Morning thoughts… the day before the launch. Wouw… the 22nd of August and tomorrow can, in many ways, be considered the biggest day of my life. For this reason, I have a feeling that I should be building up the excitement and waiting in anticipation for the moment to arrive when I stand up and start being recognized for something I once wanted to keep a shameful secret. Anorexia.
Since yesterday, after talking on the radio about the illness and my experiences (sitting with the book in my hand!), I definitely feel it’s finally opening itself up to the world and it’s opening myself up too. Because, to put it simply: the book is me. Without my experiences, this book would not BE. Without having recovered, the book would not BE. And in the same sense, without the writing, I wouldn’t BE who I am today either. It sounds maybe farfetched and deep, and I guess it is. Which is fine. Because the illness was deep, recovery was deep and now, everything I do seems to be from the same depth.
People from my past, who only remember me as being a drinker, a party animal, a traveller, have heard through Facebook that I’ve written this book. But that’s all they’ve heard: ‘Niamh has written a book’. And instantly, they want to read it. ‘Yay!’ I say, of course! They’d have no clue what it’s about. So I know the topic of the book is something that will take many by surprise—especially those who haven’t been in touch with me for many years. This is full exposure.
The story in itself will be both torturous and uplifting to read, for anybody. But also the way in which it’s been written, will be challenging. Because the way I write, is deep, painful and requires the reader to be totally ‘there’ with the story, for the light that eventually comes from the darker side of the book, to reach home. Anybody who will be reading this book, either close family or friends, distant relatives or acquaintances, friends from my past (who may be inclined to think it’s a book on Niamh’s jolly holidays!) or people I’m still yet to befriend, will hopefully have the determination to read through the darkness I experienced, as they too can ‘come out the other side’ and realize the lightness that can be experienced ONLY due to having fully embraced that darkness. This is the message of the book.
Now that I feel the deeper layer of myself, that I’ve been so ashamed of having ‘owned’ for years, is starting to open itself up to the world, this is how I’ll be recognized. Initially. With time it will change, as my writing develops, grows and other experiences will be shared. But, to start with, people will be recognizing and learning from this darker side of my past. I’ve recently had moments when I’ve panicked and wasn’t sure this is really what I want. But these were fleeting moments and I’d realize it’s not a case of whether or not I want to be recognized as the girl who recovered from a dark mental illness and is now putting herself out in the world. This process is not about wanting or not wanting. It’s about simply doing my duty. Writing brought me to recover and I always said, even in my darkest days, that I’d get my written story printed and it would make a difference in this world. I never once sat and actually contemplated: ‘now… do I really want others to know what I went through?’ I never once asked myself this question. I simply knew it had to be so.
This book has since become an expression of gratitude for still being here in this life. And I’m privileged to be sharing the gift of healing I was given, through the written word, with those in need. Also it’s about giving anorexia a HEALTHY place of acceptance in my own life. It’s about no longer feeling ashamed for WHAT I’ve experienced or for HOW I’ve written this book. It’s for no longer letting myself be held back by the thoughts that others could condemn me if they just so happened to become aware of how I choose to place myself in this world today and what I choose to place my focus on in this life. Also it’s about believing that anorexia comes into a person’s life for greater good and that it can guide a person to express themselves in the manner that feels homing to the individual. The greater purpose of my past anorexia is now starting to become clear. The clarity is no longer only my clarity (which it has been, for 3 years!) but it will be become anybody’s clarity, anybody who is willing to open up.
Expressing the gift that I found in anorexia, is basically expressing what it is that’s brought me to be living the life I’m living today. It’s made me the person I am right now. And how amazing is it that I’m able to stand beside my book, to give my book and to say: this book is the truth of my past that brought me the truth of my present. And the tool—being writing—will keep revealing the truth of my future.