HONESTY

“yup everyone thinks you are freak who needs to be congratulated for eating…WTF is that all about”

A big part of my depression and eating disorder has been about accepting myself and being happy with who I am, which has always been something I have struggled with ((such a cliché I know)). Looking back at my time through school I would always put myself down and need reassurance from my friends that they did in fact like me ((which must have been exhausting and really annoying, sorry)). From that I tried to be someone who I thought people would like or who I thought people wanted me to be, which long story short got me caught up in a whole lot stuff I shouldn’t have.

Coming to King’s in particular, I didn’t want to fall back into that way of thinking, but putting that into practice is actually really hard because you want to be liked by people…obviously. I also wanted to go into uni being open and honest with the people I met about who I am ((unfortunately I am not part of the that gang who have been to South East Asia to find myself… maybe that’s where I am going wrong??? But I do think I have some idea now)). So along with trying to impress all my new amazing friends ((lol)) with all the fantastic qualities I have, I didn’t want to hide any of the not so bubbly and outgoing aspects of me ((this blog makes that a little hard to do anyway)). I have thankfully been lucky enough to have met some really accepting people who have not even batted an eyelid about any of the stuff I have shared with them ((I mean unless they are all lying and do think I am super weird haha)).

It’s hard though, and I have already realised that it is far easier to pretend everything is ok and go along with everyone else, but I have decided to embrace the JOMO

It does and probably will always worry me that if people know me, like properly know me, then they won’t like me, inevitably making friendships and relationships a lot harder. I have to constantly remind myself that if people don’t like me ((then fuck ‘em)) then fair play to them I probably wouldn’t like them either. Surprisingly ((or unsurprisingly)), it’s made my life, particularly at uni a lot easier. People have been really supportive and understanding and I think it’s made the friendships more genuine, something I didn’t have when I was at Edinburgh ((Ella that clearly does not include you, you are practically family now, what could be more genuine than that?)).

In saying this, I have found that revealing that I suffer with an illness has sometimes made it difficult to move on from that fact. By labelling myself, in my opinion I have got ownership and control of that label but at the same time I feel like I have created an expectation of not being able to cope. In other words, I have literally set myself up for failure. I stand by the fact that I have done the right thing in being open about myself. In doing this though, I have noticed people treating me differently, which at some points I am thankful for because boy do I need all the support I can get, but at other points I think “yup everyone thinks you are freak who needs to be congratulated for eating…WTF is that all about” and then I wish for it all to go away. It is such a double-edged sword I know, help her then she’ll be annoyed, don’t help her she’ll be annoyed. I am not saying either one is the right one ((please don’t stop helping me)), but has been a different kind of problem I had never considered would be an issue.

One fab thing about being more open and honest with the people I have met has been that in return, other people tend to also be more open and honest with you – which can make things a little less scary.

xxx

 

DAY OF THE DEAD

We had a few incidents involving a weird green slop, some fish that still had its eyes and some very disappointed hosts

I love being logical and pretending to be organised so I thought I would chat about all the madness that’s been going on in chronological order ((I made a list (love a list) and it made the most sense to talk things through from start to finish)). What doesn’t make sense though is the title of this post, other than today when this post goes live it is halloween and in Spain they call it the ‘Day of the dead’ #funfact.

2 weeks into Uni and I thought it would be a great idea to hop on a plane to Spain and have a jolly tennis coaching for a bit. Well, it wasn’t quite like that. Back in May this year I had previously been with my parents to Spain on their tennis holiday in La manga because they had pretty much no other choice but to take me. I was not in a good place at all, I had just come back from Edinburgh and to put it plainly, I couldn’t be away from them ((also the pressure for my sister who would have had to watch out for me would have been way too much, yes, I was that much of a nightmare)). When we went on the May trip to La manga I wasn’t me, I didn’t want to be there, I was a bit of burden on my parents and it just wasn’t the ideal holiday everyone had imagined. The nature of the holiday on top of that was extremely social so that made things a billion times harder. Mind you, I love a bit of Spanish sun and in general I love being on holiday, so I wasn’t complaining too much at the time.

 

This time around though, I can’t exaggerate enough how much fun I had. While it was literally the exact same holiday it was SOOOOO different ((which is a good thing, I think..)) I was coaching, I was actually playing ((in my opinion)) really good tennis, having fun, enjoying meals out(!!!!) and socialising with everyone. I think the main difference was that I actually wanted to be there this time and enjoy my time in Spain ((who wouldn’t)). This October trip was initially only booked for my mum and dad. When my mum booked it, ((I am pretty sure it was basically the week after we returned from the May trip)) October seemed like a long way off and long long time for me to make progress and be in a much better place, where I would be able to stay at home and not gate crash their trip…again. In August ((I think.. or July)) I had to be added to the trip. I was being very stubborn and making no effort to even try and get better so mum had no choice but to bring me along again. As it turns out, I think I ended up having the most fun. My dad lost a fair few of his matches and mum decided that on a tennis holiday she would also take up running and got herself a back injury, I think I was the only one to leave the trip smiling.

