sometimes, you just need a good vent.

Recently, I feel like I’ve been making a decent amount of progress in my recovery. I don’t by any means feel like this is all fixed, but I think I’m doing ok and that parts of me are starting to get fixed. I feel like I’m starting to get the pay off for all this painful work I’ve been doing and it’s quite nice really. It does get less hard and less painful and sometimes you really notice.

However, this doesn’t mean it’s always easy now because it’s not. Although this isn’t exactly positive news, I think it kinda is. If it wasn’t for the times which make you want to curl up and die then you wouldn’t be able to see what aspects of recovery need more work. The psychologist wants me to be working on three issues with him – food, body image and self-esteem. Sometimes I think all of this is unnecessary because I’m obviously well now, but I guess the past few days have really highlighted some problems for me.

Yesterday was one of those days. It started badly and only continued that way I guess. Yoga was fully booked so my usual Sunday exercise wasn’t available to me, so the slow build of freaking out started. I decided pretty early on I was going to walk and did a little brisk walking almost straight away to make sure I was getting some in, but it didn’t feel like enough. Thankfully (or not. I duno really), a few of my friends were meeting for sunny times wine on the flats (for those of you without East London geography knowledge, the flats are like a huge bit of flat grassland in a part of Epping Forest which reaches into London) so I figured I could walk there and back to get in some more walking so I would be at least close to two hours for the day. I really know that my attitude here is not good, not by any means. I mean, I could easily get a bus there from outside my house, but I knew I wouldn’t go if I didn’t walk because I’d have to walk regardless, so it was either walk there or not go  so I could walk somewhere else (I cannot stress how much I know I have to work on this, but it just seems to be something I cannot do).

The problem with this is that the flats terrifies me. In my mind (and I also think this is actually true), any patch of green land in East London is pretty dangerous as they are prime places for attack. This is the PTSD speaking I know because I used to be totally fine with it, but these days I can’t step into Epping Forest alone without major panic and anxiety, so I avoid it. I love Epping Forest, but I’ve lost all my confidence within it. I can’t run there anymore, so any running I do has to be on streets only, I can’t go sit and read there in the sun, I can’t take shortcuts through it. The whole thing is too scary, even in the daylight.

But yesterday, anorexia trumped PTSD and I walked across the flats. My heart was racing, my head was spinning, my body tensed up, I practically ran across them, I blasted my happy playlist as loud as possible and I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening. I felt physically sick the whole time but I did it. Part of me is proud because I challenged my avoidance and felt like I was reclaiming a bit of my life, part of me feels stupid because I let the urge to exercise push me to do something I hate and found kinda traumatic. It was horrible in every way, but I managed it. I don’t really know how to feel about it. At least I had someone to walk me home though, so I didn’t have to go through the panic twice. I’ve done this sort of thing before though. I’ve gone walking in the dark because I haven’t walked at all that day in an effort to stay sedentary and ended up walking and crying and struggling to breathe. It’s ridiculous really, but I cannot tell if it’s good or bad for me. I feel like I’m just lining myself up to get hurt every time I do it and I feel like an idiot, but at least I walked.

I don’t really talk to my team about the walking issue. I probably should. It’s getting ridiculous. My feet and legs ache constantly because of the amount I’m doing everyday. And it’s building up slowly. Over time, it’s gone from a minimum of one hour, to a minimum of two and right now, it’s definitely closer to three on most days, if not more. I think my recent record is more like five. I’m literally wasting hours of my life away, but it doesn’t feel like exercise, so it never feels like enough. At least when I was really going for the calorie burn, there was a point where I felt like I’d done enough (albeit after more exercise than can possibly be good for you), but now I’ve never done enough. There’s always room for more walking because it’s not exercise so it doesn’t really count. The amount of time spent walking is pretty close to the amount of exercise I was doing in the depths of anorexia, but the intensity is so different that it doesn’t feel like it’s an issue. But it is exercise and it is an issue and I’m being an idiot.

On top of the stupid exercise thing, the social anxiety started to creep in whilst I was with my friends. I have mad paranoia about my voice. I hate it so much that it makes me want to cry. Yesterday was one of those days when my voice becomes something I fixate on then find talking something to be ashamed of. It built and built until I just wanted to stop all together. I don’t know if it’s noticeable when this starts happening to other people, but I notice the changes in myself. My voice starts to shift. It gets quieter, my answers shorter, my pitch higher, I start to lose my ability to articulate coherent sentences and instead chose to mumble key words in an effort to make my voice something less offensive. I’m still feeling the effects of this particular instance so I found it impossible to call my GP surgery today even though I need to get a repeat prescription.

