10 year challenge | How my life has changed & eating disorder recovery

If you are active on Instagram, you most likely won’t have missed the #10yearchallenge which is going around right now. I.e 2009 vs 2019 (or some people doing 2008 vs 2018).

I decided to join in and posted this picture on my Story:

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But it also got me thinking about…. everything that has happened in these 10 years.  It definitely feels like a whole life time ago….

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2009 i was 13 years old and living in Ireland. I had just begun secondary school (or i think i had been going to secondaryfor a year/half a year). Basically, when you are 12/13 you change from primary school to secondary school. You go from being the oldest to the youngest.

If i am honest, i don’t have so much memory from my time as a child… i am not sure if i have just surpressed certain memories or if i just can’t remember them. Ex… alot of the time that i was sick (with eating disorders) i have very little memory of, apart from the very negative moments or certain pictures can bring back memories. This can of course be a good thing, but it also means that alot of things i did, i can’t remember.

2009, as i can remember, i spent alot of time sick with my Cystic Fibrosis. I had begun rebelling alot due to my illness and had stopped taking my medicine, and had also begun thinking alot about my future.

Somewhere online i had read that people with CF have an average age of 30-40. And that of course scared me. I didn’t want to be sick, i didn’t want to have CF, i wanted to be just like everyone else.

Of course… not taking my medication just made me more sick and meant that i spent more time away from school.

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It was in 2009 (or 2008, i can’t remember) that i had also begun purging after eating. And during 2009 the purging after meals, eating less and beginning to  frantically and obessively exercise began. And over time it got worse and worse. And the self harm also began.

I don’t know what triggered me or caused me to downward spiral. It was never because i wanted to be skinny or because i was scared of food or weight gain. But i do think that i suffered with anxiety without ever knowing it. Alot of the thoughts i had back then, alot of fears – i can now see were very anxious thoughts.

2010 was the year i was confronted by my parents about my habits and the very noticable weightloss. It was also the year i began treatment, first in therapy and then as an inpatient in a kids psychiatric ward. And eventually tube feeding in hospital.

And then after 6 weeks, without any improvement my mum made the decision that we should travel to Sweden where there is better care for eating disorders. And since then, i haven’t longed back to Ireland. (Crazy that i have now lived in Sweden longer than i have lived in Ireland).

From 2010 to 2012 it was in and out of Mando treatment centre. From inpatient to daypatient. Back and forth and never really getting better – just improving enough (i.e gaining weight) to be able to be a daypatient and then within a few weeks losing all the weight again and having to be an inpatient again.

Summer/autumn 2011 i was inpatient for the last time and went over to daypatient again. However began relapsing again winter 2011/spring 2012, and was finally put an ultimatum. Either i regain the weight i had lost or i be put back into inpatient again.

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And because i was going to start a new school autumn 2012, as well as moving apartment i decided that i wanted autumn 2012 to just be a new start for me. To be declared healthy, to change school and apartment and leave the old “me” behind.

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So i managed to regain the weight, really face my ED and fears again, and really try to focus on recovery.

Autumn 2012 i was declared healthy and was put on the 5 year follow up treatment from Mando.

However, i wouldn’t say i was fully healthy back then. Sure i was a stable weight, but i still had fears, habits and behaviours to tackle. And sometime 2013/2014 i would say i was mentally healthy and free.

I.e it is one thing to be a healthy weight and be able to go to school, to eat regular and seem healthy. But it does take time to be fully free from certain thoughts, habits and behaviours. And it is up to YOU to be honest to yourself about those things and really make a change. Because otherwise it is just YOU who is trapped with those things. No one else can recover for you, and you have to change all those habits/thoughts that keep you sick.

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2012-2015, i was in highschool (?). I did struggle with anxiety, and 2015-2016 i fell into a rather bad depression. I think it was due to all the stress from the last term of high school, all the exams and pressure. I was not doing well and had many times thought of ending my life because i felt so depressed.

2016 i started university and moved away from home for the first time. However, i just got worse mentally and even if i enjoyed what i was studying, because i was so mentally drained/tired i didn’t have the energy to make friends. And i felt lonely, sad and depressed.

