If you go back 4 years to when I was first diagnosed with Anorexia, there’s no way that I thought that I would be in the position that I am now. I didn’t think that it would take me this long to recover – or that I would even still be in recovery at all.
Recovery will provide me with the passion and purpose that I’m so desperately searching for
Recently I opened up on my Instagram post and stories, about the fact that I have suffered from a relapse. I’d already mentioned a couple of times that I’ve been struggling but I was definitely scared to admit how bad things have become. I do feel a pressure to try to stay positive all of the time on both my blog and Instagram as I want them to be a source of positivity and inspiration, but at the same time I want to remain open and honest. And so I have to admit that I have suffered from a small relapse and it’s negatively affected my health – both physically and mentally.
I’ve definitely realised that I can’t recover on my own anymore and desperately need professional help and guidance. So a couple of weeks ago, I had a doctors appointment to discuss the state of my current mental and physical health and I also requested a referral to my local Eating Disorder service.
The negative experience that I had of therapy meant that I haven’t seen anyone professionally for treatment since 2016. Whilst I have made progress and come a long way from the place that I was in at that time, recently things have slipped and it’s affected me in every aspect – my weight included. I’ve realised that for the past few years I’ve been stuck in limbo between full recovery and Anorexia, which has only resulted in my recent relapse.
Whilst I’ve overcome a lot without a therapist and the support of my mum, looking back I have to admit that I probably haven’t challenged or pushed myself as much as I could have. I’ve managed to challenge certain rules and heal my relationship with food in a number of ways, but new disordered behaviours have crept in too.
Now I’m at a point where I feel the lowest that I’ve ever felt; I’m lonely, I have no motivation and I’m suffering from the physical consequences. I haven’t had a period in 4 years, I still have chill blains, chest pains, I’m constantly starving and I feel physically weak. I want to recover and I know what I need to do in order to get there but there’s a small part of my head holding me back. I feel as if I lack purpose – if I’m not anorexic, then what am I?
My life is completely consumed by routines and rituals, I have no friends, I don’t know what I enjoy anymore and all of my time, thoughts and energy are dedicated to food and exercise. I don’t know myself, I feel no emotion and I’m a shell of the person that I used to be. Yet part of me is still scared to recover; Anorexia has completely put my life on hold for past 4 years and become such a huge part of my identity. I’ve missed out on countless opportunities and I’m so sick of living my life like this.
I know that I will feel a million times better and be so much happier when I’m fully recovered, so I don’t know why there’s a niggling part of my brain that’s still holding me back and convincing me that it’s OK to carry on living this way. I definitely need therapy and professional support to help me overcome that barrier. I’m physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted and feel as though I can’t function or concentrate on anything and that’s no way to be living my life. The rational part of my brain knows all of the steps that I need to take, it’s just implementing them and switching my mindset that I need help with.
If I’m not Anorexic, then what am I?
I often get asked why it’s taking me so long to recover or why I’m not weight restored after such a long time. I agree that by now I should be both of those things; 4 years ago I didn’t think that I would still be in this position now and it’s not a place that I want to be in in another 4 years time either. I’m trying to realise that openly admitting that I am struggling doesn’t make me weak. Instead I hope that being open and honest will show other people that they’re not alone. I want to take you on this journey with me, not only to help others but to hold myself accountable too.
Going Back To Therapy
Although the GP initially said that the waiting list for the Eating Disorder service would be months, I received a referral letter the next day and was contacted by one of their team leaders within a week, with my assessment there scheduled for the start of June. I was so shocked and impressed at how quickly they got in contact. Part of me is terrified and I definitely freaked out about the fact that it all happened so quickly, but the rational part of my brain know that it’s only a positive – it’s just frustrating when there’s a niggling part of your head that tries to make you think otherwise.
