ED rules

Somehow I have made it to this point in my treatment/ recovery without really having to address ‘ED rules’. Inadvertently I have addressed some of them which had a more direct impact on my meal plan and weight e.g. carbs, eating times etc. and I guess both me and my counsellor figures I had got through this challenge and am living quite ‘rule-free’.

However, I am now at the stage where I am fairly compliant with structured eating so we are working on episodes where things have gone a bit awry and I’ve lapsed into behaviours such as restricting/ bingeing/ purging (vomiting and over-exercising). These are waaaay less frequent than they were, which is great of course. If we take a week to have 42 opportunities (7 days x 6 meals/snacks) I’m on approximately a 60-70% success rate. Ideally though I should be getting through some weeks at 100% and reducing these lapses but it’s yet to happen.

When reviewing my food diary in the session before last, my counsellor was trying to figure out why I’d restricted at certain points, what was the reason behind missed meals etc. I explained these blips with the usual reasons such as ‘hadn’t been shopping so didn’t have anything suitable in’ ‘only had a banana left and I’d already eaten a banana ‘oats are not safe anymore because I binged on them’ ‘was going out for dinner so was anxious about calories’. My counsellor, being the expert that she is, shut this down pretty much straight away and told me this was just ED spouting rules at her and she didn’t need to listen to it until we were going to tackle it, so she tasked me with writing a list of ‘ED rules’ before my next session.

At my next session I arrived with quite the list (I won’t share them here because I don’t want to be causing any ED comparisons!). She read through the pages (yes, plural) and just looked up at me and said ‘Well no wonder you haven’t recovered more if you still have these in your head’. She seemed a bit perturbed that I had never been challenged on some of these before by other therapists/ nurses. This is probably partly due to the fact that I have squirmed my way out of tough things with previous therapists (e.g. food diaries, weighing etc.). When they pushed me on this and told me I had to comply to stay with them I just quit -in fact that’s how this blog started! I think it also might that when being treated as an outpatient no-one actually sees me at mealtimes, and as I have always successfully restored my weight maybe it hadn’t seemed necessary. While the thought of addressing these rules is terrifying (picture me in the session sobbing I JUST CAN’T EAT FOOD ON A PLATE AT HOME WHY DOES IT MATTER WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE!), I can see that the fact that I had that reaction is exactly the reason why I need to start challenging them!

A part of me wants to argue that it doesn’t seem necessary because I’m at a healthy weight, but then the rational bit of me knows full well that you can still be very disordered whatever your weight. Would I say to someone else that those rules are fine? Even if they weren’t affecting my behaviour I need to address them so they can stop infecting my mind. Most of my rules read like a history of diet approaches and mentality, and if that ethos still has a place in my head then I will never be free. I need to get rid of the weeds and the roots.

So the time has come to face the fear. I have two rules to tackle this week: teaspoons and plates – I’ll keep you updated on my progress – but anyone that might be triggered feel free to stay away – and anyone that is reading this thinking ‘hmmm yeah maybe I do have a few rules that I’ve never addressed’ then I’ve my fingers crossed for your progress too.

 

 

The morning after

I’ve woken up this morning feeling soooo much better. It was like I needed to let it all out last night and now I can start again with a clean slate. It sounds weird but I find self-harm can do that for me. It seems that I let everything build up and then ‘pop’ it releases. I just need to figure out how I can let it out little by little rather than it being a big explosion.  As the saying goes ‘I am still learning’ 

This isn’t what I wanted for my life 

I go to bed tonight with a sore throat, a heavy heart, wet eyes and bleeding skin.

This isn’t what I wanted for my life. I thought I was stronger than this right now. I thought if I kept fighting it would be okay.

I know this is just a knock. I know it’s a bad day, a bad night. I know I will wake up tomorrow regretful but renewed. I know I will keep going, but right now I can’t help but think that this is not what I wanted for my life. It doesn’t matter though, what I think tonight, what matters is tomorrow morning getting up and facing it all again. 

I will wake up in the morning and face it all again because that is what recovery is, step by step, day by day. What you do everyday matters more than what you do once in a while, and everyday I shall try. 

Tonight will pass and tomorrow will come, at least I can be sure of that.

