I’m tired of the psychological fairground ride I’m on. It only takes the slightest of triggers (perceptible or not) and my mindset flips to that of Ana. I can be ‘up’ one day: confident; happy; optimistic; and just as quickly I can be ‘down’ the next day: insecure, questioning, confused; tired. The in between time is spent spinning around on a waltzer of confusion, challenges and counter-challenges.
The waltzer’s strobe lights try to blind my rational views with new ideas, new ways to cheat, new ways to be ‘clever’, new ways to deceive. The music blaring tries to drown out my timid voice of reason. I’m gripping the handrail of this waltzer for dear life. My eyes are shut tight against the disorientating light. I’m trying to shout above the thumping music. I’m trying to focus on my centre, remain grounded, fight the incredible G-force that is trying to throw me out.
Why did I wake up on Monday morning not feeling comfortable with myself? Why did I have to keep myself busy all day? Why was I afraid of stopping, thinking? Why did I feel that I didn’t deserve to be?
If I’m having a ‘wobble’ day then anything I perceive to be a slight against me strikes me to my very core and my immediate reaction is to punish myself.
When my best friend told me her boyfriend had proposed I swelled with happiness for her, and then in the split second that followed I told myself: that will never happen to me, it only further cements the truth that I’m not worthy of anybody.
When somebody said my writing wasn’t quite the right subject for their website I interpreted it as a personal dismissal of me. I’m not good enough a person, I’ve failed.
My only coping mechanism is to punish myself by restricting my eating. After all, I don’t deserve to food!
Right now, other than breakfast and dinner (which I’m comfortable with, providing they’re my safe foods) anything else needs to be justified. What have I done to deserve that treat? Have I been sufficiently active to burn it off? Have I done something good so that it will constitute a treat for myself? Do I deserve that treat?
I spoke about this with my dietician this morning. I am all too aware that feeding my body is not rewarding it but rather fuelling and nurturing it, allowing it to grow, repair and rebuild.
But I feel disconnected from my body. My body is my outlet: the target of my fears, failures and anxieties.
I baked a cake yesterday with no intention of eating any. After dinner, however, I thought it would be nice to sit with a cup of tea and a slice of cake. I thought about it and decided that I would. I enjoyed it. Banana and hazelnut. Deliciously moist, fruity, crunchy and fresh. The perfect accompaniment to my Earl Grey tea.
Afterwards I sobbed until the tears ran dry. Ana was telling me that I’d been weak; that I hadn’t done anything which deserved that cake; it was empty food and eaten out of my sheer indulgence and greed.
I heard Ana’s words and recognised the malice in them. Those words weren’t nurturing, they weren’t caring, they weren’t protecting me.
I had only eaten a piece of cake. That one piece of cake was not going to make me fat. It was not going to damage me. I deserved to enjoy a piece of the cake which I had baked for no other reason than I wanted to try it!
I made a promise to myself at the weekend that I would start each day afresh. I wouldn’t allow one day’s negativity to permeate and infect my new day. I would take strength and encouragement from the positives and carry them forward with pride into my new day.
My instinct had been to restrict my eating today to compensate for the cake; but that’s not in keeping with my promise.
So, I acknowledged my feelings. I accepted that Ana’s voice had plagued me and tried to break me. I forgave myself for letting Ana in. I recognised that I had found some strength to challenge Ana’s rationale. I promised that tomorrow would be a new day. I would face tomorrow’s challenges afresh.
I’d love to say that I slept soundly in the comfort of my own words but it wasn’t so. I questioned, I deliberated, I worried, I doubted, I went around and around on the violent spinning circles of the waltzer; overlapping, tangling, spiralling, colliding circles.
Where am I this morning? I’m not sure why I’m trying to change, I don’t feel like I’m doing it for myself, out of pride for myself, out of love for, or interest in myself.
But today is a new day. So I tell myself:
I am deserving. I’m allowed to be happy.
I am worthy. I’m allowed to nurture myself.
I give myself permission to be happy.
I give myself permission to be open to other people and other experiences.
I forgive myself.
I accept myself.
NOW I MUST NOW LEARN TO BELIEVE THEM & EMBODY THEM.