Every now and then I fall apart

(I blame the title on my sister’s boyfriend, who has an obsession with 80s power ballads. I CANNOT get ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ out of my head!)

Everything is wrong at the moment. I am still sad that I didn’t get to say goodbye to the cat before she was put to sleep last week, I am worried about the things that happened over the weekend, I am really not enjoying my physics course (hating it might actually be a better phrase – but I have to spend the next eight months doing it because I didn’t pay for it, the government did and I’m not quitting for a less-than-life-threatening reason), the weather is cold and wet and this time of year triggers all kinds of flashbacks, and my body is extremely confused that it is autumn and we are not losing weight. Most non-ED’d people gain weight over Christmas, but traditionally I’ve always relapsed in the autumn, hit my lowest somewhen between December and March, made a half hearted commitment to recovery in the spring, gained for the next few months and started to relapse again towards the end of the summer. It’s hard not to fall into cue-controlled behavioural and thought patterns: christmas songs are playing in the shops/I shouldn’t eat lunch, I wake up to the sound of rain battering my window/I have to lose 30lbs NOW, the trees are almost bare/I should be eating at least a thousand calories less than this, aaand et cetera. I am not acting on any of these thoughts and I don’t plan to, I cut them off as soon as they appear in my head. I don’t even WANT to do any of those things, they are just random habitual responses hitting my consciousness like bugs on a windscreen. (I like that analogy 😛 )

I have gained another 2lbs over the last month so I’m just 3lbs below my target weight now. Weirdly enough, I was OK with my body 2lbs ago, but now everything suddenly seems…exponentially larger. I am busy force feeding myself logic – I am a 25 year old, 5’5, Caucasian woman; the ideal BMI for someone of this description is actually about 21 (I decided to make 20 my target because it was the highest BMI I’d maintained as an adult without restricting or bingeing), so I cannot be ‘fat’ nine pounds below this. Also, it doesn’t make sense that I felt fine at a BMI of 19.1 but am now apparently enormous at 19.5. Two pounds is a drop in the ocean, it wouldn’t make a visible difference to my body. Ergo, it’s the eating disorder messing with my head. I see my sister, who is two years younger than me, as slim and pretty and her BMI is usually about 20. The one and only time I have been truly proud of the shape I was in was three years ago when my BMI was 20 and I was training for the London marathon. BMI is actually pretty arbitary, I have been going to the gym three times a week for the last three months so some of my weight gain during that time will have been due to the restoration of my lost muscle. My period didn’t turn up last month, and only finally appeared when I skipped a gym session and increased my calories by 200 during all of last week. Come on woman, the logic is not that hard to grasp.

Still, I just cannot get my head around the fact that the top of each of my thighs is now the same size as my waist was in February. SERIOUSLY. I know muscle is a good thing but damn! I don’t know if my perception really is warped or if I am a different shape to the last time I was at this weight. Presumably it’s a combination: I am nowhere near huge but at the same time it is impossible to gain 35lbs completely evenly, and the weight will redistribute over the next year or so. Hopefully some of it will rediscover my chest. I find it very annoying that when I am anorexic I am not vain at all, I know I look sick rather than attractive and that makes me feel safe – but when I am healthy I suddenly become self conscious. Not because of the weight as such, because I know that the general public would not share my distorted view of myself, but…I just care about my appearance a lot more, I want to look nice. And I don’t think I do. My hair needs cutting and but I can’t afford to go to a hairdresser at the moment, my skin is terrible thanks to my wonky hormones, and in a rather bizarre paradox I am quite capable of looking at myself in the mirror and seeing my face as too big and too small at the same time, as I both haven’t gotten used to my face at this much higher weight annnnd can still see that it is a little thin (my thighs are hogging all the weight gain 😛 ).

Recovery is a head fuck. Excuse my language. But I am still of the opinion that it is a head fuck that is completely worth sticking with – because I won’t become un-fucked by fucking myself up even more, right? Rule number one: thoughts about weight and food are symptoms of the eating disorder that has attempted to systematically turn me into a zombie and ruin my life for the last 13 years. Eating disorders are mental illnesses. To recover, it is necessary to stop buying into all that crap. I’ve been trying my best to listen to how I feel and what I think about a lot of things since I started recovery…but food and weight are not among them.

