Dating and Dickpics: Episode 12

As you can tell, my quest for love is still ongoing as we are now into our 12th episode of the tales of my tragic love life.

The past month has seen many different changes and dates. I have a new job which I’m looking forward to starting so I’ve been out and about a fair bit before I settle into the routine of the 9-5 life. I’m also writing a book! That’s the most exciting news, really. It’s going to take me a while but I’m chipping away at it every day. I’m actually shocked at the level of self-discipline I have. I mean, I’ve even held off watching Grey’s Anatomy because I dedicate my afternoons to writing, leaving evenings for watching TV.

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It seems like I do have a story and it’s getting published

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the same luck in my love life. I gave a guy I dated once a second chance…and he blew it. He contacted me recently after going AWOL for a few months. I told him that yes we had chemistry, but I was still unsure about him because he just disappeared and went radio silent for months. He told me he still liked me and wanted to take me out on a date so I agreed. Everything was fine, even up until the night before. We were talking and he was saying just how much he was looking forward to seeing me the next day.

I woke up the next morning feeling positive. He hadn’t called or texted to say he couldn’t make it so the date was still happening. I picked out my outfit, got ready and headed off to the tube station to hop on the next train to King’s Cross. When I was around 10 minutes away from that tube stop, I texted him saying I was on time and I’d meet him at Covent Garden at 3.30pm like we had agreed.

Then shit hit the fan. He texted me, telling me not to ‘leave home’ when I clearly already had. He said he was still at work. I asked what time he was going to finish — if it was a couple of hours, I could easily kill time in a bar or something. No, he was going to finish at 5pm. I told him I could do some shopping and wait until he was ready, then we could just grab dinner and some drinks. He said no, that we should reschedule and he would be too tired and too moody to go on a date after work.

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REALLY?

So let’s get this straight. He knows it takes me an hour to get to King’s Cross. He knew I would leave my house at 2.30pm. He didn’t inform me then that in fact, he couldn’t leave work at 1pm like his boss said he could. He would’ve known by 2.30pm that he was working late and couldn’t make the date. So why didn’t he inform me? I was livid. I’d wasted all that time and make up and he had actually stood me up. I’ve never been stood up in my life. I was so fuming that I was on the verge of tears (I do that annoying angry-cry thing). It was so rude, unacceptable and inconsiderate. I turned around and made my way back home. On my journey, I texted him and told him he shouldn’t dare to contact me again, that he’s a fuckboy and no, we won’t reschedule, because he’s rude and he can go to hell in a handcart. I actually wanted to let go and call him every name under the sun, but I’m too classy for that…somehow.

My mum and brother were super supportive. My brother, who is actually a really chilled out guy, said that he was appalled that I’d been stood up and that he was furious on my behalf. He also said that I should’ve joined him and his wife as they were only a few tube stops away and they would’ve gladly dished out tea and sympathy. However, I knew if I had taken them up on their generous offer, I probably would’ve burst into tears and I really just wanted to go home and get cuddles from my mum instead.

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My mum’s hugs are epic

I also went on a couple of dates with another guy, but that didn’t lead anywhere. Well, that was my decision really. I think that having been on so many first dates, I’ve fine-tuned my list of what I want from a guy and that means making tough decisions and not compromising on anything at all. I have high standards and people often remark that because of said high standards, I’ll probably be alone, but I’d rather be alone than settle for someone who makes me compromise on things that I really can’t compromise on. I still hold out some hope that I may find love, but it may take a lot longer than I thought. I could quite easily date someone who isn’t right for me for the sake of it, but that wouldn’t be fair to the other person. It’s better to be single and continue the search.

There is another man on the cards though. It’s all hush-hush at the moment and I won’t be spilling the tea any time soon. I don’t want to jinx it because this may actually have potential, but we’ll have to see what happens in due course.

