Near-Exhaustion

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The pain cuts deep. It stings and it burns and I simply can’t hold back the tears that fall. Taken back to hospital just when I thought I was okay. Just like always, the hope comes crashing down, once relaxed but back on guard.

Always seem to be falling. Always dragged backwards against my will. Weighed down, feeling like I could drown.

It hurts more than the pain that has brought me back to hospital.

It hurts more than the pain I felt from June 18.

It aches and it hurts.

The word that there is something else wrong with me.

Another diagnosis, another condition, another something or other wrong with me.

Another broken piece.

When I feel ‘fixed’ I get broken again.

Whether it’s by family, friends, boys or myself…just constantly being broken.

And I am so tired. I’m exhausted.

‘Damaged Goods’ – that’s what I am and you can tell me I’m not but it won’t change how I feel right now.

Taken to surgery, kidney fixed. Endless list of medication for the time being and review booked in. It wasn’t even too serious; I’ll be better by the end of the month. But a month off work, a few weeks away from my best friend…it’s hard not to feel broken and lonely when that’s all that you can relate to.

I wasn’t able to eat – the illness took care of that. I didn’t have an appetite for 3 weeks and if I ate, my body couldn’t keep it down. Such a triggering situation and I’m working to keep it away. To not relapse over those feelings of ’empty’, the feelings I used to crave.

They said it’s likely to happen again but there’s not much I can do. Just drink excessive amounts of water and they’ll monitor the rest. Just when I was getting a grip on so many things, getting so much happier in myself, just something else. Always something else.

Dragging me back to reality.

My reality that I’ll never be normal. That I’ll always be a burden to those who have to help me. That I’ll always be ill, disabled…used…abused…broken or worse.

Wouldn’t it be nice to eat and drink without fear? To not have the nightmares? To not be rushed to hospital at 4am? To not have to have emergency surgery?

Give me a week and I’ll know it’s not true. I’ll realise I’m tough for dealing with all my crap. I’ll smile because I’ll be proud of every step I’ve had to take in my pretty shitty life.

I know what I’m like…I’ll feel awesome in no time.

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The Number Game ain’t a Fun Game

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Pesky little things numbers, aren’t they?

We place so much value on what a few digits can tell us and yet they truly tell us nothing at all.

I will be the first to admit I become obsessed with the number on the scales all too quickly at times and the number can either comfort me or send me into despair.

I haven’t been happy that the number on the scale seems to have increased and not dropped at all lately. I usually let it dictate my happiness but there’s more to life than numbers.

A friend pointed out my ‘amazing ass’ the other day and so I had a little think.I put together two pictures one from this week and one from 5 weeks ago…here it is…

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Same beautiful smile, same happiness. The only difference was the number on the scales.

But look at the change…not only have my legs gotten more muscular I think I look healthier. Now I’m not saying I was unhealthy in the first picture but I do think I look stronger as a whole in the second.

The numbers have dictated my happiness in the past but that’s all they are…numbers..and I’m worth more. They don’t reflect true values such as friendships, work or even that muscle you’ve clearly gained in the gym!

So chin up and ignore what those numbers tell you. It’s only a digit and only you get to decide what it means.

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Wise Words

 

Words are powerful. They can crush a heart or heal it. They can shame a soul or liberate it. They can shatter dreams or energise them. They can obstruct connection or invite it. They can create defences or melt them. We have to use words wisely. 

My motivation to write can come from a variety of sources and when I get an idea or the urge to write I take a picture to include with each post. Admittedly its usually a selfie or a picture of something I’ve done that day that’s made me happy but I never post the pictures where I’m sad.

The words from the small paragraph I’ve included above could not be truer. The picture on the left is from my morning coffee in the back garden and I took the one on the right about 5 hours later. The change is staggering and the reason for the change? One small sentence said to me shortly after the first picture was taken.

I would never usually take a selfie of me crying, desperately trying to hold myself together but I decided today I would. I wanted to show the reality. I want people to see the hurt and struggles that I still go through because no matter how hard I try to ignore it, no matter how hard I pretend I’m okay, there are days where I’m still in incredible amounts of pain.

Christmas is hard, notoriously hard for any sufferers and recoverers from EDs. I don’t really need to tell you all that, you already know but to hear my brother say to me, ‘if you’re going to be sick today can you at least clean the toilet because my girlfriend is coming round today and we don’t want the toilet to be dirty.’

