Oscar Wilde’s Top 10 Tips for Living a Kick-Ass Life

I saw this on Facebook today and thought it was worth sharing! 
 
1. On Love
Keep” love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.
 
2. On Education
“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” 
 
3. On Being Yourself

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

4. On Forgiveness

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” 

5. On Relationships

“Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.”

6. On Advice

“The only good thing to do with good advice is pass it on; it is never of any use to oneself.” 

7. On Living

“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.”

8.On Happiness

“With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” 

9. On Temptation

“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” 

10. On Emotions

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” 

Post 101!

Yesterday WordPress notified me that I have made 100 posts. I felt really proud of that. Since I have started blogging it has been amazing to know that while I help myself in my own journey of recovery, I am helping others too. 

Since I started treatment I have always been encouraged to write things down or ‘hand things over’ to someone else. In sum, not keep things totally to myself. I am a real believer that in writing your troubles or achievements down, or by sharing them with someone else, the problem won’t feel as bad. A problem shared is a problem halved.

So in today’s post I just want to thank everyone who has supported me via my blog, your kind words are a huge encouragement. I also wan’t to thank everyone who reads my posts- I hope they help you as much as they help me. For those of you who are suffering with your own ED’s, by sharing our stories of recovery I hope our strength against ED can become even stronger. For those of you who are fortunate to not be suffering with an ED, I hope my stories have given you a little bit more of an insight into a life with Ed. 

Thanks again! 

Happy Easter

I’m pleased to announce that a few battles have been won this Easter weekend.

This time last year was around the time I was at my worst. Although I don’t like remembering what it was like, it is good looking back to see the progress I have made.

Every year my Mum does an Easter egg hunt for us… One of our many family traditions! When we were younger, we would run around collecting a heap of chocolate rabbits, eggs and many other treats. Last year, my treats included an egg made of soap, some nice bath gels and a hand blender to make smoothies. I was so scared of sugar that I refused to have any chocolate. It wasn’t a normal Easter.

This year, as tradition, my mum did another Egg hunt. However, I was happy to find chocolate eggs instead of soap! Although I still have days when sugar freaks me out a bit, it makes me happy that I can now eat chocolate and enjoy it!

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Dinner Time

Yesterday I returned home for the Easter holidays. Last night I had a celebratory welcome home dinner with my Parents. This afternoon my Sister returned home and so we had a belated birthday meal to celebrate my mum’s birthday. Tomorrow I am going for an Easter Lunch at my Grandparents house.

It got me thinking about how much my family uses food to celebrate and how much we all enjoy it. Whenever there is a special occasion or something to celebrate, it is celebrated around the dinner table. Every time it is someone’s birthday, we have a special meal. For my graduation meal, the restaurant was the first thing to be booked. Every year when we get exam results, we go out for lunch.  

I also realised that for my whole life my family have always had dinner time as a family around the table. It was a way to catch up and share stories about our day. Even if Dad was late on the way home from work, we would wait until he got in before we started eating. I even remeber the times when my sister and I would try to drag out meal times by making my parents play games… Who Want’s To Be The Weakest Link was often a favorite! Tonight my sister even managed to get us all playing a game of Guess Who! In sum, dinner time was a happy, family time.

When Ed came into my life, meal times were no longer fun. I no longer looked forward to mum calling us down for dinner. I dreaded it. I couldn’t just run down the stairs when dinner was ready, I would wait anxiously in the kitchen to make sure my mum weighed out the exact, precise amount. There wouldn’t be laughter or smiles. Instead, everyone would sit anxiously in the hope that I would finish my meal. I can’t even remember what we would talk about as the only thing I would listen to was Ed’s screaming, torturing words in my head. 

Sitting at the table with my family this evening made me realise how much more enjoyable my life can be without Ed. Being able to engage, laugh, talk, chat and eat a meal in peace is refreshing. This evening as I was baking a cake for my mum (it was the best cake I have ever made), my sister came over and gave me a hug. She said how nice it was to have me home. It was lovely to hear her say that because this time last year, it wasn’t nice having me home. I wasn’t a good sister or a fun person to be around. Instead of catching up on stories we would cry about the pain we were going through and desperately try and make things better. I am grateful that so far this time round, there has been no tears, apart from my mum crying because she loved her birthday gift (My family are right softies).

