This is going to be a reminiscing post. Not in a happy way, but because this is where I am right now.

This exact time last year, I was in my assessment for my EDU. It was my first appointment there. I was in such a different place. It’s so weird that I’ve been in treatment for a whole year. A year and I’m still not done. It’s getting really close to four years spent dealing with eating disorder business. I know that’s not as long as a lot of my readers, but it’s a bloody long time.

I was so scared about my assessment. I’d deliberately been more extremely restricting and losing weight more rapidly because I was terrified they’d think I’d been making it up and that there was nothing wrong with me. I hadn’t eaten that morning, but that was neither here not there as I wouldn’t start eating till very late in the day anyway, but the Pa had taken me and offered me a black coffee, which I had even though I knew it’d add to my weight, but I was exhausted and dehydrated (seeing as I won’t drink water before I’m weighed. I still can’t do this). I entirely expected them to laugh me out of the unit. I couldn’t really be sick – I wasn’t small enough and I ate too much food and I didn’t exercise as hard as other people. The coffee made me so anxious.

Obviously I was sick enough. Freezing cold, low heart rate, flaking skin, struggling to do normal, every day things like get up stairs or spend a day out or carry things, obsessed with food and weight, losing hair, completely isolated. It was really rubbish.

I had to take many layers of clothes off to be weighed because I was so cold, but they need the weight to be accurate. I had to take off jewellery, glasses, shoes and belt. I felt like the psychiatrist would be looking at me and thinking I was too fat to be there. I was so ashamed. Instead, she told me that I looked heartbreaking, saying “Sometimes you can’t tell, sometimes patients don’t look starved, but it’s incredibly obvious on you.” I wrote that in my journal because it made me feel small and that both made me feel successful, but also made me feel more justified in being there. I think she was probably right though – I’m not meant to be small. I’ve never been small. I am still small for my height and weight. She predicted that I’d be bigger than I am by now, but I think I’m pretty dense weight wise, being smaller than my BMI would suggest. I still think that and I do actually think I’d be healthier if I was bigger than I am right now, even though I’m maintaining.

She told me I had to start eating and not to wait till I see the dietetics team. She told me to have cereal with whole milk for breakfast, fruit for a snack, soup with a buttered sandwich with protein filling and full fat yogurt for lunch, cake and juice for snack, a full dinner plate with juice for dinner, pudding and custard for dessert and full fat, luxury type hot chocolate before bed. To be honest, I did actually try. I went away the next day to stay with famo friends and tried to follow this exactly. I didn’t count calories or measure things or anything. This lasted a couple of days then I was back to where I’d started. I didn’t know what time to eat and full fat foods made me feel physically disgusting. I could feel them on and under my skin. I was so angry about it all. I remember being on the phone to a friend talking about how “No one eats full fat dairy. It’s disgusting.” and how I didn’t need to be bigger and how it wasn’t fair.

I lost a lot more weight before I started gaining it back consistently.

I’m not typing this out purely because to be morbid, but because I actually need to remember this.

A couple of days ago, I was really stressed and upset. I’d eaten a muffin and in general, more than I thought was acceptable, I had been unable to sleep, I’d been triggered by another blogger who was still engaging in eating disordered behaviours (even though she’s having a shit time) and I was miserable about my face. I was convinced I’d gained weight lots of weight since my last weigh-in and that I looked awful, and I blamed recovery for my acne. I wrote this in a post, but didn’t publish it –

Honestly, I’m so large right now. It doesn’t matter if I’m not actually large, I’m largest I’ve been in so long that I’m physically unused to this much flesh. I doubt I walked enough to warrant a muffin. Muffins are only ok if you need to gain weight, not for those that are maintaining. And by maintaining, what I really mean is maintaining, but really could do with losing a few pounds. I’ve been eating too much. I think I’m gaining. No amount of yoga and walking today could get the buzz of anorexia out of my brain. I didn’t restrict, but I stuck with foods I knew wouldn’t be too much. Now I’m hungry, but I don’t care – I can have a coffee. My body is more capable, but mentally I feel weaker. I don’t think I look healthy. What a fucking joke. I look huge. And I pretend like people around me might think I look better and of course they’ll tell me I look better, but I know that they all think small is better anyway. And I definitely have friends much tinier than I am and they got to run and eat diet food and get positive attention. I was the smallest one. I was the one people congratulated. I’m jealous. And bitter.

