White toast x 2, butter.
Lemon whipped mousse.
Egg mayo bagel, sundried tomatoes, side salad.
Lemon and lime flavoured sundae.
Roast pork, yorkshire pudding, mashed potato, brussel sprouts.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
Waking up today I could hear my brain going on strike:
“As much as you very much would LIKE to put your liquid mask of self-respect on this morning, to paint yourself with some temporary self-esteem in the form of ‘Rimmel’ and ‘Barry M’, I am NOT prepared to fight off the tears today. Nope. Nuh-uh. So unless you want to risk grieving the time you spent doing it, and witnessing mascara enjoying water-slides down your face… think again.”
I understood my brain’s message loud and clear. It was a no make-up day. Time to go in; warts and all.
The more days I wake up still committed to my recovery, as my brain continues to rise out of a starved state and everything’s tuning in like a radio again (I imagine in a recovering Anorexics brain, there’s probably lots of singing Avocados and jingles about how suddenly delicious cake and Starbucks Frappucinos are again)… the more it feels similar to waking up to an empty bed, and realising day-after-day, just as raw as the day before, your romantic partner of 8 years has left you. And some days I feel more equipped to deal with that than others.
Of course I’m DEFFO not in love with my Eating Disorder, don’t get me wrong, but I was very much addicted by the control and certainty it gave me. The space it took up in my head. The space that is now occupied by the REAL ‘human emotions’ such as depression and anxiety. My Eating Disorder gave me an anxiety that was easier to understand, to blame for the discomfort. Whereas, now this is replaced by these human emotions that feel so new – I feel like I’ve grown a willy and I have no idea how to use it…
The emotions that are back are ones that I’ve not faced (when I was perhaps supposed to through puberty, but instead of becoming a woman I became an Anorexic or a Bulimic…) for what they really are, without the distraction of: calorie counting, taking photos on my phone of all the foods I have in my cupboards so I could efficiently meal-plan ahead, weighing my vegetables in my laboratory of a kitchen, wandering down supermarket aisles HOPING there was something new my ‘numbers’ might allow me to eat and staring at all the delicious food I ‘couldn’t’ have, spending time between eating looking forward to the next thing I was allowed to eat and distracted by the hunger I was trying to manage… and on the other side of the yo-yo, during my Bulimic phases, the space in my head taken up by: researching what foods might be easier to vomit up after I’ve binged on them in knowing that anxiety was ready to pounce on me later in the day and I needed a tool ready, working out what foods were cheapest to do this with, compulsively waking up in the night to take a pyjama panic-walk to the nearest shop to buy whatever I could get my hands on to get rid of again, the cleaning up of wrappers and my vomit in bin-bags the morning after and saying to myself “this won’t happen tonight” (a bit like having a VERY drunken/embarrassing night, vowing never to hit the vodka again, but always being seduced back to the release it will give you), the hours in bed dealing with the shame of not being able to face the day because of the darkness going on in my head giving my every excuse not to be able to enjoy life because of my shameful relationship with food.
That was both quite upsetting and therapeutic to write up… as it’s now making me realise even more-so, why waking up with the difficulties of ‘real’ emotions, away from food, is a H*LL of a lot less distressing than all of the above. When you’re IN it, you can’t imagine how you’ll ever re-gain peace without the thoughts/control around food… but being here 4 months down the line at my first and last attempt of a ‘full recovery’, yes there are some days (like today) I wonder, how will I ever find peace and how will I ever accept myself and be a capable, successful, independent woman? But what I DO accept now – is that those feelings and worries will be natural at this time during this process. My brain is still navigating it’s way to find new coping strategies. And the MORE days I wake up still deciding to keep up the fight, to strive for that BMI of 20+, to untangle my Eating Disordered thoughts from what’s true to ‘me’… the more the coping mechanism that I was in love with, yet abused by, will lose it’s power.
So for that, I hold the hope.
Ramble aside, yeah it was a snotty morning. But looking back, I wrote a blog-post not too long ago, about braving a ‘hoodie’ for the first time, something I’d avoided out of fear of making myself look ‘bigger’. I found there was no mental argument about this in my head this morning… after receiving that signal from my brain that I needed to ‘allow’ myself to splurge my tears and un-bottle my difficult feelings to make space for the more peaceful ones again, the hoodie practically chose ME.
No make-up + hoodie = self-compassion.
What I originally thought not so long ago… no make-up + hoodie = I am losing control. This is making my self-respect and value make a dive through the floor.
Well s*d that, as well as giving up control around food, I’m going to continue adapting how I present myself visually to other people (to ‘make myself feel deserving’), fit around my mood and how I feel that day… and challenging knowing that choosing NOT to wear a mask on my face or my body, does NOT crumble my self-worth.
We ALL deserve to be comfy on our sob days, ESPECIALLY.
So here’s me raising my Tetley Tea to self-compassion… !