A Year of Living

As we creep in to a new year, and indeed a new decade it seems an ideal time to reflect and look back on what has been an absolute rollercoaster of a time.
As we welcomed in 2010 (which doesn’t really seem all that long ago) I was quite frankly dying. At my lowest ebb both physically and mentally I’m not entirely sure how my body survived all it had to endure whilst I was in the deepest grips of anorexia, nor how it survived the subsequent cycle of relapse and recovery that came in the following years.

And yet somehow here we are, here I am, after a 17 year battle which I can now firmly and confidently say I’m winning. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s within reaching distance.

So what’s changed?
Primarily I’ve changed. Everything has changed. The only thing that remains the same from the shadow of myself I was in 2010 is the love and support of my family and closest friends. Everything else is near unrecognisable and for that I am grateful.

I never dared to dream I’d reach this point. The (almost) confident, (not so young) woman I have become. I never for one second imagined I’d be entering the next decade almost recovered. Without every waking second dictated by food and how to avoid it. Engaged to the most wonderful man; planning our wedding and considering the next stages such as starting a family.

My body no longer defines me, and whilst I struggle on a daily basis with my body image I certainly care a whole lot less. These days my focus has shifted. It’s not about getting to the lowest acceptable healthy weight, it’s about preparing my body for, hopefully, carrying a child- how can you nourish and grow a whole new life when you can’t nourish yourself?

Food has become fun. There’s not really anything off limits these days (aside from the obvious things like brains and intestines). I’ve learnt to enjoy meals out at restaurants that don’t list the calories, our trip to America was all about how many types of M&Ms I could get my hands on, and our daily meals are chosen based on what Bob and I fancy, not what fits my once super-rigid meal plan. I eat biscuits in work these days, in fact let’s take a moment to appreciate that I now eat in work, full stop. This was once one of my greatest fears, and is now one of the social highlights of my day.

Food aside this has been an amazing year for personal growth. Our holiday of a lifetime was a really rewarding reminder of how much both Bob and myself have matured as people. Starting to plan our wedding is exciting and stressful in equal measures and feels scarily adult. I’ve started socialising more; and I’ve enjoyed it.

Life isn’t perfect, but if it were perfect it would be boring. There are tears and tantrums (especially when PMS is involved) and there are times I wonder what the fuck I am doing when I start questioning whether I should be eating something, or whether I should join a gym or not.

I think what I’m trying to say in all of this is that life feels gloriously normal for the firs time. There are ups and downs that pass, but no dramas, no despair. There is still progress to be made, but healthy progress with no urgency.
I’m sure this won’t be the last post I write about my recovery, I’m not quite there yet after-all; something I have to remind myself from time to time, but it won’t be the focus, just as it’s not the focus for me as a whole anymore.
It would be all to easy to be bitter about my past, the years spent worrying and wasting but I’m not. Whilst there’s certainly no looking back with fondness as the mental and physical agony of an eating disorder, I have to thank it in some ways for making me who I am today; strong, capable, stubborn and insightful.

After a disastrous start to the decade that we are now waving farewell to, I am so beyond excited for such a brilliant start to the new one- I can’t wait to see, smell, experience and taste everything the 2020s have to offer.