eating disorder · recovery

Is it true? Does it matter?

The start of a new year/term/chapter of your life is a big challenge for anyone, and as someone who is recovering from anorexia and experiences intense anxiety there is always a fear that these periods of change will cause a relapse.

I know that I have never been great with goodbyes and making new starts. It’s not that I don’t want to do new things, but when im really happy and love the people where I am so much I find the thought of being in a different situation really unsettling. Recently I’ve been feeling really stupid about not being able to throw myself into stuff and beating myself up that I felt emotional about starting a new job, a new year at university and the first year when I’m going back feel properly rested and recovered from everything.

For anyone struggling with anxiety or eating disorders, new starts can feel really overwhelming. Recently I was given a piece of advice which has helped me so much, and that is to think ‘is it real? Does it matter?’.

When youre starting to feel anxious and overwhelmed, convincing yourself you can’t do it, telling yourself you won’t be strong or good enough then STOP and ask yourself: is what I’m telling myself actually true/real? And if I’m not perfect this one time does it actually matter?

The anxiety and stress and homesickness you feel is all in your own head, you are stronger than it and ready to beat it. If you have started recovery then you are strong enough to keep on going. Dont let new challenges get the better of you.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed just remember that it’s probably not true and it probably doesn’t matter 🙂 xx

eating disorder · recovery

Keep going

It’s really difficult to continue in recovery when stuff that has caused you problems before comes back.

I’ve been feeling really positive, making progress, feeling better and calmer but it’s really hard to continue doing this when old triggers come back.

It’s always been a struggle for me to put myself first and prioritise my needs and I know that I tend to focus all my energy on trying to look after other people and fix their problems and end up letting myself go downhill.

I think this has always been my automatic mode so it’s really hard to snap out of it, and when old issues and feelings of needing to be in control and take care of people come back it is really difficult to stay in my headspace of positive recovery.

I am trying to not be so hard on myself though and remind myself that even if there are stresses and scary things around me I can still take care of myself. I am really proud of how much progress I’ve made this year and I am going to fight as hard as I can to keep this up.

My gut instinct is to go into protective mode of everyone else and ignore how that makes me feel but I am telling myself that I don’t need to do that. I have always been sensitive to stress and change and family dynamics but I know that these things will always be a part of life and I hope that I am strong enough to deal with them now.

The hardest thing about recovery is forcing yourself into new habits and new patterns, but if you can keep this going when you’re at your most unsettled or stressed then you know you can keep on making progress.

Don’t give up when it gets hard, try and stay positive and just take each day as it comes 🙂 xx

eating disorder · recovery

Feeling out of your skin

When you have been anorexic, putting on weight is a very weird and unsettling feeling.

I have been wanting to put on weight for such a long time during my recovery process and when it starts happening it is a bit of a bitter-sweet feeling. Of course you have the initial pride in yourself and excitement from your friends and family and I was so happy and proud when I started to put on weight, but at the same time there is that weird feeling of being in a body that doesn’t feel like yours.

Being underweight means that when you do put on weight to get to a normal weight you start to feel big and fat and not yourself and, if you’re prone to anxiety like me, this can make you feel really confused between wanting to keep on putting on weight but not feeling like you’re always getting bigger.

But preserving when you’ve put on weight is one of the most important parts of the process. You will not keep putting on weight forever, your body will soon get to a healthy point when it doesn’t feel hungry all the time and it’s input and output are balanced and your weight will start to stabilise. If you stop trying to recover when you put on weigh then you will never get to this point because you will always associate eating with constant weight gain, and not just being a normal, healthy weight.

Whenever I get moments of anxiety I try and remind myself what has come with my weight gain – yes, I feel bigger…but I also feel more upbeat, I laugh more, I have more energy, I can concentrate more, I am more motivated to do things, I truly have the energy and attention for the people I love and I feel a lot stronger and more stable.

I find it really hard when people ask me ‘are you feeling better now?’ ‘are you better now?’ because yes, a lot of the time I feel so much better and so much happier and I have made so much progress. But at the same time there are still days when it is a real struggle to persevere in recovery and deal with my anxiety.

Anyone struggling to persevere in recovery just know that you are strong, you at brave, you are getting better every day. You are capable of achieving your goals and you don’t have to be perfect or better or cured, you can get where you want by just trying your best 🙂 xx

eating disorder · recovery

Me time

One thing I still really struggle with in recovery is having ‘me time’ – time when I just relax and do something I enjoy for no reason in particular.

