Sunday, 25 September 2016

Update (TW this post contains numbers)

So since I left treatment I have abandoned this blog, with work, life and all the other things I filled my day with increased massively and I just found myself in my little bubble. Struggling to cope, cleaning obsessively and feeling constantly exhausted. I tried alternative treatments it didn't work and I found myself slipping back down the dark spiral of anorexia. It started by accident, my IBS has been playing up a lot lately, I was in pain and nauseas. So I let anorexia take advantage and made the conscious choice to carry on. My body image worsened and I am disgusted by what is reflected back at me in the mirror. I started heading towards that dark place in my mind, it's a horrible place to be when your body is still healthy but your mind has already started the process of self distruction. No one is worried but you're already heading out of a healthy place.

I sat with my therapist and told her what was happening that my weight while still healthy had started slipping. My therapist sat and said to me I'm so scared of failure that I set myself up for it. I've been given a really good new opportunity and I'm already set out to destroy it because I am so scared I can't do it. There is more to it then that but it was definitely a good realisation and a wake up call.

So I went on holiday determined that I would do well and challenge myself. I failed. I came home and realised I couldn't carry on I had to push past this. It's been one week and I'm on my meal plan. I struggle so much with eating in the day which means I eat obsessively at night trying to make up my intake, trying to get to 2,000 calories. My intake is all over the place and I feel like I am eating so much food.

I'm scared I haven't weighed myself since I came home from holiday I know I've put on weight. I can't even look at the holiday pictures because I look so disgusting. I can't bear the image in the mirror. I'm so sure everyone looks at me at work when I'm constantly eating. I hate myself. I hate everything about me. I am so unhappy. I'm trying to push through because it's what I need to do, but I can't face what I see in the mirror, inside or out.

Monday, 11 July 2016

So now what?

On Friday I finished my treatment on the day program. I have my formal discharge meeting in a couple of weeks where everyone from my medical team meet to discuss what would be in place to support me in the community. This is followed up with four one to one appointments with my key worker.

Post discharge I know what to expect from my EDU it will be my monthly check in with my outpatient doctor who will weight me and see how I am doing. If my weight stays stable they will wave me away, if weight drops then they will wave me away. I have experience both, my dietitian said she no longer feels I will benefit from appointments. So I am on my own again. I feel like I have come full circle.

This time last year is when I started relapsing it was the beginning of July 2015. I lost all that weight, went into treatment, restored my weight and have finished the program. As a close and dear friend to me who was suffers from this disorder said to me, what a waste and she is entirely right. What a waste a time. Although we both agree that we both needed to relapse. I was stuck in recovery, I was eating the same thing every day to the point where I could ensure my weight stayed exactly the same down to the gram. Except during my menstrual cycle, and during that time I did no weigh myself. For one week every month.

So now what? I am a healthy weight. I am starting to challenge myself again after a period of panic and staying safe. But still I feel that empty loneliness which tears me apart. I feel this horrible impending gloom hanging over me. I feel in limbo, stuck, I have gone full circle and ended up back in a place where I don't want to and can't move forward.

Stuck. The only person stopping me is ME. I know that. I am stuck in this cycle of behaviours and compulsions but I convince myself that it's okay because I am eating now! I can eat a meal and snack without breaking down and crying. I also spend my hours planning what I can eat at the set time. There is nothing intuitive about my eating and I can't remember a time there ever was. I spend hours upon hours cleaning. As my eating is managed I sew saw on the other side of my obsessions, because everything is clean and I just concentrate on what my next task is then I can't think. I can't think about all things which are crushing me inside. I sound so dramatic and I know I am cleaning away my feelings.

I know I need a hobby, I know I need to throw myself into other aspects of my life. I know, I know! I am tired of fighting, I am tired of dealing with it all. So to sound like even more of a pubescent child, I just want to go to sleep and not think about it all. 

However I have been binge watching Gilmour Girls on Netflix, I love having a series on the go! I guess life can't be that bad. 

Monday, 20 June 2016

Weight restoration

So as you may already know about a month ago I weight restored I finally hit the weight range my medical team set for me. Now I understand most people reading this blog will understand and know that the body recovers quicker than the mind. Weight restoration does not equally recovery in fact I see it as reaching the first milestone.