I don’t really know how social anxiety works for most people, but for me, it goes one of two ways. Sometimes, I just don’t talk. I get twitchy and start fidgeting because I’m so tense, I can’t look anyone in the eye and I get painfully self-conscious and uncomfortable. Route two is the polar opposite. I start to dissociate from the situation and lose all control, so end up overcompensating for my anxiety by blabbering a lot and saying things I really shouldn’t, getting embarrassed and feeling like an idiot, which I then beat myself up for over the course of days. Yesterday was route two. I’m ashamed of myself for speaking at all. I shouldn’t have gone because everyone will think I’m an idiot.

Body image is also causing a problem. I know a lot of people with eating disorders don’t have the stereotypical body image problems, but I really do. I started dieting because I hate my body. I continued dieting because I continued to hate my body. I ended up severely ill because I hate my body. I don’t want to simplify it for those of you that don’t know much about eating disorders because there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s not some sort of vanity project spurred on by desire to look like great or anything as current research indicates that there are a lot of physiological adjustments within the brain caused by genetic bad luck and stimulated by starvation itself. For me, starvation makes me less anxious, helps detract from my depressive tendencies and makes some of the more distressing PTSD symptoms more manageable, but I narrate it all in terms of my body. It stopped being something I could just stop easily because eating led to fear, anxiety and panic. I wasn’t in control at all, but this fear and anxiety and panic was all directed towards my body image.

I feel like I’m genetically unlucky. I read about a lot of people with anorexia being naturally small and recovering to lovely, feminine bodies. I’m not like that. Like really not. I’ve never been small naturally. It’s hard work for me to be small. I had to really bloody try to even get my bmi to 20. I don’t have a nice figure and never have. I think it’s actually impossible for me to. I looked awful whilst underweight, but I didn’t look better at a healthy weight. I have always held my fat in bad places. I don’t get a waist, hips, a bum or breast. I have belly and thigh and that’s about it. Even when I was overweight, I never really got out of an A cup, so chances are I never will. The refeeding body is my natural body shape and I don’t think it’ll improve with time like it does for most people. I’ve always been this shape, whatever size or weight I am. I will always be this shape and there’s nothing I can do about it. Dumpy and boyish. I read about how people are so upset during early refeeding that their stomachs stick out more than their breast. Well mine always does, regardless of weight. I hate it and it makes me cry. I promised myself that I’d never let it get so bad again when I initially started to lose weight, and I’m back there now. My body does start to even out when I’m at really low weights. I look disgusting but at least I’m more even. I don’t want anyone to see me now. To be healthy, I have to go back to the thing I hate and have hated for as long as I can remember. I would fantasise about cutting my belly off with scissors during childhood, in my teens I’d dream of getting exotic diseases that’d put me in hospital because I just couldn’t eat and would get such a high temperature I’d be burning all my fat so I could come out and everyone would be amazed because I was small. There is nothing I can do to make my body something I find acceptable. It’s genetically rubbish. To be healthy, I have to be the body I find repulsive.

Then there’s the lingering food issues. I’m eating a whole load I know, but I’m not feeling quite so comfortable with it right now. I’m eating through it, but I’m struggling. Today, I didn’t weigh my cereal for the first time in about two years. It was terrifying and made me feel sick because I’m sure I had more than my acceptable amount. It was horrible, painful and has made me feel bloody disgusting. I feel like I’m eating disgusting amounts of everything bad right now. Too much cake and too much fat and too much chocolate and too much processed food and too many unknown calories and it’s in my mind all the time and I’m beginning to really hurt because of it. I hate eating like this. I don’t feel like I’m being healthy anymore. Argh. As I write this, I’m starving hungry and my belly aches, but I still don’t want to eat yet as I don’t think there’s been enough time between now and my last eat so I’ll just sit and ache and feel like I’m in control of my food intake. Even though it doesn’t really matter if I do or don’t in the long run because I’ll eat a lot today regardless then feel out of control and disgusting anyway.

Last night I just cried and cried like a moron. It’s all too much sometimes.

