So a bit of a baby making update – we’ve decided to opt for Team Miracle in Cyprus. AF arrived 6 days early which means its been a mad scramble to get me booked for bloods and a scan as they have to be done on days 2, 3 or 4 of my cycle and given i thought i had til Friday until the witch would show, you can imagine my surprise when she arrived monday night!! But everything is booked and ill pay Team Miracle the deposit tomorrow…its valid for 6 months so should we have trouble sourcing funds, we have some time, but i really want to cycle and be pregnant by Christmas lol, PMA!!!!
But thats not what today is about. Today is about my battle with food.
I kinda dread bringing this up with people as they take one look at me and say ‘wish i had a figure like you’. Im 5ft 3 and weigh 7st 12lb….which is HEAVY for me.
Lets go back to the beginning….ive always been slight, maybe a size 10 at my biggest but for the last few years ive been more of a size 6 with occasional drops to size 4, and beyond. I cant remember exactly when it all started but it was around the time i was suffering depression.
Whilst i was down, i just didn’t have the energy or even the capacity to make a meal and so my appetite started to dwindle and soon i was eating a bag or two of crisps a day and that was it.
It was never about image, i didn’t want to be thin, or a size 0 etc. it just happened. So often people think an eating disorder is all about image, it isn’t, or at least it wasn’t for me.
I then began to throw up on a daily basis and this continued for years, right up until i got pregnant actually. It wasn’t food in my vomit, just bile. I couldn’t brush my teeth without gagging and that often made me sick too.
Over 6 months my weight plummeted, it starts slow, but then just drops off fast. Ive always had a fast metabolism (when i was younger i was one of those people who could eat an entire chocolate fudge cake and not put on a pound, probably still true, only now theres no way i could eat an entire cake) so i guess thats why my weight drops off fast, that and the fact that i wasn’t eating.
At some point i realised i was in trouble, i don’t know how or why but i decided to get help. My mum says at my worst i was 5 and a half stone, i have no idea as for years i wouldn’t get on the scales, not because i was fearful of seeing a high number, but instead i was too stubborn to admit there was a problem. Mum used to show me pics of scarily thin celebs in magazines and id tell her that i didn’t like how they looked, not realising i looked the same, if not worse.
I was very lucky to have a really good GP. I told her about my depression and she got me started on anti depressants fast. I then told her that i didn’t eat anymore, that i didn’t feel hungry, no food except crisps were appealing. Even hubby cooking his own tea would make me vomit, the thought of handling raw meat turned my stomach, even yoghurts felt awful in my mouth. My GP decided to do a battery of tests to ensure it wasn’t physical, but said she thought, like me, it was psychological. I had oodles of blood taken (good practice for IVF, although i had no idea i was going to be going down that route at the time) and also had a camera down my throat into my tummy. All tests came back fine, other than having low levels of B12 for which i was prescribed fortnightly injections.
So the GP fast tracked me to counselling, as i already recognised i had a problem.
By this time, id been on the antidepressants long enough to feel balanced again, but my appetite did not return, the sickness continued and i could manage very basic foods only. When i did eat, i suffered agonising tummy cramps, which was enough to put me off food. I basically was surviving on tea and cigarettes.
I started counselling only 6 weeks after the referral. Martin was a nice chap, although i didn’t like him much in the first few weeks, id have panic attacks on the way there, as i was out of the house and frightened and then when i got there he’d ask me really tough questions and make me cry. I persevered, thank god, and soon found those hourly sessions on a Friday were really helpful. I could dump on him all my worries and walk out feeling better.
During my time with Martin i learnt that not eating, was my control. Things had been a bit up and down due to Mum becoming very poorly and Martin explained that when i feel out of control, i stop eating because
i CAN control that!!!! Stupidly, and i really do kick myself now about this, i only attended for 6 months instead of the recommended 12-18 months. I never learnt any other coping mechanisms and so am still blighted with this horrid disorder now. I left counselling as hubby proposed and i wanted off the anti depressants and felt i was to busy planning a wedding to attend sessions. I just wanted to be normal again.
