Simply, be you.

Last week marks the first birthday of this Little Recovery Blog of Mine. To the blog that became more than just random words and letters strung together to make sentence after sentence, thank you for helping me save myself without me even realising it. When I started this blog I was struggling through therapy, desperate to find a healthier way to handle my emotions rather than taking yet another blade to my skin. I had become the queen of self destruction, torturing myself with destructive coping mechanism after destructive coping mechanism. If it wasn’t dragging a blade across my skin, you’d find me at the bottom of an empty bottle. And if you didn’t find me there, then you would find me lost in a world of my own destructive thoughts.

Where does the time all go? One day you’re climbing the walls, looking for an escape in any direction, willing to do whatever it takes to take away the pain. The next you’re reflecting back on the last year of a journey which has brought you down the winding path to where you’re sat right now, reading my blog. June is a significant month for me. Not only does it mark my blogs first birthday but it also marks a year since I took my overdose. That night was simply the worst night of my life. Even though everything from that night is very hazy, which doesn’t surprise me considering the amount of tablets I had taken, it was the turning point. It was that moment that I remember so significantly in my head.

I remember getting to the hospital in hysterical tears, scared and alone, unsure of what was going to happen to me. I remember being sat in a side room, wrapped in blankets whilst my body tried to control it’s temperature, chills rattling through me from head to toe. So many tears had stained my cheeks and I had given up trying to wipe the streaks of mascara joining them. I felt so weak and I remember thinking all I wanted was the pain to go away. Doctors came and went, informing me to drink the jet black, liquid, charcoal that sat in three large cups before me. It was without a doubt the worst beverage that has ever touched my lips. It almost looked like ink but was somehow dry and bitty on your tongue, every sip sending shivers through me. I lay in A&E for hours, completely losing track of time as I hallucinated in and out of a tablet infused high. I felt sick as the charcoal tried to rid my body of the toxins floating round my system, the cardboard sick bowl lying below me as my only companion throughout my entire ordeal. “We really recommend you staying in overnight Bethany…” the mental health woman told me after lying their in silence for nearly 9 hours whilst the charcoal dyed my insides black. I somehow found the energy inside of me to sit up and look the poor nurse in the eye and simply said “I’m so tired, I want to go home” I wasn’t tired from lack of sleep or drowsy from the amount of drugs dissolving in my bloodstream. I was tired of living in so much pain. Seeing as they couldn’t stop me from leaving, they kindly booked me a taxi as I had no money or way of getting home apart from walking which wasn’t an option. I got home, undressed myself and collapsed in bed as the sun rose over Manchester.

That feels like a lifetime ago. I remember wishing that when I fell asleep, I wouldn’t wake up. So much pain, so much torture, I was exhausted beyond belief and unfortunately a good nights sleep wouldn’t cut it. The thing is when your mind is like a constant horror movie,playing out each intrusive thought on the big screen, it’s hard to concentrate on what actually matters. However, you somehow find the strength inside you to continue. You find the sun inside of yourself and it helps the garden inside your mind blossom instead of the monsters growing inside your head. The thing is with suicide is that you don’t actually want to die, you just want life as you know it to end. Life can change at any minute, any second even. One decision can put you onto a new path or push you in a different direction. If you make the decision to change your life then soon enough the bigger picture will begin to alter around you. It might start with something small, just a simple baby step but soon enough those baby steps amount into large transformations where with enough hard work and determination all of the pain, self loathing and despair that filled your life are soon left behind. It’s almost like laying a close relative to rest because in reality you’re leaving behind a large part of yourself, someone you had grown to trust and believe in. However, unlike a traditional funeral this is not something to be saddened over. You are introducing yourself to a world full of self care, love and light and that sunshine that is beaming from within you is going to guide the way.

Now don’t get me wrong, life is a beautiful thing but it is completely and utterly terrifying. When you’re lost in the darkness you begin to question whether it’s worth it, if this is all there is then why should I carry on? Well I’m telling you now that no storm lasts forever. Eventually the wind moves the clouds along, the sun peaks out from behind the clouds and you’re going to sing and dance in it’s rays. It might take days, weeks, months or years but god the rainbow is beautiful on the other side.

Now hindsight is a beautiful thing but if I could go back in time and make myself realise that it wasn’t worth all of that pain, then I would, but I can’t. Now, I don’t have a flying delorean or a flux capacitor but I do have the opportunity to keep doing what is best for me. I honestly think that social media is brain washing us into comparing our lives rather than celebrating them. No one appreciates one another or what we have because all we do is compare the amount of likes that we get and how skinny one girl is to another. People say a picture can say a thousand words but to be honest I think it would be more accurate to say a picture can hide a thousand words.

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For example the photo on the left shows me and one of my close friends at Parklike Festival last summer. We look happy, I mean, why wouldn’t we be? We’re both smiling and we’re both in our festival gear ready for the weekend ahead of us, about to watch some of our favourite music acts.
Wrong. I was miserable. I hadn’t eaten properly for days and my boyfriend had to force me to have the tiniest bit of breakfast before I went because he knew that I was gong to be drinking all day.  Once I arrived I spent all day walking around comparing myself to every other girl I saw thinking to myself that everyone looked better than me or thinner than me, absolutely despairing with myself on the inside. The voices in my head told me that everyone thought I looked fat and that I was bulging out of my shorts which in reality were hanging off me.

 

My point is, that you shouldn’t always believe what you see on social media. So many people suffer in silence and even though I used to be one of them I am proud of myself, my blog and where I am today. It might not be much but I am living or at least trying to make the most of this crazy journey that we call life. Compare the photo above to the ones below and you can see the difference behind the fake smile and genuine happiness.

