Working It Out

img_2225

Today’s been a bad day but on the same hand one of my better ones. It’s so contradictory, I know but I’m pleased with where I am right now in this very moment.

As usual my day started off with the standard family stress but today I couldn’t take it anymore. I’m in the middle with my mum breaking down to me on the phone and my dad pressuring me to send him all my money. We had an agreement that I would look after that money so me and my brother could have deposits for houses in the future but now he’s trying to take it and I will happily support my mum but I’m getting fed up of my dad. Strictly speaking he’s been paying for that whore for 14 years…14 years of his and mum’s money being spent elsewhere…14 years that has led to him taking mine and my brother’s savings, the inheritance meant to help us start our own families one day.

I feel like I can’t cope with it anymore. When I hung up on mum I ended up crying in the middle of the street and I couldn’t stop. I tried to find a place that was quiet so I could try hide from the masses around me but I couldn’t and I felt like I was suffocating. I couldn’t breathe in this crowd and I was fighting to keep the tears from falling but in the end I couldn’t. They burnt and they stung my cheeks as they started to come and I desperately tried to find an empty corner or side street to run to but there wasn’t anywhere, so I lowered my head and made my way home whilst the tears kept running.

I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I can’t do this anymore, I can’t cope with this stress, I want all my family to leave. I want them to stop pressuring me, I don’t want this financial stress, they can take the money and fight between themselves, I don’t want anything to do with the money anymore, its caused so many problems sitting there and I wish, oh i wish I could just fuck off and leave them all behind. That’s my inheritance…my mum’s hard-earned cash and savings that is meant for me and John but dad is trying to take it and once he takes it, it’ll go to that fucking whore.

I was sick. I didn’t even try not to be. I just went to the bathroom and put my fingers down my throat. Its so bad that its not even to be skinny…its turning into a coping mechanism again. Something to take all the pain away because its the only way I know how.

But then, I went to the gym. I went to the one a few streets down and opened a membership and after 2 hours I went for a bit. I only managed 30 minutes cardio but considering I’ve not been able to do any real exercise for a long time I think that’s alright. I do know its not the best idea seeing as I purged. But I went to the gym, made sure I drank a lot and afterwards I went for sushi. Expensive food for my bank account right now but at least I ate something. At least I exercised. At least I got the remainder of my anger and pain out on the treadmill and not down the toilet.

And I’m proud that I finally went. It’s silly but because I feel so fat most days, I’m almost embarrassed to go to the gym. It’s so contradictory, we go there to better ourselves but it also acts as such a self-conscious environment. I’m pleased with myself. I’ve drawn up an exercise plan for the rest of the month and yeah, it might be too much, but hopefully I can find where my fitness is and start building myself up again. Not just physically but mentally too.

Instagram: umbrella_adventures.blog

The C-Word

I know I could be overreacting. I know the doctor told me not to panic, but they mentioned that word today. The C-word and now I can’t stop thinking about it. All the what-ifs. And I’ve never felt so scared.

They tell you not to worry, they’re just concerned about something and want to run tests for cancer. Of course I’m going to worry. There’s been something wrong with me for 7 months and my GP wouldn’t listen. She told me it was nothing. Bleeding was normal. Took me ages to get her to even consider sending me to a gynae, and now I’ve been and gone, and true to ‘That girl’s’ form….I have unusual and concerning symptoms.

I got so upset at work last night, a few hours after they told me. My box showed up 3 hours late, so I just stood doing nothing, and then I was so rushed getting their food because they’re ‘VIP’ that I was unbelievably stressed in the kitchen, running back and forth, wasn’t allowed my break or my dinner, and at the end of the night they stayed so long even my supervisor was getting angry. At the end of a shift we need to restock the boxes and we have to go to the cellar, every time I did that, they kept opening more, even when I explained they could go to the bar…otherwise I keep having to go to the cellar. But in all honesty, it distracted me. It was when they were finally leaving that I got upset. In all fairness, they’d been nice to look after, but the woman had been so overly kind to me that it got me upset when they were finally leaving and I wasn’t thinking about work anymore.

