I’ve realised lately that sometimes I’d rather not try, than fail. Making an excuse is easier than opening myself up to one of my big fears: failure, letting myself down, not being good enough.
An example of this is therapy. I’ve been told many times before that it’s important to try and negate what my eating disorder tells me, and to develop healthy responses. However, my feeling has always been
I can’t do the healthy thing, so I will be no good at this. What’s the point trying?
The point of trying (I learned today in my therapy session), is that it happens in steps. First of all, I need to create the brain space and give some time of day to those healthy, alternative thoughts. If I could act on them 24/7 then I wouldn’t have an eating disorder! (This was a light bulb moment 😂).
I need to get good at not being good at things. I need to be able to try, and feel ok when I can’t be perfect. Thinking about it, my eating disorder is what wants me to remain fearful of failing. That’s another way it can keep me stuck.
I hope the process of therapyI’ve just started with help me unstick ❤️
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.
As somebody who knows all too well how painful it is to hate yourself, I want to remind you that you are loved. What you see in the mirror or on the scales bears no reflection to the beautiful person the rest of us know. Like me, you are getting sucked in to viewing the world through a lens that focuses on thin vs fat as a decider of happiness. That lens is a liar. It blurs the other things in your life, until years have passed and you haven’t enjoyed the things you should have. Don’t let that be you, you deserve so much more.
Whatever your mind tells you, one more time (be it one more restrictive day, one more pound lost, one more laxative/sit up/purge) will never satisfy you. The feelings won’t go away by the methods that caused them.
As my friend, I hold you very highly in my life, and your happiness is important to me. In fact, seeing you succeed fills me with so much joy that it can make my own difficulties that little bit quieter.
You are deserving of love- the love you have in your life already, and the love you should be giving yourself. Body confidence and security is a challenge for many people, partly because lots of things around us are photoshopped or posed, and most people would only post their best bits on social media. It’s human nature to experience self doubt, as we all feel a little lost in life at times. However, you are beautiful and talented just as you are.
If health is your goal, your body will gain strength and vitality with you; if a diet is the focus, it won’t ever happen in the way you desire it. Of course, I’m not at the end of the journey either. In fact, right now isn’t so easy for me either. But that’s ok.
All the love in the world
Maybe some of you guys have a friend who might also need to hear this. Feel free to repost or share if you do!
I have some goals with my food intake that I’m doing my best to achieve. I’m honestly finding that each day is different. Sometimes I can wake up and eat a full breakfast and feel ok, but other days I’m too uncomfortable with the amount of calories in the meal to eat it. I’ve already realised that I’m soooo used to living in a hungry state, and when I have eaten my breakfast I have fewer thoughts about food and cravings in the following hours. Who would have thought that maybe, just maybe, people who eat normally don’t spend their whole lives overanalysing food? LOL AT MY LIFE
Today was predominantly very relaxing and equally productive, until a worry came in and brought along with it the fat feeling. Basically any emotion has the power to make me feel fat, and feeling fat then makes me feel angry & disappointed in myself for being as imperfect and flabby as I am. Nothing and nobody can calm my feelings of fatness, and unfortunately that’s just the way it is.
Do any of you relate to feeling fat? How do you handle it?
When I get stuck in thought cycles about my body, I find it such a challenge to stop overthinking. This has always been a trait of mine, but it’s been exaggerated by OCD. Fingers crossed the feelings are so strong in the morning
I feel like so many positive things can happen in a day, but any negativity will still feel very intense and overwhelming. I am constantly battling a very strong feeling over something and that’s quite tiring. Ruminating is huge issue for me, as almost everything gets replayed over and over in my mind. How do you stop doing that when you’ve done it your whole life? Overthinking is definitely a part of my personality that I want to learn to handle better.
I’ve been doing short mindfulness meditations as therapy homework, and although I sometimes just feel confused by my emotions, or unable to identify them it is helping. Taking a tiny bit of time to just be is sorta… Refreshing.
Happy weekend everybody
Today I have really felt dominated by thoughts about food, my body, or sleep. It seems that my disorder has become who I am and I’m afraid of all the time I would have without it.