 

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Parklife 2018, you were a pleasure and I am lucky to have such amazing friends and boyfriend by my side. When you start to focus on the people around you rather than the opinions and lives of people on social media you will be a happier person. You won’t waste time on such negative outlets and spend more time on things and with people that make you happy. Spend more time on being yourself rather than editing out the odd roll or bit of cellulite from your instragam pictures.

Be you, be real, it’s the most beautiful thing you can be.

Peace and Love always,

B x

 

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Miss you Manny.

A year has passed since the tragic events that occurred at the M.E.N arena and I thought it only fitting to do a tribute to one of the cities I will always call home. I may have only lived in the city centre for a few years but those years brought me some of the best memories of my life. Manchester will always hold a special place in my heart. The people, the atmosphere, the strong community that I am so proud to be a part of.

I don’t even know where to start describing how much Manchester means to me. Moving home after being a student was without a doubt one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Going from having so much freedom to living like a normal human being is such a huge contrast but I think thats why I loved Manchester so much. It was the city full of freedom.

It was living in student halls, waking up to the sounds echoing from the streets down below each morning; the gentle rumble of traffic, the occasional beeping of a horn or alarm and depending on what day it was the chanting of drunk students as they stumbled back from 42’s. It was the way the streets looked half decent in the sunshine but looked even better in the cities usual covering of rain. It was having my own personal chill out spots when things got too much, retreating to the tops of carparks to watch the sunsets or to just get some peace and quiet. It was playing I went to the market with Spragg and Tony on my last night in Manchester watching the best sunset I’ve ever seen.

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It was blasting “Not Nineteen Forever” on the eve of my 20th birthday and it was blasting “Don’t Look Back in Anger” the day I moved out of my flat. It was religiously going to Hot Mess student night each and every Wednesday without fail and then carrying on the after party until we all watched the sunrise. It was watching the ZQ get high as kites every day and it was flat parties at Piccadilly Point that carried on even after they got shut down. It was getting blind drunk when I thought I could handle a bottle of wine. It was hungover days in Flat 130, staring out of the window at the rain dribbling down the windows, projecting my mood onto the weather. It was going on coffee dates and sunbathing on the little patch of grass by the railway line between Oxford Road and Piccadilly. It was working at Courtyard and Dry Bar, spending all my tip money on a cheeky 20 deck of Sterling Dual. It was waking up every morning, pulling open my blinds and starting the day with the biggest cup of coffee and a cigarette. It was dragging myself to uni on the odd occasion and doing my one and only art exhibition for part of my degree which I never ended up getting. It was getting burritos from Changos with Brad. It was ordering Chicos pizza with my other half nearly every week because it is the best pizza takeaway ever…this isn’t up for debate. It’s Courtyard lock ins. It’s Tandoori Chicken sandwiches from Benzie building cafe which I religiously bought whenever I actually went to uni (art students you will know) It’s the best nachos ever from Home Sweet Home.

It was art gallery dates at the Whitworth and falling in love with their exhibitions. It was eating Go Falafel in the sunshine on summer days. It’s working at Dorothy Perkins with the craziest but kindest group of girls. It was getting the 26 past the hour Southport train home from uni from Oxford Road station and watching the world go by with my headphones in. It was late nights and lie ins, hearing my flatmate say “I feel like dirt” on so many days of the week. It was bacon sandwiches with runny eggs when I was dying from a hangover. It was walking home from work at 6am with my boyfriend after a 9-5am shift and getting a Starbucks from Piccadilly station on the way. It was delicious fudge covered brownies from MilkJam on Oxford Road. It was £8.40 pitchers of Somersby and blackcurrant from Courtyard which I so confidently thought I could finish but only ever ended up making halfway, 3/4 at a push. It was Parklife festival 2 years (soon to be 3) on the run. It was the traditional C226 kitchen photos before every night out we ever had (see below…I don’t know why we loved this wall so much)

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It’s the way the Town Hall looks when it’s lit up at night and the festive spirit of the markets every winter. It was having my first Christmas with my boyfriend in my student flat and going to Factory of all places on Boxing Day. It’s cheap lunches at Font, forever ordering my usual falafel wrap and chips and demolishing £2 cocktail after £2 cocktail. It was the occasional trip to Home Sweet Home for cake and shake dates, obviously always having an Oreo milkshake because what other flavour is there really? It’s Courtyard fries with extra cheese and BBQ sauce and sitting outside under the shit heaters chatting away, braving the cold every now and again for a cig.

It was walking through the city and always falling more in love with little places and moments no matter what time of day it was. It was going on midnight adventures and always deciding to meet by the weird statue of the man in the bathtub. It was crazy nights at Warehouse Project and it was the city where I went to my first gig, Walking on Cars you were incredible. It was meeting so many new people, some that I used to know and some who I will speak to for the rest of my life (Harry, Alice….okay, Ryan as well 😂)

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It’s the city where I fell in love with my best friend, my partner in crime and soon to be house mate (I feel like such an adult and it’s scary). Manchester will always be so special for both of us, we have shared so many memories there. It’s singing Oasis at the top of our voices at 6am after stumbling back from Sankeys. It’s blasting Take That in a morning and annoying everyone in Flat 130. It’s traditional comedown walks to Sainsburys and asking “If they have any fags” It’s the city where I fell in love with you Harry and I think that’s why I love Manchester the most because it’s where I met you.

It’s the city where I lost myself and found myself all rolled into one. The list of little things I love about this city is endless but I think that is what makes my memories so great because when you look back at the little things you realise that they were the big things.

