Before I begin I will be discussing eating disorders, anorexia and other mental illnesses (trigger warning)
I have been deep in my eating disorder recovery now for quite a few years, discharged from the clinic around 2 years ago. My eating disorder journey started at an age which I don’t really remember but hit it’s peak at age 19/20. Here I am as a 25 year old woman and I have gained so much in my life ever since then. I’ve spoken openly about my mental health for years but I feel I have always been somewhat more protective over my eating disorder.
I’m not entirely sure why I was protective over it, it felt almost way too personal. I am not ashamed of it, it is not something I will ever keep a secret but it’s also a time that makes me very sad and scared still.
Growing up I was never, ever confident in my body. When I suddenly got boobs I was scared – also, I never remember having little boobs I feel like I just one day had gigantic jubblies and that was it. I would walk around with a hunch to try and keep them looking small, I was terrified of growing up and getting ‘bigger’ and I think my eating disorder stemmed from that maybe. As I got older I was going to get bigger I thought, it was inevitable. Despite the fact that when I was 14 a doctor told me that was it, I was destined to be a short arse forever at the little height of 5″2/3 and the shoe size of 4, that was me now and that is how I have stayed. A small, petite frame but I could never see it. I didn’t even look at my feet and think they were small, but it’s a fact, a size 4 foot is the size of a childs foot…I WAS SMALL.
So growing up and falling deeper into my disordered thoughts, I did whatever I could to stay as ‘Little Shannon’ for as long as possible but by doing so, I got poorly. I’d dropped to a very little weight and I had bones showing in places I’d never seen, it was sad but back then it’s what I wanted but I was never happy with the result. It kills me to think about how tired I was all the time, how scared I was and how insecure I felt.
Recovery is not easy and it certainly is not quick. It took years for me to accept I had a problem and eventually after the help of my family, friends, therapists, nurses and my boyfriend at the time I became more comfortable with eating and allowing my body to change. I was starting to recover and I was accepting the issue.
Let’s fast forward to now, how have I dealt with my recovery and the changes in my body? Last year I was so confident in my body, I never ever looked in the mirror and pointed out any flaws and I didn’t think twice about what I was eating. I had just started to enjoy food and I was embracing my growing body. All while still being in a petite frame I was enjoying my bigger boobs, my peachy bum and my curvier hips. I was finally accepting my body as a young woman and no longer as a teenager.
I felt much more confident and comfortable with sharing my body with someone else. It’s not always easy when it comes down to being intimate with someone, you literally open yourself up physically to someone and it’s you, them and your bodies so I was learning to embrace it fully. I liked my body, I liked how it looked and I was happy with it for the first time in my life. I really am so proud of how far I had come at that time.
Right now I’m going through somewhat of a worse phase, I think everyone is perhaps having a harder time in their bodies due to lockdown. Less exercise, more food and drinking, more time by yourself to get lost in your thoughts. I don’t feel alone with my bad thoughts, I don’t think I am anywhere near relapsing but the changes in my body are bothering me more than they did a year ago. I am challenging the thoughts by wearing nice clothes, making myself feel nice and trying to nourish and look after myself however my body is asking me to.
I really am trying to remember that I am a young woman now and no longer a teenage. I cannot strive for the body of my 19 year old self anymore, I want to be a mum one day and I have to fight for my healthy body.
I am much stronger now and I can deal with the thoughts, that little anorexic voice will be there for the rest of my life but I just don’t have to give in like I did before. I am so much stronger and yes, I am more confident. Confident in my body and confident in my ability to challenge a disordered thought.
Really, fuck it, my body rules and I will get that confidence back again, I have to live with myself and my body forever. I am going to be kind to myself. This is a vow to myself to stop scrutinising my body in the mirror, stop obsessing over a little bit of podge here and there. I will get that confidence back, this is a challenge to myself to feel as good as I did last year. Let’s fucking do it, get that body positivity!