10 January 2016

Ex-haus-ted emotional explainations

I'm finding it really hard to explain emotions and thoughts at the moment. Hard to explain to myself, let alone anyone else. I don't know if it's because I've not been well this week, with a nasty cough or just that I'm still tired after all the hype of Christmas and the stress I was under at work in the run-up to the festivities. I'm just feeling emotionally tied up with emotions, and can't explain it.

It's just getting harder to explain why it's not just a lack of sleep that's exhausting me. It's explaining my emotional reactions that's wearing me out too. Explaining how being positive is tiring sometimes. Just being around people is tiring. It's especially hard to put into context to people I care about, who didn't know me when I was ill - the people I want to let in to my world. Where do you start, right - maybe they should read this whole blog? 

I know, I don't always HAVE to explain, and most of the time it's a completely wasted effort. Not everyone is going to have the time, inclination or capability to understand. Let's be honest, how much can any of us (mental illness or not) tap into each other's emotions and fully 'get it'? Not a lot. 

But when you do add suffering with anxiety and recovering from an eating disorder, it takes the whole emotional explanation thing to another level. I could read all the Pintrest quotes in the world about drowning, feeling low, slipping, giving up. I just don't feel like that. I feel like just need space, time and energy to figure it out - and I'll be okay and able to cope. But I'm guilty of getting a constant compulsion to understand and explain, then explain my responses...

Let's use some current examples shall we?

How do I explain that waking up, and coughing so much that I find myself heaving over the toilet, with vomit in my mouth isn't just an unpleasant start to the day for someone with emetophobia? It sends my head spinning in all-sorts of directions. Which, of course, through years of therapy I try to think logically about - but that alone takes emotional energy. That coughing and being ill makes me anxious, snappy and not the Sarah I know myself to be now. I still don't like not feeling well, not on a normal level, but on an extra imperfection level. It frustrates, angers and bothers me more than it should. It always has - it also bothers me that I need to explain this. 

How do I explain that feeling bloated, 'fat' and horrible in my own skin - and not knowing why - means I don't want to get dressed, let alone let anyone touch, see or hug me? That I am still so unsure of what I look like, how I appear, if I look fat or thin or nothing at all to people. Christ, I don't even know how I look to myself in the mirror. How do I tell people that KNOW my current weight, I know that it's too low, that I still don't have periods, that it dropped since leaving EDU and that I need to do something about it. But I am not. That despite NOT trying to lose weight consciously - I struggle to fully accept I have lost weight at all - and that gaining it back scares me. That I look around and see diets, and peoples' bodies looking amazing from working out and compare, crave and criticize myself...that I still don't like my body - that I am numb to the numbers anyway.  

How does someone who's still not fully-recovered from anorexia explain that she needs her safe eating zone. That eating out with unknown calories or in front of people just seems too much? That I don't want to try new foods, let someone cook for me or eat 'junk food' because I'm under the weather. Because that alone causes stress and more anxiety than I was already feeling. That I count calories, but don't. Related to the needed weight-gain, how do I explain that I fully understand HOW to eat to restore weight - what foods I NEED to increase in my diet, but knowing and doing are two VERY different things. How do I explain the difference between what I DON'T eat, WISH I ate or used to eat, then didn't, then did again, then stopped eating again - let alone why? I don't even know myself what' going on there. We KNOW this whole food game is a tricky one. 

How do I explain that office politics exhaust me? That people taking about changes exhausts me. All that change, and trying to work-out people's emotional reactions to it exhausts me. I know I can't control other peoples' feelings - nor do I want to - but it still wears me out trying to establish where I fit into that. When I don't fully understand something - or my role, or how something works - I exhaust myself trying to figure it out. On top of that, I worry about the poor way I react to this stress sometimes. I am still learning HOW best to explain that I am okay, and not - this is work-in-progress here too. 

When someone 'gets' why these things are 'big' to deal with in my mind, when no explanation is needed, when they don't even have to ask. I can be with them, I can cope Sometimes even then, I just need to be alone with my mind, to clear the space in my head. Don't we all?

But with my life NOW, compared to when I was in treatment it's so much harder to do that. Back then my walls were SO high, that it was easy to find that empty space. I didn't see people, I lived alone, I didn't need (or want) to be around others - let alone share my emotions with them. I don't want the walls that high again, it was agony. That's where I'm smarter that anorexia nowadays. But it's really hard to adjust to letting people through the door. That's BEFORE I even begin to explain all this to them, or adjust to taking in their emotional reactions too - which I end up feeling is all my fault* (*here begins the spiral into blame and disliking myself)

Now, when I constantly feel like I need to explain the inexplicable before I understand it myself - I tie myself in knots. I don't even know where to start sometimes. I just end up draining myself even more. I haven't got the emotional energy to do that at the moment. 

Yes, all this is so emotionally exhausting. Yet it's not something sleep will ever fix - but something I keep trying to explain....and so it continues. And so I keep coughing. 

1 comment :

  1. I hope you get well soon from your cough and get some decent nights sleep. Being tired cannot be helping your mental health. I can relate to what you write, about having to explain yourself, and that can be exhausting in itself, feeling the need to having to explain yourself over and over to various people. Don't put yourself under so much pressure. You come first. Take care xx