Right now I’m writing this blog post about reducing obsessive compulsive behaviours because I’m doing it as we speak. I like repetitions and even numbers, that way I know I’m doing tasks correctly and being safe. My therapist asked me to see how I felt if I only checked once. No repetitions.
Anxious. That’s how I feel.
I suppose the theory behind exposure tasks is absolutely solid: the more you are in anxiety provoking scenarios the more of them you can tolerate. It seems so logically to simply wean off doing things that aren’t helpful to me, but let me tell you, it’s pretty damn hard when you actually do it.
So far these are how I have managed my discomfort:
1. Leave the room. Being physically distant from where you tried out the different behaviour means you are less tempted to go back and “even out” afterwards
2. Tell someone. Hearing from others that the fears are in your mind is a useful reassurance when you feel on edge
3. Accept anxiety. You’re uncomfortable, just like me right now! But that’s normal. Having feelings makes you human. Just let them be.
So it has taken me 24 hours to realise I lost the plot and posted my Wednesday blog on Tuesday. I feel this act of stupidity highlights how frazzled my brain currently is 😂
Anyway, I’m back in my house now (I’ve been with my parents the last few days) and it is nice to be alone a little bit, although being alone can quickly become really bad for me… I have therapy tomorrow & I really want to talk about how I’ve forgotten what life was like before all this. I was so young then that it’s hard to have any idea who I could be if I wasn’t the sick one.
I have always been active. As a child I did a lot of sports, which faded out as I got progressively more serious about dancing and musical theatre. Despite never being lazy, my eating disorder has always relied on me doing extra exercise to have done enough.
A couple of days ago I walked to the local pool, having planned to swim at least 20 lengths. It was closed and I was so angry. It was the first moment I’ve ever realised that I couldn’t cope with not exercising. I suppose this hasn’t occurred before because I’ve always had x class later that day, or had already cycled to x place or whatever. Well…. It sucked. All I could think about was what I needed to do so that I hadn’t been lazy.
Fuck you ed.
Basically I said about 6 weeks ago to someone that by this weekend coming I would have decided if I could recover or not. Well, if I actually had gotten thinner then maybe I could make that choice, but I feel like I’m fatter and thinner all at once. It’s just so fucking confusing- one minute I look thin and flat, the next time I see this broad, chubby out of control body as my reflection.
I get so frustrated at having so little idea about what I look like, and I think people just can’t understandthat unless they’ve felt it themselves. I hate how clothes shopping makes me feel. I love clothes and imagining outfits, but I can’t buy them or try them on. I’m hunting for a costume I need for a performance at the moment and it is a nightmare. I don’t want to look hideous in all the pictures.
It’s like in my head there’s this fragile, restrictive anorexic, but my body isn’t skinny. I bet nobody even thinks I have a disorder. I want the body I imagine in my head. I’m trying so hard and I just want to be able to know that I’m thin enough when the time comes.
Also, I feel like answering some questions as my Wednesday post if anyone has any! Xx
Today I had a couple of decent classes, although I am always beating myself up about not having done things “perfect enough”! Anyway, my day turned when I was supposed to be rehearsing with a group of people.
I was really tired, hungry, and had a bad headache, yet I was trying to encourage the others to practice. I just can’t understand how anyone can be so rude as to arrive late, be lazy, mess around or not have a clue what their doing when it affects everyone.
All that’s required is basic consideration for other people. Maybe they hate the project, find it hard, too easy, stupid… Whatever, but you can’t get performances right if people piss around and don’t pull their weight.
I suppose lots of people with eating disorders (and anxiety related illnesses) tend to think a lot about how others view them, and so possibly try harder to please people.
Frankly, I was spoken to so rudely that I don’t care why everyone was being so ridiculous. It is unacceptable to be so selfish, lazy and immature when working as a group.
Praying for tomorrow to be more productive! Night xxx
In my therapy today, my therapist did this thing where she had two columns on a page- each one with statements I make a lot as the headings. At first I have to say I was a bit confused and didn’t know how to answer her questions, but all of a sudden I linked the two headings together:
“If I didn’t have to worry about being responsible and in control, there would be no need for me to do obsessive behaviours”
(The two italicised bits were the headings!)
It has never clicked in my head that if I didn’t worry I wouldn’t have these problems. Those who don’t worry about the dishes, or their weight, or whether something bad will happen are unaffected by OCD issues. Why have I never realised this?
I’ve always known that my ED and OCD are efforts to control my environment, but the my therapist phrased the task and helped me to link the two ideas was new. Professionals have told me for years that worrying makes mental health problems worse, but it’s like somebody just switched on the lights and I can see it myself!
Time to switch my light off and sleep now though..
Lots of love xx
Tomorrow afternoon will be the second time I meet this clinician. She is really nice, but I’m already feeling unsure that I will be able to really work on all the crap that needs my attention.
She asked what my goals were, and I said 1. To be able to engage and enjoy things more, 2. To be able to stop myself obsessively cleaning and checking things, 3. To eat more normally
I think my fourth would be to feel comfortable with myself- especially my body, but also as a person.
Change is hard. Self awareness is hard. Emotions are hard.
As I struggle sometimes to be honest and articulate face to face I’m hoping to leave the session feeling that I’ve told the truth. Time for some sleep now! 💤
Sunday marks the end of Mental Health Awareness Week (no idea if this is just here in the UK) but anyways…I decided to just put out some statistics that really hit home how much mental health issues need addressing:
1 in 4 will experience mental health issues at some point
Early intervention halves relapse rates in Eating Disorders
33% of ED sufferers will make a full recovery. The rest will remain very ill, or experience high relapse rates
Every thirty seconds, suicide will claim another victim somewhere around the world
Depression is in the top ten reasons for being signed off work
In the USA people with severe mental illness die 25 years younger on average
1 in 10 children have a mental health problem at any one time
Under 10% of the population have a diagnosable personality disorder
Under 3% of people suffer from OCD
9 out of 10 young people experienced stigma when “coming out” with their mental health problems
So I’d write about how I’m feeling, but the problem is I don’t really know… There have been points of my day that were really satisfying- I felt present in the moment and grateful to be where I am.
Then on the flip side I feel like crap. I’m exceptionally paranoid I’m getting fatter even though I’ve been restricting, and the suicidal thoughts the other night have really knocked me emotionally.
I imagine two versions of my future: one where I get “sick enough” and go to hospital, and the second where I make peace with my illness now & accept I will never be enough for the voice in my head.
I want both.
I met a new therapist today and she was really nice. It went ok. Nothing about my day was unusually bad or difficult, but seeing my reflection in a bikini just pushed me over the edge.
I can’t say I was exactly feeling positive and relaxed beforehand, but even so, I wasn’t expecting to be so upset because of a dumb mirror. I just looked horribly “normal”, you know, flabby, round, gross.. I didn’t look at all like I should considering I have a fucking eating disorder. I’m so exhausted at not being thin enough. I have been thinner than I am now, so what the hell am I playing at?! I’ve had years now to get back there, and I know people in my life just say I’m skinny to avoid upsetting me more.
I’m on this mission with my eating disorder and I wish other people would help me, but apparently I’m destroying myself and they won’t help me do that. Well I’m either going to be a body size that doesn’t make me feel this way pretty damn soon, or I’m going to kill myself. I’m a joke of an ed sufferer. I don’t even think I have one anymore.
I’m so wound up that I’m going to see how long I can go without eating tomorrow. Fuck this.