I looked at pictures from my holiday last year. They made me cry, not because I was too small, but because I looked perfectly small and I didn’t know it. I fully believed I was fat, but I actually look lovely. So little. I desperately wish I looked like that now. No matter that I hated myself, was scared of food and thought I looked fat then. I didn’t look fat though. I’d fucking got there. I’d got to small. I was a size 0 for fuck’s sake. People want that so much. My face was still awful, but I didn’t have acne and my body looked lovely. Small and delicate and all the good things. My skin was clear. Recovery equals acne. Dieting equals clearest of clear skin. Even my face was actually better too.

What sucks the most is that tomorrow I will wake up and eat breakfast as usual, doing everything I can to never be small and lovely again. As much as I miss it all so much, the logic of eating disorders is so broken and wrong and I don’t even believe half of it. Except I do, but I know I shouldn’t.

It’s really easy to forget all the horrible aspects of restriction when you feel fat. Really easy. I read this now, and it all still feels true, expect it’s less pressing if that makes sense. It’s less pressing because actually, it’s not worth it. I don’t want to be where I was last year. I don’t want people to look at me and be sad. I don’t want to worry about how much weight I’ll gain from a cup of coffee. I don’t want to feel the fat in a yogurt sitting on my skin and crawling in my flesh (all delusional as this isn’t possible and I knew this, but I swear down I actually did physically feel it). I don’t want to have to wear so many layers in June. I don’t want to collapse from going up stairs. It’s not actually worth it. Even clear skin. I think it’s actually really difficult to remember what starvation is like because your brain is just so different. I’m really glad I have journals from that time. Really glad because they show just how awful it was.

I know the earlier posts in this blog can be crazy looking, but seriously, it’s so much better than it was a few months before. I have pages of journal wondering whether to eat something I’d portioned out because I was convinced my parents were adding fats to my food to make me fat. So convinced I’d throw the food out rather than eat it. I have a whole page dedicated to whether or not to eat two slices of bread. I was supposed to have it with soup and butter, but I’d already decided soup wasn’t happening and butter was out of the question. This was at 5pm in the afternoon and it was supposed to be lunch and it was all I could think about. I was writing how much I wanted the bread and how I was crying and how it was too much food because I’d already had Weetabix that day. There’s a good half page on how uncomfortable I am when packets of food are open and half eaten in the fridge. I liked food to be unopened or finished. I didn’t like in between. At one point in June last year I made the Pa walk me to Tesco at midnight because I’d eaten way less than I’d meant to and refused to eat anything in the house, so wanted to get cereal bars so I’d at least reach 1000kcals that day. The next day, I wrote how glad I was I didn’t push my calories up with cake or chocolate. And this is all after treatment began.

It’s really easy to forget feeling this way. Every journal started with “Weighed XXlb today. Ate XXXkcals. Good/bad day. Do better tomorrow though.” Almost every single day for over a year I have a record of my weight to the decimal point and a record of calories to the exact number. I didn’t round or estimate. I have about 6 pages on exactly how I could make people believe I was eating what I was told whilst not eating it, followed by being confused as to why I wanted to do this and crying because I didn’t know if I was only cheating myself or whether it was actually sneaky and I would benefit from tricking my team. I wrote a list of “Good Things” and genuinely, the top of the list was more accurate food scales. It’s actually so upsetting to read it all because it’s tragic to me that it was really what worried me and what made me happy and all I had. Literally everything. And what’s most tragic is that I’ll be celebrating restriction and weight loss, worrying that I collapsed, desperately wanting to be well, crying because all I can think about is roast dinner and wishing I could exist on nothing all in the same entry. I wanted desperately to be different, but had so many conflicted thoughts.

So next time I want to be small again, I think I should spend a little more time actually thinking about it. I hated it. I talk about how I don’t feel better right now and emotionally, I don’t think I do, but my life is so much better than that. With all the difficulties and generally hating myself I have, it’s so much better. I may have gained weight, but I didn’t balloon uncontrollable or eat and eat forever like I thought I would, and now I’m able to eat and maintain a healthy weight and I’m not critically sick anymore. It’s so much better than this –

“Cakes are something I love. I should eat more cakes. Baked goods and desserts are so so tasty. However, if I eat them I always have to factor it in or purge. I can allow myself a cake if I don’t have any other lunch and dinner is 150kcals or under. I still feel fat, but because it fits I can deal with it. It’s not worth it really because I’ll probably get hungry, but I do like cake that much. Unlike other fats which bulk out and calorify my planned meals unnecessarily. However, I don’t think I could even buy myself a cake so it’s ok because I can’t eat them often. Other people have to buy it for me and I’m too ashamed to ask because they’ll think I give in too much. Plus I won’t eat them on my own because I might binge. I can only eat cakes if other people ask me and eat one too. I do like to look at them in shops and things though. I like to count the calories on all the packs even though I won’t eat the or even buy them.

