Weetabix x 2.
(missed – in CPA review meeting)
Cheese, jacket potato, margarine, 5-bean salad, salad.
Baked lemon tart.
Meatballs in tomato sauce, boiled potatoes, broccoli.
Ice-cream (2 scoops).
Weetabix x 2.
…& the usual pint of milk.
I felt the lights went out in the tunnel I’m walking – batteries in my torch, dead. How will I ever find a way out… ?
It’s been like this all afternoon. Now there’s no distraction from constant numbers ticking over in my head all day to numb the darkness since food control is out of my hands, no hopscotch with Anorexia… sadness feels real. It’s real and it’s dark and it’s damp and it’s dirty.
I can see in many ways how pre-occupation with food was a way of re-balancing my mood. Anorexia feels clean, organised, familiar, repetitive, disciplined, uncontaminated. Unlike the suspicious surprise of sadness… that’s why Anorexia was my torch. My pilot and navigator out towards the light.
Throughout tea, I felt as though I was crouched with my back against the soggy tunnel wall not knowing what to do, closing my eyes to block it all out in the hope of being rescued.
My eyes were focused south towards the floor of the canteen, as the shame of being lost in this sadness hung my head low. And now, the opposite to how I was naturally used to coping, I was expected to pick up my knife and fork and munch through meatballs and ice-cream. It all felt backwards to Anorexia. Taste is a pleasure, sadness isn’t. And it was all so very wrong… like salt instead of sugar in your cup of tea.
My other natural response was to make myself alone. I couldn’t do that either as an inpatient, so I felt well and truly naked. How to cope… ?
It’s all so very early in treatment and for now I might not have the tools in my toolkit to know how. But by choosing to eat, no matter how I feel, I’m choosing to fight. And that is my most valuable tool at the moment.
I keep reminding myself that however my mood dips, I’m still moving forwards every time I make the decision to eat, not restrict… to turn up to meals, not stay in bed… to resist compulsive exercise when the urge comes to find a way to earn food… I might feel like s**t but every time I act against Anorexia I am re-training my brain.
I’m telling my recovered self that I’m still a deserving human being to feed myself, that experiencing emotions is normal. Emotions are messy and unpredictable… and that’s okay.
Many people with Eating Disorders also have a diagnosis of depression. Personally, when in the grips of my illness, I’ve felt such a false illusion of happiness, peace, tranquillity. When really every day it was killing me. In the end, if Anorexia got it’s way, I guess yes – it would be saving me from depression like it promises. I’d be dead.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom today you’ll be pleased to know… ! Not only have I just experienced the bliss of a Gingerbread Chai Latte, made with 1/3 cup hot milk and sweeteners… (heavenly mix) I also had my CPA meeting this morning. It’s basically a monthly review of your care, when all the professionals from different fields in your team – nurse, doctor, consultant, occupational therapist, care co-ordinator all come together to review your progress over the past few weeks.
As my care co-ordinator lives back in my hometown, Grimsby, she drove up especially to and gave my mum a lift. It was FANTASTIC to see her face… ! I had the urge to give her a big, fat hug but thought it would be inappropriate… she told me to anyway! She is such a role model of a woman and she’s been my rock for just coming up to 6 years now since I’ve been involved in Eating Disorder services.
In terms of hope for the future, it was probably the best CPA I’ve ever had.
The best thing about it? Seeing my mum genuinely hopeful for me too.
“I believe this really is the right time for your recovery…” she said.