A real neat blog award

 

 

So I was nominated for the real neat blog award by the fantastic Ida, thank you so much you made my week. I was swamped last week and have only just got around to doing this all now so sorry! If you haven’t already definitely go and check out Ida’s blogs she does amazing stuff!

https://aroundthewardin80days.wordpress.com/

The Rules:

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
  5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)
  1. Where does your blog’s name come from?

I was a bit unsure of what to call it; I tried to brainstorm for a few days I wanted something that highlighted my story of recovery through an eating disorder. So I decided with recovery journey because to me recovery is a journey that never stops it’s a journey that’s going to have highs and ups but its all a learning experience.

  1. What made you want to start blogging?

I started blogging to help me express myself and keep an account of my recovery journey, and since starting I have realised the impact that I can make on other people, and that has been the best part. Being able to develop content that not only makes me happy but also may help someone else is such a great feeling.

  1. Have you written stuff for fun before your blog?

I tried to start a blog a few years ago when I was a bit younger but did not stick to it, this time with all my passion with mental health I am determined to keep this running.

  1. What’s your favourite or ‘favourite’ post?

My favourite post would be my blog on “the I wish I had an eating disorder”, eating disorders is something that I am very passionate about particularly when it has the highest mortality rate out of any mental illness in Australia. That post empowered me to start pushing for change and do what I can to make a difference in my community.

  1. The best comment you’ve ever received?

I haven’t received any comments on my blog, but I do receive a lot of support from Twitter and Instagram I cannot think of one specific one, but I do appreciate it all!

 

  1. Is there something you’d like to try with your blog in the future?

I am actually really interested in working with other people and doing collaborations with others in the future, so if you are interested hit me up! Haha

  1. What’s your favourite dinosaur?

I had to research dinosaurs to find one, but I have decided with Dilophosaurus, why did I choose this you ask? One because I have no idea how to pronounce it and two google it, it’s so ugly it’s cute!

This is so hard but here are the questions for the nominees (I did steal some ideas for questions from Ida):

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. Besides blogging do you have any other passions?
  3. Favourite animal?
  4. Where would you like to see your blog going in the future?
  5. If you had to read the same book for the rest of your life which one would it be?
  6. What have been the most enjoyable aspects of blogging for you?
  7. Favourite thing to blog about?

My nominees are:

https://www.daisyandthyme.com/

https://alifecrisiswithcharlotte.wordpress.com/

https://bitingback.blog/

https://mentalhealtharrior97.wordprwess.com

https://brutalhonestyblogger.wordpress.com/

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The “I wish I had an eating disorder”

“I wish I had an eating disorder”, or “I have tried so hard to have an eating disorder” are just some things I have heard from people and even friends, and it has made me wonder lately why eating disorders seem to be so glamourized when I know the truth, and it is far from glamorous. I am not angry at friends and individuals for saying these things, but it does make me so concerned that there are people out there wishing they could have this life. I think the media is partly to blame for this, people with eating disorders are often presented in the media as young underweight females with this magical ability to restrain from food. Often the media forgets to highlight that a lot of people with eating disorders are actually at an average weight or can be overweight, they can also be from a different gender, and it can affect different age groups. The media does not highlight that eating disorders are a mental illness that can affect anyone, and when you have one it can become one the darkest periods in your life, I would not wish an eating disorder upon anyone.

In Australia eating disorders have the highest mortality rate out of any other mental illness, is that something people want? There are so many people out there who have no idea about eating disorders and think it’s a lifestyle choice, which it is not. This is not something I woke up one day and decide to do; this is a deeply rooted mental illness. This does highlight for me that there needs to be higher awareness in the media about the true extent of an eating disorder, as well as developing early intervention education programs within schools that educate young people on what exactly an eating disorder is.

