* Trigger Warning: I am going to talk very seriously about eating disorders. These are my experiences and some might find the descriptions of emotions hard to deal with. Oh and also I swear :) *
This is a hard subject for me to write about, but I have been inspired by another blogger’s honesty and felt it was time for some of my own.
In High School (and some of Primary School) bullies had me convinced I was fat and ugly, I was very good at hiding how much that affected me mentally. No one knew exactly how much I struggled because as it turns out I am an ace at bottling my emotions. Eventually I attempted to stop eating to lose weight convinced if I just lost weight I would be beautiful and the bullying would stop and when I found that too difficult I became bulimic. No one knew I had this problem, I was scarily good at hiding it and in fact managed to hide it in a family of 5 for many months.
Sometime later my best friend who I didn’t get to see often because she moved 40 minutes away was hospitalised because her organs were shutting down due to anorexia, seeing her that ill made me do some serious thinking. I knew about bulimics and had stupidly talked myself into believing that I wasn’t one because bulimics threw up everything and I only made myself sick if I ate something naughty. Seeing my friend hospitalised and being told she might not come out scared me good and I decided to make myself stop.
And I did stop. My girlfriend got better and we have since talked about our experiences, until recently she was one of two people that knew I ever had a problem.
The thing about this kind of illness is that the mental battle doesn’t ever completely disappear. To this day I know she struggles with it sometimes. So do I.
I have been on the infertility journey for four years come this New Year’s Eve, for most of that time I have managed to keep my shit together, but every time I go and see a doctor or a specialist and get told I need to lose weight and that I am not doing enough or working hard enough it sparks a battle I have to work very hard not to succumb to.
Do I over indulge in my everyday life, hell yes, and if I am truly honest it happens too often. To be even more honest *deep breath* I have recently come to believe that I think (particularly in the past) that some of my overindulgence is to prove I am okay. I know this sounds so stupid but it is sometimes almost a test, like “I can totally eat this cheesecake without having a war in my head”. Not all of it is this way and I think it is subconscious, I am not even positive as to whether this is true (mix this with being an emotional eater and I think you really have something); it is just a thought that has been circling for a while now. It is possible it started off this way (pretty sure that part is true), but has now just become my lifestyle, habits that I now need to go back and break.
For me it was also about control. As a teenager I felt so out of control of every aspect of my life, I couldn’t even succeed in controlling my eating, but I could control whether it stayed in my body.
This brings me to why I am bringing this up now. I had not made myself sick for many, many years, over a decade in fact without a relapse. Then the constant and intense pressure from the specialist started, if I do not lose 10kgs I will not be put forward for IVF.
Just to be clear, if I cannot lose 10kgs you guys, I might never have a biological child. Which means my parents and T’s wouldn’t get grandbabies from us and T will never be a father. That is a fuck ton of pressure to carry around with you constantly, every day and with every food and activity choice you make. Slowly but surely the little wars started going on in my head again, the wars got longer and the devil on my shoulder started to gain ground. Still I thought I had everything under control. Then I started to feel as though T wasn’t as serious and dedicated to having a child as I was. I felt like I had to have surgery to get my ovaries drilled and he couldn’t even commit to the nights we were supposed to have sex because his work kept calling him up. The prospect of the needles and complete invasiveness that is IVF had me terrified and I just felt that I had absolutely no control over anything.
Then one day… the devil one a battle.
A couple of weeks later he won another one.
The worst part about it was the complete relief I felt afterwards, then I felt ashamed for feeling so relieved. I was at a crossroads, I could see the two roads in front of me and I needed to make a decision.
One night cinched the deal.
T and I were supposed to have happy time that night, but once again something kept him away so I was left waiting in bed trying to stay awake. Instead of being mad at his work or at him for not telling them to call someone else I turned on myself and after berating myself with stupid friggen stuff that in reality was for the most part untrue or greatly exaggerated I felt a very strong urge come over me. I knew this was the moment. So I made a decision.
I held my body in a tight foetal position with tears running down my face until T showed up. It took a long time for me to get out what was going on. I danced all around the subject. Started with telling him how I felt about his commitment to trying for a baby and his priorities in regards to work. Then my feelings of complete terror surrounding going through IVF (the fear is real guys, I don’t know why, perhaps it is fear of the unknown, but sometimes it is paralysing which is ridiculous. I think I feel like IVF is our Hail Mary pass and if that doesn’t work it’s all over). Then finally I took a deep breath breathe and I told him.
I told my partner of 8 years (husband for 4) that I had been bulimic on and off for a very long time as a teen and that I felt it coming back. I told him everything you guys, what brought on episodes, the fact that I had already succumbed twice in a few weeks and that I was pretty fearful of the road I was heading down.
Then I started sobbing and asked him if he thought less of me, he said of course he didn’t. Then I begged him not to tell my Mum because I was ashamed (ahh fuck it now I am crying). This is ridiculous because my parents would never judge me for this, but I didn’t want to let them down. I also didn’t want to feel like everyone was watching me looking for signs of it worsening. For anyone who has suffered with mental illness or eating disorders (and I am sure many other illnesses) you know exactly what I am talking about.
I made a deal to talk to T when I started having these feelings to try and cut them off before they become all-consuming to the point where I lose another battle.
Interestingly since I have told him the one big thing about me that I have never shared I have not had one instance of being even close to relapsing. I feel as though knowing that even in this we are facing the battle together has made me stronger.
I actually wrote this post 2 days ago and once I finished writing it I realised I should speak to my Mum so held off posting it until I had. She was okay and we talked about strategies to help me and everything. I feel better for being able to talk to her, but I really hadn’t wanted to add to her worries.