Friday 29 July 2016

We all need a helping hand sometimes: Having trust and loyalty through recovery

Chloe writes about how she and her boyfriend overcame her past of anorexia as she entered recovery with his trust and loyalty.

- Chloe Murray

My boyfriend is the most amazing person in the world. He's kind, loyal, trustworthy and understanding. I know I can tell him anything and trust that he will give the best advice or reassurance. His name is Elliot, and he has helped me in so many ways, yet he doesn't even realise.

I opened up to Elliot about my past with anorexia shortly after we starting seeing each other. At the time, I was still struggling with eating and my feelings. I felt guilty after food and I exercised because I had to, not because I wanted to. I was healthy physically, but not mentally. I figured Elliot would see through my picky eating habits and guess something wasn't quite right, so I told him before he did. Like a lot of people do, I was worried he'd judge me because of it. I didn't want to grow any more attached to him, only for Elliot to find out that I was a recovering anorexic to be a huge deal breaker. I was protecting myself more than anything, despite finding it extremely difficult to talk about my past. It was the first time I had talked about my eating disorder, apart from during my hospital stays.

To my surprise, Elliot didn't bat an eyelid when he found out. To him, it wasn't a big deal, he loved me none the less and thankfully he didn't ask difficult questions either. He was just so very understanding, and it didn't change anything between us like I feared it would. He didn't judge me at all, but I could sense his support. He'd always make sure I was happy with what he was cooking, asked me how I was and held my hand when he saw that I was struggling.

Elliot made things easier. Overtime, I became more comfortable opening up to him. He could read me like a book. There'd be nights when I couldn't sleep because I felt guilty or fat, and he'd always say something to comfort me and make everything better. Sometimes, all I needed to know was that he was on my side and that he loved me, something that anorexia tried to convince me wasn't possible - making me feel as though I was "too fat to be loved". But overtime, I realised that Elliot really did love me, and he chose to, not like family who have to. That made a big difference in my recovery, as I began to learn to love myself and look after myself. I began to enjoy exercising again and my diet began to vary. I started enjoying meals out instead of panicking beforehand. I had more energy and I was happier! 

Having someone there for you is so extremely important - knowing you are loved and that you matter. We all need someone to turn to for help and guidance. I now believe that I am no long recovering from anorexia - I am recovered. I am no longer controlled by silly rituals, numbers, weights and boring routines. Through not just Elliot, but all my family and friends who have supported me, I can proudly say, I am free - I am no longer anorexia, I am just me!

For more support on understanding eating disorders, click here.

For more information on how to support a friend going through mental health issues, click here.

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