Tuesday, 13 September 2011


I just happened to come across some of my old writings from when I was ill.  It was very weird indeed reading back through, not because I found them triggering, but because I could only vaguely remember writing them and questioned whether it was me who wrote them at all.  I know it must have been, but it was like remembering something from another life, or something that a best friend might have gone through, not me.  My style of writing has changed somewhat too; I used to be much more conversational than I am now, perhaps because I didn't really think anyone would ever read what I wrote.  Now I feel pressurised to be interesting and to have impeccable punctuation and grammar.

There are lists of what I had eaten that day, calories and excises.  Accounts of my troubles at college, and how I would skive off to work out at the gym, or to drive to Tesco to buy food for a binge.  I don't miss that life one bit.  As much as I long to be skinny still, I now know that my self worth should not be measured in calories and the number on a set of scales.  I'm healthy now, and I sure as hell look better.  I looked tired back then, almost as if everything was too much for me.  Everything was too much for me.

One of the most interesting things I found was an account of one of my eating disorder counselling sessions:

"I had my counselling session today.  It was a bit different to normal because usually we just sit and talk about how I am feeling and whatnot, but today we played with buttons.  Well, not "played"  but she had a big box of hundreds of buttons and she told me to choose a button to represent all the people in my life.  Here's what I chose:

Me - A rather dingy dull button that might once have been silver were it not so tarnished.  It had little flowers engraved into it and Maria said that it could be pretty and shiny again if someone were to show it some love.  It was really light as well, which was weird because it I thought it was made out of metal.  It had a whole in the back from something or another which worked it's way into the main body of the button.  Take from that what you will.

The ex boyfriend - Massive and black.  (Not that he was black but I felt the colour was representative of his personality and how he thinks of others.)  It was round, as buttons generally are but it was like a really shallow bowl.  It had four holes for the thread to go through.  It was like it was pretending to be this perfect shiny big round button... but really it wasn't all that great because it went inwards and it was shallow.  And I could see through the holes.
My mum - I can't think of the word of the top of my head, but it was that kinda texture you get on the inside of a shell.  It was pink but there was this layer underneath that was white.  It was really smooth to touch and I liked it.  But there was another layer underneath you could only see in certain lights.

My brother - A medium round brown button.  I said I chose it because of the colour and because it was boring and wouldn't add anything to the outfit it was on.  It would just sit there.

My dad - A tiny metal button with a pattern etched into it, which I didn't even notice at first because it was that small.  A tiny metal button which would do no good on any coat or item of clothing; it could only be there for decoration, pretending to be doing something useful.  Maria pointed out that it was metal like my button and that it had a similar pattern... I don't know what that means but she said it was interesting.

My gran - I didn't realise but it was actually a pink sequin like jewel I picked up.  It was multi-faceted (if that's the right word?) and sparkled.  My gran sparkled before she got ill.

Maria pointed out that when I picked them I placed them in a line so that they were all separate.  Not all bunched together in a pile.  When she was explaining she gathered them into a little pile, and I had a mad urge to get the ex boyfriend button and throw it as far away as possible from my other buttons."
That was from the 18th January 2010, five days before my 19th birthday.  I had forgotten that time my counsellor had made me choose buttons to represent everyone.  It might have been a load of old shit, but it also might have given her some great insight.

I remember how I thought about myself back then.  I felt worthless.  That ex boyfriend had done a good job on me.  Two months later I would have finally decided I was ready for recovery.  My heart was in it, which it never had been before, and then just a few days after I made that momentous decision I found myself with a new boyfriend.  Someone who made everything seem just that little bit brighter just by being there, and I knew that someone did want me.
I'm glad I found this because it reminds me how far I've come, there is still a way to go, but I'm eating a regular 1200 kcals per day now, maintaining my weight and eating those things which I never would have allowed myself before.  It's great, it really is.  I feel sorry for all those pro-ana girls; I bet they would kill to have cake and chocolate and BREAD.  I know I would have.


  1. Wow, that's a really good exercise that the therapist had you do! Makes me wish I had a bunch of buttons. I wonder which ones I'd pick...

  2. I just found your blog from following you on youtube, and think your epic. =]


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