First of all - an apology! I know I went AWOL last week. I wish I could say that I have a really good excuse, but its basically because I'm just shit at life. Well, I did have two essays to write, but as I only wrote those this weekend I can't really use that as an excuse. So yeah, shit at life it is. I will try better this week - promise!
Anyway, Feel-Good Monday!! This weeks post comes from the wonderful Rosie from Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On, who as well as being an amazing blogger is also one of my best friends. I never cease to be amazed by how brave and strong Rosie is, and how much she has overcome over the last few years. If there is anyone who is going to inspire and motivate you on this grey and miserable Monday morning (well its grey and miserable in the UK, anyway!) its her!
Hello everyone! I'm Rosie from over at such stuff as dreams are made on, and Lauren is one of my real life best friends! I think her blog and journey is amazing so when she asked me to do a guest post filled with positivity for her, I jumped at the chance. I thought long and hard about what to write, before settling on deciding to just tell you all a little about myself....It's easy to gain weight and hard to lose weight right? But it's also easy to lose weight and hard to gain weight. I've lived through both sides of the scale, and let me tell you that it can be easy to do both and hard to do both: it's all a matter of our minds.
I have suffered with depression on and off for about 9 years now, and my mood has always affected my eating to some greater or lesser extent too. This is most noticeable in my two significant bouts of depression at 15-16 and 19-23ish. When I was 15 I suffered from anorexia. There I said it. Despite what you might think, this was born out of no desire of mine to be thin, it was about gaining control over my life: being able to lose weight easily made me feel good when nothing else was going right. It distracted me from feelings of self hatred, from feelings of inadequacy, from feelings of never reaching perfection...these were all things I could achieve by heavily controlling what I was eating. Needless to say I lost a lot of weight, and somewhere along the line my family and friends got through to me that I was hurting myself. I'm not going to go into all the gory details here because I could write an entire book about my struggles with anorexia, but I just wanted to point out that when I decided I wanted to get better, to gain some weight again, it was incredibly difficult. Eating 'normal' meals made me very uncomfortable and it was painful; my body wasn't used to digesting so much food. It was also incredibly difficult emotionally. All the time I was trying to get better though, the focus was on feeding me up, nourishing me in terms of food etc, but no one ever thought to try to confront the issues behind the eating for me.
So I was better right? Wrong. 3 years later my depression came back again. I could no longer avoid it by controlling my food, as I knew first hand how dangerous and horrible this was and I did not want to go back to that dark place. I tried other 'coping' methods: controlling my time, keeping myself insanely busy so that I didn't have to confront my feelings of derision about myself, and becoming obsessed with my money and what I was spending. I used so many tactics to keep my mind busy from focussing on what was really upsetting me. Ultimately I returned to food though. It had served me well as an avoidance tactic in the past, so I knew I could count on it. Only this time I went in the other direction: I binged. I binged and I binged and I binged. At my worst I would consume 7000 calories a day (and yes I always still counted, because yes it made me feel in control in some weird twisted way). And that was every day. I was bloated, and sore and unhappy that my weight was rocketing up. I went from 8 stone to 13 stone. But you see how clever I was being? Instead of really finally confronting my feelings of unhappiness I had created another sure fire way for me to avoid it. I knew bingeing made me unhappy, but it gave me something tangible and solid to be unhappy about. This time around, loosing weight became hard and gaining weight easy.
I would say I was at my worst about 2-3 years ago in terms of bingeing. Slowly my bingeing has improved, and I have been trying to tackle the issues around it. It takes a long time to re educate your body when it has used some coping mechanism for so long.
Anyway, I can here you thinking around now 'how the hell is this positive'?? Well here's the positive bit...in the last 18 months I have slowly been getting my life back together, and in the last 6 in particular. I have almost completed eradicated bingeing from my life, and when I do binge it's a normal persons over indulgence rather than a sickening 'stuffing myself till I'm almost sick'. I am seeing a counsellor that is helping me for the first time. I am tackling the issues behind my depression. And you know what? The happier I get the more my eating improves, and the easier it is for me to lose some weight again in a healthy and sensible way. I feel more contented now than I can remember being in a long time; I have some control and purpose back in my life, but not in a way that it takes over me and controls me. I have friends who know more of me than I remember sharing with anyone in a long time, and they don't hate me when they find out things about me I would rather no one knew, as I always feared friends would. I have goals, dreams and aspirations based on what will make me happy rather than what I think I 'should' do, what is 'right' or what is 'impressive'. I have my determination and my drive back, because they *are* positive attributes, even thought they have contributed to some of my difficulties along the way...without them at all I run into even more problems! I also have weight watchers. This helps me to lose weight in a sensible way, not eating too much or too little, not having 'good' and 'bad' foods, re educating myself and my body.
Three years ago I didn't leave the house at all for 6 months. I didn't shower for weeks. I didn't get out of bed. I didn't see anyone or talk to anyone except my family. Now I have a maths degree, a part time job whilst I study creative writing part time, am seeing a counsellor, am incredibly sociable and bubbly and giggly again, have hobbies and interests and passions once more, and am slowly tackling my deep rooted issues to do with self worth.
And you know what?? Lauren is one of the amazing friends who has helped me through some of these tough times and got me to where I am today :)
I just want to say a massive thank you to Rosie for taking the time to write this post for me - I know what a busy girl she is at the moment! And for those of you who don't already follow her blog you should definitely pop over there now to say hello!