At the moment in the communal student fridges, there are about 5 red-capped milk bottles. Mine is the only green one (and the biggest one) so it stands out. It’s nearly finished though, so I’ll be off to Tesco today to replace it with…drumroll please… a blue-capped bottle!
I’ve written it here now so I have to do it!
Okay, so the regular writing thing didn’t work out. Again :/
So I’ve been going up and down like crazy sanity/mood/motivation-wise these past weeks. After some extreme lows, at this present moment I do want to recover (yay) and am trying to sit through the depression and eat anyway. But I never know what I feel like. I used to love the fact that I was just so disconnected from food and hadn’t eaten for enjoyment in so many years that I don’t crave anything, but now I really wish something would appeal to me, that my body/mind would give me some kind of clue as to what I want to eat. I am afraid of this at the same time, that I might lose control, but I’m trying to brush that aside and have been brainstorming what I used to like 6 years ago. I’m stumped. I don’t know what foods I like anymore :(
I took the first real step towards weight gain today and ate a big lunch, and it feels totally unbearable right now. It’s like as time passes, I’m just more and more aware of it sitting in my stomach and I just feel worse and worse. Too much time has passed for me to get rid of it in the obvious way, and I’m tempted to ‘make up for it’ by restricting this evening, but I know I can’t do that.
I feel like I’ve done something awful, but only around a month ago it wouldn’t have seemed like so much or been such a big deal. I remind myself of this because it shows how what I consider a lot of food is very much dependent on what I’ve been eating recently. I ate a lot more than this daily for most of the two years of sixth form, and didn’t gain weight or get this distressed.
I just have to tell myself over and over again, that as Jenni Schaefer says, eating gets easier by eating. I can read all the right motivational stuff, want the right things, but it won’t ‘prepare’ me for eating or make it easier to start off. It’s been my experience too. It takes so many days of eating enough, or a certain fear food, or at a different time of day, for it to become tolerable. But it can take only one day of missing something to send me back down to the bottom of the hill, where I have to gradually fight off the guilt again.
My worst moods are often in the morning when I wake up. If I don’t get out of bed soon, I’m left to lie there and think of how lazy I am, all the things I have to face that day and all the things that are wrong with me. There’s always a point where that relaxing feeling of just waking up and browsing my phone turns into something much more sinister. This is the point where I have to leap out of bed and start doing things if I want to save the situation. So here I am, sitting at my desk with my cup of coffee, writing about how I feel rather than letting it ruin my morning.
Edit: Followed by breakfast of course!
I’ll try to cut a long and complicated story short.
Yesterday my GP referred me to the adult outpatient services, with ‘URGENT’ written at the top of the form with a big box around it (a little dramatic, no?) She rang CAMHS (my child outpatients) and made an appointment for me to go down there ASAP to be medically checked over (without checking with me if I was busy at that time - I had to go to work!). My CAMHS therapist was texting me during lectures, telling me it was ‘very important’ I came that afternoon, and that I should cancel work. My GP continued to remind me that it was good I was cooperating, as it was nicer/easier this way (*cough* or you’ll get sectioned *cough*).
Whilst I found this all way over the top, I’m past the stage of fighting professionals, so off I went to CAMHS. The way my nurse was treating me was an absolute joke. Usually CAMHS ignore me until I’m nearly dead and the whole thing must have been rather embarrassing for them considering they discharged me from the ward at a much lower weight than I am now, and basically considered me ‘recovered’ a few weeks ago. But now she wouldn’t stop stroking my back and holding me up, and had her arms either side of me ‘in case I collapsed’. When she said ‘Oh, are you alright to take the stairs?’ I wanted to scream. I’M THE SAME PERSON AS I WAS LAST WEEK FOR GOODNESS SAKE. You know, the one who didn’t really need to come in anymore or be weighed?
Anyway, they ended up taking me down to A&E and I was passed around all the different departments as I recounted my life story to each new doctor/nurse, and after a blood test, urine sample and ECG, they FINALLY established that there was nothing physically wrong with me and I could go home. My mum came in halfway through and insisted on taking me home for dinner, so back home I went without any of my overnight stuff.
