Wholemeal toast x 2, butter.
Scrambled egg on a toasted muffin, cashew nuts, salad.
Mini rice pudding pot.
Meatballs in tomato sauce, boiled potatoes, broccoli.
Sticky toffee pudding, custard.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
Of ALL the things I woke up thinking would happen today, it WASN’T that I’d later feel myself transform into an awkwardly, chewy, human, chocolate ‘Curly Wurly’.
I felt my hands push promisingly down into my dungaree pockets, HOPING that enough force of a tense, tight fist would either:
- Launch me up, off my chair, sucked in by a spaceship hovering over Leeds…
- Be enough energy squeezed through my body to make my bones rupture, and therefore all of me crumble into tiny pieces of curly, blonde dust…
- Activate my ‘Invisbility Cloak’ – cheers, Harry…
What I DID wake up thinking, was that it’s my 4-week-review today… And sitting, like that twisted, anxious ‘Curly Wurly’ amongst a formal circle of professional faces, ‘me’ being the subject matter for the occasion… was enough to spark off the above. Irrational hopes to escape this mentally uncomfortable situation!
That’s anxiety for you.
But being further on with my weight restoration, I’m feeling these things more. The stuff that’s there in response to how you make sense of your environment. Moments like this I’m starting to feel thankful that I’m becoming more human, and I’m not controlled by the fears of my Eating Disorder numbing the rest of the world out.
I’m probably boring your ears (or eyes) off by bringing up the fact feelings feel more real, now that my brain has enough umph and energy to do so. Alongside the fact, I am constantly on a big clear-out the things my Eating Disorder has been hoarding in my brain – food sums, over-planning meals, general food-fear etc. so there’s more space in my head. Which through recovery, rebuilding skills, emotional strategies, an identity away from Anorexia and all that jazz – is both a blessing and a curse.
(I just realise I nicked my consultant’s phrase from my review today… he said my determination of character is both a “blessing and a curse” as it can lead me to succeed and get to where I really want to be… but also means I can often put a lot of pressure on myself… which sometimes sets me up for negative thought-patterns)
It takes a while to re-fill that space with things that will serve you well. They don’t just arrive under your pillow, dropped off by the tooth-fairy’s recovery cousin the night you decide it’s time to fully cut the apron-strings with your Eating Disorder. So there’s lots of waking up with discomfort of the empty space until those skills/identity things develop. BUT when you can bring yourself round to remembering why you chose recovery, that empty space then also feels exciting. It brings hope of new, polished brain-cells to nestle their way in and make themselves at home. Hopefully a colony inside me I’ll feel more comfortable to accept and will bring me peace. (other than the lie that is Anorexia)
To wrap up about my review – it was very positive, overall. And I felt so, so, SO touched that my care co-ordinator, who I admire to the moon and beyond, travelled all this way from Grimsby.
The main thing bothering me about the review was I felt bad for everyone having to read/speak about my progress – it’s not exactly the easiest thing for anyone to have to speak in front of a room of others. So this anxious affair being just for me, and my treatment, made me feel guilty. I know it’s part of their job; they’re paid to be in that room saying those things (I have to remind myself)… but I suppose having that anxiety, in hindsight, seems like progress compared to anxiety about the pudding and custard I would be having later, or being distracted by the panic about when I could fit in enough compulsive exercise to please my Eating Disorder.
Everything, generally, is going really well, and I still feel that sense of hope in the room about the future, which is compliment when it’s coming from a room of professionals. I had a couple of wobbles over the weekend, and have over the past couple of weeks – nothing major, but the difference is now compared to any recovery-attempt before, is that I’m seeing them as progress because the ‘want’ and ‘desire’ is still there, but I’m reflecting on why things are happening, why behaviours are feeling triggered, rather than hoping they’ll fade some day without actually facing them.
Before leaving the room, and untangling my arms and legs out of a ‘Curly Wurly’ position, my consultant gave me one of his ‘golden’ handshakes. He’s a respected, intellectual, jolly character and I’ve HEARD about these precious handshakes. So I left feeling like I’d found a tenner in a crisp-packet. I must be doing something right…
(…did this a while ago but forgot to post – a doodle for the Unit’s Inpatient booklet – we’ve been asked to contribute some drawings if we can think of anything to describe our ideas of recovery, to help break up the wordy text… I would feel privileged if mine ends up getting used!)