Yesterday I had a therapy session, in which we spoke about my feelings of discomfort around eating at night. It is definitely something that I need to sort out, but it is scary to think that I must try to not compensate for my food in the evening. To me, the definition of evening activity has become exercise, panic, laxatives and or trying to throw up.
At the end of the session , the therapist went to get something for me and when she returned I was shaking and breathing really fast. Given her profession she immediately asked me what I was thinking and how this state had come on so suddenly; yet most members of the public have no idea about panic attacks. I have hyperventilated and trembled in so many public environments and always felt so worried that people would be staring. But actually, the physical aspects of panic aren’t that obvious- it is the minefield of racing thoughts that are so overwhelming, but who can see those except me?
When I was little I would never think to ask if somebody was ok unless they were crying, or off from school. We are brought up to recognise the flu, a cold, or physical pain, but not stress or worry. It is far easier to lie about emotional difficulties than it is to lie about a raging temperature and a horrible cough , which I think makes it more likely for mental illnesses to be suffered in silence for longer. People will rarely ask until a significant physical event occurs.
I’ve been mentally battered for so long, and I am fed up of feeling like most people don’t have a clue how difficult it is just to get out of bed in the morning. The constant thought is “what is the point?” And by that, I mean living altogether. It just feels like a losing battle right now.
Last night I was spending te with two of my closest friends. We have known each other for 8 years, and so we’ve grown up a lot with each other.
I remember the days of tearful phone conversations about each of our insecurities and fears throughout high school, and both of them are relatively comfortable and healthy in regards to their bodies.
For some reason we were talking about periods and boobs etc ( not sure why !) and they were both saying how much they always liked it when they’d gone up a cup size. that is my worst nightmare. I don’t want big boobs b this is where I feel like a child. I don’t want to be a curvy, adult mother. I had never realised that most girls don’t wish for their whole body to be flat….
I keep feeling like if I miss a snack or eat something outside the plan etc that I’m screwing up and might as well give up altogether.
I need to chill the fuck out.
Right now, my therapist has asked me to TRY to have 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. She didn’t say the world would end if I didn’t, or that they have to be a specific size (yet). So it is ok that the last two days haven’t been successful. I have worked out what times I can eat tomorrow, and I now know when and want I am having to fit it all in. It is daunting because I feel like I’m eating all the time when I do this, but hey, 3rd time lucky.
As I write this, I’m pacing the room to burn calories. I find it impossible not to obey the compelling feeling to exercise at night.
Throughout my life – before my ed included, I have always associated the end of the day with a treat. That used to be something from the corner shop after school, or a dessert after dinner. Nowadays, I am obsessed with planning what I can have the evening, subsequently filled with a fear of binging , and whatever I eat (even if it is less than planned) , ending the night with copious amounts of walking.
I suppose I do loathe the fact I can’t sleep without doing it, yet at the same time I do enjoy the peace ad quiet on some level. I have a suspicion this may be my disorder clinging on for dear life though…
I was talking to somebody about my disorder (they brought it up) and they were asking about my opinions on thinness. That was hard because I am utterly consumed by a necessity to be thinner and to criticise my body and compare myself with others, yet I perpetually tell people that eating disorders aren’t about being thin. Understandably the friend who asked was a little confused by this! I guess the truth of the matter is this:
being thin feels like the most important thing, but really what I want is to be in control of my life. If I worry about food and my weight, I don’t have to feel the pressure of adult life and growing up. I want to be independent, but I’m terrified of failing
I screwed up today. I didn’t do my food diary for cbt and I snapped at my mum with no good reason. She was commenting on my mood positively, I defended myself instantly and told her that I still think suicidal thoughts everyday so my outer mood doesn’t matter blah blah blah…. I regret saying that. No parent wants to hear their child’s wishes to kill themselves.
Tomorrow morning I have to phone and make the dreaded doctors appointment to be weighed. Utterly petrified and it isn’t until the 16th! I just don’t want her to think I don’t have a problem. I don’t want her to think I’m weak, or dumb, or fat. (And yes, I know that sounds ridiculous but that’s what I’m thinking right now)
Bye for now!
Thanks to “eating disorder stuff” and “this sick foundation” for nominating me for the shine on award- I’m very touched.