So now it’s all building up and I’m getting close (yet again) to deciding to hide away. I don’t want to speak to anyone. I don’t want to see anyone. I feel disgusting physically, I feel like an idiot when communicating with people. I just want to hide away in a tiny hole and never see anyone ever again. One of my bezzies is hosting a dinner party tonight, but I can’t go because they’ll be dinner and people and I’ll be expected to talk so people will physically hear me and I’ll say things that make people judge me and they’ll see me and know I’m disgusting and I’m not good enough for them. So tonight, I’m going to sit at home and probably have a rubbish time, but I just can’t be around people who are so much better than I am. I can’t continually put myself in situations where I feel like the perpetual other. I’m never the fun one or the pretty one or the interesting one or anything. I’m the other one. I’m the friend of the good ones, never the good one itself. And I don’t want to be that right now. Sometimes I think it’s better to stay out of people’s way and let them get on with being better than me without bringing them down.

All the things the psychologist wants me to work on definitely still need more work. I still think it’s better now than it was before, but I don’t think this is actually all ok now.

I’ll probably get through this mood in a few days. I just wanted to moan. So here’s my moan.

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14 Comments

Filed under exercise, life, recovery

14 responses to “sometimes, you just need a good vent.

  1. I don’t just think you need to tell your team about the walking, I know you should. And I think you know so too. That’s a lot of walking Ellie. And that’s not going to help your recovery at.all.

    The social anxiety thing is spot-on. I do the same. Either hide away or just blurt out constant word-vomit. Either way, Ill feel like a fool. But sometimes, when we challenge ourselves by not hiding away and accepting the invitation, we can actually have quite a lovely time, right? And the chance of that happening when declining the invite is.. well… not that big. So maybe you could go check out your friends party tonight. Maybe go after dinner (you still had some Uni stuff to finish? Lame, but if it works, it works!) and then just go and have a drink. You don’t need to overdo it. Just drop by and say hi. It’s one of your bezzies, she/he’ll love it.

    &The rest is on its way in an email :)

    • I told my psychologist about my walking issues… He wants me to cut down. 2 hours a day now :(. Not looking forward to that. I know I walk too much. I don’t wana walk this much, but then I also hate not walking. Urgh. Double urgh. We’ll see how it goes I guess.

      I didn’t manage it out that night, but I did get out yesterday to see someone! (much less intimidating. One on one, no food pressures. Saying that though, I did have to have sneaky toast as it was getting late and I was getting hungry lolz). I feel really sad I missed my friend, but I guess I’ll get more chances over summer. My friends seems to give me infinite chances. At some point that’s got to run out…. Hopefully no time soon though. I hate social anxiety though. I hate it so much. It’s the worst when you’re blabbering, then you realise it half way through then get super shy halfway through a conversation. That’s my number one worst thing. In those situations, I just leave as soon as possible. I know it sounds really like a nothing thing but it plagues me for days I swear.

      Hope this finds you well.

      x.

  2. I’m terrible with social situations- I’m always convinced people will think I sound like a moron. For years I could barely say a word to anyone outside of my family, and although I’m getting better at it I’m still nowhere near there. So I’m not really the best person to give advice, but hang in there. It sounds like you have lots of friends, and they wouldn’t invite you if they didn’t like spending time with you. You are interesting and pretty and fun and all those awesome things, even though it’s hard to see it. Hiding away can only make it harder to see what’s good about you in the long run.

    And, I think you know this already but you are still being healthy by eating everything you’re eating.

    I hope you feel better in a few days. Blog-ranting always helps me when I have a bad day.

    • I’m trying not to hide now! Trying to find people to see again! Always a little too late, but at least I’m trying again. That mood just catches me off guard every week or so and I just give up on any sort of life for a few days. Still, I see that as an improvement – it’s not everyday after all! I am super lucky with my friends though so I should give myself more of a chance with them. Hiding does always make everything harder though you’re right.

      Sometimes eating this much makes me feel bloody terrible, but you’re right it is healthy. It’s just hard to get in my head when everyone around me sees my eating habbits as unhealthy for themselves. I hate comparisons, but I make them all the time. It really doesn’t help when I decide to watch a whole seasons of Supersize vs. Superskinny. I swear it was just an exercise in torturing myself, but I just couldn’t stop. Wost. Idea. Ever.

      Thank you though x.