What I can't understand is since I reached the range which was agreed by my team and a weight I was maintaining before my relapse is why I continue to gain weight. I was given a 2 kg weight range initially I was at the beginning of it and now I'm closer to the maximum. Since going on a maintenance meal plan i have continued to gain weight every single week. Every. Single. Week. 

I am usually at the day unit on Mondays where I get weighed. I am currently part time at the unit and spend the rest time at work. So today I went to work and going against every positive recovery message I reached for my scales and hoped for the best. I should state recently I have been struggling to eat my full meal plan I have been slipping in the sense that it's so easy to not have this snack or remove the yoghurt from my lunch. As a result I was fully expecting my weight to say stable, it did not. My weight had suddenly gone up, by a lot. Now I know the logic here:
  • If I restrict my food intake my body will  panic and hold onto all the calories.
  • Weight fluctuates several kgs.
  • Water retention and maybe eating a little more sodium.
  • Hormones  and menstrual cycle.
  • I am gaining because I hasn't reached my set point.


I know all the reasons but I feel angry. I am angry I have gained more weight and that I feel so uncomfortable in my body. I literally  feel so trapped and disgusted in my body. I know it won't go down, everyone says it will go back down once your body has settled. It nene goes down. Ever. 

This blog post hasn't got much of purpose except I just hate myself so much right now. The thoughts in my head are going crazy and I just want to crawl under my bed and not come out. 

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

What I ate Wednesday

Hi all,

I decided to do another WIAW blog post which is hosted by Jenn, click here to find out more.






What WIAW isn’t about

Comparison – Judgement – Restriction – Guilt

What WIAW is about

Celebrating one of the glorious things we all have in common: We all eat!

What I Ate Wednesday is about food and fun! It’s about making new friends, breaking out of a food rut, noting changes in your diet/lifestyle, inspiring yourself and others, embracing fruit and vegetables, nourishing your body with the foods that work for you, finding new ways to eat your favourite foods, and so. much. more. <3

Celebrate Food.  Celebrate blogging.  Celebrate Individuality.
[Cause over here, we like to party!]

This blog post is for Sunday's eats and I am writing this after eating my night snack. I am now a healthy weight and am no longer on a weight gain meal plan, so right now my main goal is maintaining my current weight. It is really scary and the urges to restrict are strong. I find it harder to justify my meal plan and eating now that I am at my target but this doesn't mean I should just give up. So I hope this is helpful for anyone who is out there struggling, I know reading these posts when I was restricting to give me some perspective on what I should be eating. I used to use these posts as a goal to strive for.

Breakfast

My usual go to breakfast is porridge, always porridge. However, as I spent my Saturday in Cambridge I hadn't had the chance to go to the food shop. I had no porridge, honey or bananas, all breakfast staples in my house! Luckily, I had some Weetabix in the cupboard which I had bought about a month ago, I borrowed a banana from my housemate and I was good to go! The verdict, I think I will continue to stick with my usual porridge from now on, Weetabix is nice but I just don't think it is quite my cup of tea anymore! Speaking of tea, I washed breakfast down with a Pukka Apple and Cinnamon herbal tea.



Morning snack

Post-breakfast I didn't do much, I had a shower and threw a few loads of washing in. Suddenly it was 11 am and therefore snack time. I am still on a meal plan but working with my dietitian on intuitive eating, it is early days but I still struggle with some aspects of it. However, the meal plan is still in place. So morning snack rolls around and I am not hungry, but I know I have to eat. I am not quite at the stage where I can skip a snack because I am not hungry the process of it alone would mess with my head. So I go ahead as planned, it was a struggle especially because I didn't really want it. So I opted for a cup of Beanies hazelnut coffee followed by a Brunch and Fusili cereal bar. Now I have serious problems with this, I ate this because it was on my meal plan, but it feels so abnormal to eat two cereal bars, remember I am no longer on a weight gain diet. So I am not sure if this was unnecessary, I stuck to the meal plan which I guess is the main thing.




Lunch

After morning snack I popped to Asda (a UK supermarket) to do the weekly shop! I still find food shopping quite stressful and funnily enough was definitely hungry for lunch once I got home. Lunch was a wholemeal roll with homemade hummus, salad and olives. I also used a balsamic vinegar glaze for the salad. Now I can't take the credit for the homemade hummus. One of the practical groups we do at the Day Unit is snack, shop and cook. The name gives it away, but for this group of the other patients taught me how to make homemade hummus, her slapdash style was very frightening for me as I am one who likes everything meticulously measured out. Since we had leftovers I took the rest home and decided to challenge myself to eating it again for lunch, I have to say it was delicious! The main meal was followed with some blueberries and an Activia deliciously creamy vanilla yoghurt.





