I’m ashamed to write that I have been letting Anorexia get into my head…more so than usual these last couple of days. I have retreated from the people around me. Gone quiet and insular. I had this thought of ‘what if I just stopped trying?’ and somehow that thought became me letting go of fighting the voice that hates me and giving into it. In case you were wondering whether or not it does make anything better, going back? It really doesn’t. You see I thought letting go meant that I would get some quiet in my head. I would stop hating so much. I could give from morning till night in a relatively stable manner.
None of that happened.
The moment I stopped then it was like chaos broke out. Suddenly I was obsessively counting numbers, analysing, bargaining, excusing, belittling and just downright putting my mind through hell. Part of me is left thinking ‘well…what not?’ Recovery is proving too difficult, not recovering is just as hellish…how do I live? How do I get through my day this way?
I need something solid to hold on to right now.
I don’t know what that thing is. The future seems abstract rather than something that is dependant on me being healthy. It is important for me to be healthy otherwise I won’t be able to continue with my degree or work the jobs that I want to work. I know it all. I know what I have to do, what I want, what I run the risk of losing and yet I am here…and it still just bloody hurts.
I told my friend last night who also has struggles with food that she would never be able to feel comfortable within her own skin until she let herself maintain a healthy weight for a while. The comfort comes later…the acceptance comes later. I was telling her this and believing it and yet there is still that bit that exists in me that says I am the exception. I should be able to feel comfortable first. I don’t need to get to a healthy weight and maintain it first. The rule doesn’t apply to me.
I’m not sure whether that’s arrogance or delusional. Either way as I type it, I know that it is not logical or real.
One of the things that I was asked to do this week was to keep a food diary. I really struggle with this because writing down what I eat only serves to make me feel more ashamed, however I recognise that it is a tool needed right now so that my therapist can see how things are.
I wish I had more positive news for you. I am aware that this blog has gotten a little negative lately. As always I am trying to be honest with you and what I realising is that this blog is about recovery and recovery is not this one step to the next in an upward motion. Sometimes its frustrating and being stuck and going backwards. Hopefully soon things will start to look that way again.
I hope your day has been good to you.
I did a challenge today that I have been trying to do for months! Sure I could think of all the ways that I made it fit the Anorexia and how I made it safe, but I still did it. I keep thinking that maybe even when I feel like I have nothing left to give, there is still something inside of me that refuses to let me give up on myself. I am not ready to give up on me or my future. I won’t sign myself off for a life that is hurting and hospitals and one sickness after the other. I stopped seeing that I was worthy of recovery and I kept wondering who was I to think that I deserved anything better than what the Eating Disorder could offer me. I’ve been wrong to think that.
The fear of losing my freedom or having to give it up again has unsettled me. Time and time again I have worked too hard to get it back, only to have it gone again. I’m not ready to let that happen. I have to figure out a way to live and by living I mean that I need to find a way to recover. At home and mostly on my own. Surely there is an untapped source of energy that I can call upon right now. It’s just a puzzle that needs solving, right?
Going into treatment the first time was one of the hardest decisions I made, staying in treatment was the hardest. I’m hoping that I can stop whatever this is before I have to make those choices again. I have watched so many people around me get sick again, go back in, get better and continue to repeat the cycle and I have also watched people who just got better. People who are living with the eating disorder only whispering at them rather than screaming. If I can’t have silence then I want that. This semi state of recovery or pseudo recovery, or whatever you want to call it is not a place that I want to be in. It never was and it never will be.
Here’s the thing, we can be pissed at ourselves for losing so much of our lives to the Eating Disorder and we can also be pissed that we aren’t better yet. That’s ok. What isn’t ok is for that to become an excuse to not try anymore. We may all be tired of fighting this battle daily but we are not allowed to give up. It’s not ok to sit back and watch whilst this happens to us and do nothing about it. We are not victims. A victim to me implies powerlessness and I promise that you and me are more powerful than we will ever believe possible.
You can do this.
I hope your day has been kind to you.
Lets have a chat.
It’s been two years since I first sat down and wrote a letter to say goodbye to you. I was ready to end our decade long relationship and find a way to live on my own without you. Yet here you are…still present, still trying to devour my soul and destroy my body. Did I not make it clear enough that you were not wanted? Did you doubt my words or my sincerity? No one made me give you up, no one made me choose between you or myself. Those were my choices. It was me that didn’t want you! I still don’t. You have worked so damn hard to ruin me, to make me reliant on you and believe that without you then life cannot go on. However I know that life can only go on when you no longer hold a place in my head or heart. I thought I needed you but I don’t. I am enough of my own. I am enough.
I admit there are days when the sadness becomes too great and I search for you, seeking safety in the arms who once held me so comfortably. I become unsure, afraid or anything too difficult and I expect you to be prepared with an answer for me. You never fail to be waiting for me but you have been without answers for too long a time now. I wanted you to save me. You couldn’t save me though…you could break me apart but asking you to pick up those pieces and put them back together again was something you was never going to be capable of doing. It took me a long time to see that and maybe it was because I didn’t want to…maybe I didn’t want to believe that the way to fix myself was far more complicated then starving myself. I fell for every line you ever fed me and only I can take responsibility for that. I thought I was and always would be stronger than you and I was far too arrogant to believe that you would never be able to claim any real sense of power. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t stupid enough to get sick but you don’t care how smart a person is…you’ll go after anyone won’t you? You’ll do whatever it takes to make them turn their own thoughts against themselves. How do you do that?
