The other day I took my body measurements. Once upon a time this was an almost daily ritual over which the loss of a quarter-inch would be rejoiced for a moment before becoming again, ‘not small enough’. To catch me tape measure in hand would have been an invasion into the depth’s of anorexia’s secrecy that encroached my life. For me, this time though I wasn’t smaller than last time. In fact, I don’t even remember when last time was.
This time my measurements were bigger than they’d ever been. This time I’m not trying to lose weight no matter which organ degrades to fulfil that need. I am instead focused on a whole new agenda, health and fitness – and this is no anorexia disguise, I mean really, it’s for health and fitness to improve my badass performance in OCRs, running, climbing and it’d be nice to shave commuting time from my cycling trips.
Yes, I’m the biggest I’ve ever been and I’m healthy. My thighs aren’t equally perfect – my right is 1 – 1 1/2 inches bigger that the left but that’s cool. In fact they’re both equal to or larger than my waist in inches was during my anorexic days. I didn’t cry at this realisation, nor did I vow to eat a drastically low amount of calories. I was however in a state of shock which seeped into the stark realisation at how sick I was, and how far from fat I truly was at a time when I felt like my weight was ‘just’ acceptable. There was 1/3 less of me than what I am now and I found myself wondering, how the fuck did my organs fit in such a tiny space?
As you can see, I am health conscious and most definitely as recovered as I think it gets – which is amazing considering I spent 9 years smothered by eating disorders affecting me and dictating far too much of my life. In addition to eating disorders I have bipolar and dissociative episodes – the latter of which is better than it used to be due to extensive and intensive therapy.
Now that I manage better and am not living in a constant crisis state, nor am I being admitted to A&E or psych units regularly. I attend groups run in the community in a variety of topics such as: mindfulness, arts and crafts and gardening. All of these groups help reduce some of the worst effects of mentally ill-health; social isolation, stigma and loneliness. All of which, added on top of difficulties can make a depressive episode go from shit to actively suicidal. One charity that runs a lot of these groups well is MIND.
This is the work that many probably don’t see done by MIND, but it is in addition to their exceptionally informative website, their help line, their online forum Elefriends, their info leaflets found in most psychiatric units, their advocacy service and their anti-stigma awareness raising media projects. Without MIND I would not have had information to read on my first admission that helped explain the unexplainable. I would not have had leaving services care which directed me instead to the right services when my previous care provider had failed. I would have fewer places to go and be with fewer people in an environment where I don’t have to hide my unemployment or mental health struggles.
I am one person in a country of millions. These are just some of the ways in which MIND have helped me – now think of how many people in the UK struggle with mental health problems, and how many of those have sought for information and support – and how many people MIND as a charity reach, help, and sometimes probably give hope to in the most hopeless of situations, and therefore keep alive for at least a while longer.
Now isn’t that a charity worth fighting for? Isn’t that a charity worth donating to, or perhaps running Tough Mudder for? This is exactly what I’m doing, but running Tough Mudder this year isn’t just about raising money for MIND. It shows to myself and others how far I’ve come in my journey, and it slaps my ED in the face whilst saying “see how much stronger I am now bitch!” It’s part of a personal journey of proving to myself how badass amazing I am whilst giving me the chance to give something back to a charity that helped save my life and that of at least a thousand others.
My Just Giving Page has a link to the right of my blog, and can be found following this link.