The long and winding road

I found this the other night. This was written less than a week after I first totally broke down and was signed off, well over a year ago. It isn’t easy reading and I will warn you that now; I wrote it, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like me.

Some days, you don’t realise how far you’ve come. Whilst I sat, in tears, reading through this the other night, it reminded me how far I have come. Friends staying with us the weekend just gone also reminded me how changed I am too; friends I didn’t think even really had an opportunity to see me; typical hectic, adult lives as they are, we sadly don’t often get to see each other.

I’m still confused by a lot, some I’ve tried to figure out, some I have figured out, some, I will probably never figure out.

~

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Words I repeated over and over to myself as I pushed to complete the final miles of the second of my 2015 half marathons. I knew I wasn’t fuelling myself. I’d started the morning eating, and then proceeding to throw up some left over sushi from our Friday night dinner party. I was craving electrolytes. I promised myself some water and fruit salad if I was happy enough with my time when I got home. Pledged to keep it down. Fortunately I somehow managed to knock ten minutes off January. I don’t know how.

I knew I needed help. I knew I wasn’t about to ask for it. I’d already opened up in January. In sending out my sponsorship link I felt that was a direct hint that I was still struggling. But I wasn’t about to ask for any further help. To break my friends and families hearts. They had no clue that in the months after my wedding, our return from honeymoon, I’d actually sunk lower and relapsed worse than ever. In relative comparison it made the efforts I went to to get to my coveted 8 stone for our wedding, relatively normal.

I thought I knew why, I thought it was about control. I felt time was slipping away from me, moving too fast, and I wasn’t necessarily progressing as I wanted in other aspects of my life; I craved promotion, responsibility, challenges and recognition at work yet at the same time the desire for a family was often strong: we were married now, so I deemed it allowed. Obviously destroying my body was never going to get me the baby I desired. Whenever a period randomly appeared, my heart would sink, but then the cycle would continue: I didn’t need to gain weight for a baby that didn’t exist. In sum, I felt like my life was out of control and this was the only way I could get it back. In reality I knew I was loosing control, but it didn’t matter. The desire to be thin overwhelms. The feeling and need to take control, to have control of something, overwhelmed. The strive for perfection within ever changing goalposts was consistent. I seemed to be a pro at setting myself these Unachievable goals.

I put myself in stupider and stupider situations. Some days I ate, some days I didn’t. Days I ate, I was sick. Not necessarily everything, but at some point, every eating day, something came back up. I knew it was wrong. But I couldn’t stop? I couldn’t understand anything any more. I didn’t know what I wanted. I was loved but lost and lonely??! I often felt stressed, over emotional and out of control. So I punished myself further through starvation or throwing up. That was what I needed. Though in the long term I knew I needed to seriously reconsider. To rethink. To ask for help. But I couldn’t. I wasn’t thin, so the problem was non existent.

I pushed through the half marathons, every day running. A friend commented on the “good work I was doing for the eating disorder charity” not really. I’d triggered myself beyond belief – I needed to be thin to highlight #edawareness . I was quoting and retweeting inspirational quotes and wise words left right and centre, but I wasn’t taking any notice of them for myself. I felt like I was screaming out for help, but in reality I was all false smiles and happiness. How would anyone know I was quietly sticking 2 fingers down my own throat and desperately trying to bring up that yoghurt. Spaghetti Bolognese. Sushi. Hot chocolate. Protein Shake. Salad. Pretended to myself I was screaming out for help that I didn’t want.

Can you imagine what it feels like day in day out. You’re hungry, but are you? Nah, of course you aren’t. You don’t need to eat. Don’t eat. Why are you eating?? The arguments within your own head are beyond exhausting. Constantly battling. It was easier, so much easier, to give in.

It couldn’t have come about at a worse time. I was desperately trying to support a friend. Actually return the favour of being a good friend like she’d consistently been for me. Instead out of nowhere I was an emotional wreck. Constantly welling up with the threat of breaking down at any given moment a permanent fixture. I don’t even understand fully where it came from. I just woke up one morning really angry. Really really angry with myself. I didn’t deserve anything.

I massively lacked self confidence and self esteem despite the act on many given days. I didn’t need knocking back any more but that is consistently all I received. Everything about me as a person was ripped to shreds.

It’s scary how quickly it can take hold. Before I knew it February was over and I’d made myself sick every. single. day. “Re-start March” was dubbed with a friend who had no idea the reality that this wasn’t just about getting back on track with eating healthier, I didn’t want to be bent over a toilet seat after every morsel of food I allowed myself. “Re-start March” lasted all of about 4 days before I found myself with my head back down the toilet bowl.

And then the tears fell and they couldn’t be stopped. I am a dark hole of a person I don’t understand. The people that matter love me. But I hurt. I hurt myself physically and mentally. I beat myself up 24/7. I cried. I cried and I cried. I had panic attacks, anxiety attacks, meltdowns in (super)markets. I fainted, collapsed, starved myself, cut myself, made myself throw up. And I ran. I ran and I ran and I couldn’t escape it all. I am nothing. I am nobody. I am worthless.

And then it happened. I walked away from my desk and made that call. I called the doctor. I asked for an emergency appointment. They couldn’t see me but they’d call me back. When the receptionist asked if she could ask what it was about, I panicked. She couldn’t get off the phone quick enough.

Sunday 22nd March 2015. Vitality Reading half marathon. Today I didn’t want to stop running. The sun was shining, the beat of the music was pumping through my ear phones. The crowds were cheering, playing music. And I was running. I knew I was achieving something. And I needed that so badly. That feeling of having achieved something. I knew it at mile 5, I knew it at mile 10. I knew it with 1000metres to go and it made me feel so good that I never wanted to stop. Because to stop running meant I would stop achieving. For now at least.

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