As the days pass I am beginning to show some progress. I’m trying to eat more of my meals and although this is a struggle, I’m working on just eating more than the day before. It seems that the only way I can do this right now is to shut down emotionally whilst I’m in the dining room and in a sense tune myself out so that I can run on autopilot. It’s almost working…but not quite. Afterwards, when I’m back in the privacy of my own room it hits and I sit there waiting for something terrible to happen. That’s the way it’s always felt when I have eaten though, as if I am waiting for the consequences to take place which confirms how wrong the whole process is. The thing is I couldn’t actually tell you what that whole consuming horrible thing would be. I don’t know. Everyday I am breaking rules set out by my Eating Disorder and there is this thought in my head that you can’t break the rules and not expect to get away lightly. There was a reason why they were created, even if I no longer know what that reason is.
I keep taking it all in, all these thoughts and feelings and I worry that one day I will buckle from underneath the weight of them and I will walk away from treatment and away from the chance of ever having a future. Daily I have doubts about my place here. I feel undeserving and a little like a fraud. It’s hard to accept that I need as much help as anyone else and figure that somehow I should be able to manage on my own. The sheer sense of my personal failure to cope is one that has knocked my pride right out and I guess I’m wanting to recapture it. I think that’s why I sit and cry in my room instead of going to look for a member of staff to talk it out. I feel myself getting weaker in that way and it creates this feeling of shame that I cannot shake. I’m a grown woman for goodness sake, why am I letting food reduce me to a child? Why can’t I tolerate myself?
There are times when there is nothing more than what I want is to disappear. Not die or start from scratch but to just no longer be present. I think what I want is to never have existed in the first place. How do I begin to explain that? I go through around 1000 different emotions in one day and at times, just when I think I can’t fall any further…I do. In those moments I don’t have any ideas on what is going to help and instead of acknowledging that when someone asks me if I’m ok, I’m smile politely and confirm that I am. It’s easier that way sometimes. It’s easier than trying to find the words for something you I don’t understand myself. Equally I worry that if I continue to hide in this way, or continue to spend all my time supporting another patient that is currently here rather than listening to what I need then recovery will always be out of reach. It will be the same as it was before. Plastered over but not healed or repaired. If that happens, the cycle never ends, does it?
I feel so lost and untethered.
Maybe the reality is that I will spend my entire living with the Eating Disorder in my head and I either live with it or die because of it. Recovery seems like an unfunny but funny dream that other people deserve to have and will have but for me…despite my words on how much I want it, I don’t know if I’m capable of achieving it.
I hope you are being good to yourselves.
Inpatient is definitely harder than I remember. Admittedly I can’t remember much of the first time round but I do remember the horrible reality of sitting down in front of each meal and being so overcome with anxiety and fear that I can’t keep it in my head that eating is what I have to do if I want to get better. At the moment I get through a few bites and something inside of me just slams down. The voices grow louder and although I am trying to ignore them as much as possible, in the end they seem to be winning. I’m wondering what it will take for me to leap this mental shutting down and just finish the food that is in front of me. It’s not for a lack of motivation. I bombard myself daily with an extensive list of all the reasons that I have to recover for:
– Peace of Mind
That should be enough. It is enough. Somehow though the Eating Disorder still seems to think it holds a place above all these. Does it not understand yet that I hate it more than I’ve ever hated anything in my life?
I’m trying to talk to the staff about what’s going on for me. What is helpful in terms of what they can do. Yet I’m still finding it difficult to show my emotions. Ultimately I am exhausted…but I think I have been for a long time. It is tiring maintaining Anorexia when you are trying to live a full-time life as well and when you do finally stop to challenge it, that too is exhausting because the stillness enforced is difficult and all the things that you have avoided can no longer be outran.
It’s now day 4 and I have had enough time to settle into the environment. It’s time to get serious about completing my meals otherwise I won’t move forward. I will also now be allowed to attend groups as my 72 hours us up which means that my days are going to be a little more engaging rather than me simply being restless in my room. This will probably be a good thing.
I hope your day treats you well.
