Today, on the Friday of EDAW 2014 (eating disorders awareness week), is the 214th day of my admission into ‘The Retreat’ in York for my eating disorder. Today I managed to enter the hospital’s bake off competition with a cake I had made… at the last bake off, held in September, I had managed to only just stay in the room because of the strength of the smell of the cakes. A lot has changed in the last 31 (approx.) weeks. I would love to say that I’m recovered but that wouldn’t be true at all, but I can safely say I’m well on the start of the long journey that will be my recovery from my eating disorder. Eating disorder awareness week is an important week of raising awareness and funds mainly for the UK eating disorder charity B-eat who do a really amazing job of supporting and helping those with eating disorders. Eating disorders are a condition that can affect anyone at any time in their lives. I have had the privaledge to complete my journey on the ‘Naomi program’ with some of the strongest women I have ever met.
Eating disorders come in all different varieties. I think the common misconception is that eating disorders only affect young, white women who choose to restrict their food intake until they are very underweight. Weight isn’t an indication of how unwell a person is. During the time I have had my eating disorder, I have been a variety of different weights and even though I am now maintaining a healthy weight, I still very much have an eating disorder.
For me, my eating disorder wasn’t really about the food or my weight. It has/had a lot more functions than I ever realised but I’m now learning a new way of life and slowly but surely I’m fighting for the life I want to be living and the future I want. I think of eating disorders like having a glass of fruit juice that’s been diluted. The sufferer is the fruit juice and their eating disorder is the water. The eating disorder dilutes the person until it’s hard to see them but with help they can find themselves again and gradually get more concentrated. The person is there, it can just be hard to see them. I’ve blogged about my eating disorder before and I encourage people to read and to learn more about eating disorders. They aren’t the stereotypes that are shown to us in the media e.t.c. they are so different from person to person and unfortunately there isn’t any one cure for them.
|Dog walking after Christmas, learning to love the ‘recovered me’|
When I agreed to come on to the Naomi program, I had agreed to be here for 6 weeks. Six weeks has become what will be nine months as an inpatient, something I really didn’t think I needed when I started this part of my journey. It’s funny, I thought I could do a quick fix of treatment and be better. I am so glad I stayed and am on the way to completing the full Naomi program. I’ve learnt so much about myself and so many really useful skills that I really hope will equip me to be really recovered one day. I believe I will be and I urge anyone who is worried about their relationship with food to get help. It’s so worth it to not have to be completely controlled by food and be able to actually experience life. B-eat have recently completed some research into the cost of eating disorders in the UK and an overwhelming message is that earlier interventions and help would reduce the amount of money spent on eating disorder treatment… in other words, if you seek support earlier you can get well quicker.
For me, recovery is becoming a norm that often I don’t really like but can manage. It’s not all rosy and nicey-nicey, sometimes it’s rubbish but the promise of it not being rubbish forever keeps me going. You can’t experience the good without having to experience the difficult too and I am sure I want to strive for the good!
I’m tired so no doubt my blog tonight might be a bit of a waffly muddle, but hopefully I will have come close to doing justice to what an important topic this is!