unintended conclusions.

You know what? The past few days I’ve actually been busy! What with the run up to Christmas I’ve actually had quite a lot to do (relatively speaking) and have found myself without time to stop. Normal Christmassy activities take up so much time, but pair that with my treatment and recovery efforts and I feel a little overwhelmed by it all. I am so behind on the Christmas thing and have been totally lacking in festive cheer this year. Generally I’m festive from about mid-November, but this year anxiety and depression seem to be getting the better of me. However, as of Saturday, I’ve started to just act festive in the hope that soon the festive will catch up with me. I’ve started wearing Christmas jumpers and painted my Christmas nails and eaten my first mince pie of the season and the famo have finally started putting the decorations up and I think maybe I reached a little bit festive this afternoon so maybe this plan will work. Tomorrow is my special day planned by the boy so that adds to the excitement – puppet theatre on a barge in Regent’s Park, dinner at Ed’s Diner and lots of festive pottering about in between. I’m actually really looking forward to it.

It was the brother’s birthday yesterday, so at the weekend I went out! Like actually out! Clubbing and everything! I think it was a little bit fun actually. The venue was a bit naff and the music was only so so but I got mash-up on various substances and danced and talked like an idiot and chewed my face off and drunk alcohol and got the night bus home and smoked a lot of cigarettes. The whole thing made me super anxious which had the knock on effect of completely under-eating so that I wouldn’t “accidentally” go over my minimum calorie target with alcohol (give an eating disorder patient a range of energy intake and all of a sudden the lowest end becomes the highest amount allowed). Of course I didn’t though, I was nowhere near and with dancing and stimulants that probably isn’t a good idea (though I did make my calories the next day even though I didn’t go to yoga and it hurt to chew). I really have to get over this. The dietician explicitly stated that alcohol has to be on top of food calories as an added extra to the day. Sometimes I feel like I’m really not trying hard enough with this whole recovery thing. But anyway that’s not the point. The point is that I went out and did something I used to love doing and slowly but surely lost to anorexia. Yes it was weird, yes I feel like an idiot and I’m not going to lie, I’m not sure where my mental state is with regards to any sort of intoxication, but I did it anyway and it was scary and hard, but in the end not so bad. I’m glad I went really. Proves it is possible to actually do normal things. Especially as yesterday I completely failed at normal. We’d planned to go to Yo! Sushi for the brother’s birthday dinner as then I could know the calories and not freak out too much (I had a dietetics appointment this morning and the idea of being weighed after unknown calories fills me with dread). We didn’t though because I freaked out. Sushi is salty and salt could mean I retain a lot of water, bringing my weight up and making me weight not representative of my last fortnight’s worth of eating and making me sad and scared. Everyone was annoyed and I kinda ruined the night :(. I ended up staying home whilst everyone else went to Las Iguanas for cocktails and tapas so I could make a stupid turkey curry and not freak out. This also meant the mama had to pay for a taxi to take me to the cinema as I couldn’t get there in the dark on my own. Turns out the dietician has broken her leg so I didn’t get weighed anyway. All the eating disorder drama for absolutely nothing. Sometimes I feel like I couldn’t possibly have ever suffered from anorexia as I’m eating so much without too much trouble. It’s times like this I realise that actually I’m still suffering and actually I still have a long way to go.

On other news – don’t go to Westfield. It’s horrific in every way. Way too many people in this odd and uncomfortable space where everything is so open and had the effect of making me feel a bit nauseous. Seriously terrible experience. Plus what is up with calling it Stratford City now? That really bugs me – it’s just Stratford, why the city part? Plus why is it there? Stratford doesn’t need a horrific shopping centre – it has The Mall and In-shops and a lovely little cinema and was perfectly serviceable already. Westfield has brought me packed tube journeys and a lot more traffic for what? A mall full of scenarios that make me uncomfortable. Granted though it does have a Yoo Moo so brings frozen yogurt much closer to my front door :).

So there’s my basic busy whereabouts recently. Lots of things for me! Probably dull for most of you though.