I miss all of this and so much more about you Manchester. It’s hard to try and remember it all. I hope this does you justice and I know that we will all be united tomorrow in remembrance of the lives lost this time last year. Stay strong Manchester, we love you.

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Expect Nothing.

So as we are coming to the end of mental health awareness week I thought it only fitting to base this post around how I helped myself get to this point in my recovery. So many people suffer in silence when they are fighting their own mental health battles as people often say they feel ashamed, embarrassed, the list of emotions is endless because every persons battle is so different. I think this is why one of the most important things in day to day life is to be kind because you don’t know what people are really hiding behind a smile. When you’re hiding your mental health from the world, people become the performers they never thought they could be. Plastering a smile on their face, touching up their makeup, throwing on a half decent outfit and out the door you go, pretending that everything is fine even though their smile never once reaches their eyes. This is no way to live your life. It gets to the point where you don’t know who you’re even trying to convince anymore, yourself or everyone else. Mental health is something that for years people have been ashamed to discuss and I think now more than ever it is more widely accepted amongst society.

However, I believe that society is still part of the problem. If you walk along the street, get on the bus to work or the train to the city centre all you can see is a world sucked into their phone screens. So much time is spent scrolling through apps that don’t leave you feeling particularly confident in yourself or your body image because you don’t look like the runway models or celebrities that are plastered throughout Instagram and magazines. Now I am not saying that society is the entirety of the problem because I don’t think that it is. I think the biggest problem in todays society is that everyone is so wrapped in social media that it is seen as weird or unusual for someone to not have Facebook or to not have Instagram. One of my close friends recently told me she was taking a step back from her Instagram and social media pages because she wanted to focus on herself and help improve her mental health. I have never been so proud of her. Now, I’m not being a hypocrite and saying that you shouldn’t use social media because I use several social media platforms but what I am saying is that don’t be ashamed to take a step away from it if you find it affects your mental health. You have to do what is best for you and spend some time recharging yourself rather than your iPhone. What I am saying is that if you are feeling drained, running on empty, pretty much at 1% then re-charge yourself and not your phone battery.

I think many people are so quick to judge society but in fact it is ourselves we should be speaking to. We should be the change we want to see in the world because we are the ones living in it. Be the person that you needed when you were younger when you felt like you were lost and alone. Be a person that you’re proud of being and make a decision each and every morning to be the best version of yourself you can be. The reality of it is that no one is going to come and change your life for you and if you want something to change you have to do it yourself. You can’t expect your life to change if you do nothing to try and change it.

Mental health is a silent battle that has had a grip on my life for the last 6 years. 2 years ago I remember by boyfriend encouraging me to go to the doctors to talk about it and if I had known then, what I know now, I definitely would have spoken to someone sooner. I made the decision to go that appointment which led me to a 24 week therapy program under the Manchester Eating Disorder service which ultimately helped save my life. I think that’s one thing I struggled with is that I felt completely alone. I knew I had my boyfriend, friends and family but I felt like no one understood what I was going through and I think therapy is the main thing that helped me with that. So many people take for granted what they have and don’t realise how simple a gift it is to have your health.

When I started this post today I said I was going to discuss how to help yourself as well as others. When I started this blog almost a year ago I never thought that it would help me as much as it has but to have a productive outlet to handle my emotions rather than self harming, drinking or drugs was so much more refreshing. Here I am, a year later, a year older and since I started typing this post today I have become completely overwhelmed with old emotions. My fingers are typing but my brain is stuck over thinking in the anorexic mud of my mind. I guess the point I am trying to make is that even a year into my recovery I still have my dark moments but it is learning how to handle them in a healthy way and channel that emotion into something productive.

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The last month has been a mad one and I have been so busy it has been hard to find the time to write. Without a doubt April-May have been some of my 2018 highlights so far. I celebrated mine and my boyfriends 2 year anniversary in style with fancy food and fancy cocktails and it feels amazing to finally be in a place where I can enjoy doing that without feeling guilty about the number on the scales. We’re also going seeing Ed Sheeran next week I can’t believe it! My boyfriend has supported me through out my mental health battle and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without his constant love and support. This is the healthiest we have both been since we met and I have never been prouder of us both. I got to watch Solardo and Camelphat in Liverpool with my boyfriend (major fan girl moment meeting James) and also celebrated his 22nd birthday by getting the original Manchester squad back together. Squeezed in a trip to Alton Towers and a few little dates here and there and that pretty much sums up my last month. Breakfast dates are my favourite way to start the day 10/10 would recommend.

I guess what I am trying to say is that there is a life waiting for you if you want it. You just have to go out and grab it. It has taken me doctors appointments, hospital visits, therapy, medication and a hell of a lot of support to recover from Anorexia and this time last year I wouldn’t of done half of the things I have done in the last month but I am trying to show you that life isn’t so bad once you take the right steps to recover.

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It is what you make it and as much as I wish I hadn’t wasted the start of my 20’s hating myself I’m going to make sure I spend the rest of my twenties enjoying myself. The first photo above came up on my time hop from this time last year and it makes me so sad to see my body wasting away like that. I am so proud of how far I have come in 12 months and cant wait to see what the next year brings me. Forever onwards and upwards and don’t waste time dwelling on the negativity of the past. If you make the decision to do what is best for you and your health, no matter what it takes then you will soon start to see that life isn’t as bad as you think. It took me a while but I eventually got there, everyone else must have been early to the party.

I think the best thing in life is to expect nothing but appreciate everything.

Peace and love always, you are all beautiful.

