Countdown Begins

28 Aug

I have a date for admission.
It’s in just over 2 weeks and honestly I haven’t quite processed it yet. There was this moment today when I was sat in my appointment and my therapist asked me if this was what I still wanted. I almost said no. I’ve changed my mind…maybe I can make this work without going in. But after it was over and reality sunk back in, there isn’t the option to change my mind anymore. I’m not going to let it be an option because I need to get better now. This is how I begin to get well. I am tired of just trying to manage, I mean imagine what it would be like to just live, can you? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be horribly normal and in that find that life is something extraordinary?

However up until this point I hadn’t realised how unsupportive my Dad was going to be. I don’t really talk about my Dad much because more often than not there isn’t really anything to say. Throughout my entire life he has been this person who has just been on the side lines, present but not really. When we were kids he was always working (still is) and all we saw him as was someone who put all these restrictions on us. Part of it was religious or cultural, part of it was that he just isn’t very good at connecting with other people. You can’t have a conversation with him, he doesn’t understand emotion or mental health and has a very dated view in that it is just a case of pulling yourself together and getting on. When I reached adulthood I stopped doubting his love, because I knew he did love me but he isn’t capable of expressing that in a way that’s obvious. Instead of saying those words, he made sure that he was there for the practical stuff. So if I was unwell in the night, he would come and pick me up or when I moved in to a really rough area he changed companies (he’s a taxi driver) to one that covered the same part of town. If the car breaks down, he’ll come and sort it out or I need something fixing in the house…I think you get the point. We don’t talk and if I get more than 3 sentences at the same time, I consider that to be a quite a substantial chat. I hadn’t talked to him about going back into treatment because as with most things my Mother usually tells him what’s going on, but tonight I called him to arrange him coming to drill some holes in to the walls for me and I mentioned that I had a date. His response was that I didn’t need to go back in. If I went back in then they would just force feed me and I had to force myself. I tried to tell him that I had been trying and I couldn’t do it but he didn’t hear that. Instead he told me to come and stay for a few days and he would force me to eat. Then he rattled off all the things that were wrong with my diet and the things that I should be eating. He won’t hear that this is more than me just giving myself a good talking to and getting on with it. He still thinks this is a diet that’s gotten out of hand and I can switch it off whenever I want. Sometimes I envy his simplistic view of it and I wish that it was true. We all know that it isn’t…I don’t need him to get it. I haven’t for a very long time but sometimes it hurts that he won’t be the Dad that I’ve always kind of needed. The kind that my Grandad was to me before he died. But I am loved by him and he stayed so that is enough.

I am feeling better than yesterday though, a little less defeated and diminished. I think it’s because I’ve been working all day after my appointment which was a very welcome distraction. That place I was in yesterday, letting my past get to me, well…it wasn’t ok. My life has happened the way that it has and that is the way it is. I can wish all I want and be sad but it’s not going to undo it. I am trying to move on because the more I let it creep into my present I’m just fuelling it. I waste more days, lose more time…and I’ve done enough that. Maybe I’ll always think how things could have been but that is partly human nature. Questioning what if? but I can’t let that be all that I am. I need to start thinking what I can be rather than what I could have been. I’m aware that it’s going to take some time.

I hope your day has been kind to you.

I’m Not at Peace with it.

27 Aug

This was never supposed to be how my life turned out. It was never supposed to be this way. You know, most days I can take it. I can think of my past and my present and all that has happened which has led me to this very point and I can be ok with it…most days. But there are some days when it just hurts. I think of all the time I wasted, all the things I didn’t do, the wasted nights and days on end that I know I’ll never be able to remember and it breaks my heart a little. I feel like collapsing in a heap and screaming for everything I lost and knowing that it was all my responsibility. I did this to me. I drove myself into this space where at best I could manage to contain myself. I think it hurts more today because of a few things…I acknowledged how bad I had let things get tonight. I sat in my group session and tried to explain how I don’t trust my Mother to make me a cup of coffee anymore, or how I’m afraid of being around anything unsafe because it might somehow find its way into me through contamination in the air – that isn’t even a real thing! I screwed up guys. Also last night, I couldn’t and still can’t get my head around the fact that I am going to be stopping my life again. Who’s going to take my brother to his class? or give him a safe space to talk in? Who’s going to be taking over at work? What if I become irrelevant, forgotten? In addition my brother’s instructor was talking about going back to Uni in September and I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I wasn’t. I want to go back so badly that it’s beginning to physically hurt me. You know that deep pain that takes a stab at your stomach and heart every now and again. All I want is normality and sometimes it’s a bloody struggle to work out why that’s such a hard thing to have.

