Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Don't be alone

The wonderful Big Fashionista has again collected a list of numbers and websites that may be of use over the festive period. It is because of this list that 2 years ago I was able to reach out and find the advice I so desperately needed, I am indebted to Kellie and will be forever grateful for her support. If you need an ear this Christmas then please pick up the phone and speak to someone.

The words below are all Kellies and she says it much better then me.

If you feel that you have hit rock bottom and you feel empty inside, If you can see the lights twinkling in other peoples windows, hear the laughter of your neighbours and yet you experience no joy, as if the world is a dark place in which you see no place for yourself any more. 

Or if you feel that you are ready to make a change.

I want you to pick up the phone.....

 MIND
www.mind.org.uk

0300 123 3393

Samaritans
www.samaritans.org


Alcoholics Anonymous
www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/newcomers

0845 769 7555

Stonewall
www.stonewall.org.uk

Info line 08000 50 20 20 


London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard

0207 837 7324

SANELine

0845 767 8000

Preventing young suicide
www.papyrus-uk.org 

National self-help body for the Transgender community

BEAUMONT SOCIETY

http://www.beaumontsociety.org.uk


For people in Northern Ireland
www.lifeline.info

0808 808 8000


Childline
www.childline.org.uk 

0800 1111

Depressionalliance
www.depressionalliance.org

Refuge
www.refuge.org.uk

0808 2000 247

Eating Disorders Association
www.edauk.com 

0845 634 1414

Shelter

NHS Direct
www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk 

0845 4647

No Panic
www.no-panic.co.uk

0808 808 0545



If you need someone, please call one of these numbers. You are NOT alone over Christmas, there are people out there that care, I care. 


I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Love Always

Kellie (Big Fashionista).................

www.bigfashionista.co.uk

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Dying to live

Before I continue with this blog post I want you to be well aware that it may be triggering. If you are feeling vulnerable then I urge you to not carry on reading.

The past few weeks have been really hard on me and as a result I've found myself relapsing quite badly. Whilst I don't currently want to share the circumstances that have led to my current state I know that my mental well being has deteriorated because of the situation I found myself in. For me when things start spiralling out of control i find myself restricting in order to feel on top of one area of my life.

I am aware that relapsing is unfortunately part of the recovery process, that sometimes we need to go backwards in order to see the progress we have made. This time it feels different though, there was no gradual descent, instead I fell straight back into Ana's trap. Rather than taking a few steps backwards I feel like I am right back at the start again. Once again I am surviving on next to nothing, existing on coffee and diet coke, relying on an adrenaline kick to get me through hours of dancing. I am constantly exhausted, my body is craving sleep, my skin bruising at the slightest knock. I am always cold.

My therapist has been incredible, she provides a safe haven, a place where I can cry, a sanctuary to talk through my deepest darkest demons without fear of repercussions. None of this helps, I am constantly aware of the amount of people I have let down by relapsing, talking openly about my struggles doesn't make me brave it merely proves that I am human. 

Today's therapy session ended with me being told that I either fight harder than ever or I slowly kill myself. They are tough words for anyone to hear, ultimately my future will be decided by what path I decide to take now. I will fight harder than I've ever fought for anything in my life. I want a future, I want to live.



To all those people who have contacted me thanking me for helping them, I will fight this for you.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Oxford Half Marathon

Finally getting round to writing about my half marathon experience and what an experience it was!

My training in the lead up to the half was shoddy to say the least, I managed just ONE 12 mile run before hand and that was through the beautiful Blean Woods - not road as I should have been training on. I'm not entirely sure why I was so lax with the training, I always knew I could finish the half and maybe that over confidence got to me a little bit.



So race day came around, I was a bag of nerves, what the hell was I doing? The reason why I was able to complete the 10km was because I had committed to raising the money for charity, the half was a personal challenge, no sponsorship money just my own sheer determination. As I made my way to the starting line my legs were shaking and all sorts of things were going through my head, namely was I really going to be able to keep going for 13.1 miles without giving up.



The race was officially started by Sir Rodger Bannister, what an inspiration man - the race also included a lap of the track where he completed the first sub 4 minute mile. I was so far back that I couldn't hear all of what he was saying but I definitely got caught up in the occasion. The more serious runners stressed me out - they seemed so much more prepared for me, but I also knew that I wouldn't come in last (something that for some reason is very important to me). The race started and as usual I went off too quickly, 2 miles in and I was wondering what the hell I was doing, I slowed down and found my own pace that I was comfortable with.

I was lucky that I had my family spread out around the route ready to cheer me on, I will never underestimate the boost that seeing someone you know can give you.

10km came and went and I was feeling strong, I had got myself into a rhythm and I felt good, my legs were carrying me closer to the finish line, my brain was clear of everything. Then I hit 8 miles. 8 miles in and I hit the proverbial wall. Doubts came into my head, my legs were heavy, my arms could no pump me forward. I slowed down, I stopped running and walked, berating myself for giving in. There was no way I was not going to finish the race but I doubted I could carry on running. Then, like a gift from above, someone ran alongside me and encouraged me to keep going, he slowed down and set me a new pace, he told me to keep going and that I could do it.

