So. It’s been a few weeks now since having more intensive support with eating. Overall things have been fairly steady. Ok, but not where I’d like them to be. I still need to restore more weight. I need to embed the changes I made in day service more into my daily life, and not let them slip. That means variety, consistency and completing meals. Continuing to face contamination fears. Continuing to talk, or try to. And exercising moderately, which for now, probably means the usual amount of walking and activity I do.
It feels tricky because at the moment I am definitely not pleasing my eating disorder (I’m eating far too much, not losing weight, sitting in a body I’d much rather not be in) but I am also not pleasing others (the people who care about me, staff at the ED service). I look a bit stuck. I am also not pleasing the part of me that wants to move forward. The idea of eating more, gaining more weight, feels as terrifying now as it did when I initially began to gain. Not what people want to hear, but it’s the truth. It still feels more ‘right’ to lose weight. I have a weight in mind and in some ways I’d probably feel better there. I’d probably not feel much at all. But I’d also have put myself (and others) through the last year or so of hard work, anxiety, excruciating openness, for nothing. My goal (and it isn’t everyone’s) is to get to a point where I can cope with my weight fluctuating in response to the demands of a normal life. I can’t imagine ever allowing myself that, but that’s the goal. I am not at a stage where getting to BMI 20, but continuing to tightly control my weight, is enough. However, the first step, still, is getting there. It is taking me a long time and I am so aware of the support I’ve had so far, not just professionals, but at work, and a range of loving, creative people around me.
S. said yesterday (in the kindest way possible) that she thinks I am kidding myself that I am currently eating enough to gain weight. I think I’m eating a lot, but I’m maintaining. I think that was the point. So, if I want to get to a healthy weight as much as I say I do, something needs to change. I need to eat more. I already feel I’m eating too much, so that’s a challenge. It’s even more of a challenge because the next stage of weight gain takes me over my highest ever weight, to a weight I’ve never been in my life.
I’m still trying to talk more. About the past, about how I feel now. Talking still makes me want to run away or hide, or not be in my skin. People will probably think something like, ‘that’s a bit sad (pathetic), that as an adult, functioning woman, talking leaves you feeling like that. Or wonder why I’m dragging the past up. Or they might not believe me. Mainly I want to tell people who are judgemental or think they have easy solutions to sod off. You might think you know, but you don’t really. I’d like to be more open with the people I love, for things to feel a bit more joined up. And of course, it seems to be a bit of a trend at the moment, speaking not just openly, but publicly. I have mixed feelings about our response to that as a society. We seem to listen to some people much more than others.
In therapy we have been looking at things a bit differently. Links between feeling criticised and not good enough, dismissed and not recognising needs, and other things. Those things play out with food, but also in other ways. Maybe some of it is about allowing more – more food, more weight, more talking, more uncertainty. I talked more this week, again, shared stuff that feels humiliating. And I was listened to in a kind way. Afterwards I felt a bit foggy, disconnected and self loathing. I’ll probably phone next week and apologise for dragging up irrelevant rubbish. But I can definitely see how it might all fit together and it helps to put food stuff into a wider context, thinking about how we have experiences, or things done to us and then re-enact that, or do them to ourselves. I haven’t quite got my head around it all, but what I do ‘get’, makes sense.
The most basic task, at the moment though, is to get my weight going up again. I have gained a fair amount so far, I’ve coped with that, with a few wobbles. I think this next bit is possibly going to be the most difficult yet, for a huge range of reasons, and I hope I’m not making a mistake in trying. However, I need to try it, and whatever comes with that, I need to find a way to deal with it.