Sunday, 1 January 2012

This is the year

The problem with not posting for two weeks is that my life moves very quickly, and it is now impossible for me to accurately transfer my emotions from the first week (which were very different to this week) into the written word. However, I will do my best.

After the drama of the work Christmas Party, I spent the final week in the lead up to the holidays waiting for Theo to ask to see me. He was going to France with his family over Christmas and I expected him to suggest we go out one evening that week before he went away.
I'd eaten atrociously in the aftermath of the anxiety and stress of the Christmas party season and started the week half a stone heavier than when I had graced the floors of the dinner hall in my beautiful dress on Friday evening. The scales were now showing me a weight that I had not seen since August. I kid you not.
Naturally I was tearing my hair out, and in my deep stupor of depression was unable to drag my sorry arse to the gym and run like crazy to burn off this weight which I had bingeed my way to in the last week or so. Although I was desperate to see Theo again before Christmas, I was also acutely aware that there was no way I could bear him seeing me in such a state of fatness. However, everyday that he did not suggest we go out was another day that I binged in despair.

But really, this was just me being insecure and crazy again. We were talking every day over messages, we'd just had an incredible weekend together - there was nothing wrong. I was the stubborn one who wanted to see him that week but was too proud to ask. I was unfairly testing him without his knowledge and was furious and distraught that he was failing. The poor boy was sitting a few minutes away from me in another department of the office, completely ignorant of the angst and pain that was reverberating through my body as a result of his inaction in this psychotic test of commitment that I was secretly putting him through.

I remember very little of Monday 19th December now, except that I ended up crying and throwing up all night long. This was the effect that the number on the scales had had that day. To see a number I dreaded seeing again, to pinch new fat along my waist, to remember all the food I had stuffed into my face and to know that I alone was responsible for this catastrophe.
I had to take the morning off work to patch myself up. I called up the hospital responsible for my treatment to learn confirmation that I was able to start treatment again on Monday 9th January. Theo still did not ask to meet up with me. So I binged and did it all again.
Wednesday was even worse. I ate nothing all day and then when everyone else left the office to go for drinks, I stayed and attacked the vending machine. Chocolate bar after chocolate bar after chocolate bar, then left the office to buy more, bread, cakes, to eat and then throw up in the toilets at work - only the second time I've ever purged there. As I choked in agony, forcing my fingers harder down my throat, I wondered for a split second what my colleagues would say if I were to be found the next day, dead over a toilet full of vomit.
"So terribly sad...you'd never have known..."
I was so angry at Theo. Again. Irrationality. The voice of my evil eating disordered sister. Poor Theo, all my anger directed at him while he remained ignorant of it all.
Again, he had still not asked to see me this week before he left for France. I was nothing to him. It was over. I was stuffing my face.
I deleted his number from my phone. I would never contact him again.

He messaged me that evening, he messaged me the next day. No, he is not a heartless monster, he never was. He just never thought to suggest we went out that week.

If I had written this post at the time it would have been full of anger - at him and at my fat self - full of anxiety, pain, heartache and destructive despair. But I am writing it now - nearly two weeks later - calm, secure and at peace - so I write it with a different sadness. I look at the raging monster who was ripping her insides to shreds, walking with a clenched fist and her hands clawing out her hair and I can see that girl was not me, but the monster I turn into when my insecurities and body dysmorphic disorder gets out of check. I cried and hurt myself over a boy who did no wrong to me. I did further damage to a body I hated because I hated it.
Who was that girl?
12 months ago, that was the girl I used to be everyday. Seeing her come back was frightening. But at the time, for those string of five days of so, I couldn't control her, I couldn't banish her, I had completely lost sight of all my rational thoughts and concerns.

I cried uncontrollably on the floor of the kitchen while my Mum helplessly looked over me.
"There's nothing you can do. I can't stop when I'm like this."
I pulled out all the drawers and cupboards to find the knife I used to use. It's been taken or lost. At least there is an active part of my brain now that forbids me from buying another, but I am still unable to control the part of my brain that craves the sharp sensation of blood letting when I am on an edge.

A terrible week. It has been several months since I have had a breakdown on that scale for so many consecutive days.


So Theo went to France on Christmas Eve and I didn't get to see him. He did ask in the end - on the Friday - but I was unable to leave work as early as him and he was unable to stay for longer. He passed my silly little test after all, and I had ripped myself to sheds because I had decided that he was breaking my heart.

