I tend to use Medium as a way to think things through, and get difficult feelings ‘out there’. I don’t want it to be a whinge fest, and my feelings do fluctuate depending on the state of mind I’m in, as does how clearly I can ‘see’ things, so I wanted to make sure I recognise some of the things that are going well and the people I am incredibly grateful for.
I talk a lot about now being the ‘right’ time for me to really work on recovery, really crack this thing. Dan has been wonderfully supportive, and I’m no longer working in an environment that really isn’t conducive to recovery. The support I’m getting and the progress I’ve made so far are both terrifying for reasons I’ve covered in previous posts, but it’s about taking risks and that’s what I’m trying to do. Dan and I went for a walk today, and on the way home he bought himself some fish and chips for lunch. I really want to be able to join in when he does something like this. Or spontaneously go to a cafe for lunch together, just because we both fancy it, without worrying about compensating later, how to fit everything into my ‘rules’ or being bothered by guilt or fear of weight gain. I would love us to have a family, grow as a family unit and for me to cope with that as well as anyone else.
I am incredibly fortunate in that I have a partner who is kind and caring and has tried his best to understand (coming to appointments, attending groups, reading things), and has been firmer than he usually is in order to support me. I hope we’re managing to maintain the balance of our relationship whilst at the same time talking more openly about things. My main priority is to protect him from any unnecessary emotional stress or pain. I also have friends who have listened to me go on and on about things, sometimes irritating things I deliberately don’t share with Dan because I don’t want it to be too much, and who encouraged me to seek some support in the first place. Work have so far been really supportive, even if I am anxious about going back. I have come across some really skilled and knowledgeable staff at the eating disorders service, and my therapist/key-worker has been incredibly patient and flexible. I have shared more with her than I have ever shared in any situation before and I think I am gradually really allowing them to ‘see’ me, the things I struggle with but also feel hugely ashamed of. The service as a whole have done all they can to help me to feel safe and accepted, states of mind which are often very difficult for me to feel. That I live in an area with a dedicated eating disorders service at all, is something to be thankful for. The fact that I got to a place where I was able, after nearly ten years of very little support, to go to my GP and ask for a referral, being able to push enough for that when I wasn’t sure I even had a problem serious enough (recognise and prioritise what I needed and wanted for me) was huge. Even getting to a place where I could talk verbally about my eating disorder was huge, because for a long time I couldn’t do that without getting quite overwhelmed — I couldn’t tolerate it. And now I can, and it took work to get to that point. And the other things. Knowing that Dan and I have family and friends who generally care about us, having the luxury of doing things together, being able to have a wonderful honeymoon together, having the money to go away on holiday this year and spend quality time together. Bringing it right back down to basics, I need to gain more weight, eat another ‘meal deal’, go out for a spontaneous lunch, in general eat out more socially, drink more wine and cocktails, allow people to cook for me, face situations I avoid because they feel ‘risky’ or unsafe, talk, continue to be more open, step by step, so that today belongs more to ‘me’ and ‘us’ and less to the part of my mind that is scrambled and desperately needs control and all the edges to match up. Being more comfortable with mess and confusion. Space for compassion and care. Being brave enough to acknowledge (and say) what I think, want or feel so that I can tolerate or bring some sense to the things anorexia seemed to be a solution for. Talking about the really shitty stuff because I want to be heard (and maybe that’s ok and even necessary if I want to recovery — and maybe I dare to believe I can) and I don’t want it to crowd my mind anymore. Even writing this is terrifying, because verbalising hope feels incredibly risky.
I need to do the difficult things so that eventually they become manageable and then (hopefully) pleasurable and part of the normal fabric of life. I read a quote recently, ‘be willing to make room for uncomfortable feelings in order to live a valued life’. I think that just about sums it up.