Going out at lunch time

For the duration of my eating disorder, 2 years, many of my friends left me (due to misunderstanding? fear?) and I also isolated myself. When ED comes in, there is no time for other people.

I’ve been struggling to make friends every since. I’ve gotten over my fear of talking to people at lunchtimes at college in the common room and, quite amazingly, I have begun to sit and eat lunch (without the paranoia that everyone is watching me or judging what I am eating). It hard to integrate back into the social circle when I was never there and when rumours began to spread due to my persistent and frequent absences.

Anyway, for the first time ever I was able to meet up with 3 of these people and another friend of theirs to go to the cinema to see Date Night. I found it very awkward as we were meeting up at 11am in town, with the film starting at 12.30, meaning this would disrupt my normal 12.30 lunch break. I adore strict schedules, and am very anxious when disruptions occur. I had various choices:

  1. Act as a weird person and take my own lunch with me in a lunch box — out of the question as I wish not isolate myself
  2. Buy lunch out in town with them and eat it instead — logical solution, but which would raise a lot of anxiety (perfect challenge for myself, however)
  3. Eat lunch after I get back — but then I would need to eat dinner later as I’d feel too full
  4. Skip lunch — not really an options as I don’t want to lapse

I decided, unfortunately, that I was too anxious, this time round, to buy lunch. So, I went with option number 3. The downside was that I could have hung around after the cinema for much longer for a general chit-chat.

Why could I not have chosen to eat a lunch from down town? Well, what if different food makes me fat? Would I have to count up to calories to make sure it was equivalent? The answer is no and no. “Fear foods” will not make me fat, only anxious. A few extra calories will not make me swell up overnight and will average out over the month. Counting calories is so inaccurate that it is futile.

That shall be my challenge for another day.

On the upside, I had great fun and was extremely happy to be able to socialise, for I still feel quite lonely. Things a looking up for me.

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On a tightrope: emerging into the real world

I was corresponding with another recoverer, and thought I would share with you my current struggles with learning to accept my life in recovery:

My life now is so much better without being so terribly ill, but in a was I find it difficult to re-emerge into the real life. My old life used to consist of travelling an hour to my OP treatment, seeing someone one or twice a week for an hour, getting home which took a hour. Then there were weekly blood tests at my GP. On top of that I developed an unstable shoulder due to muscle wasting (possible due to my anorexia?) which landed me on gas then morphine and then emergency anaesthesia at my local A&E a number of times. On top of bone scans, and other tests, and once a hospitalisation for medical instability. It blocked out every single worry I had, and every anxiety too as I was not living in the real world. I partly enjoyed the “life and death drama” of it all. Which is sad, I know. I lost friends, I disrupted my education, I isolated myself etc. And now it just feels so surreal that I am living “in the real world” and trying to be as normal as I can be. It just feels so odd that I have been so disconnected from the world for what seems like an eternity. Right now I feel I’m on a tightrope: I’m occasionally fantasising about the old (I know, very crappy and pathetic) life, and also about the life I could be living if I was even more free; I’m swaying between the two, but somehow managing to stay in equilibrium of being neither sick nor well.

Positive Qualities

This was an exercise I did in order to improve my self-esteem by writing a list of positive qualities. And, not only that, to back them up with evidence. Every so often I can add to the list. The important thing is to back it up with evidence, so that there is less chance of discrediting them.

  • I have a variety of achievements, awards and certificates which demonstrate my academic abilities. I am intelligent.
  • I take good care of my dog. I am caring.
  • I help injured wildlife and have helped to save the lives of 2 birds and hedgehog. I am compassionate.
  • I am punctual and reliable.
  • As a friend I am always loyal and caring and would never hurt other friends as others have done to me. I am trustworthy.
  • I can ski, snowboard, swim and do other sports. I have skills.
  • I am good at art and many people like seeing my work; I’ve had an exhibition at the Cornerstone Art Centre and have had a radio interview on the subject of art in Poland a few years ago. I am artistically talented.
  • I am very detailed in my work which always reflects a high level of accuracy. My teacher described me as “precise and creative” .
  • I learnt to web design at the age of 10, and currently run many (moderately successful and small) online communities / sites. I have skills and the ability to teach myself.
  • I always try to be polite to others and helpful where I can.

Summer Sunshine Worries

Summer is very challenging time for me for numerous reasons. It brings back memories of the end of May 2009, where my mum cried and said that no present would ever be greater than becoming recovered. It shattered me that she loved me so much. I always knew she did, but it broke my heart that I could not give her, at that time, something which would mean the world to her.

I am also dreading shopping for summer clothes (I had to throw out my anorexic ones, not that I had too many as I was wearing a warm coat in the winter last few years). That involves a lot of mirrors, decisions and deciding what best covers up the my pot belly which I’ve always hated. I always feel much worse after shopping. Well, I’ve not been for so long, but I haven’t got much to wear so I have to.

Secondly, I’m not sure what clothes I want to wear in the summer. I just can’t look at my thighs so I’m avoiding getting any shorts etc. And I find it difficult to wear certain tops.

I just hate my new body after weight restoration. I think I look so terribly ugly that I no longer both to put make-up on like I used to (because I’m ugly anyway). I look normal now. For me, that equates to being ugly and not special.

I want to change this and be proud of my body and be more confident in my own skin. However, I’m not sure exactly how to go about this. I’ve challenged myself in the following ways:

  • I plan not to weigh myself this week despite feeling rather huge
  • I plan on going shopping in a few weeks time (putting avoidance aside)

I’m looking for more challenges, however.

Giving Myself a Voice

This is the first time I have every considered blogging about the challenges I face, having been a sufferer of Anorexia Nervosa for two years. I am writing in an attempt to discover my own identity, to share my own struggles and journey, and to learn how to really “let go” of my eating disorder. Throughout my illness I have always struggled to find my own “voice” to conquer the demon of Anorexia.

I hope you join me in this journey.

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