Internal Criticisms

The big, dreaded, over-thought-about-before, phone call happened on Thursday. It was supposed to be Tuesday but got switched last minute. That in itself freaked me out for a good 12 hours…

But deep breaths and I got there.

I was so incredibly nervous to hear my old therapist’s voice as I sat on my bed but as I did I felt relieved and safe. I wasn’t in his big warm comfy office, but I may as well have been.

I always thought the kidney surgery was to blame for my relapse. I had this month of being unable to eat and if I did eat I would throw up involuntarily and I lost weight as a result. I remember crying to friends about how hard it was but I don’t think I quite got across  the fact I was talking about the mental pain, not the physical pain from the surgery.

He tried to get me back to basics, to talk about what happened in the months before that illness and all of a sudden, I remembered:

  • “Peru Sunday” (although all of that is more than solved right now. It was SHIT. It wasn’t fair but it is what it is)
  • My dad forced me to meet my ten year old half brother and took me round some of my most favourite places in London (some of which are now too hard for me to go to).
  • Family arguments when they asked me to give them a substantial amount of money and I ended up threatening to get lawyers involved.
  • I’ve drifted from a best friend completely. That was a painful process which I tried to repair but I genuinely think we just drifted naturally.

I cried so much. All this pain coming out. My friends and boyfriend want me to talk to them but I struggle so much due to the fact they emotionally care about me. I’m not saying my therapist doesn’t care about me but there is an element of ‘he can detach his emotions from me’. So when I tell him things, I don’t see a cringe in his face or hear pain in his voice.

It’s easier to remember everything.

We discussed how it sounds as though my ‘critical voice’ is at a whole new high and it’s suppressing any sort of ‘compassionate voice’ that would soothe my feelings. He asked me what the voice says…

No one’s ever going to love the fat girl.
You should be grateful that you have a boyfriend, that someone’s putting up with you.
No one’s ever going to understand or love the girl who makes herself sick.
No one’s ever going 
to love you.
Everyone’s going to get fed up with you if you can’t recover, they’re justified to abandon you.
You’re so fat.

….

Then he asked me, who these phrases (oh there’s more than just the above) remind me of?…

My greek family told me at 10 years old that I would never find love because I was so fat.

An ex told me that everyone else would hurt me because of the bulimia, that no one would love me, that I wouldn’t find anyone else other than him and then I’d regret leaving….that I should be grateful.

An ex told me I wasn’t trying to recover. That he knew I was restricting and purging but it was 100% up to me to recover….I remember that one the clearest. That conversation hit me so hard, it made me feel like I was alone and couldn’t ask for help. It made me feel like everything was my fault.

The reality of what me and my therapist spoke about hit me so hard. I felt this lump in my chest as though I was choking trying to get words out. I had internalised all these horrible voices and was now repeating the phrases to myself.

And as I stripped down those phrases, as I looked behind the words I repeat to myself on a daily basis, it wasn’t me saying them any more. I could visualise the situation as if I was stood in a corner watching myself.

It was my greek grandma and my dad, in her flat in Athens, at the kitchen table praising my brother for eating so much food and then criticising me for eating the same. It was them saying across the table at a 10-year-old me that they would have to find me a rich husband because no one would ever love and want to marry the Fat Roly Poly.

It was a 13-year-old-me sat in the corner of a room whilst a group of ‘friends’ played spin the bottle but I wasn’t allowed to play because I was so fat the boys might have to kiss me and that’s disgusting. 

It was a 20 year-old-me being forced to do extra cardio and when the other athletes asked the coach why that was the case he replied, because unlike you she obviously has fat to lose. 

I remember each comment clearly. I remember my age, the room we were in, the clothes I was wearing. The comments clearly hurt me so deeply but I almost forgot that it was others saying these things because I started to, and still do, say them to myself.

So that’s my new task. My homework, so to speak, to keep trundling along with this recovery but to try unpack every negative thought I have about myself. To try detach that internal voice that actually isn’t mine.

It never was.

 

 

Little Black Dress

Four weeks and four weekly food plans adhered to.

28 days and not a single step onto a set of scales.

One month of crazy emotions, spiralling back and forth. Happy then sad. Feeling weak and then strong, and quite frankly? … I’m exhausted.

I’m incredibly happy though that my boyfriend decided to educate himself about eating disorders. I don’t even think my family did that when they found out and I do feel the benefit of having support from someone already more educated about the feelings we with ED’s go through.

He understands how draining it is for me and appreciates that.

