Currently the whole world is dealing with a horrible crisis, that I think I can say for all of us feels unusual and we are filled with lots of uncertainty. During this time, it allows us to take break and reflect on where we are in our lives, check in with our mental and physical wellbeing, as this is a big reminder to all of us that our health is so important and outweighs anything else in life. Many people with mental health issues who struggle on a daily basis will be struggling more now than ever before, as their normal routine has been shifted and I know from personal experience dealing with an eating disorder being out of normal routine can make you feel uncomfortable and trigger old bad habits. Writing this today, I was comprehending holding this post back, due to the terrible events occurring right now and prior to this I have been planning to upload my blog this month. I know that possibly many people might benefit from reading my blog for help during this time or a distraction from what is currently going on in the world, so I have decided to go ahead. I’m taking this time at home to look after my mental and physical health now more than ever, taking time to reflect on my life is allowing me to work on my mental health in ways I didn’t before. I’m hoping everyone is staying safe and taking good care of themselves and their families during this time. From here on out on this category titled let’s talk, I will be discussing my struggles with an eating disorder and what I’m doing to better my mental health and find self-love.
So, here is my experience with an eating disorder.
I wrote this blog post before the current situation got worse here in the UK.
I won’t lie and say I’m not nervous about posting about this, it’s an experience in my life that I don’t open up about much, but I know that there are many people like me that have been through and still going through this, I’d like to share my experience in order to help myself be more open and not hide a part of my life that has shaped who I am in many ways but also I’d like to help others going through this whether that’s 1 or 100 people, as there is an estimated 1.25M people in the UK suffering with an eating disorder. So here it goes, I’m Millie I’m 18 years old, and I have an eating disorder. It’s a topic that is more commonly being spoken about on social media, but I still feel that there is a stigma that comes along with saying “I have an eating disorder”, people are often confused and don’t understand what that fully means, which you can’t blame them it’s an issue that’s hard to comprehend when you have it never mind when you don’t. personally, I have never been able to pin point a time in my life where one day food was not complicated, where I ate when I was hungry and went on with my day, to the next, my life totally revolving around what I was going to and not going to eat. Everyday activities were consumed by if I go here, if I eat here how is that going to affect my body? what am I going to eat? Will it make me gain weight? A normal day wasn’t so normal anymore. All of a sudden at 14 years old I was in very dark place mentally but thinking back to that point in my life now I wasn’t even aware of what eating disorders were so it never crossed my mind that I could have one. Around May 2015 I was at my lowest weight but in that moment, I couldn’t see how small I was or how starved my body and my mind was, all I could focus on was wanting to lose more weight and questioning myself on had I gained weight? Have I eaten too much today? When I looked in the mirror, I never saw how tiny I was, I always needed reassurance from other people about my weight asking them if I looked skinny? Constantly asking people’s opinions on my own body, just so I knew that I was losing weight because I could no longer see it myself, my mind had created none existent flaws about my body, it felt like I was consumed by another person controlling my mind and body, as if they were not mine to control anymore. Other people, especially people I’m close to do suspect the problem before I did, it’s harder to accept yourself that you have an issue because you don’t want to become the issue. I was always trying to convince myself I was fine, that it will go away It’s a phase, but I was very in denial, confused and frustrated. Around that summer I had lots of ups and downs I was drained mentally and physically from over analysing everything about food and my body, I wanted to be able to be eat a some pizza and not have to be terrified of gaining 10 pounds if I did, my thought process was delusional and creating unrealistic situations in my head, this led to many sleepless nights, major mood swings, outbursts of crying in front of my mum, my healthy relationship with my body I once had become non-existent.
Not accepting I had an issue, not wanting people to worry about me anymore I tried my very best to block it out, pretend it wasn’t there that it had gone, I did this by giving my body what I had deprived it of for so long. I went from eating too little to binging on ‘Unhealthy’ food thinking that would help, that would make it go away, that would make people think it had gone away, because if you can’t see the issue, there isn’t one, right? Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes and if you have experienced one or you were knowledgeable on the matter, I imagine people would have been able to see that I wasn’t better, that I was going through another stage of the eating disorder. I think that is one of the scariest thing about an eating disorder that you don’t have to be skinny for it to be there, this is why people so easily brush of people with the problem if they do not confine to the associated look of a person with an eating disorder, they are the last priority. I was no longer looked at as skinny as I did at the beginning of my eating disorder, but my mind was still in just as dark of a place as it was then. So, for a while I had tried to convince myself that it had gone, I used food to push back my emotions and negative thoughts, I ate all the food that I had deprived my body of for so long, my body was hungry. I thought that would make it all go away, I had no concept of hunger ques because I had ignored them for so long, I didn’t know how listen to my body and its needs. Either I ate to little or I ate lots I had no balance it was all or nothing. And after binging I was always filled with an insatiable amount of guilt to the point of where I would break down crying alone in my room at night, I was extremely overwhelmed and done with having my thought process and daily life totally consumed by what I ate and gaining and losing weight. I always felt gaining weight would make me feel not good enough, not worthy of success or happiness, which is are completely irrational and delusional thoughts I had to get rid of, your appearance does not determine what you are worthy or not worthy of. My weight seemed like it was the only thing I could control in my life and I didn’t want to lose control, or else I thought everything else would crumble around me. The constant binging then starving went on for over a year, at this point I was 17 years old after 2 years of depriving my body and 1 year of binging I still was not in a good place with my body I was so obsessed with wanting to be slim for years that I had no concepts of what my natural weight was, because I had begun dieting at a stage in my life where I was 14 and still growing and I hadn’t even become a women yet. My eating disorder stole a part of me and stole all enjoyment in activities and sociable events I would usually have loved, it took away a main part of my early teenage years, that I should have spent having fun with friends and family.
