Welcome Back!

It feels like ages since my last blog post. In between 5 Final Year exams followed by 10 days of celebrations I haven’t found the time to keep writing. I have so much to say…

Firstly, I have officially FINISHED 4 years of University, I am a Graduate! It feels so strange to be done with education. I have always been a hard worker and knew I wanted to study Management and French from quite a young age. I worked hard during school and have worked my socks off for the past four years at university. For anyone getting through uni is an achievement. Getting through Uni whilst fighting an eating disorder is an achievement that makes me very proud.

Half way through my exams I went to see my therapist for our weekly chat. I shared my anxieties about the end of uni. Whilst I was looking forward to finishing exams, I couldn’t deny that the idea of 10 days of drinking, partying and eating was making me a little nervous. I also admitted that my plan was to enjoy the partying but keep super healthy during my exams. I was then planning on spending a couple of weeks hitting the gym, eating healthy/restricting in advance of my two week summer holiday. Her response was: ‘So you are planning on ruining your holiday?’. She reminded me that if I spend two weeks listening to Ed and welcome him into my life, it is unlikely that I will be able to shut him out when I get on the plane to go on holiday. It just doesn’t work like that. The best preparation for my holiday and to enjoy summer is to keep fighting the eating disorder and do everything I can to stick two fingers up at it!

I took her advice on board and identified all the little things that are still tying me to Ed. For example, when I don’t have dessert, Ed wins. If I gym more than a set number of times a week, Ed wins. If I avoid fear foods, Ed wins. I pictured all these little things as strings that tied me to Ed. By facing my fears, eating dessert, and sticking to my exercise plan I can cut the strings and move myself further away from Ed. This is what I did during my two week exam period. I enjoyed dessert every night, stuck to my food plan, faced fear foods regularly and avoided the gym. Not only did I have the energy to work long hours, it also kept me more focused. I didn’t waste time thinking of what to eat and when to eat it. However, more importantly, by fighting my eating disorder and making my voice louder, I was also well prepared to enjoy the post-exam celebrations. And my God we had a good time!

We had a flat meal and champagne on the final exam day and then I went to a festival all weekend with the girls and consumed a copious amount of Cider! We then had a course night out, another girls night out and the Summer Ball which was a night to remember! In the day time we went shopping, fed the hangovers, made sushi, watched films and enjoyed time off. It was an amazing week and I am so so happy that I will always be able to look back at the end of my final year and have brilliant memories.

In some ways it makes me sad to think that if it wasn’t for my eating disorder, more of my time at university could have been like last week. But I know that there is no point in having regrets. I am just going to use this as motivation to keep on fighting. Experiencing how fun life can be without Ed is just making me more and more determined to live the rest of my life without him.

With the celebrations over I now have a few weeks off before we go on our family summer holiday. We are going back to the same place we went last year. The only difference is that when we went last year, I was fresh out the clinic. I had a good time but I plan on doing things differently this year. I most definitely will be having wine with my dinner, I will not be packing my own cereal in my suitcase, and I will not be taking scales. I also intend on getting ready with a G&T in my hand instead of my afternoon milkshake. I won’t insist we eat at regimented times and I won’t plan every lunch 5 days in advance. I won’t be packing last years ‘anorexic’ wardrobe, I will be packing a new summer wardrobe in clothes which make me look great! Unlike last year, I am not nervous about the holiday. I don’t feel the need to sit down with my parents before we go and talk about coping strategies and I won’t be discussing it for hours on end with a therapist. Instead, I am just excited. I am excited to be in the sun, eat amazing food and most importantly, spend some quality time with my friends and family.

After my holiday I will be starting a new job for 6 months before I go travelling. In between last weeks partying I managed to get into work for a couple of handover days. The job sounds great and I am really excited to get started. Plus, one of my best friends works at the same office which is going to be great! One thing that surprised me was that nearly every woman in the office spent their lunch breaks talking about their latest slimming world class, weight watchers group, diet pills or latest exercise fad. Most of the women are in their early 30’s and it seems that not one of them was happy with their body… And they didn’t mind talking about it! It got me thinking… Firstly, there is no way I would have been able to cope in a workplace like that last year. It would have been seriously triggering. Secondly, although it has been seriously shit having an eating disorder and it has stolen years of my youth, I like to think that going forward, I won’t be hung up on diet fads. I tried the fads and it went seriously wrong. I got very ill and learnt the hard way. But in future, I believe I will be able to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle and love me just the way I am!

So all in all, looking back on the last month or so makes me very proud. I have finished uni, had an incredible time celebrating and am the closest to ‘recovered’ that I have ever been before. Everyone always says the journey of recovery is a long one, and they wern’t wrong. But like every journey, there is a finish line, a final destination, an end. I feel as if I now know what I need to do to reach the end. At times I try and tell myself I don’t know what to do, but I am lying. I know when Ed is winning and I know how to turn his voice down. I just need to be brave enough to do it.

I feel as though I have just got to the top of a huge hill on my journey. It was one hell of a climb but the finish line is now in sight. It was hard work getting here, but now the road isn’t looking as rough. It is a smoother ride, I’ve just got to be brave enough to keep on marching forward. My eating disorder stole my 20th year, it got hold of my 21st but I am turning 22 in July and I am ready to say goodbye. I feel as though I am getting my life back, learning how to life and discovering so many amazing new things that weren’t possible when I was living life with Ed. So I am proud to welcome myself back, wave goodbye to Ed, and keep marching forward!

It’s good to be back.


The Calm After The Storm


Today I went to church with a friend of mine. I have been wanting to go for a while and today I finally went.

