“You are a worthless fat girl”
That was the voice that resonated throughout my head as I looked at myself in the mirror in the gym. Over the last few months that voice had got louder again, shouting… that relentless voice nagging at me. It was so loud whenever I went to the gym and instead of my gym sessions being some sort of relief I would leave them feeling so ugly. I hated it. And I hated how loud she was becoming again. It frustrated me and got me down. That voice made me feel not good enough for anyone or anything. The truth is I knew I was struggling. I knew I wasn’t going to stop eating again, but I knew something had to change in me to get my mind set back to where it should be.
Over the last two years my body shape has definitely changed. I stopped running quite as much after I relapsed in 2016 and tried to vary up my exercise by going to the gym. But I then had to learn to navigate having a different shaped body; one that wasn’t stick thing, boney and one that needed a new sort of wardrobe.
The thing about recovery from anorexia is it isn’t a straight line. Over the last year I have talked so openly about my anorexia. I don’t want to speak negatively but I want to be real. I have given my complete self to so many of you, I have been opened up about my medication, about my suicidal thoughts and about the reality of living with anorexia.
I talk very openly about it and I feel completely vulnerable to judgement. Vulnerable to the comments about mental health and people’s opinions about me and as to why I share my story. And the frustrating thing is it is the negative feelings, and feelings of “fatness” that make me start to doubt myself. They start off small but slowly and surely they will chip away at me. Chipping and chipping until I feel a mess. They chip away at me so then other comments hurt even more. They chip away until I feel like I shouldn’t be sharing my story. Until I feel like this fake, standing up there…
A huge part of recovery is learning how to control those voices in your head and learn how to not let them dominate your every day. And learning where to get your strength from when they feel like they are shouting even louder than usual.
For me it can at times feel completely and utterly exhausting fighting these voices. These manipulative relentless voices that I don’t know how to stop but finding this strength is essential to maintaining my recovery. And staying strong is what we need to do.
For me I talk, I tell people how I feel. I share these feelings of failure, the fat feelings…I explain that I don’t want to get sick again and that I know fighting on is the thing I must do. I am so lucky to have people round me who take my eating disorder seriously and that I don’t have to prove a point by skipping meals.
The frustrating thing about anorexia is that when you start to fight that voice it gets louder and louder. And so you have to fight harder. But fighting harder is completely possible and when you don’t feel like you have the strength to do it please dig deep, focus on your motivations, dig deep, and stay strong as beating anorexia is 100% possible.
For me I do just this; I remind myself of my motivations and remind myself that life with anorexia is NOT worth living with. Like seriously what did anorexia ever really do for me other than pop me in hospital for a year. All the stuff that anorexia promised me turned out to be a lie.
Try and remember this, stand strong, keep fighting and don’t ever give up!
About the Author
Hope is an author, mental health campaigner and an ambassador for the Shaw Mind Foundation. Author of Stand Tall Little Girl, she suffered with anorexia for over 4 years before being admitted to hospital in 2007. Now in ongoing recovery, she uses her experience to raise awareness for mental health and eating disorders and to inspire people to get well and break the stigma that surrounds mental health. Why not check out some of her work?