Beth 💗🌸

 

 

Oh What a Year can Do.

Time hop is one of the best and worst apps on my iPhone. I absolutely love it when old and embarrassing photos, tweets and Facebook statuses that I thought were long forgotten come back up to haunt me. I always smile to myself when old school trip photos come up, peace signs and pouts galore crawling out from the closet that are my old Facebook albums. Recently however, my time hop has been showing me all of my social media posts from this time last year which is something I would much rather forget. I am grateful for the days when I don’t have a post that comes up saying “1 year ago today…” because I hate seeing how skeletal I used to be. Yesterday, one of my old tumblr posts came up (yeah, I’m a tumblr girl) and it shocked me so much because it showed me the damage I had really put myself through last April, thus inspiring me to start writing this blog post at 23:43pm on a Sunday night (probably going to have to sleep soon and come back to this tomorrow because I am at work super early in the morning) (anyone else find that they are only productive at night and never at normal times? Sleep is for the weak)

*returns to blog a week later* So anyway, as I was saying, time hop can be a fun app to have on your iPhone. For example, a year ago today I got my second tattoo, my little love heart on my ribs which I got when I started my therapy. Seeing that photo made me realise I have come such a long way and kept my promise that I made to myself when I got that tattoo. To love myself before loving anyone else. So, what has the last year done for me? It has shown me ups and downs that I never expected and even when I felt like I was drowning in the depths of despair, I rode each and every wave to get to the calmer waters where I am now. What was the key to staying above water you ask? Well if you continue reading you will find out some of the things that have helped me handle me, myself and I throughout the hardest points over the last few years. I’m sharing these from my own personal experience rather than a professionals point of view but I’m doing so in the hope that it may help some one out there who might be struggling.

Number one is so much easier said than done but start by Talking To Someone. Whether that person be a family member, close friend or stranger, talking to someone is the first step you can take towards helping yourself. Baring the burden of your relentless thoughts can be exhausting, especially when you’re battling with yourself. Opening up to someone, whoever that may be, allows you to open the flood gates slightly and even if the tears start flowing (which with me they always do, I swear I’m the most emotional person on the planet) it helps to release some of the emotions bottled up inside. There are so many helplines and online forums available now for people to speak to if they ever feel alone and I really recommend them. Family, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, cousins, siblings, whoever it may be, please just let them know you’re struggling, or failing that my inbox is always open. I am lucky enough to work with some amazing people. One woman in particular has been so thoughtful and generous since the moment I met her, helping motivate me with my own personal goals and eagerly waiting each of my blog posts. CJ, where to even start. From sticky notes to endless conversations you have been such an amazing listener. How you have put up with me I don’t know. Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself and thank you for the cutest gift ever, a framed photo of my favourite Banksy quote.

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Looking at the above photo, I feel that Number 2 links on really well, even though it is one of hardest things to do but no matter what happens Don’t give up! When you’re suffering from mental health issues it feels like a never ending battle. It feels like you’ve forgotten what happiness really is and sometimes it feels like you’re walking down a path to nothingness. I’m not going to lie, I’ve self harmed, I’ve overdosed and I’ve wanted to end my life but I have never been happier to be sat here typing these words. I honestly believe that anything is achievable if you want it enough. You have to want to get better and want to recover. You cant let bumps in the road or more accurately, relapses in recovery stop you from being who you want to be. Allow yourself to make mistakes and then forgive yourself for them before you punish yourself past the point of help. Life is about making mistakes and learning from each and every one. Don’t give up because you’ve tripped up just before the finish line. Pick yourself up, brush off the dirt and keep remembering that the tortoise won the race.

Number 3 is to give yourself Time. Time is such an amazing thing and I do honestly believe it heals all wounds as cliche as that sounds. The title seems quite fitting when it comes to this point as a year has changed my entire life and this is why I encourage everyone to follow point number two. If you don’t give up and combine that with taking time out for yourself and focusing on what is best for your health and happiness then things really do begin to get better.

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Surround yourself with people you love and trust because you need people who you know are going to stick by you not just through the highs but also drag you back up out of the lows. Go for a girls night, invite people round for a takeaway, go and watch that film you’ve wanted to see for the last few weeks. Whatever it is, spend time doing things you love. As well as spending time on personal hobbies, allow yourself and your body time to heal from everything it has been through. Mental health isn’t as simple as putting a leg in a cast, oh how easy life would be if it was, but a year ago I never in a million years would have been able to write a post like this so I guess it shows what a year can really do to your perception on life. Some days will be easier and you will feel better and then others you will feel like you want to die but everything is okay. There is no quick fix unfortunately, no cast, no band aid, but if you just close your eyes and trust that the storm will pass, that the wind will move the clouds and the crashing waves will recede, you’ll be able to breathe again soon.

I’m sat here trying to think of any other things that have really helped me through out my recovery but those are the main 3 that come to mind. The thing is with mental health illnesses is that everyones recovery journey is completely different and unique to the individual but one thing I think everyone needs to remember is that every obstacle you over come, no matter how big or small, it is still a victory. Give yourself some credit where its due because sometimes life is really hard and to get back up and fight through the rain is the most incredible sign of strength.

So what can a year really do? I guess the simple answer is, a lot. It brings you new opportunities, opens doors and thankfully closes others behind you. Take one day at a time because thats all you can do. Don’t rush anything and appreciate everything.

I’d love to hear what your best moments from the last year have been.

Peace and Love always,

Beth x

No Rain…No Flowers.

