Just say this or that

I slipped up and he told me he was ‘frustrated’.

Since admitting my relapse the other week I’ve pretty much put every practical step into motion that you can think of.

I moved into his for the week so I could have that really close support (supervision too). We sat and made a meal plan, did the food shop and helped me prepare what I needed to. We made food choices based off healthy levels of exercise throughout the week. Spoke to my therapist and even someone at work. New food diary, new journal and off to a new me(!).

But I slipped up.

I tried so hard to battle that Demon’s voice and I lost.

I had one slice of pizza and I couldn’t even cope with that.

I felt forced to eat it, pretty much. Everyone else was. It was leftovers from our department pizza party last night (a party I couldn’t stay at for more than an hour because socialising around the alcohol and pizza physically scared me).

I told myself say no. I ordered myself to refuse.

Some may tell me that it’s as simple as that.

‘You don’t have to eat it. You can say no.’

Saying no is hard though.

Why couldn’t I have said no?

A slice of pizza wasn’t on your meal plan. You’re weak for saying yes. You’re weak for diverting from the plan. You should be ashamed. You’re going to gain so much weight.

All these thoughts running through my head seconds after I finished.

I felt dissociated from my body after that. And all of a sudden it was ‘done’.

I promised to text him if I ever purged and so I did. But my text made him sad and ‘frustrated’. I don’t ever expect him to condone a purge and he refuses to say the words ‘its okay’ to get that across. But sometimes I just need that. I just need to hear the words ‘its okay, we’re going to get through it.’

I’m tired of not being okay. Tired of being up and down with this illness. I was doing quite well and I’m so disappointed I couldn’t keep it going. I’m more disappointed that I’ve made someone I care about incredibly sad.

Shaking these feelings of shame and disgust is tough. I always knew it would be.

I wish I could have said no to the slice but I’ve also been on that awful side of the spectrum where I said no to everything. Where saying yes was the hardest word to get out of my mouth.

Trying to find that balance and trust that it’s ‘safe’ to do so.

Trying to trust myself more than anything, I suppose.

 

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Back to Basics

 

Apologies as there may be some triggering thoughts here.

So, I thought I was doing okay and there were times I thought I was fine. Or at least the ‘Demon’ told me I was okay. Convinced me I didn’t need help. That there wasn’t an issue because what I was doing was keeping me ‘slim’.

Well you know what, what I was doing also made me sad. It also made me cry at my best friend’s birthday party because it made me so scared to be around food, drink and others. It made me angry at myself for not losing weight and it made me so incredibly insecure that my boyfriend would leave me if he found out.

I started to notice the ‘tricks’ coming back into play. Double/triple-checking that my housemates most definitely were not going to be home that evening. Going to toilets on floors at work that I knew nobody went to. That bag that sat in my wardrobe waiting for me to sneak it to the bins outside. Telling friends I had already eaten or would be eating later when I’d already planned to skip those meals.

And nobody really knew.

That in itself made it easier but deep down I almost ached for someone to ask. For that one person to see behind my smile and recognise that I was not okay. I was generally happy but I was in so much pain over what I was yet again doing to my body.

And then it happened. I hit rock bottom just as hard as previous relapses and I picked up the phone. I sat in the corner of my room, I suppose it felt safe, and I text my boyfriend and said point blank I needed him. That I needed to go round and I needed him to help me eat and to help me ‘keep it down’.

I was so scared he would leave or refuse just like others in the past. I was simultaneously scared that he would be upset with me or that I would hurt him by admitting what horrible cycle I’d fallen into once. I felt weak. Like a let-down. A failure.

Damaged.

That’s how I felt.

Damaged goods yet again at rock bottom.

My therapist leaving London last year hit me hard. I had seen him for four years and whilst I was in a really good place the thoughts of having to see someone else and start this process yet again scared the crap out of me and so when I needed help I didn’t feel like I could arrange to go see someone new. To open up about my not-so-great life once more.

But I told my boyfriend and my friends what I needed. For the first time in our relationship I didn’t wish he would offer what I needed…I simply asked. I asked to live with him for the next week or so because I felt I needed supervision. I asked him to sit down and help me plan my meals for the week and to ensure I stick to them regardless of if I tell him ‘I’m okay to change X and happy to eat Y instead.’ I asked him to help me send an email to my old therapist to ask for advice (which was the hardest step of all) and I asked him to come along to dinner with my parents in case I couldn’t handle it on my own. I asked him to help distract me when those thoughts about purging came running.

And he did.

I was upset that he cancelled seeing his friends because I felt that made me a burden but deep down it meant so much to me to know he cared that much.

And I literally told him everything.

I told him every thought that plagued my mind before and after each meal. I told him when I was scared to eat and when I wanted to be sick. I told him every perception I had of myself throughout the day. I told him every negative thought that crossed my mind and I told him of ‘tricks’ that I was ashamed of. I told him of some of my darkest periods of this illness and he just listened.

He didn’t judge, he didn’t comment, he just listened. And I told him that was exactly what I needed.

That’s all I ever need because, in a way, it simply helps me identify what is going wrong and decide what is going to help.

So we went and planned my meals and some gym sessions. He held my hand in the supermarket and he held my hand whilst I ate. We sent those emails and we spoke about the physical implications of this illness – what worries him the most…and whilst that wasn’t a fun conversation…it helped. Each time I ‘panic’ I try to think about the following:

  • I don’t want to have a heart attack due to the stress I’m placing on my body.
  • I don’t want to further damage my liver or kidneys.
  • I don’t want to become infertile.

Each time is ‘the last time’ and each time is one step closer to being that actual last time.

