Winning over anorexia

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I’m trying really hard to not freak out about the fact my body is all ‘mm, food!’ and my mind ISNT all ‘dream on!’

A few days of ‘mm, food!’ and I’m now back at my voluntary job almost with as much confidence and motivation as before. Oh, and strength. The new dog I’m working with is energetic, strong, and strong minded. I need to be all of those three and more if I am going to be able to help him feel better about life.  What I dont need to be is Xlbs which is the anorexias target, not mine.

Its a couple of weeks before I start skype sessions with the ED specialist and I am really having to fight the wish/need to use these last weeks as the ‘final goodbye’ to the anorexia. The last hit of starvation. The last hit of weight loss. I have been here before, waiting for ED therapy, and I know its pointless to just lose more weight you will have to put on again.

There is a lady in our village who is quite obviously emaciated. It is really triggering because I see her walking often whilst I’m driving to and fro. Cat was in the car once when we saw her and I remarked that my sick brain almost sees THAT as a goal. She said that if I walked around in leggings I wouldn’t look that far off, but I never wear tight clothes. The thing is, I dont know if Cat is exaggerating or if she just doesn’t see me like I do. I see fat. Even now, I see fat. And not in the typical cartoon image of a woman with anorexia standing in front of the mirror way. In the realistic I am a woman and I have fatty curves way. It makes me feel sick in my throat to see squidgy bits on me at the moment. Trying to focus on there being more to life though.  Even if most the time I wish there wasn’t.

Dear diary

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I have got burning-leg-syndrome right now as tonight I “allowed” myself some alcohol and for some reason my legs have never liked alcohol. (Anybody else get this??)

I’m worried. My head is on overdrive tonight. I’m worried that I am going to balloon up in weight in these next couple of weeks. Few reasons really- 1. the new lady I will be working with will be encouraging me with meal plans. 2. I won’t be doing my physical job. 3. I am going to be sat on my ass more doing my course.

I’m genuinely contemplating starting up on the exercise bike again. The problem with my recovery (hah!) from the anorexia last time was I began eating more, whilst doing less. I put weight on up to a healthy point but I was incredibly uncomfortable with it as it was completely unmanaged. I feel I need to control the weight gain a bit more this time round and whilst I’m not doing near as much exercise as I was before, I feel I need to introduce just a little into the mix.

Cat is just like “no! Think of your heart!” but trust me, my heart has survived a lot worse. It will be fine. I need to do this properly this time round and this feels like part of the “proper” solution.

Needless to say the entire session with Cat today was on this blasted obsession of mine at the moment. Obsession, addiction, disorder, whatever you want to call it. I know that I came out with some disturbing comments as I relayed to Cat the images in my head. ***trigger warning death!***

I want to be skin and bones and curl up in your lap. That’s the image I’ve got. I’m so small and skeletal and I just curl up into your lap to die.

Like being reborn, Cat offered.

I guess that is Cat hoping there’s some hope in there somewhere. I don’t see it as being reborn. I just see it as dying. I dont quite know why my unconscious wants me to die that way but one step at a time.

Of course Cat picked up the fact that I am not really the bodies age and often I feel a LOT younger and sometimes wish my body would reflect that. She seems to think that my diet at the moment reflects one of an 8 year old because its a young part of me that deals with food. To the part of me that prepares the food (when possible) and eats it, the portion size is big, but to a 27 year old body it is small.

For example, I was genuinely shocked today when she explained to me how much cereal it is “normal” to eat as an adult. My cereal portions haven’t changed since I was under ten and pouring it behind bookcases!! She described to me a typical 8 year old child’s intake and I felt fat just listening to it. Dont get me wrong I can pack a large portion away like the best of them, but only if I dont eat for the rest of the day. For obvious reasons I much prefer little and often though its just not always possible when you are reliant on someone else making your food because the idea of doing it yourself makes you want to poke your eyes out.

Cat said to me today- what is it like?
I didn’t even have to hear the rest of the question. I knew what she was asking and I simply replied torture.
The guilt, the shame, the failure…eating is painful. I am taken back to the days of sobbing over a plate of food, gulping bits down, alone and exhausted. I’m not there now, outwardly anyway. Inwardly it still feels like it.

