Moments of Clarity

On Monday, I was sitting in my first lecture for the semester for my last year of college. I didn’t know anyone else there – not one other person. No one else in that room besides me knew about my history of my eating disorder, nor did they know I was recovering from one. Perhaps they thought it strange that I sat there at 12pm and whipped out my lunch to eat during the lecture, but I sat there and knew that whipping my lunch out to eat at 12pm was exactly what I needed to do at this stage of my recovery. My lecturer stood up the front and talked for 2 hours about the early church, the fall of Jerusalem, about apostolic fathers and apologists from back in the day. I sat there in wonder at the way my brain was able to retain information (for the first time in years) and noticed my enthusiasm about being there. It was foreign to me.

At some point during the lecture I got a little lost in thought and sat there dwelling on the size of my arms, about how big they may appear to others and about how I perceive them to be. Just before I started to get too carried away with the thoughts though, another thought interjected – no one else here in this room is thinking about the size of my arms, or even cares about the size of them so why am I sitting here doing so?

It was this brief moment of clarity, but kind of a beautiful one and was something I haven’t experienced in a long time. And to be honest, it kind of really freaked the hell out of me.

As the brain ceases being starved and starts being refed, moments like this will happen. They will be brief, and probably not very frequent, at first. You will get glimpses of what life can be like without an eating disorder. You will have more and more moments of freedom and liberation. You will start to realise that there is far too much in your life to lose and that at some stage, you need to stop dancing with the eating disorder. You will see that there are possibilities and opportunities and ways forward – and that you actually have the strength to take these and make real change, despite the difficulty and distress and the tears and the thoughts that come up. I believe this.

The possibility of a future is a frightening one, but so is the prospect of living this way for the rest of my life. My prayer for you (and for me!) is that we can be brave enough to take all these small moments of clarity and carry them with us, remind ourselves of these truths daily and continue to work towards overcoming this hell of an illness that has taken way too much from you.

Love,

Bek

no words.

This afternoon we found out that a beautiful woman we were in treatment with earlier this year passed away yesterday. There are literally no words out there to articulate the sadness of her death, and that are no words to adequately express the shock and depth of the loss that so many of us are feeling right now.

The words I do have are these: when recovery seems never-ending, when recovery seems difficult, when the struggle doesn’t feel worth it… Remember that it is. Remember that there is life and hope beyond this. Remember that you have strength within you to beat this illness, and remember that this illness is unjust and unfair and wrong and devastating and that you deserve so much more than it can ever provide for you. If you can’t fight for yourself right now, please fight for those around you. Ash would be behind you and cheering you on every single step of the way.

Let’s make 2017 our year, and let’s look out for those around us and keep reminding them just how much we care for, love and value one another particularly during this holiday season that so many find so difficult.

Love,

Bek X

2016.

Last July after a 3 week admission, I discharged myself from a hospital where I had been receiving treatment for my eating disorder. I believed this to be my last admission. I walked out determinedly – desiring, more than anything, to keep myself on track and get on top of the eating behaviours and overexercise I had been struggling with for the last few years. I left there with a solid plan in place, follow up appointments with my doctor and dietitian and a willingness to do what was necessary for me in order to get my life back.

And I did. Continue reading

You Don’t Have to Hit Rock Bottom Before You Ask for Help.

I feel like in society, there’s this idea that we can’t ask for help until all hell breaks loose, until we’re in complete crisis, until we’re having a major meltdown, until the shit hits the fan… However you want to put it, our pride can often stop us from asking for help until we absolutely need it. We wait until we’re at rock bottom before asking for advice, asking for a hand with our uni work, asking for a shoulder to cry on, asking for help to follow our meal plan, asking for accountability for something we may be struggling with. This isn’t even specific to eating disorders – I think to some degree, this can be true of us all at various times throughout our lives. Continue reading

the worst that can happen.

This morning I had a cup of milk on my cereal. I know it was a cup, because I measured it. This is not something I usually do. This morning I had to force myself to measure out a cup of milk, as per my dietitian’s request, because this is not something I usually do and whilst I measure my cereal I do not measure my milk. I have always pronounced this to health professionals triumphantly – I do not measure my milk, therefore I am not obsessive and I can be flexible and I am smashing this whole recovery thing. Continue reading

For When the Battle Seems Never-Ending.

Long time, no blog. I’ve had lots of ideas floating around in my mind about things I’ve wanted to write about, but I haven’t been able to string the words together quite as I’ve wanted to. I figured though, that I may as well give it a crack. This blog post is something I’ve been thinking about recently, something I’ve needed to write for myself and be reminded of, and something I’ve wanted to write for those who may also be at a crossroads similar to my own. So here we have it – a blog about the overwhelming nature of recovery from an eating disorder. Thanks for reading, pals. X

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Dear You.

Hey there, you. Reader.

If you’re reading this, it’s either because I made you, or because you’re re-reading it just for shits and gigs, or maybe because it means something to you. I hope it’s the latter, because I’m writing this for a purpose – I’m writing this to remind you of WHY you’re doing what you’re doing right now – that is, being here, and fighting the battle you’re fighting. I’m writing this because I want to remind you that right now, even though it seems as though you’ll never overcome this, that one day you will. I’m writing this to remind you that some days are harder than others and some days you might slip backwards. Some days you might make no progress. Some days you just might want to quit – and sometimes you might just even give in to that temptation, devote yourself solely to relapse. Continue reading

Make Time For Fun!