I know it’s been a couple of days since I’ve written. As I was saying last time, things had become increasingly busy for me for most of last week and right up until yesterday afternoon when I arrived at the hospital. I think it was a good thing for me to have so much going on because it managed to keep my general anxiety down and mostly I could ignore what was going on. Monday I struggled and the day felt like I was constantly trying to get a grip on the tears. As soon as one episode past and I thought I was going to be fine, another wave overwhelmed. It was a long day but thankfully my colleagues were amazing and are random enough people to distract me from the battles going on in my mind.
I wasn’t ready for the Tuesday. I wasn’t ready for admission. I wanted to freeze time and make Monday last forever just so I could put it off but even I don’t have the ability to manipulate time.
My admission began yesterday afternoon but It doesn’t quite feel like I’m here yet and it hasn’t sunk in that I had let it get to the point where I’ve needed to come in. Treatment has always felt like a concept for other people and one that my situation has never really felt like warranted the necessity of it but here I am just beginning round 2. I am finding that it’s easier to smile throughout and try to be pleasant, offer all the insights that I currently have about what’s going on and what I want but to be fair, I am pretty clueless on the whole understanding front. I know what I’m supposed to say and feel and yet whether those things are truthful or real is beyond my comprehension. The ward itself is nice enough. A lot of the staff has changed but it’s nice to see that they are all still trained to delivering a high quality standard of care and what’s more they are friendly in their demeanour. I’ve talked to a couple of the other patients and they too seem to be pleasant enough. Part of me wants to hold back though, limit the contact with the disorder that has ripped my life to shreds but it is hard to do that and not feel anything but fury for it when I see how much damage it is doing everywhere I turn. The others remind me of my anger constantly and I worry friendships will only make that worse. The food is hard. I don’t know what I was expecting in regards to how I would cope but I didn’t think that I would find stage one to be so overwhelming. I sat there with this food and wanted to cry or throw the plate across the room because this half portion seemed horribly terrifying. What is it going to do to me? What if I can’t cope with it? What if something bad happens? What if…is playing around in my head a lot lately. I want to be well but am I prepared to pay the price that it will take for me to get there? If not…then what would the price of staying where I currently am is? Already I know that I cannot live with the rest of my disorder forever, that I would rather end my life now then have to listen to the constant noise and screaming that is with me all the time. My self-esteem is down the toilet, my body image is horrible and most of the time I look around me right now and feel like a complete whale. Maybe that’s why I feel like an imposter on the ward. It’s hard to feel that my place is justified when my weight feels too high. This is probably something that I am going to have to get over at some point. For now the plan is to engage as much as I can. Take one day/one meal as it comes and try to stay as possibly connected to the people I my life that have belief in me. That way I might be able to have some belief for me of my own.
I hope you are being good to yourselves.
This week has happened fast and I can’t say I’m such a big fan. I don’t feel prepared to be going in to treatment on Tuesday. I’m not ready for it, I’m not ready to gain weight when the drive to lose it is starting to sky-rocket. I am trying not to let it have an impact on my actual intake and my weight is holding but for the first time in a while, I am hating that it is holding. I know that letting it go down would achieve nothing, that it would actually make the climb back a little bit longer and I do have to climb back…but still. Anorexia wants what it wants and all I can do is not give in to it this time. I wonder when it was that me and it split and instead of working together, we went head to head, each side willing to do anything to take out the other? Can I be sad about that? I wish I could say that I always knew that it would come down to this, that the lines would be drawn and that co-existence would never be enough. I didn’t though. I have spent years living with the Eating Disorder and up until a couple of years ago I thought that somehow we would manage together for the rest of my life. I needed it, it needed me…in essence we were inextricably linked. I didn’t know that a world without would be possible, I’m not even sure that I wanted to know that world. When the concept of recovery first got introduced to me, there was this moment that I wanted to laugh. It seemed such a ridiculous concept and in a way I was protective of the Anorexia. The idea that I wanted it gone wasn’t something that I could think about…it’s not that I wanted it, it was just that I didn’t think I was capable of being a person without it. The possibility of not having it around to talk me off the ledge was unthinkable because at that point it hadn’t driven me on to the ledge yet. That would come later and when it did come, I was pretty stunned to have been so blind to it in the first place. I think what I felt when that happened was mostly betrayed. Here was this thing that I had invested all of my time and energy into, something that I had given everything up for and yet it had driven me to such a dark place. I couldn’t make that make sense and instead of using that as fuel to walk away, it became the thing that fuelled my further descent into the disorder. It wasn’t until I was truly mad at the Anorexia that it really showed how much it could crush me and my spirit.
