Hello to all of my darling followers! I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to read my ramblings and I’m stunned that anyone would care enough about me to follow me.
With that off my chest, I felt it would be good to share some of the enlightenment that I received from a truly beautiful and inspiring young woman in today’s final “Recovery Group” on my inpatient ward.
(I’ll change her name as I’d really like to respect her privacy. Also I won’t go into the full details of her story but will give some key points she told us.)
Jade is 23 years old.
She now lives in London with her boyfriend of 6 years studying Art in university with the dream to become a professional art therapist.
I feel bad for summarising her story somewhat, and I am in NO way minimising her journey. It’s just that it took a good hour to explain it all to us in her specially caring and confident manner and voice.
For many years, Jade was bullied. Throughout primary she felt that it was alright, it was manageable and she was not alone. Then, transitioning to secondary school things got much worse. Before long, inevitably her self esteem was severely reduced and the beginnings of her struggles with her mental health began. Here she began her downward spiral, developing EDNOS: having a damaging relationship with food, regularly binging only to then starve. She insisted at this time it was certainly not related to shape.
As time progressed, her disordered eating habits descended into full Anorexia Nerovsa, clinical depression and self harming. She needed control after a triggering personal event in her life a few years later at around age 15. As things got progressively worse, her teachers began to notice and after finally allowing herself to confide in her R.E teacher, she began to regularly chat with her until things began to escalate further and she was regularly emailing her telling her how worthless she felt. When she admitted to self harming, as a safeguarding policy, intervention had to happen. Jade was soon attending CAMHS in secret from her mum, during her lunch break, but after making no progress the school insisted that they must tell her mum. She admitted to screaming and sobbing and begging them not to tell her, but they had to.
Her reaction was not as Jade has expected it to be. Rather than shouting, she lovingly told her that she was not alone anymore and that her mum was there to help her through it.
Things progressed to needing intervention from an outpatient unit, and things began to slowly improve.
Jade saw the same psychiatrist as I do for overseeing my care, the darling Ginnie. She told Jade that having Anorexia was like a pressure cooker: that the bubbling on the top (or in Anorexia’s case, the malnourishment and restricting) was just a symptom of what was beneath, the blue, burning flames (or whatever it was contributing to you acting and thinking in this way.)
As things progressed , Jade began to use art and music as an outlet rather than restricting or self harming. This was admittedly really difficult and of course she wasn’t cured overnight. Things were still incredibly difficult; the Anorexic voice still screaming at her from behind.
It wasn’t until her mum went on a holiday with her friend that the “infamous click” happened. Anorexia had meant that she had become more clingy and childlike than her 5 year old brother in her late teens. With her mum leaving for that short time, after battling for so long for her mum she realised that she had to do it for herself. For her life.
It’s been a long journey for her, yet she truly does believe now that she is “fully recovered” and has been for 5 years now.
I was dumbfounded with tears pricking at my eyes, my handles trembling and fidgeting as my heart pounded against my chest.
She is FULLY RECOVERED.
How is that even possible?
I was so blown away. It’s something so deep within me, the overwhelming belief that I will always have this disorder and that it is something that I need to cling on to and keep in my life.
She explained how she felt she needed the disorder in order to get care, and in letting go of it, she would in turn lose all of those who currently cared for her.
This is EXACTLY how I feel. This is exactly why I relapsed so hard, exactly why I have so many breakdowns.
But she told me how sincerely she does not have Anorexia anymore and does not feel this way. In answering some of our prepared questions, she told us that she does very occasionally hear, as known to her “Ana’s voice”, but that honestly a bad year for her would be if she heard that now whisper twice a year, and she can immediately cancel it out.
She told us that despite previously comparing herself to everyone, literally anyone (which I CERTAINLY do), she knows her own identity enough now to never feel the need to.
She says that food no longer has any control over her. That she can enjoy food without it affecting her.
She does admit that after surprising her appetite for so many years she no longer feels hunger cues and that she must be strict with her regime of regular meals as she could easily forget. She hopes that this, in time, will return to normality and there has been some improvements.
I felt I just HAD to share this super inspiring story with you, as my gift to you if you are struggling.
Please be sure to comment below and tell me how it made you feel.
I’m sure it was nowhere near as good as meeting this glowing beacon of inspiration in real life on the ward, but I certainly hope it came close.