At some point I’ll have to deal with this, but there are just so many weird tendencies and trying to get through them all is so hard. I wish I could just eat a cake. Instead I make them for other people so I can know for sure that they are eating more than I am so I can feel ok about eating at all. It’s safe if I eat less than others because then I’ll be smaller than them. Eventually.”



Filed under recovery

11 responses to “reminiscing.

  1. Long time lurker, first time commenter. You often mention that you hate your face, which baffles me because you seem to have a lovely face (nice full lips, deep brown eyes, fantastic cheek bones). What exactly don’t you like about it?

    • Blue eyes but thankyou.

      I mostly hate my face because it’s wonky. I have serious asymmetry. I’ve spent a long time researching what makes women less attractive and I basically tick all the boxes. Wonky, blemished, big nose, prominent chin, square jaw, thin lips (I know you said their full, but I get called lizard girl because of their reptilian thinness) etc. I just really hate it. I’ve asked plastic surgeons how they would fix it, but apparently the procedures needed would be so invasive and so risky that they’d rather not do it. Plus you know, it’s not like I have the money. My parents told me I was offered it by the NHS when I was a baby, but had to wait till I was old enough to consent, but the NHS have no record of this. I know my face is wonky though. I hold my head at an angle to make my eyes level and I have a squint. And I had to go to physiotherapy as a child to try to hold my head properly.

      Basically, it’s a rubbish face. All the unattrative things on one face. And I can’t fix it. It’s a bad scene.


      • You don’t have a rubbish face. Actually, I’m pretty sure the percentage of people with symmetrical faces is seriously low. Barely anyone has a symmetrical face!

        And the first thing the gyneacologist said when he popped me out (ceasarion) was; Your baby has a head like the headlight of a bicycle! So hey, let’s start a wonky-head club, the two of us

  2. Meg

    It is good to look back and see how far you have come. You have made huge progress and I know you don’t always recognise it. There is still work to be done, but nobody ever said it would be a quick and easy process so don’t expect to have a complete hold on everything just yet.

    Your thought processes sound so similar to mine, and sometimes it’s a bit of a battle ‘I don’t need/want to eat this I’m already fat’ but I always bloody eat it anyway.

    I like this post, it shows your progress. I know it feels like you’ve been dealing with this recovery thing for a long time, I do too, but you should be proud of yourself for getting this far xx

    • Oh my gosh though recovery is so much longer than you’d think it would be though. It’s ridiculous.

      I think it’s good to look back sometimes, even though it is sad to as well. It’s just so easy to forget how rubbish it is, and also just how far we’ve come. It’s really bloody far actually.


  3. I do see the happy in this reminiscing though. Awesome process. Seriously.

    Meg and I just talked about the being bigger than ever etc too. And looking back and seeiing that ‘then’ we were ‘nicely small’, yet ‘then’ we felt huge as well. Ugh. Have you discussed with your team though you somewhere, deep down (even though you’ll probably not wanna say it out loud) feel you might still be too small? That is a serious concern. Esp since you’re not having your menses yet either. Why not… try? I mean.. Yes, seriously so.

    The rest of your thoughtprocesses are eerily similar. Not trusting others’ food (had my secret stash of even the most random PRE-PACKED stuff, even if there was the same brand of PRE-PACKED stuff in the house..), cooking for others and enjoying the fact they were eating (= growing in my mind) and not me, etc. Still feel guilty for putting ‘extra’s’ in their food without them knowing. Me doing what I was scared they’d do to me, even though I might have needed it yet they never did it (errr.. If that made sense)

    And STOP READING STUFF THAT TRIGGERS YOU! I hope I wasnt the one to do that? I know I never give it a second thought because I dont get triggered by external factors so I forget that others do.

    But again, awesome progress. And indeed good to remember

    • It wasn’t you don’t worry. I wasn’t looking for something that triggered me and generally I’m not easily triggered, but I duno, it caught me off guard. Generally, I’m pretty fine with it. It wasn’t numbers or anything either, just the fact that I was jealous, even though she was having a rubbish time. I don’t know why I was jealous, I just wanted to eat less.

      I have talked to my team about maybe not being big enough. I honestly don’t know if I am. I think I was bigger before, but I’m not actually sure of that because I didn’t know my weight and my clothes didn’t fit. They’ve basically just said to try to maintain here for a few months and see what happens. If I happen to gain a few pound, I’m not allowed to lose it again, but just have to maintain the higher weight especially as I’m still without period. Apprently that can take a few months to start up again though for some people. I basically have one more appointment with my dietitian, and if I don’t have it by then, we’re going to make an appointment for six months down the line and start the gain game again. So I’ve got seven months to hope it comes back without needing more weight. Fingers crossed. But they know don’t worry.