In my first letter I said that I would miss you and I am sure that I would if you gave me the chance to, but I also know that I would never miss you enough to want you back. I don’t cry at the thought of you leaving me, I cry because I worry that you won’t. You weren’t supposed to happen and when you did, you weren’t supposed to stay this long. You took my childhood, my adolescent and the start of my adulthood. You have taken my health and strength and at times all of my hope. Why would I still want you? Haven’t you taken enough yet?
I need you to leave. I need for us to not be a story anymore. If we keep going, if we keep up this relationship then I won’t live. I won’t reach 30. I won’t fall in love. I won’t finish my degree. I won’t travel to random places. I won’t eat just because I want to. I won’t have a family. I won’t have friends.
You are not compatible with life.
You never were. I was just too hurt to really ever see that. I didn’t want life back then. I didn’t want to feel anything and you offered me that. You made my emotions less, you made my dreams less, you made me less. But you couldn’t stop. You didn’t know how.
This has to end Anorexia.
I don’t want to fight you anymore. I don’t want to have to watch my back all the time, terrified that the moment I drop my guard you will be there, waiting to climb back into my life. I don’t need you.
I am beyond trying to shout you down. I know that my voice is not loud enough. I know that you still own too much of a piece of me for me to win those head games you wish for me to engage in. So I am begging you with everything I have left. Let me go! Just let me go. We don’t have to do this anymore.
The last few days have been a little hectic and maybe for the first time in a while I am relieved that is now the weekend. I’ll admit that my body and mind need to get some rest otherwise I’m not going to last much longer. I feel like I’m reaching a breaking point soon, the tiredness overwhelming me and my emotions have completely developed a will of their own. I can’t keep up. I go from compensating with being overly smiley and engaging to tears that I can’t control. It’s confusing mostly.
The Eating Disorder continues to beat me down. I don’t know what it wants from me anymore. Haven’t I given it everything already? Has it taken enough from me? Sometimes something catches me off guard and the sadness that follows makes the ground feel like its completely unstable. For instance last night, I went to a community performance which, in itself was amazing. It was a variety thing, so some sketches, music and dancing etc. I sat there and at some point between several of the dance acts I began to ache for how I once was able to move like that. I used to have the energy to throw myself around and not worry that at any point my body could just fail me. Now I get tired walking up the stairs. I get dizzy in the shower. I can’t catch my breath when I go to the supermarket. It all takes an amount of effort that I have drained from myself. Did I really once believe that being thinner would make me stronger? That it would make me run faster and move quicker? I did. I confused thin with power and strength. By the end of the night I wanted to sit down with all those little dancers and tell them that their bodies are amazing, that they are enough and not too much. I wanted to tell them that an Eating Disorder is never something to want, thin is not something to aspire to. Enjoy your bodies, enjoy how they move and stretch and allow you to express whatever it is that inside of you. Don’t give that up. Don’t let it be taken from you!
I kept hoping that it would motivate me…in fact I’ve looked for motivation in any place I could find this week and yet I still have come up short. On Wednesday at group I got called out. There were truths that needed to be said and I needed to hear any yet somehow still they weren’t enough. I deflected. I avoided. I apologised for doing both and then continued to do them. Why am I doing this?
This morning was my appointment at the unit and it is fair to say that all I could say was that I was stuck. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know how to move forward or reach my targets. I’m lost in the Anorexia and it fills up all of my senses. There is little room for anything else. She asked me if I had thought of Inpatient…quite honestly it isn’t something that I feel like I could do again. That’s fine for now. They can’t force me. I don’t think I’m at that point of needing to re-enter treatment. I think I just have to be very aware that the possibility of it is not that far away and so if I’m going to get my shit together and make changes then it has to happen very quickly. Not just for my physical health but also because mentally I’m not sure how much longer I can go on living with the Eating Disorder being this brutal on me.
It’s been a difficult week and instead of getting closer to where I want to be, I just appear to be moving further away. However on a positive note, I have finally moved into my new place! It is kind of anxiety provoking but I think it’s just going to be about letting time heal those wounds. It is really good though to have my own space. To do and be as I want to be without feeling like I need to be this performing monkey who has to continuously be switched on. I can let it go…or at least I will be able to as soon as I can let myself relax a little.
It will get easier I’m sure.
I hope your day has been good for you.
Do you ever have those days when everything starts off pretty well, in fact so well that it is pleasantly surprising you a little bit? Everything is kind of going your way, your powering through your to-do lists and feeling rather satisfied with yourself. Then out of nowhere…it just falls apart. That was how my day played out today.