I just sat in my box and cried. I’ve never felt this scared before and it puts everything in perspective. What’s a few pounds here and there, if this is the worst case scenario. Who cares what people think about my weight when this could be the worst thing to happen to me.

They said that if it is, the C-word, it will be very early stages…but this is me, everything fucks up for me, nothing ever goes well for long enough, nothing does, nothing lasts, I’m the girl with a list of things wrong with her as long as her name and I can’t cope with something else.

The abnormalities could be nothing, but they could be something and it freaks me out. I’ve never felt so scared. I can’t help thinking, what if. What if it is.

I know it could easily be nothing but what if?

I’m incredibly grateful to have these two to help me with whatever the answer to that question may be.

IMG_6072.JPG

Instagram: umbrella_adventures.blog

Special

img_6057

I’ve written it before and I’m about to write it again. Over-achiever, Striver, Never-Satisfied, whatever you want to call it, I am it and once again it came up in my therapy session to discuss why we think i’m still relapsing.

It all came down to something quite straightforward, something I’ve briefly touched upon occasionally in this blog.

I’m not special anymore.

And I want to feel special.

But I’m not.

I’m no longer the athlete with World Records to her name. I’m never going to hear my name announced or have other athletes look up to me when I give speeches. I’m nothing anymore. I’m a nobody. A has-been. I feel invisible, I feel like every other person walking down the street and I hate that. Not from an arrogant perspective but from the perspective of the person who always used to stand out.

I’m no longer doing something that no other law student has managed to do. I’m no longer being asked how training is or how my last competition went. I’m no longer a role model, I’m no longer anything worth mentioning.

I’m just normal. And I can’t stand it. I’m not happy simply being me and I don’t know how to accept that I simply am me. This is who I am right now but I can’t accept it. I wont accept it.

Being the best in sport kept me sane (to a certain extent).

Initially, it made me feel better about my weight, better about the bullies, better about me. I was able to say they were all simply jealous of me, but not anymore. Not now. Not ever again. I’m fat but I’m not an international athlete. I don’t have that status to cover up the issues I bury deep inside me.

I want to be special. I want, to a certain extent, to be admired.

Always second best, never even equal to my brother growing up. Bullied. Called stupid and fat by ‘friends’ and teachers and coaches alike. Never allowed to be satisfied with just being me. So i always pushed for more and I most definitely still do. I was never good enough for anyone so I reached for high grades, good university and challenging career. I pushed to become a better athlete and to win more medals, break more records.

I pushed to lose weight.

To become that ‘ideal’ I needed to be, at least, what I thought I needed to be, but it was never good enough. No one ever praised me or let me enjoy any success. It always had to be more. One more percent, one more second, one more pound. Never allowed to be satisfied with me. Never allowed to let myself be happy with me.

Always second best. Never good enough. And now I’ve lost something that, whilst contributed greatly to my eating disorder, still kept me happy…well…it didn’t did it. Thats a lie. This year it didn’t make me happy and thats why I left. But theres that voice lying to me in my head telling me that if I go back I’ll be happy again.

I know thats not true.

Problem is, I don’t like me at the moment, and I don’t know how to make myself like me at all.

Raw

They wanted to weigh me and I hadn’t anticipated that. They sat me down and oh so casually said they needed my weight

I haven’t seen my weight for more than two months and the instant panic made it impossible to speak, I could have told them I didn’t want to see it, or that maybe I didn’t have to, but I couldn’t. So I got up and I stood on the scales.

64.5kg

That’s what the skinny girl weighing me called out.

And the voices came running. The pain struck me and all I wanted to do was cry. I’m sat in the waiting room waiting for the consultant and the tears are burning, trying to burst and run down my face.

I haven’t seen my weight for more than two months and all those doubts were right. I’m fat. I’ve gained weight and I’m so fat. I need to lose it. I knew I needed to lose it but I ignored the voices and let myself eat. I allowed myself to eat similar amounts to everyone else and whilst I haven’t trained I have paid for it. Oh have I paid for all that over indulgence and wrong choices.

Why did I eat what I ate?

Why did I drink what I drank?

Why did I not train as much?

It’s my fault. I’ve gained so much weight and its all my fault. I feel numb and broken inside and it hurts. When that number was called out I felt as if a thousand knives stabbed me at once.

