Despite making this blog a while ago its taken me ages to get to the point to start writing this first post mainly because i’ve not actually been too sure where to start… I want this blog to be more about sharing my experience as a girlfriend of someone with an eating disorder, than actually about TB (The boy-i have no idea how else to refer to him!) but i’ve come to realise that its going to be really hard to completely separate these entirely, so along the way I will have to share some of our story.
This is why i have decided to make this an anonymous blog, although TB does know i am writing it! And even if this doesn’t reach anyone and no one else reads this but us, it will hopefully help us to look back and see how far we’ve come over time, and when its tough (because its going to be) writing always helps me to really think and reflect on my feelings.
So as the title says, i think the best way to start is at the beginning! i’ll try and keep it brief! Theres so much to put in one post, so this will just be the overview of how we got to where we are now,
TB and i met on the first day of university 5 years ago, from the off of our relationship it was clear that climbing was a massive part of his life, it wasn’t just a hobby he did every now and again, it really was his identity. In the first year that we were together i don’t think i really noticed much was up with his eating, i just presumed that he ate very healthily (looking back now i can see that he was already slowly narrowing his food groups) but it was hard to tell as we were first years and always out drinking. I think the compulsive exercising must have begun some point in this year but it was most likely hidden from me. Towards the end of first year his weight had dropped, but still at this point i would say i hadn’t really though ‘eating disorder’.During this year TB hadn’t been able to climb as much as he would have liked and so when the summer came it was a struggle to get him away from the rock!
It was during this first summer that i think something started to niggle at me, i had never seen TB eat so much, and i could see the correlation to Climbing-i would have a really antsy stressed boyfriend if it had been longer than 2 days since climbing.
The second year of uni was a real struggle for us as a couple, for a variety of reasons TB really wasn’t enjoying uni, wasn’t able to climb as much as he wanted and so threw himself into his uni work, we barely saw each other once a week. Its safe to say that because of all of this by the end of this year TB has extremely narrow food groups and it was very clear that something was up. We made it through the year and after a very difficult week away camping i finally managed to broach the subject of an ‘eating disorder’, it was one of the most difficult conversations of my life (i’ll go into more detail at a later date) as i knew that i could possibly loose him by just bringing it up.
Again, by the end of the summer before we went back to uni TB’s weight was up again after a summer of training and free ‘healthy’ (i mean TB’s idea of healthy) food at his parents (TB’s parents didn’t know he had anything wrong until this year)
I was away from uni for our third year on a placement, this was really tough for us, not really because of this distance (we got through by writing letters) but because my visits mean’t a weekend of eating proper meals and no climbing, basically a complete disruption of routine. It was really tough and i vividly remember turning up towards the end of the year after 5 weeks apart and being terrified at how he was looking, i batch cooked lots of meat and veg in freezer bags so that i knew he had something in. By the end of this year TB was well and truely in the grips of an eating disorder and using exercise as punishment and reward for food. A day spend climbing/being active mean’t a good meal, a day sitting and doing nothing mean’t barely eating enough to get by.
Fast forward to my final year of uni, TB moved in with me and my housemates as it was more convenient for his job. Again this year was tough, it was my final year and i needed support and help, but TB was so far in the grips of his eating disorder that it would take over 2 hours of pull ups and press ups before he could relax and attempt to eat something. At this point he had eliminated all carbs except oats for breakfast, all fats except nuts, would only really eat lean turkey for meat, and praised himself on his healthy and pure diet (TB had orthorexia-an obsession with eating what you believe is ‘healthy’) During this year i had gone to our gp’s for help and he was seeing a nurse at the surgery. In this year TB got injured which mean’t he could no longer climb.
Over this past year we have moved in together just the two of us (three if you count the eating disorder!) it is so hard to summarise in this post but TB’s injury and eating are so interlinked, but we now know that he has some sort of orthorexia and compulsive exercise disorder. I haven’t gone into much detail about this year because these are the bits that i mainly want to share in this blog, my experiences of living and recovering with TB, everything up until this year has really been the story of how we got to now and so much has happened this year i couldn’t share it in one post.
Last week we had an assessment at a private treatment clinic to work out what therapies he will need-he starts in 3 weeks!!
Thank you to anyone who’s reading, i’ll try next time t0 give a bit of a summary of this year so far, or maybe i’ll need a rant on something else before then.