Anorexia and me: A battle of wills

It’s when you look at yourself in the mirror and realise you’re no longer that skinny anorexic. The one people said was too thin, the one people offered food and you turned away. The one who got questioned about why you wearn’t eating.

The one people worried about.

It’s when you look at yourself in the mirror and realise that you are something much worse. An obese pig. No your bigger than a pig. You’re a whale. An obese one at that.

You look pregnant. You’re out of control.

You tried to eat properly for four days but now you realise you can’t. You can’t eat properly because in four  days you’ve already become fat.

OBEASE

You realise starvation is your only option.

You want to recover… but anorexia is all consuming. You can’t get better. You must starve.

Bad Day

Mental Illness is hell. Eating disorders are hell. Sometimes recovery is hell.

I’ve been having a really hard day today, and some relatively minor things have just left me feeling triggered and upset.

We were doing something about bullying in english, It kinda hit a nerve and triggered me to self harm because that’s part of why I started to cut myself, because of the bullying I have faced for as long as I can remember. I like to say I am over the bullying now but I’m really not, being bullied for so long and in every school I have been t, in clubs outside of school and by kids in the neighbourhood. Well that bullying has made me even more self-conscious, paranoid about people talking about me; laughing at me. After being a victim of emotional bullying when I was in year 9 I am constantly paranoid over new friendships and I find it hard to trust people. Maybe in some respects I am stronger because of it but the wounds are still there.

I just want to give into my self harm urges so much

Then in law; well several things happened. You know when you say something silly and then you find yourself thinking back to all the silly things you’ve ever done in life. Well that happened and made me even more upset. I was almost crying in class and I just couldn’t focus for the whole tine. I just feel like such an idiot, such a failure. I need to cut myself….. a punishment for being this way, right now I’m still clean but I’ve been fighting urges since Friday afternoon and they are so strong right now.

So, so strong. 

The other thing that happened in law was ED related. It triggered me and now I feel like a failure for having 1502 calories today, especially after not counting on Saturday and having 2142 yesterday. There was this case concerning a woman/girl with Anorexia Nervosa. Basically she died and it was involuntary manslaughter or something. I don’t know why this was triggering but it just made me feel like a failed anorexic. That’s what I am isn’t it?

That’s what my EDNOS was…

I have an image of her bones, an image of her body and the sad thing is. I like the bones…

A year today, I started my recovery Journey. At this point I do not think I was underweight, or if I was it was very borderline. That’s because you don’t have to be underweight to have an eating disorder and you don’t have to be underweight to recover.

I have relapsed, ended up “significantly undwerweight” as my triggering doctor mentioned, that day when I entered the room, alone, wanting to recovery but not wanting to recover. I said I ate normally but that was a lie. That was september 1st 2013. I started recovering before-hand. A year ago today.

After a few long talks with my mentor I didn’t want to stay sick. I didn’t want food to be such the controlling power it had become over the past 5 years. I chose to try and fight against it. Actually make an effort to eat “Normally” At first I did lose a little more weight, then I maintained. I was only eating 1200 calories, but it was a good start. I started to increase my calories, knowing I needed to gain weight. 2000-2500. I tried to eat healthily. It was all good. Actually recovery was quite fun.

UNTIL

That morning… that dreadful morning in the summer holidays when I had stepped on the scales and gained 1/2lb. YES 1/2LB So I started restricting again, 900-1200 calories if I remember rightly. I lost 2lb in 3 days…. Don’t ask me how. On Holiday straight after I had a raging appittie and ate 4000+ calories most day, I am sure of it. Although it was all unknown and therefor could not count. I gained 3lb that week. That’s when the relapse really started.

I was underweight already but 3lb. It was too much! That was when I started restricting to a MAXIMUM of 900 calories a day. I tried to fight it. Part of me still wanted to get better. I tried to challenge myself, I just felt so awful. I thre food in the bin, pretended I had eaten it. I remember once I had awful knee pain and wouldn’t take ibuprofen. Do you know why?

Because of 0.5 calories

Now that’s just a little extreme right? I had to be empty, I barley at any of dinner with my family, but just enough to keep them unsuspecting. As the weight dropped off the fights started. I found it hugely unfair that my brothers didn’t have to eat dinner but I did? It wasn’t even like I had much of an appitite by that point, I could only eat a few mouthfulls and I felt sick to my stomach. It was awful.

