I had been struggling with my eating disorder in secret for ten years at the point I (drunkenly) asked for help. It had taken over nearly every aspect of my life and I just couldn’t do it anymore. To be honest I wasn’t even aware I was asking for help. I had a break down and everything had built up inside of me and I couldn’t hold onto it anymore. I made a drunk phone call to my parents, told them everything and instantly regretted it. Looking back now I can see that I must have been desperate for help for me to have finally told them about it but at the time I thought I had just made the biggest mistake of my life, little did I know it would be the best thing I have ever done.
I am not going to lie and say that recovery was easy, it was the opposite, it was the most difficult thing I have ever done. It took a long time and lots of therapy but thats to be expected when you don’t talk about it for ten years prior. Even through a lot of my therapy my eating disorder fought back against it. It told me that what the therapist and dieticians were talking about was a load of rubbish and that I didn’t need to be there. However the more I started to actually listen to what they were saying, the more I realised I needed to get better. There were a few wake up calls I had through my process of recovery and each one was like a slap in the face, making me realise just how much damage I had been doing to myself.
When I would be in bed, overthinking and not letting myself fall asleep, I would think about what my life would be without my disorder… who would I be? what would I do?. I would sit and think about all the reasons I wanted to live, and not just to live but to live without the eating disorder I had been carrying for ten years.
My Reason to Live without my disorder
For my family and friends
I have spoke about this a few time on my blog but I carry a lot of guilt for the way I treat people when I was struggling with my mental health. I wanted to chose recovery so that I could make it up to the people that had stood by me. I wanted to show them that the effort they put into caring for me hadn’t gone to waste. I wanted to make them proud and to be able to thank them for how much they helped me.
To graduate from university with my friends
When I finally told my parents about my eating disorder and started to get the help, I was in my second year at university. I had to have a meeting with my mum and my personal tutor at the university and was told that I needed time away from uni to get things sorted out. They told me I could defer and go back another year when I was ready to. I instantly refused. I had made it that far into my university experience and had made the best friends and there was no way that I was going to let my eating disorder take my chance of graduating with them away from me. Instead we agreed that I would take a couple of weeks off to go home and get the steps in place with the hospital for my therapy and that I would come back. I can’t say I instantly got better because I actually got a lot worse during my third year but I was still determined to graduate with my friends and thats exactly what I did and I can’t even express how proud I am of myself for achieving it.
I have always wanted to travel. I love going on holiday and exploring new places. I wanted to be able to travel and wear what I wanted, eat what I wanted and feel happy while doing so. I wanted to be able to wear a bikini on a beach without having to feel like I needed to restrict my eating for months leading up to it!
To fall in love
A cringe one (I hate being cringe so Im finding this difficult to write 😂) but a true one. I wanted to be able to have a healthy relationship with somebody without having to push them away before things got serious. When I was struggling with my eating disorder I found it really difficult to let myself like somebody because as soon as I started to get any hint of feelings I would shove people away because I didn’t want to have to tell them about my issues as I was scared of being judged.
For my hair
Something that happens when you restrict your body of nutrients is your hair thins/falls out (I am going to do a bigger blog post soon about side affects you might not be aware of). I had this happen quite a lot, I couldn’t wear my hair tied up because it would show bald patches quite badly so I always wore my hair down to hide it. I am still working on looking after my hair more because lockdown has resulted in rather damaged hair from not being able to go get it cut but it is still in much better condition than it was when I was going through my eating disorder.
This was probably the biggest wake up call for me. My chest started to get so painful and I was having heart palpitations a lot which scared me. My ECG tests were coming back with abnormalities and I knew if I didn’t change it was only going to get worse which is a very scary thought. I unfortunately do still get heart palpitations now but I am less scared of it now I know I am not putting strain on it from purging and restricting.
To have Christmas dinner with my family
If you know me, you’ll know just how much I love Christmas. It is my favourite time of year. It is also a time I used to get the most anxious. For me Christmas is a day surrounded by food and lots of people. Something that didn’t go hand in hand with my eating disorder. It used to worry me that I wouldn’t be able to disappear to the toilet after the meal without anybody noticing. I would overthink that people were watching how much I was eating. I wanted to recover so that I could spend my Christmas eating whatever I wanted without worrying and so that I could spend the meal fully engaged in the conversations instead of being in my own head.
For my future self
I wanted to recover so badly for my future self. I didn’t want to reach the age of 45 and still be struggling with an eating disorder that wouldn’t allow me to get into a relationship or that would ruin opportunities for myself. I saw people in my group therapies that were older than me and that were still going through the same thing as me and I really didn’t want that to be me. I wanted to have a future that I had aways dreamed of.
For my younger self
This one gets me quite emotional. I hate what I turned my young care free self into, I hate what I put my teen self through. When I see pictures of myself as a young girl (prior to my eating disorder) I think about all the things that she wanted to become and all the things she wanted to achieve. I decided that I would recover for her so that I could do all the things that she once dreamed of.
BECAUSE I AM NOT MY EATING DISORDER
I lived with my eating disorder from the age of 10. I had never really remembered my life without my eating disorder. It is easy to see yourself and your eating disorder as one person when you are struggling with it however when I learnt to differentiate my own thoughts from those of my eating disorder I realised I am not my eating disorder. I am Lorna, I am creative, I am determined, I am supportive and I am a lot of things that my eating disorder is not! I wanted to find out who I truly am without it and that is why I chose recovery.
Im sure a lot of you will be able to relate to the points I made above and probably have many of your own reasons to choose recovery. Keep these things in mind as you go through your recovery process as it will remind you of the life you can live in the future.
Remember that you are strong and so worthy of recovery!