I finally feeling like I’m getting somewhere with my life. Given, I might still be living at home, I’m still working in the same job and to be honest nothing much has really changed apart from my mental attitude but I finally feel like things are getting good. Last week was horrendous. It was one of those weeks,and to anyone who has unfortunately had to experience recovering from an eating disorder will know, that sometimes you have those weeks where you look in the mirror and all you can see is all of the weight you have gained just screaming back at you. I just felt like every little bit of me was oozing out of my clothes and the more I stared at my reflection the more I began to resent myself. So I did what I always do. I turned to Ana and her chilling embrace for a few days of crushing self loathing.

Two days I spent listening to her. Two days I spent crying and starving myself, refusing to listen to my boyfriends gentle, caring and worried pieces of advice. On the third day, I rose again. Okay, that makes me sound like Jesus but hey, it worked. I got up after two days of fighting off the endless disordered thoughts that had been looping round like a broken record in my head and I went to work. I got through the first half of my shift and by the time my break rolled around I was practically running to KFC, fending off the relentless flow of shoppers dragging their feet around the Trafford Centre. God, did that chicken and gravy taste good.

So, as I was saying, I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere with my life. Like I have already said, nothing has changed in terms of my surroundings or my career but in terms of my outlook on life, things are slowly beginning to click into place. Day by day I feel like I’m getting one step closer to the person I want to be and taking one more baby step away from my eating disorder. I think the thing I am scared of is that for so long, I turned to my eating disorder so I felt like I had some form of control in my life, particularly when I felt like everything else around me was being turned completely upside down. I’ve realised however, that sometimes you have to let life turn you upside down in order for you to learn how to handle life the right way up.

The thing is, no matter what struggles you may be facing whether it be a mental health battle similar to my own or something else entirely different, the point is that it isn’t you who is depressed. You are just a single beautiful being that is experiencing a depression. Life flows in peaks and troughs and unfortunately right now you probably feel like you’re stuck in the mud at the bottom of one of those troughs.  The thing is you have to think of every single bit of sadness, anger, heartbreak, every painful emotion that has come your way, whatever or whoever it may have been caused by is irrelevant. The point I am trying to make is that these emotions are just like clouds. They come into your life out of nowhere, like an unexpected storm that hits the shore. It causes so much damage in its wake but the rainbow waiting on the other side, with the sun shining through is totally worth the view.

What I guess I am trying to say is that without the darkness we wouldn’t appreciate the light half as much as we do. Clouds will float into your life and block out the sun when you least expect it and those clouds come in all shapes and sizes. In my case they come in the form of Anorexia, Anxiety and Depression and trust me that hasn’t been just a few clouds. It’s been a hurricane on steroids. The thing is with storms is that now matter how bad they may be, eventually they always pass. It might be days, weeks or you might have a sh*t storm of clouds that last a few years but one day, you will look up and it won’t be as dark anymore.

I feel like I should be on the news doing the mood swing weather forecast. “And this week we have highs of happiness on Wednesday and Thursday but watch out for those lows creeping in on Thursday evening. It looks like a cold and cloudy weekend filled with self loathing but roll on Monday for that break through of positivity. High’s of 2 degrees, back to you in the studio!” I have spent what feels like forever holding up my umbrella against the relentless rainfall from my own depressive clouds and luckily that hurricane is slowly becoming a drizzle.

So now I am choosing to spend more time focusing on myself and my recovery progress. I have been writing more and spending more time using my recovery Instagram account which is called @n0rainn0fl0wers (excuse the 0’s, I tried using normal letters but the Instagram name had already been taken *cry* ) The reason I chose to call it this is because like I have been saying, personal battles are just like clouds. They come into your life and block out the sun, making you feel like every day is a rainy day. But my point is, is that without the rain, we wouldn’t have any flowers. All that darkness and all that rain pain has contributed to making something beautiful afterwards.

progress.JPGWhat I am trying to say is that every battle we face has helped mould us into the person we are today and that is something to be proud of. You have made it through 100% of your worst days and have come out the other side fighting. To see where I was last year compared to now makes me so happy because I am becoming someone I am proud of. I am proud of every part of myself for fighting to regain my health and no one can ever take that away from me. Whether you still have a way to go or if you are already experiencing the full bloom of your petals, just remember how beautiful you are.

So even though I’m still walking through life with my umbrella held up against the personal problems I have raining down on me, I believe that some day soon my eating disorder storm will fully pass. Hopefully I am in the last part of the rainy season but in the mean time every rain drop is making those flowers that little bit stronger. Life is a beautiful thing and the beauty of life hides within each precious moment so just take a moment for yourself and stop to smell the roses.

Peace and love,

Beth 🌸🌸🌸

A LETTER TO THE ME WHO WOULD EAT FOOD WITHOUT FEAR

abiwrites

Warning for discussion of my struggles with an eating disorder. 

Dear Abi,

Firstly, don’t worry, I know you’re not a massive fan of the bangs, but you pull them off for a solid two years before retiring them gracefully soooo… just roll with them even though they’re a pain to trim.

Anyway, I know this is going to be hard to believe, especially considering you’re probably devouring a chocolate bar without a second thought right now, but you will start to struggle with an eating disorder. The taste of chocolate itself will become a distant memory, replaced with tasteless salads and water. Those dominoes you order with your friends, the delicious margarita pizza you always choose with the extra thick crust, you teach yourself to eat that with a side of disgust and guilt. You will find yourself cancelling any plans that involve food with your friends just to avoid the…

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Self Reflection Sunday

“Fine day Sunday! In my opinion, best day of the week” Oh Mr Dursley, how right you are. Sundays are comfy clothes days, hungover days, not getting out of bed days. They are relaxing, pampering, treat yourself kind of days. Some times they are busy go to work days, (like me at 6am this morning) and some times they are absolutely do nothing days but lets be honest, every one loves Sundays. Today my Sunday has consisted of working, driving, cuddling, napping and relaxing and after catching up on a few very well deserved winks I am spending some time to self reflect.