I hope that as I continue to fight my eating disorder every day, I can continue to enjoy meal times with my family.

ps. I was so proud of the homemade caramel sauce I made to go with my Banana bread that I had to upload a picture!

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Count On D

Last night D and I headed over to M&S to buy some dinner. Ed always like to join us on these trips. They normally go somewhat like the following:

We walk in and check out all the Dine for 2 deals. Normally we can never agree on the same thing, D preferring Chicken and Bacon and me preferring some kind of bland salmon option. So we wonder around every aisle looking for something to agree on. We never do. So then we decide to just choose our own thing.

The problem with buying pre-prepared meals is that the calorie count is stamped on the front. The calorie counter on the front of meals, with the dreaded little circle telling you the exact amount of fat, sugar and salts, haunts me every time I go shopping. I hate them. I really bloody hate them. I find it really tricky to just buy something I like the look of. Normally, I choose whatever has the lowest numbers and the most green segments of the circle. They say that nutritional information helps you ‘Live Well’, I would beg to differ.

Last night after choosing to have our own things, I headed to the ‘Count on Us’ aisle- a range of meals that have been specially developed to be low in fat and calorie controlled. We were always told in the clinic to never choose the ‘Light’, ‘Diet’ options as these are for people on a diet…. I however, am not on a diet. 

I don’t know why I find that concept so difficult top grasp. I think it’s because I always put myself on some sort of a diet growing up. I used to read dieting blogs and tips while I was in school and I dreamt of being able to join weight watchers or do some kind of Atkins diet. I loved projects and goals and I guess I just saw dieting as another project. I vividly remember starting each week telling myself, ‘right, this week will be a good week’. Even if I made it a ‘bad’ week, I would start again the next monday. In sum, I feel as though I have been on a diet for as long as I can remeber.

Last night, after having chosen my ‘Count on Us’ ‘diet’ meal I went and found D. He knows a lot about Ed and was quick to point out that I was making a bad choice. I tried to justify it because it was a pasta dish and so it was a fear food. Irrelevant, said D, It’s still the diet range. I tried to argue with him but I don’t know who I was trying to trick. I knew as soon as I had picked it up that it was bad choice and not pro-recovery. So after a deep breath and a bit of help from D I put the ‘diet’ pasta down and got myself a carbonara! D and I had the same thing, enjoyed dinner, and felt satisfyingly full.

Team D&J: 1,  ED: 0

Together We Are Stronger

I have recently been planning what I will be doing after university. My parents are being supportive of my decisions and wanting to help me find a good solution. However, I told them that I want to “figure it out alone”. When I told my Dad this, he replied saying “Sorry, but I don’t know what that means”.

At the time I was frustrated with his response. I thought he wasn’t listening to what I wanted and that he wasn’t even trying to understand. He just wanted to be right (sorry Dad). And although it pains me to say this… I think he was right on this particular occasion. We don’t need to do anything alone. Being alone is a horrible feeling.

Today also got me thinking that if I had to do things alone all the time, life would be a hell of a lot harder. People often say that only YOU can beat your eating disorder, but you don’t have to do it alone. I think this is so true. Only I can beat Ed. It is a part of me and unfortunately only I can fully destroy it. But if I didn’t have my friends and family on my side in this battle, the fight would be impossible.

I have been struggling a lot with body image recently. The self-hatred every time I look in the mirror is getting seriously painful and I would do anything for it to go away. I look forward to a day when I can look at myself in the mirror and love my body. I had told myself I would go to the gym today and because I was so tired after a week of living in the library I didn’t manage to get there this morning. It got to 7pm and the voices in my head were screaming at me to go. It was dinner time, it was a saturday night, and I couldn’t think of many worse things than going to the gym. But, I got my gym kit on ready to leave.

Seconds before leaving the house I took a second to properly think about what I was doing. I instantly got on my phone to contact my friend and talk it through. I knew deep down I was doing the wrong thing. She told me to take my gym kit off and not go. I am stronger than Ed. All I needed to do to prove it was change into some comfy clothes and start making dinner. I took some deep breaths and after 10 minutes of deciding what to do I managed to do the right thing. Although it felt like a failure, I know it was a victory.

As I was sat in my room in tears, trying to take off some stupid gym kit, I was reminded that I couldn’t fight this illness alone. And I am so lucky that I don’t need to. If it wasn’t for my friend S today, I would have gone to the gym and Ed would have got even louder.

