damage limitation.

I am literally so bored with the Queen. She’s a kinda tedious old lady. Plus I really don’t think that having all those boats was such an impressive deal. I was expecting really great, entertaining boats with funny statues on and stuff. Instead, it just seemed to be a lot of people rowing. Yet somehow, that was the only thing on the news from the moment I woke up this morning. Still, I won’t pretend I’m not jealous of those people who got Fortnum & Maison’s lunch at the Piccadilly street party. Though saying that, they did have to meet Prince Charles and sing the national anthem which I don’t think I would have handled with anything but contempt. Instead, I watched Charlotte’s Web, which is a terrible adaptation of a book I actually really like. Next up is Celebrity Deal or No Deal with McFly. Sunday’s should be better than this. Maybe I should change the channel. If I’m lucky, Come Dine With Me will be on. Come Dine With Me is always on. And I really don’t want to do any work. I worked all yesterday, and all it made me was angry. Researching the EDL makes me want to spit a little bit.

So anyway, I know I’ve been a bit of a moany moaner these past few weeks. I’ve been feeling pretty low and haven’t yet found a way to feel less low. So I continue to feel low and try to limit the damage. It’s not exactly ok, but I think I’ve got to start playing the damage limitation game to keep myself functioning. I keep doing things that I know will make me feel worse in the long run because it seems easier in the short-term. For once, none of this is about food, though I will admit one of these things is walking. So here are the tips I’m going to try to follow in order to keep myself as healthy and well as possible until I work out what I have to do to actually fix the things I’m finding overwhelming and painful. None of this is exactly a long-term fix, and some of it is purely avoidance strategies, but right now, I have to do something.

