Anorexia

All posts in the Anorexia category

To be honest….

Published 14 March, 2013 by ladyem83

This phrase seems to have been incredibly diluted through excessive use in popular discourse.  My brother uses the abbreviation, ‘tbh’ too frequently in text messages.  Why do we feel the need to prefix certain statements and/or opinions with a warning of honesty?  Surely we should be confident that every opinion we express is done so with pride, conviction and, above all else, honesty?

I have entitled this post as such because I feel a need to qualify my previous post  My 30th birthday…

This blog honestly describes my path through anorexia, depression and recovery.   My 30th birthday… described how I enjoyed and experienced my fabulous birthday weekend.  If, however,  I am to be true to this blog, then I should also describe the other aspect to my birthday weekend because, recovery isn’t all party poppers and Champagne.

My path through recovery seems to be hellishly bumpy.  Just as I begin to gather strength, a degree of contentment and self-confidence, a demon inside me hits the self-destruct button and I spiral downwards at a rate of knots.

In my writing, I purposefully separate myself from the demon.  You may think I’m seeking a scapegoat, so that I can excuse my thoughts and behaviour. This isn’t the case.  I know this isn’t the case because I have lived most of my life without anorexia and depression.  I know that I do not want to walk the path to self-destruction, yet there is something inside me that paints an extremely convincing picture as to why I deserve only self-destruction.  You may say; “Well, if you know that’s not the real you and that you want to behave differently, then why don’t you?”

At this point, I hold my hands up.  You may give up reading here, and I don’t blame you.  You may despise my weakness and think I should, ‘pull myself together’;  I know that’s what I think.

I am a strong character.  I have been strong for the last 17 years.  I really don’t know why, but now, for some reason I can’t quite muster that all-encompassing strength to put myself on the right track and continuously keep myself there.

Oh, believe me, when it’s called for I can put on my ‘Game Face’ and knock it out of the park.  But, during the hours I spend alone (and they are many), I struggle with the other voice.  I’m so tired of putting on my Game Face.  Even at the weekend when no Game Face was required, just being happy and being me, is enough for the other voice to kick into gear and put me in my place.

So, here it is TBH:

I was shaking and crying when I saw my birthday cards and presents….I don’t deserve that love.

Mum held me to ransom outside Aberdeen:  “We will sit here in the car until you’ve eaten that bread roll.  IT doesn’t want you to enjoy this weekend, we are not giving IT what IT wants.”  I hid half of the bread roll in the folds of the road map until an hour later when I confessed to Mum what I’d done and then ate the rest of it, knowing that doing so was like throwing a grenade into the heart of Ana’s camp but that I needed to do it.

I felt I didn’t deserve the effort my brother and his girlfriend had gone to to make a wonderful, relaxed birthday buffet for me (including all my safe foods).

I don’t deserve, I don’t deserve, I don’t deserve.

This all sounds so self-pitying, and I won’t think ill of you if you interpret it that way.

As a small token of defence I will say that; I am trying.  Yep, I’m tripping up and cocking up an awful lot, however, along the way I am telling those who need to know all about these mess-ups.  I don’t think I’m strong enough to do this on my own.

I would so like to bury my head in the sand and stay there, but if I do so I will be signing my own death certificate.

Suffice to say, something is still preventing me from signing that death certificate and at times, I really resent whatever that ‘something’ is.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep walking, making messy mistakes, stumbling, falling, reaching out my hand, getting up and falling again until, finally, hopefully, I am able to walk alone.

This is not a pretty truth, but it’s my truth. 

Advertisements

Dangling Carrots

Published 20 November, 2012 by ladyem83

Excuse me the indulgence of a further post today.

My last post, ‘A Game of Patience’ explains what the last few days have been like; dark and lonely.

I’ve spent the last hour or so searching for scientific research articles to explain this disease.  What am I looking for; a cure, a step-by-step guide to recovery?  I want to understand the beast that lurks in the dark places in my mind and continues to torment me.  I thought that I was Ana but that’s not the case.

Just as a group of haywire cells divide and form a malignant tumour which invades an otherwise healthy body, a part of my brain malfunctioned on some level and anorexia developed and forced its way into my mind.   The degrees to which I invited it, permitted its presence and colluded with it are something that only I can try to work out.  However, Carrie Arnold’s book, ‘Decoding Anorexia’ is now on my Amazon wish list is a research guide!

