So yesterday was excruciating. Seriously so. After all my talk of feeling a lot better, I get a surprise kick in the teeth from anorexia and end up in a heap on the kitchen floor, sobbing like an idiot. Beware – very long, rant of a post ahead.
I don’t think I’ve been eating enough recently. Stresses of break ups and alcohol have led me to play it a little too safe on the eating front and I don’t think I’ve been hitting my targets. Scratch that – I know I haven’t been hitting my targets. I suddenly just became really, unbearably full all the time to the extent that eating anything makes me feel sick. I’d begun to think (yet again) that maybe my body is done with gaining weight. Stupid I know – my weight was way higher than this, even before I gained weight at uni. I mean, I’m still a stone away from my target weight, which is a stone lighter than the weight of my eighteen year old self, before this whole weight mess started. I’m hoping I don’t have to get that high, though I probably will. But anyway, as I was just so physically full all the time, thought I was eating loads more than I am, maintaining my size (don’t know about weight) and feeling better mentally, I was beginning to hope that maybe I was done with the gaining thing and that if I continued the way I was, I’d probably get my periods back eventually. I was even toying with the idea of intuitive eating rather than sticking to my meal plan because I’m just so full all the time.
In a search for possible answers as to why this fullness suddenly popped up, it was suggested that I may be lapsing and under eating, thus further suppressing my metabolism. After balking at that suggestion, I went back and did some quick calorie math for the past few days. I’ve been eating a lot less than I should. Not starvation levels by any means, but never above my maintenance amounts. I thought I was eating so much more than that, but no. Not even on the days with copious alcohol and drunken crisps. Or even with chocolate pancakes covered in peanut butter, maple syrup and full fat yogurt. Not good.
I’ve believed entirely that I’m doing well, and kinda still do because things have been nicer and I do feel more cognitively sharp and I can actually concentrate on uni work now (finally! Just in time!). But I’m also not sure anymore. In yoga yesterday, we were doing a visualisation exercise where we visualised achieving our main goals. I tried so hard to think of eating more and committing to recovery and I just couldn’t. Not even to myself. I couldn’t bring myself to say in my head “I am committed to recovery”. So I burst in to tears. It didn’t help that I was next to a very small lady and spent the whole session feeling fat and ugly and very close to having a panic attack. Tears at yoga is not good. And the thing is, I have no idea whether she was actually smaller than me or not. Everything is too distorted.
This made me stop and think. Maybe things haven’t been nicer. Maybe I’ve been pandering to anorexia too much and just ignoring it. Maybe I’m just not pushing hard enough. It’s quite obvious I’m still not doing so well if the idea of eating more and being near small people makes me panic and cry in public.
So I really tried to push myself yesterday. I picked some higher calorie options and even had one of those 50g packets of McCoys that had been sitting in my cupboard for a good few weeks. I didn’t feel ok though. Not by any stretch. Eating those McCoys made me want to self-injure more than anything else. I didn’t (thankfully) and am still adding to the number of days self-harm free. But it was hard. Really hard. Just the same thoughts running through my head over and over again without any way to control them. Urgh.
Then came the dreaded discussion with the Mama about it all. I told her I think I’ve been under eating and that I’m struggling to push myself any further. That the idea of actually pushing myself further is something I’m can’t seem to get on board with. I asked her to many count calories for me, but she wasn’t keen on that idea. I asked her to cook my dinners. She said she’d maybe cook for me on Sunday, and maybe a couple of times a week to see how that goes. What I wanted her to say way “I will cook you all your dinners. I will help you make better food choices. I will take away the room for negotiation that your eating disorder likes to take advantage of”, but I let the disordered part of me have a least half the conversation, saying I like eating my meals alone, a couple of dinners a week is more than enough, I could do this by myself, she had to follow my meal plan exactly when cooking for me with no variation right now. I didn’t tell her what I needed. All the while I was trying to formulate a grocery list, knowing I needed to get away from some of the safe food options I’d been making and having no idea where to start. I asked her what I should get, but she told me we needed to rush and we’d sort if out for the next shop. I needed it to be now. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it in a couple of days time. I tried to vocalise this but it got lost in eating disorder babble, so it’s not the Mama’s fault. I ended up so angry trying to plan my meals and groceries that I ended up saying “I don’t give a fuck. What’s even the point?” and storming out of my own room to cook my dinner.
But then I was faced with the daunting task of having to choose my dinner. The task I’d been trying so desperately to say I just couldn’t do.
I just stood there, tears welling in my eyes. I could not for the life of me chose. I didn’t know what I wanted, was not at all hungry, didn’t know if I should have my usual or aim for a bit more variation (should I eat meat? Or fish? Or should I make a sauce? What sauce? Noodles or rice? Or spelt? Maybe I should just have my usual? But I know that’s not ok! But what is ok? I’ve had crisps and a higher calorie cereal bar, so maybe it is ok? Maybe that’s enough for today? But is it actually? I don’t want too much… I don’t know!). Anxiety levels rose, which led to a full-blown panic attack and me crying on the floor. I was entirely paralysed by choice. I ended up just repeatedly punching my head, struggling to breathe and essentially wailing. Full blown eating disorder tantrum. It is not dignified in the slightest. It’s completely embarrassing. A twenty-two year old woman freaking out over dinner – who does that? It got so bad I’d all but given dinner up. I don’t know whether this sort of extreme choice anxiety is seen that much in people without mental health problems, but if you’ve never experienced it, I cannot describe how awful it feels. It is just so crippling. There are too many variables and too many choices and you just don’t know which one is going to be right and which one will make everything worse and there’s nothing you can do to get the answers you need. This is why people with eating disorders often need meal plans and structure – just eating more can be literally impossible because this happens. It happens to me outside of the realm of food and weight aswell, but because there is just such an overwhelming amount of food to choose from and because of my eating disorder, it mostly happens around food. The only way to lessen the anxiety becomes inaction, which in my case often means not chosing and thus not eating. Which isn’t an option anymore, leading to further panic.