In other news:

  • I’ve already started writing my book. It’s going pretty well, if I do say so myself.
  • I’m having a mini-staycation back in Exeter at the end of November (and if any of you are still there, hit me up so we can arrange something). I cannot wait to go back and rediscover my love for that place.
  • Unfortunately, there was a huge fire in Exeter which means I won’t be visiting one of my favourite places there because it’s been burnt down to a cinder. At least I’ll always have the memories.
  • Reminiscing about Exeter has made me realise just how hard it is to get decent cider in London. I’ll be drinking a lot of cider that weekend.
  • I’m working on Halloween so I can’t celebrate it, but I came to the conclusion that if I was celebrating, I’d have dressed up as The Joker.
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This is my aesthetic #goals

Dating and Dickpics: Episode 11

At this point, I wonder if there will ever be a time where I stop writing D&D. I love writing it, but I would love to find…well, love.

I seem to have the worst luck when it comes to fuckboys. The guy I was making heart-eyes over in D&D 10? He was a complete fuckboy. I think he realised after the first date that sex was off the cards completely. He thought he could change my mind about it. For some reason, men seem to think that no matter how strong a woman’s convictions are, they are God’s gift to women and will change her mind somehow. No man is ever that amazing. Even if it was Idris Elba, it wouldn’t happen.

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Sorry Idris. I love you but no sexy time.

So I was back in the dating game once again and I found a man who made everything sound so promising. He wasn’t exactly my type but I’m a believer in giving most people a chance if I find we are compatible enough to get along. He actually met me when I was on a night out with my friends. I’d only told him in passing that I’d had a busy day planned but we’d be in a nightclub that evening if he wanted to join us and to my surprise, he turned up. He was courteous and polite. We spent almost an hour outside the nightclub just talking and getting to know each other. After, we exchanged numbers and texted every day until our first official date. That date went swimmingly well. As did our second date. By the end of our second date, I thought that this guy had potential.

But things are very rarely a fairytale, especially in my life.

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I was kind of rooting for him.

His true colours were revealed on my birthday, ironically. So for my birthday, I was betrayed and lied to. I have to say, I wouldn’t have coped with the aftermath without my amazing friends (you know who you are). I got over it in time, but I think that what hurt more was another betrayal that blindsided me; he quickly became an afterthought and collateral damage in the end.

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Party pooper.

Despite this, I am grateful for both the fuckboy and the I’ll Ruin Your Birthday guy too. They both taught me some lessons, which are:

  • No man is ever worth breaking a promise you made to yourself.
  • Talk is cheap.
  • Actions speak louder than words.
  • If a guy suddenly goes silent for more than a day, he’s not into you.
  • It’s easy to say you’re a feminist and believe in equality but your actions will always betray you.
  • Never stay with a man who thinks that talking to other men is a crime.
  • If someone lets you down at the last minute, you’re not their priority, so get rid of them.
  • You never really know someone’s true intentions until it’s too late.

Despite all this drama, I’m still feeling positive. I know I have the love and support of my friends and I couldn’t have picked myself back up without them. I love you guys.

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#SquadGoals

It’s not all doom and gloom though. I’ve decided that I really need to test men out when I date them and not take everything on face value because as I mentioned above, talk is cheap and it’s easy for men to tell you what you want to hear just to get in your pants or take advantage of you in other ways. Looking back, there were many things wrong with Party Pooper guy but I looked past them because he was just so kind and polite and I thought I could compromise. The fact is, I really can’t. I’m bad at compromising when it comes to love and although I used to think that was a flaw, I don’t think it is now. I know what I want and I won’t settle for less because…well, why should I? Why should anyone settle for less?

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Don’t compromise.

I’m excited to announce that I do have a date this coming weekend. I’m looking forward to it because the guy is miles apart from the guys I’ve dated recently. He’s intelligent and very interesting. Hopefully it all goes well and I don’t make a complete embarrassment of myself. But at the moment, I’m not reading much into it. A date is just that — getting together to find out more about each other. And if this doesn’t work out? Onto the next date.

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Bring it on!

 

Updates

I haven’t written in a while, for a number of reasons. Things will be improving soon though as I have a list of about a million and one articles that need to get written and published up here.

So here’s what’s been happening in my slightly tragic life.

