There are many reasons why I don’t particularly like Anorexia and for the most part they are pretty obvious. I don’t like being cold all the time or having no energy. I don’t like the lack of concentration or the dizzy spells. I don’t like being tired or forcing my body into a shape that it wasn’t meant to be in order to please some voice in my head that tells me its the only way that I’m going to live. But the one thing that pisses me off the most is it’s ability to turn me from a completely rational adult into a child without the space of about 10 seconds. I don’t like that it turns me into a person that I’m not.
Today I had my first work Christmas lunch (the next ones tomorrow) and it’s fair to say that there has been a fair amount of anxiety involved about the whole thing. I was determined though that I was going to go to do this. I had a look at the menu last night and made a decision on the soup, which yes is safe but what I thought I could handle at this point. My morning meeting kept me adequately busy and distracted but it was there…the countdown. 1 hour to go…37 minutes…18 minutes…3 minutes. It’s time. I had been nervous for two reasons, the first was that it was going out for lunch, I wasn’t in control, unknown calories blah blah blah. The second reason was because one of the people I was going with also struggles with her eating and this is quite a trigger for me. I hate to admit that but seeing other people engage in behaviours or have trouble with food makes me extremely angsty and turns the volume of the disorder up full blast. We sat down, we chatted, we looked at the menu. It was all normal but then I had this thought that I don’t want to say what I’m having first because I don’t want her to have the same as me because I know what I’m having is not enough for a meal and I don’t want her to restrict too. So, everyone said what they were having and then I said what I was having which all seemed fine, but then the waiter came and she ended up ordering the same as me just with a different side dish. I was annoyed and I have no idea why…I think it comes from the pressure. It’s as though there was now this expectation on me to finish my soup, so she felt ok finishing hers and I had to pretend like every fibre in my body didn’t want to fling the dish across the room and also I didn’t want to be comparing how much I ate with her. If I ate more it was going to be bad, if I ate less it was still going to be bad, if we ate the same…yep! it was still going to be bad. Really, logically, it didn’t/doesn’t matter. Yet I forced my eyes to stay on my own dinner and engaged in my own little song and dance routine of getting through a dinner with other people whilst I’m really anxious, which in essence means making jokes and distracting myself enough to forget that I’m supposed to be eating. I’m home now and trying to think what it was that happened there…was the competitive side (I really hope not!!!)? or was it that there is this expectation for me to eat as little as possible. I’m not sure.
Strangely it reminded me when I was back in treatment and we used to have lunch cookery groups. There were 4 of us in that group at the time and each week we had to choose a meal between ourselves, shop for it, cook it then eat it. It was always a struggle and I wasn’t the easiest person to have in the group because there were so many things I was not ok with eating. One week we had fajitas and me and one girl did the prep whilst the other women cooked it. The girl got really stressed because she had trouble coping with other people cooking food (granted they were making it wrong and it wasn’t turning out very well) and I realised that this is where I was going to have to be stronger than I felt capable of. It was like I wasn’t allowed to freak out about this new food because she was freaking out and she needed reassurances. I had been in treatment the longest and was closer to getting towards discharge and in some ways when you get to that point, other people look to you for some kind of guidance and you have to live up to that. And now I just don’t want that pressure anymore. I don’t want to have to force myself to go through feeling like crap just so that I don’t trigger someone else. I don’t want to stick to the script that says “You’re in recovery so you have to be completely ok with food now” or “You’re anorexic, you’re not supposed to eat”.
Am I making sense?
The afternoon was actually ok though which is always welcome. I got to another meeting, re-checked all my assignments and got them submitted and facilitated a creative workshop, where I basically did no work and just chatted with people about very random and amusing things. My moods lifting again after crashing yesterday morning. I’m hoping I can make it last. I want that to happen so very badly.
Hope your day treated you well.