I've been everywhere from a size 6 to a size 20 and all in the space of 6 years. After being sexually abused as a 7-year-old, I turned to food and subsequently had a disastrous relationship with my body and myself. I spent my whole childhood trying to diet and change myself. I used to pull at my thighs, hoping that one day I would just be able to pull the flabby bits off. I developed a clown-like persona through school to make people like me. I thought that I would only ever be laughed at because of my appearance and so wanted to be in control of the laughs.
At 17, I discovered effective ways to lose weight and fell down a hole of eating disorders. It became a mental health catastrophe. As well as shutting down my organs, I became obsessive, desperately anxious and deeply depressed. I tried to end my own life a few times. At that point, I had to sleep in between my parents to feel safe enough to sleep through the night. I was living at home, unable to work or maintain relationships and barely surviving.
Slowly but surely, with huge amounts of help and patience from some incredible people, I managed to return to university, build new relationships and repair old ones. I started to enjoy life again and resumed laughing. It had been years. There was a lot of physical damage to repair within my body. I had put it through an awful lot. But I'm here! I'm well, and I'm happy.
I am surrounded by love, I am grateful, and I am kinder now because of the kindness that was shown to me. This year, I became sick and had to have a rather large and serious operation. It has left me with a big scar on my abdomen. I was terrified that I'd start to hate my tummy again. My recovery has brought me back to a rather fruity size 16, and after all that my body has been through, I have sagging skin, stretch marks, and many jiggly bits. That said, I love myself more than I ever thought I could. I find every day difficult. I still struggle to know my worth and to feel like i am enough in a world that will always find reasons to tell you otherwise. But I am here! I am loved! And I am grateful!