Eating Disorder Awareness Week - I Haven't Known What To Say

5.3.17



So, this week was Eating Disorder Awareness Week and, honestly, I've not really known what to say. I've felt like I've had some obligation to post something and say my piece, but I've had a really odd week and I don't feel like I've been able to put anything into words. 

It's weird, any other week/day of the month, I'm sat here spilling my life story to you, but when it comes to an actual week that's dedicated to spreading awareness about a topic that I'm so passionate about, I almost feel silenced. I feel like my story doesn't deserve to be told or can't compare or 'compete' with other peoples. It's that horrible voice that screams "you were never ill enough" or "you never weighed that much" and it just makes me think that I don't really deserve to say my piece. However, fighting through that voice, I know that I do. I know that I suffered and still do suffer, I know that the weight that I was doesn't define my illness and I know that everyone's story is unique and worthy of telling. And, yeah, despite not really knowing what I actually want to say in this post, I'm going to go ahead and write something anyway.





So, like I said, this week has been weird for me. For the first time in a while, I'm just feeling quite numb, down and unmotivated, which actually feels unusual for once. Maybe it's because these first two months of the year have been so busy and amazing, that now that things have quietened down a bit, I just feel a little 'lost'? I don't know. Basically, nonetheless, I'm not feeling that up to tackling my demons as I usually might be.

I've mentioned quite a few times recently, that I've been dealing with terrible body dysmorphia, and yep, I still am. It's well and truly trying to tear me down, bit by bit. I deal with it a lot, but not for this much of a prolonged period usually. It usually comes in waves, which are easy to bat off, but this time it's come like a big black cloud that's hanging over me and won't leave. Don't worry though, it's not winning (and, I won't let it), I've fought through it pretty impressively so far, but, honestly, I wouldn't say that it's losing either. Maybe that's why I feel weird? Again, I don't know, but what I do know is that, it's reminded me of how far I've come, but also how far I've still got to go.




TOP - MONKI // TROUSERS - NEW LOOK

I'm in a really good place right now, and yes, that might sound ridiculous considering I just said I was dealing with the Body Dysmorphia from hell, but if you want to figure out my thought process on that, then I'd recommend reading my last post 'Can You Be Happy And Sad At The Same Time?' because that will explain it. My life, on a whole, is at an all time high and it's been fabulous. In fact, I'm probably at the best place I've been in my entire 'teenage/young adult' life. I've learnt so much over the past few years: I've learnt about my brain, the way that it works, why it thinks the things it does, how to deal with things, how to help others, what to say, what not to say, etc etc, and it makes me feel so proud of myself. I'm so glad that I've been able to learn positively from something that caused me so much pain, but, at the same time, I think that it has almost convinced me that, because I know about things like irrational thoughts, how to deal with eating in public or the fact that I see a warped version of myself because of my mental health, that I'm no longer allowed to struggle. I've begun to feel guilty, not because of the presence of bad thoughts, but from the lack of positive ones. I feel bad if I'm not constantly upbeat and positive, yet, it's not like I actually believe that I'm some happy go lucky person. I know that I am still dealing with a lot of stuff, but maybe I've convinced a part of myself otherwise?

It dawned on me when, after getting my Mum to shoot these photos for me on a whim, I began flicking through them and saying "Ew, I look awful" and "Omg, why do I look like that?!" and she replied "Oh Holly, you're far too critical of yourself"; I didn't then reply with "Yeah, you're right Mum, I'm just being irrational", I actually just continued to say "Urgh, and why did I wear these trousers? My thighs look huge!"... It was then that I realised that I'm actually still a long way from being 'cured', 'recovered' or whatever you want to call it. 



I've never actually called myself 'recovered', because I've never really 100% thought that I am. And, I'll be honest, I'm not sure I ever 100% will be. I think there's always going to be that part of me that just has an inkling of guilt or gets triggered (which I am just about to talk about), but, considering how well I often dealing with things, I'm a pretty good portion of the way there. 

However, one thing that I don't often mention, is how easily triggered I am by things. I'm triggered by the food that people order at a restaurant, things people say about food, the way people present their food, the way people look at me, the way people talk to me, the sounds people make, pictures, videos - the list goes on and on and on. I try to hide it, but I know that it's there, niggling away at me. But yet, at the same time, I can push past it and tell myself 'you do you' and get on with my day... but it totally doesn't mean that the thoughts aren't there in the first place. 

The thoughts are there, but then so are the skills to push past them - it just depends which are in the forefront of my mind at that moment. Luckily most of the time its the skills that win, but when I'm feeling as 'weird' as I do this week, its a struggle to not believe what my irrational thoughts want me to. My brain could be telling me that I'm being irrational, but the thought that "I've put on sooo much weight" will still be the thing I fixate on all day long. My mind will still look at other girls and compare myself to them, even if I can tell myself "but you're you, you're unique", it doesn't matter. My thoughts will be filled with guilt surrounding food despite knowing that "everyone else is allowed to eat, so why aren't I?" Sometimes, the bad thoughts just win.



