It’s Okay

Girls Night Out had been planned for at least 2 months and, now that I think about it, I was the one who had initiated the plans in the first place. We were to go out on the Friday but as soon as the preceding Monday arrived I was filled with guilt and nerves.

I was nervous I would be the biggest. I was nervous that none of my clothes would fit. I was nervous about what the numbers were saying to me, whether it was the calories, the scales, or the dress sizes.

I then blamed myself for the fact I didn’t want to go.

I felt guilty that the thought of a night out scared me. I felt guilty that I was too petrified to try on outfits. I felt guilty that I just knew I wouldn’t be having as much fun as my friends because my thoughts were focused elsewhere.

Add on the stress of a very demanding deal at work all week with close to midnight finishes on a daily basis…before I knew it, it was Friday and I felt physically ill.

Truth be told, I was tired. I was so incredibly exhausted from my mental battles, work. gym and I was desperate to sleep. Every morning I wake up and there’s new fights in my head. The voice asking when am I going to eat? What am I going to eat? Will I purge? Will I restrict? Will I fail and do both? What are others going to eat? Am I going to gain weight? Will I go to the gym to make up for it? When should I eat? Am I strong enough today? Should I eat that? Why did I eat that?

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Along came Friday and I was hurting, I was exhausted and I couldn’t do it.

I put a dress on and did my makeup but then told them I wasn’t going out and went and cried in my bedroom. I told myself I was weak. That I had failed because I hadn’t been strong enough to go out.

But then I tried to turn that thought around. I’ve been working my way through a Compassionate Mind Therapy workbook aimed at (as you can guess) developing my compassionate mind. Me and my old therapist used to focus on CMT and it’s actually been incredibly refreshing and enlightening to bring myself back to this form of therapy.

Long story short, we have 3 systems: threat, drive and soothing. They all interact with one another and if you imagine drawing how active they are in my life as circles on a piece of paper, my threat circle is HUGE, my drive circle quite large and my soothing circle? It’s basically non-existent.

Experiences and memories either help the circles grow or shrink and I need to focus on shrinking how big that threat voice is and allow the soothing voice to grow.

I have spoken about my past in many previous posts so there’s no need to go into too much detail but the book encouraged me to think about why my threat voice is so predominant in my everyday life.

I thought about my family  who criticised me for being overweight as a child. Instead of finding a healthy way for me to lose weight they told me that because of my weight and my disabilities that I was an embarrassment and no one would love me. I thought about the children who bullied me for being so fat and the boys who teased and taunted me. thought about the boys who had taken me for granted, used me, abused me.

I thought about the coaches who criticised every sporting achievement, telling me it was never good enough because I was fat. They put me under so much pressure to ‘make it’ and only ever talked about my weight, criticising it in front of others, embarrassing me in front of the team. They never noticed when I became a really dangerous weight, all they saw was the ‘fatter’ athlete I had been previously.

I thought about how much pain my dad’s long-term affair and money issues brought to my family. I thought about my cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Volkmann’s contracture, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, damaged kidneys, nerve damage, ruptured muscles, slipped discs, the time I had pre-cancerous cells and how every doctor’s appointment made me feel a little bit more broken than the last.

And then I thought about me.

I thought about how the child in me only ever wanted to be loved. I only ever wanted to mean something, to be valued. I thought about how I became such an over-achiever because I thought it would get me the attention I deserved, only to be crushed when I was told I was never good enough. I thought about how the adult me is always overly-eager to help others, to be there for everyone in the hope that they not just value my presence but will be there for me in return. I thought about how I hate to consider myself needy but I admittedly crave attention, I need affirmation that I am worth something.

That I’m not worthless and there is value to who I am.

It’s easy to see why I blamed everything on being ‘overweight’. Why I convinced myself that everything would be better if I lost weight and why it gave me control over my chaotic life that was spiraling every day.

It then became easier to blame myself even less for becoming bulimic after I wrote everything down. I blame myself even less now that I’m writing it down here.

I know I had gotten myself worked up all week but I was feeling incredibly rubbish, took some time to work through a chapter in this book and realised everything was okay. It was okay to miss a night out because I wasn’t up for it. It didn’t mean I was weak. It meant I was ill at that moment in time, too ill to go out. If I had the flu, I wouldn’t have gone, so there I was not weak when I took myself out of a triggering situation, to go do some self-therapy and work through it.

I don’t need to deny that I’m ill nor do I need to justify the way my illness makes me feel. It’s okay if you’re sad one day and smiling the next. Every now and then, it’s okay to not be okay.

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Number Crunching

I did that thing I wasn’t supposed to do.

I did it even though I knew it wasn’t going to do me any good.

I stepped on the scales and that pain I knew would arrive came rushing, burning through every part of my body.

I stood there, simply hurting.

8 weeks into recovery and I had gained some weight.

I could see it coming, I knew I had. I knew I felt bloated and bigger around my midriff. I mean, I’d spent hours criticising the way I looked before I even stepped onto the scales.

