Weetabix x 2.
White toast, butter.
Cheese sandwich (wholemeal), 5-bean salad, side salad.
Cherry full-fat yoghurt.
Lamb and mint stew, dumpling, mashed potato, brussel sprouts.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
New ‘supper’ choice to try for tonight! I’ve been intrigued about the cookies for ages. So it’s time to ‘girl-up’ and try one.
You know when people talk about ‘transferrable’ skills? Skills you already have and will help you with another area such as a job/career/task/hobby… like if you’re naturally ‘creative’ for example… that could come in handy anywhere from being a chef, owning a cupcake business… to being an interior designer… a garden planner… a hair stylist… a book illustrator… a ‘mixologist’ – cocktail artist… tiling your bathroom… to simply being a decent Christmas present-wrapper!
I hope that makes some kind of sense. There is a point to this.
No, Anorexia certainly shouldn’t be glorified. It’s always kind of made me shudder to say that word out loud… a bit like ‘he-who-must-not-be-named’ (Voldemort) in Harry Potter.
But living with it on and off for so long HAS offered me some skills… is that weird to say? Similar to being in a job you’ve desperately wanted to leave for ages, which isn’t making you feel fulfilled – but knowing deep down it must be giving you some experience and realisation of your own abilities… practice to be able to use them in the next job you DO want to take.
It wasn’t until a chat with one of my workers a week or two back that I realised something. I’ve been expressing about this fear of not feeling ‘assertive’ when I get further along the road of recovery. Fear of feeling weak, not being able to express myself, and being walked all over because of being quiet/not the most confident person in the room. An Eating Disorder gives you a sense of control/structure, the rules making you feel ‘certain’ about decisions you’re making through the day.
Being in recovery has sparked the opposite feelings in many ways… uncertainty, the fresh empty space in my head, being filled with the old insecurities about myself as a person, which was numbed with Anorexia.
So I expressed that ‘assertiveness’ was a skill I would like to work on… my worker then smirked a little grin to which as first I was quite confused. She said she was surprised as there were times she has witnessed when I have showed assertiveness. I knew straight away about the moments she was talking about… !
In the first couple of weeks, me and this particular worker didn’t quite see eye-to-eye… or more, my Eating Disorder didn’t! Now, I honestly think she is lovely and I have a huge amount of respect for her… back then, she seemed like the black witch… as my illness saw her as interfering, often feeling like she was giving feedback/authority just to be awkward/gain a sense of power.
There were little moments I guess, when I was at the point when I didn’t realise how ‘ill’ I actually was. After all, my heart was beating, I felt fine, I felt functional, I still had legs…
…but when I was still being mobilised in a wheelchair because of my low BMI/pulse, there were odd moments I couldn’t see the logic of not being allowed to walk from one room to another only a fraction down the corridor. So at random times I would, rather than ring the buzzer in my room to be collected, and feeling like a needy, weak person. Why I wasn’t allowed to iron my clothes in the laundry room – even being stood for 2 minutes to do so. Why was it ‘necessary’ for me to sit down if I was still gaining weight?!
I remember at the time being very forceful and adamant with my defensiveness when she would give her ‘stern’ words of care/feedback to support my physical health. I remember feeling ‘certain’. And I guess, this was quite a positive and empowering feeling… not for any other reason than I literally just felt so, so strongly about the fact that this worker was being ‘petty’ and purposely trying to nag and make me feel so small. But she was arguing with my Eating Disorder…
…it was quite nice to share a bit of a laugh about this moment, now in my therapy session. To make me realise how far I’ve come in my head. Yes, I’m terrified of feeling so exposed, the more the days go on into committing to ‘divorcing’ Anorexia. I’m terrified of feeling like that shy girl that can’t express herself, being trapped in a body that makes her feel like she’s taking up too much space, that won’t be confident enough to be heard, or know where she’s heading in life.
But if I was able to feel assertiveness from my Eating Disorder… to genuinely FEEL it, that sense of ‘certainty’… then surely, that’s a transferrable skill that must also be available to the REAL me. Proof that I AM able to feel that way. About the REAL life decisions and choices I make. For this, I feel quite thankful for the ‘wasted’ years it sometimes feels like living with this invisible mental illness… hopeful that I will be able to use the inner confidence it gave me, as a skill for the future.
Any negative experience is still an experience… and every cloud really does have a silver lining! Even Anorexia…