1 February 2017

Living by the rule book

What I was given yesterday was permission to publish version two of the anorexic rule book that I've learnt to live by. A redrafted edition. 

It's not like the edition I lived by back then, not like it was before. By giving me this permission in my head -is basically stating that I am okay and can be 'content' and cope with living within the restrictions this rule book states. It's normal and okay that I still put these controls on my life. What I don't get there is that she can't see that I opened up and said the reason I can't commit to therapy fully, give my self over and burn the book - is not because I am not fed up with the way I'm living, I am. I'm too addicted to the rules and I know they hold me back. But it's about trust. I don't trust anyone at all that it can be different for me.  I also need to turn pages carefully because of the commitment I have to my life too. By that I mean work, mortgage and my plans. 

It's just yet more proof services take their eye off the ball when you've got a high-functioning mental illness. When you're able to read and live by anorexic rules day to day to cope with life, but when you're able to be a 'rebel' and break the rules from time to time. 

It's like eating disorders services are almost relieved that one of me comes along now and then. Self aware enough to write my own rules to cope, with the awareness that going back to volume one is NOT the life I want or need. But still not being able to put the rules down. 

Unable to trust myself or my body to cope without them. Worried that living without them would be too much to bear. Apparently, when I can't break the rules any more and my life is governed by them completely, that's when they'll help me put it down. 

I was sat there, admitting that I still live by the rule book, still count calories, still hate my body, still hate when I break them, still control everyone and everything I can to stick to them - and still know I'd be better with help to get rid of the book - but nothing. 

Apparently, It's my fault for not trusting that burning the book would be the best thing to do. Maybe I needed help lighting the match and watching the pages burn...but I don't have a light, that's why I went back, but they can't help. 

So I'll keep the book under my pillow for now. I need it like in needed a security blanket as a child.  After all, I am able to break the rules from time to time. So what harm does keeping the book do? Really. 


24 January 2017

Worrying about being a worrier

I am just a worrier I get that but when I'm worrying about worrying,  I can't stop worrying about it. 

I don't really know what to do about it ether. That worries me. I worry about how much I end up worrying about anything from the food I eat (yes the calories!), my body, my weight - right through to forgetting something on my to-do list, to what I said a year ago to somebody. 

I know this is anxiety in its very basic form, and it is this that I deal with on a daily, hourly, minute-by minute basis sometimes. 

For me though, the problem is I just see it as norma, because I am used to dealing with it like this. I guess is somebody else came into my brain and had a wander round they would tell me that it's not right I get back. Does everybody worry like this?

I worry because I didn't reply to any email in the right tone at work, does everybody worry about what the family think about something they have said or done? Or about upsetting someone unintentionally.

It's not always about other people's opinions of me though, it's more about trying to protect myself or predict the outcome of situations most of the time. It is like my biggest fear is 'messing up' or for things that are going okay, turning and going bad. It's why I don't embrace good times - because 9/10 I'm just scared about WHEN I'll mess up.

So if I'm looking at events or planning something. I know I will worry about everything from travel
Logistics, to timing to the food,  what I wear to when I'll be able to go home. So, sometimes that's why is easier not to go all all. But when I do go, it's the planning organisation and worrying that drives me insane and also takes the edge off what I am doing. Don't people see that my 'amazing organisation' is a way to cope? To mitigate against the fear?

It's often said that worrying sucks the joy out of life and I guess it does. This worry and anxiety doesn't cause me nightmares, but I do recognise that it does snuff out some joy of life. 

Add to that the fact that I have learnt to internalise my worry and not have panic attacks like I used to any more, I think my worrying can come across as rude sometimes or like I'm not fully 'there'. Sometimes I think people could see this need to check things are okay as needy or needing compliments or approval. It's not. I'm just trying to get through the day. I don't even know what to say about the worrying either or why I'm like this. I mean on a scale of 1 to major worrier, it's closer to the worry end, but in the grand scheme of things I cope with it.

The problem is that I recognise that is worrying it eating me alive sometimes, especially when I think I've messed up or cause problems for other people and I know it's not about me, it's their reaction. You can tell me that hundred thousand times over and over again but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with. I do accept that at the time I always worry some people are not worried. But what gets me is when I worry about things from so many different angles and I get muddled up trying take worrying away on multiple platforms, which is then setting myself up for failure to start with. 

