I very rarely write about being a younger person with disordered eating. Partly because everything I knew and taught myself about hiding and being ‘succesful’ with it I learned through reading the forums, blogs, accounts and memoirs of other sufferers and survivors. Their grim stories of ‘I was so unwell this is what I did’ became my plans. Their ‘at my worst I weighed xx’ became my goals. Awful but true.
Frankly though, I just don’t like talking about it. And I don’t need to. I’m a decade past my last incident and am confident that I am okay.
Sometimes though, the world forces you to look back. To remenber. And for me, to be grateful.
I had an amazing friend at uni. Smart, funny, artistic and beautiful. As friends we get along more like sisters. As teenagers that meant we drove each other crazy, borrowed each others clothes and occasionally liked the same boys. And she happened to save my life that year.
Living with me is not fun. Never has been. Likely never will. Ask my parents, sibling, the million flatmates, the Captain and my boys. But this year was particularly rough.
I would sometimes freak out so badly thinking I was so awfully fat that I couldn’t leave the house. I journalled obsessively and was a psycho about my privacy. I once got myself so upset about my body that I tripped out and stayed barricaded in the bathroom for quite a few hours, most of that in a cold shower.
She doesn’t ask questions, my friend. She’s just there.
As the year went on; I started to get sick. Not the obvious skeletal sick, but the worn-down slow-fade kinda sick.
She didn’t ask questions, my friend. She told me to get in the car.
I was too tired to argue.
To this day I can’t really explain what happened next.
I think she kidnapped me.
I remember a winding road that made my stomach lurch.
I remember a small country supermarket with strip fluroscent lighting that gave me a panic attack so bad I had to wait outside for her, gripping the roof of her car praying for my heart not to explode.
And then, peace.
It was a tiny cabin. With books to read and cushions in the sunlight on the floor.
She still didn’t ask questions, my friend.
She did make me drink really strong blue Cottee’s cordial for the first and last time in my life. But somehow, the calories didn’t matter.
She didn’t force me to eat. She took me for a walk along the beach and when we got back, there was food. And I wanted to eat it. Because I wanted to be able to walk it again tomorrow. I wanted to be better.
I got to walk along that beach again today.
She never asked questions. Not then. Not in the forever since then that she has continued to be an amazing positive presence in my life.
I am incredibly grateful. And lucky.
******* This is where I stopped writing for a few hours toying with the idea of deleting this post *******
This is the other reason I avoid writing about my experiences. If this post feels like it trivialises eating disorders or over-simplifies recovery – I don’t in any way mean it to.
My friend is not the magical unicorn. She did not cure me with blue Cottee’s and a walk on the beach. What happened there was she happened to know me well enough to see a crack in the wall I was building. It very well could have backfired. But for me, it was a start. I might add, the start of the next two years of relapses and fighting myself and learning to be okay.
If you or someone you know is struggling with disordered eating, I really recommend having a chat with these guys;
All my love in Health and Strength,