  • I got a job which was perfect for me because I was basically writing and doing some tech stuff for a living. It looks like it hasn’t worked out as I just got put on gardening leave (not my decision, of course). I can’t say much, obviously (contracts and all that shizzle). But to sum it all up in one gif:
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I feel a little betrayed

  • My dating life has gone from bad to worse. More about that soon (yes, there shall be another chapter of D&D released).
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There’ll always be more D&D

  • Contemplating what to do with my life. I thought I had a plan and it was actually a realistic plan. I knew what I was going to do in the next five years. Get a property, move out and work hard. All of that went up in flames today (see point one). Right now I’m scratching my head a little bit. Part of me is contemplating studying again. I’m not sure how I’d manage to do it. I know that I’m in the right frame of mind to study now, whereas I wasn’t entirely when I actually did my undergraduate degree. It’s just funny how you’re expected to make a life-changing decision about what to study at university when you’re just a teenager. My life experiences during and since my undergraduate degree have made me a lot wiser and I know what I want now. I can’t say I did before.
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Ahh, academia

  • I think for now, at least in the short term, I’ll push on and see what’s in the job market. I’ll do some freelancing and copywriting. Maybe I’ll teach myself another language or something. I’m trying to turn a bad situation on its head and be positive, which is something I’ve not been able to do before when I’ve been disappointed and let down by someone.
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The only definitive plan I have

Till the next time,

M.

7 Signs That You’re Still in Love with Your Ex (CultNoise)

4th December 2015

Getting over someone you thought you were truly in love with can be extremely hard. It is possible to do it, but a surprising amount of people seem to kid themselves into thinking that they are over their ex when actually, they are still in the throes of love and infatuation. Here are some telltale signs that you’re not as over them as you might think you are.

1. You Stalk Them on Social Media

You try to resist typing their name into Facebook or checking their tweets but somehow, you always end up back on their page; finding out who they’ve been hanging out with, if they have a new partner or where they’ve been lately. And if they blocked you because the breakup was bad, you ask your best friend to hunt down their actions for you. You find yourself wasting a great deal of time trying to find out every detail of their new life without you.

2. You Compare All Your Dates to Them

You might think that you’ve moved on because you’re dating, but do you find yourself subconsciously comparing your date to your ex? Do you compare their mannerisms to those of your ex? Or do you find that you’re making up reasons not to go on another date with them, knowing perfectly well that there’s nothing particularly wrong with them? If you can’t get through this mental block, you’re probably not over them.

3. You Fantasise About Them Whilst Having Sex with Someone Else

This is fairly self-explanatory. If you’re wishing they were the one getting nasty with you, you’re definitely not over them. Probably best to stop sleeping with whoever it is you’re sleeping with though, just in case they develop feelings for you – that will only get messy.

4. You’re Refusing to Get Out There and Play The Field

Of course, it takes time to get back in the dating game after a tragic heartbreak. However, if you’re resolutely swearing against talking or going on dates, it could be a sign that you’re not yet over your ex. Going on dates, even if they don’t lead anywhere, is a healthy way of moving on and showing yourself that there are plenty more fish in the sea. If you’re avoiding that at all costs, you may want to reassess things.

5. You Contact Them When You’ve Had a Tipple

Drunk texts are some of the worst crimes you can commit when you’ve had a few too many to drink. It’s fine if you’re texting your best friend because you’ve got bad beer goggles and can’t see that they’re standing a meter away from you, but drunk dialling or texting your ex is an abomination. An ex is an ex for a reason — there shouldn’t be any contact between the two of you for a while, especially if the breakup was bad. You’re especially vulnerable when you’re drunk too because alcohol means that your tongue is loosened, and who knows what you may confess!

6. You Still Talk About Them, Whenever You Can

Your friends will be there for you during the aftermath of your breakup, but if you’re still harping on about it 6 months later, still bringing them up in every conversation… yeah, that’s not a good sign. You may want to ease up though because, soon enough, that supportive friendship group may dwindle.

7. You’re Lost When You’re Alone

This one really depends on the dynamics of the relationship you had with your ex. If you spent a lot of time together and you don’t now know what to do with all the free time, apart from reminisce about your relationship, then you may need to find some new hobbies and other ways of occupying your time, instead of mulling over what could have been.

Lessons You Only Learn From University (CultNoise)

2nd December 2015

1. How to get very drunk, very cheaply

Budgeting is essential when you’re a student. Many students can’t afford to spend money like it’s going out of fashion, so you end up learning how to do everything cheaply, including getting smashed. You begin hunting for 2-4-1 cocktail deals, and ordering the strongest thing on the menu. Pre-drinking becomes a standard ritual before a night out, and you always research what alcohol is on offer in your local supermarket before making the journey down there.

