Adjusting to my 3rd admission (2007)- continuing with the diary entries

Sorry it’s taken a while to post, it’s been even weirder than I thought re-reading these diary entries!  This one was particularly weird- I can remember the feelings so so clearly, and it feels so strange and like it was only a few weeks ago instead of ten years.  I was so scared that admission, much more than the previous two and I think it was partly because I was starting to realise that I really did have an issue with food and I actually had to do something about it :/ up till then, I’d thought people were overreacting and making a big deal out of nothing, and that I was selfish for being such a problem (I still feel that a lot).

The whole ‘program’ issue was really scary in itself- you basically had to sign a contract saying that you were committing to the ‘rules’ of the ward (three meals, four snacks a day until BMI 20, no self harming or compensatory behaviours, no contraband items or foods, staying on the ward 24/7 until you started to get leave at about BMI 17), and if you didn’t stick to it you’d probably end up with an NG tube.  It was ‘official’ and scary, and I’d have such a bad experience of it on my second admission that I really wasn’t sure about signing up for it this time.  But there really isn’t much of a choice :/ I remember feeling so so trapped and guilty.

‘Liking’ the foods was a constant issue during all my admissions and it still is now, when I eat foods I actually like the taste of.  It’s weird, I’ve had an ED so long that I don’t actually know what I like/don’t like any more so it’s hard to compare but back then, it was ‘relatively’ early days (saying relatively; it was about 7 years rather than 17) and I still ‘liked’ some foods that I remembered eating as a child, and flapjacks was a big one.  I can still remember the flapjacks we had as an inpatient- they were genuinely terrifying and amazing at the same time and mostly scary because of how good they tasted and the intense guilt and anxiety that caused.  They were HUGE- really, really big and sticky, and they had proper ‘big’ oats in them which I loved.  Wednesday afternoons  and Friday mornings made me nervous and excited equally (Wednesday was technically cheese and biscuits but cheese was one of my dislikes so I had flapjack again instead), and that’s probably one of my clearest memories of being inpatient.  Especially Wednesday when it was followed by the terrors of psychotherapy!!

I can also remember so so clearly the brain fog, exhaustion and absolute inability to concentrate that I experienced those first few weeks.  It was HORRIBLE; I’d literally gone from full-time college straight to inpatient, and my brain seemed to have shut down with trying to process all the food and newness.  My blood sugars were taking a while to adjust so I was in the obs room for about six weeks instead of two which really didn’t help because it was right opposite the nursing station, you had to keep the door open and basically got no privacy but I was so so tired anyway that I basically slept all the time between meals, snacks and supervision.  I still have no idea what causes that but it’s horrible!

Reflecting back over the last decade :/

Really sorry I haven’t posted in so long; had lots going on and not been feeling massively motivated recently.  Had a bit of a weird realisation the other day though- 21st May this year will be ten years exactly since I was last inpatient.  TEN YEARS?!?!  Really, really doesn’t feel like that long ago.  So I’ve decided to revisit my diaries from that time and I’m going to do some blog posts trying to work out what’s changed, what still needs to change and what I could do differently.  Going to be very, very weird but hopefully productive!

SO…  Starting right at the beginning of admission #3 on Saturday 24th February 2007.  Straightaway I’m noticing that it’s my ex-ex best friend from primary school’s 20th birthday which I’m guessing I didn’t even realise at the time which feels a bit sad and selfish (both of those feelings are going to be a recurring theme throughout these blog posts!) although according to the diary, the actual admission was on the Thursday of that week which would have been 22nd February (also a very close friend’s birthday).

I remember that Thursday really, really clearly- I was at college and had been waiting for a call for a couple of days by then.  Then my phone rang in the middle of a philosophy lecture and I had to take it, and it was the ED service calling to say there was a bed available and I had to go in straightaway.  My philosophy teacher was amazing and really supportive, and I felt so weird and guilty telling her I had to leave.  It really, really doesn’t feel like ten years ago and I still cringe remembering it.  Makes me feel so so guilty and horrible!  The decision to go in that time was one of the hardest ‘decisions’ I’ve had to make- it wasn’t really a decision in one sense because I knew if I refused, I’d be sectioned and have to go in anyway but I still had to agree to go in ‘voluntarily’ and take responsibility for it which was really, really  horrible.

