It’s home leave weekend this week. I have needed this time away from the ward to just be…It’s so easy to get caught up in the world there that you forget there is something beyond those walls and the programme that you chose. I didn’t meet the ward target to get the leave but still told my nurse that I needed meds to leave and because he is kind of new and my actual nurse was away, it went unquestioned. I spent all of Thursday and up till Friday morning waiting for them to realise but they didn’t, or maybe they did and figured that I needed the time out too. For the amount of weight that I needed to gain from my admission, it has taken an unbelievably long time. I am still too afraid to let the control I place on myself go completely. When it comes to food, I do the minimum that is expected of me. I avoid those meal increases that were put in place to get me there quicker. Part of me knows that I am cheating myself. I cheat myself every night when I pour my milk down my bedroom sink rather than drinking it. In the scheme of things it such a small thing to do but it is a mental trap that I cannot get out of. I try…and then I tell myself it’s not the biggest battle to fight here, don’t twist yourself up in knots over it. Yet the guilt I feel does hurt. I should tell someone but I worry they will ask me to leave treatment and I am so close to finishing this properly that I don’t want to take an early discharge. I know it will not help me sustain this life afterwards…although again, I don’t know what this life is.
Am I even in recovery? Have I ever been?
I am doing relapse prevention work with my team and it was asked to me by another patient the other day, “How can you do relapse prevention if you are not in recovery?”. It made me pause and wonder. I keep calling and thinking of this admission as a relapse from the last time, but what if it isn’t? I was never in recovery last time. Those two years between my first admission in treatment and this one, I was simply trying to learn to live with Anorexia. I was never fighting it as such and in those last couple of months of summer, it was sitting back and letting the Eating Disorder strip everything away. I had a crisis BMI but it stopped being important. Somehow I convinced myself that that BMI was suddenly sustainable for life and it may have been for a while but not for long. Don’t get me wrong it’s been lower and maybe that is why it has been harder to accept how unwell that I let myself become. I couldn’t see it when I looked in the mirror. I still, looking back can’t see it in the photos that were taken of me. It’s hard to accept weight gain when you don’t believe that you need to gain weight despite what everyone around you is telling you and despite the numbers that are presented to you. Being at a higher number feels strange. The target this time round is higher than the last one because I wanted to get to healthy but being at healthy (or very close) is harder to deal with than I thought it would be. My world isn’t crashing down because of it but it feels like I am so tightly wound that at any point it could. I’m still avoiding mirrors but I know that pretty soon the body image work that I began a few weeks ago will lead to sessions on mirror exposure. I am dreading the day when that happens, when I have to actually look at myself rather than giving the mirror a quick glance over. It makes my insides squirm whenever I think about it. How do people live with this amount of self-hatred everyday? Strangely enough the one part of myself that I am terrified of looking at is my eyes. I have avoided them for so long because I do not want to see what they hold there. I am of the belief that the eyes will tell you more about a person than any other part of their body and I don’t want to see what’s inside of me. I fear it will be beyond ugly.
Leave has gone well though. It has been nice being home, even if it takes me most of my time to reclaim my space again. I finally get my flat to have that lived in feeling rather than an abandoned one and then I have to go back. Mostly I’ve stayed at home. Working through the day on Friday from my living room, having family round yesterday and waiting for my new bed to be delivered (It’s an amazing bed). Today I am going out to meet a friend in town for a coffee and catch up. It’s nice to do normal things. It’s nice to not be the patient for a while. As for food whilst I have been gone…it is hard to know. I think I’ve eaten mostly on plan but I have to come to see that I can not truly tell. In this I am too dependant on the scales to tell me if I have done enough or not. I need them to be my guide and yet I hate that. Surely I should know by now. Surely I should be an expert in this. It was tempting to use my own scales this morning to check but that would have been a bad idea. They are more than likely different to what the scales at the hospital would be and come weight day tomorrow that would screw with my head too much. Maybe that is something to take, that I don’t go looking for and engaging in behaviours that are only going to hurt me anymore. I don’t expose myself to that form of self-torture anymore.
I am getting better but not as better as I wanted to be.
I hope your day is good to you.