For the past few weeks I have been relapsing. I just keep getting knocked down. There are obvious reasons. I’ve been in a state of stress and adrenalin since September: trying to find a job, turning one job down, getting another, trying to find somewhere to live, starting new job, moving house, starting final year of my degree, new job is more physical and the building is very cold. Then because I was feeling stressed and burning more calories than I was eating in my new job my anorexia triggered again and I really wasn’t taking in enough energy for my muscles. All this has resulted in two acute M.E. attacks in the past fortnight. The first was very bad and I couldn’t do anything for days.
I define an acute M.E. attack as painful muscle spasms, cramping and stiffening of muscles (my hands were stuck like twisted claws) and difficulty breathing. After it has passed I am then weak and exhausted, unable to be upright for long, unable to think clearly or do anything much.
Fortunately I have some good friends here, new friends but very kind and caring people. Fortunately I managed to suck it up and ask for help. I hate asking for help. I feel like a terrible burden but my lovely friends reassure me that they want to help me. One friend came and cooked me a huge batch of stew which I’m still living off! My housemate dried and plaited my hair when having a shower nearly caused me to pass out and another brought me tea and a DVD to watch. Alongside them I have many friends who don’t live nearby sending me messages of support too. I feel very lucky.
I properly rested for a few days, trying to ignore the feelings of guilt I had about not going to work. The following week I managed three days at work in a row before having another acute attack, fortunately not as severe as the last. That was Monday night.
The last time I saw a GP about my M.E. in August, she warned me that I was on a slippery slope and boy was she right. I have slid rather too far down for my comfort and I feel scared, frustrated and angry at myself and at my circumstances. I have also had to take a long hard look at my eating disorder and recognise that I still have a lot of healing to do. Since my first relapse at the beginning of the month I’ve been eating as much as I can, with the help of Tabitha Farrar’s resources and encouragement from my friends. Let me just say this, M.E. is awful; it is painful and exhausting and frustrating but anorexia recovery is absolutely horrendous. Imagine those scenes in sci fi movies when they start burning the monster with flamethrowers and the monster is screaming and writhing and getting really angry. That is my brain right now. Well the anorexic part of my brain. Every time I do something to fight it whether that be telling someone I need help or eating a biscuit or eating to my meal plan even if I’m not hungry it gets sooo angry and screams at me and I have to be strong and ignore it. It is so so hard. Not only that but when you’re in a state of starvation, for someone who has anorexia, this is a nice calm place where all your emotions are numb; so when you start eating large amounts again you feel all your emotions really intensely. Now I have always said that I am not an angry person. Turns out I’ve just been repressing anger REALLY well for years. Either that or, going back to the sci fi movie reference again (yes this is mostly based on Stranger Things), I am just presenting my anorexia’s anger at me killing it.
So, in summary, I am currently living inside a body which is exhausted, stiff, weak and in pain from M.E. and also screaming with anger and malicious anorexic thoughts to try and get me to starve myself. There are no two ways about it: anorexia will kill me one way or another if I let it. So I have to spend every single moment of my day fighting it, as well as go to work and study my degree etc etc. Right now I am hurting but I am so proud of myself because I am doing it: I got 86% on an assignment I wrote right in the middle of this FFS! I couldn’t be doing it without the support of the lovely people I have around me though. So thank you.
“Just get through each day. It’s all you can do. But remember that the sun will come back out again and Holly will shine. Your spirit in time will win through, because Holly is a fighter and a strong and powerful woman. So the fight goes on but Holly will win”
“It really sounds like you have your head screwed on about this Holly, I’m very impressed and proud of you”
“That’s really good that you’ve acknowledged it and that you’re going to get some help, I know it isn’t always easy. Well done babber, be kind to yourself”
“I really admire you, you’ve been through so much but you’re so mentally strong”
“Sending you a hug. You are doing so well, you are kind and clever and complete”
One of my closest friends has been giving me so much support and encouragement that I can’t put just one quote down as they tell me almost daily how proud they are of me, but they know who they are. They also cook me delicious food which is such a help.