Recovery

Voices

                                

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This piece was originally submitted to The Dialouge Projects on June 29th 2016.

Although I have struggled with mental illness for a long time now, sharing my story and just generally talking about my struggle with mental illness has always been something I’ve been really ashamed of and a part of my life I have always wanted to hide. But now, I have finally found the courage to share my story.

How far do I go back? How far do I need to go back?

                                  

                                                       Photo Credit: Dave Martyn

TRIGGER WARNING: the following material may be triggering for some individuals - please read with caution.

It was like walking into shadows for all those years, at first I fought it, wrestled with it, then let myself sink deeper down and gave into all those urges and destructions that ran through me. My entire life feels like one big waiting game. Waiting for death; waiting for life to begin; waiting for help; waiting for people to leave me alone; waiting to be saved.

My Road to Recovery - Anything but a Straight Line

 

                                        

 

TRIGGER WARNING: the following material may be triggering for some individuals - please read with caution.

Over the past four years I have been admitted to treatment six times, had my parents bail me out of jail four times, ruined countless relationships, and lost faith in myself. Not only have I been in a decade long battle with anorexia, I also developed an addiction to alcohol in my early twenties.

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What We Gain

What We Gain

I have to admit, dear reader, that I have struggled and struggled and struggled with this post.  There were so many important things to write: about body image, about recovery, about fighting the good fight against this insidious, downright abusive thing we call ED.  And then this tiny voice, deep inside, whispered: write about what you gain, when you let go.

Will the Real “ME” Please Stand Up? – A Holistic Approach to Self-Discovery and Self-Acceptance

        

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So, what’s in a plan, anyway?

In short – the answer is NOTHING. But, it took me a while to realize and fully understand this.

I thought that my plans defined me, and when I deviated from them it automatically meant failure; as a person, in my beliefs, and every part of my being. My plans were what made me proud, made me feel like I was successful, and made me feel complete. 

Wife No. 3 in Abu Dhabi - Bulimia and Broken Dreams

                                              

                                                  Photo taken by Maha Khan in Abu Dhabi.

TRIGGER WARNING: the following material may be triggering for some individuals - please read with caution.

I had a very strange childhood. I was born in Belarus and raised in the UK by my father’s mother, and learned many life lessons in very hard ways. I was raised by a grandmother who lived on benefits(British welfare) and enjoyed watching EastEnders (a British sitcom) all the time. She was an addict. My father eventually remarried and was absent from my life. 

The Silent Shame of Bulimia

                

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TRIGGER WARNING: the following material may be triggering for some individuals - please read with caution.

Unlike anorexia, which is characterized by discipline, restraint, self-sacrifice—traits that society upholds as virtuous—bulimia traffics in a consuming, corrosive sense of shame. After all, there is nothing respectable about gorging yourself past the point of physical discomfort. There is nothing dignified about jamming your fist in your mouth to induce vomiting. Habitually wrapping lies around your self-destructive behavior is far from honorable.

In Defense of Obsession

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TRIGGER WARNING: the following material may be triggering for some, please read with caution.

When I look back on my life, I am amazed by some of the things I did and said when I was affected by anorexia. During eighth grade, I became a vegetarian for half a year. While I told my parents it was for humanitarian reasons, it gave me an excuse to only eat the side dishes at meals. 

Writing My Recovery

 

I recently decided to tackle the subject of my eating disorder in a play. I signed up for a weekend workshop and committed myself to exploring an idea about developing a one man show. Now, over the 10 plus years of my journey with this eating disorder, I have tried this before. I’ve always felt the desire and drive to write a show about this profound experience of being at war with myself – but I’d never managed to do it. So often, the material was just too close; I was still too deep into it. I couldn’t find a voice that had any perspective. It all came out cliché, or every word was so laboured over that it didn’t sound like me.

 

Time is Your New Best Friend!

time



My beautiful, kind niece contacted me the other day. She had sent a text message sharing how she was struggling with her self-confidence. A couple of things entered my mind at that moment: how very proud I was of her to reach out to someone, followed immediately by the question ‘what was I going to share with her?’ This conversation was very important to me, so before picking up the phone I took the time to reflect back on my own experience over the past 8 years. I thought about what had made an impact on me in hopes it would provide the same impact for her.

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