And the thing that gets me is that I do actually want to gain weight. I don’t want to at the same time and I feel really huge but I know I have to. I’m 5’6.5″ and still a size 6 for Christ’s sake. Regardless of the fact that I’m the highest weight I’ve been inyears and that it’s technically regarded as healthy, this can’t possibly be a normal size. And I want to be healthy. I don’t want to settle for anything less than full-blown recovery. I don’t want to manage the illness or still be trapped by rules. Yet I think of gaining weight and my head explodes into incoherent panic babble. It doesn’t even come up with reasons why it would be bad. It feels like an instinct rather than a thought. A couple of days ago, someone said to me “I wish I had your restraint and control.” What control? Honestly, I have no control at all. I’ve managed to beat back any reasons why being small is good, but I cannot control my reaction to more food and active weight gain in the slightest. It’s so physical. I tense up like a ball, start panicking, my mind starts racing, I can’t realise the physical tension, stop being able to think. There’s no control in that. That isn’t restraint. It’s a bloody disaster.
In the end, the Mum did decide what I should eat. If she hadn’t, it would have been a write off. I had to cook it though. God forbid she add too much oil.
By the end of the day, even with the screaming and making higher calorie choices (even at dinner), I was still behind. Not enough higher calorie choices I guess. I did manage to up my calories in the end, but through tears. Tears over 25g of chocolate and half a serving of cashews and cranberries. Is this really what my life is? It’s so rubbish. I hate being like this. Still, at least I’ve learnt that my meal plan may actually be pretty accurate on the calorie front rather than the vast underestimating I’d previously assumed.
All in all, I don’t think I’m doing as well as I previously thought. My diet is still dictated my calories, even if I’m not counting them. I have so many fear foods it’s ridiculous and I’m just not challenging any of the consistently enough to break the pattern of avoidance. I really don’t eat enough fat or protein to promote the most effective repair of my damaged body because they scare me too much. My eating is most definitely not free and easy.
I’m so scared I’m going to end up at the same weight I was at eighteen. I can’t get it out of my head. I don’t want to look like that. I don’t want to be that. There is no reason why, other than the fact that I think it’d be way too big. I don’t want to be big. I’m big enough already. Too big. Except I’m not. And I know that. And I’d probably look better a bit bigger. And I want to be bigger. Except I don’t because I’m definitely getting bigger than Saturn these days. Except I’m not. But that’s what I see. My arms are huge, my thighs sometimes touch in certain position, my face is rounded and my belly is swollen like a hot air balloon. I looked at pictures of my upper body from the other night and all I see is arm. Way more arm than is necessary. I shouldn’t wear strappy tops right now. I have to hide my fat arms. And belly. And face, but it’s quite difficult to hide your face. Maybe I shouldn’t go out. My face is a disaster. All my friends are so beautiful and small. I’m just this ugly, fat planet that stands next to them and everyone wonders why I’m there because I don’t fit. I should really learn to set my aspirations lower and find people who are my level of worth rather than surround myself with people who are better than me. I’m not even funny. I can’t even bring that to the table. If I’m not small, how can I mitigate my broad shoulders, deep voice, wonky face, manly jaw and brow areas, lack of feminine shape etc. And I’m boring. I have nothing of worth to say. And my voice is so off-putting that even if I had good things to say, no one would like to hear it because my voice makes offensive noise. I don’t do anything good. And I look like a boy. And sound like a boy. Being small makes me more feminine. Most people are more feminine and attractive bigger, but I’m not. Because my body is genetically useless. Can’t fight the genes. It can’t be better, only smaller. If I’m not small, I’ll lose the one thing that made me marginally more acceptable. If I’m not small, they’ll all see how useless I really am and reject me. But I want to be healthy. I want to gain weight. I’m being an idiot. Except I’m not. Everyone knows ugly people are only acceptable if they’re small. But I don’t think that. Not about anyone else. But that’s just because the vast majority of people aren’t as horrendous as me. They all have better genes. etc.
This is the noise my brain makes 24/7. All day, every day. It never shuts up. Sometimes I can ignore it better than other times, but it’s always there. Lurking. The background noise to my life.
I hate waking up everyday and feeling ugly and worthless. I don’t remember a time when that wasn’t the case. I’d like to wake up and feel neutral about my appearance. Not even good – just neutral. Neutral would be a nice change.
So here we go again – fighting the same old problems all over again. Trying to make choices that just seem impossible. I thought about eating more today – maybe having two slices of toast over a muffin for breakfast. Or actual dairy milk. I didn’t though. After all, I want to go to a party tonight, I need to save space for drinking calories. I know this logic is flawed, but I just can’t. The choice and panic are too much. Right now, it’s a “starting tomorrow” kinda deal. Hopefully I will actually start tomorrow, and not find more reasons to put it off. I don’t know though. I honestly don’t know if I can choose the right thing anymore. I cannot trust myself.
Fucking eating fucking disorder waste gash self bloody esteem stupid body stupid confidence fucking idiot.