I very rarely speak about my past eating disorder on my blog. It’s something that still, to this day, I never like to fully admit to, despite only receiving a formal diagnosis for it back in 2010, struggling with eating issues since the age of 13.
It’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week this week, and for it, I put together this collaboration video to raise awareness. The wonderful ladies in this video are all at different stages of their recovery, whether it be just admitting they have the illness, in recovery, or fully recovered. They speak openly and brutally about the impact that an eating disorder has had on their lives. 3 days into this week and the video has received almost 2000 views. I'd encourage you to watch it and share it, not just with family and friends but with your dieticians, therapists, schools. I think we can definitely get a strong and powerful message out there.
Last night I was looking through old diaries of mine. It's something I guess I shouldn't do, but it's sometimes interesting to look into the past and work out how and why you are the way you are.
I never really identified a 'point' where all of my issues begun to develop, which I think is what is frustrating for me. I was 12/13 years old, bullied excessively and I hated myself because of that, but I always wonder where I ever got the idea to starve myself or to cut myself and it frightens me, really. At that age I should have embraced being a kid.
In my diaries I never once mentioned that I had an eating disorder or that I was anorexic. Yet I spoke about how much of a success it was that I ate so many calories in one day, would call myself fat in capital letters on a consistent basis, and always mentioned how teachers were pointing out how thin I was and I just lied to them, straight up.
Because I was never hospitalised for my illness I never saw it as serious, hence why I tend to speak more about my depression and anxiety in my blogs. I know I had a problem but never thought it was worthy of people being worried over me. I was terrified of people thinking I looked normal, and therefore, not anorexic. Now, I'm still slightly underweight and when I look back I do notice my face and my arms looking noticeably different. But it doesn't feel like that was me. The girl who didn't buy food in her school canteen or refused to eat in school for 6 years. The secretive one, who would put a lasagne in the oven, throw the lasagne in the downstairs bin yet leave the packaging in my kitchen bin so my parents would be convinced I ate it. The one who every now and again, would sneak in one of her Mum's diet pills or two, or five. The one who was even afraid of drinking water infront of her own deputy head teacher. The one who thought she was 'too fat' to have an eating disorder. The one who was fed up of being a failed anorexic so tried to purge as well, and succeeded twice. My teachers used to just repeat how thin I was on a consistent basis and I just thought I looked disgusting.
Even writing this blog is taking me longer than expected, as I'm finding it hard to remember all the things I used to do. I think I've made a huge attempt to block my teenage years out of memory. They were full of complete darkness, pain and secrecy and I'm ashamed to say I lived my teenage years in that way.
I need to forgive and forget my past mistakes and move on but sometimes it's not that easy. And it really does demonstrate the everlasting impact that an eating disorder has on you. I guess I'd describe mine as a state of confusion, never really knowing where I was or what I was doing. I never really realised how much I hated myself at the time because I saw it as normal, and now, in a period of self-acceptance I look back and can't believe how much I punished myself for everything. No-one deserves to go through that.
I'm not really sure where I was going with this blog post (rambling, as per usual) but I guess I've been looking back with regret over the past few weeks. I'm feeling a little fragile and not as strong and inspiring as people make me out to be. It's a strange feeling.
Please watch the video I put together, share and link it around - together we can raise awareness and make a difference.