I’m feeling fairly determined at the moment. It’s unexpected, considering how I wanted to sink into the ground after therapy this morning. Part of the problem is that professionally, I know the answers, certainly in relation to managing anxiety. But I can’t always apply this to myself, and it sometimes gets in the way of my ability to challenge ‘food rules’ as much as I need to.
So this is an attempt to capture some of this unexpected perspective, as a way to (hopefully) refocus and provide an outside perspective when ‘eating disordered’ thoughts feel consuming and all too reasonable.
So, I am continuing on this path of eating, gaining weight, allowing myself more because:
I am SO tired of being bullied by my own mind. I need to take some control back for myself.
I have to trust the process and do what I need to do. Recovery may not feel like recovery at the moment, but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The fact that it is such a struggle (and has taken so long) is evidence that I do need to keep working to untangle myself from this.
The thought that ‘there is nothing wrong with me/I’m fine at a lower-than-healthy-weight’, is typical of someone with a restrictive eating disorder. I have plenty of evidence that other people don’t see it like this, even now I’ve gained some weight and am eating shit loads of food.
‘Better than before’ doesn’t mean ‘ok’. At lower weights I never felt ‘thin enough’, or that I’d ‘achieved enough’, either. And even though I’ve made what I think is a fair bit of progress in the last few months, I know if a friend or client were where I am now, if eating and weight caused them such distress, I’d want things to be different for them. I’d also tell them they need to fully restore their weight. I always think these principles don’t apply to me, or that I’m tempting fate by daring to ‘let myself off the hook’. That something else ‘bad’ will happen. And maybe it will. But I have to at least try.
I need to FOLLOW MY PLAN. Yes, it feels like too much, yes, I feel ashamed of eating half the things on there, yes, I feel like I want to crawl out of my skin – but staying where I am is NOT a valid solution anymore, not for me or the people around me. It will just keep me stuck, and I have been stuck long enough. I need to give my body the nutrition it needs, and that includes reaching a fully healthy weight.
Continuing to live within anorexia cuts me off from opportunities to find other, more helpful ways to cope. I have heard people say I’ll be in a better position to work on any other issues if I am not ‘subject to the effects of starvation’ (even if I don’t think I am anymore).
I’ve taken some fairly significant risks to engage with the support I’m getting now. If I don’t keep moving forward, I have to ask myself what that was for. Especially, being more honest with work, the people closest to me, and myself. I’ve also taken steps to share difficult things because I really want something different to what I’ve known for a long time. I can’t allow my mind to trick me into staying where I am, or worse, slipping back, just because I’ve now actually made some progress and I happen to feel unsafe and shit. I knew it was likely to be difficult when I began.
I would love to do some sort of endurance challenge for charity in the future. It is difficult to justify eating more, and I need to find a way to make this feel ok, for now, at least. I need to eat in order to have energy to train in a healthy way. I want to have the strength to enjoy exercise and being outside. It may not be an ideal motivation, but if it helps me to move forward for now, that’s ok.
I always tell people that for me, at least, anorexia is about oppression and control. And maybe I’m acting that out by constantly berating myself for eating more food, gaining more weight, taking up more space. It doesn’t feel like that but I can see how it could be. Restriction in every sense of the word feels safer and more comfortable, but maybe it is time to continue on a path that might take me somewhere different, even if it does feel wrong and more than a bit risky.