Wholemeal toast x 2, butter.
Salmon, sweet potato, asparagus.
Cherry full-fat yoghurt.
Turkey mayo sandwich (white), 5-bean salad, side salad.
Ice-cream (2 scoops).
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
(carried on from last post)
…not having to wait until the hand hits whatever-o-clock due to Anorexia unlocking that gate for having permission to eat, frees up more options for when I can go to the cinema. In the past I would have written off the showings around lunch-time… it’s almost like those 2 hours or so around the middle of the day were ‘protected’ – and I felt I also had to dedicate a period after eating to either be ‘productive’ or stay where I was, out of fear if I rushed through eating and then onto another task, I would lose control of food. And myself.
That ‘protected’ (ironically, mentally destructive) time was SOMETHING that was guaranteed to make me feel some element of daily control, regardless of how the rest of the day/my emotions/life felt. It was a hug on my brain, that told me I was valuable, I’d worked for my reward, I’d listened to the numbers. It felt like a give and take relationship, an affectionate one that was consistent and reliable, and didn’t involve similar anxieties that comes with those around real people.
And as someone socially anxious (which is now one of the main issues I want to conquer but is still hammering my daily thoughts from getting out of bed to getting into bed now I continue to walk away from my Eating Disorder…), I can now see why that relationship became so solid and seductive – relapse after relapse.
Anorexia, during those controlled lunch-times, convinced me it was a holiday, the sun stroking my face for being obedient and checking my ‘numbers’, writing them down, taking instruction from the time on my watch. It was a holiday I’d worked bloody hard for, mentally, that morning. It was something I was almost certain I had earnt – as with the high expectations of myself and other areas of my life, I feel I never quite know where to stop… where’s ‘good enough’… whether I have actually earnt something, or if I should work harder… my Eating Disorder gave me the affection I could rely on. I knew where I stood. Irrational and fantasy-based, but I still knew. Until the boundaries of course, with Anorexia, got pushed and mushed… to the point where my head bullied my body so far. And again, I didn’t know where to stop. Which is why Eating Disorders do not offer a reliable, long-term coping mechanism.
So at the weekend, it wasn’t until after going to the cinema with my mum, that I realised how grateful I was for this new window flapping open. Suddenly time and life is freeing up… we went to see ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’, and it worked out that the lunch-time showing was the only one that would fit into the day before I caught the train back to Leeds. Before, that lunch-time showing wouldn’t have existed in my world of possibilities… I couldn’t have gone to the cinema and that was that. That carefully controlled time was honourable, and heightened obviously because of being starved – mentally and physically, so naturally my human survival instinct would be to make food seem the most important thing that could occur through the day. That ‘protected’ time was more important than the chaos and disorder of something enjoyable (like going to the cinema.)
I made a sandwich to take and a couple of snacky bits and bobs. There’s been a couple of times in the past during recovery when I’ve forced to challenge having lunch at the cinema, but I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the actual film anyway – I tried to fill my brain with other things so that my world may start opening up and take a bit of Anorexia’s space, including what was on the film screen but instead would be consumed in thoughts around what I was about to eat – rechecking the ‘calories’, for not trusting my many re-calculations before, and counting down the minutes until the ribbon was cut, and I was officially allowed to eat. Then, subtracting calorie by calorie, as I popped in each sugar-free sweet, after my lunch if I still felt hungry and I was scared of that craving making me lose control – I felt like a child with £2 pocket money, trying to spend each penny in every careful way possible.
So you could probably see why I never really remembered much of what went on in the film. And I definitely didn’t have many more than 3 brain cells to enjoy it.
On Sunday, I think I pulled out my phone once in the cinema (on the sly of course) to check the time… but not related to when I felt allowed to eat. This was after I’d eaten… and due to feeling like I was genuinely really engrossed in the film and just to have a peek at how many minutes I still had left to enjoy before it finished.
Not long before eating my lunch, I also felt quite down, guilty and conflicted about something (un-food-related), which before probably would have previously made me question eating – either whether I should eat all the bits I brought, or compromise and not have as much. I felt very awkward and guilty for thinking about still eating and (inevitably) – it would cement that it was okay to enjoy food when I felt guilty. And that once felt quite murderous to my Eating Disorder.
But I felt as though I pulled two scrapping schoolboys apart… sending them to either end of the playground. I separated my emotions and food… yes I felt guilty, but it wasn’t the sandwich’s fault – choosing to or to not eat the sandwich will not solve that problem or subtract that way of thinking – not if I no longer trust my Eating Disorder as a long-lasting emotional crutch. I felt myself suck it up, unwrap my sarnie and crack on.
I had actually planned to challenge taking popcorn to the cinema – instead of a pudding for my lunch. I’d bought some (59p for a huge bag – bloody bargain!) ready and waiting in the cupboard, but chickened out last minute. But I felt that was okay – it’s something I can do another time soon… I recognised this my high expectations chiselling their way in.
‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ was absolute BRILLIANT. I’d definitely recommend… I think it’s the first film I’ve watched and found myself properly lost in, without being distracted by numbers or hunger for at least a year. The actual storyline, the history behind the writing of ‘Winnie the Pooh’, and how it helped bring happiness back into family lives after the World War… was beautiful. I found passion was triggered in me, in things that overrule the importance/presence of my Eating Disorder… writing and drawing/illustration. So it was a nice feeling for those things to send a bit of colour to my brain, and for my Eating Disordered thoughts to go on ‘their’ holiday… alone, instead of them making me feel like they were the one giving ME the bloody glorious sun-tan…