The Weight of Eating Disorders

As a victim of an eating disorder, I know that there is one ultimate secret that is hard to hide… Weight.

The numbers consume you. No matter how small they go, they crush you in their seeming enormity. Others may ask, but never will you let them know how ‘huge’ you really are.

Since I’ve been in recovery I’ve learnt that often victims of eating disorders don’t see their body how they truly are, often associated with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). However, this new piece of knowledge does not provide much comfort for the agonising pulling and pinching of your body.

No matter how many or how often people tell you you’re not fat, your view of yourself doesn’t change.
So your weight drops and the numbers plummet, you forever hoping that maybe one day you will look in the mirror and like what you see.

“Maybe if lose a few more pounds I’ll be happier in my own skin”

If only it were as simple as that.

You see, eating disorders aren’t kind and forgiving like you and I; they’re out to cause pain and will not stop at attempting to do so. A few pounds lost, the voice tells you “not good enough” and “just a few pounds more, then you can stop“.
The pounds come off, but the ‘stop’ is never reached.

Even now that I am in recovery and dedicated to it, telling people what I weigh (e.g. my parents) never ceases to be a challenge.

I got weighed today and the ultimate question was asked; “give this [weight record] to your dad on the way out won’t you?”. And did I? No. Instead I folded the sheet as small as it would go, shoved it in my pocket and hoped dad wouldn’t ask. He didn’t.

You might be reading this thinking, “Ok, so I get that eating disorders are hard… But what’s the point in telling us about it?”. The simple answer is, for awareness.

If no one knew about cancer how could anyone possibly help support that person, let alone diagnose it! It’s no different for eating disorders and other mental health issues.
When I first went (/was taken) to the GP with eating issues, he told me it was ‘just a phase’. If anorexia counts as a ‘phase’, then yes, yes it is. But somehow I think that it is not.

If more people understood and knew about these disorders, and if the stigma behind eating disorders and mental health issues were broken, maybe more people would be correctly diagnosed and treated, with more support all round and therefore higher success levels?
And isn’t even that possibly, no matter how small, worth investing in? Just a thought to leave you with.

Thanks for reading.

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Life is like a loo roll [my original analogy]

Life is like a loo roll. I bet you’re thinking “how on earth is life possibly like a loo roll?! That’s ridiculous! Well yes and no. It may sound it at first, but if you read my post maybe your perspective will change. I’d be interested to know your thoughts/ opinions, so do comment below what you thought!

So, life is like a loo roll.

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A loo roll is made up of hundreds of sheets, joined together and wrapped around the core in layers.
It’s there for everything, from doing your business to wiping tears from a sad film or emotional time. You can clear up dirt or spilt paint with it, whatever you wish.
You can take individual sheets or several at once, but if you pull them too hard and aren’t careful, the whole thing can unravel and fall to the floor.
Then you have to spend the time and effort rolling it back up, helping its last little bit flop back over onto the roll. Sometimes you do it well and sometimes you do it badly; if it’s done badly then the loo roll can be more prone to unraveling again, or can just not be quite the same neat roll it was before.

I believe life is very much like this.

You as a person are made up of core values, thoughts, feelings, and morals; much like the layers of the loo roll. Each individual sheet is a thought/feeling/value that you have, about yourself or the world around you.

You are there for others. You’re there to comfort others, you’re the one they rely on and you share both good and bad times with. The blowing away the tickle in your nose on a hot sunny day, and the drying of their tears as you hug each other for comfort during challenging times. That’s what friends are for.

People can use you to do their dirty work. They can say mean comments or a snide remark, just like they’ve ripped a sheet of tissue off your roll suddenly, and the roll spins a bit because of the sudden impact. People can treat you like shit (brilliant pun if I do say so myself), and it is hard.

Unfortunately there’s only so much people can take, and when too many things happen (such as bullying, difficult situations, family or friendship issues, low self esteem; you get the idea), we just can’t take it. We aren’t prepared. It’s like someone’s ripped too many pieces off the roll too quickly and too violently, and suddenly it spins out of control and unravels.

Sometimes people don’t even notice.
Have you ever been to the loo, come out etc, only to come back a while later and find the whole loo roll has unravelled? And you don’t remember this happening at all?
I really think people are like that. Often it happens too quickly or people just don’t see what’s really going on, and before they know it that person is no longer ‘*happy’.

