Those Old Demons!
1st May 2019
Today I would like to share a part of my history with you. This is a very personal thing to me which for many years I have not been ready to talk about.
I have recently been looking back over the content for my book. I am currently at the second draft stage of this memoir of mine, I am hoping it will be ready to launch in 2020. Whilst re-reading and doing some editing and re-writing I began to feel a shift in myself, a sense of uneasiness. I believe this is because I was revisiting parts of my life that were very difficult times. I remember whilst initially writing them there were a lot of tears and heartache as I spilled my inner most feelings onto a page. However writing this book has been so healing and so cathartic for me too. It has indeed brought up old feelings but I know they have been resurfaced for a reason.
I have had 2 demons in my life, behaviours that I am not proud of. I have self harmed and abused my body, this was at a time of my life where I wasn’t coping with my sight loss. The first behaviour began shortly after my diagnosis with RP, I began to drink too much. As an art student of 19 I had already began my relationship with alcohol, if I wasn’t at college I could be found down the pub with the rest of my college friends. After having to leave university, losing my drivers license and the end of a serious relationship on top of the diagnosis, I began to drink in a very unhealthy and destructive way. This carried on for about 2 years. You know you have a problem when you are drinking on your own just to get through the day. I am very proud to say that I was able to pull myself out of that damaging behaviour and I now only ever drink on the odd special occasion. I used the alcohol as a form of escapism, I didn’t want to feel the pain I was in about my sight loss, so I would just drink until I couldn’t feel anymore. Of course, this is not the answer to any trauma, I now know to truly feel the pain is the route of healing, acceptance and self worth.
I stopped drinking but it was unfortunately only to be replaced by yet another unhealthy, damaging and destructive behaviour. My eating disorder began in my early 20s, this, like drinking came from a deep set belief of self loathing. I stopped eating meals, got tangled up in laxative abuse and became anorexic. At my very worst I was 5 stone and so weak I would faint. I do not know how I managed to keep myself from being admitted to hospital, the loved ones around me at that time were having such a hard time trying to get through to me. In truth, by not eating I used to believe that I was taking control of my life and what was happening within it, however the actual truth is that like any addictive behaviour you don’t have any control, it just controls you. As time has gone on I have battled this demon, I am a recovered anorexic, since learning to love myself, finding self worth and knowing that I am good enough has given me the power to beat my eating disorder. Even now I can be triggered into the old mindset, this can raise its ugly head in times of stress or uneasiness, this is when I need to call upon that inner connection that comes from within, to empower myself with how far I’ve come and feel the love I now have for myself, this prevents me from returning to any damaging old habits. It is an on-going process for me, just like self discovery and awakening is a constant opening to growth.
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when on the road to recovery is the sense of SHAME, this can be such a difficult, negative and restricting belief. The shame of our behaviour will only hold us in that damaging place, we must learn to find self forgiveness, this is the key, to accept ourselves whole heartedly and forgive ourselves will help us become healthy.
I share this with you as I know there are people in my life I love and care about that are going through or have gone through similar experiences. Perhaps you are going through something similar yourself, I want to let you know you are not alone and that if you can recognise that the problem does not lay within the addictive behaviour but it is a reaction to something within you that needs addressing. It’s a hard road when you begin that journey of self realisation but it will be the most rewarding thing you will ever do. To understand ourselves and heal ourselves by getting the support that we need is an intrinsic part of our recovery.