Happy Birthday, BitesizeKatie!!!
I cannot believe it has been one year since I started blogging and BitesizeKatie was introduced to the world (or should that be introduced to, Wiltshire?!)
I have struggled to blog lately, feeling my words are nothing by repetitive and stagnant.
When I blog such personal thoughts and feelings, it is hard to know if what I am sharing is even relevant to, well anyone?!
I always wanted the blog to be a space people could come to feel they are not alone; albeit people suffering from mental health or eating disorders!
In celebration of the blogs first, birthday have decided to blog about the 12 ‘things’ I have learned over the last year of blogging and living with an ‘outed’ eating disorder!
One ‘thing’ for each month of the last year – I know – genius, right?!
Admitting to an illness does not mean you’re recovered!
I thought the minute I told people about my illness I would be projected into the world of recovery. I would want to eat, be happy and move on with my life. What a crazy fool.
I still consider myself as recovering! I will be honest in saying I am no further forward with this illness than I was a year ago.
I am stagnant, like a stale pond with just a few leaves moving around the surface.
However, therapy is in full swing and I have more ‘positive’ thoughts around eating than I did a year ago.
I can still turn into that fresh, running stream full of frogs and tadpoles! Don’t you just love my comparisons today……
2. It was easier to keep my illness a secret
This may seem obvious, but it was so much easier to keep my eating disorder secret.
I could live a happy on the outside life! Y’ know the kind of life that when asked ‘How are you’ – you respond with ‘I’m Fine’! Ahhh the days of false response…….
The minute I told people, the minute the disease really took a grip of me and my emotions.
It was almost like I was given permission to be this girl with a mental illness, I did not have to hide anymore. I could be moody, refuse food openly, exercise whenever I wanted and I had the perfect excuse. I have anorexia – Don’t you know!?
Opening up my core and emotions was never going to be easy, but it was MUCH harder than I ever anticipated.
However, it was the absolute right thing to do, I have no idea if I would even be here today if I had not taken the decision to tell loved ones. Talking REALLY does help.
2. There is a lack of empathy when it comes to mental illness
I hate to complain (no really I do!) and I know mental illness has been in the news more so than ever lately (Thanks to Prince Harry) but it is still an illness so greatly misunderstood!
The minute I went to the Drs and was promptly given a computer ‘anxiety test’, consisting of around 10 questions…….and then offered tablets to calm my suicidal thoughts, I knew I was going to struggle to be heard or understood.
Mental illness covers such a broad range of illnesses; from depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, to eating disorders! It is complex and confusing illness for experts let alone the general population.
I have ALWAYS felt like I should be ashamed of my mental illness; after all, people have illnesses they have no power over and yet it seems like to some people a mental illness should be easier to cure or that we can ‘choose’ to get better.
I have friends and family who have lost close family members over the last year to awful illnesses we all know and can relate too. I have watched their pain and felt guilty over the fact I can see a future if only I was strong enough to conquer my fears and mind and go and get it.
3. Relationships suffer!
I would be fibbing if I did not say that all of my relationships have struggled over the last year or so.
My 16-year relationship with my partner has been on the brink of break up more times than I care to admit.
It is due to us continually communicating and EXTREME patience from my partner that we have survived!
Every day brings new challenges and frustration’s; it’s an ongoing ‘work in progress’ relationship.
I am deeply proud we have made it this far and gone through what we have gone through.
You have to look after you and hope that others around you will stick around for the journey.
I spend a lot of time worrying about other people’s feelings and if they ‘like me’ that I often fail to give myself a break. My partner helps me realize that every day.
We are not perfect, but we are both trying and we are determined to get through this, together!
4, 5 & 6 Getting help is not failure
This deserves three of my 12 things!
I did not seek help (fully committed) for at least 7 or so months. I was totally convinced I could help myself.
After the Drs scared me off and the eating disorder clinic wanted me to eat a sandwich at pretty much the first session; I ran a mile with utter determination I would fix myself.
