I am many things.
I am Clodagh.
I am a yogi, an entrepreneur, a feminist, a teacher and a writer.
I am pro-choice, pro-democracy and pro-pineapple on pizza.
I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a niece and a cousin, a friend and a confidant.
I am a gym lover; a squatting, lifting, running, jumping, pushing, pulling, fitness freak.
I like the smell of old books, good Rioja, the thrum of jazz, incense and fairy lights.
I am an ex-waitress, ex-lifeguard, ex-actress, ex-sales-person, ex-drug-taker and binge-drinker, ex-catholic and ex-girlfriend.
I am many things. One of which, is an Anorexic.
I used to have an eating disorder. Three years ago I received inpatient treatment for Anorexia Nervosa. It was an extremely difficult time, looking back, I probably wasn't ready for it at the time. It took me a long tine to reach a healthy weight after discharge. I always say that yoga saved my life. If it weren't for having the physical energy due to my weight restoration I wouldn't have had the strength to start practising basic yoga again that I had learned years ago. As my strength grew and my yoga practise became stronger, I was motivated to stay fuelling my body and pushing it to new limits. Likewise, soon after came my love affair with the gym, and my body grew stronger and stronger. I learned how to eat properly, how to listen to my body's signals, when it was hungry, when it was full. I realised I wanted yoga to be my life, and that I wanted to show other people it's power, the way I had experienced it first hand. And so, that new journey began, my body and mind being nourished and cherished, the very first "Yoga with Clodagh" class and then the challenge of giving birth to Yogilateral.
In May of this year, following a traumatic event, my mental health slowly began to slip. What I had been building with strength and confidence began to slip through my fingers. I became forgetful, I couldn't focus, my memory became poor and every day became a struggle just to get through. It was several months before I realised that this decline in my mental health had led to aggressive weight loss. All of my old eating disordered behaviours returned as a series of unhealthy coping mechanisms to get me from one day to the next. Things that didn't bother me at a healthy weight became sources of deep anxiety- the sounds of cutlery or other people eating, the smell of fast food, eating anything that I had not prepared myself or being forced to eat something that wasn't a 'safe food' for me. My muscle mass wasted away. I couldn't walk for more than a few hundred metres before total exhaustion required me to stop. My handbag was too heavy. Carrying a shopping bag was like an extreme workout. Stairs were Everest. I broke a rib, began fainting and my hips and shoulders ached constantly. I had to take at least two naps a day. These were of necessity but also a welcome break from a day that I felt too tired to endure.
Last Thursday I was admitted to an inpatient treatment facility once again to treat the Anorexia I had only recently acknowledged was a legitimate problem in my life once again.
I have lost so much due to this illness. I have lost time, I have missed out on experiences and events I would otherwise have been at.
Anorexia has taken two friends from me.
I am so determined to follow the programme here and get well as speedily as I can so I can take back the life I fought so hard for after my first admission. I'm not going to become another statistic to anorexia's death toll. I am not going to 'feel like a baby bird' to my mother when she hugs me and be the constant, sickening worry to my family that I know I am now. I am not going to fade away or disappear, I am not going to hide any more.
So, I have decided to share this experience with you guys, my Yogilateral Warriors. For anyone who is struggling with a mental illness or an eating disorder I want you to know you are not alone. I want you to know that what you are experiencing has been felt by thousands of people and it doesn't have to be that way. There are so many interventions and supports out there to suit everyone and I'm going to blog about everything I learn. I'm going to answer all of your questions in the best way I can.
I don't know yet what direction this blog will take, but I have no idea what direction this journey is going to take! I'm going to post about my inpatient experience, my re-feeding process, my growing strength as well as any set backs I encounter. Some posts will also be informational, especially if I leaarn something that reallyimpacts me or if I gt a request for more informatin on a particular aspect of either the disease or the recovery process.
Wow. Really doing this!
Big breath out.
I love you all. Like and share, let's break down the silence surrounding this illness.