It’s different now, I don’t want to be Ana’s victim.  I have chosen not to follow Ana’s ways and yet she’s still hanging on.

However, despite her persistence, I want to let her know and those who read this and perhaps are fighting a similar battle, that our small victories must not be overlooked:

I eat. I even eat chocolate, cashew nuts and…haggis!  Not in one sitting, not frequently and not in great amounts but I know that I can!

I recognise when I’m hungry and I’m generally not afraid to feed my body.

I can leap in the air!  This formed part of one of my exercise DVDs and only a few months ago I didn’t have the strength to jump up.

I wear clothes, I fill them out.  Clothes no longer hang from me.  Yes, this scares me but I will continue to tell myself that it is healthy.

I can read.  My ability to concentrate has returned and I can  now sit and read a book without rereading the same paragraph several times.

I have a growing sense of myself again.  I haven’t got it all back and I don’t like that I lost it along the way but I am finding myself again.

I can run!  I have to be in the mood but my legs feel strong and I feel energy running through them.

I laugh, I feel, I enjoy. Undeniably the most precious and which should never, ever be taken for granted.

So, although when Ana hits me, she hits me hard, I must not overlook where I am now.  I must not forget how far I’ve come.  This is why I have to keep going.

These and many others are the carrots being dangled in front of me and this recovering anorexic is hungry for them all!

 

A Game of Patience

Published 20 November, 2012 by ladyem83

I never believed anorexia was an illness.  I thought that it was who I truly was, I thought it was a choice I had made.  But, I held that belief when it was thinking for me.

Now, I know it’s an illness.  Now that I’m fighting its urges, breaking its rules and trying hard to be me again, I know that becoming anorexic wasn’t a choice I made.   I don’t know how it happened or what wires in my brain have become frazzled or crossed but anorexia is not a path I chose.

This weekend Mum and I went to visit Granny.  I’d been uncertain about going and had had a wobble in the morning when I tried on my pre-Ana jeans and they fitted me again.

Despite being confused and scared by how this made me feel I decided to try and block out Ana’s thoughts. I was going to make Granny proud of me.  I was going to show her how ‘well’ I was doing.

At dinner that evening I was on form.  We were laughing and chatting and I even had some gravy and a small bite of a roast potato.   They were delicious!  We followed dinner with some fruit cake and I let myself try some cheese and crackers.  Yes, I was pushing it but I wanted to.  I wanted Granny to be proud of me.  I didn’t want her to know that I was still painfully blighted by thoughts of toxic food infecting me and making me swell. That I could feel my jeans hugging my waist and my thighs touching slightly and pushing against the seams.  I wanted to enjoy a simple family meal.  I wanted to enjoy cheese and crackers as they’re something we don’t have at home.  I wanted to just be!

Mum and I share a room at Granny’s and I woke at 2:30am.  Ana was swarming around in my mind.  What had I done?  Why had I been so weak…again.  I’ll pay for it, she’ll make me pay for it.

I began to squirm as I felt the poison expand in my stomach.  My breathing gained pace.  I clenched my fists, feeling what was happening and trying to pull myself back.

By now my feet were twitching fast as I tried to fight the feeling of the poison spreading so quickly throughout my whole body.  I continued to squirm and let out desperate groans.   She’d got me.

Mum woke and asked several times whether I was ok and, of course, my response was a curt, ‘Yes, I’m fine’.

She got up, put the light on and pulled the sheets back.

I pulled myself tighter into a ball as she tried to coax me out of bed.  I didn’t want to move.  Moving would be fighting Ana.  I had to just ride the punishment out.  Mum’s tone changed from assertive but gentle to determined, not taking no for an answer.

I don’t remember walking down stairs.

I don’t remember Mum making us a cup of tea.  I don’t remember her getting the deck of cards from the drawer and declaring that we’d play a game of patience together.

She held the cards in front of me and told me to shuffle.  I pulled my knees to my chest and shook my head.  I couldn’t be distracted from Ana.  I couldn’t let myself walk away from her.

After three attempts I picked the deck up and began to shuffle.

For the next two hours we sat at the breakfast table playing cards.  We laughed when I insisted on ‘helping fate along’ aka cheating!  We laughed when Mum came up from behind me and surprised me by grabbing my twitching feet.  She encouraged me to drink my tea even though I didn’t want to put anything inside me.  We played cards until Ana realised that I was no longer paying her the attention she demanded and she quietened her voice and slackened her grip.

