Monday, 24 February 2014

EDAW 2014: My Story

If you didn't know already, this week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2014! It's about talking about Eating Disorders, breaking stigma and misconceptions, simply asking someone how they are.. the list goes on.

I've talked a lot about my present, on this blog, but thinking about it properly, I'm not sure that you know how and why I got to where I am today. This might be a long post, but hopefully if you stick it out until the end, your opinion/perception of Eating Disorders may have changed, and you may feel more knowledgeable and comfortable if you find yourself in a conversation about Eating Disorders.

Rewind to 2011, end of year 11 and I'm doing my GCSE's. I am happy, bubbly and confident, with a great friendship group. I'm getting good grades and looking forward to a summer of relaxing, shopping and spending time with my friends. I should also mention that I'm morbidly obese - did this matter? Not until one tiny comment and I actually acknowledged my behaviour.

I come from a dysfunctional family (who doesn't these days?) and without being extremely personal, my Step dad passed away after months of family trouble. I didn't really realise, but I saw comfort in food. As soon as everyone had gone to bed, I'd hit the fridge and cupboards, binging on junk food. Physically not being able to stop. Was I bothered? Not that I thought. I enjoy food so what was the problem? Well, one of my biggest passions, is music and singing. I was part of a musical society, and auditions were coming up for a part of a young girl. Without sounding big headed, I can sing and perform. There was no reason as to why I couldn't have got this particular part, as I was the only young girl in the society. 

'There is no one here that is young enough or thin enough'

I think I will carry those words to my grave. Nevertheless, they were the turning point and I began to lose weight. There was no way on earth that my size would prevent me from doing the one thing I loved more than anything. It was healthy at first - healthy meals, nutritious snacks and always including a treat of fish 'n' chips each week. My dress size decreased and my confidence increased even more! I loved life.

Fast forward to my year 13 prom (2 years later), I'm now underweight and I'm still losing weight. Only now, I'm addicted and can't stop. I'm obsessed with the scales, calories and exercise. I don't socialise, I only go out to work or 6th form and I am always revising for my A-Levels. I spend hours online, researching foods, devising plans to cut more calories out, making excuses for not going here or there. Lying is second nature, hiding in baggy clothes is normal, baths are painful because it hurts to sit for too long, I'm freezing in summer and I can barely sleep because I don't have enough fuel in order to switch off. I don't see how I'll ever eat again because I'll end up that morbidly obese girl again - but it's OK because I'm still losing weight!

God knows how, but I actually passed my A-Levels and got into University to study Psychology. At the same time, a very special friend of mine persuaded me to seek help. It was at this point that I was diagnosed with Anorexia, and I had a choice - wait 6 months at home for treatment, or go to University. I chose the latter because of my friend, and have never looked back. She is my motivation and I'm recovering for her as well as myself. A sort of 'thank you for saving my life'. It was questioned as to whether I've had an eating disorder for a very long time and simply switched coping mechanisms. I guess it just goes to show, you can be ill at any weight.

I was the hardest decision of my life but the best one by far, but it's true what they say 'Your worst day in recovery is still better than the best day when you are ill'. I am recovering alone, which has meant slow and gradual increases and changes. But you know what? I'm getting there! I've put weight on, I've ditched the scales and counting isn't an obsession any more. I received a scholarship for my Uni grade last year, I've traveled the country, I volunteer for a mental health group, I work part time, have the best friends and as you know, I'm volunteering in Thailand this summer! I genuinely didn't think I'd ever be writing that!! 

I am living proof that recovery is possible. I'm not there yet but I will be one day, and won't stop until I am! In the mean time, I'm getting my life back each day at a time. Life is too short to starve - I have adventures to be going on, food to be enjoyed, people to see and places to go! 

I have a life to be living, without an eating disorder.


Josie said...

Well done for writing this Sam, I'm sure it was tough! I'm sorry you've been through so much, looking at where you are now though must make you so proud...I know I'm super proud of you! xxx

Daisy & Khyati | Westfield Merry Hill said...

I'm definitely echoing Josie's comment...I'm so proud of you as well!! It was really interesting to read your story and all the trials and tribulations you've been through to become the Sam you are today. I know how tough it is to write these things so I massively respect you for sharing your story with the world.
And recovery is a long long road, I'm just so glad you're on that road :) xxxx

hannah said...

I'm so proud of you for sharing your story and for how far you've come in your journey. You're doing so well, and what a brave decision you made to go to uni instead of waiting for help at home. I'm so glad you made it, and I'm so glad it's working out for you :) your journey to recovery is evident in a lot of your posts, and it makes me happy to know you're on the right path. xxx

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