Dulux London Revolution

What.A.Weekend

Waking up at 4am on Saturday morning, nerves and excitement set in, trying to force down overnight oats while triple checking that we had everything we needed. We hit the road by 4:30am, I’ve never seen the London roads so quiet.

The whole experience was new to me having never taken part in a cycle event of any kind, so I was in amazement when we pulled in to the field to park the car watching what looked like professional cyclists everywhere getting their bikes ready, pumping up tyres, fitting inner tubes and attaching their numbers to their bikes. As we registered it suddenly felt real. I’d been waiting for that feeling all week, even travelling down to London still didn’t feel real. 187 miles was a distance that I couldn’t quite appreciate or get my head around. Receiving the registration pack was when it suddenly hit me. As I was looking around taking in the atmosphere I couldn’t help but notice that I was yet to see any women cyclists, automatically I started to worry that all the men around me looked particularly hard core and ready for what lies ahead.

My bike was ready, my luggage was gone and my water bottles were filled. I was at the start line listening to the safety talk and then before I really knew what was going on my wave were clipping in and we were off. I don’t think I’ll forget that initial feeling, the first time in my life that I was cycling in a group with other people. I felt like I was learning to ride for the first time and I actually felt wobbly. It was just nerves and within a mile I found my feet but I couldn’t help but notice that these roads were not closed, they were very much open and extremely busy. 

Riding in London itself was an experience, every traffic light turned red as we approached and I got lots of practice at clipping out. When we started the ride we were given a sticker to go on the bike setting out the main climbs and pit stops. Being the girl who thought the route was flat was a little confused but accepted that there would be a few ‘hills’. Everywhere has a few hills. What this ride has taught me is that in cycling there is actually a difference between a hill and a climb. 

The ride started in North London, through Shoreditch and Stoke Newingham, crossing the iconic Tower Bridge was a highlight all the way to the first climb up to Crystal Palace, I knew then that this ride was going to be a test. 

Reaching the first pit stop at mile 34 felt good, I’d settled in to the ride and had got used to riding in a group of people, learning the etiquette and enjoying myself. The first stop was great, a chance to stretch the legs and refuel. Refuelling. This is something that I hadn’t quite mastered while training and I did feel a little nervous that I didn’t have a nutrition plan. It was then that I discovered Perkier, a great brand that makes breakfast and snacks out of whole foods. I had never tried the snack bars before but they quickly became my favourite. A sprouted oaty cranberry bar and banana along with more water was just what I needed to get me through the next 34 miles. Off we went making our way to the next pit stop, strong winds, pretty views and steep climbs but 34 miles later we stopped for lunch (and I must admit another perkier bar!).

Mile 64 and I was feeling positive still, I had some self doubt but could see the end in sight. A big error I made on this ride was about to unveil as I took on the final part of the ride. Dehydration. I definitely didn’t drink enough while out riding and this is something I struggled with throughout training but when I got to mile 87 I started to really struggle. My legs had nothing left, I felt dehydrated and light headed. But I kept spinning the legs and pushing forwards. The finish line was in sight and it felt amazing to cross it. The atmosphere at Windsor racecourse was fab! 

That night I met the Dulux dog and then chilled out in the chill out area before retiring to ‘bed’ for the night. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not made for camping, especially after cycling 102 miles, all I wanted was a nice comfy hotel room but I was here to finish a race not a night of luxury. Needless to say it was a sleepless night, having spent 3 hours chugging water to try and ease the dehydration I also had to get up every hour and find my way to the portaloo and then find my way back again… not so easy when all the tents look the same!  

5am Saturday morning and the rain was pouring down, sore legs, head cold on its way I had to reason with myself. Mr cycling buddy next door also woke up feeling poorly and extremely sore and for a few minutes I did wonder how the day would end. We were proud of cycling 100 miles, an achievement that neither of us had achieved before. But that wasn’t enough. We looked at each other and knew what the other was thinking. We are finishing this race.