I'm sick of worrying about worrying though, I'm sick of driving myself mad trying to come up with a plan I'm sick of worrying about whether I'm doing the right thing by somebody or for somebody. I'm worried that it is me who has upset you and worried about people's lives and I know I can't solve that, like I've already said but I can't switch the worry button off. 

I realise that worrying about weight, body or food is directly anorexia, I know it is and that's where I still need the help but at the end of the day they are going to give same rhetoric over and over again until we've gone full circle. Maybe I just need to let it be. I've tried and I guess I'm always going to think like that and it's up to me to change.

I have moments where I don't worry don't get me wrong, there are the moments I feel more carefree, but nine times out of 10 and most hours I'm worrying about something or other, but not too extreme, just got niggling internal worries.

I've got very good at hiding or passing off with being tired and not having slept up feeling ill and it is that bit that is the lie, it's not that I'm actually okay, it's that I've learnt to feel okay about worrying. Because I lost faith that it'll ever be different. 

22 January 2017

(Un)comfortably Numb

There are a few things swirling through my head this morning and I need to get them out: 

1) I feel UNCOMFORTABLE in my skin today, clothes are digging in, they feel tighter, It feels like I have to hide my body, I body checked and 'feel' like a 'barrel' and bloated.
2) I feel UNCOMFORTABLE not being able to identify how I feel.
3) Everything feels a little NUMB.

*Yes, feelings are not facts, blah blah. I know this. 

As for the numbness. My best friend and I were trying to get our heads around this one over coffee yesterday morning. We're both on headmeds, and know that can make a difference to this. In taking out the high anxiety or low mood, they leave us both feeling a little middle-ground, a little, well numb. I can see why they're not always given to people recovering from anorexia though, as for every time they take the edge of anxiety - they take the edge of any motivation to see the NEED to eat more, exercise less or keep myself in 'check' with the lessons recovery taught me. 

Image result for uncomfortably numb

But this numbness bothers me - and comforts me at the same time.

Reality is that to me, I am being lazy and greedy recently. I've exercised a lot less, not been for a run for more than two months, I've spent more time at home, doing things like watching TV or pottering around. This feels uncomfortable, but I struggle to find the motivation to put on my trainers or go out.

Don't gasp in horror or shock, it's obvious, but I still track calories more than I possibly should do. Recently, I've been more relaxed about seeing the total at the end of the day rise. A good thing you say? In my head it still isn't. Most people would tell me that I don't consume enough per-day, but in all honesty, I hate a) that it's a high as it is - but I don't know why? b) I honestly feel like I am a secret eater, because my weight isn't going down and c) I assume the secret eating 'tops up' and takes me to RDA. I wish sometimes I could just blurt out how much I eat, what I eat, my weight blah, because it would stop the hypothesise of others'. Yes, I still feel like this five years on. 

"But it's good that you put on weight" said the best friend yesterday...well, it STILL doesn't feel like that to me. It feels like, NOTHING. Numb. I don't want to lose, or gain or think about it. So I block it out. Probably not helpful, but what is? I guess it's helpful that I don't ACTUALLY know what I weigh - I stopped my monthly weigh-ins in November, so of by accident, sort of because I don't like seeing it go up. I am not in a dangerous BMI, I am not overweight. I give and shit and don't care at the same time. 

Many of you know that I went back for a few sessions at the EDU, well they've written suggesting that I DONT need the services, and need to decide my next move if anxiety is the issue. The private therapist I was seeing through my employer can't see me anymore - you only get 6 sessions. The general talking therapies counsellor told me I was too complex (it's how I ended up back at EDU). But the thing is, I can't be arse with any of it, because things are sort of comfortable.

But what niggles at me is that they're sort of comfortable, because they're comfortably numb.

11 December 2016

A world of Lions and Zebras

Do you think the most ferociously proud lion cub ever wishes it could just be a zebra? 

I promise I'll get to the point here, but my therapist said something to me this week which has stuck in my thoughts. (I digress, but it's been impacted more this morning by catching up on 'Brainwashing Stacey' - with Big Game Trophy Hunters on BBC3!) and is something that might do me well to put into action, thought wise, not hunting, obviously.

