Single and not so ready to mingle

Break ups are hard, even worse so when you don’t realise you’re going through one and still living in the hope of it being a temporary sponsored silence they’re partaking in. However so, there’s generally a reason for them happening and after the “I’ll never love again!” phase, you realise that you can grow in love again for the only two people you’ll ever need in your life anyway… Ben & Jerry – though mine is more Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry if I’m truly honest. (But I’d appreciate if my mum, dad, sister, family and friends stayed put in my life too. Obviously.)

I’ve had my little share of break ups: some very real, and some that felt very real until you realise it’s actually only their free taxi service and the access to their orange Wednesday code that you’re sad to have broken up with as opposed to the person, themselves. That is true heartbreak. On the other hand, I’m not yet damaged enough from a break up that I’m not ready to mingle again, regardless of the title to this post. In actual fact, I’m talking about being single from anorexia and not ready to mingle with it EVER again.

Anorexia relationship status: it’s complicated.

As pictured in a fairy tale or in one of Disney’s great movies, this week I merrily skipped out of the hospital, hand in hand with a life-size piece of cake* and a giant ‘eff’ off scrawled across a piece of paper that was conceptually stamped to my back. The nurse must have put it there after I left her surgery as we both made a positive bid goodbye to each other now that anorexia was no longer keeping us together. Because this week, I was discharged!

Though fairly anti-climatical as I was half expecting to be greeted outside of the doors by a marching band and a huge ‘Congratulations’ banner held by a human-sized walking bottle of Prosecco, I instead retreated to the car and felt almost on the verge of tears.

It goes completely without saying that I’m so pleased I’ve fought as hard as I have done to get into the position I am in now. Life has been and is so much better on this side of the disorder, but you can’t help but feel sadness towards something you’d grown so close to. Almost like the part of the break-up where you suddenly feel like you really are ready to move on and it can sometimes feel more upsetting at the very real thought of living without it, even though you know it’s potentially for the better.

For better understanding for both myself and anyone that cares to learn about eating disorders, I frequently compare anorexia to be like that of a relationship. And for me, this has unexplainably been the hardest break-up yet, though by far the most important break-up (at least for my health) I’ll probably ever have to make. Given that my life is still very much governed by food, exercise and the absolute fear of gaining too much weight, there are still various parts of me that remain tied to the disorder, hence the complication status.

At least for now I sincerely feel like people around me are no longer having to cope with me and some other me with an eating disorder lurking behind. I still very much have lots of unusual eating quirks but they are far from making me unhappy, so for now just deal with the fact that I’ll have a steak salad for my dinner… Just perhaps without the steak and the dressing and the cheese. The rabbit food will be just fine.

*okay, me and cake aren’t that good a friends just yet.

Unhealthy is a two-way street

Google Images did a blindingly accurate job in highlighting my exact thought process towards the ongoing headlines circulating our media towards health and what new phenomenon is now positively detrimental to it. Typing the word ‘unhealthy’ into the search engine, and in 0.34 seconds with a total of 40,500,000 results that it manages to procure – saving us all those valuable milliseconds we’re always worrying about; Google reveals what it means to be unhealthy.

Generally speaking, Google isn’t wrong when it’s the above connotations that are our initial thoughts when we think about what it means to be unhealthy and on the road to bad health. But if one side of the motorway is taking us towards the larger unhealthy size, obesity, surely means that taking a U-turn on that same road, would bring us to the smaller unhealthy size, anorexia? Astonishingly, there was even a picture of what is apparently an unhealthy penis before anything in relation to being underweight and unhealthy was shown!

However, to try and keep things more PG-13, I did in fact opt to disregard that photo from this post, though if you’re curious to the health of one’s genitals, I can confirm Google can help you there. Disappointingly, I gave up scanning through images to find any such picture showing that at the other size spectrum, anorexia, is in fact considered just as unhealthy too. Google just doesn’t seem to agree.

I know we’d no doubt all be just as happy and  protective of our food as the woman above if we were presented with that many cheese burgers, but unhealthy can be so much more than just filling our tummy trunks with all kinds of junk. 13 cheeseburgers in one sitting is possibly not ideal but that doesn’t define them unhealthy. In that particular moment, yes, okay, they probably are non too healthy but in other instances their relationship with food could in fact be very healthy indeed.

Unless you have the utmost certainty and belief in nominating someone healthy or unhealthy, I advise to just be sure not to judge that book by it’s cover, because beneath the psychology surface, a lot more could be revealed. Just because someone is seen to be eating an apple, it might not be correct in calling them healthy because that apple could well be the only piece of food they’ll have that day. On numerous occassions, I’ve been known as healthy because I’ve indulged in a hearty portion of fresh fruit. However, the mental relationship I had with that pineapple and mango at that point was far from healthy because that may have been all that I allowed myself for dinner that evening because I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything more than that.

