Self-inflicted Mind Games


I’ve been back in London a week now and straight into my new house with my new housemates – two very good friends of mine and between you and me, once we get all the boring general admin such as bills and the like sorted, we’ll be ticking over just fine.

However, I feel so incredibly nervous and scared. One friend knows I am recovering from bulimia and the other doesn’t and I have this inexplicable feeling that I’m going to be watched and monitored. Even though it would be from such a good place deep in her heart, I just don’t want pressure to eat…maybe because I still struggle to eat in front of others…because I know it’s still something I’m working through.

It’s funny because I was scared to weigh myself but this time when I plucked up the courage I was actually lighter than I thought I would be. I shook my head and thought, no, this can’t be right, I must be heavier. And so I moved the scales around…same weight…I went and grabbed my laptop…I was heavier…removed the laptop…back to the initial weight.

I was convinced the scales must be broken. Convinced there was simply no way I could have lost some weight whilst away.

Impossible.

But I just realised something this evening.

Three days ago I had to register with a new Doctor’s Surgery and they asked me to weigh myself on some special digital machine thingy-magigy. It told me I was half a kilo heavier than what my scales had told me. This was with my gorgeous baggy jeans and grey sweatshirt combo!

But the implication of this simply didn’t register with me.

But today I realised that maybe my scales are correct and my mind is wrong. Why don’t I believe the solid evidence that my regular eating has helped me lose some weight in a healthy manner? Why am I convinced I must be so much heavier than these scales are telling me?

It’s such a vicious circle. If the number was higher I’d be unhappy and yet it’s lower than expected and I’m still unhappy because I’m convinced I’m bigger than what I am?

A lower number urging me to restrict or purge because surely the number is wrong.

It’s a tough one to get past.

Then again, my friends were happily lifting me onto their shoulders last weekend so this short arse over here could actually see something! That in itself tells me that my perception is distorted. I’m not the number I think I am. Even if I was, surely I’m worth more than that anyway.

Twitter: @elenip92

Instagram: @elenipapa92

 

Knowing a Feeling 

I learnt the hard way to not get my hopes up. Always let down, always dropped, always left a little bit more broken than before. Family, friends, coaches, GB team staff and, of course – boys, would remind me why I was ‘stupid to think that this time would be any different.’

So yes, I learnt the hard way not to get my hopes up. I learnt to not look too far into the future, to not see ‘meaning’ in anything and to expect the worst until I saw something confirmed on paper.

And yet, deep down, my hopes always remained high.

And I suppose my hopes are still high. My optimism gets commented on frequently and those who know everything will comment they can’t understand why.

Why, after everything would I still be the girl who is still so full of happiness and hope that one day, everything will be okay?

Thing is, I could easily be the cold-stone-hearted-ice-queen after everything and everyone would understand but it would be allowing those experiences to deprive myself of  potential happiness. Yes, people have hurt me in some of the worst ways imaginable but I don’t want that to prevent me from finding future happiness and inner peace.

But the beautiful paradox continues to exist. I still fear the worst. I simultaneously drag my hopes down just as I start to put my faith in them. The thing is, what I know and what I feel are unfortunately two extremely different things.

I know developing an eating disorder wasn’t ‘my fault’ but I feel ashamed and disappointed in myself for having one.
I know my friends would do anything to help me but I feel that I’m a burden they will wish they didn’t have.
I know my boyfriend wants to be with me but I feel that he’s bound to prefer someone with less issues. Less damage. Less of a past she couldn’t control.

know that three meals a day won’t make me gain weight but I feel incredibly fat for wanting to eat, let alone even eating.
know I’ve not purged for more than four weeks but I feel like that doesn’t truly mean anything.
I know in the past I have found ways to purge in secret when surrounded by others but I feel like that doesn’t mean anything regarding these last four weeks.

In his words, I’m ‘kicking ass’ and I know that I am but I feel like I’ve achieved nothing.