Afternoon snack

After lunch my sister and I popped out to the local town centre for some shopping! Trying on clothes was not fun, my body image is absolutely awful. I tried on a really pretty dress and to say the least it did not look pretty on me. I can't believe how wide I have become. I know I need to accept myself as I am, but I don't know if I ever will. I guess I just need to learn to live with it. So my meal plan has an afternoon snack and then second snack of a smoothie. Usually on the weekends I just combine the two and have a more dense/bigger snack. So another challenge upon us, I decided to go for a cup of tea and the new Krispy Kreme Nutella doughnut. The verdict? It is magical! They're limited edition, so get your hands on while you can!




Dinner

My dietitian said now that I am at a healthy weight she wants us to work on normalising my eating patterns and introducing new foods. We agreed two new foods a week, this week's new food is pasta. I adore pasta, it is delicious and yummy, but also I have a great fear of eating it. So another challenge today was spinach and ricotta tortellini with a side salad. Also a side note I am eating this from a pasta bowl so this isn't as small as it looks!



Night snack

Post-dinner I had a tummy ache, so I had a shower and made myself a hot water bottle. Then it was time to eat again, I went to M&S especially to buy this. It is a choux pastry custard filled bun. It is so yummy. If I am honest I felt incredibly guilty over eating this especially as I had a doughnut for afternoon snack and pasta for dinner, but I also realise that in order for me to fully recover I need to keep breaking through these food rules. So I had this with a cup of tea!




So that is it people a full day of eats. Now can I be honest, I am so embarrassed to post how much I have eaten in a day. Especially a day when I have eaten more sweet and challenging foods. However, there are going to be some days when you do eat more and I want to show that! It is okay, I am sick to my stomach for eating so much high calorie food. The last two weeks have been challenging, there has been so many food occasions or reasons I need to do things, but you can't plan life. You can't control every aspect of it. There will be times when you have so many different events to go to and times when you don't have anything. I want to keep pushing through and try to make myself enjoy the times when I am busy. I feel huge and to be honest the food I am posting isn't clean eating or very healthy but do you know what it is the food I like. No I don't eat like this every day, but even if I did then who cares. I am a healthy individual, I want this recovery to be different. I don't want to be stuck in the food rules anymore. I want, I need to change.

So tell me:

  • What do you think of the clean eating/health eating industry?
  • How do you challenge your fear foods and rules around eating?
  • Any times on intuitive eating? How do you handle feeling full but knowing you need to eat a certain amount?

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Finding inspriation in others

Today's blog post is inspired by Drops of Jules whose determination and insight on recovery continues to inspire and amaze me everyday. On Monday Julia posted an amazing blog post which I highly recommend reading, you can find it here. I won't recap too much what Julia talks about as I think she puts it so profoundly into words that I am not even going to try.

This blog post moved me incredibly, I was literally brought to tears reading this and I feel like it needs the recognition it deserves. There is such an important message here, you can keep saying I will try tomorrow or I just need to get through today, but you just don't know what will happen tomorrow. I don't want to sound cliché but you may not get a second chance. As you already know I recently returned to treatment and I have heard of a few people I was inpatient in have passed away because of the illness. We always think we have so much time ahead of us and at times I feel like life is way too long but in essence if you are not in recovery you are killing yourself and that is the truth of it.

I recently weight restored and to say I am struggling with this would be an understatement. I am constantly disgusted by how I look. I can barely look at myself in the mirror, it makes me sick. I know it's something I need to work on and I know it is going to take time, but I can honestly say I hate how I look. I hate how big my arms feel, the size of my face and how wide my legs have grown. I look at people who have recently weight restored and I think how comes they look so small and why do I look so big. My mind is a mess and I wonder how much longer I can hold on. I am slowly returning to work and returning to my old life and it scares me, but what is the alternative, slowly killing myself day by day while watching the people I love crumble around me. Something I forgot about last time which came into my head today. Recovery isn't just about gaining weight, no I don't mean its about challenging your perceptions of my mind and food, while those are important it is also about rebuilding my life. 

