Be a Toe-Stubber…

…you’d never think in reality it would be a good thing, right? I mean, for your physical health. That poor little toe!
But psychologically speaking, with where you want to go in life. It’s a bloody good thing. It’s a sign you’re taking risks, that you’re growing. What great thing do you know that’s ever been accomplished without failure first… ?

In logic, written down, that seems so motivating. Straight forward. ‘Be prepared to feel uncomfortable in order for the better stuff to happen and all that.’ Sometimes, I think I lack trust in myself that I can cope with the difficult stuff when it comes up. Sometimes I feel that I’ll get stuck and never find my way through, to the things that come after. What if those things never become visible and I sink in emotional quicksand?

Writing that down, I’ve come to realise that a lot of it is resilience. Being able to bounce back from thoughts and feelings and get on with what you set out to do.
This is something I’m really trying to test with my Eating Disorder recovery. In fact, I think sussing that out will be like finding the right key to fit the lock.

So a bit of a brief update: I’m (disappointingly in myself) still binging and purging on a regular basis. But it’s not as black and white as that with how much progress I may be making:

1. I’m, still constantly fighting off the thought to go back to restricting and calculating everything. That sense of ‘control’ that Anorexia falsely shows off, is an ugly lie… but there is still a part trying to claw me back, trying to convince me that is the only way I’ll be in control of myself, when it comes to food.

*just because I don’t have enough evidence in my memory bank yet that I can do this, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. There’s memories and experiences waiting for me, that have not been registered with my brain before – I am trying to remember that!*

2. I’ve had two nights within the last few months where I’ve not binged and purged at all. Those nights were very challenging, psychologically. I felt lost, and almost this fear of not being capable. Like I wasn’t meant to be here, I wasn’t born to survive – that kind of shitty mindset. Well you know what? I’m tired of feeling like a victim to myself. Not only is it boring and repetitive, but the arguments in my head about me, to me… are quite annoying. Maybe it’s possible to be your own friend?

3. When it’s been a ‘bad’ night (relative, of course), and there’s something anxiety-provoking on the cards the next day – usually for me, that’s being around people for too long… then I get this tidal wave come over me of an urge, to stay in bed. As that, therefore is my only way of ‘compensating’ mentally for the night before. To ‘prepare’ and almost neutralise myself, before I allow myself to continue living. Here’s the good news – I’m getting better at talking back to this urge. At telling myself that there is never a right time to get on with my life – to do this or do that. Yes, my body image feels so shite it’s unbearable (obviously a side-effect of Bulimia, to this excess is to put on weight – something that to write down right here is even more terrifying to look at)… but the way I look is not the value of my existence. Sometimes that’s so hard to remember. I think I fear the assumptions (I say I think, I know -) of what people assume because of my weight. But it makes me look forward to when I have been weight-restored for long enough that people won’t associate my identity with the Eating-Disordered one, and they’ll no longer have to judge my state of mind from how big I am.

So, anyway… this is an example of where I’m choosing to stub my toe. Every morning I get up, and achieve something small, it’s still something achieved compared to laying in bed. Yes, the thoughts rain harder, but that means my toe is throbbing (when it comes to the metaphor)… and if I keep resisting the urge to stay in bed, to live life whilst feeling this horrible sense of body image, then the closer I am to being free from my demons. I’m proving to myself every time I do this, that I will get through it. That life does go on, that my thoughts aren’t stronger than me.

Here’s the quote that I pinched the toe-stubbing metaphor from. It’s in a book I’m reading about introverted entrepeneurs. A bit of research for my art business!…

“The more chance there is of stubbing your toe, the more chance you have of stepping into success.”

It makes sense. Remembering that the feeling of failure or discomfort does not define you. It will move like a cloud in the sky when it has done what it needs to do.

Today, I was meant to be getting the train to my Great Auntie’s in Sheffield. But, last night was really difficult. I felt chaotic and disgusting. So that urge came to stay in bed and resist stubbing my toe… (after all I’d like to keep all 10, and sometimes fighting this bloody Eating Disorder makes me feel like I’m walking with about three and a half on each feet…) So that tidal wave came, and I was so close to cancelling the trip, knowing that guilt would come chasing me like the grizzly buggar that it is. So I laid there for quite some time, dreading any outcome… and ended up, instead, asking if I could meet go tomorrow. (even this was a baby grizzly bear of guilt…)

I never saw that as a possibility, until I really tried to see some grey area, instead of a shade of plain black or white. So that was that.

And then, that urge to stay in bed still lingered like tooth ache. I needed this day to ‘cleanse’ myself. But then, under my covers, after a couple of hours, I realised I felt too safe. And that feeling of too safe doesn’t make me feel comfortable for very long, like it used to. To me, then, it was a sign that I needed to stub my toe.

So I got up and out.

After cancelling seeing my Dad as I was supposed to before going to Sheffield, whilst in bed, I heard that grizzly bear of guilt coming… and so the next hour I was texting him back to quickly re-arrange. And I saw him.

I had to apologise for how ‘disgusting’ I looked/felt, in order to justify being up and seeing people. But the most important thing to me in that moment was being there, with him, and catching up about his holiday. I trusted too, that he’s the sort of person that always holds optimism for me.  So I was able to talk through my troubles, knowing that he would still believe in me, and weirdly – that I do too. And he inspires me with all things creative. Recently, my art has been the saviour to my mental health not deteriorating (such as thoughts around more overdosing)… so for that, I am honestly grateful I have something I can channel myself into!

If you take anything from this today… I hope it is to trust yourself to go through moments of discomfort – whether that be short, long, slight or intense. Your perception of discomfort may be different to mine. But please, trust yourself that you’ll make it on the other side. As a species, we’re intelligent. So if you can’t quite be your own friend, maybe it’s helpful to trust the science/evolution… that you CAN do this.

You may surprise yourself.
You may even be a little bit proud of yourself.

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