It’s the (perceived) impact on other people that’s the hardest part.  I was embarrassed to tell anyone and felt so guilty whenever anyone found out.  I still feel like that now to an extent although I’m a lot more accepting of ‘me’ and how I function now than I was ten years ago when I thought that I was a total failure and that there was something ‘missing’ or ‘wrong’ with my personality which would explain why I couldn’t seem to manage basic adult skills like making and keeping friends, sexual/romantic attraction, going to uni, keeping a job, not getting overloaded or overly intense, not being obsessive etc.  Also ten years ago, I’d never even heard ofAsperger’s and my perspective of OCD was continual hand washing or tidiness which really didn’t fit me so I thought I was just a weird obsessive freak.  Wish I’d been a bit more mental health aware!

Anyway, that’s a brief post about going in for my final (*touch wood*) admission- will be posting more right up till 21st May…

Twelve days in…

Nearly two weeks into Lent and amazingly still going with it!  Seriously didn’t think I’d make it this far.  I’m really sorry I haven’t posted during the week, been totally exhausted and had a lot going on, will try to post more next week.  Also been a bit lazy with DBT skills so definitely going to focus more on that and write some DBT/ACT specific posts…

This week hasn’t been perfect- I’ve been feeling rubbish mood-wise most of the week, underlying anxiety and intense obsessive thoughts which have been hard to manage and that always makes the bitch in my head louder and harder to ignore, but made it through the week without any major slips or meltdowns which given everything that’s happens this week and the amount of stress it’s caused is a massive positive!  And I’ve also managed a couple of pretty major challenges which were a mega achievement for me so not the worst week I’ve ever had.
The start of the week was pretty stressful for various reasons and found it really hard to stick to the meal plan.  Every meal was difficult and the bitch in my head kept reminding me that I didn’t need it, I’m putting on too much weight and everyone thinks I’m selfish and disgusting, and that no ones really cares anyway so there’s no point following through with it.  I managed most of it but felt horrible and so anxious about it, and spent more time on the cross trainer or running than I maybe should have but sometimes it’s the only way to shut her up and I needed to so I could focus on sticking to what I should be doing.

Wednesday was pretty awesome though and a massive positive- I ate food that someone else had cooked and ate it with them at the table!!  It was a challenge for lots of reasons- partly because I hadn’t cooked the food and even though my friend said she hadn’t used oil and I trust her more than anyway, the bitch in my head was reminding me that she could just be saying that and I hadn’t actually seen her cook the food; partly because I had no idea what the right portion was and had to trust my friend’s judgement; partly because it was 7pm which is an hour and a half after I’d usually eat and the bitch in my head really wanted me to just skip tea and not have anything because it was too late and I didn’t need it anyway; and partly eating in front of people at a table which I hardly ever do (I usually eat on my own in my bedroom and have done pretty much always if I’ve had the choice since I was a teenager) although that was easier than it would be anywhere else because I was with my favourite people in the world and at their house, which is the place I feel safest.  Felt really, really anxious about it but it went so much better than I thought would even be possible.  It definitely helped that the food was all ‘healthy’ and foods that fitted into my meal plan anyway, I used a bowl I’ve used a lot before and which I know is about the right portion size (literally- it’s exactly the same size and shape as the bowls from when I was an inpatient) and it was really, really nice to eat with people I love spending time with.  Still can’t believe i actually did it though, especially as it wasn’t planned!  And I did a front flip on the trampoline for the first time ever so double achievement!

The rest of the week was pretty rubbish, lots of anxiety and feeling horrible and guilty but still sticking to the meal plan as much as I can.  Definitely need to make a conscious effort to engage with it properly next week.  Especially because I’ve got the London Marathon coming up next month, am genuinely terrified about it and could really do with being able to fuel in front of people which is still an issue I need to work on…

Day Two of Lent

Day two and still trying…!  I’m not going to detail every aspect of every day because I know that too many food details can be really triggering for people at any stage of ED recovery, and because I don’t want to affect anyone by talking about specific thoughts or behaviours.  So I’m going to focus on a few things each day that have been particularly challenging, useful or interesting.

