I don’t often feel like opening up too much online about really private affairs, but I feel like I need to vent and be open so I am going to do just that right now. I found this poem online by a poet called Kelly Zion and I could instantly relate to what it was about. I knew straight away that it was the right time to talk about this.
I’m not talking about this in order to get any sort of sympathy, but instead, simply to share my experiences and thoughts and to let other people in a similar situation for whatever reason, realise that they are not alone.
This isn’t easy to write about.
For me this poem touches me because it is more about a lack of love for myself and the lack of being able to give it out, rather than other relationships. I do believe that loving yourself and having a strong sense of who you are gives you the best chance to becoming really happy.
I haven’t gone into too much unnecessary detail about some of the things mentioned in this post. There is a lot more to these issues and illnesses and I don’t mean to skim over a lot of things, but I feel that otherwise it would be really unreadable, and inappropriate.
Loveless, love your hatefulness
tell me to take a walk, I won’t be missed
Aren’t I God’s prayed for gift,
break my heart, you made me exist
kill me with your bitterness
All the times I almost made it,
I could’ve found something better than this
I could’ve found unconditional
something that made any sense.
Take my heart, I’ll take my knife
cut it loose and give it to my true love
who I love no matter what
cause real is real and this is not
and take me out, my bitter love
my heart my heart has broken enough
last day on my broken earth
last time I’ll be standing stranded here
wanting to tell you why you are wrong
but then I start to cry because it hurts so much
this, this hurts so much
there is no love.
I have been ‘suffering’ from depression for many years now, and this last year I would say that it has really propelled and become a case of massive self hatred. To the point where more recently the simplest of things like getting out of bed is difficult at times, even showering, looking after myself in general, working, walking the dog, exercising, cooking. Even just being kind to myself or my body. Getting out and socializing means putting on a brave face especially as I have always been a very happy and positive social person and I often feel huge pressure to be fun and entertaining. I feel like I can no longer convince every body that I am okay. Because I’m really not. I’m really not okay.
It was triggered when I was about 20 years old whilst living in Barcelona on my own for a months holiday. I had heard a few mean, but lighthearted comments both at home and abroad about my wee belly and I stupidly took them to heart, deciding that I was going to shed a wee bit of weight. I was by no means overweight at all, and until this point I had never really thought about food, I ate whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted it. I had good intentions to improve my body image and feel better about myself.
On that holiday, I stopped eating certain things, I started living mainly on fruit, veg and diet products and I moved out of my mums house when I got home into my own flat, which meant that I had the freedom to control exactly what I ate, or rather more accurately, what I didn’t eat.
I started college and found it really stressful and so I filled my spare time with a grueling timetable filled with trips to the gym every other day, for hours at a time, obsessing about the perfect numbers on the machines, walking everywhere and taking the stairs wherever I went. I packed strict lunches to take to college with me. My energy was totally sapped, I would cry and get so worked up about college work, I was falling behind on everything and I just couldn’t see a way out. I could barely pull heavy doors in the building open as I was so weak. When I did end up giving in and eating foods I had banned or too much, I would beat myself up so much about it. I would instantly ‘see’ the weight pile onto me. Constantly body checking and feeling for the fat to arrive. I barely went out anymore. I would get massive anxiety about even just going out for dinner to a restaurant, or to a friends house, or ordering a takeaway with friends. I couldn’t enjoy it, because I would be plotting how to burn it as soon as possible. i would cry at the gym, I would lie in bed whilst my friends were out and make up excuses not to go so that i didn’t take in excess calories and could be up early to work out the next day.
Eventually my weight dropped really low and I began to have panic attacks. Somehow, I managed to hold a long term relationship together in the meantime, and to be honest if it had not been for him and one of my closest college friends, I would not have been able to see a way out of it. I was diagnosed with Anorexia and put on a waiting list to be given therapy and a dietician. I kicked and screamed and hated the thought of having to give up all of these mad behaviours and anxieties, with this total feeling of stress, anxiety and horror at being pressured to eat certain things or quantities. It was my coping mechanism, my focus and a way to deal with stress. I look back at photos now and I remember how much I hated myself and how disgusting and massive I felt at the time, whereas now I think ‘God, you looked great! What a waste!’ The other thing is that because I barely went out and it caused me so much anxiety I barely even have many photos from back then. I would just torture myself over them, seeing a totally morphed image of myself, picking out flaws and thinking of things I could do to lose a bit more weight, even though my clothes hung off me.
Now, you might look at these photos and be thinking,
‘Mate, you were not even that skinny! Shut up!’
And that’s fine, but the real long lasting damage that anorexia causes aside from physically, is, in my case, mentally. I feel like some of the thoughts & behaviours I created will never be fully gone. It was all about having total obsessive control of my life which felt so crazy. I am genuinely sad that I wasted so many years of my life on this.
