Trigger Warning: This post includes descriptions of binge eating and talks about poor mental health. Please don’t continue reading this if you fear it may be triggering for you.
I haven’t blogged for a while. I have written, I have written a lot. My blog drafts are filled with half written posts that have never made the edit, never been completed. It isn’t that I haven’t wanted to write, it’s that I couldn’t find the words. They weren’t funny enough, positive enough, they didn’t quite cut it, so I saved them and promised to come back to them another day, and then I never did.
I started this blog shortly before I finished therapy for my eating disorder. My therapist suggested that blogging was a good way to make sense of my thoughts, connecting with other people like me. And yet, when I have needed to do that the most, I have shied away from it. Put my laptop down, and waited for a better day to come.
I always knew that recovery would never be an upward trajectory and yet experiencing a dip in my mental health has left me feeling baffled. For right now, I am not OK, and I am not too sure what to do about it.
It started as a slow burner. Recently I have become more interested in losing weight again. I remain at a weight I am unhappy with, and when I stopped bingeing and started eating ‘normally’ the weight sort of dropped off me. But then as my mind adjusted so did my body and my weight plateaued. Yet I remained overweight. It’s not I can’t find some peace with being bigger, but the weight I gained was because of an eating disorder, and the longer it hangs around, the longer I feel ‘sick’. So I tried dieting, I tried exercising, and slowly I became more restrictive and before long I was bingeing again. Hello Full Blown Eating Disorder – it’s been a while.
Therapy really fucks with your enjoyment of an eating disorder. I used to love bingeing. Just the thought of the food I was going to eat would excite me. I would spend hours fantasying about the type of food I was going to consume, I would mentally taste it, and I would feel my body relax as I walked into the shop to buy it. The following moments would be chaotic, painful, and unpleasant, but that build up…there was nothing like it. And then therapy comes along, and takes a big old shit on that feeling. It shows you how problematic it is, the emotions you are blocking and like a drug addict, after therapy, that hit is never quite the same. So as my binges have increased over the past 8 weeks, my enjoyment hasn’t. Subjectively my bingeing has been very small in comparison to what I used to do. Mainly because of therapy (you fucker), I know what I am buying is for a binge and therefore I restrict myself now. It might be one bag of crisps and a couple of chocolate bars, but it is still a binge. The aim is to stop feeling. It hasn’t worked.
I feel like shit. I physically feel run down, and this week the dreaded winter lurgy raised it’s head. I am not sleeping, my sleeping pattern is screwed and I am struggling to fall asleep as my brain decides to remind me of all the terrible things I have ever done on a loop just to raise my maximum cringe levels to 10. I got a promotion at work (yay!), but as a consequence my workload is bigger than ever and I am feeling the stress on all levels. I am literally dreading going to work in 24 hours. And then in general I just feel a bit shit. I feel like a swan right now, sailing smoothly across the water, but underneath wildly splashing about. Inside my head I am screaming. I feel like digging my nails into my scalp and peeling off this calm exterior and exposing the raging mess below. Yet I don’t, I have just kept peddling, until this week. This week, the wheels have come off.
It happened on my birthday. This Monday I was out for lunch with my parents to celebrate my day of birth when I quickly flicked through my phone and opened a dating app. I don’t know why I did it; perhaps it’s habitual now. Jump on, see if my husband has come online and pop off again. On this occasion, there was a message waiting for me. Just one sentence;
“Cute face, disappointing body”
That one sentence, 4 little words ripped through me. I felt like someone had sliced across my stomach and pulled out my guts. That one sentence which voiced every little thought that had been emerging in my eating disorder brain over the past 8 weeks. Cute face, disappointing body. It summed up every worthless thought I had manifested and splayed itself across a page for me read again and again, each time more painful than the last.
Now my logical brain knows this was just a troll. A faceless profile from a man trying to get my attention anyway he could, and being mean to women on the Internet isn’t a new idea in 2017 is it? And yet no matter how much I reason with myself that this is just trolling, I can’t help but find those words so painful, so relatable, and so true.
It ruined my birthday. That night I binged. I binged on my 32nd birthday and I felt miserable. I have felt miserable all week. I have cancelled plans I have had in the diary for months and missed out on making memories with my friends, because…well I am miserable.
And yet, for the first time in 2 months I also know I need to make a change. It feels like a defining moment to stop hiding from this downward spiral and put effort into my recovery again. I need to make effort to get better, to stop reading that one sentence and hoping it stops hurting. Because only I can make the hurt stop, and that starts by looking after myself and getting over my BED.
So today, I am writing this from a coffee shop like a true blogging wanker. I have had a leisurely breakfast, I walked to the sea and sat with the waves for a while, I got my car valeted, I booked flights for a trip of a life time (Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand – I will blog about it later I am sure) and I am off to get my body massaged. I will spend the next few weeks investing in my self-care. I will stop dieting and try to start living. For I will be OK, just not today.