I have some good news at last. I hit a real low this past week, both physically and mentally. Today my mum went shopping and bought me a bar of my favourite vegan dark chocolate covered marzipan, and when she told me I apparently looked at her like she was trying to poison me – I panicked. Just having it in my possession terrified me. She lost her temper and shouted at me, I tried to argue that I was trying but…it’s hard to argue with conviction when you know that you’re lying. If I were really trying I would be gaining weight, not losing, I would be adding calories, not continually cutting them out. I sat on the sofa reading blogs for a bit, feeling just…hopeless.
Then a few things clicked in my head. First of all, if I am assessed at the local EDU at this weight, they will recommend that I go inpatient. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to risk getting institutionalised or dependent, I don’t want to get dragged into patient dramas (it’s all too easy to go IP with the best of intentions but end up being triggered, losing perspective and playing games), and I know that the food in the hospital will make me feel ill. They can’t cater for ALL my intolerances, I would have to make a few concessions and it would be far harder on me to try to gain weight whilst feeling constantly nauseous. If I manage to restore enough weight so that I can do the day programme instead of going IP I will only have to cope with NHS food two or three times a week, so I’ll have the support but also have time to recover from the intensity of treatment. Secondly, I have been lying to my mum. I’ve told her that I’m half a stone heavier than I am, that I’m eating a few hundred more calories than I am, I’ve been hiding and throwing away food and making excuses for not increasing my calories. While I was sitting on the sofa feeling like crying I thought, why am I lying? My mum can’t actually force me to eat, why not just come clean and tell her how I feel? What’s the worst that can happen? And lastly, sitting here hating myself, it hit me that by starting trying to recover off my own back, making it MY decision, my actions, I will feel much more in control of the process and I will have a reason to be proud of myself. It won’t be something I was forced to do, it will be something which I chose to do.
So I went into the kitchen and made some hot chocolate with oat milk (which boiled over horribly at the first attempt, so I had to do it twice!), sat down where mum was on her laptop, and confessed that yes, I was having problems with anorexia as well as the phobia, that I was at a lower weight than I had admitted, and that I was going to try harder starting from that moment. And I drank my hot chocolate.
I’ve been on a very restricted diet for a long time now so I’m not going to try and do this all at once – I’m going to start on the same number of calories that I know the local EDU put people on when they are admitted, and then add a couple of hundred every week. But it’s a good first step. You don’t get anywhere if you don’t ever take the first step. Challenge number two will be adding some almond butter to my porridge tomorrow morning…I have missed my almond butter!