Wholemeal toast x 2, butter.
Turkey mayo sandwich (white), 5-bean salad, side salad.
Cherry full-fat yoghurt.
Roast pork, yorkshire pudding, mashed potato, brussel sprouts.
Weetabix x 2.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
Do ‘golden napkin’ rules ring a bell… ? This is a term I invented in one of my previous posts – for those little rules that creep in to snatch back a bit of control when you’re ‘rebelling’ against Anorexia. When YOU speak louder and put your foot down. When YOU decide to make a NEW choice for YOUR best interest. For YOUR future freedom of choice and overall quality of life…
…and it’s not until someone else points it out, or you really look back some time later to see that Anorexia has left it’s sticky footprint on your progress. It thinks it’s doing you a favour presenting the new little buggars, as a way it feels of ‘protecting’ you from the supposedly uncomfortable/guilty thoughts.
That’s not dismissing my progress by the way… ! Or anyone else’s for which this happens. Because I know personally I have had to WORK and push some boundaries in my head bloody HARD, to even muster trying anything from white bread… to a chocolate bar. So even I won’t let myself dust the glitter off the fairy-steps I’ve achieved so far.
It’s no biggy as such, and sometimes you really do have to be alert… and THEN you can work on chipping away that ‘golden napkin’ rule, the ‘rule’ that makes it feel more ‘acceptable’ for breaking that other rule… !
So on today’s meal-plan for example – as I knew I was trying new, ‘unsafer’ cereals (for me) – cornflakes, and also IRRATIONALLY because they’re not brown/wholegrain-looking like bran flakes/Weetabix, I felt a natural drive to HAVE to choose wholemeal toast. Anorexia saw the irrational indulgence in the new colour and taste of cornflakes and put it’s stamp on my breakfast by enforcing brown toast…
…but the way I guess I felt MYSELF fight back when meal-planning this last week, was that to keep encouraging my ‘healthy’ mind that white bread was still okay, to keep up that exposure, then if I was having wholemeal toast then I could ALLOW myself to have a WHITE sandwich.
But here I spotted the ‘golden napkin’ rule – no white bread more than once a day. And if not having ‘brown’/’wholegrain’-looking cereal, must always have brown toast.
So this is something I have picked out and detective human Yasmin is back on the ‘recovery’ case. Got my police hat and my truncheon out, ready for when I DARE whip out the highlighters and pesky meal-plan again for next week. I think I leaked too many of my brain cells onto the paper yesterday, so I recognise I could do with a couple of days break… ! Otherwise I find it swallows my life up and I can think of little else. Making me feel bloody depressed.
Other examples of little ‘golden napkin’ rules that I’ve noticed sneak in are things like – if having a bigger pudding at tea-time must choose Weetabix for supper or another ‘safer’ option. If choosing white bread for my sandwich, I can definitely not choose the crisps over the 5-bean salad as a side option. If having meat for my main hot meal, I should always TRY to prioritise NOT picking the meat sandwich/smaller meal option in the same day. My use of Marmite seems to have fizzled out due to now trying out these new foods that still feel a ‘novelty’. It subconsciously feels banned. (…so I am again back on the case for next week) Must try and always alternate between having Weetabix for breakfast or supper each day (Anorexia sneakily weaving in, putting in those ‘safe’ choices that act as my daily mental bodyguards almost…) If have planned in a ‘new’ difficult meal, must definitely not choose one the following day, that’s even if I dare to CONSIDER planning in more than one new, difficult meal a week.
All of the above things and even more I plan to shake upside down by the ankles. All this jibber-jabber, boring crap that gushes unknowingly sometimes through my head… they’re not rules I consciously put in place or write down to myself whatsoever… my whole aim by branching out and eating the things that Anorexia bans and still finds a ‘novelty’ for deserving people out there, was to get RID of rules. Not make new ones.
But the empowering thing is that I feel self-aware. I wouldn’t have let myself say it, or even NOTICE these other things creeping in when I thought I was practically giving my best bash at recovery before… there’s still a part of me that is terrified of not knowing but how much pushing the ‘boundaries’ is TOO much… ?
There shouldn’t be boundaries in the first place I guess is the point. If you are healthy (or your aim is to become this way) you head shouldn’t be ‘writing off’ options/certain foods because of another choice you made on another day during that week. This is something the dietician was trying to explain to me yesterday if the ‘full recovery’ treatment program is what I’m wanting to choose. For ‘full recovery’ I think she’s saying it’s important that I’m not clinging on to dietary rules. ‘Mentally compensating’ with food choices is still letting Anorexia instruct your life. Your head is still clinging on to cope. And still clinging on is an opportunity for any point in the future for an Eating Disorder to snatch away more of your attention… and ultimately, happiness and health.
So yes it does actually scare me! To think of what I feel in control of when in some respects, maybe I’m not. But no – I AM now… because I recognise these things.
As I say, it doesn’t actually seem a big deal. Because I’m still making the effort to now accept, enjoy and include ‘new’ foods that DO trigger more guilt but I plan on still eating for the rest of my life.
But now I feel I am putting a hell of a lot of mental work in to prevent future relapse, and to prevent an Eating Disorder being the story of my life… chapter after chapter… to make room for new words and illustrations… I can see how the little things going on behind the scenes of decision-making are JUST as important…
…on a general quick note, at the moment I’m feeling on and off really low and lonely on the Unit. I’m getting quite bored and frustrated of feeling so conscious of what others think of me. Now that I’m dropping down my guard of using food and my decisions around it to cope, it feels so much more raw. All the worrying about paranoia about others coming across as though they ‘don’t like me’, trying to pick out the signs, worrying about how I’m coming across… am I being too rude? Too boring? Too nice and needy? etc. etc… then, when I’m offered tired of these thoughts I tend to just escape and keep myself to myself to avoid the mental tug-of-war. It’s so frustrating because I really WANT to connect, I wish I had the ‘nack’ for it… but a mixture of feeling compelled to stay busy is probably causing another barrier for that, making me feel more purposeful than I would attempting to be social if it’s something I don’t feel confident or worthy at.
I think it’s also important to keep reminding myself that I’m not here to make friends. All that side of it is just a bonus. Maybe it’s okay to be keeping myself feeling ‘safe’ in my own company every so often for now? I’m still focusing on the food challenges. And my motivations. But hopefully if I keep dipping my toe in to the social waters/not being so self-reliant as the weeks go on, and as my weight increases and hopefully my brain gets slightly stronger… hopefully that will come.
The frustrating thing is I feel my creative juices at the moment being in this down state of what feels like the same-old routine that I know I have put myself in. I KNOW we are always open to so many more options on a daily basis to do things than we realise. Sometimes our mind’s themselves can be the trap.
Bit of a boring post/rant tonight but it’s where my head’s at today so I’m sorry if I’m repeating anything I’ve said before.