“If only I could lose weight,” I said this week, “then I’d be able to cope with everything else a lot better.” This is what I said and it is genuinely how I’ve been feeling. The stresses of uni, the disappointment of a bad running session…you name it, everything is getting to me. And the stresses of life aren’t helped by the fact that I keep gaining weight, albeit by small amounts, but it is showing a general upward trend and I’m struggling to cope with that.
It’s bad enough gaining weight when it’s planned, when you know you have had a calorie increase, but when there’s no reason why, I’m not eating anymore, so why am I continuously gaining weight? That makes it really difficult. And with everything else going on in life it just feels a bit overwhelming. And my default mechanism – focus on weight and then everything else will feel better. If I can just sort my weight out, I can deal with everything else. However, my stresses then increase because I feel I can’t sort my weight out as it feels I only have to look at food at the moment and it makes me gain weight. That’s how I feel anyway.
It is at times like this that support from my family is so important. My mum is there as the voice of reason, when my head can’t be, telling me that my coping mechanism of losing weight is in fact absolute bollocks, doesn’t solve anything and doesn’t actually in the long run make me feel any better.
I look at young kids going to school, riding on their scooters or running along with their Disney lunch boxes and I think ‘God I wish I could go back to that. To go back to my childhood when everything was fun and stress free.’ When I’d play outside all day, every day with friends on weekends, when coming home from school meant watching Rugrats or Mary-kate and Ashely, when I could eat anything without thinking about it or feeling guilty. All that has gone. Adult life isn’t like that and this leaves me very depressed.
But it is possible to be happy and have fun as an adult. However, not when you have anorexia. I considered the possibility of going travelling, thinking this would be less stressful than dealing with daily life; an escape from reality. But as my sister pointed out – it wouldn’t matter where in the world I was, anorexia would still be there and I would still have my same troubles. Ultimately, it is anorexia making me stressed and unhappy and until I beat it, that won’t change.
One day I will beat it. not while I’m doing my Masters however, I am still holding onto my plan to try when I finish. This thought is terrifying and often I want to back-track and say actually, I’m alright as I am and that I really don’t need to gain weight. But the reality is that I’m not okay as I am. I’m not happy and in the 10 years I’ve dedicated to anorexia, life most certainly has not got better. And where anorexia feels like the answer to all my problems, my sister is right – anorexia is the cause. I refer to a saying I have used previously “to succeed in anorexia is to fail in life.”