In 16 days I will be spending yet another Birthday in hospital. I hate to think of all the Christmases, Easters, Mother’s Day, Fathers Day, Bank Holidays and so on that I have spent stuck in one hospital or another.
I nearly didn’t make this Birthday because anorexia almost killed me so this year it’s definitely a mile stone to celebrate. I was hoping that they would give me some leave so that I could go out on my Birthday and I fully expected that to be in a wheelchair and with staff as well as my parents but now it’s looking unlikely, it’s not a definite ‘no’ but it’s leaning closer to a ‘no’ than a ‘yes’. I will still be being tube fed and definitely won’t be in a place mentally where I can eat a slice of my own birthday cake but I still want to have a special day.
So now I’m making plans to make this Birthday special and I’ve reached out to other people for their ideas. So far I think I’m going to ask people to visit me like family and friends. Mum and Dad will be allowed to be here all day and we can play board games and chat and watch stuff on Netflix. I might have a Birthday cake and share it around the ward. A decorated room and balloons are an idea too. I’ve ordered a ‘Birthday outfit’, some little corduroy shorts and a baseball style top with my Disney vans. I’ll paint my nails special and have my hair styled by one of the nurses.
I hate the prospect of spending another Birthday in hospital but I am determined to make it special. I would welcome any other ideas my readers can come up with.
Four weeks today it will be my Birthday and I will still be here on a general ward being tube fed with two staff either side of me. I’ve asked for leave, to go out for the day and I don’t know if that will happen but even if it does I will still wake up a year older in my hospital bed. I will still go to sleep that night on a ward instead of at home. I will most likely still have staff with me if I go out and I will be in a wheelchair.
It makes me feel sad that I’m spending yet another birthday in hospital. It symbolises another wasted year that has flown by. It’s another Birthday with sad memories attached to it like the Birthday I couldn’t stop crying and the day out in London that was ruined by body image and obsessive body checking. The Birthday I overdosed on. There will be no Birthday cake yet again this year because I’m too terrified to be around it let alone eat it.
Years are flying by, the clock is ticking and I am wasting it all to mental illness. So many Birthdays have passed where I’ve been unwell. So many years spent stuck in this whirlwind and I still can’t find my way out. I wonder if next year I’ll be home and if I’ll be able to celebrate my birthday normally with friends, going out, eating cake but I still see myself being in the unit in Coventry miles from home.
The prospect of spending another Birthday in hospital is overall quite upsetting.
Today is my Birthday, a day I used to dread. I used to think what’s the point in celebrating? What is there to celebrate? Another year spent with anorexia! Another year where I’ve achieved nothing! I used to feel suicidal in the run up and sometimes I would act on those suicidal thoughts purely at the dread of turning another year older and having nothing to show for it. I would dread the food, the choice of feeling horrible for not allowing myself a treat or not be able to deal with the guilt that would come with eating a treat. I’d feel guilty for the Birthday presents that people bought me, the self-hatred would overwhelm me. Ever since my 12th Birthday I have hated my special day, hated myself and my day has been destroyed by body image, anorexia, depression and perfectionism but today is different.
Since my last Birthday, life has changed so much and I have been responsible for making it such a positive 12 months, bad things happened, it was a struggle and I spent 3 months of it in hospital but overall I came out on top. My family moved to Wales, our new home and new start brought us closer together and I love the relationship and friendship that I have with my mum, dad and sister now. I got myself out there and did things I was scared of in order to meet other young people and I have made some friends for life by doing so. I’ve continued my writing, photography, art, dance and passions in life without giving up or putting myself down for not being good enough. I finally feel like I know who Claire is.
My fixers project along with speaking out in the media many times including BBC breakfast, BBC national news and BBC radio 5 live has made my life feel meaningful. I feel so passionate about what I do, I never want to stop speaking out, I don’t want to die anymore, I want to fight to make our society a happier and healthier one. The Fixers feel happy fix, BBC generation 2015, writing opportunities I’m not allowed to talk about yet and Ignite Cardiff….this year has thrown some amazing opportunities at me.
Today I will celebrate my Birthday, I will celebrate all the achievements of the past 12 months whilst I am overwhelmed with excitement for the next 12 months. I never would have believed my life could change so much. I am going to spend today grateful for my family, for my Birthday presents, I am going to eat what Claire wants to eat and not want anorexia wants to eat and I am going to blow out the candles on my cake with love in my heart, a smile on my face and a wish for a better future rather than a thinner body.