  3. You KNOW ranting is not just necessary, it’s pretty much essential!

    Far far far too much walking. That’s not OK. But you know that, you said as much yourself. You’re usually super honest with your team so they can help you, so you need to be super honest with them about this too.

    Social situations are hard, really hard. I don’t know your friends but I seriously doubt they’ll think you’re as big an idiot as you think you are. The word vomit (Sooz that’s an ace phrase) that you think you spewed out probably didn’t even register with your mates. Honestly, you’re your harshest critic so really think you need to give yourself a break. The fact that you actually put yourself in a sociable situation is an achievement so don’t do yourself down for it. Your friends wouldn’t invite you to places if they didn’t want to see you right? They also would probably HATE to know that you don’t feel worthy of them. You clearly ARE worthy, because you’re their friend and they want you there.

    There’s MY rant, right back atcha ;)

    x

    • I know it’s waaaay too much walking. It’s ridiculous. Now my team have dictated 2 hours max a day, with aims to cut down. We’ll see I guess. Eek. It’s horrible. I’m just getting ready for my 2 hour walk now and I’m nervous. Why the fuck am I even nervous? Fucks sake.

      It’s so hard to gauge what’s actually right or wrong when you’re criticisng yourself though. How can you tell what’s true and what isn’t? I get so confussed. I duno though. I feel like people would invite me places even if they didn’t want to because they just want to be nice. It all feels like I must be a charity case with pity invites. I know that sounds ridiculous, but that’s the conclusion I always get to. And there is literally no way to test this and I hate not being able to test things. I duno. I know I put myself down too much though, it’s just impossible to know what’s justified or not.

      This reply is predominantly blabbering.

      Thank you though. You’re right – ranting is necessary!

      x.

  4. im sending you a letter in repoly to your post ‘chirpy’. so check your mail within the next week :) partyring

  5. WG

    I agree you need to tell your team about the walking. 3 hours regardless of amount you eat is too much and puts a strain on your body. I know you stated you don’t feel it is running but and please tell me if I am wrong that you are walking yes for anxiety relief but also about calorie burn? Lets says you did no waking today would you still eat the mp? How do you see your day and mindset? I know this battle and it is so hard but the longer it goes on the harder it is going to be.
    Social anxiety and feeling like an idiot I hear from others I know too. I sometimes second guess myself like should I have said that or did I offend someone. In reality though like others said the other person does not even give it a 2nd thoughts. Or lets say you do say something that is off it does not make you an idiot just human. Kind of like a person who trips when walking. You may feel a little weird when someone see’s it happen but they are still your friend and don’t go on thinking about it their whole day. I am not taking away from how hard social things are but I agree it is nice you have friends. I lost many to my ed and depression. I wonder why you feel you are not the “one” friend that you describe? Maybe your friends think of you in the way you think of them?
    I hope today is brighter

    • I did tell them about walking and I’ve got to work on cutting it down. It is a calorie burn thing too you’re right. I really need to get out of the habit. I just get so anxious if I’m not walking enough. I really going to try work on it now though :(. I know without the walking I just get more and more tightly wound up. I need to cut back. Today only two hours. I’m actually scared, which is ridiculous really.

      I hope people don’t notice me the way I notice all the things I sad and do wrong. If they did, I’d probably have no one less. I just expect better from myself if that makes sense? I duno why I always feel like the other, less good one. I just always do. In my mind, it’s rationalised by the fact that I have seriously nang friends. When you’re surrounded by people you think are fantastic, it’s hard to see yourself as anything but the other one. Does that make sense?

      Today is brighter though! Yuss!

      I trip when I’m walking all the time too…. Seriously, I fall over a lot.

  6. WG

    How did the day go? I want you to know that I think you are working hard and I know the battle. Like I said when I was lowering walking I thought I would explode from anxiety. Right now lowering it you will feel worse but in the long run of life you will feel better. Feeling so mentally trapped that you have to do so much activity for what ever reason is a horrible feeling. I remember when I was facing this as my dietician who was amazing at the time was trying to help me cut the walking. She made a good point in that how can you truly determine daily calorie needs especially when you get to mantain? You want your body to find its normal place. Also the walking is taking the place of more important things and will be a barrier. Like in the other reply imagine having a husband with kids,work etc and you have to spend on top of that hours walking? I also feel to heal the ed fully you can’t keep part of it like obsessive exercise,restricting certain foods,etc. You have to be fully healthy.
    Does anything else help you with anxiety? Anxiety and worry are my middle names so I know it is so hard. You said you are trying to cut down the walking and are scared. Can you share more what you fear?
    You can tell me to shut up I won’t feel hurt. I know I ask a lot of questions but I guess to help you identify why. You remind me of myself when I was younger and I really hope you don’t waste any more years to the ed.
    I am sorry you feel less then others. I can relate to this in that I feel I am not good at anything. I do compare but lack motivation to be more in terms of career or what ever. I know rationally that to compare to others serves no purpose. Easier said then done but I guess it is about finding what makes you happy and healthy.
    Sorry this is so long. Hope you have a good day

