Hope’s Story – Author of Stand Tall Little Girl
Recovery from an eating disorder isn’t just about weight gain, and it isn’t just about being able to go out for dinner and eat anything off a menu or eat ice cream without panic. No, there is so much more to recovery than that. For so many people with anorexia the weight seems to go on and the mind takes a while to catch up. And one of the most frustrating things is people assume because you are eating, everything is okay.
The work that Head Talks is doing to challenge the misconceptions that so often come with eating disorders and other mental health problems is essential. If we don’t talk about mental health things will not get any better or any easier for people to cope with it. Throughout my recovery it was the misconceptions of anorexia being about weight and people having to be “really underweight” to have it that really frustrated me. Anorexia is so much more than about weight and there is so much more to recovery than just putting on weight.
This is why I wanted to share how my mind has changed over the years in the hope that others out there who may be struggling will know that they are not alone.
Each year, year on year, there are new things we learn to deal with.
Year 1 – I count all my calories and have to eat my mealtimes at set times. I know I get agitated when they are late but for the sake of my recovery please let me have this one. I eat my bran flakes out of the same bowl every day
Year 3 – I may pull out of meal plans if I am worried about the food so please do consider going to a restaurant that’s easier for me. Sometimes I stare at my plate and start adding up the calories – please tell me it will be okay when I do this. I struggle to not exercise too much and my body is always tired
Year 4 – Life is good and I am letting go more and more of my anorexia
– I still hate being on the beach and in a bikini and I need your help to give me confidence to keep going
– Eating new foods when travelling is scary so I might need some guidance but I am learning to love food again and I love life! Texting you to tell you I am not okay (even if you don’t have the answers) always helps
– The reason I always go out for brunch is because it is a meal that I can do with my eyes shut. It means I can fully relax in to the meal and enjoy your company – My relapse was my way of coping with my death of my amazing grandma and wasn’t anything to do with you. I don’t want to get sick again but can’t seem to stop it
– Portion size can be a minefield at times so if I am struggling please help
– I do still have fat days but I can manage them. I want to start trying new foods but need your help and patience. know anorexia is not my friend but a manipulative bitch. I know that fighting anorexia and winning is the way I want to live my life
– I want to keep sharing my story to help others but might at times need some support and self care ideas so I don’t burn out
Recovery from anorexia isn’t always plain sailing. It isn’t always easy especially when that voice in my head shouts at me. Those inescapable torments. But as I sit here with a coffee and a cookie life is good. I can live again and enjoy myself. That value that anorexia used to give me no longer works for me. And I have learnt that I can eat, and now talk about how I feel and that is so much better.