This week has been so up and down for me and the last few days I have felt particularly low. I have gotten so frustrated with recovery recently and even though I know it has been the best thing for me and my health, my disordered brain likes to over think and convince me that it was the worst thing I have ever done because I have gained so much weight. When I first started to lose weight a few years ago I was 10st, 9lbs which for my height and age was smack bang in the middle of the healthy weight bracket. I was never overweight despite what my self conscious mind told me and after losing over 3 and a half stone, it still wasn’t enough. I don’t think anything would have satiated my Anorexia and without therapy and medical attention I don’t think I ever would have stopped. The reason I have been so fed up this week is because since I began my recovery journey I have now gained over a stone and half. The reason I am so fed up you ask? Well to be totally honest, I am just so tired of constantly battling with my own thoughts. I am so proud of my achievements with my weight but then on my down days it upsets me so much to see “FAT. FAT. FAT” flashing back at me and my reflection.

So today I have chosen to take some time for me. To look back at the last twelve months and where they have brought me. Time is such an amazing thing and without even realising it has helped heal so many wounds both physically and mentally without me even realising. This time last year I was completely and utterly lost. I was a shell of myself and under the grips of depression, anxiety and anorexia I was completely and utterly falling apart.

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To look back at photos of myself then, compared to now, makes me realise how much healthier and happier I look and I am so proud of myself for taking the steps I did on my path to recovery. I think a lot of the time, the darker parts of my mind used to convince me all too easily that I didn’t deserve to be here. Now, I wake up every day and yeah, sometimes I’m in a bad mood and it’s a hard day but I would take my darkest days now over ever being back where I was. Some days I cry, sometimes it’s still hard but the thing is I am still here. Still fighting, still breathing and still living and my darkest days now are a walk in the park compared to March last year. It’s okay to not be okay sometimes and sometimes you have to take time out to do what is best for you.  Whatever that looks like, whatever it is that you need, you have to do it. For me, it was making the choice to leave university. It was moving home and leaving Manchester behind (for now). It was leaving certain people behind. It was focusing on my health and the people around me who supported me in those decisions.

Now don’t get me wrong, the last twelve months has not been easy. It’s been tears and it’s been more tears. It’s been figuring out who I am without my eating disorder and trying to accept that. It’s been growing to love myself day by day and trying to not be defined by the number on the scales which has slowly gotten bigger. It has been discovering a version of myself that has been buried beneath years of self loathing. It has been fighting off self harm thoughts, at first on the daily, then ever so slowly not at all. It has been realising who my true friends are. It has been doctors appointments. It has been therapy. It has been exhaustion. It has been saving myself even though some days I didn’t want to be saved. It has been overdoses and regrets. It has been finding myself after destroying nearly every part of myself.

Banksy once said “Winners are not those who never fail but those who never quit” and I am so glad that I never gave up on myself. Thank you to the people who never gave up on me. Thank you to the people who pushed me to keep going when I couldn’t even get out of bed let alone push myself. Recovery doesn’t happen over night and I would be stupid to think it does but even though I know I’m nowhere near the finish line, it feels damn good to be half way down the track. I think the one thing that I do way too often is that if I have a bad day or a bad week with my eating I punish myself and bully myself way more than I need to. Relapses in behaviour are bound to happen when recovering from an eating disorder and I have to try and remember that this doesn’t mean I’m a failure.

I didn’t give up so I guess that makes me a winner. What are you going to be?

Peace & love always,

Beth 💗

 

 

Dam, Girl.

I can’t believe that this time last week I was in Amsterdam. Just typing those words makes me nearly tear up. I have never missed a city so much in my life. I don’t even know where to start describing how incredible it was. In those 5 days I managed to sight see around one of the most beautiful and bustling cities I have ever visited whilst also fighting off two heavy nights of hangovers from the insane festival that is Don’t Let Daddy Know (DLDK).

Let’s rewind to last Thursday, setting the scene, I am stood with my passport in one hand and my boyfriend tightly squeezing the other, whilst I try to find my seat on my already delayed flight to Amsterdam from very cold, icy and snow covered Manchester airport. After shedding a few embarrassing tears on take off (yes, even at 21 I still get scared of flying) we had set off on our adventure. The flight was so fast and before I knew it, we had landed, checked in and were already exploring the city.

And there it was. The horrible gut feeling I thought I could somehow manage to leave out of my suitcase. The anxious voices that I had so desperately tried to leave behind in the UK had followed me and were beginning to tip toe around my mind, whispering not so sweet symphonies into my ear. “Food? Don’t bother. You can skip this meal and just grab something later. You don’t really want to eat that, do you? Are you actually going to eat that? Why would you waste all your progress on something so fattening?” and well, you get the idea. I was so anxious. I was surrounded by coffee shops, bakeries, pizzerias, diners, desserts, waffle houses and no matter which way I turned it just felt like the beautiful narrow streets from before were closing in on me, making it hard to breathe. I felt like jumping into the canal which trust me at -8 degrees was still more tempting than biting into whichever food jumped out at me first. That first day was really difficult. I was exhausted from being at the airport for 6am, travelling all day and then Ana doing her very best to drain everything out of me emotionally. After a very relaxed coffee shop visit, it was an early night and prepare for the next day of exploring and I was determined to stop Ana from ruining my holiday.