His words echoed in my head and the tears came running. I really struggle with my recovery when I come home at any time of the year, let alone Christmas and to hear what really was an insensitive comment cut right through me. I hadn’t been sick this visit, I hadn’t purged, I hadn’t bent over the toilet with my fingers down my throat and yet his words…the thoughts came running, the tears came burning, the storm came thundering and then the fear set in.

I’ve been trying ever so hard this year to keep purge-free. So much so I’ve been coming across angry and grumpy to my family because I’m simply so stressed out. I wish they would understand a little bit more but I don’t know how to make them understand more. He realised he had hurt me and when he tried to make it better I screamed at him to leave me alone.

I’ve not screamed at anyone like that before.

But the thought was there now. Purge. I need to purge. I stared at the girl in the mirror and couldn’t believe how fat she looked compared to a week ago when she was alone in London. I needed a shower but all I could see was the fat girl in the mirror. God I wanted to smash that mirror. The thoughts were pounding and the girl became blurry as the tears stung and I could barely stand up, holding onto the sides of the sink desperately searching for some strength. Any ounce of strength.

Come on girl. I heard myself say. Pull yourself together. Its Christmas…

Christmas.

Every year.

Something happens.

That all happened about 30 minutes after that first picture was taken.

The second picture was taken shortly after Christmas Dinner.

I feel weak. I feel disgusting. I don’t want to write this out but I know I need to. I know admitting helps me recover.

I relapsed.

But I sunk to a whole new low.

In the past I’ve done some incredible things to hide the purge from others but I did something I’ve never done before.

I knew eyes and ears would be on me at home and I went to the park. I knew that would probably be empty. I found somewhere secluded. I checked no one was around. I tied my hair up. I took a final deep breath, shut my eyes and I bent over.

I relapsed.

And the relief came rushing. I felt that instant relief that I learnt to wrongly associate with positives all those years ago but then I cried. The vicious circle had started once again. I’m home now and no body knows, that makes me feel worse. 5 years in a row that I’ve relapsed on Christmas Day. I feel like I’ve failed even though I know I haven’t. I’m just hoping I can get a firmer handle on things tomorrow. That’s all I can do, take each day as it comes, keep aiming for small steps upwards.

 

I understand I can’t let everyone’s words affect me but I don’t see why I should lower my feelings because of someone’s choice of words or their ignorance. He didn’t mean what he said but it really damn well hurt at the time. It’s hard to get out of this claustrophobic house at the best of times, let alone when the Demon’s voice starts to scream.

The second half of the day was surprisingly amazing. The family bickering had stopped and we actually ended up having a great evening as a family. There’s always silver linings I suppose. There’s always laughter in sadness and hope in darkness.

There’s always progress to be made at every hurdle.

There was a time I was purging every day. That was a long time ago. That’s the progress I’ve made.

That’s what I should be proud of today.

And the below pictures of dad dancing with me on his shoulders…that’s the memory I want to remember about Christmas Day 2016.

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Christmas at Southwark Bridge Road

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I love Christmas and I don’t think I could possibly even begin to explain just how much I love it. I genuinely feel it is simply such a happy time of year albeit equally as stressful.

I happily nominated myself to cook Christmas dinner for our house. I always find it ironic that the girl with an eating disorder genuinely loves cooking and baking but I’ve always found myself weirdly satisfied and happy when someone enjoys a meal I’ve cooked for them. Plus, as a family, we’ve always made everything from scratch, nothing frozen, and I suppose I really wanted to make sure the Christmas meal was as special as it could be.

Two of our neighbours came round too but the picture above is of me and my three housemates. They really have no idea how happy they make me and I can’t quite believe just how lucky I am to have moved to London, where I didn’t know a single person, and have come across three great friends that I’m going to have for life.

It was such a lovely evening and the fear of the food I was going to eat felt the most distant it’s ever felt and that, in itself, was such a nice feeling. I’ve recently found out my doctor who I have been seeing for more than 3 years has accepted a new job and, unfortunately, I won’t be able to see him any more in a months time…now that is a scary thought.

I’ve definitely built up a safety net in regards to our sessions. When I don’t feel I can tell others I’ve relapsed, I can always tell him. I don’t feel ashamed in the sessions and well, 3 years is a very long time to have been treated by a single person. I’m getting so close to the end of my recovery. I’m aware it’s going to be a life long journey and I’m getting far better but it does scare me that I won’t be able to see him anymore.

I don’t like the idea of, should I need to see someone, to have to open up to someone new. It would be inevitable, they’d need to know my background; every little detail that has resulted in me ending up where I am right now. I’d have to bring back all those memories that, although I’ve learnt to deal with them, they’re always so damn painful to bring back up.

