15th December 2016
It took me a long time to speak out and admit about my eating disorder to so many people. I still to this day assume a lot of people don’t know the real story and just presume I lost weight since college. However, it is quite evident (even though I don’t always see it) that I do have an eating disorder otherwise I wouldn’t be sat in a hospital inpatient unit trying to recover. I could name around five people besides my family, who know exactly where I currently am and the struggles I have been through for over three years.
I only really started my recovery at the end of November. I’ve been within the eating disorder service for several years and have gone from outpatient, to day patient, back to outpatient and not inpatient. At first I was very reluctant to treatment as I was forced into outpatients and daypatients and because I didn’t want to be there I didn’t apply myself into recovery and the only way forward was inpatient. Me being me saw the time spent in outpatients and daypatients a time to rebel and allow my eating disorder to become stronger and stronger. However, a week before a started inpatient I realised how much I had messed up and said from that day “enough is enough!”.
I think the hardest part for me is giving away so much control to the team on the inpatient ward, I’ve only just started so I can’t go on any walks or have any time outside and this is something I really struggle with as a large part of my ED is a large urge to exercise. Before my eating disorder I was very active and therefore found this very hard to control. Not only a large urge to exercise I would also control my food in restricted and behavioural ways. Now, I am just sitting around eating which is extremely hard to do but trying to find ways to distract myself is also quite hard.
I was always a very social girl, I was confident and outgoing and this came to a halt when I first developed my ED at the age of 17 in my last year of college. I wouldn’t leave the house except to go to college or to dance however even dancing (which is something I had done from a very young age) became a chore and would only take part as a form of exercise and not enjoyment. I lost a lot of friends however those who have stuck by me have been the ones I need to treasure as they have helped me to see how much I need to recover. ?As my ED got stronger I developed a lot of rules around eating which is something I have had control of for over three years. Being on an inpatients ward completely strips this control from you because those who come voluntarily want to get better rather than those who are there because they are under a section of the mental health act. This was another hard challenge- I CHOSE to be here, I CHOSE to recover. I want something to work and my outpatients and daypatient team have made me realise this is probably the only option I have left.
The weekend I was due to start my proper recovery I went on a weekend called ‘Action for Change’, this was run by GirlGuiding and is something I have been a part of since I was five! It was a weekend where you were selected to go to by application. It means that I basically have one year to make a positive change to something and I chose to help break the stigma of mental health.