As a nation we’ve absolutely no chance of ever deciding whether to grant our lifestyle and food habits as healthy or not. You consider yourself the connoisseur of complex carbohydrates or the doctor of diets because you opted to use the reduced fat yogurt, yet have instead now been told of the Mediterranean health benefits and we should all be competing against mice for the best full fat cheese and other dairy products. So perhaps hold off on that fruit because studies will probably reveal sooner or later that it is just as detrimental to us as it was to Adam and Eve.

If you’re happy, balanced and not suffering from the two extremes of the weight scale; carry on because you’re probably doing okay!

Because Baader-Meinhof said so

We’ve all at one point found ourselves on the receiving end of a ‘yellow car slap’ (though I’m sure I know of a certain 26 year-old that still does this). If you aren’t familiar with such a phrase, then it shouldn’t take you too long to figure out what happens during this activity, as the name quite frankly speaks for itself. You see a yellow car and you slap the person next to you. Simple as that, yet seemingly annoying on a long motorway journey and a game certainly not to be played in New York.

What was once thought of a car colour that was in rare existence and was the standalone car we knew from the TV series Brum or Only Fools and Horses, it now seems to be the only car on the road. The emerging 4-D hand print from the endless slaps of the annoying travel partner speaks for itself, but why suddenly, at the commencing of the game, does everyone now seem to own a yellow car? No, the hallucinogens aren’t suddenly kicking in with a trail of drivers in yellow cars deciding to now follow you around. There have always been this many yellow cars on the road, just suddenly when your attention is drawn to it, do you realise actually how many there are. It’s actually a phenomenon referred to as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, or frequency illusion, which I’ve found this to be of some relevance to a lot of the eating and body issues I face every day and have faced in the past.

Social media has largely played its part in this illusion whereby Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter seem to spam endless photos of the traits I was so desperately aspiring for. Skinny, perfectly physiqued people displaying what appeared to be total happiness and the utmost confidence in the body they were flaunting. Everywhere I turned, there were these characteristics that forced me to presume I should somewhat be that way too, triggering obsession and upset that I couldn’t achieve it too.

Yet only because I was so focused on paying attention to this and only this, had I missed everything else that was going on around me, which now makes a lot more sense seeing as there’s actually a name for it! I’d somewhere along the lines decided that being skinny was all I ever wanted to be, so everywhere I looked, there were these effortlessly, thin people

If you gave it a bit of thought, I’m sure there are numerous examples in everyone’s life that you can suddenly understand. Realising you’d never once before tried an avocado, but now find yourself figuring out the best way to mash it into your daily meals, because everywhere you turned, people wouldn’t relent to posting their foodie pictures of their avocado brunches until you decided you might as well bloody try one too!

My point of this post is to reiterate that it’s a legitimate theory that whatever your targets may be, your mind will make you believe that everyone around you is meeting these targets because you are focusing on it, most. Everyone isn’t eating healthy, everyone isn’t successful, everyone isn’t losing weight, everyone isn’t in the gym every single day, everyone isn’t on holiday in the sun. You’re just paying attention to it more!

(I apologise for the number of yellow cars you will now start seeing, today)

 

Anorex-SEEYA

If I could have a blown up version of the word anorexia, and catapult it through the air, it would be at least 100 yards further away than where it was a month ago. Though the bulk in my arms from numerous rounds of Orange Theory have probably helped power that throw, Im talking more along the lines of the greater distance that me and it have got going on at the moment. Id like to think its long enough to be winning the Anorexic Throw at the ED Olympics anyway.

 I for one dont believe its possible to categorise when you suddenly haveanorexia or when you suddenly lose anorexia. Its not something you achieve, more something that you seem to nurture or dismiss. Everyone has the capability to suffer from it, no? Just those that end up struggling, are the ones that have nurtured it, instead of ignored it. There may be more reasoning as to why such people like myself chose to nurture it as opposed to someone else, but I dont think Id ever be able to establish my reasons for doing so.

So for 22 years, perhaps I have always had anorexia, I just only decided to nurture it in the last 2 years and am now just doing a lot better at trying to dismiss it again. Only because someone was at their lowest weight at a specific time, doesnt mean that they were only suffering then. Yes, they may have been suffering the most at that time, but anorexia is a MIND set anyway, not a WEIGHT.

I have no idea to what my weight is now. Id rather not know. Though every effort is going towards trying to prove to everyone at my current work experience that the light really could shine out of my bum, and I could potentially be a really great addition to the team, I really felt no guilt in turning down the body mass scales they asked me to review for their readers. I cant afford to ruin my stream of positive weeks with said numbers on the scales. Plus these days, I seem to be this ever-growing mucho muscle man that can somehow manage to muster 5 press-ups now, so Im sure a lot of my total mass gain could be attributed to this.

