Self-inflicted Mind Games


I’ve been back in London a week now and straight into my new house with my new housemates – two very good friends of mine and between you and me, once we get all the boring general admin such as bills and the like sorted, we’ll be ticking over just fine.

However, I feel so incredibly nervous and scared. One friend knows I am recovering from bulimia and the other doesn’t and I have this inexplicable feeling that I’m going to be watched and monitored. Even though it would be from such a good place deep in her heart, I just don’t want pressure to eat…maybe because I still struggle to eat in front of others…because I know it’s still something I’m working through.

It’s funny because I was scared to weigh myself but this time when I plucked up the courage I was actually lighter than I thought I would be. I shook my head and thought, no, this can’t be right, I must be heavier. And so I moved the scales around…same weight…I went and grabbed my laptop…I was heavier…removed the laptop…back to the initial weight.

I was convinced the scales must be broken. Convinced there was simply no way I could have lost some weight whilst away.

Impossible.

But I just realised something this evening.

Three days ago I had to register with a new Doctor’s Surgery and they asked me to weigh myself on some special digital machine thingy-magigy. It told me I was half a kilo heavier than what my scales had told me. This was with my gorgeous baggy jeans and grey sweatshirt combo!

But the implication of this simply didn’t register with me.

But today I realised that maybe my scales are correct and my mind is wrong. Why don’t I believe the solid evidence that my regular eating has helped me lose some weight in a healthy manner? Why am I convinced I must be so much heavier than these scales are telling me?

It’s such a vicious circle. If the number was higher I’d be unhappy and yet it’s lower than expected and I’m still unhappy because I’m convinced I’m bigger than what I am?

A lower number urging me to restrict or purge because surely the number is wrong.

It’s a tough one to get past.

Then again, my friends were happily lifting me onto their shoulders last weekend so this short arse over here could actually see something! That in itself tells me that my perception is distorted. I’m not the number I think I am. Even if I was, surely I’m worth more than that anyway.

Twitter: @elenip92

Instagram: @elenipapa92

 

‘Full of Joy’


I haven’t written for almost a month, in fact, I think it’s been almost exactly a month since I last wrote. Most of the times when I go silent it means something’s up, something I’m not quite ready to tackle head on but I’m pleased to say this time it’s quite the opposite.

To the north of mainland Greece there’s a teeny tiny island called ‘Skiathos’ and it is by far my favourite. I first came here when they told me I was too fat to represent my country at a Paralympic Games and whilst I arrived all doom and gloom I definitely left, yet again, quite the opposite.

So where else would I head to when I had about a month to myself? Where else would I go where my friends are more like family than my own? So yes, you guessed it, here I am in my favourite place in the entire world. 24 days down, 2 to go. 

I thought I’d get bored or lonely at least once because just under four weeks is a long time. But fact of the matter is, I simply haven’t and I’ve loved every single minute. I’ve been meaning to write but I’ve just been so distracted with sun, sea and my family that I wish was my own. The only reason I’ve finally managed to sit down and type something out is because it’s stormy and windy today that I don’t really have any other option!

The first weeks were tough. I couldn’t help but compare myself to everyone else I saw around me. How flat I perceived their stomachs to be. How I perceived myself in comparison. I restricted and I purged but I also did get it under control. 12 weeks…2 episodes of purging. I tried to deal with it healthily and I will admit I struggled but being around old friends and adoptive family filled me with so much joy – there’s a phrase Greeks use in response to the question, ‘How are you?’ – mi hara – ‘full of joy’ and I think that in itself is a beautiful response. 

One day I woke up insanely happy, I felt some sort of spring in my step and I even later in the day cried over text to my bestest. I simply felt happy. I’ve tried to change how I word things – I would say ‘everyone is so much skinnier than me’ and today I noticed I wrote ‘how I perceived…’ . Trying to develop my awareness of my eating disorder symptoms. I used to write I missed who I used to be before my ED and during this trip I realised I should never have focused on becoming a past version of myself because, simply put, we all change. And, yes, I’ve experienced some horrible things but that doesn’t mean I won’t become the best version of myself as a result.

I told him I loved him. The three words slipped out after weeks of me trying to hold them back. I knew I wouldn’t hear them said to me and that was okay but naturally not the greatest feeling. It got to me a bit but now? I’m completely different. I knew I wouldn’t hear them but I still wanted to say how I felt. I didn’t need to hear them back regardless of how much I want to hear them one day. I was brave enough to put my heart on the line because I cared about being honest with my feelings – for myself as much as for him.

