Snow…isn’t it pretty – when it settles on the rooftops and trees, people look out the window and feel excitement. So much fun can be had in the snow – building snowmen, playing on sledges, making snow angels…these are all activities I saw people doing last week when we had the snowfall. Everyone was out there having fun.
However, to me, snow is just an inconvenience. A real pain that just stresses me out. I hate it – How am I meant to do my daily power walking when the grounds are covered with snow? And then when the snow starts to melt, the grounds are covered in ice. The stress it causes is unbelievable! So while everyone else was out having fun in the snow or staying cosy inside as they looked out of the window at the pretty views, I dug out my wellies, loaded up my layers and went out for my 45 minute power walk.
As I pounded the streets and fields in 5-inch-deep snow, with little snow flurries blowing onto my frozen face, I thought “What the hell am I doing?” Who in their right mind tries to power walk for 45 minutes in these conditions? It’s utter madness. And for anyone who tries to tell me that anorexia is a choice – this is proof of the polar opposite.
No one would ever choose to do what I went out to do. I didn’t want to do it – I would never actually choose to do that – it was hell and I hated every minute. But I HAD to do it. There were no ifs or buts, I had to do my walk, no matter what, no matter how much I hated it or how much I wanted to cry while I was doing it, anorexia had taken over my head and was making me do it. it had complete control of my behaviour; I certainly wasn’t in any control of what I was doing.
Likewise, the day after, I went out for my powerwalk in the torrential rain. I was absolutely soaked, cars splashing me with muddy water, hands bitterly frozen. Absolute hell. But I had no choice. I can’t cope with the guilt, anxiety and fear with not walking so I have to do it. Anorexia wins. But it’s at times like this that I hate anorexia more and it makes me more determined to not let this become my life forever, to not spend the rest of my life marching round streets powerwalking in all conditions. I don’t want that. I hate it. and I hate anorexia for making me do it.
If another person was making someone do what I had to do in the snow and rain, there would be outrage for it being so cruel. But when it’s someones own mind making them do it, no one even notices. But it is not acceptable. And it is not acceptable for treatment for this illness to be so sparse, for treatment to only be offered when anorexia has literally driven you to the brink of death. Anorexia severely impacts in every aspect of a sufferer’s life. And even people who appear to function, who appear to get on relatively normally, can still have anorexia impinging greatly on daily life.
I’m going to keep fighting. I’m not going to be like this for the rest of my life. And to help me, I’m going to keep paying to see my therapist…because I’m not allowed this treatment on the NHS…because I’m not ill enough. But anyone who had seen me out walking in the snow would know that isn’t the behaviour of a ‘well person’. But not everyone can afford to pay for therapy like I am and it is not fair that we are expected to live with serious mental illnesses, receiving no funding or treatment until we are ‘thin enough’ and our BMI ‘low enough’. No one would accept the abuse we suffer from anorexia from another person. Early interventions and better treatment for mental illness is needed. We need help to get us out of our blizzards. Not wait until we are completely snowed under before help is offered.