Knowing a Feeling 

I learnt the hard way to not get my hopes up. Always let down, always dropped, always left a little bit more broken than before. Family, friends, coaches, GB team staff and, of course – boys, would remind me why I was ‘stupid to think that this time would be any different.’

So yes, I learnt the hard way not to get my hopes up. I learnt to not look too far into the future, to not see ‘meaning’ in anything and to expect the worst until I saw something confirmed on paper.

And yet, deep down, my hopes always remained high.

And I suppose my hopes are still high. My optimism gets commented on frequently and those who know everything will comment they can’t understand why.

Why, after everything would I still be the girl who is still so full of happiness and hope that one day, everything will be okay?

Thing is, I could easily be the cold-stone-hearted-ice-queen after everything and everyone would understand but it would be allowing those experiences to deprive myself of  potential happiness. Yes, people have hurt me in some of the worst ways imaginable but I don’t want that to prevent me from finding future happiness and inner peace.

But the beautiful paradox continues to exist. I still fear the worst. I simultaneously drag my hopes down just as I start to put my faith in them. The thing is, what I know and what I feel are unfortunately two extremely different things.

I know developing an eating disorder wasn’t ‘my fault’ but I feel ashamed and disappointed in myself for having one.
I know my friends would do anything to help me but I feel that I’m a burden they will wish they didn’t have.
I know my boyfriend wants to be with me but I feel that he’s bound to prefer someone with less issues. Less damage. Less of a past she couldn’t control.

know that three meals a day won’t make me gain weight but I feel incredibly fat for wanting to eat, let alone even eating.
know I’ve not purged for more than four weeks but I feel like that doesn’t truly mean anything.
I know in the past I have found ways to purge in secret when surrounded by others but I feel like that doesn’t mean anything regarding these last four weeks.

In his words, I’m ‘kicking ass’ and I know that I am but I feel like I’ve achieved nothing.

I’m still working on developing my self-compassion that my therapist and I worked on. Allowing myself to appreciate that there will always be days where I do get hurt and need support, or days I fall down and need people to pick me up but none of that makes me a failure. Loving myself for the things I know rather than hate myself for the things I simply feel. And of course it’s difficult to not believe the awful things people have made me feel, but if it was easy then it wouldn’t be holding me back right now…

It’s potentially the hardest part of my recovery (in the necessary circumstances) feeling what I know rather than only knowing what I let myself feel.

At least these people always help me work out the difference:

Twitter: @elenip92

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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

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.

 

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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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Strength in Trust

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Sleepless nights that aren’t so sleepless anymore.
Night time Demons visiting less and less.
Still there. Still lurking. Still creeping around but maybe I’m stronger now.

Strong enough to read my ‘recovery book’ with all the steps I know I need to follow.
The steps my therapist trusts me to follow without the need for him to tell me to.
The book with all my little tips I know help make me stronger.

But when I’m not battling the night-time-Demon I’ve got the one that visits each day.
The one that taunts and tells me one more time.

One more meal.
Miss one more meal.
Push until lunch, until dinner, until bedtime, until morning.
Push on through the hunger. 

And if I’m strong enough to ignore those demands it starts a new line of attack.

One more purge.
One more bathroom visit.
Just do it now, and do it later and once again before bed.
Push on and get rid of it.

Such a happy year so far and I’m desperate to not let anything ruin just how happy I feel right now. I want to be strong enough to stop this.

And the affliction with the scales is forever the worst. A mix of fear yet desperation to know that  irrelevant number. Thinking it’ll give me the control I crave when I know it doesn’t.

Taking myself back to basics.
The Demon says I’m weak for it but I know I’m not.
Fishing out my old flashcards I’d look at in stages of panic.
Drawing out diagrams to work through the mix of emotions to reach an action plan.
Talking.
Writing.
Allowing myself time and space to heal.

To become strong again.

Even sending pictures of my meals to him so he knows I’ve at least made food. Won’t know if I’ve eaten it but I know that he’s trusting me to. Someone genuinely caring if I’ve eaten. Wanting to know, chasing me up if I haven’t sent a picture and I simply can’t lie and tell him that I’ve eaten when I know I haven’t.

I remember a dark day where I went for help and the reply was ‘I know you’ve not been eating/purging for 4 weeks but I’m not going to come to you and ask about it, gotta do it yourself.’
That response made me feel so weak – but then again, if I knew a friend/boyfriend was in trouble, would I wait for them to come to me? No.

I wasn’t weak in that situation.
I just wasn’t supported.
And yet, I thought I was the problem. I thought things were bad because I wasn’t a good enough girl for him which made me try even harder rather than walking.
But that’s in the past.

