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.

A pledge to myself

I’m going out for dinner with friends tonight and I’ve been super anxious about it. I’m really trying not to purge at the moment but going out for meals is always a difficult one. 

I don’t want to eat too much and then purge.

I don’t want to not eat enough so that I come home and binge and purge. 

I don’t want to drink too much that my mood plummets.

I want to be able to enjoy time with my friends and not be obsessing over food//weight/body thoughts. 

I’m in a panic trying to find something to wear that I feel comfortable with and I’ve already made myself late. 

Some days I can breeze through this, and some days like today it just really gets me. These are good friends. Both know about my ED history and one is aware it’s a little more current than historic at the moment, I don’t know if that’s why. The reason doesn’t really matter though as I am going to 

-get dressed 

-show up

-eat

-laugh

-be mindful  of drinking 

-not purge 

That’s my pledge to myself for tonight! 

A nugget of gold from my counsellor 

I’ve been lying low the last few weeks which generally means I haven’t been having a great time- just the usual low mood eating disorder crap coupled with horrendous body image as I have gained some (necessary, according to my counsellor) weight. I felt like I was just stuck in the same kind of place I’d been in before and with nothing new to share about it, just needed to ride it out and hope it passed. 

I had a much needed session with my counsellor yesterday and she has managed to inspire a kindling of fighting spirit. She reminded me that all the horrible voices are thoughts are part of the illness and while they might grow stronger as I fight them, recovery will be what eventually silences them.

I talked about how awful I feel at what might be my set point and how I don’t think I can tolerate being there, that I have too many bad memories of feeling so rubbish about my body and about how out of control I felt that I didn’t see the point in getting there to bring that all back- if I’m going to feel rubbish I would prefer to be a lower weight and rubbish. 

But then came the nugget of gold wisdom from her- she reminded me that I have never been well at that weight before. So while I have been at that weight maybe about 4 times, at all of them I was still purging, or bingeing and purging. I have had this eating disorder for 20+ years now, really my body doesn’t know what it feels like to be well for any extended period of time, I can’t predict that I will feel the same as I did before as it won’t be the same as it was before, I wasn’t structured eating, I wasn’t not binging, I wasn’t not purging, I wasn’t not restricting. 

This little fact gave me hope that maybe things will be different this time and that I need to keep trusting the process and be open to the possibility that maybe after all of this things will be okay. I just needed something to cling on to to convince myself to keep going and I think she provided it in that once sentence. I need to remain optimistic that maybe I can gain weight and actually be okay with it. Eek!

The plight of the atypical anorexic

Warning! Ranty and irrational post ahead.

I was feeling down this morning and couldn’t quite identify what was upsetting me. I’d felt so good yesterday, why was I now feeling bad? I was having a terrible food/body day – after feeling like I was ready to say goodbye to ED last night it reared back up and clawed its nails into me and was all I could think of.It persisted all morning until I went to the park at lunchtime.

On my stroll I saw a girl with anorexia. I know she has it because I know of her from the University and because I’m a pretty good internet stalker where eating disorders are involved (sad and creepy? absolutely) and plus she’s extremely thin at the moment. She was eating lunch in the park and I could feel something bubbling over me. After a while I identified it as being something along the lines of anger, or annoyance, or just general pissed-off-ness.

I’m annoyed that I have raging ED thoughts and yet I’m a healthy weight.

I’m annoyed that I only ate half my lunch before abandoning it because the change in food was too much, and yet I don’t look anorexic.

I’m annoyed that I’ve spent 20 years of my life feeling crap about my body and dieting and purging and exercising and yet I was never ‘too thin’.

I’m resentful that I went to the gym this evening even though I ached, and there were girls there who were far thinner than me and probably had eaten enough that day.

I’m annoyed that I have no ‘thin’ photos to look back on to compare how healthy I look now, as I was fat then and I’m fat now.

I’m annoyed that I eat less than what you’d think would be required to maintain and yet I still don’t lose weight.

I’m annoyed that I run twice as much as some of my friends yet they are skinnier and faster than me.

I’m annoyed that I do strength and resistance work consistently and yet any potential muscle is surrounded by flab.

I’m annoyed that even though I gave it everything- the restricting and purging and exercising- that I never got the results for it.

I’m annoyed I never got thin enough for people to insist I got help, so it was years and fully entrenched by the time I reached out, to then have a stupid psychiatrist say stupid things.

I’m envious of those who get to be the classic anorexic, even though I know that is a hurtful thing to say.

I just wish that at some point along my journey of illness to recovery that how I looked on the outside showed the terror that was going on inside. I wish that now I am fighting tooth and nail to be better that it would show on my body where I have come from.

