It’s no secret that I’m not my BFFL but boy have I reached new enemy heights in the last few months. My army of eating disorders have been driving the tank full throttle and it’s nothing short of a minefield. Whilst it’s slightly premature to declare a ceasefire, I think I should probably explain myself…
I’ve started posts. They’ve been beginnings of letters to myself, letters to my eating disorder, letters to past me, present me and future me, all of which try, with their abstract metaphors and attempts-at-being-witty analogies, to plead with me just one thing:
Don’t. Fucking. Binge.
Okay, I lied- two things actually, the second one being Don’t. Fucking. Starve. Either.
Because one leads to the other and the other leads back to that and then that leads, yep you guessed it, STRAIGHT TO THE OTHER! Except somehow I still haven’t quite managed to memorise that process.
So basically I still have several eating disorders to my name. It’s a treat.
Since I last posted, in September I’m ashamed to add, I’ve tried reasonably hard, kind of, to try and get myself on something resembling “a track.” I say reasonably because, true to my perfectionist personality curse, no effort would ever be enough. Cue the “why even bother” message inside my head that flashes like a neon sign.
I decided (again) that enough was enough and I really wanted a healthy relationship with food and exercise. None of this “I’ll pretend I want a healthy relationship with diet and gym but really I am just trying my hardest to find my iron-clad, tunnel-vision anorexia.” Except it was definitely still the latter and not the former. Your mind can even trick you, you know, which is a scary thought. And sure enough, that was not the answer either. I wanted to enjoy exercise again but I wasn’t, and still am not, because I was, and still am, going about it in the WRONG way.
On the rare occasion I actually manage to make myself exercise, there is almost an imaginary person bashing me every single time I come up from a squat or a press up with “you’re still fat,” “you’re still lazy,” “look at what you’ve let yourself become…”
And it doesn’t stop there, believe me. But there is no wonder I am hating it! Who would have the energy, strength and motivation to keep going if that was what they heard all the time? I expect myself to be able to do all these relatively normal things but think about how you feel when someone close to you has a dig about what you’re wearing or something stupid you did one time? You feel a bit of a pang don’t you, a bit deflated. I have this self-directed abuse on a loop CONSTANTLY so there’s actually no wonder I’m not up for much.
But, of course, I cannot be kind to myself, it is just not a phrase I understand.
So what happened? Well, I cashed in my premium bonds and spent it on a fitness retreat. It was really good. I enjoyed it! I refused to weigh myself despite the scales in the corner of the dining room tormenting me every morning. I wouldn’t allow myself because, although I was not pleased with my reflection, I was actually celebrating what my body could do regardless of my appearance! Big step. I (re)learned (again) about food and sufficient fuelling. I felt energised and somewhat happy again in my own skin and felt determined I would continue this at home. I did for a few days and then gradually started slipping until…
And so became my pattern for literally the next few months: good few days, gonna keep this up, yeah no desires to binge-awesome, uh-oh crap day… BINGE… no nu-uh never want to do that again, spend-all-day-on-the-sofa-day-wallowing-about-how-shit-and-greedy-I-am, ok try again good day, yes see I can do this, exercised today and ate well yay me, uhh....B…B...BIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Repeat.
And then I did a really naughty thing. Against all my better judgement, all the 160 lectures I’ve had about eating regularly and blah blah, I attempted to do a shake diet. I know, I’m such a cliche it’s embarrassing. I don’t think I even need to write about how that ended.
I pretty much used Christmas as an excuse to binge the entire way through. My, clearly flawless, logic was something like “well I am irreversibly fat now so I may as well do it some justice.”
Come New Year’s and buying a dress for said occasion I was BESIDE myself. I vowed, like the millions of others, that the 1st January 2017 was going to be IT for me and my stupid eating habits. 2014 was dire, 2015 even worse and 2016 for lack of a better word was just shite so MAYBE, JUST MAYBE I could try and turn it around for this one.
I set myself a goal of being able to say “I haven’t binged this year” every day. I think I lasted until about the 4th. The bus was probably late or I probably left something important at home and thought “hmm, I know what will solve this: a kilo of chocolate.” It didn’t, just incase that wasn’t immediately obvious.
So here I am, a month and a bit into the New Year and I have the body of a comfort eater, the mindset and image values of an anorexic and the chocolate cravings of Augustus Gloop in the Chocolate Factory. It’s a cruel combination to say the least.
Needless to say, my self loathing has reached new realms. And I know, in this rare moment of lucidity, that I put too much importance on being thin. If anyone else dares to even allude to that, I snarl back that it is what is important and the media cements that daily so F off. Charming, aren’t I.
But it’s true, I am still convinced that everything in my life would be better if I was thinner, I’d be more successful, a better girlfriend and a better daughter because I’d be attractive and high(er) achieving rather than almost too depressed to function. I do try and make myself believe that, just like other people I know this is true for; your dress size CAN NOT TELL YOU that you’re a good, generous person, a funny and sarcastic woman, a strong and down right determined character… I got a quote tattooed on my shoulder last year in an attempt to remind myself things didn’t have to always be like this but maybe I should have just gotten the above tattooed on my stomach- that way, when I scrutinise my “flab rolls” in front of the mirror 12 times a day I’d have something meaningful to fixate on.
But it’s a losing battle at the minute because there’s a nasty little bugger in my head that says “but if you were thin it would be even better.“
Hence why I’ve accumulated a little library of unfinished posts because I arrive here and find myself with nowhere to go, no positive words of wisdom to offer. And now I want to banish this post to the same folder-within-a-folder, because surely it’s the opposite of what I’m trying to prove? It’s still the same whine about wanting to be thinner- hardly a great message is it.
But I do have the odd surges of positivity and motivation. I do have the energy sometimes, for a split second, to go to the gym and it’s not out of hatred for my body! It’s because I want to. I do have the desire to read and learn for my next lecture, to clean my house, to paint my nails and make myself feel nice. The kicker is that they come at really goddamn inconvenient times. Almost like another cruel taunt from my brain: “Haha, we know you cannot action this now, in your Uni lecture theatre 60 miles from home, or 2 hours from finishing your shift at work, so we are going to let this motivation last precisely 40 minutes and let you imagine all the things you’re going to do until you get in your car and then BOOM we’ll be gone and just send you to bed.”- Nice one, brain, cheers.
If I was an optimist, I may allow myself to think “Okay, so it is there, motivation does exist, I just have to learn to harness it…”
Huh. I’ll guess I’ll have to work on getting my head around that crazy idea.