I just felt raw.

I felt the self-hatred come back. It seethed through my body and it burned my insides. My head started spinning and I had a lump in my throat. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I almost didn’t want to breathe as if I could pretend I wasn’t there. As if I could pretend it wasn’t true, but it was. Almost 65kg and yeah I had my clothes on, but that doesn’t really add much on, does it?

No point hiding from the fact that I’m fat. No point trying to comfort myself and soften the blow that I’m so fat right now. Its blatantly obvious. No point denying it.

One year since things went downhill with swimming and I’ve gained 9kg.

I feel like a disgrace and I need to get my anger out. I just want to scream and shout and just cry…I just really want to curl up and cry away all the pain.

As if crying would make it better anyway.

I can’t even describe how I’m feeling with my words in any sense that is actually an adequate representation. All I know is that I am fat and it hurts. I used to be 55kg and I want to be that weight again. I don’t care if I was purging at that weight, I just want to get there without purging.

I want to be that tiny girl again.

I need to be slim. I need to be better than what I am and I want it now. I don’t like feeling this hurt, I don’t like the pain that burns in my head and my body and I’m sick. I’m sick of being this mess. I’m sick of my life revolving around my weight and the sooner I sort it out the better.

I feel so raw.

I need to sort it out.

I feel so numb.

I just need to lose weight.

I feel so broken.

I just need to be slim again, that small again

I’m so scared that I can’t do it. I’m so frightened that I am always going to be this fat.

I want to do it healthily but I’m scared that that option won’t work.

I just feel empty inside. I feel so hurt and depressed when I look at myself. I want to be more than this. I want to be slimmer.

I feel so broken and numb, but it doesn’t feel like there’s anything I can do about it.

10622858_10154935875380104_6839318545308918479_n

Sorry

“She said sorry too often. She apologised for apologising too much. She said sorry like it was a greeting. She apologised for everything that went wrong, because she labelled herself a disaster. She was sorry for not being good enough, because no one ever told her she was good enough. No one ever told her that she was something more than the mess inside her head and the tsunami inside her heart. So all she learned was to apologise for every single breath that she took.”

The Ex-Almost

It wasn’t really anything.

You couldn’t truly call it something.

It didn’t amount to much.

Neither of them did.

He was never realistically going to be your boyfriend.

You weren’t truly dating.

It didn’t amount to a fling.

But I still felt something.

I still fell for that guy the guy that was never going to be. And boy did I fall hard.

The ex-could-have-been.

The ex-what-if?

The ex-almost.

And if falling for the ex-almost wasn’t bad enough. I ended up falling for another one just a couple of weeks later.

In hindsight, I think I definitely fell for one that little bit more than the other. In fact, it was the one that was so out of my reach that I fell for the most. And I told myself not to, I knew nothing was ever going to happen. I knew it wasn’t serious and I told myself not to do it, not to fall for him, but I did.

I didn’t necessarily want a relationship and in fact I was scared of one. I was scared of opening up to a potential-something about my eating disorder and so I never did. It was something I was frightened of being judged upon, convinced I didn’t deserve anyone because I was so broken. Yet at the same time I wanted someone to fix me. I wanted to mean something to someone and I wanted someone to mean something to me.

I wasn’t looking for a relationship with either ex-almost but there was some potential with one and yet I think I fell for the other more. Admittedly, perhaps, my second ex-almost came at a time when I needed him and, although that makes him sound like a rebound, he wasn’t anything of the sort.

I was hurt by the way my first ex-almost ended things and I felt he could have handled it better. After a weekend where he accidentally stood me up…yes….that girl got accidentally stood up…on valentines day…yes…she did…then a last minute get together the day after, and suddenly he just didn’t want to talk to me. It wasn’t hard to get the picture from his messages. I knew he was busy and I didn’t mind that, but when you get with someone and they suddenly act as if they don’t want anything to do with you, its so easy to jump to the wrong conclusions. And in hindsight, I think that I did.

I never set out looking for something serious and I knew it was never going to be that. I knew from the beginning and I was under no false pretences. In fact, I think that’s why I allowed myself to go there in the first place, because I was scared of ‘serious’ and knew this was never going to be anything of the sort.

