Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Travel

Something that I am learning to appreciate more and more, is travelling. As someone who has lived most of their life, living in the same town and only travelling within a few miles to see relatives, I have really started to begin to see how beautiful travelling really is.
This year I have been lucky enough to move near Liverpool, a city in which I have fallen in love with. This place is probably where I have 'grown' the most. Learning how to travel into the city, navigating my way around, seeing the sights the city has to offer, and of course shopping and dining. This experience alone, has given me the confidence to explore some more of the UK. I have been able to visit London, Manchester and this bank holiday weekend, Nottingham. 
I have spent the last few days, visiting my best friend and completing our holiday shop. Aside from the fantastic company and endless laughter, I have been able to see some more of this beautiful country. The city is not exactly what I expected, much more spacious, but grand nevertheless. It was also nice to see the River Trent from a close bridge. It's not often that I stop and actually take in my surroundings. It's definitely something in which I should do more because Britain really does have some beautiful scenery which is often taken for granted.


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Friday, 24 May 2013

But you're recovered now..

One thing that is getting to me at the moment is how everyone assumes that I'm fine. Yes, I am mostly weight restored and appear healthy and happy, living my life again.
Since returning home, I have gained a work experience placement at my local Mental Health Unit, attended job interviews (who knows if I succeeded!), met up with friends for drinks, laughed, read and exercised. I am trying so hard to get my life back, after losing 2 years to mental health problems but this does not mean that I am 'recovered'. 

I was filling some forms out and one question asked 
Have you had an serious illness in the past? 
Firstly, how do you define 'serious'? What makes an illness serious? Does it have to be life threatening? Anyway, I asked my Mum what I should put. Her response 'No and in any case, you're recovered now'. I turned to someone else, someone I trust with my life. 'Well, you weren't really diagnosed and you decided against treatment.. so no'. 
A) I was diagnosed (and I got the report out to prove this)
and B) has that what this has come to? I have to have a diagnosis to actually have an illness?
I am feeling extremely let down by the people I love at the moment. The issue with mental illnesses are exactly that. They are an illness of the mind, therefore, you cannot see them! Just because everything appears OK on the surface doesn't necessarily mean everything is OK underneath. 
I did write 'No' on that form, in the end. As for why? I don't know. Maybe I just want to appear normal or just please everyone. Maybe my Mum says I'm recovered because she's ashamed of having a crazy daughter or maybe I'm still ashamed of all of this.
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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Let's Get Physical?

I know I'm a little late to the party but this week is Mental Health Awareness Week 2013, and this year's theme is Let's Get Physical! I've thought a little about it, before just typing away telling you all to move your bums, join a fitness class, run a mile or five.. here's where I stand.
To me this theme is a little controversial! Sure, I don't disagree that exercising is great for boosting your mood as it's widely known that exercise kick starts the endorphin release. However, as someone who is recovering from an eating disorder, I'm not sure that this is right for me and/or those who are more ill and consumed by this terrible illness.

Exercising when you are extremely underweight and controlled by deadly, sick fitness instructor is NOT going to be good for your mental well being. Even as someone who is almost weight restored and physically healthy should not be exercising when it's for the wrong reasons.

Go on, it's only another mile, another 5 laps
Don't take the bus, it's only an hour walk
You've eaten today so burn it off!

These are only a few of the destructive comments drifting through the head of someone who has an eating disorder. Me personally would be on the cross trainer everyday, not stopping until I'd burned enough, ran far enough. Basically, until I felt I'd pass out. I was someone who should definitely not be exercising because it's causing more damage than good. I can only advise you become LESS physical, if this is you.
On the other hand, I am doing the Race for Life in 8 weeks, so walked/jogged the 5k today. There was no pushing myself harder, to pound the pavements for the entire distance. I took my time and slowed where I needed to. I did that as me and not someone controlled my a mental illness!





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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Carnage

I returned home today after finishing my first year at Uni! It's weird to think I'm no longer a fresher and the hard work really begins in September, but I am ready to progress further.
However, I decided I had to celebrate and end the year in style on Sunday so forced myself to go to Carnage in Liverpool. If you don't know what Carnage is, it's a big student night out in a big city, in which all the students from the surrounding Uni's can go. They are usually themed and this time it was Baywatch.
If I'm honest, I hate nights out. I don't really drink, I get tired easily and often hide in corner BUT when I decide I'm going to have a good time, and not let my mental health control me, I do have a good time. We came back just after 3am, and I was hanging all day Monday, but I am proud to say that I said yes, I went out and stopped hiding away in my room! I'd say it was a huge positive for me :-)
Here are just a few pictures of the night





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Monday, 6 May 2013

Trousers

I have just unpicked my work trousers. 

At my lowest weight, I refused to buy clothes that were extremely small, so that if I ever put weight on they'd still fit and I wouldn't feel as bad. However, it just meant I have to take some in because they fell off! Anyway, the time has come to finally give myself the room intended. A moment I want to document because after putting it off for weeks and desperately clinging onto 'sick' clothes, I have finally gotten rid of them. I thought I'd feel absolutely terrible, but actually it's quite liberating. I feel as though I've achieved something and I'm proud of myself. I still hate weight gain - I ALWAYS will. But, feeling healthy and being healthy is becoming increasingly more important to me. I am genuinely pleased with I see a genuine smile in the mirror, rather than a fake one I've displaying for so long.

Health > Thin

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Thursday, 2 May 2013

Year One Complete

This morning, I sat my final exam for this year, achieving a respectable 80%. The perfectionist within me is still disappointed but overall, I am happy :-)
I really don't know where the year has gone. It only seems like 5 minutes that I was arriving with suitcases to move in. That timid, vulnerable girl embarking on a new chapter in life, a life away from home with the freedom to either become consumed even more by my illness or choose to start living and recovering. The choice to recover has to be the best choice I have ever made.
So much has changed over the past year. It's weird to think that this time last year, I was sitting my A-Levels, barely able to lift my head up due to lack of energy. I was toying with the idea of postponing Uni because I knew I'd never cope. Lectures, assignments, part time work and then learning to live alone seemed impossible. It's difficult for the average person, let alone someone who is slowly destroying themselves. 
When I look back on this past academic year, I realize how much I have grown. Moving out, travelling across the country to meet friends, booking a holiday, joining yoga, gaining a stone - these are all things that I have to be proud of. I'm not there yet but I am starting to live my life again. 
My outlook on life has completely changed. I am learning to embrace the present and live in the moment. If I want more moments, then I have to be strong and healthy, not tired, weak and skeletal. My aim in life isn't the the thinnest person any more. It is to enjoy what I have and who I am. I may not fully like myself yet, but I will never be anyone else, so I have to accept and like this. I have met so many people this year, many of which have had a huge impact on my confidence. For this, I will be eternally grateful.
I am off home in 12 days and I am going to enjoy my summer. Recovery focused and friend orientated!

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