We turned up at the start line and perhaps that was the hardest step, the motivation and energy around us was enough to make us forget the uncomfortable feelings we had. Sitting back on the bike and pedalling was painful and my bum was hurting from the offset, something to do with my piriformis injury I expect but every bump sent stabbing pains through me. It was going to be a long day.

I settled in and tried to get comfortable but there was nothing comfortable about it, the climbs were relentless and started early, we were exploring the chilterns filled with painful long climbs, beautiful views and fast descents. The descents made me nervous as almost each one ended with another climb. Pit stop one was most welcome and I was doubting myself, I was in pain and completely blind to what was to come. Texts from my mum telling me I could do it and positive messages from my sister along with so much support from friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. That is what got me through, so many people were watching and so many people where willing me on and to finish there was no way that I could stop now. I had people following my journey and waiting for me to get the finish. I was going to finish. 

The next part of the ride was the hilliest and hardest of all, I think it was the most challenging 2 hours of my life, one hill made me sick, one made me cry but I was determined to get to the top of each. My family have been through some challenging times and thinking about these gave me to strength and determination when I needed it most. 

I know my family must have thought I was crazy when I told them I was cycling 187 miles (you can’t even ride on the road yet) and I know they may have secretly doubted me during training but they supported me none the less. Every pedal of the way and that’s what got me through.

When things got really tough I played mind games with myself, I thought about problems that needed to be solved and I learnt a lot about myself.

I wasn’t a cyclist before I started, I wouldn’t ride my bike outside as I was scared of roundabouts and junctions. I was resistant to clip in cycling shoes in case I couldn’t clip out fast enough. The training has been tough and there have been challenges along the way, rides early on a Sunday morning over winter in the freezing cold, heavy winds, self doubts, hitting 50 miles and questioning whether I can go any further, missed workouts due to illness, endless anxiety and several times considering not doing it and exhaustion. There have also been beautiful Sunday morning rides in the sunshine, discovering new coffee shops, cycling over to my parents house, achieving new goals and personal bests, smilies, laughs, proud moments, bringing my new bike in to my life and pushing my body further than it has ever been before. It’s been a journey of highs and lows, and I’d do it all again for those 60 seconds of feeling amazing crossing the finish line. 

The Dulux London Revolution is an amazing event. The organisation, support and atmosphere are second to none.

Thank you to Stolen Goat for my cycling kit, I felt like a proper cyclist stood at the start line with my kit.

Thank you to Perkier Foods for introducing me to the best energy snacks I have ever had. A new food that will become part of my everyday training! Also to High 5 for the electrolyte drinks, they too made all the difference. 

Let’s not forget the reason I did this event, after being lucky enough to win entry I decided to raise money for The Shakespeare Hospice a charity we are working closely with at work. Thank you to everyone who helped me raise £605 for such a great cause.

I hope that I can show that you really can do anything you put your mind to. I wasn’t a cyclist before I started and I doubted  myself throughout but if you want to achieve something then you are your only barrier. More is in you.

A weekend I will never ever forget.

The ultimate question, would I ever do it again? 

What do you think 😉


M x 
https://stolengoat.com/
http://perkier.co.uk/
http://www.london-revolution.com/
http://www.giant-leamington.co.uk/en-GB/
https://www.theshakespearehospice.org.uk/
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Michelle-Mumford3

