Monday, 20 May 2019

The Reality of First Year

It really does feel like only yesterday when I moved into my university room and waved good-bye to my parents as they left me survive in the student world. But now first year is over,  I guess it is onto second year now (if I pass).

There is so much hype around going to university everyone boasting about how it is the best years of your life, maybe I am doing it wrong. Yes, I love my life here in Bangor but the actual university side of life here has been quite daunting. 

Leaving Friends 
This was probably the hardest for me. I have always had a safety net of friends with me whatever club or school I have moved to, I always followed people. University was the first time I was plummeted into a lonely abyss where I knew no-one in the first few days. I was lonely and envied my friends from home who looked like they were having the time of their lives in freshers, I guess I was jealous. I left many friends from home but gained many new ones. I found people I knew and found out how amazing they are as friends. They took me in and made me feel included and we have shared so many moments together both drunk and sober. I cannot wait to move in with them next year. 

The Socials
Guaranteed I am not the average university student. I do not enjoy going on club nights out and this year I did not apply to be in any society's, so I guess my first year has been what many people would describe as 'boring'. I do wish I joined some exciting and unique society to meet new people but maybe I will try that next year? I have not been to a club in university since Halloween and to be honest that really does not bother me. I would much rather have a Netflix night in with a Domino's. My kind of socials involves being with my friends at a bar, stuffing our faces with food and just chatting utter rubbish. 

The Work
This has been the hardest aspect of university for me except for the loneliness. Toward the last year of sixth form my mental health and education did not mix very well and this has been the case this year as well. I struggle with the motivation to do my work, with my anxiety preventing me enjoying particular elements of my course. Yes, I have not been to all of my lectures, not because I was hungover after a night out but because I could not bring myself mentally to go. I learnt that giving yourself a break and not being hard on yourself for needing time off was ok. The mental strain of university is not what most first years talk about but it is definitely tough to deal with.

Leaving Home
I have always been rather independent but in saying that I rarely went away from home. When I was younger I always got homesick and cried for my mum. But as I got older I liked my own space. I enjoy having my own space to call my own (even though it was a tiny box room). I feel like I have grown a lot as a person living on my own. I feel more like an 'adult' even if I am not very good at it. I never really missed home, I am not very far from it in reality, but still I would like to think I have succeeded in living on my own without dying.

All in all it has been a rollercoaster year, I will not lie there may have been slightly more downs than ups but I would not take this year back for anything. the first few months I struggled more so trying to get into a new routine and adapting to the university life, but it got easier and I enjoyed it more and more. I have grown so much as a person here in Bangor with the help of the people close to me here and I hope to continue to grown throughout my remaining years of university.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

The Reality of an Eating Disorder

Eating disorders come in many shapes and sizes. It is always regarding a persons hatred towards their body, turning them towards self destructive tendencies. It is a way on control, when the person feels like they are spiralling. It is a voice inside their head leaving them blind to what is actually going on.

Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating and Orthorexia to name a few.

All are eating disorders, all are very different, all evolve around control. Eating disorders are not something someone choses and it is not as easy as 'just eating a cheeseburger', or to 'eat normally', eating disorders are a routine to the person suffering with it. Everything revolves around their food. Plans with friends revolve around their meals. Strategic planning and manipulation comes with eating disorders, ways of hiding food, planning meals to the hour, skipping meals or avoiding situations that involve food. It is an isolating experience where you feel alone. 

Anorexia. The condition where a person quite literally starves themselves to death to achieve the ultimate goal of being skinny, but once it starts the person does not realise when to stop. They are never skinny enough in their eyes, no matter how many times you tell them that they look ill or too skinny. They want to see their ribs poking out because to them that is beautiful to them it is an achievement, they have warped sense of what real beauty is. All they see in the mirror is someone not good enough, a fat figure staring back at them, never skinny enough. The voice in their head tells them they should eat less and less. Even once a person is weight restored, the voice may still be there. It is a constant battle inside your own head. One voice telling you to not eat the pizza, for the fear it will make you fat, the other telling you it is okay and that you are stronger than your eating disorder. It is like a tug of war, however which side you let win every day is your choice, but you have to let your own conscious be stronger, not the voice of ANA and then overtime the voice will quieten.

The reality of Anorexia is that you are tired all the time, no clothes fit you properly, you fall out with your family and friends, you lose your period and your hair can fall out. No, it is not glamorous. 

Eating disorders make the person suffering isolate themselves, they think everyone is working against them. Time and patience with someone suffering from any one of these conditions is the only way a person will recover. Get them the help they need, even though sometimes they will not want it. Sometimes they need to come to the realisation themselves that they are killing their body. Recovery is possible as I have shown it. Yes there are days when I still battle and I do not know how long that will go on for, but what I do know is I do not want to go back to the shell of a person I was all those years ago. Now I try to love myself for who I am and the body I was given.