To eat or not to eat, that is the question.
Throughout recovery that is the question always on my mind. When something goes wrong, when my stomach feels sick or when my weight shoots up unexpectedly, my first thought is to not eat. My second is self-harm. Currently I’m in a constant state of frustration; outside I hide it well, but I’m like a volcano ready to erupt and one false move can lead to a massive global wipe-out explosion for me.
Thus far, this year – a whole 2 months, I’ve not not eaten. Through my knocks and hiccups, I’ve powered through, kept eating and stuck to my meal plan. It’s been excruciatingly difficult. The overwhelming voice in my mind screams at me to not eat, so that when things go wrong or I feel bad, I don’t have the energy to feel worse about it.
I was told this journey would be difficult but I didn’t expect to get so hard and difficult that I felt I couldn’t take it and then it get even worse. When I thought it had reached the hardest point it got harder. As I’m writing this I’m at the hardest point yet, I’m told it’ll get easier, but right now I’m preparing for it to get worse.
I hurt myself regularly and experience daily suicidal thoughts. In rationality and sympathy for myself I guess it isn’t entirely over dramatic to think and feel this way given what I’m trying to attempt. I’m trying to change my entire life, everything about it. Anorexia was and is still a big part of my life. When I’m recovered I hope to continue having Anorexia in my life but for the RIGHT reasons; such as to raise awareness and help others. Not as an illness.
Trying to get rid of Anorexia is very difficult; old habits die hard. My parents were hard-core, long-term smokers and after the death of a few family members, they decided to quit. One thing I always remember my Mam relaying to me is how she always craved a cigarette even years after giving up. Old habits die so hard.
As I eat more, and my hormones come back I find I’m so emotional. I cried a lot anyway but now it seems the smallest things prove the biggest mountains and my eyes just do not want to stay dry. In contrast I can also laugh now. Like properly laugh, and that’s something I haven’t genuinely done in years. The other week my boyfriend come home after a few nights away from work and I showed him a picture of our dog. I couldn’t stop laughing. There was nothing particularly funny about the picture. I was just happy, I guess. And I laughed, and I laughed, and I laughed. I couldn’t stop. Tears formed in my eyes! If my boyfriend hasn’t already thought I’d lost the plot, I’d be sure he thought it then.
For me personally, I’ve found solace in certain foods. Those foods being, Mini Cheddars, Cereal and Soya Milk. These are my golden 3 Recovery Foods.
I eat these foods as part of my daily calorie intake, but I try and strive to eat more of them and not to count them as part of that intake. It’s trying to do stuff like this that will aid in my recovery. Recovery is about freeing myself from the ties of numbers; whether on the scales or exercise minutes or in calories. That’s where the restriction begins. I was never taught mindful eating – keeping track for good and healthy purposes and allowing numbers to change on their own accord and having less control. Instead I taught myself conscious eating – I was aware of EVERYTHING and tried to CONTROL and RESTRICT everything.
So, I want my recovery to challenge that; my recovery is challenging that.
I long to be able to just for dinner. Go somewhere, grab some food, and eat. I still can’t. I may be fighting and trying my hardest in recovery but the thought of food I can’t track or food I haven’t planned, sends me into a frantic pit of despair. My control is still very strict, I am learning to loosen it though.
The number on the scales can’t be controlled. It simply can’t. Our bodies work in weird and wonderful ways, and If one week its chosen to be a higher or lower weight for no reason, then so be it. It’s all in the way it works. There’s nothing to be done.
I struggled to finish writing this post, as it’s my last post of Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018 but also the last post in my story that I’m sharing with you.
I hate to be cheesy and cliché, but I’ve struggled to end it because my story isn’t over yet.
I’m a few pounds off being the minimum for healthy weight and I still want to gain another half a stone after that to try and reach the best BMI. I still have until May/June with my psychologist and I wonder everyday if that’s enough time for me to get my mind in a good place to be discharged from. In reality, It might not be, but I’m hoping to learn and harness the tools I need to fight off Anorexia and divide her from me. To learn when she’s speaking and when I need to silence her or argue. Anorexia is a life-altering illness. It’s invisible and its excruciating. There’s been so many posts this week about how invisible it is and how it doesn’t discriminate against age, gender, weight or height or ANYTHING. And when you read this post I want you to remember that. Because even I thought, up and till a few months ago, that Anorexia was just for really skinny and emaciated looking people. I was wrong, and my mistake has cost me so many years of my life. Whilst, yes, to get where I am today my BMI had to be under a certain number that isn’t to say there’s help for those who BMI isn’t low. It just requires asking for. Sometimes these assumptions hold us back. It doesn’t help the way the media and society stereotype and stigmatise mental illness. Yes, it IS ok to not be ok, but also ok to look ok and NOT be ok – in fact, it’s a lot more common than not looking ok.
Whilst I’m writing this I don’t want to sound preachy, my generation seems to feel we need to be though, SO WHY NOT; be yourself, if you get ill, you get ill, BUT FIGHT IT. If you feel an illness coming PREVENT IT. Prevention is the best method of recovery.
If you had a lump in your arm would you wait years to get it checked out? Chances are you wouldn’t. So why would you with any mental health illness? The mind is just as important as the body – and in my personal opinion I think it’s much more important than the body. If I could be happy in my mind I believe that looking after and being healthy in my body would come quite naturally; almost second nature.
Only time will tell for me though.
I aim to come back to this blog, next year (maybe sooner for updates), and reflect on where I was to where I am. I’m hoping to be detached from Anorexia and have her locked up in a box covered in chains and all sorts of unbreakable seals. I don’t believe she will fully leave me, not at this point in my recovery anyway, so that’s just how I see it.
I’m going to keep trying though.
Food is life.
Food is my life.
Food isn’t the enemy.
My body isn’t the enemy.
Self-care is crucial and to love oneself even more so.
It’s just learning how to do it that’s the hard part.
I hope you’ve found my blog posts over this last week interesting, informative and awareness raising. I’m a very open and honest individual and I will talk about anything to do with my experience if I think it will help others or widen their knowledge. Please, speak up if you need.
If you need help and don’t know what to do, please ask me. I’ll help.
I’ve always longed to make the world a better fed and happier place, and I guess this is just another way that I can do it.
Thanks for reading xo.