I have recently signed up to my local gym in an attempt to get myself fitter as I’m currently more unfit than I have ever been in my life. I am having to be careful that I don’t become obsessive and keep to my initial intentions of getting healthier and not the intentions of my eating disorder- rapid weight loss. This time last year I was deeper in my eating disorder than I have ever been. It was a very dark place. My first thought in the morning and my last thought at night was about exercise I was completely obsessed and unable to let myself rest at all. I didn’t know how to stop. All I wanted was to see that number on the scales fall further and further. My relationship with exercise now is much healthier and I seem to have made a switch in my brain that HEALTH is so much more important than weight loss. I want to be healthier. I don’t want my skin to be awful and my hair to be falling out I want to have more energy and feel better about myself. I’m determined to do it right this time and treat my body with the respect it deserves.
I have lost so much to these illnesses. I have lost friends, missed events, grown apart. I have lost a view I once held of myself- thinking that no matter what I would always have control over these urges.
Until one day you have the slap in the face reality check that you, actually are not in control. I have found myself being admitted to hospital again because I’ve need someone there at all times of the day to keep me safe.
10 minute observations rapidly being upped to 1:1 then needing to be in arms reach of a member of staff. But despite all this I have still sat in a bare room as I wasn’t allowed any of my clothes or bedding as the ligature risk has been too high.
I’ve ripped clothes, bedding, curtains. Destroyed chairs and wardrobes to get something even remotely sharp that I can use to hurt myself. I always promised I would never let it get this bad. That I could stop cutting if I wanted to. I could stop all of it, just tell me when.
But it isn’t that simple and here I am in hospital again wondering how hard its going to be to work my way out of this downward spiral, but also how good it is going to feel when I have finally made my climb out.
I know determination like this can fade so quickly when you wake up in the morning to the reality of another day fighting this illness, which is why I am writing it down.
I want to remind myself that the fight of recovery is tough but it will be worth it.
I will be able to catch up with my peers and make new memories with the wonderful people I have met on the way. I will have my family always reminding me of everything I can do in life if I chose to be here for it.
I am not too broken to try again.
In 2016 I set myself several new years resolutions. I wanted to try and make them achievable. I can now proudly say on the 1st of January 2017 I have achieved the majority of last years resolutions. One them was the read 10 new books, I kept track of this via the ‘Goodreads’ website. Most people on there have the goal to read, 50 books and upwards. So my goal is pretty low in comparison. But I am still very proud of myself for reaching last years goal a I struggle with dyslexia and reading can be quite a challenge. When I tell people that I have dyslexia a lot of the time they don’t believe me because I don’t come across as the standard stereotype. I enjoy english, I like reading and writing. I like being able to stitch a few chosen words together to make a beautiful picture in someone else’s head. Dyslexia does put a bit of a barrier between myself and the people around me who have similar interests in writing. I think the main thing for me that I use to combat my dyslexia is utilising the technology around me. I am a bit nerdy and I’m into tech anyway but I find it so incredible that modern day technology can aid anyone into achieving great things. I utilise voice dictation on almost all of my big bits of writing. I change the colour of the backgrounds on all of my screens to remove the issue of ‘black and white reading’ that a lot of dyslexics have trouble with. The font size on all of my devices are increased so it is easier to ‘chunk off’ words when I am struggling to understand them. All of these things help me to be a writer and enjoy literature. I was taught a lot about these things by the wonderful learning support teachers that I met in school, who really did go above and beyond to help each student achieve there fullest capabilities. I am really grateful for them because they were the first people to show me that if you have a talent for something, you should run with it and not let anything stand in your way. Because they will always be there to lend a helping hand to get you moving past your difficulties. This year I am aiming to read 12 books and finish writing my own. I cant wait for the challenge, bring it on!
I just want to take a moment to wish everyone a merry christmas. Whoever and wherever you are, I hope you have a happy and safe festive period. Christmas can be a tricky time of year with or without a mental illness. So I just want to send out a little reminder to look after yourselves and take time out if you need it. Put the focus back on your family and loved ones and enjoy the day.