I’m currently in the process of writing an essay which I’m 70% sure is due on Monday and listening to Lisa Mitchell sing at the same time – it’s a big distraction! I stop every few minutes and join in with Lisa singing about how sidekicks are important and then I realise I still have a lot of words to write on my essay so heck, why not write a blog post instead.

I feel like I’m doing the HSC all over again.

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and I forgot to mention …

That some people are really ignorant and will say things like “hot dang girl, you don’t look like you have an eating disorder” (or equiv) or not really understand what’s going on and thus appear to not really care even though they probably do, they just haven’t quite grasped how to show it yet. Then there are the people who will choose not to support you through the hospital visits, dietitian visits, trips to Sydney etc and won’t ask you how you’re going. Or those who may not ask you what is going on in your life at all even though they know full well that you’re trying to recover from this eating disorder and damn it’s hard.

Yeah, you gotta forgive them too.

B.

Forgiving (yourself and others.)

I’ve been thinking about some specific-ey eating disorder-ey things as of late, but first I just wanted to share this picture with you if you haven’t seen it on my Facebook page:

Pretty funny, eh? It’s from a book called ‘Real Gorgeous‘ by Kaz Cooke and it’s simply wonderful. If you ever need a good book to sway you from dieting, here it is. Highly recommend!

Lately I’ve been pondering the topic of forgiveness and how it all fits in to the equation of eating disorders. If you’re someone who has suffered with an eating disorder previously, whether you are still suffering, whether you’re someone who is supporting someone who is in the midst of it all – then forgiveness if for you. In fact, it’s actually for all of us, eating disordered or not. So hopefully whatever these fingers type is helpful and useful for you specifically, regardless of where you are currently in your life.

First, let me talk about forgiveness, the individual and the carer. If you as a carer are really struggling with the demands and attention the eating disordered patient requires, if you currently are finding that you are slowly coming to resent them and how much time they are taking from you; how much energy they are taking from you and how much of a strain it puts on your relationship with them: you need to stop for a second. This is when we need to look at the big picture – hopefully, (we pray!) the eating disorder isn’t a permanent illness. Hopefully, it’s for a time – not a long-life issue so with very, very hard work, commitment and a helpful medical team, a full recovery from the eating disorder is possible and quite likely. The eating disordered patient will not continue to rely on you as they need to now as they continue to get better. So – remind yourself of this, and as difficult as it may be sometimes, don’t resent what you feel is being taken from you. In the long-term, it will produce wonderful things and as you see the ED’d individual continue to thrive you will recognise that the hard work has paid off! But yes, it is very hard work and it is difficult at times for everyone … but oh so worth it.

Likewise, the eating disordered patient needs to recognise that the carer can only do so much. They aren’t perfect. You’re not perfect. None of us are perfect and basically we can’t always be of use to people as often as we would like to be. You, the eating disordered patient, have needs. Which is perfectly okay. But what is often hard to remember is that your parent or spouse or friend or whoever is looking after you also has needs. And your needs are not any greater than theirs, neither are their needs any greater than yours. It’s about serving each other – and if you can both forgive each others flaws in the process, it’s a wonderful thing!

If you’ve just gone through hell and back and are just coming out of your eating disorder but can’t seem to shake the fact that it happened and yeah, there were some ridiculously hard times and you inflicted a lot of hurt and anger and sadness on those around you and you just feel so guilty for all of that – then forgiveness is for you too. Yes, you had an eating disorder. Yeah, it sucked. But people helped you, not out of obligation but because they love you and wanted to see you out of it. Yes, it put an immense strain on your relationships with them. But the best part is this: you came out the other side, you now eat regularly, you still have these people in your life and they still love and support you. I hope that blows you away. They have forgiven your flaws … so you too can forgive what has gone on. And this, I believe, is a huge part of the recovery process and will help you to continue to move forward to a new, lovelier, eating disordered free life.

Similarly if you are still suffering from an eating disorder (or any other health issue, really), it’s a wise thing to realise now that things will happen that you probably will feel guilt for. And it’s not all you, a lot of it is driven by your eating disorder but it’s also important to recognise that you can make your own decisions too. Realising that will help you recover more quickly I think: owning your actions and seeking to change behaviours; not letting your eating disorder gain the upper hand.

And if you’ve not had an eating disorder, but plenty of things have occurred in your life, things that were within your control or things completely out of your control that you still continue to rerun in your mind and blame yourself for immensely: stop. What’s gone is gone; what’s in the past has happened, perhaps things have happened to you even unjustly but being unforgiving hurts you even more so than it hurts the perpetrator.

I just think that it’s something we all need to mull over. So have a cliché: hope I’ve given you some food for thought.

(The best part about that last sentence is that it was a cliché and a pun. Food, eating disorders. Don’t tell me you didn’t smile.)

Love, Bek

Xo.