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 ❤️
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.
Yesterday I was listening to an episode of The Mental Illness Happy Hour podcast, where one of my favourite youtubes, Kati Morton, came on to speak about eating disorder, trauma, and mood disorders. (If you like podcasts and want to to listen, it’s free to download on the podcast app on iPhones 👌🏻)
There was one statement Kati made that just flicked on a lightbulb in my brain:
Eating disorders are all about calculations…. Purging doesn’t have to be vomiting. Anything you do to minus things in your calculations is a purge.
My own mind is driven on calculation. It isn’t as easy as counting calories; does a food feel safe? Does it smell a way that makes me feel ill? How much protein to cards does it have? Have I already had enough sugar today? This list is endless.
I spend hours everyday making decisions about food. Have I done enough to warrant eating? Is usually where it starts.
It comes as a constant surprise to me that I some really wonderful friends, because let’s face it, whatever we are doing I’m probably still hearing the voice in my head chattering on. I am lucky. But right now I feel like I don’t want to get better. Sure, I’d love all the benefits of recovery and being free from all the mental and physical difficulties, but I’m not thin enough. I’m not sick enough. I haven’t been ill enough yet to let go.
Where do I start?
Firstly by saying that this post is just me venting the triggers, rather than being about judging them.
My brothers seem to be the ones who escaped the food trap. They both have no issues whatsoever with food and actually really enjoy it with freedom while maintaining healthy bodies.
My parents on the other hand are where the problems lie. For as long as I can recall my mum has been on and off diets. Sometimes she has sustained weight loss for a decent time, while other attempts were short lived. I remember watching her read the information on food packets when I was a child, and recall people always praising her when she had been “good” on her diet. Fast forward to this afternoon, and we are in the shop. I commented on some dried snacks and she told me how sugary they are. You might as well eat chocolate if you’re going to have them. While her statements are always aimed at the generic you as opposed to me personally, it makes me feel that anything I select will be judged. I support her trying to lose weight, and on countless occasions have given her (sensible, healthy) advice, but I cannot stand hearing all this food talk. It’s one sided, because I couldn’t tell her my food thoughts without a. Feeling uncomfortable or b. Getting told I was wrong.
My dad is very different. He has been thin my whole life. As a child I remember him as a normal eater, but in the latter half of my life he has developed weird habits. My observations tell me he does a version of intermittent fasting. He is currently losing weight, despite being very low body fat and already healthy, in preparation for something, and frankly it is a bit obsessional. Neither of them have habits I would recommend to a friend, as food plays a bigger part than I feel it should in their lives.
*i love mine to pieces, but my ed is very trigger sensitive and competitive so these things are just too much for me.
It has been a few days since I decided to put some of the yoga class I went to into my daily life.
It’s actually going well.
I have had some early mornings, and therefore done my 20-30 minute practice in the evening, but both times of day feel good for me. I like how I feel when I’m stretching with my eyes closed, alone, with quiet, meditative music in the background. Each day so far, I’ve been glad that I made the effort.
In my dance training during term time, it can be hard to stretch effectively after a long day, but the short routine I’ve been doing could definitely work in that scenario too.
In terms of mentality I have noticed something quite significant. I’ve noticed that I set a goal (to try doing some yoga each day this week) and I’m achieving it. My usual harsh mindset could have set me up to fail. My negative voice would have required me to do at least an hour, only in the morning, adding 5 minutes a day etc etc, and any small diversion from the plan would have meant I had ruined it.
So basically all this rambling would have been explained just as well by the quote alone 😂 I saw it today, and thought it was all too well timed for me to not write about!
I’ve spent the day with a best friend of mine. We met through dancing classes about 15 years ago and our friendship has grown alongside our love of dance.
We took class together at a London studio this afternoon and then watched an incredible peformance of Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man. (Seriously, it blew me away… GO WATCH IT!) okay, now I’m sidetracked… Where was I?
Right. Dancing. Lots and lots of dancing. So today was awesome. And watching shows always fills me with new inspiration and acts as a reminder of how much I utterly adore what I do. Being a performer is precious, and maybe that’s why lots of people are kinda clueless about it!
As I’m typing this I feel full of positivity and my mind is thinking over plans of how I can work on myself over summer. I want this to be the summer for which I have no regrets. A summer where I enjoy myself and keep pushing to improve. I want to be stronger, fitter and better when this holiday is over.
Does stronger mean sicker? No. Does fitter mean more tired from calorie restriction? No. Does better mean better at having OCD or an Eating disorder? No.
Basically what I’m saying is that being me doesn’t have to mean being ill. I can be a person without all of that. I’m not entirely sure who that person is yet, but I know a few things about her:
The normal part of me likes clothing with animals on, likes playing with my hair, loves animals. The normal me likes chocolate. The normal me loves to read.
That’s all for now. I am too lazy to proof read this, so enjoy the typos I inevitably made! 😂 xx
I’m suddenly triggered by somebody else being put in a mental health unit for their ED. I’m too fat for that. I’m so angry at myself. My parents come in a week and they will see that I’m not small at all. 😦
I get mood swings… Big ones. I know that depression and ed’s do this to lots of people, so in my therapy session yesterday I was trying to be sarcastic and brush off the hard things that happened this week, and then it all came to a head. I find it hard to touch things that have been touched by others, and yesterday I completely froze when asked to pick the pen up off the table. My thoughts were so much that I couldn’t even hear them. I couldn’t move or talk.
All of a sudden I was just so angry that I couldn’t pick up a fucking pen! It’s ridiculous! I then became more angry at myself for not being thin enough and for failing for years now at achieving that. I felt like if I couldn’t do anything right then why the hell am I alive.
“What are you thinking right now?”
Me: I just want to die.
“What would you do?”
Me: I have loads of meds. I want to take them all and end it.
“Do you feel like you could reach out to someone later if this feeling continued?”
Me: I don’t think I want to. Not being here would end all the problems. I can’t continue having to do all these things when I don’t even have any control afterwards.
“You are suffering and I think you need to talk more. We can’t talk now but I’m going to ask a colleague and then I think you need to go to the hospital. What do you think about that?”
Me: I don’t think anything. I’m sorry.
I spent a long time in hospital yesterday and spoke to several people. The despair in that moment was too much to handle alone. Today I’m left with the shock of how my mood deteriorated so fast, and also how easily a suicidal thought became a solid idea in my mind.
One of my biggest difficulties with recovery is my belief that I’m not sick enough to merit change, but I think yesterday was a turning point. I’m going to spend my whole life going through these crisis points if I can’t get better. I must be ill.
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
One of the most difficult aspects of mental illness is feeling misunderstood. Everybody has a set of feelings and symptoms unique to them, making it all too easy to feel alone with your struggles.
Personally, I hate articulating my thoughts or emotions aloud because I suck at it. I can write or type them okay, but ask me to open my mouth to another human being and you’re in trouble! The difficulty I have with speaking about things is one I imagine other people experience as well (and if you’re reading, hey there!), yet there’s another much larger problem: so many people have no clue about mental health problems anyway (a few do, this is a general point I’m making…)
How do we make people understand something they can’t see?! For me linking them to a Kati Morton video appropriate to the topic is a good one, as well as writing a letter or comparing it to something physical they have experienced themselves. To be honest though, there are some people who just won’t get it. Something I’m learning slowly is the acceptance of other people’s lack of understanding. It sucks. It’s unfair, but so is everything else in life!
Today I am grateful that I’m doing something I love at college everyday. If you’ve had a rough day, what are you grateful for?