Mental Health is the One True Wealth

A Princess and her Journey to Health

Category: Eating disorder recovery, recovery

Healing, at Last

Today I took my first big step towards healing. For months, for years, I’ve been fighting this mental battle with myself. My mental health is really good at times and this can last anywhere from days to months but always, that good spell comes to an end and I’m feeling very low and anxious again, without reason, cause or explanation. Last week it all finally came to a head when I was just mentally exhausted and I wanted to give up. I’ve never quit this battle with my mental health in my life so this was a terrifying experience for me. I’ve never reached that point where I’ve just thought fuck it, I’ve had enough. I was in this terrible place where I just couldn’t muster a happy thought and it scared me. I have finally reached the point in my life where I can’t keep riding these highs and lows anymore. I’m too exhausted to constantly have to got through this. So, I asked for help.

I’m officially on the waitlist for childhood abuse counselling. That phone call was the hardest, most necessary, thing I have ever done for myself. I’m so ready to be free from this suffocating feeling that has come from my silence. I’m tired of trying to cope with and understand this trauma by myself. This was never my fault and it’s taken me a long time to come to terms with that. I still haven’t grasped why this happened to me and maybe I’ll never have an answer for that.

It had become unbearable these past few months to have to work through the PTSD of these supressed memories alone. There are horrible, traumatic incidents that I’ve gone through that sometimes just surface and I have no idea what to do with them because in general, I feel over-dramatic when I think of myself as a survivor. I downplay all these things that happened to me, just so that I can function in my day to day life, at any capacity. I can’t verbalise some of the things I remember because I just cannot comprehend the evilness of some of it.

My eating disorder stemmed from these situations. I have an excellent memory and yet I haven’t a single memory of a time before I was made conscious of my weight. I had a complex about my weight at 8 years old. At 8 years old….I can’t finish that sentence. There’s unrest in my soul that I’m finally ready to deal with and I need help for that. I’m done with trying to deal with all of this alone, without the tools to do so. I’ve already given this too much of my life and I know that I can never have kids when I feel like this. I am aching to start a family, I have so much love I want to pass on, but I also have trauma that I won’t ever knowingly pass on. I’m so grateful that there is a free service out there that will help me through this.

I’m ready to start healing and living my very best life. It’s taken me so long to get here but I’m glad I finally made it.

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Photo by Mark Tacatani on Pexels.com

Sticks and Stones

There’s this rhyme that goes around the school yard and it goes like this, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. It means that the shitty kids on the playground can say what they want and those insults will just bounce off you. But I’m calling bullshit. Physical wounds will heal, verbal wounds seep into your system and poison your mind. Keep hearing something over and over and pretty soon you’ll start believing in it.

I grew up in a toxic environment. It’s taken me so long to openly admit that to those that are not closest to me. On a level, I was still trying to protect my abuser, but I can’t anymore. My father was a bully. His family were his victims. My whole life I’ve lived with this negative, draining presence in my life. He worms his way into every area of my life and takes the goodness out of it. For years I went through this constant onslaught of abuse. I was fat, lazy, useless. As a kid, this hurt me. I was a smart kid, I was always popular at school, I had a lot of friends. I was never bullied at school, but my bully was always waiting at home for me. When my teens started creeping in, I started taking all this stuff I was being told to heart. I was self conscious. About everything. My weight, the way I laughed, my accent for crying out loud. He pointed out everything about me, every single thing, and all of it was wrong. So I became cut off. I pretended to be someone else. My home life was miserable for the most part because I was afraid to draw attention to myself and set him off. He flipped in a second and those rages were unbearable. I was severely uncomfortable in my own home, always on edge.

