11. I don’t have to relapse


It’s the third of Jan, so I guess it’s not too late yet to say Happy New Year!

I had a lovely break at home, but for the first time in my whole life I couldn’t wait to get back to work: back to Loughborough to carry on with my PhD adventure. Just before driving home for Christmas, I went on a trip with my supervisors down to the South West to visit my sponsoring company. They gave us some lovely laser equipment to play with and showed lots of interest in the work to come. The following day was the engineering school’s Christmas party – so much fun, mostly with people I’ve only gotten to know in the last three months!

I’m currently sitting drinking the last of my Gordon’s with a book about tool steel on my lap. It’s really nice that even after a whole day in my office I don’t want to stop thinking about my project. I’m sure I’ll have moments when I slump and this passion turns grey for a while, but for now it’s feeling vibrant and as vivid as can be.

A very old book from the library, featuring my empty gin glass in the bottom left corner…

I haven’t written much on here in the past six months or so – partly because I haven’t really needed to. My three main reasons for writing here were: a) to give me something to do when I was in a deep depression hole when I felt incapable of doing anything else, b) to give me something to read back on when I felt like my life was hopeless with nothing and no one good in it, and c) to give me a project I could go back to perfect whenever I felt like I needed some control over my life. Since I’d been able to apply all of these things to the real world, I hadn’t really been needing the crutch of my somewhat anonymous WordPress blog to lean on when the chips were down.

However, I thought I would try and get back into writing. I think it’s going to be a good thing for me to track me in a fairly sustained ‘good place’ in case I fall back into the deep, suicidal rabbit hole I’d been lost in for well over a year. One thing that has made me notice I’m much more robust at the moment is my ability to blow away those demons in my head. My low days are much less low and nowhere near as over-facing as they once were – I am better at knowing when I’m slipping back into the rabbit hole now, so I can climb back out while it’s easier to.

Despite it not being as tiring to fight my battles as it has been in the past, I’m still having to fight and I’m starting to wear out. I found Christmas difficult; I purged for the first time in months and chocolate is definitely a triggering food for me again. I am enjoying feeling faint with hunger and seeing my weight go down on the scales when I go to my therapy sessions every week.

The one thing that’s stopping me from falling into a monstrous eating disorder trap at the moment is that I need my brain and body to work properly for me to think properly about my research. I can’t be a ‘high-flying BBC gritty crime drama police detective’ in the context of 3D printed steels if I have starved and purged, can I? My PhD is my salvation at the moment and I’m worried that if this isn’t enough to help keep me from a substantial relapse, then nothing will ever be enough.

I am feeling scared to completely recover – I don’t think I fully believe I can do it, even though I look back to where I was a year ago and can see how much better I am.

Hopefully this is just a blip that I’ll look back on in the future and see how robust I was for overcoming it, and continue getting better. I don’t think I have to relapse, but it definitely feels like a tempting path to me at the moment.

My life is full of good people at the moment and lots of good brain food to feed my intellectual curiosity, so I think keeping those things wrapped around me will be the armour I need to carry on through this mini battle I’m experiencing. Fingers crossed, anyway.



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