Weetabix x 2.
White toast x 2, butter.
Pulled pork, pitta bread, nuts, salad.
Strawberries and cream.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
I intended to start this with post with *apart from the fact my skin’s not yet green* I am beginning to feel like Princess Fiona. From ‘Shrek’. But I had to press the backspace when I realised I’m currently painting my nails – green. ‘Richmond Park’ shade to be precise. (freebie in a magazine) So now I’m a little paranoid it’s a ‘sign’…
Of course I’m not really, but I suppose I wouldn’t be surprised if (I’ve believed and obeyed so many irrational thoughts spoken by my Eating Disorder for so long) I DID believe that the colour of my nail varnish could change the colour of skin… and that, by the following morning I’d wake up looking like a human asparagus.
So yeah. I wouldn’t say this is the very best body image day I’ve had in my life… …won’t be putting in my application for ‘Britain’s Next Top Model’ today, anyway.
And that’s the annoying thing – I could gather up 6 million reasons why, in a bucket, someone at my apparent weight and size has every right to feel confident with how they look, and that “it’s a waste of time letting negative thoughts and worries over-rule the quality of your day. Think of all those happy moments you could be missing out on! No-one is judging you but YOU, ya numpty.”
But when it comes to me, it’s like my head’s a spider web of all my self-worth/anxieties/inadequacies/fear of my voice tangled with how I look and the ‘rewarding’ quality of the taste of food…
…this is why I have to fight what my head has been trained to believe for so long. It’s auto-pilot mode of self-critical voice, worrying about how I may need to protect myself, cope… so now these body image thoughts are beginning to feel more intense as I’m trickling almost OUT of the ‘underweight’ BMI range… which erupts a volcano right next to my Eating Disorder, I feel like I’d really like to knuckle down some alternative coping strategies. And how to gather a sense of control and peace in other ways.
Body image horror aside for a Friday, I am as chuffed as a fluffy muffin that this afternoon I get to reunite with my best friend. Yes, I met the expected weight-gain target, which means I’ll be gallivanting off the Unit until Sunday evening. It’s times like this that put this whole process into perspective. At the times physical ‘health’ and losing the ‘Anorexic’ boyish body feels wrong and overwhelming, reminding myself that this path means spending quality time with my best friend…
…back in November, we’d been to London together. Our first trip away. Of course we booked in with giddy intentions, but as the day approached, and although I wasn’t physically at my worse, or my lowest weight, I was very consumed in my Eating Disorder. Obeying numbers, weighing all foods, planning absolutely everything eaten to a tee, was absolutely essential to my human survival (so I thought, or my Eating Disorder lead me to believe) So this upcoming trip was enough of a threat for me to debate cancelling the trip or going by myself so that my friend wouldn’t feel ‘affected’ by my rigid ways. I was terrified of ruining the trip, but I was also terrified of the unexpectant food plans and I was terrified of being boring and not feeling as though I could offer much entertainment or personality, due to 90% of my brain feeling inhabited by controlled little calorie and number minions. A circus of sums, calculations… my tunnel-vision view of the world felt, repetitive, sometimes boring, but incredibly frustrating because I couldn’t bring myself to snap out of it. I thought I could for this trip with my best friend, I felt I owed her that much. But I really couldn’t.
So instead, it went ahead, and there’s many a moment I did enjoy, I always do in the company of my best friend. But I still felt like a puppet on a string in my mind and the guilt of feeling I’d sucked a good chunk of fun out of the trip, in a way, outweighed any right to enjoy her company… I’d spent a few hours the night before going, planning and writing everything down I hoped to be eating over the next few days I was there. Weighing out bags of chopped melon for my supper, in plastic sandwich bags and lunch-boxes (calorie-counted and assigned the particular day I was to eat that specific portion), to stack up in my suitcase, along with a ‘First Aid’ box of snacks, labelled for which day and time I’d planned to eat them.
Any stray from the plan would equal utter chaos in my head.
As I say, there were moments of course that were great. But as a shadow in my mind through the whole trip, was the fear of ruining the experience for my friend. Knowing that at that moment in time, my Eating Disorder felt the right person to obey over anyone else, even if it meant jeopardising a trip to London with my best friend.
One meal that we went for, I did my usual invisible anxiety-ruled panic scan of a calorie count of the food in front of me. Working out which bits I ‘couldn’t have’ because they wouldn’t fit the number my Anorexia expected me to use as my emotional umbrella for the day. So I ended up ordering without certain, fundamental parts of the meal – I still felt very ‘challenged’ the fact that none of the food was weighed, or had gone through the number-laboratory in my mind, so I was deceived into thinking does THIS thing in itself was the biggest indulgence ever… but put into perspective, I was restricting and Eating Disorder was lingering over this, what was supposed to be quality care-free time with my best friend, as a Dementor.
The moment I’d been dreading – I’d put a downer on this whole trip. I felt like I was insulting my friend, like I was making her feel like a porker for choosing to eat ‘normally’ in this particular restaurant. I wasn’t used to eating with people so therefore affecting them, my Eating Disorder made me feel selfish – there was no expectancies of other people, or worries of impact when eating on my own, as I was used to.
I haven’t the time to write enough today to give this past experience justice. Looking back, it didn’t feel like there was just me and my friend in London. I’d dragged an abusive invisible partner with me, and it was beginning to upset my friend too that she could see it was hurting me, and therefore hurting her.
That’s why this weekend in particular, is so important. And rather than get swamped in body image worries, which can only be natural in this recovery process, I feel proud for getting to this point, both in my mind and my body, and getting to experience a few nights in a hotel, in Leeds, a trip away with my best friend. This wouldn’t have been possible if I was still relying on my inner number-laboratory. This wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t achieved this healthier BMI after just over 4 months. This wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t choose recovery. But I have.
Don’t get me wrong, there is so much fear, that I’ve tried to squashed into a pocket-sized glass bottle, and I know it will be coming with me. Alongside a hell of a lot of confusion about my mind-set, body image and all those curveballs recovery throws. But I’ve chosen to not let it be powerful enough to become an abusive partner, a third figure on the trip… I can have the thoughts, and I know I will have, but I’m not letting it over-throw my behaviours.
Right, m’off! Getting the bus to meet my best chum… !
With the humongous suitcase I definitely don’t need to take for two nights. (please note: no melon this time) But being ‘overprepared’ ‘just in case’ is something I’ll deal with later!! For now, it’s my Eating Disorder that can s*d off.
Until Sunday, have a good weekend everyone!