Anorexia. In the game that is life it’s like playing Monopoly. Living with anorexia is being locked up in jail. You don’t pass ‘Go’, you can’t take a ‘Chance’, you can’t live life and experience things other people do. But does it have to be a life sentence?
I was diagnosed with anorexia aged 19 in my first year of university. But my issues with food and weight started well before then. Take the Monopoly board again-I made it past ‘Old Kent Road’ and ‘Whitechapel Road’ without problems. But things changed when I reached ‘Kings Cross Station’, my early teens. From then, I hid food, over-exercised and had an overwhelming desire to lose weight which took a hold at university.
So, after three long hospital admissions involving sectioning, tube feeds and one-to-ones, to name but a few methods they tried to help me, I’m now 27, on a Community Treatment Order, have been out of hospital for nearly five years, maintaining my weight, in a full-time job working 40 hours a week, a graduate and, for the first time, starting to want to break free from this prison sentence of anorexia. I want my ‘Get out of jail free’ card. Before, I was happily locked up in my cell of anorexia, I lived, slept and breathed anorexia. But now I want more. Anorexia is exhausting and I’m tired of it. I am now starting to roll the dice, hoping to get closer to the double to set me free. Yes, these moments may be short-lived and the fear of losing what has been my only friend for many years often makes me too scared to roll and risk breaking free from my anorexic prison. But they are there and becoming more frequent.
Having looked at other anorexia recovery blogs, the way anorexia and recovery is talked about makes it feel to me as if I will never get there. How can I ever recover from it when 90% of the time I fell I desperately need it to cope? I don’t think like these other recovering bloggers, who seem so overwhelmingly positive. To have the occasional time when I imagine recovery is a huge step forward from where I was. Every attempt, no matter how small, to roll the dice and step towards breaking free is building the stepping stones to the prison door that will one day unlock.
This blog doesn’t flower up recovery…you don’t have to feel you want to get better 100% of the time and everything isn’t always fully determined to beating it. And that’s why I’m writing this blog. I want it to help-to help other people try and understand eating disorders, to help me and to help others who also want to roll the dice to break free but often find their other hand turning the key to stay safely locked up.