what i’m looking for? huh?

I had a very interesting therapy session today. I was panicking like a lot a lot after a rough few days (following on from a rough few weeks…) and just really did not want to speak. All the things we usually go through – food, behaviours, self-injury, the boy, the fam, friends, uni etc. – are all things I don’t want to deal with right now. I’ve not got any conclusions in my head and cannot decide upon any actions so I’m doing what I do best. I’m avoiding it all through destructive ways of numbing it out and hoping that at some point in the future all these things will fix themselves. Not productive I know, but I just didn’t want to process any of this right now. Whilst in the session, I thought it was very unproductive, but the few things the therapist managed to drag out of me actually gave me a lot to think about. I’m doing some serious thinking in general at the moment, generally along the lines of “Is it better to know/see/generally talk to people/have any relationships even if all I do is upset people and make them sad? Or is it better to get out of everyone’s lives so that they can be happier (as I naturally assume they would be) without me around?” I know this is entirely broken logic but I can’t stop my mind from believing that I make everyone else’s lives less good. I feel like I owe it to people to not talk to them.

The therapist asked me to think about what would make me happy rather than what’s best for others and I was actually surprised to find that I really don’t know. I’m so used to framing myself as a burden that I’ve forgotten what I want out of relationships because I’m just so busy trying to come up with ways to earn them. I have no idea what makes me happy or what it is that I value or want to gain through relationships so I have no idea if they are healthy for me or not. I never stop to think about whether others are in the wrong, I just assume that if I feel negatively about something, it’s my fault because I’m obviously always rubbish thus always wrong. Thinking about what I actually want and need from a relationship to be happy doesn’t come into my thought processes at all. And this doesn’t just stop with relationships. It’s an incredibly far-reaching attitude – I literally have no idea what I like or want. What foods do I genuinely enjoy purely for pleasure of taste and eating? I enjoy things that seem “healthy” because of the anorexia and sometimes I enjoy things that seem “unhealthy” as they make me feel rebellious, but when it comes to knowing what foods I will actually enjoy and want to eat, I freak out something rotten and walk away distressed, often chosing to not make a choice thus just avoiding the hard thing. This is especially obvious with cake. Every week I try to buy a cake and look at all the cakes and try to imagine which one I would actually like and then cannot for the life of me work it out. It’s all far too many numbers and tastes and textures and I freak out and don’t buy cake. I think I’d like date and walnut cake, but do I only want it because dates and walnuts are more healthy than chocolate? Is cheesecake too much for my meal plan? Do I like fruity things or caramelly things or creamy things? What would bring me the most enjoyments so I won’t waste the opportunity? Literally every time I go to the supermarket, I spend at least 10 (more like 20) minutes looking at cakes before I decide that I don’t want to decide. And uni as well. Does studying make me happy or do I do it because I feel like I have to and somehow it’ll make me a better person?

This even goes as far as just what to do. I never know what to do when I have free time. I just don’t know what will make me happy, so I just assume that nothing will and try to find ways of passing the time until I fall asleep. I try to think about what to do and just hit a wall. What do I even like? Do I like watching T.V. or films or D.V.Ds? Or do I actually think reading will make me happy? Do I actually want to read the Guardian, or do I only want to appear smarter than I am? Do I find the news interesting? Do I want to play some sort of video game? Or would baking make me feel happy? Or getting my Lush on and having a serious self-care session? Maybe doing some yoga? Do I follow such rigid routines about when and where and on what day to do anything and everything because I like them or do they make me feel less anxious but only feed my ridigity in the long run? I have no idea and to be honest, don’t even think about it anymore, so end up doing nothing at all most of the time but beating myself up for not using my time wisely and wasting life and being boring and rubbish. I am rubbish because I don’t do enough, but never stop to think what it is that I actually want to be doing more of. It’s not even that I’m not happy (I don’t expect my depression to lift through knitting or anything), it’s just that I have no concept of what things might have the possibility of being something I actually want to do. I don’t know what I need or know anything that might make me feel better.

Although I’m not going to lie, I think for right now I’m going to mostly focus on what I want from relationships as I have some immediate thinking to do in that area (I really need some advice but have absolutely no idea who is appropriate to talk to), this has given me a lot to think about and probably for a really long time. Where do I even begin? How do you work out what makes you feel better? And maybe even happy? How do you go about working out what’s good or bad for you, not others or some perceived ideal of what you should be? Seriously any tips would be good right about now.

