Tuesday, 22 December 2009

looking back

having just read a truly inspiring post by the wonderful danielle (sometimes sweet),i thought i would share a little something about a similar experience.not that i would say similar in the usual sense,just similar in that (like most young women) we have both experienced eating disorders.

as i'm writing this,i am actually wondering if i will complete this post even.i'm not fond of looking back,and especially at upsetting parts of my life.but i can but try!

so...at the age of 15,i was admitted to rhodes farm clinic in london.rhodes farm is a well-known eating disorders unit,in mill hill,london.i was admitted as my doctors had said it was either something of this nature,or i could die.writing this seems almost comical to me (and i don't mean that in a dismissive way,it just seems so crazy looking back at it all) but it is the truth,though i wish it weren't.after probably around a year of simply not eating/eating as little as i could get away with,i had managed to get to around 4 and a half stone.i think i was a little under 5 foot then.the doctors said that my heart could very easily give out as i had so little about me.thinking back on all of this,and of how i endangered my own life,i feel ashamed and full of regret.but i guess we can only learn from these kinds of mistakes.

the idea of going to live in london,so far away from my family,was hard.but i have to be honest,i was 100% in the grip of anorexia by then,and it really didn't have a big impact on me.you would think maybe i would suddenly see what i was doing and try to change,but i didn't.i remember even then,as we went to have a drink in a cafe close to the clinic,my mom told me if i could just drink the glass of coke in front of me,i could go home with them,and we would work through it together.but i couldn't,or namely wouldn't,do it.i think that i had always known that it would take being admitted into hospital to make me change.how sad is that?

so,the year leading up to this,had been hard.what i put my family through haunts me to this day,and i,and they,will never fully recover from it.what had started as cutting out this and that,here and there,had turned into eating as little as physically possible.but by the end of this,i could no longer get away with this without a struggle.

it was very easy at the start,to cut out things from my diet.i had always loved food,though i had never been overweight.so i doubt my parents worried about me eating a little less chocolate or sweets.but as most anorexics or bulimics will say,it got a lot more severe.i had a shoebox full of unopened chocolate bars under my bed.eating disorders make you very sneaky by nature.i would make a big show of taking a chocolate bar up to my room,but then of course would just hide it under my bed.i became very good at hiding what i was up to.though i never really did the whole 'hiding food in a napkin' while eating a meal at the dining table.maybe because we mostly ate our meals on trays on our laps!?(you have to find some humour somewhere i think!)

school too was pretty easy,even when a teacher began sitting with me at lunchtimes to make sure i ate (as requested by my mom).i found a way round that,and simply disposed of the food while they weren't looking.i don't think they had experienced this with a pupil before,and i used to see the pity and confusion in the teachers' eyes.

so this went on for around a year.at the end of the year,i was avoiding liquids.i had this horrible routine of feeling my bones while in bed every night.feeling every rib,feeling my hipbones...to this day,the idea of feeling my bones through my skin makes me feel physically sick.my mom was screaming at me just to eat and to drink.

i think most people who have been through bad points in their life (which is probably just about everyone) tend to remember a couple of key moments,where they knew things had gotten bad,and beyond the point of an easy return.

i remember one night,feeling so thirsty.that i rushed to the bathroom and drank a glass of water.immediately after,i felt so guilty.so upset that i had given in,and i truly thought that this water was going to put weight on me.so i went to the toilet,hoping i could just go...kind of a bulimic way of thinking,but not vomiting.crazy,i know...

and another memory,of hearing my mom crying out and sobbing in the night for me to get better.even in the closed mind i was in,this chilled me to my soul.and i remember feeling pain at what i was doing to her,and to my family.

i'm glad to say that once i was in the clinic,i started to do a complete u-turn.it's hard to understand.how i could so quickly change my thinking...there were so many girls in there,still resisting against the eating regime,and wanting to lose more weight.but it seems once i was in there,something inside me sparked,and i knew i had to get better so i could go home.

it was a tough 16 weeks there,though i did get to speak to my family and see them once a week.it had it's highs;getting to go and eat in the other kitchen,where we could supervise ourselves and just generally be more relaxed;reaching my targets early and getting to go home on weekends every week;meeting new people(though i could never really appreciate that,we must have all been in so much mental anguish then).it had it's lows;being away from my family,and knowing how much suffering i was putting them through;not long before my leaving date,i started having some kind of panic attack at mealtimes,it got to the point where i was moved back into the supervised kitchen.it would take me over an hour to eat my meal,and then i would throw up.this even happened at the table.and i felt such shame and such embarassment.i will never figure out why,after doing so well and not long before i was due to leave,these attacks started to come on.but luckily i was allowed to go home on time.when i did leave,it was hard to adjust and i think we had all thought it would all fit back into place easily.it didn't and it was scary at first,to be away from the crutch of the clinic.i was so scared that i would have to go back.

but,after all of this,we came through it.and i managed to come through it.i have to admit,i feel sadness that i could not find it in myself to make it better.that i had to go to a clinic to realise that what i was doing was wrong.i feel like i should have been stronger.and i think i will always feel that i should be stronger,and that i should stop giving into how fragile my mind can be sometimes.

however,i do feel lucky,as since getting over this part of my teenage years,i have seriously never had a problem with my weight again.i have heard people say that anorexics and bulimics never get over that way of thinking...i can truly and honestly say that i have never returned to my anorexic state of mind.sure,at times i have though,'oops,put a little weight on there' if a skirt doesn't fit that used to.but i have never dieted since,and never worried over it.not one bit.i don'tknow why this is.i do think maybe it's simply because i never became anorexic to be thin.i wasn't massive into my appearance anyway at the age of 15.i did enjoy people noticing how thin i had gotten,and if i heard that someone had said i was anorexic,although acting appalled at that,i would secretly love that they had noticed.i used to want people to notice.to see it all.and i don't know why.i don't remember thinking 'i want them to notice me!' but i do remember being glad if they seemed to notice how thin i was.but even though i took pride in my anorexia inside,i didn't on the outside,if anyone dared ask me if i was,or if my family lost their cool and brought the words 'eating disorder' up,i would deny it vehemently.i would not admit to it.

having said this though,about not feeling this way since my anorexia...i think similar things have come up that have manifested themselves in slightly different ways.like my OCD and my depression...i always joke that i seem to go looking for a disorder i can have.maybe it's the goth in me?!i can happily say though,i don't want any more disorders,and especially not self-inflicted thank you!

i have always thought that although there are always 'in-between' people,there is usually two types of people.those that hurt themselves when in mental pain,and those that hurt others.i'm willing to bet that most of the people reading this are those that hurt themselves.it seems to be the bane of most sensitive and kind young men and women!

so,i hope i haven't depressed you all thoroughly,i never look back on my eating disorder if i can help it,but i really did feel that it may inspire others to love themselves,just as danielle inspired me to appreciate life and be as positive as she is!now i don't think i'm quite as positive a person,c'mon i AM a goth,but i just wanted to say that if i can pull through tough times,you all can.and what doesn't pull us under makes us stronger.never sink,swim.


  1. you are very brave writing about this x

  2. Oh you darling little thing, thank you for sharing your story. I know it's hard...but I think with all the support we all give each other it makes it a bit easier. Know I am ALWAYS here for you...always! <3

    Sending love from AZ-

  3. Oh danielle,you are the sweetest!for someone I have never met,you touch my heart.and I am always here for you too xxxxx