I believe a good nights sleep can honestly do a person wonders. With my hat, scarf and 198648 layers of socks all ready to go, I shoved the previous days food fears out of my mind. I was calm, confident and ready to take on anything that this crazy city had to offer. I think that is one of the most annoying things about recovering from an eating disorder is that some days I feel like I can take on the world but other days I get scared to even look in the mirror or pour a little bit of cooking oil into the pan. Being away from home pushed me to leave my comfort zone and I was determined to push any anorexic thoughts out of my mind. Whilst I was in Amsterdam I tried so many different foods and would do anything right now to be sat in a bakery eating one of the amazing, chocolate covered waffles like the one that I demolished on the last day of my trip, covered in white chocolate chips, melted white chocolate sauce and sticky toffee pieces dotted across the top. So delicious!

The thing with recovery is that it is never linear. I sometimes go weeks without food even crossing my mind apart from when my rumbling belly demands more food. Going to Amsterdam was such an amazing few days and being on such a high whilst I was there, high being the appropriate word, only made me come back to reality that much harder. Things have been so disrupted at home and I have never felt more disconnected from my family. Whenever my life seems to be out of control, Ana steps in with her controlling hand on my shoulder trying to guide me back into her grasp and it is oh so easy to let her. I think the thing with eating disorders is that people think you can just start eating again and it isn’t that simple. A lot of the time I feel as if I failed my eating disorder because I have gained so much weight back and even though I know I am at a healthy weight now, some days can be filled with such guilt and disgust it can be unbearable. I think my family think because I actually eat relatively normally now that I am fixed and some days I still feel very broken.

When I have had a bad week with my eating, like I have this week, I tend to forget how amazing life actually is. Life is full of ups and downs and it goes from being amazing one minute to being soul crushing the next. But then it goes back to being amazing again. I think that the hard thing is trying to find a middle ground between the constant peaks and troughs of life and it is fighting through those boring, everyday, mundane, routine days that can sometimes be the difficult bit as they tend to just blur into one. Take a deep breathe and remember the good moments you’ve had. For example, this time last week I was in Amsterdam with my best friend and love of my life. I spent my weekend sight seeing, raving, eating, dancing, exploring and falling more in love. It was the best weekend of my life and I feel so lucky to have been able to experience everything I did with the person I love.

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Whilst I was in Amsterdam I got a small tattoo of a symbol on my wrist that means “Create your own reality” and that is exactly what I am going to do. I am going to continue being a person and creating a life for myself that I am happy with. Your brain constructs your reality based on what you pay attention to. So pay attention to the things in your life that matter, the things and people that make you happy. Don’t ever try to be someone you’re not just because your brain is wasting time concentrating on something irrelevant. Manage and direct your focus onto something that is going to benefit you, your life and your future. It can be easier to give into the voices telling you that you are not good enough rather than fight them off and some days that’s okay but please remember that you are so beautiful despite what you may think.

Don’t you just love using a snapchat filter when you have no makeup on.

Sorry it’s been a while, I promise I am trying to write more often. Life gets in the way sometimes.

Peace and love always,

Beth x

February Focus.

I feel like every time I write a new post I always end up talking about how up and down I have been and I just feel like I can’t seem to balance everything. I feel so tired recently and I feel like no matter what I do, my mind keeps drifting back to the number on the scales or how much food is on my plate. However, I refuse to let Anorexia control my life again because I have come too far to give up and turn back now. So, what does a recovering anorexic like myself do in situations like this? When she’s sat in on a Friday night, crying because she wants to eat the pizza in the fridge but arguing with herself about the extra cheese she had so excitedly ordered on top earlier. Where had that earlier, confident version of myself gone? Not bothered about the calories and definitely couldn’t care less about demolishing the whole thing.

I think what really bothers me is that some days, it’s so easy to eat and it’s such a relief to just feel like a normal person. Other days, like now, I sit here obsessing about food and the more upset I get, the more Ana soaks it up, feeding off the negative thoughts and weaving a sticky web of self loathing, round and round my mind. As I sit here and type this, part of me feels so stupid because it sounds so simple. Just take a bite. It can’t be that hard, surely? Well sometimes, it really is.

This time last year I was completely and utterly lost. I remember taking the photo below last valentines day…

last valentines

I was a shell of myself and no matter how much the inner me screamed for help, Ana had me well and truly in her grasp, slowly tightening her grip until I was at breaking point. I remember convincing myself that I wasn’t sick enough to get help and kept saying if I got to ‘x’ weight then I would get help and begin my recovery. When ‘X’ weight continued to drop I realised I was way past the point of denial and needed help. I wish I could go back in time and tell the girl in that photo that it really isn’t worth it. All the skipped meals, all the hours spent starving myself, all the hours spent crying because I had eaten too much that day, all the sleepless nights, all the pain it was causing me that I was too blind to see. I can’t believe that that photo is only one year old. I have come such a long way since that photo was taken and that is what I have to focus on. I think I spent so long lost in my eating disorder and became so fixated on my weight that I forgot one very important thing. The number on the scales didn’t represent my worth and it never will. Day by day that becomes easier to accept and so does the slowly growing number on the scales.

So what is my February Focus you ask? My answer is, to enjoy myself and spend time making memories with the people who make me happy.

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When I started 2018 I refused to let Ana or my depression drag me back down to the dark place I was in this time last year. I deserve this life, I deserve to be happy and so do any of you who are reading this. To look back at the rollercoaster that the last twelve months has taken me on and to look back at photos of myself then, compared to now, makes me realise how much healthier and happier I look and I am so proud of myself for taking the steps I did to get me on my path to recovery. I think a lot of the time, the darker parts of my mind used to convince me all too easily that I didn’t deserve to be here but I more than deserve the pleasures that life can bring.