Dulux London Revolution

Giving the silent illness a voice

With Eating Disorder Awareness Week taking place next week 27th – 5th March it’s a little reminder just how crucial awareness of this ‘silent’ illness is. Eating disorders are a very secretive illness. Using myself as an example, to begin with I looked fine, my favourite phrase was ‘I’m fine’ or ‘I’m ok’ and I acted fine and my behaviour was fine. On the outside everything was OK. As the illness progresses it begins to take its toll and it’s clear to people around you that you are not indeed ‘fine’ but by this point it’s too late, the damage is done, the thoughts and feelings are ingrained and have taken deep root. These thoughts and feelings are no longer thoughts and feelings but they are the truth, they are fact and you believe them. Belief is the key here. If you believe something to be true then no matter what your friends or family or the doctors say to you, you won’t believe them. You know the truth. Everyone else is lying to you. That’s when the paranoia begins, everyone and everything is against you, you feel on edge when you walk in to the room and everyone goes quiet… or worse overly chatty. Clearly everyone was talking about you. Against you. This is when you no longer look fine, your behaviour speaks volumes but it’s too late. This is the point where people may try to help you, where you are forced to see a doctor. I did exactly that and only agreed to see a doctor to make my family happy and stop them worrying. I didn’t see the problem and didn’t think I was poorly enough to get help. When it slowly clicked I was terrified but I felt like it was too late. I wished that I’d seen the problem at the very beginning so that I could have received the help I needed before things got too bad but I didn’t. No-one noticed the signs and that’s because I was so good at hiding it, I had all of the excuses, all of the lies and I manipulated. No-one knew what was going on and why should they? Eating disorders were not talked about so freely and so how could anyone have noticed the signs so early on when I was fighting so hard to keep it hidden.

Awareness of eating disorders is so so important and by people talking about mental health and understanding the early warning signs better places family and friends to make the intervention. It’s sad but true that this lies with family and friends because your loved one cannot be trusted to help themselves, that is not the nature of an eating disorder. 

Recovery from an eating disorder is not a quick fix, you don’t get help and then you are better again, it takes years of hard work and in many cases you never fully recover BUT the sooner you get support and the treatment needed the sooner you can stop the downward spiral and begin working towards recovery. 

Whether it’s the beginning of an eating disorder or a third or forth relapse getting help quickly is the most important thing.

I’m no professional but from personal experiences I have identified the early warning signs. If a handful of people are reading this and take something you never know when or if you might need it.

Early warning signs, to name a few:

Preoccupation with food:

  • having ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods
  • having a list of ‘safe’ foods
  • eliminating entire food groups
  • extreme interest in what others are eating
  • feeding other people 

Comments and thoughts around   weight, weighing themselves more frequently and a desire for the number to go down


Looking in the mirror more often than normal and touching or pinching body parts. 

If these phrases become part of your day to day conversations:

“I have already eaten”, ” I’ll eat later”, “I’m not hungry” “I don’t like that anymore” ” I had a big lunch”

Hiding food and throwing it away

Exercising obsessively with the intention of burning calories


Fixation on counting calories and numbers, checking food labels or knowing the calorie content in almost every food

Supermarket shops become painful, time consuming and stressful

Spending more time on the internet looking at diet sites and forums 

Anxiety and depression

Having a few outfits that are worn and washed constantly and only feeling comfortable in these. They tend to be loose fitting

Becoming defensive and snappy and angry with intense mood swings. Becoming angry for what seems like no reason and then being tearful the next.

Rigid eating behaviours:

  • using a certain bowl or spoon
  • cutting food into tiny pieces 
  • chewing a certain number of times
  • not letting foods touch

Avoiding social situations or being socially awkward and withdrawing and becoming isolated

Being cold and tired all the time

The more we talk and read about eating disorders the greater awareness there will be, with more people getting the help that they need. Eating disorders are silent… we need to give them a voice, we need to make them loud.
M x 

Giving the silent illness a voice

New Year…Better Me

New Year, New Me… or rather ‘Better Me’
Resolutions are a funny thing. For me I’d always finish December and vow to be better, to fix everything and change my life. Part of my resolutions were just words to make my family happy and looking back I’m not sure how much they believed me anyway.

Life with an eating disorder was full of hope and promises come January. Hope that this year would be the year I cracked it. Promises that this time next year we would be looking back and it would all be behind us. In a way these were empty promises. Sometimes New Years resolutions are just not as shiny and motivating as they seem on the outside. The eating disorder couldn’t be overcome by a promise come the first of the month rather a promise and hope every single day that I could get better. 