Guess who spotted the family!!

9 miles arrived, I was back, I was running. Yes it hurt like hell, the hills were completely unexpected but I conquered them, each time feeling better than the last time. I knew the finish line was fast approaching, thanks to my trusted TomTom watch I knew I was close to completing the race in my desired time. My body took over, it knew it had to keep going. My brain started imagining what it would be like to cross the finish line.

10 miles in and I was crying, tears running down my face. The emotion came from nowhere, the niggling voice that told me I couldn't do it disappeared. I knew I could do it I knew that I was going to cross the finish line, I also knew that I had enough left in the bank to speed up.

13 miles - the end was insight, my legs kept going, a quick glance at my watch and BAM I was on for a sub 2.30 (my aim all along) I crossed the finish line in a time of 2 hours 25 minutes. I was absolutely thrilled, I knew I could have gone quicker but who cares I had completed my first half!!


Thanks have to go to the people who cheered me on and my fellow runners who kept me going, special thanks also have to go to the man at 8 miles who helped me dig deeper to find strength I didn't know existed inside me.


Since completing the half I have since agreed to run the Brighton Marathon in April for Breast Cancer Care - stay tuned for my marathon journey!!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Life

When did life get so difficult? When did it all start going wrong? These questions and many, many more have been racing round my head the past few days. At what point do you give in and admit defeat? Should you ever give in?

I am, at heart an optimist. Growing up I gave into the Disney dream - the prince, the castle, the happily ever after, what I didn't expect was that it would be so frigging hard! What is the reward for constantly battling? What was the biggest challenge a disney princess ever had to face? When did they deal with an argument, or an eating disorder or possible infertility. When life gets tough who do you look too? Where are the role models for us girls who are struggling?!

I don't want to give up on my dream of a happy ending, I maybe just have to admit that life isn't as straight forward as I was hoping it would be when I was younger. I have so much in my life to be grateful for, is in ungrateful to wish for more?


I don't have a plan, I have an idea of what I want my life to be, an inkling of the direction I want it to be going in. I guess now is the time to start moving forwards, whether that may be.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Loulou Jane

People of Lingfield rejoice! If you follow me on Twitter then you will already know how much I love a good cup of tea and coffee. After 'The Place To Meet' shut its doors I wondered if I would ever get to enjoy tea and cake on a Friday before work, now I know I can. A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across the amazing 'Loulou Jane', almost instantly I was hooked this place is just so me. 

As a nut allergy sufferer I was especially impressed at the lengths the staff went to to make sure I could enjoy a safe slice of cake - picking just one was difficult! All of the goodies on offer at Loulou Jane are homemade using locally sourced ingredients.

From the interesting decor to the scrummy looking cakes Loulou Jane has it all and then some, even down to a children's room which I am yet to experience (although I've had a couple of peeps into it)!

Having already visited twice I have to be honest and admit that I cannot wait for Friday to roll around so I can visit again.














Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Why?

Sometimes I wonder what I ever did to be dealt such a tough hand. Lots of people think I'm strong, that the smile on my face means I am somehow keeping myself going. That smile is my mask, my protection from the world. Then days like today happen and I crumble. The smile doesn't appear, my masks slips and my vulnerabilities come pouring out.

I wonder if it's my fault, if I'm somehow being punished. I look in the mirror and I hate what I see, I hate what I am putting my body through, I hate myself for not being stronger.

Why me? Why at this point in my life? I don't know where I'm going to end up, or even how far along I am on this journey.

The unknown terrifies me. Between the endometriosis and the polycystic ovaries I know that my body isn't in perfect working order. Add the eating disorder into the mix and I just don't know what the ultimate outcome is going to be.

This overwhelming feeling of sadness will pass I know that. Tomorrow I'll wake up, put my mask on and be ready to face the world. Tomorrow I'll be able to pretend that everything is fine, today though I feel like I'm mourning for the life I'll never know.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A final goodbye

I am completely hopeless at saying a final goodbye there will be tears - lots of them, but ultimately it is time for me to say goodbye to ana.

I know many of you will be wondering why it's taken me so long to come to this realisation, but leaving a piece of you behind is hard. Ana has been there for the incredible highs and lows that has been my life over the last 2 years. Whilst she has been the worst part of my life, in some says she has also been the best. There is no doubt in my mind that I would be a completely different person today had ana not decided to attach herself to me again.

Don't get me wrong I have not, nor will I ever, consider ana to be a friend. Friends don't destroy each other, they don't whisper negative thoughts, they don't sit by and celebrate as your life slowly disintegrates around you. It may be hard for others to understand, but ana has been a part of my identity for such a long time that closing this chapter is hard. 

I don't want to spend the rest of my life with ana, I am aware she may well show herself every now and again but I don't want her to define me anymore.

Is closing the book going to be hard? You bet your life it is. Even writing this I can feel her clutching at me, desperately trying to claim what she believes is rightly hers. I don't want my life to be dictated by calories and safe food. I want to explore the world I live in without restrictions. 