I’m also exploring the option of private therapy – I’ve experienced the NHS approach before and found that it was very much centered around numbers, routine and a ‘one size fits all approach.’ I don’t want to be assessed, scored or analysed – I just want help. And even the GP commented that my local service isn’t up to the standard that is used to be. I’ve contacted a dietitian who has an individual tailored approach and sounds incredible. I’m meeting with her for a consultation this weekend which I’m so excited about, but if I was to go ahead then that would obviously mean out sourcing a therapist myself to and sadly money is a contending factor.
I also need learn to accept that weight gain is a majorly important aspect of recovery. My head seems to want everything else other than that – but to truly live freely and happily and to break free from all of the rules, routines and rituals, I know that I need to gain weight. Not only for the sake of my mental health but my physical health too. I don’t think that I look nice at the weight I am now; I don’t look healthy and I’m definitely too thin. I know that naturally, I’m supposed to be in a bigger body – this smaller frame is serving me no purpose and it’s holding me back from achieving everything that I am capable of.
I’ve acknowledged that I have let things go downhill but I know the steps that need to be taken in order to pull myself out of this. In between now and meeting with a professional, I’m trying to challenge myself in as many ways as possible. Me and my mum have already started trying to add more variety and increase my intake. I’ve challenged rules which the logical side of my brain knows are completely irrational – opting for Yorkshire Tea over herbal or having a cup of coffee AND tea in the same day (trust me even I have to laugh a little at how ridiculous it sounds). I’ve also managed to decrease my exercise and whilst fighting the voice is hard, I can’t think of anything worse than living the rest of my life like this. Although the changes haven’t been easy and my head tries to tell me that I should wait for ‘permission’ from a professional to make them, I know that it’s the right thing to do and what’s necessary if I really want to recover.
There’s No Right Time To Recover
As hard as it was to admit that I’ve been struggling recently, I’m so glad that I did. Not only was I so overwhelmed by all of your support and advice, but it opened me up to the fact that there’s no right time to recover. I also read a post on the BEAT website, entitled The Danger of Waiting which really resonated with me as it sums up exactly how I feel at the moment. There won’t be the magic moment that I’m waiting for – I’ll never feel ready to recover but I need to do this for myself and I need to do it now.
I know that life will be a million times better than it is now when I’m weight restored and recovered and I’m not ashamed to admit that I need the help of a professional to get me there. Ultimately I know that I’m the only one who can implement the changes and make myself better. No one can wave a magic wand and there’s no one moment where it’s all going to hit me. My life has completely been on hold for the past 4 years and I very much feel as if I’m at the start of recovery all over again.
I’ve come to the conclusion that being 100% ready to recover isn’t a feeling that you ever get. I’m scared because I feel as if without my eating disorder, I’ll have nothing. But in reality, what do I have now? I don’t want my 20s to be filled with the same regret that my teens are. Fully recovering will provide me with the purpose and passion that I’m so badly looking for. If I put this off – if I wait any longer, sit around waiting for ‘permission’, a purpose, or a social life then I will end up dead, because sadly that’s the only stage at which Anorexia will ever be fully satisfied. The only way to live the life that I so badly want, is to recover.
So now is the right time. Enough is enough. I want to be able to live freely, happily and heal my relationship with food. I need to recover for myself; to get my life back on track, to achieve all of the things that I want and that I am capable of – to get Yasmin back.
Have you had a similar experience? Or are there any other particular topics that you want me to talk about in relation to eating disorder recovery? I would love to hear your thoughts so please leave them in the comments below or let me know over on Instagram @nourishingyas x
Other posts in my Anorexia recovery series:
- Introducing Yas: The Story So Far
- Anorexia Recovery: One Year On
- The Next Chapter
- Anorexia Recovery: Two Years On
- My Vegan Journey
- Anorexia Recovery: How To Deal With Bad Body Image
- Anorexia Recovery: 3 Years On
- Anorexia Recovery: Q&A
- Orthorexia: When Being Healthy Becomes Unhealthy
If you are suffering from, in recovery, or think that you have a disordered relationship with food then please visit your GP. You can also find advice and resources on the following websites: Beat, Mind and the NHS.