Have a good one, from Tee xx
Anniversaries are always a bit of a weird one. It’s been two years since I was admitted to hospital. Two years since I met some of my best friends and grew a second family. Two years ago I was spiralling so quickly into an illness that makes it hard to let anyone in, thinking that I wasn’t sick enough for treatment. Looking back I can now see that I was really very unwell. It was never an easy path to take. Being admitted to a hospital 3 hours away from home so close to christmas, but everyone knew it was the last option we really had. It was that or I would die. I find it so scary that a mental illness is so strong that it can make you think that you aren’t ill at all. Two years on from the beginning of my admission I am still close friends with many of the other patients who I met there. I have an even closer relationship with my family than before and my general outlook on the world has changed. I find it difficult to have gone through an experience that not many other people have been through. But as time goes on I know that difference isn’t bad. The memories from that ward will stay with me forever. The good the bad and the ugly. They have been the product of many a good story! But mainly I’m just happy that I’m still here.
It is coming up to a year since I was discharged from a 9 month long inpatient admission in a adolescent psychiatric unit. It has been a very interesting year. Somethings were more challenging than I had thought they would be other things were a lot easier than I thought they were going to be, but over all life out of hospital is not what I expected it to be. Its been interesting to see that all of my hospital friends have followed different paths since we all left the same ward. Some have gone back into CAMHS wards others have turned 18 in the past year and have been admitted to adult psychiatric units. Some of us have gone back to school and gotten part time jobs. Some people have really distanced themselves from everything to do with their time in hospital. Everything that everyone has done is understandable and has its own merits but it is interesting how we have all done such different things in the past 12 months. For me, the past year has been about finding my feet at home and working with my mental health team to get the right balance of support while also maintaining a social life. The friends I have made in hospital are a huge part of my life still, we are a cheer squad for each other through the tough times and we are there to enjoy the happy times too- because we all know how hard we have each worked for those smiles. I’m incredibly aware of the fact that some jokes I made in hospital are not funny to people from the ‘outside world’ (keeping hospital friends close for these moments is crucial.) I also have come to realise some of the stories I hold from hospital are unique and hysterically funny to people who I have re-told them too. I’ve learnt that a year on from discharge I still am in awe of the staff I met on the ward and miss them everyday. I have also learnt that it isn’t a bad thing to miss people and I don’t have to beat myself up over feeling this way it’s a natural human emotion after-all. The past 12 months have made my relationships with my family grow even stronger and made every happy moment (however small) that we share together even sweeter. With my loved ones help I have been learning more than ever to find things that I truly love and grab onto them with both hands because if I’ve learnt anything in the past year its that those are the things that life is all about.
Triggers. They come with the territory of mental health issues. Eating disorders being no exception. There are so many things that will get my eating disorders voice screaming, some of these things happen daily and cannot be avoided as they are a part of life. Others can be avoided as the harm has generally out weighed the activity itself. My family are extremely supportive of me in my recovery and help me to avoid situations that are going to push my brain too far into chaos. So when the opportunity to go to the climbing wall with my Dad came up there were some concerns with how my body image was going to stay afloat whilst I was there surrounded by super ‘skinny’ people. It was nerve racking to know that the other people there were going to most probably have a small frame and be body conscious. The evening went really well and the situation was a little bit challenging at the start but by the end of the night I felt more motivated to become healthy than I have felt in a really long time. Seeing all of these fit people, pushing their bodies was really inspiring. If the topic of food came up, they would be discussing high carb diets to give their bodies the fuel they need so they can push them further. Making sure they have enough protein for the muscles to re-build stronger and stronger. Yes all of these people are very aware of their bodies-just like I am hyper aware of mine. But the shift in attitude was so refreshing to hear them talk about making themselves stronger, building themselves up and pushing themselves further with the help of food was really inspiring and motivating for me. A disordered brain fools you into thinking you are making yourself stronger by not eating and using behaviours when in reality you are only becoming weaker. It was really lovely to see a black and white reality of what a healthy body is and what your body is capable of when you look after it in the way it deserves.