I couldn’t really tell anymore which the ‘real’ me was. Was it the bubbly smile joker or was it the tearful pathetic wife and mummy hiding in bed telling Carl he had to stay home because I couldn’t cope. It saddens me to say but actually it was the latter.
Rewind almost 5 years and we’d not long had Toby. Determined to get my figure back to the bay watch body in my head I was becoming a fitness fanatic,
and making it all better by using laxatives as a way to purge myself. I shut God out of my life because he had allowed these terrible things to happen to me, I told myself I could pray or expect him to get me through. He had dropped me in the pit and toddled off.
I thought that if I shared with my loving prayer triplet, who I still met with, mostly for contact with the outside world but also for tea and their God stuff, that they would become accomplices to my deceit from Carl. They did not! In love (not received at the time) they informed me that if I didn’t tell Carl then they would. What terrible Christians! And I didn’t doubt that they were true to their word.
Thankfully I did choose to tell Carl all that I’d hidden from him and our next step was an appointment with my doctor which left me with the stamps on my head of ‘bulimic’ and ‘depression’ and a referral to an eating disorder unit.
With the benefit of hindsight it’s been interesting to see that being labelled as something almost gave me a free pass to carry on the behaviours, 4 hours of exercise was ok because I was a bulimic, skipping breakfast and lunch absolutely fine, I bulimic, the utter misuse of laxatives, actually not my fault, it’s because I’m bulimic.
And I’m not trying to down play the seriousness of an eating disorder or depression but for me those labels almost gave me permission to adopt the qualifying behaviours.
I became lost and isolated and I created my own reality where I was fully in control, I was doing no harm to myself or my children, as they were blissfully unaware, or so I thought. I became a comparrison Queen and my favourite ‘game’ to make Carl play was ‘how do I compare to her’. The sad thing was that he could never ‘win’.
My wake up came when, sitting in the bathroom I found myself in a cold sweat, ears ringing and blurred vision thinking I was going to pass out or die.
And for me that is when change began, I had hit rock bottom and finally I reached out, firstly to my husband and prayer triplet (who were incredible) then to the doctor and counsellors. I admitted I needed medication, which as a Christian is not easy to do, and I finally turned back to God who had been waiting for me all along.
So there you have it. A part of me laid out bare, and why? Because I am very aware that we; men, women, Christian and non, like to present ourselves as having it all together and when we don’t it can leave us feeling like failures, full of guilt and shame.
One of the sad things for me is that during that time period there are very few pictures of me, I hid in every sense of the word, this is one of very few, there is a hint of smile but nothing behind the eyes