Sarah Jane Honeywell

Prince Charming & the Punk

Happy 2013 – It's been over a week now and I've managed to stay Prozac free. I'm pleased. My restless leg syndrome has definitely got worse. I'm writing this blog at 5am as a result of not being able to sleep because of this ridiculous condition. So clearly Prozac has severely effected my dopamine levels and I suspect my iron levels are low too. I'm also still getting severe stomach pains, but the bulimia has not returned and I'm really not as crazy as I remember being before Prozac.

However I'm 39 soon (05.01.13) and I still haven't figured it all out!

My life has changed dramatically over this past year. I split up with my boyfriend of 13 years. I'm endeavouring to break free of the kids tv chains and prove to the world that I do have talents as an actress. I may lose my house, a place I love and where I feel safe and I'm finally admitting I'm not just a smile, I have a shadow self who has ruled and ruined many hours of my existence. I don't fear change but I'm not so sure I like the ride much. Its like I'm on a ghost train as I continue clearing out all the ghosts of my past. My life is starting to feel a bit like an exorcism.

My worst fear is, if I take away all the demons what's left? Is there anything there? Maybe I'm afraid of the light. When people tell me good things about myself, I think, that's scary because when you see how rotten to the core I am, you'll be disappointed and I hate disappointing people. I exist to make people happy it keeps me breathing even though it comes at a price of self sacrifice… I've always felt like that, ever since I can remember.

Like I'm on tightrope – stay on the wire Sarah Jane and they won't see through the cracks, you can fool them with tricks so they can't see what's really there. I don't even know what's really there.

I suppose that's why I self harmed with bulimia. Yes, if a dancing teacher you respect tells you your boobs are too big to achieve your dream of being a dancer, that's bound to tip you in to that sneaky diet world, that's ruined so many lives. I can't help but think if I'd been a stronger or a better person then I would have known that teacher was wrong and ignored her. I would never have let the demon take up residence in my heart and obliterate my rationale and confidence. I might have been the first page 3 ballerina, although somehow I think not. Haha!

On the subject of diets – they don't work, they ruin lives, they are dangerous, they should come with a government health warning! The diet industry is a multi billion pound industry and yet we are getting fatter and fatter. Only 2 percent of people who go on a diet lose weight and keep that weight off…. That's even more mental than me!

I now know the secret to diet free eating which I will share with you soon. A secret that kept me safe from bulimia and has kept me at the same weight for 12 years, without ever dieting.

I do get criticised for the way I eat a lot and I wonder if people would do it, if they understood anything about bulimia and its triggers.

Up until finding this secret way of eating I couldn't have food in my house without binging and vomiting. I was afraid to go out of the house because food was everywhere and I knew faced with food I'd go in to that ‘trance mode', as I called it, and binge on whatever I could afford. I rarely ate in front of people and then I'd go home and get food out of the bin, or eat food cold out of a tin or dried pasta in an uncontrollable eating frenzy until I burned out, then I was sick and fell in to a comma of self disgust. The trouble is – unlike drug or alcohol addiction (and believe me I know about this too and will discuss at some point) you need food to survive, you can't abstain – food is everywhere. Bulimia was not a life, it wasn't even an existence, I was slowly dieing.

I was not in control and no one knew that but me. I definitely did not want to live if I had to live that way anymore…. After 12 years of existing for food … l got ready to die. I gave myself til the end of the year to be cured or I decided I would take my own life. I thought long and hard about it. I knew it was a selfish thing to do and that I would devastate my wonderful family but I was at the end of a very tiring road and I can honestly tell you that bulimia, like all addictions, is a dictator in your head and you feel totally imprisoned and like there is no escape.

However, I struck lucky….. I must have a guardian angel (with a slightly warped sense of humour) because…..

Then came the chocolate bunny boiler incident and I was put on fluxoetine. Prozac definitely helped the ‘trance mode' but I still didn't know how to eat without being on a diet, which meant I was still thinking about food all day, so there was always a threat of a relapse…..

Then I found the secret way to eat – which is to listen to my body and no one else. It worked.

It didn't work in society though, I have been punished endlessly since I've been cured of bulimia for no longer having any issues with food. Society ironically thinks I must have issues with food because I no longer obsess about it.

I remember particularly in Cats the musical and Tikkabilla, directors and producers often sat with me at dinner, and my heart would always sink because I can't think of one time when they didn't comment on what I was eating. They would tell me, ” You don't eat enough”. “You're too thin”. “That's not healthy”. “That's not enough calories.” Not once was I ever tired on set but countless times I would be told I wasn't “Fueling myself properly”.

I'd think to myself. If only it was socially acceptable to be bulimic, I'd tell them that I used to be bulimic and that I knew exactly what it was like to live with an eating disorder and that I really didn't have one now and to mind their own business. I'd tell them how dangerous it is to meddle with people's heads over what they eat. I'd tell them to think about the damage they could be doing. I'd tell them, how dare they comment on what I'm eating when they're probably carrying extra weight or yoyo dieting like a crazy people themselves. I'd tell them to fuck off and look at their own eating habits.

I couldn't though and they thought it was ok to lecture the thin girl on her eating habits, because they didn't know of my past struggle with food, they just thought I was one of those infuriating naturally slim people. I am now.

In fact, people still do pick on me about food and what I eat, even people close to me. I guess it's because unless you've been bulimic you really couldn't comprehend just how miraculously cured I am and how much I now understand about what food my body needs. At least when it comes to food, the demons are all gone. It's just a shame the rest of society is riddled with food demons.

It's a weird thing in this world of ours how, if you are thin, people think it's ok to tell you, you're too thin. They think it's ok to tell you to eat more. They think it's ok to point out you don't have enough on your plate … Yet if someone's a little overweight, we wouldn't dream of telling them their plate was piled up too high or they shouldn't eat that donut.

We judge bulimics, anorexics and the morbidly obese far more than we do someone who is a little over weight but it's the same illness for all of us, it just affects us in different ways, so we shouldn't judge anyone, we should help each other, then the world would be such an amazing place to live. We are all special and we all deserve to be free.

I'd say 90% of the western world have some sort or eating disorder in varying degrees.

If you…

Can't just eat one biscuit, you have to eat the whole packet.

You can't have chocolate or crisps in the house in case you eat them.

You go on a strict diet before you go on holiday or get married only to put all the wight back on again plus a little extra -

You have an eating disorder, food controls you and it doesn't have to be that way. You are worth more than that.

I'm crazy and unsure of myself in many ways but not when it comes to food and I'm so grateful I'm free. I think I know the cure for the world and I will share it soon.

If only I knew the cure to rid myself of the other monsters I face on a daily basis, that smile of mine might come alive for real. I think facing myself publicly like this is a start. There are so many of us who live in the shadows, who need the sparkles to keep the monsters away that I'm starting to think we shouldn't hide away. We have nothing to hide and if the rest of the world don't like our monsters it's probably because we have started to light up the fact that they have demons too.

I'll finish with some lyrics I wrote – a love song but maybe it should have been a love song to myself. I don't know how to love myself yet. I'm not my own prince charming. I'm still counting on him to save me…. I'm still hoping for happy ever after.

I will see you in tomorrow
I will shadow you in light
I will watch you change like seasons
I will be there dark at night

I will cherish all your demons
I will give them all I've known
I will feed them keep them breathing
I will carve their name in stone

I will smash your heart clean open
I will study all it's pain
I will find the missing pieces
I will have nothing to gain

I will give you all my nothing
I will smile when you are bad
I will drift right through your soul
I will love you when you're sad

SJ x


19 Jan 2013
Eating disorders

I was Miss Dance of Great Britain 1992