For those who do not know, there are serious health risks that come with having an eating disorder.  My immune system is so low currently that I get sick instantly, and when I get a common cold it’s not a typical few days still able to function cold, I become very seriously ill which means taking time off work and missing out on social events. Something a little too TMI but should be told is that you screw up your bowels when you have an eating disorder, I become so constipated at times I have been in tears from the amount of pain and discomfort I was experiencing. I also lost my periods for a while and was told I had increased my risk of infertility, and as you get older this becomes a scary thing when you start to plan your future and consider the possibility of children and realise you may have ruined your chances. Due to the constant vomiting over the years I often get tonsillitis frequently throughout the year and have a severely sore throat a lot of the time, I have had an infected mouth and throat which was not pleasant. By the age of 21, I had my first tooth removed, and have been paying a ridiculous amount of money to try and save the rest of my back teeth.  Other people with eating disorders suffer from the ruptured oesophagus, stomach and intestinal ulcers and can develop osteoporosis. Moreover, people who suffer from an eating disorder can also have irregular heartbeats increasing the chances of heart failure, and can also be at risk of kidney failure. Above all, the most significant risk of an eating disorder is death, which scares me so much when I hear people wishing they could have an eating disorder while individuals are dying from the illness.

I could never imagine myself saying I wish I could have depression or I wish I could have anxiety, so why do people think it is acceptable to say they wish they had an eating disorder. Eating disorders are a mental illness that absolutely crushes an individual’s self-esteem and confidence. It becomes an obsession and a means of control for people, it becomes someone’s life and energy and becomes utterly exhausting trying to control it. Eating disorders are so much more than wanting to lose weight; it is a mental illness that takes that lives of so many people. So please do not wish you had an eating disorder, because it is not fun or glamorous, it is incredibly lonely and debilitating for people.

Being open with the ones you love about your mental health

I decided this year to be completely open with the closest people in my life about my struggles with my mental health, this wasn’t a decision I decided overnight, and it took a lot for me to tell everyone what is going on. Like many other individuals who have a mental illness, there is a lot of shame that comes with it, and there was this fear for me that I would burden people if I told them or if they knew I was struggling. Although there was a lot of fear and anxiety around telling everyone, I am so happy I did, I felt like for the first time in my life I was transparent with how I felt. For so long I have tried to hide my real emotions and pretend like everything was fine, and I can handle everything, it honestly felt like a significant weight off my shoulders when I finally opened up. It did come with it the revelation that this has been something I have been struggling with for years. My friends were shocked that I had kept so much to myself, there is, of course, things they knew, or they saw me struggling but were unaware to the extent of how badly I was struggling.

Since being honest with my loved ones I have had a fantastic support system from all of them, and it has been beneficial in helping me on those days that I feel like just quitting and going back to old behaviours. I will be honest it can be overwhelming having so many people worried about you and checking in on you and making sure you eat, but it’s so much better than being alone with my eating disorder and depression. Having people in your life supporting you through your recovery can make a difference, I feel like by having people in my life know what I am going through, I am taking power away from my eating disorder that thrived on secrecy and lies. I am now reclaiming my power back without my eating disorder in my life with the help and support of my loved ones.

The hardest person to tell was my mum; I tossed up for ages whether I should tell her or not and how too precisely to tell her. The reason I found it so difficult to decide whether to tell my mum was that she has and continues to experience her own mental illness, and I was concerned at how she may react and if it may upset her. My mum is going through her own recovery and is in a great place right now, but I was still concerned about putting too much on her while she goes through the motions of her own recovery. Another reason I found it difficult to tell my mum was because when I was 17, I tried to seek help for my eating disorder. However unfortunately at the time, there was not as much talk and information on eating disorders and mental health in general, so my mum did not understand at the time I had a problem because I looked fine and I appeared healthy. I do not blame my mum for how she reacted to the situation it was not her fault she was not given the resources to understand mental health and eating disorders back then, but it did discourage me and make me worried that I would not be taken seriously again. Ultimately though I did decide to tell my mum because I thought she deserved to know, and I also thought it was important that she sees more to me than just her happy put together daughter. In my family, I am the strong one who keeps everything together, and I thought it was important for my mum to see that I am not always strong and can be broken at times as well. It was really hard to open up to my mum and explain to her what is going on, but I am glad I did, I think with my mum now experiencing her own mental health issues it has made her more open and understanding to mental health and the struggles that come with it.