With a clear head and a happy heart I bid farewell to ana, I am ready to move forwards, to embrace life.


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Tom Tom


Those of you that follow me on twitter know that I have well and truly caught the running bug just recently. I'm well on target for my first big run - the Oxford half in October. I had been relying on a basic running app on my phone although recently I have been using the new Tom Tom runner cardio watch and I am in love!!

I honestly couldn't wait to get started once the watch had been delivered. It was really easy to set up and it syncs well with the tomtom app on my phone. I really like this feature as it gives more information about the runs I have completed in one easily accessible place. 

I'm always a bit dubious when purchasing a watch, I have ridiculously small wrists and always struggle to find something to fit. I didn't have to worry with the tomtom though - the strap means it fits me comfortably without the watch sliding up and down my arm. 

There are lots of features on this watch that I love - the built in heart rate monitor being one such feature. It took me a while to understand the different zones but that's more from my own lack of understanding.

I will be doing a more comprehensive round up of the watch at the end of the month but so far I am well and truly loving it!


this watch was gifted to me for review purposes, but all options are my own.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Struggling

I'm not doing so well anymore. On the surface all looks well, there is a smile on my face and I am functioning in public behind the scenes though is a completely different story. I am drowning, I feel helpless to stop what is happening to me and I have no therapy sessions until September.

I am numb, the days pass by frustratingly slowly and I complete nothing except a carefully scheduled run. My brain is running on overdrive, the thinking doesn't stop. I am overwhelmed by all the thoughts that pass through my head on a daily basis none of them providing answers just more questions. 

Food is tough, my 'safe' list is back in practice however it is more restrictive than ever before. I snack on fruit believing it to be the best thing for me, yet my constant tiredness shows me I need more nourishment. 

I am tired, tired of fighting, tired of making progress and then falling back into bad habits. I am tired of seeing the look in people's eyes when they realise I am not doing so week, tired of being weak, tired of failing, tired of letting myself down, tired of letting others down but most of all I am tired of letting her win.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

British London 10km

I DID IT! On July 13th I took part in the British London 10km, raising money for the Matt Hampson Foundation. I'm not going to lie I was a bag of nerves in the run up to the day - I was full of cold which had gotten onto my chest, I was 2 weeks out of hospital after suffering an anaphylaxis reaction and I woke up with a terrible headache - not the perfect mix for a run!

As I walked with the many other runners to the start line my anxiety was at an all time high, I was convinced I would finish last!
Luckily the people around me were lovely and hugely encouraging, even a short downpour didn't dampen the spirits. I was in the 3rd group to start, so I knew I wouldn't be last back! I don't remember much of the run, I missed the majority of the landmarks so engrossed was I in putting one foot in front of the other. 

The thing that hit me the most was how happy I was, surrounded by runners all supporting and encouraging each other to keep going, the crowds of strangers that cheered us on offering words of advice, high fives and jelly babies! 

I passed the 5km mark comfortably but by 7km I was struggling - I desperately wanted to see the finish line, for 5 minutes every step was torture I didn't seem to be getting anywhere very quickly. Luckily at that point 'batman' ran past me and told me to keep digging, well what he actually said was 'keep going Matt Hampson girl' but it was enough. With a grit I never knew I possessed I carried on going, my brain blocked out everything, my legs seemed to be moving on autopilot, they knew we had nearly completed, knew giving up was not option. 9km came and went in the blink of an eye, until finally I was on the home stretch. My legs then decided that it was time for a sprint finish - there was no thinking involved, one minute I was jogging the next I was thinking 'holy shit I'm getting a sprint finish!'

Crossing the finish line was incredible, I was (and still am) unbelievably proud of myself. I couldn't quite believe I had managed it, there were tears, laughter and lots of hugs. I have since signed up to run a half marathon in October - let's see where this journey takes me! 





Monday, 23 June 2014

Brain Splurge

Apologies for the random nature of this blog post my brain is currently working in overdrive so expect nothing to make sense!

I am tired, tired of people asking me why I want to recover, tired of explaining the nature of my eating disorder, tired of people, tired of fighting, tired of acting as though everything is ok, tired of life. On the outside I appear to be doing well, I have become so adept at putting on my mask that I have forgotten how to take it off. I have convinced myself that I am ok, that I no longer need to rely on daily tablets and fortnightly therapy sessions to keep me going (FYI I am still taking the tablets and attending therapy). That the way I live my life is ok, sure it's not great but who's life really is? But my life is not ok, I'm not even sure if it can be classified as a life.

I am 27 years old, I should be out chasing adventure, making memories, following my dreams and exploring where life is going to take me. Instead I live in books, day dreams, a life ruled by rules and regulations that I don't understand. I am overwhelmingly sad, I feel I could burst into uncontrollable tears at any time for no reason at all. From the second I lock my front door I run purely on adrenaline, rushing from one place to another, teaching classes with a smile on my face, offering advice, giggling, surviving on coffee, but adrenaline cannot last forever.

