So many things that I can’t think of a title..

1. Loving food

What a lot of people find hard to understand, is just how obsessed you can be with food, in spite of being totally determined to control it. While I count calories, weigh food, and generally spend almost my whole day calculating the exact amount of exercise I need to do to earn the food I have planned for the day, I LOVE food. I love to cook, I love to read recipes or calories books, I love to bake cake, I love to watch anything food related. 

In my head, I plan meals and dinners that I would never eat, and I love seeing other people eat the unhealthy foods that I wouldn’t indulge in myself (apart from when deprivation turns into a frantic “binge”, or what feels like one even if it isn’t in calorie terms.)

I guess that I have always loved food; always been one to find something I liked a lot, and then go through phases of constantly eating whatever my favourites were at the time. My eating disorder has definitely heightened my feelings about food, but I have, on some level, always had quite specific likes and dislikes. 

Now I think about it, perhaps it is my love of food that has helped trigger my disorder. If you’re going to punish yourself, they you deprive yourself of something you love, right?

2. Mental illness and getting on with life all at once

I feel extremely negative, down, angry and/or tearful on a regular basis. Sometimes it is just for a snippet of the day, and other times my utter hopelessness dominates lengthy periods of time. I have stayed in the house for days because of these feelings, yet I always seem to manage to shove it all to the back of my mind and carry on with life. My depression, anxiety, and eating issues have not taken away everything from my life, but they are so mentally overwhelming, that I am unable to devote a minute to anything without all of that crap being there too. I am perpetually waiting for one of the “outburst” days/hours to come- and they do, frequently.

At the moment, I keep finding myself google searching medication for depression and anxiety, so I must know I have problems but I simultaneously find myself thinking that I’m just a weak idiot and/or that there are so many people who are properly depressed or anxious and I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I know somebody who is currently in a mental health unit in hospital. Of course, this saddens me because this person is lovely, but I’m also having a weird feeling of jealousy. What the hell? I don’t know whether that is because I feel desperate for help, desperate for somebody to just get me out of the not knowing whether I’m “ill” or not, or just because if I were to be inpatient then nobody would disbelieve I have problems (not that anybody has told me they think I’m a liar.)

So. very, confused…

3. Mood swings

I am beginning to wonder whether it is normal to feel intensely irritated/irritable, cross and sad 5 minutes before feeling almost hyper with bubbliness. Weird times.

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Fat

So, I’m worried that my friends who are watching me perform on Friday won’t think I’m skinny. I’m terrified they will think I’m fat.

But, on the upside, I did all my evening exercises that I set myself, so atleast I can allow myself to go to bed.

Night for now!

“Wannarexia” and distraction

Today I found myself in the awkward situation of someone telling me they thought I was mentally better than I used to be. I don’t know why, but sometimes I find it impossible to accept positive statements like that. It makes me afraid that I have let go of my eating disorder (even if I have literally done something very eating disordered that day, but hidden it).

I also sometimes find these kind of conversations make me worry that I’m just a dumb teenager who think having an ed is cool. I don’t think it is cool, but I do, on some level, like the fact that I have one. It might sound sick and wrong, but that is the honest truth:

my eating disorder gives me a purpose, an identity, a way to shut things out.

Realistically speaking, the fact I want to hold onto it is probably proof to any sane individual that I do have a disorder, but hey, my mind isn’t the most logical when it comes to these things.

Can you really be wannarexic? Can you admire a mental illness without being mentally ill? Surely, if you find such a destructive disorder attractive then you must have a problem?

In other news, I was trying to do some exposure therapy today by sitting in the middle of a large group and trying to openly drink something that wasn’t diet version WITHOUT distracting myself from the negative feelings this provoked. It was tough, and during a moment when my mind was trying its hardest to escape the panic going on, I got to thinking about what my ed does for me….distract.

When I was worried about having made a mistake today, the worry shifted and became I’m worried everyone will have thought I looked gross.

When I was worried about picking up the paperwork for something on Saturday, the worry shifted and became It is more important to plan my food for tomorrow.

When I got cross at the way someone was behaving earlier, the anger shifted and became it is my fault. When I’m thinner I won’t feel this way.

I have never noticed the way my mind seamlessly translates anything negative into an ed thought. Wow…

 

Irony.

