Weetabix x 2.
White toast x 2, butter.
Breaded fish fillet, chipped potatoes, mushy peas.
Rhubarb crumble and custard.
Tuna mayo sandwich (wholemeal), 5-bean salad.
Ice-cream (2 scoops).
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
Never thought I’d be thanking ‘Harry Potter’ for helping out with my recovery on this windy Friday!
I don’t mean Hagrid fed me chips… or that Hermione spent sleepless nights at Hogwarts library, to find a spell that showered all us muggles with body confidence, emotional resilience and forever-happiness-totally-unrelated-to-food… or that Dementors scared away size zero models and mannekins… or that Dobby kindly sent all his house-elf friends out to each and every human as their personal counsellors; by our sides 24 hours, 7 days a week…
…you get the picture. (can we all please arrange a trip to Harry Potter world together now?)
Nope, just a pair of socks.
You see, like a cake or a painting, an Eating Disorder is just the final product everyone sees. All the visitors in an art gallery, all the guests at a birthday party… they never see the empty tubes of acrylic paint Van Gogh used, or THE ACTUAL egg that went into that cake – it all got mixed in, and all they see is the outer, most ‘finished product’.
People see the weight loss, the anxiety around food… but like the ingredients in that cake or the art materials behind that painting there are MANY contributing factors keeping the ball rolling in an Eating Disorder. The other stuff mentally ticking over, making it possible to function day-to-day.
Just like it takes an army to keep a powerful leader going, this is exactly what other ‘characteristics’, other mental health issues, behaviours and attitudes do for Eating Disorders. So far in learning what I’m having to work on personally, in order to go out into the world knowing how to cope and find peace in my head without being led back down the yellow brick road to Anorexia… are: social anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and the most flirtatious, powerful sidekick I ever met –perfectionism.
The interesting thing is they all feed in to one another. Like a domino effect… and after studying my first module for homework this morning on ‘Perfectionism’ (which I’ve read before when I was very passive and unhopeful about recovery in a previous admission…) it makes sense how they all tie in. By setting small goals in each of these ‘challenge’ areas, I’m hoping that will keep the recovery ‘juggle’ of balls going.
“Get to the ‘Hufflepuff’ point already” you’re probably thinking… ! Sorry. Well it might not SEEM a biggy, but as colour-co-ordination and getting ‘made-up’ (dressed, make-up, hair etc.) in the morning before breakfast are a subconscious rule to feel DESERVING of breakfast… I had a bit of a s*d it moment this morning. Time to put perfectionism to the test, which then immediately puts my Eating Disorder to the test. The very best of friends, remember.
After already challenging my body image with picking out a jumper and jeans (comfy, and looking at the weather this was a Yasmin decision to make… whereas Anorexia would say I feel like the marshmallow man, not wearing skin-tight clothing… all those pounds I’ve added on to myself… boring, boring same old thoughts which I’ve realised, the best way to make it more entertaining is to do the total opposite) rummaging through my sock-drawer, I would usually pick out a standard pair of black.
They don’t ‘mess’ or clash with most choices of outfit… the ones that DO, for some bizarre reason makes eating anything that tastes nice, feel more undeserving. At the back of the drawer I spotted the pair of ‘Primark’ stripey grey and yellow, ‘Harry Potter’ trainer socks, that even to look at already made me feel a bit giddy. But there is this unwritten rule that any coloured socks that clashed with outfits, are ‘demoted’ to night-time/pyjama socks (or exercise socks in the past).
A quick chit-chat with the ONE spontaneous brain-cell in my very brain, I pulled the chaps on and felt a bit tipsy on ‘fun’. Crikey, this is the life of a 26 year-old. Champagne all round everyone… !
Continuing to chug along with my ‘no heels/shoes before breakfast’ challenge too, AND wearing apparently my marshmallow-man outfit, this now felt like I’d eaten three cream-cakes in 30 seconds flat. Yes, as daft as it sounds, even though it’s completely un-food-related, it still all felt indulgent. Perhaps ‘indulgent’ in listening to myself for a change…
For the record, in case Harry Potter fans reading this are anti-Hufflepuff, I’d bought the pack of socks for my sister (as she’s a nutty fanatic)… but kept her least favourite colour from the selection of Hogwarts houses. And I quite like a bit of yellow myself.
THANK YOU, J.K Rowling, for making me feel more powerful than perfectionism today!