I almost don’t want to say ‘See ya’ because what on earth am I supposed to blog about now?!

(I definitely love writing now too much to stop, so you’ll still be receiving the spam for now)

Mind the gap

Perhaps due to the fact that I’ve so far this week, spent more time on the London underground than anything else, alongside other countless commuters in our attempt to hold the optimum pathway for the flow of wind that turbines its way through the carriage window, that I’ve drawn attention to such a theme as gaps. Though the TFL workers make every attempt to make the daily herding of cattle through the platform as smooth and ‘clear of the closing doors’ as possible, the continual use of the phrase ‘mind the gap between the train and platform’ must surely just come out of their mouths involuntarily now. But at least their children will probably never fall down a hole in their life. I’ve clearly become so caught up in the whole ‘London Commuting Life’ – and I love it.

That besides, instead of trains and platforms, I’ve began noticing the safety in gap size between my thigh… and my other thigh, whereby there’s probably no need for a TFL worker to announce to ‘mind the gap’ any more.

Recently becoming a stupid and non-achievable beauty ideal, the thigh gap is supposedly associated with physical attractiveness, yet really, achieving a thigh gap for most people is next to impossible as it is physically unnatural, and generally is a body shape goal of extreme dieting, surgery, and, would you believe, eating disorders.

Exercising endlessly on all that power fuel of apples and bananas (ha!), my body soon started eating its way through the space between my legs causing the sought after thigh-gap. Obviously, my mind-set took me into jubilation because I was getting thinner and thinner, and I won’t deny the small satisfaction that came when sitting down with my phone in my hand that when dropped, fell through my lap and on to the floor. My phone clearly didn’t listen to the TFL’s instructions.

Knowing that such a feature of a women’s physique is scientifically attributed to being unnatural, makes the realisation a lot easier to accept as the gap continues to close on my own body. Plus, who’s to say that the extra mass around my thighs is not also ploughing its way to my buttocks. Katie-1, ED-0.

I said yes!

Whilst on the receiving end of a phone appointment booking to St Ann’s hospital yesterday, though unlikely down on one knee, the receptionist asked me the question.

“Would you like to be discharged?”

And I said yes.

No matter what the length of time, it takes someone incredibly strong to adhere to the horrific demands of anorexia. However, it takes someone even stronger to endure the battle that comes with trying to fight back. I feel like the hardest part to embarking on recovery road has been reached and left behind but I know there is still a long way to go… But I think there will be far more signposts now to help me along the way.

Hopefully my next appointment at Phoenix Wing, will be my last.

“Knock, Knock”

… Well it’s not confidence waiting there.

If you’re looking to divulge into the personal lives of those around you without risking playing the ‘stalker’ card, participating in “Never Have I Ever” is a good way to go about it. A few questions and half a bottle of vodka later, you’re telling them about the mum you mistook for a younger model and accidentally kissed at the bar last year – which could be embarrassing, or just gained you a huge amount of lad points amongst your new circle of university friends.

Only up until a year ago, “Never have I ever… worn foundation” left me in a relatively confident position to avoiding having to take a sip of my drink, while also being able to make the stereotypical assumption that I could smugly watch the remainder of the girls be forced to down one fingers worth of drink. I by no means boast flawless skin at all, but I’d simply never felt compelled to wear foundation for one reason or another. Could again be that desire to be different…

While scrambling through old belongings in search for a big enough make-up bag to house the array of cosmetics I’ve now managed to hoard, I questioned when this sudden change had occured. I’ve gone from the lone mascara and no foundation, alongside minimal knowledge of all things contour, to now wondering whether the Clinique Ivory 03 concealer-come-foundation I’m testing, matches my skin tone well enough, or just makes me look like a walking tangerine.

It is simply confidence.

Not only did/does my eating disorder leave me feeling hungry (though lesser now), but it has also stripped every bit of confidence I once used to carry. It took my assets, it took my spark and it has now indirectly taken my money, as I’m now ploughing ridiculous amounts into finding the best colour match, non-greasy, full coverage, long lasting foundation… Money might not buy you love and happiness, but it helps towards a bit of bloody confidence! I never knew such a lack of body confidence could have such an overwhelming and detrimental effect to so many other aspects of my life: Work, love, happiness.

I don’t know who or what is responsible for such a sudden loss of self-confidence and the unwillingness to accept that perhaps I am good enough or I am smart enough, or I am pretty enough. But I certainly hate them for it and you can be as sure as hell I’m going to get it back. Because it really isn’t worth holding back on things that could potentially be great because I deem myself unworthy of it and lacking the body stability to ooze enough confidence for it.