Today I’ve realised something pretty ironic about my eating disorder:

In my mind, my eating disorder is integral to my life. I can only cope if it is there & my behaviours help me. Realistically though, my ed behaviours distract me from the things that are actually bothering me.

Today has been almost entirely filled with compulsive exercise. I’ve barely sat still for a minute, and I haven’t got this letter done that I was supposed to either. I got stressed about having a few too many things to think about and so set myself an exercise target. This target took priority over the letter that I needed to finish, even though I didn’t want that to be the case. Kinda ironic that my coping mechanism has really not helped me in coping effectively with having numerous things to do today.

As I have til Monday for this letter thing, I will have to do it tomorrow. I’m a bit taken aback by the sudden realisation of just how much priority I give my ed without consciously making that decision. Weird…

Silver linings.

Before I ever experienced mental illness, it was hard to believe that bad things happen for a reason. My struggles have changed that, and today I want to write about how that has happened.

When I got woken up last night by the noise downstairs,all my worries and stress came flooding into my mind and so the chance of sleep all but disappeared. As I lay awake in a panicked, depressed state, crying my eyes out and feeling like my whole existence is pointless, I remembered how much it sucked when I used to have panic attacks everyday. Obviously though, I woke up feeling like utter crap this morning. The deep sadness of depression took over and I couldn’t stop myself from hyperventilating with fear.

I literally had no idea what to do with myself. I felt like a waste of space that nobody cares about and that I couldn’t handle it.

We have this lady at college who deals with all the first aid, welfare, fitness etc, and she knows about my eating disorder, anxiety and therapy situation. Out of despair I found myself knocking on her door today, and I am unbelievably glad that I did, because after blurting out my frustration and sadness she suddenly said “but that’s brilliant.” (Yeah , I was confused at first too!) “You can’t remember what it feels like to have panic attacks like last night all the time, which means you don’t have them much, which in turn means you ARE getting better!”

I was in a far too negative place to even see that, but it is true, I can confidently say that I am in recovery for my anxiety and I am making progress. The best part was that she then asked about my eating habits separately, reminding me that (although they are connected) they are 2 different problems.

And so the silver lining to the horrendous night/day is this:

I can be proud that my anxiety is getting better WITHOUT the guilt of “giving up” my ed. I know I shouldn’t want to hold on to my ed, but I have finally managed to separate the two and be happy with myself for the achievements I make with the anxiety.

Anxious,

Today I just woke up feeling on edge. I didn’t want to go out. I didn’t want people to see me. I didn’t want to face anything; but there was no choice.

I panicked half way through the day, and now feel utterly exhausted after being forced to contain my overwhelming feelings pretty much all day. I hate that I can’t ever switch it off in my head. I long to be free of all the mental turmoil that keeps me so afraid and isolated, but I don’t want to let go of it, because I’m in safe and familiar territory if I choose to muddle on.

It has become virtually impossible to imagine my life without 24/7 thoughts about food, my body, control, or worry… How on earth am I supposed to commit to recovery, when I have forgotten what life used to be like?

Things I don’t usually admit.

I am someone who wants to please people. I like things to happen smoothly, without conflict or disorganisation. I hate admitting when things are wrong, and I am hardly ever able to be one hundred percent honest about my ed issues. 

So, here goes the honesty:

-I am unbelievably grateful for the opportunity I have right now: to train as a dancer and performer. I have dreamt of this since childhood, and now it is a reality. I love that my classes are almost all things I am very passionate about, and I appreciate how lucky I am to have the chance to do a job I actually enjoy. But, this means being in a girl dominated, body focused environment. I HATE how frequently people talk about food, body shapes and ed’s- especially as a lot of what is said is inaccurate! My eating disorder finds it challenging to be in a bubble where people don’t know what goes on in my head… granted, many people at home didn’t know either, but most of them had known me my whole life, and on some level were aware.

-I hate how confused I feel about my own body. I have literally no idea whether what I see is distorted or normal, which makes me enormously paranoid.

-I hate some of the people I live with in my student house.

-I hate that the end of my tether never comes, as in there is always a worse mood, worse anxiety, worse physical feelings..

-I hate how isolated I am at times. I never feel like a normal teenager.

-I hate the stress I am under at the moment. I can’t really talk about it whether ruining my anonymity, but there are too many things for me to get done in 2 days, and I wish it was done already….

Venting over. Never really say these things. I just go with the flow and take it out on myself afterward.