I’m not a fan of resolutions that tell you to stop doing something, I think you are setting yourself up to fail by putting barriers in place before the year has even began. After leaving hospital and beginning to settle back in to normal life in 2015 this last year has been a great time to make some changes and steps in the right direction, it has helped me see areas that I still need to work on and things that I want to improve. I developed a love for running last year and completed my first and second half marathon. This showed me what my body can do but also made me want to push further. This year my New Years Resolutions are focused on making positive changes, setting challenges that mean I have to start doing certain things rather than focusing on stopping something. Focus on the positives not the negatives.




I have several things that I want to achieve this year on a physical and personal level.
So what do I want 2017 to hold for me?
Completing my first full marathon and my first (185mile) cycle ride. I know I’m not strong enough at the moment to do this but my goals for 2017 are to become fitter and stronger to ensure I succeed in these challenges.

On a personal level there are things that I want to change, or at least improve. 

Whatever your plans are for 2017, think about where you are now and where you would like to be and look at the positive changes you need to make to get there. 
For those who are suffering with an Eating Disorder remember that you can’t change everything in a year, you can’t ‘be cured’ or ‘recovered’ these are not realistic goals, but there are many things that you can do to start on that road to recovery. Recovery is a process, a road and a journey, it doesn’t start on the first of January and you don’t just decide to get better, there will be bumps in the path but there is no failure. 

2017 will be the year that I continue to get stronger. You can do it to. Whether that be summoning the courage to ask for help, continuing to fight a mental health condition or making your body stronger. 


Happy New Year 

M x

New Year…Better Me

The most difficult time of the year

“Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year”

It’s that time of year again, where most people are busy planning all of the festive parties they will be attending, drinks nights, work parties and the ultimate family get together over a big Christmas lunch. For most this is what Christmas is all about, this is what we wait for all year. But for someone suffering with an eating disorder this is the most difficult time of the year

I’m lucky, for the first time in 10 years I can fit back in to the majority, I’m looking forward to my work Christmas party and all the family time that is fast approaching but until now it’s been a very different story.

I’m writing this, not to look at how far I have come but to offer support, understanding and advice to everyone I know (and don’t know) who will be dreading this time of year like I was. 
For someone in the grips of an eating disorder or someone who is on the road to recovery or even those who consider themselves recovered Christmas is still a big deal. Although an AMAZING time of the year it is still hard. For me it’s an emotional time on different levels, I get emotional thinking about how lucky I am to be here and appreciating my amazing family. I get emotional thinking about all of the wasted Christmases where I have just dreaded the lead up and been a panicky mess on the day through to the deep regret and guilt of ruining the day for the ones I love. Christmas is a big deal and can and will trigger anxieties around food and drink but what you need to remember is that it is just one day. 
Christmas is an occasion to spend time with family and friends and yes there happens to be lots of food around but treat this as a normal day. You still need to give yourself permission to eat just like recovery teaches you. Looking back over past Christmases I can see that my anxieties around the day and the lead up were bigger than the food itself. The more I thought about what I would and wouldn’t eat the bigger the food became. My downfall was the amount I was catastrophizing every situation.
Sometimes it is easier to keep your feelings to yourself and struggle through the day so that other people don’t worry about you and you are not a burden on others but from experience your family will know that you are struggling and they are there to help you and talk about it. You shouldn’t have to go through it alone.

I’m no expert and I’m not a qualified professional but from personal experience I want to share my tips for surviving the Christmas period with an eating disorder.
1. Reassure yourself that it is ok, you are allowed to enjoy yourself and you are allowed to eat.
2. Spend time with your family and get involved with what’s happening around you. It may be difficult but try not to distance yourself. Feeling like an outsider looking in will increase the negative feelings.
3. Talk talk talk. Talk about your anxieties, tell your family how you are feeling and inform them on how they can help make the day easier for you.
4. Remind yourself it is just a normal day
5. Have a meal plan that you have made before the big day, that way you won’t be faced with decisions that heighten your anxiety. 
6. Play games and take your mind off the negativity
7. Remember that this isn’t really about food, remember to look deeper at what is really going on. Try to journal and explore where the feelings are coming from and what the thoughts of food are actually distracting you from 

