My Body Journey: Natasha Jetha   Leave a comment

*It’ always an honour here at BODY HQ when somebody chooses us to share their ED experience with but to actually document their story for us to share with the world is something even more precious and extremely brave. Some people find it therapeutic, some people need to do it as part of their recovery and some simply feel compelled to do it for reasons they can’t explain; either way preparing to share your journey with the masses is a lengthy process that requires immense physical and mental strength.
We know it’s not easy to relive the memories you’ve spent years trying to forget but from the bottom of our hearts we’re so grateful that Natasha has because we KNOW its’s going to reach out to those who are yet to find their voice in their battle for survival.

We salute you with our utmost respect Natasha because you’re living proof that if you choose recovery you can live recovery.*

 

Why I chose recovery?

After 15 years of living with an eating disorder, quite simply, I have had enough. I first started suffering from anorexia at the age of 12; it dominated my years as a child, teenager and early adulthood. At 22 I managed to gain control of my eating disorder. Food and exercise still dominated my every waking thought and I still couldn’t maintain a healthy weight but I managed to live a relatively normal life.

In 2011 that all changed, when all the anorexia thoughts and feelings were triggered once again. I had quite a few personal life events at the time including being made redundant from my job, family issues and other mental health problems. I just didn’t know how to handle it all. Then 2012 came along, I was motivated and excited, this was going to be my year. I very clearly remember standing on the scales; it was the 2nd January and to this day I can still recall how much I weighed. I thought to myself this year I am determined to go on a diet, I wanted to get a better body and look amazing. Unfortunately the roll coaster continued with more emotionally triggering events, I started counselling for my mental health problems and realising some horrible truths about my upbringing. My life started spiralling out of control, controlling my weight and intake was the only way I could cope, my confidence was declining because I wasn’t finding any work and my whole life was falling apart. I heavily increased my trips to the gym and continued to decrease my intake. July came and I was offered my dream job! I was so excited; finally everything was going to be okay. I spent 2 months waiting for my checks and references to be cleared; these 2 months were in no doubt the worst my life. Every day was the same: exercising, cleaning, restricting and watching food programs. My weight began to fall dramatically. One day when walking to the gym, one of the instructors comes to talk to me about my weight. I laugh and dismiss it easily; I lose weight so easily I just can’t keep it on! Unfortunately the lies just start rolling off your tongue.

I start my job I am so excited, the first day comes and all I can think about is that my new colleagues are taking me out for a welcome lunch, I eat two bite size pieces of chicken, I punish myself all day for it. Two weeks later I was diagnosed with severe restrictive anorexia. The rest of the months were a series of long days, feeling so intensely cold and decreasing my food intake. Everything was falling apart, but it wasn’t everything it was me, I couldn’t function anymore. I just wanted my life to end so I get out of this horrible world I was living in; I just felt like there was no other way out. Christmas comes and it is dreadful, I remember thinking I won’t be here for next Christmas, I didn’t think I would make it.

So 2013 starts, I sit in my first dietician appointment the 2nd January, exactly one year since my amazing diet was going to start and it worked, because as I sat there, he told me my weight was too low to be managed in the community. The following week I was told I would be admitted into the eating disorder unit (come in voluntarily or we will section you, not much of a choice there!) and I should count myself lucky that they were letting me go home that day to pack my stuff. I spent 8 months in the eating disorder unit, I don’t think I have ever cried so much, I cried my heart out during every meal and every snack. I started to have such bad panic attacks that eventually I had to be sedated before meals.

I was eventually given some bad news, I was told that if I didn’t return to work I would lose my dream job, so I was moved from the acute

ward to the rehabilitation unit, where I spent 3 months going to and from work. As my parents were making my life unbearable at home and doing everything in their power to make it hard for me to prepare and eat my food (I had to lock my bedroom door) I moved into a nice little flat.

However, things were starting to go wrong, I was discharged from hospital and had started restricting, determined to lose weight. Then something switched my boyfriend of 5 years, the boy who I was completely in love with, the person who spend the rest of my life with, said he couldn’t take it anymore. He broke up with not only me but the person I had been cheating on him with, my eating disorder.

The next day I woke up, I was completely heartbroken. I thought to myself, yes I could carry on restricting and where will that lead me? Straight back in hospital! I was upset and angry, I refused to let the eating disorder take anything more from me, so instead I chose different path, I asked for help. I called my dietician and arranged an appointment for the next day. I told him everything, he didn’t judge me, he helped me to draw up a new meal plan, which I followed and the gained the weight back. In fact I actually increased my meal plan all by myself (go me!).

I could have taken the same path before, but honestly where it did get me? I can never live up to my eating disorder’s expectations of me; I will never be good or thin enough for her. Ultimately, (a bit like Harry Potter), we cannot both survive, so I said goodbye to my eating disorder and decided to live my life as my own. I may have said goodbye to my anorexia but she isn’t willing to go down without a fight. This is the hardest thing I have ever done but I am determined to win!

Do I ever want to give up? Of course I do! Do I have bad days? Yep! Because as I am learning recovery isn’t linear, it is up and down. I cannot be the best at recovery, it takes time, energy and motivation, it is not a race and weight restoration does not mean a thing unless you are willing to let go of your behaviours. Some days are worse than others, today I woke up and I struggled, my thoughts are still consumed with losing weight and whether I should eat my morning snack or not (don’t worry I did!). However, despite this I keep going. A very special friend of mine, who I value incredibly, once said to me, you may think staying in your anorexia will make you happy, but you will never truly be happy until you try to recover. She was right. Everything isn’t perfect and I am not happy every single day, but I am warm, I have more energy than I could ever imagine, I can actually concentrate at work, I see my friends and socialise (even eating out who would have thought?!). Recovery is meant to be hard but you need to congratulate for every win no matter how small. If the eating disorder can put you down for every single thing that you do, recovery can cheer you on for every accomplishment you achieve!

It does get easier; I am a prime example of that. I couldn’t have done any of this without my amazing medical team, but mostly without my beautiful sister, who has been with me every single step of the way. She never gave up on me, she fought the anorexia when I couldn’t and was my biggest supporter. She is always telling me that I can do this. So although I am not fully recovered and I still have a long way to go, I know I am never going back to my eating disorder. So as optimistic (and some may say foolish) 2014, will be my year, because for the first time ever, I am going into it with a healthy body and healthy mind. I am finally ready to let go and move on…

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Posted January 8, 2014 by Body Charity in Uncategorized

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