“New year, new me”… the official cliché of January. It kind of reminds me of “tonight Matthew, I’m going to be…” whilst taking a swift heel swoop towards the back, exiting and re-entering through the smoke as Whitney Houston. Or Elton John. Take your pick. That’s often the amount of change/magic required to completely transform a part of yourself to become the best version of yourself you envisaged at the sloppy end of 2019. It kills me that so many people have that black-and-white mindset, when 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail to make it past January. That’s because as humans it’s very rare we have the capacity to suddenly make a change and never look back.
Noooo that all sounds very pessimistic doesn’t it. But the amount of deadlines I’ve given myself to recover from my eating disorder(s), and ill mental health in general – I have unfortunately accumulated this ‘realist’ perspective. And I’m not a realist at heart; I’m a dreamer, a creator. And to be a creator, to go your own way, you need buckets of hope and self-belief to get your ideas out there. So it disheartens me to realise and live the reality that recovery is not as simple as a New Year’s resolution.
Despite the amount of times I’ve set myself the goal not to binge and purge from Monday (fresh week is the motivation), beginning of a new month, a week before my birthday… there was still this nagging fairy godmother at the back of my mind telling me that 2020 would be THE year. New decade, no eating disorder.
It’s now 5 days in to that new decade, and I’m sad and sorry to say it is still with me, but perhaps at a quieter volume level? The most I’ve spent in a day on food to feed this drug addiction is £6 (the end of last year was looking at £50-£150 per day).
When in the night, those cravings and habits arise in me, I’ve eaten food that is in the cupboard (and been sick – yes I speak openly and honestly), but I haven’t gone out purposely to purchase from the drive of my eating disorder – that, to me feels a win. It feels like winning your quid back from a scratchcard, instead of the £100 up for grabs. (which would be my idea of no eating disorder behaviours poisoning my world!) Yes I have to replace that food taken from the cupboards, and it is frustrating and exhausting having to think about restocking all the time when I have put time and effort in to meal-planning, but it’s like getting a slap in the face, instead of a broken nose – when it comes to Bulimia, and my recovery.
Although it feels messy in my head that I haven’t been able to fully banish my eating disorder so far in 2020, I am still filled with fresh hope. I’m trying to build my life without it, so that eventually there won’t be space or negative vibes for it to cling on to any more. Things are slowly falling in to place in terms of my life and ambitions, and building relationships with people that are good for me – with opportunities I want to jump at. What I have to work hard on now, is not to let my bastard body image monster take over and push all the good stuff in my life away. I have to accept that recovery will be gradual, and if I focus on changing one small habit at a time, and really invest (instead of just be present) in the good stuff, then I’ll get there.
The 1% hope I had just a couple of months ago I’d say has boosted to 5% at lowest, but the odd few moments things seem to click into place it’s at about 60%… which is a big shift really.
So instead of the “new year, new me” mind-set… let’s think about “new year, fresh hope” for whatever it is you want to achieve in 2020. Hope + action (changing small habits a bit at a time) = success.
I just want to thank every single reader of 2019. It’s strange I’m still posting on here after 2 and a bit years… since posting daily when I was the most severe I’ve been with Anorexia, going through inpatient treatment and being threatened with ‘the tube’ but wanting desperately to do it myself. So I did with the help of you lot putting up with my raw but hopefully insightful posts! But I’d like to think I’m just on the ‘sloppy leftovers’ of my eating disorder and soon to be living the fruitful life I hope for every day (well, most anyway)…
“Instead of being the authors of our own unhappiness, we get to shape these stories whilst we’re still alive… there’s nothing more important to the quality of our lives than the stories we tell ourselves about them.”
The above quote was taken from this enlightening ‘TED Talk’ I just watched over my lunch, which you can watch here also if you’re interested: (they keep me inspired)