I miss me - the girl who was always up for an adventure, who could spend hours wandering around cities getting happily lost, who could sit on a beach day dreaming as the sea licked at my feet. I think she is still there, but she is buried beneath the rocks of self doubt and self loathing. I am finding it all too easy to fall into the negative trap that ED loves so much.

I hate that so much of my being has been taken over by ED, I wish that I had ignored her casual knocking on the door, the soft voice that told me losing a few pounds would make me feel better. I wish I had never invited her into my life. I thought she was going to be a friend, but she is slowly destroying me from the outside in. I am being urged to discover what I have done to my body but I am not yet in place to find out what damage I have done, however I feel her effects almost every day.

I don't know where to go anymore, I am craving solitude - away from my battles - where I can just be me. I don't want ED and the negativity that surrounds here to be holding me down any more. I want to follow the path through the trees and embrace the sunlight at the end.


May

Oops this post is a little bit late, but better late than never I guess!



In May I:
Watched the children I teach perform and was ridiculously proud of them.
Ate a magnum - my first ice cream in 2 years!
Was treated to flowers and candles by the girls I teach.
Drank way too much costa coffee.

In June I:
Start my new job as an examiner.
Have the hen party of my best friend to celebrate.
Will be embracing Wimbledon.
Hope to have time to sit in the sunshine listening to TED talks.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A realisation

For those of you who don't know I have recently started running again. I'm not sure what prompted me to start but i've been enjoying getting out of the house and out my head for a short period of time and having space to just be me. On the past few runs though I have noticed a disturbing trend appearing - I would run for as long as I could, and then run some more. The times and distance covered became more and more important to me and although I wasn't tracking calories I was always aware of approximately how much I was burning off.

Today something changed.

After celebrating the success of eating an ice cream last night (the first in 2 years) I am determined to keep fighting and I am absolutely not going to give up. For starters I have a gorgeous nephew and niece who are relying on me to take them to the beach, teach them tricks and enjoy copious amount of treats with. It's not just me who this illness is stifling but those around me too.

So what changed?

This morning I set off for a run as usual, I was about 6 minutes in and on track to hit my targets when I decided to just have fun. Why run for times when I could have fun? I ran with sheep, walked with ducks and skipped through puddles and I LOVED every minute of it. Yes my times were slow, but I finished with a smile on my face. I didn't care how much distance I had covered or how long it had taken me. I had enjoyed being outdoors. Sure my eating disorder was screaming at me the whole time but I zoned her out - thanks to a banging playlist!

Who honestly cares if it takes me 7 minutes or 12 minutes to run a mile, a mile is still a mile right?

I am still going to keep running, I enjoy it and I enjoy the freedom I get from myself. From now on though I will not be sharing times and distances (my app will continue to record everything but I am not going to publish them anywhere else). I am going to stop competing with myself and others to get the fastest times and I am not going to be concerned with anyone else's times or distance covered.

I am not going to let this eating disorder destroy any more of my life. It is time to fight back and fight back hard.

Pictures of some of my recent runs:



 

 

I really am lucky to have some beautiful countryside on the doorstep.


FYI - I am currently raising money for the Matt Hampson Foundation. I will be running a 10k in London on July 13th and I would really appreciate it if you could sponsor me - text GEMP78 £5 to 70070 or donate here.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Dear grandad

Dear grandad,

I cannot believe it's been 7 years since you left us all behind. I remember vividly where I was when I found out, stood outside southgate tube station with my heart breaking into a million little pieces. I cried the whole way home and sat in my room and sobbed until I didn't think I could cry anymore. Even though I knew the day was coming it was still a massive shock, I don't think anything ever prepares you for grief. I wanted to give up, come home and grieve with my family, to be at the farm, to feel near to you, yet I knew I couldn't. I had to perform that evening, I had to complete my degree and make you proud. I swallowed my grief and somehow managed to hold it together long enough to get through the evening.

As is inevitable life has carried on, I've grown up, got married and carved out a career for myself. I thought I would think about you every day, yet I don't, I was heartbroken to realise that I can't recall what you look like from memory. Yet you are always there, in fleeting moments when I think about you and smile, I could be gardening, or eating raspberries when an unexpected memory pops into my head. Your cap comes to the most important places with me, you were there when I graduated, when I got married and most importantly you were there when mom graduated.

Anniversaries are always going to be difficult but I take comfort in knowing  that you didn't suffer. Life will always keep moving forward, but I always carry you with me in my heart.

Love you
xxxx

I deserve

I deserve breakfast. I deserve to enjoy food. I deserve to be able to look in the mirror and like what I see. I deserve ice cream and fudge and the other goodies I have so ruthlessly cut out. I deserve to be happy. I deserve a future. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

April

Wow, this year is flying by. I am currently very much looking forward to life slowing down a little bit!


In April I:
Was thrilled with the results of my teaching exam.
Was described as an inspiration to my students by a top IDTA examiner - walking on air moment!
Discovered that running is a great release for me.
Enjoyed a week off work, although I did spend it working from home.
Reintroduced nuts into my diet.