I don’t want to rush to ‘fix myself’ though, so to speak. I want to keep going the way I’m going, keep taking those small steps upwards and simply stay happy. That’s all I’ve focused on lately…my happiness.

And what makes me happy? …Because those scales never make me happy, no matter how much I convince myself the number is okay.

My friends make me happy. The laughs we have when we’re studying or hanging out. Feeling accepted by someone (currently) special, feeling that they genuinely don’t judge my due to my weight or looks in the slightest makes me happy. Those stupid, idiotic, laughable moments make me happy. Helping my housemates and them helping me makes me happy. Cooking Christmas Dinner made me goddamn happy! My life right now makes me happy and I’m slowly accepting that over the years I’ve let the scales dictate how I feel and I’m incredibly proud I’m weighing myself less and…ironically…feel ten times lighter.

Weighing myself in happiness because, at the end of the day, a number on a scale never determined my true friends, the guys who like me for me, my academic and sporting achievements.

The scales have never truly determined anything great in my life.

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Tis The Season

 

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It feels like I have this lump stuck in my throat. I’ve just gotten back from lunch with a friend and admittedly that’s all I’ve eaten today. I’m trying hard to keep the panic at bay but I’m really struggling. The fact my meal was healthy doesn’t matter, my brain doesn’t see it that way. My body feels full and so my brain goes into overtime. Ignoring the calories and focusing on that ‘full’ feeling I’ve become accustomed to hating.

God, it’s been tough today but I’ve not relapsed. I’m trying so hard but feel like I’m walking on the edge of a crumbling cliff the past few days about to fall any minute. I can never fully explain how frightening this time of year is. Especially because I simply adore Christmas. I love the lights, and the decorations and the general happiness that seems to surround everyone. It’s such a happy period but as we all know, going home for Christmas has never been fun for our family. Not for me.

It’s not the family drama though, that simply adds stress to an already stressful time. It’s more so that this is the season full of food, which means I’m going to be full of food. All the time. I’ve already got 5 Christmas dinners and parties planned over the next two weeks and then the week after I’ll be home and god knows how many dinners and parties are going to happen then.

I can’t stand feeling full. There was a time I was scared of drinking water simply because I felt full. I like to keep things small. I still confuse feeling empty with positive thoughts. I still critically assume feeling full means I’ve been greedy. After all this time, my brain still confuses fear and logic. Still tries to convince me I’m things that I’m not.

I’m trying not to overthink, not to panic but it’s so damn difficult. I just know the type of food that’s going to be on offer and if I don’t eat people will comment and try to make me eat because they think that helps. And so I’ll eat so they think I’m fine when in fact I’m not and then that fear of feeling full will emerge….there I am…overthinking, panicking.

Come on girl, deep breaths. You’re getting better, you know you’re getting better. 

Mind you, for the first time in what feels like forever, I feel like I’m getting stronger on the edge of that cliff. It doesn’t feel like its crumbling the way it used to. I’m holding on stronger than I ever have before, tougher than I ever thought I could be.

For what feels like the first time in forever, I feel like someone’s arms are there.

I do hope that one year, I can enjoy this season for all its worth. To the full extent that I know I want to love it to. Loving it without the fear.

It truly is a magical season after all.

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Making Peace With The Mirror

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It’s oh so cliched but I need to start measuring myself in strength and not pounds. But why does something so simple feel so incredibly hard?

People see my smile on a daily basis. They hear my laugh at least once an hour and that’s what I’m best known for. The girl who’s always smiling. That’s why they all notice when the smile isn’t there.

I’m doing well and visiting my cousins this weekend was so amazing. I had incredible fun but there was so much food.

So.
Much.
Food.

And drink. There was a lot to eat and more to drink and as hard as I tried I couldn’t get that Demon’s voice out of my head. I was filled with panic whenever food was brought to me. I spent hours fearing just when they’d expect me to eat or drink next.

Simply in fear of the calories.

Just say no. I hear you say.

Just say no. I kept hearing myself say.

But how do you say no to breakfast, lunch and dinner?

How do you say no to a glass of wine at a party your family is hosting?

Should you say no to three normal meals?

You might not, but I always tell myself that I have to say no. That I’ve still got fat to lose.

My perspective has always been a touch twisted. According to others, I always see myself bigger than what I am. I never seem to care about any part of my body other than my stomach. Always looking at it. Hoping it doesn’t look big. Hoping, desperate to not see a fat girl staring back at me.

Sadly, most days I still do.

I never feel good enough because I was never allowed to feel good enough.