Sometimes the rigid planning makes me feel weak. I criticise myself for not being ‘normal’ and not being able to ‘do this on my own’. But I think I’ve finally after all this time admitted that the practical steps are things I am going to have to apply for the rest of my life. It’s not about needing them because I’m ill but rather that it’s a way of leading a healthy lifestyle.

So here I am, day five. Almost made it to a week since my last relapse.

 

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Nightmare Realities

The illness crept up on me full force when I was reminded over an awful night that happened almost a year ago…wow, it’s almost a year ago now…one year…12 months…52 weeks…365 days ago.

Can I even call it an anniversary? Surely that day doesn’t deserve to have an anniversary? Nevertheless, the date is fast approaching and I can feel the pitch black darkness of that day catching up with me.

I’ve been running through mud trying to escape it and now I’m stuck. I’m stuck in the illness that’s got so much worse when the memories were triggered. When the pain came back. When the fear infested me all over again. When the nightmares became more frequent and more intense than ever before.

It’s like I can’t breathe. He’s there on top of me and I can’t move. I’m weak and I can’t get him off. My chest tightens and I can’t breathe. Can’t breathe, can’t move and it’s all because I’m weak. I was too weak to stop it then and I’m even weaker that I’m letting it affect me now.

That’s what the voice tells me. It was all my fault and I could have stopped it and if I had stopped it I wouldn’t be having the problems now. I wouldn’t be bouncing from restriction to purging like the broken boomerang I am. I let myself be in that position when I was vulnerable. I could have stopped it. I could have prevented it.

But no.

Because I was weak.

Because I am weak.

He’s there. His hands, his body, everything and I can’t get him off me. I can’t move, can’t breathe…I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe. I just want him off me. I can’t breathe. Just get off me. Please stop. I can’t breathe. I’m dreaming. I need to wake up but I can’t wake up. It’s not happening again. It’s a dream. But it’s happening and I can’t move. I can’t breathe.

Can’t move.
Can’t breathe.

Eventually I do breathe but it’s a scream that escapes my mouth.

I wake up crying and shaking. I’m covered in sweat and my heart is beating so fast I feel like it’s going to burst out my chest. The fear sets off my epilepsy and I’m sat having seizures in bed. Crying. Shaking. Sweating. Fitting.

I smashed a bowl that was by my bed one of the last times. I actually reached out from one side of the bed and smashed it on the wall in my sleep because I was that convinced the dream was real.

Each time it happens I’m feeling weaker and weaker. There’s nights I’m scared to fall asleep and I feel so weak.

I. Feel. So. Weak.

I. Feel. So. Out. Of. Control.

I should have been in control of that situation, it’s my fault I was there. I should have known better. I should have been strong enough to stop it and I wasn’t. I let myself down. I wasn’t in control and I was so damn weak.

Fucking stupid girl.

I know my ED is based on control and feeling weak…maybe there’s a bigger link between my recent relapse and that upcoming anniversary I can’t avoid.

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The World Looks Brighter From Behind a Smile

application-picture

You’re never fully dressed without a smile

3 years into my recovery. 6 years since the Demon appeared. There’s days I have that negative niggle in the back of my mind, the one that whispers things like I’m not good enough, I need to lose weight, everything will be better once I’m lighter. But those days are becoming more and more spread out and sometimes all it takes is for me to sit down, relax and just think of how far I have come.

To try focus on the positives rather than the negatives.

Someone told me the other week that they find it refreshing that I’m really nice and optimistic or something along those lines. I can’t quite remember their words but I remember thinking, don’t be silly. However, when I got home I remember sitting and just thinking about what they said, how I genuinely thought they were being honest and how, throughout everything, I’ve always stayed so optimistic.

So much has happened over the years but yet…I’m still this crazily happy, loveable, optimistic girl. I’m well aware I’m not everyone’s cup of tea but after all this time I’m still smiling.

Always happy. Always smiling.

I’ve been beaten down and broken time and time again. Every time I start to trust someone not to hurt me they go and crush me even harder and yet, I still get back up. I still have this heart full of love for my friends and family and all those in between.

I’ve actually told him. I don’t know how it came up but it did. I think he was asking about my rings and my tattoo and I think he knew there was something I wasn’t telling him. Something I was scared to tell him. I was scared because I didn’t want him to look at me differently, I didn’t want him to see some ‘broken mess’. I wanted him to still like me or, better yet, like me in the first place, and I had this fear that if he found out, he wouldn’t.

Sometimes I don’t mind being wrong.

It was very brief, I just mentioned how in sport, they pressured me to lose weight and so I did…just not healthily. I stopped eating and then developed bulimia to cope with trying to eat again. I didn’t think I was going to tell him. Not so soon. Not until I was sure he liked me. Who am I kidding? I had no idea when I was going to tell him. But I did. I remember apologising for telling him and he said I had nothing to be sorry for and to never apologise.

And I smiled. Always smiling.

After all this time, I do still panic about how people will look at me or treat me. I don’t want to be perceived as ‘damaged’ or ‘mental’ but I know that I won’t be perceived that way simply because I’m not.

I’m not a broken mess because I genuinely am one of the happiest people I know. I’m always smiling and looking for the positives. I see the best in people rather than the worst. Always giving people a chance and trying to be kind to others. Always putting my friends first and making other people happy because that’s what makes me happy. I can’t be perceived as damaged goods, not when I try to be a beautiful person. Not when I actually am a beautiful person. We’ve all got baggage, we’ve all got history and I shouldn’t worry how people perceive me because once they find out, they simply see the happy smiling girl who just so happens to have coped with shit.

Who just so happens to have gotten through it.

But still smiling. Always smiling.

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