My name is Sophie and I am raising my hand unashamedly to admit that “I suffered from an eating disorder.” ….I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa aged 18 and it sadly stole 10 years of my life. It burned bridges, sabotaged opportunities and severed relationships, leaving destruction in its wake. It tore apart my world and it hurt those around me.
The disorder crept up on me and there began to become an alteration in my thinking, as the anorexias strengthening energy began to distort my thoughts, my behaviours and my opinions and not just those relating to food... until the anorexic voice became the only voice I could hear.
The “anorexic voice” was an intense and forceful higher power and it could get angry, very angry. Impatient and unkind. Brutal and ruthless. Strangely at the same time though, the voice had a mesmerising and hypnotic tone to it. It was very persuasive and plausible..promising me numbness and solace from my troubles. What I didn’t realise though, is that this promise came at a price. The highest price possible, my mind, my emotions, my body and my soul and what it wanted most was my life.
In the depths of my illness, the disorder distorted everything about me physically, mentally, emotionally and interpersonally. I was engulfed in an eclipse and held within its grasp.
The eating disorder rules, regulations, ridicules and punishments became my reflex in everyday actions…..with its “no compromise” policy, its unrealistic goals and expectations and “eating disordered behaviours” …it was the all consuming reality to my everyday life.
In the beginning for me, it wasn't all about losing weight, it was just a way to make myself feel better, a way to give myself a false sense of confidence and the ability to deal with the pressures of social situations, college and life in general. I wanted to be more at ease with myself and more comfortable in my own skin…I wanted to numb out the emotional pain that I was desperately trying to bury, just so I didn’t have to feel.
For me, it was about having control over my life when everything seemed so out of control. I felt unable to cope and deal with the stressors and responsibilities that came with adulthood. Triggers, trauma and bad memories in my past lurked in the shadows…..
As the number on the scale went down, the more addictive it became and its intentions became ever more body focussed.... significantly highlighting my strong sense of self dissatisfaction and numerous vices. As the illness progressed and the number continued to fall, I got an immense sense of gratification and for once in my life I felt good at something.
Subsequent hospitalisations followed, residential stays etc…I won’t dwell on the past, the illness is what it is and it manifests itself in different ways. No ones illness or journey is the same and there certainly is no hierarchy or superiority in how the disease presents and manifests.
A life is a life and every struggle is a hardship. Who’s to say one person is worse that another?
"How deep is the mud ?
Depends on who you ask.
We all get through the same stuff differently. "
We are the only ones who can change the way we think, act and do.
Now 20 something, anorexia has robbed me of my prime young adult years and its impending milestones. The years where you begin to grow, explore and find your niche in life. Many of the “firsts” I never experienced at the same time as others my age. Such as university, graduation, a career, relationships, friendships and significant events etc..
Albeit hard, I have learned to accept and not to dwell or be bitter about this. Life is not a race, there is no timetable, it's your journey and nothing is off schedule. Where you are right now is exactly where you are meant to be at this moment in time.
For the first time in my life, I am changing and I am emerging out of my shell. I am now paving my way through life and calving out my path… I will no longer be the spectator. This is the beginning of my life. What can I say?… I’m a late starter! I have formed new foundations from scratch, foundations that are much stronger and sturdier than before, which are built on honestly and healthy expression. Slowly piece by piece my crazy puzzle of a life is creating an image of what life could be like. Entering the world again after being absent from it mentally for so long, is daunting but rather exciting at the same time.. FREEDOM for me is a chance to move on and forget, giving me the chance to express and channel my true self. I refuse to be defined.....
My biggest passion and achievement to date is being able to say that I have now recovered from my eating disorder.
Flexibility, Freedom and Happiness…
Recovery to me is healthiness, it is safety and it is sacrosanct. The ultimate power to think, say and do what you want, when you want. To Live….Breathe and Function in a world where you can connect with others on a safe and healthy level. Where you can make and maintain relationships and form foundations for a meaningful life and a presence that radiates light, happiness and growth.
When you feel like giving in to your ED behaviours, remember why you have held on for so long….
Illustrate your future and animate it with colour…..
Our journey to our, “Recovered Self”......
It hurts and It takes time.
You need to relinquish all power.
It takes strength, it takes willpower, it takes dedication.
You have to want it...I mean really want it.
There will be sacrifices and there will be temptation.
Never apologise for how you feel and never apologise for being real, authentic and true to yourself....and you will get there.
Gratitudes in my opinion are one of the greatest virtues in life, showing so much power, positivity and promise. Some days are more positive than others.....but I try and always have the willingness to make those days better in whatever way I can.....by trying to find the greatest blessings in life and appreciate the good things and also value the little things, for they can make all the difference.
Today I show my gratitude for...
The bracing breeze on Autumn mornings, the mellow tunes of nature calling, the crunch of leaves, the colours, the reds, the oranges.
Cold Winter nights….log fires and bonfires, red hot sparkles fly. Faded leaves that drift away and the icy wind that takes your breath away swirling in your face and the silent muffle of time gone by.
Warm Spring showers and the burst of rainbow, spring is in the air as beauty blooms as the long cold Winter melts away.
Long warm Summer days, the yellow sun burning fire in its brightness, freshly cut grass, the tranquil trickle of flowing rocky rivers.
Early mornings .....with a clear infinite sky illustrating the stunning brightness of orange and pink plumes of the early beauty of the rising sun...
And as dusk approaches, the setting sun burns fire amongst the melting sky......
Of Buddhist culture, this symbol represents a journey to enlightenment.
Life's path isn’t always straight, predictable or perfect and inevitably it has many twists and turns.
The straight lines represent reaching your destination of peace and harmony.