It was around age 15 that this started really taking a toll. I developed an eating disorder because I thought I was fat and ugly, I suffered major anxiety, I developed depression. I was obsessive, a perfectionist. I had to have control. I had to be everything I wasn’t because the real me wasn’t good enough. I blamed my mother. We’re two completely different people. I didn’t know why she didn’t leave him. Why she didn’t protect us from him. But as I’ve gotten older I know that he manipulated her. Fed her lies and messed with her head so she couldn’t leave. He told her that all her family were tired of her, he was the only person that loved her. He’s a complete narcissist. Everything is always about him, he’s always, always, the victim. I recovered from my eating disorder 4 years ago but I still feel the effects of it. I moved away from home for almost 2 years. In that time, he couldn’t reach me. I finally found peace and happiness. I found self love. But now I’m back in my home town. He calls to my house. I hate it. But he won’t leave me alone. I don’t know how to cut him out of my life for good, because he’s so convincing. I still fall for the lies. Today is the day I call an end to it. Today I finally told him how much he hurt me. That he put me through hell, that he caused my eating disorder, my depression. I told him that he was supposed to protect me but he did the opposite, he instead was the person that put me through the most shit.

His reply was that he’s sorry I feel that way. His reply was that I’m just dramatic. His reply was essentially him dismissing my struggles. Belittling what he has done to me, worse, not even acknowledging it. All I wanted was for him to just once say sorry. He’s incapable of doing even that for me and so I’m finished. I don’t pity him. I have no more compassion left for him. I don’t hate him because that’s a waste of my energy. I simply don’t wish to acknowledge him anymore. He’s irrelevant to me. My mother took us out of that environment eventually. Now he doesn’t get to see his kids. He doesn’t get to do to my younger siblings what he did to us. My little sister needs to grow up knowing she is smart, she is beautiful and she is loved.

He tried to ingrain his beliefs in me. His beliefs about me, his racism and sexism. His intolerance, his nastiness. It didn’t work. I’m still here, a proud intersectional feminist. I am strong. This bully will not win.

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That College Life

So it’s been an eventful few weeks for me. I guess all along I did know college was gonna be tough. I took a year out to prepare, I thought I was ready for what was coming my way. But you could say I over-estimated myself. I underestimated how difficult it was actually going to be. I factored in early mornings, having to take care of myself and juggling with assignments. I forgot about some important things. I mean, when the longest you’ve ever spent away from home is two weeks abroad, moving out of home to a new city can be a culture shock. I didn’t factor in how lonely you can get in a big city when you don’t know anyone there. My family are crazy. They have no respect for privacy and don’t understand the meaning of the word quiet. So, moving into a new house with no kids, no chaos and no noise was well, for lack of a better word, strange. Silence is unnerving to me. Not having people waltz into my room unannounced is odd. I missed the noise. I miss the conversations I have with my mam, shouted from opposite floors of our house. The weekends can’t come soon enough, I miss home. I never thought I was a home-bird, but Dublin proved me wrong.

Dublin has already taught me a lot. It’s been an experience. I’m gonna be honest, the Dublin bus has been a nightmare. I’ve probably gotten lost/on the wrong bus up on twenty times the past three weeks. The city exhausts me. It’s impersonal, it’s fast paced and a lot of the time, it’s unforgiving. Buses won’t wait for you, cars will not stop for you and you’ll be damn lucky if a shop assistant is polite. I’m still finding my way, I’m slowly settling in, but it’s been rough. I dreamed of the big city, I was ready to be great and shine in a new place. Realistically, I’m quite insignificant. The world won’t stop for me there, I’ll have to fight to be acknowledged, but I’ll make my way. It’s still early days. 