If you are reading this because you want to support a loved one with an eating disorder then please remember…
1. It’s not their fault and there is no blame


2. Be supportive and encouraging but do not watch their every move


3. Don’t make unnecessary comments over food or monitor the amount that they are eating
4. Never make someone feel as if they are letting you down or being difficult
5. Help take their mind off things with conversations that are not focused on food
6. Don’t talk about how much you have eaten or that you feel ‘fat’. These kinds of comments make it very hard for a sufferer to eat the foods they consider bad
Remember, this can be just as hard for you as it is for someone suffering with an eating disorder. It can be frustrating and upsetting but the most you can do is be supportive and let your loved one know you are there without coming across as the food police! 
Christmas is a family time, don’t let your eating disorder take away anymore valuable time, it’s taken enough.
M x 

The most difficult time of the year

You CAN run a Half Marathon too!

Hands up who has watched one of the Great Runs on TV and thought ‘wow, I wish I could do that’?Every year I have watched the London Marathon and joked about how people can run so far, secretly wishing I could do it but knowing it would never happen. Last year after stumbling across Run Like A Girl and getting (gently) nudged shall we say by a friend to do the Blenheim 10km with her I started taking more interest in races on tv. 

After only just achieving 10km at Blenheim Palace I immediately fell in love with the feel of race day… Or crossing the finish line at least! When I was watching the Great South Run on TV while getting on with the ironing I was taken aback by the crowds, the support and all of people’s stories as to why they were running. Bowel Cancer Uk is a charity very close to my heart and I remember thinking to myself, ‘I wish I could run a big race to raise money for this charity’. As I watched more and more I began to question whether I could do it, and seeing the eldest man in the race cross the finish line triggered the idea in me that I was going to sign up to The Great North Run half marathon. I quickly picked up my phone and text my other half telling him my plan, he was in. He was so supportive and told me he would run it with me. That was when I knew I had the running bug! 

But September 2016 seemed so far away, I wanted to start training now, there and then (I’ve never been very patient) I put the iron away and got my running kit on, laced up and hit the road. While I was running it occurred to me that my friend who roped me in to Blenheim 10km had mentioned me doing a half marathon in Coventry. I calculated this being 5 months away and that planted the next seed in my mind. 

When I got home I started googling half marathon plans and it seemed that I only realistically needed 16-20 weeks to train, this was perfect! So I did it. I signed me and my boyfriend up that night to run Coventry Half. I think he was cautious as I had only been out of hospital a few months but he could see how much it meant to me and so he was very supportive. I proved that if you look after your body, give it what it needs and listen to it then anything is possible.

From that moment I started believing it was possible, I was going to run a half marathon. This was both exciting and terrifying in equal measure but however I felt, it was going to happen. I was doing this for me, to prove I can and using it as a benchmark to see where my body was at and as I had never covered that distance I wanted to see the pace I was running at and if my body could really sustain 13.1 miles. 

Training plan:

I followed a BUPA intermediate training plan incorporating speed work, hill runs and long runs at the weekend. I admit I didn’t follow the plan exactly, but I adapted it to make sure I was covering these three types of run.

Hill runs were designed to get my body used to running up hills and then to keep going and not stop. Although hard on the legs and bum these were my favourite training sessions ( in a torture kind of way 😉 ) 

Speed work was designed to help me with my pace. I would run intervals in the park mixing it up each week.

Sunday became ‘Long run day’ and at between 8 and 9am every Sunday my boyfriend and I would head out for our long run. I loved having someone to run with, you have someone to talk to, to support and encourage you during the difficult runs and someone to celebrate with when you finished the run (and someone to go out with and refuel with!)

As the weeks went by there were good and bad training weeks, ups and downs, amazing runs and runs where I felt like giving up after 3km but I didn’t, I kept going because I had a purpose, I had my eye on the prize and ultimately I kept thinking to my dream of running the Great North Run for Bowel Cancer Uk, running for my mum.

