It’s been a little while since I’ve written a more personal blog post so I thought this week that’s exactly what I would do!
As you are all probably well aware regardless of the endless news reports, random (and in my opinion a bit weird and inappropriate) “anniversary” video mock-ups, snapchat memories and helpful This Time Last Year camera roll reminders, a year ago today we went into lockdown.
The same day as, you are also probably aware if you’ve read my blog for a while, I was admitted for my anorexia treatment.
As if it wasn’t hard enough to forget that day and remove it from my brain entirely, the constant broadcasting has made these past few days quite tough.
Recovery-wise, I’m doing the best I have ever! I feel proud of the progress I’ve made and although each day is hard, I make sure that every single decision I make is recovery-driven.
When I think back to the girl I was this time last year: confused, scared and alone, I feel so detached yet at the same time so deeply sad for her. I know she doesn’t realise that a diagnosis of cachexia is life-threatening, that people are surprised she is alive, that friends and family are scared and that she deserves to nourish herself and recover.
That is why it is frightening now, having made such intense and sincere friendships with fellow patients on those wards, to see my friends still suffering so critically.
We hear the statistics, we know the numbers. But the illness makes us believe we are indestructible, “not that bad” and the exception. We are not. And I am terrified. I am terrified that my friends are dying around me and I’m only 19. I am terrified that services are letting so many people down. I am terrified that the illness makes you believe you are not unwell.
Recovery over the past 12 months has brought me more insight than I could ever have imagined into anorexia. I can see now, a year on, that I was in fact very unwell. However, we shouldn’t have to be dying, emaciated and cachectic to receive help. I was one of the extremely lucky ones – to be offered help and the chance to heal, but only alongside the hitch of emergency.
Whoever you are reading this, know your life can change so much in a year. If you don’t have the privilege of access to services, know you are still never alone. Reach out to people, be honest, open your mind and things can change. Educate yourself, surround yourself with your pro-recovery people and learn from them. If you feel you don’t want help, know that’s a symptom of anorexia and a deadly one. Don’t wait. Give recovery a chance. Help and support are out there, I promise.
Know that if you don’t feel you are struggling “enough”, you definitely are. Also know if you do feel you are struggling enough, you definitely are. It doesn’t matter who you are, how long you’ve been suffering, how much you weigh, your physical state – you are always, always deserving of recovery.
One day, maybe a year from now, you might just realise that. You might know how wonderful life can be and how loved you are. You might still feel pain and you might still struggle at times but you might be happy. You might be nourished and healthy and excited about life again. You might be touching distance from full recovery. And then you might write a rambling blog post about it. 😉