When I did recovery the first time I had to work so hard at rebuilding my life around me again, my relationships with my boyfriend, friends and family as well as my work life. I didn't realise that in the mist of my relapse I started destroying all the things that I built. Returning to work and slowing regaining my responsibilities back, something I worked and strived so hard for I lost. I forgot about this part, the part where I build my life back up again, it feels like such a mess, but reading these articles make me think. Julia writes in one of her articles that it doesn't matter how you recover, you just need to recover.

I keep thinking that I did recovery wrong, I need to lose the weight and start again. I will do it properly this time, but there no right way to do recovery. Right now I need to focus on building my life back up again, the one I destroyed. I am petrified of going back into the real world. I am so scared, but is something I am just going to have to.

I have been reading a lot of good recovery blog posts/articles and wanted to recommend these ones to you. If you have any good articles or blog posts that you enjoy please share with me, I am always interested in finding new ones. In the mean time stay strong and keep pushing through, I still don't quite know if I believe there is another side but I am hoping if I keep stumbling in the dark I will eventually find the light.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Group therapy - the good, the bad and the potential triggers part 2

So being a day patient and engaging in group therapy means that I am vulnerable about my inner most feelings and fears on a daily basis with a bunch of people who our main commonality is our eating disorders. For this reason you're not going to get on with everyone. We are a bunch of  people, who I may never have encountered in my life, if it wasn't treatment, never mind sharing my inner thoughts which I haven't told to those I most intimate with. 

So understandably you're going to clash which inevitably happened to me. I stood my ground to something which was directed to me which I felt was inappropriate and found so upsetting. My therapist would be happy as I have serious issues setting boundaries, but this time I did. I made it clear that it wasn't okay to say that to me. However, the trigger did get to me. Now I am left feeling like now that I am weight restored my feelings do not matter. I can miss my snack if I am eating a bigger lunch and that's okay. Never mind the head mess that comes along with that or the constant swirl of numbers after numbers which I am calculating. Trust me I am terrible at maths so for me to calculate so quickly shows firstly the extreme anxiety it has caused me and how much I have trained my brain to understand calories. Any other numbers, forget it, but calories I can do quicker than you can say anorexia.

Why are triggers so much worse from someone suffering from the same illnesses than someone who isn't? Maybe because you could blame ignorance or the disorder or maybe it's because it hits that little bit harder when you hear from a fellow sufferer.

How do you deal with triggers? Do you have any tips that help you? 

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Retreating to my bubble

For those of you who have read my blog, I took sick leave at the end of January so I could become a day patient at my local eating disorder unit. Yesterday was my first day back at work, as you can imagine I was extremely apprehensive and anxious.

My day started with attending an occupational health appointment; it was awkward. I went in prepared having attended one several years ago when I first started working for my company. I knew I had to simply answer the question and not let the silence mean I end up divulging unnecessary additional information. I have this habit of wanting to share more than I need too, so for this appointment I had to make sure I reined that in. So I finished my appointment and off to work I go.

It was all strangely familiar being at work. One thing that did shock me was how much of a bubble I have been living in the last four months. When I was an inpatient I knew my life had become being in a hospital, but I thought being a day patient where I was still very much connected to my everyday life that it would be different. Boy was I wrong, I have been living in a bubble, where my life became all about meal plans and feelings, where recovery was my main focus. I am petrified about returning to work full time, without the support of the day unit and falling into such a stressful environment. Don't get me wrong, I am exceptionally lucky, I don't work for some corporate company where I am demanded to produce work at all hours. I have an exceptionally nice manager who has been very supportive of my time away from work, but I am still so scared about the everyday stress of being at work.

People keep saying to me "don't think that far ahead" and "take one day at a time". I don't want to not think that far ahead, I am fed up of people saying that. I am scared and I need to talk about it. Isn't it far better for me to think of the obstacles and pitfalls ahead so I can prepare myself mentally for them. Just by saying don't think far ahead - doesn't stop me panicking. I need to let it out, I wish people would just stop saying these things to me, because six months down the line my support will be diminished and I will be in the same situation trying to cope. So please tell me to stop thinking so far ahead. It is the most frustrating thing for someone who is panicking to hear, it is equivalent to saying to a highly arousal person to calm down.