sprinkling positivity

A personal & honest experience of being under anorexias firm grip.

on February 27, 2015

So this isn’t easy but I promised myself that I’d be open and honest in this blog as I believe that really is the key for us humans to connect and relate to each other, I think it’ll be good for me to share my experience of having an eating disorder.

The thing about eating disorders are they aren’t really about food at all. They’re a mental illness in the mind.

For me I used controlling my food as a way of feeling in control of my life, emotions and feelings. (Although I didn’t see that at the time, but that’s what they are. They’re a way of dealing with areas of your life you feel out of control with.)

In 2014 I decided I wanted to lose weight, I had been a student for two years and with lots of alcohol and fast food and little exercise, I hadn’t been looking after my body very well which resulted in lots of colds and lack of energy.

Like many people, I decided to take charge and looked into a healthier life style, cooking from scratch, adding exercise more often and cutting out most of the junk food and alcohol. I saw the benefits from losing weight, toning up and feeling much better within myself, I had more energy and felt less sluggish.

After a couple of months I was down to my goal weight and was happy with the way I looked and felt, I was pleased with what I had achieved and a voice in my head said, ‘why not lose a little bit more, just incase you go back to normal and put it back on again.’ I didn’t even stop to question why i was weighing myself 3 times a day.

So I carried on with my healthy eating habits and exercising, although by this point I didn’t realize that it wasn’t healthy at all. I was eating breakfast, lunch and dinner but they didn’t provide much for me nutritonally, I was burning more energy than I was eating. The rules I had set up from a couple of months ago where firmly embedded in my mind. People around me couldn’t understand how I was still losing weight as I was eating 3 meals a day.

The way the eating disorder started taking over my life was when I became overtaken by fear. I had an immense fear that all this weight I had lost would go straight back on and I’d be back to that unhealthy person who felt constantly ill. Every time I reached my new lower goal weight, the little voice in my head would say ‘no harm in losing more because you might put it all back on’. I never questioned my mind, I let it take control of me.

I couldn’t concentrate, my mind was split in two – There was me and there was this voice constantly battling. I was constantly thinking of food, I’d be planning what I’d cook for dinner days in advance, what new recipes I could cook, how many calories where in everything, researching restaurants menus when I had to eat out.

I didn’t go out socializing from fear of not being able to eat healthily or being able to prepare it as I stopped trusting people to cook for me, fearing they were trying to make me fat by secretly adding oil etc. As my life was so calculated and planned around food and the next meal, I was completely in control. Whenever somebody spontaniously asked me out for dinner, drinks or a takeaway my answer would be no. I couldn’t go to the cinema, to friends houses – the only place I felt comfortable was at home with my healthy food supplies and me cooking. I basically didn’t have a life anymore and I couldn’t even see it, it was a cycle that I was stuck in.

After losing 3 stone in such a small amount of time, people started commenting. They watched the old Sian they knew disappear in front of their eyes and could do nothing about it. At first I was defensive and angry that they would imply there was something wrong with me. After a couple of months I realized I wasn’t me anymore, I wasn’t connecting with people, my moods where irritable, I was missing out on so many family/friends gatherings and nights out.

People assume that people with anorexia are vain or attention seeking, the funny thing was I was deeply unhappy with myself, I hated the way I looked, I was determined to be thin but would cover my bones in baggy clothes, embarrassed. I couldn’t wear skimpy clothes because I was freezing all the time. I knew I wasn’t attractive and I didn’t like the thin body I was in but my mind wouldn’t let me eat out of the rigid rules I had created. That’s when I noticed I had a problem.

Becoming aware of my thoughts was the break through for me. I had all these rules and would have anxiety attacks if things wouldn’t go to plan or they changed. My mum cooked me a curry one night and I was hysterical because there was oil in it. My family where worried sick, I was a nightmare to live with as they didn’t know what to do with me to get me to eat properly. You may say, but couldn’t you just eat? Yes i ate but my mind had this belief that id put on weight from one bad meal. On days where I knew I was going out for food, I would restrict the day before – it was all planned.

Having an eating disorder made me realize it was the complete opposite from ‘just not eating’. If only it was that simple!

Eating disorders are very complicated mental health problems and they ruin people’s lives. I was lucky to have friends and family who supported me, stuck by me and helped me through it even when they didn’t understand what was going on.

After receiving therapy to deal with the real problems that led to my disorder I am now a healthy weight and although I will never be the same person as I was before, Im over the worst. My body still isn’t fully recovered yet as I dont have periods, I still get bloated from eating and I tend to have some rigid rules about what crockery shape or colours I like to use but that’s where I observe my mind and challenge it.

I’m sharing my experience with you all so you can see that mental health problems are not simple. Eating disorders are not choices, they are hell – a downward spiral that seems impossible to get out of. If you think you might have one, or think a friend or family member does, please talk to them.

2013 proved to be the toughest year of my life where I thought I’d never feel normal ever again.

thank god for my parents who did everything to help me, my best friends who stuck by me whilst I cried in restaurants and close family & friends who i exchanged experiences with for comfort.

Don’t judge people by their appearances because you dont know what they’re going through. Skinny, fat or normal weight – anyone can battle with disordered thoughts. We just need to have some more empathy and understanding.


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