Eating Disorder Series Part 1: How It All Began

Trigger Warning: I have kept specific numbers, weights and behaviours to a minimum in these posts. However, some people may still find the following posts triggering. Comments are open, so I would ask readers to please use the same judgement when leaving comments and please omit information which may be triggering to others. Thank you.


Falling off the Ledge

I’d eaten a cheese loaded baked potato for lunch and my blood sugar had soared to a lofty 25mmol/L.

This was a regular thing for me back then. I was on two injections a day and no one had offered me anything other than the original 1980’s approach to type one diabetes.

Thirteen years into living with this impossible condition and still, there was no semblance of the care I receive today. Scant education, inadequate support and archaic technology was the order of the day.

My hospital appointments consisted of a doctor telling me in minute detail of the countless complications I could look forward to in later life. It was a terrifying barrage of the stuff nightmares are made of. I left my appointments petrified, numb and often in floods of self-pitying tears.

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I was twenty years old, sitting with my sister on the floor of the flat I was living in, hopelessly sobbing my heart out:

“Why does this keep happening to me? I do everything right. I’m going to get all the complications they talk about”

I was thirsty, tired to my bones and sick to my back teeth of this disease. Today was the final straw.

That same week, something else had pushed me towards the edge of eating disorder mountain . . .

. . . my thighs had developed a hint of cellulite.

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As soon as I was alone, I went to my bedroom and with my blurry high blood-sugar vision, I stared at my reflection. There I was in the familiar, cropped denim shorts I’d loved for years. But even through the sugary haze, which should have done something to smooth their appearance, they weren't the same teenage legs of the year before. The sunshine seemed harsh and cruel today, as it pitched in through the floor to ceiling windows to further dapple my dimples.

I decided there and then things had to change. My blood sugars would be better and my body would go back to the way it was. Immediately.

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I knew just what to do. I headed to the bookstore and bought my first diet book.

I will always remember the name of it, etched across the cover; the subtitles with their irresistible lure and promise. I remember running my fingers over the beautiful images, wishing they were me. I remember the spark of excitement as I flicked through the pages and read the wonders this diet would deliver, if I followed all it’s rules.

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I consumed the words with a hungry irony only someone looking back on this journey can truly appreciate.

That same day, I learned every food-rule inside that book and bought all the things I needed to get started.

And so, this was how it began. This was day one of my 18 year battle with food.