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The closer the trip was getting, I was making more and more progress. I have started University at King’s College London, I have been cooperative and my mood has only been getting better ((Thank God for Septempber!!!))

AND yes, you didn’t read it wrong, I even enjoyed meals out this time. Back in May we had a few incidents involving a weird green slop, some fish that still had its eyes and some very disappointed hosts ((I am sure anyone would have ran away from the table crying if they had been unexpectedly faced with that, again to Ann, Phil and Jerry I am sorry but we still had a fab evening)). Moving on from that, this time there were no tears, and some meals out. Admittedly, it still filled me with anxiety and if I had had the choice I wouldn’t have gone but, I did and I am still standing. Nothing terrible happened, I got to chat to some lovely wonderful people and you know what it was kind of tasty! It was so nice for a couple of nights to feel normal, I enjoyed doing a normal thing. After this though, and feeling this sense of ‘normality’ I started hating feeling normal and what normal meant. I started questioning whether people were going to have expectations from me now like I am back to the old me and people won’t care or something (WTF?!?!!). Just because I ate out doesn’t mean I am “cured” or “recovered” more I calmed the storm…for a bit, I managed my disorder and I think that is such an achievement and for now I can’t ask for anything more. So yes, there is a little piece of me that is still scared of getting better and trying to understand that people apparently do still care even if you can look after yourself.

But hey, one step at a time!

XXX

 

 

GUESS WHAT!!

I think some reactions ((I know mine was…)) were along the lines of “Oh, shit. Oh, shit. Oh, shit.”

I realise that the previous two blog posts have not been completely cheerful… but hey that’s life! This time however, I thought I would update the world with some exciting news/big developments in my life that not everyone knows about ((Pause for suspense)).

I’ve gone back to university(!!!) Unfortunately or fortunately ((I haven’t decided on that one yet)) not back to Edinburgh but to London. Yup, just to make life a little bit harder I have joined one of the busiest but greatest cities in the world ((my anxiety loves it)).

When I first applied through UCAS in June I had literally days to churn out my application but King’s College London surprisingly said yes ((WHOOP)). When I first applied I don’t think it necessarily came from a good place, I saw it more as another way to get out the house for as long as possible and to distract and escape myself from myself. When I was given an offer, I think some reactions ((I know mine was…)) were along the lines of “Oh, shit. Oh, shit. Oh, shit.” Even the conversation about me ACTUALLY going was on the hush hush and as a family we didn’t really speak about it until about a week or two ago. I had to prove to myself ((and many others)) that I did/do have the capability to look after myself and that I was genuinely ready for what has been a really intense week.  What would be the point if I couldn’t?! I do think I am ready and my reasons for going are endless! but are 100% for the right reasons now.

Don’t worry, I haven’t gone completely crazy I am living at home ((Thank god, no one wants a repeat of Edinburgh)) so that does mean I have to endure an hour commute, which isn’t going too bad ((provided I travel off-peak and have my noise cancelling headphones on)).

I am half way through my first week and it’s going. It’s been hard. I’ve had some challenges in terms of dealing with food and managing my mood ((it’s a long old day you know)), especially in such a social situation. At home it was easy, if I felt uneasy I would do some yoga, or walk my dog, anything that puts me at ease, but here I can’t really throw myself down into child’s pose in the middle of a lecture ((I mean I probably could but not sure how well that would go down)). I feel like I have coped and managed for this week so I am really pleased. Reminding myself to take one day at a time has been quite important. I have this tendency to over think things, which leads me to getting worked up quite quickly, Monday being an example of that. I was worrying about everything, there was so…is so much to think about; being able to look after myself, getting on the right train, actually learning and doing the work, not to mention all the socialising. Oh yeah! AND making time for me.

Despite juggling all of those things I have already noticed what a comfort coming home has been. Knowing my family will be at home ((most importantly my puppy)) has made starting King’s so much easier and relaxing ((along with not being so hungover and ill from freshers, and actually following what on earth is going on, there has been a tonne of info)).

