For whoever is reading this blog, I want you to know I am proud of you. I am proud of how far you’ve come. I’m proud because you’ve accomplished mini goals you never thought were possible. I’m proud because only a few know what it’s like – to be engulfed by something that is complex, secretive and at times, overpowering. I’m proud of you because whatever has gone through your mind, you are here looking at this blog today.
I’ve been there – I spent the majority of my teenager years dealing with a voice and a heavy weight in my chest. I was vulnerable and lost and the feelings were confusing and intense. I couldn’t understand it, and I guess looking back restricting my eating made me focus on something else – it made the feelings numb; it made me have a false sense of control (a phrase many of you have heard of before). I remember feeling guilty for my illness – I was getting irrationally angry, I was missing plans, constantly making excuses and letting people down. But what I found the hardest was the constant lying – the guilt I felt every time I tried to conceal secretive behaviour from my family, my friends and myself. I was an outpatient at the time, and the threat of becoming an impatient sparked a desire to say, ‘screw this’. I managed to put the weight on, but in a way that allowed me to still feel ‘in control’. I would binge eat and then feel guilty and restrict – a vicious cycle you’ve also probably heard of. My body was craving energy and I couldn’t stop – but then the guilt hit, and that feeling was completely unbearable. After my weight had returned to normal, I continued to struggle with my relationship with food – in particular binge eating. It became a habit, a coping mechanism, the easiest thing to turn to when my mind felt like it was going to explode.
It was a very difficult time of my life, because I felt my mind was failing me – I felt I SHOULD be okay because everyone thought I was. I mean, I was physically ‘okay’ but mentally I never was. But every year it got better. I started to go to restaurants without looking at the menu before, I started to laugh with friends that bit more, I started to enjoy the feeling of fresh air more and I started to embrace the words “self-care” and “empowerment”. Empowerment is a process of becoming stronger and confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights. You DESERVE to feel empowered, confident, strong, energised, loved and free to embrace your passions. Back yourself in recovery and in life and be kind to yourself, always.
To this day, my relationship with food is a complex one – it’s a difficult relationship that I am not sure will ever truly go away – but I am very much of the belief that next year will be better, and the year after that will be even better. Life is waiting for me, as it is for you – never give up because there will be special moments, people and places in your life that will make everything worth it.