At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...
I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Was I mad...?
No, I wasn't...I know that now. I was just...in a dark place. I was sick...but in a way that wasn't quite so obvious as having a leg broken and in a cast, or having a really bad flu which makes your nose stream and your face pale and become drained of colour. No. Eating disorders are never quite as obvious as that, are they? So, so much can be hidden behind that bright smile, that cheerful face, that seemingly carefree and happy expression. Behind that innocent "oh no, I'm fine...I ate earlier" and those persistent claims of not being hungry and "sure I'll eat later". Often, noone knows... the sufferer, of course. Burdened with a secret you are too afraid, too ashamed, and too guilty to reveal to anyone, not even your loved ones, the people you trust the most.
But the above post title was the exact thought that crossed my mind today as I sat at the kitchen table, writing out, as tidily and as legibly as I could (for yes, unfortunately, my writing has dwindled to a scribbly, messy, almost impossible to read scrawl since I made the transition from school to university...bring back the fountain pens and hardback copies of my schooldays I say :( ) what I have eaten, day by day, over the past week; for the inspection of my doctor on Friday. As I wrote, I could not help but let my mind drift back to a time now quite so long ago...a time when I had become so used to restriction, hunger, denial...of going to bed every night and crawling underneath the covers and then hearing the hollow gurgles of your intestines in the dead silence as they try, once again, to digest food which just isn't there...a time when I had become so used to all of this, that what I know now was completely abnormal and unnatural and just plain senseless...well, to me, back then, that was normality.
I reflected on what I ate then. In comparism to now. And that's what made me feel so, incredulous. That's what made me consider...was I really crazy? But no...I know, I am a perfectly sane human being. But that doesn't mean my thoughts weren't completely and utterly messed up and manipulated... by my eating disorder. It's not insanity or madness or anything like that. It is a disease, a sickness, a horrible, horrible condition...one that begins in your head and then infects your whole mind...and then take its toll upon the body in the most destructive, damaging way.
This was what my eating disorder did to me.
The most obvious thing...I am, well, tiny. I know, this might be down to genes...but I am doubtful that this is the case for me. None of my family are particularly short. My mam is of average height, and has a lovely, curvaceous figure, as does my sister. My daddy and brother are both very tall and slender of frame.
I think...if I had eaten properly in that crucial growing period of my teens, I would have been alot taller than I am now...but my eating disorder stunted my growth. I have the body of fourteen year old.
In complete contrast to that...I have horrible, bony, veiny feet. Years of walking too far, for too long, all for the sake of burning off those few calories I had allowed myself to consume...and now I am suffering the consequences. They are sore, they are misshapen, the skin on them is often cracked and sore, and I walking in any kind of shoe that hasn't some sort of support is relatively a matter of great difficulty for me. This is where my obsessive exercising got me...as well as the fact of course that the bone structure of my delicate feet is probably all messed up...because I did not eat.
I have never had a period...my oestrogen levels took a massive hit during that period in which I had my ED and it seems, even though, they are unable to replenish themselves... and I am probably going to have to take hormone supplements or get IVF or something, if I ever do want to have children.
My skin is always flaky and dry, especially on my hands, legs, arms, stomach and underarms.
It's very likely that I have a very fragile bone structure, meaning that if I ever did break a bone, I would be in serious trouble.
I suppose they are all the main physical effects of the eating disorder...the impact it had on my body. Whether or not I will be able to rectify these in something which only time will tell. All I can do is hope. Hope, and take care of my amazing, undernourished, fragile little body, as best as I can. Fragile because of what I did to it...as in, depriving it of the nutrients it needed to become strong and fully grown.
Amazing, for its ability to survive all of that, despite weeks, months, years of continuous abuse, undernourishment, starvation.