I want to vomit 

I haven’t had that thought in a very long time. 

I’m a recovered bulimic. I’ve never come back here to say that, but I guess it has only been recent times that I claim that with certainty. I am recovered, and I continue to work on recovery as that could change at any moment. 

Like now. 

This one thought has the potential to start a spiral of events that could lead to my downfall. The fact that I have worked on recovery for so many years means that the instant that thought went through my mind, I could see red flags. I stopped in my tracks and gasped, shocked at the words that formed a sentence that once was so familiar and necessary. 

Backtrack. What did we call it? Some sort of analysis. A chain of events that led to this. 

I know why. What once was PLEASE MASTER, now ABC PLEASE can indicate my vulnerability. The fact it is 1:42am and I am awake? The fact that I have had some alcohol? Little exercise? My emotions of frustration are high because I have tried to work today with children around and a puppy in 42 degree Celsius heat? The anxiety has intensified because I have so much to do and it’s getting to crunch time…. and it’s possible to get it all done…. but, kids. 

So here I am. Responding to that thought.  Analyzing why I am thinking this, and what can I do about it? 

I will sleep soon. I will watch one more episode of ‘The Newsroom’ and then sleep. In the morning I will do 15 mins of low intensity yoga. Just 15mins. No more. I will put a load of washing on, and I will arrange childcare for my children for today so I can work and not fall apart. I have been there for them near constantly over these holidays, and any guilt about this would be unjustified. 

‘It’s ok’. ‘Nice catch… good work’

Helpful thoughts. 

Recovery intact. 

Advertisements

Slip and not fall

As I sit here in the private clinic, my home for the moment, I have time for reflection. 

Thoughts of what I don’t deserve. That I’ve made such a fuss. Just get over it. Don’t be so drastic. What if they don’t believe me? What if they see BPD and chuck me out? My presentation right now might look too together. 

It’s ok. I’m not back in crisis where I used to be. I’m proactive. I have great insight.

The psychiatrist was warm and understanding. I didn’t have that new doctor awkwardness where you have to go through your whole life story again. He thoughtfully asked the right questions, discreetly understood my history. 

We have a plan. To get back where I was and functioning well. Medication with time. We need time for it to take. Regular outside support, so I can manage my strategies but keep accountable. And while I’m in here, get back to working with the strategies that were working. Back into exercise. Yoga. Meditation. Singing. All the things that I allowed work to gradually consume. 

I slipped, but I have not completely fallen. I have grabbed onto the railings, using the support to be there and keep me sturdy so I can confidently walk without them once more. 

Perfectionism

I was overcoming this, on the mountain top waving the conquer flag… Urgh. Rephrase.

I was overcoming this, waving my flag as I climb the mountain with an occasional stumble.

There, that’s better. Perfec…..

Stop.

Deep breath.

After a solid time in recovery, life is becoming fruitful in the ways I had missing. I am noticing now tho, my perfectionism creeping back in.

I started feeding it in my work. It was fulfilling and at the beginning I didn’t see the harm. This was my project that I could control. My family can’t wreck this. It’s all mine I mistakenly thought.

We have moved house and it’s temporary but I am not happy here. There a few things that are messing with my body and my head. So to manage my frustration and anxiety with how things are, and with my body off limits, I delight in my work.

Perfectionism can be so rewarding until its inevitable wall smash.

I cannot have control over my work. There are too many other people at play. Hundreds of them actually. My children also interfere. By delaying my start time with an hour long hypochondria stint making me late for work. Or perhaps the discipline applied which results in school refusal. The stress has risen to breaking point.

I am doing a fabulous job dealing at acute times, using strategies to bring my anxiety down a little. Time takes its toll and this level of stress is not sustainable.

Making sure I take time to remind myself of the meaningful things in life is imperative. Taking time to express myself and emotions is critical. Writing, singing, advocating. If it gets bottled inside I will implode.

Even though my head is shouting toxic thoughts about myself and jumping on my self esteem I will reach out. I will go and have coffee with a friend. Even when my head is saying I am not likable. That people don’t want me as a friend. That people see me as weak. That I am fat. That I need to lose weight, to cut, to harm myself in some way to justify my existence. Even though I face this I will continue to face my fears and live with them. I will adjust my chameleon suit for another day.

