.. and it wasn’t as bad as people say it is. It wasn’t like in the movies when I fell apart later on after seeing him, wanting him back desperately. To be honest, I didn’t feel anything. I was at work, dealing with a group of kids who had come in for climbing (I’m a climbing instructor) and it was a really quick – hi – and then back to work.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this. But I am a different person to the person I was when I was with him. I was falling deep into the hole that is anorexia, I was losing weight, arguing with him over the smallest of things and hating every single pound that I put on. When we broke up I was falling into the hole that is depression (there’s a link here..) and he couldn’t deal with how much of a different person that had made me. I have outgrown him, I am not the scared 18 year old I was when I was dumped. I don’t need him. Because that is what it was at the time – I had become dependant on him. I had a really bad time in college and he was pretty much my only friend. Now, I’m at uni, I have so many friends and so many people who I can call on to go out or do things.
I have realised that I would really like the connection and physical closeness that you get with a partner. I would like to have the connection with somebody that you can tell anything to and you know that you won’t be judged. I know that basically sounds like a best friend, but I suppose it’s a deeper layer than that. I’m asexual so physical intimacy for me would not look like sex but cuddles and hand holding and the supportive hand on the small of your back to make sure you’re okay. I miss that, and I know at some point I want that in my life.
I suppose what has changed is that I am more than comfortable with being on my own. As much as my mental health makes me feel like absolute shit I am comfortable being on my own, I know that someone else doesn’t complete me.
I’m glad that I have grown as a human being enough not to want to be with the boy that I was with 2 years ago. And as weird or big headed as it sounds, I’m glad I’ve outgrown him.
A really important factor that can aid in recovery from any mental illness is the presence of a support system that can help you with difficult situations and support you (hence the term).
When I was first diagnosed with an eating disorder my support system pretty much was my boyfriend. I hadn’t told anyone else, and didn’t want to tell anyone else about my ED because I was ashamed and scared about the judgements. When I finally told my mum (and when my sister found out) I was correct in my predictions of what would happen. They both became very controlling in making me eat and both became very emotional. They didn’t act in a supportive way in the way that I needed, and neither of them stopped and asked what it was that I needed or wanted.
Now, having being diagnosed and struggling with depression, dissociation, self harm and anxiety, I pretty much again, have no support system. I do confide in one of my friends, but she is also struggling with her mental health and I don’t feel it is fair to offload everything since it’s not something anyone can really deal with when they too are in pain. So I am left to my own devices (especially since my GP doesn’t really care either, thankyou the good old NHS).
I am part of my friend’s support system (or at least I would like to think so). She messages me when she is having a bad time, and I try and help her, in both saying the things that I would want to hear and trying to provide useful information that could be constructive. She has a lot more people than me in her support system. Her family and housemates are aware that she is struggling with her mental health, and her GP is very proactive in trying to find support from different services. I am so so glad for her, I really am because I know how much it really sucks to be left with no one to listen and to feel like no one cares. But I’m really struggling with feeling responsible for her wellbeing. If I’m having a bad day I feel like I have to pull on my disguise that I show to the world and give her what she needs. I feel like it would be wrong to say no and give myself the care that I need. It’s really wrong because I am just as needy and scared but I’m a tiny bit annoyed that she is leaning on me so much. She has such a support system, all these people that care for her, and worry and try their best to help and I have nothing and no one. And I’m struggling with the fact that I am cross when I feel like I shouldn’t be.
I suppose I need to learn to appreciate my feelings because they are valid. It’s just difficult when I know that I overshare and burden my friend with as much as she does me so I feel like a hypocrite. Hence my anonymous post into the ether I suppose.
I found some of my old food diaries from the last time I was really struggling with anorexia. I don’t really know what possessed me to read them, but read them I did. And as much as they were triggering, and made me want to scream with how much I am now eating, reading them also made me really really sad.
I was so entrenched in my eating disorder it was screaming out from between the lines in everything I wrote. I was eating next to nothing and it was all still too much. I was very clearly malnourished and my brain was paying the price because all I could think about was food and how much I was eating and how much energy I was burning off by exercising. It was all too much and too difficult. It was really sad to see how bad it really was. I think your brain makes you forget how bad it really was so that it isn’t so painful. I had forgotten how bad it really was.
The really sad thing is I still am falling back into my eating disorder, and realistically I now have something to aim for, to aim at. But I suppose it is a step forward that I can see how bad it really was, because it really was awful and that’s something that people tend to gloss over, especially anyone who is in the ‘pro-ana’ community.
My dad doesn’t really believe in mental health problems. I didn’t tell him I had anorexia for a long long time and he only really found out because I needed him to take me to an appointment one week and then the cat was out of the bag.
My sister is currently in hospital, and she was in A&E for about a day on the observation ward. There was a man in there with her who was suffering from a psychotic break. I felt really really sorry for him, but this sympathy wasn’t shared by the rest of my family (most specifically my dad). He called this man a ‘nutter’ because he had ‘special voices talking to him’.
It has made me really upset and angry. How on earth can someone call somebody else a nutter when they are clearly deeply suffering. There is no need for it. Everyone was treating this man like he was crazy when he most definitely was not. Where is the sympathy? 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. 1 in 4. Think of all the people that you know, statistically 25% of them will experience a mental health difficulty. We all need to show some compassion for those who are struggling with their mental health because it really can happen to anyone.
To anyone who thinks people with mental illness are crazy – we are not. We are just like you, albeit with a brain that functions a little bit differently. And that’s okay! We just need to show each other a little more kindness and compassion, it could happen to you one day.