Monday, 9 November 2015

My Recovery from Anorexia Nervosa in 3 easy steps (Possible TW)


Um.... Yeah.....

Soz guys, that title is absolute bollocks.
The truth is that I don't know how it happened. 
I don't know how I went from having a crippling fear of uncontrolled eating to being.. um.. well.. can I say 'normal'?? I still don't know what that means. 
Do we even know what recovery means? 
I do worry about what I'm eating and the way I look occasionally, but those thoughts don't impact on my life much at all.
I think that's kinda normal? 
We see countless people everyday having disordered conversations around food, which are deemed perfectly normal and okay to discuss.
I honestly think that I have a much healthier attitude towards food than the majority now! 

I was admitted to an inpatient eating disorder unit in 2010. After the initial excruciating horror of being presented with a compulsory set of meals and snacks a day had eased off to a mild terror, I sank into that routine. This routine became who I was, all I was, for the next four and a half years. 
I ate because the clock told me to.
I had totally lost the ability to follow my natural instincts to feed myself. I clung on to the routine of that meal plan for dear life. Each relapse* meant that this routine was painful to keep to. When my scheduled fodder became less and less substantial, my thoughts were consumed more and more by food. Clock watching, waiting for the next meal or snack and making the seemingly earth-shattering decision of what to eat next was what my whole day consisted of.

The same day over and over and over and over. 

In the end I managed to convince everyone and myself that I had totally recovered. I faked it so much that I convinced myself that the disordered thoughts weren't there anymore. 

I managed to shift my identity to....... SUPER RECOVERY GIRL

I am now finally calling bullshit on myself.
In reality I was blanketed in habits, routine, safety. I would avoid avoid avoid. Numb. Don't think about it, don't face it, dissociate. Avoid avoid avoid.

I missed out on so much because I was so terrified to leave the safety of my routine.

But then...
I eventually started to allow myself to have different foods. I allowed myself to have a pudding when it wasn't planned. I got sick and tired of watching other people eat. 
I eventually allowed other people to portion my food.
I eventually allowed other people to make me a drink.
Actually, allowing someone else to make me a cup of tea took the longest to conquer. To be honest, it still sets off alarms in the corners of my mind.

It took a lot of time and experimentation. A lot of risks. A lot of learning.
I can't give you a step by step of how to recover because even if I did know how it happened for me, you are not me.
The blessing of our uniqueness is the very thing that bites us on the arse when it comes to mental health treatment.

A few months ago, I finally realised and admitted out loud that things weren't perfect; that it was sometimes still a struggle to fuel my body in the way it needs; that choosing off a menu still made me panic; that supermarkets still filled me with the compulsion to examine everything.

Since I accepted that these feeling were there, that it is really flipping difficult sometimes, it has actually become easier. Those disordered thoughts got quieter the less I fought to hide from them.

I am allowed to feel crap sometimes. It doesn't make me a failure. It doesn't change who I am.

Once I realised that it's okay to feel not okay, I was able to accept those feelings and release them.

I've had the persona of  SUPER RECOVERY GIRL for quite some time now, but I think it was just a costume. It has only been recently that I have been living authentically and giving myself permission to feel. I truly believe that in order to move on, we have to feel and experience the hurt. Our feelings are valid. Even if they might seem irrational to someone else, they are very real to us and that is okay.

'Allow - release - let go' -Adriene Mishler

* not that I was recovered before those so called relapses, I just weighed more, but that is a rant for another time