I didn’t even hang out with him that much and I tried to keep my emotions in check but I let myself feel something. I let myself fall. And that’s why I was so hurt. I felt I could have protected myself better. I felt like I had been so stupid. But I fell for him and there’s no denying that.

24 hours of feeling sorry for myself and ex-almost number two accidentally comes along. Genuinely by accident. I still thought I wasn’t after something serious but this was the first time I let down that wall. I told him about my eating disorder and he didn’t judge me, in fact, he made me feel better. He took away some of the shame and the internal stigma seemed to fade.

For the first time I let myself consider the potential of being in a relationship. The first time since my long-term ex who had hurt me so badly over and over again. I had happily had fun with friends and had also turned down guys who were interested in something more. But for the first time I let myself open up and when he told me he didn’t want anything more than what we ‘were’, a pretty debatable term seeing as neither of us had a clue what we ‘were’ anyway, I was heartbroken.

I couldn’t understand it though.

I genuinely couldn’t work out why I felt so much pain. I didn’t understand the emotion.

I hadn’t known him long. Nothing we were doing indicated something serious in the future. We hadn’t really dated and we weren’t truly treating each other as a fling. So why did it hurt? Why was I crying down the phone to my best friend? Why was I running home to Newcastle because all I wanted was a hug from my mum?

Back then I didn’t know. But now I do.

That was the trigger moment.

That was when I relapsed.

And it wasn’t their fault. I would hate for anyone reading this to think that either of my ex-almosts treated me badly. They didn’t. In fact, they were honest and I can’t ask for more than that. I had been with guys before who weren’t going to amount to anything so I couldn’t understand why I was hurting so bad over these two.

It’s because I felt as if everything had gone. I had no swimming. I was struggling with my workload. I had gained weight. And the two things that potentially helped me feel normal, that maintained the small glow of positive thoughts in my head had gone.

The thing I miss about my first ex-almost was the banter. I have no idea if he felt the same, or if he considered me completely mental (which is probably true) but I actually enjoyed chatting to him and he made me laugh nearly every day. There was never much flirting but when we did it was good. I mean, it was good. I didn’t really have that with my second ex-almost. He was handsome, sweet, funny and I loved that he was ambitious but I think I was hurting because I felt as if I had lost a friend in the first.

I was missing the near-daily conversations. I noticed I wasn’t getting texts that made me smile in the way that his did. I felt like I had lost something and I wanted it back but I had to accept that it was gone. It was impossible to be friends with him. And I felt weak. I felt weak for needing his friendship. How did I become dependent on someone I only met about 5 weeks earlier?

But I ended up surprised. A month or so later when I was at rock bottom, when I felt like the world was caving in and I had nowhere to turn, he ended up being there. 2 months later he was there and it was completely unexpected. I may have foolishly written something on social media but it never once crossed my mind he would read it and contact me.

I actually remember it happening. I remember the three-way-emergency-skype-call I was having with my best friends and just as we were signing off he text me. Those two were just as shocked as me! I remember dropping my phone and was actually momentarily scared to look at it because I couldn’t work out why in the world he would be texting me.

He said he didn’t want to be weird but could tell something was up and wanted to see if I was alright.

It hurt so much but I let myself open up. I was sat crying on my bed but I let myself tell him what was going on. I ignored the voice telling me to be ‘strong’ by remaining silent and I told him. He reacted better than I ever expected. And that was when I realised something. He didn’t have to text me. He didn’t have to notice I was down and reach out. But he did. This ex-almost cared.

This ex-almost was a friend.

I still don’t truly understand it but his words helped me more than he will ever realise. I realised I didn’t necessarily fall for him in the romantic sense, but the way in which you fall for a friend. As crazy as that sounds, that is how I can best describe it and that was why I hurt when he didn’t really want to be friends anymore. Because boys come and boys go. Relationships start and relationships end. But it is your friends that are there throughout it all. And whilst I was on the verge of relapse that was what I needed. I needed friends and I felt as if I had lost one.

