Warning for slight discussion of my struggles with an Eating Disorder.
Hi… so it’s been a while.
Truthfully I’ve been trying to settle into uni and adapt to a completely different life/atmosphere/group of people. I’ve not even kept up with Doctor Who, THAT’S how busy I’ve been…
but I’m loving it.
When I arrived I was absolutely terrified, all the common fears of Will I make any friends? What if my course is really hard? What if I get lost? lingering through my mind, and then the slightly less common fears of What if I relapse? What if I can’t cope? What if my Eating Disorder just takes over my life again? also standing boldly in my brain. I remember my mum parking the car and my heart pounding! However, the second I got there and started talking to my house mates, I realised that I was going to be living with the best people ever, and maybe have the best first month I could have possibly imagined.
All my house mates are amazing. They’re a kind, hilarious bunch who always make you feel included and settled. We go out together, have movie nights, and chats in the kitchen. I’ve never felt so comfortable around such a big group of people in such a short space of time. It’s really helped me cope because they’re all so non-judgemental. Before coming here, I was terrified about how I was going to keep up my ED recovery whilst sharing a kitchen with such a large number of people; but the funny thing is, no one cares what you cook. One guy in the house just leaves packaged bacon in the sink to defrost. One guy grated a slab of cheese in one go just so he wouldn’t have to keep grating it each time he wanted a toastie. My best friend in the house has tried to avoid cooking properly altogether so lives off microwaved meals, and no one cares! We order take outs and eat together, devour chips and burgers after nights out – and yeah, sometimes I do get the lingering guilt that anorexia has gotten me so used to, but sometimes I just appreciate the moment and accept that I’m a Uni student and it’s okay to eat junk food or the things I categorised as “bad” for so long.
But like I put before, I still feel guilt and have days where I struggle. The problem with living with so many people is that it’s easy to compare what you’re eating, and if I’m having a meal that seems smaller than one of my house mates’, I begin to question if I deserve it. I start to wonder if I’m eating too much or going to gain 1000 pounds. But the thing is, my needs are different to theirs. I need to eat more to put on weight and make my body healthy again. I need to focus on myself and my own motivations and goals. Recovery is about understanding what you need personally and adapting your life to suit those needs. And I need to make my brain and my body healthier. So dammit abi! just eat that extra quorn sausage and mash!
I am honestly having an amazing time here. I find my course fascinating (although it is stressful at times), have already met so many wonderful people, and am coping a lot better than I thought I would. Going away hasn’t completely cured me or sorted out my mental health issues, but god I feel so much better than I did a couple of months ago. I know how incredibly difficult it is to go to University with a mental health illness, but doing these challenges and living life to the full is what makes recovery worth it. And I understand that maybe a lot of it is down to luck; you can’t pick who you live with or who’s on your course, so I am just I ncredibly grateful to be living alongside some of the best people I know.