The dangerous road...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

I feel I need to explain slightly how I got in this state. I must emphasise that anorexia is not something which just sneaks up on you overnight. I did not wake up one morning unable to eat. It got hold slowly, festering and growing over years. Whilst talking to my brother this morning, he shared a memory of me, at about the age of 12. We were sitting down for a meal together at my grandma's house. This was a rarity, due to the fact that my family is a hive of business, with everyone bustling around for most of the day. For this reason, I was used to eating alone and feeding myself, and I was fine with that. I was around the age when girls start to store a little bit of baby fat, just before you begin to develop a more womanly figure and usually have a growth spurt (at 5 foot 2, I am not convinced I ever had a growth spurt). The noticeable development of a little tummy was not something I was at all happy with though. I'd been far more conscious of what I was eating, beginning to secretly miss out meals. I wasn't a great dieter though, I'd cut out breakfast, and often lunch, but I'd be so ravenous by the time I'd got home, I'd head straight for the cupboard to scavenge a snack. Still, it is now clear to me that a little seed had been planted, and the venomous plant was beginning to grow, getting ready to wrap its venomous tentacle's completely around me, and squeeze all the life it could out. Jonny remembered me being visibly very on edge prior to the meal, one of my grandma's incredible roast dinners. Throughout my life, these delicious creations had been a wonderful treat, which I'd look forward to our whole car journey up to Yorkshire. It was a tradition which had been strong for as long as I could remember. Now, however, I was nervous. Pushing the little food i'd taken around my plate. My miniscule portion was commented on, at which point I burst: "I'm fat, look at me, I'm fat", I began to cry. They all soothed me, talking about development and explaining I needed food if I wanted to be more womanly. I suppose to many, it would have seemed a normal occurrence, little girl being worried about a slight increase in weight. Jonny, however, said he began to worry then. I am not saying, by any means, that all little girls who express discomfort with their bodies will develop anorexia, what I am trying to explain is that warning signs will be prevalent and that people should be aware of them in themselves and others, because the sooner the problem is caught, I believe, the easier it is to break from it's evil clutches. It is difficult, however, to differentiate between anorexia and simple body consciousness. And even when this distinction has been made, what to do is not often clear. I had many, many people approach me over the past couple of years, expressing their concerns. I wish, so desperately, I'd listened to them. Instead, I denied it convincingly. "the weight's just falling off me, it's really strange". "I know I've got too skinny, I'm trying to gain a bit of weight, I promise". Both were crap. Anorexia heard the words of concern as praise and fed on it, growing stronger. I did not realise how obvious it was to others that something was not right. My boyfriend spoke to me about my eating habits frequently, expressing constant concern over my little frame and weight loss. He often tried to get me to have some of his protein shakes, offering me tastes and bites of his highly nutritious food, knowing I would not have a plate, but getting in the calories wherever he could I now see. He recently told me, that up until I began re-feeding, he had never seen me eat a proper meal, only salad. We have been together 2 years. I remember how ecstatically happy he was after we went for a meal at GBK, I munched on the falafel 'burger', opting for it without bread, with salad instead and no chips. After the meal, we were walking down the road and j gave me a huge cuddle, lifting me off the ground in his embrace. This healthy little meal caused him so much pride. I wish, so so much that I had realised this was the sign of a problem. It took me hitting absolute rock bottom to acknowledge i had an issue. I'd left to go travelling already very skinny and had lost even more weight while I as away. When I stepped off the plane, my dear Hollie was teary, I thought it was just because we hadn't seen each other in so long. Really, she was terrified by my fragility. It took me a few weeks after this to admit what was going on. By this stage, I had lost even more weight. I remember sitting in the car, feeling my seat belt against my jutting pelvic bones. My dad is not the best of drivers, and I was terrified he'd stop suddenly. I did not feel as if my body could take it, as if i'd shatter under the impact. Still, I didn't eat. Then it all came to head. On a night with friends I drank, at this point I was still willing to drink alcohol (something which I now do not allow myself). On an empty stomach and with my miniscule frame, my body simply could not take it. When I stood up, I was ridiculously drunk. Swaying gently. The alcohol had trumped the anorexia and my immaculate control was lost. I ate a brownie when I got home and nibbled on a few prawns, I then got in the shower and from there I do not remember. I woke up in the morning beside myself. I was absolutely hysterical. Terror filled me. I could not stop sobbing. What had I done? I rang J and sobbed down the phone "I ate, I ate" I cried. "I don't know how much". J tried to soothe me, but even his words couldn't heal this pain. After about half an hour, I hung up. I could not stop the pain. Mum was downstairs, but I couldn't even get out of bed. I was shaking horribly, so I rang her. "Mummy, can you come up" I cried. I heard her running. When she came in she moved directly to the end of my bed and sat, holding my hand. Finally I choked "I ate mummy, I ate, and I don't know if I was sick". She rocked me as I broke down. Completely irrational. There was absolutely no calming me. I realised then I needed help. Finally I asked for it. I felt mum sigh a breath of relief. She'd tried dragging me to the doctors and I wouldn't, she needed my acknowledgement, my consent, if anything was going to get better.

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