Four years ago today I sat at my desk in my room at Goodricke College, University of York, and I created this blog. My first post, Beginning with an end, was a brief introduction and description of my life at that time. A typical day in the life in early 2009 went something like this:
5am – Wake up with stomach cramps, lie in bed willing them away
8am – Get up, eat breakfast
9am-12pm – Maths/physics lectures.
12pm – Lunch
1-3.30pm – More lectures
4pm – Dinner and random internet surfage
6-7.30pm – Walk to Morrisons, stare at food, read nutritional information
8pm – Get back to my room, sit on the floor of the shower for a while
9-11pm – More interwebz
11pm – Go to bed and stare at the ceiling
2am ish – Pass out for a few hours
Four years and a hundred miles from that room, the only thing similar to today is the stomach cramps, because the IBS doesn’t seem to give a crap (ha!) about how healthy or otherwise I am. Today I woke up in my flat with my girlfriend, had breakfast and went to therapy before travelling ten miles towards the coast for college. I’m going to spend the afternoon listening to classmates’ presentations for our latest assignment, and then probably we will split into smaller supervision groups to talk about our clients. I see four, sometimes five clients every Tuesday now, including two with eating disorders and one who is suspected of self harming. Sitting in the room as the counsellor rather than the client no longer feels awkward and unnatural. Times have changed.
This life would be so alien to the woman who started this blog. When I told myself I’d give recovery all I had for five years, I don’t think I ever quite understood how strangely that time would pass. It would feel far too slow, because when life is intolerable change is always too slow, and every time I slipped up I felt so hopeless about things ever really changing. It took me a year to get to my target weight, and since 2009 there have been innumerable set backs and lapses. Stomach viruses which resulted in weight loss and a brief return of the anorexic thoughts, bouts of depression and self harm, PTSD triggers which have had me climbing the walls for weeks, decisions which were downright reckless for my recovery, and a sense for at least the first three years that I was struggling just to avoid drowning in it all. But in other ways the time would also pass too quickly, because although the individual days sometimes dragged, over weeks and months there were huge, life changing shifts in my circumstances and personality which I felt I could barely keep up with.
This year will be no different. Audrey and I are moving house in a couple of weeks – we already live together but also with another flatmate, so this will be our first proper home together. It’s going to be incredibly tight financially for the first few months, but worth the stress. My current job is going well enough, but I’m going to need to work more hours than ideal to keep myself afloat until the end of my degree. My foundation degree finishes in July, and while I intend to go on to the optional third year which will make it a full BA Hons, from July I will be a fully qualified counsellor. I’m currently seeing a psychologist for trauma-focussed CBT to sort out the remainder of my PTSD symptoms, which is hard going but helpful so far.
It’s kind of apparently that I don’t update this blog as often as I’d like. It’s not like the end of 2011/start of 2012 when I was so stressed and depressed I couldn’t string a sentence together, I have lots to talk about now. Nearly every week after placement I think it might be interesting to write about an issue that came up in relation to a client (not about the client of course, more about my reaction to something, or some sort of ethical dilemma). While I was watching the equal marriage debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday I was raring to post about it all! Sometimes after therapy I think writing might help to process things better too, and so on. I just don’t seem to get round to it any more. I think it’s because I’m far busier now than I’m used to, and while I am coping surprisingly well with this (surprising to me anyway – I half expected things to go horribly wrong again when I started work in November), when I do have free time, it’s usually spent staring blankly at Facebook, trying to recharge! Not that I spend all my free time that way. On Monday I’m going to be in York with Audrey, for my annual talk at the University of York for eating disorders awareness week. Please come and be nosy if you’re in the area.
So this was almost an end, because I’ve seriously thought about giving up blogging completely recently. But I can’t bring myself to shut down my blog yet, not when I’m only four fifths of the way through those five years I gave myself, not when I have yet to finish that degree I’ve been after for ten years now – not when things feel so unfinished. I’m not going to put pressure on myself to update either. It might be every couple of weeks, it’s more likely to be every couple of months. It’s not like there are hoards of people out there hanging on my every word, but I do occasionally get emails asking where I’ve got to, so I thought it’d be nice to tell you all that things are going well, and not to worry about the radio silence.
Thank you to everyone who has read, commented and supported me over the last four years. I know I’m quiet now, and I know I don’t really interact much with other blogs, but you can’t possibly know how much it has all been appreciated.