I want people to know that my fear foods cause me real fear, that I exercise so much because I can’t eat otherwise, that I weigh out new foods, that I have to put the cottage cheese in the blue container and the yoghurt in the pink container because otherwise it’s just not right, that new supermarkets freak me out, that I can freeze in panic about the amount of blueberries I add to my porridge, that there I foods I will never eat without purging, that the anxiety about weighing starts 24 hours before it happens, that I avoid shopping because I don’t want to undress in bright lights, that I pinch my stomach and my arms every time I walk past a mirror, that I obsess over the biscuits in the cupboard two floors below me and I compare myself to everyone walking down the street. I want them to know how much bloody energy I spend on just getting through the day sometimes.

I want to be the girl on a park bench that people walk past and think- she must be anorexic. I hate myself for wanting that, but I do.

 

 

 

 

The evidence

I saw my counsellor today and got to update her on how I’d done for the last 3 weeks. My structured eating went a bit out the window as I was on holidays etc. but in general I tried to keep to it. I only purged 5 times in 3 weeks which is amazing for me, and I felt quite free around food, not really feeling at many points over the pst while that I was restricting.

So the dreaded moment of weighing had to happen then, and I got to see the impact of this more relaxed approach to eating and exercise. The outcome of me eating and not purging was a gain of 800g.

Now I know any gain might make some of you freak out and panic, and I used to be there too, but this time I just stood on the scales (normally I am off them like a shot once done) and smiled. She asked me how I felt – and was I worried about the gain. I could honestly say that I wasn’t, for lots of reasons:

  • My weight fluctuates anyway- it’s meant to go up and down, that’s normal
  • I’m under what my set point is based on when I was stable last year, so I do actually have weight to gain, so I can understand that my body is trying to get me there
  • I ate more and exercised less over the past three weeks- a gain is natural, but it was a tiny gain really, and people’s weight do fluctuate depending on times in their lives
  • I estimated I had gained about 2 kilos and was very worried it could be more, so to see a number still in my ‘safe range’ was a relief.

I explained that I had committed to the experiment of the three weeks not focusing on weight loss, and that it had paid off. My ED mind had told me that if I went on holidays and ate what others were eating I would blow up, but I didn’t, I now have evidence that my body will adjust as it needs to.

She was really pleased for me but re-focused me on the goal of being able to feel okay about eating etc. while in my normal routine which involves stress and real life, as that tends to be what trips me up. So I’m back to structured eating and food diary for this week before setting some new goals next week.

The worry about weighing next week is already starting to creep in- what if I gain again and I’ve eaten ‘normally’? I’m trying not to worry about that just yet – for the reasons listed above –  and if it happens we will process it and move on. It’s just a number. Just a weight. My life is so much bigger than 800g.

Day 13 and back to reality

I arrived back home today and it’s been a bit of a come down. It’s only natural after holidays but I have felt it creeping up over the past couple of days. It’s a fine balance between feeling ‘yay I’m going to beat this and I can eat anything I want and feel okay about it’ and ‘oh crap what have I done I’ve totally lost control the past week’ and I feel I’ve crossed it now. I’m feeling huge and wobbly and can’t believe I let go like I did, yet at the same time I’m trying to keep telling myself that one week won’t be the undoing of me, I won’t have gained 2 stone and I will get my fitness back (I haven’t run in more than a week and freaking out about it now).

I have been roughly sticking with structured eating but it has been a little all over the place. That’s only natural with holidays though I guess, this was always going to be a challenge. I think it’s better that I went with the flow rather than being too strict, but I can see I’m not ready for intuitive eating yet. The last two days have been a bit pants, with some purging on Saturday and overeating on Sunday.

I pulled it back though and did well today: breakfast, large lunch, large snack then another large snack. I have four more days where I can stick to routine and then I’m off again on Friday for a wedding which will be another challenge. After that there will be two days left then I will see my counsellor on Tuesday and get weighed. I am DREADING it, but I will do it because a) she’ll make me! and b) I need some proof of what happens when I let go so that I can make an informed decision about how to proceed.

Now though I’m going to bed bloated and uncomfortable but will keep telling myself that the memories of the last week will be worth it.

 

 

Day 6- A holiday without ED

Hola! I am in Spain! It’s sunny! Hurrah!

I’m feeling pretty proud of myself today. I woke up feeling bad about yesterday but had a stern talking to myself (as in I actually talked to myself in the mirror- sometimes this is necessary!) about not letting yesterday roll into today. 

So today I travelled (a bus, 2 trains, a plane, a bus and another train- I’m a dab hand with the public transport!) and yet still manages structured eating! I got up early to make breakfast snacks and lunch for travelling and then just ate out with my friend. I am stuffed-more full than I’m comfortable with but I have excused myself to go to bed and I will sleep it off.

Another day done. I’m just slowly trying to inch my way to my next counsellor appt in one piece. But for now I’m on holidays, without ED.