I’ve tried to be as honest as I can about the life I lost to anorexia, about the life that turned into a bitter existence and then into pure hell.
I feel almost overcome with grief at the person that I once was, for everything that I had to live for and was striving to become, but undeniably the hardest thing that I’ve had to accept is the relationships that I have lost, ruined and squandered for the sake of a friendship with an illness which in fact was a cruel and manipulative captor.
Growing up, I was blessed to have friends who were the most caring and incredible people. I look back with so much fondness of the time, driving to McDonald’s in my beaten up citron Saxo waving an inflatable willy outside the window (I have no idea…) the car wash, where mid point we realise that the windows leak and the party bus which ended up with a nasty episode involving alcohol, a champagne flute and Sebs shoes… (Sorry Seb!)
Those memories are just that, memories. I don’t speak to many of those people anymore, we’ve totally lost contact. Part of that is because I wasn’t able to be present in that friendship. I would be invited out and lie my way out of it, turn up for meals claiming to have eaten or even taken my own. I pushed them away, they fought back, but eventually I won.
There was a partner, my boyfriend and later my fiance. I don’t need to pick this relationship apart but it didn’t work, and now he has the life that he absolutely deserves. Who knows if the relationship could have been saved if I had not become so unwell and been so vile to be with but thats irrelevant now. It didn’t work.
I haven’t been able to let anyone else in since and I simply won’t.
As a daughter, and I don’t use this light heartedly, I am so incredibly fortunate to have had an upbringing that was laced with love, care and affection. My family was, for the most part, tight close and felt incredibly safe. As I grew a little older, this unit changed a little but again this isn’t the place to pick this apart.
Becoming unwell, in one way was a very desperate plea for help, things behind the scenes had crumbled a little and I needed to have my turn to be the victim. It meant though that my poor mum turned into my carer, into my screaming partner and someone who had to take all my shit time and time again.
She was the person closest to me, she was the one that got the barrage of constant abuse, who still gets the stressed and exhausted Hannah, who still gets the messages of despair and the relenting concerns of an anorexic who still has those deep engrained fears of being fat.
I’ve been both vile and disrespectful to my Mum and I am embarrassed by the person I have become.
Colleagues and acquaintances obviously don’t get the complexities of the illness and so might make comments that are a little flippant but only because of my hyper sensitivity and my need for perfectionism. This coupled of course by the oddities of some of my ‘Hannaherisms’ and incredibly low self esteem makes me a difficult egg to say the least.
So why write about these relationships? As a plea for understanding- actually no, because I cannot put that onus onto those around me. To be able to manage my relationships better`? No because these are friendships that shouldn’t have to be worked at, but that should simply blossom and have grown organically.
Without doubt this is the hardest blog that I’ve had to write, as the grief is so overwhelming. I miss the person that I was but more potently the people that I lost.
Words don’t come close to the guilt, sorrow and hatred that I have for what has happened.
To anyone and everyone, keep loved ones close, mental illness or not, let them be the H to your heart and the S to your soul because they are so precious.