Anyway, Christmas is coming and we all know that the festive season can be super problematic for people suffering from eating disorders and I’m getting really freaked out. On Christmas day I’m supposed to eat food that terrifies me which I won’t have responsibility in cooking so won’t know the calories of at completely off schedule times in front of the fam and the brother’s girl and be happy and cheery at the same time. I’m terrified. This time last year I was burning more calories that I ate on my exercise bike whilst entering nutritional info from food packets onto an app on my phone – kidding myself that this wasn’t really a problem. Sure it was weird but I definitely wasn’t ill, my eating was disordered but I didn’t have an eating disorder. All of my extreme and completely dangerous preparation for Christmas did mean that I could allow myself to not worry about what I ate on the day (though from Boxing day onwards, I was back exercising and under eating). Needless to say, I lost a lot of weight over the Christmas period. This year though, I can’t calm my anxiety. I can’t earn myself one day of not caring. I don’t know how to in a healthy way. I can’t even plan for it because I just don’t know what to do. Do I have my normal three meals, three snacks schedule? Do I eat my usual breakfast? Do I try to count calories? Am I allowed to have a chocolate biscuit whilst opening my stocking with my family? And Christmas eve…. Obscenely large quantities of alcohol is kinda obligatory but that’s just more calories. Do I under eat on Christmas eve to make up for it? Especially since I know I’ll probably over eat on Christmas. And what if all this eating and all these calories makes me freak out and relapse? Christmas has a habit of making the eating disorder get substantially worse, but now I’m actively trying to get better, I don’t know how to protect myself from the massive amounts of guilt surrounding any type of indulgence. What makes it worse is that I’ve been deliberately maintaining my weight for the past three weeks in order to make sure I would still be gaining over Christmas so have affectively stunted any progress in my recovery in this time period and letting anorexia rule my thought processes again (albeit to a less extreme amount). I’ve been trying to negotiate with an eating disorder, but anorexia doesn’t like to do things by halves and now I’ve ended up terrified of gaining at all again whilst still over a stone away from my target weight and still just outside the healthy range. Although I’m addressing some new fear foods, old fears that I’ve been trying to tackle have just come back and I’m not challenging them. Yesterday I threw out nine advent calender chocolates because I was too scared to eat them. And I didn’t just throw them away. I put them in a plastic bag and covered them with bleach so that they wouldn’t tempt me to “save” them from the bin. And seeing as by the time I next see the dietician I won’t have had any dietetic advice or accountability for my weight for a month, all of this couldn’t have come at a worse time.

On top of all this, the psychologist told me today that I am too avoidant in therapy. Whenever we try to get a handle on my negative core beliefs, I become increasingly defensive and try to avoid the pressure he puts on them. I think it’s because I honestly can’t get my head round how they could not be true. For instance, I experience the fact that I’m an embarrassment and less than everyone else so thus unloveable everyday, so have to try to better myself every day to try to make myself appear like I’m worth something. I see evidence of my beliefs all around me, all the time. I see it in myself and the way others interact with me. I cannot fathom how it could not be true and I don’t really want to think about it because to me, it is all fact and if I start to believe that the facts aren’t true, then I’ll only end up more broken when I realise they are again. There’s a safety in believing that you’re worthless – that way there’s nothing that can come along and knock you back because you’re already as knocked back as you can be. I don’t know. I’m rambling. So now I’m researching “challenging core beliefs” and trying to figure out some way to not fail at therapy whilst at the same time trying desperately to keep myself within the comfort zone of knowing that I’m rubbish.

Basically, I’m falling down on all fronts. Behaviourally, psychologically and physically. I’m not making any progress at all. If anything, I’m slipping backwards. To be quite honest, I didn’t even realise it until just now after typing this all out. I’m not putting myself at any immediate risk at the moment, but my anxiety levels are rocketing up, I’m letting eating disordered behaviours be a comfort again, I actively don’t want to engage in my therapy at the moment because it’s hard and scary and I’m increasingly preoccupied with food, calories and my weight. I’m letting the disorder win whilst at the same time sinking back into the comfort of what I know best. I’m struggling to like myself right now and the most persuasive way to make me better always seems to be weight management, even though in reality it’ll only prolong and intensify all the things I want it to fix. The thing is though, I really don’t know what to do about it. That’s a lie. I know exactly what to do, I just don’t know if I can make myself. Guess we’ll wait and see. Sometimes all you can say is “fuck.”

Wowzas – I didn’t intend for this to be so long. I was going to talk about different things but this is where I seem to have ended up. Not really what I was expecting of this post.

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2 Comments

Filed under life, recovery

2 responses to “unintended conclusions.

  1. arabelladesiderium

    You’re not completely failing, dear. You’re just having some steps back with your steps forward. That’s still progress!

    And good luck with the holidays! You can do it! I hope you have a great Christmas full of good times with family and excellent food that you can eat without anxiety :)

  2. Aw, it sounds like things arae really tough at the moment.

    Don’t feel like you’re failing at therapy- it’s not a test! It won’t happen overnight but you’ll get there. It’s really really hard to change these thoughts- obviously they’re there to serve a purpose or they wouldn’t still be there. I’m dreading Christmas sooo much too, because whatever I eat I end up feeling guilty and fighting with my family over what I should be eating. I’m in no position to offer advice, but this year my plan is to stick as closely to what I normally eat as possible, because I want to think about food as little as possible. I think that undereating to compensate for what you might eat later is always risky- when my blood sugar levels get wonky then my mood crashes and anxiety end up sky high.

    Hang in there and I hope you have a brilliant Christmas despite everything- you deserve it.

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