The irony of ‘a pot of joy’

Earlier, I spent an hour chatting to a NEDA Helpline Volunteer. I decided on Saturday that I needed to talk. I knew that I couldn’t hold this pain in any more, and I just needed to let it out. I did some research on google, and I found the National Eating Disorder Association of America. Okay, they’re not in England but it was the only website that I could find in my limited research time that allowed me to chat online. I don’t do phone calls. I hoped that they could help. The next hurdle was of course that it was a Saturday and their helpline is only open 9am-9am Monday to Thursday, and 9am-5pm on Friday. So, I left the tab open and at nine o clock this morning, I switched over to it again in the hope of finding someone to talk to. No luck, that’s odd. Then I remembered the five hour time difference. So, I put on a brave face, did some revision, and waited until 2pm UK time. I had to fill in a quick form with my name and ‘place of residence’ – to which I just put ‘UK’ – and then I was connected to a NEDA volunteer.

I’m not going to lie, it did feel a little like I was talking to a robot at some points, but I genuinely think that there was a human at another screen across the ocean who was talking to me. Although she couldn’t and wouldn’t tell me what to do, she asked me questions, gave me a chance to let go a bit, and tried to get me thinking about what I could or couldn’t do, and what was the best thing to do. It’s the first time I’ve been completely open with someone about how I feel. While the friend who I worry about knows a lot of things, I try and put on a brave face and hide from her my true feelings. She doesn’t know everything, she doesn’t know all my reasoning, and she doesn’t know the extent of my worry and how it affects my day to day life. But give or take, I told the NEDA volunteer everything. And although it was a really painful and heartbreaking hour, it was so good to just let go. What really hit me though, was when she asked what would happen if I didn’t tell anyone. I answered that, and she followed with ‘Do you think you’re willing to watch her get to that point before you talk to someone?’. Now that stung. Really hard. Someone actually asking me that question tore my heart into a million pieces.

No, I still don’t have a plan yet. And I’m still working on my courage. But seriously, if you’re fighting an eating disorder, or you know someone who is, or you even if you’re just worried, have a chat to NEDA. Sure, some of it is clearly copied and pasted from a script, but it made me feel just a tiny weeny little bit better.

I sat there in tears, but after we disconnected, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the irony of the fact I was eating a Cadbury Pot of Joy . Not only were my eyes sore from tears of distress (and certainly not even a hint of joy!), the pots also contain 160 calories. In a yoghurt. Ouch, I can’t quite imagine her face if I asked her to eat one. I hope that one day in the future I’ll have the confidence to show her the transcript of the conversation I had with NEDA. Maybe it’ll help her to see how much she means to me, and how much I really do care.

Living. Laughing. Loving.


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