Most of today’s been OKish which was a relief after the mega emotion swings yesterday.  Had to talk myself into eating a banana at break because it really is hard to make yourself eat something when you’re not hungry at all and it’s not a mealtime, but I kept reminding myself that I did it yesterday and survived, and it had actually had a positive effect on energy levels and mood during the day.  Felt horrible and shaky after it again but had to go straight into lesson which was a really good distraction again- I think school is a really good time to challenge new foods/behaviours because it really is a forced distraction/supervision!

Year 11 mocks meant that I had to work through lunch which completely threw me off track.  I had no idea what to do and the bitch in my head started reminding me that I didn’t have to eat it, I’d already had a banana so didn’t really need lunch as well, it would be really selfish and greedy to ask for time to eat etc and I started to feel sick and really, really guilty.  It was so hard to know what the best thing to do was, and I was trying to rationalise the bitch in my head by telling her that I had rules I needed to stick to, it’s only for six weeks and I won’t know if it works or not unless I fully commit to it and that I can always go back to my usual routine after Lent is over.  It was so exhausting having a pretty much constant brain argument all through the morning’s lessons and luckily the kids were doing an assessment so not too much concentration needed but felt really zoned out and nervous which wasn’t great in lessons.

It was a bit frustrating because I really did want to try to have beans on toast for lunch (since I’d chickened out and had porridge yesterday) and decided to compromise by eating the bread in between lessons three and four (ate it quickly in the toilets which took me straight back to being at school and eating cereals bars in the toilets at lunch; really need to work out a more ‘normal’ alternative to that!) which was ‘lunch’ then I had two oatcakes as well as yogurt when I got home to make up for it.  Which seemed to make sense rationally but the bitch in my head didn’t agree and started telling me how greedy and ridiculous I was being, and I felt guilty-sick and really edgy about it.  So I went for a walk to try to shut her up and calm down, which helped a bit.

Still felt really anxious when I was making tea and had a bit of a freak out about carbohydrates (I genuinely have no idea what constitutes a ‘meal’ and what a portion of carbohydrates actually is), and decide to compromise by having baked beans (one of my ‘safe’ foods) as carbs with fish and vegetables.  It was OK, mostly because all of them are relatively safe foods but the bitch in my head started up again when I came to eat the beans because I don’t really need that as well as the fish and it’s basically another meal which made me feel even more jittery and sick.  But I finished it because that’s the rules, and had a peppermint tea afterwards to try to ease the bloating feeling.  It hasn’t really worked though and I feel like I’ve put on about half a stone just since this morning.  Even though I know rationally that’s not possible, I’m feeling horrible and disgusting and wish I could vacuum off half my body just to feel more comfortable.  I think it maybe didn’t help that someone at work said I looked nice this morning and that I looked different somehow, and I know that probably means I’ve put on weight.  Hate it!!  I hate not knowing what’s happening with my weight but I’m even more scared to weigh myself- I haven’t known mu weight since 2009 (when it went over my then highest ever weight) and I’m really, really nervous of what it actually is.  Bitch in my head would probably kill me or something if she found out :/

Anyway, day two down and still managed not to binge!!  Seeing that as a mega positive at least.  Only 38 days to go… 🙈

Lent Day One…

First day of Lent and survived!!  Totally exhausted already though and it’s been a very weird up and down day, but made it till nearly bedtime with (mostly) sticking to the plan and no bingeing or any other massively destructive behaviours *touch wood* so went better than I thought it would…  It’s weird, I’m feeling a bit spun out and overwhelmed so it’s hard to try to put into words how the first day of ‘simulated inpatient’ has gone, and I’m kind of feeling the same as I have done at the start of every admission which is WEIRD.

It also really doesn’t help that yesterday we had a geography field trip which consisted of doing site surveys in different locations around town, one of which happened to be right outside the ED inpatient treatment centre (which is an area I’ve avoided ever since) and that felt really weird and surreal, and I was so scared I’d see someone I know.  Luckily I didn’t but it still felt really strange.  I can’t really describe the feeling- it was like underlying anxiety but mixed with a sort of guilt and intense pain too, no idea why and really didn’t like it.  And then when we went up into town to do another site, I bumped into the psychologist I used to see at the ED service which was even more weird and surreal, and REALLY not the best timing.  She recognised me and started talking to me which was nice of her but so weird and I wasn’t sure what to say, especially in the middle of a school trip!  Still feeling weird and surreal about it today, and starting Lent has sort of added to that.

