For years I didn’t take care of my body, I didn’t eat enough, I didn’t drink enough water and drank too much alcohol. I would go to uni at 8am after 3 hours sleep, after a night out, severely hungover and dehydrated and starving. I was proud of my ability to push past what I should have been doing, I had so much more willpower than anyone else. But I’ve now realised that it’s so wrong. Your body requires adequate nutrition, hydration and sleep and for some reason I didn’t value those basic needs. After becoming so mentally drained that I became physically unwell – losing over a stone, shaking constantly, throwing up everything I tried to eat – I had such an amazing realisation about how I was living.
Recovering from my breakdown meant I was solely focused on doing the things that I needed to do to survive.
I had to gain a lot of weight, which was tricky with no appetite and nausea, so gradually working my way up to three meals a day was challenging for me. And after being hospitalised, which was terrifying, I realised how self-destructive I was being. I don’t skip meals now and I always make sure I eat as much food as my body needs.
I have started drinking water and it is amazing. At first, I read it was a natural anti-anxiety (I have no idea if it actually is) so I brought water with me everywhere I went and now I feel so much healthier. I’m no longer one of those fizzy drinks only people. Keeping hydrated has eliminated headaches for me and I feel much healthier.
I still struggle time to time with sleeping, especially if I’m particularly stressed, but I have worked out a good routine for me. I can no longer nap because I’m wide awake for the full night, and no matter how tired I am – if I nap it throws my whole sleep cycle out. In December – February, I would be so extremely tired that I would have to nap everyday after lunch but I wouldn’t sleep well at night. I’m much more energetic now which is probably a combination of being so much healthier, practicing good sleep hygiene and getting used to my antidepressants (since drowsiness can be a side effect).
I really try hard to live healthily and take care of my body. Being so desperately ill has demonstrated what your body is actually for – it’s to keep you living, it fights so hard to keep you breathing so don’t fight it. I, no longer, look at my thighs in the mirror and wish they were smaller because I recognise they are strong and store nutrients for me. I don’t worry about eating calorific foods because I realise if I became ill again, that this would be what would fuel my body to get better.
At the end of the day, we are only human. We need to take care of our bodies so that they can take care of us. When faced with an illness you begin to understand that your body is not there to look good, it is there to survive. Not nourishing my body enough could have been a contributing factor to my breakdown, so to avoid that treat your body like a temple. You probably will care about how your temple is decorated, but it’s so much more important that it is a stable and sound structure.