A pledge to myself

I’m going out for dinner with friends tonight and I’ve been super anxious about it. I’m really trying not to purge at the moment but going out for meals is always a difficult one. 

I don’t want to eat too much and then purge.

I don’t want to not eat enough so that I come home and binge and purge. 

I don’t want to drink too much that my mood plummets.

I want to be able to enjoy time with my friends and not be obsessing over food//weight/body thoughts. 

I’m in a panic trying to find something to wear that I feel comfortable with and I’ve already made myself late. 

Some days I can breeze through this, and some days like today it just really gets me. These are good friends. Both know about my ED history and one is aware it’s a little more current than historic at the moment, I don’t know if that’s why. The reason doesn’t really matter though as I am going to 

-get dressed 

-show up

-eat

-laugh

-be mindful  of drinking 

-not purge 

That’s my pledge to myself for tonight! 

Lapse-relapse-collapse

Every ‘lapse’ used to result in ‘collapse’ for me. 

“I’ve ruined it now I might as well keep going”

“There’s no point in even trying, I keep ending up back here”

“No one can help me, I’m never going to get better”

With time, and professional help, a collapse became rare, and I managed to dust myself off after a few weeks and settle on a ‘relapse’. 

“I’ll get back on track at my next appointment”

“I’ll just get to that weight then stop”

“I’ll just finish this food in the house then start again”

However, with more time, easier access to professional support and opening up to my friends, I can now turn a lapse around in a day or two, and lapses remain just that, a lapse, a little bump in my path but not enough to derail me. 

“Okay so lunch wasn’t great, but I’ve still got snack and dinner to get back on track”

“Purging that meal wasn’t ideal, but I need to do the next right thing now and eat my snack”

“That seems too scary, it’s okay to default to a safe meal every now and again as long as I reintroduce it tomorrow”

I had one such bump the past few days, and it was a pretty spectacular one in how bad it made me feel, both physically and mentally. For a while I really couldn’t see a way out but I had a counselling appointment yesterday which I kept and we worked through it, wrote a shopping list, planned meals for the week and identified areas I really needed to focus on (carbs and sleep if you’re interested!). Lo and behold I felt better for it and am now focused on getting through this week. From darkness to light, it is possible. 

I really wish recovery wasn’t so bumpy and hard and tiring,  but it is, that’s just a fact, but it’s not enough of a reason to stop trying, and sometimes it’s nice to look back and see how far you’ve come. 

Hugs out there to anyone on the lapse-relapse-collapse spectrum out there, I’m rooting for you. 

Give it time 

On Monday 18th January 1993 I declared in my first ever diary that I was too fat and I was going on a diet. (In fact I wrote ‘I’m to fat’ – clearly I wasn’t proof reading my entries!)

That statement was the beginning of a near-lifetime experience of disordered eating. 24 years have passed -which is probably more than a lifetime for some of you- and I am still working on recovery. 

It’s taking a while, I have sprints and bursts, and then pauses and set backs. I’ve taken some diversions along the way. I’ve thrown myself in fully, then pulled myself right back out and run and hid. However I can say that for the past few years I have been really trying. I don’t even know what the destination is somedays, what will recovery will look like for me?,  but I know I’m working towards something that is better than before. 

I owe it to the young scared version of myself to aim for a life without fear of food and hatred of my body. I can’t re-do the past years but I can set the tone for the next however many I am lucky to get. 

I’m prepared to be patient and to give it time. I gave ED so many years, why would I not commit to giving recovery the same? However tired I am of fighting, it’s still a better day than without trying. 

So on Wenesday 28th June 2017 I shall declare not that I’m too fat, but that I’m too determined to not see this through. Recovery- I shall give you all the time that it needs. 

(And now I shall go meet my friends for pizza and wine because when you can do that on a Wednesday for £10 why would you not?!) 

The wonder of strawberries

Strawberries are back on the menu and life is better for it!

For some weird twisted eating disordered reason strawberries were always a ‘not allowed’ food. I think it was part of me liking them and therefore they were considered a treat that I was not allowed. 

However, this summer brings strawberries as a snack/dessert and I’m enjoying them nearly everyday! Plus they’re grown in the UK so I don’t have environmental flying fruit guilt. 

I wonder what other foods I had miscellaneously banned which might turn out to be amaxing?!