And I’m stronger for it.
Everyone tells me how strong I am.
Yet there’s day’s I believe it and days I don’t.

And I feel stronger simply because they trust me. He’s trusting me to eat. They’re all trusting me to eat. I just need to trust myself.
Trust myself that three healthy meals won’t make me gain weight.
Trust myself to balance eating and exercise in a healthy way.
Trust myself to avoid the urges.
Trust myself to put away the scales.

Because they trust me, I start to trust myself.
Trust myself that I’m strong enough because if my entire life is anything to go by…I know I am.

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Water Baby



24 years ago my mum took me swimming and 22 years later I surprisingly left the pool. Two years following that I found the courage to take the plunge but my strength didn’t last long at all. 6 months after I last donned my hat and goggles I was asked to be someone’s girlfriend, and although it took me 24 hours I was never happier to put aside my fears and take the plunge in a different way.

However, one month ago I was triggered and 3 weeks ago I relapsed. 1 week ago I went for help and we all know that because that’s what my last post spoke about. So what’s happened since? I came to Thailand to fully live up to the whole cliched expression of finding myself and majorly because I need time away from a lot of the shit I have to deal with. I was with a group at one part of my journey because I had so spontaneously planned this trip during exams that I was more disorganised-ly organised than usual.

Problem was, I met girls who came to Thailand to get wasted, laid and sunbathe. I didn’t come here for that, I wanted to experience the culture, which I did, I wanted to experience the lifestyle, which I did and I wanted to chill on my own at times,which I did. But I was given glances and thoughts said out loud that should never have been spoken. I don’t want details but I felt judged.


I was in this beautiful national park, Koh Sok, and I promise you the pictures don’t do it justice and I just wanted to cry. They made me feel that the fat girl once more and the emotions were building and the pain just burst through my heart as I couldn’t suppress it anymore. I couldn’t stop the tears but there was one girl I knew was kind, I knew was genuine, the one who I knew didn’t judge me. There was no network or wifi, I had no one to talk to but regardless of that I’m so glad I went to her.
We sat at the back of a floating bungalow with the back door open onto this beautiful lake, our feet in the water and the mountains as our back drop and I cried and opened up my heart to her. I basically told her everything and she simply listened and helped me work through some things. I was scared to stand around in my bikini, water calling out to me, calling me back to it like a long lost love but I was so scared. In love with something that once hurt me so bad.

But it was never the water that hurt me was it?

I have fear associated with the water but that was never what really hurt me. It was simply used to hurt me.


Emotions spilled out into the bungalow, into those mountains, into that lake and just like that I jumped…it only took five minutes for the smile to arrive and two days later it’s still not left. It’s something so small but took so much courage and I’m so happy I had the strength to do it.

Reunited with a long lost love.

I don’t quite know why I came to Thailand, but if it’s to ‘find myself’ then I did. Because I’ve been a water baby since the day I was born. The water truly made me happy and yes some people took that away from me but two days ago, I took it back.

Falling in love over and over again as I jumped from the boat, from the rocks, from anything, into that water. And the love is still there. Today I went island hopping and took full advantage of any opportunity to jump in and swim…I also did something I did every single summer as a child, I went searching for shells and admittedly I only found two but this is one of them…

Finding that shell made me stupidly happy just like shell searching did all those years ago. Swimming and searching for shells in the water that I could genuinely call my home.

Shell searching in Thailand…shell searching….soul searching…

Soul searching in Thailand.

Forever soul searching. Forever unpicking parts of myself. Forever working myself out.
Forever falling in love with myself slowly but surely, day after day.

 


I got so emotional because I was incredibly proud of myself for quite a few steps I’ve made and my heart genuinely beat so fast for the water I fell in love with…I never stopped being in love if I’m honest. I just needed strength to jump.

I needed strength to jump in a whole different sense two weeks ago.
I’ve never been happier that I did jump in both situations…

I once wrote something along the lines of I hope my future daughter never lies alone in bed at night crying her heart out…I can’t ask for more than for her to have friends like I have. The ones who help me eat when I can’t, the ones who give me beds for the night when I need them, the ones like I’ve met in Thailand. I had one of my nightmares last night. I woke up screaming, convinced I was getting…being…still can’t say that R word, again. Shaking and sweating but K (the girl I opened up to) came straight over to calm me down, tell me it was a dream and suddenly the world stopped spinning, my tears stopped running, and my heart wasn’t choking any more.

Baby steps…but then again, it’s hard to take steps on land when you’re a water baby at heart…


Twitter: @elenip92

Instagram: @elenipapa92