In turn, I truly appreciate ho much support he is trying to give me.

He took my scales away. I told him to, when I got the strength to tell him I needed his help 4 weeks ago and 28 days later, I’m starting to feel proud that I asked for help. I can’t explain how cathartic it is to be able to talk through every thought that goes through my head pretty much every day. Not one day goes by where that Demon doesn’t rear it’s ugly head but since asking for that support, I’ve had it every minute, whenever I’ve needed it.

I don’t want to exhaust him though and I do experience those fears that he’s going to leave or treat me like everyone else did whenever I opened up…but he’s simply there and to be honest, that’s all I need.

He knows that now too.

That sometimes you just need someone there.

Just to listen to your thoughts and fears or to hold your close and wipe away your tears.

It’s an incredibly safe feeling to know that he is there.

We spent one afternoon at the shops. An activity I would never usually get up to because of all the mirrors reflecting my flaws or the tight clothes that don’t fit me because of my weight…but we went.

I saw this cute little dress and decided to try it on, convinced the last small wouldn’t fit me at all. I mean, between all of us, regardless of my weight I do have a hefty chest…34DD-DDD…and sometimes, that chest is half the battle for me mentally. Being short with a big bust would make shopping hard in the first place let alone with an ED in the mix!

Anyway, back from the tangent! I went slightly gloomily to the dressing room and it fit. And I, for once, wasn’t ’embarrassed’ of my ‘huge chest’ that was a little bit on display.

I actually felt so confident I walked right out of the dressing room there and then to show him. His face when he turned around said it all and in that moment I was so so happy.

It didn’t take long for the Demon to rear it’s ugly head mind and I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. As silly as that sounds. All these negative thoughts came running and instead of that awesome feeling I felt when I put it on, I just felt overweight and ugly.

Back on the hanger it went.

Fast forward a week or so later, our usual weekly visit to see one another and he told me he had a surprise….he came out with a hanger carrying that little black dress.

He said, he didn’t buy it because it looked great on me but, rather, I had looked so happy twirling around the dress looked ten times better than it already did and he didn’t want me not to have it, to miss out on that feeling of happiness when I put it on.

I think I smiled in silence for about ten minutes straight after that.

A small gesture that was actually so thoughtful and really meaningful. I couldn’t be happier.

I picked a good egg, that’s for sure. X

Hunger Battles

I don’t remember exactly when eating three moderately sized meals became the wrong thing to do.

When did eating regularly become such a foreign habit?

My specially picked, hand drawn up weekly food plans seem to take a lifetime to plan and sticking to them feels like I’m trying to swim through mud Monday to Sunday.

I know I’ve picked healthy balanced meals but when it comes to meal times, I’m simply not hungry.

I don’t feel a hunger pain that I’m deliberately ignoring but I just feel nothing. In fact, I spend most of the week feeling full, contrary to the reality of what I’m actually eating.

I did it though, I followed the plan and ate at the times I was supposed to. The exact meal I had committed to preparing and despite not feeling hungry, I ate.

I ate because deep down I knew I was supposed to.

But friday was tough. I got to friday morning and after crying at most meal times for eating when I didn’t feel hungry, I woke up starving.

And I mean starving.

And as my hunger started to wake up I started to panic for an opposite reason.

I spent my week scared because I was eating without feeling that hunger pain and now I was panicking because I finally felt that hunger pain telling me that I should eat.

I’ve spent so many years, more than a third of my life, convinced hunger was the enemy. I spent those years believing that ignoring the hunger made me strong.

A constant battle of second-guessing whether I am hungry or not.

A battle of, am I actually hungry? Surely that hunger pain means I’m greedy. Ignoring it will make me stronger….turns into the next battle of, I don’t feel hungry so why would I eat? Am I being weak for eating when I don’t feel hungry? 

A battle that seems to want to spiral out of control. But I’ve managed to keep it under control this week, even though there were a few bumps along the way.

Simply because there isn’t a hunger pang doesn’t mean my body doesn’t need nourishment…

I’m proud of this week. I purged once but otherwise stuck to my plans despite the fear.

I’ll be speaking to my old therapist over the phone in a couple of days. A call that has been organised due to my recent relapse. We’ll be discussing the big question of whether or not I should start seeing a new therapist down here. Part of me think that means I’ve failed. Part of me is scared to open up from scratch. Part of me thinks it could be good to have that professional support here when I need it.

A lot of things to think about this weekend but a lot of positive actions to praise myself for too.

Happy weekend x