full-time food-hoover. Frankly, neither of those are worth staying alive for so what’s the point…”
I’m aware of how piteously self-indulgent and melodramatic that sounds but these last few weeks have been the worst in the 3 years I’ve had this for. I have thought on a few occasions that, surely, it can’t possibly get any worse and yet it keeps surprising me! Tut, what a little jokester.
I very nearly KO-d my mum’s poor, five-feet-tall friend who, well intentionally, said, “Oh you are looking so much better.”
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? I have to remind myself on a DAILY BASIS that my mum would be upset if I DIED but because I look a bit more normal, that’s enough now?! It just doesn’t work like that I’m afraid.
Anyway, I digress.
I was, and continue to be, so frustrated with myself because actually, I’m really happy. Happy with my job, my hilarious friends, my wonderful boyfriend and pleasantly crazy family. And all those things didn’t happen overnight so WHY is my brain dead set on sabotaging it all?
I really didn’t think I’d do it again. My first “binge” experience was both frightening and relieving- cathartic, almost. I actually believed it was going to be a turning point. I felt that horrendous afterward, I was sure I’d never do it again. If anything, I had to really talk myself OUT of planning a relapse. What was that going to achieve? I’d thought, after that episode, I’d have to really watch out for the desires to restrict. So this was kind of positive in a way; I’d realised that stuffing my face solved nothing, but starving myself was only going to encourage me to do it again. Surely the fear of that coupled with how terrible it made me feel was now going to add to my recovery “tool-kit?” It sounds plausible doesn’t it…
Sadly, real life is much less poetic and, instead, more mundane, messy and time consuming for us to have changed the world (or ourselves) in one measly blog post. So, I eventually peeled myself away from the cupboard, went home to my Mummy- binge-ed whilst she was out- and then cried and cried and cried while she stroked my hair. She tolerated my screaming at her, “I was RIGHT” and spitting, “You ALL LIED to me” until my voice went hoarse and she calmly said “What do YOU want? Do you want to restrict or do you want to gorge?”
“NEITHER!”- I wailed, thinking that’s my bloody point!
But actually, that IS the point. I, ME, doesn’t want to do either of those things. I want to do my job; I want to do my assignments- and do them well- I want to giggle and have too much to drink with my friends; I want to shiver with pleasure when my boyfriend strokes my hips; I want to sit at the dinner table with my family crying with laughter as one of them puts salt in another’s drink… The list goes on.
The point is, is that it’s not me who wants to either restrict or eat in excess. The problem is that that particular voice, my voice, isn’t as loud as the other thoughts… yet. But, like anything, things take time to strengthen. A bicep isn’t big and toned after one day of doing 10 curls is it? Negative, so why would this be any different. Trouble is, patience has never been my strong suit.
So, that night with my mama bear, we sat down and did what I should have done, what everyone including doctors told me to do, when I came out of hospital: we did a meal plan for the next 2 and a half weeks. We looked at my work rota, the days I’d be in Uni and the days I’d be at home and tailored it to what I felt happy with and in quantities that would allow me to get on with all those things I just listed.
Today is day one and a half. Yesterday at breakfast did I feel like I wanted more? Yup. Did I miss my usual “safe” option? Badly. Did I want the “safe” option as well as what I’d eaten? You bet. At Uni later on, did I fancy the prawn mayo wrap, already in my handbag as per my pretty, colour co-ordinated plan? Did I hell. Was my head panicking telling me to just have some sweet snacks off my “safe” list? Frustratingly so. Did I ignore it? Yes. Did I feel rubbish after? A bit, yeah. But, I ignored it because I wanted to JUST GET ON WITH MY DAY.
Now, I don’t want the chicken & bacon wrap for lunch. I feel guilty because I screwed up, al-f ing-ready, and had an extra thing at breakfast. But, this time I stopped. I stopped because I was louder; it hasn’t made me happy the last 50 times I’ve done it so why would now be any different? There has to be only so many times you can bang your head against a wall before you really start to get a head ache.
Besides, I have stuff to do today. So, someone pass me the mayo…
More from Miss B can be found on http://www.whatapieceofcake.com
If you feel affected by anything you read in this article and would like to talk to someone about it then you can contact our student wellbeing service at 0113 812 8507 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you feel that your life is in imminent danger then go to Accident and Emergency at the nearest hospital or contact 999. At the hospital you may have to wait, but you will be able to see a mental health professional who can help.
- Leeds General Infirmary A+ E Department,
Great George Street,
Tel: 0113 2432799
- St James’ Hospital A+E Department,
Tel: 0113 2433144
- Leeds Student Medical Practice,
4 Blenheim Walk,
Tel: 0113 295 4488
Do try to tell someone about how you are feeling. This could be a trusted friend, a family member or someone who is with you now. If no-one is available there are a number of people you can contact who will listen and provide you with immediate support:
- The Samaritans(24hours) – Tel: 116 123 / 0113 2456789
The Samaritans provide 24hr, confidential, emotional support for anyone in crisis.
- Papyrus Hopeline– Tel: UK 0800 068 4141
A confidential helpline service staffed by trained professionals who can give non judgemental support, practical advice and information. Please be aware they are not a 24 hour service: Weekdays: 10am -10pm, Weekends: 2pm – 10pm, Bank Holidays: 2pm- 5pm
- Nightline– Tel:0113 380 1381
Term-time student run listening service 8pm-8am.
- SANEline– Tel: 0300 304 7000
SANEline is a national 7 days a week out of hours telephone helpline offering specialist emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers.- Please be aware it is open between 18:00pm -23:00pm each evening