2. Who you really are

University gives you time to really explore who you actually are. You won’t be the same person you were before it. University is a chance to discover what you really like without any peer pressure. You can embrace your flaws, and turn them into strengths. Personally, university was invaluable to me in this respect. I never really knew who I was, and had been so caught up in studying and other personal stuff that I’d never had the chance to sit back and think what about me? University gave me a perfect opportunity to find myself. It’s pretty much the only time in your life where you can take time out and focus on yourself.

3. What your interests and hobbies actually are

As a child, you may have been pushed into taking classes outside of school for things you never even had an interest in. Maybe you didn’t get a chance to go to classes to learn a hobby and never really cultivated any. Or maybe you were too swamped in homework to even have time to contemplate getting a hobby. All that aside, the time you don’t spend studying at university—and let’s be honest, that’s a lot of the time—you can spend discovering how you like to spend your free time. You can try out a number of things and really narrow down what you actually enjoy doing. Most societies do free tasters before you have to commit to signing up, so take advantage of that. Or, if you already have a hobby, you might look into creating a club for you and other like-minded people. Honestly, other than reading, I had no hobbies before university. Now, alongside growing as a person, I’ve cultivated many hobbies, and I barely find time to do anything else!

4. How to be completely independent from your family

Leaving home can be extremely daunting at any time of your life, but university can make it easier. Although you’ll learn to be fully independent, no longer relying on your parents’ cooking and cleaning, university also gives you the chance to mess up. I made a mess of things whilst I was at university which was invaluable as it taught me how not to mess up when I get a steady job and move out of my parents’ home forever. University shapes you. You realise that you can live without your family, but you may still need them in times of crisis, and they will always be there for you. University teaches you independence, but it also teaches you what not to do when you have your own house and a mortgage.

5. Creativity—even if it’s just for fancy dress

Student budgets won’t allow you to go all out like you would for cosplaying at Comic Con, which means you learn how to be resourceful and creative with what you can afford. Even if you don’t feel like you have a creative bone in your body, when you’re faced with an invitation you a fancy dress party, you will realise that you are far more talented than you first thought. Wonders can be made with some old t-shirts, paint and a tie or two!

Of course, you will learn much more than what’s on this list at university. You will make friends for life, probably experience romance and heartbreak, and you’ll figure out creative recipes with whatever random ingredients you have in your kitchen. University is a time to enjoy yourself and experiment, so make sure that you do!

Trapped

How can you put into words the specific feeling of wanting to scream and then cry for hours on end? You don’t really know why, though. But you know that’s what needs to happen in order for your soul to heal. The thing is, you’re angry. You’re angry at certain people and certain circumstances but you can’t change either of those things. None of it is in your control and it’s not like you can even tell people because of fear of the repercussions. You can’t escape the situation; you’re trapped. So inevitably, because there’s no way out, your mood worsens and you just feel even more depressed. But what can you actually do? What can you do other than try your hardest not to explode with that overwhelming anger and sadness?

Anorexia: Two Years of My Life

This week has been Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Until this point, my blog has been focused on other things. Maybe I should have written my first piece on eating disorders. After all, I had anorexia for two whole years until I decided to recover.

At the age of 14, my parents started to worry about me. I was constantly upset and crying almost every day. They took me to the doctors who, despite my age, took me very seriously and diagnosed me with severe depression. I was too young for medication but I received counselling instead. I always say that the reason I developed anorexia was because of my depression. From what I know through other people I’ve met with eating disorders, usually the ED comes first, then the depression. I’ve always been a rule-breaker, though.

I was overweight at 14 but decided to join the gym. I lost weight at a steady pace, dropping from a size 14 to a size 12 in a year. I was more confident…but it wasn’t enough. I was bullied every day at school. I picked up a knee injury which meant I couldn’t go to the gym. So, to continue losing weight, I cut down how much I ate. I saw the weight drop off and I loved the result.

It kept going like that for a while. I dropped to a size 10 and my parents said that it suited me and I shouldn’t lose any more weight. But by that point, I liked losing weight. And I was never that hungry. I still wanted to lose more. The bullies still called me fat until my best friend pointed out that I was skinnier than the girl who tormented me, at which point I went from ‘fat pig’ to ‘anorexic rat’. By that point, I knew I had a problem. That Easter, I broke down crying after eating an apple and my brother consoled me. I said to him I felt guilty for eating it and that I’m fat and worthless.

