My Journey To Recovery

never give up

The Grounded Mum was born last year, at the end of my marriage and at the beginning of a life that I only saw in my wildest dreams.  That I hoped of anyway.  A life that I used to day dream about in our Botanic Gardens and would write about in all my half finished journals.

It wasn’t immediately that I started writing – after a few months of settling in and having some days to myself where Zoe was in daycare (to you know, heal and all that stuff) I discovered my passion for writing again.  At this point I didn’t realise it was to be the first of many passions that subsequently was to emerge.

The title The Grounded Mum was based around a couple of things:

  • The fact that I am an ex flight attendant no longer flying (hence the term ‘grounded’. And;
  • My desire to be just that.  A grounded and present Mum to my beautiful daughter.

Anyone who has been reading this blog from the start – and lets be honest there’d only be a handful, would know that this blog isn’t so much about the past and the reasons my marriage ended – but instead how I’m choosing to live NOW.  The beautiful moments and at times the not so beautiful moments.  I share the things that help me and also hope to inspire anyone else out there.

This blog is full of rawness and honesty.  It’s a blog reflective of a period where I have discovered more about myself than at any other time.  Which brings me to my next point – the reason I came into my study to write tonight.  I feel its getting to the point where I can’t continue writing, without sharing a big part of me.

Ahhhhh big breaths……

I suffer from an eating disorder.  I don’t really believe that you can ever write that statement in the past tense.  For me it is something that I manage, and certainly not something I have completely ‘gotten over’.

Rewind 10 years.  Moved away from my home town, all the way to the big smoke… SYDNEY!  I was young, incredibly naive, and thought that this was going to be amazing.  I had landed my dream job as a flight attendant and had broken up with my boyfriend at the time without a care in the world.  I was moving to Sydney – nothing else mattered.

I had ZERO life experience outside of high school antics.  Well not any experience that would help me get through what was to be one of the hardest times of my life.

It came on slowly – I was eating out a lot, and eating late.  I hadn’t had to worry about weight before.  Previously, I ate my mums cooking and life was fairly simple.  Weight crept on and I was probably at my heaviest.  I was miserable, regretted dumping my BF, felt extremely lonely, was making some pretty cod ordinary decisions in life, parents had moved overseas for 4 years, was working a lot while my high school friends were back home partying and having fun.  I was absolutely, completely and utterly out of my depth.

It was a period of so much change and I had no tools to handle it.  Eventually it all got too much.  I needed to control something in my life.  A life that was spiralling out of control so fast.  And food it was.  I went into starvation mode and lost over 13 kg.  At my lightest I dropped to 55 kg on a 171 cm frame.  I kept journals, tracked my weight and most of all kept encouraging myself to go on this ‘eat minimal’ diet.  I lived off grapes and carrots sticks.  It wasn’t until this point that I realised how incredibly hard it was to socialise with an eating disorder.  Food is everywhere!  I pushed away a lot of beautiful people in my life because I didn’t know how to have them AND my “ED”.  Thankfully, I am still in contact with some girls from my initial flying days.  I’ll always have a special place in my heart for them.

Did it make me happier? No.  I did however enjoy being skinny to some extent.  I had something to focus on.  At this point, I had no idea that it would still be with  me 10 years later.

I eventually had to quit my job and moved back home to live with some dear family friends.  It was so incredibly big of them to take me on – I can’t imagine it would’ve been easy for them either.  Looking back I probably should have got some qualified help to help aid in my recovery.  Instead, I started exercising to make up for the additional food I was eating.  I was running anywhere up to 12 kms a day to help maintain my weight.

I eventually got my own place, a job and a boyfriend and life settled down for awhile.  I put on weight (more than I would have liked) but I guess I had enough distraction to keep me from relapsing.  Life wasn’t bad.  I had good friends and was just so happy to be home again.  Looking back at that stage, it was a period where I was almost free from the ED.  I enjoyed exercising to a healthy level and for the most part had an ok relationship with food.  It wasn’t healthy food, however at that point I didn’t know the world of healthy foods!  There was only two levels of eating:

  • Eating food – any types at all, or;
  • Basically not eating at all

Four years passed and after awhile that relationship didn’t work out and came to an end.  It was the next 5 years, years filled with emotional trauma, and again emotions and experiences so far out of my depth, that saw the same issues creeping up.   This period involved other people, so I won’t go into it.

Instead of just restricting food – in came the binging and purging.  And I guess up until 12 months ago, instead of it being something that I only used in order to ‘deal with’ awful times, it became habit.  Before I knew it, it had a hold on me.  If I wasn’t physically either on a diet or at times making myself sick – I would be questioning anything that crossed my lips.  There was no peace.  Being in a relationship and subsequent marriage that I was unhappy in didn’t help the situatiuon.

Over the last 12 months I have worked so incredibly hard to break years of bad habits that made life such a lonely place at times.  In a way,  looking after yourself becomes so much easier when you are living a life true to who you are and where you want to be.

It has been hard.  So bloody hard at times.  Relapses and mistakes, on repeat.  However with nothing but sheer discipline, a discipline harder than NOT allowing yourself to eat, I am now at a point where I can see recovery as a permanent thing.

I know exactly what has worked for me and I will most certainly share that in another blog.  I am no longer naive, have lived and tried it ALL and if i can help just one other person then it was all worth it!

Being a mum doesn’t put you in bubble wrap and mean you don’t struggle with these things.  Sometimes it just means you have less time to deal with the issues so it takes longer to heal.  I am a bit like the ED natzi and can spot distorted eating from a mile away 😉

I don’t for a second take for granted where I am, especially because I know how hard I have worked to get here.

I have a daughter that I love more than anything in the world.

This recovery is as much for me as it is you my darling!

Jen xx


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