Wholemeal toast x 2 (…Marmite on one slice)
Chicken in mushroom and pepper sauce, boiled potatoes, sliced green beans.
Blueberry muffin finger x 2.
Baked beans, jacket potato, butter, side salad.
Peach full-fat yoghurt.
Weetabix x 2.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
“Plant your own garden & decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers…”
…this was in today’s little ‘pocket’. The pocket in the amazing fabric advent calendar my mum made me for when I was first admitted to hospital at the beginning of May. I know, right! What a lucky b*gg*r I am…
…so I made the most of it today; stuck it in my journal that I write in after every meal, and used it as my little ‘guide’. Admittedly, 8 times out of 10 over the past few weeks, I’ve forgotten to ‘open the pouch’. Some days I’ve been too whipped up in the tornado of my mental ‘to-do’ list, that it felt an indulgence to feed myself with positivity. Trying to ‘keep up’ with my current Ferrari of a brain; everything feeling ‘faster’ when in recovery mode…
…I guess ‘for now’ the speed shows as a good sign; it means I’m ‘feeling’, not numb. Anorexia will desperately try and ‘slow things down’, to simplify life and emotions with it’s ‘rules’… but I’m not falling for that one again, cheers me dears! I’ll find my own gear-stick. I no longer trust it’s driving instructions! Discovering how misleading your Eating Disorder is, likens to the Scooby-Doo gang revealing the real person under the monster costume at the end of the episode… except finding out your ‘trusty’ driving instructor is your mental illness.
So it means hunting down new coping mechanisms and taking them for an exciting/scary test-drive…
…whether it was a coincidence with the whole ‘flower’ quote theme, I had this gut instinct this morning. Ready bright and early, I slipped on my khaki-coloured Parka and nipped downstairs, outside to the courtyard. I’ve never done this since I’ve been here. Never before breakfast… but it was quite exciting to ‘decide’ something spontaneous, in the moment. Making the most of having ‘extra time’ instead of falling for doing things I feel I SHOULD be doing… finishing my meal-plan/tidying/being physically/academically productive…
…but really, what could be more productive than grounding your head, giving it a spritz of ‘down-time’ before rushing into the mental race of keeping up with the day?
So I downloaded the infamous ‘Headspace’ app last week onto my phone. The millions of people that rave about it can’t be wrong after all! And I knew that meditation-type things have helped me mentally settle in the past. If you struggle with sleep for example, I’d highly recommend the ‘guided meditations’ on YouTube…
…my morning instinct said to give this app a try, as they recommend it probably most effective first thing. Before you start making your important day’s decisions. After all, the first thoughts we have and the mind-set that we create, sets us up how the rest of our day feels. So I trusted that it was worth a try… I felt partly massively guilty, that I should really ‘plan’ in this ‘time out’, rather than act on instinct and do it now. But when really is there a ‘right’ time? My real head tells me that the MORE I act on my instinct, the more I’m probably pushing my Anorexia away, as well as the other mental sh*t thrown at us by society, the stronger I’m becoming in myself…
…and it really was lovely. Literally, the air was ‘fresh’ and it was kind of a little pleasure that it looked as though it had rained through the night. That invisible, soft ‘wetness’ in the air without it actually raining – an ‘Airwaves’ menthol chewing gum for my head. I sat on the bench, popped my headphones in and tried, tried, tried to shut the thoughts out.
Like going to the gym, it takes time to train your brain muscle to relax. But with every practice you get stronger… I love how the guy speaking in the app likens watching your thoughts as ‘cars’ in the road. That it’s tempting to run into the road and control the traffic, which becomes overwhelming and leaves you feeling out of control – the danger of trying to stop and change emotions.
What he explains is that you CAN’T stop or control the traffic. You can’t remove emotions, without temporarily doing that by ‘numbing’ them… which is usually with unhealthy behaviours/addictions or doing something in the moment that you might later regret…
…but by standing at the roadside and watching the traffic, you can see that you’re aware of certain thoughts. Accepting that you can’t take them away makes you feel much more in control in the long-run. That you can watch without acting on them. It makes sense that thoughts themselves absolutely cannot hurt us… it’s our reactions to them that can.
