I met with my ED nurse today and we were discussing managing relationships. I had drawn a ‘relationship map’ of all my relationships. family, friends etc. and how strong they are, how much give and take there is etc. When I produced it she laughed (in a nice way!) as it was so busy and so complex. I have a LOT of family and friends- this isn’t bragging or anything like that it’s just I’ve been lucky to lead a varied life and therefore have collected many wonderful people along the way. I also wasn’t born in the UK so I have a UK and Irish side of my map (and some other countries thrown in there too!). I feel blessed to have my relationships and I cherish them all dearly but sometimes it can be a lot of pressure to keep up with everyone and to make sure I’m being a good friend in return. I often experience a lot of guilt about this because it can be exhausting just managing myself in terms of work, study, recovery, running etc. let alone trying to be the type of friend that I feel I should be.
Anyway, my nurse asked me a really interesting question once we had looked at my map. She wanted to know where my ED fit into all of this. Initially I said right in the middle with me, but then when I thought about it I realised that actually me and my ED have our own thing going far away from any of these other relationships; ED is my thing, my little (big!) private hobby almost that I indulge in when I have a chance to be alone, inherently tied to my ‘me time’. It’s always been my comfort, my safety net, my feeling of home.
My nurse wondered if I needed things to be this way and therefore ED serves quite a useful purpose (which is why I continue to binge/purge even though I hate it and I’m motivated to recover and I’m eating regularly and enough at other times). She suggested that if I could find something else that could be my private thing- something that doesn’t involve others, doesn’t need others’ approval/opinions, something that I look forward to doing more than B/Ping then maybe it would it would lessen the hold I feel my urges have on me. I’ve been doing really well in resisting restricting urges (well, mostly!) and eating a wider variety but I am very stuck with the purging. Replacing ED with a different ‘private me thing’ might be the key here.
BUT….I have no idea what this private me thing could be! It needs to be something I could do at home as while getting out of the house is generally the best strategy I do need to be able to be home alone at some point. I’m not particularly musical so learning an instrument isn’t an option (this was her first suggestion!), I’m not very creative so that rules things like drawing out. I tried and failed at knitting. I don’t really want anything that will make me feel crap about myself for not being good at it. I like to bake/cook but that is not a good idea at the moment. I’ve tried yoga/ mindfulness at home but I’m generally not motivated enough to do this myself and I don’t think it would be enough to distract me from my urges- I have been known to get into my yoga gear, do a few poses then just binge in my lycra on my yoga mat- not exactly the atmosphere intended!
I’m struggling to think about what I actually like/ am interested in but I’m viewing this a good challenge to come up with something!
What about you guys? How do you spend your free time?