People always say that Eating Disorders are a “family illness”. They don’t just affect the sufferer, it affects the family too. Well in my case, I think my eating disorder is a ‘family and friends illness’. I most definitely haven’t been Ed’s only victim over the past few years, and I can never thank my friends and family enough for sticking by me. If I were alone, I dread to think what my life could look like.

Out Of Fuel

It’s on days like this when I question why I ever listen to my eating disorder. 

This week has been a tricky week and I turned to Ed for some “support”. I thought that restricting would make things easier and more manageable. Whenever I turn to this coping mechanism, it always, without fail, let’s me down. It never, ever makes things easier. Why do I still listen and give in? I guess that is all part of the illness.

I am in my final year of University with 5 exams and 3 coursework deadlines approaching and I have been studying non-stop in the library. However, because I haven’t been fuelling my body enough, I have reached the end of the week drained of all my energy. This morning it was a struggle to get out of bed and last night I crashed at about 5pm. I need to remind myself that my body is just a machine. It needs fuel to keep working, especially when it is working this hard. If you don’t put petrol in a car, it won’t run. As a result of not giving myself enough food this week, I feel like my car’s broken down. 

I have less than two months left of University. Then that’s it, education done. I can’t afford to mess it up now. I am going to try and remember a quote that I blogged about a few months ago that said: 

“Your body is not your enemy; it is your ally. It will carry you into the future if you nourish yourself well for the journey. Your most valuable traits cannot be measured, weighed, or graphed. Your power comes from passion; feed your dreams and you will thrive”

Erica Rivera

I may not care about my health enough at the moment to want to keep eating, but I do care about my exam results, and I do care about my future. So that will have to be my motivation. Eat for exams!

The Fashion Show

Tonight I went to a charity Fashion Show. A good friend of mine was organising it and so I wanted to show my support.

It was a good event… There were lots of people, a great venue, good music, I was with my friends. However, I didn’t manage to enjoy it like everyone else. I couldn’t just look at the clothes and discuss the latest looks with my friends. The only thing I really looked at was the size and shape of every model that walked down the catwalk. By the end of the show, I had pretty much worked out the size of every girl who took part. The most painful thing about it was that I had compared myself against every single model, and even most members of the crowd. 

It pains me to write this down. I sound so judgemental. But the truth is, I still find it so hard to not compare myself to skinny women and having a catwalk of them parading in front of me sent my head spinning.

The other thing I found difficult was the thought that there was no way in a million years that I would have volunteered to strut down the catwalk. The thought of wearing a short stress for the world to see filled me with dread. It upset me that I don’t have self-confidence like the models I saw this evening. I want to love my body as opposed to constantly wanting to shrink it away.

The only positive thing I can take from tonight, apart from having supported my friend, is that a part of me didn’t think the really skinny girls looked that good. Ed was doing his best to tell me that they did, tell me that they looked beautiful, happy, wonderful, sexy and attractive. But the truth is, I didn’t 100% believe him…. At least that shows some progress.

 

A Change Of Plan

I haven’t posted in a while and I’m not sure where to start. The past two weeks have been extremely difficult, and last week was probably the worst week of this year.

As I have said before, D is my best friend. We lived in Paris together, we worked together, we live together at university and we are on the same course. For the past two years I have seen D nearly every day and we have been through a lot together. He was there through every step of my recovery, has seen the good days and the bad days, and never stopped helping me fight Ed. Now I am in a better place our lives don’t revolve so much around Ed. We hang out together, work together, laugh together… He is my best friend.

In less than two months I will have finished university. 4 years of uni education done. To say I am terrified would be an understatement. I love having a plan and for the past 17 years I have had a plan in place. School, senior school, sixth form, university… it was all figured out. I have known I have wanted to study Business Management and French since I was about 13. I had always imaged that I would graduate with a good degree and start a top job in the city somewhere. However, things don’t always go to plan.

I did some job applications, reached the final stage and didn’t get the job. I was devastated. It felt like everything I had been working towards was for nothing. However, things worked themselves out. My friend D was taking a year out to apply for jobs the following year and was going to go travelling for 6 months. My parents always tell me that ‘everything happens for a reason’ and it seemed as though they were right. Being declined from the jobs meant I would travel for six months around the world with my best friend… I was so happy. So excited. We had started planning and talking about it and I couldn’t wait.

