Wholemeal toast x 2, butter. (…marmite on one slice)
Bacon chop, mini hash browns, vegetable medley.
Cherry full-fat yoghurt.
‘Shorties’ biscuits (3 pack).
Egg mayo sandwich (wholemeal), 5-bean salad, side salad.
Pineapple sponge and custard.
Weetabix x 2.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
You know when you re-read a word a couple of times until it doesn’t look like a ‘real’ word… ?
That first one in the blog title. I mean the sharp wire stuff anyway you get round security gates. Or a fence. To protect a building or private territory… (just to cover my back as I’m still convincing myself I made that word up because it still looks gobbled-gook!)
Well I feel like my title today. I woke up feeling and still do in a very strong way, positive and focused… but it’s not until I enter situations around people, the power of positivity fizzles away quite a bit… I feel weak and start recognising where I’m still behind. You see, I spend so much time in my own bubble, often it’s my creative mind going off getting ideas for this and that – then it’s also the part of my head constantly finding things needing to be done. My head still racing, perfectionism waving the flag.
When I’m with people it feels impossible to refrain from busying myself still. Sometimes if I get a confidence boost, and start chatting, my self-critic kicks in and I can sense myself shut down, turning inwards again. I’ve spent a lot of today being in the same room but feeling so separate. Like I don’t get why I don’t have the ‘nack’ to connect with people… and some people just ‘have it’. The difference is I’m always driven to be thinking, mentally moving forwards, generating new ideas, or creating, that it becomes hard to feel grounded in the environment around me at that time.
Does this make me feel selfish? Yes. I’m starting to think rather than feel productive doing things in my own head and by myself, I would actually be more productive to focus on my weakness – socialising and relaxing into unplanned, casual conversations and situations. Or maybe it’s just OK to be this way – maybe this is just how I’m coping and making sense without Anorexia – or maybe this is hiding from my weakness to stay in my own company – or maybe I don’t have to always worry what others think, these people around me are not people that I have chosen to be part of my life or my future, we just happen to have been put together on the same journey. Making friends is a bonus… maybe I should just focus on connecting with the people that really matter to me in my real life in the real world.
Right, this is going to seem daft. But the ‘aim’ I set and shared in the group on Sunday, was to challenge eventually not wearing heels/shoes inside all day. If you’ve read my previous posts, that has kind of become a ‘thing’. Wearing shoes, particularly heels, after getting dressed and made-up for the day, pleases both perfectionism and my Eating Disorder. It means breakfast feels more deserved, that I don’t feel lazy and apparently (although I’m intrigued to test Anorexia’s hypothesis on this one) it takes away some of the greed/guilt I feel when eating. This is why, pathetically I also feel a need to freshen up my hair and make-up, before meals, almost compulsively, in order to feel worthy to enter that dining room. (but this bit is a challenge yet to come… but it WILL come…)
So I’d set the ‘realistic’ smaller aim to begin with, of not wearing shoes/heels every day from now on, at least until after breakfast. (with the reward of treating myself to a new pair of slippers – like the ones I felt guilt to think about buying in Asda the other day on my hour’s leave!) Which has meant putting my head at risk of feeling ‘widened/squashed/back to that chubby-baby-faced teenager/weak’ person I am reminded of. And still having to eat food that my Anorexia feels threatened by. It’s almost a way of keeping up that ‘barbed-wired bubble’.
It was quite embarrassing sharing this personal ‘aim’ with the group and having to justify it not being a ‘vanity’ reason… and my confession that it made me actually feel guilty in other ways for WEARING heels/shoes around the Unit, in case I came across as ‘stuck-up’ or silly for making a clonking noise up and down the corridor. But it felt like a rule, and a compelling. Something that felt like it had control over me, which makes the real me angry, determined to win that power back. To know that I can have a say and a decision in my behaviours.
It wasn’t until recently that I realised, if I wanted a ‘recovered lifestyle’ and not a compromised commitment to recovery, this habit HAD TO GO. I had to remind myself of what ‘normal’ would look like. Well I knew that it was ‘normal’ for everyone else to wear slippers inside when they weren’t going out… so why didn’t I apply this expectation to myself?
The irrational worries of course. But who’s irrational worries? Anorexia’s. Well, that’s the decision made then. So it’s day 4 of not wearing them until after breakfast – yes I’ve felt vulnerable, but yes it also took away that guilt about worrying what other people think of me because I’ve felt more ‘normal’. And eventually perhaps, it will make me appear, as well as actually ‘feel’, more relaxed an approachable.
But it got to today’s weigh-in… 0.1kg up. Great. But worrying for ME (not Anorexia) because I dread the thought of having the ‘full-recovery’ treatment program taken away from me. The weekly target being 0.8-1.5kg a week. Which means 0.7kg to gain by Monday…
…so I had a good talking to with myself this morning, and even though I feel like I am doing EVERYTHING in my power… I’m complying 100% with the meal-plan AND being brave with my choices… eating lots of tasty new things… not intentionally exercising… so what could I do differently? Well I guess I spotted the opportunity to just ‘draw the line’ and decide – s*d it. No heels/shoes until after breakfast? Will it kill me to just decide to go full-whack and commit to it all day when indoors… ? No… mentally maybe (but for Anorexia, not me – this was the difference)
Even though this heel/shoes business was not driven with a priority to ‘be more active’ or create more exercise for myself, it got me thinking about maybe it being a sneaking Eating Disordered habit at the beginning… that has now just carried on being a ‘thing’ without me realising why I’m doing it. All I know is that I’m now striving for ‘normality’ and I dread to think about dragging this bad habit along with me into the future. So I made the decision after weigh-in this morning, that if this tiny behaviour change could make the slightest bit of difference, something that was in MY control… it was worth doing… now, not tomorrow.
No more heels around the Unit… so that means only flat ‘slip-ons’ or slippers. I’ll deal with the uncomfortable ‘fat/inadequate’ thoughts as they come. But I know where my priorities are. What means more to me – staying on the full-recovery program or listening to Anorexia’s thoughts about me looking squashed and widened?
Another habit I picked up on that originally started out driven by Anorexia’s fear, was always standing when on my laptop. At the windowsill, often in an awkward position. It got to the point recently where I recognised I didn’t actually want to stand up whilst typing, and it started feeling uncomfortable if I’m honest with myself… but the compulsion/subconscious rule felt too strong. I just accepted it as my ‘norm’.
Since questioning my whole lifestyle and pulling out the Eating-Disordered cobwebs, I had an honest chat with the male nurse on my team, welcoming his feedback. Because he agreed with me that it wasn’t ‘normal’ I was now at the point where I had to say it was time then to draw the line. I was grateful for him to express his opinion, because sometimes it’s actually easier to trust others that see your behaviour from the OUTSIDE. Being in yourself, you’re just living your thoughts outwards, often not knowing what habits you’re dragging along.
Well that’s it for this one too. Cobweb gone. No more standing on my laptop. No more heels indoors.
At the moment I feel like I’m investigating my own crime scene… hunting out all the little clues. Digging up the bones out the mud. All the opportunities that could hand me back some control over my life… (despite how much my head tells me I’m LOSING control. Jog on, Anorexia)
I’m curious to know what I might find next…