Onwards and, yes, upwards. Sigh.

Three good things about today:
1. I saw Angie, my CPN (community psychiatric nurse) earlier. She is some kind of saint, complete with occasional production of miracles. Seeing as it is PTSD-month and that I spent most of October being relatively insane she’s going to see me more often than usual this month. She also bought me a cup of tea 😛 and is going to look into referring me to the long term psychotherapy service in my county, which specialises in people who are a bit…complicated. I feel slightly disloyal to Julie but I am damn well going to make use of every opportunity in my quest to have a normal life, and anyway the waiting list is about a year long so I’m not going to stop seeing her any time soon.
2. I had cake for breakfast! I made apple and walnut cake yesterday and took it up to my bedroom so it didn’t get eaten by anyone else. I woke up in hormone-induced-agony this morning and, since it’s not a good idea to take ibuprofen on an empty stomach, ate the cake first 😛 I haven’t eaten cake for breakfast for years! It wasn’t enough calories so I had to have a boiled egg later on when I was de-agonised, but it was still fun.
3. I booked the train ticket for my trip up north to stay with Fiona mid-December 😀 I am going up on the 18th and she is driving me back when she goes home for Christmas. We are definitely going to see J and, fingers crossed, also Antonia and Jessica! I am already completely overexcited, and there are still six weeks to go. Argh!

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4 responses to “Every now and then I fall apart

  1. Totally Detached

    You had your cake AND ate it! Good for you 😀

  2. I’ve always been the same way — when “most” people gain weight, I’d lose it, primarily because I would be so terrified of gaining that I’d unconsciously cut back! I don’t think it’s that unusual for someone with an eating disorder to think that way… but it is hard to ignore those cues, mainly because it’s hard to recognize them!

    Vacation excitement is … exciting!! 🙂 Hell, I’m already excited for my vacation and I don’t even know yet where I’m going. :p

    ❤ ❤

  3. It sounds to me, although I don’t really know, that it’s a bit like what happens to me after I’ve been pregnant – suddenly I’m left with a body that isn’t mine, my face looks wrong, everything looks different… it’s really horrible to get used to …. I know it’s not the same but what you said about looking in the mirror and finding someone you just don’t really recognise and can’t get your head around reminded me of those feelings!

    You must ALWAYS eat cake when it’s that time of the month – if you don’t your head will explode – fact.

    I’m really sorry to hear you’re not enjoying your course! Why? You really sounded like you enjoyed S104! x

    Oooh I love looking forward to trips, it’s a real happiness booster 😀

  4. It does indeed seem unfair to be bottom-heavy when others are either hourglasses or tube-shaped but I suppose it’s just something we have to work with. I truly sympathise as when I was at my heaviest I wore trousers two whole sizes bigger than my tops…and whatever size I am, no matter how many weights I lift I will always have twiggy arms compared to my legs. I don’t help myself in terms of totally overdeveloping my quads through running, but it helps to think that it’s better to be strong than thin in that respect ~ even though I might have slimmer thighs by not running, it’s such a self-esteem booster that it balances out.

    That said (and I know it’s pot calling kettle here but I’m going to say it anyway) there is no WAY at a BMI of 19.5 you can possibly have anything other than toned legs, even if they are muscular. They will in no way be as big as you perceive them to be and even if the weight doesn’t redistribute it doesn’t have to always be a point of contention. By gaining and getting so much stronger, there’s no reason why you couldn’t re-start marathon training at some point…perhaps then you could re-claim some of your ability to feel more comfortable in yourself? But that’s by no means a must! I think 90% of women’s body issues relate to their legs/thighs so it’s not necessarily a disorder-related behaviour to feel that way, but it can’t take over your life! I suppose it makes biological sense for the weight to go there after internal organs etc. have been protected…the whole ‘childbearing’ thing…I know it doesn’t make it seem any better though.

    I’m so sorry about my spoilt little rant in my last post ~ I totally apprecaite that there are people out there with far worse gastrointestinal problems than I have and I can only imagine how frustrated you must feel with yours. I will also attempt to mediate my use of the word ‘control’ in the future 😉

    I’m excited to meet you too! And nervous…I just don’t want to be a disappointment!

    Glad you enjoyed your cake ~ it sounds dee-licious 🙂

    xoxo

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