There are endless training plans on the internet which you can use exactly or adapt to fit your life. Below are some good ones to start your research with:

http://running.competitor.com/2014/06/training/the-beginners-guide-to-the-half-marathon_52399

http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2013/09/training-tips/couch-to-half-marathon-training-plan_15065

http://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/directory/r/running-programme-half-marathon

Nutrition:

I admit I was pretty clueless when it came to nutrition, I knew I had to eat more on long run days and had to eat the right foods after a run but for me that’s as far as it went. Despite not having the knowledge on correct nutrition I still made it through training however it has taught me that this is an area I need to really focus on when I start training for the GNR. There is lots of nutrition advice out there so find what works for you. Try not to get to obsessive or caught up in good and bad food, what you can and cannot eat. There are no limits but you will soon learn what works well for your runs. Fuelling is so important and can’t be ignored.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/506701-half-marathon-meal-plan/

http://www.runnersworld.com/fuel-school/how-to-fuel-for-a-half-marathon

Race Day:

Talk about nerves! It’s strange up until race day I didn’t feel nervous, I knew I was going to turn up, I knew it would hurt but at the same time I knew I would do it. 
Race day was a different story! 

Arriving at the race village I was flooded with nerves, questioning my training, wishing I had got proper nutrition advice, seeing everyone kitted up, looking professional! But I was distracted from these invasive thoughts by the atmosphere. It was amazing! There were people everywhere, charity stands with food and drink, loud music, families gathering to watch their loved ones, it was amazing! 

The actual race:

Queuing up to start was exciting yet nerve wracking! Making sure we were in the right pen, getting my music sorted and most importantly ensuring the Garmin had Gps! But we were off, I remember running straight past my boyfriends mum at the start and seeing her there supporting gave me that initial buzz. We were off! When the adrenaline kicks in anything feels achievable but I just hoped that was enough to get me around the full 13.1 miles. As the race went on I admit I was struggling with the early distances, up to 8 miles felt really difficult and I was constantly battling with my own mind. These barriers we talk about ‘I can’t do it’ ‘I haven’t trained enough’ ‘I can feel injuries’ ‘I won’t make it to the end’ ‘I’m not good enough’ I was hit with each one of these but every time one came I fought it. I told myself I had worked so hard for this day, picturing how disappointed I would be if I stopped, people had sponsored me £500 to do this I was not prepared to let them down or let myself down. I thought about how brave my mum and dad have been and if they can get through what they have I can push through the pain for a few hours running. Then I thought about RLAG, about all the amazing ladies who go out when they think they can’t do it. I knew I encouraged them to believe in themselves and not give up so now wasn’t the time for me to become a hypocrite! 

Mile 8 marker became visible and I finally found my feet, I was in a great rhythm, I was smiling and the crowds around me were amazing. It was buzzing!! I finally began to believe and I was experiencing the runners high that we all talk about, I was actually doing it! I will never forget crossing the finish line with Ian. It felt amazing to have trained together and finished together. To top it off as I crossed the finish line I looked up and my sister, brother in law and twin nephews were stood there cheering. I had no idea they would be there but it’s true, it’s not just your race, you share it with so many people. 

Truth:

It hurt, my legs were so sore I couldn’t walk up the stairs and I developed injuries I didn’t know existed!

Would I do it again. Of Course I would!! 

My Half Marathon tips:

– if your in two minds about doing one, just sign up! You come to believe you can once you start training and seeing your body adapt

– train with other people- even if it’s just one of your runs a week, motivate and encourage each other

– for your first half marathon, don’t focus on time, don’t put pressure or expectation on yourself just go out there and enjoy it.

– make sure you have comfortable trainers, if you need new ones, change them gradually and don’t change too near to race day

– personally I didn’t use any energy gels, but if you want to make sure you test them beforehand

– don’t do anything different on race day to a normal training day

– hydrate, hydrate, hydrate in the week leading up to the race and not relying on the morning of the race

– queue up early for the toilet! You don’t want to be stressed about getting to the start line. It’s amazing how many people need the toilet at the same time!

