Those low mood days.

Everything feels hard right now. Several times a day over this last I don't know how long, I find myself wishing I didn't have to do anything but stay in bed. Sitting in my own little hole feels so appealing and necessary. Unfortunately, I don't have that option, so everyday I have to drag myself up and pretend to be fine all over again.
ED-wise, I reach this kind of end of my tether sensation once in a while, where I feel like I just cannot handle making a single decision more about food. It's like I've walked straight into a concrete wall and the concussion has made me confused and unable to do anything ,let alone the right thing. Naturally, all these thoughts and exhaustion over my ED lower my mood, and when I'm in a patch of bad depressive thoughts it's hard to shake it off. One fire fuels the other, and the days pass regardless.
When I'm not panicking or wishing I could disappear, I still appreciate that I'm performing and in the sunshine, but even my shows don't give me the same level of release from normality that they normally do. (On an average day, doing the show in the evening gets me through the day, and will make my day finish well because I'm happy from doing it).
I need therapy to come sooner. Monday seems a thousand years away.
I'm trying to not to think to far into the future to avoid feeling overwhelmed, but equally I do need to continue looking for auditions and potential things for when my contract finishes. I guess I just need to find options, and not be fixated on trying to plan exactly what I will do and when.
If you've made it this far, congrats on navigating this bunch of ramblings. I hope your day has gone well. Comment below what was good about it. (For me, my protein bars arrived and that's excitement in my sad little life 😂)

Night xox

I have two jobs.

I sometimes feel like my eating disorder is my full time job. Then I realise that it isn't a surprise I feel tired; we aren't designed for two full time jobs.
As some of you may know, my "proper" job is performing 5 nights a week and doing daytime duties of rehearsals and working with kids. All the waking moments both in and out of my job comes my second job: eating disorder worry queen.
That job is much less straightforward. It's worrying endlessly about if I'm anorexic enough, thin enough, good enough… it's constant thought about what/when to eat, if I can eat, what is a safe amount? It's taking photos of myself naked in a billion positions in my bedroom mirror to try and work out whether I'm big or small, or checking how much or little my bones are visible. All in all, it's working at something that doesn't give you a reward that anybody sane would want.
A sad truth is that lots of dancers have eating disorders. You might think that nobody could exercise so much or have the ability to dance and maintain an eating disorder, but I can assure you it happens all the time. I can think of about 10 people off the top of my head who are dancers (or were, or are in full time training to be) who all having anorexia or bulimia. Unfortunately, being lean isn't unusual in the dance world and so it's easy to carry on "eating clean" or "on a new plan". People rarely question it. Regularly, you're on stage in a bra and hot pants or a skin tight leotard, all of which would reveal any hint of a stomach in seconds. You wouldn't want your upper arms to be wobbly when they're on show 24/7, would you?
When I think of this not so unusual situation, I'm reminded of Emma Woolf's book An Apple A Day. She speaks several times about how she called her condition "functional anorexia", because she was doing her life (albeit less social, less energised, less normal) but keeping her anorexia, rationalising that it wasn't a problem because she was still doing x, y, z. On reflection, the book details how sneaky anorexia is. How you can be thin, but have just enough energy to get by, or so much obsession that going on that run is just about possible. How you can shove loved ones off the case because you aren't rapidly dropping weight, but instead maintaining in a small zone considered safe, even though the safe zone is not physically a healthy one. The perfectionism of anorexia can cross over into your normal life and force you to do everything- to keep the Ed and to keep whatever bits of your life you have going on. For anybody else, doing it all wouldn't be possible, but the mind is far too powerful.

“Real” anorexia.

I'm feeling really sensitive and confused after trying to tackle a therapy question: what is real anorexia?

I have so many thoughts in my mind- about whether or not I have real anorexia, whether what my idea of that is right or not, whether or not I want to hold on to it. Arghhh it's all too much 😕

In simple terms, I believe anorexia is two things: thinness combined with the thoughts processes and beliefs of the ED. Sure, my thoughts aren't exactly normal, but am I thin? As ever, here I am again wanting to know. I feel obsessed with the idea of anorexia, yet to say that word aloud is a rarity for me. I find it difficult to say, because I feel almost embarrassed to even associate with me, because how could chubby, horrible me be good enough for that word?

