I had my weekly appointment at the EDU this morning. Got weighed – I’m up another 2lbs since last week 🙂 so, only half a pound to go before I can book an appointment to get my hair cut as a reward to myself! I’ve worked out rewards for each BMI target I reach – 15 is the aforementioned hair cut, 16 is booking my pass plus (an extension to the driving test in the UK – it’s not compulsory but it brings your insurance down), 17 is BUYING a car (reeeally excited about that one!), 18 is driving my new car up to Cambridge to visit my friend Sarah for a few days, and for 19, which is my last definite target (I want to aim to get between 19-20, because I don’t want to set a specific number as a target weight this time around, I’d rather have a range of 5lbs or so) I have decided on getting a tattoo. I’ve wanted to get one done for years, and I even designed one a while ago but could never find the money or the guts to go into a tattoo parlour on my own! I will have to find a friend to go with.
I talked about my OCD to my care coordinator at the EDU today. She didn’t have any answers – but then I didn’t expect her to, I’m resigned to just living with it for now at least. I only have enough energy to concentrate on fighting off the eating disorder and improving my physical health at the moment, the anxiety is going to have to wait it’s turn. It’s not like I’m working to a deadline 😛
The nurse I see, Kate, said that it sound like living with my anxiety/OCD is exhausting. She’s right, it is. It’s not surprising really that I have been so scared of giving up my anorexia. When I am actively engaging in eating disordered behaviours all of my anxiety gets channelled into food, weight, meal plans, being hungry, distracting myself from food, exercising, yaddayadda. Now I’ve stopped myself from obsessing about any of that, and it’s not like I have anything else in my life to feel anxious about (I’m not studying or working, I’m just sitting around at home reading and blogging – and eating, heh) so my brain has invented a load of stuff to worry about, like loading the dishwasher and cleaning and organising and arranging things. Even though I know it’s meaningless and that the world won’t end if my books don’t line up exactly, if I try to resist the urge to straighten something out my body and my mind go haywire. It’s like an unbearable itch that I HAVE to scratch, I sit here getting more and more tense, forcing myself to relax only to find myself all tensed up again two seconds later, getting panicky and forcing myself to calm down and getting panicky again, and to be honest it’s easier to just give in and just straighten the curtain or the books! Although it’s also very uncomfortable sitting with the eating disordered feelings while I’m trying to gain weight I wouldn’t apply the same principle to that situation, because straightening books out isn’t likely to kill me. So, all of my energy is going into living with the discomfort of fighting the eating disorder, and I have none left over for the stupid irritating obsessive stuff.
I CAN live with it though. Whilst it’s *just* anxiety, it’s not a priority. If I started getting very depressed as well I would have to do something about it. I am used to living with anxiety – I’ve had panic attacks since I was four and OCD and a tic disorder since I was 6/7ish, so I’ve had a lot of time to learn ways of coping, or at least ignoring it. But the depression is a lot harder to live with, because it steals my motivation and energy. Clinical, chemical depression is an absolute bitch. I live in fear of it coming back, to be honest, because I still have no idea how to cope with it other than to wait for it to pass – and sometimes the episodes take 1-2 years to burn themselves out. Medication makes me worse, taking care of myself doesn’t make a dent, talking about it just leads to me dwelling on it…anyway, I’m not going to think about that unless it happens, because at the moment I am surprisingly but blessedly undepressed, in the clinical sense. Some things in my life may be depressING, but I am not being subjected to chemical warfare by my brain. There’s a big difference.
I have that appointment with the private therapist tomorrow. Wish me luck! I am kind of excited, it feels good to be taking charge of my own recovery. If I do find someone I think I can work well with, I don’t think I will bother with the day programme at the EDU. The main reason I wanted to do that was to get me out of the house and to kick me out of the rut I’d gotten into with food. I didn’t find the groups there terribly helpful last time, the nurses are always too stretched for time for one to one support and the powers that be aren’t going to assign me to a therapist there this time around (I feel like they’ve written me off as ‘chronic’ after one bloody relapse. I know I’ve had an eating disorder for a long time but I’ve only been at a low weight for the last two years, and how many people manage to maintain recovery the first time they have to go through regaining a lot of weight back? Rarrr.
Still, should be grateful that I live in an area with any ED services at all I suppose!), so all I would do there is eat things that make me feel sick (they can’t accommodate all of my intolerances, although I know they made a big effort I don’t think it’s possible with institutional food. Not their fault, but that doesn’t make it any less painful for me!), sit in groups that make me uncomfortable (and not because they are challenging either, I could live with that!), and socialise with other anorexics who may or may not want to recover themselves. I am not sure that I trust myself to be able to cope with that, it’s hard to maintain motivation for recovery when you’re surrounded by games and manipulation and drama. I don’t know what I should do. Although I feel really positive and determined at the moment, I’ve only been gaining weight for the last two weeks, I don’t want to decide against the day programme prematurely and then get into trouble in a couple of months time. I feel strongly that that wouldn’t happen this time because my whole attitude towards recovery couldn’t be more different to last year, I really want it this time and I feel 100% committed – but I know how hard recovery is too, and I don’t have any reason to trust my mind or myself when I’ve screwed things up time and again for the last decade. I *feel* different, but I can’t see into the future. Damn, that’d make things a lot easier 😛
Weeell, there’s no point worrying about this now, I’m not going to come to an answer tonight. I will see how things go tomorrow and think about things some more. If this woman doesn’t feel right I’ll make a few more appointments. I will continue to sit around at home reading helpful books (I have Eating in the Light of the Moon, The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene and The Host, by Stephanie Meyer, on the go at the moment. EDs, astrophysics and…a love story written for teenagers centred around aliens? What a combination!), messing about with my art/craft stuff and eating copious amounts of almond butter for the immediate future. Like I said earlier, I’m not working to a deadline. I have the rest of my life to work on this.