I was weighed last Friday and crushed by the 2 pound increase. I was furious with myself. How can this have happened? I haven’t been actively increasing my calorie intake; I haven’t wanted to put on weight.
I went straight from the doctors to see my CPN. He got the full brunt of my fury. I sat with my arms crossed giving him the briefest of responses to his questions. Part way through I could feel the emotion bubbling up inside me and tears welling in my eyes. I didn’t want to cry. I didn’t want to let go. They were tears of anger, frustration and confusion.
I NEED MORE HELP!
We talked briefly around my issues, beliefs and he questioned them. I questioned right back at him. Why should I take down the brick wall that’s around me when it only results in me getting so painfully hurt? It’s happened too often. I’d rather live closed off and safe than open and utterly vulnerable to that pain.
But would I? When I really think about it, deep deep down, I want to be free. Carefree. I want to be happy. I want to engage in my life. But the scars I have are still painfully raw (despite me trying to cover them up).
I’ve become an expert at shutting my emotions away; at building an almost impenetrable wall around myself and my heart. My wonderful Dad died suddenly when I was 12 and from then on the wall’s been getting taller and deeper. Dad’s there, locked away in a tiny space inside me protected by that wall and now I’ve gone to join him. When I say ‘I’, I mean, that loving enthusiastic me that I’ve spoken about before. So, I’m now left with an outer empty shell governed by Ana and challenged sometimes by a quiet voice shouting from that safe place.
My CPN suggested rather than trying to process and work through my big issues, I should just tackle one thing that I know that I can change, however difficult it may be. I admitted that lunches are one area that I cheat. I don’t eat anything close to what my dietician recommends and I don’t eat snacks.
On Saturday I was meeting my friend, A. She’s been such a wonderful support over the last few months. She’s been through something similar, is straight talking and knows something of the internal battles I have.
Every now and then she sends me little packages that are so thoughtfully compiled. A selection of books she’s enjoyed, or DVDs. A little pamper package complete with a selection of nuts (sensitively included as she knows I couldn’t dream of eating a box of chocolates!), and this week, she sent me a small Tupperware container with two different compartments to encourage me to take my own prepared lunches with me when I go out and could manage my portions of meat/fish and cous cous.
Remembering what my CPN said, I suggested to A that we went out for lunch. I was terrified. I didn’t want to do it, but for that very reason alone I thought I should do it.
My legs were trembling as I sent her a message that morning with the suggestion. I was worried because I’d had a full breakfast whereas had I known I was going for lunch, I’d have compensated. I was scared of eating so much at lunchtime and not being able to try and burn it off. I was scared of allowing somebody else to prepare my food behind closed doors. What secret calories would be added without my knowledge? I’d also have to come home and have dinner that evening. Wouldn’t all this be too much, an indulgence that I didn’t deserve?
We met and went for coffee first and we talked through my frustrations with the ‘treatment’ and ‘support’ I’m getting (I use those terms loosely as, in my mind, what I do receive falls painfully short of what I need. That’s a rant for another post, however!).
After a chat, some black ED humour and lots of laughs, she said, “C’mon, let’s go get this done with then!”.
We went to my favourite little courtyard bistro tucked away in the middle of town on a cobbled street. Irrespective of the weather this place creates the feeling of a long, lazy relaxed Mediterranean afternoon enjoying good food and good wine with great company. Spanish music accompanies the gentle chatter of its customers and the clinking of glasses and cutlery. The tables outside are all under heaters and just in case that English chill manages to bite, there’s a blanket on the back of each chair; a wonderful touch!
We looked at the menu and I breathed a sigh of relief as I spotted the tuna salad as I’m comfortable with that.
We placed our orders and when it arrived I looked at the size. Ana kept telling me it was too much for lunch, I’d normally eat this for dinner! I countered her voice with the reasoning that it was just salad, there was no dressing and I wouldn’t eat the potatoes or the garlic bread. It wasn’t too much, this was normal, safe and I deserved to enjoy this!
Oh and it was wonderful! We took our time, chatted and relaxed. A put me at ease as we easily exchanged confessions of our weaknesses and fears, gossiped and caught up with each other’s latest sagas; a proper girls’ lunch! It soon didn’t feel like a test, it didn’t feel like an issue, it was lunch out with a friend and I cannot sufficiently convey how much I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I wondered whether I’d feel guilt afterwards but I didn’t. I even admitted to Mum that I felt hungry for my evening meal later on!
I felt buoyed up by my first lunch out. I felt proud to have done something ‘normal’ again. I felt happy to have treated myself.
But as ever with this rollercoaster of an illness, Ana pulled me back into her clutches.
Time to read ‘Two Steps Back’…