I started to mend and transform back into a human being over Christmas. I eased back into restricting and running again, and though my body was still a far cry from the figure I had earlier in the month, it was becoming more at peace with itself. This week I eased off the exercise and into a juice fast. Theo was coming back on Friday and we were going out in the evening so I had to make sure I was back to my best.
I had a slight crisis at the realisation that although I was back at work, much of The City was still at home with their families this week. Everywhere in the square mile that made fresh juice was closed. Faced with the prospect of only high sugar fruit juices and smoothies from the supermarket shelves, I had to resort to shady ancient bottles of wheatgrass and carrot juice from Holland and Barrett.

Friday came at last and I had forced my weight back down to a more acceptable figure. In my mind there was still no doubt that I had extra inches on my tummy, but there was not much I could about it now. I was somewhat comforted by the fact that Theo would almost certainly have put a few extra kilos from the excess of food on his family dinner table over Christmas and I was still going to be in better shape than him. I barely felt the hunger all day, and after sitting in the half empty office makeupless and drab for the last few days, I delighted in getting my hair done at lunchtime and making myself look pretty for him.

I almost ran out the doors of the office when he finished work and called me to say he was ready to go. He was waiting for me by the road with a huge umbrella ready. Although I wanted to remain composed and perfect, I couldn't help but burst into a huge smile at the sight of him. I tumbled into his arms and kissed him.
I was with Theo again.

We went to the same bar where we had our first date and I snuggled up to him happily.
He stroked my hair lovingly, "I've missed you a lot you know."
I looked at him, half surprised. "Not as much as I've missed you!"
"I'm sorry I left you for so long."
I smiled. I had been such an idiot for wanting to believe that he didn't like me. "I'm just glad you're back now."
He ran his hands through my hair and gazed at me. "Beauty."
Shit I'm going to start crying like a fool.
"I've been thinking about you a lot you know, and that never happens...you're gorgeous, intelligent, driven, sexy, good in bed... gorgeous". Gorgeous. He kept saying it.

I melted away in his fingers that evening. He said all the things that I had spent years dreaming someone would say to me one day. No man has ever looked at me in the way that he does or loved the things about me that he does.


The talk turned to eating disorders again when he asked me what I would spend my excess money on if I won the lottery.
"I'd use the money to raise awareness of eating disorders and make more treatment facilities available for those that need it. But I know it's controversial and people would never see it as a worthwhile cause."
I told him about the NHS waiting lists, I told him about the blogs I had read of girls in their early teens, I told him of the terrible underground hideaway that so many run to, the unknown number of people that suffer without understanding their illness or being able to find help or kindness.
He asked me again if I still had problems.
I looked at him and didn't say a word. I loved him and trusted him and wanted to tell him, but I had promised myself that he was never going to know.
"If I did, I would never tell you," I said.
"Why not?"
"Because it's not your problem - it's mine. It has nothing to do with you, why would it matter?"
"Because I care about you..."
I stared at the table. "Let me tell you something..." I paused, unable to find the words. He sat silently and intently. I had to say it. "My ex... he broke up with me because of my eating disorder. He couldn't handle it."
"Did he know?"
"Yes, he knew, he knew I was very ill at the time... but there is a very big difference between knowing about it and seeing it. And when he saw it, he couldn't handle it, and he walked away."
He pulled me close to his chest and tenderly kissed me on the top of my head.

We couldn't keep our hands off each other, but after a few cocktails, things were starting to get blurry. I hadn't eaten anything solid for several days and I simply couldn't handle the alcohol.
I apologised, "I can't drink anymore... I'm too drunk. I need to eat."
I told him I hadn't eaten all day and he was shocked. "Let's go find a place to eat."
We found a little Vietnamese restaurant and he let me order. I tucked into the dishes, sobering up almost as soon and the food touched my lips.
"Have some more," I told him, not wanting to look like a glutton. He shook his head, "No, you haven't eaten all day, you need it." He wasn't hungry at all and I understood that he had taken me to the restaurant only to see me eat.
After a few more drinks at another bar, we went back to our usual hotel. I wasn't my usual confident, sexy self at first. I knew that I had extra inches on my tummy and was scared about him seeing it. My old fears of bright lighting started creeping back in case he saw how flawed my skin was underneath the makeup. And as a result it was missing a spark.
But he is Theo, and Theo tells me I am beautiful. I finally let all the fears and insecurities go. And just enjoyed the sensation of holding him again.


I looked at myself in the mirror the next day and wondered what it was that he saw and prayed that he always continued to see it. Even when my mind goes black and I see a monster before me, I prayed that he never saw it too. All evening and all the next day we behaved like a couple in love. Holding hands, kissing, playing with each other. It was simply wonderful. We haven't discussed the status of our relationship, but I know that we are a couple in everything but words now.

I went to bed, sound and happy, welcoming in the new year of 2012 with a heart bursting with happiness and love.
Thank you, Theo.



