Friday, October 10, 2014


So it's Mental Health Awareness Day, and I wasn't going to write anything because I kind of begrudge there being just a day for raising awareness, but then I got called a 'Mental Health Blogger/Activist' and decided I would write the blog that has been in my head for a few days now. One that's been going over and over.

This one is not for those that suffer with Mental Health problems, but for those who have loved ones that do. Those that watch on from the side lines and feel helpless to the destruction. I can't promise you that I have the answers because everyone is different, I can't tell you what will help, but I can try to shed some light from my experience.

I know what it's like to watch someone that you love suffer and shrink in front of your eyes, it's heart breaking, and although you would move mountains to help there is little that you can actually do. 
The one thing that I can say, and it may seem impossible, but the one thing that I know that would of helped me, is to be a pillar of strength.

Now before I continue I would like to say that whatever I write I am not saying that my Mental Health problems were due to my Ex Husband, he did not cause my Anorexia, just as my Anorexia did not break down our marriage. 
We didn't survive my Eating Disorder because of the people we are, I coped by internalizing and he coped by expressing his anger, our personality's clashed and in the end we did not survive because we didn't fit together. We didn't belong.
I had an ED before I even met him but when a big event happened within our relationship I turned to self destruction because I blamed myself and it became worse, when things got so bad I would be approached with anger (which is understandable), but this anger made me feel even more of a failure so I began to hide my downfall, be secretive, lie, which just made things worse and fueled his anger. 
It was a viscous circle which not only encouraged the reasoning's for my Anorexia but also meant that we were stuck in a bubble of unhappiness. 

Being approached with anger made me feel like I wasn't trying hard enough, so I gave up even trying. It made me feel like a failure which fueled my self hate. In the end, when I was at my worst, I was told that I was no longer loved, having spoken to him since I know it was a desperate attempt at trying to make me realise that I was losing everything and needed to fight, but I was already trying and it achieved the opposite.

I believe that for someone to truly start on the recovery journey that THEY have to want it, no matter what actions you take, or kick starts you try to give. I know that it is so hard to not do anything when all you want to do is swoop in and take action, bargain, beg, plead, shout, but it needs to come from within THEM. The more you beg and plead the more guilt and pressure lays on their shoulders. There is something you can do though, what you CAN do is to be there, to not give up on them.

I truly believe that within every person that suffers there is a part of them that doesn't want to be this way. 
I know that on the days that I used to class as 'good days', the days were Anorexia called all the shots, I would go to bed feeling happy, feeling like I had done well, but I'd also have a part that cried as I fell asleep because I didn't want to feel like that anymore, because I so desperately didn't want to think or act in the way that I was, I so desperately wanted out even if I didn't feel ready to act on it yet.

Remember that, in the moments where you get so frustrated, where you just want to shake them and scream at them and tell them to stop it, that that part is in them too, apart from that part doesn't want to just shake themselves, that part of them wants to do so much worse so that they don't have to put everyone else through it as well, because they don't know how to make it stop, because they are just frustrated as you are and yet they know that it's only them that can fight.

Be a pillar of strength. 
Stand by them and let them know that you will never leave them in this fight. That you are in it together. That you wont pressurize them, or get angry, but you will be there for support, that you will never give up on the belief that they can get better. 
That in an unstable world they can trust that you will still be there. That you wont give up.

I know that this is asking a lot, because how can you stand by and watch some one dance with death so closely, but you just have to keep on believing that things will get better, believe in their strength, even if you can't see it, believe that it's in there and that they will find it.

Your unfaltering belief will be what strengthens them in the end. A spark of doubt can ignite the Eating Disorder more then you will ever know. 

 Your belief is valid, because people can and do get better, and then they can begin to be strong for themselves. I am very lucky I seem to have found someone that has already been a pillar of strength without even knowing, not because I have needed it, but by indirectly reminding me that right now I am strong enough to not need a pillar of strength, and that feels amazing.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Sometimes all you need is a bit of perspective, and sometimes that means time and space too.

The last few entries to this blog I've wondered why I am writing, what the point in writing this is, whats the aim. I've worried that I'm beginning to write stuff that has no value, but every time I wonder this I get a message from someone saying that it had helped in some kind of way. I guess thats the point, to help, to let people know that they aren't alone, to show a more realistic side to recovery, to show the everyday struggles and everyday triumphs, so that people know that blips don't have to be relapses, to know that at whatever stage things can be tough and at whatever stage things can get better, to show that even though people are far down the recovery line that there are still daily fights that people may not know about, to let people know that the fights can be won.

When I was ill I was surrounded by people that weren't getting better, had no interest in getting better and actually competed to see who could sink even further into destruction. I was sucked into a world where 'getting better' was either impossible no matter how hard you tried or it was weak and pathetic to want such a thing. I saw people reach out for help, relapse, be forced into treatment, relapse, try treatment for the millionth time and promise it was the last time, only to relapse. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, we all have our own journeys, but being surrounded by that made it feel like I too would be trapped in the nightmare, in the suffocating, smothering, horrifying nightmare, forever.

I want people out there to know that there is hope.
That an Eating Disorder doesn't have to be a life sentence.
That even though, statistically, only 46% of sufferers will get better, that that is a past statistic, that next year it could be higher and YOU could be one of them.
That I will stand and be a voice for those that need to hear it, I will tell you that it CAN get better.

I remember my second admission, sitting in my hospital window, feeling utterly hopeless and broken, emailing someone very important to me, begging them to tell me that it gets better, that it goes away, that I didn't have to just learn how to cope with it, that it GOES AWAY, completley goes away. 
I had someone stand for me and be the voice that said it can get better, that the fight that I was entering would be worth it. I had someone be a light out of the darkness for me.
I was promised it could, but it depended on ME.
Only I had the control, the power and the strength to change, only I could decided when to say 'This ends now'. 

In saying all of this it would be hypocritical to say that I've got there, that it has all gone away for me, it hasn't, but I believe it can. I believe that I came very close for a few months, recently things have gotten tough but I know that it's just a tough patch, not a spiral, because thats what I've decided it is.
I don't know if it's because I have become more aware of my body, more conscious of how it looks and the space it fills, but my gremlin is giving me grief for it, and when I don't act on what my
gremlin says the bastard gets louder, so right now my gremlins giving me a bit of jip.
Both my head and my heart is convinced that acting on these thoughts is a bad idea and never going to happen, but my gremlin isn't so easily convinced. 
I have never had to fight so hard, because usually I would of just acted to silence the thoughts, and keep acting, now I am not doing that.
I am stronger then the gremlin, I have more to gain from not letting it win then I ever do from being sucked in again. I know this, logically, I know this.

I want people that are struggling to know that even though you may be surrounded by people that aren't getting better, or that don't want to, that you can, that people can and HAVE. 
I may be struggling but I feel no shame in saying that I am striving for a life that has no trace of my gremlin, and I believe I will get there, someday soon, because I realized that I have the control.

Maybe, for an illness that (for some) is so focused on having control, maybe its about perspective, instead of only being able to control you're self destruction start to control you're self nurture, and no matter how adamant you are that you don't deserve it, I promise you that YOU DO.