The third time I went to A&E to insist that something was wrong with my mental state, I went alone. It was a Monday, I had spent the weekend sobbing feeling overwhelmed at the thought of leaving my bed and I’d had enough. I’d been accompanied the last two times I went to A&E and having other opinions in the mix made me ignore my instincts and back down from what I was certain that I needed-to be hospitalised.
I don’t know where that certainty arose from. I’d never known anyone who went to a psychiatric hospital before, but I knew I wouldn’t make it through if I tried to heal myself on my own.
It’s difficult to find any reason to be grateful for my mental illness. I could go on all day about shitty things that I have to put up with, but here are some things that people may not understand about the nature of both depression and anorexia. They don’t just make you sad and hungry. They affect almost every aspect of your life.
There are so many reasons that I’m not grateful for my mental illness. I’ll be writing about those soon, but I thought I’d start with the positives. It’s snowing outside and I’m feeling cosy and I don’t want to have to think about the ways which I’ve suffered. Adversity brings good things with it. And being ill has definitely improved my character in a number of ways.
Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.
This chapter will be rather difficult to write in an honest fashion, but I think that I can do it. I’ve always had an odd relationship with food. I suppose you could say that I’ve had some form of an eating disorder, something that probably never goes away. It never got dangerous, but it did get kind of scary. I’ve never thought that I was fat or anywhere near being fat. But there was a time when I thought that I could not be skinny enough. I suppose that it started when I was around 15. I had a major growth spurt at this time and as I grew upwards I also grew inwards. I didn’t even really notice this happening. I’d never been fat and weight really wasn’t a thing that I thought about. The first time that someone pointed it out to me was a strange experience. At first I looked down at myself and thought, “she’s right, I am really skinny.” But then I started to think, “isn’t that a good thing though? Isn’t that what everyone wants? Isn’t my body like the ones we all look at in magazines and envy.”
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Read part 1 here.
Thursday. My friends and I awake earlyish. There is an extremely inconvenient bus strike on, which means that we have to get a taxi into town. We order one after eating some leftover nachos (Because we’re classy). After doing four hours of French lectures, I get the train out to the hospital. I read my Granny excerpts from my book, which is devoted to her. She seems touched at the chapter that I have written about her. I am so grateful to be able to show it to her after she almost died just three weeks before. I leave a proof copy in her room with her. That night, I stay over in my Gran’s house alone. This doesn’t really bother me, although it does feel a little weird being there without her.
Body image is something that I’ve personally struggled with in the past. It’s not an easy thing to come to terms with, by any means. But after hearing the story of Aoife Kearns’ struggles with accepting her body type, I felt compelled to discuss it. Aoife and I once had a very honest and open discussion. A discussion which later prompted me to write about my eating disorder. Aoife has a lot to say about body image. And I was eager to listen.
When the Fat Girl Gets Skinny by Blythe Baird.
I’ve only really come to terms with this fact in the last few months, but for a period of time, I suffered from an eating disorder. For a long time, I resisted that label and all of its associations. But I will no longer do so.
I honestly wasn’t aware that I was suffering from it at the time, but in hindsight that’s exactly what it was.