There once was a young girl who had just turned sixteen and was about to begin a new chapter in her life. She was facing a new year full of opportunities that would map out her life. She had in mind so many things she wanted to do as she reached this stage. Nothing felt more promising than a fresh start away from all the problems that had happened over the years. It was about time that there was some positivity thrown her way.
However, the ideas of what career she may choose, were still up in the air with confusion, as to whether it would be enough to make a good living out of her true passion. She had begun questioning over and over, so many times, if people would consider her job pursuits as a worthy position in the working status, since working in the artistic industry was not your ‘common’ well paid job.
The final examinations loomed. Questions about what she wanted to do for a career, stress for a successful application to college, fear of failure, and ongoing uncertainty of friendships were and were all piling high onto her shoulders. There was so much to take in. Nothing that could slow down time, to elevate some of the pressure to make decisions too suddenly. It was now or never. Or so it seemed at the time.
For as long as this girl could remember, there was never a settled relationship nor friendship that had withstood. All through the years she had been bullied mentally. It was very vindictively done. So much so, that many others around her were none the wiser, to the painful goings on that had destroyed her confidence in others trust, and most importantly her own self-belief that she is worth anything. Vivid emotions of the past are engrained in her mind forever, of the isolation, loneliness, and despair she felt. Tears were the way she released the feelings to keep her sane. All that was going on was sealed away from those who she had tried to talk to, to help her. No one would listen or even acknowledge the truth, as they believed these people to be innocent of the crimes against her mental well-being.
Little did this girl know that her world as see knew it, would seize to exist forever. It was around this crucial time in life that everything stopped. Before her families eyes her physical state grew worse and worse. She could no longer carry herself a few steps without collapsing. Blackouts were a common assurance, along with harrowing screams of terror through the torment she was suffering with. Eventually, her voice become weakened by a force stronger than any human. It got to the stage where nothing was going to lift her from the raptures of the demon hidden inside her head. For weeks this girl lay there in her living room, unable to do anything. Her strength had vanished along with her appetite. She was gone. A hollow shell of her former self.
This is where my journey down an unforgettable pathway turns everything upside down and life will never be the same again. Nothing could prepare me for this. No one around me could have for-seen this horrendous illness descend upon me. I was instantly lost. Anorexia Nervosa was who I had become. I no longer had any other identity. Barely surviving, eating maybe a biscuit or two a day with barely any water, I was taken into an inpatient unit in my local area. This place was not set up for someone like myself. As the next few months unfolded unbelievable experiences were shoved in front of my very fragile eyes, causing much distress and torment that led to my mental stability growing worse and worse by the day. Being on a mixed mental health unit was probably one of the worst things to do to me. I began to develop other mental illness traits that I used in order to reduce my anxiety and stress. Since I was not allow to get away with not eating, I took to something I could actually do without them putting an immediate stop to it. Actually they never did a thing, even though the bandaged me up and told me not to do it again, I never had anything taken away.
As it grew closer to September, the beginning of a new educational year, I made more of a point to get the out of this hell. That didn’t take much convincing on the hospitals part, they were glad to see the back of me. I came out no physically healthier, and mentally worse. I went to college to studying A-Levels, as planned at the beginning of that year. It didn’t go well. I couldn’t compute, retain all the information required and fell deeper into a dark depression. I managed to make it to the January but then withdrew from the courses. Now clinically depressed and fully driven my my eating disorder I was locked in my own world, and could not go out for long beyond four walls.
Over the next three years the services became drastically reduced to the point were I was incapable of ever making progress. To be honest, the time it would take me to explain the ins and outs of what devastating outcomes of the attempted support team I was lumped with, I may as well create an entirely new post.
My weight dropping continuously from day one of leaving hospital and then plummeted in the summer of 2013. I cannot explain what provoked this other than my OT (Occupational Therapist) showing me a chart and explaining that I was in the severally underweight category but not in the critical zone. So that was in some ways a motivational drive for my eating disorder to go the utter extremes in a desperate attempt to get more help. Only then did my OT refer me to go inpatient once more. I was admitted to a specialist ward, further afield than my local area. The distance was painful, however for this sacrifice I would eventually be eternally grateful.
I don’t want to keep sharing my full story, because I don’t think anyone would be that interested anyway. Plus, I don’t really want to dwell too much on the past. But know this. After nearly 6 months inpatient, I was sent home, slightly underweight, mentally distressed at the poor service I was going back to in my local area and most of all, in despair as my own sister was going deeper and deeper into an eating disorder. As I struggled to cope, my psychologist stopped seeing me because she “couldn’t do anything” for me and I relapsed.
My weight plummeted once more. I was just a few more weeks away from being at my lowest point again, when something clicked.
From there on, I have been in recovery independently, restoring my weight back to health and creating a meal plan all on my own. All exercise has been stopped until I reach a healthy BMI. I began my first official steps along my Yellow Brick Road to freedom away from my illnesses. Not going to lie, this has been the most tremendously difficult thing I have ever had to do, but I have made it this far. All the despair, anger and tears of what I have to live through along side my own personal torment, goes on every single day. But I still walk on, finding new strengths, determination and encouragement from every fall.
This is proof that no matter what your situation, you can make recovery possible if you have faith in yourself enough to risk all your eating disorder or mental illness has you believing in. I can get there and I will.
What is going to prevent me from reaching the Emerald City?