‘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…

This is what my ED looks like

An llness that doesn’t care for age, height, gender or (rather ironically) weight.

My ED carries a smile. A smile that whispers to the world ‘I’m fine’. A smile that begs for someone to ask ‘what’s wrong?’ but knows that if anyone does, it’ll crack.

My ED walks with a head held high. One that’s determined not to fall. Held tall all day throughout the storm, pushing to make it through. But the storm just grows. Cruel voices that start out small but grow so loud. 

My ED stands on shaky ground. Legs struggle with the weight. They walk with pride but before the mirror the ground always quakes. 

My ED has hands that grip the sides of the bathroom sink or lean on the kitchen table. Everything tense, trying to pull me high. 

My ED has eyes that are tired of the tears that fall regardless of their source. Eyes so blurry once again, yet again, salty stings running down each cheek.

My ED hasn’t managed to make me purge for four weeks and it’s barely skipped a meal. My ED has only gotten the scales out once but the war rages ever on. The voice tells me it’s because I’m surrounded by people, that I would never have done this on my own. The longing for the scales is only stopped due to a fear of the number being ‘too high’.  My ED still hates the mirror and the hands still grip the sink. The legs still struggle to reach the fridge and the tears forever fall.

Forever falling. 

But my ED isn’t necessarily me. It’s a huge part and that I will never deny but it isn’t me as a whole. 4 weeks and I’ve made it through, kinda, almost, but still, 4 weeks, that much is true. I’ve not been alone but that doesn’t necessarily mean ‘I’m weak’

They see me eat and so they don’t think to ask because my ED carries a smile, the one that says that ‘I’m alright’.

The cruelest trick of all, because inside, I’m most definitely not alright. 

Raindrops



The rain was so heavy last night. It just endlessly poured and poured. It drenched me through, past skin and bones but I wasn’t ready to go home.

The voice at the other end of the phone cracked a feeble excuse of ‘hello’. I could hear her tears begin to fall before I could say my own ‘hello’.

Crying over the man she has to go home to. Crying over the situation she says didn’t want. Whilst she can’t control his actions she chose to remain and so off to home, she goes.

I needed strength from someone that wasn’t me. Support for the two feet I could barely stand on. So I leant with my back to a broken fence trying to stay tall. I tried to find that strength within but my own tears began to fall.

And the rain kept pouring. It poured and poured. It was never going to stop.

It…this…all of it. It’s never going to stop.

Every tear that falls, makes me take irrelevant things to heart. But although I know it’s different, the scars I have convince me that more are due to start.

They say I’m strong but I’ve never felt so weak and last night I just wanted some arms. To wrap around and hold me close and take away this storm.

This storm that gets so strong, it knocks me to my knees. Why can’t they see what they do to me…what they’ve done to me…

They don’t see the scars they’ve dug so deep.

My head pounds with contradictions and distortions: present, future, past. Pick them up and I carry them all, the ground cracks beneath my feet.

The rain almost started to soothe me. As if the world could feel my pain. Not alone, never have been. With my heart calmer and one deep breath I brought myself to my feet.

In that moment, I had no greater need than the FaceTime call that came barely 30 minutes later. Her face and mine connected on a screen but that’s all I ever need.

The tears came strong but so did laughter and crippling tears of joy. Get to see her in two days’ time, to celebrate all weekend long.

This post has hurt so much to write. Sat with tears burning down my cheeks. God knows what they think, the people who can see.

I’ve never been so happy either, with him, with her, with me. They say you can’t pick your family but I choose to disagree.

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Hello

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I have a weekly face time catch up with a best friend of mine. A best friend I’ve actually only known two years, a best friend who’s been a best friend possibly less than a year but, regardless, the best of the best. 

Doesn’t matter how long you’ve known someone, all that matters is that they’re there.

But when you realise they are there, even when you didn’t expect it because you hadn’t asked them to be…that’s when you know just how special they are.

I cancelled last weeks’ FaceTime because I was incredibly stressed out for reasons discussed previously and also on that day Dad decided to visit.

I half-reluctantly met him and it was perfectly pleasant but I’m purely going through the motions now (I’m so fed up with him and would be happier without a connection…but mum begs me to stay in touch). 