    • Only 2 hours gave me a lot of axiety and tension tbh. I did manage to make the walk a social one in the sun with a friend, but after the two hours were up and I was still about 45mins walk from home, getting on the bus instead was really diffiult. Like really really. You’re right in everything you say though. I especially like the thing about maintanence amount – I’m gonna keep that in mind when I start working myself up. You’re especially right about fully healing the ED though – I’m doing ok with food and my exercise is a whole load less obsessive, but it is a lingering ED problem that I have to ditch in order to fully heal and put the ED nonsense behind me completely. Else I’m just leaving the door open if that makes sense?

      Anxiety wise, I’ve never been good at dealing with it. When it gets to blind panic, I have some reasonably successful grounding techniques (but they don’t deal with the actual anxiety, just the dissociative aspects I get when I start feeling too overwhelmed), listening to my music really loud and dancing and singing about helps, as does yoga (but they’re not exactly a sedentary behaviour). Apart from that, I really don’t know. I have a lot of techniques to calm, just not physically if that makes sense. My therapist suggested baths and showers, but when I’m left to my own mind for that long, everything just gets worse. Mostly my fear comes from the fact that I really cannot manage physcial anxiety. The only ways I’ve done it in the past (that I remember anyway) are exercise, starvation and SI, all of which I’m trying not to do anymore. But I’m scared that my mood will get the worst of me and I’ll just fully self-destruct. I’m scared that if I leave all my coping mechanisms behind, I won’t be able to manage my mood effectively and will end up panicking, overwhelmed and suicidal. I’m not confident in my abilities to keep myself on some sort of level.

      Also, I’ve always walked to manage axiety, even pre-ED I’d go for massive walks almost every day for hours and hours in the middle of the night. During the worst of ED, I stopped walking and replaced it with more intense exercise, especially when the PTSD was at it’s worse and I couldn’t even leave the house. In recovery, I stopped all my other exercise, but tried to get out the house everyday to keep myself from going stir-crazy which slowly morphed into minimal walking amounts. As the PTSD has been improving, I’m able to walk more and more, so I just do (albeit not in the middle of the night anymore as I’m still too terrified of the dark, so at potentially more productive times of day). I’ve never really been a sedentary person, but I guess the obsessive aspect of my walking has gotten worse in recovery for sure. I never used to have minimum amounts and any idea of calorie burn, but now that’s definitely a huge part of it.

      My day has been good so far thank you! I’m feeling quite productive and chirpy! I hope your day is aces too!
      x.

      • When actual meltdown is there, nothing will help, but try and do something before it gets to that point i/o walking (I did that too!! Walking and obsessively cleaning! Cost me so much energy to quit but really it’s being blind to a big side of ED if you ‘recovery’ while keeping these behaviors intact if that makes any sense?). I know this sounds like you’re in kindergarten, but what has helped me to calm down is get a bunch of magazines/newspapers and just cut out things that stand out at that moment. And then make something out of it. Be it words, sentences, pictures, etc. I guess a bit of moodboarding or something? It takes time to search and cut (time = calming), then to make sense of them and put them together is a wee bit therapeutic (more so afterwards when you see what you made, to me it was sometimes quite an eyeopener strangely enough?!) and then create something? I know I thought it was silly too. When my flatmate would come home and I’d be on the floor with hundreds of words cut out from newspapers all around me I would just mumble something along the lines of ‘creative therapy..’ but it did help calm me down, keep me sedentary and even work on what was going on ‘inside’ a bit…

  7. WG

    Sorry me again I also meant to ask did the increase in walking come when you increased your calories and weight? Or has this been ongoing when you were restricting as well?
    Now hope you have a good day

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