I must’ve been the only bride in Britain being told to gain weight as they couldn’t shrink my dress any further, my poor Mum had to buy me padded bras so i had some sort of chest etc. in all honesty, i looked shocking (not at the wedding, i looked nice that day) just straight up and down, no bum, no boobs, i look like a prepubescent boy when I’m in a downward spiral, and my face, ugh, well its just skin and skull mostly, and I’m talking about now, 10 years later, I’m still fighting it.
I refer to myself as a recovering anorexic, it never goes away, not really, but i do my upmost to fight it most of the time. During my pregnancy i loved food, i never understood what people meant when they enjoyed a meal, but being pregnant, well i couldn’t stop eating, and finally started to appreciate what people mean about enjoying a good meal. I put on 2 stone in my 21 weeks of pregnancy and i loved it!!!
When we said goodbye to Milo, i spiralled down again. Stopped eating the day of the diagnosis, and honestly i didn’t eat properly for about 3 months. The weight stayed on for quite some time, and then, just like always, it plummeted again, back under 8 stone. No one to blame but me. But now i have hips, i didn’t have them before being pregnant, and I’m very pleased they have stayed!!!!
The worst thing about a downward spiral is the climb back up. Over the years I’ve learnt it takes about 3 months to come back up from the bottom, 3 months of agony whenever i eat, 3 months of being anxious around meal times, I’ve even cried at Tesco as its all too overwhelming and nothing appeals to me. I don’t eat coz I’m hungry, i eat because i have to. In fact hunger is only a sensation I’ve started recognising again in the last 18 months! When its bad, ANYTHING is more important than eating. Ill just finish this task, or ill just watch this programme, etc etc etc it carries on and on and on.
My body spends most of its time in starvation mode, i can go 3 days and only eat about 1200 calories. Ive tried using a calorie counter to help me eat more, but it told me off as i wasn’t eating enough to survive apparently, and that just wasn’t helpful. I get so cross about it all, its all on me, i cant blame anyone for this, except me. I don’t feel poorly when I’m in a downward spiral, you’d think id shake like a leaf as my blood sugar is low etc but i honestly feel ok, i feel worse when I’m trying to get my eating back to an acceptable level, i cant say normal as i still have kiddy portions.
My friends and family have been supportive of my battle, but there are times when Mum will go on and on about how she wants me to keep eating and it can make me go the other way. Our best friends often cook for us, and they are so accommodating, making me lasagne without cheese on top, or very mild chilli’s, serving me small portions and never ever commenting when i leave a lot.
Other people have not been so great, i have to eat slowly due to cramps and bloating, and everyone i know is aware of my issues with food, but some people rush through a meal and make me feel uncomfortable, like I’m holding them up, even lighting a cigarette before I’ve finished, which of course makes me stop eating. But thats life, and not everyone can understand the impact they are having on someone else and of course, id never call them on it as its my issue!
I learnt to drive at the ripe old age of 23 and honestly i think it may have saved my life. I was in the throws of depression and the anorexia was kicking up a gear, but with Mum ill i didn’t want to be dependent on public transport. As scary as it was, it gave me another control, i controlled where the car went, this massive piece of machinery did what i told it and it honestly made me feel better. Seriously one of the best things i ever did.
As mentioned previously i keep getting faux pregnancy symptoms and one of those is increased appetite. It was so bad a few weeks back, i COULD NOT concentrate on anything, i honestly couldn’t. I just thought about food for like a week straight and my productivity dropped, I’m sure of it. I wondered how people with a normal appetite got through a day, its just so alien to me.
I hope one day i can look back at this blog, and only have to remember what it was like, instead of continuing to experience it. I miss eating, i cant wait to be preggers and eat loads again, i just wish i could do it now, before I’m pregnant, but it doesn’t seem to work that way.