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I’ve written this on behalf of those who are living with the brutal reality of an an eating disorder, and to highlight the misconceptions that are being played out in the ‘wellness’ community.
Finding my place in the world has taken me some time. Fitting in was something I struggled with throughout my twenties, and have only really found my sense of self and belonging since letting go of my eating disorder. I believe everyone has a message to share; it might take you longer than others, but you will get there.
The value of space is massively underrated. I don’t mean actual physical space, although that too is important, I mean space to clear your mind, and sit with your thoughts without any distractions. Not easy, I know, but hugely valuable.
For this reflection, I drew inspiration from the 1942 film ‘Casablanca.’ One of the most famous lines ‘Here’s Looking At You Kid’ is universally recognised, yet has multiple interpretations. It made me think about the power of words; does the power belong to the word or the way it’s delivered?
Ever been called ‘over sensitive?’ Yep me too. Here I explain why I totally embrace my sensitivity and ignore those who can’t see the beauty in feeling deeply.
Easter was just another celebration that I dreaded in my eating disorder. The sparkly wrappers that encase those sweet chocolatey delights were my nightmare. Thank goodness I no longer feel the shame or guilt they used to represent.
I built Jiggsy on a foundation of honesty for all, and that includes me. So, yep I take antidepressants, and I am finally OK saying it. I don’t hide the packets from my loved ones anymore. I hope that my words here, can go a little way to relinquish the shame that’s still felt by so many.
If you want to recover from any mental health issue, you will need to be honest with yourself and others; there is no other way. You might need to face some ugly truths, but be brave. It will be worth it in the end.
Another year older, another year wiser as they say. Birthday’s were definitely not something to celebrate when I was under the spell of anorexia. Today is different…no big plans or huge parties, but a day full of gratitude, cake and joy. That is the biggest gift I could wish for.
A year has passed since Jiggsy launched and it’s the beginning of eating disorders awareness week, so here are my thoughts on the grim reality of living with an eating disorder. We must do more to demolish the stigma, myths and culture that STILL fuels them.
The only way I beat my eating disorder was do the opposite of what it wanted. I had to sit with the rage that bubbled away inside of me when I challenged it’s demands. I had to trust that the anger and pain I felt, would lead me to a better place.
When you can fully accept yourself in the here and now, loving yourself becomes a great big adventure. It opens you up to wonder and excitement, where you are willing and able to receive the love you only dreamed of.
Finding the courage to speak my truth without fear or rejection, has been one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learnt. It’s allowed me to feel empowered and free of expectation.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is not easy when routine and familiarity feels safe. Doing something for the first time though, is something that I’ve embraced numerous times since being in recovery.
‘Self-care’ is the latest trend and buzzword to take over our consciousness. But when you have an illness, disability or mental health issue, self-care is less about the massage or bubble bath, and more about an everyday necessity to look after your most basic needs.
One of my amazingly inspiring therapists in the US, was famous for saying “Bigger Jeans, Bigger Life.” At the time, the last thing I wanted was to wear bigger jeans, but once I began to let go of my obsession to fit into a certain size, I found my life grow beyond all recognition.
You may not think it right now, but you have more strength inside you than know. Even in my darkest moments, I still kept fighting even when I felt I had nothing left.
Fear is often believed to be a negative emotion, but during my recovery I have learnt that fear is a vital response to danger, and is there to protect us. The difficulty is not to let our fear run away, and become unnecessary obstacles in our everyday living.
Two days after watching Louis Theroux’s documentary ‘Talking to Anorexia,’ I found myself speaking to the very group of girls who were featured in the programme. It was a surreal experience, because one of the hospitals Louis visited, was the very one I had been referred to.
The care and nurturing treatment that I was so fortunate to receive, came at a huge financial sacrifice to my family. There are many people suffering with an eating disorder or mental health issue that deserve the right to adequate care, regardless of their financial status.
Over-exercising was another part of my eating disorder; it was another way to punish myself, and compensate for the food I had eaten. Recovery has been about learning to respect my body, and find alternative ways to move, that nourish my mind, soul AND body.
I’d hoped that the Netflix drama ‘To the Bone’ starring Lily Collins, would provide much needed insight into the grim reality of living with an eating disorder. Unfortunately it failed to explore much beyond the typical anorexic stereotypes, many of us are already familiar with.
The past few years has seen a huge rise in people experimenting with numerous food trends. But when you are recovering from an eating disorder, restricting or cutting out food groups can be incredibly damaging to the body and mind.
Finding my voice has been one of the most challenging aspects of my recovery. When I was unwell, I was immensely shy and unconfident; I didn’t believe I had anything to say of value. I now know this not to be true, and use my voice wherever I can.