Old Habits Die Hard

When did it start? If I’m honest, there were a few times towards the end of my first year of uni that I made myself sick. Never enough to be a habit though. Just after a cheat meal to make myself feel less guilty for the foods I wasn’t meant to eat. It was a cheat day but I wanted to punish myself and thought that I’d soon associate bad food with being sick and that in order to not be sick I’d stop eating the bad food.

Didn’t quite work like that did it? Eventually it didn’t stop me eating the bad food but ended up justifying it because I’d go get rid of it later. It didn’t even only apply to bad food, but even healthy food didn’t stay down long.

The purging really took hold towards the end of my second year though, when I started living alone…after the London team had been announced…I remember thinking that my two week summer break would help. That I had developed a bad routine of being sick. A bad habit. And that having two weeks with my mum would make me stop it. I was obsessed on that holiday though…I took my scales…who takes their scales on holiday? A girl with an eating disorder that is…I refused to admit I had issues, even mum just thought I was being careful so that I went back to training in the best shape I could whilst enjoying my break from training.

So that was the end of 2012, vomiting on and off but nothing to make it frequent in my opinion. It really was just when I’d over indulged or felt too full. Compensating for slip ups. Eating super healthy then getting rid of my cheat day. As if it had never existed.

I remember googling eating disorders but convinced myself I didn’t have one. I

I convinced myself I was in control.

That I could eat three meals a day.

That I could stop purging whenever I wanted to.

But that wasn’t true. I look back now and I was so wrong. I lied to myself, thinking it would all be okay. Then again, the first person I sought help from did say to me, “well, if that’s what you want to do then do it, I’m too busy to worry about you”

Someone who was supposed to care clearly didn’t. I reached out for help because I was scared. I was scared I had an eating disorder and I didn’t know what to do. I was hurting and in pain. It sounds stupid but I was confused. I didn’t want to believe I had one, I mean, how could I? I was fat dumpling Eleni. I had always been and I was always going to be. No one would believe I had a problem. Why would they? And if the first person I asked for help made me feel smaller than all the bullies had done. I wasn’t worth helping. I wasn’t worth anything.

He was wrong. I’m worth so much more than I ever thought.

But I keep falling back. When I’m alone I just slip and sometimes I don’t know if I even try to hold myself up. I was rejected from a law firm I really wanted to secure today and I was alone. Just arrived in London for an assessment day with a different firm and alone. Wasn’t even in Manchester and able to postpone my journey down so that I could see someone who cared. I feel like a let down. I’ve failed in swimming and failed in that. But I know it’s not true. I haven’t failed and for some strange reason I’m not too upset.

It’s hard to explain. But it’s the reminders that burn. I’m alone and down and all I want to do is eat and be sick. The purging gives me a sense of release and relief and I feel better afterwards. Calmer. In control. Constantly seeking that control. The urge to control everything that becomes my sole focus following anything that’s not in my control. I’m just reminded of how I felt after every team I didn’t make, every grade I didn’t secure and I just want to purge. I don’t won’t to binge, I just want to eat something I don’t usually let myself eat and then get rid. Let myself have that comfort and then punish myself for being out of control.

I’ve slipped up a lot the past two weeks and I’m trying to get a grip on everything. I feel like I’ve let everyone down by falling back today. I should be strong enough on my own, but right now I’m not. Right now I’m strong with people around me and to be honest, there was a time when I wasn’t strong when I was with others. Many a day went by when I threw up in training or during uni time. So in some respects, I’ve made great progress there but not so much on my own.

I hate being so dependent on them. I feel they’re going to reject me one day, that I won’t be worth their help or, worse, that they simply won’t want to help me. I thought that securing a training contract would have made this sporting failure of a year something decent. I’ve lost Rio. I need to have a training contract. I can’t lose two futures. I can barely cope losing one future. Please, not another. I’ve lost my sporting career. I don’t want to have failed to secure a legal career.

I thought I was fine but I’m not. And there’s that voice.

“At least if you were slim you’d be happy. You’re fat. You’re a crap athlete and you’ve no chance of being a lawyer. No wonder no one wants you. No ones ever wanted you. You’re fat.”

I’ve focused so hard on these applications that I’ve not trained and my weight has gone up. This summer was meant to be spent getting in shape, but I’ve not and I feel like a failure. I’m so focused on doing well tomorrow but I have so much riding on everything and that’s probably where I’m wrong. Too many of my body confidence issues were dependent on Rio. I thought if I made Rio I’d be happy about my weight but that’s probably not true. I probably would have been under even more pressure. So when that was taken from me I focused on the education side of things. Judging my self worth based on grades and progress with these applications.

I feel they’ll be mad at me. I’m scared to tell them. Scared to say those words. To admit I’ve fallen. To say I’ve failed at something else. One big failure.

You can tell me I’m not. I mean, I know I’m not, but right now I won’t see it.

I’m close to breaking it, but old habits die hard.

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