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beating anorexia

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self portrait
i’ve debated for a long time whether i should write this or not, but i figured if it helps just one person, then it’s been worthwhile. it’s a hard thing to write about partly because i’ve never talked to anyone about it before. i’ve made the rare passing comment, but never talked about it in detail.

okay, so.

as you may have guessed from the title, i want to talk about anorexia. and that you can recover from it. but with anything like this, you have to want to. it is so, so hard to bring yourself to eat ‘normal’, healthy amounts of food when eating is the complete opposite of what you want to do. this is just my experience, and it will be different for everybody.

it first started for me when i was about 17 or 18. it didn’t stem from wanting to be like slim models in magazines or anything like that, because that never even occurred to me. i think for me where it started was seeing a photo of myself (not the one above, obviously). because of my small frame, being overweight really shows. and i was. not obese, but definitely overweight. we never had scales in the house, so i didn’t know how much i weighed, but i could see i wasn’t happy with my appearance.

it kind of just spiralled from there really. i didn’t realise for a long time and thought i was just eating less, eating healthier and exercising more to shed the pounds i was unhappy with. but without realising, i just started eating less than that. and less than that again. combined with (at one point) almost constant exercising on pretty much no food i lost a lot of weight.

at my worst i was drinking green tea to ‘fill’ me, and the most i would eat in a day was most of an apple, or a small handful of granola. i still didn’t realise there was any problem. this went on for a couple of years and a particularly low point was when i was at a meal with an ex and he drunkenly said to me ‘can you just eat your food, people will think you’re anorexic and i don’t want to deal with that’. it wasn’t nice. also things like ‘i can see your bones poking out’. ugh.

after some time i started to get a little better, but then due to various events it came back full force. i pretty much lived off tangerines or toast. it’s weird the things you choose to eat at times like this, isn’t it? the comments (behind my back of course) started again, and for a while it completely got on top of me. i’d been though all this so far (and many more rubbish things in life up to that point, but thats another story) with no friends and no one i felt i could talk to, which definitely made it harder for me.

anyhow, in my second year of college in 2007/2008 is when it started to (very slowly) get better. i met my now boyfriend and he also had very similar issues and it was one of many things that really helped us connect. i knew he was someone that totally understood what i was going through. he is a wonderfully supportive man, and he pretty much saved my life at that time without knowing it.

his love, whilst obviously being a help, wasn’t completely what got me through this. i realised i had to just face up to my issues around food. i knew it was going to be a long, long road and i was determined to make it through. i’ve been through many bad things in life, and i knew if i could get through them, i could get through this. i know now i probably should have/could have gone to a doctor to ask for help or referrals, but i couldn’t face it. i’m a strong, independent and determined person, and i knew i could beat this thing that was (pardon the pun) eating away at me.

i slowly started introducing more food in to my diet, trying to find little things in life that made me happy – a thing that has been absolutely invaluable throughout my life – and realising that food is not the devil. it keeps me alive. it gives me energy as well as physical and mental strength. slowly, but surely i started to put more weight on, and, shock horror, it wasn’t the worst thing ever. i felt much happier with my appearance than i had in many years, and i could actually look at myself in a mirror. (to this day i still suffer with mild body dysmorphia, but i don’t let it affect my eating.)

for a few years i was pretty happy with my weight (without actually knowing my actual weight, but you know what i mean) and i got on with life. a year or so after moving to cardiff i decided to try birth control for a bit. out of nowhere my boobs got huge and i put on weight. i knew i wasn’t eating more and i was so worried because i thought this would throw me right back in the deep end with my eating issues. but it didn’t. i stayed strong. i came off them and my weight fluctuated for a while, but then settled.

i still haven’t lost all of that weight, and it’s been a slow process, but i’m getting there. it takes a lot of strength not to go back to those ways, but i am a stronger person now than i’ve ever been. i know that i have to do this slowly and properly.

so, as with eating disorders in any stage of recovery, it is about moderation, and (mental) strength. i’m not going to lie, it is HARD. but if you want to get better, you can. i promise. if you have friends or family you feel you can talk to, please do. if you can bring yourself to go to a doctor, please do. if you feel you don’t have those options, i am here for you too. please, please get in touch with me if you need to talk or get anything off your mind. i am not a professional, but if you need to vent, i am here for you. talking about this, no matter who to, can potentially save your life.

there are also places online where you can seek help, such as:

blog love: part 2

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blog love: part 2
the flybird – a super recent discovery, but instant love. if you love nature, travelling, photography and/or a bit of wonderlust this is a must read! it makes me want to get out and find amazing places to take photos.

for the easily distracted – i discovered this blog a while ago, but for some reason forgot about it. i came across it again recently and have added her to my followed blogs! just a simple photoblog that is a pleasure for the eyes.

brown paper bag – a long time favourite here! i’ve been a fan of saras blog for a long time, and have discovered so many awesome artists, illustrators and creatives via her.

fine fine books – another recent discovery, found when looking for blogs that feature books about art/illustration or by illustrators. she has excellent taste and is making my book wishlist even longer.

in my sunday best – i love her style, she is super lovely and a total babe to go with it. go sade!

ps. check out blog love part 1!

blog love: part 1

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blog love - creative and unique blogs to follow
i love sharing, and helping (in whatever way) to widen the audiences of blogs and people i love. like sharing colourful creatives on instagram or creatives on twitter. it makes me happy to read blogs, look at amazing photography and other creative things. people are amazing!

i’m going to be honest, i am totally picky with the blogs i follow. i am always open to finding and reading new (to me) blogs and sometimes find some absolute corkers, but when it comes to following i only do so if i know i’m going to be reading every single post and/or if i just absolutely love and am inspired by the person writing and creating.

so without further ado, i will be sharing with you some of my favourite blogs (in no particular order). i’ll be back soon to share more.

kris atomic – i love her illustrations (a lot) and her photography is amazing too. her content is quite varied but tends to focus on her work, travels and fashion.

the jealous curator – danielle is pretty darn amazing. as well as her fantastic blog that focuses on art/illustration she has recently released two books creative block and collage. i have them both and they are wonderfully inspiring.

tigerlilly quinn – a colour loving lady after my own heart! frithas’ blog is about interiors, parenting and general lifestyle. she also runs a super colourful shop (shameless plug: you can get 10% off with the code ‘cardboard10’) full to the brim with illustrated goodies for you and the home.

mermaidens – kailey is the dreamiest babe ever, and she is super sweet to go with it. her blog focuses on fashion and makeup and i’m always excited to see new posts from her.

the private life of a girl – sophie is one of my favourite people (that i’ve not actually met), so it’s only natural i love her blog too. it used to be mostly beauty focussed, but it’s a little bit of everything now including fashion, books, travels, tips for bloggers and creatives ..and much more.

scraps of us – i love this simple blog that is mostly photography based, but within that caroline shares little bits of her family, the beach, nature, and crafts. her ‘collections’ fill me with happiness.

take courage – swoonworthy photography and from time to time, a bit of escapism. perfect for inspiration and to see some lovely places.