  • Don’t drink alcohol or takes drugs. I know this sounds like an awful, no fun Ellie idea, but I actually think that this might be necessary. In fact, it’s this point which is my main reason for posting this – other people knowing about it might mean they’ll help me to not get trashed. Every time I let myself give a little, I end up completely trashed. Even if I’m positive I won’t. And it’s basically every time I see anyone. I know I’m using it to be less self-conscious, but I need to keep that level of self-conscious to not hate myself entirely for days and days. It stays with me and it’s all I can think about. I hate the person I am when I let my intense amount of self-policing and anxiety lessen slightly. I hate it and it makes me feel horrible. It makes me hate seeing my friends. Thing is, I know I’ll probably give up on this as soon as someone offers me a drink. But on some level, I know it’s not actually worth it. And it’s not forever, its temporary management of my mental health. It used to be worth it. I think I just more time to look after my brain rather than frazzle it a couple of times a week. We’ll see. I predict failure I won’t lie.
  • Keep myself in situations I feel safe in. This basically involves staying the fuck away from anything I know I’ll find stressful. I have real problems with social things and I know that, in general, I’m going to have to work on this. Thing is, I’ve been trying. I’ve been putting myself in situations I know will be hard for me, with people who I feel particularly judged and disliked by in the hope that I’ll get over my hang-ups eventually. Well apparently I’m not getting over it any time soon and it’s making me feel awful. People are so difficult and all I can do for days and days is go over exactly what I did wrong and why evenyone will hate me now. I always just dissociate from the situation. I don’t feel in control and all I feel after is shame. And I really don’t cope well with any of this. So safety first. I don’t want to isolate myself entirely, but maybe it’d be better to keep my socializing within small groups of people I know pretty well. Stay away from scenarios in which my brain panics and I stop being able to keep track of what’s happening. Sometimes that happens with people I know well, but I think fully isolating myself is only going to make matters worse.
  • Use my support systems. Use the support offered from the CMHT, even if I don’t think it’ll help. Maybe it will. Call Samaritans if I need to. Call my friends. Speak to my family. Other people can help diffuse the moment. They might not be able to fix the problem, but if they can help me get out of destructive cycles, maybe it’s worth it. They might all judge me and think I’m awful and dramatic and lying, but I think there’s a net gain as when I’m left to my own devices, I start getting worked up and fast headed and panic.
  • Look after myself. When I’m start feeling bad, I let my routines and self-care slide a bit. I’m going to try to keep on top of this. Shower, wash my face, tone, moisturize, put on comfy, but still socially acceptable clothing, take my medications, chew as much nicotine gum as I could possibly want, get out the house every day, eat enough and eat regularly (with lots of good, nutritious food), don’t skip out on yoga etc.. All of these things make me feel physically better and if I do the things that make me feel physically better, I’ll give myself fewer reasons to feel mentally worse. All these little things build up and once I let one slide, others start sliding. If I don’t leave the house, I might not bother wearing nice clothes, so might not bother properly looking after my skin, so don’t bother with my acne medications, etc. Keeping on top of it will only help.
  • Minimise repercussions of SI. Obviously working on stopping is the way forward, especially as recently this has been getting more of a problem again. This involves spending a pretty hefty amount of money, but I think will be worth it. For me, this means, good wound care and good scar care. It’s worth spending extra, and the effort and expense are deterrents. Menolin pads, microporous tape, steri-strips, Savlon Advanced Healing Gel (I swear by this product), Savlon Wound Wash, gauze, TCP, Duo Derm (I swear by this too) and crepe bandages for the immediate care. Bio oil, vitamin E squeezed out of its capsules, heavy-duty foundation, concealer and powder, a little bottle of Elnette and a good foundation brush for scar reduction and speedier fading. All these products cost the earth. Seriously. But worth it if I can actually get my body out at some point over summer. And I’m doing good at SI reduction right now – 10 days free so far, so maybe I won’t have to buy much more.
  • Journal. Whenever I start having a worse time, I start journaling less. This doesn’t mean I write less though. Instead of giving myself specific journal time, I start catching parts of my day. I’ll stop halfway through something to scribble a couple of paragraphs on nearby bits of paper. All that I end up with is a pile of incoherent babble that doesn’t help me work through my emotions, but rather records a whole load of desperation without any insight. When I’m feeling more stable (which unfortunately corresponds well with eating less, so most of my journals from the past few years are pretty one track minded), I journal every day, right now, with my general mood, plus alcohol and drugs thrown in to the mix (I tend to journal at night), I’m lucky if I make time twice a week. Making the time will help me work out my emotions and hopefully give me a better idea of the what I’m actually finding so difficult.
  • Keep walks to an hour or less. Going for an emotional stomp is pretty much a necessity in my life. It’s not just for the calorie burn, although that does play a part in it. It’s mostly an escape. It’s better when I run, but I’m still not sure I can do that too much without consequences. I love running, but every time I try I start to obsess and beat myself up for not going far/fast enough because I don’t feel I’ve pushed myself enough. This has left me kinda scared of it. Even though a 15 minute run would be the same as an hour walk in terms of stress busting, that’s not enough. I duno. Walking isn’t the same though – I’m already good at it and I don’t get the same almighty rush so it’s less addictive. Maybe I should start doing mini runs to save time. I duno. The point isn’t about what exercise I should or shouldn’t introduce, but the fact that I heavily rely on physical outlets for difficult emotions. Getting a good stomp on is an avoidance strategy, but it’s one that works and is a lot less harmful psychologically and physically than SI or restriction, as long as I keep it low intensity or relatively short. My body is strong enough to handle it without doing damage and I’m not losing weight. Just as long as I keep it to more reasonable timeframes. Once we start hitting the three-hour of walking mark, I get blisters and my joints ache. It’s not worth it.
  • Take some days off of work. I probably work too much and my deadline is in September, so I have time to take a day or two off each week, or even just having light work days. Rather than stressing myself out constantly because I’m not getting enough done due to my difficulty concentrating, so working pretty constantly and giving myself no chance to recharge, stepping back sometimes. Today, I am recharging. No work. At all.
  • Do something nice for myself every day. Be it a nice bath if I can manage it, painting my nails, spending time doing something pointlessly crafty, making some special food, buying myself a cheap present. Whatevz. Just one nice thing a day will probably do me the world of good. I often forget. This will actually be really hard. I tend to treat myself pretty awfully sometimes.
  • Stay away from confusing people. I’ll probably fail at this one.
  • Get that piercing. I’ve been wanting it for ages and it’ll make me feel better. On my list of things I like about my physical appearance, my piercings are number two. It’ll only give me more to like.

So there you have it, my list of damage limitation ideas. It doesn’t address the problems, but it’s caring for myself enough to get through this difficult bit and hope I’ll be able to find ways to actually deal with it soon. A lot of it is avoidance, but the kind of avoidance I hope leads to me treating myself a little better and putting myself in situations I feel safer in. It’s not a perfect and it might not work, but right now I kinda feel like I’m making things worse and just ruining any chance I have of feeling better. So I’m hoping this’ll lead to a more manageable set of emotions rather than giving myself reasons and opportunities to freak out. We’ll see. What do you think? Do you reckon any of these are really bad ideas? Or do you have any to add to the list? I’d like a couple of opinions please.

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14 Comments

Filed under general, recovery

14 responses to “damage limitation.