As I had said previously, I was trying to fight it, it was just so hard. That was when I started to binge and oh god did that make me feel awful. See I have this phobia of throwing up and I had binged 4 times within a week. That sunday evening I couldn’t sleep. I felt so sick, I knew it was because of the food. I remember spending nights purposfully keeping the window open, leaving off the duvet, doing endless sit-ups and lunges. Anything to burn off all that fat. Discretly burn off that fat, without my parents knowing.

I remember when my form tutor said “It’s because you are slim.” SLIM! SLIM! That wasn’t good enough for me. When a class mate said “Your so incredibly skinny.” That was good enough for me. “Skinny. Skinny.” Yes I liked that, being refered to as skinny.

So at some stage picked myself back up, I got my dad to make me breakfast to make sure I ate it. 2 slices of toast. 1 Jam. (NO BUTTER OR SPREAD) 1 Marmite (NO BUTTER OR SPREAD). That was when I really started to get better and also when recovery turned into some sort of living hell at times. When I realsed how triggering the world truly is.

Not many people knew about my eating disorder, at first. Eventually I learnt to become more open about it. Which is why I started blogging. I want to raise awareness and show people that they are not alone in this.

The weight gain stage is terrifying, stepping on the scales is terrifing. Even today. There are some days I can’t bring myself to eat cake, some days I can’t bring myself to eat lunch, or dinner. Some days I majorly overeat. (Like today) But I can honestly say things get better. I am in a better position both mentally and phsycially than I was this time last year. I’m happier, I can walk up the stairs without feeling like I’m about to have a heart attack and I actually enjoy life; even though most of it is spent in my room atm cause exams and shiz.

I weighed in at 9st this morning. I still feel fat, I still feel like it’s too much and I havn’t come to accpet my body fully yet but I am getting there and I am working towards it. I give myself days where I don’t count calories atall. (Weekends) and only rough estimate some of the time. Now I am trying to learn to listen to my body. It’s hard, but in the end I am sure that it will be worth it.

The last year has been a whirlwind full of emotions but if there is one thing I would like to end this on, it’s that:

Recovery is worth it. 


Pre-ED age 9: Summer 2007
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Recovery Snaps 🙂

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Climbing and my eating disorder. To quit or not to quit?

Eating disorders in the climbing community are kept kinda hush, hush, Yes there was the so called climborexia phase but now climbers realize technique also plays an important part. This being very true. Technique is important. But how does climbing place
in the role of a developing or success of recovery from an eating disorder.

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Chris Sharma!

 


 Sport and eating disorders.

Well research has shown that people participating in competitive sport are at higher risk of developing an eating disorder such as Anorexia or Bulimia Nervosa. OSFED (Previously EDNOS) is also a cause for concern as it has been highlighted as the most dangerous of eating disorders. I guess sports can be categorized into Technical, endurance, aesthetic, weight dependent. ball games and power sports. Amongst these Aesthetic sports carries the highest rate of eating disorders with weight dependent sports coming a close second.

You may ask. What does this have to do with climbing? Well to be climbing is not one sole category but a multitude. One of those being weight dependent. Not forgetting technique and potentially endurance and power sport. This however is all dependent on your chosen area of climbing. Be it sport, trad, Alpine,bouldering, mountaineering or competition.

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Steph Davis!

 

So of course your ability to climb at any given time is partly down to weight to muscle ratio. Fat won’t help you get up the wall.Specially in female climbers pressures to be thin are added. This could all lead to the development or severity of an eating disorder. There are some very thin climbers out there.

There is also the pressure factor. Be it from family or your coach. There is the potential that climbing families can apply too much pressure on the child. The potential on a coach pushing a young person too far. To a predisposed individual talk about simple things such as weight- to – muscle and healthy eating could play a part in the cause or increasing severity of an eating disorder when mixed with other known factors such us; bullying, perfectionism, pressure from school, abuse or death of a loved one.

Your eating disorder may portray itself to you as a way to excel in your sport. It may start as a fitness plan or a healthy eating plan and rapidly spiral out of control.

Climbing and recovery.

This section I guess specifically focuses in indoor climbing and competition climbing. When grades are most important. While in recovery from an eating disorder simple things such as putting your harness on or your chalk- bag round your waist may become triggering. Maybe the feeling that your going backwards instead of forwards. The inevitable weight gain. This can all effect recovery. Not just mentally but physically.