After worship people could come to the front and minister. It was a chance for people to share stories that they felt would be relevant to other people in the service. One man talked about a picture he had seen of a ship. I can’t remember exactly how he described it, but he said something like, although the ship had just come out of a storm, the sea was a calm and clear and the ship seemed peaceful upon the water. However, the lighthouse in the corner of the picture was a reminder of the danger that had passed. The ship could continue to be at peace away from the storm, but it was important for the captain to keep an eye on the lighthouse out of the corner of his eye. The captain had to remember the danger and keep his eye out for any other storms.

I felt as though I could really relate to what he said. This whole journey of recovery has been like a sea storm. I have been through ups and downs. I have been frightened and scared. At times I feared my ship was sinking but I managed to stay afloat.

However, I am now beginning to feel like I am coming out the other side of the storm. The sea feels calmer, the water is clearer, the sky is brighter. I am more in control of my ship and I am steering myself closer to safety. However, I always keep a keen eye on my eating disorder, like the captain keeps an eye on the lighthouse. I don’t want to forget about the storm, or loose sight of it because I need to remember how bad it was in order to keep moving forward. I need to keep my eye on the danger so I don’t hit another storm without warning. I need to keep my eating disorder in sight, because I don’t want it creeping up behind me when I’m not ready.

But for now, I am grateful that my ship is sailing and not sinking and the waters are feeling calmer.


“Life is full of ups & downs. The trick is to enjoy the ups and have courage during the downs”

This week has been particularly difficult. My body image has been crap, the voice in my head has been loud, my thoughts have been obsessive and it made life pretty difficult. I sat in therapy on Wednesday in silence and just cried. It is very rare that I have nothing to say. I tried to explain how I was feeling but all I was feeling was sad and angry. Angry that this battle isn’t over and sad that the battle began in the first place. But what I need to remember is this:

“The problem is that you don’t just choose recovery. You have to keep choosing recovery, over and over again. You have to make that choice 5-6 times each day. You have to make that choice even when you really don’t want to. It’s not a single choice and it’s not easy.”

Marya Hornbacher

However, despite the sadness and the anger, I feel like I have managed to turn things around this weekend.

Last night was one of my best friends birthdays. Sadly, she has also had some of her own ED struggles in the last couple of years. I had been napping in the day and was in no mood to go out but I made the effort to go anyway… I am so pleased I did. For the first time in over a year I saw my friend back to her old self. She was drinking, having fun, chatting away and being totally normal. She looked great and it was so amazing to see. As I sat and watched I felt inspired. I felt inspired to keep on fighting. She was proving to me that life is more fun when Ed is not around. Life is more fun when you can be yourself. So I poured myself a drink and joined in. We had a great night out together and it was so amazing to feel ‘normal’ again with my friend. We have both fought bloody hard over the last year, but nights like last night prove that all the hard work is worth it.

Also given that I have tried to avoid Fear Food Friday for the past couple of weeks, I thought it was about time I made up for it. We ended the night in McDonald’s and so I took the opportunity to tick off another fear food. McDonald’s is one my greatest fear foods. Even though Ed hates me telling you all this, I actually like the taste of McDonald’s. So last night I had a burger and some chips and even a couple of chicken nuggets after my night out. I feel uncomfortable even writing this down, but hey, fuck off Ed. McDonald’s is also one of D’s favorite things so I text him to tell him I had finally had a McDonald’s! He was proud. That made me happy! Before we finish uni I have said that we will have a McDonald’s together, so last night can be considered practice.

Today is my housemates birthday. We kicked off the day with brunch… the biggest brunch I have ever seen. I joined in, I had what I wanted. Hey, I even ate cake for breakfast. It was great! I needed to get one up on my Ed this weekend and I feel like today has been a victory.

This week I have also learn’t an important lesson: I need to give myself time to ‘acclimatise’ to the new me. I feel like I am able to get to a certain point in my recovery and then I panic. I freak out and feel like I can’t do it anymore. I feel like I am getting to big and I start to feel too uncomfortable. As a result, I try and gain back some control with small restrictions or an extra gym session here and there. I think it will make me feel better, but it is only making this road to recovery longer. So I am going to try and stop the panic and give myself time to get used to my ‘new’ body. As my therapist said, I just need to give myself time to ‘acclimatise’ to how I am feeling and what I look like.

So all in all, this week has been full of up’s and down’s. For now, I’m on an ‘up’ phase. Let’s keep climbing!


A Journey Of Recovery Is The Path To Life


Today it was time for another Art Therapy class. Once again, we had to represent how we were feeling on a page and the image above is what I came up with.


I have stopped viewing my journey of recovery as a path to my target weight. Now, I am seeing my journey of recovery as a path to life. I want my life back. 


For me, this picture represents how recovery is a journey. I often represent my ED using the colour red because it symbolises pain, fear and challenges. The beginning of the road to recovery is difficult and things get in your way (represented with trees, bumps, pedestrians and diversion signs trying to tell you to turn around!). The path seems very narrow and there are lots of corners you need to turn which are frightening because you never know what is going to be on the other side. The road is still winding very slowly and it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.


However, recovery gets easier. Sooner or later you get to the ‘orange zone’. Your path begins to widen and you start to get more freedom. Things have become less scary and there are less corners to turn. Things still get in your way but not as many as before. You can get around them. 


The black arrows down the middle of the path symbolise that the only way is forward. If you have made the decision to go into recovery, then I believe you can only move forward. There is no moving back. Some days you may not get very far or you may even have a fall, but that doesn’t mean you move backwards down the path. You may just stay in the same place for a short while. 


As you keep moving forward your path become even wider. You start to experience more freedom and then you can start walking back into life. Here, you are in the light and you finally have clarity. You can experience freedom and opportunity.


Picasso, eat your heart out!