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.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The anorexia recovery manual

  1. Follow your meal plan as prescribed by your medical team/family/loved ones.
  2. Continue to follow said meal plan despite any feelings of thoughts which says otherwise.
  3. Repeat.
I sometimes wish there was a manual which guided you on how to recover from an eating disorder, not to dissimilar from putting together a flat pack piece of furniture from Ikea (although this might as well be written in a different language).

Recovery wise I am doing exceptionally well, I am not officially a healthy weight, so for any of those who haven't seen me since just under a year ago you wouldn't actually know any of this had happened. I look back to my old self, I have a further bit of weight to go, as I was above the minimum weight when I relapsed last year. While I feel uncomfortable in this body I also know that I didn't exactly feel at home in it when I was restricting. So while health care professionals keep reassuring me that I am doing so well, what worries me isn't about being doing well now, it is when all the support is taken away, how well will I do then? Will I manage so long before I crumble. I keep being told that I can't think that far in the future and that this time I am doing it differently.

The steps above worked for me the first time, I followed my meal plan every single day eating the same food at the same time, but it just wasn't a way to live. I was so deeply unhappy and controlled, but also it was the first time I was a healthy weight as an adult and I was eating the most I ever had. So although I was struggling it was the best I had been in years.

Right now I am so deeply unhappy and low. I feel anxious, lonely and sad. I am not sure how long I can tolerate these feelings for. I keep pushing people away from me and I can't understand why anyone would want to with me but then at the same time I am feeling lonely and like no one cares.

I sat their with my therapist, Z, the other day saying I feel like I live my life switching between restricting and recovery, both feel awful, both feel like absolute crap. Z said to me that I never fully recovered and emotionally I had relapsed when I left hospital, which is true, but there is another way. I said I didn't believe her, right now I honestly can't see how things will be any different. I feel so utterly alone and horrid, I feel huge from the extra weight I have gained, guilty for the amount I have been eating and just this overwhelming feeling of wanting to make it all stop.

I just want it to stop, I want to numb it all away.

Does it ever change? Can you ever pass this phase and feel like you can actually do this? Or am I going to spend my life struggling through each day wondering when and if it actually does get better?

Any advice would be great, because right now I don't see how else I can push through this, old ways are becoming more tempting right now I am holding out refusing to give in. My worry is how long will I be able to tolerate it this time.