CBT-T week one

I’m sitting at my desk feeling overly full after lunch, so I’m writing to distract myself from this horribly uncomfortable feeling.

I do think I am physically full, but I know I had a chocolate bar as part of lunch and I think that is adding a dollop of mental fullness too. If I’d had a ‘safe’ food after lunch, say some extra veggies, I don’t know if that would be making me feel this uncomfortable and anxious, so I’m guessing part of this is ED mind games. I’ve been spending a lots of time thinking about ED mind games these last couple of weeks. I’m two sessions into my CBT-T programme (10 weekly sessions of CBT-E) and I have had to be on continuous alert for ED trying to mess things up.

In my first session the ‘homework’ was to write and follow a structured meal plan. It didn’t matter what was in it, but it had to be three meals and 2-3 snacks per day. Had this actually been my first ever session of treatment that would have been an impossible challenge from where I started, but although I was out of structure with my most recent dip, in general I can manage this.

So I set about my first week, determined to give it a good shot. The first thing ED clung on to was that my nurse had said ‘it doesn’t matter about what you eat, it’s just about structure’. All ED heard was ‘it’s fine for you to eat the smallest amounts and restricted in range as otherwise it means you’re greedy and fat and weak’. I couldn’t shout down that argument the first few days, so while I did great with structure, I know I didn’t eat enough calories for my needs.

Originally I thought I would have to wait until the next session to tell my nurse that what she said made it too hard for me to eat more. But as I thought about it more that seemed like a cop out, and a blatant ED excuse. I know how that conversation would go – ‘I tell her that’s what I heard – she’d say that obviously wasn’t what she meant and that was ED voice trying to persuade me- I’d say I know that but it’s hard – she’s say yes it is hard but only I can challenge ED- she can help me but she can’t do it for me’. Why would I waste one of my ten sessions on that conversation when I know the answer already. Sure, it’s easier eating more when someone is telling me to do it, but that is not sustainable for long term recovery.

So I turned it around and upped my calories and ended up with 4 pretty decent days and a week of no purging. This is a big deal given I was back to regular purging in the last relapse. When I showed the meal plan to my nurse she was really proud of me, which meant that I was proud of me too. ED was hating this and shouting out the narrative of ‘you’re not actually proud you’re just relieved you could eat enough and that’s pathetic, and you’re pathetic for not being strong enough to starve’ but I’m working really hard to ignore that. It’s a tired old story and it has no place in my life now.

I’ve gone back and forth so much around recovery but the decision is made now, I am giving it a proper go, and I will make the most of this treatment opportunity. I am trying to become a person without an ED, so I cannot listen to something that I don’t want to exist.

One week done, I’ll remain cautiously optimistic and keep moving forwards.

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