Anyway, that’s enough rambling for one night.

Byes xox

Some help?

It seems that my hopes have been answered – it seems I might be getting some specialist help for the anorexia.

My partner went to see Cats colleague today, the ED specialist, for support and information on how to help me and my load.  Straight after their appointment this lady, L, rang Cat to say she wants to work with me directly as she is concerned.  Wasn’t quite the outcome any of us was expecting but I think it is the preferred one for all anyway.

She will be able to help me make meal plans, and emotionally deal with the weight gain and all of what drives the anorexia right now.  She has a different approach to Cat, she has been described by Cat as being “hard, direct, and tough”.  Someone who will be able to say to me “look, you’re fucking up, you’re hurting yourself and everyone around you” as Cat admits to being too protective to say stuff like that to me.  It won’t be intensive attachment based treatment like it is between Cat and I but it will be enough to lighten the load for Cat as she isn’t confident in treating ED’s herself.

Of course the anorexia within my head is already putting up a fight.  Telling me I am too FAT to see her.  Telling me that she will laugh me out the door.  Telling me that I don’t need help, nor deserve it.  But even if I’m not at my worst ever in my life, like Cat said, now is still the time to deal with this and I believe that too.  I don’t want to spend the rest of my life here, or near to here.  I don’t want to spend the rest of the YEAR here.  I don’t even want to spend the rest of the month here, though I know it is no quick fix.  I know that perhaps I am still going to get a little worse before I get better, but I just want to live life again, whatever it takes to get there.

I hate you

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The anorexia has taken the heart of my passion, career choice, and progress, and obliterated it. I am so angry at the anorexia right now for doing this AGAIN, even though I know the only person doing it is me. The anorexia still feels like a worm in my head infecting my brain.

I’m having to contemplate giving up my volunteering and everything that signifies because I am too sick at the moment to do it. Its a very physical job, and whilst I got away with it for a few weeks at the weight I am, my body is not letting me get away with it anymore. My heart is racing when we are doing a mere walk, and the world spins as I try to keep my own body contained, let alone the soul of another.  My limbs are unable to carry the weight of a dog that once upon a time would have been a feather to me. My back is unable to do the physical exertion without consequences. Not to mention the emotional effects- lack of patience, lack of thinking, lack of drive…

Cats colleague who is an ED specialist has given me a weight to try to get at so I will be the minimum I can be to be fit and well. Thats a grammatically poor sentence I apologise. But you get the gist. The gist is I am a long fucking way away from that and can’t imagine myself getting up to that point anytime soon.

It reminds me of being at high school and seriously anorexic. Teachers refusing me entrance to their classes because of the responsibility if I collapse. Being told by the head which trousers to wear so as not to worry everyone by my appearance. Knowing that I CANT gain weight but I HAVE TO if I want a life.

But it isn’t fair because I am no where near that weight I was. And I can’t let go of THIS without going back THERE and “fixing it”. Doing it better this time round. Getting support and help from people. Having someone trying to keep me alive as I was. I am throwing myself against a brick wall in terms of recovery, but also in terms of getting what I need and coming back from that. I am battered and bruised but not moving anywhere.

Everything around me is suffering because of it. The dogs. The flat. My work. My friendships. My relationship. My own disgusting body. Nothing goes untouched by this fucking disease.

I know I just need time to work this through but it’s time I’m lacking if I dont want to ruin my entire life prospects because of a brain eating mental disorder.

Late night ramble

Sooooo, whilst my brain continues to do this “I don’t want to sleep” thing I may as well write to say SHES HOME!! I actually watched her plane come back into the country and land which was v exciting for a number of us. I had no idea planes go so blooming fast! 400+ miles an hour….eesh.

Cat has said that perhaps this year we can go for a weekend away together. She thinks that we are ready to take our level of trust that bit further. She was thinking Cornwall which is cool except its the travelling…. I hate travelling. Trains, buses, planes, cars, boats, the lot. A couple of days with her would be worth facing those fears but it is going to be very difficult.