I’m not usually one to do the whole “life’s not fair” thing but I am feeling it at the moment. I’m in the middle of editing a written piece for an event next month and as I’m going through it, seeing my past structured into sentences and paragraphs and I can’t help but feel horrible about it. This is or was my life and I can’t escape that. Usually I can make peace with it. I can be mostly over it. Yet there are some days when history doesn’t feel like history and it eats me alive.

I need to move on.

I hope your day has been good to you.

A fear is going to have to be faced

25 Aug

I exist in a world that is filled with people who I am grateful for. They have no idea how sometimes just their very presence can make my day into something that feels good. It reminds me why I want my life back and that there is something to come back to. I was in a team meeting for most of the day and although we did get a lot of work done, just having random conversations – which happens a lot! – felt amazing. In those hours the Anorexia did not exist in the way that it usually does. Instead of a roar it became the annoying pesky voice which is more irritating then distressing. I could forget, be normal, be productive for a while and I suppose in a way it reminded me that I’m not such a waste of space. I am not someone that people have to find a way to tolerate. They actually like me. I never thought I’d be able to say that or believe it. I matter. My existence is not pointless.

Afterwards I met up with a friend who I was in treatment with the first time. It’s been a few weeks since I’d seen her and so filling each other in on our respective lives took some time. She has seen me struggle and today shared some much needed honest opinions. I think I have been really focused on time, focusing on getting treatment over and done with like it’s a point on my list that needs to be done and checked off and then moving on to the next thing. I’m expecting it to be hard admittedly but I also may be under-estimating how much it’s going to take out of me. The thing that worries me is that I don’t know how to be still and the idea of an empty diary terrifies me. I don’t understand the concept of doing things just for the enjoyment of them. There has to be a reason for it, a way that I can justify putting my energy into it so that I feel there is some sort of purpose to my existence. If I rush through treatment and then jump straight back into my education is there the potential for me to get distracted from recovery again and burn myself out? I don’t want to take out anything from my life but running at full steam between work and school has tired me and left little room for fun things. I always thought that I was ok with it but maybe it’s simply that I don’t know any other sort of life. I don’t know any other way of being. I also realised today how hard it must be to be my friend sometimes, especially in regards to those that were created through treatment. It must be frustrating. My friends want good things for me and yet they see me destroying myself everyday and no matter what seemingly insightful words that I say, in the end they are only that…words. We all talk about those people in recovery who are triggering, who have let the Anorexia consume them to the point where they can’t think about anything else and this idea that I may have become one of them struck me today. It kind of goes back to that belief that I am not like those other people, the ones that are actually unwell. I don’t want to be put myself into that category because I don’t want to admit that my world has been reduced so much. It can be exhausting being the friend and I wonder if at times I am exhausting to be around too. I don’t want that to be the case. What I did fully recognise though today was that if I want to have a family, a career and capable cognitive functions than I can’t do that with an eating disorder. There were these women who I knew in hospital and they had spent decades trapped and you could see how much the Eating Disorder had destroyed their brains, left them alone and barely functioning. I think that frightens me more than anything, certainly more than the stillness and so it is clear to me that in order to prevent one thing I must do the other. Either way I have to stop trying to run away.

But it has been a positive day and more than anything it is has just boosted my motivation. I really hope that the day comes soon when I can meet my friend and instead of having coffee, we go for dinner. That would be a really nice thing to do.

I hope your day has been good to you.

