I attended a peer support group tonight and we had some really great conversations. We discussed what defines success, how comparison can keep us trapped in our disorders, and each shared a bit of our current situation as well. It was like all the other times I’ve been, except I felt different. The combination of people seemed to work well, and I made a connection with somebody who I clicked with. Perhaps she will become a friend and we can mutually support one another in recovery. (I hope so!)
Everyone at the group comes across as kind, intelligent, and caring, but for whatever reason, I felt that sense of “this could work” with her. We exchanged numbers, and are attending another group together this Friday which I’m really looking forward to. It feels warming to know I’ve made someone feel welcome and comfortable. And on a personal level, the potential to have a friend close by who is in this with me would be of great benefit.
The best message that came from today’s conversation was the idea that recovery from whatever struggle you have opens the door for better things to come in. Be it romance, career advances, or a new home, losing an illness is gaining space for more. ❤️
Happy Tuesday. I hope whatever you did today, it was worthwhile xox
I’ve always thought that as long as I’m restricting and having obsessive thoughts, I can’t be recovering. Time and time again, I’ve put off recovery because I don’t want to eat more, gain weight, or surrender my control. I’m coming to realise that by believing this, I’m failing to acknowledge the mental work involved, and how even doing some of the things below are ways I can take tiny steps in the right direction.
1. SELF CARE. Take that bath, paint those nails, say no to things you don’t want to do. (Surprise! This supports having respect for my own priorities and needs. Eating disorders hate that)
2. BE GRATEFUL. Think of things that are a blessing- clean water, a home, a family etc. Millions of people don’t have ANYTHING. (Surprise! Gratitude can be a light in the dark hole of eating disorder self pity)
3. EAT MORE FRUIT AND VEG! And no, progress doesn’t have to mean eating more calories right now. Surely, any positive food change deserves credit?! (Surprise! This goes against all the ED black and white thinking)
4. BE OPENLY VULNERABLE. Even admitting aloud that I’m not always sure I want recovery, and that sometimes I imagine anorexia killing me as a “success” takes courage. (Surprise! Rumour has that courage is a key ingredient in recovery)
So, there we have it. These few things are helping me to see life through some clearer lenses. I feel awful and sad and lonely sometimes, but that’s okay. I’m in a place where I’m scared of letting go, while equally scared of the consequences of holding on. In the meantime, I know I am doing something. Small steps can be just as important as big ones.
One major difference between my Mallorca life and my UK life is THE SUN, oh but seriously, it’s scheduling (and the sun, but that’s too obvious 😂). While I was away, my routine was consistent 6 days of the week, so I could eat the same foods at the same time.
Fast forward to my current life, and my days are all different. Some days I can eat lunch at 12, but the next day not until 2.30. For an unknown reason my body worries are going crazy tonight and I’m desperately wanting a repetitive eating pattern 😭. I’ve planned for tomorrow and Tuesday, and maybe these days can be repeated on other days (I’m highlighting them in my notebook for safe keeping ahahah). I feel tired of having to plan my food, but if I don’t then I don’t ever feel settled.
This week needs to be a safe food week. Planned, predictable, not stressing me out type of week. PLEASE
I’m currently reading the Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA) big book and workbook. I’ve done my step 1 work, and have started on step 2, in which I need to find a purpose or power bigger than myself to keep my focus and give me strength. For some this might be God, but I’m not religious. There are several suggestions and explanations, though nothing has struck me as the one just yet!
Fate and the idea of the universe rewarding hard work are some ideas I’ve thought of. My purpose needs to be more than to be a performer (I think), as it needs to be something to remind me that I’m a tiny part of the world when I’m sucked into spiralling thoughts, and to motivate me to be my best.
It’s not recommended to use being a good daughter/Mum/girlfriend etc, so I need to do some thinking about myself. What makes me feel truly connected to the world? What can be stronger than my fears day in, day out?
🤔 *any experience with this is welcome!*
I crave a lot of reassurance, validation and approval. I have always worried and overanalysed what other people say or do, because deep down I want their judgement to define who I am for me. Often this desire comes from uncertainty within myself, and the hope that outer validation will make me feel secure. It doesn’t (for long, anyway!)
Equally, I like to be productive in daily life and have goals to work towards. Of course, succeeding at something brings congratulations and praise from those around me, and that temporarily will make me feel good. Eg. Getting an A on an exam in school would have been evidence I was intelligent, coupled with the reassurance by all the positive comments from family and friends. This was meaningless once another exam came up, though, and the feeling good about it was temporary.
Just like my cycle with my ED, I wanted something that was temporary to define and validate me as a person. Same result: never feeling secure. This is an issue for me in my eating disorder in terms of seeking reassurance about my body, as well as validation my illness truly exists.
I’m starting driving soon and I’m tempted not to tell too many people (partly so I don’t let anyone down if I fail) but also because I want it to be an achievement for myself. I don’t want to rely on other people telling me what a great idea it is to learn/ I’m sure you’ll pass etc etc. I want to develop my confidence at it on my own, and just for once not need the approval and praise of other people all the time.
The phrase New Year, New Me implies that the ring of midnight magically transforms us via some kind of witchcraft. In my view, the equation is more like:
New Year + Self awareness + Hard work = New Me.
