Currently Crushing On

28.2.16

My Relationship with Food



As this years Eating Disorders Awareness week draws to a close I wanted to share my story.  I didn't write this for sympathy, I don't need sympathy as my life is a happy one now, as you'll discover when you conclude this piece. I wrote this from the heart because someone reading this will be dealing with a crisis, feeling like they cannot go on. Because someone reading this will be struggling with their relationship with food. Someone out there may even be battling through both simultaneously, battling against a complete loss of control. And that someone needs to know that it gets better, no matter how desperate and hopeless things may feel at the time. I'm writing this because that person may not even have recognised their condition themselves yet, I didn't until it I was months in and I want to save people the time that I will never get back


Last year I was a size zero. My ribs stuck out and my hip bones were sharp against my skin. I saw the world through hollowed eyes and I lay down a lot, weary of it all. I faded away into skin and bones without even noticing. Food became an obscure concept, a time wasting exercise that I couldn't afford to indulge in. I entered a hospital in Bristol on July 7th as a big round ball, ripe with pregnancy and I left that place on November 28th clutching my daughter with the tube in her chest as a pale shadow. Harrowed by events

I shrunk away from the world and it's inhabitants. People commented on the street. Loud enough and clear enough for me to hear and to remember to this day "Look at her. She's soooo skinny! She looks Disgusting." They didn't know, it wasn't their battle.

Even when we left the hospital we never really left. A week, a month and we'd be back. Back to sitting and watching the machines beep and the bread on my sandwiches curl before tossing them into the bin. Coffee grew a skin. Salad wilted and chocolates were recirculated to more enthusiastic recipients. Waiting for a miracle was my occupation and the seconds ticking by on the clock were my fuel. Food seemed like a frivolous luxury when death lingered in the room

I don't remember the uneaten meals that sat in front of me, I remember the tubes and the wires and the beeping monitors. I don't remember a rumbling stomach , I remember the bowls of green bile choked up out of a tiny body. I don't remember any sharp hunger pangs I remember the blood that wouldn't stop, the blood that covered the bed, the floor, my hands

My mood dropped, my desire to participate in life dwindled. I'd cry at the slightest thing, some missing post, a raised voice and then I'd toss my uneaten lunch into the bin. I slept in hospital chairs holding a tiny hand and sipped only at the bitter vending machine coffee out of habit because it tasted like ash in my mouth, everything did

I look back at pictures of myself back then and I'm shocked. It's not me. It's not the light in my eyes, it's not the colour in my cheeks, it's not the effervescent energy I know that I fizz. In photographs where I am seen to be smiling it is a wan, stretched smile over a skeletal face. I'm ashamed of the monster I became and how I became it without realisition and without permission from myself 

And then, gradually, things got easier. I got out and outside of the hospital everything seemed a little easier a little bit more worth living for. Colours seemed brighter, the air seemed cleaner and I could taste the hope in it again. The dull photosynthetic state of the past year had gradually begun to rescind. We walked on the beach and ate ice creams. We painted with our hands and lay our lunch out on a blanket on the living room floor. We took a picnic to the park and cooked a roast dinner. Three of us. I was an enthusiastic participant in life once again and  I was doing it with a big strong hand on one side and a tiny, soft new one on the other

I still have to be careful of food. Our relationship with one another remains strained and under continued scrutiny, a battle for control. The bittersweet joy of fooling myself that I have something that I can control when it really controls me. Stress is a trigger, a lurking danger to my body and mind and when I walk through the doors of the hospital my synapses scream. But you can tell when I am truly at peace because I have a mouth full of crumbs and my coffee cup is just milky dregs. There are less days empty of tummy and more days full of heart. The shadows no longer linger and it is a rainbow life





To anyone reading this who might need help please, please visit www.b-eat.co.uk



3 comments:

  1. Absolutely LOVE this piece Milly... one of your best!! And my favourite bit... "I was an enthusiastic participant in life once again and I was doing it with a big strong hand on one side and a tiny, soft new one on the other" ❤️❤️❤️ Gave me a lump in my throat!! Xxxx

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  2. This is so beautifully written it gave me chills. Well done for sharing it's a very brave thing to do and I'm sure it will help others see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
    Amy xx

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