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To see my friends smiling and happy. To hear them laugh. To catch up over cups of coffee with my closest friend. To spend nights dancing away with my boyfriend. To go for cocktails and food and to not feel guilty about it afterwards. To have little valentines getaways. To make memories with the people I love. To drive along singing at the top of my lungs to Dua Lipa or Ed Sheeran or Blink 182 and then blast hardcore Trance music after that. To go to raves. To have deep conversations with the man I love at 4am and then fall asleep in his arms afterwards. It doesn’t have to be the big things. Enjoy the little moments because one day you will look back and realise that they were the big things.

Sometimes you have to take a step back, forget about society and take care of yourself. Whatever that looks like, do it for you. You deserve every bit of happiness and to live a life you are excited about. You deserve the most beautiful and purest form of love in the world and by this I don’t just mean from lovers, friends or family but from yourself. You deserve to look in the mirror and love the person staring back at you despite your flaws because it is those imperfections that make you perfect. You deserve to be whoever you want to be and to be proud of the person you are. You really do deserve every bit of happiness and it may be difficult now but surround yourself with caring people who will help you realise your beauty and I hope one day soon you catch your own eye in a mirrors reflection and think “I am exactly who and where I need to be”

I have had such a busy few weeks making some amazing memories with some amazing people and in 2 weeks I am flying to Amsterdam with my boyfriend which will be the most incredible holiday. Learning to love myself was the hardest thing I have ever had to do but it is the most rewarding feeling spreading the love rather than being afraid of it.

Now if you do excuse me, I have a pizza to go and demolish.

As always, peace and love 🌸

Have a lovely day 💗

Beth x

 

Time Flies.

I think the phrase “Time flies when you’re having fun” has to be one of my favourite sayings. It feels like only yesterday that we all welcomed in the new year and I can’t believe it’s already February. I haven’t even done anything particularly exciting this month (apart from booking Amsterdam) but the last 30 days seem to have passed by like the click of my fingers.

It’s kind of refreshing to be honest. When you’re depressed, it feels like time is stood still, the second hand dragging itself around the clock in continuous circles transforming the minutes into hours before your very eyes. To have the time fly by is something that feels almost alien to me after having time drag its feet for the last few years, and one thing for sure is that it’s nice to be making memories so special that make the time pass by so quickly. I think one thing that is so important in life is to not dwell on the past because it is just more time wasted. Time is such a beautiful gift that we oh so often take for granted and I think it is important to make the most of it. I made a promise to myself at the start of 2018 that I would stop dwelling in the past and put as much time and effort into the things that truly make me happy.

The only good thing about the past is the good memories that are left behind for you to treasure. They are there for when your days are cloudy, shining through the fog of your mind with their happiness hopefully bringing a smile back to your face. The darker memories that life has unfortunately thrown at you are there to remind you how far you have come. To remind you that no matter how hard things have been in the past, you managed to somehow get yourself through the most difficult moments and managed to make it to today. Now here you are reading this blog post and hopefully things aren’t as difficult for you anymore. If they are, keep going because I promise you it isn’t the end.

Everyone grows at different rates. If you imagine a field full of grass, each singular blade is completely different to the one next to it. It might be a different shape, height, colour or have some other minuscule difference, but the point I’m trying to make is that each blade grows at a different rate to the one next to it. Apply the same idea to humans. We’re all different and we all grow and recover at different rates. Mental health is a powerful and painful illness and it affects everybody differently and the only person that can overcome it is you.

Now if you asked me a year ago to measure my success I would have wrapped a tape measure around my waist and replied with “24 inches”. If you asked me to measure my success now I would look around at the beautiful people I have in my life, the opportunities I am graced with each and every day and the health I have brutally fought to regain. You have to allow yourself time to heal and just like a scab forms over a wound, you have to give your mind the self care it so desperately deserves. You have to allow Time to bandage itself around your wounds and slowly use it’s days, weeks, months and years to repair the damage you have done to yourself in the midst of your darkest moments.

This time last year I was on a dark path to near enough destruction and whilst I scrambled to pick up my shattered pieces off the floor, I realised in that moment I knew that it was somewhere I never wanted to return to. It was actually this same week last year that I dropped out of my university course and even though at the time I felt like my life was falling apart around me, here I am a year later. I admit, things aren’t perfect but by measuring my success in terms of health and happiness rather than the number on the scales has completely changed my attitude. Not having my happiness rely on the amount of likes my Instagram selfie gets or what other people think of me. Being able to go outside without makeup on and not caring what anyone else is thinking because I’m happy being in my own skin (don’t get me wrong this is super hard and gives me super anxiety sometimes) but it is something I never used to be able to do.

I have to remember that every baby step I make is still a step in the right direction and even on my most difficult days, they don’t even begin to compare to the darkness that I was lost in last year. The last year has taken me on a journey I never planned on taking and even though I lost people along the way and faced challenges I thought were going to kill me, I haven’t given up.

Time has a wonderful way of showing us what matters and mental health is one of them. It is such a priceless gift that we often let slip by. You can’t own it but you can use it wisely, you definitely cant keep it but you can spend it doing things that make you happy or benefit you and once you’ve lost it, you cant get it back. So make your days productive and do that thing you’ve always wanted to do. Read that book. Watch that film. Travel. Explore and remember: life is about experiences, not things.

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Time really does fly when you’re having fun.

Peace & Love,

Beth x