Bearing in mind it has only been a week, I think sustaining all of this will be one of the many challenges ((many blog posts that I share)). It’s going to be hard but I’m going to try. I want to do this to highlight that my illness hasn’t stopped me from going after what I want, BUT if I let it, it will stop me from being able to live the full life that I am making. Happy days #pepspeech.

 

Xxx

 

One step forward, Two steps back

I went from “yes I am overcoming this blip” to the depression and anorexia completely over taking.

Since my last post I have had some amazing comments along with lots of warming messages ((keep em coming)) , which has been so uplifting and motivating and I thank EVERYONE and anyone who actually reads these posts in general.

Not going to lie though, after I posted last weeks blog and received some responses I’ve had lots of chats with people telling me “I have turned a corner”, or that they are “proud of how far I have come”. Hearing that was so touching and knowing that I have a lot of friends and family that care for me has been one of the major factors in moving forward. I know there is truth in what people have been saying and everything so far has been a massive step and achievement. BUT… I felt so overwhelmed and actually quite scared of what all of that meant. I felt this enormous expectation to suddenly be “better”. ((does that mean being weight restored??? am I already better because I can discuss my problems with lots of people??? will I ever be better?!?!)) My head and the side of me that is a tad self-destructive went on over drive with many strange thoughts. I went from “yes I am overcoming this blip” to the depression and Anorexia completely over taking. !!ALERT – this will sound bizarre!! It made me feel really disappointed and ashamed in my-self from all angles. Both sides of me felt like failures, a failed Anorexic at the same time failing at recovery ((literally no win)). Feeling like this is draining, it’s a constant argument between the rational side of me which thinks I’m crazy to have thoughts like this, like why on earth would you do or say that, while the irrational side of me is extremely nasty and stubborn, and recently has been winning a lot more of these arguments.

The expression “one step forward, two steps back” really resonates with me. Wanting to get better and handing control of my food over was my step forward, but putting what I was preaching into practice and my reaction to this step actually took me back quite a bit.

Weird i know! But it’s the reality. In anyone’s day regardless of what is going on, there are moments where I am sure you feel effortless and on top of things but moments that also throw themselves at you which I am sure you wished had not had happened ((and can tend to be the ones that you unfortunately remember and feel the most)). Well it’s a bit like that but I flick between this, for what feels like all day and every day.

I have entered what lots of people call the “recovery” phase ((possibly the expression my mum and I hate the most – – a blog post for another day though)) I have been trying to keep my motivation up and have been reading stories and quotes of others overcoming whatever ill health they have been going through ((you stumble across so many clichés it is unreal!!)). I know they are here to help but honestly, I find the quotes specifically quite funny and condescending rather than constructive, or motivating ((that is probably the irrational side of me telling me not to listen or find them helpful…bit of a double-edged sword I know)). They make me think that, magically, one day  a bridge will appear leading me to a world of “recovery” or I will wake up and suddenly have arrived in this place of being better. Maybe that will happen but I am thinking maybe not and it is more something I am going to own, embrace, live with and manage a lot more successfully than I am at the moment. It is part of me but it doesn’t have to define me ((I feel like I should whoop at the end of that sentence)).

I love a success story, from whatever illness, they are empowering and provide hope to everyone and there is something so comforting to hear that we can be strong. I have a long way to go before I sound like any of the success stories have heard but this is all part of my story good and bad. Right now it is just not going very smoothly or as easily as I may have have hoped ((as it turns out it is not as easy as it may look… definitely not as easy as just eating another slice of cake – – (probably the most overheard and ignorant sentence to be said) but if it were that simple I wouldn’t be in this situation)) but maybe one day!!!

xxx

#Let’schat

I was browsing through my twitter this morning and Rachel Kelly ((who I have definitely mentioned before, because she is awesome)) shared this article

which I thought I would share with anyone who fancies an interesting read. Basically, it continues that chat about all things mental health related and I think it is so important to address these conversations and I agree that boys, men and generally everyone is worried about the reaction they might get ((I know I was when I first started openly talking about some of my own problems)).

#Let’schat.

xxx

LET’s CHAT…

I mean right now, being able to socialise around food is almost on par with being able to walk again after breaking my leg.

 

It feels like I haven’t blogged or discussed what has been going on in my life aside from all the fun events and strange things I think about. I have had a lot to think about over the past weeks and haven’t really felt like writing and whenever I did write I felt I was being disingenuous and boring. It’s times like this though that I want to share, when I don’t feel tip top or I am dealing with something, because life is like that and it is the truth.

The past 3 weeks have been a big stepping stone in terms of my eating disorder, and I want to give an honest insight to what is going on ((bear with me though, this is quite nerve racking)).