      I had a pre-packaged food stash too. I’d take food from the kitchen almost as soon as we got groceries and hide it so it was untouched and there if I wanted it. I literally had so much food hidden. I put it in a box and wrapped that box up in duct tape so I couldn’t get at it. Then when I got more food, I’d have to take it all off, re-organise everything in the box, put new things in, then wrap it all up again. I feel awful about adding so much butter and oil and cream and stuff to all the cooking I did for others too though. And making them eat so much cake.

      Seriously crazy.

      Love x.

  4. So heartbreaking to read this, and I so relate. Look how far you have come! And sure, we all crave to have that ‘thinness’ back, but don’t forget all that came with it, don’t ever forget that you were a LOT more miserable than you are now. I even relate to your behaviours – why? Because it’s the starvation of the ED that drives them. Are you familiar with the Minnesota study?
    I agree, stop reading stuff that triggers you. I know it’s so tempting, but you know it’s not good for you and you know it triggers you. A huge part of the journey to recovery is growing up – in a lot of ways. I know that being prepared to be more responsible for myself and my actions was a huge part of moving forward for me. Being responsible enough to say, this is not at all good for me so I will avoid it. And then avoiding it.
    Being mature enough to say I don’t like how I feel, I don’t like my body, I don’t much like this world – but I’m here and I accept this and I’m going to work with what IS – is another thing I’m working hard to be. Someone likened AN to throwing a tantrum, about life, about everything. Sometimes I think they were right. I know there have been plenty of times where I’ve gone “this life SUCKS and I don’t want any part of it so I’m going to starve again SO THERE take that, world.”
    You have come such a long way, hon. I am proud of you and I hope you can see that you deserve to have a much better life than AN offers you.
    I had the most terrible acne when I was in my late teens, and my heart goes out to you, mine was painful, when I was dancing it burned from me being warmer, and itched. Everything seemed to make it worse. I ended up spending a lot of several months hiding in my room and became agoraphobic. I can totally relate – and I’m so sorry. Hang in there, it’s another thing that is NOT forever – and remember it’s not as bad to everyone else as it is to YOU because everyone else is too busy being wrapped up in their own business!
    Mine cleared up when I stopped using every single thing I could find to try and heal it and simply left it alone. I washed it with sorbelene and water, and used sorbelene as a moisturiser. Before that I’d tried every acne wash/cream/potion/lotion under the sun, and been on roaccutane too, with nothing but worse results. I will never ever take my skin for granted again. Hoping you get some relief soon, honey.
    Hang in there. You have come a long way, be proud of that. xxx

    • I didn’t mean to read triggering things, I just stumbled on it and assumed it wouldn’t bother me because I’m not easily triggered anymore. It just really caught me off guard. I actually had to just shut my laptop and sit in a different room from it though because once you start, it’s hard to stop. It was really annoying. I really didn’t look for it or want it in anyway. I really do stay away from anything I think will actually bother me.

      I actually think that about the tantrum thing though. I think AN is a bit like a vent. I’ve always kinda felt like I’m screaming all the time, willing someone to help me. With AN, it’s kinda a way to keep screaming, but no one else notices anymore. You can scream and no one thinks you’re weird. Until you start to lose the plot, but that takes a little bit of time.

      I’m getting seriously sick of my room because of this whole skin thing you know. I couldn’t even go to yoga because people would see. I’m still walking, but with hoods and hair in my eyes and glasses. I hope it’s not forever. I know for most people it isn’t, but for some people it is. I’m hoping the combo of BP, retinoid and antibiotic will fix me, but who knows. Plus it always takes ages. All the non-prescription stuff is useless anyway. It’s ok if you have like 2 spots, but if its worse, I can only use centain things. I get worse acne when my skin is really dry so I need moisture. Ultrabland is the one I think. On the realz. The less ingredients the better I think.

      Argh I hate faces.

      Thank you though. Sometimes I think it’s good to remember the progress because we get stuck in current problems, forgetting that it’s actually moving forward.

      Hope you are well x.

  5. You sound so much more positive in this post, it’s inspiring and awesome. :)

    It was the second anniversary of my first assessment a few months ago, and I remember thinking similar thoughts to you. Two years and I’m still not done- but I’m in a much, much better place than I was then.I’ve often thought that my life must have been easier when I was thin, but the other day I found some photos from a Christmas when I must have been near my lowest weight. They really upset me, because it was such a strong reminder of how awful I felt. I don’t want to look or feel that way ever again.

    Anyway- I know that this has already been said above, but you’ve done really well and come a long way in this year. You deserve to be really proud.

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