This was nieve!
It was only when I knew my relationship would fail at the same time my thought patterns started to get really dark and suicidal that I finally succumbed to therapy.
I still struggle with therapy, each week I want to cancel my appointment and each week I find talking uncomfortable and difficult BUT I also know it is helping.
Talking and seeking guidance is slowly getting through to the real ME. It is not about food, it is about dealing with issues and facing them with grit and determination.
You can only bury things from your past for so long before they will eventually bite you in the ass!
7. Happy, positive ‘sayings’ are easy to read!
I used to be addicted to reading all the positive thoughts that streamed through my Facebook page every day. I joined every blog and ‘positive thoughts’ facebook page to flick in front of my weary, negative face.
I would read the words and HOPE it would help me through the day.
I soon realized it would take more than a few words and in the end, the positive thoughts and sayings started to get on my nerves!
I am all up for being positive (honest) but these consistent positive sayings only make us feel we cannot be sad. Being happy is the only option in life and being sad or having negative thoughts is a bad thing. Yet again, I am a failure.
Tough – I have given myself permission to be sad if I want too and I no longer subscribe to the positive thought of the day…….on so many occasions I wanted to write a comment and it usually ended in ‘OFF’!
8. Hi my name is Katie and I am an addict
I do actually class myself as having an addiction. As much as an alcoholic needs to drink, I need to exercise and only eat SAFE foods every day. I do suffer from awful moods, heart palpitations, and high levels of anxiety if I do not exercise OR if I eat something different.
I do not expect you to understand, but sometimes it is an easy way to explain my eating disorder!
9. Blogging will not make you RICH!
Making money from a blog is possible IF you want to give into allowing adverts on your site.
The bloggers who are making lots of cash really are awesome and fortunate!
I have recently allowed adverts on the website and they are in a subtle place on my website and in three months I have made the grand sum of £3.50. I know – you’re jealous!!
This blog was never meant to be a money-making idea, but after a year I should and could be making more than I am.
Do I feel like a failure, a little?!
Do I care enough to spend hours growing it further?
In a word No, BitesizeKatie was created to help people. I have a successful writing career and I have just launched my new venture www.thedarkchocolatier.com
10. Moving to a different country will not suddenly fix you
Living in Spain for 6 months was an awesome adventure and we do not regret it one bit.
I did believe that it would be the change of scenery and break from the routine I needed to recover. Don’t you just love the saying ‘The grass is not always greener on the other side’?
Spain brought the sunshine, relaxation and a chance to live within another culture, but it did not bring recovery!
We have come home to RECOVER. The UK does not hold my heart but it is where I need to be to give myself the best chance possible to survive and recover.
Embrace opportunities but not at the detriment of believing you can run from feelings or illness!
11. Suicide is not a dirty word
You will never understand suicide unless you have been in very deep dark depths of negative thoughts.
I never want to be in that place again. I recently blogged about my suicidal thoughts, but it was right at the end of a blog post, most people only make it up to the first 200 words before they get bored, so if you have made it this far – THANK YOU!
Suicide is hard to speak about and when you are feeling low and suicidal the last thing you want to do is talk.
Thankfully, I did take the decision to talk and this was the turning point for me to seek therapy and help!
I still remember being sat in our apartment in Spain wanting it all to end, I never want to be in that place again. Ever!
12. I am a survivor!
That is all…..who knows this time next year I could be a blogging millionaire.
The Dark Chocolatier
To celebrate the one year anniversary of BitesizeKatie and the launch of my new website www.thedarkchocolatier.com I am giving away a delicious bar of 70% Dark Chocolate, handmade in Norfolk by The Chocolate Deli.
All you have to do is be the 25th person to like The Dark Chocolatier facebook page!
Well, 100 likes seemed a bit ambitious!!
I am also proud to say 10% of profits from every chocolate box subscription sold will be donated to Beat, The UK’s Eating disorder charity.
Eat chocolate and donate to charity?