Some facts about Emmy Snelgrove that the world does not know, or see.
But these are the cold hard truths that press down upon my shoulders each day, as heavy and as grey as the severe, ice-capped mountain, and equally just as bleak. If not more. There is beauty in that mountain, but every inch of these facts are ugly.
I am 23 years old, though looking at me, some might think I'm alot younger.
Yet despite having the outer semblance of a girl, I have the skeleton of an old woman.
I have osteoporosis.
I don't get periods and I never have done. Sometimes,when I lie awake in the darkness of the night, watching the twilight patterns upon the creamy ceiling of my room, I wonder if I ever will. Whether my ovaries have simply given up, or have been permanently damaged through years of restriction.
And of course. I've had anorexia for 11 years. For eight of those years I was significantly underweight; for the most part of that eight, severely so. And then, for the other three. Consisted mainly of my weight bobbing up and down like a slung yo-yo upon a tight string.
So those are some facts about Emmy Snelgrove.
The facts that she doesnt want the world to see, but yet, at times, feels like screaming out loud. Especially to, well, you know. The oh you look well or healthy comments.
I'm currently maintaining between 41.8 - 42.5 kg.
Meaning that my bmi is around 17.7 to 18.
I suppose, for some people, this bmi's ok.
But I know deep down for me, it is unlikely that it is. As I type, I remember my consultant's parting words to me. On my last meeting with her, within the mental hospital's stifling grey walls.
I would advise you, young lady - given the severity of your osteoporosis and total absence of periods - that you get your bmi to above 19, preferably 20 or above.
I had smiled meekly and nodded my head. I was listening, but not to her voice. A different one inside my own head.One which, as soon as those numbers had left my doctor's mouth, had aroused itself, a restless wraith awakening from a fitful sleep.
Who the f*** does she think she is, Em??
Don't you worry, Em. You won't listen to her. She clearly doesn't have a clue what she's talking about.
There's no way on this earth you are going to let yourself gain until you get a bmi of 19...
And 20?? You'd rather die, right.
And I had listened, and agreed.
With Ed, that is. Not with my consultant, with her many, many years of experience and knowledge, working with and treating those with eating disorders.
A couple of years later, and here I am.
Wishing, once again, that I had chosen to listen to someone else; and not the ever-spouting wisdom of ED.
But. At least now I have the strength to say I can get beyond the minimum healthy bmi, if I choose to.
I know I can do it. If I just let myself do so. It's just the letting - the letting go - part. It's just - so bloody - hard.
For me, the fear of letting go now is akin to that I would feel if I were hanging off the edge of a cliff face overlooking the sea: under which, raging waters churn and roar, more fearsome than a wild beast.
My fingers are latched in a white knucked grip to this cliff edge to which I've been attached to for as long as I can remember. And yet despite the fact that this hostile crag has torn me and broken me countless times, I still have this fear of letting go. The sea below is so dark and terrifying, as unknown and as frightening as the blackest abyss at the furthermost corner of space.
But somehow -
I need to realise that it's long past time, to let go.
And so this is the meal plan that I've been studiously following, ever since I got back from Spain in late July.
Your thoughts. What do you think about it? It's true to say I like this particular eating schedule very much - the variety of foods, the frequency of the times that I eat, the inclusion of all the foods which I love and the exclusion of those that I don't. But it is enough to gain the final bit of weight that I need?
Given my current lifestyle, I don't think so.
I walk twice a day with my doggies and go for the odd cycle sometimes down to the local village. I don't sit around. I'm a busy girly. So I guess this is why I am maintaining on this instead of gaining.
- 100 ml milk + cereal (usually Weetabix or ready-brek)
- 1 slice spelt/wholemeal toast + spread
- 30 g cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- Half a multigrain/wholemeal bagel + spread
- 1 egg, boiled or poached
- Handfuls of sunflower seeds (I dont really measure them)
- 30 g mixed nuts
- Milky hot chocolate.
- Chicken/tuna mayo salad with spinach, vegetables, tomatoes, roasted peppers and dressing.
- Cereal + 50-75 ml hot milk
- toasted crumpet + spread + 1 tbsp peanut butter.
- Main course: varies depending on what we cook but it's usually the basic protein + carb + veggies
- My all-time favourite dessert: chopped banana, lots of hot custard, and a bar's worth of chocolate on top with the odd cadbury's chocolate finger or whatever's going begging.
- Milky hot chocolate.
But for now, I'm going to sign off, and focus on what I have to do. The thing I want more than anything else in the world, but yet of which the mere thought of strikes real fear into my heart like a knife blade been thrust through flesh.
Letting go. One of the hardest, most painful parts of recovery. But let go, I will and must.
I have to face the pain and the fear now, or spend a lifetime having to cope with a different pain; the pain of regret.
The regret of knowing that I could have changed things, but chose once again to hold on, and put off.
But now it's time to let go.
Let go I can, and must.