And whilst ex-almost number two was a wonderful guy, he almost acted as a distraction, as soon as he left, I was reminded of the friend I had lost. And it wasn’t until he text me that I realised I hadn’t really lost him at all. He was there, and yes, we weren’t talking, and yes, I’m yet to actually speak to him rather than just wave at him in the library, but he was there when other people weren’t. He was one of the people who didn’t know about my eating disorder on but he was the one who wanted to check if I was alright.

He’s still an ex-almost but more importantly, in that one moment, on that one friday night, he was a friend. He was exactly what I needed right there and then and even though he doesn’t know it, I’ll never forget him or his influence in my recovery.

The (Internal) Stigma

If you asked me to describe myself in several words I would probably say something along the lines of, small, loud, crazy, fun-loving, always laughing, confident, and happy. Mainly, because, for the most-part those words are genuinely a true description of me.

But that’s how I would describe myself to you.

If I were to describe myself to me, the words couldn’t be more different. Fat. Ugly. Weak. Unwanted. Shameful. Worthless. Disgusting. Scarred. Mainly, because, for the most-part those words are genuinely what I believe to be a true description of me.

Everyday I wake up and I go and stand in front of that mirror and, for some reason, I willingly say those words to myself. I stand there and look at every inch of fat on me and hate myself for it. I stand there wishing that girl was skinnier. Fitter. Prettier. I wrongly believe that everything, including my happiness, depends on my weight and I let that demon whisper in my head. I don’t try to fight it off, I listen to the whispers of, ‘you’re so fat, and ugly, and weak’. I let it tell me that I’m ‘worthless and don’t deserve anyone whilst I’m so fat’. I truly believe that when I walk out the house everyone I walk past is going to take one look at me and confirm that those words are true inside their own heads.

I know its not true but the fact of the matter is that, right now, it does not matter how many people tell me I’m beautiful, because I simply do not and will not see it. I’ve not felt beautiful since December, and I’ve not felt perfect since February.

It’s funny how the last time I felt ‘beautiful’ doesn’t coincide with the last time I felt ‘perfect’.

I felt beautiful because I was slimmer in December. Having shoulder surgery, however, meant that what was once a 36 hour training week became nothing at all. I inevitably gained some weight and I was so unhappy for it. However, due to my lack of training I was able, for the first time, to go out with my friends on nights out and I actually enjoyed it. Naturally, boys slowly came into the equation. At first, I thought people were messing me around, I thought I was that fat girl who was the inevitable joke. But I slowly realised this wasn’t the case. Some of my friends were genuinely interested in me and as much as I’ve never needed validation from a guy, it gave me confidence. It made me sit back and think that maybe, just maybe, I was alright. I wasn’t as ugly or as fat as I thought I was.

Yeah. I was alright.

But the weight kept increasing. And when I reached 58kg at the end of January I couldn’t handle it. The whispers became louder and I started skipping my meals and the purging slowly crept back into a regular habit. I began hating myself, I can remember sitting in front of the mirror and crying. I hated that girl starring back at me. She was so fat and it was her own stupid fault for gaining the weight. I remember wanting to smash it, I was in so much pain and my heart was breaking. I couldn’t stop the tears, I couldn’t purge because I hadn’t eaten and I couldn’t even bring myself to stand up because my legs were so weak. I hated that girl. I hated her.

I hated me.

And that was the first, and I am glad to say the only, time that I cut myself.

I felt as if I deserved it. As if I deserved to be in pain for being so stupid as to gain weight. As if I deserved to be as scarred on the outside as I felt on the inside. I felt like I had all this pain in my heart and I couldn’t get rid of it. I wanted it to leave so badly, I wanted to be that smiley, bubbly girl again and I hated the fact I was so broken. I wanted to be normal. But that girl had never been normal from the day she was born. I had all this pain and hurt and anger and I couldn’t get rid of it. The demon whispering in my head began to shout and I wanted it to stop. Even the fact I only cut the back of my hand, because deep down I didn’t want to seriously hurt myself, made me feel weak. I hated myself and cutting the back of my hand let me get that anger out. I felt like I was hurting that girl in the mirror because I hated her. It didn’t feel like I was hurting me.