I have no regrets about telling the ones closest to me about my struggles with mental health, the only regrets I have is that I did not do it sooner and I tried to do it on my own when I had people around me ready to support me. By being more open about my mental health, it has stripped a lot of the shame I was carrying around for years about suffering from a mental illness and has encouraged me to speak openly not only to the people closest to me but also the whole of society and challenge how we view mental illnesses. I would not be ashamed for having a broken leg so I should not be ashamed for suffering from a mental illness, this is something I am still learning to do, but it feels so empowering to slowly throw away that shame and embrace my experiences.

I deserve to be helped

On Thursday I went and visited a dietitian for the first time, as you could imagine there were a lot of different feelings around going, I was feeling nervous, anxious, scared and I was a little excited as well. I was excited at the thought of taking another step in my recovery, however, I was scared of the unknown and what I may have to do. I then had a scary thought, and thought am I ready to get better? And I said to myself my eating disorder may not be ready but I am as ready as ever to fight my hardest to recover and become the best version of myself.

Part of my fear was that the dietitian would judge me, of course, this was stemming from the judgement I put on myself and expecting everyone else to see me in the same light. I also had a fear that I did not look “sick enough” to get help, this is something that I have struggled with a lot, and it definitely played out when I was preparing to go to see the dietitian. All the thoughts in my head started to race, am I sick enough to get help, am I worthy to get help, do I deserve to get help, will they believe me when I look fine on the outside. I started to think how sick do I have to get until I believe I deserve help, and I realised that if I wait till I am sick enough in my mind to get help it may be too late for me. So my answer was yes, I do deserve to get help and I am worthy to be helped, my sickness may not always be visible but I feel it every single day and I don’t deserve for it to worsen nor does anyone else going through a similar situation.

Quite often within in our society when we think of someone with an eating disorder we generally think of a girl who is severely underweight, and although this is the case for some people it is not the experience of everyone with an eating disorder and definitely was not for me. Because I also had this preconceived notion of what someone with an eating disorder looks like it really fed into my fear that I was not sick enough for help, I did not look the part of someone who was suffering from an eating disorder in my mind which really prevented me from seeking help for a long time. In reality, though I may look ‘healthy’ on the outside, however, my doctor has brought to my attention the damage I have been doing to the inside of my body. It is a really scary thought to think of the damage you may be causing to the inside of your body because it is not something you can see or look at every day and physically see for yourself what you are causing.

I’m now learning to get rid those preconceived ideas of what someone with an eating disorder looks like because honestly, anyone of any sex, race, age and body type could experience an eating disorder, and we all deserve to seek help and have our stories heard no matter who we are. We need to stop seeing eating disorders as a lifestyle choice or physical attribute and start viewing it as a mental illness that requires support regardless of what you look like. I have been so sick for so long but was convinced I was fine because I wasn’t underweight and no one could see how sick I was getting not even myself. That’s how dangerous eating disorders can be, like other mental illnesses they can be invisible and linger within people for many years without anyone around you even noticing.

So I am going to say this loud and clear, there is no such thing as being not sick enough to seek help! If you are suffering from an eating disorder but like me don’t think you look sick enough, please ask yourself how sick do you have to get before you believe you deserve help. Remember that you deserve to get help and are worthy of being helped regardless of how sick you think you are. Don’t wait for your eating disorder to get worse to get help, because you have no idea what damage you could already be doing to your body without you even knowing.

Today wasn’t a good day but that’s okay

Today wasn’t a good day for me I felt really low and terrible I woke up not wanting to get out of bed, and honestly, I didn’t for a few hours. I laid in bed wondering why I felt so terrible and started thinking what’s the point, I was really feeding into those negative thoughts and it started to take over me. I was beginning to become paralysed from the negative thoughts within in me and I felt so hopeless and alone.

Although I am still feeling a bit low and today wasn’t what I had planned that is okay and I am going to celebrate the fact that I managed to get out of bed, I managed to even get myself to eat something. I am even more proud and going to celebrate the fact that I reached out to a friend for help and opened up to them, instead of keeping it to myself and trying to manage everything on my own. There is strength in asking for help and letting people know when you aren’t feeling so good, and I am going to acknowledge that in myself and say for once that I am proud of myself for not saying I am fine and actually asking for support and talking it out with a friend. There have been too many times where I have ignored my emotions and said I was fine or never told anyone I was sinking and slowly breaking inside, so I am going to celebrate and see this as a stepping stone in recovery for me being able to open up to people and not dealing with everything on my own.