I’m still working on developing my self-compassion that my therapist and I worked on. Allowing myself to appreciate that there will always be days where I do get hurt and need support, or days I fall down and need people to pick me up but none of that makes me a failure. Loving myself for the things I know rather than hate myself for the things I simply feel. And of course it’s difficult to not believe the awful things people have made me feel, but if it was easy then it wouldn’t be holding me back right now…

It’s potentially the hardest part of my recovery (in the necessary circumstances) feeling what I know rather than only knowing what I let myself feel.

At least these people always help me work out the difference:

Twitter: @elenip92

Instagram: @elenipapa92

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello

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I have a weekly face time catch up with a best friend of mine. A best friend I’ve actually only known two years, a best friend who’s been a best friend possibly less than a year but, regardless, the best of the best. 

Doesn’t matter how long you’ve known someone, all that matters is that they’re there.

But when you realise they are there, even when you didn’t expect it because you hadn’t asked them to be…that’s when you know just how special they are.

I cancelled last weeks’ FaceTime because I was incredibly stressed out for reasons discussed previously and also on that day Dad decided to visit.

I half-reluctantly met him and it was perfectly pleasant but I’m purely going through the motions now (I’m so fed up with him and would be happier without a connection…but mum begs me to stay in touch). 

Anyway, a perfectly pleasant lunch ends with him saying its time I met my half-sibling. He spoke about him so casually throughout lunch, ‘oh Jason has exams soon…oh Jason’s doing this that and the other’ and it’s weird to hear my dad talk oh so normally about a half sibling he surprised us all with a few years ago. The half-sibling he dotes on so much more than he ever did me. One of the reasons I had to pick my mum up all those years ago, one of the reasons there’s no money left and mum can’t pay her bills. I wasn’t even 7 years old when dad started the affair, barely 15 when the kid came along and just 19 when I found photographs and letters and skype messages telling the truth. So much hurt from a man that never cared and yet mum asks me to ‘be nice because he’s still your father and he’s so stressed out.’

Oh yeah, let me just put the man who hurt me over the years, who hurt all of us, first. Let me put him first simply because he has the title of father when all he is in reality, is a glorified sperm donor.

I broke down when I got home after lunch – my head was all over – food was too much to contemplate and I hadn’t been sleeping due to nightmares and I simply didn’t want to be alone so I went to his house to spend the night. I text her apologising for cancelling with no other explanation other than ‘I’m really stressed out’ and she completely understood because great friends always understand. 

But you know what an even better friend does?

This…

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I got this through the post on Monday and I cried. It took me completely by surprise and I cried. I sat on the kitchen floor and cried. I cried because I was slowly realising how much support I have. I’ve never doubted her support but this simply just got me. It went straight to my heart and seemed to release all that pain.

I hadn’t even told her any of the reasons why I cancelled because I’d been so busy the entire week. But that’s the thing. She didn’t need to know the ins and outs to be able to help me. She just knew something was up and that small postcard contained more support than you can even begin to imagine. A small postcard that has pride of place on my bedroom wall. A new daily reminder I can get through all this. A daily reminder that there are people there even when I don’t expect them to be.
Especially when they realise I need them before I do.
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Instagram: @elenipapa92
Twitter: @elenip92

 

Wise Words

 

Words are powerful. They can crush a heart or heal it. They can shame a soul or liberate it. They can shatter dreams or energise them. They can obstruct connection or invite it. They can create defences or melt them. We have to use words wisely. 

My motivation to write can come from a variety of sources and when I get an idea or the urge to write I take a picture to include with each post. Admittedly its usually a selfie or a picture of something I’ve done that day that’s made me happy but I never post the pictures where I’m sad.

The words from the small paragraph I’ve included above could not be truer. The picture on the left is from my morning coffee in the back garden and I took the one on the right about 5 hours later. The change is staggering and the reason for the change? One small sentence said to me shortly after the first picture was taken.

