Friday, 30 May 2014

Things are not always what they seem

“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden."

- Phaedrus

These words describe exactly what I have come to fully realise this week. Has anyone else had one of those moments that really wakes them up? I'm sat here thinking about the Simpsons Movie when Homer has an epiphany, but that is really the best way I can describe my week!

A few days ago, I went to my local gourmet burger restaurant for dinner with a friend of mine. I can honestly say it is the first time ever that I have been true to myself. I think it's fair to say that eating out, especially a meal like burger and chips, is considered a treat meal and not something that is an everyday occurrence? Therefore, to an eating disordered person it evokes panic because chances are the meal is bigger than usual. Personally, I usually compensate somewhere if I'm eating out. I cut something out or do a bit more exercise, and then usually lie about it. Thing is, that's not normal. That's still disordered so it has to change.

I did change, I ate the whole meal (and yes, it was delicious and I'll no doubt be going back!). But, what I realised was that no matter what I say, people will still be questioning whether I'm being honest or not. I have been lying for so long that it is inevitable, and I don't blame people for doing so. Similarly, I am going to question what others say to me - it's the nature of the illness. No one really knows what others are doing, unless we are with them 24/7. I can tell you I've eaten three Mars bars, I can tweet about it, post a picture of all three. We find it easy to deceive, create a world that looks like we are trying so hard, inspiring everyone to do the same - but unless you've actually seen me eat those three Mars bars, only I will really know. 

I was proud of myself on Tuesday, I enjoyed myself and I lived. If that means being a few pounds heavier then so be it. I'll be healthier and able to enjoy my life 100%, so I must accept that.  But most of all, I decided that I don't want to be the hypocrite that does not practice what they preach. I don't want people to find me inspirational, if in reality, I'm a fake. 

Since then, I have put a stop to three bad habits. Maybe this meal out really was the motivation I needed. 





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Thursday, 22 May 2014

This ain't cute!

I realise by writing this, that I could cause some controversy as I feel like I am the only person who doesn't name their eating disorder but oh well, it's my blog ;)

Recently, and I'm not sure why now really because it's always been this way, but I have found myself becoming more freaked out by people to referring to their eating disorders as Ana, Mia and Ed. These names, to me, could also be used as teddy bear names that children use - something that is cuddly and cute.

Let me tell you, eating disorders ain't cute.

I get why naming your eating disorder can be a helpful technique. It is a way of making yourself accountable and distinguishing between your real thoughts and your eating disorders thoughts. But quite frankly, even that feels weird to write. Eating disorders aren't people with thoughts, they are deadly illnesses. In my opinion, they do not deserve names or to be personified.

Secondly, I am not two people. I am 100% Sam. Yes, some of my wires are a bit disordered and faulty but that does not make me Sam and Ana, or Sam and Ed. I am responsible for my own thoughts and the sooner I take responsibility, the sooner I recover. The amount of times I've heard 'well Ana says this' or 'Ed says that' is ridiculous. I just think the longer people blame Ana or Ed for their thoughts, the longer this goes on.

Maybe it is just me who is fed up of hearing these nicknames, but I really do wish we could just stop making eating disorders sound all pretty and delightful. They are anything but.

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Sunday, 18 May 2014

Great Manchester Run

So if you didn't know already, but I'm sure you do as I've not stopped talking about it on here for weeks, today I took part in the Great Manchester Run for VESL (to raise money to go to Thailand!).

It was the HOTTEST and longest run I have ever done but for those who are interested, I can proudly say I completed the 10k in 55 minutes and 13 seconds! Out of 40,000 people, I came in position 7542! I am so pleased with myself, it's a personal best for me - but to be honest, I'm glad to have finished regardless of the time, it just so hot!!

I am now off to put my feet up and enjoy an iced cold rekorderlig (whilst I stare at my medal haha, it has to be done right?)

Thank you for all of you who sent me messages of support - it really did spur me on! :-)




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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Mental Health Awareness Week '14

If you didn't know already, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the focus this year is on anxiety. We all have a mental health as well as a physical health, and there is no doubt when I say that there will an occasion where we have all experienced a degree of anxiety. Whether it's starting a new job, sitting an an exam or when facing longer issues such as financial or health problems.

However, for some people, anxiety is a problem which they battle everyday. I am lucky enough to say that anxiety isn't a daily problem for me any more, but it is definitely something that gets tangled up with an eating disorder. 