On other news, the dietician is not best pleased with me. Me and my fluctuating pound that I’m really struggling to not drop below. I’ve kinda grown attached to this pound and my weight in general – afterall, I’ve been actively maintaining for over a month now, creeping in and out of the very bottom of the “healthy” range. I don’t want to actively lose, but the fear of gaining is causing me to cut further and further back on my intake, then suddenly panicking and trying to up my calories, whilst simultaneously whittling my previously super metabolism away. Basically, this has been going on for to long, I can’t kid anyone (including myself) into believing this is a healthy weight for me. I need to up my calories and if this continues, the likelihood of actually relapsing get higher and higher. If I can’t do it myself by my next weigh in (with the psychiatrist on Monday) then I start losing a say in what I eat. I am trying really hard to get my calories back up, but I’m not confident in how consistent I can be at this point. She also has made me commit to trying to stop weighing myself so much (every day, at least once) as it’s just making eating that much harder. I almost didn’t today, then got overwhelmed by fear and did. Try again tomorrow I guess. I would suggest someone hid my scales, but last time I did that I just went and bought more within a week. That’ll always be an option so I have to just stop for myself I think. She suggests down to once a week for now, with the aim to be not at all. She also wants me to be less reliant on dietetics appointments as reassurance and permission to eat enough, so we’re cutting down our sessions to once every three weeks. I think now might be a bad time for that, but I am relieved – at least I won’t be weighed for a while so to my disordered brain it means I have more time to manipulate my weight. Ah well, got to try to learn to actually trust the dietician at some point so it may as well be now. Plus I’m able to call her if things don’t go so well and she can give me some help and advice, and if my calories drop, she can send out a nurse to check the damage. This all relies on my be honest and open about my problems and concerns though and everyone knows eating disorders love to hide, so this level of honestly might be something I struggle with if the going gets tough. I don’t know.

I really should do another eats report, but at the moment I’m not eating new or exciting things. Whenever I stop eating enough, I fall back on the same foods. Right now I’m eating the same things at each meal every single day (they’re only not the same if I leave part of it out…). Hopefully I can get my calories up again and I’ll have loads of fantastic foods to report. It’s sad this happened over Christmas as it means I basically missed out on Christmas eats, but it’s done now. Hopefully I’ll report of the good new things soon!

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15 Comments

Filed under life, recovery

15 responses to “what i’m looking for? huh?

  1. Ahh another spot on post to reflect my mood. im getting so used to reading your blog and thinking “how did she climb inside my head and pick that gem out!” its reassuring to hear someone experiencing the same struggles, even tho i wouldnt wish them upon anyone, its nice to know im not alone!

    i find it equally hard to figure out who i am, what i like, what i want to do etc… its like i lost all my knowledge of likes and dislikes… i dont even know where to start. But i think letting some of the rigidity go and just allowing things to happen is the key to progressing in that area… like i stick to the foods i know im happy/safe with cos im scared of trying something and not liking it (therefore wasting the chance to eat) or flip-reversing it and liking something too much and then not being in control…
    im trying to do this new thing of just saying yes to as many opportunities and foods as possible. its hard as hell! but i think that by exposing myself to things, i will figure out abit more of myself. i only remember what i USED to be like before i got ill, but that part of me, despite still being ME, has changed and i need to figure out who i am NOW, but me, not the ED me… the real me.
    Its a tough journey to take, but hey… at least your not alone right?!
    lets set ourselves some activities/eats/challenges to face and if they go well, then wahoo… but at the very least, we can compare experiences and if theyre awful, have a good old laugh!
    x

    • I need to start saying yes to more things. Maybe I’ll adopt that attitude and just do rather than fret. Foods is difficult though. At the beginning of recovery I was really trying to get variety and had so many different food choices, but now I’m stuck in a routine where every meal is the same and I just do it without thinking because it’s “safer” and gives me less anxiety. I know what you mean about now and then though. It’s difficult because I honestly have no idea what I am without mental illness and what I was before than seems somewhat unaplicable now. I like to think of recovery as a chance to remake a whole new thing. Same person, but so much has happened that old me can’t really be a template you know?

      I’m gona email you a list of scary things and we’ll get together some sort of challenge list going where we can start ticking them off. Maybe we should start with “No walking at all for one day” – it can involve pajamas lolz.

      Hope your ok x.