When battling an eating disorder, you are unaware of what you are putting your body through, I was so consumed with my weight and looking a certain way I wouldn’t even think of the damage it was doing to my body, which is terrifying. At 14 my periods had stopped for over a year, but never did it once cross my mind that, that was the issue my appearance was always the issue it was all based on complexion not health, my body was trying to warn me but I was ignorant, that was one of the scariest things, although in the back of my mind I knew of the consequences of what I was doing to my body it never stopped me, my appearance outweighed my health. When I went through the binging stage my period came back, and did I celebrate? No, all that crossed my mind was “oh I have gained weight” my worst fear the fear that drove all of this.
In January 2019, after gaining weight I set my new year’s resolution to losing weight and going on a diet, I had done a full cycle and ended up back where this all started, by saying I was going to go on a diet and lose weight. So that’s exactly what I did, I lost weight, did it make me feel better? Was I cured? No, I was back at starving my body from basic nutrients and only dreaming of being able to eat that pizza without feeling an overwhelming amount of guilt afterwards. I was back at uncontrollable mood swings and isolating myself from the world by not seeing friends, not eating with my family, it yet again destroyed my social life. I was tiring my body and mind. At the end of 2019 after over 4 years of battling with an eating disorder I was fed up tired and wanted to actually stick and pursue my own words of I’m going to fight this, get better and feel happier. I know I’m the only one that can do this it’s my choice to want to get better and It was about time I acted upon that, and decide to recognise bad habits and destroy them, I’m tired of it consuming my life I needed to start putting my health and well-being first.
So, cut to now, March 1st, 2020 I’m here sat at my computer writing this blog post, with a new year’s resolution, no not to lose weight but to go on a journey of finding self-love and beating my eating disorder. I won’t say the past few months have been easy and that the second I said “I’m going to get better” I got better, I wish it worked like that, but it doesn’t. I have had bad days and good days, and I can tell you the good days outweigh the bad. I’m in a much better place than I was 3 years ago mentally and physically, I no longer look back at my weight back then and desire to be like that again, I use that to remind myself of the negative place I was back then and how to stay away from it. I’m getting better at recognising bad habits with thinking and eating and small steps at a time ignoring them and doing what’s best for my health not my appearance. I have a strong support system around me which is important when healing from any illness, is surrounding yourself with people who are positive, the people who are there to listen and support you through your bad times just as much as your good. I have been more open with myself and with other people about my struggles with my eating disorder which has helped immensely with making me feel less alone, as at times when dealing with a mental health illness I usually felt lonely and trapped with my own negative thoughts. As a young adult I’m now learning to love and respect my body by nourishing it with love, laughter and food. Food is becoming more enjoyable again FINALLY! I want to enjoy every ounce of life, because I deserve too; I’m slowly delving myself back into being more sociable by spending more time with friends and family which I’ve missed. if you are going or have gone through something similar please join me on this journey of finding self-love, regaining your ambition, reigniting your dreams and beating your eating disorder. I want you to know, you are not alone, you are beautiful and worthy of enjoying your life and reaching your goals, that whatever is weighing you down will become lighter. Life is so much more than how much you weigh and I’m so much more than my appearance and looking back 50 years from now you won’t remember how much you weighed but you’ll remember how much your life was weighed with love and happiness. So if you are reading this, I want you to know you should not be ashamed or hide your struggles with an eating disorder, it’s an illness that needs to be more recognised, listened and informed upon, it’s just as serious as any other mental health illness and should not be deemed as less important, the topic itself and people who are suffering with an eating disorder or any other mental health issues should not hold a stigma around them.
So welcome to my blog, a positive space for you to find support, and to read and feel inspired to take back control of your mind and body and follow your dreams. If you have any questions about my struggles with an eating disorder feel free to ask or stay tuned as I will be sharing lots more about this topic. I will also be sharing lots more that you can read about in my about page and will see in my other categories of this blog. I also hope you are well, staying safe and looking after your health. Down below I have put images from a few years ago at the beginning of my eating disorder.
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