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.

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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. 

My current lifestyle is not sustainable

I am exhausted. Mentally and physically. My brain hurts and my body hurts. I have kept going and going and going and I know I can’t keep it up anymore. I had a sobbing session with my counsellor today. I started crying in the waiting room and then it didn’t stop. My eating is all over the place, my stress levels are sky high. PhD stuff is freaking me out. Work is just full of people needing things from me. I am over promising and under delivering and I hate myself for it. This weekend coming is the first of 4 trips in the next 6 weeks for weddings and hen parties and christenings. (I’m so blessed to have lots of lovely friends but sometimes I wish they could spread their life events out!). I need some time to myself as I know going on like this is not sustainable. 

And yet I could make time for myself if I tried. I’m sure people would understand. I could schedule things better. I could take on less at work. I could exercise less. I could prioritise spending time food shopping and cooking. But I haven’t been, and I need to take some responsibility for the impact that is having.

I really struggle with slowing down and stopping. My experiences of when I’m not ‘go go go’ are of depression and inaction. As with so many things, I’m all or nothing. I can keep going until I need to collapse and hide. I have recognised this before and have really tried to address it, but the guilt and anxiety that come with ‘down-time’ is hard to cope with. It never feels that restful to be honest, and when I do enjoy it I feel ashamed for enjoying it. I associate action with thinness and control and effectiveness, and stillness with weakness, laziness and fatness. 

I need to accept that I’m not superwoman, that I can’t do everything and be well, and that’s okay, it is not a reflection on my strength of character, it’s just who I am. 

I’m annoyed at myself for falling down the same hole that has tripped me up before, but there’s always room for learning. I can’t make major changes right now as my calendar is how it is, but I can be aware to not make any more plans for a while until I have figured out this whole moderation thing. 

Does this need to be always on the go affect anyone else? Any tips gratefully received as always! 

Alone tonight, but not in life

I’m seeing the new year in on my own tonight. I am at my Mum’s and I have the house to myself and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend this new year’s eve. I am unexpectedly single, but doing okay with that. As time passes I feel like the dust is settling and I’m liking the picture of me that is emerging from it all.

I’ve spent quite a lot of new years eves on my own as it’s not a night I typically enjoy. I had far too many drunken nights as a teenager/young adult that would end in tears because a new year didn’t mean a fresh start for me, it meant another year of my eating disorder and depression. I  have had some fab ones though, with some special ones in Sydney, Wanaka (NZ) and Madrid. Seems I enjoy them more when abroad! But when I’m at home I like being just at home and enjoying the evening myself without the weight of social expectation. However, if I’m honest some of those evenings spent alone were lonely and a little sad.

This year however I am completely confident that while I’m alone right now, I’m not alone in life. I have a wonderful family looking out for me, a ton of fabulous friends who let me cry and then make me laugh. I have a couple of professionals who are keeping me on track. I have bloggers out there in the web (yes, you!) who read my words and send me hope through theirs. Being honest with people about all the crazy in my head was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but yet it has resulted in the most rewarding and beautiful consequences. It is so freeing to be myself, mental illnesses and all. And recovery and self care and all those other efforts continue to this freedom.

So while I’m alone tonight I’m definitely not alone. And if I convince even one of you reading who are keeping their demons to themselves tonight to even consider reaching out, that might be the best new years eve ever.

Goodbye 2016, hello 2017, here’s to another year of living. x