Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Through lying eyes - Final Part

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When we last heard from my friend and guest post writer, she had started her long road to recovery from anorexia. In this post she completes her remarkable story and brings us up to the here and now. 

After my bout of hospital admissions, denials, and acceptances, my journey seemed to go nowhere for a few years. I just cruised along at my safe leisurely pace of "recovery". I left hospital for the final time accepting of my illness, accepting of the need for recovery, and accepting that life would be better once I was better. Yet that pull of yes, no, yes, no, was still ingrained in my behavioural process.

Four years after my first admission to hospital with anorexia, depression became my primary diagnosis.

 Depression for me was always there, but the professionals never knew with me, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Once I was accepting of treatment, my past unraveled, and yes, I had suffered depression, or the markers for depression, for most of my young life. Hindsight is a fabulous thing.

After four hospital admissions, my dislike for hospital intensified, and it was somewhere I never wanted to return to. And not because it's a place where they make you eat and you lose control of your anorexia, but because of the feelings that arose whilst there. The competitiveness, bitchiness, anger, and full-on hellish emotions you've suppressed for the previous however many years that when in treatment, come raging to the surface in a flurry.

I'd "outgrown" all the behavioural aspects of anorexia. The vying for attention, the food games and rituals, the effort needed to starve and lose weight.....Now my task was to work on the emotional side of things. The real journey to recovery began!

I was now 27 and had another 6 years of recovery to go. If I'd known that at the time, I would have felt this was never going to end...
I stumbled across the person whom I feel has been the most significant person in my whole treatment process, and who has done the hard yards with me. My counsellor of 11 years - she's seen me at my best, worst, and everything in between!! (If she were a friend, she would have bolted long ago, unable to cope with the fluctuations of my life). Together we have worked tirelessly - and exhaustively!

People often ask me, "What was it? What caused your anorexia, what made you get better?". That's something I can't easily answer. Everyone who suffers an eating disorder is different, but for me the cause was an accumulation of childhood anxieties, insecurities, parental influence, and my own fragile personality.

What made me get better was an accumulation also, of events, self-growth, understanding and acceptance, and forming a solid, stable, loving relationship with my, now, fiance - love of which I'd never experienced before. This one came last, the end of my rough ride, beginning the best years of my life.

I've learnt that until you love yourself, you can't expect anyone else to love you.

I now have strength I thought I'd never have. I still have insecurities, shyness, and like every woman, days when I look in the mirror and cringe, but I would now say I'm normal. I have no food hangups, I love life, and I wish more than anything that I'd allowed myself to enjoy my younger years as much as I'm enjoying life now!!
My journey with anorexia feels like it happened a lifetime ago, and to someone else. I look back and feel I am watching a movie. I don't remember a lot, but that has to be my subconscious protecting me. BUT being the meticulous detail person I am, I have it all recorded in almost 20 years of diaries! Diaries of which I can't quite bring myself to read and re-live yet. The first time round was more than enough thank you!

I will leave you with the knowledge that no matter what life throws at you, if your drive to get through it is there, the light at the end of the tunnel will eventually be blinding! Never never never give up. We all suffer adversity and traumas in life, but it's how we come out the other end that matters.

Indeed dear friend. Indeed.

The wraps up our four-part series on anorexia. I hope you have found my friend's heart-felt story and amazing insight into the illness that stole the better part of her youth, as interesting as I have. I can't help but think that she is one of the lucky ones. She survived to tell the tale. My heart goes out to all of you who may have been touched by this terrible mental health condition and to anyone who has lost a friend or sister or brother or relative or neighbour to its clutches.

Please leave my friend some of your thoughts.

I am trying to convince her to put her writing talents to work and start her own blog... maybe after the wedding :)

Please don't forget to skip over to Twin Trials and Triumphs to read my Guest Post today :)


Maxabella said...

My goodness that was some difficult reading over the four parts. But this last part has just been utterly uplifting. Well done, brave woman. You made it. x

Rebecca said...

Agreed...if she wrote her own blog, she could help so many people. I applaud her openness here.

Loved the guest post BTW!

life in a pink fibro said...

Am so glad your friend has come through her journey. It does get better, doesn't it? If only more people knew that, perhaps the suicide rate amongst our young people wouldn't be so high.

x0xJ said...

I love a good happy ending!
Your friends story was remarkable and she should definately start blogging.
I definately agree with her about your mind blocking out certain things to protect you.

Anonymous said...

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.

Cate said...

I wish I'd read these posts at the time they were published! I'm sitting here searching madly through your archives trying to find each next installment...such a captivating story. I can't believe she had the resilience to keep pushing against it for 11 years of recovery! What a road!
Well done to your friend - she must be so proud of herself :-)

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