Nothing is a good excuse for abandoning recovery

I’ve been having a really tough week for various reasons that I don’t have the physical or mental energy to sort through right now but during all of this I have remained purge free. There was no food in the world or no instant of vomiting that was going to fix all the things going on in my world/my head- I’m starting to understand that now. Abandoning recovery would have just made things worse, not better. So while my emotions are all over the place I can proudly say I am 25 days purge free (ED is beating me up something rotten for saying I’m proud of myself but I am leaving those words written down and I’m going to post them to the world!).

Stumbles and a run

I read something the other night that said something along the lines of ‘if you stumble but right yourself you’ve still actually gained a step’. I kind of feel this is what happened to me with my chocolate peanuts incidents. Yes I ate too much but I didn’t purge. Sometimes if I’m too forgiving of myself I feel like I start to make excuses to engage in negative behaviours, but beating myself up about things isn’t productive either. So I’m recognising these as stumbles but also as steps gained.

On another note, I had a great race yesterday- it was really hilly half marathon but the more that goes up, the more that comes down, and I love downhill running so that suits me! It was a gorgeous countryside route so I made sure to take some deep breaths and enjoy the scenery. I was mindful of my breathing and my steps on the road. I listened to the sounds of the animals we passed (and inhaled some of the smells they made!). I smiled at and thanked all the volunteers. I watched the clouds move across the sky and felt the odd raindrop. It was a very peaceful run, despite being a really hard route. That’s the beauty of mindful running I guess! A lovely way to end a positive week in recovery.

Chocolate peanuts-round 2

I’m sitting here feeling full and sick after eating a whole bag of chocolate peanuts. Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah, because I did the exact same thing on Wednesday. How many times do I have to repeat the same mistakes before I learn from them and make better choices?

I popped into the shops to get essentials. I knew I was going to get something sweet as I had been wanting something all day but I was really certain I wasn’t going to binge on them. I had a small handful in the car and another small handful when I got home. I put them away then and felt really good about it and in control and then about 30 minutes later I thought ‘I’ll just have a couple more’ and boom, there goes the whole bag. 1000 calories and 80 g fat. Urgh.

I very nearly purged but I know that if I do I will think it is an answer, and it’s not the right one. The right one is not to eat until I feel sick. The right answer is the action which leads me closer to recovery so I’m here blogging instead. I’m running a half marathon tomorrow so at least that will burn off some calories (I know I shouldn’t be thinking like that but it does make me feel less panicky now).

Although this is not the ideal situation, two weeks go I would have purged without giving it a second thought so this is progress even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. Hard work this recovery lark though!

If you can’t get out of it, get into it

I have figured out that one way in which I use binge/purging is as a procrastination method. I do also use the classic techniques of cleaning my room, colour sorting my socks and other such emergencies that mean I can’t possibly do the one thing I actually need to do(!), but b/p-ing is definitely one of the strategies I employ.

I was feeling a bit vulnerable this evening, I’ve got a bit of a cold and I was travelling for work so it was a long long day. I knew when I got home I had some chores that needed doing and had to get on with some other routine (but important in terms of recovery) tasks such as packing my bag for tomorrow (to ensure I make my early morning yoga class) and making breakfast and lunch (so I have no excuses to skip meals). I could feel the urge to binge coming on. I didn’t want any particular food, I wasn’t particularly hungry, but I did want the world to stop for a little while and for all the things I needed to do to magically disappear.

However, I’m finally starting to realise that b/p-ing doesn’t work like this. What actually happens is the tasks still need doing and now purging takes so much out of me that I feel less able to get on with things than ever. Of course this makes sense, and any non-ED person could spot this straightaway, but this illness really does distort my view sometime.

So tonight I recited a great motto I learnt from The Happiness Project book ‘If you can’t get out of it, get into it’ so I ate some soup, washed the dishes, tidied the house (left the hoovering for the boy- alls fair in love and housework), put on a wash, packed my bag for the morning and made my lunch and dinner. Now it’s 8pm and I am tucked up in bed feeling delighted with myself. This was a definitely a better outcome that b/p-ing.

And so if I can stay put for the night that will bring me to one whole week without purging-yay me! I know it’s only a short time really but it feels like a miracle from how the last few months have been. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

Chocolate peanuts and an almost slip

I just ate a whole bag of chocolate peanuts. It was an excessive amount. I was eating them and realising I was going to have to throw up. How could I possibly live with that many extra calories inside me? I was mad about this as I am 6 days purge free and really wanted to get to a week and now I had ruined it. Somewhere within this anxiety then a little quiet voice reminded me that I hadn’t ruined it yet, that I was still in control and that I had a choice to make: purge now and feel better for a while and then feel awful, or feel awful now for a while and then feel amazing later when I have gotten through it.

