25th June 2021

Only you can change you

A powerful lesson I learned in recovery was that only I could change and heal myself. 

Only I could do this and I could only do this for me, not for my family or for anyone else.  I had to do it for me and want to do it for me.  

It is a nice idea to think that you are going to get better for your family, to make them happy and not cry anymore, or not worry about you anymore.  It doesn’t and won’t work I am afraid.  I have been there and tried that.  All that happened was that I ended up resenting them, and I did not succeed at getting better. In actual fact I got even sicker than when I started.

The truth of recovery from an eating disorder or any addictive disease, is that the sufferer has to admit defeat, and in doing so usually they have to hit their own rock bottom. 

This rock bottom is different for everyone but in essence it is the stage the disease takes its victim to, where life is no longer sustainable.  Where the victim is truly ‘on their knees’.

My first rock bottom was waking up on the floor, in the flat in Glasgow I was living in alone.  I had passed out halfway through my daily 4am workout routine, I was struggling to breathe and I was panicking.  I needed help and I couldn’t stand up.  I knew then it was time.  For months my family had been begging me to enter a treatment facility and I had so venomously refused. Finally I was ready to admit defeat.  My body was giving up and I was terrified.  I don’t type this paragraph with shame anymore, only with shock, sadness and fear at how severe the disease of anorexia is.  How blinding to its sufferer and how debilitating to those watching, unable to do anything about it until the victim is ready.  

When, however, the victim is ready then action needs to happen fast. 

This feeling of surrender will subside quickly as the eating disorder or addictive voice creeps back in.  It is so persuasive hence time is of the essence.

My advice to those supporting anyone with an eating disorder is try not to pressure them, be there for them, listen to them.  Watch over them without crowding them.  If the sufferer feels watched and policed they will retreat and hide behaviors even more.  This disease is so sneaky, you can never trust it ever.  Do be ready for the cry for help, in a gentle way however.  It would be wise to have the contacts of medical practitioners and specialist eating disorder facilities (dependent upon the severity of the eating disorder) ready for the time that the sufferer reaches out for help.

MEEDA (Dubai), BEAT (UK), NEDA (USA).

Most importantly, for those suffering, you need to want to get better for you. 

You need to want a better life. 

I know what it felt like to be in the grip of the disease, to feel like it doesn’t exist, this better life.  I can only tell you that it does, I decided to fight for my life and my goodness am I glad I did as never does a day pass that I am not grateful to be free of the prison that anorexia kept me locked up in.  

Start today, begin your journey to freedom, to creating your own best life.  I promise you it will be your greatest achievement.

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@thisgirlcantalk

Hi, I’m Jen! I’m a woman on a mission to prove to others that are suffering with the disorder that there is life beyond it!

I’m not afraid to lift the lid on the disease and everything that happened to me - the good the bad and the ugly, and how hard I have worked, and still work, to achieve and create the life I have now. It is possible to beat Anorexia and the mental health issues that come with it, but it needs to be talked about.

I’m here to support anybody who has an eating disorder, or anybody who has a friend or family member going through it and wants to learn more.