I would never usually take a selfie of me crying, desperately trying to hold myself together but I decided today I would. I wanted to show the reality. I want people to see the hurt and struggles that I still go through because no matter how hard I try to ignore it, no matter how hard I pretend I’m okay, there are days where I’m still in incredible amounts of pain.

Christmas is hard, notoriously hard for any sufferers and recoverers from EDs. I don’t really need to tell you all that, you already know but to hear my brother say to me, ‘if you’re going to be sick today can you at least clean the toilet because my girlfriend is coming round today and we don’t want the toilet to be dirty.’

His words echoed in my head and the tears came running. I really struggle with my recovery when I come home at any time of the year, let alone Christmas and to hear what really was an insensitive comment cut right through me. I hadn’t been sick this visit, I hadn’t purged, I hadn’t bent over the toilet with my fingers down my throat and yet his words…the thoughts came running, the tears came burning, the storm came thundering and then the fear set in.

I’ve been trying ever so hard this year to keep purge-free. So much so I’ve been coming across angry and grumpy to my family because I’m simply so stressed out. I wish they would understand a little bit more but I don’t know how to make them understand more. He realised he had hurt me and when he tried to make it better I screamed at him to leave me alone.

I’ve not screamed at anyone like that before.

But the thought was there now. Purge. I need to purge. I stared at the girl in the mirror and couldn’t believe how fat she looked compared to a week ago when she was alone in London. I needed a shower but all I could see was the fat girl in the mirror. God I wanted to smash that mirror. The thoughts were pounding and the girl became blurry as the tears stung and I could barely stand up, holding onto the sides of the sink desperately searching for some strength. Any ounce of strength.

Come on girl. I heard myself say. Pull yourself together. Its Christmas…

Christmas.

Every year.

Something happens.

That all happened about 30 minutes after that first picture was taken.

The second picture was taken shortly after Christmas Dinner.

I feel weak. I feel disgusting. I don’t want to write this out but I know I need to. I know admitting helps me recover.

I relapsed.

But I sunk to a whole new low.

In the past I’ve done some incredible things to hide the purge from others but I did something I’ve never done before.

I knew eyes and ears would be on me at home and I went to the park. I knew that would probably be empty. I found somewhere secluded. I checked no one was around. I tied my hair up. I took a final deep breath, shut my eyes and I bent over.

I relapsed.

And the relief came rushing. I felt that instant relief that I learnt to wrongly associate with positives all those years ago but then I cried. The vicious circle had started once again. I’m home now and no body knows, that makes me feel worse. 5 years in a row that I’ve relapsed on Christmas Day. I feel like I’ve failed even though I know I haven’t. I’m just hoping I can get a firmer handle on things tomorrow. That’s all I can do, take each day as it comes, keep aiming for small steps upwards.

 

I understand I can’t let everyone’s words affect me but I don’t see why I should lower my feelings because of someone’s choice of words or their ignorance. He didn’t mean what he said but it really damn well hurt at the time. It’s hard to get out of this claustrophobic house at the best of times, let alone when the Demon’s voice starts to scream.

The second half of the day was surprisingly amazing. The family bickering had stopped and we actually ended up having a great evening as a family. There’s always silver linings I suppose. There’s always laughter in sadness and hope in darkness.

There’s always progress to be made at every hurdle.

There was a time I was purging every day. That was a long time ago. That’s the progress I’ve made.

That’s what I should be proud of today.

And the below pictures of dad dancing with me on his shoulders…that’s the memory I want to remember about Christmas Day 2016.

Twitter: @elenip92

Instagram: @elenipapa92

The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all

I saw someone I didn’t want to see.

More than half a year ago I came to London with my ex to attend an evening at a firm he was interested in and when we were walking down the street we walked past the same person and back then I froze.

Yesterday I froze even more but unlike last time, I was on my own. I had no one to hold onto, no hand to squeeze tight, no arms to put around me and tell me I would be okay.