I’m excited to say my quiet roar won out, and it’s now an hour later and I haven’t purged. I’m on my way out to meet some girls for a run (I was going anyway- this isn’t a purging thing) and yes I’ll probably feel wobbly and gross for a little while but it won’t last.

Feeling very proud of myself- and amazed I actually made the right decision!

Hope you all have managed to have a positive day too.

As long as you’re facing the right direction

I saw my GP yesterday for a prescription refill and a quick general catch up. She knew about the tearful session I’d had with my ED nurse last week so was straight in to reassure me that it’s okay for me to have some blips and that this is to be expected. I get panicked sometimes that I’m not recovering fast enough, and that the support will be pulled from under me before I’m ready to go alone (I think I’m also afraid of recovering as I will I no longer have professional support, but this is another post!). However, my GP (an expert in EDs) is realistic about how long recovery can take and that we’re not aiming for perfect and speedy, we’re just aiming for better than before, being further along the road and sometimes even if it’s just sitting in a heap on the side of the road that I at least turn my head to look at the direction I want to be going in.

We all make choices everyday in recovery (and in illness too I guess)- this doesn’t mean we cause our problems, or we’re not trying hard enough or that sometimes we’re not capable of making the right decisions (starvation, binging, purging etc. will do that to you)-but it does mean that every single day we have the opportunity to focus on the direction we want to be going. For me, this is in the direction of an ED free future. I may not be there yet, it may still be a tough road ahead, but it certainly looks brighter than the horror of my ED immersed past.

Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.

This is the body…

I’m getting ready for a night out with some friends and I am feeling horribly big. Big, flabby, wide, full, all of those nasty things. I want my thin body back, even though it was never thin enough. I just want to be smaller than this.

And then I remember that this is the body which might give me children one day. This is body that my boyfriend might want to see walking down the aisle at some point in the future. This is the body will carry me to a sub 4 marathon. This is the body that will walk me across the stage at my phd graduation. This body has long nails and shiny hair. This body will enjoy a glass of wine tonight. This body will dance with my friends and fall into bed from tiredness from fun, not exhaustion from restriction and binge-purging.

This is the body that I will live with, not die with. This is my body, so dress on, hair done, smile emerging…time to go live.

Mindful? Me?

I completely get mindfulness, I understand how it can be beneficial, I have seen the benefits in many people close to me, but when it comes to mindfulness and me I prickle, there is something about being in the moment and focusing on my thoughts that really stresses me out. I tend to be a mile-a-minute thinker (and doer), always working on eight things at once, my head in the past, the future, food/weight (!) anywhere but in the moment. In fact one of my friends who teaches mindfulness to hospital patients describes me as the least mindful person she knows!

But, today I was running and I had reached the top of a hill with glorious views. The sun was shining and I paused to take it in. I turned off my music (I don’t always run with music but I wanted to not be thinking this morning) and I stood there listening to the birds cheep and the leaves in the wind. Such a cliche, but it was actually really nice. Crap- maybe I was wrong and there is something in this mindfulness business for me after all!

I finished the rest of the run without my headphones and while my mind drifted again (to where we’ll eat for dinner when I bring my cousin out for her birthday in a months time!) I did enjoy that little moment of it. Whatever the rest of the day may bring, today has been positive already.

A good cry

I had an appointment with my ED nurse yesterday and we continued the focus on why my purging has sky-rocketed over the past while. I managed to resist it for one day but have been purging daily otherwise and it’s starting to take its toll on my mental health, I’m feeling so out of control and so exhausted from it all.

We talked it all out, while I cried and cried, and she wrote down the random words and thoughts I uttered in between reaches for the tissues. The conclusion we have come to is that I’m using purging as my release: where I used to have a good cry I now rarely do because of the anti-depressants, I used to self-harm but I have made good progress with that, I used to maybe hide out in bed but now living the boy I don’t have as much time on my own, running used to be my time but now I’m a member of a club that has become more social. When I purge I feel like it sets the restart button, that I can pick myself up again and continue with life.

The goal now is to convince myself that purging is not the way to do this, I need a different way of mentally purging and need to not overeat so that I don’t need the physical purge. This seems to fit better that finding a new hobby to distract me and have as my own time. I need to get to the point where I can have my own time that doesn’t involve distraction and resisting. I need to be able to release what is building up inside me in other ways so that I no longer need to purge.

One of the ways I figure this can be done is by having a good cry. I used to cry all the time and while crying is healthy I was doing it practically 24/7 which was interfering with uni and work. The anti-depressants have been good for this but almost too good, now I rarely cry even when I feel like I could have a good sob.

So, my homework for this week is to cry. Yep, proper ugly snotty crying and to see if that helps with needing to purge. I started yesterday at my appointment and then pretty much cried all day and night. The poor boy came home and I told him to just leave me alone and leave me to it. So I cried and cried and cried, over nothing at all really, just about feeling fat and sad and fed up and defeated.

Who knows if this will help but anything is worth a try at this point!