“You are not good enough to do this”
“You are pretty damn average”
“Who is going to listen to you?”
“People will never think you are credible?”
“You need to be uploading lots more selfies, going to more events, instagraming your food”.
“You are too old”
“People will look at your weight and appearance and judge you”
This was pretty much the crap chit-chat that has been going around my head for the past two weeks. I got hit with the flu…again which was a shitter in itself. I seem to be susceptible to catching the lurgy at a mere sniff. My doctor says this is probably a result of my eating disorder, and that my immune system has taken a battering over the years. I gave little thought to the consequences of my eating disorder when I was self-destructing, but believe me there are some, and I have been incredibly lucky to not to have encountered worse.
So in my two weeks of looking and feeling like an “illpot” I considered where I was at. I berated myself for getting ill, I felt ashamed that I had got run down, I felt guilty that I had had to take time off work, and I felt fragile and vulnerable; two emotions that now sit uncomfortable with me. During my anorexia I was actively engaged in being fragile and vulnerable – believing that it got me some extra attention, and negated any responsibility for my life. I no longer have any desire to be ‘the sick one’- it only ever brought me negative attention. I have grown into a strong, happy and capable woman living a life that I never believed was possible, and that is why I was able to pull myself out of my dark spell.
It started with me being brutally honest with myself and owning up to the fact that I had been listening to my eating disorder. I had used my busyness as an avenue for it to creep back in. Missing the odd bit of food here, working harder than was healthy for me, and not prioritising my recovery or utilising my ‘toolkit’. Complacency has led me down this path before, and every time I suffer the consequences. I have beaten myself up for the last two weeks, but I stopped yesterday. I realised that despite being flat on my back, I continued to eat and ate more. I rested and allowed my body to heal without feeling guilty that I had not moved further than the bedroom to the kitchen. I was honest with my nearest and dearest, and took a risk by opening up to people that I was fearful of sharing with. I have got myself back on track – I did it, and for that I am proud.
I also realised that my eating disorder was trying to sabotage me again, by telling me that I wasn’t ‘well enough’ to be doing ‘Jiggsy’. That no one would listen to me, because I still have thoughts, occasionally engage in behaviours and still have some dark times. I convinced myself that I wasn’t pretty enough, I was too old, I didn’t hang around in the right circles, I didn’t eat the latest organic trend and I was no good on social media. It took me until yesterday to realise that actually I am good enough, I am worthy and I do have something to offer. I created Jiggsy not for a self-esteem boost, but to try and offer someone who was suffering a safe place that they could feel heard. I don’t naturally gravitate towards being the centre of attention and I don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, (the written word has always been my natural choice of communication) but I realise that to engage with people on an intimate level, I need to step outside of my comfort zone at times.
So, I will be doing my best in the future to put aside my insecurities and talk to you in person. I will release myself of wanting to be the ‘perfect role model’ and just be myself – someone who after 18 years of living with anorexia is able to wake up and look forward to the day ahead. I might be a bit uncomfortable at first, but I am going to do it my way, the only way I know how.