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In 10 years time… H's recovery story

I can’t remember why and how, but I can remember every little moment after the why and how. As a nurse, I understand the delicacy of life now. Though I didn’t before – back then I couldn’t see through the storm, the lightening was too bright, the thunder too loud and then came the silence.

I was a young woman with hopes and dreams. I was a young woman full of life – a woman who had no worries, living and breathing freely. I could look in the mirror and smile. I had a pretty unremarkable upbringing and, although different from others within the South Asian community, I lived a life that encompassed both western values and Asian values alike. It was the best of both worlds thanks to parents who encouraged me to live unapologetically, freely; they encouraged me express myself how I wanted too.

So, I did that. I lived freely, or so I thought. I didn’t eat much anymore, I didn’t see friends anymore, I was engulfed in making sure I looked ‘right.’ By ‘right’ I mean it was always a few more pounds which turned to stone until I realised this was not right. I managed to build up the courage to go see my GP he told me had depression based on three questions – I thought he must be right he was a medical practitioner. He told me it was a state of mind and that I could be happy – he was never to know how I chose to translate those words. I thought I knew what made me happy, so I spiraled until I was taken to the doctors again by my mum. This time there was no escaping it – I listened to my mum, completely unaware of how she viewed me or my condition. “Eating Disorder”, “Anorexia” – those words echoed in my ear that day. Me? Surely not, definitely not? I was living and breathing freely, or so I thought.

I had to wait a referral, but I had other things to concentrate on. I was going on my first holiday with my friends, and I was pregnant. My pregnancy helped me stay motivated to keep healthy by eating to grow a baby. Unfortunately, my body had other ideas for me and the pregnancy. Back I came from holiday and the time came around to go see the inpatient/outpatient clinic and they told me they were going to keep me against my will if they needed to because I was pregnant. But I wasn’t any longer. This may have been my saving grace this time. I now had a nurse called Tracy. We did weekly sessions together; over time we became fast friends and by this point, I was pregnant again and I had started to thrive. I became healthier, I understood my body and the importance of me being healthy so that my baby could flourish. Although I was kept under close eye by Eating Disorder Consultants and Gynaecology Consultants, I was doing well everyone was happy with my recovery. I was finally living and breathing again the way I used too.

Then my baby boy came along. I was so happy – a little person all for me. I was in love. But as the days rolled into months and without noticing I started to suffocate again, I didn’t look in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw. Tracy tried to help. She kept me aware; I would nod, smile, and tell her I would be better next week.

In June 2014 it all changed. I was rushed into hospital heart rate at 125, a temperature rising with no indication of stopping. Lots of doctors, lots of concerned voices, lots of drips, lots of people then that silence and bright lights as I tried to remember where I was. I wanted my son. The nurses said the HDU was no place for a little boy just one month away from being 1 years old. The doctor was nice – he said he could come, and he even came to visit me while my son was here. His words will forever be etched into my mind. If you can’t do it for yourself, then do it for your little boy because he deserves to have his mummy here.

A simple sentence, right? Words of logic, right? But for me it was like a lightning bolt straight through me, jolting me awake from what felt like a daze I had lived with for years. This was it. Except I didn’t feel hunger? So, alongside Tracy and the help and support she received from the Yorkshire Clinic of Eating Disorders we made a plan – a refeeding plan – it was little and often. It was like scrambling in the dark trying to find that light switch. It was painful and it was up and down because recovery isn’t linear, but getting to that light at the end of the tunnel is warm – its welcoming and it is everything and more. Freedom. True freedom. It took time, it took tears, it took falling and getting back on. I started to learn that I needed to stop putting a full stop at the end of a sentence because my story wasn’t over it was just beginning. So, I decided I was going to right chapters, hell I was going to right sequels of my story. I WAS GOING TO LIVE AND BREATHE.

10 years later. I am living I am breathing. I am here.

10 years later. I am a qualified Nurse.

10 years later. I am a mum of two, a 10-year-old and 6-year-old this year.

10 years later. I am eating and getting nothing but enjoyment from it.

10 years later. I am smiling and thriving.

10 years later. I am talking about eating disorders and my lived experience at university.

10 years later. I am in recovery from Anorexia.

To you – my beautiful soul that is struggling now. Whether at the beginning of your journey, in the middle, in the end or maybe even starting again.

In 10 years time. You’ll be writing your own sequels.

In 10 years time. You will be smiling and thriving.

In 10 years time. You’ll look in that mirror and smile.

In 10 years time. You will be in recovery from Anorexia.

Scars remind of where we have been not where we are going. So don’t stop chasing that rainbow because at the end is your pot of gold.

With love, H.

If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this story, or are concerned for yourself or a loved one, you can find support and guidance on the help pages of our website.

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