Reading that makes me kinda… Empty I suppose. Like should my life be that way? Is that what I want, or what my ED wants? Most likely the latter.
So what does mental illness mean to me? Mental illness is an energy-sucker. It takes away my sense of normality and of having joy be a common, as opposed to rare, fleeting part of life. Mental illness is complex and experience uniquely from person to person. It’s often overlooked by others because the internal feelings of crushing uselessness and failure aren’t visible to them. Mental illness makes you feel inadequate, yet somehow feels like a friend who can keep some familiarity in a world of unpredictable change.
What does it mean to you guys?
So… Anger… Rage and stuff. I suck at it. I’m somebody who can’t show anger and so directs it inwards. I find myself easily choosing self hatred, instead of expressing justified anger to those who have caused it.
Over the last 7 or 8 months I have been in more confrontations than I would have liked, but these unavoidable times of life have taught me so much about the importance of telling people what you think.
In my opinion, many people with eating disorders or who self harm find negative emotions challenging. It’s difficult to take the emotion as it is when you become accustomed to releasing that feeling through your behaviours.
I’m not perfect, but I can tell people I’m annoyed now.
1. Start to write down all your reasons for your anger. Scribble over them as if they are insignificant. I always like I’m in control of my feelings then.
2. Tell the person who pissed you off, or ignored you, or upset you etc that what they said was hurtful.
3. AVOID blaming them. Even if it was definitely their fault, just relate it all back to the way you feel. Blurting and ranting all your rage never helps.
4. Be reasonable. Compromise, but don’t be walked all over. Cool, calm and collected 😉
Anger can make you feel so uncontrolled and uncomfortable, so don’t hold it in. Go for a run, draw, scrub clean the dirty dishes. All feelings pass…. Xx
Today I just woke up feeling on edge. I didn’t want to go out. I didn’t want people to see me. I didn’t want to face anything; but there was no choice.
I panicked half way through the day, and now feel utterly exhausted after being forced to contain my overwhelming feelings pretty much all day. I hate that I can’t ever switch it off in my head. I long to be free of all the mental turmoil that keeps me so afraid and isolated, but I don’t want to let go of it, because I’m in safe and familiar territory if I choose to muddle on.
It has become virtually impossible to imagine my life without 24/7 thoughts about food, my body, control, or worry… How on earth am I supposed to commit to recovery, when I have forgotten what life used to be like?
I look, obsess, analyse at it all the time, yet my perception of myself is constantly questioned by those around me. I feel my bones, I take every measurement I can, I perpetually compare myself to people, and so it is hard to believe that the view of my body I have created in my mind is wrong….
I have a notebook which I write in multiple times a day, in order to track food, body measurements and exercise etc.. it is my obsession. This evening I have got a new notebook and I have started writing in it (old one was full) which is what has got me looking back and thinking about how my body has changed.
Emotion-wise, today has been pretty rough. I was sat with my family in the pub for lunch. Nobody was making me eat, but my incredible hunger was fighting with my ed. I wanted to eat, but at the same time I wanted to stay empty. The hunger made me unable to think properly and the social eating scenario made me anxious before I even thought about maybe trying to eat something. I ran out and had a panic attack, then walked down the road with tears streaming down my face. I felt angry for not fighting the ed and eating- like I had let myself down, and I also felt hugely upset that my ed controls me so much. A lot of the time I’m able to imagine that I am in control of it, as I avoid so many situations which challenge its “rules.” It’s one thing when it leaves me feeling a state, but today was worse because my parents and siblings just had to sit there with me unable to form a sentence before I ran out. I just feel stupid I guess.
I don’t want a casual lunch with my family to be an impossible task; however I don’t want to confront the issues that make it one until I have justified it by losing more weight. A few months ago I was proud of myself for being able to understand and articulate my problems, but I don’t seem to be able to go any further than it. If I’m not doing anything positive with that knowledge then what the hell is the point?
I really couldn’t say whether or not I want to get better. Ambivalent isn’t even the word- as I know every ed sufferer feels that at times- I am just so utterly lost.