Although I love having support from other bloggers, my blog is also a very personal way of sorting out my head. Putting the trials of ed life into words makes it seem a little less chaotic! I also love reading everybody’s pages and feeling happy for all of you on good days, and empathetic on the bad ones. Thanks 🙂
Seven things about me:
I have brown hair
I love to perform
I love animals
I love to cook
I love speaking Spanish
I am the youngest child in my family
I love earrings
My nominations will be coming later …
My family did everything to try and help me in the early days. It didn’t work because I just did everything I could to conceal my behaviour.
Now that they have given up , I pace rooms to burn calories in their presence. The need to do so is compulsive and I’ve stopped caring if they see me doing it or not. At least this way we can talk and see each other, instead of hardly saying hello because I would whisk myself off alone to exercise.
This has made realise that nobody can help you unless you choose to be helped. Mental illness may not happen through choice but it can be recovered from/ improved by choice. Personally , I don’t think I will ever be completely free of my eating disorder, but my cbt and antidepressants are beginning to make me more optimistic about being able to manage it better in the future.
Once you’ve had an ed, the thoughts remain at any weight. One must definitely eat normally during the recovery process, but eating alone is not a cure.
I am currently being treated in the high intensity iapt service. I hadn’t heard much about the iapt thing until I got referred, and so I did some investigation into it online. Initially I was a little confused, as it seemed that Body Dysmorphic Disorder was as close to ed’s as iapt went. I was psyching myself up for some more pointless therapy.
But then I got there and was utterly surprised. My therapist is a clinical psychologist who has done the extra work to be a HI therapist. Therefore, her educational background is very broad in terms of the kind of psychological issues she has studied. Even so, I know that ed clients aren’t people that she works with regularly.
From personal experience I knew that an ed service probably wasn’t the way to go though. The waiting lists are long and the cases are usually prioritised by physical risk; I’m not dying so they would probably assess me and send me on my way.
Since starting my iapt cbt, I have found documents online about particular iapt services that do specifically say some ed clients are seen in their services. All I can say is that I’m so glad I took this option.
My therapist is warm, kind, organised and helpful. She has books about cbt in eating disorders and is giving me ed specific homework. She also recognises the need for medical input and so I am being monitored by a gp- like I would be in a ed service. She has created a formulation that merges my ed, anxiety, depression and self esteem into one, and has helped me through the hard parts of starting antidepressant medication.
I feel like she might be the person who can really help me 🙂
I’m also totally fascinated by therapists. I kinda find it hard to imagine them as people outside of work! It must be a really rewarding job, and I suppose their own life experiences probably make them better at understanding others.
In cbt today I learned that an ed sufferer has to be recovered for around a year before the bodies ‘full and hungry’ reflexes work properly again. No wonder I never know what to eat!
Today I have made a goal:
By Christmas I want to be able to sit and eat something, even if it is just one of everything, with my family.
From this moment onwards, I promise to commit to the tasks my therapist sets me. This week I have to eat breakfast, lunch, tea and one snack. No more , no less, no changes. I can’t trust myself, so I need to trust her and her plan.
Fortunately she is brilliant. Friendly, upbeat , informative and focused. She always has a plan for the session and she always asks me very directly about tricky things. For me that’s good , because given the opportunity to keep any suicidal thoughts or specific food things hidden, I will take it! I think that cbt therapists everywhere could learn from her. I just feel so comfortable talking to her, which makes me motivated to go back next week with so good efforts to report.
Night for now.
I saw a few people I haven’t seen for a while today. It was nice to catch up and we sat and talked for hours. One of them said “you’ve changed” which I of course associated with fatness. Thankfully , she finished the sentence with this:
“Your personality isn’t different. It’s your eyes. In your eyes you seem different. I bet you don’t have panic attacks everyday anymore”
And I don’t. I know that is mostly because I’m on medication now, but she said that the reason didn’t matter. If they help , then take them!
It got me thinking about how my mentally has changed over the course of my illness. While I have fewer panic attacks, my ed patterns are no less extreme and I still self harm. I have slightly more patience with myself and a greater understanding of my mental illnesses. All in all, I am very much in the middle of my illness, but it was nice for someone to make a positive comment about me, as the panic attacks are one bit of the puzzle that has become a little less negative.