Anyway, a perfectly pleasant lunch ends with him saying its time I met my half-sibling. He spoke about him so casually throughout lunch, ‘oh Jason has exams soon…oh Jason’s doing this that and the other’ and it’s weird to hear my dad talk oh so normally about a half sibling he surprised us all with a few years ago. The half-sibling he dotes on so much more than he ever did me. One of the reasons I had to pick my mum up all those years ago, one of the reasons there’s no money left and mum can’t pay her bills. I wasn’t even 7 years old when dad started the affair, barely 15 when the kid came along and just 19 when I found photographs and letters and skype messages telling the truth. So much hurt from a man that never cared and yet mum asks me to ‘be nice because he’s still your father and he’s so stressed out.’

Oh yeah, let me just put the man who hurt me over the years, who hurt all of us, first. Let me put him first simply because he has the title of father when all he is in reality, is a glorified sperm donor.

I broke down when I got home after lunch – my head was all over – food was too much to contemplate and I hadn’t been sleeping due to nightmares and I simply didn’t want to be alone so I went to his house to spend the night. I text her apologising for cancelling with no other explanation other than ‘I’m really stressed out’ and she completely understood because great friends always understand. 

But you know what an even better friend does?

This…

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I got this through the post on Monday and I cried. It took me completely by surprise and I cried. I sat on the kitchen floor and cried. I cried because I was slowly realising how much support I have. I’ve never doubted her support but this simply just got me. It went straight to my heart and seemed to release all that pain.

I hadn’t even told her any of the reasons why I cancelled because I’d been so busy the entire week. But that’s the thing. She didn’t need to know the ins and outs to be able to help me. She just knew something was up and that small postcard contained more support than you can even begin to imagine. A small postcard that has pride of place on my bedroom wall. A new daily reminder I can get through all this. A daily reminder that there are people there even when I don’t expect them to be.
Especially when they realise I need them before I do.
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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.

 

 

 

 

A Beautiful Contradiction

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Let me tell you this. Being told that no feelings had developed, no slight spark after almost 10 weeks of seeing me was potentially one of the most hurtful comments I’ve ever had. Being told that it has all been entirely platonic and being asked to explain why I thought he liked me was a massive kick in the teeth.

I was actually somewhat nice about him in my last post but that’s who I am as a person: I try really hard to see the best in people’s words and actions but the more I think about it, the more I realise that he did mess me around, even if he didn’t mean to. I genuinely don’t believe any objective bystander would tell me I misread his actions and it hurts to feel as though the last 10 weeks were nothing.

That he had no feelings.

It hurts. That’s for sure.

It’s compounded further by the fact I opened up to him. I told him things I would never tell someone I was dating and I have that niggle in my mind that had I not done so he might have liked me. I don’t believe that’s why he ended it but I’m always going to have that doubt that I’m simultaneously too much and not good enough. That I’ve been through so much that I’m damaged goods and not worth anyone’s time.

I’m worth someone’s time though. One day.

But guess who text me at 5am on NYE/New Year’s day?

Okay so it was just a generic ‘Happy New Year x’ text but I do feel kinda of happy that I can 100% tell you I didn’t think of him when I was at this party and yet he thought to send me a text. I mean, yes it was just a generic text he probably sent to all, but he still thought to send me a text me regardless of whether he was drunk or not. My heart jumped and sank a little at the same time when I saw it. Probably because I didn’t expect a text and also because I didn’t hope for him to text me either.

I didn’t reply. I considered it because I wanted to be nice but then I thought, even if he was just trying to be nice, why should I give him the satisfaction of me replying? Most importantly, he hurt me so why should I give him even 10 seconds of my time?

If you couldn’t see how your actions and words hurt me then you really don’t deserve my time.

“Remember that you were art long before he came to admire you, and you’ll continue to be art even when he’s gone”

Mind you, this party I went to? Damn amazing. This fully alcohol-catered-unlimited-free-cocktail-party with a pool (yes, of course I went in!) with lovely people all around me was brilliant. I only knew two people but left with so many friends and most importantly, I went with no expectations and I left with no expectations.

(I also left without my bra, but that’s a story for another day and I promise it’s not sex-related!)

I didn’t go to this party freshly hurt by this guy looking for anyone to make myself feel better. Rebounds never work and one-off rebounds most definitely never work. Jumping straight back in doesn’t allow you to heal.

However, I accidentally met someone.

And I had quite a lovely evening in general.

I had an even more lovely New Year’s Kiss.

And that’s all I’ll say about that because he asked for my number and if I’d see him again but I doubt anything will come of it. However, the fact I don’t care what happens feels even more special right now.

I’m hurt but I’m not crying.
I’m hurt but I’m happy.
I’m on my own but I’m alright with the fact he’s gone.

I feel like a contradiction but I’m a beautiful contradiction at that.

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Parenting the Parents

 

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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.

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Yummy Mummy #1

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