I think the best way of describing it is that I wanted some physical pain to match the mental pain that was breaking my heart. Almost as if physical pain would draw away from the mental pain. You can do something constructive about physical pain; you can put a bandage on it, you can fix it. Mental pain is so much different and you feel so out of control, like you can’t fix it but surely you should be able to fix mental pain yourself? Just stop thinking all those negative thoughts.

I wish it really were that simple.

Although I cut myself I wasn’t truly fully relapsed then, as hard as that may be to believe. Over those two months there was something that helped me and yes, it involved a boy. Two boys to be exact. This was the time when I didn’t feel beautiful, but I felt perfect.

So, I had gained weight. But cutting my wrists forced me to open up to my family and best friends and they were there immediately to help. I felt stronger because they knew I was struggling and they were going above and beyond to help me feel better. To be stronger.

I met a guy and even though I knew things weren’t going ‘anywhere’ he made me feel perfect because when I was with him I was genuinely my normal loud crazy self, talking about the most random crap and the ‘banter’, for want of a better word, was great. For the first time since I broke up with my long-term ex I actually thought I guy didn’t like me because I was slim and, therefore, beautiful, but that a guy actually liked me for me. So although I was fatter than I was in December I actually felt perfect. He made me feel perfect.

It makes me smile to think about that time because I can remember how during that month I was genuinely so happy and me and my friends were having such a good time as well. I remember our girl nights out and they were hilarious. I remember the group chats that made me cry with laughter. I remember sitting with them at Piccadilly station whilst they were waiting for their trains simply because that was where I wanted to be; with them. To be with them made me so happy. For once I was happy with the way I was. I didn’t feel beautiful. I still wanted to lose weight. But for once I was happy.

I was happy because of the people I chose to surround myself with.

I didn’t know what ‘it’  was but I knew ‘it’ could never be serious but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt when this guy ended ‘it’.

But as one door closes another one opens and a different guy accidentally stumbled into my life. And I was genuinely surprised at just how much I liked him in such a short space of time.

If I didn’t know what was going on with the first one I most definitely didn’t have a clue with this one! Admittedly, I don’t think either of us knew what to make of the situation. Again, he ended it and he did so for all the right reasons. He told me that he didn’t want me to be ‘a bit of fun’, but then he didn’t want to lead me on either and end up hurting me a few months down the line.

That was a bit of a whirlwind that I’m not going forget quickly. Although I appreciated his honesty, I almost hated it. Its easier to hate someone than to accept their kind actions which happen to cause you pain.  However, for the very first time I opened up to a guy about my eating disorder. I thought he would run a mile, but he didn’t. The problem was that when he did end it, I couldn’t help but listen to that whisper of, ‘well why would he want to be with you anyway when you’re so broken.’

I know deep down that wasn’t the case. I know he isn’t the type of guy to have judged me on that and he was the first guy who made me feel as if there was nothing to be ashamed of. We didn’t talk about it much more, and admittedly we didn’t even hang out much more, but I never once felt as if he judged me because of it.

And that’s the thing.

I constantly believe that if I open up to people they’re going to judge me. I feel that they’re going to hear me say those words, ‘I have an eating disorder’, and they’re going to think I’m weak, disgusting, broken, worthless, fat. All those words I say to myself every day that I wake up and look in the mirror.

But that’s just it. There is no stigma with eating disorders. Well, there is, but its internal. Its me saying those hurtful things. Not my friends. Not the people in the street. Not those two guys, both of which turned out to be friends. Its me. I see myself that way and that means that only I can change that.

I always assume people will react negatively to my eating disorder and that makes me scared to open up but they don’t. I feel they won’t understand, and they might not, but they always try to understand. My friends can tell me I’m beautiful and perfect, and I genuinely don’t need a guy to make me feel that way, but until I see it, until I get rid of that internal stigma regarding my eating disorder, I’ll never become that happy girl I used to be.

And I want to be that girl again. And there are days that I am. I just need more of those days but I feel like I’m getting there. Slowly, but surely, because the days where I am happiest are when I am laughing with my friends and it is those moments where I don’t have a care in the world about my weight. I’m laughing because I’m happy. Because in that moment I am perfect, and I don’t need to stare in a mirror to confirm that.

It’s still raining but it’s a little bit lighter today.

img_6059