Moving back to Newcastle was a really bittersweet time in my life. On the one hand, I was moving back to a city where I had a load of close friends practically on my doorstep and could wake up and go to sleep with Graeme every day. On the other, I was unemployed after resigning from my last job while signed off with depression and felt I had no control over a lot of my life at this point in time.
I had stopped my medication when my counselling sessions ended because I was “all better now”, or at least that was what I told myself and others. In reality, I was still spiralling but I was spiralling a bit more privately. I couldn’t understand why Graeme would want me or anyone would employ me when I was such a “disgusting, fat, ugly failure”. Yep, there it is. That is what I thought of myself and much worse.
I still didn’t realise it but I was already pretty deep into an eating disorder – bulimia (currently purging through exercise).
This led me to an immediate ‘issue’, seeing as though I was no longer a member of a gym, I was struggling to find a way to “create a calorie deficit”, for me this always meant “purge”. Although, I had immediately found a new slimming world group to go to and had set up a separate Instagram account to publically track my weightloss and take ownership of my food choices.
In this day and age this will sound shockingly normal but think about it. I created a space online where others could judge me by what I weighed and what I ate and I could judge them on the same criteria. This is so upsetting! For me, the pressure and the competition was too much and I quickly started to make myself sick before weigh ins. This turned into most days within a couple of weeks. I was severely limiting my calorie intake too- I will not say to what level as I understand that this could be potentially triggering.
When I started a new job, around a month after moving, around 90% of all of my brain activity was based around what I was eating, what others thought of my body and what I ate, what other people weighed and what other people ate. I was obsessed. It’s a wonder that I learned anything in the role! I was also trying to build friendships at this workplace. Which I managed to do and we still meet up regularly.
I have no idea how I managed it because 10% brain capacity doesn’t go far. I know for a fact that there was a lot of important stuff said to me that I couldn’t take in. There were moments that should build life long friendships that I just couldn’t be present in mind for. There was so much that I missed because all I could do was judge myself harshly against everyone else.
I am sorry if anyone reading this is someone I wasn’t there for. I was really ill and couldn’t admit it or ask for help because I felt trapped in my own body and brain. I hope that I’ve shown through my recovery how much I can be there now.
With my first pay, I decided to buy a Fitbit. Afterwards, my weighing ramped up in frequency again, each time I visited the bathroom I weighed at least 5 times in various states of undress. I wanted accuracy to track my calories burned. I’d pace around the place, run up and down the stairs, jog on the spot, anything I could do to burn more calories.
When my weight stopped going down so fast. I decided to start using (read: abusing) laxatives to increase weight loss. Let me tell you this for free- abusing laxatives does not make you lose weight. You are already absorbing the calories, it will just dehydrate you (which makes you appear thinner but is incredibly dangerous) and, after a while, constipate you. Yep, not the desired affect.
Within a week or two of constant weighing, I began drinking saltwater (sometimes even just eating the salt by the spoon) to be sick after all of the meals I could get away with. I was declining invites to nights with my friends and even date nights with Graeme unless I could control exactly what I was consuming down to the grams of each ingredient. If anyone tried to point out that this was extreme, I would bite their head off accusing them of trying to ruin my weightloss because I believed that they knew deep down I’d never be good enough no matter how much weight I lost.
This was my life for months (with a new obsession with spin class adding itself into the mix) until something life altering happened to change my entire way of thinking.