I’m not sad to see the back of 2011. Not in the slightest. 2011 saw the worst of anorexia and the worst of the physiological side effects of re-feeding. My body works better now and if I manage to keep this recovery going, hopefully I’ll not have to go through all that again. It’d be presumptuous to assume that I categorically won’t (relapse will always be on the cards and my recovery isn’t exactly stable) but with a lot of hope and hard work in the coming months I think it’s possible. Onwards and upwards I say.
I didn’t bring in the New Year with outrageous drunkeness/off my face/with friends or anything, which is kind of sad. Events in recent days have been conspiring against me and I suddenly realised that nothing was what I wanted to do and that the whole event made me wildly anxious so I stayed at home, pretending it was any other day in the year. It wasn’t sad though I don’t think. I’d had a few invites and didn’t feel unwanted or like I wasn’t good enough for fun, I just couldn’t face the anxiety. I know it’s a bit of a cop-out, but it’s done now. The only things that makes me feel sad about it are that I didn’t get to wear my new Christmas dress and that when the Mum gave me pink sparkly wine to celebrate, I couldn’t bring myself to drink the extra calories and ended up secretly pouring it away. I know – not exactly starting as I need to go on. I’m glad the festive period is over though. Now hopefully normal life with relatively less pressure can resume and I can pull myself out of this recovery funk I’m in. The whole of December has been so full of anxiety and stress that I couldn’t cope – food, social gatherings, family visits, family birthdays, lots of outings. It all felt so beyond my control that I went into lockdown mode and tried to just get through the month without any major upset. Although I weigh less than I did last month, it’s only by a miniscule amount and is easily within my fluctuating pound range so I don’t think I’m physically any worse off than I started the month, I didn’t end up doing any major damage to myself physically so I’m counting it as a success.
The biggest problem right now is my psychological state I think. I can manage it hopefully, but in an effort to feel ok about the time of year, I let all my disordered ways of coping with depression and anxiety back in and have ended up losing a lot of my forward momentum. It’s incredibly difficult to eat more again. I need to start gaining weight but am really struggling to maintain. There are good days and bad days but I rarely go over the amount I was maintaining on. Guilt and shame and an ongoing battle of wills in my brain is leading to a lot of distress I guess. I have moments where I think “fuck it – I’m going to have that biscuit” but then I think “but it’s not time for a biscuit – you can always have it later” so I don’t have the biscuit, then later comes and I’ve already planned my meal so there “isn’t room” for said biscuit and before I know it, all the biscuits have been eaten and I realise that it’ll be another year before we get those biscuits again (those Fox’s chocolate biscuit tins – seriously epic biscuits) and I beat myself up for letting myself miss a biscuit opportunity and not pushing myself hard enough and think “well I’ll just have a slice of yule log” which leads to exactly the same arguments and thought processes. I feel like I’m about to implode. Then there’s meal plans – I want to go back to something more structured than my exchanges plan as I’m really struggling with food right now and want more firm direction, but then I start to not want the food choices on more structured plans so think exchanges is better, then mess up my exchanges and think “well what’s the point” and just end up eating chaotically and losing where I am in the day with food and end up eating less than I should. Also, although I managed to get through Christmas without going over my target weight (the original aim of all this stupidity), I am now so far behind what I thought I’d weigh by now that I’m beginning to worry that I’ll end up just starting to maintain in March when there are lots of birthdays (including my own) thus lots of meals where I’ll want to eat more than I’d need to, so a huge part of me is screaming “just maintain till after your birthday” but that’s months away and I really need to start moving. Basically I have to get through all these stupid worries, but it’s a million times more difficult now that I’ve been acting on all these things. I really need to see the dietician. She broke her leg and has been away for a while now, so I haven’t seen her for a month. This means no one is monitering my weight or calorie intake, has given me any direction on how to deal with the festive time periods or helped me figure out how I could go about all this normally and to be honest, I think it shows. I know I should work this all out myself, but it can be really hard to see the the innately illogical within eating disorder logic so I end up not even realising what’s the anorexia talking and what’s me talking. On top of all this I desperately want to not have gained a thing since I last saw her. My appointment is on Tuesday so it looks doubtful that I will, but that leads me to feeling ashamed of myself and scared at what she’ll say and guilty that I haven’t done more.
