“I want to be in a corner where nobody can see me”

The title is actually a quote of myself when I am having a bad day. The longing to be out of anybody else’s view is overwhelming, because sometimes I just feel like a total failure for not being thin enough for people to think I am thin. Ridiculous right? I also think that bad days make me want to have time to let my eating disorder be in charge: to plan food meticulously, to eat exactly what I am allowed, to examine every inch of/ avoid looking at my body (mood depending).

Every now and again, I allow myself to give in and spend some time shut away, but I just wish I had more control over these feelings, so that there weren’t days when I seem unable to be in front of anybody comfortably.

I need to be thinner. I need to be strong for dancing. I want to be less depressed. I want to do normal things- like eat out. I want too many things at once that don’t go together..

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Energy(less)

The other day I reached total exhaustion point. I just never thought that undereating would ever “get to me”, yet there I was feeling sick, total not with it and ready to fall over! After numerous tears and panicky moments I decided to attempt to make a mature decision: I told somebody what was happening. Although they can’t do anything, the reassurance that it was out of my own head was soooo good.

I guess it just made me realise that however strongly I try to be positive and be in control of how I feel, it will inevitably not be possible to do so without energy. Will I eat more now? I doubt it, but maybe next time I have an exhaustion day I will have a little more patience with myself. I hope that other people who feel like me can reach this point of accepting the ups and downs of it all as part of a journey (that will hopefully arrive where it is meant to!)

Positive days are awesome.

After a pretty rough week, today has been positive in so many ways: I have eaten an acceptable amount of calories (aka not many), my classes went well today and I just seem to have been positive about everything. Finally a day when I feel like I have done the best of both things, in terms of eating to get thinner, controlling my anxiety problems, and having focus in classes, has come my way!

If only every day was a little more like today…

I know that under eating does make you feel low (with a few momentary highs when the disordered bit of my brain is pleased with me) and so I worry that right now all I am doing is somehow managing to compress and conceal my inner exhaustion with it all. Can I really be good in the eyes of my eating disorder AND be positive and concentrate and do well for myself all at once? 

On the one hand, it seems as though days like today are justification enough for me to carry on as I am; all the other days remind me that the majority vote would be that it isn’t possible to have both. Argh why is everything so difficult to figure out?!

Every now and again a little piece of me does believe that my exam results, positive feedback from others etc aren’t lies- so I am intelligent; that I am brave in the face of my problems; that I’m near the top as opposed to bottom of my classes; that I’m not worthless. Even so, nothing is ever good enough. For the most part I doubt myself, my abilities, my value as a person, and even when one of the occasional “everyone can’t be lying to me” moments happen, I still remain unsatisfied with myself. 

As always I suppose I will have to enjoy the good days and deal with the bad days as best I can. Better sleep, people without an eating problem do not understand the meaning of the word tired!

Mind over matter

Monday and Tuesday felt like I was stuck in such a deep hole of depression that I wouldn’t ever get out. Fortunately though, I left the house today and enjoyed some of it. To someone who has never been depressed, this would seem like I was just making it all up in the first place, but even when you are in a mental place where you are questioning the value of your existence some things are good. Mind over matter… well, some of my mind keeping all the horribleness inside for a little while at least!

What is kinda frustrating is that I had a panic attack today. As always the first signs (which for me are thinking very quickly, feeling trapped and unable to stop either) came rushing in at an inconvenient moment. Nowadays, I am often able to force this to stop and avoid the panic going outside my own head… but not today. Despite willing myself to be calm and forcing every reassuring thought I could think of to be on repeat in my mind, I just couldn’t stop it. The more cross I got at myself, the worse my panic became.

It did stop eventually, and I cannot express how happy I am that I went back to what I was doing and didn’t let it ruin my day. I suppose that being a strong person in the face of the mental challenge of eating disorder induced anxiety doesn’t always mean that you can keep things at bay 24/7.

