Road To RecoveryI used to love food, eating chocolate, biscuits, sugary and fatty rubbish. I enjoyed social outings to restaurants with friends and family, eating takeaways and having pig out film nights with a big bowl of popcorn. I was never fat but I was never thin and it didn't ever bother me growing up, I was the tomboy with a little puppy fat. But as soon as I started high school I remember looking in the mirror that morning, I hated everything about me. Chubby cheeks, fat legs, big stomach, glasses, ugly, un-popular, fat, it was a nightmare. I walked around school everyday with my head down never making eye contact with anyone. I always took my own packed lunch and I even felt insecure about eating a sandwich, a small packet of crisps, a fruit biscuit/bar and a piece of fruit. I mean come on, that isn't unhealthy? Why did I feel so bad then? Other kids were eating nutella or jam sandwiches with sweets and chocolate, it's not like I was. But I knew for a fact I was the bigger girl in my classes. I let it get on top of me that one day I turned around to my mum and told her I wanted to join her on a diet she and my aunty were doing; I was only 13. 13 and going on a diet, are you having a laugh?! That's ridiculous! But at the time it was what I wanted. I went on many different diets from the age of 13-16 years old, every single one of them upset me because I was convinced it got me no where. As soon as it came to my GCSE year in high school, I became so stressed with my appearance, my sexuality, my school work; I let everything get on top of me and I felt like I had no control of anything. This is when I began controlling my food and exercise. I became vegetarian because I knew it was healthier, I knew that being vegetarian meant I had to have different meals compared to everyone else, I could make them and I would know exactly what was in it. My exercise routine became an obsession, everyday I would go for a 3 mile run, then either go to the gym for a couple of hours of lift weights at home. It's amazing how I managed to carry all this out for the space of at least 2 months. The worst part was is that I believed that what I was doing was normal: barely eating and exercising obsessively. It had obviously started concerning my family though. I remember coming home from one of my runs, I entered the living room and was confronted by my mum, "Alex, you have a doctors appointment tomorrow and you're going no matter what you say". I couldn't believe it. I didn't understand what was going on and the only way to hide my concern was to laugh. So i laughed in my mum's and sister's face calling them stupid and idiot for doing such a thing. Everything was getting blown out of proportion in my mind, but to this day I am so glad my mum did it because as soon as I walked through the doctor's door my blood pressure was dangerously low, my heart rate was 36bpm and I was severely underweight, around 6 stone 10lbs at 5ft6. I was in there for about 10 minutes before they made a referral for me to be rushed to the hospital. Everything after that just became a blur, I eat once a day for about a month at less than 200 calories, I was literally killing myself without even realising. I couldn't climb the stairs, get out of bed or even talk to anyone it took that much enery and effort. I lost so many friends, things became awful in the house and everytime it came to making my dinner it was all weighed to the exact point and calculated to make sure I eat no more than 200 calories. I went into the hospital twice for problems on my heart and even now on the road to recovery I still suffer from bracacardia - a heart condition. I was so close to becoming an inpatient and having to be force fed when I finally sat down and thought "what the **** am I doing to myself?" From that day I began to gradually eat more, it wasn't easy, many tears were involved, many arguments erupted but I'm finally eating again. I'm gradually putting on weight, I've got some friends and there is less tension/stress/anxiety. I knew I was in a state so I took it upon myself to eat to the point where I felt physically sick; but I don't regret any of it. Yes I'm still very underweight and yes I need to put some more weight on and I know I've got a long way to go. I still have problems with eating out at restaurants and eating certain foods but tasting and chewing again is such an amazing feeling that I can't help but enjoy the small foods I do eat. I may still be a health freak and Ive recognised I'm always going to be like that but what I'm going to make sure is that I never go down the anorexic road.
"Don't eat that, you'll gain weight!" "Do some exercise now you fat lazy slob!" Well you know what ED? **** off! This is my life and if I want to eat and enjoy myself, I will.
I will never again let anything get in the way of living my life even when things become hard. I have a long way to go before I'm fully recovered but I'm looking forward to having my pig out film nights, takeaways and enjoying being around food once more!