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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.
Being comfortable in your own skin is not easy, and something I think every girl, boy, woman and man can relate to at some point in their life. It’s easy enough to hide away during the winter months, but as soon as the sun shows up those insecurities can come flooding back.
How do you stop the critical self-talk you have, even when you are feeling unwell? During a spell of flu, I found that it was not about stopping the thoughts, but more about how I counteracted them. I also realised, just how crucial, it is to nourish myself even more.
When I was in the midst of my eating disorder, I couldn’t imagine what my life could be like without it; it had become all I knew. It’s only now I am healed, that I can truly experience all the gifts that life has to offer.
There is nothing like speaking to someone who knows what you are going through; someone who speaks your language. Which is why being given the opportunity to speak to a group of parents and carers meant so much.
Anna is one of my closet friends. She went above and beyond to help me overcome my eating disorder, but even her Italian love for food was not enough to fight the monster in my head.
This is a typical dialogue I would have with myself and others, when I was in my eating disorder. I have written it to help you understand what goes through someone’s mind when their eating disorder is challenged.
We are half way through Eating Disorders week both here and in the USA, so this seemed an appropriate time to share with you all, my new project titled ‘Jiggsy’.