Back to University I go

 “Work hard for what you want because it won’t come to you without a fight.”

A year ago I was in hospital, a year ago I was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, a year ago I could not keep myself safe, a year ago I was miserable and a year ago I was engulfed by Anorexia. Today I am out of hospital, today I am no longer sectioned, today I can keep myself safe, today I am content and today I am fighting.

Wow, it’s been a quick few weeks. I started back at university after a two year break and it is safe to say it has been a tough two weeks. I went from virtually doing nothing to suddenly being in third year of a Law degree and it has not been an easy adjustment. Going back to university was never going to be easy so I know I am going to have to push myself to stick it out. I will not lie and say the thought of dropping out has not already hit me. The negative thoughts come thick and fast, bombarding me with feelings of unworthiness. But the negative thoughts are just that – thoughts – and I alone have the power to fight them. Fighting the thoughts makes me stronger and I have learnt that I need to believe in myself. I may not be the cleverest in my class or get the highest marks but that is OK. It is OK not to be the best whatever my head tells me.

Being back at university is improving my Mental Health by giving me a focus and an end goal. When I was doing nothing, I had time to wallow in self-pity but now I’m keeping myself busy and it feels so good. I’m trying hard to make this work as I am enjoying my course – it is just a lot more work than I anticipated. I forgot how intense Law is and the amount of reading I have to do is phenomenal. But I am determined to keep going and keep fighting. Unfortunately, the stress of university has meant that my Eating Disorder has tried to worm its way back in again. But I know the warning signs now and I know how to fight back. I point blank refuse to relapse because that road only leads to hospital and I am not going back.

Battling Mental Illness and studying a Law degree is so tough but I know I can and I will do this. I want to make people proud but I also want to make myself proud. I am sick and tired of Mental Illness ruining my life. It is time to take control back and not allow my illnesses to jeopardise this opportunity for me. I refuse to let it beat me. I am stronger than the thoughts in my head. I think I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Take care guys


2016 in Review

“You won’t know until you’ve tried”

So it has been a while since my last blog post. If I had one word to sum up the last month it would be “turbulent”.  New Year can be tough. Every year I feel like this is another year of my life that I’ve wasted. Another year of starvation and engaging in bad coping mechanisms. But I do not want to think like that. I could sit here and wallow in self-pity. I could focus on the negative (the countless hospital admissions, my struggle with food and the loss of some of my independence). I could think about all the things that have gone wrong and all the mistakes I have made, but part of recovery is giving yourself credit for what you have achieved. And believe me it is tough. But most things can be turned into positives. The amount of progress I have made this year is something I should be very proud of. And I honestly struggle to write that. A year ago I was in hospital, a year ago I has stopped eating entirely, a year ago I was intent on hurting myself in any way possible.

After I was discharged in the spring of last year I went on holiday with my family and ate out every night. I ate what JENNY wanted not Anorexia. I managed better than I could have hoped and I need to allow myself to realise that. I had such a good time and was able to enjoy myself for the first time in months.

However, after a few difficult weeks, It was suggested that I should move into supported accommodation. This was probably the toughest decision I had to make in 2016. It was hard because I had to decide what was best for me and my health and put that above everything else. Of course I wanted to stay in my flat with my dog, but the reality of the situation was that I was not coping at all. So my social worker and I agreed that we would give it ago and honestly it was the best decision I could have made. Having the support of staff is amazing and I get on well with all of them.

At the end of 2016 I made another hard decision – to go back to university. I decided that I could keep putting it off and waiting until I felt “ready”, but I realised that that time might never come. So I made the choice to go back. And honestly I am terrified. My anxiety is sky high and I am worried about so many elements. But I am trying to be excited about the prospect of returning and I plan on enjoying myself to fullest. I am worried about whether I will be able to stay well and get through it, but as my psychotherapist says “you won’t know until I’ve tired”. I am nervous about meeting new people and trying to make new friends. But I am hoping it will be ok and that everyone will be friendly. I am also scared of failing and letting everyone down but I do have resources in place to help me through my studies.

2016 has not been an easy year for me. There have been a lot of changes and a lot of ups and downs but focusing on the moment is important. And right now I am keeping myself afloat, reaching out when I am struggling and preparing myself for the next chapter of my life.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year.

Take care guys