I am worth more than an illness

If any of you guys are in education then you’ll know that the academic year is drawing to an end and for some of us, it’s coming to an end for good. I’ve spoken several times how this is my last year in college. Due to still suffering with an ED I thought it a good idea to take a year out before I moved out to University.

Unlike most, in my year out I won’t be exploring the world but instead I’ll be working and let me tell you something now, I’m beyond anxious. Don’t get my wrong, I love where I work, whilst it can be a tad crazy at points, I’m working with some fantastic people and I truly do enjoy what I do. I couldn’t think of a better place for me to be. Yet despite this I’m still anxious.

I’ve been thinking long and hard as to why I’m so anxious about college coming to an end and me starting full-time work. I know the people I’ll be working with (and I like them all), I know the place, I know my job, what is there for me to be anxious about? But after much thought I think I know why.

I’m going to be joining the adult world.

I know I’m already an adult by law but I’ve been sheltered from all the ‘adulness’ for two years. Being 19 I’m three years older than my class mates and it shows. I have a much more mature attitude than everyone else what has been quite lonely at points. However, I’ve had the same level of responsibly as them all, so have had no real need to be the ‘adult’ as that’s the tutors job. But in a few weeks I’m going to be joining this completely different world and I’m not prepared for it.

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In the adult world there isn’t room for me to have anorexia. It’s been acceptable for me to have it at college as mental illness in that age range are very common, but in the adult world I’m not convinced. Sure I know a whole bunch of adults suffer from depression and anxiety, but anorexia isn’t like those illnesses. To have an ED feels shameful. I understand that I only feel this way because people aren’t educated on eating disorders. I highly doubt my employers would know anything about it and I don’t want to be the one to educate them either.

I almost want to be an adult now, as scary as it feels, and I’m honestly not sure how much room there is for anorexia in that world. How would I even begin to explain to my boss about what I suffer with? What if they judge me? What if they terminate my employment with them?

I’m not kidding myself for a second and thinking that as soon as I start full-time work the ED will go. I but I recognize that the two worlds can’t co-exist. Ultimately, I’m going to have to choose between them as painful as that will be.

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I’m going through a book called Bloom by Beauty Beyond Bones at the moment. It’s an interactive journal that pulls from Caralyn’s own experiences with anorexia and her time as an inpatient. It’s full of powerful scripture and is a real game changer. I promise I will write a full review of it once I’ve compleated it.

One of the days, she spoke of all the things that anorexia had taken from her and encouraged the reader to write down everything that it had taken from them. I was shocked that I found I was running out of room on the page, there was juts so much stuff that I’d lost.

I’ve lost my friends, my independence, my trust IN MY BODY, my trust IN MY MIND, my health, my confidence, my spark and the list went on to fill the page. It’s only when you put things down on paper that it becomes real, when you can finally see the scale of it.

I’m left wondering what the point of it all is. What on earth is the point of anorexia? What am I hoping to achieve by starving myself? I’ve just came out of a relapse, hence why I haven’t spoken much about my recovery. It’s been a few weeks of losing every battle but now I’m starting to want to fight again.

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My college class was doing a sponsored walk up Snowdon the other week and I didn’t go. I felt too weak, I was getting dizzy walking two miles, there was no way that I could have made it up a mountain. I spoke to my tutor and they agreed that I shouldn’t do the walk. I kept the fact that I wasn’t going a secret untill the day before where I told my class, saying that I couldn’t go because of medical reasons and left it at that.

However, on the Monday afterwards when they’d done the walk I entered the class feeling more lonely than ever. They’d gotten soaked doing the walk but had really enjoyed it, it’s all they’ve spoken of since. I haven’t been able to join in the conversations. But it was a comment off my classmate that really hit home.

I was talking to one of the lads, we haven’t really had all that much to do with each other throughout the year, but they’re the closest person I have as a friend in that class. He said that he really was looking forward to me doing the walk and that he was sad when he realised I wasn’t coming (he wasn;t there when I told the class). I’m not sure why, but that really hit me.

I’ve lost so much time because of anorexia that I can’t get back. I can’t get these two years of my life back. I’ve lost so many people because of it this stupid illness. My best friend of 11 years stopped talking to me because they found more exciting people to be with, who would go out for a drink with them, go out for a meal. I lost contact with all of my friends from secondary school as I was too sacred of meeting up with them incase they wanted to get lunch whilst we were out. I stopped sitting with my friends at lunch last year at college and eventually I withdrew completely. I haven’t met up with a single one of them this year besue they want to catch up over a meal and I was too scared to eat. I didn’t even bother to make friends this year because I knew I’d be losing them so there was no point putting myself through the pain.

I have been blessed with being in a relationship with the most incredible person ever, but they’re the only person I have in my life now. I’ve lost all my friends because of anorexia.

I have lost so much because of this stupid illness, but I’m worth so much more than anorexia.

God created me with a purpose and it was not for me to die by anorexia’s hands. I refuse to believe that this is all that my future holds for me.

I am worth so much more than an illness.

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These next few moths will be a strange one for me. Transitioning from college to the adult world will be weird. I’m not going to get better straight away, I’ve not going to recover over night. I’m not going to learn how to live a life walking every step of the way with God straight away. I’m not going to make friends straight away, I’m not going to rebuild my old friendships straight away (or at all).

But I can tell you now, that I am worth more than an illness.

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