I've always beaten myself up for not being one of 'the crowd'. Whatever that crowd maybe. Way back growing up, I've always been a little different, worried about things other people didn't worry about. 

Proud of things and passionate about things that no one else cared for. Half due to the panic attacks and my mental health - but half because I am me. This ALWAYS bothered me. I have spent 31 years beating myself up about being the 'one that spoke up' or the friend who 'fell out with people she disagreed with' or the teenager that didn't want to get paralytic and throw up. I always thought I was wrong. That I have always been the odd one out and that meant I was wrong.

Image result for zebra herd

Even with regards to anorexia, I know there is no 'stereotypical' suffering of an eating disorder, no mirrored recovery, but there is generally a pattern that is evident. I didn't even feel I ever 'fitted in' with that tribe either. I still don't, even when people comment on my blogs, I just think YOU DON'T GET ME. It's not like that in my head, I am fierce, yet fearful. 

It's like I sway constantly between NOT wanting to be in a herd of zebra, to wishing I had stripes. 

In one breath I find myself wishing I blended in. Wishing that I was indistinguishable from another sheep or zebra. Annoyed that they all live harmoniously together. I want to be defined by something decided by someone else, not myself. This can include wanting to be invited to lunch with colleagues, or family, wanting to be the same as everyone else, even though I am the polar opposite to some. 

Then in the next moment I remember I am a lioness. Different, proud and fierce. I feel strong alone. I know what I like and how I like it. I am focused on the way I live my life and think 'fuck the rest'. But the problem is, I only have flashes like this. I spend most of the time worried about my mane or why I can't be one of the herd. I roar and then worry about why that has upset their grazing, and end up wishing I hadn't roared at all. I blame me, for being me.  

Image result for lioness

But what my therapist said to me this week is a perspective I had not considered before. Lionesses spend time alone, they are animals who need their own space. They are fierce but they care deeply about their own pride. So, do you think zebra, who goes around in herds and NEED those herds, would be comfortable with a lion going for lunch? Would they fear that lion? Maybe, just maybe. what if another lioness came along? Would that cause friction? Maybe. But, it doesn't have to. You each just want to protect our own, but we are alike and can try to understand. 

I guess, what I am getting at is that it is accepting that am a lion whether I like it or not. As a cub I might have been given mixed messages, but I am strong and fierce and that is why I am still alive. 

That is why I was strong enough to escape the herd of zebras anorexia wants from people. Now, it is why I need to remind myself that in life, I need to worry less about what other people are saying about me, thinking of me or doing - and roar. 

21 November 2016

Why ARE you here Sarah?

When you have NO idea why you're sat back in the chair of a therapy room of the eating disorders unit, that's not what one wants to hear. My initial thoughts were "because I am a me-me who wants the attention and loves her fake anorexia..." 

Yes, really. Second thought was "I don't know." followed soon after by "...you tell me..." 

I certainly have no idea, that's for sure. Yes, I haven't gained the weight they initially wanted me to. Yes, I still have rules that could be seen as anorexic. No I don't like my body. Yes I do count calories...and no, I don't know why I am here.

What do you want to do? What goals have you got? What do you hope to achieve by coming back?


What makes it MORE confusing and the thoughts I am left with after my second session with Dr K. (the 'new' Mrs W/Dr B) is that SHE doesn't think I need to be there. She thinks I am 'recovered' enough and she thinks my coping strategies are healthy enough for me to live like this FOREVER.

It makes me want to cancel my referral and just keep on dealing with my shit in my own way. Why? Because I don't have any goals. I am not going to kid myself that 'hitting a target weight' is going to be one of my goals. I will not go hop, skip and jumping down the unit corridor motivated to gain weight. I just can't see it. Not is a destructive way, I am not losing, nor bothered about losing. I just really have not got the motivation to do that.

When people ask me, therapist, friends and family, "don't you want to be able to eat X or do Y or believe Z"....well no, I don't really care too much for XY or Z to be honest with you.  I have never enjoyed food, it's since the day dot for me, been functional. I am not a 'foodie' and never will be. 

What I do wish I could work on is believing that I am okay, that I am not ugly or annoying or not good enough. I wish I believed that I don't need to micro-control every part of my life. But more than anything my goal is to know my goals I guess.