What I'm trying to get at is, that no matter how skilled and experienced we are in dealing with stuff, when you're actually 'in it', when you're in that mindset where everything has lost all meaning and the voices are winning, it can be really really hard. When I'm sat across from someone who's taking about how there's "X calories in this drink" and "Y calories in that food", it's still often hard for me to then think, "well, I'm still really looking forward to drinking cocktails and eating an entire pizza to myself", because most likely, I'm not. As soon as something triggers that one little thing in your brain, that manages to override your rationality, it's like all of the skills you've learnt begin to vanish. 

So yeah, overall I might be in the best place I've been in the past 10 years, but that's not to say that this is the best it's ever going to be. I've learnt a lot, but I've still got so much more to learn and that little bit further to go, and maybe in another 10 years time, I might not actually have to deal with being constantly triggered or any irrational thoughts anymore, I might be the happiest I've ever been EVER. That would be pretty cool. For now though, at least I'm on my journey there. And, even at times like this where I'm feeling 'weird' or 'lost', I still feel strong and able and determined, and that's good.



LIPS - SMASHBOX // EARRINGS - VINTAGE

I'm not really too sure what this post is to be honest, and I think it's ended up being incredibly similar to my last one, but nonetheless... here we go. I don't really want this to be negative post, I want to celebrate my recovery and how far I've come, because I have come a bloody long way and I'm proud. But, at the same time, I'm not going to try and pretend that everything is hunky dory, because it's not. Still, I never thought there'd be days where I'd be off eating cheesecake in London, or going for drinks with friends or my Mum and I'd never thought I'd look at myself and have to the ability to be positive, but there are and there will be many more!

Additionally, I also want to leave you with some tips and thoughts on the topic of Eating Disorders, especially after mentioning how easily triggered I am (I might do a separate post on this, let me know if you'd like to see that). I think it's often a misconception that once someone's at a 'healthy weight', that the eating disorders just disappear, but, in reality, the actual misconception is that weight has anything to do with it in the first place. A fluctuation in weight is a symptom of eating disorders, not a definition. It's wrong to assume that you know who has an eating disorder, and who doesn't, based off a person's BMI - anyone can have one. This means, like with me, it's possible that the language that you are using, is triggering someone without you even realising it. That's why its so important to think about the language you use surrounding the topic of food/portion size/weight etc etc. because it's things like that that can be so damaging (I know that I personally find it to take a toll of my mental health). It's also important to remember that sharing calorie information, or even just talking about 'how often you go to the gym' can trigger irrational thoughts and be incredibly damaging to progress too. It's a list of small things that most people wouldn't even think about in their everyday lives, but to someone who is going through or has been through dealing with a bad relationship with food, these are a pretty big deal.


"She's already had everything she needs within herself. It's the world that convinced her she did not."

Anyway, I hope that if you've read this far, that I've not bored you to death and that those tips/thoughts were slightly helpful. I'm going to leave some links to some websites below, that also have lots of information on the topic, so those are there to help too. Let me know down in the comments whether you've done anything for Eating Disorder Awareness Week this week, or whether, like me, you've not really been having the best time, or alternatively, whether you're having a fab fab week - I just love to hear from you all and how you're all doing!

Helpful Links:
B-EAT - Eating Disorder charity
MIND - Mental Health charity
SEED - Eating Disorder helpline

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6 comments

  1. I always think it's so brave for anyone to write a personal post like this and I'm sorry you're having to go through it, but big congratulations for fighting it when it must be so tough. We can be so critical of ourselves and see ourselves so differently from how everyone else sees us. I've just written a post on a similar topic because so many people are so down about themselves and it's so sad x

    LuxeStyle

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    1. Thank you so much - that's lovely of you! It is very sad xx

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  2. You're so brave as always! I think with these kinda things, similar to other mental health issues, part of it always stays with you as it's just 'part of you' but it's not a bad thing, it's just who you are! I always think you look fab! Robyn xo

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    1. Thanks so much Robyn :-) That's very true! xxx

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  3. Great post Holly. I love how distinct your voice is in your posts, and I admire how honest you can be. It's a daunting thing to do on the internet, but you have it nailed. Wishing you wellness and happiness,

    Kya x

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  4. This is such an amazing post holly, coming from someone that was in a similar position to you over a year ago, I know how difficult it can be to open up about these things. Just know that it can get better and it is possible to overcome this mentality. I did it! It doesn't have to be something you are stuck with for the rest of your life :) I think this post will help alot of people who might feel as though they are alone in this. Congrats on fighting it all, you are an inspiration

    http://www.thewhimsicalwildling.com/

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