We all know that exercising at a low weight is extremely dangerous and can be the cause of heart attacks and premature death. There is also the fact that exercising during the weight gain process can cause you to overshoot your natural weight. Of course us climbers can’t just not climb. It’s like a drug and to many sufferers of eating disorders exercise is like a drug.

So yes not only can climbing be a cause or reason for an increase in severity it can also be a hindrance during the recovery process. Especially when not many people know of your disorder.

My Experiance

Well I’ve had an Eating disorder for six years. EDNOS. About 18 months ago I started climbing. I was rubbish at it but I loved it. It was just for fun then really. No weight-to-muscle to triggering coaches, no targets apart from those which were self set. May 2013. I climbed my first 6a. My instructor said something about how I was light so it was easy for me. Not that this was the cause of the increased severity in my eating disorder as many other factors played a part but it was something I remember almost a year on.

June 2013 I had lost A LOT OF WEIGHT. Ok probably not that much. We don’t have working scales at home so I can’t give definitive numbers but people were commenting. June 2013. Marking the start of recovery. When recognized and openly admitted there was a problem. June 22nd, I went to my friends party. A buffet. Ok I didn’t eat a huge amount and refused to eat dinner that evening. I also proceeded to do some silly amount of sit ups that evening but it was a step in the right direction.

I guess I was fighting for recovery from then on really. I was however still losing weight. Late July I gained a whole 1/2lb. This freaked me out like hell. Returning from holiday in august things started to slip again. Thing is with this slip my climbing was noticeably better. I onsited a 6a+ Not just climbed, no hours spent. Just straight up. No effort what-so-ever. I was so tiny it was all so easy.

Picking myself back up from the relapse. Eventually I guess climbing wasn’t a problem until 2014 came along. Since the new year I have been gaining and gaining and gaining. This is due to a failure to be-able to intuitively eat. A failure to be-able to eat what my body needs when not in control. Sometimes it feels like I’ve developed Binge eating disorder. I may have climbed my first 6b about a month ago. Bouldered my first v3 along with that. Following a series of recant injury’s however climbing the crack was near impossible last Friday. My arms are just too weak for it. They never used to be. I can only attribute that to the impeding far growth on my stomach. I can’t deny it to myself. It is there and it is real. There could of course be many other factors attributing to a drop in performance. This could include how I hadn’t eaten lunch and how my shoulder was not actually fully healed. There is also the fact that the recant injuries meant training had been lacking.

So now I’m sitting on the fence. I don’t gain as much enjoyment from climbing as I once did. I swear I’ve gained atleast a stone since the Friday…A lack of workouts and being at my nans. She forces food down my throat and I feel pressured to eat it. Writing about it makes me feel so guilty. I need to be skinny again. I need to lose weight not give in to this.

I guess I can’t quit climbing for another 9 weeks. It would be unfair on my mother. Maybe in those 9 weeks I will find new perspective. When I get home tomorrow I will beable to train again. Maybe if my parents allow me to become a vegan that will make a difference. Or maybe my climbing ability will not get any better and I may still be climbing worse than everyone else but I will have learnt to accept that and stop comparing myself to others. There is a chance that one day I will be-able enjoy climbing once more. Not for the competition and not for the grades but out pure love for the sport. The sense of freedom and challenge. I guess there’s no point in me climbing if it’s to “be the best”. I never started climbing to be the best. I started out of pure enjoyment. The feeling I get when climbing.

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Me bouldering indoors at fort Purbrook about a week after returning from holiday. No pressure, no one to compare myself to. Just me and the wall.

 

Maybe happiness well come and one day I may find my passion once more. Climb for enjoyment not to be good at it and not let my eating disorder allow me to believe anything about how I should lose weight, need to lose weight and how my BMI is way to heavy for a climbers. I need to learn to climb for fun and not competition. Only then will my love and passion return.

When your school uniform is triggering!

Year 11. So not aloud any new uniform. My school skirt. At the beginning of year 11 I had to roll it up 3 times or it would fall down. Now I can only roll it once. Unless on my waist (but then it looks slutty)

My skirt is designed to be tight. I hate feeling my clothes on me. Makes me feel fat. It’s like I can feel my fat on my body when I wear close fitting clothing. As I realize I can no longer have it right round my hips. No longer roll it up as much as before I feel like and obese monstrosity. How can someone gain so much weight in such a short amount of time? 

The fact that it’s tighter than it ever was. Well that’s how I feel. I try to make it as tight as possible. Make myself feel as small as possible despite knowing of the monstrosity I am.