In May I: 
Will be researching art therapy as part of my recovery.
Want to move forward with my recovery and try and get out of the rut I am in.
Spend some time reading the stack of books I brought recently.
Spend some time alone by the seaside, with just me and my thoughts!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Realisation

It's only 11am and already today is going badly. For those who don't follow me on twitter I am currently training for a 10k run in order to raise money for charity. Running has very quickly become a release for me, a way to stop thinking and just concentrate on my body. This morning I woke up after a weekend of no exercise desperate to get out and run. It started well, I was comfortable and enjoying the endorphin release I so desperately needed. When without warning my body gave up, my chest was tight, I struggled to catch my breath, I was light headed and literally unable to put one foot in front of the other. 

My body has failed me, it's finally had enough of the constant stress I am putting it under. I am desperately sad, how have I let this happen to myself. How have I ignored the signs, ignored how loudly her voice was getting. How do I stop? How do I move forward? For some it's as simple as eating more food, that thought fills me with terror. I want to get better, believe me I do, but it's so difficult. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Underneath

I live a lie. If you met me you'd never guess the battles I fight with anxiety and an eating disorder. I would sit opposite you with a coffee having 'eaten earlier' or feigning no appetite. I would hold a conversation, laugh and appear to have it all. You wouldn't see how much preparation had gone into meeting - the outfit changes, the pep talks, checking menus online should I absolutely have to eat with you. I have mastered the ability to just blend in, I don't stand out, I don't demand attention. You probably walk past many people like me every day, individuals desperately trying to look like they have everything under control as they slowly crumble away. 

I don't know which me is 'me' anymore. I have spent so long projecting the 'everything's fine' lie that I actually really do find myself believing that's the truth. In my messed up mind not eating has become the norm, pushing my body to breaking point is just what people do, denying myself treats just demonstrates will power. In the most underhand way possible my eating disorder has penetrated my soul and started to make me believe that she is correct. On the outside I have my shit together - I talk about needing to book a doctors appointment because I am spiralling downwards yet I haven't picked up the phone. I can tell people what they want to hear, to keep them from knocking on my door, yet I appear to be incapable of helping myself.

Don't be fooled by my appearance, I may be smiling but scratch the surface and I am falling apart. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Emotions

I have been riding a tidal wave of emotions just recently, the last few months have been hard - really hard. My body has reacted violently and my brain has no idea what is going on. One minute I am happy go lucky and the next a text message has me bursting into tears. Overwhelming tiredness doesn't help, I am caught in a never ending circle of napping in the afternoon and then being unable to sleep at night. I have a constant feeling that I have failed, this relapse has hit me hard, probably because I honestly didn't see it coming. Yes I only had perhaps three weeks of eating 'normally' but since then I have restricted like crazy, my list of safe foods has got shorter and although I am fighting that disgusting voice that tells me I'm not good enough she has been getting louder just recently. Running is the only time that I feel completely free - immersed in working my body and taking great satisfaction in feeling tired and sweaty when I have finished, the only problem is I can't differentiate between what I am feeling and what 'She' is feeling.



I will not give up though. I will ride this emotional wave and I will come out stronger than ever before. I am not prepared to roll over and let 'her' storm though my life. Whilst I have breath in my body I will fight as hard as I can.



Monday, 7 April 2014

March

March was a wonderful month overall, the sun shined for a brief period and I feel like I began really fighting back against my eating disorder making conscious decisions to not let her voice win.



In March I:
Took the next lot of my teaching exams - terrifying and now the dreaded wait for results begins.
Started learning Dutch.
Spent a lovely weekend at home looking through old family photos with my brothers.
Signed up to run a 10k to support the Matt Hampson foundation.
Maybe got a bit too over excited when I saw the new born lambs in the field.

In April I:
Will start tracking my food intake again as I feel that I have relapsed a little bit just recently.
Will enjoy my Easter break - lots of rest and relaxation planned!
Will be training carefully for the 10k.
Will start organising my plans for summer - I intend to visit as many people as possible :)

Friday, 28 March 2014

Burn out

This blog is supposed to be a place to be honest, a place I can pour my heart out without fear of reputations or judgement, yet just recently I have been avoiding being on here like the plague, the big question is why? Why am I so scared of delving into my soul and plucking out my feelings? What am I so scared of that I don't want to examine?

For a long time - 6 months to be exact - I have worked every single day, even taking time out on Christmas day to study, life has become an endless round of studying for my upcoming exam, preparing lessons or choreographing routines and I am exhausted. My brain is wired, constantly looking for something although I have no idea what that something may be. I am always on the verge of tears, be they tears of frustration, or anger, or sadness I don't know but I do know they are always present, threatening to fall at any given moment. When did life become so tough? Is this really what being a grown up entails?

