emotional & exhausted.

I’m in fully on insomnia mode right now. With sleep seeming so far away, I thought I’d blog. I’m hoping it’ll help me sort through some of my jumbled thoughts and stop me doing anything stupid to calm my mind down. It is possible that this will be entirely self-indulgent ramblings so I apologise in advance. It’ll probably be pretty awfully written too. And I get very emotional when exhaustion kicks in. Basically, please excuse the exhausted style of my writing.

The psychiatrist cancelled an hour and a half before my appointment. I got up early, showered and was getting ready to leave, but now I won’t see her for a month. Although I’m pleased at the lack of weigh-in, it means I still can’t get advice on the medication she prescribed and I still cannot bring myself to take. My G.P. won’t advise me, the pharmacist didn’t provide much info and now I have to wait another month before I can get the information I’d like before I take the meds so sit here wondering what to do. I so desperately want to feel better than I do, but I find the whole idea of antipsychotics uncomfortable. I swear she always cancels my appointments. It’s seriously annoying. I also really wanted someone to tell me what I should do about me current calorie intake. I’m finally scrapping the bottom of my suggested range again and still not gaining. Although I know what I have to do to gain, I just want someone to make my current intake officially off-limits. Right now, it’s an option and a huge part of me thinks that as long as I’m at the minimum, I’m doing enough. But I’m not. I really should start gaining before my next dietetics appointment. Otherwise it’ll end up eight weeks of maintaining and wasting more time on this stupid disorder. I just really wanted to be told what I’m doing is wrong.

I’ve got to this point in recovery where it’s like some sort of staring contest between the eating disordered bit of me and the healthy bit of me. All the disordered thoughts and arguments are fully operational and all I want to do is restrict and exercise. I don’t even really want to lose weight particularly, I just know that part of me would feel a lot better if I would just restrict and exercise. At the same time, I desperately don’t want to be like this forever. I want so much to not have to care about how many grams of leek I put in my risotto or finding reasons to prolong all my journeys so it counts as more exercise towards for the day. I want more of a life than this. I’m terrified of staying ill, but I’m terrified of what might happen to my body if I give up all the disordered safety nets. I’ve become paralysed by both fears and now I’m stuck. You can’t just keep a few eating disordered behaviours and reach a healthy stable though – the anorexia would always have a hold on you, ready to pull you back in. So I’ve ended up hating every choice I make and it’s entirely stressful. Right now, neither side is winning and I get stuck in the constant negotiations. They’re just staring at each other, waiting to see who blinks first. If I’m completely honest, I have no idea which one that’ll be.

Being like this has only recently really started to upset me so much. I mean, at my worst, it was obviously awful, but since I’ve been in recovery, I’ve been feeling like it’s not a problem anymore. I think it’s because I went to see the play about the summer riots at Bernie Grants. I live in London, I saw Tottenham burnt and broken –  it was a massive deal and my city. Yet I hardly registered it. I think I watched it on the news whilst using my exercise bike and mentally calculating how much food I would eat that day. I was very, very actively sick at that point and I’d lost the ability to have a clue what was going on around me. It made me sad that I missed something so important and so close to home. The whole thing passed me by and I don’t remember it really. I don’t want that to happen again.

I saw the therapist today and we discussed my recent upsurge in eating disordered behaviours and thoughts and my completely stagnant recovery efforts and the whole session seemed to be me hating the idea of anything he suggested. It’s gotten to the point where he essentially gave me an ultimatum – something along the lines of “Your weight is healthy enough now for us not to be able to support you indefinitely. You can stay where you are until the treatment runs its course, but then you will not have our support to help you shake this illness. If you want our support, now is the time to start changing. You’ve made lots of progress, but further change has to be now.” He’s right of course, and I’ve been really worrying about how I’m wasting this opportunity for help on not making any progress so this just really bought it all home. He wants me to try to start taking gradual steps towards shaking these behaviours, starting with “no weigh day” (a whole day of not weighing or measuring anything. No daily check of my weight, no measuring out of cereal, no tape measures and no measuring spoons) next Thursday. Although the whole idea of this is terrifying, at the same time it seems so far away. I don’t know whether I should be trying to fight these urges now, maybe not all at once, but at least not weighing myself. And what about other things like fear foods and my general lack of variety? It seems like a long time to waste not trying to further my progress – that’d make it nearly 8 weeks of nothing until I try to move this forward. On the way home from therapy today I actually cried. I’ve only really, fully cried over my eating disorder once before, so this was a little shocking. Generally, I only really cry about the boy or the fam.

I need to get proactive. For my own sanity. I need to get proactive now.

So here’s my plan –

1) Tuesday is weigh-in day. I don’t need to keep track of my weight everyday, just the general trend.

2) Stop counting calories in herbs, spices, black coffee and tea. Realistically, they don’t add up to that much. It’s not important. Plus you know, I’m sure the slight metabolism boost off black coffee uses up that whole 4 calories. Starting now.