I can’t say Goodbye to Anorexia just yet. I am not under the illusion this time that I will walk through those doors on Tuesday and then that will be it…it will fade out. If anything, I am about to wake up a beast that has mildly been making the last months sufferable at best. I want to be ready to fight and most of the time I am sure I am, but when I am tired and my defences are down I begin to question it. I don’t think that I’ve ever given my chance to fully miss the Anorexia because I’ve never really let go it. I’ve never firmly shut the door to it but I know that this time that I’m going to have to otherwise another year or 5 will pass and I will still be here with the same thoughts. Now that is a terribly sad thought.
The people in my world want me to get better. I want me to get better. So even though I may not feel ready for it and as though I don’t want Tuesday to arrive, I hope that when it does then I can remember every good thing about my life and what makes me want to fight so I can live it. My friends reminded me today that I am loved and that above all else they want me to stop being in pain. I think that if the day comes when I can no longer convince myself to carry on for myself, then I have to carry on for them. It feels like I am doing a lot of convincing other people that all this is going to be ok. That this admission will be fine and have a positive outcome. I really hope I’m not talking rubbish. I really hope that I am not just filled with empty words all over again. If anything else, at the very least, it’s keeping my anxiety levels in check. That’s enough right now for me. I’m ok.
There is the potential for such a good life.
I also know that this piece is a little bit all over the place in terms of thoughts but it’s partly because it’s been written over the course of the day rather than all at once. Accept my apology?
I hope your day has been good to you.
Apologies for last nights little…thing. I guess sometimes I think about things and it starts to make me panic. I get overwhelmed with the intensity of how much I can feel and what I’m thinking that I don’t know what to do with it or myself. It’s strange that I am having such varied experiences right now. On the one side there are those emotions of despair but then there are times where I feel hollowed out. I actually went to the book store today to find something that would connect with me. Make me feel something for something outside of myself, you know? Hopefully this plan will work and the two books that I’ve bought will at the very least stir up an emotional response. Most of the time that’s all I want, to be able to respond to books, films, situations the same as anybody else. I don’t think that that’s a terrible thing to want.
The busier days are a blessing right now though…and my team are being amazing with me. I talked to my manager today about being afraid that I will be forgotten and basically she told me to stop being so stupid. That would be an impossible thing to do. I am not a replaceable person and I have to remember that. We all have to remember that (which I know is hard when your self-esteem has fallen through the floor)! I don’t want to make this post about it being World Suicide Prevention Day because I think there are plenty of things out there right now that are having those in-depth thoughts. I have to acknowledge it though because it is a very scary and real experience that people go through. Suicide ideation and attempted suicides have been a part of my life for a very long time and I wouldn’t wish that place on anyone. Unfortunately Eating Disorders and Suicide are not separate either. I think many of us who have struggled or are struggling, know that feeling of being in such a hopeless state that suicide seems like the only way out. Hell, I even thought it this morning. But guys, we have to remember that if we remove ourselves from life, we take away the chance of it being able to get better. To live in this world and be able to smile and want to be present is a wonderful thing, and more than anything I hope that if you are struggling you get some help so that you can come to know that this world is not always all bad.
You are worth fighting for. You are enough.
I hope your day has been kind to you.
I am going to pre-warn you that this post may be a little bit of a rant.