Tomorrow, despite the bronchitis, she wants to see me. I think I patronised her by saying that my co therapist (her friend) thinks she should take a day off and not see me. I didn’t mean it to sound like she doesn’t have a brain of her own to decide, I just dont want her to feel forced into seeing me if she is too poorly. To be honest I feel a bit guilty about my behaviour in general this weekend. I feel like if I hide myself away for months it still wouldn’t be enough punishment for how out of order I have been. Cat doesn’t agree, of course. She doesn’t see it as me being out of order, nor does the co therapist. Its hard to understand that you can express heated emotion without it being wrong to these therapy peeps in my life. As a child even if I so much as breathed too deeply it was wrong. I am not used to these free expressions.

Okay, zzzz at last.

Xox

12 hours…

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My biological parents and sister are of the belief that I am on the autistic spectrum.  It is their way of understanding why I am the way that I am, because they are not willing to see that it was my upbringing aka. abuse that is the cause of the emotional difficulties I am littered with.

They believe that my past passion about psychology was an aspergers-like obsession – rather than a desperate wish to understand what was going on for me.  They probably believe my current passion – dogs – is also an obsession.  They believe that the reason I needed life to be so routined and predictable was because of the autism and not because I was trying to live a life in an abusive environment and control it the best I could.  They believe that the reason I don’t like social contact and people is because I can’t understand social communications, not because I am inherently scared of people and what they are capable of.

They also believe I can’t see anything from another persons point of view (i.e. I won’t collaborate with them about their skewed idea of our childhood).  When I shared all this with Cat all those months ago she said it was the most ridiculous thing she had heard and its very obvious they don’t know me at all.  It’s quite the opposite – I can put myself in other peoples shoes so significantly I TAKE ON their feelings (whether physical or emotional) as my own.  There are two examples of this from just this week.

1. I had to take our new rescue to the vet to get an injection.  She howled in pain, the most distressed sound I think I have ever heard from any of my dogs.  When we got home she was extremely tired and feverish.  I left her to sleep it off whilst I took my other two out for a run and during that walk I myself started feeling feverish and wincing from pain just because I was thinking about her and how she was feeling.  Lets just say I am glad that her big operation is being done when Cat is back because this isn’t an isolated incident.  I take on my dogs feelings a heck of a lot.

2. Cat and I spoke on the phone yesterday evening and we ended up BOTH in tears because I snapped at her and she snapped back.  She said something whilst in tears that absolutely tugged at my heart strings because it is something I feel/say to myself on a daily basis: I just want to go home.  She has been pretty poorly and not only have I been feeling that with her but last night was an extremely poor night for me as despite being in my bed at home, I kept waking up in anxiety because SHE isn’t where she wants to be.

I got an email from Cat this morning that pretty much says it all in a nutshell:

“One of the beautiful things about you and I is our 100% effort in understanding each other.”

People who can just diagnose me with being on the autistic spectrum because they don’t even try to understand me in relations are very much missing out on something beautiful.  Painful, but beautiful.

12 hours until Cat is home.  Come on clock.  Tick a bit faster :)

Two days..!

Two days, and I have been ignoring Cats emails all day because sod it, I can. Showing her I’m angry shes gone away? Showing her I can be independent? Just staying away from the painful attachment right now? Who knows. Its not like shes having a great time either. She has been pretty ill for the whole holiday poor thing and has said herself “I can’t wait to get home”.

I stepped foot in a pub today. Anyone who knows me knows how giant a step that is for me. Pub = alcohol, people who have injested alcohol, drunk people and potential sickness. All things that are triggers. My friend works there and shut it for the afternoon so me and my little crew of woofs and partner could go visit. Was good to get out. It did lift my mood a little bit and it meant I didn’t stay at home all day in pyjamas hating myself for not leaving the house so yay. Also, my friend is awesome and we have a lot in common really. Well, the main passions anyway :). Shes not a long term mental like me though but she has accepted that I am.

This weekend is dragging. I’ll be glad when Cat is back on UK turf again even if I do continue to ignore her for any of the above reasons. No point trying to work out or reason with my head right now.

But… Two days anyway.