Working really hard to separate my inecurities from reality. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a scary sorta limbo. I know we’re pretty awesome and the fact he’s made a noticeable effort to text more as I’m more of a ‘communicator’ so to speak, the dedicated weekly face time slot and the simple fact that if I need him, really need him, he’s there…and yeah, we’re pretty awesome together…there’s no need to worry. I don’t want to reach that stage where I may have to deal with a guy who decides he’s never gonna love me but I can’t live in fear of something that’s only got a 50% chance of occurring. I’d probably self-sabotage it all that way anyway.

He does say something to me though – ‘I like you an absolute lot’ 

I think I like that more than ‘I love you’ 

Bit like how I prefer the Greek saying of ‘I’m full of joy’ rather than ‘I’m good/fine/okay’ because when I say the latter, some of it is a lie…but I’m always full of joy so to speak as I’m one of those people who finds happiness in the simplest of things, always happy even if I’m not okay with my body shape or my perception of myself.

Maybe I’ll start focusing on trying to be full of joy. Focused on the little things that bring me happiness rather than the things that make me feel okay about myself…

Welcome Home 


I’ve had this blank page staring back at me the past few days. Want to write, know that I do, but about what? I don’t know.

I just don’t know.

My head is spinning with a thousand questions, so much so I won’t allow myself to even take a step back and appreciate how well the past three weeks have gone. I’ve not weighed myself at all and I don’t feel as much of a need to. Part of me thinks that shows massive progression but the other part tells me its because I’m scared to see the number, that I’m bound to have gained weight.

Every time I think I’ve made steps forward that voice simply tells me I haven’t. It downplays my success. I’ve not purged for more than 3 weeks…but that’s probably because I’ve been with other people, not because I’ve gotten stronger…

He wants to be with me. Says that he does. Says that he really likes me. But I don’t know. What if I’m setting myself up for yet another failure. Am I weak for going back? Or am I making the right choice by trying to work through whatever happened? But what did happen? I don’t know. I still don’t get it, I still can’t process it because he hasn’t given me a reason as to why he did what he did.

And my head keeps spinning.

When I’m with him, its perfect. As though nothing happened. But when I’m alone I just think of all that pain he brought to that Sunday a few weeks ago.

He said after a really long (and I mean really long) relationship he’s scared of picking the wrong person. He described it as akin to a mental health issue, that he panicked and almost couldn’t control the things he was saying. I can half understand that, even though none of my friends do.

But surely that means I’m the wrong person? I mean, of course I am. No matter how many steps I move forward nor how many achievements I make, I have so many failures and broken pieces of me that can never be forgotten.

Failures and broken pieces that are rooted in a bastard of an eating disorder.

Of course I would never be right.

Of course, each time someone ‘genuine’ comes along, they soon enough realise I’m not right.

Why would I be?

Does this mean he’s just going to end it another day in the future? Right now, he is right for me. I don’t believe its healthy to look too far into the future regarding relationships too soon but am I just here, making him better for the next one to come along? Just like always.

Always setting them up to treat the next one better.

For once I thought I was finally getting treated better.

I just don’t know anymore.

But he does treat me right. One stupid afternoon, one epic mind fuck but everything else feels incredibly normal and perfect. I can’t spend a relationship second guessing everything…just like I can’t spend my recovery second guessing every step forward that I make.

No more second guessing, back to going with the flow, I suppose.


Twitter: @elenip92

Instagram: @elenipapa92

Seven Years


A room so hot with heat and stress. Clock ticking down, minutes if not seconds left and then it’s done. Four hours of time that passes so quick and it’s over. Paper handed in, step outside and breathe. Done. Over. Seven years of law school. Finished.

Drinks, food and laughter galore. The bank account winces with every swipe of the card but there’s no cares cos it’s done. It’s over. Seven years of law school. But it’s more than that. It’s seven years of hard work and grind. Seven years of sweat and tears. Seven years of hurt and abuse. Seven years of betrayals and let downs. Seven years…

Seven years is a long time.

It’s 3,679,200 minutes to be exact.

Seven years of pain I never saw coming.

Seven years of an illness I never thought I’d suffer from.

Seven years.

61,320 hours.

I’m basically on my own this weekend packing up my bedroom to move out and I sit on my bed in my empty room and all I can do is think. It’s hard to keep the voices quiet when you’re on your own after one of the most stressful periods of your life.

