A year ago this month I started this blog. I wasn’t sure why I started it, probably boredom, but I can honestly say it is the reason I have got as far as I have in recovery.
Without the support of Ellie and Sooz, the first proper recovery blogs I read and bloggers I had contact with I would probably still be underweight and poorly. I would love to be able to thank the Eating Disorder outpatient team for their support through recovery, but I can’t really because they didn’t help me nearly as much as those two girls did.
A year ago, I was at a low weight and pretty miserable. I knew I was underweight, but I honestly and truthfully didn’t think it was a problem. Having been hospitalised around 4 years ago at a stupidly low weight and discharged at BMI 15, I assumed that meant I was fine. I did not receive any outpatient care, monitoring or follow up, so continued my life at this weight because the Unit had discharged me so I was clearly fine wasn’t I? No. Not at all. I really really wish somebody had shown me recovery blogs, or Gwyneth Olwyn’s blog 4 years ago because I think I would be in a completely different place now if I had ‘properly recovered’ the first time round rather than be discharged at a slightly less dangerous weight than I started at. I wasn’t told any different, and because I wasn’t as ill as before, we all (my family, friends and I) thought I was ok.
After starting this blog, I noticed things were slipping. Having finished my teaching degree and not getting an NQT job straight away, the little rituals and habits began to creep back in and it was having an effect on me. I was more and more withdrawn, tired, miserable, and sad. More than anything I was sad. This lead me to ask the GP if I could be referred to an Eating Disorder Team because I was beginning to realise that my initial ‘recovery’ from anorexia 4 years ago was not a recovery at all and things needed to change. I lost another few kg’s and bmi points while still thinking I ate ‘a lot’, it wasn’t a lot at all and just showed how much work I had to do.
So what has changed in a year?
Well, first of all I’m at a healthy BMI for the first time in my whole life. I thought this would be horrendous, it’s not. I look healthy, I don’t look like I’m going to collapse or snap or anything and other people say I’m still slim. (I’m not slim, I’m just not HUGE). My legs are still a hell of a lot bigger and cellulitey than I’d like, but then I’ll always think that so it’s a price I’m willing/having to pay.
Another change – employment. FINALLY! After a year of unemployment, I finally have a job secured for September. Despite the fact I hated every minute of not having a job, I think it probably helped me an awful lot in recovery. It meant I was able to concentrate on getting better, sitting on the couch eating chocolate. Starting this job will be a massive challenge, I think everybody (myself included) underestimates the work teachers have to do and I’m starting to panic that I won’t be able to cope.
My living arrangements may well be about to change also, although nothing is sorted yet. I want to move out desperately, having never planned to move back to my parents house (money and illness made it necessary!). I couldn’t afford my own place when I wasn’t working, but now I have secured a job I’m considering new places to live which are close to School. My new job is only 15 minutes away from where I am now so I could stay, but I don’t want to. I’m looking for 1 bed flats and was considering flat shares but really, I reckon I’m too hard to live with and wouldn’t inflict that on house mates!
One thing my appointments with the Doctor has bought me is an awareness of myself. I don’t think I really know what is normal and what is not, what are ‘normal’ mood swings which ‘normal’ people have, and are mine any different? When does sadness change from being a bit sad to actual proper depression? He makes me realise I am perhaps too hard on myself and expect too much too soon, and also that I am the most impatient person in the history of the world. He recommended anti-depressants months and months ago which really shocked me because I honestly didn’t think I needed them. I would never have considered taking medications. Having thought about his suggestion more recently, I may take him up on it to see if they help stabilise me a bit. I will need to talk to him again before I start work to see if they will have an effect on that or not.
A year ago, I joined a gym for all the wrong reasons. I thought it would give me something to do in the never ending days off – turns out it just fuelled the eating disordered side of me. I don’t like gyms AT ALL, I’m lazy by nature so fuck knows what I was thinking joining a gym. I quit not long after getting my referral to the ED team. I used to be active when I was a kid, playing all sorts of sports and being in all the school teams like football/hockey/netball etc then doing trampolining and dry slope skiing at weekends but as soon as I got to Uni and discovered the fun to be had by drinking in pubs and clubs the sport flew out the window and I haven’t done any since. Plus, my smokers lungs really don’t agree with exercise. At all. I like my sedentary lifestyle a lot more 🙂
I still have difficulties a year on, like anybody does, but I can say I’m probably in a better place than I was this time last year. I have body image issues some days, but not the majority of days any more. Early recovery every day was horrendous body image day, now it’s not as often, and usually only when something doesn’t fit!
Friendships are still few and far between, but I’m working on it. Of my three friends, two live at the other end of the country and the other lives fairly close but is moving away to start a Masters in September so I’ll not see her very often either. I know the new job will cause ridiculous stress and encourage the anti-social side of me, but I’m trying to counteract that before Sept and get out a bit more.
My best friend came up from London to see me for a few days (belated birthday celebration) and we had a great catch up. I love her to bits and she is always there for me, I lived with her when I was hospitalised (which took us all by surprise) so she hasn’t had it easy with me but she’s stuck around. When she got off the train she actually screamed how “great” I looked, and said she has never ever seen me looking so good. We don’t talk about ‘it’ in a lot of detail, but have snippets of conversations about it and she boosted my confidence a lot. We went to Alton Towers! It was ace. A LOT of queuing so my legs, knees and back were absolutely killing me from standing around but we had a great day. Thirteen was my favourite ride because it drops (free fall) in the dark, while Rita was so so fast I thought my stomach was going to come out of my back. Fun though!
There is no holiday abroad this year which I’m actually grateful for. I don’t fancy getting in a bikini to be honest and need the time to start planning for my new class. I now have a few weeks to relax and get organised for September.
There are a lot of things I’ve learned over this past year, too much to talk about in one post really but I thought I should just jot down a couple of points to see the difference in a year. I don’t feel the need to blog all the time and spam people’s in-boxes or readers every single day without fail with posts which are uninteresting, irrelevant and/or repetitive but I do like to blog every few weeks with an update so I can look back over them whenever I’m feeling shitty and think to myself ‘actually, you’ve done ok!’