It’s week two of classes and I’m already behind. My reading list is just building up and up and quite frankly, I don’t know where to find the time for it. Between classes, work and sleeping, my social life is non existent. I’ve made some great friends but having time to spend hanging out with them would be nice, if that’s not too much to ask! I made it back to the gym this week and after two weeks of questionable eating and zero exercise, it felt so good. The college gym is great. Very male dominated but I’ll work around that. Literally every girl in there Monday was on the treadmill. Gals, do your squats. Really. Stop being so cardio cantered. Try some weights, they’re magical. I spent two days crippled after leg day and they’re still not great on day three but it was the good kinda pain. It’s change. Serves me right for taking such a long break from my workouts. I made it to week 10 of the Bikini Body Guide but after such a long break, I restarted week one on Monday. Honestly, they never get any easier. How is that possible?? Kayla is queen. I’m looking forward to trying out more of the machines at the gym but I’m taking baby steps. I’m ready to get serious about my fitness and diet again because I noticed it really effects my mood, grumpy and frumpy isn’t what I’m going for. Gonna do my best and get my new friends to the gym with me and introduce them to The Kayla Movement. Having a workout buddy would be fab. 

I’m determined to make this week better for myself and set out a proper routine so I may have at least a fighting chance of making it to next weekend. Wish me luck! 

 

Why can’t I recover?

theres very little that upsets me more than eating disorders. More specifically, people who have spent years as slaves to their eating disorder. So how do you recover? What separates the strong from the weak? The people who stay stuck to the people who recover? In my opinion, it’s self belief. It’s wanting to be healthy bad enough. It’s a change in mind set and it’s finding a strength within yourself. Having an eating disorder is easy. Now hold on a second. I don’t mean like that. It breaks your body down and it’s psychologically torturous but I mean in a competition between recovery and staying disordered, the latter is the easiest option.

Recovery is tough work. It demands 100% commitment. You either succeed or you literally die trying. You can’t wean yourself off of eating disorders. You can’t just be like, okay so today I’ll only purge 5 times. Nope. You just have to stop. It is terrifying. It is difficult. It is an internal struggle. But you just have to bite the bullet and do it. There is no easy road when it comes to recovery. You can be weak and simply accept that this is your lot in life. Be complacent in it, but darling, you’re not gonna get anywhere fast. You’ve got to fight it. You’ve got to kick ass and be strong and find that self that your eating disorder repressed. You’ve got to be in charge.

You will cry. It will be horrific. At times, you are going to want to give up. Along the way, you probably will feel disgusted with yourself. You’ll be horrified to see how your body starts filling out. But it’s just your soul having more space to shine from. You’ll grow into yourself and it won’t be ugly. It will be so beautiful. You’ll be beautiful. The most beautiful thing you can be is healthy. You deserve it. You deserve a life that is not confined to calories and numbers and food. You deserve to feel powerful and sexy and goddess-like. Recovery allows you to grow into yourself. You should own the space you fill, not feel ashamed of it. Confidence is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Confidence is what I wish on all of you throughout your whole life. Self-love is really beautiful too. Treat yourself as well as Leslie treats Ann. 

  

Gluten Free isn’t for Me

In my last post I talked about how I’d decided to go gluten-free and see how that might help my stomach. Well, it did help for maybe two weeks. It could be from the lack of gluten in my diet, or it simply could have been from the lack of food I was eating. It was beyond difficult to cut gluten out completely! I like to eat. Correction, I love to eat. It’s only of my only talents, if we’re being honest. The whole gluten free thing was great for maybe five days, until the hunger kicked in. In between meals, starvation kicked in and chaos entered my life. This girl isn’t so great when she’s hungry. You could perhaps compare me when I’m hungry to what happens gremlins when you feed them, except in my case it’s when you don’t feed me.  

 

Cute and chill when I’m fed,

 
Gonna eat everything ya got in this house when I’m hungry. 

