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Bite The Hand That Feeds

Mental Health and Trauma Blog | Noisy

TW: Eating Disorders This is a subject I've never openly spoken about until now, so it may come as quite a shock to many who read it. There is a trigger warning as I'm aware of what a sensitive subject it is. Please only read this if you're able to. I can't say at exactly what point my eating disorder started, I do know it began to surface when I was a child. There isn't a significant point in time where a switch was flicked, it was a gradual thing that when it did take hold, had an almighty grip. It had such a strong hold over me, in many ways it still does. Just like my recovery from drug use, I'll always be in recovery with my eating disorder. Having spoken about this in the past during therapy, I know it was caused by a lack of control. Beginning at childhood, and all throughout my adult life, I lived a very unstable life in volatile environments. Traumatic events would unfold around me and as a child I had no control over them. The eating disorder that developed was my one sense of control in the chaos that surrounded me. As a child I wasn't aware of the deeper psychological meaning behind it, nor did I understand just how dangerous it was. When I was much younger I would always have to fight for food against my brothers. If there was any food on offer I'd be in competition for it. When I didn't eat my food quickly enough, they'd take the rest, or if there was any food in the cupboards or fridge you could guarantee they'd eat it before I even got a look in. It did, on occasion, frustrate me, but it was a part of life I accepted. They were older than me so I saw myself as the weaker one who shouldn't put up a fight. They were never punished for their behaviour either, which is more than likely another reason I accepted it and didn't challenge it. When it came to eating a meal at home it was expected to eat everything on the plate even if you were full or didn't like it. That was a meal that had been prepared for you, so it was only respectful to not only finish it but enjoy it. I wasn't a picky eater as a child, I'm not as an adult either, but there were some meals I wasn't keen on and being such a small child I didn't have the biggest appetite. This was one of the many causes of an argument in the household. These issues surrounding food, mixed with a very toxic home life is what sparked the beginning of my eating disorder. It started with hiding parts of my meals or throwing them in the bin and hiding the evidence. We weren't a family that would sit around the table and eat a meal together on an evening, usually we would be allowed to eat on the sofa in front of the television or upstairs in our bedrooms. I'd eat some of my food, or the parts I liked and dispose of the rest. I did this for quite a while, and it always went unnoticed. The family dogs really did come in handy, they were always grateful for the extra food. But even away from home I struggled with food. At school I was bullied a lot. I was a shy, quiet child who struggled to make friends. I did form a small social circle who I'd eat food with but soon found I was the odd one out in the group. We didn't have a lot of money when I was younger so packed lunches were basic and usually cheap off brand food. All my friends would have branded food and their lunches would be overflowing with all kinds of snacks. I got singled out because of it and as a result, struggled to eat when at school. I'd be laughed at and told how unhealthy cheap food was and that I'd get fat. Usually I would eat a sandwich and then hide the rest of my packed lunch, claiming I wasn't hungry (I was in fact very hungry). After lunch break I'd find an excuse to leave lesson and I'd sneak off to eat the rest of my food, I did this for months until one day when I did it I looked at what I had eaten and suddenly felt disgusting. All the names I'd been called were at the front of my mind and overwhelmed me. I ran to the toilets and made myself be sick. Although it wasn't pleasant I did feel better after doing it. Little did I know how catastrophic this would be for me. It took very little time for the eating disorder to develop. I went from making myself be sick at school to doing it at home too. After every meal I'd go sneak off into the toilet and clean up afterwards so my parents wouldn't find out. When I did eat it would be little bits of food that I chose to eat, not what was given to me. This carried on into my teens and into my adult life, and I hid it well. People just assumed I was naturally slim, and although I did have a fast metabolism, my slender build was due to being starved. When I got into my first relationship with M at 18 he would always comment saying I was fat, disgusting and that he couldn't stand to look at me (as if the domestic violence wasn't bad enough he had to be a dick too by saying awful things like that). Since I was young and impressionable, and thought I was in love, I tried my hardest to get even thinner. By this point I wasn't just making myself be sick, but I was starving myself throughout the day. I started running too, although I couldn't run far as I had no energy, I wasn't giving my body the fuel it needed to function never mind enough to exercise. One evening when we were lying in bed he noticed my hip bones protruding. He remarked how I was too skinny, but I saw that as a positive. The "work" I'd been putting in had paid off, he finally noticed I was skinny. That one comment fuelled my eating disorder, and I kept going, the whole time hiding it from my friends and family. If I had not taken control when I did, this eating disorder would have killed me. Mixed into that was my drug addiction (cocaine doesn't really give you much of an appetite). My heart was under so much pressure, not just from drug use but from not having the fuel it needed to work properly. Although on occasion I spoke to psychiatrists about my eating disorder, I never received any professional help for it. It wasn't until I started weightlifting that I finally found my way out. I wanted to lift weights, I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be strong enough to know that no man could ever be strong enough to hurt me again. I wanted to be able to defend myself. I wanted to be strong enough that if a man even saw me he would think twice. To lift weights you need to eat (a fucking lot of food). So that's what I did. When I first started lifting weights a 1kg dumbbell was a struggle. But I pushed through and after every workout I'd eat food. I'd enjoy eating the food, for the first time in my adult life I wanted to eat food. I got such a high from lifting weights that I couldn't wait to do it again the next day. I loved DOMS, it was a sign to me that I'd worked hard and put the effort in as a result it allowed me to keep eating. I did this for two years and as I finished a workout one day it suddenly hit me, I hadn't made myself be sick in all that time, I hadn't starved myself. The pride I felt, and still do feel, was off the scale. By no means was it a cure for me, it's something you're always in recovery with. But it was something that kept me grounded, it kept me healthy and encouraged me to eat healthy and I've never been as healthy or as strong as I am now. If people ask my weight I proudly tell them, and my goal now isn't to lose weight but to put it on (I so desperately want to reach 70kg). I lift weights now that I never thought I could. When I first started this journey I'd look at the weights I lift now dreaming of the day I'd be able to do just one rep. Now I throw them around with ease. I'm not cured. I still get triggered with food, some days I feel myself slipping so I'll force myself to work out and usually it snaps me out of it. I'll always have a problem with food, but weightlifting helps me manage it. It saved my life and it's something I'll be forever grateful for. This is the fight of my life. - Noisy If you find these posts helpful and would like to support me, you can do so by clicking the button below, thank you.


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