I wanted to go back to halls, but it’s always useful to go home and raid the house for things I’ve run out of. I had to steal my mum’s tights and socks though. The adult services rang me to offer an appointment today, so I went there this afternoon (missing even more lectures) and they did another blood test (do I have any left?!) I was nervous and the whole ‘psychiatric hospital’ atmosphere did depress me at first, but the people who assessed me were lovely. It was a pain filling out the EDQ forms for the millionth time, and explaining my history yet again. But the people weren’t patronising or threatening, and said they would see me next week. They did warn though that I was on the brink of admission, and if my blood abnormalities got worse and I’d lost weight again next week, they might have to admit me as an inpatient. But, as she put it, “You seem to want to turn things around, so we’re not even going to talk about that!”
The service offers CBT (not psychotherapy, thank goodness), and the waiting list is long, but they gave me self-help book suggestions and I appreciated the balance they struck between telling me to eat and how much, and acknowledging how hard it was. It’s only been one appointment, but I feel quite positive about it already.
However, it seems like the ‘extra’ food my mum got me to eat last night have totally vanquished any hunger today, so I haven’t been been able to act on my motivation much :( Plus, ironically, all these appointments haven’t given me time to eat properly. I’ve really got to get it together!
GP: Looks like it might be an admission.
Me: What? To where??
GP: To hospital. How do you feel about that?
Me: Well… I didn’t think I was at that stage… isn’t that a bit drastic??
GP: Your weight is drastic.
Me: But I weigh so much more than when I was first discharged…
GP: Tries to ring CAMHS but they are closed
GP: You’ll see me again tomorrow. I want you to see CAMHS as soon as you can and we can discuss this over the phone all together. Alright, you understand what I want you to do?
Me: Yes. But… I’m not sure if I want to do it.
GP: I see. But you are still involved at this stage. At a certain point, you won’t be involved, and it won’t be your choice anymore. It would be nicer if we could do things with your consent.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME AGAIN WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY
I hate the lack of control I have over my mind. This morning I was feeling completely defeated again, wanting to drop out of uni, give up, go home. Then I thought about how I can’t live with my parents forever and my mum will eventually die and then I might as well die, and what’s the point of anything.
Now I am feeling a little less distraught, but it’s alarming how these ‘moments’ are so frequent and intense, and there’s nothing I can do except wait for it to go away, and no matter how many times it’s happened before, in the moment I can’t tell myself it’s temporary and it really does feel like it’s the end. I hate this inconsistency. Why can’t I just be sane?
I’m aware this state of mind will probably only last an hour or so, but I’d better make the most of it. I’m done with this fucking disease. Yesterday was spent staring into space, convinced I was going to drop out of uni and disappear into nothingness. But I want to try. I want to live.
Nothing like a good friend to make you cry all over your desk <3
As before, writing is helping me to detect patterns/cycles. Here’s a current one:
1) Time to eat, but my stomach isn’t rumbling so I wait until it does.
2) Fall into a depressed state, feel weak and miserable. Mealtime passes, and I ignore these hunger cues because physical rumbling is the only one I (ED) will accept.
3) Waste lots of time feeling this way, sitting in my room, not wanting to live anymore.
4) Rumbling stomach finally arrives, but feel like I don’t deserve the food anymore because I have wasted so much time sitting and doing nothing. So I carry on sitting and doing nothing, now with a rumbling stomach
5) Realise I’m not achieving anything. Finally eat.
6) Brain gets nourishment, feel miles better and ready to recover/take on the world.
7) Return to step 1 at next mealtime.
It hasn’t even begun and I feel so hopeless
It’s been months and months since I last posted (a year maybe? I don’t know.) and after a lot of consideration, I’ve decided I need to start blogging again. My life has drastically changed - I’m at university now, having to take care of myself, which up until now I haven’t been doing all too well. I would say I’ve relapsed, but that term never feels right, as I was never recovered. It’s just that now, it’s completely down to me.