However, again… things don’t always go to plan. A job offer has come up in Paris and D is going to take it. It means he won’t be travelling and it means he will be leaving very soon after exams. As for me, I now have no plan. It feels like I have been left alone with an empty year ahead of me. Never in a million years had I ever imagined the end of Uni to look like this.

However, the thing that has been the hardest through all these changes is the thought that D will be leaving. I feel like I am loosing my best friend and I am not ready to face the world by myself. I knew that there would come a time when our paths would go separate ways but I was never ready for it to be in eight weeks time. For the past two years I haven’t made a plan without D in it, and so I am not sure where to begin.

When I found out that D wouldn’t be here after university I cried myself to sleep for a week. I am terrified about having no plan and the the thoughts in my head started becoming a little insane. For a split second I considered turning back to my eating disorder, making myself really ill again and spending time back in the clinic. These thoughts were quickly rejected but I tried to figure out why I was having them in the first place. I think it is because, in a weird kind of way, the clinic is like a safe haven. I get cared for and looked after there. There is routine, a plan, a goal. But I know these thoughts are crazy and I don’t ever want to waste more days of my life away in a hospital.

D moving away has made me realise that I need to be able to support myself. Since I got really ill a couple of years ago, my support has been external. Through everything I have had D and my parents. I had a therapist and a nutritionist in Paris. I was in a clinic in the UK. I now have a therapist in Bath. However, the truth is, these people won’t always be here to support me. Plans change. People move. And the only person I con truly rely on 100% of the time is me. I am not saying that I can’t rely on other people at times, but ultimately, the only person who is always there for you is yourself.

I feel as though this year is going to be a challenge, but a challenge that needs facing. I need to learn to spend time with myself. Learn to love myself and take care of myself. I also feel like I need to grow up. Last year I celebrated my 21st Birthday and the week after I was admitted into an ED clinic. At a time in my life when I should have been celebrating adulthood, I was having to be tought how to eat. I was being taught how to eat toast, milk, dessert and chips…. The things you learn at the age of about 2. I needed a team of people to take care of me because I couldn’t look after myself. The relationship with my parents became extremely Adult-Child. Although I was the eldest sister and 21 years old, I was the baby of the family. The one demanding all the attention and care of her parents. I need to start behaving and being treated like an adult.

So all in all, I never imagined the end of university to look like this. I am not excited, but scared. I am not happy, but sad to be leaving D. But I am prepared to face up to the challenge. This next year is going to be a year for me. I am going to learn to connect with myself and get to know myself. I am going to try and enjoy the lack of structure and no plans and enjoy a year off to do whatever the hell I want. I am going to see the world, meet new friends and see new things. I am going to try and learn to be happy without D and learn to support myself.

 

“Life is not what it’s supposed to be, it’s what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference”

This week I have learn’t that whenever I come up against challenges in life, or am faced with disappointment, I turn to my eating disorder to make me feel better. Similarly, whenever I feel lonely I look to my eating disorder for company.

Recently, I have tried to convince myself that I can just ‘use’ my eating disorder for a couple of weeks. Nothing drastic like in the past, but just a bit until I feel better. A part of me tries to believe that my eating disorder is a coping mechanism I can turn to when things in life get difficult and I feel like I am loosing control.

However, I need to remember that there is no ‘healthy’ way to use my eating disorder. It is not a coping mechanism and it won’t make things better. And there is most definitely no ‘healthy’ way for me to loose weight. Restricting my food and trying to push the numbers on the scale further down each week won’t make my life easier. Moving further away from my target weight won’t get me a job, make me happy, and give me the life I so desperately want. It will just be a passport back to the clinic… A place which is definitely not on my bucket list.

I feel like it’s reached that time again when I need to dig deeper, pick myself up and find some strength to fight harder. This week has just been a ‘blip’, a bit of a standstill on my journey. The best thing I can do now is make sure it doesn’t turn into something bigger. I don’t want to step backwards or fall down. I don’t want to have to go through the same damn struggles time and time again. So instead of trying to overcome this weeks challenges and disappointments by turning back to by eating disorder, I am going to try and view it as an opportunity. It will be an opportunity to try and cope with life’s struggles without Ed, and do things the healthy way.