Mum clasped my hand instead and told me to look at the bond we made.  She told me that we’re an extension of each other and we’ll help each other through.  She won’t let me go as long as I hang on to her.  We were a team, as we always have been.  She pulls me back but that’s because I choose to let her.

The same thing happened the next afternoon at the dinner table and I left Granny’s with tears streaming down my face.  We drove for miles with my hand over Mum’s on the gear stick as I tried to focus on each gear change.

At dinner tonight, despite it being a meal we’ve eaten hundreds of times and one I feel safe with, I felt Ana swarming into my stomach again.  I was full and I didn’t want to be.  I hated the feeling and the taste of food.  With tears in my eyes I went upstairs and brushed my teeth until I felt clean.

I don’t want to be like this. Why is my mind attacking me in this manner?  Why can I walk down a street one day and feel fine and the next day my eyes are darting from body to body examining, comparing and questioning.

Anorexia isn’t a lifestyle choice; it’s an insidious disease and the only tool I have to try and slowly cure my broken mind, is my broken mind.

This is the hardest game of patience I’ve ever had to play.

The Inner Dialogue

Published 11 November, 2012 by ladyem83

Wake up.

Emma:  It’s breakfast time.  Am I hungry? Should I have something to eat?  Breakfast is a normal thing to have.  Do I need it?  If I do have something to eat what should I have?  Toast or porridge?  Which is better?  If I have toast then how much?  If I have toast then I’ll have jam or Flora on it too.  What about the fat and sugar?  How do I calculate those calories?  Or maybe I should have porridge.  But if I have porridge should I put some chopped apple in?  I like that but I don’t need it.  What do I feel like eating?  I don’t know.  Do I feel hungry?  I don’t know.  I can feel something in my tummy but is that hunger or greed?  Should I feel hungry now?  If I’m not hungry and I eat breakfast then what does that make me; greedy, weak, fat?

Makes toast and a cup of tea.

Emma:  I’m not sure how I feel about this.  I’m not sure I want it.

Takes a bite.

Emma:  I love Marmite on toast! But what’s it doing to me?

Ana:  You’ve given in again.  Why are you eating this when I told you that you don’t need it?!  Getting pleasure from eating is weak and only leads to bad things.  You’ll get fat, and weak and disgusting.  Remember how it used to be, remember how strong you felt with those pangs of hunger in your tummy.   You were stronger than everyone else because you felt them but didn’t give in to them.  That was good!  You’ve been giving in this week so much but no more.   I want to test your strength.  I know you can do it.  You deserve to be punished for what you’ve done.  You should bake your fruit cake.  I know you love the moist, brandy infused fruit and the warming taste of cinnamon and mixed spice.  I was there when you ate it last week.  You enjoyed it.  That’s not the way.  That food is dirty and dead.  It does nothing but infect your body with fat and sugar.  See how your face is ballooning, see how your stomach is swelling, even your wrists, your fingers, your feet.  Fat is getting everywhere and all because you listened to other people instead of me.  They want to you to be vulnerable.  They want you to be like them, they don’t want to see you exhibiting the willpower they can never have.  So you’ll bake the cake but you won’t eat a single crumb.  You may want it but you don’t need it.  I promise you that if you don’t eat the cake, I’ll make you happier than food could ever make you.  I’ll make your body look beautifully lean again.  Your arms will be slim, the contour of your shoulders will be sleek.  That’s what you want.  That will make you happy again.  Being strong makes you happy.  You don’t need to eat those things.  They won’t make you happy.  You have nothing without me.  You are nothing without me but weak, fallible.