I’ve basically approached Lent like an inpatient contract- I’ve got the plan and I’ve got to stick to it because that’s the rules.  It’s a lot harder on your own though even though I’ve gone over the rules so many times in my head.  The morning was OK because it was porridge like I usually would, and the first ‘challenge’ was break time at school when I’d planned to have a cereal bar (would usually be biscuits but I forgot to go to the supermarket yesterday).  It was SO BLOODY HARD to make myself eat it and I was shaking so much but luckily it was Wednesday which happens to be the day that my department at school eat cakes at break time (it’s a weekly tradition) so that really helped to justify eating it, and no one commented on it which was a massive relief.  I felt sick afterwards though and so guilty for eating when I wasn’t hungry and it wasn’t a meal time, but one of the plus sides to working in a school is that you’re straight into lessons and don’t really have time to dwell on it.  THANK GOD.  It’s like distraction and supervision merged into one.

Amazingly, I didn’t explode or spontaneously combust after the cereal bar at break and managed not to think about it too much until lesson four (right before lunch) when usually I’m getting tired and a bit lightheaded thanks to long lessons and lunch being relatively late at school.  Today was different though- I had way more energy than usual and still jittery after breaktime which translated into mild hypomania through the whole lesson which I really hadn’t expected.  I was literally twitching with hypedness the whole hour, couldn’t stand still so flicked from one child to another pretty much constantly and talking way more than I usually would.  Everything seemed to have sped up and I kept going ‘out of sync’ with what was going on, and I was aware that a few of the kids were looking at me a bit strangely.  I kept taking deep, abdominal breaths (subtly) to try to slow down, but my thoughts were going a million miles an hour and I was seriously jittery.  At first, I thought I must have forgotten to take quetiapine last night but I wouldn’t have slept if I hadn’t so I very rarely forget it and if I do, I realise pretty quickly.  Then I realised it was energy from the cereal bar- I’m not used to having a sugar boost mid-morning and I think I must have been on an anxiety-mixed sugar rush which was why I was so hyped and jittery.  When I realised that, I found it really hard not to giggle hysterically (no idea why- it was a weird mix of guilt and excitement) and had to make a massive effort to ‘slow down’ for the rest of the lesson.

After that, I felt a bit too anxious and jittery to try anything new at lunch so I had porridge as usual (not great I know but definitely going to try beans on toast tomorrow), then calmed down a bit before the afternoon.  After school, I went to the supermarket which was another massive challenge (I HATE supermarket shopping and am usually in and out in less than three minutes), and I managed to go round most of the shop and get DIFFERENT FOODS to try.  I got soya yogurts to have after school, bananas and biscuits for breaktimes (alternating), white fish and vegetables for tea.  I kind of cheated and bought a mixed bag of ready prepared vegetables which also had potato in so I didn’t have to work out a portion of carbs, but I think that’s safest for the first attempt and even thinking about preparing it was giving me mega anxiety.

When I got home, I put the oven on straightaway so I wouldn’t chicken out and put the veg and potatoes in, and fish wrapped in tin foil.  Was feeling seriously nervous and sick by then but I managed a yogurt and took a coffee upstairs to distract with school work.  I’d completely forgotten how much of an amazing distraction doing school-related work is (now I can see totally why I loved homework so much) and definitely going to make that a daily distraction in the evenings even though *technically* it isn’t part of my job.  When I went downstairs to get the food, I felt really, really sick and nearly put in back in the fridge for another day but the guilt and anxiety about ‘breaking the rules’ overrode the feeling sick horribleness of eating the meal, and I started to eat it.