I’ve had the depressive episodes, the wanting to drop out already, doctors and parents warning me that if I carry on like this, I can’t continue my course. So every evening I tell myself that tomorrow I will try harder, but it never happens.
Writing has helped me so much to organise my thoughts in the past, but every time I stop for a while, I feel inexplicably terrified of starting again. Maybe it’s the ‘all or nothing’ thinking - if I write, I will do it obsessively, and it will take over my life. Anyway, I’ve been feeling sorry for myself for years because ‘nothing works’, but to be honest, I have never really seriously used all the resources around me. I’ve wasted a lot of potential support that is now gone. So I can either lament the fact that I’m no longer in a supportive hospital setting and use it as an excuse to stay sick, or I can seize the opportunity to recover for myself and really be able to say that I did it, through my own strength.
So that’s why I’m writing. It’s one of the things consistently recommended in self-help books, by therapists, in treatment centres etc. So this is part of me actually trying.
The new routine has been strange. I must say it’s been a bit of effort (mentally and physically) getting up and weighing out all the correct amounts for breakfast, powering through without letting the guilt get to me. On the flip side though, it has also reduced my anxiety! I don’t wake up panicking that my mum will oversleep, and force myself to stay in bed as long as she does until I can shut my rumbling stomach up. That was the main thing that was so hard about the old routine - not having control over when I could eat. Control is a big part of what this is all about. When I wasn’t in treatment, I may have been starving but at least I could tell myself it was my decision not to eat, and somehow that made me feel good. In a twisted way, my mum sort of took the place of ED. I made her the new authority over when I could and couldn’t eat. I know this was very difficult for her to live with.
Being human, she would slip up a few times a week and forget a snack here and there. Or worst of all, forget about me while I was eating and get stuck into Facebook or something. I would feel panicked, abandoned, worthless and furious and it would ruin my day entirely, especially if it happened in the morning! Now, when I feel this coming, I can remind myself that actually, we decided it was now my responsibility. It still bothers me that it doesn’t mean that I can’t tell whether she’s letting me take responsibility or really has forgotten about me, but I try to catch this thought as irrational and irrelevant before it drives me crazy.
I’m struggling to eat when I’m not hungry, and my mum has been prompting me here and there. Sometimes I don’t quite have as much as I should, but eating a bit less and eating it myself feels so much more of an accomplishment than kind of being spoon-fed the whole lot.
This weekend has already highlighted some benefits of taking responsibility for me, as unfortunately my mum has been ill and in bed a lot. Usually this would be an enormous struggle for me, and also induce a lot of guilt about feeling that way when my poor mother is suffering (see this post) but now it’s a whole lot easier for both of us.
Thanks to those who gave supportive messages after my last post. Lots of love! <3
I know I keep saying this. “This time I will blog regularly, and make an effort to keep it up even when I don’t feel like it.” But you know what? I think it’s the fact that I say that, that results in me mucking up once and then never coming back. You know me: black and white, all or nothing. So maybe I should stop making unfulfilled promises (mostly to myself I guess, but also anyone else who cares to read) and maybe I would actually be able to blog.
There are a few pros and cons to getting myself back on Tumblr. I’m making some pretty big changes right now and I do a lot of reflecting in my head that turns into a crazy jumbled mess, and I know from experience that writing things down allows them to make a lot more sense. Just putting it out there helps, and any support that comes my way as a result is always a great bonus (though that’s not what I’m after at all, since I’m not exactly great at doing this for others).
Then on the other hand, I’m worried that focusing on my issues will make them a bigger deal than they are and allow them to remain in my life. But if I can replace the mental freak-outs and mindless scrolling through food/fitness websites with some constructive writing, that would be an improvement for sure!
As of Wednesday, I am taking care of all my own food. This may not seem like such a big deal. Or it might, but I don’t think I can even describe how big a deal this actually is for me. I’ll start by trying to go through my ‘history of food supervision’ (now wouldn’t that be the most boring book title ever?!)
*May be triggering (no numbers, just behaviours)*
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