Please Leave

24 Aug

Things are feeling like they are in some kind of suspended state lately. I’m waiting…I guess for the day that things are better. For that day when I get up and it doesn’t feel like I’m being suffocated by something. It’s just the longer I wait, the more doubtful I become that that type of world even exists. I keep telling myself that once I am in possession of a healthy body then somehow things will start to come together. That the healing of my organs will mean a healing of the mind. There are days when I just want to limit recovery to that. I am so aware of the fact that Eating Disorders are not about weight and that the physical aspect of it is the smallest part of the path back to health; yet somehow that’s what I want to reduce it to. I want to believe that when I am weight restored then everything else will just fall into place. I think that’s what I’m hoping for but the real shitty part is that I know it’s wrong. I have not given much though to the emotional and mental side of recovery lately…but it’s catching up with me. There was this moment today when it clicked that my weight is going to go up. I am fighting with myself over the smallest .kg at the moment and the idea that I am going to be doing that continuously for a while and it won’t be just because of fluid or hormonal changes has suddenly sent fear running through me. I can’t specifically say why…the rational for why weight gain could scare me so much is beyond my understanding. I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it. I’ve never been able to deal with it, that’s why I’ve stayed trapped for over a decade now.

Do you think it ever goes away? That sensation of just being so horribly uncomfortable that it makes you want to step out of your own skin. What if I can’t live in my body after all of this? What do I do? I feel so ugly at the moment and like I shouldn’t be out in public where people can see me. I was never ok with the weight gain last time, why do I think I would be ok with it this time?

Today is one of those days when just hating the disorder takes everything out of me. Nothing else can exist. Nothing else can hold my attention. All I have is this burning rage and despair at something that I can’t ever quite figure out. It’s always at least two steps ahead of me.

When will it leave?

I hope your day has been kind.

Interrupted

22 Aug

Sometimes sadness is limitless isn’t it?
They say it’s like a wave, how it washes over you and just when you think the worst of it has passed, just when you manage to catch your breath, it strikes again and you lose your balance. It’s relentless like that. I find that to be a true representation right now. Although I also think I have been sad for a long time and despite all my attempts to run from it or disguise it, it has always still been there. I once thought that the Anorexia was going to be this thing that could free me from the sadness, that somehow me being smaller would make the hurt smaller. I never knew how alive it would make it become instead. At some point I am going to have to figure out a way to exist with the things that are wrong but right now I have to acknowledge that I am probably not in a place where I am capable of doing that. It’s not safe enough. Just feeling it for a few hours this morning without anywhere to hide made me want to get in the car and leave. I wanted to get away from myself and the terrible things my mind was telling me. It was just downright horrible. In the end I pulled it together and went to my appointment at the unit. That in itself was hard. It meant being weighed and talking, neither of those things filled me with much optimism. However it was good to touch base with my therapist, talk about what’s going to happen, what’s been happening. I want to say that after today I am sure that I am making the right decision to go inpatient but I don’t think I ever will be until I am probably more to the end of the admission, when I reach that point where there is hope again. I know there can be a life after this but sometimes its really hard to remember that.

In the next few weeks I have quite a few things to do before I go. A bed won’t be available till the last week in September, so for now it’s just going to be about keeping myself safe and maintaining where I’m at. The most devastating thing that I found out today about all this is that I won’t be able to enrol this September. I am going to have to take the semester off and I know you all know how much I really didn’t want to do that, how much it scares me! But there is no other option. If I want to do treatment then this is the way it’s going to have to be. I feel like history has the potential to repeat itself though, that I will take time off and never get back there. I don’t want to lose this forever. It means too much to me and I’ve worked too hard. I need my degree.

It’s good though because I have something to work towards. There is a life that I will need to get back to and I hope that that will be enough to see me through the harder times that are going to be coming my way. This is one more interruption to my story but it is not the end.

I hope you are being good to yourselves today.