It's not just my brain which is tired, my body is exhausted and breaking down before my eyes. I am covered in bruises, some of them explainable but most of them not. I am plagued by an all consuming headache. I am picking up injuries left right and centre with no explanation for them at all. My body suddenly cannot cope. For years it has supported me through my dance career, it has forgiven me for everything I have put it through, we have survived eating disorders and relapses, diagnoses of endometriosis and polycystic ovaries yet we are currently at loggerheads with each other. How do I get out of this funk I have found myself in?

As you can see there are a lot of questions running around my brain at the moment, that's probably the reason why I can't sleep at night, but that's not it. Life seems to be passing me by. I love dance I really do, but I find myself wondering whether it has consumed my life? At this point in my twenties surely I should be out exploring, discovering new places, new people, new food. Yet it's all I can do to drag my sorry behind to bed every night in the hope that I will be able to grab a few desperate hours of sleep.

I know life isn't perfect for anyone and we are thrown these curveballs every now and then but right now I feel like I am sinking. This is more than the anxiety rearing its head, this is my brain, body and soul screaming at me to stop. I am dying for a holiday - a break from my life, to get out of Kent, to reignite my passion for life and to rediscover exactly who I am.



Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my moms birthday. For 27 years she has built me up, comforted me, celebrated my successes and rescued me from too many situations that I care to remember. She is my best friend, my confidante and someone I admire immensely. She is strong, determined, loving, caring, a graduate and an incredible nurse. Above all she is the greatest mom I could ask for. For all that you are and for all that you do I love you more than I can ever express.

Happy Birthday mom xxx


Monday, 3 March 2014

February

Wow February has flown by, I honestly cannot believe that it is March already, this year is whizzing by way too quickly for my liking!

In February I:
Helped raise awareness of eating disorders thanks to Beat and Cosmopolitan
Enjoyed a fabulous weekend with my Nephew and Niece - there is nothing better than cuddles with these two:
Finished organising my best friends hen party - so excited!!
Accepted that recovery is hard and that recognising the symptoms of relapsing is important
Finally satisfied my craving for Legally Blonde :)

In March I:
Will be taking my next lot of teaching exams
Hope to pull myself out of the funk I currently find myself in and continue recovering
Will be taking my recovery to the next stage thanks to an extremely understanding GP
Will make more time for myself
Read more


I've realised that I'm not very good at pointing time by for myself to relax and just do nothing. At the minute I am inundated with work, which although great means I feel guilty for relaxing with a book that isn't about ballet.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Crushing Disappointment

Well today was supposed to be THE day, I had eagerly booked a doctors appointment for a prescription  review and to see how I was doing with my recovery. I woke up early, eager to get to the appointment, I was already planning how I was going to celebrate, thats how certain I was that everything was going to go my way.

It didn't.

I had already resigned myself to the fact the my medication probably wasn't going to be reduced - next Thursday marks the end of the current round of treatment, plus March is gearing up to be a pretty hectic month for me - but I think if i'm being honest that I was still hoping for some sort of reduction. I'm lucky, my GP is fantastic at cutting through the BS she saw straight away that I was worrying and after a discussion we decided to make another appointment for a months time where I am reassured that my medication will be reduced slightly.

I was also hoping for some sort of improvement with the ED, sure I know that my head isn't in the right place yet but I am working ridiculously hard to get myself there. I've come to accept that food will probably always be a problem for me. I battle every day to get myself to eat something, enough to hit that magic calorie intake, yes sometimes I fail (more often than not if i'm being completely honest) but I try I try so hard. So it was a huge shock to me to discover that not only have I not put on any weight but I've actually managed to lose some. I cannot tell you just how disappointed I am with myself, it feels as if all my hard work has been in vain. What is the point in trying so hard if I am not going to see any results at the end? I can't spend the rest of my life fighting a losing battle.

I've cried  A LOT. I am annoyed and angry with myself, I have questioned every food related decision I have made, then I've cried some more. I am not ready to give up just yet. I am not prepared to just roll over and let this shitty illness keep me from living the rest of my life. Sure today I took a massive step backwards, but I'm not going to let myself wallow in self pity, I have too much to live for. I've given myself too many allowances from now on it's time to get tough.


Monday, 24 February 2014

My Path

This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week throughout my recovery I have strived to support and help as many people as I possibly can whilst raising awareness for EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified). I have written a lot about my recovery but I don't think I have written about how I got to this point in my life.

I wasn't born hating my body, I was an active child, I loved running, jumping, dancing, exploring etc... I loved what my body could do, I loved ballet class and playing sports, I don't think I was aware of what 'fat' or 'thin' was. I cannot remember my body ever being criticised by anyone and up until the age of 11 I was lucky enough to never have been bullied. Life changed for me when I went to Secondary School, I already knew by this point that my life would revolve around dance, I was academic and loved to learn which unfortunately meant I was bullied. I was teased for my love of dance, for the fact that I would often miss events due to a dance class, my hair was never right, nor was my make up and for the first time I was aware of body, or more importantly the lack of development. Girls around me were growing boobs, starting periods and beginning to date boys, I often felt left behind and couldn't join in conversations about periods and bras as I wasn't there yet. Don't get me wrong I was lucky to have amazing friends who I laughed constantly with and who made my school days happy despite the internal upset. It was at this point that I started to restrict food, I thought I was being clever and that I was hiding it well, luckily I wasn't - my mom sat me down and explained to me that food was fuel that unless I started eating more I would be unable to carry on dancing, at the time this was enough to push me back onto the right path. I stopped restricting food but I did develop a new habit at the time it didn't have a name but now it is known as 'chew and spit', I got to satisfy my desire for sweets without actually having to digest them. This stopped almost as quickly as it began and I settled back into an easy relationship with food.

