TW: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, attempted suicide, overdose.
It’s been a while since I’ve sat down with a cup of tea, opened my laptop and decided to write to you all. I’ve missed blogging, and always promised myself I’d get back into it at some point or another – initially, I assumed it’d be after A Levels had finished, but life had other ideas!
There are a few pretty huge things I’ve been wanting to tell you guys, the first of these being that I came out as gay to my family last November as a result of being in a relationship with my current girlfriend since September 2018. I’ve understood and – somewhat reluctantly in the early stages – accepted my sexuality, and am finally in a position where everyone I love and care about is both aware and supportive of the fact that I’m into women as opposed to men. In the past, I’ve wanted to keep almost everything to myself, but I’ve recently realised that my struggles with sexuality, mental health and academia (amongst other things that aren’t necessarily pertinent to my disability) could help someone battling the very same things, and so I’ve decided to be a little more open on here, and to write about things other than my life without sight. If you’d like a post dedicated solely to describing my relationship with queerness, identity and other such mind-boggling entities, just let me know either in the comments, via email, Twitter DM or through the Contact Me page on this site.
As briefly mentioned earlier, I’d also like to start writing more about mental health; a huge part of the reason I fell off the blogging train last year was because I was hardly in a fit state to speak, let alone coherently arrange my thoughts into something resembling prose. On May 31st 2018, after being dismissed by a GP just weeks before after seeking medical intervention for my suicidal thoughts and severe lack of motivation, as well as the months I had spent idealising the notion of death and escaping the terrible depression I had found myself in, I overdosed on a mixture of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. I won’t go into every excruciating detail, but basically I ended up in hospital attached to a cannula which lowered the fatal levels of toxicity in my blood – thankfully, after a couple of days and a CAHMS (I was seventeen at the time) risk assessment, I was allowed to go home. I’d quite like to detail my experiences with CAHMS (which were unfortunately far from positive) in a separate post, as well as bringing up the issue of ableism among medical professionals: honest to God, a doctor walked into my room, sat on my bed, took my hand and said sympathetically, ‘There’s nothing wrong with being blind, you know? You can still live a good life.’ My response was absolutely incredulous; of course an able person would assume my suicide attempt was all the fault of my disability, and not of mental illness or environmental circumstance!
Anyway, that’s enough of that – again, just let me know if you’re interested in a post about ableism, CAHMS and being acutely mentally ill while transitioning from adolescent to adult services in the UK. After months of battling with my own thoughts and feelings, I was finally diagnosed with Depression, and began taking medication just under a month after leaving hospital – around the same time, I was also referred to my local eating disorder service as my weight had dropped significantly, to the point of me appearing noticeably unwell. Previously form-fitting clothes were now hanging off of my fragile frame, my eyes grew sunken in their sockets and my skin paled to an almost ethereal level. I was skipping meals, then proceeding to binge on chocolate, sweets and crisps before making myself sick into the toilet, sink and even in the shower, all the while remaining adamant that I was fine, that I did not, in fact, engage in disordered eating – the very thought was absurd! Except, well, it wasn’t so absurd, and – after my diagnostic appointment on October 26th 2018 – I began my recovery from Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. Luckily, I was entered into an early intervention programme, and my therapist, Health Support Worker and dietician were all heavily involved in my treatment. As a result of this, after twenty four sessions I have been discharged from the service, and am proud to say that I have beaten a horrible illness, which is isolating at best and murderous at worst. If you’d have told me nine months ago that I would be eating three good meals a day (plus snacks!) with no issue whatsoever, I would have laughed right in your face, quickly pointing out all of the reasons I’d never deserve to enjoy food again. Yet, now, the thought of struggling as much as I had been all those months and even years ago seems alien to me; I want to wrap my past self up in a warm embrace and tell her that, no matter what, she is good enough, she is beautiful enough, she is strong enough – she is enough. Please, if you’re suffering with a mental illness of any kind, reach out. Go to your GP, your friends and family, the internet, even: you are not alone, I promise you. Things will improve, it’s guaranteed.
Finally, after what feels like a lifetime, I’m out of the woods, I’m safe, and – more than that – I’m happy. For so long I felt broken, and even now I can’t remember most of the last couple of years other than the awful, gnawing feeling of emptiness and inexplicable dread, but I’ve realised that it is impossible to break oneself, only to temporarily damage. Friends, family, professionals and even teachers have helped me more than they will ever know during my road to recovery, and for that I cannot thank them enough, but I am also grateful to myself, for never giving up, despite it all. I am grateful to myself for fighting, for refusing to be beaten down, and – most of all – for recognising the importance of recovery sooner than I’d have expected. On July 8th this year, I actually appeared on The Victoria Derbyshire Show talking about my eating disorder – if you’re interested, you can find the clip on iPlayer here.
Phew – that was intense! In other news, my girlfriend and I recently went to Motril for a week (our first holiday without our families), which was simply wonderful. We met dolphins (ethically, I promise! No swimming or touching noses involved), strolled down quaint Spanish streets, made friends with the cutest kitten and some gorgeous puppies, ate the yummiest food and spoke Spanish (well, I did, at least – she hasn’t got a clue! It was wonderful to put what I’d learned during GCSE and A Level into practice though, particularly as the area in which we stayed had very few English-speakers). I’ve also been to Kraków recently with my family for a sort of long weekend: we rode on a horse and cart, took a boat trip, drank far too many cocktails, visited the Hard Rock Cafe, were shown around Auschwitz and Birkenau (would anyone be interested in a separate post about how this experience was for someone who isn’t able to see the sites, artefacts and other haunting remnants of the Holocaust?), and – again – ate some really tasty dishes (others, not so much – sorry, Poland, but your traditional dumplings just aren’t for me!). The weather in both places was incredible, something which isn’t exactly guaranteed in Brighton or Scotland, my next two holiday destinations! I’m camping with a huge group of friends in Brighton in a week or so, and am staying in the sweetest cottage in Inverness with my girlfriend’s family later on this month. Keep your fingers crossed for sunshine, people!
This enormous post is slowly coming to a conclusion, but – before I go – I just thought I’d let you all know that I’m now vegan. Well, almost: I still have a load of vegetarian ready meals in my fridge at home which I need to use up before all animal products can be completely eradicated from my diet, but I’m super excited about leading a more ethical lifestyle, and – for this reason also – I have recently elected to purchase as many plastic-free items as possible, from deodorant to unpackaged fruit and vegetables. Are any of you guys vegan, vegetarian or cruelty/plastic free? Tell me about your journey – anecdotes, recommendations and tips are always welcome!
Hmmm, do I have anything else of importance to tell you? I mean, I’ve had my nose pierced, am currently planning my first tattoo, and somehow managed to sit my A Levels earlier this year with relatively few tears shed, but other than that, I think I’ve exhausted pretty much every single topic my somewhat frazzled brain has to offer! God, blogging again feels wonderful – I’m thrilled to finally be in a place where writing is pleasurable to me once again, and am super excited to start involving myself in the blogging community a little more – share your current favourite post here on WordPress down in the comments, and tell me about the content you post if I don’t follow your site already!
Thank you always,