Remembering the Family/Friends

21 Aug

I always thought that an Eating Disorder was a very personal affair. It’s something that happens to you or by you and no one else is really involved. In fact, I think that’s one of the things that always drew me back to it. I could take what was hurting me and deal with it in a very quiet and internal way. Instead of crying or being angry when crappy things happened, I went further into myself, restricted a little more and told myself that it was best for everyone, that by doing this it meant that I didn’t hurt worry or hurt those that loved me. In the beginning you don’t realise how much this will hurt them even more. I know that it’s not easy watching the ones you love destroy themselves and feeling entirely powerless to change anything but that’s what I’ve been making everyone around me do for years. I thought I was suffering alone but I wasn’t. I have made others suffer too. I have left them living in that space where they are constantly waiting for the eventuality that I might not be here. I feel cruel when I think about it. I think we all want to think the Eating Disorder is only ours but it isn’t. It belongs to everyone who knows you because it continues to take parts of you away from them. It’s making them suffer the loss of parts of you daily and ultimately if you don’t recover, you make them have to grieve the actual loss of your life. Shouldn’t that be motivation enough to get better? Yes…it should, but it rarely is. Instead we have to find the motivation from somewhere else and for me that place is one of feeling utterly broken in mind and spirit. There is something oddly freeing when you are broken down like that. You begin to see that despite things being that bad, somehow you are still breathing and if that’s possible, then maybe other things are possible too.

I don’t know how this information is going to help me or if it even will. I guess more than anything I wanted to acknowledge that an Eating Disorder is not a disorder in which it only feeds on the host. It destroys everything that comes into contact with it. Mothers are hated, sisters resented, friends ignored…anybody that could give a crap becomes a threat and that is not ok if Anorexia wants to cling on to you. So if you do know someone who is struggling then please try to understand that it is not anything you have done or not done…it is this disease and its primary focus of isolating your loved one. Don’t give up on them, no matter how much they beg you to leave me them be, to not fight for them, don’t listen. When the day comes and they realise the brutality of their Eating Disorder and how much they want it gone, they will need you. They will need you to be stronger than you have ever been before because you are about to go head to head with a monster that is very capable of taking the life of your loved one if they were to let it.

In recovery it is so important to be able to reach out and to feel loved. I am reminded today that I am loved by friends who are being incredibly supportive right now. I am lucky. Despite all the bridges I have burnt there are people who have continued to rise up out of those ashes and still offer their hand in the hope that this time I will take it. I am trying to hold on that, to them.

There is a Plan

18 Aug

It’s been one of those days that has been emotionally very trying but for no apparent reason what so ever. It started off badly courtesy of the scale, a thrown off routine and a mirror image which told me the only thing that I should be doing today was either hurting myself or going back to bed. I had no intention of following through with either of those things and figured that the only way I was going to get through the morning was to just push through. So that’s what I did. I straightened the flat, answered messages and then tackled the whole showering thing. It’s hard to see my body at the moment. It’s hard seeing it, feeling it’s too big and knowing that I am about to do something that’s going to make it even bigger. I hate that it bothers me, you know? I let it be something that defines my day but I know that it is more to do with how I am mentally then the way I actually look. Yet in the moment, I can’t figure out that the reasons my jeans horrible today is not because I have gained x amount of weight during the night, but it’s because I am anxious about something or my mood is in dark place.

Anyway after that whole crappiness of the morning, my Nurse from the unit rang me. Firstly I was just thankful that I wasn’t going to have to call her again because to be quite blunt I really don’t like doing it. I feel like I’m bothering people when I call and so it does make me uncomfortable. I was also relieved because it meant that I could have that conversation which I’ve needed to have these last couple of weeks. The one about inpatient treatment. As in stands, I am on the waiting list and that admission could potentially be a few weeks away. I’m not that surprised considering that it’s the only unit in the county but it’s going to be difficult to not talk myself out of treatment in the meantime. I suppose the plan isn’t really solid yet, but I know what treatment programme I’ll be doing, I’m going to work out roughly how long my stay will be there at the end of the week and yea…I’m expecting it to be hard. I am aware that other risk factors have the potential to get worse before and when I get there but I think just being aware of that is ahead of where I started last time. I’m not starting from scratch. I’m not walking into treatment like I was last time when I was angry, defeated and mostly in denial. I just have to get through this period as best and as safely as possible. Luckily I have a pretty good care team that are trying to do their best by me and I am giving my bloody best to fight against those thoughts which tell me to shut down.

