I've wondered whether or not to post about this because I don't want any of my friends/new friends I've met at uni to see me differently or act any different around me - because I've experienced that in the past. But since it's Eating Disorder's Awareness week and I've just tucked into the Oreo brownie I bought from the charity cake sale on campus, I thought I'd do a post on it.
I was diagnosed with anorexia when I was 15 and although I'm deemed healthy (almost) and I feel I don't often have many problems with it anymore, it still affects me every now and then. Mainly my issues are to do with self-confidence (thought's I know most people feel) and it just gets channelled into my body.
Honestly, I'm a perfectionist and together with normal teenage insecurities it spiralled out of control and now I'm back to a much healthier place, but it just shows how easy it is to get into this and how it can go unnoticed.
Since being at uni, I've suffered a lot with self-confidence and just general sadness, what with missing home and not feeling truly comfortable here. That with my uni lifestyle being relatively a bit more busy and active than when at home and not really thinking about what I'm eating, my weight isn't staying where it should. Which then affects my mood because it plants doubt in my mind to if I'll ever get better and just how much I'm disappointing my family and causing so much pain and frustration for them over something so pathetic. (See what I mean about the spiral)
It's a difficult thing to get through, and even more difficult thing to understand, but something that always keeps me going is hope and knowing that when I'm recovered I will be one of the people that I admire and look up to.
I am always here to give advice or support to anyone who needs it, because I know how hard it is and how dreadful it makes you feel,
Even though I can't think of one magic rule that will change all your lives I can give some advice on what I think works - even just a little bit:
- Talking about it - this is one thing I've become a real culprit of not following and I know (particularly for those who have suffered for a while) that it's very difficult. I always choose to suffer silently because I feel so pathetic for thinking my thoughts that I can't bare myself to tell anyone or I don't want to burden my - already frustrated - confidants with the same stupid stories. But this is necessary! You are never alone, not with anything, and just telling one person really helps alleviate the pressure pushing you down.
And a tip for all the confidants/family/friends of people with an eating disorder - patience and a hugely open mind! I understand that it must be so difficult and bloody frustrating to see someone you love suffer over things you can't control (I feel it with myself because none of my feelings seem logical and it drives me mad!) but I also know what it feels like to want to keep thoughts to yourself just to save the listener from awkwardness or frustration. It really is worth a little bit of frustration for someone's mood to be slightly lifted (potentially avoiding the spiral downwards in more serious cases) - just knowing someone understands is one of the most comforting things and it really helps! I read a girls called Izzy's blog (link here) for even a couple of months but it did sort of help me sometimes knowing it's not just me with these feelings (granted my disorder wasn't that serious and I didn't agree with everything but even the little things).
- Write a list of everything you will be able to do when you've recovered or reasons why you want to recover. Each time you do something on the list it makes you feel that much closer to being able to recover, and I think knowing why you want to recover is key for being able to and it keeps you going when its tempting to go back.
- Write down all the things you love about yourself and stick it up somewhere visible to you.
- Relax and don't bully yourself - don't be angry or sad (but don't beat yourself up about it if you do) just accept what your feeling as if you're out of your body and refer to your lists and your confidants when things get hard.
Another long ramble, but there's just some stuff I wanted to say and to do my bit to raise awareness because it is quite important to me now, and it gets to me knowing or hearing other people in the same positions. But it is something we can overcome, and it doesn't have to take over your life - you can recover and be happy. It's possible.