That person needs support and help to build themselves back up and step around the obstacle. It’s just like wrapping the sheets back around the roll. It takes a while to wrap the sheets back around, but with help it can be done.

Yes, sometimes when you’ve helped and the loo roll is back in place, it isn’t quite the same, and some people are different after they’ve been through difficult times. But often these changes aren’t a bad thing. Sometimes people can grow as a person, learn things about themselves they didn’t know before, and finally realise that there are many people out there who care about them and are willing to help.

I guess you can explain eating disorders, anxiety, depression, bipolar, any mental illnesses at all in this way, because at the end of the day with the right support you can recover from them and live a fulfilling life, sometimes you just need a bit of help to start you rolling back up, the. Then you’re off!

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*I put ‘happy’ in quotation marks because no one can be happy all the time, it’s impossible. But you can be largely happy, more about inner confidence and a healthy approach to life than anything else.

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I really hope that made sense and I did that analogy justice, because (without wishing to sound big headed as I did make it up) it is one of my favourite analogies because it makes me believe that things can change and I can ravel myself back up, but it’s also realistic in the fact that yes, if you don’t recover ‘properly’ you are more prone to relapse. But none of these things are unbeatable, and although hard times are horrible and can affect us, we can get through it. I guess that’s the message of this post really; life is hard but we can deal with it.

Anyway, I could go on forever. Personally I think there are just so many way this applies to life and the more I think about it the more I can add to the analogy and the more I feel like I understand life.. Weird huh?

I really hope you enjoyed this post.

Thanks for reading.

Getting bad grades due to depression sucks

I got my grade card the other day, and although it didn’t have actual estimates grades, it did have effort grades.

Here’s our effort grade system:
E – Excellent
V – Very Good
G – Good
S – Satisfactory
N – Not satisfactory

I do 4 subjects (AS Level in the UK) and got ‘E’s and ‘V’s in 3 of them, except my favourite subject.

The subject I work hardest in, the subject I am passionate about, I got an S. Now don’t get me wrong, in some situations ‘satisfactory’ would be great, but considering that is the lowest mark apart from ‘not satisfactory’ (which teachers hardly ever give) and the fact I’ve been putting my all into it, I was pretty upset.

Depression is a horrible thing, and this grade only makes it worse.

I emailed my teacher saying that I was disappointed and that I was working really hard and didn’t feel that he’d given me a chance, and he emailed back with this response (I’ve just picked out the few key bits I want to focus on):

“There have been several occasions where you have come into the room and immediately rested your head on the table, or done so during the lesson”
“… your focus has been lower than required at times” etc.

Reading that makes me feel like someone has punched me in the stomach. The teacher knows I was off school almost all of last year, that I dropped two GCSEs/ subjects because I couldn’t keep up, that I was ill. Why do I even bother trying if my hardest efforts only get rewarded with ‘satisfactory’.

I am depressed, that is why I rest my head on the table in some lessons. Simply because I am about to cry. That, in that moment, I want nothing more than to scream and relapse into self harm. That even sitting there is one hell of an achievement.

Does no one understand that?! How hard I’m trying?!

Yes, my focus is terrible. But after missing a whole year of school isn’t that understandable?
I find 6th form/ college extremely difficult, from work to friendships. I have my lessons right at the end of the day, when I’m tired and just about holding it together. As soon as I get home (/in the car even) I break.

There’s only so long someone can keep that smile plastered to their face. There’s only so long you can convince people you’re ok.
Last time when my mask fell it was because I was dangerously underweight and had to be pulled out of school, and I’m trying my hardest to stay away from that. Every time I show emotions something goes wrong because of it.

I don’t even know what to do anymore. I know it must seem like such a petty thing, but to me it is really important. I absolutely love this subject and hope to continue it at uni, yet from anyone else’s point of view it looks like I don’t give a dam about that subject! I feel so set back in my recovery, and I don’t know how I can survive another two years of this hell, also known as college.

Sorry for the ramble, I really needed to let that out; and I hope that by sharing it maybe others will read it and understand depression and mental health more.

Thanks for reading.