3) Tomorrow I am going for lunch with my Dad and I don’t care. It will taste nice and I will have cake and sure they’ll probably be a lot of guilt and I’ll probably feel rubbish, but I’m just going to have to suck it up. I literally cannot be comfortable doing something unless I actually try it and practise it till enough.

4) Start volunteering. I’m hoping to get one day a week in a year one class room as my only previous work was an early years T.A. and I could really use some recent experience to help me find an alright job after uni. And one night a week helping to run a group for people with learning difficulties. I have the connections to do this so it’s not unrealistic. I need to find something to do so that I don’t fall back on “I’m bored – What will I eat tomorrow?” like I always do. Starting small though. Don’t want to over do it and stress myself out – I do have uni as well.

5) Variety is the spice of life and I’m going to get that variety in the form of bread.  so from now on, all those teacakes and crumpets and actually normal bread I have in my freezer will be used. Diet bread is fully off-limits. And I’m limiting myself to 2 english muffins a week.

6) I am really going to push myself to eat at regular, normal times. And eat the amount I’m meant to rather than consciously saving calories till the end of the day.

7) I am going to actually use my range. So what if I eat a couple of hundred extra one day? I need to gain weight and to gain a consistent pound a week I need 500 extra calories every day. I’m not sure I could handle that big jump yet, but just actually using all my range would be a good start.

9) Fear foods. Right now, I’m thinking tackle one purposefully each week and eating it at least twice in that week. Bring ’em on.

There will be more points to this plan, but I think I’m at risk of over doing it. I’m just so entirely fed up of being this way right now that I have to do something to get myself out of this. There’s a lot on my plan and I’m worried it might be a bit much to handle, but really, it doesn’t address all of anorexia’s big guns. I think weighing myself everyday counts as a big gun, but the rest are probably small and medium guns. The other big guns are calorie counting, preparing all my own food and measuring everything. Hopefully I can do this. I’m so done with being stuck and of the two ways this could go, this is the way I’d like it to head. Hopefully getting this into the world will give me a bit more accountability. I just really need to start seeing progress again as I’m getting disheartened now.

I don’t know, does this sound ridiculous to you? Does it sound unrealistic? Like I’m throwing myself into inevitable disaster and failure? Or is the part of me that says there’s no way I can do this the eating disordered part – giving me reasons not to try as it might push me backwards? Hmm.

I had plans to post about other things tomorrow, but now I’m worried I might end up posting too much. Who knows? Maybe you’ll never know the dilemmas of jeans and the joys of gender theory in practice (I seriously love anthropology). Other things always seem to come up.

Time to give sleep another attempt. Lets see how that goes.



Filed under recovery

7 responses to “emotional & exhausted.

  1. I like your plan. It gives you focus and something to strive for. Some of the challenges might be pretty hard for you but you will be able to do it, and will have the right to feel super proud of yourself afterwards!

    Your therapist seems to have been pretty straight with you which is good, you both know that stagnating as you are isn’t going to benefit in the long run so he’s given you the push you need I think. As for your Psychiatrist? Rubbish. Do they not realise that people depend and rely on their service? And by cancelling it can really mess things up?! I don’t suppose it would work me saying ‘your minimum calorie intake is officially OFF LIMITS’ would it since your psychiatrist wasn’t there to say it to you? You will just have to pretend I have the authority :)

    As for counting calories, keep trying at this. Don’t give up because you think you can’t stop. I used to count every single calorie, (half a tomato, glass of orange cordial etc etc) and it was horribly compulsive, debilitating sometimes and didn’t think I’d ever not do it, I accepted it as life. But somehow, I stopped. I don’t remember how or why or when even, I just know that I don’t count every calorie that goes in now. You will still make mental calculations, both consciously and sub consciously but hopefully the compulsiveness will lessen over time. It may take weeks, months, years, whatever, but keep going. I can’t advise on packet checking though because that’s an obstacle I haven’t managed to tackle yet!

    Volunteering is a brilliant idea, I used to do it and should really do it again because as you said it uses your time in a positive way and will take the focus away from food.

    Have fun with your Dad today, have a good lunch, good cake and a good time! Keep tackling with big, medium and mini guns x

    P.S – You know I’m scared of fats in general, and although I like Peanut butter I rarely eat it because it scares me. Well, encouraged by your previous posts I bought some Cashew Nut Butter yesterday (hadn’t heard of it before you mentioned different nut butters), and braved it on toast with sliced banana and strawberries – beeeeaaaauuutttiful! Thank you for the inspiration, it wasn’t as scary as I feared x

