I’ve been having a bit of a lull over the last few days so this post has been started and abandoned twice already. 3rd time lucky?
I’ve been at Friend GG’s house for 2 weeks today. It was nowhere near as bad as I allowed my head to make it out to be. The cats are thoroughly enjoying stairs and carpet play (I knew you’d all be as worried about the cats as I was). Also, having someone to talk to, who talks back (I talk to the cats all the time, sadly they are yet to master the art of talking back) has actually made a world of difference. There is someone to stop the mind hitting catastrophe thinking, someone to ensure you are up and washed, someone to binge watch Witnesses on the iPlayer with me. The other thing it has shown is how ‘Normal’ my life really is. Friend GG has sofa days (ok, day… I had week(s) but hey), someone else eats on the sofa when tired, someone else doesn’t want to sort out the recycling/ dishwasher/ washing every night.
Friend GG is now on the other side of the world and, unsurprisingly, I’ve somehow slipped back to bad habits. She left on the Friday and I didn’t get dressed or washed until Monday. I can’t tell you why. It’s the question Mum asks me the most. Why don’t you want to wash? Why don’t you want to go for a walk? Why do you binge? I wish there was a coherent answer to this. I’ve got no clue the full reason behind why. Therapist L thinks it’s because I think so little of myself. It’s true but it’s also more complex than that. There are emotional triggers that lead me to revert into protection mode. Obviously, my protection mode is actually hurting me. When a trigger happens, my mind scrambles, I want to avoid and whilst avoiding, I want to stuff my face so I can hate myself even more.
Just stop’ or ‘just throw the food away’ or even ‘did the chocolate survive the train?’ ARGH! I feel completely mothered by everyone trying to help. The key to this sentence is that they are trying to help. However, I feel like being told to try harder or throw food away makes me a child… so I reacted with complete maturity…not… I ate a (large) pick n mix. Firstly, Wilko sell pick n mix. I knew this but, since my last foray into Candy King heaven, they have changed the way one pays for it. It is no longer based on weight. No no no, it’s based on cup size. It’s a fixed price. This is amazing, not only am I going to have some pick n mix, I get to play a game of strategy first! How to maximise the sweet:cup ratio. Key is, load up on the bulky items first and then start adding the smaller items, they’ll slip through the gaps!
Back to being a child. The pick n mix was in Friend GG’s bag. She’d brought up my psychiatrist appointment and what she thought about returning to work. Dr E thinks I still need time. The binging and self care aren’t negotiable. If I want to go back to work as soon as possible, I’ve got to be taking care of myself. When you put it like that, it sounds sensible, but taking care of me is a habit I don’t have. I know exactly how to tear myself apart though, that’s a solid habit! No effort required. Anyway, Friend GG asked why don’t I throw away the sweets and chocolates? No. No no no no no and one for luck NO! At that moment, Friend ML messages to see if the chocolate gift survived the train journey home. Yes, thank you very much. It was merely bad timing but both comments really annoyed me. Back at the house, I turn into a toddler, not just a child. I don’t ask Friend GG for my sweets – the ones I paid for, the ones I can decide if I want to eat or not. I head up to my room and sulk. Oh my goodness me, how is this my coping strategy?! It’s not until we settle into watch some TV the next night that Friend GG brings them out and I start to defrost from the prior conversations and messages. I then eat a lot of sweets. *face hits palm*.
Other recent triggers:
- Work promotion day – yes, I know, I’ve not been in work for 10 months, of course I was not promoted. I am not deluded enough to think I was going to be. Yet somehow, it’s totally upset me. Some of the upset is because, given current timelines, I won’t be back at work in time to be eligible for 2018 promotions. Nope, I shouldn’t care, I’m still alive, I’ll be working for the next 34 years of my life (longer than I’ve been alive!) so does a couple of years really matter? No. Ridiculous? Yes. Rational? No. Led to a binge? No *phew*
- Self hatred – a little gem that had somehow escaped the blog is being rectified… Moving day, 2 weeks ago. Movers arrived at 0645 to empty the flat, I then had a psychiatrist appointment before overwhelming Friend GG with all my baggage (physical and emotional) and the cats. So, you know, your suitcase is in the car… the movers have taken then rest of your belongings, clothes included, into the van… what happens next? Yup, my trousers split. At the crotch. Split. If I am not careful, I will be flashing people. I am not wearing my best underwear either… that’s already packed. There was nothing for it but to get a taxi to and from my appointment so as not to be arrested for indecent exposure. The world’s way of telling me I need to sort my food and weight out?! Or just the world having a slow day and in need of a laugh? Either way, it makes me feel thoroughly shit about myself.
- Flat Renovations Part I – A couple of things haven’t been as expected. Instead of calling it out, you know, because I am paying them a lot of money and I don’t need to please them, they need to please me, I’ve come back to the house and worried. I don’t want them to think badly of me. I’ve had to ask Mum to come with me to play bad cop to my good cop. Great
- Emergency dental work – oh boy. You always think it’ll never happen to you. 17 years of ramming my fingers down my throat, overdosing on laxatives and online diet pills (that turned out to contain talcum powder) is catching up with me. I’ve just parted with a significant sum of money to have a man drill painfully into the last two teeth that had somehow escaped the acid attack of bulimia. Not any more. I have not one single tooth left that isn’t capped/ filling-ed/ removed. I’ve not been sick or taken laxatives or diet pills in 3 years. I’ve resorted to binging but this is still a monumental milestone for me. The teeth are now reminding me why I must never see it as the way out again. I’m 31 years old and my teeth are worse than my 69 year old Mum (and she has gum disease!)
- Flat Renovations Part II – Yes, this is in two parts! The builders have caused a couple of leaks into the downstairs flat. The builders will sort it, they aren’t disputing this, and the neighbour has been amazing, yet this got me worked up. I handled this better than I would have done 10 months ago. I stayed calm(ish), responded and then waited for more information. It still got to me though.
- Lost keys – I don’t lose things other than my sanity. I’ve had the same keyring for 16 years. I’d been to the flat, I’d then been swimming (let’s just take a second to appreciate this attempt to get back to fitness – it’s fleeting so got to make the most of it) and then realised my coat has a hole in it’s pocket, dear Liza. No, not the song, an actual hole. Have they dropped out somewhere? Did I leave them on the train? The bus? Cue tears and a few phone calls. Turns out they haven’t been lost, the tears were for nothing and no need to get an emergency locksmith. But… ARGH.
The above are ‘Normal’ life stressors. I am not unique in finding building work, potentially lost keys and dental work stressful. As Mum loves to remind me, my stress isn’t because of my ‘condition’ (rolling my eyes!) but all of these, plus Friend GG going away meant I cancelled weekend plans, sat in pj’s which are close to walking themselves into the washing machine and sleep has gone to pot. I have, however, somehow done a food plan, stuck to it and not binged. If I can just get self care back on track, this will have been a minor blip rather than a full scale shut down. Even better, if I can get exercising again, this would be dangerously closed to being called a success. (apparently my excuse of wanting to be fit before I start exercising again isn’t valid).
What are the life lessons from this long and rambling blog post? I need to stop being a child, stop punishing myself when I do revert to being a child and start exercising.
One final point. Please bear in mind that Christmas isn’t such a happy holiday for everyone. Some significant life events have occurred to my family over Christmas’s but we work very hard to still have fun, I love Mum’s Christmas’s and our new family traditions. However, for some this Christmas will be hard, upsetting, lonely or cancelled completely. Please be sensitive to those around you who are struggling during this festive period.
What a brilliant quote from @thesarahmillican’s book, ‘How to be Champion’