Emma:  But what about these words:   ‘I can promise that while you might have been lighter in February, you didn’t look healthy. The pleasure from food isn’t one to run from. Your body needs food. If you give Ana these wins, you’re getting her one step closer to her ultimate goal – to take you away from everyone who loves you. She will kill you. Food is your ammunition and you need to fight with everything you’ve got.’ I think there’s truth in these words.  Remember February, Em.  Remember how your eyes had no life, remember catching the reflection of yourself in the mirror and seeing the shape of the Scream mask.  Remember how you shivered with cold all the time.  You haven’t had a bath for 10 months because you can’t get comfortable on the hard surface.  You haven’t had a meal out with the girls, or spent a full weekend with them for months.  You used to love your weekends with the girls, long lunches with a bottle of wine then getting glammed up and going out for a late dinner and drinks.  You loved walking down the street with them.  Remember how proud you felt to be part of that three-strong friendship group.   Now when you look at them all you see is two wonderful, beautiful shining stars who don’t deserve to be dragged down by your presence.  They’re everything you want to be.  They’re happy, they have loving partners, they’re building lives you dreamed of having.  Do I deserve to have that?  Is it even possible for me to have that?  I don’t think it’s meant for me.  I believe those things happen to other people.  I’ve learnt that.   I’ve learnt that they’re the good ones, they deserve the love of someone else.  I’m the one who fails, makes poor judgments.  People have shown that I don’t matter to them, they saw me as nothing more than a pawn in their game; disposable and unimportant.  So it’s best that I don’t get involved, that I stay on the periphery where it’s safe.

But then I re-read those words above.

In chess a pawn can be promoted to any other piece of its player’s choosing if it reaches the opponent’s side of the board.

I was never a victim.  I never let myself be walked over.  I always found a way to play to my voice, to do what was good for me and what I knew to be true.

I’m getting angry; really, really angry.

Why am I letting the effects of those two people ruin me?  Why am I allowing Ana to beat me down?  Why do I believe that I don’t deserve to have the things I dreamed of having as a little girl?  Why don’t I deserve to be happy?  Why do I believe that I am not enough, not good enough?

If I walk back into Ana’s arms, I will never find the answers to those questions.  I will only continue to believe their mantra.

‘Permission is the paradox that gives control.’  By allowing myself to be free, to be forgiven, to be myself, to accept myself, to like myself, to be proud of myself, I regain control.  I am allowing Ana to control me now.  All I need to do is allow myself to control me.

I’m so very very tired.  I’m so fed up of so much of my time being consumed by the endless circles of discussion going on in my head.  The constant questions, fears, arguments, tears.

But I have always worked hard to get the things I want.  This is another thing I have to work hard at.  This is undoubtedly the biggest challenge and the stakes have never been higher.  But could there really be a better goal to work towards than a happy life?

The Next Round

Published 9 November, 2012 by ladyem83

I clung to my Mum and cried desperately.  My fingers dug hard into her shoulders.  Don’t let me go, Mum.  Pull me back.  Ana’s pulling me hard.  She’s twisting the knife hard into my stomach. She hates me.  She’s making me suffer.  With every last little drop of will I am trying  to stand up to her. But it hurts.

I slept yesterday afternoon and on waking I just sat.  I knew something was different.  I was still not out of choice, but out of fear.  If I moved, I feared waking the dragon.  If I parted my lips I was afraid of what would go in.  I knew I couldn’t eat dinner.  I visualised the alternative meal options but I could not imagine any of them inside me.  I could not imagine allowing food or liquid to penetrate my self.

So when Mum arrived home later than usual I lied and told her I’d had dinner.

Mum, please question me.  Please doubt me.  If you ask me I know I won’t be able to lie to you but I can’t defy Ana and offer you the truth. You have to ask me for it.

She didn’t question; not out loud anyway.

I willed her to ask if I was OK.

My mind was spinning on repeat: skipping dinner was wrong; it was a backward step.  But you don’t need dinner.  You’re stronger without it.  Feel that hollowness in your tummy; that’s strength, that’s your power.

Mum finally asked and I told her:  I can’t put anything inside me, Mum.

She suggested marmite on toast.  I considered the strong, savoury, salty taste and felt disgust.  No.  I suggested a piece of plain toast.

Dry toast. …that’s not a real meal.   That’s cheating.

Mum offered to share some of her dinner with me.  I accepted, but I didn’t want anything to do with it.  Could she prepare it and bring it to me? If I got involved with its preparation I was complicit in allowing this violation.

She brought the plate in and I ate four slices of courgette and a small fork full of meat.  It felt thick, stodgy, dirty and toxic.

I kept going.

It’s just food.  It’s fuel.  It’s your body’s medicine.

I eventually finished.

I turned to Mum and held on to her tightly as I cried.

