CW: Eating Disorders and Mention of Relapse
My name is Daisy (she/her), I am here to talk a little bit about how my recovery from an eating disorder has been affected by the global pandemic that we are currently facing. So a little bit about me: I’ve been chronically suffering on and off from Anorexia and/or EDNOS for around 8 years now. I’ve been through an attempt to get help from CAMHS, rejection from adult services, an inpatient ED service admission, and help from outpatient ED services. It’s been a long road, but to my own credit, I’ve been out of ED services for 2 years now and doing the whole recovery thing as a lone wolf! I have been very fortunate with the services that have been made available to me, and I am forever grateful.
If you know someone who has suffered from an ED or have ever studied eating disorders, you’ll probably find that you will hear the phrase ‘recovery isn’t linear.’ Pretty much what this means is that, recovery is going to take some highs, lows, dips, twists, and turns. It’s very rare that someone will decide to recover, and not have any setbacks along the way (I mean, absolute props to you if you have managed to do this though!) Personally, my recovery has literally felt like sitting on the sickliest of roller coasters, that never seems to end. Before COVID-19 hit, I was mostly on a high. I was in my final year at university, studying to be a nurse, I had great housemates, and incredible friends. Yes, there were a few little bumps, but on the most part, I was on that part of the roller-coaster where you can breathe and take in the view for a little bit. BEAUTIFUL.
Then the pandemic started.
I was thrown into full time work, working on quite a difficult ward (granted, we pretty much got to choose where we worked, and I like to make life hard for myself), my housemates all moved home, and so did a majority of my friends. At first things were okay. Living alone was weird, but I was so grateful, because instead of losing jobs, like a lot of people, I had gained a job! I was seeing work colleagues every day and for once in my life was not having to worry as much about my finances.
However, as the weeks went on, I started to get tired. I was seeing work colleagues drop like flies, and the workload quickly shot up. On my days off, I was exhausted. Initially, food was okay. I would bulk cook at the start of the week and go from there, but time passed and food suddenly became an issue again. Motivation to cook was low. I was struggling with motivation to go down to Big Sainsburys and do a food shop. I was struggling with the motivation to clean up from the last meal that I cooked. Eventually, I was struggling with the motivation to leave my bed. Food started to feel like a chore, however I obsession was still high. The constant poke from social media to ‘get fit, and eat healthier’ during the pandemic, were super triggering. My red flag moment was when I literally scrolled ‘just eat’ for an hour, adding things I was craving to my basket, and then taking them out of my basket. I knew this was a huge FUCKITY SHIT moment for me. For the first time since I had left inpatient treatment, I was genuinely scared. Work days were okay, but my days off felt like my Eating Disorder had once again got inside my brain, and made itself comfortable, and had no interest in leaving. The roller-coaster I was on was doing extreme 360’s, and had many sharp corners, twists and turns. Terrifying.
I knew I had to do something. I rang my GP, who I have known for 4 years and is incredible (love you Aneela), and told her that I was struggling. She wasn’t surprised. She spoke to me for about 40 minutes and came up with a mini-plan for me. Step one was to reach out to friends. This was scary. I had made a lot of my friends while I had been preaching about eating disorder recovery. I’d told them and that it’s okay to struggle, yet here I was waiting until crisis point to reach out. Regardless, I put my pride behind me and started to reach out. WOW. I had forgotten how important my friends were in my recovery. I had friends offering to FaceTime me with their families during meal times, I had a few friends bring me around food that they had cooked, and I had friends reminding me that they were always on the other side of the phone. This helped me so much.
I also started writing on another platform, which enabled me to write poetry and word vomit about what was going on in that little head of mine. I used some of the money I was now earning to buy some emergency therapy, instead of using it for my next ASOS order. Finally, I just started to open myself back up to the idea that it was okay to struggle.
Things still aren’t completely back to normal. I’m still finding things a bit tricky, but I’m no longer trying to hide it. I’m becoming a lot more open with people when things are difficult, the moment they become difficult, and not waiting for things to hit crisis point. This is working okay for now.
And just okay, is okay.
If you’ve read this and felt like you now want to share your own story, whether about eating disorder recovery or anything else, then get in touch by visiting our contact page, here!