The rest of the day went from moments of feeling that I was doing ok to wanting to crawl into a hole and not come out. It’s kind of hard tracking these ups and downs but I just keep holding on to at least now I have an idea what’s going to happen. I have a weapon that’s coming which is going to help me in my search for recovery. On those days when I can’t see an end, that is the thing that I need to hold on to. I also managed to finish the emergency letter this afternoon and I think I’ve covered all the things that I might want to hear in those moments when giving up seems like the better option. Giving up is never the better option. I had one regret when I left treatment last time and that was that I didn’t use it the best way that I could. For the most part I was already to flee and in the end I started to screw around with the process. I altered my meal plan and didn’t tell them because I thought I knew better…I didn’t. I was just going back to what was safe and as soon as I started doing that it was always going to be harder to stop behaviours those behaviours again. Ultimately I couldn’t but I hope that this time I can walk away at the end with no regrets and be able to look myself in the eyes and know that I gave myself the best chance I could. I’m scared but that’s ok. A bit of fear never hurt anyone. Being paralysed by that fear did.

I hope your day has been kind to you.

Family Relationships

17 Aug

Relationships are hard work and my family is beginning to show the signs of strain. There is a lot going on right now and everyone is kind of struggling here. My Mother is taking on most of the pressure and in truth I don’t know how much longer she will last without having some kind of major meltdown. Already I see her reverting back to the way she once was when I was younger. I should explain…When I was 14 my aunt died suddenly. One minute she was fine and the next she wasn’t here anymore because of a brain haemorrhage. We could never have seen it coming and it broke us. We went from being a family to fracturing into all these separate units that didn’t know how to communicate with each other anymore. My Sister ended up leaving, my brother just distanced himself and My Mother completely lost it. At the time I thought I could manage her mood swings and the anger that she took out on my little brother. I thought if I waited it out long enough then she would be my Mum again but that never happened. Something in our relationship changed. I became someone for her to talk to about things I wasn’t supposed to hear. In the end I became to be the replacement for my aunt…her best friend. But I couldn’t be that person because I was a kid.

Somehow we managed to get through my adolescence in one piece, my sister came home, my brother didn’t really get his shit together but close enough. I thought they were going to be fine and if they weren’t fine then at least they weren’t as broken anymore. They were all standing together again whatever that may have meant. Obviously I took a hit with the mental health stuff but I always saw that as separate. The random tears and anger dried up and life carried on going. I guess I began to saw the current cracks a few months ago. The little fights, the hurt feelings at a misinterpretation of a conversation…it kept building. My Mother went back to what I called her “Childhood ways” and by that I mean she reverted back to being a child. Lashing out, mocking, only ever seeing things from her point of view. I kept my distance from that side. Chose not to engage. Chose not be the person that I had had to be in my teens. Last night I began to think that my passivity might not have been a good thing. I had two phone calls and in both the talks ended with the other person on the brink of tears. My Sister is hurt, worried, scared and pregnant and My Mother is at the end of her tether. I’m not sure how I fix it. They are both so alike and yet in these circumstances it is not a good thing. The banter with the edge has turned in to losing their tempers with each other entirely and continuously my Sister is the one to make the first move to repair those rifts. Last night she told me she couldn’t do it anymore, that she shouldn’t have to and to be fair I agree with her. My Mother is doing the same shit she’s always done but it is only now that my Sister is beginning to see that too. Instead of validating my own feelings, all that it has done has made me desperately sad for both of them. I can exist with little contact, they can’t.

I told my Mum that she needs to get some help, find someone to talk to who can be objective and whose words she won’t use as ammunition at a later date. She said she would think about it, so I hope that she does.

Today didn’t fair much better in terms of the relationships either. We all went to my little brothers martial arts competition today and by the end of it, despite that they had put last night behind them, the same shit happened again. My sister wanted to leave (she was driving) but we had to stay for the entire thing (we didn’t) and by the end of the afternoon it was either get in the car or I’m leaving without you. We drove home mostly in silence. My sister was trying to hold back tears, my Mother was doing the whole silent treatment thing and my brother was complaining about being made to leave before falling asleep. I just sat there, not really knowing what to say, knowing that whatever I did say it was probably going to make things worse. It was painful! I was also completely exhausted by this point. My day had started at 5:30am, food had not exactly been great and as the stress built, my body image began to get worse. I still don’t know why it does that. Every time something negative comes my way, my first thought is that I would feel better if I was smaller. If I wasn’t so fat then it would all be ok. Logically I know that that is complete crap and yet my mind still goes there. Weird, right?