I still feel like I don’t deserve to just relax and treat myself, I feel like I should have done something impressive or worthwhile or good to others in order to deserve time to focus on myself and look after myself. During recovery I have got a lot better at resting and relaxing, but I often still struggle with just being kind to myself and giving myself a break.

Today I have decided to give myself a relaxed, ‘me time’ day and I’m trying to get used to seeing looking after myself as something normal and okay, and not something that I need to deserve.

For anyone else who struggles with ‘me time’ and your anxious or anorexic thoughts come in when you try to relax, here is what I have been reminding myself –

  • Relaxing isn’t negative or  lazy, it is an important and positive part of your life.
  • You don’t have to do something impressive to deserve time to look after yourself, just by living your life normally everyday you are bringing happiness to the people you love and that is an amazing thing.
  • You are getting stronger and you don’t want to reverse this process, your recovery is down to you.
  • Relaxing and resting is crucial so you have the strength and energy to do the things you love.

When I was younger I used to love Winnie the Pooh and weirdly something A.A.Milne wrote in these stories has been helping me recently; ‘you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think’.

Give yourself some ‘me time’, you do deserve it 🙂 xx

eating disorder · recovery

Do I need help or not?

One of the hardest things with recovery is getting other people to see your food as normal.

Once you’ve started to put on weight you ofcourse want to be able to have days when you don’t have all the snacks in your meal plan. You want to be able to treat eating as a normal and relaxed thing that isn’t life or death if you eat more or less than you’d planned.

I love all my friends and family and they love me so it’s natural that they’re concerned. I guess I need to understand that it was as hard for my loved ones as me when I was ill and they want to encourage me.

I am strong enough to not need prompting from other people, but they want do to it and even though I don’t need it…it helps a hell of lot.

Stay strong, accept family support 🙂 xx

eating disorder · recovery

What really matters

My last post was on quiet a negative note so tonight I want to put a much more positive message out there. The truth is that there are times when I really struggle with my anxiety and anorexia, and last time I posted I was having a really stressful moment but there are also moments like now when I am aware of how lucky I actually am.

I am now well into the recovery process and it does feel strange to be putting on the weight and getting back to feeling stronger, but whenever I have anxiety about this and my old anorexic thoughts tell me to go backwards I just try and remind myself what really matters.

Mental illnesses are really hard to battle because, obviously, they get inside your head and make you think that the warped way that you’re seeing the world is the right way. I know that there have been times when I’ve been suffering from this and I’ve been moody or snappy with the people I love, or just haven’t really shown how much I appreciate them.

But now I am starting to recover I feel like I am getting so much more perspective and I know what is truly important to me. I have a wonderful mum who has always supported me, I have a lovely boyfriend who means the world too me and I only feel closer to every day, I am doing a university course that I really enjoy, I’m starting an exciting new job and I have some kind of ambition of going into teaching and helping people in the future even if I don’t really have any idea how I’m going to get there.

There will always be days when your anxiety is overwhelming and anorexia feels like an easy, safe option to retreat into but, in reality, this is only a fake coping mechanism and is taking you further away from the things that really matter to you. I’ve written down a list of all the things I love in my life and that make me happy and I add to it every day when something lovely happens. I look at this whenever I am struggling and it really helps – sometimes when you’re battling your own negative thoughts, the best thing to do is to fight it with your own positive thoughts.

Treasure what really matters to you, appreciate yourself and the people you love in your life 🙂 xx

eating disorder · recovery

Eating in solidarity

I’ve recently really been struggling with eating when other people aren’t, not because of comparing myself to them but feeling that I don’t deserve to eat if other people aren’t.

My eating disorder was worst when two members of my family were severely ill. They didn’t feel well enough to eat regularly and my anorexia made me feel like I was being in sympathy with them and showing solidarity.

I still feel really guilty eating if someone else isn’t feeling well because I feel like I’m being a greedy, selfish person. I know this isn’t logical but its a really emotional area for me so I find it really hard to battle.

My eating disorder has never been about trying to be thin or look good, it’s been how I’ve felt in control when things and people around me seem to be going wrong and there’s nothing I can do. I feel really stupid that I’m not able to get over this barrier in my eating disorder and I don’t know how to convince myself that I don’t need to worry about these things anymore.

Right now I have no idea how I’m ever going to get over this feeling that everything could suddenly the go wrong, but I guess I just have to keep trying.

Keep trying, be brave 🙂 xx