There’s always time to eat

One thing that comes up again and again when I review my food diaries with my ED nurse is the lack of priority I give to eating and mealtimes. Littered throughout my diaries are things like ‘apple-while walking’, ‘banana-on way to bus’, ‘leftovers-cold at desk’. It’s just something I try and fit in rather than focusing on it as an activity itself.

My schedule for meals is also chaotic. For example yesterday I had breakfast at 9am, lunch at 1pm, snack at 4pm, dinner at 9pm, snack at 1.30am (seriously, who eats at 1.30am? I was hungry as hadn’t had enough at dinner and couldn’t sleep!). Today I had breakfast at 7 am, snack at 10.45am, lunch at 12.45pm, snack at 5pm, a bit of my dinner now (8pm- the bits that didn’t need cooking but I’m too hungry to wait) and probably the rest of it at 9pm (when it’s cooked). This is all over the place!

I wasn’t always like this, in my previous job I had set break and lunch times so I just followed them and that seemed to work for me. Now, as my day is flexible and hectic, it’s up to me to make time for eating and I know I’m not making it a priority. I tend to eat little bits when I can and on the go, but then I’m never really getting the sensation of being fully satiated, and it’s very easy for me to get to the end of the day without having eaten enough calories- which eventually sets me up for binging/purging or else triggers that little voice in my head that tells me restricting is a great idea, let’s just cut out a little more…and we all know how that goes.

Eating is a necessity, for all people but especially those in recovery from eating disorders. Making time to stop, eat, taste, enjoy, feel full but not too full needs to become a non-negotiable. How am I going to achieve this though? My ideas so far are:

-scheduling lunch and snacks into my calendar so that I know ahead of time that I have made time to eat.

-planning where I’ll eat in advance e.g. lunch room, other university spaces, park etc. if I’m out and about.

-maybe meeting other people for lunch (but sometimes I just like the quiet time ti be honest)

-try where possible to make set times for everyday. This won’t always be do-able but I should be at least trying.

That’s all I have so far but I’m hoping it will at least get me on track. Wish me luck!

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Sick leave for mental vs. physical illness

I’m kind of struggling at the moment. I’m feeling quite down, I’m irritable and tearful. Everything feels a little bit too much. I do feel like I’m trying to help myself- I’m really making an effort to keep to my meal plan, I’ve reached out to friends and I’m making sure I’m exercising to keep my mood and energy up, I’m sticking to routines that I know help and I’ve scaled back my plans for the next while to make sure I have some rest time. I know it will pass in due course, I know it won’t last for ever, so I’m not panicking about it I’m just trying to ride it out.

However, I am still struggling and work was really difficult today. I have to interact with people all day long and be convincing that I know what I’m on about (I’m a teacher) and I am worn out from it. I really could do with a few days off but I know this would cause havoc in work so I don’t feel like I can.

This is where mental illness becomes problematic- if I had gastroenteritis or a severe migraine or an allergic reaction or something like that, anything physical really, I think I would feel better about calling in sick. Yes it would be hassle in work and I would only do it if I really needed to (I rarely take sick days) but I think people would understand. However, as it’s mental not physical, I feel I can’t take a sick day. It would take too much explaining and I would feel too guilty about it and that would probably make me feel worse. Why should I feel more guilty for not being in work because I can’t stop crying vs because I feel physically ill?

I don’t think this is a societal/ institutional/ systemic issue, I think it’s just to do with me but gosh I wish I didn’t care so much. I really could do with the break. But instead I will have a quick nap and then get on with prepping tomorrow’s workshops. Sigh.

Plan every day around recovery

I’ve been having a bit of a ‘lapse’ lately. Or maybe I’ve pressed pause on recovery, or it feels something like that. I stopped making it my priority, stopped checking in with myself about how things really are, have been consistently ‘on the go’ and therefore have been able to justify a hectic eating schedule and sleep pattern. Then I had an appointment with my ED nurse and realised I a) was pretty down b) had self harmed twice (when I haven’t in months) c) am purging everyday/ every second day d) have abandoned my meal plan and e) have lost (a very small) amount of weight.

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The nice difference between exhaustion and peace

I’m sitting on my bed having my last bit of ‘screen time’ before I put my computer away and snuggle up with a book and have an early night. I’ve just been struck by how peaceful I feel right now, how things feel nicely in order and how I’m ready to get some sleep before embracing the week ahead. My work clothes and gym clothes are laid out for the morning. My work for the morning is all complete and ready to be printed. My breakfast, lunch, morning snack and afternoon snack are all prepared. My bed is clear and I have freshly-laundered pyjamas to put on.  (more…)

Twenty Minutes

I have an unexpected 20 minutes to myself at home (I’m being collected by a friend but they are stuck in traffic). I now have a choice to:

a) purge my lunch as I’m feeling quite full, (although I purposefully at enough so that I wouldn’t be hungry but be stuck with service station options (I do not do well with service stations!)

or

b) get twenty minutes of work done which could really reduce my stress levels for Sunday.

This is when it’s worth not just mindlessly engaging in behaviours! Work it is- I know I’m making the right choice despite what my stomach and the voice in my head are telling me!

Miserable

I’m in an awful mood. Have been for a few days now. I don’t know why. Things are fine. Work and boyfriend and friends are all good and I’ve been managing really well with food. Body image has been shaky and then I had a couple of drinks last week and self harmed when I got home. I haven’t cut in ages, years, but then I was so upset that that was the only thing I could think of that would make me feel better. And it did, until the next morning of course when I felt worse and then didn’t get out of bed for two days. I could have easily stayed in bed today too but I had to go into work.

I’m miserable and down and while I know it won’t last forever I really hate feeling like this. I told my boyfriend, but I made a joke of it so I don’t really think he understands. I’ve been avoiding everyone else, even sending a text seems like too much work.

I know I need to pull myself together, but I just need a little longer curled up in bed staring at the wall…

Sigh.