Soooo meal with my therapist today. Wrong wrong wrong on so many different levels. Hot food before the evening, yoghurt before the evening, processed food, not enough veg, unknown calories, too much fat, prepared by someone I don’t know and can’t see whether they washed their hands or if they touched the food. My knife was marked (to me, dirty) I ate in front of someone who isn’t my husband or closest friend. AND that person was someone who (at least sort of) knows the most humiliating things about me, my experiences, the way I think and feel. I have never been so close to running away in my entire life. To make it worse, I was shut down and irritable with anxiety. I am contemplating ringing her tomorrow just to apologise. Which is probably unnecessary, but I feel I need to do it anyway. Because I was terrible company. My only aim was to control my anxiety enough to focus, get to the end, trying to eat ‘normally’ whilst feeling excruciatingly self conscious because (a) I’d never eat that food and (b) I hate eating in front of people. She asked whether I always eat my food one thing at a time, or in a certain order. She prompted me to eat my veggie burger. People don’t usually notice those things. Not to mention the feeling of sitting with a meal I’d never choose to eat in my body afterwards. Agitated doesn’t even come close.
I thought I was past this, but maybe it’s just that my ‘safe foods’ have become safer. And the food anxiety is compounded by feeling I don’t need the help, that everyone probably thinks I’m taking up a space unnecessarily, the staff probably resent me being there. My therapist probably thinks I’m an idiot. I work in mental health services, for goodness sake. I am definitely too fat to be there, I have gained some weight so I must be ok.
I have completed the most comprehensive post-mortem ever on that sixty minutes, over analysed every bite I took, how much water I drank, how I used my knife and fork, whether I betrayed how anxious I felt, whether I masked it so well that she thought me a fraud or exaggerating how distressed I say I feel. It has taken all my energy NOT to go for a run this afternoon. The irony of that. And because my brain was so awash with guilt, thoughts, crawling feelings, I wasn’t fully present for the people I care about. Good things are happening, I am surrounded by some lovely human beings, and I’m not able to fully focus on them.
And I still fear that if I eat differently and gain more weight something dreadful will happen to punish me for thinking I deserve that. Like who on earth do I think I am, to have asked for this help, to dare to think it’s ok to begin to bend the rules, to think it’s ok to work towards allowing my body to rest at whatever weight it naturally wants to be. I feel inherently unlikeable. I cannot cope with being seen and being vulnerable.
It should not be this fucking hard to eat a meal.