27 September 2013

Where's the BODY piece of this jigsaw?

So if I told anyone how I felt about my body today, they'd probably tell me the usual 'it's anorexia making you feel that', 'you need to accept yourself, warts and all' 'you're not fat...' Blah, blah, blah.

But I get sick to death of people telling me I don't FEEL fat. I do feel fat, I really do. I also see it. It's real to me. So please, dear GOD can people stop telling me I'm not. I am subjectivity fat, for me.

No, I'm not about to launch a career as a plus-size model (nor am I skeletal enough to strut it down a catwalk at London Fashion Week) but to me, I have lumps, bumps and bulges in more place than I care to have. 

No, thinking this doesn't mean I revert to anorexic behaviours. I haven't skipped my meals or snacks because of my disgust in my own skin today. In fact I faced a fear food I've not had in a very long time. But anyway, you and I both know anorexia's 'ideas' don't help fix anything.

This is where my head gets messiest, where I stop understanding and where despite putting other bits of the puzzle together, there is still a missing jigsaw piece in my recovery.


I poke my stomach or look in the mirror or glance down at my body and I just SIGH. Every single time, I SIGH, I don't know what to do, what to say to people, how to deal with it, how to change it. 

No one else is with me when I try Size 10 jeans on and I pray they're too big, then I have muffin top. No one else is with me when I wake up and already have a bloated round belly resembling someone who's 4 months pregnant. No one is with me when I throw my clothes around my bedroom because every top I try on clings to my stomach. No one is with me when I look at lower weight pictures of myself with rose tinted glasses. No one is with me when I put my running kit on and feel too huge to even run. No one is with me when I endlessly click on dresses on ASOS unable to buy anything because I know it won't look right. No one can hear the constant 'they think I'm too fat' conversations in my head, despite getting on with life (and recovery).

All this. Everyday. I wake up most days and still hope to find the jigsaw piece has turned up. I hope I look in the mirror and think 'Okay, I can deal with that'. Unfortunately, It never turns up.   

I can be SO positive and actually full-on positive sometimes, yet I tell myself such negative things, believe them and think all this at the same time? HOW?


This is the missing piece for me at the moment. I can put together my recovery jigsaw and do my recovery sums. I can see that sticking to my meal plan is a better option than restricting. I fully 100% know that anorexia will never fix this. I also felt awful at my lowest weight, so know losing weight and numbers won't fix it. I know that 1000x sit-ups a day or running every mile I can won't fix it.

So what will? 

My thinking right? Logically, I know that my thinking needs to change, but I can't stop looking at my body for the answers or solutions (or for it to magically change or appear the way I want it to) Nothing anyone says or does CHANGES how I see my body. It just makes me more resentful of it. 

The jigsaw piece I need to find to join this link in my recovery is in the head. But my head is screaming that I'm fat remember, so any suggestions to where the piece is would be more than welcome. 

I really hope I find this piece somewhere soon, it's so frustrating trying to remain positive about the other bits of the puzzle that I've worked hard to put in place, when I can't seem to finish it off. 

I never have liked jigsaws.


4 comments :

  1. This is very moving. And painful to read. And I wish I could make it easier for you and for all of us. But that piece isn't easy to find and my dad's childhood solution of cutting the jigsaw pieces up so he could shove them into the gaps isn't going to help here. So I guess all I can do is thank you for articulating this, for being so honest about how *hard* it is to carry on going with it all, and to send hugs xx

    PS a body image group at my EDU ended up getting cancelled after an almighty row between staff and patients over whether fat is a feeling.

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  2. Thanks Linda, It's really dragging me down and tarnishing the good bits of recovery. It's also the hardest bit to accept - even after two slow years of WR, it feels like it's creeped up on me and I'm just left going 'AGH' - I will come through, when though, who knows? Hugs back and thank you for your kind words x

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  3. I'm 2 years in as well and it's frustrating when you feel you should 'get this' by now. Again, no words to solve it ir make it better - just to say you're not alone and me too xx

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  4. I don't know if this will make sense or help at all (and I'm not there yet either), but a friend of mine who recovered from a very long chronic depression very kindly answered my question as to whether it was possible to truly, fully recover, to leave not just the acute illness but the dragging aches that lie in it's wake. She said yes, she said it was a messy path full of moments that she isn't terribly proud of (I certainly recognise that!), and she said that the vulnerabilities will always be there for her but the thing is that they just don't have that much impact any more. I have given a lot of thought to that with respect to AN, and I've spent around 15 years in various stages from acutely ill to feeling completely free and now somewhere in between, I think the thing for me with feeling fat (and yes, I agree - I do feel fat, it's hard to explain the feeling other than to say that it is powerful, visceral, and I feel trapped by it, but it is a feeling) is that as time has gone on and my life has grown in breadth and richness, other things have come to matter more. So I am not at a point where the fat feelings don't have that much impact yet, they still feel very painful and shaming at times, but other more important things pull me out of them much faster and, like you, they no longer impact on my eating etc. I don't know if this makes sense, but the way I am inclined to think of it, anorexia has a trick of making your world a very small place. As you recover, and your life becomes fuller and richer, those other more meaningful parts mean that anorexia finds itself on increasingly shaky ground. At times it will respond by screaming back at you, making you feel fat, and shamed, and worthless. But you know that those other richer parts mean more and are of greater value to you, and if you hold onto them and stand strong then I believe and hope that that scream will become hoarser and hoarser until eventually it is a background whisper that you can readily dismiss. I know my boyfriend is right, my friends are right, when they say that I look better healthier. I know that I see the same in my friends who have struggled with eating disorders. I hope that the greater the distance I can put between myself and anorexia, the closer I will come to seeing that too. For now, I try not to dwell to much on the mirror, the scales, the fit of my jeans around my waist - not always easy, but I really don't want to let it make me miss out on the moment-to-moment stuff of life.

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