  1. I like this list muchly.
    When I feel really bad, I struggle with the concept of phoning the samaritans, I tend to email them. They keep your stuff on record too, so you don’t have to go over everything over and over. This has helped me A LOT in the past.
    r.e the SI free days, awesome, you too, are a champion. I absolutely love bio oil.
    I’ve been working on my skin too, on my face. I had previously totally neglected it. Now I treat it to an actual [going to buy shares in clearasil] skin care routine, and it’s made a giant difference. Oh and I usually buy funky colour nail varnish. The nail crackle stuff is totally fun, without so much effort.

    The alcohol thing. Well, that’s why I’ve also banned myself from it right now. As soon as I have one, my morals/ideas/hopes/control just fly out of the window, and I always end up drinking more than one. Plus, I then tend to lean on it too much as a “personality inducer”. I am the same way about alcohol as I have been about food, “Oh well, I’ve had one now, may as well drink the bar dry, YAY fun”. I have found buying some nice juices helps when at home. Asda do non alcoholic cocktails in the fresh section and they are actually awesome. I had the mojito one last night. :)

    The staying safe thing I also agree with. It can be tempting to think, “well I’m going to do EVERYTHING now because I can” but in reality it gets overwhelming and leads to anxiety/stress etc.
    I am an advocate of walking, I feel like absolute crap now if I haven’t had my walk for the day. When my little one is in school, I do unavoidable school run walking, it’s over an hour brisk walk [woah, that girl walks fast!] a day but my dietitian said it’s fine so long as I eat 2 x starch over my meal plan beforehand and he’s totally all over that new research, drink milk after exercise to help prevent muscle strains etc.
    Different teams will tell you different things, but my team were eager for me to do [non obsessive] walking even before my mensies came back.
    Sorry I wrote almost as much as your blog post for a comment [lol].
    Oh and I like the Queen, but only when I see lots of her face in my purse, otherwise yawn.
    :) Hugs xx

    • I think walking is maybe ok. It’s compulsive and I quite often end up walking a lot longer than I should but I think if I can keep on top of it, it’s ok. I’ve always done it. Pre-ED when things were rubbish I’d walk for hours.

      Does clearasil actually work? I’ve been thinking about it, but have been sticking with Lush stuff because I tend to have super sensitive skin. Hmm… I’ve been thinking of that cackle stuff, but I duno. Barry M have these weird magnet ones I don’t understand but could poss give hilarious results.

      We are both champions then. I hope you slept ok last night :).

      x.

      • Try the crackle stuff! Seriously, you can make it look like panther skin! Whaaaaa!! <3

      • I’ve always walked, nothing like walking with super loud music in ears. If you start getting pain and that though, then yeah, you know what to do.
        I used to struggle with exercise and abusing it, and even knowing that my team still wanted me to walk. Something about it being good for mental health etc.

        Clearasil have new stuff out, they are more “natural” I can use all of those ones, but some of the other stuff I cant use. You know those over the counter creams for acne, well, they made my face swell up and I had chemical burns instead. Lol. They do work to an extent, and are better than the stuff the doctor gave me for topical application (which did nothing but bleach my skin). They are 3 for 2 at the moment in tesco.

        Yeah I have some Barry M ones, weird, but fun. Minimal effort is what I like. Half way through I get bored or annoyed that I cannot use my hands for anything. End up waving them about and look more mental than I actually am lol :)
        Hope you slept okay x

  2. I like your list…especially the bits about staying in safe situations and not drinking too much or taking drugs. I used to be bad and it was hard to stop (I won’t lie) but I’m less hazy/up and down as a result. It did mean avoiding some friends for a while but now I can hang out with them again without feeling like I have to drink or something when I’m with them… I also like the idea of getting the piercing because things like that can bring happiness! I also try and remind myself that it’s just a feeling and that it will pass – which is hard when it seems to drag on and on forever….but it does pass. Doing nice things for yourself every day is a good idea….I live in a flat now that doesn’t have a bath and I totally miss having a bath in the evening…lighting some candles and just chilling out with some music….I started it as part of my mindfulness practice….the feeling of the water, the scent of the candle…the fragrant body lotion I used afterwards….whatever you choose to do though, needs to be meaningful to you :) Good luck! xo.

  3. Omg I’m sick of the queen and I’m all the way over in Australia! Simmer down people!
    I think your list is great. Sometimes I need to just put some boundaries in place for myself when I am getting a little bit too deep in the crazy pool. Yours all sound perfectly reasonable! And nice. I think I might adopt some of those rules for myself :)

  4. Yep, I’m with you on the Jubilee rubbish. Managed to avoid the majority of it fortunately, has it been mental down in London?