As far as treatment goes and what that is going to look like, I still don’t know. Limbo continues to be pretty much my present right now. I have two fears about that; the first is that I will talk myself out of help completely and remove myself from even the level I’m at now because that’s what happens when I reach a certain point. The second is that it will be left too long and by the time things do start moving, the new semester will have started and I may have to make the choice between treatment and enrolment. I was hoping that it wouldn’t come to that, that at the very least I would be stable enough to juggle both treatment and classes with the use of leave. It might still be a possibility but again, it’s a conversation that I still need to have with my team.

It’s been a long weekend and I am ridiculously glad that it’s over.
I hope yours has been good to you though.

Emergency Letter

15 Aug

The hopelessness has lessened today and the relief is overwhelming. To just be able to think a little clearer has helped me to become more focused on what I want to achieve. I don’t know what has been the thing that has helped but I am not about to argue its existence. If hope wants to make a surprise visit then I’m not going to shut the door in its face. So whilst I have been like this I thought I would try to be pro-active, figure out some stuff or at least attempt to find out where everything is standing. My first port was to call the unit and speak to my therapist. I needed to have a conversation with her and I guess get some reassurance, basically what I wanted was for someone to tell me that I am not being ridiculous. Unfortunately she was not in the office today so…obviously that didn’t happen.

That was fine though.

I had some work to distract me with and when that failed I started to write an emergency letter to myself. The emergency letter is titled “Read me when you freak out and want to give up” and it pretty much contains what is said in the title. It’s something that I can turn to when I start to doubt myself, or things get too uncomfortable. It’s purpose will be for those moments when I think I want Anorexia more than I want life or health. The hope is that I’ll never need it but if I do then it is something that will steer back on the path that I am meant to be on and not the one created by fear and illness. I really recommend you guys having a go at writing one of these too because at the very least it might remind you of all the reasons why you’re choosing recovery. One of the things that I say to myself is that although I might be in pain during the recovery process, it is nothing compared to the pain that I feel daily. At least that pain will lead to outcome that may be positive. At least you won’t be laying awake all night trying to figure out which cramp is the sign that your body is going to fail. Which ache is the one that makes your heart fail. You see this is the thing, this disorder is one that has stakes which are ridiculously high. This isn’t some childish game in which the consequences are minor. Everyday that we engage in this and listen to that voice and then act on that voice, is another day in which we might not make the full 24 hours. That’s not being dramatic…that’s just realistic.

I think it’s important that we remember that and don’t let ourselves lose sight of it.

This evening, I got to do one of my favourite things in the world and that was laughing. It didn’t start off well but by the end of it, my face hurt from smiling. It’s moment like that where I am firstly ridiculously grateful for the people in my life who help make that happen but also entirely sure that recovery is the only decision I can make. I miss laughing too much to stay stuck. Yesterday I wanted to run myself so deep into the disorder so that I couldn’t feel anything anymore. I didn’t even want to feel anything positive. Today though, feeling a good thing, that’s worth it. 5 minutes of laughter is worth 3 days of sadness. So that’s another thing I really recommend…Laughing!

It really helps.
I hope you have had a day that was good to you.

Seriously Not Zen

14 Aug

The pressure that I feel under right now is getting to be a little too overwhelming and I can’t keep pretending to hold it together for the sake of everyone else. I have to still appear to me even though I don’t feel like me anymore. The people in my life keep asking me about treatment and on my behalf or because they’re scared they are getting frustrated about how things are not moving as quick as they’d like. I too have those frustrations but I cannot let those be shown because what’s it going to achieve? If I start freaking out about how little time it feels like I have left to fix this or how with each passing day I am living through a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions because I don’t know what’s going to happen, well it’s not going to help anyone is it? It’s not going to change it. But I don’t have it in me to keep up those appearance anymore of not really caring that much about it or that I am all zen and shit. I’m not. I spend every moment alone constantly running it through my mind. I talk non stop to myself in the car or cry randomly in the middle of the day and then I try to find a way to convince myself that I don’t actually need to go into treatment. I think I’m preparing myself for if it doesn’t happen…It’s not like I’m unwell or anything. I’m just struggling…but I’m fine.

I think I’m over thinking and it quite possibly could drive me completely insane before the Anorexia has the chance to do so.

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