  2. Like clemmy, I can relate so much to a lot of this- especially the bit about not knowing what to do with free time. I absolutely hate the moment I get back from campus in the evening, because I’m faced with the choice of what to do with myself all evening. I do everything according to a routine, because I’m terrified of what will happen if I actually stop to think about what I actually want to do with myself. And I too spend hours in the supermarket getting befuddled by the crazy amount of choice. I wish I could offer some tips for dealing with it! Maybe try as many things as you can? For example, if you resolve to buy a different cake every time you go to the supermarket it won’t matter so much if you get the ‘wrong’ one a few times- I did this over the summer with biscuits (although in the end I decided I’m not really a biscuit fan, so maybe it wasn’t the best experiment…) I’m sorry I can’t offer anything actually useful. Just remember that you’re not a burden to anyone!

    • Biscuits are another choice dilema for me. Sometimes though I do buy biscuits, have one then leave them too long so they end up stale because I can’t seem to justify them. I hate where I’m at right now – I feel so stuck :(. I’ll try cake again, but I see the cakes, think “I could make a better cake” then don’t make a cake. I cannot justify it at all. But enough! I will not even bother trying to justify it and I will just eat a bloody cake if it kills me!
      I’m going to try this with activities too. Maybe start knitting again. And drawing. All these silly things till I find something good. Hopefully we’ll both find something actually engaging to do with our time, routines be damned!

      Thank you x.

      • Ooh, I need to try knitting again! I got really into it last winter and then got bored of it, lol. I agree that feeling stuck is the worst! Changing things is terrifying and it seems like the hardest thing in the world to do- but once you start, at least it feels like getting somewhere. :) You’ll get there- you were doing really well a month or so ago, so don’t give up!
        I think I know what you mean about biscuits being hard to justify- they somehow don’t seem as worthy of being a ‘challenge’ food as say, ice cream or chocolate, but they certainly don’t feel ‘safe’ or ‘healthy’ either. I guess being somewhere in the middle makes them worthy of a challenge in itself.

  3. arabelladesiderium

    I used to have the same problem as you when it comes to people – always thinking things were my fault or like I wasn’t good enough for anything. I’m still not completely over it and have times where I apologize for things that I don’t need to apologize for, or find myself doing so much for others that I neglect myself. One thing that helped me is this: If there is something you feel the need to apologize for or that you feel like you aren’t good enough for, think of what you would tell a good friend if they came to you with the same thoughts about themselves. You deserve just as much as you would want for one of your friends :)

    • That’s something the therapist tries to get me to do! Like exactly. But the problem is, I deeply believe that my friends are epic and deserve to always be treated fantastically, but seeing as I equally believe they are all far better thna I am, I don’t deserve the same things. When they’re treated badly, they seem to have so many better options, but when I’m treated badly, I’m lucky to even have someone who cares enough to treat me in that way and I have to count my blessings. I don’t know. Basically I’m just way to negative on myself, but I can’t find evidence that it isn’t true so don’t know how to not believe it. Therapy is helping, just slowly. Thank you though. I am trying this – maybe with patience and practice it’ll start to stick x.

  4. Sam

    I think that the suggestion of trying lots of new things is a great idea. What better way to know exactly what you like than trying a small amount of everything (within reason)?

    I know it’s hard for you to grasp but having you as a friend only improves my life and I will be happy to help you in the journey to find your likes and dislikes (in a non creepy gay way lol).

    x

    • You make me laugh sometimes. I need to try lots and lots of things. Scary shit though. Plus what is even fun? I don’t know. Depression makes it hard to want to do anything at all. I need someone to force me I swear. Make the fun and impose it in my life. I duno.. Blergh.

      Love x.

  5. Oi oi so familiar indeed… The not knowing what you want, not being able to choose… I’ve always been bad at choosing but ED definately didn’t help either! (Well okay, the real ED did, ‘cuz it just made me ‘not choose’ anything. Just avoid everything. You’ve probably been there. But thats not what we’d call LIVING now is it?). When introducing all this food back into my life I was also really overwhelmed. I wish they’d have some ED-store where we could go and take a bite and nibble out of every little thing hah hah..
    Advice.. Not really. Just try what you think you’d like. If you end up not liking it, nothing’s lost, just try something else next time. And try not to look at the labels BEFORE eating it, so you cannot let them ‘decide for you’. Not an easy nor a quick road, but oh well, what is in this process?
    And please start upping again, because really, you’ll regret it SO MUCH when you’ve completely fucked your metabolism again. So start eating away again NOW and not ‘after this and after that’ (ED will always find a million reasons and excuses to procrastinate on starting upping again but really, they’re all nonsense!). It will only screw up your metabolism (again!) and that sucks monkey balls.
    Keep up the good work little lady! You’re still a big-ass (HA!) inspiration ;)
    PS: ED&relationships……. I think they could fill up an entire library worth of stories about that?! As if relationships aren’t frustrating/confusing enough without all of this crap already?!