I was being attacked from the inside by this poison I’d just ingested.  I physically felt it spreading its way throughout my body, infecting each inch of me with poisonous thick gloop.  It was clinging to my body and I was growing fatter and dirtier by the second.

My body and mind had turned against me in a vicious attack.  The ability of the mind to inflict so much distress and pain on itself is terrifying.

Mum wrapped me in her arms and stroked my hair as she told me I was safe.  What I had done was good.  It was the vicious disease making me feel like this.  I’d been strong and showed the disease that I wasn’t going to give in to it.   All I’d done was give my body what it needs to get a little stronger and healthier. She was proud of me for doing it.  She loved me so much.  She wouldn’t let me go back to Ana.  We’ll do this together.  I’m not alone. 

I hung on to her every word.  Healthy, safe, strong, good, love.

She held me, comforted me and repeated this over and over and over until the tears calmed and the pain lessened.

All I’m doing is trying to beat Ana and reclaim my voice.  I could give in.  God, there are days when I just want to go back to her control.  I want to stop fighting it. I want to stop hurting.  I want to stop the battle with myself.  If I resign myself back into her clutches life will be simpler.

But…..Ana will kill me.  I know she will.

I don’t want to die.  I don’t even want to disappear anymore.  I might not totally occupy my space in this world at the moment but I know I want to.  I want to fill out every corner of my space, in fact I want to explode from the seams of my space.  I want to shine.  I want to be a complete person.

So, I’m picking up my emotionally limp, battered and bruised body and I’m getting back into the ring for the umpteenth round. With a heavy heart, sad eyes and only a flicker of strength inside me I say:

bring it on.

 

Stepping Off My High Horse & Off The Edge Of A Cliff…

Published 16 October, 2012 by ladyem83

I’ve given my therapists a hard time over the last few months.  I consider myself to be a relatively intelligent individual who is in tune with her thoughts (the good and bad) and can effectively communicate them.

I know my underlying issues which I have taken to extreme lengths and which have resulted in  my depression and anorexia.   I have wanted to address these issues with my psychiatric team.  I am an all or nothing person.  When I commit to something I give it my best and I give it my all.  So, you can imagine my frustration when the professionals tell me that I am not ‘cognitively able‘ to deal with such issues at this moment due to my low weight.  I could not (and to a degree still now) do not accept this.

How dare they claim that my cognitive function is impaired by my low weight.  To counter their ‘ridiculous’ claims I got numerous textbooks from the library and studied the science behind diet and nutrition.   I studied the various psychological theories and their respective practitioners.   I’d play them at their own game.  I’d show them that they didn’t know what they had when they were dealing with me.   I’d show them that I can take on whatever they’ve got to throw at me.  I can talk about the things that are eating me up inside without it pushing me over the edge!

….or can I?

When it comes to my life, be it buying a car, considering my financial situation, my mental health, the first thing I do is research.  I want to be able to talk to on some kind of par with the people involved.  I don’t presume to be an armchair expert in any of their fields, but I use my research to give me a basic  grounding, so that I can question and try to understand at a deeper level.

My dietitian once asked whether I would expect a client to come to me for legal advice and then proceed to tell me that they have already consulted the Law of Property Act.  Truth be told, I’d take my hat off to them and give them an understanding nod of respect!

Notwithstanding the incredibly arrogant tone emanating from the above paragraphs , I am the first to admit when I don’t know something. I am the first to ask a question when I don’t understand.  I am not ashamed if I haven’t grasped something or don’t know it.  I am receptive to and respectful of other people’s views, knowledge and experience.  I don’t know it all, but I thought I do know myself!

So, when I read the following in a psychology article (please see the link at the foot of this post for the complete article) I could do nothing but hold my hands up and very quickly clamber down from my high horse:

The emboldened words are those which particularly struck a chord with me.

The italicized words are my comments.

Starvation study shows that recovery from anorexia is possible only by regaining weight

Anorexia is a physical illness of starvation
Published on November 23, 2010 by Dr Emily T. Troscianko in A Hunger Artist

There is one finding about anorexia which seems to me more crucial to treating it successfully than anything else.  It is a counterintuitive insight, but one that seems – like all the best facts – completely obvious when once one knows it.  It is this: that for the anorexic, gaining weight is the prerequisite for mental recovery, rather than vice versa.  Put another way: you can’t make an anorexic want to put on weight until he or she has begun to do so.  Put yet another way: the mind may make the body sick, but only the body can help the mind be well again.