And whilst there’s pain there’s always so much happiness it’s almost unbelievable. Moving here was scary and I’m scared of more betrayal, more let downs. I don’t even know if I’m convincing myself that more is to come. It would hardly surprise me if it did. But seven years is a long time.

A lot has happened and a lot has changed.

And I am most certainly stronger for it.

Still scared that more hurt is lurking round the corner. More let downs waiting to trip me up.

But forever optimistic. Forever smiling.

And I’m one of the lucky ones with a job that waits. Ready for me after a few travels here and there, Peru, Greece, Italy with the odd week in London. Mountains, forests, beaches and architecture. Full of excitement for the fact I’m about to experience all the things I love. Even more excited for the two weeks I’ll be spending with a friend that I love. One of the two who has held my hand through the darkest of days.

Seven years.

And I’m happy.

I’ve not been this happy for as long as I can remember.

Maybe I’ve never been this happy….

Seven years.

And if that’s what had to happen to get me to today….then fuck it, every single year, month, day, hour and minute of those seven years were worth it.

But for now, less contemplating and more simply living with those upcoming summer vibes.

Twitter: @elenip92

Instagram: @elenipapa92

Distant Memories of Past

The lightening hits unexpectedly, and it’s over within a flash…but the after shock – it resonates, of distant memories from the past.

The world was always cruel but in 2010 it took a turn, trusted so many people and all they seemed to do was sit back and watch me burn.

The boy who would force with words he claimed were ‘love’. The boy who couldn’t understand no, the simplest of words.
The boy who didn’t care, about everything he was given. And the boy who took it all…didn’t care for what was forbidden.

Vulnerable and weakened. Taken advantage, for granted…used, abused and worse.

Worthless.

Underserving of anything that could be love.

The world was once so cruel but in 2017 it took a turn. Lightening, ever unexpected, and an after shock that resonates, shaking right to the bones.

With every step moved forward, memories try to push it back. But with every step there’s a friend with a hand or hug – bringing new memories to replace the past. They bring out the smile and they pull out laughter from under the cracks. They hold a hand when its needed most and carry when its hard to stand.

One day you suddenly realise that, those distant memories of past…the ones that used to scream, and shout and tear apart…that’s all they are…distant memories of past. Still there. Still echoing at the back. But an echo nonetheless, are those distant memories of past.

And the one who gives a kiss, he turns the echo into a whisper. The one who stays on the phone all night, she brings laughter to beat the pain. The one who’s always there, giving endless hugs galore, she makes the world spin once more.

Distant memories of past that helped to shape the mould. Built the walls and dungeons, created that Demon war. Screaming. Shouting. So much pain. But distant memories of the past, they also shaped a path.

A path to more. A path back to who once was, who never left. Who can stand ever so tall.

Hand in hand with those who love, those who deserve, those, to whom, I give my all.

 

IMG_0295img_4981

Nightmare Realities

The illness crept up on me full force when I was reminded over an awful night that happened almost a year ago…wow, it’s almost a year ago now…one year…12 months…52 weeks…365 days ago.

Can I even call it an anniversary? Surely that day doesn’t deserve to have an anniversary? Nevertheless, the date is fast approaching and I can feel the pitch black darkness of that day catching up with me.

I’ve been running through mud trying to escape it and now I’m stuck. I’m stuck in the illness that’s got so much worse when the memories were triggered. When the pain came back. When the fear infested me all over again. When the nightmares became more frequent and more intense than ever before.

It’s like I can’t breathe. He’s there on top of me and I can’t move. I’m weak and I can’t get him off. My chest tightens and I can’t breathe. Can’t breathe, can’t move and it’s all because I’m weak. I was too weak to stop it then and I’m even weaker that I’m letting it affect me now.

That’s what the voice tells me. It was all my fault and I could have stopped it and if I had stopped it I wouldn’t be having the problems now. I wouldn’t be bouncing from restriction to purging like the broken boomerang I am. I let myself be in that position when I was vulnerable. I could have stopped it. I could have prevented it.

But no.

Because I was weak.

Because I am weak.

He’s there. His hands, his body, everything and I can’t get him off me. I can’t move, can’t breathe…I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe. I just want him off me. I can’t breathe. Just get off me. Please stop. I can’t breathe. I’m dreaming. I need to wake up but I can’t wake up. It’s not happening again. It’s a dream. But it’s happening and I can’t move. I can’t breathe.