I think as a society we often promote this ideal lifestyle where there is no problems or sadness and everyone needs to be happy, however when we face a crisis or are just having a low time we often feel shame for that like there is something wrong with feeling an emotion other than happiness. We carry this shame and don’t want anyone else to know because god forbid someone found out we weren’t happy or things weren’t going so great in our life, it’s almost like there’s this fear that people will judge us and perhaps think we are weak or not successful. I have often felt this way and dealt with it most of my life, I was too afraid to tell my friends there was something wrong in fear of judgement and being perceived as ‘weak’, I wanted to be seen as strong and someone who did not need to depend on anyone. However now I am learning that there is strength in telling people you are close to that there is a problem, I have also found that often when you open up about having a problem you can also empower someone in your life to talk about problems that may be going on in their life. I realised that the fear of being judged and being seen as weak by others was from me judging myself and seeing myself as weak, I thought so negatively about myself that I thought surely other people would think the same. Now I am slowly learning how important it is to challenge those negative thoughts of how I think about myself, which is really hard I will be honest it is definitely not easy to do however when you start doing it you realise another side yourself and learn that there may be more to you than what those negative thoughts say.

So if you are having a bad day today remember it is okay! It is okay to have bad days, we are allowed not to be perfect and to not always be happy. Just remember to think about the small things you did in your day, even if it was just getting out of bed, or eating, that’s still something to celebrate and acknowledge that you still did that. Remember that recovery isn’t easy and there are going to be bad days, but we can always try and find our strengths and positives in those bad days even if they seem so small to everyone else, it could mean so much to your recovery and yourself.

I decided to finally take control of my eating disorder

After many years of suffering from an eating disorder, I decided this year that it was time to seek help for it and finally take control. There are a few reasons why I decided it was now time, one was that this year I began to feel myself going deeper and deeper into the dark hole and becoming the worse I have ever felt, I begun to feel increasingly depressed and the self-loathing increased with it, as did the need to control my weight and every single piece of food that I put into my mouth.

As my mental health increasingly got worse as did my physical, I began to feel fatigue all the time and I was not able to perform to my best at work, I was noticing constant abdominal and kidney pain which also made me concerned. Although I wish this could be a story where the first sight of my health declining I sort help, that’s not the case, I did ignore a lot of signs for many years even lost a tooth in the process, however this year it did wake me up particularly when I started to get pain in my kidneys.

What also made me want to get help was my relationship with my fiancé, friends and family, I began to notice how isolated my eating disorder had made me from everyone I loved, I had started to push everyone away in order to keep the eating disorder happy. Being around people meant the eating disorder would have to eat or would need to be more secretive of how they binged and purged and so it slowly started to push everyone in my life away, building big walls to stop them from seeing what was happening. I began to realise how lonely and isolated I was starting to become and how it was only feeding the eating disorder and the depression to become worse, I was willing to put my relationships on the line in order to fulfil the eating disorder.

I started to see how much I would miss out on if I continued down this path and did not seek help, not only would my mental and physical health worsen I was going to lose the most important people in my life. Although it is only early days in my recovery and of course the eating disorder is still here and I will be honest I do give in to it some days, I am starting to fight back and I am feeling motivated to have a slow but life-changing recovery. I am currently seeing my general practitioner regularly for health check-ups, as well as a dietitian who specialises in disordered eating. On top of this which is the vital part, I am working with a psychologist and psychiatrist to work on my mental health and build strategies and techniques on how to manage the eating disorder for not only now but for the future. I think it’s important to highlight that for many people with an eating disorder, the need to control your weight and food, and to binge and purge is only the tip of the iceberg and beneath that is a whole range of different complex issues that are going on for people who are suffering with an eating disorder. It is also important to acknowledge that people suffer from an eating disorder for many different reasons there is no clear-cut answer why someone may be suffering from one, just like many other mental illnesses out there, people have their own individual story and struggles.