Mental Health is the One True Wealth

A Princess and her Journey to Health

Category: Eating disorder recovery

The Longest Summer

This summer in Ireland is the hottest in my memory and I’m not coping with it all that well. As a fair skinned gal, let me tell you, I am melting. My skin has turned from blinding ivory to a beautiful shade of off-white. I don’t tan. I’ve barely left my house which has been providing protection from the sun and heat which means I’ve had plenty of time for thinking.

I moved out of my home house about 3 years ago and for the first time since then, I’m living back home again. So much has changed and yet, so much is the same. Last time I lived here, I knew nothing about life. I was sick and I was na├»ve. I’ve been out in the world now, I’ve been to college, I’ve worked, I’ve met my soulmate, I’ve dealt with an over-whelming loss. 2017 was by far the toughest year of my life, for myself and my family. I’ve experienced losing a family member, my great gran in 2016. We weren’t that close, I was sad and I’m an empath so I felt that pain in my family. Last year messed me up though. In all the time since my recovery this was the biggest hurdle I had to overcome. I lost my young cousin to suicide. I didn’t see it coming and it knocked the breath out of me. Collectively, my family were in shreds. So heart-breaking and so life-changing. I went into my familiar dark place for months. Piled on weight without even noticing, cried regularly. Couldn’t even speak about it.

I’m in a new space now where my heart still breaks to think about it, it’s still so fresh, but I know that life does not stop to allow you time to come to grips with these things. I have taken back control of my life and I’m looking for the goodness. Soon I’ll have my own home again, I have a wonderful boyfriend who would move heaven and earth for me. I’ve removed the one toxic influence from my life. Death has taught me how short life is and I won’t accept negativity anymore. I’ve learned to stand up for myself (without crying afterward). There’s a new strength I’ve found.

After 3 years I’m still struggling with body image, but all ED behaviours have been destroyed. I’ve joined Slimming World, I’m losing weight again and I’m becoming happier. I’m 8 weeks in and I’ve already made so many changes to my life. It’s been exactly what I needed and I’m going to keep it up. There’s no better feeling than peace in your own body and mind. It feels like summer 2015 again. Where I felt light and happy, like the world was full of possibility. I’m starting to make plans again. Plans for a future I so hope for and plans for a life that I didn’t even imagine before. Getting through the darkness makes you that much more grateful for the light. I feel like after the past couple of years I’ve had, I can get through anything.

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It’s my Turn

Tomorrow is a big day for me. That’s putting it mildly. Tomorrow is a huge day for me because it’s the day my college offers are going to come in. I’m sure that’s a big deal for everyone who’s going through it. But it means the world to me. My first choice is doing a BA in UCD. That, my friends, is my dream. It’s taken me a really long time to get here, but I made it and this is the life I choose for myself. It’s my turn. It’s my turn to think about myself, to put myself first, to pursue what it is that I want. I believe everything happens for a reason and that’s easy to believe, but when your whole future is thrown out into the universe and it’s a game of chance? Well, that makes me feel the need to really reassure myself. I’m nervous. My stomach is literally sick with nerves because I want this so bad. I want it with every fibre of my being. I want it because it’s the final middle finger to my eating disorder. It took so much from me, it can’t seep in and contaminate my future too.

Leaving Cert year was rough. Like, really rough. We’re talking going into school maybe three out of the five days in a week and when I got home, my evenings were spent sleeping instead of studying. Eating disorders put your body and soul through hell and honestly, bouncing back from that is one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with. Being in full time education and sitting some of the most important exams of your life doesn’t really help that. What I’m trying to say is, recovery and also trying to get an education are not a good mix. When you already feel like shit about yourself, do you really need exams to confirm how shit you are? The answer is no. The process of recovery is daunting. If you aren’t eating, you’re sleeping. Do you see the room for study and school? Nope, because there isn’t any. For me to survive the year (at all) I had to make a choice. I decided the best thing for me was to focus solely on recovery and tadaaa! As you can see I’m still here, breathing, living so yeah, success. A+. I did it. As expected though, there wasn’t a single A+ on my results sheet. I didn’t fail a single subject and I put that down to my natural genius (I kid), but I will forever be angry that I couldn’t just be the average teen sitting those exams. It’s frustrating knowing I could have done better if not for the circumstances.

But I got better. I got stronger. I now choose health and fitness and self love. I feel like I could take on the world, until that little hint of doubt creeps up. But I’ve gotten good at crushing that. Tomorrow, it’s my turn. Regardless of what way it goes, I’m going to go out into the world and be brilliant. I’m going to give college my all and hope it counteracts that last disastrous step in my education. Because I’m ready. I’ve had a year to sit and get ready for this. I’ve had a year to grow and really find who I am and I wanna take that outside of this town with me. They say not to put all your money on one horse and of course, that’s exactly what I’ve done. But I believe in the universe and I hope just this once, it’s gonna work in my favour. Good luck to anyone else out there waiting on exam results and college offers! No matter what, keep your chin up and be the best you can be.