– my biggest and most important tip is to enjoy it, enjoy the preparation, enjoy the run and celebrate afterwards

– oh and equally as important… Smile when you see a camera, they are likely to be official photographers and those photos will be landing in your inbox after the race!

So, do you think you have what it takes to run a half marathon?

Too right you do! See you at the start line 😉

https://home.justgiving.com/?take=10 

You CAN run a Half Marathon too!

My Road to Recovery

Having an eating disorder leads you into a different world, dark, self-absorbed and narrow. I found that I lost focus of the real world and didn’t (or couldn’t) see what was around me whether it be people, places, or family. My eating disorder became apparent while I was at university. It was there before but I didn’t realise it, it happens gradually to begin with and then when you realise what is happening it is to late.

At my worst and before I knew it I was living on less than 100 calories a day, visiting the gym twice a day. Every single calorie that passed my lips had to be accounted for. I say I was living but I wasn’t I was existing. 

I was stuck in a cycle that I couldn’t seem to get out of. I’d lose weight to the point where I couldn’t take anymore, i’d get some help and reintroduce food until my weight was approaching healthy and then I would panic and lose weight again, the cycle would then begin again. My problem was that I was trying to recover on my own in my own surroundings but I wasn’t strong enough. I was so absorbed in the illness and the deceit that it brought that I would pretend I was eating and not exercising, telling the professionals what I thought they wanted to hear. As I lost weight my mood became affected, I slipped further and further into depression that I could see no way out. I wanted it to end, I wanted the constant battle in my head to stop. And I almost got my wish. Anorexia nearly killed me.

Reaching rock bottom made me see that I did need help and more importantly that I wanted help but the only way I could get the right help was by being in hospital. Two days after this realisation I arrived at an inpatient unit in Warwick with my suitcase and terrified by what I was doing. 

It was a completely different world, routine, structure and a place where all possible control was taken away at the door. Knowing I had to eat and couldn’t exercise made my panic because it was what I was most scared of, or so I thought. Waking up and not having to go to the gym for hours was actually a relief. I was physically and mentally exhausted. 

I won’t lie, I hated every second of inpatient treatment but looking back it was the best decision I have ever made.
I may not be fully recovered because I don’t think that actually exists but I am so far down the road to recovery that I am finding peace with myself, I’m doing things I never thought possible and I’m finally living my life. I think that someone will always have the eating disorder within them and I’ll be tested at challenging times in my life but I’m recovered and recovering and I will continue to work hard every day because I never want to be in that place. I have freedom, I have a family and I’m in a happy relationship. I have everything to live for.

Inpatient treatment and therapy took me back to basics, learning to eat again, learn to like my body and develop a healthy relationship with food. I soon learnt that eating disorders are not about food or weight they develop as a way to show that you are struggling. I was struggling with something that stems right back to childhood. En eating disorder comes from a need to control something when all other areas in your life are out of control.

Since leaving hospital and getting to such a great place I have been writing a recovery blog ThisIsMeRecovery. I wanted to do this to help people who are struggling with eating disorders, sharing my experience and journey and how I got to where I am. 

If you are really struggling and you are given the option of an inpatient treatment please go for it. I know I wouldn’t be here today to tell my recovery story if I hadn’t have got intervention when I did. Recovery is possible, you just have to decide that enough is enough, you need to be ready and want recovery. You need to work hard and trust the process because it works.
Mx

My Road to Recovery

A Letter To My Younger self

If you had to write a letter to ‘your younger self’ what would you say? I was asked this question and it really got me thinking. This is such a valuable thing to do.

My letter to my younger self:

Hey there little one,

You probably don’t recognise me now. You won’t recognise me for the happy, healthy person that you see before you. I write you this letter looking back at the quiet shy little girl who was hiding in her own shadow. I just want to take you in my arms and reassure you that you will get through this. You will get through this and come out of the other side a better person.

Things were difficult for you, I can see that now. I can see how you were struggling with so many things, so many thoughts going around in that little mind of yours. You were carrying the world on your shoulders and no one could see your struggle. No one could see the pain in your eyes, the regret in your heart and the damage that was done. No one could see that you were about to hit the self-destruct button. 