“What defines us is how well we rise after falling” (Lionel, Maid in Manhattan)

Perceptions: inside and out of my own head.

Today I watched a bit of a clip on youtube called” what’s new with eating disorders?” and it got me thinking about how other people perceive my problems. What I loved was the description of restrictive disorders as a phobia- meaning that the avoidance of anything outside of what is deemed “safe” food-wise, is really just the same as someone who is afraid of spiders, heights etc, keeping as far away from them as possible.

For the first time in a long time, I no longer feel weak for being unable to fight it at times; it is ok to be scared.

So… from inside my head, my perception is that becoming any fatter/ eating more calories than is safe for me etc is DANGEROUS. But from the outside I know that most people believe this comes from the desire to be thin. This misconception is obviously justified by most anorexics constantly making complaints of being disgusting and fat (both are things I say regularly) when really,it is the fear of fat, overeating & being out of control that makes being thinner such a priority.

This led me to question the deceptive nature of eating disorders (most people with a phobia rely on others to help them cope with it), and I have concluded that for me, convincing others I am getting better, even when I’m not, allows me to do the following:

1. Remain safe by keeping the control I have over food, and therefore not going out of control or get fatter

2. Keep my coping mechanism in full swing, so that when anything bad happens in my life I know that I still have “the voice” in my head, so that I can sidetrack my mind and never have to deal with the really horrible feelings and events I have/will experience.

It’s funny that most of the very worst moments and days are the ones where I don’t want to see anybody. Very few people know how vulnerable I am,  as hardly anyone has seen me when I’ve completely broken down.

Being alone with my brain

At the end of the day, I like nothing more than being able to be by myself. Sometimes this is a good way to unwind and chill out, but mostly it just becomes time for the other voice in my head to take over. For some reason I relish in this time I have to “be alone with it.” How weird and messed up is that?!

Despite everything negative that it brings on me, there is still the little bit of control, comfort and “supportive friend” that it gives me. I know that  it is more of a bully in reality, as most of the time my issues with food stop me doing things or make me physically incapable of doing things, yet here I am… planning meals… thinking about which bones I can see more today… again.

Perfection.

Despite my best efforts to tell myself that being perfect is humanly impossible, I can’t help but stay stuck in this all or nothing mindset: either I have the perfect body, the perfect achievements, the perfect food day, or I am nothing.

It is precisely this type of thinking that is responsible for any eating outside of my plan. Every time I’ve decided that I can never be good enough,or the tiniest gram of something extra goes in my mouth, I will always do one of two things: 1. Eat more unplanned foods, then purge/over exercise/ fast the next day/ take laxatives OR 2. Sit and cry alone for hours.

Today’s mental battle has been about whether my body is right to become a dancer. This has been constantly on my mind for years now, and no matter how much research I do the conclusion is always the same! No amount of physical perfection can replace technical ability, passion and performance. I know that there is a degree of flexibility from the ideal body that is considered acceptable, but my struggle with what my body even looks likes makes it hard for me to know whether I am ok or not…. I also know that hard work and training will sculpt my muscles further and make me look more like a dancer.

Since a tiny little girl I have always idolised the beautiful physiques of ballet dancers, and although I know dancers of similar styles (e.g. some contemporary performers) don’t usually look all that different to them, there is something about the corps de ballet all looking like perfect replicas of each other that I find so beautiful.

In my mind perfect would be thin, but with muscular definition, evenly proportioned between body and legs, long arms… Can I be all those things? At times I think yes, but at others I think I might as well just die now because I am never going to be happy with my body or be good enough a dancer, so who knows!

Writing this down has organised my head a bit and I hope that I can look and be the person I want to be. Instead of dwelling on the possibility that I can’t (makes a change) I am going to try to sleep and take it one day at a time- making each day the best that I can and try to strike some balance between having a good food day, and enjoying other things in my day. Here goes nothing…

“To dance is to be yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.
This is power on earth and it is yours for the taking.”

– Agnes DeMille

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