    I like your list, you’re very self aware and you can pick out your stresses and ways to cope with them so that’s ace. I can’t think of anything to add to it really, you seem to have covered all the major things.

    How are you going to keep tabs on the walking? It’s good to get out and about, but to keep it to less than an hour might require some planning like if you’re going shopping or something. Your self care routine is great (I could take a leaf out of your book), as is the SI care. You should definitely take all the support you are offered, and not hesitate to call the Samaritans if you need to.

    So no, I don’t think damage limitation is a bad idea at all xx

    • If I’m shopping or something, I’m not going to worry about it so much. I figure normal people do that all the time and I shouldn’t worry about it too much. Avoiding things I actually want to do which don’t have calorie burn as a primary aim because of ED feels kinda like allowing it to dictate too much/ Shopping or family activities or whatevz do have walking, but I’m not going to have less of a life. I go on specific walks though for that purpose. Alone. With my headphones. Really fast. Limiting that to an hour or less. I’ve got a good route at the moment so that’s ok. I hope anyway. I don’t know if that’s a good attitude, but as long as I keep my calories high enough and don’t lose, I think some light exercise might be fine. I duno. I’m kinda making this up though.

      Hmm… The jubilee ruins London. Everywhere I want to go, the Jubilee seems to be happening. Urgh.

      x.

  5. TOTES agree on the whole boat/thames/rowers/stupid commentators situation yest. my GOD it was boring. mum made me sky-plus the whole bloody thing and insisted we watch it last night. oh my god ive never felt so depressed in my LIFE. i swear, watching boats snail-pace down a grey and drizzly river for over 3 hours is not my idea of good telly.
    Then she got angry cos i “wasnt patriotic”… breaaaaathe.
    im trying to work on picking my battles these days :-p

    Listing is good. its constructive and it gives you some grounding to work from… i like it and i think youve got some solids there to work at. Good Luck! im off to a jubilee party today (see, i have patriotism!!! just with less flags and bunting and more a group of my mates, food/drink and a nintendo wii….) so have a good day and spk soon :-)
    x

  6. Hey, give McFfly some credit!!

    I love you use your blog to inform the home-front, extremely scary but super helpful me thinks? The no alcohol no drug thing is def something you can use some help in from friends, just to not let yourself be tempted. Never heard about calling Samaritans??! But love that you’re willing to use your supportnetwork to its fullest. A support network, whatever size, is of absolutely no use when you’re not open to them!

    ‘if I do the things that make me feel physically better, I’ll give myself fewer reasons to feel mentally worse’. …. Errr, amen? And ten days SI free? Awesome!! It takes 21 days to break a habit right? You’re halfway there! And love you’re taking your day off, you deserve it. What will your indulgence of the day be?

    I sorta disagree on the walking/running. I get that its your numbing thing, but… Kick butt and journal more. Or clay. Or scream your motherfriggin lungs out. But the fact you’re walking to stump emotions (AND burn cals) is not productive for your recovery, at all. And NO RUNNING, seriously. Even though its ‘as effective’ in less time, it’s NOT. It means you’ll run more because before you were walking an hour and thus the 15min run will feel too short to num it down. It might equal each other in kcalburn (I have no idea but if you say so Ill believe you), but it does not equal each other in time spent numbing/processing. So of no use! Then go for a half an hour (SLOW) walk instead of an hour and keep cutting back. Then you still have processing-time, though less, and keep the damage minimalized. The fact you’re not losng weight does not mean you’re not doing any damage. And you know that. Period (pun intended, yo)

    ‘On my list of things I like about my physical appearance, my piercings are number two’. First; Ahhhhh you know Imma get my bitch-suit on for this one again. Ellie, thats like saying; Whats your best feature? ‘My pink boots’. It doesnt count! That’s not how it works. We need to LEARN (learn chick, it’s a process, it takes time!) to LOVE OURSELVES, not the stuff we hang on/stuff in/dab through/insert on our bodies! I love piercings, don’t get me wrong, but just don’t do it for the wrong reasons. Or, at least, don’t let it take your focuss off having to learn to love YOU. And second;whats number one? ;) (And third; which piercing? )

    Oh and sorry, thats what you get when you ask for opinions. Annnnd ah, probably what you’d have gotten anyway haha. >> /End of wordvomit <<

    Love, Sooz

    • Well I figured it’d be the best way to avoid a whole load of awkward situations. Like weight gain. And ignoring everyone. I duno. Hopefz they don’t mind.

      Samaritans are like a number you call at any point in the day and someone will let you talk and explain your stuff to when you’re feeling horrible. They were originally set up as support for suicidal people, but that’s not the only people they talk to. It’s really good. Like it’s one of my top 10 fantastic ideas. It’s totally confidential, and if you’re in immediate danger, they try and get you safe. It’s just good.