So what I’m trying to say is, I’m not about that hungry life. I struggled through my eating disorder. I’ve done my time with hunger and I’m never going back there. I do not miss the hunger pains, dizzy spells or the tiredness. Oh, and there’s also the joys of being forever freezing. My stomach wouldn’t even be so messed up if not for my eating disorder. I’m still angry at myself for the damage I’ve caused to my body. I’m still not over that quite yet. I just have to remind myself that it wasn’t a lapse in judgement and it wasn’t a choice to begin with. It’s something that happened and now it’s over and I am strong and I will be fine. I can’t fully comprehend how it happened though. How it went on for so long, how I felt trapped, how I was scared of food. Once you’re on the other side of it, I suppose that’s only when you can see how truly ridiculous it is. Life is beautiful, being alive is beautiful, freedom to eat and do what you like is beautiful. There is enough in life to hold you back, don’t not let yourself add to that. 

Food makes me happy. I’m not buying into everything that tells me that to be happy I have to be skinny. Why are people still trying to sell that? Why do we believe them? It’s only when I take a step back that I can look at this, what society is telling young girls, what the media is forcing on us, and say that it’s bullshit. I’m calling them on their bullshit. I can be beautiful at any size, any race, any way. It’s not for somebody else to decide. Some of my favourite people are strong women who raise up other women. Who stand up for girls of every body shape. For months I’ve been following Diana and Barbara on IG. If you don’t know who they are, check them out @mynamesdiana and @barbienox. These girls are killing it. They’re owning their bodies and changing the whole game. Because they’re showing that size 0 isn’t a necessity to be beautiful. Not only are they stunning, they’re educating. Teaching that it’s okay to love yourself, no matter what. Honestly, just go follow that. I’ve learned so much self acceptance and self love through them. I wish self love on everyone. Go do you, boo.

   

 

Working through Intolerance 

This past week I’ve been trying really hard to eat gluten-free because I found out the stomach cramps I get after eating almost everything could be caused by an intolerance. With a mixture of drinking green tea and eating gluten-free, I’ve seen and felt a huge change. I have had a stomach ache all week and my abs are showing through more because I’m not bloating. While I’m ecstatic that my pains are now gone, I’m also having a hard time. I’m a self confessed carb monster. Carbs are my favourite. Pasta, bread, you name it, I’ll eat it! I’m getting easily frustrated because of what I can and can’t eat. Gluten is in a whole lot of food that I love. Eating’s becoming so much hassle between looking at labels and trying to figure out what I can cook for myself. I’m starving in between meals because I’m trying to be careful. I’m in a low place right now, mood wise. I love eating and it feels like a lot of the joy is gone out of it now. I’m 100% a fatty at heart and that fat girl inside me is yearning for pasteries and pie. 

My goal this week is to dive into research about gluten-intolerance and learn what foods are okay for me to eat. I hope I find many. I’m gonna start trying to cook better for myself and hopefully I’ll learn to just accept this and grow with it. It’s another little hurdle placed in front of me but I think I’ll get over it. I’ve gotten over worse. I’ve always had a slight reaction to milk too and I’ve been on soya but for the sake of my sanity, I think I’m going back to good ol’ dairy. It’s either that, or live off dust! I’ve been especially irratible the past three days because I’m frustrated with food but I’m gonna take a step back and figure this out. Any of you lovely people reading this with experience with gluten intolerance, your advice/recipes would be greatly appreciated!

In other news, I’m starting week for of The Bikini Body guide and I’m loving it. Already I feel myself getting stronger. Three months ago I couldn’t even do one proper push-up, now I can do a workout with 30 included! Progress is progress no matter how small and I for one, am proud of myself. My baby abs are shining through and I’m losing inches. The guides are very cardio based in my opinion so I’m still incorporating some Blogilates because I don’t want to lose muscle! The way the workouts are laid out suits me so well and I think since I’ve started I’ve made more progress than the months of blogilates I was doing because the resting and stretching is making me more into it. Rest is really important for me! I’ll keep you all posted in coming weeks and I may even attach a progress pic! 

 

My Growth Game is Strong

I’ve been too lazy to post for the past few weeks and a lot of the time, I find myself at a loss for what to actually write a post about. I can’t just write, I need to find something worth writing about. So this one is about food(big surprise there!) and also, about personal growth and self improvement.