Spring/Summer 2014. I documented my anorexia with pictures.

Spring/Summer 2010. I documented my anorexia with pictures.

I’m not sure what happened, if I’m being honest. At one point, there was a light switch and I just couldn’t stop losing weight. It became my mission. I was counting calories, challenging myself to consume less of them every day and exercising excessively to lose even more weight. The summer after my GCSEs was spent in the throes of excessive dieting and restricting, standing up for hours when everyone else was sitting down and feeling cold. One thing I remember most about anorexia is how cold I always was, even if it was a warm day. I’d be the one in a cardigan, shivering.

I thought things would improve when I moved schools for sixth form. I went to the school across the road from where I used to go but it felt like a million miles away. People could evidently tell there was something wrong with me. I was too skinny. I remember going uniform shopping and asking the shop assistant in Topshop if they did a size 4 because the size 6 kept slipping off my hips. She looked quite mortified and whispered ‘you’ll have to go to a specialist shop for that’. Despite all of that, no one bullied me at this new school. They were cautious but polite. If I was ever at a loss as to who to hang out with, someone would always say I could join them.

I began enjoying school. There were positive signs. I looked at my female classmates and thought ‘they don’t have anorexia and they are so beautiful and happy’. So I started walking to the local Tesco with these girls and buying lunch – proper lunch – and eating it with them to feel included.

Summer 2010. Bony.

Summer 2010. Bony.

Somehow, that all faded. The anorexia was too strong at this point and I was too weak. I felt happy in the moment when I ate lunch with the girls but as soon as I got home, I’d obsessively regret what I’d done. I’d figure out how many times I had to walk up and down my stairs at home so that I could eat a kid’s portion of dinner without feeling like killing myself.

Guilt is a major factor in spurring anorexia on. It’s what made my anorexia last two years. I had the constant feeling of my self-worth depending on how much weight I was losing. I felt ugly, fat and worthless. It didn’t matter that I was excelling at school. None of that was important, but anorexia was. If I ate even one calorie over my ‘allowance’, I would want to cut myself. I would walk around my room non-stop from around 11pm until 2am, then go to sleep. My life just became a cycle of trying to eat less than 500 calories, walking up and down stairs repeatedly to burn calories and standing. If I didn’t do those things, I would feel guilty; at times, it felt as though I had committed murder if I didn’t fulfil these challenges my warped  brain had set myself.

Summer 2010, just before my assessment at the mental health unit. I weighed 33kg.

Summer 2010, just before my assessment at the mental health unit. I weighed 33kg.

Everyone was worried about me. The problem is that anorexia is an extremely selfish illness. You become determined and driven to spurn everyone and their advice because what would they know? They don’t know better than the anorexia. They don’t know how much you hate yourself. They don’t know what it’s like to be inside your head, all those thoughts going round and round. They don’t know how much it hurts. They will never understand.

At one point, I got tired. I was just fucking done with it. The anorexia had taken everything out of me except one thing – anger. It was like a spark went off in my head and I got so angry at it. All my friends were planning summer holidays after their AS Levels and I was in such bad health that I couldn’t even get travel insurance. No one is going to insure someone who weighs 40kg. I couldn’t drink alcohol because of the damage it would do to me. I had lost all my muscle, pretty much. I was physically exhausted.

Summer 2010. I look dead. I felt dead.

Summer 2010. I look dead. I felt dead.

This anger brewed inside me and exploded. After my final AS Level exam, I promised my parents that I would get better by September so that I could fully enjoy my final year of school, go on holiday and be a typical, wild teenage girl.

Things started well. In the few months before finishing year 12, I had been restricting myself to 300 calories. I went grocery shopping with my parents and they prepared food in front of me so I knew that only healthy, wholesome stuff was going in. My parents only ever used olive oil if they were cooking for me, they would buy everything fresh and prepare each meal with love. I went from those aforementioned 300 calories to eating around 500 calories just for dinner. My parents were finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. My mum was smiling again. How I’d missed her beautiful smile.

But then tragedy struck.

