a brief history of my brain

Dear diary… why am I writing this? Maybe deep down I am hoping I will be the next Zoella who launches a sensational blog and go on to buy a gorgeous house to live in with my successful boyfriend and pug. On the contrary – I’m a 23 year old woman living with my Mum (out of choice I may add) with low self-esteem and a boat load of issues (definitely not out of choice). I do have two cats though, so there’s really no need for the pug.

Missy and Mr Whiskers

I’ve never been officially diagnosed with any mental issues, but I don’t need a doctor to tell me I’m a bit mental as I figured that out a while ago. To summarise my sob story:

  • Insecure teen who made poor friendship and lifestyle choices
  • Surviving child of a rocky parent divorce which rumbled on from my mid-teens to my 20’s – now minus the relationship with my Dad
  • Moved out to go to uni at 18 to experience the best years of my life, where I ended up experiencing some of my worst
  • Welcoming a host of eating issues and anxiety into my life after the freshers lifestyle gave my self-esteem a good old kicking

…and here we are. Two years post-uni and although my life since has had many ups, its also had a lot of downs. One big down being trying to shake the issues I have with food I picked up during uni. I’m not anorexic, bulimic, I don’t binge eat, and I’ve never been given a diagnosis for anything. But I have big issues with food. After eating my feelings during my first year of university, I went on a diet where I ended up losing over 4 stone (where at one point I was slightly underweight). Even though I knew there was no need for me to diet any more, I feared that by coming off my diet that I would just pile all of my weight back on. Technically, I did come off my diet and ditched its rigid rules. But everyday became a worry about what I was eating and whether it was going to make me fat again. Although I did seek some help, and I’ve got a lot better since it first became an issue (I am now considered to be a ‘healthy weight’), I still struggle with the day-to-day convention of eating freely. To give you a taste (excuse the pun) of some of my typical issues:

  • Is this bowl of cereal actually the recommended serving size of 30g? or is it under that? *spends 5 minutes taking a handful of cereal from the bowl and putting it back in the bowl again repeatedly*
  • Buying a supermarket sandwich is a minefield – it’s always got to be in the healthy range. And kiss goodbye to those crisps… hello apple and grape snack pack.
  • Olive oil? Frying in butter? Dry frying is always my preferred method.
  • Mmm, caramel latte’s. That will be a sugar free syrup, skimmed milk one with no added cream or sprinkles. Extra points if you make that with a dairy free milk too.
  • “Would you like to upgrade to a large for just 99p?” No, I would not.
  • Dairy free, gluten free, nut free, sugar free, fat free, fun free, flavour free, satisfaction free… the more labels the better.
  • For the starter can I just get a mixed salad? With the dressing on the side please.
  • And for dessert I will just have a coffee. Do you have any sweeteners?
  • Trying to figure out whether the diet coke you ordered is actually a full fat coke, or whether the waitress mixed up your diet coke with your brothers full fat one.
  • “Sorry for the wait for your food. We’ve given you an extra pudding to make up for it” … I’m sure my rubbish bin will love it

The list above could go on and on. The general picture is that food in all shapes and sizes, from pouring my cereal to eating three course meals, throw my mind into orbit. My main identifiable issue is “If I eat X, I will put on weight”. Sometimes I am good at ignoring it, or at least having a care free attitude when I cave in and get myself an ice cream. However, it normally takes as long as the last mouthful to be ridden with guilt and feel as if my waistband is expanding by the second. Is this an eating disorder? Maybe, maybe not. It’s definitely a problem though.

So this is what this blog is for. Notes and observations from a hanxious (that’s hungry and anxious) eater. So expect rants about societal food norms which aren’t even a thought for most, but from my experiences, can send some spiralling into despair. But most importantly, and hopefully, that this blog is another way for me to continue to get better. Sometimes there is nothing that makes your issues sound so trivial and pathetic than openly admitting you’ve been haunted over the calories you’ve just consumed by chewing a piece of gum. But also, it may even be a way of finding others in a similar position, with similar worries and stories, who I hope will find comfort in knowing that they are not alone.

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