It truly was an amazing weekend and I needed it. I loved seeing my older cousin and messing around with my younger ones in the middle of the most gorgeous countryside. A world away from the tall glass buildings I’ve gotten accustomed to in London.

There’s more to life than avoiding my reflection.

There’s more to life than letting the scales define my day.

There’s more to me than I believe.

There’s more to me.

Perhaps I still need a little bit of help truly realising that.

It sounds silly, but if I get drunk I get a little bit cocky. What I mean is, I know I’m perfect the way I am, I know I’m really quite something, that I’ve achieved things many people dream of, that my friends love me for me, that my smile can infect the whole room, that I am just fine. Drunken words are a sober man’s thoughts after all.

But when it comes to a normal day I do get riddled with self-doubt. I think that being thinner means being perfect but surely not. Surely there’s more? I get the whole, you’ve got to love yourself first and I do but I can’t help but occasionally think of the friends and boys who have used me. Taken advantage. Assaulted me. It all makes me feel that I might not be worth it.

But I know I am. We all are. Sometimes it takes a heartbreak to shake us awake and help us see we are worth so much more than we are settling for. We’re all worth so much more than we think we are.

It’s just that mirror, those scales and the Demon in my head.

At the end of the day, there is no scale that can measure just how incredibly precious we are. Long gone are the days where every single day was dependent on mirrors and scales. Just got to push through and keep going. Head up and push through these last couple of tough days.

I’ve made it through a mentally challenging weekend and I can’t ask for more than that. There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upwards: an easier day, an unexpected laugh…a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.

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Ruptured Weekends Can Always Be Fixed

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Well this wasn’t exactly how I expected my weekend to start…actually last week was nothing if not full of unexpected events.

I remember waking up in the middle of the night with this niggling pain in my lower abdomen. I tried to get comfortable but the pain refused to subside. I looked at my phone and it was something like 5am so I tried to sleep but then all of a sudden I felt as though a knife had cut right through my right hand side.

The pain was incredible, I couldn’t move and could barely breathe. I managed to pull myself up, head spinning and somehow made it to the bathroom to throw up before passing out on the bathroom floor. I only know I passed out because I woke up there completely disoriented. The pain was getting worse so I crawled to my phone and saw it was now 6am. I hate going to the hospital, hate something else going wrong but I knew I had to go.

When I got there, they rushed me right through, tests being done immediately as I tried to get comfortable lying down. God knows what painkillers they gave me but god, did I need them. I was genuinely scared. I was on my own, genuinely in too much pain to pick up my phone to ring anyone. I was shaking and freezing, stomach twisting, passing in and out and then the bleeding started.

I don’t remember much else except waking up to this drip in my arm curled up on the bed. They ran so many tests on me and concluded I’d probably had a cyst on my ovary that had ruptured. Very normal to have and, luckily, everything was going to be fine.

That panic though. That fear that was coursing through my body at 5 am hasn’t quite left me yet though. I’m still quite tight, bit tender around that area but after spending the whole day in bed on Saturday I felt absolutely fine. Just tired and drugged up but absolutely fine. Couple nasty bruises from passing out but nothing major. It’s incredible how something relatively normal, and not too serious, caused me so much pain.

I don’t think I’ve ever been that scared.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alone.

The evening was fun though, I’d arranged plans and was in two minds about heading out. To be honest, if I wasn’t okay, I genuinely would not have gone. But the scans showed there were no more cysts and the vast amount of tests they did confirmed nothing else was going wrong inside me.

I do wish I wasn’t always that girl with something going wrong with her. I feel as though it makes me unattractive, in the sense that, people might think I’m hard work because things seem to go wrong with me. Problem is…its not even my fault, I’m just a bit unlucky. It’s funny though, how I didn’t really want people to find out I had spent the early hours until the afternoon in hospital because I genuinely didn’t want to come across as attention-seeking or melodramatic.

Just once, wouldn’t it be nice, to go for a little stretch of time where something doesn’t go wrong. Where something doesn’t happen to me. Well, not gonna lie, it’s been somewhat of a while since I was injured or ill. I just need to work on the timing! As always, its how we deal with hurdles thrown our way that defines us rather than what we’ve had to deal with.

As always, by the evening I was happy and having fun.

As always, I was smiling.

Not quite as always…I ate a curry…and I enjoyed it…I let myself enjoy it…for once there was no fear. I also had a Sunday dinner yesterday. I can’t even remember the last time I ate one of those.

So, I might be the girl who has things go wrong. More frequently than others, it seems. But I’m also the girl who ate two trigger meals this weekend but didn’t get triggered.

The girl who’s always smiling.

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Twitter: @elenip92

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