America here we come!!

With less than 4 hours before we leave for America I can hardly believe we’ve made it this far…. Never in the three years of us planning and cancelling this trip did I ever think we’d ever get this close to flying. Our holiday we dreamed of – Disney Orlando Florida.

From mums many cancer ops/ procedures, Natalie’s spinal surgery, my Grandads heart attack and to top it all off my eating disorder, it has been a tough few years for everyone. We’ve faced a lot together and that’s not been easy, many tears have been shed, hands held and fingers crossed…. we’ve laughed, cried, screamed and been left feeling empty.!

This holiday has been our motive, the light at the end, the goal or maybe even the beginning of better times? 

It’s finally here. 

I haven’t let myself feel the reality that yes THIS IS HAPPENING, I suppose I’ve blocked it out filling my time with anything but planning. I’ve avoided packing until made to and had minimal input in deciding how to spend our days.

I’m desperately trying to remain positive but still fear its going to be ripped from our grip… 

But my family are my anchor in rough waters – and maybe we weren’t supposed to have it easy. Maybe it was this way because we’re some of the rare few who can handle these tough times and still carry on regardless. Maybe rock bottom will be the foundations in which we rebuild our life. 

Maybe this will be the holiday of a lifetime…
AMERICA HERE WE COME!
 

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Letter to Inpatient – 1 year on

Dear all you Huntercombers,
It’s been awhile since I wrote a letter and thought I’d give you all a little update of what’s going on in ‘The Life of Kirsty Spicer’.

So it’s nearly 1 WHOLE YEAR since arriving at the delightful Cotswold Spa Hospital and as lovely as you all are I am happy to say I am not planning to be staying the night there anytime soon. Looking back (although obviously moving forward ;D ) it still makes me giggle some of the funny antics we all got up to…

Since Discharge things have been going well. I have learnt that set backs just make me stronger and a bad morning does not mean a bad day/ week/ life. I have discovered what helps me in recovery and have been transitioned from CAMHS to Adult Eating Disorder services and CMHT.

So what have I been up to?
Well I have been back to sixth form full-time studying AS Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Extended Project Qualification (as extra). It’s going well and unlike my attendance last year I am currently at 100%.

Also, since I have always found lunch times difficult at school, I now act as a mentor for those who find it hard on the playground. They all struggle with different things like Aspergers, ADHD, Anxiety etc so it can be really rewarding when you see you have helped make their school experience easier.

With my aim still to working in the medical field I have had a week’s work experience in the Cardiology department at my local hospital where I witnessed open heart surgery, an operation where someone had to have an electric impulse put through their body to get the heart back into rhythm and was involved in clinics and ward rounds. Also whilst visiting I went back to the children’s ward I was on before going to Cotswold Spa and spoke to some of the nurses who treated me – they seemed to remember me very well (I wonder why it’s not like I caused trouble or anything?)

I have carried on writing my blog “Embracing Authenticity” which has really benefitted my recovery. I find that by having somewhere that I need to remain positive gives me a reason to keep going. It follows my journey and raises much-needed awareness for mental health. It is now featured on the NHS East London foundation, Anna Freud Centre and many other charities websites/ pages. (Gone are the days I aimed for it reaching only a few people. I’m now up to 17,000+ views worldwide and counting)

I am on the ELFT NHS service user panel helping to employ staff for my local CAMHS. It’s really enjoyable and I have helped employ a school worker, psychologist etc… I have to admit I am very picky and they have to live up to the standards of all the amazing staff at Cotswold Spa!!

My social life is buzzing. I have gone from staying at home too anxious to see even my closest friends to now having so many different friendship circles and always being somewhere. I celebrated my 18th birthday last year with my own party ( that’s some contrast), I have brought my own little red car (named: Roxy Red Spice) after passing my test first time and am driving 200 miles to visit Danni and her foster family in Glastonbury next week! I am SO SO EXCITED and we will be sure to cause mischief!

I went on holiday to paris a few weeks ago, which was FABULOUS. I am looking forward to my 3 week trip to America this summer which unlike last year will not be cancelled due to Anorexia trying to ruin my life.

Oh and did I mention I’m basically famous. I was one of the 5 people in the country to have an animated film made around my mental health. I have been up to the London Recording studio’s (surreal time) and it is being produced by a film company ‘mosaic films’. Once complete the film will be screened on the BBC website and on YouTube where they will be used in schools to support PSHE work with young people around mental health. The films will also be made available to charities/ NGOs to embed within their own websites, supporting outreach/awareness raising/and anti-discrimination/ stigma work. As well as that the film may be used in teacher training capacity.

Thank you so much for helping me achieve all these things! And as cheesy as it sounds you have helped turn my life around. I hope you’re all proud of how far I have come and I am now out to prove to you, myself and others the thing you all told me during meal support “life will get better”

I’ll give you all a shout out when I receive my BAFTA!;)

Kirsty x

Little Note to patients;

You have made it this far, and that is something you should be proud of. It is important that you remember that recovering from anorexia takes a lot of dedicated hard work. Recovery is possible and it’s a life worth living.

The journey will be full of both good days and bad days. It’s not necessarily a straight route but it is still moving forward. Some days you might feel hopeless and trapped in the conflicting thoughts. My top advice to cope with this; NEVER give up! Days like that are when you need to fight even harder. Show Ana who’s boss because it cannot, will not define you.

You have a life worth saving. So believe in yourself, trust the staff and believe that you can recover. There is a beautiful life waiting for you beyond Cotswold Spa and I cannot wait for you to find it!!