Through therapy I have discovered that that last sentence is in fact a lie, whenever life has been difficult for me I have punished myself with food, at times I wanted to be invisible, I didn't share my thoughts and feelings with anyone around me as I was scared of being judged. I think I always knew I had a problem but instead of confronting it I kept it a secret, one hidden away in the very depths of my being. In the months leading up to my wedding I was proud of myself for not being a bride on a diet, for being able to keep myself in recovery. Yet this all changed when we went to the Maldives on our honeymoon - I stopped eating meat out there and became obsessed with where the food was from, how it was prepared and whether or not it was 'safe' to eat, all normal fear I hear you say, but for me the fear opened a box that had been locked away and forgotten about. Slowly but surely I let the eating disorder  back into my life, at first I didn't notice her until one day I woke up to discover she had effectively taken over. 

I'm not prepared to go into the ins and out of my descent into relapsing - I think it would be too triggering both for myself and others, but I do know that this relapse has been the worst one yet. I have been clawing my way out of the hole for some time and although I am nowhere near being recovered I know that I will get there one day.

As an EDNOS sufferer I don't fit the 'typical' picture of someone with an eating disorder, yes I am slim but not to the point that people would look at me an know instantly there is a problem. This is the part I have really struggled with, can I really have an eating disorder without the anorexic label? Through research and lots of detailed talks with my therapist I have realised that eating disorders are more of a mental issue than I ever realised - the problem isn't with my body, its with my mind, the way it alters my belief system about food, the way is messes with my reflection in the mirror. Recovery is about addressing everything, not just the food issues.

Everyday I have to remind myself that the ED voice is a lie, she wants me to punish myself, she wants me to be invisible, but I won't let her. I know I am strong enough to fight, strong enough to recover and hopefully strong enough to be able to inspire others.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

End of the road?

Tomorrow is my last eating disorder therapy session, does this mean I am recovered, absolutely not! This week I've been particularly bad, whilst I don't want to disclose numbers I know I am surviving on less than half my recommend calorie intake. I'm terrified about what will happen once that support has disappeared, I've spoken to by GP and she has told me that if I need more help then I'll have to join a TWO YEAR waiting list - I'm not sure I can do that. Two years is an awfully long time to go with no professional support. I'm lucky that I have an incredible support network around me, people who are desperate for me to recover, yet that desperation worries me. In a therapy session I can be completely honest, spill out my darkest fears and talk candidly about my feelings, I just don't think that is possible with the people you love. I feel like I have a weight of expectation on my shoulders, not just my own hopes for recovery but also those of everyone who loves me.

I have been told daily that I am an inspiration, by complete strangers on twitter to friends, yet I feel I am living a lie. How can I be inspiring others to fight for recovery when I am doing so badly? How can others take my words and turn them into inspiration to eat when I cannot? What on earth is going to happen to me when I am on my own? Tomorrow will mark a big step forward for me, the biggest one I have taken on my recovery journey so far, and I am terrified about where I am going to end up.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Life is a roller coaster...

...and I want to get off. I'm not sure how much longer I can deal with the incredible highs and the insufferable lows anymore. I have two therapy sessions left, do I feel ready to not have that security blanket there - no. I'm scared that I'm not strong enough, not recovered enough to make sensible choices when it comes to food. 

This weekend has been one hell of a ride. I was on cloud none on Thursday after managing two sips of milk (I'm hopeful that this summer I'll be able to enjoy ice cream) yet that disappeared on Friday after dinner when I had to sit on my hands to stop myself from purging. I've restricted food intake this weekend and suffered because of it, I've been tired, miserable and had one heck of a headache, that doesn't sound like someone making sensible choices to me.

In a desperate attempt to gain some normality in my life I finally sat down and wrote out a meal plan, I'm hoping that having everything written out in front of me will help silence the voice. Right now I'm willing to try anything.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

January

Wow I can't believe that it's now February, January seems to have flown by whilst all dragging on - not sure if that makes any sense at all but hey ho! I have decided to start a little series of posts celebrating what I have achieved in the past months and outlining my hopes for the incoming one.

In January I:
Learnt to knit - post coming soon!
Enjoyed a photoshoot with my husband.
Tried (and loved) aerial hoop.
Started to recognise the symptoms of a relapse and have made efforts to stop it in it's tracks.
Began to learn a new language - review coming soon!
Started my next lot of teaching exams.
Starting thinking about a holiday :)

In February I:
Want to continue my recovery.
Enjoy regular dates with my husband.
Make a better effort to stay in touch with my friends.
Make more time for myself.

