Hello there, me again. It’s been a few weeks!
To tell the truth I have been avoiding this blog. Why? Because there’s a lot more that needs to be said than simply “This vegan option is really nice!” and “This recipe was great!”
I started this blog earlier this year to give myself another platform to express some truths about myself and my experience of things which, though important, are probably not things that I ought to drivel on about on my personal social media accounts. For many people Facebook, Instagram and Twitter etc are for memes and pictures of cats, rather than for people like me to be openly mental/Not Ok on them.
Since I was around 12 years old I’ve struggled with a very awkward relationship with food. I’d grown up being a short, skinny child and to top it off, I was also born with a bone deformity called Pectus Excavatum which made parts of my skeleton very visible. I was a bony kid and I was used to it. Below is a picture of the deformity I grew up with.
Obviously, as a girl, I didn’t stay this bony child forever and at around 12 I naturally gained weight as my body prepared itself for adulthood. A part of my brain, or my mind, or whatever, went into panic mode at this point and decided that this weight gain was something I had to counteract at all costs.
I managed to keep my habits undercover – never finishing a meal and letting my Dad have my leftovers was a winner for me, as I knew I could rely on him to empty my plate. Spending half of my dinner money and keeping the rest for another day. “Filling myself up” with 2 packets of crisps and a glass of water instead of lunch.
I managed to stay under the radar for most of my life. Since I had always been underweight, I never really experienced a big drop in how much I weighed, and I didn’t behave in a way which caused any suspicion.
This changed when I went to my first University. I was sexually assaulted in Freshers Week, before uni started, and had a quiet, practically invisible meltdown, began abusing substances that suppressed my appetite and almost completely stopped eating. There was a louder, more visible breakdown later, but that’s a story for a different post. It wasn’t until I spoke to someone from home that I even accepted that I had been assaulted; I had been blaming it on myself and dealing with the fallout of my mistakes by picking up these destructive coping mechanisms.
A few weeks after the conversation with my friend, and after some coaxing, I decided to go to a CBT therapist and get myself together. This was short lived, but I did come out with a few nice little labels which branded me as Not Normal. Wooo!
You would think this could be a turning point for me, and a solid starting point to make progress from. But when I got my diagnoses, my therapist told me (in the kindest way possible) that my BMI wasn’t low enough for me to have full-blown, real anorexia. Instead I had this “Other specified feeding or eating disorder” which, as a requirement, meant I wasn’t quite skinny enough for Actual Anorexia. My ED accepted that as a challenge.
Now at 21, almost 2 and a half years later, I am ashamed to say my BMI is 17.1. I am at least half a stone underweight, and only half a pound more than my all time lowest weight, which I hit in December 2017. And yet I’ve considered myself as “in recovery” since this years’ New Years Day, when I made a resolution to get over my eating disorder.
In nearly 7 months I’ve managed to put on a grand total of half a pound. The conclusions I am drawing from this are:
- I need to put on weight as much as I thought I did on January 1st
- I may need some form of help to do this
- Whatever I’ve been doing for the past 7 months has not worked
In a roundabout way, this post is an acknowledgement that I have a problem I am trying to solve, and this blog is going to help me do that, I hope. This isn’t simply a “vegan blog” or a “food blog”, as I presented it when I started out. This must also be a mental health blog, because, for me at least, food and mental health are intrinsically linked. What I eat has a direct correlation with the state of my mental health, which clearly hasn’t been on top form over the last few years.
When I made this blog, I shied away from making it an open and honest reflection of myself and my relationship with food, yet I was – and still am – sure that a food blog is something that could help me. Perhaps if I use it as a tool to share my journey, record my mistakes and my achievements, and connect with other people who are trying their best to recover from something (which we all are, really) then I might reach my goals a little faster than I have so far.
Hopefully if I keep myself as engaged with recovery and weight gain as possible then one day I will be as Zen, healed and at peace as I’m pretending to be here.
Peace n love,