A reminder: You work to live, not live to work.

Chocolate is not the answer

 Frustrated, getting angry… 1st response? ‘I want chocolate’

Why I would want chocolate after watching ‘That sugar film’ today is astonishing but that’s what sugar does. 

Breathe. My son was verbally hammering me with arguments after plans had changed, I’m 40th in the queue waiting to try fix our internet that’s been down for 5 days (on school holidays!!!!????!!!) and have tried to contact them several times to no avail. 

So, getting back to I want to feel better, and the first urge is sugar. 

I’m trying the ‘you can have it if you want it but do you really want it?’ And my emotional reaction is YES I WANT IT! But I’m not in wise mind right now so I need some space to deal with my emotions without kids interrupting me telling me they have worms…. Again, another child wanting to know how far I am now in the queue. ‘Erghhhh I am trying to deal with my emotions here so I don’t eat, you go deal with yours!’ 

Right now as I’m writing this blog, this is me using distraction. Trying to fill the time till my emotions come down. Trying to express my voice and not suppress it with food. AND ITS WORKING!! 

Crisis averted. The answer is not chocolate. 

Holiday heartbreak 

1st day of my holidays; eating pizza and chocolate for breakfast. 

SLIGHT RED FLAG PERHAPS???

Now I feel sick. I was looking for comfort, I forgot that holidays does this to me. Sudden slump. As a teacher I’m sure I’m not alone that your mantra becomes one of “keeping it together till the holidays”. 

So now I face the demon. The thoughts creep in about shame, purging, compensating exercise. I need to do something to fix this so I can start again. 

The battle is on: No, I don’t want to purge. I want to be healthy. But this isn’t healthy. I feel so awful. So big. I need to make myself smaller. My face is all patchy. I have to do something about this. 

Recovery wins: I just need to get through these first moments. I’ll address this a bit later when I’m not so distressed. 

The action: have a shower, wash my hair, brush my teeth. 

Feeling a little better, I notice some nice aroma in my room, coming from an essential oil. It reminds me I’ve been turning to food and alcohol lately more and more to deal with my emotions relying on the sense of taste to numb or calm. Where did my other strategies go? The other senses? Time to increase the music to my ears and essential oils to my nose. 

The distress has lessened now. I can deal with recovery more wisely in this frame of mind. 

We are numb

I pull my face out of the murky puddle I have fallen into. Kneeling deep amongst the thick dark liquid, I hesitantly wade my fingers through, pushing the chunky globs aside.
I shake it’s sticky vileness from my hands, wiping them across a dry patch of tissue.

Lifting my cleaner hands over my hair I start the ritual of wanting composure.
Tucking hair behind my ears, flattening the escaping strands.
I need water. Clean, still water. I splash my face and rinse the shame away.
Rising eyes towards the mirror, spidery red, cheeks swollen and sore, I face someone else staring back at me. She is only vaguely familiar now, almost a distant memory. We stare for a few lingering moments. Unsure but desperate to be recognised. Longing for the other to rejoin and become one. Tears escape, rolling slowly, trickling down a path of numbing despair.

No one moves.

Each one waits for the comfort of the other to wipe those tears away.
She doesn’t help so she walks out defeated.

The jagged split takes hold and there is no I anymore. Just a division of selves who continue to show up in the robotic masquerade ball.

The non negotiable recovery strategies

I guess I can declare relapse. It’s disappointing and defeating. I am rarely pursuing recovery and most of the time pursuing weight loss and engaging in ED behaviours and have for months. I feel like right now I do not have the time and space to battle recovery. But I will get back on track soon when I’m fully ready and willing again to face it.

The next time I devote to ED recovery there will need to be some non negotiable things in place for it to be successful long term.
1) exercise I love: yoga and dance as priority over gym. Movement on the beach: sport games, frisbee.
2) no trying to lose weight for a year
3) always leave time for self care day.
4) make decisions on things from the perspective of being in recovery from an ED. Not from the perspective of another person and what they can do.
5) cooking day – have a day where I can prepare wholesome foods that I feel safe to eat