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.