      With SI, it’s been a consistent problem in my life. There have been plenty of sets of 21 days free in the past decade, but it’s just trying to keep it that way. I was free for a few months earlier this year, but lapsed again. It’s one of the most difficult things for me to deal with., because as soon as you think you’re on top of it, it’s back again. We’ll see I guess. I’m doing ok right now.

      I don’t think walking is productive for recovery, but this isn’t about what’ll move me forward, just what’ll stop me going backwards. It isn’t intense exercise and I actually don’t think it’s bad for me. The bad part is that it’s somewhat compulsive, but for non-ED people, exercise is viewed as a healthy coping mechanism so I don’t think it’s physcially harmful. Running 15 mins and walking an hour aren’t the same calorie wise, but pretty similar in stress busting terms. Walking would burn more probably, unless I went flat out. I know it’s avoidance, but I’m not trying to deal right now, just manage. 1 hour is a cut back from what I’d like to do, plus slow walking isn’t the same as it doesn’t get the blood pumping at all. I know fast walking doesn’t so much either, but it does a little. I like the blood pumping. I duno. It’s all temporary measures to help limit harm. Plus I’d go for angry walks and runs pre-ED. I’ve always stomped emotions down for a bit. So is it even an ED thing? I duno. Basically all activities are thought of in calories so is it bad that this one is too? I duno.

      Maybe I should try and work this out at some point. I duno. Maybe I should do a post or summin.

      I don’t like my appearance. It took me a really long time to try and find five things. I like my belly button, piercings, hair, fingernails and eyebrows. Those are my five. And all except my belly buttons, are things I can change and control. But I don’t think that’s the same as clothes. These are things I do like about me when I look in the mirror, and I few them as part of who I am. I can’t honestly say I like anything else though. And tbh, I’m getting a pericing as a not smoking treat with the money saved, I just keep putting it off. But I shouldn’t, because they do improve my self-esteem for a little bit. Imma get another one on the top of my ear so I have two little hoops through my cartilage next to each other though.

      I duno. I’m not trying to improve all that actively atm. Just keep myself from going backwards at all. You’re advice is good, but it’d involve being positive enough to get some forward momentum and I don’t have that right now. I’m really struggling to stay safe. I duno. I type that a lot. And say it too. I just don’t know what to do.

      Hmm x.

      • ‘but for non-ED people, exercise is viewed as a healthy coping mechanism’, errrr… You see the problem in that sentence?

        Oh hun you know I’m not trying to bitch you about. How silly it may sound, I care about you. And I totally get it you’re just trying to minimize the damage, but you deserve more than that. I wish you would see that.

        And ofcourse 21 days of no SI doesn’t mean it’ll magically disappear. But it’s a big step in the right direction, especially self esteem wise I know it can be such a ‘breeeeathe’-moment when you’ve accomplished like, a month of ‘freedom’.

        And I know Samaritans, its like a religious grouping right? I just didn’t know they had like, a phone no and you can just call? I don’t tink thats something we have here? Pretty cool idea though

        And ofcourse if you feel better about yourself by piercing your ear, please do. I’ll be the last to tell you no cuz I love piercings. I just don’t think it should be a replacement for a self-love part. I mean, seriously Ellie, look at those big shiny eyes, those cheeky cheeks (can’t help it, but you really do have a cheeky look about you!), that smile!, and then the inside; you’re SUPER intelligent (uhu, try fight me on that one, I’ll take it outside thank you!), funny (the bloody English sarcasm of yours kills me!), cute (there goes that cheeky bit again) and damn helpful to everyone else (however crap or good you’re feeling). All regardless of the amount of piercings. Just sayin’

      • But that’s the thing though, I have always used stomping to cope, so do I let the ED take that from me? I’m hoping to get further than damage limitation, but right now I’m not able to. I don’t know how. I get to see my team about it in a couple of weeks but I am completely lost as to what to do. Honestly. I can’t keep this up right now. Does that make sense?

        Samaritans aren’t religious I don’t think. I think they used to be, but not anymore. They are nang.

        As I said, I promised myself a peircing out of the money I saved not smoking. But then I never got round to it. It’s not purely because it’ll make me feel better, but I won’t pretend it doesn’t. But thank you x.

      • Didn’t you once write about your ways to cope or to distract? Can you look that up again? Remind yourself of what works?? Like your clay and drinking tea, but also your multiple senses thing etc. It sucks you won’t be able to see your team for that long. Can you not call them or email them instead for just a quickie?

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