White toast x 2, butter.
Vegetable goulash, herb dumpling, boiled rice, cauliflower.
Ice-cream (2 scoops).
Ham sandwich (wholemeal), 5-bean salad, side salad.
Lemon sponge and custard.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
(Day #96 of total inpatient admission)
“…a compulsive act or ritual; a repetitive and stereotyped action that is performed to ward off some untoward event, although the patient recognizes that it does not do so in any realistic way. It serves as a defensive substitute for unacceptable unconscious ideas or impulses. Failure to perform the compulsive act gives rise to anxiety and tension.”
Before I get down to the nitty-gritty and explain why I’ve included the definition above, I just wanted to share something that really made me smile the other day! And reminded me why to KEEP shimmying on with recovery… and why, as you flick the mud off your face on the harder days, it all eventually is… So. Bloody. Worth it.
So I emailed my Care-Co-ordinator back in Grimsby, to check in with how she’s doing… she has been my rock since July 2011 when I plucked up the courage to accept outpatient support from services after fearing “Maybe this is just how I am, my weird food habits and I – maybe I don’t have an Eating Disorder. I love food too much and surely people with them things don’t?”
Anyway, to cut a long story short I’ve never actually spoke in a ‘positive’ light about food to her, or confessed my genuine enjoyment for taste. It’s something, even through my more productive patches of recovery, I still found difficult, however much I grew to trust her. There was so much shame attached…
…but after my breakthrough experience with the Patisserie Valeria ‘f*ck it’ cake last week, I decided to fill her in on my excitement… and pushed my own boat out (and the shame) even further by saying hopefully that’s something we could do together in a few months time too (cake).
I was actually quite terrified of the response to be honest, but it relieved me to hear that she was pleased for me too, and said she very much hoped that’s something we could do in the future.
Then, AFTER the cake event, I emailed to say:
“Did the cake, and it was a bit gorge I have to say. (don’t think I’ve ever said that out loud to you before so feels a bit weird, haha)”
To which she replied:
“…love hearing about the cake!! You have never said it out loud no and its like music to my ears!! Reminds me why I do this job.”
I can’t say how much this made my heart smile.
But it did!
It’s taken six whole years to be able to squash down the shame and confess my enjoyment for this type of food to her… and that’s why I know things in my head are changing for the better… because the shame is still there but I feel more power to control it, like a small, screaming toddler in the middle of a supermarket.
Back to the start though – sorry to bring the tone down. But I’ve started to recognise that as much as I absolutely love writing, and I get such a lift and a boost by expressing my day’s thoughts – warts and all, then releasing it online… off my chest… I feel to post something has become a ‘rule’ almost for making the day’s food eaten feel ‘justified’. A bit like how I described the ‘golden napkin’ rule in a previous post a bit ago, Eating Disorders are sneaky in that sense – they’ll make you work for food in other ways, or force compromises upon your behaviour.
It’s taken me a good couple of weeks to come to this decision – but in order to challenge my Eating Disorder/perfectionism I really need to challenge this compulsion. I’m scared about ‘losing control’ by not posting every single day, and I’m scared of ‘losing my voice’ (from a writing perspective)… but I’m going to keep writing, without giving the ‘compulsion’ what it craves every day. I’ve been finding myself worrying all day about ‘needing’ to satisfy that urge to post, and not feeling worthy of a person until I do. So this has left me sometimes distracted from what maybe I should be focusing more of my energy on during treatment.
I spoke about my concerns with a worker on my team – saying I was scared, but I’m more scared of missing out on giving treatment my all. I’m almost neglecting the areas of my recovery that are more difficult to address, by compensating for it with pre-occupation with writing.
But I’ve come to the decision (bloody hell, you’d think this was BBC global headline news or something) – it feels like that to my perfectionism… that I’m going to post EVERY OTHER DAY instead of daily to see how that goes. I’m scared of the days without it, because I’ve posted EVERY single day since moving to a ‘full portion’ meal-plan… to see ‘missed’ day numbers in my blog posts, is going to feel chaotic, messy and out of control… but that’s what makes me think this is definitely, then, the right decision. Sometimes we have to let go a little to move on… and it’s okay, because it’s a sign we’re getting stronger by testing our dependence… I’m seeing this as another step in my recovery.
Thanks for sticking with me!
This is for my love of writing.