15 March 2015

Mother's Day Message

I am aware that these posts will be engulfing every social media site today, so I was hesitant to make one! However, I conceded for two reasons. One - simply put, this lady in the right photos deserves a million posts and more. Secondly, I want to approach it from a particular angle; possibly the greatest life lesson of the last three years.

My mum loves me. I love my mum, and my mum loves me. Why am I writing this? Surely I could come up with far more original things to say on the woman who has been my rock for so many years! But those four small words - my mum loves me - carry more weight than almost anything else. Allow me to explain.

When you live with a mental illness, so many things in your world become upended. You do not see through a clear lens; it is distorted, and will often shroud truth to keep you entrenched in it. Family relations are an integral part of that. 

Throughout various stages of recovery from an eating disorder, I have battled against my family more than I ever thought the rational, kind and - quite frankly - 'goody-two-shoes' Sophie was ever capable of doing. It is the nature of the illness. 

Anorexia will try to make your mum into the enemy, and this continues into recovery. Her giving me the "biggest potato" was an act of "sabotage", it would hurt me. Of course, looking through logical eyes and what is the reality? A mother trying to nourish her daughter. Anorexia is the true enemy, and your mum is the opposite.

The illness knows this. It will try to plant seeds of distortion in your mind, because your loving mother only wants to see you healthy; she is the biggest threat to the Eating Disorder's existence. The more power she has, the less power the illness has, and vice versa.

Once upon a time, I couldn't see this. However, as I said at the start of this post, it has been the biggest life lesson of the past two years. I feel horrendously guilty for admitting how much I am struggling again; the last thing I want to do is feel I am letting people down. Yet possibly the strongest thing I have done in recent times, is having enough rationality to accept that my thoughts are not rational. Reaching out for support. 

Now, I avoid interference with cooking prep. When my mum places a meal down in front of me, I endeavour to eat it without protest. I know it will not be me protesting. I may inwardly panic if the potatoes are roasted and not boiled, but I will sit with her and make my way through the plate. I know my mum would never hurt me; quite the opposite. 

If you are in recovery from an eating disorder, this is something I cannot stress enough - in nearly all cases, your parents are on your side! They are not the ones hurting your body. They will not try to make you fat. They are not the ones telling you that you are not worthy of something. They are not the enemy. 

Next time you have feelings of anger towards your parents - specifically if it regards food - pause and question if it is truly you thinking this? Take a moment to ask yourself, why you are angry? Also, remember that they have been hurt by this illness too; mental illness might seem introspective, but the repercussions are anything but. You don't want to hurt them either, and this is a really powerful thing to hold onto in moments of doubt. 

My mum, through everything, has never stopped believing in me, never stopped fighting with me, and never given up. A lot of people would have - she truly is my rock. 

I know people who are not fortunate enough to have their mothers with them today, so if you do, savour each moment. They are one in a million. 
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