This armchair

I’ve developed an unhealthy relationship with my armchair. I am doing a great show of coping with life outside of this chair – I go to work, I pretend to do life, but then I come home, plonk myself down in this chair and let my eating disorder and depression swamp me.

I’m struggling with having to fake being okay when I’m really not. The only place I feel safe is in this armchair, hidden under a blanket with the curtains closed. But around me are empty wrappers from a shameful binge, there are dishes that need doing, sheets that need changing, study that needs doing, friends that need seeing. And all the while I am stuck to this chair feeling worse and worse about myself.

Bulimia has overpowered me. I’m in a horrible place with it. My stress is teetering on unmanageable and I’m not sure how I’m going to face tomorrow. But I will, because I always do, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy and sometimes I just need to have someone hear that.

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Feeling betrayed by recovery

Things are pretty cr*p at the moment. My PhD is hard and horrible and my deadline is stretching further away from me as the more I do the more I realise I have to do, and all within the context of me not really knowing what the point of the project is or what exactly it is I’m trying to achieve (aside from getting some semblance of a thesis together so I can get it the hell out of my life). I’m gaining weight and it won’t seem to stop and my body image is rubbish. I’m trying to get back to running but I’m slow and it feels awful and therefore I’m not getting the positive experiences from it as I used to. I don’t have time to see my friends so I feel guilty about that all the time, but really I’m quite happy not having to be around other people and have to pretend to function. I’m tearful a fair chunk of the day and it’s lots of effort to not start crying at inappropriate times.

I feel like I’ve been betrayed by recovery. I thought sorting out the food stuff and gaining the weight would mean I would be better able to manage life and enjoy it. I thought it would help with my mood and stress. I trusted my counsellor that gaining weight and changing behaviours was necessary and a positive step. And yet, here I am just obsessed about food in a different way, still hating my body and feeling more out of control than ever.

I know this is probably a phase and it will pass, but it still sucks while I’m in it. I bought into recovery as being tough but worth it, and it’s really hard when you get to a stage where actually it doesn’t feel worth it. I honestly think things were better when I has the bubble of my eating disorder to protect me, at least I felt I was managing some aspect of my life. I can’t seem to make my counsellor understand how I feel about this, she keeps dismissing it and it is so frustrating, so I have no one to be honest with about this.

Sorry for the negative rant, I just needed to let it out.

I don’t know how to recover

I was due to start some body image work with my counsellor yesterday. I have gained enough weight and kept it stable for long enough that body image work is now an option. for me. I was both terrified and excited. I am feeling horribly uncomfortable in my body right now. I’m trying to ‘deal’ and barely managing it. It’s that pervasive ‘can’t look in the mirror, need to try on a zillion outfits generally ending up in tears in front of the wardrobe, self-harming due to a photo’ kind of feeling. I keep telling myself I’m ‘over-evaluating weight and shape’ but the rational voice isn’t making a dent.

So I went to my appointment and we went through the usual reporting behaviours etc. I admitted I’d purged a few times over the past fortnight since my last appointment. My counsellor responded with ‘it just has to stop’ and that there is no point in doing body image work until the purging is under control. Apparently I can’t work on accepting my body until I stop behaviours.

My counsellor is amazing, so I trust her that this is the way to do things, but man, I am struggling to see the sense in not helping my accept my body due to the behaviours that are occurring because of the fact that I can’t accept my body. It just goes round and around. I understood this with weight gain, there’s no point in learning to accept a body that is only temporary until the weight stabilises. But my behaviours aren’t due to weight. I know binging and purging will only make me gain weight, and I know purging after normal sized food is more likely to end up with me eating more overall.

I understand the behaviours need to go but I honestly do not know how to do this. I said this to her and she seemed to really think I can. I really wanted to believe her but I don’t think she really understands how ingrained the purging and the binge/purging is. If I’m not restricting, I’m purging, and I have been doing this for more than 20 years now. This is the way I live my life. I have never been able to conquer it without resorting to restriction.

She set me the challenge of 4 weeks of no purging. I told her how incredulous this was and she told me that I just have to do it and that I know how and I can do it I just have to follow through. I was sceptical initially but by the end of the session really committed to trying. I want to get rid of this more than anything in the world and I am willing to give it my all.

So today I felt full after lunch and distracted with a walk. I ate crisps that weren’t planned and I distracted with a nap after work. I ate a healthy meal with a friend and observed the feelings of eating more than her. Then she showed me a photo of me from a race that someone had posted online and bam the urge to purge was there. I distracted by sitting down to do some phd. I got stuck with PhD and the urge grew stronger. I repeated and repeated to myself that it was just an urge and that it was not my rational brain (thanks, ‘brain over binge’). I did everything I should have and yet, there I am a while later purging my dinner and crying in the bathroom.

It wasn’t about undoing any calories, it was about trying to survive the feelings about my horrible grotesque body and my stupid brain that is stuck with my phd. It didn’t help, as I still feel bad now, and even worse as I failed to last even a day. I feel pathetic but I’m also really frustrated as I don’t know how to make my counsellor understand that I can’t ‘just stop it’. I honestly do not know how to recover, and I’m so scared that I can’t make anyone else understand this. She is meant to be my ally in all of this but right now I just feel so alone. It’s not about not wanting it enough. I want to be free of this horrible demon so so much, but I genuinely do not know how. I don’t want to the person that can’t even go one day, but in the moment I seem to have no power.

So here I am, failing again and struggling to see how I will ever stop ending up back in this place.

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.

Getting back up after a knock 

Tuesday was a hard day, and while I felt a little better yesterday I did hide in bed all day and throw routine out of window. It perhaps wasn’t the best idea but I just had no capacity for anything else so I just gave myself the day to feel down but on the understanding that today I would get back to it.

I don’t really feel like embracing the world today but I’m going to do it anyway. I know what helps me so I need to implement it even if it feels hard. 

  • I got up with my alarm
  • I made a proper lunch and snacks
  • I had a pre-run breakfast and prepped my 2nd breakfast
  • I’m going for a run now
  • I chose a nice outfit rather than defaulting to safe baggy clothes
  • I’ve written a manageable to-do list for the day
  • I’m meeting a friend after work even though I feel like hiding
  • I have planned a proper dinner

The drop from feeling great to being down is always a rough one, but I need to accept my brain doesn’t always play ball with me and that this will happen. What matters is my reaction to it. A knock like this could have previously taken me weeks to come out, but I know more now and I know that it won’t happen without effort. 

I’m drawing on all the great strength I find through you lovely blogging people, and sending you all good vibes for anything you’re facing today x

A day to myself

Yesterday was the first day in months that I had no plans. I had to be home to wait for a delivery and it forced me to arrange my day to be at home. 

It was bliss! I woke up early but lay in bed reading. I did some epic spring cleaning- I washed two sets of curtains, I cleaned the grouting in the bathroom tiles, I washed the windows, I sorted out cupboards, I cleaned my cross country shoes, I had washed clothes that had been building up. In between this I had two naps and watched two movies! 

It might sound like a horrible day to others but cleaning really does soothe me, and it was great to get things checked off my to-do list, and to wake up this morning to a sparkling house! 

Eating wise it wasn’t great, despite being relaxed and having a lovely day I purged three times and binged/purged in the evening. Bulimia is back with an avengance but I’m aware of this and prioritising my recovery, I took out my self-help manual and have started the first module again, and wrote out my pros and cons for recovery and am going to food shop today to get me started for the week. 

I’m away again the next two weekends and can already feel the anxiety building up, but this is a lesson that I need more days like this as they really do help. In fact I’m going to schedule some in the diary right now! 

Hope you all had lovely Saturdays too.