What I Found in My Old Diary
So the other day when I was looking for something, I came across an old diary from the time that I was ill and the difference in my mindset then and now is unbelievable. I don't recognise the girl who wrote it. It tells the story of where it all started to wanting recovery and everything in between. I can read the lines of all the steps and obstacles I faced.
In the little glimpse into my old self, I saw how I really was consumed by the idea of health. I had such a set idea of what health meant, and that was eating as little and as clean as possible. I wrote a list of all the foods that I should be eating, printed photos of healthy meals and researched recipes daily. None of these things are necessarily bad, but they were detrimental to my health because I didn't need to lose weight or eat better.
I wrote out my 'health aims' which are so far from what they would be now. It's bizarre because you can see the mental conflict I was enduring. I wrote that I wanted to accept myself and be happy with my weight, but then the next aim would be to eat healthily for the day. I was so scared to let go and change.
I got advice from the internet and wrote it all down. But the thing is that so many people have different ideas. Some bloggers thought a no-sugar diet was better, some thought a low-fat diet was better. Because there were so many things to follow, you start ruling out a lot of foods. Naturally, my head listened to them all and believed them.
The most shocking thing I found were photos of myself. I had hundreds on my phone but I deleted them all during recovery but wanted to hold onto something so I could see the difference afterwards, but I didn't want a copy on my phone or laptop so I printed the photos out and stuck them in my journal. I took photos of my body each night so that I could compare each photo and see the progress I had made. I'm pretty slim now, but I do have a lil bit of something extra too, unlike those photos. I can remember being able to wrap my hands around my waist and feel absolutely nothing but hip bones and skin. I know that some people are naturally made to be that skinny because that's how they're shaped, but I am not that person and I had to mould my body beyond its natural shape to become that, which isn't healthy. It was a bit of a tear jerker (shock) because I remembered how angry and upset I was with myself for 1) still not feeling skinny enough and 2) being ill. Nobody chooses or wants to have anorexia but once it grabs hold of you, it does become an addiction and it does fool you into believing that you want it.
I thought I had control over my body. I resisted by hunger. I knew exactly what I was putting in my body. But I didn't have any control. Anorexia controlled me. Because it told me to resist my hunger, it told me to measure my food, it told me to do more sit-ups and I obliged willingly like a puppet. I never resisted.
I also found little notes from my mum. Like the reasons to recover, here are a few that she wrote: Pros: Glowing skin Lovely hair and nails Nice boobies Happy mood Feel energised and like you can face anything Can use your brain Have fun with your friends
Cons: Hair falling out Brittle nails No more boobies Have no energy and don't want to do anything Feeling sad Brain can't concentrate Bones aren't supposed to be seen if they weren't already there
Writing quotes was and remains a huge part of my positive mindset. Words really inspire me and when I see something beautifully written or something that makes me feel, I need to have it written down so that I can always come back to it.
I look at my body sometimes now and sigh. My weight fluctuates and some days are worse than others. But like i've said before, I can deal with those days now, even if it takes a little bit of time. Because I have learnt so much, I have loved so much, I have eaten so much and met amazing people through the illness and I am happier than ever.
But what makes me happiest is that everything I wanted to be in that diary, I am now. Not just health and body image wise, I have met my goals in all aspects of my life. I have fallen in love like I'd always dreamed of. I have experienced some amazing and beautiful things. I have reached a mindset of goodness.
"We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known" Emmanuelle