“Normal….”

When you struggle with any mental disorder, the wish to just feel normal regularly crosses your mind. I have a few people in my life that I look up to for being healthy, balanced, calm and successful role models.
I can see how abnormal my life is now and I can envisage this perfect recovered life, but I know that neither are sustainable. Being disordered will cut my life short, and being “perfectly” recovered is impossible. What I want is to have a normal, sometimes crappy, sometimes brilliant life… To be like the people I look up to who can experience life as it happens, and handle the more negative emotions in a healthy manner.
I suppose that “normal” is different for everybody and I’m going to have to learn what it means for me. And that’s why I’m scared- because I can’t possibly know what life will be like without any of my problems, as they feel like both a life sentence and my biggest comfort all at once.
We will see…
Happy weekend xx πŸ™‚

Making peace with the struggle

In my mind recovery from anything has to begin with acceptance of the struggle for what it is. When it comes to my depression or anxiety that seems easy, because the negative effects they have on my life are very clear.
Why oh why is my eating disorder a million times more complicated?
From the perspective of those around me, my ed causes me all pain and no gain, but I feel that it’s the glue keeping me together.
The voice in my head runs rings around me over this subject, and so I’m going to make a little list here:

1. Until you are thin you’re struggle isn’t real
2. Unless people suspect you are sick then you aren’t; instead you are just a weak person
3. If you lose all of your disorders then you will be left with nothing
4. You cannot make peace with a disorder that you haven’t been “successful enough” with (being skinny enough to be “good” at the ed)

When I’m in a calm frame of mind as I am now, all of those automatic thoughts make me sad. Is it really necessary to be so mean to myself? Maybe my life would be better if I was more forgiving?

My therapy homework is to write about an imaginary day where the disorder has disappeared overnight. Wish me luck….

I am feeling…?

Yeah. If only I knew! I generally have a hard time identifying and expressing my emotions. For me, my eating disorder becomes an outlet for these indistinguishable feelings.
In order to become less detached from my emotions I followed the advice of the wonderful Kati Morton and checked in with myself through the day. I suppose this task has taught me that feelings vary in intensity, and feeling anything is ok. Everybody has ups and downs in a day- but you have to take time to notice the changes in others. That really made me feel a bit more “normal” for a brief moment.
Happy Friday everyone πŸ™‚

Bipolar, ed, and dual diagnoses.

First of all I just want to say that I don’t have bipolar disorder, but I know about it through the experiences of others in my life.
As someone with an ed, I’ve found that time has created extra symptoms and then extra disorders. The struggling leads to more struggling, more unhealthy coping strategies, and ultimately a complex recovery path.
Because of the mental health stigma, and the secretive and shameful nature of most mental disorders, it is common for people to go years before seeking help. the sooner the better
I’m going to just talk about how an ed can change and contribute to other problems.
bipolar
I think that the lack of confidence and negative self talk (in depressive and mixed episodes primarily) fuel the ed voice. If you feel down and worthless, I imagine one would feel deserving of further mental distress. This could be binge eating, restricting, exercising…. Any ed behaviour really.
What people forget is that having bipolar doesn’t mean you are only ever manic or depressed; you can be in a mixed state, or be relatively stable for periods of time. My observation of others is that the changing mood can heavily influence food choices. Some moods give way to being careless about diet, perhaps overeating or not needing to eat to have energy. Other times, food can become a comfort or a punishment- just like it can be in an eating disorder mindset.

OCD and anxiety disorders
I think that every eating disorder creates anxiety, most obviously around food. For me though, that anxiety just grew and grew until I was having panic attacks daily and had developed obsessions and compulsions. I know that feeling anxious is a part of being human, but if you notice yourself becoming anxious frequently or having rituals to bring down that feeling, then you should speak up.
Anxiety is not weakness.

I knkw there are many more things that can co-exist with an ed, but this post is long! More to come…

Night x

What does it mean to be recovered?

For me, my eating disorder is party a way for my perfectionism to express itself, and recently I find myself wondering whether recovery is all it’s cracked up to.
I can sometimes imagine myself as recovered, happy, carefree, but my rational mind knows that life with or without a mental disorder is imperfect.
This is hard to accept.
I want my recovery to be perfect so that I can reach this perfect, clear end point. But that’s not realistic.
Every time I consider the idea that recovery is about learning to better manage when things go wrong and being more forgiving of myself, my motivation wavers.
I feel stuck because I can’t use an unrealistic goal as my motivation to recover, but thinking about what recovery really means makes me want to give up now.
Perhaps after some sleep I will feel more optimistic.

Beliefs.

I believe in peace. The world is full of unjust pain and suffering, when we should be embracing the human condition together. I believe in individuality, that nobody should be judged for veering from society’s idea of perfection. I think that everybody deserves to have their opinion listened to, that everyone is born with equal value and worth, and that it is only ourselves that can take responsibility for the people we become.
Aside from criminals and terrorists, everyone deserves freedom, respect and kindness.
This I believe.