I wish I could end the post there, but unfortunately, the eating disorder has to rear its ugly head again. This coming Friday, Theo is taking me out. Being the slightly rubbish, disorganised man that he is, he didn't get me a Christmas present before Christmas, but is organising something for Friday instead. He won't tell me what it is, but I suspect he's going to take me to a nice restaurant (I'd be surprised if he has the ability to organise something more than that.) So after eating with him this weekend, it is back to the juice diet until Friday.

I know that everything between us is perfect at the moment, I know that he thinks I am beautiful, and I know that he is falling for me, but I can't help it. I don't want to be enough for him, I want to be exceptional.
The irony is that in wanting so desperately to be perfect for Alex, I fed the eating disorder and sickness which made him leave me. Of course I don't want to make that same mistake with Theo now, but I also don't want to lose him, I want him to think that I am beautiful forever.

A number of you commented some perfect truths in response to my last post. Theo is not Alex, I must not and should not have the same fears concerning him. Theo is pretty clueless - sweet, wonderful, caring - but nonetheless clueless. I must not mistake that cluelessness for lack of care, because when I am with him, I can see so clearly that no one has ever cared for me as intently as he does.
So why can't I let go?
Well I guess that's the nature of eating disorders isn't it. You can't let go. I will always put pressure on myself to be thin and beautiful for Theo. In a sense, it's my way of showing him how much he means to me. More importantly, I am going back into treatment on the 9th January. I will go back to having weekly weigh-in sessions, eating diaries, and work hard at maintaining a proper diet. I want to do that for Theo as well - and for myself - because I know, especially after seeing my frightening, old behaviour come back in the last few weeks, that our relationship will never withstand the destructive force of my full-blown eating disorder. I want to commit to this properly, I want to be with Theo, I want to be happy, I want to love and be loved. I do not want to destroy myself or my chances at happiness anymore. I believe that I deserve this.

I read back all my old posts today. I was horrified and heartbroken to remember the sadness that reverberated in the words I wrote and to remember so clearly all the dreadful things I had written about. I was a wreck at university, I lived in a terrible world and lived a terrible life. And this blog only covers a tiny part of my life trapped in a torturous bubble. I ruined a great deal of my life, I could have been magnificent.

But I've still come a long way from the girl who started writing in this blog three years ago. I am not full of self-hate and pain. I have broken out of the cold, empty prison. The bleak four walls of my insecure, body dysmorphic, eating disordered brain do not keep me trapped me any more. I've come so far from the numb teenager who couldn't look at herself in the mirror or walk out the door in the mornings. I've fought some fucking horrendous battles to get where I am, and I'm not going to lie, I very nearly didn't make it, I very nearly burnt everything to the ground and gave in.
I don't know what it was that gave me the strength to start standing tall again in 2011, but I'm so glad it did. I believe in recovery. I believe that others have done it, and I believe that I can too.

I just have to reach my goal weight before I start treatment. And then I promise, it will be easy for me to work hard in therapy and learn to be healthy and 'maintain'. I promise, 2012, this is the year.

5 comments:

  1. so glad you're doing okay, and so so happy you are going back into treatment.
    I know you don't believe me when I say this, but you are an amazing person, you're strong, a bloody fighter, compassionate, intelligent and beautiful. Not just in the superficial way, your a beautiful person, and your personality is accountable for that beauty.

    No matter how many times this monster rears its ugly head, i know you will beat it. Everyday is a victory, and this is a battle that you're always going to be in, but it gets so much easier to stay strong when you realise how much you are worth and how much in life their is to smile about.

    Keep that pretty head of yours high, and maybe let Theo in...he might just suprise you. xx

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  2. I'm so proud of you. I can see you healing. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. I know you can do this.

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  3. My husband is also the clueless type, and it has taken me years not to associate that with uncaring... I know it's hard not to compare current relationships with previous ones, but that's really what you need to do! And just take it one day at a time. You're amazing, and he knows!

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  4. One thing and the most important thing to remember is. If you do not love yourself, you will never be able to feel truly loved by anyone. How can you expect anyone to love you if you do not love you?. I tell you this, because I wasted my twenties by self hating and driving away someone really important to me. But my craziness did not let me see or feel love by this boy. I thought I was the only one who loved so much that physically hurt me. My insecurities blinded me and I could have changed that if I only loved me. I was never good enough, never. I did't feel good enough. How crazy is that? I measure love by my exterior if I did not look good then he will love me less. He will find someone better. The insanity is that my self value depended on someone else. To give that power to anyone is so insane. No matter what size, your self worth should never change.

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  5. love this post! tumbling into theo's arms must have been a wonderful feeling. i can relate to you in every way possible about the self worth thing.
    p.s. i just had to mention you in my newst blogpost...

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