Evidently, my mind is not feeling that great right now, but oh well. That's life…

Hope your weekends are all going well xoxo

A little bit of positivity

Recent good things:

  • Potential performing job for the winter. Feeling excited that there's a possibility
  • An extremely beautiful surprise from one of my best friends
  • The lift in my duet going well today
  • Making a lovely connection with a child today
  • An hour chatting with a friend of the phone yesterday

Photos, mirrors, and general confusion.

For my "normal" friends, seeing themselves in mirrors, photos and reflections on windows etc doesn't cause worry or confusion. Minor changes from one to the other don't matter. One doesn't have to be right vs the others. To me, it's a world of total misunderstanding.
The idea that there isn't one right answer (aka. One photo that depicts me perfectly and exactly as everyone would see me) doesn't compute in my brain.
Taking photos of various body parts in something I do to try and ascertain clarity of my body size. I can take photos and compare them over time, and see if I appear smaller or bigger. The problem is, hours can be spent analysing (especially with photos taken by other people, as happened today).
I decided I wanted to have a picture of myself at this amazing place I went to today with my friend. She has come to visit me in Majorca, and so we used my day off to go on a little adventure. Of course, I see the pictures and think to myself that nobody would see them and judge me as a. A thin person or b. Believe me if I said I had anorexia
Part of me is tempted to post a picture from today (or any recent one) just to see what happens. I think I'm too scared that my fears are true, though.
How is everyone?! Update me in the comments if you want to xxx

I take medication, so what?

One of my flat mates saw me swallowing my tablets the other day and asked what I was taking. I just said I took them for anxiety, which to be fair is partly true.
What's strange to me is that I get on well with this person, yet didn't disclose the honest truth. I didn't say one is an antidepressant, or that much of my anxiety is around food. I guess deep down I was worried she'd say something upsetting or not believe me.
We chatted a bit about mental health stuff and I said how I've had panic attacks and what that's like etc, but I didn't think I'd ever be so tentative about what I said.
Obviously there are some people who I would never tell, and that's fine, but she is a totally nice person! The Spanish culture is less open about mental illness in general and people tend not to post as much on social media about it. Of course there are exceptions, but back in the UK the conversation about mental health has become much more honest and open in the last few years.
Medication really can save lives, then the reality of people's uninformed opinions and stigma continues 😴

Over and out xoxox

Dealing with anger.

Im lay awake (no surprises there, but also, it's approx 1 billion degrees in my room…) and trying to digest a conversation I had with the choreographer this evening.

To summarise, he shouted and got angry backstage tonight. The issue was about us girls not doing enough. He was effing and blinding and threw his hat on the floor. We finished the show and the two other girls went home. Me being me, I can't leave a situation with the possibility that somebody is angry with me. Also, I'm sensitive in general and the shouting rubs me up the wrong way.

After a 30 minute discussion (he was totally calm now), the upshot was that the main problem is somebody else's attitude infecting the group. She always has an excuse, and so he feels other people are making excuses for themselves rather than just listening to him as our boss.

Having trained for 4 years with a whole mixture of teaching styles, I know that everybody teaches choreography differently and has different expectations, BUT I think both sides in this scenario are justified.

I see that he, as our boss, is perfectly entitled to point out errors or areas where more can be given in the shows; however, I don't think we should except incorrect judgements or unnecessary snappiness. Equally, everyone in this situation is human and we all have our weaknesses. His is getting angry a little too quickly in my view, hers is not always knowing when to shut up and get on with it, mine is being too sensitive about comments.

I could analyse this situation for the next 3 hours trying to convince myself that it's not my fault/I'm not doing anything bad. But I have to remind myself that the other dancer nor the choreographer will be sat at home thinking about this. Infact, my conversation with him has proven that it's mostly not a critique of me. I'm not perfect and want to do more, but I'm not the main source of irritation it seems.

We're changing positions next week and I hope that rehearsing that will make it clear that I really am 100% certain of my choreography.

Note to self: just calm down. Forget it. You are fine, EVERYBODY can do more and it doesn't make you bad or not good enough. Go to sleep and wake up ready for the day.