It's kinda exciting for me to see the small improvements I am making every day, I am gradually getting stronger and learning to realise that a bad day does not equal bad recovery!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Aerial Hoop

At the beginning of this year I agreed to finally start challenging myself, after all how can I recover if I only stay in my comfort zone? As I was browsing on facebook I stumbled across an invite to try an aerial hoop class run by Inspire Pole Fitness, before I could change my mind I RSVP'd yes and very quickly got excited!

The class was unbelievable! After a warm up we were straight up onto the hoops, Georgie our instructor worked us hard but to our own individual paces she encouraged us to try out the various hoops to find out which one we preferred. I had an absolute blast - even though the room was mirrored I was working too hard to get hung up on my body and other than a brief moment of anxiety when I first arrived I felt completely calm and relaxed throughout the class. Yes my arms were in pieces for the next couple of days - I actually had to pop some painkillers to wash my hair - but I felt wonderful and very eager to try it out again. Annoyingly I am currently nursing an ankle injury which has prohibited me from attending the current course but I will definitely be signed up for the next one. No matter where you are based then I urge you to give aerial hoops a go, I got a full body workout without actually feeling like I was exercising - perfect!!




Friday, 24 January 2014

A walk in the park

Last weekend Stuart and I had some photos taken as a little gift to ourselves. We are incredibly lucky that we know a very talented photographer - for more information on him then please look here. We had such an amazing time having our photos taken, Peter made us feel really relaxed and Stuart and I are thrilled with the results. I have lots of ideas about how to use a few of the pictures but for now I wanted to share a couple with you guys. Hope you love them as much as I do!







Thank you so much Peter!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Questions

My life is full of unanswered questions at the minute, they float round my brain and cause me distress at the most inconvenient of moments. Therefore I have decided to list them here in the hope that seeing them writing down will help me find the answers and move on.

What will happen my ed therapy ends?
Will I ever be fully recovered?
Will I be able to have children?
What if I end up passing my depression/anxiety/eating disorder/cysts/endometriosis onto my children?
Am I really feeling happy or is that just the medication?
Will I ever be happy with my body?
When will I learn that my happiness doesn't revolve around my dress size?

These are just a few of the questions on my mind and I have no idea how to answer any of them.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Musings

It's 11pm on a Saturday night and I have been in bed for the past hour and a bit, hubby is happily sitting downstairs watching sport (probably football!) on the TV and I have been busy revising and hen do planning. It struck me that a year ago I wouldn't have been able to sit up here on my own, I'd have been downstairs desperately wanting to go to bed but being crippled with anxiety about being alone - what a difference a year makes! Now I love my alone time, I get to read, study, have a bath or just be alone with my thoughts. I spend so much time concentrating on the things that are going badly that I never stop to congratulate myself. Sure food is still a struggle but I've eaten out, cooked, baked and actually enjoyed food on numerous occasions over the last few months. The anxiety is always there in the background but I am a much stronger person that 12 months ago - I can walk into town on my own, lock up the house, speak to strangers and so much more, these are the things I should be dwelling on not the days where I feel like a failure.

Pic seemed appropriate tonight!

It is as I sit here that I realise I can remember almost every negative comment I have ever received, yet recalling positive ones is pretty much impossible. Every day I see the importance of positive reinforcement and how much it can change the day for someone, yet I am my own harshest crticic. Nothing I do is ever good enough, recently I got 85% on a test that I only had 5 weeks to study for - for most people that sort of result is great, me, no I want to know why I didn't get 90%. I dread to think how many times I criticise myself over a 24 hour period, I would track it but I think I would be horrified by the number. Of course  it is this sort of behaviour that my eating disorder thrives on, to be truly recovered then I honestly believe the self doubt has to go, but how? The obvious answer is to start noting when I am paid a compliment, to believe it and own it, but that is easier said than done. I've tried writing them down and reading them back when I've felt low but that vicious voice kicks in again "they only said that so you'd feel better, they don't really mean it". I guess this is one of those areas that I can work on improving this year.

For now I will continue to treasure the alone time I get and use as a chance to escape, to let my imagination run wild, like Alice (in wonderland) I will daydream, who knows where my rabbit hole will lead me...

Monday, 6 January 2014

2014


So we are well and truly into 2014 now and rather than making resolutions I have decided to list those things that I am looking forwards too. I said a rather relieved farewell to 2013 and have welcomed 2014 with open arms. So 2014 lets see what you have in store.

Wishes and dreams for 2014:

Exploring the country with our English Heritage and National Trust memberships
A holiday
Spending more time with my Nephew and Niece
Date nights with Stuart
Coffee catch ups with friends
My best friends wedding
Expanding my dance school
Starting work as a dance examiner
Furthering my training
Take photographs
Keep a record of my time
Kick ana into touch

I want to thank you all for reading this blog and for the support you give me on an almost daily basis, I hope you will be along for the ride this year.