On December 9th, Elaine fell whilst riding over black ice on December 9th and fractured her pelvis. Out of everything bad comes something good, goes the saying - and sure enough, Elaine's ongoing account of her recovery and her journey through cycling has been one of the recent highlights of our ever-growing VeloVixen Women's Cycling Chat Group on Facebook...
Well I went for my walk yesterday with little success. I only managed 0.9 miles before I had to give up go home and build a jigsaw instead.
But with my current inability to exercise and a number of articles recently about eating disorders within sport, I have been thinking a lot the last couple of days about my own mental health issues and the anorexia that robbed me of my 20s and 30s.
Sorry it's not going to be a light and fluffy read today.
I always wanted to be a primary school teacher and was offered a place at university when I was 17. But never having been away from home I decided to defer for a year and got a full time job where I met my first proper boyfriend.
My eating was something I could control when everything else was spiraling out of control
By the time it came to go to university I was pregnant and at 19 my beautiful amazing son was born.
Sadly the relationship with my son's father was abusive and in my early 20s I developed anorexia. Although the warning signs for anorexia had always been there it only really came to the surface then.
My eating was something I could control when everything else was spiraling out of control.
At my worst I was walking and exercising whenever I could and living on a ham sandwich and a fruit shoot a day. If I had to eat, such as family gathering, I would make myself sick afterwards. At my lowest I weighed under 6 stone.
In my mid 20s I found the strength to get out of the relationship for my son's and my own sake.
something wonderful happened: I met an amazing guy
I also realised that nothing was more important to me than my son and that I had to get help so I could get better for him. I saw psychologists and dieticians which helped to an extent.
But I was working 30+ hours a week to pay the mortgage and provide for my son. Sometimes things fell by the side - such as eating.
I also developed anxiety and depression with suicidal thoughts. I would spend alot of time thinking of the best way to kill myself. It had to look like an accident but I couldn't step in front of a bus because I didn't want the driver to have the guilt of having killed someone but it couldn't look like I had killed myself as I didn't want my son to have the stigma and anyway I couldn't do anything till my son had sat his exams and left home.
when I am on the bike all you see is a big cheesy grin
So I learnt to cope by keeping everything just as I needed it to be, controlling the amount of food I ate and running and walking as much as I could.
It couldn't have been a happy place for my son to grow up in, but somehow he flourished and went to university. Before he went though he told me that he was worried about leaving me.
That was the turning point. I realised enough was enough. I went to the doctor's, got medication, started slowly increasing what I was eating and exercised for fun rather than for weight control.
Then something wonderful happened: I met an amazing guy who treats me like a princess and fell madly in love.
I realised that if he could love me as I am I had to accept me and start loving me as well. So I stopped looking in the mirror and started eating properly.
this is the happiest I have ever been
I know I've put weight on but it's ok and I don't know how much I weigh as I don't weigh myself. However I have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. I have the bone density of an 80 year old and I am only 40.
The cycling has helped amazingly. l have been told that when I am on the bike all you see is a big cheesy grin. It has really helped with my anxiety and depression.
I also love this body of mine that can cycle sixty odd miles and I feel I've earnt my cake at the end. My body is like a car: you need to put the fuel in to get anywhere on the bike, and the fuel of choice at the moment seems to be big juicy burgers.
But in the days since my accident* I have been feeling a bit low and watching what I eat seeing as I can't exercise.
I know, though, that with the love and support of my amazing boyfriend and son I will get through this and be back on the bike eventually. I just need to let my body recover.
I have had the most wonderful year of my life and in general this is the happiest I have ever been. And I know next year will be even better and has so many possibilities.
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