A beautifully written blog by one of our team at Youth Mental Health Matters, please have a read.
Sitting in a cold room, overcrowded with pictures on the walls and hearing the words “We do think you have an eating disorder. Its called Anorexia Nervosa, do you know what that means?” wasn’t a wake up call it may have intended to be, it was the words my ‘friend’ Ana finally wanted to hear, inside my head she was jumping for joy, elated with happiness. After months of skipping meals, over-exercising and becoming more and more isolated from everything, she got to hear that one famous word…Anorexia.
Having Anorexia is not glamorous and it’s not just not eating for a certain amount of time because your boyfriend broke up with you, its punishing your body and your mind for not doing x amount of sit ups or eating over a certain amount of calories every single day, missing family events and loosing friends as a result. It takes over your life. Food is always on to my mind. Ana is like a leech, slowly sucking everything beautiful and precious from me. School work and friends sit on the side line, while your new friend is on the playing field, scoring the winning goal.
Ana helped me find control in a world where I felt I had no control, she allowed me to feel better about myself. Yet I still wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror. No matter what I ate, what weight I was, how depressed I felt that day, it wasn’t enough. Anorexia is not just a physical illness, its a mental one too. Your mind is controlled by what happened in the day. It is controlled by a voice.
My journey in recovery, like many other things, has, and still is a rollercoaster. There are moments where I'm at the beginning of the rollercoaster frightened to make my way to the top & there are moments where I'm at the top, feeling free, even if its for a brief moment, before I fall back down. I am no way near recovered yet but at least I can go to sleep down without feeling guilty that I'm lying down and can make new friends without worrying that I didn’t deserve them, slowly I am trying to get rose’s life back.
So, I thought I would share my top five tips that have helped me so far:
1. Distractions - Create distractions for yourself that help when eating or thinking about food. For me, watching Christmas films & Gavin and Stacey episodes while my sister does her welsh accent is such a good way to take my mind off the impending food.
2. Social Media - I went on a unfollowing spree and stopped following fitness, diet and weight loss accounts on Instagram as they were just making things ten times worse!
3. Stop counting calories - Counting calories was and still is my downfall, knowing how many calories is in specific meals does not help, for me trying to stop counting calories has really helped, as I'm slowly giving the control back to my parents and less for Ana.
4. Take everything offered - Therapy, CBT, Art classes… its best to try everything and anything when recovering from mental health issues and see if they help.
5. Cry - Just let out all those emotions and trust me you will feel better!
Hopefully these might be useful to anyone who needs a helping hand!