Realisation and (hopefully) Recovery.

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Today after encouragement from Dave, I have made time to come back to this blog.

The reason I have been neglecting I Don’t Eat Cake is due to lots of things distracting me from my weekly posts but that’s no excuse! So here is what’s been going on…..

First of all, I have a job! Yipee! After three years of being ‘self-employed’ and without a real full-time wage, I am now Marketing Assistant for an amazing Estate on the North Yorkshire Coast. My office is made up of young, talented and driven people, who all want to push the business forward. I am in awe of how good they are at their jobs!! Very positive vibes all round! Also people actually like my ideas, and let me go ahead with them! This is momentous, as I actually feel my confidence increasing with the realisation that I am quite good at my job, but having only ever done it for myself, have previously not had anyone to confirm it and encourage me.

Taking on a new full time role, has obviously taken A LOT of self-adjustment. The first week I had to go to bed at 8.30pm every night, to fit in my 6am workouts. I also had to spend half an hour on Sunday prepping 3 lunches and writing meal plans. My life has gone from being all about food and exercise and unlimited free time, to food and exercise and full time work and on top of that Uni lectures and assignments.

As a result of this dramatic change to my lifestyle, I have increasingly become more and more focused on food, restriction and over exercising. Eating disorders are all about control. When life changes, the one thing that can be controlled is calories in and calories out. The behaviour I thought was normal, such as restricting all week (which I thought was just regular eating) followed by weekend binging (which I also thought was normal) brought on such massive feelings of guilt that it meant I increased my binge/ purge cycle- which has been going on for a few years, on and off, and which I also thought was normal.

Along with this, and most recently, I have developed extreme anxiety when around (or mentions of) food and social situations involving food, ridiculous sugar cravings and panic attacks.

This has led to distress in my relationship, and worry from family and friends.

Food is now the enemy. All I want is to be back at the time ‘before’ my eating disorder started. I envy my friends who can go to a restaurant, with no over planning about where they are going to be eating, no contemplating if they can actually eat the food, and then deciding they can’t go because they can’t cope with temptation and the guilt if a binge occurs. I long for the day when I can just go, enjoy the experience and eat what I want.

I’m not even trying to lose weight, but because I am a perfectionist in regards to body image, I see myself as bigger than I am. I am the same weight as usual, same measurements, same clothes size but I can’t see myself how others do, I just think, ‘I could be better’. This creates a terrible numbness and fatigue. It is emotionally draining to have these constant thoughts swimming around my head day in and day out, distracting me from enjoying the here and now. The only positive is that I get all my Uni work done because it is the one time I can’t think about food.

In between all this I have managed to injure my back, due to overtraining and my body adjusting from being constantly active to being sat for long periods of time.

Being me, and the exercise obsessive that I am, it took a lot of convincing from others for me to calm down the workouts and take it a bit easier. This involved ditching the heavy deadlifts and reverting back to the cross trainer. (cry!!). I survived (and didn’t get fat) and now nearly 2 months down the line, after lots of stretching and cardio, it is slowly improving. This highlighted how with small changes, and help, I could recover from injury. Maybe slowly, I could get help and recover from my eating problems too?

After taking the plunge and seeking help and guidance, I have been diagnosed with EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). I want to talk about this openly, as I feel it shouldn’t be seen as a taboo subject, and in fact this is one of the main reasons I have not recognised it in the past, due to lack of knowledge and feelings of shame. I need to raise awareness so others can see that there is help available, and I hope none of my friends ever have to go through this, but if they are, you are not alone!! B-eat has helped me start to work out how to unravel and sort out this mess! It’s a really great online resource and again, highlights the behaviours of someone with an eating disorder, it was a breakthrough moment for me!

So that is where I am today. I am the worst I have ever been, and struggle to get through the day without tears. I have accepted it will be a hard and sometimes painful slog, but I am willing to do it, to maintain my quality of life and my important relationships. Most of all, I want to enjoy food again and just be happy.

I have my friends, family and colleagues behind me, now I just need to put one foot in front of the other and start the long road to recovery.  Let’s see how it goes.

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