"Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty." - John Ruskin
The quote that sums up my journey so far with my eating disorder could be “I want to do it myself”. I decided right from the beginning that I would prove to myself and others that if I had the capability to get myself into this disorder, I should also be able to get myself out of it. Therefore, therapy had to be a route that I personally decided to take and accept.
"Hopelessness has surprised me with patience." - Margaret J. Wheatley
This I believe was the most frustrating thing for my friends and family as they reluctantly decided to respect my decision, in the knowledge that I’d decided on probably the longest route in relation to weight restoration as opposed to psychological well-being which I regarded more important. This is because, in the long run, the more I was at ease and the more accepting I am to weight gain, the easier it will be. Forcing something so difficult (i.e. impatient care) would be a temporary solution and I am not willing to enter into what seems an evermore painful, repetitive circle.
My mother has been incredible throughout this whole journey. Being unbelievably supportive and strong regardless of how much she was crumbling inside. She respected my stubbornness towards tackling this ‘independently’ by providing what was necessary but always giving me the option. At the end of the day she was always right or at least had good intentions. For example, after admitting to her the extent to which my disorder had developed, and after visiting my GP a couple of times she booked a therapy appointment but gave me the option to cancel. This way of dealing with me is mirrored in a majority of other options as it was a way of combating the disorder by giving my healthy sided mind permission to do the right thing. For instance, I knew I needed help/therapy, but in the end I would never had made the move to book an assessment myself.
For a very long time, and still now most likely, my mother favoured the Maudsley Method, one of the many family-orientated weight restoration and possible recovery methods. To sum it up, the main objective is for the anorexic to eat all meals with and prepared by the family, therefore weight restoring whilst also getting used to a normal eating habit. I am open minded enough to see the benefits of this theory, however I think the responsiveness and willingness of the individual would have to be seriously acknowledged before persevering with this method long term. For example, I despised this idea as I was not ready for it and the idea of being forced was genuinely horrifying for me; involuntary panic attacks and fear, not to food, but because of the significance of the meal itself being such a ‘big deal’. I hate food being ‘forced’ to the point that I have anxiety attacks that I feel completely out of control of. If my reaction is disregarded it’s even worse, if I’m not allowed to even think that I will have to the option to restrict (restricting actually happening or not) then I want to mentally shut down, fall asleep and escape. My mother couldn’t understand this as she just saw me as someone who needed to get physically healthy before anything. She, as well as many others, can’t understand that fear of food is more painful than any physical exhaustion. However, I cannot hold any negative thoughts towards my dear mother as she wanted the best for me and I am so appreciative of the effort and research she went to. She has genuinely helped. I wish to talk more specifically on parental involvement at a later date.
“Never a tear bedims the eye that time and patience will not dry.” - Bret Harte
My friends reaction was interesting to say the least. Of course there were rumours (there’s no point pretending people didn’t notice the dramatic weight loss) but the people that heard them kept quiet. Moreover, the more obvious it got the less people asked me questions to my face as there was clearly something deeper going on. The way that my best friends reacted were fantastic, they (Annabelle and Jack) knew that I was too stubborn and that I’d have to understand the seriousness of the problem myself seeing as in total honesty other people’s thoughts were irrelevant. The closer a person is and was to me, the less they let it affect our relationship and it was and still is perfect like that. They have supported me the whole time and offered help in any form whenever I asked for it. Knowing that they were there for me as opposed to constantly being aware of their discomfort and sadness makes the friendship deeper and more respectful, and I love being able to share my progress and feel proud about it without it feeling like the biggest deal in the world.
“When you don’t have many friends and you don’t have a social life you’re kind of left looking at things, not doing things. There’s a weird freedom in not having people treat you like you’re part of society or where you have to fulfill social relationships.” - Tim Burton