Looking back I can see the torture you were going through. I understand why you did what you did, I understand where your eating disorder came from and I know you always asked yourself ‘why me’ ‘why is this happening to me’ but I’m afraid that bad things happen to good people. You were a good person, and I’m telling you this now because I know you never believe that. Somehow you thought you deserved this, for not speaking out and getting the help that you so needed and deserved.

I’m sorry for what you went through, I’m sorry for how I treated you. You should never have gone through this alone.

You have been on quite a journey- a journey that however hard has taught you so much. A journey that will continue to teach you and show you who you truly are.

When you get to uni try and enjoy it- it’s meant to be the best years of your life. I want you to find the work life balance. You can never have too many friends. These people that you will be spending all of your time with will be friends for life, you are going to need to keep them close, you will need them one day. Go out with them, socialise, get drunk and spend your Saturday’s hungover and eating pizza on the sofa. Whatever you do do not isolate yourself, don’t put too much pressure on yourself and work 24/7. You can only do your best, and your best is more than good enough. Uni should be the best years of your life, make memories that you can look back on and smile.

When your struggling remember it is ok to ask for help. You are going to need help along the way and that’s ok. You need to be open and honest with those who care about you and any professionals that want to help you. Don’t resist help. When treatment is offered to you I want you to promise me that you will take it- jump at the opportunity and don’t let go. You are going to need treatment to get better and the sooner you get it the easier your life will be. The sooner you start down your road to recovery the more of your life you will have to live. You will soon realise just how precious your life is, don’t waste it punishing yourself. Don’t waste it punishing yourself for something that isn’t your fault. Take the help and start to work through recovery. Your uni course can wait- there is no pressure to finish your degree, your health comes first.

Forgiveness, this is something that you find difficult but you need to forgive yourself, no one blames you for this. You just experienced something no-one should ever have to and as a child you were given too much responsibility. You had to grow up long before your time but that isn’t your fault and wasn’t your choice. I know you blame yourself for keeping it all in, suppressing your feelings and trying to protect everyone around you but that wasn’t your job then and it isn’t now. You were the child, you are the teenager and you are not responsible for other people. They can and will look after themselves. I know you have done all you can to protect them but you are destroying yourself in the process. Forgive yourself for not getting the help when you needed it and stop blaming yourself. Stop feeling guilty.

You struggle to express your emotions but I want you to remember that it’s healthy and normal to be angry. Feeling anger does not make you a bad person, people wont judge you. It’s important to express anger when you feel it, you have been bottling up your emotions and deep down in the mix you do feel a lot of anger, you just don’t allow yourself to really feel it because it’s uncomfortable. Your allowed to. Considering the circumstances you have every right to feel anger, the sooner you let yourself feel this without the guilt that comes with it the healthier you will be. 

You are going to experience a sense of deep loss, it will feel like grief and it will hurt as you let go of all that you have known. But grief is a process, at first you will be in denial but this is where you must listen to me. This is really happening, there is no denying it. You are seriously ill and the sooner you accept that the sooner you will be ready to get help. Loss is a horrible feeling but it is just that, a feeling that you will overcome. Grief gets better with time. Give yourself time.

Most importantly of all I want you to remember just how loved you are. You are about to embark on the biggest journey of your life and there will be dark times ahead of you, times where you feel like giving up and wanting to end it all, but if you listen to my letter to you you will get through it. 

You will discover the real you and that is going to be such an exciting time. The eating disorder has taken over your life, sucking the life out of you and leaving you the shell of the person that you were. The person you see before you has been pushed and pulled and shaped by the eating disorder, it’s not real. You are about to discover the real you, you will find new hobbies and interests and make so many new friends. Enjoy this process. You will look back in years to come and see just what you have overcome, there is hope. Be strong. Life is waiting for you.
Mx 

What would you say to your younger self? Have a go 🙂 

A Letter To My Younger self