And so begins my new comic. The title really gives away the content, but I hope you’ll stick with me as I tell this story. It’s still pretty raw and hard for me to talk about, but I’m hoping that comicking about it will help me to deal with what happened and move on (it’s helped with my recovery process in drawing IDNHAED anyway). I’ll update weekly as per my usual schedule.
I’m actually excited that I get to draw my ex and myself with different hair for a change. We both changed our hairstyles a lot over the course of our relationship, but I don’t think my drawing style is developed enough that you’d be able to recognise the characters if I kept changing their hair, so I’ve just opted for styles that came about somewhere in the middle of our time together.
I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 179
It’s always like this. Any time I start feeling insecure about my body, I feel like I just need to lose 5-10kg and then I’ll feel comfortable. I start skipping meals, I exercise more, I get sketchy about seeing my GP and dietitian. I always look at myself in the mirror and feel 10kg overweight, no matter what I actually weigh.
This is the last page of IDNHAED that I have drawn for the time being. I’m still in recovery, and still have a pile of notes to use for future pages. But I’ve reached a point in the comic where I need to take a break to tell another story. As I’ve been writing IDNHAED, I’ve made references to my relationship with my ex-girlfriend, and the supportive role she played in my recovery. I’ve also been omitting all of the problems we had. In the IDNHAED timeline, we’re approaching the time when we started breaking up. I feel like I need to give that context.
My new story chronicles how we got together, how we supported each other, and how our relationship eventually broke down. There’s a lot about mental health in there, because like it or not, our relationship was basically a three-way between me, her, and my depression/bipolar/anxiety/ED. I wanted to show how hard it is to be in that situation, how much strain it places on both people. I think the two comics will tie together pretty well.
The new comic will start updating next week, here on this Tumblr, with weekly updates as always. Even though it won’t specifically be about ED recovery, I hope you’ll still find something valuable in it. I know I’ve already found value in drawing it, because it’s helping me to process something that’s been very painful for me and has been following me around for a year and a half.
Thank you so much to everyone for supporting IDNHAED for so long. The comic will come back in the future, as I really want to keep sharing my recovery with you.
I hadn’t really been ‘allowed’ to exercise for 2 years. My doctor basically forbid it when I came to her so underweight. But I figured, hey, I was at a healthy weight now, surely a little exercise was OK? As soon as I started running, old feelings started flooding back. I could hear my mind just screaming at me ‘RUN! RUN!’ - it was like relapsing into an old addiction. It felt like a rush of adrenaline, like I could run forever. I kept watching the dials telling me how far I’d run and how many calories I’d burned. I couldn’t stop. My girlfriend and her friend did weights a few metres away, having no idea that I was getting so fuelled up by this exercise.
I was so thankful to my girlfriend for her support. I told her everything in those days, and she always had kind words for me. She was very patient with my crying for the most part. She came with me to a lot of appointments because she knew how stressful they could be. I was very lucky.
This shouldn’t really have come as a shock to me, but it did. My current counsellor at the time was helping me, but I needed someone I could call when I was in trouble, other than just the suicide helpline. This psychiatrist seemed to come up with a lot of insights in just one hour, and I was doubtful, but what could I do but listen? I was at the mercy of professionals.
This new psychiatrist was so… flippant. I couldn’t keep up with how quickly she asked me questions, and she didn’t seem to really care how nervous I was. I guess someone who sees psychiatrists and psychologists as much as I do shouldn’t still get nervous about it, but I always feel so anxious when I see someone new. I think psychiatrists in particular put me on edge because they charge so much, and they diagnose disease, so it all seems gravely serious. I probably also need to work on some of my more close-minded views about what seeing a psychiatrist means.
Ugh, this is still hard to write about. I wanted so much to just be able to ‘snap out of it’, but I couldn’t get myself out of my depression. My girlfriend was doing her best to be supportive and meet me where I was, but it was so hard for her to know what to do. I felt so guilty for putting her through that, but guilt on top of depression is even worse. She really did love me. I don’t know how long it will take me to get over the guilt of what I put her through. I was ill. I honestly did the best I could.
I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 173 TRIGGER WARNING SELF HARM
Self harm really is like an addiction. I think about it a lot, and sometimes the urges just feel too hard to resist. When I’m in the middle of a low, the urges are that much stronger. The more I do it, the worse it gets. It doesn’t feel good, not in a big-picture way anyway, but in the moment it offers such relief. It’s hard to describe to someone who’s never felt it before, but I know a lot of people understand what I’m talking about.
I DO NOT HAVE AN EATING DISORDER - Page 172 TRIGGER WARNING SELF HARM
Ugh, even now this feels hard to deal with. I had so much guilt about my depression. When I knew I was on the way down, I would have done anything to dig myself back out. My poor girlfriend had been through so much, and I was causing her anguish. She had been so supportive and loving for so long, but eventually she started to feel burned out by me and my sadness. I wished every day that I could pull myself back out of this slump and stop her from being disappointed in me, but I was too far gone. The guilt built on top of the depression and just made everything that much worse.