I got so much done this morning. I kicked it all off with the school run and ended up tying up a lot of loose ends that were left over from moving. By 11:30am things were looking pretty damn positive. Mentally things had also shifted a little from yesterday. I was feeling more sure of my decision to choose recovery after reading several blog posts from The Hunger Artist and was coming to realise that it doesn’t matter how long I put it off, it’s still going to hurt, there is never going to be a right time and more importantly it was possible to change despite how long I’ve lived with this. I was in a good headspace.
Then, something started to chip away at that thought.
Coffee turned into a lunch that I couldn’t (wouldn’t) do. I sat there and didn’t order lunch, telling my friends that I would get something later. I did but it’s fair to say that I was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t just do the random decision to eat out.
I shook it of though. Small steps right?
It was hard to ignore the tiredness and aching that was setting in by that point though. It was a struggle to breathe or think. It was an effort to stay on my feet. My chest hurt. I wanted to pack all this in there and then and say it didn’t matter. Nothing about Anorexia mattered and all that did was my health. That was all I wanted…I wanted to be well and feel physically capable of being a person in their mid-twenties. If I could have just held on to that thought…but it slipped out my grasp once again whenever it got too close to put it to the test.
Still, it was ok. I could do better at dinner I thought.
I went home to my new flat thinking that I could at least finally organise the chaos that has been all around me for the last few weeks…but no. The carpet guy seems to be stuck in Germany so will not be able to come till Wednesday! Suddenly I was just really tired and that’s when the tears started. I’m not a crier but it felt like something just snapped inside of me. Every thing that was wrong came out in that moment. The flat, the upheaval of my life, the eating disorder, recovery, the lack of recovery, the continuous effort that it takes to get up each morning and take another step into a world that I an constantly doubting.
It just bloody hurt.
So I came back to my parents. Back to a place that’s getting harder to live in and be in. My family is a mess at the moment and sometimes it feels like we are splitting into people that no longer make up this unit anymore.
I’m not sure how we move forward. I’m not sure how I do either. I just know that I have to. I don’t have it in me to carry on fighting this anymore. I came so close to just running my car off the road tonight and it scared me. I am scaring me.
I hope your day has been good to you.
As predicted I have suffered today. The exhaustion is getting more overwhelming the longer I let this carry on and the damage that I am doing is beginning to take its toll. I’ve been so physically tired that mostly it has made me nauseaus. A headache has not left me at all and to really shove it into pesepctive I have felt like I’m struggling to breathe. How did I let it get to the point where just breathing seems like too much of an effort? I’ve been trying to get a grip on it and finally got back to challenging myself. This happened on Friday lunchtime and afterwards I did that whole 1 minute thing where I have to just notice what I’m thinking and feeling without immediately trying to distract myself from it. It was hard and horrible. I felt untethered, as though my entire self was going to spin up out of my chair and get lost somewhere up in the sky, unable to ever find my feet again. Obviously I didn’t and I must remember that every time I do it. What I also noticed was that although I felt crappy after my challenge, nothing terrible did happen. I didn’t self implode. I didn’t die. It didn’t make me double in size right then and there. All I felt was a little bit sick afterwards, but whether that was more anxiety fuelled then a physical reaction, I couldn’t tell you. Either way by the time dinner came around and I started to worry about that, the lunch issue had been replaced. Therefore it doesn’t last forever…the uncomfortableness that is. It could also quite possibly mean that there is always something that I will find to worry about regardless of what it is. Is it me or just the Eating Disorder trying to scramble around for any bit of power that it can get hold of? Maybe it’s both.
As for yesterday, even though as I said it was a good day, there is nothing like being at a festival to bring home how much an eating disorder restricts you. There were all these foods that I know that I used to like but cannot remember the last time I ever had them. I wanted to just try one thing that scared me but this voice in my head said “No! You’re working. If you eat that and can’t handle it then what are you going to do? There is still a job that needs to be done and you can’t just leave”. So I didn’t. I listened to that voice. On reflection it’s quite possible that was the ED talking rather than an actual rational thought from me. In the end I ate too little, drank too little and ran around like an idiot. Again I was being fuelled by the adrenaline rather than anything substanstial and I hated every minute of it. I used to love that feeling but now…now it just reminds of being ill and I don’t want that kind of reminder.
I have taken it easier on myself today and have spent the afternoon catching up on some work online, so sitting down mainly. I need to be back on my feet tomorrow as my carpets are finally being laid, which means that I can get into my new place, build my furniture and start the process of beginning to settle there. I am still anxious but I just need to not let it get the better of me. As someone told me the other day, “something bad happened to you but that was one thing in all the years that you have lived alone”. I realised how right they were, ok not quite right but that’s a whole separate issue, but you see my (or their) point. I’ve also tried to eat a little better today and bought the other challenge that I plan to do this week from the supermarket.
As low and as shite as I feel today it is not a deterrent from trying to get better. If anything it motivates me more because I realise that I do not want to spend the rest of my life living like this. Taking part in some kind of trade off which means that in order to rise to the demands of one day, I have to give over the next day in order to recover from it. I am restoring my health because being ill means having a miserable existence and before I can even begin to get my mind back from the grip of Anorexia then I have to restore my weight. Unfortunately that’s the order that it has to go in and not me or anyone else can argue or deny that.
I hope your day has been kind to you.