After my term was over i moved back to my parents for the summer and tried to figure out what i was going to do with my life. Also i was confronted by my parents who told me i needed to make a change and to get better. They saw me falling down a dark spiral and that i couldn’t keep going that way or i would end up in hospital.

Also, at the start of summer 2016 i decided to give veganism/a plantbased diet a go. For health reasons (as i was struggling with so much stomach issues – due to most likely stress and a not so great diet, as well as i think my depression/anxiety was causing me physical pain as well). But also for ethical reasons, after watching different documentaries.

When i first went vegan i ate ALOT of fruit, and in combination with stomach problems and struggling mental health, it was one of the reasons i lost so much weight. I.e it wasn’t the most balanced vegan intake.

I worked all summer, and applied to university courses in Gothenburg, and was accepted.

That summer i decided that things needed to change. I was going to start university, in a new city and feel better. Be ME again.

 

I broke up with my boyfriend at the time. Stopped taking birth control. Started taking herbal medication for anxiety and depression. Changed habits and thoughts and focused on getting better.

Of course, my parents were not super enthusiastic about me moving to a new city, several hours away from home, especially as i had lost so much weight and was struggling with depression. However, i had set my mind to moving and as mentioned, during the summer focused on getting better and showing my mum that i was getting better.

Autumn 2016 i moved to Gothenburg and started my university program.

2016-2019: I have moved several times, studied 2,5years of my program, made friends, made my life here in this  city! Changed my life, gotten better mentally and found balance and health again! These past 2,5 years alot (but also a little) has happened, and i am not going to write so much about it as it would take too much time! But i can say, i am so happy i made the decision to move.

Of course, it is scary to move to a new city and start a new life. But i am the type of person who needs that…. to have a goal, to just move city/start a new school and just “be a new me”.

Post: Moving city to study | Life change the past 2 years & 8 tips for moving to another city

Of course, moving citty or starting a new school doesn’t mean that you never struggle with mental health again, and it doesn’t take away your illnesses, but for me it does help. Some places i just have very bad memories attached to and i don’t want to return to them. Such as certain places i have  lived (including Ireland) i don’t want to return to because it brings back too many bad memories.

Anyway… that was my long 10 year challenge, and it just shows me how much i have changed.

To have gone from incredibly sick to now so much happier and healthier. Living in another country. Moving houses – and cities – several times. Stepping outside of my comfort zone.

Of course, many ups and downs. But it also makes me wonder… i wonder how my life will be in 2029 – 10 years later! Who knows if i am still blogging then… but i can look back on this post and see how my life has changed from then to now!!

All i can say is that i am happy and happy with my life right now!

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. kiinniestar says:

    Such an inspiration! I went to university at the same time as you — Aug 2016 🙂 Have always been super insecure and self-hating for all my life. It turned into a full blown anorexia in 2013-2014. Struggled with it for 4-5 years, rejecting treatment etc. Was declared healthy in May 2018. I know I’m not 100% there yet but I’ve come so far. And honestly, one of my biggest inspiration is you. I’ve read your current blog and the previous one (lifewithoutanorexia). Even though I may not know you directly but really I’m so thankful for you. You honestly saved my life! THANK YOU THANK YOU

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! And i am glad to hear that you are doing better, recovery – and full recovery – takes time, but being honest to yourself and really making the changes necessary is part of recovery. Create the life you want to live and be honest to yourself so that you can fully recover!!! Good luck with your studies 🙂

      Like

  2. Conni says:

    Thank you for sharing a very personal story! I’ve not had an ED but I find it remarkable to see how people overcome them and bring strength to others along the way. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, that really does mean alot to me!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this story of blossoming! It is reassuring to see that, even when things seem good enough externally, if you are honest with yourself and strive for more, you can get to even happier and healthier stages. And the future seems exciting for you, I’m sure it will bring many surprises, but they will be awesome ones!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! Exactly, full recovery means mental recovery and truly making the changes necessary to recover. Because eating disorders can’t always be seen from the outside and many stay sick because no one can see that they are still struggling.

      Like

  4. May you be healthy and happy in life. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

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