It was really, really hard, way harder than the cereal bar this morning because I started to feel full and bloated really quickly and felt like I was forcing myself to pick up the fork over and over, and actually swallow the food.  I realised that the mixed veg was a bad idea- I couldn’t figure out which order to eat it in (is onion more or less carb-y than courgette?  how can you tell the difference between squash and sweet potato?  is sweet potato a vegetable or a carbohydrate and should you eat it before or after fish?) and my brain was going even faster than it had done earlier in the day, thoughts merging and not making sense and I couldn’t work out what parts of the meal were what even though logically I know it probably doesn’t matter.  It also brought back horrible memories of being an inpatient and being told off at the table for eating things in a certain order (veg then protein then carbs) and only one thing at a time, but I have to eat it that way and if I don’t get it right, my anxiety skyrockets and I feel even more spun out and sick.  Maybe something I need to challenge later on, once I’ve got my head around the food…

But managed to finish the meal!!  Felt SO BLOATED afterwards (and still do), I can feel my stomach pressing against my trousers and feel disgusting but I know that’s part of it and I’ve had that every time I’ve tried to change my diet before, and I know you need to just ride through it until it subsides.  So hard though and it really doesn’t feel like it’s going to ease off :/ I’ve been looking through old ED stuff and keep reminding myself that I’ve eaten A LOT more than this in a day before in the past and survived it, but all I can see in my brain at the moment is a pile of all the foods I’ve eaten today and I feel sick.  But it’s definitely a bigger step than I’ve taken in the last eight years, and the logical part of my brain knows that’s a massive positive.  Really, really hoping it’ll get easier..

Lent resolutions…

I’m so sorry I haven’t posted in so long!  Haven’t been feeling great again recently, no energy or motivation, feeling like someone’s compressing my brain with weights so it’s like constant pre-migraine where your thoughts are slowed down and don’t make sense and just feeling generally exhausted.  So have been finding it really hard to actually finish blog posts in order to post them- sorry!!

REALLY wanted to post this one though because it’s Lent on Wednesday and I’ve made a pretty big decision this year- I’m going to use the six weeks of Lent as a trial ED ‘recovery’ programme using the same structure as inpatient and really, really trying to stick to it and see what happens.  Usually at Lent, I give up anything sweet, not healthy foods etc but over the last few years it’s got a bit ridiculous as I don’t eat anything like that anyway, so I’ve decided to try to simulate being an inpatient instead to try to get more regular structure into my eating and to vary it from basically porridge.  So so nervous but I’m so fed up with feeling the way I do and how it affects both my work and other people that I really think it might be worth trying…

I found some old inpatient folders recently which gave me the idea, and it’s so weird re-reading them!  The assessment period on the ward was six weeks which is the same length of time as Lent, and I know rationally that even with eating ‘real’ inpatient diet (my version is a bit more manageable to do on my own) it’s impossible to gain massive amounts of weight in that time, and I’ve got my old weight charts to prove it.  I’m so scared about gaining a lot of weight though, but I’m trying to justify it with the fact that I already hate my size and how I feel with it, and that can’t get much worse.  And if it really does feel like too much, I can always stop and go back to porridge- unlike being an actual inpatient, I’m not going to threaten myself with sections or NG tube!  But I really, really do want to try to manage it…

The weirdest thing was finding a copy of the ‘rules’ on the ward:


I remember how nervous I was about signing a copy as an inpatient (this is a stabilisation version- the original contract also had rules about staying on the ward at all times, no exercise, reaching target weight and staying there etc) and I’ve got the same sorts of nerves about trying it again now.  But I know it’s so important to address everything- behaviours, food patterns, taking responsibility for diet etc as well as just following the rules and I’ve got strategies for managing that which I’ve tried before and am writing into my plan to try to stick to it.

I’ve written a weekly ‘plan’ which is loosely based on the inpatient stablisation plan, and I’m going to make it a ‘rule’ to follow it for the next six weeks.  I’m really hoping that seeing it as a contract I’ve signed and that I ‘have’ to stick to the rules with help to follow it, and that knowing it’s time-limited to six weeks should make it more manageable and achievable.  I’ve thought about it a lot and although I’m absolutely bloody terrified about so many parts of it, I can’t feel much worse than I have done over the last year-ish and structure usually helps me to feel better and less out of control.  This is the plan:


I’m lucky that since I work in a school, I’ve already got a ready-made structure and distraction during the day which should make that part a lot easier, and I’ve also made a ‘timetable’ for evenings too which are usually my hardest time because my mood seems to drop and my brain starts on mega anxiety/paranoia mode, and it’s harder to manage with no distractions.  I’ve got an hour and 30 mins scheduled for ‘therapy’-type stuff which isn’t as much as you have to as an inpatient but I don’t have the energy or concentration for any more than that, plus it’s a million times harder when you’re trying to motivate yourself to make changes and challenge the horrible voice in your head which seems to get louder and louder instead of easing off so it’s like a constant brain argument just to make a simple decision.  It’s definitely A LOT easier as an inpatient when it’s not your decision and the guilt for actually choosing to eat and stick to the meal plan is horrible and causes so much anxiety.  But I keep reminding myself that by NOT making changes, I’m affecting people I care about and that even if they are amazing and tolerant, I want to be able to be actually ‘there’ when I’m with people and not zoned out or feeling rubbish.

So, that’s the plan for the next six weeks…!  So, so nervous but I really, really want to make it work.  The main things I’m nervous about are totally ridiculous though- I’m scared of people commenting on my food or thinking I’m eating too much/being greedy or selfish, putting on weight, eating carbohydrates and proteins in the same meal (I haven’t mixed them since 2009), eating between means and what people will think of that, putting on more weight, feeling fat and selfish all the time, not being able to stop eating, actually wanting to eat…  But I’ve had similar anxieties for the last 17 years and listening to the birch in my head and doing what she says hasn’t solved it, so maybe it’s time to try a different approach…  Will see how it goes and keep the blog updated!

ED relapse warning signs

I’ve been looking through some of my old stuff from when I was an inpatient nearly ten years ago, and found this list I wrote with the psychologist I saw at the time about warning signs for relapse into ‘severe’ ED again.  It’s actually still kind of useful!  Some of it isn’t relevant any more (eg college-related) but a lot of it still is, and it’s helpful to think about. I’m going to be 30 in December and I really, really don’t want my 30s to be the same as my 20s, which have been mostly influenced by ED thoughts/behaviours,  both directly and indirectly.  I want to be free from the constant brain arguments, restrictions and urges to binge/cut, and I want to be able to do things spontaneously without stressing about how it’s going to impact on my daily routine/meal times.

I’m trying to make my own ‘treatment plan’ atm based on the inpatient ‘programme’ I’ve followed several times before, DBT skills, acceptance and commitment therapy ideas and solution-focussed which a friend recently introduced me to and I really like the concept of although it’s kind of hard with ED because I genuinely can’t think of times when it’s not an issue apart from running ultras, and even then it’s only because I’ve ‘earned’ the break from the restrictions by running over 40 miles.  But I really do want to change and learn to mange it properly this time- it’s been 17 years and I’m exhausted with feeling like I’m going in circles but getting nowhere.  Hope this list is helpful to some people 🙂

Yellow

  • Not sleeping much at night
  • Drinking a lot of diet Coke
  • Being irritable/snappy
  • Sleeping during the day
  • Weighing regularly
  • Only eating at certain times
  • Change in exercise habits- less intense exercise, lots of walking/swimming
  • Spending a lot of time on social media
  • Eating in a certain order or with specific plate/cutlery
  • Feeling ‘hyped’, can’t switch off
  • Feeling sick/dizzy
  • Getting obsessed with recipes or cooking programmes
  • Skipping breakfast or lunch
  • Using a lot of salt

 

Amber

  • Eating meat
  • Fixating on certain foods (often not healthy) eg reduced calorie chocolate, lower calorie sweets, low fat biscuits etc
  • Cooking food for other people
  • Staying in, watching TV, not doing anything ‘active’ or productive
  • Focussing on nutrients of food instead of actual foods eg need to eat 10g of protein, doesn’t matter what the protein is but also needs to be under 100cal per 20g of protein
  • Taking on several jobs/courses at once, need to be busy all the time
  • Neat handwriting, being unusually organised
  • Don’t want to cook or be around food in front of people
  • Not interested in reading, writing or drawing
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Feeling shaky all the time
  • Prioritising walking over anything else eg walking three hours to college and back every day to ‘fit it in’
  • Bedroom messy and not cleaning because of stuff all over the floor, feeling overwhelmed
  • Driving too fast or erratically
  • Feeling like time is speeding up or slowing down
  • Getting angry more often
  • Feeling like there’s no point
  • Becoming fixated on numbers about food- timings, grams of nutrients in food, weighing foods, number of chews etc