  2. I HATE INSOMNIA! I’ve had it since I was little (if you’d see me now, you’d never believe I was ever even little to start with..) but ED definately made it worse. But I also can get quite over-productive at ‘And now I’m gonna make a U-turn life change that will sick with me for the rest of time’-ishness during nights like these. I suppose you just did the same
    The plan sounds topnotch! Seriously. Cutting the weighing (of both yourself and your foods) down and then out is a really good goal. Also, caloriecounting? You now know (realistically) how much you should at least be eating so you really could try and let go of the actual counting. Just keep a general trend in mind for that. I’ve also been using up all of the stuff in the freezer for the past months. Stupid how much I’ve hoarded the past years of things I wanted to keep around for ‘when the moment would come’ but that I was too scared to go near. So yup, use it up! What are your fearfoods? Have you managed to tackle a few of em yet? Do share! I’m now also working on regular mealtimes, and regular meals instead of just nibbles here and there. I tend to eat like a cow, just chew and munch on random nitbits all day instead of having actual fóód.
    I agree with the above comment, you could pretend we’re authority figures? Well, I suppose we do both (and you as well BTW) know very well how this all works, so we’re not completely non-authorities either. So yeah: Your old plan is now no longer your minimum, it’s a FORMER minimum! Up it goes. You know you should and you even feel like you can. So embrace this moment to do it. You’re a powerwoman! You can do it!
    And about the doc, can you not just phone him/her and/or the assistant to at least be able to ask the questions about the meds? You probably won’t be able to get an entire session on the phone, but I think it should be no more than logical that you get to be informed about your meds? They at least owe that to you, and it is not something to be waiting for for another month. So yeah, they owe it to you to answer your questions over the phone, I suppose.
    And you can never post ‘too much’ hun, this is YOUR blog, remember! I hope you have fun with your dad today!
    Love, Sooz

    • I hate calorie counting, but I’ve relied on it for so long I’m not sure I can trust myself to know that I’m eating the right amount. Urgh. If I could achieve a better balance I think I could manage it, but without the balance I’m not sure. I’m getting distinct urges to try and eat a little more intuitively though (rather than relying on numbers). I hate it so much.
      O my gosh fear foods. So many. I challenged quite a few of them, but got a bit lax about it and now I have to re-challenge them all again. Potatoes are my worst, but standard things like chocolate and cake and fats in general and meat and bread and so so many more. I’m now re-working on chocolate and trying to work on bread. Hopefully I’ll get there. What about you? Regular meal times are difficult, but I think they get used to it as your body learns when to be hungry maybe. At the same time though, I wish I could nibble and graze. I find it so hard to eat spontaneously. Still, one step at a time.

      Thankfully I managed to get hold of my dietician and saw my psychiatrist. Everything is moving forward a little and my minimum is upped and all my medication questions were answered. I just felt like I needed official permission, but I guess I got that now. Onwards and upwards I say! Hopefully I can stick to my plan. I think I’m doing ok.

      Insomnia is rubbish though. Now my medication isn’t knocking me out so I just stay awake for ages but feel rubbish in the mornings. I wish sleep was easy.

      Hope you’re well x.

      • I really need to learn mealtimes. It’s been years, litterally. Right now they are my downfall and keep me in my destructive cycle. I want to break the habbit but I’ve gotten too scared. It makes no sense, but somehow the nibbling in my head doesnt ‘count’ as actual eating, and sitting down with the same foods does. I am gaining ridiculous amounts of weight right now by eating from the fridge etc, instead of having a proper meal, so I KNOW it’s completely stupid for not making foods ‘count as foods’, but still. I had the same when I was not eating; I would only eat a tiny bit when it was dark. Because somehow at night, when no one would see me eating, it again didn’t really ‘count’ as much. Stupid nah?

        My fearfoods… In my binges and nibbles I don’t have any. In sitting down and having a meal, well, anything? Ha. No I think I’ve conquered everything by now. The only ‘fear’foods left are silly things that I used to live off and now bring back memories. Like, warm milk with aniseed (it was sometimes the only thing I’d have on a full day, just before bedtime, to help me doze off), breakfastcake (something Dutch I think?), also one of few things I would allow myself to eat, and instant cappuccino (my staple ‘food’ back in the days when I lived off Kcaff instead of Kcal…). TMI? Don’t mean to be triggering. I’ve come a long way since then! Your fearfood chocolate and bread? We have this Dutch thing, chocolatesprinkles, and it’s best on fresh white bread with real butter (not the diet margerine kind, just reeeal butter). SO GOOD. Can you get it there? We have em in milk and dark, and in regular, extra thick or even in ‘vlokken’, which are sort of chocolate curls?

        Sleep should be easy. Just like eating. We’re human! Eating, drinking, sleeping and errr, sexing I suppose ha, should be easy! But somehow right now none are?! Messed up.

  3. Sam

    WOW I am loving your proactive thinking. If you seriously try and stay strong then of course you can beat the disorder. You have come so far already so why stop now, we all know how you hate quitting! I think having smaller week by week goals is far less scary than trying to beat everything at once.

    With all this new found umph to win, tell yourself that your minimum does not exist and if you’re not quite there yet then listen to the people above, they sound like they know what they are talking about.

    Hope you managed to fight through lunch, I know it would make your dad happy. I will ask you all about it Friday.

  4. :-)
    i love it when a plan comes together!
    (today has been ridonkulously busy, i will get to your email when i get home…) later skater x

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