I ignored the fact I was now exercising 4-5 times a week. I forgot that it was the end of the day and I had been eating 3 meals a day like clockwork. I refused to accept I was wearing trainers and clothes when I took that fatal step onto the scales.

And boy, am I struggling with this weight gain?

I’m trying to reassure myself that 4 llb’s isn’t that bad but the Demon inside tells me it is. I’ve spent countless hours crying to my boyfriend because the need to restrict and the desire to purge have been at their loudest for the past 12 days.

It makes me feel embarrassed to need so much help lately.

I’m suffering from this constant fear that they’re all going to leave me.

Most of all, it hurts. Everything simply hurts and there’s no actual medication I can take that will numb the pain.

Going round in circles. Can’t face looking at my reflection but simultaneously can’t stop looking at my ‘imperfections’. Don’t want to eat my meals but fighting to make sure that I do.

At least I’m still fighting.

I’ve just spent the weekend in Manchester with my best friend. A trip we planned a while ago and if I hadn’t paid for my ticket, I may have given into the ED telling me to bail.

We did nothing. A few walks, a few movies and lots of cups of tea. But it was perfect and, as it turns out, just what I needed.

I needed nothing.

I needed time away from my place where, unfortunately, bad memories already exist.

I needed time to stop and breathe and think.

Time to just do nothing.

I feel better for it.

I’m trying to take some time to understand that just because I’ve gained weight, it doesn’t mean I’m fat. Just because the number has increased doesn’t mean I’m unworthy.

In fact, I’ve started to feel more ‘worthy’ than ever before.

And between you and me, I have learnt an incredible amount these last 8 weeks.

I’ve been using a compassionate mind work book, I’ve had 8 weeks of balanced meal plans and healthy exercise. I’ve had a few purges and hardly any binges and I’ve hardly skipped any meals.

It hurts and I constantly feel drained.

But I’m happier.

And whether or not I’ve gained 1-4 pounds…I’m definitely healthier.

And I’m sure that, one day, being skinny will not correlate to being ‘healthy’ but that, maybe those extra couple of pounds will.

Nothing like a train ride to dedicate some time to getting negative thoughts away from me ❤️

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Almost There

My 25th birthday yesterday and to celebrate my quarter-of-a-century-ness the opticians delivered my first ever pair of glasses. Seven years of reading and writing and reading and writing and reading some more at university has left my eyes a little bit worse than where they started off.

Perfectly lovely birthday even if I did panic a little bit at the restaurant we went to. More than an hour in the queue but between you and me, totally worth it. Even lucky enough to be given one of the best tables in the room. Luckier to have pretty awesome company.

I got my exam results today.

I got a distinction in my degree.

That means I’ve kept my job.

That means, after all this time, after all this hard work, after everything that could go wrong and did go wrong, I’m finally going to be a Trainee Solicitor.

At one of the top law firms in the country too.

I really messed up one of my exams, I knew I did and I was worried the mark was going to cost me my job but turns out I passed it. Only just mind; I passed the exam by 5 marks and God did it bring down my average, but, I passed.

And even though it was my lowest mark I’m incredibly proud of it because though I majorly struggled I tried my damned hardest to learn everything I needed and coming out the exam I knew I was close to the pass mark, nothing more but potentially a lot less.

But it doesn’t matter how much I got past that pass mark because I got past it. All I needed to do was get over the pass mark and I would still be employed come September. The firm could take my job away if I didn’t get a certain mark in my degree but they can’t because I did it.

I made it.

Well, almost…

I still have a week to finish the business masters the firm wants me to do and I’m half way through. The finance element has killed me mentally, I’ve never cried over work but that made me cry four times. However, I currently have 2,432 words of my education left, so I suppose I best get back to it…

For once, it’s not really been a bad week in my world.

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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.

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Too Glam To Give A Damn

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Self-confidence is the best outfit you can possibly wear. 

I broke down at law school this week, I’d let the emotions get on top of me and I hadn’t dealt with them healthily at all. I’ve spent a while feeling fat and overweight and ugly…all those horrible words said to me by others years ago and the horrible words I learnt to value my worth upon.

I couldn’t hold it together and I broke down in the middle of the class. Two of my really good friends came to help put me back together and I told them exactly what’s been going on. The family, the fear of being told I have cervical cancer, the hurt, the financial situation, and I told them I’m recovering from bulimia. That I have purged and I was so  ashamed of myself for, in my words, ‘failing’.

So, it’s been a tough one this week but we had a girls night out (with a close male friend too) and it was simply everything I could have wanted. I could feel how much the week had gotten to me though because I was feeling back in a place where I was nervous to go out, struggling to find clothes, hating that girl in the mirror. I was filled with this fear that I’m going to be that fat friend with my other skinny counterparts. That I’d look so fat and ugly in any pictures that surfaced the next day. I could feel that dread burning. The desire to be thin rising yet again.

