The chicken or the egg?

This originally started as an “anorexia recovery” blog but I’m coming to the realisation that it’s not as simple as that (as if anorexia on its own is ever “simple”).

No, if you were going to fuse together the “issues” in my head at the moment- what, with my relentless joy and zest for life (not), my desire to restrict, binge, purge, cry (rave) repeat- it would probably sound more like depres-orexi-mi-nge. Depresoreximinge. Depression, anorexia, bulimia, bingeing. Nice. Barrel of laughs, me.

But what came first..? Am I depressed because I didn’t eat for so long, am now doing so and it feels wrong? Am I depressed because I can’t seem to get used to this new body? Am I depressed because I am having what are probably quite normal cravings but for some reason they affirm in my head that I’m a failure of the worst kind? Probably. But do those questions above just make it seem ok for me to be depressed? Those questions just give me a reason to feel the way I do and make it not matter that, actually, I may have already had these feelings before I could point to a “cause” and before there was something physical to link it to…

I’ve been signed off work for a month. The reason it’s probably hit fever pitch and ended up being such a mighty, uncontrollable meltdown is because I didn’t think I had a good enough reason before and tried to box it away. Work still don’t know exactly why I am off; I have a doctor’s note but one that is sufficiently vague.

The same happened when I was ill with anorexia about a month before I was put in hospital. However, I wasn’t as concerned with coming up with an excuse; hell, there was something physically wrong with me, it was evident why I was off, it didn’t need explaining. Interestingly, instead of being completely mortified as I am now, I was only slightly.

In my (very skewed opinion), it was almost more acceptable to need time off for anorexia than it was for depression.

While I was in hospital, they were adamant my mood was due to being a low weight. A combination of medication and a healthier weight would sort me right out, apparently. And I’m sure, for many, that is the case. But there’s no wonder I feel like I should just donate myself to medical science already because, as my weight increases, the more I crave “normal” food, the harder I crave it in sizeable quantities and, the further my mood plummets in the opposite direction. So, my apologies for not conforming to the pretty, positively correlated picture- perversely, it seems to be the only thing I actually do well.

I gradually started to realise that my moods had been there long before my eating habits. I think at some point, I welcomed anorexia taking hold of me because I could now identify what was making me feel sad and for a while, anorexia and the agony of food choices numbed any other feeling.

For a while it did distract me; I could focus all my energies on the size of my waist as opposed to the very frightening and hugely isolating idea that I didn’t feel I enjoyed “life.”

What I suppose I didn’t realise was that the eating disorder would just add to my already waning sense of fulfilment and make it even harder to escape my already depleting self-worth.

I’ve said recently that my relationship with food and eating before anorexia was also one of comfort rather than function, but look how long that took to admit- 9 blog posts? I’m still not best pleased about it. Comfort eating was probably a tool I used to cope with my depression previously but for some reason it felt “ok” to admit restriction as a coping mechanism and not the other. The fact I seem to want to turn to food again now, after having been to hell and back, is probably what is intensifying my current depression into oblivion.

I’ve finally acknowledged, after several years avoiding it, that I have depression and am pretty much hiding from the world. But what I fail to accept is that it will be a part of me forever; that it will define me and dictate how I live. I reject that.

I have so many reasons why I want to be ok and be stronger. One, for my dear friend who is still in hospital- I want to show her that we can be content with ourselves and with life, somehow. Two, for my wonderful (if also a bit mental) family; I want to get better for them but also so I don’t have to rely on them anymore. In and amongst itself that should be a good enough incentive- I love them to pieces but I am not sure I want to be anything like them so why am I not working my ass off to be the best I can be? Three, would be for a certain someone who I want to make a life with- not in the teenage, naïve way like when I was lusting after Billie-Joe Armstrong- someone (the only one) who I genuinely wouldn’t mind nagging at me to tidy up my contact lens pots for a while longer… Four is, when I am finally rid of this, I want to help others like me (teens specifically) tolerate life because feeling like you don’t belong and you don’t tick the same way as others is the most alienating, scary thing of all- no matter how many people there are around you to prop you up…

So yes, many reasons to sort this out. But for some reason I find myself starting and thinking my god this is step one of 120, I can’t do this... And, to be honest, I just want to go back to bed.

I’ve wallowed enough I feel. The basics are that I’m pretty good at forming cycles. Bad cycles. Grossly unproductive and self-perpetuating cycles. Unfortunately for me, breaking cycles need two of my worst qualities, effort and patience. So, despite wanting to be bright, shiny and new yesterday, I am continuing to just grit my teeth and ride it out. Sometimes I have to just keep still because riding this out consumes any last drop of energy and I’m scared that, if I move, I really will just give up.

I am going to bed now, put an end to a thoroughly miserable day and just try again tomorrow, and then maybe the day after that… Because someone once told me, if you throw enough shit at a wall, some of it will stick. It just has to.




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