My fitness journey has had bumps along the way, I’ve given up on several occasions. I’ve lost my drive because I couldn’t see results fast enough. I’ve gotten frustrated because my goal body seemed so far out of my reach, I couldn’t bear it. But I took a step back. I realised, I’m not in competition with anyone else. These changes I’m making, the work I’m putting in, it’s all for myself. And, I’m proud. I’m proud of how I’ve pushed myself and finally learned my limits. Calorie counting is gone. The fear and anxiety that came with eating out is gone. In my last post I wrote about how difficult it was for me to spend time outside of my home with people because my eating habits differed and I was scared to eat anything that wasn’t following my healthy eating guidelines. That has slowly faded now too. I choose to have my yolo meals on those days and I allow myself treats. Food isn’t allowed control in my life anymore. I can have friends and I can have fitness, it’s just about the balance

I don’t have a goal weight. I don’t even have a goal body. I’m honestly just enjoying seeing the changes in this body of mine. This little body that keeps my heart beating and air in my lungs, I’ve learned to love and accept it. I hurt my body for far too long. I was unkind, I mistreated myself. Now, I’m different. Nourish, not punish. I’m all about the food. Healthy food, not so healthy food, in general, FOOD. A new girl at my work recently said to me that for a small person, I can eat a lot. Damn right. I’m not the kinda girl you take on a date that’s gonna order a salad. Unless that salad comes as a side to a giant bowl of pasta or something…I love pasta. Yum. 

I’m not who I was last summer. I’m happy about that. I’m not controlled by food. I don’t need naps every day. I don’t get horrible hunger pains. Food is not constantly on my mind. My hair doesn’t fall out, I’m not cold all the time. I’ve grown. I’m better. I’m strong now. Ive learned how to be myself, I know what I like and what was just ed behaviour. I can tell the difference now. Recovery was possibly one of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through, and my life has been no picnic,excluding the eating disorder. But I feel so much stronger having got through it. This little body of mine is going to continue to work and keep me a alive and in return, I promise to take care of it. My butt is going to college in September and I’m leaving all the bad stuff behind. The only way from here is up. To those who stuck by me throughout the good and the bad, you’ll always have a special place in my heart 💗 

  

Life Update

It’s been a while since my last post because I honestly just didn’t know what to write. My level of motivation has once again plummeted but I haven’t taken two rest days in a row, like I would have before. My workouts aren’t as full scale as they were but I’m trying to at least fit in a small workout on days I don’t feel up to it. I’m struggling with the balance between physical and mental health again a little bit. When I’m sad I don’t want to workout and I don’t want to feed my body properly. Despite that, I haven’t given in to it. It’s much easier for me to get down in myself when I’m sad and my instinct is still to pick apart my body when things aren’t going right. That scares me. This body is strong and it has the capacity to grow life. So why do I care so much just because I don’t have visible abs yet? I’m trying my best and that’s all I can do with anything.

When I feel restless I fall out of my routine and I’ve been out of it over a week now. I’ve been sleeping late and waking up early and my body isn’t fit for it.  Food wise, I’ve been having a few too many treats but I’ve been as balanced as possible. Balance. Such a strange word. Balance is something I lack in almost every area of my life. I go from one extreme to the next and I have a tough time controlling that. My emotions are too heavy for me to handle at times and of course, that throws me off balance. My life is divided into sections and while one is thriving, another could be in ruins. It feels like too much trying to keep the ball rolling in every part so sometimes parts suffer. I’m not good at everything. Actually, I am quite bad at most things. The simplest things to most people are the hardest for me. My social skills are getting better because of my job but when I’m home, I don’t really have friends. If I don’t make the effort, no effort is made with me so I’m trying to be okay with that. 