 

Red

  • Not eating in front of people
  • Passing out regularly
  • Losing weight even after periods have stopped
  • Dissociating more than usual
  • Sleeping a lot of the day
  • Not going out for days at a time, don’t want to see people
  • Not exercising at all
  • Thinking about food all the time, having binge dreams
  • Lying about food or weight
  • Eating less than twice a day
  • Skipping college
  • Getting angry or snappy talking about food
  • Having panic attacks or similar several times a week
  • Tired all the time, not feeling ‘with it’
  • Fixating on a certain weight (usually around 7.5 stone) as a ‘magic’ solution
  • Throwing up not just after a binge
  • Going several days without eating
  • Not feeling ‘real’
  • Only thinking about food or weight

National Poetry Day 2016

Yesterday was National Poetry Day in the UK and I forgot to post a poem, so posting one today which is partly influenced by the Bad Girls convention I went to last weekend and which I’m in the middle of writing a blog post about.  Hope you enjoy it!

“How does hate swing through fixation into love, or something like? So if she drives by in the
family car I want to part the traffic
like a sea for her-“
– ‘Clodia’, Tiffany Atkinson
 
There are times when the body
doesn’t make sense. A sudden heart-
jolt, stomach-swoop at the wrong time,
obsession you don’t want to start.
How does hate swing through fixation into love?
 
I know that I shouldn’t like her.
She’s so smart, strong, complex and free:
everything that I’m not. And yet
why do I need her to need me,
or something like? So if she drives by in the
 
pouring rain, I’m in the road, soaked.
She’s in the blueprint of my mind,
my default thoughts, pulling feelings
like gravity. If I’m behind
her family car I want to part the traffic.
 
It’s visceral; my blood beats with
emotions I don’t understand,
a vertigo of confusion.
Love-hate crashes like waves on sand,
like a sea for her.

Quick apology post!

Hi, just a quick post to apologise for the fact that I haven’t posted in months!  had a bit of a rubbish summer, decided to try to come off medication because I was fed up with the side effects and feeling rubbish for relying on drugs which really wasn’t a good idea and my mood started swinging from totally jittery-hyped to wanting to not exist on a nearly daily basis which was exhausting and nearly lost any friendships or close relationships I actually have.  So I’m taking them again and have just about settled back into ‘normal’ or whatever that means when you’re on high doses of psychiatric meds!  But I feel ‘real’ again, my mood’s more stable and I’m nowhere near as paranoid as I was over the summer so definitely a good thing.  And am hoping to get back on track with blogging!  Sorry again for disappearing off the face of the blogosphere 😉

Horcruxes

Just a short post today because my brain is frazzled, I’ve been awake pretty much consistently for the last four days, got up at 2am this morning and keep needing to remind myself where I am, why and what day it is!  Been a bit of a stressful week, feeling rubbish and getting meds withdrawals (on day five without them) so actually writing this feels like processing thoughts through peanut butter but I really want to get one last Harry Potter post in before the Cursed Child release at midnight tonight!!

So, Horcruxes.  I realise this is a bit of a random topic to write about but the more I’ve been thinking about the bitch in my head and how I’m trying to manage her constant arguments and influence, the more I’m realising that it’s closer to the concept of Horcruxes than I’ve ever thought about.  It’s taken a while to conceptualise the horrible thoughts, urges and brain arguments as anything other than just ‘me’ being a horrible person and for the last year or so, I’ve seen it as a ‘bitch in my head’ (see Inside my head… for a proper explanation about that) and she has direct access to my thoughts, feelings and urges which I need to identify and try to manage, and one of the ways I’ve found useful for that is through Occlumency and other strategies from Harry Potter which I wrote about in Mental Health Awareness Week 2016, Part One: HARRY POTTER.