No-one is ever ‘there’, by the roadside all of the time. Every single one of us is always learning… but if we don’t take time out, however that might be (but I would highly recommend giving the few-minutes-a-day meditation thing a try) we would eventually get tired running into the traffic all of the time. Leading us struggling to be happy or to cope with the constant demands of life.
The cracking thing about ‘Headspace’ is that the length of the audio clips are 10 minutes maximum – you can even select ‘3’. So however much you try and convince yourself there’s no time, that you don’t deserve the time out… there really is no excuse. If you’re curious about this, just do it! Don’t make it a New Year’s Resolution… start today or tomorrow.
I hope that didn’t all sound as cheesy as a block of cheddar…
I can’t say instantly the benefits are there. I won’t be nominated the guru of meditation any time soon… there’s already been a number of times I’ve tried to ‘run into the traffic’ of my emotions today! (…including walking out of group and bursting into tears, because I convinced myself people were smirking at each other when I started talking, when it turns out they were actually looking at the window cleaner outside the window behind me!!) – but like my support worker said (the one I spoke about in my post yesterday who I now really, REALLY respect and enjoy listening to – it’s because I’m ‘test-driving’ this positive new way of thinking – taking the gamble of mental confidence and positivity at times, dipping my toe in new waters, that my self-critical head will be looking for evidence to pull-me-back from the ‘vulnerability’ of trying to be confident, convincing myself I really am worthless, that I don’t ‘suit’ confidence) So this faulty way of assessing the situation I was in, again wasn’t a negative experience… as always it made me learn about myself, and my own triggers.
But you have to keep ‘lifting the mental weights’ in the gym… I DEFINITELY felt the benefit/relief from having that ‘time-out’ this morning on that courtyard bench, before I started the usual burn-out of things I feel compelled to do/should be doing… which usually ends up in me feeling low in mood by the end of the day.
Looking at my Eating Disorder as a whole picture, I’m trying to slow down my overall ‘pace of life’… because as much as it feels ‘easier’ to do things as quickly as possibly, in the end it makes me miserable. I end up rushing my mind through the day, and still ‘expect’ to go to bed happy? Even though I’ve probably set myself up to fail with high-expectations. It goes to prove that ticking everything on your ‘to-do’ list is not the key to a happy life. It’s so hard for any human nowadays in the rushing/pushy demands of society sending us all confusing messages about what ‘success’ and ‘happiness’ really are…
Like my mummy’s (no shame) quote, taking time for the little things that help slow life down, that make you more mindful, that bring you peace or enjoyment, is like ‘watering’ the flowers of ‘you’.
“Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul…” by KNOWING what makes you happy and doing MORE of it.
Instead of being bombarded in the ‘weeds’ of habits and doing things ‘just because’ they’re routine… and waiting for someone to ‘bring you flowers’ or someone to offer you a new way to be happy… really, it starts with the changes WE can make.
I’m not preaching this is easy. I’m not living proof of that… trust me! I’m just saying that whoever you are reading this, you are worth the happiness you probably aren’t allowing yourself to fully experience on a daily basis.
What I’m learning, by challenging Anorexia’s rules and all the negative mind-set stuff that comes with it (and having the benefit of so much time to think and reflect on life – probably the one perk of this ‘time-out’ of life Anorexia has given me…) is that it’s very satisfying when you do pull out a weed! When you realise there’s something you really ARE in control of changing. That you weren’t aware of before. So get those gardening gloves on and check-in with yourself about what really makes YOU happy.
On the theme of ‘flowers’ – fruit relating to that… they all grow outside right?! So I guess they’re still on the same wave-length… anyway, in relation to today… one good thing to come out of it was the spontaneous/extra apple I had this morning! A nice beauty of a Braeburn. In my session with the dietician, she advised that because of my still-fairly-slow weight-gain, to increase my couple-of-times-added-in fruit per week, to every day. (at first very terrifying, as it felt a mental ‘gamble’ enough by challenging the two days of the extra pears this week…)
Then if it’s still not quite enough of a gain by Monday, I might have to add in another daily ‘substantial’ morning snack (as well as my afternoon one… very scary times).
I’m loving being re-united with my fruit friends though… in today’s chat with the dietician I confessed my love of a beefy-sized, crunchy Conference pear. Not even my Eating Disorder can hold me back expressing that bit of pear-shaped passion…