    • I am increasing my calories again, but still not up to weight gain amounts. I’m going to see what happens on my maintainance amount after my lapse and see if I gain on that. If I’m still within my range, I’ll have to bite the bullet and up my calories to ridiculous amounts again. Still, maybe if I have to eat more then I’ll feel more willing to go for cake. I know I should just eat more now but I can’t bring myself to at the moment. Especially seeing as not weighing myself seems to be more wishful thinking then fact right now and I’m scraping the very bottom of the range I’ve been maintaining in right now. Ergh.

      I know right? I should just pick anything, regardless of the label and see if I enjoy it. Food labels are the bane of my life. Infact no, it’s calorie counting in general. I find it so hard to justify high calorie foods because how will they fit in meal plan? I know I should just eat more than my set minimum once in a while (after all, I have a range). On Monday I will pick a cake. Or at least attempt to pick a cake.

      When it comes to food though, pre-ED I was so selective in what I would eat that I didn’t really have to worry about choice then either. I only ate a handful of foods and refused to try anything so ED felt like I gained a lot of variety in my diet (which is actually true – pre-ED I never ate vegetables, hadn’t had a roast in my life, wouldn’t touch ice cream or nuts or anything really. Both healthy and unhealthy foods were mysteries to me. My diet consisted of spaghetti hoops and fish fingers mainly). But ED really limited the choices, so now although I like so many more foods, there’s still so many I’ve never tried and I have nothing to help guide my choice. It makes my head spin.

      Hope you’re well. x.

      • Maybe you don’t need anything or anyone to guide your choice. Just pick up something that seems nice and give it a try. And again, no labels until you’ve conquered it! That’s the only way you can try to learn to taste with your tastebuds instead of letting ED do it for you. Make it into a food-snob thing, like wine tasting! Have a sniff, a nibble, a gorgle, pinch it, squeeze it and eat it. And then see what it does to you!
        Maybe you can ask for someone to come along when buying it? Just to prevent yourself from checking the labels? That’s the only way it works for me, if I go to a store by myself I tend to lose myself in checking labels and I’ll spend hours (litterally sometimes…) checking them and end up not buying anything or just the low(est)cal options…

  6. Really interesting post, and I can’t really add anything which hasn’t already been said. I definitely agree that you should, and need to, bite the bullet and pick a cake. It’s so hard, I know, I’m usually the person who stares at the cakes wandering up and down the isles leaving with nothing but next time, pick one. Any of them. Doesn’t matter which. Just pick one, and try it. If you don’t like it, no big deal, pick another next time. It could be a way to reboot your calorie intake as well.

    You’re a fan of Starbucks right? How about those ‘mini bites’ they have? Different cake/biscuity things you could try without having to buy a whole cake.

    Don’t be sad about missing out on Christmas eats, as you said, it’s over now and there will be plenty more opportunities for it. No big deal. Onwards and upwards :)

    • Starbucks are a no go for me. I have way too many moral problems with Starbucks, which is a shame really because they’re foods look really tasty. Ah well, I can stick to Costa and Nero. I will pick a cake though. I bloody have to. This has got too ridiculous.

      I am sad because I desperately wanted to be in a better place right now. I really thought at the beginning of treatment that I’d be more ok by Christmas. It was my target. Now I’m hoping for my Birthday, but seeing as I’m stuck right now, I’m not holding my breath. Blergh. Still, at least it’s done and I can move on from it.

      Hope you’re doing ok x.

      • AHHHH damn it I knew there was a coffee place you don’t visit for various reasons and I should have remembered it wasn’t Costa because of the scrummy muffin! Sorry chick. Sainsburys do smaller versions of their cakes in their bakery cabinet (not the stuff already packaged) so that may be an option.

        I keep meaning to thank you for inspiring me to invest in some PlayDoh. Seriously good fun, I wasted hours messing around with it so even though it’s hardly a productive way to spend my days, it keeps me occupied :). (You inspire me in a lot more ways than PlayDoh purchases though I have to say!)

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