Now go kick ANA’s ASS!

Dear Anorexia,

Dear Anorexia,
You came into my life and stole my happiness.

I guess you had been hiding in the shadows for a while, following me around, watching my every move. You crept up on me slowly stepping closer only when I was most vulnerable. I was convinced you where a friend.

Oh how I was wrong.

At first I noticed you at school sat at the back of the classroom. You noted every flaw. Natalies spinal surgery; you whispered advice. Mums cancer; you stood by my side. Grandads heart attack you took my hand. Everywhere I turned you where there always in the back of my mind.

Your voice grew louder as I grew older. You started commanding me to do things. STARVE, EXERCISE, PURGE. I followed your commands believing you would help. Every time I listened you gave me a sense of control. But then you snatched in from me and I realised I never had it all along. I became weaker as you grew stronger.

You stole those closes from me pushing them into the shadows. You took over my soul and stole my laughter. Family and friends became an inconvenience to you as I sat back helplessly frightened of your power. You starved my hope and purged my dreams.

Nothing was left.

The day came when I was constantly cold and plagued with fatigue. My hair began falling at my feet, as death blackened my sunken eyes. I was screaming for help but you never let them hear. You left them hurt, raw and crying at my hospital bed.

I was never good enough for you.

But now I’m stronger and things are different. You made me miss out on so much so now I’m fighting back. One day at a time I will fight your lies, releasing your grip. See, you have lied to me and I will never forgive or surrender to you.

From now on I am stronger.

No matter how many times I fall down, I will always pick myself up because I am no longer living a life with you. With living a synonym for barely existing in a world suffocated by the war you created, I am regaining my strength and continuing the battle.

I WILL live my life. I WILL follow my dreams and no matter what is thrown at me I WILL beat you.
It might take until my dying breath but this is a promise – you will never win…

New Years Resolutions…more harm than good?

Well Hello 2017,                                                                                                                         page 1 of 365

As I shut the chapter of 2016 I find myself reflecting on this year as a whole. Its been filled with plenty of highs and lows, successes and learning points but introspectively I have certainly discovered a lot about both myself and indeed others.

You see we are all in a state of constant growth, be it physical, mental or spiritual. And with yet another NEW YEAR setting in it brings yet more opportunities. In this post I thought I’d focus with a strong topic of conversation at the moment… New Years Resolutions.

As many attempt these today some will find they will last till February whereas others only all of a few days. I mean setting a goal too last a whole year, yet hasn’t been achieved in the previous is pretty hard going…. And leaves me questioning is it really worth it?

Personally, I have not made a New Years resolution this year because in the past I hated how they made me feel when I “couldn’t” live up-to my own high standards. I mean for starters, they were always unbelievably unrealistic and sometimes even became obsessively unhealthy.

It has taken me many years to reach this conclusion and realise that these ‘resolutions’ have actually caused me more problems than help. This is why instead I have decided this year I will devise three alternative promises to myself.

1) “I promise to Love Myself no matter what.”

We cannot truly enjoy happiness if we are not at peace with ourself. Our relationship with ourself is the most important one we’ll ever have, and is the one which allows us to be there for others and be appreciated as the person we truly are.

2) “I promise to Let Go of any and all negativity IN me and around me.”

To let go of negativity means to let go of all that is holding you back from emerging into your truest self. You must let go of past pain through realising it has only made you stronger. You must let go of toxic relationships that are preventing you from being who you are. You must let go of fear by facing personal challenges. You must let go of limiting beliefs by opening your mind to learning. You must let go of bad habits by replacing them with positive alternative. You must let go of self judgement by loving yourself. You must let go of sadness by adding a conscious dash of happiness in your life. You must let go of all that doesn’t nourish your heart and soul.

3) “I promise to make everyday my best day yet.”

To fulfill this promise you must make sure that you live everyday like it was your last. You don’t live with regrets and “should’ves”. Instead you seize every moment and cherish the memories.

Make yourself these three promises and your future self will thank you, for like those above, your heart will tune in and create pathways you never thought possible. All those tiny resolutions will fall into place effortlessly if you just make space for it by letting go and loving yourself.

 

Christmas Wishes…

Christmas, a time filled with family, friends, hope and laughter…I love the seasons undeniable beauty, with light brightening the streets, decorations filling the fireplace and of course the warmth of sitting by the fire with those I love.

But also as a sufferer of mental illness there is the added pressure associatiated with this special day. There is no “off switch” for Anorexia, Depression Anxiety or any other Mental Illness so just like any other day it is unpredictable how much it will effect you.

Recovering from an Eating Disorder at Christmas can be difficult but this year unlike the previous 10 years I’m going to try to not let food become the focus. Instead i will think about positives and be mindful to other activities that are important.

This applies to every one – that if you feel anxious or concerned around ANY situation in the day try not to let them become the negative focus. Sometimes it can be helpful to distract yourself from negative thoughts and in my experience I have found that taking a walk with a family member or friend helps to keep your mind of things, particularly if I’m feeling guilty or panicked. Some other alternatives some people have used is playing a board game, calling a friend or relative, listening to music or focusing on light conversation as positive alternatives.

It can be very easy to become completely enveloped during Christmas, which can magnify the inwards feeling your thoughts can give you and leave you feeling excluded from your surroundings. This year make sure you maintain contact with the outside world and don’t get too drawn into a vortex!

Fight your fears head on and have the magical Christmas you all deserve…

“The blessings of peace, the beauty of hope, the spirit of love, the comfort of faith… may this be your gifts this christmas”