Can’t move.
Can’t breathe.

Eventually I do breathe but it’s a scream that escapes my mouth.

I wake up crying and shaking. I’m covered in sweat and my heart is beating so fast I feel like it’s going to burst out my chest. The fear sets off my epilepsy and I’m sat having seizures in bed. Crying. Shaking. Sweating. Fitting.

I smashed a bowl that was by my bed one of the last times. I actually reached out from one side of the bed and smashed it on the wall in my sleep because I was that convinced the dream was real.

Each time it happens I’m feeling weaker and weaker. There’s nights I’m scared to fall asleep and I feel so weak.

I. Feel. So. Weak.

I. Feel. So. Out. Of. Control.

I should have been in control of that situation, it’s my fault I was there. I should have known better. I should have been strong enough to stop it and I wasn’t. I let myself down. I wasn’t in control and I was so damn weak.

Fucking stupid girl.

I know my ED is based on control and feeling weak…maybe there’s a bigger link between my recent relapse and that upcoming anniversary I can’t avoid.

 

 

 

 

Parenting the Parents

 

img_7984

16 hours. 960 minutes. 57600 seconds is all it took for him to fuck up.

Yet again. As always. Once more the man messed up.

His actions have hurt me more than ever before.

I hate how much he’s hurt my entire family. I resent the pressure I have had to cope with to hold us all together when I can barely keep it together myself. I despise what he’s done but most of all, I hurt.

I simply hurt.

There’s no more room for anger if I’m honest. The anger has gone but the hurt resonates with every breath I take when he’s in the room. I can barely look at him anymore. I simply can’t be around him. But mum doesn’t understand and true to form she keeps begging me to try be happy, to put up with it, to pretend everything is fine for her sake.

I hate that guilt trip even more. The fact I love her can’t make me love my dad. The fact I care about her more than anything can’t make me pretend to be happy. I simply cannot pretend anymore. I’m mid-20s now and I’ve learnt how all this pretence since I was a child made my mental health deteriorate so rapidly.

I’m incredibly close to my mum and I always have been but sometimes I truly resent the fact she kept this man in my life. Sometimes I wish, oh do I wish, she had taken him out of our lives because he has brought nothing but pain. She always ends up on the other end of the phone, crying, screaming about what he’s done now and sometimes about how she wants to die. So why doesn’t she leave? I want her to leave and so does my brother…my closest friend who won’t come home yet for Christmas because dad is here.

At least he can use his girlfriend as an excuse. I have no excuse not to come home for Christmas.

I do appreciate you can’t interfere with someone’s relationship but I have been coping with these breakdowns since I was I was a teenager. I have tried to hold us up for so many years. I have held it together for as long as I can but some days I simply can’t do it.

I saw my best friends today. 15 years and counting and now two have the cutest babies ever. He was only 4 days old. I held this little bundle of cuteness who was 4 days old and we all caught up. The thing about my Newcastle friends, my old school friends, is that we have all truly gone through some horrific things, somewhat similar things, and we can all relate to each other on a level that I have never had with any other friends.

Something interesting was said though when we were commenting on how surreal it feels that two are parents now:

Well, we’ve all basically been parenting our parents since we were teenagers haven’t we?

It is a sad thought though, isn’t it? I know my life has not been bad but that doesn’t mean bad things haven’t happened to me. Through all the pain caused by my dad and the accidental guilt trips by my mum, I was forced to grow up at a very young age. We all were. Other people also forced us to become adults before we were due but it’s very clear that all of us are at that stage where we can’t keep parenting our parents anymore.

Mum says she just wants a happy Christmas so why can’t I just put up with dad? My argument is, if you want a ‘happy Christmas’ why do you keep the man who just brings us sadness? I want to make her happy, but why does making her happy have to make me so sad?

Wouldn’t it be nice to look after myself?

Isn’t it sad how I cannot wait for the day I have an excuse not to be here when he is? Isn’t it sad how I was desperately searching for NYE plans, any sort of plan so I didn’t have to be here? Isn’t it sad how I’m spending the days out the house on my own, pretending I’m with other people, just so I don’t have to be around him?

I just want to look after me.

I’m looking forward to the day when someone wants to look after me.

When someone wants to make me happy.

When I can simply be happy at Christmas without having to pretend.

img_7931

Yummy Mummy #1

Twitter: @elenip92
Instagram: @elenipapa92