Ride & Die

Beautiful

Dear Bee

Often, when we feel the most lost, we find the best path. It’s when we are sure we know we are headed, we tend to get sidetracked.

Dear Bee,

This is my quote, and I came up with it this afternoon after a slight revelation about our disillusion to control the most uncontrollable element of our life: time that is not ours. Aka: the future. It’s amazing how disillusioned we are when it comes to following some kind of “plan.” We set cookie-cutter timelines and deadlines and promise ourselves that in X amount of time, we will achieve Y, and then, we will do X.

When, in real life, does this actually happen? When I was ten, I was so sure I was going to meet the love of my life in junior high. That didn’t happen. When I was sixteen, I knew that I was going to be best…

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Progress doesn’t mean the problem has vanished

Today, the crappy voice in my head was shouting. It always does it- even when I feel ok, or when I’m doing something I never used to be able to. Whether I’m in a positive or negative mind frame about recovery, the voice always says the same:
just give up now. Stop eating. Make yourself sick. You’re lazy. Everything is your fault. Walk into the road and die
Despite therapy and medication that voice is still going strong. Granted, I’m gaining more ability to hear it but not act upon it, but the bottom line is that my mental illness is engrained into my personality. I believe that for the rest of my life it will be this way.
What annoyed me was how somebody assumed that because I’m having therapy etc that I was “doing well with eating” sometimes I am; sometimes I’m not. Whatever the exterior appearance is, I’m not calm about food. It is an everyday battle that I can’t escape from. People don’t understand that once you get a mental illness, it is going to be with forever to some extent. Those automatic thoughts don’t magically stop.

Progress doesn’t mean the problem has vanished

Today, the crappy voice in my head was shouting. It always does it- even when I feel ok, or when I’m doing something I never used to be able to. Whether I’m in a positive or negative mind frame about recovery, the voice always says the same:
just give up now. Stop eating. Make yourself sick. You’re lazy. Everything is your fault. Walk into the road and die
Despite therapy and medication that voice is still going strong. Granted, I’m gaining more ability to hear it but not act upon it, but the bottom line is that my mental illness is engrained into my personality. I believe that for the rest of my life it will be this way.
What annoyed me was how somebody assumed that because I’m having therapy etc that I was “doing well with eating” sometimes I am; sometimes I’m not. Whatever the exterior appearance is, I’m not calm about food. It is an everyday battle that I can’t escape from. People don’t understand that once you get a mental illness, it is going to be with forever to some extent. Those automatic thoughts don’t magically stop.

Plans

For a while I tried to stop food planning in a book; instead I just added calories up rather than keeping a log of what the foods were that created the total.
This evening I’ve planned tomorrow’s food in a notebook. My god it feels good. I just feel in control. I know that in reality that means nothing, as I could still not follow my plan when tomorrow comes! But I know I won’t. If I stick to my plans- written form or calculated on my phone, I don’t have to feel any extra stress.
Eating disorders are tricksters aren’t they? It controls me. I don’t want to only feel in control of life when I feel in control of food, but I feel compelled to give in and plan.

Medication and mental illness

For a long time, I refused medication. I didn’t feel like some chemicals could fix an emotional problem; I thought it was weak to let a drug fight the battle for me.
It wasn’t until I was self harming and thinking of dying all the time that I finally felt desperate enough for anything that might make any difference at all.
I suffer from depression, but only as a consequence of my eating disorder. Since taking medication, my sleep is better, and all the obsessional thoughts I have (food, body, suicide etc) have reduced- at least sometimes, anyways.
I feel like my medicine allows my brain to register thoughts more slowly than it used to, which gives me time to be a little calmer.
For me, negative self talk, body worries and perfectionism have been with me since I was very young, so I feel it would be unreasonable to expect a full recovery. The thoughts and actions I have that mean I am “sick” will always be within my mind somewhere. I hope that as time passes that part of my mind will get closer and closer to the back corner of my brain where I don’t have to worry constantly about it.
Having an illness makes me feel validated, but it is a part of my life I would not wish upon anyone else. You have to be super under confident to feel like clinging to an illness is the only worth you have. Most people don’t understand what the phrase “being mental” means: it’s like you are perpetually fighting yourself, and you are out of control of yourself. It is not about attention, it is not a choice, but sometimes the extreme circumstances an illness creates do demand attention. I know that in my case, such events were my way of expressing inexplicable hurt and fear.

All about security

Whether I am in a restrictive phase, or a starve/binge phase, my eating disorder is always about trying to feel some security in life. I might not know if I’m going to do well in classes, or if something bad is going to happen, but if I know what I’m allowed to eat then it all feels ok.
When the plan goes wrong (and I binge, if in that phase) then I have to use food and exercise to regain the control.
In the long run, my eating disorder provides me with with very limited, momentary relief. It can’t alter what will happen in the future; it can numb feelings and distract me from more painful thoughts.
I love having a mental illness. Yep, you read that correctly. Just like the fleeting feeling of comfort and security though, I only like it sometimes.
The times when I’m particularly distressed I absolutely hate my disorder. I hate that other people don’t have to deal with such strong emotions and time consuming, punishing behaviours. I hate that I’m never really certain whether my illness embarrasses me or makes me feel proud.
It is confusing that I feel so conflicted- but I know this is a common feeling among mentally ill individuals. I just wish that the average person were able to understand the struggle of it. It is so difficult to go through life knowing that most people, however much they care, will not be able to help you.

Worried about relaxing

So these past few weeks have been challenging in terms of my disorder. I have had to put myself in anxiety provoking situations and sit with the horrible emotions and thoughts that go with that. Some of my attempts have been successful, and I am glad I was able to do something very scary. But I also feel guilty for allowing myself to be positive. I feel like I’m at a point in therapy where I will only achieve progress half the time, because the guilt and fear of permitting myself to feel relaxed and accepting of myself when behaving “normally” is so strong.
When I first realised I had a problem, I thought it was only with food- how wrong was I? The more therapy I have, the more I realise that everything is about emotional discomfort and my inability to let negative feelings just come and go naturally. Mental illness runs so much deeper than the stereotypes that many people attach to each illness. The symptoms of each metal problems are just a cover up for the crap that goes on inside….

Resisting temptation.

Tonight I suddenly became overwhelmed with a depressed mood. At first I was sitting motionless, then I became unable to be still for even a second. It was so sudden and powerful.
I thought of self harming and staying up to pace the calories away. I managed to stop this from happening.
I did pace a little, but I was able to also get myself ready for bed and tell myself it was important not to stay up late. Normally it is impossible to see the future benefits of not exercising compulsively when I’m in a mind frame where exercise feels like the only viable option.
I am making progress. There. I said it.
I sort of feel apologetic about doing something positive for myself. I have been talking about my belief that I don’t deserve good things In therapy, and it is a really big hurdle I need to jump.
If I was an alcoholic, I could avoid most alcohol related situations, but the things that worry me or I’m afraid of are all inescapable. Food will always be a part of life. Exercise will always be a part of life. Big social occasions will always be a part of life. Uncertainty and change will always be a part of life.
Most people have no idea what facing your fears really means unless they have to do it everyday too.