The night before I tried on my outfit and hated the way I looked so before going out I tried something different. I didn’t want that fear to be there when I went out. I didn’t want the demon to stop me having fun. So I stood in front of the mirror and I took a deep breath in and I smiled at myself. I thought about how much fun I knew I was going to have. I thought about how much me and E had been planning this night and how excited I genuinely was. I thought about how much I wanted to dance with someone who’s become one of my closest friends, to dance without a care in the world. A night where boys were not on the menu!

Smiling seemed to make me smile even more.

And I felt the smile glowing. I felt my confidence starting to grow. I laughed at some of the antics from the week before and at the thought of only god knows what was going to happen later! I started to smile at how much my friends cared when they saw me break down. I started to remember that there are people who think I’m awesome and, if I’m honest, I do think I’m pretty awesome too.

I was smiling simply because thinking of my friends, my excitement, even those damn sexy shoes I was going to wear made me happy! I was smiling because I knew exactly what outfit I was going to choose and although I had started the evening so scared that I was going to be fat, when I went back to the mirror I loved that girl staring back at me. I loved the curls in her hair, that smile and her dimples. I loved how happy she was.

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I loved me.

Just the way I was.

The way I am.

And I realised I could care less about people who made me feel fat and ugly all those years ago because all that matters are my friends who made me smile again. My friends who picked me up in that corridor when I could barely stand. My friends who danced with me all night long. My friends are beautiful people. And you know what? So am I.

Too glam to give a damn? Too damn right ❤

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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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Brave

So, that girl made it to the law ball after all.

I knew I wanted to go, wanting to go wasn’t the issue. I wanted to go and have a great time with my friends and I didn’t doubt for a second that I wouldn’t enjoy my time with them. But it’s so difficult to ignore that voice. No matter how much you are enjoying yourself you can never fully ignore that voice in the back of your head.

The one that whispers, ‘wow, those girls are so slim’.

The one that murmurs, ‘wow, they’re so pretty’.

The one that shouts, ‘wow you’re so fat.’

I was dreading that voice before I went to the ball and although I tried to ignore it, I just couldn’t quite manage it. I felt beautiful before I went, but upon arrival that slowly deteriorated. I can’t help but look at everyone who is smaller than me and feel ashamed, wishing I was more like them. I can’t ignore that voice that compares me to them, making me feel embarrassed to be there.

You can tell me I looked beautiful, you can tell me I was perfect but I won’t and can’t see it. I had a lovely time but every now and then that voice would creep into my head and start to make my heart feel as if it was about to split in two.

People don’t realise that sometimes its the emotions you experience after an event that are the worst. In that very moment you are enjoying yourself, the people you’re with, the occasion you’re at, but when its finished, when you go home, when you’re lying in bed, the thoughts just go running in your head.

Did I really eat that tonight? They were all so much skinnier than me. I’m going to be so fat in those pictures that get posted on Facebook tomorrow. I really hope I look alright in them. What if I don’t? What if I look so fat? But I am fat, so I’m bound to look fat. I’m going to look so fat. I’m going to be that girl in those pictures.

My friends say I should be proud that I went. That I made the decision to go and I didn’t need them to persuade me to attend. I didn’t require their confirmation of how good I looked and I handled the night well. In some respects I agree with them. In some respects I do feel proud. I was so nervous to go, I was petrified of not being able to cope with the emotions in my mind but I did. Even though the thoughts came running, even though the thunder clouds came storming I coped with them as best as I could. I didn’t let the voice stop me from eating. I didn’t let the voice make me purge afterwards. And, most of all, I had and amazing time with my friends, which is the most important thing after all.

I went morning training today for the first time since surgery and a friend told me I was brave for writing this blog. Brave in general. In that moment I didn’t believe him. I thought he was just being kind even though I still appreciated his words.

But then I thought to myself. Then I realised something.

I am brave.

I’m brave because, although I feel embarrassed, although I feel ugly and fat in my swimming costumes that feel tighter than usual, although I feel ashamed to be at the pool with the other, slimmer, swimmers, I still went.

I still went training even though I knew I would experience those emotions that usually trigger the cycle and I went to the Law Ball even though I dreaded the same emotions.

I’m brave because I knew those emotions and voices would enter my head. I’m brave because I knew they were coming and I still went anyway instead of staying home and hiding. I’m brave because I fought them, because although it hurt, although I was in so much pain, I didn’t let it trigger the cycle. I’m brave because I felt as if I was going to break but I refused to relapse.

I am brave because I wake up every day and it breaks me to feel so fat but I still leave the house and do what I have to do. I am brave because I am scared of what people think of me, i’m frightened they’ll call me fat but I still go and speak to them anyway. I am brave because my dream of Rio feels like it has gone but I am still training. I am brave because I feel broken and I’m still trying to fix myself. I am brave because I’ve not given up.

And I am proud of just how brave I am.

I even managed to pinch a little memento from the Law Ball, because at that time, I was so proud that I went. I was so proud of how brave I had been.

And I am brave today; brave enough to post a picture of myself on here.

Thank you Peter, for making me realise just how brave I am.