Made you look. I particularly loathe gravy so the clue was in the title really.
The process of recovery is somewhat romanticised I think. Maybe that’s just a by-product of hindsight but it isn’t half irritating. The message I’m getting from a lot of (admittedly not all) recovery stories is, yes, it was rubbish, was a bit more rubbish but now it’s just grand and we balance food and mood so perfectly, we can do it with our eyes closed. My family and boyfriend must have got the same memo because I can sense their frustration that I’m not “fixed” yet. Their confusion is at fever pitch because my BMI is spot on, with even a bit to spare, yet my thoughts make less sense than ever. The dissonance between my body and mind has caused such tension recently that I don’t even bother addressing it out loud for fear of being met with questions such as: Why can’t I just overindulge at the weekend and eat a reasonable amount during the week like everyone else?
Huh, didn’t think of that one once during the past three years that I’ve wasted staring at food.
What’s interesting is, when I was dangerously thin they were on my case 24/7. Even before I became “critical” I was watched like a hawk, always being encouraged and rallied on. I was barely left alone, constantly questioned about my ability to live and work as a “normal” adult. Family members would do “shifts” to ensure I was supported to eat and had positive distractions away from when my brain was trying to poison me. Yes, I’m definitely aware of how pathetic that is at my age- the same age my Mum gave birth to me while doing her finals for her degree.
They are all wary still but seemingly only wary of me going “back”- for them, that is the worst possible outcome.
Why can’t they see that THIS is MY worst outcome?
I’m a healthy weight so, all good- right?
They wanted the “old me” back, the “me” before I got ill. I can’t understand how epically people miss the point; if I had been happy with that person, would I have allowed that person to end up in hospital, able to beat possibly only a fly in a fight? It was my mental health all along that needed drastic changes and recovery strategies and that, I think, would have had a domino effect on my weight increase- not the other way round.
I tried in vain to point this out in hospital, refusing to eat certain foods because of what they had meant for me before becoming ill and what I was frightened they would begin to mean again. I won’t continue to be vague; I am referring to “comfort eating” and my desire to break this habit, both in terms of my binging and restricting. I didn’t want to have to depend on a chocolate bar, or 6, when I’m having a crap day. Nor did I want to continue having to starve myself silly to find a shred of self worth. I begged them to help me free myself from the emotional dependence I placed on food. This was met with an assurance I wouldn’t “never stop eating” because that “is not what recovered anorexics do.”
As if I needed anymore proof that I am not doing either anorexia or recovery right.
At the moment, I’m an accident waiting to happen- again. Not an urgent one, apparently, because physically I’m fine. But I’m not though. My relationship with food is the worst it’s been to date. I’m conscious of overusing that phrase as, each time, I think this is as bad as it gets. Clearly one-upping myself is my talent in life- cheers, I would have just settled for the ability to do a cartwheel. My relationship with myself is also the worst it’s ever been and god, ask 14-year-old me, that’s no mean feat.
I am exhausted to the point I feel like I’m underwater most of the time, so even when I want to do some exercise, for my mind MORE than my body, I feel tired before I’ve got my trainers on. It’s probably because my blood sugars are all over the place. I wake up terrified of eating because I can’t make the right decisions. I try to satisfy the anorexic voice that wants me to relapse more than life itself, meaning I try NOT to satisfy the miserable part of me that wants to drown in sugar, meaning I barely even hear the very tiny voice pleading with myself to Just. Eat. Normally so I can get on with my day and get rid of these god-awful stomach cramps. I’ll give you a spoiler: tiny voice never wins this debate.
Also, hating yourself to the extent I currently do is absolutely knackering. Hating yourself takes over everything. Your ability to be with people is totally ruined as, if you’re not constantly evaluating everything they’re doing that’s better than you, then you’re agonising over whether or not they’ve noticed the thing you despise about yourself and then… shit, it’s your turn to speak now and you’ve not listened to a word. Awkward. On the plus side, such a situation is entirely dependent on the unlikely event that you’ve managed to subside the embarrassment you feel for yourself and go out in the first place.
Hating yourself like this tests your patience and tolerance in ways that are indescribable. Surely it’s only a matter of time before you lash out at the thing that is making you ache with loathing? When something irritates and nags at you and makes you sickeningly miserable with no respite, what would you want to do to it?
This isn’t me.
I read it back and I can’t believe it’s me I’m talking about. Embarrassed isn’t sufficient, frustrated is too tame and confused hardly scratches the surface. I can’t understand how other people, for example, get so stuck in their jobs and getting tasks done that food is a non-issue. Eating is a pause, a necessity that enables them to continue the task and move on to new ones. I beg and plead with myself to try that every day so I can focus on the parts of my day that remind me why I do like life. Because I know it’s there, somewhere. My brain is doing a cracking job of telling me it’s not and to just give up because all the evidence would suggest I am not cut out for it…
But, I can see it. I can see the exciting, challenging life I want to lead dangling in front of me, in the cruel way you might tease a cat.
It would just be nice if my stupid brain could join the party.
In the meantime, just in case my life wasn’t a bad enough joke, I’m off swimsuit shopping for my holiday on Sunday. Lol.