Today I viewed the NHS video that I was a part of, and made comics for. This serious-type post is born out of the feelings, and thoughts I experienced while watching it.
I was so completely nervous at seeing myself on the screen, it was kind of weird. It was amazing though to see my comics on screen. When I drew the comics and wrote what I was going to say, I was having trouble with my medications, and struggling to complete things, or to want to complete things. I was shutting myself off from the entire world, and was completely obsessed with living in the Mass Effect Universe instead. The fact that I powered through it anyway to complete the work, is a marker of how passionate I was, and still am, about working on this project. I’ve always wanted to help people, forever. I want to fix people. I think it’s because by fixing other people, I almost feel as though I’m fixing myself. Wanting to fix people is definitely one of the reasons I fell into an obsession with the Mass Effect game series to begin with. I was given purpose (Not unlike the evil star child), albeit in a fictional dimension, but it touched something at the core of me, whilst working and completing this project, I imagined myself as Commander Shepard in real life. Helping people and most importantly giving them hope, even though at times, throughout my recovery, I used the word “Impossible” to describe it on many occasions.
I wasn’t alone thinking that eating disorder recovery was impossible, everyone does. For some people, it ends up actually being impossible. I still think it is kind of impossible and I think recovery is the wrong word. When I imagine recovery, I imagine someone breaking their leg, and recovery being the part where they wear a plaster cast on their damaged limb, recovered then, is when they can take off the plaster cast, and walk like a normal person again, like nothing ever happened. That’s not what recovery from any mental health disorder is like, in a way, it’s just continual management of a broken brain, you have to wear the plaster cast for the rest of your life. The brain never truly recovers, not for me anyway. I find food so difficult and impossible at times. I do it because I have to, even though I mostly don’t want to and even though my noisy brain begs me not to. It’s like ironing, or taking my medications. I hate taking my medications, I hate the side effects, but I deal with it, because I know they make me better able to cope and I’m pretty sure they’ve saved my life. Just as some days I really cannot stand the thought of ironing a mountain of clothes, I really cannot stand the thought of eating mountains of food even though the mountain isn’t a mountain, just feels like one. Some days I calorie load, and eat small amounts of high calorie food and I eat it quickly, to get it over with and so I don’t get sick. Some days, I really struggle with doing that, and can’t face eating loads of calories because I’m scared of getting out of control.
People mostly struggle to understand everything I’ve just said about food. “Just eat it, what’s the big deal”. They also struggle with it because at the same time that I hate eating food, I am still completely obsessed with food, I want to talk about it, I want to discuss what people eat, I want to talk about really-high-calorie-laden-dripping-in-fat-food. I don’t blame people for not understanding, after all, they don’t have the food-induced-noisy-brain that I have to deal with. When I meet people that do understand it’s like I’ve connected with a person on a really deep level, I feel less alone, and I’ve bonded with people over the mutual understanding. The internet has been immensely helpful in the meeting of people who understand. That’s why I felt it was important to share my story on video, and on my blog, so other people feel less alone.
I know this is somewhat negatively written and I don’t intend it to be, I know I am so much better off where I am right now. Recovery is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, but it has been rewarding, it’s just that the leftovers are just sometimes a lot to deal with or to accept. In a way, I struggle with the leftovers because I’ve worked so hard at recovery, and it’s not enough to fix my brain. This is who I am though, the broken brain is a part of me, and the leftovers are scars. The scars are still visible, but no where near as dangerous as when they were first cut. Recovery has given me far more than I ever expected, and recovery has continually given me things to be thankful for. Although I still struggle with my mental health and require medication to remain out of crisis, I have a life now. I feel things now, I am in love and can be passionate about things, I can be who I really am rather than a machine, I have an identity outside of my eating disorder.
Lately, I’ve been feeling things I never thought possible. Good things. Love. I’ve met someone special, who accepts me for who I am, who in turn, has helped me accept myself. I wouldn’t have met this awesome person if I hadn’t gone into recovery. We met because of video games, but when I was a really low weight, my brain couldn’t do video games, it was way too much stimulation. I almost sold my Xbox because I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be severely eating disordered forever. How glad I feel now, that I didn’t do exactly that and I realise how wrong I was. Gaming has also been the most helpful tool to my recovery, so it’s awesome that I would meet someone because of gaming, but also because I don’t think I’d be where I am now without my xbox, specifically Mass Effect 3.
The biggest thing I’ve learnt about the word impossible, is that it’s not as finite as it sounds. If something seems really impossible, you might just need to change your perspective of the situation. I always thought being where I am now was impossible – never going to happen. This thought alone was what kept me from trying to do things because I was scared of failure or didn’t have the energy to fight impossible tasks. All I really needed to do was change my perspective, it may be impossible, but that doesn’t mean trying for it anyway is doomed, there were actually moments of awesome in fighting the impossible and those moments keep me going when things get tough.
So in summary:- I saw the NHS eating disordered video I was in, and it was very well done and I think it will be super helpful. Watching the video was quite an emotional experience for me but I’m so glad that I did it, and so glad that I worked hard despite what I was going through at the time, and am proud of my little comics.
Recovery has been the toughest thing I’ve ever put myself through and it’s still tough to think about, and I still struggle with eating but I’m so thankful that I put my all into recovery because I have awesome in my life right now that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
It turns out that I quite like relationships and feeling things despite everything that I’ve ever written. He is pretty special though.