There’s a thing called the Refeeding Syndrome. It’s what happens if you immediately give food to someone who has been starving. Their body isn’t used to receiving food. It doesn’t know what to do with it. You end up losing weight drastically.

Since the age of 14, I had been under CAMHS. They intervened. They said that my weight was too low and either I was to go to hospital ‘voluntarily’ or they would section me (so really, I had no choice). My mum was infuriated because she knew I was eating and resting, not restricting and exercising. She had seen a positive change and, as she is a housewife, she knew I wasn’t cheating.

Summer 2010, living at the MH unit. Skeletal.

Summer 2010, living at the MH unit. Skeletal.

Despite all of this, I had to go to hospital. I was in general hospital for 10 days, during which I lost 7kg. My weight plummeted to 33kg. Not healthy at all. The doctors told me I had two weeks to live because my organs would shut down. Ironically, they said – when it suited them – that I had fallen prey to the Refeeding Syndrome, which is exactly what my mum had said had happened whilst eating at home. During those traumatic 10 days, my mum visited me all the time, the nurses ignored me when I was crying out in pain and my aunt visited me to ask me whether I wanted to be buried or cremated when I died because she knew it would break mum and she was taking charge of what would happen in the worst case scenario.

The single worst moment was when my mum visited me one time. She said nothing to me. She sat down on my bed, let out a sigh and cried for half an hour. When she started to cry, I said to myself ‘I may feel I deserve to be punished, but she doesn’t’. I knew right then that I had to live. I had to get better. Even if I didn’t want to live, I had to because if I died, it would kill my mother too. I had to get better for her.

I was later moved to a special mental health unit for teenagers in Oxford. They assessed my anorexia and consigned me to a wheelchair. Yes, a wheelchair. I wasn’t allowed to walk or exert any energy. I had to be wheeled around everywhere. I wasn’t allowed to stay in my room either;  I had to be in communal spaces at all times so they could check I wasn’t getting up to get a book or something (that had to be passed to me or I had to be wheeled over). As I put on weight, I was allowed to walk around by myself and live relatively normally, other than the diet plan. The diet plans weren’t particularly bad apart from some of the glucose drinks they gave which were vile. They gave you a balanced diet, which meant that when I put on weight, it went everywhere, in all the right places.

Summer 2010, my absolute worst. I took this picture because I didn't feel I looked human anymore. It serves as a reminder and a caution for me. I was around 31kg.

Summer 2010, my absolute worst. I took this picture because I didn’t feel I looked human anymore. It serves as a reminder and a caution for me. I was around 31kg.

I spent a few months there. I met other girls with anorexia, yet I was the only one who was actively trying to get better. The others were still mentally at their worst point. They weren’t mentally ready to fight the anorexia. I’m happy to say that two of the girls who I met and connected with there are now fully recovered and are living their lives to the fullest. We often look and like current pictures of one another because we know how hard the journey has been.

After my spell there, I was discharged and allowed to return home provided that I promised to get to a minimum, ideal weight of 51.3kg (for me that was a BMI of around 18). I returned to sixth form in October, a month after school began officially for all my friends, and was met with love and kindness from all my peers. They knew what had happened and some had even sent cards and flowers to me in the unit. No one judged me. They were glad I was back and healthy.

I reached 51.3kg in January and was officially, fully discharged from CAMHS. The first year after recovery is always the hardest – you are most likely to relapse within a year if you relapse at all. Instead, I kept two very distinct things in my head:

  • I remembered to stay angry at the anorexia. It had stolen two years of my life from me and I didn’t want it to steal any more time or stop me from living and enjoying my life.
  • I remembered how much my strong, beautiful mother cried because of me. I’ve only seen her cry a couple of times. She doesn’t, generally. But she shed so many tears because of me. I had to keep on living for her.
Spring 2015. This is me now, 4 years after recovery. Happy and healthy.

Spring 2015. This is me now, 4 years after recovery. Happy and healthy.

I have been recovered for four years now. I still have depression but I take medication for it. I am a size 8. I am healthy yet thin. I have a degree. I am still here. I am still living. I am still breathing. The anorexia stole two years of my life from me but that’s all I will give it. It doesn’t define who I am. There is life beyond anorexia and eating disorders. If this has helped even one person, then I’ve done my job.