Wowzas. So I haven’t posted in a while. In my defense, I have a bunch of upcoming deadlines keeping me from setting aside some time to do this. It’s not even because I’m having too much fun :(.
Another reason I’ve not really been posting too much is to do with the fact that I’m struggling with recovery at the moment. I am eating enough and trying to force myself to walk less, but it’s harder than it had been recently. With my treatment at my EDU starting to wind down, support from my CMHT starting up, being physically larger than I’ve been in a long time and being unused to it (therefore feeling unbearably huge and uncomfortable) whilst dealing with the stress of work without restriction to get me through it is hard. Very hard.
For me, work and starvation go hand in hand like peas in an incredibly fucked pod. In the past, when I have deadlines, I eat less. It’s partly because I have less time to exercise, and partly because I find it makes my workload easier to get through. I get on this mad concentration and productivity kick when I lower my intake, plus the structure of study and eating get all tangled in each other and end up working together pretty harmoniously. It’s all “It’s time for breakfast, but I’ll wait. Once I’ve read this article/chapter/written 500 words, I’ll have breakfast.” It makes me work faster and eat less. It’s actually more stressful to work whilst eating than it is without. Having to cut into my work time to prepare and sit and eat a full meal every few hours really gets me out of the study zone, plus now I have friends that I actually want to see which makes working even more painful. At least when I wasn’t eating. I wanted to be alone so study became the best option available. Now, actually going out tempts me far too much. Anxieties about my body, diet and exercise levels run rampant through my mind as studying is doing nothing to keep them at bay (unlike my general distraction techniques), and seeing as I’m doing everything I can to go against them, only make me feel terrible. I may have them when I’m under-eating, but at least then I can settle them because I’m doing everything I can to make myself “better.” Plus my work right now is on “Women’s bodies as sites of improvement – Comparative assessment of FGM in West Africa and cosmetic surgery in Britain.” It’s depressing in and of itself.
My mood has been dropping rapidly over the past couple of weeks. I think it started with the super amounts of fear I somehow managed to work up in myself for my assessment with the CMHT. I hate assessments. What seems to happen is I get told things are worse than I think they are. I feel like I’ve been improving, and I think other people would agree with me. The past couple of months have seen me come leaps and bounds in terms of retrieving some sort of personality, having actual fun and being less focused on eating and food all the time. However, the assessment was immediately after a bad weekend (the Westfield incident), so when she asked about how often I get myself caught up in extreme negative spirals, although I was able to say “a lot less than when my referral was written”, when asked how recently, I could only say “… a couple of days ago.” Now there’s talk of more antipsychotics (though the doctor I saw says she’ll try to find a type with minimal weight gain effects), crisis support, possible diagnosis that make me sad and probably more therapy. These things make me feel crazy, even though I had been feeling significantly less so. I hate being told that actually, I’m still not functioning normally and my brain still needs more treatment. It’s not how I feel right now and it leads me to second guessing myself constantly, trying to figure out what parts of me need fixing.
Since then, with the increasing workload and the decreasing support, my mood is plummeting. Yesterday, I just started to cry on the way to the library. Alone. On public transport. Like a proper idiot. Because I miss the boy. Because I’m fat and ugly and no one will ever like me. Because I’m an idiot. Mostly because I just feel sad a lot of the time for no real, tangible reason. This sort of spontaneous crying outbreak happens a lot. I hate it. I hate crying because I’ve had it drilled into my head that crying is only a form of emotional manipulation and serves no purpose except to make others feel bad. I am ashamed when I cry. Ashamed that I cannot control myself better and it might elicit emotions in others that I never want them to feel. To me, it feels like I’m committing involuntary blackmail. I’m ok mood-wise if I keep myself going and doing something at all times, but as soon as I stop, it’s overwhelming and sometimes I freak out. It’s all those little, in between times. Making a coffee has become an emotional challenge, going to the shop makes my brain want to implode, showering is positively distressing. All those times of day where you have nothing but your thoughts to distract you, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes, leave me feeling entirely empty and spiralling into horribly low moods. Sometimes I’m able to distract myself again, sometimes I’m not and I just sit there with a head full of distressing, scary and destructive thoughts. All of which reflect what I believe about myself.
I’m hoping that after this next uni push is over in 5 weeks, I’ll calm down again. It’s not all bad right now. I’m still able to have more fun sometimes, I can actually be distracted, I’m being sociable and enjoying the company of others etc. It’s just that my low moods are increasingly regular and are increasingly painful and distressing again. It’s hard, but it would be naive to think this is easy for anyone. I often feel like I’m making a mountain out of nothing and this is just normal moods. I don’t actually know anymore what normal is really (still working that out). I’m not very good at regulating my emotions. The only ways I know how to end up with me slowly destroying my body in various ways, some of which have started to slip back into my life.
So obviously, I did what any complete moron would do. I decided that now is exactly the right time to stop smoking. So I have. I’m on day three smoke free now. I figure quitting smoking leads to weight gain, so better to do it now whilst I still have a little weight to gain maybe and the support of my EDU than when I’m fully weight restored and support-less. I feel like quitting at a weight restored place involves a higher likelihood of restriction, so if I can do it now, it can only help prevent possible future relapse. But my gosh it’s rubbish. I recommend the NHS Stop Smoking Service entirely though. They have loaded me up with nicotine to get me through the first few weeks and it’s all entirely free!
For now, I’m just trying to keep working and not smoking. I have no idea how much I weigh and that bothers me every single day. Especially as there are staffing difficulties at my EDU so yesterday, I was told that my next dietetics appointment had been cancelled (my last one was three weeks ago), with no appointment lined up, and possibly not for another month or two. This is seriously bothering me. I don’t know how much I weigh. I was going to find out on Tuesday, but now I have no idea when I’ll next know. And I’ve quit smoking, which I know effects your metabolism and appetite in scary ways and I was hoping for some guidance with that. Plus I was hoping I’d be told it was the right time to start making the transition to normal, intuitive, maintenance eating. I can’t stay on a weight gain plan forever, and right now another month definitely feels like forever. I cannot just keep growing and growing. It makes me want to restrict and right now, every meal and every snack is difficult. I’ll keep eating though I think. I don’t like it, it’s not enjoyable, but somewhere in my mind there’s a part of me that knows that it’s just not an option to start slipping right now when I’m so close to physical recovery. It doesn’t even feel like a choice to eat anymore, but just something that has to be done. It’s painful at the moment though. I am trying to get in contact with the dietitian, but she hasn’t called me back. Honestly, I’m not sure how long I can keep eating and not weighing myself. I’m a normal weight now, so maintenance is what I’m after. I’m closing in on breaking point and really need some direction from my team as to what to do next because honestly, I don’t even know if I am or should be gaining weight right now. And without that knowledge, starting to cut back on my intake, increasing my activity levels and trying to maintain seems like the right thing to do for my ongoing health and stability. I don’t know. I don’t think I even know how to maintain my weight. Especially as all I want to do is lose it.
My life right now is predominently freaking out. Freaking out about my mood, my body, my diet, my work, my addictions, my social life, my treatment. It’s just a lot of freaking out.
Uni work, confusing dietary needs and quitting smoking. Gah! Wish me luck.