I am now in my 3rd week of relinquishing control over everything relating to food ((apart from being allowed to bake my family their fav brownies and biscuits)). There have been numerous chats with Doctors, Health care professionals and family over ways of managing my eating disorder but nothing was really getting through to me. I kept lying to everyone ((myself included)) that tomorrow I will get better or next week I will get better but nothing changed. I was referred to the eating disorders clinic at my local hospital and was put on a waiting list(?!?!?!) but soon removed because my BMI wasn’t low enough and they were oversubscribed with patients. That phased my family and I quite a lot and we felt quite lost without any guidance, my GP was amazing and did the best that they could.

Few months later and I wish I could say that we found the perfect answer to all our problems or that there was a particular moment where I was suddenly like, ok yes I feel good lets get cracking with recovery. It has definitely been more gradual and as my mood improves the more I want to start living a full life rather than ((what my family call)) a half-life. Currently my body is not in a state where it can live up to the life that I want for myself so now I have to get it to a state which it’s working at its best. I already feel good about feeling like this because it shows to myself how much I am kicking depression in the butt again.

To many people’s surprise or not surprise this has been hard. Handing all of this over has come with ((to state the obvious)) a lot more food, which nicely pairs with a considerable amount of anxiety and some very concerning thoughts, of which need a lot of managing ((I am exhausted.. Ironic huh?))

At the moment, I see food as fuel, like it’s medicine. Similar to a physical illness in order to get better you sometimes need medicines, for me, my medicine is food. I am slowly understanding and learning again what food is all about and I have achieved so much, ((which I am gonna pat myself on the back for)) I went out for lunch…whoop. Even writing that I rolled my eyes ((I am sure you did too)) and I realise how ridiculous that sounds ((another reason to overcome this)) but for anyone going through any illness, usually it’s the little things, the day to day things, that the illness takes from you and you finally get back, you find feel like and often are the most significant achievements. I mean right now, being able to socialise around food is almost on par with being able to walk again after breaking my leg.

Illness can be long-term, short-term, physical or mental, whatever the combination I know there is no quick fix and takes soosososos much time and effort. I have A LOT of amazing events and changes coming up, that I want to be my whole self for so need all the encouragement I can get! This post has been very truthful and I feel like I have revealed a lot ((so be nice)) but I want to provide some insight on a topic that in my eyes is not spoken about enough ((at all)), especially while either someone is suffering or overcoming it, even if some parts aren’t so jazzy.

Xxx

 

 

Hidden Gems

((Basically an excuse for me to take some “artsy farsty” photos and show of my stunners of a fam))

Eventually we (my family and I) are getting back into the swing of things again and settling back into our comfy routine ((Hooray!!)). However, after every summer jolliday comes the post holiday blues, with the real world hurtling around the corner and being completely in your face with absolutely no consideration that you had once been totally relaxed ((I think my dog is definitely suffering the most with not being able to run around the perimeter of the boat all day or chasing after something for hours on end)).

Unsurprisingly I found my self flicking through the countless photos that we had all collected from the week… I came across some absolute stunners and some not so worth sharing but 100% never being deleted ((safe to say we aren’t all sleeping beauties)).

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On one the longer walks that we set off on ((that wasn’t to the local grocery shop or to the nearest toilet)) we spotted the most incredible field covered in sunflowers *cue photo opp* After a few thousand cringey yet worthwhile pictures later mum said something along the lines of “isn’t it amazing what you can discover”, she mentioned this to me because we had been talking about being able to cope and manage unplanned events etc and highlighted that good things can happen, even when you don’t control or plan it. It made me think about my previous blog post “CHANGE” and the idea of being a little more spontaneous and changing routine. We hadn’t planned our route, well, Dad had an extremely vague idea of what direction we should be heading in but really we were just walking to be outside and to enjoy our surroundings. For me, even though it was only doing something little and simple, it really emphasised the importance of opening myself up to opportunities because quite literally you have no idea what might be around the corner.. Hey! it might be a field full of sunflowers!! ((sorry for the cliche)). I appreciate that a simple family walk and going down a few footpaths and taking some odd photos may not seem big or as poignant but for me it was something new and different and I really really enjoyed it. ((Basically an excuse for me to take some “artsy farsty” photos and show of my stunners of a fam)).

It has made me excited rather than anxious to continue discovering new places and to leave some trips a little more unplanned and add some spontaneity, even if it’s just exploring a few unknown streets around Cambridge with my pups. ((risky business i know, but hopefully worth it!!))

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I would love to hear about any places people have discovered by accident??

xxx

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