I couldn’t breathe. Taken back to that night which must be 3 years ago now and my chest got so tight. The hands grabbing and body pushing so vivid in my mind. I stumbled across to a wall and managed to get my breath back.

It shocks me just how much what he did really affected me. I’ve had an up and down week with my body image but seeing him made me feel so dirty. It was almost worse because he didn’t see me again but I definitely saw him. I know we went to school together but I will never forget that face.

It almost made me relapse but when I got home I sat with my housemates and just laughed  about god knows what and the memory of that person disappeared. That’s the thing though, if I see him again I don’t think I’ll freeze, I’m not going to let what some creep did to me hold me back, make me relapse like he did those years ago. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, moving forward, closer to being the best version of me.

I was actually really proud of myself that night, it was bad and I felt so scared and vulnerable in the street but I went home and surrounded myself with amazing people. It made me realise something, there’s so much sadness inside me but I still have so much love to give to the people who count.

I’m proud of my heart. It’s been played, stabbed, cheated, burned and broken but somehow it still works. The happiness and love that I can give to people even though my heart is broken, shows just how beautiful I am.

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The Dash

Your Life Is Made of Two Dates and a Dash. Make the Most of the Dash

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I don’t want to be at the end of my stretch and look back and realise I lost some of the best years of my life to my eating disorder. I don’t want to look back and see things I missed out on because the demon stopped me from doing them.

Equally, I don’t want to look back and realise I stopped myself from being happy. Stopped myself from being me. I want someone to be proud to have me. Not because I’m pretty or skinny, as my ED tells me, but because they value me as a person. Now, I do know people I have been with and dated did like me as a person but naturally I am well aware of those who abused and took advantage of me. Whilst, its so unfortunate, that’s life.

I want to look back and be confident my decisions were right. I want to look back and see pictures like the one I’ve shared; where I look Strong not Skinny.

I want to make the most of this ‘dash’. I want to keep progressing the way that I am and not keep falling back. Those people who took advantage or did not appreciate me will eventually realise what they’ve missed out on. I don’t think I’ve felt this happy or confident and it truly is a lovely place to be. I’m not skinny. I’m strong.

Isn’t it crazy how we can look back a year ago and realise how much everything has changed? The amount of people that have left your life, entered, and those that have stayed. The memories you won’t forget and the moments you wish you could. Everything. It is crazy how all that happened in one year. It’s made me realise too, you know you really love someone when you can’t hate them no matter how much they broke your heart.

I just want to make the most of these amazing opportunities I have right now and starving and purging isn’t going to allow that. Keep eating moderately and exercising well. I’ve never felt happier or prouder of my progress than I do right now.

 

Be mine

I feel terrible saying this because of what happened last week. I tried to talk about it but it was still too raw, and he felt I was justifying what happened. I do understand that.

But I want to go out. I want my boyfriend to come with me.

To be proud to come out with me. To want to be seen holding my hand.

To show everyone that I’m his.

I hate going to parties and the like without him. Everyone asking why my boyfriend wouldn’t come with me.

I want to have romantic meals, or a walk in the park.

I want him to show me off to his friends and to let me show him off to mine.

I want to go to a party and dance with my boyfriend rather than dancing on my own.

I hate seeing other couples there, holding hands, dancing, cuddling, kissing.

I love him so why does he not want to come for a drink with me, to a party, to a BBQ. He doesn’t even have to pay for it.

Just come with me. Be with me. Outside of the flat.

I want to go to a party, have a drink and a dance but with him. Not with my friends…not having to stop guys from trying to dance with me.

And the more I drink the more I wish he could be there with me, dancing, holding my hand. Just there with me.

So I drink more.

I drank more.

But I have no argument. No leg to stand on. Not any more.

I want to be looked at as though I am the most beautiful girl in the world. I want him to hold my hand on the walk home. I want to be treated like I’m not something to be lost. I want him to be there and just know that he can’t be without me.

I want him to meet my friends and I want to meet his.

I want him to show how proud he is to be mine…

How proud he is, for me to be his…