It isn’t so catchy, is it? In the past, I have thought about the year gone by/ my hopes for the coming one, but never made firm resolutions. (I do however like to make a mini bucket list for the year, such as shows I want to watch, or a place I’m keen to visit)
This year I want to hold myself more accountable and make goals. Perhaps I’ve been scared of failing at my resolutions, and so held back from making any in past years. I’m open to the idea that what I want could change in the course of the next 12 months, and that’s okay. For now though, here are my first proper resolutions:
- Pass my driving test
- Take therapy as it comes, and know that recovery is possible if I decide that’s what I want to fully commit to
- (Hopefully) become strong at aerial (if I like it after my first session next week!)
- Utilise the online 12 step meetings for eating disorders. Keep going even if I feel unsure about my own desire right now
- Do little things for myself more often- paint my nails more, do face masks, watch a favourite film…
- Do my best. Don’t let the possibility of failing stop me from trying all of these things.
Good wishes for the last day of 2017, and a happy new year when it arrives for you
This week I have attended 3 support groups (one for the first time!) and my first 12 step meeting in person. It was a very spontaneous plan, as a friend invited me to something I wouldn’t have gone to on my own. (I say it was my first, when I technically went to ABA once irl but I turned up and it was one, elderly man, and so I’m not sure it counted to be honest 😂)
Anyway, I’m glad I went. I was fortunate to be present for a very inspiring talk by a woman who has clearly reaped the rewards of committing to recovery. She was funny, insightful, and truthful. I felt privileged that she was my first experience, as I related to things she said, and I liked how she was able to find humour in things that have brought great darkness into her life in the past.
To see my friend be confident and honest in this setting also felt quite special. It was a pleasure to be welcomed into something that is now a big part of her life.
It also made me reflect on myself and on the last year or so. While I have learned lessons as a person and a professional in that time, I feel I have gained knowledge but not action in terms of my mental health. I am absolutely more self aware than I was at the beginning of my issues, and I am absolutely able to recognise some of the patterns and main things I find challenging, but fear has held me back from making consistent change. The fear of what is under the surface and of whether I am able to handle it is a very powerful force. But I see that people are doing it everyday.
I have goals for 2018 like passing my driving test (look out world), but my greatest commitment (and the reason I’m even at home right now) has to be ME. My emotional and physical health has to be a priority of mine. I am grateful that I have a loving family and friends who will always support me, but they can’t do it on my behalf.
Although I’m not religious, I have always loved Christmas. Since a young age, it has been one of the few family days in the year. There’s a decade between my age and my brothers, so as a child I looked forward to having Christmas Day with them. I also love choosing gifts for people, and enjoy receiving things people have chosen for me. Getting the decorations up if my favourite bit of the preparations, too.
The worst bit however, is the anxiety about every detail. I detest that food is such a big part of the day for everybody else, while for me it’s a big source of worry instead. Trying to work out exactly what food will be safe and what time I can eat gets so overwhelming. I’ve finally made my decisions about this years meal. Outside of the roast dinner, I’m having my own, normal food, and I will be eating it in my room where nobody can comment. I don’t want to feel sad or stressed by it; I just want to get to the end of the day and know I’ve eaten an amount that my ed considers safe. In that respect, it needs to be just like any other day.
Tomorrow will be the last chance I have to go to the gym, and that makes me feel pressured for me to do enough… if anyone knows wtf would qualify as enough for my stupid brain, I’m all ears 😂
Anyway, I’m going to write down everything exactly as it is going to be food-wise for 25/26th so I can get it out of my mind and know it is planned and okay. Another essential tomorrow will be a Christmas film (already watched Elf, Nativity, Nativity 2, and a bit of Love Actually) I cant get enough! Outside of the festive and romantic comedy genres, I have almost no film knowledge. I like to think I make up for it in these 2 areas 😂
Hope everyone has a relaxing and positive weekend xxx
For some reason that I’m unsure of, tonight feels lonely. I’m not alone, but I feel that way with all the thoughts in my mind.
My routine is becoming more organised. I now have certain dance classes and support groups I attend. Lists, as always, are my friend. I write down my weekly plans, as well as silly to do’s and enjoy crossing them off.
Aside from food thoughts tonight, my brain is circling on unanswerable questions.
If I get the benefit, how much will it be?
If I don’t get it, when and where could I realistically work (health and time wise) as a temporary measure in order to pay for the classes etc that I need to keep doing so I’m still working towards getting another job in the industry?
Am I doing the right thing by signing up to try something new in January? What if my strength lets me down?
What if I don’t get better?
What if I fail? At getting better, in my career, in life?
Does anyone have any answers? People at the back? Anyone?! No… well, just me on my own then. Seriously speaking, I know I can’t answer these questions right now. Nobody can! I’d just like to know what’s coming and whether I can handle it, but life just isn’t like that.
Although the weekend and the weekdays don’t always take their traditional form in my life, a Sunday evening always feels like a good moment to sit down and plan the week ahead. For me, feeling like I have points to look forward to improves how I feel. However, I do like to be productive, and sometimes that can mean I berate myself for lying on the sofa all afternoon when perhaps that’s what I needed!
In general, my restriction and ED thoughts are pretty bad, and suddenly having time at home to have to deal with it has made me react out of fear I think. The only thing I feel I have to protect me from the scary idea of taking my time at home to recover is IT. Well, how ironic is that?
Although I’m not making good choices about everything, I’ve decided I want to give the Headspace app more of my time this week. I’ve used it quite a bit, but rarely with much consistency (although when I do open it up, I’m always glad I have!) Short, guided meditations aren’t too overwhelming, as I don’t feel pressure to commit a huge chunk of time or to expect a certain outcome. Sometimes it’s just nice to breathe, and for whatever comes into my head to be okay. I’m a terror for judging my thoughts.
I hope the coming week has something good in it for everyone. Xoxo