And so this leads me to the next issue. Whilst in therapy you are convinced about how you’re thought process is inaccurate and the aim of the game is to put weight on and eat ‘normally’ again. Which is really bloody hard to try comprehend, when your whole life has become an obsession with food and weight, based upon a totally morphed self image.
So the inevitable happened, I began to put on weight and I managed to begin to let go of my obsessive behaviours, after a lot of determination and tears. But what they don’t tell you is that you can learn to deal with the eating of the food, but not the weight gain. So what happens? You eat and begin to think, ‘well I don’t wanna get fat again’ so you throw it up. Then you maybe realise that you are really, really great at this game and it means you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight. It’s not as simple as that though because then the madness in your mind comes back and soon you’re in a total messed up cycle of ‘eat, throw up, eat , throw up, eat, guilt, low self worth, hunger, eat, throw up’. You mess up your teeth, your face and belly get swollen, you’re moody, exhausted and nervous. You have an even more messed up view of yourself and with food. You feel absolutely out of control. Again.
So once again, I was sent back to therapy and we worked on these issues. I actually ended up getting kicked out of my most recent programme this year for not showing up, because I felt so depressed and tired of talking about eating disorders and trying to work out why I did it, that I couldn’t face getting up to go talk about myself in a room again with someone taking notes and analyzing me. I was really hurt that I was just left to get on with it myself once they removed me from therapy (instead of calling me to see why i wasn’t making it along), but to be honest, it was the best thing that could have happened. I finally took responsibility for myself and my actions and I realised that I could decide to change my behaviours by myself. It took a lot of work and maybe therapy really did help me because I was so sick and tired of trying to explain to someone else why I was doing this to myself that i couldn’t wait to get better, it was like Groundhog day, and near the end I would just completely avoid the subject during sessions. I became sick of it defining me.
Finally, I have come out the other side of these eating disorders. There will always be some need for control with me, and I do still get anxious around food sometimes, it never fully goes, but I’m not starving myself anymore and I’m not binging or purging. I’m no longer either anorexic or bulimic.
Thank god for that.
Thank me for that.
Thank my family and my friends for that.
Thank the doctors and the healthcare and everyone who was concerned and helped me to get the right support, for that.
So you may ask, ‘Well why the hell are you feeling depressed if you don’t have an eating disorder anymore? You should be ecstatic!’
Great question, really great question.
I have no right answer.
I suppose I’m not fully over it all. It’s not so simple. I think years of self abuse has caught up with me. I still feel helpless a lot of the time in life. I have panic attacks and anxiety still sometimes. I panic at forms that need filled out, I panic with bills and money and commitments. I panic about exercising too much or too little, even though I try not to get stressed about it all and I try to just be humble and kind. Sometimes I feel useless, I feel like giving up because sometimes it feels like I have failed, that my life is a massive mess and there is no point anymore. This is not true. There is meaning and a point to these hardships. I panic that people won’t like me, that they’re are judging me. That they can see all of my insecurities. That they think I look stupid or say stupid things or that I’m full of myself or not cool enough, too fat, too thin, boring, ugly. That no-one will love me, hug me, kiss me, accept me or laugh at my truly shit banter. There’s definitely a trail of destruction left behind in my life by it all.
The thing is everyone feels like this at some point in their life. No doubt sometimes you panic too and think ‘What the bloody hell am I doing here? I’m awful! I’m failing, I’m rubbish.’
I can’t fix it straight away, but the way I’m trying to look at it is that I might look a bit rougher round the edges than when I was 7 stone and running everyday, but I’m way closer to fulfilling the life I want to lead. With the right kind of help, a great attitude, a life balance and the knowledge that whatever I end up doing in a year will be freaking fantastic, I have total faith in myself. It’s been 8 long years of battling with this disease. I am definitely older and wiser and have learnt to cope with it at last.
I have faith in you too, no matter what your battle may be. You may even be affected by similar issues.
It can be really hard to talk about these things, especially because you don’t want people to make fun of you or disown you or talk about it behind your back. I really don’t care anymore. It’s time to talk about it, so I can really move on. Judge away. If I help one other person see that they’re not alone in this then it is totally worth it.
The best advice I could give you is to open up to people around you.
Share your fears and struggles with someone you trust.
I wish I could have chatted t o someone who understood what I was going through at the time.
If you’re having any issues, and you would like to talk to someone who understands, then feel free to contact me. I promise I will respond.
You’ll get through this. It doesn’t always feel like it but there is always a way.
I think the key is to learn how to cope with who you are and accept yourself rather than trying to change or fight who you have become.
We need to accept our pasts and our presents and not concern ourselves with worries of the future too much. What we should have or could have done is irrelevant. Learn from these mistakes and situations. They make us and shape us and we come out stronger. You are not alone. You are not the first, and you certainly wont be the last.
Just don’t give up.
Greater in battle
than the man who would conquer
a thousand-thousand men,
is he who would conquer
just one —