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“You look so well”

on April 30, 2013
If one more person says to me “You look so well” I might just scream at them! The simple fact is I feel pretty rubbish at the moment. I have thought long and hard about writing this and being honest, but I have always been authentic in my blog and in what I write, so I do not want to pretend or be a fraud.
I have been home for almost 3 months and I can honestly say I have not felt this low in a long time. I don’t know what is wrong with me and that in itself is getting me down. I feel physically weak and mentally low. I have been to the doctors twice now to test my bloods and all is fine so I am left without an explanation as to why it is a mission at times to put one foot in front of the other. I had more energy when I was underweight! My nutritionist came up with a plausible explanation. For the 12 years in which I had my eating disorder my body was in fight or flight mode. I kept it running on adrenalin. I used to push it hard; swimming, walking, yoga, horses, work – now I am positively lazy in comparison. I never gave my body time to come down and so now I have stopped, it’s in ‘crash mode’. I have quit the punishing regime and finally my body is repairing and recovering from all the years of abuse I put it through. The hormones that I had numbed for so many years are going nine to the dozen. They have to be, for that is my only explanation for feeling so utterly lost and hopeless. With my anorexia, I shut down everything – not just the physical, but also the mental and spiritual. In some respects I feel as though I went away to America and returned in a body that I am none to happy with and a mind that has not caught up with the physical changes.Part of me feels totally selfish and self-centred for feeling this way considering the huge sacrifices that were made for my treatment, but I really feel as though my spirit is being suffocated at the moment. I have lost my zest for life and am frustrated to be feeling like this. When I was underweight, I felt lost and alone and thought all my problems would go away if I could just gain the weight and loose the rigidity. I was, as I have written about before in a prison. I guess I and everyone else had high expectations upon my return. I thought I would come back from America with all the answers, but I am really struggling to find the door, let alone the key.
Whilst this may be one of my more negative posts, I believe it to be an important one. This is the reality of an eating disorder and the reality of recovery. I am hopeful that this low, is a blip in what will be a much brighter outlook for me. I am praying that this is all down to hormones and that my body is repairing and adjusting to being at a healthy weight. I am holding onto this thought and am doing my best to keep in recovery and not slip back into the dark, as my eating disorder so desperately wants. Yesterday I went through my wardrobe and the reality of my new shape cut me like a knife. I tried on dresses and trousers and the majority of them did not fit me. I have gone up two bra sizes and two dress sizes. It was hard, but I guess I am not meant to be a size 6 or an ‘extra small’ at my height. Some of the clothes I had never even worn – but as tempting as it was to hold onto them, thinking that one day I might fit into them again, I bagged them up and put them out of my sight. The day I can fit into them again is the day I have let the terrorist back in. It is shouting at me now – trying to convince me that life was better when it was my friend. I am doing my best to remember how hideous it was to be in it’s grip – how deadly and deceiving it was.
One of the things I am finding most difficult is people’s reaction to me. The hidden truth behind an eating disorder is that it takes more than just weight restoration to proclaim recovery. I may now not be at a dangerously low weight but have my behaviours and attitudes towards food changed? This is something that I have been pondering on myself the last few days. Am I actually much better? Well I must be to some extent as I have managed to maintain my weight since coming home. I am eating and allowing myself to enjoy food, but am I still controlling around it – yes. Do I still have thoughts about what I am eating and where I am eating – yes. Do I act on them or allow them to dictate my life – NO. I can now go out for dinner and not stress about it days – even weeks in advance. I can allow myself to enjoy culinary delights and that is a huge improvement so all is not lost!
Amongst all the dark there is some light and that comes in the name of some lovely friends and my wonderful mum who is always there to listen and to support me unconditionally. So for that reason I will keep on the big fight.
“A difficult journey is often a worth while one – and, especially it is often darkest before dawn”.

4 responses to ““You look so well”

  1. Muriel says:

    Hi Laura. I have read this with great interest and can understand your frustrations. Family and friends so want you to be well that they mean well by saying that outwardly your look much better. This is an enormous hurdle you have had to face and only you can do it. I only wish we could have more understanding how life is for you. All we can do is support and love you, and I know you have a lot of this around you. None of us know what it is like to have your illness, all we know is that we want you better for your sake. The fight will be worth it Laura. My love and prayers are with you. Muriel x

  2. Andrea says:

    I think you know that deep in there, somewhere, is happiness waiting to escape. I have read all of your posts after listening to you on Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 (I hope he has you on again for a follow up!) and I think you have done amazingly well and I think your hormones probably have to take the blame! I remember when I was a teenager and the lows, highs, inbetweens, the happy, the sad and the indifferent. And I never really understood it and got through it. However, as an adult it would have totally freaked me out 🙂
    Wishing you all the love in the world and a big hug x

  3. natnat says:

    Your honesty is amazing and so brave sweetie. Keep fighting… and focusing on all the positive changes- as it sounds like there are so many to celebrate. Sending you all the love in the world xxx

  4. Me, myself and I says:

    My daughter is in a similar position, week 30 as an inpatient, “release” imminent, her head is still out of kilter from her physical appearance and she feels lost as she’s still anorexic in her head but doesn’t look it, a real no man’s land. I wish you all the very best for the future and I truly hope you get rid of this terrible illness for ever, I know it used to be your friend and ally but it’s the most destructive friend you will ever have. Stay strong, fight it, I know how hard it is, not from living it myself but watching my beautiful daughter distraught, tormented & tortured by it. You’re better than your illness, you know that, keep slogging on. It will be worth it in the end and you will be able to grab your life back and do whatever you want to do, you beat this, you then know you can do absolutely anything that’s humanly possible. Go for it. You’re worth it. Believe.

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