I can’t stop crying. It hurts right down to my soul and I don’t know how to make it stop. I spend all day putting on this act as though I am completely fine with how everything is. I make jokes and laugh it off and answer all the questions that people have to ask me about treatment. I am treating my life like an open book because of the job I do and I’m not supposed to be ashamed; I’m not ashamed of going into hospital but I just want some fucking privacy. I wish I’d never have said anything to anyone but how else was I going to explain a random absence. They think this is going to be a walk in the park. Go some place and eat your meals and everything else remains untouched. I’ll still be me, still be able to work and function and pretend that it’s not tearing me into pieces. But why would they think this would be hard? I’ve never told them what treatment does to you because I don’t think I want to admit it to myself just yet. Everything is going to stop and all the work that I have done just…Gets taken over by someone else. I am going to fall out of the loop and eventually be forgotten. My baby of a project which I started last year has being picked up by the local news channels and they want to run a piece on it. I’m going to have to watch other people take it over and talk about it. Of course I’m happy that it’s a success of a project but it’s the one thing I have been proud of and just as it’s all starting to be implemented and the actual interesting bits begin, I have to let it go. And there are so many other things happening with work…and I just sat in my meeting tonight and saw everything unravelling for me. I am the person that never says no and tonight that was all I could do. Also my social media feeds have all been filled with everyone going back to Uni. I am jealous and angry and I have no one to blame but myself…
I’m sure I have more to say and moan about but to be honest I wouldn’t want to bore you because it bores the bloody hell out of me.
I hope your day has been good to you.
I have this feeling like I’m pissing everyone off lately. I can feel the collective weight of their disappointment in me and I am trying this week to fit everything in that I can to make up for it. I am rearranging my diary constantly and starting from tomorrow afternoon, I don’t think there is a spare moment for 7 days. In a way I prefer it but I worry that with so many things to do, that I will forget something. Part of me just wants to say screw energy levels and listening to what my body is capable of. I want to just go for it and as horrible as this sounds, I think I have developed bit of an attitude of…well what does it matter? I might as well screw the consequences and get what I need to get done, done whilst I still can. Is that such a terrible thought? But as always I prefer it. I am so afraid of stopping right now, of the empty time that exists and is coming my way. I can’t even spend the day in my own house right now with not having anything constructive to do because I drive myself up the walls. For the last two days I’ve ended up driving over to my parents house just so I didn’t start breaking things in my restlessness. I’m not sure I’m going to cope when I can’t just escape. Enforced rest. Limited activity. Stillness. It’s going to be hard. I feel angsty just thinking about it.
How do you go from a hundred miles an hour to zero?
Who am I if I’m not doing everything that I have to do?
Unintentionally I think I’ve altered my identity and shaped it into this image that is dependent on what everyone else needs me to be. Why can’t I figure out who I am without all of that?
I hope your day has been good to you.
I like to think that I am not a person that gets triggered…at all. I try to convince myself that I am above all that, that others people thoughts and behaviours don’t matter to me. They are going to do and be what they’re going to be and I’m going to do my own thing. Sometimes though that’s a little bit of a lie. I hear numbers and I’m triggered as I work out the difference between them and me. I see girls with these tiny little figures and despair because my own body feels too excessive. It doesn’t matter that these people are just girls who are only beginning to reach adulthood. How do I compare my mid-twenty body with a 17-year-old and think that’s a fair thing to do? When I hear another persons intake, exercise regiment or BMI, I want to implode because I can’t help but feel like I am worth less. My rational side tells me that I am being ridiculous, that none of this is important and does not determine how good or kind of a person I am but then there is Anorexia and it’s voice yelling at me. I tell myself I’m done with it, but I don’t think it’s done with me. I don’t know if it ever will be.
Body Image is such a tricky subject because it’s not based on anything that is logical, it’s all to do with emotion. Take for example today, it has been such a struggle to figure out how I even do the most basic of tasks because all I can hear is the thought “I am too fat. I am uncomfortable. I am hideous”. It’s distracting at best. I found myself wanting to hide because I thought that everyone would make a judgement on me. They would see me for the fraud that I am. Yet I know that it’s not right because even though the image was worse today then last week, the number on the scale doesn’t reflect that. I imagine it will probably be different again tomorrow. As much as my mind tries to convince me that it is possible for my body to inflate and deflate by whole dress sizes in the space of an hour or a night, I know that it’s not. Not really. I still find it bizarre that I cannot trust my own eyes or judgement. Hopefully the intensity of this feeling will pass pretty soon but it reminds me of how far I have to go. I need to be at a place where when I experience these things but I don’t let it alter my actions. Ultimately where I don’t take my body image issues out on my food.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to wake up one day and like what you see in the mirror? Or even, not liking it but still eating whatever the hell you wanted anyway because you simply don’t care. That would be nice.
I hope your day has been kind to you.