So I’m making resolutions. I’ve tried to keep them realistically achievable goals but I still feel like maybe I’m being an idiot and this is all totally too optimistic. I hope not though. This is where I want to be at this time next year. It won’t happen over night but I have a whole year to get here so if I start now it might be possible.
- Number one most important resolution is to reach and maintain a healthy weight for my body without the need compulsive exercise or dietary restriction. I don’t really have a say in what this weight is, but having periods would be a start, and also a less tense relationship with food, my body and calories. It doesn’t have to be a completely happy and healthy relationship, but when my brain can stop obsessing about these things all the time then chances are my body is in a more healthy place.
- I don’t want to be counting calories anymore. Calories are the bane of my life and I find it excruciatingly difficult to eat without relying on numbers to tell me what is and isn’t ok. It takes up so much of my time and I hate it. I check and re-check my calorie intake over and over again, changing miniscule details if I eat an extra tea or coffee. It’s completely compulsive and just highlights how much I distrust my body to know what I need. Normally, people eat a range of calories, not a strict number every day, and they manage to stay at the same weight. I’m no different, I just have to learn that.
- I would like to be confident that I don’t need to fall back on self-destructive behaviours in order to cope when things are difficult for me. I’m not saying that I will be categorically free from compulsive exercise, restriction and self-injury, but I’d like to know that I have other ways of dealing with distressing times and emotions.
- I’d like to see some improvement in the way I eat. It doesn’t have to be perfect and normal, just better than it is right now. Normal would be the best obviously, but at least being able to eat things I actually want sometimes, add some variety to my diet maybe and have less strict timing rules.
- I want to feel satisfied that I made the right choices with regards to my academic life. I still haven’t decided what to do, though right now my head is leaning towards deferring my place, though my heart is still firmly stuck on sticking it out so to not be a failure and even more behind in life. I’d like to feel positive that whatever I end up deciding, it was right for me and I did my best.
- I would like to be a better girlfriend. I want the boy to feel good about seeing me. I want to make him happy and laugh. I want him to be proud of me. I want to be somebody worth loving. I’ve tried so many times to find this worth and nothing has worked so far. I’m hoping continual recovery progress might help, but that’d probably still be problematic. Feeling like I need to earn my place in any relationship because I’m innately worse and that it was some bizarre stroke of luck that anyone would want to be around me so unless I can prove otherwise through self-improvement that I’m worthy, they’ll realise eventually that I’m rubbish and they could be doing something better is pretty destructive. Maybe I should try to lose that attitude and stop seeing recovery as just another vehicle of self-improvement to earn affection. But still – I do want to be a better girlfriend. And if we break up, a better prospect.
- I’d like to have some foundations of a proper life in place. Long term, I want to be an independent adult leading a life appropriate for my age and general preferences. I want to be talking to people more, turning less things down, going out more, feeling confident in my ability to have a job (whether or not I have one), find some hobbies and making general steps towards a normal adult life. Saying yes to more things and trying more things and feel like I’m making something more than just “get healthy”. Getting healthy is what I need right now, but I’d like to be able to have more than that. I don’t think it’ll be a fully formed perfect life in a year, but I’d like to have started making more than just getting through.
- I want to be stable.
These are my resolutions. What do you think? Do they seem totally unrealistic or do you think they’re manageable? I’m trying to be optimistic but not to the extent where I’ll inevitably fail. I don’t know where this list falls on that spectrum.
Happy New Year guys! I hope you all had a lot of fun! Have any of you got any good resolutions too?