Feeling it getting tighter makes me feel awful. Triggers me into restriction. Relapse. Thankfully though so far my school skirt has only caused a few minor slip-ups. Still I can’t wait until I’m rid of it forever! I take is off for PE. Take it off in the evenings. I see my fat spill out. Signs of the obese pig I am. Heavier than I’ve ever been. Higher BMI than ever before. I used to try and kid myself I was still thin but where’s the reasoning in that? All that will do is cause me to eat more and in hand become more and more obese. 

I don’t allow myself to not roll up my skirt at-all. Why? Because then I’m allowing myself to be fat. Same reason why I don’t accept compliments about me. It allows me to accept my flaws and why should I accept my flaws when for the last 6 years I am been aiming for perfection?

So How can you combat the wrath of the triggering, tight school skirt? (and other items of uniform)…

Well I feel what makes uniform of any type different to our every day casual clothing is that we have to wear it A LOT. For school uniform 5 days a week 7-8 hours a day. MINIMUM! There’s not really a way to avoid triggering uniform especially if it’s school uniform and your in your last year and your mum won’t buy you anything new. I know some schools will provide students with uniform. But who wants old and worn clothing?  No girl wants that.

I guess the way to deal with triggering uniform would simply be learning to accept yourself for who you are. I know simply said but not simply done. Only in learning to accept yourself and accepting your flaws, will you truly be accepted into society. By learning to love and accept yourself people will love you more because you, yourself will be the most exciting person you can be when you discover true acceptance of yourself. 

 

So I guess that’s it really. The Journey of recovery. Finding yourself. Accepting yourself. Knowing that your body’s changing. You may lose, gain. Overshoot, undershoot. You may be one of those lucky ones in which the weight restoration process goes smoothly. Physical recovery may come quick for you. 

Yes recovery may be a long and hard journey and your weight may feature all over the BMI section throughout but it is all part of a good Journey. Your on the road to enjoying life once more. Living instead of just surviving. 

 

Weight Gain is not always negative nor is it always fat.

Getting back on the blogging train and am going to write about weight gain after my nan made my put on my prom dress just after I ate 2 1/2 biscuits. 

So being the number fixated person I am and the fact that since Christmas I have gained a stone in weight I have had a very bad body image and there have been a few little slip – ups as far as my eating disorder is concerned.  It really started to get worse after I reached 9 stone. 126lb. 57.27kg. Heavier than I’ve ever been from memory. Ok it argues that I may have been heavier at some stage or that weight at some stage and just didn’t know about it because I do not always have access to scales. We currently have none at home and often during my eating disorder they broke. Also even if 56kg was my heaviest I was 13 then! Yes I may not have grown much since being 13 but I’m 16 now so logically I am going to be heavier. All of this freaking out and near relapse was basically over nothing. 9 months into recovery. A number on the scale still being the thing that fuels my eating disorder. Now you could just say. Don’t weigh yourself! It really isn’t that easy and those with eating disorders would now that especially those who at least used to be good and used to, or maybe still do; enjoy maths. The scales call me. I feel bad if I don’t step on them at every given opportunity. Slowly I am working through that though and it is getting easier.

What isn’t getting easier however is dealing with the number on the scale. Now my fears had just proved to be wrong. I have not gained pure fat since Christmas and actually some of that weight is for the best. OK I need more muscle so I can climb as hard as I couldImage while lighter and maybe some hard technique training but I don’t live to be a good climber because face it I’ve been climbing since September 2012 of course I’m not the best 16 year old climber there is. I know tons of people better than me, some even younger. If I lived just to climb better than everyone then I might aswell be dead.

As the bolded part of this post states. I had to try on my prom dress. The thought of that. Panic attack inducing alright. I was convinced I would have to restrict severely in order to fit into it again. Too my surprise it fit and yes if I don’t wear heals it will have to be taken in so it sits properly round my waist and I don’t trip over it. (Wouldn’t that be embarrassing!) Yes my hips, bum and thighs are bigger and I have gained some fat. Not an overwhelming amount though. I would even go as far as saying my body needs what I’m eating. Yes my weight will not stabilize but I abused my body for 6 years and rarely stated the minimums stated on youreatopia. That and the fact I exercised A LOT during the weight gain phase scared all I would gain was fat without. So yes I may overshoot and yes I may still be gaining weight and yes my prom dress may not fit me come June. Is that really a big problem though? Does it really matter? The answer to that would be no. As long as I’m healthy and happy at the end of it all. That is the only thing that matters.