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What is thirty4thirty?

Thirty4thirty is a challenge I have set myself to complete in my 30th year - 2018. I will be completing 30 endurance events to raise money for the mental health charity Young Minds. Please read my story, like, share, follow, hashtag, donate.

#abbisthirty4thirty #youngminds #livelifetomax #dontbedestroyed #striveandachieve

This is my story...

2018 is the year a turn 30. "A spring chicken some might say"; even though this is completely true; age is but a number, I have struggled with this thought for some time. To explain this I need to tell you all my story. Grab yourself a cuppa and settle in...

Like many I did not grow up in the usual family with a happy Mummy and Daddy and 2.4 children. I never saw my Dad and even though close to my siblings they are older than me and left home when it felt like I was only toddler. My Mum and I are extremely close and she brought me up as a single parent until I was a teenager; we went through a lot together both great times and extremely difficult times. When I was 5 years old my Mum rightly so found a nice man that made her feel wanted and special; soon he moved into our world of two. This shining knight in armour turned out to have a black heart and a dead soul. 

From the age of 5 until 11 this man emotionally and physically assaulted me. Most of the trauma happened under the radar to family, friends. When the events came to light it was devastating and even more so for my best friend (my Mum).

The memories can still flood me now, triggered by anything, at any point or any time in a day or night. From the age of 11 he was gone, we were free of this evil man...everything will be ok now. Sadly, events like these especially in children raise there head in a different light. For me it came when I was about 14; I started to get strange thoughts and deep feelings of emptiness; they did not seem to me just like a feeling, it was physical and would make me feel sick and dirty. These feelings became more severe very quickly and the only way I could make them go away was to run. Maybe it was a feeling of freedom initially but soon it developed into any form of exercise; as many hours I could fit in per day however hard and however much I was aching. This crazy exercise regime coincided with me watching what I ate; this quickly developed into not really eating much at all. My body was starving; my gremlins would then take over; I would find myself eating everything and anything I could get my hands on; chocolate, cake, bread, dried pasta, milk, cereal. Then the feelings of worthlessness would take over, the only way to get rid of this feeling was to make myself sick. I would then have to run. This cycle of events lasted for about 3 years, I had lost 3 1/2 stone, was seriously depressed and had tried to commit suicide twice. 

Most people do not understand eating disorders. Understandably, people think it is all about body image. It is not. At that point in my life it was the only thing I could control and it was the only thing that made me me. To people on the outside I was still normal happy, cheery, sporty, healthy Abbi. I was extremely good at hiding it. I had lots of comments about how good I looked and how I had such a perfect "model" figure. What people did not realise was that I was dying inside and crying out for help. Help was all I wanted and needed.

I got this help from many different forms and inspiration but mostly from the people who were closest to me and especially my Mum. I put her through so much. 

After a few years of help from charities, professionals, family and friends I was back on the path I wanted to be and feeling good about my future. However for me I knew that once bulimic always bulimic, I now just understand my gremlins better and I manage my own body better. 

People that know me now know that I love to be busy and active, I love to do as much as possible in life and set myself some crazy goals; these can be sporting goals, educational or just darn right silly challenges.Well at the age of 25, over 10 years after the start of my exercise obsessed eating disorder I developed an extreme anxiety about time. Oh dear my past has reared its head once again and this need for control has come back. At the peak of my anxiety I was writing tens of lists per day and not getting any sleep, these lists would include unachievable things to do in one day or they would be 1 year plan lists, 5 year plan lists or 10 year plan lists. The amount of targets I would give myself was unattainable and unfocussed. If I did not achieve these targets I would mentally punish myself. It became all I could think about. 

The age 30 became an even bigger deal. The list I had of things to do before I was 30 was extreme. It was making my really stressed and unhappy. Becoming 30 was something I did not want to happen. It was time to get help once again. So I did. Again I feel great and better than ever. 

To mark my 30th year on the planet I wanted to do something really positive, that was fun, helpful to others, not stressful and filled with the type of challenge that I love (type 2!). 

Therefore I am taking part in 30 endurance events for my 30th year. These events will range from running to sailing, mountain biking, ironman and swimming events. I want to raise money and awareness about mental health and also promote strength and positivity; I realise others also have a really difficult history but I want this story and event to inspire those survivors and not let past experiences destroy them and change them into something they are not. I want people to be proud of who they are and who they have become. 

"I am proud of the women a have become as I have had a tough time becoming her."

The events in my life have made me the tough women that I am, but the recovery process has been possible due to so much support from incredible people along my journey. Some people have only be a part of my life for seconds; others have supported my along the way. Always my Mum as she has been there through-out; my incredible step-father who took me on when I was not the most trusting of teenagers and went on to adopted me. My family. My incredible friends whether they are near or far; ones I see every week or once a year I know they are always there to provide support, laughter, adventures and a stiff drink. Lastly but by no means least is my husband who is my number one biggest fan!

I have picked Young Minds as the charity I want to raise money for because they support the young people themselves and also the parents. Without my Mum and the support and advice she received I am not sure I would be here.