Voices

There’s a war in my head. Some days it gets so loud in there, it gives me a headache. A real one.

The voice nattering incessantly in my ear is not a healthy voice. It’s a familiar one. It feels like a safe one. But that voice is an expert manipulator, liar and thief.

There’s another little voice in the dark – the voice of reason and wisdom, sense and sensibility – but that voice is weak and timid. It has never learned to stand up to the manipulator.

The manipulator has learned how to mimic the voice of reason. Some days I hear myself saying I should (or shouldn’t) eat this (or that) and I can’t quite tell which voice is talking. Are you trying to trick me? Or heal me? I just don’t know.

It may seem I’m schizophrenic. I’m not. I have a few mental health issues as I’ve mentioned before, but I’m confident schizophrenia is not one of them. I’m sure we all have little voices whispering away in our heads. The voice that whispers away in my head is very unhealthy though. The origins are with my mother, and that voice is full of fear. It encourages me to override any ounce of logic I may have when it comes to good health and nutrition, by reminding me I’m fat. That if I get fat, I’m unworthy and a failure. That any food I consume is making me fat. The tiniest morsel of anything feels like failure.

The voice of reason knows this is not true. It is in fact absurd. That good health and nutrition and a healthy body at a healthy weight are achieved through regular consumption of nutritious meals in moderate portions and leading an active lifestyle. I know all this. I have known this for a long time. I was raised with an awareness of good health and I have been surrounded by family and friends all my life who lead healthy lifestyles through good nutrition and regular exercise. I know the theory and I’ve seen the practice. Yet the little manipulator nibbles away at my confidence and plays the “just for today/this week/until you’re this weight” game. Telling me to delay the implementation of common sense until I’ve achieved some unachievable goal through unsustainable means.

In an effort to let the voice of reason become stronger, and to deny the voice of manipulation its power, I have spent the first months of this year trying to do as my support team suggested. I have tried to stop self-harming (one of the tools I use to control my food intake) and to stop restricting. All that happened however, is I’ve returned to a pattern of binging and purging instead. And gaining weight. And with that weight gain, the manipulating voice has started screaming in my ear that I have to get on top of things. NOW! So I started restricting again. Because it feels like they’re my only options – binge or restrict.

Now of course the voice of reason knows this is not the case – the vast majority of the human race do not swing from one to the other – but for me, this is what happens.

I sincerely hope that at least by recognising the insanity of my behaviours, and the profoundly negative impact the manipulative little voice has, I have taken the first step towards recovery.

I sincerely hope one day I can win the war. That I can know for sure when the voice of reason is talking, and to know how to listen to it without fear. Until then, I keep listening, and wondering, who is talking to me?

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