For me, I think my eating disorder developed as a way of coping with the anxiety which resulted from events in my life. My obsession with numbers, food, losing weight and the scales was a way of distracting myself from the real world. It gave my mind something else to think about and do! It was ridiculous way of coping with anxiety, but hey, shit happens. 

The more I became consumed by my eating disorder, anxiety then manifests in other ways. For example, when someone suggests going out for a meal, having no 'safe' food in the house or not being able to continuously weigh yourself. At one point, this would cause extreme panic and severe anxiety. Turns out that coping mechanism which initially worked, was actually a crap (and very dangerous!) coping mechanism.

Now, I think one aspect of recovery is learning how to manage anxiety safely. It's about developing new coping mechanisms that actually work and it's about learning how to reduce anxiety. After a lot of work and perseverance, some (and eventually all) of those anxiety provoking things, cause no anxiety at all.

I am not the biggest mental health campaigner but I know one thing for sure. The more we talk about mental health, the more chance we have of reducing stigma and actually recovering properly. By analysing how anxiety gets caught up with any mental illness, we can begin the first steps to detangling it all, and start living our lives again without the torture that mental illness brings. 


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Monday, 12 May 2014

End of Year 2

It feels so surreal to even be writing this. In my mind, it feels like only yesterday in which I was buying my new things to come to Uni as a fresher. Yet, today I sat my final exam of second year, said goodbye to my housemates and have arrived home for the summer. 

It's true when they say that second year is so much harder than the first. This exam season has been such a rollercoaster - stress, anger, laughter and eventually just not giving a care in the world any more. I have spent many nights in with my housemate, watching films and drinking rekorderlig (yes, ME!). Eventually though, I think all of the revision has paid off because I came out of the exam hall this morning feeling quietly confident. And, if I've done terribly, well I definitely tried my best!

This year, for me, has been the year that I've begun to get my life back. I've made long lasting friendships, taken impulsive risks and eaten cake. I think a life without cake is hardly worth living at all, right? Sounds corny, but I shall definitely remember my second year of Uni as being a very good year.

I am now going to spend the upcoming week training for the 10k run! I only have 2 more training runs to do before the big day which is actually becoming quite exciting (and nerve wracking) to think about! After that, I am focusing on my recovery and planning properly for Thailand, which is only 2 months away! I am also just going to chill and enjoy reading, something in which I've missed a lot! Apologies for the quality of the photo - I'm putting it in to remind myself that I actually survived this exam season ;)





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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Thank you!

So last night whilst watching Harry Potter revising, I received two emails - both of which were donations to my justgiving page for Thailand. Long story short..


 I HAVE NOW HIT THE £740 TARGET!
This post is just to say a HUGE thank you to anyone who donated, shared my page, tweeted or even blogged about me. I could never have raised this much without your help and I really can't thank you enough. As a little thank you (not sure how it thanks you but maybe seeing me work hard?), I shall be hitting the streets of Manchester to run 10k on 18th May! I shall keep you updated on how that goes afterwards :-)

Once again, thank you so much. I promise to make this trip the best thing I ever do and make sure that nothing holds me back.

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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Recovery moments

Today has been one of those days in which you know that fighting for recovery is 100% worth it. My good friend, Sarah, came to visit me in my local city, for a day of shopping, sight seeing, chatting and good food. 

I took Sarah around Liverpool, visiting every store possible, attempting to be a good tour guide as we went! I also took her to my favourite place for lunch, Yosushi, somewhere she has never been before. What made this extra special, was that Sarah also has her own demons to face, so the fact we could enjoy this together made for some great moments. 


As Sarah had done this for me, I felt it only fair to challenge myself today too - and what better than having my first ever Krispy Kreme? Why I have waited so long to try one of these is beyond me because it certainly won't be the last! It was also just lovely to be eating a doughnut with a friend on a girlie day out - THAT is what living is.


But, this day wasn't just about food. It was taking a million stupid selfies, it was trying on clothes, it was talking about everything and anything, laughter and friendship. The fact we could enjoy what we wanted just made the day even sweeter. Days like today are rarely seen when you are consumed by an eating disorder, so although this is normal to most other people, today is home to some brilliant memories for me and Sarah. And, I know that this is only the start of many more great days to come.


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