Three days

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Three days till Cat is home and we get to see her :) We had a phone appointment with one of our co-therapists of sorts today and at the time it felt like it didn’t help.  Namely because she couldn’t say to me categorically Cat isn’t going to die on the way home which is all I wanted to hear.  She is far too realistic for that.  We did try to unpick and therefore detach myself away from the magical thinking that has been clouding my thoughts with regards to her being away: mainly, if I don’t do X then something awful will happen to her.  Old stuff, which I know is irrational, but in life and death matters it still has me by the balls quite frankly.  She explained to me intellectually where that belief has come from and how it won’t go away quickly, but it can go away which is a bit of a relief.

This week has been a bit of a turning point in my life.  In the past, when I have been working, it gets to the point where I get so ill from it I cut and run.  As in literally walk out the door and don’t go back and don’t even TELL THEM I’m going. It’s not something I’m proud of.  It makes me feel very cowardly but I haven’t up to this point been able to a.) manage it so I don’t get to this point and b.) face up to my limitations, and ask other people to do that too.

This week though I have decided it is time to cut back on my volunteering hours for a bit.  The pressure of it has been pressing down on me and causing a bit of bedlam.  I was nervous about doing so, because I don’t want to let anyone down, or give anyone a bad impression of me, but I managed to speak to one of the managers today about it who said nothing but compliments in return which was nice.  Well, more than nice! I know that eventually I will up my hours again but for now the relief I feel is very comforting.  I feel like I have room to breathe, I feel like I have ammo to tell the anxiety to eff off, I feel like for once I am, as an adult, doing what is best for me.

It is hard to imagine getting through this weekend as an adult when all the emotions I feel are extremely infantile. And heavy. Why are infant emotions so heavy? I have to keep reminding myself that Tuesday isn’t so far away that I won’t survive because that is what it feels like, these last few days are going to be the death of me.

I know by now though that hour by hour, even the worst days are survivable. And lets be honest, my days are a lot flaming better now than they were when I was a child. If I can get through THOSE DAYS, I can get through these. Easy peasy.

3 days!!

Xox

What a difference a day makes

What a difference a day makes.

As I said in the previous post we adopted another rescue last weekend. She is an elderly yorkie with a mouth full of rotten teeth and a coat that was, the vet said, soon to be a home for maggots. She was adopted by me the same day she was given up. As soon as I clapped eyes on her I could feel a pulling on my heart strings to have her in my life. That day I took her home.

Now she has been to a groomer and had a make over she is like a different dog. Her true character is coming out now and its even more adorable than I ever expected. You can tell that she feels she has been given a new lease of life since having the groom. She is, to put it bluntly, ‘being more dog’. Exhibiting more dog behaviours and walking around with her head higher. She is also giving amazing eye contact now whereas she didn’t before.

I guess you can at least see the physical transformation!

Before:

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After:

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I have been given the impression from a few people that I did the wrong thing in opening up my heart and life for a sweet thing like her. It has upset me, if I’m honest, but I know that I have what it takes to make her last years with us as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible. Other peoples judgements can go bark up another tree. I don’t have much self belief, and sometimes it feels as if I don’t have any. But I have enough belief in myself right now to say that I will do my best by her and I know it will be enough for her, so it will be enough for me too.

7 days

I can already feel that my anchor has gone away and I am drifting, floating. Tomorrow morning is not really real which means tonight isn’t really real which means sleep isn’t real. This perpetual state is what I lived in for years. Coming back here so soon worries me.

I need to be strict with myself. I need to let myself sleep. I need to keep my focus on present day. I need to only bother my mind with positive and constructive things. Like my new dog.

I guess it isn’t a very practical fix to your therapist going away – my new girl will be here a lot longer than Cat won’t be – but this time round its happened, its all slotted into place, it is what it is.

She is a 9 year old rescue who has been physically neglected. A lot of my time this week will be focused on her, settling her in, attending the vet visits, attending to her operation practicalities, attending to her de-matting needs etc. She is gorgeous, and underneath all that neglect she will be even more irresistible. Cat met her today and by the time she gets back, she will have flourished I’m sure of it. I’ll make sure of it!

I miss Cat already and she hasn’t even stepped on the plane yet. But tonight on the phone she gave me the most precious words to hold onto. I will carry them through this week, along with her angel, rose quartz, blanket, jumper, and pictures.

Happy Tuesday I guess!

7 days till the return…. X

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