Thinking about that made me realise that the bitch in my head is actually close to a Horcrux- a part of someone else’s soul which is evil and sometimes takes control of my thoughts and emotions in a way that I don’t like but, importantly, it ISN’T PART OF ME.  This is really, really important as a way of conceptualising it which has taken a long time to actually accept and try to believe- when I have paranoid, obsessive thoughts about other people or about myself, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a horrible person because I try really hard not to act on the thoughts/urges and I don’t want them in my head, and that means that there must be a ‘me’ outside of those thoughts/feelings/urges that ISN’T weird, obsessive or horrible and that’s the part I want to keep and is actually ‘me’.

Not sure if that makes sense?  I started to realise it after a conversation with a friend I’ve known for years but don’t get to meet up with that often, and who is someone I really look up to and trust.  We met for coffee a couple of months ago and she was talking about spirituality and the idea of a ‘still space’ inside you which is the part you need to connect with and that doesn’t judge or anything like that, and I really liked the concept even if I still don’t fully understand it.  When I knew her ten years ago, she recommended Paulo Coelho’s books which I read and loved, especially Veronika Decides to Die and Eleven Minutes which taught me that it’s OK to be different and not fit in, and that ‘normal’ is relative and actually conformity is the worst thing people can do because it goes against the natural ‘self’ and who you actually are.  There are so many amazing quotes from those books and I’ll list a few which I found really useful at that time (and still do now):

“You have two choices, to control your mind or to let your mind control you.”

“Haven’t you learned anything, not even with the approach of death? Stop thinking all the time that you’re in the way, that you’re bothering the person next to you. If people don’t like it, they can complain. And if they don’t have the courage to complain, that’s their problem.”  (THIS IS SO IMPORTANT AND TRUE!)

“We all live in our own world. But if you look up at the starry sky – you’ll see that all the different worlds up there combine to form constellations, solar systems, galaxies.”

“When I took the pills, I wanted to kill someone I hated. I didn’t know that other Veronikas existed inside me, Veronikas that I could love.”  (Kill the Horcrux, not yourself)

“At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.”

“That’s why I’m telling you: don’t get used to it, because it’s very easy to become habituated; it’s a very powerful drug. It’s in our daily lives, in our hidden suffering, in the sacrifices we make, blaming love for the destruction of our dreams. Pain is frightening when it shows its real face, but it’s seductive when it comes disguised as sacrifice or self-denial. Or cowardice. However much we may reject it, we human being always find a way of being with pain, of flirting with it and making it part of our lives.”  I’ve put part of this in bold because when I first read it aged 19, I could identify with it so strongly and wrote an intense diary entry about it which I’ve since lost which is maybe a good thing but I would be interested to re-read it.  Definitely worth a blog post at some point…

Having written out those quotes, I really want to re-read Paulo Coelho now and I think it deserves several blog posts of its own!  But the point I’m trying to get clear in my head is that ten years ago, the realisations I got from reading Paulo Coelho probably set the framework for the way I’m thinking about the bitch in my head and Horcruxes now, and it’s amazing how your thought processes can grow and develop over your lifetime.  The recent conversation with my friend (which was actually one of the first proper conversations I’ve had with her in ten years which is pretty incredible considering how much I’ve learned from her and how much she’s influenced how I view my life probably without even realising it) has helped to solidify it and she mentioned some more spirituality-type books which I’m going to read and hopefully be able to learn from…  I really like the idea of connecting with a part of ‘you’ which isn’t the obsessive, paranoid part and I think it’s similar to the way you sort of ‘zone out’ in a good way during long runs and get an amazing feeling of freedom and calm- trying to learn to manage that without having to run 40 miles first!

Sorry this is a bit of a rambling post, brain really not focussing clearly at the moment but I wanted to try to explore a bit the idea of Horcruxes and how Occlumency can be useful in trying to stop the direct access to thoughts and emotions.  It links to Paulo Coelho because it’s a lot like mindfulness- focussing on the present, trying to ‘close your mind’ to paranoid or obsessive thoughts, not fixating or focussing on them.  Harry uses mindfulness consciously in Deathly Hallows when he tries to stay fully ‘present’ as a way to stop Voldemort being able to access his mind and to manage pain or intense emotions that aren’t his own, and this is really useful to learn from and apply in a DBT-type way to managing thoughts or intense emotions from the bitch/Horcrux in your head.  Will try to expand on it when my brain’s a bit more functional but wanted to introduce it as a concept!  Hope at least some of it makes sense 🙂