The above  has been the mantra of my various therapists for months.  My argument has been that it is a vicious circle; my underlying issues are preventing me from eating freely, if we don’t straighten them out, how can I feed my body?! 

***

Christopher Fairburn’s Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Eating Disorders(2008: Chapter 11) describes how some of the effects of being underweight (i.e. having a BMI below 17.5) contribute to maintain the eating disorder: being preoccupied with food and eating, becoming socially withdrawn and losing interest in other things. Becoming indecisive, feeling a heightened need for routine and predictability, and feeling heightened sensations of fullness after eating, all help create vicious circles in which the only way to avoid mental or physical discomfort in the short term is by keeping on starving, but the only way to escape these problems in the long term is to regain weight.  He also emphasises that while sufferers of anorexia will be convinced that their present state reflects their personality, in fact their personality is masked by the effects of being underweight and that their own personality will only emerge again if weight is regained.  Anorexics sometimes fear that they will stop being ‘special’, or stop knowing who they are, if they regain weight, but of course there is nothing special about being severely underweight, and ‘who one is’ is irrelevant: one is simply the same as everyone else who is severely underweight, just like the brave men who participated in the Starvation Study. One’s true character remains hidden when the body is starved, to be rediscovered by starting to eat again. 

Point noted.  Effecting that point is the challenge.

The two facts of key importance to the sufferer of anorexia who is aware of the bleakness of the way in which he or she is living but cannot resolve to change are as follows:

1.      If you regain weight, not only the physical effects of your current state – being constantly cold and weak, sleeping and concentrating poorly, bad hair and skin – will disappear, but so will the ways in which you currently think and feel.  Your body is starved, and your character and your thoughts are dominated by this starvation, and will cease to be so once you allow yourself to regain weight.

2.      There is no point in waiting for the magical moment at which you decide, once and for all, that you want to start eating more again, or to regain weight.  Your starved state is making you unable to think flexibly enough to fully comprehend the possibility of eating or living differently, or even the possibility of wanting to think about and enjoy things other than food; it has hidden from you who you really are, and made you believe you are nothing but the anorexia; it is making the smallest piece of food feel like too much.  For these reasons you will never truly want to recover, but you have to seize all your feelings of despair, desperation, hope, recklessness, and curiosity in order to make yourself plunge into that first day and first meal of recovery.  As long as you keep yourself going, keep eating, through the first difficult weeks, it will get easier and easier.

(Source:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hunger-artist/201011/starvation-study-shows-recovery-anorexia-is-possible-only-regaining-weight )

I was so incredibly struck by this when I read it and again today reading it.  It is so true.

My current BMI is still below 17.5.

I think I have overcome most of my issues with food.  Not so.  When my depression hit me badly a couple of days ago I denied myself lunch.  I sat in a cafe with an apple cut into chunks on a plate whilst my two best friends tucked into their delicious looking lunches that I so wanted.

This afternoon travelling into town I felt hungry.  I thought I’d have a yoghurt but decided against it because I wanted to have a latte in Starbucks. I felt hunger but denied myself.  My head told me that I was just being weak if I ate something.  I didn’t need it, the latte would be sufficient and was a treat in itself.

How to break this mindset?  It seems the only thing for it is to switch to auto-pilot.  To just eat; not think, feel, question, consider, challenge, delay, or barter.

EAT.

And that’s where this overthinking, control freak falls down.  The prospect fills me with terror and utter confusion.  I am careful, I plan, I make safe, considered decisions.  You’re asking me to approach the edge of a cliff and keep walking in the hope that somehow a path will emerge before me and I won’t fall.  I’m not stupid! If I walk off that cliff I will free fall faster than Felix Baumgartner and my landing will be decidedly more messy.

I keep myself measured so that I don’t fall apart.  I can’t let myself go.

I don’t believe anything will catch me if I step off that cliff edge.

For all my efforts and thinking I have moved forward I have only increased my comfort zone ever so slightly and I remain utterly rigid within that zone.

Until I throw caution to the wind and embrace flexibility I am going to remain in this so-called comfort zone that is in fact a straight jacket.

I need to act.

I don’t know whether I can.

 

Squidgy Around The Edges

Published 15 October, 2012 by ladyem83

I’ve just typed the heading to this post and felt a lurch in my tummy and tears prick in my eyes.