My heads a little conflicted right now. Not about choosing recovery or anything…more to do with trying to figure out how I please everybody else and yet still get the treatment that I need. I am beginning think that maybe those two things together are not quite possible though. On one side I have my treatment team telling me that it’s good that I have the entire year to really work on my recovery, to not have to rush back to anything like Uni. They also know how much of a mental commitment that it’s going to take. They think I’m stopping everything for the next few months but I’m not. On the other side I have my Mother who can’t quite get her head round the length of my admission or see why that would even be neccessary . Me not being in action is going to be more of a hassle for her. I also have my manager who has a bit of an issue with me going in. She can recognise that I need to do this but the reality of me missing so much work and not being able to do my job and events is not making her particularly happy. Today she told me that she didn’t think I’d be in for the estimated time, that it won’t take that long. I told her it would and that estimation is only based on me being the perfect patient and meeting the weight gain requirements every week. This stunned her a little and then started but you can’t be in that long, there is the new project to do and this other thing to do…I already feel like I’m going to drop off the face of the earth and be forgotten, what if I am replaceable? What if I come back and there is no space left for me in my life? I am letting a lot of people down and I’m not ok with that. Yet until I fully recover from this then that’s all I am going to spend the rest of my life doing, letting people down.
Some good news is that I finally told my little brother about the admission. I had been really worried about his reaction, that he’d be angry or upset but he was actually excited. The idea that I am going to be able to eat the things that everybody else does and have the energy to run around with him and spar, yea…it just made him happy. I was not expecting it. So that part does make things better, knowing that he’s going to be ok and is ok with it was an important issue for me. I have to make myself remember that when I want to give up. I want to have the energy to be the big sister I used to be. That’s pretty good motivation, isn’t it?
I’m just trying to get by at the moment. I have become very matter of fact about things and I’m attempting to be accepting of that. My emotions are a little off and I spend a lot of my time either working or not really present but it’s ok…I can deal with that.
I hope your day has been good to you
It’s time to start owning our recoveries again. I am watching so many people struggle, watching myself being undone by this horrible disorder and I for one have had enough of it. Is this the way we want to go down? Are we really ready to write off our lives and let it win? It’s exhausting and I am not going to pretend that it is anything else. It wears you down, strips you of every hope you may have had and any dream that you dared to believe and leaves you this empty shell of a person. It breaks you and then you are there at that moment when you are compelled to get down on your knees and pray to some God to just end your life once and for all. Isn’t that heartbreaking? That we can hate ourselves so much, be so tormented that death seems like the better option.
We have to try and fight…and when that fails, we try again and we keep repeating that process until the disorder begins to realise that we’re serious in our war against it. That no matter how many times it comes at us, we are still going to keep going. At some point it has to get tired right? It has to loosen its hold! That’s my thinking at least. I am tired of giving in and I’m tired of being tired.
Do you remember when it was like when things still had potential? Sure things might have been a little bit messed up but we still thought that it was going to get better. For me, I thought that once I reached adulthood then it would all begin to make a little bit of sense. I’d wake up and be sure of myself, know how to fix everything because that’s what adults do when you’re a kid. They make it all alright. Didn’t realise that that is all just a myth and that I would be just as lost as a grown up as what I was when I was 11. But the point I am making is that somehow we have to recapture that potential. We have to tap into those desires once held for a future that was whole and filled with possibilities. For one second imagine what it would be like to wake up and not hurt, to get dressed without wanting to break the mirrors, to have breakfast whilst watching the news and be able to absorb the news rather than counting the numbers of every mouthful of cereal you’re eating and despising the fact that it’s even happening. Imagine not having that voice.
Recovery can be ours…but it’s going to be ridiculously hard and take time. You have to be patient yourself. You have to pick yourself up after every bad day and decide that you are going to move forward because it’s the only way to stop the bad days from reoccurring. I believe in you. I believe in me. This doesn’t have to continue be present. Anorexia, Bulimia, whatever your Eating Disorder is, it can bugger off. You are powerful and capable. You have survived up until this point. That in itself is amazing!!! Think of everything you have been through, every moment that has led you here and see that at any point you could have walked away…but you didn’t.
I am asking you to believe in yourself. There is life afterwards and I am going to go search for it. I hope you do too.
I also hope your day has been kind to you.