It’s hard to have friends when you spend most of every day just trying to find yourself. When you’re just trying to stay true to who you are. I spend time getting to understand myself and I still don’t so why am I surprised that other people can’t? Another problem is that the people who knew me a year ago don’t necessarily know me anymore. I’ve changed so much in the past few months, but I guess fundamentally I’m still the same. My goals for this month seem harder and harder to achieve with each passing day and my goals for this year as a whole are upsetting me. Some of them just aren’t in my reach. I should have made more realistic goals. I can do better next month, I hope. 

 

The Struggle with Numbers

My fitness journey so far is going well, despite a few bumps in the road. Last week I got a bit down in myself because I got caught up in numbers like inches and kilograms (not a good idea for someone who’s battled and eating disorder). Thankfully, my attitude towards food completely turned around and I’m probably eating now more than ever, while being at my best physically and mentally. The measurements of weight and mass don’t matter much, I’ve decided. I can clearly see I’m making changes and my hard work is paying off, just a little slower than I would like.

This is my first attempt at getting fit and healthy properly. I’m putting in the work for results whereas before I would have been prone to go for quick fixes. The thing with these things, diets, skinny teas and body wraps, is that they’re temporary solutions. Nothing is going to change your body like a healthy diet and exercise. It actually annoys me to see how many celebrities they have endorsing these skinny teas that supposedly help you lose weight. I’ve seen both men and women such as Ashley Benson from Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick advertising this product on Instagram. It upsets me that their teenage followers are seeing this product and buying in in the hopes of losing weight. All you’ll lose by using these teas is water weight and trust me, that won’t be long coming back, so do yourself a favour and save your money. Get out and go for a run instead!

Honestly, some days I hate working out. I have to drag myself to get it done and I don’t always give 100%, but I’m proud of myself that I haven’t given up yet. I’m on week 4 of the Blogilates April calendar and I’ve recently restarted the 30 Day Squat Challenge. I’m still considering starting Kayla’s Bikini Body Guide next month, just to see what it’s like. It’s much harder to fit in working out this weekend with work but I’m somehow managing. I have a feeling I’m gonna burn out tomorrow though! 

This coming week my goals are to focus on eating good, nutritious food, giving my workouts my all and hopefully, seeing my little ab line get longer. Wish me luck! 

 

Breaking my Record 

I’ve been continuously following the Blogilates April calendar for the past two and a half weeks now and I already see huge progress in myself. I’m losing inches, getting more toned and my butt is definitely looking better. That’s just the physical aspects of it. Working out has helped improve my mood, my body image and really, I’ve just been happy and determined the last while. I feel good in myself.

I’m one of those people who scrolls through pictures of really fit, healthy, beautiful girls and I want to be like them, but up until recently I wasn’t taking any steps to improve myself. It’s honestly been hard work and I’ve had to push myself because I can be quite lazy, but these small changes I’m seeing in my body are what’s keeping me determined. For once, I’m not gonna give up on this. I want a big butt and a little waist and I want toned arms, so I’m going to work for it. I didn’t mention smaller thighs because mine are kinda chunky and I believe thick thighs save lives.

The one thing I’m struggling with right now is eating though. The last three days, I’ve been constantly hungry and I’ve been eating so much food. This would have scared me before but now I know what my body needs and if I’m hungry, I am definitely eating. I’m just not exactly sure of what kinds of food will keep me fuller for longer. If you have any suggestions please leave them below, it would really help! 

I tried avocado last week and it just wasn’t for me. The taste, the smell, the texture. Everything about it made me feel ill. I don’t know how anyone eats it! The only way I’m eating it is if it’s guacamole.  Mmm guacamole. I love guacamole. I haven’t been eating clean and I doubt I ever will. It’s just not for me. I can go without chocolate, soft drinks and crisps but sometimes, I just need food that’s really bad for me. Like Chinese food. But that’s just me. If you can eat clean, good for you! 

I’m excited to see where I’ll be this time next month. I feel like my fitness journey is finally in full swing and I love these changes!