I don’t cry easily these days.  In fact over the last 10 months of this hell, I’ve hardly cried.  So, to spare my pride, let’s attribute this emotional wobble to tiredness!

My body is changing; perceptibly and before my very eyes.

My weight loss happened gradually over a two year period than dropped dramatically in the space of a couple of months at the beginning of this year.  However, my eyes were so blinded by depression and by the opaque cloak that Ana had thrown over me that I couldn’t see it.

Today was my fortnightly check in with my nurse for my blood to be taken and weight noted.  I’ve put on 2lb in two weeks and am now 1 stone heavier than I was in March.  1 stone.

My thighs aren’t as stick like (although my legs are still pretty unshapely still), my arms have lost that emaciated look.  My cheeks have filled out and my waist  has a softness to it:  I am squidgier around the edges now.

So why am I so scared and uncomfortable by what I see?  I have been two stone heavier than I am now and still been slim and, more importantly, I was happy and confident with the way I looked!

Ana taught me that protruding bones and the leanest of lean limbs were a symbol of my strength, my determination, my achievement.  It was a way to show the world that I was stronger than they were.  They were weak for giving in and feeding themselves.

The thing is, whilst I know that I am feeding and repairing my body, Ana’s words still linger in my mind.

How odd it is that I look at other women of all shapes and sizes and praise them.  I see their shapeliness not as indicative of greed or indulgence but of their pride in themselves.  I see it as representative of them being happy and content, I imagine them laughing freely with their friends over cocktails and nibbles; enjoying wonderful meals out with their partners.

Yet, when I look at my changing body I don’t see it as representative of any of those things.  Perhaps it’s partly because the weight gain has been caused not through happy social times but by bloody hard work.  Eating three times a day even though my dietician wants me to eat 6 times a day!

I’m a bundle of contradictions.  I want to be proud of the skin and the body I’m in again, like I used to be.  I want to really wear my clothes, not have them wear me.   Yet, despite wanting this so much, I’m not comfortable with the real life transformation that is visibly happening.

But, I will take the words of my dietician forward with me.

She used the example of a newborn baby, whose flesh and limbs are so soft and almost pliable.  The tissue making up those limbs has never been used, it has never borne weight.  Compare that newborn tissue with that of a toddler whose body is growing, learning to walk and carry its weight; that toddler tissue is firmer and grows into lean muscle.

In starvation mode my body had started to consume its muscle mass.  Now that I’m feeding it again, its stores are building.  Those stores aren’t lean muscle….yet.  They will change though.  The more I fuel my body, the stronger I get, the more my muscles will form underneath the soft tissue and I’ll regain my shape.

I had never ever thought of my body in those terms.  What terrible, terrible harm I inflicted on myself.  I caused my own body to turn on itself.

This truly is an existentialist journey of transformation, not only internally but externally.  I’m nowhere near the end; in fact, I suppose, there isn’t an end.  I may think that I’m well, fit and healthy, but I still have some distance to go before this butterfly breaks from her chrysalis.

Solitude, Reading and Tea

Lovingly updated by an odd History-loving bookworm

Healthy is happy.

Fighting anorexia for my life back.

A day at a time

"A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step"

drfullerstherapytips

Therapy Tips to Self Improve & Feel Better About Your Life

Balancing the Fs

my journey to balance Food Fitness Fun and Finances

Make-Up & Mirtazapine

The crazy girl's guide to life...

The life of a Daddy with mental illness.

Being a Dad is hard. Being a Dad with mental illness is even harder. This is my life laid bare for you all to read.

Nut Job is my middle name

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself"

Individual Thought Patterns

A Single Mum's Journey to Medical School

natpopsponders

The ponderings of Natpops

eatingasapathtoyoga

Savoring yoga & intuitive eating. Come join the journey.

Baking as Therapy

Recipes, musings and ideas- plus ' how to' tutorials

Natpops Mental Health Blog

A WordPress.com site

Lisa's Dreams

Where little dreams turn big

Living with Lightness

Holistic Health Coaching ~ Nourishing Yourself Inside & Out

Who Would Have Thought The Tiny Courageous?

Thoughts from the mind of a tiny man waging an unseen war.

The Dawn Report

Dawn O'Porter

Stuck In Scared

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself"